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AllKnowingJohn t1_iuabqm5 wrote

I'm not the individual you were originally asking but I can answer your questions from my perspective and experience. 1: Freemasonry, in the vast majority of the world, is a fraternity and as such only admits men of legal age (18 or 21 is most jurisdictions). The recognition or official statuses you've read about is an agreement between different "grand lodges" or the governing bodies of an area with a group of constituent lodges under them to grant mutual recognition of each other and allow for members in good standing to "travel" or visit each other and participate in meetings there. There are several Grand Lodges that do admit women or are specifically for women (for instance HFAF or LeDroit Humain) that may or may not have mutual recognition with other grand lodges. There are also more widely recognized organizations that are not the same as the usual Masonic lodge but related to or affiliated with them for women (like Order of the Eastern Star) or for children/teenagers (like DeMolay and Job's Daughters). 2: There are some jurisdictions that require certain religious beliefs (like requiring a man be a Christian), in my experience however these are in the minority and my jurisdiction like most others simply requires the candidate to profess a belief in a "Supreme Being" without getting too held up on the specifics of any individuals beliefs. While a lot of the ritual is allegorically based on events from the Old Testament regarding the building of King Solomon's Temple, it does not espouse a specific religion and uses the stories as a frame to help men build themselves up to be better in their daily lives holding true to truth, friendship, and care for our fellows and communities.