What is Masonry?
Freemasonry is the oldest and the largest fraternal order in the world. It is a universal brotherhood of men dedicated to serving God, family, fellowman and country. The heritage of modern Freemasonry is derived from the organized guilds or unions of stone masons who constructed the beautiful cathedrals and other stately structures throughout Europe during the middle ages. The skills and architectural genius of these craftsmen and their commitment to the highest standards of moral and ethical values were universally applauded, and unlike other classes of people, they were allowed to travel freely from country to country. Thus, during this period, the word “Free” was prefixed to the word mason, and these craftsmen, and the generations of masons who followed, were referred to as Freemasons. Until about the sixteenth century, masons were strictly an operative craft-stone masons and architects building those magnificent cathedrals and palaces, many of which still adorn the landscape of the European country side. Early in the seventeenth century, membership in these unions or operating lodges of stone masons began to decline, and probably to compensate for their loss in members, they began to admit certain men of prominence in society who were not craftsmen or stone masons. This class of members were initially considered patrons of the Fraternity, and over the years became known as “accepted masons.” At the conclusion of the seventeenth century, a radical transformation had evolved; these accepted masons had become predominant, and the older lodges of Freemasons began to emphasize and teach moral philosophy rather than the technical and operative art of earlier centuries. Tools of the stone masons are still used in the Fraternity today, but only to symbolize moral virtue, not to build cathedrals. Although the moral philosophy of Freemasonry is founded upon religious principles, it is not a religion, nor is it a substitute for religion. Candidates for membership (adult males) are however, expected to profess a belief in God, and be of good moral character.
Do I have to be a Mason in order to join the Scottish Rite, Shrine, or York Rite?
Yes. The Scottish Rite, York Rite, and Shrine are appendant bodies to Masonry. In order to become a member of any or all of these, you must first become a Mason, complete the three degrees of Masonry, and be in good standing within your lodge.
Is Masonry a cult?
There are a lot of misnomers in society regarding Masonry. Masonry is not a cult, rather groups of men helping to make their communities better through charitable giving and various services to their community.
Can women become Masons?
Masonry is a fraternal organization, meaning Masonry is for men. However, Masonry has an appendant body for women called Order of the Eastern Star (OES), which is for the wife of a Mason. Additionally, Lodge’s host events that include a Mason’s entire family at times as well. We fully understand and appreciate our member’s families, and wish to include them in events whenever possible.
What is a Clandestine Lodge?
Clandestine lodges are lodges which include women within the lodge, and are not sanctioned lodges. A lodge must be sanctioned by the Grand Lodge of the state it resides, in order to be a true and recognized lodge of Masonry. Grand Lodges must be recognized by the United Grand Lodge of England, in order to be a just and lawful lodge. There is only one Grand Lodge per state.
What is the highest degree of Masonry?
There are only three degrees of Masonry. They are: 1st degree- Entered Apprentice 2nd degree- Fellowcraft 3rd degree- Master Mason A Master Mason holds the highest degree of Masonry. There is and will never be a higher degree in Masonry. Those seeking additional education regarding Masonry are invited to join The Scottish Rite, York Rite, and/or Shrine for further education surrounding various aspects of Masonry.
Is there one main Grand Lodge for the United States?
Each state has it’s own Grand Lodge, with no Grand Lodge being more powerful or influential than another. While Grand Lodge’s communicate between each other, no Grand Lodge is in charge of another. Grand Lodge’s maintain jurisdiction over the lodges in their state.
Does being in a lodge cost money?
Yes. Lodge dues are collected as a sum, and are dispersed in part to the Grand Lodge of the state they reside in, with the remaining portion of dues being used for various upkeep items such as building maintenance, etc.
What is The Celestial Lodge?
The celestial lodge is the ideology of where Masons transition upon passing. Being Masonry includes many religions, we believe that a Mason will continue their Masonic journey in the afterlife at the celestial lodge, a lodge full of Mason’s.
How do I get back into good standing with my Lodge?
The most common reason for not being in good standing with a lodge is based on dues being lapsed. Many times, a lodge will allow a Mason to come back into good standing by catching up their past dues. There are other reasons why a Mason may not be in good standing, and each case is reviewed by the officers of a lodge. If you are not in good standing with your lodge, we recommend reaching out to any of the members or officers to address and solve the issue.
What is the KidsID program?
The KidsID program in Minnesota is a similar program to Masonichip, rebranded by Minnesota Grand Lodge. The program, which is absolutely free to the community, creates an ID packet for each child participant, collecting a dna sample, short recorded video, fingerprints, a picture, and other information. Once collected, the items are placed into an envelope and given to the parent of the child, to be used in the event the child should become missing. It is very important to know that absolutely no information from the KidsID program collection is kept on file for any reason.
How often should I get my child’s KidsID updated?
We recommend that the information be updated annually at one of our KidsID events to update photos, ID cards, and the short video. Even the annual updates are a free service to the community. Should you experience an instance of collecting money for this service, we strongly encourage reporting the incident directly to Grand Lodge of Minnesota, including the date and Lodge conducting the service.
Can I visit other Lodge’s?
Absolutely! As long as are in good standing with your home lodge, it is encouraged to visit other lodges. You may want to reach out to the secretary of the lodge you plan on visiting to let them know you are coming.
Can I be a member of multiple lodges?
Yes. Dual membership is a common practice in Masonry. Dues will need to be paid for every lodge you wish to be a member of.
I lost my dues card. How do I get a new one?
Get in touch with the secretary of your lodge to replace your dues card.
I think my lodge is doing something wrong. What do I do?
The master of a lodge is tasked with governing his lodge. If an issue has been brought to the master of a lodge and dismissed or unaddressed, Grand Lodge should be notified of the issue. It is the responsibility of every Mason to allow their lodge to address issues, before bringing a complaint to Grand Lodge.