Masons are men who have joined a fraternity, and who refer to themselves as Freemasons.
The main principles of Freemasonry insist that each member show tolerance, respect and kindness in his actions toward others; practices charity and care for the community as a whole; and strives to achieve high moral standards in his own personal life.
Honor and integrity are at the core of the Masonic belief system. Members are obligated to practice self control and treat the people around them with respect, regardless of their own personal opinion of that person.
IS FREEMASONRY A RELIGION ?
Freemasonry is not a religion. It has no theology and does not teach any route to salvation. A belief in a Supreme Being, however, is an essential requirement for membership and Freemasonry encourages its members to be active in their own religions as well as in society at large. Although every Lodge meeting is opened and closed with a prayer and its ceremonies reflect the essential truths and moral teachings common to many of the world's great religions, no discussion of religion is permitted in Lodge meetings.
IS FREEMASONRY A POLITICAL ORGANISATION ?
Freemasonry is definitely not a political organisation, it has no political agenda, and discussion of politics is not permitted at lodge meetings.
IS FREEMASONRY A CHARITY ?
Freemasonry is not in itself a charity, however the values of Freemasonry are based on integrity, kindness, honesty and fairness. Freemasons are taught to practice charity and to care, not only for their own, but also for the community as a whole – both by charitable giving, and by voluntary efforts and works as individuals. From its earliest days, Freemasonry has been concerned with the care of orphans, the sick and the aged. This work continues today. In addition, large sums are given to national and local charities. Masonic charity is exercised at every level: individual lodges make gifts and give aid to their own communities and every Province also gives large sums of money to regional causes. Nationally, our efforts are channeled through the Masonic Charitable Foundation – formerly The Freemasons' Grand Charity, Royal Masonic Trust for Girls and Boys, Royal Masonic Benevolent Institution and Masonic Samaritan Fund.
WHAT PROMISES DO FREEMASONS MAKE ?
New members make solemn promises concerning their conduct in the Lodge and society. These promises are similar to those taken in court or upon entering the armed services or many other organisations. Each member also promises to keep confidential the traditional methods of proving he is a Freemason which he would use when visiting a Lodge where he is not known.
The much publicised "traditional penalties" for failure to observe these undertakings were removed from the promises in 1986. They were always symbolic not literal and refer only to the pain any decent man should feel at the thought of violating his word.
Members also undertake not to make use of their membership for personal gain or advancement; failure to observe this principle or otherwise to fall below the standards expected of a Freemason can lead to expulsion.
IS FREEMASONRY A SECRET SOCIETY ?
No. At Least not anymore .This is a misconception. There is nothing ‘secret’ about Freemasonry. Until recently the policy was for members to be rather discreet about the organisation, their community work and even their membership but times have changed. The so called ‘secrets’ of modern Freemasonry are used solely as a ceremonial means of demonstrating that one is a Freemason when in Lodge Meetings. The real point of a Freemason promising not to reveal them is basically a dramatic way of testing the good character of those who join – to become a Freemason requires a person to continually observe, with total sincerity, the high ideals of integrity, goodwill and confidentiality.
HOW OLD IS FREEMASONRY ?
The history of modern freemasonry is fairly understood, but once you get beyond the 1700’s things get lost to the sands of time.
One of the beauties of Freemasonry is that it allows the member to stretch his mind to think about a variety of topics not typically explored in mainstream history. Some Masonic historians attempt to explain and look at the connections or possibilities in history that are often overlooked, especially to the recent past and into the not so recent historical world. Freemasonry today has been fairly unchanged in the last 300 years, and is modeled in a system that was likely little changed for the 150 years prior to that. It is believed that the working aspects of Freemasonry, the form and function of the lodge, comes from guilds of the Renaissance and middle ages, and over time attracted a wider audience of non practicing “masons”.
This is the period that the present day fraternity shifted from an “operative” guild to a “speculative” one. These changes have evolved to shape the look and feel of modern lodge operation today.
IS FREEMASONRY ONLY FOR MEN ?
Freemasonry is a fraternal organisation firmly entrenched in tradition and history. The original Constitutions were published in 1723 and are fundamentally what all Freemasons all over the world are united by and adhere to. To change these Constitutions to allow women to become members would require Lodges throughout the world to agree to the change. As cultures are so diverse and vary so dramatically in terms of social structure and gender relations, making this fundamental change to the Constitutions would be extremely difficult. Family and family values are an important part of a Freemason’s life and families are frequently invited to take part in Masonic activity and the day-to-day workings of the Lodge. Freemasonry can provide men and their families with a fun and active social life with like-minded people from all walks of life. Freemasons are very appreciative of the support our partners and families give us as it is vital to our development as Freemasons. In March 1999 UGLE issued a statement acknowledging the regularity of The Order of Womens Freemasonry and although they don't officially recognise it, and their members cannot take part, relations between the two are cordial.
ARE THERE ANY FAMOUS FREEMASONS ?
Our present Grand Master is HRH The Duke of Kent. Some of his predecessors in this role have included King George IV, William IV and George VI.
Statesmen like Sir Winston Churchill and George Washington and scientists Sir Alexander Fleming and Joseph Lister were once Freemasons.
While sportsmen William 'Jack' Dempsey and 'Sugar Ray' Robinson John (Jock Stein) Peter Ebdon , Sir Alf Ramsey were also known members of the organisation.
From the world of entertainment come. David Nixon , Peter Sellers, Tommy Trinder.
Explorers include Sir Ernest Shackleton, Captain Robert Falcon Scott, Neil Alden Armstrong and Edwin(Buzz) Eugene Aldrin Jr
Authors, Robbie Burns. Sir Arthur Conan Doyle, Rudyard Kipling
There is a specialist Lodge for people from the entertainment world Chelsea Lodge No. 3098 known as the Artists Lodge.
Once within the Lodge all these and many more are known simply as brother
BUT WHAT ABOUT THE RITUALS , THEY SOUND SINISTER
Rituals are not superstitious, not at all.
Rituals are used to initiate new members. There is nothing sinister about them - they are just plays.
"They are learnt by heart and performed within each lodge. Rituals follow ancient forms and use stonemasons' customs and tools as allegorical guides.
"The plays are written down in a book and you must learn them. By performing them, you learn about yourself and lots of masons say Freemasonry has enabled them to speak in front of large groups with confidence.