What is Freemasonry?
Good question… to which there are quite a few answers…
The official definition is available from the United Grand Lodge of England on www.ugle.org.uk and is discussed below. It is accurate but perhaps somewhat wordy so I will try and explain what we are all about.
It is NOT a secret society. It is a society with secrets, which are just ways by which we know that someone else is a Mason. They are like knowing the code for the car park barrier at the golf club, only of interest if you`re a member at that club.
Freemasons are quite open about their membership but the mode of recognition between Freemasons is kept secret. We raise huge amounts of money for charities both Masonic and non-Masonic. Members give entirely according to what they can afford without any pressure.
Importantly, Freemasonry teaches us morality and self-knowledge through our ancient ceremonies which are full of symbolism, fine language and drama.
Freemasonry is open to men of all religions and backgrounds. Politics are not discussed nor is religion as these are personal issues for every Mason.
Freemasonry has great fellowship and fun as well as deep meaning to its members.
United Grand Lodge of England
Freemasonry means different things to each of us who join. For some, it`s about making new friends and acquaintances. For others it`s about helping deserving causes, making a contribution to family and society. But for most it`s an enjoyable hobby.
Freemasonry is one of the world`s oldest and largest non-religious, non-political, fraternal and charitable organisation. It teaches self-knowledge through participation in progression ceremonies. Members are expected to be of high moral standing and are encouraged to speak openly about Freemasonry. The following information is intended to explain Freemasonry as it is practised under United Grand Lodge of England and Wales and in many places overseas. Freemasonry is a society of men concerned with moral and spiritual values. Its members are taught its principles (moral and self- knowledge) by a series of ritual dramas- a progression of allegorical two-part plays which are learned by heart and performed within each Lodge- which follow ancient forms and use stonemasons` customs and tools as allegorical guides. Freemasonry instils in its members a moral and ethical approach to life: its values are based on integrity, kindness, honesty and fairness. Members are urged to regard the interests of the family a paramount, but importantly, Freemasonry also teaches and practices concern for people, care for the less fortunate and help for those in need.