Becoming a Freemason

This page is aimed primarily at non Freemasons who are interested in learning more about becoming a Freemason and becoming a member of this Lodge in particular. You may then want to read “Visiting our Lodge” after you have read this page.

It is very difficult to describe what Freemasonry is and what it means to be a Freemason – if you put this question to a hundred Freemasons, you would likely receive a hundred different answers! If you haven’t already done so, we recommend that you read our pages “What is Freemasonry?” and “About the Lodge of Restoration”, as this will give you an idea of what Freemasonry in general is about, but most importantly, what being a member of this particular Lodge is about and when you have done so, please return to this page…

…Ok, so now you’ve read a bit more, you now understand that Freemasonry has a long history, much of which is “lost” in the mists of time. As a result of this history, we have a lot of traditions and customs that have been handed down to us, some of which have led to misconceptions about what Freemasonry is about and, when taken out of context, have led to all manner of misunderstandings. Like many organisations, we have a governing body, which in this country is the United Grand Lodge of England (UGLE), who actively encourage us to talk openly about Freemasonry. A copy of our Constitutions can be downloaded from the United Grand Lodge of England’s website and our rituals are freely available for purchase over the internet. However, a proper understanding of Freemasonry, as with all activities, can only be appreciated by taking part. As new members are the central focus of our rituals, we generally feel their experience is enhanced if the rituals are a surprise. For this reason, we generally don’t talk about the rituals themselves, but as noted above, anyone can buy them and read them for themselves. So, with all this in mind, let’s look at some FAQ’s:

What are the requirements for membership?

Every candidate for Freemasonry must possess a genuine belief in some form of Supreme Being, this is essential and admits no compromise. However, the form that Supreme Being takes is for each individual to determine in his own way. Freemasonry does not seek to offer or impose any definition on its members. Otherwise, members are expected to be of good character, have a desire for self-development and to be of service to others.

What sort of people become Freemasons?

One of the strengths of Freemasonry is that its members could never be typecast! Freemasonry draws its membership from across all of society. The common bond amongst Freemasons is a general desire for self-knowledge and personal growth and to be of service to others, particularly those less fortunate.

How many degrees are there in Freemasonry?

All lodges meeting under the jurisdiction of the United Grand Lodge of England are permitted to confer the three degrees that comprise what is frequently referred to as “craft masonry”. These degrees are referred to as the Entered Apprentice, Fellow Craft and Master Mason, with each having their own unique ritual drama in which the candidate participates. There are, however, other Masonic orders which can be joined for those who are interested in doing so, but all require their members to have taken the three degrees referred to above.

Why do you wear regalia?

Wearing regalia is both historic and symbolic and as such, has a part to play in the ritual dramas previously referred to.

Why do Freemasons take oaths?

The taking of oaths is an ancient tradition and is in no way something “exclusive” to Freemasonry. An oath is a solemn promise to do (or not do) something. In our rituals, these solemn promises concern our behaviour both in our Lodges and in society in general. One of the promises we make is not to reveal the way in which we recognise each other when visiting other Lodges. The means of recognition have no intrinsic value and, as such, are simply a test of a man’s honour.

Are Freemasons expected to give preference to fellow members?

Absolutely not. The joining process requires that candidates acknowledge that they expect no material gain from membership. Specifically, the declaration requires that candidates are “uninfluenced by mercenary or unworthy motive”.

What charities do Freemasons donate to?

Charity, or “relief” as it is referred to, is one of the three Grand Principles on which the order is founded. We donate to charities and voluntary organisations at a local and national level, as well as setting aside a proportion of our charitable funds to support Freemasons and their dependents. At a local level, individual Lodges donate to good causes in their area. Nationally, Lodges also send donations to the Masonic Charitable Foundation, for distribution to charities at a national and indeed international level. More detail can be found on the Masonic Charitable Foundation website.

What is Freemasonry’s relationship with religion?

As previously stated, all Freemasons are required to profess a belief in some form of Supreme Being, but Freemasonry does not seek to dictate what form that belief should take. Freemasonry is not in itself a religion nor does it seek to substitute or supplant its members’ religious beliefs and, as such, has members from all the world’s major religions (and probably less well known ones too!). Under the grand principle of “brotherly love”, Freemasonry seeks to promote tolerance, open mindedness and harmony amongst mankind. Accordingly, religious discussion in Masonic meetings is specifically prohibited. Whilst Freemasonry sees itself as being compatible with all belief systems, from time to time, some religious leaders have criticised Freemasonry as a result of, in our view, a misunderstanding of what Freemasonry is about and what it stands for.

What is Freemasonry’s relationship with politics?

As a body, Freemasonry does not or will ever express a view on politics or state policy. Again, to assist in promoting the grand principle of “brotherly love”, as with religion, political discussion in Masonic meetings is specifically 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 Lodges meeting in accordance with the constitutions of the United Grand Lodge of England are restricted to men, there are two separate Grand Lodges in England which are restricted solely to women, namely; the Order of Women Freemasons and the Honourable Fraternity of Ancient Freemasons. The United Grand Lodge of England maintains cordial relations with both these bodies.

How many Freemasons are there?

Taking the British Isles as a whole, there are around 400,000 Freemasons. Approximately 250,000 meet in lodges under the jurisdiction of the United Grand Lodge of England and a further 150,000 meet under the jurisdiction of the Grand Lodge of Ireland, which covers both Northern Ireland and Eire, and the Grand Lodge of Scotland. Worldwide, there are approximately 6,000,000 Freemasons, meeting, as previously stated, under the jurisdiction of their own sovereign Grand Lodges.

How much does it cost to be a Freemason?

The cost varies from Lodge to Lodge. Each Lodge is expected to take care to explain to potential members what the financial commitments are and that they should be within the individual’s personal means, without detriment to his family and other commitments. At the time of joining, there are one off expenses to be met. Thereafter, and as with all membership organisations, there is an annual subscription to cover running costs. Most Lodges provide regalia to members to use when they are Entered Apprentices and Fellow Crafts. Once the Master Mason’s degree is taken, members are expected to purchase their own regalia. Meetings are normally followed by a meal, which is paid for at each meeting, and it is usually at this time that Members are invited to contribute to the Lodge’s charitable funds. On this last matter, great emphasis is placed on members not donating more than they can afford and the amount donated is entirely up to the individual.

I’m interested – what happens next?

Please use the “Contact us” page and we’ll get in touch with you to arrange a face to face meeting. At that meeting, you will have the opportunity to ask further questions and ensure that Freemasonry is right for you. We will have the opportunity of finding out more about you, what it is about Freemasonry that interests you and ensuring that you have all the information you need to ensure that Freemasonry is right for you – as with all organisations, Freemasonry is not for everyone and we would always rather have fewer, but committed members, rather than quantity for the sake of increasing our numbers.

Thank you for taking the time to visit our website.