I HAVE READ many books on the subject of Masonry, some of which contain valuable information (i.e., authentic descriptions of rituals and ceremonies), but almost all are written by Christians, who naturally are incapable of objectivity — or even rationality. (ILLUSTRATION: Shrine Quartet by Grant Wood, 1939)
On American Masonry, I agree with two attorneys I know, who, having been told that joining was a good way to boost their business, went as far as one can go (1° to 32°) by simply paying the fees, memorizing nonsensical rigmaroles, and submitting to ceremonies worthy of eleven-year-old boys. They look upon it as an organizational device for picking pockets, with the social utility that it does provide amusement for boys of thirty to forty and the only way by which the local barber can become the Grand Exalted Supreme Potentate of the Mystic Shrine of the Kabosh and exalt his soul higher than his scissors.
Amusement for overage boys is, of course, important. The manager of a large metropolitan hotel told me once that his hotel particularly sought conventions of the Shriners. The hotel put out its old furniture in the rooms, the boys smashed up a lot of it, and always paid for it promptly.
I also agree with two teen-age girls whom I knew years ago. One of the Masonic Lodges was in financial difficulties and had to rent out part of their quarters for offices, putting up partitions and doubtless assuming the offices would not be occupied in the evenings anyway. The girls found a peephole through which they could watch the lodges “work” their mysteries, and when they told me what they saw, they could scarcely contain their hilarity over the discovery that grown men could be so solemnly silly.
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Source: Instauration magazine, November 1978