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Freemason Membership Plummets

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posted on Jul, 16 2006 @ 02:39 PM
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According to this article Freemason membership numbers are down.
They are basing this assumption on the empty Freemason halls.
However, since Freemasonry is a 'secret' society perhaps they have
all just found someplace else to meet??? Who knows. I just thought
ya'll would find this interesting.

I don't know how the public can really count membership numbers
in a secret society.

www.freep.com.../20060715/FEATURES01/607150329/1026




posted on Jul, 16 2006 @ 03:26 PM
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I wouldn't be surprised that numbers are down over the course of the last half-century (I didn't check the link so my apologies if they're dealing with a shorter timeframe). Speaking from personal experience, I know the average age in my Lodge is probably pushing 60-something. However, there are a fair number of younger men (myself included) who are relatively recent initiates and I'd expect that similar things are happening at Lodges elsewhere. In my case, Masonry skipped a generation and I'm renewing the ties and I'd venture that many of the younger members in my Lodge are first-born sons. I think it's a social and demongraphic thing. The other thing to bear in mind is that with sites such as this and Freemasonrywatch and so on, I'm sure that there are probably others who've had second thoughts on the idea.

Of course, I'll leave it to the likes of Masonic Light and the more experienced Masons here to shoot holes in my theory.



posted on Jul, 16 2006 @ 03:35 PM
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Membership in freemasonry has been on a gentle decline over the past 20 years in the UK, although that trend appears to be slowing now. The main reasons are:

1. The huge growth in membership after the WW2 is working it's way out of the system as those members pass on.

2. The membership criteria of belief in a Supreme Being doesn't appeal to an increasingly secular society

Membership levels in England are currently at about 275,000.

Freemasonry is not a secret society, and much more information about this is available on various websites. You might enjoy this analysis of membership issues by the Pro Grand Master here. Much information is available about freemasonry for those who are prepared to go a-hunting - MQ Magazine is actually a fantastic resource.



posted on Jul, 16 2006 @ 04:26 PM
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Funny I just read an article that said membership was up since all of this interest in the Da Vinci Code. Maybe it was just a local phenomenon.


Cug

posted on Jul, 16 2006 @ 04:35 PM
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Originally posted by cryptooi
Funny I just read an article that said membership was up since all of this interest in the Da Vinci Code. Maybe it was just a local phenomenon.


It may be rising now.. but it's still way down from what it used to be. I believe at one point in time 1 in 3 men were masons (in the States). Many Fraternal orgs are seeing the same thing, I know the Moose and the Eagles are way down in membership.

For the most part it seems that people nowdays have more demands on their time, and prefer watching 200 channels on TV, and the Internet in their spare time.



posted on Jul, 16 2006 @ 05:02 PM
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Originally posted by Cug
For the most part it seems that people nowdays have more demands on their time, and prefer watching 200 channels on TV, and the Internet in their spare time.

And posting on internet forums, which quite frankly takes up waaaay more time than freemasonry...



posted on Jul, 16 2006 @ 11:33 PM
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We have had a large number come in to get their first degree. The problem is none of them want to learn what is needed to advance to the next degree. It isn't that hard, but todays youths, well, they don't want to invest the time. Would be nice to not to have to learn anything, but then the whole point of it all would be lost



posted on Jul, 16 2006 @ 11:50 PM
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Originally posted by Cug

Originally posted by cryptooi
Funny I just read an article that said membership was up since all of this interest in the Da Vinci Code. Maybe it was just a local phenomenon.


It may be rising now.. but it's still way down from what it used to be. I believe at one point in time 1 in 3 men were masons (in the States). Many Fraternal orgs are seeing the same thing, I know the Moose and the Eagles are way down in membership.

For the most part it seems that people nowdays have more demands on their time, and prefer watching 200 channels on TV, and the Internet in their spare time.


In the book Freemasons for dummies, you can pretty much find it at any Barnes and Nobles, it says that back in 1945 1 in 4 men belonged to a fraternity, 1 in 25 were freemasons, so it's quite feesible that your grandpa, or great grandpa was a mason. i'm not sure what the number is now but it took a HUGE decline and i believe now it is just beginning to rise again.



posted on Jul, 17 2006 @ 06:44 AM
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Back in the day, membership in a fraternal org was the thing. Years later, membership in a community sportsteam was en vogue, and softball teams were rampant. After that, the barroom games were no longer considered evil, and billiards and dart leagues became king. Today, these sort of group activities have fallen prey to personal entertainment and instant gratification.

Personally, I think it is a tremendously good thing for the craft. Instead of folks belonging because 'everyone else does', they join because they have personal interest.



posted on Jul, 17 2006 @ 07:41 AM
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Several years ago, I was placed on a Grand Lodge Committee to study these statistics. Sadly, the Committee was not able to reach a consensus on exactly how to intepret the numbers, but I have my opinions on them.

Regular Freemasonry has indeed been on a steady decline. However, this is not necessarily due to the lack of people joining. In fact, many Grand Lodges have reported a record rise in the number of men raised to the Third Degree over the past 15 years. The actual problem seems to lie in the number of deaths, and especially those erased NPD. We cannot prevent a man's death when he is called to his reward by the Grand Architect of the Universe, but both Grand and Subordinate Lodges desperately need to address the issue of members being suspended for NPD.

Another thing that was noticed is that irregular Lodges in Continental Europe have generally been showing net gains, while we continue in net losses. It is my belief that this is due largely in part to the esoteric nature of much of irregular Continental Masonry. Without exception, every Master Mason below the age of 28 that I interviewed in my Grand Jurisdiction, who was not sponsored by a relative, had at least a basic knowledge and/or interest in Masonic esoterica before applying for initiation. This indicates a thirst for the spiritual and/or mystical side of Freemasonry, which Grand Lodges have been pretty much ignoring for the past century. Those who were sponsored by relatives (usually a father, uncle, or grandfather) generally applied for initiation because of that relative. They had much more of a lack of interest in Masonic proceedings, and were much more likely to be suspended for NPD after three years of membership.

Those suspended for NPD had a record of poor attendance, while those interested in esoterica had a record of good to excellent attendance, many eventually going on to become officers.

These young men, brand new Masons in their 20's, will someday be the leaders of the Craft. They have a completely mentality than the majority of current Masonic officials, who tend to view the Fraternity as a social club dedicated to good fellowship and charity. I tend to think that as these younger guys gain more experience in Masonry and rise to positions of leadership, they will bring their ideals and principles with them, and attract more intellectuals dedicated to academia and esotericism, as was the case in the beginning.

Also of note is that Grand Lodges are now strongly encouraging Masonic education programs. Despite the tales of the conspiracy theorist, Masonic meetings can be, in large part, sort of boring. In a regular business meeting, the Secretary reads the minutes, then reads the bills for the month, then a few motions are made, a couple of candidates are balloted on, then the Lodge is closed, and everybody goes home. After a few of these types of meetings, the new Mason sees little that is appealing, and decides he could better spend his evening watching TV.

My Lodge, and many others in my jurisdiction, have restricted all the administrative business stuff to 20 minutes or so. No longer do we tolerate 45 minute discussions on whether to have hamburgers or bar-b-que at the next meeting. Business is handled swiftly so there will be plenty of time to feature a guest speaker, or some Brother from the Lodge having a presentation. Again, everywhere we have looked we have found that Masons thirst for more Light in Masonry, and these education programs have increased attendance substantially. If the Brethren here have not tried in their Lodge, I challenge you to do so, even if you start with nothing more than a ten minute talk on the meaning of some Masonic symbol, like the 47th Problem of Euclid or the Bee Hive. You'll be pleasantly surprised with the results.



posted on Jul, 17 2006 @ 01:19 PM
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Originally posted by Fitzgibbon
I think it's a social and demongraphic thing.


a-HA!. I knew her was something demonic going on!


(j/k) I know through the '60s & '70s period there was a stigma about joining anything. Kind of a "do your own thing, dude", anti-establishment situation. I know I've always been a serious non-joiner from Cub Scouts to college frats. And a lot of guys in my age group were like that. Not saying we're right. Just saying.



posted on Jul, 18 2006 @ 09:24 PM
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Originally posted by yeahright

Originally posted by Fitzgibbon
I think it's a social and demongraphic thing.


a-HA!. I knew her was something demonic going on!


Actually I debated correcting that but figured it would be more fun left as is.



posted on Jul, 19 2006 @ 05:24 AM
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Originally posted by FlyersFan
According to this article Freemason membership numbers are down.




In the words of the worst pirate you've ever seen- Captain Jack Sparrow- "will you be saving her mate?"


What do Masons do? I can't decide with all the directly opposing opinions.



posted on Jul, 19 2006 @ 08:54 AM
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I think another reason it could be plummeting is a decreased lack of desire for committment to any sort of organization in our society. Plus, society has become alot more amoral, and Freemasonry believes in upright morality.

Also, Masons are supposed to be responsible people, and we find more and more people who are irresponsible, or people who refuse to take any responsibility for their actions.

Basically, I think Masonic membership is declining because we live in a world that is increasingly hostile or apethetic to Masonic values.

If it feels good do it type mentalities are not the stuff Masonry is made of.



posted on Jul, 19 2006 @ 09:05 AM
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Originally posted by Burnt Offering
What do Masons do? I can't decide with all the directly opposing opinions.




With all these wide and diverse opinions floating around, I'm not too sure any more either



posted on Jul, 23 2006 @ 06:43 AM
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I personally find it hard to believe that membership is falling when you see a brand new 33 story skyscraper at 66 Goulburn Street Sydney adorned with a modernised square and compass.
Still can't walk down the streets of most of the white neighbourhoods here without have a couple of fruitcakes coming up to me and carrying on with some semi-sensical role-play nonsense but overall I can see it starting to decay and fall apart now, give it another 2 years tops and a lot of these guys will have woken up to the fact they have been hoodwinked.
A round of applause has to go out to "Brother Pterodactyl" (not his real name) who while drunk on a Friday night decided to ad-lib rather badly and stood spread-eagle in the doorway of the kebab shop screaming at me for about 2 minutes, then ummm...obviously suddenly realising he was standing in front of 4 or 5 people howling like a lunatic quietly shuffled off.
Really brightened my week up immeasurably.



posted on Jul, 23 2006 @ 07:38 AM
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At times I've been interested in joining a lodge and to become a freemason. However, since I would first need to know one to become one, and I don't know anyone who is a mason, it has been impossible. I did inquire about joining some years ago, and the answer basically was "If you know a brother, ask them to recommend you and we'll go from there."
Here in Finland masonry has also skipped a generation, so anyone I know from my age group are not members and I would think that someone who is would be something like 20 years my senior.
I'm not saying that the doors should be opened and left open for anyone to waltz in, but there just might be some gains to be had from a bit more open way to apply for a membership.



posted on Jul, 23 2006 @ 08:08 AM
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Originally posted by Skadi_the_Evil_Elf
I think another reason it could be plummeting is a decreased lack of desire for committment to any sort of organization in our society. Plus, society has become alot more amoral, and Freemasonry believes in upright morality.

Also, Masons are supposed to be responsible people, and we find more and more people who are irresponsible, or people who refuse to take any responsibility for their actions.

Basically, I think Masonic membership is declining because we live in a world that is increasingly hostile or apethetic to Masonic values.

If it feels good do it type mentalities are not the stuff Masonry is made of.



I knew a Mason once and asked him about it. He couldn't tell me much but said that Masonry is a lot of work, he said there is a lot of memory work to do and once you learn it you have to do it over and over and over again till you die, and teach new Masons to do it over and over until they die. He said the repetition of it all killed him. He told me not to tell anyone or the Masons might poison him in the next restaraunt he eats in.



posted on Jul, 23 2006 @ 10:16 AM
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Originally posted by Count
At times I've been interested in joining a lodge and to become a freemason. However, since I would first need to know one to become one, and I don't know anyone who is a mason, it has been impossible. I did inquire about joining some years ago, and the answer basically was "If you know a brother, ask them to recommend you and we'll go from there."
Here in Finland masonry has also skipped a generation, so anyone I know from my age group are not members and I would think that someone who is would be something like 20 years my senior.
I'm not saying that the doors should be opened and left open for anyone to waltz in, but there just might be some gains to be had from a bit more open way to apply for a membership.


I'm a little suprised at their response. I was in the same situation and made it a habit to try to swing by the local lodge at varying times not knowing their meeting times and all. I came across the Brother Secretary at the time and he gladly gave me the nickel tour. When I said I didn't know anyone who was a Mason, he offered to stand for me and we took it from there. I mean, there is an interview beforehand by a trio of Masters to make sure your reasons are worthy. I'd try again and see if you have better luck.



posted on Jul, 24 2006 @ 01:44 AM
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Originally posted by Skadi_the_Evil_Elf
Basically, I think Masonic membership is declining because we live in a world that is increasingly hostile or apethetic to Masonic values.

I think this is a very perceptive comment. Also (in some areas at least) there are fewer and fewer Christians to draw upon as members as religion as a whole appears to be becoming less popular. In the UK the vast majority of people no longer go to a church.

However I do believe that 'spirituality' is on the rise, and we may find that the typical freemason of the future may not necessarily be a traditional 'christian', but perhaps someone who has a spiritual approach to life but a more vague sense of God.

I think the world would be less hostile if it actually understood those values, and the challenge for freemasonry is to explain what it is more effectively without losing its essence or mistique.

[edit on 24-7-2006 by Trinityman]



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