by Midnight Freemason Contributor
R.W.B. Michael H. Shirley
I have four graduate degrees, two of them doctorates, and have been a teacher for twenty-seven years. I have taken more than my share of quizzes, tests, and exams in my life, and have some understanding of how to structure them. I say that not to brag, but to give some context to this statement: the Certified Lodge Instructor’s exam I took and passed in May was the hardest and most nerve-wracking exam I have ever taken. The exam covers opening, closing, and the first section of all three degrees in every chair, both ritual and floor work. All nine of us who took the exam that day were proficient in everything we were supposed to know, but an eight-hour exam under the eye of four very nice but very intimidating Grand Examiners was by turns exciting, unnerving, and exhausting. I had been studying for over a year with Right Worshipful Brother Ken McDonald, a Grand Lodge Instructor, and I knew my stuff, but by the end of the day if you had asked me my name I’d have second guessed myself enough that I might have remained mute.
So why do it?
R.W.B. Michael H. Shirley is the Assistant Area Deputy Grand Master for the Eastern Area for the Grand Lodge of Illinois A.F. & A.M. He is the Past Master of Tuscola Lodge No. 332 and Leadership Development Chairman for the Grand Lodge of Illinois. He's also a member of the Illinois Lodge of Research, the Scottish Rite, the York Rite, Eastern Star, and the Tall Cedars of Lebanon. He's also a member of the newly-chartered, Illini High Twelve No. 768 in Urbana-Champaign. The author of several articles on British history, he teaches at Eastern Illinois University.
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