Masons (also known as Freemasons) belong to the oldest and largest
fraternal organization in the world. Today, there are now more than
two million Masons in North America. Masons represent virtually every
occupation and profession, yet within the Fraternity all meet as equals.
Masons come from diverse political ideologies, yet meet as friends.
Masons come from varied religious beliefs and creeds, yet all believe
in one God
Many of North America's early patriots were Masons. Thirteen signers
of the Constitution and fourteen Presidents of the United States, including
George Washington, were Masons. In Canada, the Father of the Confederation,
Sir John A. MacDonald, was a Mason, as were other early Canadian and
One of the most fascinating aspects of Freemasonry is how so many men,
form so many different walks of life, can met together in peace, always
conducting their affairs in harmony and friendship and calling each other
What Do Freemasons Do ?
Freemasonry (or Masonry) is dedicated to the Brotherhood of Man
under the Fatherhood of God. It uses the tools and implements
of ancient architectural craftsmen symbolically in a system of instruction
designed to build character and moral values in its members. Its
singular purpose is to make good men better. It bonds of friendship,
compassion, and brotherly love have survived even the most divisive
political, military, and religious conflicts through the centuries.
Masonry is a fraternity which encourages its members to practice the
faith of their personal acceptance. Masonry teaches that each person
through self-improvement and helping others, has an obligation to
make a difference for good in the world.
No one knows just how old Freemasonry is because the actual origins
have been lost in time. Most scholars believe Masonry arose from the
guilds of stonemasons who built the majestic castles and cathedrals in
the Middle Ages. In 1717, Masonry created a formal organization when
four Lodges in London joined to form England's first Grand Lodge. By
1731, when Benjamin Franklin joined the Fraternity, there were already
several Lodges in the Colonies, and in Canada the first Lodge was
established in 1738.
Today, Masonic Lodges are found in almost every community throughout
North America, and in large cities there are usually several Lodges.
A Mason can travel to almost any country in the world and find a Masonic
Lodge where he will be welcomed as a "Brother".
The Masonic experience encourages members to become better men,
better husbands, better fathers, and better citizens. The fraternal
bonds formed in the Lodge help build lifelong friendships among men
with similar goals and values.
Beyond its focus on individual development and growth, Masonry is deeply
involved in helping people. The Freemasons of North America contribute
over two million dollars a day to charitable causes. This philanthropy
represents an unparalleled example of the humanitarian commitment of
this great and honorable Fraternity. Much of that assistance goes to
people who are not Masons. Some of these charities are vast projects.
The Shrine Masons (Shriners) operate the largest network of hospitals
for burned and orthopedically impaired children in the country, and
there is never a fee for treatment. The Scottish Rite Masons in the
Southern Jurisdiction maintain a network as of 2001, of 150 Childhood
Language Disorder Clinics, Centers, and Programs. Other Masonic
organizations sponsor a variety of philanthropies, including scholarship
programs and perform public service activities in their communities.
Masons also enjoy the fellowship of each other and their families in
social and recreational activities.
Several Masonic Principles Are:
Faith must be the center of our lives.
All men and women are the children of God.
No one has the right to tell another person what he or she must think or
Each person has a responsibility to be a good citizen, obeying the law.
It is important to work to make the world a better place for all.
Honor and integrity are keys to a meaningful life.
Who Can Qualify To Join ?
Applicants must be men of good character who believe in a Supreme Being.
To become a Mason, one must petition a particular Lodge. The Master of
the Lodge appoints a committee to visit the applicant prior to the Lodge
balloting upon his petition.
So Who Are The Masons ?
Masons are men of good character who strive to improve themselves and
make the world a better place. They belong to the oldest and most honorable
Fraternity known to man. If you think you may be interested in becoming a
member, you can begin by contacting a Lodge in your area or speaking to a
Men of Character And Integrity Join The Masons
Most are men who go about their jobs and professions with no hint they
are Freemasons except for the way they lead their lives. Many are readily
recognizable by name, face or accomplishment. George Washington and 13
other Presidents, 8 Vice Presidents, and 42 Justices of the Supreme Court
have been Masons.
Some Notable Masons
Edwin "Buzz" Aldrin
L. Van Beethoven
Richard E. Byrd
George M. Cohan
Cecil B. deMille
Sir Alexander Fleming
Gerald R. Ford
Hubert H. Humphrey
John Paul Jones
Marquis de Lafayette
George C. Marshall
Charles W. Mayo
Wolfgang A. Mozart
Dr. Norman V. Peale
J. C. Penny
Franklin D. Roosevelt
John Philip Sousa
Harry S. Truman
Thomas J. Watson
The above article is published by and available as a color brochure
from the Masonic Information Center, 8120 Fenton Street, Silver Spring,
Maryland 20910-4785. You are also welcome to visit their web site at
Used with permission from The Scottish Rite Journal Special Membership
Issue Vol. CIX No. 10, published by The Supreme Council, 33°, S.J.,
U.S.A. and The Masonic Information Center, Silver Spring, Maryland.
All Rights Reserved.