Other Main Names:
Highly secretive lodge-based cult with secret handshakes, secret oaths, etc.
There are two main branches or denominations - the York Rite (which has 10 degrees, or levels) and the Scottish Rite (which has 33 degrees). Most members never go beyond the first few levels (known as the Blue Lodge), and may not even know there are so many levels.
According to the Freemason pamphlet What is Freemasonry:
There is nothing 'secret' about Freemasonry. The policy until recently was for members to be rather discreet about the organisation, their community work and even their membership. But times have changed. ... Developed long before our modern-day modes of communication, these secret signs and passwords ...
Indeed, largely due to the modern-day form of communication called the Internet, Freemasonry no longer has any secrets. Their formerly secret oaths, handshakes, gestures, etc, are all widespread on the world wide web.
From the Freemason pmaphlet Freemasonry: A Way of Life:
None of the activities of the Lodge are secret - there is no earthly reason why they should be.
Of course, with the Internet, there's no way they can be.