Ask the Freemason

Mostly because I’m currently not on speaking terms with my SAN , here is another “Ask the…” thread.

Background - I’m a Freemason (obviously) and member of the Scottish Rite, SJ. I’m no longer a Shriner although I continue to support their charities. (I could devote a thread just to the charities associated with the assorted Masonic organizations, but I don’t want to get TubaDiva mad at me. If we’re lucky WhyNot will pop in with her story)

I was initiated an Entered Apprentice in 1998 at the age of 30 with my brother-in-law (we were both sponsored by his father), passed to the degree of Fellowcraft, and raised to the sublime degree of Master in 1999. I’ve been an officer of the lodge, but never grand poobah.

The big secrets of Freemasonry I won’t share, of course, and I haven’t traveled a lot so I don’t know much about Masonry outside the US. I also know very little about the York Rite, since I’m not Christian.
Any questions?

I can’t speak for others, but how the whole Freemason thing is packaged (hierarchical, have to prove stuff to get to the next level etc) is not half as interesting as what the BIG secrets might be. Are you able to give any kind of hint, category, general area that they are in?
Ex-Scientologists are quite free with the secrets of Scientology, why would a Freemason not be?
What is the gender ratio?
What makes it more than an exclusive club for middle class men?

Forgot to ask one more question:
What do the Freemasons think of The Holy Blood and The Holy Grail and more recently the rip-off book by Dan Brown - seeing as how they are implicated as the modern holders of the “true” heir to the throne of Isreal?

I have long thought about joining the Freemasons along with my friends. We are all in our early 20s. Would there be many other young people in the Masons or is it a mostly older crowd? If so, would the older crowd be accepting of us?

I can’t speak for others, but how the whole Freemason thing is packaged (hierarchical, have to prove stuff to get to the next level etc) is not half as interesting as what the BIG secrets might be. Are you able to give any kind of hint, category, general area that they are in? I feel that the true secrets of Freemasonry revolve around finding a path to Truth, Relief of the Distressed, and Brotherly Love.

Ex-Scientologists are quite free with the secrets of Scientology, why would a Freemason not be? At a guess, because they are fairly boring. If you really want to learn the secrets as presented in lodge, look for Duncan’s Masonic Ritual And Monitor. The things that can be expressed in writing have been for many years.

What is the gender ratio? No regularly constituted lodge is anything but male.

What makes it more than an exclusive club for middle class men? The upper and lower class men that join.

You mention you’ve been an officer, but never Worshipful Master.

Did you desire the office? You say “have been” an officer suggesting a past tense. In my fraternal order, the Knights of Columbus, it’s usual – although by no means required or certain – to “advance through the chairs” in a council… that is, the #4 officer in a council typically becomes the #3 guy next year; the #3 moves into the #2 spot, and the #2 guy becomes the grand poobah – in our case, the Grand Knight. Do the Masons have a similar tradition, and if so were how was it you opted out?

Absolutely! Well, in my experience anyway. About a quarter of the guys around here are under 40, with only a couple under 30, but at 30 I was immediately drafted to join “the line” (officers of the lodge). It’s not just cranky old guys telling war stories, and most know that if only the elderly are members, the fraternity will soon fade away. Even better to have several of you join at once so you’re not the only person who didn’t vote in the Ford/Carter election.

What’s the secret handshake? And how accurate was the film National Treasure, a documentary about the masons starring Nicolas Cage?

So why is it male only? In your lodge what do you guess the ratio of low socioecomic to middle class members is?

Bricker At my age, with two active young sons, I realized that I don’t have the time to devote to being Master of the lodge so I stepped aside before I reached Senior Deacon. We do advance through the chairs, so my leaving jumped everyone else up a year, but that didn’t cause as much chaos as if I’d been a Warden (who should be able to step in for the WM as needed).

Let’s see if I remember - Marshal, Junior Steward, Senior Steward, Junior Deacon, Senior Deacon, Junior Warden, Senior Warden, then Worshipful Master. While Tiler, Secretary, Chaplain, Treasurer are officers but not in line.

Do I desire the office? Eventually, perhaps. I’d like to wait until I believe I can do something positive rather than just showing up and conducting a meeting.
And I just noticed that I neglected any coding responding to MelCthefirst earlier.

Holy Blood, Holy Grail and Da Vinci Code? A lot of this - :rolleyes:
The Temple and the Lodge is better, Born in Blood is better yet. But honestly, it’s not a big topic of conversation. Anything that may have happened prior to 1717 is largely speculation, and few of us are historians.

Male only because of ancient usage and custom. It is thought that perhaps men lose most of their ability to think rationally when there is a lady present :wink:

No real way to tell what socioeconomic level one might be, except maybe by looking at cars in the parking lot. Most of the fella’s are retired, the guys younger than me seem to make less and the guys older seem to make more. But I drive a car that could be considered beneath my socioeconomic status so - who knows?

The handshake goes like this… then you do this… and there you go! Simple as that.

Nicolas Cage is, of course, one of the premier historians of our day and, except for the hair color of the bad guy, it was an entirely accurate documentary.

If someone were to tell you that they have long been interested in masonry, but because they don’t know if it is really the type of organization for them. What advice would you give them to help make up their mind?

GAHHH, I previewed and everything!

please ignore the word “because” in the above post.

When the Masons no longer need one of their buildings (temples?), does it need to be “deconsecrated” in some way?

Well, I guess I’d say that we promise not to tear your tongue out if you decide to quit. No way to really know ahead of time if it’s right for you. For me, it was like slipping into a comfortable old coat and finding a note in the pocket… Or something like that. Hard to explain, really.
The meetings tend towards the mundane - budgets, awarding scholarships, charities, keeping track of ill and/or elderly members, things like that take up at least half the time. So, if you join, stick it out for a while and you might find something interesting hidden among the everyday.

Hey, thanks for the invite!

Obviously, being a chick and all, I’m not a Mason, nor do I play one on TV. I’ve considered looking into the Co-Masons, who do allow women, but frankly I need one more social obligation like I need another toddler! So maybe in a few years…

My Mason “story” has to do with my son, who was born with a congential scoliosis - several deformed vertebrae and an extra rib, which made his spine curve abnormally. We watched and waited and pondered, until it got to a 59 degree curve and we finally realized that there was nothing to be done but surgery. Which we couldn’t afford. See, we’d changed insurance companies a couple of times through the years, and they declared his scoliosis a “pre-existing condition” :rolleyes:

However, a good friend of mine (a Mason), told me about Shriners hospitals for children, where they do work for absolutely free. (Shriners are a level of Masons, as I understand it. Not all Masons are Shriners, but all Shriners are Masons.) The local one happens to be one of the best orthopedic hospitals in the country, and it was as easy as filling out some paperwork and it was a done deal. The doctor’s visits, diagnosis, major surgery, recovery time - even an MRI at another hospital (because Shriners didn’t have an MRI machine) was covered by Shriners.

They were absolutely fantastic. We never felt like a charity case or anything negative. They truly made us part of the healing team, and it was a phenomenal experience.

Every time we go there for a follow-up visit, there is an older gentleman or two in a funny hat sitting around the waiting room. I try to give them all a big hug and say thank you. If you’re a Shriner and I haven’t gotten to you yet, please consider this a starter hug. Thank you. Because of your work and donations, my son is pain-free and more flexible and fit now than he ever has been. (We actually just got home from a pediatrician visit, and she was amazed at the improvment in him these past two years.) You took a twisted, suffering little hunchback boy and let him become a tall, upright young man - literally. Thank you.

Just for the record – as an active member of a “competing” (so to speak) fraternal order, I have a great deal of respect and admiration for my Masonic “cousins.” We have, for several years, done a joint event in this area called “Mason-Knight” (get it?? Triple pun!) and worked on several joint fund-raising ventures. The Masons were and are a steady, dependable bunch that were a pleasure to work with and made a number of excellent charitable events possible.

I would not hestitate for a moment to recommend Freemasonry to anyone interested in joining (assuming I couldn’t snag them as a Knight first, that is!). Although not a Freemason, I have only to see their works and the kind of men that join to be convinced of the value of the organization.

  • Bricker, PGK, FDD, PFN

How long do you have to be in before they teach you how to cut stone?

My papa (grandfather on my mum’s side) is a Freemason. Represent. :cool:

Are there any female Masonic orders (Order of the Eastern Star, Order of the Amaranth, White Shrine of Jerusalem, etc.) in your area?

It sounds like there are few impediments to joining? Does having grandfather/ great-grandfather/ great-great-grandfathers who were freemasons make any difference? My dad never joined.