Deciding To Become A Freemason

Square and CompassI’ve known that the masons exist for years. Unfortunately, that’s about all I’ve known. I knew that they were secretive and that they had the odd looking symbol with the G in the middle but didn’t know what it meant. The few times I spoke to people that were masons and I would ask them about it, they would often say jokingly, “I could tell you, but then I’d have to kill you”. I assumed that since I had asked about it and they told me little despite my interest, that it must be an invitation only organization and I left it at that. Well, you know what they say about assuming things…

In the years in between, I would occasionally see the square and compass (as I have discovered the odd “G” symbol is called) on the back of a car or a license plate, but never had the opportunity to speak to anyone about it.

Over the summer last year, I became acquainted with a gentleman that had recently joined a volunteer community group that I belong to. As we were having lunch one day, I noticed he was wearing a masonic ring. I casually asked him about it, half expecting the “cute” answers I’d gotten before about “I could tell you, but I’d have to kill you”. To my surprise he was more than happy to tell me about it.

Q: What are the Freemasons?
A: The Freemasons are a fraternity. Their primary focus is “making good men better”. It’s all about improving yourself and making positive changes in your life.

Q: Is it a religion?
A: No. Freemasonry encourages you to be active in your own religion, but is not a religion. One of the requirements of becoming a mason is that you believe in a supreme being and the immortality of the soul. Masons come from many faiths and includes Christians, Jews, Muslims and many other faiths.

Q: I’ve heard masonry is a type of cult that perform odd rituals. Is that true?
A: No. Masonry is not a cult. There are many rituals that are performed. These could more accurately be described as plays or short stories that are used as teaching aids. Masonry teaches its lessons through acting out stories and allegory. The goal is for the student to be able to understand the moral of the story and reflect on what it means in his own life.

Q: How often do you meet?
A: In our area, we generally have two meetings per month. We break for the summer months and reconvene in September.

Q: Why did you become a mason?
A: My father was a mason and always had a passion for it. When I joined, I really enjoyed the idea of belonging to a large brotherhood. One of the great things about masonry is that we pledge to always help another mason if at all possible. A good example was once we had an illness on my wife’s side of the family. We had to make a last minute flight out of state. We got to the airport and tried to buy a ticket, but the ticket agent said the flight was full and there was only one ticket left. My wife became upset and explained the situation to the ticket agent, asking if there was anything they could do. At this moment, a gentleman walked over to me and said, “Here, take my seat”. I looked at him astonished and said, “Why thank you, but why?” The gentleman looked at me and then looked down at his waist, where I noticed a large masonic belt buckle. He had noticed my masonic ring and wanted to help a fellow mason in need.

Q: Why haven’t any of the masons I’ve spoken to asked me to join?
A: Masons are not allowed to ask anyone to join. The person who’s interested must ask to join on their own. The idea being that a man should only join of his own free will and desire and not be pressured in any way.

I really enjoyed the conversation and learned a lot. I did not immediately decide to join, but instead decided to let it sink in and think it over for a while. During this time, I spoke with many other people I know, telling them that I’m considering joining. I was fairly surprised to discover that a good many of the people that I sought advice from were actually masons. I had known some of these people for years and never realized.

The one event that finally pushed me to join was when I spoke to a very good friend of mine several months later and he told me that he had had a similar conversation to mine with the same gentleman that I did and had decided to join several months earlier. He had already filled out the application and had started the process. My friend is someone I have great respect for and the thought of becoming masonic Brothers with him and experiencing the degrees of membership together sealed the deal for me.

I contacted the Master of the local lodge (unbeknownst to me, another acquaintance of mine) and told him I’d like to join. He sent me an application, which I filled out. I was notified that I’d be contacted by an investigative committee, who would want to interview me.

About a week later, I got a call from yet another acquaintance of mine who informed me that he was on the investigative committee and wanted to set up a date for us to get together so he could ask me some questions and tell me about the Freemasons.

We met about a week later. He arrived with another mason that I didn’t know. We sat down and had a very pleasant chat. They asked me about my interest in the masons, asked how much I know about them and my reasons for wanting to join. They verified that my wife and family were ok with me joining and asked if I had any questions. After some Q and A they left and said I’d be hearing from them.

About a month later, I got a call saying that I had been approved by the investigative committee and that I Masonic Ballot Box ( be voted on by the membership at an upcoming meeting. Apparently, there is a process that must be followed which involves my name being announced at two or three meetings, giving everyone a chance to comment. Following this requirement, a formal vote is held at a meeting. A box or container is passed around with black and white spheres or cubes in it. The members will select a white one for a Yes vote or black for a No vote – Hence the term “being blackballed”. They place their selection in a container within the container. The vote must be unanimous in order to bring in a new member. One black vote will rule out the petitioner from joining.

Luckily, I got a letter saying that I had been voted in. At the end of May, I will be attending my initiation and will become an Entered Apprentice.

Once I decided to join, I decided to try to get educated on the topic. I picked up several books including Freemasons For Dummies, Solomon’s Builders, Freemasons: A History and Exploration of the World’s Oldest Secret Society, Born in Blood and Cracking the Freemasons Code.

I chose these books, not wanting to learn any of the masonic secrets, but more a history of the masons and what they do. So far, all of these books have taught me a great deal about the Brotherhood. I’ll be writing reviews of each of them in the near future. In the mean time, I am patiently waiting for my first degree ceremony.

This is my 1st post on Freemasonry. Click here to view my 2nd.

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3 Responses to “Deciding To Become A Freemason”

  • Great site, the start of your journey sounds much like my own, except I can’t find a Mason on steet anywhere since I started looking!

  • JP, Just keep an eye out for Square and Compass badges on the back of cars. Rings are naturally harder to spot when walking down the street, but as I have found, there are a lot more of us out there than you think! 🙂

    God Bless and good luck in your travels!

  • I’ve been trying to become a Mason for two years now. They keep blackballing me. I have done nothing wrong. So it’s strange to me.

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