Freemasonry by Willy and D J
Freemasonry By Willy Carlson and D J McGraw
“Better men make a better world”
The order of free and accepted Masons is the worlds oldest active fraternity, with a worldwide membership soaring somewhere in the neighborhood of six million members.
Its important to note that Freemasonry is not a religion nor in anyway a replacement for one. It is also important to know that it is not a secret society but, rather it is accurate to say they are a “Society with secrets” those secrets being that of the modes of recognition or the methods by which fellow Masons know each other whether in the darkness or in the light which consists of secret phrases or handshakes.
Before anyone can fully understand what Freemasonry is, it is important to know a little about their history. While for the most part the origins of Freemasonry remain unknown, an exact historical record doesn’t exist. The earliest recorded document of Freemasonry shows up in the poem “Regius Manuscript” dated to approximately the 1390’s. While this leaves much to speculation there are two prominent views on the origins of Freemasonry. The first being that Masonry originates from the building of King Solomon’s temple, which is made prominent through the use of many allusions and symbols to the building of the temple. In the Masonic version of this tale the temple is unfinished which reflects their view of the human body as a temple. The second probably more widely accepted belief is that Masonry developed from the medieval stone mason’s trade guild in which the need for secrecy and fraternity developed from the need to keep trade secrets from falling into the hands of competitors and to allow the ancient masons to distinguish themselves from one another as more experienced craftsmen. For the most part both of these speculations actually fit together well especially as the main most widely known symbol of Freemasonry is the compass and square with a “G” in the middle which could either be derived from the ancient seal of King Solomon are the obvious part that the compass and square are ancient tools used by stonemasons. The square represents how masons must square their actions and the compass is used to circumscribe thoughts and help masons live a well rounded life. While the “G” featured in the center of the symbol is an American addition that stands for God and for Geometry which is considered the noblest of sciences.
Freemasons regularly meet in specialized buildings called lodges which are the basic organizational unit of Freemasonry. Each lodge operates like its own organization with a group of members and a class of officers eventually leading up to the leader of the lodge who in a sense is like the CEO of his lodge given the title of Worshipful master then in turn there are grand lodges which rule each individual lodge. To put it into perspective look at Wisconsin just about each town or city has its own lodge which has its own set of members, and officers, and leaders but, then there is one grand lodge that rules over all these lodges and has its own setup working all the way up to the Grandmaster but, grand lodges are where it stops. Grand lodges are where the cycle ends at so each state has a grand lodge that runs itself and then in-turn governs all the smaller regular lodges. Freemasons also lay out their lodges in coordination with cardinal directions making sure that the leader of the lodge sits in the east. Other officers also have set cardinal directions they sit in according to their position as each of the directions east, west, and south have specific value to Freemasons. Nobody sits in the north as it is referred to as a place of darkness. Freemasonry is structured around three tenants’ brotherly love, relief, and truth. Freemasons today in many senses can be considered speculative builders who use symbolism to teach moral and ethical lessons. The purpose of all this is summed up nicely in their motto “making good men better”. Masons advocate equality among men, free consciousness, and individualism, things that made them very unpopular in countries under totalitarian rule like Germany and soviet Russia during WW2. Where they were actually outlawed and persecuted for their beliefs that advocated for simple freedoms and equality for the common man.
This brings us to America, a country for all extensive purposes founded on the tenants of masonry. All one has to do is take a good look at documents like the declaration of independence or the constitution by which we run our country or even the bill of rights all these documents are reflections of masonry. Of the signers of the declaration of independence a great number of them were masons notably Benjamin Franklin, Thomas Jefferson, and John Hancock. It becomes plain to see where those historical figures borrowed from their Masonic teachings and put them into the founding of our country. Look at Benjamin Franklin he came up with the great compromise after visiting the grand lodge of England and seeing how Lodges were represented in the grand lodge. Of course who can forget the father of our country George Washington? George was a freemason and even became grandmaster of the lodge in Virginia for a time. It was from his Masonic ideals that the office of the presidency came to be what it is today with the borrowed ideals that the president is elected to serve the people not rule thwm and that those elected are returned to being ordinary after their term is up. While on the subject of presidential masons 14 of our U. S. presidents have been masons. The list of of historical figures alone could fill an entire book let alone that would be leaving out the hundreds upon thousands of masons who have been leaders in the fields of music, business, and entertainment.
How does one become a Freemason? Simple “to be one ask one” (2B1ask1), while many might think that a fraternity like Freemasonry would be by direct invitation alone that couldn’t be farther from the truth. Masons are all about free will and making your own path in the in the world. To become a mason you have to seek them out and ask to join of your own free will. This process is carried out by filling out a petition. An interviewing committee is formed, research is done and ultimately the candidate is interviewed and a vote is then taken among lodge members to determine whether a candidate is worthy of joining the Freemasons. The voting process is simple a box is used there are white marbles and black cubes. White marbles are good and black cubes are bad and every lodge has its own way of figuring out the rest as for instance in some lodges one black cube is good enough to completely deny the applicant admission. Once the vote is over and a candidate is determined to be accepted they are brought in and undergo an initiation ceremony which results in them becoming members or more accurately at that time they are masons of the 1st degree or entered apprentices. The second rank of masonry is the second degree or fellow craft and the 3rd degree is the master mason. Now moving up in degrees is done through lessons and studies that are meant to increase the mason’s knowledge about himself and the world he lives in imparting him with a greater degree of knowledge. Once a mason reaches the rank of master mason they have a choice they can stay at that degree or they can choose to advance further in their education by following either the York rite or Scottish rite paths or even both if they want. The Scottish rite being the more common route adds degrees 4 to 33 which are simply just ways of further increasing their Masonic knowledge. The York rite is a bit different and adds several different ranks to move up. York rite is identified by a more military like approach and does have ties to
the order of the Knights Templar. Whether the two group’s Masons and Templars are intertwined or are the same group is unclear but in the book (born in blood” by John J Robinson a connection is examined and a case is made to support it.
Some requirements of joining are
1 – Must be at least 18 years or older
2- Believe in a supreme being
3 – Must join of your own free will
4 – Be of good morals and reputation
5 – Be of sound mind and body