Originally posted by frailty
-First off, when you join do you have to pay dues?
No but you must pay initiation fees, although the amount varies from Lodge to Lodge, depending upon their By-Laws. My Lodge charges an initiation fee
of thirty dollars for each degree. Once a member becomes a Master Mason (Third Degree), he is required to pay thirty dollars per year in dues.
-Do you have to pay dues if you can't? I guess you could call me a starving artist not in good health carrying luggage up a hill currently. I
am addressing all issues at the moment besides being an artist. I can cope.
If a Brother is in dire need, is sick, etc., the Lodge will either remit his dues, or another Brother will volunteer to pay them for him. However, if
a Brother is in good health but is neither working nor looking for a job, it is unlikely that the Lodge would pay his dues for him, as this would be
considered a neglect of duty rather than a Brother in need.
-I am naturally anti-authority, mainly with bad or mindless authority. Do people in your group have power over you? Not as in knowledge power.
I know it's a fraternity, so that may be a stupid question.
There are no stupid questions, only stupid answers.
When Masons meet in the Lodge we say, in Masonic language, that we "meet on the level". This means that we recognize each other as equals. Masonry
of course must have a form of government, which is the Lodge's elected officials, who in turn are subordinate to Grand Lodge, which consists of
representatives of each Lodge in the state.
But even the Worshipful Master, who is the Lodge's chief official and presiding officer, is only the first among equals. For example, I served as
Master of my Lodge about 9 years ago. When I was installed, I was placed in the Master's Chair, and each member passed by me, and saluted me in the
regular Masonic fashion. But I did not see it as if they were saluting me personally: I'm just an old country boy, not a royal. Instead, they were
the saluting the office, and the high ideals it stood for.
All must adhere to Masonic law, which is written in the Constitution and Code of the Grand Lodge, as well as the Lodge's own By-Laws. Even though the
Worshipful Master has a great deal of authority in his Lodge, any member may appeal his decisions to Grand Lodge.
-Is Freemasonry a good place to meet people? I know probably another stupid question, but I'm naive humor me.
For me it was. Some of my best and closest friends are those I have met in the fraternity.
-Is it really open-minded?
Freemasonry is open minded, but that of course does not mean that every Freemason is. Although the fraternity has very high ideals, it is nevertheless
composed of fallible humans, and fallible humans do not always live up to ther ideals.
-Do I need to "know someone" to join?
Yes, although if you express your interest to your local Lodge, their membership committee will meet with you several times, and get to know you.
-Is there much snobbery in the Masons?
In my experience, the majority of Masons are some of the least snobbish, and most big-hearted people that I've ever met. I'll never forget one time
when it was announced in my Lodge by a Brother that his next door neighbor, an elderly widow, was getting kicked out of her house because she could
not make the mortgage payment, and was there anything the Lodge could do to help? Another Brother, a successful local businessman, said he would take
care of it. Not only did he make the mortgage payment: he paid off the mortgage itself.
I was young in Masonry at that time, but that act of kindness to a perfect stranger impressed me deeply.
-Is there any reason not to join, based on experience?
I would certainly do it again.
-Do you have to know someone to join?
Yes, see above about membership committee.
-What is the easiest way to join?
Probably these days to just email the Grand Lodge office in your state, express your interest, and ask for local contact information. I was initiated
long before I had email, so I didn't have that option, hahaha.
-Are the Freemasons an evil group?
Only the ones on ATS.