Requirements to Become a Mason
One of Masonry’s customs is not to solicit members; men must seek membership on their own through a Mason they know or a local lodge. Each man must be inspired and determined to become a Mason of his own free will and accord.
California Masonic membership is open to men age 18 or older who meet the qualifications and standards of character and intention, and who believe in a Supreme Being. Men of all ethnic and religious backgrounds are welcome.
Three Primary Qualifications for Membership
There are three primary qualifications required by the Grand Lodge of California for membership in its Masonic lodges (also known as “blue” lodges):
> Age. You must be a man of at least 18 years of age.
> Supreme Being. You must believe in a Supreme Being. Masonry is open to members of every religion provided that they believe in a Supreme Being and a “future existence.” No atheists may become Masons. However, beyond this singular restriction, Masonry is not concerned with a member’s faith. We pride ourselves on our principles of tolerance — in religious, social and political matters.
> Character. You must be known to be of good character. Just as a job applicant must provide a prospective employer with certain information and professional references, Masonry also requires that candidates provide certain information and character references. Masonry does not expect men to be perfect, but we have a responsibility to keep watch over the door to ensure that only men who are known to be good people find their way through our doors and welcomed into a lodge composed of men of similar character.
Application for the Degrees of Freemasonry
Applications for membership may be requested from either a Mason you know or directly from Acalanes Fellowship Lodge. Click here to request one of our lodge officers to contact you and send you an application.
The Mason(s) who provide(s) the application is responsible for completion of the first page. This page includes recommendations for membership by two Master Masons, with whom you are acquainted, from the lodge that you wish to join as well as two personal references. You are responsible for the completion of the remainder of the application.
Since you may have questions as to why certain areas of information are necessary, the following explanations from the Grand Lodge of California refer specifically to the questions on the application.
> Residence History. Applicants must have been a California resident for the immediate 12 months preceding the date of the application.
Exception is made for applicants who are members (or whose spouse is a member) of any uniformed service of the United States who has resided for at least six months at a duty station in California or has been on to a vessel with a home port in California.
This exception also includes those who have received an honorable discharge or separation in the six months immediately preceding the date of the application. Additionally, the applicant must have been a California resident during the 24 months prior to the date of most recent induction or a California resident on the date of the application.
Uniformed services include the Army and Army National Guard, Air Force, Navy, Marines, Coast Guard, Public Health Service, and the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration.
> Family Information. Freemasons have an obligation to care for fellow Masons, their wives, widows, and orphans. Lodge brothers are the first line of support. If additional support or care is needed, the Masonic Center for Youth and Families, statewide Masonic Outreach Services, and our Masonic Homes of California continuing care senior residential communities are available to those members who are in good standing. Family information is requested in order to provide the appropriate fraternal support in case of need.
> Employment History. Information about your present or previous occupation allows us to obtain a better understanding of not only you but your interests and skills. This information also enables us to discuss with you how your professional life will complement and fit into the activities and obligations of being a Mason.
> Masonic Affiliations. An applicant who was rejected by a lodge within the preceding 12 months cannot be considered an applicant at another lodge until the required 12 month waiting period has elapsed. Information about any other affiliations with Masonry informs us about your familiarity with the fraternity.
> Criminal History. An applicant’s character is the most important factor in consideration for membership. Men who have pled guilty or no contest or have been convicted of a crime of moral turpitude are not eligible for membership. This includes crimes committed against property, people, or government, such as, but not limited to, intent to defraud, intent to harm a person or thing, or intent to take a thing unlawfully. Minor traffic violations include such offenses as parking and speeding tickets.
A criminal background check, including civil and criminal records, is conducted for each application for degrees as well as applications for affiliation from members of other jurisdictions.
> Fees and Contributions. Each lodge sets the fee for receiving the degrees of Masonry as indicated on the application. The application fee and background check fee are the same for all applicants. The application fee is non-refundable if elected by the lodge for membership. The non-refundable fee for background checks applies to all applicants for the degrees and applicants for affiliation from another Masonic jurisdiction. This fee does not apply to applicants for affiliation from one California lodge to another.
Contributions support important charitable programs provided by the Masonic Homes of California to aid brothers and their families in times of need. Additionally, these contributions also support our commitment to maintain the George Washington Masonic Memorial in Washington, D.C. and the California Masonic Memorial Temple, the San Francisco headquarters of the Masons of California, along with its library and museum.
> Statement by the Applicant. Your signature affirms that you both understand and meet the qualifications set forth in the application; that you agree to the investigation and background check of your personal history and character; and that you have read this information for applicants.
How your Application is Considered by the Lodge
At the next monthly lodge business meeting after the application is submitted, the information provided on the first page is read and a decision is made to accept or reject the application. If accepted, the background check is conducted and the lodge schedules separate meetings with three members in order to get to know you better. These meetings usually take place in your home so that your family can be included. During these meetings, you will discuss why you want to become a Mason as well as your personal history and interests. This will also be an opportunity to obtain answers to any questions you or your family may have about the fraternity.
Soon after these meetings, a report is made to the lodge and the application is put to a vote. In order to be elected a candidate for the degrees, the applicant must receive an affirmative vote from every member present at that meeting. You will be notified of the result and, if accepted, you will receive further information.
Completion of the applicant investigation reports and scheduling a vote at the lodge typically takes two to three months.
Completing the Application for Affiliation
Masons moving within California or to California from another Masonic jurisdiction that is recognized by the Grand Lodge of California may apply for affiliation to any California lodge.
You may request an Application for Affiliation from a Mason you know or from the lodge you are interested in joining. The Mason or the lodge that provides the application completes the first page, which includes recommendations for membership by two Master Masons of the lodge, with whom you are acquainted, and two personal references. The applicant completes the remainder of the application.
The choices for affiliation are to transfer membership to the lodge considering the application or retain membership in your lodge and become a plural (membership in two or more lodges within the Grand Lodge of California) or dual (membership in two or more jurisdictions) member.
Please refer to the above section for an explanation of the application. The process described in the How your Application is Considered by the Lodge section is the same for an applicant for affiliation.