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Freemasonry: An Organization in Decline?

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posted on Jan, 26 2013 @ 10:52 AM
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It seems to me that in the last 50 years membership of Freemasonry is in decline. As aged Freemasons die and no new members join, masonic lodges are closing or being merged all around the world. With membership receding the financial means and influence of Freemasonry have also gone back. The esoteric meanings of Freemasonry also seem to be lost on several generations of Freemasons who joined more for the social aspects, the self-improvement or the network. However, in these modern times of ours there are plenty of other, competing places where you can build a social network or improve yourself as well as plenty of other places to learn esoteric knowledge.

These apparent facts are all very fascinating in light of the public view of Freemasonry as extremely powerful, extremely secretive, extremely influential. Being familiar with the actual state of Freemasonry, the views of ATSers or journalists or authors like Dan Brown, or Hollywood seem strange or lacking a reality-check. Even the views of masons themselves sometimes appear to make the whole thing bigger than it actually is.

Is Freemasonry in decline? Has the influential strength of Freemasonry left and gone elsewhere? Is Freemasonry in need of reform? Or is it destined to become a group that is only of interest to a particular and peculiar mindset in the future? What do you think the role of Freemasonry is in the 21st Century? Why does the greater majority project grand schemes and powers to such a harmless and benevolent organization?




posted on Jan, 26 2013 @ 11:27 AM
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reply to post by Skyfloating
 


hi, man.. there has been a lot of talk regarding freemasonry in the last week here in finland, here people have to join the masons if they need to have building licences and stuff like that, its very annoying that they do alot of business together like if you buy supplies from my company, then i know guy who knows a guy, and so on. here masons aren`t going anywhere as long as people need to do serious business. its a must. well,, its a pretty clever way to make connections and keep that thing going.. maybe that stuff works only in smaller countries.



posted on Jan, 26 2013 @ 11:40 AM
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Personally, as a mason I rejoice to hear that freemasonry is in "decline"! Freemasonry should NOT be a social club, or an avenue solely to do charity, or some place to escape from the wife every few weeks. There is nothing wrong in it having components of all those thing (even escaping the wife....all husbands need even that occasionally), but when it becomes only these things we tarnish the institution.

Freemasonry is and should be a society for a group of men who have a deep yearning to teach and understand its esoteric secrets. Our candidates should have a thirst for knowledge and a passion for masonic philosophy. The degrees should done with a reverential and mystical awe worthy of the lessons they are meant to impart. Taking degrees of the blue lodge should be sacred (in the truest sense of the word, not the sense its used for in religions) for the candidate, and should be a life changing experience (we are doing it wrong if they are anything but). Our lodges should be spaces of scholarship, fellowship, and a center for community events. I would as a mason proudly be a member of an organization 1/10th of even its current diminished size if it meant returning to these things as an organization.

Of course, I am also not so sure we are truly in decline anymore. At least in my experience, in my lodge and those around it, in the past 5 years there has been a surge in interest and membership. And the members who join are staying and are active. I rejoice for this too though, because the men joining at least in my area are exactly the type of quality candidate I am talking about.

The genuine freemason holds up the candle of tolerance, truth, and charity in a night of ignorance, hatred, an apathy. Give me 100 men who will hold that candle through the long night and I will rejoice over 1 million men who get tired of their guardianship and go home before the night even grows its darkest.
edit on 26-1-2013 by thelongjourney because: (no reason given)



posted on Jan, 26 2013 @ 11:48 AM
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Originally posted by thelongjourney
Of course, I am also not so sure we are truly in decline anymore. At least in my experience, in my lodge and those around it, in the past 5 years there has been a surge in interest and membership. And the members who join are staying and are active.


Same as at my lodge. I initiated 17 new members last year and handed over a pile of petitions and candidates to the new Master.

We also have a mentoring program which actively involves pairing new members with experienced ones sharing the same interests.



posted on Jan, 26 2013 @ 12:00 PM
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reply to post by thelongjourney
 


freemasonry also shouldn`t be about inside trading, hope it isn`t as a whole...



posted on Jan, 26 2013 @ 12:21 PM
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Originally posted by solve
reply to post by thelongjourney
 


freemasonry also shouldn`t be about inside trading, hope it isn`t as a whole...


Its not...even in part. On these boards freemasonry is accused of the most insane, complete out of left field stuff I've ever seen. For all the real problems the fraternity has I've never seen the people making accusations on this board actually touch on a REAL problem. Inside trading? We can barely keep the lights on in most lodges, if we were engaging in a massive financial conspiracy based on insider information paying the rent wouldn't be such a big issue.



posted on Jan, 26 2013 @ 12:42 PM
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reply to post by thelongjourney
 


sorry if i annoyed you, but in the here it really goes like that, i have relatives that are masons and a few friends and they have confirmed that they do business like that.. i think its only local lodges that do that, glad to hear that it isnt a larger problem.



posted on Jan, 26 2013 @ 12:57 PM
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Originally posted by solve
reply to post by thelongjourney
 


sorry if i annoyed you, but in the here it really goes like that, i have relatives that are masons and a few friends and they have confirmed that they do business like that.. i think its only local lodges that do that, glad to hear that it isnt a larger problem.


I have no doubt that you sincerely believe that it "really" happens like that, but I also have no doubt that these types of stories are told all over the internet. Every single time I've seen one investigated, one of two things is the outcome (1) the original claim was made up because the poster didnt get a job/didnt get promoted/had some other issue and needs someone to blame...thus the masons got blamed, (2) its really going on but its not by actual freemasons, just people who use the trappings of freemasonry or other symbolism that people confuse with freemasonry. Do have you any evidence whatsoever for this claim beyond personal stories? It makes no sense, freemasonry is probably the least convenient organizational structure I've ever seen for "insider trading."



posted on Jan, 26 2013 @ 01:10 PM
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reply to post by thelongjourney
 

i really don`t believe that my relatives would lie about being a mason, it just have come up in random conversations and they have just mentioned the fact that they prefer doing their work with other masons, and employ mostly other masons. i am pretty sure that this has nothing to do with freemasonry in general, maybe its just how they as individuals have chosen to do.. but still i am glad to realize that this is a small, local problem. and no, i dont have any evidence besides conversations with my family.
edit on 26-1-2013 by solve because: (no reason given)



posted on Jan, 26 2013 @ 01:27 PM
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Originally posted by solve
...it just have come up in random conversations and they have just mentioned the fact that they prefer doing their work with other masons, and employ mostly other masons. i am pretty sure that this has nothing to do with freemasonry in general, maybe its just how they as individuals have chosen to do..


I do not want to derail Sky's thread but to be honest with you if the situation arose where there were two strangers, with one being a Mason and one not, and I were told I had to do business with one I would pick the Mason because my expectations of him being more honest in his dealings would be the deciding factor.

And if I found out he was dishonest I would make sure he was expelled from the Fraternity.



posted on Jan, 26 2013 @ 01:33 PM
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I honestly thought Freemasonry was on an up swing,
so far we have 3 to initiate, 5 to pass1 to raise and 4 to prove.
Monday night we are expecting 150 members (tickets sold) for our Robby Burns Dinner and Scottish 3rd degree demonstration.

From the Grand Masters message Of the Grand Lodge of Canada in Ontario, from D. Garry Dowling,


www.grandlodge.on.ca...
As we near the mid point of this Masonic year, we continue to be pleased with the resurgence of interest in our Fraternity across the Province. Many, many lodges are engaged in degree work and are making serious efforts to actively engage our newer Masons with social and family events.


I could be wrong but I thought the numbers were up over all.
Though I do know there are a few lodges in my district in the outer areas that are in decline.
So location could have a lot to do with the appeared decline, I think.



posted on Jan, 26 2013 @ 01:46 PM
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Originally posted by solve
reply to post by thelongjourney
 

i really don`t believe that my relatives would lie about being a mason, it just have come up in random conversations and they have just mentioned the fact that they prefer doing their work with other masons, and employ mostly other masons. i am pretty sure that this has nothing to do with freemasonry in general, maybe its just how they as individuals have chosen to do.. but still i am glad to realize that this is a small, local problem. and no, i dont have any evidence besides conversations with my family.
edit on 26-1-2013 by solve because: (no reason given)


See this is exactly what I mean. Judging from this post and your other posts in this thread you made it seem like there was some vast scheme whereby masons would ONLY do business with other masons and actively crowd out non-masons. But the story seems to be that you know some masons that say they prefer doing work with other masons.

This isn't unusual - most people would prefer to work with their friends. I know of lots of people who hire their friends, or people who go to the same organizations they belong to (church members hire each other, golf club members, etc.). As a mason my preference would also be to hire a mason if I am choosing between two job candidates with all other things being equal, what is so wrong with that?

We should probably stop derailing the post, if you wish to continue this I encourage you to post a OP about it.



posted on Jan, 26 2013 @ 01:47 PM
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reply to post by Skyfloating
 

One might say that Freemasonry is in decline due to the severe drop in membership, but while we are declining I believe that the membership boom of the 50s and 60s gave everyone a false sense of security. While many call the 50s and 60s the Golden Age of Freemasonry I say that many bad practices were created in that time. Lodges became more factories than a place of education and enlightenment.

I hope that with many reforms being pushed by younger Masons that more young men will be brought into our Halls, but I do not wish to repeat the mistakes of the past and rather would be happy with a healthy, educated Lodge rather than one I can say has a large membership. A Lodge could have several hundred members, but if none of them show up, who cares what size their Lodge is.

I know many are pushing the Traditional Observance Lodge and in many places those Lodges are flourishing, not just in members, but in education and events outside the Lodge. I know my Lodge is pushing more events to be held outside the Lodge. I noticed today that the Sovereign of my Red Cross of Constantine Conclave cancelled our August meeting since we're going to travel to Northern Idaho to attend another Conclave's picnic.

Freemasonry is capable of existing for many more years if we, the members, are capable of honing the valuable traditions while embracing some changes in culture and technology. I also say we need to go back to some of our lost roots that first made Freemasonry great that seem to have been lost or put aside during the time of the factory.

That's just my opinion.



posted on Jan, 26 2013 @ 03:34 PM
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So the consensus seems to be that Freemasonry is no longer in decline or that decline in quantity does not mean a decline in quality. Interesting thoughts to ponder.



posted on Jan, 26 2013 @ 05:22 PM
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reply to post by Skyfloating
 

I'm actually working on an article comparing the housing crisis, the recession, and symptoms seen in Freemasonry.



posted on Jan, 26 2013 @ 08:00 PM
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reply to post by Skyfloating
 





no new members join, masonic lodges are closing or being merged all around the world. With membership receding the financial means and influence of Freemasonry have also gone back. The esoteric meanings of Freemasonry also seem to be lost on several generations of Freemasons who joined more for the social aspects, the self-improvement or the network. However, in these modern times of ours there are plenty of other, competing places where you can build a social network or improve yourself as well as plenty of other places to learn esoteric knowledge.


I enjoy the charitable and or 'right-hand' aspects of Freemasonry a good deal. However, I am primarily interested in the esoteric side, and a venue in which to discuss such, with like minds. To me, the two halves come together greatly.

Sadly, my desire for the esoteric side of Freemasonry, made me want to research it a great bit, and as such, during my inquisition about why I was interested in the Craft, I revealed too much about what I had learned, and was denied...The Brothers said they liked me a whole lot, and everybody thought that I was a rather brilliant and clean-cut kid; but they didn't have any quote, unquote, secrets to divulge to me...

It agitates me to a degree, that the Brother's at my lodge, jerked me around for 4 months, before finally deciding to question me, and have me as a guest at their Dinner; but then denied me....

Don't get me wrong, I'm still as determined as ever, I just don't like how long they waited and what I went through to be denied; and what I got denied for..I have a few months to go until I can repetition the Lodge for membership...I plan on keeping that schedule...The Brother I talked to just told me to be more careful of what I said next time...
edit on 26-1-2013 by VeritasAequitas because: (no reason given)
edit on 26-1-2013 by VeritasAequitas because: (no reason given)



posted on Jan, 27 2013 @ 03:48 PM
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Originally posted by VeritasAequitas
.The Brother I talked to just told me to be more careful of what I said next time...


The alternative is to look for another local lodge that is more esoterically focused.



posted on Jan, 27 2013 @ 03:49 PM
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Originally posted by KSigMason

I'm actually working on an article comparing the housing crisis, the recession, and symptoms seen in Freemasonry.


Do elaborate a little if you like...



posted on Jan, 27 2013 @ 04:00 PM
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Originally posted by Skyfloating
So the consensus seems to be that Freemasonry is no longer in decline or that decline in quantity does not mean a decline in quality. Interesting thoughts to ponder.


Talking to masons all over, it would seem that masonry is not immune to the economy. In areas where the detrimental effects of a bad economy are less felt, the structure of masonry seems more intact, where in areas where the piss poor economy is wreaking havoc, it seems freemasonry is declining.

At least that's how I see it.



posted on Jan, 27 2013 @ 04:21 PM
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reply to post by Skyfloating
 


Is there any method to doing such a thing? How will I be able to ask in a polite manner if they are more esoterically inclined?





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