Frequently asked Questions

School of Athens

What is Freemasonry?

This is probably one of the hardest questions to answer about the fraternity only because there is so much that we do. Put very simply the Freemasons are the oldest and largest fraternity in the world and is dedicated to building and reinforcing good moral character and self improvement. This is done by utilizing the vast amount of symbolism, allegory, history and tradition that is Freemasonry. Through the fraternity we strive to be better men, fathers, husbands, citizens, friends and members of our communities. One renowned Masonic author wrote that "nothing in Freemasonry is a definition for a man to learn, or a doctrine for a man to believe, but is a subject presented to the mind for a man to think about". Aside from our studious nature as a fraternity we also take part in many charities which differ depending on the lodge, organization or jurisdiction. Our philanthropy usually revolves around education, children, and disabilities.

Is Freemasonry a Religion?

Emphatically, NO! Freemasonry is not a religion nor is it a substitute for religion. Masonry, as an organization, is understanding and tolerant of all religious thoughts. Masonry has no specific creed, no dogma, no priesthood. There are no requirements as to religious preference in becoming a Mason. Masonry does ask you to state your belief and trust in a Supreme Being. Nonsectarian Prayers are a common part of all our ceremonies, but are not offered to a specific deity. Masonic ritual does incorporate lessons and examples from Biblical traditions, but they are given as representative illustrations. Masonry does not require you to belong to a church, synagogue or mosque although many Masons are very active in their religious organizations, and among our members are leaders of many denominations. Freemasonry accepts your right to belong to any church or religious organization of your choice and does not infringe on that right. Neither does Masonry try to be a substitute for your church. Masonry wants to unite men for the purpose of brotherhood; not as an organized religion.

Are the Freemasons a Secret Society?

No. A secret society is generally one that wraps itself in a cloak of absolute secrecy. That means no one knows who the members are, where they meet, what they do or what they stand for. That is not Masonry at all! Masonry may have "secrets," but it is not a secret society. Masonic secrets are few in number, and deal with the general method of initiation, the ways we recognize each other, and very little else. These parts of the ritual, which are called the esoteric side of Masonry, have been handed down by word of mouth for centuries. Masonry's purposes, ideals, and principles may be learned by anyone who inquires. There are numerous books on these subjects which are available to the public. Masonry often has public notices in the newspapers, and our members are usually numbered among the more prominent citizens in the community.

How long have the Freemasons been around?

This is another one of those questions that is shrouded with confusion because nobody really knows. "Officially" the fraternity that we have today was founded in 1717 in London, England. However, there are many records that date centuries before the official founding in 1717 that attest to Masonic activity.

How do I join/inquire about joining?

If you are interested in joining the first thing you have to do is ask. We do not recruit, and we will never ask you to join. To do this just go to your local lodge and meet with some of the members there. You may also want to speak with the Master or Wardens of that lodge to find out more about the fraternity, the process of gaining membership, charities, and anything else you may have a question about.