Now that you are out of prison after serving your sentence, you may see things differently and want to change the way you live. You may have heard of the Freemasons and think about joining.
The question is whether or not as a felon you can become a Freemason.
In this blog post, we’ll cover the following:
- About the Freemasons
- Becoming a Freemason
- An Opportunity for Felons?
- Background Check?
- Steps to Take
About the Freemasons
As one of the world’s oldest non-religious fraternities, this group focuses on demonstrating tolerance, respect, and kindness for one’s fellow man. The Freemasons aim to practice caring and giving to those near them through exhibiting self-control and personal high morals.
The Freemasons value honor and integrity as core beliefs. Respecting others and their rights regardless of their own possibly conflicting opinions is essential to each member of this fraternal organization.
The motto of the Freemasons is “better men make a better world.”
Freemason members strive to practice brotherly love and provide charitable contributions for those in need in the community.
As suggested, their ideal starts with charity and brotherhood. They believe in educating and socializing with your fellow man. They strive to build character in all members and promote this ideal in society.
The Freemasons have a membership of more than two million men from all areas, races, ages, and religions. They originated in early eighteenth-century London.
Their name originated with the stonemasons, the craftsmen who built the great cathedrals of Europe.
Groups of these guild members called themselves lodges. The Masonic Lodge is the center for all Freemason activities where they engage in fundraising, public relation events, and perform charity work in the community.
Just as an example of the type of men drawn to this group, George Washington was a Freemason
Becoming a Freemason
Freemasonry requires men to be of “sound mind and members” who are in good health and able to walk, kneel, and have a clear mind. That sounds like it isn’t easy to become a Freemason.
Well, it isn’t. So read on about how this occurs.
They don’t recruit members. So, how do you join?
Their list of requirements is long and not easily met. These expectations include being:
- At least 21 in most states
- Of good morals and good reputation
- A believer in a Supreme Being
- Able to support himself and his family
- Free of his own will to apply
- Have a have a strong desire to make a difference in the world
- Unanimously elected by the lodge members
That’s a long list of criteria to meet.
Joining the Freemasons begins by contacting the Grand Lodge in your state to initiate the process.
Obtaining a degree of Freemasonry by fraud, untrue statements of representation, or by concealing and withholding relevant information is subject to Masonic discipline.
This shows the seriousness with which the Freemasons live their ideals.
A Freemason can be removed from the brotherhood by:
- Committing a criminal offense involving moral turpitude under state or federal law
- Being charged with any offense when any plea other than not guilty is entered
- Entering into a pretrial intervention program or plea bargain that requires an admission of guilt
For reference, a crime of moral turpitude is one that violates the ethical standards of a community and involves betrayal of public trust, including acts of dishonesty, fraud, or deceit. The main word here is that is a fraudulent action that hurts and betrays other people’s trust.
This fraternal order sounds like a great organization that has the ideals that you as a felon might wish to exhibit after your ordeal in the criminal justice system.
But, can you join them?
An Opportunity for Felons?
The guidelines of the Freemasons clearly state that they associate with other men of high character. Freemasonry requires constant self-improvement, but they “do not intend to make bad men into good.”
As this statement suggests, a felon is not allowed to be a Mason.
The Freemasons believe that felons can become productive members of society.
However, the Masonic Lodge will not accept any petitions for membership from anyone who has been convicted of a felony and who has not been restored to full civil rights.
As a felon, you can petition the Masonic Lodge to join if the lodge has evidence of your civil rights being restored.
Civil rights can be restored if you have no violent offenses and aren’t a:
- Habitual violent felony offender
- Three-time violent felony offender
- Violent career criminal
- Sexual predator
Background check? Are you applying for a job or seeking to join a fraternity of men who may hold similar beliefs?
There isn’t exactly a formal background check, but there will be a series of interviews with a committee of members of the lodge which you want to join. This group is called the Investigative Committee.
At this meeting, committee members answer any questions you have about the Freemasons and the lodge.
After the meeting, if the committee is favorable toward you, you will be given a petition to join the Freemasons.
It is important to be honest in filling out this petition to become a Freemason. When you are petitioning a Masonic lodge, and lie about any conviction, this constitutes fraud.
This is generally a punishable crime, but in this case it would lead immediately to being turned down by the lodge.
Then, the “background check” begins.
The Investigative Committee contacts those people who know you from a list (your reference list) you provide them. They will inquire about your character.
Of course, the committee members may ask questions about your criminal history, though this is not the specific intention of the character check.
The emphasis is on your overall character and whether or not you exhibit the traits the Freemasons are looking for in a potential member.
This vetting process typically takes a few weeks to complete. In some countries, this process could take up to two years.
Following this, the Investigative Committee will share their findings with the other lodge members who will vote on whether or not to invite you to join.
This is how the Freemason background check goes, and it is an essential part of their admission process.
If you are elected after completing the process, a date for admission to the brotherhood will be set, which is called achieving a degree of Freemasonry.
Steps to Take
If you have your record expunged, this can give you the chance you need to begin with a clean record and succeed in becoming a Freemason.
Expunging your criminal record allows you to honestly state on the Masonic petition that you have not been convicted of a crime and provide the opportunity to join this brotherhood.
This is a big challenge, but it might be worth it if you want to become a Freemason.
Expunging your record and having a list of people who know you and how you have worked to change for the better to live an honest lifestyle will help you accomplish this goal.
Just think about how proud you would be to be able to say that you have overcome your mistakes and are now defining yourself by how you respond to these mistakes.
But in the event that you apply to become a Freemason and are not elected for some reason doesn’t mean that you have failed. Regardless of whether or not you are admitted to this age-old fraternity doesn’t make your rehabilitation any less real.
You can still live the ideals that the Freemasons believe in. Not everyone who applies for the Freemasons succeeds in getting in.
But it is still an honor to be considered.
What do you think about this blog post? Have you or someone you know been in the situation of trying to become a Freemason with a felony? What was that like for him, and how did he achieve success? Please tell us in the comments below.