Wednesday, January 11, 2017

What Should I Read? Todd's Book List For New Freemasons

Finding my book on the shelf at the House of the Temple Library, Washington, D.C.
At least once a week, somebody asks me if I have a list of books I'd recommend for new Freemasons.  I don't usually like reading lists--Freemasonry is a broad topic, and everyone has different tastes and different interests.  But since I keep getting asked, I thought I'd put together a list for new Masons.  Some of these were books I read when I first became a Mason that helped get me interesting in learning more, and some of these books I read later and have a good opinion of and are readily available.

As a new Mason, I'd highly suggest you read one of these (or both) right off the bat:

Freemasons for Dummies by Christopher Hodapp

The Complete Idiot's Guide to Freemasonry by S. Brent Morris

Both of these are great primers to help you understand who the Freemasons are, what we do, how we started, and a great deal of history about the Fraternity.  So start there.

As a new Mason I also enjoyed John J. Robinson's books.  There are three, and all three are good, but I particularly enjoyed these two:

Born in Blood by John J. Robinson

A Pilgrim's Path by John J. Robinson

Two more books I read early on and got a lot out of were:

Freemasonry and its Etiquette by William Preston

The Meaning of Masonry by W. L. Wilmshurst

If you want to get a little deeper into your understanding of Freemasonry, try these highly readable tomes:

Light on Masonry by Arturo de Hoyos

Solomon's Builders by Christopher Hodapp

The Craftsman' Symbology by Anthony Mongelli, Jr.

Now I like history, and reading about how Freemasons have impacted that history.  If you enjoy that as well, definitely read these:

The Better Angels of Our Nature by Michael A. Halleran

Famous American Freemasons Volumes 1 & 2 by Todd E. Creason

There's also a great book full of great information and color photos about Freemasonry in America that you may enjoy:

American Freemasons: Three Centuries of Building Communities by Mark A. Tabbert

Now this isn't a definitive list--just some of my favorites.  There are libraries full of books on the topic of Freemasonry.  Discover for yourself what you enjoy, whether it's the history of Freemasonry, the ritual, or the esoteric side of the Craft, and then read everything you can get your hands on.  You can contact your state Lodge of Research or one of the fine research organizations like the Scottish Rite Research Society or the Masonic Society if there is a particular topic you want to learn about and they'll be more than happy to help you find reading materials.  Many of the Masonic magazines have book review sections--I found a lot of interesting books by reading reviews in those magazines.  And if you attend your Grand Lodge annual meetings or any large symposiums or events, there are almost always vendors there with Masonic good for sale, books included!  

So start with my list if you like, but get out there and explore for yourself those particular topics that interest you.  And don't forget to share that knowledge with your Brethren.

~Todd E. Creason

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