View Full Version : Rolled trouserlegs & funny handshakes...Masons in the 21st Century?

Richard Taylor
15th Sep 2008, 08:08
Was listening to a story this morning about how our local Masonic Lodge is seriously considering "opening up to members of the public" ostensibly to raise funds for a leaking roof.

Are the Masons & their "practices" still of relevance in the 21st Century?

Is still still "who you know" that gets you into the secretive society? Or is that a secret?! :p

Do Govt officials, Police Chiefs, Pilots:} for instance still get to be members?

Any Jetblasters members...or aren't you allowed to say? :E

And DO they still wear bowler hats, raised trouserlegs & give the funny handshake?

And I'm NOT a member...but am still curious! ;)

15th Sep 2008, 08:18
One of my family was a member & after he died, I chanced upon his masonic gear. I read through it all & as far as I could tell, it was little more than a charitable outfit crossed with a silly boys club. He thought so too & stopped bothering with it after a couple of years. Although it did help him in business, which is the common accusation levelled at them.

Lon More
15th Sep 2008, 08:26
Our Head of Ops was a member.
Funny to watch the scramble by a number of wannabees joining up only later to discover that the Master(?) of the Lodge was an ATCA II

Surprisingly, or not, a number were promoted above their level of incompetency.

Never really interested me. I discovered only last year that there was a lodge founded on old boys from my school

15th Sep 2008, 12:30
My ex Father in Law was a Master of his lodge and a more honest man it would be hard to meet. He made a number of points when I asked him a few questions, I well remember him saying, "Who, in their right mind is going to recommend someone for a job, knowing they are weak and might fail, who will that reflect on?" or, "If you were in a golf club or Rotary and you knew someone well would you not help them by recommendation if you knew they were up for a job?"
I once worked for an airline that was reputed to be, "Riddled with Masons", never adversely effected me. There is so much information readily available to the public, provided by Masonic authorities, that I can't believe any 'secrets' are really worth knowing! Last I heard they were the largest single contributor to charities in the UK.

The truth is anyone would favour anyone whom they knew and felt happy about recommending whether they were a fellow traveller or just another member of their gardening club, goes on all the time.

15th Sep 2008, 12:34
. . . or even PPRuNe . . .

15th Sep 2008, 13:56
My father was a Freemason for many years and was even "Worshipful Master" of his lodge at one stage.

It is not something that appeals to me but it ought to be mentioned that Freemasonry makes substantial contributions to various charities and also will help out their members in the event of family bereavement.

15th Sep 2008, 14:11
My grandfather was deeply involved in freemasonry until he died in 1951, and my father continued attending at least until I left home in the 60s, but I have never ever been approached or had anyone speak to me about the subject, whether to join or even discuss the subject. Maybe I was black-balled.
I still keep my grandfather's regalia as one of the few mementos that I have of him.

Little Blue
15th Sep 2008, 14:40
My brother-in-law is in the 'club' and I have seen him stopped for drink driving, clearly way over the limit, having a quick 'word' with the arresting officer and then being told that I was to drive him home as soon as possible.
Don't know what he said or did, but I wish I had the same 'Get outta jail ticket' in my pocket.
He wouldn't tell me what passed between the two of them.
And he's a goodlooking rich bastard as well.....bugger !

15th Sep 2008, 16:24
The Masonic society is a wonderful one IMHO.

(no, not a member either but unofficially know of several who are - there are relatively few female freemasons)

As has been said before, they are fundamentally a charitable association, and they look after their own, both personally and in business. Yes there are several 'rites' and rituals that are performed in historical costumes but all of these have their roots in history, and it is really just keeping the rich vein of history alive.

Generally they don't like blowing their own horn, they don't want thanks and that is, I believe, the main reason for the secrecy that surrounds them. Naturally over time this has been made to appear somewhat 'sinister' which really couldn't be further from the truth in the old and true Lodges.

they are run by a code of honour and you have to be invited to join. It doesn't matter what background or social status you hold (in reference to the 'good looking and rich brother in law'), you simply have to be an 'upstanding member of the community'. You will find very few true Freemasons that will talk openly about their Lodge as it would be deemed disrespectful of the Lodge and fellow members.

I approve of them, wholeheartedly. :)

15th Sep 2008, 16:55
So you lot not on 'The square' then?

15th Sep 2008, 17:13
Radar66 - You're spot on. Yes, I am a member, as was my father, Grandfather, Great-grandfather etc. As has already been mentioned, the amount we do for charity is immense - something of which we're all particularly but quietly proud. The best bit is, my son's now making enquiries!

Dick Fisher
15th Sep 2008, 18:40
Although only "on the square" for a couple of years, Masonry is one of the most interesting organisations I've ever been involved with.

Put to one side our few "secrets". They aren't any more. For the really curious, you can find all you need to know about those on the web. I even found a book in New York last week entitled "Masonry for dummies".

Much more important to my mind, is the sense of fellowship. Masonry reminds us all that our links to this life are tenuous at best and that while we are here, we should look after those who need our help.

Other contributors to this thread have already made the point about Masonry being one of the largest givers of charity in the UK. That's true, but for me, it's also great fun and deeply absorbing. I can't ever recall having been made to feel so welcome anywhere as when I first joined.

15th Sep 2008, 18:54
I have masonry bees living in my walls. Does that mean I live in a Masonic Lodge????

Sorry for the flippancy - - - couldn't resist it (and it's true about the bees).


PS - I also thoroughly approve of freemasonry.

15th Sep 2008, 18:55
I have masonry bees living in my walls. Does that mean I live in a Masonic Lodge????

15th Sep 2008, 21:14
Lodges don't go out recruiting, but will happily answer any enquiries by those who wish to join. I joined a pilot's Lodge 2 years ago, and have had the privilege to meet some fascinating people. It is a great organisation which primarily promotes charity, and certainly some of that charity is for the benefit of other Masons, or their relatives and dependents, so is in some ways an insurance policy. Alot of the charitable funds are used for all manner of other other charities in the wider community. Another of the important functions of Freemasonry is to promote the values of good conduct, and being a good citizen. I am deriving alot of pleasure from Freemasonry, and alot of enjoyment, and if it had an entry in The Hitchiker's Guide would probably say something like "see under 'Earth' [Mostly harmless]."

The secrets are mostly philosophical allegories: nothing more serious than that.

16th Sep 2008, 02:34
"I joined a pilot's Lodge" Presumably you mean, Firestorm, that you joined a lodge with a lot of other pilots as members but not exclusively?

It is my understanding that the 'closed' lodge, once found in the police or medical profession, for instance, is actually contrary to Masonic rules, all lodges are supposed to be open.

16th Sep 2008, 03:18
Pilots Lodge... Ah...

We have one very similar in my neck of the woods. Although very open and free, is comprised mainly of ex-aircrew, a lot being ex-military.

16th Sep 2008, 03:37
Out here in Downunderland there are references to the Masons everywhere, but none of the secrecy you get in the UK. There are no end of masonic halls, but also masonic retirement villages.

So the question is, as Australian men spend a lot of time in shorts do the Aussie masons roll their trouser legs down to be different?:hmm:

16th Sep 2008, 06:03
Have a read of this (http://www.bilderberg.org/masons.htm) if you think it is harmless fun.

16th Sep 2008, 06:18

That is not a valid argument I'm afraid.

The only comparison I can find is probably akin to a 'religious' argument. There are many types of masonic societies, some which shouldn't really be called that as they are breakaway factions. Some approve of some, some approve of others, there are always some people that think that they are right and everybody else is wrong... blah blah blah.

bit like trying to compare the KKK to say... buddism? and that is to bring all other relgions into the mix - muslims, jews, christians, zionists, jehovah's witnesses, brethrens, baha'i, the list is virtually endless. one wouldn't approve of another, but who are they to say that the other is 'wrong'?

Iwasoneonce - That page shows only the negative sides and not necessarily the true sides and is based on uneducated viewpoints that try to convince themselves and others that the TRUE masons are a 'cult'. The masonic societies that are being referred to above your post are the charitable and 'do gooding' ones. It is NOT a cult. Breakaway factions may try to do the 'cult' thing and bring in dubious rites, but the old and true masonic societys are not 'cultish' in any way, shape, or form.

16th Sep 2008, 06:20
I uses to be very anti the Freemasons. However, with so many other cultures asserting themselves in Britain, I now feel just a little bit sentimental about them.

Quaint, British, do gooding, a bit incestuous. It's the way we used to do things. And, on refelction, that was probably a better way.

I won't be joining them but I won't be knocking them either.

Atlas Shrugged
16th Sep 2008, 06:37
there are relatively few female freemasons)

There are none.

There are female Orders such as the Order of the Eastern Star and the Order of the Amaranth

16th Sep 2008, 06:46
Iwasoneonce: any article that is headed by the title 'Bildeberg Group' has to be a collection of supposition, conjecture, and speculation, and I noted a few factual errors in the sections referring to Freemasons, so I wouldn't believe too much of what is written there.

I saw a very cynical reference somewhere, and I apologise that I can't recall the provenance, but was something like this. "The world is run by Jews, homosexuals, and Freemasons: you can chose which group you join."

Parrabellum: some Lodges draw their membership from particular sources, so there can be an element of exclusivity. I am not sure of the precise wording of the constitution regarding such matters, but I know that Freemasonary generally is open to all, but membership of individual Lodges may require some qualification, such as Lodges of Old School societies, and the like.

Radar: sort him out :ok:

16th Sep 2008, 06:49
Atlas: there are a few Lodges for women, but they are referred to as an irregular order, and are not recognised under the constitution of United Grand Lodge, although they conduct their Masonic business following identical ritual to UGLE. I understand that they liase closely, and follow UGLE rules, and so on. I hope I'm not telling you things you already know!

16th Sep 2008, 16:57
standing by Firey, standing by.... ;)

16th Sep 2008, 20:52
So we have an Aviation Lodge at LGW. There is plenty of information for those who are interested. Take a look at The United Grand Lodge of England - Home Page (http://www.ugle.org.uk) for a few bits of info. As they say "seek and ye shall find". Simple really?

17th Sep 2008, 04:27

Why the secrecy in freemasonry?

If it is that great, why not tell all?

Atlas Shrugged
17th Sep 2008, 04:53
Secrets??? Perhaps not quite the right word.

The chief tenets, or teachings of Freemasonry are Brotherly Love, Relief and Truth. To call such things tenets means that they are not only true, but also plainly, obviously and necessarily true. Unless you can grasp this fact, unless you can see for yourself that the teachings of Freemasonry are realities, self-evident realities and not visionary ideals, you will never be able to understand Masonic teachings. They are tremendous realities in human life and it is impossible to question their existence, as it is to question the existence of the ground under our feet.

There are other tenets also, teachings of a truth and necessity so obvious that argument is never necessary to sustain them.

Dan Winterland
17th Sep 2008, 05:33
I have a broken finger on my right hand, so I have a bit of a funny handshake at the moment as I try to keep the injured finger being painfully crushed by enthusiatic handshakers. It's not dissimilar to the Mason's secret greeting. I explain to people I'm not a Mason but have a broken finger. I've offended a couple of people - who are obviously Masons!

There are a lot of Masons in the RAF and it seems that it can't hurt your career. One of my Uncles was a Mason and he offered to 'put me up'. I was in two minds, when a very senior officer contacted me and suggested I should join as it "wouldn't hurt my career". I decided not to join.

Don't ask how my RAF career went :{

17th Sep 2008, 06:06
Atlas Shrugged

Would you mind translating that load into plain English?

Dan Winterland

Good for you!!:D:D:D

Not only a man of backbone, also of principals.

17th Sep 2008, 06:14
Why the secrecy in freemasonry?

As Atlas said, secrecy is not really the right word, and to my small knowledge he is pretty close to spot on with his erudite explanation why.

Factor into this if you can the natural suspicion that people down through the ages have for the 'unknown' - how many witches were burnt for something that seems just so ridiculous to us today? Also, it's a playground thing. Child A sees Child B whispering something to Child C, covering his mouth with his hand. That is all that is needed to set up a rumour, a story that MUST be true cos EVERYBODY says it is so there! Conspiracy theories didn't start with the internet ya know! ;)

Modesty might perhaps be a better word - as it has been said before it is a charitable organisation that is supported by people who would perhaps prefer others not to know that they are the donors for reasons of their own. And it is also a variation of the 'old boys network' - a club. Lets face it - the whole apron thing is bloody ridiculous to those that don't understand the FULL story behind the reason why a perfectly sober, sane person of moral upstanding should decide to wear an embroidered and embellished symbolic apron over his pinstripes! And there is the fascination why the room in London is a floating room to make it totally soundproof. Imagination is a wonderful thing when let loose isn't it?

As I said earlier, there will always be people who disagree with others points of view and opinions. This is simply a slightly larger version of that, but perhaps not quite as large as the religion one! :)

Dan - I obviously don't know your full career history, but I can tell you that there are several senior RAF people who aren't freemasons. I'm afraid that I don't buy the story that your career failed soley on the fact that you didn't join... As was mentioned by an earlier poster, members of the club will help each other, but if the best person for a job is outside of the club then he will get it. Nepotisim will always reflect back on yourself if you get it wrong.

17th Sep 2008, 06:53
I was once asked [by an Honorary Member of the Mess] if I'd be interested in becoming a member of the local Lodge.
I was young, c25, and had had approx eight pints at the time, and made what I thought at the time was an extremely witty reply, saying that the last secret society I'd been in was the Ovaltinies and I intended to keep it that way.
I wasn't asked again.

Atlas Shrugged
17th Sep 2008, 07:20
There's really no need to translate. It's in English.

Let me expand upon it...............slightly;

Examples of “ Masonic Secrets” are everywhere. Good health is better than illness; a truthful man is more dependable than a liar; it is better to save money than to waste it; education preferred to ignorance. No intelligent man can possibly call in question any of these. Everybody takes them for granted. They are tenets.

When we look at the principal “secrets” or tenets of Freemasonry we are struck by an interesting fact: Freemasonry considers Brotherly Love, Relief and Truth to be teachings. It holds them to be true in a sense that no man can question them. They are obvious, axiomatic, self-proving.

I wonder, if you have always considered them to be so?

Is it not only too common a thing for men to consider Brotherly Love, for example, to be such that, while it might be highly desirable, it is not practicable, and is nothing therefore but a vision, to be dreamed of but never possessed.?

Freemasonry does not tell us that Brotherly Love, Relief and Truth ought to be true, it tells us that they are true.

The question is not whether we shall believe in them or not, for we cannot help but believe in them; the question is what are we going to do about them?

By love it is meant the placing of the highest possible valuation upon another person. A man's mother or father, his wife or children, his intimate friends, he values for themselves, not for advantages he may gain from them, not for their usefulness to him, but solely each one in his own person and for his own sake. We work for such persons, we make sacrifices for them, and we delight to be with them. That, in detail and practice, is what is meant by love.

What then is meant by Brotherly Love? It means that we place on another man the highest possible valuation as a friend, a companion, an associate, a neighbour, a fellow. Merely to be with him, merely to spend hours in his company, to have the privilege of working at his side is all we ask.

We do not ask that from our relationship we shall make money, or further our business interests, or achieve some other form of selfish gain. Our relationship with such a one is its own excuse for being, its own justification, and its own reward.

Everyone knows, or perhaps should know, that this Brotherly Love is one of the supreme things without which life is a lonely, unhappy, dreary kind of thing. This is not a hope or a dream, but a fact, as real as day and night. Freemasonry builds on that fact, takes it for granted, provides opportunities for us to have such fellowship, encourages us to understand it and to practice it, and to make it one of the laws of our existence. It is in short, and in literal truth one of its principal tenets.

Relief, is one of the forms taken by the principle of charity.

When we think of charity, we think of pauperism or chance poverty. We think of it, as being a condition it is necessary for the community or the state to care for. A man is crippled or chronically ill, or he is the victim of a wave of unemployment, or he is addicted to vice with the result that his dependents are left in want. To care for such a man is usually deemed to be the responsibility of the authorities, and as a rule the public discharges that responsibility through the form of organised effort public funds.

The Masonic conception of Relief is somewhat different from this. While it happens that now and then some Brother, through misfortune and no fault of his own becomes more or less incapacitated and unable to support himself and his family, and under such circumstances is cared for by his Lodge or the Masonic Home, such cases are the exception rather than the rule and are not what is meant by the tenet Relief. The qualifications required of petitioners for entrance into the Craft are such as are likely to exclude the type of man, who through indolence or vice, may be expected to lapse into poverty.

Masonic relief takes it for granted that any man, no matter how industrious or frugal he may be, may through sudden misfortune, or other circumstances over which he has no control, find himself in temporary need of a helping hand. To extend to him such a helping hand is not what is generally described as charity, but is one of the natural and inevitable acts of brotherhood.

Any possible conception of brotherhood must include as part of itself this willingness to give help, aid and assistance. Thus Relief, is in strict truth a tenet.

By Truth, is meant something more than the search for truths in the intellectual sense, though that is included necessarily, and is one of the things meant by the expression "Let there-be light". By Truth is meant that the brotherhood and its members must be truthful in character and habit, dependable, men of honour as well as of honesty, men on whom we can rely to be faithful fellows and loyal friends. No argument is needed to prove that Truth, as thus understood, is a necessity, which it is required in the nature of things if a brotherhood is to exist. It is something we must all take for granted as being beyond question.

They are the tenets of Freemasonry because always and everywhere they have been the tenets of human life.

17th Sep 2008, 11:10
It looks as if it depends on which sort of freemasons you have on your patch. Ours wanted to hold a Church service to honour the Supreme Architect of the Universe, or some such deity. On asking more, we concluded that the person so honoured wasn't the Jewish/Muslim/Christian deity. Apparently his other name is Jahbulon, which sounds to me like a conflation of Jahweh (above), Beelzebub (old Nick) and Buddha (om mane padme hum etc).

We said no.

The charitable work is excellent, and respect to those doing that. The trouser leg thing is just kinky, if that floats your boat. The magic gloves for your ladies - well, OK if she wears gloves. But the high-level secret deity bit sounds highly suspicious to me.

17th Sep 2008, 11:42
Tut -Tut:=
you could have at least attempted to displayed an unbiased opinion and included a link to a positive view of this group?

My Grandfather happened to be the 'Worshipful Master' of a Grand Lodge an honest God fearing man he was a pillar of the local community the kindest, nicest, friendliest most ordinary bloke. I was never cajoled in any way by him or any of my Uncles who were members that I should enbrace the Masonic way. Did I?, you'll never know! (apologies for the secrecy!:))

Rosslyn Chapel just outside Edinburgh is a fascinating place to visit steeped in history and mystery.

17th Sep 2008, 12:57
My late father was a freemason for many years. He only ever asked me once if I wanted to join his lodge. At the time, I declined the invitation but I changed my mind a few years later after a chat with a very good friend. As for helping my career - I don't think so! It certainly wasn't mentioned in my ACRs and I preferred to be promoted (or not) through my own abilities rather than through my connections. As for being a secret society - you only had to look at the classified ads in the Dundee Courier, under the heading "Meetings", to find out when and where to visit other lodge's.

17th Sep 2008, 13:27
I was once asked [by an Honorary Member of the Mess] if I'd be interested in becoming a member of the local Lodge.

That's sort of how I understand it, an oblique approach. You have to be invited but they don't recruit.

You could ask a mason if you could join but first find a mason. The mason will not say 'would you like to become a mason' but will approach it, having decided that you might be a valuable member, and ask if you might be interested. It is you that must say yes and I am.

I know lots of masons, I have had this oblique approach but did not want to commit to another organisation. They are quite open about their lodge and equaly open about what they are going to do. That is what puts me off. It is not the lodge meetings per se but the rehearsals for the lodge officials before hand.

Some lodges have pretty basic facilities. The lodge in Witney, near the cross, could serve quite happily as a barn. The one in Oxford quite happily as a small hotel. At a function there we were invited to tour the lodge and it was both exquisite and opulent. A mason played their piano, or organ; it was a treat.

Membership costs in both time and money and time is an increasingly rare commodity in today's world with the other half demanding her share of your time.

17th Sep 2008, 13:41
Much earlier on in this thread, someone whose father had been a freemason made a comment along the lines that his father had admitted that being afreemason had definitely aided his business. Whoever posted that originally, that part of it has subsequently been deleted. One can only hope it was the original poster and not a mod...?! :uhoh:

I have to admit that I'm somewhat confused by Keef's response. It's almost as if he acknowledges that freemasons are pretty much a cult, an order that has little place in society today, whilst accepting that their charitable works are noteworthy...?! :confused:

If freemasons have done so well in business and have the means to distribute funds towards charitable purposes, the question might well be asked, how did / do they do it? So long as we're not talking about freemasons employed by government (or even public or privately-held companies) in some procurement capacity deciding to award contracts to companies run by fellow freemasons, I don't see any problem. We have our freemasons in the UK and the rest of Europe, the USA has lobbyists...?! :E

Whatever, if they don't admit women and minorities, they ought to be considered illegal organisations today...!

17th Sep 2008, 14:12
Our local Masonic Lodge is directly adjacent to the Police Headquarters . . .

17th Sep 2008, 17:42
Hello, hello, hello?! Move along now...?! :eek:

Dan Winterland
22nd Sep 2008, 04:29
"Dan - I obviously don't know your full career history, but I can tell you that there are several senior RAF people who aren't freemasons. I'm afraid that I don't buy the story that your career failed soley on the fact that you didn't join... "

Er, no it didn't. It was 'humour'. My career didn't fail - it went exactly how I wanted it to with five straight flying tours - and no desk job. I wouldn't have wanted any 'help'.

And there are sure to be many senior officers who are not Masons. However, it was put to me that my career "would not be harmed" by joining (read into that what you may). And I know of a couple of people who were promoted up the ladder beyond their capabilities who were Masons. For example, one was promoted when he appeared to have abilities no better than anyone else in his peer group. But for the previous two years, his first reporting officer was known to be a Mason, and the Station Commander also. He got good reports which many of the people who worked with him thought very complementary considering his performance at work. He went off to a staff job and after two years came back as a Flight Commander on the Squadron where he continued his mediocre performance. He was posted away to another staff job after another two years with his career stagnated.

In his case, his membership didn't help him and it didn't help the service.

22nd Sep 2008, 09:08
And I know of a couple of people who were promoted up the ladder beyond their capabilities who were Masons. For example, one was promoted when he appeared to have abilities no better than anyone else in his peer group. But for the previous two years, his first reporting officer was known to be a Mason, and the Station Commander also. He got good reports.

I suspect the reason was not so much that he was a mason but down to face time. In this case the face time was achieved through masonry.

Church and bar are other factors. I know of a flt lt, promoted beyond his level of competence, who was a regular left-footed church goer. his other main attribute had been as a p*ss artist. Once he reached sqn ldr he was overwhelmed and resorted to a swift half or 4 at lunchtime and was wholly ineffective until gone 4.

He eventually threw his hand in during the Falklands and took up a position in academia.

I know another who invited his former sqn cdr, now stn cdr, to dinner at least once per month (may have been more often). Last I heard of him he had lost 6 months seniority even though he had been a student back-seater in an F4 during the Cranwell parade incident. He was not incompetent but probably no more talented than his peers.

Of course all of them may have been masons too.:cool:

Whiskey Oscar Golf
22nd Sep 2008, 10:18
I am not in the craft but have no problem with it either. In oz they just seem to be a bunch of blokes who get together every now and then for a feed and a lager. They contribute to charity and look after their own. I don't see that as any different to a range of other social clubs or groups of like minded individuals.

In oz we have a "multicultural" society and different groups will always try to benefit each other. That's nepotism and happens all the time, everywhere so no biggie there. I remember the police where I'm from were either Catholic or Masons and while they didn't exactly get along they weren't at war. They functioned well and got the job done, just made sure each had a fair go.

As to it being secret I don't see any great problem there. They are all pretty available now and world domination doesn't seem to be the overiding theme. It's not as though they are L 'onorata, Triads or an outlaw motorcycle gang. They try to do good and while it may be helpful for conspiracy theorists it doesn't seem that evil, in fact the opposite if anything. They just have a solid set of values that seem to be in line with all western cultures and they attempt to promote them.

There will alway be bad eggs in any group and it would be wrong to paint all members of the group as being like it's worst members, especially one as large and diverse as the Freemasons.