Free Thinkers Lodge 2114 was consecrated August 7, 2021 by V:. Ill:. Sis:. Anne-Marie Moody 33°.
After Covid-19 delays, we are very happy to announce our Lodge is fully independent and self-sufficient. Consecration was initially approved by the International Order of Le Droit Humain France and scheduled for 2019. It was rescheduled for March 2020 but, as you can guess, we were forced to postpone. By June 2021, we saw a window for a safe opportunity to bring members from across the US to consecrate our Lodge, perform degree work to advance current members, and celebrate.
What is the general history of LDH freemasonry in the Pacific Northwest?
While we have found records of earlier Le Droit Humain members in the Pacific Northwest, the records are incomplete and we do not know why the activities stopped. In 2008 a group of people located within a few hours of Seattle were initiated into the Order and became founding members of a Triangle/lodge in Seattle. Several of those members became Master Masons and formed the Evergreen Triangle based in Seattle. In 2011, the first Portland member joined this Seattle group followed by a second person in 2014. By 2019, there were enough members in Portland that it was possible to form Free Thinkers Lodge.
Why the name Free Thinkers?
We selected the lodge name Free Thinkers (Les Libres Penseurs) to honor and revive the name of the Lodge in which Maria Deraismes was initiated January 14, 1882. Additionally, we hold free thinking as one of our core values. We believe the title “Free Thinkers” reflects the culture of our Portland Metro area as a progressive, open-minded community. We seek through this name to allow space for all beliefs and backgrounds, accepting individuals of all identities, as in the pioneering spirit through which Maria Deraismes was accepted as a woman in a time of inequality.
What if I live somewhere between Portland and Seattle? Which should I join?
We understand that folx traveling long distances can face challenges. You are welcome to join which ever location you prefer, and after you join you are welcome to attend which ever meetings you feel suit you best — in fact, once a member of LDH, you can seek invitation to any lodge meeting around the world.
What if I live in Oregon but not close to Portland?
If you apply & qualify, you can join our Portland Lodge. In order to progress through degrees you will need to attend in-person Lodge meetings which are usually held one time per month. In time, you may be able to achieve what our Portland founders did: form a lodge in your local area. We will not say this is easy – the Portland founders sacrificed to travel to Seattle for many years to reach the proper degrees, qualifications, and administrative experience to be approved to open a lodge. You must have at least 3 members (at the Master level) to form a Triangle which is the smallest size lodge. It is possible to do. It may take years of diligent effort. On the flip side, it can be rewarding to carpool to lodge meetings, discussing Masonic topics and form close bonds that can last a lifetime as you strive to build a lodge closer to home.
It may be more expedient to travel to a different Lodge in another State and have that be your mother lodge through which you initiate and advance. Check out https://www.freemasonryformenandwomen.org/ for locations.
I want to join but I might move soon. Is that okay?
Yes. If you apply & qualify, you can be initiated here in Portland and then move. When you move, you can contact the nearest LDH lodge and “affiliate” to become a regular member of that lodge. They may be using a different ritual & thus you may have to learn some new guidelines. Every lodge has it’s own vibe & culture, but you will be instant family. We of course prefer you initiate and stay with us for a long while, but we understand life may have other plans. Since initiation is a special event and you will forever be tied to the lodge that initiates you as it will be your “mother lodge”, you may want to wait and initiate after your move to form a stronger bond with the lodge in your new location.
We have experienced members who had to temporarily move due to work, but stayed up on their dues and taxes, joined on zoom study groups, and kept in touch. When their work allowed them to return, they resumed their degree work. In most situations, your degree work will be on hold until you return, unless you can attend an in-person lodge in another location. Check out https://www.freemasonryformenandwomen.org/ for lodge locations.
Freemasons are all about “brotherhood”. How do you reconcile this gender identification in today’s gender-fluid world?
We have specifically discussed this matter and are seeking input to resolve it. Since it’s inception, the American Federation has used identifiers ‘Brother’ and ‘Sister’ during Lodge proceedings. Please note that members of Free Thinkers Lodge are open to all identities. While the Order of International Freemasonry for Men and Women Le Droit Humain does not have language in place and the ancient and accepted rituals use ‘Brother’ and ‘Sister’, each lodge will strive respect your needs once you identify them. In Portland, we have adapted lodge language to include they/them pronouns and ‘Sibling’ or ‘Kin’ as salutation/identifier. We welcome you to share your needs with us regarding pronouns and identifiers.
Is Freemasonry racist or otherwise problematic?
Our International Order constitution states members are united “without distinction of social or ethnic origins, philosophical opinion or religion, and working together toward the progress and perfecting of humanity.”
From the day Le Droit Humain was founded in 1893, lodges are open to men and women of all nationalities, races, and religions. We continue welcoming all people to this day. LDH founding members were vocal activists fighting for rights of women, working people, & decolonization (founders include Annie Besant, Louis Goaziou, Maria Deraismes, Georges Martin).
LDH has diverse membership with lodges located in Senegal, Cameroon, Ivory Coast, Burkina Faso, Togo, Morocco, Afrique Equatoriale, South Africa, Madagascar, Columbia, Brazil, Australia, Chile, Argentina, Paraguay, Peru, Mexico, Japan, Thailand, Venezuela, Croatia, Sweden, Denmark, Switzerland, Norway, Romania, Israel, Serbia…the list goes on, all over the globe [Link to map https://ledroithumain.international/locations/]. Some lodges in the USA are predominately BIPOC. LDH does not have records of when the first BIPOC member was initiated or how many people of color are members but LDH principles are against racism and LDH is open to all.
We cannot say that all Freemasonry is anti-racist. It is possible that outside of LDH you will find some lodges that refuse access to many people. If you are looking for a deep-dive into the historical social implications of old Freemasonry, we recommend Handbook of Freemasonry (Brill Handbooks on Contemporary Religion #8). This is a detailed scholarly collection of works that covers an array of angles on how freemasonry at times: was used by colonizers for political gain, was influenced by (& exerted influence on) various cultures and religions, developed interpretations and meaning over time, excluded or included people at different times, and more.
Am I required to profess a belief in a supreme being or God to become a Mason?
No. Belief in God(s), supreme being(s), or any belief system is not asked of you. We focus on tolerance and acceptance.
Which rituals are you using?
Le Droit Humain in the United States works three primary rituals: Lauderdale, North American, and Georges Martin. Free Thinkers Lodge works the Georges Martin ritual, which is the equivalent of all 33 degrees of the Scottish Rite system and includes several York Rite degrees. It is a ritual that avoids god-based language, requires less memorization, expands on some of the more beautiful elements of ritual work, and still brings forward important information.
What am I required to do once I join?
The minimum expectations are that you attend meetings, engage in conversations at meetings, study and read on your own time and at your own pace, advance through the degrees if you choose to, contribute at least a penny per meeting to the mites (lodge contribution) and bag of benevolence (charitable contribution), pay your local and national dues, be dressed appropriately for meetings with your proper lodge attire, and consider volunteering additional time to the betterment of humanity. You are not penalized for not achieving these expectations. If you do not attend lodge and do not pay dues then eventually you will be removed from the rolls.
How often do you meet?
Free Thinkers Lodge meets in person on a scheduled Tuesday evening of each month. Meetings last approximately 3 hours (which includes setup and breakdown of lodge). With the option to move meeting dates to avoid holidays or other conflicts, generally there are 10 meetings per year. Additional study groups (sometimes held via video chat) are scheduled at member request. Social outings are encouraged. Master Masons are always game to chat about any details you seek more information about.