posted on Sep, 2 2015 @ 09:47 PM
Master Mason in Blue Lodge, and Knight Templar. Here are the answers I will give to your questions:
1. If there is elitism in Masonry, it is because we have a specific character that we develop and use to interact with one another, that even though
the world would be a better place if everyone interacted like that, most people do not have. We attempt to rise above our purely animal natures and
use our MINDS, and in today's day and age, that makes us a minority. But on the same level as any kind of think tank.
Regarding hierarchy, it is a meritocracy in the officer's line and not a genuine hierarchy in the degrees. Think horizontal, not vertical.
2. I have no idea. The Scottish Rite contains 33 degrees. A Blue Lodge, called Craft Masonry, has 3 degrees. Nobody has to take any degrees unless
they want to, some stay at 3 and some go past. Some don't even pursue 3. To each his own.
3. There are many interesting things about Masonry, some of which have been "cleaned up" in modern times. Albert Pike was and is still a fantastic
resource on the meanings of the degrees. Further, there are many esoteric ideas contained or hinted at in the degrees, but these are NOT explained to
members. You kind of already have to know what to look for, or to learn it along the way through research.
4. There are 3 degrees of Craft Masonry. Other bodies have different amount of degrees, but regular Freemasonry contains 3 degrees.
5. I have not encountered that idea anywhere in Masonry and am not familiar with it.
6. The common bond is a belief in a Supreme Being and an afterlife. Beyond that, particulars of politics and religion are not discussed. There is
nothing monolithic about Masonry.
7. That constantly changes. I personally take the parts I like from various religions and groups, and discard what I don't find useful.
Hope that helps.