What is freemasonry?

Freemasonry teaches moral lessons and self-knowledge through participation in a progression of allegorical two-part, plays which are learnt by heart and performed within each lodge.
Freemasonry offers its members an approach to life, which seeks to reinforce thoughtfulness for others, kindness in the community, honesty in business, courtesy in society and fairness in all things. Members are urged to regard the interests of the family as paramount, but importantly, Freemasonry also teaches and practices concern for people, care for the less fortunate, and help for those in need.

Why do people join and remain members?

People became Freemasons for a variety of reasons, some as the result of family tradition, others upon the introduction of a friend or out of a curiosity to know what it is about.
Those who become active members and who grow in Freemasonry do so principally because they enjoy it. They enjoy the challenges and fellowship that Freemasonry offers. There is more to it, however, than just enjoyment.

Participation in the dramatic presentation of moral lessons and in the working of a lodge provides a member with a unique opportunity to learn more about himself encourages him to live in such a way that he will always be in search of becoming a better man, not better than someone else but better than he himself would otherwise be and therefore an exemplary member of society.
Each Freemason is required to learn and show humility through initiation. Then, by progression through a series of degree he gains insight into increasingly complex moral and philosophical concepts, and accepts a variety of challenges and responsibilities, which are both stimulating and rewarding. The structure and working of the lodge and the sequence of ceremonial events, which are usually followed by social gatherings, offer members a framework for companionship, teamwork, character development and enjoyment of shared experiences.

What Promises do Freemasons take?

New members make solemn promises concerning their conduct in the lodge and in society; these promises are similar to those in court or upon entering the armed services or many other organizations. Each member also promises keep confidential the traditional methods of proving he is a freemason he would use when visiting a lodge where he is not known.
The much publicised ‘traditional penalties’ for failure to observe these undertakings where removed from the promises in 1986. They were always symbolic not literal and refer only to pain any decent man should feel at the throughout of violating his word.

Who can join?

Membership is open to men of all faith who are law-abiding, of good character and acknowledge a belief in God. Freemasonry is a multi-racial and multi cultural organization. It has attracted men of goodwill from all sectors of the community into membership.

Is Freemasonry a religion?

Freemasonry is not a religion. It has no theology and does not teach any route to salvation. A belief in God, however, is an essential requirement for membership and freemasonry encourages its membership to be active in their own religions as well as in society at large.

Although every lodge meeting is opened and closed with a prayer and its ceremonies reflect the essential truths and moral teachings common to many of the world’s great religions, no discussion of religion is permitted in lodge meetings.

Is Freemasonry a secret Society?

Freemasonry is not a secret society, but the lodge meetings, like meetings of many other social and professional associations, are private occasions open only to members.
Freemasons are encouraged to speak openly about their membership, while remembering that they undertake not use for their own or anyone else’s advancement. As members are sometimes the subjects of discrimination, which may adversely effect their employment or other aspects of their lives, some Freemasons are understandably reticent about discussing their membership. In common with many national organizations, Grand lodge neither maintains nor publishes list of members and will not disclose names or member’s details without their permission.
In circumstances where a conflict of interest might arise or be perceived to exist, or when Freemasonry becomes an issue, a Freemason must declare an interest.
The rules and aims of Freemasonry are available to the public. The Masonic year book, also available for public, contains the names of all national office-holders and lists of all lodges with details of their meeting dates and places.

The meeting places and halls used by Freemasons are readily identifiable, are listed in telephone directories and in many areas used by the local community for activities other than Freemasonry. Freemason’s Hall in London is open to the public and ‘open days’ are held in many provincial centers.

The rituals and ceremonies used by Freemasons to pass on the principals of Freemasonry to new members were first revealed public in 1723. They include traditional forms of recognition used by Freemasons essentially to prove their identity and qualifications when enter a Masonic meeting. These include handshakes, which have been much written about, and can scarcely be regarded as truly secret today; for medieval Freemasons, they were the equivalent of a ‘pin number’ restricting access only to qualified members.

Many thousands of books have been written on the subject of Freemasonry and are available to the general public. Freemasonry offers spokesmen and briefings for the media, and provides talks to interested groups on request. Freemasons are proud of their heritage and happy to share it.

Is Freemasonry involved in politics?

Freemasonry is definitely not a political organization, it has no political agenda, and discussion of politics is not permitted at lodge meetings.

Freemasonry naturally tends to attract those with a concern for people and sense of social responsibility and purpose. There are members, therefore, who are involved in politics at local, and international level.. Equally there are members who take an active interest in non-Masonic charitable organizations and other community groups.

Is Freemasonry involved in the community?

From its earliest days, Freemasonry has been involved in charitable activities, and since its inception it has provided support for many widows and orphans of Freemasons as well as others within the community.

All monies raised for charity are drawn from amongst Freemasons, and their family friends, while grants and donations are made to Masonic and non-Masonic charities alike.
Over the past five years alone Freemasonry has raised more than Stg. Pds. 75 million for a wide range of charitable purposes including those involved in medical research, community care, education and work with young people.

Freemasonry has an enviable record of providing regular and consistent financial support to individual charities over long periods while at the same time making thousands of grants to local charities, appeals and projects throughout the World each year. For the future, opportunities to obtain a provide matched funding are periodically examined with a view to enhancing the impact of the support Freemasonry can give to specific projects. The personal generosity of Freemasons and the collective fund-raising efforts of almost 8,000 lodges, how ever, will continue to determine the contribution Freemasonry makes within the community.

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