Frequently Asked Questions
Is Freemasonry a Secret Society?
No. A Secret Society is generally defined as one whose existence is unknown to the public and is specifically denied. The existence of Freemasonry and its work in the community have a high profile publicly and individual membership of Freemasonry is no more secret than belonging to a football club or other service organisation.
What are the secrets of Freemasonry?
The secrets of Freemasonry are the modes of recognition used by Freemasons. Though there are elements of the ceremonial which are generally not discussed in detail they are by no means secret. Freemasons are sometimes reluctant to discuss these in order to retain an element of surprise for joining members in much the same way as the key points of a movie are not generally discussed in order to avoid spoiling the ending.
Why do you have secrets if you've got nothing to hide?
Freemasons persist in the practice of their traditional secrets in a purely symbolic fashion. The communication of these secrets is meant to act as a symbolic test of an applicants honour and trustworthiness. The symbolic keeping of a secret demonstrates to the candidate importance of being a man of integrity who can be trusted to keep his word.
Is Freemasonry a religion?
No. In general, a religion is defined as a set of strictly codified beliefs regarding the cause, nature and purpose of existence. A religion also generally offers a path to salvation or enlightenment. Freemasonry offers none of these things. Although Freemasonry requires its members to express a belief in a supreme being it at the same time explicitly forbids discussion of the particular details of that belief in the Lodge Room or at Masonic meetings.
Freemasonry is a non-sectarian organisation that encourages tolerance and inter-faith understanding, many are represented amongst Freemasons.
Can women join Freemasonry?
Although the United Grand Lodge of Victoria does not accept female applicants to join traditional Craft Freemasonry there are many activities and groups within Freemasonry that welcome the participation of Women.
Traditional Freemasonry, as offered by the United Grand Lodge of Victoria, offers men in the community an important support structure that breaks down the isolation imposed by expectations placed on modern masculinity. Modern life offers very few emotional support structures for men.
Traditional Craft Freemasonry offers men an environment in which the development of masculinity can be appropriately nurtured, challenged and guided.
Why do you wear aprons?
The traditional dress of Freemasonry, the apron, is a recollection of its symbolic beginnings in medieval stonemason's guilds. Traditionally, medieval masons wore aprons while working in the quarries, cutting and shaping the stonework for their buildings. The apron worn by modern Freemasons is an allusion to this customary story. The apron is predominantly white, symbolizing innocence, with decoration to show the wearers progression or office within the organization.
What happens at a Masonic meeting?
A Masonic meeting is conducted along similar lines to any other club. General business is conducted including the presentation previous meetings minutes and the current finances discussed, visitors from other Lodges are welcomed, a lecture may be given or new members introduced to the Lodge in an initiation ceremony and the meeting is generally concluded with a meal and perhaps entertainment.
If you are curious about what goes on in a lodge the simplest thing to do is find out for yourself. Many Masonic meetings, particularly those of Grand Lodge, are open to the public. See our membership section for details of upcoming open nights.
Does being a Freemason give you an unfair advantage in business or get you out of trouble with the law?
No. Freemasons are strictly forbidden from using Freemasonry as a tool for social or financial advancement and to do so would be considered contrary to the nature and essence of Freemasonry.
Similarly Freemasons are taught that first and foremost they must be law abiding citizens of the country in which they live and that they must follow the statutes and regulations of that country before any Masonic obligation.
Freemasons believe in the principles of equality and a fair go. To attempt to trade on ones Freemasonry to gain advantage would be considered serious misconduct for a Freemason as it would bring the reputation of Freemasonry itself into disrepute.
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 Victoria, for example, report to the United Grand Lodge of Victoria. The United Grand Lodge of Victoria however reports to no higher body. These territories are (and in some cases are not) in amity with each other, maintaining correspondence 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.
Is Freemasonry a Charity?
Freemasonry is not specifically a charity organisation in that the general public can not make tax deductible donations nor can Freemasons Victoria solicit donations directly. Rather Freemasonry is an organisation that encourages and facilitates the individual charity of its members locally, as well as on a large scale, coordinating charity efforts through the United Grand Lodge of Victoria's Board of Benevolence.
Freemasons are encouraged to be active in supporting their community and individual lodges are often involved locally supporting schools, sports teams and other community groups or restoring or maintaining community facilities such as playgrounds and parks. There are a number of methods to apply to Freemasons Victoria for charitable support including contacting the Board of Benevolence, the Freemasons Public Charitable Foundation or contacting your local lodge.
How do I become a Freemason?
If you are interested in becoming a Freemason don't hesitate to contact the United Grand Lodge on (03) 9411 0111 or toll free on 1800 068 416 and talk to one of our friendly staff here or alternatively click here.