Frequently Asked Questions About Masonry.

Q. What is Freemasonry?
A. A fraternity of men dedicated to the building of the moral character of its members, the preservation of personal freedom, and charity and the doing of good deeds.

Q. Is Masonry a religion?
A. No. Every applicant must express a belief in God or a Supreme Being, but no particular religion is required.

Q. When did it start?
A. Informally, many centuries ago, formally in 1717 in London, England.

Q. Who formed the Freemasons?
A. The most common theory is that the organization was developed by the stone masons.

Q. How do Masons teach morality?
A. Rituals were developed centuries ago imploring men to be faithful and charitable. These are taught by allegory and symbols.

Q. How are these teachings enforced?
A. Masons who go astray are counseled by their brothers. Those who cannot be helped are expelled from the Fraternity.

Q. How are Masons charitable?
A. In the United States Masons contribute over two million dollars a day to charitable purposes. These funds go to the indigent for medical care. Shoes, sick room equipment, scholarships, and a wide range of other help for the needy. Many hospitals are supported by Masons.

Q. Are there Masons in other countries?
A. Yes. World wide, about 6 million.

Q. How many Masons are there in the United States?
A. According the Masonic Services Association of North America, in 2016: 1,117,781.

Q. Can a woman join the Masons?
A. No. But Masonry has many appendant bodies. Some are for men, some for women, some for both. There are also appendant groups for boys and girls.

Q. Are Shriners or Knight Templars Masons?
A. Yes, but not all Masons are Shriners or Knight Templars.

Q. Who is the head of the Masons in the United States?
A. No one. Each state is independent, as a Grand Lodge. The highest officer is the Grand Master.

Q. Is there an official spokesman?
A. No, not for the entire fraternity. The Grand Master speaks for his Grand Lodge.

Q. Is there a head of Masons in each state?
A. Yes. He is called the Grand Master and is elected for one year in Washington state..

Q. Are the offices of the Grand Lodge of Washington in Washington state?
A. Yes. In University Place, WA.

Q. How many individual Lodges are in Washington state?
A. In 2023, according to the Grand Lodge of Washington there are over 150 Lodges in this state.

Q. How much does it cost to join the Edmonds Lodge?
A. Total fees are $320,

Q. How much are the annual dues?
A. Approximately $140,

Q. How old do you have to be to join the Masons?
A. In Washington state, at least 18 years old.

Q. Is memory work required?
A. Generally yes, relating to the procedure when the man becomes a Mason. But there is alternate proficiency that can be done with less memorization.

Q. Is attendance required?
A. No, but it is encouraged.

Q. How long does it take for one to become a Master Mason?
A. Typically, about six months to a year or two.

Q. Can a Mason’s wife or girlfriend attend Lodge?
A. No, but the Lodge hosts many functions where she is welcome.

Q. What notable people have been Masons?
A. Fourteen of the United States Presidents and many prominent people in business and the professions. See our slider on the home page for some.

Q. What notable Washingtonians have been Masons?
A. Henry (Scoop) M. Jackson (1912 – 1983), Congressman & U.S. senator. Everett Lodge No. 137.
William Augustus Newell (1817 – 1901), 11th governor of the Washington Territory.

Q. Why might there be so many Masons in public office?
A. Masonic ritual helps a person to gain self-confidence and ease when speaking in public.

Q. Are Masons a political or religious organization.
A. No. Masonry is unconcerned about a man’s politics and Masons are forbidden from discussing politics or religion at Lodge meetings.

Q. Is Masonry a patriotic organization?
A. Yes. Masons are taught to obey the laws of the country in which they reside. In the United States, the Masons have many patriotic activities. All meetings include the Pledge of Allegiance to the flag.

Q. Do Masons become so involved that they neglect their families?
A. Masons are taught family first. Masonry comes after these obligations are fulfilled.

Q. Do Masons have a particular kind of dress?
A. They generally dress well; from business casual to a suit and coat, and some with tuxedos. When in Lodge meetings they wear a white apron over their attire.

Q. What does this signify?
A. Purity. The Mason is admonished to so live his life that no stain of dishonor will show upon his apron.

Q. Do Masons perform the last Rites upon the remains of a departed Brother?
A. When requested by the family to do so, Masons will recite their time-honored ritual.

Q. Do Masons believe that by doing good works they can gain admittance to heaven?
A. No. The admittance into heaven falls in the realm of the spiritual, not the fraternal.

Q. Do Masons discriminate by skin color?
A. No. A Mason is judged by his character.

Q. Are Holy Bibles displayed in the Lodge Hall?
A, In Washington state, generally yes. Often with other holy books such as the Koran and the Torah.

Q. Has Masonry been attacked by religious groups?
A. Yes. Masonry has been attacked by radio and television preachers who stir up unrest in order to sell their books and tapes. Other persons, non-Masons who are uninformed, have also carried on slanderous campaigns.

Q. Have these attacks been answered?
A. In past years Masons have ignored such talk. Recently, however, they have responded. Also two non-Masons have recently taken the lead in answering the critics: John J. Robinson, and Dr. Gary Leazer.

Q. Are Masons permitted to solicit potential members?
A. No. To be one, ask one.

Q. How do people learn about the fraternity?
A. Through the good works of the Masons.

Q. How does a person gain entrance?
A. By asking a Mason for a petition to join.

Q. Is admittance assured?
A. No. There is an investigation as to the character of the person. If he is suitable, then is he voted on by the Lodge.

Q. If he is not accepted will his joining fee be returned?
A. Yes.

Q. If accepted, what comes next?
A. He is asked to come for the first degree.

Q. How does he learn his memory work?
A. A mentor is assigned to assist him.

Q. What is the Scottish Rite?
A. A series of 29 Degrees, teaching by drama, the moral and religious philosophies of Masonry.

Q. What is the York Rite?
A. A system of degrees including Blue Lodge, Royal Arch, Cryptic Rite and Knights Templar.

Q. Is the Shrine part of Masonry?
A. Yes. When one has become a Master Mason he is eligible. All Shriners are Masons, but not all Marons are Shriners.