masonic lodge question

When driving past the local masonic lodge, the thought has crossed my mind to join it just to see what it’s like. Would it be more like joining the Elk’s Lodge or more like joining the Illuminati? Answers from actual masonic lodge members would be appreciated.

My dad was a mason, so I can answer from the standpoint of observing in the household. He was very proud of the brotherhood of freemasonry, insisting that fellow masons would always help each other out, but I never saw that in practice. It’ s secret society, or at least shrouded in a mystique of secrecy, more so than most organizations like Elks.

The local small-town masonic temple had a few pool tables for members to use at will, and hosted a coffee klatch every day for local businessmen and whomever else wanted to come in for a cuppa. Otherwise, the building was used only for masonic meetings and social functions like pot-lucks. After retirement, Dad went down there pretty often to just hang around and see if anyone wandered in to talk to, or shot a few games of pool. My mother and sister felt obliged to join Eastern Star and Jobs Daughters, as members of a mason’s immediate family, but neither were enthusiastic about it. Somehow I was not encouraged to join Demolay, possibly because nobody organized a local chaper of that.

My dad was a past-master and a pretty high degree, I think 33rd, and eventually moved on to Shriners, but we lacked the affluence (and motorcycle) for him to be much of a big shot there.

Being a pretty strongly motivated non-joiner, I never had much personal interest in any of it. You can’t just drive by and go in and join. I think to be a mason, you have to be nominated and vouched for by an existing member in good standing. They take the honor pretty seriously, and initiation is a pretty lengthy and exhaustive process.

But you have to ask. They never recruit. To be one, ask one.

There have been threads about this in the past. If you don’t get a lot of responses, you might want to do a search.

My FIL is a mason, and we met him at a ceremony this past year. It is basically a fraternal organization, but has a bunch of goofy customs. Different members wore different and carried staffs, they all walked along certain paths on the main floor - taking only right angles instead of the shortest route from here to there. They’d say things and do things like bowing to the points of the compass. One thing that bothered me was that the front of the hall was traditionally called “the East”, even tho in this particular one it faced north. :smack:

In addition to the charitable activities, they have meetings where they play cards and drink. They really aren’t “secret”, tho you do need to know someone to join. I think that, if you were really interested, you could let the local lodge know and they’d set something up. As most such organizations, they are hurting for members.

There is also the overlap with the Shriners. I think all Shriners are masons, but not all masons are necessarily Shriners - but I’m not sure.

If i wanted to join a fraternal group, I would personally choose one that didn’t have all the play-acting.

Can you quit once you join or is it like joining the mafia? Would you be more likely to play bingo or to worship Baphomet?

Masons have been described as a “society with secrets” rather than a “secret society”. I know several Masons who are quite open about their membership and would be more than happy to sponsor someone they know. Masons are fairly big on “arcane” type rituals, passwords, fancy robes, and those sorts of things. They describe the ranks (or “degrees”) as a system of morality plays that helps one become a better person.

I am not a Mason, but my dad is, and his dad was, and his dad was, I think all the way back to the Civil War at least. Yes, we have records.

Shriners are technically a separate organization that has Masonic membership as a prerequisite to joining. Shriners are famous for two things - their hospitals for children, and their funny parades with miniature cars and other absurd vehicles.

There are only two ways to enter. Be the son of a member, or save the life of a member.

But once you are in, you can dress up a bunch of monkeys and have them recreate the civil war.

Alcohol is not served in any US lodge.
Membership is by invitation only.
All Shriner’s are Masons. Required for membership.
Play acting…:smack:

You have to pass a interview of 3 lodge members. Then, after you have satisfied other requirements, your membership is voted on by all the members in attendance.

The ones the park near my place have really fancy plastic decals on the back of the car like they were war medals or something.

This is so wrong in many ways.

OK - guess I was wrong about the drinking. Maybe the cards too. May have simply been my assumptions, as the downstairs gathering room so closely resembled most of the VFWs, Am Legion halls, etc. I’ve seen.

Only been to the one ceremony. Struck me as goofy - but to each his own.

A bit of trivia- the masons never blackball any potential member. When voting, we use white balls and black cubes, so we can tell by feel which way we’re voting.