Answers to the most frequently
asked questions about Freemasons and Freemasonry
What is Freemasonry?
Freemasonry is the largest secular, fraternal and charitable
organisation in the United Kingdom. It teaches self-knowledge
through participation in a progression of ceremonies. Members are
expected to be of high moral standing and are encouraged to speak
openly about Freemasonry.
What happens at a lodge meeting?
The meeting, which like those of other groups, are open only to
members, is normally in two parts.
First, there are normal administrative procedures
• Minutes of the previous meeting
• Proposing and balloting for new members
• Discussing and voting on the annual accounts
• Masonic news and correspondence
• News about charitable work
Second, there are the ceremonies for:
• Admitting new members
• The annual installation of the Master of the Lodge and his
Why do Freemasons take oaths?
New members make solemn promises concerning their behaviour
both in the Lodge and in society. Members also promise to keep
confidential the way they recognise each other when visiting another
Lodge. Freemasons also promise to support other people, both masons and non masons, in time of need but
only so far as it does not conflict with their family and public
Are Freemasons expected to give preference
to fellow members?
Certainly not. This would be unacceptable and may lead to action
being taken against those involved. On joining, each new member
states that he expects no material gain from membership.
Who do the Masonic charities donate to?
Whilst there are Masonic charities that cater specifically, but not
exclusively, for Masons or their dependants, others make significant
grants to non-Masonic organisations.
What is Freemasonry’s relationship with
All Freemasons are expected to have a religious belief, but
Freemasonry does not seek to replace a Mason’s religion or provide
a substitute for it. It deals in a man’s relationship with his
fellow man not in a man’s relationship with his God.
Why do some churches not like Freemasonry?
There are elements within churches who misunderstand Freemasonry and
its objectives. They confuse secular rituals with religious liturgy.
There are many Masons in churches where their leaders have been
openly critical of the organisation. Masonry has always actively
encouraged its members to be active in their own religion.
Does Freemasonry accept Roman Catholics?
Yes. Four Grand Masters of English Freemasonry have been
Roman Catholics. Today there are many Roman Catholic Freemasons.
What is Freemasonry’s relationship with
Freemasonry, as a body, will never express a view on politics or
state policy. The discussion of politics at Masonic meetings has
always been prohibited.
Is Freemasonry an international order?
Freemasonry exists throughout the world. However, each Grand Lodge
is sovereign and independent. There is no international governing
body for Freemasonry.
Are there women Freemasons?
Yes. Whilst UGLE, following the example of medieval stonemasons, is,
and has always been, restricted to men, women Freemasons have two
separate Grand Lodges, which are restricted to women.
Why do you wear regalia?
Wearing regalia is historic and symbolic. Like a uniform, the
regalia indicates the rank of the wearer in the organisation.
How many Freemasons are there?
Under the United Grand Lodge of England, there are over a quarter of
a million Freemasons.
There are Grand Lodges in Ireland, which covers
both Northern Ireland and Eire, and Scotland which have a combined
total of approximately 150,000 members.
Worldwide, there are approximately six million
How many degrees are there in Freemasonry?
Basic Freemasonry consists of three degrees:
• Entered Apprentice
• Fellow Craft
• Master Mason
How much does it cost to be a Freemason?
It varies from Lodge to Lodge. Anyone wishing to join will find a
Lodge to suit his pocket. There is an initiation fee on entry and in
due course regalia will have to be bought. The meeting is normally
followed by a dinner, the cost depending on the venue. There is, in
addition, an annual subscription.
Members are invited to give to charity but this
should always be within their means and it is entirely up to the
individual how much they wish to contribute.
* Extract from the United Grand Lodge of England