There are many tales about the history of Freemasonry and how it got started. A popular myth about the group is that it can trace its origins back to the days of King Solomon. According to the tale, the Freemasons helped Solomon build his famous temple in Jerusalem. Another myth, though this one is not quite so well-known, is that the pyramids in Egypt were built by Freemasons. While myths and legends make great twists in movies and books, they should not to be taken as facts. It is true that the Freemasons have been around for a very long time; however, nobody really knows just how long because there are no written records that have been discovered which say for sure. The earliest record found mentioning the Freemasons was the Regius Poem, in 1390. Another story of the origins of Freemasonry is that it came from the stonemason’s guild that was around during the Middle Ages. This is by far the most widely accepted and version of how Freemasonry came about.
Freemasonry, the way it is run now, differs from the original fraternity. Freemasonry in its current form can be traced to 1717, when four of the lodges came together to form the Grand Lodge of England. Prior to this time the members of the group would meet in small lodges scattered throughout both Scotland and England. The reason why Freemasonry has been viewed as a “secret-society” stems from this time period when the members were very private about their what their organization did. After 1717 records were carefully kept about Freemasonry. Through the years the lodges grew more active and attracted the attention of the public with their events.
After the formation of the Grand Lodge of England, Freemasonry spread in both Europe and in colonial America. Many famous early Americans were Freemasons including George Washington, Paul Revere, John Hancock, and Benjamin Franklin. Freemasons have had a history of being people of integrity who have supported individual rights and freedoms, as well as education and self-improvement. In the 1800s the fraternity’s membership swelled and has continued to grow over the years.
Though Freemasonry is now a world-wide organization it maintains the same values that has made Freemasonry so honorable. Freemasonry does not push any religion or political agenda upon its members, or other people. It is not a church or place of worship. It is a place where Freemasons can meet one another as equals and lay aside their differences to help others and to just enjoy each other’s good company. Freemasons today, as they were in the past, are strong and committed to making positive differences in the lives of people. Each year Freemasonry donates millions of dollars to charities around the world. It is no wonder why today there are over four million people who are proud to call themselves Freemasons.