The following information
is intended to expand a topic mentioned in the leaflet 'What is
Freemasonry'. It explains the United Grand Lodge of England's
and the Grand Lodge of Ireland and relations with other Masonic
Freemasonry is practised
under many independent Grand Lodges with principles or standards
similar to those set by the United Grand Lodge of England and
the Grand Lodge of Ireland throughout its history.
To be recognised as regular
by the United Grand Lodge of England and the Grand Lodge of Ireland,
a Grand Lodge must meet the following standards.
It must have been lawfully
established by a regular Grand Lodge or by three or more private
Lodges, each warranted by a regular Grand Lodge.
It must be truly independent and self-governing, with undisputed
authority over Craft - or basic - Freemasonry (i.e. the symbolic
degrees of Entered Apprentice, Fellow Craft and Master Mason)
within its jurisdiction and not subject in any other way to or
sharing power with any other Masonic body.
Freemasons under its jurisdiction must be men, and it and its
Lodges must have no Masonic contact with Lodges which admit women
Freemasons under its jurisdiction must believe in a Supreme Being.
All Freemasons under its jurisdiction must take their Obligations
on or in full view of the Volume of the Sacred Law (i.e. the Bible)
or the book held sacred by the man concerned.
The three 'Great Lights' of Freemasonry, (i.e. the Volume of the
Sacred Law, the square and the Compasses) must be on display when
the Grand Lodge or its subordinate Lodges are open.
The discussion of religion and politics within its Lodges must
It must adhere to the established principles and tenets (the 'Ancient
Landmarks') and customs of the Craft, and insist on their being
observed within its Lodges.
Irregular and Unrecognised
There are some self-styled
Masonic bodies that do not meet these standards, e.g. which do
not require a belief in a Supreme Being, or which allow or encourage
their members to participate as such in political matters. These
bodies are recognised by the Grand Lodge of England and the Grand
Lodge of Ireland as being Masonically irregular, and Masonic contact
with them is forbidden.