Home » Uncategorized » I have a couple of sincere questions regarding freemasonry, please read on if you are a freemason?

I have a couple of sincere questions regarding freemasonry, please read on if you are a freemason?

First off let me state that my questions are sincere. I'm looking for answers from freemasons or those educated in the ways of freemasonry. Conspiracy theorists, jokers and those who are going to post offensive answers need not waste their time. Some background; I am currently an applicant and my initiation is coming up. Those freemasons I have met have answered my questions but there are still a couple of points I'd like to be cleared up; if you can help, I'd be grateful. I know that the initial step is the 1st degree. Obviously the time scale can vary greatly, but how long can I expect to be at this stage? Days, years etc? Is the initiation anything to be worried about, as I am quite a shy person and am afraid I might mess up, especially if I have lines to say?What sort of thing is involved in the 1st degree, and how do I move on to the 2nd degree? Do you have to read books, write an essay, give speeches etc? What does the actual learning process involve? What do you get as a 1st degree in way of material goods? Is it just the apron? Lastly, I am a little confused over the degrees 4-33. Several freemasons have told me the degrees actually stop at 3rd, others have said it goes all the way up to 33rd but only 1 in a thousand ever get there! I know there is a lot here but I'd really appreciate any help. I'm not looking for you to divulge any secrets, so if any of my questions overstep the mark I am sorry. Thanks.

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8 Responses so far.

  1. orates says:

    To start with, congratulations! Becoming a Freemason was a huge step in my life, and I am VERY happy I did it.The ritual for the 1st degree takes about an hour or so. You will be given some new clothing (light pajama-type), so I recommend clean underwear… (you’d be surprised!). Nobody will see them – it’s just a “just in case” thing (and all around good advice!). Everything you have to say will be very clear to you. You’ll be asked questions like, “Are you doing this of your own free will,” and the like – and you should answer them truthfully. The only thing that kind of took me by surprise was a disclaimer prior to me taking the Oath of an Entered Apprentice – I was told straight out that nothing in the Oath would compromise my relationship to the law, my family or my chosen Deity – and then I was asked if I was still willing to take the Oath.You will have to recite the Oath – but it is done “echo-style” – the Worshipful Master will say a line, and you just repeat it back. Don’t worry about being nervous, everyone is.Moving on to the Fellowcraft Degree varies by jurisdiction, but for MOST, you will have to memorize a long passage that describes what you did the night of your EA Initiation. It’s done Q’A style…”What happened first?”"Then what happened?”"What did that guy say?”And you just respond with what happened. You will probably be given a book that has the EA Exam in it – written in cipher – that you will be taught how to read, and then be paired up with a Brother that will help you through it.And, yes, the Exams are done with just you and that other person out in the middle of the Lodge, with all the Brethren watching you… and making sure you hit every… last… word… The good news is that I haven’t heard of ANYONE not being able to do it, and you won’t be put out there until you are ready.You won’t be given much of anything as an EA, outside of some study materials and (probably) the Exam book. You won’t get an apron until the Third Degree.The Freemasons officially stop with the Three degrees of the Blue Lodge. There are adjunct or affiliated groups that exist that “continue” the degree work, but there is no requirement to join any of them.The Scottish Rite has 4-32nd degrees, but is done in a weekend where you see three or four of the degrees put on up on stage (like a play), and that’s it. The York Rite has three groups in it – the York Rite Chapter, Council, and the Knights Templar, and the approximate degrees for those are from 4-15.If you are a Scottish Rite Mason or a Knight Templar, you can also join the Shrine – which is an un-numbered degree group.If you bust your butt and do a LOT for the Fraternity, you MAY be honored by being induction into the Illustrious 33rd Degree. It’s very rare, and if you lodge has one it would be a rare thing. It’s a lot rarer than 1:1000!Holler if you need any more help. My e-mail is always open.

  2. trichostrongylid says:

    Patience. When you arrive for your initiation, you will be told everything you need to know. Most everything is up to you.

  3. noninsect says:

    Congratulations. Enjoy this time.You will receive the Entered Apprentice Degree and will be taught many things. You will be given a book to study and assigned a Mentor who will assist you.There is nothing at all to fear, you are going to be among friends and brothers you will know and cherish for the rest of your life. You, in turn, will go on to support, educate and mentor your younger brothers.Remember, every man you meet there has been through exactly the same things.The level of proficiency required to move from one degree to the next depends upon the traditions of the Lodge and decision of the Master. Basically you will have to memorize a series of questions and answers. At the very least, there are 3 paragraphs you Must memorize.Verbatim proficiency is not going to be the real issue, understanding is.The Q’As not only give you information but are an excellent method of training. The work of the Lodge is written in the same format, so you should take the time to learn the format.You will be presented with an Apron and Holy Bible. (Some Lodges present the Bible in the Third Degree.) A tip: It is lambskin and is best rolled, never folded. If creased, the crease is permanent. You may be provided with a tube. If not, anything can be used to keep it rolled but not folded.You must bring the Apron to each of your next two degrees. It is yours to wear until your Third Degree. Most Lodges then use cloth, some use the lambskin until it wears out and another is obtained. Odds are that your Lodge uses cloth.There is no higher degree than the 3rd. That makes you a full member and entitled to all activities. There are optional degrees in the York or Scottish Rites, those give you additional information and associations, but they are optional. (I went York Rite and am a Knight Templar.) Take your time.Enjoy the fellowship of the Lodge and the association of your new friends.You can find out a lot of information at http://www.NYMasons.Org and its related links.In summary, listen, ask questions and above all, enjoy.

  4. granath says:

    Come on ! Freemasons are suppose to be a secret society. They would never advertise on a website about their affiliation. Which is why they use symbols, secret handshakes, and jewlery, so that they can identify each other.

  5. astonish says:

    The initiation is nothing for you to worry about, you will be instructed as to what to say and do.The movement between degrees varies with the jurisdiction, in NJ, you are given “homework”, things to study, Information that you MUST know to progress to the next degree. You will be provided with an apron by your lodge.The degrees that you are talking about are in the Scottish Rite, don’t worry about them. Concentrate on your 1st degree.The Scottish Rite consists of 29 degrees from 4 to 32, and you MUST be a Master Mason to attain them. The York Rite has a different structure. The 33rd degree, is an honorary degree that must be bestowed upon a Scottish Rite Mason, for good masonic work. As all masons are equal, all degrees above the third degree are esoteric, and have no real meaning outside of the specific Rite.Relax, enjoy, it will be an experience that wioll stay with you your entire life

  6. crap says:

    Your questions have been answered, but I’ll throw in my two cents:The time scale- I’m assuming you’re in the US, most lodges here put candidates through the degrees fairly quickly. Once you are set for your 1st Degree you can be made a Master Mason in as little as three months, at the longest it should be less than one year. In the UK it generally takes three years.You will have almost nothing to say during your initiation, mostly to answer a few simple questions- and your answers will be prompted. There’s a special traditional costume to wear, it’s a little awkward, but everyone goes through it. After your 1st Degree you’ll have to do some memorization to be examined before you can progress- generally you’ll be given a booklet written in a very simple code, and assigned someone to help you if needed.The apron presentation varies. Some places give you the leather apron after your 1st Degree, but most will give you a cloth apron and save the leather one for your Master Mason Degree. Many lodges will present a copy of the Bible along with the apron.As to the number of degrees: You can take the first 3 and become a Master Mason, and you don’t have to do any more. The additional degrees in the York Rite or the Scottish Rite don’t make you any more important than a 3rd Degree mason but they are very interesting and provide extra information on Freemasonry- once I went through the York Rite many things in the first three degrees became much clearer. Additionally, the York and Scottish Rites give you more to do. If you think of Freemasonry as a social club (which it is in some ways) the added meetings give you more time to spend with your friends. Don’t be to overawed by guys who talk about “High Ranking” 32nd and 33rd Degree Masons. I joined the Scottish Rite and over a weekend advanced from the 4th to the 32nd Degree (you don’t get every degree in between all at once) and the 33rd is just an award given for long and faithful service: it’s a great honor but the only thing that goes with it is a fancy cap, a gold ring, and an invitation to sit on more committiesGood Luck, and you’ll do fine.

  7. conradi says:

    Obviously the time scale can vary greatly, but how long can I expect to be at this stage? Days, years etc? It took me to go from the first degree to the third in a year. Why did it take me so long? For the most part is that I had unrelated work stuff happen to me. So getting the 3rd degree took a backseat.Is the initiation anything to be worried about, as I am quite a shy person and am afraid I might mess up, especially if I have lines to say? Everyone is nervous about there first entrance in a lodge. Don’t worry EVERY Mason went through it. From the newly minted Master Mason to the Grand Lodge Officers to George Washington, all of them had to go through that.What sort of thing is involved in the 1st degree, and how do I move on to the 2nd degree? Do you have to read books, write an essay, give speeches etc? What does the actual learning process involve? Its more of memory work. What do you get as a 1st degree in way of material goods? Is it just the apron? In my lodge I got a white apron but I didn’t get it until I became a Master Mason.Lastly, I am a little confused over the degrees 4-33. The 4th-33rd degrees are more of an appendant body of Freemason called the Scottish Rite.-Need to know this first…there are no degree higher than the 3rd degree in Freemasonry. Even if you meet someone who is a 33rd degree Mason they are no higher than a 3rd degree Mason.- I am a 32nd degree Mason of the Scottish Rite of the Northern Masonic Jurisdiction. In our jurisdiction, we get some of the inprotant degrees (4th, 14th, 16th, 18th, 32nd) in a day or days and then you use the rest of your time to get the other degrees. Think of the Scottish Rite as more of hte historical side of Masonry. You don’t have to join them. Its just a way of meeting more brothers from other lodges.As for getting the 33rd degree, its given to you. You usually have to do something extraordinary to Masonry, Scottish Rite, or Humanity to be chosen.

  8. infirmed says:

    A lot of what you are asking are things that can vary greatly from place to place.Most Masons move from degree to degree in the course of a few months. Usually that will involve memorization of at least a portion of the ritual, if not the entire thing. You should be provided booklets and reference materials for study at the end of the ceremony. But note that some jurisdictions do not have written material, and everything is handed down through memory alone.Nothing to worry about in the initiation, just listen and pay attention to what is going on. That is really your only job as a candidate. There are only 3 Masonic Degrees. The Scottish Rite, which is a club you can join after becoming a Mason, has 30 more of it’s own degrees, all of which only mean anything among other Scottish Rite Masons. In most cases, yo go through the 4th-29th degrees in a one day class. 33rd is usually awarded for dedicated service within Masonry, it is not quite so rare, of the 12 Scottish Rite Masons in my lodge, 9 are 33rd degree. The York Rite also has it’s own degree system, which has meaning only within the York Rite, they just don’t call them “degrees” in most jurisdictions. And in most cases the apron is the only material thing you will ever get handed in Masonry, aside from the occasional lapel pin or coffee mug you pick up when visiting another Lodge.