Peter Smith writes about what is Freemasonry

(...) It has been suggested that Freemasonry originated as a guild of mason builders of cathedrals, and that much of the ritual used in Freemasonry today was likely devised by Sir Francis Bacon in the 17th century. Freemasonry is a secular organization open to people of all faiths, colours and creeds. It is one of the largest charities in the world.
The rituals taught through both word and actions, and the secrets of Freemasonry, are hidden in allegory, imagery and symbolism.
People are naturally suspicious and mistrusting of a secret organization, however it is not the organization that is secret (a book containing the rituals is freely available at Grand Lodge, Queens Street, London).
The secrets are those hidden in the ritual, which gradually unfolds as the work is performed.
There are three initiatory steps in Freemasonry, namely entering, passing and raising.
The third degree, raising, provides an experience of death and re-birth in life. The simple words “know thyself” are used in the third degree, meaning “find your divinity within.” Every ceremony is meant to help both the initiate and the masons present at the ceremony to raise their consciousness, which is their understanding of their divine self. The fundamental purpose of the work is to achieve harmony on earth; between heart and mind.(...)

In the Grand Forks Gazette