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Wednesday, May 11, 2011

Is a One Day "Class" Really "Masonic Education?"

Last August, it was reported that the Grand Lodge of Colorado had made a substantial commitment to educating the Craft by raising their budget for Masonic Education from $500 to almost $10,000. Brethren all across the country were heartened by that kind of substantial financial devotion to creating programs to better instruct both new and veteran Masons.

Well, apparently, it hasn't turned out that way.

Eight months later, word is coming out of Colorado that the budgeted money has been spent, not for education programs, but to fund one day mass-raisings around the state. Perhaps it's just a nomenclature problem, since they are called "One Day Classes."

I'll go out on a limb here, but I suspect that's not what the assembled brethren at their annual communication believed they were voting for last August. Meanwhile, there is apparently no money left over for any actual education programs for the year.


  1. Meanwhile, there is apparently no money left over for any actual education programs for the year.


    Great - Our government was founded by famous Freemasons, and now Freemasons are acting just like our government.

    Oh, wait... that's not funny.

  2. ODC is a misnomer for these Colorado's 150th Anniversary classes. No Candidate can participate in more than one degree per day. The degrees are not being offered in a row, but are spread out a month apart. Proof of election to receive that particular degree has to supplied from their Lodge, along with proof of proficiency for the 2nd or 3rd degrees.

    As for the other issue regarding funds, I can't speak to that as I do not have any knowledge or facts on that subject.

    Lance Rommerdahl, PM
    Secretary, Lakewood Lodge #170 AF&AM
    GL of Colorado

  3. To me it feels like Masonry has been turned into a business with a product for sale. With youtube videos and tv commercials it feels like we are selling ourselves and for cheap too. I do not believe in the one day classes.

    Masonic education should enhance what we learned in the degrees with discussions. Spending all the money allocated for education so we can crank out some dues payers hurts the craft.


  4. Our district tried out one-day classes, then stopped when it was realized there were not extremely functional. It's not a bad idea, it just does not pan out in making dedicated Freemasons in too many cases.

    1. I think the first Ohio One Day Class in 2002 brought in about 1200 brothers. I would guess maybe 600 actually stayed active. Including myself, most have remained dedicated and gone on to positions of leadership in all bodies of our organization. I can't see how by any standard those could be considered bad results. After all, degree work won't matter if no one is left to know it ever existed!

  5. While "one-day" classes have increased Indiana Masonic membership by about 3,000 members over the past few years - and while some of those so brought into Masonry have proven to be excellent Brothers - I continue to feel that we are cheating the Initiates by subjecting them to a "class" setting as opposed to the individual attention paid them in the traditional initiatory process. Perhaps there is a place for abbreviated or one day events when certain aspirants truly need to become members in a very quick way - but for it to become the norm strikes me as a blow against our historically selective methods of advancement in Masonry. Colleges may "accelerate" particularly bright students - but they do not endeavor to push students to complete in days what would normally require weeks. Freemasonry is a course of moral instruction that requires time to learn, contemplate, and then master. Just as are school subjects. Does Freemasonry need to play a "numbers game" in order to continue to support huge buildings and large Lodges? I think we are fooling ourselves when we begin to assume the easy way is the same as the best way. Let's get back to the ancient traditions of the Craft - with perhaps a very few exceptions for those in exceptional circumstances.
    So Mote It Be.

    Michael Gillard, PM:.OPC:.KYCH:.

  6. Having gone through the first Ohio one day class in 2002 I think if our fraternity is to survive they are now a necessity. Degree work was fine when men worked the fields from dusk to dawn then practiced degree work by candlelight.

    Today's men are far to busy with work, family, and life in general to commit to the amount of time needed for memorization. As a grad of a one day class myself I personally know quite a few men including myself that have risen to positions of responsibility within all bodies of our organization.

    The times have changed and so must we. The average age of a brother is probably about seventy. The Black Camel is taking them far quicker than current recruitment policy allows. We must first focus on actually getting new members, THEN allow them to grow!

    1. By 2001 at least thirty-one U.S. grand lodges had conducted one or more one-day events in varying permutations. Then in April 2002, Ohio left everyone else in the statistical dust, setting the astonishing record of initiating, passing, and raising 7,700 Master Masons in multiple locations throughout the state in one day. Throughout the seven years prior to their first enormous Grand Master’s Class, the state of Ohio had raised a combined total of 10,341 Master Masons in the traditional, individual manner. Their 2002 Grand Master’s event had come remarkably close to doubling their entire prior seven-year membership increase in just a matter of hours. The rest of the Masonic world’s nose-counters bolted straight up in their collective seats and took notice.

      Ohio’s colossal one-day increase was never again equaled anywhere. They staged two more such events in 2003 and 2005, and studied the after-effects at the end of 2006. In a little more than five years, one-day Masons raised at their three events alone represented more than 10% of Ohio’s total Masonic membership. While their two subsequent classes never came close to equaling their enormous premiere event, other jurisdictions still looked enviously at Ohio and judged them a triumph.

      One of the major criticisms from the start was an assumption that one-day Masons would not go on to become active lodge participants, proficient ritualists, or officers. “Easy in, easy out,” was the oft-repeated, doleful warning. But several jurisdictions that amassed enough data over time were able to disprove that assertion.

      A study was conducted in 2001 by Paul M. Bessel for the Grand Lodge of the District of Columbia, which was the first of its kind to analyze the long-term results of such conferrals. Their grand lodge was unique, since they had conducted two-day degree events annually for eight years and had the data to analyze. Bessel found that the retention and participation rate of members initiated, passed, and raised in the slower, traditional manner versus the Grand Master’s Class candidates were statistically identical. Subsequent years demonstrated the same results, clearly disproving objections based only upon fears that dejected Master Masons who were disappointed or unimpressed by their one day experience would vanish faster than their traditionally raised brethren.

      Ohio did its own study in 2007, five years after their record setting class. In the three Grand Master’s Classes held between 2002 and 2005, they found that 8% of one-day class members were serving or had already served as lodge officers. That worked out to more than 1,000 officers in their 534 lodges, or almost two officers per lodge. Lodges reported an average of 15% of one-day members attended meetings regularly, which was virtually identical to (and often greater than) the participation rate of traditionally made Masons. Numerous lodge secretaries expressed the belief that one-day classes had actually “saved” their lodges.

      Most recently, a 2015 study of current lodge officers in Washington State revealed that one out of six officers are one-day class members.


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