The Masonic Investigative Committee is one of the most important committees in the Masonic Lodge. The committee is responsible for finding out if candidates are qualified and worthy to become members of the noble Freemason Fraternity.
Duties of the Masonic Investigative Committee
The members of the Masonic Investigative Committee are tasked with performing Masonic interviews of everyone that is petitioning to become a Freemason.
It is essential that a thorough investigation of each potential member be done. The committee must provide a complete investigation of all petitioners.
Before members are selected for the committee, the Worshipful Master must review all members and look for members that are good investigative skill and experience. It is important to know that not all Masonic members are skilled at interviewing prospective members. The investigation involves asking questions in a fair and warming manner.
Responsibilities of the Masonic Investigative Committee
Anyone appointed to the Masonic Investigative Committee must consider this a great honour. This is an expression of the confidence and trust that the Worshipful Master and other Brothers have in them. They are confident of the ability of the Brother and their concern for the welfare of the Freemasonry and Brethren.
The Masonic Lodge Investigative Committee must ensure that everyone chosen to pass through the West Gate for initiation must be fitted for the blessings and teachings of Freemasonry.
The Masonic Lodge Investigative Committee is responsible for preserving the unsoiled reputation of the Freemason Brotherhood by ensuring that only those that are admitted into the Fraternity. They must be upright men themselves as this will help them to better discern those that are worthy and those that are not.
Members of the Masonic Investigative Committee must be men of valiant conscience. They must have a smart sense of judgement as they work to screen people that can make the Lodge weaker or stronger. You must make a mental checklist of yourself to see that you have all that is needed to become a Freemason.
Characteristics That Should Be Exhibited by Members of the Masonic Investigative Committee
- Unbiased: As a member of the Masonic Investigative Committee, you must be unbiased in all your doing. Don’t be influenced by the position of the candidate and his family and friends. You need to learn more about the person in an unbiased manner.
- Dress sense: Dress smartly for the interview session. You have to make an excellent first impression on the candidate. Don’t over dress or under dress. Dress moderately but smartly. As you judge the candidate by what you see from him, know that you are also being judged by the candidate too.
- Professional, friendly and helpful: After you have been introduced to the potential member, you start by asking the potential candidate questions. You should also ask his references about his character. You learn more about him from others that are knowledgeable about his reputation and his character. You should ask the questions in a friendly, professional and courteous manner. Your manner of asking the questions will tell the person more about Freemason and encourage him to be at his best, so he stands a better chance of becoming a member of the Fraternity.
- On point and without digression: You must remain on point without digressing and spending much time on unnecessary talks. Don’t go on long ramblings about your experience as a Freemason, a Past Master, the time you joined or your family. Stick to what you came for. Don’t be unprofessional. Your professionalism will tell more about Freemasonry to the candidate.
Make a good, powerful impression on the candidate. The impression you create on the candidate will go a long way in how you and the Brotherhood will be judged. It will tell the petitioner and his family that you are a member of a strong fraternity who is proud of its customs.
Questions to Ask
These are the people that you need to ask questions.
- References: Question the references listed by the petitioner. Ask them if they knew that they were going to be used as references. Ask them why they thought they were going to be used as references. Ask them their feelings about the petitioner as a colleague, friend and neighbour. Ask them if they know something that is not straightforward or honest about the person. Ask them if they stand to gain anything if the guy becomes a member of a fraternity.
- Petition signers: You need to ask questions from as many petition signers as possible. Talk to the Brothers that signed his petition an ask them why they signed it. Ask for the qualities they see in the petitioner. Ask for how long they have known the petitioner, how they know him, who introduced them to him, the names of those associated with the petitioner and other questions.
Try to ascertain if their answers are genuine or not. Watch their body language and see if they try to look away from you when answering questions. Do they hesitate or turn their eyes away from you? Did they say something that is off-topic, or were they brief and succinct with their answers? Were they evasive with their answers?
Try and find out as much truth as possible about the petitioner. Get information about the financial status of the petitioner, the type of friends he keeps, his reputation at home, work, religious institution and community etc.
Final Interviewer with Petitioner at Home
The final interview with the petitioner is an exhaustive interview where you interview the candidate personally in the presence of his family.
First, you need to make an appointment with the petitioner. Let him know that you want to have the interview without interruptions. The interview shouldn’t be scheduled during a presidential debate or a high-profile sporting event like the Super Bowl or league finals. All attention must be fully focused, and there should be no distractions.
Did the petitioner welcome you gladly? Did the wife of the petitioner greet you well without reservations? Or is she just tolerating you? Any intending member of the Freemason Brotherhood must have the unflinching support of his wife and family.
No member of the Brotherhood should be caught in the middle of a conflict where he is asked to choose between the Brotherhood and his wife. Almost everyone will opt for their spouse instead of the Brotherhood. Take care to confirm that his wife is in agreement with him on joining the fraternity. There is no point in spending time initiating someone, teaching him ritual and other things only for him not to commit to the Brotherhood. There is no point in wasting time and money.
The interview should be conducted in the room where the interviewee and his family will be the most comfortable. This is usually the living room. During the home interview, you will get a good feel of the man, his surroundings, his family and other aspects of the man’s life.
The Television and other distractions should be turned off. You should be entirely focused on the petitioner while observing as much as you can about him.
Members of the Masonic Investigative Committee
The Masonic Investigative Committee should have a minimum of three members. Here are the duties of three members during an interview session.
Chairman of the Committee: The Chairman of the Masonic Investigative Committee is responsible for asking most of the questions in the interview. He is the head and should act like a leader. He is responsible for time management. He should ensure that the interview does not go past the intended time. When he notices that the participants are getting restless, he should bring the interview to a smooth conclusion.
Before bringing the interview to a close, the Chairman of the Masonic Investigative Committee should ask the other Brothers if they have a final question or observation. Also, he should ask the petitioner and his wife if they have final questions or observations.
Second Brother: The second brother should answer any question that the petitioner or his wife have. He should be a resourceful person that watch the reaction of the petitioner and his wife to questions.
Third Brother: The third brother must pay a lot of attention to the wife and ensure that she is not left out of the conversation. We must understand that the wife of the petitioner is key to retaining him in the Fraternity.
The Wife of the Petitioner
The petitioner’s wife should be observed closely for her reactions to all questions and other things in the conversation. Watch her body language and observe her responses well. She might not make any objection verbally, but her body language and reactions will show what she feels. Address all her reservations and concerns now. Don’t wait until her husband is a member of the fraternity. She is also judging you the same way you are judging her.
Masonic concordant bodies should be mentioned during the interview. Mention DeMolay for boys, Job’s Daughters and Rainbow Girls for girls, Order of the Eastern Star and others. All these concordant bodies provide fellowship for all members of the family.
If you observe negative reactions from the petitioner and his wife, you should try and find the reason for their negative reactions. There are a lot of rumours about Freemasonry, and these rumours may have been responsible for this negativity. Rumours like blood rituals, New World Order, Pentagrams, animal sacrifice and lots of other nonsense.
You need to allay the fears of the wife. Let her know what Freemason is about and the truth about the things she is afraid of. Tell her about the role of holy books like the Bible, the Torah, the Koran and others in the Masonic Lodge. Let her know that all members of the Fraternity must believe in God, the Supreme Creator of the Universe.
The members of the Masonic Investigative Committee must be well versed in Masonic knowledge and history to impart a knowledge of Freemasonry on the petitioner and his wife. You must be able to reassure the petitioner and his wife of the friendship, support and Brotherhood of the Masonic Lodge.
Handshake: A handshake of friendship should be extended to the petitioner and his wife before leaving his home. A warm, friendly right-hand shake will do a lot to overcome inhibitions and encourage a good relationship.
Other Things That the Masonic Investigative Committee Should Be Aware of
- Completion of questionnaires: The Masonic Investigative Committee should check the answers of the Brother to the questionnaire attached to his petition and ensure that they are well answered. The petitioner must be asked his reason for not answering any question, and the reason for not answering the questions must be ascertained.
- Usefulness: The Masonic Investigative Committee must confirm that the Brother does not belong to any organization that will affect his usefulness to the Fraternity.
- Jurisdiction: The Masonic Investigative Committee must confirm that the Lodge has jurisdiction over the petitioner.
- Mental qualification: The Masonic Investigative Committee must ascertain if the Masonic Investigative Committee is qualified to receive Masonic Degrees.
- Morality: The Masonic Investigative Committee must confirm that the petitioner is morally fit to be in the Brotherhood. You should check the sex offenders register and websites and ensure that the petitioner is not on any of those websites.
- Character: The Masonic Investigative Committee must confirm that the petitioner must have a good character as ascertained by his neighbours, friends and other people.
- Recommendation: The petitioner should be recommended only if the members of the Masonic Investigative Committee are genuinely convinced of the petitioner’s ability to conform to the laws, rules and regulations of the Brotherhood.
- Deformity: The Masonic Investigative Committee should ask if the petitioner has any deformity or defect that will prevent them from earning a living or being instructed in the ways of Freemasonry.
- Financial status: The financial status of the petitioner must be considered. The petitioner should be able to meet all financial obligations to the Lodge without any detriment to his finances and his family.
The Masonic Investigative Committee has always played an essential role in ensuring that the Freemasonry Brotherhood maintains its respect and sanctity. All applicant must have imperative characters and good moral standing.