Delivery of ritual

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

  1. David612

    David612 Registered User

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    Well said Bloke-I agree wholeheartedly. I’d like to add that it’s quite an expression of Brotherly love to dedicate that time to memorise and deliver a charge for a specific brother.
     
  2. SivadSemaj

    SivadSemaj Registered User

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    That is a fantastic way of looking at that!
     
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  3. bienf

    bienf Registered User

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    The brethren have been memorizing the Rituals and lectures since time immemorial. nothing is impossible with enough motivation .
     
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  4. Elexir

    Elexir Registered User

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    Have all brethren in all juristiction always memorized ritual?
     
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  5. David612

    David612 Registered User

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    This is certainly the company line.
    I think memorised ritual in the blue lodge is certainly best practice however I’m sure many, many lodges can’t achieve this and it’s probably better to have it read well rather than poorly presented.
     
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  6. CLewey44

    CLewey44 Registered User

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    I'm sort of torn on this myself. I guess it depends on how bad it is. I've seen the person in the "WM" position for the altar portion simply repeat back to the candidate (EA degree) what the prompter was reading to the "WM" from the book. Hope that makes sense. However, in this case, to save some bit of grace, and they ultimately did about half way through, give the Brother performing the ritual the book. It showed a great lack of preparation but then again don't ruin the candidate's experience on principles.
     
  7. jermy Bell

    jermy Bell Registered User

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    In our ritual book here in Illinois , states on the 1st page, is that it is not to be opened or used in open lodge.
     
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  8. David612

    David612 Registered User

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    And how is the ritual in your area?
     
  9. bro.william

    bro.william Premium Member

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    Our jurisdiction is fairly pragmatic. We do, indeed, require the memorisation of ritual; it's certainly not to be delivered from a book. That said, the UGLE prints the Emulation Ritual, with rubrics, in English (with core-concept words shortened to initials), and allows the "little blue book" to be present in the lodge. In practice this means that all ritual work is performed from memory, but a past master (usually, but not always, the immediate past master) has a copy available for accurate prompting if somebody stumbles on a line or misses one. (Key word here being "accurate": the prompter doesn't risk mis-remembering or giving a prompt from deprecated wording that was used 20 years ago when he was in the chair.) As far as I can tell, it works.

    My own lodge takes considerable pride (and pains) in doing good ritual from memory as is masonic tradition; we have strong LoI sessions, the brothers share out lectures, etc., where they can so that everyone who wants a chance gets one, and they genuinely believe they have a stake in one another's successes at taking on the roles. Speaking as someone whose day job also involves a lot of ritual, I have found the whole set-up admirable, as well as the attitudes of my lodge brethren. The way the book is used is nothing I have any quibbles with, because it seeks to honour the spirit of what the ritual work is about. I think I'd be less keen on ritual openly book-read simply because, when it works as it's supposed to, ritual from memory embeds itself into the heart as well as the mind of the speaker. But if I came across a lodge that did it from the book, I don't suppose it would be an absolute deal-breaker for me; I'd just be very glad my lodge does ritual as it does.
     
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  10. Keith C

    Keith C Registered User

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    It is the same in PA.

    On the first page:

    THIS MANUAL MAY NOT BE USED IN AN OPEN MEETING OF THE LODGE. IT MAY NOT BE OPEN DURING A MEETING

    THIS MANUAL MAY NOT BE USED FOR PROMPTING DURING ANY DEGREE

    THIS MANUAL MAY NOT BE USED TO READ FROM IN ANY DEGREE

    etc

    The penalty to a Lodge that violates the above is forfeiture of their Warrant of Constitution, the penalty to a Brother is being "subject to Masonic Discipline"
     
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  11. Glen Cook

    Glen Cook G A Cook Site Benefactor

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    Just to clarify, I’m unaware of the BoC saying it is not to be read from the book. I agree it shouldn’t be, but as I chaired a committee meeting tonight, and the possibility of the person assigned to do the historical lecture being absent was raised, a very senior officer of province noted that it may be read, and reading is not prohibited. Similarly, I had a late PrGM [sic] note to me, upon seeing a ritual read, “It is to be deprecated,” though a few notes were allowed.
     
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  12. Winter

    Winter Premium Member

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    Grand Lodge of Free and Accepted Masons of Wisconsin, Multiple-Letter Cipher, adopted 1975.

    "This cipher is NOT to be open during ANY portion of a degree, Opening, Closing, or Examination; or at an Official Grand Lodge School of Instruction unless permitted by the Lecturer. Its use is for a rehearsal or practice session only. Since only MM's are entitled to receive a copy of this cipher, all schools of of instruction will be conducted in the MM degree, regardless of degree rehearsed."

    I don't think anyone can deny that the effect of the ritual process is lost when the degree is read from a book. It ceases to be a ritual being performed on an initiate and becomes something less. If our new Brother sees the ritual being read to him, why would he ever think he must commit it to memory? That isn't to say that rote memorization is the key either. We have all been part of degrees that were delivered horribly even if the words were technically correct.
     
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  13. bro.william

    bro.william Premium Member

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    Fair enough, and thank you. I'm still newish and learning, and we are a very nuanced group! BoC aside (and I confess I've not read deep into it), I was mainly wanting to suggest it's not the done thing here, but that English freemasonry does seem to be pragmatic.

    It is, I'm convinced, about letting the words sit within you and ferment. In my day job, I say Mass at least 3 times a week, usually more. I can't honestly say that I've got the entire Anglican Prayer Book systematically memorised because, frankly, it's not expected. That said, after years of saying those words over and over, week-in and week-out, most of them trip off the tongue with only limited reference (if any) to the book, because they are no longer just words to be said; they are a part of my being, as are the many and fiddly ritual actions that go with them. In this way, I become part of the drama that draws the gathered people together into our particular shared story.

    I think I'd want to suggest that, whether given from memory or read from a book, the goal of the masonic ritual is similar. (And, hey, it's part of the draw for me.) Good ritual is living ritual delivered with compassion and conviction, and it invests the brethren with a heart-understanding as well as head-understanding that they are part of something bigger and something worthy. I can easily forgive a guy who struggles with memorisation for flubbing his lines; but I do want to see the story we're telling delivered with heart.
     
  14. David612

    David612 Registered User

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    I delivered my first charge last night as well as filled in a role I have never done, so I just had the experience of doing both last night, honestly not knowing the role and having to read from a book made me feel like an arse but we tiled at 7 and at 6:58 I was asked to fill in and it needed doing.
    The charge however I am thrilled about, went well and I’m so excited to do it again.
     
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  15. Warrior1256

    Warrior1256 Site Benefactor

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    Exactly....it's about commitment!
     
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  16. David612

    David612 Registered User

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    Im finding that-
    Big blocks of text I never thought I could memorise are starting to stick faster and faster, very much a practice thing.
    I’m not sure about others but our ritual here can read in quite an odd way if it’s not well understood however spending the time, saying it time and time again one begins to understand how it’s really intended to be delivered.
     
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  17. Glen Cook

    Glen Cook G A Cook Site Benefactor

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    The funeral ritual used by many USGLs has odd phrasing, and unless you adapt to it and learn the meaning and the phrasing, people will have difficulty understanding the message of hope and comfort. I know this, as I had occasion to do the funeral of a PGM as a friend of his family, and one of my GLO’s said that was the first time he ever understood the message. I didn’t tell him I’d missed an entire paragraph on the third page. Only another PGM noticed.
     
    Last edited: May 20, 2019
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  18. David612

    David612 Registered User

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    I haven’t seen any of the funeral stuff yet fortunately.
    It has just been brought to my attention that in my lodge there are 2 brothers who can do the first tracing board however I haven’t seen it done by our lodge before.
    however I have just been advised of an extended first tracing board, I’ll advise when I know more.
    The first TB is of cause a fairly large chunk, often delivered as one nights work in its own regard, I’m told the extended version contains additional work from the sectional lectures and additional exploration.
    Typically it’s broken up between a few brothers for presentation
     
    Last edited: May 20, 2019
  19. BroBook

    BroBook Premium Member

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    I prefer memorizing, and if it must be read, don't sound as if you are reading it for the first , second, third or fourth time.

    Sent from my LML212VL using My Freemasonry mobile app
     
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  20. jermy Bell

    jermy Bell Registered User

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    Agreed !
     

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