"What is Freemasonry?"
Freemasonry is the world's oldest and largest fraternity, with over 5 million members around
the world. Its origins date back to antiquity; some of its symbols and teachings date back to over 3,000 years
Freemasons contribute over a million dollars to charities every day, including some of its own institutions such as Shriner's Childrens' Hospitals which treat burned and crippled children free of charge. Masonry is also the largest contributor of blood to Red Cross and other blood banks.
The purpose of Freemasonry is to "make good men better," using symbols and rituals, some thousands of years old, to teach lessons in moral philosophy, and to instill feelings of friendship, compassion, and brotherly love in its members. These ties between Masons have survived the worst of political, military, and religious conflicts throughout history.
For many years Freemasons have followed three great principles that they believe represent a way of achieving higher standards in life:
From the earliest of days, Freemasons have been concerned with the care of orphans, the sick and the aged. This work continues today. In Connecticut, Masonicare is the primary Masonic charity for delivering healthcare to the all people. In addition, large sums are given to national and local charities. For more information see HTTP://WWW.MASONICARE.ORG.
What do Masons do?
Are the Freemasons a Secret Society?
Freemasons openly wear rings, pins, and other jewelry with Masonic emblems, and proudly proclaim their membership. Membership lists are published by various Masonic bodies. Meeting times and places are frequently announced in local newspapers. Listings of local Masonic temples can even be found in the phonebook!
Freemasony is not a "secret society;" rather, they are a society with secrets. Just as many government, military, church, and civic organizations have information that they do not share with the public, so too do the masons. The "secrets" of masonry primarily involve the means whereby one mason may recognize another. Of all the thousands and thousand of pages written by and about masons, all of the secrets of masonry would scarcely fill a sheet of notebook paper.
Is Freemasonry a Religion?
Freemasonry requires its members to believe in one Supreme Being; whether an individual wishes to refer to that Being as God, Allah, Yahweh, Buddah, or Ted is not important. The belief itself is important, as faith forms the basis for Masonic teaching.
"Freemasonry.... teaches that it is important for every man to have a religion of his choice and to be faithful to it. A good Mason is made even more faithful to the tenets of his faith by membership." (Rev. Norman Vincent Peale, who was also a Mason)
"Any man who joins a Masonic lodge expecting to learn the true pathway to God will be disappointed. He will hear no description of heaven, no description of hell, nor will he be handed a prescription for salvation. He must learn about such things from his minister, priest, or rabbi: They are not taught in the lodge.
The reason is simple: Religious differences drive men apart. They always have and always will, and so they work against the concept of a fraternity where men of common moral convictions, but disparate religious convictions, can meet to live and work together for the good of all."
Is Freemasonry a Conspiracy?
The groups purporting these claims offer various "proofs" such as writings by Masonic authors, and excerpts from Masonic rituals. In all cases, the tactics used by these groups are the same used by any group trying to support a logically indefensible position: what they do not misinterpret, they misrepresent, quoting passages from ritual and writing out of context or tying unrelated fragments together into whole that does not in truth exist.
One would think an organization hundreds of years old would have managed to take over the world by now, if that were its goal. In fact, Masonry has declined in influence over the last 100 years. What many people, especially the conspiracists, do not understand is that there is no single governing body of Freemasonry! Each state in the U.S. has its own Grand Lodge, answerable only to itself and no other. Other countries have their own autonomous Grand Lodges, wholly independant of each other. Claims to the contrary are outright falsehoods, or are made by those who do not understand the nature of Masonic organization.
A Masonic Temple is a place where men of all religions may gather peaceably and unite in common brotherhood. It is the enemy of no religion; all are welcome. The "G" seen in the center of the Square and Compasses represents God, and Masonic teachings are intended to help a Mason better follow the tenets of his own religion, whatever that religion may be. Masonry does not lead men to Hell, but to "that spiritual building, that house not made with hands, eternal in the heavens."
Some conspiracists will point "Masonic symbols" on the U.S. dollar bill, and the number of Presidents, politicians, and statesmen who have been Masons as proof of a Masonic conspiracy to control the United States. Masonry requires its members to be of good standing in their communities; it is understandable that some of these should be men of stature as well. Is it any surprise that some should rise to high position, even the Presidency?
The Great Seal and the All-Seeing Eye on the back of the dollar are not Masonic symbols. For a full discussion of this, click HERE.
Masonry teaches tolerance; tolerance for another's religion, political views, social standing and background. Perhaps the greatest evil of Masonry is teaching and practicing tolerance; only the intolerant cannot abide by this.
When is a Man a Mason?
When he knows that down in his heart every man is as noble, as vile, as divine, as diabolical, and as lonely as himself, and seeks to know, to forgive, and to love his fellow man.
When he knows how to sympathize with men in their sorrows, yea, even in their sins - knowing that each man fights a hard fight against many odds. When he has learned how to make friends and keep them, and above all how to keep friends with himself.
When he loves flowers, can hunt the birds without a gun, and feels the thrill of an old forgotten joy when he hears the laugh of a little child. When he can be happy and high-minded amid the meaner drudgeries of life. When star-crowned trees, and the glint of sunlight on flowing waters, subdue him like the thought of one much loved and long dead.
When no voice of distress reaches his ears in vain, and no hand seeks his aid without response. When he finds good in every faith that helps any man to lay hold of divine things and see majestic meanings in life, whatever the name of that faith may be. When he can look into a way-side puddle and see something beyond mud, and into the face of the most forlorn fellow mortal and see something beyond sin.
When he knows how to pray, how to love, how to hope. When he has kept faith with himself, with his fellow man, with his God; in his hand a sword for evil, in his heart a bit of a song - glad to live, but not afraid to die!
Such a man has found the only real secret of Masonry, and the one which it is trying to give to all the world."
PRESIDENTS OF THE UNITED STATES: George Washington, James Monroe, Andrew Jackson, James Polk, James Buchanan, Andrew Johnson, James Garfield, William McKinley, Theodore Roosevelt, William Howard Taft, Warren G. Harding, Franklin D. Roosevelt, Harry S. Truman, (Lyndon B. Johnson), Gerald R. Ford
Notes (in chronological order):
William McKinley's Masonic membership has not been confirmed 100%, though his name does appear on several lists.
William Howard Taft was made a Mason At Sight by the Grand Master of Ohio and later raised to Grand Master of Ohio in 1909.
Harry S. Truman was also Grand Master of his home state, Missouri.
Lyndon Johnson was an Entered Apprentice, but never progressed beyond that degree.
Ronald Reagan is not a craft Mason. He was made an honorary 33rd degree Mason by the Southern Jurisdiction of the AASR and an honorary member of the Imperial Council of the Shrine, but he was never entered, passed, and raised as a Mason, nor was he ever made a Mason at sight. (Source: Robinson's _Born in Blood_)
Bill Clinton is not a Mason, though he was involved in DeMolay for a time.
Many other leaders in government have been Masons: "They have included fourteen Presidents and eighteen Vice Presidents of the United States; a majority of the Justices of the United States Supreme Court, of the Governors of States, of the members of the Senate, and a large percentage of the Congressmen. Five Chief Justices of the United States were Masons and two were Grand Masters. The five were Oliver Ellsworth, John Marshall (also Grand Master of Masons in Virginia), William Howard Taft, Frederick M. Vinson and Earl Warren (also Grand Master of Masons in California.)"
-- Henry C. Clausen
FROM THE AMERICAN REVOLUTION (other than Presidents): Benjamin Franklin, John Hancock, Paul Revere, John Paul Jones, LaFayette, Rufus King, James Otis, Baron von Steuben, Joseph Warren, Benedict Arnold (well, you can't win them all)
POLITICAL LEADERS: Winston Churchill, Simon Bolivar, Edmund Burke, Benito Juarez, Edward VII, George VI, Bernardo O'Higgins, Jose' de San Martin, Francisco de Paula Santander, Jose'Rizal, Jose' Marti, Pandit Nehru, Lajos Kossuth, Jonas Furrer, Guiseppe Mazzini, Eduard Benes, John A. MacDonald, Aaron Burr, George McGovern, Barry Goldwater, Estes Kefauver, Adlai Stevenson (not the governor of Illinois, but his father who was Vice President in 1892), Thomas E. Dewey, Alf Landon, Hubert H. Humphrey, Wendell Wilke, W.E.B. DuBois, William Jennings Bryant
MILITARY LEADERS: Omar Bradley, John J. Pershing, Douglas McArthur, General Winfield Scott, Captain Eddie Rickenbacker, Jimmy Doolittle, General Mark Clark, General George C. Marshall
REPUBLIC OF TEXAS: Sam Houston, Stephen Austin, Davy Crockett, Jim Bowie, William B. Travis (and, it should be added, General Santa Ana)
FINE ARTS: Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart (and his father, Leopold), Ludwig von Beethoven, Jean Sibelius, Franz Liszt, Josef Haydn, Irving Berlin, Gutzon Borglum, Charles W. Peale, Alfons M. Mucha, John Philip Sousa, both Gilbert & Sullivan, George Gershwin, George M. Cohen, Count Basie, Nat King Cole, Giacomo Meyerbeer, Signmund Romberg
ACTORS: John Wayne, Red Skelton, Clark Gable, W.C. Fields, Will Rogers, Burl Ives, Roy Rogers, Danny Thomas, Ernest Borgnine, Oliver Hardy, Tom Mix, Audie Murphy, Gene Autry, Wallace Beery, Eddie Cantor
INDUSTRY & LABOR: Henry Ford, Samuel Gompers, Walter P. Chrysler, John Wanamaker, S.S. Kresge, J.C. Penney, John Jacob Astor, John L. Lewis
ADVENTURERS: Lewis & Clark, Charles A. Lindberg, Kit Carson, Roald Amundsen, Adm. Richard Byrd, Commodore Robert Peary
PHILOSOPHERS: Johann Wolfgang von Goethe, Gotthold E. Lessing, Voltaire (Francois Marie Arouet)
ATHLETES: Bob Feller, Tris Speaker, Ty Cobb, Paul "Dizzy" Trout, Harry Carey, Dell Rice, Jimmy Fox, Joe Tinker (of "Tinker to Evers to Chance"), Jack Dempsey, Arnold Palmer, Jack Arthur Johnson
ASTRONAUTS: Edwin E. "Buzz" Aldrin, Jr., Leroy Gordon Cooper, Donn F. Eisele, Virgil I. Grissom, Edgar D. Mitchell, Walter M. Schirra, Jr., Thomas P. Stafford, Paul J. Weitz, James B. Irwin, John Glenn.
WRITERS: Samuel Clemens (Mark Twain), Sir Walter Scott, Rudyard Kipling, Robert Burns, Wassily I. Maikow, Heinrich Heine, Jean P.C. de Florian, Leopoldo Lugoner, Antonio de Castro Alves, James Boswell, Alexander Pushkin, Arthur Conan Doyle, Johnathon Swift, Oscar Wilde
LAW: John Marshall, Earl Warren, Thurgood Marshall
MEDICINE: Drs. Alexander Fleming, Jules Bordet, Antoine DePage, Edward Jenner, Charles and William Mayo, Karl and William Menninger
SCIENCE: Hans C. Orsted, Jons Jakob Frk. von Berzelius, Alfred Edmund Brehm, Luther Burbank, Johan Ernst Gunnerus, Albert Abraham Michelson, Gaspard Monge, C.F.S. Hahnemann, Pedro N. Arata, Alexandre Gustave Eiffel, Alexander Fleming, James Smithson
...as well as Harry Houdini, Norman Vincent Peale, David Sarnoff, Thomas J. Watson, Giuseppe Garibaldi, Cecil J. Rhodes, Marvin Zindler, and many, many more.
Masons constituted ten of the signers of the Articles, nine signers of the Declaration, and thirteen signers of the Constitution.
Additionally, Edmund Randolph, Grand Master of Virginia, was an active participant at the Constitutional Convention, though he didn't sign the document. It should also be noted that four Presidents of the Continental Congresses were Freemasons: Peyton Randolph of Virginia, John Hancock of Massachusetts, Henry Laurens of South Carolina, and Arthur St. Clair of Pennsylvania. (Northern Light)
Famous buildings in the US that have been laid Masonically:
The U. S. Capitol
The Smithsonian Institution
The National Education Association Building
The Army War College Building
House of Representatives Office Building
The Washington Monument
The Washington Monument is in Alexandria, Virginia, and honors our first President and Brother Mason, George Washington.
Famous Masons Who Aren't Freemasons:
Mason Williams - musician, composer of "Classical Gas"
James Mason - actor
Dave Mason - musician, member of group Fleetwood Mac
Jackie Mason - comedian
Perry Mason - TV lawyer
Nick Mason - musician, member of Pink Floyd