It’s the oldest, largest and most prestigious fraternity in the world. We’re kind of like a civic club, a charitable institution and a fraternity – all rolled into one.
We’re like a civic club in that we do a lot of community and statewide projects. We’re like a major charity in that we give almost $2 million away every day. But, most importantly, we are a fraternity for men doing good things for each other, and trying to bring men of good morals and ethics together in our community.
What is the Mission of Freemasonry?
To promote a way a life that binds like-minded men in a worldwide brotherhood that transcends all religious, ethnic, cultural, social and educational differences; by teaching the great principles of brotherly love, relief and truth; and, by the outward expression of these through its fellowship, its compassion and its concern, to find ways in which to serve God, family, country, neighbors and self.
What Do Masons Do?
The most important thing we do is take care of each other and our families. We are a fraternity. That means we help other Masons, treat them in special ways, support them no matter where they live. And build friendships all over the world. Not very many organizations do that today.
And we help others. That’s why we give almost $2 million a day to charity. And most of our money goes to help kids. We rank among the top 10 best-liked charitable groups in America.
But we also teach leadership skills, and help men lead an ethics-based life. We promote good relationships and strong family values. We try to do something to strengthen the family unit every day.
What do you get out of it?
A lot of pride, a sense of belonging to an organization that exists all over the world. Being part of a great heritage. Sharing an identity with the greatest men of the past – and of today.
Sharing a special bond with men from all walks of life – creating life-long friendships with them.
You get a lot out of being a member of an organization that believes in toleration – that lets each man think for himself and express his own opinions, without worrying about being wrong.
Where to get more information?
The best place to get more information about Freemasonry is to visit the "Related Web Links" posted on this Web site.
The following books and documentary video are also highly recommended:
Freemasons For Dummies
By: Christopher Hodapp Publisher: Wiley Publishing, Inc. (2005) ISBN: 0-7645-9796-5
This is a plain-English guide to Freemasonry.
This balanced, eye-opening guide demystifies Freemasonry, explaining everything from its elaborate rituals and cryptic rites to the veiled symbols and their meanings. The book profiles famous Freemasons throughout history including many of America's Founding Fathers as well as prominent politicians and business leaders offers a balanced assessment of the many controversies and conspiracy theories that continue to swirl around Freemasonry. For anyone who wants an evenhanded overview of Freemasonry's past, present, and future, this guide is the key.
Christopher Hodapp is a Mason who has traveled extensively reporting on Masonic practices in Great Britain, France, and elsewhere. He is currently a Past Master and a Master of his lodge. Hodapp edits the lodge newsletter and has written for the Grand Lodge magazine, the Indiana Freemason.
The Complete Idiot’s Guide to Freemasonry
By: S. Brent Morris Publisher: Alpha Books – The Penguin Group (2006) ISBN: 1-59257-490-4 The Complete Idiot's Guide to Freemasonry is well-written and easy to read, being easily read from cover to cover within a single day. It is also a book that serves as a useful reference of Masonic facts and trivia, history and practice.
Dr. Morris explains the Symbolic, Blue or Craft Lodges covering the first three degrees of Freemasonry. It also gives a look into the associated bodies such as the York and Scottish Rites. The Complete Idiot's Guide to Freemasonry also has fun and interesting bits of trivia and Masonic facts that give one a bit more insight into different parts of the Craft.
The author of The Complete Idiot's Guide to Freemasonry, Dr. S. Brent Morris, is the managing editor of the `Scottish Rite Journal', a 33-degree Mason, and on the graduate faculty at George Washington University. Eminently well qualified to write this book, Dr. Morris has given us a book that makes a worthy addition to any Freemason's library, as well as a fine introduction to the Craft for any good man who seeks some additional understanding of the rites of Freemasonry when considering making a petition for acceptance into his local Masonic Lodge.
American Freemasons: Three Centuries of Building Communities
By: Mark A. Tabbert Published By: National Heritage Museum & New York University Press (2005) ISBN: 0-8147-8292-2
If you're going to buy one book about Freemasonry in the United States (and before), this is certainly the one to buy. It's a coffee-table size work and very easily read. In fact, you can start and end almost anywhere - and learn lots along the way. It's an outstanding gift to give a Mason as a present for some special occasion and can be an excellent way to begin the discussion about Freemasonry around the coffee table.
Mason Mark Tabbert's work is one with which few Masonic scholars will find nits to pick. While not dwelling on the differences between American and European Freemasonry (particularly that of non-English speaking countries), this work shows the integral role the fraternity played in a time when aristocracy was the norm and democracy was a totally new experiment.
Freemasonry - A Celebration of the Craft
John Hamill & Robert Gilbert, General Editors Publisher: World Publications, MA (March 1999) ISBN: 1-57215-267-2
If you've ever longed for a 'coffee table' book to stir interest in Freemasonry (that of your own or of visitors to your home), this is the one! From its gorgeously designed dust cover through the profuse illustrations, it's a work that one can enjoy in nibbles or by feasting voraciously. It's huge illustrations (this is a large book in typical 'coffee table' size) and its enormously informative vignettes make it a work that truly delights all of the senses as well as the intellect.
John Hamill is an internationally acknowledged authority on English Freemasonry and is the Librarian/Curator of the Grand Lodge and Museum in London.
Freemasonry: Symbols, Secrets, Significance
By: W. Kirk MacNulty Publisher: Thames & Hudson Ltd. London (2006) ISBN: 0-500-51302-3
The ultimate book on Freemasonry, with a rich collection of symbols and lore that illuminate the "The Craft," with an estimated four million Freemasons worldwide, remains the largest fraternal organization in the world. Written by an active Freemason, this book comprehensively explains Freemasonry through its fascinating visual culture, rich in mysterious and arcane symbols of life, death, and morality that have evolved over centuries of secrecy and that have profound philosophical meaning.
Ceremonial regalia, paintings, manuscripts, tracing boards, ritual swords, furniture, prints, ephemera, and architecture: the book is copiously illustrated with many specially researched items from Freemasonry archives. This unrivaled compendium will appeal both to Freemasons wishing to learn the full story of their order and to a general audience that is intensely curious about this traditionally secretive and closed movement.
The coverage includes - the historical and philosophical background of the order, including the Knights Templar, the medieval stonemasons' guilds, and esoteric traditions such as Kabbalah and Hermeticism - its history from the earliest Masons to the present day, including famous members and scandals - its geographical spread from Japan to California, Sweden to South Africa - 300 illustrations, 200 in color
W. Kirk MacNulty has been a Freemason for over forty years and is a member of three lodges in the United States and England. His previous books include The Way of the Craftsman and Freemasonry: A Journey Through Ritual and Symbol. He lives in Arlington, Virginia.
The Enigma of the Freemasons: Their History and Mystical Connections
By: Tim Wallace-Murphy Publisher: The Disinformation Company (2006) ISBN: 978-1932857443
Tim Wallace-Murphy, a Freemason himself and an established authority and author in this field, has written what is perhaps the clearest and most accessible guide to Freemasonry yet. A beautifully illustrated hardcover with full color throughout, the book covers all of the key areas of interest in Freemasonry:
Origins and evolution: History and legend, the Solomon connection, and the Templar connection
Inside Freemasonry: Precepts and beliefs, Blue Lodge Freemasonry, Ma-sonic practice, rituals of the lodge, and symbols and allegories
Masonry universal: Freemasonry and society, anti-masonry, North Ameri-can Freemasonry, and Masonry across the world
About the Author: Tim's first book, "The Mark of the Beast", was written in collaboration with Trevor Ravenscroft. He is the author of "An Illustrated Guidebook to Rosslyn Chapel" (1993) and "The Templar Legacy and The Masonic Inheritance Within Rosslyn Chapel" (1994), both published by The Friends of Rosslyn. A popular and fluent speaker, he lectures on Freemasonry and the Knights Templar.
A Pilgrim's Path: Freemasonry and the Religious Right
By: John J. Robinson Publisher: M. Evans and Company (1993) ISBN: 0-87131-732-X
Freemasonry has never lacked for detractors. Unfortunately, because it has a long history of never answering critics, Freemasonry makes a wonderful target for bigotry. In A Pilgrim’s Path John J. Robinson relates the history of the attacks against the organization and the motives behind the attacks. In doing so he discusses the origins of Freemasonry, its tenets, and its goals. Then he takes on the anti-Masonic evangelists who currently seek to destroy Freemasonry.
John J. Robinson is a writer with special interest in the history of Medieval Britain and the Crusades. A business executive and former Marine, Mr. Robinson is also a member of the Medieval Academy of America, the Organization of American Historians, and the Royal Over-Seas League of London.
The author of the best-selling "Born in Blood" about the Knights Templar and his belief that it was connected to modern Freemasonry, he received many invitations to speak. As he toured the country speaking about his book to Masons and non-Masons alike, he often found that there was more interest in the organization itself rather than his work.
As a non-Mason himself, he was often encouraged by the anti-Masonic faction to speak out against Masonry yet meeting of thousands of Masons convinced him that this was indeed an organization worth joining. This book explains why prior to his death, Mr. Robinson became Brother Robinson to millions of Freemasons - and debunks the major religious/new world order slurs against Freemasonry.
Is It True What They Say About Freemasonry?
By: Art deHoyos and S. Brent Morris Publisher: M. Evans and Company (April 2004) ISBN: 1590770307
This is the perfect book for someone who's somewhat pessimistic about Freemasonry or who has questions that are difficult to answer. Now in its second edition and frequently cited in response to the anti-Masonic faction, the authors have provided extensive and detailed information (including copies of documentation) to refute charges made by many of those who are currently active against Freemasonry. It's far more than just picking apart a couple of folks. It's a hard-hitting rebuttal of many claims made by those who would destroy Freemasonry.
The Freemasons: The Mystery, Myth and Truth (A Documentary Film)
DVD/Video – 56 Minutes Hosted by: David Nisbet Produced by: Toth and Parsons Productions, Inc. (1995/2005) ISBN: 0-9720575-1-X
This feature documentary film on DVD explores the world's most successful "secret" society - The Freemasons. This is the first and only independently produced serious film about the Masons.
The film traces the history and majesty of the brotherhood of Freemasonry, its meaning and its rituals. Featuring noted Masonic historians and a full cast of professional actors in dramatic recreations of Masonic history. The film contains footage of Masonic rituals.