(...) Martin joined when he was only 25. Seven years on, he is still the youngest in both his Lodges (or groups of masons). For him, freemasonry is very definitely a force for good.
“It's like boy scouts, but on steroids!” said Martin. “I first read about free-masonry as a teenager. The idea of this secret society that had been instrumental in promoting, learning and science and freeing slaves…For me these secret, virtuous protectors of the universe were so cool, and they've even got a super-hero uniform!”
Martin now works for a masonic publisher but his colourful past includes being a schoolboy martial arts champion, an escapologist, hypnotist and a member of the Magic Circle. Indeed, as a student of ninjitsu he can call himself a ninja.
It is the ritual, history, training and brotherhood of freemasonry that fascinates him. He believes the formal initiation ceremonies are, like many martial arts, another path towards self-improvement.
“For me they are so beautiful and inspiring,” he said. And he loves the shared experience of masonry, and finding out who else is involved.
“I will do a handshake, or quote a little bit of the ritual, but I find just asking 'Are you a freemason?' works well!” he said.
Masons, and there is a clue in the name, are thought to have started out as stone-masons. Many of the rituals and symbols can be traced back to the medieval stonemasons who built our great churches and cathedrals.
As they travelled around Europe they developed a code to demonstrate their level of skill, protecting their craft with secret signs and passwords. Many of these were focused around the only building described in detail in the Bible - King Solomon's Temple.
That is the basis of the Temple used by freemasons today.
And even today a mason must believe in a “supreme being” (although not necessarily the Christian or Jewish God) who is called the Supreme Architect. (Continue)