About Freemasonry

About Freemasonry

 

When learning about Freemasonry, it can be a bit a challenge to wade through what is fact and what is fiction. We encourage you to use the internet and other sources to do as much research as you can and we are confident you will arrive at the same conclusions about Freemasonry that we did when we joined.

To get you started, here are some key points we think you should know about Masonry.

 

What is a Mason?

I think my grandfather was one, but I'm not sure what it means.
Yeah, my dad and uncle both used to go to Masonic meetings--I remember Uncle Fred coming by to pick him up. But I don't know where they went or what they did.
I think they wear those funny hats.
I remember when I went away to college, my father showed me his ring and told me, if I ever needed help, I should look for a man with a ring like that and tell him I was the daughter of a Mason, but he never told me much about it.

 

Even though Masons (Freemasons) are members of the largest and oldest fraternity in the world and even though almost everyone has a father or grandfather or uncle who was a Mason, many people aren't quite certain just who Masons are.

The answer is simple. A Mason (or Freemason) is a member of a fraternity known as Masonry (or Freemasonry). A fraternity is a group of men (just as a sorority is a group of women) who join together because:

  • There are things they want to do in the world.
  • There are things they want to do "inside their own minds."
  • They enjoy being together with men they like and respect.


What is Masonry, what is its purpose, and how does it differ from other organizations?

Masonry (or Freemasonry) is the oldest fraternity in the world. No one knows just how old it is because the actual origins have been lost in time. Probably, it arose from the guilds of stonemasons who built the castles and cathedrals of the Middle Ages. Possibly, they were influenced by the Knights Templar, a group of Christian warrior monks formed in 1118 to help protect pilgrims making trips to the Holy Land.

In 1717, Masonry created a formal organization in England when the first Grand Lodge was formed. A Grand Lodge is the administrative body in charge of Masonry in some geographical area. In the United States, there is a Grand Lodge in each state and the District of Columbia. In Canada, there is a Grand Lodge in each province. Local organizations of Masons are called lodges. There are lodges in most towns, and large cities usually have several. There are about 13,200 lodges in the United States 

The general work associated with the initiatic tradition and the purpose of Freemasonry, put simply, is to provide an environment where good men can come together to pursue meaningful intellectual and spiritual growth. It is often said that Freemasonry “makes good men better.” One of the underlying tenets of the initiatic tradition is the belief that with each individual that becomes a better person, the entire world profits.

Being part of the initiatic tradition is what distinguishes Freemasonry from purely social or philanthropic organizations. While there are many different organizations that contribute large sums of money to charity, offer fellowship with like-minded men, or provide education, Freemasonry is unique in that it embodies all these things, but is actually focused on offering men a traditional initiation into the mysteries of life and death. The initiatic tradition is the core, defining characteristic of Freemasonry, without which there would be nothing to differentiate Masonry from other social or philanthropic organizations (Lions, Rotary, etc.).


Some things to consider about Freemasonry and personal responsibility.

If the purpose of Freemasonry is “to make good men better,” men should become Freemasons only if they are good and consider themselves capable of becoming better. Determining the qualifications of men seeking admission is an essential aspect of upholding the integrity of our ancient institution. The investigative procedures of lodges are designed to ensure that the Brethren of the lodge have sufficient information about the candidates they vote on.