What is Freemasonry?
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 society. But for most, it is an enjoyable hobby.
Freemasonry is accepted as one of the world’s oldest and largest non-religious, non-political, fraternal and charitable organisations. 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. We value integrity, honesty, fairness, and kindness as basic principles.
The following points explain Freemasonry as it is practised under the United Grand Lodge of England, which administers Lodges of Freemasons in England and Wales and in many places overseas: -
Freemasonry is a society of men concerned with moral and spiritual values.
Its members are taught its principles (moral lessons and self-knowledge) by a series of ritual dramas - a progression of allegorical two-part plays which are learnt by heart and performed within each Lodge.
Freemasonry instils in its members a moral and ethical approach to life.
Members are urged to regard the interests of the family as paramount but, importantly, Freemasonry also teaches and practices concern for people, care for the less fortunate and help for those in need.
Freemasonry and Charity
From its earliest days, Freemasonry has been concerned with the care of orphans, the sick and the aged. This work successfully continues today. In addition, large sums are given to national and local charities and other associated organisations through the various charities. Money is raised by the members of each Lodge and distributed locally either by the individual Lodge or the Provincial Grand Lodge. For larger donations of national or international importance The United Grand Lodge of England distributes funds accordingly.
Freemasonry and Religion
Freemasonry is a secular society not a religious one, but an essential requirement for all our members is a belief in God. A belief in God but without denominational distinctions enables men of different religions to meet together in friendship. Working together they use the symbolism of Masonry to reinforce and underpin the moral standards which are taught by all religions. Thus, in Freemasonry there are Christians (Anglicans, Catholics, Baptists, Methodists, Salvationists and many others), Jews, Muslims, Sikhs, Zoroastrians and other believers. Great long-term friendships are formed across and within the various denominations to bring about a fraternity of men who enjoy each others company and share a common understanding and goal. Discussion of religion, however, is not allowed in Masonic meetings because, as like politics, it has the ability to cause upset and difficulties.