Frequently Asked Questions

What are the qualifications of a petitioner for Freemasonry? That he believes in the Supreme Architect of the Universe (by whatever name He may be called); that he applies for initiation and membership of his own free will and accord; that he is recommended by two Master Masons, one of whom must be a Member of the Lodge to which he desires to apply; that he is of good character; that he be a man, and of mature age (18 in Pennsylvania).

Must all Masons be obligated on the Bible? The primary requirement of a Freemason is a belief in a Supreme Being, whether He be called God or Allah or Jehovah or any of the names by which the Supreme Architect of the Universe may be designated. Hence a candidate for Freemasonry should be obligated on a book he considers to be a Volume of the Sacred Law of his religious faith, (e.g. Holy Bible, Torah, Koran).

Why are we called Freemasons? The name definitely dates back to the days when Masonry was almost wholly operative in character. Numerous explanations have been suggested, such as (a) masons worked in free stone (which could be carved), and hence were called “free-stone masons”, later shortened to “freemasons”; (b) they were free men, not serfs; (c) they were free to move from place to place as they might desire; (d) they were given the freedom of the towns or localities in which they worked; (e) they were free of the rules and regulations that were usually imposed upon members of guilds.

Is Freemasonry a charitable organization? It is not a charitable organization as such, but it engages in many acts of charity. In Pennsylvania three outstanding examples of this are the Masonic Villages (located in Elizabethtown, Warminster, Sewickley, Dallas and Lafayette Hill), the Masonic Children’s Home at Elizabethtown, and the Pennsylvania Masonic Youth Foundation. Individual Lodges assist needy members, their widows, orphans, and community cases as need arises and funds are available. Additionally, the appendant Masonic bodies all have tremendous charitable outreaches which are well known for treating crippled and burned children, providing eye and dental care, leading medical research in the areas of schizophrenia and mental illness, providing training for children with dyslexia and support for kids with muscular dystrophy, to name just a few.

What is the symbolism of Freemasonry? The use of the tools and terms of the builder’s trade to express invisible or spiritual ideas and thereby illustrate moral concepts and basic truths in the life of mankind.

Why do Masonic Rituals vary in different Jurisdictions in the United States? The Rituals vary in words and details. This results from the fact that Freemasonry in the United States has been derived from a number of sources(England, both Antient and Modern, Ireland, Scotland). Likewise, from time to time many Grand Lodges have modified their Ritualistic Work.

What does “So mote it be” mean? The word “mote” is derived from the Anglo-Saxon word “motan” meaning “to be allowed.” Hence, the phrase “So mote it be.” These are the last words in the Regius Poem.