What is Freemasonry ?
This one of the most difficult questions to answer and even Freemasons
themselves give differing definitions. This is probably due to the fact
that Freemasonry does not impose any particular Dogma, has no Theology but
simply attempts to guide members to a more moral way of life. 'Attempting
to make good men better' is one definition. The page "What
is Freemasonry" is a more detailed attempt to answer this
Is Freemasonry a Secret Society?
Hardly! You are reading this are you not? The perception that Freemasonry
is in some way secret has arisen relatively recently simply because
Freemasons value their privacy. This is no different from many other
organisations that keep their affairs private from people who are not
members. If you asked a golf club, of which you are not a member, for
details of the membership, committee minutes, etc. then you can safely
assume the reply - should the club concerned be courteous enough even to
answer. This basic right to privacy applies equally to Trades Unions,
Private Clubs, Political Parties, Churches, etc. as well as to
Why do Freemasons have a Funny Handshake?
Freemasonry is a very old society that pre-dates many present day
institutions. The earliest Masonic records are to be found in Scotland and
date from a time when members of Lodges were mainly illiterate. As stone
masons had to travel all over the country, and occasionally overseas, some
simple method of recognition had to be devised in order to secure
employment appropriate to the degree of skill of each individual. Modern
day Freemasonry continues that practice. Other organisations use different
methods to identify between those who are members and those who are not. A
membership card is the most common form and instantly shows that one is a
member of a particular society etc. A membership card, or anything in
writing, would have been useless to an illiterate stone mason. Freemasonry
is a very traditional institution, proud of its history and what it stands
for. It simply continues to use practices established centuries ago.
How does one become a Freemason?
Usually by asking another Freemason. It is a general rule, in Scotland,
that a Freemason will not solicit men for membership. There are occasions
when a member of the family, a close personal friend, will be asked but
this is a matter for the individual Freemason concerned.
What are the Qualifications for Membership.
There are several. An applicant must believe in a Supreme Being but
Freemasonry will not provide any further definition and the nature of that
Being must be determined by the applicant himself. The applicant must be
an upright man of good moral character and be at least twenty-one years
old. He must not have a criminal record. He must be able to meet his
financial commitments to his family before those to Freemasonry.
Once a Member is it not Difficult to Leave?
Freemasonry is a voluntary organisation and once a member there is no
pressure to continue to participate. Indeed men join and subsequently find
it is not to their taste or is not what they had envisaged and so cease to
be active members. Whilst it is sad that Freemasonry is unable to meet the
applicant's aspirations, in such cases, it will not stand in the way of
anyone's decision to leave.
Why are some Churches so Antagonistic Towards
Quite simply that question should be directed elsewhere. Freemasonry will
not make any comment regarding any particular belief system, religious,
political or otherwise. It will certainly make no comment on another
organisation's internal affairs as that is their business.
Why is Freemasonry a Unique Institution?
In many ways it is not. There are other organisations in existence that
also value their privacy. It may be because Freemasonry is so popular that
it attracts a greater degree of attention than these other organisations.
Historically Freemasonry was but one institution among many. For instance
there were the Free Gardeners, Free Shepherds, Free Carpenters, Free
Colliers, etc. which were organised along similar lines to Freemasonry and
taught morality by way of their own ritual plays and symbolism. Most of
these organisations no longer exist leaving Freemasonry as the only
example of this once common form of society or association.
Reproduced From The Grand Lodge Of Scotland Website