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20/12/2017 FAQs - Lodge City of Newcastle

Have a question? Check our FAQs (frequently asked questions) below.

What is Freemasonry?
Freemasonry is the oldest and most widely known of the world’s important fraternal organisations. Its high
ethical and moral standards and values support its claim to be an organisation of excellence which counts for
something in today’s society. Freemasonry is a way of life; it is more than just another friendly society or
social club.

What are its aims?
Freemasonry is an organisation formed to join together in friendship men of integrity and good will from all
walks of life. It sets high standards of behaviour to be maintained in daily life, so providing an example to the
community. The sustained practice of Freemasonry provides significant and rewarding opportunities for self‐
development and community service.

Who are Freemasons?
Freemasons are men of character and substance with high ideals and worthwhile values who can make a
difference in the community. In short they are citizens of quality and good reputation who have taken up
Freemasonry because they believe that what they do in their Lodges improves their character and enhances
their value to their fellows.

I’ve heard it’s an advantage to a person’s career to be a Mason, is this
This is a commonly held perception, but it’s incorrect. Masons are under strict obligation, to not use their
connections to obtain any personal advantage. There is of course, a general benefit that does come from being
known as a Mason which is being known as ‘a person of integrity’ and someone who can be relied upon.

What happens if I become a Mason and find it doesn’t suit me?
This is unlikely, since much will be explained to you before you join. You will be able to ask additional
questions all of which will be answered frankly. Since we work for good in the community and encourage your
personal, cultural and religious freedoms, the possibility of you not liking the Masons is extremely slim. If,
however, you later decide it is not what you want, you can simply resign.

I’ve heard some of the ceremonies are embarrassing for membership
candidates, is that true?
No, the ceremonies are not embarrassing to candidates in any way. In fact, they have given all members who
have participated in them over the years, lasting and positive memories of a special and moving event.

I’ve heard about ‘riding the goat’ and other silly things like that. This
can’t possibly be true, can it?
These things fall into the category of “Urban Myths” and gossip. Rest assured there is nothing in any of our
ceremonies that could offend your moral, cultural, religious or family values, as these values are of prime
importance to all Masons.

What is a Lodge?
The basic membership group of Masons is called a Lodge. Whilst some Lodges attract members with specific
social, professional or work‐related backgrounds there are, in general, no hard and fast rules limiting
admission to any Lodge. Commonly new members join Lodges to which their nominators belong, usually on the
basis of established acquaintance.
Lodges are presided over by the Master who is usually elected to serve for a 12‐month term. Most Lodge 1/3
20/12/2017 FAQs - Lodge City of Newcastle
meetings are held monthly. At these meetings new members may be admitted or advanced to a higher rank or
such other business conducted as the Master shall determine.

Lodges operate under a warrant of constitution from the Grand Master of the United Grand Lodge of New South
Wales and the Australian Capital Territory, in accordance with the regulations for the Government of the Craft
contained in the constitutions of the United Grand Lodge of New South Wales and the Australian Capital
Territory and the Lodge’s own by‐laws.

What do you do in ‘Lodge’?
A Lodge meeting is run like any other normal business or social meeting. Minutes and correspondence are read;
financial statements, general business, and membership proposals are considered and voted upon; ‘Caring
Officers’ report on current charity work and on members who are ill; Candidates are advanced, on merit,
through the various appropriate levels; the meeting is concluded, and the Lodge is closed. Supper is then

How is the organisation structured?
Each local ‘Lodge’ draws its members, essentially from the local community. A Regional group of local Lodges
will comprise a ‘District’. For administrative purposes, there is a central organisation in each state, known as
‘Grand Lodge’. In addition, in each state, there are a number of separate charitable and other community
service organisations, such as: The Masonic Hospital, Masonic Youth Welfare Fund, Frank Whiddon Masonic
Homes and the Royal Freemasons Benevolent Institution (RFBI).

Why do you wear black dinner suits, and carry little black bags?
The reason for this is quite simple. We wear dinner suits, because our meetings are conducted in a semi‐formal
and dignified manner, in keeping with our principles. Our members come from all walks of life, and the
uniformity of our attire demonstrates our uniformity of respect for our fellow Masons. The small black bag we
carry simply contains such items as our meeting notices and agendas etc, maybe a short speech and our Masons
leather apron.

Why do you have any funny secrets at all?
In your daily life you have secrets; your bank cannot disclose your tax file number; your doctor is not allowed
to disclose your medical records; you do not disclose your PIN numbers. Being discreet about certain aspects of
your personal business is obviously quite normal. Everyone is familiar with the phrase: ‘Can you be trusted to
keep a secret?’. Therefore, Masons use ‘secrets’ to test and prove the good character of those who choose to
join. This is because to become a Mason requires a person to continually observe, with total sincerity, our high
ideals of Integrity, Goodwill and Charity.

I’ve heard that Masons, in the past, have been regarded as some sort
of secret society, is that the situation now?
Until recently our policy was to be rather discreet about ourselves, our community work and even our
membership. However, times have changed….and so have we! Today, Masons will often talk freely about their
work and their membership. Lodge rooms are often opened to our visitors, and enquiries about Masons and
their valuable community work, are always welcomed.

Are Masons some sort of religion?
Absolutely not. Our membership is, in fact, made up of people who belong to many different religions. Every
member is encouraged and is completely free, to follow their own private personal beliefs. Religion, as such, is
not permitted to be discussed in any Lodge.

You have a Bible in your Lodge Room. Why is this?
As a standard rule we do. However, any Lodge can determine, based on its membership, which Holy Book (or
group of Books) it will use. This is because we are a truly non‐sectarian organisation.

I have heard Catholics can’t become Masons. Is this true?
No, that is not true. There are many practicing Catholics who are Masons. You can be assured there is nothing
whatsoever, in being a Mason, which conflicts with a person’s duties as a practicing Catholic. It is understood 2/3
20/12/2017 FAQs - Lodge City of Newcastle
there is a Papal directive banning Catholics from becoming Freemasons but such a ban does not come from

I am told Masons need to devote a lot of their own time to community
work and my time is limited. Would this apply to me?
As a Mason, the time you devote to community work is entirely up to you. You are asked to support your Lodge
by attending its regular meeting, once a month. No more is expected of you.

As a Mason, are there any compulsory charity donations or levies I
have to pay?
No, rest assured there are never any compulsory donations ever required of you. Any donation you may choose
to make to any fund, is at all times, entirely at your own discretion.

If I choose to make a donation, how is that done?
There are many charity organisations that Masons assist by direct donations of money, personal skills and time.
How a Mason chooses to contribute, is a personal and strictly private matter.

Why do you not have women members?
There are other organisations that are strictly for women and we agree with and support their right to be
‘strictly for women’. We feel confident they and other well informed people, would support our right to exist
as we do.

Some of your old buildings have the word ‘temple’ on them. Why is
In the past, our Lodges were called ‘temples’. This was an allegoric reference to King Solomon’s Temple,
constructed by early Masons, whose principles of Integrity, Goodwill and Charity, we have inherited. 3/3