Over the last 300 years, Freemasons in Pennsylvania have been active members of their communities. The Grand Lodge of Pennsylvania has built and invested in five Masonic Villages; founded and maintained the Masonic Children’s Home; given out more than $1 million in scholarships to students; assisted parents and children with problems like bullying and drug abuse; and saved and restored priceless books and artifacts relating to the founding of the United States. Yet, one question remains – just what do Freemasons do?
Freemasonry, at its core, is unlike any other social or fraternal organization. While many groups work to improve their community, such as Rotary, Kiwanis, or Elks, Freemasonry takes a different approach. Whereas most organizations help their community as a group, Freemasons start with the individual. We believe that by improving and educating our members, they will become better citizens, which will naturally lead to them wanting to take an active part in improving themselves and their communities.
This is accomplished through moral lessons provided during the Masonic degrees and reinforced at each meeting. There is an old adage that says, “Freemasonry makes good men better.” While it’s certainly a nice phrase, it doesn’t tell you much. Perhaps a better definition is, “Freemasonry provides its members with a philosophical outlook on life by conferring degrees and reinforcing these values through Lodge activities.”
Let’s give an example. Freemasonry teaches the importance of helping others, especially those that cannot help themselves. This idea is inculcated at each Masonic meeting, during the opening and closing ceremonies. It is also reinforced when members support charitable projects on their own or within their Lodge. Charity is not forced upon our members. Instead, they choose to support charity because they believe it’s the right thing to do.
But, remember, we’re not just a fraternity of charity. This is but one example of how our strategy of individual improvement leads to a larger change. Just as charity is a natural occurrence stemming from the lessons taught in Freemasonry, so is brotherly love and the importance of truth. Freemasons take their commitment to aiding their Brothers seriously and work hard to live true to their word.
What do Freemasons do? We make ourselves better men by learning that service is the greatest gift of all.