Firstly, it is important to make it clear that there are a number of qualifications required of any man contemplating joining Freemasonry, which are not negotiable. To become a Freemason a man must have a firm belief in a supreme being of love and goodness, one God. A mans religion is not relevant and Freemasons lodges embrace Christians, Jews, Muslims, Buddhists, Sikhs etc into its membership. Part of the Masonic teaching is directed to encouraging Masons to follow the practice of their chosen faith to the utmost of their ability, so without a belief in God it is not possible to follow the teachings of Freemasonry.
Candidates for Freemasonry must be of the age of 18 years or more.
It is also essential that prospective members be of good character and free from conviction of a felony. Freemasonry prides itself on making good men better men and the whole Masonic structure is based on complete trust among its members.
It is most important that every candidate for Freemasonry has the full support of his partner and family. Contrary to popular belief the ladies and family of Freemasons are encouraged to have a productive input into the fraternity and without their support and interest modern Freemasonry could not survive.
The benefits of membership
The benefits of Freemasonry to those men who meet the necessary criteria are many and varied. Not least of these is the privilege of being instructed in the Masonic codes of moral and ethical conduct whilst supported by men who hold the same values and high standards as being relevant and necessary to our community and society. The method of instruction is a series of traditional ceremonies handed down in tact to the present day over hundreds of years.
The membership of every Freemasons lodge comprises men of all ages and varied backgrounds. Therefore, it offers a rare opportunity to form close and meaningful relationships with like-minded men that may otherwise not be possible. Freemasonry also offers valuable experience in leadership for those who chose to progress through the various offices of the lodge to the position of Master. This progression is made through a series of unhurried steps over an eight to ten year period and empowers each member to chose or decline to advance at their own nominated pace.
Every Masonic lodge has a “festive” component to each meeting. The festive board, as it is referred to is a meal shared by the Brethren of the lodge at the conclusion of the ceremonial and business facets of the meeting. There are lots of formal toasts and speeches delivered in light hearted yet dignified manner and accordingly every member has ample opportunity to hone their public speaking skills and gain self confidence in addressing large and varied groups of people.
The social life of the lodge involves partners and family in all kinds of pleasurable activities including the formal lodge ladies nights, informal picnics and BBQ’s, theatre evenings, restaurant evenings, fates and fairs and much more. These functions create further friendships between the families and many of the ladies also form close friendships with the other ladies of the lodge. Ladies also have functions of their own and often enjoy a night out together whilst the men folk are at their meetings.
Charity is close to every good Freemason’s heart and the practice of charity is high on the agenda of the lodge. In Western Australia large sums of money are raised by the members for all kinds of charitable work. Disaster relief, donations to hospitals and community care organisations, medical research and care for the young and old through housing and educational grants are all ongoing programs for the fraternity.
Freemasonry is an international fraternity and the traveller is always assured of the warmest of welcomes and a helping hand, if needed, in all corners of the globe. In this respect every Freemason is an ambassador for world peace, racial and religious tolerance and love and respect of our fellow men. To many of us Freemasonry offers a dignity and purpose to our lives that we deeply love and cherish. Each of us understands that Freemasonry is not for everyone, to be a good Freemason requires patience, commitment and self-discipline. The rewards are however far greater than can ever be satisfactorily listed in words on a page. The biggest reward of all is the satisfaction of working for the common good of all mankind.