Freemasonry is the oldest and largest world wide fraternity dedicated to the Brotherhood of Man under the sponsorship of a Supreme Being, although of a religious nature Freemasonry is not a religion, it urges its members however to be faithful and devoted to their own religious beliefs. masons.com
Thus is a seeker introduced to Freemasonry, masons have been employed since the construction of the pyramids and before, they are the skilled tradesmen who travel from worksite to worksite in the old days they were journeyman carpenters and stonemasons.
Add welders and riggers, mechanical engineers and architects, substitute power stations for cathedrals, power lines for aqueducts and know that the tradition is well under way still, these peoples trade skills enable the transformation of drawings on paper, into real time three dimensional structures of steel and stone.
They were paid in Cheops time and still are, the edifice complex that drives the ego’s of kings, despots, and popes fuels the journeyman worker’s lifestyle, they pay to keep skilled foreign tradesmen, while indigenous populations become envious then hostile that their country’s wealth is being squandered, the foreign oil workers employed in today’s Niger Delta regarded that way, no less than King Mausol of Crete’s stonemasons.
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For that reason the skilled imported workforce kept to itself, similarly defensive of their own situation entry into the guilds and trades that made up mason infrastructure was highly selective, and involved lengthy apprenticeships and training schedules, reflected in the orders various degrees and levels of attainment of the Freemasons lodge of today.
Their comeback to criticism is that they are working for wages, if the Pope, the King or Shell Oil want the job done, and if the money is right they are up to the task, all involved the Masons, the King, and the oil companies know that the local workforce lacks the skills.
Similarly the journeyman lifestyle brought them into lands with differing theological values, for that reason and so that they could remain aloof from local religious politics and squabbles, the Masons developed a charter of universal acceptance under the aegis of a divine creator who demanded good and who punished misdeeds.
They were on a good wicket paid well and living in comfortable well found accommodation, the job was going ahead, strict guild rules saw to it that accidental death and injury was rare, and that food and accommodation was up to scratch and that payment was received for money earned.
Else by guild rules they would stop work or go on strike as it is called today, trade unions have Masonic origins, the Freemasons Lodge evolved as people from outside the traditional mason infrastructure sought to emulate their success, so they adopted the camaraderie, the strictures and the mores that they had observed established thru the morale, and character building work ethic of the traveling workmen.
No gain without pain though, the populace where the cathedral, palace or mausoleum gets built get the rough end of the pineapple most of the time, the workman reasons that local politics are not his affair, and the job goes on provided guild requirements are met.
Lingering resentment is still felt throughout some places re this state of affairs, reflected in the hate directed at Freemasons on internet forums for instance.
Some Freemasons lodges appear to have been infiltrated by antisocial elements who have conducted subversive activities, using the traditional reticence of Masonry as a cover for their illegal agenda, these people are regarded as private citizens as far as their curricular activities outside of Freemasonry is concerned.
Thus criminals are regarded as criminals no matter what, the Masonic response to a fellow Mason who is a criminal, or who has been charged, must be that the matter should proceed under the law with truth as punctually as is practicable.