Your opinion please!

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Your opinion please!

Postby Paul.w » Wed Mar 23, 2011 8:29 pm

Having just about finished with my Deacons work I am fully aware of all the nights I had to study my book getting the perambulation correct in my head and at the same time learning all the words for all three ceremonies, especially as my Lodge insists on them all being done from memory and that included the charge as well.
I now look at the new brethren who are about to start on the ladder and the blank look on there faces as i complete my work, they often comment, and say they will never learn all of it and how did I manage to do it all from memory? I think it should be acceptable to have you book open in a creamery and prompt your self if you need to. When I put this to the committee of witch I am a member, the comments were we have never done it that way and never will. What are you thoughts?

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Re: Your opinion please!

Postby asabovesobelow » Wed Mar 23, 2011 9:35 pm

I agree 100% with the committee.
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Re: Your opinion please!

Postby Peter Taylor » Wed Mar 23, 2011 9:40 pm

I agree with the committee also. There is more to the "Art of Memory" than just being able to memorise the Ritual. Memorisation is done for a purpose.
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Re: Your opinion please!

Postby Bernie » Wed Mar 23, 2011 10:21 pm

I also fully support the committee on this. I don't even believe that the books should be open during LOI.

As for the younger brethren saying they don't know how they are going to manage.... I bet you said the same? I know I did, now I recite most of the master's work, including charge and tracing boards. The preceptor should, if he is not already, be giving them small parts to learn and deliver. Each progressive office builds up on the learning, which I'm sure they will deliver when the time comes.
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Re: Your opinion please!

Postby Chestnut » Wed Mar 23, 2011 10:29 pm

No I dont think a book should be open in a creamery, it may get in the butter. Nor for that matter in a ceremony.

As has been mentioned memorisation is for a reason and is part of the discipline and understanding of FM and its ritual.

However key Brethren can be placed in strategic places to assist with a prompt if required.
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Re: Your opinion please!

Postby Mike Martin » Thu Mar 24, 2011 12:51 am

I agree with the others! The memorisation is part of the learning process, it helps us toward understanding the message of the Ceremonies it is also part of our commitment to the Craft. So it's NOT just because "that's how we've always done it" but actually "because there are very good reasons why Freemasonry makes us do it that way".

Anyway as a Deacon how on earth would you use a Ritual book (unless you're thinking some kind of HUD) with a Candidate in one hand and your wand in the other!! (27) (27)
Last edited by Mike Martin on Thu Mar 24, 2011 8:41 am, edited 1 time in total.
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Re: Your opinion please!

Postby Mike Martin » Thu Mar 24, 2011 1:18 am

Paul.w wrote:I now look at the new brethren who are about to start on the ladder and the blank look on there faces as i complete my work, they often comment, and say they will never learn all of it and how did I manage to do it all from memory?

I've just re-read this bit and I'm concerned that it gives the impression that it is going to your head a bit. Hundreds of thousands of us have progressed through the Offces and we ALL started off not having a clue and uncertain of our abilities.

If you want to be a leader you should be encouraging them and telling them how you managed it, NOT trying to dumb it down and selling them short as if they're not just as capable as you.
Last edited by Mike Martin on Thu Mar 24, 2011 8:42 am, edited 1 time in total.
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Re: Your opinion please!

Postby traveller » Thu Mar 24, 2011 8:24 am

Learning the ritual is always difficult and the older you get, the harder it gets. Here in South Africa, we have the added problem that a good percentage of our members don't have English as their first or even second language. (Many are Afrikaaners and their first language could be described as a mixture of German & Dutch).

This means that some of our ritual isn't as good as it'd be in a British lodge and pronunciation sometimes/often get's mangled but despite that, we rarely see a book being used in the Craft at least.......

In some other degrees they are unfortunately used more than I would personally like.

Going back to the original question, I agree with the committee.
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Re: Your opinion please!

Postby wayne cowley » Thu Mar 24, 2011 9:03 am

I'm with the majority - far better to learn and understand the ritual

I can think of very few exceptions where I would support reading

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Re: Your opinion please!

Postby bboy » Thu Mar 24, 2011 10:13 am

We don't allow a ritual book in the Lodge, except when working the mark, and only then as a prompt. I have stated it before the ritual encourages us to learn it. Rhetoric, mentioned in the second degree guides us to learn, understand and deliver the ritual. This is sadly glossed over these days.

As others have said, anyone who has taken the chair of King Solomon (well maybe not all) have worked damn hard to learn and understand the ritual, it is possible for anyone to do. As we get older we feel we no longer need to learn, our ritual tells us otherwise "as you increase in knowledge you will improve in social intercourse. If someone can't grasp the ritual straight away give them as much time as they need, but they have to be willing to learn.

Oh and as you may have guessed, I agree with the committee!
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Re: Your opinion please!

Postby JulesTheBit » Thu Mar 24, 2011 10:25 am

Looking at this from a slightly different perspective.... The ceremonies are a vital part of freemasonry, they're what distinguish us from other fraternal organisations. But I'm not convinced that progression in office should be mandatory. There are important jobs in freemasonry such as secretary, treasurer, almoner and charity steward where the ability to deliver ritual is not a pre-requisite.

Many of our Lodges are very small these days, and a supply of new members who will progress is seen as vital to the Lodge's future. It would be better if we accepted that some people can be very good freemasons, even if they don't want to learn and deliver ritual.

One of my Lodges use to have 150 members. Did all of those take office? How could they? Nobody lives long enough! Many of those members were happy to be MMs, enjoy their freemasonry and contribute in other ways than taking progressive office.

Leave the progressive offices to those who really want to do it. That means having fewer, larger Lodges with a balance between ritual delivery and the other aspects of freemasonry. In most UGLE Lodges there's an assumption of progression in office from teh very start. That's wrong, IMO

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Re: Your opinion please!

Postby Peter Taylor » Thu Mar 24, 2011 10:36 am

JulesTheBit wrote:Leave the progressive offices to those who really want to do it. That means having fewer, larger Lodges with a balance between ritual delivery and the other aspects of freemasonry. In most UGLE Lodges there's an assumption of progression in office from the very start. That's wrong, IMO

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I agree Jules! Not everybody want to be a Ritualist.... I know my Lodge "needs" MMs that are painters, joiners, electricians, musicians, organisers, cooks, or simply attending regularly, etc etc... there are many ways for Brethren to contribute to the overall well being of the Lodge besides the Ritual.
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Re: Your opinion please!

Postby Leslie » Thu Mar 24, 2011 11:29 am

As someone once told me "if all the roses in the world were red, it wouldn't be a very colourful place!"...
Personally, I'm grateful for different people, doing different roles and value their input regardless ;)
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Re: Your opinion please!

Postby Phil Hopkins » Thu Mar 24, 2011 11:49 am

As one of the junior brethren in my lodge, I still find it daunting to watch the Deacons, Wardens & Master doing their bit. The sheer amount of ritual that they have to remember is quite immense. Having taken the first step onto the ladder, and being tasked with the first tools in May, I do feel a bit of pressure to get the ritual into my head. This is no bad thing for me though, so far I'm actually enjoying the challenge.

It wouldn't be half so rewarding if you were able to read or be prompted from your ritual book. So as one of the junior brethren, I'm also with the committee on this one.
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Re: Your opinion please!

Postby DaveLump » Thu Mar 24, 2011 1:36 pm

Everyone starts by thinking "blimey I dont think i could do that!"

However by regular attendance and staying awake during the ceremony you learn alot more than you realise. Then if you go to your LOIs and rehearsals and actively take part you learn even more. Soon you realise that you can learn these small bits of ritual like the tools.

The effort you put in to the learning pays off in much greater returns. I never thought i would be able to do the masters work but now as i reach the end of my year in the chair i have really enjoyed the learning.

The best thing to do is work out how you personally learn things and once you discover the best way to learn then stick to it. Also give yourself enough time to learn it. Set deadlines and dont try to learn it in one go.. learn it sentance by sentance.. then connect those sentances together.

Should books be opened? As a deacon no way! We have one person with an open book during the ceremony and we have designated it to be the treasurer, he is the prompter for the pieces such as charge, TB and TH.

The DC or the IPM should be prompting the master if need be.

The deacons is such a special role that there is no way they should have a book open. Also if you find you cant do then deacons work no matter how hard you try then ritual might not be for you bt doesnt mean you cant support your lodge in many other ways (when i say you i mean people in general not you yourself sir).
Be glad you have completed the work up till now and support the brethren coming through by helping them lear but not by making it easier.
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Re: Your opinion please!

Postby traveller » Thu Mar 24, 2011 2:44 pm

I think the real key to memorising most of the ritual is to attend the LoI on a regular basis AND to realise that the red bits in the book are as important as the rest of the book. Once you realise that, you also realise that there is a reason for every single word and step contained therein and it's rather like putting a jigsaw together. After that, it all becomes a LOT easier.

Then the longer pieces such as the charge to the initiate in the 1st are simply a case of one bit a time and a lot of dedication.
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Re: Your opinion please!

Postby Jayman » Thu Mar 24, 2011 3:49 pm

Add one more vote to memory work.

it makes for a more memorable night for the candidate.
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Re: Your opinion please!

Postby Paul.w » Thu Mar 24, 2011 5:13 pm

Mike Martin wrote:
Paul.w wrote:I now look at the new brethren who are about to start on the ladder and the blank look on there faces as i complete my work, they often comment, and say they will never learn all of it and how did I manage to do it all from memory?

I've just re-read this bit and I'm concerned that it gives the impression that it is going to your head a bit. Hundreds of thousands of us have progressed through the Offces and we ALL started off not having a clue and uncertain of our abilities.

If you want to be a leader you should be encouraging them and telling them how you managed it, NOT trying to dumb it down and selling them short as if they're not just as capable as you.


You have me completely wrong as I often say it's easy to learn and only looks hard because you are not familiar with it, I defiantly DO NOT as you put it "dumb it down and sell them short", I encourage our up and coming Brethren as I was when I first started, I am sorry for giving you the impression that anything has "gone to my head" as I can tell you it has NOT. Your response to such a simple question is not what i expected. But I did ask for your opinion.
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Re: Your opinion please!

Postby Mosaic » Thu Mar 24, 2011 6:15 pm

I feel that the delivery of ritual should definitely be from memory, reading from a book only serves to cheapen it. Ritual may seem difficult at first, it's just a case of doing a little at a time. I'm fairly lucky in that I can pick things up quickly, but it still takes time and effort to learn one line at a time. I was only initiated in December however I will be doing the working tools at my friends first in April.

I find the secret is to learn the first line, then when you have it perfect try the first two, then three etc. I find myself repeating it in the car, shower, walking the dog. I've now taken to working on the delivery, rather than just reciting the words.

I'm also in the process of learning IG, you don't have to wait to be in a post to look at the book.
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Re: Your opinion please!

Postby Mike Martin » Thu Mar 24, 2011 6:21 pm

Paul.w wrote:You have me completely wrong as I often say it's easy to learn and only looks hard because you are not familiar with it, I defiantly DO NOT as you put it "dumb it down and sell them short", I encourage our up and coming Brethren as I was when I first started, I am sorry for giving you the impression that anything has "gone to my head" as I can tell you it has NOT. Your response to such a simple question is not what i expected. But I did ask for your opinion.
I did only say that it tended to give the impression, hence why I asked. Please don't suspect me of more than I write, I'm a very open person and BTW my answer to your enquiry was in the post above that one.

However, you have led me into a couple of questions: If you are encouraging them to learn it just as you have, why would you wish to have Ritual books open in Lodge? Also, do you not accept the benefits that I detailed regarding the memorisation work and if not for what reason?

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