Past Master's Degree

Discussion in 'The York Rite' started by JJones, Jun 24, 2013.

  1. JJones

    JJones Moderator Staff Member

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    I've recently developed an interest in this degree as something our Chapter could learn and confer on new Worshipful Masters. Before jumping into something like this however, I have a few questions that come to mind which need addressed:

    Is the PM degree an honorary degree or does it make the recipient a York Rite mason?

    If so then is the recipient required to petition a Chapter prior to receiving it?

    Also, if so then does it require him to begin paying dues to the conferring Chapter?

    I think conferring this degree would be a good way to get men interested in York Rite, however I also don't wish to force a brother to join the Chapter or have to pay dues for what I'd consider to be a courtesy degree. Of course, if it's just an honorary degree then I suppose that'd put my concerns at ease.

    Could a more knowledgeable companion clear this up for me?
     
  2. crono782

    crono782 Premium Member

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    According to my blue lodge and chapter secretary, you do NOT have to be a member of a chapter to take the Past Master degree, nor does it make you a YR mason. You do not have to petition a chapter for it nor pay dues. In fact, my chapter conferred it on a couple guys from a nearby blue lodge in just the same situation as you are describing. Apparently, the PM degree used to be a blue lodge degree and was a requirement before taking the east. That's no longer the case and has since be shifted to the chapter. He said they have to be invited to take it, but I don't think it's invitational in the same sense that say AMD is. I think he just meant that it should be offered by a chapter. (Since y'all are relatively close by, he did say that if y'all want, we can do the degree, though I don't think he knew you were talking about your own chapter.) ^_^
     
    Last edited: Jun 24, 2013
  3. JJones

    JJones Moderator Staff Member

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    Thanks for the quick reply brother!

    I also appreciate the offer but our incoming WM is already a YR mason. I'd like to see if our Chapter can learn it and offer to confer it in the future however.
     
  4. Bill Hosler

    Bill Hosler Registered User

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    It was explained this way to me: there are two past master degrees. The virtual past master and the actual past master.

    The York rites is the virtual. It was created because at one point to get to the RAM you had to be a Past Master so a degree was set up so you could proceed to the RAM.

    The actual Past Master degree is a required degree in some jurisdictions before a man can be installed as Master of his lodge.

    I have been through both and the first part of degree are identical. The second section of the actual Past Master is "a little different" (picture the hot sands of the Shrine)


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  5. JJones

    JJones Moderator Staff Member

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    That is how I always understood it as well...but today I was thumbing through my Chapter ritual (I'm embarrassed to say I should do this more often) and noticed there was a section for the Past Masters Degree and a totally separate section labeled 'The Past Masters Degree for Masters and Wardens'. The differences seemed to imply that the first was the virtual Past Master degree and the second one was the actual Past Master degree.

    At least that's how I interpreted it. They both look very identical as you say, but the second version excludes any references to previous YR degrees.
     
  6. Bill Hosler

    Bill Hosler Registered User

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    Hmmmm. That is odd. The second section of the actual I went through in Indiana was basically play time to amuse the past masters. And if I remember correctly the YR version was King Solomon picking his successor.


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  7. widows son

    widows son Premium Member

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    My jurisdiction yanked the degree from the YR because of the word given in PM degree, so those who hadn't taken the east were learning the word of the Master before sitting in the East.
     
  8. JJones

    JJones Moderator Staff Member

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    Here's a question that was asked me that I couldn't answer:

    If conferred on a new WM is it done in a Blue lodge or a YR lodge? Which opening and closing is used? My book isn't clear. Is this also considered the installation for the WM?

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  9. Bill Hosler

    Bill Hosler Registered User

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    It is done in a Blue lodge. the assembled Masters elect open a Master Mason lodge. (In my case several lodges brought their newbies to one lodge Some lodges all the Past Masters of the lodge will confer it on their own). Once the lodge is opened a Past Master will take to the East and perform the ceremony
     
  10. JJones

    JJones Moderator Staff Member

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    Thank you for the reply brother.

    So if it's conferred during a MM lodge does that mean any MM can attend and watch? What about the part of the degree where the brother receives the word of a PM?
     
  11. Bill Hosler

    Bill Hosler Registered User

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    It's hard to explain. The MM lodge is really only opened as a "test" to test the men's ability to do ritual. It's not really a MM lodge. Only PM's can attend. If I remember correctly (it's been a few years since I attended one) the Brother receives the grip and word during the first section if the degree.


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  12. TomPM317IN

    TomPM317IN Registered User

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    Pretty sure you are getting pretty close to saying too much here guys.


    Thomas D. Pritchard P.M.
    Nineveh Lodge #317
    Nineveh, IN
     
  13. RedTemplar

    RedTemplar Johnny Joe Combs Premium Member

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    In Kentucky, we have Past Master Societies that confer this degree. It is open to current Masters and Past Masters. A one time fee of $25-$35 is collected for a lifetime membership. The second section of the degree is called the Order of Solomon. A very impressive degree along with a great meal and fantastic fellowship. The money collected is for the meal and charity.
     
  14. chancerobinson

    chancerobinson Registered User

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    JJones - In Texas you are an Actual Past Master upon being seated in the East during your installation as Worshipful Master. Texas does not have a Past Master's Degree conferred by Blue Lodges.

    The Virtual Past Master's Degree can be conferred singularly on a brother who is serving or has served as a Worshipful Master or is serving as a Warden of a Texas Lodge by a Chapter of Royal Arch Masons and is the same as that conferred on all York Rite candidates except for some references to the Mark Master's Degree. The eligible brother is invited, completes an application between August 1 and June 23rd of the masonic year, pays a one time fee of $15 and the degree is conferred.

    To confer this degree in this manner a Chapter of Royal Arch Masons would be opened and called off to the Past Master's Degree. This brother unless he petitions and is exalted a Royal Arch Mason does not pay dues.

    The information above can be found in Article C-142 (290-A) of the Constitution and Laws of the Grand Royal Arch Chapter of Texas.
    The application can be found here:
    http://texasyorkrite.org/forms/lodge/PAST_MASTERS_DEGREE_PETITION.doc

    Also, if one wishes mince words...technically all Entered Apprentice Masons in Texas Lodges are York Rite Masons.


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