The Entered Apprentice

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1 United Grand Lodge of England Province of Devonshire The Entered Apprentice 1

2 Contents Page Welcome 2 Your Progress in Freemasonry 3 A Brief History of Freemasonry 3 The Festive Board 4 Some Dos and Don'ts 5 WELCOME You are to be congratulated on being Initiated into the world wide Brotherhood of Freemasonry. This leaflet is designed to help you understand our Order. Some 14,000 men join English Freemasonry every year. Why do they do so? For some, of course, the mystery of the unknown will be the attraction. Others will be intrigued by rumours. Most join because they see that friends whom they respect are proud to be Freemasons and clearly enjoy their membership of the Order. But the high standards of behaviour we expect from all members of the Craft make it necessary for us to know something about a man before we can accept him. In particular we need to be satisfied that he is not seeking to become a Freemason because he expects that membership will advance him in his business, or provide him with a material gain or preference. We also want to know that he will be a credit to the Craft, and will indeed become a Brother among us. But overriding all this is one most important requirement to be a Freemason a man must have a belief in a Supreme Being (a God). This does not mean that Freemasonry is in itself a religion; far from it. A Freemason is expected to adhere to his beliefs, whatever they may be, and to regard his Freemasonry as a moral code subordinate to, but supportive of, those beliefs. Members of many faiths in many countries are Freemasons - Christians, Jews, Muslims and many others - and men of differing faiths can and do meet together in the brotherhood of a Lodge without dissension, "in perfect harmony" as Freemasons put it. It must be made clear at the outset that in order to preserve the harmony by which we set so much store no discussion of religion is permitted in Lodge. For the same reason, there is no discussion of politics. You also need the support of your Wife, or Partner, and family. So much for the preconditions of membership, now we must turn to the question of what Freemasonry is, and what demands it will make on you. What is said in this booklet of course applies to Freemasonry in England, where the governing body is the United Grand Lodge of England which operates from Great Queen Street, London. But there are throughout the world many other independent Grand Lodges which we acknowledge, so you will realise that you are now a member of an association which has counterparts all over the world. Some Grand Lodges, which do not accept or demand our high standards, are not recognised as such by us. You must check before visiting a Lodge overseas that they are Regular in our eyes. The first essential in understanding Freemasonry is to rid your mind of preconceived notions about it. These will almost always have resulted from uninformed talk or guesswork and even sometimes from malicious gossip. 2

3 We do not pretend that all Freemasons are perfect in thought, word and deed; but we do affirm that we expect our Brethren to observe the highest moral standards, requiring each Brother to behave towards others (whether members of the Craft or not) as he would have them behave towards him, to attend his Lodge as regularly as his domestic and other duties will allow, and to give in the cause of charity as generously as his means will permit. The definition of Freemasonry best known to members of the Craft is "a system of morality" and moral teaching is the basis on which it rests. This teaching is demonstrated by ritual and ceremonial, which experience has shown to have a real impact on the minds of Brethren. This may sound rather pompous, but in practice it is not so. Freemasonry is to be enjoyed - its companionship, its constructive attitude to life and its insistence on the importance of the welfare and independence of the individual all help to ensure that this happens. From the moment that a man becomes a Freemason he is considered as a Brother to every other Freemason throughout the world, however senior that Brother may be. There must of course be discipline and order, but the element of brotherhood, with its privileges and duties, is always present. It is in fact the Lodge which is the most important Masonic body for a candidate since it is in the Lodge that he will attend meetings and meet his fellow Freemasons. This does not mean that your Freemasonry will be limited to your own Lodge. Invitations to visit other Lodges as a guest are common and visitors are always welcome. You are encouraged to ask any questions of your Proposer, Seconder or Masonic Mentor, but do not press them to break confidence regarding higher degrees. Nurture this special relationship as all three of them have a responsibility for your Masonic Development. YOUR PROGRESS IN FREEMASONRY As you have already been told, there are several degrees in Freemasonry. You will shortly be given a number of questions, to which you must learn the answers before you take the next step, which is your Passing to the 2nd Degree. These questions and the answers you are to learn. Your Mentor will provide you with the missing words. More answers to questions have to be learned after your Passing, ready for you to be Raised to the 3rd Degree. A BRIEF HISTORY OF FREEMASONRY Organised Freemasonry in England, as we know it today, began on 24th June 1717 when four London Lodges formed the first or Premier Grand Lodge. There had, of course, been Lodges throughout the British Isles before that date. One of the earliest recorded Initiations was that of Elias Ashmole - founder of the Ashmolean Museum in Oxford - into a Lodge in Warrington, Cheshire in The Lodges of today are generally thought to have devolved from the Medieval Stone Masons Guilds or Lodges and our Constitutions today are similar to those found in manuscripts dating from the 14th and 15th centuries. Having said this, the precise origins of Freemasonry are not known and many opinions abound. During the middle part of the 1700s a number of breakaway Grand Lodges were formed; most did not last long, but one purporting to perform the Ceremonies according to "Antients" custom lasted from 1754 until 1813 when it was finally reunited with the Premier Grand Lodge to form the United Grand Lodge of England at a great ceremony which took place on 27th December In August 1938 the Grand Lodges of England, Ireland, and Scotland each agreed upon and issued a statement, identical in terms except that the name of the issuing Grand Lodge appeared throughout. This statement, which was entitled Aims and Relationships of the Craft, was agreed to without deviation. You will find this statement in the Book of Constitutions. 3

4 FESTIVE BOARD At every meeting, usually after the Ceremony, Brethren gather for a dinner which is usually referred to as the Festive Board. This is always a convivial occasion but should be considered as much a part of a Masonic Meeting as the Ceremony in the Lodge. The protocols which are to be observed are just as important as those in the lodge room, but the atmosphere is of course more relaxed and it is at the dinner table that one has the opportunity to get to know the brethren of your Lodge and the Visitors. Stewarding is a very essential tradition and should be looked upon as an opportunity to serve the Lodge and play a part rather than an intrusive interference to your meal. One of the most respected Masonic offices is that of a Grand Steward or a Provincial Grand Steward and it is marked by a distinctive Red Apron and a Red collar. The gestures and clapping which follow a Masonic toast in some lodges are called 'Masonic fire' or 'firing'. It is a very ancient custom and is sometimes performed by a Lodge with a 'firing glass' which has a toughened base and is banged on the table. The first toast will have struck you as unusual. Its origin has not been surely established; but its form has been well known to, and honoured by, many Royal members of the Craft. The Monarch [King or Queen] and the Craft have been linked in a Masonic toast since the earliest days of organised Freemasonry. This is because loyalty to the Crown, as the lawfully constituted authority, is an essential principle of English Freemasonry. It is given in this form, whether or not the Monarch is a Freemason, and so still takes the same form when there is a Queen on the Throne. When the Worshipful Master gavels, followed by the two Wardens, in some lodges, silence must ensue. This is a courtesy that must be observed; to continue talking is disruptive of the proceedings. Typical Seating at the Festive Board: Top table Z Z Y Y X X W WM SW JW At the Master's right side W Brother Initiate (if any) X Provincial Rulers [usually Grand Lodge Officers] Y other Grand Lodge Officers, Z Active Provincial Officers [in order of seniority] At the Master's left side 2 Immediate Past Master 3 Chaplain 4 Director of Ceremonies 5 Treasurer 6 Secretary * 7 PMs in order of seniority OR Charity Steward and Almoner *It is in fact more usual for individual PMs to sit within the body of the Festive Board with their guests and/or younger members of the Lodge. 4

5 SOME DOS AND DON TS Wear a dark suit (preferably charcoal grey but otherwise dark blue or black), white shirt, UGLE or plain black tie (but when meeting at a Lodge in Devonshire a Devonshire Provincial tie is preferable), black shoes (no buckles), black socks, white gloves. Your apron should be clean and smart. Never enter the Lodge before you are properly dressed with apron and gloves. In some Lodges new members only wear gloves after they have been raised to become a Master Mason check with your Mentor. When making a proposition or addressing the Lodge it must be made to the WM. When perambulating (not marching) in the Lodge remember, always step off with the left foot and never swing your arms or clench your fist. Masonic acknowledgement in Lodge is by a Court bow, that is, a slight inclination of the head and not from the waist. When addressing or referring to a Mason at a Lodge meeting or the Festive Board address him as Brother or Worshipful Brother and his surname. Never use his forename unless there are two brethren of the same name and confusion could arise. Part of the tradition of Freemasonry is the structure and formal approach to its proceedings which ensures self-discipline. If you are unable to attend a Lodge meeting or function, always communicate your apology to the Worshipful Master through the Secretary. If it is Provincial function your apology must be through the Provincial Grand Secretary unless otherwise stated. When addressing Officers in the Lodge remember we are all Brothers even when the Office holder is a Worshipful Brother. The correct terminology therefore is Brother Treasurer, Brother Secretary, and Brother Director of Ceremonies etc. Our thanks to the Provincial Grand Mentor of Gloucestershire for permission to use much of the core material in this Devonshire version of this document. 5

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