Freemasonry is a fraternal organisation whose membership has shared moral and metaphysical ideals and — in most of its branches — requires a constitutional declaration of belief in a Supreme Being.
SHOCK JOCK: What do the Freemasons do?
LAURENCE MILTON: That depends on what area you’re talking about. Basically, we are a male organisation who meet for [business] meetings and ceremonies, which have a self teaching aspect for self develop- ment. We also do charitable works.
SJ: What are all the levels of Freemasonry?
LM: There are three degrees to Freemasonry. When you first join, you go through an initiation, then become an Entered Apprentice. Then you…move…on to a Fellow Craft, which is the second degree. Finally, you complete a third ceremony, which makes you a full Mason Master. There are other side orders, affiliated with Freemasonry, where you can follow different tracks and paths, depending on what your interests might be.
SJ: Who are those guys?
LM: That includes the Royal Arch, the Knights Templar, the Rosicrucians, the Scottish Rite – quite a number of different groups.
SJ: Is the UN one of those groups?
LM: No, it’s not.
SJ: What’s your biggest secret?
LM: We don’t have any secrets. We have methods of recognition that, if people ask for, we don’t give out. The average family don’t give you their credit card number if you ask for it, either. To that extent, every family in New Zealand is secretive.
SJ: Did you know that President Bush is a member of the Skull and Bones club? Do you talk with those guys?
LM: I wouldn’t know who they are, actually.
SJ: Are women allowed in the Freemasons?
LM: In New Zealand, Freemasonry is solely for men. However, in America, there are female Masonic lodges and organisations such as co-masonry – where men and women meet together in lodges – although we don’t recognise them as being legitimate.
SJ: But if a really sexy, attractive woman wanted to join the club, would you let her in?
LM: We have plenty of social occasions on which we mix with our wives and partners and we have the ladies along, but as for our actual formal meetings – no, we wouldn’t.
SJ: Not even if she was really hot?
LM: Not at all. It’s a strict thing. In a Masonic lodge we are never allowed to talk about politics or religion because they have created most of the conflict in the world. And, to some extent, women can fall into that category as well. They can create difficulties. Freemasonry started in the 1700s, when it was a very male-dominated society. I think our attitudes, towards women being associated with the organisation, are developing over time.
SJ: What happens at your ceremonies?
LM: We go through play acts – it’s just like theatre. We act out stories which show moral lessons by demonstration. There are three ceremonies that have little vignettes, which are played out and teach different things. We use symbolism, a lot of which comes from the original masons who designed the buildings. We use their tools to explain things, like the square and compass, which is our emblem – the compass, because it’s used to draw a circle. We use it as a reminder to keep our emotions duly bound, and not use things in the wrong way or get out of character. Stay morally bound. That’s what those plays are for – to highlight those lessons.
SJ: What is the New World Order?
LM: That’s one of the conspiracy theorists’ ideas that there is a body which controls world government. From time to time, Freemasonry has been linked to that by association, because certain presidents or kings have been Freemasons. That’s all I know about that. We would say that such a thing doesn’t exist – it’s simply paranoia.
SJ: Let’s just pretend that you are in control of the world. What would you change?
LM: Ha. That would be easy – tolerance. I think people need to be more tolerant of each other and their differences…