|©E J Folkard|
WHAT IS FREEMASONRY?
Freemasonry is one of the world's oldest and largest fraternal societies. It provides a code of living in today's society based on moral and ethical standards.
Freemasonry is an organisation of men who strive to live by the fundamental principles of integrity, goodwill and charity. It is a non profit organisation that is heavily involved in supporting charity and community service.
Freemasonry is a society that unifies men of high ideals, regardless of colour, creed or worldly status.
WHO ARE FREEMASONS AND WHY?
Freemasons are ordinary men in the community, 21 years and over, of all religions and backgrounds, who share a concern
for human values, moral standards, respect for the laws of society and the rights of individuals.
There may be many reasons why a man will choose to be a Freemason. It is an organisation that promotes self-development, family and community values. It provides men with the opportunity for public service and hands-on involvement in charitable and community issues, as well as the chance to socialise with men from all walks of life (without religious or political barriers).
WHAT DO FREEMASONS DO AT LODGE MEETINGS?
Lodge meetings are held regularly (often monthly, sometimes four or five times a year) and like any organisation there is a business element with minutes, accounts and plans for forthcoming events and charity activities to be addressed and discussed among members. Lodge meetings are also ceremonial and involve a series of formalised and symbolic presentations (similar to short plays) that use drama to highlight the codes and conduct by which a Freemason strives to live. Freemasons have a traditional mode of dress, which is worn during the meetings. The final part of the lodge meeting usually involves members sharing a festive board which consists of a meal where there is fellowship and "banter".
IS FREEMASONRY A RELIGION?
NO. Freemasonry is not a religion. It has no theological doctrines, offers no sacraments and does not claim to lead to salvation. There is no "new" expression of religion that a member must subscribe to, apart from admitting to a belief in "a Supreme Being". A member's concept of a "Supreme Being" is undefined; it is left to the individual to preserve his own understanding according to his own religious tradition.
Freemasonry promotes unity and tolerance amongst all men and does not discriminate against any religion. The principles and practices of Freemasonry are compatible with all compassionate religions that teach respect for the deity and tolerance towards one's fellow man. If anything, Freemasonry compliments the philosophies of these faiths.
Therefore, men from all religions, whether they be Christian, Catholic, Jewish, Muslim or Hindu, for example, come together in lodge, confident in the thought that they have a common shared foundation. This common belief is the basis of the Masonic brotherhood.
HOW DO I BECOME A FREEMASON?
The basic qualifications for becoming a Freemason are that your decision to join is made without improper inducement by others, nor for personal gain or reasons of idle curiosity; that you believe in a "Supreme Being" and that you are a law-abiding person.
The way in which you can become a Freemason:
• The traditional way is to approach a Freemason known to you and express your desire to join. This Freemason would then become your "proposer". Another Freemason (in goodstanding) must also be acquainted with you and therefore becomes your seconder.
• Your application form is read out in open lodge and an enquiry meeting is held, with you present, for the brethren of the lodge to check your character. The application and recommendation from the enquiry committee is then passed to the brethren of the lodge to hold an open ballot.
• THE BALL IS IN YOUR COURT, ALL YOU HAVE TO DO IS ASK