|What Does Masonry Mean?
With special interests trying to dominate the world, the former barriers of distance and oceans being ineffective, and our modern means of destruction which could annihilate all civilization; there is a definite need for better understanding throughout the world.
In its efforts to improve the individual Freemasonry urges the practice of Brotherly Love, strives to promote Universal Peace; and while it claims no monopoly on the worthwhile virtues, it offers proven doctrines of moral living in scientific order.
Masons, like other humans, sometimes apply Masonry to a part of their lives but cast the teachings aside when it is expedient; and they are cautioned and charged to avoid this kind of double standard.
It is equally important to understand what Freemasonry does not mean.
There have always been those who oppose frate orders, and when the objections of such individuals or groups have ended in fragmentation, they have always resorted to classifying Freemasonry as a "secret" order with the implication that "secret" is also corrupt, deceitful, or sinful.
The purposes, aims, and doctrines of Freemasonry have never been concealed, and have been well discussed in many publications which remain available in public libraries. It is also noted that corrupt and deceitful organizations soon disappear while Freemasonry has withstood the tests of all ages.
It is not a secret order, and Masons have the same rights as other people - one of which is the right of privacy. All human groups and institutions have "secret" - or more correctly stated - "private" affairs which they do not make public. Families have discussions which are of no concern to their neighbors or the general public. Church councils convene in selected committees to resolve matters which require prompt or discrete action. Civic organizations form special committees and draft plans which may never be made public. In labor and industry boards of directors make decisions which are of no concern to their competitors.
While such actions are completed privately - or secretly - this is certainly no evidence that they are in any way corrupt, deceitful or unwholesome.
If these and other groups have matters which they discuss in private, it is only reasonable to assume that Masons might also wish to engage in the lawful pursuit of their own business in privacy.
Freemasonry is not a mere social institution even though it provides social contact and many friendships have begun in the Lodge; but its primary purpose has always been, and still remains the advancement of its doctrines of Temperance, Fortitude, Prudence, Justice, Brotherly Love, Relief, and Truth.
It is not an insurance or burial society, or a vehicle to increase one's personal business, ambitions, or special material interests. Masons are not required to patronize each other, and any material benefits which may come to a Mason will result from the reputation he establishes and maintains, and not because he became a member of a Masonic Lodge.
Freemasonry requires a belief in God, and while it is religious in its concepts, it is not a religion or a substitute for the Church. The Masonic Ritual teaches responsibility to God and dependence on God, and should therefore strengthen one's loyalty to his church.
Religious discussions often result in disagreement and for this reason such discussions are prohibited in Lodge. That which might disrupt the harmony among the members can not be tolerated.
In the interest of harmony, partisan polities discussions are also prohibited. A Mason's political beliefs are his own, although they must conform to good citizenship. Even a member running for public office has no right to expect the support of other Masons merely because he is a Member of the Lodge.
Freemasonry means - that no man will ever introduce controversial sectarian questions into the Lodge; he will pay no heed to those who attack the Fraternity; he will adhere to his belief in God and be ever loyal to his Church; he will remain a good citizen, obeying the laws of Freemasonry, and the civic laws under whose protection he lives.