There are many people who ask, “How do I join Freemasonry?” I hope to answer some of the commonly asked questions, questions you may not have thought of, as well as clear up some of the misconceptions.
What is Freemasonry?
Freemasonry is the world’s oldest and largest fraternity. It is a system of morality, veiled in allegory, and illustrated by symbols. But what, what does that all mean?
In layman terms, the purpose of Freemasonry “takes a good man, and make him better.” It does this by teaching social and moral virtues through a symbolic drama also known as a ritual. If you were brought up in a church or a good family, its most likely not anything new you haven’t heard before. Treat others how you wish to be treated. However, Freemasonry presents these social virtues in such a beautiful way that makes you think about the principles from a whole new perspective which increases your understanding. This method of symbollic teaching through an initiatic experience is not common anymore in today’s society. This is one of, if not the most favorite aspect of Freemasonry.
For example, you may have had brothers growing up. Maybe you got along with them, maybe you didn’t. But to see how Masonic Brothers care for each other, spend time with each other, advise, help, support, and help each other improve in every way: spiritually, morally, in life and business is truly inspring. I have learned the meaning of “Brother” is more than a title.
Another example, Maybe you’ve been taught about Charity. Maybe you’ve always considered Charity to mean donating money to some cause. I’ve learned a new meaning of Charity to include truly be somebody’s friend in all things. To see masons contribute to each others need, even to the point of sacrificing for another is truly heart-warming.
What Freemasonry Is
What Freemasonry Is NOT
Freemasonry is religous, but it is not a religion. It requires a man to believe in God, whatever understanding that may take. We believe “in the Fatherhood of God, and the brotherhood of man.” We are all fellow creatures of a Grand Creator and thus part of the same family who should care for each other. That also leads us to value the principle of tolerance – while we may have different understanding of God, we can still respect each other. Imagine what our world would be like if everyone practiced this princple.
Why would someone want to become a Freemason?
There are many different reasons of why men join Freemasonry. Some of them include a family member like a grandfather was a freemason. A way to network. All these reasons are good, but I would strongly suggest
How Do I Become a Freemason?
The journey to become a Freemason shouldn’t be taken lightly. Freemasonry is deep, rich, full of meaning and substance. It is “far removed from all that is trivial, selfish, and ungodly.” It is not meant to be another shallow thing to be casually involved.
There are many people who seek to become a mason by title only without ever learning the true lessons or secrets of Freemasonry. If you never learn to control your passions or self-mastery, then you have missed out on the true meaning of Freemasonry. If you think becoming a Freemason is “pristigous” or to “learn the secrets,” please look elsewhere. If you are looking to improve yourself and become serviceable to your fellow men, then this is for you.
What are the Requrements to join Freemasonry?
There are only two real requirements to become a Mason.
- Be a man of good character
- Profess a belief in God
The age requiremnets vary depending on the state or jurisdiction. Most often, it is either age 18 or 21. The best way to verify is to contact your local lodge or the Grand Lodge in your state.
The requirement for a good man is a bit more subjective. Part of your petition will require you to list any felonies and accompanying reasons. While this does not automaticaly prohibit you from joining, it will be up to the lodge to decide. I’ve seen lodges both reject or deny a petitioner depending on the situation. As Masons, we have a responsibity to preserve the reputation of the order.
I’ve covered most of this already. Professing a belief in God simply says that you believe in a higher being, whatever your religion or understanding may be. Here in the United States, most Masons will relate closest with Christianity. I’ve been to a Lodge Singapore where I’ve sat in lodge with Muslims, Jainists, Sihks, Buddishts, and Christians. It’s honestly one of the neatest experiences to meet people from all walks of life who you can automatically consider to be a brother.
What are the Next Steps?
Some good starting books to read are Freemasons For Dummies and The Complete Idiot’s Guide to Freemasonry. We are a society of Free-thinkers, do your due diligence and look at what both sides say. While I don’t believe in being ignorant, I will take the advice of the people defining their own beliefs over others trying to define what other people believe. My advice to you, if you are intent at joining and not just a mere curiosity, I would strongly suggest to NOT ruin the experience for yourself by looking at the ritual itself. Sure, with some searching you can find some details on the internet. But, of you want the full experience without the spoilers, do your research without looking at the details of the ritual. Taken out of context gives a different understanding and completely misses out on the experience. Its like watching an IMAX movie on a phone screen. The experience isn’t quite the same.
To join, you will submit a petition form with your personal details and expressing your desire to join. You will also need to list Masonic recommenders and character references. The Masonic recommenders need to know you for a certain amount of time depending on your local rules anywhere from six months to a year. If you don’t know any Masons (as was the case with me,) you will need to spend time and get to know the Masons in your area. This is beneficial for multiple reasons. First, that they can get to know you and your motives in joining. Secondly, you can get to know them and who you’ll be spending time with in lodge. If there are multiple lodges in your area, I would HIGHLY recommend spending the time to visit the multiple lodges and get a feel for the personalities. This will greatly contribute to your overall experience. While the principles of masonry is all the same, some lodges will have different emphasis, on ritual and education, on brotherhood and activities, or charity work within the community. find the lodge that fits with what YOU are seeking for.
After your petition is submitted, it will be read in lodge during the next business meeting. An investigation committee will be assigned to look into your character. They will also meet with you and your spouse, as well and contact your references. The investigation committee will make a report back along with their recommendation if you are a good fit to the Craft. All members of the lodge will then voted whether to accept or reject aka “Blackball.” You will be informed of the outcome shortly thereafter. If accepted, the lodge will set a date for your initiation degree which at that point you’ll begin on your masonic journey!
How Much Does it Cost?
Just like any other organization, lodges need to be financially responsible to maintain the building and operations of the lodge as well as do good in the community. There are typically degree fees charged as well as yearly membership dues. Contact your local lodge for specifc details. In the United States, most lodges will range between $300-$500. Yearly membership dues will range around $60-$300.