Crescent Lodge #25

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What is Freemasonry? It is an important question for you to ponder. There are nearly as many definitions of Freemasonry as there are Masons. One common definition is: "Freemasonry is a system of morality, veiled in allegory, and illustrated by symbols." In the Middle Ages, the terms "mason" and "freemason" were used interchangeably. They were stonemasons who built castles and cathedrals in England and Scotland. Because of the inherent danger of their work, many stonemasons formed local organizations, called lodges, to take care of sick and injured members as well as the widows and orphans of those who were killed on the job.

The masons also used the lodges as places to meet, receive their pay, plan their work, train new apprentices, and socialize. In 1717, the first Grand Lodge was established in London. Within the next two decades, English Freemasonry spread throughout Europe and eventually made its way to the American colonies. The first lodge organized on American soil appeared in Philadelphia around 1730. By 1733 a Provincial Grand Lodge was organized in Boston. George Washington, Benjamin Franklin, John Hancock, and other founding fathers were among the first Masons in America. Of the 39 men who signed the U.S. Constitution, 13 were Masons.

Masonry is the world's largest Fraternity with a membership of approximately 4,000,000 worldwide, nearly 2,000,000 men in the United States, and 25,000 in Iowa. Each lodge in the state of Iowa operates by Charter granted by the State organization called "The Grand Lodge". While we cannot categorically define what Masonry is, we can say what it is not. It is NOT a cult, a religion, a secret society, or a political group.

While Masonry is not a religion, it is religious in nature. Belief in a Supreme Being is a fundamental requirement for becoming a Mason. Masonry is a charitable organization, an organization dedicated to the strengthening a man's character, improving his moral and spiritual outlook, and broadening his mental horizons. Masonry seeks to make good men better; not better than others, but better than themselves.