On Candidate Instruction
The initiates were fortunate in their instructor. Past Master Tolliver was an instructor of the newer school. He believed that the “good and wholesome instruction” supposed to emanate from the East should be actual, not rhetorical. Well informed from much reading and study, he was able to answer those questions with which candidates so often embarrass instructors; question not covered by the ritual.
“What was the Lodge of the Holy Sts. John at Jerusalem?” “What is the cable tow for?” “Why does circumambulation occur from East to West by the way of the South instead of the North?”
Most importantly, he volunteered an explanation of Masonic penalties. “They were never enforced, at least since the beginning of the modern era of 1717. We must read them … as symbolic.
[Blank Lodge] is one of thousands, neither better nor worse. It possesses its enthusiastic brethren, its little “ring” or “gang” which carries on, fills the chairs, does the committee work, loves and labors for it. It has also its “knife and fork” Masons who turn out en masse for an entertainment, a “feed” or a … visitation, but who are conspicuously by their absence as funerals and Fellowcraft’s degrees. [There} were several real students; Masons who delighted in the Craft’s romantic history, the quiet but important part Freemasonry has played in secular history, especially that of the United States, her symbolism, her antiquities and her ramifications. Like the Masons of many another lodge, [Blank] members will vote freely from the treasury for relief, and fight bitterly among themselves over the question of raising dues a dollar a year. Her leadership was average. [Blank Lodge] elects to the foot of the line and moves officers up year by year nine times out of ten. Too often the Junior Steward was elected because of personal popularity, occasionally from indifference. Seldom was he picked because by thoughtful consideration as the best possible brother to be Master seven years hence. Just an average lodge, sturdy in Masonic ideals, sometimes wavering in Masonic practice, it muddled through somehow, showing a steady growth. But not a lodge continually to impress a new brother who believed that Freemasonry was Godlike, that all Freemasons were regenerated men.
On Candidate Treatment
The candidate unconsciously absorbs the idea that he is important. For months as an initiate, a Fellow of the Craft, he is conducted, talked to, talked at, considered, made much of. He receives hours of instruction. After each degree brethren crowd around to shake his hand, welcoming him to his lodge. Raised a Master Mason, he ceases suddenly to be the center of interest. Another candidate is initiated. He becomes but one of many upon the benches. Unless the truth is impressed upon him that he can take from a bank only the money he deposits, whether that bank be a financial institution or a fraternal order, he is apt to be bewildered when the brethren cease to single him out for a special welcome.