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.