frequently asked questions (f.a.q)
Who Can Become a Pennsylvania Freemason?
A man, at least 18 years of age, who believes in the existence of a Supreme Being, is of good moral character, motivated to join for reasons unrelated to personal gain or profit, prompted by a favorable opinion of Freemasonry, desirous of earning knowledge and willing to conform to the ancient usages and customs of the fraternity.
What is the Process to Join?
The member with whom you are contact will likely provide you with additional information and may invite you to a meeting of prospective members to learn more about the fraternity. You will be given a form, a "petition for membership" to fill out –or– you may contact Lowther Manor Lodge directly, or complete the online inquiry form on the PA Masons website HERE.
Your petition must be signed by two Master Masons, at least one of which must be a member of the lodge you are planning to join. Your petition will be presented at a lodge meeting and a committee of three members of the lodge will meet with you to verify you meet the qualifications. They will also answer any questions you and any family members may have. With a favorable committee report your request to join the lodge will be voted upon and you will be notified when you will receive your first degree. An experienced member of the lodge will be appointed to be your mentor to prepare you for the degrees and work with you as you progress through the three degrees to become a Master Mason.
Degrees? What are the Degrees?
There are three degrees, the first or Entered Apprentice, the second or Fellowcraft and the third or Master Masons degree. The degrees are ceremonial initiations in which further knowledge about the fraternity will be given to you. Each succeeding degree conveys additional information and builds upon the information you received in the preceding degree/s. Usually the degrees are conferred individually one month apart. Occasionally special “one-day” events are conducted to permit those whose schedules are restrictive to receive the degrees.
What about the other degrees? I know someone who is a 32nd degree Mason.
When you become a Master Mason you will be as much a Mason as you ever will be. Degrees with numbers higher than 3 (the Master Mason’s degree) are associated with other fraternal organizations that require you be a Master Mason in good standing to join. They are referred to as “appendent” organizations because membership in them “appends” or is attached to your being a Master Mason who member in good standing in a Blue Lodge. You have probably heard of the Shriners and their hospitals. The Shrine is an appendent organization and they are all Master Masons. Other appendent bodies you may have heard of are the Scottish and York Rites. These are where those other degrees come from, but a 32nd degree Scottish Rite Mason does not “outrank” a Master Mason.
Is Freemasonry a religion?
No, although a belief in a Supreme Being is a requirement for membership. Masonry has members from every world religious belief that has a Supreme Being as its center of reverence. Your responsibilities to that Supreme Being, your family, your neighbors and your vocation take precedence over fraternal matters.
Is Freemasonry a “secret society?”
No. The fact that you are reading these words should suggest that if it is a secret it’s the poorest kept secret in the world. The only secrets are the means of recognition and symbolism conferred in the degrees. No more secret than the initiations of many other fraternal organizations.
What about that article I read on the Internet that says it’s a cult?
The internet is a good source of information - IF - you limit your search to legitimate Masonic websites such as those found on our “LINKS” page. Unfortunately, you can also find a lot of sensationalistic junk and disinformation. Moreover and regrettably, any organization as large and historied as Freemasonry is bound to spawn detractors.
What Do I Do To Join a Lodge?
The easiest way is to ask someone whom you believe to be a Mason or inquire using the contact information on this and many other lodge websites. In Pennsylvania it is possible for a member to invite individuals whom they believe meet the essential qualifications above and whom they believe will be a credit to the fraternity. If you are interested - ASK!