What is Freemasonry?
Masonry is a system of Morality, illustrated by Symbols, and veiled in Allegory. In a world in which change seems to be the only constant, Masonry clings to and teachers the unchangeable truths if justice, morality and friendship. Free masonry, more than anything else, is a way of life, a philosophy, that is founded upon the eternal truth that since all men are descended from one Almighty Parents, they are necessarily brothers, who should love and respect one another. Freemasonry is a society of men concerned with moral and spiritual values. Its member are taught its precepts by a series of ritual dramas, which follow ancient forms and use stonemasons’ custom and tool as allegorical guides.
The Essential Qualification for Membership
The essential qualification for admission into and continuing membership is a belief in a Supreme Being. Any man who is free in body and spirit, physically whole, in full possession of his mental faculties, the immortality of the soul may become a Mason. Freemasonry excludes no one race, creed, or status in life.
Freemasonry and Religion
Freemasonry is not a religion, nor is it a substitute for religion. Its essential qualification opens it to men of many religions and it expects them to continue to follow their own faith. It does not allow religions to be discussed at its meetings.
Masons profess a belief in God and His Work, but leave the interpretation of religious dogma and the manner of worshipping God to the church, believing that this is the proper province of the clergy.
Freemasonry and Society
Freemasonry demand from its members a respect for the law of the country in which a man work and lives.
Its principles do not in any way conflict with its members’ duties as citizens, but should strengthen then in fulfilling their public and private responsibilities.
The use by a Freemason of his membership to promote his own or anyone else’s business, professional or personal interests is condemned, and is contrary to the conditions on which he seeks admission to Freemasonry.
His duty as a citizen must always prevail over any obligation to other Freemasons, and any attempt to shield a Freemason who has acted dishonorably or unlawfully is contrary to this prime duty.
The secrets of Freemasonry are concerned with its traditional modes of recognition. It is not a secret society, since all members are free to acknowledge their membership and will do so in response to inquiries for respectable reasons. Its constitutions and rules are available to the public. There is no secret about any of its aims and principle. Like many other societies, it regards some of its internal affairs as private matters for its members.
From its earliest days, Freemasonry has been concerned with the care of orphans, the sick and the aged. This work continues today. In addition, large sums are given to national and local charities.
Being a society of men who believe in the fatherhood of God, its members necessarily believe in the brotherhood of man. As Camilo Osias who is a well-known Philippines educator, statesman and former Grand Master of Masons for the Philippines, Korea, Japan, Guam and Okinawa has so aptly put it: “There can be no Frater without Pater; no brotherhood without Fatherhood. Fatherhood begets Brotherhood.” In addressing a fellow-Mason as "Brother", a Mason says in effect: "As a fellow-Mason I respect your opinions, rejoice in your good fortune, compassionate in your miseries, and because you are my brother, I count you as a very dear friend.”
Freemasonry and Politics
Freemasonry is non-political, and the discussion of politics at Masonic meeting is forbidden.
Other Masonic Bodies
Freemasonry is practiced under many independent Grand Lodges with standards similar to those set by the mother of many Grand Lodges the United Grand Lodge of England. Worldwide Freemasonry which originated from England made some significant impact on international history wherein it played a key role in the enlightenment and development of the entire Europe and the new civilizations that followed.
A Freemason is encourage to do his duty first to God (by whatever name he is known) through his faith and religious practice; and then, without detriment to his family and those dependent on him, to his neighbor through charity and service. None of these ideas exclusively Masonic, but all should be universally acceptable. Freemasons are expected to follow them.