Freemasonry is a fraternity dedicated to the moral and intellectual improvement of its members. Membership is limited to men with Faith in God, a good reputation, and a desire to improve themselves and their community. It is frequently described as "a beautiful system of morality, hidden by allegory and illustrated with symbols". As such, the philosophical lessons of the fraternity are taught by a series of three degrees, which are the initiatory ceremonies of the fraternity. They teach the morals and history of the fraternity through a series of allegorical plays, using the working tools of operative masonry as symbols to remind us of our obligations to ourselves, to our brethren, and to our community. Within its membership, you will find men of all walks of life: farmers, teachers, lawyers, bankers, ministers, engineers, plumbers, carpenters, and even an occasional operative stone or brick mason.
Many books have been written about the fraternity. We strongly recommend the book "Freemasons for Dummies" which is readily available at most bookstores and online at www.amazon.com . Don't be put off by its title. It is not really intended for dummies. It is intended for anyone interested in learning more about the fraternity. Another excellent book, with an equally off-putting title is "The Complete Idiot's Guide to Freemasonry." Both of these books contain a wealth of information concerning the craft, its history, its goals, and its symbols.
Much information is also available online. If you search for Freemasonry on any search engine, you will find literally thousands of sites purporting to tell you all about the fraternity. However, be warned that while many of these sites are filled with good information, many more of them are filled with extremely erroneous information. Many of them are actually sites intended to denigrate the purposed of the fraternity, and are filled with either outright lies, or misinterpreted information. A good online source is the website of Blackhawk Lodge No. 65 in Cedar Falls IA. It can be found HERE.