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.
Integrity, indness, honesty, fairness and tolerance - these are the marks by which to know a Freemason. If this sounds like you, then you could be right for Freemasonry. Our Lodges are always on the lookout for potential new members, but an important characteristic of any candidate for Freemasonry is that they must seek membership themselves; they are not invited.
So if you want to be a Freemason...
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, friendship, respect and service. 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.
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 religion (or no particular dogmatic belief) 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 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 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.
WHAT KIND OF PEOPLE JOIN FREEMASONRY?
"We salute the man of worth..."
Freemasonry does not discriminate on grounds of race, colour, religion, political views or social standing. Consequently, our membership is drawn from all walks of life who share a principled view of the world.
In the Lodges at Wearside Masonic Temple, among others, you will find doctors, plumbers, teachers, solicitors, firemen, hospital porters, IT professionals, milkmen, policemen, biomedical scientists, bricklayers, engineers, businessmen, welders, publicans, accountants, estate agents, musicians and students. Membership is made up of people of all ages. Many Lodges have a growing younger membership.
Every Freemason has their own special reasons why they enjoy Freemasonry. Friendship is an often-quoted important factor as Freemasons get to meet people who they might not ordinarily have met in their daily lives. Being able to contribute to charitable causes is at the heart of the Masonic experience of some brethren. For others, personal development and self-discovery are the cornerstone of what they do in the Lodge.
Every Freemason will have a particular reason for joining, but will often find that there is so much more to Freemasonry than their initial impression.