What is Freemasonry?
It is the oldest fraternity in the world. It probably arose as an outgrowth of the guilds of stonemasons who built castles and cathedrals in Medieval Europe. Possibly, it was influenced by the Knights of Templar, the Christian warrior monks, who formed in 1118 to protect pilgrims making trips to the holy land.
In the year 1717, the first Grand Lodge was formed in England. Since then, Freemasonry (or, Masonry) spread to most countries of the world. Today, there are about about five million masons in the U.S. and ten million in the world.
Freemasonry teaches honesty, integrity, self-control, obeying the law, love for country, responsibility, charity, tolerance, respect for all regardless of status, and in general, morality and its many aspects. It attracted men from all walks of life, including a long list of famous people, among which fourteen U.S. presidents.
Freemasonry is not a religion. We only require a belief in God as a prerequisite for membership. Men from all religious faiths, races, cultures and political affiliations around the world are Masons. Neither it is a secretive organization. Secret organizations hide the names of their membership, where and when they meet and other vital details. Its secrets are modes of recognition (grips and passwords), which masons like to keep private. The real secret of Freemasonry is the positive change it has on the individual, which cannot be put in words.