Common questions about our fraternity:
Q. I know a man who is a Mason, but he has never asked me to join. Why? Doesn't he think I'm worthy?
A. Masons have historically been prohibited from asking anyone to join, and most are still very uncomfortable doing so. If you are interested, you should ask - your friend would most likely be thrilled if you did, because it is a great honor to sponsor a man to become a Mason! When you ask, you are paying the man a compliment - that you think highly enough of him and what he stands for that you might like to learn more about him and the Lodge. If you are just curious, ask questions. You will probably get invited to attend an event and meet some of the people.
"Ask, and it shall be given to you; seek and ye shall find; knock and it shall be opened unto you" (Matt. 7:7)
Q. What are the requirements to join Freemasonry?
A. Three things:
- You must be a man of good intelligence, sound moral character, and of lawful age (18 yrs old in Pennsylvania). These qualifications are necessary to enable a man to take an active part in the lodge, to understand the meaning of the work and to be accepted as a Brother.
- He must apply for admission of his own free will, without solicitation, selfish or mercenary motives. Masonry accepts as members only those who have conceived such a favorable opinion of the fraternity and its ideas that they wish to become united with it in its fellowship and its work for mutual profit; and this desire for mutual profit must be unselfish, for an intellectual, moral and spiritual profit, not for personal power or place, not business, professional, financial, or political advantages. Masonry asks no man to unite with it, and it carefully scans the motives of those who seek admission.
- The candidate must believe in a Supreme Being and in the immortality of the soul. Masonry does not inquire into the creed of a candidate or of a Brother. It admits members of any sect so long as they believe in the fundamental doctrines of Masonry.
Q. How much does it cost?
A. Dues and Initiation fees vary from Lodge to Lodge. Initiation fees for the three degrees of Masonry are $350.00 at Shiloh-MacCalla Lodge. Yearly dues are $90.00 at Shiloh-MacCalla Lodge. Events that involve a major meal such as Breakfast, Lunch, or Dinner may have a fee to help cover costs.
Q. What are Masons about? What do they do?
A. Masonry means different things to different people. People get out of Masonry what they put into it. For some, its the charitable nature of the lodge as an organization, for some it's the moral truths that are brought to light when they receive the degrees. For others, its the great history of the Masonic lodge and being a part of an ancient institution that will be there long after they are gone. For some it's simply because their father or grandfather was a Mason and they want to follow in their footsteps. Some people enjoy the fellowship and social aspects of the lodge. But for everyone, it is one of the greatest events of their life when they join the Masonic Fraternity.
Q. What is all the secrecy involving the Masons about?
A. So much material has been published about Masonry that very little remains secret. Much of the Degree ritual is published in some states. The primary "secrets" are the modes of recognition and passwords that Masons can use to identify themselves to another Mason.
The problem for a non-mason looking at different authors on the subject of Freemasonry is determining what is true and what isn't. Many people have purported themselves to be experts on the subject, but are not Masons. Also, Masons who write on masonic subjects can only speak for themselves as individuals. Grand Lodges are the only official source of information within the boundaries of a state. There is no "national" Grand Lodge. If material has been published by a Grand Lodge in one of the states, it is most likely a valid source of information. Opinions and speculation of individuals should generally be discounted.
More information can be found at the Grand Lodge site.