Masonry (or Freemasonry) is the oldest fraternity in the world. No one knows just how old it is because the actual origins have been lost in time. Probably, it arose from the guilds of stonemasons who built the castles and cathedrals of the Middle Ages. Possibly, they were influenced by the Knights Templar, a group of Christian warrior monks formed in 1118 to help protect pilgrims making trips to the Holy Land.
In 1717, Masonry created a formal organization in England when the first Grand Lodge was formed. A Grand Lodge is the administrative body in charge of Masonry in some geographical area. In the United States, there is a Grand Lodge in each state. In Canada, there is a Grand Lodge in each province. Local organizations of Masons are called lodges. There are lodges in most towns, and large cities usually have several. There are about 13,200 lodges in the United States.
Freemasonry now exists in various forms all over the world, with a membership estimated at around six million, including approximately 150,000 under the jurisdictions of the Grand Lodge of Scotland and Grand Lodge of Ireland, over a quarter of a million under the jurisdiction of the United Grand Lodge of England, and just under two million in the United States.
Heritage Lodge # 371 is a F&AM lodge under the jurisdiction of the Grand Lodge of the State of New York.
Please visit the Grand Lodge for more info.: www.nymasons.org
Philippe R. Hiolle: In complement to Elias posting, I will also mention the Right Worshipful Brother Webster (DGM of the Grand Lodge of Manitoba): “I believe that the ‘greatest’ secret is what Freemasonry does spiritually to each of us. The changes that happen inside a man when he is accepted, and when he embraces the Masonic teachings and ideals, is special to each of us and lives within our hearts.
“Passwords, signs and grips don’t mean anything without the context of physically going through the degrees of Freemasonry. There are certain elements of Freemasonry that bind us together in a true brotherhood. This is a spirit that breathes into us.
“These ‘secrets’ cannot be read, watched or told. They must be experienced.”
Elias Borjas: Freemansonry to me is a collection of illustrious ideas that have been written in an invisible language. The reader must achieve a level of understanding to read what has been written with eyes closed. The beauty of this language is that it will speak to each man individually.
Steven Rosen: We make good men better