I've just come home from 3 days at Masonic Grand Lodge and I have 'Masonry brain' still going. I just read this article on the Illinois Masons website and thought I would share it with you.
Secret society? Not really
By BETSY DEMITROPOULOUS - firstname.lastname@example.org
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Tom Grisham knows the location of the lost treasure.
He took his godson to see "National Treasure" some years back, and his godson asked him whether he knew where the mythical treasure on which the movie centered could be found.
Grisham, a Freemason, had to tell his godson, “Yes, I do, but I can’t tell you.”
Movies such as "National Treasure" and books written by novelist Dan Brown have inspired a renewed interest in Freemasonry and a renewed speculation about any such treasure.
“[They] are good for Masonry and stimulate peoples’ minds,” said Grisham, worshipful master of St. Charles’ Unity Masonic Lodge #48. He has been a lodge member for 28 years.
Brown’s newest novel, "The Lost Symbol," focuses on Freemasonry and is set in Washington, D.C. It’s Brown’s third novel to involve the character of Harvard University symbologist Robert Langdon.
"The Lost Symbol" is being welcomed by Freemasons across the United States. Grisham said he hasn’t read the entire book, but said it’s an improvement compared to Brown’s earlier Masonic-related novels.
According to www.freemasonry.org, Freemasonry is the oldest and largest worldwide fraternity dedicated to the Brotherhood of Man under the Fatherhood of a Supreme Being. Although of a religious nature, Freemasonry is not a religion, the Web site said.
“Masonry doesn’t replace religion," Grisham said. "It supports it."
To be a Freemason, applicants must be men of good character who believe in God – no atheist can become a Mason – and be faithful and devoted to their own religious beliefs. Applicants must be at least 18 years old.
The fraternity of Freemasonry is arranged into Grand Lodges, which preside over their own jurisdictions. These jurisdictions contain subordinate Lodges.
The fraternity also has related appendant bodies. Grisham said there are more than 30 appendant bodies, including the Shriners, DeMolay International and Job’s Daughters.
Every state has its own Grand Lodge, and Illinois’ Grand Lodge is located in Springfield. Grisham’s Unity Lodge is one of about 500 subordinate Lodges in Illinois.
Unity Lodge was formed in 1846 and is the 48th lodge to be established in Illinois and the first to be established in Kane County. The lodge is the second-oldest active lodge in the Chicago area and has about 80 members. Grisham said there are 75,000 Masons statewide.
In its early years, Unity Lodge assisted in the formation of new lodges in Kane County.Naperville’s lodge was established in 1848, Batavia in 1849, Sycamore in 1851, Geneva in 1853, and Elgin in 1852, according to Unity Lodge’s Web site.
The fraternity of Freemasonry is extensively involved in numerous charity and community service activities. Grisham said Masonic philanthropies contribute $2.5 million a day to charities. One of the most well-known philanthropies is the Shriners Hospitals for Children.
Despite the belief of many people, Grisham said Masonry isn’t a secret society, explaining that secret handshakes and secret words are used to “recognize fellow members.”
According to the Grand Lodge of Illinois, any purported Masonic “secrets” were made public several centuries ago in London newspapers and today can be found in the Library of Congress and in other sources.
One famous Freemason, Benjamin Franklin, might have said it best: “The great secret of Freemasonry is that there is no secret at all.”
What are Masonic principles?
• Faith must be the center of our lives.
• All men and women are the children of God.
• No one person has the right to tell another person what he or she must think or believe.
• Each person has the responsibility to be a good citizen, obeying the law.
• It is important to work to make the world a better place for all.
• Honor and integrity are keys to meaningful life.