Is there an alternative to the memorization?

Discussion in 'Frequently Asked Questions' started by Hasaf, Feb 10, 2019.

  1. Hasaf

    Hasaf Registered User

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    Simply put, I am an unusually poor memorizer. According to a neurologist, that I saw, this is explainable by my mild palsy.

    I am a teacher. After I received my EA I worked on the memorization for an entire summer. I can safely say that, forced to listen over and over, my dog probably has it memorized; but I never made it past the first paragraph.

    The result is that I have, pretty much, stopped going to lodge. I do not feel comfortable making them start on the first just because I am there. No one has said anything negative, I just don't see myself ever becoming a "full" mason.

    A couple of the guys there have mentioned to me that there are "mason in a day" programmes that don't require the memoraziton to advance. However, it appears that those programmes are no longer running. Are there any other alternatives to the memorization?

    Without an alternative I really don't see this as working for me, which I see as a bit of a shame. I am not a particularly sociable person and I see Masonry as a way to be, at least, a bit socal.

    So, back to the point, are there any alternatives to the memorization (if it helps, I am in Kansas).
     
  2. CLewey44

    CLewey44 Registered User

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    I have not seen alternatives personally but if memorization is an issue, perhaps being able to explain parts in your words, their meanings etc or a thorough paper presentation would suffice. I think some brethren may be versed enough to answer this. I wish you the best, Bro. Hasaf.
     
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  3. dfreybur

    dfreybur Premium Member

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    Usually guys who don't believe they can memorize actually can. It's a way to break done self imposed limitations.

    In the rare cases when a guy can't memorize it's the result of a chemical or mechanical medical issue. The one I've seen in person was severe dyslexia. Palsy might come with a similar medical limitation.

    The one I've seen in person showed up at every meeting and now 20+ years later has been in charge in the kitchen most of those years. Because he works so hard every time we had a practice we'd ask around. One very regularly attending PM insisted that he complete his proficiency. We waited until he was not in attendance. Counted a quorum, called an emergent meeting, sat him up front. "You will repeat after me and ..."

    After getting over what happened that one PM tried to keep up in the kitchen to see how he worked then skipped practices about once a quarter to let the rest of us move him forward. Years later that one PM was there in the line of previous Mason of the year recipients welcoming the new guy as our lodge's Mason of the year for his ceaseless work on behalf of our lodge. In California that award is called the Hiram Award.
     
  4. Winter

    Winter Premium Member

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    I read that 30-50% of those with palsy have some form of cognitive impairment as well as the physical and I have no doubt this causes you issues with the ritual and memorization. The best advice I can give you is to discuss the issue frankly with your Worshipful Master. Explain your limitations and how they are holding you back from progressing and I have no doubt that if he sees you are sincere in your desire to progress that they may find some accommodation. With the inability to memorize you will likely never be able to confer degrees, be a proficiency master, or likely even hold a chair. But that doesn't mean you cannot contribute or find a place in the Craft. Maybe they can give a dispensation of you can demonstrate that you have studied the material and can articulate the lessons of the degree. At the end of the day, you are the only one that can decide what goal is worth working through your limitations.
     
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  5. Bloke

    Bloke Premium Member

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    I agree with my brothers above.

    In the first instance, the work you have given will teach you how you learn. You might find a better way.. listening to it does not work for all, writing it might. Using some kinetic learning strategy might. Many men, as Bro Doug states, create a mental block to learning - I have have always been able to break through it with every person I have mentored or helped (we're talking hundreds of guys). I have seem men with mild acquired brain injury get through what you are trying to do (albeit, our work here might be easier..) ..

    If that fails, I would be speaking to your Lodge Sec. As Lodge Sec, if I found a member with a physical disability to learning, I would do one of two things.
    1. Break the rules (ha ! and people wonder why I don't use me real name on the web :) )
    2. Go to the GM or Grand Sec asking for a dispensation for you to read your work. I would expect to get it, esp from our current GM, but I am sure either would give it if I put a case.
    I would not give up, it sounds like you might not become an officer, but there are plenty of other ways to both improve yourself and serve the Craft within Freemasonry.
     
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  6. JamestheJust

    JamestheJust Registered User

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    In my experience it helps a lot to walk while memorizing. I think this is because it is the body as much as the mind that is learning.

    I have been in lodges where the principal officers read their work. That seemed only a minor problem.

    The real issue seems to me to be whether the officers visualize what they read. It is the use of visualization that moves the pronounced word into the metaphysical space and generates the atmosphere for the ritual.
     
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  7. coachn

    coachn Coach John S. Nagy Premium Member

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    You're really asking the following:

    How can I become a full fledged member without memorizing and giving back these proficiencies?

    and not...

    How can I make memorizing all this stuff easier?

    Unless there are ODCs in your area, there is no other way than getting some GM to make you a "mason at sight".
     
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  8. Rifleman1776

    Rifleman1776 Registered User

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    With your disability I have to wonder how you became a teacher. Anyhow, I suggest you look into the possibility of asking for dispensation from the proficiency. Or ask if it can be given privately. (often in these private settings the questioner assists with prompts) That is allowed in many jurisdictions. Stick with it. Good luck.
     
  9. CLewey44

    CLewey44 Registered User

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    I would imagine the onset of symptoms would have been after his college days.
     
  10. Hasaf

    Hasaf Registered User

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    Actually, it has, pretty much, been my whole life. That being said, it has gotten worse.
    As for how it worked at University, there are tricks. My students loved that I focused on ways of being successful without memorization. For example, in micro-economics, most of the formulas are derived from percent of change. That includes the elasticity formulas. As for percent of change, there are two ways to do it. First, try to remember what the formula looks like and plug in one and two until the answer is one (100percent). The other way is to use your watch face. Twelve is above ten, this it is a positive change. Ten lines up with two, twenty percent change.

    Next example, GINI index, One, one guy has all the money. Zero, zero persons have more money than anyone else.

    Just one more example. I was sitting an accounting exam, I was unable to recall the formulas, any of them. I finally pulled one of the formulas from my mind. I then derived all of the other formulas from that and sailed through the exams.

    I developed a number of simple tricks that made me one of the more popular accounting tutors while I was in grad school. I was able to develop these because I wasn't even pretending to be able to memorize them. Obviously, I use a lot of pronounceable memnomics. Then to remember that, I put them into rymes.

    None of this works with large blocks of rote. I can break the first paragraph into a form of rymes, bit there is nothing I can do about the second paragraph. There are too many synonyms. There are even too many to count out on my fingers, to Insure that I got them all. That is like when my students are doing independent projects on Photoshop, no: drugs,guns, alcohol, tobacco, no skin (and no people without skin either). I count those out on my fingers as I am saying it. If I miss one, I restart.

    I can't do that with the second paragraph either. It is a terribly long way is saying "
    I won't share this with non-masons."

    Yes, I am looking for a way around the memorization. I was able to to get the first paragraph in about six months (ok, a bit more than that) bit the second paragraph just isn't working.

    Typed on my phone, so this is probably full of typos.

    Sent from my Moto G (5) Plus using My Freemasonry mobile app
     
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  11. Warrior1256

    Warrior1256 Site Benefactor

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    This is great!
    I certainly found this to be true, lol!

    Best of luck to you Brother!
     
  12. Blackstar

    Blackstar Registered User

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    Although Brother Hasaf has already explained himself, I just want to add that I am another teacher who knows his own learning style. In the liberal arts, there was simply never a need to memorize chunks of text as is necessary for degree proficiency. Instead, I'd have to prove proficiency of a topic via written blue book exam. Demonstrating, if you will, practical knowledge of a topic, or applied knowledge based on the prompt. And this was from a top 25 national university at the time.

    I'd stop short at saying I have a disability, but my knowledge of my learning style played into why I waited for a Grand Master's Class (one day degree conferral) near where I live.

    For the educators and/or parents, I'd say ODCs are like Common Core. They get you to the same place, but in a different way. They may not work for you personally, but the path does work for those of us who need it.
     
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  13. chrmc

    chrmc Registered User

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    I've once seen a lodge be sneaky about this in a way that worked. We had a brother who simply could not learn the work as well. Tried for a year and could barely get the first 10 sentences. But he was a good man, and would get a good Mason.
    We ended up doing his turn in together with another brother. So the instructor would ask the question, the first brother would answer and then the brother with the bad memory would simply repeat it. The lodge knew what was going on, but everyone was okay with it.

    Think the may point is to determine what the GL law says. If the rule is that the work just has to be "turned in to the satisfaction of the lodge" there is no reason why someone after the first question can't motion to accept the work already there.

    I would just ensure to not use it as a crutch, and maybe align with the DDGM if any "unorthodox" approaches are taken, to prevent any problems later on.
     
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  14. GoodMoodMike

    GoodMoodMike Registered User

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    I would not worry about your lodge having to open on degrees other than the third. As you notice, opening on the first and second is good practice for master masons to know their opening/closing. To me, while I did memorize my proficiency, understanding what it means and what lessons you are shown and applying them symbolically to your life is more important than the word for word deciphering.


    Sent from my iPhone using Tapatalk
     
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  15. Winter

    Winter Premium Member

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    Unless your Lodge, like mine and many other Brothers here, does it's work on the EA degree.
     
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  16. Warrior1256

    Warrior1256 Site Benefactor

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    Agreed.
    True!
     
  17. Dan Davis

    Dan Davis Registered User

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  18. Dan Davis

    Dan Davis Registered User

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    Wow! Just what I tried by resolution to cure to our Grand Lodge but the politics involved are ridiculous!! Everyone has a different learning style. you may not have explored all of yours and possibly taken your oath to literally! We often hear the only way to learn this is Brother to Brother? I agree but that can mean many different things.. I found that I needed a long hand or recorded version to learn the coded version.. Once I could read the coded version I was well on my way to memorizing! I never read a book from cover to cover because of comprehension issues so don't tell me you can't do it. I don't know about Kansas but see if you can break it into parts? a paragraph or two at a time. Your coaches should accept that. You'll find that once your through it, it will stick.. It makes the second degree pretty easy, the third is a little tougher but as a teacher you should be able to figure out your own style.. Don't give up, it's to important!
     
  19. Dan Davis

    Dan Davis Registered User

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    not an answer, sorry.
     
  20. Winter

    Winter Premium Member

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    I don't know how your jurisdiction works, but every one I have been in, recording or writing out the ciphered portion would be grounds for expulsion. I don't know if it is possible to take that part of the Ob. too literally.

    Sent from my SM-N950U using Tapatalk
     
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