to memorizing ritual. And I don’t really, although I’m sure I spend more time than some of my Brethren. My days are filled with lots of other things. I spend maybe twenty minutes a day at it, on average. I’ve found that going to stated meetings and degrees regularly takes care of about ninety per cent of what I need to know for stated meetings, at least if I pay attention. I recall going to Workers Club in my second year as a Mason, having only really learned the parts necessary for my office (Junior Warden), and being placed in the West. I protested to our instructor, Jesse Higginson, past chairman of the Board of Grand Examiners, that I didn’t know the ritual. “I bet you do,” he said. He was right. Simply by going to lodge and paying attention I’d absorbed the lines I needed.
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.