WHAT IS FREEMASONRY?
Freemasonry remains after centuries one of the significant institutions in the world. Its principals of brotherly love, relief, and truth attract good and upright men of all countries, religions, and politics. Our members are company executives, clergy, policemen, professors, tradesmen, politicians, civil servants, lawyers, and shopkeepers, and all are bound together by the same great aim — to regard the whole human species as one great family and to aid, support, and protect each other. No matter where we travel, it is likely that a Brother Master Mason is nearby.
Freemasonry is the world's oldest and largest Fraternity. Its history and tradition date to antiquity. Its singular purpose is to make good men better. Its bonds of friendship, compassion and brotherly love have survived even the most divisive political, military and religious conflicts through the centuries. Freemasonry is neither a forum nor a place for worship. Instead, it is a friend of all religions which are based on the belief in one God.
Many of our nation's early patriots were Freemasons, as well as thirteen signers of the Constitution and fifteen Presidents of the United States, beginning with George Washington.
Today, the more than four million Freemasons around the world come from virtually every occupation and profession. Within the Fraternity, however, they all meet as equals. They come from diverse political ideologies, but they meet as friends. They come from virtually every religious belief, but they all believe in one God.
One of the most fascinating aspects of Freemasonry has always been: how so many men, from so many different walks of life, can meet together in peace, never have any political or religious debates, always conduct their affairs in harmony and friendship, and call each other "Brother!"
The Masonic Commitment to Character
Many years ago, the famous Dr. Albert Schweitzer wrote these magnificent words:
"It is not enough merely to exist... Every man has to seek in his own way to make his own self more noble and to realize his own true worth."
Those words capture the meaning of Freemasonry. As the world's oldest and largest fraternity, our goal is to build a man's most valuable possession — his character.
We believe that the strength of the family, the church, the community and our country rests with men of strong conviction, firm ethical and moral values and a devotion to our democratic system of government. As Masons, we help each other intensify our devotion to these enduring values.
In a day when it seems that few people really care about rising to the highest and best in life, it is good to know that there is a group where a man can really improve himself.
In lodge meetings, there is no talk of politics, no discussion of religious issues, even though every Mason must affirm a belief — according to his own understanding — in deity and devotion to his country.
Masons are concerned with developing their minds and enlarging their scope of knowledge. In a word, Masons are dedicated to becoming better men.
Men of every walk of life belong to Masonic Lodges. They are proud of their centuries of tradition, their belief in brotherhood, country and the many Masonic acts of charity and compassion.
The Founding of Freemasonry
The origins of Masonry reach back to Medieval times when the great cathedrals of Europe were built. The stonemasons who created these awe-inspiring Gothic structures formed craft guilds to protect the secrets of their trade and to pass on their knowledge to worthy apprentices.
In 17th century England, these guilds began accepting honorary members, men of learning and position. These new members were not working stonemasons or even associated with the building trades. As "accepted Masons", they eventually grew into a separate organization called Freemasonry, a moral and ethical society that taught the 18th century ideals of equality and the importance of education in freeing mankind from prejudice, superstition and social injustice.
Masons continue to use the simple tools of the ancient stonemasons — the square and compasses, the trowel, plumb and level — as symbols to teach their ideals. A Mason is oath-bound to build his life and character with the same care and precision that stonemasons used to construct the cathedrals and temples centuries ago.
Today, there are almost five million Masons in the world, with the United States claiming about three million of the total membership.
Masonic Concern for Others
Freemasonry has an outstanding record for helping others. Along with scholarships and loan funds to assist young people in furthering their education. Masons support many community-based charitable projects. Retirement homes and hospitals for the elderly provide care for those who no longer can care for themselves.
The Improvement of Life
Yes, Masons are members of a fraternity that has its secrets, but the many character-building activities of Freemasonry indicate that it is far from a secret organization. Masons are active in their dedication to improve life. Always ready to undertake a difficult task in a quiet and dignified way, today's Masons go about the job of extending the hand of brotherhood.
For the man who is looking for deeper meaning in life and who wants to be part of a fraternity comitted to his growth and improvement, Masonry is filled with marvelous opportunities and limitless possibilities.
A new and very informative book about Freemasonry is now available from the "For Dummies" series of books. Freemasons For Dummies - Your Key to the history, beliefs and rituals of Freemasonry by Christopher Hodapp, 32° comes highly recommended by North Dakota's M.W. Grand Master Darrel Schrader. I have the first chapter of the book available for download in PDF form.
Please click on this link to download: Freemasons For Dummies - Chapter 1 PDF
The book is available for only $14.37 from Amazon.com. I recommend that you buy two so you can lend them out to prospective new members.
Click here to Order the book from Amazon.com
At last, a plain-English guide to Freemasonry-the secret society that's reportedly at the center of Dan Brown's forthcoming novel The Solomon Key.
With Freemasonry featured prominently in The Da Vinci Code as well as the hit movie National Treasure, it's no wonder that more and more people are curious about this ancient organization, and interest is sure to intensify when Dan Brown's new blockbuster appears. This balanced, eye-opening guide demystifies Freemasonry, explaining everything from its elaborate rituals and cryptic rites to the veiled symbols and their meanings. The book profiles famous Freemasons throughout history including many of America's Founding Fathers as well as prominent politicians and business leaders offers a balanced assessment of the many controversies and conspiracy theories that continue to swirl around Freemasonry. For anyone who wants an evenhanded overview of Freemasonry's past, present, and future, this guide is the key.
Christopher Hodapp (Indianapolis, IN) is a Mason who has traveled extensively reporting on Masonic practices in Great Britain, France, and elsewhere. He is currently a Past Master and a Master of his lodge. Hodapp edits the lodge newsletter and has written for the Grand Lodge magazine, the Indiana Freemason.
Copyright © 2015 Acacia Lodge #4 A.F. & A.M. - Grand Forks, North Dakota USA