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A new road presented…
Posted: 09 May 2017 01:57 PM   [ Ignore ]  
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Greetings all,
  My name is Marshall Ham. I currently live in Mesa Arizona. I am on a journey; as we all are, and Freemasonry has presented a road along my path.
  I am a non religious christian, and also love exploring many philosophies and proverbs of enlightened men throughout the past.
  I have not led an exemplary life as a matter of fact I have been to prison before. I am thankful for that experience… for the opportunity to search inward, and discover my journey.
  I am currently reading morals and dogma and don’t have questions in particular as far as Freemasonry is concerned, however the 2 questions I have would be: Are ex-felons even considered for membership?
And, if so what advice would you have as far as information to explore along the way to making an educated decision?

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Posted: 09 May 2017 04:53 PM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 1 ]  
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Hello and tha k you for your question.

Yes, ex-fellons have been initiated. It is not a common thing, but each case is judged on its own merits. It would depend on a) what the conviction was for (a solitary DUI would be easier to accept than a decade of treason, for instance), b) how long ago it happened and c) what you have done with yourself since then. Masonry does not demand perfection of its members. Rather, our goal is to improve ourselves morally. By extension, that implies that we are all flawed, have all made mistakes in past.

You would need to convince the members of whatever lodge you apply to that you have put that error behind you, learned from it and have become a rather different person since then, one worthy of acceptance.

Good luck.

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Bro. Bob
Zetland Lodge No. 83
Calgary, AB

Initiated 1 March 1979
Passed 26 May 1979
Raised 18 October 1979

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Posted: 09 May 2017 07:25 PM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 2 ]  
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As Lark has noted, your felony history won’t automatically disqualify you (in most jurisdictions), however, the key thing to remember if you choose to move ahead with petitioning is that you should be completely honest and forthcoming about that history. Some jurisdictions have a routine policy of running a background check on a candidate before anything moves forward—which, in my opinion, is a good idea. There are many factors that would be considered, i.e., when it occurred, how serious it was, etc. In my opinion, if it was domestic violence (spousal abuse or abuse of a child), the candidate wouldn’t make it through.

To answer your second question, and it seems we see a lot of this particular thing—many people forego the opportunity to join because they feel like they don’t know enough to make an educated decision, and they miss out on the experience that Masonry can provide.Yes, there is quite a committment involved, but it is well worth it.

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P. Cassidy

Initiated: 11/5/16
Passed: 12/28/16
Raised:  1/25/17

St George Lodge #33

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Posted: 09 May 2017 09:05 PM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 3 ]  
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Thank you both for your responses although embarrassing I consider my past to be major stepping stones in my journey I have no reason not to share that truth with anyone who is inquiring I’m thankful to the Freemasons for their own understanding and forgiveness to acknowledge that every person makes mistakes thank you again for your responses

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Posted: 09 May 2017 09:08 PM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 4 ]  
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Forgive me for the lack of punctuation in my last post, I am on break at work and using the speaker to write.

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Posted: 10 May 2017 09:31 AM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 5 ]  
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I would like to note that what really caught my eye was that as a non-Mason, you are reading Morals & Dogma.  I wouldn’t recommend that.  It’s not worthy your time and effort in my opinion, in order to understand Freemasonry.  It’s one man’s ramblings on just about everything under the sun, and is in no way accepted as any sort of standardized text on Freemasonry.

I don’t even recommend it to Masons, except those who are incredibly studious and able to tolerate the incredibly mundane for minimal payoff!  :)

With regard to your past…SOME Grand Lodges and SOME lodges have a specific no felon policy, but many do not.  I’ll echo it would depend on the nature of the conviction.  I once had a gentlemen approach me about joining who was a convicted felon.  His crime was that he robbed a couple of banks at gunpoint a few years earlier.  I told him that his chances were VERY slim, as in the end, acceptance into a lodge comes to trust.  If you’ve committed a crime that would make someone nervous to trust you with their property (intellectual or tangible), you’d have quite the uphill battle.

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Dan

Past Master, Columbian Lodge A.F.&A.M. - Boston, MA
Friendship Lodge A.F.&A.M. - Wilmington, MA
32° Ancient and Accepted Scottish Rite, Valley of Boston
Shriners International, Aleppo Temple - Wilmington, MA

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Posted: 10 May 2017 01:56 PM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 6 ]  
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Squared - 09 May 2017 07:25 PM

As Lark has noted, your felony history won’t automatically disqualify you (in most jurisdictions), however, the key thing to remember if you choose to move ahead with petitioning is that you should be completely honest and forthcoming about that history. Some jurisdictions have a routine policy of running a background check on a candidate before anything moves forward—which, in my opinion, is a good idea. There are many factors that would be considered, i.e., when it occurred, how serious it was, etc. In my opinion, if it was domestic violence (spousal abuse or abuse of a child), the candidate wouldn’t make it through.

To answer your second question, and it seems we see a lot of this particular thing—many people forego the opportunity to join because they feel like they don’t know enough to make an educated decision, and they miss out on the experience that Masonry can provide.Yes, there is quite a committment involved, but it is well worth it.

Yes, be totally honest about your past. If not and it is discovered that you were not totally honest in the beginning then you will have a major problem.

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St. Matthews Lodge 906, Louisville,Kentucky.
Suburban Lodge 740, Louisville,Kentucky
AASR, Orient of Kentucky, Valley of Louisville
Knights of St. Andrew, Orient of Kentucky, Valley of Louisville
King Solomon Chapter # 5, Royal Arch Masons
Louisville Council # 4, Royal and Select Masters
Louisville-DeMolay Commandery #12, Knights Templar

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Posted: 10 May 2017 01:56 PM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 7 ]  
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I am sure that I will most certainly face an uphill battle. This path presented itself to me and I am sure that if this is a journey that I am to go on, then the right lodge and the right shepherds will also cross my path. I am in no hurry to join only to claim that I am a mason. I have much growth, study and change to go through…and when the moment arises everything will come about through that path.
  I understand that “morals and dogma” is not a required reading to the process of becoming a freemason. I would hope that a brotherhood would not follow the “ramblings” of one man (that would make it a cult) I assume that this is a fellowship of brothers who trust in the power of their diety and aid each other and others in growth and enlightenment…like I said that is only my assumption.
  Whether I am accepted into a lodge or not I will still maintain my journey and will still aim to serve.
  Thank you so much for your response. I truly appreciate your honesty. If you have any suggestions on material to study or presentations to view I would greatly appreciate it. They don’t even have to be on freemasonry, maybe just some good material about growth, philosophy, paying attention to the space around you.
  Sincerely,
  Marshall Ham

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Posted: 10 May 2017 09:45 PM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 8 ]  
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Ham.marshall - 10 May 2017 01:56 PM

I am sure that I will most certainly face an uphill battle. This path presented itself to me and I am sure that if this is a journey that I am to go on, then the right lodge and the right shepherds will also cross my path. I am in no hurry to join only to claim that I am a mason. I have much growth, study and change to go through…and when the moment arises everything will come about through that path.
  I understand that “morals and dogma” is not a required reading to the process of becoming a freemason. I would hope that a brotherhood would not follow the “ramblings” of one man (that would make it a cult) I assume that this is a fellowship of brothers who trust in the power of their diety and aid each other and others in growth and enlightenment…like I said that is only my assumption.
  Whether I am accepted into a lodge or not I will still maintain my journey and will still aim to serve.
  Thank you so much for your response. I truly appreciate your honesty. If you have any suggestions on material to study or presentations to view I would greatly appreciate it. They don’t even have to be on freemasonry, maybe just some good material about growth, philosophy, paying attention to the space around you.
  Sincerely,
  Marshall Ham

For someone who is not yet a Mason you have the clearest understanding of what we are I have ever seen. I wish you well on your journey.

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John Ruggiero
Master, Ancient York Lodge AF&AM;, Lowell, MA, USA

“God never sends us anything we can’t handle. Sometimes I wish He didn’t trust me so much.” - Mother Teresa

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Posted: 11 May 2017 07:11 AM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 9 ]  
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M&D is a heavy load even for those who have done much study of Freemasonry.
I might suggest, “Freemasonry for Dummies” by Chris Hodapp as a good introduction to the Craft.
And if you want some deeper philosophical reading I might also suggest, “Metaphysics” by Aristotle.

I personally know a young man who also had a Felony conviction who did become a valued member of our Fraternity. It was my pleasure to be one of his mentors and to guide him onto his current path to enlightenment.

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Past Master, Dryden Lodge #472
Secretary, Caroline Lodge #618
Hudson,Fulton,Dryden Chapter #250 OES
32* A&ASR; Coudersport Pa.
RAM Fidelity #77

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Posted: 11 May 2017 11:29 AM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 10 ]  
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Thank you for your suggestions! I am really glad that you mentioned “metaphysics” it has been something I have wanted to read for a long time, although, for some reason get sidetracked with other books when I go to get it. I have never really been a fan of the “For Dummies” books, however I have had it suggested a few times so I will most certainly check it out.
  If anyone else has any suggestions please send them my way. I work nights so during the day I read, play guitar and currently am learning spanish. So any educational materials are very appreciated! Thank you again for your input.

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Posted: 11 May 2017 10:48 PM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 11 ]  
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Ham.marshall - 11 May 2017 11:29 AM

Thank you for your suggestions! I am really glad that you mentioned “metaphysics” it has been something I have wanted to read for a long time, although, for some reason get sidetracked with other books when I go to get it. I have never really been a fan of the “For Dummies” books, however I have had it suggested a few times so I will most certainly check it out.
  If anyone else has any suggestions please send them my way. I work nights so during the day I read, play guitar and currently am learning spanish. So any educational materials are very appreciated! Thank you again for your input.

You may not be aware that there is a type of lodge designed for men who because of work or so other reason cannot attend meetings at night. They are called Daylight Lodges. You might find their meetings fit your life a lot better.

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John Ruggiero
Master, Ancient York Lodge AF&AM;, Lowell, MA, USA

“God never sends us anything we can’t handle. Sometimes I wish He didn’t trust me so much.” - Mother Teresa

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Posted: 13 June 2017 06:07 PM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 12 ]  
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BrotherJohn - 10 May 2017 09:45 PM
Ham.marshall - 10 May 2017 01:56 PM

I am sure that I will most certainly face an uphill battle. This path presented itself to me and I am sure that if this is a journey that I am to go on, then the right lodge and the right shepherds will also cross my path. I am in no hurry to join only to claim that I am a mason. I have much growth, study and change to go through…and when the moment arises everything will come about through that path.
  I understand that “morals and dogma” is not a required reading to the process of becoming a freemason. I would hope that a brotherhood would not follow the “ramblings” of one man (that would make it a cult) I assume that this is a fellowship of brothers who trust in the power of their diety and aid each other and others in growth and enlightenment…like I said that is only my assumption.
  Whether I am accepted into a lodge or not I will still maintain my journey and will still aim to serve.
  Thank you so much for your response. I truly appreciate your honesty. If you have any suggestions on material to study or presentations to view I would greatly appreciate it. They don’t even have to be on freemasonry, maybe just some good material about growth, philosophy, paying attention to the space around you.
  Sincerely,
  Marshall Ham

For someone who is not yet a Mason you have the clearest understanding of what we are I have ever seen. I wish you well on your journey.

I second this. I dont know which jurisdiction you are in, but I have heard that, if you are rejected once, there is an opportunity to re apply at a later time. Sometimes a year, sometimes 5, etc. What I am getting at is, when the opportunity arises, ask what happens IF your petition is rejected. Can you apply later? A rejection can be for any number of things. One POSSIBLE reason could be to see if you are willing to stay the course. I cannot judge your character by online posts, but I think you are going in the right direction. Best of luck on your journey.

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Petitioned September 2015
Ballotted November 2015
Initiated January 11, 2016
Passed February 8, 2016
Raised May 9, 2016

Caleb Butler Lodge.

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