Is Freemasonry for Everyone?
We are a society that values a system that illustrates the importance of high moral values to its members - that we should support and look out for other members and their families, and support the greater community through charity and benevolence.
Freemasons are men who value good but will you will never find them marketing their deeds to the world or knocking on doors. We do these things because it is right, not for publicity.
Most people would never know that in South Australia the Freemasons Foundation gives away some $500,000 a year through charities and scholarships, and that we have established a ground-breaking men’s health research centre, headed by Dr Vanessa Glennon. Or that we established over $330 million in aged care facilities for all South Australians (not just Freemasons). We are a not-for-profit organisation, in a world where profit and money seem to rule. All of this right here in our home town.
Many people overlook the key role Freemasons played in the founding of South Australia. The first SA lodge was actually created in London before the South Australian Company’s ships even set sail. Many of those founding fathers were Freemasons, and their legacy to the state can be found in street and place names – Gouger, Morphett, and Wakefield to name but a few, will be familiar to most South Australians.
This quiet achievement has been to our detriment over the years, as the media and ill-informed members of the public choose to focus on our perceived secrets. Our members do have secret passwords and handshakes, but these do no more than gain access to our meetings in the same a Crows or Power membership card gains its members access to the football games. Our lodges are open to the public and our Grand Lodge building in Adelaide runs free public tours every week to take in the heritage-listed architecture and lodge meeting rooms.
Freemasonry is believed to be the oldest surviving fraternity in the world, and as such many of its ceremonies have ancient teachings and references that have survived the decades. This rich tradition helps make Freemasonry what it is. These teachings are designed to help members improve themselves as men – to be better partners, fathers, brothers, sons and friends.
Fundamentally to be a member you have to have a belief in a ‘supreme being’. You will never be asked what religion you are or what your specific beliefs are - in fact the discussion of both religion and politics is strictly forbidden within lodges to ensure all members socialise in harmony.
Freemasonry is a lifelong commitment and there are no easy lessons to take away quickly. Each individual is asked to make up their own mind and not conform to a wider view - we encourage independent thought. As with anything, you will get out of it what you put in.
Freemasonry is not exclusive. Rather, it is one of the most inclusive organisations in the world, welcoming members no matter what culture, religion, economic background or employment. We ask only that you value Truth, Honour and Virtue above the advantages of rank and fortune. None of the many lodges in South Australia will solicit membership, but warmly welcome all who ask. To be one, ask one.
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