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As I read it, I was immediately struck by a picture it paints of a growing number of Americans these days and how Freemasonry is seen by them.
Here are some excerpts from Dingfelder's article, ' Unlock the secrets of the Freemasons - or at least gawk at their strange costumes ': In warm months, busloads of Masons visit the memorial, he said.
Some of the Freemason costumes on display struck this reviewer as Orientalist, militaristic or just plain strange. Scattered around the mannequins were displays of random club ephemera — plus a few inexplicable objects, including a jaunty bobblehead doll of the controversial Christian figure Jacques de Molay, a monk who fought in the Crusades and was later sentenced to death.
I mention this because the Masonic memorial may be on its way to becoming just that: The benefit of resources like LinkedIn is that you can go and find out about the background of people whom you otherwise don't know at all, and Sadie's profile yields a few items worth noting. She's not a teenager or a college student — she graduated inso she's in her mid- or even lates.
She lives and works in the very city that a lot of Masons and even non-Masons regard as one heavily influenced by Freemasons from the past, and if you believe in such things filled with Masonic symbolism even in the street map.
TV producers of programs about Freemasonry are obsessed with the idea.
So it surprised me a bit to see just how little knowledge or awareness of Freemasonry she seemed to have when she walked into the Memorial — and apparently, how little she had actually learned by the time she left.
After touring the place, she declared that Freemasonry is little more than a bygone organization. This isn't a hit on Ms. Dingfelder, not at all. It's a comment on how diminished we have become in the collective American psyche.
I thought we had reached rock bottom in that regard back before novelist Dan Brown put Freemasonry back on the map in the early s.
Since those dark days, cable television has had loads of programs about Masonry. Stacks of factual, intelligent, and truthful books including mine and Brent Morris' got poured onto the market.
Freemasonry worked its way into pop culture references like movies, music and TV shows. I had thought we had even turned a tiny corner and tipped the scales slightly back into our favor, at least as far as a basic awareness of Freemasonry was concerned.
But as I think back over the last five or six years now, and reflect on my own contacts with the public about it, I fear more people are even less aware of what Freemasonry actually is than in the s.
And the most common question I get asked by non-Masons under 35 these days once I get my basic elevator speech out of the way is, "But just what is it that you guys DO?
The adults in were having children at that moment in time, and we are now encountering those former infants as adults today. Already byFreemasonry had been waning, along with a raft of other social changes taking place then.
It was blatant that the Baby Boomers had steered clear of Freemasonry, just as they had so many other so-called "Establishment" ideals of their parents.
Organized religious attendance was decreasing. Divorce rates had skyrocketed. Childbirths were down substantially, and most concerning, single parent households usually single moms were taking a major upswing. It was into this period that today's current Millennial adults now in their lates and 30s were born.
One of the most enormous shifts in family structure is this one: In most cases, these unmarried parents are single, without a live-in partner of any kind to help raise and educate the children. But that percentage has done nothing but drop since then. Fewer children today have full-time fathers than ever before in recorded history, and even fewer of them have a grandfather to pass along older traditions like Freemasonry and numerous other important values.
In most of these cases, they are living with a grandparent—a phenomenon that has become much more prevalent since the recent economic recession.
When you take into consideration all of this stew of statistics, it's clear that Freemasonry as a subject for observation by children has a pretty paltry chance of being passed along to the current and future generations by many fathers, grandfathers, siblings, uncles or other influential men in their lives.
In other words, there's no statistically significant reason why Sadie Dingfelder would have encountered Freemasons in her family. She doesn't mention any sort of family connection to the fraternity, so the only way she knows anything at all about us is from what she picked up by cultural references she has encountered as a teenager and adult.Being productive is all about using the right tools.
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