is Modern Free-Masonry?
is sometimes referred to as Contemporary, Continental, Cosmopolitan,
Red Lodge, or Liberal Free-Masonry, though these terms
do not all have equivalent definitions. In Europe this type of Freemasnory
is typically called Contemporary or Liberal Freemasonry, not to
be confused with "liberal" politics as we undestand the
term in the USA. Modern Free-Masonry is derived from same Grand
Lodge of England (1717) as Anglo, Antient, or Blue
lodge Masonry. It is widespread in Europe with the Grand Orient
of France at its center, and is now rapidly spreading to the United
Modern Free-Masonry, as it left England and spread throughout Europe,
preserved and maintained the original Masonic principles and worldviews
centered around natural philosophy, the Enlightenment, secularism,
and the progressive (if not revolutionary) political and sociological
philosophies that attracted men such as George Washington, Benjamin
Franklin, Voltaire, Mozart, and the Marquis de Lafayette.
To this day, Modern Free-Masonry continues to focus its efforts
around principles and values such as the arts & sciences, higher
education, separation of church and state, freedom of expression,
human rights, tolerance, emancipation of lifestyles, and the global
are our key principles?
has eight basic Principles:
- It respects
the updated text of the Old Charges of 1723 of the James Anderson
Constitution, which is held to be the fundamental law of Universal
Freemasonry. While still respecting the diversity of the structure
of Masonic powers of all countries and Lodges.
- It accepts
men and women on an equal basis.
- Its objectives
are the search for truth, the study of ethics, the practice of
solidarity, and the prosperity of Freemasonry in general, and
is essentially philosophical and contemporary.
- It aims at
the spiritual, intellectual and social perfection of humanity.
- It considers
Labor as an essential duty of man and woman. It honors equally
physical, intellectual and spiritual Labor.
- Its distinctive
principles are mutual tolerance, respect of oneself and others,
and above all absolute liberty of conscience.
all, Praxis Lodge, as well as George Washington Union, defends the
principle of absolute freedom of conscience in matters of religion
and spirituality. This implies freedom of the mind and liberation
in regard to all dogmas; the right to believe or not to believe
in the existence of God, a Supreme Being, or any form of deity;
and autonomy of thought concerning religious, political, and economical
constraints. For this reason, and based on this fundamental human
right, Praxis Lodge, as a secular lodge of Freemasonry, does not
require that its members hold or declare any theological, metaphysical,
or religious beliefs or dogma, such as the existence of God or gods,
the immortality of the soul, etc.
is the difference between mainstream or "Antient" Free-Masonry
and Modern Free-Masonry?
Anglo-American Masons view Freemasonry as a religiously oriented
fraternity dedicated to brotherly love, relief and truth. The Modern
or Traditional Cosmopolitan Masons perceive Freemasonry as a secular
but spiritual fraternity dedicated to the Enlightenment principles
of human liberty and equality resulting in the universal brotherhood
of all humankind. This is expressed in their motto: "Liberty,
Equality, and Fraternity.
lodges require belief in God or the Grand Architect of the
Universe to become a member. Modern lodges have no such requirement.
lodges do not allow discussion of religion and politics in lodges,
whereas Modern lodges do.
lodges typically place a Bible on their alters as the Volume
of the Sacred Law. Modern lodges have no such requirement,
and often use a blank book or whatever the lodge member agree to
lodges use mainly variations of the Preston-Webb rite (with some
lodges using the Scottish rite), whereas Modern lodges can use one
of six different rites, and are open to others
system does not recognize women as legitimate Freemasons. The Traditional
Cosmopolitan system is generally divided into three distinct groupings:
Masculine, Mixed-Gender, and Feminine; this allows for the inclusion
of women in Free-Masonry.
Modern Free-Masonry considered "irregular" by Blue Lodge
Masons? Has it always been that way in the USA?
Free-Masonry is considered irregular by most all Blue
lodges in the USA, meaning Modern Free-Masonry is not recognized
as legitimate Masonry by Blue Grand Lodges. This was not always
the case. Prior to 1869, Grand Lodges in the US recognized both
the Grand Orient of France and Modern lodges in the U.S, and allowed
However, in 1868, the Grand Orient of France recognized a lodge
in Louisiana, which allowed members to join regardless of nationality,
race, or color. That was the beginning of Blue lodges not recognizing
Modern lodges (based on the GOdFs philosophy against racism
and slavery), but the split formally occurred in 1869 when the GOdF
passed a resolution that neither color, race, nor religion should
disqualify a man for initiation, and was further reinforced in 1877
when the GOdF declared its principle of absolute freedom of
conscience and eliminated both belief in God as a membership
requirement and use of the Bible in lodges.*
However, over 25% of Blue lodges in the U.S. re-recognized Modern
lodges after 1918 (likely not coincidental to the US desire to have
French allies during WW I).
Moreover, the concept of regularity is highly relative
and deeply immersed in ever-changing political and social ideologies.
*Prior to 1760,
even the Grand Lodge of England did not require the Bible in lodges
Note: For the source of this data, refer to U.S. Recognition of
French Grand Lodges, by Paul Bessel at:
you have to believe in God to be a Free-Mason in Praxis Lodge?
No. Praxis believes
in and promotes freedom of conscience for all people, which implies
tolerance of all theological worldviews and freedom of thought and
expression. Christians, Jews, Muslims, Hindus, Buddhists, Wiccans,
atheists, agnostics, deists, pantheists, free-thinkers, and others
are all equally welcome in Praxis Lodge. Praxis Lodge is not concerned
with the religious, metaphysical, or philosophical beliefs of its
members. A persons character, not his/her personal and private
theological beliefs, is the primary focus of Praxis Lodge.
the discussion of religion or politics forbidden?
is dedicated to furthering human understanding in all areas of knowledge.
The only time that such a discussion would be disallowed is in the
form of sectarian dissemination with the intent to proselytize.
rite does Praxis Lodge use?
practices the French Modern Rite, or just called the Modern Rite.
In particular, this is the Reformed French Modern rite, which is
intended to be very close to what was practiced in Europe in the
modern 18th century. The French Modern rite is not radically different
than the Preston-Webb rite, which is practiced by most all mainstream
"Blue" lodges in the US, but it does have some interesting
differences. It contains three degrees and much of the same symbolism,
but is entirely secular.
Praxis Lodge prohibit the consumption of alcohol at lodge functions?
No. As Free-Masons,
we are taught to temper our passions and not to drink to excess.
Each Lodge may choose whether or not to allow alcohol on the premises.
Praxis Lodge recognized by the Grand Lodge of Idaho?
No. This highlights
one of the primary differences between Grand Orient lodges and mainstream
Anglo-American, Blue, or AF&AM lodges like the Grand
Lodge of Idaho. Anglo-American Grand Lodges are based on a "closed"
system, which means they only recognize their own lodges as "regular".
Grand Orient lodges are members of the "open" Masonic
system used by almost every other Masonic obedience around the world.
This means they recognize many obediences including co-gender Masonic
lodges, Prince Hall, Blue lodges, etc.
Praxis Lodge allow virtual members?
Lodge is one of the few lodges that allows virtual membership, which
means that people can be members from other States. Virtual members
attend Lodge meetings via Skype (audio-video conferencing). However,
the idea is not to create a lodge of virtual members, but to help
brothers and sisters from a different state start a lodge of their
own. Once they have the tools, minimum number of members, and ability
to meet in a lodge setting, virtual members are assisted in the
process of creating their own "triangle lodge" of at least
3 Master Masons.
are the membership fees to join Praxis Lodge?
- Yearly dues:
- Degree fees:
$50 per degree
degree fee funds are used to purchase degree and lodge supplies,
materials, services, certificates, etc.
you have to demit from the Grand Lodge of Idaho to become a member
of a Praxis Lodge?
not required by Praxis. The Grand Orient system is an "open"
system which recognizes all Masonic obediences as regular. However,
if the Grand Lodge of Idaho discovers that you are a member, it
may expel you on grounds that you are a member of an "irregular
or clandestine lodge. However, the Grand Lodge may not
take any action. It is really up to a States Grand Lodge and
its By Laws. Moreover, being expelled on the basis of membership
of a Praxislodge is not a universal practice in Anglo-American "Blue"
lodges. Many have chosen to demit from their Blue lodges before
joining Praxis lodge, so this is up to you.
Blue lodge Masons have to go through all the Masonic degrees again
if they join Praxis lodge?
No. Once a Mason,
always a Mason. If someone is an Entered-Apprentice, Fellowcraft,
or Master Mason in a Blue lodge, and they join Praxis lodge, they
will not lose their degree status. New member will, however, be
encouraged to internalize the key principles, beliefs, and practices
memorization of obligations and other Masonic text required by Praxis
No. Praxis Lodge
emphasizes learning through the contemporary and progressive principles
of adult learning theory, not rote memorization, which research
has shown to yield a very low retnetion rate. The lodge promotes
a pluralistic approach to learning that appeals to multiple learning
styles, incorporates blended and multimedia instructional approaches,
and allows maximum retention of information. Degree proficiency
in Praxis Lodge is primarily accomplished via academic research
papers or presentations, and contributing to the overall education
of the Lodge.
can attend a Praxis Lodge meeting?
in good standing and approved by lodge officers can attend a Praxis
Lodge meeting. This includes Freemasons from any order or obedience,
both men and women, members of local Blue Lodges, etc.. Praxis is
an open lodge in this respect.
will Praxis Lodge do for activities with its members?
will be a practical and working lodge. It will be centered
mainly around education and open dialogue amongst its members and
visitors. Hence, the lions share of lodge meetings will be
devoted to engaging and interesting discussions, lectures, and workshops
that support our key principles. In this sense, Praxis is an open
think tank of free expression and intellectual experimentation.
Praxis Lodge use a Bible during meetings and rituals?
No, unless it
is for the purposes of education. Because Grand Orient lodges are
fundamentally secular, they do not require or use the Bible or any
other religious text as a Volume of the Sacred Law.
Some lodges use a white book, symbolizing freedom of conscience,
with blank pages so that members may interpret the meaning of Sacred
Law in accordance with their own worldviews. Other lodges
may decide to use Anderson's Consitutions or some other well known
ethical text (e.g., Aristotle's Ethics).
The reason for not requiring religious scripture as a source of
morality in a lodge also traces to the natural philosophy and Enlightenment
roots of Modern Free-Masonry, which imply that morality need not
be based on religion, but on reason and humanistic principles.
Praxis Lodge have any religious practices?
No. Many outsiders
have claimed that Freemasonry is a religion, probably because most
mainstream lodges in the U.S. place a Bible on their alter, conduct
prayers to the Grand Architect of the Universe, and
use religiously oriented terms and concepts in their rituals. Praxis
Lodge has no intention to substitute, replace, or overlap with any
members private religious practices and beliefs. Praxis is
therefore a secular lodge, promotes tolerance of all worldviews,
but abstains from any religious or quasi-religious practices. Its
main goal is to bring member together and focus on commonalities,
of Conscience is one of the primary principles of Modern Free-Masonry.
What is Freedom of Conscience?
Orient of France provides an adequate description of Freedom of
Conscience, as part of its notion of "laïque":
humanism relies on the principle of total freedom of conscience.
Freedom of the
mind : liberation in regard to all dogmas; the right to believe
or not to believe in God; autonomy of thought concerning religious,
potitical and economical constraints; emancipation of life styles
in relation to taboos, prevailing ideas and dogmatic rules.
aims to liberate children and adults from everything which alienates
or corrupts their minds, particularly atavistic beliefs, prejudices,
preconceived ideas, dogmas, oppressive ideology and cultural, economical,
social, political or religious pressure. "Laïcité"
aims to develop in human nature, within th framework of a permanent
intellectual, moral and civic formation, a critical mind along with
a feeling of solidarity and brotherhood.
of expression is the corollary to total freedom of conscience. It
is the right, and the material possibility to speak, to write and
to distribute individual and collective thoughts. The new technics
of communication make this requirement even more vital. However,
in this field of information and communication, more than elsewhere,
there must be a special vigilance in face of the powerful means
of manipulation and perversion of the mind."
does the letter "G" mean inside of the Masonic symbol
of the square and compass?
There is no
agreed upon meaning of the letter "G" by Masonic historians,
and the letter is more prominent in mainstream versions of Masonry
in the United States than it is in Europe. Some of the possible
interpretation of the meaning of the letter "G" are "God",
"Grand Architect of the Universe", "Geometry",
"Gamma" (energy or the third letter in the Greek alphabet),
"Ghimel" (the old 'gallows' square), and so on. One thing
is certain, which is in no ancient language could "G"
mean "God", and English Masonic lodges likely did not
start stating this until the late 18th century. A good many historians
now suggest that if searching for an English translation, "G"
most likely means "Geometry".
members have to memorize text to complete their proficiencies for
degrees in a lodge of Modern Free-Masonry?
No. This is
a requirement only of "Antient" or Blue Masonic lodges.
In the Grand Orient of the United States, members are required to
write and present research papers on topics related to Free-Masonry
in order to complete their degree proficiencies. In Praxis Lodge,
members are also required to attend a series of workshops that address
the key principles of the degree and other related educational topics.
Memorization is an age old tradition in Masonic history and has
sentimental value to some brothers. However, modern education science
has proven that memorization of text is not the most effective approach
to adult learning. Adults learn best "in context" and
by means of multiple instruction methods that address diverse learning
styles, which increases learning retention, comprehension, practical
application, and integration of concepts into learner's lives. The
most effective learning methodology is to teach, and consequently
all Praxis Lodge members will eventually be required to help teach
new members the concepts and principles of Free-Masonry.
In Praxis Lodge,
it takes 1 year for a member to complete a degree.
is belonging to a lodge of Modern Free-Masonry different than belong
to any other organization, such as a Humanist of Secular organization?
This is a very
common question when Free-Masonry is presented as a secular organization.
There are four points that differentiate Modern Free-Masonry from
another secular oriented organization:
is a fraternity that builds strong bonds of trust, support, and
brotherhood. In a Masonic lodge, you treat each person as if he/she
were your own brother or sister, and no brother or sister should
every betray or another or violate their confidence and trust.
uses ritual as a learning and experiential tool. The degree rituals
of Free-Masonry are nearly 300 years old, and Masons take them
seriously as a way of building relationships with each other,
learning the symbolism of Masonry, and carrying on a fascinating
brings people together from all walks of life, regardless of their
metaphysical or religious beliefs and background; the main requirement
is that Free-Masons truly embrace and practice the principles
of absolute freedom of conscience
brings a sense of mystery over its origins, purpose, and internal
workings; there is of course much wishful thinking and fantasy
in the media regarding Free-Masonry, but this nonetheless introduces
the benefit of doubt and makes Free-Masonry fascinating and intriguing