My Grandfather was a Master Mason, and Freemasonry is a subject I've been interested in for about 25 years now. I've long wanted to join, and I met with the Secretary at the Grand Lodge of California (my local Lodge) to discuss this. He was very encouraging that I should apply, but one thing he mentioned troubles me: that as part of the screening process, a credit check is routinely performed.
Now, I don't have anything heinous in my past -- I've never been in any sort of trouble, I have excellent character references, I'm active in my community, have solid job and housing history, been happily married for 18 years, and so on. However, almost 30 years ago, when I was 17 and going off to college, I got a government-guaranteed student loan, which I have never been able to pay off. (Unlike other debts, student loans never go away or get written off.) I certainly don't want to apply and be turned down just because of my credit report!
I believe that anyone meeting me would conclude that I'm "...of good moral character", as the requirement says -- despite my credit rating. Also, a good friend of mine is a Master Mason and is enthusiastic about sponsoring me for membership. So my question is this: how firm is the requirement of a credit check? Is a negative credit report a certain impediment to being accepted?
Never heard of it. We do have a committee of 3 brothers appointed to investigate each petition and interview the petitioner. I've done it many, many times and have never inquired into credit scores. Good men, and not so good men, can both have credit problems.