What does Freemasonry Do?
Freemasonry is the oldest and largest worldwide fraternity dedicated to the Brotherhood of Man under the Fatherhood of a Supreme Being. Although of a religious nature, Freemasonry is not a religion. It urges its members, however, to be faithful and devoted to their own religious beliefs. The organization of Freemasonry is based on a system of Grand Lodges, each sovereign within its own territory. There is no central authority governing all Grand Lodges. However, to be acknowledged by others, acceptable traditions, standards and practices must be maintained.
Freemasonry is cosmopolitan. It admits men of every nationality, religion, creed, and political persuasion; the qualifications for membership are few, such as a belief in a Supreme Being, good moral character, a fair degree of intelligence, and absence of injury or defect in body which would prevent the candidate from performing his duties as a Mason. Masonry insists that men must come to its doors of their own freewill, not as a result of solicitation. Their approach should be prompted by a favorable opinion conceived of the Institution, a desire for knowledge, and a sincere wish to be of greater service to their fellow men. Masonry is not to be metered in the hope of personal gain or advancement or from mercenary or other unworthy motives. The institution of Masonry interferes with neither religion nor politics. It has for its foundation the basic principles of the Fatherhood of God and the Brotherhood of Man, has in it nothing inconsistent with one's civil, moral, or religious duties. No atheist can become a Mason. Loyalty to one's country is an essential qualification in Masonry and only those are acceptable who render a cheerful obedience to constituted authority. Masonry is not in any way an insurance society, nor does it pay benefits in case of unemployment, sickness, accident or death.
As a fraternity, Freemasonry provides an opportunity for men to meet and enjoy friendly companionship. In the spirit of helpfulness and brotherly love and guided by strict moral principles it encourages goodwill toward all mankind. Freemasonry is of a personal nature in its private ceremonies. Its ritual dramatizes a philosophy of life based on morality. It promotes self improvement. The tools of operative masons are used to symbolize and teach the basic principles of brotherly love, charity, and truth which Masons are encouraged to practice in their daily lives. Charity is a tangible way in which Masons help those whose circumstances in life fairly warrant it.