ISSUE 14, July 2005

The King and the Craft
Quarterly Communication: Speech of the Grand Master and Speech of the Pro Grand Master and Report of the Board of General Purposes Supreme Grand Chapter: Speech of the Pro First Grand Principle and Report of the Committee of General Purposes Grand Lodge dues: Message from the President of the Board of General Purposes
    Masonic Housing: Major changes Finance: Choosing an investment manager Travel: Tantalising Tunisia Goose and Gridiron: Historic Masonic unveiling Extravaganza: Hollywood comes to Grand Lodge Masonic Events: Day of Fun and Medical, University and Legal Lodges' Festival Education: Sheffield Masonic Library and Forthcoming events and The Entered Apprentice Specialist Lodges: Revving up to success and where eagles dare International: The horror of Phuket and Grand Charity team visit disaster area Library and Museum: Fraternal societies Masonic Charities: NMSF and RMBI and RMTGB and Grand Charity
Obituaries, Letters, Book reviews, Gardening

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It is most important that you are not an Apprentice in name only. You must be ready at once to begin to examine your own nature, and to work upon it to make you a different and better man.
    It is wise to begin at once to make that Daily Advancement in Masonic Knowledge. This does not mean learning the ritual, it means to study a little Masonic literature, not necessarily at length, but enough to familiarise yourself a little with its history, philosophy, laws and regulations.
    To become a Freemason is a serious and solemn undertaking. Once this step is taken it may well change the course of your life.
    The principal tenets of Freemasonry are Brotherly Love, Relief and Truth.
    It is necessary not to overlook the word ‘principal’, for it signifies that whilst our Fraternity lays the greatest emphasis on these three teachings, yet there are others of almost equal importance.
    By a ‘tenet’ we mean some principle so obviously true, and so universally accepted, that we all believe it without exception. For example, that day follows night. Everyone takes that for granted. That is a ‘tenet’ What then is ‘Brotherly Love’? Manifestly, it means that we place on another man the highest possible valuation as a friend, a companion, an associate or even a neighbour.
    We do not ask that from our relationship we shall make money, or further our business interests or achieve any selfish gain. This is not a hope or a dream, but a fact.
    ‘Relief’ is one form of charity. However, the Masonic concept of the word ‘Relief’ is different. Masonic Relief takes it for granted that any man, no matter who or what he may be may be, through sudden misfortune or conditions outside his control, becomes unable to support himself and his family, may temporarily be in need of a helping hand.
    To provide that help is not what is generally described as charity. It is one of the natural and inevitable acts of Brotherhood.
    The third and last of the principal tenets is ‘Truth’. It means something more than the search for truth in the intellectual sense. Freemasonry’s Motto is “Let there be Light”. In a Brotherhood such as Freemasonry, members must be truthful in character and habit, dependable, men of honour as well of honesty, men on whom we can rely to be faithful fellows and loyal friends.
    These are the principal tenets of the Craft, teachings so obvious that argument is never necessary to sustain them. It is important to remember that they are the tenets of Freemasonry for the simple reason that always and everywhere they have been the tenets of successful human life There is not an item contained within a Masonic Lodge, or a facet in the jewel of Masonic ritual that does not have a symbolic meaning. It is going to take you a Masonic lifetime to discover what they are.
    Then, this fleeting opportunity will not enable you to fully complete your task. This article is too brief to give a complete explanation of even The First Degree.
    It can be no more than a simple example. The ‘hoodwink’ not only represents the darkness in which a candidate stands with regards to his Masonic life, it is more than that. It is:

The anticipation of Masonic illumination of knowledge to come.

Its removal – a reminder of the treasures of darkness.

Its revelation of the hidden riches of secret places.

‘Slipshod’ reminds us of two important extracts from the Bible:
    “ Put off`thy shoes from off thy feet, for the place whereon thou standest is holy ground.”
    “ …a man plucked off his shoe, and gave it to his neighbour and this was a testimony of sincere and truthful intentions.”

The ‘cable tow’ is a symbol of all those external restraints by which a man is controlled by others, or by forces outside himself. If a man does not keep the law of his own free will, he must be compelled to do so. The removal of the cable tow signifies that when a man becomes a Freemason, he learns to be master of himself. By his own character he will keep the law instinctively.
    We hope that these few examples of our symbolic meanings will lead you to seek for more Masonic light, not only to progress your Masonic knowledge, but also for their value to you as a citizen in the world outside.
    As an Entered Apprentice you are now not only a member of your Masonic Lodge, but belong to the Antient Fraternity of Free and Accepted Masons under the United Grand Lodge of England, and you are therefore bound by its laws and regulations.
    Your duties require that you remain faithful to your Obligation that clearly describes what is now required of you. You should study this Obligation very carefully, because both its words and their meaning will remain with you for as long as you live.
    You now possess certain privileges that entitle you sit in a Masonic Lodge opened in the First Degree. You are now permitted to attend as a visitor other Lodges within our Constitution, but you would be wise, at this very early stage, to attend only when accompanied by either your Proposer, Seconder or Lodge Mentor.
    You are now expected, as part of your duties, to begin to learn, and above all understand, the required portions of Masonic ritual so that you can prove yourself to be proficient in order to advance to the next stage of your Masonic career.
    From now on, and throughout your Masonic career, make it your personal objective to make your Daily Advancement in Masonic Knowledge. There is so much to learn, and there is no time to be wasted.
    To begin with, find out what is meant by “The Grand Charity”. There is an officer in your Lodge called the ‘Almoner’ – ask him for some information.
    Finally, you should have received, at your Initiation, a Book of Constitutions. This is the set of rules and regulations. You may find to read it is hard going.
    Just take a few ‘snippets’ from time to time will be helpful.

With acknowledgement to MSANA: Tried and Proven – A Lodge System of Masonic Instruction

Ray Hollins is the author of A Daily Advancement in Masonic Knowledge and One Hundred Short Talks on the Craft.
    For further information telephone The Freemason Ltd on 0870 922 0352 or go to

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