BECOME A FREEMASON
What is Freemasonry?
Freemasonry is the oldest and largest fraternal organization in the world. Put at its simplest, it is a universal society of friends who seek to become better people through their association with each other. WE ARE NOT A SECRET SOCIETY! A secret society is generally one that wraps itself in a cloak of absolute secrecy. That means no one knows who the members are, where they meet, what they do, or what they stand for. Masonry may have "secrets", but it is not a secret society. Masonic secrets are few in number, and deal with the general method of initiation, the ways we recognize each other, and very little else. These parts of the ritual, which are called the esoteric side of Masonry, have been handed down by word of mouth for centuries.
Freemasonry is not a religion, though many Christian ideals are important to Masons. It is what Masons term a "Fraternal Order" whose basic tenants are Brotherly Love, Truth and Relief.
Brotherly Love requires that Masons be tolerant, respectful, kind, and understanding. Relief refers to the practice of charity and commitment to other forms of Philanthropy and to Truth. For example, Masons are reminded at Lodge to "meet upon the level of equality, act by the plumb of uprightness, and part upon the square of virtue".
Freemasonry is not meant in any way to interfere with an individual's commitment to his faith, family, or occupation. Freemasonry is not, and never can be, a replacement for these important institutions; rather, it is a positive environment that reminds every Mason of himself, his family, community and the Supreme Architect (an individual's own definition of a Supreme Being).
Being a Freemason means possessing a belief that there is a divine intelligence that governs the working of the universe. Freemasonry has no doctrines or dogmas as such or any political or religious affiliations. Rather it is a system of morality which is veiled in allegory and illustrated by symbols with implications for a way of living that leads to self-improvement through service to the world. These are the ways by which moral and ethical truths are taught.
Most masons believe that the modern story of the movement began with the Stonemasons, builders of Europe's greatest cathedrals. Member Masons were craftsmen who banded together to practice what Masons today call "the operative art" of masonry. They were an elite class that could travel freely between countries; hence the term freemason.
There was a profound change Freemasonry that came about in the Eighteenth Century; during the period of history known as the Enlightenment, when lodges began to accept members who were not Stonemasons. Because of this, many lodges now dub themselves "speculative" rather than "operative", dealing in ideas and the formation of ideals rather than stone. It is those ideals which govern Masonry today.
The most important symbols of Masonry are the Bible, the Square and the Compasses. The Volume of Sacred Law sheds light on the Masons duty to the Supreme Being, the Square illustrates the duty to his fellow Masons and to society, and the Compasses provide the light necessary to understand the duties he owes to himself; to circumscribe his passions and keep desires within bounds.
One of the most visible signs of Masonic membership is the white leather apron. It is the perpetual symbol of Masonic affiliation. Whatever a Mason does and wherever he goes, the Apron serves to remind him of his duties and obligations. It is also a symbolic reminder to him to do his duty to God, his Country, his Neighbors and his Family.
There is no one better than Brother Benjamin Franklin to explain Freemasonry:
The Process of Petitioning
Joining the fraternity of Free and Accepted Masons requires that a man, of his own free will, petition a Masonic Lodge for the Degrees in Masonry. No Mason should ever ask you to join our fraternity. This is a choice that you and you alone must decide.
Below are the general steps that a man seeking membership in Freemasonry may consider. Depending on the lodge, they will likely have their own procedures, just as we do, but this will help you get started and give you a better understanding of the process.
Above all, please feel free to contact our Lodge.
Ask for Information
If you know a Mason, ask him about the fraternity. Don't be shy, we love talking to those interested in our Fraternity. Our Brothers will will guide you on your next steps if you are interested in becoming a Freemason.
Visit the Lodge
If you don't know a Mason, or even if you do, you can certainly come to our Lodge and visit with us. Generally, this will be on the second and fourth Monday nights, which is typically our Lodge's stated meeting nights. We invite you to enjoy a great dinner and fellowship. Dinner is from 6:30 pm to 7:30 pm, followed by our stated meeting.
We recommend that you contact our secretary to let us know you are coming. By doing this, we can have prepared information ready and available for you as well as someone that can greet and speak with you. While lodge is in session, please stay and enjoy our "Friend of Friend" program. This is an excellent opportunity to sit and hear what Masonry is about and allow you to ask any questions you have. Once you have joined us for dinner three times, you can then petition for membership.
Submit Your Petition
Once you have completed the petition, turn it in to our Lodge. Ask if there are any fees that need to accompany the petition. Your petition will be received by the Lodge and will be read during a stated meeting and published in the Lodge Trestleboard. It is highly recommended that you continue coming to Lodge nights. This is our chance to get to know you better and for you to meet more of the Brothers.
Now that the Lodge has your petition, these are the actions you can expect the Lodge to take:
The Worshipful Master will assign three members of the lodge to interview you and review your petition. A background check will be performed (by an independent third party). The investigators may want to meet with you at home. There is a standard set of questions that all investigators must ask, but many will ask additional questions. Be honest with the investigators. No Mason is perfect, we don't expect petitioners to be perfect, either. The most important thing is to be true and honest.
Your investigators will be given a deadline (at least one month after the Petition has been read) by which to return their completed investigation reports to the Lodge. Their reports, along with their recommendation, will be read to the Lodge at our stated meeting. At this time, the Worshipful Master will usually call for a ballot to be taken on your petition. Eligible Masons will then vote on your petition and the outcome of the ballot will be announced to the Lodge.
After the Ballot
Soon after the stated meeting, a member from the Lodge will contact you with the outcome of the ballot and provide you with additional instructions. This is where your journey beings! Good luck on your journey; it is truly a fantastic adventure! We look forward to meeting you soon.