Questions about Freemasonry
1 What is Freemasonry and what do we get out of it?
Freemasonry means different things to each of those who join and get different benefits from their membership, most would point to friendship, fellowship, laughter and mutual support. Some enjoy the theatrical aspects and the satisfaction of ritual well performed followed by a few drinks and a good meal. Something that lifts us onto a higher plane, with a good sense of wellbeing. For most, it is an enjoyable hobby.
Freemasonry is a society of men concerned with moral and spiritual values and teaches moral lessons and self-knowledge through participation in a progression of allegorical two-part plays, which are learnt by heart and performed within each Lodge. 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.
Members are urged to regard the interests of the family, work and their business as paramount but importantly Freemasonry also teaches and practices concern for people, care for the less fortunate and help for those in need.
Once a Mason, some visit Masonic lodges across the country – or indeed, the world – and you are greeted as an old friend. Freemasonry is the ultimate leveller, a community where friendship and goodwill are paramount.
2 Who can join?
Membership is open to men of all faiths who are law-abiding, decent, trustworthy men, normally over the age of 21 of good character and who acknowledge a belief in a "Supreme Being", God as you understand him. Freemasonry is a multi-racial and multi-cultural organization, so creed, colour, race, religion or sexual preference are also of absolutely no importance.
Freemasonry is open to all including the Guild of Freemen Lodge so why not become a Freemason in the heart of London and join us. There are similar Masonic organizations for women.
3 What does it cost?
There is an initial one off registration fee of £140.00 and our dues are currently £290 a year which includes four meetings a year, with three course meals complete with wine. (the dues may be less the first year, depending on when in the Financial Year you join). If you are not a Member of the Freemen of the City, this currently costs £100 to become a member. You may also give to charity but the exact amount is entirely up to you and is a private matter. You will spend a bit on regalia but very rarely in the first year, and even then we can probably find you a used set.
4 How much time does it take?
This really depends on you. We currently have just four meetings a year, which is the more formal part of the proceedings (the ceremonies) and usually start towards the end of the afternoon and are followed into the evening by dinner and wine and to get to know your fellow Freemasons. You can if you so wish, gain great pleasure in visiting other lodges, making new friends and seeing different traditions followed.
The beauty of Freemasonry is you only need to commit what you want or can, in time and effort- it is not a job but a hobby.
5 I do not know anyone who is a Freemason. Can I still join?
Yes you can. That is the purpose of our website. You will find information here which will help you start to make an informed decision. If you have decided Freemasonry may be for you, we are here for you to get in touch and we will gladly answer any questions.
6 What about wives and partners?
In the interests of domestic harmony, people interested in becoming Freemasons are strongly recommended to bring their wife / partner into the picture at the earliest possible stage. The Guild of Freemen Lodge would be proud to give guided tours around the home of British Freemasonry, Freemasons’ Hall in Great Queen Street. Visitors can see inside the Masonic temples where the ceremonies take place and ask any questions they may have. We also we have social “Ladies Evenings and Weekends” as a way of saying thank you for their support. An opportunity to have quality time with your partner and to meet other members and couples. There are of course similar Masonic organizations for women.
7 Is Freemasonry a religion?
Freemasonry is not a religion. It has no theology and does not teach any route to salvation. However, a belief in a "Supreme Being", God as you understand him, is an essential requirement for membership and Freemasonry. This belief, whatever his religion, although necessary to become a Freemason, is entirely the affair of each individual and is not our business.
No discussion of religion is permitted in lodge meetings.
8 Is Freemasonry involved in politics?
Freemasonry is definitely not a political organization. It has no political agenda , and discussion of politics is not permitted at Lodge meetings. Freemasonry naturally tends to attract those with a concern for people and a sense of social responsibility and purpose. There are members, therefore, who are involved in politics at local, national and international level. Equally there are members who take an active interest in non-Masonic charitable organizations and other community groups.
No discussion of politics is permitted in lodge meetings
9 Why do people join and remain members?
People become Freemasons for a variety of reasons, some as the result of family tradition, others upon the introduction of a friend or out of a curiosity to know what it is all about. Those who become active members and who grow in Freemasonry do so principally because they enjoy it. They enjoy the challenges and fellowship that Freemasonry offers. There is more to it.
Participation in the dramatic presentation of moral lessons and in the working of a Lodge provides a member with a unique opportunity to learn more about himself and encourages him to live in such a way that he will be in search of becoming a better man, Then, by progression through a series of degrees he gains insight into increasingly complex moral and philosophical concepts and accepts a variety of challenges and responsibilities which are both stimulating and rewarding.
10 How do people join?
You will need a proposer and a seconder. If you don’t know us we can arrange an informal meeting to make contact and get to know you. If by mutual agreement it is then decided that your application should proceed you will be interviewed by the Lodge committee. If all goes well and you are not already a Freeman we can then arrange for you to become a Freeman of the City of London.
Once this has been completed and you are a Freeman you are then able to join the Guild of Freemen Lodge. The Lodge at large will then formally vote on the proposal for you to join us at Guild Freemen Lodge. Your application will then be formally read out aloud in open Lodge at one of our four main Lodge meetings. If approved, then after this meeting, a date will then be set for your admission to join Guild of Freemen Lodge and to become a Freemason.
11 What promises do Freemasons take?
New members make solemn promises concerning their conduct in the Lodge and society. These promises are similar to those taken in Court or upon entering the Armed Services or many other organizations. Each member also promises to keep confidential the traditional methods of proving he is a Freemason which he would use when visiting a Lodge where he is not known. They were always symbolic, not literal, and refer only to the pain any decent man should feel at the thought of violating his word.
Members also undertake to not make use of their membership for personal gain or advancement; failure to observe this principle or to otherwise fall below the standards expected of a Freemason can lead to expulsion.
12 Is Freemasonry an open society?
Lodge meetings, like meetings of many other societies and professional associations, are private occasions open only to members. The rituals and ceremonies used by Freemasons to pass on the principles of Freemasonry to new members were first revealed publicly in 1723. They include the traditional forms of recognition used by Freemasons essentially to prove their identity and qualifications when entering a Masonic meeting. These include handshakes which have been much written about.
For medieval Freemasons, these were the equivalent of a 'pin number' restricting access only to qualified craftsmen.