Portal:Freemasonry

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Introduction

Standard image of masonic square and compasses
The Masonic Square and Compasses.
(Found with or without the letter G)

Freemasonry or Masonry consists of fraternal organisations that trace their origins to the local fraternities of stonemasons, which from the end of the fourteenth century regulated the qualifications of stonemasons and their interaction with authorities and clients. The degrees of freemasonry retain the three grades of medieval craft guilds, those of Apprentice, Journeyman or fellow (now called Fellowcraft), and Master Mason. The candidate of these three degrees is progressively taught the meanings of the symbols of Freemasonry, and entrusted with grips, signs and words to signify to other members that he has been so initiated. The initiations are part allegorical morality play and part lecture. The three degrees are offered by Craft (or Blue Lodge) Freemasonry. Members of these organisations are known as Freemasons or Masons. There are additional degrees, which vary with locality and jurisdiction, and are usually administered by their own bodies (separate from those who administer the craft degrees).

The basic, local organisational unit of Freemasonry is the Lodge. The Lodges are usually supervised and governed at the regional level (usually coterminous with either a state, province, or national border) by a Grand Lodge or Grand Orient. There is no international, worldwide Grand Lodge that supervises all of Freemasonry; each Grand Lodge is independent, and they do not necessarily recognise each other as being legitimate.

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The History of Freemasonry studies the development, evolution and events of the fraternal organisation known as Freemasonry. This history is generally separated into two time periods: before and after the formation of the Grand Lodge of England in 1717. Before this time, the facts and origins of Freemasonry are not absolutely known and are therefore frequently explained by theories or legends. After the formation of the Grand Lodge of England, the history of Freemasonry is extremely well-documented and can be traced through the creation of hundreds of Grand Lodges that spread rapidly worldwide.

The origin of Freemasonry has variously been attributed to: King Solomon and the construction of the Temple at Jerusalem, Euclid or Pythagoras, Moses, the Essenes, the Culdees, the Druids, the Gypsies, or the Rosicrucians, not to mention the intellectual descendants of Noah. Some of the more popular theories include Freemasonry being an offshoot of the ancient mystery schools, or that it is an institutional outgrowth of the medieval guilds of stonemasons, or that it is a direct descendant of the "Poor Fellow-Soldiers of Christ and the Temple of Solomon in Jerusalem" (the Knights Templar).

Early operative Freemasons, unlike virtually all Europeans except the Clergy, were Free - not bound to the land on which they were born.

Selected image

Freemasons.hall.london.arp.750pix.jpg
Photo credit: Arpingstone
Freemasons’ Hall in Great Queen Street, London, England.

The Hall is the headquarters of the United Grand Lodge of England and a meeting place for the Lodges in the London area. The art deco building was built between 1927 and 1933 as a memorial to the 3225 Freemasons who died on active service in the First World War. Initially known as the Masonic Peace Memorial, the name was changed to Freemasons' Hall at the outbreak of the Second World War in 1939..

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Notable Freemason

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George Washington (February 22, 1732 – December 14, 1799) was the first President of the United States, (1789–1797), and led the Continental Army to victory over the Kingdom of Great Britain in the American Revolutionary War (1775–1783).

Washington was chosen to be the commander-in-chief of the American revolutionary forces in 1775. The following year, he forced the British out of Boston, lost New York City, and crossed the Delaware River in New Jersey and defeated the surprised enemy units later that year. As a result of his strategy, Revolutionary forces captured the two main British combat armies at Saratoga and Yorktown. Negotiating with Congress, the colonial states, and French allies, he held together a tenuous army and a fragile nation amid the threats of disintegration and failure. Following the end of the war in 1783, Washington retired to his plantation on Mount Vernon, prompting even King George III to name him "the greatest man in the world."

Quotes

  • "The grand object of Masonry is to promote the happiness of the human race." - George Washington
  • “Freemasonry is an institution calculated to benefit mankind.” - Andrew Jackson
  • "Masonic labor is purely a labor of love. He who seeks to draw Masonic wages in gold and silver will be disappointed. The wages of a Mason are earned and paid in their dealings with one another; sympathy that begets sympathy, kindness begets kindness, helpfulness begets helpfulness, and these are the wages of a Mason." - Benjamin Franklin

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