The 3 Degrees


    
To clear a common misconception about Freemasonry, first one has to be advised that no man can simply walk into a Lodge, pay a fee, and become a Master Mason.  It takes work, dedication, and commitment.  How much time spent is up to each individual member, there is no requirement to spend an ex-amount of hours here, or an ex-amount of hours there, but the more time that is spent will be revealed by a faster progression through the Degrees. 

    With stating that, it should also be clarified that there are 3 Degrees one has to earn in order to be a Master Mason.  There is some confusion about this, because many people hear of 32nd Degree Masons, and so on.  While it is possible to earn higher Degrees in Appendant or Allied Masonic Bodies (such as the Scottish Rite or Shrine), the Blue Lodge (which is the basis for all of Masonry) only offers 3.  Rising Sun #29 is a Blue Lodge, and therefore offers all 3 Degrees.

   

1.          The First Degree, or Entered Apprentice Degree (EA for short) is the first step and basic initiation of a candidate.  An ancient ceremony is performed, in which the candidate proclaims his faith in God, as well as learns to trust in himself and his Brothers, emphasizing the history and principles of Masonry. This is arguably the most beautiful experience in all 3 Degrees, and the lesson learned is of extreme importance.  The lesson itself typically takes 6 to 15 weeks to learn and become proficient in depending on the time allocated to study, at which point the Brother can “turn it in” and move on to the next Degree.

                                     
2.         
The Second Degree, or Fellow Craft Degree (FC for short) is a continuation of the First Degree.  Another ceremony is performed, at which time the EA officially becomes a FC, and another lesson is put into motion.  The purpose of this lesson is to give the Brother a “mid-level” skill set, much like any other trade, and make them proficient in Lodge protocol and Masonic principles.  This lesson is probably the easiest to learn, and typically takes 3 to 6 weeks, again, depending on the time and effort allocated to study.  Once the Brother is proficient in this lesson, they can “turn it in” and continue to the next Degree.

3.          The Third Degree or Master Mason Degree (MM for short) is the last continuation of the First and Second Degrees.  A final ceremony is performed, at which point the FC becomes a Master Mason.  Much like becoming a Master Electrician, or Master Plumber, the Master Mason is proficient in his trade.  Although there is another lesson to be learned with this Degree, Free and Accepted Masons of Alabama do not require it to be “turned in”, however, it is highly encouraged to do so within the first year of earning the Master Mason Degree.

 

    Unlike some states, Alabama Freemasons are required to learn their lessons in a “mouth to ear” format. In other words, we do not write or record anything in our lessons, and the individual studying must learn from total memorization by simply listening to their mentor. This can cause frustration, because the truth is that some people have better memorization skills, and others simply have much more time to allocate, but do not let it scare you away.

    This is an extremely effective way of earning your degrees, because it makes a person “that much more” proficient.  It also creates an exceptional bond between the Brother who is studying and his mentor, and don’t worry, every Brother in Rising Sun #29 is more than willing to spend as much time needed to help.  Again, it does take time, it does take dedication, and it does take commitment, but remember, anything worth having is worth working for.
 

 

    Some Brothers take just a few weeks to work through all 3 Degrees, while others take years.  A good example is George Washington.  He spent 7 years as a Fellow Craft until finally becoming a Master Mason.  Once he did earn that Degree, however, he dedicated the rest of his life to Masonry (and this country), which is evident through the “George Washington National Masonic Memorial”.  The point is that each individual decides how fast they want to move forward, and when you are ready, you will progress to the next Degree.


    After receiving all 3 of the Blue Lodge Degrees, becoming a Master Mason, you will be eligible to join Appendant or Allied Masonic Bodies, such as the Scottish Rite, York Rite, Shrine, and others.  You can include your wife by joining The Order of the Eastern Star, and there are Appendant Bodies for children as well, such as the Rainbow Girls.  Becoming a Master Mason will also make you eligible to receive all the benefits of the Blue Lodge, including access to Masonic information, the authorization to wear Masonic Jewelry/display Masonic Emblems, as well as being able to take part in Lodge activities such as voting or becoming a Lodge Officer, as well as many other benefits. 


    Remember, Freemasonry is kindness in the home, honesty in business, courtesy in society, fairness in work, pity and concern for the unfortunate, resistance toward evil, help for the weak, forgiveness for the penitent, love for one another, and above all, reverence and love for God.  To learn more about “How to become a Mason”, CLICK HERE.





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