A photograph of an antique members register

Becoming an Odd Fellow

A candidate must be sponsored by a current member. So, the first step towards joining is to get to know some members. If you know an Odd Fellow already, they will be happy to help you get to know more lodge members. If you don’t know an Odd Fellow, consult the Lodge Map and Directory to get in contact with a nearby lodge Secretary. The Grand Secretary can also help you get in touch.

Attend Odd Fellows sponsored events with members of your local lodge. Find out if they have social gatherings where you can get to know more members and find a sponsor to help you complete your application.

Requirements for Membership

Any person who is at least 16 years old, of good character, and who believes in a Supreme Being is eligible for membership in the Odd Fellows. The Independent Order of Odd Fellows does not discriminate on the basis of race, national origin, disability, sex, age, sexual orientation, or gender identity and expression.

Members are expected to regularly attend lodge meetings and pay modest annual dues – The exact amount is set by the lodge, and will include dues owed to both the Grand Lodge of Massachusetts, and the international Sovereign Grand Lodge.

After you have Applied for Membership

Once the lodge secretary receives your application, they will share it with the members at the next lodge meeting and the Noble Grand (the lodge president) will have an interviewing committee of three members (not including your sponsor) assigned handle the next steps in the process.

The interviewers will reach out to you, and set up a meeting time to ask you questions related to your character and interests, answer any questions you may have concerning the lodge of Odd Fellowship, and explain anything they think is particularly important to know about being a member of their lodge. One purpose of the interviewing committee is to give a candidate at least three familiar faces in the lodge.

At the lodge meeting after the interview, the committee will report back to the lodge. The meeting after that, the lodge will ballot on whether to accept you as a member. The lodge will then send you a letter announcing your election to membership and the date and time for the initiation ceremony.

The process is intended to be a fairly slow one. Most lodges meet only twice per month, so you will likely need to wait at least a full month between applying and hearing whether you have been elected for initiation. Planning the initiatory ritual can also take several weeks to be done well. Be patient and continue to enjoy Odd Fellows events which are open to you – everything except the business meetings themselves – and get to know more members while this all goes on.