What is Freemasonry?
The Fraternity of Free and Accepted Masons is the oldest, largest and most widely known fraternal organization in the world. Volumes have been written about it. Yet, to many, Freemasonry remains a mystery. Its bond of friendship, compassion and brotherly love have survived even the most divisive political, military and religious conflicts through the centuries. Though neither a forum nor a place for worship, the Fraternity is a friend of all religions which are based on the belief in a supreme being.
What do Masons Believe in?
Freemasonry teaches high moral ethical standards and family values. Masons come from all religious beliefs (Catholic, Jewish, Protestant, etc.) which are based on the belief in one God. They are men bonded by friendship and brotherly love in service to mankind. Freemasonry does not pretend to take the place of religion not serve as a substitute for the religious beliefs of its members.
What do Masons do?
The Freemasons of America contribute more than two million dollars every day to charitable causes which they, alone, have established. These services to mankind represent and unparalleled example of the humanitarian commitment and concern ot this unique and honorable Fraternity.
Freemasonry is proud of its philosophy and practice of making good men better. Only individuals believed to be of the finest character are favorably considered for membership. One of the customs of Freemasonry is not to solicit members. One seeking admission must have a desire and ask one whom he believes to be a Mason. He must be recommended by two Master Masons, one of whom must be a member of the Lodge the petitioner wishes to Join, and pass a unanimous ballot.
The basic unit of Freemasonry is the Symbolic Lodge, or ‘Blue Lodge’, as it is commonly known. It is the Symbolic Lodge that issues petitions for initiation and membership, acts on petitions and confers the Three Symbolic Degrees, know as:
First Degree - Entered Apprentice
Second Degree - Fellow Craft
Third Degree - Master Mason
There are 455 Symbolic Lodges in Pennsylvania with a membership of nearly 130,000. The Tenets of Freemasonry are ethical principals that are acceptable to all good men. It teaches tolerance toward all mankind. Freemasonry consists of men bound together by bonds of Brotherly Love and Affection. It dictates to no man as to his beliefs, wither religious or secular. It seeks no advantage for its members through business or politics. Freemasonry is not a forum for discussion on partisan affairs. Freemasonry is many things, but, most of all: Freemasonry is a way of Life.
Contrary to what many believe, Freemasonry is not a secret society. There has been no attempt to conceal the purpose, aims and principles of the Fraternity. It is an organization formed and existing on the broad basis of brotherly love, relief and truth. Its constitutions are published for the world to behold. Its rules and regulations are open for inspection. It is true that we have modes of recognition, rites and ceremonies with which the world is not acquainted. In this regard, all human groups and institutions have private affairs. For instance, families have discussions which do not, and should not, concern their neighbors.
Freemasonry is not a religion even though it is religious in character. It does not pretend to take the place of religion nor serve as a substitute for the religious beliefs of its members. Freemasonry accepts men, found to be worthy, regardless of religious convictions. An essential requirement is a belief in the existence a Supreme Being
The Masonic Commitment to Character
As the world’s oldest and largest fraternity, our goal is to build a man’s most valuable possession – his character. We believe that the strength of the family, the church, the community and our country rests with men of strong conviction, firm ethical and moral values and a devotion to our democratic system of government. As Masons, we help each other intensify our devotion to these enduring values. Masons are dedicated to becoming better men. Men of every walk of life belong to Masonic Lodges. They are proud of their century old tradition, their belief in brotherhood, country and the Masonic acts of charity and compassion.