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Stephen H

Vetting Process

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I wondered whether you would mind helping me with a question about becoming a freemason. 

I have been told that one part of the vetting process for those applying to join, is to be subject to a masonic investigation committee, in order to ensure the applicant is a suitable candidate. I believe that includes an interview/conversation with the applicant and their family. I believe this helps the applicant understand if freemasonry is right for them, and to establish if the candidate is right for freemasonry. What makes me a little more nervous is that I am given to understand the committee will contact an employer and neighbours. 

Would anyone here be able to advise regarding this part of the process?

Thank you.   Steve.

 

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Hello Stephen,

Welcome to the forum.

Dealing with your specific query first and bearing in mind you do not mention where you live so if it is other than England this might not apply. No one will be contacting your neighbours or employer. The "masonic investigation committee" is normally the Master, Wardens, Secretary and A N Others. They vary from lodge to lodge. I am a member of two lodges; one in each of two separate counties, or as we call them; Provinces. In both Provinces the practices are similar; A prospective candidate is invited, with his Proposer and Seconder, to meet members of the lodge,  so that each side can assess the other. Normally the Master or Secretary will ask about a dozen questions in order to gauge your reasons for wanting to join. You would also have the opportunity to ask questions. The interview can last from between 15mins to an hour plus, depending upon the to-ing and fro-ing of questions. If you have a wife / partner you will be asked if you have discussed your intent / application with them. Why ? Because we do not want to drive a wedge between couples.

There is no single, England wide, process for these interviews so it would help if you would like a more detailed response if you could tell us where you are and if it is England which county the lodge is in which you are looking to join. Hopefully one of us will have some experience or know someone in that county / Province.

All the best,

Eng.

 

 

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Thank you Engineer, that is helpful.

I am based in England - I live on the East London/Essex border (Wanstead) and work just a stone's throw from Queen Street in Holborn. The reason I asked about the process is that I felt uncomfortable with my employer/neighbour being approached. I keep my private and work lives separate. I am not nervous or uncomfortable with being questioned about what interests me about freemasonry - better to know earlier rather than later if we are not a good fit.

Thanks for putting my mind at rest about this part of the process.

Steve

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Bro, I met with about 10 members of my lodge. This included my proposer and seconder. We had a pint and chatted. They asked about me and invited me to find out more about them. Each lodge has a slightly different character; sometimes, while a man might be right for Freemasonry, he might be more appropriately directed towards a different lodge. It's all about getting the best 'fit'. Nothing more than that. They certainly wouldn't be seeking references from your employer.

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It's worth mentioning that the background check (including criminal records check) you seem to be referring to is common in the US. Over here, you'll be asked about about criminal background, and we're taken at our word, but run the risk of expulsion if we're later found to have lied. So if there is anything in your background - including driving offences, be upfront with them. Some can be signed off by the Provincial (or Metropolitan) Grand Master, whilst others may need to be referred to London (Great Queen Street). 

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Welcome to the forum 

Do you have a lodge in mind or are you in the process of exploring if freemasonry is for you?

Each lodge does the initial interview in a different way, but the basics are the same across England & Wales - its an opportunity for you to meet with the lodge members, for them to meet you, and to talk about what being a freemason involves and for you to ask as many questions as you want. All the other stuff mentioned about an investigation committee, neighbours, business associates, etc is more a US practice than a UK one

(Scotland & Ireland have their own Grand Lodges so follow their own customs/practices)

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PS - there are a few Essex/London Masons on this board

I'm just up the road from you deeper in the forest, but work in the City, lodge meets on a Saturday afternoon in Freemasons Hall

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Thanks Sontaran. Good advice. I don't have anything criminal in my background. The closest I got was when I spent two hours in a cell at aged 8 or 9 after having run away from home. It did the trick of scaring me not to do that again.

And thanks Bod. Still exploring at the moment and will probably be asking for advice on how to choose and approach a lodge a little later.

 

 

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Hi Stephen and welcome to the Forum.

I can see that the other members are taking care of you so thought that I would just chuck in that I’m a London Freemason who actually works in Freemasons’ Hall in Great Queen Street and I’m always happy to chat about Freemasonry :) 

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On 12/02/2018 at 11:42 PM, Stephen H said:

Thank you Engineer, that is helpful.

I am based in England - I live on the East London/Essex border (Wanstead) and work just a stone's throw from Queen Street in Holborn. The reason I asked about the process is that I felt uncomfortable with my employer/neighbour being approached. I keep my private and work lives separate. I am not nervous or uncomfortable with being questioned about what interests me about freemasonry - better to know earlier rather than later if we are not a good fit.

Thanks for putting my mind at rest about this part of the process.

Steve

 

I’m in Wanstead myself and happy to meet up if you’d like to discuss in person. Drop me a PM of you like.

 

Regarding your main concern, I have never, ever heard of a lodge contacting an employer or neighbours. 

 

 

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Giving the matter proper consideration and careful thought is a good thing - enjoy your holiday and look forward to answering any question you have

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