Frequently Asked Questions
1. What is Freemasonry
Freemasonry is the world's first and largest fraternity, based on the belief that each man can make a difference in the world. Freemasonry enhances and strengthens the character of the individual man by providing opportunities for fellowship, charity, education, and leadership. There are about 5 million Masons worldwide.
2. What are the benefits of being a Mason?
The fellowship, values, and truths that are part of the Masonic tradition have proved to inspire, challenge, and develop leadership in men.
3. What do Masons do?
Charity is at the heart of most Masonic activities. Each year, Masons donate millions of dollars and thousands of hours to various community service and philanthropic activities. Charity is an inseparable aspect of Freemasonry.
4. What's the process for becoming a Mason?
Masonry does not solicit members; men must seek membership of their own free will. Any man who is interested in joining must first contact a Mason or a local lodge. He is then introduced to other Masons who can recommend him for membership. Once he applies, a committee of lodge members meets with him to discuss the application and answer his questions. The committee then presents the application to lodge members, who vote on his membership.
5. Is Freemasonry a secret society?
No. Masonic membership certainly is not a secret, as we wear rings, lapel pins, and tie clasps with Masonic emblems like the square and compass. Masonic buildings are clearly marked and are usually listed in the phone book, and lodge activities are often listed in local newspapers. Of course, like most fraternities, Freemasonry does have unique handshakes, passwords, and ceremonies that are for members only.
6. Why does Masonry use symbols?
Symbols allow people to communicate quickly. When you see a red light or a circle with a line through it, you know what it means. Likewise, Masons use certain symbols, mostly selected from the art of architecture, to represent certain ethics and principles of the organization. The square and compass is the most widely known symbol of Masonry: When you see the symbol on a building, you know that Masons meet there.
7. Is there a national governing body in charge of all Masons?
No. Freemasonry is a universal brotherhood in that Masons share the same ideals, but there is no national governing body for Freemasonry. In the United States, each state has a grand lodge that oversees all the Masonic lodges in the state. There is no higher authority than the grand lodge of a state and there is no national headquarters. Outside the United States, there are one or more grand lodges in virtually every country, which operate as independent and sovereign organizations. While all lodges follow the same principles of Freemasonry, there is no national or international governing body.