What are degrees?

Degrees are levels of membership, each of which is conferred in a ceremony at the lodge. There are three degrees: Entered Apprentice, Fellow Craft, and Master Mason. The titles come from the Middle Ages. When a person wanted to join a craft such as carpentry or stonemasonry, he was first apprenticed. As an apprentice, then, he learned the tools of the trade and upon proving his skills, he became a “Fellow of the Craft.” When he attained exceptional ability, he was known as a “Master of the Craft.”

What are the benefits of being a Mason?

The fellowship, values, and truths that are part of the Masonic tradition have proved to inspire, challenge, and develop leadership in men. Benjamin Franklin described the fraternity as a place to “prepare himself.”

What do Masons do?

Charity is at the heart of most Masonic activities. Each year, California Masons donate millions of dollars and thousands of hours to both small and large philanthropic causes. Masons were instrumental in establishing the public education system in the United States and also have an ongoing commitment to public schools. The California Masonic Foundation has awarded more than $5 million in scholarships the past four years.

What is Freemasonry?

Freemasonry (often simplified to “Masonry”) is the world's first and largest fraternity, based on the belief that each man can make a difference in the world. Freemasonry enhances and strengthens the character of the individual man by providing opportunities for fellowship, charity, education, and leadership. There are about 5 million Masons worldwide, including almost 2 million in the U.S. and more than 60,000 in California.

What is Masonry and how does it relate to Shriners International?

In order to become a Shriner, a man must first be a Master Mason. The fraternity of Freemasonry is the oldest, largest and most widely known fraternity in the world. It dates back hundreds of years to a time when stonemasons and other craftsmen on building projects gathered in shelter houses, or lodges. Over the years formal Masonic lodges emerged, with members bound together not by trade, but by their desire to be fraternal brothers. The basic unit of Masonry is the Blue Lodge, where members earn the first three Masonic degrees. The highest degree is Master Mason. Men who wish to become Shriners must first achieve Master Mason status – that means all Shriners are Masons, but not all Masons are Shriners.

How long does it take to become a Freemason?

Becoming a Freemason varies by Lodge and by state. Some states may offer accelerated programs like one day classes. Your mentor will help you learn what is available in your state. A typical timeframe is about 4-6 months from start to Master Mason.

How to become a Mason?

In the Grand Lodge of California Free and Accepted Masons, membership is open to men age 18 and older who believe in a Supreme Being and meet the qualifications and standards. Men of all ethnic and religious backgrounds are welcome. One of Masonry's traditions is that we do not solicit members. Men must seek membership on their own initiative. When you're ready to join, you can complete the request for information form and someone will contact you regarding membership. Or you can follow the steps below:
  1. First, use the lodge locator @ www.freemason.org to select the lodge to which you wish to apply. This lodge may be close to your work or home, whichever is most convenient. Contact the lodge you choose to schedule a visit during an event, at which time you can request a membership information packet.
  2. When you have completed the application form included in the packet, it must be signed by two Masons who recommend you for membership. You will have met some Masons at the lodge event. You can also contact the lodge secretary for assistance.
  3. Return your application and the specified application payment. The lodge will schedule visits in your home with selected lodge members to discuss your application and to answer your questions. Your application will be voted upon at the next lodge meeting.
  4. You will be notified of your acceptance as a candidate for the degrees, and you will receive instructions about the three degree ceremonies. The degrees explain Freemasonry and give you the opportunity to experience the lodge's traditions and fellowship. When you complete all three degrees, you become a full member.
This excerpt was taken from Grand Lodge of California web site @ www.freemason.org.

You must be a Master Mason in order to be become a Shriner: Petition for Membership to Al Malaikah Shriners CLICK HERE 
You must be a Shriner in order to become a member of Acacia: Petition for Membership to Acacia Shrine Club CLICK HERE