Freemasonry is often misunderstood. It is an organization that has been the source of many conspiracy theories, accusations and much mystery. At the same time it is often associated with religion, patriotism and charity.
Visions of old guys wearing fez hats while driving small carts at parades fill people’s minds when they think of Masons. At the same time, past presidents, George Washington, famous actors and more are all Freemasons. In many lodges there is a balance of men of all ages, as well.
So what exactly is the fraternity of Free and Accepted Masons? Lets try to clear up what Freemasonry has been, and what it is today.
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Freemasonry is a worldwide men’s fraternity. We believe that good men who associate together will help each other to become better men, husbands and fathers. We provide charity to our members, widows and orphans.
We each belong to a Lodge, and there are Lodges that meet throughout the world. Lodges in rural counties in the early to mid 1900’s were often social centers for small towns and hosted social events like dances and gatherings, when formal ceremonies were not taking place. In modern times our ceremonies persist and our doors still frequently open to the public.
Masonry has a long history. Legend has it, this history dates as far back as the building of the great Temple of Solomon. However, the earliest historical document, known as the “Regius Poem,” dates Freemasonry as far back as 1390.
Freemasonry originated from operative masons, the ones who built the great cathedrals of Europe. Cultures changed and time went on and the guilds evolved into the fraternity as we know it today. The building tools of old being were used to teach symbolic lessons about truth and morality to the men of the enlightenment.
Freemasonry would continue to grow and with the discovery and colonization of the new world. It found a time when it could blossom and grow instep with the ideals of a new nation…
Is Masonry a religion? No. It is most definitely not. That doesn’t mean we are devoid of spirituality or religion. Many Masonic symbols and allegories are rooted around the Hebrew Scriptures. Our members all must believe in a deity or higher power, but sectarian and discussions about religion (and politics) are strictly prohibited in the Lodge. After all our goal is to unite men, and nothing drives people apart quicker than religion and politics.