An Introduction to Freemasonry
Freemasonry is the oldest and largest fraternal organization in the world. Contrary to many beliefs, Freemasonry is not a secret society. It does not hide its existence nor does it attempt to conceal its principles or purpose. Simply put, it is an organization formed to enlighten its members and contribute to the betterment of the community.
In Pennsylvania, there are 435 Lodges (2010) with almost 114,000 members (2010). Nationwide, there are 2.5 million members and more than 4 million worldwide. Pennsylvania’s Grand Lodge is located in Philadelphia and is one of the 50 Grand Lodges in the United States.
Some historians estimate that Freemasonry has existed for centuries with some records dating back to 926 A.D. Freemasonry is directly descended from “operative masons”, the castle and cathedral builders of the Middle Ages, who traveled throughout Europe employing the secrets and skills of their craft. In the 17th Century, when the building of great structures was declining, many guilds of stone masons started to accept members who were not employed in the craft, calling them “speculative masons”.
As Europeans traveled to the New World, they brought the practice of Freemasonry with them. Several lodges were constituted in the Colonies during the early 18th Century. Many of America’s Founding Fathers were Masons including Benjamin Franklin and George Washington as well as several signers of the Declaration of Independence and U.S. Constitution.
Race, Religion, Politics, and Masonry
Men of all races and religions are welcome to join the organization. Freemasonry is not a religion nor does it attempt to impose on them. An essential requirement of Masonry is a belief in the existence of a Supreme Being. Political affiliation has no bearing on membership since politics are not discussed within the Lodge. And it seeks no advantage for its members through business or politics.
Freemasonry encourages members and lodges to aid organizations that benefit the community at large. Annually, Freemasons of North America contribute more than $2 million a day to charitable causes. At both the local and national levels, Masons donate time and monies to assist institutions that serve veterans, seniors, children, and those with medical afflictions.
For interesting facts, look for Important Days in Masonry on our Calendar.
How to Join
Masons seek “the best of men” to join their fraternity. Applicants must be men of good moral character and interested in bettering themselves through education and community service.
The first step you can take is to speak with a Mason you know or Contact this Lodge to find out how to begin your Masonic journey.
Click HERE for a Membership Petition.