The Norwegian Order of Freemasons is a detached independent body of men from all walks of life and from all parts of the country. They meet regularly initially to work on their personal development. These meetings which are based on Christian Faith are conducted with dignity and bound in tradition.
The ideas behind and the aim of Freemasonry is to influence the process of ennoblement and personal improvement by promoting humility, tolerance and compassion. Those qualities which the members master in the lodge should be practised in their daily lives.
These human qualities can of course be attained and practised by others who are not Freemasons, but the Order of Freemasons is an organisation where this thought has taken a practical form which enables its members to develop it through ancient rituals, and with dignity.
The Norwegian Order of Freemasons does not engage itself in national or international political issues, nor does it engage itself in religious or social disputes.
The members show loyalty to the authority and laws of the country. They show respect for the Order itself and the aims of Freemasonry.
A Short History
Present day Freemasonry grew forth in Scotland and England in the 1600´s as an ethical and philosophical system based on the art of building, its symbolism and history. The Order, in its original form, was consecrated in 1717 when four Masonic lodges in London amalgamated to form what was to become the first Grand Lodge.
The system was quickly adopted and became predominant in continental Europe. The first Norwegian lodge was founded on the June 24th 1749 on Bygdoey, a peninsular on the Oslo Fjord.
What is a Lodge
It is the name given to the assembly room or building where the Masonic brothers meet. A lodge meeting, as a rule, includes a solemn ceremony where new brothers are received into their respective degrees. These admissions are conducted within a framework of solemnity with opening and closing ceremonies, with music and rituals rich in tradition. The lodge evening closes with a simple meal in an air of informality among the brothers.
The foundation for our Masonic system is the first three degrees, which are called St John’s, Craft or Blue Masonry where brothers receive the titles appropriate to their degree –
I. Entered Apprentice (EA)
II. Fellow Craft (FC)
III. Master Mason (MM)
as in accordance with the art of building.
This is followed by St. Andrew’s Masonry, which works within the IV, V and VI degrees.
The final section is the Chapter or Chivalric Masonry for brothers of the VII – X degree.
A few brothers with special responsibility within the Order may receive titles like Knight and Commander of the Red Cross XI degree.
Besides Norway’s approximately 80 lodges there are numerous Lodges of Instruction which work within the same framework as the lodges, but are not allowed to initiate new members.
How does one become a member
To become a member of the Norwegian Order of Freemasons, which has today approximately 18,000 members, one must be sponsored by two members of the Order, one of whom must have obtained the degree of Master Mason. Those seeking admission must profess to the Christian faith, have reached the age of 24 and known to have stability in his daily life.
Those interested in membership must take contact with a Freemason he knows personally and who is willing to recommend him as a member. This application for membership should be a completely free decision; no one should be persuaded to become a member. It is the case of a strong personal relationship.
Not Secret, but Closed
The Norwegian Order of Freemasons is not a secret order. It operates openly. The list of members is available for anyone, likewise the Laws of the Norwegian Order of Freemasons, which can be read by anyone. It is evident from this that the Masonic system worked to have its basis in the Christian faith.
It is in point of fact a Christian Order, but within this framework no demands are made for adherence to special dogmas or creeds.
The Masonic learning system is closed to outsiders. Freemasonry is a school lasting a lifetime where a Mason has to work through the degrees.
The content of each degree is held closed until the Freemason himself has had the opportunity to take a standpoint on questions and challenges, which are attached to each new degree.
The Norwegian Order of Freemasons is an independent, national order, unbound and under no obligation to any foreign order unlike the other Nordic orders. There is however good co-operation between the lodges in the North and many other lands all over the world.
Each country’s Freemasons organisation is an independent Masonic society. There is no international organisation. Today there are about six million Freemasons throughout the world.
A Humanitarian Order
To show compassion and fellowship is an obligation for each human being, but a Freemason is especially bound and must be most vigilant in this area.
Regular collections are arranged to support and help our fellow mortals who might be in need of a helping hand. Annually a cause or institution is chosen for the Orders’ Common Gift, and a united collection is taken on its behalf.
The Norwegian Order of Freemasons is represented with Lodges and Brother societies in most towns and many other denser populated areas of Norway.