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About the Freemasonry members

In popular culture, a great amount of focus is placed on a Freemason’s belief that money is not evil. Some view our encouragement of work and wealth as a promotion of selfishness – overlooking the true meaning of the Pyramid and its underlying messages that motivate our diligence. In the tenets of the Freemasonry, wealth is not simply a means of personal enrichment. Instead, money is a tool that can be used to fulfill each person’s duty to the advancement of the human species.

Freemasonry is believed to have its roots in medieval trade guilds. These professional and social associations were particularly important for stonemasons, who frequently travelled to work, says the BBC.

Secret handshakes, code words and symbols helped foster mutual trust among members – and gave freemasonry an aura of mystery that it retains today.

By 1717, when four London lodges joined to form what is now the United Grand Lodge of England (UGLE), freemasonry had evolved into a more general fraternal organisation, open to all professions.

According to the UGLE, there are more than 200,000 Freemasons in England, another 150,000 in Northern Ireland, Ireland and Scotland – and about six million Freemasons worldwide.

The majority of lodges practice what they refer to as Anglo-American, or “regular”, freemasonry, open to men of “good repute” who profess a belief in a “Supreme Being” of any denomination.

The three core principles of freemasonry are brotherhood, truth – meaning high moral standards – and relief, or charity. The United Grand Lodge of England alone says it raised more than £48m for “deserving causes” in 2018.

Statement on Freemasonry and Religion

Prepared by the Masonic Information Center

Basic Principles. Freemasonry is not a religion, nor is it a substitute for religion. It requires of its members a belief in God as part of the obligation of every responsible adult, but advocates no sectarian faith or practice. Masonic ceremonies include prayers, both traditional and extempore, to reaffirm each individual’s dependence on God and to seek divine guidance. Freemasonry is open to men of any faith, but religion may not be discussed at Masonic meetings.

The Supreme Being. Masons believe that there is one God and that people employ many different ways to seek, and to express what they know of God. Masonry primarily uses the appellation, “Grand Architect of the Universe,” and other non-sectarian titles, to address the Deity. In this way, persons of different faiths may join together in prayer, concentrating on God, rather than differences among themselves. Masonry believes in religious freedom and that the relationship between the individual and God is personal, private, and sacred.

Volume of the Sacred Law. An open volume of the Sacred Law, “the rule and guide of life,” is an essential part of every Masonic meeting. The Volume of the Sacred Law in the Judeo/Christian tradition is the Bible; to Freemasons of other faiths, it is the book held holy by them.

The Oath of Freemasonry. The obligations taken by Freemasons are sworn on the Volume of the Sacred Law. They are undertakings to follow the principles of Freemasonry and to keep confidential a Freemason’s means of recognition. The much discussed “penalties,” judicial remnants from an earlier era, are symbolic, not literal. They refer only to the pain any honest man should feel at the thought of violating his word.

Freemasonry Compared with Religion. Freemasonry lacks the basic elements of religion: (a) It has no dogma or theology, no wish or means to enforce religious orthodoxy. (b) It offers no sacraments. (c) It does not claim to lead to salvation by works, by secret knowledge, or by any other means. The secrets of Freemasonry are concerned with modes of recognition, not with the means of salvation.

Freemasonry Supports Religion. Freemasonry is far from indifferent toward religion. Without interfering in religious practice, it expects each member to follow his own faith and to place his Duty to God above all other duties. Its moral teachings are acceptable to all religions.

Prepared by the Masonic Information Center(12/93)
Revised (9/98)