Secret societies just aren't very 21st Century, I think. Doing stories about them seems to be (Da Vinci Code, anyone?), but not actually joining one. As a result of this, the Freemasons are on the decline, and have been for half a century. In response they are opening up, at least in measured amounts in an effort to recruit. You can even tour their NYC headquarters these days (now I would like to do that):
George Washington was not the first Mason, and not the only famous one. Mozart worked thinly disguised touches of Masonry into operas. Fourteen presidents and everyone from the Rev. Norman Vincent Peale to the comedian Red Skelton belonged. Masons presided when the cornerstone was laid at the Statue of Liberty.
But the Masons’ numbers have been steadily dwindling — whatever their secrets are, they apparently do not have one for avoiding death — and their ranks have been graying. So the New York State Masons have followed other state Masonic societies in doing something that they would have once considered heretical: they are actively reaching out for new members. And, in the process, a famously reticent fraternal organization that now puts a premium on its community service has lifted its veil of secrecy just a bit.
There was a time in the early 19th Century--when secret societies were 'in'--that the Freemasons became a feared force in American society. So much so that an Anti-Masonic Party formed, the first 'Third Party' in American History.
Today, the Masons with their secret words and ceremonial aprons--not to mention their heretical beliefs--are fading away from relevance. I can't say I'm sad to see it.