Freemasonry is one of the world’s oldest secular fraternal societies. The United Grand Lodge of England administers all Lodges of Freemasons in England and Wales, and in many places overseas. Freemasonry is a society of men concerned with moral and spiritual values. Its members are taught its precepts by a series of ritual dramas, which follow ancient forms and use stonemasons’ customs and tools as allegorical guides.
Freemasonry and Religion:
Freemasonry is not a religion, nor is it a substitute for religion. Its essential qualification opens it up to men of many religions; and it expects them to follow their own faith. It does not allow discussion of religion at any of its meetings.
Freemasonry and Politics:
English Freemasonry has no political affiliations, and, as with religious beliefs, no discussions relating to political matters are allowed in its Lodges.
Freemasonry and Society:
Freemasonry demands from its members a respect for the law of the country in which a man works and lives. Its principles do not in any way conflict with its members’ duties as citizens, but should strengthen them in fulfilling their private and public responsibilities. The use by a Freemason of his membership to promote his own or anyone else’s business, professional or personal interests is condemned, and is contrary to the conditions on which he sought admission to Freemasonry. His duty as a citizen must always prevail over any obligation to other Freemasons, and any attempt to shield a Freemason who has acted dishonourably or unlawfully is contrary to this prime duty.
Other Masonic Bodies:
Freemasonry is practised under many independent Grand Lodges with standards similar to those set by the United Grand Lodge of England. There are some Grand Lodges and other apparently Masonic bodies which do not match up to these standards: for example, they do not require a belief in a Supreme Being, or they allow or encourage their members to participate in political matters. These Grand Lodges or bodies are not recognised by the United Grand Lodge of England as being Masonically regular, and Masonic contact with them is forbidden.