What is Freemasonry?
Check out this short movie in which an actor playing Ben Franklin explains what it means to be a freemason. Click here.
Freemasonry is one of the world’s oldest fraternal societies. 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 stonemason’s customs and tools as allegorical guides.
The Essential Qualification for Membership:
The essential qualification for admission into and continuing membership is a belief in a Supreme Being. Membership is open to men of any race or religion who can fulfil this essential qualification and are 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. It does not allow religion to be discussed at its meetings.
A paper prepared by the Masonic Information Centre: Freemasonry & Religion
The Three Great Principles:
For many years Freemasons have followed three great principles:
Brotherly Love – Every true Freemason will show tolerance and respect for the opinions of others and behave with kindness and understanding to his fellow creatures.
Relief – 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.
Truth – Freemasons strive for truth, requiring high moral standards and aiming to achieve them in their own lives.
Freemasons believe that these 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 local charities.
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 private and public responsibilities. The use by a Freemason of their 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 has acted dishonourably or unlawfully is contrary to this prime duty.
The secrets of Freemasonry are 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 inquiries 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 Grand Lodge of Newfoundland & Labrador. There are some Grand Lodges and other apparently masonic bodies which do not meet these standards, e.g. which do not require a belief in a Supreme Being, or which allow or encourage their members to participate in political matters. These Grand Lodges and bodies are not recognized as being masonically regular, and masonic contact with them is forbidden.
A Freemason is encouraged to do his duty first to 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 ideas is exclusively Masonic, but all should be universally acceptable. Freemasons are expected to follow them.
Who can become a Freemason?
Our fraternity has a wonderful history, which dates back more than three centuries. It is one of the world’s oldest secular fraternities, a society of men concerned with moral and spiritual values. Founded on the three great principles of Brotherly Love, Relief and Truth, it aims to bring together men of goodwill, regardless of background and differences.
People might think that to become a Freemason is quite difficult. It’s actually straightforward.
The essential qualifications for admission is that you have a belief in a Supreme Being.
It is usual for candidates to be “mature men of 21 years and over”,
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, however, than just enjoyment.
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 always be in search of becoming a better man, not better than someone else but better than he himself would otherwise be and therefore an exemplary member of society.
Each Freemason is required to learn and show humility through initiation. 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. The structure and working of the lodge and the sequence of ceremonial events, which are usually followed by social gatherings, offer members a framework for companionship, teamwork, character development and enjoyment of shared experiences.
After reading items on this site, and if you are still interested in becoming a Freemason, we advise that you first talk to a family member, friend or colleague whom you already know to be a member. They will be able to explain to you what they can about the fraternity and help you find a suitable Lodge.
If you don’t know anyone at all who is a member, then get in touch with a Masonic Office in your area, or write to the office of the Grand secretary, telling them a little bit about yourself and your reasons for wishing to join.
All enquiries may be directed to the Office of the Grand Secretary of Grand Lodge of Newfoundland & Labrador:
Grand Lodge of Newfoundland & Labrador
Office of the Grand Secretary
Masonic Park, Freemason’s Hall
115 Mount Carson Ave
Mount Pearl, NL
Arrangements will be made to meet you socially to find out more about you, and to give you a chance to find out more about us.
You would then in due course be invited to meet a committee of members from a Lodge you might be joining, prior to being balloted for membership of that Lodge.
All being well, a date would then be fixed for your admission.