When it comes to Freemasonry in the mass media, there are many sensationalised stories doing the rounds, that focus on some controversial and far from truthful facets of the Craft. In fact, if you type ‘Freemasonry’ into Google, you will be treated to a plethora of articles that have less than positive things to say about the centuries-old fraternity. To balance the scales somewhat, here are four interesting, factually accurate things you probably didn’t know about Freemasonry.
1. The first US President, George Washington, was a Freemason
Perhaps one of the most prominent Freemasons in all of history, George Washington became a Mason in Fredericksburg, Virginia, in 1752, at the tender age of 20. Later in life when he became President, Washington exchanged letters with many Masonic lodges and sought the council of his Masonic brothers when it came to running the country. He was also involved in laying the cornerstone of the US Capitol Building in 1793, an act that is widely revered within Freemasonry today.
2. Masonic lodges raise millions of dollars every year for charity
The charitable achievements of Freemasons don’t get enough respect and coverage from those outside the fraternity. One of the primary goals of the six million Masons worldwide is to raise money for worthy charitable causes, and they’re extraordinarily successful. Millions of dollars every year are raised by Masons for health, education, and a variety of other community-based projects across the world, and is something that Masons are understandably extremely proud of.
3. Freemasonry has nothing to do with religion
Another misconception of people outside of Freemasonry is that Masonic lodges and religious institutions are inexorably linked. In truth, Freemasonry has nothing to do with religion, and doesn’t seek to replicate or replace one’s religious faith. The only faith-based pre-requisite for becoming a Mason is for an initiate to profess belief in a Supreme Being. While many of the teachings within the Craft are inspired by religious texts, Freemasonry itself has nothing to do with religion.
4. There are two separate Masonic lodges exclusively for women
Far from being exclusively for men, there are actually two strands of Freemasonry that are exclusively for women. Both Freemasonry for Women and the Order of Women Freemasons are recognised by the United Grand Lodge of England and follow the same ceremonies and structure as male Freemasonry. With more than 4,000 members and 300 Craft Lodges, women’s Freemasonry is increasing in popularity and should be regarded as equally as important as its male counterpart.
Should you be willing to conduct your own research into the history and construct of Freemasonry, you will find out many things that you had no idea about. These four truths help people to rethink their perceptions of Freemasonry and hopefully, inspire people to conduct further research into the fascinating history and traditions of our Craft.