The North Carolina Mason

March/April 2014

North Carolina Mason

Issue link:

Contents of this Issue


Page 0 of 7

The BoTTom Line By Dalton W. Mayo Grand Master Attracting new members How many good men have waited all their lives for someone to ask them to join the Masonic fraternity, but no one ever did? We will never know the answer to that question but we know it does hap- pen. Occasionally you will hear someone say that maybe we ought to drop the antiquated practice of never asking men to join and start openly soliciting for new members. We would surely fill up our lodge rooms, and all would be right with the world. Or would it? e answer is a resounding "no" because we will have initiated men who came not of their own free will and accord but of ours, and there is a big difference. e late Carl H. Claudy, a prolific Masonic writer, asked the question "Has anyone considered the fact that an invitational sys- tem for Freemasonry would be unfair to the man so invited? To ask a man to become a member of the fraternity is not only a violation of one of the unwritten laws, but a positive injustice to the man. He who joins a lodge, not because he wants, but because another wants him to, necessarily misses for life something in the Ancient Craft which other men possess and hold dear. It is hu- man to value that for which we labor, try, strive, and get by our own efforts. It is also human to hold as of little value and small worth that which comes unsought, which is easy to get, which requires no effort." Now, in spite of this, I have to confess that I was flat out asked to petition Masonry. Before you get the bright idea that some- body ought to be reported to the grand master, just keep in mind that I am the grand master so that won't do any good. But this seeming violation of an old tradition may not be as serious as it seems. You see, I was not asked by a Master Mason, but by a Mas- ter Mason's wife. is Master Mason's wife happened to be my sister. She confided in me that my brother-in-law wanted me to become a Mason but, by the rules, he was not allowed to ask me. She saw no reason why she couldn't ask me, and so she did. I still see nothing wrong with it and I believe things have turned out ok in spite of what some may consider a serious breach of etiquette. How do we attract new members if we agree that we should not recruit them? One thing for sure is that our lodges need to be visible within their communities. A great way to do this is to have charitable fundraisers, preferably at the lodge. Members of the community need to come and find out about that building with the square and compasses on it. ey will take notice and you will get expressions of interest. Hiram Lodge 98 had a pancake break- fast in December which was very successful. ere was an excel- lent turnout which resulted in an invitation for the lodge to come to a local church and cook pancakes for their ursday night soup kitchen. Not all charity has to be Masonic as we see in this case. e word will get around and this is the kind of publicity we need. I was recently asked by one of our fine district deputy grand lecturers what prompted me to petition Masonry. My answer was that I knew some good men who were members of the fraternity, one of whom was my brother-in-law, and I thought that it was something that I wanted to be a part of. So, when the oppor- tunity came, I took it. Dan Weatherington, my good friend and brother from Wilson, has written a short article about attracting new members and he has given me permission to share it with you. I think it deserves your careful consideration: Not one person ever joined Masonry because George Washington was a Mason. Not one person ever joined Masonry because Harry Truman was a Mason. Not one person ever joined because of any of our great Masonic heroes. Joining doesn't make you any of those people. Not one person ever joined in order to give over a million dollars a day to charity, or Masonic homes, or crippled children. You don't have to be a member to give money to charity. Not one person ever joined because our ritual is outstanding, or our minutes are accurate, or a hundred other things we worry about. ey don't know about our ritual or our minutes. ey joined because someone they knew and ad- mired was a Mason. It could have been a father, a friend, a man down the street, or someone a thousand miles away. Who, it didn't matter. ey admired him and wanted to do the things he did, and they did it by the millions. Want to help our growth? Be the kind of man someone admires. Someone will notice. Albert Pike summarized the Masonic ideal as: "Good men; better men. We seek no more; we offer no more. It is enough." Good men becoming better men is the best advertisement we have for our beloved fraternity. is was true in Albert Pike's time, and I believe it is still true today. see RUFUS, page 4 see OLDS, page 5 The Mason NORTH CAROLINA Official Publication of e Grand Lodge of Ancient, Free and Accepted Masons of North Carolina Volume 139 Number 2 Oxford, North Carolina March/April 2014 By Ric Carter RALEIGH — When you go to a history museum, you see pictures and artifacts of people long dead. It was more than a little odd to walk into the North Carolina Museum of History recently and see a bit of living history come toward you with hand outstretched. Rufus Edmisten has had a life deeply entwined in North Carolina politics. He was Attorney General of North Carolina from 1974 to 1984 when he ran for gov- ernor. at was the last gubernatorial race with two Ma- sons squaring off. He was defeated by James G. Martin. He again won statewide office in 1988 becoming North Carolina Secretary of State, an office he held into 1996. Edmisten had come to the North Carolina Museum of History to take me through the exhibit Watergate: Po- litical Scandal and the Presidency. It will be on display through August 10, the 40 th anniversary of the resignation of President Richard M. Nixon. An office break-in at the National Democratic Head- quarters in the Watergate hotel in 1972 became a snow- ball rolling downhill from the peak of presidential power toward the destruction of one of the United States' most tenacious politicians, Richard Nixon. July 23, 1973, Ed- misten, still in his early 30s, served a subpoena on the White House demanding secretly recorded tapes which would prove to be the damning evidence leading to the final demise of a presidency. How did a young man from Boone find himself at the leading edge of history? Here's how Edmisten sees it, "Senator Sam Ervin, was the most famous Mason I know. I came to work with him in 1964." By Ric Carter RALEIGH — ere have been plenty of Masons who were history fans. It's one of the things that brings some men into the fraternity. Likely no North Carolina Mason has been more of a fan or done more to promote our love of history or preserve our collective memory than Frederick Augustus Olds. He's so important to North Carolina history preservation that he is the first greeter you will see at the North Carolina Mu- seum of History. On the front steps of the museum is a bronze statue of our Brother offering the key to our history. Olds was born in 1853, brought up in Hillsborough, and attended school in Cary. He went to college at Virginia Military School. In the 1870s, he moved to Raleigh as a businessman. He was soon captivated by newspaper work. He started as a reporter for the Raleigh News and eventually became city editor of the News and Observer. He joined the National Guard in 1874, and in 1877, was appointed state ordnance officer and quartermaster general of the State Guard. He was appointed to the staff of Governor Zebulon B. Vance in 1877 and carried the honorific "Colonel" the rest of his life. It may have been an experience in the Guard that sparked his lifelong fascination with history. According to a biography posted by Raleigh's Fred A. Olds Elementary School (named for him in 1927), "[While in the Guard,] Olds went to clear what appeared to be insignificant junk from the state arsenal. But, when the secretary of state inspected the material, he discovered a rich archive of early records stretching back to colonial times, including the Journal of the Provincial Congress that adopted the Constitution of 1776. e secretary's discovery lit a fire in Fred Olds' heart." In the Raleigh News, "he started an editorial campaign calling on people to save historic documents and artifacts, even asking that they be sent to him." Fred Olds was a Mason and best friend of North Carolina's history. Rufus Edmisten points to the subpoena he served on the Nixon White House. Fred Olds, guardian of North Carolina history Reliving history with Rufus

Articles in this issue

Archives of this issue

view archives of The North Carolina Mason - March/April 2014