No one knows with certainty how or when the Masonic Fraternity was formed. A widely accepted theory among Masonic scholars is that it arose from the stonemasons’ guilds during the Middle Ages. The language and symbols used in the fraternity’s rituals come from this era. The oldest document that makes reference to Masons is the Regius Poem, printed about 1390, which was a copy of an earlier work. In 1717, four lodges in London formed the first Grand Lodge of England, and records from that point on are more complete.
Over the centuries, Freemasonry has developed into a worldwide fraternity emphasizing personal study, self-improvement, and social betterment via individual involvement and philanthropy. During the late 1700s it was one of the organizations most responsible for spreading the ideals of the Enlightenment: the dignity of man and the liberty of the individual, the right of all persons to worship as they choose, the formation of democratic governments, and the importance of public education. Masons supported the first public schools in both Europe and America.
In Georgia, a band of English colonists under the leadership of General James Edward Oglethorpe, British soldier, statesman and humanitarian, arrived on the west bank of the Savannah River on February 12, 1733. This was the birth of the English Province of Georgia, the last of the Thirteen Colonies. Georgia was the southwestern frontier of British America for many years.
Freemasonry has existed continuously in Georgia since 1734. The Grand Lodge of Georgia, F. & A. M., has existed since 1786. The Grand Lodge of Free and Accepted Masons for the State of Georgia was incorporated with perpetual duration on February 6, 1796, by an Act of the General Assembly of Georgia passed for that purpose, and has been delivered down to the present day.
Coastal Daylight Lodge No. 750 was chartered October 25th, 1995. It was created as an alternative Lodge for those who may not be able to drive at night anymore, retirees and shift workers who could not attend a regular Lodge.
Today in North America, the Masonic Fraternity continues this tradition by giving almost $1.5 million each day to causes that range from operating children’s hospitals, providing treatment for childhood language disorders, treating eye diseases, funding medical research, contributing to local community service, and providing care to Masons and their families at Masonic Homes.
Generally, to be accepted for initiation as a regular Freemason, a candidate must:
Be a man who comes of his own free will. (Candidates for Freemasonary must ask to join, they may not be solicited.)
Believe in a Supreme Being (the form of which is left to open interpretation by the candidate).
Be at least the minimum age (18).
Be of good morals, and of good reputation.
Be of sound mind and body (Lodges had in the past denied membership to a man because of a physical disability; however, now, if a potential candidate says a disability will not cause problems, it may not be held against him).
Be capable of furnishing character references, as well as two references from current Masons.
Have resided within the jurisdiction of the Lodge for a minimum of 12 months and have known a member of the petitioned Lodge who will sign your petition vouching for your good character.