Freemasonry and F.A.Q.

 

Q: Is Freemasonry a religion?

A: No, Freemasonry is a fraternity, not a religion. It is a fraternal association dedicated to making good men better. Freemasonry respects the religious beliefs of all its members. Freemasonry has no theology and does not teach any method of salvation. In particular it does not claim that good works guarantee salvation.

 

Q: What service do Freemasons provide?

A: Many, from homes for the old, hospitals for the sick, scholarships and much more. Freemasons are united in their desire to be of service to mankind While Freemasonry supports homes for members and their spouses, most Masonic services, including Shrine medical and burn centers, are available to all citizens. In 1990, American Masonic philanthropy totaled more than $525 million, of which 58% went to the general public.

 

Q: Is Freemasonry a secret society or cult?

A: No, Freemasonry is an open fraternity to all who meet the qualifications. Masonic meetings are announced publicly, Masonic buildings are marked clearly and are listed in phone directories, and Masons proudly wear jewelry identifying their membership. Freemasons inherited a tradition of trade secrets from the cathedral building guilds of medieval Europe. The only "secrets" still belonging to modem Masonry are traditional passwords, signs of recognition, and dramatic presentation of moral lessons. Freemasonry is open to all men of good character who believe in God. Freemasonry does not discriminate on the basis of race, religion, or social class.

 

Q: Are there other Masonic Orginizations?

A: Yes, The Masonic family of organizations is open to all. Freemasonry admits only men, but many Masonic related organizations, such as the Eastern Star, Amaranth, Job's Daughters, Rainbow for Girls and DeMolay for Boys, offer ample opportunities for women and youth.

 

Q: Do Freemasons take any immoral or improper oaths?

A: Freemasonry does not require improper oaths.The solemn promises taken in Freemasonry are no different than the oaths taken in court or on entering the armed services. The much discussed "penalties," judicial remnants from an earlier age, are symbolic, not literal. They refer only to the pain any honest man should feel at the thought of violating his word.

 

Q: What does Freemasonry teach men?

A: Freemasonry teaches individual improvement through study.Freemasonry encourages study, including literature by the great writers of ancient times. Freemasonry does not sanction the views of these authors but offers them for each individual's reflection and evaluation.

 

Q: How does Freemasonry teach men?

A: Freemasonry teaches in steps. Masons learn through a series of lessons. These "degrees" of insight move from basic to more complex concepts. This no more hides the nature of Freemasonry from novice members than does having student understand fractions before calculus.

 

Q: Where is Freemasonry Located?

A: Masonry is practiced worldwide.There are approximately 2.5 million Masons in the United States and nearly 6 million throughout the world.

 

Q: Who is in charge of Freemasonry?

A: Freemasonry has no single spokesman. Freemasonry is made up of many individuals in numerous organizations, all subordinate to a Grand Lodge(main office) within their jurisdiction (i.e. state). None of these members organizations can speak for Freemasonry; that is the responsibility of each Grand Lodge within its jurisdiction. No Masonic body nor author, however respected, can usurp the authority of a Grand Lodge.

 

Q: Are there additional groups to Freemasonry?

A: Yes, Appendant Bodies. Masonry has many groups, each with a special social, educational, or philanthropic focus. A man becomes a Mason in his local Lodge. Then he can join any of the following "Appendant Bodies": the Scottish Rite, York Rite (which includes the Royal Arch and Knights Templar), Shriners, Grottoes, Tall Cedars, etc.

 

Q: Why is there Anti-Masonry?

A: Usually anti-Masonry centers around two subjects: Religion “A Christian cannot be a Mason” and Politics Conspiracy theories to “take over the world”.  It’s interesting to note that Freemasons are forbidden to discuss religion or politics in the Lodge and yet those are the two subjects most often used to attack the Fraternity.A recent e-mail to the Masonic Information Center said: “A friend told me Freemasonry is a cult.”  To substantiate this charge was a quote from the book Cults which stated: “The term So Mote It Be is a witchcraft oath.”  The use of the term “Worshipful” is often misrepresented, and the accusation is made that so called “bloody oaths” are part of the obligations.The following attempts to address the above misunderstandings.

 

Q:Why is a Master addressed as “Worshipful?”

A: Few Masonic matters are less understood by the non-Masonic public than this.  The word “worchyppe” or “worchyp” is Old English, and means “greatly respected.”  In the Wycliffe Bible “Honor thy father and thy mother” appears as “Worchyp thy fadir and thy modir.”  English and Canadian mayors are still addressed, “Your Worship.”   In some of the Old Constitutions of Masonry it the phrase, “Every Mason shall prefer his elder and put him to worship.”  “Worshipful,” therefore, in modern Masonry continues an ancient word meaning “greatly respected.”  A Grand Master is “Most Worshipful,” that is, “Most greatly respected” (except in Pennsylvania, where the Grand Master is “Right Worshipful,” as are Pennsylvania’s and Texas’ Past Grand Masters).

 

Q: Why do Freemasons use, “So Mote It Be”?

“So Mote It Be” are the final words in the Regius Poem.  “Mote” is old English for “may.”  Masons have used the phrase since the beginning of the written history of the craft. Freemasonry includes many other words, now obsolete, which bring the sanctity of age and continuity of ritual from ancient days to modern times.

 

Q: What Masonic Penalties Are Enforced?

A:The only penalties known to Freemasonry are reprimand; suspension from membership; and expulsion from the Fraternity.  To these must be added that intangible penalty which comes to any one who loses all or part of his reputation.  Other penalties suggested in the ritual are wholly symbolic – are not now and never have been enforced.  They were legal punishments in the middle ages, designed with special reference to the religious beliefs of the time that an incomplete body could not “rise from the dead”, that a body buried in unconsecrated ground (as between high and low water mark) could not ascend into heaven.  Some Grand Lodges offer an interpretation of the ritualistic penalties, in order to be sure the initiate understands the symbolic character of these otherwise difficult phrases.

 

Q: How do I become a Freemason?

A: To become a Mason you must ask one. Freemasonry does not encourage recruiting it has to be of a persons own free will.