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Membership Information and Requirements

A full membership in The Masonic Society requires the following:

  1. You must be a Master Mason, and currently a member in good standing of a Lodge
  2. Your Lodge must be chartered by a recognized Grand Lodge
  3. Your Grand Lodge must meet at least one of the following criteria:
    1. A member of the Conference of Grand Masters of Masons in North America (CGMMNA); or
    2. A Prince Hall Affiliation (PHA) Grand Lodge that is in amity with the CGMMNA Grand Lodge in its state (see below); or
    3. Recognized by at least three CGMMNA member grand lodges.*

If you do not know if your Grand Lodge meets the third requirement, please contact your Grand Secretary or click here. Note that, with very few if any exceptions, all Grand Lodges listed in the current List of Lodges Masonic (published annually by Pantagraph Printing & Stationery Co.) meet this requirement.

All others, including but not limited to Libraries, Masonic Lodges, Lodges of Research, other institutions, and those individuals who do not otherwise qualify for full membership may purchase a subscription to the Journal.

Prince Hall Masonry

We do accept full members from all USA Prince Hall Grand Lodges (PHA) which are recognized by the mainstream Grand Lodge in their jurisdiction. Currently this excludes the MW Prince Hall Grand Lodges of Arkansas, Georgia, Louisiana, Mississippi, South Carolina, and West Virginia. Members of the excluded Prince Hall Grand Lodges may purchase a subscription to the Journal, which may be upgraded to a full membership if and when mutual recognition with the counterpart mainstream Grand Lodge is achieved.

Members of PHO (Prince Hall Origin/National Compact) Grand Lodges and/or members of Grand Lodges which appear on the Phylaxis Society’s register of bogus grand lodges are excluded from full membership, but may purchase a subscription to the Journal.

Why is the full membership policy so restrictive?

We invite you to read this discussion of the matter. We would also like to make it clear that the Society does not rule on matters of regularity and recognition. We leave that determination to CGMMNA and its member Grand Lodges.

However, the reason we do not allow PHA members in the six listed states to join TMS as full members is quite simple:  TMS wishes to avoid a situation in which the CGMMNA grand lodges in those states might ban their members from seeking or holding TMS membership over the question of mutual amity (or lack thereof).  TMS does not control this process in any way, and while urging the remaining states to come to an amicable mutual recognition, TMS fraternally abstains from the argument; it’s up to the Masons in those states to make that decision, not for some outside group to try to force it on them.

Do you offer life memberships or gift memberships? If not, why not?

Gift Memberships: Not offered. We believe, first of all, that membership in any Masonic organization should be on a “free will and accord” basis. In addition, we require that each new member fill out the form and certify that he qualifies for membership per the above requirements. There is also the question of extra work for the Secretary-Treasurer, who already has a day job and would prefer not to spend more of his free time (which is already pretty well booked) handling extra Society business. There are other problems with offering gift memberships that the officers and Board have identified over the past several years, not the least including where the bill for renewal should go, because our database is not set up to send the Journal to one address and the bill to another. Finally, we have in fact tried gift memberships on a limited basis in the past and find that they are simply unworkable. Therefore we do not offer gift memberships and do not anticipate ever doing so. Please do not ask us to make exceptions.

Life Memberships: Not offered. The problem with Life Memberships is that most organizations that offer them do not actually have a working programme to invest the life membership proceeds and draw them on an annual basis over the lifetime of the member. Most organizations we are familiar with that do not operate at a “grand” level simply dump the money into the general fund or (in better cases) into CDs or other interest-bearing accounts. The best way that we know of to handle life membership monies is to place them into an annuity that pays out on an annual basis — but in order to create an annuity that is large enough to be of any use, a critical mass of life memberships is required, and in a Society that is only the size of a really big 1950’s-size lodge, that critical mass simply does not exist.

Moreover, we calculate that a life membership for a 30 year old member in the US would have to cost around $1,200 (the equivalent of about 30 years of dues), which is quite a bit more than what many Masonic organizations will charge you for a life membership. We feel that this is prohibitively expensive and that few would be able to afford it. We are also wary of the current economic climate and are unwilling to expose the Society to the liability that life memberships would represent should our costs escalate rapidly.

Therefore we do not offer life memberships and quite frankly do not anticipate ever being able to do so. Again, please do not ask us to make exceptions.

* Per bylaws amendment 28 Oct 2012. We use the current year’s List of Lodges Masonic (published annually by Pantagraph Printing and Stationery Co.) to determine recognition status.