Freemasonry means different things to each of those who join. For some, it’s about making new friends and acquaintances. For others it’s about being able to help deserving causes – making a contribution to family and society. But for most, it is an enjoyable pastime. However, to say that Freemasonry is just a pastime does not do the Fraternity justice.
Freemasonry is one of the world’s oldest and largest non-religious, non-political, fraternal and charitable organizations. It teaches self-knowledge through participation in a progression of ceremonies. Members are expected to be of high moral standing and are encouraged to speak openly about Freemasonry.
Freemasonry is a society of men concerned with moral and spiritual values. Its members are taught its principles (moral lessons and self-knowledge) by a series of ritual dramas – a progression of allegorical two-part plays which are learned by heart and performed within each Lodge – which follow ancient forms, and use stonemasons’ customs and tools as allegorical guides.
Freemasonry is often described as “a peculiar system of morality, veiled in allegory and illustrated by symbols.” Our rituals are a very concise documents…a brief sentence or a short paragraph expresses profound ideas and gives precise standards by which we can govern our individual actions in every field of human activity. Our rituals remind us, too, of the interdependence of the several parts our lives. If we attempt to treat any one of these parts as a complete whole we neglect its most important function — indeed the only function that gives it meaning as part of the whole structure of Masonic morality. Each feature of Masonic instruction, to be properly understood, must be considered in the whole context of Freeasonry.
Freemasonry instils in its members a moral and ethical approach to life: its values are based on integrity, kindness, honesty and fairness. Members are urged to regard the interests of the family as paramount but, importantly, Freemasonry also teaches concern for people, care for the less fortunate and help for those in need.
Contrary to popular belief, Freemasons are forbidden to solicit members. If a man wants to join the Masonic Fraternity, he must ask “of his own free will and accord.” If you are waiting to be asked to join a Lodge of Freemasons, you will be waiting a very long time!
From it’s earliest days, Freemasonry has been concerned with the care of orphans, the sick, the aged and those in need. Freemasonry instills in its members the belief that doing Charity is an honor and a duty incumbent upon all of us as free men. It is an obligation we take freely and we ask no notoriety or honors in return. It’s said that, in the United States alone, some $2 million dollars per day is given by Masons to support various Masonic and non-Masonic charities.
Ideas so simple…Brotherly Love, Relief, Truth.