Ask the Freemason

I was raised to the Sublime Degree of Master Mason on March 16, was previously passed to the degree of Fellow Craft on 2/16 and was initiated an Entered Apprentice on 1/19. I have been invited to ‘join the line’ in the fall, meaning I will become an officer of the Lodge and may some day work my way up to Worshipful Master of my Blue Lodge (Grand Poobah). I would be pleased to answer your questions, dispell myths and fight some ignorance in regard to the Fraternity. There is a lot of information about the Freemasons out there, much of it accurate, much of it hogwash, and most of it somewhere in between. This is not a solicitation to recruit members, but if you’ve ever thought about joining the Masons but don’t know how to take that first step, I can set you in the right direction.

I’ve taken certain vows to protect the secrets of Masonry, and will not reveal them, but even if I told you these secrets they would have no value to you as a non-Mason.

So, fire away.

I thought the first rule of Freemasonry is you don’t talk about Freemasonry.

No, you’re thinking <REDACTED>.

This is going to sound glib, but I don’t mean it that way.

How do you like it? Other than the secret stuff (which I don’t really care about) what’s it like now that you are in?

Was there anything that surprised you when you joined?

What would you tell people who are potentially interested in masonry but can’t decide if it’s worth their time to investigate because they don’t themselves know any active masons?

What belt do you have to attain to become an Illuminatus?

Do you all sit around a really cool table, behind a secret door in the library?

What benefits do you get out of being a Freemason?

So, what are your secret plans to rule the world? And, in the event said plans are successful, how much are you willing to pay me to not go all Rebel Leader on your ass?

This too. Is it socializing? Networking? Volunteering? Just a place to hang out?

I don’t know much about the Masons.

What inspired you to get involved originally? Can I (a female atheist) be a Mason? I can’t, can I?

It has been a very personally rewarding experience so far. The main reason I joined is because I moved to a town that’s on the coast and very difficult to get in and out of - I live on a peninsula, so there’s no passing through on the way somewhere else, I work a very demanding job an hour away, and all of my friends live at least an hour away. So, I got into a rut the last few years - go to work, go home, try to be Super Dad to the kids all weekend because I haven’t seen them all week, never seeing my friends and not making new friends in town. So, I needed a change, needed to get out of the house and make some friends, connect with my community, etc. Masonry seemed liek a logical choice. And I have made some friends already. I had lunch with one of my Masonic Brothers today. A few of us have gotten together after our studies to have a few beers.

The biggest surprises have been the rituals in the degree ceremonies. I had an idea of what was going to happen, but the whole experience has really exceeded my expectations.

My advice to those interested would be to use a search engine to find a local Lodge and give them a call. There’s a nation-wide open house at the end of the month, so now would be a good time.

Heh. They won’t tell me anything about the Illuminati, only that there is additional Degree work that may shed light on some of the questions I have. :wink:

Not a cool table, but a large room with an altar in the middle. They haven’t shown me the secret door yet (additional Degree work again).

I had someone tell me that one of the rituals include spitting on the crucifix. Did he make that up?

What is the point of the Freemasons? I mean, what’s the group’s mission statement? What are some of the requirements for joining?

All of the above, but I’d say “Fraternity” instead of socializing (not to nitpick, just a little different). I’ve only been involved with Masonry for a couple of months, but I’ve already made a couple friends. And, to me, that’s really meaningful. It’s a lot harder to make new friends when you’re 40 than when you’re 20, but within the Fraternity, it’s a lot easier.

This is a tough question to answer, because there are a lot of reasons. As I mentioned above, I needed a social outlet, but something more rewarding than going to a bar and joining a dart league. I’d like to be a better husband, father and citizen, and Masonry promises to “make good men better”. I’ve never been in a Fraternity before, and have always found the aire of mystery and secrecy sort of tantalizing, too.

We’ve befriended a family in town (our kids are classmates & friends) and the dad is a Mason. I asked him if he’d help me learn more, and the rest is history.

ETA: Sorry, no ladies and no athiests. There is an organization called “Eastern Star” that is pretty much Masonry for ladies, though I’m not sure they accept athiests, either. Although it is not a religion, belief in a higher power is central to a lot of the themes, rituals and practices of Masonry, and there’s no secular translation.

I have heard the rituals referred to as “Fear-factor lite.” Was there anything involved which made you cringe, or which you had to question on an ethical or moral level? What about just frightening or gross?

And if you can tell us, is it true that there are human remains (skulls, etc) involved?

Yes. There’s no way anything like that would ever occur in any ritual associated with Masonry.

I knew for a 100 percent fact he was full of it! Man, he’s so full of it.

Freemasonry is a Fraternity which contributes a lot of money to charitable causes. The Shriner’s Hospital is perhaps the best-known example of charitable work done by Masons. I read this morning that the Masons are responsible for 80% of the blood donated to the Red Cross in my state. So, the main point of the Fraternity is fraternity, but the Masons do a lot of good work.

Among the requirements to join are being a man, free-born, over 21, of good character, and belief in a higher power.

I actually thought I’d read recently that they had started admitting women. Was it my imagination, or is it just that most women would rather be in Eastern Star?

The atheist thing bugs me. I’m always up for any excuse to be social, and I like a lot of what Masonry claims to stand for. I have no problem with “cermonial deism” (although I don’t buy it in the legal context the term was created for), but I won’t pretend to believe.