Via Brisbane Times
Brotherhood, civic duty and the chance to knock back a beer with a few good mates, Freemasonry is what it's always been, if not a little more modern.
Or so says one of Queensland's highest ranking members.
Next month, Queensland's monolithic Freemason head quarters on Ann Street will unbolt its doors and usher in the public as part of Brisbane's inaugural Open House Day.
It's a chance for the world's oldest fraternity to lift, if only partially, the veil of secrecy that has shrouded the organisation for as long as most can remember.
Graham Schulz, Deputy Grand Secretary of the United Grand Lodge of Queensland, says he's looking forward to welcoming curious tourists to the 80-year-old temple.
Unlike Rotary or Lions, Mr Schulz says, the Freemasons don't seek out constituents, so the October 2 event will serve as an educational experience cum passive membership drive.
“Young men come and see the building and go 'wow, I had no idea about this',” he explains. “And the reason they don't know is because - unless they have someone in the family involved - they're not aware, because we don't actively recruit.
“That's one of the key tenants of Freemasonry - we don't coerce people to join.”
Another key element of the brotherhood descended from the King Solomon's Phoenician craftsmen includes raising money for worthy causes (Queensland's Lodge recently gave $300,000 to the Queensland Institute of Medical Research).
“It's about making good men better, and better members of the community,” Mr Schulz says.
Contrary to popular belief, Mr Schulz says, the Freemasonic experience is not religious or “a cult”.
“In fact, when we're at Lodge, we don't talk about religion or politics,” he says. “Because they can be divisive and we have an agreement that we don't talk about either.”
Instead, he describes membership as an opportunity to experience something “authentic” – a quality the Deputy Grand Secretary believes is particularly attractive to modern young men.
“With the increasingly secular society, men are looking for something like this [to join],” he says. “A brotherhood where they can get together - spend some time once a month and have a few drinks afterwards.”
Mr Schulz refers to the “Shed Night,” a movement gaining popularity across Christian churches that offers parishioners the chance to “grow in victory becoming champion sons of the King”.
“[At these events] male members of the church get together and go and hang out in someone's shed for a night and listen to a guest speaker and have a few drinks and talk to one another,” the Freemason says.
“Well, [Freemasonry] is the original Shed Night - it has those sorts of effects on men, the male-bonding type thing.”
There's also the appeal of being part of a worldwide organisation, Mr Schulz says, one where members can go to any lodge, anywhere in the world, and “know that he would be immediately welcomed and looked after if needed”.
The development here.