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Masonic News & Views - Online Masonic Light
April 07, 2014
I trust this finds you well.
In a previous News & Views we discussed the alleged "Death of the Illuminati?" at the hands of Internet frauds and scammers. This particularly troubled me because through the operation of the Masonsmart Web-site I've come across many fraudulent Masonic Web-sites set up for the purpose of scamming people out of money in the form of fake membership or registration fees. Because some of these sites used our own educational efforts in their ploy to defraud I wondered if in our eagerness to enlighten and educate we were providing them with sufficient information to appear legitimate to the uninitiated. We received some very interesting responses to the question with valid points for both more and less online information.
One Brother reported that their lodge posted only information about the lodge and its activities, while reserving information that is better imparted in person. This approach would better provide them an opportunity to explain the Craft and answer questions.
Another Brother felt strongly that these fraudulent Web-sites be reported and efforts made to assist prospective members in contacting the appropriate Grand Lodge.
Again, a Brother expressed a fear that with so much information available online the curious might feel there's nothing more to be gained by actually joining. But as he said, "...the experience of the ritual can not be 'Googled'." Furthermore and more-so is the very real possibility that the newly elected and initiated member might be disappointed when the reality of Masonry doesn't live up to preconceived notions based on his online readings.
An interesting follow-up question that he posed is why do Masons share so much online? Is it perhaps that these Brethren seek more Light and want to explore deeper and higher Masonic education than they are receiving in our Lodges? Do they turn to the Web in search of like-minded Masons, or do they feel less comfortable discussing and questioning in their own Lodge than in the seeming anonymity of the Internet?
And, another Brother shared his story as he approaches his one year anniversary as a Master Mason. Alan didn't know any Masons he could talk to so he turned to the Internet for answers. He found enough positive information to keep him interested but enough negativity to give him pause. He researched extensively and his journey took him on a virtual roller-coaster of information. He realizes in hindsight, he said, that much of his concerns could have been dispelled by a simple visit to the lodge, but the negative Web propaganda made him uncomfortable with the idea. As he continued to dig a trend emerged and he saw that the negative sites were all trying to sell something or steer him to take some action, while the legitimate sites simply offered information without agenda.
But, what impressed me most about Alan's story was the part he described as undramatic. What tipped the scale, he said, was that while attending a farm estate auction a Masonic pin came up for bid. He watched with interest, wanting to see who would purchase such an item. Over the crowd he saw the hand of the winning bidder and the Masonic ring that it bore. He said the man's bearing, appearance and very presence so impressed him that he immediately yearned for that same Light in his own life.
Since being raised as a Master Mason Alan has been appointed Marshal of his Lodge and continues to search for more Light. He still goes to the Internet for information but, he says, the Light he finds there is a pale flicker compared to that which he finds in the fellowship and friendships he's made in his travels.
I'll leave you with Alan's own words, "I'm actually grateful that the Light I continue to seek will best be served via a kind Brother's voice or a Brother's uplifting words."
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