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Can someone please explain The Masons to me

(35 Posts)
Grammar Thu 30-Oct-14 16:29:44

I always thought it was a misogynistic, dodgy 'secret society'. I still do but found out yesterday that the nearest 'Defibrillator' in a town, can invariably be found near a Masonic Lodge, as they have invested a lot of time and money into providing these things. So clearly they do some good things too.
I want to know;
1. Why the secrecy and 'Nepotism'?
2. What have they got to hide?
3. What do they provide for society and how is it decided?
4.Who becomes one and why? Do you 'get invited'?
5.Is there a hierarchy?
And lastly and most importantly
6.What influence, good and bad do they have...is it right they can retain secrecy in this climate of 'Transparency'?
I have no information on any of this and welcome any of my possibly poor preconceived ideas being challenged.
This is a genuine request for information.

Grammar Thu 30-Oct-14 17:06:54

Bump, Anyone?

BOFster Thu 30-Oct-14 17:11:06

I think they are basically just a male Rotary Club with more drinking.

VivaLeBeaver Thu 30-Oct-14 17:14:58

My uncle was a mason. Afaik you do get invited and there is a hierarchy. They do a lot of good for local good causes and just discuss whether they think its worthwhile enough to be given money to. Not sure why they're so secret.

Round table and rotary do similar good work without the secrecy. I've been an after dinner speaker for one of those two (can't remember which) after they kindly funded me to go and work in a hospital in Africa for a bit.

Sidge Thu 30-Oct-14 17:27:04

A close family friend of ours is a Mason. He was invited to join. As far as I can see it's like grown up Boy Scouts grin - they meet regularly, have some rituals (no sacrificial virgins or anything, just semi-religious pomp and ceremony) and drink and talk.

They do huge amounts for local charities and good causes.

It is quite old fashioned IMO, women are not allowed to join but are respected - I went to their annual Ladies Night recently, which was a lovely dinner and dance and wives/girlfriends are acknowledged, toasted and thanked.

NerfHerder Thu 30-Oct-14 21:03:33

Surely the reason they have defibriliators is nothing to do with "wanting to do good deeds", and everything to do with the fact that Masons tend to be men of a certain age that get together to drink and eat huge meals? (i.e. prime candidates for cardiac arrests)

froootbat Thu 30-Oct-14 21:13:26

They have a funny handshake too, they do a thing with their thumb so they can tell a mason internationally.

Smashingpumpkinofcourse Thu 30-Oct-14 21:16:26

Watching with interest, DH seems to think they're anti catholic, is this nonsense or is there something in it?

ethelb Thu 30-Oct-14 21:28:18

Catholics can't be masons as it is secret and Catholics can't belong to a secret society.

ArgyMargy Thu 30-Oct-14 21:31:59

Well all I know is that you have to be a man but you don't have to be white any more!

loveulotslikejellytots Thu 30-Oct-14 21:37:33

My Nan runs a charity teaching disabled adults and children to ride horses. The local masons donate huge amounts to the charity every Christmas. Last year it was £1500. 2 of them have also done work for her free of charge, one is an electrician and one is a builder. The work they did would have cost her over £900, I know it wouldn't have cost them that, but still. They seem like a lovely bunch of people, no idea about the secrecy etc.

Annbag Thu 30-Oct-14 21:45:07

You have to be a male to join. I think (but not sure) it was white, protestant as well but that's changed now. The issue arises in that a lot of high up police, judges, men in power are masons and it raises questions of them favouring other masons e.g. in court cases. A quick google should point you to some recent alleged cover ups. Of course no way of knowing if that's true or not as its a secret society!

FrancisdeSales Thu 30-Oct-14 21:50:18

Well my ex-SILs family are all in the police and two of her brothers were detectives guarding the Royal family. They all said you cannot get meaningful promotions without joining the Masons. (This was in the 90s)

HowsTheSerenity Thu 30-Oct-14 21:51:01

There is a lot of info on Google.

It's not secret. You have to believe in a higher power to join so any deity, alien, god or mythical beast will do. They do weird rituals but nothing dodgy. They have a secret handshake, they wear suits and special aprons, you have to be invited to join. They do lots of fundraising. There are dry lodges where no one drinks.

Women have their own version. It's called the Order of The Eastern Star.
They wear all white. Do pretty much the same as the men.

Grammar Fri 31-Oct-14 12:57:24

Interesting... what is their 'philosophy', I wonder?And why can't women enter, or need their own order? Anything that has a 'Ladies Night' where they are acknowledged, toasted and thanked strikes me as outrageously patronising (a bit 'golfy') and certainly a long way from 'equality and diversity' though I note you don't have to be white anymore.
I'm still very wary.

Sidge Fri 31-Oct-14 20:02:14

I didn't find it patronising at all but I can see what you're saying.

Redglitter Fri 31-Oct-14 20:05:19

Actually catholics can be Masons. I know of one who's quite high up and very well regarded in the Masons and is a Catholic.

They're not a secret society they're a society with secrets

groovyolmutha Fri 31-Oct-14 20:10:51

My Dad used to be one (he is RIP). He wouldn't even tell my mum what they did and he had to learn various texts to join. Mum said she would test him and held the book but some words were blanked out so that the secret was kept!

We used to think it was a bit of a laugh but they do loads for charity. A bit archaic now. I believe women can join but have their own 'lodges' as the groups are called locally.

My dad was solid all round and would not have gone along with anything dodgy but there has alway been the whiff of nepotism, etc.

I don't think they are actively discriminatory but a bit out of step with modern thinking perhaps.

PetiteRaleuse Fri 31-Oct-14 20:14:49

Marking place. Thought it was an 80s thing. It still exists?

Redglitter Fri 31-Oct-14 20:25:06

Very much still exists smile

TheDowagerDuchessOfDinglyDell Fri 31-Oct-14 20:29:11

What about Moose?

I vaguely recall going to a party in the Moose Hall in 1980.

any ideas? Or did i dream it?

twofalls Fri 31-Oct-14 20:29:24

I used to work at the masons meeting (waitress for outside catering company). We used to get sent out between courses so they could do their secret stuff. It was incredible chauvinistic and we often got our bums pinched. I do know many of them used to drink shit loads and drive home.

This was in the early 90s though and only 1 or 2 lodges so not for a minute saying all masons are like that.

NoArmaniNoPunani Fri 31-Oct-14 20:29:37

Interesting thread. It appears I've been horribly mis informed. I was told swinging was involved

VintageCherry26 Fri 31-Oct-14 20:34:04

ArgyMargy, there are many female Freemason lodges smile

VintageCherry26 Fri 31-Oct-14 20:37:45

My fiancé is a free mason. I really don't understand why people think there is something so sinister about it all! The main part of free masonry is that they give lots of money to charity. There is a book written specifically for wives and girlfriends of masons which you can order online (Amazon, ebay etc) which tells you anything you want to know about masonry. Most of it isn't a secret at all if you know where to look smile

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