The biggest “pro” of being a Mason, IMO, is that no matter where you go, you are never alone; you can almost always find a brother Mason to aid or assist you in any variety of ways. There are lodges in most towns and cities, as well as in many different countries. And as you recognize fellow brothers, or are recognized by them, you’d be surprised the kinds of connections and experiences you have as you travel and visit from place to place.
While there’s potential for it to be both a “pro” and a “con,” one of the other things you should know about Masonry is that it is quite literally something that you have the ability to throw your entire life into, should you so choose. You can be as involved in Masonry as you personally want to be – if you want Masonry to be one night a month for your stated meeting, then you can do that. But if you want to go all-in and dedicate yourself to everything going on in the Masonic world, you can do that, as well.
That can be a pro because if you are looking for opportunities to help others, to engage in philanthropy, and to generally have a good time while you’re doing it, you can’t go wrong in being involved with the Masons. Not only does your local blue lodge get involved with opportunities going on in your very own community, but nearly every one of the appellate bodies has a charity associated with it, as well. Scottish Rite works with literacy programs quite a bit, York Rite works with medical research, the Knights Templar have an Eye foundation, and perhaps most well known of all the Masonic charities, the Shriners sponsor the Shriners Childrens Hospitals all over America. So you have opportunities to get involved in any or all of those charities and the events, etc. that they sponsor.
On top of all the philanthropic events, Masons know how to have fun and fellowship with one another, as well. Your blue lodge will likely host some dinners, etc. for the members and their families from time to time, or sponsor lodge events just to have some fun together. So, too, do all the appellate bodies – especially the Shriners! I just joined my local Shrine in St. Louis (Moolah Shrine) and I am learning that I could pretty much find something going on at the Shrine nearly every day if I wanted to. There are different clubs within the Shrine – bands, clowns, singers, car enthusiasts, pilots, motorcyclists, and more. And all of them offer opportunities for you to spend time with your brothers doing something you share as common interests.
Now, that’s a wonderful thing to have in a fraternity – but it could also be considered one of Masonry’s greatest “cons” as well. There are so many things to be involved with in Masonry that it can be overwhelming and you can quickly find yourself in over your head with things you’ve decided to get involved with – both physically and financially. You have dues that you pay each year to your blue lodge – those are what keep you a Mason in “good standing.” And if you want to be involved in any of the other Masonic groups out there, you have to be in good standing with your blue lodge. Then each of the Masonic groups has dues, as well. If you’re a Shriner, you might decide to get involved with some of the “units” or clubs that I mentioned above – most of those units also have dues that help them run their own events, etc. So if you get involved with a lot of things as a Mason, you could easily find yourself paying several hundred dollars a year just in dues – not to mention the money you spend at charity events, etc.
Really with Masonry, what you get depends a lot on what you put into it and how involved you want to be in the long run. If you want to be more casual, that’s perfectly fine – I’ve been a Mason almost ten years and I’m just now starting to get involved in further Masonic groups because I wanted to take my time getting into the Craft and learning what I can from the blue lodge first. Even if you only go to one meeting a month and that’s the extent of your lodge involvement, you’re still a brother and you’ll still have a phenomenal experience of being able to connect with Masons all around the world as part of the first and largest fraternity in history.
As to any other “cons,” there really aren’t any – sure, you have to deal sometimes with people who are misinformed, who believe insane conspiracy theories, etc. but in the long run, they’re only really bad on the internet. You don’t have to waste your words and breath defending Masonry to every single person, but you can still help others to understand more about the Craft and hopefully have a better interest in joining themselves, one day.