My Dear Brethren,
A question sometimes arises on the part of new brethren regarding Freemasonry’s relationship with religion. Specifically, whether our obligations conflict in any way with our respective religious beliefs or form of worship. In a word: No. Our Masonic obligations are sworn on a Volume of Sacred Law – that particular Book held holy by the individual candidate – to solemnify the principles of Freemasonry and protect our means of recognition.
Freemasonry is not a religion and does not require its members to adhere to one. But no one can be made a Mason who does not believe in a Supreme Being. When we refer to the Deity in nondenominational terms, such as the “Great Architect of the Universe,” it becomes possible for men of different faiths to come together spiritually without calling attention to the differences in our respective paths. That is not to say that Freemasonry is inconsistent with what most will recognize as religious teachings. The newly initiated brother will recall from the Entered Apprentice Lecture that the principle tenets of Freemasonry are Brotherly Love, Relief, and Truth. Brotherly Love not only to Masons, but to all men. Relief of the distressed among us. Truth as the foundation of all our interactions such that we are distinguished by our sincerity and plain dealing.
As a last point, new members of our Lodge will soon encounter the slogan Ex Tenebris Lux – Out of Darkness Light, which adorns our coat of arms, Internet homepage, and even our challenge coin. The notion of seeking more light is an allusion to that alchemical process of transforming ourselves through the attainment of knowledge. Knowledge of the traditions and symbolism of Freemasonry, of ourselves, and of the world around us. It is hoped this path of light will lead us to that best version of ourselves.
Sincerely and Fraternally Yours,
Vito J. Petitti