Phoenix Lodge A.F. & A.M.
Masonic history can be viewed only through the mists of time.
Membership in the brotherhood of Freemasons means many things. It means being part of an unbroken tradition that stretches back over hundreds years when guilds of freemasons traveled throughout Europe laying the stones of great Gothic cathedrals. "The stonemasons who created these awe-inspiring structures formed craft guilds to protect the secrets of their trade and to pass on their knowledge to worthy apprentices". 1.
"The masons were skilled workers. There were two kinds of masons, the 'hard hewers' or 'rough masons' who laid ordinary hard stone of which cathedrals were built; and the more highly-skilled masons who carved the fine facades on the cathedral face. They worked in softer, chalkier stone. This softer stone was called 'freestone', and the skilled masons who worked with it were called 'freestone masons', which was often shortened to 'freemasons'.2. Near the work site they would erect a building to house their tools, and where they could eat their meals. They called this building, the "lodge". Hence the name of current buildings for Masonic meetings.
During the Renaissance many of the former guilds changed form. Men of high character, morals, and intellect were asked to join various guilds as "admitted or gentlemen masons". Later these same men would be called "speculative masons" to distinguish them from "operative" or working men in the trade of masonry. As time passed, gradually, the speculative masons coalesced into a separate group. With the closing of the Middle Ages, the Renaissance became a period of intense discussion over discoveries in new art techniques, the meaning of religion in a person's life, new understandings of the curious laws of science, the nuances of philosophy in terms of life and government, and new approaches to the form of music with musical instruments that had not been used together before. "Freemasonry, a moral and ethical society, taught the 18th century ideals of equality and the importance of education in freeing mankind from prejudice, superstition, and social injustice."3. These were exciting times, and discussions pervaded the salons of continental Europe and lodges of Great Britain. As part of the glue that held lodges together, degrees of understanding and fellowship were developed to cement relationships. The lessons of freemasonry were developed around the familiar tools and equipment of operative masons.
People of renown that have accepted this challenge were/are: Mozart, Paul Revere, George Washington, John Hancock, Benjamin Franklin, Joseph Warren, eighteen U. S. Presidents from George Washington to Gerald Ford, John Glenn, Norm Crosby, "Red" Skelton, Arnold Palmer, Russ Francis, Ernest Borgnine, John Wayne, and Michael Richards. "Other countries honor such names a Simon Bolivar, Benito Juarez, Bernardo O'Higgins, Jose De San Martin, Pandit Nehru, Lajos Kossuth, Guiseppe Mazzini, Eduard Benes, John A. MacDonald, Edmund Burke, and Winston Churchill. 4. As well as other recognizable leaders, too many to mention, in the fields of medicine, sports, government, business, and entertainment.
Masonic values of the past are alive today. Such a loyalty, patriotism, liberty, courage, and faith. Values which have stood the test of time and are ever present in men who have searched themselves and want to associate with men of like mind. Masonry is shining it's light in variety of ways, not seen in previous centuries. Rather than hiding the Masonic organization's good works, Freemasons are encouraging needy people all over the world to accept offered services. Free for the most part. Freemasonry spends over two million dollars a day providing hospital and other services to people with a variety of physical and mental challenges and illnesses.
"Masons continue to use the simple tools of the ancient stonemasons-the square and compasses, the trowel, plumb and level- as symbols the teach our ideals. A Mason is oath-bound to build his life and character with the same care and precision that stonemasons used to construct the cathedrals and temples centuries ago.
Today, there are almost five million Masons in the world, with the United States claiming about three and one half million of the total membership. We are all equals- it doesn't matter what your occupation is or what your political or religious views are". 5.
After one has joined a Blue Lodge, or local lodge, one can look forward to a continued Masonic career by furthering one's education in the Scottish or York rites. Both Rites lead the Mason to the Shrine, and to becoming a 32nd degree Mason. The various Masonic bodies have separate, continuous public service projects in addition to Blue Lodge local community service. The most important thing is people. There are people of every country, opinion, and religion who have as their common goal to improve themselves and those around them. From England to Japan, every Mason shares the same traditions, the same degree work. That's one of the ties that binds Masons together and really makes them brothers. The most rewarding facet of becoming a Freemason is the strong sense of belonging-we're members of an extended world-wide family. Our families are very important to us. Which is why Blue Lodges and other Masonic bodies schedule a host of family events e.g. football games, circuses, rodeos, family picnics, the Grand Master's Fair, and trips to far-away-places.
We help a variety of organizations, including public hospitals and clinics, medical research, Masonic homes for the elderly and orphanages, scholarships, youth organizations, museums, and local community activities such as the public child identification program and the silent Angel Fund to aid public school systems. Schizophrenia research, Learning Disability centers, Alzheimer's Research, Muscular Dystrophy clinics, Dentistry for the handicapped, Multiple Sclerosis drives, Veteran's Hospital visitation programs, Eye Foundation research, and the Shriner Burns and Orthopedic Hospitals. The bottom line is that Freemasonry never backs down from misery and alleviating human need.
l. Should I Ask?, Supreme Council, Ancient Accepted Scottish Rite, Northern Masonic Jurisdiction, Page 3.
2. The Freemasons, Arcade Publishing, Inc., New York, 200l, Page 19
3. Should I Ask?, Supreme Council, Ancient Accepted Scottish Rite, Northern Masonic Jurisdiction, Page 3.
4. Should I Ask?, Supreme Council, Ancient Accepted Scottish Rite, Northern Masonic Jurisdiction, Page 6.
5. When Masons Serve Children, The Future Is Brighter, Grand Lodge of Massachusetts, 186 Tremont Street, Boston, MA. 02111. Page 6
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