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Monday, 22 May, 2000, 17:31 GMT 18:31 UK
From freemasonry to e-masonry
masons lodge
The website seeks to overcome the old image of freemasons
A website in Wales run for freemasons has won the approval of the Grand Lodge with its efforts to unravel the perceived mysteries of the organisation.

The site has latched on to the idea of "e-masonry" to inform the general public over the internet of what freemasonry is about.



It is only the rituals that we like to keep secret.

Webmaster Nava Navaratnarajah
The Freemasons Lodge of Enterprise website has been given the Charter Mark of the United Grand Lodge of England.

Webmaster Nava Navaratnarajah said it was a further step in breaking down old-fashioned stereotyped images of the freemasons.

Freemasons were under pressure two years ago in to "name names" about members within the police and judiciary.

'Secret societies'

The Lodge Grand Secretary, Commander Michael Higham, refused to do so at the time.

Home Secretary Jack Straw introduced a move for members of the police and judiciary to make a voluntary declaration.

Mr Straw said membership of "secret societies" could "raise suspicions".

But Mr Navaratnarajah said his website was a means of overcoming such suspicions.

"Over the past 20-30 years, perceptions have been changing," he told BBC News Online Wales.

"We are trying to change the image Mr Joe Public has that we are some kind of secret society. It is far from it."

Mr Navaratnarajah - who was Worshipful Master last year - said he had worked closely with other lodge members to give as much information as possible.

"It is only the rituals that we like to keep secret," he said.

'Small minority'

"As far as what freemasonry does and is about, that information is all publicly available.

"This is what we are trying to promote through the website.

"There was a small minority that did not want things published and we have been careful about what is acceptable information to give out.

"We have given out more than others and hopefully, it will educate and inform people."

Pleasingly for Mr Navratnarajah, the website's guest book features only complimentary messages.

"We have had no negative reaction at all," he said.

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