What are the Degrees of Freemasonry?
Degrees are initiation ceremonies that represent progressive steps to membership in the organization. There are three degrees conferred in the Masonic Lodge: Entered Apprentice, Fellow Craft, and Master Mason. They are loosely based upon the journeymen system, which was used to educate medieval stonemasons and craftsmen. In today’s society, the word degree is used by colleges and universities to indicate completion of a course of study. In the lodge, the candidate must demonstrate his knowledge or proficiency of each degree before he can proceed to the next.
It is through these degrees that Masonry passes its teachings and principles from generation to generation. The degree ceremonies are intended to be sources of knowledge, inspiration, and pride for the candidate and the lodge members. Those ceremonies also serve as a shared experience that binds men to a closer brotherhood. A candidate receives the utmost respect during all three ceremonies, and he is never made to feel uncomfortable.