The Life of an Entered Apprentice Mason

February 10, 2007

JourneyI was Initiated into Freemasonry about 2 and a half months ago.  If everything goes well, I am to go through my Fellow Craft Degree Ceremony in another 4 weeks.

Most of my preparation for my Fellow Craft Degree is pretty much done now.  I have almost everything memorized that I have been required to learn as an Entered Apprentice, and now I’m just “chomping at the bit” to move on.  I still learn quite a bit of information at every meeting that I attend, but I’m ready to get started on the Fellow Craft requirements.

One thing that I didn’t realize when I first became a Freemason, was the differences between the Three Degrees of Freemasonry.

The Lodge actually “works” in the different degree levels.  When the Lodge is opened in the “First Degree”, I am allowed to be in the Lodge and participate, but when it gets opened in the Second or Third Degree, I have to “retire” which means I have to leave the Lodge Room.  This makes sense because the secrets of those levels have not been revealed to me, so I can’t participate yet.

I realize that the rules of the Country and jurisdiction where you become a Freemason in, will determine just how much an Entered Apprentice can participate.  In the Canadian Rite for example, I can participate in the regular Business Meetings of my Lodge, but I know that in many places you must be a Master Mason to participate.

If an entire meeting in my lodge was held in the “Third Degree,” I would be allowed to attend the first few minutes at the start when the Lodge was opened in the “First Degree”.  Then I would be asked to retire and leave the Lodge Room.  A few minutes later, I would be joined by any Fellow Craft members as they would have to leave when the Lodge moved from the “Second Degree” to the “Third Degree”. 

After the Lodge closed the Third and Second Degrees at the end, I would be able to enter back into the Lodge Room to see the Lodge closed in the “First Degree”.

In reality, my Lodge has mostly operated at the “First Degree” level and the Entered Apprentices have only had to retire for brief periods.  Perhaps this is partially because my Lodge has 4 Entered Apprentices attending right now and they are trying to be as inclusive as they can be for us.

I must admit that not being able to participate when the Lodge is opened in the higher degrees, motivates me to want to move on!  Just sitting outside of the Lodge Room and wondering what is going on in there, makes me curious.  As much as it is frustrating to be excluded from parts, I know that I can look forward to having the mysteries revealed to me in time. 

Being told everything about Freemasonry on the first day would have spoiled my journey so far.  If you already knew the outcome of the Superbowl, you would never feel the excitement of seeing the game live.  How many people cheer on their sports teams with as much vigor during the replay as during the real event?

This is my 13th post on Freemasonry and my experiences as a Freemason.  Here is the Table of Contents of my Masonic Journey.



  1. How difficult have you found the memorization to be? I am being initiated as an EA in a couple of weeks, and I’m nervous about the memorization I’ll face as I (if I) advance. I’ve never been very good at it.

  2. Dear Mark,
    Congratulations on becoming a Freemason and may you have many happy years in the Craft. In the United Grand Lodge of England we do all the work in the first degree except ceremonies in a higher degree. When the EAs and FCs retire some Lodges send a Senior Brother out with them to chat and answer questions. This can be a very useful educational process.
    You will get from Freemasonry what you put in. it will not come to you. Make haste slowly.

    dr.mac speake. Prov.G.A. Province of Suffolk. UGLE.

  3. Hey, did anyone catch “The Secret History of the Freemasons” on the Discovery Channel tonight? Good 2-hour show. During the last half hour they actually showed a real initiation, right through to MM. I was shocked, but it was explained that it was part of the fraternity’s effort to dispel conspiracy theories and to open up the org to people who just don’t know.

    In a way, I was disappointed to ‘see’ the ritual as I have not been raised yet (will be in 2 weeks). However, with everything I’ve already read, I pretty much understood the final plot. Still, as said in Bro Jeff’s post, knowing the outcome takes some of the great experience away.

    All said, I definitely recommend watching it, but do it after you’ve becoming a MM.


  4. Dear Mark:

    I just finished up my EA proficiency last week and passed with flying colors!! I’ll be taking my FC in about another week and hopefully do the proficiency for that in a month or so. Once you get the language down, it’s easy. I was so nervous that I was going to forget everything and freeze up while doing the EA proficiency, but I tuned out everything else and just concentrated on my “coach”. If I can do it, anyone can.

    Welcome Brother.

  5. Thanks, Morgan and Dr. Speake. I’m not quite so nervous anymore.

  6. I too will be taking my EA proficency at next weeks stated meeting and am looking forward to proceeding with my FC initiation. The memorization was a little tricky at first, but I was too impatient and tried to figure out the cipher on my own!

    Amazingly the only part I really had a hard time with was the plain text monotorial!! 🙂

  7. That’s great that your lodge allows you to the meetings, usually I am asked to leave after our fellowship meal. I just wrote in my blog about my examination (at least the first part) and how in a couple of weeks I will take the test for the second and third part. I would of done all three at once but my lodge got in the habbit/tradition of having the test broken up.

    I go on Active Duty, so I won’t be able to have my Fellow Craft degree until early April, but I can wait. 🙂

  8. I just took my 3rd degree last night and became a Master Mason. It was an enjoyable experience all the way through and I wouldn’t worry too much about the Discovery Special. I saw it too, and while a little of it was correct, the vast majority was not. Good luck brother!

  9. I joined the blue in March, 1971, in a small town in Saskatchewan, Canada. My father was Master of the Lodge at the time and took me through the Degree of MM. It’s interesting to see that you are concerned about memorization, raises a couple of things:
    – firstly, it’s most important to understand that you’re also there to enjoy and learn, perfection isn’t the first requirement.
    – secondly, you’re going the way that “all others have gone before”, you’re not the first and won’t be the last….have fun, listen and enjoy it.

    Good luck
    Tom Frook
    Tiverton, Nova Scotia

  10. Hi
    I just took my first degree one week ago, and today I went to the first meeting for coaching for the memorizng work, but I can not do it, for me it is imossible to memorize something….Is it impossible now? exist another ways to pass the second degree…just not listen and memorized can I read and memorized by myseft? I need advise

  11. Hello All,

    Enjoy reading your travels. I to am an EA and was a little worried about trying to memorize the study material but I will say that it is not as bad as I thought it would be. What i have learned that works for me is with anything more than a few sentences i have to break them down into smaller parts then it makes it a little easier to digest. But I am very excited and am enjoying the learning experience.

  12. Hello,
    I took my EA April 17. My dad was a Mason (York Rite), and I had always intended to petition the lodge. Unfortunately, I put it off until after he was gone. Still, I feel some connection with him and all the others who have gone before me. Now, if I can just get the lecture memorized.

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