“The Mason’s Lady”
We welcome you as a member of our Masonic family. The wife, mother, widow, sister or daughter of a Mason is considered to be a Mason’s Lady and our most valued asset. You are the mainstay of the Mason’s family and we respect your beliefs. We also believe that you and the role you perform are directly linked to the success and continued strength of our order. This program is designed for you to become more informed of what Masonry is about and to explain some of its aspects. Every Mason feels good about his Masonic Fraternity and is proud to be a Mason. We hope that you, also, will share in that pride.
Masonry is worldwide in scope and widely recognized as the world’s greatest fraternity, one that is dedicated to the welfare of humanity. The longevity of Freemasonry is attributed to its foundation of religious principles and its teachings based on the Holy Scriptures. Through its teachings of friendship, morality, brotherly love, and high ideals, Freemasonry has emerged as a great contributor to the progress of civilization. However, closer to home, Freemasonry, by its influence for good, has made a significant contribution to the communities in which lodges are located.
One might ask, “Why is this not common knowledge to the general public?” Master Masons, traditionally doing good deeds without publicity to the world, hold such acts as a virtue, giving strength to the fraternity. This silence, or “We don’t advertise” philosophy, caused individual Masonic acts of goodwill and assistance to be unnoticed within the communities as being
Masonic by those not directly involved with the fraternity. Even the recipients had no idea that the Masons contributed so much to their assistance. On the larger scale, Masonic charity and benevolent acts in the communities and across the state and nation were also unheralded as Masonic initiatives, and as such were unrecorded as Masonic borne. Hence, our Masonic work and contributions to society are largely unknown by the general public.
Historically, our fraternity has prospered. Still, we see the need to become more open, especially to you and our friends within the community. For years, the leaders of our fraternity have emphasized to us that “anything written” can be shared with the family, and we are now encouraged to be more open.
“How do we know that Freemasonry influenced what men think and do?” “How can Freemasonry lay claim that the fraternity, more than any other single institution, is to be credited with influencing the great beginnings of this country?” The answers can be found looking at the basic teachings of the Masonic Order.
The Holy Bible is the guiding light of Masonry, and is always open on the Altar during Lodge meetings.
Masonry is religious (but it is not a religion) with an opening and closing prayer during Lodge meetings.
Masonry is not a substitute for religion and as such cannot replace the church for any person.
One must be a believer in God because the Masonic Lodge is erected to God. Therefore, no atheist can become a Mason.
Separation of church and state is paramount to sustaining harmony and peace between religious groups.
Respect for womanhood is taught in every degree.
Patriotism to our nation is essential, with the Pledge of Allegiance given before each meeting.
Freedom of speech and freedom of the press are essential to sustaining a democracy where people can express their views and beliefs.
Freedom of religious beliefs is an individual right because different religious groups vary in their form of worship to God according to one’s conscience.
All people should be free in every way to come and go, work where and when they please, and to think for themselves.
The people should be literate and allowed to participate in self-rule; therefore, Masonry has always stood for free public schools.
Every Mason should be a good citizen and obey the law of his country, and only by peaceful means change those that he finds to be unworthy.
Masonry has only three secrets. The only information that may not be passed on to non-Masons concerns:
I. The modes of recognition.
II. The parts of our lectures and work that are not written.
III. Lodge room business that is done in the lodge on conferring degrees and stated communications.
Attendance at lodge meetings is encouraged, however, never required to maintain membership. UNDER NO CIRCUMSTANCES IS ONE’S FAMILY OR WORK TO BE NEGLECTED FOR THE SAKE OF ATTENDING LODGE. Masonic teachings never change. Its basic rules and landmarks remain unaltered. An example is found in the Entered Apprentice lecture, where for centuries Masonry has taught the eight-hour workday, yet it has only become a reality in this century.
To insure comprehension of the teachings and lessons of the Blue Lodge degrees, each Mason must master the principles of his degree by learning the categorical lecture or passing an exam for each degree. Only then can he receive the next degree. In that sense, we ask that you, the wife, be tolerant during the first few months, knowing that Masonry is as much for your benefit as it is for a husband and father. In fact, it is not unusual that while learning the categorical lectures, ne Masons relate that their wives have noticed a pleasant change in them and that the teachings have made a difference at work in how they interact with others. In actuality, Masonry is practical and lived mostly outside the Lodge Room. You may ask, “How are the teachings so strongly learned?” Freemasonry uses the tools and instruments of operative masons as symbols and emblems for teaching its high principles of conduct by which we are to live our lives. For most, the teachings strongly impact our thinking and influence our way of live.
Freemasonry is the oldest fraternal organization in the world. One can readily understand from its teachings, which can be traced to the earliest Masonic documents, that the lessons of Masonry were liberally applied to the basics established within our Declaration of Independence, the Constitution of the United States, and the Bill of Rights.
We take pride in the part played by the Masons in our nation’s history and development. Many of her greatest leaders are numbered among the fraternity. Masons have emerged as dominant figures in every profession and walk of life in this nation and around the world.
Membership is limited to adult males who can meet the recognized qualifications and standards of character and reputation. A man must seek to become a member of his own free will and accord. For this reason, South Dakota Masonry requires a petitioner to be at least 18 years of age, so that he has had some time to grow both physically and mentally and is able to understand the “Masonic Obligation.” In our jurisdiction, each Lodge is the sole determiner of the petitioner’s qualifications. Only in this way can internal qualifications be assessed, for it is the internal qualifications that Masonry deems to be the most important.
A petitioner for the degree must, most importantly, be freeborn, not born in vassalage or one who has lost his citizenship. Rather he is his own master in the true sense of the word, so that he is free to discharge his Masonic duties without interference. He is also one who has a good reputation among those who know him, in his neighborhood, in his work, and among his friends.
He is further one who believes in God, referred to in Masonry as “The Supreme Architect of the Universe.”
Freemasonry does not interfere with duties that a man owes to his family, his neighbor, his God, his country, or himself; however, practicing the fundamental precepts of Masonry will, we believe, make a good man a better man, father, brother or son. Masonry teaches selfbetterment and improvement in all facets of life.
Masonry is structured with the lodge as its meeting place. The lodge is the foundation of Masonry. Each lodge is a self-sufficient unit with elected and appointed officers. The Grand Lodge of South Dakota presides over the lodges throughout South Dakota. In addition to these two basic organizations in South Dakota we have what are referred to as other Masonic bodies (Masons only), affiliated bodies (Masons and Masonic related adults such as wives, widows, daughters), and appendant bodies (our youth groups). The “family of Masonic organizations” in South Dakota includes:
Masonic Bodies: Blue Lodge, Grand Lodge, Scottish Rite, York Rite, and Shrine.
Affiliated Bodies: The Order of Eastern Star, Daughters of the Nile.
Appendant Bodies: DeMolay, Job’s Daughters, Rainbow for Girls.
Information about these orders is available to any Mason and his family and a Masonic affiliation is needed only for membership in Job’s Daughters. Generally, a brother can join any of the Masonic bodies after the date of his becoming a Master Mason. Wives may join the affiliated bodies or become involved with the appendant bodies as soon as their husband becomes a Master Mason, or you may already be eligible because of your father or other relative being a Mason.
Your children are eligible to join youth groups, which are highly recommended. The influence of our youth groups on its members is exceptional. They provide the environment and opportunity for young people to develop self-confidence while teaching them to become both good followers and good leaders. Strong values such as love and respect for parents and God, and fidelity to one’s ideals and friends are among many of the virtues taught. Many of our lodge brothers present can discuss these groups with you.
Way of Life:
We all know the way in which we live our lives is determined by many things, but certainly important are our families, our God, our country, our neighbors, and our friends. Within this frame of reference or setting, we are influenced by our personal desires and what we want to achieve out of life. We are also strongly influenced by our past experiences, our work associates, and our attitude toward ourselves. As Masons, we pledge ourselves to stand strong in support of our family, our God, our Country, our neighbors, and our community. We are confident that we will earn your respect, your support, and appreciation.
We are confident that we will gain your respect for Masonry as you grow in knowledge about Masonic organizations.
We will strive for your support for the Masonic institution as we provide honorable role models for the people in our community.
We will strive to obtain your appreciation by the positive influences Masonry instills in its members and by the many benevolent programs provided for our nation’s people (over 2 million plus distributed daily throughout North America).
We have trust in you to support you Masonic husband, father, brother, and other men of goodwill to the best of your ability.
We Masons believe that our success in the community, the state, and our nation is achieved by being informed and caring, and by well thought out and executed deeds. Real progress is achieved only through such positive efforts.
The energy level in Masonry is high. The Masonic way of life has been a solid asset to the Mason. To improve upon its worth and value within the family, Masonry is becoming more open and seeking to educate the wife and family about Freemasonry. We also want you to become aware of the Masonic family of fraternal and social organizations in our fraternity. You will find them based upon the highest moral and ethical standards, and are a tribute to us all.
To open a printable version of this document, click here.
To test your understanding, try this on-line quiz. After taking the quiz, you can receive a certificate, plus the “Lady Slipper” pin, identifying you as the wife of a Mason.