Sunday, March 19, 2017

A Brother Asks: What is the Highest Degree?

A Brother Asks: What is the highest degree?
My Response: It might surprise you to know that it is the Fellow Craft.
Let me explain:

  1. the "Master's Part", was originally the Premier Grand Lodge's Fellow Craft Degree [1], and
  2. the "Master's Part" was an innovation to the original one degree system brought about by the GL era[2], and
  3. the MM degree "legend" was an innovation to this innovative "Master's Part" [3], and
  4. the Craft are known, taken and Accepted as "Brothers and Fellows", and
  5. the original Apprentice Degree was split into two.  This created an abridged EA degree (EA version 2) and a different FC degree (actually the other half of the abridged EA degree)[4], only with a lot less fluff than we have today, and
  6. the original Apprentice Degree was the highest degree necessary to be a full fledged member with all the rights, lights and benefits of "organizational membership", prior to Grand Lodge innovations to membership requirements, and
  7. the splitting of original Apprentice Degree pushed the Apprentice Degree completion to the now new Fellow Craft Degree level, and
  8. the Fellow Craft level (at the time of "Stonecraft") was obtained ONLY after seven years of Apprenticeship, and
  9. the currently practiced Master's Degree, if done properly, is ONLY an acknowledgment and celebration of the skill development that one must cultivate to be proficient as a "Fellow of the Craft", and
  10. the completion of Fellow Craft skill development makes you a Master of the Craft; not some title bestowed upon you by others,
the FC is the highest degree.  The rest is title fluff. ​​
Of course, in the USA the title of "Master Mason" bestowed upon members during the Master's Degree is now required to enjoy all the rights, lights and benefits of the Blue Lodge experience. 
Sadly, little to no Mastery, as alluded to by Craft Ritual, is required.
Brother John S Nagy

PS - If you were paying attention, you might now ask:  Are you talking about the Fellow Craft, as in "the second half of the Apprentice Degree Prime"?
[1] A degree where a "Fellow Craft" was made.
[2] The Premier Grand Lodge (PGL) at the time required as Fellow of the Craft to run the lodge and only they, the Premier Grand Lodge, could make a FC.  (This is an innovation!  Becoming a Fellow of the Craft occurred by going through seven years of Apprenticeship under the oversight of a Fellow of the Craft!  It did not occur by some Grand Lodge putting an apprentice through a "degree" so that they could run a lodge!)
[3] The first documented evidence is that it appeared around 1725 CE.
[4] The PGL split the original Apprentice Degree into two degrees, thereby creating the now abridged EA degree and new FC degree, so that the lodges could make FCs to run lodges, rather then the PGL doing the degree.


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