Not just a man.
A Worldwide Fraternity of Upstanding Men
Freemasonry is based on the belief that each man has a responsibility to help make the world a better place. It's the confidence of having millions of trustworthy brothers who have taken a sacred oath that they have your back. It’s a profound new sense of purpose and community. It’s a path of self-discovery and shared beliefs that make good men better sons, husbands, and fathers. And it’s walking upright and proud in the same tradition as the giants that came before us. In short, it’s a way of life.
What is Freemasonry?
What is Freemasonry?
Freemason, 1744 - Meissen Manufactory, Germany
Hard-paste porcelain - Gift of Irwin Untermyer, 1964
© The Metropolitan Museum of Art
There is no official definition of Freemasonry. No one person can speak officially for all of Freemasonry, and no one tradition represents all of Freemasonry. Broadly speaking, Masons worldwide and in different traditions have certain origins, customs, teachings, and rituals in common. Still, there is a great deal of variation from observance to observance.
Masonic writers have provided any number of definitions, but none of these is considered official or agreed upon by Masons everywhere. Freemasonry embraces the basic idea of allowing each person to think things through for himself and to draw conclusions that will bring him the greatest personal satisfaction. Even within the same tradition, it is ultimately up to each Mason to define what Freemasonry means to him. Because there are so many different observances and traditions, it is almost impossible to say anything definitively about all Freemasonry. For example, some Masonic organizations admit both men and women. Other Masonic organizations admit members who are atheists. Still, others only admit members who are Christians. But none of these things is true for the Masonic observance under which Mariners Lodge operates: we admit men only, accept all religious traditions and beliefs, and do not admit atheists.
This document will, therefore, primarily describe what is sometimes called “mainstream Masonry.” Particularly it will describe Freemasonry within the context of the customs and practices of Lodges operating under the aegis of the Grand Lodge of the State of New York, and most particularly, it will reflect the viewpoint and traditions of Mariners Lodge.