Freemasonry or Masonry consists of fraternal organisations that trace their origins to the local fraternities of stonemasons that from the end of the 14th century regulated the qualifications of stonemasons and their interaction with authorities and clients. Freemasonry has been the subject of numerous conspiracy theories throughout the years. Modern Freemasonry broadly consists of two main recognition groups:
Regular Freemasonry insists that a volume of scripture be open in a working lodge, that every member profess belief in a Supreme Being, that no women be admitted, and that the discussion of religion and politics be banned.
Continental Freemasonry is now the general term for the jurisdictions that have removed some, or all, of these restrictions.
The basic, local organisational unit of Freemasonry is the Lodge. These private Lodges are usually supervised at the regional level (usually coterminous with either a state, province, or national border) by a Grand Lodge or Grand Orient. There is no international, worldwide Grand Lodge that supervises all of Freemasonry; each Grand Lodge is independent, and they do not necessarily recognise each other as being legitimate.