What is Freemasonry?
Freemasonry is one of the world’s oldest secular fraternal societies. Its members are taught its precepts by a series of ritual dramas - a progression of allegorical two-part plays which are learnt by heart and performed within each Lodge - which follow ancient forms, and use stonemasons’ customs and tools as allegorical guides.
The Order instils in its members a moral and ethical approach to life: it 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 as paramount but, importantly, Freemasonry also teaches and practices concern for people, care for the less fortunate and help for those in need.
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.
Freemasons are taught that their prime duties are to God, the laws of the country in which they live and work, and to their families. Any attempt by a Freemason to use his membership to promote his own or anyone else’s business or personal interests, and any attempt to shield a Freemason who has acted dishonourably or unlawfully, is contrary to the conditions on which he seeks admission and may lead to exclusion. Moreover, the discussion of religion and politics is not permitted at Masonic meetings.
The Order was founded on the principles of Brotherly love, Relief and Truth. By following these precepts a Freemason is taught to show tolerance and respect for the opinions of others and behave with kindness and understanding to his fellow creatures; to practise charity and to care for the community as a whole, both by charitable giving and by voluntary efforts; and to strive for truth in all matters and to achieve high moral standards throughout life.