GWU Frequently Asked Questions
What is nondogmatic Freemasonry?
Freemasonry is a traditional humanist, philosophical, and initiatory Society based upon the notion of Fraternity between equals. Freemasonry as we practice it is neither political nor dogmatic. It is not a social club.
The objectives of GWU are the search for truth, the study of ethics, the practice of solidarity and the prosperity of Freemasonry in general. GWU aims at the spiritual, intellectual and social achievement of humanity. It considers labor to be an essential duty of man and woman, as well as a right. It honors equally physical, intellectual and spiritual labor. Its distinctive principles are: mutual tolerance, respect of oneself and others and, above all, absolute freedom of conscience.
What does it do?
Freemasonry provides a structured roadmap leading towards a certain form of Enlightenment.
It helps its members in their spiritual growth, through regular attendance in Lodge, and a search for the truth. The Mason learns to understand Symbolism through the study of Masonic tools and the practice of Philosophy during the Lodge meetings. They become aware of the moral and social problems facing humanity. This being said, Freemasonry doesn’t make any promises and doesn't guarantee any results.
What does Freemasonry teach?
Freemasonry teaches self-discovery, moral improvement, the awareness of a deeper meanings in life, sincerity, respect, humility, tolerance, commitment, and fraternal love .
Will Freemasonry help me become a better person and improve my life?
It is often said that Freemasonry takes a good person and makes him or her better. But,
Ultimately, Freemasonry will give you tools to become a better person. How you use these tools, and how they help you evolve as a human being, is a personal journey that entirely depends on you. The more you will invest of yourself into Freemasonry, the more you will get out of it.
What will I learn when I become a Freemason?
The subjects that are covered are very diverse and can range from ancient architecture, to music and symbolism, including topics of societal contemporary interest and more.
Why does Freemasonry use symbols?
Symbols suggest ideas that cannot be communicated by teaching or direct representation. When dealing with symbols, the Freemason will integrate his/her personal intuition to move toward the discovery of his/her secret truth.
What happens at a Lodge meeting?
Masons are builders; to build, you need to work. Masons work together in Lodge in order to build their inner Temple (work on themselves), following a Ritual and using symbolic tools. The Ritual is important because it creates a protected space away from the secular world. It encourages reflection and to become more receptive to the Masonic teachings. Masons are asked to write and read in Lodge symbolic, philosophical, or social papers (called “Piece of Architecture”) that are subsequently discussed. Such a process helps everyone grow and develop their reflective mind.
They learn to listen and respect other members’ points of view. When the meeting is over, everyone shares a meal (called “Agape”). This allows further discussions in a less structured environment.
Is Freemasonry a sect?
Freemasonry is not closed to the outside world and is therefore not a sect. As a matter of fact, it is easy to become a member of a sect and difficult to get out. It is the opposite in Freemasonry. Freemasonry does not coerce anyone. On the contrary, it stimulates free spirit and open opinion. A Freemason is a free thinker who acts according to his/her ideas. He/she is responsible their own development and progression, without any kind of pressure.
Is nondogmatic Freemasonry a religion?
Freemasonry that advocates absolute freedom of conscience is neither a religion nor a substitute for religion. It does not present any system of faith, and does not attempt to combine religions. Because nondogmatic Freemasonry does not have any dogma or theology, there is no “Masonic God.” There may be reference to a "Grand Architect of the Universe" as an organizing principle.
Is there a difference between the various nondogmatic Masonic Obedience’s?
All adogmatic Obedience’s established in the USA have the same Masonic principles, including absolute freedom of conscience. They may, however, differ. Some only initiate women, some only men, some are mixed. There may be differences in the Rituals followed, in the language used and in the clothing worn during the meetings. Each of the Lodges of GWU initiates both women and men.
Is nondogmatic Freemasonry a secret society?
Freemasonry is not a secret society, but it demands from its members a certain amount of discretion. It is forbidden to divulge the name of another Mason or to mention what occurs during a Lodge meeting. However Freemasons are allowed to mention to non-Masons their membership in the Craft.
What are the requirements for membership in GWU?
We accept men and women candidates who believe in complete freedom of conscience, in democratic values, in universal human rights, and in the principles of Freemasonry as defined in "Anderson’s Constitutions of 1723.” These Constitutions dictate that Freemasonry "reassemble what is dispersed" and work to "exalt moral values which otherwise would remain ignored". We do not take every word of these Constitutions literally. In 1723, neither women, nor atheists were allowed in Lodge. This is not the case with us.
How does one become a Freemason of the GWU?
Men and women are required to be at least 21 years old in order to apply. Prospective candidates will receive forms to fill out stating their intentions. When the forms are received, personal interviews by members of the Lodge (3 total) are scheduled. After the interviews, members of the Lodge decide whether or not to invite the candidate to come to the Lodge. At this meeting the candidate will be blindfolded before being asked questions from the members of the Lodge. A vote for or against Initiation will follow. Initiation, if approved, will take place within 3 months. The process may seem lengthy; it requires patience and persistence.
What will be expected of me once I become a Freemason of GWU?
Once initiated, the following is required of the new Freemason:
• a serious long-term commitment to the meetings in Lodge, at least once a month
except for July and August;
• attendance to instruction meetings and other Lodge’s activities,
• writing 2-3 pieces of Architecture for each of the 3 degrees of instruction,
• timely payment of the Lodge’s dues;
• compliance with the constitution, bylaws, rules and regulations of the GWU and of the
Is a Freemason expected to volunteer or give to charities?
While volunteering and giving to charity is encouraged, the GWU does not make it mandatory for its members. By the same token, members of a Lodge may vote to allocate and distribute to a specific project under extraordinary circumstances.
Does GWU interact with other Masonic organizations?
GWU was one of the first members of CLIPSAS, an international organization with more than 100 member organizations (and growing), covering all Continents, and Antarctica. Through CLIPSAS, GWU has signed numerous Treaties of Amity with other Masonic bodies. Since 2011, CLIPSAS has occupied a seat, among NGOs, at ECOSOC (the UN Economic and Social Council). Our participation in CLIPSAS adds an international and societal dimension to our work in Lodge.