What do Freemasons do?

Masons meet regularly in local Masonic lodges to discuss the tenants of Masonic philosophy and to confer degrees on new candidates. They socialize and enjoy the fellowship of each other’s company, often sharing a meal before their meeting. Masons raise money and contribute to charitable organizations [link this phrase to NC Masonic Charities] across the country and in their local community.
At the core of Freemasonry is what Masons call degree work, where a candidate is taught the various catechisms through the use of allegory and symbols. Masons meet in the Blue (Symbolic) Lodge where the three degrees are conferred.

The Three Symbolic Degrees

Trowel used by Lodge No. 76 A.F. & A.M.In order to become a Mason, a candidate must successfully complete three degrees. In the first degree of Entered Apprentice, the candidate is introduced to the basic principles of Freemasonry. To complete this degreed, he must learn a catechism before advancing to Fellow Craft, where he learns more of the principles and teachings of Freemasonry.  Again, he must learn the Fellow Craft catechism before advancing to the third degree and becoming a Master Mason.

Appendant Bodies

Having completed the three symbolic degrees, a Master Mason may elect to join any number of additional Masonic organizations, which are called Appendant bodies. Most well-known are the York Rite, Ancient Accepted Scottish Rite, Shrine, Order of the Eastern Star and many others.

Symbols and Meanings

Prominent symbols used in Masonry are the working implements of operative masons, such as the square, compasses, level, plumb, the trowel, and other implements.

Square – A tool of the building trade that has come to represent an instrument of virtue and fairness, which governs the actions of Masons.

Apron of Joshua C. Bain, c. 1880Compasses – An implement used to draw a circle. It represents a Mason (the center point) surrounded by the principles of friendship, morality and brotherly love within the boundaries of his world (the outline of the circle).

G – The letter G represents Geometry, one of the sciences emphasized by Masonry, and the Supreme Being.

Apron – The universal badge of a Freemason, the apron is a symbol of honor and achievement dating back to ancient Egyptian imagery. Traditionally made of lambskin, which symbolizes innocence and purity, the apron is the first gift given to a Freemason.