What Is Freemasonry?

Freemasonry, sometimes just called Masonry, is the world’s oldest and largest Fraternity. It aims to promote Friendship, Morality, and Brotherly Love among its members – men from every race, religion, opinion, and background – who are brought together as Brothers to develop and strengthen the bonds of friendship. There are more than 3 million members meeting in nearly every free country in the world. Freemasonry proposes to “make good men better” by teaching – with metaphors taken from geometry and architecture – about building values based on great universal truths.

Where can I get more information about the Freemasons?

The best way to get information is to talk to a Mason. You can ask questions of real Freemasons by utilizing our contact page.  You may have some of the same questions as those below – so please feel free to take a look at the rest of the FAQs.

What are the requirements to become a Mason?

  1. You are an adult male of good character and recommended by a Mason.
  2. You believe in a single, Supreme Being – no atheist can become a Mason (however, we are not concerned with theological distinctions or your particular religious beliefs.)
  3. You are interested in becoming a Mason because you hold a favorable opinion of our institution; and, your decision to apply is based on your own “free will and accord.” No one will compel you to join.

How do I become a Freemason?

Because Masons have not traditionally recruited members, and do not hold public meetings, there has long been confusion about how to join the Fraternity. Does someone ask you? Do you ask?

If you meet the requirements above, it is really quite simple:

Most men can become a Mason by simply asking – like Washington, Franklin, and most every Mason from the past to the present day. In general, men seek out a Lodge near their home or work or they ask a Mason to recommend a Lodge to them. However, Phoenix Lodge is different. We have members from across New Hampshire who are all in pursuit of ‘more.’ Whether it be more knowledge, more understanding, more study…simply, more.

What if I don’t know a Mason who can recommend me?

If you don’t know anyone who is a Mason and you are a complete stranger to all of the members of Phoenix Lodge, you are going to want to take some time getting to know them. They are going to want to take some time getting to know you too. Once you are ready to ask, a member of the Lodge will sign your petition.

What are the time and/or financial commitments of being a Mason?

Time: Becoming a Master Mason in Phoenix Lodge will take you around a year and a half from the time you complete your petition and questionnaire until you have finished your degrees. Until you take your degrees though, very little is asked of you. Once the degree work begins you will need to attend Phoenix Lodge’s communications. There is also the additional work of learning and reciting a lesson as well as writing a paper for presentation in the lodge. Every member of the Fraternity has gone through this or a similar process and Phoenix Lodge will assign a Brother to help you.  Once you have completed your three degrees, we expect you’d attend our lodge’s “Stated Communication” or regular meeting. Sometimes there will be a special meeting in an off month, and beyond that, there are other activities going on in the community and around our great state which we would always encourage you to attend. Like many things, you get out of Freemasonry what you put into it; although we also recognize and understand the need for balance between family, work or school, and other interests or commitments.

Cost: There are some costs involved, like initiation fees and dues. The initiation fee is $360. That $360 will cover the costs of the educational materials and other initiatory expenses. You will pay the initiation fee once and it will cover all of your meetings until you become a Master Mason, after which the dues in Phoenix Lodge are $360 annually.

Where did Freemasonry come from?

Part of the mystique of Freemasonry can be attributed to speculation about its roots. Over the years, historians have never been able to conclusively determine exactly when, where, how, and why Freemasonry was formed.

The order is thought to have arisen from the English and Scottish guilds of practicing stonemasons and cathedral builders in the Middle Ages. Some Masonic authors trace the sciences of geometry and masonry to the time of ancient Egypt, and some historians say that Masonry has its real roots in antiquity.

The formation of the first Grand Lodge in London in 1717 marks the beginning of the Modern (or “Speculative”) era of Freemasonry, when members were no longer limited to actual working stonemasons. These “Free” and “Accepted” Masons adopted more enlightened philosophies, and turned what was a tradesmen’s organization into a fraternity for moral edification, intellectual recitation, benevolent service, and gentlemanly socialization.

Why is there so much interest in Masonry today?

Over the last four centuries, Freemasonry seems to have flourished during times of great enlightenment and change. It is no coincidence that Freemasonry rose to prominence during the Age of Enlightenment in both Europe and America. That was the time when a new generation believed it could discover ways to gain personal improvement, bring order to society, and understand the whole universe. This statement is perhaps even stronger today than it was in the 18th century.

Today, men seek out Masonry for the same reasons – to better themselves and improve society in the company of like-minded Brothers. As we learn more about how our physical world works, there’s also new interest in those things we don’t understand – especially things bound by tradition or that have a more mystical nature. Also, books like The Da Vinci Code and movies like National Treasure have brought up both new interest and renewed speculation about the nature of the Fraternity. Though these books and movies are a product more of a vivid imagination than fact, the real history of Masonry is perhaps the best story of all; one learned only by asking – and becoming a Freemason.

What are the benefits of becoming a Mason?

There are numerous benefits to being a Mason, but they tend to be personal, and quite varied. The benefits can only be truly discovered by becoming a member. But we can try and give you an idea. Without question you will have the opportunity to experience camaraderie and fellowship with a group of men across the boundaries of age, race, religion, culture, and opinion. This is a fundamental concept to the Fraternity. Many find great value and knowledge in our ritual ceremony – it uses symbolism and metaphors to encourage and remind us to appreciate principles, ethics, and morality, and to live our lives accordingly. Others find great satisfaction in charitable efforts, community service, and the support the fraternity provides. Finally, for those who take on leadership positions within their lodge, they have the chance to develop or further very practical management skills.

Can Freemasonry actually prepare me for greatness?

No organization can guarantee to make anyone great, the capacity and motivation must come from the individual. But the powerful values and important truths that are taught as part of the Masonic tradition have proven to inspire, challenge, and develop leadership in men throughout the centuries. Benjamin Franklin may have said it best, describing the Fraternity as a place to “prepare himself.” Today, men are preparing themselves for greatness in Lodges the world over. If you think there’s greatness in you, we invite your interest.

Is Masonry a Religion?

Masonry is not a religion. But because it is open to all men who believe in a Supreme Being, it is one of the few platforms where men of all faiths – Christians (including Catholics), Jews, Muslims, and men of other faiths can come together. Religion, though, is not discussed at Masonic meetings. Although Lodges open and close with a prayer and Masonry teaches morality, it is neither a church nor a religion. Masonry does not have a theology or a dogma, it does not offer sacraments, and it does not offer the promise of salvation.

Is Freemasonry a charity?

No. Masonic principles teach the value of relief and Freemasons give to charitable causes, along with countless man hours. That being said, Freemasonry is about the individual Mason, and finding the afore mentioned greatness in one’s self.

Is Masonry a secret society?

No. It is sometimes said that Freemasonry is a “Society with secrets, not a secret society.” In truth, 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. Benjamin Franklin once said, “The great secret of Freemasonry is that there is no secret at all.” But some say the one great secret of Freemasonry…is finding out who you really are.

What about secret handshakes, ritual, and passwords?

Freemasonry, often called the “Craft” by its members, employs metaphors of architecture. Following the practice of the ancient stonemason guilds, Freemasons use special handshakes, words, and symbols to not only to identify each other, but to help, as William Preston said in 1772, “imprint upon the memory wise and serious truths.” And although every Freemason takes an obligation (and vows to keep the secrets of Masonry) it doesn’t matter to him that you can find the secrets in print; what matters is that he keeps his promise. And the secrets he is protecting are only used to help Masons become better men; and there’s certainly no secret surrounding what it takes to be good and true.

What is Masonic “ritual?”

The nature of Masonic ritual is both complex and beautiful. “Ritual” is a formal ceremony of initiation which recites certain tenets and truths that have been passed down for generations. This “Ritual” takes the form of lectures and theater in the Lodge, and is used to teach new Masons the value of true friendship, the benefits of knowledge, and the necessity of helping those in need. It speaks to the power and impact our ritual has on men’s hearts and minds because it has stood the test of time for more than 300 years. Although our world has changed dramatically during that time, our ritual is virtually the same. Not everyone will want to learn the ancient ritual – as it takes great time and study – but those Masons who chose to learn it are rewarded with the satisfaction of upholding a great tradition and helping their fellow brothers further their Masonic understanding.

Finally…

Just because the secrets have been made public doesn’t mean everyone knows the mystery of Masonry. In fact, much of the appeal of the Craft is that the great truths revealed in Masonic ritual can take years to understand. Like the building of any great structure, the powerful metaphors and symbols of Masonry build character, and sometimes greatness, one stone at a time.

 

 

We invite you to contact us!

You may reach our lodge Master at master@nhphoenix105.org or Secretary at dasheridan49@gmail.com and we will respond to you shortly thereafter.