What is Freemasonary?
Freemasonry is the word's oldest and largest Fraternity. It aims to promote Friendship, Morality, and Brotherly Love among its members; men from every race, religion, opinion, and background who are brought together as Brothers to develop and strengthen the bonds of friendship. There are more than 3 million members meeting in nearly every free country in the world. Freemasonry proposes to "make good men better" by teaching - with metaphors from geometry and architecture - about building values based on great universal truths. Finally, charity and community service is fundamental to Freemasonry and something we actively take part in.
How old is Freemasonry?
The history of modern freemasonry is fairly understood, but once you get beyond the 1700’s things get lost to the sands of time.One of the beauties of Freemasonry is that it allows the member to stretch his mind to think about a variety of topics not typically explored in mainstream history. Some Masonic historians attempt to explain and look at the connections or possibilities in history that are often overlooked, especially to the recent past and into the not so recent historical world. Freemasonry today has been fairly unchanged in the last 300 years, and is modeled in a system that was likely little changed for the 150 years prior to that. It is believed that the working aspects of Freemasonry, the form and function of the lodge, comes from guilds of the Renaissance and middle ages, and over time attracted a wider audience of non practicing “masons”.
This is the period that the present day fraternity shifted from an “operative” guild to a “speculative” one. These changes have evolved to shape the look and feel of modern lodge operation today.
Why are Freemasons so secretive?
Many masons will not answer questions about the fraternity as they believe it is supposed to be a “secret”. In the end that is a loss for the fraternity as any time someone asks a question about Masonry it’s a great opportunity to talk openly about it. An often retort to this idea is that it is a Society with Secrets, rather than a secret society, but this is equally confusing. There are aspects to Freemasonry that are kept and taught to only those who go through the initiations and ceremonies so as to keep them in a proper perspective and context of meaning. These aspects are not “secrets” but instead knowledge that is best communicated in a specific and concise manner.