What is Freemasonry?
Freemasonry is a fraternity — the world’s oldest fraternal organization — Freemasonry instils in its members a moral and ethical approach to life: its values are based on integrity, kindness, honesty and fairness. From its earliest days, Freemasonry has been known as "the philosophy of the Self-improving man" and encourages its members to introspect and to know Thyself.
When did Freemasonry start?
Modern Freemasonry started in England in 1717 when four English masonic lodges met and formed a “grand lodge” — a body that would govern all of the lodges and permit new lodges to be formed. It is largely considered that Freemasonry has its roots during the Middle Ages and is primarily derived from the Stone Mason Guilds during that time. And yet, it can be traced back even further into the mists of time, previous to organized religion, there were the Mystery Schools of Egypt and the Orient.
Is Freemasonry a Religion? A Secret Society?
While we are religious in character, that is to say "spiritual", we are not a religion. In fact, men of all faiths and creeds are members of our fraternity.
Freemasonry is not a secret society, but rather, Freemasonry is a society with secrets. Just as Cola companies will not reveal their secret recipe, so too, does Freemasonry conceal it's cyphers, ceremonies and allegories.
Lodges publish their rosters and clearly identify their locations, meetings, activities, and community involvement. In fact, many Masons regularly wear jewelry and pins that announce their membership in Freemasonry. The world at large is aware of the aims, ideals, and charitable efforts of our organization.
Only the individual modes of personal recognition, some of the details of the degrees, and private ballots of members are, and must be, kept secret.
What does Freemasonry do for society in the present time?
In North America alone, Freemasonry contributes over two million dollars a day to charitable causes through its various concordant bodies. Must of that assistance goes to people who are not Masons. Some of these charities are vast projects. The Shrine Masons, known as "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 maintain a nationwide network of over 150 Childhood Language Disorder Clinics, Centers and Programs. The York Rite continues its philanthropy in a variety of charities, including scholarship programs for students, and perform public service activities in their communities.
Do Freemasons really control the World?
Yes. Yes, we do.