his duties and obligations to his candidate and, ultimately,
by W. Bro. Donald M. Scandrett
All too often a newly made Mason, usually at the Entered
Apprentice and Fellow Craft stages in his Masonic career, drops out and
eventually demits or receives a non-payment of dues suspension. Is it his
fault??? No, it is yours!!! You, as his sponsor and mentor, began ignoring him
the minute the ink from your signature had dried on his petition for initiation.
You were not there for his initiation, passing or raising. You failed to assist
him with his memory work. You failed to introduce him throughout your
jurisdiction by not inviting him out to visit other lodges with you. You failed
to phone him on a regular basis or visit him, to ensure he is not having any
difficulties with his memory work. You failed to invite him and his wife out to
a ladies night, to ensure his wife felt part of the Masonic community. He
probably does not know the protocol for these types of social functions as of
yet and never assume he does. Basically, you left him standing alone, thus
leaving him with the feeling he is not part of the Masonic fraternity,
subsequently losing interest in his lodge and never returning.
This, my brethren, is OUR fault, not the members who lose interest. They lose
interest because they are not stimulated in lodge, their sponsors forget their
obligations and most of all, they are being ignored/disregarded amongst the
lodge members who should be taking these new members under their wing and making
him feel welcomed and part of the circle. It is estimated that there is an
alarming rate of approximately 20% of new members, usually EA or FC, who have
lost interest in the lodge and have demitted, or not returned.
It is your duty as a sponsor/mentor to ensure, once you petition someone, that
you strive to stay with him throughout the entire process. You should be
ensuring that the new member is cared for, support and directed throughout the
process. This must continue until such time he is either accepted into the
circle, which should be automatic, considering our purpose, or until they are
comfortable enough on their own to build their own friendships amongst the
Don't just assume that because he receives his monthly summons he should feel
welcome to attend the stated meetings. Ensure you remind him of the meetings and
offer to drive him there for the first few. Be there from his entering the
lodge, signing the porch book, introducing him to members he has not yet met and
sit with him. After the close of the lodge, sit with him at the festive board
until it is time to leave.
I have heard of an incident. A friend of mine moved from one province to
another. When he visited a lodge in that jurisdiction, he was surprised to see
one of his sponsors from his mother lodge, who also moved away. His sponsor did
not recognize him at first and asked him if he would have a problem with a board
of trial. Another friend of mine was sponsored a few years ago and one of his
sponsors lived across the street from him. Not once did his sponsor visit or
phone him to see how his memory work was or if he required assistance. Luckily,
this newly made Mason was a fast learner, a keen member and went though all the
degrees by himself, without any assistance from his sponsors at all.
In closing brethren, if you are going to sponsor someone, be there for him after
the ink on his petition dries, from start to finish. I realize that many of us,
due to family and work commitments, cannot be there all of the time. But there
is always that second person who affixed his signature on that petition and has
the same obligation as you do.
Just remember that every new member we lose, we are also losing the possibility
of the ten people he may of sponsored throughout his Masonic career and so on.
If we, as a fraternity, are to survive, we must remember the duties and
obligations owed to our new members. Just remember before you sponsor someone -
will you be there for him?
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