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Freemasonry is one of the world's oldest fraternal organizations. Throughout the years, many questions have arisen about the fraternity. Much has been made light of Freemasonry lately due to movies and books that contain much background about or relating to the order. This, of course, has given rise to much curiosity about Freemasonry. Or perhaps you have a relative that was a Mason. Your curiosity has lead you this far. Now it’s time to explore it further.

The lessons Freemasonry teaches within its ceremonies, are about moral values. Freemasonry's acknowledgement, without crossing the boundaries of religion, is that everything depends on the providence of God. Freemasons feel that these lessons apply as much today as they did when it took its modern form at the turn of the 17th century.

Despite what many people have in the past claimed or in the future will state, Freemasonry is not in any way a secret society. Freemasonry's so-called secrets are solely used as a ceremonial way of demonstrating that one is a Freemason. In any case, Freemasonry has been written about in the media for almost as long as they have existed. The real point of a Freemason promising not to reveal their secrets, is basically a dramatic way of promising to keep one's word in general.

Another reason why Freemasonry cannot be called a secret society, is that Freemasons do not meet clandestinely. Where and when Freemasons meet are matters of public record.

In the past, Freemasons used to be silent about their own membership within the lodge. They were and still are taught never to use it to advance their own interests. Critics have taken this the wrong way and think that there is something secretive and nasty because of the silence. Nothing could be further from the truth. Freemasons do not need to beat their own drum or pat themselves on their own backs, what they do is truly out of charity from the heart.

Masonic ceremonies are morality plays, which are learned by heart, by members of the lodge for the benefit of the person who is becoming a Freemason. Each ceremony has a message for the candidate. A further reason why Freemasons do not go around broadcasting what occurs in each, is simply because it would spoil it for the candidate. The same way you would not tell someone the ending of a good book or a film, you would not tell someone about the ceremony.

Freemasons are required to profess and continue in a belief in a Supreme Being. Their ceremonies include prayers, which are not in any way a substitute for religion. It has no theological doctrines, it offers no sacraments, and it does not claim to lead to salvation. By having prayers at its meetings Freemasonry is no more in competition with religion than say, having a meal where grace is said.

Freemasons are not allowed to discuss religion or politics at meetings. Freemasonry's aim is to encourage its members to discover what people from all different backgrounds have in common. As is all too well known, debate about religion and politics can lead to heated discussion rather than enlightenment.

A Freemason is thus basically encouraged to do his duty first to God, and then to his family and those who dependent on him. He is to help his neighbors through charity and service.

None of these ideas are exclusive to Freemasonry, but all should be universally acceptable and Freemasons are expected to follow them. If this all sounds like what you have in your heart and conscience, then by all means, continue the path to Freemasonry. As the Marines would say, we are always looking for a few good men.

Ever thought of becoming a Mason?

Freemasonry is the oldest and largest Fraternity in the world. Its members included Kings, Presidents, Prime Ministers, Statesmen, Generals, Admirals, Supreme Court Chief Justices, corporate CEO's, opera stars, movie stars, and probably, your next door neighbor. Masonry is always ready to welcome good men into the Fraternity. It's ready to welcome YOU, if in your heart you can answer "yes" to a few questions.

Do you believe that there is such a thing as honor and that a man has a responsibility to act with honor in everything he does? Masons teach that principle. We believe that a life not found on honor is hollow and empty-that a man who acts without honor is less than a man.

Do you believe in God?

No atheist can be a Mason. Masons do not care what your individual faith is, that is a question between you and God, but we do require that a man believe in a Supreme Being.

Are you willing to allow others the same right to their beliefs that you insist on yourself?

Masonry insists on toleration - on the right of each person to think for himself in religious, social and political matters. Do you believe that you have a responsibility to leave the world a better place that you found it?

Masonry teaches that each man has a duty not only to himself but to others. We must do what we can to make the world a better place. Whether that means cleaning up the environment, working on civic projects, or helping children to walk or read or see - the world should be a better place because we passed through it.

Do you believe that it is not only more blessed to give than to receive?

Masons are involved with the problems and needs of others because we know it gives each of us a good feeling - unlike any other - to help. Much of our help is given anonymously. We're not after gratitude, we're more than rewarded by that feeling which comes from knowing we have helped another person overcome some adversity, so that their life can go on.

Are you willing to give help to your Brothers when they need it, and to accept their help when you need it?

Masonry is mutual help. Not just financial help (although that's there too) but help in the sense of being there when needed, giving support, lending a sympathetic ear.

Do you believe there is more to life than just financial success? Masons know that self-development is more precious than money in the bank or social position or political power. Those things often accompany self-development. But they are no-substitute for it. Masons work at building their lives and character, just as a carpenter works at building a house.

Do you believe that a person should strive to be a good citizen and that we have a moral duty to be true to the country in which we live?

Masons believe that a country is strong as long as freedom, equality, and the opportunity for human development are afforded to all. A Mason is true to his government and its ideals. He supports its laws and authority when both are just and equitably applied. We uphold and maintain the principals of good government, and oppose every influence that would divide it in a degrading manner. Do you agree that man should show compassion to others, that goodness of heart is among the most important of human values? Masons do. We believe in a certain reverence for living things, a tenderness toward people who suffer. A loving kindness for our fellow man, and a desire to do right because it is right. Masonry teaches that although all men are fallible and capable of much wrong, when they discover the goodness of heart, they have found the true essence of virtue. Masonry helps men see their potential for deep goodness and virtue.

Do you believe that men should strive to live a brotherly life?

Masons see brotherhood as a form of wisdom, a sort of bond that holds men together - a private friendship that tells us, that we owe it to each other to be just in our dealing and to refuse to speak evil of each other. Masons believe a man should maintain an attitude of good will, and promote unity and harmony in his relations with one another, his family, and his community. Masons call this way of live believing in the Brotherhood of Man. It really means that every Mason makes it his duty to follow the golden rule. This is why Masonry has been called one of the greatest forces for good on the world.

If you answer "yes," you should consider becoming a Mason.

Freemasonry offers much to its members - the opportunity to grow, the chance to make a difference, to build a better world for our children. It offers a chance to be with and work with men who have the same values and ideals - men who have answered "YES" to these questions.

It's easy to find out more. Just find a Mason and ask him about Masonry. You probably know several Masons. Perhaps you've seen the Square and Compasses like the one on this page or on a pin, tie tack, or bumper sticker. If you know where the lodge is in your community, stop by or look up the number of your local Masonic lodge in the phone book and ask for the secretary of the lodge. He'll be happy to help you.

Have you ever considered becoming a Mason?

We'd like a chance to talk with you.