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Apron

Centuries ago, stonemasons wore leather aprons to carry their tools and to protect their skin and clothing. Today, Masons wear lambskin or cloth aprons, often elaborately decorated or embroidered, as a symbolic connection to those medieval craftsmen from whom we derive our Masonic tradition.

Degrees of Masonry

Degrees denote level of membership and knowledge of Masonic principles. The basic degrees of Masonry are Entered Apprentice, Fellow Craft, and Master Mason.

Freemason

The word "free" was added to "mason" during the Middle Ages. The origin is uncertain, but it may be related to stonemasons who worked as advanced stone carvers in "freestone."

Grand Lodge

The administrative body in charge of Freemasonry in a specific geographic area. The United States has Grand Lodges in all 50 states and the District of Columbia.

Grand Master

The elected leader of the Grand Lodge. In California, the leader in this position changes annually in October.

Lodge

This refers to both a unit of Masons as well as the room or building in which they meet. There are approximately 13,000 lodges in the United States.

Mason

A member of the Masonic fraternity.

Master

The elected leader of the local lodge. This is also the title a Mason acquires upon completeing the third degree of membership.

Stated meeting

The monthly lodge meeting to conduct regular business, receive new members, and vote upon the Application for Degrees.

Temple

Another name for a Masonic building. The word is used in the same sense that Justice Wendell Holmes called the Supreme Court a "Temple of Justice." Most California lodges now refer to their buildings as Masonic Centers.

Youth groups

Masonic organizations for young people. Youth groups include DeMolay International for boys 12 to 21; Rainbow for Girls, for ages 11 to 20; and Job's Daughters, for young women age 11 to 20.

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