How to Become a Freemason

The Requirements

Square, compasses, and a trowelAnyone meeting the following primary requirements may petition the lodge for membership:

A. One must be an adult male (18 years old or older) of good character and recommended by a Mississippi Mason.

B. One must believe in a Supreme Being—no atheist can become a Mason—but we are not concerned with theological distinctions or your particular religious beliefs.

C. One must be interested in becoming a Mason because he holds a favorable opinion of our institution; and, one's decision to apply is based his "own free will and accord"; that is, no one is compelled to join. Not all men can become Masons, however. Masonry does not purport to make "bad men good," only "good men better." This distinction is critical in that from its early days the Fraternity took itself out of the "rehabilitation" game—which is the purview of religion and the criminal justice system. Only men of good character are accepted into the Fraternity. Masonic lodges review every applicant's character—and the centuries-old "blackball" system is still in place; candidates for the degrees must be voted by a 100% vote of the lodge members present.

The Process

Because Masons have not traditionally recruited members, and do not hold public meetings, there has long been confusion about how to join the Fraternity. Does someone invite you? Do you ask? For a man who meets the requirements listed above, it is really quite simple: A man can become a Mason by simply asking a member of the lodge. Let one of us know of your interest and we will provide you with a petition. If you are unanimously elected by the members of a lodge, joining the Fraternity involves going through three "degrees": Entered Apprentice, Fellow Craft, and Master Mason. Every man accepted into the Fraternity goes through the three degrees, thereby making each an equal to the others in the lodge. Typically they are conferred over the course of three months or so.

What if I don't know a Mason?

It is quite possible you know a Mason but you just don't realize it. If your father, uncles, or grandfathers aren't Masons, they probably know someone who is. You might also want to ask around your workplace or school, church, or gym—anywhere that you find a group of men, you might find a Mason. Although Masons tend to be very proud of their association with the Fraternity, they are often uncomfortable talking about it. It is particularly difficult for them to speak with their friends or family members because they don’t want to push Masonry on them. They might very well be looking forward to the opportunity to speak with you; more importantly, they would be honored to sponsor you for membership. If you don’t know anyone who is a Mason and you are a complete stranger to all of the members of the lodge, you are going to want to take some time getting to know them. But they are going to want to take some time getting to know you too. Once you are ready to ask, a member of the lodge will sign your petition.

Time and Financial Commitments

Becoming a Mason takes several months from the time you complete your petition until you have finished your degrees. Once the degree work begins you will need to attend the lodge's monthly meeting. There is also some side work that you will need to complete that amounts to a little bit of homework. Every member of the Fraternity has gone through this process and your lodge will assign a Brother to help you. Once you have completed your three degrees, we expect our members to attend their lodge's "Stated Communication," or monthly meeting. Sometimes there will be a special meeting on a second night in a month. Beyond that, there are other activities going on: community service, family and social outings, etc., that take place throughout the year. We hope our members will participate in the events that their time and interest allows. We also recognize and understand the need for a balance between your family, work or school, and other interests and commitments. There is a one-time initiation fee set by the lodge, which is $75 at Cleveland Lodge (the initiation fee differs from lodge to lodge). There are annual dues, which are $30 at Cleveland Lodge (which also differs from lodge to lodge).

The Benefits

There are numerous benefits to becoming a Mason, but they tend to be personal and they are also quite varied. And they can only be truly discovered by becoming a member. But to try and give you an idea: without question the opportunity to experience camaraderie and fellowship with a group of men across the boundaries of age, race, religion, culture, and opinion is a fundamental aspect of the Fraternity; many find great value and knowledge in our ritual ceremony that uses symbolism and metaphors to encourage and remind us to appreciate principles, ethics, and morality, and to live our lives accordingly; others find great satisfaction in our charitable efforts, community service, and the support we provide our members and their families; finally, for those who take on leadership positions within their lodge, they develop or further very practical management skills.