No Mason Left Behind: Part Deux
by Midnight Freemason Contributor
Bro. "Doc" Gentry
Welcome back all ya'll (that's the plural form of ya'll that don't speak southern). I hope you didn't think the last piece was the "end all be all" of this understanding of us being present, but let's move on to the degrees and let's start on initiation. So if we have followed a healthy train of thought on mentoring, then they have met and talked with the brother the lodge has assigned as a mentor for this individual, the Intender. I hope you have spent time getting to know this possible brother more than just having him come out to you and made an effort to learn more about them outside lodge and to get to know their family, and hopefully for them to get to know yours. Yes, we focus on the individual, our potential new brother, but his family must not feel left out either.
Hopefully you talked about some of the history, how some states differ, and even explained clandestine freemasonry and the stance by the Grand Lodge of your area on this topic. I hope you know that all clandestine lodges aren't the same. I also hope you had time to explain the difference between irregular and clandestine lodges. Now it's the candidates night!
Your candidate comes into fellowship with the brothers, but he is and should be the focus. If everything goes the right way, he is the focus of the night, all brothers are positioning to talk to him, to know his feelings and thoughts, and even his expectations of the night. Hopefully he has started a journal to write this down because he may forget if he doesn't and without that retrospect later in his Masonic life, he will miss out on growth opportunities. Everything is in place and ready to go and it goes off without a hitch. Ok so what little things did you share beforehand? And did you leave enough mystery to keep this ceremony in a light to leave an impact? Ok did you share 1-3 things of an esoteric value of the degree to which the new brother went through? No!?! Why not? You don't do the esoteric stuff? I got that, but what if the new brother does? I'm not saying you need to delve into the mysteries of Sacred Geometry and give the new brother all the new mysteries of the universe, in fact esoteric studies are proven to bring different light, though similar, to each researcher. You do however, need to know a few things to show them the path and the plethora of different facets our brotherhood has in store for them.
You see, No Mason Left Behind means that each Intender has a relevant understanding of the various topics within Masonry to be able to speak on a topic to show a direction, not give the answers but give a path that leads to the answers. I know this is tougher for the longer running members sometimes, and there is nothing wrong with their reasons for joining the fraternity. How do you know if it is something you don't like, if you are not sure what it is?
How about the historical aspects of the degree they just went through? Do you understand the ritual enough to translate it for them? You know that mad scientist Einstein said that if you truly know something, you can explain it simple enough that others will understand it, or something like that. I look at it this way, Freemasonry is a lot like the medical field, in that when you think you know it all, you no longer understand any of it. We all, from the newest Entered Apprentice to the 50 year Master Mason need to continue to study, learn and apply Freemasonry. No one takes a step alone, not even the guy who has been Grand Master. In fact the longer you are a Freemason, the more important it is for you to surround yourself with "younger" Freemasons. Not by age, but how long they've been in the brotherhood.
I will leave you with that thought, let it sink in and let the hate-mail come forth. I love you all and like what I say or disagree, please let me know, comment or drop me an e-mail. I would love to hear your thoughts.
In love and on the level,
Brother Daniel "Doc" Gentry is a Brother Master Mason under the Grand Lodge of Ancient Free and Accepted Mason's of the State of Illinois, in the 1st Northeast district. His sign is Leo, and has been known to enjoy long walks in blizzards. He is stubborn and has no plans of joining the York or Scottish Rite anytime soon. Also in his spare time, he is a great DM for D&D games. Sacred Geometery! You can reach him by email at firstname.lastname@example.org