WHAT IS FREEMASONRY?
Freemasonry is the leading fraternal organization in the world. Its origins are lost in the unrecorded history of medieval times, but it formally organized in London, England, in 1717. Current worldwide membership totals over 3 million members, 1.1 million of whom 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.
A BLUEPRINT FOR LIVING TO YOUR POTENTIAL
Freemasonry is an individual journey towards becoming a better father, husband, friend, citizen and man, supported by other men at different points on the same journey. For centuries, the Lodge itself has been the launchpad for Masonic Education, and a common ground for Brethren of different backgrounds to meet and exchange ideas, provide support and offer friendship.
Masons live by the principles of Brotherly Love, Relief and Truth.
Brotherly Love: Caring for Each Other and Our Communities Relief: Humbly Assist Those in Distress Truth: Using Knowledge and Understanding to Improve Ourselves, Our Families and Our Communities
BROTHERLY LOVE, RELIEF AND TRUTH
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 of Brotherly Love, Relief and Truth.
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."
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; rather, it is a positive environment that reminds every Mason of himself, his family, community and the Supreme Architect (an individual's own definition of a Supreme Being.)
The experience of becoming a member of a Masonic Lodge is divided into three ceremonial stages that Masons call "degrees." These three degrees are loosely based upon the journeyman system, which was used to educate Medieval Craftsmen. Symbolically, the degrees represent the three stages of human development: youth, manhood and age.
1st Degree:This is a candidate's ﬁrst experience with the ceremonies of the Fraternity, and like all Masonic ceremonies, it is a solemn and meaningful event. Once a candidate completes the Entered Apprentice ceremony, he takes his ﬁrst step as a Freemason and enjoys the title of "Brother."
2nd Degree:The second ceremony exposes a Brother to more of the symbolism and philosophy of the Fraternity. For skilled Craftsmen, this degree would have marked a person's progress from an apprentice to a journeyman.
3rd Degree:The last of the Lodge ceremonies, the Master Mason degree, makes a candidate a full member of the Fraternity, enjoying both the rights and responsibilities of membership. The Master Mason has the right to visit lodges throughout the world. He will meet men who would otherwisehave remained strangers. He can study the philosophy that underlies the Masonic ceremonies. He can aspire to positions of leadership. He can enjoy the beneﬁts of fellowship. He can discover the joy of helping others. There is no higher degree in Freemasonry, though many will continue their formal training in the Craft by joining appendant bodies such as The Scottish Rite (32° Freemasonry), The York Rite, and The Shrine (or "Shriners"), among others
During all three ceremonies, a candidate is treated with complete respect. At no time is he ever made to feel uncomfortable or harassed in any way. Masonic ceremonies are a wonderful tradition shared by men such as George Washington, Harry S. Truman, Dave Thomas and other men of integrity. These ceremonies are always conferred in such a way as to bring pride to the candidate and the members of the Lodge.