Freemasonry is a fraternity, not a religion
As a fraternal association dedicated to making good men better, Freemasonry respects the religious beliefs of all its members. Freemasonry has no theology and does not teach any method of salvation. In particular it does not claim that good works gain or guarantee salvation.
Freemasons are united in their desire to be of service to mankind
While Freemasonry supports homes for members and their spouses, most Masonic services, including Shrine medical and burn centers, are available to all citizens. In 1995, major North American Masonic philanthropies totaled more than $750 million or over $2 million per day of which 70% went to the general public.
Freemasonry is an open, not secretive, society
Masonic meetings are announced publicly, Masonic buildings are marked clearly and are listed in phone directories, and Masons proudly wear jewelry identifying their membership. Freemasonry inherited a tradition of trade secrets from the cathedral-building guilds of medieval Europe. The only “secrets” still belonging to modern Masonry are traditional passwords, signs of recognition, and dramatic presentations of moral lessons.
The Masonic Family of organizations is open to all
Freemasonry admits only men, but many Masonic-related organizations, such as the Eastern Star, Amaranth, Job’s Daughters, Rainbow for Girls and DeMolay for Boys, offer ample opportunities for women and youth.
Freemasonry does not require improper oaths
The solemn promises taken in Freemasonry are no different than the oaths taken in court or on entering the armed services. The much-discussed “penalties,” judicial remnants from an earlier age, are symbolic, not literal. They refer only to the pain any honest man should feel at the thought of violating his word.
Freemasonry teaches individual improvement through study
Freemasonry encourages study, including literature by the great writers of ancient times. Freemasonry does not sanction the views of these authors but offers them for each individual’s reflection and evaluation.
Freemasonry teaches in steps
Masons learn through a series of lessons. These “degrees” of insight move from basic to more complex concepts. This no more hides the nature of Freemasonry from novice members than does having a student understand fractions before calculus.
Masonry is practiced worldwide
There are over 2.5 million Masons in North America and nearly 6 million throughout the world.
Freemasonry has no single spokesman
Freemasonry is made up of many individuals in numerous organizations, all subordinate to the Grand Lodge within their jurisdiction (i.e. state). None of these members or organizations can speak for Freemasonry; that is the responsibility of each Grand Lodge within its jurisdiction. No Masonic body nor author, however respected, can usurp the authority of a Grand Lodge.
Freemasonry is made up of many organizations
Masonry has many groups, each with a special social, educational, or philanthropic focus. A man becomes a Mason in his local Lodge. Then he joins any of the following “Appendant Bodies”: the Scottish Rite, York Rite (which includes the Royal Arch and Knights Templar), Shriners, Grottoes, Tall Cedars, etc.
“There is no doubt in my mind that Masonry is the cornerstone of America.”
Dave Thomas, Founder of Wendy’s International
“To me, Freemasonry is one form of dedication to God and service to humanity.”
Norman Vincent Peale, Minister and Author
“Freemasonry embraces the highest moral laws and will bear the test of any system of ethics or philosophy ever promulgated for the uplift of man.”
Douglas MacArthur, General of the Army
“The Masonic Fraternity is one of the most helpful mediating and conserving organizations among men, and I have never wavered from that childhood impression, but it has stood steadfastly with me through the busy, vast hurrying years.”
George W. Truett, Southern Baptist Leader
“We represent a fraternity which believes in justice and truth and honorable action in your community…men who are endeavoring to be better citizens…[and] to make a great country greater. This is the only institution in the world where we can meet on the level all sorts of people who want to live rightly.”
Harry S. Truman, President of the United States
Many of the world’s most respected men-including business, military, intellectual, political, and religious leaders-have been or are Masons.