21st CENTURY FREEMASONRY
Freemasonry today is represented by local organizations of Freemasons who belong to the Masonic Lodge. The word "Lodge" refers as much to the masonic members themselves, as well as the actual building where the Masonic members meet.
Many Masonic Lodges now consist of Freemasons who mostly live and work in the local area, and choose to attend a local lodge. Each Lodge elects members to official positions to carry out masonic functions.
The Worshipful Master is in effect, the president. The Tiler will be at his post to "guard" the door while the Lodge is meeting.
There are generally three "degrees" or levels involved in becoming a Freemason. They are Entered Apprentice, Fellow Craft and the 3rd degree is Master Mason. ( EA, FC, and MM)
The first degree of Freemasonry is Entered Apprentice. An EA is someone who is being initiated into the Masonic Order brotherhood.
The second degree is Fellow Craft. a man in the learning or mid-stage of the process to become a Master Mason.
The third degree is called Master Mason. This degree is to signify that the candidate has progressed to the highest level in Masonry.
After WW II, there was a period of rapid growth in the membership of Masonic Lodges. Since the turbulent 60's in America, the numbers of new members joining the Freemasons have dropped dramatically.
The masons from that era are now at the age where they are facing declining health & medical issues.
Some Lodges are taking dramatic steps to reverse this trend by trying different ways of attracting new masons. Stepped up efforts including the Internet, TV commercials, and 1 Day seminars, are used to show candidates the benefits and privileges of membership.
Freemasonry has been accused of being a secretive organization. Freemasons themselves are more likely to claim that it is a very public society, but with private aspects. The most common phrasing is that the contemporary Freemasonry group is less of a secret society and more of a society with secrets.
Any group of more than one has secrets, right? The most "secret" aspects of modern Masonry are the methods of recognition among the members or aspects of the ceremonial rituals at Lodge meetings.
The contemporary Freemasons are widely involved in many charitable and community based activities. Money is collected by holding fund raisers and also from donations of the lodge members. That money is then used for charitable causes.
Modern Freemasons are very active in housing, medical & educational projects, local foodbanks, Adopt-A-Street, and Child I.D. Programs.
Reliable statistics state that modern Masonry contributes in excess of one MILLION dollars per day to charitable programs worldwide.