A quick search on Google for the phrase “of his own free will an accord,” will turn up roughly 19,000 entries. A great number of these will look at the meaning based on the criteria for joining Freemasonry, or for progressing through the degrees. I would however, like to take a look at from a slightly different angle.
One of the things that I frequently find being discussed among members of the Fraternity is the lack of involvement. There are complaints about the lack of Brothers willing to serve at meals, ply elbow grease on work days, or even show up for a open house event. There are concerns about the lack of willing individuals to take a officer chair or district office. I’ve also seen the frustration, and felt it myself , of those sitting in the East trying to get programs implemented or even get those on the sidelines to interact with the program going on.
Those frustrations, complaints, and sometimes even anger, over the apparent lack of support these members are giving the Lodge is seen in a negative light. There is a line of thinking that if you don’t attend every event, buy a ticket for every dinner, or that you might miss a rehearsal, you’re not supporting your Lodge and don’t understand what being a Freemason is.
Nothing could be further from the truth and it goes back to, “of my own free will and accord.”
Those aren’t just words, they are something that every one of us must embrace and accept.
Not everyone is interested in helping out at 6:30 on a Saturday morning to serve breakfast or to spend all day prepping a meal for your next event. Not everyone is interested in being an officer, and not everyone is comfortable standing up in a room of peers and speaking at length on a topic.
It’s important to remember that while you can ask, the Brother has to decide for himself if it’s something he not only wishes to do, but if it is something he can do.
So please, before you wave that finger at someone remember that when they came to the Fraternity they did it of their own free will and accord and we need to allow that same free will once they become a member. Remember, it may be something they aren’t comfortable with or they may just be minding their cable-tow.