Frequently asked questions about Freemasonry in general, membership, our Lodge Niederrhein 892 and more.
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We take great pride in Freemasonry – the friendships that are created; the good that is done in our communities; the tolerance that is generated by avoiding issues of a political or religious nature; and most importantly the qualities of life and action that it promotes to members.
While charitable service and caring about people is a cornerstone of Freemasonry, there are other equally important parts not found in other service organisations.
Men become Freemasons to develop as individuals and
meet other like-minded people and to enjoy its tradition, rituals, regalia, its ceremony and the sociable
nature of the organisation.
The first written evidence
of its existence is dated from England in the 14th century.
The Grand Lodge of England was formed by four Lodges
in London in 1717. Grand Lodges were formed in Scotland
and Ireland in the years following.
Freemasonry subsequently spread around the world with
the growth of the British Empire.
Freemasonry is not a secret society, but at least a society with secrets. Beside everything public there are some traditional symbolic elements members are asked to keep confidential. In libraries you will also find information on this, but as a non-Mason it may not give you much more than a seemingly superficial explanation. The meaning of symbols is something very personal for every Mason.
Freemasonry is not a religion, nor is it a substitute for religion. Its essential qualification opens it to men of many religions and it expects them to continue to follow their own faith. It does not allow religion to be discussed within the Lodge. Freemasonry is not connected in any way with a political creed. A Freemason's political views are his own and a Lodge may well have members belonging to many different democratic political parties. For that reason, no discussion of political matters is permitted in a Lodge.
A Lodge is a group of Freemasons usually drawn together by location, or interest. Meetings in Düsseldorf are held in the Lodge House Uhlandstr. 42. The most senior position in the Lodge is
the Master who is supported by a group of Officer Bearers in
running the Lodge and conducting the ceremonies.
Meetings have a formal Masonic structure conducting the
same administrative business as any club. But uniquely
the major part of most meetings is the processing of ancient masonic ceremonies.
The ceremonies are the means
of teaching the history and principles of Freemasonry.
Other matters at meetings include the charity and social
activities of the Lodge.
The main ceremonies are including ritual work in the so called three degrees of Freemasonry.
A new candidate is initiated as an ‘Entered Apprentice’, will be passed to the degree of a ‘Fellowcraft’ and finally raised to the sublime degree of a ‘Master Mason’ marking the further progress he has made in the science.
These degrees represent the three stages in a man’s life from
ignorance, to knowledge, to wisdom.
The ceremonies are in the
form of dramatically portrayed allegorical stories in which
the Candidate is taught about Freemasonry and the
principles it upholds.
To this day, many outsiders associate Freemasonry with myths, rumours and even conspiracy theories. This is particularly remarkable as there is also a wealth of reliable information is available, for example, in public libraries and on the internet. One cause of speculation is the implications of Masonic ceremonies, which can only be understood by a Freemason who has actually experienced them.
In fact the only part of Freemasonry that is confidential to members is the means of recognition between
themselves. This stems from historical times when intelligent but illiterate stonemasons sought to prove to employers that they were skilled and competent to design
and build and worthy to receive payment for their talents. Freemasons today retain this custom as a symbolic statement of their reliability, integrity and trust.
These means of recognition include words, signs and a handshake.
Rather, the Masonic Lodge is a place of strict confidentiality towards outsiders. What members debate here does not leave the Lodge, and this is an expression of a special trust among the Brethren that is not apparent to profane persons.
Based in Düsseldorf Lodge Niederrhein N°892 is a member of the Grand Lodge of British Freemasons in Germany under the auspices of the United Grand Lodges of Germany. We are a truly international Brotherhood with members from all over the world with the common good of benevolence, charity and comradeship as its aim.
People might think that to become a Freemason is quite difficult. It's straightforward. We are a voluntary organization and it is up to a would-be member to ask to be considered for membership after an appropriate period of getting to know each other and trusting each other. Membership is open to men (21+ years of age) of all faiths who are law-abiding, of good character and who acknowledge a belief in a Supreme Being. Freemasonry is a multi-racial and multicultural organization.
Freemasonry teaches that a man’s first duty is to himself, his wife or partner, his family and connections. No one should join the Craft who cannot well afford to pay costs and spend time on the Craft.
Freemasonry is free but not free of charge. These expenses include the joining fee, the annual subscription and a donation to charity measured on what the individual member can afford. In our lodge you have to expect a joining fee of around 500 € and an annual subscription of 160 € for resident members. In addition, there are additional personal expenses for regalia, attending our monthly festive boards after meetings as well as for other regular events. The annual personal expenditure thus quickly amounts to around €1000 and more.
Are you aware of the financial cost of Freemasonry and are you satisfied that you can afford the expenditure involved without detriment to yourself, family and other existing commitments? No one should join Freemasonry unless he can afford to pay the expenses involved.
Fundamentally, Freemasonry is what you invest in it yourself. There are no requirements that you have to invest this many hours in your Lodge every month. A Freemason is expected to reliably fulfill his obligations in the Lodge. This includes, in particular, attending the meetings and the so-called "Lodge of Instruction", which take place on the first and last Monday of the month. Further more you will be expected to attend half annual Grand Lodge Communications on first Saturdays in May and November. In addition, we also have administrative meetings and social events. Our Lodge work deliberately takes place on Monday evenings in consideration of family commitments. If you can reserve Monday evenings from 18.00-22.00 hrs for your Lodge, you are certainly on the safe side when it comes to scheduling.
Freemasonry is a voluntary organization and it is up to a would-be member to ask to be considered for membership.
Anyone wishing to be considered as a candidate in our Lodge must be well known in the Lodge. It is therefore expected that a potential candidate has regularly attended our guest events over a period of time and had established good contacts with the Brethren of our Lodge. Only then should an interested person ask one of the Brethren to vouch for him as a Sponsor in the Lodge and put him forward as his Proposer.
In order to be accepted as a Mason, the applicant will go through an interview process. Here the applicant is expected to answer satisfactorily a series of questions designed to examine his character and motivation.
It cannot be too strongly emphasised that the sponsor is the first point of contact between the applicant and the Craft and that, in consequence, he carries a great responsibility.
According to Grand Lodge BFG Regulations the Proposer and Seconder should therefor satisfy themselves and subsequently the Lodge on the following important matters, regarding the applicant:
The applicant must have a "good reputation" in the broadest sense of the word. This implies that one knows him very well at first hand, not only in business circles but also in his social and domestic life. Freemasonry must not be incompatible with his religious beliefs. His financial circumstances are reasonable and he does not join Freemasonry for financial reasons.
He has not been involved in any inglorious criminal or unsavoury legal proceedings. He is in reasonably good health.
He has a sincere desire to become a Freemason without having been influenced.