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THE IMPORTANCE OF TELEVISION IN PROMOTING THE CRAFT

by Brother John Randolph Martin
Orange-CharlesTown Lodge No. 14 A&FM,
Charleston, SC, Member of the Philalethes Society, etc.

 

Brethren: The discussion of one day classes versus the need to learn the work of the craft, we get so worked up over how to make masons that we often miss the point. If we are trying to get masonry back on its feet, whether we give one day classes or one class per year is almost irrelevant! Yes, irrelevant! As many have pointed out before me, you cannot make the horse drink. But first you must lead him to the water!

Here is our answer: Television, television and television!

We know that we can sell masonry and the initiation system in whatever form it takes, we have done it! What we often cannot do, and have historically been prevented from doing, is to tell the good man that we want him. That is NOT what is proposed here! That too can be counterproductive! If if a good man comes to us, "of his free will and accord", you and I you can get him initiated, passed and raise one way or another. Otherwise, if he is asked to join, the good man is just as likely not to value the experience no matter how it is conducted. Here is the crux! He must come to us in order to truly value what we have to give.

So...how do we get him to come? Easy! Yes, EASY! Advertise! Do public relations things. Get in higher profile in the press. But MOST important, get on television! Television is the key, one way or the other. Television is the common denominator for all of our "brave new world". If we are willing to see this as the Shriners are beginning to do, with their excellent shrine hospital public announcements, we can blossom into this new era of electronics.

How do we know this? Great examples abound! The Navy gets large PERCENTAGE increases in recruits every time there is a new television series about the Navy (like "JAG", or even "McHale's Navy"). And we do not have to get into the television series business: Every time a "good guy" on TV is identified with an organization or cause during a show, the calls and public interest go up dramatically. Every TV station needs public service announcements, get in there and push. Those are just a few ideas to start the creativity rolling.

Some may say that the answer to the question of saging numbers and lost members is indeed that so many good men are watching television instead of coming to lodge, but as long as these men are in front of the tube, let's show them the craft as a worthwhile alternative.

Sure we need to find ways to retain members, but we are most vulnerable at the application level. Most, if not all, GLs have public relations mechanisms. If you as a member are really concerned with doing more than you are, or decry the loss of membership, put some time into this grand lodge mechanism. They probably need your help. Because you cannot lead a masonic horse to water, you have to show it to him on television, first!!


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