Freemasonry is the oldest and largest fraternity known. As is customary with any concept of thought, it has enjoyed times of great renown and prestige, and it has experienced times of adversity. Today, in the early twenty-first century, it remains a vibrant organization that is attracting adherents over all the world.
Over the years, a great deal has been written and said concerning the Masonic Fraternity; much of it fact and much of it fiction. The fraternity is so old and so many of its records have been lost or destroyed, or never written, that a vast amount of Masonic lore is admittedly legend. Although so many of the legends of Freemasonry tie in so perfectly with authenticated records that many accord the legends the status of fact, most Masonic historians take pains to distinguish between that which can be proven and that which cannot. It is perhaps inevitable that myths have arisen with respect to Freemasonry, some of them advanced by its supporters and others of them promoted by its detractors, and that the dissemination of these myths has produced confused conceptions of Freemasonry in the minds of those who have not troubled to avail themselves of the facts.
This narrative deals only with the bare essentials of Masonic history, concerning itself primarily with providing a simple and factual account of the fraternity as it has revealed itself to a member of some forty-five years' standing. It is the author's hope that this account will dispel some of the existing confusion and that it will prove interesting and revealing to Masons and non-Masons alike.