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 for 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.
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 for:
- Admitting new members
- The annual installation of the Master of the Lodge and his officers
New members make solemn promises concerning their behavior both in the Lodge and in society. Members also promise to keep confidential the way they recognize 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.
Whilst there are Masonic charities that cater specifically, but not exclusively, for Masons or their dependents, others make significant grants to non-Masonic organizations.
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.
Freemasonry exists throughout the world. However, each Grand Lodge is sovereign and independent. There is no international governing body for Freemasonry.
Wearing regalia is historic and symbolic. Like a uniform, the regalia indicates the rank of the wearer in the organization.
Basic Freemasonry consists of three degrees:
- Entered Apprentice
- Fellow Craft
- Master Mason