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Frequently Asked Questions of Prince Hall Masons

How to become a Prince Hall Mason?
For a Fraternity steeped in over two hundred years of tradition, you might think it is difficult to become a mason. It is. There is one major hurdle each candidate must pass. They must ask.

Why hasn’t anyone ever asked me to join?
There’s a rule in Masonry that a person must seek admission himself. We don’t go out and twist arms. A person needs to come to Masonry, because he really wants to, not because he’s been talked into it.

Why do Masons wear aprons?
The apron is a tangible tie to the operative stonemasons who wore leather aprons centuries ago to carry their tools. Today, it is worn as the badge of a Mason in the lodge, at certain public events and at a members’ funeral.

Why does Masonry use symbols?
Everyone uses symbols everyday, because it allows us to communicate quickly. When you see a red light, you know what it means. When you see a circle with a line through it, you know it means “no.” In fact, using symbols is probably the oldest method of communication and teaching.

Masons use symbols for the same reasons. The “Square and Compass” is the most widely known symbol of Masonry. In one way, this symbol is a kind of trademark for the fraternity. When you see it on a building, you know that Masons meet there.

Is there a lodge near me?
Prince Hall Masonry in California accepts no one for membership unless they come of their own free will and accord, having already obtained a favorable impression of our Fraternity.

Each petitioner must:

  • Have attained the age of eighteen.
  • Believe in God as the Grand Architect of the Universe.
  • Live an ethical and moral life.

We believe that men are made Masons in their hearts, and then they ask to join our Fraternity. Freemasonry will take men—good men in their community—and help them become better men. Each man brings something different into the Fraternity, as different as the types of men that become Masons, but each shares a common core of beliefs and of dreams; each believes that, in a small way, by their actions they help make their world, their communities, and themselves better.

Is Masonry a religion?
Masonry is a fraternity, not a religion. Masonry acknowledges the existence of God and teaches that without religion, a man can never reach his full potential. But, Masonry does not tell a person, which religion he should practice or how he should practice it. That is a function of his house of worship, not his fraternity.

Sometimes people confuse Masonry with a religion, because sometimes we call some Masonic buildings “temples.” But, we use the word in the same sense that Justice Oliver Wendell Holmes calls the Supreme Court a “Temple of Justice.” Neither Masonry nor the Supreme Court is a religion just because its members meet in a “temple.” Most Prince Hall lodges refer to their buildings as Masonic Halls.

Why is Masonry so secretive?
It really isn’t secretive, although it sometimes has that reputation. Masons certainly don’t make a secret of the fact that we are members of the fraternity. We wear, lapel pins and tie clasps with Masonic emblems like the square and compasses. Masonic buildings are clearly marked and are usually listed in the phone book. Lodge activities are not secrets—Bar-b-cues and other events are often listed in the newspapers, especially in small towns. But, there are two traditional categories of secrets. First are the ways in which a man can identify himself as a Mason: grips and passwords. This is the same for any fraternity. Second are Masonic ceremonies, which are private (for members only), but are not secret.

What about those “secret vows” I hear so much about?
The exact words of the vows are secret. That’s one of the ways we recognize each other. The contents are not. In less formal language, a Mason promises to treat women with deference and respect; to help a brother when he asks for and needs help; to remember people are entitled to dignity and respect; to follow the directions of the Grand Lodge, and if he disagrees, to use the proper channels to express that disagreement and seek resolution; to respect the tradition of the fraternity; to uphold the laws of the community, state and nation; and to keep secret the few things that are.

How to obtain a petition:
Contact or talk to someone you know is a Prince Hall Freemason. If you do not know anyone who is a member of the Fraternity, contact the Peninsula Lodge No. 46 Secretary at (831) 663-5688, explaining your interest, and that you are requesting a petition. You are required to pay an administrative fee, make your check or money order payable to Peninsula Lodge No. 46 in the amount of $35.00. (Note: If you do not qualify for any reason, this fee is not reimbursable.)

Mailing Address:
Peninsula Lodge No. 46
P.O. Box 1094
Monterey, CA 93942

The lodge confers three degrees. A fee of $150.00 must be paid upon your acceptance, and before the degrees are conferred.

  Prince Hall Free & Accepted Masons of California  |  525 Pacific Street  |  Monterey, CA 93940  |  Tel: (831) 442-1953  |  Fax: (831) 449-6360  |  email: earlandcal@sbcglobal.net

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