Degree Work

Discussion in 'General Freemasonry Discussion' started by Garth H, Feb 13, 2019.

  1. Garth H

    Garth H Registered User

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    Recently sat in on and had a small part in one of our brothers journey to becoming a Master Mason, What is your take on correcting someone or making interjections during a degree work? My stance is to allow the brother to recover and continue the work instead of interjecting here and there. It becomes very obvious to the candidate that the degree is not running smoothly. There’s a difference in a brother not knowing the work and being nervous. Brothers let’s talk.


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  2. CLewey44

    CLewey44 Registered User

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    I would agree for the most part. It would depend on how confident I am in the Brother giving the degree. However, the last degree I went to was an absolute disaster and only about two people knew their parts. The WM's part not being one of them. If we waited on him, we'd still be standing there. He had no clue. They tried to let him recover, he froze, then they tried prompting him some and eventually more and more to the point where he was just repeating back what the prompter was saying. Essentially we got that entire part twice. tsk tsk...Eventually, they just gave him a book and said to read out of it which is a huge no-no but I"ve noticed it becoming a more and more common thing. People are struggling to devote enough time to come to lodge much less learn any sort of parts of a degree. We have wardens that can barely get through the opening and closing much less do a degree. It's really pretty sad.


    Edit: Good post btw and important subject.
     
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  3. Brother JC

    Brother JC Vigilant Staff Member

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    If anyone other than the designated prompter talks during a degree in my lodge they will be having a conversation with the Worshipful after. Comments and conversation are strictly forbidden.
     
  4. Keith C

    Keith C Registered User

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    I agree. Whoever will be conferring the degree designates a prompter and they are the only one to correct / prompt during the degree. We are not permitted to confer Degrees until we have been signed off as proficient at a District School of Instruction by a Senior Instructor. In our Lodge we have Ritual Instruction the week before out Extra Meetings for Degree Conferrals and go through both the dialog and the physical movements, so we rarely have someone who "gets lost" in the Work and if they do usually a word or two get them back on track.

    I don't know how I would react to someone who obviously had no idea of the ritual as Bro. Lewey has described. This is a huge sign of a failure on the part of the WM to have the Lodge in a state that the Work can be accomplished. Very sad indeed.
     
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  5. Garth H

    Garth H Registered User

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    I entirely agree with what you’re saying. If you know the part but get nervous as some brothers do that’s one thing, but if you just don’t know it, you shouldn’t be standing up there. That’s really a disservice to the candidate or brother going through the degree.


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  6. Schuetz

    Schuetz Registered User

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    Ugh. I did the Chaplain's Preamble perfectly the other night for a third degree. My reward, they stuck me in as either the 1st or 2nd ruffian (depending on what minute it was) of which I know neither. I was simply repeating the experts at that point. I understand being thrown into it is a way of learning but I still feel bad for the candidate when things don't go over smoothly.

    Q. E. L. Schuetz, M.M.
    Shekinah Lodge No. 241 • IL
    Murphysboro Lodge No. 498 • IL
     
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  7. Glen Cook

    Glen Cook G A Cook Site Benefactor

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    As one who occasionally has the duty to correct, I only interject without invitation if there is something serious missing from an obligation.
     
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  8. Bill Lins

    Bill Lins Moderating Staff Staff Member

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    Unless a participant absolutely "vapor locks", I believe 'tis better to let him muddle through without interruption. Corrections are best made during floor schools or practices. I've seen instructors make multiple corrections during a degree conferral & it was horrible.
     
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  9. Keith C

    Keith C Registered User

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    I pretty much agree.

    I have been in the South during Degrees when the SW for the Degree, who was a PM kept correcting very minor single word errors that the WM for the Degree made. Either the omission of a single word or substitution of a word which, while not what was written in the Ritual Manual, conveyed the same meaning and in no way detracted from the Degree experience for the Candidate. It was far more disruptive and threw the WM off track as opposed to letting it go. What is more interesting is that I was SW and prompter for the same Brother who over-corrected when he was Conferring a EA Degree. I had to stop him during the Obligation, as halfway through he switched from the wording of the EA Obligation to that of the Mark Master Mason Degree in the York Rite! I figured that THAT was worthy of a disruption!
     
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  10. jermy Bell

    jermy Bell Registered User

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    We usually have at least 2 grand lectures at degree work, so they can jump in when need be. But what gets my goat is brothers that have been coming to lodge for 20-40 years and don't know a single word in degree work or any ritual that goes with chair and a hand full are past master's. How is that ?
     
  11. Keith C

    Keith C Registered User

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    If you don't use it, you lose it. It must be assumed that PMs were proficient when they were in the East, but if you do not study and confer the Degrees regularly the words and actions can disappear from memory.
     
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  12. Warrior1256

    Warrior1256 Site Benefactor

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    Totally agree....
    ....except in cases like the above.
     
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  13. Mark Petro

    Mark Petro Registered User

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    It shows no support of fellow brothers, or any interest in their journey. Thankfully, our lodge has a district instructor as a regular attendee, and several PMs who know their parts very well.
     
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  14. Bloke

    Bloke Premium Member

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    I am a big believer that Lodges should self regulate.. our MMs and WMs were up in arms last meeting because the work was so bad.. but it is was mostly self criticism... it was not a degree, so it did not impact a candidate and was actually quite useful - they want to have 2 rehearsals before our next Degree work :)

    And I hate "correctors" - they are often wrong and generally always disruptive.. regardless of their rank or position in the lodge. Only the Director or Sec should prompt, or the IPM might prompt a WM when obligating. Like Bro Glen, I will only pick up something when it is "material", otherwise, on with the show !
     
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  15. Keith C

    Keith C Registered User

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    Jurisdictional difference, no doubt, but I have no idea what a "director" is! For us during degree work (which is typically where folks get stuck) the Sec is way up in the NE at his Station, so really couldn't offer any help. Here the WM appoints someone he knows is proficient in the work to act as a prompter should someone get stuck, and he will usually ask the JW to place the prompter as the SW or SD for the degree, so they are in close proximity to the WM for discrete prompting.
     
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  16. CLewey44

    CLewey44 Registered User

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    Interesting, OK and NY secs were in the SE.
     
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  17. Keith C

    Keith C Registered User

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    Here SEC in NE and Treas in SE. Chaplain to the right of Treas, SD between SEC and WM. WM stands on the South side of his Station.

    Also, the only time the WM can sit is when the Lodge is being Tyled, when the DDGM has the Lodge and when the Lodge is call off to refreshment.
     
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  18. Bill Lins

    Bill Lins Moderating Staff Staff Member

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    And Texas. Treasurer & Chaplain in the NE.
     
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  19. Bloke

    Bloke Premium Member

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    The Director of Ceremonies not only Directs the actual Ceremonies in the lodge room and trains all the officers (and is generally the goto man, often more than a Sec), he also runs the dinner.

    I am not really sure there is an equivalent position in an American Lodge ? The Marshal seems to have different and a lot less duties..

    A Director of Ceremonies
    "The Office of the Director of Ceremonies is of some importance in any Lodge. The DC’s role is to make certain that ceremonies are efficiently conducted with dignity and decorum and that all concerned are aware in advance of what they have to do.
    The Lodge DC's Jewel is two wands in saltire."
    http://www.somersetfreemasons.org/Lodge_Officers_Resources/page96/DC/index.html

    "3The Director of Ceremonies

    1. Introduction
    This is one of the most senior offices to which a Brother may aspire. It is to the DC that the Brethren look for guidance and from whom the Master will seek confirmation of his actions. All floor work is totally under the DC’s direction. A challenging and difficult task well worthy of the title ‘Director’,for the duties are to direct and guide.The successful DC will,by good example, encouragement and careful coaching,not only lead his Lodge toward excellence in its work but he will also earn the respect and trust of his fellow Brethren. The following guidance has been compiled to be helpful to the Lodge Director of Ceremonies and perhaps to be of some assistance in pointing out areas where improvements may be useful or required.

    2.Qualifications for office
    The effective DC will be an experienced mason, expert in the ritual and knowledgeable about good practice, etiquette and conversant with the relevant portions of the Book of Constitutions. He will be confident and courteous in manner, able to exhibit command and presence when required,yet sensitive and tactful in his dealings with Brethren. He will also be able to encourage less experienced Brethren by demonstrating good leadership. Often,newer members are reluctant to undertake ritual and to take roles within the Lodge for fear of failure. The Lodge Dc, together with the Lodge Mentor,is ideally placed to ensure that this is not the case in his particular Lodge and that more experienced members encourage their attempts rather than admonish them.The DC will be conversant with and able to direct all Lodge proceedings."


    The above from a 27 page guide to the DC here http://www.somersetfreemasons.org/resources/Lodge-DC/Lodge-DCs-Guide-2017(final).pdf
    The book I use from UGLV for acting as DC is 339 pages. It details the ceremonies and movements and has additional instructions.



    Our Secs are also in the NE (with the Treasurer).

    We generally don't worry about "discretely" prompting unless it is for the Master - then he will have the IPM beside him.. but if you are giving a charge in a Victorian Lodge, you will (or should) get a loud and clear prompt from the Director or the Secretary's Desk as previously arranged. That is good support and there is no shame in it, but the aspiration is also get through any charge without a prompt.
     
  20. CLewey44

    CLewey44 Registered User

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    Are you asking me that because I said "he froze"?
     

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