|What I would like my friends to know about Freemasonry|
"What is Freemasonry?" It is a fraternal society which is based on certain moral and religious doctrines; the moral doctrines include Brotherly Love, Relief and Truth, Temperance, Fortitude, Prudence and Justice, and the religious doctrines comprising a belief in a Supreme Being and the immortality of the soul.
Its purpose is to improve humanity as a whole, each Mason being charged to walk uprightly before God and man; and by his rectitude of conduct to encourage others to conduct themselves in like manner.
Its tenets are ethical principles acceptable to all men. It teaches toleration toward the beliefs of others, and charity towards all mankind. Freemasons are proud to proclaim that their fraternity consists of men bound together by bonds of brotherly love and affection, universally applicable throughout the world.
Why have I not been asked to join? Unlike the members of other fraternal organizations, Freemasons are forbidden to solicit anyone to become a member.
How does one become a member of Freemasonry? Many men live a lifetime and never know that they must ask for admission to the world's oldest, most purposeful and greatest Fraternity. They do not realize that they will not be invited to join Freemasonry. They must come in of their own free will and accord, without persuasion. They must ask a Freemason for a petition for membership.
The prescribed requirements for membership in Montana are: Being a man, over eighteen years of age, having a belief in a Supreme Being, having the senses of hearing, seeing and feeling, being capable of reading and writing English, being of good moral character, having been a resident of Montana for at least six months preceding the presentation of the petition, and being recommended by two Master Mason members of the lodge to which application for membership is made.
Freemasonry might also be defined as a charitable, benevolent, educational, religious society with a purpose to teach by ritual and symbolism the building of good character.
It is heritable in that its income is not expended for private gain, but is devoted to the improvement and promotion of happiness and the well-being of mankind.
It is benevolent in that it teaches unselfish concern fro the welfare of others as a duty, and exemplifies it by relief of poor and distressed brethren and their needy widows and orphans. Freemasonry is not an insurance or benefit society.
It is educational in that it teaches by prescribed ceremonials a system of morality and brotherhood based on Sacred Law. It emphasizes they duty of man to become curious about the world; to develop his intellect and skill; to be just; to follow precepts of conscience and exercise self control; to be earnest and sincere. Freemasonry's Lodges, Temples and Libraries are aids to this end.
It is religious in that it teaches belief in one God, a belief prerequisite for membership, though without dogma or creed, for Freemasonry is not conceded with creeds or theology. Every lodge must have an altar and on it, when the Lodge is in session, a volume of the Sacred Law.
Freemasonry is social in that it fosters the natural friendliness and a true spirit of brotherly love and affection that should take place in the lives of men associated and united for noble purposes.
Freemasonry teaches love, kindness in the home, honest and fairness in business or occupation, courtesy in social contacts, help for the weak and unfortunate, resistance to wickedness, trust and confidence in good men, forgiveness toward the penitent, love toward one another, and above all, reverence for the Supreme Being.
While a belief in a Supreme Being is the primary mandatory requisite to membership, Freemasonry does not require membership in any church as a condition of membership. Freemasonry does not require membership in any church as a condition of membership. Conversely, membership in a church is no restriction to admission to Freemasonry. There is nothing in our requirements to prevent a Roman Catholic, a Mohammedan, a Buddhist, a Latter Day Saint (Mormon), a Protestant or a member of any religious sect having a belief in one Supreme Being, or of any race from becoming a Freemason, and we have within our membership adherent of each of these religious groups. Discussion of sectarian religion is prohibited in the lodge in order to maintain peace and harmony, but Freemasonry encourages its members to take an active part in the church of their choice.
It is perfectly proper to explain that the discussion in the lodges of political matters or candidates is also prohibited for the same reason, but that as an individual or individuals we have at the right, outside the lodge, to engage in political affairs. Indeed, civic duty encourages the individual Freemason to actively participate in community affairs.
y While we do not boast of our relief we can certainly say, when questioned, that the arm of Freemasonry reaches around the world in alleviating the distress of our brethren, their widows and orphans. Such relief is not a part of a beneficial aid society but truly charitable projects of which we are very proud, namely our Montana Masonic Foundation Fund, which is a charitable fund, and our Masonic Home at Helena, supported by all Montana Lodges and the Order of the Eastern Star. On a national level we can all talk proudly of the philanthropies of the Scottish Rite, the York Rite and the Shrine.
Many people do not understand our support of Public Schools. We can and should be proud of our founding and the continued support of the Public Schools. A Freemason, DeWitt Clinton, an outstanding statesman who was Governor of the State of New York, was largely instrumental in establishing the free public schools because of our belief that a have a free and strong America we must have an enlightened and knowledgeable citizenry.
The doors of Freemasonry are open to all men who seek harmony with their fellow creatures, who feel the need for self improvement, and wish to participate in the adventure of making this world a more congenial place in which to live.
In a world where strife and derision are common and moral values so easily set aside, every Freemason has at his immediate disposal the strength of the institution's precepts and the encouragement and support of his fellow members to persevere. As it has been proclaimed by many, it is not possible for a good Freemason not to be a good man. What a great feeling to be part of a way of life in which each member is not content with his present state, but ever striving for self improvement; and with every member, regardless of location, cheering him on.
The information presented here is not intended, and may in no way be regarded, as an invitation to become a member of the Freemasonic Order. Its sole purpose is to acquaint people, generally, with its significant and worthwhile aims.