What is Freemasonry?

Freemasonry is the world’s oldest and largest Fraternity. Its history and tradition date to antiquity. Its singular purpose is to make good men better. Its bonds of friendship, compassion and brotherly love have survived even the most divisive political, military and religious conflicts throughout the centuries. Freemasonry is neither a forum nor a place for worship. Instead it is a friend of all religions which are based on the belief of one God.

What do Freemasons do?

Freemasons are responsible citizens who are taught to conform to the moral laws of the government under which we live. They are men of charity and good works. They remain unchallenged as “the world’s greatest philanthropy!” The Freemasons of America contribute more than one and a half million dollars every day to charitable causes which they, alone, have established. These services to mankind represent an unparalleled example of the humanitarian commitment and concern of this unique and honorable Fraternity.

Recognizing the impossibility of confining the teaching of Masonry to any fixed forms of expression, yet acknowledging the value of authoritative statements of fundamental principles, the following is proclaimed as the

Masonic Belief

Members of the Masonic Fraternity practice a sincere belief in the Fatherhood of God and the Brotherhood of Man. Masonry teaches man to practice charity and benevolence, to protect chastity, to respect the ties of blood and friendship, to adopt the principles and revere the ordinances of religion, to assist the feeble, guide the blind, raise up the downtrodden, shelter the orphan, guard the altar, support the Government, inculcate morality, promote learning, love man, fear God, implore His Mercy and hope for happiness.

There is one God, the Father of all men.
The Holy Bible is the Great Light in Masonry,
and the Rule and Guide for faith and practice.
Man is immortal.
Character determines destiny.
Love of man is next to Love of God, man’s first duty.
Prayer, communication of man with God is helpful.

The Masonic Degrees

The Candidate attends several meetings to receive the three masonic Degrees:

The Entered Apprentice Degree

The Fellowcraft Degree

and concluding with the Third, or Master Mason’s Degree.

┬áThe Degrees are solemn, an enlightening and enjoyable experience with no uncomfortable or embarrassing moments. It is here where the principals of Freemasonry are taught and where the new Member learns that his family and his own necessary vocations are to be considered above Freemasonry. Every Master Mason is welcomed as a “Brother” in any of the thousands of Regular Masonic Lodges throughout the world.

Facts on Freemasonry

Freemasonry is open to all men of good character who believe in God. Freemasonry does not discriminate on the basis of race, religion, or social class. The Masonic family of organizations is open to all.

Freemasonry admits only men, but many Masonic-related organizations, such as the Eastern Star, Amaranth, Job’s Daughters, Rainbow for Girls and DeMolay for Boys, offer ample opportunities for women and youth.

Freemasonry does not require improper oaths

The solemn promises taken in Freemasonry are no different than the oaths taken in court or on entering the armed services. The much-discussed “penalties,” judicial remnants from an earlier age, are symbolic, not literal. They refer only to the pain any honest man should feel at the thought or action of violating his word.

Freemasonry teaches individual improvement through study.

Freemasonry encourages study, including literature by the great writers of ancient times. Freemasonry does not sanction the views of these authors but offers them for each individual’s reflection and evaluation.

Freemasonry is a fraternity, not a religion

As a fraternal association dedicated to making good men better, Freemasonry respects the religious beliefs of all its members. Freemasonry has no theology and does not teach any method of salvation. In particular it does not claim that good works gain or guarantee salvation.

Freemasons are united in their desire to be of service to mankind

While Freemasonry supports homes for members and their spouses, most Masonic services, including Shrine medical and burn centers, are available to all citizens.

Freemasonry is an open, not secretive, society

Masonic meetings are announced publicly, Masonic buildings are marked clearly and are listed in phone directories, and Masons proudly wear jewelry identifying their membership. Freemasonry inherited a tradition of trade secrets from the cathedral-building guilds of medieval Europe. The only “secrets” still belonging to modern Masonry are traditional passwords, signs of recognition, and dramatic presentations of moral lessons.

Freemasonry teaches in steps

Masons learn through a series of lessons. These “degrees” of insight move from basic to more complex concepts. This no more hides the nature of Freemasonry from novice members than does having a student understand fractions before calculus.

Masonry is practiced worldwide

There are over 2 million Masons in North America and nearly 5 million throughout the world.

Freemasonry has no single spokesman

Freemasonry is made up of many individuals in numerous organizations, all subordinate to the Grand Lodge within their jurisdiction (i.e. state). None of these members or organizations can speak for Freemasonry; that is the responsibility of each Grand Lodge within its jurisdiction. No Masonic body nor author, however respected, can usurp the authority of a Grand Lodge.

Freemasonry is made up of many organizations

Masonry has many groups, each with a special social, educational, or philanthropic focus. A man becomes a Mason in his local Lodge. Then he joins any of the following “Appendant Bodies”: the Scottish Rite, York Rite (which includes the Royal Arch and Knights Templar), Shriners, Grottoes, Tall Cedars,