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What is a Freemason?

Freemasonry cannot be defined in a few sentences or pat answers. One of the most common definitions is that it is a system of morality, veiled in allegory (or a story) and illustrated by symbols. This is true, but Freemasonry is more than that. While it is certainly a course of moral instruction that uses both allegories and symbols to teach its lessons, Freemasonry is also an organized society of men, a fraternity. It uses symbols derived from operative stonemasonry and architecture but not exclusively. Much of its symbolism is also taken from Biblical sources, especially the stories surrounding the building of King Solomon’s Temple. Great stress is placed upon the development of moral and ethical virtues and the building of character, with Truth being the guiding principle of our lives. Thus, Brotherhood and charity are natural outcomes which further define what we are. In other words, we are using proven methods to enhance the lives and spirits of our members in a tangible way.

There are also aspects of Freemasonry that enrich our lives and spirits in an intangible way. This part of Freemasonry is harder to define but is just as real. There is something very profound about Freemasonry. It seems to speak to a hidden part of oneself that responds with a deep reverence and respect. The deeper one takes his studies of the rites and symbols of Freemasonry, the richer his Masonic life becomes.

What is The Purpose of Freemasonry

One of its most basic purposes is to make good men even better. We try to place emphasis on the individual man by strengthening his character, improving his moral and spiritual outlook, and broadening his mental horizons. We try to impress upon the minds of our members the principles of personal responsibility and morality, encouraging each member to practice in his daily life the lessons taught through symbolic ceremonies in the Lodge. One of the universal doctrines of Freemasonry is the belief in the “Brotherhood of Man and the Fatherhood of God”. The importance of this belief is established by each Mason as he practices the three principle tenets of Freemasonry: Brotherly Love, Relief and Truth.

Freemasonry is also the custodian of a tradition of initiation. It is the duty of every Freemason to preserve and perpetuate this tradition for future ages. This is a heavy responsibility and should give pause to any who would seek to make changes in the body of the Craft, except those with the
highest motives and deepest understanding of the principles involved.

Is Freemasonry A Secret Society?

The answer is no. A secret society is one in which the membership is concealed, the meeting places are kept secret, and knowledge of its organization and principles is unknown to the public. True, we have a few secrets in Freemasonry: a part of our ritual, our modes of recognition and the business of the Lodge. Portions of our ritual have been handed down within Freemasonry for centuries and form a part of our tradition. However, our purposes, ideals and principles may be learned by anyone who inquires. There are numerous books on these subjects available to the public. All printed Masonic information, with the exception of our esoteric work, may be freely discussed in public. As Masons, we wear lapel pins and other Masonic jewelry, march in parades with our distinctive aprons, advertise the time and place of our meetings and openly sponsor charities. We can hardly be called a secret society. We do prefer to keep our rites confidential, because keeping them sacred and solemn can only enhance their initiatory value.

Is Freemasonry A Religion?

Again, the answer is no. Because of the nature of the teachings of Freemasonry, we require our Candidates to acknowledge a belief in the existence and perfection of God. Otherwise, the ceremonies would be meaningless. However, there is no requirement that one belong to a particular religion or a particular church. That choice is a personal decision. It is the opinion of our Order that membership in our Fraternity will only enhance a man's experience in whatever religious community he chooses to belong. An atheist cannot become a Mason, because he cannot express a belief in a Supreme Being.

Masonic ideals are not set forth in written creeds. For the most part, the individual Mason must interpret the rituals for himself and come to whatever understanding will satisfy his own mind and conscience, allowing others to do likewise. This is an example of Masonic tolerance, one of the primary principles of the Craft. It is one of our founding principles and can be traced all the way back to Anderson's Constitutions of 1723 and 1738, which forbade all sectarian discussion in our assemblies. There is no Masonic dogma. Our Order seeks only to unite good men for the purpose of Brotherhood, not to promote a specific religion or in any way interfere with a man’s practice of his Faith.

Can a Catholic become a Mason? There is nothing within Freemasonry that prohibits a Catholic from becoming a member. There are many misunderstandings by the public, and sometimes even our own members, concerning this issue . These misunderstandings have led to many false conclusions and created barriers where none exist so far as Freemasonry is concerned.

There are in fact some religious sects that frown upon membership in various fraternal organizations. The viewpoint may be supported more enthusiastically in some locales than others. Freemasonry like many others which have rituals that are not viewed as public is often mistakenly listed in this category.

Did Masonic Ideals Really Create The United States?

It is true that the ideals enshrined by modern Speculative Freemasonry mirror that of the highest ideals of the United States (All men are created equal, all men should be free of tyrany,etc.) However, these ideals rest in the hearts of all men. Yes there were Masons (some now very famous) in the room and taking leadership roles in both the writting of both Declaration of Indepenance and the Constitution of The United States of America. There are even modern Masons who bring this up as a source of pride, and for this many think we are taking credit for our nation. Nothing can be further from the truth. One of the first assurances made to us prior to becoming Freemasons is that in no way will our commitments in Freemasonry come before God, our Country, or nieghbor or our families. Therefore, in the favor of absolute truth, Americans Created our nation. Yes Freemasons were involved, but first and formost, they were there as Americans and no more.

The Use of Symbolism & Allegory

Freemasonry makes extensive use of symbolism and allegory. A general study of symbolism is recommended to every Mason. Research into the historical uses and meanings of symbols utilized in the rituals, as well as a comparative study of mythology, provides a sure foundation for Masonic education. Especially recommended to Masonic researchers is a working knowledge of the stories from the Bible. Whenever a person or story is explicitly mentioned or alluded to in the rituals of our Fraternity, it is our task to find out why.

In Freemasonry, the Lodge is the center of activity. It is symbolically the Temple of Solomon. All degree work (ritual) and advancement is done within the symbolic Temple.

Being Masons, we might expect that the symbolism of stones would be important. The importance of stone symbolism is pervasive in religious thought. We can find references connecting stones with the gods back to the remotest times. It has been considered by some religious historians as being an archetypal image representing absolute reality. Stones possess the qualities of stability, solidity, and everlastingness which is also qualities attributed to the gods. There are numerous references to stones throughout the Bible which allude to a link between the stone, the sacred, and spirituality. In Isaiah 28:16 we read: “Therefore thus saith the Lord God, Behold, I lay in Zion for a foundation a stone, a tried stone, a precious corner stone, a sure foundation: ...” In Psalm 118: 22 we find: “The stone which the builders refused is become the head stone of the corner.” Also, in Revelation 2:17 we read: “To him that overcomes will I give to eat of the hidden manna, and will give him a white stone, and in the stone a new name written, which no man knoweth saving he that received it.” We also read (Genesis 28:11) that when Jacob had his vision of the angels and the ladder reaching to heaven; he used a stone as a pillow. After he awoke: “Jacob rose up early in the morning, and took the stone that he had put for his pillow and set it up for a pillar and poured oil upon the top of it. And he called the name of that place Beth-El (God’s House).”

What About All The Videos That Call Freemasons Evil?

If you have doubts about Freemasonry, no matter if it is from groups that support every conspiracy ever about every group, from a Church to Governments, or from Family Members that cause you doubt, then you are not ready to be a Freemason. We do not say this out of spite or anger, but simply stating a fact. We are taught that you are first made a Mason not in a Lodge, but in your heart. This happens before you ever approach a Mason about becoming one. If you have these doubts, then we suggest you go to a lodge or just someone you know to be a Mason and ask as many questions as you like. You do not have to apply to ask questions after all. After that, if you feel better about the organization, then we ask you to truly ask yourself what you think Freemasonry is about, and we suggest you take a while before you answer that question. Then, and only then, if you would like to be a Freemason, then we would be happy to talk to you about that. We are not interested in publicity, we do not become Masons to be revered. We become Masons to improve ourselves, our families and our communities.