History of Freemasons
Freemasons belong to an organization that can justifiably claim to
be one of the oldest fraternal orders in the world. The precise date
of their formation is by no means certain.
Theories that Freemasons originated at the time of the building of
King Solomon's temple have been largely superseded by a more
likely claim that they arose out of guilds of stonemasons who built
the cathedrals & castles of the Middle Ages.
Medieval stonemasons traditionally built their lodges on the south
side of building sites so the sun could warm the building stones.
Contemporary members still employ many of the symbols of the
stonemason's tools, principally the square and compass.
Freemasonry was brought to the British Colonies in North America
during the 1730's and is now a worldwide organization. At the time,
Freemasons often met in a local tavern or other meeting place with
a private room.
Freemasonry now exists in all parts of the world in various forms
with millions of members. Several United States Founding Fathers
were Freemasons, including Benjamin Franklin & George Washington.
Most Masonic Lodges now consist of members who live and work
in the local communities near their Lodge. Each Lodge elects
members to hold official positions in order to carry out the
Masonic functions of the Lodge.
Interestingly, one myth that developed through the years was
that you had to be invited to become a Freemason; this theory
persisted for a long time. In fact, the man interested in Masonry
has to make the initial inquiry to start the process to becoming
a member. If a man didn't know anyone who was a Mason to
make the inquiry, it's never been easier to find information.
With the Internet providing instant info, just tap a few keys.
This free flow of information destroys another myth - that the
Masons are a secret society. The most secret aspects of modern
Freemasonry are methods of recognition between members or
certain aspects of the ceremonial rituals at Lodge meetings.
Many Masons wear lapel pins or fraternity rings, and carry
Freemasons generally hold their Lodge Meetings on a monthly
basis. There are ritualistic elements to the meeting, as well as
discussion of Lodge business: The formal calling of the meeting
to order is first. The meeting will draw on symbolic elements
from the foundations of the organization. The second part is the
business part of the meeting. The actual "business" conducted
can take many different forms but will always reflect the basic
principles of Freemasonry.
The Freemason fraternity of today is widely involved in many
community-based activities, including fundraising for charitable
causes - local, national & international.