Have You Ever Considered
Becoming a Freemason
FREEMASONRY ‑ A WAY OF LIFE
You have, no doubt, heard of Freemasonry, and perhaps you have wondered who and what they are. It is natural that there should be some questions about them in your mind. This brochure, therefore, has been prepared for those who are not members of our Order, to inform them of the aims and purposes of our organization.
In our world today many are concerned about the bitterness and hate that is so prevalent in human affairs, and about the weakening of human standards, disrespect for the laws of society and for the rights of others. Everywhere there are individuals and groups that are striving to maintain decent standards in society and to preserve those ways of life that are founded on justice and integrity.
Freemasons are also concerned about these things, and hope to add their influence in protecting the honour and dignity of human life.
ORIGIN OF FREEMASONRY
Our traditions go back over the centuries to the days of the "Operative Masons", the men who built the cathedrals, abbeys and castles in times long past. In the 17tn century the need for such buildings declined, but the practices and customs of the Operative Craft left an influence on a new movement that began in the second half of that century. Groups of men began to meet occasionally in various places in England, men who were not actually builders, but who evidently had some interest in the old Craft. Some, no doubt had an actual connection with it. But these new groups had no direct concern with the building trade. It would appear that they were men of integrity who enjoyed fellowship in an atmosphere of mutual trust amid the bitter divisions of the time. In order to give a basic form to their meetings It seems they adapted certain of the traditions and practices of the operative or working masons, and were Influenced by the Scottish operative Lodges. They called themselves "Masons", and when a man was admitted as a member of the group or Lodge, he was said to have been "made a Mason".
In the year 1717 four such Lodges that had been meeting regularly in London and Westminster decided to form a "Grand Lodge" and to elect a "Grand Master" as their head. As more Lodges were established in England they looked to this Grand Lodge for guidance. Thus over the years regulations were set up to govern the Craft, a Constitution was adopted, and the simple ceremonies of the earlier years were elaborated until they became the three degrees or steps which we now have. It was in this way that what we call Speculative Masonry gradually evolved.
From England Freemasonry spread to other countries where Lodges were formed, and eventually Grand Lodges were set up. There are now about 150 Grand Lodges in the world, with a total membership of nearly six million. One of these is the Grand Lodge of Alberta with 130 Lodges and almost 7,770 members.
THE PURPOSE OF FREEMASONRY
From very early times Freemasonry has provided an opportunity for men to meet and enjoy the pleasures of friendly companionship in the spirit of helpfulness and charity, and guided by strict moral principles. Its members are encouraged to practice a way of life that will sustain high standards in their relationships with their fellow men. In other words, the practice of Brotherhood. It is an organization which recognizes no distinction between races, creeds, or social qualifications.
The organization of Freemasonry Is based on a system of Grand Lodges, and each one is sovereign and Independent within Its own territory. There is no central authority governing all Freemasonry, but each Grand Lodge in order to be "recognized” by the others, must maintain acceptable standards and follow established traditions and practices of Freemasonry. The Grand Master, with his officers, supervises the "constituent lodges", and each Lodge and each member is required to observe the regulations set out in the Constitution.
The Lodge is the basic unit of Freemasonry. Each year it elects its officers to manage its affairs. Through them the members are encouraged to achieve a better understanding of the ideals and principles of our Craft. It is through the Lodge that a man becomes a member of our Fraternity. When he has been accepted, he receives, over a period of time, the three degrees of Freemasonry. It is through these degrees that our teachings are mainly presented, as each one conveys a moral lesson.
To assist in communicating our truths and principles much use is made of symbolism. For this our ceremonies reach back to the usages of the old "operative" trade. Many of the tools and implements used by these builders are now employed as symbols to convey moral truth. Most people are familiar with the symbol of the "square and compasses", which is generally recognized as the "trademark" of Freemasonry. This symbolism became associated with the biblical account of the building of King Solomon', Temple at Jerusalem. Thus much of our ceremony is based on the facts and legends of that famous structure.
FREEMASONRY AND RELIGION
While Freemasonry has a religious basis, it is neither a religion nor a substitute for religion. Before he can be admitted a member a man must profess his belief In a Supreme Being, by whatever name He Is known, and be of a good moral character. Beyond that Freemasonry does not go. It does not question a man as to his particular faith or his religious dogma, but it does urge him to practice the religious belief which he holds.
WHAT DO FREEMASONS DO
Freemasons meet regularly in their Lodges for the transaction of necessary business, for fellowship, and for the discussion of matters of Masonic interest. They are pledged to preserve the moral fibre and quality of life, and to act in a spirit of helpfulness towards all men. They are taught to make Charity, and Benevolence a distinguishing characteristic, of their Masonic Life. Our Grand Lodge as a whole does not undertake any large public projects. It has its own Benevolent Fund, built up by the contributions of our members, through which Masons or their dependents have been helped in a time of need. The responsibility for humanitarian activities falls on the individual Lodges, as well as Grand Lodge. Each one may pick its own particular projects. Freemasons do not appeal to the public for funds; all contributions come from our own resources. In this way an attempt is made to inspire our members with a feeling of charity, and goodwill towards all mankind.
CONCORDANT BODIES OF FREEMASONRY
The whole purpose and teaching of Freemasonry is communicated through the three degrees of the Craft Lodge. A member, however, may wish to extend his experiences of Freemasonry by participating in additional degrees such as the Scottish Rite, or Royal Arch Masonry. He can also become a member of the Shrine. The Shriners, through their colourful parades, their annual circus, and their work for crippled children, are probably the best known to the public. However to become a member of any of these bodies a man must be, and remain a member of his Craft Lodge.
Since membership in the Masonic Order Is for men only there are various women’s and youth organizations, which may require sponsorship by Masonic Lodges, or for those who are relatives of Freemasons. The aims of these groups have an affinity with Freemasonry. Freemasonry does not interfere in their workings and is not responsible for their actions
QUALIFICATIONS FOR MEMBERSHIP
A man becomes a Freemason only through his own volition. We do not solicit members. When he makes his application the decision as to his acceptance rests with the Lodge members. If a man has some thought of becoming a Freemason he should approach a friend whom he knows to be a Mason, who will explain the procedure.
Any one seeking membership in our Order must meet certain qualifications. He must profess his belief in a Supreme Being; be a man of mature age (at least 21 years); and be of high moral standards. He must maintain honourable relations with his fellowmen, and be willing to share in Masonic activities.
He must be prepared to pay an Initiation fee to cover the cost to the Lodge of processing his application, and to pay each year his share of the cost of running the Lodge. He should be prepared to spend the time to attend the meetings of the Lodge, and to participate in the social and other activities. He should be willing to spend the time to study and learn the various degrees so that he may progress from one to the next.
WHAT FREEMASONRY IS NOT
Freemasonry is not a mutual benefit or insurance society. It offers no material benefits or gain to any of its members, though it teaches charity and tolerance towards all men. Thus the needy and unfortunate have received help from it in many quiet ways. It is not an organization for social enjoyment only, although we treasure the pleasures of fellowship. I t is not a "secret society", but there are certain parts of our ceremonies which we keep to ourselves, since they can be understood only by those who have participated in them. No member hides the fact that he is a Freemason, and our meeting places are openly marked.
OPPOSITION TO FREEMASONRY
Over the years considerable opposition has evidenced itself concerning Freemasonry. Freemasons are taught to think for themselves, and not to talk about what goes on behind the doors of the Lodge. Authoritarian governments which demand implicit obedience by all their citizens, and to whom they deny the right of freedom of thought, have generally banned the Order in their territory. The Nazi Government in Germany, and the Communist governments in Eastern Europe, are prime examples. Some religions which also forbid the freedom of thought to their adherents have also proscribed Freemasonry. Many individuals ignorant of our principles and teachings also accuse us of many things. For this reason Masonry is emerging from its shell and proclaiming its principles openly to all ears, as they are of such nature as to command the respect of all.
A WAY OF LIFE
Freemasonry Is kindness in the home; honesty in business; courtesy towards others; dependability in work; compassion and concern for the unfortunate; resistance to evil; help for the weak; forgiveness for the penitent; love for one another; and, above all, reverence and love for The Supreme Being.
Freemasonry is many things, but above all it is a
WAY OF LIFE.
NOT A SOLICITATION - This Information is not intended, and may in no way be regarded as an invitation to become a member of the Masonic Order. Its sole purpose is to acquaint people, generally, with its significant and worthwhile aims.
Have you ever considered becoming a Mason?
To Be One - Ask One
Success - is in the way you walk the paths of life each day; it's in the little things you do and in the things you say.
Success - is not in getting rich or rising high to fame; it's not alone in winning goals which all men hope to claim.
Success - is being big of heart and clean and broad of mind; it's being faithful to your friends and to the stranger, kind. It's in the children whom you love and all they learn from you;
Success - depends on character and everything you do.
For more information, or to ask questions, contact Beacon Lodge #190 or the Grand Lodge of Alberta