ADVICE TO THOSE WHO SEEK MEMBERSHIP
Having expressed a desire to become a Freemason, we presume you have thoroughly considered the step you propose to take. The exact nature of our Institution being unknown to you, we consider it advisable that you should be informed on certain points, the knowledge of which might affect your decision to apply for membership.
Not all men can become Masons, however. Masonry does not purport to make “bad men good,” only “good men better.” This distinction is critical in that from its early days the Fraternity took itself out of the “rehabilitation” game – which is the purview of religion and the criminal justice system. Only men of good character are accepted into the Fraternity. Masonic Lodges review every applicant’s character – and the centuries-old “blackball” system is still in place; candidates for initiation must be voted by a 100% vote of the Lodge members present.
Freemasonry strives to teach a man the duties he owes to God, his neighbor and himself. It has for its foundation the great basic principles of the Fatherhood of God and the Brotherhood of Man, and requires a belief in the immortality of the Soul. It interferes neither with religion nor politics. Admission to the Institution must not be sought from mercenary or other unworthy motives, nor from hope of personal gain or advancement. Anyone so actuated will be disappointed, and in all friendship we warn you.
Freemasonry is not a benefit society. We do not subscribe so much a year to entitle us to draw financial relief or to make provision for those we leave behind. Its charity is intended for those Masons who, through no fault of their own, have met with misfortune.
Freemasonry has in all ages insisted that men shall come to it’s door entirely of their own free-will; not as a result of solicitation; not from feelings of curiosity; but from a favorable opinion of the Institution and a desire to be ranked among it’s members.
We think it is advisable to inform you that should you be admitted, it will entail certain financial obligations, which you should be able to afford without detriment to yourself or those dependent on you. In addition to the fees payable with your petition, there will be an annual subscription for the support of your Lodge, as provided by the By-Laws of the Lodge.
We trust you will consider these statements in the same spirit of honesty and friendship in which they have been presented. It is of the utmost importance to you as well as to Freemasonry that the motives and ideals governing your daily life be in substantial accord therewith.
FREQUENTLY ASKED QUESTIONS
- What are the requirements to join?
A man, of good repute, and well recommended, 24 years or older, recommended by two Masons, no criminal record, and a belief in a supreme being.
- What is the application process?
When you have asked to join our Lodge or have made enquiries about membership generally. You will be invited to meet with and get to know some of the Brethren in the Lodge. You must fill out an application form and submit this for the Lodge’s consideration.
- How long is the application process?
Once you have submitted an application to a Lodge, your petition is read at a regular meeting and a team is assigned to meet with you. Their investigation results are read at the next Lodge meeting and then a ballot is taken. If approved by the members you will be assigned a mentor and you will be asked to schedule a date for your initiation. This can take up to three months, dependant upon the Lodge meeting dates and workload.
- What if any financial commitment is to be expected?
Joining costs about HUF 100,000 depending on the time of year you join. Annual dues vary with age as shown below. Before considering membership you should be personally financially secure and be able to support your family.
- How long do meetings last?
These meetings typically take about three hours and include business and educational content. Typically there is a meal or festive board following the meeting.
- How do I know that St Stephen Lodge is right for me?
You will have ample opportunity to get a feel for the Lodge through the Masons you meet. Ask questions. You will not be able to attend meetings until you become a Mason, but we have many social events that you may be invited to attend. You may already know some Masons, if so, talk to them.
- What is Freemasonry?
Freemasonry means different things to each of those who join. For some, it’s about making new friends and acquaintances. For others it’s about being able to help deserving causes – making a contribution to family and for society. But for most, it is an enjoyable hobby.
- Freemasonry is one of the world’s oldest and largest non-religious, non-political, fraternal and charitable organisation. It teaches self-knowledge through participation in a progression of ceremonies. Members are expected to be of high moral standing and are encouraged to speak openly about Freemasonry.
- What happens at a Lodge meeting?
The meeting, which like those of other groups, are open only to members, is normally in two parts. First, there are normal administrative procedures such as minutes of the previous meeting, proposing and balloting for new members, accounts, news, charity work etc. Second, there are the ceremonies for Admitting new members and the annual installation of the Master of the Lodge and his officers
- Why do Freemasons take Oaths?
New members make solemn promises concerning their behaviour both in the Lodge and in society. Members also promise to keep confidential the way they recognise each other when visiting another Lodge. Freemasons also promise to support others in time of need but only so far as it does not conflict with their family and public obligations.
- Are Freemasons expected to give preference to fellow members?
Certainly not. This would be unacceptable and may lead to action being taken against those involved. On joining, each new member states that he expects no material gain from membership.
- Who do the Masonic Charities donate to?
Whilst there are Masonic charities that cater specifically, but not exclusively, for Masons or their dependents, others make significant grants to non-Masonic organisations.
- What is Freemasonry’s relationship with Religion?
All Freemasons are expected to have a religious belief, but Freemasonry does not seek to replace a Mason’s religion or provide a substitute for it. It deals in a man’s relationship with his fellow man, not in a man’s relationship with his God.
- Why do some Churches not like Freemasonry?
There are elements within churches who misunderstand Freemasonry and its objectives. They confuse secular rituals with religious liturgy. There are many Masons in churches where their leaders have been openly critical of the organisation. Masonry has always actively encouraged its members to be active in their own religion.
- Does Freemasonry Accept Roman Catholics?
Yes. many Grand Masters of the Order throughout the world have been Roman Catholics. Today there are many Roman Catholic Freemasons.
- What is Freemasonry’s relationship with Politics?
Freemasonry, as a body, will never express a view on politics or state policy. The discussion of politics at Masonic meetings has always been prohibited.
- Is Freemasonry an International Order?
Freemasonry exists throughout the world. However, each Grand Lodge is sovereign and independent. There is no international governing body for Freemasonry.
- Are there Women Freemasons?
Yes. Whilst the Symbolic Grand Lodge of Hungary in keeping with all other Regular Grand Lodges, following the example of medieval stonemasons, is, and has always been, restricted to men, women Freemasons have two separate Grand Lodges, which are restricted to women.
- Why do you wear Regalia?
Wearing regalia is historic and symbolic. Like a uniform, the regalia indicates the rank of the wearer in the organisation.
- How many Freemasons are there? Worldwide, there are approximately six million Freemasons.