By joining Freemasonry, you’ll be making a commitment to yourself and to your Brother Masons to be the best man you can be. And by taking the obligations of this ancient Fraternity, you will be joining millions of Freemasons across the globe who are also committed to helping each other develop their potential and improve the quality of life for themselves, their families, and communities.
You will become the latest in a long line of men from all walks of life – world leaders and everyday men – who have found inspiration in Freemasonry, and who strive to live by the values of honor, integrity, equality and brotherhood.
When you become a Mason, you join a lodge, which can be thought of as the local chapter or club of the larger organization, the Grand Lodge. The name goes back hundreds of years, to when all Masons were taught, “A Lodge is a place where members assemble and work.” That idea still holds true today, and we talk about joining “the Lodge.”
Understand Freemasonry Basics
Freemasonry was founded by men who shared a commitment to supporting each other in friendship, fellowship and service to mankind. For thousands of years, men have found spiritual and philosophical fulfillment as members of the fraternity, which still operates on the same core values. In order to become a Freemason, it is necessary to meet these requirements:
- Be a man.
- Have a sound reputation, and be well-recommended by your peers.
- Belief in a Supreme Being, regardless of religion.
- Be over the age of 18.
Build your character. Believe in morality. The Freemason motto is “better men make a better world.” Freemasonry stresses honor, personal responsibility and personal integrity, and offers the following to its members:
- Teachings on the philosophy and history of Freemasonry.
- Encouragement to live for the good of all mankind, and ideas for practicing good citizenship and acting with charity and love.
- An invitation to participate in the ancient rites of Freemasonry, including a handshake, the rituals of initiation, and freedom to use the Masonic square and compass symbol.
Separate the hype from the truth. Books like The Da Vinci Code have perpetuated the notion that Freemasonry is a secret society with designs on taking over the world. Hidden symbols are said to be scattered around Washington, DC and other cities. The truth is that Freemasons are not part of any such conspiracy, and people who attempt to join Freemasonry hoping to gain access to secrets are not approaching the fraternity with the right intentions.
What Happens Next?
After contacting one of our Brothers and then having turned in a petition to join the lodge, you will be asked to meet with several brothers from the lodge who interview all prospective members. This interview customarily involves a visit to your home, although it can be held at work, at the lodge, or another location depending on circumstances.
Their job is to see that you are indeed a man of good character and reputation, that you meet all the qualifications for membership, and that your expectations are realistic. If you have already met with members of the lodge in a meet and greet setting, most of their questions will have already been answered.
After the interview, they will report back to the lodge and a vote will be taken on your petition. Because many Lodges meet only once a month, it may take a month or two from the time you complete the petition to the time you are invited to lodge to start your first degree in Freemasonry.
Becoming a Mason
After your first meeting, you will be a first degree or Entered Apprentice Freemason and entitled to attend other Entered Apprentice meetings and most if not all lodge social and charitable functions. You will be assigned a mentor who will work with you to answer your questions, help you become proficient in your degree knowledge, and attend lodge with you. Once you become proficient in your Entered Apprentice Degree, you will progress on to the second degree, that of Fellow Craft. The process will repeat until you are ready to become a Master Mason, the third and last degree in the Lodge.
During each stage, you will learn more about the mysteries, history, and philosophy of the Fraternity. You will also get to know the other members of the lodge, and hopefully, begin new friendships that will last a lifetime. You can move through the degrees at your own pace, but your mentor will always be encouraging you to take the next step.
After a man completes his initiatory journey and becomes a Master Mason, he will be entitled to participate in all the activities of the lodge, social, charitable, and fraternal. However, nobody will demand he do anything he doesn’t want to do. He has been accepted into membership, and now he is free to live his Freemasonry as he chooses. That is one reason the Fraternity is named Free and Accepted Masons.