OUR FRATERNITY has a wonderful history, which dates back more than three centuries. It is one of the world's oldest secular fraternities, a society of men concerned with moral and spiritual values. Founded on the three great principles of Brotherly Love, Relief and Truth, it aims to bring together men of goodwill, regardless of background and differences.
Freemasonry is not a religion. While the essential qualification for admission is that you have a belief in a Supreme Being, it has no theology and does not teach any route to salvation. Freemasonry encourages its members to be active in their own religions as well as in society at large. Although lodge meetings are opened and closed with a prayer and its ceremonies reflect the essential truths and moral teachings common to many of the world's great religions, no discussion of religion is permitted in lodge meetings.
The principles of Freemasonry do not in any way conflict with its members' duties as citizens, whether at work, at home or in public life, but on the contrary should strengthen them in fulfilling their public and private responsibilities. While Freemasonry inculcates in each of its members the duties of loyalty and citizenship, it reserves to the individual the right to hold his own opinion with regard to public affairs. But neither in any Lodge, nor at any time in his capacity as a Freemason, is he permitted to discuss or to advance his views on theological or political questions.
People become Freemasons for a variety of reasons, some as the result of family tradition, others upon the introduction of a friend or out of a curiosity to know what it is all about. Those who become active members and who grow in Freemasonry do so principally because they enjoy it. They enjoy the challenges and fellowship that Freemasonry offers. There is more to it, however, than just enjoyment.
Any man who becomes a Mason is taught a pattern for living - reverence, morality, kindness, honesty, dependabitiy and compassion. He must be prepared to honour his country, uphold its laws and respect those in authority. He must be prepared to maintain honourable relations with others and be willing to share in Masonic activities.
Participation in the dramatic presentation of moral lessons and in the working of a lodge provides a member with a unique opportunity to learn more about himself and encourages him to live in such a way that he will always be in search of becoming a better man; not better than someone else but better than he himself would otherwise be and therefore an exemplary member of society.
Each Freemason is required to learn and show humility through initiation. Then, by progression through a series of degrees he gains insight into increasingly complex moral and philosophical concepts, and accepts a variety of challenges and responsibilities which are both stimulating and rewarding. The structure and working of the lodge and the sequence of ceremonial events, which are usually followed by social gatherings, offer members a framework for companionship, teamwork, character development and enjoyment of shared experiences.
Membership in Freemasonry is based on three unwavering principles. The first, is a belief in a Supreme Being. You will note that we do not state a belief in God. We recognize that each man must allow his life to be guided by his own principles and we do not wish to impose a primarily Christian structure upon anyone. Freemasonry is founded on the belief in the Brotherhood of Man under the Fatherhood of God. However, that God, in the broadest sense, can take many names. We welcome men of all cultures and all faiths. What we have in common is a belief in a single, omnipotent being who above all guides our destinies.
The second is to be of the mature age of 21 years.
Thirdly, and of great importance, a man must be judged to be of good moral character. This requires that someone who is a Freemason knows you and is willing to attest to your character. Further inquiry into your character would be made following application, but you must first be acquainted with at least two who are willing to sponsor that application.
People might think that to become a Freemason is difficult. It is actually quite straightforward. The first step is to contact someone you know to be a Freemason. This might be a family member, a friend or a colleague. They can assist you in learning more about the fraternity and introduce you to other members. If you don't know anyone at all who is a member, you can get in touch with the Masonic Centre in your area. In Ottawa this is the Ottawa Masonic Centre at 2140 Walkley Road. Arrangements will be made to contact you to find out more about you, and to give you a chance to find out more about us. You would then in due course be invited to meet a committee of members from a Lodge you might be joining, prior to being balloted for membership of that Lodge. All being well, a date would then be fixed for your admission.
One of Freemasonry's customs is not to solicit members. However, anyone should feel free to approach any Mason to seek further information. Freemasonry is a multi-racial and multi-cultural organisation. It has attracted men of goodwill from all sectors of the community into membership. The doors of Freemasonry are open to men who seek harmony with their fellow man, feel the need for self-improvement and wish to participate in making this world a better place in which to live.
Reference: The United Grand Lodge of England and The Grand Lodge of Canada in Ontario.
Grand Lodge has provided some informative information pamphlets on Freemasonry:
Have You Ever Considered Becoming a Freemason?
Freemasonry - Is it for me?
The Masonic Family Welcomes Your Family to Freemasonry!
You can also request information on Freemasonry from Ronald G. Dixon, Secretary, Civil Service Lodge No. 148.
If you would like to apply for membership, please complete the form on the I Want to Join