What Do Freemasons Do at Meetings?

What Do Freemasons Do at Meetings?

A degree ceremony with a new initiate.

Freemasonry, one of the world’s oldest and most enigmatic fraternal organizations, has intrigued outsiders for centuries. Known for its secrecy, symbolism, and storied history, Freemasonry has given rise to numerous myths and speculations. However, the truth about what happens during a Freemason meeting is far less mysterious than the legends suggest. Here’s a detailed look at what Freemasons do during their meetings.

The Structure of a Masonic Meeting

A typical Masonic meeting follows a structured agenda, which can vary slightly depending on the lodge and its traditions. However, most meetings adhere to a common framework:

  1. Opening the Lodge: The meeting begins with a formal opening ceremony. This includes a series of rituals and symbolic acts that reaffirm the lodge’s dedication to Masonic principles. The Master of the Lodge, usually an elected officer, presides over the meeting.
  2. Roll Call and Minutes: Members present their credentials and the secretary reads the minutes from the previous meeting. This ensures that all members are up to date on lodge activities and decisions.
  3. Reports and Correspondence: Officers and committee chairs present their reports. This can include updates on charity work, financial status, and upcoming events. Any correspondence received by the lodge is also read and discussed.
  4. Old and New Business: The lodge addresses unfinished business from previous meetings and introduces new business. This can involve planning future events, discussing membership applications, or voting on various issues.
  5. Degrees and Ceremonies: A significant portion of Masonic meetings is dedicated to conferring degrees. Freemasonry has three primary degrees: Entered Apprentice, Fellow Craft, and Master Mason. Each degree involves a ceremonial initiation process where new members are taught the moral and philosophical lessons of Freemasonry.
  6. Educational Programs: Some meetings include lectures or presentations on Masonic history, philosophy, and symbolism. These educational programs are designed to enhance members’ understanding of Freemasonry and its principles.
  7. Social Time and Fellowship: After the formal meeting, members often gather for refreshments and socializing. This time is crucial for building camaraderie and strengthening the bonds of brotherhood.

The Rituals and Symbols

Masonic meetings are rich with rituals and symbols, each carrying deep meaning. The rituals, which have been passed down through generations, are designed to impart moral lessons and reinforce the values of the fraternity. Symbols such as the square and compass, the trowel, and the aprons worn by members are integral to these rituals and serve as reminders of the ethical teachings of Freemasonry.

The Ethical and Philosophical Teachings

At the heart of Masonic meetings are the ethical and philosophical teachings that guide members in their personal and professional lives. Freemasonry emphasizes virtues such as charity, integrity, and brotherly love. Through discussions and reflections during meetings, members are encouraged to apply these principles in their daily lives.

Charity and Community Service

Freemasonry is well-known for its charitable work. Meetings often include discussions about ongoing and future charitable projects. Lodges support a wide range of causes, from local community needs to large-scale initiatives such as educational scholarships and medical research. This commitment to philanthropy is a cornerstone of Masonic identity.


While the secrecy and mystique surrounding Freemason meetings have given rise to numerous myths, the reality is that these gatherings are primarily focused on fellowship, self-improvement, and community service. Through structured rituals, educational programs, and charitable activities, Freemasons strive to live by the principles of their fraternity and make a positive impact on society. Understanding what happens at a Masonic meeting can demystify the organization and highlight its commitment to ethical living and brotherhood.

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