Are Freemasons Weird?

by Midnight Freemason Contributor
Steven L. Harrison, PM, FMLR

     I recently attended a non-Masonic function held in a church where the Freemasons had dedicated the building.  Out in the parking lot after the function had ended, I made note of the cornerstone.  Not realizing I was a Mason myself, one of the others in the group gasped, "Isn't that weird!"  

     Weird.  The word echoed through my brain like it had exploded from my 1970s quadraphonic speakers playing one of those old reverberating radio stations.  Weird.  Are we weird?  I mean, I know there are people who think Masons are weird, but they're usually the types I think are weird, right backacha.

     The person who said it, in fact, was a member of the church where we met.  It's a mainstream Christian church that I always thought was pretty open-minded and tolerant.  Not weird.  What's more, on the way in I had seen what I presume to be a parishioner's car with a Shriner's emblem on it.  Is he weird... the church pariah, perhaps?  I doubt it.  And besides, if that was the viewpoint of the church, why on earth did the members decide to have the Masons dedicate it? I can't believe that's the case at all, so I have to believe that collectively, the church members hold Freemasons in high enough regard to have them dedicate the building.  So I figure it must have been that individual's point of view.  It's a view held by a few others, isn't it?

     Freemasons are weird?  Are the men (and women) who support the Shriner's hospitals weird?  Are the people who support dozens of other charities like the Knight Templar Eye Foundation and Scottish Rite Clinics weird?  

     George Washington... was he weird? Omar Bradley? Clark Gable? Will Rogers? Thurgood Marshall? Richard Dreyfuss? Fifteen US Presidents? Peter Marshall?  What mainstream Protestant thinks Peter Marshall was weird? How about the founders of the Mayo Clinic?

     Is the Fraternity whose Lodges served as an early model for democracy weird?  Were many of the leaders of the American Revolution weird?  How about the very first organization to break down class barriers, declaring everyone in Lodge to be equal?  Or the Lodges in Belgium that first put forth the shocking idea that women are equal to men?  How weird is the first organization known to promote worker's rights?  Guess where many of those "weird" leaders in medicine, education, the arts, literature, music and architecture came from.

     I'll admit there are some Freemasons who have done some weird things.  In fact, I'm writing a book about them.  However, for every Freemason who did something a bit offbeat, I'll bet I can come up with a hundred non Masons who were more weird.

     This wasn't the first time I had heard someone express an opinion that Freemasons are somehow weird and it won't be the last.  Still, it perplexes me.  Maybe I'm just a little... well... weird.

     This article has been revised from a similar article the author published in the Missouri Freemason magazine.  The author thanks the Masonic Service Association, whose new pamphlet, "What Has Masonry Done For The World," served as a reference for this article.


Steve Harrison, 32° KCCHis a Past Master of Liberty Lodge #31, Liberty, Missouri.  He is the editor of the Missouri Freemason magazine, author of the book Freemasonry Crosses the Mississippi, a Fellow of the Missouri Lodge of Research and also its Senior Warden.  He is a dual member of Kearney Lodge #311, St. Joseph Missouri Valley of the Scottish Rite, Liberty York Rite, Moila Shrine and is a member of the DeMolay Legion of Honor.

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