Freemasonry has been around since the end of the 14th century. It is a fraternal society so while you don’t have to be an actual brother of a member you do, in fact, have to be male. It is a secret organization so in order to become a member it a matter of who you know. Typically, it is passed down through the generations. So members usually have had a great grandfather take part in the society as did their father and now they themselves. Freemasonry has been called a cult by naysayers but this is not the case. They simply have a different religious outlook than Christians. Whereas Christians believe that Jesus died for our sins, Freemasons focus on the actual sins individually and promote that sinners who choose to be saved will reach Heaven by doing good deeds in their own lives.
Becoming a Freemason
The first prerequisite to be a Freemason is that you must be male. As stated before the Freemasons are a fraternal group so this is non negotiable. You don’t necessarily have to believe in God but you must believe in some sort of higher power or supreme being that watches over us. Although, There is always an exception to the rule. Atheists and Agnostics alike have been accepted into the Freemasons before so don’t let this deter you. The Freemasonry in Scandinavia, however, only accepts Christians. The minimum age is 18 years old but some jurisdictions want applicants to be at least 25 before thinking of joining. You must have a sound mind and body. Generally, in present times, this means you should be physically able to participate in any Lodge rituals but most Lodges are quite accommodating to the disabled. Next would be good morals and reputation. Freemasons are expected to be highly tolerant whether in the Lodge or sitting at home having dinner with family. They are somewhat neutral in that they don’t interfere in worldly issues such as politics. They have participated or backed a few political causes, them being: the separation of Church and State, the establishment of secular public schools, and democratic revolutions. Other than that, they generally stay out of public eye.
You also need references, the most important references will be those from other masons. Without these you’ll quite easily be denied.
What It Means to be a Freemason
I mentioned Lodge rituals before and these aren’t some kind of occult rituals they are to teach moral lessons and to instill the main principles of Freemasonry. Said principles are: Brotherly Love, Relief and Truth. These principles can be expressed in many different ways. Freemasons in Europe tend to philosophize while Britain and North America focus more on charities or social clubs within their communities.
If you’re somewhat familiar with Freemasonry then the symbols might seem strange. Freemasonry relies heavily on architectural symbolism. The first masons were just that, masons. They worked on rocks and stones. Their main symbols are a measuring compass and square which were common tools used by Masons and present day Architects. The square is meant to represent matter and the compass represents a sort of abstraction or subjective judgement. The symbols are usually separated to indicate their independence and in the middle there is always a symbol. It might be a star, representing truth, or a G which could represent God or Geometry.
There is a sort of architectural theme throughout Freemasonry. The Supreme Being, whoever you believe that is, will be referred to as The Great Geometrician or Great Architect of the Universe. In order to avoid referencing any particular religion they will usually abbreviate it to G.A.O.T.U. Freemasonry has ranks, if you will, or degrees. There are three of them. When you first start you are an Entered Apprentice. Making your way up through the degrees you must complete participation in Lodge rituals with your fellow Masons. Once you’ve finished these you will be Fellow Craft and lastly, Master Mason. After the ritual you are expected to study and learn from it. What did the lesson teach you? This is entirely your interpretation and no other mason is allowed to direct you to the correct interpretation.
Now that you know more about Freemasonry and what it is to be a Freemason, I wish you luck and hope you learn much on your new path.