• What is a Mason?

    Basic Principles

    Freemasonry is not a religion, nor is it a substitute 
    for religion. It requires of its members a belief in God as part of the 
    obligation of every responsible adult, but advocates no sectarian faith or 
    practice. Masonic ceremonies include prayers, both traditional and extempore, to 
    reaffirm each individual's dependence on God and to seek divine guidance. 
    Freemasonry is open to men of any faith, but religion may not be discussed at 
    Masonic meetings.

    The Supreme Being

    Masons believe that there is one God and that people 
    employ many different ways to seek, and to express what they know of God. 
    Masonry primarily uses the appellation, "Grand Architect of the Universe," and 
    other non-sectarian titles, to address the Deity. In this way, persons of 
    different faiths may join together in prayer, concentrating on God, rather than 
    differences among themselves. Masonry believes in religious freedom and that the 
    relationship between the individual and God is personal, private, and 
    sacred.

    Volume of the Sacred Law

    An open volume of the Sacred Law, "the rule and guide of 
    life," is an essential part of every Masonic meeting. The Volume of the Sacred 
    Law in the Judeo/Christian tradition is the Bible; to Freemasons of other 
    faiths, it is the book held holy by them.

    The Oath of Freemasonry

    The obligations taken by Freemasons are sworn on the 
    Volume of the Sacred Law. They are undertakings to follow the principles of 
    Freemasonry and to keep confidential a Freemason's means of recognition. The 
    much discussed "penalties," judicial remnants from an earlier era, are symbolic, 
    not literal. They refer only to the pain any honest man should feel at the 
    thought of violating his word.

    Freemasonry Compared with Religion

     Freemasonry lacks the basic elements of religion: (a) It 
    has no dogma or theology, no wish or means to enforce religious orthodoxy. (b) 
    It offers no sacraments. (c) It does not claim to lead to salvation by works, by 
    secret knowledge, or by any other means. The secrets of Freemasonry are 
    concerned with modes of recognition, not with the means of salvation.

    Freemasonry Supports Religion

    Freemasonry is far from indifferent toward religion. 
    Without interfering in religious practice, it expects each member to follow his 
    own faith and to place his Duty to God above all other duties. Its moral 
    teachings are acceptable to all religions.

    Freemasonry and Secrecy

    People sometimes refer to Freemasonry as being a "Secret 
    Society." In one sense the statement is true. Any social group or private 
    business is "secret" in the sense that its business meetings may be open only to 
    its members. In Freemasonry, the process of joining is also a private matter, 
    and its members are pledged not to discuss with non-members certain parts of the 
    ceremonies associated with the organization.

    Freemasonry does have certain handshakes and passwords, 
    customs incorporated into later fraternities, which are kept private. They are 
    means of recognizing each other--necessary in an organization which spans the 
    entire world and which encompasses many languages.

    The tradition of using handshakes and passwords was very 
    common in the Middle Ages, when the ability to identify oneself as belonging to 
    a building or trade guild often made the difference in getting a job or in 
    obtaining help for yourself and family. Today, Freemasons make the same pledge 
    to every member that he will be offered assistance if he, or his family, ever 
    requests it.

    Freemasonry can’t be called a "secret society" in a 
    literal sense. A truly secret society forbids its members to disclose that they 
    belong to the organization, or that it even exists. Much of the Masonic ritual 
    is in books called "Monitors" that are widely available, even in public 
    libraries. Most Freemasons wear rings and lapel pins which clearly identify them 
    as members of the fraternity. Masonic lodges are listed in public phone books, 
    Masonic buildings are clearly marked, and in many areas of the country Masonic 
    lodges place signs on the roads leading into town, along with civic 
    organizations, showing the time and place of meetings.

    In terms of what it does, what it teaches, who belongs, 
    where it meets, there are no secrets in Freemasonry! It is a private fraternal 
    association of men who contribute much toward the public good, while enjoying 
    the benefits of the brotherhood of a fraternity.

    Freemasonry and Women

    In Freemasonry, as in all other areas of life, women 
    play an important role. The opportunities for women to participate in 
    Freemasonry are widespread and meet a variety of needs, from social interaction 
    in the Orders for both men and women, to the unique needs met in the "women 
    only" Masonic-related organizations. The moral and ethical values that 
    Freemasonry encourages are universal and not gender-based.

    Masonic Lodges maintain today a long-standing tradition 
    of restricting membership in Freemasonry to men. This tradition is based on the 
    historical all male membership of stonemasons guilds. During the Middle Ages, 
    men traveled far from home and lived in lodges while constructing great 
    cathedrals throughout Europe.

    However, in the middle 1800s the fraternity took the 
    progressive step, for that time, of creating organizations that included women, 
    so that men and women could share Masonic fraternalism. The Order of the Eastern 
    Star (the largest of these Masonic-related groups) was established in 1855, the 
    Order of the Amaranth in 1873, and the White Shrine of Jerusalem in 1894.

    Two national Masonic-related youth organizations are for 
    young women: the International Order of Job’s Daughters, founded in 1920, and 
    the International Order of Rainbow for Girls, founded in 1922. Rainbow and Job’s 
    Daughters are involved with local charities, community services, and educational 
    programs.

    Other Masonic-related organizations limit their 
    membership to women only, such as the Ladies Oriental Shrine of North America, 
    Daughters of the Nile, the Daughters of Mokanna, and the Social Order of 
    Beauceant. These Masonic-related organizations, like many organizations in North 
    America, both social and professional, base their membership on gender. Junior 
    League, P.E.O., National Association of Female Executives, and Girl Scouts, for 
    instance, are organizations created exclusively for women, established to 
    fulfill their unique interests and specific needs.

  • 2B1 ASK1

    If you would like to become a Mason, or just want more information