Becoming A Freemason
Written By Most Worshipful Paul F. Gleason
This question was answered for me by my wife over forty years ago with a resounding yes. Now, as the Grand Master of Masons in Massachusetts, I have to strain to remember the questions I had when I was considering becoming a Mason. My memory is clouded by the years of joy, friends, and self-betterment — you’d have to check with my wife on that last one!
Below are answers to some of most common questions you may have.
What am I joining?
You are joining the oldest fraternity in the world filled with men of good character. Everyone here believes in a Supreme Being and comes together to help each other. In the process of our lodge, charitable, and civic work, Masons become the best men they can be. You will find friendship, a sounding board, and a wonderful night out each month with your Masonic Brothers. You are joining a fine group of men, all vetted as you will be, on a road of living that will help you to be a better man.
How do I become a better man?
It all starts with regular attendance at your home lodge. In lodge we learn about virtue, express our faith, and show examples of better choices. In addition, in lodge the Master and lodge Brothers decide on the ancillary actions the lodge will take. For example, a lodge can decide to make a donation, volunteer to help, or support good causes in other ways.
When your lodge decides to help with a charity, it gives each member an opportunity to do something for others. Usually, the first few times there is less of an impact on each individual Mason. However, when this becomes a habit, Masons often find themselves being more charitable in general. When a habit, Masons can look to their every- day life and see good moments for charity in the neighbor- hood, at work, and with friends.
Whom will I meet at Lodge?
First and foremost: friends. Your Brothers within your lodge will get to know you and you will get to know them. There will be a bonding through the initiation process, the same process Bro. George Washington went through, that is enhanced at every meal, every Masonic event. You will have people to talk to when you are troubled as well as the opportunity to help your Brothers conquer the issues in their lives.
But beyond your close lodge Brothers, there is the extended family of Masonry. You will be welcomed in thousands of other lodges across the country and around the world. If you travel, you will be welcomed by men of similar high character. A business trip can be as lonely as a clicker in a hotel room. As a Mason, any business trip, vacation, camping trip, almost anywhere, you will have an evening available in a lodge that that will make your night and trip shine.
What about my family and work: Is there an impact?
The short answer is yes. But in a couple of senses.
In one sense, there is a profound impact. Over your time as a Freemason, you will find your relations with workers and family will improve as you improve as a man.
In another sense, there is an impact in terms of time. There are events in Freemasonry that are for Masons only and other events that are for Masons and their families. The good you get from your betterment should outweigh the time spent away from family.
If ever any Mason puts Freemasonry above family or work, then other Masons will help him get his life back into balance. Family and work responsibilities are always first; Freemasonry is not the most important thing in our lives.
My friends are joining — is it a fad?
Freemasonry is a very, very old fraternity: the origins are suspected, but not known. It is thought to date back to the building of King Solomon’s Temple, but there is a document about Freemasonry that dates from 1390. The suspicion is that the origins are with the stone mason guilds of the Middle Ages. After a time these operative masonry guilds began to allow “speculative” Masons, or Freemasons, into their guilds. These Freemasons did not work in stone, but used the tools of architecture to teach moral lessons.
In 1717, in England, four lodges met and formed a Grand Lodge. The Grand Lodge of Massachusetts was formed, with the consent of the English Grand Lodge, in 1733, the third Grand Lodge in the world.
Over a course of time as long as this, the membership will reach peaks and valleys. The person who handed this to you is a Mason. Think about your friends, relatives, and co-workers who are Masons and think about the good in them. They were good men to begin with, or they couldn’t be Masons, but you may ask them if being a Mason made them better. In all likelihood, they will say yes.
Who is in charge of Masonry?
Well, no one really. Every state in the USA has a Grand Master who works for his jurisdiction. I am the Grand Master of Masons in Massachusetts, but there are others. Other Grand Masters are country-wide — that is not how it works in the United States.
While there is a hierarchy, it is a hierarchy of responsibility not of worth or value. The Master of a lodge runs “his” lodge for his term. But, from me, the Grand Master of Masons in Massachusetts, to the Master of your lodge, to the newest Master Mason, we all can “meet on the level” — which is to say, we are equals.
If I join, what do I have to do?
Well, the first and most important step is to join and attend a lodge, at times called a “blue lodge.” You will be a candidate until you have been fully initiated as a Master Mason.
After that, it is up to you. Most lodges meet once a month, either 10 or 12 times a year. In those meetings, you will either be witnessing men becoming Masons or discussing upcoming Masonic events. You can attend or not. These events are Masonic get togethers, charity events, or civic events. You may find, as many do, that you will have many, many events that you would like to attend. We have a lot of fun and do a lot of good! But when you can say yes, when you can involve your significant other or family, you will not be disappointed.
Beyond the events, there are the appendant bodies. This means groups of Masons who have formed into another group. All of the members are Masons or Mason related. They are the Shriners, York Rite, Scottish Rite, and many others. For others, there is DeMolay, for boys, Rainbow, for girls, and Eastern Star, for Masons and the women related to them.
Why do you want me to be a Mason?
I have a number of reasons. First and foremost is for you. The person who gave you this saw something in you. He saw that you had the potential to be a Mason. I had that same potential. Had I not joined, my life would have been less joyous, less full.
In addition, I believe our influence as individual Masons— Masonry does not get involved in political matters—will better the world we live in. I want our lives and the lives of all around us to be better. We do this by improving ourselves and living our improved lives for the bene t of all. It is a big job and I need all the help I can get!
Think about it. Chat with your family. I hope you become a Mason. Your life will become a marvelous journey with Brothers by your side.