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Joining Information and Contacts
Who can become a Freemason?
A Quick Overview
If there is one thing most people are sure they
know, it's that Masons are never supposed to talk about Masonry.
Not true. Oh, there are some secrets - but there's nothing in them that would interest anyone except a Mason. Almost all of the "secrets" deal with ways of recognizing each other.
But as far as Freemasonry, what it does, what it teaches, how it's organized, where it came from, what goes on in a Lodge meeting - that's open for discussion. Given a chance, we'll probably tell you more than you really wanted to know. We're excited about the Fraternity, we get a lot out of it, and we really want to share that with others.
Then why hasn't anyone ever asked me to
join? People have asked me to join Rotary, Lions, and other clubs ?
What goes on in a Masonic Meeting?
There are two types of meeting agenda. The
first is like the business meeting of any other organization. It
takes us just a bit longer to call the meeting to order, because we
use a longer opening ceremony or ritual than most civic clubs do.
But, it reminds us of some of the most important lessons in
Masonry. Then, when the lodge is "open", we hear the reading
of the minutes, vote to pay bills, take care of old and new
business, and plan projects, just like everyone else. The other type of meeting is one in which new members
are received. This is done with a beautiful ritual, centuries old,
which is designed to teach some important lessons and to start the
person thinking about his own nature as a spiritual being.
The Ceremonies of Masonic Initiation are meaningful and historic. Nothing humorous or embarrassing is permitted. In fact, it is a very serious Masonic offence to allow anything to happen during an initiation which is undignified or "funny".
Masonry acknowledges the existence of God. No
atheist can become a Mason. Prayer is an important part of the
Masonic ritual. Masonic vows are taken in the name of God, but Masonry never tries to tell a person how he
should think about God, or how he should worship God, or why he
should believe. We offer no plan of salvation. We teach that man
should live a good life, not because that alone will earn him
entrance into heaven, but because anything else is
destructive, both to himself and to those around him. It is
good to be good. As to whether a man can be a Mason and a Christian,
the best answer is that most us are. There are many Free Masons who
belong to other faiths, including Judaism, Islam, Hinduism and
Buddhism, but the majority in Australia are Christian. And we
number many, many ministers of many different
denominations. As Dr. Norman Vincent Peale, an active Freemason
himself, once remarked: "Masonry encourages men to be good and that
can never conflict with Christianity".
What about those "Secret Vows" I hear so much about?
The exact words of the vows are secret. That's
one of the ways we recognize each other. The contents of the vows
are not. In less formal language than we use in the Ritual, a Mason promises: "to treat women with deference
and respect, to help a Brother when he asks for and needs help, to
remember that people are entitled to dignity and respect and not to
treat them as if they were things, to follow the directions of the
Grand Lodge in things Masonic, and if he disagrees, to use the proper channels to express that disagreement
and seek resolution, to respect the traditions of the Fraternity,
and to keep secret the
Why don't you let women join?
We're a Fraternity, a Brotherhood. The essence of a fraternity is that it is for men, just as the essence of a sorority is that it is for women. That's the primary reason. Recent developments in psychology and sociology have discovered another reason. There is a new thing called "male bonding." That's the new technical way of saying something that has been known for thousands of years. It's important for men to have a few things they do by themselves, just as it is for women to have the same thing. But that doesn't mean that there is no place for women in Masonry. In fact, there are several Masonic organizations for both women and men. The order of the Eastern Star, with one of the most beautiful rituals anywhere, is one. So are the White Shrine of Jerusalem, the Order of Amaranth, the Social Order of Beauseant, and several others.
Just what is a "Lodge?" What does it look like? Who runs it?
A lodge is both a meeting place for Masons and the Masons who meet there. You could actually say "The Lodge is a meeting at the Lodge." It's a Middle English word. When the great cathedrals of the Middle Ages were being built, the masons had special, temporary buildings built against the side of the cathedral in which they met, received their pay, planned the work on the cathedral and socialized after work. This building was called a lodge. The term has simply remained down through the ages.
If that is the Lodge, what is the "Grand Lodge?"
The Grand Lodge is the State Organization of Masons. The local Lodges are members of the Grand Lodge. The Grand Master is the same as the State President.
Just what do Masons do?
Charity is the most visible Masonic activity.
Each year Masons give many millions of dollars to charity. Some are
large projects, some are small. Among the hundreds of local projects, we sponsor large programs
particularly to aged care, and youth programs, as well as we have strong commitments to public education. Many
Lodges have programs in which they recognize outstanding students. The Fraternity gives
many college scholarships to students each year. In Tasmania we give
support and assistance to annual programs such as the Giving
tree walk, for our less privileged children in our community.
All those things are external, and they are important. But the real things the Masons do are far more difficult to describe. In essence, we try to build ourselves into better men, better fathers, better husbands and better citizens. We strive for self development and self improvement. We try to learn more about what it means to be human and what it takes to become better men.
How does a man become a Mason?
As we said earlier, no one will ever twist your arm. If you decide you want more information, we'll be happy to provide it through the Grand Lodge in your jurisdiction. If you want to join our Fraternity it works this way: "Ask any Mason for a petition (to join). Fill it out and return it to him. He'll take it to his Lodge and turn it in. A committee (of about three) will be appointed to talk with you and with people you may list. Its purpose is to ascertain that you are a man of good character and that you believe in God. Atheism and Freemasonry are not compatible. The committee will report its recommendation back to the Lodge. The Lodge will vote. If your petition is accepted, the Secretary will contact you about a date for the first of three degrees. There is some study and a bit of memory work required with which your Lodge Brothers will always help you. After the Third Degree you will be a full-fledged Master Mason and will have joined the oldest global brotherhood in the world!
Our fraternity has a wonderful history, which
back more than three centuries. It is one of the
world's oldest secular fraternities, a society of men
concerned with moral and spiritual values. Founded on
the three great principles of Brotherly Love, Relief
and Truth, it aims to bring together men of goodwill,
regardless of background and differences.
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