Freemasonry is the oldest fraternal organization in the world today. One of the first references to the order is found in the Regis Poem that dates to 1390. Literally millions of men throughout the centuries have chosen to "level themselves" with this fraternity, yet today Masonic membership is in a state of decline. One explanation is that Masonry is a morals based fraternity in an increasingly immoral society. This may or may not be true. Another possible reason is that the modern man is simply too busy to devote the time and energy necessary to gain membership in the order. Or it could be that too many men prefer to join and patronize other clubs that offer more secular rewards. Despite all of these reasons, to continue to survive, Freemasonry must attract men of good character to continue the traditions of seven centuries. Hence the title for this page.
Masonry requires several things of its potential members. First and foremost, they must be of good moral character. The unofficial motto of the order is "to make good men better;" therefore, any candidate must be basically a good man. Secondly, members must be able to state a belief in a Supreme Being. Without a strong belief in God, moral lessons would be valueless. Finally, candidates must come to the order of "their own free will and accord," unfettered by undue solicitation or expectations of financial reward. Therefore, the Masonic Order does not solicit members. To be a Mason, you must ask a Mason for a petition or express, to a Mason, a desire to join the order. Once this request it made, the necessary steps for membership can be initiated. Sadly, all that apply for membership are not accepted and some that are accepted do not complete the journey. The process of joining the fraternity involves time and effort. Nothing worthwhile is ever easy, but the rewards of a journey well traveled are well worth the effort. All masons will be there to help and guide you along your journey to "Masonic Light." In this manner, masonry binds men together by many common ties and strengthens the bonds of friendship and cooperation.
Some men are surprised that no one has ever asked them to become a Mason. But it doesn't work that way. For hundreds of years, Masons have been traditionally obligated not to ask others to join the fraternity. We can talk to friends about Masonry. We can tell them about what Masonry does. We can tell them why we enjoy it. But we can't ask, much less pressure, anyone to join. There's a good reason for that. It isn't that we're trying to be exclusive. But becoming a Mason is a very serious thing.
Joining Masonry is making a permanent life commitment to live in certain ways . . . to live with honor and integrity, to be willing to share with and care about others, to trust each other, and to place ultimate trust in God. No one should be "talked into" making such a decision. So, when a man decides he wants to be a Mason, he asks a Mason for a petition or application. He fills it out and gives it to the Mason, and that Mason takes it to the local lodge. The Master of the lodge will appoint a committee to visit with the man and his family, find out a little about him and why he wants to be a Mason, tell him and his family about Masonry, and answer their questions. The committee reports to the lodge, and the lodge votes on the petition. If the vote is affirmative -- and it usually is -- the lodge will contact the man to set the date for the Entered Apprentice Degree. When the person has completed all three degrees, he is a Master Mason and a full member of the fraternity.
Excerpted with permission from Masonic Information Center,
from a booklet entitled "What's a Mason?"
The Basic Requirements for Membership are:
A man of 18 years or older
A Belief in a Supreme Being
High moral standing
A desire to serve your Community