Is Freemasonry for me?
Freemasonry is one of the world’s oldest fraternal societies. The lessons Freemasonry teaches in its ceremonies are to do with moral values (governing relations between people) and its acknowledgement. Freemasons feel that these lessons apply just as much today as they did when it took its modern form at the turn of the 17th century.
Masonic ceremonies are secular morality plays which are learned by heart by members of the lodge for the benefit of the person who is becoming a Freemason or who wishes to explore Freemasonry further. Each ceremony has a message for the candidate. A further reason why Freemasons do not go around broadcasting their contents is simply because it would spoil it for the candidate – exactly as in the same way you would not tell someone the ending of a book or a film.
Under the English Constitution, basic Freemasonry is divided into two parts, called the Craft and the Royal Arch. For Freemasons who really want to explore the subject in more depth there is a host of other ceremonies, which, for historical reasons, are not administered by the United Grand Lodge of England.
All English Freemasons experience the three Craft (or basic) ceremonies unless they drop out from Freemasonry very early on. These three ceremonies (or degrees as they are called) look at the relations between people, man’s natural equality and his dependence on others, the importance of education and the rewards of labour, fidelity to a promise, contemplation of inevitable death, and one’s duty to others. A fourth ceremony – the Royal Arch emphasises man’s dependence on God.
None of these ideas is exclusive to Freemasonry, but all should be universally acceptable and Freemasons are expected to follow them.