TOP TEN MOST ASKED QUESTIONS ABOUT MASONRY
Published by the Grand Lodge of Pennsylvania
The formation of the first Grand Lodge of England in 1717 could mark the beginning of the Modern (or "Speculative") era of Freemasonry, when members were no longer limited to actual working stonemasons. These "Accepted" Masons eventually 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.
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 around 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.
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 early days the Fraternity took itself out of the "rehabilitation" game -- which became the purvey of both religion and the criminal justice system.
Today, men are preparing themselves for greatness in Lodges the world over. If you think there's greatness in you, we invite your interest.
Most men can become a Mason by simply asking – like Washington, Franklin, and most every Mason from the past to the present day. Membership is open to men of every race, religion, culture, and level of income. The requirements for membership are that you be over the age of 18, believe in Supreme Being, and can be found to be of good character. The belief in a Supreme Being is said to be a requirement that is needed to take certain oaths, otherwise "no obligation would be binding upon you."
Generally, men seek out a Lodge near their home or workplace, or ask someone they know who is a Mason to recommend a Lodge to them.
Not all men can become Masons, however. Masonry does not purport to make "bad men good," only "good men better." Only men of good character are accepted into the Fraternity. Masonic lodges review every applicant's moral character – and the centuries-old "blackball" system is still in place; members must be voted in by a 100% vote of Lodge members present.