F.A.Q.Frequently Asked Questions About Masonry
What is a Freemason?
Freemasonry or Masonry refers to fraternal organizations that trace its origins to the local guilds of stonemasons, which controlled stonemason credentials and interactions with authorities and patrons beginning at the end of the 13th century.
What is expected of a Freemason?
Among a Master Mason’s responsibilities are rigorous adherence to his obligations, devotion to his Lodge and the Fraternity, quick payment of dues, adherence to Freemasonry’s written and unwritten regulations, and always maintaining an association with a lodge – that is, remaining a member in good standing.
What does the Freemasons symbol mean?
While the square and compasses symbolize different things to different people, the ideals this emblem represents have stayed unaltered for generations for Freemasons. It is now a source of solidarity and inspiration for fraternity members all around the world, a beacon of truth, relief, and brotherly love.
Can anyone be a Freemason?
Freemasonry accepts men of all countries, religions, races, ages, income levels, education levels, and political views. To join Freemasonry, however, one must satisfy the following requirements:
- You must be a man of at least 18 years of age (the minimum age varies in some jurisdictions, sometimes up to 21)
- Believe in the presence of a Supreme Being, notwithstanding the fact that Freemasonry is unconcerned with theological distinctions or specific religious views.
- Have a good moral character.
- Be inspired to join for reasons other than personal benefit or profit.
- Your application is based on your own “free will and accord.”
- Be motivated by a good impression of Freemasonry.
- Be eager to learn and willing to follow the fraternity’s traditional usages and customs.
What Does A.F. & A.M. Mean In Masonry?
A.F. & A.M. in Freemasonry stands for “Ancient Free & Accepted Masons“.
In reality, it makes no difference whether you join an AF & AM or a F & AM lodge in the United States.
Every regular lodge in the United States is subject to the jurisdiction of its state Grand Lodge. Because there is no Grand Lodge Headquarters for each state’s distinct Grand Lodge, each state’s Grand Lodge functions as its own “headquarters” under the jurisdiction of that state.
All Freemasons, both AF & AM (Ancient Free and Accepted Masons) and F & AM (Free and Accepted Masons), trace their metaphorical history back to the construction of Solomon’s temple in the Holy Scriptures.
Throughout the 1730s, both the “Ancients” (also known as “Antients”) and the “Moderns” (as well as the Grand Lodges of Ireland and Scotland) chartered progeny (“daughter”) lodges and created numerous Provincial Grand Lodges in the British Colonies in North America.
Following the American Revolution, each state established its own Grand Lodge.
Free and Accepted Masons vs. Ancient Free and Accepted Masons
There were two Grand Lodges in England from 1751 until 1813. The distinction between AF and AM states and F and AM states stems from a dispute between these two Grand Lodges in London at the time.
The “Moderns” were one of the two English Grand Lodges, but they were really the elder of the two. The second group was known as the “Antients,” which were renamed “Ancients” in AF and AM.
As a result of their dispute, the two factions split into different Grand Lodges. The disagreement was later settled around 1880, but by that time, there were lodges and Grand Lodges all over the United States that were descended from one group or the other, and so each group kept the corresponding initials with which they were formed, (which is why there are minor differences in ritual wording and Grand Lodge By-Laws and procedures in different states).
Most Grand Lodges in the United States recognize and accept each other’s members as genuine Masons.
Furthermore, all of the Grand Lodges in the United States acknowledge (and are recognized by) the official Grand Lodges of England, Ireland, and Scotland, as well as the Grand Lodges throughout the majority of Europe, Asia, Africa, South America, Thailand, and India.
Masonic Lodge of Prince Hall
Historically, the lodges under the “Prince Hall” Grand Lodges were not recognized by the normal (mainstream) Grand Lodges.
The Prince Hall Masonic Lodge is descended from a lodge of Black Freemasons founded in Boston by a Black man named Prince Hall.
On March 6, 1775, Prince Hall and fourteen other free black men were initiated into Lodge # 441, Irish Constitution, which was associated to the 38th Regiment of Foot of the British Army garrisoned at Castle Williams…now known as Fort Independence, in Boston Harbor.
They afterwards filed for and were granted a Charter by the Grand Lodge of England.
The lodge ceased to exist after Prince Hall’s death. After many years, Black Masons formed their own Prince Hall Masonic Grand Lodge. They then granted licenses to Black men to form subordinate lodges.
The normal (mainstream) Grand Lodges now recognize several Prince Hall Masonic Grand Lodges. They are known as associated in other states.
Any Prince Hall Masonic Grand Lodge that is not recognized by its regular counterparts is referred to as an irregular (non-mainstream) lodge.
AF and AM States versus F and AM States vs AFM States vs FAAM States
States of AF and AM
Ancient Free and Accepted Masons (AF&AM)
CO, CT, DE, ID, IL, IA, KS, ME, MD, MA, MN, MO, MT, NE, NM, NC, ND, OK, OR, SD, TX, VA, WV, WY are among the 24 AF & AM states.
States of F & A M:
The letters F & AM stand for Free and Accepted Masons.
AL, AK, AR, AZ, CA, FL, GA, HI, IN, KY, LA, MI, MS, NH, NJ, NV, NY, OH, PA, RI, TN, UT, VT, WA, WI are among the 25 F & AM states.
Every Prince Hall lodge is also an F. & A.M. lodge.
AFM stands for Ancient Free Masons.
SC is the only AFM state.
FAAM stands for Free And Accepted Masons.
The District of Columbia is a member of F.A.A.M.
So, what’s the distinction between Ancient Free and Accepted Masons, Free and Accepted Masons, and members of Accepted Freemason and Free and Accepted Mason states?
The few inherent variations between AF and AM state grand lodges, the AFM grand lodge in South Carolina, and the FAAM in Washington, D.C. are minor.
While both AF and AM vs F and AM states exist, as do AFM states and FAAM in the District of Columbia (with minor variants in ritual phrasing, officer titles, and so on), these little variances are not as essential as the fraternity’s common brotherhood.
This distinction is only significant if you buy Masonic jewelry, a Past Master apron, a Masonic shirt, a Masonic certificate, or any object that is engraved, embroidered, or printed with a specific jurisdictional designation.
Some of these goods have a special designation pre-printed on them. As a result, understanding the identification of your specific lodge (AF and AM vs F and AM states, etc.) is beneficial in order to avoid ordering the wrong item.
How many levels of Masons are there?
Entered Apprentice, Fellowcraft (or Fellow Craft), and Master Mason are the three masonic degrees conferred by a masonic lodge. While there is no higher degree in Freemasonry than that of Master Mason, there are extra degrees available solely to Master Masons.
How long does it take to become a Freemason?
It generally takes a few months to become an apprentice. You should expect to learn whether you’ve been approved within 45 days. In fact, depending on how busy the lodge is and its particular restrictions, it’s not uncommon to have to wait 3 or 4 months, if not more.
What do you get out of being a Freemason?
When you join a Freemason, you go on a quest to become a better man. You will cultivate deep, meaningful connections with your Brothers, dedicate yourself to serving people around you, and seek for a deeper, more honest connection with yourself and others. It’s an adventure in self-discovery and enlightenment.
How can I become a Freemason?
The first step in becoming a Freemason, is to petition a lodge for acceptance. The petition will then be processed through that lodge to make a determination to join Masonry.
What are the Masonic Lodge Officers in Masonry?
- Worshipful Master
- Senior Warden
- Junior Warden
- Senior Deacon
- Junior Deacon
- Senior Steward
- Junior Steward