First Degree Completed – Welcome Brother!

24\Last night was a wonderful evening. A friend of mine was also taking his first degree last night, so we met and drove over to the lodge together. We were greeted by several Brothers that we had met at prior lodge events that were open to non members. We felt quite natural and had no awkward feelings at all.

We headed inside the lodge where the tables were set and several very large six foot long party sandwiches and other food awaited. We loaded up our plates and took a seat.

At the table were several masons that I already knew as well as several that I didn’t. One that I knew was a Past Master (several times over, actually) and he took care of the introductions. As we went around the table, I found it very interesting that several of the men at the table were not members of our lodge at all, but came to see and help with our ceremony. There were seven of us being initiated, which is a large number that actually required a special dispensation from the Grand Lodge due to their desire to keep these ceremonies small and personal.

Several of the men I met were past masters and had held the position several times. One gentleman was a member of two lodges and was simultaneously Master of one and Sr. Warden of the other! All of them were very happy that we were joining and were generous in their praise and encouragement.

A couple of the Brothers were feeling comedic and kept making references to various animals – “Hey Joe, did you bring in the snake? No! I brought the Goat, YOU were supposed to bring the snake!”. The comedy went on all during the meal. When one of the candidates would ask where the restroom is, you could guarantee that the directions would be followed with “make sure you step over the snake. He gets mad when you trip on him”.

This was my first time being in the masonic lodge before or during a meeting and I was thoroughly impressed. All of the officers of the lodge were wearing tuxedos with ornate aprons which showed the office that they held or indicated offices that they had held in the past. The non officers were wearing suits and ties (as was I).

I stayed fairly close to the Brothers that I knew and enjoyed the rest of the meal. Before long, it was time to start the meeting. The other candidates and I were brought into a side room that adjoins the lodge (meeting) room.

This was my first chance to get a good look at the other initiates. We were told to change into ceremonial clothing that was provided. Once that was done, one of the Brothers told us to chat for a bit as we would have to wait for the meeting to get through its normal agenda before our part started.

In the time that we talked I got my first impressions of my soon to be brethren. One of them was talking almost non stop at roughly 90 miles per hour. I attributed that to nervousness. He appeared to be in his mid twenties. It seemed like every chance he got, he was mentioning that he sells insurance. My impression as of now is that he seems to be one of those guys that joins in hopes of making immense business contacts and helping his career. This seems pretty selfish to me, but hopefully he’ll get something more out of it than that.

The 2nd fellow was in his early fifties and was nice enough. He mentioned several times that he had been a very active member of the Elks lodge and was in fact a past Exalted Ruler. He seemed genuinely interested in joining the Freemasons for the right reasons, but he also seemed to be a member of a number of other organizations.

The 3rd fellow was a friend of the Worshipful Master. He said they’d been friends for over 20 years and that he never knew that the WM was a Freemason. Once he found out and learned more about it, he was quite excited to join.

The other three initiates (I was the seventh) were pretty quiet and reserved and seemed a bit nervous. The one thing that definitely surprised me was that most of these guys didn’t seem to know much about Freemasonry at all, other than the very  basics. Some of the questions they asked were beyond basic. Now I wonder if I am an over achiever. When I decided I was going to commit to this, I went out and read a half dozen books to learn all that I could about what Freemasonry is and was and where it came from (no, I had no interest in learning “the secrets” as I look forward to learning them in the lodge.

I hate to be pessimistic, but I can’t help but feel that if someone is truly excited and interested in a topic like Freemasonry, they should be eager to embrace it and learn it. I worry that some of these guys could become “Ring Wearers”. This is what the active Freemasons call the members that just go through the 3 degrees to become a  Master Mason and thereby earn the right to wear the square and compass ring. Once they attain the ring, they stop coming to meetings and have to be chased to even pay their annual dues.

It is after the initiation that the treasurer of the lodge came over and collected our initiation fees as well as our first year dues. The initiation was $150 and the annual dues are $100 in my lodge. I had to lay out $250 total (which to me was surprisingly inexpensive). I’d have gladly paid substantially more than that considering the money either goes to charity or for the upkeep of the lodge, etc.

When it was time to begin our ceremony, they ended up breaking us up into two groups in order to keep the ceremony personal and meaningful. As I’m still not sure what I can discuss and what not, I will not talk about the ceremony here. Suffice it to say that there is an element of trust you must place in your new Brothers (nothing to worry about though) and that it is a MUCH longer event than you think and is very involved. Lastly, just when you think you’re done, realize it’s only the intermission and roughly the half way point! 🙂

Entered Apprentice Pin

My close friend (who is already a Master Mason) came over to me after the ceremony and meeting were over and pinned an Entered Apprentice pin to my lapel. He said that since I will not be able to advance to the 2nd degree until after summer (as the lodge goes dark till September), he wanted me to be able to show my status in the mean time. This was very touching for me.

We finished the evening back in the dining room being congratulated by all of our new Brothers and welcomed. We ate some cake and made the rounds trying to remember everyones names. The lodge is holding a dinner-dance in two weeks that is open to friends and family. I will be attending and look forward to it.

This is my 3rd post on Freemasonry. Click here to view my 4th.

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1 Response to “First Degree Completed – Welcome Brother!”

  • Welcome to the fraternity!!

    If only all Masons were as conscientious as you appear to be.

    From a Brother across the pond.


    Brighouse No.1301 U.G.L.E.

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