What is Freemasonry?

Freemasonry, the oldest and most prestigious fraternity in the world, is open to all men of good will who believe in a supreme being of their choice; in upholding the laws of the land; in helping each other; in improving their communities; and in the brotherhood of man. We’re kind of like a civic club, a charitable institution and a fraternity -all rolled into one. We’re like a civic club in that we do a lot of community and statewide projects. We are like a major charity in that we give almost $1.5 million away every day. But, most importantly, we are a fraternity for doing good things for each other and trying to bring men of good morals and ethics together in our community.

Because Freemasonry is centuries old, scholars cannot agree about precisely when and where it began. An accepted theory is that it reaches back to medieval Europe when the great cathedrals were built. The stonemasons who built these awe-inspiring structures formed guilds to help one another and pass their skills to worthy apprentices. In 17th century England, these guilds began accepting men of learning and position. These new members were not stonemasons or even associated with building. As “accepted Masons,” they grew into a separate organization called Free and Accepted Masons, or Freemasonry. Today, men of every walk of life belong to the Masons or “Freemasons.” Both names are used interchangeably. The Fraternity’s membership in the United States numbers 2.5 million in 14,000 Lodges where Masons meet. New York State has nearly 60,000 members in close to 700 Lodges. New York State Freemasons established and support the world-renowned Masonic Medical Research Laboratory at Utica, support a Child ID program, educate children in schools about drugs and alcohol abuse, distribute college scholarships, and send children to our Camp Turk a camp on Round Lake

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