Who Are The Masons?
Masons (also known as Freemasons) belong to the oldest and
largest fraternal organization in the world. Today, there are more than
two million Freemasons in North America. Masons represent virtually every
occupation and profession, yet within the Fraternity, all meet as equals.
Masons come from diverse political ideologies, yet meet as friends. Masons
come from varied religious beliefs and creeds, yet all believe in one God.
Many of North America's early patriots were Freemasons.
Thirteen signers of the Constitution and fourteen Presidents of the United
States, including George Washington, were Masons. In Canada, the Father of
the Confederation, Sir John A. MacDonald, was a Mason, as were other early
Canadian and American leaders.
One of the most fascinating aspects of Freemasonry is how so
many men, from so many different men, from so many different walks of
life, can meet together in peace, always conducting their affairs in
harmony and friendship and calling each other "Brother."
What is Freemasonry?
Freemasonry (or Masonry) is dedicated to the Brotherhood
of Man under the Fatherhood of God. It uses the tools and implements
of ancient architectural craftsmen symbolically in a system of instruction
designed to build character and moral values in its members. 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 a
fraternity which encourages its members to practice the faith of their
personal acceptance. Masonry teaches that each person, through
self-improvement and helping others, has an obligation to make a
difference for good in the world.
Where Did Freemasonry Begin?
No one knows just how old Freemasonry is because
the actual origins have been lost in time. Most scholars believe Masonry
arose from the guilds of stonemasons who built the majestic castles and
cathedrals of the middle ages. In 1717, Masonry created a formal
organization when four Lodges in London joined in forming England's first
Grand Lodge. By 1731, when Benjamin Franklin joined the Fraternity, there
were already several Lodges in the Colonies, and in Canada the first Lodge
was established in 1738.
Today, Masonic Lodges are found in almost every community
throughout North America, and in large cities there are usually several
A Mason can travel to almost any country in the world and
find a Masonic Lodge where he will be welcomed as a "Brother".
What Do Freemasons Do?
The Masonic experience encourages
members to become better men, better husbands, better fathers, and better
citizens. The fraternal bonds formed in the Lodge help build lifelong
friendships among men with similar goals and values.
Beyond its focus on individual development and growth,
Masonry is deeply involved in helping people. The Freemasons of North
America contribute over two million dollars a day to charitable causes.
This philanthropy represents an unparalleled example of the humanitarian
commitment and the great and honorable Fraternity. Much of that assistance
goes to people who are not Masons. Some of these charities are vast
projects. The Shrine Masons (Shriners) operate the largest network of
hospitals for burned and orthopedicly impaired children in the country,
and there is never a fee for treatment. The Scottish Rite Masons maintain
a nationwide network of over 150 Childhood Language Disorder Clinics,
Centers, and Programs. Many other Masonic organizations sponsor a variety
of philanthropies, including scholarship programs for children, and
perform public service activities in their communities. Masons also enjoy
the fellowship of each other and their families in social and recreational
Several Masonic Principles Are:
- Faith must be the center of our lives.
- All men and women are the children of God.
- No one has the right to tell another person what he
or she must think or believe.
- Each person has a responsibility to be a good
citizen, obeying the law.
- It is important to work to make the world a better
place for all.
- Honor and integrity are keys to a meaningful life
What is The Masonic Lodge?
The word "Lodge" means both a group of Masons meeting
together as well as the room or building in which they meet. Masonic
buildings are sometimes called "temples" because the original meaning of
the term was "place of knowledge" and Masonry encourages the advancement
Masonic Lodges usually meet twice a month to conduct regular
business, vote upon petitions for membership, and bring new Masons into
the Fraternity through three ceremonies called degrees. In the Lodge
room Masons share in a variety of programs. Here the bonds of friendship
and fellowship are formed and strengthened.
Who Can Qualify to Join?
Applicants must be men of good character who believe in
a Supreme Being. To become a Mason one must petition a particular Lodge.
The Master of the Lodge appoints a committee to visit the applicant
prior to the Lodge balloting upon his petition.
So Who Are the Masons?
Masons are men of good character who strive to improve
themselves and make the world a better place. They belong to the oldest
and most honorable fraternity known to man. If you think you may be
interested in becoming a member, you can begin by contacting a Lodge in
your area or speaking to a Mason.