Why did I join Masonry? Well, remember that you are considering the unknown-relying on second-hand and often false information, some of which may have been tarnished, may be misleading, confusing and in some instances even blood-curdling!
So, if (as I did) you were even thinking of it, try and get to go to a social event which usually means attending with friends or acquaintances who are Masons already. That way the ambience of Masonry is often felt, which in turn leads to curiosity and then asking questions. However, do not expect answers to everything in order to preserve the mystique. Hopefully, there will be just enough information to “whet the appetite” and provoke thoughts.
So, for me, it was going to Ladies Festival in London and just liking the atmosphere. After speaking with my wife (I think that is important) I made some gentle enquiries of a couple of work colleagues, one of which (unbeknown to me) was a member of Wrest Park Lodge. So, I applied, or rather let it be known I was interested, and after an “interview” I was initiated in November 1980. Unfortunately, my proposer & seconder had to drop out of Masonry soon after I joined & it seemed that I knew no-one, so I was very much thrown in at the deep end. I did not feel out of place or embarrassed though because I was made welcome, in a friendly and encouraging manner.
Looking back, I think the keynote was that whilst I appreciated that there was to be a serious side, with emphasis on the wellbeing of others via charity (whether at home or outside of masonry), I had to enjoy it and it had to be fun too. On a personal note, I found that self-confidence grew and that moral principles were an everyday part of life, which, I think, is a fundamental part of Masonry – it instils within you an awareness of yourself and the relationship with others. I realise that this all sounds a bit OTT, but I suppose I can summarise with why I joined by saying, I wanted to be part of a society of men who enjoyed life, enjoyed the company of likeminded others, and yet had a sense of purpose.