What is Freemasonry? Part 1. | Answers From The Horse's Mouth.

By Mohammed Bello Doka. 
Freemasonry is undoubtedly one of the most controversial subjects in our recent history. Perhaps this might be due to the hitherto secretive nature of the group, which qualifies it as one of the most secretive groups not only on the planet but also in our recent history.

Freemasonry has, almost from inception, encountered some opposition, mainly from organized religion, most especially from Christianity, the state and other religions that saw it more or less as a competition. 

Most of the records or articles written about the Craft as it is fondly called by members were written by adherents of the various religions or bodies that seem to be in opposition to masonry. In this article, Abuja Network News inquires from beneath the veils of the Freemasonry and uncovers the truth from the Freemasons themselves. Who and What exactly do they say they are? Where did they come from, and what was the truth about them?

Probably the most comprehensive definition or explanation of what Freemasonry is and is not from the United Grand Lodge of the Philippines (it noteworthy to define or clarify what a Grand Lodge is to Masonry and its place in the Craft. The basic unit of Freemasonry is the Lodge, every member must be initiated into one Lodge or another, while Grand Lodge is the governing body of Lodges in a particular set of Freemasonry masonry in a given jurisdiction. So, the Grand Lodge is the highest authority for Lodges under similar type of Freemasonry. Furthermore, It is noteworthy that there is no single governing body in charge of all the Freemasons in the world. Masonic jurisdictions begin and end in states, countries or regions and can only govern over a particular sect of Masonry) which is quoted thus “Masonry is not a religion nor a secret society. It teaches man to practice charity and benevolence, to protect chastity, to respect the ties of blood and friendship, to adopt the principles and revere the ordinances of religion, to assist the feeble, guide the blind, raise up the downtrodden, shelter the orphan, guard the altar, support the government, inculcate morality, promote learning, love man, fear God, implore his mercy, and hope for happiness. 

Masonry is the universal morality, which is suitable to all men, regardless of race and creed. It teaches no doctrine, except those truths which tend directly to the well-being of man and thereby achieve better men in a better world, happier men in a happier world, and wiser men in a wiser world. 

No one is invited to become a Mason. A man who wants to join must request a petition from someone already in the society.

Among the VIRTUES a Mason should live by are:

KINDNESS in one’s home

HONESTY in business

COURTESY in society 

FAIRNESS in work

Understanding and CONCERN for the unfortunate"

This is a comprehensive definition of what Freemasons say they're and this could be found in various Masonic literatures both on and offline. The topic is Freemasonry, a secret society, is by far the most controversial and the majority of non masons believe the organization qualifies or has the requisite characteristics of a secret society. For example, Encyclopedia Britannica grouped Freemasonry as a Secret Society, but before delving into the questions of what Freemasonry is not, let us shed more light on what the Freemasons said Freemasonry is. 

 According to the United Grand Lodge of England, “Freemasonry is one of the oldest fraternal organizations in the world. It unites men of good character who, though of different religious, ethnic or social backgrounds, share a belief in the fatherhood of God and the brotherhood of mankind. Freemasonry offers a system or blueprint for the good man to further improve his character and actions through its system of degrees, symbols, and fellowship opportunities."

Origin of Freemasonry.

According to the United Grand Lodge of England, which is the oldest and the most popular Grand Lodge on the globe, “… Freemasonry's roots lie in the traditions of the medieval stonemasons who built our cathedrals and castles. 

It is here that a number of the famous elements of Freemasonry find their roots. In the medieval era, stonemasons often travelled around to find work in different locations. To demonstrate their level of qualification, they would use grips, words, and signs to distinguish themselves from unqualified builders.

Freemasonry uses building analogies to teach members how to lead productive lives that benefit the communities that they live in. In the medieval era, stonemasons wore aprons and gloves to protect themselves while working on shaping rough pieces of stone, but in today’s society, Freemasons meet to build friendships and communities rather than cathedrals and castles."

The United Grand Lodge of England also said about the Guiding principles of Freemasonry

“...For Freemasons, there are four important values that help define their path through life: Integrity, Friendship, Respect, and Charity. In today’s world filled with uncertainty, these principles ring as true now as they have at any point in the organization’s history.

Building good people 
Freemasons are focused on building themselves as people of integrity, and membership provides the structure to help achieve that goal. Being a Freemason gives members a sense of purpose, supporting and guiding them on their journey through life. Collectively, members are bonded through an understanding of unity and equitability – principles fundamental to Freemasonry.

Building together
Freemasonry provides the common foundation for friendships between members, many of which will last for life. Being a Freemason means something different to each person who joins, but whether looking to make acquaintances or develop their own potential, all members share a sense of togetherness that strengthens their ability to succeed and grow.

Building unity
Freemasonry brings people together irrespective of their race, religion, or other perceived differences that can divide us as a society. Members are expected to be of high moral standing and are encouraged to talk openly about what the organisation does and what it means to be part of it.

Building compassion
Kindness and charitable giving are deeply ingrained within the principles of Freemasonry and the organisation provides the structure for members to make positive contributions to their communities and various causes through fundraising events or volunteer work. Individuals can make an  important contribution at local, national and global level by giving both their time and money."

“When did Freemasonry begin?

According to the guardian UK.

“The first grand lodge, established to govern Freemasonry in England and Wales, was formed in 1717, during a meeting at a pub in the City of London called the Goose and Gridiron. At that time there were four lodges in the city. But in Scotland, a masonic lodge in Edinburgh has records to show that it has been in existence since at least 1599. During the early 18th century, Freemasonry spread quickly to Europe and the colonies.

Two Freemasons' lodges operating secretly at Westminster
Why are they so secretive?
Freemasonry’s guiding metaphor is the craft of stonemasonry: it models itself upon the fraternities of medieval stonemasons who would use secret words and symbols to recognise each others’ legitimacy, and so protect their work from outsiders. During some periods of history, Freemasons have been persecuted – by the Nazis, for example – and have needed to go underground to survive. But there are persistent suspicions that Freemasons also remain secretive in order to conceal the way in which they can assist each other in business and the workplace.- www.guardian.com.

Is there any substance to these claims?
Such rumours are very rarely substantiated, and masons are expected to swear an oath that they will not be involved in “any act that may have a tend

To be continued.....

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