Are you interested in becoming a Freemason? Contrary to popular belief, Freemasonry is not an "invitation-only" organisation. Please feel free to browse this section - we hope that it will answer your questions.
WHAT IS FREEMASONRY?
"...a peculiar system of morality, veiled in allegory and illustrated by symbols."
Freemasonry is one of the world’s oldest and largest non-religious, non-political, fraternal and charitable organisations. It instils in its members a moral and ethical approach to life: its values are based on integrity, kindness, honesty, fairness and tolerance. Members are expected to be of high moral standing.
These qualities are taught through a participation in a series of ceremonies which draw their influence from the traditions of medieval stonemasons, using allegory and legend to help develop a member’s knowledge of themselves. Building upon this foundation, Freemasonry teaches concern for people, care for the less fortunate and help for those in need.
Ultimately, at the heart of Freemasonry are its three grand principles:
Friendship and Fraternity
AM I ELIGIBLE TO JOIN?
"Just, upright and free men of mature age, sound judgement and strict morals."
The three essential qualifications for membership to Freemasonry cover a prospective member’s spiritual, moral and physical aspects.
The essential spiritual qualification is that you must believe in a Supreme Being. Membership is open to men of any race or religion (or none) who can fulfil this essential qualification and who can satisfy the other two requirements. A candidate is never asked to explain his understanding of what the nature of this Supreme Being is and further discussion of religion is forbidden in a Freemasons’ Lodge.
The moral qualification is that you must be of good repute, a loyal citizen and obedient to the laws of the land.
The physical qualification is that you are male and must be at least 21 years old (although in certain circumstances dispensation can be granted from 18 years old). This age qualification exists to ensure that you are free to formulate your opinions, and exercise your own judgement.
Wives, partners and families of members are of course, encouraged to enjoy many of the social aspects of Freemasonry, but it is only men who are eligible for membership. Orders of Women Freemasons do exist but do not meet at Wearside Masonic Temple.
WHAT ARE THE BENEFITS OF JOINING?
"Brotherly love, relief and truth."
One common myth about Freemasonry is that it provides members with financial gain or business influence. This is untrue and people seeking membership for this reason will be disappointed.
Freemasonry is a way of life where men can meet regularly in order to be active in the support of its own members, their ideals and of the community at large. By joining and maintaining an active membership, we are sure that you will gain far more from your membership than you expect, by becoming a Freemason and a more useful citizen in your community. You will meet men from all different walks of life, who meet as equals regardless of their race, religious beliefs, political persuasion, sexual orientation and social standing, and from this you will develop many lasting friendships.
Many members express an increase in self-confidence by participating in ceremonial duties and speechmaking, as well as increasing their mental capacity. Others enjoy getting involved in the various charitable activities that Freemasons perform; the extent of which you may be surprised at.
Whether primarily interested in the social, philosophical or charitable aspects of Freemasonry, most Freemasons wish they had joined sooner, and a commonly heard maxim amongst members is that 'you get out of Freemasonry what you put in.'
WHAT WOULD FREEMASONRY EXPECT OF ME?
"...to remain respectable in life, useful to mankind and an ornament to the society."
Freemasonry is judged largely by the actions and lives of its individual members. When a man is known to be a Freemason, it is the standard by which the outside world judges our organisation. To ensure that our reputation remains impeccable we expect you to maintain the standards set out in the qualifications for membership.
Freemasonry demands and expects that every member will place the needs of his family first, his obligations to his vocation second, and after these his duties to Freemasonry. That being said, your attendance at Lodge meetings is expected. Most Lodges meet between 8-10 evenings a year, with a break in the summer. As you progress in Freemasonry, you may be requested to also attend Lodges of Instruction or fraternal visits to other Lodges, which will be additional evenings.
Financially, the costs associated with membership are not too onerous; there is an initiation fee, annual subscription and at various times during the year, you may be asked to contribute time or money to charitable projects being organised by the Lodge. Your contribution must at all times be determined by what your circumstances will permit. This is for you to determine and at no time should you place your personal financial viability at risk. You may also be required to purchase Masonic regalia in due time.
Are you interested in becoming a Freemason but are unsure of how to go about joining? Please send a message providing us with some information about yourself and we will endeavour to put you in contact with a Lodge.