A Mason

A Mason is a man who
professes a faith in God.  
As a man of faith, he uses
the tools of moral and
ethical truths to serve
mankind.

A Mason binds himself to
like minded men in a
brotherhood that
transcends all religious,
ethnic, social, cultural and
educational differences.

In fellowship with his
Brothers, a Mason finds
ways in which to serve his
God, his family, his fellow
man and his country.

A Mason is dedicated. He
recognizes his
responsibility for justice,
truth, liberty, honesty and
integrity in all aspects of
human endeavor.

A Mason is all of this and
more.


What Are Masons?

A group (fraternity) of men
who enjoy sharing the
virtues of honesty,
morality, integrity and
tolerance

What Do Masons Do?

Masons contribute, not
necessarily monetarily,
but by living their lives in
such a manner that the
world is better because of
they live in it.
What Is Freemasonry

Freemasonry is a fraternity. Its membership is restricted to
men, but there is no hazing as is found in some college
fraternities. The Masonic Order is a serious group.   It exists to
take good men and help them to become better men. Thus, it
is not a reform society. It does not exist to reform criminals, nor
would such persons benefit from its teachings.

Variously known as Freemasonry, Masonry or The Craft, the
beginnings of our fraternity are lost to history. Although
Masonry is believed to be the oldest surviving fraternal
organization in the world, the exact date of its founding is
uncertain. Freemasonry can, however, be easily traced to
sixteenth century Scotland although the first Masonic
governing body was not founded until 1717 in London. The
oldest Masonic document, the Regius poem, dates to around
1390 A.D.   We know of no Masonry prior to that date.
Somewhere between 1390 and 1717 lodges of operative
masons began to accept as members men who did not work in
the building trade. Eventually whole lodges composed of such
persons arose, leading to a transition from lodges being
composed of stone masons to lodges being composed of men
from other occupations who gathered and shared a ritual
replete with allusions to carpentry, architecture, and stone
masonry.

In 1717, four of these lodges in England met and formed the
first Grand Lodge.   A Grand Lodge is a Masonic body having
jurisdiction over the lodges within a certain geographical
area.    Each state has its own Grand Lodge.   Also the District
of Columbia has its own
Grand Lodge.

Symbolic, Craft, or Blue Lodge Masonry has three degrees.
The three degrees are, in order: Entered Apprentice, Fellow
Craft, and Master Mason. In early Speculative Masonry there
was only one degree. Later a two-degree system developed
and finally the three-degree system of today evolved and was
firmly in place by around 1760 A.D.

A "degree" is a drama in which a newcomer to Masonry, the
candidate, is made to play a key part. These dramas have
several characteristics and are progressive in nature, that is,
they build on each other. These dramas are enacted with only
Masons being present and are for the purpose of moral
instruction. A unique characteristic of each Masonic degree is
an "obligation" taken by the candidate. The obligation is an
oath taken for the purpose of instructing the candidate in his
Masonic duty.

The three degrees have a biblical basis. Much biblical imagery
is used in the ritual of the degrees. The central biblical image
used in Masonic ritual is that of the building of King Solomon's
Temple, as meticulously described for us in the Old Testament
books of I Kings and II Chronicles. Whenever a Masonic lodge
is in session, the Holy Bible is open upon the lodge's altar.

Masonry does require of its adherents a belief in God and in
life after death, though it asks no one to expound upon the
particulars of his understanding of those two beliefs. There is
some memory work the candidate must learn after each
degree is conferred upon him.   He has a set amount of time to
learn the catechism, that is, a set of questions and answers,
and to recite them before the lodge members at a lodge
meeting.

Masonry is not a religion. There is nothing in Freemasonry to
interfere with a man's religious life. Persons of all faiths and
Christian denominations are a part of the worldwide Masonic
fraternity. Religion and politics are two subjects not allowed to
be discussed when a lodge is in session.

Masonry teaches the importance of helping the less fortunate.
It especially stresses care for the widows and orphans of
Masons.   Indeed, most Grand Lodges have within their
jurisdiction a home for aged Masons, their wives and widows,
and also a home for Masonic orphans. In the U.S.A. alone, all
branches of Masonry combined provide over of $1.5 million of
charitable aid per DAY!

Masonry asks its candidates not to tell the details of its ritual to
non-Masons. This is not because Masonry is ashamed of
anything. It is because an element of secrecy serves to
heighten interest in Masonic teaching. It is also because most
people would not benefit from being introduced to Masonic
teachings out of the context of the Masonic degree system.
Why do Masons keep their rituals a secret? For the same
reason that the ancient stonemasons kept their trade secrets.
Their secrecy helped to maintain a better quality of work. Our
secrecy today helps us to make a good man better. It is
difficult to believe that the secrets of Masonry are evil when
you consider the heritage of Masonry that includes a long list
of influential leaders such as Paul Revere, George
Washington, Andrew Jackson, Theodore Roosevelt, Douglas
MacArthur, Franklin D. Roosevelt, Harry Truman, Stephen F.
Austin and Sam Houston. It is difficult to believe that the
secrets of Masonry are evil when you see so many Masons
working as a vital part of every community to provide better
churches, better schools and better governments. It is difficult
to look into the eyes of a little child in a Shrine Hospital and
say the secrets of Masonry are evil. If we really believe the
biblical teaching, "by their fruits ye shall know them" then we
must believe that the secrets of Masonry really do help to
make a good man better.

The influence of Masonry is like the influence of the home and
the influence of the church. It does not produce perfect human
beings.Despite the best efforts of the home there has never
been a perfect child.   Despite the best efforts of the church
there has never been a perfect Christian. Despite the best
efforts of Masonry there has never been a perfect Mason.
Nevertheless there is a place for all these in our society.   
Man's basic nature is such that he needs every good influence
he can get.  He needs the powerful influence of a good
home.   He needs powerful influence of a dedicated church
made up of dedicated believers. The needs the influence of
dedicated teachers in the public schools.   But, when it is all
said and done, it doesn't hurt to have a little extra push that
comes from civic organizations, from professional
organizations and from fraternal organizations. Masonry has a
proud heritage of 171; years of service to the State of Texas
and we hope this discussion has helped you come to a better
understanding of the purpose of our fraternal organization.   
Texas Masonry now looks to the future with the hope that a
better understanding will allow the lodge to take its rightful
place in every Texas community, right alongside of the church,
the home, the schools, and the civic organizations as a
positive force for good. With this better understanding there is
every reason to believe that we can all work together to make
our government, our schools and our churches even stronger
than before. The strength of Texas has always been built upon
the combined efforts of all these groups, and the Grand Lodge
of Texas has contributed valuable service to our churches, our
nation, our state and our community.

In March 1835 the first Masonic meeting was held in Texas for
the purpose of establishing a lodge in Texas. Six Masons met
under an oak tree near the town of Brazoria.   They applied to
the Grand Lodge of Louisiana for a dispensation to form and
open a Lodge.   A dispensation was issued and later a charter.
This first Texas lodge was called Holland Lodge No. 36.   It was
named after then Grand Master of Masons in Louisiana, John
Henry Holland. Anson Jones was the first Worshipful Master of
Holland Lodge No. 36, now Holland Lodge No. 1. The charter
was brought by John M. Allen and given to Anson Jones just
prior to the battle of San Jacinto.

Two more Texas lodges were formed, also given dispensation
and charter by the Grand Lodge of Louisiana. They were:   
Milam Lodge No. 40 in Nacogdoches, and McFarland Lodge
No. 41 in San Augustine.   Both were formed in 1837. These
two lodges, together with Holland Lodge No. 36, sent
representatives to meet in Houston and established the Grand
Lodge of the Republic of Texas.   The convention elected
Anson Jones the first Grand Master of Masons in Texas. It
should be noted that Anson Jones was the fourth and final
President of the Republic of Texas, prior to becoming a state.

There are now over 122,000 Masons in Texas with a total of
914 lodges. How we have grown in those 171 years! We look
forward optimistically to the future of Masonry in Texas and
trust that its proud heritage will be built upon in the years to
come in ways that will continue to serve and honor the great
State of Texas of which we are a part.

There are nominal one-time fees collected for the conferring of
the three degrees.   After that a Mason pays yearly dues to
the lodge of which he has become a member.   No Mason is
supposed to ask another person to become a Mason.   It is up
to the individual man who has an interest in becoming a Mason
to ask a Mason he knows for a petition to join the fraternity.


To become a Mason you must be recommended by two
members of the Lodge you petition and have three Masons as
references.
To print a Petition for the Degrees
click here.


Visit our Lodge Locator to find a lodge near you.