Hustling For Candidates

A good brother, earnest and faithful in lodge work, remarked the other day,"we must now get out and hustle for members." Just what he meant by "hustling for members," we are at a loss to fully comprehend. We hear a member called "a hustler" if he brings in a large number of petitions, and he is looked on as some kind of superior Mason, because of his activity. He is regarded as a brother whose zeal is worthy of imitation. But is that always the case? Does it always prove advantageous to the lodge to have a "hustler" in it? Is it not from "hustling" that the unworthy are brought into the fraternity?

Masonry is opposed to proselytism. It has no travelling "salesmen," no "drummers," no "missionaries." It is a purely voluntary association and opposes any invitation on the part of the members to those outside to enter its portals. No man who is solicited by his friend to join the lodge can say absolutely that he is "unbiased by friends." The very solicitation, to a certain degree, affects his opinion. He must come of his "own free will and accord."

There is, we fear, too much "hustling," not that it is always done in an offensive way, but in far too many cases, the desire to increase membership or replenish the treasury leads to the use of undue influence to bring in candidates. Masonry is opposed in all its teaching to such a method. A man must appreciate the value of the institution from what he sees of its good effects. He will not be a Free Mason if he does not come uninfluenced. No man can say he is free who listens to the suggestion or request of his friend to "join my lodge." There is no doubt that friendship and association has very much to do with much of the "hustling" that is done. This fact also exists, that the friendship is cemented and made stronger when these who we esteem and love have the lodge secrets in common with us. There is a kind of kinship, as emphasized brother, that is found nowhere else. But, with all this, desirable and pleasant as it is, the dearest friend we have must be a free man before initiation, and a free Mason afterwards.

We rejoice at the prosperity of Freemasonry. We are glad when good men unite in the great work. The more such men we have the better the fraternity and the better the world at large. The wider influence of the principles of the institution, the more good will be accomplished. Let the lives of the members of the craft be so imbued with the spirit of true Masonry the ennobling and sublime tenets of our profession, that every one will be "as a city set upon a hill," which can not be hid; or a "candle upon a candlestick," which sheds light for all. Then will the good men be attracted to it and the fraternity will grow without "hustling."

Canadian Craftsman, August 1897