How do I join?
Thank you for expressing an interest in Freemasonry by seeking out this information. To become a mason you must meet the qualifications and be accepted by a Lodge. There are a lot of misconceptions surrounding Freemasons and their activities. The following may answer some of your questions or worries.
What is Freemasonry?
It is the world's oldest and largest fraternity dating back at least to the Middle Ages. Its purpose is to promote the bonds of friendship, compassion and brotherly love. Politics has no role in it. Neither is it a religion as some would have you believe but rather a friend and promoter of all religions which are based on the belief in one God. Regardless of their position in society, Freemasons meet as equals. One of the most fascinating aspects of Freemasonry has always been how so many men from so many different walks of life can meet together in peace, never discuss politics or engage in religious debates, conduct their affairs in harmony and friendship, and call each other "Brother".
What do we do?
Freemasons are respectable citizens who are taught to respect and conform to the moral laws of society and to abide by the laws of the country or state in which they reside. They are men of charity and good works who strive to support those less fortunate than themselves both inside and outside the order.
What are the qualifications?
Freemasonry is proud of its philosophy and practice of "making good men better." Only individuals believed to be of good character are favourably considered for membership. Every applicant must be 21 years of age or more and respected in his locality.
What goes on at a meeting?
A Masonic meeting can be compared to a committee meeting or to a small "parliament" with various officers performing specific functions - Chairman (called the "Worshipful Master"), Secretary, Treasurer and so on. Items on an agenda are taken sequentially and will typically involve a ceremony, involving a candidate, which dramatises his inner growth in morality and ethics, using the symbols and metaphors of Biblical revelation and the tools of the Mediaeval stonemasons. Announcements are made and the business of the lodge dealt with. Proposals requiring assent are put to a vote. The atmosphere is convivial, but dignified. The meeting is usually followed by a supper or dinner, called a Festive Board, depending on the occasion, which is again convivial. If this description appears limited, it is not because Masons have sinister secrets to hide, but because to reveal what goes on in detail would spoil the enjoyment of the ceremonies for those who have yet to participate in them.
So how do I find a lodge to join?
There is a popular misconception that to become a Mason one needs to be invited to join, that there is some cloak and dagger operation involved. In fact the reverse is true - a longstanding convention within Freemasonry is that it is the potential candidate who should do the asking! Some American lodges have the phrase "To be one, ask one." If you know a friend or neighbour who is a Mason and you have a notion of joining just ask him. He will be delighted to talk with you as all Masons are proud to be members of their own Lodge.
If there is no one to whom you can turn why not just E-mail the Grand Secretary for more details and the name of the secretary of a Lodge near to you. No one will twist your arm. Your name will be put before the Lodge. A committee (of perhaps two or three) will talk to you to ascertain that you are a man of good character and that you believe in God (Atheism and Freemasonry are incompatible). The committee will report its recommendation back to the Lodge. A vote will be taken and, if found acceptable, you will be on your way to being a fully fledged Mason and you will have joined the oldest global brotherhood in the world.