posted on Jul, 26 2009 @ 10:28 PM
I think that you could learn a lot about Masonry through individual reading. There is plenty to study - learning the ritual of the degrees, the
history of Masonry, studying Mackey's Encyclopedia of Masonry, delving into the Old Testament and Jewish literature. You could literally take a
whole lifetime studying Masonry, and some Masons - such as Mackey - did just that.
Without giving a flip answer, however, I would say that you would definitely miss out on the "experiential" side of Masonry. It is one thing to
read a Shakespeare play, and another thing to actually perform on stage a Shakespeare play. Becoming actively involved in the ritual itself is an
experience that most Masons enjoy, and come to appreciate over time. Not only is it a test of your memory and public speaking skills, but it is also
a way of learning the ritual through repetition and frequency - something that would be impossible to do on your own.
You would also miss out on the fraternal bonds and lifelong friendships that are quite common to many Masons. For most Masons, the fraternity is
quite an enjoyable experience, and they look forward to the meetings, rituals, and charitable work.
If you have an interest in simply the Masonic literature and philosophy, some of the most learned scholars of Masonry can be found at the Lodge. It
is one thing to learn the history of Masonry on your own, and another to discuss the topic with older Masons that have a vast knowledge of the
fraternity that they can share with you.
Part of the "experiential" part of Masonry cannot be put into words. The sights, sounds, and actual experience of Masonic ritual is difficult to
imitate on your own. You actually need the Masons and the Lodge to understand and experience the ritual itself. You have to witness it, be a part of
it, and see it with your own eyes to gain a better understanding of what is taking place during the rituals. You can't duplicate that effect by just
I joined Masonry pretty much right out of college. I was young, and knew that the Lodge would be a good place for me to surround myself with good,
strong leaders in our local community. It was a smart move on my part. Not only did I learn a lot, and am still learning, but I made some great
friends along the way. I found that almost all of the myths and stories that you hear about Masonry are completely untrue, and that most Masons are
genuinely good men with good intentions and care deeply about their families and community. You can't obtain those great associations with great
people just by reading - You have to actually go to the Lodge yourself and become an active member.
I moved away from my state a few years ago, and have missed the Lodge terribly in the process. It is not the same ritual here as it is in the state
that I was from, and so I miss that - and I miss the comraderie and friends that I made in the Lodge. Thankfully, we will be moving back in a few
months, so I will be able to renew these friendships at that time.