FAQs

Why do people join Freemasonry and remain members. ?

People became Freemasons for a variety of reasons, some as the result of family tradition,
others upon the introduction of a friend or out of a curiosity to know what it is all about.
Those who become active members and who grow in Freemasonry do so principally
because they enjoy it. They enjoy the challenges and fellowship that Freemasonry offers.
There is more to it, however, than just enjoyment.
Participation in the dramatic presentation of moral lessons and in the working of a lodge
provides a member with a unique opportunity to learn more about himself and encourages
him to live in such a way that he will always be in search of becoming a better man, not
better than someone else but better than he himself would otherwise be and therefore an
exemplary member of society.
The structure and working of the lodge and the sequence of ceremonial events, which are
usually followed by social gatherings, offer members a framework for companionship,
teamwork, character development and enjoyment of shared experiences.

Is Freemasonry a Secret Society ?

Freemasonry is not a secret society, but lodge meetings, like meetings of many other
social and professional associations, are private occasions open only to member’s.
Freemasons are encouraged to speak openly about their membership, while remembering
that they undertake not to use it for their own or anyone else’s advancement. However, as
members are sometimes the subject of discrimination which may adversely affect their
employment or other aspects of their lives, some Freemasons are understandably reticent
about discussing their membership. In common with many other organisations, Masonic
Lodges do not publish a list of members and will not disclose names or members details
without their permission.
The rules and aims of Freemasonry are available to the public.
The meeting places and halls used by Freemasons are readily identifiable, are listed in
telephone directories and in many areas are used by the local community for activities
other than Freemasonry.
The traditional forms of recognition are used by Freemasons essentially to prove their
identity and qualifications when entering a Masonic meeting. These include handshakes
which have been much written about and can scarcely be regarded as truly secret today;
for medieval Freemasons, they were the equivalent of a restricting access only to
qualified members.
Many thousands of books have been written on the subject of Freemasonry and are
readily available to the general public. Freemasons are proud of their heritage and happy
to share it.

Is Freemasonry a religion ?

Freemasonry is not a religion. It has no theology and does not teach any route to
salvation. A belief in a Supreme Being, however, is an essential requirement for
membership and Freemasonry encourages its members to be active in their own religions
as well as in society at large.
Although every lodge meeting is opened and closed with a prayer and its ceremonies
reflect the essential truths and moral teachings common to many of the world’s great
religions, no discussion of religion is permitted in lodge
meetings.

Is Freemasonry involved in Politics ?

Freemasonry is definitely not a political organisation, it has no political agenda, and
discussion of politics is not permitted at lodge meetings.
Freemasonry naturally tends to attract those with a concern for people and a sense of
social responsibility and purpose. There are members, therefore, who are involved in
politics at local, national and international level. Equally there are members who take an
active interest in non- Masonic charitable organisations and other community groups.

Is Freemasonry involved in the community ?

From its earliest days, Freemasonry has been involved in charitable activities, and since
its inception it has provided support for many widows and orphans of Freemasons as well
as others within the community.
All monies raised for charity are drawn from amongst Freemasons, their families and
friends, while grants and donations are made to Masonic and non-Masonic charities alike.
Freemasonry has raised money for a wide range of charitable purposes including those
involved in medical research, community care, education and work with young people.
Freemasonry has an enviable record of providing regular and consistent financial support
to individual charities over long periods while at the same time making thousands of grants
to local charities, appeals and projects throughout the World each year.

How many degrees are there in Freemasonry ?

Craft Freemasonry consists of three degrees:

• Entered Apprentice
• Fellow Craft
• Master Mason

Beyond these three degrees, there are a large number of separately administered
degrees, orders and rites open only to craft freemasons. Under the English Constitution,
the Holy Royal Arch is the only degree formally recognised by the United Grand Lodge of
England (UGLE). Other orders and degrees are however referred to and acknowledged by
the Grand Master and all their members are necessarily masons subject to the English
Constitution.

What happens at a lodge meeting ?

The meeting, which like those of other groups, are open only to members, is normally in
two parts. First, there are normal administrative procedures such as:
• Minutes of the previous meeting
• Proposing and balloting for new members
• Discussing and voting on the annual accounts
• Masonic news and correspondence
• News about charitable work

Second, there are the ceremonies for:
• Admitting and promoting new members
• The annual installation of the Master of the Lodge and his officers

What Promises do Freemasons take ?

New members make solemn promises concerning their conduct in the lodge and in
society. These promises are similar to those taken in court or upon entering the armed
services or many other organisations. Each member also promises to keep confidential the
traditional methods of proving he is a Freemason which he would use when visiting a
lodge where he is not known.
The much publicised traditional penalties for failure to observe these undertakings were
removed from the promises in 1986. They were always symbolic not literal and refer only
to the pain any decent man should feel at the thought of violating his word.
Members also undertake not to make use of their membership for personal gain or
advancement; failure to observe this principle or otherwise to fall below the standards
expected of a Freemason can lead to expulsion.

Why do Freemasons wear regalia ?

Mason regalia are historic and symbolic accessories and garments that provide the
Freemasons a unique identity during ceremonial meetings or gatherings. Some of these
garments serve as pieces of clothing worn since the first meetings of Freemasons and like
a uniform, the regalia indicates the rank of the wearer in the organisation.
Masonic regalia are used by members of brotherhood to help them create a unifying link of
traditions they believe in the present day and is often a symbol of pride to Freemasons,
regardless of the occasion or event.

Is Freemasonry an international order ?

Freemasonry exists throughout the world. However, all Grand Lodges are independent
and sovereign bodies that govern Masonry in a given country, state, or geographical area
(termed a jurisdiction). Metropolitan, Provincial and District Grand Lodges may exist under
the authority of a relevant Grand Lodge.
There is no single overarching governing body that presides over worldwide Freemasonry;
connections between different jurisdictions depend solely on mutual recognition

How many Freemasons are there ?

There are approximately 325 Craft Masons falling within the jurisdiction of the District
Grand Lodge of Sri Lanka.
Under the United Grand Lodge of England, there are over 200,000 Freemasons; with
approximately six million Freemasons worldwide.

How much does it cost to be a Freemason ?

There is an initiation fee when you join and each lodge charges an annual subscription to
cover its running costs.
Each meeting is normally followed by a dinner, with the cost depending on the venue.
However, there is no requirement to attend the dinner if you are unable to. You will also be
expected to wear a dark suit, white shirt, and black, or other suitable, tie and in due course
you will need to buy your own regalia.
Members are invited to donate to charity, but this should always be within your means and
it is entirely up to you how much you wish to contribute.
Costs can vary considerably from lodge to lodge, particularly for the dining, and your
proposer and seconder should make them clear to you before you join.