What is Freemasonry?
Freemasonry is a fraternal organization for men that teaches a system of ethics using symbols, rituals and ideas drawn from stonemasons’ regulations, Enlightenment philosophy and Judeo-Christian teachings. Now, as in the past, Freemasonry seeks to strengthen a man’s character by providing opportunities for fellowship, charity, education and leadership. Local lodges confer the first three Masonic degrees–Entered Apprentice, Fellow Craft and Master Mason–which are based on the biblical story of the building of Solomon’s Temple. Once a Master Mason, a man may choose to join additional Masonic groups, such as the York Rite, which includes the Royal Arch, and the Scottish Rite. Established in Britain, Freemasonry came to North America in the early 1700s and continues to thrive today.