The experience of becoming a member of a Masonic Lodge is divided into three ceremonial stages that Masons call “degrees.” These three degrees are loosely based upon the journeyman system, which was used to educate Medieval craftsmen. Symbolically the degrees represent the three stages of human development: youth, manhood, and age.
The first degree of Freemasonry is the Entered Apprentice degree. It is a candidate’s first experience with the ceremonies of the fraternity and like all Masonic ceremonies is a solemn and meaningful event. Though new to Freemasonry, an Entered Apprentice enjoys the title of “Brother.”
The Fellow Craft degree is the second ceremony and exposes a Brother to more of the symbolism and philosophy of the fraternity. For skilled craftsmen this degree would have marked one’s progress from an apprentice to a journeyman.
The Master Mason degree is the last of the Lodge ceremonies and with it a candidate becomes a full member, enjoying both the rights and responsibilities of membership.
During all three ceremonies, a candidate is treated with complete respect. At no time, is he ever made to feel uncomfortable or harassed in anyway. Masonic ceremonies are a wonderful tradition shared by men such as George Washington, Harry S. Truman, Dave Thomas, and other men of integrity. These ceremonies are always conferred in such a way as to bring pride to the candidate and the members of the Lodge.