What is a Freemason?

what is a freemason

By Br. Gregory Stewart
August 2005

A Freemason is a man who, in searching for life’s ineffable questions, finds his way into the company of fellow seekers. Comprised of men from every nation, races, social and economic level, all hold similar ideals and beliefs. The uniting idea is a faith in the divine founded in the certitude in an afterlife. This “belief” is grounded by certain landmark tenants and virtues which ultimately lead in exploration of those invisible questions, leading ultimately to the betterment of all mankind.

Traditionally a male organization, Freemasons exist in most every country around the world guided by three principals: Brotherly Love, Relief, and Truth. The Fraternity is open to all men, with a belief in the divine, a passion towards humanity, and a desire to better themselves. Foremost is the practice of Brotherly Love, not just towards fellow Freemason’s, but towards all mankind for the purpose of unity and cooperation. Within the lodge, the bonds made through fellowship are vitally important steps towards a better understanding one another. Outside of the lodge, Brotherly Love leads to a greater degree of understanding and compassion towards all men. Coming to the aid of those in true need, Relief is a second light that serves as a sanctuary for the weary and distressed, what ever the cause to those in need, whether it be poverty, infirmity or what ever their ailment. And Truth, whose search is unending, becomes its own virtue by relating to the nature of man and his transcendental state. Truth does not conform to any specific dogmatic practice of law instead accepting all faiths as sacred. Freemasons nurture and grow the divine spark in humanity through the tenants of Brotherly love, Relief and Truth.

Freemasonry strives in its membership to bring like minded men together to explore the four cardinal virtues in hopes to glimpse the divine transcendence of God.

But, why exist for the betterment of mankind? For too long man has looked through varying degrees of authority for the answers to those unanswerable questions, “what is our nature and purpose” asked since time immemorial. By looking to answer those questions, Freemasons have found, instead the virtue in which the answers reside. To help frame the questions, Freemasons rely on four of the cardinal virtues, which are Temperance, Fortitude, Prudence, and Justice. Temperance to suppresses our personal extremes, and promote modesty, Fortitude to keep good faith and careful watch ourselves, Prudence which keeps the perils of corruption in mind, and Justice which gives each their sense of due not stealing from another. By applying these virtues, the questions become transparent and unanswerable in terms of everyday ideas, instead they take on internal meaning, answerable only in the personal application of the virtues. The idea of personal growth this way is paramount to the craft, taught through lessons in allegory and symbols. The significance of learning this way is to convey their meaning symbolically, fostering individual introspection of their meaning. Exploration of these virtues is only part of the foundation of a Freemason with more enumerated throughout the allegorical degrees, all working to shape those who seek its light.

But the quest for answers is not lead by virtue alone. What many outside consider a barrier, is instead one of the strongest aspects of Freemasonry. Open to all faiths, Freemasonry has certain “landmarks” by which they live. One landmark in-particular is an acknowledged faith in God. Seeing the true nature of man through his works, a Freemason finds divine nature to be majestic in its meaning. But, to discuss faith, it would be problematic to not acknowledge the role of religion in the craft. Without any rule or requirement, Freemasonry neither prescribes to nor inflicts doctrinal controls over a member’s beliefs, ideas, or duties, but instead builds on the nature of good men; it only requires a simple profession of faith. Within Freemasonry there are no cannons of absolute law or moral leader as with a church congregation. Instead within each body of Freemasonry, democracy rules along with the sacred books of law, as prescribed to by each member’s faith. These books represent the backgrounds of the membership and the foundations from which they come, serving to link Freemasons to the transcendent. However, within the lodge, the conflicts of the sacred volumes are shunned, instead to embrace their celebration of the divine. What this represents is an open democratic society governed by mutual respect, advocating unity and harmony. No where is their represented malice or disunion, instead, men of all faiths are encouraged to make a harmonious fellowship.

As such, the inclusion of all faiths has made tremendous enemies. The diligent observer can easily find dissent from all faiths about the brotherhood of Freemasonry. Some examples are as recent as tracts written by the Pope of the Catholic Church, denouncing membership as being in disharmony with Christian faith. Also, standing against the gentle craft are imams of Islam, pastors of protestant Christianity, and rabbi’s of Judaism. The unique thing to all these groups is their agreement that their members should not join the fraternity and shun it as heretical. Their reasoning is that Freemasonry acts as a surrogate to religion, replacing their doctrines of faith. But reason shows us otherwise, as masonry builds on the tenants of all faith, embracing the primitive aspects of each faith, in that all faiths are sacrosanct.

Freemasons work to smooth the rough stone edge indifference to create a vibrant and living craft. Neither libertines, racists, nor atheists by creed, Freemasons should not suffer it to exist within its body. Therefore, it is accurate to say that masons are not irreligious; to the contrary their mandate is a belief in the divine. The obligations taken as Freemasons do nothing to stand in the way our family, our religion, or our civic participation, instead it necessitates our participation in all of these and more by advocating charity through brotherly love. Of this, love of our neighbor is to be paramount in our mind. We are, in fact, encouraged to perform our duties to God, our neighbor, and ourselves daily. Our fraternal bonds are made sacred by oaths and obligations between men, making us stronger and united in purpose. Those oaths make the bonds stronger and the bonds make the men stronger.

Freemasonry strives in its membership to bring like minded men together to explore the four cardinal virtues in hopes to glimpse the divine transcendence of God. Existing in all lands membership relies on the members own free will and accord, each in his search for illumination through the hands of the divine. A freemason believes in the brotherhood of man and fatherhood of a compassionate deity. Surrounded by like minded men, masons are dedicated to Brotherly Love, Relief, and Truth, believing in their universality of the sacred and divine for the betterment of mankind.


  1. My father Louis Crowder was a member of the masonic temple of Okanogan, Washington. He passed away almost twenty-five years ago. As a child it was difficult to understand his beliefs as a member. I have always been very curious to find answers to the many questions that have come to mind over the years. Your website explained a complex subject with precision and simplicity a layperson can understand. However it still puzzles me that people tend to associate the freemasons with the dark side of religion. Could you possibly explain to me how the history of the freemasons has caused parts of society to come to this conclusion? More than likely it probable started as rumor and just as any other myth begins as a way to disguise society’s fear of the unknown (i.e., similar to the burning of witches in Salem). My son is also very interested in this subject so maybe you could refer us to other creditable sources of information. I look forward to hearing from you. Thank you for your assistance.

  2. Cynthia, Thank you for the comment! I think if you hang around the website you will likely see that your very questions re the ones we like to look at and try to answer. Its a tricky and challenging path to navigate and not one with a simple answer.

  3. There have been continuous rumors stating that masons surround their believes around satanic rituals I found that hard to believe due to the fact that one of my favorite artist is claimed to be a devil worshiper. You can not judge someone by videos or because he chose to wear black.

  4. am interested in knowing the truth as to why human being exist and who created him since there ei xist various theories.On top of all I want to become rich,please help me on what iam supposed to do.

  5. What More Can You Tell Me About Being A Free Mason? Do You More So Believe In God Or In The Worshiping Of A Devil? Many People Say That The Masoners Lie To You Until You A 33 Degre Mason Then They Tell You That Your Worshiping Other Things And Etc..

  6. Ya’ll all are going to hell. Every single one of ya’ll are orrible people and don’t belong on this earth. God made earth and all humanity.

  7. Off and on I have been reading about what it means to be a mason. I’m going to be up front. Christian Boy + Muslim kid, It is people like you that piss me off. People that go around and say you are going to hell. Who told you that you are right. I don’t know did you grow up with your beliefs or did you lose your self to just to put people down to make your self feel better. Off my understanding of the masons, They are good people.
    They Stand for man, To respect, and truth.

  8. I am a very honest and stand up person, and whether I agree w something or not if its right, its right. I have heard a lot of negative things about freemasons, such as bloos sacrifices, and ties to other secret societies, such as the illuminati however, its all been heresay and w/out physical evidence connecting to that heresay its all just speculation. Then I found out not too long ago that my uncle, one of the most positive, honest, good hearted men that I know is a freemason and it has since made me question how bad of an orginization can the freemasons be. I am very opened minded and far from judgemental so I give everybody a chance to prove themselves. So I guess I am looking for a little more information on the practices, and the mission of a freemason.

  9. hey guys. i am a really open minded people. i dont judge and dont bible thump like alot of other christians do. i love worshiping god but i really dont like going to church cuz i noticed that alot of people try to make me go there way and use the bible to make you do things that you dont want to do. and if you dont do what they say, they tell you that you is going to hell and they dont want anything to do with you. i dont worship the devil. i am searching for answers on what does go on in this world and the things we dont see. i feel that me reading and trying to understand how freemasonry is, i can kinda relate to some of the things and the knowledge of what freemasonry is all about. yes i dont like close minded people cuz whatever they think they say goes. and i dont understand that. sometimes i do ask god. why is things so complicated and why does people make things harder than it should?i guess what im trying to say is. i need help about some questions about freemasonry. cuz it sounds like to me that people is worshiping god in a pretty complex way to where only in time they understand how freemasonry is. if anyone is interested in emailing me, please do so, so i can understand how it is and through any of you experienced freemason how you guys work and what you guys do. i dont really care about getting rich or any of the fame like some people say that you get rich off being a freemason. i just want to understand and have my mind open to possibilities of understanding how you freemasons know, feel, and think about what you guys is practicing. and no one is going to hell if you is asking and in search of questions.

  10. this all bull shit free masonry is all about worshiping SAITAN THATS RIGHT WORSHIPING THE DEVIL all the celebrates are free masons just to get rich in a tempory life would you rather have a good life on earth at the cost of going to heaven or would you rather be rich in heaven for forever the day you die the day it hunts you!!

  11. i have just been reading this and it is all BULL free masonry is all about worshiping the devil. how do you think all the celebrates get rich hey? in the holy Quran it say who ever betrays god for fame and fortune will be punished in there grave and also will be punished in there after life by the hell fire. ANSWER ME THE FOLLOWING QUESTION……..

  12. To clear a few things up, I am a christian and attend church regular. I am also a 32 degree freemason. Not once have I ever heard the devil mentioned in the lodge or outside. I’m not going to argue with those of you that are ignorant but some of the most important people in establishing this country were masons. And guess what, this country was founded as “One nation under God”. I would like to thank the author of this article on doing your research. When I read an article like this it makes me proud to be a mason and at lease some people appreciate what we do. And as for this getting rich hogwash, the fraternity donates over $1 million daily to charities and let not forget about the Shriners Hospitals which just ranked #1 in overall best charities. I will keep doing my charity work here on earth and await my treasure in Heaven.

  13. Not everyone can be a Mason. The craft has nothing to do with the devil. I am not a mason but would be honored to one day join.

    It takes an enlightened mind. Thinkers – values, moral character.

  14. The article and the comments I have read has really put me at ease on what a Mason really is. I recently started dating someone who is a Mason and i wont lie, I was kinda worried at first because of all the accusations I have heard about freemasons. Even though he briefly explained to me what a Mason was I still needed to find out for myself. I can assure u he is a good person and is very knowledgeable. He has open my eyes and mind about different religions and who I am. I am still a catholic but I am not closed minded what so ever. I do feel sorry for the ones that are telling others that they are going to hell. Have mercy on your one track mind.

  15. i dunno what freemason realy stands for but i kno the world is crashing down before we kno it and the freemasons and the illuminati have somthing to do with it.

  16. If I recieved a dollar for every accusation by misguided and malicious indidividuals that as a Freemason I worship Satan/Lucifer/the Djall Id be richer than Bill Gates. When you try to debate or reason with them they come out with the old chesnuts.
    You are high enough/you are lying/or I am being lied to or we are really the illuminati

    Rather than do some diligent and hard work researching our fraternity they reguritate the same old hokum mainly from masonophobic website.

    Joining our fraternity was the best I ever did

  17. A large part of this, in one form or another, is found in the First Degree Charge delivered by the Junior Warden

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