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A, B, C, easy as 1, 2, 3

October 14, 2010

Just as religious training may begin in the cradle and advance to children’s church and in-sanctuary worship, Masonic education and etiquette are learned in a similar vein.  

But what best instills such knowledge? 

A) Lunch and gossip with buddies.

B) Dinner with friends, a gal, and wine. 

C) Active participation in blue lodge communications, catechism, ritual and degree practice and Grand Lodge outreach including district schools, Lodge Officer’s Training course, and Masonic leadership training. 

Did you guess C?

Yes?  Congratulations. 

No?  Keep reading. 

The nuances of Masonic education, etiquette, and customs are imparted by well versed mentors and honed in one’s commitment, attendance, and study.  Adoption and implementation of etiquette rules benefit the entire Craft and ensure an atmosphere of harmony. 

Simple, proven guidelines of Masonic etiquette include :

1)  Honoring the Master, personal feelings about the man notwithstanding, to show Masonic courtesy. 

2)  Honoring predecessors and traditions with the highest respect. 

3)  Governing behavior through use of good manners, observation of formal requirements, and maintaining appropriate moral standards.

4)  Embodying the spirit of brotherly love and affection in conduct, carriage, and behavior at all times. 

5)  Using the trowel to cement the stones of brotherly love for the “More Noble and Glorious Purpose” of  passing these lessons to all brethren.

Integral to etiquette is education; only when the foundations and core values have been grasped can Freemasonry be truly appreciated.   

Though necessary for all brethren, Masonic education should be of specific importance to those with leadership aspirations.  As noted by the Grand Lodge of Florida, the title of Worshipful Master imparts knowledge; presumably one educated in and about Freemasonry.

The importance of not skipping officer chairs cannot be overemphasized; do the requisite time in the seven junior officer seats.  Just as 3rd graders don’t leap directly into 10th grade, the system of subsequent advancement is in place for a reason:  education.  

Some who’ve been electioneered through bypassed offices lack the knowledge and etiquette otherwise gained in gradual advancement which, unfortunately, imparts poor behavior to inferiors. An example of such embarrassment lies in a Worshipful Master’s senseless tirade during a Past District Deputy Grand Master’s discourse on Masonic education last month.  Had this Master’s tenure not been the result of electioneering punctuated by the skipping of chairs, missed meetings, and petty, pointless resignations; his message from the East would neither wreak of ignorance or harken “do as I say, not as I do.” 

As junior officers mimic the actions of senior officers and blue lodge elder statesmen, ineducation as evidenced above could cause irreparable harm.  

Masonic leaders in doubt needn’t flounder as avenues of assistance and authoratative resources abound:

A)  The Manual of Lodge Programs and Protocol, the Mentor’s Manual, the Officer’s Manual, the Manual of Ceremonies, and the Constitutions of Masonry.

B)  Past Masters and Instructors with vast education and experience.

C)  The Grand Provost, members of the Committee on Masonic Education, Grand Lecturer, Divsion Lecturer, or District Educational Officers and Instructor of Work.  Their intricate knowledge of Masonic education and etiquette offers immediate, useful, and precise answers.

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