Other Masonic Bodies

Written by United Grand Lodge of England

Freemasonry is practiced under many independent Grand Lodges with standards similar to those set by the United Grand Lodge of England. To be recognised as regular by the United Grand Lodge of England, a Grand Lodge must meet the following standards:

  • It must have been lawfully established by a regular Grand Lodge or by three or more private Lodges, each warranted by a regular Grand Lodge
  • It must be truly independent and self-governing, with undisputed authority over Craft - or basic - Freemasonry (i.e. the symbolic degrees of Entered Apprentice, Fellow Craft and Master Mason) within its jurisdiction and not subject in any other way to or sharing power with any other Masonic body
  • Freemasons under its jurisdiction must be men, and it and its Lodges must have no Masonic contact with Lodges which admit women to membership
  • Freemasons under its jurisdiction must believe in a Supreme Being
  • All Freemasons under its jurisdiction must take their Obligations on or in full view of the Volume of the Sacred Law (i.e. the Bible) or the book held sacred by the man concerned
  • The three 'Great Lights' of Freemasonry, (i.e. the Volume of the Sacred Law, the square and the Compasses) must be on display when the Grand Lodge or its subordinate Lodges are open
    The discussion of religion and politics within its Lodges must be prohibited
  • It must adhere to the established principles and tenets (the 'Ancient Landmarks') and customs of the Craft, and insist on their being observed within its Lodges

There are some Grand Lodges and other apparently Masonic bodies that do not meet these standards, e.g. that do not require a belief in a Supreme Being, or that allow or encourage their members to participate as such in political matters. These Grand Lodges and bodies are not recognised by the United Grand Lodge of England as being regular, and Masonic contact with them is forbidden.