A reader asked for a post on Freemasonry. I'm a passionate advocate for the Fraternity, so I'm delighted to speak about it a bit.
First off, although Freemasonry bills itself as Universal, in some respects it is very individualistic. If you are a member, you will find a great joy in visiting other lodges in other states and countries, and seeing how their rituals and initiations differ from the ones you use at home.
Second, Freemasonry takes a lot of time. I don't mean there's a lot of work, simply that it moves slowly. In the UK and much of Europe, expect at least a year between degrees. In the US there's usually a couple months between each degree.
Third, the memory requirments for Freemasonry have been lessened in almost all lodges in the U.S. I believe it might be a little stricter in the south than in the north. I know that in Wisconsin it's practically non-existent.
Fourth, in order to become a Freemason, you don't need to be related or anything like that. You simply need to ask a Freemason for a petition. Generally, there will be some sort of interview with members of the lodge. Then, the lodge votes on your petition, and if approved, you are initiated into the lodge. Generally, not a hard thing to do. It helps if you know a freemason to vouch for your character, but it is not required.
I'll post some more later.