The Masonic Family is a vast group with a long history. Those two factors make it confusing to people new to the Masonic Family. In a nutshell, here’s how it works:
Freemasonry was founded over 600 years ago with the earliest reference to Masons being printed around 1390. The widely accepted theory is Freemasonry began as a union-like organization for stonemasons, creating rituals and symbols that helped them identify fellow craftsmen, as well as their level of skill. As Freemasonry spread across the globe, in became the largest organization in the world. Due to its sheer size, it was inevitable that a large percentage of the names you read about throughout history, were Freemasons. Some of these names include George Washington, Albert Pike, Paul Revere, Bob Hope, and Benjamin Franklin. Even Chief Justice John Marshall, who shaped the Supreme Court into its present form, was a Mason.
In the 1800s and early 1900s, the Masonic Family created the first ‘social safety net’ as our government had not yet done so, and founded orphanages, retirement communities, and home for widows, providing security to thousands who would have otherwise been forgotten. One of the great achievements of the Masonic Family are the children’s hospitals built and operated by Scottish Rite, who provide free medical care, and assistance to their families, to qualifying children. It was also Freemasons who supported the first public schools in Europe and America.
Considering the long history of Masons, it’s in their recent history that organizations for their wives, sons, and daughters were formed.
In 1850, The Order of the Eastern Star was founded as a place for Masonic wives to find the same fellowship and outlet for helping others their husbands had found with Masons. 69 years later, DeMolay was formed for boys ages 11-19, and it is no longer a requirement to be from a Masonic home to be a DeMolay. In the next 3 years, Job’s Daughters and Rainbow Girls were founded for daughters and granddaughters of Masons. While it is still a requirement of Job’s Daughters to be from a Masonic home (although most girls wanting to join are surprised to learn their grandfather or uncle were Masons, so they are eligible to join), The International Order of the Rainbow for Girls changed their bylaws, opening Rainbow up to all girls ages 11-20.
The Masonic Family is diverse, and has branched into many organizations, but the core is the same as it has always been: service above self.
With any Masonic organization you go to, you will find a group of girls, boys, men, and women, focused on helping others, and elevating people to a better place.
For more information about the Masonic Family in Washington and Idaho, please visit the following websites: