There is little doubt that Freemasonry has come a long way in the last 20 years. From an inward-looking anachronistic organisation happy in its own isolation; now, it is becoming outward looking, more public than ever and, in the process, enjoying significantly more public support. Freemasonry has begun to drop its veil of secrecy and the public likes what has been revealed so far.
Attracting young people is absolutely essential to the long-term future of any association and lifting the lid on Freemasonry seems certain to be helpful in doing just that. I am using the term, “lifting the lid”, to mean becoming significantly more accessible to the public which is being done at a time when virtually everything else you can think of is more accessible than before. Let’s be clear, Freemasonry is lagging, not leading this trend. Within Freemasonry, forward-thinking London Lodges are building websites such as this one, joining the social media movement and many other things to make our existence and what we do more open and evident.
Freemasons all know that the ceremonial side of Craft Freemasonry is as harmless as the ceremonial part of the State Opening of Parliament or a local Ceremony of Remembrance for fallen soldiers. The drive towards openness is just as welcome to many Freemasons as it is to members of the general public who are beginning to understand through micro-messages repeated thousands of times in social media that Freemasonry is actually all about having fun, spreading happiness and doing things which bring lasting benefit to others. Less intrusively, more complete messages are being written into the websites of UK Lodges which seek to explain how and why Freemasonry is a tool with amazing potential for good in society.
Openness is also making it possible for new members to approach and join a Lodge without already being a friend of one of its members. Joining a London Lodge or one in the provinces is becoming easier than ever and the spirit of openness is making it possible for prospective new members to get much more comfortable with what Freemasonry is actually all about before deciding to join.
Louis Brandeis is quoted as stating, “sunlight is said to be the best of disinfectants” and so the new drive towards openness in Freemasonry will have a useful subsidiary effect of making it more difficult for any bad apple types within the fraternity to hide in the shadows.
What could be better than a double whammy!