There are many personal benefits to becoming a Mason, and the rewards can be different for each person. But all Masons share a common goal: making good men better. Only individuals believed to be of the finest character are favorably considered for membership.
For all of history, men have come together to build. Fathers taught the secrets of their trade to their sons. Families learned to work together and these builders began to erect evermore beautiful edifices. Freemasonry teaches, exactly, those time tested principles which bring men together amid who can best work and best agree. Those principles apply to building anything, from friendships to communities, private aid to Charities, or simple fun. Just as time has not changed male human nature, Freemasonry has not changed what works.
You’ll share the values of the great men who founded the United States: Men who believed in the brotherhood of man and the ideals express in the U.S. Constitution. Freemasonry is built upon the tenets of Brotherly Love, Relief and Truth. Brotherly loves is the practice of the golden rule. Relief embodies charity for all mankind. Truth is honesty, fair play and adherence to cardinal virtues. Above all, men of all faiths are welcome, as long as they believe in a Supreme Being.
Masons seek to improve themselves and to help others, not because they think they should, but because they want to. Because of this crucial distinction, Masons give freely of themselves and ask nothing in return. Nationally, Masons give away more than $2 million every day to relieve suffering. When you’re a Mason, the satisfaction derived from selfless service is immeasurable, for it is in helping others that one most helps himself.
Masons come from all walks of life: accountants, teachers, office workers, laborers — you name it. They represent all creeds and cultures, and all are welcome. You are bound to develop lasting friendships, meet new business associates, and broaden your circle of friends. No matter where your travels take you, it’s great to know there are brothers you can depend on and trust.
By attending Masonic Lodge meetings and learning from your fellow Masons, you’ll strengthen the bonds of fellowship as you join together with like-minded men who share ideals of both a moral and metaphysical nature. You’ll enjoy the friendship of other Masons in the community, and you’ll be welcomed as a “brother” by Masons everywhere in the world. Freemasonry also promises that should you ever be overtaken by misfortune, sickness, or adversity through no fault of your own, the hands of our great fraternity will be stretched forth to aid and assist you.
From its earliest days, charity has been the most visible Masonic activity. Freemasons have always been devoted to caring for disadvantaged children, the sick and the elderly. In fact, Masons in North America give away approximately $2 million to national and local charities each day. Masons are also actively involved in a great deal of community volunteer work.
The Grand Lodge of New York has advocated the education of members since its foundation years. Its ceremonies provide instruction to all members, supplemented by various other activities such as seminars, lectures, workshops, reading and use of audiovisual materials and the Internet. Because Freemasonry is an esoteric society, certain aspects of its work are not generally disclosed to the public. Freemasonry uses an initiatory system of degrees to explore ethical and philosophical issues, and the system is less effective if the observer knows beforehand what will happen. It is described in Masonic craft ritual as “a beautiful system of morality veiled in allegory and illustrated by symbols.”
Freemasonry offers its members leadership opportunities at the lodge, district, and Grand Lodge level. As Freemasons progress through the craft, they discover different aspects of themselves and develop a range of skills that even they might not have known they possessed.