Freemasonry is by far not a new organization or religious group. Its been around for many many years although having slight variation in names according to the country and state they are related to. It’s an organization that has always had a mysticism attached to it as the participants do not openly discuss the intricate workings of their organization.
They started off as a simple group of Masons who were responsible for the spectacular building of the old abbeys and castles that were famous for their grandeur during the 17th century. They formed their own guilds and called themselves Operative Masons which was fitting being as to the type of work them were in. Then there was a reduction in the building of cathedrals which played a large part in their work. This led the Operative Masons to open their doors for membership for non Masons. They were given the name of Speculative or Accepted Masons.
The groups became mostly made of the Accepted Mason and their groups were officially known as Lodges. There were several groups or lLdges and in 1717 there were four of these groups that held regular meetings in London England. They amalgamated and formed the first Grand Lodge which was sphere headed by one Grandmaster. This was the beginning of the Freemasonry as it stands today. Not only has this organization withstood the passing of time they have grown where they now boast of having around 150 of these Grand Lodges throughout the world. Their total membership is in excess of four million Masons.
Their organization is built on the concept of all men are brothers and come under the rule of a Supreme Being, although they do not promote themselves as a religious group. They serve no one denomination but expect their members to serve the God of their choice according to their personal beliefs. Although there are Grand Masters for each lodge there is no Supreme Master that rule over the whole body of lodges. In order for a lodge to be considered a true freemasonry lodge it must adhere to the code that has been set for the mason. Most often one Grand Master will preside over several lodges that reside within a specified jurisdiction.
Their general function is somewhat like any men’s club. In fact some have been known to refer to the Freemasonry as a fraternity. The men have regular meetings as a form of companionship. They encourage strong moral ethics. The mysticism comes into play with their well known secrecy. They are known to have rituals that center on the purpose of life and where morals take the lead. The whole basis of this organization is self improvement center on brotherly love, and truth. They must put every effort into applying this to their daily lives. They put heavy emphasis on charitable acts.
Membership is not granted easily. They do not advertise for new members but that doesn’t mean they aren’t approachable. Any prospective member must be at least 18 years of age and possess the expected character and reputation that all Freemasonry members do. They must be morally strong and believe in a higher being. This group is so adamant about their requirement they actually investigate the character of anyone being considered for membership. When one looks upon Freemasonry it depicts a very high standard way of life. Having a membership in a Lodge means that a learning experience will begin. Not only does a mason have to talk morally but must live what they believe. Patriotism is essential by respecting authority figures. He must also possess a willingness to stay active in his Lodge and participate in whatever endeavors that particular lodge takes on.