A candidate is mostly introduced by a freemason who knows and appreciates him as a good, honest and reliable man, who is deemed eligible for membership and susceptible to the specific work and atmosphere in the Lodge. Often a person applies of his own free will, on the basis of personal reading about the Order. Possibly the candidate does not know anyone whom he can confidently apply to, so that he appeals straight to a Lodge or a Grand Lodge.
When a profane person stands up for membership, a Lodge takes up contact with him and starts an investigation procedure in accordance with the terms stipulated in its regulations.
What are the obligations the initiate commits himself to ?
Membership of a Lodge implies a financial effort. Every member pays a contribution. The amount received is spent mainly on material expenses of the Lodge : for buildings and other costs for the performance of freemasonry. All in all this contribution is not high and differs from Lodge to Lodge. Moreover, the masonic practice also entails expenses for meals, which every Lodge organizes for its members. Anyhow, membership is not a privilege for well-to-do people. An average and even moderate income is enough to bear this burden.
On the other hand an important effort in quite other respects is expected of the Lodge members. Freemasonry is not just an association. It requires an active presence. However, anyone wanting to participate in the life of his Lodge must faithfully attend the meetings, accept time-consuming functions and by his personal dedication contribute to the flourishing of the Lodge. These obligations should not damage the family or professional life. Yet, freemasonry requires time to be spent on it : some fifteen to twenty meetings and an additional number of other events (seminars, instructions, administrative meetings, …)
It is often noticed that only those who do not want to take the time, do not have time. Experience has shown that precisely the busiest men find the time necessary for the things that are dear to them.
What happens when an initiate wants to leave freemasonry ?
It is sufficient that he makes his decision known and his Lodge can put him to sleep, which means that his dropped from membership. According to some rumors it is not possible to leave the Order without running the risk of undergoing a terrible punishment. That is, of course, out of the question. What association would, indeed, be so stupid as to force people to remain members of an Order to which they do not belong with their full conviction ?
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