A fraternity designed to teach morality and ethics, intellectual freedom and self-control, Freemasonry helps good men lead lives of service to their families, their brethren and their communities. It promotes personal integrity, reflection and growth in a world which sorely needs stand-up men of ethics and honor.
Freemasonry is not a religion, but it teaches its members to be active in their chosen faith. Freemasonry has no politics, but it teaches its members to be active in civic concerns. Freemasonry is not a charity; although it promotes charity in its members. In fact, in North America, Masons contribute some two and a half million dollars per day to operate children's hospitals, cancer clinics, burn wards, senior's homes, and other such facilities.
Membership is restricted to men over the age of eighteen who ask us to join - we do not solicit members. Candidates must profess a belief in God. The expression in some rituals is that a candidate must be "freeborn, of mature age and well recommended". Some rituals include references to physical wholeness or fitness but few if any jurisdictions enforce this exclusion in their Constitutions. Some jurisdictions also have a language or literacy requirement. Of a candidate's beliefs, only three questions are allowed: Do you believe in the existence of a Supreme Being? Do you believe that the Supreme Being will punish vice and reward virtue? Do you believe that Supreme Being has revealed His will to man? Of these three, only the first must be answered in the affirmative, and in many jurisdictions, like Minnesota, it is the only one asked.
Is the Fraternity for you?
President Abraham Lincoln, a man who respected the Fraternity a great deal, talked about "following the better angels of our characters." In beautiful language, that is the opportunity Masonry presents each of us: to help us become our best selves. To become a Mason? In a way it is like choosing to be the best man one can be, to mature, to come into your own, as "the whole man." Such a choice is first made in the heart.
Are you that kind of man? You may well be. As other pages of this website point out, what got us here are our shared values, and shared values are what keep us involved. This isn't to say that we all have the same politics or religion. We're not going to tell you what your political leanings ought to be, and we're not going to tell you how to worship God, as you see Him. We may differ therefore on the finer points of our politics and theology.
Freemasons understand that men of good character may differ on these points yet still be men of integrity. We agree to respect each other's 'sovereignty' or self-rule over these issues, and therefore we focus on the points we have in common:
- We love our families and care for our children, our widows and orphans.
- We are motivated to help our communities and protect the unfortunate, the weak, the young or old.
- We all want to become better men -- better fathers or grandfathers, better husbands, better workers or leaders.
- In this, we don't compete against each other; this is a matter of personal improvement against our younger selves, as we mature.
- We understand the value of listening to the lessons of history.
Many Masons are well-versed in history and philosophy, seeking to enjoy a lifetime of learning and growth. The Fraternity provides a wealth of opportunity for this pursuit. It's been said that there has been more written over the years about Masonry than any other subject except Religion. Others take advantage of the numerous social functions offered by lodges and our associated (we call them appendent) groups. The Shrine is a good example of the light-hearted side of the Fraternity. Other Masons relish in the many charitable and community projects we support, like local philanthropy, our support of childrens' hospitals, cancer research, our Child ID program and the thousands of events of unheralded daily charity that men of good character perform each day.
We'll discuss history in more detail elsewhere on this website. For now, you should know that since no one knows just how old the Fraternity is nor how it started, it's been the topic of much conjecture over the years. Freemasons first appeared publicly in England some 50 years prior to the Revolutionary War; but most scholars think our roots go much further back. Even as early as 1717 the Masons were a well-established 'old' society which publicly supported such radical concepts as Political Freedom, Religious Tolerance, and Personal Integrity. These ideals appeal to us today -- they're why we joined, seeking the company of like-minded men.
If such ideals appeal to you too we invite you to take a closer look.
On this site you will find links to articles and information that will help to explain Freemasonry in more detail. Please browse through the information in the Masonic Education section and find out why Masons the world over belong to the greatest fraternity ever. If you would like to be contacted by Lake Harriet Lodge, fill out the interest form, call or write, and let us know.
Next, dig deeper into what it means to join a Masonic lodge , or, learn how to join. Or, simply learn more by following the links below.