Sir: So, Commander Higham, grand secretary of the Grand Lodge of England, assures us that "being a Mason is an excuse to have a good dinner, a few drinks, be among friends and raise some money for charity"? ("Public face of the Masons defends rights to 'privacy' ", 21 July).
May I suggest that he issues an invitation to anyone thinking otherwise to send him the details; and if their complaints are justified, he will investigate, and publish the findings.
From Ms Isobel Shepherdson
Sir: You report Commander Higham (21 July) as saying that men have their Freemasons' Lodge and women have the Women's Institute.
As a WI member, I protest at the suggestion that there is any point of similarity (except single-sex membership) between the two organisations. We have no need to waste valuable time drawing a distinction between privacy and secrecy: our public face is our only face. Any woman can join on payment of the annual subscription. This is currently pounds 12, so is hardly likely to prove exclusive. She is then free to join in local, national and international activities, enjoy any of the wide range of courses put on at our residential college near Oxford and contribute to the campaigns which we organise ourselves (care for rural carers) or with others (against the present law of provocation).
Because of the secrecy/privacy surrounding the Masons, it is difficult to know what they are - sinister or just comic.
From Mrs Wynn Smythe
Sir: I simply cannot believe that the Freemasons are deliberately doing wicked and underhand things that need investigating.
When my first husband died suddenly, leaving me with three children, their help - practical, financial and supportive - was invaluable. We had moved away from my husband's lodge, but a local man was found who visited me regularly. The lodge kept in touch, even after I remarried, and I felt that there was always a friendly, reliable person to whom I could turn if necessary.
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