The Craft


What is Freemasonry?


Freemasonry is a system of morality veiled in allegory and illustrated by symbols. Not a religion but religious in character; it is a philosophy of ethical conduct which imparts moral and social virtues and fosters brotherly love. Its tenets have endured since man turned the first pages of civilization. They embody the understanding by which man can transcend ordinary experience and build "a house not made with hands" in harmony with the Great Architect of the universe.

Freemasonry is the oldest and most prestigious fraternal organization for men in the world concerned with moral and spiritual values. Its members are taught its precepts by a series of ritual dramas, which follow ancient forms, and use stonemasons' customs and tools as allegorical guides.

Its organizational structure shows its age. The basic organizational unit of the fraternity is the lodge. We believe the term comes from the lodges (shelters) constructed at the building sites of cathedrals and castles during the Middle Ages. Masons worked and lived in these shelters.

Each lodge is headed by an officer called the "Worshipful Master." "Worshipful" means "highly respected" or "honored." The term comes from the judicial system of England and carries no religious implication. "Master" means "leader “or” best qualified," as in "Concert Master" or "Master Architect."

Masonic lodges still retain self-sufficiency over their finances, activities, officer election, fundraising, and joining ceremonies. But administratively, each State or Province has a Grand Lodge which co-ordinates activities, serves as a central source of record keeping, and performs other administrative and policy functions for the fraternity. The state president is called the Grand Master of the Grand Lodge. He has extensive powers in managing the growth of the fraternity and while there is no national spokesperson for the fraternity, within his own state (Jurisdiction) he is the chief spokesman.



What do Masons Do?


The purpose of Freemasonry is to "make good men better," better husbands, better fathers, and better citizens 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:

* Brotherly Love: Every true Freemason will show tolerance and respect for the opinions of others and behave with kindness and understanding to his fellow creatures.

* Relief: Freemasons are taught to practice charity, and to care, not only for their own, but also for the community as a whole, both by charitable giving, and by voluntary efforts and works as individuals.

* Truth: Freemasons strive for truth, requiring high moral standards and aiming to achieve them in their own lives.

Beyond its focus on individual development and growth, Masonry is deeply involved in helping people. Freemasons in North America contribute more than $2 million dollars a day to charitable causes such as the Shriners Hospitals for burn and orthopedically impaired children, Scottish Rite's Childhood Language Disorder Clinics, and other Masonic organizations also sponsor scholarship programs and perform public service in their communities.



Who are the Masons?


Masons represent virtually every occupation and profession, yet within the Fraternity all meet as equals. Masons come from a diverse political ideologies, yet meet as friends. Masons come from varied religious believes and creeds, yet all believe in one God.

Masons are men of good character who believe in a Supreme Being, who strive to improve themselves and make the world a better place.

One of the most fascinating aspects of Freemasonry is how so many men, from so many different walks of life, can meet together in peace, always conducting their affairs in harmony and friendship and calling each other "Brother."



Who can become a Mason?

Any man of good character who believes in a Supreme Being may become a Mason. To become a Mason one must submit a petition to a particular Lodge. The Master of the Lodge appoints a committee to visit the applicant prior to the Lodge balloting upon his petition.



What happens during the degrees?


An applicant, whose request has been acknowledged by a Lodge, is informed of the date his “Entered Apprentice Degree” (or The First of Three Degrees) has been scheduled. On that date, following a short ritualistic opening, the petitioner is appropriately readied and presented to the lodge. The formal procedure is an enlightening experience and the applicant need never be troubled that awkward or compromising situations will arise during this or any other degree.

After receiving the “Entered Apprentice Degree”, he will be expected to memorize several key passages of the ritual and help will be extended in the teaching/learning process.

Having learned the required ritualistic work and fulfilling the lodge of that know-how, you will be invited to return for the delivery of your “Fellow Craft Degree” (or Second of the Three Degrees). Following a proficiency examination on that Degree, you will advance to the last and highest grade of The Ancient Craft of Freemasonry--The Sublime Degree of "Master Mason."

Only after having completed these three symbolic degrees will you truly understand the oft-quoted statement, "Freemasonry Builds Its Temples in the Hearts of Men."



What happens next?


Once an applicant has achieved the Sublime Degree of Master Mason, he has two paths in which he can delve in to further understand what was taught in the Blue Lodge (or Craft Masonry- First Three Degrees). He also has other Masonic Appendant Bodies, Masonic Clubs, and Bodies in Amity he can be a part of.

The two paths are the York Rite which consists of 10 more degrees and the Scottish Rite which consists of 29 more degrees. These two paths and the Appendant Bodies are covered in great lengths in the "Masonic Bodies" section of this site.


So Mote it Be!



Webmaster: Bro. Hector Plaud 32°

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