Is Freemasonry a Secret Society ?
No, generally there is a big sign out the front of most lodges so that visiting Brothers know where to find us. That would suggest that we are not very good at hiding.
All joking aside, until recently our policy was to be discreet about ourselves, our community work and even our membership. However, times have changed…and so have we! Today, Masons will often talk freely about their membership. Lodge rooms are often open to visitors and enquiries about Masons and their valuable community work, are always welcomed.
Is Freemasonry a religion?
No. Freemasonry does not instruct its members in what religion their religious beliefs should be, nor is it a substitute for religion. All Freemasons have a common belief in a Supreme Being, we believe in high moral standards and honesty in everyday life.
In fact of the two types of discussions that are actively discouraged at Lodge meetings religion and politics.
What is all this business about Oaths and Penalties?
New members make solemn promises concerning their conduct in Lodge and in society. Each member also promises to keep confidential the traditional methods of proving that he is a Freemason which he would use when visiting a lodge where he is not known.
Freemasons do not swear allegiances to each other or to Freemasonry. Freemasons promise to support others in times of need, but only if that support does not conflict with their duties to God, the law, their family or with their responsibilities as a Citizen.
Regarding the Ancient Penalties, when Masonic ritual was developing in the late 1600s and 1700s it was quite common for legal and civil oaths to include physical penalties and Freemasonry simply followed the practice of the times. In recent times and after long discussions, they were removed from the promises in 1986.
Is Freemasonry a Secret World Government ?
No. Freemasonry itself does not have a world governing body, each province and area is broken down into independent, wholly self regulating and autonomous territories governed by their own Grand Lodge.
The lodges within Queensland, for example, report to the United Grand Lodge of Queensland. The United Grand Lodge of Queensland has no higher authority that it reports to. These territories are (and in some cases are not) in amity with each other, maintaining communication and fraternal relations but in no way are they ultimately accountable to each other.
Furthermore Freemasonry is largely a voluntary institution relying on the generous donation of its member’s spare time. Given the locally independent and voluntary nature of Freemasonry it would be impossible for it to operate any kind of Secret World Government. And finally if we where, then most of us agree that we would probably pay ourselves better.
What are the virtues of a Freemason?
A Freemason strives to be moral and ethical. He strives for compassion to show justice, act honourably, and be loyal. A Freemason teaches and practices concern for others, he cares for the less fortunate, and helps those in need. This is done irrespective of cultural or ethnic background and irrespective of religious beliefs, and irrespective of any differences in social standing or education. Freemasonry also teaches Masons to be tolerant of the beliefs of others and to regard each man as their equal, deserving both their respect and their assistance.
Those are the Virtues that we strive for.