This text is intended to
expand a topic mentioned in the leaflet 'What is Freemasonry'.
It explains the United Grand Lodge of England and the Grand Lodge
of Ireland’s view on Freemasonry and Society.
Grand Lodge's Policy
It must be clearly understood
by every member of the Craft that his membership does not in any
way exempt him from his duty to meet his responsibilities to the
society in which he lives. The Charge to the new Initiate call
on him to be exemplary in the discharge of his civil duties; this
duty extends throughout his private, public, business or professional
Respect for the
Freemasonry demands from
its members a respect for the law of any country in which a man
may work and live.
The principles of Freemasonry
do not in any way conflict with its members' duties as citizens,
whether at work or at home or in public life, but on the contrary
should strengthen them in fulfilling their public and private
responsibilities. Thus there is no conflict of interest between
a Freemason's obligation and his public duty.
If an actual or potential
conflict of duties or interests is known to exist or is foreseen,
a declaration to that effect should be made.
It may on occasions be
prudent to disclose membership to avoid what others mistakenly
imagine to be a potential conflict or bias, but this must be a
matter for individual judgement.
Use of Membership
A Freemason must not use
his membership to promote his own or anyone else's business, professional
or personal interests. This is made clear directly or by inference
several times during a Freemason's early career so that no Freemason
can pretend to be ignorant of it. A Freemason who transgresses
this rule may be suspended from Masonic activities or even expelled.
Freemasonry should not
be allowed to harm a man's family or other connections by taking
too much of his time or his money, or causing him to act in any
way against their interests.
Duty as a Citizen
A Freemason's duty as a
citizen must always prevail over any obligation to other Freemasons,
and any attempt to shield a Freemason who as acted dishonourably
or unlawfully, or to confer an unfair advantage on another Freemason
is contrary to this prime duty.
Personal or Business
If it could be proved by
evidence that any personal failure or business difficulty was
attributable to 'Masonic influence', Masonic authority would take
a serious view of the fact, as this would be contrary to the principles
Freemasonry is not a secret
Like many other societies, it regards
some of its internal affairs as private matters for its members.
There is no secret about its aims and principles. Copies of the
constitutions and rules can be obtained from Freemasons' Hall
by interested members of the public.
The 'secrets' of Freemasonry are concerned with its traditional
modes of recognition. Its ceremonies are private.
In ordinary conversation there is very little about Freemasonry
that may not be discussed.
On enquiry for acceptable reasons, Freemasons are free and will
be proud to acknowledge their own membership.