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What I Want My Friends To Know About Freemasonry

Why have I not been asked to join? Unlike the members of other
fraternal organizations, Masons are forbidden to solicit anyone to
become a member.

How does one become a Mason? Many men live a lifetime and never
know they must ask for admission to the world’s oldest, most purposeful
and greatest fraternity.

They do not realize that they will not be invited. They must come in
of their own free will and accord, without persuasion. They must ask a
Mason for a petition.

The prescribed requirements for membership in Tennessee are:
being a man, at least 21 years of age, having a belief in a Supreme Being
and in the immortality of the soul, being capable of reading and writing,
being of good moral character, having been a resident of the county in
which he resides for at least one year preceding the presentation of his
petition, and being recommended by two Master Mason members of the Lodge
to which he desires to apply.

What is Freemasonry? It is a fraternal society based on certain
moral and religious doctrines; the moral doctrines including Brotherly
Love, Relief and Truth, Temperance, Fortitude, Prudence and Justice, and
the religious doctrines comprising a belief in a Supreme Being and the
immortality of the soul.

Freemasonry might also be defined as a charitable, benevolent,
educational, religious society with a purpose to teach by ritual and
symbolism the building of good character.

It is charitable in that its income is not expended for private
gain, but is devoted to the improvement and promotion of happiness and
well being of mankind.

It is benevolent in that it teaches unselfish concern for the
welfare of others as a duty, and exemplifies it by the relief of poor
and distressed brethren and their needy widows and orphans. Masonry is
not an insurance or benefit society.

It is educational in that it teaches by prescribed ceremonials a
system of morality and brotherhood based on Sacred Law. It emphasizes
the duty of man to be curious about the world; to develop his intellect
and skill; to be just; to follow precepts of conscience and exercise
self-control; to be earnest and sincere. Freemasonry’s Lodges, Temples
and Libraries are aids to this end.

It is religious in that it teaches belief in one God, a belief
prerequisite for membership, though without dogma or creed, for
Freemasonry is not concerned with creeds or theology. Every Lodge must
have an altar and on it, when the Lodge is in session, a volume of the
Sacred Law.

Freemasonry is social in that it fosters the natural friendliness
and a true spirit of brotherly love and affection that should take place
in the lives of men associated and united for noble purposes.

While a belief in a Supreme Being is the primary mandatory
requisite to membership, Masonry does not require membership in any
church as a condition of membership. Conversely, membership in a church
is no restriction to admission to Masonry. There is nothing in our
requirements to prevent a Roman Catholic, a Muslim, a Buddhist, a Latter
Day Saint (Mormon), a Protestant or a member of any religious sect having
a belief in one Supreme Being, or of any race from becoming a Mason, and
we have within our membership adherents to each of these religious groups.
Discussion of sectarian religion is prohibited in the Lodge in order to
maintain peace and harmony, but Masonry encourages its members to take an
active part in the churches of their choice.

Discussion in the Lodge of political matters or candidates is also
prohibited for the same reason, but as individuals we have the right,
outside the Lodge, to engage in political affairs. Indeed, civic duty
encourages the individual Mason to actively participate in community
affairs.

While we do not boast of our relief we can certainly say that the
arm of Masonry reaches around the world in alleviating the distress of
our brethren, their widows and orphans. Such relief is not a part of a
beneficial aid society but truly charity in the largest sense. In this
Grand Jurisdiction there are charitable projects of which we are very
proud, namely our Widow’s and Orphan’s Home Fund and the Educational
Assistance program. On a national level we all talk proudly of the
philanthropies of the Scottish Rite, the York Rite and the Shrine.

Many people do not fully understand our support of the public
schools. We are proud of our founding and continued support of the
public schools. A Mason, DeWitt Clinton, an outstanding statesman who
was Governor of New York, was largely instrumental in establishing free
public schools because of our belief that to have a strong America we
must have an enlightened and knowledgeable citizenry.

It should be clear that we are not a secret society but rather a
society possessing certain secrets. We do not hide our membership. We
wear pins, rings, and emblems of the Masonic Fraternity. We do not meet
secretly. Our Temples are listed, they usually bear the Lodge name and
the emblem of Freemasonry is generally displayed as we hold our meetings.

The doors of Freemasonry are open to all men who seek harmony with
their fellow creatures, who feel the need for self improvement and wish
to participate in the adventure of making this world a more congenial
place in which to live.

In a world where strife and derision are common and moral values
so easily set aside, every Mason has at his immediate disposal the
strength of the institution’s precepts and the encouragement and support
of his fellow members to persevere. As it has been proclaimed by many,
it is not possible for a good Mason not to be a good man. What a great
feeling to be part of a way of life in which each member is not content
with his present state but ever striving for self improvement, and with
every member, regardless of location cheering him on.

Do not be hesitant to ask a Masonic friend for more information.

Frequently Asked Questions

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