Masonry accepts men from every race, color, creed, nationality, and culture, and there are many Freemasons of African-American decent. In addition, Prince Hall Masonry, formed by Prince Hall, an African-American Freemason who received a charter for a Lodge in 1775, has maintained active Lodges for the African-American community throughout America for over 200 years. Back to Top of the Page
13) Are Shriners Masons?
Yes, all Shriners are Masons. Before a man can join the Shrine, he must first receive three "degrees" in his "Blue Lodge," or Home Lodge. After that any Mason can move on to one or more of the appendant bodies, including the Scottish Rite, York Rite, and Shrine. Masons may also affiliate with other Lodges. It should be noted that although these other Masonic bodies allow members to pursue advanced degrees and get more Masonic education, there is no "higher" degree than the 3rd, which is received in the Blue Lodge. Back to Top of the Page
14) I've seen secret Masonic "codebooks" -- what do they mean?
The nature of Masonic teachings and initiation is deeply rooted in the oral tradition. In most Lodges around the world, these rituals are never written out - but are passed on "mouth to ear," from one Masonic generation to the next. What may be thought to be codebooks are actually Masonic "ciphers." These ciphers are not in "code" at all, but provide merely hints of the spoken word to refresh one's memory. A Masonic cipher cannot be "broken" as there is no code to break. Back to Top of the Page
15) I heard Catholics cannot become Masons, is that true?
Freemasonry has always welcomed members of any faith, including Catholics. Today, there are many, many Catholics - as well as Protestants, Jews, Muslims, and members of almost every other faith, who are proud to be Masons. Back to Top of the Page
16) Were all our early presidents Masons?
No, although many presidents have been Masons throughout history - from George Washington to Gerald Ford. Many of the early leaders of the Revolution were Masons, including Benjamin Franklin, John Hancock, and Paul Revere. The list of prominent men who became Masons before going on to greatness is extensive and underscores the strong civic commitment that many members of the Fraternity exemplify even today. Back to Top of the Page
17) Why aren't there any famous women who are Masons?
Freemasonry is, by definition, a fraternity that aims to promote Brotherly Love and Friendship among its members. It is a worldwide organization that draws together men from every country, race, religion, ethnicity, opinion, and background, and helps cultivate and promote better relationships and bonds of friendships among them.