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membership change
Posted: 09 February 2013 07:04 AM   [ Ignore ]  
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I know Freemasonry is about bettering yourself, it does not derive any power from its members in high office and is only a mens fraternity. I also know that men should join for selfless reasons to better themselves and to be a cornerstone in their society. I still have one question though that no mason can answer me. What has changed in the membership composition of the Freemasons? From 14 past presidents in the USA to no middle or upper politicians since 1976(to my research). Membership also consisted of kings, politicians like winston churchill and famous men like mozart and beethoven. Now I know that men of all walks of life can join from the whitehouse gardener to the president and I know that all men are on equal grounds. I am planning to join regardless of what so called “famous” people are or have been members. But anyone honest to themselves would observe that there has been a change in membership and that men holding positions like the above are not present today in the fraternity-not that it is a bad thing. I am just curious to know what possibly could have caused that change

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Posted: 09 February 2013 09:18 AM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 1 ]  
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You will likely get as many differing opinions as the number of people who answer this.

My take is that those men were Masons first and then became famous, not the other way around.

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Posted: 09 February 2013 09:34 AM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 2 ]  
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I think you are concentrating on a mistaken idea of what Freemasonry is and the role of famous men within it.

However what you do not seem to be factoring in is that unless they rise to sevior positions within their Grand Lodge people (non-Masons) are unlikely to learn of their membership until they have died and then end up being added to lists of Famous Freemasons.

Just to correct something you mention, Royalty is still involved in Freemasonry in countries where there is Royalty. The current Grand Master of the UGLE is the Duke of Kent and his brother Prince Michael of Kent is the Provincial Grand Master of Middlesex, you probably don’t recognise their names but they are cousins of the Queen of England. I have met people who are both famous and also in powerful positions but that is irrelevant to them being Masons

However it doesn’t actually matter whether these people are or were Masons that is just not what Freemasonry is about and they didn’t join because other famous people were members but because they were interested just like the rest of us.

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Posted: 09 February 2013 10:33 AM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 3 ]  
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You mention a handful of people, but there have been millions of masons throughout history. For that matter, there are millions of members… now. Among any group of millions of people, there are bound to be some people who were famous or politically powerful. The same time these famous people were masons, so too were millions of people who had quiet lives. Clerks, smiths, merchants, shopkeepers, traders, cooks, every brand of people with no fame or fortune at all.

For that matter, not many people exactly flaunt their Freemasonry membership around left and right. As Mike Martin there mentioned, you may not even find out someone’s status as a Freemason with fame and fortune until after they’ve died.

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Posted: 09 February 2013 11:50 AM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 4 ]  
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No Mike, I get the idea wholly of what Freemasonry is about, it is NOT about its members but rather teaching men what really is important in life-something I appreciate very much.  Maestro as for the dukes I was well aware of them, but I compared the duke of kent who is 14th in line to the throne to King Edward who actually was King. Look I don’t care really if there are any famous Masons or even if it should happen that there are only a thousand Masons left world wide, I will join the Craft for what it stands for. I don’t want to offend or come over as to caring about joining just to meet famous people. See it as curiosity if you read that the sky is pink for 400 years and now its blue, you’ll all wonder why. I am also aware of the many others that were famous masons, that was just a few examples.

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Posted: 09 February 2013 01:40 PM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 5 ]  
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That’s my point you are basing the question on lists of famous Masons that go back 300 years and stick all those people together as if they were all members at the same time, they weren’t and nothing about Freemasonry has changed.

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Posted: 09 February 2013 03:22 PM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 6 ]  
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Mike we are exactly making the same point, nothing has changed. I just want to know how does todays membership reflect on that of the past 300 years. I have no ulterior motives I am doing my masters in business analytics, this is what I do for a living I compare the way people behave today based on how they behaved in the last ten years. I am just curious and I don’t seem to find any answers to cure my curiousity. I don’t need to know if all goes well Ill join soon. So the high regard I hold Freemasonry does not depend on other members or past members.

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Posted: 09 February 2013 05:04 PM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 7 ]  
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Freemasonry is about making GOOD men Better. We can’t help it if the GOOD men of the world are not applying to this fraternity… We don’t ask people to join(that is in general, I have heard that there are some states that allow this? am not sure though). That is something that we don’t do. So If there are less “Famous” people, its probably because they are choosing not to join. We also pride ourselves on having GOOD men in our fraternity. This can exclude some “Famous” people. We don’t make it a point that we have famous people in our Fraternity. We make it a point that we have GOOD men in our fraternity.

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My Opinion:
I also believe that the new generations either don’t know about our great fraternity or because they are uninterested in putting ‘x’ amount of time towards our great fraternity. They don’t understand the concept of putting their time into something and not receiving something of monetary value back out of it. We receive something better: Brotherhood and friendship. But that is missing in the younger generations. Most of my generation(I am 20 years old) doesn’t see friendship and brotherhood as something as valuable as it truly is.

Just my thoughts :)

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James T.

As always, correct me if I’m wrong Brothers. Its happened before, and I’m sure it will happen again.

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Posted: 10 February 2013 01:11 AM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 8 ]  
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I am 23 and agree completely. My question though was more to the side that if you used the members of the past 300 years as a baseline how does members today compare to that baseline.

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Posted: 10 February 2013 05:14 AM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 9 ]  
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The only way for you to get a sensible answer is to join and become very active and travel widely so that you might bump into famous members or wait for 50 plus years til they are dead and added to lists of Famous Masons. As Masons we are not really interested in present famous Masons unless we meet them or they hold positions of prominence with the Craft.

I can’t really think of any other way to explain to you that it is a non-issue for Masons only non-Masons seem to have an interest.

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Posted: 10 February 2013 05:45 AM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 10 ]  
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Yea I guess its a non-mason issue, still interests me. But what interests me more is good men being made better, not rogue famous people trying to be made good.I am joining as soon as I get feedback, so probably will do the become active and travel option ;)

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Posted: 10 February 2013 09:21 AM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 11 ]  
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Let’s perhaps pose an answer a different way; what percentage do you suppose do the ‘famous’ comprise of the membership over the years? Less than 1% would be my guess. Taken in that context, I doubt that much has changed!

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Posted: 10 February 2013 10:46 AM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 12 ]  
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Excellent answer Richard! That is exactly the kind of answer I was looking for, I wanted to know how does it compare and that is a satisfying answer. Thank you!

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