Let me describe what my lodge does, without going into anything esoteric.
A man is told to present himself at a particular time. When he arrives, he finds only the Master of Ceremonies waiting for him, who escorts him into a small chamber, perhaps ten feet square, furnished only with a chair and a table, and lit only by a candle. On the opposite wall is the door to the Lodgeroom. The master of ceremonies helps the candidate with some preliminary preparations, and leaves the candidate alone with his thoughts and enters the lodge. After a few minutes, the Master of Ceremonies returns, with the Senior Deacon, who speaks earnestly to the candidate about the experience he is embarking upon, including these statements:
"Free Masonry is far removed from all that is trivial, selfish and ungodly. its ceremonies are by no means of a light or trifling character, but are of profound significance and deep solemnity. They have existed without material changes from remote antiquity. Its structure rests upon the indestructible foundation of the Fatherhood of God, the Brotherhood of Man and the Immortality of the Soul."
"Our ancient and honorable fraternity welcomes to its doors, and admits to its privileges, worthy men of all faiths and creeds who posses the indispensable qualifications. Freemasonry is, in one of its major aspects, a beautiful and profound system of morality, veiled in allegories and illustrated by symbols."
" Its grand purposes are, to diffuse light, to banish ignorance, to promote peace and happiness among mankind; to relieve distress; to protect the widows and orphans of our brethren; to inculcate a wider knowledge concerning the existence of the Grand Architect of the Universe, and of the arts and sciences connected with His Divine laws. In fine, the design is to make its members wiser, freer, better, and consequently happier men."
"These purposes are accomplished by means of a series of moral instructions taught, according to ancient usage, by allegories, symbols, types, figures and lectures...As a preparation for the Mystic Rites into which you are about to enter, you are asked to divest your mind and conscience of all mental prejudices and superfluities incident to a material or worldly life, and remember that selfish aims vanities, if present, are not in keeping with the reverential spirit which a true seeker of Divine Light and wisdom must manifest when he enters upon the true path of initiation."
The Senior Deacon then slowly and solemnly completes the preparations of the candidate, telling the candidate that each step has an esoteric meaning that will be explained after the candidate has become a mason. He then leaves the candidate in the care of the Master of Ceremonies, who helps the candidate to "initiate" the ceremony.