What is a Masonic Lodge?
A Masonic Lodge is a local chapter of the fraternity of Freemasons. Like the word school, the word lodge can refer to both the group of members and to the physical building. Other Masonic organizations use the words chapter, council, commandery, consistory, priory, court, and so on to refer to specific local organizations.
Is Freemasonry an international order?
Only in the sense that Freemasonry exists throughout the free world. Each Grand Lodge is sovereign and independent, and while following the same basic principles, may have differing ways of passing them on. There is no international governing body of Freemasonry.
Is Freemasonry a Secret Society?
Freemasonry is not a secret society, it is a fraternity with certain information that is kept internal and private from those who are not members. In addition, Lodge meetings, like several other private clubs and groups, are kept private and open only to its members. With that said, the rules and aims of Freemasonry are available to the public. Meeting places (Lodges) are known, and in many areas they are used by the local community for activities other than Freemasonry. Members also speak openly about the fraternity, a far cry from what a secret society should be doing.
Does Freemasonry recruit new members?
No, members of the fraternity are not allowed to recruit people into Freemasonry. A person must want to join Freemasonry of his own free will and accord
Why do Freemasons take oaths?
New members make solemn promises concerning their conduct in Lodge and in society. Each member also promises to keep confidential the traditional methods of proving that he is a Freemason which he would use when visiting a lodge where he is not known. Freemasons do not swear allegiance to each other or to Freemasonry. Freemasons promise to support others in time of need, but only if that support does not conflict with thier duties to God, the law, their family or with their responsibilities as a Citizen.
Is Freemasonry a religion?
No, Freemasonry is a fraternity, not a religion. In fact, Freemasonry strongly encourages each of its members to be steadfast in the faith of his own acceptance. If a member or candidate of Freemasonry does not have a religious affiliation, thats ok. But he must profess a belief in a Supreme Being to be a Freemason. Freemasonry is a fraternal organization that encourages morality and charity. It has no clergy, no sacraments, and does not promise salvation to its members.
Is Freemasonry a Cult?
That depends on what is meant by Cult. By some definitions, Christianity, Islam, and Judaism are Cults. By another definition, golfing, bowling, and surfing the Internet are Cults. But in the usual use of the term, referring to a group that separates itself from society and its members from their non-member friends, demands slavish obedience from its adherents, engages in brainwashing techniques, confiscates their resources, and sees itself in opposition to established society, then the answer is absolutely not!
Quite the opposite, in fact: Freemasonry does not recruit members, does not compel attendance at any of its meetings, charges modest dues and fees, encourages community service and participation in civic and religious organizations, and allows any of its members to quit at any time.
Who can join Freemasonry?
Each Grand Lodge has its own established membership requirements, but ultimately membership into the Freemasonry is open to men of all faiths who are law-abiding, of good moral character and who acknowledge a belief in a Supreme Being. Freemasonry is a multi-racial and multi-cultural organization. It has attracted men of goodwill from all walks of life into its fraternal membership.
What is expected of new members in Freemasonry?
Ideally, once a person becomes a Freemason it is hoped that the new member will desire to attend the regular meetings and contribute to the organization as their time permits.
How many degrees are in Freemasonry?
Basic Freemasonry consists of the three Craft degrees:
1st Degree Entered Apprentice (EA)
2nd Degree Fellow Craft (FC)
3rd Degree – Master Mason (MM)
Is there any degrees higher than Master Mason?
There are several appendant bodies associated with Freemasonry that have additional Masonic degrees specific to themselves. These additional degrees are not considered higher than the Master Mason 3rd degree, and members of the Fraternity must complete the EA, FC, and MM degrees before joining an appendant body of Freemasonry.
I want to become a Freemason, where do I start?
If you know a Mason, ask him about membership. He will be glad to tell you all about the Craft and the local lodge, and give you a petition if you wish to join. If you do not know a Mason, you can: drop a letter to the local lodge, and one of the officers will contact you; email, call or visit a Masonic lodge (if you plan to visit a lodge call ahead of time to ensure someone will be there), or simply follow our 2B1 Ask1 link on the left of the page.