Freemasonry is one of the world’s oldest secular fraternal societies. The following information is intended to explain Freemasonry as it is practised under the United Grand Lodge of England, which administers Lodges of Freemasons in England and Wales and in many places overseas.
Freemasonry is a society of men concerned with moral and spiritual values. Its members are taught its precepts (moral lessons and self-knowledge) by a series of ritual dramas - a progression of allegorical two-part plays which are learnt by heart and performed within each Lodge - which follow ancient forms, and use stonemasons’ customs and tools as allegorical guides.
Freemasonry instils in its members a moral and ethical approach to life: it seeks to reinforce thoughtfulness for others, kindness in the community, honesty in business, courtesy in society and fairness in all things. Members are urged to regard the interests of the family as paramount but, importantly, Freemasonry also teaches and practices concern for people, care for the less fortunate and help for those in need.
The Three Great Principles
For many years Freemasons have followed three great principles, which we call 'Brotherly Love', 'Relief' and 'Truth', but are better understood as:
Friendship: showing tolerance, respect for the opinions of others, and behaving with kindness and understanding to all, whatever their circumstances.
Charity: practising charity and caring - not only for our own, but also for the community as a whole - through charitable giving and by voluntary efforts and work as individuals. From its earliest days, Freemasonry has been concerned with the care of widows / orphans, the sick, and the aged. This work continues today with vast sums of money being given to national as well as local charities, a significant number of whom are non-masonic and thus benefit the wider community. This work continues today. In addition, large sums are given to national and local charities. Masonic charity is exercised at every level: individual Lodges make gifts and give aid to their own communities and every Province also gives large sums of money to regional causes.
Integrity: striving for honesty and high moral standards, aiming to achieve them in every aspect of our own lives.
If you would like more information about Freemasonry, please visit the website of the United Grand Lodge of England.