What are the primary tenets of Freemasonry?
Brotherly Love – Every true Freemason will show tolerance and respect for the opinions of others and behave with kindness and understanding to his fellow creatures.
Truth – Freemasons strive for truth, requiring high moral standards and aiming to achieve them in their own lives.Freemasons believe that these principles represent a way of achieving higher standards in life.
Charity – Freemasons are taught to practise charity, and to care, not only for their own, but also for the community as a whole, both by charitable giving, and by voluntary efforts and works as individuals. From its earliest days, Freemasonry has been concerned with the care of orphans, the sick and the aged. This work continues today. In addition, large sums are given to national and local charities.
Is Freemasonry a religion?
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, the promotion of any particular religious dogma is not permitted in lodge meetings.
Is Freemasonry a "secret" society?
Freemasonry is not a secret society, but 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 to use it for their own or anyone else’s advancement. As members are sometimes the subject of discrimination which may adversely affect their employment or other aspects of their lives, some Freemasons are understandably reticent about discussing their membership. In common with many other national organisations, Grand Lodge neither maintains nor publishes a 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 to the 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 are used by the local community for activities other than Freemasonry. Freemasons’ Halls are open to the public and ‘open days’ are held in many provincial centres.
The rituals and ceremonies used by Freemasons to pass on the principles of Freemasonry to new members were first revealed publicly in 1723. They include the traditional forms of recognition used by Freemasons essentially to prove their identity and qualifications when entering a Masonic meeting. These include handshakes which have been much written about and can scarcely be regarded as truly secret today; for mediaeval 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 readily 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.
Why do people join and remain members?
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 and 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 Degrees, 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 Make?
The much publicised ‘traditional penalties’ for failure to observe these undertakings were removed from the promises in 1986. They were always symbolic not literal and refer only to the pain any decent man should feel at the thought of violating his word.
Members also undertake not to make use of their membership for personal gain or advancement; failure to observe this principle or otherwise to fall below the standards expected of a Freemason canlead to expulsion.
Who can join?
Is Freemasonry involved in politics?
Freemasonry naturally tends to attract those with a concern for people and a sense of social responsibility and purpose. There are members, therefore, who are involved in politics at the local, national, and international levels. Equally, there are members who take an active interest in non-Masonic charitable organizations and other community groups.
Is Freemasonry involved in the community?
All monies raised for charity are drawn from amongst Freemasons, their families, and friends, while grants and donations are made to Masonic and non-Masonic charities alike. 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 each year. For the future, opportunities to obtain or 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 fundraising efforts will continue to determine the contribution Freemasonry makes within the community.