1. The Freemasons are not a secret society. A Mason can freely tell people they are a Mason. They just can’t reveal the secrets of the order.
2. Our founding father and first president, George Washington, was a Freemason.
3. It’s estimated that there are six million Masons in the world today.
4. In the type of Freemasonry practiced in the U.S., members are required to believe in God, though the interpretation of this is left up to the individual member.
5. In the type of Freemasonry practiced in the U.S. (Anglo-American) female members are not allowed, whereas in the type practiced in Europe (Continental), women are generally allowed to be initiated.
6. Another difference between American and European lodges is that in the U.S. political discussion is banned, but allowed in other sects.
7. A Masonic “lodge” refers to the congregation of people who meet there, it’s not just the name of a building.
8. Each lodge gets a charter from a “Grand Lodge” but they basically run themselves. There’s no overarching ritual for running a meeting, it varies with each individual group.
9. The Masonic symbol of the square and the compass is borrowed from stonemasons, but it’s metaphorical, referring to the philosophical building the Freemason does, though the specific interpretation varies between lodges.
10. There is no one meaning to Masonic allegories. Each Mason can accept their own interpretation. For instance, though belief in a Supreme Being is required in American lodges, the being can be the Christian God, The Islamic God, or something else.
11. 8 of the people who signed the Declaration of Independence were Freemasons.
12. In the U.S., generally, these are the requirements for becoming a mason:
- Be a man who comes of his own free will.
- Believe in a Supreme Being (the form of which is left to open interpretation by the candidate).
- Be at least the minimum age (from 18–25 years old depending on the jurisdiction. In some jurisdictions the son of a Mason, known as a “Lewis,” may join at an earlier age than others).
- Be of good morals, and of good reputation.
- Be of sound mind and body (lodges had in the past denied membership to a man because of a physical disability; however, now, if a potential candidate says a disability will not cause problems, it will not be held against him).
- Be free-born (or “born free”, i.e., not born a slave or bondsman). As with the previous, this is entirely an historical holdover, and can be interpreted in the same manner as it is in the context of being entitled to write a will. Some jurisdictions have removed this requirement.
- Be capable of furnishing character references, as well as one or two references from current Masons, depending on jurisdiction.
13. A man named William Morgan was rejected from the Masons in the 1800s. He pitched and received a large advance to then publish a book revealing their secrets. He disappeared and was never seen or heard from again.
14. Hitler believed that the Masons were a tool of the Jews and under the Nazi regime, it’s estimated that it is estimated that between 80,000 and 200,000 Freemasons were murdered.
15. The 14 U.S. presidents known to be Freemasons are: George Washington, James Monroe, Andrew Jackson, James Polk, James Buchanan, Andrew Johnson, James Garfield, William McKinley, Theodore Roosevelt, Howard Taft, Warren Harding, Franklin Roosevelt, Harry Truman, Gerald Ford.
16. Most conspiracy theories surround Freemasonry revolve around three false assumptions:
- That Freemasonry is its own religion, requires belief in a unique Masonic “god”, and that belief in this Masonic “god” is contrary to the teachings of various mainstream religions (although usually noted in terms of being specifically contrary to Christian belief.)
- That the 33rd degree of the Scottish Rite is more than an honorary degree, coupled with the belief that most Freemasons are unaware of hidden or secretive ruling bodies within their organization that govern them, conduct occult ritual, or control various positions of governmental power.
- That there is a centralized worldwide body that controls all Masonic Grand Lodges, and thus, all of Freemasonry worldwide acts in a unified manner.
17. Conspiracies link Freemasons to the Illuminati. However, this seems unlikely because the Illuminati are an entirely secret society, to the extent that most people do not believe they exist in modern day society, while people are entirely free to divulge they are a member of a Freemason lodge.
18. Charles Darwin was a Freemason.
19. A woman named Catherine Babington wanted to know what Freemasonry was all about so she hid inside a pulpit at meetings in Kentucky for over a year. When discovered, she was held for a month.
20. One of the biggest anti-Mason conspiracies is that Freemasons were responsible for the assassination of JFK.
21. Pope Leo XIII called Freemasonry “the kingdom of Satan”
22. Polar explorers Richard E. Byrd and Bernt Balchen dropped Masonic flags on the North and South poles.
23. 89% of The Supreme Court Justices belonged to Masonic lodges in 1952.
24. Anders Breivik, perpetrator of the 2011 mass murders in Norway, was a practicing Freemason.
25. Because exposés have been published over the years detailing signs and gestures that help Masons recognize each other, some use certain words that are purposely false, in order to tell when people are relying on these exposés. Also, the signs and gestures vary between lodges, so you can’t trust them!