What is Freemasonry?
It’s the oldest, largest and most prestigious fraternity in the world. We’re kind of like a civic club, a charitable institution and a fraternity – all rolled into one.
We’re like a civic club in that we do a lot of community and statewide projects. We’re like a major charity in that we give almost $2 million away every day. But, most importantly, we are a fraternity for men doing good things for each other, and trying to bring men of good morals and ethics together in our community.
To promote a way a life that binds like-minded men in a worldwide brotherhood that transcends all religious, ethnic, cultural, social and educational differences; by teaching the great principles of brotherly love, relief and truth; and, by the outward expression of these through its fellowship, its compassion and its concern, to find ways in which to serve God, family, country, neighbors and self.
What We Do
The most important thing we do is take care of each other and our families. We are a fraternity. That means we help other Masons, treat them in special ways, support them no matter where they live. And build friendships all over the world. Not very many organizations do that today.
And we help others. That’s why we give almost $2 million a day to charity. And most of our money goes to help kids. We rank among the top 10 best-liked charitable groups in America.
But we also teach leadership skills, and help men lead an ethics-based life. We promote good relationships and strong family values. We try to do something to strengthen the family unit every day.
Why its important
A lot of pride, a sense of belonging to an organization that exists all over the world. Being part of a great heritage. Sharing an identity with the greatest men of the past – and of today.
Sharing a special bond with men from all walks of life – creating life-long friendships with them.
You get a lot out of being a member of an organization that believes in toleration – that lets each man think for himself and express his own opinions, without worrying about being wrong.
Where to get more information
The following books and documentary video are also highly recommended:
Freemasons For Dummies
This is a plain-English guide to Freemasonry.
This balanced, eye-opening guide demystifies Freemasonry, explaining everything from its elaborate rituals and cryptic rites to the veiled symbols and their meanings. The book profiles famous Freemasons throughout history including many of America's Founding Fathers as well as prominent politicians and business leaders offers a balanced assessment of the many controversies and conspiracy theories that continue to swirl around Freemasonry. For anyone who wants an evenhanded overview of Freemasonry's past, present, and future, this guide is the key.
Christopher Hodapp is a Mason who has traveled extensively reporting on Masonic practices in Great Britain, France, and elsewhere. He is currently a Past Master and a Master of his lodge. Hodapp edits the lodge newsletter and has written for the Grand Lodge magazine, the Indiana Freemason.
Idiot’s Guide to Freemasonry
By: S. Brent Morris
Publisher: Alpha Books – The Penguin Group (2006)
The Complete Idiot's Guide to Freemasonry is well-written and easy to read, being easily read from cover to cover within a single day. It is also a book that serves as a useful reference of Masonic facts and trivia, history and practice.
Dr. Morris explains the Symbolic, Blue or Craft Lodges covering the first three degrees of Freemasonry. It also gives a look into the associated bodies such as the York and Scottish Rites.
The Complete Idiot's Guide to Freemasonry also has fun and interesting bits of trivia and Masonic facts that give one a bit more insight into different parts of the Craft.
The author of The Complete Idiot's Guide to Freemasonry, Dr. S. Brent Morris, is the managing editor of the `Scottish Rite Journal', a 33-degree Mason, and on the graduate faculty at George Washington University. Eminently well qualified to write this book, Dr. Morris has given us a book that makes a worthy addition to any Freemason's library, as well as a fine introduction to the Craft for any good man who seeks some additional understanding of the rites of Freemasonry when considering making a petition for acceptance into his local Masonic Lodge.
By: Mark A. Tabbert
Published By: National Heritage Museum & New York University Press (2005)
If you're going to buy one book about Freemasonry in the United States (and before), this is certainly the one to buy. It's a coffee-table size work and very easily read. In fact, you can start and end almost anywhere - and learn lots along the way. It's an outstanding gift to give a Mason as a present for some special occasion and can be an excellent way to begin the discussion about Freemasonry around the coffee table.
Mason Mark Tabbert's work is one with which few Masonic scholars will find nits to pick. While not dwelling on the differences between American and European Freemasonry (particularly that of non-English speaking countries), this work shows the integral role the fraternity played in a time when aristocracy was the norm and democracy was a totally new experiment.