To easily understand everything about Freemasonry
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- At last a book which gives clear answers to all your questions on Freemasonry.
- 292 pages of useful Questions and Answers, to help you prepare a well-structured application.
- List of Masonic Obediences to contact.
- Sayings and Don'ts. MUST READ.
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What Exactly Is Freemasonry?
According to Wikipedia, the origin of this group of “fraternal organisations” can be traced back to “local fraternities of stonemasons”. The “degrees of Freemasonry retain the three grades of medieval craft guilds” and the new Mason is “progressively taught the meaning of the symbols of Freemasonry, and entrusted with grips, signs and words to signify to other members that he has been so initiated”. “The degrees are part allegorical morality play and part lecture”.
However, such a definition is not really very helpful since it does not address the issue of what an individual can gain from joining the Freemasonry. What’s more, a historian will not give you the same answer as a Brother who is into politics, or a Sister seriously involved in Masonic social action. And you will get yet another answer if you ask a Mason who is interested mainly in the symbolic aspects of Masonry.
In short, Masonry, in its different facets, is able to satisfy the expectations of any number of candidates. In this aspect, we could compare Freemasonry to the martial arts, which are practiced by some in order to be able to protect themselves, by others to improve their physical or mental well-being, and by others just for fun. There is a multitude of martial arts and the results obtained are different and complementary. However, this set of combat and fitness techniques is referred to by the same name.
We know that our main question has not yet received an answer, but we wish to begin by pointing out what Freemasonry is not. It is not a dating service, nor a business network, nor the antechamber of power, nor a branch of the Illuminati, nor a political party, a think tank, a philosophy cenacle, a speech training centre, a religious sect, a psychotherapy centre ... and we have most probably overlooked a few other possible names.
To keep you guessing a little longer before giving you a precise answer, let us add that Freemasonry is a social group which is very active and constantly evolving. It was conceived about four centuries agoin the form which we know it in today, but its action on society has not always been the same.
Let us say that Freemasonry is a progressive journey on the road to a fully meaningful Initiation. To complete this definition, we need to add that it increases the well-being and goodwill of the person who practices it. To this day, we know only one case of a Mason who might have been murdered by other Masons.We can conclude by saying that the main aim of Freemasonry is to enable each human being to attain their highest level of wisdom and to encourage them to do their utmost to act in harmony with life. For us, this is the very foundation of Freemasonry. Also important is the fact that the Freemason essentially works on himself or herself, so that, as they become a better person, they can reflect positively on society and gradually transmit this influence to all mankind. This is the main way Freemasonry can influence the world. It operates by awakening the qualities of its members. At least this is the basic premise, although reality, of course, is often more complex.
We should add to this initial definition that this work is carried out following a specific rite, proper to each Lodge.
Further on, we will go into more detail concerning this concept of a rite, which, in turn, is based on a ritual. For the time being, the main thing to remember is that a rite is a protocol of procedures including gestures, language, movements and also a mental attitude.
Our initial presentation might be considered too positive by some, who suppose that our main purpose is to attract potential members. Others will assume that we have chosen to sing only the praises of Freemasonry and leave aside its darker sides.
In the next few chapters, you will see that we can be pitiless and perfectly capable, when necessary, of denouncing abuse and shortcomings in the practice of Freemasonry. Our definition is drawn from long years of practice and the observation of all the rites we have come across in the Lodges which have invited us, in many countries. We do not claim to know the millions of Freemasons on our planet, but we believe that we have sufficiently travelled and observed Masonic practice to be able to share with you our opinion on what we have seen and experienced.
As far as defining Freemasonry goes, the bottom line is that it is almost impossible to give a simple and quick answer that covers all aspects, but we can try.
Definition of Freemasonry
 First trace of Masonry in the Schaw Statutes in 1598.
 In its etymological meaning, “Initiation” refers to the idea of “beginning a journey”, in this case an interior one. An Initiation therefore refers to a personal and individual effort on the journey towards spirituality.
 If we consider murder in the strict framework of Masonry and leave aside wars and other political quarrels, where Masons have been found on both sides (e.g. Pinochet - Allende / Montcalm – Wolfe / Monarchist Masons – Republican Masons).
 See definition in the Glossary.