10 Reasons You Should Become A Freemason
Are you thinking of joining an ancient secret society, but can’t find the right one? Maybe you should become a Freemason!
The origins of the Masonic brotherhood are widely debated; myths exist that tie them to Celtic Druids, the Knights Templar, and King Solomon’s Temple. Which one of these stories is true? The world may never know. But there is one certainty: I went on a tour of the Freemason’s New York Grand Lodge last weekend, thanks to Open House New York. I may not have learned the Freemason's deepest secrets and truthful origin story, but I did come up with some compelling reasons to join their ranks. Here they are.
1. Become President
Are you interested in holding the highest political office in the country and being one of the most powerful people in the world? Increase your chances drastically by joining the Masonic Brotherhood! Fourteen out of 43 U.S. Presidents have been Freemasons. According to the preliminary calculations of a friend with a degree in mathematics, becoming a Freemason will multiply your chances of being President by four.*
* Using Bayes’ Rule and some healthy speculation:
p(president | mason) = ( p(mason | president)* p(president) ) / p(mason)
= ( (14 / 43) * (43 / 472000000) ) / (1246241 / 317000000)
~ 0.0008% p(president | american) = ( p(american | president) * p(president) ) / p(american)
= ( 1 * (43 / 472000000) ) / (317000000 / 6916000000)
Using 2013 figures for U.S. population, World population, and Freemason membership.
So that being a Freemason makes one roughly four times as likely to be president.
2. Free Mason Jars
I don't actually know if they ever hand out free Mason jars. To be honest, they probably don’t, unless there’s a Masonic lodge in Williamsburg. However, I would be willing to bet that at some point in history, at least one Mason has gone over to a fellow Mason’s house with a jar of homemade Masonic jam in a Mason jar and given it to him as a gift, not realizing that he was part of an incredible pun on “Freemason.”
3. International Masonic Scuba Club
Imagine you are a Freemason. Pretty cool, right? Now imagine you are a Freemason, underwater with loads of scuba gear on. Plus, you're surrounded by other people who are also Freemasons, underwater, with loads of scuba gear on. Think of all the things you could do! You could do Masonic handshakes underwater. You could whisper Masonic secrets into your scuba mask. If someone betrayed the brotherhood while you were scuba diving, you could pull out his oxygen tube and effectively excommunicate him from the order immediately!
4. Golden Statue of You
In the New York Grand Lodge, there is a room that contains a large golden statue of George Washington. If you attain the same political status as the first President of the United States, you are virtually guaranteed to have a life-size statue made of you that will be erected in your local Lodge, and it will almost certainly be gold.
So, if you avail yourself of a time machine (something the Freemasons probably have access to) and go back in history to become one of the most influential founding fathers of the United States, you too could be immortalized in this way. You'd probably be mentioned in some history books too.
5. Masonic Aprons and Gloves
During meetings, Masons wear decorative aprons, which look quite similar to the drapey clothing that has been popularized by the likes of Kanye West. The gloves would probably be good to wear on the subway for hygienic purposes. Fashionable and practical!
6. More Masonic Accessories
When I was in the elevator at the New York Grand Lodge, I saw a man wearing a bolo tie with a Masonic square and compass. I was impressed. The bolo tie inspired me to investigate what other Masonic gear might be available in the depths of the Internet. I was not disappointed.
7. The Freemason Flowchart
8. Conspiracy Theories
You can't join the ranks of Freemasons like Mozart, Benjamin Franklin, and Michael Richards (Kramer from Seinfeld) without being accused of hatching sinister plots to rule the world. Conspiracy theories range from relatively boring and possibly true (Scottish judges being lenient towards fellow Masons), to being completely batsh*t (the Arby’s logo, flipped on its side is a Masonic “13”).
9. No Politics or Religion
The Freemasons have an important rule: you cannot talk about politics or religion at their meetings. This must be a challenging obstacle if they truly are trying to achieve world domination. Still, it means that you won’t have to hear someone rant about Obamacare for 30 minutes while you stare into a beer.
10. Floor Inlays
Have you ever looked at your floor and thought, damn, I wish I had a metal inlay on this that reads "LET THERE BE LIGHT" in a slick font? If you're a Freemason, that dream could be a reality. Imagine stepping on a Masonic floor inlay in Masonic slippers. That's why you should become a Freemason.
Colin Stokes made his personal fortune by bringing polyphonic ringtones to quiet lecture halls. To combat the existential meaninglessness that comes with ringtone wealth, he writes humor for The New Yorker. Read his articles there, here.