Freemasonry can mean many different things to each of those who decide to join and become a Freemason.
Essentially, Freemasonry is a happy association of friends which provides an interest, a discipline for life, making lots of new friends and acquaintances, which can lead to many social activities for both the members and their families. It has a long history of charitable support for the less fortunate members of our society. All this is combined with a fascinating history going back to "time immemorial". For most, however, it is an enjoyable hobby, but it has to be stated that this hobby holds something very special not easy to put into words, but is surely felt by all who have joined.
To be more specific: Freemasonry is open to men of good reputation, irrespective of race or creed, provided they believe in a Supreme Being. This belief is an essential qualification for admission and continued membership. However that supreme being can be that of your own specific belief, remembering that Freemasonry is one of the world’s oldest and largest non-religious, non-political, fraternal and charitable organisation. Freemasonry teaches moral lessons and self-knowledge, through participation in a progression of allegorical two-part plays, which are learnt by heart and performed within each Lodge; Freemasonry offers its members an approach to life which seeks to reinforce thoughtfulness for others, kindness in the community, honesty in business, courtesy in society, and fairness in all things. Members are urged to regard the interests of the family as paramount, but importantly, Freemasonry also teaches and practises concern for people, care for the less fortunate and help for those in need.
In todays modern Freemasonry, members are expected to be of high moral standing and are encouraged to speak openly about Freemasonry.In fact a recent report (which can be read on this site) is in agreement whith the claims made here. What may be of interest, is that the report was written by non-masons and concludes:
" What attracts masons to Freemasonry varies greatly, as we have already touched on. Some are attracted by the friendships they form and the sense of belonging it instils, others by the ‘nudge’ that Freemasonry provides towards living a more altruistic life. Others still will be attracted by the rituals of Freemasonry. Much like the rituals themselves, however, Freemasonry may deserve a closer look in order to understand and appreciate it more fully, and its relevance and role today. If Freemasonry is able successfully to conclude its ‘quiet revolution’, while at the same time ensuring that its central features are retained to preserve the true ‘spirit’ of Freemasonry, then its future may well be assured – for the next century or two at least." (A report by The social issues research centre 2012 )