Question: General Questions
Date: Sat, 07 Sep 1996 17:14:15 -0700
From: Keith Butler <email@example.com>
Subject: Free Masonry
Sorry to trouble you, but from the Website, I ascertained that you
would know the answers to the following. I am interested in Free
Masonry, its origins, raison d' etre, and goals of the Fraternity. If
these questions are appropriate for a Non-member, please respond as you
see fit. Thanks so much for any help you might give.
I am intensely curious as to when Free Masonry started as a group,
why the name Mason was chosen, what the compass and square have to do
with Masonry (from a strictly professional viewpoint, I thought that
architects would be the ones with those tools.). What are degrees in
Masonry? How many are there? What is done to progress from say a
Non-member to a first degree?
This is not wanton self-indulgent curiosity, but a serious inquiry
into Masonry. I would appreciate any information that you would think
would be appropriate for a Non-member to know.
email - firstname.lastname@example.org
To: Keith Butler <email@example.com>
Subject: Re: Free Masonry
In-reply-to: Your message of "Sat, 07 Sep 1996 17:14:15 PDT."
Dear Mr. Butler,
The answer to many of your questions can be found in my web-site
already. There's a copy of the USENET
FAQ for instance which is pretty detailed.
Freemasonry is descended formally from the builders' guilds of
mediaeval Europe and particularly England, whose forms were adopted in
the late 1600s and early 1700s by non-guild-members who had both begun
joining the old lodges and forming their own. The tools of masonry,
including the compasses, square, trowel, cutting gavel, etc. are used
symbolically to teach moral and spiritual lessons. For example, most
people are familiar with the idea of "the square deal" that is honest
and fair to both parties, but most people don't realize that the
underlying metaphor -- of a properly-squared right-angle (neither acute
nor obtuse) being the right one for building a sturdy and reliable wall
or column -- is Masonic.
The degrees in Craft Masonry are: Entered Apprentice, Fellowcraft,
and Master Mason. There are fixed ceremonies involving rituals and
lectures for each degree. Master Masons are eligible to join a variety
of "side-bodies," Scottish Rite, York Rite, the Shrine, Grotto, etc.
I hope this helps.
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