From: Peter Trei
Subject: Pamphlet: Freemasonry as a way of Life.
What follows the is a verbatim copy of a booklet printed for
distribution to prospective members of Masonry. It attempts to
explain what Masonry is about and to address many of the popular
It was published by the Most Worshipful Grand Lodge of Ancient Free
and Accepted Masons of the Commonwealth of Massachusetts in 1980 (so
the numbers are somewhat dated).
FREEMASONRY--A WAY OF LIFE
The Fraternity of Ancient Free and Accepted Masons is the oldest,
largest, amd most widely known fraternal organization in the world.
Literally thousands of books have been published about Freemasonry,
but its organization and philosophy are still misunderstood by many.
This folder therefore has been prepared to present correct
information for everyone and thereby dispel incorrect beliefs.
In a broad sense, the history of Freemasonry may be divided into
three periods, namely: the ancient or legendary, the medieval or
operative, and the modern or speculative.
The ancient or legendary period has been traced by historians to the
Tenth Century B.C. when masons, or stone workers, were employed in
the building of King Solomon's Temple. During the medieval or
operative period, guilds or associations of artisans were formed as
operative masons. Their work was largely confined to the building
of cathedrals. As artificers in stone, these masons traveled
through Europe making use of their skill and secrets of their
The modern or speculative period occurred during the 17th Century.
It was then that ecclesiastical building declined. This caused many
guilds of stonemasons, then known as "Operative Masons" to accept as
members those who were not a part of the mason's craft. These
members were then called "Speculative," and acquired the designation
of "Accepted Masons."
As a result of this significant development, Freemasonry, as it is
known today, had its historic beginning.
In 1717 four Lodges of Freemasons meeting in London, England, formed
the first Grand Lodge in the world. This Grand Lodge chartered
Masonic Lodges and Provincial Grand Lodges in many countries,
including the United States.
MASONRY IN MASSACHUSETTS
Regular and duly constituted Freemasonry in North America was born
in Massachusetts in 1733. It was on July 30 of that year in Boston,
that Henry Price organized the Provincial Grand Lodge of
Massachusetts at the famous Bunch of Grapes Tavern. This followed
the issuance of a deputation in April 1733 by the Mother Grand Lodge
of England appointing Henry Price the "Provincial Grand Master of
New England and Dominions and Territories thereunto belonging."
The Grand Lodge of Masons in Massachusetts is the administrative
authority for the Masonic Lodges within the Commonwealth of
Massachusetts as well as Lodges located in the Canal Zone, Chile,
China, Japan, and Caribbean Naval Base Guantanamo Bay, Cuba; with a
membership of approximately 95,000.
MASONRY AROUND THE WORLD
There are approximately 6,000,000 Masons who are members of about
150 Grand Lodges in the world today. Of these, there are 49 Grand
Lodges in the United States with a membership of about 4,000,000
A MASONIC LODGE
The basic unit of all Grand Lodges is the Masonic Lodge, commonly
referred to by its members as the "Blue Lodge." This is where
Masonry operates on a local level under the Jurisdiction of its
Grand Lodge. It is here that the Masonic Lodge receives and acts on
petitions for membership in Freemasonry, and confers the three
Symbolic Degrees known as the Entered Apprentice, Fellow Craft, and
Master Mason Degrees.
Membership in Freemasonry is limited to adult males without regard
to race, color, or creed, who are of good character and reputation.
Information concerning membership must be requested by a man of his
own free will and accord, from one one he believes to be a Mason.
This is necessary because Freemasonry does not solicit members, nor
can a Mason invite a friend to join. All inquiry is strictly
voluntary on the part of the applicant. Then he must be recommended
by a member of the Masonic Lodge to which he is seeking admission.
When his application is favorably received by the Lodge, the
applicant must be given a unanimous ballot before he can receive the
A VIEW OF FREEMASONRY
Freemasonry is many things, but one brief description could be that
it is a society for the joint effort of its members towards
individual self-improvement, a fraternity for learning and
culivating the art of living and the building of character.
It is not a club, nor a mutual benefit or insurance society. It is
not an organization or a forum for political or social reform, and
profit is not one of its motives, although members of the Fraternity
do share in the many services and charity that are afforded them.
The principles of Freemasonry are steadfastly acclaimed as Brotherly
Love, Relief and Truth. In its teachings great emphasis is placed
on the cardinal virtues of all ages: Temperance, Fortitude,
Prudence, Justice, Faith, Hope, and Charity. Its ethical principles
can be accepted by all good men, and tolerance toward all mankind is
embraced by the entire membership.
Freemasonry is secret only in the manner by which one member
recognizes another, and its method of symbolic instruction. It is
not a secret society, but a society with secrets. Freemasonry makes
no attempt to conceal its existence, its principles, its purpose, or
its aim. Its members proudly declare their affiliation. Masonic
buildings are publicly located and clearly identified. Gatherings
of its members are frequently public with announcements published in
the press. Its Constitutions are printed for any to see, and its
rules and regulations are available for inspection.
IS MASONRY A RELIGION?
Though religious in character, Masonry is not a religion, nor a
substitute for one. It fosters belief in a Supreme Being--this
being a prerequisite for membership. Freemasonry accepts good men
who are found to be worthy, regardless of their religious
convictions, and strives to make better men of them by emphasizing a
firm belief in the Fatherhood of God, the Brotherhood of Man, and
the Immortality of the Soul.
A good Mason is invariably a better church member, and a regular
church attendant makes a better Mason. Religious men go to church,
not to their Lodge, to worship God. They go to their Masonic Lodge
to learn moral truths and how to apply them to their everyday home
and business lives.
A WAY OF LIFE
Freemasonry is Charity for all mankind; practice of the Golden Rule;
love of country; serving God with reverence; treating the home and
family with tenderness and affection; being humble; helping the weak
and lowly; adherence to the cardinal virtues; and greeting everyone
on the same level of human understanding. All these, and many other
FREEMASONRY AS A WAY OF LIFE