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These private local Lodges form the backbone of Freemasonry, and a Freemason will necessarily have been initiated into one of these.There also exist specialist Lodges where Masons meet to celebrate anything from sport to Masonic research.In a few cases, the candidate may be required to be of a specific religion.The form of Freemasonry most common in Scandinavia (known as the Swedish Rite), for example, accepts only Christians.The onus is on candidates to ask to join; while candidates may be encouraged to ask, they are never invited.Once the initial inquiry is made, an interview usually follows to determine the candidate's suitability.
In addition to business, the meeting may perform a ceremony to confer a Masonic degree The bulk of Masonic ritual consists of degree ceremonies.
The Lodges are usually supervised and governed at the regional level (usually coterminous with either a state, province, or national border) by a Grand Lodge or Grand Orient.
There is no international, worldwide Grand Lodge that supervises all of Freemasonry; each Grand Lodge is independent, and they do not necessarily recognise each other as being legitimate.
In the course of three degrees, new masons will promise to keep the secrets of their degree from lower degrees and outsiders, and to support a fellow Mason in distress (as far as practicality and the law permit).
There is instruction as to the duties of a Freemason, but on the whole, Freemasons are left to explore the craft in the manner they find most satisfying.
Continental Freemasonry is now the general term for the "liberal" jurisdictions who have removed some, or all, of these restrictions.