Who Are The Masons?

Masons (also known as Freemasons) belong to the oldest and largest fraternal organization in the world. Today there are more than two million Freemasons in North America. Masons represent virtually every occupation and profession, yet within Freemasonry, they all meet as equals. Masons come from diverse political ideologies, yet meet as friends. Masons come from varied religious beliefs, yet all believe in one God, in religious tolerance, and in individual freedom of thought and conscience.

Many of our Nation's early patriots and founding fathers were Masons. Two of the three men assigned to draft the Declaration of Independence were Masons. Thirteen signers of the Constitution and fourteen Presidents of the United States, including George Washington and Thomas Jefferson, were Freemasons. The great explorers, Lewis and Clark, were also brother Masons.

One of the most fascinating aspects of Freemasonry is how so many men, from so many different walks of life, can meet together in peace, always conducting their affairs in harmony and friendship, and calling each other "Brother."

What is Freemasonry?

Freemasonry or Masonry is an organization of men dedicated to the Brotherhood of Man (i.e all humankind) under the Fatherhood of God. It symbolically uses the tools and implements of ancient architectural craftsman in a system of instruction designed to build both character as well as ethical and moral values in its members. The singular purpose of Masonry is to make good men better. Its bonds of friendship, compassion, acceptance, and brotherly love have survived even the most divisive political, military, and religious conflicts through the centuries.

Freemasonry is a fraternity which encourages its members to be men of faith, practicing whatever religion they have chosen and accepted for themselves. Masonry teaches that each person, through self-improvement and helping others, has an obligation to make a difference for good in the world, to upraise and uplift and to bless rather than to curse.

Which is why Masons are such ardent defenders of liberty and freedom against the dark forces of tyranny that seek to oppress, blind and bind, and keep down mankind. Masons are opposed to any tyranny, be it religious, political, economic or commercial. We are dedicated to bringing light into the world, and the liberation that comes from knowledge, reason and understanding.

Where Did Freemasonry Begin?

No one knows just how old Freemasonry is because its actual origins are lost in time. Most scholars believe Masonry arose from the guilds of stonemasons who built the majestic castles and cathedrals of the Middle Ages. In 1717, Masonry emerged as a formal organization when four existing Lodges in London joined together to form the first Grand Lodge: the Grand Lodge of England. By 1731, when Benjamin Franklin joined the Masonic Fraternity, there were already several Lodges in the American colonies.

Today, Masonic lodges are found in nearly every community throughout the nation, and in large cities there are usually two or more. A Mason can travel to almost any country in the world and find a Masonic Lodge where he will be welcomed as a "Brother."

What Do Freemasons Do?

The Masonic experience encourages members to become better men, better husbands, better fathers, and better citizens. The fraternal bonds formed in the Lodge help build lifelong friendships among men with similar goals and values.

Beyond its focus on individual development and growth, Masonry is deeply involved in helping people. The Freemasons of North America contribute over two million dollars a day to charitable causes. This philanthropy represents an unparalleled example of the humanitarian commitment of this great and honorable fraternity. The vast majority of this charity goes to people who are not Masons. Some of these Masonic charities are vast projects.

The Shrine Masons (Shriners) operate the largest network of hospitals for burned and orthopaedically impaired children in the country. There is never a fee or a charge for treatment. Thousands of former children, whose parents could not afford to help them, and who would have been consigned to the margins of our society because of their impairment and the unjust shame that comes from feeling different, now walk upright as normal men and women thanks to the Shriners.

The Scottish Rite Masons maintain a nationwide network of Childhood Language Disorder Clinics, Centers and Programs. Many other Masonic organizations sponsor a variety of philanthropies, including scholarship programs for students, and perform public service activities in their communities. Masons also enjoy the fellowship of each other and their families in social and recreational activities.

What is the Masonic Lodge?

The word "Lodge" means both a group of Masons meeting together, as well as the room or building in which they meet. Masonic buildings are sometimes called "temples" because the original meaning of the term was "place of knowledge" and Masonry encourages the advancement of knowledge. Masonic Lodges usually meet once or twice a month to conduct regular business, vote upon petitions for membership, and bring new Masons into the Fraternity through three ceremonies called degrees. In the Lodge room Masons share in a variety of programs. Here the bonds of friendship and fellowship are strengthened.

So Who Are The Masons?

Masons are men of good character who strive to improve themselves and make the world a better place. They belong to the oldest and most honorable fraternity known to man. If you think you may be interested in becoming a Mason, you can begin by contacting either a Freemason you may already know, or Euclid Lodge.

Some Masonic Principles Are:

  • The Faith of your choice should be the center of your life.

  • All men and women, regardless of their race, creed, color or national origin, are children of God and stand equal in His eyes.

  • No one has the right to tyrannize, force, coerce or tell another what he or she should think or believe.

  • Each person has a responsibility to be a good citizen, supporting and obeying those laws established for the common benefit and good; and questioning, challenging and opposing any unjust law that promotes tyranny, the diminishment of the human spirit, or the suppression of those human and political rights laid out within the founding documents of this nation: the Declaration of Independence, the Constitution and the Bill of Rights.

  • It is important to make the world a better place for all.

  • Honor, integrity, compassion and a respect for others, as well as oneself, are keys to a meaningful life.

Adapted from "Who Are The Masons And What Do They Do?" published by the Masonic Information Center at www.msana.com