With their aggressive secrecy and peculiar rituals, the men of the Masonic Lodge can hardly be surprised many look on them with suspicion. Scotland’s most senior freemason – Charles Iain Robert Wolrige Gordon of Esslemont, the 110th Grand Master Mason of the Grand Lodge of Scotland, to give him his full title – clearly recognises the organisation has public perception issues.
It is time, says Mr Gordon, for the society to become more open in order to attract new members; myths about The Craft must be dispelled. Clearly, freemasons do a lot of good work for charity – and the multi-faith ethos Mr Gordon espouses is admirable, but the organisation will deserve to wither away if it does not change. It is, of course, for individual organisations to draw up their own rules. This includes their right to admit men only. But, just as they are entitled to make such restrictions, others are entitled to point out that, in 2018, an organisation that refuses to allow women to join is very unappealing.
The Secrets of the Masons will be on BBC Two Scotland at 21:00 on Monday 19 March and on the BBC iplayer.