Investigation
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Masonic Investigation Rules, Policies, and Practices

The information on this chart comes from various sources, mostly email messages from several brethren. If anyone has definite information for additions or changes on this chart, please send email to Paul M. Bessel at paulb'at'bessel.org so I can update this chart.

United States

State Masonic Rules, Policies, and Practices concerning
 Investigations of Candidates
Alabama  
Alaska  
Arizona How many persons are generally posted to investigate a candidate for the degrees?
for advancement, if any. for affiliation

in all cases, the committee has 3 members. Petitions for the degrees and applications for affiliation from out-of-state Masons MUST be investigated. It is optional with the Master or Lodge as to whether applications for affiliation from a member of another AZ Lodge are investigated**

Who appoints them, (or in the case of one, him?) or a. is there a ‘standing committee' made up of those individuals who readily will accept this mission

**Code says the Master appoints the Committee, but in practice it is often the Lodge
Secretary. There is no provision for a standing committee. In practice, any member
of the Lodge, except those who signed as recommenders or are named as personal
references, could be appointed.**

Are the names of the investigators made known to the lodge membership? 

**No. Our code specifically prohibits announcing the names of the committee. Only
the Master and Secretary (and the other committee members) are to know who has been appointed**

May the members, or other interested parties, contact the investigator with information, good or bad, concerning the applicant?

**Other members with information are to contact the Master. If a member of the Lodge reports to the Master that he has an objection to the petition or application, it is then and there rejected without going to a ballot. If 1 of the Committee reports unfavorably, it is also rejected without going to a ballot. If 2 report positively and there is no report from the third member, the petition may be balloted upon with the Lodge being informed that a majority reported favorably and there was no minority report.**

How much time is allowed for the investigation to be completed?

**Normally until the next stated meeting, although the Master may grant more time if
requested**

If more than one investigator, may they consult with each other in the investigation or should it be on an individual basis?

**We encourage the committee to do a joint visit/interview, but I suspect this is rarely done. I suspect that personal visits are the exception rather than the rule.**

Are the investigators given any guide lines on the questions to ask the applicant? What answers are required to be answered by the applicant, and what questions, if any, are forbidden to be asked? (Religious affiliation, political affiliation, financial position, sexual preference, etc.)

**The "investigation form" provides the Committee with all the relevant info on the petition/application and there is a set of guidelines as to what the nature of the inquiry should be. Mostly they amount to verifying and allowing for elaboration of the info on the petition/application, making sure that the petitioner is self-supporting and of good character. There is no specific guidance given as to what is "out of bounds." Perhaps there should be.**

Is there any provision for a criminal background check made such as a waiver of information concerning the candidate's prior criminal record? Credit report, medical records?

**No**

Is the immediate family members of the candidate given an opportunity to have questions propounded and factual answers given at the time of the investigation, or at a subsequent meeting between the investigators and the principal participants involved?

**We encourage the committee to use the personal visit as an opportunity to meet the
family, answer questions and provide information. I bet it is rarely done.**

Is the filing of this petition circulated or published in any manner in order that members of other lodges, or knowledgeable individuals might have helpful information as to the character of the petitioner with instructions as to how they might give information on this candidate?

** Back in the days when we had "Lodge territories" we had a process to accomplish
this where Lodges had overlapping jurisdictions (same city, etc.). Now all Lodges
have statewide jurisdiction so this practice has been done away with**

Arkansas  
California How many persons are generally posted to investigate a candidate for the degrees?

Always three.

for advancement, if any.

None. In California we elect for all three degrees on one ballot.

for affiliation

There is no requirement for investigation of a petition for affiliation unless some (any) member of the Lodge asks for an investigation. The petition is read and received in the usual manner and must lay over for the usual month. If no one asks for an investigation, the ballot is taken one month after reception. If an investigation is asked for it is conducted during that month between reception and balloting. A lot here depends on how well the affiliating brother is known by the members of the Lodge. If
he's been attending for a decent length of time and the brethren think well of him, or if he's affiliating from a local Lodge and is well known, there is almost never an investigation. On the other hand, if he's not well known, or is from out of State, an investigation is usually done.

Who appoints them, (or in the case of one, him?) or is there a 'standing committee' made up of those individuals who readily will accept this mission

The Master appoints the committee.

Are the names of the investigators made known to the lodge membership?

No. Only the Master and the applicant know the identity of all three of the investigators. Of course, if each does his job and contacts the first and second line signers, as well as the two references, they those four persons will also know who they are, but the point is the identity of the investigators is as closely held as is feasible. The Master sends out the investigation forms himself and the come back to him. The Secretary is not involved in the process.

May the members, or other interested parties, contact the investigator with information, good or bad, concerning the applicant?

Since the investigators are not known...not feasible. But any member, or any non-member, or even non-Mason, may contact the Master with information or concerns which he must see properly investigated.

How much time is allowed for the investigation to be completed?

One month originally...but further time may be granted, in one month intervals, until the investigation is satisfactorily completed.

If more than one investigator, may they consult with each other in the investigation or should it be on an individual basis?

No. Each investigator works independently. None knows who the identity of the other two.

Are the investigators given any guide lines on the questions to ask the applicant?

Yes. Grand Lodge provides a list of questions which should be covered. And the investigator may add to that list as he deems appropriate...usually questions which arrive as the investigation proceeds.

What answers are required to be answered by the applicant, and what questions, if any, are forbidden to be asked? (Religious affiliation, political affiliation, financial position, sexual preference, etc.)

It's a long list. If you'd like I can mail you a copy. There is one for applicants for the degrees and one for applicants for affiliation. Religions persuasion is forbidden...other than a belief in a Supreme Being. And we don't touch on politics. Financial position is questioned in general. There is no mention of sexual preference and I've never heard this raised...but there is no mention of it in any of our laws or other material.

Is there any provision for a criminal background check made such as a waiver of information concerning the candidate's prior criminal record? Credit report, medical records?

Yes. The applicant must sign such a waiver. Due to the cost of a credit check, and the Privacy Act's impact on the availability of medical and some other records, these are not usually done unless it seems there is a good reason to do so. Criminal records are public records in California, although the ability to access them is cumbersome.

Is the immediate family members of the candidate given an opportunity to have questions propounded and factual answers given at the time of the investigation, or at a subsequent meeting between the investigators and the principal participants involved?

If the applicant is married, the investigators are supposed to conduct the interview with the wife present. Any questions are fair game. The most important question to the wife is whether or not she's in accord with her husband joining the Lodge. If she say's no, it won't happen.

Is the filing of this petition circulated or published in any manner in order that members of other lodges, or knowledgeable individuals might have helpful information as to the character of the petitioner with instructions as to how they might give information on this candidate?

California Law requires the names of all applicants be circulated to all Lodges within a 10 mile radius of the receiving Lodge. In practice this is usually done by providing the information to the local Secretary's Association or Masonic Service Bureau, which compiles the list monthly and circulates it to all the Lodges in the area. Usually these associations serve a much wider area than 10 miles. In the San Diego area, we have 30 Lodges and all receive copies of this compilation even though the receiving Lodge may be a good deal more than 10 miles distant.

Any other comments, or helpful advice which I've failed to include in this inquiry?

I don't think so, but specific questions are welcome.
Colorado  
Connecticut  
Delaware  
District of Columbia 1. How many persons are generally posted to investigate a candidate for the  degrees? a. for advancement, if any. 
3 to investigate a candidate - no further investigation for advancement

2. Who appoints them, (or in the case of one, him?) or a. is there a ‘standing committee' made up of those individuals who readily will accept this mission
The WM appoints all 3, and it can and usually is a different group for each candidate

3. Are the names of the investigators made known to the lodge membership? 
They are not supposed to be.

4. May the members, or other interested parties, contact the investigator  with information, good or bad, concerning the applicant? - Their names are usually not know, but someone with information could ask the WM or Secretary to pass it along.

5. How much time is allowed for the investigation to be completed? - I believe it is 1 month

6. If more than one investigator, may they consult with each other in the investigation or should it be on an individual basis? - It is supposed to be on an individual basis, without any consultation, but often the members of the committee meet with the candidate as a group.

7. Are the investigators given any guide lines on the questions to ask the applicant?
a. What answers are required to be answered by the applicant, and what questions, if any, are forbidden to be asked? (Religious affiliation, political affiliation, financial position, sexual preference, etc.) - There are guidelines published by the Grand Lodge, that can be given to each Brother on an investigating committee.

8. Is there any provision for a criminal background check made such as a waiver of information concerning the candidate's prior criminal record? 
No.

9. Is the immediate family members of the candidate given an opportunity to have questions propounded and factual answers given at the time of the investigation, or at a subsequent meeting between the investigators and the principal participants involved? - When the committee meets the candidate, his spouse or others can be present and ask questions.

10.. Is the filing of this petition circulated or published in any manner in order that members of other lodges, or knowledgeable individuals might have helpful information as to the character of the petitioner with instructions as to how they might give information on this candidate? - Names and other information about candidates are required to be published in the lodge bulletin, which can be sent to other Masons, too.

11. Any other comments, or helpful advice which I've failed to include in this inquiry? 

Florida  
Georgia  
Hawaii In Hawaii, a committee of three is appointed by the Master, to report back soonest. The three are identifiable only to the Master and to each other. Following the New Jersey practice, they may call upon the candidate and investigate together.... We used to follow the California practice and appoint three members of the committee, unknown even to each other and only the Master, but that changed in 1996.
Idaho  
Illinois  
Indiana  
Iowa  
Kansas In Kansas the Secretary picks a committee of three to investigate and report back at the next meeting.
Kentucky  
Louisiana  
Maine  
Maryland  
Massachusetts 1. How many persons are generally posted to investigate a candidate for the degrees? *** Three *** a. for advancement, if any. *** None *** 
b. for affiliation *** Three ***

2. Who appoints them, (or in the case of one, him?) *** The Wor. Master though in most realities, it is the Secretary, with the assent of the Master, who takes care of the appointment. If the Master does actually state who he wants on the committee it is the Secretary who send out the notification forms. ***

a. is there a 'standing committee' made up of those individuals who readily will accept this mission *** Not in my Lodge. This is not generally known around here as the names of the committee members are pretty privately held. That does not mean a Lodge might not have a small group of Brothers that it calls on regularly. ***

3. Are the names of the investigators made known to the lodge membership?
*** On the Master, Secretary, Candidate, and the Committee Members know. It is forbidden to share this information with the general Lodge membership. ***

4. May the members, or other interested parties, contact the investigator with information, good or bad, concerning the applicant? *** They should contact the Master ***

5. How much time is allowed for the investigation to be completed? *** Typically, one month. But if they need longer they can usually have it. A minimum of two reports need to be returned for a ballot to proceed. ***

6. If more than one investigator, may they consult with each other in the investigation or should it be on an individual basis? *** They can, and should work together and separately. For instance, they can divide up the list of references to check, but should share their results. Also they should meet the applicant and his family as a group. ***

7. Are the investigators given any guide lines on the questions to ask the applicant? a. What answers are required to be answered by the applicant, and what questions, if any, are forbidden to be asked? (Religious affiliation, political affiliation, financial position, sexual preference, etc.)  *** I am including a Word document containing our pre-application form, application for membership, for affiliation, and investigating report forms. They should provide most of what you are asking here. ***

8. Is there any provision for a criminal background check made such as a waiver of information concerning the candidate's prior criminal record? Credit report, medical records?  *** Not particularly. ***

9. Is the immediate family members of the candidate given an opportunity to have questions propounded and factual answers given at the time of the investigation, or at a subsequent meeting between the investigators and the principal participants involved?  *** Absolutely. If the petitioner does not want us to meet with his wife that sets off alarms. In fact, before I was Secretary and after I was out as Master a case came up where the guy did not meet with the Investigating Committee with his family. Turns out he was a joiner, never told his wife, and never went beyond the first. When we called to find out what happened to him we spoke to his wife. That is when we learned she knew nothing of us. He was subsequently reached, never had returned any calls, to yell at us for invading his privacy and hung up. We sent a letter informing him he could have the rest of his money back if wanted, and also that he must return the EA cipher to us, but we never heard from him again. 

10. Is the filing of this petition circulated or published in any manner in order that members of other lodges, or knowledgeable individuals might have helpful information as to the character of the petitioner with instructions as to how they might give information on this candidate?  ** Not really. His name, address, DOB, profession, and sponsor are listed in the monthly Lodge notice, which should go to every WM, Warden, and Secretary in the District, but that is all.***

Pre-Application Statement

To be filed with the Pre-Application Committee before an application is issued.

To Applicant for Membership

As the nature of Freemasonry is very little known to you, it is deemed advisable that  before you present a formal petition with your signature you should be informed of certain  features and phases of the institution which may affect your decision as to seeking membership  therein.

1. Freemasonry has always required that men should come to its doors entirely of their  own free will and accord; not as a result of importunity or idle curiosity, but from a favorable  opinion of the Fraternity, a desire for knowledge, and a sincere wish to be serviceable to one's  fellows.

2. Freemasonry is a fellowship of friends and Brothers who meet together for fraternal intercourse and association. This fellowship is rounded upon a system of morality based on a  belief in the existence of God. No atheist can be made a Mason. It teaches the Brotherhood of Man and the Immortality of the Soul. It constantly holds before man the duty he owes to God, his country, his neighbor, and himself. It interferes with neither religion nor politics, but endeavors always to bring out man's highest and noblest qualities. The aim of the true Mason is to promote a brotherly feeling among men and to help the distressed and afflicted to the best of his ability.

3. The purpose of Freemasonry is moral and spiritual improvement, not the gaining of any material advantage. It should be clearly understood and borne in mind that Freemasonry is not to be entered in the hope of material gain or advancement. Admission must not be sought for mercenary or selfish motives. Anyone so actuated will be disappointed.

4. It cannot be too strongly emphasized that Freemasonry is not a benefit society. Membership will not confer you any right to sick benefits, death benefits, burial expenses, the education of your children or the support of your dependents. Failure to understand this has sometimes caused families to hold false impressions which have led to disappointment, misunderstanding and embarrassment. The practice of charity is however, a fundamental virtue taught in Freemasonry. It must, nevertheless, be limited in its extent by the means available. It is obvious that the membership must carry the burden of the cost of Lodge operations and functions. An applicant must, therefore, be in a position to meet his obligations for the degree fees and annual dues without material handicap or detriment to his family or dependents.

5. Loyalty to one's country is an essential qualification in Freemasonry, and only those are acceptable who cheerfully conform to every lawful authority. Disloyalty in any form is abhorrent to the teaching of Freemasonry.

6. The aims of Freemasonry are noble and unselfish. It deserves and expects your sincere attachment and your faithful service. It will make certain demands upon your time and energies. We ask you to consider that it will be a duty and a privilege to attend our meetings and to contribute your share to any of our useful undertakings. If admitted, you will be required to obligate yourself to secrecy in purely Masonic matters, such as the ritual, means of recognition, names of candidates, results of balloting and the like.

If after serious consideration of the foregoing you feel sincerely disposed to seek to enter our portals, you may register your intentions by a formal petition, a blank form for which will be presented to you when you have signed this statement.

I have read, understood and accept the forgoing.

Signature (full name) __________________________________

This form must be entirely filled out by the applicant in his own handwriting

To the W. Master, Wardens and Members of Waltham Triad Lodge of Ancient Free and Accepted Masons

I, the subscriber, respectfully represent that, having long entertained a favorable opinion of your ancient Institution, I am desirous, if found worthy, to be admitted a member thereof.

My full name is ............................................................................................................... 
My place of residence is .................................................................................................. 
Street and number .............................................................Tel. No ................................. 
E–Mail address ................................................................................................................ 
I have resided in this town (or city) since ........................................................................ 
Previous residence .......................................................................................................... 
My place of business is ...................................................... Tel. No .................................
Street and number ........................................................................................................... 
Date of Birth .................................................................................................................. 
Place of Birth .................................................................................................................. 
Occupation .....................................................................................................................
Have you ever before applied for initiation in this or any other Masonic jurisdiction? .............
If so, state name and location of Lodge or Lodges, and in what year ......................................
Have you ever appeared before a pre-application committee in this or any other Masonic jurisdiction? ...................................................................................................................
If so, state name and location of Lodge or Lodges, and in what year ......................................
Have you ever been refused an application for initiation in this or any other Masonic jurisdiction? 
If so, state name and location of Lodge or Lodges, and in what year ......................................

(Signed) ..........................................................................
Date, . ..........................................
__________________________________________________________________________
RECOMMENDATION

I, member of Waltham Triad Lodge aforesaid, hereby recommend said ..................................................................................... for initiation·

(Signed) ...........................................................

Before this application is given out, the Pre-Application Statement must be signed and filed with the Pre-Application Committee, to be forwarded to the Secretary for permanent record with this petition for the degrees·

Questionnaire

This blank should be returned by the Brother investigating with his report

To Applicants for Degrees in Waltham Triad Lodge Ancient Free and Accepted Masons 

For the protection of the Fraternity it is necessary, that careful inquiries should be made concerning all applicants for admission. To facilitate such inquiries you are requested to fill out this form in triplicate and file the three copies with your application:

1. Name in full .....................................................................................................................
2. Proposed by .....................................................................................................................
3. I have never before applied for Masonic degrees or appeared before a Pre-Application Committee. (If previous application has been made, give full particulars.)
4. Have you ever been refused an application blank by any Lodge? ..................................... 
If so, give date, name of Lodge and name of your proposer .............................................
5. I was born in Date .................................................
6. Have lived in (give number of years and dates of residence in each place).
7. I was educated in (give schools, academies, or colleges, with number of years and date in each).
8. My business, or professional, education and experience have been as follows. (Give names of employers, character of employment, and dates of service with each. If in business for yourself or in the practice of a profession give the kind, with places and dates.)
9. I am married. Wife's first name ...................... Date of birth - month and day only ................................
10. I have children.
11. My religious affiliation is member of congregation? ........................
12. My reason for desiring to become a Mason is ....................................................................
13. I refer for further information to the persons named below.

NAME ADDRESS TEL. NO.

1. ....................................................................................................................................
2 ....................................................................................................................................
3. ....................................................................................................................................
4. ....................................................................................................................................
5. ....................................................................................................................................
6. ....................................................................................................................................

Signed ....................................................

Committee report, Degrees

INVESTIGATION OF APPLICANT FOR THE DEGREES
WALTHAM TRIAD LODGE A.F. & A.M.

Date .....................................

Dear Brother:

The Master has appointed you as one of a Committee of Investigation upon the Application for 
the Degrees of ...................................................................................................
Residence ..................................................................... Tel. No ...................................... 
Date of Birth .................................................................................................................... 
Place of Birth .................................................................................................................... 
Occupation ....................................................................................................................... 
Place of Business .......................................................... Tel. No ........................................ 
Recommended by ..............................................................................................................

You are requested to make a thorough investigation, and report by mail to the Secretary, as soon as you can consistently with thoroughness and care, if possible at least three days before the next regular Communication. A simple report of "favorable" will not be sufficient. To aid your investigation you are furnished herewith information supplied by the applicant, and you are asked to answer the questions on the reverse side of this sheet.

Fraternally yours,

....................................................................
Secretary
Committee on Investigation:

....................................................................................................................................
....................................................................................................................................
....................................................................................................................................

Have you seen the applicant? ..............................................................................................
Does he believe in the existence of a Supreme Being? .........................................................
What facts stated by him have you verified from independent sources? (Indicate by inserting the numbers affixed to items in applicant's statement).
Have you found any of his statements untrue, if so, which (Indicate by numbers) .................
Which of his references have you consulted? (Indicate by numbers) .....................................
Have you consulted any person other than those named by the applicant, such as former employers, teachers, or associates?
What information have you obtained as to his character and habits?
Do you consider him qualified mentally and physically to be a Mason? .................................
Can he incur the financial obligations of Masonry without apparent harm to himself and family?
Has he any desire for social or political reforms, and if yes, what and how brought about?
Of what clubs, societies, or organizations of any sort is he a member? .................................
(This covers all religious, social, educational, business, racial, and labor organizations.)
What is your personal impression of him as gained through an interview? ............................
Would you like to associate with him as a member of the Lodge?.........................................
Is your report "favorable" or "unfavorable"? ........................................................................
What further comment have you to make on his application? ...............................................

Signature of Member of the Committee

To the Master, Wardens and Members of Waltham Triad Lodge
of Ancient Free and Accepted Masons

I, the subscriber, a Master Mason in good standing, am desirous, if found worthy, to be admitted to membenhip in your Lodge. I regularly received the Degrees in Freemasonry in Lodge situated in........................ as follows:

ENTERED APPRENTICE .........................................................................................................................
FELLOW CRAFT........................................................................................................................................
MASTER MASON.........................................................................................................................................
I am at present (a member of ) ..............................................................................................................Lodge. 
(demitted from ) Lodge
If dimitted give date. .................................................................................................................................

My full name is....................................................................................................................................
Use No Initials
My residence is.................................................................
Street and Town
Place and Date of Birth.............................................................................................................
Occupation.. with........................................................
Street and Town
I refer to:
Name..................................................................................................................................................................
Street and Town
Name..................................................................................................................................................................
Street and Town
Name..................................................................................................................................................................
Street and Town
Signed........................................................................
Date............

RECOMMENDATION

I,..a member of Waltham Triad.Lodge aforesaid, hereby recommend said Brother ABC. for membership.

Signed.......................................................................................
Date........

INVESTIGATION OF APPLICANT FOR AFFILIATION

Waltham Triad Lodge A.F.& A.M.

Dear Sir and Brother:
The Master has appointed you on a Committee of Investigation upon the application for affiliation Of:

Brother 
Residence 
Occupation 
With 
At 
Place of birth Date................. 
Entered Passed......Raised.... 
In Lodge. At.................................................................
And is Lodge. At................................... 
[Member of- or demitted from]

REFERENCES

Recommended by......................
Wor. Scott M. Sherman,  Secretary

Committee on Investigation
===============================================================
It is a "Masonic Duty" that you make a thorough investigation, as the Lodge depends on your  recommendation and the applicant expects it...Committee members should feel free to consult with each other if that seems desirable...The above-mentioned Lodge has been notified and you will be advised if any adverse comments are made...Please report to the Secretary on the reverse side of this sheet AT LEAST THREE DAYS prior to the next regular meeting.
===============================================================
INVESTIGATION OF APPLICANT FOR AFFILIATION
-------------------------------------------------
To Be Answered by the Member Investigating
1. If now a member have you seen his current receipt for dues? ........................................
2. Has he ever been suspended? Discharged? ................Expelled? .................
3. Have you checked his references? ..................................................................................
4. What are his family responsibilities? ...............................................................................
5. Are his habits good? ......................................................................................................
6. Would he fit comfortably into the membership of your Lodge? ......................................
7. To what other organizations does he belong? ................................................................
8. What is your impression of him after interview? .............................................................
9. Would he incur any financial hardship in afftliating? .......................................................
10. State applicant's reason for wanting to affiliate ............................................................
Comment: ........................................................................................................................
================================================================
........................19...........
To the Secretary:--

I have carefully investigated the applicant, and do believe him to be a proper person for  membership. My report is .................................................................... 
[Favorable or unfavorable]
Signature ...............................................

Michigan  
Minnesota  
Mississippi  
Missouri  
Montana  
Nebraska  
Nevada  
New Hampshire  
New Jersey  
New Mexico  
New York 1. How many persons are generally posted to investigate a candidate for the
degrees? a. for advancement, if any. - Three - b. for affiliation Three

2. Who appoints them, (or in the case of one, him?) - the Worshipful Master

3. Are the names of the investigators made known to the lodge membership? - They are appointed in a regular meeting and their names are recorded in the minutes.

4. May the members, or other interested parties, contact the investigator with information, good or bad, concerning the applicant?

Yes, certainly, but I don't know how much it is done. From what I can determine, the expectation is that the Investigation Committee will use whatever they can, including public records and personal contacts to determine the characteristics and suitability of the applicant (for membership or affiliation).

5. How much time is allowed for the investigation to be completed? - as much time as they need. Usually 2 meetings (a month).

6. If more than one investigator, may they consult with each other in the investigation or should it be on an individual basis? - Yes.

7. Are the investigators given any guide lines on the questions to ask the applicant?
Yes.

a. What answers are required to be answered by the applicant, and what questions, if any, are forbidden to be asked? (Religious affiliation, political affiliation, financial position, sexual preference, etc.) - Do you have a belief in an ever living and true G_d? Do you believe in the immortality of the soul?

8. Is there any provision for a criminal background check made such as a waiver of information concerning the candidate's prior criminal record? Credit report, medical records? - No. But if we had access to the information it would be used. We do ask if they have ever been convicted of a crime.

9. Is the immediate family members of the candidate given an opportunity to have questions propounded and factual answers given at the time of the investigation, or at a subsequent meeting between the investigators and the principal participants involved? - Yes, it is expected that the spouse is present during the interview and can ask questions.

10. Is the filing of this petition circulated or published in any manner in order that members of other lodges, or knowledgeable individuals might have helpful information as to the character of the petitioner with instructions as to how they might give information on this candidate? - The application is read in its entirety during 2 consecutive regular meetings.

11. Any other comments, or helpful advice which I've failed to include in this inquiry? - That's a really good set of questions, but I'd be interested in if their were any qualifications to be appointed to the investigating committee; if there were any expectations as to the content of the investigating committee's report; if there was any expectations as to discussion in the Lodge of the report; if there was any expectations of the Brethren regarding their own knowledge of the applicant or of their requirement to inform their Brethren.
North Carolina  
North Dakota  
Ohio  
Oklahoma How many persons are generally posted to investigate a candidate for the degrees?
for advancement, if any. for affiliation

In Oklahoma, the Committee consists of three members of the lodge for all investigations, except those falling within the Trial Code. 

Who appoints them, (or in the case of one, him?) or is there a ‘standing committee' made up of those individuals who readily will accept this mission 

The Worshipful Master appoints the Committee, although in many lodges he asks for volunteers for the task. A lodge may use a Standing Committee if it so desires. There is nothing in the Constitution or Code to prohibit the practice. We have done it both ways in our lodge.

Are the names of the investigators made known to the lodge membership?

Yes, the investigators are appointed at a Stated Meeting, and those selected can either agree, or refuse to agree, to serve. 

May the members, or other interested parties, contact the investigator with information, good or bad, concerning the applicant?

Absolutely. And Further, any brother of the lodge can file an objection with the Worshipful Master, if he has supporting evidence that would suggest the candidate should not stand for election.

How much time is allowed for the investigation to be completed?

The Committee can report any time it has completed its work, but the lodge cannot vote on a petition until 28 days have elapsed from the time the petition was assigned to the committee.

If more than one investigator, may they consult with each other in the investigation or should it be on an individual basis?

Yes, they can, and generally do their work together, at least as regards the personal visit with the man (and his family).

Are the investigators given any guide lines on the questions to ask the applicant?  What answers are required to be answered by the applicant, and what questions, if any, are forbidden to be asked? (Religious affiliation, political affiliation, financial position, sexual preference, etc.)

There are some investigative committee guidelines which have been printed in the past, but few lodges are aware of them. The required questions of the candidate (belief in God, age) are asked on the petition, so are not required by the investigators. There are no prohibitions as to questions, but I know of no instance where a candidate has been asked his political affiliation, or sexual preference. Some candidates are asked if they feel they can afford the fees, dues, and charitable obligations of the fraternity. Some are asked their religious preference. This is to inform them of their particular church's official position regarding Masonry (Missouri Synod Lutheran, for example), if one exists. This is to allow the petitioner to do his own investigation of his church's policy so he can make his own choice about becoming a Mason.

Is there any provision for a criminal background check made such as a waiver of information concerning the candidate's prior criminal record? Credit report, medical records?

The candidate is asked on his petition if he has a such a record, and asked to explain, if he does. But there are no provisions required of the investigative committee in this area; although the lodge committee is free to contact law enforcement personnel and make inquiries as to criminal record. There are no restrictions preventing a lodge from inquiring as to credit, medical, etc. But, so far as I know, it is seldom, if ever, done.

Is the immediate family members of the candidate given an opportunity to have questions propounded and factual answers given at the time of the investigation, or at a subsequent meeting between the investigators and the principal participants involved?

Not only given an opportunity, but encouraged to do so. In many instances, the lodge will have the family attend a lodge function before the lodge votes on a candidate's petition just so there will be a familiarity with the organization and some of the men in it.

Is the filing of this petition circulated or published in any manner in order that members of other lodges, or knowledgeable individuals might have helpful information as to the character of the petitioner with instructions as to how they might give information on this candidate?

No. A petition for the degrees of Masonry cannot be published, nor can the name of the petitioner be published. This is to protect the privacy of the petitioner until such time as he is voted in (or out) as a member.

Any other comments, or helpful advice which I've failed to include in this inquiry?

Bro. Charles--if lodge investigating committees would simply do everything you suggest by your questions, or that they are entitled to do by Masonic law (or in its absence), we would make a big step in preserving the quality of men in our fraternity. Unfortunately, many committees simply contact the petitioner, pass a few pleasantries, and recommend the brother to the lodge, without knowing anything of substance about the man, or his past.

This is just one of many areas where we have stopped paying attention to the details. We have become far too complacent in our duty to keep the fraternity an organization of special privilege to the man who is voted a member in it.
Oregon  
Pennsylvania  
Rhode Island  
South Carolina 1. How many persons are generally posted to investigate a candidate for the  degrees? a. for advancement, if any. **SC & TX=not applicable b. for affiliation **SC=3; TX=(?)I've seen lots of affiliations but I've  not seen a committee for this in Texas

2. Who appoints them, (or in the case of one, him?) or a. is there a ‘standing committee' made up of those individuals who readily will accept this mission **SC & TX= not in any of my lodges.

3. Are the names of the investigators made known to the lodge membership? 
**SC & TX= committee usually announced to lodge right after the petition is  announced.

4. May the members, or other interested parties, contact the investigator  with information, good or bad, concerning the applicant? **SC & TX= Yes!

5. How much time is allowed for the investigation to be completed? SC & TX= not less than one month or until the next business meeting, but longer, if necessary.

6. If more than one investigator, may they consult with each other in the investigation or should it be on an individual basis? **SC & TX = They are expected to contact each other to coordinate their efforts. In SC there is a "chairman" who is in charge of such coordination.

7. Are the investigators given any guide lines on the questions to ask the applicant?
a. What answers are required to be answered by the applicant, and what questions, if any, are forbidden to be asked? (Religious affiliation, political affiliation, financial position, sexual preference, etc.) SC & TX = There are several sets of questions that are informally suggested, if a committee member is new, but there are no prohibited questions or strictly required questions.

8. Is there any provision for a criminal background check made such as a waiver of information concerning the candidate's prior criminal record? 
Credit report, medical records? SC & TX = No.

9. Is the immediate family members of the candidate given an opportunity to have questions propounded and factual answers given at the time of the investigation, or at a subsequent meeting between the investigators and the principal participants involved? SC & TX = No. The investigation is discreet and informal.

10.. Is the filing of this petition circulated or published in any manner in order that members of other lodges, or knowledgeable individuals might have helpful information as to the character of the petitioner with instructions as to how they might give information on this candidate? **SC & TX = No. Other than the announcement in the tiled lodge.

11. Any other comments, or helpful advice which I've failed to include in this inquiry? **SC & TX = Each member of the committee, always three members, is expected to make some personal contact with the candidate, although many do not for whatever reason. The lodge expects to know if the answers given to the questions on the petition are truthfully answered and if the candidate is "under the tongue of good report".
South Dakota  
Tennessee  
Texas 1. How many persons are generally posted to investigate a candidate for the  degrees? a. for advancement, if any. **SC & TX=not applicable b. for affiliation **SC=3; TX=(?)I've seen lots of affiliations but I've  not seen a committee for this in Texas

2. Who appoints them, (or in the case of one, him?) or a. is there a ‘standing committee' made up of those individuals who readily will accept this mission **SC & TX= not in any of my lodges.

3. Are the names of the investigators made known to the lodge membership? 
**SC & TX= committee usually announced to lodge right after the petition is  announced.

4. May the members, or other interested parties, contact the investigator  with information, good or bad, concerning the applicant? **SC & TX= Yes!

5. How much time is allowed for the investigation to be completed? SC & TX= not less than one month or until the next business meeting, but longer, if necessary.

6. If more than one investigator, may they consult with each other in the investigation or should it be on an individual basis? **SC & TX = They are expected to contact each other to coordinate their efforts. In SC there is a "chairman" who is in charge of such coordination.

7. Are the investigators given any guide lines on the questions to ask the applicant?
a. What answers are required to be answered by the applicant, and what questions, if any, are forbidden to be asked? (Religious affiliation, political affiliation, financial position, sexual preference, etc.) SC & TX = There are several sets of questions that are informally suggested, if a committee member is new, but there are no prohibited questions or strictly required questions.

8. Is there any provision for a criminal background check made such as a waiver of information concerning the candidate's prior criminal record? 
Credit report, medical records? SC & TX = No.

9. Is the immediate family members of the candidate given an opportunity to have questions propounded and factual answers given at the time of the investigation, or at a subsequent meeting between the investigators and the principal participants involved? SC & TX = No. The investigation is discreet and informal.

10.. Is the filing of this petition circulated or published in any manner in order that members of other lodges, or knowledgeable individuals might have helpful information as to the character of the petitioner with instructions as to how they might give information on this candidate? **SC & TX = No. Other than the announcement in the tiled lodge.

11. Any other comments, or helpful advice which I've failed to include in this inquiry? **SC & TX = Each member of the committee, always three members, is expected to make some personal contact with the candidate, although many do not for whatever reason. The lodge expects to know if the answers given to the questions on the petition are truthfully answered and if the candidate is "under the tongue of good report".

DIFFERENT ANSWERS FROM ANOTHER TEXAS MASON

1. How many persons are generally posted to investigate a candidate for the degrees? a. for advancement, if any. b. for affiliation

** "A petition for the degrees or for advancement shall be presented at a stated
meeting and referred by the Master presiding to a committee of three members for
investigation and report. A member of this committee may not be a recommender or any Mason listed as a reference on such petition, unless and except no otherwise qualified Brother is available to serve as such. Such report may be made at a subsequent stated meeting; but no ballot shall be taken thereon in less than one lunar month from the date the petition is received, unless dispensation is granted by the Grand Master..." **

2. Who appoints them, (or in the case of one, him?) or a. is there a ‘standing committee' made up of those individuals who readily will accept this mission?

** See the answer to No. 1. Also; "No standing committee shall be appointed for investigation of candidates petitioning for the degrees." **

3. Are the names of the investigators made known to the lodge membership?

** After the petition is read by the Secretary it is handed to the Master and he announces who the three investigators will be. **

4. May the members, or other interested parties, contact the investigator with information, good or bad, concerning the applicant?

** I find nothing in the laws that prohibits this. **

5. How much time is allowed for the investigation to be completed?

** One lunar month is a minimum unless a dispensation is granted by the Grand Master. If the committee needs more time the Master may grant it. If an investigator does not function the Master may appoint another brother to replace him and extend the time for his investigation. Also.. "When the investigating committee fails to report within two months, it may be discharged, and a new committee appointed, which shall report at a subsequent stated meeting." ** 

6. If more than one investigator, may they consult with each other in the investigation or should it be on an individual basis?

** The law only states; "A face to face interview between each Investigation Committee member and the petitioner is required on all petitions for the Mysteries and Advancement, except on approval by the Worshipful Master." Most committees I am familiar with go as a group to meet with the petitioner. Sometimes this is done in a location other than the petitioners home, such as a restaurant, or sometime at the Lodge. **

7. Are the investigators given any guide lines on the questions to ask the applicant?
a. What answers are required to be answered by the applicant, and what questions, if
any, are forbidden to be asked? (Religious affiliation, political affiliation, financial position, sexual preference, etc.)

** A report form is given to each of the members of the committee to be filled in, signed and returned to the Lodge. Most of the questions on the report are the same as those on the petition form and many committee members simply copy the answers from the petition to their form. Only questions 9, 10 and 12 are not on the petition form. 
"The report of each member of the committee must answer each of the following questions concerning the petitioner.
1. Has he been domiciled in the State of Texas for six months?
2. Has he been domiciled in the jurisdiction of this Lodge for six months?
3. Give the names of three members in good standing of a Lodge or Lodges chartered by this Grand Lodge, or a Grand Lodge duly recognized by this Grand Lodge, none of whom may be either of the two required 'recommenders'.
4. Has he ever petitioned another Masonic Lodge for the degrees? If so, give the name and locations of such Lodge, and full particulars thereof.
5. What is his age?
6. Is he married or single?
7. What is his occupation?
8. Has he any physical maims or defects? If so, what are they?
9. Does he use profane language?
10. Has he any immoral habits?
11. Has he ever been convicted of a felony?
12. Does he possess the mental and physical ability to earn his own living?"

There are no prohibitions on other questions listed in the laws. **

8. Is there any provision for a criminal background check made such as a waiver of
information concerning the candidate's prior criminal record? Credit report, medical
records?

** No. There are thoughts of the brethren on both sides of this fence. **

9. Is the immediate family members of the candidate given an opportunity to have questions propounded and factual answers given at the time of the investigation, or at a subsequent meeting between the investigators and the principal participants involved?

** If the other family members are present at the investigation they may have questions answered. After the candidate has been elected to receive the degrees he is required to attend an orientation meeting at the Lodge prior to the conferral of the first degree and his family is encouraged to be in attendance. **

10. Is the filing of this petition circulated or published in any manner in order that members of other lodges, or knowledgeable individuals might have helpful information as to the character of the petitioner with instructions as to how they might give information on this candidate?

** No. Only those in attendance at the stated meeting in which the petition is read will know about it. Any member not in attendance may ask to read the petition in the secretary's office between the time it is presented and the time the balloted is taken. The petition is read again just before the ballot is taken. **

11. Any other comments, or helpful advice which I've failed to include in this inquiry?

** The only problem I see is most committees don't do a thorough investigation or none at all. Many petitioners who don't live up to the qualifications I believe he should posses, are admitted to the fraternity and they, in turn, recommend like men to the Lodge and add another week link to the chain. **.

Utah  
Vermont  
Virginia 1. How many persons are generally posted to investigate a candidate for the  degrees? a. for advancement, if any. 
3 to investigate a candidate - no further investigation for advancement

2. Who appoints them, (or in the case of one, him?) or a. is there a ‘standing committee' made up of those individuals who readily will accept this mission
The WM appoints all 3, and it can and usually is a different group for each candidate

3. Are the names of the investigators made known to the lodge membership? 
Yes

4. May the members, or other interested parties, contact the investigator  with information, good or bad, concerning the applicant? - Yes

5. How much time is allowed for the investigation to be completed? - I believe it is 1 month

6. If more than one investigator, may they consult with each other in the investigation or should it be on an individual basis? - They are supposed to work together.

7. Are the investigators given any guide lines on the questions to ask the applicant?
a. What answers are required to be answered by the applicant, and what questions, if any, are forbidden to be asked? (Religious affiliation, political affiliation, financial position, sexual preference, etc.) - I do not think they are given any guidelines.

8. Is there any provision for a criminal background check made such as a waiver of information concerning the candidate's prior criminal record? - No.

9. Is the immediate family members of the candidate given an opportunity to have questions propounded and factual answers given at the time of the investigation, or at a subsequent meeting between the investigators and the principal participants involved? - When the committee meets the candidate, his spouse or others can be present and ask questions.

10.. Is the filing of this petition circulated or published in any manner in order that members of other lodges, or knowledgeable individuals might have helpful information as to the character of the petitioner with instructions as to how they might give information on this candidate? - Names and other information about candidates are NOT permitted to be published, so only those attending lodge know who has applied.

11. Any other comments, or helpful advice which I've failed to include in this inquiry? 

Washington  
West Virginia  
Wisconsin  
Wyoming  

 Countries other than the United States

Country Masonic Rules, Policies, and Practices concerning
 Investigations of Candidates
GLF (Grand Lodge of France) How many persons are generally posted to investigate a candidate for the degrees?
Three.
for advancement, if any - None. The JW reports for EAs, the SW for FCs.

for affiliation - One.

Who appoints them, (or in the case of one, him?) - The WM.

is there a `standing committee' made up of those individuals who readily will accept this mission. - No. Everyone is expected to accept a mission from the WM.

Are the names of the investigators made known to the lodge membership?
No. They are kept secret until -and if- the candidate is initiated.

May the members, or other interested parties, contact the investigator with information, good or bad, concerning the applicant?
No. They may only contact the WM.

How much time is allowed for the investigation to be completed?
Three months maximum.

If more than one investigator, may they consult with each other in the investigation or should it be on an individual basis?
In principle they should not know of each other.

Are the investigators given any guide lines on the questions to ask the applicant?
Yes. A two page form outlining the questions which MUST be asked. The investigator may ask more questions if he so wishes.

What answers are required to be answered by the applicant, and what questions, if any, are forbidden to be asked? (Religious affiliation, political affiliation, financial position, sexual preference, etc.)
No question, even embarrassing, is forbidden if the investigator feels it is necessary to make up his mind about the candidate.

Is there any provision for a criminal background check made such as a waiver of information concerning the candidate's prior criminal record?
The candidate must supply a police record. The police record only lists prison sentences, or fines above approximately $1,000. The lodge may decide to overlook the record if it thinks the candidate is truly reformed.

Credit report, medical records? - Neither.

Is the immediate family members of the candidate given an opportunity to have questions propounded and factual answers given at the time of the investigation, or at a subsequent meeting between the investigators and the principal participants involved?
The candidate is asked if his wife is in complete agreement with his petitioning Masonry. Also one of the investigators meets the candidate and his wife together.

Is the filing of this petition circulated or published in any manner in order that members of other lodges, or knowledgeable individuals might have helpful information as to the character of the petitioner with instructions as to how they might give information on this candidate?
The main information about the candidate, including a photograph, his name, age, profession, city and lodge where he is a candidate are posted in the various Lodge buildings so that Brethren who know the candidate might inform his future WM.

Any other comments, or helpful advice which I've failed to include in this inquiry?
The three investigators don't do their job as a group. Each reports directly to the WM and should not be known as such to the two others. The WM requests one investigator to meet the candidate at home, another to meet him in a public place and the third at work.

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