The Masonic Trowel

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Admission to membership in Freemasonry has always been limited to men, but there are several appendant organizations for the Ladies and for the boys and girls.  There are also concordant organizations to which only Masons can apply for membership, including the Scottish Rite, the York Rite, and the Shriners, to name the largest and best know.  These are a part of the Masonic Family.

Freemasonry has no restrictions based on race, creed, ethnic origin or social status

As stated before, no one will openly invite a man to become a mason.  You must ASK ONE TO BECOME ONE 


The absolute requirements for becoming a Mason are:

Have belief in a Supreme Being (No particular religion or faith is required or excluded. All are welcome.)

Be a man, at least 21 years old. (18 in some jurisdictions)

Be of good moral character

Be of good reputation

Be loyal to your country

Have a sincere determination to conduct yourself in a manner that will earn the respect and trust of others

You should be coming to Masonry "of your own free will and accord", to learn to improve yourself and to enjoy the company of other good people, not because someone keeps pestering you to join or because you think it will help you "get ahead" in business.

You should be someone who does, or want to learn to, enjoy the company of other men from all different social classes, faiths, backgrounds, races, countries, etc. Masonry is universal in its ideals.

Dedicated to providing for your own family.  If you are a family man, Masonry considers that your family obligations come FIRST, so you must be sure that:

  • You have the time to participate (usually two or three evenings/month at first for meetings and instruction, and then at least one evening per month for meetings from then on -- often more if you get involved in lodge activities.)
  • You can afford the initiation fees and the annual dues without hardship to yourself or your family.
Possess a desire to help others through community service and universal benevolence

Let's expand what some of the concepts means:

A belief in a Supreme Being. Every applicant must profess such a belief but Freemasonry does not define, or impose, a definition of a Supreme Being. Each individual applicant must define that entity for himself.  Atheists and Agnostics cannot, therefore, become Freemasons.  This belief is absolute and admits of no exceptions. Of course individuals might lie in this respect in order to gain admission and there is little that Freemasons could do to identify such men. All is taken on the honor of the individual concerned.  In fact everything that a Freemason does in his private and public life must be honorable and Freemasonry encourages all members to behave in an upright and moral manner.  Members are encouraged to support their individual faith by attendance at their Mosque, Church, Chapel etc, but it is not a requirement.

A Member's Obligation. Each and every applicant must be able to fulfill his obligations (financial, moral, and in terms of his time) to his family, his employment and his faith before he makes any commitment to Freemasonry.

Masonic 'Obligation'.  Applicants must take a vow, or oath, on a holy book on his admission to Freemasonry. Such an oath, or obligation, is necessary in order to add sanctity to what is a serious undertaking and can be compared to; 'swearing the whole truth and nothing but the truth' in a court of law. Such oaths were common in many aspects of life 400 years ago when Freemasonry began and today's Freemasonry continues that practice. As all men who profess a belief in a Supreme Being are eligible for membership, the required oath may be taken on the Holy Book of each individual's faith. In multi-cultural societies it is common to find Holy Books in Lodges, other than the Bible, on which candidates take their obligation.

Moral and Upright Men. This means that a man who has been convicted, in a court of law, of a serious criminal offence cannot become a Freemason. Anyone who is a Freemason who is so convicted is subject to Masonic discipline and will be expelled from the Craft.

Membership. No man is permitted to use his membership to advance his own political, religious or business aims. For this reason Lodges do not allow members to discuss political, religious or business matters. Anyone who persists in doing so is in danger of expulsion. There is no doubt that one of the attractions of Masonic Lodges is the ability of all faiths, creeds and cultures to mix freely knowing that no one is interested in the individual's social position, faith, or politics. This ability to meet with others, of various backgrounds has been one of the mainstays of Freemasonry for centuries. This, unique situation has been described as being: 'the ideal escape from the rat race'.

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Follow these steps to become a member

To join, all you have to do is ask a Mason. Remember Masons do not solicit for members. You'll need to express your personal interest in joining the Fraternity.  

  • Preferably someone you know or at least who lives or works nearby, or...
  • If you think that don't know any Masons in your area, you could post to the newsgroup alt.freemasonry and ask that anyone who lives in your general area reply to you, or...
  • You can probably find nearby lodges listed in your phonebook. (White-pages listings for lodges may be under "Masons", "Freemasons", or "Masonic Temple", and the Grand Lodge would probably be under "Grand Lodge of Masons"), or...
  • Find your state's Grand Lodge in the Internet. Call or email them and ask to speak to someone in the office of the Grand Secretary.  Click here for a  List of Grand Lodges Webpages.  You must be connected to the Internet
  • Once you have found someone you know who is a member of the Fraternity, TELL HIM YOU WANT TO JOIN.
  • The person will give you a petition to fill out.
You will get a "Petition for Membership" that you will have to fill out completely and have members of the Lodge sign it recommending you for membership.  Once filled, return it to the person who gave you the petition or go to the Lodge and give it to any member or the Secretary along with your initial fees.

Your Petition for membership will be read at the next Stated Meeting and afterwards an Investigated Committee will be appointed.

Your character will be investigated by the Investigating Committee. This is done by three members who will meet with you, your family if so desire and answer any questions

Your petition will be presented and voted upon by secret ballot by all lodge member.  All present members must accept you that is it must be unanimous.

  • If accepted, you will be notified by the Lodge's Secretary to appear to receive the first of three Degrees of Masonry.  He is the only one authorize to do so.
  • If not accepted, the Lodge Secretary will notify you. and your initial deposit will be returned to you

If accepted you will receive information on when you will begin your degrees and your journey in Masonry begins

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All lodges have an Initiation fee which helps to pay for all materials that you will be receiving.  Each jurisdiction will have its own governing regulations regarding amount and how it will be collected, but as a general rule, it could follow this format described below:

a)   Each degree has its associated cost.

b)   Usually an amount specified by by-laws shall be payable in advance with the petition, for consideration by the Lodge

c)   Usually an amount specified by by-laws shall be payable, if elected, prior to receiving the Entered Apprentice degree

d)   If rejected by action of the Lodge, as stated before, all fees paid by the Petitioner shall be immediately refunded

All lodges have a fee for affiliation for those who are already Master Masons payable in advance with the petition for consideration by the Lodge.  If rejected by action of the Lodge the amount paid by the petitioner will be returned

Lastly all lodges have an annual dues which is payable by each voting member (excepting honorary members) on or before the first day of January of each year.

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Although different Grand Lodge jurisdictions will have their own definitions and requirement, all entitle their members to voluntarily withdraw if they so desire. There is no coercion or penalty; only, as in most things Masonic, a proper form.

Demits are usually issued in these two circumstances:

  1. If a brother in good standing finds himself, for whatever personal reason, unable or unwilling to maintain his association with Freemasonry, he may voluntarily withdraw from Freemasonry by requesting a demit, which he is entitled to receive
  2. If a brother in good standing wants to affiliate to another lodge and withdrawal his membership from his current lodge.  Usually a brother does this due to the financial strain it can impose by paying "annual dues" to different lodges.  But also do not be surprise, you will find many brothers that are members in multiple lodges at the same time.  This is their choice as it should be yours

If a member is free of all charges (fiscal and conduct) and is in possession of a current dues card at the time of his demit or death, he shall be known as "a member in good standing at that time". However, a member in good standing at the time of demit is not a "member" nor in "good standing" thereafter, as he has voluntarily withdrawn himself from the rights and privileges of Freemasonry.

A demitted member may still, with some restrictions in some jurisdictions, visit Lodges; but most importantly he will also find it easier if he wishes to affiliate with a Lodge in the future.

Just as important is the potential bearing of his Masonic status on his family. Membership in appendant organizations such as the Eastern Star for women, Job's Daughters for girls, and DeMoley for boys, requires that a brother, husband, uncle, father or grandfather be, or have been, a Freemason. A member who is suspended does a potential disservice to his children or children's children.

To obtain a Demit, you must officially inform your lodge's secretary in writing of such request or if affiliating, the new lodge's secretary will request it for you.

Taking a demit is preferable to being suspended. 

Suspension deprives a member of all his Masonic rights and privileges, either for a definite or indefinite time. A member can be suspended by his Lodge for non-payment of dues. A Grand Lodge Trial Commission can also suspend or expel a member for unmasonic conduct. A member, once expelled or suspended, is no longer considered a Freemason.  He has no claims on Freemasonry and Freemasonry has no claims on him.

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Last modified: March 22, 2014