What is Freemasonry?
Freemasonry is the leading fraternal organization in the world. Its origins are lost in the unrecorded history of medieval times, but it formally organized in London, England, in 1717. Current worldwide membership totals over 3 million members, 1.1 million of whom are in North America. With 75,000 Masons and 450 local Lodges, Ohio has one of the largest Masonic memberships of any state in the country.
As a fraternal organization, Freemasonry unites men of good character who, though of different religious, ethnic or social backgrounds, share a belief in the fatherhood of God and the brotherhood of mankind.
A BLUEPRINT FOR LIVING TO YOUR POTENTIAL
Freemasonry is an individual journey towards becoming a better father, husband, friend, citizen and man, supported by other men at different points on the same journey. For centuries, the Lodge itself has been the launchpad for Masonic Education, and a common ground for Brethren of different backgrounds to meet and exchange ideas, provide support and offer friendship.
Masons live by the principles of Brotherly Love, Relief and Truth.
BROTHERLY LOVE, RELIEF AND TRUTH
The traditions of Freemasonry are founded upon the building of King Solomon’s Temple, and its fraternal ceremonies use the working tools of the stonemasons to symbolize moral lessons of Brotherly Love, Relief and Truth.
For example, Masons are reminded at Lodge to “meet upon the level of equality, act by the plumb of uprightness, and part upon the square of virtue.”
Freemasonry is not meant in any way to interfere with an individual’s commitment to his faith, family or occupation. Freemasonry is not and never can be a replacement for these important institutions; rather, it is a positive environment that reminds every Mason of himself, his family, community and the Supreme Architect (an individual’s own definition of a Supreme Being.)
The experience of becoming a member of a Masonic Lodge is divided into three ceremonial stages that Masons call “degrees.” These three degrees are loosely based upon the journeyman system, which was used to educate Medieval Craftsmen. Symbolically, the degrees represent the three stages of human development: youth, manhood and age.
This is a candidate’s ﬁrst experience with the ceremonies of the Fraternity, and like all Masonic ceremonies, it is a solemn and meaningful event. Once a candidate completes the Entered Apprentice ceremony, he takes his ﬁrst step as a Freemason and enjoys the title of “Brother.”
The second ceremony exposes a Brother to more of the symbolism and philosophy of the Fraternity. For skilled Craftsmen, this degree would have marked a person’s progress from an apprentice to a journeyman.
The last of the Lodge ceremonies, the Master Mason degree, makes a candidate a full member of the Fraternity, enjoying both the rights and responsibilities of membership. The Master Mason has the right to visit lodges throughout the world. He will meet men who would otherwise