Why Masonic Education?
Article by Paul C. Smith, Grand Education Officer
We saw a video last month from our Grand Master in which he stated the reason why Masonic Education is one of his pillars: “A knowledgeable Mason is a respected Mason…an informed Mason is an impactful Mason.”
How true indeed.
Masonic education goes hand in hand with the ritual. One is useless without the other. An expert orator can deliver the most well-rehearsed, flowery, and emphasized ritual during a degree, but if he doesn’t understand what is he saying, is it as impactful? How many times has a candidate heard a great performance and then asked, “what does that part mean?” I’ve only seen it a handful of times in recent memory, but we should be able to answer and answer well.
That is why, in great part, your Grand Lodge Education Committee has spent the past many years working on programs for your lodges to get into some of the meanings and histories of the words we use, and WHY we use them.
Beyond that, the Mason who knows some of our histories and mysteries will be better enabled to answer questions from the profane about the why’s, what’s, when’s, where’s, who’s, and how’s of Freemasonry. You’ve heard it said that many approaching the Craft these days are doing their homework and have many questions prepared for when they start to ask. We do them and ourselves a great disservice if we are unable to answer.
From a broader sense, let’s mention briefly Masonic Education IS: Masonic education is a discussion on the ritual; it’s a discussion on what lessons or meanings are conveyed; it’s a discussion on the use of the Holy Bible and the scriptures therein (NOT religion in specific terms); it’s reading books and talking about them; it’s writing our thoughts down; it’s seeking LIGHT.
As you see, education can be a broad thing in the Craft. Education should be a fundamental focus of every lodge, just as performing ritual is. We are fortunate to have wonderful men serving you as District Deputy Grand Education Officers whose chief focus is to deliver and assist you in delivering education at your meetings.
While it is wonderful to have guests come and talk about the community, their experiences, historical events, etc., that is NOT Masonic education in the sense that we are able to assist you. But we will be able to assist you greatly very soon.
In the coming months, on our Grand Lodge website, a new feature will be added whereby a Speaker’s Bureau will highlight many offerings by Masons throughout our jurisdiction that you can contact to speak on a variety of topics that may be of interest to your lodges.
I will close with the words of our Grand Master, “an informed Mason is an impactful Mason.” YOU can make a difference not only in your own Masonic education path but perhaps others as well. Freemasonry is counting on you.