Six Steps to Initiation
One of the topics covered by Most Worshipful Conley at the 2015 Leadership Conference was a program called “Six Steps to Initiation.” This article summarizes the six steps and gives an overview of the process. It is important to note that the first five steps occur before the potential candidate is ever given a Petition. Only after he has demonstrated his sincerity and worthiness is he honored by being given a Petition.
The six steps and what they are meant to accomplish are as follows:
Step 1. The initial response to the candidate (set the meeting) — Initial contact
Step 2. The first meeting with the candidate (homework) — Begin to establish expectations
Step 3. The second meeting with the candidate (more homework) — Begin building relationships and continue to educate
Step 4. The third meeting with the candidate (introduction to other members) — Expand his circle
Step 5. The fourth meeting with the candidate (social function) — Education, acceptance, encouragement
Step 6. The petition and sponsor signatures — Petition, continue mentoring and education.
Step One: The Phone Call
Contact the candidate and verify that he has more than a trivial interest in being a Freemason. If his interest is only casual, you can save you both a great deal of time and effort by answering his questions over the phone. If he is sincere, set a time and place for the initial meeting. Candidate is instructed to bring a list of questions he may have to the meeting. Plan on 45-60 minutes for this first meeting.
Step Two: The First Meeting
Ask the candidate why he is interested in becoming a Freemason. Make note of his answers; they should reflect the values and tenets of the Fraternity. Ask for his list of questions and answer them honestly and to the best of your ability. Explain the Proficiency requirements, and that this is a life decision. Give the candidate some homework to do before the next meeting (assign him to read the “Address to the Brethren,” “Information you need to know” and “Some Background for an Aspirant” — copies may be had by contacting me. Let him know you will expect him to have questions about the readings at your next meeting). Set time and place for next meeting.
Step Three: The Second Meeting
Ask the candidate if he read the “Address to the Brethren,” and if it describes who he is or who he would like to be. If the answer is no, then the interview is over. Answer his questions about the items he read. Describe everything about the Lodge and how it functions.
The physical layout of the Lodge room and why
The Officers and Titles
The Progression through the Chairs
The Three Degrees
Where he will start
The special events
The dress code
Anything else you can think of
Assign the candidate to choose some topic related to Freemasonry to discuss at the next meeting.
Step Four: The Third Meeting
Introduce the candidate to the Brother who you have asked to be the second signer of the petition. (Over the next few meetings the second signer satisfies himself the candidate is worthy). Discuss the topic the candidate has chosen. If the candidate has not completed any of the “homework” assignments, the Brothers should ask themselves (and the candidate) if he is really serious about being a member. Let the candidate know the next few meetings will be in a more social setting, with the other Brothers of the Lodge. Inform him this will be an opportunity for him to see if the Brothers are the type of men he would like to spend time with, and if he is the type of person the Brothers would like to have in the Lodge. Tell him his wife and family is invited to these events (if permissible).
Step Five: The Social Meetings
These are social events with little or no discussion of Masonry. The candidate and his wife should be made to feel very welcome. His behavior and your instincts and observations should tell you whether he can be one of us. Meet socially at least three times.
Step Six: The Petition
Ask the candidate his opinion of the social events, and if he still wishes to become a member. Assuming you are willing to recommend him, the candidate is informed of the process for his petition to be presented to the Lodge, and if elected, he will be informed of the schedule for his Initiation.
Please note that not all these steps may be necessary in all instances, and that certain steps may be adjusted as needed to fit the circumstances. The overall intent of this process is to ensure the candidate is truly worthy to be taken by the hand and called Brother.
Should you have any questions regarding this process or want more information, please do not hesitate to contact any of your Elected Line Officers.
Yancey Smith, Senior Grand Warden