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Here are some frequently asked questions that can help would-be members evaluate and understand more about the experiences and realities that surround membership of Freemasonry and whether it is right for them? In this section you can find out more about lodges, oaths, regalia and the cost of Freemasonry.

What is Freemasonry?

Freemasonry is unique in that it can mean a myriad of different things to different people. The reasons employed as to why new members join can be incredibly diverse. Some join for friendship, others join for the purpose of giving and charity but for others it is a hobby with a purpose.

Freemasonry, as the oldest and largest non-religious and non-religious fraternal charitable organisation in the world, teaches its members self-knowledge which is taught through participatory engagement in progression-based ceremonies.

All that is asked of members is that they are of a ‘high moral standing’ and are willingly encouraged to speak openly about freemasonry.

What Is A Lodge?

A lodge, sometimes described as a constituent lodge or a private lodge, is the structural organisational unit of Freemasonry within a defined provincial district. A lodge is an organised group of Freemasons. As such, a lodge will have managerial officers who are appointed to execute key roles – like wardens, treasurer and stewards among other roles.

What Happens At Lodge Meetings?

A lodge meeting is a members-only event. They are predominantly structured into two parts. First, like all such organisational meetings, there is the procedural business which, as UGLE happily points out, are as follows:

  • “Minutes of the previous meeting
  • Proposing and balloting for new members
  • Discussing and voting on the annual accounts
  • Masonic news and correspondence
  • News about charitable work”

The second part of meetings surround the ceremonial aspects of Freemasonry. These include:

  • The admittance of new members to the lodge
  • The annual installation of a Master of the Lodge and the lodge officers into roles

What are Freemasons Oaths and Why Are They Taken?

Freemasonry operates under presumed obligations and as such oaths of obligation are a central tenet of the self-development process. The oaths are taken by new and old members alike. The purpose can vary from new members taking solemn promises relating to their societal and lodge-based behaviour to confidentiality promises and charitable giving when in need. These obligations are taken under the bounds of oaths.

How Many Degrees Are There In Freemasonry?

The self-knowledge process for Freemasonry is based on the progression of three degrees.

  • Entered Apprentice
  • Fellow Craft
  • Master Mason

Why Is Regalia Worn?

Freemasonry is a hugely historical and symbolic experience. The regalia worn by members is in part a uniform of sorts that can clearly indicate the rank of the individual within the lodge and wider organisation. The symbolism and historical importance of the regalia is a central part of why members wear such outfits.

How Much Does It Cost To Become A Freemason?

Becoming a freemason will incur a cost. There is no pre-defined membership ‘fees’ in the traditional sense. Different lodges will charge initiation fee and thereafter an annual subscription based on the running costs associated with that specific lodge.

Furthermore, each lodge meeting will be followed by a dinner, which will incur further costs. However, it should be noted that there are no formal requirements to attend any post-meeting events.

In addition, regalia and dress codes will mean members are expected to wear suits that are dark in colour with a white shirt and black (or dark) tie until regalia can be purchased.

The Metropolitan Masonic Charity has setup www.prelovedregalia.com which can help new members reduce the costs associated with regalia purchases. Fellow members can donate regalia that is no-longer required to help new members save money.

Furthermore, new members and returning members are invited (which means it is not obliged in the usual sense) to donate to charitable causes – you should consider your own unique circumstances when contributing.

When you join a lodge, your proposer and seconder will help you understand the costs associated with the lodge on an on-going basis.

Are Freemasons Expected To Give Preference To Fellow Members?

When an individual agrees to take the oaths associated with Freemasonry there is an explicit agreement that the new member expects no material gain from becoming a Freemason. There are rules in place to help make sure this unacceptable behaviour is stamped out and action can and would be taken against those involved.

Who Do Masonic Charities Donate To?

Charitable giving is a big part of what Freemasonry is all about and individual Lodges plat a big part in this experience. There is a diverse array of giving in Freemasonry between the Lodge’s own local giving and the United Grand Lodge of England charitable funding under The Masonic Charitable Foundation.

What is Freemasonry’s Relationship With Politics?

As a non-political organisation based on fraternity and charitable giving, political discourse or support is prohibited from Masonic meetings and any discussions therein. Furthermore, the United Grand Lodge of England, much like individual lodges, will never express outward views on politics or public policy.

What Is Freemasonry’s Relationship with Religion?

As a non-religious organisation based on fraternity and charitable giving, religious belief by individual members is the individual’s own business – apart from being asked about a belief in a  ‘supreme being’ during an initial interview. However, the Grand Lodge of England and individual Lodges therein will never make public pronunciations on religious developments. Freemasonry does not replace religion in any way, shape or form. It is about better understanding an individual’s relationship with his fellow man and not his relationship with his chosen God.

Can Anyone Become a Freemason?

The simple answer is, YES! Freemasonry is open to men from all possible walks of life and does not discriminate on the grounds of race, religion, sexual orientation or an individual’s socio-economic position in society. This means, rich or poor and regardless of your religion or sexual orientation, if you are of good moral standing you can become a Freemason.

Can Women Become Freemasons?

The short answer is yes. However, they are segregated based on sex, and the United Grand Lodge of England restrict membership to men much like the mediaeval stonemasons of old. However, women looking to explore freemasonry are able to contact the Honourable Fraternity of Ancient Freemasons or the Order of Women Freemasons to discuss membership and find a local lodge.