It's been a little over two years since I've been raised a Master Mason. I can't think of any system of thought that has had a more subtly profound influence on my life than Masonry. To those who are active in it, you know. To those who aren't, I invite you to check into it.
Some join Masonry for limited reasons--the illusion of "personal advancement," or for monetary gain, or for power. I joined because a series of events and coincidences dropped bread crumbs in front of me, and I followed them. In retrospect, I realized that Freemasonry was placed in my path by forces that understood that this was the very doctrine and discipline I needed to turn my life around.
Since joining, I've devoted myself to a study of the ritual. The Masonic ritual is quite ornate and is undoubtedly ancient. In it, there are echoes of death-and-rebirth ceremonies that pre-date Christianity. Did the historic Masons cleverly appropriate these practices for obscure reasons? Or is Freemasonry, in fact, a contemporary manifestation of a ritual that has survived, in one form or another, since the beginning of our current civilization? And is there still transformative power in that ritual? I won't divulge my answer. But if you would like to find your own answer, I invite you to check out Freemasonry.