- What is Freemasonry?
- Why are your lodge meetings private?
- What happens at a lodge meeting?
- Isn’t the ritual out of place in modern society?
- Why do Freemasons take oaths?
- Are Freemasons expected to show preference to fellow Masons at the expense of others in giving jobs, promotions, contracts and the like?
- Who do the Masonic charities donate to?
- What is Freemasonry’s relationship with religion?
- Why do some churches not like Freemasonry?
- Does Freemasonry accept Roman Catholics?
- What is Freemasonry’s relationship with politics?
- Is Freemasonry an international order?
- Are there women Freemasons?
- Why do you wear regalia?
- How many Freemasons are there?
- How many degrees are there in Freemasonry?
- How much does it cost to be a Freemason?
What is Freemasonry?
Freemasonry means different things to each of those who join. For some, it’s about making new friends and acquaintances. For others it’s about being able to help deserving causes – making a contribution to family and to society. But for most, it is an enjoyable hobby.
Freemasonry is one of the World’s oldest and largest non-religious, non-political, fraternal and charitable organisation. It teaches self-knowledge through participation in a progression of ceremonies. Members are expected to be of high moral standing and are encouraged to speak openly about Freemasonry.
Why are your lodge meetings private?
Lodge meetings, like those of other groups, are private and open only to members. The rules and aims of Freemasonry are available to the public. Meeting places are known and in many areas used by the local community for activities other than Freemasonry. Members are encouraged to speak openly about Freemasonry.
First, there are normal administrative procedures such as:
• Minutes of the previous meeting
• Proposing and balloting for new members
• Discussing and voting on the annual accounts
• Masonic news and correspondence
• News about charitable work
Second, there are the ceremonies for:
• Admitting new members
• The annual installation of the Master of the Lodge and his officers
Isn’t the ritual out of place in modern society?
The ritual is a shared experience which binds the members together. Its use of drama, allegory and symbolism impresses the principles and teachings more firmly in the mind of each candidate than if they were simply passed on to him in matter-of-fact modern language.
Why do Freemasons take oaths?
New members make solemn promises concerning their behaviour both in the Lodge and in society. Members also promise to keep confidential the way they recognise each other when visiting another Lodge. Freemasons also promise to support others in time of need, but only so far as it does not conflict with their family and public obligations.
Are Freemasons expected to show preference to fellow Masons at the expense of others in giving jobs, promotions, contracts and the like?
Certainly not. This would be unacceptable and may lead to action being taken against those involved. On joining, each new member states that he expects no material gain from membership.
Who do the Masonic charities donate to?
Whilst there are Masonic charities that cater specifically, but not exclusively, for Masons or their dependants, others make significant grants to non-Masonic organisations.
What is Freemasonry’s relationship with religion?
All Freemasons are expected to have a religious belief, but Freemasonry does not seek to replace a Mason’s religion or provide a substitute for it. It deals with a man’s relationship with his fellow man not in a man’s relationship with his God.
Why do some churches not like Freemasonry?
There are elements within churches who misunderstand Freemasonry and its objectives. They confuse secular rituals with religious liturgy. There are many Masons in churches where their leaders have been openly critical of the organisation. Masonry has always actively encouraged its members to be active in their own religion.
What is Freemasonry’s relationship with politics?
Freemasonry, as a body, will never express a view on politics or state policy. The discussion of politics at Masonic meetings has always been prohibited.
Are there women Freemasons?
Yes. Whilst UGLE, following the example of medieval stonemasons, is and has always been, restricted to men, women Freemasons have two separate Grand Lodges, which are restricted to women.
There are Grand Lodges in Ireland, which covers both Northern Ireland and Eire, and Scotland which have a combined total of approximately 150,000 members. Worldwide, there are approximately six million Freemasons.
• Entered Apprentice
• Fellow Craft
• Master Mason
How much does it cost to be a Freemason?
It varies from Lodge to Lodge. Anyone wishing to join will find a Lodge to suit his pocket. There is an initiation fee on entry and in due course regalia will have to be bought. The meeting is normally followed by a dinner, the cost depending on the venue. There is, in addition, an annual subscription.
Members are invited to give to charity but this should always be within their means and it is entirely up to the individual how much they wish to contribute.