Joining the Fraternity
Joining an organisation such as the Freemasons is a serious undertaking. It can bestow great benefits in terms of friendships and opportunities to help the less fortunate, but it may clash with other important lifestyle commitments. Therefore, the following step-by-step guide is used to ensure that prospective members are encouraged to join for the right reasons, and at the right time in their lives.
- The first and most important step is to satisfy yourself that it is an organisation you really want to join, and have no expectations that will not be met. In particular, those who have joined because they had been misled 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 is accepted:
- Belief in a Supreme Being. This depends on an individual's religion, and there is no bias or preference in favour of one or another.
- Freedom of choice. We need to be assured that you are acting entirely under your own volition, and are under no pressure from anybody else.
- You are over 21 years of age.
- You are known to be of good character.
- A suitable Lodge has to be selected. The choice depends on where you are already known, and on practical things such as the convenience of the meeting dates, and the ability to get to the meeting places.
- A proposer and seconder must be found in the selected Lodge. While it is preferred that these people have known you for a long time, there are cases where a person can be vouched for by members of other Lodges (perhaps in other parts of the country), and can be proposed on comparatively short acquaintance on that recommendation.
- 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 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 situation of particular Lodges.
- If you wish to proceed, and if the Committee are sure 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 can at any time withdraw your application.
ARE YOU THE SON OF A FREEMASON?
If your father was a Freemason, you were almost certainly brought up according to Masonic principles, although you probably do not realise it - principles such as those of tolerance, trust and compassion. These principles are of course not specifically or exclusively Masonic, but they are principles which Freemasonry promotes and strengthens in its members.
It is common knowledge that Freemasonry teaches its lessons using the symbolism of stonemasons' tools and materials and we choose the "stones" we work with very carefully from the "quarry" of the outside world. You, however, having been brought up by these principles, are partly prepared already; this is why we have a special term for the son of a Mason. We call him a "Lewis."
A Lewis is a wedge-shaped cramp, which is inserted into an undercut hole in the top of a heavy block of stone, in order to lift it. It is made of three pieces of metal - each of the two outer ones being half of the wedge shape and the middle one being a spacer that pushes the two outer pieces apart, into the sides of the undercut hole.
It may be that you never talked to your father about Freemasonry and he may not have talked much about it to you; for many years Freemasons were unnecessarily secretive about the values of the Craft. It may be that he is no longer with us so that you cannot speak to him about this or indeed about anything else. But have you ever wondered what it was that he found in Freemasonry? What he valued so highly? Why not join us and find out? Discover a part of your father that you may not realise even existed.