Frequently Asked Questions
+What is Freemasonry?
A fraternity of men dedicated to building the moral character of its members and the preservation of personal freedom.
+Is Masonry a religion?
No. Every applicant must express a belief in a Supreme Being to whom all men are accountable but no particular religious affiliation is required.
+When did Masonry start?
Informally Masonry started many centuries ago, but formally it began in 1717 in London England.
+Are there Masons in other countries?
There are about 6 million Masons worldwide.
+How many Masons are there in the USA?
There are about 2.5 Million Masons in the USA.
+How many Masons are there in Tennessee?
There are about 41,000 Tennessee Masons.
+When did Masonry come to Tennessee?
Several Lodges were formed under the jurisdiction of the Grand Lodge of North Carolina who granted a charter to The Grand Lodge of Tennessee in Knoxville on 27 December 1813.
+Are the offices of The Grand Lodge of Tennessee still located in Knoxville?
No. The Grand Lodge of Tennessee moved to Nashville in 1817 and is now located at 100 7th Avenue North.
+How many individual Lodges are in Tennessee?
There are 328 subordinate lodges in Tennessee.
+Who is the national leader of Masons in the USA?
There is not a national leader as each State has its own Grand Lodge whose presiding officer is the Grand Master of that state.
+Who formed the Freemasons?
One theory is that the organization was developed by the ancient stone masons. Another is that it originated with the Knights Templar.
+Who were the Knights Templar?
A military group formed during the Crusades to protect pilgrims traveling to and from the Holy Land. Templars are credited with forming an elaborate banking system. King Phillip the Fair of France desired their wealth; being assisted by Pope Clemente V he arrested the Knights Templar for heresy and executed many of them on Friday 13 October 1307.
+Did the Knights Templar take oaths of secrecy prior to 1717?
Yes as their life depended upon being faithful to fellow Templars.
+Do Masons of today take oaths?
Yes, symbolical oaths are required of every Mason in remembrance of those imposed on the Stone Masons during the Middle Ages.
+Does Masonry teach morality?
Rituals teaching faithfulness and charity are expressed using allegories and symbols.
+How are these teachings enforced?
Erring Masons are counseled by their brothers. Those refusing help are expelled from the Fraternity.
+Are Masons charitable?
Yes. In the USA Masonic organizations contribute over $2 million daily to hospitals, language disorder programs, eye clinics, and various other causes.
+What is a 32nd degree Mason?
A 32nd degree Mason is a man who has received the 4th through the 32nd degrees form The Scottish Rite of Free Masonry, an appendant body of Masonry that furthers the moral and religious philosophies of Masonry..
+What is a Shriner?
A Shriner is a Mason who has affiliated with the Shrine Organization of America, another appendant organization of Masonry.
+What is an appendant body or organization?
An appendant body relies on the Masonic Fraternity for their membership, therefore, the term appendant
+What is the York Rite?
The York Rite is a system of degrees including the Blue Lodge, Royal Arch, Cryptic Degrees and Knights Templar.
+Who can become a Mason?
In Tennessee a man must be 18 years old of good character and reputation and been a resident of the state for one year.
+How does one usually learn about the Masonic Fraternity?
One usually notices the good works and conduct of individual Masons.
+How does a man become a Mason?
Since Masons cannot solicit members, the first step in becoming a Mason is to ask a member of a local lodge for a petition, complete it, and submit the petition with the signature of two members of that lodge to the lodge for consideration. All petitions must receive 100% approval when voted on by the lodge. After this the man submitting the petition will be notified and a time will be set for his initiation, or his money returned if he is rejected.
+How many degrees are there in Masonry?
There are three degrees in Masonry which are Entered Apprentice, Fellow-craft and Master Mason.
+How long does it take for one to become a Mason?
Typically, about six months in Tennessee.
+Is memory work required?
+What must be memorized?
Each degree has a catechetical lecture relating to the procedural events carried out during the conferral of each degree.
+How does one learn his catechetical lectures?
A teacher will be provided by the Lodge.
+How much does it cost to join Masonry?
Each Lodge sets their Fees for the degrees but the average cost in Tennessee is about $120 for the three degrees.
+Are there annual dues?
+How much are the annual dues?
Each lodge sets their annual dues but the average in Tennessee is $65.