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Conspiracy theories show up all the time about Freemasonry. They show up here, and they show up on the Hitler History Channel and they show up all over the place.

What do you know about Masons? Are they plotting and planning beyond their scholarships and their bean suppers? Do we run the world?

Follow me over the fold for more.

This little bit from the Wiki should tell you all you need to know:

Freemasonry is a fraternal organisation that traces its origins to the local fraternities of stonemasons, which from the end of the fourteenth century regulated the qualifications of masons and their interaction with authorities and clients. The degrees of freemasonry, its gradal system, retain the three grades of medieval craft guilds, those of Apprentice, journeyman or fellow (now called Fellowcraft), and Master Mason. These are the degrees offered by craft, or blue lodge Freemasonry. There are additional degrees, which vary with locality and jurisdiction, and are now administered by different bodies than the craft degrees.

The basic, local organisational unit of Freemasonry is the lodge. The lodges are usually supervised and governed at the regional level (usually coterminous with either a state, province, or national border) by a Grand Lodge or Grand Orient. There is no international, world-wide Grand Lodge that supervises all of Freemasonry. Each Grand Lodge is independent, and they do not necessarily recognise each other as being legitimate.

Emphasis mine.

There is no CT here. We laugh at it, in fact. We're just brothers. Nothing else, and it's pretty funny that people think we are more than that.

Thoughts?

Poll

Do You Think Masons are a threat to democracy?

6%9 votes
68%94 votes
22%31 votes
2%3 votes

| 137 votes | Vote | Results

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Comment Preferences

  •  Are Masons a threat (18+ / 0-)

    to democracy?

    Less so than the Republican Party.

    (Former Rainbow Girl here; I was actually elected Flag Bearer, the only time I ever won anything.)

    There's only one rule that I know of, babies -- goddammit, you've got to be kind. -- Kurt Vonnegut

    by Cali Scribe on Wed Feb 05, 2014 at 03:22:08 PM PST

  •  Freemasons have gotten a bad rap. (14+ / 0-)

    I wish people would read the real history.  

    I was a member of the International Order of Rainbow Girls, the Masonic Order for young women and sister organization to Job's Daughters.

    I have always appreciated what I learned from that organization.  

    I would rather spend my life searching for truth than live a single day within the comfort of a lie. ~ John Victor Ramses

    by KayCeSF on Wed Feb 05, 2014 at 03:30:14 PM PST

  •  Well, in "If This Goes On", they were good guys (10+ / 0-)

    One of Heinlein's earlier stories. He still stressed the massive secret society thing. even calling them "The Cabal", but they were the core of the Resistance to the evil theocratic dictatorship in his future history.

    Hey, at least it's a switch from a take-over-the-world evil conspiracy reputation...

    •  That was "Revolt in 2100," a novel (4+ / 0-)

      It was set in the year of the title.  The U.S. was a theocracy led by a corrupt religious dictator called "The Prophet."  The revolt was led by military officers who were Masons.  

      I do not know if Heinlein was a Mason.  He was a complex man - very technology-oriented, pro-military, and somewhat libertarian - but especially on sexual matters.  In his novel about a wealthy old man who had his brain transplanted into a young woman's body, he explored gender identity quite sensitively.  It turned out the young woman, who was killed in a wreck by a head injury with the rest of the body intact, was actually his secretary.  Her soul remained in the body and much of the dialogue was telepathic between him and her.  At one point he remarked, "Everyone's walked down both sides of gay street."

      The Libertarian slogan TAANSFL "THERE AIN'T nO sUCH THING AS A FREE LUNCH" is from his "The Moon is a Harsh Mistress."

      Much of his work seems esoteric and reminiscent of the Phillip Seymour Hoffman movie "The Master," a thinly disguised riff on L. Ron Hubbard of Scientology.  "Starship Troopers," the only Heinlein book made into a movie, captured the fascism and militarism of his vision but was hilarious, especially Neil Patrick Harris as ain intelligence officer whose uniform is strangely like a Gestapo getup.

      I love Heinlein but take him with a ton of salt.  Once the Science Fiction mag ANALOG had competing ads of writers signing against and in favor of the Vietnam War in 1969.  Isaac Asimov, Arthur C. Clarke, Phillip Jose Farmer, Ron Goulart aned many more we know were among the antis.  Heinlein was the only one I remember among the prose.  What can I say?  He was discharged from the military due to health reasons and thus had a skewed view of such things.

      The modern conservative is engaged in one of man's oldest exercises in moral philosophy; that is, the search for a superior moral justification for selfishness. -- John Kenneth Galbraith

      by Kangaroo on Wed Feb 05, 2014 at 08:14:33 PM PST

      [ Parent ]

  •  See, lots of people are Masons and it's not (10+ / 0-)

    a conspiracy.

    Pope Francis: the Thumb of Christ in the eyes of the Pharisees.

    by commonmass on Wed Feb 05, 2014 at 03:38:22 PM PST

  •  Most of what I know (12+ / 0-)

    I learned from The Magic Flute.

    Mozart was a Mason and so were many of the Founding Fathers. Threat to democracy? Don't be silly.

    And for some reason, I can see the vote results of your poll but I cannot actually vote. The buttons just don't work. I have no idea why.

  •  Well you guys are probably OK but those (11+ / 0-)

    Stonecutters?! Mein Gott! They're hiding Martians and keeping electric cars from being huge!

    Food processed to be nothing more than simple starches with two dozen flavorings and stabilizers added to make it appear to be food isn't "food". It's "feed" -- what you give to livestock to fatten them up for slaughter.

    by ontheleftcoast on Wed Feb 05, 2014 at 03:42:33 PM PST

  •  Grandpa Skow was one. (6+ / 0-)

    And that's about all I know.

    "If this Studebaker had anymore Atomic Space-Age Style, you'd have to be an astronaut with a geiger counter!"

    by Stude Dude on Wed Feb 05, 2014 at 03:42:47 PM PST

  •  If there were a secret Grand Lodge... (7+ / 0-)

    ... you wouldn't be able to tell us, would you?  Particularly if you hadn't advanced to the level where you were told, right?  :-)

    Most of what I know about Freemasonry comes from Monty Python's Flying Circus ("It opens doors!"), The Simpsons ("Who holds back the Electric Car?  We do."), The Man who would be King (very positive portrayal), and From Hell (very negative portrayal, especially the novel).

    Better to hide your tax returns and be thought a crook than to release them and remove all doubt. [Adapted from Abraham Lincoln]

    by Caelian on Wed Feb 05, 2014 at 03:43:07 PM PST

  •  I don't know about your lodge but mine's plan for (11+ / 0-)

    world domination is way behind schedule.

    Rivers are horses and kayaks are their saddles

    by River Rover on Wed Feb 05, 2014 at 03:46:07 PM PST

  •  I can't tell you how many events I've attended (9+ / 0-)

    that were held in Masonic Temples. Lots though. My synagogue used one of the Masonic Temples in San Francisco for High Holiday services last year. It was a lovely place; unfortunately the building had some sort of mold problem which had an adverse affect on some of the attendees. The temple is located just a few blocks from the Ocean, deep in the Fog Belt. Nothing nefarious going on. No evil conspiracy, just climate.

  •  My grandfather was apparently the highest degree (9+ / 0-)

    Freemason you could reach in Florida.  33rd degree, I seem to remember.  

    Even though he was just a train conductor over 10,000 apparently attended his funeral, according to my mother.

    The means is the ends in the process of becoming. - Mahatma Gandhi

    by HoundDog on Wed Feb 05, 2014 at 03:50:57 PM PST

  •  I know they're not to be trusted.... (3+ / 0-)

    ... oh sorry, that was Pikeys. Never mind.

    Pikeys

  •  I'm retired (4+ / 0-)

    so anything free is good.

    Ceiling Cat rules....srsly.

    by side pocket on Wed Feb 05, 2014 at 04:02:09 PM PST

  •  I was recently encouraged to join. (4+ / 0-)

    A professional client whom I greatly impressed (for some reason) went to great lengths to suggest I apply.  He and his business partner even pre-signed an application form and directed me to my local lodge.  I admit, he made it sound more interesting than I'd previously believed; but I really just don't think I can make whatever commitment may be required.  So far, I haven't acted on the application.

    You can't spell CRAZY without R-AZ.

    by rb608 on Wed Feb 05, 2014 at 04:08:11 PM PST

  •  Masons look out for their own... (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    ericlewis0, commonmass

    Masons will give secret signs to fellow members who sit as judges, police officers, lawyers to get out of trouble or receive special treatment...Stephen Knight wrote all about in in his first book on freemasonry...

  •  Masonic signs on the dollar bill - thanks to FDR (3+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    commonmass, Gordon20024, jan4insight

    Who was, himself, a Freemason. Dunt dunt dunnnnnn :)

    I ♥ President Barack Obama.

    by ericlewis0 on Wed Feb 05, 2014 at 04:15:28 PM PST

  •  And now I know you really do sing this song (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    commonmass

    It's not the side effects of the cocaine/I'm thinking that it must be love

    by Rich in PA on Wed Feb 05, 2014 at 04:38:27 PM PST

  •  My Grandfather and ColCatLady were both Masons (4+ / 0-)

    ColCatLady quit one night in a fit of righteous anger - apparently he learned something that didn't sit will with his fundamentalist Baptist background.  He burned his apron and stuff in the BBQ at 2am.  

    Which seems very odd to me as his father was a Mason and he grew up in DeMolay.  But that's ColCatLady for you.

    I've thought about joining - but then, I'm not much of a joiner.  I don't even know if there is a chapter even close to where I normally live.  Definitely don't consider them any kind of threat to democracy though.

    I'm so fat! Oh, they're going to love me, I'm so marbled! - Jack LeMans, Bounty Killer

    by Mortifyd on Wed Feb 05, 2014 at 04:41:58 PM PST

  •  Rosicrucians and Masons (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    commonmass, KayCeSF

    I was reading something about Rosicrucians the other day and I believe it stated that they are similar to Masons.  I didn't realize that.  I've been interested in Rosicrucians since I was a kid and I saw an ad in a magazine.

    My sister was in Rainbow, and even became a worthy advisor.  I think that's the highest rank that they have.  Of course, she never told me anything about it.

    "We *can* go back to the Dark Ages! The crust of learning and good manners and tolerance is so thin!" -- Sinclair Lewis

    by Nespolo on Wed Feb 05, 2014 at 04:45:29 PM PST

    •  Not a Rosicrucian or member of any society, but (3+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      Nespolo, RiveroftheWest, commonmass

      their museum in San Jose is well worth a visit.  Mostly Egyptian, with some related ancient cultures thrown in.

      So if you like Egyptian stuff and are nearby, drop in.  Absolutely no discussion of Rosicrucianism during the two visits I made.  (Once by myself, and then later I knew my spouse w/ her BA in ancient history would love, and she did.)

      •  I was in San Jose last fall (1+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        commonmass

        but didn't think to visit the museum.   I am tempted to write and ask for information, but I'm still a little worried that they might be some sort of kooky cult.

        "We *can* go back to the Dark Ages! The crust of learning and good manners and tolerance is so thin!" -- Sinclair Lewis

        by Nespolo on Wed Feb 05, 2014 at 07:39:02 PM PST

        [ Parent ]

        •  Just google rosicrucian museum. They've just got (2+ / 0-)
          Recommended by:
          commonmass, Nespolo

          one, apparently.  Plenty of info including Yelp, TripAdivsor and other reviews. There is an admission fee, but it's reasonable for what you see, IMO.

          Can't say if they're a cult or not, but the museum is just an exhibit of artifacts with no weirdness in the labeling or attempts to recruit.

          Oh, forgot to mention, allow 15 minutes or so to wander the grounds if the weather is nice.  They're arranged with Egyptian-themed statues and architecture, all modern but it does put in you in a good frame of mind for the exhibits.

          •  Thanks. (1+ / 0-)
            Recommended by:
            commonmass

            I actually meant that I might write for information about joining.  But I didn't want to get on any lists just in case I decided that they weren't for me.

            "We *can* go back to the Dark Ages! The crust of learning and good manners and tolerance is so thin!" -- Sinclair Lewis

            by Nespolo on Fri Feb 07, 2014 at 09:34:43 AM PST

            [ Parent ]

      •  Love this museum. Papyrus in the garden outside (2+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        commonmass, RiveroftheWest

        Wonderful artifacts inside

  •  My friend Walter (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    commonmass, KayCeSF

    is the Grand Historian for Massachusetts.   My dad was a Mason and a Shriner, and so was my uncle Oscar.  I have nothing but respect for the Masons, and I wish to God I could be one.

    This isn't freedom. This is fear - Captain America

    by Ellid on Wed Feb 05, 2014 at 04:47:50 PM PST

  •  My Dad (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    commonmass, jan4insight

    was 33rd degree and as I was the eldest son--he tried very hard to get me interested.  Alas, coming of age in the 60s, I was averse to most anything that was "traditional".  When I came clean that I had been to Woodstock--the pressure abruptly ended.  Still read a lot of literature about the Masons--some positive and some of the usual criticism.  A THREAT?   Really??  My whack job neighbors are more of a threat in my humble opinion

  •  Freemasons... (4+ / 0-)

    taking over the world, one hot dog sale at a time.

    Bill
    Master Mason

  •  Why there was an Antimasonic Party- Fillmore, (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    commonmass

    Seward, JQA- is that secret oaths were viewed as disloyal, but also because of Northern suspicions about Jacksonism. The current equivalent would be the objection to government secrecy as unconstitutional. But the connotations with the Albert Pike and J. Edgar Hoover were not unfounded.

    •  J. Edgar Hoover was, indeed, a Freemason. (1+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      Musial

      I can't speak to that, because he's my brother. I certainly don't think things he did were worthy.

      George Washington was a Brother. Impeach him posthumously.

      Pope Francis: the Thumb of Christ in the eyes of the Pharisees.

      by commonmass on Wed Feb 05, 2014 at 05:06:09 PM PST

      [ Parent ]

  •  No conspiracy in the P2 Lodge? (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    commonmass

    "Power concedes nothing without a demand. It never did and it never will." ~Frederick Douglass

    by ActivistGuy on Wed Feb 05, 2014 at 05:05:21 PM PST

    •  What is the "P2" Lodge? (0+ / 0-)

      Pope Francis: the Thumb of Christ in the eyes of the Pharisees.

      by commonmass on Wed Feb 05, 2014 at 05:07:48 PM PST

      [ Parent ]

      •  I think it's Italian (1+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        commonmass

        Mixed up with the Vatican bank scandal

        "We *can* go back to the Dark Ages! The crust of learning and good manners and tolerance is so thin!" -- Sinclair Lewis

        by Nespolo on Wed Feb 05, 2014 at 05:55:25 PM PST

        [ Parent ]

        •  P2 was a clandestine lodge (2+ / 0-)
          Recommended by:
          commonmass, RiveroftheWest

          not recognized by other lodges.  Every group has bad apples.

          The modern conservative is engaged in one of man's oldest exercises in moral philosophy; that is, the search for a superior moral justification for selfishness. -- John Kenneth Galbraith

          by Kangaroo on Wed Feb 05, 2014 at 08:24:19 PM PST

          [ Parent ]

          •  masons doesn't mean automatically good (1+ / 0-)
            Recommended by:
            RiveroftheWest

            Propaganda Due - Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

            Propaganda Due (Italian pronunciation: [propaˈɡanda ˈduːe]), or P2, was aMasonic lodge operating under the jurisdiction of theGrand Orient of Italy from 1945 to 1976 (when its charter was withdrawn), and a pseudo-Masonic, "black", or "covert" lodge operating illegally (in contravention of Article 18 of theConstitution of Italy banning secret associations) from 1976 to 1981. During the years that the lodge was headed byLicio Gelli, P2 was implicated in numerous Italian crimes and mysteries, including the collapse of theVatican-affiliatedBanco Ambrosiano, the murders of journalistMino Pecorelli and bankerRoberto Calvi, and corruption cases within the nationwide bribe scandalTangentopoli. P2 came to light through the investigations into the collapse ofMichele Sindona's financial empire.[1]

            P2 was sometimes referred to as a "state within a state"[2] or a "shadow government".[3] The lodge had among its members prominent journalists, members of parliament, industrialists, and military leaders—includingSilvio Berlusconi, who later became Prime Minister of Italy; theSavoypretender to the Italian throneVictor Emmanuel; and the heads of all three Italian intelligence services (at the timeSISDE,SISMI andCESIS).

            When searching Licio Gelli's villa, the police found a document called the "Plan for Democratic Rebirth", which called for aconsolidation of the media, suppression of trade unions, and the rewriting of theItalian Constitution.[4]

            i hope it is as benign as you make it out to be in the USA.

            in europe i think it's more of a business mafia

            Former High Level Italian Illuminati Comes Clean

            Leo Zagami, successor to high-level Italian Illuminati figure and former Reagan unofficial Vatican advisor, Licio Gelli, switches sides from evil to good and is warning Americans about coming fascism.
             
            Very rarely does a high-level Illuminati 33 degree Freemason come forward with inside information, damaging to the Vatican-controlled and Jesuit-led New World Order.
             
            But Leo Zagami, a Sicilian aristocrat and former high-member of the Monte Carlo P2 Lodge, is doing just that, coming forward for the simple reason he could no longer work under the forces of evil who are killing millions around the world.
             
            The following message from Zagami, who just left the clutches of the evil Illuminati in June, is printed to show just how high-up in the Illuminati pecking order his black star had risen.
             
            It is also printed to protect Zagami's life as he was already arrested, beaten and tortured twice since going public with a web site geared at enlightening America to the threat the Vatican-led Illuminati poses to the American people.
             
            In fact, Zagami's information comes from the top of the Illuminati secret files and correspondence since he was even considered in his home country of Italy to be the P2 Masonic successor to the powerful Licio Gelli, who was being slowly moved out of Illuminati active duty because of his age.
             
            CT? maybe, i really don't know enough, but i am curious so read what you have to say. thanks for your diary!

            why? just kos..... *just cause*

            by melo on Thu Feb 06, 2014 at 06:11:21 AM PST

            [ Parent ]

            •  Italy's a special case (3+ / 0-)
              Recommended by:
              RiveroftheWest, commonmass, melo

              Don't forget some said P2 killed Pope John Paul I too.

              Italian public life is marked by intrigue so everything is different according to its national culture.  

              David Byrne once created a moive (1986, widely panned) which was a gaggle of subplots about a small town in Texas with various wierdness.  One of the best scenes featured the late Hollywood High School drama teacher John Ingle singing a sermon on conspiracy theory called "Puzzling Evidence."  In the picture book he did for the movie, Byrne asked "Do the guys who ran the student council in our high school really run the world?" and then he answered himself, 'No, it's the guys from the student council at the high school across town."

              The modern conservative is engaged in one of man's oldest exercises in moral philosophy; that is, the search for a superior moral justification for selfishness. -- John Kenneth Galbraith

              by Kangaroo on Thu Feb 06, 2014 at 08:41:12 AM PST

              [ Parent ]

  •  That they are not as weird as Scientologists... (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    commonmass, Turbonerd
  •  Surprised no one has posted this (6+ / 0-)

    The Mother-Lodge
    By Rudyard Kipling

    There was Rundle, Station Master,
    An' Beazeley of the Rail,
    An' 'Ackman, Commissariat,
    An' Donkin' o' the Jail;
    An' Blake, Conductor-Sargent,
    Our Master twice was 'e,
    With 'im that kept the Europe-shop,
    Old Framjee Eduljee.

    Outside -- "Sergeant! Sir! Salute! Salaam!"
    Inside -- "Brother", an' it doesn't do no 'arm.
    We met upon the Level an' we parted on the Square,
    An' I was Junior Deacon in my Mother-Lodge out there!

    We'd Bola Nath, Accountant,
    An' Saul the Aden Jew,
    An' Din Mohammed, draughtsman
    Of the Survey Office too;
    There was Babu Chuckerbutty,
    An' Amir Singh the Sikh,
    An' Castro from the fittin'-sheds,
    The Roman Catholick!

    We 'adn't good regalia,
    An' our Lodge was old an' bare,
    But we knew the Ancient Landmarks,
    An' we kep' 'em to a hair;
    An' lookin' on it backwards
    It often strikes me thus,
    There ain't such things as infidels,
    Excep', per'aps, it's us.

    For monthly, after Labour,
    We'd all sit down and smoke
    (We dursn't give no banquits,
    Lest a Brother's caste were broke),
    An' man on man got talkin'
    Religion an' the rest,
    An' every man comparin'
    Of the God 'e knew the best.

    So man on man got talkin',
    An' not a Brother stirred
    Till mornin' waked the parrots
    An' that dam' brain-fever-bird;
    We'd say 'twas 'ighly curious,
    An' we'd all ride 'ome to bed,
    With Mo'ammed, God, an' Shiva
    Changin' pickets in our 'ead.

    Full oft on Guv'ment service
    This rovin' foot 'ath pressed,
    An' bore fraternal greetin's
    To the Lodges east an' west,
    Accordin' as commanded
    From Kohat to Singapore,
    But I wish that I might see them
    In my Mother-Lodge once more!

    I wish that I might see them,
    My Brethren black an' brown,
    With the trichies smellin' pleasant
    An' the hog-darn passin' down;
    An' the old khansamah snorin'
    On the bottle-khana floor,
    Like a Master in good standing
    With my Mother-Lodge once more!

    Outside -- "Sergeant! Sir! Salute! Salaam!"
    Inside -- "Brother", an' it doesn't do no 'arm.
    We met upon the Level an' we parted on the Square,
    An' I was Junior Deacon in my Mother-Lodge out there!

    "If you pour some music on whatever's wrong, it'll sure help out." Levon Helm

    by BOHICA on Wed Feb 05, 2014 at 05:23:20 PM PST

  •  Grew up in my father's lodge (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    commonmass, RiveroftheWest

    Family dinners etc.. Knew every inch and hidden place.

    "If you pour some music on whatever's wrong, it'll sure help out." Levon Helm

    by BOHICA on Wed Feb 05, 2014 at 05:37:59 PM PST

  •  Both my uncles (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    RiveroftheWest, commonmass

    are 33rd degree masons, dad is a mason, younger brother and my granda was one as well in the Scottish Rite. I know some of the things an initiate has to go through to get there but it's not to be spoken about according to the menfolk in the family, big secrets you know :)

    Don't watch it dad, you will have brain cells jumping to their suicide. Me, when I learned dad had been watching Fox.

    by glescagal on Wed Feb 05, 2014 at 06:31:11 PM PST

  •  Ahhh! Masonry....what a craft............! (4+ / 0-)

    I came to my love of masonry (an unrequited love, of course) via a Master Mason - one Rudyard Kipling!

    Many do not realize just how deep are the Masonic underpinnings of Kipling's work....

    'Kim' - the Master's only novel is full of Masonic references; indeed, Kim is the son of a Mason, as are many of the other characters.

     Kipling's initiation took place in the Hope and Perseverance Lodge No. 782 in Lahore, India, and from that day, he never ceased to write of Masonry as something which aided and comforted others. As he put it, 'I was entered by a Hindu, raised by a Mohammedan, and passed by an English Master’. His tales of the fictional Lodge of Instruction, ‘Faith and Works No. 5837 E.C.’, set in London during WW1, are well worth reading, despite the fact that the author makes a few, odd remarks regarding the Craft.

    Unrequited love, you say? Of course - despite my interest, I could never be a Mason - any Lodge fees would be far, far beyond my rather poor means!

    Here is a diary on the Mason's Lodge at York Minster, as it might have been in the Middle Ages

    http://www.dailykos.com/...

  •  Thank you for this interesting diary! (3+ / 0-)

    A husband of my mother's first cousin was a Freemason.  Don't know much about him but he seemed like a person I would like to have a conversation with.  Good eye contact, curious, a bit quirky but never thought he'd be in for a conspiracy bent on life.  I have always thought of it as a society "craft" guild so it's nice to get some actually history and see it's influence on some of my favorite artists and people.  One of my son's best friends is named, Mason.  It is a solid name.

    "You want to be a bit compulsive in your art or craft or whatever you do." Steve Martin

    by Kristin in WA on Wed Feb 05, 2014 at 06:57:28 PM PST

  •  My dad was a Mason (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    RiveroftheWest, commonmass

    as well as my granddad (mom's dad), and several of mom's brothers.  My mom was big in the Eastern Star and I helped her set up the Lodge Hall for meetings many times. I loved it when the Eastern Star would have family potlucks. Those Eastern Star women could cook!  I can still taste Cornelia Smith's over-fried chicken after almost 50 years.

    Harry Truman was a Mason and I recall reading in Plain Speaking an oral biography of Truman that his sister was on her way back from an Eastern Star function in Springfield, Missouri when she heard that FDR had died and that Harry was now President.

    Admiral Byrd was a Mason and founded the Antarctic Lodge when he spent the year there in the early 30s.

  •  Past Master, Secretary, (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    commonmass, RiveroftheWest

    and now District Deputy Grand Master here.  I was a DeMolay as a youth but did not join the lodge until I was 42.  

    As a political player, I've had brothers in politics in both parties.  Bob Dole and Charles Grassley are Masons, as was George McGovern.  Al Sharpton and Jesse Jackson Sr. are Prince Hall Masons.  In entertainment, Ernest Borgnine, Mel Tillis, Roy Acuff, Red Skelton, Michael (:Kramer) Richards, Richard Dreyfuss, and Mark Harmon are or were Masons.  President Gerald Ford was Grand Master of Michigan Masons, as was President Harry S. Truman of Missouri's.  

    It is what you make of it.  Many esoteric folks are Masons.  Jay Kinney, the former underground cartoonist who was editor of "Gnosis," was a Master of a Lodge in California.  

    Young guys have become interested due to Dan Brown's "the Lost Symbol."  

    2B1ASK1!  We'd love to have you.  

    The modern conservative is engaged in one of man's oldest exercises in moral philosophy; that is, the search for a superior moral justification for selfishness. -- John Kenneth Galbraith

    by Kangaroo on Wed Feb 05, 2014 at 08:36:24 PM PST

  •  You touched on the issue of sex discrimination (3+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    commonmass, melo, RiveroftheWest

    above, but, as I understand it, Freemasonry also has a long history of racial segregation and exclusion of persons with disabilities.  

    As I understand it, one of the functions of fraternal organizations is economic networking - a member is more likely to do business with or hire a fellow member.  All conspiracy theories aside, able-bodied white men networking for mutual economic advancement is something of a threat to equality and thus to democracy.

    Can you address the current status of these issues within Freemasonry?  Are all lodges racially integrated and open to men with disabilities (including deafness and blindness)?  Are predominately black lodges (Prince Hall) accepted as equal by predominately white lodges, including those in the South?

    •  Modern Freemasonry is open to all. (1+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      RiveroftheWest

      I live in Maine, the most "white" state in the Union. Just the other day we raised a black man. I am gay. Our lodge has no discrimination.

      We do not discriminate and we are not interested in this:

      All conspiracy theories aside, able-bodied white men networking for mutual economic advancement is something of a threat to equality and thus to democracy.

      Pope Francis: the Thumb of Christ in the eyes of the Pharisees.

      by commonmass on Wed Feb 05, 2014 at 10:04:22 PM PST

      [ Parent ]

    •  By the way, Prince Hall Lodges, most of them, (1+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      RiveroftheWest

      are recognized by the AF&AM.

      Pope Francis: the Thumb of Christ in the eyes of the Pharisees.

      by commonmass on Wed Feb 05, 2014 at 10:07:39 PM PST

      [ Parent ]

    •  Complex questions = Complex answers (2+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      RiveroftheWest, commonmass

      Historically Freemasonry excluded Blacks - but never Hispanics, Native Americans, or Asians.  With the development of Prince Hall Masonry it was felt there was no need to.  I'm in Kansas.  Our lodge has black members and the Prince Hall Lodge has white members here.  In the South it is a different story.  In 10 states, mostly those which were in the Confederacy, the AF&AM (Ancient Free and Accepted Masons) and Prince Hall Masons do not recognize each other.  There have been negotiations to end that, but, it has been complicated by the existence of Prince Hall Lodges which don't recognize each other.  For one Lodge to not recognize another, the other Lodge is deemed "clandestine."  This may have occurred for reasons long forgotten.  

      I became a Mason in Texas, which is one of those states.  Understand, nothing prevents us from obtaining black members, but, acceptance into Freemasonry is by unanimous consent and the person objecting to someone is not required to give a reason.

      Do any of you remember the TV Show "Northern Exposure" about a New York doctor transplanted to rural Alaska?  One of the main characters was a millionaire ex-astronaut named Maurice who was as you might imagine sometimes insufferable.  Well, one episode showed Maurice trying to get into some sort of fictional quasi-Masonic organization called "The Sons of the Tundra."  He was so excited, but Hollis, the barkeep who was usually shown in a wifebeater shirt accompannied by his much younger girlfriend, vetoed him.  It had come out that Maurice was decended from French Hugenots.  Hollis explained his vote by saying, "I don't like Hugenots."  That's really how the process can work.  It's not perfect, but it is what it is.  

      Human organizations are by nature imperfect since they're run by humans.  We're strictly a male-only organization, but women can join Eastern Star.  There are also other women's organizations within Masonry, and in some Lodges in Great Britain there are women Masons.  

      Networking?  We do it, but our abilities are limited to do much.  One brother sells cars and trucks at a dealership.  He promises fair dealing to brothers, but would he really do anything for us he wouldn't do for anyone else?  I don't think so.  I'm in a military town.  A mason in the Army was deployed.  His parents from another state (Dad's a mason) asked we check on his wife who was here alone.  We did.  She was fine but that's about it.  In decades past, more young women would be overwhelmed by such isolation, and a caring network can provide support.  We give pins showing a broken column (architectural, you know, not a spreadsheet or something - it's a symbol of widowhood) to Masonic widows and encourage them to wear them when traveling.  Many airport service people, skyjacks and the like, are Prince Hall masons.  I've seen them take good care of a widow wearing that pin, but again, would they do more for her than anyone else?  I don't think so.  We see the brotherhood of the fraternity as emblematic of our kinship with all humanity (Brother Commonmass, upbraid me if you think it's needed, but, don't we say when we find someone entirely destitute we should contribute to his relief if we find him worthy?  Does that mean we give a handout to every bum on skid row?  No, but we consider each's circumtsances.  One Mason helped with a church providing relief and the standard procedure was to refer people to the local homeless shelter whether they claimed to be masons or not.  The church funded it and they had access to Traveler's Aid, a charity which helps people stuck on the road.  I've helped the destitute, but I've also refused those who come up to me while pumping gas not far from a casino spouting elaborate anecdotes of wallets left in hotel rooms and the like.  We believe the individual makes those decisions best.  

      I was once a paralegal for two lawyers who were brothers (biological, not Masons) and they were Jews.  We got our office supplies from an office supply place across town owned by another Jew that they went to Hebrew School with.  Was that wrong?  BTW, they weren't Hebraic Supremacists, either.  I went out with their sister a few times while working for them and they didn't mind.  

      Traditionally, when Masonry was a trade guild of the stonecutters, one had to be able-bodied.  These days we have people with all sorts of handicaps.  I was once on an investigating committee for a candidate who was a soldier and in Warrior Transition Brigade (a unit for those leaving the military for medical reasons) and the chair of our committee was an Army Captain.  Turned out the fellow had issues in the mental health area, where i work.  So the Captain asked me, "Well, is he a 'madman or a fool' [in Olde English ritual, prohibited from joining]?"   I said he appeared to have PTSD and depression but no delusions he was Napoleon and appeared to understand 2+2=4.  We accepted him.  

      The answer is really much more complex, but this should suffice to answer here.  If interested, meet some Lodge members in your area and see if you'd like to be associated with them.  If you like them chances are they will like you.  

      BTW, the right wing blames us for the French and American revolutions, various European revolutions of the 19th Century and by some accounts Lenin was a Mason, too.  

      The modern conservative is engaged in one of man's oldest exercises in moral philosophy; that is, the search for a superior moral justification for selfishness. -- John Kenneth Galbraith

      by Kangaroo on Thu Feb 06, 2014 at 06:54:44 AM PST

      [ Parent ]

      •  One of my great grandfathers was Russian, (0+ / 0-)

        and also a Mason.

        Pope Francis: the Thumb of Christ in the eyes of the Pharisees.

        by commonmass on Thu Feb 06, 2014 at 01:19:26 PM PST

        [ Parent ]

      •  It certainly was not discriminating against (0+ / 0-)

        Native Americans/First Nations: my late Husband's great, great, great grandfather was Joseph Brant (Tyendenaga), leader of the Mohawks and Iriquois league and great Canadian and was raised by King George III of England himself.

        Pope Francis: the Thumb of Christ in the eyes of the Pharisees.

        by commonmass on Fri Feb 07, 2014 at 03:38:44 PM PST

        [ Parent ]

    •  We just raised a black man in our lodge. (0+ / 0-)

      Our lodge is accessible to those with physical disabilities. I am gay, and an officer and a neighboring lodge has a gay man as Master.

      Pope Francis: the Thumb of Christ in the eyes of the Pharisees.

      by commonmass on Fri Feb 07, 2014 at 12:36:37 AM PST

      [ Parent ]

  •  historically, some of them were a threat (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    RiveroftheWest, commonmass

    to monarchy, weren't they?

    i always assumed they were more or less another sort of elks lodge or something.

    •  Depends (3+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      wu ming, RiveroftheWest, commonmass

      Actually, in many cases, Kings and tradesmen were Lodge Brothers.  King George VI (Queen Elizabeth II's father) was a Mason and at one time a Grandmaster (now to be a Grandmaster, you have to be economically self-sufficient because you pay for your own travels to Lodges in your jurisdiction.  Our present Grandmaster is a telecommunications company executive and his successor will be a lawyer who works for county government, but his predecessor was a guy with a lawn mowing service who was studying to be a church pastor).  King George VI's  speech therapist, Lionel Logue - their relationship is portrayed in the wonderful movie "The King's Speech"  - George VI was a stutterer - were Brother Masons and sat in Lodge together.  

      Often a King's strongest supporters were peasants.  Depends on the King and the circumstances.

      But yes, some of the regicides in the French Revolution were Masons.  And elsewhere in this thread I mentioned Lenin and we all know what happened to Czar and his family.  

      As I've mentioned, we've had persons of all ideologies in Lodge.  It's interesting how tyrants like the Nazis and Saddam Hussein and the Iranian mullahs have banned Masonic Lodges.  From their point of view it's a wise move.  In the Nazis' case, they seized Lodge buildings and used them for Nazi Party Headquarters.  

      The modern conservative is engaged in one of man's oldest exercises in moral philosophy; that is, the search for a superior moral justification for selfishness. -- John Kenneth Galbraith

      by Kangaroo on Thu Feb 06, 2014 at 07:19:04 AM PST

      [ Parent ]

      •  Oh and about the Elks (Moose, Eagles, etc.) (2+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        RiveroftheWest, commonmass

        Once the Head Elk of the local Elks Lodge joined our Masonic Lodge.  I was on his investigating committee.  "We don't have a bar," our Chairman told him.  

        They don't have the ritual we do.  They do have an initiation ceremony but it's much abbreviated from ours.  In many of those groups the bar is the raison d'etre.  

        They also don't have right wing nuts railing about how satanic they are.  Except for the fact they do that about all bars, I guess.  

        The modern conservative is engaged in one of man's oldest exercises in moral philosophy; that is, the search for a superior moral justification for selfishness. -- John Kenneth Galbraith

        by Kangaroo on Thu Feb 06, 2014 at 07:23:21 AM PST

        [ Parent ]

    •  My late husbsands great great grandfather, (0+ / 0-)

      Joseph Brant (aka Tyendenaga, the Iriquois/Mohawk leader) was raised by King George the Third of England.

      Pope Francis: the Thumb of Christ in the eyes of the Pharisees.

      by commonmass on Thu Feb 06, 2014 at 01:13:20 PM PST

      [ Parent ]

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