The experience of becoming a member of a Masonic Lodge is divided into three ceremonial stages that Masons call “degrees.” These three degrees are loosely based upon the journeyman system, which was used to educate Medieval craftsmen. Symbolically the degrees represent the three stages of human development: youth, manhood, and age.
The first degree of Freemasonry is the Entered Apprentice degree. It is a candidate’s first experience with the ceremonies of the fraternity and like all Masonic ceremonies is a solemn and meaningful event. Though new to Freemasonry, an Entered Apprentice enjoys the title of “Brother.” At this point you will be a 1st Degree or Entered Apprentice Freemason and entitled to attend other Entered Apprentice meetings and most if not all lodge social and charitable functions. You will be assigned a mentor who will work with you to answer your questions, help you become proficient in your degree knowledge, and attend lodge with you.
The Fellow Craft degree is the second ceremony and exposes a Brother to more of the symbolism and philosophy of the fraternity. For skilled craftsmen this degree would have marked one’s progress from an apprentice to a journeyman.
The Master Mason degree is the last of the Lodge ceremonies and with it a candidate becomes a full member, enjoying both the rights and responsibilities of membership.
During all three ceremonies, a candidate is treated with complete respect. At no time, is he ever made to feel uncomfortable or harassed in any way. Masonic ceremonies are a wonderful tradition shared by men such as George Washington, Harry S. Truman, Dave Thomas, and other men of integrity. These ceremonies are always conferred in such a way as to bring pride to the candidate and the members of the Lodge.
During each stage, you will learn more about the mysteries, history, and philosophy of the Fraternity. You will also get to know the other members of the lodge, and hopefully, begin new friendships that will last a lifetime. You can move through the degrees at your own pace, but your mentor will always be encouraging you to take the next step.