This bibliographical research took me two years, reading and collecting information. It has been a hard and difficult work, but I am happy that I went through it. I do not have the pretension that I know everything about Freemasonry but I enjoyed what I learned.
I am more and more convinced that the Craft is a serious organisation, and that there is no reason to make it responsible for all that is wrong in our society. That some Freemasons use, and abuse, the power of their organisation to give favours to some of their Brethren is certainly true. But this is the case of all such fraternities, political or social.
I have some doubts that the Craft will continue to grow in the next millennium. Time has changed, and very few young people are interested in spiritual values. People of this century, and this will certainly be even more so in the next one, are mainly interested in material things, and spirituality is, at best, secondary. This is not limited to the Craft. It is well known that all the churches, in the Western world at least, have difficulties to recruit new priests, vicars, monks and sisters. And this trend is increasing every year. On the other hand, how could one reasonably expect a normal young person –man or woman- to give up all the possibilities of our materialistic world for a live of relative poverty in a church or monastery? This is especially true for the Catholic Church that still insists that its priests must not marry, although its own history does not support it in that direction. I know, of course, that the Craft which, after all, is not a religion, is more open minded, and that there is no such request coming from it. All the same, not many young people of to day want to spend so much time talking about stories that are not relevant to this time, and to go through ceremonies and rituals that look slightly ridiculous. Still a few years back, people were ready to believe what they were told by men in a high position. This is not the case anymore as people are more educated and ready to analyse in depth anything they are told. And, if they do not agree with, or do not understand what they are told, they will say so and, above all, will openly criticise those who try to teach them unproved facts or, more simply, something that they do not understand, or that is not clear. In addition high sounding titles do not impress many people these days. There are no sacred cows anymore, and no taboo.
The ideals of Freemasonry are not anymore in line with the needs of the modern man and, unless the Craft changes itself radically, it will die of a slow death. Or, at best, it will attract a very limited number of people, mainly those who, for a reason or another, will be left out of the mainstream of the modern world. In other words, it will not be representative of the society of our time. And this is also true for the main Christian religions.
I do not have the qualifications to tell what should be done to make the Craft more attractive to the modern man. However I will make a few suggestions, for what they are worth:
- An updated ritual is certainly a “must”.
- The ceremonies should be modernised as well.
- The folklore should be simplified.
- Officers should have modern names.
- Legends and traditions are not historical facts.
- Admit women as full members.
- Open-up the lodges to the public.
- Hire a few good public relation experts.
- Stop arguing on the “real” origin of the Craft.
- Accept that the Craft history before 1717 is unknown.
- Answer to the criticisms from outside