International Free and Accepted Modern Masons, Inc. and Order of the Eastern Star
MOST WORSHIPFUL ILLUSTRIOUS RENFORD P. BROWN GRAND LODGE
Illustrious James O. Dogan, 33° - Supreme President/CEO • Illustrious Kenneth L. Hollowell, 33° - Supreme Grand Master
Illustrious Robert L. Stevens, 33°
Most Worshipful Grand Master
Freemasonry is the oldest and largest world wide fraternity dedicated to the Brotherhood of Man under the Fatherhood of a Supreme Being that teaches moral lessons and self-knowledge to men. It is a Fraternal Order that makes a good man a better man through the practices of brotherly love, relief, and truth. Although of a religious nature, Freemasonry is not a religion. It urges its members, however, to be faithful and devoted to their own religious beliefs. It is the world’s largest secular, fraternal and charitable organization.
We are not a secret society, but lodge meetings, like those of many other groups, are private and open ONLY TO MEMBERS. The rules and aims of Freemasonry are available to the public. Meeting places are known and in many areas are used by the local community for activities other than Freemasonry. Members are encouraged to speak openly about Freemasonry.
New members are asked to make a solemn oath and obligate themselves concerning their conduct in the Lodge and in Society. Each member also promises to keep confidential the traditional methods of proving that he is a Freemason which he would use when visiting a lodge where he is not known. Freemasons do not swear allegiances to each other or to Freemasonry. We practice charity in those communities where we have Lodges, Families, or Communities we have adopted. The State of Florida does a lot of charitable and community services activities to expand the mission and purpose of Freemasonry.
Freemasonry embraces all men who believe in God. Our membership includes Christians, Jews, Hindus, Muslims, and others. The use of descriptions such as the Great Architect prevents disharmony. The Great Architect is not a specific Masonic god or an attempt to combine all gods into one. Thus, men of differing religions pray together without offence being given to any of them.
A Mason is a man who professes a faith in God. As a man of faith, he uses the tools of moral and ethical truths to serve mankind. A Mason binds himself to like-minded men in a Brotherhood that transcends all religious, ethnic, social, cultural, and educational differences. We are a brotherhood, involved in our communities, and constantly working on developing ourselves through education, moral standards, and charity. We are guided by three enduring and relevant tenets of our Fraternal Order: brotherly love, relief, and truth.
While in fellowship with our Brothers, a Mason finds ways in which to serve God, his family, his fellowman, and his country. A Mason is dedicated. He recognizes his responsibility for justice, truth, charity, enlightenment, freedom and liberty, honesty and integrity in all aspects of human endeavor. A Mason is such a man.
As a fraternity, Freemasonry provides an opportunity for men to meet and enjoy friendly companionship. In the spirit of helpfulness and brotherly love and guided by strict moral principles it encourages goodwill toward all mankind. Freemasonry is of a personal nature in its private ceremonies. Its ritual dramatizes a philosophy of life based on morality. It promotes self improvement.
The tools of operative masons are used to symbolize and teach the basic principles of brotherly love, charity, and truth which Masons are encouraged to practice in their daily lives. Charity is a tangible way in which Masons help those whose circumstances in life fairly warrant it. Through feeding homeless individuals, providing toys and gifts to mothers and children, as well as visiting our older members and seniors, Masons live out what we are to do when the division of our 24 hour schedule is accordingly managed.
Our traditions can be traced directly to the associations of Stone Guild Masonry. Some would even date Masonry back to the building of King Solomon's Temple as represented in the Bible. Masons are men of outstanding character and high ideals, who at one time built the cathedrals, abbeys, and castles of the Middle Ages. In the Middle Ages, the term "freemason" was used to define highly skilled stonemasons who were employed as free agents to build castles and cathedrals in England and Scotland. Due to the dangerous work they did, stonemasons formed local organizations called lodges, to take care of those who became sick or injured as well as the widows and orphans of those who lost their life on the job. Lodge members met in temporary buildings, which consequently were built next to cathedrals, to receive their pay, plan their work, and train apprentices as well as socialize.
In 1717, the first Grand Lodge was established in London, England. In 1718, English Freemasonry spread to France and Spain. In 1720, the roots continued to extend to India, Italy, Portland, Sweden, and other parts of Europe, and eventually the American colonies. In 1733, the first American Lodge was established in Boston under the authority of the Grand Lodge of England. Of the 39 individuals who signed the United States Constitution, 13 were Masons. In 1776, once America declared its independence and became a Sovereign Nation, those Grand Lodges formed prior to, maintained their allegiance and connection to England. However, this also allowed Freemasonry to be developed in America separate from England.
International Free and Accepted Modern Masons, Inc. was formed in 1950 based on the foundation of Freemasonry as originally conceived in 1717. However, with the advent of technology, societal changes, culture, and customs in the United States being vastly different than England; a modernization of Freemasonry has evolved. While the Landmarks, Oaths, Obligations, and Ritualistic practices have been maintained; some distinct difference exist between Ancient Freemasonry and Modern Freemasonry. Today, more than 200 Grand Lodges worldwide have a membership of approximately six million Masons with practices similar to those of Ancient Times.
One of our ancient and modern customs is not to solicit members; men must seek membership on their own through a Mason they know or a local lodge. Anyone should feel free to approach any Mason to seek further information about the Masonic Order. Membership is for men, 18 years of age or older, who meet the qualifications and standards of character and reputation, who are of good moral character, and who believe in the existence of a Supreme Being.
A man who wants to join our Fraternal Order must be highly recommended by two members or three individuals who can speak to his character and goodwill. He must understand that his character will be investigated. After approval by the members of a local lodge, he will be accepted as an applicant for membership in Freemasonry. The membership joining fee is $25.
The doors of Freemasonry are open to men who seek harmony with their fellow man, feel the need for self-improvement and wish to participate in making the world a better place to live. Any man who becomes a Mason is taught a pattern for living - reverence, morality, kindness, honesty, dependability and compassion. He must be prepared to honor his country, uphold its laws and respect those in authority. He must be prepared to maintain honorable relations with others and be willing to share in Masonic activities. Freemasonry is a way of life.
For more information on becoming a member, please contact Illustrious Anthony Scott, 33° - Supreme Recruit Deputy for the Most Worshipful Illustrious Renford P. Brown Grand Lodge's via phone (516-782-9063) or by email as he is responsible for engaging and responding to those interested in membership.