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Who are Masons?

Diana Bocco
Diana Bocco

Masons, also known as Freemasons, are members of a fraternity or brotherhood that operates around the world. Although they are not a religious institution, per se, they do require a belief in a supreme being as part of their entry conditions. They have existed for hundreds of years but focus today on community work and developing good morals. Despite their emphasis on service and ethics, their tradition of keeping some elements of membership and operation secret have made them the target of both discrimination and conspiracy theories.


A Freemason hall in London, England.
A Freemason hall in London, England.

The Freemasons operate around the world, with large jurisdictions each having a main Grand Lodge with smaller branches. These subgroups are known as blue or beginner lodges. The fraternity adopted these terms based on the traditional makeshift lodges builders would erect for shelter on the sides of cathedrals they were working on.

One negative myth surrounding Masonry is that the fraternity essentially is out to dominate the world. In reality, even though Grand Lodges oversee their blue lodges, each one operates largely independently, with every group ultimately determining its own rituals and obligations. With such a lack of true cohesion and no single governing entity, the group simply does not have the collective power to force movement toward specific activities, and in fact, such force goes against its core principles.

Voltaire was associated with the Masons.
Voltaire was associated with the Masons.

Each lodge normally has a Worshipful (Honorable) Master, or president. The positions of Senior and Junior Wardens are similar to vice presidencies. Deacons typically serve as messengers, while Stewards provide refreshments. Chaplains lead a non-denominational prayer, but they don't necessarily have to be a member of the clergy. Other roles include Secretary and Treasurer.

General Goals and Objectives

Winston Churchill, the Prime Minister of the United Kingdom was a mason.
Winston Churchill, the Prime Minister of the United Kingdom was a mason.

Although each order is free to operate on its own, as a whole, modern Masons support the idea of remaining morally upright, teaching ethics related to "brotherly love, relief and truth." They also generally believe it is important to develop and maintain fraternal friendships, which they associate with a solid society. Members usually try to support various charities in the community for these reasons. One of the main purposes for their meetings is to share information, to develop intellectually and ethically so that they appreciate the world more and learn to make it better.


Benjamin Franklin was a Mason.
Benjamin Franklin was a Mason.

Freemasonry is based on a strong set of principles, and as a result, most members believe that joining the fraternity represents not just coming into a group, but adopting a way of life. They typically do not want to pressure anyone into membership and instead usually assert that commitment to the Masons has to be a personal decision. In most cases, current Masons cannot ask someone to join.

The first US president, George Washington, was a Mason.
The first US president, George Washington, was a Mason.

With those inside the group usually forbidden to or limited in their ability to solicit others, men who want to join have to inquire about applying on their own. Once they submit an application, members try to learn about the applicant's character and goals. If all goes well, they let him start learning and working with the organization.

Traditionally, to join, an applicant has to be a free man who can provide one or two character references, who is of sound mind and body (physical disabilities are fine if they don't interfere with work in the group), and who has a strong moral sense with a belief in a supreme being. In most regions, a man has to be 18 - 25 years old, although some branches occasionally allow sons of members to join earlier.

Harry Truman, who is thought to have been a Mason.
Harry Truman, who is thought to have been a Mason.

Although official, regular Masonry is still exclusive to men, some female orders have formed and practice based on traditional principles. Most of these are found within the United States. An example of an order that accepts women is the Order of the Eastern Star.


Members progress through different levels or degrees as they develop and learn in the organization. The first is Entered Apprentice, which simply grants Mason status. Fellow Craft is an intermediate level during which a member is expected to explore himself, his faith and the world. The third degree, Master Mason, lets a member participate in most activities within the group. Some orders acknowledge additional degrees, but these usually are seen as "add ons" or supplements to the third degree, not truly separate levels.


Andrew Jackson, the seventh president of the United States, was a Mason.
Andrew Jackson, the seventh president of the United States, was a Mason.

Once someone is a Mason, the fraternity expects him to abide by certain obligations, which can vary somewhat based on the order. Typical requirements include keeping the fraternity's secrets, attending regular meetings if possible, following both the laws of his jurisdiction and faith, acting charitably and being honest without the intent to defraud. The group has outlined a set of physical punishments for disregarding these obligations that get progressively more severe the higher someone's level is, but these are largely symbolic and are intended mainly to make the offending member think hard about the negative things he has done. The fraternity may reprimand, suspend or expel members if it feels such action is necessary.

Privacy and Conspiracy

The Masons are technically a public organization. They keep certain elements of their rituals private, however, such as how members of a lodge recognize each other and gain entrance to a meeting. This cloak of secrecy has led many people to look unfavorably on members and to be hesitant to extend trust to them. In fact, the fraternity regularly has been the target of various types of discrimination, with conspiracy theorists frequently tying the group to power quests and negative events around the world — some of this comes from the fact that many powerful political leaders have been members. In the United States, for example, anxieties rose high enough in the 19th century that people formed the Anti-Masonic Party, even supporting candidates for the 1828 and 1832 presidential elections.

Religious Association

The official stance of the group is that it is not and was never intended to be a religion, with members stressing that the fraternity does not have a unique theology. The fraternity does require those who join to accept a supreme being or Great Architect of the Universe, but lodges generally let an applicant interpret Him, Her or It on his own, accepting people of many different religions. The idea behind this stipulation is that association with a religion of the member's choice can help him see the world and others under a bigger, more compassionate lens, and that it will be the ultimate compass in everyday living.

Misunderstanding of this concept has led to outsiders thinking that the group is a cult. The very fact it does not profess one religion as being supreme has drawn harsh criticisms, as well, especially when coupled with other practices such as the taking of oaths. In particular, the Roman Catholic Church refuses to support the fraternity, claiming that members are in sin.

History and Origins

The exact origins of the fraternity are cloudy, but experts think the group got its start in the Middle Ages. English, Scottish and French kings of the time hired stone workers to build new cathedrals and castles. Those who could do more intricate work in softer, "free" stone were called freemasons. These workers joined together to maintain the positive status they had over the general masons. At first, only those who actually worked in the trade could be members of the group, but eventually, "philosophical builders" were let in, too. This history is why the Masons represent themselves with the symbols of the square and compass.

Famous Members

Many famous people through history have been associated with or admitted to the fraternity. The list includes François-Marie Arouet (Voltaire), Sir Winston Churchill, Benjamin Franklin and Rudyard Kipling. Several U.S. presidents also were members, including George Washington, Andrew Jackson, James Buchanan, Gerald Ford, Andrew Johnson, Theodore Roosevelt and Harry S. Truman.

Discussion Comments


@anon78281: Um, check your facts there matey, Freemasonry was declared illegal by the Nazis and the symbols of the craft where banned, Lodges closed and their contents burnt by the SA in bonfires in the streets

Adding to that an estimated 200,000 Freemasons where killed in the holocaust, they were considered Political opponents of the regime and wore the inverted red triangle in the camps. Not to mention the Belgian Lodge Liberté chérie was actually founded in a Concentration Camp, all but one of its members killed before they were liberated

Do a bit of reading next time.


You marry the man you love and suddenly he becomes devoted to something so strange you can't get your head around it. You did not marry a man who has a noose around his neck, secrets and sword to his left breast. This is 2014. Why do men need this pretentious society? This secret society is for men who don't fit in.

I lost my husband and best friend to this. I feel sorry for every woman still married to a Mason. They will always feel superior to you and believe women are just for ladies nights and making sure their dinner suit is clean. Get out while you can. I did and have never looked back. Check online and see what your man is up to.


I wrote post 25 and I am now divorced and don't have freemasonry dictating my social life.


I have been emotionally abused by a man, who now is doing the same to our children. Our court system has failed the children and me. Why can't there be more men like the Masons who have strong family values?


I'm a Mason and I felt I just had to offer my opinion after reading the above comments. The Masons are not a religion or a cult. There is no such thing as a standard masonic bible. Masons are free to have their own religion. Masonry doesn't offer a path to salvation. It uses biblical, allegorical lessons from the bible for the individual to contemplate, in an effort to make himself a better man. Yes, it can be overwhelming to the newcomer who is eager to learn as much as he can.

My heart goes out to those wives who have 'lost their husbands or loved ones to Masonry'. Please understand that it is not Masonry who has taken them but in them giving themselves wrongly. Nothing in honest and true Masonry would suggest or request anything of a Mason that would harm his family. It may be some misled members who have asked too much of the husband. But understand they would be incorrect in doing so. Any Mason who asked too much of a member, in a way where the Mason's responsibilities damage his family, or any Mason who chooses Masonry over his family has misunderstood and damaged the worth of the teachings in Masonry.

It is common practice and knowledge that the order of responsibility to a Mason (better man) are 1. God and family, 2. Work, and 3. Masonry. In any case, Masonry is last priority coming behind God, family and work. Only when the Mason is able to healthily fulfill his responsibilities to these is he able to fulfill his role in Masonry. Otherwise, he will surely not become a better man.

Those who have lost husbands and fathers, it is because your loved one hasn't understood the lessons and the lessons and the meaning of Freemasonry. I would wonder if they actually joined regular masonic Lodges. I send deep, heartfelt prayers and feelings for all who suffer at the hands of their loved ones.


@Post 8: Straight memorization of the Bible doesn't make you a stronger Christian any more than memorizing the McDonald's menu makes you a burger. Knowing scripture moves past merely memorizing it. Feeling that memorizing it is your ultimate defense is a mark of pride.

Re Step 2: See above.

Re Step 3: Wow. No words for how sadly mistaken this is. Do you feel that God cannot help you while you sleep?

Re Step 4: Nothing in Masonry causes you to worship a false god. There is no worship of any god in masonry.

Re Step 5: Why does it have to be a Baptist church? Are you suggesting that only Baptists go to heaven? Since you memorized the whole Bible, you should know that Jesus said "Believe and be baptized" not "Believe and be baptist."

Re Step 6: On a spiritual level: Sword of the Spirit. On a physical level: Christ himself formed a whip and chased out the moneychangers. Don't forget all the weapons used by David, Solomon, and the Israelites in the OT, plus even by Christ's disciples (You do recall Christ repairing a Roman's ear?)

Re Step 7: There is no logic in what you just typed. What is it you think we do at hall meetings? There is no worship. We chat and do charity work. What have you done?

Re Step 8: That is a Masonic principle.

Re Step 9: Nothing keeps a Mason in Masonry except his desire to do good and be a better man.

Re Step 10: The KJV is authorized by whom? Do other versions send you to hell? What if you read them in a Lutheran church instead of a Baptist one? The Masons Bible (which is the Bible with additional study materials that Masons will find valuable, just like any other study Bible found anywhere) is also the King James Version.

I'm truly curious, as I find many anti-masonic sites and they tend to hate everyone from the Pope to Billy Graham to CS Lewis to Mother Theresa (Seriously, who can hate Mother Theresa?)

All that hatred, supposedly in the name of God. Wheat and chaff is all I ever think when I see it.


My husband has been working with a man who is a master freemason. He is all of a sudden talking about becoming one because this man told him that the freemasons take care of each other and he would never have to worry about having enough work if he was one.

My husband asked me what I thought or knew about freemasons and I told him that I grew up knowing that it was a cult and I would research it and talk to others to get more educated about it.

He left that day and was gone for about three hours to this master freemasons home and when he came back, he had sort of an attitude with me and said there is one thing you're not going to like about it and that is that I cannot tell you much as there are secrets. Wow!

I'm sorry, but his secrets in the past caused us a lot of problems and he really is lucky that I am still here at this point and forgave him for some very hurtful and immoral things he has done in the past.

Well today, I looked at his cell phone and there was a message to this freemason from my husband that said, "my wife said she does not agree with me going to the lodge after some of the crap she has read on the internet." I'm in shock! I don't know how to say anything or what to say or even what to feel.

He has been so very strange to me for quite some time and now this? Any advice from anyone would help. I'm completely lost and hurt that he would even talk about me like that, let alone leave me in the dust.


Since my husband became a mason, our lives haven't been the same. I hate them as I now come second to everything. His priority the day before we go on holiday is to them, and I am left to get everything ready on my own.


My husband is a mason. Our marriage had its ups and downs but we remained strong. Our family may not have much, but we were happy and we had good times with our kids. Now our family is a wreck. This organization is taking him away from us. We hardly see him anymore. So many activities that don't include the family. Even weeknights are dedicated to stated meetings and degree works. He takes time off from work for them.

He's like a stranger now. It's like we are outsiders, with him doling out to us whatever time he can spare outside of this exclusive clique. It has possessed him completely. My kids and I spend the weekends by ourselves because he's always off somewhere with his 'worshipful brothers.' I call them another name... The few times he's with us his attention is somewhere else. He gets constant phone calls from them.

Every time I complain about the situation, he turns argumentative. I give up. I tried my best to support and understand him. They just require more and more from him and take him further away from his family. I've begged and cried, and my kids have just learned to ignore his absence.

He won't compromise. He said he doesn't want to make them feel bad. I love him and it breaks my heart to see us like this. I thought he would realize what he was going to lose when I told him it might be more convenient for him if we get divorced. He agreed without hesitation. That's 25 years gone down the drain in just a matter of months of being involved in this group. They said when you become a mason you become a better man. He used to be a good husband and father.


My husband was invited into the Masons today. I've read so much negative stuff about them. Yeah, we have our fights but we've been good.

I'm near tears because I love my husband of eight years. I don't want to lose him because some stupid brotherhood wants him to come and play. He has friends and goes to bars and pool halls for that stuff.

After reading about how masons brainwash the men to cheat with more than exceptional women and divorce their wives who work hard and stay by their bedside when they had cancer and would give up family, friends and the shirt on her back for him, he wants to join the masons.


Freemasonry has brainwashed my husband. I have given him an ultimatum: them or me, and he chose them. I am off to see my solicitor.


I'm a Mason. I'm a purple heart recipient. I'm a retired Combat Medic. I believe there to be a God. I never have and never will praise or worship the devil. Not only do I help, aid, and assist my fellow fraternity members, but I also have and will do the same for non-masons. I help people who are anti-masons.

Our doors are open to all upstanding men who believe in God, regardless of their religion they may choose. A few minutes ago I walked outside to feed a stray dog and give it some water. I don't see why people have such negative views on people because we have secrets. And those secrets are simply ways to prove you to be a mason. Otherwise anyone could act like they were a mason. Is that so bad? God bless.


Oh i thought they were the people who built the Temple of God in Jerusalem.


You don't have to become a mason in order to know all about it. Just study the greater and lesser mysteries and then study the enlightenment era and books by some of the great philosophical, political,theosophical great thinkers of the time and you'll begin to come across the contradictions the lies the hypocrisies and then you must choose science or god, because like all in nature everything has its opposite, and well, science opposes god! And you cannot mingle the two rationally. Only sorry irrationally which leads to extremism, fanaticism etc.

And we can believe we are gods and have to behave as such or believe we are imperfect and born evil like religion has us to believe in. We choose to be good or bad right? And at times we are good and sometimes bad, there is order in chaos! It's awesome.


Dear anon88850 (post 8). You forgot "11: disregard 1-10". That list is so lawful (and cultish: "4 generations"?) a Pharisee would balk at it. All that non-Biblical, cultish hoop-jumping is unnecessary. Christ has already forgiven us past-present-future. One need only acknowledge sin and ask for the Holy Spirit's help in repenting (try it).

As for the Masons: unless you are one, who's to say membership necessarily contaminates one's devotion to Christ (assuming that member is Xian)? Oath taking and exclusivity is involved, but that's all I know. All the conjecture comes from a childish, greedy 'need to know' (a form of coveting) and unsupported judging (similar to false witness). If one is truly bugged by Freemasonry: pray in a loving manner if you're Xian and/or try to join so you can get the facts, or get a hobby and do your best to help others as opportunity arises. God bless.


So, don't Freemasons rule the world? Through media and music they try to control us. Is this true? And do they have the major roles in society, in all communities world-wide? Is this is a tad unfair?


The masonry has taken my husband from me. It is like the other woman but is a group of men. I feel betrayed and cheated on by my husband.

This was not in the "plan." This is not a decision to be made by only one half of a "union" marriage. Wedding vows are diminished and crushed by the Mason. They ask the men to remove their rings as a symbol of devotion to the Mason and not their wife. It is a cult. Please save your men before they get brainwashed.


i am trying to know about the masons and want to find what exactly are examples of their helping other communities. do masons worship the devil or the true and one and only God?


I know a mason and he is an extremely wonderful man. I'm a Marine so I know what good men are. I think all of you who make up negative stuff are crazy.


freemasons are just people who are trying to control people.


I was wondering if the mason are linked to the skilled trade Cement Mason? I'm asking that because i see similar symbols.


Well I have known a freemason personally. he beat the hell out of me while I was pregnant with my daughter who was three years old at the time in my arms. He is still five years later stalking me.

He claims he is God and I am the devil (devil) in his words and we are in some "epic battle" which he and his masonic brothers have sworn to fight against me and win. He is not my children's biological father and all I want him to do is leave me alone!

Yet he continues to vilify me for no other reason than I broke up with him over half a decade ago. I was never married to him and we only dated briefly. Masons are human beings. And like all human beings you will have some good and some bad.

Being a mason no more makes you a good person than standing in a garage makes you a car.


there is no such a thing as to not tell another brother if the crime is murder or treason and other felonies excepted.


All I can say, is both of you, christians or masons are in a big delusion.


How to defeat the Masons and their false god the Devil.

Step 1: Learn the Gospels word for word and be able to repeat them.

Step 2: Read and memorize the remainder of the New Testament first then learn the old testament.

Step 3: Learn Ephesians 6:10-6:24. It is your only hope against the strikes of the demons. When your faith is strong in the Lord the true and only God, the devil and his demons can't touch your heart. They can only strike you at night in your sleep.

That's how they will kill you if you are unrighteous in your acts. Righteous is the only way.

Step 4: Must learn to pray correctly to the true and only God and ask for forgiveness for being tricked into following a false god. First you must get on your knees and repeat the prayer like this: My Father Who is in Heaven, the true and only God, I ask for your forgiveness for my ignorance in following the Masons false god. I ask that your only son Jesus Christ act as my advocate and savoir. I ask for you to protect me and guide me in becoming righteous. For righteousness is the only way to defeat evil.

Step 5: Must attend a baptist church away from Masons, and disassociate with the masons. Must never communicate or attend meetings with masons. Must never enter a hall. Avoid all contact with those of the past.

Step 6: Never use a weapon or anything that is unrighteous. They will take away all income and make it where you can't make an income. Righteousness is the only way to defeat them.

Step 7: If you have ever attended a hall meeting or worshiped from their false bible of the devil or taken an oath, it will take four generations to break away.

However, if you are unaware of what is going on, it is up to the true God who is in heaven if you can break away. Pray nightly for protection and if you are sincere you will be protected.

Step 8: Leave behind all unrighteous activities and behavior.

Step 9: Must bring awareness to other Masons and give them the necessary steps to break away.

Step 10: Never read any bible except the King James Version (KJV). It's the only authorized english bible.


I am 14 years old and hope to join the masons when i get older now that i know the truth about it.


The Freemasons initiated World War II and the Holocaust. How are these good people?


Masons do not break the law. Another mason will never ask another to break the law.

Where did you hear that from? If the person was a mason and did not tell on a law-breaker, he just became a non-mason.


I agree with anon24173. they prejudge something they do not know anything about. Unless you are one you will not understand why and what we do. We are not a cult! We are fraternity! We don't harm anyone but help everyone!

We help others and in that we better ourselves. Masons help people more than most religious bodies and I know because I am a devout Christian as well. Jesus Christ is my Lord and savior. But I am also a Mason! So you will read and see many things that people have twisted about Masonry. But the truth is it's a Fraternity like the Greek college fraternities. Peace to all who read this statement and may God bless you in the name of Jesus Christ my Lord!


uh, i still don't get what masonry is and who masons are. exactly what and who are they? and what does it mean when it says, quote "their supreme being." Is that a lord,(deity), or is it a superior guy trying to take all the fame by acting as a "supreme being". i'm just a kid who wants to know the facts, so please give accurate info. thanks.


So what about the secret that you can never tell on another Master Mason no matter what he does, like rape a child, or sleep with other women. So are you telling me Master Masons are truthful and wonderful men who help society because they know they can do whatever they want because no other Mason will tell the truth? This is why our society is the way it is today.


It wonders me how some say so many negative things about Freemasonry and have never had a Mason in their family, never really spoke to a true Mason, never attended a masonic function or even noticed all the helpful things Mansons do for society, children, and mankind overall. Further, as citizens of the United States of America, we all live regardless of color, creed, religion, or poitical point of view, live in the best country in the World. Yes, we do have problems but if you a watched the news, read, or traveled you would know this to be true. Masons even watch over non- masons. Even better than most religion leader. As a Mason and an African American male in the U.S., I am very aware of the injustice that my people have been faced with in this country. I am also aware that like there are negative people in the church, there are negative force that guide all organizations. People- open your eyes..... Signed: A Mason, a citizen, and the True

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    • A Freemason hall in London, England.
      By: chrisdorney
      A Freemason hall in London, England.
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      By: Pierre-Marie Philipp
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