A Brother Asks: Is it required to be initiated to learn the mysteries?
My Response: Let's first make effort to firmly establish a few understandings of what is involved before the answer is put forth.
- Initiation as a "ceremony" has value only in the mind of the individual going through it. It can be likened to a public commitment to a path, but it is not necessarily that. Initiation as a "new behavior" that indicates an individual is now fully engaged in something that is transforming him is wholly different then going through a ceremony, although engaging in that new behavior can be ceremonial.
- Learning is only Effective when Behavior has Changed that is Supportive of the Lessons Presented. When behavior has not changed in line with the lessons, other than repeating back what one has been told to repeat back, learning has not occurred.
- The biggest problem with the word, "mystery" is that it initially meant "occupation", "trade" and "profession". It did not, in this instance, mean "things that are only revealed to those initiated" or "hidden things". Although, the word can be used in this manner, to use it to indicate the latter in this case is altogether misleading.
- Once you get past all the twists and turns, you may come to realize that "one must Engage in the Work to become Transformed". This engagement can occur with or without the support of others, as has been proven so many times throughout recorded history by those who have brought forth things and ideas in our cultures that were not evident to the masses before.
- who are convinced otherwise, or
- who have a vested interest in having you believe otherwise.
Brother John S. Nagy
PS - To read up more about this topic, please refer to the Building Series of Uncommon Masonic Education books and dvds. You can find them here: http://www.coach.net/BuildingBuilders.htm