So, What is Freemasonry?
Freemasonry, or Masonry for short, is a brotherhood borne out of guilds of stone masons in Medieval England. As the stonemasons moved away from building the grand cathedrals of Europe and focused on the symbolic building of the person, modern day Freemasonry arose.
We’re a brotherhood
Freemasonry is a brotherhood or what is known as a fraternal organization. We’ve been meeting as a group for the last three centuries, evolving with the times giving much to societal progression.
Freemasons treat each other as real brothers and refer to each other as “Bro. such and such”. As you would with your real-life brothers or sisters, we are always there for each other, especially during times of need or distress, be it emotional, financial or otherwise.
We are a tight-knit brotherhood and we look out for each other.
Freemasonry isn’t a religion
Freemasonry is not a religion, but its understandable why there’s public misconception about it. The only requirement is that you as a Freemason must believe in a Supreme Being, or Deity.
There is mention of King Solomon as the origins of Freemasonry are said to date back to that era. Other than that, there is no religious dogma in Freemasonry. For this reason our members come from all of the world’s major religions, and have done throughout our history.
Freemasonry arose during times of religious intolerance, where you didn’t necessarily have the freedoms to think openly.
The ideals of Freemasonry
There’s certain philosophies all Freemasons believe in; brotherhood, charity, morality and doing good in the community you live in.
- Brotherhood: To treat your fellow Freemason as a brother and expect the same in return.
- Charity: Helping the communities that we live in, not just financially.
- Morality: Have a good and upright moral code.
For a full insight, see this article on the Philosophy of Freemasonry.
A society with secrets, not a secret society…
Freemasonry is a tightly-knit brotherhood, a society in its own right. Freemasonry originates in a time where Stone Masons, to protect their trade secrets, had certain secret passwords and handshakes. These still form part of Freemasonry today. So we do have secrets, yes.
At the same time, we’re open. There’s nothing stopping you from visiting one of our Masonic Halls in your city, or approaching a Freemason to learn more – in fact Freemasons welcome it. These certain secrets will be taught to you when you become a Freemason.
The origins of Freemasonry
The exact origins of Freemasonry are steeped in mystery to the uninitiated. There are several origin stories and legends on how the brotherhood began. The generally accepted history has its origins in guilds of stone masons in Medieval England.
These stone masons were master craftsmen who build many of Europe’s grand cathedrals, some of which stand to this day. These guilds of stone workers began to organize, using various techniques to protect their trade secrets and to recognize one another.
As time progressed, people who didn’t work with stone were admitted. These Masons were known as speculative Masons, while those who actually worked on stone with tools were Operative Masons. The speculative Masons adopted the stone working tools as symbols for moral virtues and philosophical ideas, and it is these Speculative Masons who are the origin of Freemasonry.
We’ve always been forward thinkers and contributors to enlightenment. For this reason, Freemasonry has, through the centuries, attracted many notable figures. There are many people you will have heard of but didn’t know were Freemasons.
Here are some of our notable alumni:
- George Washington: The first President of the United States, namesake of the Capitol Washington D.C.
- Mozart: The enlightenment age musical prodigy
- Rudyard Kipling: Author of the Jungle Book (the Disney film was based on this)
- Winston Churchill: Prime Minister of the UK during World War 2
- Roosevelt: President of the US during World War 2
Did you already know any of the above were Freemasons? Comment below.
Becoming a Freemason
Freemasonry is an exclusive society, but not based on color, race, religion, social class or how much money you have. Instead, its based on your ideals and how you act and think. To be a Freemason you need to aspire to have excellence in morals and want to contribute to something greater than yourself.
These are the criteria a person must have:
- Belief in a Supreme Being: You won’t be asked specifics of your religion, just that you do believe in one.
- A man over the age of 21: The minimum age can vary. For Women and Freemasonry, see this article.
- Good morals: Have a good moral code. Freemasonry takes in good men and makes them better.
Interested in joining?
As long as you meet the above criteria, your interest will always be treated with respect and due diligence. The worst that can happen is that you’ll get a polite “No” or a “come back later”. At the very least, a Freemason is always willing to have a friendly discussion with you.
We don’t, and never have, discriminate against race, religion (as long as you believe in a Supreme Being) or colour. So don’t let any of those issues put you off if you are interested.
If you are interested, or just want some more information, just contact us here.