The Masonic Lodge
The Masonic Lodge is the foundational organization unit of Freemasonry. It is comprised of a group of Freemasons, and resides under the Grand Lodge of it’s jurisdiction. Hillcrest Masonic Lodge is a Texas Masonic Lodge under the jurisdiction of the Grand Lodge of Texas. A Grand Lodge issues charters for all Masonic Lodges to be official.
In Texas, all Masonic Lodges Chartered under the Masonic Grand Lodge of Texas are AF & AM Masonic Lodges, which stands for Ancient Free & Accepted Masons. The Masonic Grand Lodge is the highest authority of Masonry for it’s members, so there is nothing “higher” in Masonry than the Masonic Grand Lodge of Texas for Texas Freemasons.
Hillcrest Lodge is a Dallas Masonic Lodge which was Chartered under the Grand Lodge of Texas AF & AM in January of 1949. Our founding members were an offshoot of the membership of Highland Park Lodge, and the initial goal of Hillcrest Lodge was to be a University Lodge for students, alumni, professors, and administrators of Southern Methodist University. Over time Hillcrest Lodge has evolved, and while still closely tied to SMU, and many of our members come from SMU, our doors are open to all who wish to inquire, and our membership is quite diverse.
Inside a Masonic Lodge
The Masonic lodge interior for Hillcrest Lodge is quite beautiful, and something to admire and reflect upon. You can get a peak at our Masonic Lodge in the video on this page below. Our Masonic Lodge floor is a 15 x 30 foot run of marble and granite in a checkered pavement formation. It is a near exact replica of the checkered pavement found in Jewel P. Lightfoot’s Texas Masonic Monitor, with a few additions and embellishments for Hillcrest Lodge’s custom use.
The Hillcrest Masonic Lodge Room sits in the old Love Field Quarry in Dallas Texas, and was remodeled in 2016 and 2017. It consists of all regular Masonic Lodge items and is where students are made familiar with the classes of Masonic Lodge symbols. The main Masonic Lodge symbol which everyone is familiar with is the Square and Compass, however there are many, many more symbols in Freemasonry. If you petition a Lodge, and are successfully accepted, you too could learn the meaning behind all of our Masonic symbols.
Lodges generally also have a Masonic Hall or Fellowship Hall. Hillcrest Lodge is no different, and our Masonic Lodge Hall is our place of fellowship where our members meet to socialize and enjoy a nice dinner prior to our Lodge meetings.
What is a Masonic Lodge?
A Masonic Lodge, or a Masonic Temple as they are sometime referred to by the membership, is a group of Brethren when meeting formally as Freemasons. The term Masonic Lodge is also used to indicate the actual building or place that the Lodge meets at. If Freemasons met formally in a field, with a charter and all necessary implements, than that field would be the Masonic Lodge.
Masonic Lodge Levels or Lodge Organization
Every “Blue Lodge” or regular working Masonic Lodge in the world is made up of three primary Masonic Lodge Levels, or Degrees. These are different stages of membership within the Freemason Society. The three prime Lodge levels are the Entered Apprentice (EA), the Fellowcraft (FC), and the Master Mason (MM). Each Lodge is divided up into three sub Lodges which are made up of each of these Masonic Lodge levels.
In other words, each Masonic Lodge is comprised of an Entered Apprentice Lodge, a Fellowcraft Lodge, and a Master Mason’s Lodge. You must pass your Masonic Degrees to be admitted into the subsequent Masonic Degree and thus attendance for the higher Lodges is dependent on your participation, and advancement in the lower Lodges and Degrees.
Masonic Lodge Numbers
All Texas Masonic Lodge’s are chartered with Lodge names and with Masonic Lodge Numbers. Hillcrest Masonic Lodge is Chartered as Masonic Lodge Number 1318. While our number reflects that we are the 1318th Masonic Lodge in Texas, there are now fewer than 850 Masonic Lodge’s across the state of Texas. This is due to a decline in Membership in the late half of the 20th century, and due to the influx of Members moving and relocating from small towns to Texas cities. Many Masonic Lodges that were in small towns were no longer needed, and have since demised.
Masonic Lodge Beliefs
Freemasons are free to believe just about whatever they want, which is why our membership is comprised of so many men of differing political views, religions, interests, and professions. There is no “dogma” of official Masonic Lodge Beliefs as a unified ideology that we all follow.
That being said, there are a system or framework of Masonic beliefs that hold us all together as a global society, and which we can all loosely agree upon. Those Masonic Lodge beliefs are:
- Belief in a higher power. Lodges don’t define what that is, but to be a Freemason, you must believe that there is something higher than yourself.
- The immortality of the soul. Masons do believe that the nature of their existence, will continue to exist, in some form, for all of eternity
- Brotherly love. We are taught to love each other and all of human kind.
- Relief. We believe that we should provide relief for this in a true need of it.
- Truth. We believe that there are in fact universal truths, and that the rational mind can come to understand and know those truths, and it is the job of the rational seeker to pursue these truths.
So will Freemasons do not all collectively believe in the same religion, follow the same interpretation of God, agree on who they are going to vote for in the next election, or just about anything else for that matter, all Freemasons agree in these five basic understandings or Masonic Lodge beliefs of how to live and build a good life with one another.
How To Enter A Masonic Lodge
If by asking “how to enter a Masonic Lodge” you are asking about joining a Masonic Lodge, you can find information here about how to join a mason lodge.
If however you are asking the literal, physical nature of how to enter a Mason Lodge, it is the same everywhere. With reverence! It is not an easy task to be the oldest, consistently operating, global Fraternity and Society in the world, so when you enter a Lodge, pay it it’s due, and treat the experience with respect. Respect to it, respect to it’s membership, and respect for yourself.
While Masons are all Brothers, and enjoy each others company, The Mason Lodge is not a place for games and silly antics. Every Lodge has a list of Masonic Lodge rules, which are comprised in the Masonic jurisdiction’s law book and in the Lodge’s by-laws. Upon membership you will be provided with each, but prior to that, we recommend you treat the Lodge and Members with the utmost respect and reverence.
Clandestine or Non-Recognized Masonic Lodges
If you are looking to join a Lodge, beware that unfortunately there are many conmen posing themselves as Grand Master’s and Grand Lodges. Make sure the Masonic Lodge you look to petition for membership is recognized by other Jurisdictions, or else you will not be able to network with the regular Masons throughout the world. Likewise, if you join a non-regular Masonic Lodge, or a clandestine Masonic Lodge, as Masons call them, then you may be scammed into joining an organization that does not have any knowledge of the Masonic Secrets.
If you join a non recognized lodge, you may also be conned into paying extremely high dues and degree fees, as well as be subjected to hazing. Joining a Masonic Lodge is a noble experience and should be treated as such, so please do your research when searching for a Lodge to insure you join a regular and recognized Masonic Lodge. You will want to make sure that you are joining a regular Blue Masonic Lodge and becoming a Blue Lodge Mason to enjoy all the benefits of Brotherhood.
International Masonic Lodge’s
There is no such thing as an international Masonic Lodge, as Masonic Lodge’s are divided up under Grand Lodge Jurisdictions. The largest Grand Lodge jurisdictions are over countries, however in the United States, Grand Lodge’s are sovereign over their respective state. People referencing International Masonic Lodge’s are generally conspiracy theorists who believe there is some overarching Masonic organization that is controlled by the Illuminati. If you know anything about the organization, you would realize that is quite ridiculous. There is no such thing as The Grand Lodge of The United States and definitely not a Global or International Grand Lodge. The Texas Lodge’s that are chartered in Texas are under the Jurisdiction of the Grand Lodge of Texas A.F. & A.M and are AF & AM Masonic Lodge’s only.
Masonic Lodge Membership
Masonic Lodge membership is comprised of entirely males that are of age to join a Freemason Lodge. In Texas joining a Lodge requires you to be at least 18 years of age, however in many circumstances, it is recommended that young men wait until they feel they are in a stable place in life before petitioning a Masonic Lodge. Joining a Masonic Lodge is a huge responsibility, meant to be a lifetime of commitment and it is highly recommended that you fully know yourself, and who you want to be in life before requesting membership into a Lodge.
If you would like to become a Lodge member, you can fill out a Masonic Lodge application. You will need five signatures of members of the Fraternity in order to be eligible to be voted upon for membership. Masonry is not like most other organizations in the world today. You will never be reached out to and asked to join. you must reach out to Lodge members and ask of them to join. Despite what people think, being asked to join a Lodge is actually a popular myth. Freemasons are forbidden from “recruiting” membership or “evangelizing” for the Fraternity.
If you petition a Lodge, and are successfully admitted into this Great Society, you will be a Lodge Member upon receiving your Master Mason’s Degree, and you will be entitled to attend all regular Masonic Lodge Meetings, both at your Masonic Lodge, and elsewhere.
If you have any further questions about Masonic Lodge membership, you can reach out to us here.