With Freemasonry being so misunderstood we thought it best to publish 15 things you may never have known about Freemasonry. As you will know the Internet is stuffed with conspiracy theories and wild stories about Freemasonry, We hate to disappoint you but it is not quite that exciting however, you may be very surprised to read about what to do, how popular we are and how we fit into today’s society.
What Is Freemasonry?
Freemasonry is a fraternal society that is independent of religion and politics. It is a society that brings men together in order to help them improve in all areas of their life, including professionally, and to encourage greater activity within the local community.
Different people join the freemasons for different reasons; some join for the community, some for the charitable work, and some because they see it as an enjoyable hobby.
The group’s tenets are based on integrity, fairness, and kindness, and members are encouraged to put family and community first, before all else.
There are many myths and misunderstandings surrounding freemasonry and its membership, but lodges are more open than ever before and members continue to do work for members of society that are in need.
Is It A Secret Society?
Freemasonry is not a secret society, although there are some elements of the Craft, and especially lodge meetings, are reserved only for members.
Although masonry was initially quite secretive, the requirements for membership, tenets of the group, and even many of the practices are well-known, have been published in newspapers and magazines, and can be found online, including on this website.
Members are encouraged to be open and to speak as freely as they wish about freemasonry, with few exceptions.
The secret handshake, and secret greetings, are used primarily as a means of recognition and identification, but these do still hold today.
What Are The Tenets Of Freemasonry?
There are, in fact, many principles of freemasonry, but there are three primary tenets that every member agrees to abide by when they join a lodge.
Brotherly love – meaning a love, kindness, and respect for all people, not just for fellow members.
Relief – ensuring that other members of the wider community, as well as the freemasonry community, are cared for. This includes the giving and performing of charity and charitable actions.
Truth – Freemasons are encouraged to be honest and truthful in all areas of life, and to meet high moral standards.
What Are The Benefits Of Joining?
There are many benefits, and different people do take different benefits from their membership. Camaraderie is an important benefit, and many members forge lifelong friendships that are never broken. The feeling of giving back to the community, through charitable donations or through the charitable giving of one’s time, is also seen as a benefit. The ritual ceremony also has a lot to offer, in terms of teaching moral standards and lessons that can guide a person through life. Typically, your reasons for joining will offer the greatest benefit, so if you are joining to forge new friendships, then this is likely to be the greatest reward.
Is It A Form Of Religion?
Freemasonry is absolutely not a religion, nor does it pertain to be, and nor does it aim to rival any religion. One of the requirements of membership is that a person believes in a Supreme Being, but every member is free and encouraged to follow their own belief.
Discussion on religion is prohibited, and one of the beneficial features of Lodge meetings is that it offers a place for men to meet and talk freely, bringing together people of many different faiths and religions.
Can I Join?
There are certain criteria that must be met to determine eligibility, but these are relatively simple and most people that wish to join the Freemasons find that they are able to do so.
Lodge requirements may differ, but it is generally accepted that you be male, aged 21 (18 in some circumstances), believe in a Supreme Being, and you must want to join of your own free will.
There are no financial requirements, except that you can reasonably afford to pay the Lodge fees.
How Can I Join?
Typically, a person is proposed by an existing member that they know well, and needs to be seconded by another member. However, membership does not require that you know another member, and it is possible to simply ask a Lodge member. People of good standing and with a genuine interest in joining the group will usually find that members are open and welcoming.
You will need to locate your local Lodge, but Lodge buildings are usually well known in local towns, and many Lodges hold open days to encourage new membership.
Do Religions Allow, Or Forbid, Freemasonry Membership?
Freemasonry is misunderstood by some elements of some faiths but, on the whole, it is accepted by the major religions.
Potential members must believe in a Supreme Being, but the discussion of religion is prohibited at Lodge meetings, and we do not consider ourselves a religion or replacement for religion in any way.
Members are actively encouraged to pursue their own faith, and the Roman Catholic Church currently allows Freemasonry membership among its followers.
Why Is Freemasonry Prohibited In Some Countries?
Typically and historically speaking, those countries with a free and open government, that operate a fair democratic system of rule, do not prohibit membership of the Freemasons, and it is arguably no coincidence that the countries that are most likely to oppose our formation are those with dictatorial leadership.
Freemasonry exists in countries all around the world, and we are fortunate enough to live in a country where membership is permitted.
What Do Freemasons Do?
Lodge meetings are a major part of membership, but this is far from the only activity that members undertake. One of the founding principles of the Freemasons is to be an active and beneficial member of the wider community, and charitable work is a major part of the group for a lot of our members. Sporting activities, fundraising days, walks, hikes, and many other activities are arranged by each Lodge, and there are some local and national events that bring Lodges together. Dances, formal and informal events are also arranged which not only welcome members but their wives and families too.
What Happens At Lodge Meetings?
Lodge meetings are usually conducted once a month, and there are two basic parts. The first part of the meeting is concerned with the business element, including discussion of minutes from the last meeting, welcoming new members, etc… The Secretary reads out any correspondence, the Treasurer provides a financial update, and the Almoner advises of any members that are sick and unable to attend, while the Charity Steward provides an update on charitable activities and donations. A ceremony may be held for any candidate that reaches the next degree, and the meeting is rounded off with a meal, which is called a Social Board.
Can Women Join?
Although wives and family members are welcomed and encouraged to attend certain social functions, including dinners and formal dances, the Lodge meetings are reserved solely for men. The group is a fraternal group, which means that female members are not permitted.
A separate and independent body of female Freemasons, who follow similar principles and have similar meetings, does exist, although they are not considered a part of the United Lodge. However, the two groups do meet socially and may also partake in events together, and there is certainly no animosity between the groups.
Should Members Favour Other Members For Things Like Job Applications?
One of the great myths surrounding Freemasonry, and one of the reasons that some people scorn membership of the group, is because they believe that members give preference to other members for things like promotions and job applications.
Not only is this not the case, but any member that is found to have given preference in such a way may be penalised, and may even be forced to leave the Freemasons. We believe that community and society are extremely important, and this means that the strongest candidate should win out every time.
Why Do You Wear Regalia?
The regalia worn by members during Lodge members has historical significance, and it is an important part of our tradition that we continue today.
The primary purpose of our attire is, like in many cases where a uniform is worn, is to show rank and to allow other members to be able to quickly and easily recognise the rank of the wearer without having to ask.
Over time, it will be necessary for you to purchase the appropriate regalia, but this is one of the very few financial requirements for membership.
How Much Does It Cost?
Another area where myths tend to outweigh fact is in the financial requirements for membership. People from all walks of life can and are members of the Freemasons. There are no minimum earning requirements, and no preference is given to those with the highest salary.
It is necessary to pay lodge fees, in the same way that you would pay membership fees for virtually any group or society membership.
You may also need to buy regalia as you progress through the degrees.
Although charity is an important part of what we do, the Freemasons encourage members to look after family and private financial matters first, so members are not forced to donate, and are only encouraged to donate what they can reasonably afford after securing their own financial needs.
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What to do now?
At King Edward The 7th Lodge, we see ourselves as being a progressive and friendly body of men who enjoy talking to people about Freemasonry and explaining why we enjoy it so much.
There is a common misconception that you have to be invited to join Freemasonry by another Freemason, but this is just not the case. We welcome enquires and membership requests from men who have previously had no direct contact with Freemasonry and have a general interest in the work that we do along with wanting to be a part of a wonderful and global society.
If you have an interest in Freemasonry in Manchester and would like to speak to one of our members we would be more that happy to make arrangements and accommodate you. The first thing to do is send us a confidential email with your contact details and a short message so that we can organise a meeting and talk things through with you. All of us at King Edward The 7th Lodge found that talking through Freemasonry with a member was a great help in making the decision to join. There is no pressure to join us and we would hope that you took the time to meet other members of the Lodge, join us at a dinner and see for yourself what Freemasonry is all about.
Getting in contact with us could not be simpler, send us a confidential email by clicking here and we will do our best to get back to you within one working day.