Gosh, I didn’t know that! Have you had an “ah-ha” moment recently; one in which you learned something about Masonic history or a new insight into some ritual? These can be enjoyable moments along the path of continuing Masonic education. We can encounter these “ah-has” in numerous ways; through reading, hearing a short talk at the end of a stated meeting, watching a video, recalling something another Mason mentioned to you, or attending an educational program at some level in Illinois Masonry.
Your Committee on Masonic Education is poised to help you keep having ah-ha experiences, by providing resources and learning opportunities that will, as author Dan Brown wrote recently in The Lost Symbol, “take a dull uninformed mind and transform it into a bright and enlightened one.”
Now, how are we going to do this? The folks we are targeting are (1) candidates/ new Masons, (2) regular and occasional lodge attenders, and (3) Masonic card carriers who do not return to lodge but who are reading and learning on their own or would be amenable to do so. Wouldn’t it be neat to know, for example, how many inactive Illinois Masons have read Freemasonry for Dummies or The Lost Symbol?
Our Grand Master has asked the committee to wage an aggressive informational campaign leaving no resources unused. You will find educational articles on this website (at the Learning Corner), in each of the upcoming issues of the Illinois Freemasonry magazine, in materials available for short talks and educational programs, in an improved candidate intender program supported Intender training and by media-based resources, and in a new approach for preparing to participate in this year’s Eureka Challenge. We have also just updated the “Handbook for Officer Advancement.”
Why is this initiative important? First, because Masonry is geared to helping members become aware they can and should continually learn from their life and Masonic experiences. Education and personal growth is both a service and a benefit to our members. Secondly, think about how the thirst for information drives so many of our new candidates to feverishly seek out answers. Often in the first year or so they are like sponges soaking up and gaining knowledge. For example, “What does hele mean?” Well, it is an Old Saxon word that means “to hide by burying.” Ah-ha! Thirdly, Freemasonry’s philosophy contains a commitment to not only improve the individual man, but to spread the qualities of peace, goodness, and mercy throughout the world. As seen in the Tenets and cardinal virtues; characteristics that can lead to a happy, productive life for all.
So, join us in this campaign, use us and the resources, and commit yourself to necessary improvements you discovered as you went through the degrees. Our part is to assist you with resources and guidance. Your part is to maintain the motivation and just keep learning and applying what you’ve learned.
Cordially and fraternally,
Edward A. Rund, Chair
Committee on Masonic Education