“A View of Masonry”
from the Masonic Service Association
From the Short Talk Bulletin of the Masonic Service Association of North
Vol. 82, July 2004, No. 7
True Masonic ritual, as it always was intended to do, teaches the
great lessons of life: the importance of honor and integrity, of being a
person on whom others can rely, of being both trusting and trustworth,
of realizing that you have a spiritual nature as well as a physical
nature, of the importance of self control, of knowing how to love and be
loved, of knowing how to keep confidential what others tell you so that
they can "open up" without fear. In short, Masonic ritual teaches us to
reach for a higher standard in conducting our lives.
Freemasonry has sometimes been referred to as a "secret society." This
is an inaccurate statement. Freemasons certainly don't make a secret of
the fact that they are members of their Lodges. We wear rings, lapel
pins, and tie clasps with Masonic emblems like the Square and Compasses,
the best-known of Masonic signs that, logically, recall our early
symbolic roots in stonemasonry. Masonic buildings are clearly marked
and usually listed in the phone book. The only thing that could be
referred to as "secret" -- although we prefer the word "private" -- are
the methods of recognition such as grips, words, signs, and our ritual
by which we induct new members.
Over the centuries, Freemasonry has developed into a worldwide social
and community service organization, emphasizing personal study,
self-improvement, and social betterment via individual involvement and
philanthropy. During the late 1700's, it was one of the organizations
most responsible for spreading the ideals of the Enlightenment: the
dignity of man and the liberty of the individual, the right of all
persons to worship as they choose, the formation of democratic
governments, and the importance of public education. Masons supported
the first public schools in both Europe and America.
The 3.5 million Masons worldwide continue to help men and women face the
problems of the 21st century by building bridges of brotherhood and
instilling in our communities ideals for a better tomorrow.
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A Page About Freemasonry is http://web.mit.edu/dryfoo/Masonry/