Becoming a Mason
If you have been wondering how you can become a member of this honorable fraternity known as the Masons, all you have to do is ASK. If you are male, an Indiana resident, 18 years of age or older, believe in a Supreme Being and have a good reputation in the community, you could become a member of the world’s oldest and most honorable fraternity. Remember: To Be One, You Must ASK one.
FREEMASONRY is first and foremost a fraternity, striving to make our community a better place to live, and ourselves better men. The brotherhood of man under the fatherhood of God is primary – this means that its activities should always be designed to promote friendship, morality and brotherly love. Freemasonry is a unique institution that has been a major part of community life in America for over two hundred and fifty (250) years. It is America's largest and oldest fraternity, and one that continues to be an important part of many men’s personal lives and growth. Although Freemasonry is not a religion, but its emphasis on the Fatherhood of God ensures that the Brotherhood of Man follows naturally. This coupled with the obligation to abide by the Golden Rule, particularly with a fellow Mason, makes for one of the strongest bonds of society. When you meet another Mason, the odds that he will treat you as you would like to be treated are very high indeed.
Who are Masons?
Freemasons come from all walks of life – from the rich and famous to the poor and obscure. Masons are men who have joined together to improve themselves. The latter is accomplished through the principles and ceremonies of the fraternity and the application of those in their homes, in their work, and in their communities. They endeavor to extend Masonic lessons into their daily lives in order to become positive influences in their homes, communities, nation, and throughout the world. They base their efforts on morality, justice, charity, truth and the laws of God. Worldwide, membership encompasses millions of men who believe and support the same fundamental principles.
What is Masonry?
A generally accepted definition is “Freemasonry is an organized society of men, symbolically applying the principles of Operative Masonry and architecture to the science and art of character building.” The working tools and methods of the ancient craftsman are used to help portray fundamental truths. As an example, let us look at the working tools of the Entered Apprentice, the 24-inch gauge and common gavel. These were used by the operative mason to measure lengths, widths and heights and to break off the corners of rough stones, but a speculative Mason is taught to use these to manage his time and to remove the roughness from his character, thus making him a better person.
History of Freemasonry
No one knows with certainty how or when the Masonic Fraternity was formed. A widely accepted theory among Masonic scholars is that it arose from the stonemasons’ guilds during the Middle Ages. The language and symbols used in the fraternity’s rituals come from this era. The oldest document that makes reference to Masons is the Regius Poem, printed about 1390, which was a copy of an earlier work. In 1717, four lodges in London formed the first Grand Lodge of England, and records from that point on are more complete.
Within thirty years, the fraternity had spread throughout Europe and the American Colonies. Freemasonry became very popular in colonial America. George Washington was a Mason, Benjamin Franklin served as the head of the fraternity in Pennsylvania, as did Paul Revere and Joseph Warren in Massachusetts. Other well-known Masons involved with the founding of America included John Hancock, John Sullivan, Lafayette, Baron Fredrick von Stuben, Nathanael Greene, and John Paul Jones. Another Mason, Chief Justice John Marshall, shaped the Supreme Court into its present form.
Over the centuries, Freemasonry has developed into a worldwide fraternity emphasizing personal study, self-improvement, and social betterment via individual involvement and philanthropy. During the late 1700s it was one of the organizations most responsible for spreading the ideals of the Enlightenment: the dignity of man and the liberty of the individual, the right of all persons to worship as they choose, the formation of democratic governments, and the importance of public education. Masons supported the first public schools in both Europe and America.
During the 1800s and early 1900s, Freemasonry grew dramatically. At that time, the government had provided no social “safety net”. The Masonic tradition of founding orphanages, homes for widows, and homes for the aged provided the only security many people knew.
Today in North America, the Masonic Fraternity continues this tradition by giving almost $1.5 million each day to causes that range from operating children’s hospitals, providing treatment for childhood language disorders, treating eye diseases, funding medical research, contributing to local community service, and providing care to Masons and their families at Masonic Homes.
The four million Masons worldwide continue to help men and women face the problems of the 21st century by building bridges of brotherhood and instilling in the hearts of men ideals for a better tomorrow.