Procedure for processing an Application for membership into the Craft

  1. The Lodge Committee, upon receiving an indication that a gentleman has an interest in applying to join the Craft, should proceed (either by itself or by the assigning of two or three senior Brethren) to interview the prospective candidate preferably at his house together with his wife/partner using the blue form “Guidance for Proposer and Seconder of a Candidate for Initiation” as referenceThat group should include the Proposer and/or Seconder. This is not a form that requires any completion by the Candidate but he must be given Part B of the ‘blue form’ to read at that time, to ensure he is made aware – inter alia - of the difference between an ‘unqualified declaration’ and a ‘qualified declaration’ - Rule 164 (a) (ii). The interview should be done as soon as convenient so as to ensure that the proposed candidate is suitable before any further steps are taken. Please note that it is very desirable to ascertain the views of his wife/partner. If her views are not favourable of the Craft, and this cannot be resolved, it is better that the procedure be suspended rather than we be seen as creating disharmony in the family.
  2. If the Lodge Committee has determined that in its opinion the person is in fact suitable - and NOT before - the Lodge Secretary will communicate the details of the proposed candidate (name, occupation, address and age) - referring to him as a gentleman who has expressed an interest in becoming a Mason - to all the Secretaries in the E.C, at the same time communicating the same in writing to the District Grand Secretary who will notify his counterparts in the Irish and Scottish Constitutions.
  3. A period of three clear months from the date of the letter to the District Grand Secretary should be allowed for response and no further processing which involves the applicant should be done before that period has expired.
  4. Should no unfavourable response be received within that period the Lodge may proceed with the processing by having the Registration Form completed by the Candidate, his Proposer and Seconder, and handed to the Lodge Secretary previous to the meeting that the proposition is to be made. [See #8 below for further clarification]  The Secretary will then cause the application to be read in open Lodge, preferably under the Third Rising. Once this is done, the Candidate MUST be balloted for at the NEXT Regular Meeting of the Lodge. Therefore, the Secretary must ensure that an item is placed on the Agenda for the next meeting to allow for the balloting to take place and all the particulars of the Candidate including the names of his Proposer and Seconder shall appear in that Agenda Item.  Rule 159 must be followed slavishly in this respect to avoid the procedure being deemed null and void.
  5. At the following meeting, and prior to the ballot being taken, the Master’s Certificate (Declaration) as appears on the white form shall be signed and read out.  If for any reason the ballot is not taken at that meeting, the Application must be read again so that it can be taken at the next meeting. Note that, in all cases, the ballot shall be taken at the meeting following that in which the application is read out.
  6. The Candidate shall be Initiated as soon as is reasonably possible but NOT later than one year after his election and, preferably, not on the same night as the Balloting so as to avoid any embarrassment to the Candidate in the unlikely, but possible, event that the ballot does not prove favourable.
  7. It must be stressed that the procedure outlined above, if followed properly, should eliminate any possibility of an unfavourable ballot, as it is assumed that any objection to the Candidate would have made known to the Secretary or Master of the Lodge before it reaches that stage.
  8. It is not necessary to complete the Registration form in triplicate. It is quite acceptable for the Secretary to make two photocopies of the original completed Form, one of which is for his records.  The original and one copy are then sent to the DistGSec as soon as the initiation has taken place. The DistGSec will then send the original to Grand Lodge, and keep the copy for his records.

Supplementary Information for Secretaries reading out Proposals received from other Lodges

It is not necessary to read out all the details on Proposals for membership received from Secretaries of other Lodges – just the headlines:

Brother Secretary in the 3rd Rising may say:   “We have been advised that the following gentlemen have expressed an interest in applying for membership of the following Lodges:

Lodge No 207     Royal       Bobby Copper      Policeman
Lodge No 623     St John    Plenty Doe           Banker
Lodge No 932     Erin         Tom Drinkall        Liquor Distributor
Etc. Etc.

The listening Brethren will either know the person or not! Being told when he was born and who is the Proposer & Seconder etc. is not going to change anything in terms of possibly raising an objection to the candidate.

Reading out of irrelevant details of the Proposals is a waste of time and is even more so when a Lodge has been on holiday and the Proposals may have accumulated.

If any Brother wishes further clarification on a particular gentleman, he should be directed to speak to the Secretary after the meeting.  One must assume that the sending Lodge has done the basic checks etc on the candidate.

Thank you for your attention to these points which are provided in order to clarify some misunderstandings which have arisen, as well as to speed up meetings and make them more enjoyable.

Robert N Forbes, JP 

Freemasonry: a peculiar system of morality, veiled in allegory and illustrated by symbols.