My message to you comes directly from our Ritual. “Who Comes Here?” is the question that is first asked when the Inner Door is opened in response to the candidate’s symbolic request to begin the ceremony and his journey in Freemasonry. This very moment is
represented on this year’s coin with the Stewards shown in detail with Rods and Aprons, and the Candidate standing between them only as a silhouette.
The answer to the question “Who Comes Here?” should already be known to the Lodge from the work of the Petition signers and the Investigation Committee. We all give credence to the thought that the Investigation Committee has a tremendously important responsibility, and of course they should ask the usual questions: How does your family feel about you joining the Lodge; Can you afford the initiation fee and annual dues; Have you ever been in trouble with the law? All legitimate questions.
“Who Comes Here?” is what an investigation is supposed to determine. In the course of the investigation, I ask that the Investigation Committee members consider a slight change in their own mindset. If they communicate to the Petitioners that “We do not meet with you in an effort to say NO to your request to join Freemasonry, but in an effort to ask you to help us to say YES to your petition”; the Petitioners answers will help us to better know “Who Comes Here?”.
Under this scenario the Petitioner may realize he needs to qualify himself in the minds of the men that are interviewing him. The Petitioner will need to “sell” them on the thought of his being worthy of becoming a member of our honored Fraternity. This realization by the Petitioner may translate into “I want to be accepted by this committee.” Thus may begin his embrace of the Fraternity and his desire of earning the privilege of becoming a Freemason.
“Help us to say YES to your petition” as a shift in the mindset of the Investigating Committee will help give to us the answer of “Who Comes Here?”, well before this man stands before our inner door. It may very well be the positive beginning of a Masonic journey for the candidate and his Lodge.
Let us embrace a slightly new way of investigating Petitioners, and welcome to our Fraternity a future Brother that we expect to eventually learn to admire and respect.
I wish each of you and your Lodges a wonderful year.
Richard L. Smith