An old  Masonic apron.

Mackey’s Masonic Encyclopedia

About Masonry

Rosslyn Chapel

Freemasonry is kindness in the home; honesty in business; courtesy toward others; dependability in one's work; compassion for the unfortunate; resistance to evil; help for the weak; concern for good government; support for public education; and above all, a life-practicing reverence for God and love of fellow man.

It encourages good citizenship and political expression but is not a political organization. Its charitable activities are manifold, yet, it is not a welfare or benefit organization.

Fifty years ago, a prominent Freemason referred to our Gentle Craft as "an organized association of men, symbolically applying the principles of operative Masonry and architecture to the science and art of character building." That observance was true in l937 as it is just as true today.

For the most relevant definition of our Fraternity, it is suggested that you consider the personal attributes of your Masonic friend who has made this brochure available to you.

WHERE DID IT START?

The background of today's Masonry is found deep in the time when men built the cathedrals, abbeys, and castles of medieval Europe. The stonemasons who created these awe-inspiring Gothic structures formed craft guilds to protect the secrets of their building trade and to pass on their knowledge to worthy and deserving apprentices. By the time the need for this type of "Operative" Mason declined in the Seventeenth Century, the practices and customs of the operative craft had left such an impression that men who had no inclination of being operative builders sought membership. These speculative builders were learned and well-thinking men, men of integrity and good will. With their admission, "speculative Masonry" evolved. This speculative Fraternity of Freemasons used the symbols (tools) which the operative Masons used in Cathedral building as symbols in character building.

The two principal tools were the Square and Compass-which together form the most familiar Masonic "trademark" in the world to this day. The letter "G", in the very center of this emblem, reflects the true Masonic belief that God is the very center of ALL life.


WHAT ARE THE REQUIREMENTS FOR MEMBERSHIP?

Twenty-two words establish the most important prerequisite to becoming a Mason. " . . . We receive none, knowingly, into our ranks who are not moral and upright before God and of good repute before the world…”