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Your questions
2. What is the difference between the Grande Loge de France and the other Masonic obediences?
3. Why is the Grande Loge de France only open to men?
4. How does a ritual Masonic meeting (or “Tyled meeting”) take place?
5. What is the social background of the members of the Grande Loge de France?
6. What is the reason for the Masonic “secret”?
7. Is it necessary to believe in God to be a Freemason in the Grande Loge de France?
8. What is the Great Architect of the Universe?
9. What is the position of the Grande Loge de France vis-à-vis sects?
10. Without being certain that I want to apply, I would like to meet a Freemason of the Grande Loge de France to talk to him before deciding. How can this be arranged?
11. What do I have to do to become a Freemason of the Grande Loge de France?
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1. Why be or become a Freemason of the Grande Loge de France today?

For personal development and a fulfilled existence, both in thought and in action.

To live is to think and to act, to conceive and to achieve, to give and to construct a meaning to one’s life and to contribute to the positive evolution of the world around us.

We can find meaning in sometimes dogmatic and simplistic convictions and ideologies.

But we can also desire to go beyond clichés and ready-made thinking of all kinds and origins.

To those in quest of a conception and construction of meaning, the Grande Loge de France offers an original approach: initiation.

By initiation we mean:

- constructing the self with the aim of constructing a meaning to one’s life.

The aim of the Freemasonry of the Grande Loge de France is to provide a place for though and action to men who seek to build a meaning to their lives, extending that meaning without contradiction into their family, professional or social lives.

- to do this with freedom of conscience in religion and citizenship, while respecting the conscience of others.

The approach is one of absolute freedom of conscience in religion and citizenship: the Grande Loge does not require belief or practice of belief, but neither does it forbid belief or practice of belief of any religion, philosophy or particular currents of thinking. Similarly, it holds no particular political stance.

It thus respects all religious or political sensitivities.

 On the other hand, it refuses religious proselytising by those who would wish to persuade others to their particular faith, for it wishes not to constrain the conscience of any man.

 Similarly, it refuses antireligious proselytising of its members which would also constrain their freedom of conscience.

Politically, it accepts the expression of all ideas that respect the freedom of the citizen’s conscience of its members, excluding by their very nature extremism of all kinds, which is incompatible with its fundamental principles of respect for the dignity of human beings, whatever their ethnic or cultural origin

- to work in an environment attached to ethical values.

It is not a unique school of thought but an environment attached to humanistic and spiritual values where men of all ethnic social, philosophical and religious backgrounds can gather, and through an original and specific initiatory method, learn to build themselves, to improve, to think and to act both individually and collectively, in its temples and in society, in mutual esteem, respect and tolerance.


2. What is the difference between the Grande Loge de France and the other Masonic obediences?

The origin of the Grande Loge de France goes back to the 18th century. It is in this respect one of the oldest and largest historical French obediences in traditional Masonry, boasting 28 000 members in 2007.

It is affiliated to no political party.

Unlike other obediences, it abstains from political activity – which is nevertheless a legitimate activity – and from any direct intervening in this domain, considering that in this way each of its members has the freedom of the citizen’s conscience and may as they wish be actively engaged or not in political parties.

But it extols the freedom, the respect and the dignity of human beings and its principles are opposed to all forms of political extremism.

On the other hand it is active in the fields of ethics and morality – individual or social – considering that the great challenges of contemporary society lie in these major domains which significantly impact the present and future of human beings.

It is not a religion and demands of nobody – nor forbids anybody – the belief in God or the practice of religion.

Unlike other obediences, it under no circumstances asks its members to affirm their belief in God and the revelation of his will.

But neither does it forbid its members from believing in God and / or from the practice of religion.

For the Grande Loge de France, these domains are subject to the freedom of each individual. The Grande Loge de France wishes to gather in it s temples men in quest of reflection that is both individual and collective, respecting the sensitivities and convictions of each one, considering that richness in diversity helps the progress of all.

This is the reason why the Grande Loge de France practises no anticlericalism – wishing to entertain peaceful relations with all religions – leaving to each of its members their freedom of religious conscience, and in return asking religious institutions to respect its own freedom of initiatory process.


3. Why is the Grande Loge de France only open to men?

The Grande Loge de France is a traditional initiatory obedience that, like every obedience, has adopted its own rules.

It is only open to men just as other obediences are only for women, while others are mixed – initiating both women and men.

This diversity allows everyone in our country to find the obedience that suits him best for his own initiatory project.

The Grande Loge de France entertains permanent, brotherly relations with these obediences, respecting the freedom of choice and the principles of each of them, as it wishes to be respected for its own freedom, and although it is exclusively for men, the Grande Loge de France is at the origin of the largest current obedience for women, the Feminine Grande Loge de France, to the creation of which it contributed after the Second World War.


4. How does a ritual Masonic meeting (or “Tyled meeting”) take place?

Masonic Tyled meetings proceed by a specific ritual inspired by the Rite in force in the Grande Loge de France (The Ancient and Accepted Scottish Rite), by work of reflection and by specific ceremonies.

The aim of the meeting is not to practise of this ritual but to provide an original setting for reflection, using special specific symbols (square, compass etc.), with the aim of the perfecting of each individual, and his growth in knowledge and conscience.

This ritual has no religious character and no relation to a liturgy of worship.

The individual and collective work of reflection touches the life and organisation of the Lodge (generally composed of 40 to 50 Brethren), but consists above all in the reading by one or two brethren of a reflection (“the board”) that he will have composed on a particular subject that may be in initiatory, symbolic, historical domains, or ethical, philosophical, scientific, literary domains etc., the work bearing on the desire for intellectual, moral and spiritual development.

The exchange that follows is governed according to special rules designed to favour the freedom of expression of each one and the respect of his judgements, which ideally are marked by the balance of his arguments and the way they are expressed.

A summary is made by the presiding officer of the Lodge before the end of the work session, which generally concludes with a convivial meal called “agapes” (feast) in French.

These reflections can give rise to national reviews covering the questions submitted for study in the Lodges on subjects touching on issues of initiation, ritual or the ethical evolution of our societies.

The specific ceremonies

Certain meetings are reserved for the reception of the elected officers of the obedience, for special events, and for other welcoming ceremonies for Brethren and Sisters from friendly obediences.


5. What is the social background of the members of the Grande Loge de France?

No particular education or diplomas are required to enter the Grande Loge de France.

Initiation is possible for any individual wishing to progress in knowledge and conscience by practising and original method, both personal and collective, for progressing, which is based on rituals and on the quality of interpersonal relations and mutual perfecting of the members.

The Grande Loge de France considers the diversity of its members as a rich source and a condition for the improvement of each individual and with this aim a lodge of the Grande Loge de France is obviously not reserved only for certain social categories: it gathers men from all backgrounds.

The Brethren of the Grande Loge de France are thus from all socio-professional backgrounds: wage-earners, managers, industry leaders from the private sector, workers from the public sectors, teachers, lecturers, professions, retailers and craftsmen.

Naturally a clean criminal record is required.


6. What is the reason for the Masonic “secret”?

There actually exist two Masonic “secrets”.

- The first is the secret of “membership”.

This forbids a Freemason from revealing the identity of other Freemasons, for nobody may decide this for somebody else. Each Mason who wishes to may, on the other hand, reveal himself to be a Mason, and many do this of their own free will.

This secret’s origin lies in the founding texts of modern Masonry (which go back to the 17th and 18th centuries), but also in the fact that the French Freemasons were pursued by the Vichy government on the authority of the Petain acts of August 1940, just as the Masons of other countries were pursued by Faschist, Nazi or Communist regimes, totalitarian political systems incompatible with our principles of the freedom and dignity of human beings.

- The second is the secret of “initiation”.
This is attached to the personal and intimate manner in which each individual experiences his process. This secret is not communicable outside the initiatory framework and is a matter of each man’s conscience.

- Nothing to hide.
Freemasons have nothing to hide in reality: they want to work on their initiatory progress away from the sound and the fury of the world, while remaining attached to their family, professional, relational life and their life as a citizen.

Masonic membership can be considered rather in the same way as membership of a religion or a club for philosophical or ethical thinking and in France, nobody is obliged to make public his religious or philosophical convictions. Masonic membership can be assimilated to this type of freedom.

But when the Grand Master or a representative of the Grande Loge de France travels in France on the occasion of an event such as for example a public conference, he is generally welcomed by representatives of local or regional institutions (mayors, members of parliament, senators etc.), thereby attesting that the Freemasons have good references in the matter of respect for the republican principles of Liberty, equality and Fraternity, the observing of which is one of the conditions of the initiatory process.


7. Is it necessary to believe in God to be a Freemason in the Grande Loge de France?

No, and unlike those obediences that demand “belief in God and the revelation of his will”, the Grande Loge de France does not require this.

To be quite clear: initiation is not a sacrament and the practice of rituals is not a cultural liturgy.

But unlike other obediences which are sometimes oriented toward the contestation of religious faith or opposition to its practice, it requires no anti-religious or anti-clerical commitment.

Te principles of the Grande Loge de France are too attached to a concern for the freedom of the individual to oblige anybody to adopt any other position.

Thus in the lodges of the Grande Loge de France are to be found the believing brethren of various religions (Catholic, Jew, Muslim, Buddhist, Hindu or any other) or Brethren with no particular form of religion.

The Grande Loge de France practises a tolerance in this domain which finds its origin in the plan of the traditional founders, to have within it men of good will and good intentions from all backgrounds, having in common a desire for exchange and progress beyond their faith – or lack of it – without being held to any particular religious or philosophical approach, this remaining in the domain of the freedom of conscience of each man.


8. What is the Great Architect of the Universe?

But although the Grande Loge de France obliges nobody to a belief in “God and the revelation of his will”, it does refer to a principle of creator / organiser of the Universe, which in the language of the 18th century was called “Great Architect of the Universe”, and which has been conserved in this form to respect the founding texts of Masonry.

Today this principle can be assimilated to what physicists might qualify as “a principle of unity of the physical world, a principle that makes this universe hold together and that holds firm despite the opposing forces that run through it”.

Thus for the Freemasons, the Great Architect of the Universe is not an anthropomorphic, theological or religious definition, but a principle whose adoption manifests the interest of the Freemasons of the Grande Loge de France in a process of construction of meaning, outside any statement of intellectual or ethical values, thereby opening the way to a quest and a free, non-religious, non-dogmatic and non-authoritarian spiritual construction.

And in a permanent concern for the respect of freedom of conscience, the Grande Loge de France leaves it to each Freemason of the Grande Loge de France to sublime this principle into a symbol of his choice and sensitivity: it can then become the transcendent or immanent symbol of his religion, without excluding any other metaphysical form, and having no ambition to constrain the conscience of other members to bend to his own choice.

This approach also affirms once again the respect for freedom of conscience that each member of the Grande Loge de France benefits from and the desire to make it part of a project of contribution to the progressive and peaceful emancipation of human beings beyond particular religious or ideological practices.

The Great Architect of the Universe: a principle and a symbol.

The principle.
This is comparable to what physicists today call “a principle of unity of the physical world, a principle that makes this universe hold together and that holds firm despite the opposing forces that run through it”.
The Great Architect of the Universe
For the Freemasons of the Grande Loge de France, the Great Architect of the Universe is not an anthropomorphic, theological or religious definition, but a principle whose adoption manifests the interest of the Freemasons of the Grande Loge de France in a process of construction of meaning, outside any statement of intellectual or ethical values, thereby opening the way to a quest and a free, non-religious, non-dogmatic and non-authoritarian spiritual construction.

The symbol.
But in a permanent concern for the respect of freedom of conscience, the Grande Loge de France leaves it to each Freemason of the Grande Loge de France to sublime this principle into a symbol of his choice and sensitivity: it can then become the transcendent or immanent symbol of his religion, without excluding any other metaphysical form, and having no ambition to constrain the conscience of other members to bend to his own choice.

Freedom of conscience preserved.
This approach also affirms once again the respect for freedom of conscience that each member of the Grande Loge de France benefits from and the desire to make it part of a project of contribution to the progressive and peaceful emancipation of human beings beyond particular religious or ideological practices.


9. What is the position of the Grande Loge de France vis-à-vis sects?

Generally, sects aim to cut off their followers from their milieu (family, profession, relationships etc.) to insert them into a culture and, in one way or another, to appropriate their incomes – or items of their property- and at the same time to inculcate dogmatic pseudo-wisdom disconnected from reality, made of irrational and non-discussable false evidence presented as truths and imposed by gurus – often self-proclaimed – who exert a power of fascination over the members whose critical faculties they wish to destroy.

As we hear often on the news, it is easier to enter into a sect than to leave it.

The Grande Loge de France is totally opposed to such principles and on the contrary offers to any who so desire an entry into a process of quest and construction of the self and freedom, giving him an original symbolic method of initiatory progress, imposing no truths to anyone and favouring engagement in social life and the life of the citizen, Freemasonry having the aim of contributing to the progressive, dynamic and peaceful emancipation of human beings (founding texts). This ensures that each will preserve all his family and social links.

A democratic institution.
The Grande Loge de France is moreover a perfectly democratic institution whose representatives (whether in the lodges or at the head of the obedience) are elected every year. Their mandates are for a maximum of three years so as to ensure that responsibilities and access to them is handed on to the greatest number of members.
Finally, we may add that it is much more difficult to enter into the Grande Loge de France than to leave. Entry is subject to a precise and demanding inquiry into personality and morality.
To leave, it is sufficient to say that in wishes to leave and to stop paying the annual subscription.


10. Without being certain that I want to apply, I would like to meet a Freemason of the Grande Loge de France to talk to him before deciding. How can this be arranged?

All you have to do is to attend the public conferences that the Grande Loge de France organises in Paris or in the large provincial towns (see the events section on the website).

It is easy to meet Freemasons of the Grande Loge de France, whether they be speakers or members attending, and they will be able to give you more information.

You can also request a local contact (see below).


11. What do I have to do to become a Freemason of the Grande Loge de France?

You make a request, and to do this:
1/ talk about it with a Mason friend, who will follow it up;
2/ contact the Grande Loge de France through this website to obtain a contact: http://www.gldf.org
3/ Write to the General Secretary of the Grande Loge de France, 8, rue Puteaux, 75017 Paris, who will set up a local contact.

 

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