1) Where can I get more information about the Freemasons?
The best way to get information is to talk to a Mason - either in person or online. You may have some of the same questions as those below - so take a look at the FAQ's.
If you want more historical information, Mark Tabbert's book, American Freemasons, is a good place to start. More lighthearted, yet accurate and thorough, is Freemasons for Dummies by Christopher Hodapp. Still another excellent resource is the Complete Idiot's Guide to Freemasonry by S. Brent Morris.
All three of these books are available in your local library or bookstore, or you may find them at online stores like Amazon and Borders.
2) Can Freemasonry actually make me a better person?
No organization can guarantee to make anyone better, but the timeless values and important truths that are taught as part of the Masonic tradition have proven to inspire, challenge, and develop moral, social and leadership qualities in men. The best known American Mason, George Washington, personifies the application of the Fraternity's character-building principles in one's life.
Perhaps one of the things that has kept Masonry a strong and vital organization for so long is the fact that the Fraternity proposed only to "make good men better," not to make bad men good. This distinction is critical in that from its earliest days the Craft wisely refrained from involving itself in rehabilitation programs, which more appropriately gave remained the purview of both religion and the criminal justice system.
Today, good men from every walk of life are striving to improve themselves in Masonic Lodges the world over. If you would like to become part of this honorable tradition, we welcome your interest.
3) Is Masonry a secret society?
No. It is sometimes said that Freemasonry is a "society with secrets, not a secret society." In point of fact, however, any purported Masonic "secrets" were made public several centuries ago in London newspapers, and today can be found in the Library of Congress, on the Internet, and in many books on the subject. As Benjamin Franklin once said, "The great secret of Freemasonry is that there is no secret at all."
4) Is Masonry a Religion?
Masonry is definitely not a religion, and is one of the few forums where men of every religion can come together. And although Lodges open and close with a prayer, and Masonry teaches morality, it is neither a church nor a religious body, and a member's religious beliefs are his own affair. Masonry is open to all men who believe in a Supreme Being; because of the necessity to take oaths, no atheist can become a Mason.
5) I heard Catholics cannot become Masons, is that true?
Freemasonry has always welcomed members of any faith, including Catholics. Today, there are many, many Catholics - as well as Protestants, Jews, Muslims, and members of almost every other faith, who are proud to call themselves Masons.
6) Were all our early presidents Masons?
No, although many presidents have been Masons throughout history - from George Washington to Gerald Ford. Many of the early leaders of the Revolution were Masons, including Benjamin Franklin, John Hancock, and Paul Revere. The list of prominent men who became Masons before going on to greatness is extensive and underscores the strong civic commitment that many members of the Fraternity exemplify even today.
Frequently Asked Questions
Masonic Lodge #712