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What is Freemasonry?
Freemasonry has a different meaning to each person who joins. For some people, it’s about finding and making new friends and acquaintances. For others it’s about being able to help others, whether it is for a deserving cause or to make a contribution to family and for society. For most, it is also an enjoyable hobby.
Freemasonry is one of the oldest and largest non-religious, non-political, fraternal and charitable organisations. It’s members gain insight and self-knowledge through participation in a series of ceremonies. Members are expected to be honest and of high moral standing and they are encouraged to speak openly about Freemasonry.
What happens at a lodge meeting?
A Lodge meeting is like most business meetings. Like many business or groups, the meetings are open only to members and have two parts. Firstly, there are normal administrative procedures such as:
• Minutes of the previous meetings
• Proposing and balloting for new members
• Discussing and voting on the accounts
• Masonic news, literature and correspondence
• News about masonic and non-masonic charitable work
Secondly, there are the ceremonies performed for:
• Admitting new members
• The annual installation of the Master and officers of the Lodge
Why do Freemasons take oaths?
The promises and oaths new members make concern their behaviour both in the Lodge and in society. In the same way that many organisations maintain confidentiality, members promise to keep confidential the way they recognise each in their own lodges or when visiting another Lodge. Freemasons also promise to support others in time of need as long as it does not conflict with their family, work or public obligations.
Are Freemasons expected to give preference to fellow members?
Absolutely not. Every member who joins makes a declaration that they will not use their masonic membership for personal gain or advantage. Any member found to be doing so may have action taken against them.
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 in 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.
Does Freemasonry accept Roman Catholics?
Yes. Four Grand Masters of English Freemasonry have been Roman Catholics. Today there are many Roman Catholic Freemasons.
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.
Is Freemasonry an international order?
Freemasonry exists throughout the world. However, each Grand Lodge is sovereign and independent. There is no international governing body for Freemasonry.
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.
Why do you wear regalia?
Wearing regalia is historic and symbolic. Like a uniform, the regalia indicates the rank of the wearer in the organisation.