Freemasonry trains new Masons from mouth to ear, using mentorship as its primary medium of instruction. Think about it: Candidates to the degrees of Masonry were taught to follow their guide and fear not what man can do to them. They were guided throughout the lodge by a Deacon, instructed further by Wardens, and charged by the Master of the lodge himself. Candidates were likewise assigned intenders to teach them how to comprehend their ceremonies and to orient them through a “Tried and Proven” monologue. Each step of the way, they were carefully physically initiated and personally mentored into almost every aspect of the Craft, until finally, they become full-fledged Master Masons. Each step of the way, Mentorship has been the principal instrument of communicating, instructing, and charging of new Masons. It has always been this way since time immemorial, shaping good men into better versions of themselves, guided by the principles, tenets, and lessons of Freemasonry.
Why is it then, as we sadly observe, that there are still many amongst us who seem unmoved by our noble ceremonies, unchanged by our moral precepts, and continue to pursue a life of greed, pride, and even immorality? Has Freemasonry failed to make better men? What could possibly have gone wrong? We see some Masons involved in scandals, crime, corruption charges, and other acts unbecoming of a gentleman, let alone a Freemason.
Based on the above workings of Masonry, the answer seems clear. Apparently, there exists a perception and belief that mentoring stops after the Candidate already becomes a Master Mason. There seems to be no follow-through to maintain the habit of continuous learning and improvement, thus possibly explaining why some Masons go astray despite being raised to the moral and ethical principles of Freemasonry. There is an apparent need, therefore, of orienting and further mentoring newly-raised Master Masons in order for them to not just become better men, but more importantly, to remain better men.
We must recognize the paramount importance of orienting and mentoring newly-raised Master Masons. It is through this process that we foster a stronger, more virtuous, and morally upright generation of Freemasons. Orientation and extended mentoring both mark another commencement in a Master Mason’s journey – a voyage into deeper waters where the teachings and mysteries of Freemasonry begin to unfurl. They become a juncture where the new Mason transitions from being an adept learner to becoming a proficient Master of his Craft.
The purpose of orientation is twofold: (1) to acclimatize him with the privileges and responsibilities of a Master Mason; and (2) to instill a sense of purpose in his Masonic journey. Orientation also provides clarity on two Masonic aspects: (1) understanding the ritual; and (2) knowing lodge operations.
The sublime rituals of Freemasonry are the bedrock of our Craft. Through orientation, newly-raised Master Masons gain deeper insights into the symbolism, allegory, and meaning behind the degrees, making their Masonic experience more profound. Likewise, an in-depth understanding of lodge operations, officer roles, and responsibilities is vital to the survival of the lodge as an organization, helping new Masons grasp the intricacies of lodge governance and ensuring their effective participation.
While orientation lays the foundation, further mentorship builds the structure of a morally upright Freemason. Mentorship is a deeply personal and transformative relationship between a seasoned Mason and a newly-raised Master Mason. It transcends the formalities of Lodge meetings and rituals, imparting wisdom, values, and practical guidance.
The further mentoring of new Masons can nurture character, enabling them to learn to embody the Masonic values of integrity, compassion, and charity in their daily lives, thus guiding them in applying these principles to benefit their families, workplaces, and communities.
Further mentorship also nurtures leadership potential. Masons who are mentored effectively are more likely to take up leadership roles within the Lodge, fostering its growth and prosperity. It also fosters a deeper sense of brotherly love. The mentor-mentee relationship is a cornerstone of Masonic brotherhood. It instills a sense of belonging, trust, and mutual respect that strengthens the bonds within the Lodge.
The transformational impact of orientation and further mentorship extends beyond the individual Master Mason. It ripples through the lodge, the Masonic community, and the society at large. A Mason who has been well-oriented and further mentored after being raised becomes a beacon of light, illuminating the path for others and even attracting those who seek to become Masons.
Therefore, the essential task of orienting and further mentoring newly-raised Master Masons is not merely a customary practice that we should start implementing; it is, in fact, the lifeblood of Freemasonry itself. It is through these transformative processes that we ensure the legacy of our noble Fraternity continues to flourish.
Let us embrace the profound responsibility of orienting and further mentoring our newly-raised brethren, cultivating a future generation of Freemasons who stand as paragons of virtue and exemplars of the principles upon which our beloved Craft was founded. In so doing, we honor our past, enrich our present, and illuminate each other’s future. And maybe, just maybe, we might see that long elusive transformation we had been hoping – ridding our institution of bad elements and inviting none into our ranks but those with the genuine interests in improving themselves and the society to which they belong.