What is Freemasonry?
Freemasonry is a fraternal organization that simply seeks to improve men so that they may, in turn, improve society around them. It makes good men better. But it does not tell them how to do it, nor does it give them political, commercial or religious instructions.
Freemasonry is the oldest, largest and most widely recognized fraternal organization in the world. Current worldwide membership totals 3.6 million members, 1.6 million of which are in North America.
As a fraternal organization, Freemasonry unites men of good character who, though of different religious, ethnic, or social backgrounds, share a belief in the fatherhood of God and the brotherhood of mankind.
The traditions of Freemasonry are founded upon the building of King Solomon's Temple, and its fraternal ceremonies use the working tools of the stonemasons to symbolize moral lessons and truths. For example, Masons are reminded at Lodge to "meet upon the level of equality, act by the plumb of uprightness, and part upon the square of virtue."
Like most organizations, one will get out of Freemasonry what he is able to put into it. However, membership in Freemasonry is not meant in any way to interfere with an individual's commitment to his faith, family, or occupation. Freemasonry is not and never can be a replacement for these important institutions, but rather it is a positive environment that reminds every Mason of his duty to God, his community, his family and himself.
Freemasonry provides opportunities for sincere, honest, forthright men who believe in God and desire to contribute to the improvement of their communities and themselves. Through our Masonic Fraternalism, we reaffirm our dedication and unity to become involved citizens who have a strong desire to preserve the values that have made and continue to make America great.
Basic Requirements to Join a Masonic Lodge
The qualifications to become a Freemason vary from one jurisdiction to another, but some basic qualifications are common to all regular Masonic lodges:
- You must be a man, of honor and honesty.
- You must believe in a Supreme Being.
- You must be joining of your own free will.
- You must be of lawful age. Depending on the Grand Lodge, this can be anywhere from 18 to 25.
- You must come recommended by at least two existing Freemasons from the lodge you’re petitioning.
- Masonry doesn’t care about your or social position or worldly wealth.
If you are interested and do not know a Mason or where your local lodge is feel free to contact us and we would be more then willing to help you find the contact information you need.
Is Freemasonry a religion?
No, Freemasonry is not a religion, nor is it a substitute for your religion, Masons who treat it as such are mistaken. Freemasonry strongly encourages its members to belong to an established religion, although that is not a requirement for membership (only that a candidate profess a belief in a Supreme Being). Masonry is a fraternal organization that encourages morality and charity and studies philosophy. Actually religion is not to even be discussed at Masonic meetings. Freemasonry offers no sacraments nor does it claim to lead to salvation by any definition.
Freemasonry believes that men of all faiths can dwell together in peace. Freemasonry requires its members to believe in God but will not dictate those beliefs except that they coincide with the teachings of Freemasonry. The teachings of Freemasonry are built on the virtues of Faith, Hope, Charity, Brotherly Love, Relief and Truth. The "search for light" found in Freemasonry is a reference to a quest for knowledge, not salvation.
If you are looking for religion you need to be looking for a church not a fraternity of Brothers.
What happens at a lodge meeting?
Meetings are begun with ceremony. Then basically two things occur. Business and/or ritual degree work. Degrees may be conferred on the same night as a business meeting or depending on the will of the lodge on a separate evening/day.
The business of the lodge is often quite mundane, for example voting to pay bills. Other business might include anything which any local club or group would encounter. There are votes to admit new members, there are suggestions from the officers and/or the members about activities to hold and things to do and there are reports on events that have occurred. In addition, there is a Treasurer's Report and the reading of the minutes of the preceding meeting by the Secretary along with any correspondence which he might have. The Secretary and Master will report on any word they've received regarding the sickness or distress of a member or his family. Other officers and members might add information as well.
In addition to the above, there are times when a meeting might consist partially or entirely ritual work. Performing the degree, during which a candidate receives further advancement in Freemasonry. First Degree “Entered Apprentice”, Second Degree “Fellowcraft”, and Third Degree “Master Mason”.
There may be a meal, full or snacks, served either before or after the meeting.
Why do you call God - The Great Architect of the Universe ?
Keep in mind we are not a religion nor do we discriminate against personal religious beliefs. We have Brothers all around the world with different religious beliefs.
Our organization/fraternity of Freemasonry has no set "God" one must believe in. Upon petitioning for membership it is a requirement to profess a belief in a Supreme Being. They are not required or requested to elaborate any further on their beliefs except to make a positive affirmation that they have such a belief.
The term "Great Architect of the Universe" (or "Grand Architect of the Universe") is used to permit a more generic term, to the Supreme Being of all present. All Masons understand this concept and when prayers are offered in their lodge, they understand that regardless of the person speaking the words or the manner of prayer of others present, the prayer is addressed only to their own belief of the Supreme Being.
This allows us all to pray together as Brothers without religious confrontation.
I have heard bad rumors are they true?
The lodge goat
Freemasons do not ride a goat in their lodges. It's a joke, perpetrated often by Masons themselves on nervous initiates.
The Masonic bible
Masons have been accused of using their own Satanic bible in their ceremonies, this stems from a custom of many lodges to present a Master Mason with a commemorative Bible upon completing the 3rd Degree Ceremony. This bible is usually the 1611 translation of the King James version and has additional pages to record the Master Mason’s raising date and has spaces for the Lodge Officers to sign.
Masonic meeting is not an act of worship. A lodge is not a church. And Freemasonry is not a religion. Freemasons use prayers to open and close their meetings, but so do Congress and Parliament. The misconception is that Masonic meetings are some sort of bizarre, secret worship service, offered up to a pagan god. Or goddess. Or goat. Or Satan himself.
At any rate, NO we do NOT worship Satan.
Freemasonry is a cult
That depends on what is meant by "cult." By some definitions, Christianity, Islam, and Judaism are cults. By another definition, golfing, bowling, and surfing the Internet are cults. But in the usual use of the term, referring to a group that separates itself from society and its members from their non-member friends, demands slavish obedience from its adherents, engages in brainwashing techniques, confiscates their resources, and sees itself in opposition to established society, absolutely not!
Quite the opposite, in fact: Masonry does not recruit members, does not compel attendance at any of its meetings, charges modest dues and fees (some little changed from sixty years ago, when the dollar was worth a lot more), encourages community service and participation in civic and religious organizations, and allows any member to quit (demit) at any time (providing he has no outstanding financial obligations; otherwise, he is liable to be suspended, but in either case, he would no longer be a member). It is easier to get out of Masonry than it is to get into it!
What about "blood oaths" and hideous penalties of the degrees?
It is true that Masons must take solemn obligations (or oaths) on a Bible or other book sacred to the faith of the individual candidate, but so do Supreme Court justices, the President of the United States, police officers, courtroom witnesses, and even Boy Scouts.
The obligations are to be faithful to the principles of Masonry, and their very nature and seriousness implies that there should be penalties. However, the language of these obligations makes it clear that the penalties are not actually inflicted by the Lodge or any body of Masonry but are expressions of how disgraced and contemptible one should feel for violating such an obligation. In some jurisdictions, the candidate is told that the penalties are of "ancient origin and symbolic only." Later degrees make this even more apparent, even if the actual information is not specifically addressed to the candidate. But the true penalties for violation of the laws of Masonry are three only: Admonition (or reprimand), suspension, or expulsion. Stories about Masons being maimed or murdered for violation of their oaths are just that: fiction. Not one single instance can be documented, despite the many attempts by the enemies of Masonry to promote this slander.
Taking over the world
I am not at liberty to discuss this.
All joking aside, Freemasons are forbidden to discuss politics in the Lodge, which makes it particularly hard to plot a world takeover plan and with millions of men in nearly every country in the world in the Craft, how would it be kept a secret?. So all in all if the Freemasons were planning to take over the world we are really not very good at it. Freemasonry does not now, nor has it ever aspired to be a world-dominating empire.