Freemasons Hall

Freemasons Hall. Gt. Queen Street. London,
home of the United Grand Lodge of England

Questions & Answers

Here we answer a few of the most common questions about Freemasonry and hopefully dispel many of the myths and legends that have grown up about the fraternity over many years.

The Truths of Freemasonry:

If you browse around the web, you will find a variety of sites claiming to 'expose' Freemasonry

Unfortunately these tend to belong to the conspiracy theorists and others who choose not to properly research or understand our genuine principles.

However, there are two great truths of Freemasonry which we can divulge.

The first great truth:

The friendship, support and companionship that Freemasons, from every possible walk of life, race and creed find they share when they meet, dine and work together for the good of the whole community.

The second great truth :

Something that is very rarely publicised is the fact that Freemasonry is one of the largest single contributors to Charity in the UK and is probably only second to the National Lottery.

Freemasonry on the Radio

Nigel Brown, Grand Secretary of the United Grand Lodge of England talks frankly to  LBC's  James O'Brien about Freemasonry

Secrets Of The Freemasons Uncovered

Freemasonry in Print:

Click on the image below to take you to the latest publication about Freemasonry produced by United Grand Lodge of England

What's it all about

How to join

Want to know more about joining ? It is really very simple. Click here to contact our Membership Secretary.

Typically, he will arrange to meet you locally to get to know a bit more about you and to answer any questions you may have.

The next stage is often an invitation to one of our 'Class of Instruction' social evenings or one of our 'Ladies Festivals' where you can meet more members of the Lodge and see who we are, what we do and how you feel about it.

As with most organisations there is an application form to complete and once this has been processed, there will be a short meeting with members of the Lodge Committee.

If accepted, the Lodge Secretary will then write to you with a date for you to join.

Click here to contact our Lodge
Membership Secretary

Frequently asked questions:

What happens at a lodge meeting?

Our Lodge meetings, like those of other groups are open only to our members and other visiting Freemasons. One of the great pleasures of Freemasonry is the ability to visit other Lodges to make new friends and acquaintances.

Typically, there are normal administrative procedures such as:

• Minutes of the previous meeting
• Proposing and balloting for new members
• Discussing and voting on the annual accounts
• Masonic news and correspondence
• News about our charitable work

Second, there are the ceremonies for:

• Admitting new members and for existing members as they progress in Freemasonry
• The annual installation of the Master of the Lodge and his Officers

Why do Freemasons take oaths?

New members make solemn promises concerning their behavior both in the Lodge and in society in general. Members also promise to keep confidential the way they recognise each other when visiting another Lodge. Freemasons also promise to support others in time of need but only so far as it does not conflict with their family and public obligations.

Masonic Handshakes

We're sorry to disappoint but its an urban myth. If you've ever received one of those 'funny handshakes', it certainly wasn't Masonic. Shake a Freemason's hand and you'll get just that, a perfectly normal handshake.

Are Freemasons expected to give preference to fellow members?

Definitely not. It's a common and completely false misconception. Such action would be totally unacceptable and may lead to action being taken against those involved. On joining, each new member states that he expects no material gain from membership.

Who do the Masonic charities donate to?

Some Masonic charities provide support for Masons or their dependents. However, Freemasons also make very significant grants to non-Masonic organisations. Here  are two of many  examples; Freemasons are a major sponsor of the Royal College of Surgeons were we regularly support their surgical research and The Freemasons Grand Charity donated £50,000 to fund research at Addenbrookes Hospital into developing new treatments for Type 1 diabetes in children.

What is Freemasonry’s relationship with religion?

Freemasons are expected to have a belief in a 'supreme being'. However, Freemasonry does not attempt to supplant or substitute a Mason’s faith in any way whatsoever. Freemasonry deals with a man’s relationship with his fellow man not in his relationship with his God.

Why do some churches not like Freemasonry?

There are elements within some churches who misunderstand Freemasonry and its objectives. They confuse our Masonic meetings and secular ceremonies with their religious liturgy. Despite this, there are many Masons who are active members of church's whose leaders have been openly critical of the organisation. Masonry has always actively encouraged its members to be active in their own religion.

Freemasonry doesn't accept Roman Catholics?

A very common but untrue misconception. Freemasonry makes absolutely no distinction between religions. To date, four Grand Masters of English Freemasonry have been Roman Catholics and today there are many Roman Catholic Freemasons.

What is Freemasonry’s relationship with politics?

Freemasonry, as a body, will never express a view on politics or state policy. Politics, like religion is a matter of personal conviction and discussion of either will inevitably lead to heated debate and potential disharmony amongst its members. It has been a long standing principal of Freemasonry that discussion of either politics or religion is strictly prohibited at Masonic meetings.

Is Freemasonry an international order?

Freemasonry exists throughout the world. However, each Grand Lodge is sovereign and independent so there is no international governing body for Freemasonry.

Are there Women Freemasons?

Yes. There are two separate Grand Lodges which are restricted to Women Freemasons. Priory Gate Lodge is constituted under the United Grand Lodge of England and following the example of medieval stonemasons, is and has always been, restricted to men.

Why do you wear regalia?

The wearing of regalia is historic and symbolic. Like a uniform, the regalia indicates the rank of the wearer within the organisation.

How many Freemasons are there?

Under the United Grand Lodge of England, there are over 250,000 Freemasons. There are Grand Lodges in Ireland, which covers both Northern Ireland and Eire, and Scotland which have a combined total of approximately 150,000 members. Worldwide there are approximately 6,000,000 Freemasons.

How many stages are there in Freemasonry?

 Craft Freemasonry consists of three stages termed 'degrees':
• Entered Apprentice
• Fellow Craft
• Master Mason

How much does it cost to be a Freemason?

It varies from Lodge to Lodge. Anyone wishing to join can find a Lodge to suit his pocket. There is an initiation fee on entry and in due course some regalia will have to be purchased. The meeting is normally followed by a dinner, the cost depending on the venue. At Priory Gate Lodge, the annual subscription includes fees for dining and the Lodge running costs.

Members are invited to give to charity but this should always be within their means and it is entirely up to the individual how much they wish to contribute. There is no set amount.

Download our 'Outside Looking in' guides to Freemasonry's aims and objectives here:

History and Tradition in Freemasonry - a guide to the early history of Freemasonry

Families and Social Life in Freemasonry - one of the corner stones of Freemasonry is the coming together of men from all walks of life under a single banner.
Equally important is the support for a Freemason's family

Charity and the Community in Freemasonry - charity and supporting the local community
has always been a fundamental part of being a Freemason

The Q&A and Guides have been adapted from the United Grand Lodge of England and the Surrey Provincial web sites and are gratefully acknowledged