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This page updated on
19 October 2008
Freemason's in New Zealand
The following information has been provided by The Grand Lodge of New Zealand, and is available on their
website
http://www.freemasons.co.nz
    Freemasonry...
    Requires a belief in God but is non-sectarian in approach, being a fellowship of religious men and it encourages
    men to be active in their religious worship and practice.

    Reveres God and acknowledges that a man may worship Him by whatever name He is known to the worshipper,
    e.g. Allah and other names. It therefore refers to God by names which describe who He is and what He does.

    Enables devout men to submerge their religious and political differences and to meet in a fellowship of brotherly
    love.

    Teaches the highest code of morality by symbolism and allegory.

    Concentrates on developing the life of its members, for which they will be accountable after death, but does not
    teach a way of salvation.

    Teaches men to practice benevolence and charity.

    Develops the confidence, speaking ability and social skills in relationships among its members.

    Is organised in degrees as progressive steps to deeper understanding of a way of life. These Degrees are kept
    separate and distinct by keeping confidential the recognition signs of each Degree.

    Symbolism
    We are all familiar with the use of symbolism for it occurs everywhere in our daily lives. A symbol is "something
    used or regarded as standing for or representing something else; a material object representing something
    immaterial; an emblem, token or sign" (Macquarie Dictionary). Be it the cross on a Christian church, the logo of a
    firm, the badge of our favourite sporting club, the hammer and sickle of the former U.S.S.R., or anyone of
    thousands of such symbols we see, each has a wealth of meaning behind it.

    Christians will be familiar with, for example, the symbolism of the Cross. Materially it was a degrading implement
    of death used as punishment for the worst of crimes, but symbolically it represents a glorious triumph over death,
    the promise of salvation of believers in Christ. The cross is not taken as a literal representation of something but
    as a symbolic representation of something entirely different. It enriches understanding for its believers.

    Freemasonry too uses many symbols, which are not to be taken literally but as representing something
    worthwhile to be learned and understood. Such symbols serve also a useful purpose in that each time they are
    seen they prompt a recall of the lesson learned and understood. Of this fact advertising is all too well aware and
    firms profit from a great deal recalled about them and their product from the sighting of just such a symbol. The
    symbol of Masonry, the square and compass together, likewise recalls for the Freemason two of the basic
    principles involved, which symbolise the Masonic life.

    The Use of Allegory
    We are also familiar with the use of this.
    Allegory is:

    1.        Figurative treatment of one subject under the guise of another; a representation of an abstract or spiritual
    meaning under concrete or material forms.

    2.        A symbolic narrative (Macquarie Dictionary)

    When we say a person is an " egg-head " we do not mean that he or she has a head shaped like an egg but that
    the person involved is a highly intelligent one who achieves much or creates involved things about which we
    ourselves are ignorant. The piece of jargon which says a person is “where the rubber meets the road " does not
    mean that the person is lying on a public road but that he or she works where the theories and ideals have to be
    put into practice.

    Symbolic narratives are likewise familiar to us and easily understood. Gulliver's Travels is a case in point. So too
    are the well known Aesop's Fables. Even better known are the parables told by Jesus and recorded in the
    Gospels. The story of the widow's mite (Mark 12; 41-44), for example, tells of the value of sacrificial giving
    compared to the value of giving judged by amount. The parables of the mustard seed, the yeast, the hidden
    treasure, the pearl and the net (Matthew 13) all make important points about the Kingdom of Heaven.

    Freemasonry, too, is rich in allegorical statements, stories and plays, which teach useful lessons. Whole degrees
    such as the Mark Master Mason, the Excellent Master Mason and the Holy Royal Arch are allegorical
    representations of important lessons and truths about life. The Hiramic legend is included because by this
    allegorical story we learn much about fidelity, life, death and resurrection.

    Symbols
    Freemasonry, too, is rich in allegorical statements, stories and plays, which teach useful lessons. Whole degrees
    such as the Mark Master Mason, the Excellent Master Mason and the Holy Royal Arch are allegorical
    representations of important lessons and truths about life. The Hiramic legend is included because by this
    allegorical story we learn much about fidelity, life, death and resurrection.

    Some Masonic Symbols
    Five examples of the Masonic use of symbols which have been derived from the building trade, still suffice to
    illustrate how the Craft teaches by the use of symbols

    The Square
    The square is a symbol of rectitude or rightness of behaviour and has been so for 5,000 years, long before
    Freemasonry came into being. Ancient civilisations used it as a symbol in this way. So common is the symbolism of
    the square that it has become part of our language, e.g. a square deal. Since the try square was so valuable a
    tool for the operative mason in testing the dressed stones it is easy to understand why the speculative mason
    adopted it a s one of the symbols to moralise upon, symbolising as it does the testing of our lives to see if by
    rectitude we are fitted to be stones in God's temple.

    The Compasses
    The compasses are used to delineate a circle. There is an area enclosed within the circle or circumscribed by the
    circle. Such an area has a clearly defined limit or border beyond which is space outside of the parameter of the
    circle. Thus symbolically the circle defines the limit of human behaviour which is acceptable and good and beyond
    which we must not go.

    The Square and Compass Together
    These two are frequently taken together since they symbolise for all Freemason's rightness of behaviour and an
    area of good behaviour. From where does this rightness of behaviour come? From the ‘Volume of the Sacred Law’.
    What defines the limits of good and evil? ‘The Volume of the Sacred Law’. Thus it is to symbolise these things
    that, while the Lodge is open, the square and compass lie on the V.S.L. as a clear lesson to all members

    The Level
    This is used to lay stones level. As a symbol it represents equality. It thus relates to the Masonry concept of God
    as the Father of Mankind and all men as brothers to one another. All are equal in the sight of God irrespective of
    colour, or language or in the possession of material things. This symbol teaches Freemason's to treat others as
    brothers without discrimination of any kind.

    The Plumb Rule
    As the operative mason erects his temporal building with strict observance of the plumb line which will not permit
    him to deviate one hair's breadth from the perpendicular, so the speculative mason, guided by the unerring
    principles of right and truth inculcated by the symbolic teaching of the implement, is steadfast in the pursuit of
    truth, neither bending beneath the frowns of adversity nor yielding tot he seductions of prosperity.

    In Principle
    He believes in God as the Architect, Creator and Lord of the Universe, the source of moral standards and the
    judge of humanity.

    He believes that those moral standards can be put into practice as a way of life.

    He believes that all humanity is created equal in the sight of God, irrespective of colour, language or creed or in
    the possession of material things.

    He believes that one must love one's neighbour as ones self, that per-eminent in the way of life is benevolence
    and charity, that is, that help, material and spiritual, is to be given in a spirit of wishing well to the recipient.

    He believes that these principles can be practiced together by men of several religions who therefore can
    associate together without discussing the relative merits of religions and denominations or the merits of politics.

    He learns the required standards and relationships through the ritual and by the use of symbols and allegory.

    In Practice
    Holds lodge meetings once a month to share in the company of others and follow the pursuit of a better way of
    life.

    Opens these meetings with a prayer for God's presence and guidance and close them with thanks to Him. In the
    ceremonies he prays for the candidate.

    Conducts in these meetings, the ceremonies of the Degrees are called Entered Apprentice, Fellow Craft and
    Master Mason, which introduces candidates to the Masonic Way of Life and increases their understanding of the
    standards required.

    When not conducting or rehearsing these Degree workings, may listen to explanatory lectures, present
    certificates, hold quizzes or practical tests on Freemasonry, explain each other's duties or some such activity
    which will increase understanding of Freemasonry and its Way of Life.

    Engages in helping people and organisations, that is, practices benevolence and charity. Among the assistance
    given are, provision of age care, hospitals, schools, assistance to children to continue their education, equipment
    for hospitals and schools, vehicles for some organisations, scholarships to assist the careers of young people and
    other similar provisions.

    Develops confidence, speaking ability and social skills in relationships through the activities of Freemasonry.

    Visits other Freemason's in their Lodge meetings.
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