Freemasons are a fraternal society which is made up of men who are concerned with moral and spiritual values. Members of the Freemasons or Masons as they’re also known are taught the precepts of Freemasonry by means of ritual dramas. These Masonic rituals follow ancient forms and involve the customs and tools of stonemasons as allegorical guides.
Freemasons follow 3 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.
- Relief – 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.
- Truth – Freemasons strive for truth, requiring high moral standards and aiming to achieve them in their own lives.
And they believe that by following these main principles, that they may achieve higher standards in life. Freemasons believe strongly in providing charity to others, if not through monetary donations, then through undertaking voluntary work.
Misconceptions about Freemasons
A lot of people have misconceptions about what Freemason are, some people think it’s a secretive organisation, with unusual initiation ceremonies and rituals. Whilst others, believe that Freemasons are a society which is made up of business owners who ‘take care of each other’ or in other words, they only deal with each others’ businesses.
All of these ideas are completely untrue, Freemasonry is not a secretive society at all, and Freemasons often hold open day events, where anyone interested in the Freemasonry come to a Lodge and find out more.
Members of the Freemasons openly acknowledge their membership, if anyone asks them and the rules of Freemasonry and its aims and principles are freely available to the public.
Structure of Freemasonry
The fraternity of Freemasons is split up into Grand Lodges which govern their own geographical area. These Grand Lodge areas are in turn made up of smaller lodges, which cover areas such as towns, cities and counties.
Each lodge has its own Masonic regalia or uniform. Items of regalia worn at Masonic meetings include dress such as ties and aprons, which have significance in terms of rank of different members of that individual lodge.
The History of Freemasonry
The first Grand Lodge of England was formed in 1717, when 4 existing Lodges joined together. This rapidly expanded into a regulatory body, which most Masonic lodges in England joined. However a few lodges chose to start their own Grand Lodge, or the ‘Antient Grand Lodge of England’. The two Grand Lodges competed to become the supreme Grand Lodge until they agreed to unite to become the United Grand Lodge of England or UGLE in 1813.
Soon, Freemasonry spread across the globe, in the British Colonies in North America and across Europe.
Becoming a Freemason
So long as you are a man over the age of 18 and you have a belief in God or a supreme being of the Universe, there are no strict guidelines about who can become a freemason. Freemasonry is not restricted to just Christian faiths as those who follow other religions such as Judaism, Islam, Buddhism, Sikhism and Hinduism are just as welcome to join.