Throughout the history of Freemasonry, there has only been one way that you can officially join the fraternity – you have to ask a current brother to become a member.
Is it really as simple as that? In many respects, yes. The Masonic phrase ‘To be one, ask one’ is in reference to the centuries-old way in which new Masons are permitted to join a lodge.
While every prospective Mason has to undergo an initiation ceremony and has to be approved by the lodge he is seeking to join, the process must begin with him asking a current Mason to become a member of the fraternity.
But other than asking, what are the qualifications required to become a Freemason?
It’s true that Freemasonry isn’t suitable for everyone. First and most importantly, you must hold religious faith in a Supreme Being to join the Craft. That being said, there’s no stipulation about the deity that you must believe in, so men from all faith backgrounds are encouraged to join.
Below is a list of the ‘entry requirements’ or qualifications that you must meet before being welcomed into a Masonic lodge:
- You must begin by asking a Mason to become a brother.
- You must be a man.
- You must be at least eighteen years old.
- You must be of good moral character.
- You must believe in a Supreme Being. In Freemasonry, the Supreme Being, or God, is referred to as the Grand Architect of the Universe.
- You must agree to become a Mason of your own free will.
- You must be loyal to your family.
As you can see, the requirements aren’t overly taxing, and they actually encourage inclusion and diversity when it comes to Masonic membership. There’s nothing written about social status, income, religious belief, or any other trait that often permits a man’s membership of a fraternal, community-based organization.
If you meet the requirements and submit an application to join a lodge, the brothers within that lodge cast a ballot to decide whether you are allowed to join them. You must receive a unanimous vote to be allowed to join the lodge, but unless a Mason knows that you don’t meet the above criteria, the process is very often a formality.
In some respects, it’s strange to think that such a simple method of welcoming new brothers into the fraternity has stood the test of time and kept the fraternity going for centuries. Although simple, it would seem that ‘To be one, ask one’ is an excellent mantra, and will hopefully continue to be effective long into the future.