This section, "Mentoring Aids", contains a sugested programme of Masonic discovery for a Lodge to deliver to a potential applicant, then candidate and, in time, new Mason. It draws on examples discovered by the Rulers' Forum Working Party on Mentoring among the vast collection of Mentoring booklets and experiences shared by Provinces.
Mentoring Aids provide a starting point to support the four stages of Masonic discovery described in Practical Activities in the Guidelines for Mentors section. Many items are available for download, either for direct use or to be refined and expanded for use in a new or refreshed Mentoring scheme. No Mentee will remember everything that is said to him by his Mentor. Many Provinces prepare a series of booklets to support the Mentoring Scheme. These are for use by the Mentor and, subsequently, to be left with the Mentee for their own use.
As with all content of the 3R Library, this section is not prescriptive. It is a check-list that can be used in the preparation or maintenance of a Mentoring scheme, to be augmented with material specific to your Province or Lodge, or moderated to tie in with local Membership Development initiatives, or existing local practices.
Just as it is not prescriptive, this section is not complete. It is a starting point to be added to whenever further material, success and experience is shared with the mentoring community and with the 3R Library.
Literally thousands of books have been written on the subject of Freemasonry over the course of the last 300 years and, in more recent times, the World Wide Web has greatly added to the volume of material available. Not all of it is good; indeed not all of it is comprehensible.
It is important to ensure that the Candidate is not inundated with large amounts of information he is unable to understand. Start him reading slowly and there is probably no better place to start than the Peterborough Booklets published by QCCC Ltd. "After 1st, 2nd & 3rd Degree", these wonderfully useful booklets have been produced to welcome the new made Mason and prepare him for his Passing - explain what the Passing ceremony actually meant and a general look at the Raising ceremony plus more information for the Master Mason.
Following on, there are good booklets available which provide a Daily Advancement in Masonic Knowledge and books available giving information on other Orders.
Some Lodges are extremely musical whilst others are less so. The amount of singing which takes place during the evening varies greatly, not just geographically, but even between Lodges meeting in close proximity to each other. If the new member is to feel comfortable and part of the family, it is important that he is able to join in rather than feel apart because he does not know the words. It is therefore important to provide him with details of any Masonic Songs and Anthems that are used in your Lodge.
Every year, each Lodge holds an Installation, when a new Worshipful Master takes up his role and appoints his Officers for the year ahead. It is a big event in the Lodge's calendar, as it is an opportunity to give thanks to the outgoing Master for all his hard work, to give best wishes to his successor, and to pledge the support of the brethren to the new 'team'.As it is such an important event, a lot of preparation is put in by everyone, particularly the Worshipful Master, Secretary and Director of Ceremonies. However, as a newer mason you will also have an important part to play. You represent the future of the Lodge and, as the event is largely about looking forward, your presence will certainly add to the sense of occasion.
Before the evening, check the dress code with your Mentor, as Lodges sometimes have a different code for their Installation meeting. Also check the start time, as that is also sometimes changed.
On the evening itself, make sure you arrive in good time as Installation meetings often attract larger attendances and you do not want to find yourself caught up in a last minute rush to get ready. Take your seat in good time, remembering to check that it is not spoken for, as some may be reserved for use during different parts of the ceremony.
You will be asked to leave the Lodge Room at some point in the evening, as the Master Elect in presented whilst the Lodge is open in the Second Degree and is installed by a Board of Installed Masters after all Master Masons have been asked to withdraw in the Third Degree.
Attend the rehearsal if at all possible and talk with your Mentor to make sure you are aware of the correct modes of exit from and re-entry to the Lodge (signs, steps, positioning etc). Hopefully, you will not be alone when you leave and re-enter the lodge, but there is a possibility that your Mentor may not be able to come out with you on this particular occasion, as he may have a job to do in the Lodge.
When you do leave the Lodge Room, you should stay within close proximity, for you will be called back in and need to be ready when that happens. When you re-enter, you will be asked to pass round the Lodge and salute the Worshipful Master in the degree in which the Lodge is opened. This may sound somewhat daunting, but you will be well briefed by the Director of Ceremonies and it is unlikely you will be called upon to walk round on your own.
In some Lodges, the perambulations are accompanied by music and the singing of the Masonic Hymn, 'Hail Masonry Divine'.
You will then witness the Installing Master presenting the Warrant of the Lodge, the Book of Constitutions, the By-laws of the Lodge and possibly the By-laws of the Province, to his successor. The new Worshipful Master will then appoint and invest his officers.
When the officers have all been appointed and invested, there will be three Addresses given -
(Print-outs of the above Addresses should preferably be given to the Candidate immediately after the ceremony of Installation, rather than before it, in order to maximise its impact)
As an Installation Meeting is such a special occasion, it is more than likely there will be a distinguished visitor present. Be prepared to be introduced to him as he will no doubt wish to meet and talk with the newer members.
The Installation is an important event in the life of your Lodge,
play your part and most of all - enjoy yourself.
One question that may be asked is "When does mentoring come to an end?" The truth is that there may be no single answer to this question. It will all depend on the type and strength of the relationship that has been built up between the Candidate and his Mentor.The initial aim of the mentoring programme is to ensure a new brother enjoys his first few years in the Craft and becomes a regular and active Freemason. He may not wish to commit to any further activity, such as taking up an Office or performing ritual. If this is what he wants, and he will still attend his Lodge when he can, the mentoring relationship will probably start to wind down at this point. However, it would be unusual indeed if he had no further questions and did not direct these towards his Mentor.
Of course as well as a more formal mentoring relationship, bonds of friendship may also appear which may continue for many a year.
However, the new mason may wish to pursue a more active Masonic career by either taking up an office, performing ritual or working his way towards the Chair of King Solomon. In such a case, mentoring should continue to support his development.
It may be that the Mentor has no experience in the role that the new mason aspires to; Worshipful Master, Treasurer, Charity Steward etc. In such a case, it may be better that 'the mentoring baton' is passed to a brother who has the necessary experience. The Lodge Mentor will review, on an ongoing basis, the suitability of Mentors he has allocated to particular new members.
Dealing with signs of Declining Interest
If a Mentor is meeting regularly with the new member, he should be able to pick up any signs of potential disinterest at an early stage. This may manifest itself in many ways, but may include: missing Lodge meetings, not attending social events, or never staying for the Festive Board.
The first thing to do is to talk, and listen , to him. It may be that his domestic and/or working circumstances have changed and he has no longer the time to attend as regularly as he would like. If this is the case, re-assure him that family and work must come before his Freemasonry and that he is doing the right thing. Let him know that when his circumstances change, he will be welcomed back into his Lodge with open arms.
If he feels that it will be a long time before he can re-attend his Lodge, discuss with him the potential of attending/joining another Lodge that meets at a time more convenient for him.
However, it may actually be the case that he is losing interest in Freemasonry. Speak to him and try to find out why. It may be that he has fallen out with someone, that he is being pushed into doing something (ritual/an office) that he does not want to do. These are issues that can be remedied and it is the Mentor who must help him do this as he may not have the confidence to speak up for himself.
If the problem results from a clash of personalities in the Lodge and cannot be resolved, similarly for any other distinctly Lodge related problems, then as a last resort you can always recommend that the Candidate try another Lodge. If necessary, visit with him and introduce him to anyone you might know in the Lodge. It is better that he is lost to your Lodge, than to Freemasonry as a whole. Do not blame yourself if this happens, as we all experience situations when we are unable to correct a problem.
In the final analysis, you may regrettably have to accept that the Candidate is not the right sort of man to be a Freemason or, that Freemasonry is not the right organisation for him. If you believe this to be true and have tried all that you can, it is better he leaves the Order in good standing and with good heart. It is not in anyone's interest to have a disinterested person in the Lodge. At least you will know that you have done all that you can.
Answering the Questions of Family and Friends
As the Candidate becomes accustomed to life as a Master Mason, he will naturally wish to talk about Freemasonry within the circles he keeps both at home and at work. Indeed, he will doubtless face many questions from both family and friends, curious to learn about his new found interest. As a relatively new mason he will likely be unsure as to what he may divulge to others about Freemasonry, perhaps taking his Obligations too literally.
It is important to discuss this particular issue with him, for if through lack of knowledge or confidence he responds to questions negatively with 'I can not tell you, it is a secret', he will of course be perpetuating the very myth we are trying so hard to dispel. It is only by Talking About Freemasonry, that we are able to convince the uninformed and popular world of the benefits of our ancient Institution.
The Holy Royal Arch
Upon becoming a Master Mason, the Candidate may well be approached by friends who, with the best of intentions, may encourage him to join other Orders and there are many. All these Orders are no doubt enjoyable, they will increase his general Masonic knowledge and he may eventually join some of them. At this point however, you must issue a word of caution . Remind the Candidate that he must never involve himself in Freemasonry to an extent that compromises the interests of his family and business and that it is, therefore, unwise to become over involved too quickly. Encourage him to develop his knowledge of Freemasonry one step at a time and impress upon him that the next step in Pure Antient Masonry is the Holy Royal Arch .
It is very important to ensure that the Candidate becomes a Royal Arch Mason before considering membership of any other Order. You should therefore provide him with an explanation of the relationship between the Craft and the Holy Royal Arch and encourage him to take that next step as soon as he feels ready to do so. Introduce him to an enthusiastic Royal Arch mason, of a similar age, if possible.
(If you, the Mentor, are not a Royal Arch Mason, you must enlist the assistance of a Companion of the Order to explain its relationship to the Craft)
You should start by congratulating the Candidate on taking his next step in Freemasonry and handing to him a personal letter from the Provincial Grand Master. Then embark upon a step by step explanation, and encourage the Candidate to question what is being said on each subject
- Symbolic explanation of the Third Degree ceremony ( two alternatives).
- Applying the principles of Freemasonry to our everyday lives
- Ensure the Candidate is proficient in the Third Degree signs and take the opportunity to remind him of those in the First and Second Degree. It is also a good time to remind him of the grip and words of each of the three Degrees.
- Ensure that the candidate owns a ritual book of his own. Encourage him to read it in short passages over a period of time and to discuss with you the meaning of those passages and any abbreviations he is as yet unable to understand.
- Life as a Master Mason
- Lodge of Instruction
- Grand Lodge Certificate
- Visiting other Lodges
- Encourage the Candidate to engage in social activities at every opportunity. These may vary considerably from relatively low key Lodge gatherings such as Treasure Hunts etc, through Ladies' Nights, to events such as 'Light Blues' Club or Dinner Dances organised at a Provincial level. Involvement of the family is important - remember, a mason with a supportive family tends to remain a mason .
- Conclusion - being a Mason in the world
Start by congratulating the Candidate on taking his second step in Freemasonry and becoming a Fellow Craft. Embark upon an explanation of the Second Degree ceremony and endeavour to impart as much general Masonic knowledge as the Candidate is able to assimilate without overburdening him. As a conscientious Mentor, you will be very aware that it is essential to have at least one clear meeting between the stages of advancement if the Candidate is to progress satisfactorily, having regard to the sheer volume of information with which he is faced.
- Symbolic explanation of the Ceremony of Passing ( two alternatives)
- The Tracing Board in the Second Degree is quite a long piece of ritual, and it is therefore not always delivered when a Candidate is Passed. In some Lodges, it is explained on an evening when there is little other work and, as a result, may be witnessed by several Fellow Crafts for the first time. An optional shorter explanation of the Tracing Board is attached.
- Applying the principles of Freemasonry to our everyday lives. The 2nddegree-wts of this Degree spell out the way in which we should live our lives, so provide a copy and discuss it with the Candidate.
- In many Lodges, a Candidate does not have access to the printed ritual until he is presented with, or allowed to purchase, a ritual book following the completion of his Third Degree. Ensure he is provided with a copy of the ritual immediately following the ceremony of Passing, so that he may read it and raise any questions while the events are reasonably fresh in his mind.
- Ensure the Candidate is proficient in the Second Degree signs and remind him of those in the First. Make him aware that he will be called upon to demonstrate both, when he leaves the Lodge after answering his questions and when he re-enters the Lodge before the ceremony of Raising.
- The Candidate may not have been too aware of his surroundings during and immediately after the Ceremony of Initiation, but will certainly have taken note of many features in the Lodge Room by the time he becomes a Fellow Craft. It is a good time to talk about the Symbolism which forms such an important part of our Freemasonry.
- Arrange for the candidate to make an accompanied visit to a Lodge conducting an Initiation Ceremony as part of the learning process. Visiting other Lodges
- Charity is at the very heart of Freemasonry. It is practiced through the work of the four National Masonic Charities, many Provincial Charities and individual Lodges across the length and breadth of England and Wales.
- The relationship between the United Grand Lodge of England and the Provinces, in terms of respective roles.
- Explain the different Masonic Clothing and Regalia
- Provide the Questions and Answers with which the Candidate must be conversant before he is Raised to the Third Degree and help him to learn them. The Mentor should discuss with the Candidate the meaning of the questions and answers rather than merely providing the missing words.
- Discuss with the Worshipful Master the need for him to deliver a Royal Arch Chapter Address to the Candidate at the conclusion of the Ceremony of Raising. Sample Royal Arch Chapter Address
Be especially vigilant after the Second Degree ceremony, as the Candidate may not have been quite the centre of attention he was on the evening of his Initiation when everyone wished to talk with him. It is important he does not feel any sense of anti-climax.
Arrange to meet with the Candidate as soon as possible after his Initiation ceremony. The meeting should be held in a quiet environment where you are both able to talk freely without embarrassment. The candidate's home, your home or the Masonic Hall are all suitable options and indeed the Masonic Hall has the added advantage of allowing you to point out many of the features you will be discussing.
It would be strange if the Candidate did not have many questions at your first meeting and it will therefore be necessary to display considerable patience and understanding, if you are to bring some structure to the meeting without appearing to disregard the Candidate's immediate thirst for knowledge.
You should start by congratulating the Candidate on taking his first step in Freemasonry and handing to him a personal letter from the Provincial Grand Master.
Then embark upon a step by step explanation, encouraging the Candidate to question what is being said on each subject -
- Brief history of Freemasonry and of your own Lodge. If a history of your own Lodge has not been written, then steps should be taken by the Lodge to do so, for the benefit of future generations.
- Organisation of the Lodge and duties of the Lodge Officers
- Provide contact details for the Officers of your Lodge and arrange to introduce each of them to the Candidate at the next Lodge meeting.
- Discuss where the Officers are seated and provide a schematic layout of the Lodge Room (another very common layout can be found on pages 25-26 of the Metropolitan Grand Lodge Initiate's Guide).
- Symbolic explanation of the Initiation ceremony ( two alternatives).
- In many Lodges, a Candidate does not have access to the printed ritual until he is presented with, or allowed to purchase, a ritual book following the completion of his Third Degree. Ensure he is provided with a copy of the ritual immediately following the ceremony of Initiation, so that he may read it and raise any questions while the events are reasonably fresh in his mind.
- Applying the principles of Freemasonry to our everyday lives. The Charge after Initiation spells out the way in which we should live our lives, so provide a copy and discuss it with the Candidate.
- Why we use ritual rather than more modern day terminology to convey the aims and ideals of Freemasonry.
- Basic Masonic etiquette
- Festive Board
- Inviting Guests brings with it certain responsibilities
- Arrange for the candidate to make an accompanied visit to a Lodge conducting an Initiation Ceremony as part of the learning process. Visiting other Lodges
- Provide the Questions and Answers with which the Candidate must be conversant before he is Passed to the Second Degree and help him to learn them. The Mentor should discuss with the Candidate the meaning of the questions and answers rather than merely providing the missing words.
- Ensure the Candidate is proficient in the First Degree signs, so that he (and you) will not be embarrassed when he leaves the Lodge after answering his questions and when he re-enters the Lodge before the ceremony of Passing.
- Provide the words of any Opening and Closing Hymns that are traditionally sung in your Lodge.
The Candidate will eventually need to be familiarised with other elements of the First Degree Ceremony, such as the First Degree Tracing Board. It is however, important not to overburden him at this early stage when he has so much to learn. An explanation of the First Degree Tracing Board is an excellent subject for an evening when the Lodge has no ceremony to perform and will be found interesting by all the newer members and even by those not so new! The explanation can be divided into constituent parts to involve many members of the Lodge in the work of the evening.
Upon arrival at the Lodge building, ensure the Candidate is welcomed by the Worshipful Master and some of the members. Having been through an Introductory Meeting and/or Interview, not all will be strangers to him, but nevertheless, a few kind words will not go amiss and will help him relax.Do not let anyone joke with him about the ceremony and therefore expose him to false information (e.g. goat). Remember, he does not know what is humorous and what is not at this point of his Masonic career.
Show the Candidate where he is to be prepared and explain to him what the presentation entails. Introduce him to the Tyler and to the Junior Deacon.
If he is to use his own clothing he should not wear a singlet/vest and should remove any personal jewellery, such as rings, neck chain etc. If this is not entirely possible, use sticking plaster to cover the jewellery. It is important to be sensitive at this time as the Candidate may well not wish to remove a wedding ring for example and should not under any circumstances feel pressurised to do so.
Be sure that his own clothing is arranged in such a way that it will remain in position and will not unravel during the ceremony, possibly causing embarrassment.
Tell the Candidate what is expected of him and assure him that he will be told exactly what to do and when to do it.
Naturally, you will undertake some of this work in conjunction with Bro Tyler, being careful not to usurp his position. However, as the Candidate may have been introduced to the Tyler only a few minutes earlier, it is important you stay with him during preparation and enter the Lodge behind him.
It is recommended that the Mentor assigned to the Candidate should be formally identified by the Worshipful Master, invited to the pedestal and introduced to the Candidate immediately after the Charge is delivered.
Suggested wording for introduction of Candidate to Mentor
Upon election, the Lodge Secretary should send the Candidate a congratulatory letter, which should also confirm
- Date, time and venue of ceremony.
- Dress code.
- Whether Candidate has any friends or associates he would wish to invite to attend as his personal guests.
- Financial matters needing to be addressed on the evening.
- Contact details for Lodge Mentor, or individual Mentor if one has been appointed.
A Mentor, or the Candidate's Proposer/Seconder, must meet with him to explain the general format of the evening and to prepare him for the toasts and for the brief response he will be called upon to make. Inform him that it is usual to thank the Proposer and Seconder and also the Junior Deacon, bearing in mind that at this point he will have little or no idea of the contribution which will be made by the Junior Deacon on the evening. The Candidate may not have any experience of public speaking, so emphasise that the response need only be very brief, as you do not want him to feel anxious about any aspect of the evening.
Arrange to collect the candidate from his home. If it is not possible for you to do so, arrange for another member of the Lodge to pick him up. This is a wonderful opportunity to answer last minute questions and to put him at ease.