To any man interested in joining our Fraternity:
What is Masonry?
Who may Join?
How do I join?
What is required of me?
What is the "Blue Lodge"?
What is the "Scottish Rite"?
What is the "York Rite"?
Email for more information
It is said, "To Be One, Ask One" which means that YOU must initiate the first step in seeking membership in our fraternity. It is not the custom of Masonry to approach prospects and recruit them to join us.
The first step you must take is to contact us, seeking membership. You may do this by sending email to any member of Duck Creek Lodge; or any Mason. If you do not live in the Garland Texas area, you will necessarily want to be a member of a lodge that is close to your residence. A good first contact would be the Grand Lodge of Texas. This way, your inquiry can be directed to the appropriate Lodge.
You will also enjoy reading our Past Master Jim White's excellent article Orientation for New Candidates to receive insight as to "what to expect" when you enter Masonry at our Lodge.
The following is reprinted with permission from the Executive Secretary-Treasurer of The George Washington Masonic National Memorial:
Freemasonry is kindness in the home; honesty in business; courtesy toward others; dependability in one's work; compassion for the unfortunate; resistance to evil; help for the weak; concern for good government; support for public education; and above all, a life-practicing reverence for God and love of fellow man.
It encourages good citizenship and political expression but is not a political organization. Its charitable activities are manifold, yet, it is not a welfare or benefit organization.
Fifty years ago, a prominent Freemason referred to our Gentle Craft as "an organized association of men, symbolically applying the principles of operative Masonry and architecture to the science and art of character building." That observance was true in l937 as it is just as true today.
For the most relevant definition of our Fraternity, it is suggested that you consider the personal attributes of your Masonic friend who has made this brochure available to you.
WHERE DID IT START?
The background of today's Masonry is found deep in the time when men built the cathedrals, abbeys, and castles of medieval Europe. The stonemasons who created these awe-inspiring Gothic structures formed craft guilds to protect the secrets of their building trade and to pass on their knowledge to worthy and deserving apprentices. By the time the need for this type of "Operative" Mason declined in the Seventeenth Century, the practices and customs of the operative craft had left such an impression that men who had no inclination of being operative builders sought membership. These speculative builders were learned and well-thinking men, men of integrity and good will. With their admission, "speculative Masonry" evolved. This speculative Fraternity of Freemasons used the symbols (tools) which the operative Masons used in Cathedral building as symbols in character building.
The two principal tools were the Square and Compass-which together form the most familiar Masonic "trademark" in the world to this day. The letter "G", in the very center of this emblem, reflects the true Masonic belief that God is the very center of ALL life.
WHAT ARE THE REQUIREMENTS FOR MEMBERSHIP?
Twenty-two words establish the most important prerequisite to becoming a Mason. " . . . We receive none, knowingly, into our ranks who are not moral and upright before God and of good repute before the world . . . in other words, if you are a moral and upright man, who is interested in bettering himself, you may seek membership.
This is Masonry
Freemasonry is a fraternity of men bound together by vows of morality in public and
private life, who believe in God and the constitutional rights of members to free choice of
religion and political persuasion.
Masonry strives to make good men better -- to teach its members to be "better than
themselves." It accepts only men of high moral character.
The Fraternity of Freemasonry endorses free public education, encourages
self-improvement, promotes patriotism and respect for the Constitution, sanctions equal
rights under law, practices good will towards all men, and contributes generously to
Masonry is a benevolent and educational society. Its basic tenets are Brotherly Love,
Relief, (philanthropy), and Truth.
Through the improvement and strengthening of the character of the individual,
Freemasonry seeks to improve the community.
Masonry is not a benefit society, or a charitable institution. It assists members by many
means through times of hardship, but it is not an insurance society with sickness, death,
disability or old age benefits.
Masonry is not a secret society. It is a well-known, nation-wide fraternity whose members
proudly declare their membership. Masons meet in buildings plainly identified as Masonic
Temples, and public announcements of their meetings are published in daily and
community publications. There is no attempt to hide the names of community leaders who
Masons often consider Masonic ritual as having been the most moving experience of their
lives. Employing the tools of the stone mason as symbols of basic moral truths, Masonic
ritual dramatizes a philosophy of life based on morality.
Masonry is voluntary! Masonic law forbids a Mason to invite a friend to join. The friend
must voluntarily seek membership by contacting a Mason and announce his desire to join.
Masons of the Blue Lodge, or any appendant body, may participate in varied activities.
Degree presentations require ritualists and persons with dramatic abilities, musicians for
orchestras, vocalists for choirs, stage crews, make-up men and service committees of all
Masons take part in an active social life that includes their families and friends.
Besides national philanthropic activity, such as scholarships and medical research,
Masons maintain many types of local charitable projects.
Non-Masons observe the social, civic and philanthropic activity of Masons and frequently
comment on the close bond that exists among Masons and the obvious belief that they are
their brothers' keepers. They notice that Masons are quick to assist their fellows in
misfortune with encouragement, kindness and tangible assistance.
The bond of faith and confidence among Masons is largely the result of the common
knowledge that all, having experienced the memorable rituals, accept the high ethical
standards as guides to their conduct.
Masonry with its dedication to education, morality, brotherly love, non-sectarianism in
religion and politics and equal rights is a steadying influence that balances and
consolidates the social, religious and political life of America.
WHAT IS THE BLUE LODGE?
The Blue Lodge (Symbolic Masonry) confers the first three degrees - Entered Apprentice
(first degree), Fellowcraft (second degree), and Master Mason (third degree).
Promotion depends upon a Mason's proficiency in learning certain things about
Freemasonry, its ethics, and its philosophy.
There is no higher degree in Masonry than Master Mason. However, a Master Mason
may enter the Scottish Rite, or York Rite, to elaborate upon basic Masonic principles.
WHAT IS THE YORK RITE?
The York Rite consists of nine degrees in addition to Blue Lodge degrees.
Ancient York Rite Masonry is considered by Masonic historians to have been "original"
Masonry. It is not practiced in its original form anywhere today. In the United States, the
term York Rite has come to be applied to a number of degrees conferred only in this
York Rite degrees are divided into Capitular Degrees of the Mark Master, Past Master,
Most Excellent Master and Royal Arch Mason; the Cryptic Degrees are the Royal
Master and Select Master, and the Chivalric Orders of the Commandery of Knights
Templar, are the Order of the Red Cross, Order of Malta and the Order of The Temple.
Any Master Mason in good standing may ask a York Rite friend for a petition form, or
may obtain one from a York Rite secretary. He must be judged to be of good moral
character, and be elected by the members.
WHAT IS THE SCOTTISH RITE?
The Scottish Rite confers the 4th through 32nd degrees in degree-conferring meetings.
Any Master Mason in good standing may ask a Scottish Rite friend for a petition form, or
may obtain one from a Scottish Rite secretary. He must be judged to be of good moral
character, and be elected by the members.
MASONRY IN TEXAS
From The Grand Lodge of Texas
I want you to know that I sincerely appreciate this opportunity to share with you some information about the fraternity known as Masonry. To begin with, Masonry is the oldest and largest fraternal organization in the World. We can trace it back some four or five hundred years in Europe and Britain, and organized Masonry has been present in Texas since 1837.
Some have claimed that Masonry is a religion. This has never been Masonry's purpose. We do require a belief in God, and we believe fervently in freedom of religion, encouraging our members to worship God as they choose in their own places of worship. Men of all faiths are welcome to petition for membership in Masonry. We emphasize the Bible, but it has never been our purpose to promote a dogma or creed concerning God or the Bible. It is unfortunate that some churches would try to make us a religion, for it just isn't so.
By its very definition, a fraternity is designed to bring people together in a fraternal relationship. The idea of fraternal is like the idea of fellowship or friendship. We can disagree, but we can all still be friends. We all believe in a democratic form of government, but we don't agree on the form. English Masons have a king and queen; in the United States we have a president. We all believe in and support education, but we don't all agree that it should be public education. We all believe in charity, but we don't try to force anyone to support a particular charity. In short, Masonry provides an organization where brethren can share their beliefs and be able to disagree without being disagreeable. It is our desire that the fellowship and inspiration as well as the teachings of our fraternity will make Masons better church goers, better citizens, better educators and better people.
Now, let's go back 161 years and see if this is true. Since there are no available records it is impossible to know just how many Texas pioneers were Masons, but there were many. It has been documented that Masons were at the very forefront of the Texas Revolution. Stephen F. Austin, Sam Houston, William Barrett Travis, Davy Crockett, Jim Bowie, James Fannin, Anson Jones, Lorenzo de Zavala, Thomas Rusk and Mirabeau Lamar were all Masons. It is apparent from their conduct and the documents they produced that they loved liberty and opposed tyranny. As soon as the revolution was over, Masonic lodges became an integral part of every Texas community. If a town had a courthouse, churches and schools, it had a Masonic lodge. A look at the history of any Texas community will make it clear that the most prominent citizens of the community were Masons. Often, the lodge hall also served as a church, a school, a city hall and a community center. The early Texas Masons were doing what we would expect of a strong fraternal organization designed to help good men be better men.
In Texas, Masons are governed by their local lodge officers as well as a state headquarters known as the Masonic Grand Lodge of Texas which is in Waco. The presiding officer of the Grand Lodge is known as the Grand Master, and he presides over some 123,000 Texas Masons who belong to 907 lodges scattered over the state. These Texas Masons are like their ancestors as they are actively engaged in good works in their respective communities. Our membership includes men of every rank and profession, and they are men who love and support our government, a variety of churches, public education, law and order, and, last but not least, charity.
We need to enlarge on that last point--charity. At this moment, Texas Masons are helping to support schools and homes for children and the aged, hospitals for disadvantaged children, centers for learning disabled children, and foundations that spend a combined total of almost two million dollars per day for their care. That's right, almost two million dollars a day! These Masonic institutions are the finest in the world, and they are supported without one nickel of local, state or national tax money. Furthermore, most of these facilities are available to any family in need, Masonic or non-Masonic, regardless of race, color or creed.
I would be neglect if I did not comment on the fact that some refer to Masonry as a secret society. It is not. There are a few secrets in our rituals, but there is nothing evil about them. They are simply symbolic of the days of the ancient stonemasons in medieval Britain and Europe when life was severe. It is difficult to believe that the secrets of Masonry are evil when you consider the heritage of Masonry that includes a long list of influential leaders like Paul Revere, George Washington, Andrew Jackson, Theodore Roosevelt, Douglas MacArthur, Franklin D. Roosevelt, Harry Truman, Stephen F. Austin, and Sam Houston. It is difficult to believe that the secrets of Masonry are evil when you see so many Masons working as a vital part of every community to provide better churches, better schools and better governments. It is difficult to look into the eyes of a little child in a Scottish Rite or Shrine hospital and say the secrets of Masonry are evil. It we really believe the biblical teaching, "by their fruits ye shall know them," then we must believe that the secrets of Masonry, rather than being evil, actually help to make a good man better.
Let me close by saying that the influence of Masonry is like the influence of the home and the influence of the church. It does not produce perfect human beings. Despite the best efforts of the home there has never been a perfect child. Despite the best efforts of the church there has never been a perfect Christian. Despite the best efforts of Masonry there has never been a perfect Mason. Nevertheless, there is a place for all of these in our society. Man's basic nature is such that he needs every good influence he can get. He needs the powerful influence of a good home, a dedicated church, and a dedicated public school with dedicated teachers. But, when it is all said and done, it doesn't hurt to have a little extra push that comes from civic organizations and fraternal organizations. Masonry has a proud heritage of service to the state of Texas, and we hope this talk has helped you come to a better understanding of the purpose for our fraternity. Texas Masonry looks to the future with the hope that our lodges will continue to have a rightful place in the community, right alongside the church, the home, the schools, and the civic organizations as a positive force for good. There is every reason to believe that we can all work together to make our government, our schools and our churches even stronger than before. The strength of Texas has always been built upon the combined efforts of all these groups, and the Masons of Texas are very proud of the role they have always played in service to God, our nation, our state and our community.
What Promises do Freemasons take?
New members make solemn promises concerning their conduct in the lodge and in society. These promises are similar to those taken in court or upon entering the armed services or many other organisations. Each member also promises to keep confidential the traditional methods of proving he is a Freemason which he would use when visiting a lodge where he is not known. Members also undertake not to make use of their membership for personal gain or advancement; failure to observe this principle or otherwise to fall below the standards expected of a Freemason can lead to expulsion.
Who can join?
Membership is open to men of all faiths who are law-abiding, of good character and who acknowledge a belief in God. Freemasonry is a multi-racial and multi-cultural organisation. It has attracted men of goodwill from all sectors of the community into membership. There are similar Masonic organisations for women.
Is Freemasonry a religion?
Freemasonry is not a religion. It has no theology and does not teach any route to salvation. A belief in God, however, is an essential requirement for membership and Freemasonry encourages its members to be active in their own religions as well as in society at large. Although every lodge meeting is opened and closed with a prayer and its ceremonies reflect the essential truths and moral teachings common to many of the world's great religions, no discussion of religion is permitted in lodge meetings.
Is Freemasonry a secret society?
Freemasonry is not a secret society, but lodge meetings, like meetings of many other social and professional associations, are private occasions open only to members. Freemasons are encouraged to speak openly about their membership, while remembering that they undertake not to use it for their own or anyone else's advancement. As members are sometimes the subject of discrimination which may adversely affect their employment or other aspects of their lives, some Freemasons are understandably reticent about discussing their membership. In common with many other national organisations, Grand Lodge neither maintains nor publishes a list of members and will not disclose names or member's details without their permission.
The rituals and ceremonies used by Freemasons to pass on the principles of Freemasonry to new members were first revealed publicly in 1723. They include the traditional forms of recognition used by Freemasons essentially to prove their identity and qualifications when entering a Masonic meeting. These include handshakes which have been much written about and can scarcely be regarded as truly secret today; for mediaeval Freemasons, they were the equivalent of a 'pin number' restricting access only to qualified members. Many thousands of books have been written on the subject of Freemasonry and are readily available to the general public. Freemasonry offers spokesmen and briefings for the media and provides talks to interested groups on request. Freemasons are proud of their heritage and happy to share it.
Is Freemasonry involved in politics?
Freemasonry is definitely not a political organisation, it has no political agenda, and discussion of politics is not permitted at lodge meetings. Freemasonry naturally tends to attract those with a concern for people and a sense of social responsibility and purpose. There are members, therefore, who are involved in politics at local, national and international level. Equally there are members who take an active interest in non Masonic charitable organisations and other community groups.
Is Freemasonry involved in the community?
From its earliest days, Freemasonry has been involved in charitable activities, and since its inception it has provided support for many widows and orphans of Freemasons as well as others within the community. All monies raised for charity are drawn from amongst Freemasons, their families and friends, while grants and donations are made to Masonic and non-Masonic charities alike.
This information on "What is Freemaosnry" comes from a new
booklet published by United Grand Lodge of England. The Grand Secretary, The United Grand Lodge of England, Freemasons' Hall, 60 Great Queen Street,
London WC2B 5AZ, Telephone: 0171 831 9811 Fax: 0171 831 5719
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