* What exactly IS Freemasonry?
We are the oldest surviving fraternity on the face of the Earth, descended from the old stonemason guilds who built the great castles and cathedrals of Europe. In modern times, we are speculative Masons, using the working tools and symbols of our ancient brethren as allegories for how to be a better man and build a better life for ourselves, our loved ones, and our fellow man. We are friends, and brothers.
* So, Freemasonry started in the Middle Ages?
Formally, modern Freemasonry began with the formation of the Grand Lodge of England in 1717. Informally, our beginnings are even older, dating back to Scotland and France. Some evidence seems to show the remnants of the Knights Templar integrated into and helped to shape what we've become, but it is inconclusive. Some of our legends refer to the building of King Solomon's Temple, and some Masons speculate that our beginnings date back to the construction of the pyramids of ancient Egypt. We may never know.
* What is a lodge?
A lodge is a cert--, er, a lodge is both the building in which we meet (formerly known as a temple), and the body of the brothers who make it up.
* Is Freemasonry a "secret society?"
No. A true secret society would be unknown to all but the members, whereas many of us proudly declare our existence and membership with clothing, jewelry, license plates, and other accoutrements. Lodges are public, clearly marked, and some (such as ours) even have highway signs calling out their location.
* But you do have secrets, right?
Are there things you talk about only at work, with your doctor, your spouse, family, or a close friend? It is the same with Masons, and for the same reasons.
* Is Freemasonry a religion or cult?
Neither. While a man must believe in a Supreme Being to become a Mason, we encourage our brothers to think for themselves and practice the faith and/or religion of their choice.
* I keep seeing references to MEN. Are there no women?
We are a fraternity. Our stonemason forebearers were all men, and our very existence as speculative Masons is built on ancient traditions. We cannot forecast what the future will bring, but for now, young ladies and the adult close relatives of Masons are encouraged to seek out the International Order of the Rainbow (Rainbow Girls) and the Order of the Eastern Star (OES). As for boys, there is DeMolay International. That all being said, we love our ladies and invite them to all our public gatherings, of which there are quite a few. The ladies of Masons are also encouraged to play an active part in the clubs of the Ancient Arabic Order of the Nobles of the Mystic Shrine (Shriners). Wait, you didn't know ALL Shriners are Freemasons?
* Is it true you're invitation-only?
Not at all. We're always eager to have new members, and all men of 18 years or older who believe in a Supreme Being and are of good moral character are encouraged to apply, but we select our members only from those who approach us. We don't believe in recruiting or selling ourselves.
* Do I have to join a certain lodge?
While it's more practical to join one near your home or workplace for the sake of a short and comfortable commute, you may approach and join any lodge (or lodges) you wish. In fact, since the atmosphere and "feel" of each lodge is unique, you may want to explore more than one to see which you prefer. Of course, we at Spring Lodge like to think ours is the best!
* Who are some famous Masons?
It would take many pages to name them all, but some include Brad Paisley, Michael Richards, John Wayne, Alex Haley, Mark Twain, Thurgood Marshall, Winston Churchill, Sam Houston, Steve Wozniak, Maaaaarvin Zindler, Colonel Harland Sanders (yes, THAT Col. Sanders), John Elway, George Washington, Richard Pryor, Harry S. Truman, Gerald Ford, Davey Crockett, Buzz Aldrin, and J.C. Penney (again, THAT J.C. Penney).
* Is there a membership fee? If so, how much?
As an all-volunteer organization with expenses related to the maintenance of our buildings, utilities, equipment, administration, and food -- we do charge membership fees, which vary with each lodge. Annual membership for Master Masons in Spring Lodge is $120/yr, or one can choose to purchase a lifetime endowment for $1200.
* Master Mason? What does that mean?
New candidates begin a journey of Masonic education, comprised of three levels, or degrees. The first is Entered Apprentice, the second is Fellow Craft, and the third and final degree is Master Mason. Entered Apprentices are Masons from that moment forward, but one must become a Master Mason to be considered a member of the lodge, and to join our optional appendant bodies, some of which confer their own set of degrees.
* So, wait, "the third degree?"
Yes, that came from us -- as do the gavels used by judges. And more.
Do you have other questions?
Just ask! Or better yet, come visit us and see for yourself! Spring Lodge is open every Tuesday evening from approximately 4-7:30pm, and every Thursday from approximately 4-9pm. The third Thursday of every month is our monthly business meeting (or "Stated Meeting"), and an open portion which ANYONE may attend begins at 7pm. You can also find us parking cars during most events in Old Town Spring. We look forward to meeting you!