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
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?
Who can join?
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
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
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
Is Freemasonry a
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
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.
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.