When I was in Iraq during the 1950's, I had some dealings with a solicitor who was high in Masonry. Upon my enquiry, he explained that it is an organisation that teaches morality, promotes charity and the brotherhood of man.
I was impressed and wanted to join. While he was willing to introduce me, he decided at that time to emigrate, and I lost the opportunity. But that was a blessing in disguise. When the revolution took place in 1958, the new government rounded up all freemasons and put them in jail!
The opportunity arose again in England during 1973 and I immediately took it up. I have never regretted that decision.
The great majority of those who join a lodge stay members for life. It is also common for them to introduce their relatives and friends. They enjoy the fellowship and the dramatic presentation of moral lessons that it provides. They can always resign if they want to. A lodge normally meets four times a year in the evenings. The meeting is in two parts. The first is formal and ceremonial. It concerns the admission of new members, the installation of a new master and the general administration of the lodge. The speakers are those who want to be active. There are also many of those who just want to sit and watch. The rituals relate to certain events in history. It teaches humility, morality, honesty, and to regard the interests of the family as paramount. Members undertake not to use masonry for personal gain. Those who prove to be below the expected standard, face expulsion.
The second part is a social gathering in which the members treat themselves with good dinner and good wine. It offers a framework for companionship, teamwork, character development, and enjoyment of shared experiences. It is forbidden to discuss religion or politics.
Membership is open to men of all faiths who are law abiding, and of good character. Masonry is not a religion, but those who join must believe in G-d. To join, you need to ask a member.
It was an excitement when one day I received a letter from the Grand Secretary stating:
"I am commanded by the Most Worshipful The Grand Master, HRH the Duke of Kent KG, to inform you that in recognition of your services to Freemasonry in London he proposes to confer upon you the honour of LONDON GRAND RANK" giving me the date and the details. I have also received honours in other orders. Each order relates to different events in history. Several Iraqi Jews have this honour and some have higher.
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