FREQUENTLY ASKED QUESTIONS ABOUT MASONRY
1. What is a Freemason?
A member of the Masonic Fraternity.
2. What is the Masonic Fraternity?
The oldest and largest fraternal organization in the world. It has existed in its present form since 1717.
3. How do you become a member?
Freemasons do not solicit members. A candidate must apply of his own free will and accord.
4. Does Freemasonry have religious or racial restrictions?
Racial or ethnic background, color of skin or religious belief are not to be considered when a applicant applies for the degrees. The membership includes men of all races and religions, all around the world.
5. Is Masonry a religion?
Masonry is a fraternity, not a religion. Masonry acknowledges the existence of God, but Masonry does not tell a person which religion he should practice or how he should practice it. Sometimes people confuse Masonry with a religion because we call some Masonic buildings "temples."
6. Is Freemasonry political?
No. Masonry does not support any political candidate. The discussion of partisan politics within a Lodge is forbidden, but Freemasons are encouraged to be good citizens.
7. What charities does California Freemasonry support?
The Masonic Home for Adults at Union City and at Covina, are supported completely with financial contributions from Masons. There are, in addition, numerous local projects which Lodges support throughout the year.
8. What are the principal teachings of Freemasonry?
Brotherly love, relief and truth. The fraternity seeks to make good men better.
9. What is a degree?
A degree is a stage or level of membership. It's also the ceremony by which a man attains that level of membership.
10. What are the degrees in Masonry?
There are 3, called Entered Apprentice, Fellowcraft and Master Mason. As you can see, the names are taken from the craft guilds of the Middle Ages when a person who joins a craft such as carpenters, goldsmiths or stonemasons is first apprenticed where he learns the tools and skills of the trade.
Each degree uses symbols to teach the great lessons of life-the importance of honor and integrity, of being a person on whom others can rely, of knowing how to be love and be loved, of being both trusting and trustworthy, of realizing that you have a spiritual nature as well as physical or animal nature, of the importance of self-control and subduing your passions, of knowing that a person's faith, whatever it may be, is central to a good life.
11. Why is Masonry so secretive?
Masons certainly don't make a secret of the fact that we are members of the fraternity. We wear rings, lapel pins, and tie clasps with Masonic emblems like the Square and Compass. Masonic buildings are clearly marked, and are usually listed in the phone book. Lodge activities are not secret - events are often listed in the newspapers, especially in smaller towns.
There are two traditional categories of secrets. First are the ways in which a man can identify himself as a Mason: grips and passwords. This is the same for any fraternity. Second are Masonic ceremonies, which are private (for members only) but are not secret.
12. Why does Masonry use symbols?
Everyone uses symbols every day because it allows us to communicate quickly. In fact, using symbols is probably the oldest method of communication and teaching. Masons use symbols for the same reasons. Certain symbols, mostly selected from the art of architecture, stand for certain ethics and principles of the organization. The "Square and Compass" is the most widely known symbol of Masonry. In one way, this symbol is the trademark for the fraternity. When you see it on a building, you know that Masons meet there.
13. How do you become a Mason?
The requirements to becoming a Mason are; a male over the age of 18, have a belief in a Supreme Being, of good moral character, and YOU must request to join a Lodge of Freemasons