What is Freemasonry?
Freemasonry is one of the world’s oldest fraternal societies. Freemasonry is a society of men concerned with moral and spiritual values. Its members are taught its precepts by a series of ritual dramas, which follow ancient forms and use stonemasons’ customs and tools as allegorical guides. The lessons Freemasonry teaches in its ceremonies acknowledge, without in any way crossing the boundaries of religion, that everything depends on the providence of God.
It encourages good citizenship and political expression, but is not a political organization. Its charitable activities are manifold, yet it is not a welfare or benefit organization.
Freemasonry is kindness in the home; honesty in business; courtesy to others; dependability in one’s work; compassion for the unfortunate; resistance to evil; help for the weak; concern for good government; support for public education; and above all, a reverence for God and love of fellow Man.
Who can become a Mason?
Twenty-two words establish the most important prerequisite to becoming a Mason.
“…We receive none knowingly into our ranks who are not moral and upright before God and of good repute before the world…”
Under Indiana Masonic Law, a person seeking admission must be a man, at least 18 years of age and a resident of Indiana for at least six months immediately prior to petitioning. He must profess his belief in the existence of a Supreme Being, by whatever name He may be known. Membership in the Fraternity must be of one’s own free will and accord.
As Freemasons, we believe that membership in an organization as worthy as ours must come from a sincere wish of being serviceable to your fellow creatures, and not because of any coercement, or of any promise of material gain of any kind.
How do I become a Mason?
You must ask to become a Freemason. While it is no longer forbidden in some jurisdictions (including Indiana) to ask a man if he would like to become a Freemason, typically you will not be asked to join.
How old do I have to be to become a Mason?
In Indiana, eighteen years old. In other states and countries the minimum age may vary.
Is it really a secret society?
Freemasonry is an open, not secretive, society. Masonic Lodges are clearly marked on the exterior and Masons make no secret of their membership. They wear pins and rings and adorn their cars with the square and compass. Hardly the actions of a secret society.
There are secret ways Masons use to identify each other and gain entrance into Lodges involving grips and passwords, but this is done to be certain of a man’s membership qualifications.
Is Freemasonry a religion?
No. 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.
Yet, religion plays an important part in Freemasonry. A candidate must profess a belief in God – no atheist can ever become a Mason. Masonry encourages its members to be active in religion and the house of worship of his own choice, for without religion, a man is alone and lost and will never reach his fullest potential. But a man’s choice of religion is his own, and will never be dictated by his Lodge.
Masons come from every religion the world over, and are always respectful and tolerant of that which is sacred to his brother, be he Christian, Muslim, Jew, or of some other faith in God.
What are the basic principles of Freemasonry?
Brotherly Love, Relief and Truth
What is the time commitment?
Masonry is not meant to interfere with your responsibilities to God, your family or your job. You will be required to memorize portions of the ritual, and once you have done so, you can be as active or passive as you wish. We encourage you to attend our meetings and take part in passing along our rituals and heritage to those who follow you, helping at Lodge functions or even becoming an officer, but none of this is required.
Can women become Masons?
Freemasonry admits only men, but many Masonic-related organizations, such as the Order of the Eastern Star, Order of the Amaranth, Job’s Daughters, Rainbow for Girls and the Order of DeMolay for boys, offer many opportunities for women and youth.
What does Freemasonry teach?
Freemasonry is a course of moral instruction through the study of signs, emblems and allegorical figures. Responsibility for one’s actions; tolerance and mutual respect of others, of religions, of ideas; self-control; good citizenship; honor and integrity; faith; and the desire to good works for the improvement of society – all of these princples and more are among the teachings of Freemasonry.
How does Freemasonry teach?
Freemasonry teaches through the use of signs and rituals. The rituals of Masonry have developed over centuries and contain beautiful language and ideas expressed in symbols. 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.
What are some ways Masons serve their fellow man?
Freemasonry supports a wide variety of charitable causes. In Indiana, Freemasonry supports the Indiana Masonic Home in Franklin for members and their spouses. In addition each individual Lodge may have it’s own individual charitable causes such as food banks, widow’s funds, highway cleanups, sponsoring children’s sports teams and other local charitable pursuits.
What is the difference between a Shriner and a Mason?
Lodge members may join other Masonically-related organizations outside of their Mother Lodge. Such groups include the York Rite Orders (the Royal Arch Masons, Cryptic Masons and the Knights Templar), the Scottish Rite, the Shrine, and the Order of the Eastern Star. All Shriners are Masons but not all Masons are Shriners. One must first join a Masonic Lodge and receive the three degrees of Masonry, then go through the additional degrees of either the York Rite or Scottish Rite. Then he may join the Shrine.
I have just moved to Indianapolis and I would like to attend Lodge.
Phone or E-mail one of the officers and make arrangements to attend the next Lodge meeting. Broad Ripple Lodge meets the second Thursday of each month.
What kind of activities is the Lodge involved?
To see some of our activities, please see the Calendar Page.
A few questions for a man considering Masonic membership...
1. Do you believe in Honor, and that man has a responsibility to act with Honor in everything he does?
Masons teach that Principle. We believe that a life not founded on Honor is hollow and empty– that a man who acts without Honor is less than a Man.
2. Do you Believe in God?
No Atheist can be a Mason. Masons do not care what your individual Faith is–that is a question between You and your God–but we do require that you believe in a Supreme Being.
3. Are you willing to allow others the same right to their own beliefs that you insist on yourself?
Masonry insists on Toleration– on the right of each person to think for himself in religious, social and political Matters.
4. Do you believe you should leave this world a Better place than you found it?
Masonry teaches that each man has a duty not only to himself but also to others. We must do what we can to make this world a better place. Whether it means cleaning up the environment, working on civic projects, of helping children to walk, read or see–the world should be a better place because we have passed through it.
5. Do you believe that it is more blessed to give than to receive?
Masons are involved with the problems and needs of others because we know that it gives each of us a good feeling, unlike any other, to help. Much of our help is given anonymously. We’re not after gratitude, we are more than rewarded by that feeling that comes with knowing that we have helped another person overcome some adversity, so that their life can go on.
6. Are you willing to give help to your Brothers when they need it, and to accept their help when you need it?
Masonry is mutual help. Not just financial help (although it is there too) but help in the sense of being there when needed, giving support, lending a sympathetic ear.
7. Do you feel that there’s something more to life than just Financial success?
Masons know that self-development is more precious than money in the bank or social position or political power. Those things often accompany self-development, but they are no substitute for it. Masons work at building their lives and character just like a carpenter works at building a house.
8. Do you believe that a person should strive to be a good citizen and that we have a moral duty to be true to the country in which we live?
Masons believe that a country is strong so long as freedom, equality, and the opportunity for human development is afforded to all. A Mason is true to his government and it’s ideals. He supports its laws and authority when both are just and equitably applied. We uphold and maintain the principles of good government, and oppose every influence that would divide it in a degrading manner.
9. Do you agree that a man should show compassion for others, that goodness of heart is among the most important of human values?
Masons do. We believe in a certain reverence for living things, a tenderness toward people who suffer. A loving kindness for our fellow man, and a desire to do right because it is right. Masonry teaches that although all men are fallible and capable of much wrong, when they discover the goodness of heart, they have found the true essence of virtue. Masonry helps men see their potential for deep goodness and virtue.
10. Do you believe that men should strive to live a brotherly life?
Masons see brotherhood as a form of wisdom, a sort of bond that holds men together – a private friendship that tells us we owe it to each other to be just in our dealings and to refuse to speak evil of each other. Masons believe a man should maintain an attitude of good will, and promote unity and harmony in his relations with one another, his family, and his community. Masons call this way of life believing in the brotherhood of man. It really means that every Mason makes it his duty to follow the golden rule. This is why Masonry is called one of the Greatest forces for Good in the World.
If you answered “Yes” to these questions, you might consider becoming a Mason.