We have been seeing an increase in interest in petitioning for the degrees in our Lodge which is a good thing. As part of the petition process the Grand Lodge requires that we perform an investigation of the candidate before balloting on his petition. The investigation serves several purposes; it allows the investigation team to form personal face to face impressions of the candidate, it provides an opportunity for follow up questions to clarify answers to the petition, and it allows the petitioner and his family, if applicable, to ask questions of the investigation team. We owe it to the petitioner and to Masonry in general to perform a thorough and fair investigation. To that end, I would like to make the following points:
Each signer of a petition, recommender and reference, should be contacted by each member of the investigating team. It is also important to verify that the signers are regular master masons. Iâ€™m aware of instances where petitions have been signed by clandestine masons, EAs, and suspended masons.
Also remember that the petitions are confidential and should not be discussed in detail with non-investigators and the petitions should be given to the Secretary in person or in a sealed envelope. Again, this is to protect the petitioner and masonry in general.
We should give the petitioner a chance to involve his family in the investigation if he desires. We know that he is interested since he has submitted a petition, but his family may have reservations that we could address and gain a candidate with the support of his family.