Reading Recommendations

Discussion in 'The York Rite' started by chancerobinson, May 24, 2011.

  1. chancerobinson

    chancerobinson Registered User

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    Companions and Sir Knights,

    I am considering proposing that my chapter and/or commandery begin presenting our new candidates with a suitable book to spark further study of our degrees and to serve as a suitable reference for the new York Rite Mason in his future.

    Currently the Scottish Rite provides new candidates with a great resource and synopsis of the Scottish Rite degrees in A Bridge to Light and historically, in Morals and Dogma. In Texas, Master Masons receive the Lodge System of Candidate Instruction (blue books), but it seems that more could be done to spark interest in the important spiritual lessons of the York Rite degrees.

    Recently I have enjoyed reading The Royal Arch: Its Hidden Meaning by George H. Steinmetz, and a series of pamphlets Lessons in Capitular Masonry by C.C. Hunt. Grand Encampment also offers the pamphlet The York Rite of Freemasonry: A History and Handbook.

    While all of the above readings are good short synopses, and some touch on more allegorical lessons than others I wish to ask your opinions in selecting a most suitable reading that might be presented to our new candidates. I also wish to ask if any other chapters, councils, or commanderies currently present any book or pamphlet to your new members?

    Fraternally,
    CMR
     
  2. BroBill

    BroBill Site Benefactor Site Benefactor

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    I recommend "The History and Symbolism of Royal Arch Masonry" by Edward R. Graham. Here is my review that is posted in various places here on the forums:
    The History and Symbolism of Royal Arch Masonry by Edward R. Graham is an excellent book that clearly explains the Royal Arch degrees (Mark Master, Past Master, Most Excellent Master, and Royal Arch Mason), how they came about, their correct chronological order when integrated on a timeline with the Craft degrees, and the unique symbolism of each degree. The author also explains each degree from the historical and symbolic perspectives.

    My favorite two parts were the explanation of the actual chronology of the Craft and Capitular degrees if examined on an integrated timeline, and the explanation of the symbolism behind the colors of the veils and their corresponding banners. There is a lot of valuable information in this book and the author presents it in a very readable fashion.

    I also like the fact the author- Grand Historian of the Grand Chapter of Indiana Royal Arch Masons- utilizes meeting minutes and rituals to both tell and support his story. The use of actual minutes adds tremendous value for the reader and provides insight into the craft and the rite(s) at historical moments.

    This is a good book for new Royal Arch Masons to read. I'd recommend it within the first year after being exhalted a Royal Arch Mason to help them understand the historic significance of their R.A.M milestone.


    FYI, I've posted several other reviews for books here under York Rite as well, most of which I recommend for after a Companion has labored for a while and participated in the degrees at least two or three times. This book however I think is a good "orientation guide". I know this is very late considering when you posted your question, but I hope you find this useful.

    S&F
    BroBill
     
    Last edited: Oct 11, 2011
  3. Brent Heilman

    Brent Heilman Premium Member

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    Later on down the road once I have been a Master Mason more than 2 months I am thinking of joining the York Rite. I am currently reading a couple of other books but what books could recommend for a prospective candidate?
     
  4. BroBill

    BroBill Site Benefactor Site Benefactor

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    My actual recommendation is to go into the degree work without reading ahead and I recommend this for two reasons; first, depending on where the author did his esoteric work, it may vary some from what we do in Texas, second, it takes the mystery out of the degree work and your experience will be somewhat diminished. My best recommendation is to talk to York Rite Masons directly and discuss it with them.

    Once you've completed your Chapter and Council degrees, I'd recommend you read "The History and Symbolism of Royal Arch Masonry", then after you do some degree work for new candidates, I recommend "Tell Me More About the Mark Degree", and then after you've been a Royal Arch Mason for about a year I recommend "Royal Arch Matters".

    I always try to discourage prospective candidates from trying to "read ahead" on the degrees if for no other reason than it takes the mystery and spontaneity out of the experience. I know this isn't the answer you were looking for, but I hope it helps anyway. Good luck on your journey! You will always have brothers along your path to help you!

    S&F
    BroBill
     

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  5. Brent Heilman

    Brent Heilman Premium Member

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    Actually Brother I think I may not have been clear. I am looking more along the lines of history. I wouldn't want anything that might reveal anything before its time. I did my best to avoid it before becoming a Master Mason and I hope to continue that.
     
  6. BroBill

    BroBill Site Benefactor Site Benefactor

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    Ah, I understand brother. I'm afraid it's a good news-bad news thing; the books I recommend are history-based, but they necessarily refer to the degrees and how they evolved. Unfortunately, many of the books on the history of the York Rite will be similar since much of the Y.R. history revolves around each degree- what it is, how it relates to craft degrees, whether or not it seperated out from craft degrees, and so forth. Much of the evolution of the Y.R. is exactly based on which lodges would have authorities to confer which degrees. These discussions go into fair depth in describing how and why each degree ended up in the craft, the Y.R. , and the Commandery and those discussion involve descriptions of - at various levels - of those degrees. So it's good news for you that the books I recommended are history books, but the bad news is they discuss the degrees. They give you a good understanding of the history but will mean more to you and provide better light once you've done the degrees and experienced them.
    I must default then to say that my personal path took me up the Y.R. ladder (the thumbnail I accidently attached to my last post). I love the work because of the relationship to Texas craft Masonry and the nature of the degrees to "complete the story" begun in the first three degrees. We all discover our masoic passions at some point and I'm sure you will as well! Ask questions, keep your eyes open for opportunities, and participate in the degree work- whether that be Y.R. or S.R (and I am endowed in the Valley of San Antonio). Good luck my brother and enjoy your journey!
     
  7. Brent Heilman

    Brent Heilman Premium Member

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    Thanks for the info. Guess I will have to wait then. Oh well I did it once before with the first three degrees. So you are in San Antonio? I may have to get a hold if you next time I'm down there. My dad lives there.
     
  8. BroBill

    BroBill Site Benefactor Site Benefactor

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    Look me up at either Helotes Lodge #1429, also home of Helotes York Rite! Our Y.R. has a Facebook page, but FaceBook has had it down for "maintenance" for the last several hours- facebook.com\helotesyorkrite

    S&F
    BroBill
     
  9. Brent Heilman

    Brent Heilman Premium Member

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    Thanks for the info Bro. Bill. I appreciate it.
     
  10. chancerobinson

    chancerobinson Registered User

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    Freemason's Guide and Compendium by Bernard E. Jones is a book that you should consider reading if it is not currently on your list, but any good book about masonry will benefit your Royal Arch journey. The more you understand and study the first three craft degrees, the more satisfaction you will have in the lessons found in the completion of ancient craft masonry (the Holy Royal Arch.)

    Once you are are a Royal Arch Mason also consider reading Freemasons' Book of the Royal Arch by Bernard E. Jones. I must confess, however, that while I have skimmed and read portions of these two books, I am yet to read them in their entirety. I plan to catch up on a number of neglected items this next year after I wrap up my graduate studies. One of which is more leisure reading, I enjoy my research, but I hope to spend more time studying Masonry.

    Fraternally,

    Chance Robinson
     
  11. Brent Heilman

    Brent Heilman Premium Member

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    Thank you for the suggestion Bro. Robinson. I will search that book out and add it to my list. It's funny how my reading list last year went from just one or two books a year to now I am about 2-3 in a month. I guess this whole more light thing will do that to a man. Again thanks for the suggestion.
     
  12. BroBill

    BroBill Site Benefactor Site Benefactor

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    Very good recommendations brother, very good!
     

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