Freemasonry is the UK’s oldest and
largest, secular, fraternal organisation. Multi-cultural and multi-racial it has
over 350,000 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.
following information is intended to explain Freemasonry as it is practised
under the United Grand Lodge of England, which administers Lodges of
Freemasons in England and Wales and in many places overseas.
It may also
correct some misconceptions.
Freemasonry is a society of men concerned with moral and spiritual values.
Its members are taught its precepts by a series of ritual dramas, which
follow ancient forms, and use stonemasons' customs and tools as allegorical
Freemasonry is open. Everything about Freemasonry can be accessed in public
libraries and through the internet.
Freemasonry is accused of having secrets. It does not have any secrets only
a respect for the historic signs of recognition.
The Essential Qualification for Membership
The essential qualification for admission into, and continuing membership
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
Freemasonry discourages the discussion of religion at its meetings.
The Three Great Principles
Freemasons follows three great principles:
Every true Freemason will show tolerance and respect for the opinions
of others and behave with kindness and understanding to his fellow
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.
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
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
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.
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
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
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
Freemasons are expected to follow them