That’s not a surprising question. Even though Masons (Freemasons) are members of the largest and oldest fraternity in the world, and even though almost everyone has a father or grandfather or uncle who was a Mason, many people aren’t quite certain just who Masons are. The answer is simple. A Mason (or Freemason) is a member of a fraternity known as Masonry (or Freemasonry).
Making Good Men Better
“Grow or die” is a great law of all nature. Most people feel a need for continued growth as individuals. They feel they are not as honest or as charitable or as compassionate or as loving or as trusting or as well-informed as they ought to be.
Masonry reminds its members over and over again of the importance of these qualities and education. It lets men associate with other men of honor and integrity who believe that things like honesty, compassion, love, trust, and
knowledge are important. In some ways, Masonry is a support group for men who are trying to make the right decisions.
It’s easier to practice these virtues when you know that those around you think they are important, too, and won’t laugh at you. That’s a major reason that Masons enjoy being together.
So, is Masonry education?
Masonry teaches some important principles. There’s nothing very surprising in the list. Masonry teaches that:
Since God is the Creator, all men and women are the children of God. Because of that, all men and women are brothers and sisters, entitled to dignity, respect for their opinions, and consideration of their feelings.
Each person must take responsibility for his/her own life and actions. Neither wealth nor poverty, education nor ignorance, health nor sickness excuses any person from doing the best he or she can do or being the best person possible under the circumstances. No one has the right to tell another person what he or she must think or believe.
Each man and woman has an absolute right to intellectual, spiritual, economic, and political freedom. This is a right given by God, not by man. All tyranny, in every form, is illegitimate. Each person must learn and practice self-control. Each person must make sure his spiritual nature triumphs over his animal nature.
So is Masonry a religion?
No, it is not a religion. This is not to say that masons do not have religious beliefs. One of the tenets of the Masonic Fraternity is that its members are free to express their beliefs in the religion of their choice. However, it is also a condition of membership that each recognize that the wonders of the universe are not here as a result of the doings of man; but rather as a result of a Supreme Being, who brings order and purpose to our existence.
Is Masonry a secret society?
This is a widespread misconception, and is completely untrue. The so-called secrets of Freemasonry have actually been in print for well over a century. The fraternity does nothing to hide its existence, its purpose or its membership. The lessons taught in our meetings are meant for the improvement and education of our members.
What do Freemasons Do?
The history and traditions of Freemasonry date back to antiquity, with the singular purpose of making good men better. The tenets of our fraternity; Brotherly Love, Relief, and Truth have stood the test of time.
Learning about the Fraternity
If you are interested in learning more about Freemasonry there are over 50,000 books published on the subject, some of which may be found in your local libraries. Two excellent books that you may wish to read are The Pilgrim’s Path, written by John J. Robinson, who, after several years of researching the fraternity, became so impressed with it that he petitioned a Lodge and became a member. Another is The Complete Idiot’s Guide to Freemasonry by S. Brent Morris. Don’t let the title fool you! You will find it to be a very interesting and myth-busting introduction to the history and practice of Freemasonry.