WHAT IS FREEMASONRY?
This question has a deep and profound answer and could take quite possibly a lifetime to explain, perhaps the most common answer you will hear is, "Freemasonry is a system of morality, veiled in allegory and illustrated by symbols." Admittedly it’s not a very satisfying answer when taken at face value however when you take the time to look into the precise meanings of each of the words the answer become a little clearer.
Morality (n) - principles concerning the distinction between right and wrong or good and bad behaviour.
Allegory (n) - a story that can be interpreted to reveal a hidden meaning, typically a lesson of morality and or virtue.
Symbols (n) - a thing that represents or stands for something else, especially a material object representing something abstract.
Our Allegories are expressed through oral history passed from one generation to the next. This method of teaching dates to before the abilities of reading and writing were freely accessible to the general population.
The three principle tenants of Freemasonry are:
Brotherly Love (n) - feelings of humanity and compassion towards one's fellow humans.
Relief (n) - a feeling of reassurance and relaxation following release from anxiety or distress. Often expressed through charity.
Truth (n) - that which is true or in accordance with fact or reality.
Freemasonry should be treated as a way of life, it cannot be denied that Freemasonry has many members of fame and fortune, neither can it be concealed that there are many members who are at the lowest state of poverty. Therefore, any individual seeking to join the Fraternity for selfish reasons of personal and financial gain will be sorely disappointed. The reality is that Freemasonry can be a costly endeavor, not just financially but also in time.
The benefits of Freemasonry are more subtle and intangible and yet far more valuable. They are personal growth & development with an aim of self-realization and self-actualization.
You may find that our Masonic teachings are not dissimilar to principles you are already familiar nevertheless the manor in which these teachings are presented will be different and it will offer a pause for reflection in a new light not previously understood. Truth is found in the utter simplicity and serve difficulty of its moral requirements.
WHO CAN BECOME A FREEMASON?
Not every man can fulfill the requirements that Freemasonry asks of her aspirants. You must:
be morally upstanding and your reputation in the community is not questionable.
believe in a Supreme Being.
be a loyal citizen, willing to discharge your duties to God, neighbor and yourself.
be at least twenty-one years of age (if his father is or was a Freemason then the age of admission may be reduced, at the discretion of the Lodge, to eighteen.)
be in such financial circumstances that you can maintain yourself as a member of your Lodge, meeting the monetary obligations imposed by being a member, without detriment to your family or yourself.
come of your own free will and accord.
WHAT IS THE APPLICATION PROCESS LIKE?
The process is simple although can take a few months to complete. If you meet the requirements of “Who can become a Freemason” and you already know someone is a mason simply ask them if you can join and they will gladly guide you through the steps. Else you can complete the online application and it will be assigned to a lodge closest to your home. You will be invited to have an informal meeting where you can ask questions about Freemasonry and the lodge members can ask questions about you. Should you be married your wife may be invited to join you to clarify her understanding of what is expected of you and gain her permission to continue the application process. Your application is then circulated to other lodges for peer review. Finally the lodge votes to accept your application for membership if all parts of the process are completed successfully you will be contacted with the date and time of your initiation as well as the amount and payment method of your initiation fee which needs to be paid before you can be initiated.
WHAT IS THE STRUCTURE OF THE CRAFT?
Nearly every community of any reasonable size around the world has one or more Masonic Lodges in it. Each Lodge operates like a business and has its own management structure, assets and property. A lodge is governed by a Master who is elected by members for a term of office. Members can also be elected for various positions within the lodge to assist the day to day operations. Each Lodge is issued a Charter by a Grand Lodge who holds a constitution recognised by other Grand lodges from different countries and states and the Lodges are subject to the authority of the issuing Grand Lodge. South Africa currently has lodges that operate under one of the following Grand Lodges:
Grand Lodge of Scotland
Grand Lodge of England
Grand Lodge of Ireland
Grand Lodge of South Africa
Grand Lodge of Netherlands
In becoming a member of a Lodge under the Scottish Constitution, you become subject not only to the general customs and usage’s of the Craft, but also the Laws and Regulations of the Grand Lodge of Scotland, as well as the Bye-Laws of District Grand Lodge and those of the particular Lodge which you join.
IS FREEMASONRY A RELIGION?
Freemasonry is NOT a religion nor a substitute for religion. It has a philosophy of its own which it believes to be compatible with the teachings of various religious institutions. The teachings of Freemasonry are complimentary to religion. Members may belong to differing faiths and as such the discussion of religious topics are not permitted in any Lodge for the sake of harmony.
IS FREEMASONRY A CHARITY ORGANISATION?
Freemasonry is not a charitable organisation. While it is true that one of our fundamental principles is the practice of relief through charity, yet it is not the driving force of the organisation. Our Masonic teachings guide us to strike a balance with "purity of life and conduct".
WILL MY FAMILY AND I BE TAKEN CARE OF FINANCIALLY?
Freemasonry provides NO benefits or insurances for its members against death, illness, disability or loss of income. It is a requirement of each member to ensure the well being of himself and family. But Freemasonry confides to those rare cases where relief may become necessary. You will find yourself more likely to be a contributor than a beneficiary, except in the larger sense, in which every man benefits from the fact that Charity is twice blessed, it blesses those who give and those who receive.
CAN I PROMOTE MY BUSINESS OR CHARITY AT LODGE?
Freemasonry does not lend itself to the promotion of selfish or mercenary interests. Any purpose of such a nature will eventually become apparent to your Brethren and will inevitably suffer the loss of their respect. A Freemason may not persuade or try to persuade his Lodge to lend support to his chosen profession or charitable work.
WHAT ARE THE POLITICAL VIEWS OF FREEMASONRY?
Freemasonry is not connected in any way with a political creed. A Freemason's political views are his own. Members may belong to differing political creeds and as such the discussion of political topics are not permitted in any Lodge for the sake of harmony.