Who are the Masons?
Masons (also known as Freemasons) belong to the oldest and largest philanthropic mens organization in the world. Today, there are more than two million Freemasons in North America. Masons represent virtually every occupation and profession, yet within the Brotherhood, all meet as equals. Masons come from diverse polital ideoligies, yet meet as friends. Masons come from varied religious beliefs and creeds, yet all believe in one God.
Many of North America's early patriots were Freemasons. Thirteen signers of the constitution and fourteen Presidents of the United States, including George Washington, were Masons. In Canada, the Father of the Confederation, Sir John A. MacDonald, was also a Mason, as were other early Canadian and American leaders.
One of the most fascinating aspects of Freemasonry is how so many men, from so many different walks of life, can meet together in peace, always conducting their affairs in harmony and friendship and calling each other "Brother"
What Is Freemasonry?
Freemasonry (or Masonry) is dedicated to the Brotherhood of Man under the Fatherhood of God. It uses the tools and implements of ancient architectural craftsmen symbolically in a system of instruction designed to build character and moral values in its members. Its singular purpose is to make good men better. Its bonds of friendship, compassion, and brotherly love have survived even the most divisive political, military, and religious conflicts through the centuries. Freemasonry is a Brotherhood which encourages its members to practice the faith of their personal acceptance. Masonry teaches that each person, through self- improvement and helping others, has an obligation to make a difference for good in the world.
Where Did Freemasonry Begin?
No one knows just how old Freemasonry is because the actual origins have been lost in time. Most scholars believe Masonry rose from the guilds of the stonemasons who built the majestic castles and cathedrals of the middle ages. In 1717, Masonry created a formal organization when four Lodges in London joined informing England's first Grand Lodge. by 1731, when Benjamin Franklin joined the Fraternity, there were already several Lodges in the Colonies, and in Canada the first Lodge was established in 1738.
Today Masonic Lodges are found in almost every community throughout North America, and in large cities there are usually several Lodges.
A mason can travel to almost any country in the world and find a Masonic Lodge where he will be welcomed as a "Brother".
What Do Freemasons Do?
The Masonic experience encourages members to become better men, better husbands, better fathers and better citizens. The bonds of Brotherhood formed in the Lodge help build life-long frienships among men with similar goals and values.
Beyond its focus on individual development and growth, Masonry is deeply involved in helping people. The Freemasons of North America contribute over two million dollars a day to charitable causes. This philanthropy represents an unparalleled example of the humanitarian commitment of this great and honorable organization. Much of that assistance goes to people who are not Masons.