Frequently asked questions
On this page you will find some of the most frequently asked questions about Freemasonry
What is Freemasonry?
Freemasonry means different things to different people. For some it is about making new friends and acquaintances. For others it is about helping and supporting deserving causes. For most it is an enjoyable hobby. It is one of the world’s oldest and largest non-religious, non- political, fraternal and charitable organizations. 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.
What happens at a lodge meeting?
The meetings, which like many other groups are only open to members, are usually in two parts. Firstly, there are the routine administration procedures such as the minutes of the previous meeting, proposing and balloting for new members, Masonic news and correspondence and news about charitable work. Secondly, there are the ceremonies for admitting new members, the annual installation of the Master of the lodge and his officers. There may be a talk or lecture on a Masonic topic.
Why do Freemasons take oaths?
New members make solemn promises concerning their behaviour 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 as far as it does not conflict with their family and public obligations.
Are Freemasons expected to give preference to fellow members?
No. 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.
Who do the Masonic Charities donate to?
There are Masonic Charities that cater specifically, but not exclusively, for Freemasons or their dependants, others make significant grants to non-Masonic organizations. Indeed, after the National Lottery Freemasons giving to non-Masonic Charities is one of the biggest contributors across the UK.
What is Freemasonry’s relationship with religion?
All Freemasons are expected to have a religious belief. However, Freemasonry does not seek to replace a Freemason’s own religion or provide a substitute for it. It deals in a man’s relationship with his fellow man and not in a man’s relationship with his God.
Why do some Churches not like Freemasonry?
There are elements within churches that misunderstand Freemasonry and its objectives. They confuse secular rituals with religious liturgy. There are many Freemasons in churches where their leaders have been openly critical of the organisation. Freemasonry has always encouraged its members to be active within their own religion.
Does Freemasonry accept Roman Catholics?
Yes. Four Grand Masters of English Freemasonry have been Roman Catholics. Today there are many Roman Catholic Freemasons.
What is Freemasonry’s relationship with politics?
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.
Is Freemasonry an international order?
Freemasonry exists throughout the world. However, each Grand Lodge is sovereign and independent. There is no international governing body for Freemasonry.
Are there women Freemasons?
Yes. Whilst the United Grand Lodge of England, following the example of medieval stonemasons, is and always will be restricted to men, women Freemasons have two separate Grand Lodges, which are restricted to women.
Why do you wear regalia?
The wearing of regalia is historic and symbolic. Like a uniform, the regalia indicate the rank of the wearer in the organisation.
How many Freemasons are there?
Under the United Grand Lodge of England there are over a quarter million Freemasons. There are Grand Lodges in Ireland, which cover both Northern Ireland and Eire, and Scotland, which have a combined total of approximately 150,000 members. Worldwide there are about 6,000,000 Freemasons.
How many degrees are there in Freemasonry?
Basic Freemasonry consists of three degrees: An Entered Apprentice, a Fellow Craft and a Master Mason.
How much does it cost to be a Freemason?
The costs vary 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 meetings are normally followed by a dinner and the costs of this vary depending on the venue. There is also an annual subscription.
Members are invited to give to charity but this should always be within their means and is entirely up to the individual how much they wish to give.