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THE THREE DEGREES
A BRIEF DESCRIPTION OF THE DEGREES
Degree of Entered Apprentice
Once his application is approved, the Candidate for Freemasonry will participate in a ceremony called the "Degree of Entered Apprentice", or "First Degree". He will be assured that nothing will befall him that has not been experienced by all who have gone before. He will reaffirm his declarations and then be Entered into the Lodge and made an Apprentice Mason in "due and ancient form". He will learn that he is required never to divulge the Secrets of Masonry to any person "under the canopy of Heaven". He will receive a white Lambskin Apron, the badge of a Mason. He will be introduced to the working tools of a Mason. He will receive preliminary instruction on the nature of his new association and an important lesson in Masonic Charity. He will be assigned to a Candidate's Coach, who will meet with him as often as it takes to teach him the question-and-answer summary of the Degree. When his Coach is satisfied with his command of the Work, he will be scheduled to perform the Proficiency in Lodge. If done well enough, he will receive the Second Degree.
Degree of Fellowcraft
The "Degree of Fellowcraft", or "Second Degree", is widely regarded as the most poetic and instructive of the Masonic degrees. In it, the Apprentice is Passed to the Degree of Fellowcraft Mason in due and ancient form. He learns many of the more expressive symbols of his Craft and hears references to the philosophical basis for his conduct as a Mason. He will learn that he is obliged to "aid and assist all distressed, worthy Brother Fellowcraft Masons, whithersoever dispersed". His knowledge of the working tools of Masonry will be increased. The importance of the study of the Liberal Arts and Sciences, especially of Geometry, is emphasized. The Precious Jewels of a Fellowcraft will be presented to him and he will thenceforth be entitled to receive the Wages of a Fellowcraft. He will again meet with a Coach to learn the summary of the Work and will pass a Proficiency examination.
Degree of Master Mason
In the "Degree of Master Mason", the famous "Third Degree", the Fellowcraft will be Raised to the Sublime Degree of Master Mason in due and ancient form. He will receive further explanations of his specific duties to his Brethren and his instruction in the working tools of a Mason will be completed. He will participate in a brief traditional reenactment designed to impress upon him the virtue of Fidelity. Upon completing this Degree, the Brother is a fully qualified Master Mason, entitled to all the rights and privileges of that Degree. He is entitled to "travel in foreign countries, work, and receive Master Masons' wages". Among us, there is no higher rank than that of Master Mason.
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Last modified: March 22, 2014