Freemasonry or Masonry consists of fraternal organizations 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.
25 Facts About Freemasonry
1. The conventional establishment of Freemasonry is usually dated to 1717, when the Grand Lodge of London emerged on June 24. The emergence of this Grand Lodge marked the beginning of Grand Lodges governing other lodges.
2. Sun worshiping is the core of Freemasonry
3. Freemasonry exists in various forms all over the world, with a membership estimated to be over six million.
4. It’s impossible to become a Freemason if you’re an atheist. The first requirement is that potential members must believe in a higher power of some kind.
5. In the type of Freemasonry practiced in the United States members are required to believe in God, though the interpretation of this is left up to the individual member.
6. A Mason can freely tell people they are a Mason. They just can’t reveal the secrets of the order.
7. During the American civil war enemy soldiers who recognized each other as Freemasons helped each other and saved each other’s lives. Even during war these Freemasons’ loyalty to the craft did not fade.
8. Freemasonry employs the tools and instruments of stonemasonry to teach a system of morality, friendship, and brotherly love, hence, the standard emblem of Freemasonry is the square and compasses.
9. The oldest Masonic symbol is the square and compasses. It is also the most universally recognized symbol of Freemasonry, though its exact significance varies from country to country.
10. Masonic symbols are usually regarded as existing because of the fraternity’s secrecy. However, in reality, Freemasonry started being illustrated by symbols because at the very beginning most Freemasons could not read, so the symbols served to remind members of the fraternity’s teachings.
11. Some of the most famous Freemasons include Charles Darwin, Mark Twain, Winston Churchill, J. Edgar Hoover, Benjamin Franklin, and the first president and founding father of the United States, George Washington.
12. A Masonic “lodge” refers to the congregation of people who meet there, it’s not just the name of a building. Each lodge gets a charter from a “Grand Lodge” but they basically run themselves. There’s no overarching ritual for running a meeting; it varies with each individual group.
13. There is a direct Masonic link to the Statue of Liberty. Frederic Bartholdi, the man who designed the famous statue, was a Mason.
14. The secret handshakes and passwords now associated with Freemasonry were used by the stonemasons to identify each other, which was important for keeping secrets in the guild.
15. There are two known branches of Freemasonry. The Regular, guided by the United Grand Lodge of England, and the Liberal, represented by the Grand Orient of France.
16. Masons traditionally recognize each other by various “secret” signs, including wearing a ring with a Masonic emblem, various lapel badges, and sometimes the famous Freemason handshake (when shaking hands, the thumb briefly strokes the other man’s hand in a certain way), though the last is mostly restricted to Freemasons in San Francisco and Washington, DC.
17. Anders Breivik, perpetrator of the 2011 mass murders in Norway, was a practicing Freemason.
18. Freemasons are commanded not to testify truthfully when another Mason is on trial. They admit that it may be perjury, but to them it is a far greater sin to not protect one of their own.
19. Freemasonry has no single spokesman. It is comprised of many individuals in numerous organizations, all of which are subordinate to the Grand Lodge in their area. None of these members or organizations can speak for Freemasonry; that is the responsibility of each Grand Lodge in the area.
20. Astronaut Buzz Aldrin was a member of Clear Lake Lodge #1417 in Texas. He was also the Lunar Module Pilot on Apollo 11, the first manned lunar landing in history. When he stepped on the moon he had with him a special deputation from his Grand Master to claim the moon as being in the territorial jurisdiction of the Grand Lodge of Texas. John Glenn was also a Mason.
21. Catherine Babington wanted to know what Freemasonry was all about so she hid inside a pulpit at meetings in Kentucky for over a year. When discovered, she was held captive for a month.
22. Conspiracies link Freemasons to the Illuminati. However, this seems unlikely because the Illuminati are an entirely secret society, to the extent that most people do not believe they exist today, while people are entirely free to divulge they are a member of a Freemason lodge.
23. Hitler believed that the Masons were a tool of the Jews and under the Nazi regime, it’s estimated that between 80,000 and 200,000 Freemasons were murdered.
24. In the type of Freemasonry practiced in the United States female members are not allowed, whereas in the type practiced in Europe, women are generally allowed to be initiated.
25. At the time it was built in 1892 the Masonic Temple in Chicago, Illinois, was the world’s tallest building. It was twenty-two stories high.