Freemasonry is one of the world’s oldest and largest Fraternities. Some trace its origins to earliest history man. While not much is documented before eighteenth century, in its current form, Freemasonry appeared in London, England in 1717. While some claim Freemasonry to be a “secret” society full discreet ceremonies and rituals, it is actually very open society which, and just like any other organization, maintains some levels of privacy for itself and its members.
Operative and Speculative Masonry
The earliest recorded history of Freemasonry is tied to the operative guild of freemasons. These brethren built Europe’s cathedrals, churches and castles. As time went by and less and less of those structures were being constructed. Freemasonry slowly evolved from its original operative form to a speculative form where new brethren were attracted by the moral and ethical values and not by the operative side of the fraternity. With time, Freemasonry transformed itself completely from the operative guild of Freemasons, to a fraternity of speculative Freemasons.
The goal and purpose of Freemasonry is to make good men better through morality and ethics yearning to ensure that you implore these principles in your everyday interactions with all mankind. Its teachings of friendship, compassion and brotherly love have survived centuries of political, military, and religious strife. Freemasonry has always attracted men of high moral character who support the tenets of temperance, fortitude, prudence and justice.
There are more than 2 million Freemasons in United States, and more than 4 million around the world. You will find them in every state of the union, in most counties and cities. Its membership is very diverse and includes virtually every occupation and every profession. It matters not who you are, whether a laborer or a CEO of a fortune 500 company, it is the quality of a man that masonry regards. In Freemasonry, we are all equal, we have the same voice as anybody else and no one rises above anyone in any way.
All members are taught to obey civil as well as moral laws of the society in which they live. They are men of good moral character. Their charity and good works always willing to extend a helping hand to those in need. There are many Masonic charities that you may be familiar with not even knowing that they are Masonic in their foundation and philosophy for Freemasonry always works quietly to help those in need.
Is it a Religion?
Some claim Freemasonry to be a religion, it is not. While it requires that you believe in a Diety, it does not intrude into your personal beliefs or how you practice your particular belief.
What is a Clandestine Lodge?
Valid lodges can be traced back to the Grand Lodge of England. In general, each state, province or country will receive a charter that allows them to then issue charters to local operating chapters. When visiting a lodge, be sure to ask to see their charter. This will establish their validity. Lodges that operate without a charter are so-called “Clandestine Lodge.” This distinction is important because visiting a clandestine lodge may preclude you from affiliating with a legitimate lodge.
How Do I Become a Freemason?
We encourage you to seek additional information by your own research, speaking to a Brother Mason that you know or contacting your local Lodge. Should you choose to become a Mason, please give us a call. Freemasonry does not solicit new members. You have to ask to be admitted and it has to be of your own free will and accord. A good starting point in your quest to understanding Freemasonry is to ask someone you know that is already a Mason. Then contact the Grand Lodge of North Carolina from the link on our website for further information about Freemasonry and about all local Lodges in North Carolina.