Fellowcraft RequirementsApril 16, 2007
I was recently given the material that I need to memorize before I can become a Master Mason. I will need to show proficiency in my current degree of a Fellowcraft Mason before I can proceed to the third degree of Master Mason. My Lodge follows the Canadian Rite, so my exact requirements will vary slightly from other Freemason Lodges around the world.
My first impression of the new material was that it would be an absolute breeze compared to the requirements that I had to learn as an Entered Apprentice. The material required to learn was shorter, and much of it was very similar to what I had already memorized. (My post on the Requirements of an Entered Apprentice is here.)
Similar to the Entered Apprentice degree, I need to be able to answer a series of questions. These need to be memorized exactly as they are written. This time there are only 9 questions instead of 14, and the answers to most of them are shorter. I believe that these questions are very similar to most lodges around the world.
The second thing that I need to memorize is the Fellowcraft Obligation. This Obligation is actually much shorter than the first one that I memorized. It is just over 250 words, compared to 350 words in the first one. It is also partially in code again, with letters and symbols representing words, and the “penalty section” is blank.
I had a very hard time learning the Entered Apprentice Obligation. I estimate that it probably took me over 40 hours of studying to have it memorized well. I used every trick in the book to memorize it. I actually broke it down into about 45 pieces and tried to learn only one or two pieces per day. If I tried to learn bigger chunks at a time, I would just confuse myself.
All of that hard work is now paying off. Large portions of the Obligation are exactly the same or only slightly different from the Entered Apprentice Obligation. In fact, there is only a little less than 100 words that are new.
Memorizing the Fellowcraft Obligation is really just learning where to substitute a few words and memorizing a few new sentences. I am having a little trouble keeping the two Obligations separate in my head in certain sections, but it has not been a chore to learn the new one. I managed to be able to recite it in about 2 hours of study, so it only took me about 5-10% of the time to learn this one.
A Brother told me that once you memorize a few things, the process takes much less effort once you retrain your brain to do it. I am finding this to be true while I have been working on the questions and answers. For all of the Entered Apprentices who are struggling with learning their catechism, it does get easier.
The last section that I need to learn is the portion that deals with the signs, grips, tokens, passwords etc. There is about 30% more work here than in the previous degree, and this is the portion that we will be working on when we meet to practice.
My Master Mason ceremony is scheduled for May 25, so that leaves me with 6 weeks to prepare. Our 3rd degree ceremonies are all going to be individual, so that adds a little more pressure, but I am looking forward to it!
This is my 20th post on Freemasonry and my experiences as a Freemason. Here is the Table of Contents of my Masonic Journey.