Advice to Those Who Seek Membership
Having expressed a desire to become a Freemason, we presume you have thoroughly considered the step you propose to take. The exact nature of our Institution being unknown to you, we consider it advisable that you should be informed on certain points, the knowledge of which might affect your decision to apply for membership.
Not All Men Can Become Masons
Masonry does not purport to make “bad men good,” only “good men better.” This distinction is critical in that from its early days the Fraternity took itself out of the “rehabilitation” game – which is the purview of religion and the criminal justice system. Only men of good character are accepted into the Fraternity. Masonic lodges review every applicant’s character – and the centuries-old “blackball” system is still in place; candidates for the degrees must be voted by a 100% vote of the lodge members present.
Duty to God, Your Neighbor and Yourself
Freemasonry strives to teach a man the duties he owes to God, his neighbor and himself. It has for its foundation the great basic principles of the Fatherhood of God and the Brotherhood of Man and requires a belief in the immortality of the Soul. It interferes neither with religion nor politics. Admission to the Institution must not be sought from mercenary or other unworthy motives, nor from the hope of personal gain or advancement. Anyone so actuated will be disappointed, and in all friendship we warn you.
Freemasonry is Not a Benefit Society
We do not subscribe so much a year to entitle us to draw financial relief or to make provision for those we leave behind. Its charity is intended for those Masons who, through no fault of their own, have met with misfortune.
A Favorable Opinion of the Institution
Freemasonry has in all ages insisted that men shall come to its door entirely of their own free-will; not as a result of solicitation; not from feelings of curiosity; but from a favorable opinion of the Institution and a desire to be ranked among its members.
We think it is advisable to inform you that should you be admitted, it will entail certain financial obligations, which you should be able to afford without detriment to yourself or those dependent on you. In addition to the fees payable with your petition, there will be an annual subscription for the support of your Lodge, as provided by the By-Laws of that Lodge.
Motives and Ideals
We trust you will consider these statements in the same spirit of honesty and friendship in which they have been presented. It is of the utmost importance to you as well as to Freemasonry that the motives and ideals governing your daily life be in substantial accord therewith.
Frequently Asked Questions
1. What are the requirements to join?
A man, of good repute, and well recommended, 18 or older, living in the state 6 months or more (exceptions for military), recommended by three Masons, no criminal record, and a belief in God. Specifics are listed on the petition for the degrees.
2. What is the application process?
Masons cannot invite you to join, it must be of your own free will. You should visit some lodges and get to know some of the men who are Masons in your area. You must fill out a petition for the degrees and get 3 Mason’s endorsement.
3. How long is the application process?
Once you have submitted a petition to a Lodge, your petition is read at Lodge, a team is assigned to meet with you and your family, the investigation results are read at the next lodge meeting and then a ballot is taken. If approved by the members you will be assigned a coach and you will be asked to schedule a date for your initiation. This takes about three months if the Lodge meets only once per month. After initiation, you will be required to pass a test on what you have learned before proceeding to the next degree. Including initiation, there are three degrees. Memorization of the rituals will be required to advance through the degrees. Normally, it takes three or more months for you to pass all three degrees and get a good understanding of your obligations necessary to becoming a better man.
4. What would change in one’s life after becoming a Mason?
One reason to become a Mason is to become a better man. You become a better man by becoming more confident, by living by the rules of your God, by treating all on the level with justice and compassion, and by helping others become wiser and better. This takes effort on your part. The symbols of Masonry: the Plumb, Square, and Level continually remind a Brother to live an upright life, be square with your fellow man, and treat all equally.
5. How much time is required?
becoming a better man takes effort. Nothing realized without effort is truly cherished. It is a life-long task to become better than you were each day. How much effort that takes is up to you.
6. What if any financial commitment is to be expected?
Joining costs vary at about $200-$300, with yearly dues typically in the $100-$200 range, depending on the Lodge. You should be financially secure and be able to support your family before assuming such obligations.
7. How long do meetings last and what is the purpose?
Meetings typically take about two hours and include business and educational content. In some cases there is a social hour before or after the meeting that may or may not include dinner.
8. How do I know what lodge is right for me?
Your job is to visit Lodges in our area and get a feel from the Masons you meet. Ask questions. You will not be able to attend meetings until you become a Mason, but we have many social events that you and your family may be invited to attend. You may already know some Masons if so, talk to them. In the meantime, contact a Mason or a Masonic Lodge near you.