Make your own free website on Tripod.com

 
 
 
 

The Charges Of A Free Mason

                             Extracted from
         The Ancient Records of Lodges beyond Sea, and
                                 of those
           in England, Scotland, and Ireland, for the use
                       of the Lodges in London:

                                To be read

          At The Making Of New Brethren Or When The
                         Master Shall Order It.

                       The General Heads, viz.:
           i. Of God and Religion.
          ii. Of the Civil Magistrate Supreme and
         Subordinate.
         iii. Of Lodges.
          iv. Of Masters, Wardens, Fellow, and
         Apprentices.
           v. Of the Management of the Craft in Working.
          vi. Of Behavior, viz.:
                       1. In the Lodge while constituted.
                       2. After the Lodge is over and the Brethren not gone.
                       3. When the Brethren meet without Stangers, but not in
         a Lodge.
                       4. In the presence of Stranges not Masons.
                       5. At Home and in the Neighborhood.
                       6. Towards a strange Brother.
 
 
 

            i. Concerning God And Religion

       A Mason is oblig'd by his Tenure, to obey the moral
       law; and if he rightly understands the Art, he will
       never be a stupid ATHEIST, nor an irreligious
       LIBERTINE. But though in ancient Times Masons
       were charged in every Country to be of the Religion
       of that Country or Nation, whatever it was, yet it is
       now thought more expedient only to oblige them to
       that Religion in which all Men agree, leaving their
       particular Opinions to themselves; that is, to be
       good Men and true. or Men of Honour and Honesty,
       by whatever Denominations or Persuasions they
       may be distinguish'd; whereby Masonry becomes
       the Center of Union, and the Means of conciliating
       true Friendship among Persons that must have
       remain'd at a perpetual Distance.
 
 
 

          ii. Of The Civil Magistrate Supreme
                         And Subordinate

       A Mason is a Peaceable Subject to the Civil Powers,
       wherever he resides or works, and is never to be
       concern'd in Plots and Conspiracies against the
       Peace and Welfare of the Nation, nor to behave
       himself undutifully to inferior Magistrates; for as
       Masonry hath been always injured by War,
       Bloodshed and Confusion, so ancient Kings and
       Princes have been much dispos'd to encourage the
       Craftsmen, because of the Peaceableness and
       Loyalty, whereby they practically answer'd the
       Cavils of their Adversaries, and promoted the
       Honour of the Fraternity, who ever flourish'd in
       Times of Peace. So that if a Brother should be
       Rebel against the State, he is not to be countenanc'd
       in his Rebellion, however he may be pitied as an
       unhappy Man; and if Convicted of no other Crime,
       though the loyal Brotherhood must and ought to
       disown his Rebellion, and give no Umbrage or
       Ground of Political Jealousy to the Government for
       the time being, they can not expel him from the
       Lodge, and his relation to it remains indefeasible.
 
 
 

                           iii. Of Lodges

         A Lodge is a Place where members assemble and
         work; Hence that Assembly, or duly organiz'd
         Society of Masons, is call'd a Lodge, and every
         Brother ought to belong to one, and to be subject
         to its By-Laws and the General Regulations. It is
         either particular or general, and will be best
         understoon by attending it, and by the
         Regulations of the General or Grand Lodge
         hereunto annex'd. In ancient Times, no Master or
         Fellow could be absent from it, especially when
         warn'd to appear at it, with incurring a severe
         Censure, until it appear'd to the Master and
         Wardens, that pure Necessity hinder'd him.

         The Persons admitted Members of a Lodge must
         be good and true Men, free-born and of marute
         and discreet Age, no Bondmen, no Women, no
         immoral or scandalous Men, but of good Report.
 
 
 

           iv. Of Masters, Wardens, Fellows,
                         And Apprentices

         All preferment among Masons is grounded upon
         real Worth and Personal Merit only; that so the
         Lords may be well served, the Brethren not put
         to Shame, nor the Royal Craft despis'd:
         Therefore no Master or Warden is chosen by
         Seniority, but for his Merit. It is impossible to
         describe these things in writing, and every
         Brother must attend in his Place, and learn them
         in a way peculiar to the Fraternity: Only
         Candidates may know, that no Master should
         take on an Apprentice, unless he has sufficient
         Imployment for him, and unless he be a perfect
         Youth, have no Maim or Defect in his body, that
         may render him incapable of learning the Art, of
         serving his Master's Lord, and of being made a
         Brother, and then a Fellow-Craft in due time,
         and even after he has served such a Term of
         Years, as the Custom of the Country directs; and
         that he should be descended of honest Parents;
         that so, when otherwise qualify'd, he may arrive
         to the Honour of being the Warden, and at length
         the Grand-Master of all the Lodges, according to
         his Merit.

         No Brother can be a Warden until he has pass'd
         the part of a Fellow-Craft; nor a Master until he
         has acted as a Warden, nor Grand Warden until
         he has been a Fellow-Craft before his election,
         who is also to be nobly-born, or a Gentleman of
         the best Fashion, or some eminent Scholar, or
         some curious Architect, or other Artist,
         descended of honest Parents, and who is of
         singular great Merit in the Opinion of the
         Lodges. And for the better, and easier, and more
         honourable discharge of his Office, the
         Grand-Master has a Power to chuse his Deputy
         GRand-Master, who must be then, or must have
         been formerly, the Master of a particular Lodge,
         and has the Privilege of acting whatever the
         Grand-Master, his Principal, should act, unless
         the said Principal be present, or interpose his
         Authority by a Letter.

         These Rulers and Governors, Supreme and
         Subordinate, of the ancient Lodge, are to be
         obey'd in their respective Stations by all the
         Brethren, according to the Old Charges and
         Regulations, with all Humility, Reverence, Love
         and Alacrity.
 
 
 

         v. Of The Management Of The Craft
                             In Working

         All Masons shall work honestly on working
         Days, that they may live creditably on Holy
         Days; and the time appointed by the Law of the
         Land, or confirm'd by Custom, shall be observ'd.

         The most expert of the Fellow-Craftsmen shall
         be chosen or appointed the Master or Overseer
         of the Lord's Work; who is to be call'd Master by
         those that work under him. The Craftsmen are to
         avoid all ill Language, and to call each other by
         no disobliging Name, but Brother or Fellow; and
         to behave themselves courtesly within and
         without the Lodge.

         The Master, knowing himself to be able of
         Cunning, shall undertake the Lord's Work as
         reasonably as possible, and truly dispend his
         Goods as if they were his own; nor to give more
         Wages to any Brother or Apprentice than he
         really may deserve.

         Both the Master and Masons receiving their
         Wages justly, shall be faithful to the Lord, and
         honestly finish their Work, whether Task or
         Journey; nor put the Work to Task that hath
         been accustom'd to Journey.

         None shall discover Envy at the Prosperity of a
         Brother, nor supplant him, or put him out of his
         Work, if he be capable to finish the same; for no
         Man can finish another's Work so much to the
         Lord's Profit, unless he be thoroughly acquainted
         with the Designs and Draughts of him that began
         it.

         When a Fellow-Craftsman is chosen Warden of
         the Work under the Master, he shall be true both
         to Master and Fellows, shall carefully oversee
         the Work in the Master's Absence to the Lord's
         profit; and his Brethren shall obey him.

         All Masons employ'd shall meekly receive their
         Wages without murmuring or Mutiny, and not
         desert the Master till the Work is finish'd.

         A younger Brother shall be instructed in
         working, to prevent spoiling the Materials for
         want of Jedgement, and for encreasing and
         continuing of Brotherly Love.

         All the Tools used in working shall be approved
         by the Grand Lodge.

         No Labourer shall be employ'd in the proper
         work of Masonry; nor shall Free Masons work
         with those that are not free, without an urgent
         Necessity; nor shall they teach Labourers and
         unaccepted Masons, as they should teach a
         Brother or Fellow.
 
 
 

                          vi. Of Behavior

                  1. In the Lodge while constituted.

         You are not to hold private Committees, or
         separate Conversation, without Leave from the
         Master, nor to talk of any thing impertinent or
         unseemly, nor interrupt the Master or Wardens,
         or any Brother speaking to the Master; nor
         behave yourself ludicrously or jestingly while the
         Lodge is engaged in what is serious and solemn;
         nor use any unbecoming Language upon any
         Pretence whatsoever; but to pay due Reverence
         to your Master, Wardens, and Fellows, and put
         them to worship.

         If any Complaint be brought, the Brother found
         guilty shall stand to the Award and
         Determination of the Lodge, who are the proper
         and competent Judges of all such Controversies,
         (unless you carry it by Appeal to the Grand
         Lodge,) and to whom they ought to be referr'd
         unless a Lord's Work be hinder'd the mean while,
         in which case a particular Reference may be
         made; but you must never go to Law about what
         concerneth Masonry, without an absolute
         Necessity apparent to the Lodge.

           2. Behaviour after the Lodge is over and the
                           Brethren not gone.

         You may enjoy yourselves with innocent Mirth,
         treating one another according to Ability, but
         avoiding all Excess, or forcing any Brother to eat
         or drink beyond his Inclination, or hindering him
         from going when his Occasions call him, or doing
         or saying anything offensive, or that may forbid
         an easy and free Conversation; for that would
         blast our Harmony, and defeat our Laudable
         Purposes. Therefore no private Piques or
         Quarrels must be brought within the Door of the
         Lodge, far less any Quarrels about Religion, or
         Nations, or State Policy, we being only, as
         Masons of the Catholick Religion
         above-mention'd; we are also of all Nations,
         Tongues, Kindreds, and Languages, and are
         resolv'd against all Politicks, as what never yet
         conduc'd to the Welfare of the Lodge, nor ever
         will. This charges has been always strictly
         enjoin'd and observ'd, but especially ever since
         the Reformation in Britian, or the Dissent and
         Secession of these Nations from the Communion
         of Rome.

             3. Behaviour when Brethren meet without
                Strangers, but not in a Lodge form'd.

         You are to salute one another in a courteous
         manner as you will be instructed, calling each
         other Brother, freely giving mutual Instruction as
         shall be thought expedient, without being
         overseen or overheard, and without encroaching
         upon each other or derogating from that Respect
         which is due to any Brother, were he not a
         Mason: For though all Masons are as Brethren
         upon the same Level, yet Masonry takes no
         Honour from a Man that he had before; nay
         rather it adds to his Honour, especially if he as
         deserv'd well of the Brotherhood, who must give
         Honour to whom it is due, and avoid ill manners.

             4. Behaviour in presence of Strangers not
                                 Masons.

         You shall be most cautious in your Words and
         Carriage, that the most penetrating Stranger shall
         not be abole to discover or find out what is not
         proper to be intimated; and sometimes you shall
         divert a discourse, and manage it prudently for
         the Honour of the worshipful Fraternity.

                 5. Behariour at Home, and in your
                            Neighbourhood.

         You are to act as becomes a moral and wise
         Man; particularly, not to let your Family,
         Friends, and Neighbours know the Concerns of
         the Lodge, &c., but wisely to consult your own
         Honour, and that of the ancient Brotherhood, for
         Reasons not be be mention'd here. You must also
         consult your health, by not continuing together
         too late, or too long from home, after Lodge
         Hours are past; and by avoiding of Gluttony or
         Drunkenness, that your Families be not
         neglected or injured, nor you disabled from
         working.
             6. Behaviour towards a strange Brother.

         You are cautiously to examine him, in such a
         method as prudence shall direct you, that you
         may not be impos'd upon by an ignorant false
         Pretender, whom you are to reject with
         Contempt and Derision, and beware of giving
         him any Hints of Knowledge.

         But if you discover him to be a true and Genuine
         Brother, you are to respect him accordingly; and
         if he is in want, you must relieve him if you can,
         or rlse direct him how he may be reliev'd. You
         must employ him some Days, or recommend him
         to be employ'd. But you are not charged to do
         beyond your Ability, only to prefer a poor
         Brother, that is a good Man and true, before any
         other poor People in the same Circumstances.
 
 
 

         Finally, all of these Charges you are to observe,
         and also those that shall be communicated to you
         in another way; cultivating Brotherly-Love, the
         foundation and Capestone, the Cement and
         Glory of this ancient Fraternity, avoiding all
         Wrangling and Quarreling, all Slander and
         Backbiting, nor permitting others to slander any
         honest Brother, but defending his Character, and
         doing him all good offices, as far as is consistent
         with your own or his Lodge; and from thence
         you may appeal to the Grand Lodge at the
         Quarterly Communication, and from thence to
         the annual Grand Lodge; as has been the ancient
         laudable Conduct of our Forefathers in every
         Nation; never taking a legal Course but when the
         Case cannot be otherwise decided, and patiently
         listening to the honest and friendly Advice of
         Master and Fellows, when they would prevent
         your from going to Law with Strangers, or would
         excite you to put a speedy Period to all Law
         Suits, that so you may mind the Affair of
         Masonry with the more Alacrity and Success;
         but with respect to Brothers or Fellows at Law,
         the Master and Brethren should kindly offer their
         Mediation, which ought to be thankfull
         submitted to by the contending Brethren, and if
         that submission is impracticable, they must
         however carry on their Process, or Law-suit,
         without Wrath and Rancor (not in the common
         way), saying or doing nothing which may hinder
         Brotherly Love, and good Offices to be renew'd
         and continu'd; that all may see the benign
         Influence of Masonry, as all true Masons have
         done from the Beginning of the World, and will
         do to the End of Time.

                      Amen so mote it be.
 
 
 

        The above Charges, including the original spelling, punctuation,
     and capitalization are extracted directly from the Ancient Constitutions
   published in 1723, and adopted by most Grand Lodges throughout the world.



 
 

                                  ~ 1 ~

            The modes of recognition are, of all the
            Landmarks, the most legimate and
            unquestioned. They admit of no variation.
 
 
 

                                  ~ 2 ~

            The division of symbolic Freemasonry into
            three Degrees is a Landmark that has been
            better preserved than almost any other.
 
 
 

                                  ~ 3 ~

            The Legend of the Third Degree is an
            important Landmark, the integrity of
            which has been well preserved. There is
            no Rite of Freemasonry, practiced in any
            country or in any language, in which the
            essential elements of this Legend are not
            taught. Any Rite which should exclude it,
            or materially alter it, would at once, by
            that exclusion or alternation cease to be a
            Masonic Rite.
 
 
 

                                  ~ 4 ~

            The government of the Fraternity by a
            presiding officer called a Grand Master,
            who is elected from the body of the Craft,
            is a fourth Landmark. Many persons
            suppose that the election of a Grand
            Master is held in consequence of a law or
            regulation of a Grand Lodge. Such,
            however, is not the case. The office is
            indebted for its existence to a Landmark
            of the Order.
 
 
 

                                  ~ 5 ~

            The prerogative of the Grand Master to
            preside over every Assembly of the Craft,
            wheresoever and whensoever held, is a
            fifth Landmark. It is in consequence of
            this Landward, derived from ancient
            usages, that the Grand Master assumes the
            chair at every Communication of a Grand
            Lodge; and that he is also entitled to
            preside at the communication of every
            subordinate Lodge where he may happen
            to be present.
 
 
 

                                  ~ 6 ~

            The prerogative of the Grand Master to
            grant Dispensations for conferring Degrees
            at irregular times is another very important
            Landmark. The statutory law of
            Freemasonry requires a month, or other
            determinate period, to elapse between the
            presentation of a petition and the election
            of a candidate. But the Grand Master has
            the power to set aside or dispense with this
            probation, and to allow a candidate to be
            initiated at once. This prerogative he
            possessed before the enactment of the law
            requiring a probation, and as no statute
            can impair his prerogative, he still retains
            this power.
 
 
 

                                  ~ 7 ~

            The prerogative of the Grand Master to
            give Dispensations for opening and
            holding Lodges is another Landmark. He
            may grant in virtue of this, to a sufficnent
            number of Freemasons, the privilege of
            meeting together and conferring Degrees.
            The Lodges thus established are called
            Lodges Under Dispensation.
 
 
 

                                  ~ 8 ~

            The prerogative of the Grand Master to
            make Freemasons at sight is an Ancient
            Landmark which is closely connected with
            the preceding one.
 
 
 

                                  ~ 9 ~

            The necessity for Freemasons to
            congregate in Lodges is another
            Landmark. From time immemorial, the
            Landmarks of the Order always prescribed
            that Freemasons should, from time to time,
            congregate together for the purpose of
            either Operative or Speculative labor, and
            that these Congregations should be called
            Lodges. Formerly, these were
            extemporary meetings called together for
            special purposes, and then dissolved, the
            Brethren departing to meet again at other
            times and other places, according to the
            necessity of circumstances. But Warrants
            of Constitution, by-laws, and permanent
            officers are modern innovations wholly
            outside of the Landmarks, and dependent
            entirely on special enactments of a
            comparatively recent period.
 
 
 

                                 ~ 10 ~

            The government of the Craft, when so
            congregated in a Lodge, by a Master and
            two Wardens is a Landmark. A
            Congregation of Freemasons meeting
            together under any other government, as
            that, for instance, of a president and
            vice-president, or a chairman and
            subchairman, would not be recognized as a
            Lodge. The presence of a Master and two
            Wardens is as essential to the valid
            organization of a Lodge as a Warrant of
            Constitution is at the present day. The
            names of these three officers vary in
            different languages; but the officers, their
            number, prerogatives, and duties are
            everywher identical.
 
 
 

                                 ~ 11 ~

            The necessity that every Lodge, when
            congregated, should be duly tiled, is an
            important Landmark of the Institution
            which is never neglected. The necessity of
            this law arises from the esoteric character
            of Freemasonry. The duty of guarding the
            door, and keeping off cowans and
            eavesdroppers, is an ancient one.
 
 
 

                                 ~ 12 ~

            The right of every Freemason to be
            represented in all general meetings of the
            Craft, and to instruct his representatives, is
            a twelfth Landmark. Formerly, these
            general meetings, which were usually held
            once a year, were called General
            Assemblies, and all the Fraternity, even to
            the youngest Entered Apprentice, were
            permitted to be present. Now they are
            called Grand Lodges, and only the Masters
            and Wardens of the subordinate Lodges
            are summoned. But this is simply as the
            representatives of their members.
            Originally, each Freemason represented
            himself; now he is represented by the
            officers of his Lodge.
 
 
 

                                 ~ 13 ~

            The right of every Freemason to appeal
            from the decision of his Brethren, in
            Lodge convened, to the Grand Lodge or
            General Assembly of Freemasons, is a
            Landmark highly essential to the
            preservation of justice, and the prevention
            of oppression.
 
 
 

                                 ~ 14 ~

            The right of every Freemason to visit and
            sit in every regular Lodge is an
            unquestionable Landmark of the Order.
            This is called the Right of Visitation. This
            right of visitation has always been
            recognized as an inherent right which
            inures to every Freemason as he travels
            through the world. And this is because
            Lodges are justly considered as only
            divisions for convenience of the universal
            Masonic family.
 
 
 

                                 ~ 15 ~

            It is a Landmark of the Order, that no
            visitor unknown to the Brethren present,
            or to some one of them as a Freemason,
            can enter a Lodge without first passing an
            examination according to ancient usage. If
            the visitor is known to any Brother present
            to be a Freemason in good standing, and if
            that Brother will vouch for his
            qualifications, the examination may be
            dispensed with, as the Landmark refers
            only to the cases of strangers, who are not
            to be recognized unless after strict trial,
            due examination or lawful information.
 
 
 

                                 ~ 16 ~

            No Lodge can interfere in the business of
            another Lodge, nor give Degrees to
            Brethren who are members of other
            Lodges. This Landmark is founded on the
            great principles of courtesy and fraternal
            kindness, which are at the very foundation
            of our Institution.
 
 
 

                                 ~ 17 ~

            It is a Landmark that every Freemason is
            amenable to the laws and regulations of
            the Masonic Jurisdiction in which he
            resides, and this although he may not be a
            member of any Lodge in that Jurisdiction.
 
 
 

                                 ~ 18 ~

            Certain qualifications of candidates for
            initiation are derived from a Landmark of
            the Order. These qualifications are that he
            shall be a man, unmutilated, free born, and
            of mature age.
 
 
 

                                 ~ 19 ~

            A belief in the existence of God as the
            Great Architect of the Universe, is one of
            the most important Landmarks of the
            Order. It has always been admitted that a
            denial of the existence of a Supreme and
            Superintending Power is an absolute
            disqualification for initiation. The annals
            of the Order nver have furnished or could
            furnish an instance in which an avowed
            Athiest was ever made a Freemason. The
            very initiatory ceremonies of the First
            Degree forbid and prevent the possibility
            of such an occurrence.
 
 
 

                                 ~ 20 ~

            Subsidiary to this belief in God, as a
            Landmark of the Order, is the belief in a
            resurrection to a future life.
 
 
 

                                 ~ 21 ~

            It is a Landmark that a Book of the Law
            shall constitute an indespensable part of
            the furniture of every Lodge. It is not
            absolutely a requirement that the Old and
            New Testamets be used. The Book of the
            Law is that volume which, by the religion
            of the country, is believed to contain the
            revealed will of the Great Architect of the
            Universe. Hence, in all Lodges in Christian
            countries, the Book of the Law is
            composed of the Old and New
            Testaments; in a country where Judaism is
            the prevailing faith, the Old Testament
            alone would be sufficient; and in a
            Mohammedan countries, and among
            Mohammedan Freemasons, the Koran
            may be substituted. Freemasonry does not
            attempt to interfere with the particular
            religious faith of its disciples, except so far
            as it relates to the belief in the existence of
            God, and what necessarily results from
            that belief. The Book of Law is to the
            Speculative Freemason his spiritual
            Trestleboard; without this he cannot labor;
            whatever he belies to be the revealed will
            of the Great Architect constitutes for him
            in his hours of speculative labor, to be the
            rule and guide of his conduct. The
            Landmark, therefore, requires that a Book
            of the Law, a religious code of some kind
            as the revealed will of God, shall form an
            essential part of the furniture of every
            Lodge.
 
 
 

                                 ~ 22 ~

            The equality of all Freemasons is another
            Landmark of the Order. This equality has
            not reference to any subversion of those
            graduations of rank which have been
            instituted by the usages of society. The
            monarch, the nobleman and the common
            laborer are all equal within Freemasonry.
 
 
 

                                 ~ 23 ~

            The secrecy of the Institution is another
            and most important Landmark. If the
            Instituion were divest of its secret
            character, it would cease to be
            Freemasonry. This secrecy is based on the
            forms and modes of recognition so that
            one Freemason may know another.
 
 
 

                                 ~ 24 ~

            The foundation of a Speculative Science
            upon an Operative Art, and the sumbolic
            use and explanation of ther terms of that
            art, for the purposes of religious or moral
            teaching constitute another Landmark of
            the Order. The Temple of Solomon is the
            symbolic cradle of the Institution, and,
            therefore, the reference to the Operative
            Masonry which constructed that
            magnificent edifice, to the materials and
            implements which were employed in its
            construction, and to the artists who were
            engaged in the building, are all component
            and essential parts of the body of
            Freemasonry, which could not be
            subtracted from it without an entire
            destruction of the whole identity of the
            Order.
 
 
 

                                 ~ 25 ~

            The last and crowning Landmark of all is,
            that these Landmarks can never be
            changed. Nothing can be subtracted from
            them -- nothing can be added to them --
            not the slightest modification can be made
            in them. As they were received from our
            predecessors, we are bound by the most
            solemn obligations of duty to transmit
            them to our successors.
 
 
 

       The above descriptions of The Ancient Landmarks Of Freemasonry
           were taken directly from Mackey's Revised Encyclopedia.
   Mackey's compilation of these Ancient Landmarks is considered by many to
       be one of the most authoritative sources of information on this topic.


                         Masonic Creed
         Freemasonry teaches the universal principle of
         unselfish friendship and promotes those moral
         precepts which are in keeping with all great
         faiths.

         In pursuing this doctrine, the following, though
         not exclusive, is considered to be basic.
 

 

                        Masonic Beliefs
 
                 Mankind was created by one God.
 
                 This one God is the author of all life.
 
                 God's existence is revealed to man through faith
                 and the Book of Holy Scriptures.
 
                 The Book of Holy Scriptures is the Ultimate
                 Authority or Great Light of Freemasonry.
 
                 The soul of man is immortal.
 
                 Man's commitment to Divine Providence
                 determines his destiny.
 
                 Considering the universality of Freemasonry, its
                 teachings cannot be defined in a single statement
                 or established profile. The following is considered
                 to be representative of its fundamental precepts.
 

 

                      Masonic Teachings
 
                 Man's first duty is to love and revere God,
 
                 Implore His aid in all laudable undertakings,
 
                 Seek His guidance through prayer,
 
                 Embrace and practice the tenets of religion,
 
                 Extend charity and sympathy to all mankind,
 
                 Shield and support the widow and orphan,
 
                 Defend virtue,
 
                 Respect the aged,
 
                 Honor the bonds of friendship,
 
                 Protect the helpless,
 
                 Lift up the oppressed,
 
                 Comfort the downcast,
 
                 Restore dignity to the rejected,
 
                 Respect the laws of government,
 
                 Promote morality, and
 
                 Add to the common stock of humanity's
                 knowledge and understanding.



To The
                                      New Masons
                                           Lady

 

               A man in your family has received his First degree in the Masonic Fraternity. He is
               now an Entered Apprentice and you are now a Mason's Lady. We take this
               opportunity to extend our first greeting to you. While you personally have not
               joined our organization, there are certain things that may be helpful for you to know
               in the future. At the same time, the are matters of general interest about your
               Mason and his new Fraternity that we think you would like to know.
 
 
 

                                     WHEN AND WHERE
                                      DID IT BEGIN ?

               The Fraternity of Free and Accepted Masons (F.&A.M.) is the oldest, largest and
               most widely known fraternal organization in the world. It has its roots in antiquity
               and is directly descended from the association of "operative masons," the cathedral
               builders of the Middle Ages, who traveled through Europe employing the skills of
               their craft. The organization, as we know it today, began in 1717 in England when
               cathederal building was on the decline and the "operative masons," or "free
               masons" as they were known, started to accept members who were not members
               of the mason's craft, calling them "speculative masons" or "accepted masons."

               Freemasonry was brought to the United States by our early settlers. Today, there
               are over 700 Masonic Lodges in New York with membership totaling nearly
               90,000. Through out the world, there are approximately five million Masons, with
               nearly three million of them in the United States.

                        WHAT IS THE PURPOSE OF FREEMASONRY ?

               The basic purpose is to make "better men out of good men"; better fathers, better
               husbands, better brothers, and sons. We try to place emphasis on the individual
               man by strengthening his character, improving his moral and spiritual outlook and
               broadening his mental horizons. We try to build a better world . . . by building
               better men to work in their own communities.

               Membership is limited to adult males who can meet recognized qualifications and
               standards of character and reputation.
 
 
 

                                    IS FREEMASONRY A
                                  SECRET ORGANIZATION
                                     OR A RELIGION ?

               The answer is NO. A secret organization is one which conceals its membership,
               has secret meeting places and which the public has little knowledge regarding its
               organization or its principles. This does not fit the Masonic Fraternity at all. Our
               secrets a very few in number and deal with methods of personal recognition, some
               details of our degrees and privacy of each member's ballot.

               Freemasonry is not a religion, although it is religious in character. Every applicant
               for Masonry must express a belief and a trust in God. Masonry does not take the
               place of religion, but stresses the personal commitment and involvement in the
               individual faith of each member.

                                 WHAT ARE THE DEGREES ?

               Lessons in Masonry are taught in three separate stages in our Masonic Lodges.
               The degrees, in order are Entered Apprentice (first degree), Fellowcraft (second
               degree), and Master Mason (third degree). Each blends Masonic moral philosophy
               in a unique lesson which is intended to have a serious impact and influence on the
               man who receives the degree.
 
 

                                    WHAT ARE MASONIC
                                         APRONS?

               The symbolic apron was worn by operative masons to protect themselves from
               rough stones and tools. Presently, it is a badge of fraternal distinction. It represents
               the white lambskin, a symbol of innoncence. Some decorations may appear on
               Masonic Aprons and often designate an officer or special recognition. All are,
               however, a proud display of membership in this world-wide Fraternity.

                                    WHAT DO MASONIC
                                     SYMBOLS MEAN ?

               The most widely recognized symbol of the Fraternity is the Square and Compasses
               with the letter "G" in the center.

 

               Members wear it to remind themselves of their obligation to the lessons learned in
               their Lodges, and to identify their membership to other Masons and all people.
               Masonic symbols have wide meanings, some directly related to the tools used by
               actual operative masons and some, represent the need for order and direction in
               life. The letter "G" represents God, the Supreme Architect of the Universe.
 
 
 

                                   WHEN ARE MEETINGS
                                          HELD ?

               Lodges meet in regular monthly sessions and on such other days as are necessary
               to conduct its business and ritualistic work. While every Mason's attendance is
               earnestly solicited, yet it is not intended that a Lodge should interfere with one's
               regular vocation or duty to family, God, or country.

               Your Mason has invested time and money in joining our Fraternity. He can best
               receive all that he should by frequently participating in its deliberations and events.
               We hope that you will approve and encourage him to attend regularly, and we
               hope also, that you, too, will join us whenever possible for the guest activities held
               by the Lodge.

                                SHOULD I CONTACT ANYONE
                                    WHEN MY MASON IS
                                  ILL OR HOSPITALIZED ?

               In the event our member becomes ill, we would appreciate knowing. You may call
               the Master or Secretary of his Lodge. Your Mason has joined an organization
               which wants to assist him and you when in need, and we need your help to do it.
 
 

                                      WHAT CAN YOUR
                                    INVOLVEMENT BE ?

               Countless opportunities abound through active participation and membership in any
               of the numerous Masonic-related ladies' organizations. You are encouraged to
               share in many social activities, parties, dinners, dances, tours, civic events, and
               charitable efforts of the Lodge. Many full family activities are regularly scheduled.
               Non-Masonic friends and families may also take part in many Masonically
               supported programs.

               We hope you will be proud that your husband has chosen to become a member of
               the world's oldest and best fraternity. We welcome you as a "Mason's Lady."