IT IS A WAY OF LIFE
Freemasonry is NOT a secret society as many surmise. It is a voluntary association wherein the interested one comes of his own free will and accord. Freemasonry is NOT a religion as many claim it to be.
Freemasonry, in its every effort and purpose, strives to do charitable work within its membership and for society and, through its teachings, seeks to make good men better men. The lessons conveyed by our ritual are based on the Golden Rule. Freemasonry is a band of men bound together in the bonds of brotherly love and affection that extends throughout the world.
Kindness in the home
honesty in business
Courtesy in society
fairness in work
Resistance toward the wicked
pity and concern for the unfortunate
Help for the weak
trust in the strong
Forgiveness for the penitent
AND, ABOVE ALL, Love for one another and reverence and love for God.
FREEMASONRY AS A SOCIETY IS:
Charitable – it is devoted to the welfare and happiness of mankind.
Benevolent – teaching that the good of others is of primary concern.
Communal – recognizing that Society is made up of individuals, it impresses upon its members the principles of personal righteousness and responsibility, enlightens them in those things which make for human welfare; and inspires those feelings of charity and goodwill toward all mankind leading to practical application of those cherished principles.
Educational – its authorized ceremonials teach a system of morality and brotherhood based upon Sacred Law.
Religious – it acknowledges a one and caring Deity. Neither secular nor theological, reverence for a Supreme Being is ever present in its ceremonials. The volume of the Sacred Law, appropriate to its members, is open upon its Altars whenever a Lodge is in session.
Social – in so far as it encourages the meeting together of men for the purpose of its primary objectives: education, fellowship and charity.
TO THESE SEVERAL ENDS:
One of Freemasonry's customs is not to solicit members. However, anyone should feel free to approach any Mason to seek further information about the Craft.
Membership is for men, 21 years of age or older, who meet the qualifications and standards of character and reputation, who are of good moral character, and who believe in the existence of a supreme being.
A man who wants to join a lodge must be recommended for by two members of that lodge. He must understand that his character will be investigated. After approval by the members of that lodge, he will be accepted as an applicant for membership in Freemasonry.
The doors of Freemasonry are open to men who seek harmony with their fellow man, feel the need for self-improvement and wish to participate in making this world a better place to live.
Any man who becomes a Mason is taught a pattern for living - reverence,
morality, kindness, honesty, dependability and compassion. He must be
prepared to honour his country, uphold its laws and respect those in authoruty.
He must be prepared to maintain honourable relations with others and be willing
to share in Masonic activities.
The organization of Freemasonry is based on a system of Grand Lodges, each sovereign within its own territory. There is no central authority governing all Grand Lodges. However, to be acknowledged by others, acceptable traditions, standards and practices must be maintained.
In our Province the governing body is called the Grand Lodge of Alberta
. It is under the leadership of a Grand Master. He presides
over the 9,600 Masons who belong to one or more of the 142 lodges in our
jurisdiction. Each of these lodges is under the direction of a Master.
Our traditions can be traced directly to the associations of operative masons. They were men of outstanding character and high ideals, who built the cathedrals, abbeys, and castles of the Middle Ages.
With the decline of cathedral building in the 17th Century, many guilds of stonemasons, called "Operative" masons, started to accept into their membership those who were not members of the masons' craft and called them "Speculative" or "Accepted" masons.
It was in these groups, called lodges, comprised mainly of "Accepted" masons that Freemasonry, as we know it today, had its beginning.
In 1717, four such lodges, which had been meeting regularly in London, united
to form the first Grand Lodge of England under the direction of a Grand
Master. From that first Grand Lodge, Freemasonry has spread throughout the
world. Today, some 150 Grand Lodges have a total membership of
approximately four million Masons.