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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