GET THE FACTS
Browse through some frequently asked questions.
WHAT IS FREEMASONRY?
Freemasonry is a brotherhood of men committed to lives of honor, integrity, and character. The men of Freemasonry are on a journey of self discovery. For hundreds of years, Freemasons, with deep brotherly support, have worked to become the best version of themselves while working to better their communities and our world.
WHY SHOULD I BECOME A FREEMASON?
Becoming a Freemason can help you achieve great personal reward by guiding you to build your moral character and connection to your community. Freemasonry is built upon the core tenets of Brotherly love and affection, relief, and truth. Through a commitment to these values, all Freemasons share the common goal of making good men better. In addition to self improvement, a Freemason is a man eager to be part of something bigger than himself, with a reverence for history, compassion in his heart, and a desire to create a better future.
WHO CAN BE A FREEMASON?
Freemasonry welcomes men of every country, religion, race, age, income, education, and opinion. However, to join Freemasonry, one must meet the following qualifications:
- Be a male at least 18 years of age (the minimum age varies in some jurisdictions, sometimes up to 21)
- Believe in the existence of a Supreme Being, although Freemasonry is not concerned with theological distinctions or particular religious beliefs
- Be of good moral character
- Be motivated to join for reasons unrelated to personal gain or profit
- Your decision to apply is based on your own “free will and accord”
- Be prompted by a favorable opinion of Freemasonry
- Be desirous of earning knowledge and willing to conform to the ancient usages and customs of the fraternity
HOW DO I APPLY TO BECOME A FREEMASON?
The process of applying to become a Freemason can be expedited a few different ways. You can contact your state’s Grand Lodge (the overarching Masonic governing body in your state where you live), find a Masonic lodge in your area that you wish to join, or reach out to a man who is a Freemason and ask for his help. You will submit a petition for membership. Members at the lodge will read your petition and form a small committee to meet with you to determine your qualifications and answer any questions you have regarding Freemasonry.
To take the first step, get in touch with a Freemason representative in your area.
WHAT IS A MASONIC LODGE?
In Freemasonry, the lodge means two things. It refers to a group of Masons coming together in fellowship, and, at the same time, refers to the room or building in which they meet.
There are thousands of Masonic lodges in the U.S. and many more worldwide. The lodge itself typically consists of a lodge room where official business and Masonic rituals are conducted, as well as several additional areas for Brothers to share meals, spend time together, host public and private events, and more.
Learn more about the social and charitable activities that take place in Masonic lodges.
HOW CAN I FIND A MASONIC LODGE NEAR ME?
There are Masonic lodges in or near virtually every city and town in the United States. To find a lodge near you, visit our Get in Touch page and we will connect you with a Grand Lodge in your area. The Grand Lodge in your state will help you find a local lodge.
WHAT ARE THE DEGREES OF FREEMASONRY?
There are three degrees of Freemasonry: Entered Apprentice, Fellowcraft, and Master Mason. These degrees are the three ceremonial stages that a man must complete to become a full member of the Masonic fraternity. Collectively, these degrees are known as the symbolic lodge (often called blue lodge).
The Masonic degrees are loosely based upon the journeyman system, which was used to educate Medieval craftsmen. At each educational stage, a craftsman was required to achieve proficiency before moving to the next stage. Symbolically, the degrees represent the three stages of human development: youth, manhood, and age. By advancing through the degrees, a Freemason learns the moral and ethical lessons of the Masonic rite.
Learn more about the Masonic degrees.
WHAT IS THE HIGHEST RANK IN FREEMASONRY?
The highest rank in Freemasonry is the third degree, that of the Master Mason. While some Masonic organizations offer additional degrees that explore the teachings of Freemasonry in further depth, those degrees are not considered to be higher than the symbolic lodge degrees.
HOW DO I BECOME A MASTER MASON?
To become a Master Mason, you must complete the three degrees of the symbolic lodge. Once you have completed the third degree, you become a full member of Freemasonry, enjoying both the rights and responsibilities of membership.
To begin your journey to becoming a Master Mason, submit a petition for membership at a Masonic lodge in your area. Visit our Get in Touch page to take the first step.
IS FREEMASONRY A RELIGION?
Freemasonry is not a religion or a substitute for religion. Freemasonry does not intrude on the religious beliefs of its members, although it does require that all members profess a belief in a Supreme Being. Men of all faiths are represented in Freemasonry. Religion is not discussed at lodge meetings.
WHY DOES FREEMASONRY USE SYMBOLS?
Freemasonry is a system of morality, veiled in allegory and illustrated by symbols. Symbols allow people to communicate quickly, and to transcend language barriers. When you see a green light or a circle with a line through it, for example, you know what it means. Likewise, Masons use metaphors from geometry and the architecture of stonemasonry to inform their continuing pursuit of knowledge, ethics, and leadership skills.
To reflect their heritage, Masons wear aprons while in lodge, at certain public events, and at funerals to demonstrate their pride in the fraternity, and their lineage from stonemasons, who historically carried their tools in leather aprons. The square and compasses are the most widely known symbol of Masonry: When you see the symbol on a building, you know that Masons meet there.
WHERE DID FREEMASONRY COME FROM?
The exact origins of Freemasonry remain lost in time. The order is thought to have arisen from the English and Scottish guilds of practicing stonemasons and cathedral builders in the Middle Ages. Certain Masonic documents actually trace the sciences of geometry and masonry to the time of ancient Egypt and the building of King Solomon’s Temple.
The formation of the first Grand Lodge in London in 1717 marks the beginning of the Modern (or “Speculative”) era of Freemasonry, when members were no longer limited to actual working stonemasons. These “Accepted” Masons adopted more enlightened philosophies, and turned what was a tradesmen’s organization into a fraternity for moral edification, intellectual recitation, benevolent service, and gentlemanly socialization.
Part of the mystique of Freemasonry can be attributed to speculation about its roots. Over the years, historians have never been able to conclusively determine exactly when, where, how, and why Freemasonry was formed.
HOW MUCH DOES IT COST TO BECOME A FREEMASON?
The cost of becoming a Freemason varies from lodge to lodge. The fees associated with membership include a one-time initiation fee and annual dues, which cover the operational expenses of the lodge. Contact your local lodge to find out the exact costs.