You have shown an interest in Freemasonry and, no doubt you have been speaking to a friend or a colleague about it. He has told you enough to make you curious and to seek more information. This page is designed to help you in that quest. We try to be fair in our assumptions and to offer you an explanation of the Craft – as we Freemasons like to call it- that will readily be confirmed by the experience of any Freemason.
It is not normal for a Freemason to blatantly recruit, this is in fact discouraged. But where a Brother feels that a friend or colleague would enjoy the fellowship of the craft and would maintain the standards that we set ourselves, then it is allowed for him to make an approach. There are a number of reasons why men are attracted to the brotherhood. It may just be intellectual curiosity. It is more likely to be because the enquirer has seen a friend or colleague who they respect, clearly enjoy their Freemasonry and are proud to be members of the fraternity.
Before we can accept a new member, we require to know a number of things about him. You see, we do expect very high standards of behaviour from all members of the Craft and we need to satisfy ourselves that the person seeking to join will not let us down. We need to examine his motive for joining. Anyone who seeks advancement in his career or business, or expects to make material gain will not be admitted. We need to know that he will be a credit to the Craft and indeed be a true brother among brothers. However, apart from being of mature age, that is over twenty one years of age, there is one essential requirement – to be a Freemason a man must have a belief in a Supreme Being (a God). No atheist or agnostic can be admitted. This does not mean that Freemasonry is a religion, far from it. Indeed, members of many faiths belong. Christians, Jews Muslims Buddhists and many others, all meet and work together in perfect harmony in our Lodges. One reason for this is because of the insistence we put on banning all religious discussion from our Lodges. For the same reason we ban talk of politics. A Freemason is expected to practice his religion, whatever it may be and Freemasonry will always be subordinate but nevertheless supportive of that religion.
What should I do next?
You must basically satisfy yourself that you will be joining an honourable and fraternal association where you will be happy. The best way to do this is to talk to friend who is already a mason and ask him anything you wish but do not expect him to break any confidences. He will explain what is required of you, the commitment, the cost and the philosophy behind our thinking. Freemasonry will make certain demands on you and it is right that you know what these are. In Malta the governing body is the Sovereign Grand Lodge of Malta. But throughout the world there are many Grand Lodges, not all of which are recognised by our Grand Lodge and a Brother is advised to ask before attending another Lodge in a different constitution. We require this to protect our own standards and ways of working.
So, what are these demands?
The first thing to do is rid yourself of any preconceived ideas about the Freemasonry. Come to it with an open mind. There are many who would, for their reasons spread rumour or malicious gossip and we are the first to accept that not all Freemasons are perfect in word, thought and deed. We do state however, that we expect all Freemasons to observe a strict moral code and to behave towards others as he would have them behave towards him. He is expected to attend his Lodge meetings when requested. We understand of course, that sometimes his domestic or business responsibilities will make it impossible to attend. This is understood and accepted.
Can you define Freemasonry?
We are often asked to define Freemasonry and probably the simplest way is to say that it is a ‘system of morality’. All our rituals and ceremonies are based on this teaching of morals and moral behaviour. But do not be put off by this apparent ‘seriousness’. We do indeed take our rituals seriously but we also enjoy what we do and there is always a modicum of humour at our meetings. It is the companionship, the constructive attitude to life, the encouragement of independence and welfare of the individual that ensures this enjoyment. When you become a Freemason you will be accepted as a brother to every other Freemason regardless of his seniority, whether the Grand Master or an Entered Apprentice. We do have ranks of seniority to maintain discipline and order but the basic element of brotherhood will always prevail.
What is the cost?
Apart from the demands on your time, there will also be some financial demands and you should know exactly what these obligations are before joining. There is an ‘entrance fee’ and your year’s subscription to pay. The lodge you join will tell you how much as each lodge sets its own fees. We usually have a collection for Charity at the end of our Lodge meetings, the amount you contribute is for you to decide and of no business to anyone else being private and confidential.
Apart from your financial obligations there are demands on your time. If you are married, you should ensure that your wife is agreeable to your membership as you will be leaving her on her own when you go to Lodge meetings. There is in most Lodges an active social side to our activities and our ladies are always well looked after at them. The ‘Ladies Night’ is eagerly looked forward to by many Freemasons wives and partners.
Where does Charity fit in?
hospitaliers lodge masterCharity is a major part of our masonic activities and members are asked to give generously, not only with money but also with time and effort. But we never make demands on a brother that are beyond his means. The level to which you give is always determined by your circumstances in life and you must never extend yourself to the detriment of your family or your circumstances.
What is a Festive Board?
hospitaliers lodge masterAfter the meeting we usually have a meal. We call it the Festive Board and it is here that you will meet and make friends and learn much about our organization. The meal has to be paid for and although some Lodges include wine, others do not. You may be asked to visit other Lodges and you are encouraged so to do as it will expand your knowledge and understanding of Freemasonry.
What are the secrets that you have?
You have probably been told that Freemasons have secrets. This is not strictly true. There is a wealth of information in libraries and on the Internet that describe with reasonable accuracy our ceremonies. But there are two secrets that we do have and we guard them severely. The first is the method by which a brother can prove that he is a Freemason. The second is the lawful secrets of a Brother when entrusted to us as such. The one compliments the other.
So, what is the next step?
As a candidate you will have to be proposed and seconded. You will need to complete certain forms that will require disclosures. This is not done to intrude but to ascertain that you are a fit person to be admitted into the fraternity. For instance if you had any court convictions, we would want to know in order to protect the good name of the Craft. You will then meet a committee who will ask you some questions. There is nothing to worry about. The interview is always conducted in a most friendly manner, but they will need to satisfy themselves on certain points.
They will want you to confirm that you believe in a Supreme Being, that you are over twenty one and that you are not motivated by mercenary or other ‘unworthy’ motives. They will want you to confirm your understanding of our ideals and standards, that you can attend regularly without disrupting your domestic arrangements and that you will take an active part in your Lodge. You can now ask anything you like of the committee. It is better that you ask now than later. If all is in order the committee will report to the Master who will arrange a ballot of members of the Lodge to be taken. If the ballot is successful, a date will be arranged for your admittance into the Lodge.
Do I have to wear a suit at the meetings?
On the day, you will be asked to attend wearing a dark suit. There is a dress code for our meetings which brethren are required to observe. It is simply a dark or black suit, white shirt and black tie. It is sometimes referred to as ‘uniform’ but this term is discouraged. The reason is, like any uniform, to ensure that all members are equal in all things, dress included.
Who do I go to, to join?
You must first understand that you are being asked to make a statement of trust by joining the Lodge but remember that the Brethren in your Lodge, in fact Brethren through out the world are also making a statement of trust in you – that you will keep and maintain our standards. It is this trust between Freemasons that binds us together and ensures the strength and longevity of the society. If having read this brief description of our organization you decide you would like to learn more or indeed to join us, then your first step is to contact the Lodge Secretary who will guide you through the next steps. You can do this through our ‘contact us’ page.
If you decide to join you will be most welcome and we look forward to meeting you.