I read your story and although I disagree with the premise I agree with the math. Fraternal groups membership has declined since the 60's. Some say this is a good thing. The membership booms in the 50's and 60's tended to dilute the organizations in general.Some would and do say it is stronger now than ever, maybe not in numbers but in the quality of people that do join. I am a Freemason and in my lodge we are initiating between 1 and 5 new members a year. Now this may not seem like a lot but there are lodges in the county with higher averages. The number of Freemasons was about the same now as it was before the membership spike after WWII. Yes it is true that some lodges had to merge with others or outright close due to dwindling membership. This is a direct affect from the over inflation of members during those decades. So I see it as a natural progression. All the members I have met over the years have been fine people and I would give any of them the shirt of my back, if they asked. In the current generation they miss the point of the Masons, Elks, Eagles, etc. all together. Fraternal organizations - the original social networking sites. I would rather speak to someone face to face then over twitter, FB, texting or even the phone any day. Keep in mind I am only just over 40, barely and have been in the IT field for about 15 years now. Technology has it's place, but as soon as it replaces face to face contact and in person socializing, we have all had it.
TM, thanks for taking the time to comment. While I agree wholeheartedly with your last comment, I think the woman in the story had a valid point when she said the rituals performed at meetings are no longer relevant and are, in some cases, off-putting. I would go further to say that the separation of men and women (and, in the Masons' case locally, the races) is problematic to many Boomers and younger people. There's no question that these organizations do good in their communities but they are not, by and large, changing with the times.
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