Text from a brochure given to potential candidates in the early 1990s.
Freemasonry is the oldest and largest fraternity in the world. Its membership is comprised of men from all walks of life. Freemasonry dates back many centuries to the stonemasons who built the great cathedrals of Europe in the Middle Ages. Their working tools and the structure of their exclusive society of those days are still used symbolically in Freemasonry. The actual practices and procedures observed worldwide were formalized with the establishment of the Grand Lodge of England in 1717 and have not been extensively altered since that time.
The first warrant for a Masonic Lodge, in what was then known as the Colony of Vancouver's Island, was granted in 1859, by the Grand Master of the United Grand Lodge of England, authorizing the formation of Victoria Lodge, No. 1085, E.C. Some months later Union Lodge at New Westminster in the Colony of British Columbia, was formed and received its charter on the 16th December, 1861.
Freemasonry in British Columbia continued to operate under the Grand Lodges of Scotland and England until the Grand Lodge of British Columbia was established in 1871. Since these early beginnings many prominent men in the history of British Columbia and Canada have place their names on the membership rolls of various lodges throughout the province.
What is a Freemason?
A Freemason is a member of the world's largest fraternal organization. He not only enjoys the friendship and brotherhood of other Freemasons in his community, but also is welcomed by Freemasons anywhere in the world. A Freemason is a man of faith, who uses tools of moral and ethical principles to serve mankind. He binds himself to like-minded men in a brotherhood that transcends all religious, ethnic, social, cultural and educational differences. A Freemason shows the aspirations and obligations of men of good will who seek to make themselves better than they are - not better than others.
A Freemason is dedicated - he recognizes his responsibility for justice, truth, charity, honesty and integrity. Freemasons work building their lives and character, just as a carpenter works at building a house. A Freemason believes that there is such a thing as honour, and that a man has a responsibility to act with honour in everything he does. A Freemason teaches that principle. He believes that a life not founded on honour is hollow and empty - that a man who acts without honour is less than a man.
A Freemason believes that it is not only more blessed to give than to receive, it's also more rewarding. He becomes involved with problems and needs of others because he knows it gives each of us a good feeling to help, a feeling unlike any other.
A Freemason believes that every person should strive to be a good citizen and that he has a moral duty to be true to the country in which he lives, for loyalty to one's country is essential.
A Freemason is expected to obey every lawful authority, obey the laws of the country in which he lives and promote its general welfare.
In no way do these requirements interfere with a Freemason's civil right to protest and seek legislative changes by lawful means.
Freemasons and the Masonic family contribute not only their money, but also an incredible amount of time to various charities. Internationally the Masonic family donates over three million dollars per day to various charitable works. Much of our help is given anonymously. We're not after gratitude. We're more than rewarded by that feeling which comes from knowing we have helped another person overcome some adversity, so that their life can go on.
Freemasonry is not!
Freemasonry is not a secret society. It does nothing to conceal its existence or its activities. Its only secrets are simply modes of recognition between Masons.
Freemasonry is not a religion and makes no pretence to be one - but it does, however, require that a man believe in a Supreme Being. Men of all faiths have become Freemasons because the principles Freemasonry espouses are compatible with the teachings of the recognized faiths of the world.
Freemasonry is not an organization that provides material gain or advancement to its membership. For to do so would lead to disappointment.
How to become a Freemason
One of the unique features of Freemasonry is that no man is ever invited to become a member. Freemasons are prohibited from the solicitation of new members. For that reason, it is sometimes difficult for an interested person to discover how to approach the fraternity for membership.
It is easy, however, to find out; just contact a Freemason and ask him about Freemasonry, You probably know several Freemasons. Perhaps you have seen the Square and Compasses like the one on this brochure, on a ring, pin, or bumper sticker. If you know where the Masonic Lodge is in your community, stop by or look up the phone number and give them a call or contact the lodge listed on the back of this brochure.
Freemasonry offers much to its members - the opportunity to grow, the chance to make a difference, to build a better world for ourselves and our children. It offers the chance to be with and work with men who have the same values and ideals.
Freemasonry is always ready to welcome good men into the fraternity. It's ready to welcome you.