Freemasonry is a philosophy and practice of morality and ethics
imparted to its members through the symbolic use of the tools of
ancient stonemasons and by initiation ceremonies based upon
rituals that are centuries old. Freemasons uniquely use 18th
century language and rituals to teach 21st century
heritage of modern Freemasonry is derived from the organized
guilds or unions of stonemasons who constructed the beautiful
cathedrals and other stately structures throughout Europe during
the middle ages. Over time, the demand for operative stonemasons
declined until they were eventually replaced with members who
emphasized the teaching of moral philosophy rather than the
technical and working skills of earlier centuries.
of the stonemasons are still used in Freemasonry today but only
to symbolize moral virtue, not to build cathedrals.
What Does It Mean To Be A Mason?
means being part of an unbroken tradition that stretches back
over 500 years to a time when guilds of Freemasons traveled
throughout Europe laying the stones of the great Gothic
famous people were Freemasons - among them George Washington,
John A Macdonald, John G Diefenbaker, Harold Ballard, Tim
Horton, Glenn Ford, Oscar Peterson, Gordon Sinclair, Benjamin
Franklin, John Hancock, John Molson, Joseph Seagram, and Paul
Revere - all Masons who lived their lives by the principles of
loyalty, patriotism, liberty, courage, and faith, which are also
deeply embedded in Freemasonry. A more comprehensive list is
means becoming a better person while helping to improve the
quality of life for others. It means forming deep and lasting
friendships through Masonic Brotherhood that transcend the
boundaries of race, religion, and culture, as well as those of
most of all, being a Mason means the kind of deep satisfaction
that comes only from selfless giving; from doing for others
without asking or expecting anything in return.
Is Freemasonry a Religion?
Freemasonry is not a religion. In fact, discussing religion is
forbidden in Masonic meetings. Every man desiring to become a
Mason must believe in a Supreme Being; how each man views that
deity is their own personal belief. Masonic meetings open and
close with a prayer but not as a place of worship or a church.
Who Becomes a Mason?
who become Masons come from all walks of life and levels of
income. They represent every race, creed, and culture. In
Masonry, it doesn't matter whether a man is a bricklayer or a
physician, a waiter or the mayor of the city. All are “on the
same level” in the Lodge room.
ceremonies and practices of the Masons have remained unchanged
for hundreds of years. No matter where a Masonic Lodge is
located, its members share the common bond of having passed
through the same degree work, rites, and rituals. Because of
this, members can find brother Masons wherever they go. Across
the country and around the world, there are Lodges in nearly
every city and in many smaller communities.
a good feeling to know that, wherever a man's travels may take
him, he has friends he can depend upon and trust.
The Masonic Tenets
Freemasonry is built upon three basic tenets - Brotherly Love,
Relief and Truth. Brotherly Love is the practice of the Golden
Rule. Relief embodies charity for all mankind. Truth is honesty,
fair play, and adherence to the cardinal virtues of Temperance,
Fortitude, Prudence, and Justice.
moral lessons are taught during three ceremonies, or "degrees"
through allegory and symbolism using the traditional stonemasons
Freemasonry is not a secret organization but rather an
organization with secrets. The “secrets” which Masons may not
divulge involve the modes of recognition which Masons may use to
identify themselves, as well as parts of the degree rituals.
However, Lodge buildings are clearly marked and listed in the
phone book. Members frequently wear rings and pins identifying
them as Masons. Masonry values confidentiality and so, as with
many other organizations, many of its meetings are not open to
Giving Freely of Yourself and
Asking Nothing in Return
Selfless giving is a trademark of Freemasonry. Locally, our
Lodge and many others support scholarships to students pursuing
higher education. Masons are the founding sponsors and
supporters of the Shriners Hospitals for Children which offer
their services free of charge. Individual Lodges regularly
support other charitable activities.
Degrees are there in Freemasonry?
Basic Freemasonry consists of three degrees:
• Entered Apprentice • Fellow
Craft • Master Mason
There are many other Masonic
degrees and Orders which are called 'additional' or 'appendant' because they add
to the foundations established in the first three degrees. They are not basic to
Freemasonry but add to it by further expounding upon and illustrating the moral
lessons taught. Some of these additional degrees are numerically superior to the
third degree but this does not affect the fact that they are additional to and
not in anyway superior to or higher than the Master Mason degree. The ranks that
these additional degrees carry have no standing with the Craft.
The secrets of Freemasonry are concerned with its traditional modes of
recognition. It is not a secret society, since all members are free to
acknowledge their membership and will do so in response to enquiries for
respectable reasons. Its constitutions and rules are available to the public.
There is no secret about any of its aims and principles. Like many other
societies, it regards some of its internal affairs as private matters for its
members. In history there have been times and places where promoting equality,
freedom of thought or liberty of conscience was dangerous. Most importantly
though is a question of perspective. Each aspect of the craft has a meaning.
Freemasonry has been described as a system of morality, veiled in allegory and
illustrated by symbols. Such characteristics as virtue, honour and mercy, such
virtues as temperance, fortitude, prudence and justice are empty clichés and
hollow words unless presented within an ordered and closed framework. The
lessons are not secret but the presentation is kept private to promote a clearer
understanding in good time. It is also possible to view Masonic secrecy not as
secrecy in and of itself, but rather as a symbol of privacy and discretion. By
not revealing Masonic secrets, or acknowledging the many published exposures,
freemasons demonstrate that they are men of discretion, worthy of confidences,
and that they place a high value on their word and bond.
Freemasonry demands from its members a respect for the law of the country in
which a man works and lives. Its principles do not in any way conflict with its
members' duties as citizens, but should strengthen them in fulfilling their
public and private responsibilities. The use by a Freemason of his membership to
promote his own or anyone else's business, professional or personal interests is
condemned, and is contrary to the conditions on which he sought admission to
Freemasonry. His duty as a citizen must always prevail over any obligation to
other Freemasons, and any attempt to shield a Freemason who has acted
dishonorably or unlawfully is contrary to this prime duty and the teachings of
Freemasonry is non-political, and the discussion of politics at Masonic meetings
is forbidden. Freemasonry, as a body, will never express a view on politics or
state policy. It charges each of its members to be true and loyal to the
government of the country to which he owes allegiance, and to be obedient to the
laws of any state in which he may reside. Holding these beliefs and in the
knowledge that the true Freemason will act in civil life according to his
individual judgments and the dictates of his conscience. Freemasonry naturally
tends to attract those with a concern for people and a sense of social
responsibility and purpose. There are members, therefore, who are involved in
politics at local, national and international level. Equally there are members
who take an active interest in non-Masonic charitable organizations and other
Freemasonry is not a religion, nor is it a substitute for religion. It has no
theology and does not teach any route to salvation. It deals in a man’s
relationship with his fellow man not in a man’s relationship with his God.
Although every lodge meeting is opened and closed with a prayer and its
ceremonies reflect the essential truths and moral teachings common to many of
the world's great religions, no discussion of religion is permitted in Masonic
meetings. The one essential qualification means that Freemasonry is open to men
of many religions and it expects and encourages them to continue to practice his
religion and to regard its holy book as the unerring standard of truth. The
Bible will always be present in a lodge but as the organization welcomes men of
all faiths, it is called the Volume of the Sacred Law. Thus, when the Volume of
the Sacred Law is referred to in ceremonies, to a non-Christian it will be the
holy book of his religion and to a Christian it will be the Bible.
Because of their belief in universal principles & freedoms Freemasons have been
prosecuted and seen historically as threats by tyrants and despotic dictators.
Intolerance towards Freemasons even emanated at one time from the Holy Roman
Catholic Church. Various Roman Catholic Popes have published condemnations of
Freemasonry, starting with Bull, In Eminenti, by Pope Clement XII, on 28 April,
1738. Although Roman Catholic Canon Law does not specifically mention
Freemasonry, the Sacred Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith of the Roman
Catholic Church still views association as a serious sin. Furthermore,
Freemasonry had been outlawed in Germany by Hitler and the Nazi's during WW II,
by Mussolini in 1925, by Franco in Spain in 1941, suppressed by the Communists
of Russia, Romania and Hungary, and in Iran by the Ayatollah Khomeini in 1979.
The countries where Freemasonry openly exists are in counties that are tolerant
and more or less democratic.
New members make solemn promises concerning their conduct in the lodge and
society. These promises are similar to those taken in court or upon entering the
armed services or many other organizations. Freemasons promise to support others
in times of need, but only if that support does not conflict with their duties
to God, the law, their family or with their responsibilities as a Citizen.
Charity and Freemasonry
Freemasonry should not be allowed to harm a man's family or other connections by
taking too much of his time or his money, or causing him to act in any way
against their interests. Members are invited to give to charity but this should
always be within their means and it is entirely up to the individual how much
they wish to contribute. From its earliest days, Freemasonry has been concerned
with the care of orphans, the sick and the aged. This work continues today. In
addition, large sums are given to national and local charities.
Every man comes, of his own free will and accord, with his own individual needs
and interests. One man may join so that he can associate with other men who
believe that only by improving themselves can they hope to improve their
society. Another man may join because he is looking for a focus for his
charitable inclinations. And yet another may be attracted by a strong sense of
history and tradition. Many join simply because they knew a friend or relative
who was a freemason and they admired that man’s way of living his life. All who
join and become active discover a bond of brotherly affection and a community of
mutual support; a practical extension of their own religious and philosophical
How Much and How Many
Membership fees vary from Lodge to Lodge. Anyone wishing to join will find a
Lodge to suit his needs and means. There is an initiation fee on entry and in
due course regalia will have to be bought. The meeting is normally followed by a
dinner, the cost depending on the venue. There is, in addition, an annual
subscription. It is entirely up to the individual member what he gives to
Charity, but it should always be without detriment to his other
responsibilities. Freemasonry is a brotherhood of over 5 million worldwide.
Women are not invited to join recognized Masonic lodges. By contemporary
standards it may not appear easy to justify this exclusion and most freemasons
would simply claim tradition. One might justify this exclusion, in contemporary
terms, as a form of male bonding; meeting a group of like minded men from a
broad social, economic and cultural background to practice a ritual derived from
those practiced hundreds of years ago. If Freemasonry is a power elite then
women could and should feel justifiable outrage at being excluded. Freemasonry’s
goal, though, is not the consolidation of power but rather the education of good
men. The only real justification is that Freemasonry actively promotes and
teaches certain social freedoms, one of them being the freedom of association.
If freemasons wish to associate in a male-only environment, then that is their
right and privilege as free citizens. No other justification or explanation is
required except this. Women are a very important part of our lives as Freemasons
and without them our hearts and minds would be at a significant loss.
Source: Masonic Higher Education Bursary Fund
and Becoming a Mason
We are continually looking for worthy men and
worthy men alone to join our Lodge.
To Become a Freemason You Must:
Be a man, freeborn, of mature age, of good
repute, and well-recommended
Have a belief in a Supreme Being
Be able to support one's self and family
Come to Freemasonry of your own free will and
for more on Joining Freemasonry and
becoming a Freemason