Why do people join the Freemasons

Freemasons : The secret work of the Lodge Brothers

The door is secured with a combination lock. Only the initiated come in here. Kenan Yilmaz, for example. He is 38, the son of Turkish parents, a Muslim and a Freemason. In the casino in the Logenhaus in Wilmersdorf there isn't much going on this early evening. Men look down gravely from oil paintings, in the middle rises a glass cabinet with a sculpture of Frederick the Great. Kenan Yilmaz and these men combine centuries-old rituals and the belief in the good in people, in tolerance and willingness to help, in Humanitas and Caritas.

Yilmaz was a bricklayer, a pizza driver. The Wing Tsun master became a Freemason

Yilmaz grew up in Neukölln, studied bricklaying, delivered pizza and discovered the martial art of Wing Tsun. Wing Tsun was invented by a Chinese nun, is used for self-defense and has as much to do with conventional boxing as gummy bears with hand-scooped chocolate. Yilmaz became a Wing Tsun master, had 50 students, and yet something was missing in life. He didn't really know where he belonged and read a lot about Turkey and its founder, Kemal Ataturk. He is said to have been a Freemason. Yilmaz found out that there are Freemasons in Berlin too. A year and many conversations later he became the brother of the Lodge "Victoria No. 492 im Orient Berlin".

Much about the Freemasons seems bizarre at first glance, the rituals, the secrecy. When it turned out last summer that the Norwegian assassin Anders Behring Breivik was a member of a lodge, the suspicion briefly arose that Freemasons could also be dangerous.

Freemasonry goes back to medieval masons' guilds, later men with other professions were added; In the 17th and 18th centuries, nobles and citizens could openly meet in the lodges, and the most progressive thinkers often met here. Anyone who had divulged what was discussed there could quickly have ended up on the gallows. Hence the secrecy. Today, closed societies that do not allow women to appear antiquated.

White apron, white gloves

At half past seven the casino gets full. Lodge brothers greet each other with a handshake. Most are 60 and older. Before the Second World War there were over 80,000 lodge brothers in Germany; today there are 15,000. The men wear tuxedos and black shoes - their “work clothes”. In addition a white apron and white gloves. Yilmaz is in jeans and a sweater, he came here today for a “profane” conversation.

Freemasons like to talk about "work". The weekly gatherings in the "temple", a room with columns and all kinds of equipment with symbolic meaning, are called "temple work". It is "about self-knowledge and that you work on yourself," says Yilmaz. Fighting one's own weaknesses, chopping off the "corners" and "edges" so that one fits into the "temple of humanity". Meditative rituals should help. What do they look like? “You can't describe it, you have to experience it,” he says. Like all Freemasons, he has pledged to remain silent about the rituals.

In a publication by the Evangelical Central Office for Weltanschauung questions, there is talk of rituals with blindfolded eyes, of vows and symbols. The skull stands for transience, the angular measure for straightness, the circle reminds of one's own surroundings and one's own limitations. The rituals refer to eternal laws, to the principle of polarity, for example. That night follows day, light and dark. How you interpret it, whether you think of the Ten Commandments or, like Yilmaz, sometimes of Allah, of personal crises and hope, is up to you.

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