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"The presence of a noble nature, generous in
its wishes, ardent in its charity, changes the lights for us: we begin to see things again
in their larger, quieter masses, and to believe that we too can be seen and judged in the
wholeness of our character."
Freemasonry is the world's oldest and largest Fraternity. While its traditions look back to earliest history, Masonry in its current form appeared when its public events were noticed by the residents of London, England in 1717. Although Masonry - particularly in its earliest days - had some elements of secrecy, the first 'exposure' of the supposedly highly-secret Masonic ritual actually appeared in 1696! Since that time, there have been tens of thousands of books published about this 'secret organization'. And for over three hundred years, despite the good works done by its members, Freemasonry has continually suffered the slings and arrows of those who seek to use it's quiet nature against it.
Freemasonry's singular purpose is to make good men better and its bonds of friendship, compassion and brotherly love have survived even the most divisive political, military and religious conflicts through the centuries. Freemasonry is neither a forum nor a place of worship. It is not a religion nor does it teach a religious philosophy. For nearly three hundred years it has attracted men of high moral character who support the tenets of temperance, fortitude, prudence and justice.
We're often asked, "What do Freemasons believe?" The answer is quite simple: essentially the same things that teachers, bus drivers, Rotarians, or anyone else believes. There is no 'requirement' that all Masons believe certain things except insofar as good behavior dictates.
Today, the more than four million Freemasons around the world come from virtually every occupation and profession. Within the Fraternity, however, all meet as equals. In fact, one of the most fascinating aspects of Freemasonry (and an obvious source of irritation for those who thrive on the seeds of discontent) has always been: how can so many men, from so many different walks of life, meet together in peace, ignoring political or religious debates, to conduct their affairs in harmony and friendship and to call each other "Brother!" It's truly a conundrum which perplexes those outside the fraternity. Laying aside petty jealousies and agreeing that issues of politics and religion are not proper for discussion within a lodge, the 'bones of contention' that so often divide are removed thereby making it possible for men of varying religious and political interests to meet on common ground.
Freemasons are taught to conform to the moral laws of society and to abide by the laws of the government under which they live. They are men of charity and good works and they engage in charitable works which have made them "the World's greatest philanthropy!" Their services to mankind represent an unparalleled example of the humanitarian commitment and concern of this unique and honorable Fraternity.
There's probably not a week that goes by someone doesn't send along an e-mail that says, simply, "Where can I find out more about Freemasonry?"
The easiest answer is: 'Your Local Grand Lodge'! There are Masons there who will be happy to answer any questions you have. You can simply 'Google' in a format
Grand Lodge Masons Oklahoma
and you'll find it. (You will, of course, want to insert your own state/province/country in place of the Oklahoma example!)
Alternatively, you can go to this page where there's a reasonably comprehensive listing.
Sometimes too, we're asked, "What books can I read about Freemasonry?" One researcher has observed that there are likely more books about Freemasonry than any other topic except religion - and although that conclusion would be hard to prove, it's certainly quite plausible. Beyond that, there are precious few 'general' books that cover the whole breadth and scope of the organization's history and development. There are none that could ever presume to 'completely' address all of the history, personages, symbols, appendant and collateral bodies, etc. etc. that have been somehow related to the organization over the past 300+ years. It's not like writing the history of a country where there's a narrow focus on a specific place but, indeed, more like a general 'history of civilization'-type work.
Depending on one's specific interest, however, there are MANY books that you might find useful and we list a number of them in our Masonic Education section (follow the link on your left).
We encourage you to start with our 'Reality Check' and proceed along to find out more of what Masonry is and does.
In this section of our site, we also provide a very short list of some of those who've joined Freemasonry over the past 300 years. Making a choice themselves to be with those who seek to 'do good and be better', you may be familiar with many of them. While there are many, many good men who have not joined, the Masonic membership roll is extraordinary in its depth, breadth and scope. In this section too, we also mention just a few of the many Masonic charities and we also have provided some information for those who want to read more about Freemasonry through a listing of books and a few book reviews as well. We've even got a list of suppliers of books and jewelry in the event you'd like to send along a little 'thank you' gift to the site's author! <Just joking, folks: this site is a 'labor of love' and we appreciate your having dropped by!>
If you can't find what you're looking for, do let us know - but first, check our search engine which we think is pretty darn good - with thanks to the folks at Atomz!
Just click on "Prince, the Search Dog" to find things on our site. He's on every page and he'll take you directly to our search form where you can see if we've written about whatever it is you're interested in. Prince has a great memory; he always remembers where things are!
This site and its contents are © (copyright) 1998-2014 by Edward L. King (Ed King). All rights reserved. All comments and opinions are mine personally.
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