The History of Freemasonry
THE ORIGINS OF FREEMASONRY
No one can be completely certain when, and where, the original Freemasons came to be. The most commonly accepted theory is that Freemasonry had its origins within the Stonemason guilds of the Middle Ages. The oldest documents that speak about Masons date back to about the year 1390. Certain craftsmen enjoyed the freedom to travel about unhindered. These craftsmen are said to have been the first Freemason. In other words these were various craftsmen who enjoyed this privilege of freedom. The first official Grand Lodge was formed in England, in 1717. Previously there had been no distinction between operative and speculative Masonry, but as new lodges formed in England, they began to accept non craftsmen into the fraternity, and these new Speculative Masons were the first, "Free and Accepted Masons".
The fraternity began to evolve into an association of various intellectual men who sought spiritual light in Freemasonry. Just as the former Operative Masons had succeeded in freeing themselves from social constraints placed upon them, the emphasis of the fraternity now began to shift to an idea of freeing the mind from constraints placed upon it by, human vices, and immorality. Gradually the fraternity began to spread across all of Europe.
THE ORIGINS FREEMASONRY IN THE U.S.
Many of the founding fathers of our country were Freemasons. Of these it known that 13 of the signers of the U.S. constitution were Masons, and 8 known Masons were signers of the declaration of independence. George Washington, the first president of our country, was also a Mason. Certainly it should come as no surprise that these founding fathers, who belonged to a fraternity, which held freedom in such high esteem, should give us much of the freedom, that we today, take for granted.
Masonry is a system of morality, veiled in allegory, and illustrated by symbols.
Freemasonry is a fraternal organization for men which furthers the principles of brotherhood.
WHAT MASONRY IS...