Delivery of ritual

Discussion in 'General Freemasonry Discussion' started by David612, Apr 21, 2019.

  1. David612

    David612 Registered User

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    Recently on the WCY podcast (ep 289 if memory serves) a short paper was presented promoting the reading of ritual over memorisation as many aren’t able to memorise the work, don’t have the time, it’s not on the level to expect it, it prevents sideline corrections etc etc
    I thought it an interesting discussion and as was pointed out on the show many jurisdictions do not permit the work to be read however assuming it was an option, what say you?
     
  2. Brother_Steve

    Brother_Steve Premium Member

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    I work 45 hours a week, I have a 6 year old and a wife. I went to night school for my land Surveyors engineering degree, graduated with a 3.95 GPA at the age of 41, studied for my land surveyors licensing exams and worked my way through the officer line. I'm now 43 and the senior warden of my lodge. I earned my bar for the middle chamber lecture last year and delivered the lecture 3 times in open lodge.

    It's not about time....
     
  3. SivadSemaj

    SivadSemaj Registered User

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    I believe memorization is fundamental as it (and this is just my very inexperienced opinion) it provides a most impressive experience for the initiate/mason as well as heightened understanding for the Mason speaking it. I do however agree with the points presented, I see the value in reading it-I simply believe it diminishes the experience is all.

    In the Army we had to remember the Soldiers Creed and later the NCO Creed, memorizing provided insight into understanding for me. It's tough but can be done.
     
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  4. Glen Cook

    Glen Cook G A Cook Site Benefactor

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    Certainly, some aren’t able to memorize. With work (maybe a lot of work) my experience is that most are able. It is a lost skill. In part, it is no longer common in schools to require memorization. Western cultures are no longer church going people, where memorization of scriptures could occur. I don’t think it has the same emphasis in today’s military.

    As to time, again, some may be limited, but most are not. TV, games, social media (ahem), and scrollin ‘ and trollin ‘ consume hours.

    “Not on the level.” This has become a terribly misused term. I suppose in this instance it is used to indicate there are those who can’t memorize, and so they would be deprived of the opportunity to serve in office. The underlying premise would appear to be that everyone should have the opportunity to do so, that serving in office is fundamental to being a mason; to being a good freemason. Is that what Freemasonry teaches?

    As to reading the ritual, my experience is that it takes rehearsal to do this properly as well. I practice my Masonic speeches and my religious addresses, even though I composed them. How much more then is required with someone else’s words in arcane language for people who, largely, are not familiar with the speech of that era or the Bible. Some of the worst ritual I’ve heard was read.

    Sideline corrections are easily taken care of by the presiding officer at the beginning of the meeting. I have done so in more than one body.

    All that said, I don’t find memorization to be the sine qua non of Freemasonry. One of the finest ritualists I’ve known is a suspended mason for violating his ob. I’m a member of a side order that delivers its degrees from reading. I’ve also been a grand lecturer in a mouth to ear jurisdiction. In my English chapter and lodge we install from memory.

    I simply don’t find this to a determining factor in Freemasonry. But I find the reasoning against memorization to unpersuasive.
     
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  5. JamestheJust

    JamestheJust Registered User

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    If the ritual responses and charges were only the spoken words then an audio or video recording could be used. What then is the essence of ritual work?
     
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  6. David612

    David612 Registered User

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    personally I believe it is a requirement as it as that level of familiarity with the work significantly changes how well many deliver it but additionally speaking for myself, I don’t find reading of the work by multiple people flows nearly as well and adds a sort of tension- of cause thats just what I have observed.
    Somehow reading it aloud just feels a good deal inferior.
    That said ritual read out well as opposed to poorly memorised work may change my opinion.
     
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  7. Keith C

    Keith C Registered User

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    Another voice in favor of delivering the work from memory. We are not even permitted to have a Ritual manual in an Open Lodge. Having experienced my 3 Craft lodge Degrees delivered from Memory, Conferred several EA and FC Degrees from memory, and participated in quite a few Conferrals of all 3 Degrees, vs Receiving the various Chapter Degrees with a combination of memory and reading I can say if feels much more impactfull via memory.
     
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  8. Elexir

    Elexir Registered User

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    I think this could be dependant on juristiction and culture. We have brothers that do memorize the ritual and brothers who read.
    Is one way better then another? Not always. In my own opinion a well read ritual flows just as well as a memorized one.
     
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  9. chrmc

    chrmc Registered User

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    I've experienced both many times, and it certainly comes with pros and cons. In general I cannot say that I've rarely heard ritual delivered less passionately because it was read. But I have certainly heard ritual screwed up when someone forgot their line.

    With a read ritual you do have the opportunity to switch out more brothers in a chair, and it is certain that it takes some comfort and familiarity to deliver ritual. So you may see a little more stiffness from a new guy with a written ritual. But that's more down to practice than anything.

    Reading ritual does come with a lot of advantages, the primary one being that the time it takes to memorize it can be spent on something else, and the fact that it allows more flexibility in scheduling. Most lodges in the Swedish rite will have a primary officers in a chair and 1-2 designated substitutes. That eliminates the need to only schedule a degree "when the brother who knows the FC lecture" is available as we see other places.

    This debate naturally quickly becomes about custom, and what is required to impart Masonic ritual and too truly understand it.
    I personally think that the time where we shouldn't write it down to keep it secret has long passed. Anything that is out there can be found on the internet, so that doesn't hold water.

    If I really have to pick I'm probably still a fan of memorized ritual myself, but the argument becomes harder and harder to find good, substantive, valid reasons for when you look at the time vs benefit scenario with the written ritual.
     
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  10. David612

    David612 Registered User

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    My jurisdiction has everything written bar the obvious and a few other odds n ends- personally I like it as I, as a person who enjoys learning the lectures and going back over the work, I am able to do this and get what I want from the craft (in regards to ritual), in a jurisdiction which holds no lodges of instruction-
    Having had parts of my raising read out, my passing performed at a lodge that will go years without degree work and my initiation done beautifully, it’s a big contrast between the brothers who took the time to learn the work vs those that didn’t.
     
  11. Elexir

    Elexir Registered User

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    For those who favor memorization I honestly have a question.
    To me it seems like you need to hold ritual practice to practice the work.
    Then if there actully is no time to practice the ritual in lodge at all, isnt there a big risk that the ritual gets wrong in certain critical places?
     
  12. David612

    David612 Registered User

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    I can only speak for my lodge but as it’s primarily made up of past masters it may not be a great example-
    We hold our management meeting the week prior to our meeting and the question gets asked if everyone is good for the next week then it’s a quick move on.
    Quite daunting for a new mason I’d expect when you really need general help rather than specific.
     
  13. Mark Stockdale

    Mark Stockdale Premium Member

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    We memorize the rituals and as much as I've spoken them to myself, any scheduled practice has been whilst I've been working, so I was unable to attend. I have until September to learn my part for the EA degree, and I want to make a good job of it, so will be asking for help whilst the lodge is in recess.
     
  14. David612

    David612 Registered User

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    Which part are you learning?
     
  15. Elexir

    Elexir Registered User

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    Lets say that the lodge holds two degree conferals a week and that the lodge have no acess to the building other then during those two days.
     
  16. Mark Stockdale

    Mark Stockdale Premium Member

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    Currently the perambulation and the tools.

    Sent from my 6055P using My Freemasonry mobile app
     
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  17. David612

    David612 Registered User

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    Nice :)
    I’m working on the tools myself
     
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  18. Keith C

    Keith C Registered User

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    I can only speak for my Lodge, but we have Ritual Practice once a month and we have a District School of Ritual Instruction once a month.
     
  19. Elexir

    Elexir Registered User

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    Lets say that you have about one-two degree conferals a week and have not acess to the building except for those days.
    How would you practice then?
     
  20. Keith C

    Keith C Registered User

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    Even if we were so blessed to have that many candidates, we would not do one or two conferrals a WEEK. If we had access to the building once or twice a week, one of those weeks would be used for practice. We do one or two a MONTH, and candidates wait for their turn. Our Officers would be burnt out and no one would be on the sidelines if we did multiple Degrees every week.
     
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