Steeped in historical significance and tradition, the only way to become a Freemason is as old as the fraternity itself. The only way to become a Freemason is to ask a current Mason to join the fraternity.
In this post, we will explore the traditions behind the process of becoming a Mason and look at whether or not it’s a successful way of recruiting members to the fraternity.
How to become a Freemason
The only way to become a Freemason is to ask a current Mason to join the fraternity. This is what is meant by the famous Masonic phrase ‘to be one, ask one.‘ This has been the way of Freemasonry for centuries and is essentially still the only way in which you can become a member of the fraternity.
Historically, when stonemasons’ lodges sought to boost their numbers, they invited men outside of their vocation to become members. This was when Freemasonry opened its doors to outsiders, and since then, the only way to be accepted into Freemasonry is to request to join.
That being said, not everyone knows a Mason, and therefore it can be challenging to know how to join. Those who express an interest in Freemasonry can contact the Grand Lodge of Freemasonry in their area and get a referral to a particular lodge.
Learn more: How To Find A Masonic Lodge Near You?
In addition to this, many lodges host open houses and similar events to encourage men to visit the lodge and enquire about membership. This is an effective way of maintaining membership numbers.
Qualifications to become a Freemason
The underlying mission of Freemasonry is to unite like-minded men, irrespective of their religion, creed, and cultural differences, around a common purpose of becoming better men by learning the virtues and values of Freemasonry.
While Freemasonry is open to men the world over, there are some requirements or qualifications that you must meet should you wish to become a Mason. These are:
- To join a lodge and become a Freemason, you must ask to become a member.
- You must be a man of at least eighteen years.
- You must be of good moral character.
- You must have a personal belief in a Supreme Being. Notice that the Supreme Being is not God and is open to your interpretation. In Freemasonry, the Supreme Being is referred to as the Grand Architect of the Universe.
- You must decide to become a Mason of your own free will, and you must be free to act of your own volition.
- You must be loyal and dedicated to providing for your family while upholding moral values within your wider community.
Individual lodges and jurisdictions may well require other qualifications, but these are the base requirements of a man hoping to become a Mason. When you have requested to join a lodge, your entrance will be decided by a ballot.
Each Mason within the lodge will cast their ballot and decide whether to permit you entrance. You must receive a unanimous vote to be allowed to join the lodge.
Is ‘2B1ask1’ an effective way of recruiting Masons?
The phrase’s wording is essential, as it encompasses the admonition that no Mason can ask someone to join or become one. This is because the decision to become a Mason needs to be a solemn one that a man makes of his own accord.
From this simplistic perspective, to be one, ask one is an effective way of recruiting men to become Masons. It is a simple, easy to understand mantra that correctly articulates the recruitment strategy of Freemasonry and retains the vital tradition of never asking someone to become a Mason.
Moreover, membership within Freemasonry is vast, with estimates suggesting there are more than six million Masons worldwide. From this perspective, you could argue that the recruitment strategy works, and people are encouraged to follow the simple guidelines.
However, some people have questioned the morality surrounding the ‘to be one, ask one approach,’ suggesting that it is not inclusive and reduces membership of the fraternity to those in the know.
Critics draw parallels to religions and suggest that if a particular denomination of Christianity, for example, did not invite members to join their church, they would be considered a cult.
While this is true to a certain extent, the fact that nobody is invited to become a Mason is actually inclusive in itself. By not targeting a specific audience or trying to recruit people from a particular background, Freemasonry allows men to choose for themselves whether or not they wish to join the fraternity.
The decision to permit them to join is then made by the brothers within the lodge of application, meaning the very design of the ‘to be one, ask one’ approach is inclusive and uniformly applied within Freemasonry across the world.
Conclusion: Is ‘to be one, ask one’ the only way of becoming a Freemason?
The short answer is yes, to be one, ask one is the only way of becoming a Freemason. In its simplest form, to join Freemasonry and to become a member of a lodge, you must ask a Mason, or at the very least, apply to the Grand Lodge if you don’t have any pre-existing relationships.
This is because it continues the age-old tradition of Freemasonry, which has taught Masons that they are not allowed to persuade their friends or colleagues to join the fraternity.
It is an excellent way of ensuring those that join Freemasonry do so of their own free will. And with membership within Freemasonry thriving today, it’s clear that the recruitment strategy is working, and ‘to be one, ask one’ is an effective way of recruiting men into the fraternity.