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Masons Open Their Doors In Bid To Boost Membership

Masonic Membership Is Declining

Sunday, August 13, 2006
By Marjory Raymer

Well, the secret's out.

Masons - known for their fraternal secrets - have put out a very public call for members in a massive public relations campaign that included a glossy newspaper advertisement encouraging men to "share the secret."

The world's oldest fraternal order also is going high tech, with a Web site. Open houses are planned statewide to coordinate with recruitment - which follows years of declining membership, a problem facing many of the country's once flourishing social groups.

"We have every door in the building open, so they know there is nothing hidden," said Dennis Ward, a member of the Swartz Creek Masonic Temple.

Part of recruitment also is fighting old stereotypes that Masons are some sort of secret society "trying to take over the world," Ward said.

"We're just a fraternity. We're trying to do good things in the community," he said. "It takes a good man and tries to make him better."

There are 16 Masonic groups in Genesee County, each with membership of 124-385 men. On the Web: www.michiganmasons.org.

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