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Doric Lodge 2695
Freemasonry in Harrogate

What is Freemasonry?

I am the current Worshipful Master of Doric Lodge and I will try to explain why people become Masons, or more properly, Freemasons.  

Firstly, being Master of the Lodge is a great honour for me, as the Master is an experienced Mason, elected by the Brethren (as members of the Lodge are known) to run the Lodge for a year; my tenure will be until March 2018. 

As Master of the Lodge I am in charge of the Lodge meetings for the year of my Mastership. I am also responsible for the social life of the Lodge, which is a considerable task, as there is a lively social side to Masonry. 

What is it all about?

The big question!  

Firstly, Masonry is hugely enjoyable. It is about fellowship. You meet new people, firstly in your own lodge, then as a visitor to the other lodges. There are twelve Harrogate and District lodges who visit our lodge regularly. You can sit with your friends, or you can extend your circle by meeting new people each week.  

Members are known as Brethren, because that is what they are – Brothers. Experienced Brethren, those who have been Master of the Lodge, are known as Worshipful Brethren. This is all very formal, but you soon get used to it.  

Freemasonry and Charity

Masonry is also very much about charity - not just masonic charities, though it does, for example, support care homes for elderly Masons.  

Doric Lodge and the other Harrogate lodges spend a great deal of time raising money to support local charities. We particularly help those smaller local charities, rather than the large national charities. 

What are the benefits of Freemasonry?

Being a Mason gives you confidence. I was always nervous of standing up and speaking in public. To be honest, I am still nervous of speaking in public - but because I have been helped and tutored by experts, I now have the confidence to go out and do it.  

Being a Mason teaches you self-discipline. You learn to regulate your life according to Masonic principles. You listen to older brethren, those with more experience of life.  

Masonry is definitely beneficial to your sense of who you are; it gives you strength of character. I have faced several health and personal difficulties in the last 20 years, and Masonry has taught me to stand firm and face adversity with resilience. 

You are taught to respect others. 

What goes on at the Lodge?

All this self-improvement is done through what are known as Ceremonies – ritual dramas which present moral lessons. This may sound very tedious, but believe me, it isn’t. The rehearsals for these dramas can be a lot of fun.  

You may be given lines to learn to take part in the drama. When you first join, these are very little parts, but they gradually build up as you progress through the ranks. Everyone in the Lodge will help you learn your lines. 

Masonry teaches you teamwork. It is a discipline to learn these lines and to recite them accurately. You are taking part in a team performance and you do not want to let the rest of your team down. 

How did you become a Freemason?

I have been a Mason for twenty years. I had no knowledge of Masonry before joining and no family history of Masonry. I was introduced to it by a colleague who suggested I was the sort of person who might make a good Mason.  

I enjoy history and tradition. I like organisation and being well-ordered. I find satisfaction in meeting new challenges and overcoming them. I think you need to be this sort of person to enjoy Masonry.  

When you join the Masons it can be rather baffling, but as you gain experience, you begin to understand what it is all about. As you progress, you are given ranks, each with more responsibility. This is known as ‘Progressing up the Ladder.’ Eventually, you will one day become Master of the Lodge.  

What sort of people are Freemasons?

Men from all walks of life are Masons.  

Any man can join. You can be of any religion, as long as you believe in a supreme being.  

You need to be ‘free and of mature age.’ (over 21) You need to be ‘recommended, proposed and approved’ and you need to be ‘uninfluenced by mercenary or other unworthy motives.’  

However, if you don’t know anybody who is a Mason, you can approach the Lodge via this website and make contact. You can meet us informally and make up your own mind whether or not Masonry is for you. No pressure will ever be put upon you to join. No-one will criticise you if you do not wish to join.  
The emphasis in Masonry is on your development as a man of integrity, a man of honesty and a man willing to serve the community.  

All Masons are equal in the Lodge. There is no distinction between Masons on any grounds - of money, religion or status. 

Masons come from a great variety of backgrounds - so you never know who you are sitting next to! 

Masonry is spread worldwide so you can have visitors from anywhere in the world. You can visit lodges all over the world, as we are all brothers together. You will be made welcome at any lodge you visit. 

What do Freemasons do?

Apart from the Lodge nights, we have an extensive programme of social events during the year, ranging from curry nights, shooting (serious), shooting (fun), pantomime visits, theatrical performances, a golf competition, the Bruges cultural visit, the Quiz night, Ladies’ Dining, to the Ladies’ Evening - which is a formal Black tie ball at the Crown Hotel on September 30th.

Freemasonry and Support

Masonry provides support when things go wrong. After a serious operation, I was ill for many weeks. Brethren of Doric Lodge came to visit me and offered help with practical matters. It is very beneficial to know that you have this support network behind you.  

The Lodge has an Almoner, whose role is to visit sick brethren, or widows of Brethren, to provide support. He reports to the Lodge each month on the progress of absent Brethren. 

A final word

I have just re-read this and it does sound so very serious I have probably put off anyone who ever thought of joining.  

Masonry is serious – at times. At other times it is a lot of fun. You make friends for life. You have a good laugh. You raise money for charity. You learn to be considerate of others, particularly those less fortunate than yourself. Above all, you enjoy yourself.  

If along the way, you become a better person for being a Mason, so be it. 

The Worshipful Master 
Doric Lodge 
Number 2695