One of the most common misconceptions about Freemasonry, and there are many such misconceptions, is that you have to be invited to join. Nothing could be further from the truth.
There is absolutely no reason why you should not ask to join. In fact, that is the more correct procedure! The first and most important step is to satisfy yourself that Freemasonry is an organisation you really want to join, and that you have no expectations that will not be met. Freemasonry involves a selfless committment in time, effort and money and you should be aware that those who have joined because they had been mislead into thinking it would give them business or career advantages have invariably been disappointed and resigned their membership after a short time.
There are certain things that are formally required, before an application for membership can be accepted:
- Belief in a Supreme Being. We need to be satisfied that you have such a belief. That belief will, of course, depend upon your own religion. There is absolutely no bias or preference in favour of one religion or another.
- Freedom of choice. We need to be assured that you are acting entirely of your own volition, and that you are under no pressure from anybody else.
- You are male and over 21 years of age. Although in some circumstances, admission can be gained from the age of 18. There are two separate organisations (in England and Wales) for women Freemasons.
- You are known to be of good character and without a criminal record.
A suitable Lodge has to be selected. The choice depends on practical things such as the convenience of the meeting dates, and the ability to get to the meeting places.
The Lodge will require any prospective member to be interviewed by members of the Lodge Committee. This is not a grilling. It is intended to ensure the following things before you finally make up your mind:
- That you do not have unreasonable expectations in terms of benefits of membership.
- That you have discussed it with your immediate family, and they support your decision.
- That you know what it will cost, and what is expected by way of charitable contribution.
- That you understand the genuine principles of Freemasonry, and will support and uphold them.
- That you are in a position to make a regular attendance at Lodge meetings.
- That you can ask any questions that may be on your mind, and receive frank and helpful answers.
There may be others, according to the circumstances of particular Lodges.
If you wish to proceed, and if the Committee are satisfied that you are clear about what you propose to do, there will be a ballot among the Lodge members, normally within a couple of months. If you know of any reason why any existing member may not wish you to join, you should discuss this frankly with the Committee beforehand. Your views and comments are treated with strictest confidence, and they may be able to help you overcome the problem. Subject to an acceptable ballot, you will be advised of the arrangements for you to join. You should be aware that you can, at any time, withdraw your application.