A ground-breaking new report – The Future of Freemasonry – has been released by the United Grand Lodge of England (UGLE). It is the first ever independent study conducted by a non-Masonic body, the respected Social Issues Research Centre (SIRC) in Oxford.
The release coincides with a national and regional media tour by UGLE Grand Secretary Nigel Brown, which has embraced an interview with lunchtime presenter Joanne Malin on local radio station BBC WM. The interview explored many misconceptions about Freemasonry and included ‘phone-ins by local masons, among them Provincial Grand Master David Macey.
The report itself dispels many of the commonly held myths and sheds new light on Freemasonry. It suggests that contrary to much misleading commentary, Freemasonry demonstrates genuine openness and transparency, and concludes that it is arguably more relevant today than ever before.
It has been commissioned as part of the build-up to the UGLE's tercentenary in 2017, and highlights:
- - that Freemasonry acts as a ‘constant’, providing members with a unique combination of friendship, belonging and structure, with many Masons saying they have made valuable lifelong friendships.
- - the importance that Freemasonry places on charitable giving - Freemasons are the largest charitable givers after the National Lottery, and also make major contributions to international disaster relief funds.
Alongside the report, a quantitative survey among non-Masons was conducted – it showed that:
- - nearly half (49%) want to know more about Freemasonry.
- - a quarter of male respondents (26%) would consider joining.
- - of these, 68% would like to belong to a group/make new friends - 58% would like to do more in the community.
- - of those men who would not consider becoming a Mason, the single biggest response (given by 40%) was the misconception that “it’s not for people like me”. Freemasonry is actually open to all men regardless of race, religion, political views or social standing.
A full copy of the report can be seen here.
UGLE Grand Secretary Nigel Brown with BBC WM Presenter Joanne Malin in the BBC Studios at The Mailbox, Birmingham.