Questions about membership

Discussion in 'Becoming a Freemason' started by Visiphon, Jul 1, 2018.

  1. Visiphon

    Visiphon Registered User

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    Hello, I am not a Mason, I don't meet the age requirement to join, but my father is a Mason and master of his lodge. I don't know if I'll ever try to join, but I'd like to have some questions answered either way.

    I currently live in Wisconsin, and understanding that each Grand Lodge has its own rules and ways of doing things, I just thought that could be of some relevance.

    Question:

    1. In the US, and specifically Wisconsin (if any of you are able to be that specific), about how much do you think I'd have to pay for dues?
    2. I am currently a member of the Evangelical Lutheran Church in America, I am not sure what their position is on freemasonry and since my dad is not a member and has only attended for my baptism I cannot ask him, so if anyone here knows that, could they enlightenment me?
    3. I have done a decent amount of studying on the history and general organization of the fraternity and I have read a few books on the topic, both in favor and against Masonry, and I've come across a lot of talk about the idea that freemasonry teaches/promotes Deism and/or Pantheism.
    4. I have heard Masons say that you have to put masonry first, that is, Freemasonry must be put before other considerations, others have stated the opposite, is this true?
    5. Are there countries, ignoring the Islamic and Communist countries, where it would not be safe for me to live if I were a Mason?
    6. If my religious sect did not believe in oaths, that would exclude me from freemasonry (purely hypothetical this one is)?
    7. Would I have to take an obligation on the Bible?
     
    Last edited: Jul 1, 2018
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  2. hfmm97

    hfmm97 Premium Member

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    Visiphon:

    These are my personal opinions-I have been a member since 1997.

    1. Depends on the specific lodge - in Texas there is quite a variance between $100-$250+/yr plus voluntary charity donations. Some Grand Lodges charge a separate assessment for Grand Lodge support, some include it in their annual dues.
    Each Grand Lodge is different.
    2. Cannot answer that question-but I joined when I was a member of a Christian denomination that due to historical/political misunderstandings discouraged their members from being Masons-discretion is the watchword.
    3. I used to be a Deist and although Freemasonry uses generic prayers and titles for God, Freemasonry does not teach Deism/pantheism (Proselytizers would not be welcome probably).
    4. Freemasonry teaches quite the opposite-other things like family, work, religion take priority.
    Just like going to school or training, particularly when you are studying to be a Master Mason, you will have to make a higher degree of commitment than after you have become a full member.
    5. Certain areas of the world-for example-Latin America, Eastern&Southern Europe-who have had a history of political/religious conflicts with authorities- most Masons who live there are very discreet about their membership. There are some interesting exceptions Turkey has an active Grand Lodge and so does Cuba-Indonesia DOES NOT (since the 1960s.
    6. Freemasons take obligations that are of a symbolic nature.
    7. Either on the Bible or on the book of your faith.

    One true thing - Freemasonry is NOT done on the Internet-Freemasonry is done IN PERSON-go to the lodge that you are interested in applying to-if you are too young, check out the Order of De Molay (Masonic male youth group-does not generally require you to be the son of a Master Mason).

    Good luck.


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  3. Warrior1256

    Warrior1256 Site Benefactor

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    Agree with all.
    Excellent advice.
     
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  4. dfreybur

    dfreybur Premium Member

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    Expect roughly $100 to $200 per year for dues. Plus that amount to apply. Plus that amount for each of your 3 degrees. Some men rush through their degrees but if you take a year per degree that ends up being like you just paid dues the entire time.

    It's not our business to know about church policies. If you care, you should ask your church. It is also not our business to tell you how to react to any church policy. You get to give your church as much or as little authority in your life as you chose.

    If some church even hinted they object to lodge membership I would laugh in their faces and sing "These boots are made for walking, and my wallet too. And right now my boots are walking out on you. Come on wallet, start walking!" on my way out. There's another church just a few blocks down that doesn't object to morality that can put my donations to better use. But that's me not you. You get to chose differently about dealing with churches. You're an adult. Ask and make your own informed decision.

    That's not a question. Our candidates must express a belief in a supreme being. That's not the same thing as being a member of any one religion or any one church. What does the fact that some of our members make various choices have to do with our teachings?

    No. In our degrees we are taught that our priorities are to God, ourselves, our families and our country, in that order. The order of the last 3 varies. Lodge comes fourth on that list.

    Because we teach freedom of religion, countries under the control of theocrats tend to ban us. Across history Muslim majority countries aren't the only ones that have become run by clergy. I think in today's world there are none other than Islamic republics. Notice that not all Muslim majority countries ban us.

    Because we teach loyalty to just government, countries under the control of dictators tend to ban us as they know they are not just. So Masons but not Masonry tend to be involved in movements to bring about democracy, masons tend to flee emerging dictators. I'm not sure what countries in today's world kill Masons on detection but they are the ones you'd normally want to avoid. A couple of decades ago that was Liberia but now Masonry seems to be okay there. As usual the exceptions are educational. Masons helped the Cuban Revolution against their dictator so Masonry flourishes in Cuba today.

    I discussed making adult choices above. If you've ever been married or enlisted you've clearly resolved the issue for yourself.

    It doesn't have to be the Bible in specific. I've been to degrees with a Koran or Baghavat Gita on the altar. If you don't make a specific request it will be a Bible on the altar but it could be any well known sacred writing. If you request one that is not well known, expect several months of delay to get yours authorized.

    I look forward to a degree with a Zend Avesta, Tao Te Ching or Triptaka on the altar. Or any other of numbers sacred writings.
     
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  5. dfreybur

    dfreybur Premium Member

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  6. Warrior1256

    Warrior1256 Site Benefactor

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    Same here. I attend a Free Methodist church which is historically anti-Mason. However, the current pastor has no problem with me being a Freemason. If any future pastor would have a problem with it I would simply leave and find another church where I would be welcome.
     
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  7. Bloke

    Bloke Premium Member

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    I hope someone from Wisconsin showes up. I am from Australia and have been a member since 2003


    1 In the US, and specifically Wisconsin (if any of you are able to be that specific), about how much do you think I'd have to pay for dues?

    Each Lodge sets their own dues, so the amount will reflect the nature of the lodge, what costs they incur and their thoughts on finance. I am in two Lodges, one is $245 per year, the other, regarded as expensice by some, is $350, PLUS we pay Grand Lodge Dues... here, that is currently $114.95 - but most American Lodges would regard that as expensive (we also have good dinners and such and hence I would say our costs are not typical of USA Lodges).

    2 I am currently a member of the Evangelical Lutheran Church in America, I am not sure what their position is on freemasonry and since my dad is not a member and has only attended for my baptism I cannot ask him, so if anyone here knows that, could they enlightenment me?

    I do not know about that Church's view on Freemasonry, but my Church is anti-mason. I dont attend regularly but I have a, don't ask dont tell approach. Many member of that same Church attend regularly, and are very open about their membership. If this is a concern of yours, ask your Church but remember, once something is said, it cannot be unsaid.

    I would say this, it is not for Freemasonry to become between a Man and his Faith, nor a Man and his Church.

    3 I have done a decent amount of studying on the history and general organization of the fraternity and I have read a few books on the topic, both in favor and against Masonry, and I've come across a lot of talk about the idea that freemasonry teaches/promotes Deism and/or Pantheism.

    It's an interesting topic and I can see both views. For me, if I pray in Lodge, it is to my God and not to some "Masonic God" - such a god does not exist in my view... We promote respect of others, including their religion, respect does not mean I hold my Brother's beliefs, simply I respect their right to hold them, just as they respect mine. Each Brother's Religion is his own affair. Freemasonry is Fraternity and not a religion, while it has a qualification of Faith, it has no qualifications in relation to Religion. Some of those making allegations of "Masonic Deism/Pantheism" are ex-Freemasons but I would say they have missed the point - for instance, as a group, we don't pay to Jesus, because we are not a religious organisation, we're a fraternity, but in praying to a "Supreme Being" or the "Great Architect of the Universe" each member can hold their own faith - which might be Deism, but more commonly one of the worlds Major Religions.



    4 I have heard Masons say that you have to put masonry first, that is, Freemasonry must be put before other considerations, others have stated the opposite, is this true?
    No. In our Jurisdiction, members are told Family First, then Work. then Lodge. As an officer, I tend to get that a bit out of whack, because I have made a commitment to turn up, but even then, if my family or job needs me, they come first.


    5 Are there countries, ignoring the Islamic and Communist countries, where it would not be safe for me to live if I were a Mason?
    Not that I can think of..

    6 If my religious sect did not believe in oaths, that would exclude me from freemasonry (purely hypothetical this one is)?
    Not in my justification, we take an "obligation" rather than an oath, but that's perhaps a fine line. Either way, I listened carefully, and if there was anything in it I would not have been willing to do, then I would have refused to take it..

    7 Would I have to take an obligation on the Bible?
    It's standard for each member to take his obligation on his Volume of the Sacred Law. If you are Christian, that would be a Bible.
     
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  8. wellington

    wellington Registered User

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    I'm a regular Freemason in Wisconsin. It sounds like you've had your questions answered, but here are my two pennies contribution. My dues are around $85/yr, but it varies from lodge to lodge, even within a grand lodge (ie Wisconsin). Specifically in Wisconsin, I have brothers belonging to most local denominations, Catholicism being the rarest one. While most members are Christians in Wisconsin, you may take your obligations on whichever holy scripture of your open choosing. I've visited lodges with Holly scripture of multiple religions. We refer to the "Great Architect of the Universe" as a non-specific reference to deity, not too claim they are one and the same but rather to bed understood by each brother within the scope of his own belief system. If you have more questions specific to Wisconsin masonry, feel free to private message me, and I can give you my email or phone number for a more direct conversation. If you would like to speak to a Freemason who belongs to a specific denomination, I can probably find such brother and put you in contact with them. My best wishes to your inquiries. Wellington.

    Sent from my Pixel 2 XL using My Freemasonry mobile app
     
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  9. Keith C

    Keith C Registered User

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    Just to add to the discussion, are you sure about that?

    At a Lodge Education / Discussion night recently we were discussing why in PA it is called "Oath and Obligation." The explanation is that an obligation is something you take upon yourself, i.e. the things you swear to not do and to do, but an Oath invokes deity. SO if you have included in the ritual "So help me God" or something substantially similar, then what you swear includes an Oath. In PA we have that in what is said by the WM and repeated by the candidate, so we have an "Oath and Obligation." If you do not have reference to deity then indeed you simply have an obligation.

    I have yet to witness a degree in another jurisdiction, so I would like to know which is the case where you are.
     
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  10. Bloke

    Bloke Premium Member

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    it is titled "Obligation" but using your "So help me God" it is an oath - for me, it is moot, if I make a promise, I keep it regardless but I can see how it might be important to some...
     
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  11. Warrior1256

    Warrior1256 Site Benefactor

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    Interesting! Thanks for the info.
    Agreed!
     
  12. Mike Martin

    Mike Martin Eternal Apprentice Premium Member

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    I find that it is usually best to get a Dictionary involved when discussing what a word means, it saves fallacious interpretation:

    oath
    noun
    1. solemn pronouncement to affirm the truth of a statement or to pledge a person to some course of action, often involving a sacred being or object as witness
    ▶ Related adjective: juratory
    2. the form of such a pronouncement
    3. an
    irreverent or blasphemous expression, esp one involving the name of a deity; curse


    obligation
    noun
    1. a moral or legal requirement; duty
    2. the act of obligating or the state of being obligated
    3. in law
    a legally enforceable agreement to perform some act, esp to pay money, for the benefit of another party
    4. in law
    a. a written contract containing a penalty
    b. an instrument acknowledging indebtedness to secure the repayment of money borrowed
    5. a person or thing to which one is bound morally or legally
    6. something owed in return for a service or favour
    7. a service or favour for which one is indebted
     
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  13. Visiphon

    Visiphon Registered User

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    So, to be clear, would that bar Quakers or Anabaptists from freemasonry if they didn't believe in the actual swearing of an oath? I understand that people of those sects sometimes make a distinction between an oath and an affirmation. Also purely hypothetical.
     
  14. hanzosbm

    hanzosbm Premium Member

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    Freemasonry doesn't bar anyone for any religious reasons. If those men did not feel comfortable with taking the oath/obligation/whatever term they want to use, that's on them.

    Now, all of these answers aside, I'm curious, you said that your father is a Mason in the state which you have questions about. While I'm sure all of us here are very willing to help, why not ask your father?
     
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  15. Mike Martin

    Mike Martin Eternal Apprentice Premium Member

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    To b
    To be clear you need to ask them not us!

    The questions you are asking Freemasons is whether religious organisations have an opinion about us. That is not in any way a sensible approach, if you want to know what an organisation thinks, ask it!
     
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  16. Visiphon

    Visiphon Registered User

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    What I'm trying to ask is whether or not you have to swear an oath, or if you can make an affirmation instead. For instance, the US Army allows people who cannot swear an oath to make an affirmation.
     
  17. hfmm97

    hfmm97 Premium Member

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    That’s a good question-perhaps some Masonic scholar can answer this? I would say that in 21 years of being a Freemason I have never seen any brother make an affirmation.



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  18. JamestheJust

    JamestheJust Registered User

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    >or not you have to swear an oath

    Local rituals typically use the expression "solemnly and sincerely promise". It not thought of as an oath but as an obligation.
     
  19. Warrior1256

    Warrior1256 Site Benefactor

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    True!
     
  20. Mike Martin

    Mike Martin Eternal Apprentice Premium Member

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    Here in England a Candidates takes a solemn obligation which is solemnised using the“holy book” of his faith. However, as I illustrated with the Dictionries the cunning word play between oath and obligation is just smoke blown by religious bigots as the Bible is actually quite uncoear on oaths: https://www.openbible.info/topics/oaths
     
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