What is Freemasonry?

The standard answer is that Freemasonry is the world’s oldest and largest fraternity, creating bonds between men of all races and creeds around the globe.

In reality, Freemasonry means different things to different people. For some, it’s simply a means of providing fellowship and camaraderie away from bars and nightclubs. For others, it’s a way of amplifying their charitable inclinations to better serve their neighborhoods and communities. And for others, Masonry provides an opportunity to discuss history, philosophy and even esoteric subjects with like-minded individuals. Of course, the average Freemason usually enjoys more than one aspect, which makes the bonds between us even more powerful.

Freemasonry is a society of men concerned with moral and spiritual values, and is based on the belief that each man has a responsibility to help make the world a better place. Through our culture of philanthropy, we make a profound difference for our brothers, our families, our communities, and our future.

The mission of the Masons of California – to foster personal growth and improve the lives of others – is carried out through Masonic principles and tradition.

Our mission is guided by the enduring and relevant principles of our Fraternity:

Brotherly Love Square & Compass modern

We value respect, freedom, kindness, tolerance, and our differences – religious, ethnic, cultural, social, generational, and educational – and strive for harmony in our individual lives, in our lodges, and in the global community.

Brotherly love is one of the closest connections that exist between two people. This concept indicates we must be willing to overlook trivial criticisms or differences, and strive to always see the good in our brothers that will make us love them. We must put aside our biases and remember, “All men are my Brethren,” and that, “By the exercise of brotherly love we are taught to regard the whole human species as one family – the high and low, the rich and poor – who are taught to aid, support, and protect each other.”

Relief Square & Compass modern

We take responsibility for the well-being of our brothers, our families, and the community as a whole. We provide relief through philanthropy, community involvement, and delivery of excellent care.

Relief is often thought of as purely a form of charity, but there is an even greater, all-encompassing meaning to relief in Masonry. There are additional reasons a person may be suffering, other than just financially. He may be lonely, or have work or family problems bringing him down, and helpful advice or simply someone to talk to may be all the relief that he needs. According to this tenet of Masonry, to relieve the distressed is an obligatory duty of all men. As Masons, we aim to sympathize, to console, and to restore peace to troubled minds whenever possible.

Truth Square & Compass modern

We stay true to our personal code of conduct and ethics – honor, integrity, personal responsibility – and the continuous pursuit of knowledge.

In Masonry, to be good and true is one of the first lessons. Masons must always endeavor for truth, both within themselves and in their interactions with others. Masonry demands high moral standards, and its members strive to uphold these principles in their public and private lives. Without truth, there would be no foundation for trust and fellowship.

Overall, although many expanded definitions of the three principal tenets exist, at its center, the teachings of Freemasonry instill in its members a moral and ethical approach to life; and, as Masons, we must always strive for these values to guide us in our everyday lives.