Freemasonry is the oldest, largest and most widely recognized fraternal organization in the world. Founded in London, England in 1717, its current worldwide membership totals 4 million members, 2 million of which are in North America.
As a fraternal organization, Freemasonry unites men of good character who, though of different religious, ethnic, or social backgrounds, share a belief in the fatherhood of God and the brotherhood of mankind.
The traditions of Freemasonry are founded upon the building of King Solomon's Temple, and its fraternal ceremonies use the working tools of the stonemasons to symbolize moral lessons and truths. For example, Masons are reminded at Lodge to "meet upon the level of equality, act by the plumb of uprightness, and part upon the square of virtue."
Like most organizations, one will get out of Freemasonry what he is able to put into it. However, membership in Freemasonry is not meant in any way to interfere with an individual's commitment to his faith, family, or occupation. Freemasonry is not and never can be a replacement for these important institutions, but rather it is a positive environment that reminds every Mason of his duty to God, his community, his family and himself.
Freemasonry provides opportunities for sincere, honest, forthright men who believe in God and desire to contribute to the improvement of their communities and themselves. Through our Masonic Fraternalism, we reaffirm our dedication and unity to become involved citizens who have a strong desire to preserve the values that have made and continue to make America great.
Freemasonry is a beautiful system of morality, veiled in allegory and illustrated by symbols. It teaches us that each member has a duty to their country, their God, their neighbor, and themselves. We are taught not only to hold each life as sacred, but to hold sacred each memory and experience that gives that life meaning.
We learn that the greatest battles fought are against the demons within ourselves and the greatest peace one can offer is through eternal vigilance. We are taught to seek the angels of our better nature and with those wings lift up those in despair or in need.
We are given the tools of masonry and are taught to build that spiritual Temple within ourselves. As workers and warriors, professors and priests, we move at all social levels and yet as brothers we meet as equals.
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A Conversation with Benjamin Franklin