Freemasonry (or Masonry) consists of fraternal organizations around the world modeled after trade guilds of stonemasons that have existed since Biblical times. When asked what Masonry does, our stock response is “to take good men and make them better,” but we do so much more. Masons are deeply involved in our communities, and offer our +me and resources for numerous worthy causes. Among all Masonic organizations (including the Scottish Rite, York Rite, and Shrine—all of whose members must be Masons), Masons in the United States raise some $2.6 million every day to help people in need. Examples of Masonic charity in Texas include the Shriners Hospitals for Children, the Scottish Rite Hospital for Children, the Knights Templar Eye Foundation, and Masonic Children & Family Services of Texas.
Some would have others believe that Freemasonry is a “secret society”; this is not true. What few “secrets” Masons have are simply to help us maintain a better quality of work and to identify ourselves securely to other Masons, and are no more sinister than a chef’s “secrets” that make his or her recipes uniquely their own. Masons have never hidden their benevolent and charitable activities from the public. Masonic lodges are situated for all to see and are frequently open to the public, and Masons are free to acknowledge their Masonic affiliation as they please.
Masonry is not a religion and is entirely non-denominational, although one of the few requirements of membership is belief in a Supreme Being. Masons feel their Belief gives them the purpose to help others without seeking anything in return, and ensures that Masons will deal honestly with each other even if they are otherwise strangers. However, Masonry does not require affiliation with any particular religion, and encourages men of all faiths to improve themselves using the allegories and symbolism of the Masonic tradition.