WHAT IS FREEMASONRY?
Freemasonry means different things to each of those who join.
Freemasonry is the leading fraternal organization in the world. Its origins are lost in the unrecorded history of medieval times, but it formally organized in London, England, in 1717. Current worldwide membership totals over 3 million members, 1.1 million of whom are in North America. With 75,000 Masons and 450 local Lodges, Ohio has one of the largest Masonic memberships of any state in the country.
As a fraternal organization, Freemasonry unites men of good character who, though of different religious, ethnic or social backgrounds, share a belief in the fatherhood of God and the brotherhood of mankind.
Freemasonry is one of the world’s oldest and largest non-religious, non-political, fraternal and charitable organizations. It teaches self-knowledge through participation in a progression of ceremonies. Members are expected to be of high moral standing and are encouraged to speak openly about Freemasonry.
Freemasonry is a society of men with high moral and spiritual values. Its members are taught its principles (moral lessons and self-knowledge) which follow ancient forms, and use stonemasons’ customs and tools as allegorical guides.
Freemasonry instills in its members a moral and ethical approach to life: its values are based on integrity, kindness, honesty and fairness. Members are urged to regard the interests of the family as paramount but, importantly, Freemasonry also teaches concern for people, care for the less fortunate and help for those in need, most especially each other within the fraternity.
For many years Freemasons have followed three great principles. Freemasons believe that these principles represent a way of achieving higher standards in life.
Brotherly Love: Every true Freemason will show tolerance and respect for the opinions of others and behave with kindness and understanding to his fellow creatures.
Relief: Freemasons are taught to practice charity and to care, not only for their own, but also for the community as a whole, both by charitable giving and by voluntary efforts and works as individuals.
Truth: Freemasons strive for truth, requiring high morals standards and aiming to achieve them in their own lives.
Freemasonry (or simply, Masonry) is a fraternal order whose basic tenets are brotherly love, relief (philanthropy), and truth. We strive to enjoy the company of our brother Masons, assist them in times of personal trouble, and reinforce essential moral values.
Who are Freemasons?
Many of our nation’s early patriots were Freemasons, as well as 13 signers of the Constitution and 14 Presidents of the United States including George Washington. Today, the more than two million Freemasons around the world come from virtually every occupation and profession. Within the Fraternity, however, they all meet as equals. They come from diverse political ideologies, but they meet as friends. They come from virtually every religious belief, but they all believe in one God. One of the fascinating aspects of Freemasonry has always been: how so many men from so many different walks of life can meet together in peace, never have any political or religious debates, always conduct their affairs in harmony and friendship, and call each other Brother.
Why are we called Freemasons?
The name definitely dates back to the days when Masonry was almost wholly operative in character. Numerous explanations have been suggested, such as (a) masons worked in free stone (which could be carved), and hence were called “free-stone masons”, later shortened to “freemasons” (b) they were free men, not serfs; (c) they were free to move from place to place as they might desire; (d) they were given the freedom of the towns or localities in which they worked; (e) they were free of the rules and regulations
What are these things called “Ceremonies?”
The experience of becoming a member of a Masonic Lodge is divided into three ceremonial stages that Masons call “degrees.” These three degrees are loosely based upon the journeyman system, which was used to educate Medieval Craftsmen. Symbolically, the degrees represent the three stages of human development: youth, manhood and age. Below is a brief descriptor.
1st Degree: Entered Apprentice
This is a candidate’s ﬁrst experience with the ceremonies of the Fraternity, and like all Masonic ceremonies, it is a solemn and meaningful event. Once a candidate completes the Entered Apprentice ceremony, he takes his ﬁrst step as a Freemason and enjoys the title of “Brother.”
2nd Degree: Fellow Craft
The second ceremony exposes a Brother to more of the symbolism and philosophy of the Fraternity. For skilled Craftsmen, this degree would have marked a person’s progress from an apprentice to a journeyman.
3rd. Degree: Master Mason
The last of the Lodge ceremonies, the Master Mason degree, makes a candidate a full member of the Fraternity, enjoying both the rights and responsibilities of membership. The Master Mason has the right to visit lodges throughout the world. He will meet men who would otherwise
During all three ceremonies, a candidate is treated with complete respect. At no time is he ever made to feel uncomfortable or harassed in any way. Masonic ceremonies are a wonderful tradition shared by men such as George Washington, Harry S. Truman, Dave Thomas and other men of integrity. These ceremonies are always conferred in such a way as to bring pride to the candidate and the members of the Lodge.
What was the origin of the expression “Blue Lodges?”
There are several theories, of which two have the most adherents. Some believe that operative Masons felt that blue, the color of the sky both by day and by night, was associated in their minds with the purity of Deity, which Masons attempt to emulate. Others refer to the change made by speculative Masons shortly after the establishment of the original Grand Lodge of England when blue was substituted for white as the official Masonic color, presumably because it was the color of the Order of the Garter of which a number of Masonic leaders were members.
Why are Lodges in some jurisdictions called A.F. & A.M. and others F. & A.M.?
There were two Grand Lodges in England between 1751 and 1813, one was called “Moderns” (actually, the older of the two) and one was called “Ancients.” The latter used the title Ancient Free and Accepted Masons (A.F. & A.M.) while the original Grand Lodge used Free and Accepted Masons (F. & A.M.). Warrants to Lodges in the United States were granted by these two Grand Lodges and thus the differences. Twenty-four Grand Jurisdictions in the United States use A.F. & A.M., twenty-five use F. & A.M., South Carolina uses A.F.M. and the Grand Lodge of the District of Columbia uses F.A.A.M.
What are the qualifications of a petitioner for Freemasonry?
That he believes in the Supreme Architect of the Universe (by whatever name He may be called); that he applies for initiation and membership of his own free will and accord; that he is recommended* by a Member of the Lodge to which he desires to apply; that he is of good character; that he be a man, and of mature age (19 in Ohio.)
(*) To help further explain “recommended”: If you do not know any members of Sunrise Lodge No. 783 this will be done via a Member on your behalf should you formally petition the Lodge, after you conclude any initial discussions and/or question period prior.
What benefits will I enjoy if I become a member?
Masonry is not about getting benefits. Masonry is about what you can do for others. As brothers we offer each other fraternal affection and respect. Together we will support each other in adherence to this creed, so that we and our communities will be the better because of our fraternity and its principles.
For members there are two basic forms of meetings which take place in a lodge. The most common is: a simple business meeting. To open and close these meetings there is a ceremony whose purpose is to remind us of the virtues by which we are supposed to live. Then there is a reading of the minutes; voting on petitions (applications of men who want to join the fraternity); planning for charitable functions, family events, and other lodge activities; and sharing information about members (called “Brothers”) who are ill or have some sort of need. The other kind of meeting is one in which men become a part of the fraternity, one at which the “degrees” are performed. These may include any part or all of the above, along with other, more dedicated/ceremonial aspects.
But every lodge serves more than its own members. Frequently, there are meetings open to the public. Examples are: public installations of officers, cornerstone laying ceremonies, and other special meetings supporting community events and dealing with topics of local interest.
So if this sounds of interest to you, and you would like to pursue your options or interest further, please complete the form below. And on behalf of the Officers and Members of Sunrise Lodge No. 783, thank you for your interest.
Please Note: You may enter in the supplied “Message box” what mode of contact (e.g., email or telephone) that works best for you, as well as if there’s a best time range (e.g., after 12:00, or 6:00PM et cetera) or day e.g., M-F or weekends, again, et cetera. Or, you can just leave it blank and we’ll use common sense discretion.