What is Freemasonry?
Freemasonry is Canada's largest secular, fraternal and charitable organisation. It teaches moral lessons and self-knowledge through participation in a progression of allegorical two-part plays.
Who can join?
Membership is open to men of all faiths who are law-abiding, of good character and who acknowledge a belief in a Supreme Being or Creator. Freemasonry is a multiracial and multicultural organisation. It has attracted men of goodwill from all sectors of the community into membership. There are similar Masonic organisations for women.
Why are you a secret society?
We are not, but lodge meetings, like those of many other groups, are private and open only to members. The rules and aims of Freemasonry are available to the public. Meeting places are known and, in many areas, are used by the local community for activities other than Freemasonry. Members are encouraged to speak openly about Freemasonry.
What are the secrets of Freemasonry?
The secrets of Freemasonry are the traditional modes of recognition, which are not used indiscriminately, but solely as a test of membership, e.g. when visiting a Lodge where you are not known.
What happens at a lodge meeting?
The meeting is in two parts. As in any association, there is a certain amount of administrative procedure - minutes of last meeting, proposing and balloting for new members, discussing and voting on financial matters, the election of officers, news and correspondence. Then there are the ceremonies for admitting new Masons and the annual installation of the Master and appointment of officers. The three ceremonies for admitting a new Mason are in two parts - a slight dramatic instruction in the principles and lessons taught in the Craft followed by a lecture in which the candidate's various duties are spelt out.
Isn’t ritual out of place in a modern society?
No. The ritual is a shared experience which binds the members together. Its use of drama, allegory and symbolism impresses the principles and teachings more firmly in the mind of each candidate than if they were simply passed on to him in matter-of-fact modern language.
Why do Freemasons take oaths?
New members make solemn promises concerning their conduct in Lodge and in society. Each member also promises to keep confidential the traditional methods of proving that he is a Freemason which he would use when visiting a lodge where he is not known. Freemasons do not swear allegiances to each other or to Freemasonry. Freemasons promise to support others in times of need, but only if that support does not conflict with their duties to a church, the law, their family or with their responsibilities as a Citizen.
Why do your ‘obligations’ contain hideous penalties?
When Masonic ritual was developing in the late 1600's and 1700's, it was quite common for legal and civil oaths to include physical penalties and Freemasonry simply followed the practice of the times. In Freemasonry, however, the physical penalties were always symbolic and were never carried out.
Isn’t it true that Freemasons only look after each other?
No. From its earliest days, Freemasonry has been involved in charitable activities. Since its inception, Freemasonry has provided support not only for widows and orphans of Freemasons but also for many others within the community. Whilst some Masonic charities cater specifically but not exclusively for Masons or their dependents, others make significant grants to non-Masonic organisations. On a local level, lodges give substantial support to local causes.
Aren’t you a religion or a rival to religion?
Definitely not. Freemasonry requires a belief in a Supreme Being or Creator, and its principles are common to many of the world's great religions, but Freemasonry does not try to replace religion or substitute for it. Every candidate is encouraged to practise his religion and to regard its holy book as the unerring standard of truth. Freemasonry does not instruct its members as to what their religious beliefs should be, nor does it offer sacraments. Freemasonry deals in relations between men; religion deals in a man's relationship with his God.
Does Freemasonry accept Roman Catholics as Members?
It does. The prime qualification for admission into Freemasonry has always been a belief in the Creator. How that belief is expressed is entirely up to the individual. There are many Roman Catholic Freemasons.
Isn’t Freemasonry just another political pressure group?
Emphatically not. Whilst individual Freemasons will have their own views on politics and state policy, Freemasonry as a body will never express a view on either. The discussion of politics at Masonic meetings has always been prohibited.
Is Freemasonry an international Order?
Only in the sense that Freemasonry exists throughout the free world. Each Grand Lodge is sovereign and independent, and whilst following the same basic principles, may have differing ways of passing them on. There is no international governing body for Freemasonry.
How many degrees are there in Freemasonry?
Basic Freemasonry consists of the three 'Craft' Degrees (Entered Apprentice, Fellow Craft and Master Mason) completed by the Royal Arch degree (Chapter). There are many other Masonic degrees and Orders which are called 'additional' because they add to the basis of the Craft and Royal Arch. They are not basic to Freemasonry but add to it by further expounding and illustrating the principles stated in the Craft and Royal Arch. Some of these additional degrees are numerically superior to the third degree but this does not affect the fact that they are additional to and not in anyway superior to or higher than the Craft degrees. The ranks that these additional degrees carry have no standing with the Craft or Royal Arch.
How much does it cost to be a Freemason?
It varies from lodge to lodge but anyone wishing to join can find a lodge to suit his pocket. On entry, there is an initiation fee and an apron to buy. A member pays an annual subscription to his lodge which covers his membership and the administrative cost of running the lodge. It is usual to have a meal after the meeting; the cost of this can be included either in the annual subscription or paid for at the time. It is entirely up to the individual member what he gives to Charity, but it should always be without detriment to his other responsibilities. Similarly, he may join as many lodges as his time and pocket can allow as long as it does not adversely affect his family life and responsibilities.
How do I Become A Freemason?
To become a Freemason you must: Be a man of at least 21 years of age Be of good moral character; Have a personal belief in a Supreme Being (the definition of a Supreme Being is a personal matter for each individual); Decide to become a Mason of "your own free will and accord" without expectation of any material gain or benefits; Be loyal to your country; Be dedicated to providing for your own family; Have a sincere determination to conduct yourself in a manner that will earn the respect and trust of others; Possess a desire to help others through community service and universal benevolence.
TO PURSUE YOUR INTEREST IN BECOMING A MEMBER follow these steps:
Talk with someone you know who is a Freemason. If you do not know anyone who is a Mason, contact us or a Lodge in your neighbourhood. Masons do not solicit for members. Most Lodges have websites which can help in determining which Lodge is for you. You'll need to express your personal interest in joining Freemasonry. You may be invited to meet with the Lodge Committee or selected Members to discuss your application and to answer your questions. Subject to you being considered eligible and properly motivated you will be asked to complete an application for membership and return it to your local Lodge Secretary. Your application will be presented to a Lodge Meeting and a secret ballot conducted in which Members vote on your suitability. You will be notified of the result and invited to attend a Lodge Meeting for your initiation into Membership.