The Masonic Order, perhaps as a result of its longevity over time, does suffer some common misconceptions which relate to numerous aspects of Freemasonry. We wish to bring attention to these matters for the purpose of clearing up confusion by revealing truths, not speculation. In no particular order:
Fiction: You must be invited or recruited to join in the Masonic Order.
Fact: This is quite the opposite. Freemasonry actually prohibits the solicitation of membership. And because the Masonic Order demands that a decision to join must be made of your own free will, it is you—the petitioner—who must make an inquiry to join.
Fiction: Freemasons are a “Secret Society”.
Fact: While the Masonic Order lodge business meetings are closed to non-members, Freemasons like to think of themselves as a “Society with Secrets”, not the other way around.
Fiction: Freemasons have and always will be involved in a secret plot to run the world.
Fact: Freemasons began as a society of craftsmen—masonry experts, to be precise. While certain aspect of their rituals remain secret to non-members, the mission of the Masonic Order is to promote religious freedom, the betterment of society, learning, self-improvement, good deeds and charitable work which benefits those in need.
Fiction: Masonic symbols have sinister meanings.
Fact: While the Freemasons employ several consistent uses of imagery, none empower any form of a sinister meaning. The square and compass intertwined stand for “square our actions” and direction. The all-seeing eye, which became part of the Great Seal of the United States, was created by a non-Mason to indicate the divine guidance of the U.S. Ship of State.
While many aspects of the Masonic Order have been portrayed falsely in both movies and books, it should be noted that these were often done for the purpose of creative license—not factual interpretation.