Is Freemasonry a religion or cult?
No, Freemasonry is a secular organisation that welcomes people of all faiths, who acknowledge a Supreme Being
Is there animosity between Freemasonry and religion?
In the past, some churches have not liked Freemasonry but this is largely the result of misunderstandings which are being broken down. Freemasons are encouraged to follow their own religions.
I'm a Roman Catholic, can I be a Freemason?
Of course! We have Freemasons from many faiths, including Catholicism.
Do Freemasonry have any political allegiance or agenda?
No, leaders and members of different political persuasions have been Freemasons and we specifically avoid discussing politics in our meetings.
Do Freemasons give each other preference in employment or business?
It is definitely not acceptable for Freemasons to give unfair preference to Freemasonry candidates in their job roles in the community. Freemasonry can be a business network for people to make new contacts but we do not operate in any way to create an exclusive circle of advantage.
Why the secrecy in Freemasonry?
In its early days, Freemasonry had reasons to be secretive to protect its stonemasons and to validate their skills. This secrecy really outlived its necessity and caused many misunderstandings and bizarre speculations. These day Freemasons are quite open about their membership, their meeting places and their objectives. We still have some matters that are confidential, as any organisation has. This particularly applies to our rituals which, like many traditional rituals, have more power and significance through being revealed to initiates at the appropriate time. We have nothing illegal or undesirable to hide.
Are you still stonemasons?
No, this is a myth made popular by the Simpsons ‘Stonecutters’ episode. We take symbolism from stonemasonry but there’s no working with stones involved!
Is there any truth in the many strange stories about Freemasonry?
Unfortunately, the internet, novels and other popular sources spread some very odd ideas about Freemasonry. There is no conspiracy to take over the world, no black magic, no devil worship and no links to the Illuminati.
Who sets the governing rules for Freemasonry?
Freemasons around the world follow the basic tenets of a constitution which was written in the 1700s. There are slight variations between jurisdictions but the integrity of purpose is protected by the Grand Officers in each location. In South Africa, the Grand Lodge of South Africa is the body that guides and supports the independent local Lodges under its control.
Do Freemasons have a special handshake to recognize each other?
In the days before printed certificates, the handshake was used to identify the various skill levels of a mason and is still in use today
What are the reliable sources of information to find out more about Freemasonry?
There is much conspiracy-theory misinformation on the internet and those who want to research further should look at Freemasonry sources or reputable academic institutions. Please contact us if you have any questions not answered here and we will be happy to give you honest answers.
Do I have to be nominated by a Freemason to become a member?
Traditionally, new members had to be nominated by a Freemason but these days not everyone knows a Freemason and, if you are a man of good character who meets our criteria, you can apply and we send your application to the relevant division.
Who qualifies to be a Freemason?
All men aged over 18 of any religion, background and culture are welcome. You must acknowledge a Supreme Being (not necessarily Christian) and be committed to upholding our values and codes of conduct.
I am gay, will I be excluded?
No, we do not consider it our place to enquire into sexual preferences. Integrity and ethical behaviour in relationships are the important thing.
Do you have facilities for the disabled?
Many Lodges do but some of the buildings cannot easily be adapted. Please let us know if you need special considerations for access and we will do our best to assign you to a suitable Lodge.
Can I join a Lodge I like?
When your application is accepted, your contact will discuss with you which would be the best Lodge. Usually, this is one closest to your home.
Why aren't woman allowed?
Long before today’s ‘Women’s groups’ and ‘Men’s sheds’, Freemasons recognised the necessity for men to meet in each others’ company to explore their path through life. Our organisation’s purpose is ‘making good men better’. As better men, we are better husbands, partners, fathers and sons. There are related Freemason Orders for girls, women and partners of Freemasons.
What are aprons and medals about?
The ‘regalia’ and ‘jewels’ follow a long tradition and recognise different levels of hierarchy and achievement. They are worn for ceremonial occasions.
Do I have to buy a specific uniform to wear to meetings?
As a new Freemason, you will need a dinner suit with a white shirt and black bow tie. In the beginning, the Lodge may supply your regalia but as you progress through the ‘degrees’ it is usual to buy your own regalia. This is sometimes available second-hand through your Lodge.
Is there a lot of academic learning of ancient texts involved?
No, no ‘ancient’ text learning involved. You will eventually be asked to get involved in ritual work where some learning is involved.
Will Freemasonry give me business networks?
Yes. You will meet men from many walks of life and sometimes these may be useful business contacts. However, you will not automatically be given preferences by other businesses just because you are a Freemason.
How does it benefit my family?
In creating better men, we hope to create people who build strong families and good relationships. There are no automatic monetary benefits for Freemason’s families. Our Fund of Benevolence may provide support and a hand-up in exceptional circumstances.
Can I come along to a meeting to see if I like it?
No, you will not be allowed to attend a ceremonial meeting. You will, however, as part of the application process, be allowed to attend the meal after the meeting.
What happens to my membership fees?
Membership fees are used to cover costs. We are a non-profit organisation but have many financial commitments in maintaining our buildings, providing regalia and running the organisation. There is a small charity levy which goes to the Fund of Benevolence.
Do I have to keep my membership secret?
No, you can speak openly about being a Freemason but there are certain aspects of the meetings which you will be asked to keep confidential.
What will I be expected to contribute as charity or volunteer service?
Charity and care within the community are part of the Freemasons’ commitment but there is no mandated level of donation (apart from the small benevolence levy as part of annual fees). People contribute according to their means and the time they have available.
Does the charity only benefit Freemasons?
No. All tax-deductible donations to our charity or special appeals go directly to the community beneficiaries. There is a separate fund to support Freemasons in times of exceptional need.
How do you decide what initiatives and charities to support?
At a National level, we choose initiatives which can have a far-reaching and long-term effect, particularly in health, education and aged care. Local Lodges choose causes which mean a lot to their local communities and support local services.