July 2024

Moving into the Third Lecture by the Corps of Grand Lecturers this July, we expound more on EDUCATION, one of the three strategic phases of the Grand Master’s theme “Let there be more Men in the Light, let there be more - Light among Masons”

Masonry as a moral science is progressive in nature and is taught by degrees only. Such progression can be observed in the first four levels of educational programs in the Philippine Jurisdiction, namely:
1. The Four Orientation Meetings
2. Lodge Mentorship
3. Masonic Education in Lodge Meetings & District Conventions
4. The IMES Diploma Course

1. The Four Orientation Meetings - delineates the chronological instruction of a member as he transitions from being a candidate, to being an obligated Entered Apprentice and Fellowcraft, until finally being raised to the sublime degree of Master Mason. These meetings are of utmost importance that each should follow the four processes: Election of Petition, Initiation, Passing, and Raising respectively.

Meeting No. 1 introduces the Candidate into what Freemasonry is, following the election of his petition for Degrees in Masonry in the lodge that he has chosen to become a member.
Meeting No. 2 is conducted next, after the candidate is initiated as an Entered Apprentice.
Meeting No. 3
follows, once the First Degree Mason is passed to the Degree of Fellowcraft.
Meeting No. 4 – the last and most important of the four, transitions the Master Mason from the second degree to the sublime degree.

Each of these sessions are accomplished using the standard Masonic Literature such as A Lodge System of Masonic Instruction, the Tried & Proven, individual Pamphlets and monitors appertaining to each degree and should be conducted by the elected officers of the lodge including lodge elders as much as possible. The secretary ought to include the time, date, venue, and attendance of both instructors on the candidate’s record as well as in the minutes of the meetings.

It has to be emphasized that the last - Meeting No. 4 is the most important of the four as it transitions the Master Mason from being a Candidate into becoming a full-pledged member of his lodge. This is contrary to the mistaken belief that his journey has ended after finishing the Second Section of the Third Degree, being lectured about the Sublime Degree, and signing of the lodge by[1]laws. Like the earlier candidates, the newly obligated Master Masons have to be oriented on how to act and behave upon becoming a full-pledged member of the Lodge.

Unlike the succeeding Levels of Masonic Education, this initial Educational Program terminates after the execution of Meeting No. 4. The next step is for the Candidate to Return his Proficiency in the Third Degree or suffer the consequences as stipulated by Edict No. 357 - ENSURING COMPLIANCE WITH MASONIC PROFICIENCY REQUIREMENTS OF NEWLY-RAISED BRETHREN IN SUBORDINATE LODGES

2. Lodge Mentorship – is the collective instruction of both tacit and codified knowledge imparted by the lodge and its seniors to their younger and new members. It is the most crucial of our educational processes in Freemasonry since Time Immemorial, for the tacit mentoring of new lodge members by older members, although informal constitutes as a system of Masonic Education more associated with the learning systems of Operative Masons in the Middle Ages and has been proven effective.

In our jurisdiction, the collection of these Instruction includes the three M’s of Mentorship: Materials, Methods, and Mentors that will guide the newly-raised into their journey as Master Masons.

Materials refers to the literature that a lodge is duty bound to furnish its newly raised Master Masons: The latest edition of the Masonic Law Book; Monitors; Masonic Demeanor; and Proper Decorum Manual; and the By-Laws of the lodge. See MLB - Duties of the lodge, Article III, Sec. 3, G.

Methods are the correct ways of imparting masonic knowledge to the brethren such as the oral decoding of the rituals, recapitulating what a candidate has gone through, and explaining the Hiramic Legend and other Masonic Traditions.

Mentors are senior Lodge members deemed qualified by the Lodge to instruct its younger members. It is recommended that elders or senior lodge members be tapped for the task

In the Lodge, the ultimate mentor is the Worshipful Master, whose duty is “to open and govern the Lodge and in due time to set the craft at work and give them the necessary instructions whereby they may pursue their labors.” Also, the newly-obligated brother is placed at the North-east corner of the Lodge that he may benefit from the wisdom of the WM. In addition, all charges to the newly[1]obligated brother are, by default, given by the WM. Aside from the Master, other brethren may also assume the role of mentor to their younger members.

Lodge Mentorship has the most influence in a brother’s masonic journey. How a newly raised Mason behaves in the next 5 to 10 years inside and outside the lodge is mostly based in the continuing bond between mentor and mentee. Recalling a portion of the Grand Master’s Inaugural Message:

“Our renewed focus on Masonic Education will be the springboard to facilitating the one mission we should do best: Mentoring Each Other. More specifically, Good Men making each other Better. Masonic mentorship is the one true way for us to fulfill the lifelong journey we commit to from the time we first take our first Masonic obligation upon being initiated as entered apprentices into the Craft. In time and thru the provision of uniform, relevant, and engaging Masonic Education in our various modes shall we get to influence the brethren to really live out the tenets of our Craft and fulfill this mission.”

The measure of success of the first two Educational Levels: The Four Orientation Meetings and Lodge Mentorship is when the newly raised Master Mason have his proficiency returned successfully in the Third Degree, thus finally earning the brother a Masonic Diploma and have his masonic longevity activated. It has been observed in the past, that missing out even a portion of these two levels discourages the newly raised from completing this crucial step.

3. Masonic Education in Lodge Meetings & District Conventions - Having been raised as a Master Mason, the newly-obligated brother can begin sitting down with the brethren in open lodge and partake of the Masonic Education delivered by the Corps of Grand Lecturers as well as those topics assigned by the Worshipful Master during lodge meetings

Jurisdictional Education – the Office of the Senior Grand Lecturer during each Masonic Term develops a set of Masonic Education Lectures which are to be imparted throughout the jurisdiction to subordinate lodges for their Regular Stated Meetings and masonic districts for their District and Multi-District Conventions.

Personal Education – is the educational program developed by subordinate lodges to instruct their membership on matters crucial to or specific for the needs of their lodges. This second Masonic Education Lecture provides an avenue for a lodge to educate and enlighten their members on matters concerning them at certain periods of their lodge’s existence through topics that are timely and relevant for their needs. Different lecturers can be designated each month. As an example, lodges celebrating their anniversaries during their RSM can discuss a summary of their lodge history or a specific anecdote in the lodge’s past that can teach, inspire, or remind the members of something worth emulating (or avoiding). The topic can also be about a specific edict or sets of inter-related masonic and government legislations that the Worshipful Master deems appropriate based on the prevailing dynamics or events in his lodge.

Masonic Education, being a part of the Regular Order of Business at every stated meeting is essential. It can be said that aside from our opening and closing rituals and protocols, Masonic Education is the only thing that distinguishes a Masonic meeting from any other business meeting of any professional or civic organization or club. As such it should be given the importance and attention it rightfully deserves. It is thus recommended that Lodges assemble a Masonic Education Team to guarantee their members access to these types of lectures. Such a group has two tasks.

One – to compile previous Masonic Education Lectures imparted by the Corps of Grand Lodge Lecturers in the past and have them readily accessible for the brethren when needed.

Two – to develop their own Masonic Education Lectures specific to the needs of their lodge. These lodge-based lectures should be compiled as well for future reference.

As younger lodge membership is immersed in lodge activities such as attending regular stated meetings, witnessing lodge dynamics and intercourse, and participating in the degree works in order to gain personal and first-hand experience as a Master Mason, they are now better prepared to fully understand matters to be taken up in the next level of Masonic Education: the IMES Diploma Courses.

4. The Institute of Masonic Education & Studies (IMES) - Established in 1999 by Edict No. 185 of MW Demonteverde, the Institute for Masonic Education and Studies (IMES) aims to ensure a continuity of Masonic Education and enhance the quality of instruction of the Craft in this Jurisdiction. See MLB - Article XX, Section 2. It is the concrete manifestation of Edict No.86 of MW Puno (1984) for the GLP to establish the center of continuing Masonic Education with specific areas of concern which is now a part of the current syllabus of the Institute.

In the previous years, the only requirement to enroll in the IMES Diploma Course is to be a Master Mason of Good Standing. It had no restrictions for the newly raised to take the course despite not fulfilling the basic requirements of being a Master Mason, like undergoing the fourth meeting in the Four Orientation Meetings or even taking his proficiency in the Third Degree. Starting this Masonic Year, additional qualifications to be enrolled in IMES is being defined and later shall be edified.

As one of the more established Institutional Education – enrollees for the Basic IMES Diploma Course are now required to have finished both The Four Orientation Meetings and Lodge Mentorship with his proficiency in the 3rd Degree successfully returned. Furthermore, the enrollee should have attended a considerable number of Regular Stated Meetings in his lodge or in other lodges – thereby partaking of a more considerable number of Masonic Education Lecture as well as witnessing and even participating in the conferring of all the degrees.

In fine, IMES is NOT for the newly-raised lodge members but for the young or more experienced Brethren. The rationale is two-fold: It delineates the chronological instruction of a member as he progresses from being a Candidate until he has enough exposure inside the lodge to see what masonry is; and to remind lodges of their duty to educate their new members as mandated by the first three levels of educational programs in the Philippine Jurisdiction: The Four Orientation Meetings, Lodge Mentorship, and Masonic Education in Lodge Meetings & District Conventions.

Lodges should take full responsibility in guiding each newly obligated lodge member in his early travel as a Master Mason before sending him off to enroll in the Institute of Masonic Education & Studies for the Basic Diploma Course of the Institute. IMES being the Fourth Educational Level exists to ensure a continuity of Masonic Education and enhance the quality of instruction of the Craft in this Jurisdiction.

The IMES Syllabus covers the following subjects: Masonic History; Masonic Jurisprudence and Regulations Governing the Craft; Masonic Philosophy; and Masonic Symbolism and Liturgy (or Ritual). To simplify, these are the basic definitions of the mentioned subjects:

Masonic History addresses the question
               Whence came Freemasonry and who are the Freemasons?
Masonic Philosophy defines - What is Freemasonry and what is its purpose?
Masonic Governance and Lodge Management is about - How does Freemasonry operate?
Masonic Rituals
demonstrate and explain - How is Freemasonry performed inside the lodge?
Masonic Etiquette and Decorum instructs - How should Freemasons behave?

And finally, Masonic Jurisprudence discusses consequences:
What happens when Freemasons take the other subjects for granted: Forgetting whence they came; forgetting what freemasonry is and its purpose; forgetting how the craft operates or is performed; and most unfortunately forgetting how freemasons behave according to Masonic regulations, traditions, and landmarks.

Whereas, there are the first four levels of educational programs in the Philippine Jurisdiction, they each have specific students, in mind:
The Four Orientation Meetings is designed for Candidates for degrees in Freemasonry.
Lodge Mentorship is intended for the newly-raised Master Mason.
Masonic Education in Lodge Meetings & District Conventions are for the instruction and enlightenment of ALL Lodge Members and is a continuing program.
The IMES Diploma Courses – are for lodge members both for the young (but not new) members, and senior members.

Whereas, Educating the Brethren is essential, it is more important that those who will impart the education is qualified for the job.

The Four Orientation Meetings should be conducted by the elected officers of the lodge including lodge elders
Lodge Mentorship
is to be handled by senior lodge members
Masonic Education in Lodge Meetings & District Conventions
are to be delivered by the Corps of Grand Lodge Lecturers and duly appointed Lodge Lecturers.

The IMES Diploma Courses – are handled by Grand Lodge trained IMES Instructors.

Whereas, the Brethren may have accomplished all four levels of education. It is recommended that they go through all four levels again from time to time in order to refresh their masonic learnings, get updated with the current teachings of the Grand Lodge, and be of assistance in teaching others.

Members in Good Standing can sit in or be part of The Four Orientation Meetings and even answer questions brought up by the Candidates.

Members in Good Standing can sit in or be part of Lodge Mentorship and volunteer as mentors themselves.

Members in Good Standing can sit in or be part of Masonic Education in Lodge Meetings & District Conventions and be designated as lodge lecturers and even be invited as resource speakers during Conventions.

Members in Good Standing can sit in or be part of The IMES Diploma Courses. They can apply and if qualified by the Grand Lodge to be trained as IMES Instructors.

Masonic Education is a transaction between two Brothers.
 One who is willing to learn and another who is willing to teach.
One who has the knowledge to impart and one who is ready to accept.
The tricky part is when he who is willing to teach has not enough knowledge to impart or that he who is willing to learn has more knowledge than he is about to accept.
More confusing is when he who should be taught, is the one who wants to teach the other a lesson.
Part of the path to enlightenment is thus about learning to find out which is which.
Education requires commitment from both parties, more than Proficiency the key-word is Humility.

Note: DGL’s answers to these questions shall be among their contributions to the Lecture:

1. Share which part of the Four Orientation Meetings had a lasting impression on you as a Candidate and why.
2. What have you learned from your lodge mentor after being raised to the Sublime Degree.
3. Discuss a Masonic Education Lecture from previous years that you have applied outside the Lodge.
4. Share one or more enlightening moment that you encountered while taking an IMES Course.

VW Dennis L. Cunanan