Lodge membership is open to men 18 and older who meet the qualifications and standards of character and intention, and who believe in a Supreme Being and a future existence (immortality of the soul). Men of all ethnic and religious backgrounds are welcome.
One of Freemasonry’s customs is not to solicit members – men must seek membership on their own initiative. Anyone is welcome to request information about the fraternity.
If you are interested in applying for membership to our lodge, now is a great time to start! Below is some comprehensive information about membership. Please review it as you consider contacting us and requesting a petition. All information about how to become a member, including the request for application/petition, is included below. Please contact us to schedule a visit during an event, or request more information.
The Short Version on Becoming a Member
- Contact us and ask a lot of questions.
- Be a man at least 18 years of age with a belief in a Supreme Being, and a belief in a future existence (immortality of the soul)
- Attend our events to get to know us and so we can get to know you.
- Once you have befriended at least 2 of our members who you feel can personally vouch for your character, request an application/petition.
- The process from the first contact to becoming a mason can take anywhere from 2 months to 6 months or longer. The process to go through the degrees of masonry can take from 3 months to 18 months or longer.
“So as the story starts, we have some very peculiar questions. The fundamental message of Masonry is truly man’s pursuit of communion with his creator. And Masonry is a very unique and ancient age-old repository of wisdom and knowledge that has been preserved through the ages and gives a whole new perspective to the man looking to understand who he is, where he has come from, what he is to be doing, and his ultimate direction. Masonry provides all of the tools for a man to think about that and to come to grips with who he really is.
So if you can think for yourself, you are probably a good prospect for masonry. If you can’t think for yourself, it’s probably better to follow the 10 steps to salvation that most folks ascribe to. Masonry is not for those folks.”
“So that when it’s all said and done, a man can look back and have some sense of comfort that he has lived a good life – he has lived an examined life. And in the process of learning himself, he has taught other men how to be good men. Our ultimate goal is to live respected and die regretted.”
Who We Are and What We Do
Freemasonry is a fraternal organization that contains a system of ethics and morals, veiled in allegory, and illustrated by symbols while focussing on a balanced approach to fellowship, charity, and education.
OK, OK. Thanks, Wikipedia. However, in all reality, that statement does a great job, albeit at a high-level, describing what Freemasonry is all about. You could take each part of that statement and create a weekend-long seminar about it. Instead of something of that length, we will summarize what it all means.
Who We Are
We are an organization of men of similar personal standards who are joined together by an obligation. Our fraternity is publicly 300 years old. We first became a public fraternity in 1717 when the Grand Lodge of England announced their existence. Prior to that time, we were a secret society (gasp!). Many people believe we are still a secret society. However, if we were, I would not be writing this for public consumption.
A System of Ethics and Morals
Yes. We built a fraternity around two of the most commonly misunderstood words and ideas. Masons have a certain code they must live and operate by, which is imposed upon themselves, and presented by the Jurisdiction of which they may be a member. For instance, the State of California is a Jurisdiction under the leadership of the Grand Lodge of California. In addition to our code (ethics), we also teach virtues and universal principles of right and wrong (morality). Part of our code is that we do not discuss religion or politics while lodge is in session. Some of the virtues we teach are temperance, fortitude, prudence, and justice.
Veiled in Allegory
See! You are a secret society! It’s veiled and shrouded in secrecy! Well, not so much. There are certainly mysteries in Masonry — many that most masons are still trying to decipher. Veiled in Allegory simply means that we partially conceal our teachings within a story so that they can be interpreted to reveal a hidden meaning, typically a moral one. As an operative mason, you must use tools to build a temporal or physical building. As a speculative freemason, you must use those same tools, albeit symbolically, to build a symbolic or spiritual building. Our Allegory is broken up into 3 degrees.
Illustrated by Symbols
Tools of masonry, among others, are our symbols. They give us a physical object to help us remember the moral lesson we were all taught within our allegories.
What We Do
There are two things most masons become really good at – public speaking and eating. We use every opportunity we can to build the bonds of brotherly love. We are linked together by an indissoluble chain of sincere affection.
The bonds that join us together also promote us in assisting and relieving others. Relieving the distressed and charity is an eternal gift. By this principle, we form our friendships and establish our connections.
Truth is the foundation of every virtue. To take full advantage of the gifts of fellowship and charity, one must constantly look to improve one’s self.
Just like any Board of Directors or Council, we have standardized meetings where we conduct our business. Though our meetings are private, the business of a lodge is not so secret. We approve minutes, read applications, vote on applicants, read communications, approve bills, decide which charities to support, and present research papers.
Degrees of Masonry
The allegories of Masonry are taught in Degrees. There are three degrees of Masonry. Master Mason (the third degree) is the highest degree that can be earned and conferred upon a man. Many ask about the Illustrious 33rd degree (which is honorary based on service and merit) and the thousand other degrees of Masonry. The appendant bodies of Freemasonry (Scottish Rite, York Rite, etc) have many additional degrees which are for educational purposes. The Third Degree, or Master Mason Degree, is what unites Freemasons all over the globe.
What We Are Not
We are not a religion. We do not provide or offer salvation.
We are not solely a social fraternity (think Elks, Moose, etc). We are not solely a charitable service organization (think Rotary, Lions, Kiawanis, etc). We are not solely an esoteric research society (think: Ordo Templi Orientis, Hermetic Brotherhood of Light). We are not solely an Academic Association or Learned Society (think: American Bar Association, American Philosophical Society).
Freemasonry is all of the above-mentioned group combined into one organization. And has a hand in the start in most, if not all, of the above groups.
How do I become a Freemason and a member of the lodge?
2B1Ask1 (To Be One…Ask One)
The first thing you must do is ask. Our rules and regulations prohibit us from recruiting members or soliciting membership. Thus, you must ask and inquire of your own free will and accord. Aside from asking, you must be 18 years old, believe in a Supreme Being, and have not pled guilty or no contest to or been convicted of a crime of moral turpitude (see explanation here).
Once you have contacted us, a dialogue is in order with one of our Executive Committee members (Lodge leadership). We want to be able to answer any initial questions you may have about the Fraternity and our Lodge and confirm who you are.
You have to get to know us, and we have to get to know you. You need to confirm we are a group of men you would like to associate yourself with, and us you. This can only happen in face-to-face interaction and fellowship.
Once you have attended enough events (usually at least 4 – 6 events), and come to where you feel this is something that you would like to pursue in your life and you begin to understand how you might be able to serve the lodge, the fraternity and/or society, you may ask for an application. Only an Executive Committee member (Master, Sr. Warden, Jr. Warden, Secretary, Treasurer or Past Master) may grant you a petition. At this time, you will also need to ask two of our members to vouch for you and sign your petition. Hence why it is so important that you have garnered a relationship with us prior to asking for a petition. You will also be asked for two personal character references who are not members of our lodge. There is also a $400 application fee which is due at the time of submission, which consists of some small donations, a background check fee, and costs associated with the lodge conferring the degrees of Masonry upon you. The lodge does not make an income off application fees.
Read Application in Open Lodge
Once you turn in your application, it is read in open lodge at the immediately following State Meeting. At this time, any member in good standing of our lodge may object to receiving your application. If no one objects, the process continues.
As long as no brother objects to receiving your application, your information is entered into our Grand Lodge membership system and a background check with the FBI NICS system is performed.
Concluded that the FBI NICS system does not come back with any negative marks, three members of our lodge are given a copy of your application and will schedule time with you to continue your investigation. They will meet with you or you and your lady and ask questions as well as answer any questions you may have. This is to confirm that your desire to be a Freemason and a member of our lodge is for the right reasons.
When all three of your investigators come back with a favorable report, the lodge then ballots upon your petition at the immediately following Stated Meeting. The ballot must be unanimous.
A clear ballot means that one of our executive committee members will contact you that evening or the following day to schedule your first degree.
The usual timeframe from the first contact to initiation is anywhere from three to six months. And the usual time to go through and receive the degrees of masonry usually takes anywhere from three to 18 months.
Why do we have this process?
Freemasons have certain rights, benefits, and privileges and we want to make sure only men of the highest moral beacon take part in those and our mysteries. In addition, the total man-hours it takes to confer the Degrees of Masonry on a single candidate is roughly 200+ hours. We do not want to create card-carrying Masons. We want to raise Masons who have a desire to serve their lodge, the fraternity, and society at large as leaders.
Things to Consider Before Requesting an Application
Receiving the degrees of Masonry is a serious undertaking. There many things to consider prior to requesting an application. By submitting an application, you are saying you would like over a dozen men to dedicate over 200+ man hours in assisting you on a personal journey. Once you go through the degrees, will brothers local and worldwide be able to depend on you?
- Am I ready to dedicate time to myself?
Pursuing the degrees of masonry takes time and effort. If you are not at a place in life where you are unable to dedicate time to yourself, now may not be the best time to join. However, there is never a rush in Freemasonry.
- Am I available on most Mondays and Thursdays?
Oceanside 381 meets on Mondays and hold practices and education on Thursdays. If you are not available on these days, perhaps now is not the best time, or you should find a lodge that meets on a different night. For instance, Vista Lodge meets on Tuesdays.
- Do my family and friends support my decision to join the fraternity?
We have found that most brothers who join who do not have support from their family and friends do not last long in the fraternity.
- Do I just want to know the secrets…or do I want to better myself and serve my family, friends, and society for their betterment?
A sincere desire to improve one’s self, and thus those that surround them, is required to become a mason.
- Have I made meaningful connections while attending events at Oceanside 381 that could last for a lifetime?
Without building those bonds, the true benefits of Masonry cannot be realized. Additionally, as mentioned in another article, you will need two members, whom which you have become close with, to recommend you to membership.
- Am I prepared to attend all required meetings while going through the degrees of masonry and/or communicate readily with my Candidate’s Coach and the Master of the Lodge?
Well over 200 man hours go into preparing someone for and conferring the degrees of masonry on someone. If someone is not committed, then our members spend time away from their families and lives for not.
Are you ready to bring your Masonic journey? Click here to Request an Application/Petition
Still have questions or need to schedule a visit? Please fill out the contact form below. We look forward to speaking with you soon!