Should I join the Masons?

Both of my grandfathers were 22nd(?)-degree Masons (or something like that), and I’m intrigued.

What are the costs and benefits of joining? What are the obligations? Is it costly? Is it possible to ‘test the waters’ without hassle? Are Masons cool or creepy?

Simpsons ‘Stonecutters’ references not productive, but welcome nonetheless…

From what I understand, their numbers are dwindling at the older generation drops off and they are becoming quite eager for new, younger members.

I’m a chick, so I’m not a candidate, but I did consider it as something my husband might need.

If you ask me, it’s a lot like “neighborhood boys making a secret club and looking at dirty pictures and farting a lot” sort of thing.

But I did occasion to meet a young man who had been treated by the Shriners for severe burns and he spoke very, very highly of them.

I’m not a Mason, but if I were a fellow, I’d consider joining. They seem like an intriguing bunch, and do good work and provide a network of support for members.

Here is the story I heard on NPR last Saturday about the Masons today.

*He says the current renewed interest in Freemasonry has brought in men who take a more serious approach to the ritual than older generations did, and who want to tighten initiation standards and raise dues. But he says the fraternity must watch out for men who sign up because of misguided theories linking Freemasonry to “divine secrets.”

But for many new, younger members, Masonry’s attraction lies less in historical icons and artifacts than in its sense of fraternity. Johnson, the junior warden of Naval Lodge 4, says what bonds Masons together is oral tradition: passing knowledge, experience and wisdom from generation to generation. *

The nice thing is that being a Mason can save you from a lynch mob. It also makes you a prime target for Mafia hitmen. So there’s definitely a trade-off there.

32nd Degree. Trust me.

Costs? Depends on the jurisdiction. Maybe a hundred bucks for the initiation fee plus less than twenty a year for dues. Depends. Also of course we ask that you do more than join. We do not need your money We want you to be active in the Lodge. Come to the meetings. Darn it.

Benefits? The pleasure that comes to belonging to an order that extends back to George Washington and that was banned by HItler, Stalin, Mao and the Southern Baptists. Learning the ritual, having friends you did not go to school or work with. I enjoy meeting new brothers in new countries and cities, going to the meetings there. But that might just be me.

Other than the comradery, what do the Masons offer to their members? I mean, if I join a wine club or RC flight club, I know what it is that I am joining, but what are the Masons really about? How would that be different from my bowling league?

Your kingly subjects in the Holy City of Kafiristan begin to believe you’re a God. That can be a nice thing.

For a while.

I initially read the title of this thread as, Should I join the Mansons? :smiley:

Well who else is going to keep the metric system down? I say go for it!

And Werewolves. Don’t forget the Werewolves.

Well, I think you learn how to do the secret handshake.
And you get to dress up in weird purple robes and recite long passages of text from memory .(This is called “doing your degree work”. The texts get longer as you go up the degrees of Masonry. And I dunno, maybe the robes get longer, too.)

My cousin was a Mason.
I got the impression it was like a college fraternity, but for grownups.

And they do a lot of good charity work.

Pops Mercotan was a mason and a shriner. And I mostly remember his activities with them being devoted to fundraising to support the Shriner’s free hospitals. He’d go to a few purely social events, but mostly he seemed to derive a lot of satisfaction in raising money and publicizing the work of their hospitals.

Would I get discounts on the jars? :confused:

:smiley: :stuck_out_tongue:

This is even better.

And you might dig this.

My boyfriend is actually joining right now (well, his petition comes up the first Tuesday of June). My dad is a Mason who didn’t have time to go to many meetings and such for a long time but is back into it now down in Florida where they live, so he’s sponsoring the BF. It’s nice, because it gets my boyfriend and my dad to spend time together, obviously. Basically it’s a harmless way to eat a hell of a lot of breakfasts, IMHO. There’s a lot, and I mean a LOT, of food. Of course they also do a lot of good charity work; besides the Shriner hospitals there’s also a lot of local stuff. I remember my dad always delivered boxes of food to needy families on Christmas Eve once we left church that night.

Have you been to It has some decent information. I’m sure you know you have to ask; they’ll never recruit you. The ones here are really excited to have a young person interested in joining, although evidently there’s been a bump in young men due to, are you ready for this? National Treasure. Go figure.

Oh, you also get a cute little apron, I think.

Oh, I can also tell you about costs. It varies from lodge to lodge, but in this lodge you pay $50 for your initiation, and if you aren’t accepted then you get it back. After that it’s $25 for each degree (I’m sure to pay for that snazzy apron!), of which there are 3. Once you’re a Master Mason (after you’ve taken that third degree) there’s just yearly dues, which I think are around $60. You have to wait a month between taking each degree (and there’s a bunch of memorization involved), and it takes a bit after you petition and all to be accepted, so in other words it’s $125 over four or five months and then I think the $60 a year. YLMV (your lodge may vary.)

The only thing is, it’s not like the Toastmasters or something in that it’s not as welcome for you to just go and sit in on a meeting. If you know somebody who’s a Mason they’ll be glad to take you to a breakfast or something, and I’m sure if you don’t you can just call up their local lodge and they’d be glad to have you, but it’s a little less open than other organizations. All the Masons I’ve met have been really nice, though, and very willing to talk about it.

Hats – what about hats?

You get a snazzy white pill box hat when you join the Scottish Rite. If you become a Shriner (you gotta be a Mason first!), you get that red fez you always wanted.

My hubby is a Past Master at his lodge, and is getting more into Scottish Rite. He’s already a Shriner. Scottish Rite Masons have Speech Pathology as their charity, Shriner’s have the burn and orthopedic hospitals. They do good work. There’s a breakfast tomorrow at the lodge for Mother’s Day, but I have to work :frowning: .

If you like charity work, cameraderie, and memorization, go for it!