Thursday, January 14, 2010

Explanation of Some Terms and Expectations

What does the term, Entered Apprentice (EA) mean?

Entered Apprentice refers to someone who has received the First Degree in Masonry. When builders had beginners who were learning their work they called them apprentices. Often these were young men of good reputation who were willing to listen and learn in the Lodges of builders and they were evaluated by the members. If the Entered Apprentice learns what he is required about Freemasonry, he will advance to the Degree of Fellowcraft. Entered Apprentices are expected to abide by the rules of Freemasonry, show caution and industriousness.

Where is a man first prepared to be made a Mason?

We say he is prepared in his heart, because becoming a Mason involves a commitment.

How are Entered Apprentices then prepared?

They are said to be duly and truly prepared. This phrase means wearing special garments furnished by the Lodge to emphasize our concern with the equality of all candidates.

What is a hoodwink?

It is a blindfold and a symbol of darkness denoting the fact that the candidate has not yet had the opportunity to learn the lessons of Freemasonry.

What is meant by the length of your cable tow?

A cable tow is a strong rope symbolizing our Masonic obligation to every Mason to every other Mason, given his reasonable ability to help or respond. It also is a symbol of the external restraints that are placed upon all of us during our lives.

Why does Masonry ask in whom a candidate puts his trust?

A fundamental principle of Freemasonry is a belief in God. It is necessary, in order to become a Mason, for each candidate to state that he puts his trust in a Supreme Being.

Why are Lodges dedicated to the Holy Saints John?

Because of the religious traditions in this country when Freemasonry was established in Virginia, Lodges are said to be dedicated to the Holy Saints John: Saint John the Baptist, representing morality, and Saint John the Evangelist, representing love and zeal. 

What is the Masonic significance of the East, West, North and South?

The Worshipful Master, the presiding officer, sits is symbolically called the “East”. The sun rises in the East, and the East is symbolically a place of light and learning. The Senior Warden sits in the “West” and the Junior Warden in the “South.” No officer of the Lodge sits in the North, which symbolically a place of darkness

What is the purpose of an altar in the Lodge?

The altar with the Holy Bible is the place where candidates are brought to light. We place the Bible or other Holy Books in the center of the Lodge to symbolize that faith should be at the center of our lives. Square and the Compasses- The Square symbolizes morality and honesty. The Compasses symbolize self-restraint. Together they are called the Three Great Lights in Masonry.

What are the three Lesser Lights in Masonry?

They are the Sun, Moon, and Worshipful Master, and are represented by three lights placed in the East, West, and South around the altar (the North is Dark.) The Worshipful Master should rule and govern his Lodge as reliably and orderly as the Sun and Moon rule and govern the day and night.

What does a Lodge represent, and what is its form?

The Lodge is said to represent the world, which is checkered, (a struggle between) good and evil.

What is a Masonic obligation?

Obligation is another word for oath, affirmation, or promise. In the Masonic Degrees, candidates are asked if they will agree to be obligated to undertake certain duties such as helping their fellow Masons.

What are the physical penalties included in the Masonic obligations?

Masons to show how serious they are when we swear to do certain things, people state that if they do not keep their promise, they hope they will die or suffer certain penalties.

What is the purpose of the Masonic apron?

The Masonic apron symbolically points to man’s physical and spiritual nature. Historically, builders’ apprentices wore aprons to protect their clothing. Masons today wear their aprons to symbolize the fact that they are trying to protect their characters and improve themselves. The white color of the apron symbolizes purity of character for which we should strive.

What is the Rite of Destitution?

When candidates are brought into the Lodge, they are asked to remove all metals on their person. It teaches Masons that they should not bring anything into the Lodge which might disturb peace and harmony, and that we are all viewed as equal brothers. 

What are the Working Tools of an Entered Apprentice?

The Working Tools are the 24-inch Gauge and Common Gavel. In Freemasonry the 24-inch Gauge is to teach us to use the hours of the day for important purposes. The Gavel is to smooth out the rough edges of our character. 

What are the requirements to be an Entered Apprentice?

A man must come to Freemasonry of his own free will and accord. This means that he has not been coerced to join, and wants to be a Mason to better his own character. 

What does it mean to say that Masons are Brothers?

Freemasonry teaches that there is a special bond between Masons, brought about by our shared experiences with Masonic ritual and teachings and by certain obligations we have accepted to help and support each other, and to try to do everything we can to assist our Brother Masons. We try not to become angry with another Mason, but if we do, we go out of our way to resolve our differences. We should never harm a Brother and always seek to treat our Brethren exactly as we would want them to treat us. 

How do you know when to rise and when to be seated in a Lodge?

When the Worshipful Master raps his gavel once, this rap indicates that all the Brethren should come to order. When he raps twice, the officers (and only the officers) rise. When he raps three times all the Brethren stand. When all are standing and the Worshipful Master raps once, everyone is seated. If the Worshipful Master addresses a member of the Lodge by name, he should stand, salute the Worshipful Master with his right hand below his heart and listen. You are encouraged to speak. When you wish to, wait for an appropriate pause and rise while saluting the Worshipful Master, and speak. If you need to leave the Lodge before it is closed, do the same (you may do this by a subtle gesture when needing to go to the restroom or if you have previously made the Worshipful Master aware.)  

Can a Mason enter a Lodge meeting after it has begun?

Yes. Identify yourself to the Tiler outside the door and prove that you are a Mason in the manner in which you were taught. Wait until the Tiler has informed the Lodge and has been instructed to admit you. When you enter the Lodge, approach the altar, salute the Worshipful Master, and then follow his instructions. Most Lodges operate at the Third Degree so be prepared to wait if you are an Entered Apprentice or Fellow Craft.

Are there subjects that cannot be discussed in Lodges?

Religion and politics are frowned subjects in the Lodges unless it is part of a philosophical or historical program. Business discussions are also best discussed outside of the lodge room itself unless it is part of the Lodge program. As a matter of good taste one ought to be very cautious about pursuing divisive subjects around lodge meetings. These two subjects can cause disputes and disharmony. One of the main points of Freemasonry is to provide an oasis from the discord and divisiveness of the world, where men can come together and enjoy each other’s company in peace.

Masons are encouraged to do business with each other on the principles of fair dealing and mutual assistance. Masons are also strongly encouraged to take part in political life and religious life. So relationships with Masons outside of the Lodges may often include political and religious considerations and business involvement but it is important that you heed the first word you heard when you came into the Lodge to become a Mason- CAUTION. 

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