What is Masonry?

Masonry (also known as Freemasonry) is the world’s first and largest fraternal organization. It is a brotherhood of like-minded men who genuinely care about each other. We develop lifelong friendships with fellow Masons and their families, and are welcomed at Masonic lodges throughout the United States and the world.

Masonry is based on the belief that each man has a responsibility to help make the world a better place. Through our culture of philanthropy, we make a profound difference for our brothers, our families, our communities, and our future. Masons find satisfaction in being part of a centuries-old fraternity whose traditions and core values are relevant today, and will endure for centuries to come.

We are a group of men, 18 and older, of good character, from every country, religion, race, income level, education and opinion who belong to the oldest and largest fraternity in the world.

History of Masonry

It is believed that Freemasonry originated in the Middle Ages through the guilds of the stone masons who built castles and cathedrals, but it wasn’t a formal organization until 1717 when the first Grand Lodge was created in England.  Today’s Masons, not being of the guilds are called Speculative Masons.

Masonry spread rapidly to the Colonies and by 1731 when Benjamin Franklin joined the fraternity there were already several lodges in America.  Several of the Founding Fathers were Masons, including: George Washington, Paul Revere, Joseph Warren and John Hancock.  Many of the debates surrounding the ratification of the Bill of Rights were actually held in Masonic lodges. Masonry has played a significant role in origins of America and her Constitution.

Our Beliefs

The basic tenets of Freemasonry are: Brotherly Love, Relief and Truth.  Masonry teaches that: all men and women are brothers and sisters, entitled to dignity, respect and consideration; each person must take responsibility for his/her own life and actions; all tyranny, in every form, is illegitimate; each person must learn and practice self-control; faith must be in the center of our lives; each person has a responsibility to be a good citizen; it is important to work to make this world better for all who live in it; and honor and integrity are essential to life (life without honor and integrity is life without meaning).

Masonry is centered around reverence, morality, kindness, honesty, dependability and compassion. We share each others steps in the ancient craft and create lifelong relationships. We also understand and choose to participate in making this world a better place to live. Freemasons in the United States donate $3 million dollars a day to national and local charities. Most of the charity we provide goes to people who are not Masons and include Children’s Hospitals, Burn Institutes and Childhood Language Disorder clinics.

For most, Masonry is about fellowship with people you can trust completely, working together for continued personal growth and development and combining with like minded men to make the world a better place.

Learn More about Masonry on our FAQ page

Learn More about Masonry in California at Freemason.org