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Requirements for advancement in Degrees of Freemasonry

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posted on Sep, 7 2005 @ 10:59 PM
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It is my understanding that a certain level of "proficiency" needs to be obtained in order to advance in the degrees of Freemasonry.

I can imagine what would be necessary for operative masons 600 years ago, but I do not fully understand what it means today. I have heard talk that there are things to memorize and recite when asked.

What are the requirements for advancement through the degrees? What is "proficiency?"

What is it, exactly, that you have to memorize? If you can't say what it is, what is its nature?

How much is there to memorize? Tons? A good bit? Not much? How long did it take you to learn everything between EA->FC and FC->MM?

Is there a time limit you must wait between degrees? I understand that in the Scottish Rite you could potentially go through from the 4th degree to the 32rd degree in a day if you had the time to learn all the stuff. What about the Blue Lodge and York Rite?

Is it required that you attend lodge meetings regularly to advance? I don't know how much time I could dedicate each week/month.

Thanks in advance for any information you may be able to share.




posted on Sep, 8 2005 @ 12:31 AM
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normally, you will advance degrees when you master the material of the degree you currently are. Then of course it also depends on the Venerable Master and others higher than you in the rank. If they think you are unfit to go further, you wont. Also some lodges requires you to write papers (around 12-15 pages in lenght in my lodge, and you need to submit three withing a year to advance). Paper can be written on preety much anything related to masonry and the material youre working with : on the symbols and their meanings (and the meanings do change a lot from degree to degree), on sacred geometry, on the kaballah, etc etc.



posted on Sep, 8 2005 @ 01:34 AM
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trinitrotoluene

One aspect of freemasonry which is constantly glossed over is the wide variety of practice across the world, and this is certainly true of what is known as 'proficiency' in the US.

My constitution treats advancement within freemasonry, like a lot of other things, as largely symbolic. Progression through the degrees and then on to the Chair of the lodge is more a function of memory skills rather than the gathering of esoteric knowledge.

A freemason is expected to make his own journey of discovery, using the tools and guides laid out in the lodge. As there is no right or wrong direction for this journey, and no speed at which it must be travelled, formal testing is an irrelevance. Progression through freemasonry is symbolic of that journey and ought to be treated as such.

Our journey through freemasonry is symbolic itself of all our journeys through life. An 80 year old will have more experience of life than a 40 year old, self evidently, but he is no more or less likely to be right or wrong on things, depending on his lifetime experiences.



posted on Sep, 8 2005 @ 07:25 AM
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Originally posted by trinitrotoluene


What are the requirements for advancement through the degrees? What is "proficiency?"

What is it, exactly, that you have to memorize? If you can't say what it is, what is its nature?


There is a Catechism for each degree that must be memorized.


Is there a time limit you must wait between degrees? I understand that in the Scottish Rite you could potentially go through from the 4th degree to the 32rd degree in a day if you had the time to learn all the stuff. What about the Blue Lodge and York Rite?


Time limits differ from jurisdiction to jurisdiction. In mine, the minimum waiting period between degrees is 4 weeks, which means that it takes a minimum of 2 months to become a Master Mason. There is no waiting period between degrees in the Scottish and York Rites.


Is it required that you attend lodge meetings regularly to advance? I don't know how much time I could dedicate each week/month.


Most Lodges only meet once per month. The only meetings you would be required to attend would be your degrees. Once you become a Master Mason, you could then attend the regular monthly meetings.



posted on Sep, 8 2005 @ 07:46 AM
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When I joined in Texas, I was required to recite a Catechism for each degree. Here in Missouri this requirement has been removed. In fact we have one classes where you can receive your Fellowcraft and Master degree. I somwhat regret this. It was when I was learning the Catechism that I learn much of what I know of the traditions an costums of Freemasonry. It was also when I formed a strong bond with those who were teaching me. Oh well I guess thats progress.

[edit on 8-9-2005 by lost in the midwest]



posted on Sep, 8 2005 @ 08:08 AM
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"Test Questions" prove proficiency in the previous degree. The test is given in open Lodge before the ceremony of advancement to a superior degree.

Yes, regional practices are diverse, as they should be.

The only thing I have ever had cause to "frown upon" is the making of Master Masons in large scale ceremonies, all in one day, in certain Constitutions domiciled in the mainland US. But its not my place to frown, as it adds unnecessary intensity lines to my baby face.




posted on Sep, 8 2005 @ 01:06 PM
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We have a Proficiency that has to be done before each degree, it is some memory work but is never called a Catechism. Basically it ensures that you understand and remember the lessons taught in the degree work that you just participated in. Knowing that the moment is sometimes overwhelming the Proficiency is prominent in Masonic teaching, to remember the symbolism and the meanings assigned to them.

The last degree has a proficiency that teaches other things as well, such as what information you will need to know in order to visit other lodges...

They are not overly difficult, and all Masons have done it before regardless of mental acuity.



posted on Sep, 8 2005 @ 02:45 PM
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Originally posted by No1tovote4
We have a Proficiency that has to be done before each degree, it is some memory work but is never called a Catechism.


Just out of curiousity, is there a reason that it's not given in catechismal form in England? The only reason I ask is that the early exposes from the Premier Grand Lodge in London shows the proficiency in the form of catechism, and it's still how it's done in the USA. Do you know when the catechismal method in the UK was replaced?



posted on Sep, 9 2005 @ 07:14 AM
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Hello ML, could you tell me if Mackeys revised encyclopedia is available online anywhere?



posted on Sep, 9 2005 @ 07:35 AM
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Originally posted by TgSoe
Hello ML, could you tell me if Mackeys revised encyclopedia is available online anywhere?


To my knowledge, the text is not. However, the books can be ordered online. If you want the original, hardback additions, you can check Ebay. Kessinger offers reprints in softback.



posted on Sep, 9 2005 @ 07:52 AM
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users.1st.net...
I found a copy here. I don't know if it is the revised ed.



posted on Sep, 10 2005 @ 09:19 AM
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Originally posted by lost in the midwest
users.1st.net...
I found a copy here. I don't know if it is the revised ed.



Thanks for that link friend, that site has a lot of other good books to read on Masonry as well.



posted on Sep, 11 2005 @ 01:39 AM
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So far my experience has been only with the Entered Apprentice and Fellowcraft proficiencies. Here in California in my Lodge we use a short form of memory work. But I know that one of my Brothers' did the long form in both EA and FC. I understand that the long version of the proficiency is required for the Master Mason Degree here in Ca. . I'm going to have my initiation for MM on the 16th of this month. I'm very much looking forward to it. I started this process in May and it has only taken a few short months to learn what I needed to make it to this point. I also had to answer several written questions and submit the answers before I could advance to the next Degree. Hope that helps some. It is my understanding that there are many different requirements in different locales.



posted on Sep, 11 2005 @ 06:10 PM
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Originally posted by sharkman
I'm going to have my initiation for MM on the 16th of this month. I'm very much looking forward to it. I started this process in May and it has only taken a few short months to learn what I needed to make it to this point.


Congratulations :-)



posted on Sep, 12 2005 @ 01:39 AM
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Originally posted by Masonic Light
Just out of curiousity, is there a reason that it's not given in catechismal form in England? The only reason I ask is that the early exposes from the Premier Grand Lodge in London shows the proficiency in the form of catechism, and it's still how it's done in the USA. Do you know when the catechismal method in the UK was replaced?


Hi ML

I think it would be worth clarifying what you understand by the term catechism. It's not called a catechism in England, but...



posted on Sep, 12 2005 @ 06:24 AM
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Never mind the terms used, in my experience the various offices in a lodge are ranked in an order of seniority. In many lodges it may be the case that to advance to the rank of Worshipful Master, a brother must first serve in the lower offices of the lodge. Given that the officers of the lodge usually serve for a term of 12 months it will take several years to advance to the rank of Past Master. If this rank is a pre-requisite to joining a higher order, then obviously it will take some time to earn the credentials, regardless of the time and capacity one has available for study of the ritual.



posted on Dec, 7 2008 @ 02:43 PM
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reply to post by trinitrotoluene
 


Yes there is a good amount of information to remember. You will be given a "coach" to help you with this process. Though there is a great deal of difference between the EA, FC, and MM degrees the information that you must learn is similar. I do not know about the requirements for attendance in other states, but in mine attendance is encouraged but should not conflict with your work or family obligations. I hope this information has answered some of your questions.



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