Thanks to the films National Treasure and to Dan Brown’s novel, specifically The Lost Symbol, there are vivid portraits of us in the public’s imagination. But who are we really?
Freemasonry or Freemason is the world’s oldest and largest fraternity. We work to improve society by helping good men improve themselves, one at a time, in fraternal fellowship. Our roots are at least as ancient as the medieval guilds of stonemasons which built Europe’s enduring cathedrals.
The decretive apron we wear are reminiscent of the heavy leather aprons those stonemasons wore to protect their clothing while working. The symbols we use to signify our offices come from the same foundation: for example, the Square. The Square’s symbolic meaning is so easily understood that Teddy Roosevelt promised the American people a “square deal” when he ran for President. Moreover, a building cannot stand unless its walls are exactly 90 degrees in relation to a level floor. A man connot retain the confidence of his neighbors unless he deals with them honestly. Teddy Roosevelt, by the way, was a brother Mason.
The modern fraternity owes its character to the fusing together of the old stone masons guild with men of other professions during the Enlightenment Era. Scientists, philosophers, and free thinkers sought the safe atmosphere of the lodges to discuss heretical ideas and to enjoy the society of men of different religions and social stations. We became dedicated to democratic ideals including political and social equality, freedom of speech, and freedom of religion. Democratic revolutions throughout the western hemisphere include many Freemasons such as:
- Our very own George Washington, Benjamin Franklin, Booker T. Washington
- Mexico’s Benito Juarez
- Cuba’s José Martí
- South America’s Simon Bolivar, San Martin, and Sucre
- Italy’s Garibaldi
- France’s Voltaire and Marquis de Lafayette
- and many more.
To learn more about Freemasonry click here.