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Many Degrees vs. 3


Premium Member
We held a MM degree last weekend, a joint venture of 3 lodges for 3 FC. While shooting the breeze a few of us were commenting on much more fun and meaningful a degree with lots of participants vs. a degree with just enough to put it on.

Here were some thoughts:
What if each year the lodges in a certain area agreed to hold only 3 degrees for the entire year? An EA in spring at one Lodge, a FC in Fall and MM in December. Rotating locations if necessary. Making the event larger. Also having monthly rehearsals to prepare. If a candidate misses, he has to wait a year.

Why have 16+ degrees to run around to throughout the year?

Pros / Cons?

David N.

Premium Member
Degrees are a great source of fellowship for me. I'm typically out travelling 3-4 nights a week if there is work going on, it's where I see my friends and brothers. I'd hate to miss out on all of that. Also, I love putting on Degrees/taking part in the work. I think a Lodge that is busy is going to be better at the work. We are also limited to 5 candidates per degree in my Grand Jurisdiction.


Registered User
I think you have a point, but at the same time I also believe there is something special about being the only one going through - and not being the 3rd one in the evening when everyone is getting tired.
To me the essence of your question speaks to lodge activity. The US is one of the only places where we see the weekly lodge meetings 52 weeks out of the year. Most other places either only have monthly events, or are dark in larger parts of the year. I think that high activity level is one of the reasons why we see some lodge burn out.

But absolutely, active degrees with a full lodge is much more fun then when only the core guys are there.


Premium Member
The Scottish Rite does this with their Reunions... But it's a different game in the blue lodge. In many, if not most jurisdictions you are restricted to obligating no more than 1 candidate at a time. This gets you into the realm of the "one-day classes," and in my experience, the candidate loses a little something in the process.

But Brother David hits it on the nose... going to degrees at other lodges is a good incentive to travel and get out to visit other lodges with a purpose in mind. Much better than sitting at home listening to the minutes, discussing the phone bill, etc. Traveling and the fellowship therein goes right to the heart of Masonry.

Companion Joe

Premium Member
I honestly can think of any pros to the scenario. It is if you are turning the Blue Lodge into the YR festivals and SR reunions. I prefer one candidate at a time. We can't do more than one in any of the first sections. I'm not in favor of assembly line Masonry. In fact, my Chapter is actively conferring degrees to break from the festival mentality.

My Blue Lodge conferred 34 degrees in 2014. Tonight, we will confer our eighth degree so far in 2015. I honestly would be in favor of limiting the number of times we do the stereoptic portions of the EA and MM to a few times a year instead of for each candidate. I really don't think the candidates get much out of them because their brains are fried by that point.

Companion Joe

Premium Member
We have a 15-20 min (probably) slide show with a brother giving a long explanatory lecture with those two degrees. While in the grand scheme of things, it doesn't add up to that much more time, but I just feel the candidates don't get a whole lot out of it after everything else that has gone on that evening.


Premium Member
It could be done on a district by district basis depending on how many new members that area receives over the course of a year.

My district in NJ is seeing a resurgence in membership (new members). There is no way we could tell 20 people that they could conceivably have to wait a year or two before becoming an EA. We already have several EA's that are on the books for almost a year because we dragged our feet last year. You have to strike when the iron is hot. Get men into the craft via the ritual and get them studying so they stay involved.

So, I'm of the opinion that multiple candidates are ok. I recall a lot of my EA when I watch it from the sidelines but being "in the mix of two others" does not creep into the memories of my degree.


Premium Member
It's nice to have a mix of some individual degrees plus some group degrees because some candidates prefer it each way. Tastes vary and it is about what the new guy wants not about what the old guys want him to want. When a brother failed to show up for his individual degree then showed up at his class then went active, that changed my attitude.

An individual degree can be anywhere from moving through confusing depending on the ritual of the degree team, but an individual degree there is always a focus on the one candidate that evening. A group degree with all sorts of candidates and brothers from all over the place tends to be a festive experience including the Shrine initiation across the street an hour later. So I can report good and bad features either way.

So I'll summarize my response way down to a couple of words - Yes please. ;^)


Registered User
I prefer one degree for one person each time they are conferred. That night is about that candidate. It is their special moment that I don't feel needs to be shared. This is their right of passage into the fraternity.

Keep in mind I am only a blue lodge mason, so this only applies to the 3 degrees therein. I cannot speak for how other bodies may or may not do their degrees/initiations.


Premium Member
I was always the last to go through during my experience... I'm so happy for that.. to get the degrees as on person was invaluable.


Premium Member
I had a fella going through the degrees at the same time... and I have to say that I feel a great bond with him... but we went through everything together..and after one after the other... and we will be connected together. We both worked hard to get from 1st to 2nd... and from 2nd to 3rd. it should be a big deal and we worked hard to get to that level.. That fella will always be my brother. It Is a huge honor to get the third... I feel so blessed to have gotten the honor.