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
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.
WHAT ARE THE
REQUIREMENTS FOR MEMBERSHIP?
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 . . .
Religion can best teach a man faith, hope, and charity.
Freemasonry only endeavors to reinforce these teachings. Masonry
is not a religion nor is it a substitute for or a rival of any
doctrine. It is an aid to religious development in that it
builds character and stresses righteousness. It is significant
that many clergymen are active members of the Fraternity. A
Mason respects and is tolerant of that which is sacred to his
brother, be he Christian, Mohammedan, Jew, or of some other
faith in God.