WHAT DO YOU DO IN YOUR MEETINGS?
Meetings are usually held once a month from October to May. As in any organisation there are matters of an administrative nature covering financial, charitable donations, correspondence, and reports from a dedicated member when other members and their families are not well. In addition there are ceremonies in the form of two part plays when new members join or they attain the higher degrees.
At the close of this part of the proceedings members join each other for a meal known as a Festive Board where they can meet socially with other friends and colleagues.
IS FREEMASONRY A SECRET SOCIETY?
Most definitely not, but our Lodge meetings are private and only open to our members. This is the case in many clubs and organisations where you have to join them to know their workings. The aims and rules of Freemasonry are published and available to all and our meeting places are known to the general public.
ARE FREEMASONS EXPECTED TO GIVE PREFERENCE TO FELLOW MEMBERS?
Certainly not, it is a commonly held misconception that we show preference to other members when awarding contracts, jobs and promotions in business. This would be unacceptable and against our rules, leading to action being taken against those involved. On joining, each new member states that he expects no material gain from membership.
IS IT TRUE THAT FREEMASONS ONLY LOOK AFTER THEMSELVES?
It is true that we do look after our own; we are a fraternity and like all families we look after our brethren, their families and after death their widows. However, in addition to giving to these Masonic Charities we also donate to other non-Masonic good causes. We do this internationally for things like the earthquake in Nepal, nationally for things like our TLC bears initiative where we give teddies to hospitals to comfort children who come in after accidents and on a local level where individual Lodges will support local causes like disabled groups and many others.
DOES FREEMASONRY GET INVOLVED 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 A RELIGION?
No it is not. All Freemasons are expected to have a religious belief, and we welcome Christians of all denominations, along with Muslims, Hindus, Sikhs, Jews and Buddhists. Freemasonry does not seek to replace a Mason’s religion or provide a substitute for it. This is why we call the holy book The Volume of the Sacred Law which covers the writings of all these religions. It deals in a man’s relationship with his fellow man not in a man’s relationship with his God so for this reason topics of religious discussion are not allowed at our meetings.
HOW MUCH DOES IT COST TO BE A FREEMASON?
It varies from Lodge to Lodge. Anyone wishing to join will find a Lodge to suit his pocket. There is an initiation fee on entry and whilst it varies from Lodge to Lodge the annual subscription is around £120. The meeting is normally followed by a dinner, the cost depending on the venue. Members are invited to give to charity but this should always be within their means and it is entirely up to the individual how much they wish to contribute.
WHY DO YOU WEAR REGALIA?
Wearing regalia is historic and symbolic. Like a uniform, wearing regalia indicates the rank of the wearer in the organisation.
IS FREEMASONRY ONLY PRACTICED IN THE UK?
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 has always been, restricted to men, women Freemasons have two separate Grand Lodges of their own, which are restricted to women.
HOW MANY FREEMASONS ARE THERE?
Under the United Grand Lodge of England, there are over a quarter of a million Freemasons. There are Grand Lodges in Ireland, which covers both Northern Ireland and Eire, and Scotland which have a combined total of approximately 150,000 members. Worldwide, there are approximately six million Freemasons.