|Why should I be interested in joining?
|Do you enjoy being with people you like and respect?
Are you looking for ways to give back to the community in which you live and work?
Do you desire to enrich your life experiences?
|How is the organization structured?
|Each local 'Lodge' draws its members, essentially from the local community. A Regional group of local Lodges will comprise a 'District'. For administrative purposes, there is a central organization in each state, known as 'Grand Lodge'. Additionally, in each state there are a number of separate charitable and other community service organizations such as: The Angel Fund, Knights Templar Eye Foundation, The Shriner's Burn and Orthopedic Hospitals, and many others.
|I am told that Masons need to devote a lot of their own time to community work, and my time is limited, so would this apply to me?
|As a Mason, the time you devote to community work is entirely up to you. You are asked to support your Lodge by attending its regular meeting, once a month. No more is expected of you. As with any other life endeavor, you will get out of Masonry what you put into it. .
|Is Freemasonry a charity?
No. Membership does not obligate you to support any of our good works. That is voluntary and must always be within the scope of your ability and without causing injury to yourself or family. Membership does not imply that you or your family have any greater access to the charitable benefits that we support than a non-member.
Masonic principles teach the value of relief - or charity - and Freemasons give more than $3 million A DAY, of which more than 70% of these donations support the general public. Among our works are the Shriners Hospitals for Children with 22 sites throughout North America, including a burn center in Boston and an orthopedic facility in Springfield; almost 225 Learning Centers helping children with dyslexia and speech and hearing disorders; the Masonic Youth Child Identification Program (MYCHIP), and the Masonic Angel Foundation, providing modest assistance to children and adults in local communities who do not fit the criteria for usual social-services. Most recently, the Masonic Service Association of North America entered into an agreement with the USO to participate in Operation Phone Home: a campaign to provide United States Military Service Personnel serving overseas with prepaid international phone calling cards. There are numerous other worthy causes and groups that local Lodges contribute to and help in their communities.
|I've heard that Masons, in the past, have been regarded as some sort of secret society, is that the situation now?
|Until recently our policy was to be rather discreet about ourselves, our community work and even our membership. However, times have changed and so have we! Today, Masons will often talk freely about their work and their membership. Lodge rooms are often opened to our visitors, and enquiries about Masons and their valuable community work, are always welcomed
|Why do you have any secrets at all?
|In your daily life you have secrets; your bank cannot disclose your tax file number; your doctor is not allowed to disclose your medical records; you do not disclose your PIN numbers. Being discreet about certain aspects of your personal business is obviously quite normal. Everyone is familiar with the phrase: 'Can you be trusted to keep a secret?'. Therefore, Masons use 'secrets' to test and prove the good character of those who choose to join. This is because to become a Mason requires a person to continually observe, with total sincerity, our high ideals of Integrity, Goodwill and Charity.
|Why do you not have women members?
|There are other organizations that are strictly for women, and we agree with, and support their right to be 'strictly for women'. We feel confident that they, and other well informed people, would support our right to exist as we do.
|Some of your buildings have the word 'temple' on them. Why is that?
|In the past, our Lodges were called 'temples'. This was an allegoric reference to King Solomon's Temple, constructed by early Masons, whose principles of Integrity, Goodwill and Charity, we have inherited. Currently we refer to our Lodge buildings as Masonic Apartments in interest of avoiding misconceptions of any particular religious connection.
|Are the Masons some sort of religion?
|Absolutely not. Our membership is, in fact, made up of people who belong to many different religions. Every member is encouraged, and is completely free, to follow their own private personal beliefs. Religion, as such, is not permitted to be discussed in any Lodge. It is a requirement of membership to acknowledge belief in a single supreme entity and you further obligate yourself to follow the tenets and teachings of your religious persuasion
|You have a Bible in your Lodge Room. Why is this?
|Yes we do, however it represents all books of scripture. Moreover, any Lodge can determine, based on its membership, which Holy Book (or group of Books) it will use. This is because we are a truly non-sectarian organization.
|I have heard that Roman Catholics cannot become Masons, is that true?
|No, that is not true. We do require as a condition of membership that you acknowledge a belief in a single supreme entity. That is certainly a foundation of all Christian Churches. There are many practicing Roman Catholics who are Masons. Roman Catholics were, in the past, prevented by a Papal directive from becoming Masons, however in recent years this directive has been repealed. You can be assured that there is nothing whatsoever, in being a Mason, which conflicts with a person's duties as a practicing Roman Catholic or any other religious body.
|Why do some Christian Churches accuse Freemasonry as being anti-Christ?
|It is true that at various points in history some intolerant or fanatical religious group leaders have accused Freemasonry as being anti-Christian or in some instances advocated the positively ridiculous charge of "the anti-Christ".
What they mean is that we are tolerant of other faiths and that we refuse to adhere to their version of Christian (or any other specific religious dogma) doctrine. Unfortunately people of this ilk do not have the courage or ethical honesty to state their case in plain terms. Rather they use the subterfuge of false charges to convince their parishioners to shun Freemasonry. It is consistent with theme of the “us vs. them” tactic that is so much a part of the theology of fear preached by many fundamentalists.
As to the charge that Freemasonry is a “secret society” we all know that this is not true. Masons freely admit to membership, and Masonic buildings are clearly marked.
|As a Mason, are there any compulsory charity donations or levies that I have to pay?
|No, rest assured there are never any compulsory donations ever required of you. Any donation you may choose to make to any fund, is at all times, entirely at your own discretion. One of our guiding principles is that one should contribute both time and funds only to the extent that it does not cause injury to yourself or family
|If I choose to make a donation, how is that done?
|There are many charity organizations that Masons assist by direct donations of money, personal skills and time. How a Mason chooses to contribute, is a personal and strictly private matter.
|What happens if I become a Mason, and find that it doesn't suit me?
|This is unlikely, since much will be explained to you before you join. You will be able to ask additional questions which will be answered frankly. Since we work for good in the community, and encourage your personal, cultural and religious freedoms, the possibility of you not liking the Masons is extremely slim. If, however, you later decide it is not what you want, you can simply resign. There is a process called requesting a demit that specifically provides for withdrawal from membership in a manner that enables a simpler procedure to rejoin at a later time.
|I have head that some of the ceremonies are embarrassing for membership candidates, is that true?
|No, the ceremonies are not embarrassing to candidates in any way. Our ceremonies, largely unchanged for hundreds of years, as conferred upon all members are very dignified and provide each member lasting and positive memories of a special and moving event.
|I've heard about 'riding the goat' and other silly things like that. That can't possibly be true, can it?
|Absolutely not. These sorts of things are myths. You may rest assured that there is nothing in any of our ceremonies that could offend your moral, cultural, religious or family values, as these values are of prime importance to all Masons.
|What do you do in 'Lodge'?
|A Lodge meeting is run like any other normal business or social meeting. Minutes and correspondence are read; financial statements, general business, and membership proposals are considered and voted upon; Reports are given on current charity work, and on members who are ill; candidates are advanced through our three degrees of initiation; the meeting is concluded, and the Lodge is closed. Supper usually comprises a part of the evenings activities. Our lodge, in particular, schedules supper such that our family and occasional guests can optionally join us for dinner to further enhance the social benefit of like-minded men sharing in common work and goals (not to mention it avoids cooking diner for the rest of the family).