An Introduction

WHAT IS FREEMASONRY? 

Freemasonry is one of the oldest and largest fraternal societies in the world. It is considered that it helps to provide you with a code of living in today’s community, based on good moral and ethical standards.

It is an organisation of men who try to live by the principles of integrity and goodwill which unifies them, regardless of colour, creed or worldly status.

It is a non profit making organisation that is involved in supporting charity and service to the community.

It will provide you with a common interest where you can meet and enjoy the company of like minded men from all walks of life.

WHAT IS THE PURPOSE OF FREEMASONRY? 

We try to impress upon the minds of our members the principles of personal responsibility and morality, encouraging each member to practice in his daily life the lessons taught through the symbolic ceremonies held within the lodge. Although these stories and symbols are from times of long ago, we relate their relevance to modern Freemasonry and describe it as a special way of life.  Freemasonry also has an important part to play in a world where the only constant is change. It sometimes appears that every known thing in today’s world is changing at an ever increasing and sometimes alarming rate. With our principles, which have survived many changes for over 300 years, our organisation will provide you with a solid foundation upon which to anchor yourself and will encourage you to accept and move with these changes.

WHAT FREEMASONRY IS NOT! 

Since its beginning there has been much misinformation published about Freemasonry. For the benefit of every prospective candidate, 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.

QUALIFICATIONS FOR MEMBERSHIP 

The three essential qualifications for membership to Freemasonry cover your spiritual, moral and physical aspects. The qualifications are as follows:-

The essential spiritual qualification is that you must believe in a Supreme Being. Membership is open to men of any race or religion who can fulfil this essential qualification and who can satisfy the other two requirements.  The moral qualification is that you must be of good repute, a loyal citizen and obedient to the laws of the land.

The physical qualification is that you are male and must be at least 21 years old or at least 18 with dispensation of the Provincial Grand Master. This age qualification exists to ensure that you are free to formulate your opinions, and exercise your own judgement.

Wives, partners and families of members are of course, encouraged to enjoy many of the social aspects of Freemasonry, but it is only men who are eligible for membership.

WHAT FREEMASONRY CAN OFFER 

Freemasonry is a way of life where men can meet regularly in order to be active in the support of its own members, their ideals and of the community at large. What you will get out of membership of Freemasonry will be reflected by the effort you make to integrate with the other members of the Lodge. We are sure that you will gain far more from your membership than you expect, by becoming a Freemason and a more useful citizen in your community. 

There are no mandates associated with your membership. After becoming a full member of the Lodge, you may be content to remain as a non-active member within the Lodge and just enjoy the fraternal gatherings.

We hope however that you will decide to progress through the various positions of responsibility within the ritual to become Master of this Lodge. One of the benefits of becoming active in the ritual side of our ceremonies, which will assist you in everyday life, is that by increasing your mental capacity for memorising it will give you more self-confidence in speaking in front of your fellow men.

WHAT FREEMASONRY EXPECTS OF YOU 

Freemasonry is judged largely by the actions and lives of its individual members. When a man is known to be a Freemason, it is the standard by which the outside world judges our organisation. To ensure that our reputation remains impeccable we expect you to maintain the standards set out in the qualifications for membership.

Freemasonry demands and expects that every member will place the needs of his family first, his obligations to his vocation second, and after these his duties to Freemasonry.

There are certain financial responsibilities associated with your membership, just as there are costs in membership of any organisation. These however, are not too onerous. The fees payable are set by the Lodge in its by-laws which include:-

A one-off initiation fee payable prior to joining the Lodge. This covers your registration with Grand Lodge, and the provision of a certificate which will be presented to you on becoming a full member of our organisation known as a Master Mason.

An annual fee payable to the Lodge on 1st July each year. The Lodge uses this to maintain the facilities of the Lodge, either to cover the rent of premises, or the maintenance of owned buildings, social occasions and for all other matters of lodge administration.  An additional dining fee for guest masons might also apply when inviting them to our meetings. 

At various times during the year you may be asked to contribute time or money to charitable projects being organised by the lodge. Your contribution must at all times be determined by what your circumstances will permit. This is for you to determine and at no time should you place your personal financial viability at risk.

The dress code is dark suit, white shirt, black socks, black shoes and a black or Provincial Tie The purchase of a Masonic apron may be required when you become a Master Mason. You may of course prefer to use a family apron from a relative who no longer has a need for it but in any event your proposer will discuss and arrange this with you.

A Member of the Devonshire Group of London Lodges