What is Freemasonry?
Freemasonry means different things to each of those who join. For some, it is about making new friends and acquaintances and for others it is about being able to help deserving causes such as making a contribution to a family in need or greater society. But for most, it is an enjoyable hobby.
Freemasonry is one of the World’s oldest and largest non–religious, non–political, fraternal and charitable organisations. 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?
At a lodge meeting, similarly to other groups, are open to members only and
is normally conducted in two parts. The first part is the normal administrative
procedures such as:
- 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
The second part is for:
- Admitting new members
- The annual installation of the Master of the Lodge and his officers
Why do Freemasons take obligations?
New members make solemn promises concerning their behaviour both in the
Lodge and within society. Members also promise to keep confidential the way they recognise each other when visiting another Lodge. Freemasons also promise to support others in time of need but only so far as it does not conflict with their family and public obligations.
Are Freemasons expected to give preference to fellow members?
Certainly not! This is considered as unacceptable and could lead to action being
taken against those involved. Upon joining Freemasonry, each new member states that he expects no material gain from membership.
How should I decide which lodge to join?
- Choose a lodge in the geographic area that suits you best. See the list of Lodges here to find one close to you.
- Select the days, dates and times of meetings that best suit your circumstances.
In response to the high intensity and long working hours of jobs today, many lodges have adjusted the starting time of their meetings to make attending meetings more convenient for members.
- Visit individual lodge websites to learn more about them – some have their history explained on their website.
- Chat to the District Grand Secretary of the District Grand Lodge of KwaZulu Natal and find out if your age, interests or work match a particular lodge, you can submit your request here.
There are lodges with affiliations to non–masonic groups or interests. For example, the ‘Baden Powell’ Lodge was founded by and for those who have been pad: of the Scouting movement; there are lodges for former pupils of local schools; and there is a lodge for those interested in music. In many cases the name of the lodge gives and inclination of their background
1. If it is important to you, find out whether the lodge runs social events to which you can bring your family and friends.
2. When you have made a choice or been directed to a lodge by the District
Secretary, take every opportunity to meet socially with the members of the
lodge to make sure that you and they are compatible.
3. If you consider the lodge to be a good match for you and the lodge agrees, the Lodge Secretary will help you with the application process.
What is Freemasonry’s relationship to religion?
There are elements within churches which 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 to politics?
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.
How many Freemasons are there?
Worldwide, there are approximately six million Freemasons. Under the United
Grand Lodge of England, there are over a quarter of a million Freemasons with
representation on every continent including Africa.
South Africa is divided into five District Grand Lodges each with its own administrative offices. The District Grand Lodge of South Africa, North (comprising the old “Transvaal“, Botswana, Swaziland and Mauritius) is the largest District outside of England and consists of over 100 Lodges with close to 2000 members.
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, there are. The United Grand Lodge of England (UGLE), following the example of medieval stonemasons, is and always has been, restricted to men.