How do I become a Freemason?
There is a common misconception regarding joining freemasonry.
Most people believe that freemasonry is invite only. In fact, because Freemasons are not allowed to strong-arm people into joining (you must come of your own free will and accord), you will never be asked to join – in fact YOU must ask to join.
A mason who thinks someone might make a good ‘recruit’ may raise freemasonry in the conversation, and ask if it might be something they have an interest in, but they should never be asked to join.
But what if you don’t know any masons to ask?
In order to become a mason you have to be proposed and seconded by two members of a lodge (and voted on). No member is going to propose (or second) you unless he knows you to be of good character, so in order to become a member you are going to have to get to know some members. This is easier than you might think, but it does take time. Nothing happens fast in the world of Freemasonry.
If you do not know a mason then your first port of call will be to contact your provincial secretary. If you are in England and Wales, you can find contact details here. They will be able to help you find a couple of lodges that might suit you, and put you in contact with the secretary or some members from those lodges.
What are we looking for? The official line is ‘Just, upright and free men of mature age, sound judgement and strict morals’. It basically comes down to this…
21 and over (or 18 if part of the universities scheme, or if you get a special dispensation).
Not a criminal, or of bad character
Believe in a Supreme Being (you must have faith in something greater than yourself, but it doesn’t have to be a specific faith, or even an organised religion. You are not asked to clarify you beliefs, in fact, it would be un-masonic to do so – but clearly you can’t be a militant atheist!)
Capable of participating in our ceremonies etc. (Provision for disabilities is made where necessary, but our ceremonies are performed from memory, so as you progress, have to be capable of remembering the odd line or two)
Have enough means to get involved. The cost of being involved is not that high – less than most golf club memberships, but must be mentioned. My lodge for example has a roughly £70 initial joining fee, £130 yearly sub and for each festive board, you pay for your meal £13 (we meet 6 times a year). In addition you will need to purchase or be handed down a Master Mason apron £30 new and white gloves <£10. Most lodges wear either dark suits or black tie, so factor in the cost of a suit/tux if you don’t have one.
What is the process?
Some lodge members will visit you, possibly at your house, or like me you may go out for a meal together. The purpose of this is to ask you some questions and allow you the opportunity to ask them some questions. The main ones they will commonly ask are:
Do you believe in a Supreme Being? Say no and the whole things over
Why do you want to join? A lot of people wish to join in order to gain some sort of personal advantage. That’s not what its all about, so the members will be trying to make sure you are joining for the right reasons
Do you have your family’s support? Freemasonry needn’t take up a lot of time, but it does take up some of your time and the last thing anyone wants is for a new member to join, only to leave because their wife is complaining. If you decide you wish to progress up to Worshipful Master and get involved in the ritual you will have a lot of learning of lines. Having a supportive family helps.
Are you aware of the costs? Already mentioned above
The next stage is the application form. Just follow the instructions, fill it in. You will be asked about criminal convictions etc – don’t lie here. If you have any convictions, talk to the members about it. Don’t worry about speeding tickets etc though.
Once your form is submitted, the lodge secretary or his representative will make enquiries as to your character. This basically means talking to provincial/grand lodge. This bit can take some time though.
Once the enquiries come back clean, your application is read out at the next lodge meeting, and a vote of the members is tabled for the next meeting – if successful, you are invited to attend the next available meeting after that for your initiation. It is apparently fairly rare that a vote doesn’t pass – the application should never make it to this stage.
Your proposer should be in contact with you periodically to let you know how your application is progressing.
Categorized as Freemasonry