Husband, Father, Wage Earner, Jogger, Church Member — You try to be your best in all your roles. Being a Mason can make you a better man. Take a look through these questions and then ask yourself: “Can joining the Masons of Texas help me become a better man through self-improvement, and service to others?”
Our Purpose . . .
What is a Mason?
A Mason is a member of the world’s oldest and largest fraternity. Masons join together because:
They want to uplift society by doing good in the world.
They want to develop their own mental and moral faculties.
They enjoy being together with other men they like and respect.
What is Masonry?
Masonry is a worldwide fraternity with the singular purpose of making good men better. It is neither a forum nor a place for worship. Instead, it is a friend to all religions which are based on the belief in one God.
Masonry, or Freemasonry, is a fraternity so old that its origins have been lost in time. It probably started with the guilds of stonemasons who built the great castles and cathedrals of the Middle Ages and might have been influenced by the Knights Templar, a group of Christian warrior monks formed in 1118 to help protect pilgrims making trips to the Holy Land.
Masonry was formalized in 1717 when the first “Grand Lodge” was formed in England. Today, there are about 13,200 Masonic lodges in the U.S.
What is a Masonic Lodge?
The word “lodge” refers to two things: a group of Masons meeting in a particular place and the place in which they meet. The term, “lodge,” comes from the structures which the medieval stonemasons built against the sides of the cathedrals during construction. During the winter, when construction work was stopped, they lived in their lodges and worked at carving stone.
Masonic buildings are sometimes called “temples,” because much of the symbolism Masonry uses to teach its lessons comes from the building of King Solomon’s Temple in the Holy Land.
What do Masons believe in?
All Masons believe in one God and in respect for each other.
What do Masons do?
Masons are men of charity and good works. In fact, Masonry is the world’s leading charitable organization, contributing nearly $2 million a day to charitable causes which they have established themselves. Our hospitals for burned and crippled children are known worldwide and are just part of the work we do.
What are the qualifications to become a Mason?
We’re proud of our philosophy and practice of “making good men better.” Therefore, only men of high character are considered for membership. Every applicant must state his belief in the existence of a Supreme Being. Atheists are not accepted into our fraternity.
How do I become a member of the Masons?
You must ask a Mason to recommend you. You must then sign an application – which we call a petition, stating your age, occupation and place of residence, along with a few questions that are intended to give us a better insight into your personal conduct and character. After careful consideration of your character and reputation, members of the Lodge will vote on your application.
Why is Masonry so secretive?
Actually, Masonry isn’t very secretive at all, although it sometimes seems to have that reputation. We make no secret of our membership — we wear rings, lapel pins and tie tacks with Masonic emblems. Our buildings are clearly marked and are listed in phone books. Lodge activities are sometimes listed in newspapers, especially in smaller towns where everyone seems to know everyone else!
Like most fraternities, however, we do have some things that we keep secret, and these fall into two categories:
Ways to identify ourselves to each other as Masons.
We have special grips and passwords (like many other fraternal organizations) which we keep secret so that unscrupulous people can’t pass themselves off as Masons to obtain assistance under false pretenses.
When you truly accept responsibility for your own life and realize that real happiness comes from helping others, you experience certain changes. It’s almost impossible to put these changes into words, to describe them to others. (It’s like trying to describe a sunset or the feeling you get when you hear our National Anthem.) It’s not that these “secrets” may not be told, but that they simply cannot be put into words.
Frankly, if we’re a “secret” society, then we’re the worst-kept secret in town! Any time a man wishes to learn about Masonry, all he has to do is look for a Masonic ring, lapel pin, or bumper sticker – and ask the man displaying these to tell him about Freemasonry. Chances are his questions will be answered, or the Mason will do whatever he can to find out the answers.
Is Masonry a religion?
No. Religion plays an important part in Masonry, but Masonry itself is most definitely not a religion.
As we’ve already mentioned, our members must have a belief in God. No atheist can ever become a Mason. This is in no way meant to be disrespectful of men who do not believe in a Supreme Being – we stand firm in the belief that every man has the right to choose his own belief system. Rather, this is meant to preserve our own rights to associate with those men who do share our belief in Deity, and with whom we share in our journey of enlightenment.
We open our meetings with prayer. And one of the first lessons we teach is that one should pray for divine counsel and guidance before starting an important undertaking. But we are not a religion. We believe strongly in the importance of religion and encourage our members to be active in the religion and house of worship of their choice. We believe that without religion, a man is alone and lost and cannot reach his full potential.
If Masonry isn’t a religion, why does it use ritual?
We all use ritual every day. Shaking hands when you meet a friend is a ritual. Standing for the National Anthem before a baseball game is a ritual. Our lives are filled with ritual.
Masonry uses ritual because it’s an effective way to teach the important values mentioned earlier. Masonry’s ritual is very rich because it’s so very old. It has developed over centuries to contain some beautiful language and ideas. But when you think about it, there’s nothing unusual about ritual. It’s part of everyday life!
What is a degree?
A degree is a stage or level of membership in the Masons. It is also the ceremony by which you attain the three levels of membership:
During the Middle Ages, when a man joined a craft, such as the stonemasons, he was first apprenticed. As he learned the skills of the craft, he became a “Fellow of the Craft”, (what we call a “Journeyman” today). And finally, he attained the level of a “Master of the Craft.”
Our degrees teach the great lessons of life-the importance of honor and integrity, of being a person on whom others can rely, of being both trusting and trustworthy, of realizing that you have a spiritual nature, the importance of self-control, of knowing how to love and be loved and of knowing how to keep confidences so that others may open up to you without fear.
As a candidate, you’ll attend three meetings to receive the three Masonic Degrees. The Degrees are solemn, enlightening lessons and are an enjoyable experience with absolutely no uncomfortable or embarrassing moments. It is through the Degrees that the principles of Masonry are taught and where you’ll learn that your duties to your family and your own necessary vocations are always to be considered above Masonry.
Once you become a Master Mason, you will be welcomed as a “Brother” in any of the thousands of Masonic Lodges throughout the world.
Do you think the Masons of Texas might have something special to offer you?
We all have many roles to fill in our lives. We’re husbands, fathers, uncles, employers, employees, neighbors and friends. We’re all trying our best to be better men. What better way to live a life of service to others while making yourself a better man than in the company of the Masons of Texas?
Ask a Mason.
If you would like to know more about the Masons of Texas.