Masonic Education

Discussion in 'General Freemasonry Discussion' started by LukeD, Jul 15, 2011.

  1. LukeD

    LukeD Registered User

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    Where does the majority of your Masonic education come from? Is it personal research and reading? Internet and forums? Stated meetings/floor school/degree work? Knowledgeable Brothers? I know the obvious answer is all of them, but I'm was trying to see where the bulk of the education came from.
     
  2. JJones

    JJones Moderator Staff Member

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    Honestly...outside of memory work, most of my masonic education has come from the internet...this website to be specific.

    Floor school at my lodge consists of memory work, practicing degrees, and games of dominoes. In fact I actually took a hiatus from lodge after I was raised because my expectations were somewhat shattered and I was tired of going over and over the same lines every week. Also I was awful at dominoes.

    :)
     
  3. LukeD

    LukeD Registered User

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    I'm glad you said it. I was under the assumption Lodge meetings were going to be and educational class. After going to 10-15, at different Lodges, and now a few out of State, I realized that is not the case. It wasn't just my Lodge. Don't get me wrong, I enjoy the stated meetings for the fellowship and to support the Lodge. I do learn something new during degree work. But, you talk to older brothers who have this wealth of knowledge, and I ask myself, Where did they get all this information. I understand that the York and Scottish Rites, not to mention the long list of other appendant/concordant bodies add tremendously to Masonic education. Personally, The Internet and a small, buy growing Masonic library have been my main sources for information.
     
  4. Benton

    Benton Premium Member

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    Reading books, websites, and talking to brothers about things the books or website don't clear up. So, a combination thereof. Not really sure what the ratio is, honestly.
     
  5. JJones

    JJones Moderator Staff Member

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    Masonic education took a whole new meaning to me once I started reading articles and posts I've found here. I just didn't realize there was so much more to it and I think it's something a lot of masons are unaware of. I also think that by neglecting more wholesome masonic education we are also hurting the fraternity.

    I've heard the question asked several times "What do Masons do?" and the answer was usually "We take good men and make them better!"

    How? That was never really explained to me. I assumed it was because going through the chairs and assisting with the lodge helped a man to develop leadership skills. This may be true but it's only the tip of the iceberg.
     
  6. Scott J

    Scott J Registered User

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    So far, off the internet and from more experienced Brothers. Need to get my Masonic library started. (2 books does not a library make)
     
  7. jwhoff

    jwhoff Premium Member

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    I started out reading each book on the bibliography list from the Book 4 pamphlet handed out in Texas to folks the night they are raised. I then branched out to books listed in bibliographies in the back of the books I read. I joined the Scottish Rite and have learned an immense wealth of knowledge from that body. And, I've just scratched the surface. There's much out there for us to learn and understand. Isn't it a fine world?
     
  8. Mac

    Mac Moderator Premium Member

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    I started off with Chris Hodapp's Dummies book as a primer on the fraternity and the various branches, history, etc. After that, I started asking other brothers what books they might recommend.

    While Mackey's Encyclopedias are not gospel by any means, they do contain a ton of information that can get you started on your path. My paper for Texas Lodge of Research was regarding the presence of the altar in our lodge rooms. They didn't look like what Mackey described (horned). Do a little digging and you'll see that the altar has not always been a part of Freemasonry.

    I would recommend joining research societies, especially those that put out bulletins and transactions with submitted papers for review. Texas Lodge of Research and the Scottish Rite Research Society are both good ones. You do not need to be a SR mason to join the SRRS.

    I cannot recommend the Masonic Society highly enough. I joined in 2009 and they have been an invaluable resource. The brothers of TMS are worldwide, and the private forum allows for some in-depth discussion. When local brothers say that things have always been done one way or another, it's nice to know that that's not always true. TMS also publishes a quarterly journal, and the papers contained therein are definitely worth reading.

    Forums in general are a great place to get in contact with brothers outside of your area and learn more about the Craft.

    I honestly think one of the best ways to learn is by doing. Interested in the history of a certain aspect of Freemasonry? Write a research paper and submit it to one of the research societies for publication. If you can convince others of something they didn't know before, then surely you yourself learned something in the process.

    Pictured below is my modest masonic library. Not pictured is my set of the first several years of the Texas Mason magazine. They were much smaller, but much thicker in masonic material, originally. Our secretary was just throwing them out. ;) I've also got the last several years of the Transactions of the Texas Lodge of Research. TLR is supposed to be selling a CD with pdf's of the first several Transactions soon. That'd be a mighty fine place to start!

    books.JPG
     
  9. Mac

    Mac Moderator Premium Member

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    I was in the same boat, brother. Since no one was really doing anything as far as masonic education goes at my lodge, I took it upon myself to start putting together short presentations. For the most part, they were well received. A few brothers groaned and complained about it. "What does English Freemasonry have to do with Texas?" Anything beyond cowboys and Texas Freemasonry was beyond their palette. The criticism stung enough that I've stopped doing the programs, but I might do them again soon.

    The Scottish Rite was an impressive series of degrees, and the Master Craftsman program is an ingenious investment in the Craft by the Supreme Council (SJ). If you go SR, you should DEFINITELY participate in the Master Craftsman program. The Scottish Rite Ritual Monitor and Guide is as thick as a phone book, and just about every page is packed full of information. A Bridge to Light should be retired, and this book given in its place.

    Texas should consider starting a program like the Canadian College of Freemasonry
    http://www.grandlodge.on.ca/Masonic_Education/college.htm

    or the Pennsylvania Academy of Masonic Knowledge
    http://www.pagrandlodge.org/programs/academy/index.html

    Where the Craft are truly set to labor with good and wholesome instruction in the quarries of masonic knowledge.
     
  10. LukeD

    LukeD Registered User

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    Can't thank you enough for the response. I'm glad I wasn't alone in my thoughts concerning the Lodge.
     
  11. cacarter

    cacarter Premium Member

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    Most of my knowledge comes from personal reading of books, forums, websites, and the like. I wish more knowledge came from time spent at the lodge, there is good discussion when it happens, but it is much too infrequent. Practicing the ritual work, and getting it right, is something I pride myself. But how much "light" am I gaining if I do not know why something is done, and instead hear "It's always been that way." Memory work and ritual does not make me a better man, the lessons within them do. And those lessons need to be explained to new members so they don't think Masonry is just boring meetings and practice.
     
  12. Mac

    Mac Moderator Premium Member

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    If you have a chance to pick up copies of rituals from other areas and eras, I think you'd get a fuller meaning from our ritual.

    I recommend the Bonseigneur Rituals from Cornerstone Publishers and the Emulation Ritual from Lewis Masonic. The Bonseigneur Rituals are early rituals from the 1700's in Louisianna and they're fascinating. Most brothers have no idea what the difference is between a password and a word.

    Emulation ritual is the ritual established after the formation of the UGLE. It's another take on the degrees we know. You'll see the cable tow differently perhaps, if you read their explanation for its use.
     
  13. cacarter

    cacarter Premium Member

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    I have begun to do that, and thank you for the suggestions. My dad is an FC in Arizona and they give each of the candidates a 3-ring binder that explains many of the details of the ritual. It's been very informative so far.
     
  14. LukeD

    LukeD Registered User

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    I've noticed the working tools are different in the Emulation ritual. 9 instead of 6. But that is probably a whole other subject.
     
    Last edited: Jul 17, 2011
  15. Mac

    Mac Moderator Premium Member

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    It's an interesting subject, though. I'm fascinated by the many variations on the theme that is Freemasonry. Even reading about the working tools of the Scottish Rite EA degree: the rule and hammer described in Morals and Dogma have an strikingly different meaning than our own guage and common gavel.

    Reading about candidates being led by sword point in some degree systems, the chamber of reflection used in some traditions, etc. It gives you a much better idea of what encompasses Freemasonry. You can have the most impact locally, but the fraternity is definitely old, varied, and international.
     
  16. Nate Riley

    Nate Riley Premium Member

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    I enjoy reading books and online info. Joined the York Rite and Scottish Rite (just yesterday) for additional light. I plan to do the Master Craftsman.

    I must say this though, there are many truths, both obvious and hidden in the work of the Blue Lodge. Many times I have heard or repeated part of our work, that I have heard or repeated often, and had something new "pop" out.
     
  17. Mac

    Mac Moderator Premium Member

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    Congratulations on becoming a Master of the Royal Secret! ;)

    In all honesty, the SR Ritual Monitor & Guide that you get with the MC program should be given to all new 32nd degree Masons. That book is immense, and dense with knowledge. The SR, MC program, and further reading has definitely expanded my appreciation of the Blue Lodge degrees.
     
  18. jwhoff

    jwhoff Premium Member

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    Far from it brother. Most masons are hungry for light. But, after receiving no stimulus for a period of time, they often give up. Don't be in that number! Pave your own way, or follow the structured courses available. You will be surprised to see how many brothers show up walking the same paths to light. We're everywhere. And we see no reason to give up our quest.
     
  19. coachn

    coachn Coach John S. Nagy Premium Member

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    Personal Research.
    Yes
    Yes.
    No.
    Yes.
    The best approach to Masonic Education is simply asking a quest and then pursuing any resource you can think of to find out the answer and not stop at only two or three answering sources.

    You might want to check out some of my books (see my signature for link) - they are the result of my research.

    Another thing you could check out is a video on Masonic Education I produced for the WEOFM Project. You can download it free here: "The Coaches Coach: Building Builders" http://vimeo.com/22653123

    Good luck!

    Coach N
     
  20. LukeD

    LukeD Registered User

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    Thank you. I'll be looking into both the books and video.
     

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