The Feel Good-Factor

W. Bro. Alan Peters PAGDC PAGDC (RA) W. Bro. Alan Peters PAGDC PAGDC (RA)

As members, we know that there are many reasons we chose to join Freemasonry.  Every Lodge website has a list of membership benefits to help persuade newcomers that Freemasonry is worth joining. There are, however, other reasons why being part of a Lodge is so rewarding that aren’t so well documented. This is, perhaps, because these other reasons are based on feelings and experiences rather than facts, are always more difficult to articulate.

Alan Peters, who has been a freemason for over 40 years, has written this piece about the ‘feel good factor’ he gets from his membership – and we know that this is how many of us feel and why we are active and proud to be part of this great fraternity, which gives to us as much as the causes we try to help. This is exactly the thing that often keeps us part of freemasonry; the reason we as members want others to join us in their own personal journey of discovering freemasonry.

“Knowing a number of people who were Freemasons, my curiosity was aroused when I was in my late twenties and invited to join at that time. However, with a wife, two young daughters and job uncertainty, I was hesitant. Some years later, I was again invited to join and this time, it felt right. When the big day arrived for my Initiation, I had hair growing out of the palms of my hands. It was a hot June afternoon and all I could hear was banging and jangling in the Lodge room, but a very reassuring Tyler offered me tea and biscuits and convinced me that I would be alright. I felt that I would ‘go with the flow’ and if I didn’t like what I saw, I could always say ‘thank you but no thank you’. Quite the contrary happened. I was blown away by an experience that I will never forget. In fact, it seems like only yesterday. Inevitably, some meetings have been better than others. but I have never not enjoyed a meeting, and have got to know so many friends.

We hear, read and see many of the good things about Freemasonry and Its origins, development, history, and the characters that have made it the great Fraternity that it is today. But I want to put to you an idea that steers away from the hard facts and it is what I call my F-G Factor. The ‘F-G’ in this instance standing for ‘feel-good’. Whilst, of course, there are frustrations in almost everything we do, we also look to our meetings for their therapeutic and cathartic values, even if this is achieved subconsciously and subliminally. Getting away from the hustle and bustle of the outside world and entering a world of peace and tranquillity, if only for a few hours, we may not even realise the curative powers of our assemblies. We calm down, are absorbed by the ritual, enter a world within a world, and bond with our Brethren. After all, we have carefully selected and vetted those who have joined us. We have welcomed them, embraced them and guided them through their admission into Masonic light.


But what are the components of this ‘feel good factor’? Let’s start with meeting regular members of the Lodge and guests, then enjoying the ceremony which might perhaps include listening to a good speaker. That is, hearing the ritual performed well, or seeing a father Initiate his own son, or the Lodge being honoured with distinguished visitors for a special meeting. This might also include being part of an important ceremony and, after all that, enjoying the camaraderie of the Festive Board. This F-G extends to knowing that the ultimate objective of our Ancient and Honourable Institution is the welfare of our fellow beings under the watchful and omnipresent eye of T.G.A.O.T.U. and conscious that we have worked well. It is an almost indescribable feeling to some.

Have you seen grown men dabbing their eyes when the Master’s song is sung to them at their Installation and when a room full of men raise a glass and drink a toast to their health? Have you ever been to a Quarterly Communications Meeting of Grand Lodge and marvelled at the precision of the ceremony, seen the Grand Officers, Provincial and District Grand Masters in tailcoats, wearing their regalia and Chains of Office, parade in to the rousing music of the Grand Organist-truly music to stir the heart? Insofar as every organisation has a structure, we are not different and it is only right that we should acknowledge rank and experience.

Have you ever been in the position to present a cheque to a deserving cause on behalf of your Lodge? Beaten the challenge to learn some of the work that you have been asked to do? Been told that you have done well and been recognised by your Brethren in Lodge for your efforts? Had direct benefit yourself from Freemasonry? For example, the support of your Brethren when you needed it? The list goes on, but like a good book or film that you have enjoyed, if you ask yourself what it is that made it good for you, it will be different to what made it good for another Brother. It means different things to different people. You often cannot pin it down to one single thing. We are in a people business, and it is no doubt a combination of many of these factors that has been the cement to bind our fraternity together for over three hundred years. As any man of good standing is welcomed into our ranks, isn’t this something we should be telling our friends, relatives and associates about?

Ed: I think W. Bro Alan has summed up succinctly how many of us feel about our Freemasonry. Some say it is a hobby, but to me it has become a way of life which must also embrace our spouses and partners. It must be something that we do not walk away from when questioned as what freemasonry is and where others might seek to criticize our motives and intentions. Indeed, my own circle of friends has a very high percentage of freemasons; friends from whom I might seek counsel and advice and who are trustworthy. If Freemasonry is a peripheral aspect of our lives then we cannot enjoy the enormous benefits of fulfilment in the work we do; the ritual, the charity, the friendships, the self-progression in our lives and the confidence this promotes at work and in our communities. Taking Freemasonry seriously can be “life changing”.

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