Freemasonry is a 300 year old fraternity with a 3,000 year old tradition; the oldest, largest and most widely known fraternal organization in the world.
It is a universal fraternity of friends and brothers who seek to become better men through their association with one another and their families.
In a society whose moral values are severely tested, Masonry brings men together for fellowship and the promotion of integrity and good citizenship.
It is not a religion, however, Masonry does require a belief in God and urges its members to be faithful and devoted to their own beliefs.
It is not political, however, it encourages its members and their families to be good citizens and to choose their own best means of political expression.
It is not a welfare institution or a benefit society, its selective charity and good works in the community are valuable beyond measure.
In most cases, Masons are not outwardly distinguished in any way at all and are merely a simply a cross-section of the majority of the population.
Having said that, there have been many famous and influential men have been Masons, including Kings and Presidents. There continue to be many others, who are leaders in their communities, and world famous in their own right.
No one selects them and no one is ever asked to become a Mason. No one should wait to be asked. Some men who would like to become Masons never do because they do not know this. Such a man should ask for an application from the Mason he knows best, a relative perhaps or a friend.
The unit or organization is the Lodge, grouped under a ruling body known as a Grand Lodge.
Freemasonry has always been associated with secrecy, yet it is not a secret society. Such secrets as it possesses are largely ceremonial.
It does not hide its existence or its purposes, aims and principles and Masonic halls are familiar sights in thousands of towns and cities.
Charity is a basic teaching of Freemasonry and its tradition of members helping one another is as old as its reputation for secrecy and is still maintained in practice.
Concern for non-members is also very real. Lodges contribute to blood programs and to character-building work. Masonic organizations support children’s homes, homes for the elderly, crippled children’s hospitals Projects, scholarships for university students and the treatment of many crippling diseases and other humanitarian projects.
Masonry’s ritual and symbolism teach kindness, honesty and decency in human relationships, courtesy, fairness, understanding and concern, resistance towards evil, love of country and reverence toward God.
Good citizenship and a belief in God are requirements for the individual Mason.
Partisan discussion is forbidden in the Lodge. Membership includes men who have diverse political views and various religious beliefs. As Masons they recognize one another simply as friends and brothers and thus harmony can and does prevail.
Published by the GRAND LODGE OF ILLINOIS
& Published in THE TRACING BOARD; GRS;