by Ashley Mackin-Solomon, La Jolla Light, December 18, 2022

The La Jolla branch of the Freemasons opened its doors to non-members for a dinner to celebrate its 100th anniversary. The history of Freemasonry dates back to the construction of King Solomon’s Temple in Jerusalem in the 10th century BCE. Freemasons are considered one of the most secretive organizations in the world. But they conduct much of their business behind closed doors in ways known only to members. Members of the Freemasons are expected to have a belief in a “supreme being”.

The group doesn’t ask potential members about the specific faith or deity they believe in. There is a tradition against having atheists join the organization, though in France, there is a subset that allows atheists. Women are not allowed to be Freemasons, but separate female chapters are developing. Freemasons are forbidden to recruit others for membership, and joining must be of a person’s free will. The organization’s initiation rituals are kept secret, but ceremonies involve readings on moral teachings and how to be an upstanding citizen.

La Jolla Freemason secretary Vike Ovanessoff comes from Iran, where Freemasonry was banned in the 1970s. “Some of the members got caught and were executed,” so some members came to the U.S. and founded lodges.