“Masonic labor is purely a labor of love. He who seeks to draw Masonic wages in gold and silver will be disappointed. The wages of a Mason are earned and paid in their dealings with one another; sympathy that begets sympathy, kindness begets kindness, helpfulness begets helpfulness, and these are the wages of a Mason”
— Benjamin Franklin
A Mason is a member of the oldest and largest goodwill fraternity in the world, known as Masonry or Freemasonry. Masonry teaches that each man has a duty to make life better, not just for himself, but for everyone. Whether that means helping to clean up the environment, volunteering on civic projects, or helping a child learn how to read – Masons make a difference every day. Although Masonry is not a religion, members must have a belief in a Supreme Being. All religions are welcome. Masonry insists on toleration and the right for each member to think for himself in religious, social, and political matters. Like any fraternity, some of the Masonic information is privileged to only the members. However, Masonry is not a secret society. It does not hide its existence or attempt to conceal the purposes, goals, or principles of Masonry. Most importantly, Masons are presented with the opportunity to grow as individuals, are provided with the tools to make a difference, and are challenged to leave the world a better place. Our Mission To be the first choice of men of quality, who will contribute to the strength of the organization and enhance its ability to achieve its vision. Freemasonry in Michigan shall accomplish this by creating a growing, active, relevant organization of great appeal that is well known and respected for making a difference
George Washington in Masonic Regalia (courtesy of www.kena.org)
The following excerpt and poem help explain the philosophy and purpose of Freemasonry. Freemasonry’s purpose is to take good men and make them better this is done by teaching morals, ideals and their application to daily life through symbolism and allegory.
IDEAL OF A FREEMASON
If you see a man who quietly and modestly moves in the sphere of his life; who, without blemish, fulfils his duty as a man, a subject, a husband and a father; who is pious without hypocrisy, benevolent without ostentation, and aids his fellowman without self-interest; whose heart beats warm for friendship, whose serene mind is open for licensed pleasures, who in vicissitudes does not despair, nor in fortune will be presumptuous, and who will be resolute in the hour of danger;
The man who is free from superstition and free from infidelity; who in nature sees the finger of the Eternal Master; who feels and adores the higher destination of man; to whom faith, hope and charity are not mere words without any meaning; to whom property, nay even life, is not too dear for the protection of innocence and virtue, and for the defense of truth;
The man who towards himself is a severe judge, but who is tolerant with the debilities of his neighbor; who endeavors to oppose errors without arrogance, and to promote intelligence without impatience; who properly understands how to estimate and employ his means; who honors virtue though it may be in the most humble garment, and who does not favor vice though it be clad in purple; and who administers justice to merit whether dwelling in palaces or cottages.
The man who, without courting applause, is loved by all noble-minded men, respected by his superiors and revered by his subordinates; the man who never proclaims what he has done, can do, or will do, but where need is will lay hold with dispassionate courage, circumspect resolution, indefatigable exertion and a rare power of mind, and who will not cease until he has accomplished his work, and then, without pretension, will retire into the multitude because he did the good act, not for himself, but for the cause of good!
If you, my Brethren meet such a man, you will see the personification of brotherly love, relief and truth; and you will have found the ideal of a Freemason.
Excerpted from “The History of Freemasonry” by Otto Klotz, The Canadian Craftsman, March 15, 1868.
I AM FREEMASONRY
I was born in antiquity, in the ancient days when men first dreamed of God. I have been tried through the ages, and found true. The crossroads of the world bear the imprint of my feet, and the cathedrals of all nations mark the skill of my hands. I strive for beauty and for symmetry. In my heart is wisdom and strength and courage for those who ask. Upon my alters is the Book of Holy Writ, and my prayers are to the One Omnipotent God, my sons work and pray together, without rank or discord, in the public mart and in the inner chamber. Bu signs and symbols I teach the lessons of life and of death and the relationship of man with God and of man with man. My arms are widespread to receive those of lawful age and good report who seek me of their own free will. I accept them and teach them to use my tools in the building of men, and thereafter, find direction in their own quest for perfection so much desired and so difficult to attain. I lift up the fallen and shelter the sick. I hark to the orphans’ cry, the widows tears, the pain of the old and destitute. I am not church, nor party, nor school, yet my sons bear a full share of responsibility to God, to country, to neighbor and themselves. They are freemen, tenacious of their liberties and alert to lurking danger. At the end I commit them as each one undertakes the journey beyond the vale into the glory of everlasting life. I ponder the sand within the glass and think how small is a single life in the eternal universe. Always have I taught immortality, and even as I raise men from darkness into light, I am a way of life. I Am Freemasonry.
– Ray V. Denslow