Monday, December 22, 2008

The Day Finally Arrived!

This evening I became a Master Mason, the highest and most important degree in the Blue Lodge. I can say without a doubt that it was an extremely rewarding and memorable experience that I will never forget. I enjoyed it so much, I'm a little sad that it's over and wish I had the opportunity to go through it again. While going through the degree, I was dreading that it would eventually come to an end, and wish I could go through all three degrees again some day if it were possible. Kind of like a when a married couple decides to renew their wedding vows, in a sense. I felt so special to walk into my Lodge lobby this evening and see so many well dressed Brethren who came from afar and were waiting for me....The VIP, I was so flattered!

Now I must work on my MM proficiency, and look forward to becoming very active in my Lodge and help out as much as I can in all of its activities. I appreciate the time and dedication the Brethren dedicate, and have come to recognize and appreciate where the term Brotherly Love comes from! I received awesome gifts and mementos that I did not see coming. I left Lodge today with a VERY SPECIAL FEELING, and look forward to the work that's cut out for me in the near future.

Saturday, December 13, 2008

Today I passed my Fellowcraft Proficiency

Well after being out of the loop with my Masonic Brothers quite some time, I decided to make an extra effort in my busy schedule and get back to my degree work. Today, I was fortunate to pass my FC proficiency exam and am scheduled to receive my Master Mason's degree in a couple weeks. I am thrilled to be back in the saddle again and look forward to an exciting 2009 with my Lodge!

Thursday, June 26, 2008

It's official, I'm a FC Mason

The ceremony went without a hitch last night, and Brethren drove as far as from the neighboring town of Las Cruces, NM to be there...about 50 miles. All along, I thought I had this down, but suddenly began to feel nervous and anxious as in my EA degree. They definitely did a good job of maintaining the element of surprise in every aspect. I truly had no clue what to expect, although I had read a snippet or two on the web about it. Again, an overwhelming and exciting experience I will never forget. I resume coaching next week with our district instructor, who assured me that this time around it would be a lot shorter, and that he hoped we could do my proficiency by our next stated meeting on July 10th.

Wednesday, June 25, 2008

Tonight I will become a Fellowcraft Mason

I know I haven't posted in a while, but I am happy to say that I passed my Entered Apprentice proficiency a couple of weeks ago. I did all three parts at once, thanks to the coaching of our district instructor who is a true expert! I was praised by all who attended, and was even told that it was one of the best proficiencies they had ever heard. So all of this means that I have now earned the privilege of becoming a Fellowcraft Mason or 2nd Degree Mason, and this will happen at 7:00PM tonight. I must admit, I am quite nervous as I recall some of the emotions I felt during my initiation. I really do not know what to expect, and am nervous that all of the attention will be centered around me. I hope not to make any mistakes or have to remember something from my EA proficiency that I might not recall. The night after I finished my proficiency, I was told by almost everyone that it was all downhill and easy from here on, that I had completed the toughest task. It did feel like a great weight was lifted off of my shoulders, but that doesn't mean I'm not up to challenges. I'll update tomorrow on how my degree went. I suspect it will be another overwhelmingly rewarding experience.

Thursday, May 29, 2008

Back in the saddle again

After yet another break, I have finally resumed my coaching and it seems like I will doing my EA proficiency very soon. My friend and first coach E. accepted a great job offer in another city and had to stop being my coach. He referred me to our local district instructor, which is great, because now I have our most proficient person as my coach. Tomorrow is the State of Texas Grand Master Banquet which I am really looking forward to.

Thursday, March 27, 2008

About Earning

I think this reply from justamason deserves a post:

"J .. it's nice to hear you'd like to learn the other parts of the proficiency in your jurisdiction. But remember things are different elsewhere. The Emulation work of England requires the EA to learn the answers to 11 questions, and that's it. No obligation. It's been that way for almost 200 years. Certainly no one would suggest no English Mason has "earned" their degree.Conversely, some European jurisdictions require a year between degrees and a paper to be written and defended in open Lodge. It would be equally incorrect to suggest American Masons have not "earned" their degree because they don't go such rigour."

I apologize for generalizing, I believe that any Mason has earned his degree if he completes the requirements of his jurisdiction. What upsets me is when, for example in Texas, some lodges decide to bend the rules that have been established by the Grand Lodge of Texas and allow shortcuts in order to gain more members. I also find it sad that some lodges in our jurisdiction could care less about doing quality degree work, and rely on another lodge to bail them out during rituals, because they do not care to maintain their proficiency at an acceptable level.

Again I apologize for generalizing and truly believe that if an English Mason completes what is required of him, that he has equally earned his degree as I have. And would disagree that he has earned it if his lodge offered him a shorter route just to gain more members.

All that being said, It is my opinion, that every Mason in the world should make an effort to learn as much as possible about the Craft. I personally feel that learning all 3 parts makes me more proficient, perhaps allowing me the opportunity to someday confer a degree upon another, based on what I have learned.

Wednesday, March 26, 2008

And...still chiseling

I know it's been a while, but believe it or not I am still chiseling. After being given the option of doing my proficiency on only the first part of the EA...I chickened out (perhaps not) and decided to learn the whole enchilada...all three parts. I was surprised to learn that some lodges in my area do not require the 2nd & 3rd part. I believe that this is totally ridiculous. I think that especially young Entered Apprentice Masons want to EARN their degrees, actually demand it. I truly hope that this new generation of Masons will help Change our fraternity; and yes, I did capitalize Change on purpose.

Wednesday, March 5, 2008

Still chiseling

I know I haven't posted in a while, but I'm still chiseling away at my EA proficiency. I've been pretty overwhelmed with school, work and family; but have managed to still meet with my coach about 2-3 times per week. He thinks I'm ready for the 1st part for sure, and thinks I should be able to do the whole thing in one night. But the way things have been going, I think I'll go for the first part only, then continue with the rest. I'll keep you posted!

Tuesday, January 22, 2008

The Knife and Fork Degree

I got a kick out of this on our weekly newsletter from, I hope I never get this degree! ;)

- The Knife and Fork Degree -

I do not attend the meetings
for I've not the time to spare.
But every time they have a feast
You'll surely find me there.

I cannot help with the degrees
for I do not know the work.
But I can applaud the speaker
and handle the knife and fork.

I am so rusty in the ritual that
It seems like Greek to me.
But practice makes me perfect
in the knife and fork degree.

Saturday, January 12, 2008

Masonic Funeral Service

Brotherly Love, Relief and Truth are Masonry’s principle tenets and what better example than what I experienced yesterday at the Masonic funeral of a Brother who was flown in from Seattle. He had no family or friends in El Paso and only El Paso Masons along with the U.S. Army attended his service. Brother Robert Clifton Melius passed away at age 88. He served in World War II, received the Purple Heart and was a Past Master of Mount Moriah Lodge in Germany, as well as being a member of St. Johns Lodge #8 in Seattle and of Ionic Lodge.

What really touched me was the fact that his Lodge Brother Ken, flew down to El Paso and arranged for him to be buried at Ft. Bliss National Cemetery as Brother Melius had wished. I was touched to notice that there was quite an age difference between Ken and Brother Melius. And to see that Ken, a young man in his 30’s would take the time, effort and money necessary to ensure that his Lodge Brother’s wishes were carried out is what Freemasonry is all about. I have never witnessed such commitment and dedication to another person outside of one’s own family as I did yesterday. After the service, Ken invited us for breakfast at a local diner where he shared with us the fact that Brother Melius thought that no one would care to come to his funeral, that they would just dig a hole in the ground and put him in it. Well that wasn’t the case. Over a dozen El Paso Masons should up and performed what I thought was a beautiful and respectful service. I felt so proud to have become a member of this great Fraternity and have never felt like I did something so “right” in a long time. What was equally rewarding was to see the look of gratitude and amazement on Ken’s face as he got out of his rental car at the cemetery and saw all of us there. I get a kick out of all of the conspiracy theorists after going through an experience like this. It’s easy for people who do not have a clue about something, to fear it. Anyway, that’s a topic for another day.

Bob's Memorial ws published on St. John's #9 website
Robert Clifton Melius - 1/15/19 - 12/24/07

Thursday, January 10, 2008

Another EA Degree

Yesterday I had the opportunity to witness the initiation of a new young Brother. It was interesting to see the whole ritual from another perspective, and witness the nervousness and anxiousness followed by that particular feeling of joy and accomplishment once the degree is conferred. I felt proud to be able to attend a lodge meeting opened on the EA degree and wear my apron while feeling like part of the team for once, rather than the lonely candidate seeking acceptance.
This degree was performed at the El Maida Shrine Temple, which provided me with the opportunity to meet Brethren from two other lodges in El Paso and tour the amazing facility while getting a glimpse of this other appendant body of Freemasonry called the Shriners of North America.

Monday, January 7, 2008

Back to the quarries!

I was contacted by my coaching Brother and will resume my preparation for my EA proficiency tomorrow. I missed not being in contact with my Brethren during the holidays. But it's a new year and I'm ready to go at it as full speed as possible, considering family, work and school. I'll keep you all posted!