Free and Accepted Masons

What Masonry Is

It is a voluntary association of men, with a system of Moral conduct. It is a way of Life. It is a fraternal society. It teaches the Golden Rule, and it makes good men better men. It teaches morality through symbolism and it uses rites and ceremonies to instruct its members. Masonry is based on a firm belief in the Fatherhood of God, the Brotherhood of Man, and the Immortality of the Soul.

What Masonry Is Not

It does not solicit members. It is not an insurance or benefit society, neither is it a religion nor a creed, or a religious order. It is not a charity organization but makes charity a duty. It is not organized for profit, nor does it dictate to no man as to his beliefs, either religious or secular. It seeks no advantages for its members through business or politics. It is not a forum for discussion of religion, politics or other partisan affairs. Last but not least, it is not a secret society, as it does not conceal its existence or purpose.

Freemasonry is the world's oldest and largest fraternal organization; a multinational brotherhood, with no regard to the differences in a person's race, color, creed or station in life. Its history and tradition date to antiquity. Its singular purpose is to make good men better. It demonstrates its charitable nature through Brotherly Love, Relief and Truth.

The moral philosophy of Freemasonry is founded upon religious principles. It is not a religion nor a substitute for one. Candidates for membership are required to be of good morals and high ethics, professing a belief in a Supreme Being.

Masons do not solicit members. Rather, they try to exemplify in their own lives, the teachings of the Craft, hoping others will desire to share in their Fraternity. Masons are dedicated to serving God, family and country.

When a man asks to join a Masonic Lodge, he enters into an opportunity for personal development and character building encouraging him to enhance his community, strengthen his family ties and extend his involvement in charitable causes. Any Mason will be pleased to discuss the nature and objects of the Fraternity, explaining how membership involves the family and community. Freemasonry is always ready to accept worthy men into its ranks. They only need to ask a member in order to receive a petition for membership.

While our earliest existing written masonic records date to about the time Columbus discovered America; the Masonic Fraternity's structure and moral symbolism are modeled on the guilds, or lodges of stone masons, who constructed the beautiful churches, temples and cathedrals in Europe throughout the middle ages. The skills and architectural genius of those master craftsmen and their commitment to the highest moral and ethical standards were universally applauded. These 'free' masons traveled freely from country to country.

About 280 years ago, lodges of masons began to accept certain men of prominence in society who were neither craftsmen nor stone masons. By the end of the century these accepted masons had become predominant and lodges began to emphasize and teach the moral philosophy rather than the technical and operative aspects of earlier ages. Tools of stone masons are still used today in the Lodge; but, only to symbolize moral virtues.

In 1717, four Lodges in England met and formed the first Grand Lodge with a Grand Master as the supreme leader. Freemasonry rapidly spread worldwide and now has about 150 Grand Lodges with a membership of about four million.

The first Lodge in New Brunswick was called Hiram Lodge. It was formed by a group of Loyalist masons in Saint John in 1784. The Rev. John Beardsley, Past Junior Grand Warden of the Grand Lodge of New York, was its first Master. Masonry in NB has spread rapidly since that time. By 1867, when our own Grand Lodge was formed, there were 24 lodges within the province.

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Questions or comments: R.W. Bro. William (Bill) Millett

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