Boston Masonry has a long history in the City of Boston, tracing its roots back to stonemason guilds that existed in the 14th century. Today, Masonry is one of the largest and most respected fraternal orders in the country with over a million members.
Unlike other fraternal organizations, Boston Masonry is not a secret society. Rather, it is a society of men who recognize each other with certain signals, grips, signs and phrases. However, the actual degree rituals are considered to be “secret,” as are the modes of recognition by which candidates are recognized in a Lodge.
The majority of Lodges in Massachusetts are made up of men from blue-collar backgrounds, and a good many of them are comprised of members of the middle class who work in the city. In general, though, Masonry is a group of people with different economic backgrounds, who are interested in becoming better people.
Membership is largely male, but females are also eligible to become members. They must be at least 18 years of age and able to profess belief in God or a supreme being. They must be of good character and report.
In the United States and Canada, all new Masons must swear a moral oath in Lodge before being admitted into the Lodge. In many countries, however, affirmations may be used instead of the traditional oath.
Most Grand Lodges prohibit Masons from attempting to recruit non-Masons to join the fraternity, or from asking non-Masons to apply for membership. This is to ensure that Masons who join the fraternity do so of their own free will and without encroachment from outside sources.
Some Lodges also encourage non-Masons to participate in their meetings and activities, such as social functions or charity events. This is often done with the intention of allowing non-Masons to gain an insight into Masonry as a whole and to see what it has to offer them.
Although some Grand Lodges have a policy that excludes members of sectarian religions, Masonry is generally a very welcoming community of men. If you’re interested in learning more, contact your local Lodge or speak to a member of the fraternity.
You may be surprised to know that Masonry teaches its members that each of us has a responsibility to make the world a better place, and that every person can make a difference in their own way. In fact, the majority of the funds that Masonry spends in the United States are for charitable purposes.
This helps a lot of people who might otherwise go unnoticed. For example, Masons and the organizations that they support contribute over 700 million dollars each year to help people with sight problems or aphasia, physically and developmentally disabled children and those who have severe burns.
The majority of Masons are very active in their communities, donating time and money to a wide variety of causes that benefit the public. They work on projects to improve education, health care and the environment.