Merritt Island Lodge No. 353 Free & Accepted Masons

247 S. Tropical Trail
P.O. Box 540578
Merritt Island, FL 32954-0578
(321) 338-7391
W:. James K. Charland, Worshipful Master

R:. W:. Ben S. Schwartz, Secretary
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What is A Mason?
Even though Masons (Freemasons) are members of the largest and oldest fraternity in the world and even though almost everyone has a father or grandfather who was a Mason, many people arent quite certain just who Masons are. The answer is simple. A Mason (or Freemason) is a member of a fraternity known as Masonry (or Freemasonry). Modern Freemasonry as practiced in the United States dates from the constitution of the Grand Lodge of England in 1717. Freemasonry is known hower to predate the Grand Lodge of England by at least 300 years (evidence suggests a significantly older origin).

Benjamin Franklin and many of our country's founding fathers were Freemasons. These include: George Washington, Paul Revere, Joseph Warren and John Hancock. Freemasonry played an important role in the creation of our country dating back to the Revolutionary War with England, establishment of the first Constitutional Convention and debates surrounding the ratification of the Bill of Rights. Many of the debates were held in Masonic Lodges. Freemasonry extends into all walks of life in the United States, in every State and Territory. There are lodges in most towns. Cities tend to have several. There are about 13,200 particular lodges in the United States, over 300 in the state of Florida and 9 in Brevard County. There are about 35,000 Masons in Florida.

Becoming a Mason
is an individual choice and many men do consider that question at some point in their life. Most people remember an uncle, grandfather, or even their own father grabbing their apron and ring and heading out to the local meetings. Didn't you always wonder what went on in those meetings?

Masonry requires several things of its potential members. First and foremost, they must be of good moral character. The unofficial motto of the order is "to make good men better;" therefore, any candidate must be basically a good man. Secondly, members must be able to state a belief in a Supreme Being. Without a strong belief in God, moral lessons would be valueless. Finally, candidates must come to the order of "their own free will and accord," unfettered by undue solicitation or expectations of financial reward. Therefore, the Masonic Order does not solicit members.

To be a Mason, you must petition a lodge to become a Mason. You must "knock" at the door of Masonry and express, to a Mason, a desire to join the order. Masons by ancient tradition do not solicit for new members. A petition and supplemental form are provided at the links below should you elect to make that first step.  Once this request is made, the necessary steps for membership can be initiated. Sadly, all that apply for membership are not accepted and some that are accepted do not complete the journey. The process of joining the fraternity involves time and effort. You don't just fill out an application, pay your dues and you become a mason. Nothing worthwhile is ever easy, but the rewards of a journey well traveled are well worth the effort.  All masons will be there to help and guide you along your journey to "Masonic Light."  In this manner, masonry binds men together by many common ties and strengthens the bonds of friendship and cooperation.Some men are surprised that no one has ever asked them to become a Mason. But it doesn't work that way. For hundreds of years, Masons have been traditionally obligated not to ask others to join the fraternity. We can talk to friends about Masonry. We can tell them about what Masonry does. We can tell them why we enjoy it. But we can't ask, much less pressure, anyone to join. There's a good reason for that. It isn't that we're trying to be exclusive. But becoming a Mason is a very serious thing. Joining Masonry is making a permanent life commitment to live in certain ways . . . to live with honor and integrity, to be willing to share with and care about others, to trust each other, and to place ultimate trust in God. No one should be "talked into" making such a decision.

So, when a man decides he wants to be a Mason, he asks a Mason for a petition or application. He fills it out and gives it to the Mason, and that Mason takes it to the local lodge. The Master of the lodge will appoint a committee to visit with the man and his family, find out a little about him and why he wants to be a Mason, tell him and his family about Masonry, and answer their questions. The committee reports to the lodge, and the lodge votes on the petition. If the vote is affirmative -- and it usually is -- the lodge will contact the man to set the date for the Entered Apprentice Degree. When the person has completed all three degrees, he is a Master Mason and a full member of the fraternity.

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