Freemasons managed to keep the veil of secrecy for centuries. Often, Masonic lodges are decorated with certain mysterious symbols, a square and compass symbols. It is one of the richest and most influential organizations in the world. But despite their longevity, Freemasons have always been shrouded in mystery. To many, their traditions and rituals seem cultic and even sinister. It stems from the reluctance of Freemasons to tell about their traditions to outsiders. In fact, Freemasonry is a worldwide organization with a very long and complex history.
It always included politicians, scientists, engineers, philosophers and representatives of a wide variety of other professions. Many of them played a significant role in important world events. The organization has about 6 million members.
The reports say it is a fraternal organization composed exclusively of men who come together for purely business or professional gains. Today women also become Masons. Masons often pursue great goals, they promoted anti-monarchism, constitutional government. It does not mean that the community is secular and devoid of religious aspects. All of its members believe in the existence of a higher power called the Great Architect of the Universe. It looks like a great Creator, but not a personal god, as in Christianity.
The Creator founded the Universe, but does not play a significant role in the life of its creations. Freemasons have a code of ethics that defines behavior. The Code is based on important documents: The Old Accusations and the Constitution, and they also have other titles: The Poem of Regius or the Halliwell Manuscript, both dating from around the late 14th or early 15th century.
Written in verse, the manuscript traces the entire history of Freemasonry, prescribing correct behavior. It calls on all members to be persistent, loyal, truthful, not to take bribes and to harbor thieves. Many Freemasons are Christians who have their differences between communities.
The harshest criticism of Freemasonry has always been the Catholic Church, which banned society. It remains in effect today. In 1717 a Great Masonic Lodge was formed in England. It became the center of British Freemasonry and helped popularize this organization around the world.
But not everywhere this organization was welcomed, as it often declared its political views, interfering with the planned courses. This became the reason for some unpleasantness towards the Freemasons in Europe.
Over the years, women began to take an active part in the work of the organization. In the 1740s, the first adoption lodges began to appear - organizations of Masons, where women were also accepted. Most of the time they were involved in charity work. And a little later, the first Masonic lodges appeared, which included only dark-skinned Europeans.