Some people see Freemasons as little more than a group of men who meet in secret, partake in secret rituals and whose ultimate aim is to look after each other.

My recent guest on Voices from the North, Bob Vartan, 41 years a Mason himself, laid such suspicions to rest. He is current District Grandmaster for Northland, involved in the 14 lodges under his jurisdiction with ritual and pastoral responsibilities.

From the moment an apprentice is entered into a lodge, it is impressed upon him that his duty is not to himself, but to his family, his fellow man, his community and his country (and to God, Bob might add).

What is Freemasonry?

What is Freemasonry? The most popular (or classic) answer to this question is “a system of morality veiled in allegory and illustrated by symbols”. To find out what this really means feel free to visit: That’s where the beautiful image at the top showing some of the symbols in Freemasonry was found.

Famous Freemasons

There have been many famous Freemasons over the centuries including the likes of Sir Winston Churchill, Scottish poet Robbie Burns, Louis Armstrong, Sir Arthur Conan Doyle, Rudyard Kipling and many of the founding fathers of America in 1788.

But, as HRH The Duke of Kent has said, “Most [Freemasons] have been ordinary men who have attempted to live their lives by the practical lessons of morality, duty and service which they have learned in their lodges.”

The Principles of Freemasonry

Freemasonry is founded on three principles—brotherly love, relief and truth. Bob clarified this concept by using the words fellowship, charity and integrity as being reasonably synonymous with these three guiding principles. He explained how the focus of charity has broadened over the centuries, giving examples of what giving the lodges here have done recently.

Bob explained that each prospective candidate must approach a lodge of his own free will and must express belief in a Supreme Being. There are no restrictions based on race, color or creed. This ties in with what Albert Einstein once predicted: ‘The religion of the future will be cosmic religion. It will transcend a personal God and avoid dogma and theology.”

Famous Quote

Masonic luminary Albert Pike said, “What we have done for ourselves alone dies with us; what we have done for others and the world remains and is immortal.”

Join Bob Vartan and me in a discussion that reflects Bob’s deep respect for this organization that has so positively influenced him over the course of his life.

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John Haines is the author of In Search of Simplicity: A True Story that Changes Lives, a startlingly poignant and inspiring real-life endorsement of the power of thought, belief and synchronicity in one’s life.