What is Freemasonry?
Freemasonry means different things to each of those who join. For some, it’s about making new friends and acquaintances. For others it’s about being able to help deserving causes – making a contribution to family and society. But for most, it is an enjoyable pastime.
Our values are based on integrity, kindness, honesty and fairness. Freemasonry is one of the world’s oldest and largest non-religious, non-political, fraternal and charitable organisations. It teaches self-knowledge through participation in a progression of 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 the United Grand Lodge of England, which administers Lodges of Freemasons in 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 lessons and self-knowledge) by a series of ritual dramas – a progression of allegorical two-part plays which are learnt 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 as paramount but, importantly, Freemasonry also teaches concern for people, care for the less fortunate and help for those in need.
Freemasonry provides a unique environment for people from all backgrounds to learn skills, make lasting friendships, achieve their potential and, above all, have fun. What is more, the organisation provides a valuable forum for discussion between members in an open environment, helping to build trust.
Freemasonry prides itself on its transparency. Not only are Freemasons completely free to acknowledge their membership, they are encouraged to do so. There are no closed doors in Freemasonry – anyone can visit its headquarters at Freemasons’ Hall in London – and Lodges throughout the UK regularly open their doors to visitors. For everyone, Lodges offer a place of harmony and tranquillity.
Freemasons make a major contribution to society through their own charities, as well as through donations to UK charities and worldwide disaster relief funds, with members playing an active role in their communities.
Freemasonry is more relevant and important to society today than ever, as it encompasses and embraces all the fundamental principles of good citizenship. Many of these are learnt through traditional rituals that take the form of short plays, leading to increased self-esteem and confidence.
Every Freemason embarks on his own journey of self-discovery when he enters the organisation. With three levels of Freemasonry, the progression through to senior roles within a Lodge can be seen in much the same way as a person progressing in his career – each promotion bringing greater understanding and responsibility.