How long to become a Master Mason?January 24, 2007
How fast can you become a Master Mason? That seems to be a common question from potential candidates and Entered Apprentices. I know that I asked it.
Does the fastest person to become a Master Mason win? Does the speed of progression through the degrees have any real impact on the experience of a new Freemason?
I know that a couple of jurisdictions are doing “one-day classes” where a new Candidate can become a Master Mason in a single day. I’m not talking about those guys here, I’m talking about the 99% of Freemasons who do it the “old fashioned way” like me.
I’m trying to find out what is a reasonable amount of time to spend as an Entered Apprentice and Fellow Craft before becoming a Master Mason. I’ve done some research, and I have found that it can take anywhere from 3 months to 3 years to become a Master Mason. This seems to be based on the regulations in the area where you happen to join, the number of Candidates, and to some extent, the amount of material to learn before you can prove your proficiency.
I looked up my Grand Lodge’s Constitution and Regulations, and found out that in Alberta, “a candidate shall not be passed or raised at a shorter interval than four weeks.” When I looked at the Degree History of several older Brothers in my lodge, most of them were in fact Master Masons in only 3 months.
One of my Brothers who is helping me with my Masonic Education, was Initiated in 1954. He was in a group of 9 Candidates – 5 were initiated one week and 4 the next. He said that he actually joined when Freemasonry in Canada was starting to slow down. He told me that historically Freemasonry has a “boom time” right after major conflicts or wars. He joined right at the tail end of the WWII boom in Masonic membership.
Back then, they all had one month to learn and study each of their degrees. 3 months later, another group of around the same size would be Initiated. I wonder if they had the same experience that I am getting by taking a little more time, or if they felt they were being pushed along on an assembly line?
Currently, my Lodge goes through each of the three degrees once per year, so technically it should take about a year to become a Master Mason.
I was told yesterday that my Lodge was planning to have two Fellow Craft Degree ceremonies since we have 4 Entered Apprentices right now. They are going to be at the end of February or the first week in March. So it looks like I have about 5 more weeks to make sure I have everything memorized. If everything works out, it will have taken me just over 3 months from Initiation to the Second Degree of Fellow Craft.
My concern right now, is not my ability to memorize and learn the material for each degree, but whether I will understand it, and REALLY see what “moral instruction” I am supposed to get out of it.
I guess I’m not sure if I should try to understand all of the symbolism right now, or just memorize my requirements and try to absorb more things as I progress and experience Freemasonry in the future.
This is my 10th post on Freemasonry and my experiences as a Freemason. Here is the Table of Contents of my Masonic Journey.