Freemasonry is the UK’s oldest and largest, secular, fraternal organisation. Multi-cultural and multi-racial it has over 200,000 members in over 9,000 lodges in England & Wales.
With a world wide membership of many millions Freemasonry offers its members an approach to life which seeks to reinforce thoughtfulness for others, kindness in the community, honesty in business, courtesy in society and fairness in all things.
While members are urged to regard the interests of the family as paramount, charity is at the heart of Freemasonry by teaching and practicing concern for people, care for the less fortunate and help for those in need.
The Three Great Principles
Freemasons follows three great principles;
Brotherly Love -
Every true Freemason will show tolerance and respect for the opinions of others and behave with kindness and understanding to his fellow creatures.
Freemasons are taught to practise 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.
Freemasons strive for truth, requiring high moral standards and aiming to achieve them in their own lives.
Freemasons believe that the following principles represent a way of achieving higher standards in life.
Freemasonry and Society
Freemasonry demands from its members a respect for the law of the country in which a man works and lives.
Its principles do not in any way conflict with its members' duties as citizens, but should strengthen them in fulfilling their public and private responsibilities.
The use by a Freemason of his membership to promote his own or anyone else's business, professional or personal interests is condemned, and is contrary to the conditions on which he sought admission to Freemasonry.
His duty as a citizen must always prevail over any obligation to other Freemasons, and any attempt to shield a Freemason who as acted dishonourably or unlawfully is contrary to this prime duty.
There are many reasons why men become Freemasons.
It varies from man to man; perhaps these reasons could match yours.
You may have heard about Freemasonry and you are intrigued by its history and mysteries.
You have heard about the way in which Freemasonry helps good causes and feel that you would like to part of an organisation which has a strong charity bias.
Society is becoming increasingly 'fractured' therefore you would like to belong to a 'brotherhood' of individuals who help each other and the community.
You would like to meet and share your interests with a group of like minded men.
You would like to meet a broad spectrum of men, from all walks of life, regardless of race or religion, from those that live locally to those from other countries. Mixing with men from different walks of life helps to broaden the mind.
Within Freemasonry the principle of self improvement helps one to become a better person.
The rituals and principles of Freemasonry helps one to become more confident. Networking, learning from peers and mentors, and learning from practising ritual (if you hold office) and after dinner speech-making.
It could be about personal achievement. Freemasonry has a structure whereby you will have certain responsibilities of holding an office and possibly progressing through to Worshipful Master.
You are impressed with the way in which Freemasonry supports the family in times of crisis and widows in time of bereavement.
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.
The Essential Qualification for Membership
The essential qualification for admission into, and continuing membership of, is a belief in a Supreme Being.
Membership is open to men of any race or religion who can fulfil this essential qualification and who are over 21 and of good repute.
Freemasonry and Religion
Freemasonry is not a religion, nor is it a substitute for religion.
Its essential qualification opens it to men of many religions and it expects them to continue to follow their own faith. The holy book of every brother's faith, attendant at that meeting, is open on the pedestal in front of the Worshipful Master.
Freemasonry discourages the discussion of religion at its meetings.
The secrets of Freemasonry are only concerned with its traditional modes of recognition. It is not a secret society, since all members are free to acknowledge their membership and will do so in response to enquiries for respectable reasons. Its constitutions and rules are available to the public. There is no secret about any of its aims and principles. Like many other societies, it regards some of its internal affairs as private matters for its members.
Freemasonry and Politics
Freemasonry is non-political, and the discussion of politics at Masonic meetings is forbidden.
Other Masonic Bodies
Freemasonry is practised under many independent Grand Lodges with standards similar to those set by the United Grand Lodge of England.
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 as such to participate in political matters.
These Grand Lodges and bodies are not recognised by the United Grand Lodge of England as being Masonically regular, and Masonic contact with them is forbidden.
A Freemason is encouraged to do his duty first to his God (by whatever name he is known) through his faith and religious practice; and then, without detriment to his family and those dependent on him, to his neighbour through charity and service.
None of these ideals are exclusively Masonic, but all should be universally acceptable.
Freemasons are expected to follow them
Freemasonry has a wonderful history, dating back more than three centuries. One of the world's oldest secular fraternities, it is a society of men concerned with moral and spiritual values. Founded on the three great principles of Brotherly Love, Relief and Truth, it aims to bring together men of goodwill, regardless of background, race, faith and differences.
Qualifications for becoming a Freemason are straightforward remembering that Freemasonry is multi-faith. Every applicant, must have a belief in a Supreme Being. Every applicant should be a "mature man" of good character of 21 years and over".
firstname.lastname@example.org for any further information.
Masonic Hall, 2 Portland Street, Cheltenham, Glos, GL52 2PB
Provincial Grand Lodge of Gloucester
Manor of Ashley Lodge No. 7831
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