What is the Meaning of Freemasonry and it's
Freemasonry is one of the world's
oldest fraternal organizations. The lessons Freemasonry teaches in
its ceremonies, are to do with moral values. Freemasonry's
acknowledgement, without crossing the boundaries of religion, is
that everything depends on the providence of God. Freemasons feel
that these lessons apply much today as they did when it took its
modern form at the turn of the 17th century.
Despite what many people claim,
Freemasonry is not in any way a secret society. Freemasonry's
so-called secrets are solely used as a ceremonial way of
demonstrating that one is a Freemason. In any case, Freemasonry has
been exposed by the media for almost as long as they have existed.
The real point of a Freemason promising not to reveal their secrets,
is basically a dramatic way of promising to keep one's word in
Other reasons why Freemasonry
cannot be called a secret society, are that Freemasons do not
promise to keep their membership or where they meet a secret. Where
and when Freemasons meet are matters of public record.
It is ironic that Freemasons
used to be quiet about their membership. They were and still are
taught never to use it to advance their own interests. Critics have
taken this the wrong way and think that there is something secretive
and nasty because of the silence. Nothing could be further from the
Masonic ceremonies are secular
morality plays, which are learned by heart, by members of the lodge
for the benefit of the person who is becoming a Freemason. Each
ceremony has a message for the candidate. A further reason why
Freemasons do not go around broadcasting their contents is simply
because it would spoil it for the candidate. The same way you would
not tell someone the ending of a good book or a film, you would not
tell someone about the ceremony.
Freemasons are required to
profess and continue in a belief in a Supreme Being. Their
ceremonies include prayers, which are not in any way a substitute
for religion. It has no theological doctrines, it offers no
sacraments, and it does not claim to lead to salvation. By having
prayers at its meetings Freemasonry is no more in competition with
religion than, say, having a meal where grace is said.
Freemasons are not allowed to
discuss religion or politics at meetings. Freemasonry's aim is to
encourage its members to discover what people from all different
backgrounds have in common. As is all too well known, debate about
religion and politics can lead to heated discussion rather than
A Freemason is thus basically
encouraged to do his duty first to his God, and then to his family
and those who are dependent on him. He is to help his neighbors
through charity and service.
None of these ideas is
exclusive to Freemasonry, but all should be universally acceptable
and Freemasons are expected to follow them.
There have been a great number of
definitions of Freemasonry. Perhaps the best, and certainly the simplest,
is Freemasonry is a system of morality, veiled in allegory and illustrated
The idea of teaching by allegories
and symbols is not new. All great teachers have, more or less, followed
The system of morality, referred
to as Freemasonry, is that which every Freemason is bound to profess
and practice. If it includes principles with which he was familiar
before his entrance into Freemasonry, he will nevertheless find these
presented in new ways and in forms different from those with which
he was previously familiar. If he finds in Masonic teachings nothing
startlingly new, he must remember that, in some respects at least,
there is nothing new under the sun and that the essence of morality
is to be found in the utter simplicity (though not the ease) of its
The elementary principles of Freemasonry
are exemplified in the three degrees worked in every regular Masonic
Lodge throughout the world.
Each Lodge has its own Officers,
headed by a Master; its own Committees and, in many cases, its own
building and property.
On the other hand, each Lodge is
subject to the authority of the Grand Lodge under which it holds its
In becoming a member of a Lodge under
a particular Constitution, one becomes subject not only to the general
customs and usages of the Craft, but also to the Laws and Regulations
of that Grand Lodge, as well as to the By-Laws and Regulations of
that Lodge which one joins.
However, Freemasonry will never require
anything which might conflict with ones duty to God, his Country,
his neighbor or his family.
In the progress through Freemasonry,
one is initiated as an Entered Apprentice; passed to a Fellow Craft
and raised as a Master Mason. These are ritualistic ceremonies of
a most serious character appropriate to each stage of advancement.
It may be noted that during the ceremonies,
one will not be asked to promise anything which will conflict with
ones religious, civil or other duties.
The first duty is to approach each
ceremony calmly and solemnly, with mind and spirit attentive to the
lessons which will be imparted.
What Freemasonry Is Not
So that one may not have a mistaken
idea of what Freemasonry is, it may be well to point out some of the
things which Freemasonry is not, and
which it has never claimed to be.
1. Freemasonry is not
a religion nor a substitute for religion. It requires a belief in
a "Supreme Being" which it does not name as its members
include men from all religions. It urges men to follow the teaching
of and to regularly attend their choice of a church. It has a philosophy
of its own which it believes to be compatible with the teachings of
religious institutions. The teachings of Freemasonry transcend all
denominational and sectarian divisions. In the field of human conduct,
it is complementary to religion, but religious topics are not discussed
2. Contrary to the opinion held by
many, Freemasonry is not a charitable institution, as such. It is
true that one of the fundamental principles of Freemasonry is the
practice of relief, and a Freemason will necessarily minister to the
widows and fatherless in their affliction. But these and other similar
modes of conduct, must proceed from that purity of life and conduct
which is one of the great objectives of all Masonic teachings.
3. Freemasonry does not insure its
members against the vicissitudes of old age; provides no sick benefits
as such; issues no insurance policies on the lives of its members
and pays no death benefits of any kind. Not that Freemasonry disbelieves
in these and other means by which modern civilization undertakes to
reduce suffering and privation-quite the contrary. But it confines
the matter of individual relief to those cases where such relief becomes
necessary, in spite of all the efforts of a Brother or his family to
maintain their economic independence. The Masons part in this work
is far more likely to be that of a contributor than a beneficiary,
except in the larger sense, in which every man benefits from the fact
that it is more blessed to give than to receive.
4. Freemasonry does not lend itself
to the promoting of selfish or mercenary interests. Any underlying
purpose of such a nature in one's mind will eventually become apparent
to the other Brethren resulting in the inevitable loss of one's respect.
5. Freemasonry is not connected in
any way with a political creed. A Freemason's political views are
his own and a Lodge may well have members belonging to many different
political parties. For that reason, no discussion of political matters
is permitted in a Lodge.
Who May Become A Freemason
Not every man can fulfill the requirements
that Freemasonry asks of it's aspirants.
The primary requirement, is of course,
a sound moral character. One whose reputation in the Community is
in any way questionable, cannot expect to become a Mason.
But there are other requirements
which the petitioner must have, such as:
He must be a believer in God, The
He must be a loyal citizen, willing
to discharge his duties to God, to his neighbor and to himself.
He must be at least eighteen years
of age in the Grand Jurisdiction of Maryland.
He must be in such financial circumstances
that he can maintain himself as a Member of his Lodge, meeting the
monetary obligations imposed by being a member, without detriment
to his family or himself.
A potential Freemason, like Masons
in all ages before, comes of his own accord to knock at the door of
Two Brethren are requested to recommend;
indeed they have to vouch for the prospects character and sincerity
of motives. In a very real sense they are Masonic sponsors and have
the responsibility of seeing that they and others who have accepted
their assurances will not be disappointed.
What Freemasonry Expects of You
The privileges of Freemasonry
are no greater than the responsibilities of its members. The obligations
will not conflict with those already assumed by virtue of ones membership
in modern society. On the contrary, Freemasonry reiterates, reinforces
and re-emphasizes them.
Thus, in asking Freemasonry
to share its past, its present and its future and all the privileges
of its Brotherhood, one must bear in mind the fact that the relationship
is a reciprocal one and that certain things are expected of the prospect.
The calling of a Freemason is a high one and one should never suffer
oneself to depart from it.
Loyalty to home, to
country and to the Craft is expected at all times.
Patriotism is a bounden
duty and one must not countenance disloyalty or rebellion.
that all men, whether Masons or not, are Brothers by birth, endowed
with the same nature, and sharing the same hopes.
That Freemasonry champions
the cause of the widow, the fatherless, the weak, and the distressed.
That the time-honored
virtues cherished by our forefathers are to be observed among Masons
and that humanity, patience, charity and gentleness are among the
hallmarks of purity and integrity of character.
What is a Mason
A Mason is a Man and a Brother whose trust is in God.
He meets you on the Level and acts upon the Square.
Truth is his Compass and he is ever Plumb.
He has a true Grip on all that is Rite.
He is loyal to his order, and what ever his Degree.
is Master of himself.
In the Lodge of life he wears unstained the white Lambskin of innocence.
From his Initiation as an Enter Apprentice he travels
ever East toward the Light Of Wisdom until he receives the final Divine Password that admits him to the
Ineffable Presence of the Eternal Supreme Grand Master Of The Universe.