For those people interested in knowing more about Freemasonry, here are some answers to the most common questions. We also encourage you to talk with a Mason and feel free to ask him any questions you may have.
Unlike the members of other fraternal organizations, Masons do not solicit anyone to become a member.
Many men live a lifetime and never know that they must ask for admission to the world's oldest, most purposeful and greatest fraternity. They do not realize that they will not be invited. They must come of their own free will and accord without persuasion. They must ask a Mason for a petition.
To become a Mason, a man must be of legal age (in our state, 18 years), sound of body and mind, free to make his own choices and he must express his personal belief in a Supreme Being. He must possess a good reputation in his community and be of good moral character. He must have been a resident of the State of Nevada for a period of at least one year and within the jurisdiction of the Lodge into which his petition will be presented for at least six months. His petition must be recommended by two Master Mason members of the lodge being petitioned.
The institution of Freemasonry, perhaps, the oldest fraternal organization in recorded history, is traceable directly from as long ago as AD 1717, and indirectly, from the ancient Craft Guilds of Stone Masons and Builders who were employed in the erection of the great cathedrals of Europe. The allegory of our ritual stems from the building of Solomon's Temple in ancient Judea long before the birth of Christ. Thus is established its claim to antiquity, and the dignity which it has displayed through the centuries of time. The first known written mention of Masonry is contained in a poem - the Regius Poem, or Halliwell Manuscript which was penned in about AD 1390. Ours is a fraternal society based upon certain moral and religious doctrines. The moral doctrines include Brotherly Love, Relief and Truth Temperance, Fortitude, Prudence and Justice are also taught. The religious doctrines are belief in God (or a Supreme Being) and the Immortality of the Soul. Through those tenets, both moral and religious, it teaches the building of good moral character. It is educational in that it reaches by its ceremonies, a system of morality and brotherhood based upon Sacred Law. It emphasizes the duty of man to be curious about the world; to develop his intellect and skill; to be just; to follow precepts of conscience and exercise self control. It is religous in that it teaches belief in God; a belief that is prerequisite for membership, though without dogma or creed, for Freemasonry is not concerned with creeds of theology. Every Lodge must have an Altar, and on it, when Lodge is in session, a volume of Sacred Law.
Masonry is not a secret society, rather it is a society with secrets. We do not hide our membership. We wear pins, rings and other identifying items widely known to be emblems of the Fraternity. We do not meet secretly, but publish the dates and times of our meetings as well as the addresses of our Temples and Halls.
We do not boast of our relief but it is safe to say that the arm of Masonry reaches around the world in alleviating the distress of our Brethren, their widows and orphans. The charitable projects in which Masons are involved, such as those of the Grand Lodge of Nevada through its own Charity Relief Fund, and the philanthropies of the York and Scottish Rites, the additional ones of other Masonic related groups such as the Leukemia Research of Convent General, Knights of the York Cross of Honour, and the Shrine Crippled Children's Hospitals and Burn Centers today spend in the neighborhood of one million dollars each day.
That we support the principle of free Public Schools is not known by many persons. We can and should be, proud of our founding and continued support of the Public Schools. From the days of DeWitt Clinton, and outstanding statesman of New York where he served as Governor, and was largely responsible for the establishment there of the first of the Public Schools. We have long been interested in the education of the general public because of our strong belief that to have an enlightened and knowledgeable citizenry.
Masonry is not a religion! Is it, however, deeply religious in many of its teachings. The allegory of our degree structure is based upon quotations from various passages of the Holy Bible. Many of our members are active participants in churches of their own selection. We have never been and never will be, part of any organized religion as such. One of the first lessons taught is that each Mason should study the scriptures to find guidance for his life and conduct. He is not instructed where to seek that light, but is left to his own interpretation of what he is able to understand and accept. It has been said that Freemasonry is a system of morality teaching through symbols, the beautiful tenet of the Fatherhood of God, and the Brotherhood of man. That, my friend, is Freemasonry. A symbolism for all that is good and right and just.
Never hesitate to ask a Masonic friend for more information. He will be happy to answer your questions or explain whatever you do not understand.
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