Thinking About Joining?
You’ve done some reading, or perhaps saw a show on television, or you know a family member or a friend who was a Mason, and you’re interested enough to have come this far. OK.
To qualify for membership, a petitioner must be male, at least 18 years of age, a believer in the existence of a Supreme Being, of good moral character, motivated to join for reasons unrelated to personal gain or profit, prompted by a favorable opinion of Freemasonry, desirous of earning knowledge and willing to conform to the ancient usages and customs of the fraternity. If that’s you, then we’d love to talk to you about becoming a member!
The Next Step
The next step is to petition the Lodge you want to join. The petition is a form that is used by the Blue Lodge and sanctioned by the overseeing Grand Lodge. The petition is designed to ask all the questions the Lodge and the Grand Lodge needs to know about a potential member. The petition then becomes part of that Brother’s Masonic record as he continues his journey to becoming a Freemason.
To be admitted to a Lodge requires that two Masons who know you personally sign your petition endorsing your request to become a member. Both must be members of a Pennsylvania Masonic Lodge, and one of them must be a member of the Lodge to which you submit your petition. If you do not think you know any Masons, we will help you try to find Brothers who know you and who can vouch for your good character.
The Joining Process
After your petition is received, you’ll be asked to meet with a group of three members of the Lodge called the Investigation Committee. The purpose of the Lodge Investigation Committee is to fully investigate the character of the applicant. It also allows members of the Lodge to meet a petitioner and for the petitioner to meet several members of the Lodge. Each Lodge has a series of questions they like to ask each potential member. The committee is assigned by the Worshipful Master of the Lodge and must report at the next stated meeting of the Lodge. The Committee with meet with the petitioner at his home and will also invite the petitioner’s spouse or significant other to take part in the discussion. The Lodge Investigation Committee reports back to the Lodge at the next Stated Business meeting and the next step in the process is for the petition to be voted on.
The final step a petitioner has to take is called the Lodge Ballot. The petition is read during a Lodge business meeting and is then voted on. All brothers who are eligible to vote will be given the opportunity to accept or reject the petition, either by a voice vote, or a secret ballot box vote. If the vote is favorable, and no objections are raised, the petitioner becomes a candidate to receive the three degrees of Freemasonry.
Receiving the Degrees
The first degree conferred by a Blue Lodge is that of the Entered Apprentice Degree (EA). This degree prepares the candidate with the first understandings of Freemasonry. Following this degree, a candidate will be assigned a Mentor, who will guide him and help with learning the work of the first degree and in preparation to show proficiency. This means that he has learned certain phrases, customs and procedures of the Fraternity. Once a Candidate shows proficiency in the preceding degree, he is then given the next degree.
The second degree conferred for a Candidate in a Blue Lodge is the Fellowcraft Degree (FC). This degree teaches specific lessons related to the fraternity and prepares the new member to receive the degree of Master Mason.
The third and final degree in Blue Lodge Masonry is the Master Mason Degree (MM). The Master Mason Degree is a full experience in the teachings of Freemasonry and is the greatest and grandest of all Masonic Degrees – no degree is “higher.” Once conferred on a candidate, he is considered a Master Mason and then receives full Masonic privileges, including voting at Lodge, participating as an Officer, and joining other Masonic bodies.
You Should Also Know
Hazing – There is absolutely no hazing permitted in the Masonic fraternity.
Attendance – Our lodge encourages you to attend meetings and become an active member.
Religion – Freemasonry is not a religion. Your religious beliefs are your own. You must, however, believe in a Supreme Being.
A Secret Society – Freemasonry is not a secret society. Our members do not hide their affiliation. Our buildings are well-marked and often available for community use. While there are a few confidential handgrips and passwords used to confirm membership, we have no secrets concerning our purpose and programs. Many of our activities are open to family and friends.
Memorization – Like all fraternities, Freemasonry has impressive ritual ceremonies that date back centuries. These are presented from memory by officers who are developing their leadership and public speaking skills. There is no requirement to memorize any ritual, but members can choose to participate as they wish.