May 26, 2010

"What Is...?" Wednesday


Freemasonry calls itself the world's oldest and largest fraternity. Freemasonry and Masonry are interchangeable words for the same organization, which has its roots in the medieval trade guilds of stonemasons. In fact, the most widely used symbols of Freemasonry are the tools of the stonemason... a square and compass. The organization was formally created in London in 1717, and quickly spread to the American colonies and across Europe. Today, there are probably four to six million men in the fraternity worldwide.

The mission of Masonry is said to be: "To teach a man the duty he owes to God, his neighbor, and himself." Charity work and community involvement are important parts of Masonic life. Freemasonry is not affiliated with any religious group, but members are required to profess belief in a supreme being.

Masonic groups are called lodges, and the United Grand Lodge of England is the oldest body of Freemasonry. Membership is restricted to adult males, and lodges do not usually recruit members. Potential members must seek out a Mason or a Masonic lodge and apply to the organization (hence their slogan: "2B1ASK1").

Freemasonry has been decried as a secret society and even a political conspiracy or religious cult. But Masons believe that what little secrecy they have is simply so members of the fraternity can identify each other by things like handshakes and passwords. They state that the rituals of Masonic meetings are used to reinforce the central values of the organization, such as morality and belief in a supreme being. 

Famous Masons

Benjamin Franklin
Buffalo Bill Cody
Davey Crockett
Kit Carson
Warren Harding
Franklin Roosevelt
Harry Truman
Gerald Ford
Mark Twain
Wolfgang Mozart
Willie Mays
Sugar Ray Robinson
Cy Young


wardhouse said...

My better half is a freemason. In this area, it is a dying organization. None of the information is written down; an oral tradition that requires extensive memorization.

He is not 'active' atm, though pays his dues. Perhaps if we are able to move he can join an active lodge.

Buffalo Bill said...

Well I am a Freemason and I appreciate the post as at least neutral on the subject.
It is all too often that whenever I stumble across a blog that has Freemasonry as it's subject; all to often it is the subject of derision.
In recent years, the Internet has been feeding the curious about Freemasonry as well as the neigh sayers or Antis as they are called.

If the casual Internet reader would like to know more and see it from the perspective of a Freemason and the kinds of idiocy we have to endure due to ignorance, you can see here:
@wardhouse -If your hubbies Lodge is not as active, don't look to another lodge, tell him to seize the opportunity to make it active. My Lodge was kinda dull before I joined. My enthusiasm became contagious and now we are initiating men at a fantastic rate. Many more are involved and active. So here and all around my area Freemasonry is actually growing as it is introduced to a whole new generation, by the likes of Dan Brown's the Lost Symbol and others. It seems the History Channel runs some investigation into Masonry every other Month..
All indications are that Freemasonry is making a great comeback and as the numbers over the next few years will bare that out.

Tim said...

There are millions of nice men who are masons but this is one point that worries me: when they join they are told certain 'truths' then as they rise through the degrees some 'secrets' are revealed that change these 'truths'.
This goes on through the elevations so the higher up they go the more twisted the original truths are until quite opposite 'truths' seem acceptable.
They find themselves believeing quite the opposite to when they joined. This is also called brainwashing. Some see what's happening and leave. Some stick with it but try to ignore the now uncomfortable 'religious' stuff. Some fall for it unquestioningly.
Nice men, but mis-led.

Jacqueline said...

My Paw-Paw was a Mason; he owned a bar in New Orleans and died in 1985; he was one of the sweetest, most non judgemental people I have ever known...He was so ahead of his time; I never saw prejudice against race, sexuality, social status from my grandparents=they taught me to see a person's character and to embrace our differences with love and acceptance=my earliest heros.