Has anyone ever been inside a Masonic Lodge?

Back story: So....I've been accepted into a unique pre-apprenticeship program for women to try to increase my earning potential, among other pursuits. It's a big bold scary move, but if successful I could potentially double (or triple) my income very soon!

So I know nothing about the trades. I've been drawn (through research) to bricklaying and/or tile marble...(Don't laugh).

I came across free masonry in my search, and remembered a weird fundamentalist video I saw once about the masons being of the devil. And then they showed a horrific anti-abortion video and cried THE WORLD IS ENDING!! (It was in 1999 right before Y2k)

After that I stayed away from knowing more....scared the shit out of me (I was 17).


See more here:

http://en.m.wikipedia.org/wiki/Freemasonry

Part of that article here:

Freemasonry describes itself as a beautiful system of morality, veiled in allegory and illustrated by symbols. The symbolism is mainly, but not exclusively, drawn from the manual tools of stonemasons - the square and compasses, the level and plumb rule, the trowel, among others. A moral lesson is attached to each of these tools, although the assignment is by no means consistent. The meaning of the symbolism is taught and explored through ritual.

All Freemasons begin their journey in the "craft" by being progressively initiated, passed and raised into the three degrees of craft, or blue lodge Masonry. During these three rituals, the candidate is progressively taught the meanings of the lodge symbols, and entrusted with grips, signs and words to signify to other Masons that he has been so initiated. The initiations are part allegory and part lecture, and revolve around the construction of the Temple of Solomon, and the artistry and death of his chief architect, Hiram Abiff. The degrees are those of Entered apprentice, Fellowcraft and Master Mason. While many different versions of these rituals exist, with two different lodge layouts and versions of the Hiram myth, each version is recognisable to any Freemason from any jurisdiction.

In some jurisdictions the main themes of each degree are illustrated by tracing boards. These painted depictions of Masonic themes are exhibited in the lodge according to which degree is being worked, and are explained to the candidate to illustrate the legend and symbolism of each degree.

The idea of Masonic brotherhood probably descends from a 16th-century legal definition of a brother as one who has taken an oath of mutual support to another. Accordingly, Masons swear at each degree to keep the contents of that degree secret, and to support and protect their brethren unless they have broken the law.[15] In most lodges the oath or obligation is taken on a Volume of Sacred Law, whichever book of divine revelation is appropriate to the religious beliefs of the individual brother (usually the Bible in the Anglo-American tradition). In Progressive continental Freemasonry, books other than scripture are permissible, a cause of rupture between Grand lodges.

It's all very elusive and weird. I've seen Masonic Lodges, but never ever heard anything about them. I don't know ANYONE who has ever gone to one, and I hope I'm not stepping into a cult-trade if I become a mason...or is it just some kind of club where they do weird hand shakes and collect money?

Pardon my ignorance, but it's a brave new world!!!

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 I will admit, I am not very girlie-I am a science/tech/theatre nerd, so to me the parties gave off a rather cultish undertone-"Which can be easily blended out with their foundation and concealer sticks" They scared me more than any masonic ritual, and I went home and curled up in a fetal position and watched reruns of Star Trek (with a new blusher and mascara).  By the way, I love that you are doing this apprenticeship program-it sounds like a great opportunity. The Masons are far removed from the actual work, but it has been a fantastic discussion.

I am a single mom too, and I understand where you are coming from for the career change-I just moved the family halfway across the country and away from my family for a higher paying position, but it was the best thing in the world for me to do. It is scary to move out of a comfort zone, especially if you have little people depending on you to not make too many mistakes. I have made a few leaps before and have become quite the expert in instigating and surviving dramatic life changes. With your writing ability, you may also want to think about getting some project management experience through the apprenticeship program if it is available as time goes on. Just being able to think things through in any project has gotten me overly busy at the theatre as a stage manager for a side gig. 

I was working beside the second oldest Freemasons lodge in the world today.......and if you would like to join.....you must be a theist though...click me

My friend was really trying to get me to join before he was aware that I had become an atheist. Once he found out he never pressured me about it again. But even when I was a Christian I was repelled by the secrecy and the air of cultishness that in my opinion they've done nothing to discourage.

I remember when they were trying to do PR years ago by saying something like, "We're not a secret society, we're a society with secrets." That's like churches that are tying to do damage control today by saying they're not religious.

no, I'm afraid as a non american, I'm unable to see much of a paten between them. a couple I know of, a couple stand out for reasons I cant put my finger on and the rest I have no idea of.

"Notice anything strange about this list?.... :-) lol"

No, sorry. Can I ask for help?

I'd always just assumed that all the secrecy surrounding all these "Orders" was the working men's response to the gentlemen's clubs where they wouldn't have been allowed. "Oh yeah, well WE have an exclusive club, too, and YOU can't join and we're not sharing all of our cool secrets and handshakes".

"Them and Us" is pretty in-built in humans. But I would have thought that, like so many of our baser instincts, this instinct would tend to be superseded by increasing civilization.

I don't see that anyone has actually addressed your question. Though Free Masonry has some historical connection to masons, there is no modern connection. Free masons tend to be business people and use this "club " as a major networking device. There is no way these guys would ever  get their hands dirty laying bricks.

"These days, I think there'd be the same odds as a tiler or brickie  being a mason as someone that worked with computers, or trained animals.  In other words, I don't think you could assume the guy that built your house is in the masonic any more than the guy that delivered you mail this morning."

Sorry, I did burrey that one under a load of other stuff so was easily missed.

1. It doesn't make sense that the Free Masons would ask you to join them. Here's what I've gathered from this thread:

-They're no longer closely tied to the masonry trade.
-They tend to invite people who have networking currency (up and coming businessmen and political leaders).
-They don't let you in if you have ovaries.

So, I have to wonder if this is a scam. Is the apprentiship program paying YOU or are you paying THEM?

no such thing as a 'silly question' you wanted to test what was a fair assumption based on what you knew.  I see it as a very intellectual question.

It wasn't silly! I think I misunderstood what you were asking. I thought someone was inviting you into the Free Masons and offering job training. My bad!

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