Masonic Education - A How To Guide

by Midnight Freemason Contributor
WB Darin A. Lahners

Editor's Note:  The below is a reworked article from the Grand Lodge of Illinois A.F.&A.M. Educational Magazine, The Lyceum.  As that article was focused on how Education is structured in Illinois, I have edited it to make it more generic. 

One of the questions that Masonic Educators get asked most often is how to perform Masonic Education. Before I get started with that, I want to make a very important distinction between Masonic Education and Masonic Instruction. Masonic Instruction is learning the ritual, floor work, and everything else that relates to the work being performed within a tyled lodge. Masonic Education is learning about the meaning behind the work being performed within a tyled lodge. This includes the meanings behind what we say and sometimes why we say it. All the meanings of the symbols, floor work, ritual, and philosophical discussions about them fall under the realm of Masonic Education. Both are equally important; however, Masonic Instruction usually varies by Masonic District. Most districts that I am familiar with have a version of what is called a Worker’s Club, which is a separate meeting where the ritual and floorwork are being taught. 

Unfortunately, Masonic Education is not given such priority. It is usually reserved for the last item of business, assuming you even have it on your Meeting Agenda. What this has meant for me, speaking from experience, is that if your business meeting is not well organized, the Masonic Educator is forced to give a presentation or lead a discussion for a bunch of tired and cranky brethren.

The first thing that one must do to prioritize Masonic Education within their lodge is to move it to be the first item of business on the Agenda after the Pledge and Opening of the meeting. This will require a discussion with the Worshipful Master and in some cases, a Lodge By-Law change, if your lodge has the meeting agenda set by By-Law. I am writing this article under the assumption that your lodge is open to Education, so neither of the above should be an issue. If your lodge is not open to Education, then I would urge you to speak with your Worshipful Master, Lodge Education Officer, District Education Officer, or Area Education Officer (Assuming your structure is similar to Illinois).  In a worst-case scenario, you should visit other lodges in your district to see if there is a lodge where education is a priority and move your membership there. I hate to say this as a Masonic Educator, but there are some lodges where Masonic Education isn’t part of the lodge culture, and no matter how much one member tries, that lodge culture isn’t going to change. In these cases, it is better for one to move lodges or plural at a lodge where Education is a priority.

Once education is prioritized at your meeting, it will be incumbent upon the sitting Master to appoint a Lodge Education Officer, who will oversee preparing and presenting Education for each meeting. If you are the one who is pushing to improve the educational efforts in your lodge, don’t be surprised if this person is you. The question you are now asking yourself is most likely: Now What????

As Lodge Education Officer, you should focus on the below two things.

1. Providing Self Study opportunities for the lodge members.

2. Providing Educational Content for the lodge members.

I will explain each step in detail below.

1. Providing Self Study opportunities for the lodge members.

A. Providing self–study opportunities for your lodge members is probably the easiest way to try to get them engaged in Masonic Education. You should recommend podcasts from the below link to the brethren in your area.

You can also recommend books from these lists some of which are public domain:

or direct them to and ask them pick out something to read.

2. Providing Educational Content for the lodge members

Providing Educational Content for the lodge members is probably one of the most intimidating things that faces a Masonic Educator.  However, it should not be. Here are some ideas as to how to provide Lodge Education:

A. Know your audience. Warning: If you are interested in Esoteric Studies but your lodge is not, the surest way to burn them out and wear out your welcome as an educator is to tackle a complex Esoteric subject. You will need to gauge the interest of your lodge when it comes to topics for Masonic Education. I would suggest the first Education be a discussion with the lodge members of what topics they would like to discuss at future meetings. Here are some topics that you can offer them: The History of the Grand Lodge of Illinois, The History of Freemasonry, The Deeper Meaning behind our Symbols and Ritual, The History of our Ritual, Contemplative Masonry (Basic Applications of Mindfulness and Meditation guided by Masonic Ritual), Self-Improvement, and lastly: American Masonic History. Get their opinions and try to cover the topics that they are interested in. You should also survey them to see how they might prefer to learn. Some lodges might have members that would prefer to watch a video instead of listening to a presenter. Be sure to make sure you note their preferences and try to cater your education to their preferences. Also, try to network within your district to find brethren that share similar interests to you so that you can have an outlet for discussing Masonic topics that you might be interested in but that your fellow lodge members are not.

B. Once you know your audience, you will need to pick your topic for your education. You can use any of the resources above to help you in creating your presentation. Also don’t be afraid to use the Intender Handbooks, Short Talk Bulletins, the Lyceum, or the internet. The Midnight Freemasons Blog has a lot of articles on various subjects that you can use ( for Masonic Education. If you have a lodge that prefers video learning, don’t be afraid to use YouTube. The Masonic Minute series by Illustrious Bro. Steve Harrison is a good resource to use, as well as Refracted Light. Don’t be afraid to reach out to a speaker to see if they can present either in person or virtually if you can do so ( Just remember the steps below when creating the presentation for the topic you have chosen.

C. Follow the K.I.S.S. (Keep It Simple Stupid) principle. Any subject you present should not be too complex or at the very least have a way to translate it to be easily understood by all the members of your lodge. The topic or Topics that you choose to present should be thought of as a building block for future education. For Example, instead of trying to discuss the hidden meaning behind all the symbols given in the Third-Degree explanatory lecture during one education session, present them one at a time over the course of your stated meetings. When creating a presentation, imagine that you are trying to explain the topic you are presenting to a child. Just because you have a firm grasp on a subject does not mean that everyone else will also.

D. Lodge Education should not be a monologue. Lodge Education when done properly engages everyone present at the lodge meeting to participate in a healthy dialogue about the topic being presented. It is your job as the Masonic Educator to guide these discussions. The best way to do this is to have either a list of questions to ask your lodge their opinions about after your presentation or develop talking points for a discussion. Don’t be afraid to try to engage members of your lodge who don’t normally participate by asking them questions directly. The goal of Masonic Education is to make sure that everyone is participating and learning not only about the subject but also about the opinions or beliefs of their brethren.

E. You should try to have the educational program as well as the discussion involved around it last no more than 20 to 30 minutes. Any longer, you’re probably going to bore your brethren and/or push the time that the meeting closes back past many Grumpy Past Masters bedtimes. Be adaptable. Maybe your lodge is in the middle of a good discussion about the meaning of the term “Foreign Countries” in our ritual, don’t stop it just because the 30 minutes is up. On the reverse side, if you’re having a hard time getting members to engage in discussion on a topic, don’t be afraid to stop the education and move on with the meeting. There’s always the next meeting. You’re not always going to hit a home run. You’ll strike out some also. It happens. Don’t let it keep you from going back to the plate.

F. Use your DEO and AEO. Don’t be afraid to bounce ideas off your District Education Officer or your Area Education Officer or ask them for help.

G. Lastly, Use your imagination. The sky is the limit. Don’t be afraid to try different things. If you want to plan a Burns Dinner, then don’t be afraid to do so. Similarly for a Festive Board, Table Lodge, Masonic Symposium. Again, try to network with brethren in other lodges as well to help plan bigger events with their lodges, many hands make light work.

I hope you find this guide useful to help you start meaningful Masonic Education at your lodge. I can’t stress point F above enough. If you need help, don’t be afraid to ask for it. If your DEO can’t assist you, then go to your AEO. Masonic Education is easy once you know how to do it.


WB Darin A. Lahners is our Managing Editor. He is a host and producer of the "Meet, Act and Part" podcast. He is currently serving the Grand Lodge of Illinois Ancient Free and Accepted Masons as the Area Education Officer for the Eastern Masonic Area. He is a Past Master of St. Joseph Lodge No.970 in St. Joseph. He is also a plural member of Homer Lodge No. 199 (IL), where he is also a Past Master. He’s also a member of the Scottish Rite Valley of Danville, a charter member of Illinois Royal Arch Chapter, Admiration Chapter No. 282, Salt Fork Shrine Club under the Ansar Shrine, and a grade one (Zelator) in the S.C.R.I.F. Prairieland College in Illinois. He is also a Fellow of the Illinois Lodge of Research. He was presented with the Torok Award from the Illinois Lodge of Research in 2021. You can reach him by email at

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