FREEMASONRY – WHAT IS IT?
Freemasonry means many things to many people. This is true not only of the person who is not a Mason, but applies to Masons themselves. Some of those who have been members of the Masonic Craft for many years are afraid to mention even the things which almost everyone knows about the fraternity. Others among us are convinced that FREEMASONRY is a secret society and that they, as members, are forbidden to talk about it to others whom they do not know to be Masons. Most of this is far from the truth and a word of explanation concerning this Fraternal organization may not be amiss. FREEMASONRY IS A FRATERNITY. (Keep in mind that this is what FREEMASONIC LEADERS SAY Masonry is all about).
FREEMASONRY is the oldest, and by far, the largest fraternal order in the world. Its lodges stretch around the globe and, like the British Empire, it might well be said that the sun never sets on the Masonic Lodge. Fraternity means an association of friends and brothers, and that is exactly what Freemasonry is – a society of friends and brothers. It is not a benefit society in the sense that one becomes a member of it because of the insurance benefits which he may receive or which may insure to his family at his death. It is not an eleemosynary institution (a charitable institution), founded to collect and disburse charity or founded on the giving of alms.
It is not a secret society in that its Temples are openly marked and almost everyone in the community knows where they are located. The Grand Lodge publishes a list of the members of every lodge of its State. Many of the lodges have individual bulletins which carry the names of officers and of members as well. Thus it is, ii’ the strictest sense of the world, a society with secrets and these are limited to its obligation, its modes of recognition, and is the Tiller which guards the Lodge from intrusion.