A Freemason from his First Day..
We all know from the very first day that we become a Freemason, it is confusing and an unusual experience. The Province of East Lancashire have created a very informative document which clearly explains many aspects, and addresses the speculation often attributed to Freemasonry. While this comprehensive document is 35 pages in length it is without doubt an excellent read. Click Here to download. I would like to thank Bro Graeme Hunt for bringing it to my attention.
What it means to be a Freemason..
What is Freemasonry?
Freemasonry means different things to each who choose to join. For some, it’s about making new friends. For others it’s about being able to help deserving causes by making a contribution to family and society. But for most, it is an enjoyable hobby.
Freemasonry is one of the oldest and largest non-religious, non-political, fraternal and charitable organisations. It teaches self-knowledge via a participation in a series of progressive ceremonies. Members are expected to be of high moral standing and are encouraged to speak openly about their being a Freemason.
Why do people become Freemasons?
People became Freemasons for different reasons, often it is as a result of family members being Masons, many more upon the introduction of a friend. Those who become active members and who advance in Freemasonry do so because they enjoy it. They enjoy the challenge and companionship that Freemasonry offers.
Why do members take Oaths?
New members make solemn promises concerning their conduct in Lodge and in society. Each member also promises to keep confidential the traditional methods of proving that he is a Freemason which he would use when visiting a lodge where he is not known. Freemasons do not swear allegiances to each other or to Freemasonry. Freemasons promise to support others in times of need, but only if that support does not conflict with their duties to God, the law, their family or with their responsibilities as a Citizen.
Why is Freemasonry so private?
We are not, but lodge meetings, like those of many other groups, are private and open only to members. The rules and aims of Freemasonry are available to the public.
Meeting places are known and in many areas are used by the local community for activities other than Freemasonry. Members are encouraged to speak openly about Freemasonry.
Who can join?
Membership is open to all men of all faiths and religions, providing they are law-abiding, are of good character and believe in God.
What happens at a lodge meeting?
The meeting is in two parts. As in any association there is a certain amount of administrative procedure – minutes of last meeting, proposing and balloting for new members, discussing and voting on financial matters, election of officers, news and correspondence. Then there are the ceremonies for admitting new Masons and the annual installation of the Master and appointment of officers. The three ceremonies for admitting a new Mason are in two parts – a slight dramatic instruction in the principles and lessons taught in the Craft followed by a lecture in which the candidate’s various duties are spelled out.
Are Freemasons expected to prefer fellow Masons at the expense of others in giving jobs, promotions, contracts and the like?
Absolutely not. That would be a misuse of membership and subject to Masonic discipline. On his entry into Freemasonry each candidate states unequivocally that he expects no material gain from his membership. At various stages during the three ceremonies of his admission and when he is presented with a certificate from Grand Lodge that the admission ceremonies have been completed, he is forcefully reminded that attempts to gain preferment or material gain for himself or others is a misuse of membership which will not be tolerated. The Book of Constitutions, which every candidate receives, contains strict rules governing abuse of membership which can result in penalties varying from temporary suspension to expulsion.
How much does it cost to be a Freemason?
It varies from lodge to lodge but anyone wishing to join can find a lodge to suit his pocket. On entry, there is an initiation fee and an apron to buy. A member pays an annual subscription to his lodge which covers his membership and the administrative cost of running the lodge. It is usual to have a meal after the meeting; the cost of this can be included either in the annual subscription or paid for at the time.
It is entirely up to the individual member what he gives to Charity, but it should always be without detriment to his other responsibilities. Similarly, he may join as many lodges as his time and pocket can allow as long as it does not adversely affect his family life and responsibilities.