Master Mason to Senior Steward in One Week

June 2, 2007

Surprise One week after being raised to the Sublime Degree of a Master Mason, I found myself performing the duties of the Senior Steward during an Initiation Degree.  Mind you, I didn’t say that I performed them well or with any confidence, since I didn’t really have a clue what I was doing.

I arrived late at the Lodge only a minute or two before the Lodge was to open.  As I entered the Lodge, I was immediately accosted by our Master Of Ceremonies who informed me that our Senior Steward had not yet arrived, and that they needed me to to fill in for him until he did. 

At this moment, I realized just how little I actually knew about the rituals that go on inside a Lodge.  Of course I had some sort of idea what a Steward did, but I didn’t really know the details – and ritual work is all about the details. 

It turned out that I managed to get through everything, with quick little instructions from the Junior Warden and the Junior Steward right before I was supposed to do something.  I also managed not to hear the Worshipful Master every time he called the Senior Steward to do something, but thankfully a chorus of “that’s you!” always magically appeared from behind me.

Our Lodge Secretary is also the District Deputy Grand Master.  His term is just coming to a close so this was to be the last time that he was going to be in our Lodge in that capacity.  We did a ceremony for him which I could only describe as being a final salute to the work that he did over the last year.  I played a part in his final grand entrance into the Lodge and managed to stumble along with him to the Altar.  There were a few speeches and then the entire Lodge seemed to erupt in a bizarre pattern of clapping and stomping in perfect unison. 

I seemed to be the only person in the room who had never seen this before.  I was already feeling inadequate in my role as a Steward, but now I was also feeling like a Masonic Noob or Entered Apprentice again.  

The one thing that I truly understood, was that even though I am now a Master Mason, but I really don’t seem to know anything yet.  I went through the three degrees and have memorized my obligations and questions so far to “prove-up”, but I am still very, very green.  I asked a Brother later that night how long it took him to feel comfortable in the Lodge and he replied that it took about 3 years before he really understood what was going on. 

The Entered Apprentice Degree went over well and thankfully I only had a very small part.  I sweated all night waiting to be relieved from the “real” Senior Steward, but he never came. 

This is my 25th post on Freemasonry and my experiences as a Freemason.  Here is the Table of Contents of my Masonic Journey.



  1. Congratulations for rising to the challange.

    Two weeks after I was raised, I was told I was going to fill in for the Junior Deacon as his schedule would keep him out of the Lodge for most of the year. Now I find myself the Senior Deacon.

    I’d suggest proving up quickly and getting a copy of the cipher. You’ll need to start memorizing NOW….


  2. LOL – very funny! I had the same situation a month ago, being asked to fill in as JD, when I hadn’t even been in lodge yet other than as an initiate/candidate. I had no idea what I was supposed to do! Luckily, they found someone else to do it and I was asked to be SS. Still, I didn’t know what to do, but like you was guided through the process. After having gone through the process once now, I have just a little more confidence. I’ve been asked again to be the JD for next week’s lodge, and you can be sure I’ll be prepared this time. I just hope they don’t want me to do SD anytime soon!!

    Good job! Keep going!

  3. but thankfully a chorus of “that’s you!” always magically appeared from behind me.

    Ah yes, I think we’ve all been there, Brother!

    And know what? It took me a good two years before I felt “at home” in the lodge – not from anything that the brothers did, but it simply took that long to see enough things to understand what was expected and what I should be doing.

    No worries, I’m sure you’re doing fine.

  4. I found your blog today and read the whole thing through. I have a similar experience. During my degree work, I was blindfolded at all points prior to giving my obligation for each degree, and was outside the lodge room at any time that didn’t involve instruction or lecture. Further, I went through my degrees in 3 months, so I had absolutely no knowledge of how a lodge worked. The meeting the month after my raising(last week to be exact), I came down to the dinner that occurred before the meeting in which they were doing EA work. I was told that I had been given a “Battlefield Commission” to be the Inside Sentinel as many officers had to do move up one step and do someone else’s position. Given that I’d never been present in a full working lodge, the prospect of simply walking, opening doors, handling disturbances and aiding in the conducting of one of the 5 candidates was a bit unnerving. My respect for the effort put into such seemingly simple tasks during ritual is greatly strengthened, and the officers of my lodge know they now have a new guy looking to get ‘in line’ quickly. I’m not entirely sure if that wasn’t what they planned from the start. 😉

  5. The theory is to get the new brethren into the chairs as quickly as possible. This helps to instill what they have learned going through the first 3 degrees. Often times a new brother will be Raised, then join the Shrine or the Scottish Rite and never return to the blue lodge. We try to get you in the chairs as then they feel an obligation to come to the regular communications and continue their learning experience by being an active participant in degree work. It is a bit scary at first, but we all have done it. It is part of learning the Secrets. Being raised to Master Mason is just the beginning of your journey. I felt physically and mentally different after my raising. I felt that I had become a better man, for ever to walk and act as such. Congratulations brother on your raising.

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