So, you think you may like to become a Freemason – a noble sentiment, but first and foremost, there is no rush, there are several questions you need to ask yourself. Like all important decisions we make in life, we need to weigh up what may be the advantages and disadvantages – the pros and cons. There is little benefit to becoming involved in something if we do not have at least an appreciation of what it is, what it stands for, what it does and what you expect from it. Only then can you decide if it is right for you.
It’s a safe bet that you didn’t wake up one morning and say to yourself. “I want to become a Freemason.” Something has probably sparked your interest, be it within your own family, your work, or your immediate circle of friends. More than likely you know someone who is a Freemason and they have given you food for thought. As an intelligent person you need to conduct your own research. This can take several forms, probably starting with impromptu discussions with your contact or family and friends. The Internet and your local library are also informative sources for research with many opinions both for and against it expressed with much conviction by the respective authors. It now rests with you as an intelligent individual to weigh up the respective arguments, discern fact from fiction and determine your next move.
So now, we assume, from your researches you have learnt how Freemasonry in its modern form came about and you are probably still confused about society’s attitudes, which prevail from favourable in some quarters, too much vitriolic hostility in others. Hopefully, after all this research you have drawn your own first impressions and you still have an interest in moving forward. Now what?
First of all the request to become a Freemason must come from you; the would-be candidate, even if the subject were raised with you by a Freemason. This may sound a bit strange but your decision is paramount it can never, and must never be made for you.
Assuming you have decided to move forward, there are whole rafts of questions that need to be answered. The man you have been in discussions with is a member of this Lodge; hopefully he is a relative or at least a friend of many years. He may fit comfortably within your circle of acquaintances but what about the other members of his Lodge? Who are they? What do they do? Will you fit in with them? Will they accept you? Where do they meet? How often do they meet? Are their meeting days convenient to your work and other commitments? Is your partner happy for you to be involved? What do they expect from you? Can you afford Freemasonry?
Let’s take each question as it comes…
Who are the other members of your prospective proposers Lodge? What do they do?
First and foremost they are like minded individuals, coming from all professions and career backgrounds and face the same daily challenges in life as you. Don’t be afraid to ask for a list of the membership, better to find out early on that there may be a member with whom you do not wish to associate with. If the opportunity arises, it is important, if possible, for you and your partner to meet some of the members of the Lodge and their partners in an informal social environment. This allows both parties to learn a little about each other, gather impressions and make preliminary determinations.
Will you fit in with them? Will they accept you?
Your prospective proposer will during the various stages of your discussions with him have a very good idea as to whether you are suited to Freemasonry and if Freemasonry is suited to you. He is in the best position to advise you. He also, a little further along in the process together with a seconder, stands before every member of the lodge and expresses his belief that you are a fit and proper person to become a Mason. His reputation and standing among his peers rests now on his judgement of you, so you can appreciate this formal introduction of you to the General Purposes Committee of the Lodge and eventually the whole Lodge, is a very serious matter. Hopefully, you and your partner, through social functions will be known to some members of the committee and the Lodge.
Where do they meet? How often do they meet?
The Manor Royal Lodge meets at the Crawley Masonic Hall, Ifield, and holds regular meetings on the first Friday in October, November, December, February, March and April; usually commencing at 5.30pm. In addition the Lodge holds a Lodge of Instruction most Thursday evenings, commencing at 7.30pm. The purpose of the Lodge of Instruction is to practice our ceremonies, learn about Freemasonry generally and to socialise and maintain our harmony in an informal environment.
Are their meeting days convenient to your work and other commitments? Is your partner happy for you to be involved?
Like everything in life, Freemasonry makes certain demands of each of us, you may in our judgement be the best possible potential candidate to join The Manor Royal Lodge, but if it does not fit in with your work and other commitments; or equally as important, your partner is unhappy with you disappearing off on Lodge nights or Thursday evenings, then there is little advantage to all. We view Freemasonry as a long-term commitment, beneficial to you, your partner, your family and friends and of course to us. You need to give both these questions very serious consideration. To delude yourself or your partner that you can work this out is being less than honest and simply leads to unhappiness and eventually we all end up losers.
What do they expect from you? Can you afford Freemasonry?
As said earlier we view Freemasonry as a long-term commitment we are prepared to invest a considerable amount of time and energy in your Masonic education. We want you to enjoy every facet of Freemasonry, develop a full understanding of its precepts and enjoy the benefits of fellowship, integrity and good citizenship. Inevitably, membership does not come free, there are specific costs associated with membership as well as an expectation that you will acknowledge and participate in its charitable contributions, within the limits of your financial position. Membership costs and charitable contributions will be advised to you by your proposer.