What is Freemasonry?
Freemasonry is the one of the world’s oldest non-religious, non-political, fraternal and charitable organisations.
Freemasonry means different things to each of those who join. For some, it’s about making new friends and acquaintances. For others it’s about being able to help deserving causes – making a contribution to family and society. But for most, it is an enjoyable hobby.
Freemasonry is a society of men concerned with moral and spiritual values. Its members are taught its principles (moral lessons and self-knowledge) by a series of ritual dramas – a progression of allegorical two-part plays which are learnt by heart and performed within each Lodge – which follow ancient forms, and use stonemasons’ customs and tools as allegorical guides.
The Three Principles of Freemasonry
Freemasonry offers its members an approach to life, which seeks to reinforce:
Every true Freemason will show tolerance and respect for the opinions of others and behave with kindness and understanding to his fellow creatures.
Freemasons are taught to practice charity and to care, not only for their own, but also for the community as a whole, both by charitable giving, and by voluntary efforts and works as individuals.
Freemasons strive for truth and honesty, requiring high moral standards and aiming to achieve them in their own lives.
How to become a Freemason
We always welcome new members who live, work or study in the County Down or Greater Belfast area and wish to join and become a Freemason.
It is an essential requirement that Freemasons must profess a belief in God, regardless of how they worship or address Him. Membership is open to men of good character and repute, irrespective of race, colour or religion.
Brethren are required to observe certain confidences which might easily be referred to as "secrets", but these are entirely of a ceremonial nature.
Freemasons are expected to be law-abiding citizens - any member convicted of a criminal offence being liable to suspension or expulsion from the Order.
Freemasons come from all walks of life and from all social and financial backgrounds. All members in a Lodge are regarded as equal and will receive a warm welcome in any Irish Lodge or any Lodge overseas operating under a Grand Lodge.
Freemasonry is neither a religion nor a religious organisation. Members are expected to support their own faith whatever it may be. No religious discussion is permitted at any meetings.
Nor is political discussion permitted at any meeting. Freemasonry is non-political. Many organisations exist which claim to be "Masonic", but because they are either political or, sectarian, the Grand Lodge of Ireland does not recognise them and will not permit any contact with them.
Irish Freemasonry is a caring organisation which, for two hundred years, has been concerned with the welfare of young and old.
How much does it cost to join?
Lodge fees vary from Lodge to Lodge, and after a small one-off joining fee, the general annual subscription to the Lodge is in the region of £75 to £120 per annum. This covers membership and the administrative cost of running the Lodge and can be paid yearly or by monthly direct debit.
It is entirely up to the individual member what he gives to Charity, but it should always be without detriment to his other responsibilities. Similarly, he may join as many Lodges as his time and pocket can allow, as long as it does not adversely affect his family life and responsibilities.
A short film produced by United Grand Lodge of England (UGLE) outlining the fundamental values of what it means to be a Freemason.
Why become a Freemason?
Every Freemason has his own reason for joining. For many, Freemasonry acts as a 'constant', providing them with a unique combination of friendship, belonging and structure, with many Freemasons saying they have made valuable lifelong friendships.
Grand Master M.W. Bro. Douglas T. Grey
Freemasonry instils in its members a moral and ethical approach to life: its values are based on integrity, kindness, honesty and fairness. Members are urged to regard the interests of the family as paramount but, importantly, Freemasonry also teaches concern for people, care for the less fortunate and help for those in need.
Benevolence has always been the cornerstone of Freemasonry. Goodwill to all and a desire to help those less fortunate are fundamental principles of the Masonic Fraternity and therefore, charitable giving is a major part of membership of the Freemasons.
Our members engage in acts of benevolence in a variety of ways, either through simple gestures such as gift giving, or through the raising of monies for a variety of funds which help a wide variety of people.
Our charity work continues to provide assistance to national and local charities and good causes.