What is Freemasonry?
What is Freemasonry?
Freemasonry is the world’s oldest and largest fraternity. It is comprised of adult men (18+) of good character from every country, religion, race, age, income, education, and opinion, who believe in a Supreme Being. Its body of knowledge and system of ethics is based on the belief that each man has a responsibility to improve himself while being devoted to his family, faith, country, and fraternity.
Freemasonry (often simplified to “Masonry”) enhances and strengthens the character of the individual man by providing opportunities for fellowship, charity, education, and leadership based on the three ancient Masonic tenets: Brotherly Love, Relief and Truth. Freemasonry continually strives to “make good men better.”
By attending Masonic Lodge meetings and learning from your fellow Masons, you’ll strengthen the bonds of fellowship as you join together with like-minded men who share ideals of both a moral and metaphysical nature. You’ll enjoy the friendship of other Masons in the community, and you’ll be welcomed as a “brother” by Masons everywhere in the world. Freemasonry also promises that should you ever be overtaken by misfortune, sickness, or adversity through no fault of your own, the hands of our great fraternity will be stretched forth to aid and assist you.
From its earliest days, charity has been the most visible Masonic activity. Freemasons have always been devoted to caring for disadvantaged children, the sick and the elderly. Masons are also actively involved in a great deal of community volunteer work.
Its ceremonies provide instruction to all members, supplemented by various other activities such as seminars, lectures, workshops, and reading. Because Freemasonry is an esoteric society, certain aspects of its work are not generally disclosed to the public. Freemasonry uses an initiatory system of degrees to explore ethical and philosophical issues, and the system is less effective if the observer knows beforehand what will happen. It is described in Masonic craft ritual as “a beautiful system of morality veiled in allegory and illustrated by symbols.”
Freemasonry offers its members leadership opportunities at the lodge, District, and Grand Lodge level. As Freemasons progress through the Craft, they discover different aspects of themselves and develop a range of skills that even they might not have known they possessed. By developing leadership techniques that fit their personality, Masons unlock the door to their full potential.
-From Joseph Fort Newton When Is A Man A Mason?
“When is a man a Mason? When he can look out over the rivers, the hills, and the far horizon with a profound sense of his own littleness in the vast scheme of things, and yet have faith, hope and courage-which is the root of every virtue. When he knows that down in his heart every man is as noble, as vile, as divine, as diabolic and as lonely as himself, and seeks to know, and to love his fellow man. When he knows how to sympathize with men, even in their sins – knowing that each man fights a hard fight against many odds,-and still believe in them when they do not believe in themselves. When he has learned how to make friends and to keep them, and above all how to keep friends with himself. When he loves flowers, can hunt birds without a gun and feels the thrill of an old forgotten joy when he hears the laugh of a little child. When he can be happy and high-minded amid the meaner drudgeries of life. When star-crowned trees, and the glint of sunlight on flowing waters, subdue him like the thought of one much loved and long dead. When no voice of distress reaches his ears in vain, and no hand seeks his aid without response. When he feels a social inequity as a personal sin, and a human calamity as a private bereavement-sharing the guilt and sorrows of his fellows. When he finds good in every faith that helps any man to lay hold of divine things and see majestic meanings in life, whatever the name of that faith may be. When he can look into a wayside puddle and see something beyond mud, and into the face of the most forlorn fellow mortal and see something beyond sin. When he knows how to pray, how to love, how to hope, how to meet defeat and not be defeated. When he has kept faith with himself, with his fellow-man, with his God; in his hand a sword for evil, in his heart a bit of a song-glad to live, but not afraid to die! Such a man has found the only secret of Masonry, and the one which it is trying to give to all the world”.”