(also known as Freemasons) belong to the
oldest and largest
organization in the world. Today, there are now more than two million
Masons in North America. Masons
represent virtually every occupation and profession, yet within the
Fraternity all meet as equals. Masons
come from diverse political ideologies, yet meet as friends. Masons
come from varied religious beliefs
and creeds, yet all believe in one God.
of North America's early patriots were
Masons. Thirteen signers of
the Constitution and fourteen
Presidents of the United States, including George Washington, were
Masons. In Canada, the Father of the
Confederation, Sir John A. MacDonald, was a Mason, as were other early
Canadian and American leaders.
of the most fascinating aspects of
Freemasonry is how so many
different walks of life, can meet together
in peace, always conducting their affairs in harmony and friendship and
calling each other "Brother."
(or Masonry) is dedicated to the
Brotherhood of Man under
the Fatherhood of God. It uses the tools
and implements of ancient architectural craftsmen symbolically in a
system of instruction designed to build
character and moral values in its members. 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. Masonry is a fraternity
which encourages its members to practice
the faith of their personal acceptance. Masonry teaches that each
person, through self-improvement and
helping others, has an obligation to make a difference for good in the
one knows just how old Freemasonry is
because the actual origins
have been lost in time. Most scholars
believe Masonry arose from the guilds of stonemasons who built the
majestic castles and cathedrals in the
Middle Ages. In 1717, Masonry created a formal organization when four
Lodges in London joined to form
England's first Grand Lodge. By 1731, when Benjamin Franklin joined the
Fraternity, there were already
several Lodges in the Colonies, and in Canada the first Lodge was
established in 1738.
Masonic Lodges are found in almost every
North America, and in large cities there
are usually several Lodges. A Mason can travel to almost any country in
the world and find a Masonic Lodge
where he will be welcomed as a "Brother."
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 life-long
friendships among men with similar
goals and values.
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. Much
of that assistance goes to people who are not Masons. Some of these
charities are vast projects. The Shrine
Masons (Shriners) operate the largest network of hospitals for burned
and orthopedically impaired children
in the country, and there is never a fee for treatment. The Scottish
Rite Masons in the Southern Jurisdiction
maintain a network, as of 2001, of 150 Childhood Language Disorder
Clinics, Centers, and Programs. Other
Masonic organizations sponsor a variety of philanthropies, including
scholarship programs and perform public
service activities in their communities. Masons also enjoy the
fellowship of each other and their families
in social and recreational activities.
Masonic Principles Are:
must be the center of our lives.
men and women are the children
one has the right to tell
another person what he or she must think or believe.
person has a responsibility
to be a good citizen, obeying the law.
is important to work to make
the world a better place for all.
and integrity are keys to a
Is The Masonic Lodge?
The word Lodge means both a
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.
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 formed and strengthened.
Qualify To Join?
Applicants must be men of good character who
believe in a Supreme
Being. To become a Mason, one must petition a particular Lodge. The
Master of the Lodge appoints a committee to visit the applicant prior
to the Lodge balloting upon his petition.
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 might be interested
in becoming a member, you can begin by contacting a Lodge in your area
or speaking to a Mason.
Character And Integrity Join The Masons
Most are men who go about their jobs and
professions with no hint they
are Freemasons except for the way they lead their lives. Many are
readily recognizable by name, face, or accomplishment. George
Washington and 13 other Presidents, 8 Vice Presidents, and 42 Justices
of the Supreme Court have been Masons.
Edwin "Buzz" Aldrin
L. Van Beethoven
Richard E. Byrd
George M. Cohan
Cecil B. deMille
Gerald R. Ford
Hubert H. Humphrey
John Paul Jones
Marquis de Lafayette
George C. Marshall
Charles W. Mayo
Wolfgang A. Moart
Dr. Norman V. Peale
Franklin D. Roosevelt
John Philip Sousa
Harry S. Truman
Thomas J. Watson
article is published by and
available as a color brochure from the Masonic Information Center, 8120
Fenton Street, Silver Springs, Maryland 20910-4785, Tel: (301)
588-4010; Fax: (301) 608-3457; Web site: http://www.msana.com;