Education is key to Freemasonry. It begins with the conferral of the three degrees, but that is only the start.
John Locke (1632Ė1704) had some interesting thoughts about
education. The following is taken from Some Thoughts Concerning
A SOUND mind in a sound body, is a short, but full description of a happy state in this world. He that has these two, has little more to wish for; and he that wants either of them, will be but little the better for any thing else. Menís happiness or misery is most part of their own making. He, whose mind directs not wisely, will never take the right way; and he, whose body is crazy and feeble, will never be able to advance in it. I confess, there are some menís constitutions of body and mind so vigorous, and well framíd by nature, that they need not much assistance from others; but by the strength of their natural genius, they are from their cradles carried towards what is excellent; and by the privilege of their happy constitutions, are able to do wonders. But examples of this kind are but few; and I think I may say, that of all the men we meet with, nine parts of ten are what they are, good or evil, useful or not, by their education. íTis that which makes the great difference in mankind. The little, or almost insensible impressions on our tender infancies, have very important and lasting consequences: and there ítis, as in the fountains of some rivers, where a gentle application of the hand turns the flexible waters in channels, that make them take quite contrary courses; and by this direction given them at first in the source, they receive different tendencies, and arrive at last at very remote and distant places.
A major emphasis of mine during 2007-2008 will be Masonic Education. These pages will grow rapidly as the year progresses. However, while the educational material is being prepared, here are some interesting articles about leadership.
Jay Cole Simser has prepared an excellent paper detailing some required steps for a successful term of office. It is titled 7 Steps to Success. Jay is a professional educator (retired) and a Past Grand High Priest of the Grand Chapter, Royal Arch Masons of Iowa.
Phillip van Hooser, is a FORTUNE 500 manager and a leadership development authority. He has written an interesting paper entitled 20 Sins of Management. It describes some things NOT to do.
The Grand Lodge of Iowa has a wealth of articles available on line that are both interesting and useful. For a complete list of then, click HERE.
Education is especially important for leaders of the craft. Here is what Preston said about it in Illustrations of Freemasonry.
Were the brethren who preside at our meetings to be properly instructed previous to their appointment, and duly apprised of the importance of the offices they are chosen to support, a general reformation would speedily take place. This conduct would establish the propriety of our government and lead men to acknowledge that our honours were not undeservedly conferred; the ancient consequence of the Order would be restored, and the reputation of the Society preserved. Till genuine merit shall distinguish our claim to the honours of Masonry, and regularity of deportment display the influence and utility of our rules, the world in general will not be led to reconcile our proceedings with our professions.
Here is the Education Presentation from the 2007 Grand Master's Area Meetings.
And here is an short excerpt from The Lion's Paw, a Masonic novel written by Carl Claudy in 1944. The entire book is well written and worthy of your attention. It can be checked out from the Iowa Masonic Library. This excerpt describes a new candidates impressions of a lodge, good and ill.
Specifically, Warden training is focused on the mechanics of lodge management. A Warden or other junior Lodge officer must be preparing himself to be Master. As such, there are many things he needs to learn about the mechanics of running a lodge. These include opening and closing lodge, running a stated meeting, preparing and following a budget, planning and executing events, making committee appointments, maintaining discipline in the lodge, thoroughly understanding and following Grand Lodge Law and the Bylaws of his lodge, etc. These may seem boring, but they must be learned in order to have a successful year as Master.
Masters training is a little different. As a Master, the primary objective is to "set the craft at work and give them proper instruction". That means he must execute all those things that he learned as a Warden, but he must also EDUCATE the members of his lodge. He must educate his Wardens so they may successfully follow him in office. He must educate the lodge members, so they can continue in their course of life-long-education promised by the lodge, and he must educate candidates. Obviously, he cannot do these alone. He will need the assistance of his officers and the lodge members.
Candidate training is largely through the degree conferral, but that is only a small part of the story. It all starts with the top line signer explaining Freemasonry in initial terms. This is followed up by the Visiting Committee when they discuss Freemasonry further with the candidate, and explore how he fits into it. Then there are the degrees. But in between the degrees, there are the three enlightenment courses, one for each degree. And then the degrees are done and the final enlightenment course is complete. Is this education done then? Of course not. It is just beginning. But at this point, the new member becomes more, but not entirely, responsible for his own education. That is still largely the responsibility of the Master to ensure that he has the help and guidance that he needs. In the absence of formal training, here are a couple books by Carl Claudy that can go a long way toward starting the new member on his investigation about what this fraternity that he just joined is all about. Here they are.
The Old Past Master
Old Tiler Talks
These pages are the holders of the formal education programs.
Ritual and Candidate Training