Freemasonry, or Masonry, is the oldest and largest fraternal organization in the world. It is a universal brotherhood, a society of friends seeking to become better men through their association with one another and their families. It may surprise you to learn that it is a 600-year-old fraternity with a 3,000-year tradition. For ages, it has been the prototype of most fraternal societies and service organizations. In a world whose moral values are being severely tested, Masonry brings men from diverse backgrounds together for fellowship and the promotion of integrity and good citizenship. Arguably, no other organization does or can do what Masonry does in bringing together men who are otherwise so different that they would have remained forever strangers. (scroll down for more)
All over the world, the Masonic Community is perhaps the only voluntary union of people which does not judge its members by the color of their skin, their religious affiliation, political beliefs, wealth, or status in society. In principle, members of a Masonic Lodge are a representative sample of our entire society.
Masonry requires a belief in God and urges its members to be faithful to their own religious beliefs, but it is not a religion. Nor is it a political organization. It encourages its members and their families to be good citizens and to choose their own best means of political expression. If it is conservative, it is only regarding its own traditions, to the faithfulness of its transmission through the ages. If it is liberal, it is regarding admitting men not for their status in society, but for their inner qualities, their character.
Thus, Freemasons welcome men from every religious denomination or creed, requiring only that they affirm their belief in a Supreme Being, and that they are of high moral character and are good citizens. Masonic lodges are non-sectarian; that is, they are not affiliated with nor do they endorse any particular religion or political party or orientation. So strict is this, that partisan and religious discussions are forbidden when the lodge is in session. Masonry is not a substitute for church or religion. The Fraternity urges its members to practice their own religious beliefs in their daily lives.
CBS News: Inside the World of Freemasonry
“The Freemasons are the world’s most well-known secret society, and are the subject of countless parodies and conspiracy theories. But who are they exactly? Mo Rocca ventures inside Masonic Lodges to find out.”
Ben Franklin Discusses Freemasonry
That many of our country’s founding fathers were Freemasons is a well-known fact, so it is only fitting that we use Ben Franklin to answer the question, “What is Freemasonry?”
Masonic Dictionary Definition
Using the dictionary definition of morality, allegory, and symbols provides some clarity:
- Morality: Principles concerning the distinction between right and wrong or good and bad behavior. A particular system of values and principles of conduct, especially one held by a specified person or society.
- Allegory: A story, poem, or picture that can be interpreted to reveal a hidden meaning, typically a moral or political one.
- Symbols: a thing that represents or stands for something else, especially a material object representing something abstract.
From this we can conclude that Freemasonry is a system of values and principles that we teach and practice by integrating symbols into our story telling.
Most Worshipful Robeert Trump, Past Grand Mast of the Grand Lodge of Florida
Most Worshipful Trump crafted a fantastic letter for all Lodges to use when investigating potential members. Within this letter he provided his interpretation of what Freemasonry is. Click here for an excerpt.