This Is Masonry: Builder of Society


Freemasonry is a fraternity of men bound together by vows of morality in
public and private life, who believe in God and the constitutional rights
of members to free choice of religion and political persuasion.

Masonry strives to make good men better - to teach its members to be
"better than themselves." It accepts only men of high moral character.

The fraternity of Freemasonry endorses free public education, encourages
self-improvement, promotes patriotism and respect for the Constitution,
sanctions equal rights under law, practices god will towards all men, and
contributes generously to philanthropies.

Masonry is a Charitable, benevolent, educational and religious society. Its
basic tenets are Brotherly Love, Relief, (philanthropy), and Truth.

Through the improvement and strengthening of the character of the
individual, Freemasonry seeks to improve the community.

Masonry is not a benefit society, or a charitable institution. It assists
members by many means through times of hardship, but it is not an insurance
society with sickness, death, disability or old age benefits.

Masonry is not a secret society. It is a well-known, nation-wide fraternity
whose members proudly declare their membership. Masons meet in buildings
plainly identified as Masonic Temples, and public announcements of their
meetings are published in daily and community publications. There is no
attempt to hide the names of community leaders who are Masons.

Masonic ritual is often considered by Masons as having been the most moving
experience of their lives. Employing the tools of the stone mason as
symbols of basic moral truths, Masonic ritual dramatizes a philosophy of
life based on morality.

Masonry is voluntary! A Mason is forbidden by Masonic law to invite a
friend to join. The friend must voluntarily seek membership by contacting a
Mason and announce his desire to join.

Masons of the Blue Lodge, or any appendant body, may participate in varied
activities. Degree presentations require ritualists and persons with
dramatic abilities, musicians for orchestras, vocalists for choirs, stage
crews, make-up men and service committees of all kinds.

Men take part in an active social life that includes their families and

Besides national philanthropic activity, such as scholarships and medical
research. Masons maintain many types of local charitable projects.

Non-Masons observe the social, civic and philanthropic  activity of Masons
and frequently comment on the close bond that exists among Masons and the
obvious belief that they are their brothers' keepers. They notice that
Masons are quick to assist their fellows in misfortune with encouragement,
kindness and tangible assistance.

The bond of faith and confidence among Masons is largely the result of the
common knowledge that all, having experienced the memorable rituals, accept
the high ethical standards as guides to their conduct.

Within a Masonic Temple Masons do not discuss religion, or political
matters, or any other subject likely to excite personal animosities.
Masonry teaches men to be religious without advocating a particular
doctrine, or creed. It requires its members to be good citizens, but free
to choose their medium of political expression.

Masons support free schools. Throughout the history of North America the
Masonic fraternity has supported free public schools in all possible
unofficial and non-political ways ... as an expression of good citizenship
"Let there be light" is a famous Masonic motto in support of this

Masonry with its dedication to education, morality, brotherly love, non-
sectarianism in religion and politics and equal rights is a steadying
influence that balances and consolidates the social, religious and political
life of America.


The Blue Lodge (Symbolic Masonry) confers the first three degrees - Entered
Apprentice (first degree), fellowcraft (second degree), and Master Mason
(third degree).

Promotion depends upon a Mason's proficiency in learning certain things
about Freemasonry, its ethics, and its philosophy.

There is no higher degree in Masonry than Master Mason. However, a Master
Mason may enter the Scottish Rite, or York Rite, to elaborate upon basic
Masonic principles.


The Scottish rite confers the 4th through 32nd degrees in degree-conferring
meetings. The degree work may be, but is not necessarily, completed at one

Any Master Mason in good standing may ask a Scottish Rite friend for a
petition form, or may obtain one from a Scottish Rite secretary. He must be
judged to be of good moral character, and be elected by the members.


The York Rite consists of nine degrees in addition to Blue Lodge degrees.

Ancient York Rite Masonry is considered by Masonic historians to have been
"original" Masonry. It is not practised in its orginal form anywhere today.
In the United States, the term York Rite has come to be applied to a number
of degrees conferred only in this country.

York Rite degrees are divided into Capitular Degrees of the Mark Master,
Past Master, Most Excellent MAster and Rotal Arch Mason; the Cryptic
Degrees of the Royal Master, Select Master and Super Excellent Master, and
the Chivalric Orders of the Order of the Red Cross, Order of the Knights of
Malta and the Order of Knights Templar.

Scottish and York Rites are autonomous bodies, but members have in common
their membership in the Blue Lodge, and all of the moral and philosophical
teachings of Masonry that the two rites elaborate.

Thirteen Masons organized the first Shrine Temple in 1872 - Mecca Temple in
New York City. The 13 life enjoying Masons formed a luncheon group in 1870
at a time when the psychic significance of the number 13 was sweeping New

They knew they needed an appealing theme for their new Order, so they
choose the Arabic (Near east) theme. To this day, this background has
influenced the names of Shrine Temples, pageantry that accompanies the
initiation of new Shriners, titles of Shrine offices and parade costumes.

The most noticeable sysmbol of Shrinedom is the distinctive red fez that
all Shriners wear at official functions.


Every Shriner is a Mason.

Members of the Ancient Arabic Order of the Nobles the Mystic Shrine for
North America are members of the Scottish Rite's 32nd degree, and/or
Knights Templer of the York kite.  However, the Order is not an appendant
body of Masonry.

Shriners are distinguished by an enjoyment of life in the interest of
philanthropy.  The nearly 900,000 - member Shrine organization has a
buoyant philosophy, which has been expressed as: "Pleasure without
intemperance, hospitality without rudeness, and jollity without


Shriners' buoyancy does not suppress a sense of mission, however.  The
Shriners who participate in the famous Shrine parades, and administer the
Shrine circuses and numerous Shrine football games from coast to coast
carry with them the vision of little children, who will know happiness
because of their efforts.  The money that Shriners raise supports the 22
Shriners Hospitals For Crippled Children, including three Shriners Burn
Institutes.  Special care is given to both orthopaedic cases and severely
burned children.  Valuable research is conducted to find more effective
treatment and to train specialists in both fields.


... It is the fulfiliment of my devotion to the principles of Freemasonry -
through the prerequisite degrees to Shrinedom.

... It extends to me, in greater numbers, the warm hand of Fellowship and
Brotherly Love - the priceless ingredients of man's quest for happiness.

... It furthers my Masonic adherence to Love of God, Love of Country, and
Love of Freedom.

... It enables me to participate in one of the world's great monuments to
humanitarian devotion - Shriners Hospitals For Crippled Children - that of
caring for our crippled and burned young, regardless of race or creed.

... Through Fellowship and Service it strengthens my soul and adds
inner-meaning to my dally life.  It thus spreads a glow of joy through
one's entire family.