Millennial Apprentices: The Next Revolution In Freemasonry by Bro. Samuel Friedman is a book that explores how Millennials may impact the future of Masonic Lodges.
The book includes personal experiences from the author’s perspective as well as an overview of Traditional Observance lodges, data collected about the Millennial generation, a Masonic history lesson, an insightful chapter on Freemasonry in Beirut, and an explanation on what the author feels an ideal lodge would look like.
All of these ideas come together to convey the point that the Millennial generation is very interested in the Masonic fraternity but they are often leaving as fast as they are joining. The author identifies several reasons why he believes this to be the case and details some solutions which will possibly help to attract and retain more members of the Millennial generation.
As a member of the same generation, Millennial Apprentices: The Next Revolution In Freemasonry by Bro. Samuel Friedman shares some experiences and ideas that I can really relate to.
The author opens his book with an account on his introduction into the fraternity as well as his disappointment with the reality of what has become the Masonic experience in most lodges. His feelings aren’t unique, however, because, as the author also points out, our fraternity has a serious retention problem, especially among the Millennial generation.
I believe the author sums this situation up beautifully in one short and well-worded sentence:
“Most young men believe they are joining something ancient and elite and often what they discover is far more mundane than what they had hoped.” pg 15
We are then introduced to the concept of Observant (or Traditional Observance) Freemasonry. This is one of the most important concepts in this book and, while the author eventually states that “No style or genre of Masonry is any better than than the other” (pg 116), this book is ultimately about Traditional Observance from a Millennial perspective.
The book also has a chapter dedicated to exploring the demographics and data which the author has collected about Millennials and using it to support his conclusions. As a scientist myself, I appreciate and respect the effort used to gather and present this. Too often we are told what Millennials want without being given any information that supports what has been stated.
Of course, this book isn’t perfect and there are some details and ideas that I’m not a complete fan of. For example, at one point the author discusses the Hiramic legend with quite a bit of detail. I understand that this isn’t one of the ‘secrets’ of Freemasonry but I also feel as though we shouldn’t be so willing to write about these things just because we haven’t been told not to.
The author also devotes an entire chapter about his experiences when he traveled to Lebanon. It’s very interesting and insightful but as I read this chapter I found myself wondering how it was relevant to the rest of the book. The point of the chapter is eventually made but I felt as though much was said to add to the length of the book. This is more of an observation than a complaint though.
Despite a few small criticisms I enjoyed this book enough to read it multiple times. It’s a short book at 132 pages so it makes for a nice read over a day or two. This is a good book that’s worthy of a place in anyone’s Masonic library but it should be especially interesting to anyone that’s interested in the Millennial generation in a Masonic context or Traditional Observance Freemasonry.
Buy it on Amazon: https://amzn.to/2NlwR0A