What to Expect when you join Freemasonry
Following your initiation as an Entered Apprentice, you will at a later stage be passed to the second degree of Fellow Craft and eventually be raised to the third degree of Master Mason. Your advancement through the lodge will however depend on your regular attendance, participation in Lodge activities and your progress in the aforementioned degrees.
Upon becoming a Master Mason you will be issued with a warrant, which you will be required to have in your possession when visiting a Lodge other than your own.
A Master Mason is entitled to all the rights and privileges of Freemasonry, is obliged to conform to the teachings of the Fraternity and is duty-bound to discharge the duties of a Master Mason.
While the rights and privileges of a Master Mason are mostly the same, they are sometimes discernible. For example, while a Master Mason has the right to participate in the affairs of his own lodge, he has the privilege of visiting other lodges. The former right cannot be denied but the latter privilege can - but seldom is.
Freemasonry is a highly protective and supportive fraternity. As a worthy Mason you will discover, that in time of need, you can depend on the protection and support of your brethren; jointly or independently; whether you are at home or abroad or even when you are among brethren who are perhaps unfamiliar to you.
This support is not necessarily financial; but may be by way of emotional comfort, assumption of duties that cannot be otherwise performed or the safety and care for family and loved ones in times of crisis. This support extends especially to widows and children of deceased members.
This support is not guaranteed by the Fraternity but is rather a result of the obligations a Mason undertakes towards worthy brethren when he joins Freemasonry.
These benefits, although important in times of need and crises, are not the paramount advantages of being a Freemason. These vary from Mason to Mason and may include one or many of the following rewards of membership.
Participation in all Masonic activities; assisting in conferring degrees and being a part of Masonic fellowship are often of greater reward than material benefits.
Lodge meetings provide an environment in which a member can temporarily escape the pressures and controversies of everyday life. A Lodge is comprised of members from various businesses, professional, religious and political backgrounds - yet the discussion of religion, politics or business for personal gain is not permitted. Instead, meetings are conducted in harmony and with unity of purpose.
Every member of a Lodge has an equal vote, an equal voice and equal rights - irrespective of financial standing, status, rank, position, colour or creed within their community. Members meet "on the level". The only rank in a Masonic lodge is that which is conferred by a vote of members.
Freemasonry is practiced in most free countries in the world and wherever a Freemason may travel he will never be far from a Masonic lodge. Provided he follows the correct procedure, a Mason will be free to visit any of these lodges worldwide, which will generally go to great lengths to make him feel welcome.
Although the language and ritual may differ in some respects from country to country, the teachings and basics of Freemasonry will be the same. A Masonic lodge can provide a relief from loneliness and a sanctuary of fellowship for a travelling Mason.
Freemasonry brings together and unites like-minded men who might otherwise never have met. It provides an environment for compatible men to meet - be they shy, lacking in confidence or have difficulty in establishing friendships. Lodges also provide a haven of fellowship and comfort for Masons who find themselves alone, in distress or merely seeking fraternal companionship from time to time.
Regular social functions which are arranged by Lodges also often involve wives, family and non-Masonic guests and friends - providing an environment that can be equally uplifting and wholesome.
Freemasons are obligated to live by a strict moral code - the requirements of which will be familiar to any man of principle and good standing. They are also obligated to their fellow members, their families and mankind in general. It is the knowledge of this common moral responsibility which is a particularly rewarding facet of Masonry.
Probably the most rewarding aspect of Freemasonry is a Mason's obligation to charity. Being forever mindful of the needs of others and those in a less fortunate position motivates Masons to provide support and relief for those in need. A great deal of Masonic activity is geared towards this aspect of Masonic membership and in Masonry, as everywhere, it is infinitely more satisfying to give than to receive.
Masonry is not a means to an end. On the contrary, Freemasons are obligated, in the first instance, to their country, their religion, their family and their friends. Masonry encourages each member to be actively involved in his community, religion, business and politics - but always as an individual and not by trying to represent or involve Freemasonry in these matters, and as long as their activities are always morally correct.