Freemasonry is a great, yet commonly misunderstood, society of friends and brothers. In order to further understand us, you need to know what we are and what we are not.
What Freemasonry is…
Freemasonry is the oldest Fraternal organization in existence. Written records about the Order date back to 1390, and the traditions of Masonry are even older. The Grand Lodge of Virginia is the oldest independent body in the United States. A roster of Masonic membership during the early years of our country reads like a study in American history. It is led by George Washington, Benjamin Franklin, Chief Justice John Marshall, Edmund Randolph, and a host of signers of the Declaration of Independence and the United States Constitution. Since those early years of our country’s history, Masonic membership has continued to include many famous Americans, including United States Presidents, Congressmen, State Governors and other well known men in leadership positions. The Masonic Fraternity includes men from all walks of life; professionals, tradesmen and laborers.
Freemasonry is a charitable organization. Masonic organizations in North America collectively contribute well over two million dollars every day to charities throughout North America.
Freemasonry is open to all men, regardless of race or religion.
What Freemasonry is Not…
Freemasonry is not a religion. It does not promise salvation. But, while not a religion, Freemasonry is religious in the sense that Masons revere God, and urge every man to attend the Church or Synagogue of his choice. We learn that our strength is to be found in our God, no matter how we may view Him.
Freemasonry is not a secret society as some would accuse. Masons proudly wear the ancient insignia of Freemasonry, the Square and Compass, publicly. The location of our Masonic Lodges is known and our membership rosters are printed. We do keep secret our modes of recognition and the ceremonies of initiation to prevent imposition by impostors.
In sum, Freemasonry teaches the Brotherhood of Man under the Fatherhood of God, marvelling at the Divine order of the universe. It brings together men of all creeds and teaches the many aspects of the Great and Golden Rule common to all Faiths.