It's been a heck of a few months...

Discussion in 'General Freemasonry Discussion' started by Ed Nelson, Nov 16, 2012.

  1. Ed Nelson

    Ed Nelson Registered User

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    Over at the Northern California Lodge where I am a member, I have been stressing and sweating for the last 4-5 months, but a couple of days ago, (most of) the stress has been lifted!

    Several months ago, my Lodge Master asked me if I had begun working on my Master Mason proficiency...I had not, understanding it wasn't required (encouraged, but not required unless you wanted to progress thought he line). I had already done my EA and FC proficiencies in short form, which an option in California (the short form is just the obligation), and when I saw the MM was long form, I just put it out of my mind as something to do "later".

    Well later came quickly when the Master asked me to progress from the lowly Junior Steward to the Junior Deacon. The Master and my coach encouraged me to begin my MM proficiency so it would be out of the way and done when I eventually work up to the South, where it is required.

    I started working on it, and figured it to be about 2500ish words long. Had I done the EA and FC long form, it would have come more naturally, but it was like starting from scratch. Basically what I did was learn it one sentence at a time...a long and tough process. The words don't necessarily roll off the tongue.

    Finally (FINALLY) after 4½ months of memorization, meeting with my coach, and many sleepless nights stressing, I presented my proficiency in Lodge during a specially-called meeting just for the presentation. Myself and our Junior Warden (who also did his after being raised 10 years ago) did them at the same time. I won't say my work was flawless, but I did pretty well, only needing prompting twice.

    After the presentation, our Candidate Coach (who is pushing 90 and been the Coach for 15 years), called me to the alter, and asked if I was willing to take over his duties as Coach. I was honored and accepted, but now not only do I have to remember everything I memorized, I have to go back and learn the long forms of the EA and FC proficiencies! Dang!! I have 4 Entered Apprentices and 1 Fellow Craft member who are all floundering and we are in danger of losing them (our two newest EAs have never contacted the coach after being initiated 5 months ago). I have contacted them with with emails and a letter introducing myself as the new coach and am hoping to get them excited and interested again.

    Also, I joined the Shrine as a new Noble a few months ago, and a couple of weeks ago was elected to the board of Directors of our local Shrine Club. I was voted in our mini-car club last Saturday and get my min-car in a couple of weeks. My plate is pretty full right now, but I'm super excited. It's awesome (and fun!!) to be involved.

    It may be the enthusiasm of being new (I was just raised a year ago) and the shine may eventually fade, but I'm having a blast. Life is good!!
     
  2. Brent Heilman

    Brent Heilman Premium Member

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    Good luck to you Brother. It is a long road but you will do just fine I am sure.
     
  3. widows son

    widows son Premium Member

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    Congrats brother, get those EAs back in the fold!
     
  4. California Master

    California Master Registered User

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    Way to go Brother Ed. I am proud of you. It's an honor to know you and to ride with you in our Widow's Sons club.

    I have a question for you. How do you feel about the "short form" proficiency now? As a candidate's coach you can steer your candidates to the "long form" proficiencies. As an Inspector, I prefer to see the long form for the exact reasons that you stated about yourself.
     
  5. widows son

    widows son Premium Member

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    When you say long term proficiency, do you mean full OB and questions?
     
  6. California Master

    California Master Registered User

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    Yes. A few years ago, California GL gave the candidates options....Long Form or Short Form. If the candidate chooses short form, all he has to memorize is the obligation. And of course, the due guards, signs and grips. I call it dumbing down. I don't feel that the brother gets the opportunity to experience the full meaning of the degrees by doing short form proficiencies.

    I guess there is a place for it if the candidate is unable to memorize the entire proficiency due to medical problems such as strokes or something. Under normal circumstances I like to see the brother do long form.

    Recently, we had a brother turn in his 1st degree proficiency long form. We had a brother sitting in lodge who had just did the short form. I watched him as he sat there in awe as the brother did a very good job. I couldn't help but think that he felt kind of short changed.
     
  7. widows son

    widows son Premium Member

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    I feel as though it long form is better but I see what you are saying for men who have issues with the work
     
  8. Ed Nelson

    Ed Nelson Registered User

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    When I became an EA, then a FC, I wasn't even given the option of the long form. I was just told to memorize the obligation in short form. I think I would have chosen the short form if given the choice then, but knowing what I know now, I see the value of the long form.

    Is the short form easier? Heck yes. Is the candidate missing out out on the full experience? Also yes. memorizing the long form of the Master Mason proficiency made me really study and reflect on the ritual and it's meaning. I am a better person for it (even if it did take me 4 months of daily work to get it all memorized).

    I have 2 wayward Entered Apprentices who I am trying to get back into the fold. They are completely ignoring my phone calls, emails, Facebook messages, texts, and a letter I sent them regarding coaching practice. They have been to lodge once last month (before I became the coach), and if they come again next week to our stated meeting, I'm going to pin them down and get them started. I am going to re-offer them the option of short or long form, and explain the pros and cons of each. I suspect they will still choose the short form, but as their coach, I can still cover the meaning of their ritual, even if they choose not to memorize it.

    The only downside, is now I have to memorize the EA and FC long form...I can't coach what I don't know :p
     
    Last edited: Nov 30, 2012
  9. California Master

    California Master Registered User

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    Ed, you'll do just fine. Your lodge is lucky to have you. It's really good to see you taking this coaching job seriously. Many don't and I feel that Masonry is loosing membership because of that. I'm embarrased to say that my lodge have some EA's and FC's that have been there for several years.

    Keep up the good work. It's very rewarding when you can see that you have made a difference.
     
  10. Ed Nelson

    Ed Nelson Registered User

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    We still have an Entered Apprentice on the books from 1999. His address is no longer valid, and I'm thinking that he will be suspended if he doesn't pay his dues (as now required). I guess that's one way to clear up the roster of non-interested members.
     
  11. bro jimmie

    bro jimmie Registered User

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    Wow

    You can recite the 3Rd degree !!
    IM impressed and good luck with your new role in the lodge.
     
  12. Custer148

    Custer148 Registered User

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    In Nebraska, if an EA or a FC have not advanced within 5 years they are dropped and if they want to continue they will have to petition again, be initiated again. Sometimes there is a good reason for not continuing, but communication is the key here. Also we need to do a better job sometimes of keeping them interested enough to continue.
     

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