Husband, Father, Wage Earner, Jogger, Church Member --
You try to be your best in all your roles:
Being a Mason can make you a better man.
Take a look through these questions and then ask yourself:
"Can joining the Masons help me better myself through service to others?"
A Mason is a member of the world's oldest and largest fraternity. Masons join together because:
- They want to do good in the world.
- They want to do good inside their own minds.
- They enjoy being together with other men they like and respect.
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 through 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 in one God.
Many of our nation's early patriots were Freemasons, as well as thirteen signers of the Constitution and fourteen Presidents of the United States beginning with George Washington. Today, the more than four million Freemasons around the world come from virtually every occupation and profession. Within the Fraternity, however, they all meet as equals. They come from diverse political ideologies, but they meet as friends. They come from virtually every religious belief, but they all believe in one God.
One of the most fascinating aspects of Freemasonry has always been: how so many men, from so many different walks of life, can meet together in peace, never have any political or religious debates, always conduct their affairs in harmony and friendship, and call each other " Brother!"
Masonry, or Freemasonry, is a fraternity so old that its origins have been lost in time. It probably started with the guilds of stonemasons who built the great castles and cathedrals of the Middle Ages and might have been influenced by the Knights Templar, a group of Christian warrior monks formed in 1118 to help protect pilgrims making trips to the Holy Land.
Masonry was formalized in 1717 when the first "Grand Lodge" was formed in England. Today, there are about 13,200 Masonic lodges in the U.S.
The word "lodge" refers to two things: a group of Masons meeting in a particular place and the place in which they meet. The term, "lodge," comes from the structures which the medieval stonemasons built against the sides of the cathedrals during construction. During the winter, when construction work was stopped, they lived in their lodges and worked at carving stone.
Masonic buildings are sometimes called "temples," because much of the symbolism Masonry uses to teach its lessons comes from the building of King Solomon's Temple in the Holy Land.
Masons are men of charity and good works. In fact, Masonry is the world's leading charitable organization, contributing nearly $2 million a day to charitable causes which they have established themselves. Our hospitals for burned and crippled children are known worldwide and are just part of the work we do.
All Masons believe in one God and in respect for each other.
We're proud of our philosophy and practice of "making good men better." Therefore, only men of the age of 18 or older and of high character are considered for membership. Every applicant must state his belief in the existence of a Supreme Being. Atheists are not accepted into our fraternity.
You must ask a Masonic friend to recommend you. You must then sign a petition, stating your age, occupation and place of residence. Members of the Lodge will then vote on your admissions after careful consideration of your character and reputation.
If you don't know a mason, you can contact a Lodge close to you for more information. Most Lodges are listed in phone books under Fraternal Organizations. Ask around in your family. You may be surprised to find your father, grandfather or uncle may be a Mason.
if you want help on becoming a Mason, contact us.
Actually, Masonry isn't very secretive at all, although it sometimes seems to have that reputation. We make no secret of our membership --- we wear rings, lapel pins and tie tacks with Masonic emblems. Our buildings are clearly marked and are listed in phone books. Lodge activities are even listed in newspapers in smaller towns!
Like most fraternities, however, we do have some secrets, and these fall into two categories:
Ways to identify ourselves to each other as Masons.
We have special grips and passwords (like many other fraternal organizations) which we keep secret so that unscrupulous people can't pass themselves off as Masons to obtain assistance under false pretenses.
When you truly accept responsibility for your own life and realize that real happiness comes from helping others, you experience certain changes. It's almost impossible to put these changes into words, to describe them to others. (It's like trying to describe a sunset or the feeling you get when you hear our National Anthem.) It's not that these "secrets" may not be told, but that they simply cannot be put into words.
Frankly, if we're a "secret society," then we're the worst-kept secret in town!
No. Religion plays an important part in Masonry, but Masonry itself is most definitely not a religion.
As we've already mentioned, our members must have a belief in God. No atheist can ever become a Mason.
We open our meetings with prayer. And one of the first lessons we teach is that one should pray for divine counsel and guidance before starting an important undertaking. But we are not a religion. We believe strongly in the importance of religion and encourage our members to be active in the religion and church of their choice. We teach that without religion, a man is alone and lost and cannot reach his full potential.
We all use ritual every day. Shaking hands when you meet a friend is a ritual. Standing for the National Anthem before a baseball games is a ritual. Our lives are filled with ritual.
Masonry uses ritual because it's an effective way to teach the important values we talked about earlier. Masonry's ritual is very rich because it's so very old. It has developed over centuries to contain some beautiful language and ideas. But when you think about it, there's nothing unusual about ritual. It's part of everyday life!
A degree is a stage or level of membership in the Masons. It is also the ceremony by which you attain the three levels of membership:
- Entered Apprentice
- Master Mason
During the Middle Ages, when a man joined a craft, such as the stonemasons, he was first apprenticed. As he learned the skills of the craft, he became a "Fellow of the Craft." (What we call a "Journeyman" today.) And finally, he attained the level called "Master of the Craft."
Our degrees teach the great lessons of life-the importance of honor and integrity, of being a person on whom others can rely, of being both trusting and trustworthy, of realizing that you have a spiritual nature, the importance of self-control, of knowing how to love and be loved and of knowing how to keep confidences so that others may open up to you without fear.
As a candidate, you'll attend three meetings to receive the three Masonic Degrees. The Degrees are solemn, enlightening lessons and are an enjoyable experience with absolutely no uncomfortable or embarrassing moments.
It is through the Degrees that the principles of Masonry are taught and where you'll learn that your family and your own necessary vocations are to be considered above Masonry.
Once you become a Master Mason, you will be welcomed as a "Brother" in any of the thousands of Masonic Lodges throughout the world.