**This is in no way a recruitment post. I just want to help clear up some misconceptions and provide sources of reliable information about Freemasonry.**
In most Masonic jurisdictions, inviting someone to join is a "Masonic offense" and could lead to the suspension or expulsion of a member. In order to join, someone has to contact a regular lodge in their area, talk to the members, and submit a petition. There is no required social status or income, as is commonly thought. The basic qualifications consist of being a male, a generally good person (meaning no felonies), not being indentured to anyone (this obviously isn't a real issue anymore), being able to pay degree and annual dues fees (mine are less than $100 per year, but they vary) and having the belief in a higher power of some sort. Freemasonry is not a religion, generally has no specific affiliations with any religion, and the members typically do not care what religion you subscribe to (as long as you have one). I know several Freemasons who are Deists.
As for the esoteric teachings, Freemasonry is full of them. The problem is that there were two whole generations that didn't really care about them. After WWII, men came back from war and just wanted the sense of brotherhood that they felt in the military. Thus, the period between about 1945 and 1965 was the pinnacle of Masonic membership (just like every other social organization at that time). That generation was followed by the non-joiners, which obviously didn't help in bringing back the esoteric teachings and mysticism, or the declining membership.
Now we have the Millennials, who have several other options in charitable organizations and social outlets, but they (we) are looking for something that cannot be satisfied by the Rotary club or Facebook. We are looking for self improvement through esoteric knowledge. Obviously this goes beyond Freemasonry, since it seems to be the primary focus of this community. This younger group is making great strides in bringing back those aspects of Masonry that were seemingly lost for over half a century.
I would certainly encourage anyone who is qualified and interested in joining to contact their local lodge. Not to increase membership, but because it has made a real, positive impact on my life in many ways.
For honest Masonic information see below (the last time I tried to use the link feature on this site while using my work computer, I had to retype the entire thing):
- Freemasonry Subreddit (All things Freemasonry discussion)- http://www.reddit.com/r/freemasonry
- Midnight Freemasons Blog (Various posts about Masonic history and esoteric topics) - http://www.midnightfreemasons.org
- Millennial Freemason Blog (Extremely knowledgeable Mason who discusses changes in Freemasonry over time) - http://www.millennialfreemason.com
- Whence Came You Podcast (Focuses on all things Masonic, but does a good job with his esoteric segments) - http://www.wcypodcast.com
- The Masonic Roundtable Podcast (Group of Masons that get together and talk about various Masonic topics) - https://www.themasonicroundtable.com
- Winding Stairs Blog and Podcast (An Artist and Freemason who talks about self-improvement) - http://www.thewindingstairs.com
- After Lodge Podcast (A group of guys in a small town lodge who focus on the brotherhood of Freemasonry) - http://www.afterlodge.com