Freemasonry – A Way of Life
Who are the Freemasons?
Freemasons belong to the oldest and largest fraternal organization in the world. Freemasons represent virtually every occupation and profession, yet within the Fraternity, all meet as equals. Masons come from diverse political ideologies, yet meet as friends. Freemasons come from varied religious beliefs and creeds, yet all believe in one Supreme Being.
What is Freemasonry?
A simple, but accurate, description is that Freemasonry is two things:
A Way Of Life and a Moral Education
Freemasonry is an ancient and honourable society. It’s principles are just steady standards of life and conduct in a changing world. The practice by Freemasons of Brotherly Love, Relief and Truth and the other principles of the Craft will go a long way to making a good man better.
Freemasonry 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. It’s 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.
Freemasonry is a fraternity which encourages its members to practice the faith of their personal acceptance. Freemasonry teaches that each person, through self-improvement and helping others, has an obligation to make a difference for good in the world.
Freemasonry as a Way of Life
There are about 8 million Freemasons under more than 100 “regular” Grand Lodges worldwide. Membership of the Craft is open to every respectable Man who believes in a Supreme Being – usually known in Masonic terms as the Great Architect of the Universe, Grand Geometrician of the Universe or the Most High. These descriptive names show the importance the Freemason places on his Supreme Being.
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 Masonic Lodge help build lifelong friendships among Men with similar goals, values and aspirations.
Beyond its focus on individual development and growth, Freemasonry is deeply involved in helping people and their communities. 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 honourable fraternity.
Who can qualify to become a Freemason?
Applicants must be men of good character who believe in a Supreme Being. To become a Freemason one must petition a Masonic Lodge. The Master of the Lodge appoints a committee to visit the applicant prior to the Lodge balloting upon his petition.
Freemasonry is a fraternity, not a religion.
As a fraternal association dedicated to making good men better, Freemasonry respects the religious beliefs of all its members. Freemasonry has no theology and does not teach any method of salvation. In particular it does not claim that good works gain or guarantee salvation.
Freemasons are united in their desire to be of service to Mankind.
While Freemasonry supports homes for members and their spouses, most Masonic services, including Shrine medical and burn centers, are available to all citizens. In 1990, North American Masonic philanthropy totaled more than $525 million, of which 58% went to the general public.
Freemasonry is an open, not secretive, society.
Masonic meetings are announced publicly, Masonic buildings are marked clearly and are listed in phone directories, and Masons proudly wear jewelry identifying their membership. Freemasonry inherited a tradition of trade secrets from the cathedral-building guilds of medieval Europe. The only “secrets” still belonging to modern Masonry are traditional passwords, signs of recognition, and dramatic presentations of moral lessons.
Freemasonry is open to all men of good character who believe in God.
Freemasonry does not discriminate on the basis of race, religion, or social class.
The Masonic family of organizations is open to all.
Freemasonry admits only Men, but many Masonic-related organizations, such as the Order of the Eastern Star, Amaranth, Job’s Daughters, Rainbow for Girls and DeMolay for Boys, offer ample opportunities for women and youth.
Freemasonry does not require improper oaths.
The solemn promises taken in Freemasonry are no different than the oaths taken in court or on entering the armed services. The much discussed “penalties,” judicial remnants from an earlier age, are symbolic, not literal. They refer only to the pain any honest man should feel at the thought of violating his word.
Freemasonry teaches individual improvement through study.
Freemasonry encourages study, including literature by the great writers of ancient times. Freemasonry does not sanction the views of these authors but offers them for each individual’s reflection and evaluation.
Freemasonry teaches in steps.
Masons learn through a series of lessons. These “degrees” of insight move from basic to more complex concepts. This no more hides the nature of Freemasonry from novice members than does having a student understand fractions before calculus.
Freemasonry is practiced worldwide.
There are approximately 4.5 million Masons in North America and nearly 8 million throughout the world.
Freemasonry has no single spokesman.
Freemasonry is made up of many individuals in numerous organizations, all subordinate to the Grand Lodge within their jurisdiction (i.e. province or state). None of these members or organizations can speak for Freemasonry; that is the responsibility of each Grand Lodge within it’s jurisdiction. No Masonic body nor author, however respected, can usurp the authority of a Grand Lodge.
Freemasonry is made up of many organizations.
Masonry has many groups, each with a special social, educational, or philanthropic focus. A man becomes a Mason in his local Lodge. If he so desires, he can then he join any of the following “Appendant Bodies” i.e. the Scottish Rite, York Rite (which includes the Royal Arch and Knights Templar), Shriners, etc.
Freemasonry is a fraternity or brotherhood – not a religious society – based on the belief that each person has a responsibility to help make the world a better place. Freemasonry encourages good men to become better Men by promoting a life dedicated to high ideals, community service, and benevolence. Freemasons believe in the importance of religion; Men of all faiths and religious beliefs are members of the organization.
Masons are deeply involved in helping people. Their compassion for others manifests itself in many ways, from housing neglected and abused children to helping seniors remain independent. Masons contribute more than $1.4 million every day in North America to aid individuals who are sick, aged, or destitute, or whose physical, emotional, and psychological needs are not being met. The vast majority of Masonic philanthropies assist people who are not Masons.
• Act with honour and integrity in everything you do.
• Believe in a Supreme Being and keep faith in the center of your life.
• Be tolerant and considerate of different religious, social, and political views.
• Strive to leave the world a better place than when you entered it.
• Practice mutual help – give and accept help when it’s needed.
• Uphold and maintain the principles of good government and oppose divisive and degrading influences.
• Value self-improvement over financial success.
• Remain good at heart.
• Strive to live a brotherly life.
Millions of men have become Freemasons throughout history, and yet it is not commonly known how one actually becomes a Freemason. An ancient landmark (custom) of regular Freemasonry that one is not asked to become a Freemason – a man must do it of his own volition. Some jurisdictions require that a man ask more than once. Membership is for Men, 21 years of age or older, who meet the qualifications and standards of character and reputation, who are of good moral character, and who believe in the existence of a supreme being.
The doors of Freemasonry are open to Men who seek harmony with their fellow Man, feel the need for self-improvement and wish to participate in making our world a better place to live. Any Man who becomes a Freemason is taught a pattern for living – reverence, morality, kindness, honesty, dependability, and compassion. He must be prepared to honour his country, uphold its laws, and respect those in authority. He must be prepared to maintain honourable relations with others and be willing to participate in Masonic activities.
To become a member of this Ancient and Honourable Fraternity, a Man must apply of his own free will and accord and with an open heart. Invitations are not issued to prospective members, nor are members solicited. To be one, ask one . . . . .
If a person is interested in joining, he should ask a Masonic friend for more information or contact a local Masonic Lodge. Freemasonry is the oldest and largest male fraternity in the world.
Should you wish to know more, we invite you to contact any of our members or:
The Office of the Grand Secretary
The Masonic Memorial Centre
420 Corydon Avenue
Winnipeg, MB • R3L 0N8
Toll Free: 800-665-2712
To become a member of this Ancient and Honourable Fraternity, a Man must apply of his own free will and accord, and with an open heart. Invitations are not issued to prospective members, nor are members solicited.