Instruction of Candidates

Discussion in 'General Freemasonry Discussion' started by David612, Jul 13, 2018.

  1. David612

    David612 Registered User

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    Hello Brethren,
    Recently a group from my lodge traveled an hour out to a historic country lodge where we often provide candidates so they can labour.
    On our travels our candidate, a brother due to pass from the first to second degree, was quite apprehensive as he felt he had not received sufficient instruction prior to this day- it’s worth noting 6+ months is typical here between degrees.
    We use a mentor system to teach our candidates which pairs an experienced master with one or more candidates to instruct through the degrees, while this is a fine system, our mentors tend to be comprised of the select few who do the majority of the lodge work- you know these brothers in your lodge I’m sure- meaning the uninformed uninstructed candidates tend to slip to the bottom of the priority list as they arnt as vocal about their complaints or so it feels, I know I feel that way and I have had several young masons eco the same sentiment to me.
    Ours is a close Masonic community, 6 lodges meeting in the one centre- it’s often hard to know who belongs to which lodge as visiting is highly encouraged and frequent here- however all lodges use this same mentor system.
    I must admit at times I have considered calling off from my mother lodge and joining another who’s outlook is more in line with my own, however that wouldn’t be in my lodges best interest.

    I have considered forming an informal “unified lodge of instruction” a regular occasion in which candidates of all levels from the local lodges can meet and practice their work in any combination- while being cautious of the obvious constraints placed on them by our obligations.
    It’s my belief having a fellowcraft work with an apprentice would be a significant benefit for both brothers as the work is quite fresh in the mind of the fellowcraft and teaching it has him reflecting on it more frequently, the entered apprentice also benefits from a teacher who’s time isn’t constrained by the numerous committees and subcommittees and helps to build a network amoung the young masons.

    What do you gents think?
    Am I asking for trouble here?
     
  2. dfreybur

    dfreybur Premium Member

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    Candidates coaching across lodges is common in places I've lived.

    Having Brothers in the pipeline coach each other is a great idea as long as they aren't struggling with their own work.
     
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  3. David612

    David612 Registered User

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    My intention is to form an informal time to just invite these candidates to run through their work, talk about it and just build some fellowship.
    The put the situation I am in into perspective we are “required” to have attended 12 meetings prior to being raised- as it stands I have attended 12 meetings of my own lodge and a total of 22+ including visiting- my raising is not yet scheduled, maybe October.. not sure yet- it is easy to feel disengaged I think and our grand lodge representative had commented on the churn rate of candidates.
    As a fellow craft there is a limit to what we can be involved in obviously and I read cautiously so as to not ruin anything for myself- I thought this may be a good way to have us underlings get involved in the work and helps the foundation for future work.
     
  4. Matt L

    Matt L Site Benefactor

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    Our lodge is open every Monday, and everyone is invited. If you have a EA, FC or MM that wants to work on their lecture we're here to help. If you want to learn a part in a degree, we're here for you. If you just want to talk, we'll do that to.

    We tried a "Wardens Roundtable' night but attendance was spotty. Everyone knows we're there on Monday, attendance is much better.
     
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  5. David612

    David612 Registered User

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    That’s great to hear-
    I’m working on getting some feedback from others in my area from a lodge and GL level to make sure I’m not going to get feed to goats for the notion but so far folk seem keen.
     
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  6. rpbrown

    rpbrown Premium Member

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    Our lodge is open most every Wednesday for instruction and everyone is welcome. We break into the different degrees as needed.
     
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  7. Keith C

    Keith C Registered User

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    We have a Masonic Education committee who meet with candidates for the purpose of instruction. In addition, each candidate is assigned a mentor, to help them through their first year in The Craft and to guide them through the Grand Lodge Master Builder program, which we highly encourage. The candidate's first line signer is typically their mentor, but if another Brother is assigned the first line signer is also expected to participate in the candidates education.

    One Wednesday a month we also have a "Discussion night" at which the topic is adjusted based on who is in attendance. If a FC or EA comes out they will either meet separately to go over anything they need to, or join in if the discussion topic can be kept within the bounds of their Degree. Another Wednesday of the month our District has a School of Instruction, if the topic is within the bounds of the EA or FC degree those brothers are also free to / encouraged to attend. Keep in mind that here in PA it is typical to have only one Masonic Month between degrees.
     
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  8. hanzosbm

    hanzosbm Premium Member

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    I'd like to start off by explaining that the viewpoints I'm about to provide are designed to help, not criticize, and I hope they're taken as such.

    You have a young Mason who doesn't feel that he has received enough 'instruction' and your proposed solution is a different kind of meeting to go over the memory work. Are you sure that's what he's talking about?

    I left Masonry for several years. I've talked with many others who have done the same thing (many haven't come back). I've talked with a lot of new, younger Masons about what they're looking for, their disappointments, and what they'd like to see different. I keep hearing the same thing; the memory work is valuable, but by itself, is meaningless and empty. What they, and I, wanted was meaning and understanding of our ritual, not memorization. We have hundreds of years of symbolism and lessons designed to encourage moral improvement. Memorizing catechisms does absolutely nothing to further that goal, which is why a lot of men join in the first place. I have had many young Masons say things like "yeah, I can give a flawless proficiency, but so what? I don't feel like I've really learned anything", and they're right.
    All I'm saying is that before trying to form a new method to teach your candidate something, make sure that it's teaching him something he wants to learn.
     
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  9. Warrior1256

    Warrior1256 Site Benefactor

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    Sounds great! We have something similar at on of my lodges.
    Agreed!
     
  10. Keith C

    Keith C Registered User

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    GREAT points!

    Here in PA there is no memorization to show proficiency, that is only required if you wish to be a Warden or WM. Instead what we teach and test on in our lodge is UNDERSTANDING of the symbolism and reasons for what took place in the ritual of the previous degree. The only thing that needs to be memorized is the grip(s) of the degree and the dialog to get to the names.
     
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  11. hanzosbm

    hanzosbm Premium Member

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    That is extremely refreshing to hear.
     
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  12. David612

    David612 Registered User

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    Terrific points-
    The brother explained to me that his anxiety was rooted in not feeling prepared to deliver the work but you bring up a great point- I think having an informal meeting like the one I have described would be the ideal venue for discussions related to the lessons within this degree.
     
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  13. Warrior1256

    Warrior1256 Site Benefactor

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    Same in Kentucky. You only need to do your MM proficiency to hold the office of JW or higher.
    Great!
     
  14. TXStrat

    TXStrat Registered User

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    One technique to assist with the memorization that has proven relatively successful is a round table type session. When possible, we will get a group of the available candidates working in a given degree, and their instructors and place them in a circle, or around a table The first man starts with the first question. The second man answers, and asks the next question. It is a good method to both take pressure off of the candidates, and make sure the instructors are teaching the same thing. Everyone hears the work, and follows along until it's their time to answer.

    This in no way replaces the invaluable one on one instruction between a mentor and candidate. That is where the deeper meaning of the symbolism of each degree can be examined, and explained with the candidate ultimately developing his own unique interpretation.
     
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  15. Warrior1256

    Warrior1256 Site Benefactor

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    Very good idea!
     

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