Those who are charged
with the duty of investigating the character and other qualifications of
applicants for the privileges of Masonry hold positions of distinction and
trust. Of all the committees appointed by the Worshipful Master, none is
more important to the preservation of this great Fraternal Order Way of Life
than this committee, whose duty is to determine the fitness of a candidate
prior to balloting on his petition.
They are, of necessity,
the inspectors to examine the material wherewith to add wisdom, strength,
and beauty to the Universal Masonic Temple. Carelessness, indifference or
negligence in the discharge of this responsible duty are of the nature of
Every member in the Lodge
is part of the Investigating Committee, especially the voucher of the
petitioner. The member who vouches for a profane should be certain of his
fitness for membership. Also, it is the duty of every Master Mason who is
aware of something which would cause a profane to be unfit for membership,
to inform a brother of that Lodge or the Investigating Committee, so these
things can be Verified or clarified. For it is the responsibility of every
member to exercise scrupulous care in guarding the door of Masonry from
gaining access and introducing Godless ideology. It is our duty as Masons,
to jealously examine a profane Is fitness for membership, for on this examination rests the honor, glory,
and reputation of our institution.
Every member and the
Investigating Committee is urged to constantly bear in mind that membership
in the craft is much too priceless to be shared without due consideration.
So think and act for the good of Masonry at all times.
1. When visiting a candidate at his home, the
committee should first determine the family's attitude
toward his desire to join the Masonic Order. If there is serious
opposition to him joining which cannot be overcome by the committee and
there is every likelihood that his membership in the Lodge would cause
internal family problems, the petition should be returned or rejected.
2. Ascertain whether the petitioner's home
surroundings are such as to permit him
financially to continue his membership without depriving his family of
the essentials of life. While a man's financial circumstances or his
educational background ought not bar him from participating in Masonic
privileges or render him unwelcome in the Craft, his standard of living may
be so different from those of the other members as to make her uncomfortable
in their presence.
3. The applicant should be given the understanding
that his character is subjected to the closest scrutiny, and that
friendship, personal consideration, or favoritism, must not control or bias
Masonic action. He is informed that he must pass the scrutiny of the
investigation and the ordeal of the ballot, as all have done who has gone
this way before him. If there be a doubt in regard to his fitness to become
a Mason, let the lodge have the benefit of the doubt. Remember that the
dignity, honor, and reputation of the institution are in your hands.
4. The committee should determine how long the
petitioner has been acquainted with his proposer. If the acquaintanceship
has been but a brief one, it is all the more reason why the committee should
make a thorough search of the petitioner's background. References should be
carefully checked, as well as business affiliations. This of course should
be handled in a discreet manner, especially if questions-are directed to
non-Masons who may not be favorably disposed towards the Institution.
5. Ascertain the petitioner's motive for wanting to
become a Mason and what is his conception of the Fraternity. Of course, one
who is new to the Order may not be expected to offer a consider opinion, but
he should have at least some idea of the type organization he is expecting
6. Is the petitioner charitable by nature? Does he
contribute to needy causes as his finances permit? Also, is he charitable in
thought and actions towards his fellowmen? Is he bigoted or prejudiced? All
these questions, discreetly put, will help bring out the true character of
7. Is he prompt in meeting his financial obligations
and honorable in his business dealing
with others? Can he afford to become a Mason? The answers to the first
two questions can be obtained by investigating his references, both business
and personal. As to whether he can afford to become a Mason, this can be
determined by pointing out that no man should join the Masonic Order, if he
must deprive his family of the necessities of life. Naturally, no Lodge
wishes to cause hardship for others, nor handicap itself by adding to its
rolls members who are apt to become financial liabilities.
8. Does the petitioner realize that membership in a
Lodge calls for payment of dues and these are to be met promptly? Along with
this question, the committee might also ascertain what, if any, provisions
he has made for his family, money wise etc. should something happen to him.
Does his occupation permit him to attend meetings regularly?
10. Does the petitioner believe in a Supreme Being?
Does he attend a church? Masonry does not require a man to adhere to any
particular creed or religion, he must believe in God and in the immortality
of the soul.
11. The Worshipful Master should be kept honestly and
fully informed. A complete report of the investigation committee should be
presented at the regular lodge meeting.
12. A fearless discharge of this duty may, for a
time, subject the committee to the frowns of the rejected and his friends,
but faithfulness and courage will, in the end, command the plaudits of every
lover of the Fraternity.
13. Don't overlook any references, the last one may
be the one needed. Reports on the petitioner should be obtained from courts,
police department, credit bureaus, and other places necessary.
14. The investigation should be so conducted that,
even if rejected, the applicant gains a higher respect for the Fraternity.