I’ll talk at length about the thoughts that went into the choice of entering Freemasonry, but let me just dwell briefly on the practicalities of petetioning a lodge. It is a common misconception that you need to be invited into a lodge. It is rather the opposite: no Freemason will ever ask if you want to “join their club”. It is true that you need a Proposer and a Seconder to recommend you to the lodge on your behalf, and someone might ask if you would be interested, but the first step is to knock on the door yourself.
The way it transpired for me …
Once I had decided that I needed to make a decision one way or the other I looked up the first coming introduction day in the Danish Order of Freemasons. That happened to be in Hafnia Lodge – as I didn’t immediately know anybody in the order, one lodge would serve as well as the other. I emailed the lodge Secretary, and he put me in contact with “JPS”. JPS sent me an email with a picture so I would be able to find him on the day. The meeting took place in Freemasons’ Hall (in Copenhagen), where I was attached to a younger brother so I “wouldn’t be all alone” and had someone to ask questions. The introduction consisted of a tour (a shorter version of the one I had tried before), followed by a brief PowerPoint and lunch, as an opportunity to ask questions. We were about a dozen interested guests, and most had brought their partner – unfortunately I hadn’t realised that this was normal.
After the meeting I contacted JPS, and we agreed to meet at a café. We had a really good talk, and I got answers to the more probing and critical questions. Then we emailed some more and met up again. At this point I was pretty much decided. There was a short, critical moment, where I had to declare my intention to go through with it. I did, and the next step was finding a Proposer. JPS offered himself for the job, and he also found a Seconder based on our talks (had I known someone within the order, they would likely have been the ones). A couple of weeks later me and my wife were visited at home by my “sponsors”. It served as an opportunity for Mette to ask questions and get an impression of what I was getting myself into. Since she was already well-informed (through her own research), trusted that I would make the most of the experience and that it was my choice either way, the meeting didn’t really change much. But it was clearly part of some basics that needed to be in order: do you have the support from your family, will it burden your economy, are you a law-abiding citizen etc. This period was also a time for personal reflection. Part of it was talking to my father and with Mette, meeting a different lodge, and during this search I made some new friends on different forums (something I’ll get back to later).
Next step was writing an application. This is basically a biography of sorts, and a few words on why you want to join the lodge. You must enclose a photo, to give the Brethren an opportunity to see if they know the applicant, as well as a birth certificate (only goes for the Danish Order of Freemasons – other orders will “only” ask that you believe in a Supreme Being). Around this time (March 2005) I got my Initiation date: November 23 – quite a long wait, but there are only so many workings per year, plus a long summer break. Next, the application will be considered in the lodge, and there’s a ballot about my membership. It should be a matter of form, as both parties have had an opportunity to find out if we are right for each other, trough our talks. I won’t receive a final answer until the lodge resumes work after the summer holidays, though. I would also expect that I’ll get to see my Proposer/Seconder again over the summer.
To sum it up
When written out in detail like this, it does appear somewhat elaborate. To some extent it is, but the tone has been relaxed and friendly all the way through, and I was always kept informed of the next step. At the end of the day, and that’s the important point to make, it is up to oneself to consider the pros and cons, discover what you’re entering into, and make the final decision.
*) 2B1ASK1: Thank god for America that understands that if it can’t be expressed as a number plate or a phone number, it’s probably not worth saying. 😉
[Date of original post: July 19, 2005]