What is Freemasonry?
“What is Freemasonry?” as a Past Master of a Freemason Lodge – I don’t recall anyone directly asking me this question specifically. But I think that it does represent a number of similar questions I was asked over the years. This refined three word question is the simply the core question many people put a lot of words around.
My goal is to really dig in and look at the answer actually is. Over my Masonic Life, I have heard and read a number of definitions given to me by the brothers. Most common and overused is: “Freemasonry is a system of morality, veiled in allegory, and illustrated by symbols.” Okay to honest, I think this is a lame definition because it is so vague.
Here is my definition, “What is Freemasonry? My Answer: We are men of Faith and men with no criminal records. Also, we are men that are active military or veterans, civil servants, businessmen, charity professionals and retired. We are men over the age of 18 and we are respected in our community. We are men that are hungry to keep learning and to never stop desiring to learn.”
Getting the fraternity better defined for you
Now let’s dig deeper into the question but yet look what is freemasonry in the big picture? It is a system of morality. Masons agree to live with integrity and morality. Freemasons are just you but they attempt daily to improve themselves not in the eyes of others but in their eyes. Change comes from starting with yourself and not those around you. So you may be wondering what does morality mean? Simply, morality is the principles concerning the distinction between right and wrong or good and bad behavior.
Similar terms are: ethics, rights and wrongs, correctness, virtue, goodness, good behavior, righteousness, rectitude, uprightness, having morals, principles, honesty, integrity, honor, justice, fair play, justness, decency, purity, blamelessness, a community’s moral standards, a personal moral code, a family’s principles of right and wrong, an business’s rules of conduct, ethos, and ideals. I know I gave you a lot of terms there but I did it on purpose. It should cause you to think about how Masons try daily to live their life and improve themselves in society.
Okay so morality is a particular system of values and principles of conduct, especially one held by a specified person or society. That is the most basic definition of morality. Yet, Freemasonry has values, principles, and is a group of good men. Freemasonry strives to help it’s members grow into a better person. A better father, grandfather, son, husband, uncle, neighbor, church attendee, co-worker, and the list can on but I think you get the point.
So what is Freemasonry for a Freemason?
Okay a Master Mason has been through the three degrees that explain the elementary principles of Freemasonry. We use symbols in the degrees to help reinforce ideas and concepts. This happens in a lodge. A lodge is the Freemason’s building and there are many in different local community around the world. Each lodge in it’s area is part of a Grand Lodge and it is allowed to operate by authority of a Charter. A lodge charter is granted by the State or National organization depending on what country you live in, that is called “The Grand Lodge.”
Every Master Mason is a spokesman for our fraternity to the community. Every Master Mason reinforces the good the fraternity can and should do to help our community by being a good citizen and doing good to others in the community. A Master Mason is not interested in power, glory, and so on. He is a man wanting to make his community better by doing good actions in the community.
Further, Freemasonry is not a religion. Yet, it encourages it’s members to find a church or holy place and pray to God. Masons are from all different religions and come together to talk to one another about the fraternity not about politics nor religion. We discuss how to improve ourselves as people and do good in or for our community. We are not a cult, we are not a religion, and we are not a political group. We are not a secret society, yet we are a fraternity with secrets.
What about it being a religion?
Truth be told, Freemasonry is not a religion but yet it is religious in nature. Why? Because having a Belief in a Supreme Being is a fundamental requirement for becoming a Mason. How can you take an obligation or make a promise to keep a secret if you have nothing you stand for or submit to? I submit to the fact that God is great and He is the maker of all everything. I personally stand for and abide by my words used before my God (which for me is the Holy Trinity – Jesus Christ, the Holy Spirit, and God). How could anyone be held to their word if they don’t believe in a higher power? The higher power (i.e. God) will hold them accountable for their actions in life and God will be their only judge of their actions after their life is over.
So therefore, Freemasonry is not a religion nor a substitute for religion. It requires of its members a belief in a supreme being as part of the obligation of every responsible adult, but advocates no sectarian faith or practice. Therefore, an atheist cannot be Freemason. Further, our Masonic ceremonies include prayers, to reaffirm each individual’s dependence on their supreme being and to seek divine guidance. Freemasonry is open to men of various faiths but again religion may not be discussed at Masonic meetings.
Here is more information on why Freemasonry lacks the basic elements of religion:
- It has no dogma or theology
- It has no wish or means to enforce religious orthodoxy
- It offers no sacraments
- It does not claim to lead to salvation by works, secret knowledge or by any other means
- The secrets of Freemasonry are concerned with modes of recognition, not with the means of salvation
Gaining more information of this fraternity
Yes, Freemasonry is a charitable organization and it files with the local, state, and federal governments. Yes, it is a fraternity and abides by the laws of the land when paying bills and so on. The fraternity mission is to strengthen a man’s character, to try to improve his moral and spiritual outlook, and encourage him to continue to learn for his entire life to better broaden his mental horizons. Freemasonry is not a secret society but is a society of secrets. Okay, so the fraternity is interested in making good men better. So what is a good man? He is a man of Faith and a man with no criminal felonies. Also, he is a man over the age of 18 and he is respected in our community.
Here is what Freemasons don’t know and what are NOT our Masonic Secrets:
- The existence of UFOs
- What really is happening in Area 51
- Who killed JFK
- 9/11 Cover-Up or inside job
- Is Elvis alive or dead
- Knowing if Secret Societies Control the World
- If The Moon Landings Were Faked
- Holocaust Revisionism
- The CIA and AIDS
- The Reptilian Elite
And this list can literally never end. But, we as Freemasons are not interested in taking over the world but we are trying to make ourselves better to hopefully improve our local community. Therefore, by our acts of kindness, we can be mean the world to others in a good way. Our acts of charity make a difference from paying for a set of glasses for a child from a poor family that can’t afford them to helping children with hearing, eye, or burns. This is how we wish to be remembered.
Okay I think I answered this question – but I know you may have more questions – don’t worry I will answer them one by one. Slowly and methodically to give a deeper understanding of this amazing fraternity. I hoped you enjoyed this first answer and I hope you reading the many answers yet to come!