Freemasonry is neither a forum nor a place for worship. Instead, it is a friend of all religions which are based on the belief in one God.
Freemasons are respectable citizens who are taught to conform to the moral laws of society and to abide by the laws of the government under which they live.
They are men of charity and good works. They remain unchallenged as the “world’s greatest philanthropy”.
Only individuals believed to be of the finest character are favorably considered for membership. Every applicant must advocate his belief in the existence of a Supreme Being (atheists are not accepted into the Fraternity).
One must ask a Masonic friend to recommend him for membership. He must sign a petition, stating his age, occupation and place of residence. Members of the Lodge vote by secret ballot.
The candidate receives three Masonic Degrees, concluding with the Third (or Master Mason’s) Degree.
The Degrees are solemn, enlightening and an enjoyable experience with no uncomfortable or embarrassing moments. It is here where the principles of Freemasonry are taught and where the new member learns that his family and his own necessary vocations are to be considered above Freemasonry.
Every Master Mason is welcomed as a “Brother” in any of the thousands of Regular Masonic Lodges throughout the world.
Obviously, many Grand Lodges have regular communication with each other, but official policy in one has no effect in another.
Masons, however, are friends, and it is not surprising that many Masons do trade with Brothers. For one thing, they are dealing with people that are of good character and can be trusted, which is no small statement in the modern marketplace.
But Masonry is not a “place to network”. Yes, some men do view one of the benefits of membership as an additional source of customers or partners, but few would say that is the only reason they became Masons. The work involved in the degrees alone would make this a poor investment - better to join the Rotary Club or other business group.
Masonry, on the other hand, is well-known and proudly displays its existence. Masonic Temples are clearly marked as such, and many Lodges are listed in the phone book (usually under “Fraternal Orders”). Members often wear rings or tie-clips that identify themselves as Masons, and Masons often participate in community charity work. Finally, some Masonic functions are open to the public.
Masonry is not a secret society, but rather a society with a few secrets. These are mainly modes of recognition - the signals, grips, signs, and phrases by which Masons recognize each other. The actual degree rituals are considered secret as well, not because there is anything that would harm Masonry by their revelation, but rather because they are more meaningful if the candidate does not know what is going to go on during them beforehand.
It should be pointed out that many other organizations have a similar class of secrets. College fraternities (a.k.a. “Greek letter organizations”) often have small secrets known only to their members, allowing them to travel from house to house and still be known.
“Masonry is not a religion by the definitions most people use. Religion, as the term is commonly used, implies several things: a plan for salvation or path by which one reaches the after-life; a theology which attempts to describe the nature of God; and the description of ways or practices by which a man or woman may seek to communicate with God. Masonry does none of those things. We offer no plan of salvation. With the exception of saying that He is a loving Father who desires only good for His children, we make no effort to describe the nature of God. And while we open and close our meetings with prayer, and we teach that no man should ever begin any important undertaking without first seeking the guidance of God, we never tell a man how he should pray or for what he should pray. Instead, we tell him that he must find the answers to these great questions in his own faith, in his church or synagogue or other house of worship. We urge men not to neglect their spiritual development and to be faithful in the practice of their religion.
“Freemasonry has no dogma or theology. It teaches that it is important for every man to have a religion of his choice and to be faithful to it. A good Mason is made even more faithful to the tenets of his faith by membership.” Rev. Norman Vincent Peale, who was also a Mason.
There are Christian (Catholic, Protestant, Mormon), Jewish, and Muslim Masons. It would be tedious and pointless to go into a religion-by-religion (and then denomination-by-denomination) discussion. The key points to remember are the requirement of belief in the Supreme Being and the fact that Masonry is a fraternity, not a religion.
If you do not know a Mason, drop us an e-mail. We will refer to you to a local lodge, and one of the officers will contact you.
Typically, the process is as follows: