The Masonic Order

WHAT IT MEANS TO BE A MASON

Membership in the brotherhood of Masons means many things. It means being part of an unbroken tradition that stretches back over 500 years to a time when guilds of freemasons traveled throughout Europe laying the stones of the great Gothic cathedrals. It means sharing the values of our nation's founding fathers; the ideals of men who believed in the brotherhood of man, ideals which are firmly rooted in the Constitution of the United States and the Commonwealth of Massachusetts.
It means becoming a better person while helping to improve the quality of life for others. It means forming deep and lasting friendships that transcend the boundaries of race, religion, age and culture, as well as those of geography. But most of all, being a Mason means the kind of deep satisfaction that comes only from selfless giving; from doing for others without asking, or expecting anything in return.

Sharing the Traditions of Our Founding Fathers

Masons were active in Massachusetts even before 1733, the year Henry Price formally organized the year the first Provincial Grand Lodge of Masons. Today the Grand Lodge in Boston remains the oldest continuously operating Masonic organization in the Western Hemisphere. In its early years, Masonry numbered among its members some of the nation's most influential citizens - among them George Washington, Henry Knox, Benjamin Franklin, John Hancock and Paul Revere. In Massachusetts, many of those who participated in the Battle of Lexington and Concord and the Battle of Bunker Hill were Masons. Many of the patriots who participated in the Boston Tea Party were believed to be Masons and others, such as Dr. Joseph Warren, who was a Grand Master, sacrificed their lives in the struggle for independence from British rule. The values that were important then - loyalty, patriotism, liberty, courage and faith - are just as important to Masons today. The principles upon which this country was founded are deeply embedded in Masonry.

Improving yourself and those Around You

Basic to most of the world's great religions is the belief in what some might call the "old fashioned values," honesty, fair play and unselfishness in dealing with others. Freemasonry shares many of the same beliefs; and, through its traditions and teachings, attempts to instill in its members both the desire and the means to improve themselves and the lives of others that come into contact with them. However, while it may adhere to many of the same values associated with a religious faith, Masonry is not a religion.

Masonry is a fraternal brotherhood of men from every country, sect, and opinion, joined together in a common effort to make themselves better men, to ease the suffering of others, and to make the world a better place. Some in the public are not aware of this true purpose of universal brotherhood. To achieve a goal of understanding in our modern world of many distractions and to dispel unreasoning mythological misconceptions concerning our ancient fraternal order, Masonry has brought itself into the information age. We promote understanding and possible membership using this web page, television programs and openly invited participation in Masonic Awareness meetings. All this provides Non-Masons a means to learn about good men performing good works and living moral lives.

Having friends wherever you go

Who becomes a Mason? Anyone and everyone; accountants, businessmen, teachers, contractors, professional men and laborers. Masons come from all walks of life and levels of income. They represent every race, creed and culture. In Masonry, it doesn't matter whether a man is a bricklayer or a physician, a waiter or the mayor of the city. All are on equal footing in the Lodge room. The ceremonies and practices of the Masons have remained unchanged for hundreds of years. No matter where a Lodge is located,

its members share the common bond of having passed through the same degree work, rites and rituals. Because of this, members can find brother Masons wherever they go. In Massachusetts alone, there are 240 lodges with nearly 40,000 members. Across the country and around the world, there are Lodges in nearly every city and in many smaller communities. It's a good feeling to know that, wherever a man's travels may take him, he has friends he can depend upon and trust.

Committing yourself to a Code of Moral Ethics

Freemasonry is built upon three basic tenets - Brotherly Love, Relief and Truth. Brotherly Love is the practice of the Golden Rule. Relief embodies charity for all mankind. Truth is honesty, fair play and adherence to the cardinal virtues. These moral lessons are taught during three ceremonies, or "degrees" through allegory and symbolism using the traditional stonemasons tools. The First Degree uses the gavel and gauge to remind the new member of his dependence on others and his subordination to God. In the Second Degree, the square, level, and plumb are used to reinforce the moral lessons of brotherly love and service.

And in the Third Degree, the trowel and other tools encourage the candidate to reflect on the end of life and on the value of faithfulness to his promises. After the Three Degrees, members may explore other branches of Masonry, such as the Scottish Rite, York Rite and Shrine. Freemasonry is not a secret organization. Lodge buildings are clearly marked and listed in the phone book. Members frequently wear rings and pins identifying them as Masons. However, Masonry values confidentiality and, as with many other organizations, many of its meetings are not open to the public. Giving Freely of Yourself and asking nothing in Return Of all the cardinal virtues, none is more valued in Masonry than selflessly giving freely of yourself and asking nothing in return.

Examples of Masonic charity are legion.

Nationally, Masons contribute over $2 million every day to relieve suffering and for the enrichment of mankind. Masons are the founding sponsors and supporters of the Shriners Burns Institutes and the Shriners Hospitals for Crippled Children, both of which offer their services free of charge. Every Shriner is a Mason. Masons operate the Scottish Rite Museum of Our National Heritage in Lexington, the Masonic Retirement Home in Charlton, the Knights' Templar Eye Foundation, and the 32 Masonic Learning Centers for Children providing free services to dyslexic children,

in addition to supporting a free Children's Identification Program, DeMolay for Boys, Rainbow for Girls, scholarships, and hundreds of other programs nationally and locally. Masons derive satisfaction from these endeavors, knowing it is through helping others that man most helps himself.

If you would like to learn more about Masonry or to become a Mason, contact any Mason or email the Fidelity Lodge SECRETARY.


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