The three Degrees in Freemasonry, ENTERED APPRENTICE, FELLOWCRAFT and MASTER are the prerequisites of becoming a better man.
The process is very simple. You have already taken the first step.
This is easier than it may seem to be. You must seek a Master Mason out and ask him for a Petition For The Three Degrees. This will start the process and literally, "put your foot in the doorway of Freemasonry". No Mason may actually solicit you for membership. This would be a Masonic offense. To become a Mason, you must be a man, of majority age (18 in the jurisdiction of the Grand Lodge of Texas), acknowledge belief in a Supreme Deity and the immortality of the soul, be of good morals and reputation. You must seek admission of your own free will and accord, must be recommended by a Mason (or by Masons), be unanimously elected to membership, and must be willing to assume an obligation to the fraternity, but you will not be asked to swear profane oaths; you will not be asked to assume obligations which are incompatible with your religious or civil duties, and to those duties which you owe to your family or your fellow man.
You can find Master Masons in all walks of life. There may be a Mason at your place of work, where you go to shop for clothes, groceries, at your church, temple or synagogue. In essence, anywhere in your community that you go, you might find a Mason. Sometimes a Mason will display the Masonic Square and Compasses on a coat lapel, or even as a ring.
The process in becoming a Mason may take several months to almost a half year depending upon the area of the country you live and work in. Once you have filled out the Petition For The Three Degrees, you may or may not be asked to submit a fee. As in all fraternal orders, some require a payment of the fees for all degrees or just the first degree. It just depends upon the locality.
Once your petition has been submitted with either the full or partial payment of fees, it will be presented to the Lodge Secretary. The Lodge Secretary will read the petition at the next stated business meeting for that Lodge. This might happen during the month that you submit the application or in the following month. Many lodges will often hold their meetings in the first week of the new month. Once the petition has been read into the open minutes of that Lodge, you become beholden to that Lodge. No Lodge may approach you for membership until your petition is accepted or rejected. If accepted, your petition will go to an investigative committee. Your character will be examined. The members of this committee are looking for reasons to accept you as a member. This process may take up to a month.
At the next stated business meeting of the Lodge that you have petitioned, your petition will be voted upon after the Investigative Committee reports their findings. The ballot is done in secret and this is where the term "black ball or black balling" comes from. All voting is done either with white balls and black balls or black cubes. If three black cubes or black balls are cast, you have been rejected and may not petition another lodge for at least 12 months. On the assumption that you have been accepted, you will be notified by the Lodge when to show up for the ritual. The ritual is composed of 3 symbolic degrees, The Entered Apprentice Degree or First Degree, The Fellow Craft Degree or Second Degree and the Master Mason Degree or Third Degree. There is no higher degree than that of being a Master Mason.
In some states, all 3 degrees are done on the same day, in other states, like Texas, you must memorize a section of the degree in order to be advanced to the next degree. In Texas, 14 days must pass between degrees in order to advance. You will often be assigned a teacher to help you memorize the work. You will always remember your teacher assigned to you and you will cherish the friendship and love him as a sibling brother. Overall, this process from start to finish, can take up to 6 months.
After becoming a Master Mason, you are free to go to other lodges and visit, help with the degree work and even join other Masonic orders such as the York Rite, Scottish Rite, TCL, Shrine, etc. The only other way to become a Mason is to be made a "Mason at Sight." Only the Grand Master of that State in which you live in, can make one a Mason at Sight.
We hope that this answers some questions about Masonry and if not, please send an e-mail. If we cannot answer your questions, we will forward to someone who can.
We would love to have you petition our Lodge for membership, but most importantly, we would love to see you become a Mason anywhere you choose.