What We as Masons Stand For
Masonry teaches important lessons and principles. There is nothing surprising in what follows that Masonry teaches:
Since God is the Creator, all men, and women are the children of God. Because of that, all men and women are brothers and sisters, entitled to dignity, respect for their opinions, and consideration of their feelings.
Each person must take responsibility for his/her own life and actions. Neither wealth nor poverty, education nor ignorance, health nor sickness excuses any person from doing the best he or she can do or being the best person possible under the circumstances.
No one has the right to tell another person what he or she must think or believe. Each man and woman has an absolute right to intellectual, spiritual, economic, and political freedom. This is a right given by God, not by man. All tyranny, in every form, is illegitimate.
Each person must learn and practice self-control. Each person must make sure his spiritual nature triumphs over his animal nature. Another way to say the same thing is that even when we are tempted to anger, we must not be violent. Even when we are tempted to selfishness, we must be charitable. Even when we want to “write someone off”, we must remember that he or she is a human and entitled to our respect. Even when we want to give up, we must go on. Even when we are hated, we must return love, or, at a minimum, we must not hate back. It is not easy!
Faith must be in the center of our lives. We find that faith in our houses of worship, not in Freemasonry, but Masonry constantly teaches that a person’s faith, whatever it may be, is central to a good life.
Each person has a responsibility to be a good citizen, obeying the law. That does not mean we cannot try to change things, but change must take place in legal ways.
It is important to work to make this world better for all who live in it. Masonry teaches the importance of doing good, not because it assures a person’s entrance into heaven — that is a question for a religion, not a fraternity — but because we have a duty to all other men and women to make their lives as fulfilling as they can be.
Honor and integrity are essential to life. Life, without honor and integrity, is without meaning.
Masonry teaches that each person has a responsibility to make things better in the world. Most individuals will not be the ones to find a cure for cancer, or eliminate poverty, or help create world peace, but every man and woman and child can do something to help others and to make things a little better. Masonry is deeply involved with helping people — it spends millions of dollars every day in the United States, just to make life a little easier. In addition, the great majority of that helps goes to people who are not Masons. Some of these charities are vast projects, like the hospitals for crippled children and the Shriner’s burn institutes. In addition, Scottish Rite Masons maintain a nationwide network of childhood learning centers and programs. All fo these are free of charge to the families who use them.
Some services are less noticeable, as helping a widow pay her electric bill or buying coats and shoes for disadvantaged children. In addition, there is just about anything you can think of in-between. However, with projects large or small, the Masons of a lodge try to help make the world a better place. The lodge gives them a way to join with others to do even more good.
Masonry teaches that most people feel a need for continued growth and development as individuals. They feel they are not as honest or as charitable or as compassionate or as loving or as trusting, as they ought to be. Masonry reminds its members repeatedly of the importance of these qualities. It lets men associate with other men of honor and integrity who believe that things like honesty and compassion and love and trust are important. In some ways, Masonry is a support group for men who are trying to make the right decisions. It is easier to practice these virtues when you know that those around you think they are important, too, and will not laugh at you. That is a major reason that Masons enjoy being together.
Masonry teaches that it is good to spend time with people you can trust completely, and most Masons find that in their lodge. While much of lodge activity is spent in works of charity or in lessons in self-development, much is also spent in fellowship.
However, every lodge serves more than its own members. Frequently, there are meetings open to the public. Examples are ladies’ nights, “brother bring a friend nights”, public installations of officers, cornerstone laying ceremonies, and other special meetings supporting community events and dealing with topics of local interest. Masons also sponsor ladies groups such as the Order of Eastern Star and Amaranth. There are youth groups such as Rainbow for girls and the order of DeMolay for boys.