So, let's jump right on in, "What is Masonry?" If a person walked into any given lodge and asked every member there, let's say 100, what masonry is, there would be 100 different answers. Some might sound similar, and others would be completely different. And there would also be a general correlation between one's answer to "What is Masonry" as to their answer to "Why did I become a Mason." So here is one Brother's response to these two questions.
Masonry is brotherhood. History proves that Freemasonry is the first gentleman's society, or fraternity. Masonry is more than simple brotherhood, however. Masonry is the brotherhood of man, under the fatherhood of God. Masonry endeavors to teach her members to live a better life, to act upon the square towards all mankind. Remember, the square is the square of morality and virtue. Without the symbols and allegories of morality that Masonry is composed of, Masonry would be nothing more than a college frat with all the accouterments of immorality. That Brethren is what Masonry is for me.
I joined Masonry to learn and discover her secrets. The general public speaks of Masonry as a "secret society." Masonry, at least in the U.S., has tried to demystify Masonry and lose the "misnomer" of "secret society." But it is a Secret Society. For one to become an adept of Masonry they must uncover her secrets. Many of the brethren have fogotten that we are more closely related to the ancient mysteries than we are the local Lions Club. I wanted to learn the secrets that would help me gain a seat in that Celestial Grand Lodge above. Now, I don't believe that Masonry is a method of salvation. But I do believe that the tenants of our ancient and honorable order do have an affinity and sustain and edify that path of salvation that I have chosen as truth. For the moral and upright person, Masonry should do nothing more or less than edify their personal religious, philosophical, and ethical bent.
A person must answer these two questions before they decide to petition a lodge. For some their answers might become reality and for others their answers may not be realized. After become a member of the lodge, a person should ask these questions again. Are the answers the same, is the desire still there? As I mentioned above, I have come under some Masonic Malaise lately, as I have asked these two questions, I realized that the two answers were not relevant to one another. In the inner journey of healing, I discovered that they did not fit together because of me. We make Masonry what it is, what we want it to be. For some they might become disappointed and disenchanted when they discover the lodge is not what they expected. But it is the true Mason that works and finds their niche within the fraternity. I can happily report that this act of metacognition has ended in the positive and a stronger desire and sense of pride of being a Mason.