What is Freemasonry?
Freemasonry is one of the world's oldest secular fraternal societies and which originated in Scotland. Below we explain Freemasonry as it exists under the Grand Lodge of Scotland which is the corporate body governing Freemasonry in Scotland and Scottish Masonic Lodges in many other parts of the world. The explanation may correct some misconceptions. Freemasonry is a society of men concerned with moral and spiritual values. Its members are taught its precepts by a series of ritual dramas. These remain substantially the same form used in Scottish stonemasons lodges, and use Scottish stonemasons' 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 who are of good repute.
Freemasonry and Religion
Freemasonry is not a religion, nor is it a substitute for religion. The one essential qualification means that Freemasonry is open to men of many religions and it expects and encourages them to continue to follow their own faith. It is not permitted for Freemasons to discuss religion at Masonic meetings.
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 practice 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.
What Freemasonry is not!
Since its beginning there has been much misinformation published about Freemasonry. It is only fair that we give information on what Freemasonry is not and which it has never claimed to be. The most important points are as follows:-
Freemasonry is not a religion, nor is it a substitute for religion. It has a philosophy which we believe is acceptable to every religious institution in the world. Therefore, because there are different ideologies and thoughts in the world and to avoid disharmony, we do not allow religious discussion at our meetings.
Freemasonry is not a secret society. certain parts of our rituals, which are the methods of recognition, are the only secrets we have. We prefer to keep them available for members only.
Freemasonry is not a benefit society. There are no paid insurance policies to give protection against sickness, death or old age.
Freemasonry is not for promoting social or economic advancement of its members to the prejudice of non-members.
Freemasonry is not connected in any way with a political body or ideals. A Freemason's political views and beliefs are his own and every lodge will have members who support the many different and divergent political ideologies. For this reason political discussion is not allowed at masonic assemblies.