Masonic Investigative Committee
Masonic Investigation Interview
Duties and Responsibilities
The Masonic Investigative Committee has one duty to perform and that is to find whether the candidate is worthy and well-qualified to become a member of the oldest and largest fraternity in the world...that of Freemasonry.
Duty of the Master
Several committees are appointed
by the Worshipful Master of a Lodge, but no committee is more important and
vital to the welfare of the Lodge and to the craft of Freemasonry as the Masonic
Investigative Committee, whose members are appointed to perform a Masonic investigation interview of each
Petitioner for the Degree of Freemasonry.
The best interests of Masonry
demand that an exhaustive investigation be made of the character and standing of
every applicant. It is imperative, therefore, that this committee provide a
thorough investigation of the petitioner.
The Worshipful Master should
carefully review the lodge’s members to select those who have investigative
experience or skill, as not all members of the Brethren are adept at
investigating a prospective member, wherein personal questions must be asked in
a fair and non-discriminatory manner.
of the Masonic Investigative Committee
The Lodge Brothers who are
appointed by the Worshipful Master to serve as a member of the Investigative Committee should consider such appointment to be a high honor because it is a visible expression of the implicit trust and confidence in not only his ability, but his concern for the welfare of the lodge, its Brethren and Freemasonry.
Much like the Tiler, the Masonic Lodge Investigative Committee must make sure that no man not fitted for the teachings and blessings of Freemasonry be allowed to pass through the West Gate to initiation.
In the Charge at raising, our duty in this respect is clearly and unmistakably pointed out to us: "To
preserve the reputation of the Fraternity unsullied must be your constant care."
Besides being an admonition to us in the daily conduct of our lives, it also
includes the acceptance of petitioners.
Duties of the
Masonic Investigative Committee
As members of the Investigative Committee, you are answerable to no one except your conscience.
Your Lodge and Freemasonry are dependent upon your best efforts and keen judgment. You are
screening a person who has the ability to make the structure of Freemasonry within your lodge either stronger or weaker by his very presence. It is, therefore, your solemn duty to perform the following checklist upon yourself before you begin to investigate a candidate.
Each member of the Masonic Investigative Committee must be
unbiased by improper solicitations and uninfluenced by any possible mercenary motives by the Candidate, other Brothers or well meaning friends or relatives of the prospect.
Remember: You are simply searching for more light.
Helpful, Professional Manner:
After introductions, the Masonic Investigation begins by
asking questions of the candidate as well as of his chosen references and any other contacts who have knowledge of his character and reputation. Be prepared to ask lots of questions in a friendly, curious, helpful and professional manner.
Because the candidate knows very little about Masonry, at this very moment, you and your Masonic Investigative Committee team represent the whole of Freemasonry to the prospective candidate.
Stay on Topic:
Because you represent the whole of the craft of Freemasonry to the Petitioner, do not digress (go off topic) and begin to tell a long story about yourself, your children, your initiation, your
Past Master experiences, etc. This is very unprofessional and while the Petitioner may listen politely and smile or laugh, appropriately, this is not of benefit to the Petitioner.
Dress plays a part in the impression the lodge and the Fraternity will make on the petitioner and his family.
Dress appropriately, but don’t over dress or under dress for the interview. Just as you will judge the impression the petitioner makes on you; know that he, too, being human, will
be judging you (and Freemasonry).
While there is a long list of do's and don’t toward making a good first impression, since you are an adult, simply make it obvious that you and your Masonic Investigative Committee have taken care to make a good impression.
This will tell the petitioner and his family, in a
subtle way, that the lodge members are proud of their fraternity and are particular about who gains admission to its society and its customs.
Begin Asking Questions:
Question His Petition
Signers: Ask questions of everyone it is possible to contact, beginning with talking to the
Brothers who signed his petition. Ask them why they signed his petition. Require answers beyond, "He wants to be a Mason".
Find out what they really know about him, how long they have known him, who introduced them to him and why. Ask them
for names of people they know who are associated with the petitioner or know him, personally.
Seek out and go IN PERSON to the men who the petitioner
gave as his references.
1. Did they know they
were being used as references?
2. Why do they think they
were given as references?
3. How do they feel about
A. As a friend?
B. As a colleague?
C. As a relative,
4. Are there any ties
that would suggest that their assessments
of his character would not be
completely honest and straight
forward? Do they gain anything
by his membership in a world
A. Note carefully the
responses to your questions. Are they given
quickly, in a straight forward
manner while they look you in the
eye, or do they hesitate, shuffle their feet
or look away from you?
B. Do they give you a
long detailed answer that went off-topic and
effectively said nothing or is the
answer brief and to the point,
clearly answering your inquiry? If you get
too many evasive
answers, take this as a sure
indication the committee needs to
dig further and ask more probing questions.
The committee must seek the truth about the depth of the character of all whom they investigate. Just as importantly, they must consider the financial circumstances of the petitioner,
the organizations he is already involved in, the kind of company he keeps, the reputation he has in the community, in his work place, and with the general public he comes in contact with every day.
to Masonic Investigative Committee Members
The best interests of Masonry demand that an exhaustive investigation be made of the character and standing of each and every applicant. It is, therefore, imperative that your investigation
of the petitioner be thorough.
Visiting the Petitioner:
The LAST STEP in the process of investigating a prospective candidate should be the personal interview with the petitioner in his home…WITH HIS FAMILY PRESENT.
Make an Appointment:
When you request your appointment to visit with the petitioner, make sure you
make it clear that you need some uninterrupted time without the
possibility of a conflict.
Just as you can’t hold a conversation while the TV is
on, neither should you schedule interviews on Monday night during football season, on a holiday, etc. This is the beginning of a new relationship, both for the petitioner and your lodge. Neither the petitioner’s heart nor his mind
are likely to be on the interview, and yours probably won’t be there either!
Take mental note of the
1. Does the petitioner
welcome you unhesitatingly into his home?
2. Does his wife greet
the Masonic Investigative Committee warmly
and make a genuine attempt to make
you feel at home or is she
merely tolerating your presence?
Any one who is expected to spend many hours and a sum of money with a fraternal organization must have the support, with little or no reservation of his wife and family.
Any man who is torn between two commitments, especially when one is wife and
family, is going to solve his problem by negating one of his commitments and it
is likely to be the Fraternity. Spending many hours initiating a man, teaching
him the ritual, and developing a reliance on his contributions to the lodge is a
useless expenditure of time and money if there is doubt from the beginning that
he will be a committed member.
While there may well be settings other than a home interview, the home interview
is deemed the best because you will get a feeling of the man, himself, his
family, his surroundings, any other organizations he is a part of, etc.
Good manners dictate that
you will interview the petitioner in the room of the house into which he invites
This will probably be the room which he and his wife feel most comfortable in or are the proudest of. If possible, however, conduct your interview in the living room or the family room.
Try to stay away from the dining room or kitchen. The living room is less likely to have distractions. If there is a
TV, if at all possible, in a friendly manner, request that it be turned off, so you can talk without interruptions.
While in the interests of time lost, and realizing that some members of the Masonic Investigative Committee may disagree
with me, it is my firm belief that if the petitioner will not turn the TV off, he is not truly ready to be interviewed and another appointment should be set, rather than trying to out-shout a political debate, a football game, Dr. Phil, Oprah, etc. If you do not, everyone loses.
Roles of Each Member of the
Masonic Investigative Committee
Always have three members
of the Masonic Investigative Committee present for the interview with the
The chairman of the Masonic Investigative Committee should assume the leadership
role in the interview and should ask the major portion of the questions.
The Masonic Investigative Committee
Chairman should control the time spent on the interview and should not overstay
the committee’s welcome.
He should be aware of any signs of restlessness on the
part of any of the participants and, should the interview become lengthy, he should take steps to bring it to a smooth and natural conclusion.
The chairman should poll his committee prior to closing by asking, in an offhand manner, if he has neglected to mention anything important and/or ask if anyone has a final comment he would like to make or a final question he would like to ask.
Very Important: (see Brother # 3,
below) This will give the third member of the committee a natural opportunity to address any problems he has observed, if he has not had an opportunity to do so up to that point.
The petitioner and his wife should be asked if they have any final questions or observations they would like to make before the committee departs in order to consider their recommendations on the petition.
Brother # 2:
The second man on the committee should join in answering any questions the
petitioner or his wife might have, watch the petitioner for his reactions to questions, and basically act as a resource person.
Brother # 3:
The third man on the committee should spend the majority of his efforts observing the reactions of the petitioner’s wife and any other members of the family that may be present. This man should pay particular attention to the wife and take special care that she does not feel left out of the conversation
in any way. She is the key to her husband’s retention in the Masonic Fraternity.
Observe the Petitioner’s wife, closely for her reactions to questions and to the general conversation and make careful mental notes of her reactions.
At appropriate pauses in the flow of the interview, attempt to address any concerns the wife might have that have become evident by her responses or reactions and by her body language.
While it is unlikely that she will verbally object to her husband’s interest in the fraternity in front of the committee, she may very
likely show her feelings strongly by her nonverbal reactions.
This is the time to address her concerns and/or reservations.
Do not wait until her husband has spent both money and time with the Fraternity before finding out that her opinions and feelings were negatively and irreversibly set during the initial investigation. Remember, just as you are there to judge her, she is judging
No interview should be complete
without mentioning the many concordant bodies such as the Order of the Eastern
Star, (for both men and women), Rainbow Girls and Job’s Daughters for girls, and
DeMolay for boys.
Each of these concordant bodies provide fellowship for all
members of the family.
If the petitioner or his wife display adverse reactions at any time during the
interview, gently find out the reason for their negativity. Their negativity probably has absolutely nothing to do with you or your Masonic Investigative
There are many misconceptions about Freemasonry that abound in
whispers, on the internet and in other places. She or he may have heard about Evil Masonic Mysteries, Pentagrams instead of Solomon’s Seal, that Masons sacrifice animals in their secret rituals or believe that Masons are attempting
to create some sort of New World Order. (pretty hard to do when there isn’t even a national Grand Lodge headquarters in the United States!) Even so, she doesn’t know any of that. She may have even heard that her husband would have to ride a goat through the streets.
It is your job to truthfully tell her what
Masonry is about and allay her fears.
The committee needs to explore these
adverse topic(s) and fears in greater depth. The best way to shed light upon
the subject may well be to explain the role that the Bible (or other holy book
such as the Koran, Torah, Veda, etc.) play within the lodge, as well as the reason that each member
must believe in a Supreme Being, within Masonry.
It is the job of the Masonic
Investigative Committee to be well versed in Masonic knowledge and the history of Freemasonry to correctly impart a true knowledge of Freemasonry and reassure the petitioner (and his wife) of the support, friendship and brotherhood the
lodge extends to its members.
Each member of the Masonic Investigative Committee should extend the right hand
of friendship to the petitioner and his family prior to departing from their
A warm and friendly grip is the one form of body language, when used in conjunction with a sincere smile, which overcomes reservations and encourages positive relationships.
Important points on which you will
wish to check off include:
Ascertain definitely if the petitioner has any defect or deformity which will
prevent him from being instructed in the arts and mysteries of Freemasonry, or
cause an inability to acquire the means of subsistence.
definitely if the Lodge has jurisdiction over the petitioner.
3. Mentally Qualified:
Ascertain whether the petitioner is mentally qualified to receive Masonic
4. Morally Fit:
whether the petitioner is morally fit to be received into the Fraternity.
One way to perform this task is to check the Sex Offender sites which are on the internet. There are many good sex offender search sites, (many are owned by governmental bodies). Some of these websites even place photos of the
offenders onto their pages.
5. Impaired Usefulness:
Ascertain if any organization to which
he belongs will impair his usefulness to the Fraternity.
his neighbors, acquaintances and employers give him a good character.
7. Questionnaire Completion:
Check his answers to the questionnaire attached to his petition to see that
they have been fully answered. If any questions have not been answered,
interview the petitioner and request their completion, or ascertain the reason
for his not answering such questions.
8. Financial Standing:
Consider the financial standing of the petitioner with particular reference as
to his reputation in meeting his obligations, and whether or not the maintenance
of Lodge membership in any way be of a financial detriment to those dependent
member of the Masonic Investigative Committee should make a favorable
recommendation unless they are truly convinced that the petitioner will conform
to the laws, rules and regulations of the Masonic institution.
the basic Masonic Investigative Committee Guidelines. While some Grand
Lodge Handbooks of Freemasonry do not follow each and every one of these to a
"T", (e.g. checking with the petitioner’s neighbors, etc.) this is a
functional list with which you may perform your duties as a member of this
committee in good conscience.
The easiest way to
remember all the above is to print a copy of this checklist and place it into
your notebook so you will be fully prepared to perform your duties on the
Masonic Investigative Committee whenever requested as well as fully prepared to
present the report on your findings back to your lodge.
Feel free to Bookmark this page
so you can return to it if you need to re-print it.
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