It is always amazing to hear the views some people have of Freemasonry, and in this case what some believe is needed to become a Freemason.
For example, I am told that in Lebanon, apparently, these strange views on membership of Freemasonry are prolific. So let me explain just what is required and what is irrelevant to becoming a Freemason.
Firstly, there is no requirement for a family member to be or have been a Freemason, anyone who meets the criteria listed below can ask to become a member. Remember, a hint may be given, but you are never “invited” to become a Freemason, it must be of your own free will and accord.
The child of a Freemason is known as a Lewis. This is a reference to a tool used in stonemasonry that provides an anchorage in a large stone which enables lifting tackle to be attached to assist in the raising and lowering of such stones to the required heights and set them in place with safety and precision. In Freemasonry, the son of a Mason, a Lewis, has a duty to bear the heat of the day from which his parents, by reason of their age, ought to be exempt; to help them in time of need, and thereby render the close of their days happy and comfortable. His privilege in joining as a Lewis, other than being allowed to become a Freemason at the age of 18 (the normal age is 21), is to able to “jump the queue” and become the next in line for initiation; he has no other privileges. However, these days the age 18 “rule” has been extended to University students and dispensation can be sought (and is usually granted) to others. It is of no consequence that the Freemason parent of the new member (or Lewis) is deceased, there would never be any discrimination regarding being an orphan, this idea is totally ridiculous.
Freemasonry is open to both men and women, and has been open for women since the 19th century and for men since it’s evolution through the 100+ years leading to the formation of the first acknowledged Grand Lodge in 1717. In regular Freemasonry, men and women meet independently of each other and neither man nor woman can visit each other’s Lodge. However, there does exist co-Freemasonry (for men and women to meet together), regular Freemasons would not be allowed to visit a co-Freemasonry Lodge either.
There are also some strange rumours regarding sexual activity of a joining member. The virginity of either a man or a woman is totally irrelevant to membership of Freemasonry. This invasion of privacy is totally irrelevant and the subject would never be approached, asked about or discussed in any way. Should a woman have lost her virginity through rape, only sympathy and understanding would be offered by the Masonic Fraternity, not judgement and scorn. But any man who committed such an offence against a woman would automatically be barred from membership (and imprisoned in the UK). Any man known to beat or harm a woman in any way would also be barred from membership. This uncivilised behaviour is unbecoming of a Freemason.
It should be noted that all Freemasons undertake an obligation that ensures, not only that we keep Masonic “secrets” within the Lodge, but also to “respect the chastity of a Freemason’s wife, sister or child.”
Prior to Joining Freemasonry under the United Grand Lodge of England a declaration must be signed, but in essence, all new members must be of good character and of good report. A similar application is required in a woman’s Freemasonry Lodge.
The basic principles of membership in regular Freemasonry are:
- Belief in a Supreme Being (God).
- A candidate must ask to become a member and be proposed and seconded in open Lodge; membership is not by invitation. A private ballot is undertaken that determines acceptance.
- The application is voluntary and has not been coerced in any way.
- The applicant must have a favourable opinion of Freemasonry and not have any mercenary motive.
- The applicant must have reached the minimum age (as described above).
- The applicant must be willing to follow the rules laid down in the Book of Constitutions.
- The applicant does not seek preferment or financial gain.
- The applicant must have high moral values, a criminal record will exclude.There may be some extenuating circumstances that may admit such an applicant.
The applicant will be visited at home and interviewed by two senior Freemasons with his wife or partner, should he/she have one, to be sure that his/her partner is in full agreement of the commitment that is required of membership. Freemasonry isn’t free so the applicant must be sure he/she can meet all financial and time commitments required of him/her and his/her partner is in full agreement. The last thing Freemasonry desires is disharmony at home.
Freemasonry is not Jewish, nor is it Christian, but Freemasonry is open to all monotheistic religions. Freemasonry in itself is not a religion and religious and political discussions, are at all times strictly forbidden within a Freemasons’ Lodge (at least within a regular Freemasons’ Lodge).
These articles are written and researched by W Bro Steve Froggatt PPJGD, former Chaplain of Neptune Lodge No 5150 EC. Steve was initiated into Freemasonry in 1986.They do not represent the view of any Grand or Provincial Grand Lodge.
© Copyright 2019 Al-Khabar/Stephen Froggatt all rights reserved