Becoming part of a Masonic lodge provides for excellent fellowship. At lodge meetings and social functions, our members forge friendships that last a lifetime with like-minded men who share a deep moral and philosophical connection. Discussion of divisive subjects, in particular politics and religion are forbidden in the lodge – a simple prohibition that removes an oft-encountered obstacle to friendship and keeps many good men at perpetual distance from one another. Beyond the local lodge, our members enjoy the friendship of other Masons in the community, and are welcomed as a “brother” by Masons everywhere in the world. Although Freemasonry is not a benefit society, its great promise is that the misfortune, illness, or adversity of a fellow Mason through no fault of their own, will not be ignored.
Our purpose is to help each other become better men. Through ritualistic ceremonies designed to provide instruction to its members, supplemented by various other activities such as seminars, lectures, and workshops on Masonic subjects, Masons revere learning. Because the fraternity – from its Enlightenment roots — is an esoteric society, its ceremonies are not generally disclosed to the public. The fraternity uses an initiatory system of degrees to explore ethical and philosophical issues, a system which has endured for centuries virtually unchanged. Through these we learn values like honesty in business, honesty in human relations, fairness in work, courtesy in society, compassion for the sick and unfortunate, forgiveness, love for our fellow humans, and an abiding faith in God.
In a recent national survey, most of those asked agreed with the statement, “You can trust a member of the Freemasons to deal with you honestly and fairly, no matter what.” We teach that there is no such thing as being sort of honest or partially truthful. A man must keep his integrity in all thing both public and private. Our words bind us and our handshake still seals a deal.
Masons not only work to better themselves but also their communities. It is not unusual to find a large number of Mason at a community event. Masons are active in their communities through safety awareness, revitalization, and health programs. In Masonry, we celebrate the joy of work and being a productive member of society.
A cornerstone of the Masonic experience, Masons are well known for their charitable endeavors. Our members take pride in giving to worthy causes – particularly those that benefit children, the sick and the elderly. In fact, Masons in North America give away approximately $3 million to national and local charities each day, of which more than 70% is directed toward non-Masons. Masons are also actively involved in substantial volunteer work at the local level, with food pantries, scholarships, and youth programs, all conducted with great enthusiasm but little fanfare.
It is no accident that the great men of history have sought out Freemasonry – for we recruit no one, and accept only men of high moral character who seek the company of other like-minded men. The fraternity provides its members with opportunities to become involved in the operation of the fraternity, as well as in their own communities, and as each new member progresses through the Craft, they discover different aspects of themselves and develop a range of skills that even they might not have known they possessed. By developing leadership techniques that fit their personality, they unlock the door to their full potential.