One of the questions I often get asked is: “If I want to be a Mason, what do I have to do, and what is the process like?” Well, I thought I would share this with the rest of the world.
First, it is very important to not e that Masonry is NOT a by invitation organization. Masonry requires that those who wish to join must do so of there own free will. Therefore, inviting a man to join is actually not allowed. It is permissible to invite a friend to a social event, or to tell him he would make a good Mason. But we never invite someone to join.
That being said, the first thing a man would do to begin his journey into Freemasonry would be to ask a member for a petition, which is similar to an application for a job, and typically includes name, address, occupation, birthplace and date. The petitioner then returns it to the lodge member along with the initiation fee (in my lodge this amount is $150.00 which is about average). Before the petition and fee can be turned in to the lodge Secretary it must also have the signed recommendation of two members, usually the person the petitioner got the petition from and another member who knows the petitioner.
Once the petition is turned in, it is read in open lodge during a stated meeting. The Worshipful Master then assigns a committee to investigate the candidate. Typically the committee is 3 Past Masters of the lodge but there could be variation on this. The committee should then contact the candidate to arrange a meeting, preferably at his home. The committee will ask a series of questions to try to get to know the man better, to test what kind of character the man has. The committee should also talk to the wife to make sure she understands what Masonry is and why her husband wants to join. The last thing a lodge would want is for membership to cause strain on a marriage.
After the investigation the committee goes back to the lodge and makes a recommendation at the next stated meeting. The petition is then voted on by secret ballot, using a special box.
To vote, you simply reach in the front and either pick up a white ball or a black cube (you cannot see them but it does not matter since they are different shapes). The voter than places the ball or cube in a hole at the other end of the box. The ball or cube lands in a little tray that can be pulled out to count the votes. The ballot must be unanimous in order for a petitioner to be elected to receive the degrees of Masonry.
Finally, once the petition has been successfully voted on, the candidate is notified that he has been elected and what meeting he needs to come to receive his Entered Apprentice degree.
That’s it! If you have any other questions about the election process, leave a comment here on this post. Also, if you are a Mason with a funny or interesting story about your election, please leave it here for others to enjoy!