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Introduction To Masonry

by V. W.  L. F. Walker, D.D.G.M.

When you were admitted to our Craft, you were told that you were expected to make a daily advance in Masonic knowledge.  

Have you, in recent years, ever given a thought to this admonition which was given you as part of the initiatory ceremony through which you were admitted to Masonry?  

Possibly, like many of our Brethren, you took this to apply to some subsequent ritualistic ceremony you might have to undergo at some future time in order to become a full-fledged Mason. If this be your case, I am sorry to tell you you have cheated yourself of much of the valuable knowledge that is to be derived from Masonry. At your initiation you were given the key that opens many doors to rich treasures of philosophy of life, but have NOT used it to the fullest advantage . . . if you have used it at all.  

There is a great deal more to Masonry than the comradeship of the Lodge room. Important as is the ritualistic work, it is far from all there is in Masonry. The very word "Initiation" really means "Introduction." That introduction you have received-but what has it introduced you to?  

Have you found, through Masonry, a new approach to the problems of your daily life? . . what lessons, practical lessons, have you derived from the history of the Craft from its early years in the dimly recollected far distant past, centuries ago? Have you fathomed the symbolism of Masonry's ceremonies, its ornaments, its practices?  

In other words, what have you done to advance your Masonic knowledge?  

Recognizing that too many of our fellow craftsmen have done little or nothing to further the knowledge of true Masonry, the Grand Lodge of Quebec has, at its last annual convocation, established an Educational Committee whose duty it will be to devise ways and means for the membership at large to study the history and symbolism of Masonry.  

Unfortunately, study to many of us recalls the struggle we underwent to acquire the rudiments of an education in our schools - it therefore implies an effort which may be far from attractive to us. Yet, that school and class work, was meant less to impart direct knowledge than to teach us HOW to learn on our own. School room work is the initiation to knowledge.  

Having undergone your initiation in Masonry you are now prepared to study Masonry - and if you fear that this form of Study is too reminiscent of the hardships of school days, let me undeceive you. The study of Masonry is the most fascinating subject you could possibly undertake. Its history goes so far in the past . . its symbolism is so rich in practical lessons, its philosophy is so practical to help make life more pleasant to live for others as well as ourselves.  

I foresee the time, in the not too distant future, when the G.L. Committee of Education has begun to function, when the duties of the D.D:G.M. will go beyond the checking of records and the verifying of the proficiency of Lodge officers in Ritualistic work-but will include the verifying of the standard of Masonic knowledge in a Lodge - there is so much more in Masonry than Ritualism. In fact, ritualism is the introduction to much deeper studies of our Craft. Already several Lodges in this Jurisdiction have added to their usual committees an Educational Committee of their very own which meets outside the regular and emergent meeting nights to study various phases of Masonry.  

Some proceed by means of a Quiz - Someone asking definite questions to which whoever can do so, answers. There are special Quiz text books that can be obtained at little cost, which contain most questions that are apt to come to the mind of the average Mason - and, naturally the answers thereto. These are catalogued and cross-indexed for easy reference.  

Another means of spreading knowledge is to have speakers on definite masonic topics address your lodge, either in the Lodge room or at the festive board.  

One Lodge in a semi-urban locality, has placed a box in its anteroom in which members are invited to place questions relative to Masonry. These are picked up by the Secretary and turned over to a Committee of three who prepare answers that are read in open lodge at the following meeting. This system has been fully explained in the February issue of "Masonic Light", Montreal, which will be sent you free upon request.  

There are many other methods of acquiring as well as imparting Masonic knowledge-and all of them will revive interest in Lodge work.  

We must strive less for large membership in our Lodges, than to have educated masons on our roles -Masons who understand the why and the wherefore of our Ritualistic ceremonies and to whom ritualism conveyed a real message rather than an opportunity to display ability in the performance of a notable feat of memory. Of course, ritualism has, in itself, a marked importance - but it is not all there is to Masonry . . any more than the repetition by rote of the Lord's Prayer, though edifying, is not all there is to Christianity.  

Therefore my message to you is never to forget the admonition giver. you when you were first received in the Masonic family, to make daily advancement in our Arts and Sciences - and far from being a chore, your acquirement of such knowledge will be pleasant, easy and will reveal to YOU - the individual YOU - new and added value to your Masonic connection by revealing to you new and unsuspected aspects of our Order that will make you a better person to know because life will be for you a more pleasing adventure because you will understand it better.

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Last modified: March 22, 2014