memorization

Discussion in 'General Freemasonry Discussion' started by Challenger72, Aug 9, 2011.

  1. Challenger72

    Challenger72 Registered User

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    Gentlemen,
    If your not good at memorizing things is it very difficult to progress through the degrees in masonry? I have not joined a lodge yet but am worried about the degrees because it's so difficult for me to memorize anything.
     
  2. kwilbourn

    kwilbourn Registered User

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    Memorizing the proficiency is the method of progressing through the degrees in most Masonic Lodges; Ideally, you will be paired with a mentor who aids you through the process and your memory abilities will improve with practice. The memorization takes the form of a dialog of questions and answers, and some people find it fairly daunting at first. It gets easier as you go along. It took me a little over a month to learn the first degree, the second has taken 2 sittings, and I feel confident in my ability to turn it in at the next opportunity. If you really want to become a Mason, and are willing to put forth the effort, you can overcome the memorization.
     
  3. JJones

    JJones Moderator Staff Member

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    I've seen brothers of all types, many who felt they had bad memory, learn the memory work and progress in masonry. Don't sell yourself short before you try it!

    That having been said, if you absolutely find yourself unable to memorize things regardless of how much time and effort you put into it...then yes, you'll have a hard time progressing. In order to advance to the next degree you have to be able to show how well you learn the work in your present degree.

    Then again, and I'm sad to say it, it may depend on your lodge. I've seen proficiencies where the brother had to be prompted through the entire memory work and got to advance.
     
  4. Challenger72

    Challenger72 Registered User

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    Thanks for the info guys. It gives me things to think about. Im still trying to figure out if masonry is right for me based on my Christian beliefs. I've read alot of things for and against it.
     
  5. Zack

    Zack Registered User

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    Don't let the fear of memorization deter you from joining.
    I thought I would have a terrible time with it but was genuinely surprised to find out that I was quite good at it.
    A compatible instructor is a blessing.
    Go for it.
     
  6. JJones

    JJones Moderator Staff Member

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    This is pretty understandable, especially if you happen to be looking up information on the internet. I'll go ahead and say that there isn't anything in masonry that's conflicted with my Christian beliefs but perhaps yours differ from mine.

    If you've got any questions that you've come up with based off what you've read I'm sure any number of us here would be glad to take the time to answer them.
     
  7. Challenger72

    Challenger72 Registered User

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    Is this a place to discuss religion though?
     
  8. Dow Mathis

    Dow Mathis Premium Member

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    Welcome to the site, Challenger72.

    Like JJones, I can understand your confusion and concern, especially if you've been looking around on the internet for information on the fraternity.

    As far as Masonry conflicting with your Christian Beliefs, well, I'm a devout Christian, and it doesn't conflict with mine. :001_smile: Interestingly, this seems to be one of the larger misconceptions about the fraternity. Masonry mandates that you have and are willing to proclaim a belief in a supreme being, although Masonry isn't a religious organization. It is open to men of all faiths.

    Here is a link to a page on the Grand Lodge of Texas website that has three audio recordings. They're worth listening to, as there's some good info in them.

    Between Friends Audio Series

    Here's a copy of a document that discusses what Masonry is and what it isn't. Sadly, the lodge website where it used to live is down (Solidarity Lodge #1457 in Houston), but I was able to find a cached copy of it and have saved it so that it won't be lost. It's in pdf form and also has some good information

    What is Masonry?

    Hopefully these will help you with your questions. If not, then please ask away. We're here to help. Also, if you don't mind my asking, where are you? Chances are there's someone on this site who's close enough to you for you to meet and talk with.

    Good luck in your search.
     
  9. MikeMay

    MikeMay Premium Member

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    I have read a lot too, both before and after becoming a Mason. I'll say this, I have yet to read anything credible against Masonry on the internet. Most negative things are written by men who never were in the fraternity yet feel the need to attempt to tear it down (mostly for their own gain)....or men who were expelled and cannot bear the fact they did something wrong and continually cast blame elsewhere at the Fraternity.

    You have to decide for yourself what is right for you. No one can do that for you.

    For me, I am a Christian and have found nothing that interferes with my beliefs at all. In fact, if anything it has enhanced my faith.
     
  10. choppersteve03

    choppersteve03 Premium Member

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    Since i have joined the fraternity it has reinforced my belief in god.
     
  11. Brent Heilman

    Brent Heilman Premium Member

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    I have to agree with Brother Steve. This journey has given me a whole new view on religion and life in general
     
  12. CHarris

    CHarris Registered User

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    I work offshore and for me it was hard at first to put the first degree to memory, being gone 21 days then having to remember what I had learned before I left, plus the new work and continue. But after a while hearing it over and over again, it became second nature, it took me a year to return that first degree. After that it was down hill. That being said you can do anything if you want it bad enough.
     
  13. Nate Riley

    Nate Riley Premium Member

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    I agree with what the others have said, especially that you should not worry about the memorization and, definitely, don't let it keep you from joining. As far as the issue of Freemasonry's compatibility with Christianity, I am an active Southern Baptist (grew up that way) and I find nothing in Freemasonry that conflicts with my walk with the Lord or my beliefs. If you have searched the web, you might have seen that my denomination has taken issue with the Masonic Lodge, with a big flair up in the 1990's (which consquently produced a great voice for the fraternity in Gary Leazer). When I come across someone who is questioning the compatibility of the Church and Lodge, I ask them to think about men they knew where were active Church member and also Masons. (Some of the finest Christian men I have known personally were or are Masons.) Then, I ask if they think that person would be involved in something that is proported to be in conflict with the Faith. The answer is usually "no". Many Church leaders have been Masons. In the SBC Herschel Hobbs, who wrote the Baptist Faith and Message was a Master Mason, as was George Truett and a number of others.
     
  14. Michaelstedman81

    Michaelstedman81 Premium Member

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    Hey, man. First off, good luck on making your decision about joining the fraternity or not. Second, I recently had some issues regarding following my Christian faith and also being a Mason. I have always been a Christian, and after joining Freemasonry, I have been able to take a new approach to my faith. In my travels through Masonry, I have not yet come across anything that gets in the way of my faith or even contradicts it really.

    However, the issue I had was that I was looking to get back to being active with a church but was being treated differently because the members there found out I was a Mason. As for your question I quoted above, I brought the issue to the attention of the Brothers here. I am really glad that I did because I was able to have many conversations with Brothers on here over the subject. So, feel free to bring up your questions here. There are some men here that have a TON of knowledge and are willing to share that information with you.

    And like some of the other guys have already said, the internet is full of information on Masonry. I wouldn't take too much of it seriously as it seems to be pretty misguided by people that have never been involved with the fraternity and interpret ideas from other non members on down the line. It just becomes a big spiral of conspiracy theories and stories of bad hidden meanings. Pray on it really well, talk to some men you know to be members, and make your decision. Good luck, and I'll pray for some assistance on choosing if joining the fraternity is for you or not.
     
  15. Mac

    Mac Moderator Premium Member

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    I haven't read it yet, but the book Workman Unashamed is supposed to address many concerns held by Christians regarding Freemasonry.

    I will join the others and say that Freemasonry has strengthened my faith in God. While I prefer the study of the Scottish Rite, you might prefer the Christian orders of the York Rite when the time comes.

    Best of luck on your journey.
     
  16. Challenger72

    Challenger72 Registered User

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    This is all very enencouraging info. I would like to be able to talk to some masons, but unfortunately I do not know any personally. Im in Akron Ohio and have contacted at least 4 lodges and in the 2 months since i have not received 1 phone call or email back. My other question regarding religion is, as a Christian I believe the only way to Heaven is through Jesus Christ and not any other god or " SAotU. Im not trying to insult anyone or the craft, but I have nobody I can ask in person. The pastor of my church strongly urged me away from masonry but i keep coming back and it's always on my mind.
     
  17. JJones

    JJones Moderator Staff Member

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    Here in Texas, at least in my experience, GAOTU is most commonly used. It's an acronym for Grand Architect Of The Universe and it's about the equivalent of saying "<insert the preferred name of your deity here>".

    That being said, anyone who suggests that Freemasonry is a religion and we worship SAOTU/GAOTU is misled. While you must have a faith in deity to join the craft, it's forbidden to even discuss religion at lodge.

    If I was in your position I think my main concern would actually be how much church will accept me after I joined. If they're already trying to discourage you then that might create some complications down the road. If you're not partial to that church then it's probably not a big problem but don't expect to be able to change anyone's mind about the craft either. :)
     
  18. Nate Riley

    Nate Riley Premium Member

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    Challenger,

    I personally don't like the acronym (GAOTU). But I believe that our reference Great (or Supreme) Architect of the Universe, is a beautiful descriptive name for God. Descriptive names are used a lot in the Faith. Think about how many times someone refers to Christ as the Prince of Peace or Wonderful Counselor, or any of the other names the Prophets had for the Lord. I use Savior a lot. Consider the names descriptive names in the Old Testament for God the Father. When you consider that the names used in the Blue Lodge are references to someone involved in the building of a building, the Architect is a great way to consider God. After all in the building of a building, the architect designs, oversees the construction and is the final judge of the product (amoung other key functions) and the building we are building as Freemasons is our lives.

    Per an article by Gary Leazer, the term Architect of the Universe was used in Chistianity, by John Calvin, before Freemasons began using. He likely coined the term.

    Also see: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Great_Architect_of_the_Universe
     
    Last edited: Aug 10, 2011
  19. Nate Riley

    Nate Riley Premium Member

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  20. Ed Nelson

    Ed Nelson Registered User

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    I just completed my 1st degree, and thought the memorization would be the death of me.

    I'm 43 years old, and haven't had to memorize anything significant in years.

    I started at the beginning, and it was going well, then I hit a wall and just got frustrated. I ended up putting it away for a couple of weeks while I was on vacation. I got a fresh start, and the last half fell into place and I did my proficiency without any prompts.

    Lots and lots of out loud recitals will go a long ways for ya.
     

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