Applying for Membership
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.
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.
A Mason who recommends you for membership will assist with completing and submitting the application. After submitting the application, you will be interviewed by members of Los Angeles Harbor Masonic Lodge so they can learn more about you and you can learn more about Freemasonry. If the interview is favorable, your application is presented to the lodge for a vote. If the vote is affirmative, you receive the Entered Apprentice degree – the first degree of Freemasonry. When you advance through the next two degrees, you are a Master Mason and a full member of the fraternity.
Completing the Application for Degrees
Applications may be requested from either a Mason you know or from the lodge you are interested in joining.
The Mason or the lodge that provides 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 refer specifically to the questions on the application.
Residence history – Applicants must be a resident of California.
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.