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Missouri Freemasonry

What Is Freemasonry?

Freemasonry is the oldest, largest and most widely recognized fraternal organization in the world. Founded in London, England in 1717, its current worldwide membership totals 3.6 million members, 1.6 million of which are in North America.

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.

The traditions of Freemasonry are founded upon the building of King Solomon’s Temple, and its fraternal ceremonies use the working tools of the stonemasons to symbolize moral lessons and truths. For example, Masons are reminded at Lodge to “meet upon the level of equality, act by the plumb of uprightness, and part upon the square of virtue.”

Although of a religious nature, Freemasonry is not a religion. It urges its members, however, to be faithful and devoted to their own religious beliefs.

The organization of Freemasonry is based on a system of Grand Lodges, each sovereign within its own territory. There is no central authority governing all Grand Lodges. However, to be acknowledged by others, acceptable traditions, standards and practices must be maintained. In Missouri, the governing body is called the Grand Lodge of Ancient Free and Accepted Masons of the State of Missouri. It is under the leadership of the Grand Master. Under the Grand Lodge, there are 49 Masonic Districts throughout the state. Each District encompasses several lodges within in a geographical area. Each of these lodges is under the direction of a Worshipful Master.

WHAT IT DOES

As a fraternity, Freemasonry provides an opportunity for men to meet and enjoy friendly companionship and to study the tenets, morals and symbols that have allowed the order to survive for nearly 300 years. In the spirit of helpfulness and brotherly love and guided by strict moral principles, Freemasonry encourages goodwill toward all mankind. Freemasonry is of a personal nature in its private ceremonies. Its ritual dramatizes a philosophy of life based on morality. It promotes self improvement. The tools of operative masons are used to symbolize and teach the basic principles of brotherly love, charity, and truth which Masons are encouraged to practice in their daily lives. Charity is a tangible way in which Masons help those whose circumstances in life fairly warrant it. Freemasonry takes a good man, and makes him better.

Like most organizations, one will get out of Freemasonry what he is able to put into it. However, membership in Freemasonry is not meant in any way to interfere with an individual’s commitment to his faith, family, or occupation. Freemasonry is not and never can be a replacement for these important institutions, but rather it is a positive environment that reminds every Mason of his duty to God, his community, his family and himself.

Freemasonry provides opportunities for sincere, honest, forthright men who believe in God and desire to contribute to the improvement of their communities and themselves. Through our Masonic Fraternalism, we reaffirm our dedication and unity to become involved citizens who have a strong desire to preserve the values that have made and continue to make America great.

HISTORICAL BACKGROUND

Our traditions can be traced directly to the associations of operative masons. They were men of outstanding character and high ideals, who built the cathedrals, abbeys, and castles of the Middle Ages. With the decline of cathedral building in the 17th Century, many guilds of stonemasons, called “Operative” masons, started to accept into their membership those who were not members of the masons’ craft and called them “Speculative” or “Accepted” masons. It was in these groups, called lodges, comprised mainly of “Accepted” masons that Freemasonry, as we know it today, had its beginning. In 1717, four such lodges, which had been meeting regularly in London, united to form the first Grand Lodge of England under the direction of a Grand Master. From that first Grand Lodge, Freemasonry has spread throughout the world. Today, some 150 Grand Lodges have a total membership of approximately four million Masons.

MEMBERSHIP

In the past it was the custom in Freemasonry to not solicit new members. However, under the Grand Lodge of Missouri it is perfectly acceptable for a member to invite other men to join them. Anyone should feel free to approach any Mason to seek further information about the Craft. Membership is for men, 18 years of age or older, who meet the qualifications and standards of character and reputation, who are of good moral character, and who believe in the existence of a supreme being. A man who wants to join a lodge must be recommended for by two members of that lodge. He must understand that his character will be investigated. After approval by the members of that lodge, he will be accepted as an applicant for membership in Freemasonry. The doors of Freemasonry are open to men who seek harmony with their fellow man, feel the need for self-improvement and wish to participate in making this world a better place to live. Any man who becomes a Mason is taught a pattern for living – reverence, morality, kindness, honesty, dependability and compassion. He must be prepared to honor his country, uphold its laws and respect those in authority. He must be prepared to maintain honorable relations with others and be willing to share in Masonic activities.
Freemasonry is a way of life.

Would you like more information on how to become a Freemason? Contact us at excelsiorlodge.441@gmail.com