What is Freemasonry

What is Freemasonry?
Freemasonry is a fraternal organization that arose from obscure origins (theorized to be anywhere from the time of the building of King Solomon's Temple to the mid-1600s). Freemasonry now exists in various forms all over the world, and has millions of members. The various forms all share moral and metaphysical ideals, which include a constitutional declaration of belief in a Supreme Being. Freemasonry uses the metaphors of operative stonemasons' tools and implements, against the allegorical backdrop of the building of King Solomon's Temple.

The fraternity is administratively organized into Grand Lodges each of which governs its own jurisdiction, which consists of subordinate (or constituent) Lodges. Grand Lodges recognize each other through a process of landmarks and regularity.

Freemasonry is a system of morality, veiled in allegory, illustrated by symbols. Not a religion but religious in character, it is a philosophy of ethical conduct which imparts moral and social virtues and fosters brotherly love. Its tenets have endured since man turned the first pages of civilization. They embody the understanding by which man can transcend ordinary experience and build "a house not made with hands" in harmony with the Great Architect of the universe. 

Is Freemasonry a religion? 
No. Neither is Freemasonry a religion, nor does it require a religious affiliation. However, Masons worship in congregations of their choice. Some are ordained priests, ministers, or rabbis; many serve in lay capacities; and, others have no affiliation. With origins in post-Reformation England, Freemasonry's allegories and rituals are rooted in Judeo-Christian tradition. They exemplify mankind's universal experience and inculcate an admired moral and ethical value system. With respect to religion, Freemasonry simply teaches the "Fatherhood of God" and the "Brotherhood of Man".
Is Freemasonry a "secret" society? 
No. Freemasonry is a fraternity of men who are proud to be known as Masons. Since our inception, the world has known of speculative Freemasonry and its work. Freemasonry does, however, have some secrets, all extending from historic tradition. Our modes of recognition, opening and closing ceremonies, and rituals for conferring the Degrees of Masonry are our only secrets. Thousands of works discussing Masonic history, traditions, craft, and proceedings are widely available to the public.