Are Lions Clubs Connected to Masonry?

A woman called into our radio show a few weeks ago with questions about the Lion’s Club and whether or not it had any connection to the Masons. What I discovered is quite interesting.

First, for a little history . . .

According to the Lion’s Club website, the organization began in 1917 with a 38 year-old Chicago businessman and Freemason named Melvin Jones who once asked his distinguished colleagues: “What if these men who are successful because of their drive, intelligence and ambition, were to put their talents to work improving their communities?”

That question was the beginning of the Lions Club which is now the world’s largest service club organization with 1.35 million members in 46,000 clubs around in 191 countries.

Much of the focus of Lions Clubs International work as a secular service club organization is to raise money for worthy causes. Blindness became a top priority in 1925 after Helen Keller addressed the Lions Clubs International Convention in Cedar Point, Ohio, and challenged the Lions to become “knights of the blind in the crusade against darkness.” However, they are also very active in hearing- and cancer-screening projects in communities.

In addition, the Lions were one of the first nongovernmental organizations invited to assist in the drafting of the United Nations Charter in 1945 and they have supported the work of the UN ever since.

Interestingly, the Club was not open to women until 1986.

Membership is by invitation only, and members are expected to attend meetings on a monthly or bi-monthly basis. This is a very hierarchical club which allows members to advance from local clubs to an office at the zone, district, multiple district or international levels.

So what connection, if any, do Lions Clubs have with freemasonry?

For starters, Melvin Jones was a Mason who was a member of  Garden City Lodge No. 141 in Illinois. You’ll find his name on this list of famous masons under the title of “Civics.”

While there is no direct link between the Lions and the Masons, they are certainly on a very chummy basis, as evidenced in a speech delivered in 2004 to a Lions Club by a Mason named James F. Kirk-White. The topic of the talk was “Sharing Freemasonry Within Your Community.” In this speech he opening welcomed masons in Lions Clubs and vice-versa.

That Masons recruit from fraternal organizations such as the Lions, Rotary, Kiwanis, etc. is also well-known. I have seen some statements claiming that these clubs are actually part of the Mason network – sort of like front groups – but I have yet to find any credible evidence to support these claims.

While they are not directly link to Freemasonry, the Lions Clubs does allow local chapters to fund Planned Parenthood.” The Lions Club name appears on this 2021 list of organizations that fund abortion.

It’s also important to point out that the Lions are also connected with UN agencies that promote abortion around the world, such as UNAIDS and UNICEF.

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