At the start of the Initiation Ceremony the candidate is told that he can “follow your leader with a firm but humble confidence” and so begins a symbolical journey from darkness to light, from ignorance to Masonic Knowledge. The work of the Mentor is to be the new mason’s guide, leader and coach once the ceremony has finished – to explain not only the workings, traditions and organisation of our Institution, but also to lift the veil of allegory and reveal the meaning behind the symbols so that the new mason can enjoy and understand the organisation that he has joined.
Mentoring schemes put personal Masonic development at the heart of Freemasonry, promoting the lifelong development of every Freemason by providing informed, accessible support materials whilst recommending the most effective personal Mentoring arrangements.
Mentoring underpins the retention of brethren as active members and helps reduce the overall decline in membership.
Who should be the Mentor?
It can be seen from the above that there has to be a special relationship between the new mason and his Mentor. This is a one-to-one relationship and except in the case of very small or special Lodges the concept of a single “Lodge Mentor” for all candidates is not the best way forward. The obvious choice of Mentor may be the candidate’s Proposer or Seconder but, even so, the brother must be carefully chosen and have particular qualities. It has been observed many times that the greatest difficulty in a Mentoring scheme is to find suitable Mentors.
The first and most important attribute for a Mentor is that he relates to his charge and that they get on well together and enjoy each other’s company. The Mentor will then introduce the new mason to his friends in the Lodge and immediately increase his circle of friends. It is likely, but not necessary, that the Mentor will be of a similar age group to the candidate. It therefore follows that it is possible that the Mentor may himself have only become a mason quite recently, perhaps in the last five years or so, and may not have the in-depth knowledge to fulfil his task. If the view is taken that only knowledgeable masons can be Mentors then it is likely that they will be of a different generation to their charges and while they may relate, the new mason could find himself in the company of men much older than, and of different interests, to himself.
If, as suggested, the Mentor is relatively new to masonry himself he will need considerable support from his Lodge and the Province.