WHY BECOME A FREEMASON? WHAT’S IN IT FOR ME ?
by RW Bro Dato’ Jeyaraj Ratnaswamy
RW District Grand Master DGLEA
This is not an easy question to answer, because every Brother has his own reason and perspective on why he originally enquired and then proceeded with a decision to become a member.
So – there are a multitude of answers to this complex question. However, over the years, Brethren have openly stated their reasons, so perhaps the best way is to explore and try to explain, some of the values which attracted them.
Freemasonry has a strong moral code. Its ritual encourages Brethren to consider their actions and more especially, the effect of their actions upon others. In fact there is a piece of Masonic Ritual which sums this up very nicely, as follows: “… that rising to eminence by merit, you will live respected and die regretted.”
By joining Freemasonry, a man will be accepted into a Brotherhood of ‘like minded’ men around the world – men with similar values and understanding. Freemasonry is like life’s journey, gradually identifying and evaluating your inner-self – i.e.: What ‘makes you tick’!
No one can tell you what that journey will be and what effect joining will have on your personal inner-self. This is the joy of Freemasonry. The joy of personally finding ones inner-self. It will not happen immediately; it will be a lifelong revelation.
Freemasonry is similar to life itself, in that in most cases you receive back in proportion to what you put in.
THREE GREAT PRINCIPLES WHICH ARE THE CORNERSTONE OF FREEMASONRY
There are the three great principles which are the cornerstone of Freemasonry – Brotherly love, Relief and Truth. They are universal and recognized by men and women of different faiths and cultures as a way of working together for the overall improvement of society.
They are best explained as follows:
● BROTHERLY LOVE
Every true Freemason will show tolerance and respect for the opinions of others and behave with kindness and understanding to his fellow creatures.
Freemasons are taught to practice charity and to care – not only for family and friends, but also for the community as a whole, both by charitable giving and by voluntary efforts and works as individuals.
Freemasons strive for truth, requiring high moral standards and aiming to achieve them in their own lives.
Freemasons believe that these principles represent a way of achieving higher standards in life.
As you know Freemasonry offers outstanding men an opportunity to contribute to their local communities, better themselves, and join a network of like minded individuals.
A commitment to self development and the willingness to dedicate yourself to the improvement and support of your community, the desire to participate in a Brotherhood of friendship and a belief in and recognition of the existence of a Supreme Being/higher purpose are the key requirements of becoming a Freemason. You must also be a law-abiding citizen and a man over eighteen years of age.
FREEMASONS BELIEVE IN:
• equality, acceptance and understanding
• charity and contributing to the wider community
• education, self development and improvement
• a commitment to honourable personal conduct
BENEFITS OF JOINING FREEMASONRY AND SELF DEVELOPMENT
The benefits are numerous and are both tangible and intangible. Here are but a few.
• Art of public speaking
• Impromptu speeches
• Meet others outside your current circle of work employees, school and family friends
• Organisational and Management skills
• Engage in charitable works
• How to address and propose Formal toasts
• How to address and propose Informal toasts
• Assistance from Brethren skilled on matters eg. legal, medical etc
• Table manners and dining habits
• Protocol Communication with all seniors and juniors
• Interpersonal skills with Brethren from all strata of society
• Skills of being a listener
• Formal Presentation and Delivery of set pieces
• Sharpening memory skills
• Traveling companions
• Joint activities with Brethren of own age group, recognized worldwide
• Accepted readily all over the world
• Able to seek assistance anywhere in the world
• Family will be attended to and assisted in the event of any eventuality
• Good fraternity to keep engaged during the twilight years of life for Brethren and wife
• Assistance granted in old age, if really needed
• Families develop close relationship with one another
• Wives are engaged in activities and develop a special relationship of their own
Together, the Freemasons make a significant contribution to their own lives, their Brother Freemasons and the wider community at large.
They will, rising from a rough Ashlar eventually become a perfect Ashlar and an Ornament to Society.