WHAT IS REQUIRED TO BECOME A FREEMASON?
To Join Frank S. Land Lodge, you must have the following qualifications. (The only variables that may be different depending on where you live in the world are age and residency.) To Join Freemasonry in Washington State, you must be:
At least 18 years old
Have the senses of a human, especially those of hearing, seeing and touch
Possess a belief in a supreme being, in whatever form or name
Be capable of reading and writing
Be a resident of Washington State
Be of good moral character
BE A MAN...
The most commonly questioned of these qualifications is why women cannot join Freemasonry. While to some, this rule seems chauvinistic and archaic, we prefer to see it as an equitable and respectful recognition of the benefits of gender-specific institutions. It is of important note to recognize the masonic concordent body of the Order of the Eastern Star, which is in fact how women are included in the larger masonic community. However, we do recognize that this is not true integration.
First of all, we are a Fraternity, and while fraternities are for men, sororities are for women. Separation is a common and well accepted custom reflected in women’s only institutions including the Daughters of the American Revolution, Girl Scouts of America, The Junior League etc., and is even culturally supported by everyday things such as public restrooms.
The benefits of gender specific organizations vary depending on the participant, however, men joining Freemasonry have often expressed the following as their thoughts on the notion of gender exclusivity as an asset in the organization:
“It is great to have guy time”
Friendships with men are different than with women, generally lacking sexual tension, but always being relatable.
Men are more honest with men than with women, allowing the opportunity to build healthier, stronger friendships.
Male-only fraternal loyalty does not often or easily threaten romantic relationships involving women.
It is important to understand that as part of joining Freemasonry, you’re becoming part of a family to whom you promise friendship and support, and who promise friendship and support to you.
BE OF AT LEAST 18 YEARS OF AGE...
This requirement changes from grand jurisdiction to grand jurisdiction, however, the phraseology is that a petitioner must be “of lawful age.” That is often equal to the voting age of the state or country. For this reason, it is smart to simply use the voting age of the country as the assumed lawful age for joining Freemasonry. Keep in mind that in the United States, the Grand Jurisdiction resides with the Grand Lodges of each given state. However, other countries have different structures. For instance, the Grand Lodge of England encompasses all of the British Commonwealth.
HAVE HUMAN SENSES...
The experiences of the degrees require adequate sight, sound, and dexterity in order to safely and effectively experience the degrees and learn their lessons. This requirement is not meant to be discriminatory to people with certain disabilities, but is to ensure that anyone beginning the journey of Freemasonry is properly equipped to complete it to its fullest extent.
POSSESS BELIEF IN A SUPREME BEING...
The only religious requirement of Freemasonry is that anyone petitioning the degrees of Masonry not be an “Atheist.” This is not to limit anyone’s freedom of religion, but rather to ensure that its members believe that there is a greater power than themselves. Any person joining Freemasonry ought to believe that they are serving a higher calling, and that their actions have consequences that carry beyond the grave. This predicates action that is accountable, and necessitates the effort for improvement of oneself, others and the world.
It should be known that Freemasonry is not a religion, even though it includes religious principles specifically from the Judeo-Christian traditions. Even though the Bible is one of the centerpieces of the Lodge and quotes from the New Testament are recited in Lodge, it is not necessary that a Freemason be a Protestant. In fact, at Queen Anne Lodge, we have Jewish, Catholic, Muslim, Buddhist, and Agnostic members. All traditions are equally accepted and respected as validly fulfilling the required belief in a supreme being.
BE OF GOOD MORAL CHARACTER...
This last and most important qualification is the subject of investigation. Rather than constructing stone buildings we are building towers of men, neighborhoods and countries, with the goal to build them stronger to better support the prosperity of future generations. Because of this, being of good character is the most important qualification of becoming a Freemason. It has been said that joining Freemasonry makes good men better.
It should be known that upon petitioning a Lodge, an investigation committee will be assigned by the worshipful master, with the purpose of interviewing the petitioner and their references to determine their motives for joining and to understand the nature of their character. The investigation committee then reports their findings to the Lodge, prior to the vote of election to the degrees of Masonry. That vote must be unanimous. One black ball during the vote will disqualify that man from joining our order.