Freemasonry is the oldest and largest fraternal organization in the world. Its members and organizations can be found in every free country in the world. Freemasons associate with other men who believe in such things as honor, integrity, patriotism, toleration, truth, compassion, friendship, trust, and knowledge. We firmly believe these tenants are important assets that every man should possess and strive for in their daily life.
Masonry Does Not Seek, It Must Be Sought
One of the ancient landmarks of the fraternity is that it does not solicit new members. Many good men over the years have had their feelings hurt because close friends whom they knew to be Masons never invited them to join Freemasonry. They did not know, of course, that these close friends were prohibited by Masonic law from issuing such invitations. A man must seek Masonic membership of his own free will and accord.
This circumstance has, as noted, caused some hurt feelings and, in some instances, even hard feelings. It can cause difficulty for Mason and non-Mason alike. It is naturally hard for a man to understand why his father, or his brother, or his very best friend, has never asked him to become a Freemason. On the other hand, a Mason can ache to urge Masonic membership upon someone particularly close to him, someone he knows would be a credit to the fraternity, but he is hemmed in by the Masonic law. So it could be reasonably asked why Freemasonry imposes this prohibition, why it will not permit its members to invite others to join them in Masonic membership.
The fraternity has always taken the stand that it would be impossible to draw the line if invitations to membership were permitted. Admittedly, with invitations, it would gain some good members. Most members would invite only those men who would be good Masons. But, some members would be ruled by their hearts and not their heads, often inviting men out of affectionate regard without properly considering their moral worth from a Masonic standpoint. Besides, the resourceful Mason can always find an opening in casual conversation to let certain individuals know that Masonry does not seek, it must be sought. Further bolstering the fraternity’s position is the indisputable fact that the man who becomes a Mason of his own free will and desire is much more likely to become a strong and useful member than is one who comes by invitation.
Things to consider before you join
Once a man begins thinking of applying for Masonic membership, there are a number of factors he should seriously consider.
He should make certain he has a general idea of what Masonry is all about. That is one of the prime purposes of this page, the man who reads it in its entirety should be able to determine if the fraternity is really what he thought it was if it is really something he wishes to become a part of. Freemasonry is not for everyone, if a man is not going to be an interested member, he will do himself and the fraternity a service if he never applies.
A man interested in applying for Masonic membership should inquire into the financial obligations membership would entail. The cost of Masonic membership is well within the means of the average man.
He should examine his own life style and determine if it will suit him to be a Mason.
Just everyday men
From much that has already been said here, it could be assumed that Freemasons are prudes and will accept none but prudes into their ranks, but this is not the case. The fraternity recognizes the inevitability of human frailty and harbors no illusions about finding or creating perfect men. It only hopes to make good men better men.
A man is seldom rejected for Masonic membership simply because he is known to take an occasional drink, but he is virtually certain of rejection if it is known he is addicted to the bottle or that his occasional drink is cause for unseemly behavior.
The fact that a man is divorced is, in itself, not cause for rejection, but if he has abused his wife or their children he can forget about any likelihood of being accepted into Masonry.
If a man has at some time, despite his best efforts, gotten behind in his financial or other obligations, that fact likely will not be held against him; if he has failed to meet his obligations when capable of doing so he will probably be rejected by Masonry.
In summary, Freemasons will not knowingly elect bad apples into their order, they wish new members to be better men than themselves—at least as good. Masons do not claim to be or wish to be reformers, but they do believe a good man coming into the fraternity will become a better man as a result of his membership.
Once a man decides to seek Masonic membership he must be recommended by members of the lodge, and he must submit to a background investigation. Following a prescribed waiting period, his petition will be balloted upon during a regular meeting of the lodge. The vote is by secret ballot, and the election of a petitioner requires a unanimously favorable ballot.
To meet the necessary qualifications for membership in a Masonic Lodge under the auspices of the Grand Lodge of Florida, you must:
- Be a man (The Order of the Eastern Star welcomes women)
- Be at least 18 years of age
- Be of good moral character
- Be of sound mind and body (physically challenged men are not excluded)
- Be recommended by two members of the Lodge to which you are applying
- Have a personal faith and belief in God
Masonry teaches that without belief and devotion to God, a man is lost. However, Freemasonry does not presume to dictate which religious faith he should practice. That is between the individual and his God. Keep in mind Freemasonry is a fraternity, NOT A RELIGION.
Should you have interest in joining our fraternity, seek out a Mason and ask him for a petition. A Master Mason may not solicit you to become a Mason, you must make the inquiry.
If you do not know a Mason personally and live in Tallahassee, you may contact Jackson Lodge № 1, F. & A. M. directly via phone, email, or by visiting in person, we meet on the First and Third Monday of every month. We would be glad to have you join us.