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Five People in Class??

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dmcauliffe View Drop Down
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    Posted: September/13/2014 at 6:29am
Greetings Brothers and forum members.

On the 19th of August I was initiated into a lodge under the jurisdiction of the MWPHGL of Hawaii. So far I am very happy about my decision and I look forward to my Masonic journey.

I have two questions. Well, one is more of a statement than a question. Well, I guess both are, in all actuality, statements.

First of all, when I was initiated I was brought in with one other Brother. He and I have already developed somewhat of a rapport. However, one more Brother was added to our class, and we will be adding two more on the 16th of this month. Now, I have some issues with this. Perhaps some of the Brothers here could give me some insight. I feel as though more than two to a class (three at the absolute most) takes away from the learning experience for the individual. While I understand the importance of fellowship and brotherhood and the importance of these ideals to Freemasonry, I also understand that we are our own ashlars and that Masonry is also ultimately about improving oneself. Introspection, self-growth, etc. How can I truly benefit in an environment where I can learn my ob, tools, etc. verbatim (and study them from a deeper perspective) in a week or two when I have to worry about whether or not one of the three add-ons can memorize and learn everything in time? I don't mean to insult these brothers. I have never met them. It just seems to me that this is a delicate and important process and the fact that they are throwing five of us together makes me think they're more concerned with upping lodge numbers or receiving more dues or whatever the case may be than truly making Masons. It's like being in school: the bigger the school, the more the students become nameless, faceless entities. The smaller the school, the more the teschers csn interact with the students,

That said, I am grateful for the Brothers who have taken the time out to help teach me and my original cabletow. We have some very knowledgeable and wise old heads in our Lodge, and they really stress the importance of intellectually understanding this noble Craft.

As far as the second question goes, I think I'll post that separately. i also forgot to mention that a lot of these brothers are military or ex-military , which is evident when we meet. Many aspects of their military mentality, including the idea that there is no individual success, only team success, are evident in our interactions. Well, whatever. I just am not too cool with having five people in the class.

Edited by dmcauliffe - September/13/2014 at 6:36am
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edwmax View Drop Down
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote edwmax Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: September/13/2014 at 7:38am
If you learn your catechism & OB, then the class size wouldn't matter. And, with class discussions you might see other views that you haven't thought of.

Usually with classes like this, the catechism is given to Lodge in a 'round robin' fashion.  This may be a benefit for the slower learning candidates.

But more often, classes put together in this fashion is indicative of a possible Lodge & Degree team scheduling problem to put on the Degrees; and/or availability of well trained Coaches.
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote droche Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: September/13/2014 at 10:02am
I think there was a similar thread about this subject not too long ago. I think I posted on that thread that in a perfect world, putting one candidate at a time through the degrees is optimal. The lone candidate gets the attention he deserves and is made to feel special, which he is and should be. On the other hand, when there are multiple candidates going through, doing one candidate at a time puts a strain on the officers who must perform the degree work, and, more importantly, it would delay the candidates going through the "back end" of the process which is unfair to them. I am a strong believer that once an applicant is accepted for membership, get them going right away. That is when their interest and motivation is at its highest and it shows that the lodge has an interest in them.

So, it is a dilemma for which there is no easy answer. Massachusetts has a limit of five candidates at a time and while I have never heard the specific rationale for this rule, I suspect that it is an attempt to reach a happy medium between the two opposing goals of giving individual attention and getting candidates through. Years ago, some lodges could have close to a hundred or more candidates applying for and approved for membership each year, so while five at a time might seem high by today's standards, years ago it might have been barely enough in some lodges.

That said, I agree with Ed. If you listen to the lectures during the degrees and do your memory work it really shouldn't matter how many others are there with you and what their backgrounds and opinions are. In my First Degree lecture, there was a part about Masonry uniting men from every country, sect and opinion. Concentrate on what the lectures say, not what they say.

So, I see your point but in the grand scheme of things, it is not that big a deal. Keep your eye on the big enchilada.
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote Caution1010 Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: September/13/2014 at 4:00pm
Speaking as a PHA Mason...eh...you just have seen some problems with a lot of the candidate processes within out tradition of the craft and you explained them perfectly.

Freemasonry is a man's personal journey, focus on your self-development and growing in the light you seem to be growing inside of you.

When you become a MM (or rather if), you will find a lot of the older brothers who are in stale mode or have not sought the personal light for themselves. You will also encounter a plethora of organizational bullcrap ( I can not find a better term to describe what you will see when you see it)

My point is, figure out what's the most important and what your goal is and keep your eye on it. Don't be swayed or dismayed by what goes on around you. Like I said, it is a personal journey. Do what is best for you.
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote Caution1010 Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: September/13/2014 at 4:01pm
FYI, I have seen as many as 8 get initiated in a lodge...and I've heard of 10-12.
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote dmcauliffe Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: September/14/2014 at 8:32am
Greetings Bro. Caution.
I'm happy to read your response. I've been perusing this forum for a long time now (especially the PHA section) and you've always got some good insight.

When my cabletow and I were initiated, we shared that experience together. I know the other brothers will have shared it too when they are initiated. In fact we get to witness the process this Tuesday. It will be interesting seeing what happens from the other side of it.

Anyway, I say that to say, the brother and I already have developed a sort of relationship. We both studied our material together. Now, had we been initiated with these other brothers at the same time, it would have been fine. What doesn't sit well with me is that these brothers are coming two, three, four weeks after us. Again, I understand the importsnce of fraternity and fellowship, but to have to start again from the beginning, so to speak, isn't something I particularly am looking forward to. I don't want to sound selfish or self-centered. As an EA i've already seen the love being shared in and outside of the lodge. But I have already studied the necessary material and am quite comfortable with it. If it were just me and my original CT we could build on the same level. Now it's like...we have to include three other dudes we don't know. I guess I'm just new to the whole "team" thing, and given the fact that the Brothers in my lodge are almost 100% affiliated with the military in some way, this mentality is even more evident. I am keeping an open mind about it all, and as I said, I look forward to the journey. Just needed a place to get this off my chest.
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote dmcauliffe Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: September/14/2014 at 8:36am
Yes Bro. Droche, I actually came across that thread. Being new to the forum, I just wanted to post something from my personal perspective. The thread was, however, very informative.

I hear what you're saying about keeping my eye on the bigger picture. Also I didn't even think about what it must be like for the officers. I forgot they have their parts to play too. I'll keep all that in mind as I navigate through this journey. Regardless of the class size, I'm happy and honored to have been welcomed into the Craft.
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote Caution1010 Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: September/15/2014 at 2:04am
Originally posted by dmcauliffe dmcauliffe wrote:

Greetings Bro. Caution.
I'm happy to read your response. I've been perusing this forum for a long time now (especially the PHA section) and you've always got some good insight.

When my cabletow and I were initiated, we shared that experience together. I know the other brothers will have shared it too when they are initiated. In fact we get to witness the process this Tuesday. It will be interesting seeing what happens from the other side of it.

Anyway, I say that to say, the brother and I already have developed a sort of relationship. We both studied our material together. Now, had we been initiated with these other brothers at the same time, it would have been fine. What doesn't sit well with me is that these brothers are coming two, three, four weeks after us. Again, I understand the importsnce of fraternity and fellowship, but to have to start again from the beginning, so to speak, isn't something I particularly am looking forward to. I don't want to sound selfish or self-centered. As an EA i've already seen the love being shared in and outside of the lodge. But I have already studied the necessary material and am quite comfortable with it. If it were just me and my original CT we could build on the same level. Now it's like...we have to include three other dudes we don't know. I guess I'm just new to the whole "team" thing, and given the fact that the Brothers in my lodge are almost 100% affiliated with the military in some way, this mentality is even more evident. I am keeping an open mind about it all, and as I said, I look forward to the journey. Just needed a place to get this off my chest.


Freemasonry is about the individual. Lodge business is about the team. There are two different things. The pursuit of freemasonry and what interests you about freemasonry are yours and yours alone. No one can rob you of that as long as you have access to the rights of a mason (i.e dues paying mason)

Lodge business is more in line with the actions and decisions made by the lodge. Typically in non-black-ball motions and such, if the majority carries for it, everybody rolls with it. That's just the way most organizations work. The question is if your mindset is almost the same as that of the majority, in which case if it isn't you should find another lodge that fits you better eventually.

I understand you're a bit salty about the whole add 4 situation, but the truth is your lodge is probably not even thinking of that dynamic. I bet they are more about getting the most masons raised in the most efficient manner possible. Your lodge will not be alone in thinking that way.
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