Wednesday, February 28, 2007

Conferring the Degree/ Memorization

So on the 12th, I was nervous, but not overly nervous as I knew that I wouldn’t be humiliated or anything of the sort. They put me in a room and had me listen to an honest to God analog tape, on an old tape recorder the kind that my father would use when he was going to grad school. So I sat and listen to the tape which explained how I should prepare for the evening. It seem to fit, the old tape playing in this old building and being prepared to enter the worlds oldest fraternity. I don’t know, maybe I read too much into these things, but really the tape did relax me, if for nothing else for it’s familiarity and it’s no frills approach. I won’t speak much of the degree itself, but I was annoyed as the brother that was acting the part of Worshipful Master messed up my name at least a half of dozen times. There was two of us that were getting the degree conferred that night and he got mine and they guy before me names mixed up (He kept call me brother Devin). It felt, I don’t know unprepared. The lodge room itself is nice, but the roof is leaking because it’s an older house, and the carpet was faded, but it took nothing away from the ceremony itself, the only degrading part was the WM messing up my name over 12 times, it was getting to the point that I thought that he was doing it on purpose (it wasn’t our regular WM, it’s another guy from a lodge that shares our lodge, but that is another story). After the degree was completed, I knew I wasn’t done, but hadn’t fully comprehended what I had gotten myself into. Brother Garland came up to me afterwards and asked me when I was available during the week. I told him I cold meet when ever after 5:00 pm. He wanted to meet at the lodge to start what he referred to as my instruction. During my searching and reading on the internet I knew that there was a controversy regarding what was refereed to as “One-Day Class”, I really never understood what the controversy was about. See in my college fraternity we had pre-I week then we had the actual initiation ceremony. Pre-I week was meant to build brotherly love then initiation was an all night event that was more of a game than any real moral lessons. When finished, the next morning you were a full brother no longer an Associate Member. So after further discussion it was revealed to me that I have to memorize three parts, and recite them in open lodge. After some internet searching I found that most states no longer require the full memorization, some just require the obligation, others have varying forms of memorization, mine requires it all, breakfast, lunch and dinner. So the following Thursday I sat down with Brother Garland and we started the learning process. When he first recited the questions and answers in it’s entirety I took comfort in the fact that Texas gives you a year to pass your EA examination. I am a better audio learner than reading, so the fact that there wasn’t note cards, or printouts of what was required didn’t bother me too much, some of the brothers in my lodge said the process wouldn’t be as tedious if they just had something written down they could study from. Still between my travel schedule/holidays and being an overall slow learner it took me a good two solid months before I had the first part passable. So they scheduled my examination of the first part of the EA degree.

1 comment:

Mark said...

Down here in Florida, memory work is indeed of the "breakfast, lunch, and dinner" variety. I feel fortunate to at least have had a printed cipher to work with: Every word in the catechism is represented by a single letter. I must admit, the first time I saw the 5-page EA catechism in single letters, I about passed out. I simply didn't believe I could do it. But it worked out just fine.

I am a believer in doing the memory work--it does burn in a 'first level' understanding of some of the symbolism--but it must be backed up with a conscientious program to help brothers with it, and here is a place where lodges sometimes fail. I feel very fortunate that my lodge did not fail with me or the other two brothers initiated with me that night.