What is Freemasonry?

For centuries, millions of men of every race, color, creed, and political persuasion throughout the world have found the Symbolic Lodges of Freemasonry the light to guide their search for answers to eternal questions: What is the meaning of life? The nature of God and man?

Freemasonry is a system of morality, veiled in allegory, 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 tenants 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.

Yet Freemasonry can never conflict with a man's relationship to God or fellow man. Sectarian religious or partisan political discussion in a lodge is strictly prohibited. Every Mason stands equal among his brothers, regardless of walk of life, and none is turned away for financial need.

The purpose of the Ancient Craft of Freemasonry is to unfold a message where "truth abides in fullness," invoking greater understanding of the inward life and a spirit of fellowship in which every Mason can also lead a better outward life.

 

Brotherhood at Work

Freemasonry has been characterized as a fraternity devoted to high ideals and admirable benevolence. Community service and charitable work are, in fact, principal Masonic activities.

Easily the best-known is the world's largest single charitable institution, the Shriners Hospitals for Crippled Children and Burns Institutes, which are located throughout Canada, the U.S., and Mexico.

Other Masonic bodies support their own statewide and national foundations for research, teaching, and treatment or rehabilitation services for children with learning or speech disorders, cancer, visual problems, and need of dental restoration.

Masons everywhere assist distressed brother Masons and their families. They also sponsor local projects ranging from the recognition of the achievements of others to scholarship programs. Masons serve as community volunteers and quietly extend help for countless thousands - from providing a child with shoes to assisting the handicapped.

Altogether, the budgets for these community services exceed two million dollars per day, which Masons support without regard to the Masonic affiliation of their recipients. With this spirit of working together to serve mankind, brotherhood works well, indeed.

 

A Brief History of Freemasonry

Through its heritage in antiquity is unmistakable, modern speculative Freemasonry was founded more recently upon the structure, ceremonies, and symbolism of the lodges of operative or working freemen stonemasons, who built the magnificent Medieval Gothic structures throughout much of Europe and England.

Dated in 1390 A.D., the Regius Poem details the charter of a lodge operating in the 900s A.D. "Masonry" then meant architecture and encompassed most of the arts and sciences, only trusted, capable companions were instructed in the craft - and then only by degrees, orally and through symbols, because of widespread illiteracy.

In the Renaissance, lodges of freemasons began to accept as speculative masons those educated men who were attracted by the elegance of Masonic traditions for philosophic expression. In time they were passed into the inner circles.

Thus, the framers of speculative Freemasonry began to describe a code of conduct through the symbolic nature of architecture and the stonemason's craft. Signaling modern speculative Freemasonry, the first Grand Lodge was chartered in 1717. Constituent Symbolic Lodges were soon established throughout the world.

 

The Principal Tenets of Freemasonry

For many years, Freemasons have followed three principal tenets.

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.

Freemasons believe that these principal tenets represent a way of achieving higher standards in life.

 

The Masonic Family: A Family Affair

The Blue Lodge is the foundation for the Masonic Family. Several appendant organizations are found within this family in which family members and friends of Masons can join and share activities.

The Order of Amaranth and the Order of Eastern Star are appendant organizations for adults which welcomes both men and women as members.

Masonic youth groups help young people build self-esteem and prepare them for citizenship through experience with responsibility and leadership. These groups include the Order of DeMolay, for young men, and the International Order of Rainbow for Girls and the International Order of Job's Daugthers for young women.

Around the world, there are a number of organizations not mentioned which are part of the Masonic family. These groups provide wonderful opportunities for every member of the family to participate in the whole Masonic organization and their various activities. Truly Freemasonry is a family affair.

 

Filipino Heroes and Leaders

In the Philippines, a number of Filipino heroes and leaders are part of this fraternity. Some famous names are: Jose Rizal, Andres Bonifacio, Emilio Aguinaldo, Apolinario Mabini, Marcelo H. del Pilar, Manuel L. Quezon, Juan Luna, Jose Abad Santos, Antonio Luna, Graciano Lopez Jaena, Camilo Osias, Conrado Benitez, Jose P. Laurel, Manuel Roxas and others.

A list of famous Freemasons can be found in our FAQs section.

 

Freemasonry: A Way of Life

Freemasonry is Kindness in the home, Honesty in business, Courtesy in society, Fairness in work, Pity and Concern for the unfortunate, Resistance towards evil, Help for the weak, Forgiveness for the penitent, Love for one another and, above all, Reverence and Love for GOD.

Although the Masonic fraternity does not solicit members, our Lodge would be pleased to provide you the necessary information to enable you to make a sound and mature judgment on your own. After that point, if you are still interested and desirous of joining a Lodge, further information can be made available to you.

*Taken from the Manila Mt. Lebanon No. , F.&A.M. website.

 

Ask yourself

Among millions of Masons, not one was lawfully invited to apply for membership. Our code of conduct prevents it. Thus, no faithful Mason can invite you. Any Mason can obtain a Petition for the Degrees of Masonry for you, but you must ask for it - and for good reason.

You must first ask yourself if you are suitably prepared to enter the "gentle craft of Masonry" ... to become a brother in the world's most exclusive fraternal order. Few men are intellectually or spiritually prepared to understand or appreciate even the more apparent meanings of Masonry.

Do you reflect on the nature of man's existence and your obligations to God, your family, and yourself?

If such ethical and moral questions hold little interest for you, then you will gain little benefit from the teachings of the Craft. But if you seek a more meaningful quality of life - and the spirit of charity and good fellowship which flow from it - then Freemasonry has much to offer.

We want you to know what we believe, how we act, and what we do ... and then, should you become a Mason, to be proud to be our Brother and to participate in our work. Only those who desire membership because of their favorable impression of us should seek a petition.

That is why you must "ask yourself."

*Taken from the Manila Mt. Lebanon No. , F.&A.M. website.

 

Ask 1 to be 1

The absolute requirements for becoming a Mason are:
  • Be a man, at least 21 years old.
  • Have belief in a Supreme Being, of any faith or religion

Also:

  • You should be someone who does, or want to learn to, enjoy the company of other men from all different social classes, faiths, backgrounds, races, countries, etc. Masonry is universal in its ideals.
  • If you are a family man, Masonry considers that your family obligations come FIRST, so you must be sure that:
    • You have the time to participate (usually two or three evenings/month at first for meetings and instruction, and then at least one evening per month for meetings from then on -- often more if you get involved in lodge activities.)
    • you can afford the initiation fees and the annual dues without hardship to yourself or your family.
    • You should be coming to Masonry "of your own free will and accord", to learn to improve yourself and to enjoy the company of other good people, not because someone keeps pestering you to join or because you think it will help you "get ahead" in business.

All you need to do is to ask a Mason.

  • Preferably someone you know or at least who lives or works nearby, or...
  • you can contact any member of a Lodge within your locality, or...
  • if you happen to live or work within our community, contact a member of this Lodge.
     

 

 

 

 

For comments and suggestions, please e-mail the webmaster.

 

Copyright Ronald A. Duque (DeMolay) for the benefit of Zosimo Montemayor Lodge No. 212, F. & A.M. 2004. All Rights Reserved.

Portions of this site include material copyrighted by others. Credit is given where possible