What is Freemasonry?

Freemasonry provides a means by which its members, through the study of Masonic symbolism, allegories and traditions, may seek truth, promote brotherhood and work in the service of humanity. Members are taught its precepts by a series of ritual dramas. They follow ancient Masonic forms and use stonemason’s tools and customs as symbolic guides.

In the pursuit of these aims, members have complete freedom of interpretation; to secure this principle, the practice of tolerance and understanding is enjoined. Without detriment to any who are dependent upon them, it means, in essence, using one’s skills and abilities in the service of all.
The guiding purpose of Freemasonry is the search for truth.

What is a Freemason?

Freemasons are ordinary people who seek knowledge of themselves and the world around them through the study of and participation in symbolic ritual. Being a Mason is not to benefit a career or progress in a commercial sense nor to simply partake in a healthy social life. Masons work through self-understanding and improvement, gained through Masonic ceremony and study, to achieve harmony with the wider world and thereby to benefit mankind.

What is the difference between Le Droit Humain and other varieties of Freemasonry?

The basic difference is that Le Droit Humain is available to men and women alike and does not discriminate on the basis of sex, race, nationality, religion, social group or ethnicity. Some Masonic groups admit only men; some admit only women; Le Droit Humain admits both. Additionally, the International Order of Freemasonry for Men and Women, Le Droit Humain is international, with its governing body in Paris and groups in more than sixty countries of the world. Le Droit Humain also combines in one organization several varieties of Masonry: Craft Masonry (the basic sort), Scottish Rite Masonry, York Rite Masonry and Chivalric Masonry.

What does “Le Droit Humain” mean?

The French expression “Le Droit Humain” is difficult to translate into English. It refers to Natural Law and justice in human life, as distinct from laws that human beings create. It denotes the rights and responsibilities that every person is born with, those “Inalienable Rights” cited in the U.S. Declaration of Independence: “We hold these truths to be self-evident, that all Men are created equal, that they are endowed by their Creator with certain Inalienable Rights, that among these are Life, Liberty, and the Pursuit of Happiness.”

Is Freemasonry a secret society?

Freemasonry is not a secret society; it is a society that has certain secrets and these are concerned with the traditional means of recognition. All members are free to acknowledge their membership and may respond when valid inquiries are made of them. Le Droit Humain’s International Constitution and the General Regulations of the American Federation are available for inspection and there is no secrecy about the aims and principles of Freemasonry.

There is far more opportunity than is generally assumed to discuss aspects of Freemasonry in ordinary conversation. Our Order encourages openness with respect to what the public generally calls “secrets”. The genuine secrets can only be gained by a practical experience of Freemasonry – by Masonic teachings, ritual and principles. Thus these secrets are not even open to all Masons as they are earned on the basis of the progress made by each individual through the path of life.

What is the purpose of the Masonic “secrets”?

On the most mundane level, to share a secret is to bond together. Families have “secrets” – known only to members of the family, which helps to unite them. But in Masonry they are symbols of the fact that the most important things in life cannot be spoken or communicated directly. The really great and moving experiences of life are the ones we cannot put into words or tell another about. But if two persons have had similar deeply moving experiences, they can communicate about them indirectly by symbols, which are secrets to anyone who has not shared the experience. Masonic secrets are like that – of the deeply moving experience that Masonry provides. They are the outer, visible signs of an inner, invisible reality.

Is Freemasonry a religion?

Freemasonry is not a religion, as it has no faith or belief system of its own. The International Order of Freemasonry for Men & Women, Le Droit Humain, has no dogma and allows complete individual freedom of thought in interpretation of its symbolism. It is, therefore, not a sect.

  • It has no theology or doctrine.
  • No sacraments are offered.
  • It does not claim to offer salvation.

Freemasonry provides a set of ideals by which members believe life should be lived, key among these is tolerance. Every Freemason is encouraged to practice his or her religion and to be tolerant of others’ beliefs. Freemasonry provides us with tools, the better with which to understand and appreciate religious principles. Freemasons are encouraged to view the various religions as part of a greater whole, where there is room for each individual’s point of view.

Do Freemasons believe in a god or gods?

In addition to respecting independence from all religious institutions and organizations and all beliefs concerning survival or non-survival after death, its members seek, above all, to realize on earth the greatest possible degree of moral, intellectual, and spiritual development for all people. It believes this to be the prerequisite of happiness attainable by each individual in a fraternally organized humanity.

What about family commitments?

One of the advantages of being a member of the International Order of Freemasonry for Men & Women, Le Droit Humain is that if your spouse or partner is genuinely interested, they can become a Mason as well. This is not possible with other Masonic orders, which do not admit men and women as equals. It is advisable to discuss your intended membership with your partner. They are welcome to talk with us to see what is involved and have any uncertainties resolved. Family responsibilities are acknowledged and should, therefore, take their natural place in the order of things. No lodge would wish its members to jeopardize their family, relationship or job for the sake of Masonry. Masonry is a way of life and is not just something that happens in lodge; so proper handling of family and other commitments is part of the skill set a good Mason is supposed to develop.

How do Freemasons view the laws of society?

Freemasonry expects from its members obedience to civil laws as defined by the country in which they reside. Masonic principles do not conflict with a citizen’s duties; they reinforce them. These principles are the strength which underlies the personal fulfillment of a member’s public and private responsibilities. A member’s duty as a citizen is paramount and takes precedence over any other obligation. Freemasons must never exploit their membership for personal gain or on behalf of any outside interest, as this is contrary to the teachings of Freemasonry.

Is Freemasonry autocratic or democratic?

Freemasonry is a hierarchical organization due to the roles occupied by members depending upon on their abilities, the work they have done in Freemasonry, and their knowledge of the ritual and its teachings. However, the hierarchical structure is democratically based because all its officers are elected and their tenure of office is limited.

Do I have to be invited to join?

Contrary to popular belief, you do not have to be “invited” to become a Freemason. Like any society, we prefer to introduce candidates who are already known to existing members, however, this does not debar anyone from making an approach to us on their own behalf. Indeed, this is generally regarded as a very healthy sign of personal initiative and commitment and indicates an existing sympathy with our aims and beliefs.

What should I expect from Freemasonry?

Freemasonry offers us an opportunity to progress, to develop, and challenge ourselves to exceed the rate that evolution normally decrees for mankind. By its very name, freedom of thought, conscience, and action within the law of the land are the watchwords that enable us to take that personal work forward in ways that will benefit wider humanity. Expect Freemasonry to be fulfilling and stimulating, to provide a constant source of strength and stimulation. It should enable you to appreciate the beauty and wisdom of natural creation and offer a glimpse of your role within that world – whether seen or unseen. Expect Freemasonry to be demanding but rewarding. You will be tested at regular intervals and asked to provide evidence of your efforts as proof of progress. Expect Freemasonry to bring out the very best in you, to push you to expect a lot more from yourself, sometimes at a rate of change that will stagger you, and to provide you with strength when times are difficult.