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Difference Between Masons and Freemasons

There have been several movies in the history of movies that made their plots directly by referencing Freemasonry. In fact, it continues to be used as a template for big screen stories. Surprisingly, even in Dan Brown’s best-selling novel, “The Lost Symbol,” Dan makes a remarkable claim that the ritual is real, part of the history of the secretive brotherhood called the Freemasons. In the recent years, there has been a sharp increase in the curiosity surrounding Freemasonry, mostly because there have been several references to this secret society in several best-selling books and popular movies.

What is Freemasonry? 

Freemasonry or Masonry is a mysterious society of gentlemen concerned with moral and spiritual values. It is a secret society behind some of the biggest tragedies and scandals the world has ever seen, or perhaps the most understood, yet mainstream fraternity of brotherhood the world has ever known. It is a brotherhood that uses ceremonies of initiations to teach symbolic lessons about philosophy, morality, and character. It is one of the world’s oldest and most popular fraternal organizations that trace their origins to the local guilds of stonemasons. But how did they go from a guild of stonemasons and cathedral builders in the middle ages to the freemasons we all know today, is still a mystery.

Freemasonry owes its origins in the late 16th to 17th century, specifically 1717, when the first Grand Lodge was formed in London. However, reports and studies suggest otherwise; according to them, the associations of freemasons have been around since 1500s. But it wasn’t until the turn of the 16th century that those guilds of stonemasons gained an institutional structure, the point at which many believed to be the birth of the modern Freemasonry. Starting 1717, the Freemasonry was soon disseminated throughout the British Empire. Freemasonry is not a religion, but it’s religious. It has the look of a religion, but there are no priests, no ministers, and no rabbis.

What is Masonry?

Masonry is an oath-bound secret society that is obliged to practice brotherly love, mutual assistance, equality, and secrecy. Masonry is not a religion and it has no religious beliefs that it forces upon its members. The members of this secret society have been some of the greatest political and social reformers of history. No institution has attracted such lies, half-truths, urban legends, and myths than Masonry. The only pure forms of Masonry are the Blue Lodge with the Royal Arch Degree. All other degrees are not a part of the original plan of Masonry.

To say that if a person is a Mason means that he has passed through the Degrees of Blue Lodge or Ancient Craft Masonry, under the authority of a Grand Lodge. A Grand Lodge is a governing body of Freemasonry in a given geographical territory, usually a city, state, or country. Masonry is open to adult men of good character who believe in a Supreme Being. Masons recognize each other through secret signs, handshakes, or passwords. They meet in lodges that are governed by a Master and assisted by Wardens, and they have meetings there throughout the year. Other special meetings are held to initiate new members.

Difference between Masons and Freemasons

The Freemasons are a secret fraternal order of Free and Accepted Masons, the world’s largest fraternal organization. Almost every country in the world has a Grand Lodge of Freemasons, and each has its own website. Freemasons don’t hide and they wear rings, jackets, and hats with the square and compass sign. Freemasons use ceremonies of initiation to teach symbolic lessons about morality, philosophy, and character. They believe in a Supreme Being. The Grand Lodge is the highest administrative unit within Freemasonry and its Grand Master is the person with the highest authority.

A Mason is a colloquial term for a Freemason. Freemasonry traces its origins to the guilds of the stonemasons of the middle ages. During that time, the terms Masons and Freemasons were used differently to describe rank and file stonemasons. Masons in the early years were workers of various crafts and confined to manual labor and studied only the improvement of art. As morals, learning and religion advanced in the world, so Masonry then became speculative.

Over time, Freemasonry has become more advanced to a far higher degree of perfection than it could boast upon its first institution. Freemasons were free men and highly skilled stonemasons and better paid. They were highly skilled craftsmen who combined the roles of builder, architect, designer, craftsman, and engineer. The three degrees of Freemasonry offered by Blue Lodge retain the three grades of mediaeval craft guilds which teach lessons about Masonic wisdom and philosophy. The members of any of the three degrees are called Freemasons or Masons.

Summary

The Masonic history till date is a controversial subject and much has been written on the subject that is either of a sensational nature, or just plain poor history. There are other ways to look at Freemasonry. You could look at it as an organization, a social fellowship, a place of ritual and symbolism, or a vehicle for spiritual growth. There are two divisions of Freemasonry: operative and speculative. Operative Masonry points to original stonemasons of the Middle Ages who were skilled craftsmen and who actually worked with stones. Speculative Masonry refers to stonemasons who built cathedrals and other buildings using Masonic tools, and they did not work with stones.

What is the mason religion?

Mason is not a religion, but it’s religious and it subscribes to no particular orthodoxy. Masonry is built around the idea of the development of character, personal growth, responsibility, duty, service to God, and humanity.

What is the meaning of a Masonic Mason?

Masonic Masons are Free and Accepted Masons who are members of a secret fraternal society concerned with moral and spiritual values.

How do masons identify each other?

Masons identify each other through secret signs, handshakes, or passwords.

How do you become a Mason?

To become a Mason you have to pass through the Degrees of Blue Lodge or Ancient Craft Masonry, under the authority of a Grand Lodge.

What US presidents were masons?

It is believed that out of 45 persons who served as the President of the United States, at least 14 of them were members of the this secret society, beginning with the country’s first President, George Washington, and the 38th President, Gerald Ford.

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References :


[0]Morris, S, Brent and Arturo de Hoyos. Is it True What They Say About Freemasonry?. Maryland, United States: The Rowman & Littlefield Publishing Group, 2010. Print

[1]Koltko-Rivera, Mark. Freemasonry: An Introduction. London, United Kingdom: Penguin, 2011. Print

[2]Jacob, Margaret C. Living the Enlightenment: Freemasonry and Politics in Eighteenth-Century Europe. Oxford, United Kingdom: Oxford University Press, 1991. Print

[3]Harris, Jack. Freemasonry: The Invisible Cult. Pennsylvania, United States: Whitaker House, 2015. Print

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