Most Masons are just guys who like to hang out at the lodge and shoot the bull. They memorize all that "Solomon's Temple" stuff in order to get in but don't really read much significance into it.
I think only the super-involved, high-ranking Masons make a religion out of it.
I'm not trying to justify or excuse Freemasonry itself, just most of its members!
I know what I am talking about because I was, at one time (not now), a Mason myself. I joined back when I lived in Texas to please my Dad and some friends who were pressuring me. To me it was just a social club. I won't be involved in it now, and I think it is a bad idea, but most of the guys don't have a clue about any religious problems with it.
You've made a good point, Linus. Most people don't know what Freemasonry is really about when they join, as well as many freemasonry "lifers." They think that freemasonry is about becoming a shriner, acting silly to entertain kids, or to perform charitable work. This lack of knowledge is a serious problem, though.
Shriners do charitable work for recognition, and to deflect interest in what they're really
about. How do people become freemasons? "Ask one to be one." There is a rule that freemasons are not allowed to solicit members; rather you must approach a freemason and express interest in joining. When you ask what they're about, you'll get all sorts of vague platitudes and references about being like a club, doing charitable work, yadda. The prospective candidate knows these things, and also suspects there is something more which is untold. After all, they are known as a "secret society." My question, then, is why would somebody wish to join a "fraternal organization" that is not totally forthcoming in what they're all about? Why join an organization that is unwilling to reveal to you its secrets until you join, and even then after a great many years of indoctrination and committment?
The answer? Probably because the prospective candidate is interested in social and financial advancement at the expense of the hard work and superior qualifications of others. Or maybe, a burning desire to know those secrets...
Joining freemasonry makes me think about how the Evil One operates in our lives - he doesn't
unless we invite and admit him into our lives. Similarly, freemasons can't influence our lives unless we desire them to, and then we admit them into our lives. Ever wonder why they aren't allowed to solicit membership? Ever wonder why they say "Ask one to be one?"
Pursuing freemasonry is like entertaining negative logismoi, which is spiritually dangerous, IMHO.
PS. glad you've quit the freemasons, Linus!