A short film outlining the fundamental values of what it means to be a Freemason.
The history of modern freemasonry is fairly understood, going back to roughly the 1700’s. Beyond that point in time, information starts to become less available. There are some documents and notable figures prior to that point in time,such as the Regius/Halliwell poem, and notables like Elias Ashmole, but no certifiable records exist to demonstrate organized activity as we have today.
One of the virtues of Freemasonry is that its study and practice allow members to explore this topic, and at times travel outside the bounds of connections typically explored in mainstream history. Some Masonic historians have attempted to draw connections to the Knights Templar, the Rosicrucian’s, Jewish Kabbalah traditions, Alchemy, Christian Mysticism, and to much further back to the precursor Essenes at the time of Jesus. These explorations have been considered in both the past and present Masonic scholarship to varying degrees of acceptance, but many points of contention remain.
In present day, Freemasonry has little changed in the preceding 200 years since the founding of the United Grand lodge of England, and is modeled in a system that was likely little changed for the 150 years prior to that. It is believed that the working aspects of Freemasonry, the form and function of the lodge, comes from the stone working guilds of the European Renaissance and middle ages which, over time as that trade profession became less specialized, attracted new.
Many masons will not answer questions about the fraternity as they believe it is supposed to be a secret. In the end this becomes a loss for the fraternity as any time someone asks a question about Masonry, it’s a great opportunity to talk openly about it. A common reaction to this idea is that Masonry is a “Society with Secrets”, rather than a “Secret Society”, but this is equally confusing.There are aspects to Freemasonry that are kept and taught to only those who go through the initiations and ceremonies so as to keep them in a proper perspective and contextual meaning. These aspects are not secrets but instead knowledge that is best communicated in a specific and concise manner. Many of the secrets have been published and written about, in many instances by Freemasons themselves, but the foundations of the teachings can be found throughout the spectrum of faiths and philosophical teachings of the past and present. It is in the process of their teaching that it could be best suggested where they are truly secret.
The fraternity has, with an unwritten rule, remained a principally all male fraternity. At times, women have been admitted, but only in very rare occurrences. Specifically, the fraternity prohibits Masonic Congress between lodges of mixed or feminine gender.Suggested where they are truly secret.There are bodies comprised of mixed gender, and singular gender that have varying degrees of recognition to one another. Through most of the world, however, the predominate body of Freemasonry is masculine which is decided collectively by governing bodies of Grand Lodges who have come to a mutual accord of recognition between one another as a masculine only body. Within in this collective, there is a stipulation that “Regular Freemasonry” is a masculine only body.
Freemasonry is a system of symbol and allegory. By using such symbols, it conveys specific meanings or lessons that each recipient can apply to his personal life and spiritual development.
The qualifications to be a Mason are clear and distinct. There are physical, moral and spiritual qualifications. In Armenia, the petitioner must be a man of at least 21 years of age. He must be free of any previous felonious criminal convictions and be of good moral character. He must also believe in a Supreme Being and the immortality of the soul.