Freemasonry is often misunderstood, especially with so many wild stories and conspiracy theories on the internet. Its roots actually lie in the traditions and ceremonies of the medieval stonemasons who built our cathedrals and castles and some of these rituals are still celebrated today.
Below are some answers to frequently asked questions to demonstrate how popular we are and how we fit into today’s society.
Freemasonry is one of the world’s oldest and largest fraternal and charitable organisations that is independent of religion and politics. It is a society that brings men together and helps them to improve in all areas of their life, including professionally, and to encourage greater activity within the local community.
The principles of Freemansonry are integrity, fairness, and kindness, and members are encouraged to put family and community first before all else. It offers the opportunity of meeting a wide variety of people in a very sociable environment.
Freemasonry is not a secret society, although the ceremonies are reserved only for members and are therefore not made public. The requirements for membership, beliefs of the fraternity and even many of the practices are well-known and have been published in print and online. Members are encouraged to be open and to speak freely about Freemasonry with few exceptions, and Freemasonry has never been more accessible than it is today.
Masonic handshakes and greetings are used primarily as a means of recognition and identification; they are centuries old and are still in use today.
Whilst there are many principles of Freemasonry, the main three principles that every member agrees to act and abide by when they join a lodge are:
1. Brotherly love – a commitment to demonstrate love, kindness and respect for all people, not just for fellow members.
2. Relief – ensuring that all members of the wider community, as well as the Masonic community, receive attention and care, especially in times of hardship. A Freemason is expected to have a charitable heart, not just by giving money to charitable causes but by his actions towards those less fortunate within society.
3. Truth – Freemasons are encouraged to be honest and truthful in all areas of life and to meet high moral standards. A Mason is expected to obey the laws of his native country and also while in another country he must act and abide in accordance with its legal framework.
There are many benefits to be derived from becoming a Manchester Mason, and different people join for various reasons. None of these is pecuniary.
Camaraderie is a valuable benefit, and many members forge lifelong friendships, one of the most appealing facets of Freemasonry is that it is a lifetime commitment. In that time you will meet lots of new friends, especially when visiting other lodges.
Some men join to give back to the community, and others join to get involved with charitable work through donations or contribution of their time.
The ceremonies also offer a lot as they explore moral standards and teach ethical lessons that can guide a person through life; they are a blueprint to becoming a better person.
Many men join as they are interested in finding out more about Masonic Esoterics and others join to feel part of an ethical organisation.
Freemasonry is not a religion, nor does it pertain to be, and nor does it aim to rival any religion. One of the requirements of membership is that a person believes in a Supreme Being, but every member is free and encouraged to follow their own belief.
Discussion on religion is prohibited, and one of the beneficial features of Lodge meetings is that it offers a place for men to meet and talk freely, bringing together people of many different faiths and religions.
There are several essential criteria which determine eligibility to become a Manchester Mason, these are relatively straight forward and are in no way onerous.
To become a Manchester Mason you have to be male, aged 21 (18 in some circumstances), believe in a Supreme Being, and you must want to join of your own free will. You must not have a significant criminal record; you must have discussed joining with your partner, if you have one, and obtained their approval.
You must have the time to commit to your Lodge; usually, this will be no more than seven nights a year; however, this will increase as you progress through the Lodge. You should also be prepared to attend any social events that the Lodge organises.
Being a member of Manchester Masons should not place you in any financial hardship, on average being a member of a lodge in Manchester will cost £400 and £450 per annum, this includes all Lodge meetings and dining costs.
Traditionally you had to be invited to join a lodge by an existing member; this is still one way that you can join especially if you have a family member, friend or associate who you know is a Manchester Mason. If you are interested in finding out more about Freemasonry, then ask them for some more information.
However, not all people have a connection to Freemasonry as detailed above, if this is the case then simply fill in the Contact Us form on this website or contact us through our Facebook page, and we will respond to arrange an informal meeting.
Freemasonry unambiguously states that it is not a religion, nor a substitute for religion. There is no separate "Masonic" God. Nor is there a distinct proper name for a deity in any branch of Freemasonry.
Potential members must believe in a Supreme Being. Still, the discussion of religion is forbidden at Lodge meetings, and we do not consider ourselves a faith or replacement for religion in any way.
All of the significant religions generally accept Freemasonry, and members are actively encouraged to pursue their own faith.
Typically and historically speaking, those countries with a free and open government, that operate a fair democratic system of rule, do not prohibit membership of the Freemasons and it is arguably no coincidence that the countries that are most likely to oppose our formation are those with dictatorial leadership.
Freemasonry exists in countries all around the world and we are fortunate enough to live in a country where membership is permitted.
Lodge meetings are a significant part of membership, but this is far from the only activity that members undertake. One of the founding principles of the Freemasons is to be an active and beneficial member of the wider community, and charitable work is a crucial element to a lot of our members. Sporting activities, fundraising days, walks, hikes and many other activities are regularly organised by each Lodge, and some local and national events also bring Lodges together. Entertainment evenings, formal and informal events are also arranged, which not only welcome members but their wives, friends and families too.
Lodges usually meet once a month, and there are two necessary parts. The first part of the meeting is concerned with the business element, including discussion and approval of minutes from the last meeting, welcoming new members, etc. The Secretary reads out any correspondence, the Treasurer provides a financial update, and the Almoner advises of any members that are sick and unable to attend, while the Charity Steward provides an update on charitable activities and donations.
A Masonic ceremony or lecture will also be part of a lodge's business.
Once that the formal lodge meeting has ended the next part of the evening takes place which is called the social board. At the social board the members will enjoy a meal and a drink together, some toasts will be proposed usually followed by a response.
Although wives and family members are welcomed and encouraged to attend certain social functions, including dinners and formal functions, the Lodge meetings are reserved solely for men.
A separate and independent body of female Freemasons who follow similar principles and have similar meetings does exist. However, they are not yet considered a part of the United Lodge of England. However, the two groups do meet socially and may also partake in events together, and there is certainly no animosity between the groups.
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One of the great myths surrounding Freemasonry, and one of the reasons that some people scorn membership of the group is because they believe that members give preference to other members for things like promotions and job applications.
Not only is this not the case, but any member that is found to have given preference in such a way may be penalised, and may even be forced to leave the Freemasons.
There is no pecuniary gain from being a member of Manchester Masons.
The regalia worn by members during Lodge meetings has historical significance, and it is an integral part of our centuries old traditions which continue on today.
The primary purpose of our attire is to demonstrate a members office and to allow other members to be able to quickly and effortlessly recognise the rank of the wearer without having to ask.
Men from all walks of life are members of the Manchester Masons. There is no minimum earning requirements, and no preference is afforded to those with the highest salary, Freemasonry is an egalitarian organisation.
It is necessary to pay lodge fees in the same way that you would pay membership fees for virtually any group or society membership, and you will also pay a dining fee. On average, becoming a Manchester Mason will cost between £400 - £450 per annum.
You may also need to buy different types of regalia as you progress through the Lodge, however, quite often regalia will be passed down from one member to another.
Although charity is an integral part of what we do, the Freemasons encourage members to look after the family and private financial matters first, and members are only encouraged to donate what they can reasonably afford.
If you have any further questions about becoming a Manchester Mason, please don't hesitate to ask by contacting us.