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To begin this discussion, we point you to a 2018 piece by ABC Australia that suggests Freemasonry is attracting younger members thanks to ‘less secrecy and [by] tapping into social media.’
In the not-so-distant past, you would be hard pushed to find any published information about Freemasonry, as it was widely regarded as the world’s largest and most influential secret society.
However, with the prominence of mass media and the evolution of the Internet, more and more information has become available online about the Craft for those seeking insight before joining a lodge.
But is this a good thing?
Some would argue it’s not and would suggest that the publication of so much information about Freemasonry has tarnished the allure of the fraternity. Secrets that were kept for three centuries are now common knowledge, and this wrangles with the consciousness of many brothers today.
But on the other hand, with lodges such as this one in Forbes closing, and Masonic membership numbers in general dwindling, if a more open approach attracts new, younger members, is that something that brothers should be able to live with?
In 2018, the Grand Lodge of South Australia and the Northern Territory announced that 75% of its 115 new members were in the 20-30-year-old age bracket. There’s no doubt that for the Craft to be preserved for future generations, we must continue to attract young people who are passionate about engaging with Freemasonry and learning the rituals conducted within lodges.
Preservation requires evolution, and society now is almost unrecognizable compared to how it was more than 300 years ago when stonemasons of the Middle Ages met in guilds to discuss their work and society in general. It’s telling that Grand Lodges, appendant bodies, and even individual lodges have social media pages and blogs that they regularly update.
While we might not all like it, and are likely to have mixed emotions with the 21st century approach to communication, it seems that Freemasonry needs to change with the times and continue to utilize new media to connect with younger people.
If less secrecy and social media campaigns are integral to the preservation of the Craft for the next three centuries, then we may have to come to terms with the fact that Freemasonry’s secrets will be common knowledge before too long.
We would love to hear your thoughts on this topic, as it is something we know our readers have been keen to engage with in the past. Let us know your take in the comments below.