Despite some popular myths, becoming a Mason is neither difficult nor expensive, nor must one be invited or otherwise have an “in.” Masonry always welcomes new members. There are, however, certain requirements that must be met. Here are answers to some frequently asked questions about becoming a Mason in the State of Illinois.
What are the requirements?
To become a Mason in Illinois, you must be male, 18 years of ago or older, be of good character, and believe in a Supreme Being.
What constitutes good character?
“Good character” means simply that. We expect you to be of good repute in your community. Felons, or those who have committed lesser crimes that indicate a lack of basic goodness and decency, can’t be Masons; and if you have serious defects of character, don’t look to us to “fix” you – you need to work on yourself before applying. That said, none of us are perfect nor do we pretend to be. We often state our mission as “making good men better” – and we believe that you, like most of us, will find that Masonic teachings, and the brotherhood of the Craft, will serve as a very strong help in overcoming your shortcomings and adjusting the imperfections that you, like all of us, have.
Does this mean that atheists can’t be Masons?
Masonry is neither a religion, nor does it take a stand on religious questions such as whether or not God is a trinity or a unity; which persons, if any, should be considered prophets of God; or whether any particular religious body’s teachings are true or false. We do, however, require candidates to profess a belief in a Supreme Being – not for religious reasons, but because our philosophy includes the idea of an immortal soul and a loving Creator. If you believe that the material universe is all that there is, then we do not in any way condemn you – but our idea of a “Grand Architect of the Universe” who purposefully created the universe, and us as human beings, would not make any sense to you, nor would you be able to meaningfully enter into our sacred Obligations to our fellow Masons, and to all fellow human beings, under the Fatherhood of Deity.
Are any races or ethnic groups excluded?
Absolutely not. Sadly, there was a time when Masonry was segregated, with blacks in “Prince Hall Masonry” and whites in “[Ancient] Free and Accepted Masonry.” Both groups still exist, since they both treasure, and wish to keep, their specific traditions and ceremonies, which are somewhat different. Today, both groups welcome men of all nationalities and races. Which one you choose should not be a matter of your race, but rather which one appeals more to you. Regardless which one you choose, you will be welcome to visit lodges of both groups, who fully recognize one another in brotherly fellowship, and both will consider you a full-fledged Mason.
Must I wait to be invited?
No! Traditionally, Masons have refrained from inviting or attempting to persuade people to join. Rather, we observed the principle of “2B1ASK1.” In other words, active recruiting was frowned upon, and prospective Masons were encouraged to take the first step by asking. Simply talking to a Mason you know and asking any questions you may have regarding membership or any other topic, is still the best way to learn about Masonry and/or submit an application to a lodge. If, however, you don’t know any Masons, don’t worry! You can contact our lodge online at https://www.libertyvillemasons.com/contact-us/, by phone at (847) 281-5147, or by email at firstname.lastname@example.org. We’ll be happy to hear from you and to answer your questions. If you’d like to move forward, we’ll invite you to our dinners and give you an opportunity to get to know our members, and then help you with your “official “ membership application to our lodge.
Once I become a Mason, what am I required to do? Must I attend lodge? Must I pay dues?
Dues a very modest, in most lodges less than $15 per month. Lodge attendance isn’t required – nobody keeps score – but there is little benefit to being a Mason if you’re not interested in regular fellowship with other Masons; so if all you want is a membership card that you can show around, there’s no point in joining. That said, if your circumstances change and you can neither attend lodge nor pay dues, you can receive a “demit,” which basically means that your membership is suspended but not revoked, and no dues are required. Later, if you wish, you can become an active lodge member again.
This sounds great – how do I join?
You can only join Freemasonry by being initiated into our Fraternity at a regularly constituted meeting of a lodge chartered by the Grand Lodge of the State of Illinois. All such lodges in Illinois recognize one another, so you are recognized as a Mason throughout the state regardless of which lodge you join. If you’re interested in joining ours (which we like to think is one of the best!), check out this page about joining our lodge.