Winnipeg Free Press - PRINT EDITION

WHAT MAKES A MASON?

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Freemasonry, an international fraternal and charitable organization with more than six million members worldwide, has long defined itself as "a peculiar system of morality, veiled in allegory and illustrated by symbols."

The Freemasons began in England in the early 18th century as a medieval guild of stonemasons, although many within the craft claim its lineage dates back to the pharaohs of Egypt.

Members of the fraternity are taught its precepts through a series of ritual dramas, using stonemasons' customs and tools as metaphorical guides.

Its rigid secrecy has spawned numerous conspiracy theories and accusations of being sacrilegious, yet the ranks have included such luminaries as Mozart, Voltaire and Benjamin Franklin.

Modern Masons have maintained that in the 21st century, Freemasonry has become less a secret society and more of a "society with secrets."

Anyone may petition to be a Mason so long as he meets a few requirements: He must believe in a Supreme Being; believe that some form of life exists beyond this current life; and be of good moral standing and principles within his community.

There are about 4,000 Masons in 54 lodges spread out throughout Manitoba.

The group's roots here can be traced back to a Red River settler named John Palmer Bourke, who arrived in the summer of 1813.

ORDER OF THE EASTERN STAR

For adult women age of 21 and Master Masons, the Order is a part of Masonry where both women and men receive their degrees, attend meetings, and go through the various Offices, together.

DAUGHTERS OF THE NILE

Daughters of the Nile is a benevolent

international fraternal organization for women who are wives, daughter, mothers, widows, sisters or granddaughters of Shriners. It boasts 147 constituted temples throughout the United States and Canada.

There are two youth groups, Rainbow for girls, and DeMolay for boys.

Republished from the Winnipeg Free Press print edition December 27, 2006 $sourceSection$sourcePage

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