This Is Masonry
Builder Of Society
Freemasonry is a fraternity of men bound together by vows
of morality in public and private life, who believe in God and the
constitutional rights of members to free choice of religion and
Masonry strives to make good men better -- to teach its members
to be "better than themselves." It accepts only men of high moral
The fraternity of Freemasonry endorses free public education,
encourages self-improvement, promotes patriotism and respect for
the Constitution, sanctions equal rights under law, practices good
will towards all men, and contributes generously to
Masonry is a Charitable, benevolent, educational and religious
society. Its basic tenets are Brotherly Love, Relief,
(philanthropy), and Truth.
Through the improvement and strengthening of the character of
the individual, Freemasonry seeks to improve the community.
Masonry is not a benefit society, or a
charitable institution. It assists members by many means through
times of hardship, but it is not an insurance society with
sickness, death, disability or old age benefits.
Masonry is not a secret society. It is a well-known,
nation-wide fraternity whose members proudly declare their
membership. Masons meet in buildings plainly identified as
Masonic Temples, and public announcements of their meetings are
published in daily and community publications. There is no
attempt to hide the names of community leaders who are Masons.
Masonic ritual is often considered by Masons as having been the
most moving experience of their lives. Employing the tools of the
stone mason as symbols of basic moral truths, Masonic ritual
dramatizes a philosophy of life based on morality.
Masonry is voluntary! A Mason is forbidden by Masonic law to
invite a friend to join. The friend must voluntarily seek
membership by contacting a Mason and announce his desire to
Masons of the Blue Lodge, or any appendant body, may
participate in varied activities. Degree presentations require
ritualists and persons with dramatic abilities, musicians for
orchestras, vocalists for choirs, stage crews, make-up men and
service committees of all kinds.
Men take part in an active social life that includes their
families and friends.
Besides national philanthropic activity, such as scholarships
and medical research. Masons maintain many types of local
Non-Masons observe the social, civic and philanthropic activity
of Masons and frequently comment on the close bond that exists
among Masons and the obvious belief that they are their brothers'
keepers. They notice that Masons are quick to assist their
fellows in misfortune with encouragement, kindness and tangible
The bond of faith and confidence among Masons is largely the
result of the common knowledge that all, having experienced the
memorable rituals, accept the high ethical standards as guides to
Within a Masonic Temple Masons do not discuss religion, or
political matters, or any other subject likely to excite personal
animosities. Masonry teaches men to be religious without
advocating a particular doctrine, or creed. It requires its
members to be good citizens, but free to choose their medium of
Masons support free schools. Throughout the history of North
America the Masonic fraternity has supported free public schools
in all possible unofficial and non-political ways ... as an
expression of good citizenship "Let there be light" is a famous
Masonic motto in support of this philosophy.
Masonry with its dedication to education, morality, brotherly
love, non-sectarianism in religion and politics and equal rights
is a steadying influence that balances and consolidates the
social, religious and political life of America.
WHAT IS BLUE LODGE?
The Blue Lodge (Symbolic Masonry) confers the first three
degrees - Entered Apprentice (first degree), fellowcraft (second
degree), and Master Mason (third degree).
Promotion depends upon a Mason's proficiency in learning
certain things about Freemasonry, its ethics, and its
There is no higher degree in Masonry than Master Mason.
However, a Master Mason may enter the Scottish Rite, or York Rite,
to elaborate upon basic Masonic principles.
WHAT IS SCOTTISH RITE?
The Scottish rite confers the 4th through 32nd degrees in
degree-conferring meetings. The degree work may be, but is not
necessarily, completed at one time.
Any Master Mason in good standing may ask a Scottish Rite
friend for a petition form, or may obtain one from a Scottish Rite
secretary. He must be judged to be of good moral character, and
be elected by the members.
WHAT IS YORK RITE?
The York Rite consists of nine [ten -- editor] degrees
in addition to Blue Lodge degrees.
Ancient York Rite Masonry is considered by Masonic historians
to have been "original" Masonry. It is not practised in its
orginal form anywhere today. In the United States, the term York
Rite has come to be applied to a number of degrees conferred only
in this country.
York Rite degrees are divided into Capitular Degrees of the
Mark Master, Past Master, Most Excellent Master and Royal Arch
Mason; the Cryptic Degrees of the Royal Master, Select Master and
Super Excellent Master, and the Chivalric Orders of the Order of
the Red Cross, Order of the Knights of Malta and the Order of
Scottish and York Rites are autonomous bodies, but members have
in common their membership in the Blue Lodge, and all of the moral
and philosophical teachings of Masonry that the two rites
THE ORIGINAL 13 SHRINERS
Thirteen Masons organized the first Shrine Temple in 1872 --
Mecca Temple in New York City. The 13 life enjoying Masons formed
a luncheon group in 1870 at a time when the psychic significance
of the number 13 was sweeping New York.
They knew they needed an appealing theme for their new Order,
so they choose the Arabic (Near east) theme. To this day, this
background has influenced the names of Shrine Temples, pageantry
that accompanies the initiation of new Shriners, titles of Shrine
offices and parade costumes.
The most noticeable sysmbol of Shrinedom is the distinctive red
fez that all Shriners wear at official functions.
THE WORLD'S GREATEST PHILANTHROPY
Every Shriner is a Mason.
Members of the Ancient Arabic Order of the Nobles the Mystic
Shrine for North America are members of the Scottish Rite's 32nd
degree, and/or Knights Templer of the York kite. [As of July
3, 2000, Master
Masons are eligible to become Shriners. -- editor ]
However, the Order is not an appendant body of Masonry.
Shriners are distinguished by an enjoyment of life in the
interest of philanthropy. The nearly 900,000-member Shrine
organization has a buoyant philosophy, which has been expressed
as: "Pleasure without intemperance, hospitality without rudeness,
and joility without coarseness."
SHRINERS HAVE A MISSION
Shriners' buoyancy does not suppress a sense of mission,
however. The Shriners who participate in the famous Shrine
parades, and administer the Shrine circuses and numerous Shrine
football games from coast to coast carry with them the vision of
little children, who will know happiness because of their efforts.
The money that Shriners raise supports the 22 Shriners Hospitals
For Crippled Children, including three Shriners Burn Institutes.
Special care is given to both orthopedic cases and severely burned
children. Valuable research is conducted to find more effective
treatment and to train specialists in both fields.
I AM A SHRINER BECAUSE . . .
...It is the fulfiliment of my devotion to the principles of
Freemasonry - through the prerequisite degrees to Shrinedom.
...It extends to me, in greater numbers, the warm hand of
Fellowship and Brotherly Love -- the priceless ingredients of
man's quest for happiness.
...It furthers my Masonic adherence to Love of God, Love of
Country, and Love of Freedom.
...It enables me to participate in one of the world's great
monuments to humanitarian devotion -- Shriners Hospitals For
Crippled Children -- that of caring for our crippled and burned
young, regardless of race or creed.
...Through Fellowship and Service it strengthens my soul and
adds inner-meaning to my dally life. It thus spreads a glow of
joy through one's entire family.
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