Every candidate is a stranger to Freemasonry and Freemasonry is a stranger to him.  It is not merely a lodge that he joins, but a fraternity with millions of members and thousands of lodges both in the United States and throughout the world.  Masonry has a rich history stretching back over many centuries, and an intricate system of laws, rights, privileges, and duties. The following information is taken from the Tennessee Handbook of Freemasonry. It may provide you with basic information regarding Freemasonry. Please contact us if you have any further questions!

How Do You Define Freemasonry?
Freemasonry is an organized society of men symbolically applying the principles of operative Masonry and architecture to the science and art of character building.

What is the Purpose of Freemasonry?
Through the improvement and strengthening of the individual man, Freemasonry seeks to improve the community. Thus it impresses upon its members personal righteousness and personal reponsibility, and inspires them with feelings of charity or good will toward all mankind through Brotherly Love, Relief, and Truth.

What is the Origin of Freemasonry?
How old is Freemasonry? No one knows. Freemasonry was not created at a given moment. It is a growth, whose roots extend in many directions, often beyond historical records. Modern or speculative Masonry, as we know it today, evolved from the Grand Lodge of Englandwhich was organized in London in 1717. The fraternity as an operative craft is very old. Its honorable record of noble service to mankind for centuries – longer by far than any other fraternal order now in existence – is beyond dispute and may be a source of infinite pride to every craftsman.

What is Speculative Masonry?
The term speculative Masonry is used in the sense that Masonry of today is theoretical building instead of practical: that is a pursuit of knowledge, not construction of material edifices. Speculative Masonry begins with the practice of admitting to membership in operative Lodges men who were not practical builders, such as stone cutters and architects, but men who were interested in the moral, ethical, and philosophical teachings of the fraternity.

Why are we called Freemasons?
There are many theories: a man was a Freemason because his ancestors were not slaves nor was he a slave; he was so called becuase he was free within his guild or free of the guild’s laws and could thus travel in foreign countries and work where he would; he was a Freemason because he worked in freestone, which is any stone that can be cut, smoothed, carved in any direction; he was free when he left the status of serf and had legally become free. Probably at one time or another Masons were called Freemasons for any of those reasons or for all of them. The concensus leans to the theory that the name ‘Freemason’ was such because of skill, knowledge and abilities which set him free of those conditions, laws, rules and customs which surround Masons of lesser abilities in the cathedral building age.

Is Freemasonry a secret society?
The only secrets of Freemasonry are its methods of recognition-to protect it against intruders and imposters-and its system of symbolic instruction. The internal affairs of a Lodge should not be discussed in the presence of non-Masons. Silence and discretion should be the rule of all Masons concerning the business of the Lodge.
We usually think of a secret society meeting in a secret place, unknown to the general public; its membership is secret and nothing is publicly known concerning its aims, principles, and organization.
Masonic Lodges usually occupy a prominent location in the community and their buildings customarily are identified by a display of one or more well-known masonic emblems. Anyone may see who enters or leaves a Masonic Lodge; and most members of the craft wear Masonic insignia somewhere on their person where all may see that they hold membership in the fraternity.
Masonic principles, ideals, philosophy and purpose may be known to anyone who desires to make inquiry, or to read about them in the multitude of books available. Masonic leaders, and usually the great majority of the membership are known and respected by all who endorse men of high purpose.

Is Freemasonry a Religion?
Freemasonry is not an organized religion. It is an institution “erected to God” which begins it ceremonies and ends its meetings with prayer, which has a book of the law of God upon its altar, which preaches the Fatherhood of God and the brotherhood of man. It seeks to unify men of every sect, creed and opinion within its ranks, with a spirit of tolerance. No atheist can be made a mason.

What is Masonic Ritual?
The ritual of Freemasonry is serious in all its aspects. Anything contrary to this which you may have heard, is false. As a canditate, you need have no apprehension. From the very first, you will be among friends who will soon be brothers.

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