Indiana Grand Lodge page

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Why is Masonry of today called "Speculative"?

The word is used in the sense that Masonry of today is thoretical, not practical, in bullding individual knowledge outside the splintered fragment of life in which we work. This is not far from how the ancient brethren began the construction of ther own moral and Masonic edifices. In ancient times, Speculative Masonry began with the practice of admitting membership in operative lodges of men who were not practical builders, stone-cutters, or architects. But men who were interested in the moral, ethical, and philosophical teaching of the Fraternity.

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