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enderandrew42 t1_iu9y1la wrote

Freemason here. Feel free to ask me anything.

We are a global fraternity who encourages self growth, provides fellowship for members and raises money for charity.

Because we have secret initiation ceremonies, some people assume anything secret is nefarious. And because some Founding Fathers in the US were Freemasons some assume that means we control the government and other nonsense.

In fact one of our core tenets is equality, not individual power and controlling others. And each Grand Lodge is sovereign to themselves. There is no controlling inner circle at the top. We rotate leaders. Next year I will be Master (Chapter President) of my lodge for one year and then hand it over to someone else.

There is a recent thread with good info here:


hobbitdude13 t1_iua229u wrote

We're taking turns to act as a sort of executive-officer-for-the-week. But all the decisions of that officer have to be ratified at a special bi-weekly meeting. By a simple majority, in the case of purely internal affairs, but by a two-thirds majority, in the case of more major-


0xFFFF_FFFF t1_iua3lmx wrote



SunDevilSkier t1_iua4w5u wrote

You can't expect to wield supreme executive power just because some watery tart threw a sword at you


sorceraider t1_iua9d2u wrote

If I went around saying I was an emperor because some moistened bint lobbed a scimitar at me, they'd put me away!


ownersequity t1_iua1bgp wrote

I became a member but the lodge didn’t have anyone under 80 years old in it. I just didn’t feel like I belonged. The master was on Oxygen and couldn’t make it through my initiation. I haven’t been back since my initiation 15 years ago. Sad.


Antman013 t1_iua2t9a wrote

This is, unfortunately, the case with MANY community organizations. Our modern world seems to have less time for the sort of community fraternization that was promoted by groups like the Kinsmen, Lion's Clubs, Rotary, and yes, Freemasonry. To say nothing of groups like the Scouts and Guides.

The mixing of people with disparate backgrounds on an equal footing allowed for a certain sense of community building among members. A Doctor sitting next to a factory working, ruminating on the issues of the day, would allow for a wider perspective for both men. That is something missing today.


I, too, was in a situation similar to yours when I joined, if not as extreme.


senorali t1_iua82a1 wrote

Social media has given people the ability to do this without geographical limitations. Clubs aren't dead, they just migrated to the digital world.


Antman013 t1_iuagc50 wrote

While the online world can provide the same sense of fellowship, the membership is much less diverse than the groups mentioned. One need only look at certain sub-reddits for proof. The benefit to the community at large of these sorts of groups is what I was getting at earlier.


senorali t1_iuaxk20 wrote

It's the exact opposite in my opinion. Online groups have the potential to be far more diverse, whereas the masons are predominantly old white men.


Antman013 t1_iubdk7c wrote

We clearly hang our in different subs. Most subs I frequent that have even a tangential relationship to politics (r/Toronto, for example, though I have left it) skew young and socialist.

Even a lot of "sports" related subs go that route.


This could just be a function of the internet itself, but it IS there. Also, while my Lodge had it's share of "old white guys", we were actually fairly diverse (unsurprising, given the demographics of my home town).


ownersequity t1_iua7zdp wrote

I believe it was the soldiers returning from WW2 that needed that brotherhood. They were used to their lives being defined by masculine community. When they returned, they filled the ranks of all of those organizations you mention (I am often asked to join the Knights of Pythias). Now those old gentlemen are dying out and decreasing the ranks. They have to figure out how to change with the times.


Antman013 t1_iuaff5g wrote

Freemasonry has existed LONG before the 20th century. Kiwanis was founded in 1915, during WW1, but before US involvement. Lions Club was 1917. Rotary was founded in 1905.


So, while soldiers may have sought out these groups post WW2, they certainly were not the only people joining.


ownersequity t1_iuaqn6g wrote

I didn’t say they were the only people joining, but it was a swell in the ranks for sure, and those are the ones that have died or are dying out without that volume of replacement


Bogmanbob t1_iuadgss wrote

Yea I find the same is true with my running club. At least those seniors are crazy healthy.


enderandrew42 t1_iua9j6n wrote

I just transferred to a lodge that was a better fit for me. All the officers are younger guys with kids. Ours is very much a family lodge.


Mass_debate123 t1_iua3bvo wrote

I'm a Mason as well, can you remind me what the secret handshake is again I forgot? Silly me lol


7breaths t1_iua3frz wrote

Almost joined a while ago, couldn't bring myself to lie and say I believed in a god. No controlling the government for me 😫


squeevey t1_iua5iba wrote

You dont have to believe in god. From what i understand you need to believe in a "higher power". That could literally be universal physics.


rideincircles t1_iuabgxv wrote

My neighbor was a freemason, and he made it up the ranks, but stopped at some point since he said you had to believe in the devil to keep going higher.

He has now passed away, but is the only freemason that I have known and that's what he said about it.


dorgatus t1_iua74wx wrote

As others have said. The higher power can be anything as long as its genuinely important to you. I've heard of people using Darwins Origin of species or their respective Philosophical Book in the initiation. This directly represents your freedom of believing in anything and still be accepted as someone who wants to do good. But it's important to know beforehand that many of the moral texts are based on parts of the old testament. As a non Christian myself I see the stories for the message that is the core and accept the scaffolding surrounding it as such.


ecwhite3516 t1_iuabf0z wrote

About as high of a power for this atheist would be the USGA Rules of Golf. I could get it with this as my philosophical book?


Sciros t1_iuac4z0 wrote

"moral texts" don't precede moral behavior, they follow it. So I don't see the relevance here. Asia never needed an old testament.


farts-_- t1_iua4846 wrote

Why can’t women join? Why do they have to be in a separate women’s version of it?


JMDStow t1_iua7cu2 wrote

Yes there is a women's Freemasons.


FuzzAldrin36 t1_iua7xf6 wrote

Yes. The Masonic family branches out quite a bit. Order of the Eastern Star and Order of the Amaranth are two Masonic organizations for both women and men. Girls can join The International Order of the Rainbow for Girls, and boys can join the Order of DeMolay.


farts-_- t1_iua9mgr wrote

Why do women have to join “branches”? Obviously, people want to join the real deal and not some offshoot.


FuzzAldrin36 t1_iuacfs5 wrote

But there isn't some real deal and some offshoots. They're all branches. Every one of them.


TheRidgeAndTheLadder t1_iuaady4 wrote

They're all branches. Shriners, Knights Templar, the list goes on. None is more or less legitimate.


enderandrew42 t1_iua7db0 wrote

Because that is how it has always been for centuries and if there are common requirements then it unites the members.

There are Masonic groups for women that my wife belongs to.


senorali t1_iua8a64 wrote

Tell me that isn't the most dogshit excuse on earth. If it was racially segregated for centuries, would that also be okay?


Boz0r t1_iuacst5 wrote

Doesn't sound like an excuse, just an explanation


BaconIsAVeg2 t1_iua9ci6 wrote

I mean, it's no different than me not being welcome in a lesbian bar is it?


senorali t1_iua9ndt wrote

It is very different. The stated goals of the organization have nothing to do with gender, but they discriminate based on gender. It's the sort of thing that makes people believe they're full of shit.


Bennito_bh t1_iuabjcy wrote

Nah man its not discrimination; the secret initiation involves your dick.


TheRidgeAndTheLadder t1_iuaaipo wrote

You can disagree with whether it's a goal that should be changed, it's a good conversation to have.

But the goal is specific: "make good men better".


bastion89 t1_iua3in7 wrote

  1. Are women allowed to join your chapter and if so are they 100% equal with no restrictions or limits? I've seen conflicting info about this online, some sources say women are not allowed to join the freemasons and any chapters that allow it are considered "unofficial" or something of the sort, or that women have their own separate chapter specifically for women. Other sources say that rule is dependent on which region/country the chapter is based in. Other sources say there is no gender exclusivity/limitation/restrictions at all.
  2. Does modern freemasonry (or more specifically, your chapter) have anything to do with religion? Again, what little I've read about freemasonry told me that freemasonry originally was religion based and that the organization claimed to hold "secret" information about jesus/christianity as a whole. Is it kind of like modern day mormonism, where it has roots in religion but modern day practices are mainly based around leading a good life?

if my questions are just completely off base, do please inform me as such. I know very little about the organization, only whispers here and there. I have (had) a close friend who is a freemason and basically lost him to it. It seems like the longer he was in it, the more closed off he became to anybody not part of the brotherhood. He also slowly grew a very bloated ego. Neither of these circumstances gave me a particularly good opinion of the organization and my opinion doesn't seem to be uncommon. It would be nice to have a deeper understanding of what freemasonry is, why somebody should join it, what the purpose of joining is, etc. So please enlighten me if possible.

edit: typos


enderandrew42 t1_iua8re0 wrote

Most Freemason Grand Lodges don't admit women. There are some but they are considered clandestine. We basically aren't part of the same network. They can't attend our lodges and we can't attend theirs. But there are female Masonic bodies my wife belongs to.

We require a sincere belief in Deity but that can be from any religion. We don't advocate any one religion or tell people what to believe.


TheRidgeAndTheLadder t1_iua9j4c wrote

>1. Are women allowed to join your chapter and if so are they 100% equal with no restrictions or limits?

No. As it stands, there exist lodges of Freemasonry which accept qualified men as members. There equally exist chapters of the Order of the Eastern Star, which accepts Master Freemasons and women with an affiliation to Freemasonry.

It's been a major topic for the last few decades. Many lodges have bent/broken the rules and accepted members. There is no one central authority, but such rule bending hasn't yet been officially accepted.

>2. Does modern freemasonry (or more specifically, your chapter) have anything to do with religion? Again, what little I've read about freemasonry told me that freemasonry originally was religion based and that the organization claimed to hold "secret" information about jesus/christianity as a whole. Is it kind of like modern day mormonism, where it has roots in religion but modern day practices are mainly based around leading a good life?

Pretty fair assessment. The reason for the religious example today is (imo) that without some higher power than ourselves, there's no reason to try and better ourselves.

It's not religion, or any one religion. Just a power higher than yourself.

>I have (had) a close friend who is a freemason an basically lost him to it. It seems like the longer he was in it, the more closed off he became to anybody not part of the brotherhood. He also slowly grew a very bloated ego.

If it helps, this is more or less opposed to any teachings I'm aware of in freemasonry.

Unironically, "Freemasonry for Dummies" is a great book and recommended to every new member.


SheepRSA t1_iuabnbt wrote

Tagging on the reading list here, the Hiram key was pretty good run through of it all.


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.


biomeddent t1_iua4npw wrote

All about equality but no women allowed?


enderandrew42 t1_iua70cl wrote

There are female Masonic groups my wife belongs to.

In having a safe space for men we can have meaningful personal conversations and grow as men, where members may not feel comfortable having those conversations in mixed company.

If there are shared experiences and commonalities among members, it unites us and creates espirit de corps.


FuzzAldrin36 t1_iua8dlh wrote

The Masons are only one branch of the Masonic Family. There are several others that include women.


dmh123 t1_iua7zt5 wrote

Who controls the British crown?
Who keeps the metric system down?
We do, we do
Who keeps Atlantis off the maps?
Who keeps the Martians under wraps?
We do, we do
Who holds back the elctric car?
Who makes Steve Gutenberg a star?
We do, we do
Who robs gamefish of their site?
Who rigs every Oscar night?
We do, we do!


DeliCreep t1_iua5mk9 wrote

So you dont build stuff?


enderandrew42 t1_iua6osp wrote

Those are operative stone Masons. We use their tools as symbols to teach moral lessons.


Amisarth t1_iu9zuwo wrote

I never realized it was so democratic. Do y’all have initiatives to encourage democracy elsewhere? Or in general?


Antman013 t1_iua221g wrote

That's just what they "want" you to believe . . . LOL. Freemason here, too. I always laugh at the conspiracy nonsense. If anyone ever brings it up around me, I will play along, tell them I am a Freemason and that, when we DO finally takeover, I'll be put in charge of Togo.


LandoChronus t1_iua35xw wrote

Like, if someone orders food from your Lodge to take home, you'll handle it ?


Latter_Bell2833 t1_iua7v4p wrote

This is hilarious. Had to give an award. Most of our time at the lodge is spent eating. Our only conspiracy is having the best fried fish I’ve ever had.


Antman013 t1_iuag0je wrote

A brother Lodge to mine used to host an annual "Wild Game Night", as the majority were hunters and fishermen. Oh my God, the FOOD.

Arctic Char from the Northwest Territory

Wild Boar


Black Bear

Bison Steaks


Amisarth t1_iua3fsx wrote

What’s Togo?


BubbhaJebus t1_iua4ys4 wrote

It's usually after Forhere.


BaconIsAVeg2 t1_iua9jts wrote

Lol, reminds me of one of the first times I was in the US on business, going through a drive-through in a rental car, and the woman asked me at the window if it was to go or for here. I just kind of looked at her.

Apparently they can give you trays for people that like to sit in their cars in the parking lot and eat.


enderandrew42 t1_iua9q1g wrote

We avoid politics but encourage our members to be good members of their society.


Amisarth t1_iueaxyp wrote

That’s a bummer. A democratic club like that might have an opportunity to show off what a healthy democracy looks like. Most of the organizations that succeed in this simply ignore everything they doesn’t stay exactly on message and refuse to reply to a quickly churning news cycle with inevitably reactionary rhetoric.


Ordinary_Story_1487 t1_iua00vl wrote

How do you find out about membership? The history of Mason's makes it more interesting to me than other fellowships.


peaphive t1_iua1f2o wrote

Im not a mason but my Grandfather was. He told me Mason's do not try to recruit new members they have to wait for people to ask them about the Fraternity.


ownersequity t1_iua1d4e wrote

You have to ask a member. They often wear hats that identify them.


Ordinary_Story_1487 t1_iua1fm5 wrote

Thank you 😊


theoneghostoverthere t1_iua74l2 wrote

This is actually kind of true and most people dont know. If you've ever seen someone wearing a square and compass ring, hat or bumper sticker. Thats a mason. Ever see someone with a multicolored inverted star? Thats eastern star, a maternal side of the organization. They are out there and they do want you to ask.


AllKnowingJohn t1_iua78ba wrote

Google "grand lodge of" your state or country will usually get you pointed in the right direction. Alternatively, if you know where a lodge (or local chapter) near you meets you can go in person and ask. They'll usually be more than happy to talk to you about it.


FuzzAldrin36 t1_iua83mc wrote

You can look online to find out if you have an AFAM (Ancient Free and Accepted Masons) Lodge near you and reach out to their contact.


enderandrew42 t1_iua9n2n wrote

There are some good books on our history. You can contact a specific Grand Lodge to inquire about specific former members.


RustyShacklefordCS t1_iua7k1v wrote

Do you have to be white to be a Freemason? Is there racism in each chapter?


TheRidgeAndTheLadder t1_iuaa2px wrote

>Do you have to be white to be a Freemason?


>Is there racism in each chapter?

Some chapters. Lodges are made out of people, some of whom are deeply racist.


enderandrew42 t1_iuaaj1y wrote

You don't have to be white. Racism is anathema to all of our beliefs but with any large organization there are individually racist members.


TransposingJons t1_iua2vgj wrote

My whole paternal line were Freemasons, but it stops with me.

They are a white-supremacist club (in North Carolina).


TheRidgeAndTheLadder t1_iua8d4k wrote

Yeah, a lot of lodges have gone down the maga route and been kinda excommunicated. (No longer recognised as lodges of freemasonry).


enderandrew42 t1_iua9e20 wrote

That is unfortunate. I have met some individual bigots within Masonry, but that runs counter to everything we teach about equality, tolerance and brotherly love.


[deleted] t1_iua7bz4 wrote



senorali t1_iua8ivv wrote

Organizations are made of people. Get your revisionist shit out of here.


prob_wont_respond t1_iuajybs wrote

He's saying the individuals present may be racists in their own right, but as an organization the freemasons do not hold racist views.

There's no revision there, if it isn't in their tenets it isn't in their tenets.

If they particular cluster of douches in NC were racists, they were racists


senorali t1_iuaxpsz wrote

The masons as a whole, not just the NC chapters, are old white men. They are most definitely racist and exclusionary. Their actions speak louder than their claims.


prob_wont_respond t1_iuay2a3 wrote

Old white men aren't by definition racist. There are racist old white men.

I'm not a member and have no direct evidence of racist practices, if you do I will obviously accept that sourced info.

What actions do you have in mind?


senorali t1_iub1bww wrote

You're being pedantic and ignoring the fact that if a group in practice behaves a certain way, it doesn't matter what their stated goals are. Their actual behavior overrides that. You're not providing some amazing revelation by saying "actually, not all of them are like that". These motherfuckers were still segregated 50 years after the Civil Rights Act.


prob_wont_respond t1_iub76hs wrote

That's a nice source and as I said, I accept it and adjust my opinion.

Reserving judgement is not being pedantic. Judging a group by one anecdotal reference is ridiculous.

"I met a racist American so all Americans are racist by design". Nah.


senorali t1_iub9is7 wrote

You could have googled this in five seconds. You contributed nothing to the conversation.


prob_wont_respond t1_iubfyl8 wrote

Stand down Dwight, you made a claim and didn't back it up. I refuted anecdotal assumption and feel fine about that, I don't rely on you to inform me of my contribution.


missye812 t1_iua87pj wrote

Idk… that sounds exactly like what a secret inner circle at the top who controls the government would say.


i_only_eat_nachos t1_iua5xq2 wrote

Unrelated question: I have a relative who passed away but had several books about Freemason ceremonies and activities. We don’t know the language that the book was written in. Is there a resource we could find to translate?


enderandrew42 t1_iua6jdu wrote

Sometimes the ritual books are in a code or cipher that is only known to the members.


moonMoonbear t1_iuacvzp wrote

Just asking since I don't see many topics on Freemasonry come up on my main feed, What's your take on the division between PHA and the larger masonic body? I was recently raised in a PHA lodge myself and I even heard rumblings of reconciliation but I've never really had the chance to speak to brothers outside of our circle.


enderandrew42 t1_iuadwib wrote

It was shameful and inexcusable. I take a small solace that my Grand Lodge (Nebraska) was the first to end that divide.


Crows_And_Autumn t1_iuabj2e wrote

If this is true, which I doubt all of it is.

Then what are you donating? Where are you donating? Who do you choose to donate to? Why does the general population never hear about any of these things?

Surely if you have that many organized meetings, shouldn’t the townships know more about what you are doing?

Why are they’re no windows on your little club buildings? Maybe you guys just like bricks that much?

With all of the pomp and circumstance within your club, why do we never hear about these “charitable” donations? And why do the recipients of your donations never acknowledge your club?

Just things I wonder about Mr. Traveling man.


enderandrew42 t1_iuacapt wrote

There are tons of Masonic charities like the Shriners Hospitals for Children. But we distribute money all over the place to tons of charity groups.


Crows_And_Autumn t1_iuad0qj wrote

Sorry, that’s not an answer, that’s a word salad.

So… guys are The Shriners?


enderandrew42 t1_iuadr1y wrote

The Shriners are a subset of Freemasons.


Crows_And_Autumn t1_iuar0np wrote

Yet you still haven’t answered my questions. ……I give up.


enderandrew42 t1_iuavf7h wrote

You asked if Freemasons are Shriners. Shriners are a subset of Freemasonry. All Shriners are Freemasons but not all Freemasons are Shriners.


FakingItSucessfully t1_iua5wvh wrote

I see an actual Freemason already replied, so I'll just emphasize that basically anything that involves being explicitly sworn to secrecy will tend to acquire a reputation. People with a sensitive job in the military or intelligence circles could have the most boring day-to-day workflow imaginable but the fact they can't talk about it still makes people wonder.


Theforgottendwarf t1_iua7jk8 wrote

It generally is boring, but if you all talked about it you would know about the Manhattan project going on.


MembershipFew989 t1_iua28ce wrote

Popular take - nefarious and intimidating illuminati-esque organisation hell bent on world domination.

My experience - a bunch of 60-something businessmen trying to leverage social connections to further themselves through showing some calf ( to prove they're not women), and discussing their prostate problems... I don't think that is related to proving they're not women. I've never met a freemason I considered to be the least bit intimidating.

Basically a more formalised old boys network for those who didn't go to the right school.


dorgatus t1_iua7kqe wrote

The age problem is a common problem of local social clubs nowadays. I joined when I was 17 and was the youngest by far. It took some explaining the the older members that freemasonry is a hobby and therefore competes with all the manifold hobbies available nowadays. We changed our approach and representation and had great success.


Sparkletail t1_iua9qrb wrote

That's exactly it, my grandad was one and he told me bits about it.


tripping_yarns t1_iua9aiu wrote

Perhaps the most damning case I’ve read about was the murder of Roberto Calvi (Italian banker), allegedly by an Italian lodge of the Freemasons known as P2.

There are lots of other theories, most of which are speculation or are shrouded in mystery. Most interestingly is the link between Freemasonry and Adam Weishaupt, philosopher and founder of the Bavarian Illuminati. Which was an actual thing, not just a conspiracy theory.

I’m not a nutter, but I do believe that the term ‘Conspiracy Theory’ has been deliberately associated with paranoia and is now largely ridiculed.

I do think that far more goes on behind closed doors than we can conceivably imagine.


Bennito_bh t1_iuac7ga wrote

> I’m not a nutter

Obviously not! That’s something only a regular non-nutty person would say


fingerbees t1_iua9btz wrote

It’s a club with a bunch of old men. People don’t like when guys get together and talk shit behind closed doors.


[deleted] t1_iua9zzp wrote



Bennito_bh t1_iuacdb2 wrote

Why yes, I too base my entire worldview exclusively on anecdotes


Unrealized_Fucks t1_iuaajmz wrote

There was a big panic about freemasons in the early 1800s, really interesting stuff. A lot of people suspected something sinister about them already and after a failed high-level cover up of a murder involving over a dozen freemasons happened it snowballed into what became the first third party in the United States, the Anti-Masonic party.

Feel free to ask questions. I've dug pretty deep.


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mithroll t1_iuac9qz wrote

While many believe that the Freemasons are working towards a New World Order through carefully implemented secret and complex activities- in my experience they can’t hold a meeting where they all agree on what “sides” to bring to the Thanksgiving potluck dinner.


ChadMagic1 t1_iua8xjb wrote

I’m not a free mason, but I think they started as the original engineers way back in history. (Pyramids, greek concrete, etc) Those people were magical with what they could do. Maybe seen as wizards to early people, so they had to be careful. Their skills were taught and passed down to like-minded people through the generations. Engineers are a very quiet analytical people by nature, so seem secretive and very magically skilled. It’s been very watered down ow to just a social group of men that try to better themselves and each other