Freemasonry is one of the world's oldest secular fraternal societies and which originated in Scotland. It is a society of men concerned with moral and spiritual values. Its members are taught its precepts by a series of ritual dramas. These remain substantially the same form used in Scottish stonemasons lodges, and use Scottish stonemasons' customs and tools as allegorical guides.
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.
The meeting, which like those of other groups, are open only to members, is normally in two parts. 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, which include:
• Admitting new members
• The annual installation of the Master of the Lodge and his officers
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.
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 Freemasons expected to give preference to fellow members?
Definitely 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.
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.
Wearing regalia is historic and symbolic. Like a uniform, the regalia indicates the rank of the wearer in the organisation.
Basic Freemasonry consists of three degrees:
• Entered Apprentice
• Fellow Craft
• Master Mason
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.
Worldwide, there are approximately six million Freemasons.
Freemasons make a major contribution to society through their own charities, as we do not undertake any external fundraising – All money donated comes from our own efforts, as we play an active role in our communities.
The essential qualification for admission is a belief in a Supreme Being. Membership is open to men of any race or religion who fulfil this condition, and who are of good repute, as Freemasonry has always been about making good men better.