Masonic Ritual is the foundation of our fraternity; the sole characteristic that identifies us as Masons. Over the past few years the Grand Lodge of Nebraska has placed a heightened focus on improving the quality of Masonic Ritual, and thereby the quality of Masonry, across the State.
It is my pleasure to announce to you a plan to renew emphasis on the importance of Masonic ritual work by the Grand Lodge of Nebraska! Let us not forget that Masonry is the world’s oldest and largest fraternity of gentlemen who base themselves on the code of ethics of the builders of King Solomon’s Temple. In continuing that centuries-old foundation and my strong belief in this long-standing tradition, I will be re-energizing the Grand Lodge Individual Proficiency Class for the 2021 Masonic year.
My incoming Grand Lodge Officers have been busy revamping this course, originally launched in 2013. The course has graduated dozens of men, many of whom have gone on to become Deputy Grand Custodians, appointed and advancing Grand Lodge Officers, and even Grand Masters.
New to the class in 2021 will be an added block of instruction created solely for any new Entered Apprentice, Fellow Craft, or Master Mason who would like assistance learning the Questions and Answers for advancement through his initial three degrees of Ancient Craft Masonry. Our objective in this block is to help these brothers advance through the degrees, not become individually proficient in all our ritual work. I am also continuing to emphasize the Grand Master’s Full-Form Proficiency Excellence coins in all three degrees for these new Masons, while expanding eligibility for it to any Mason who attends this portion of the Grand Lodge Individual Proficiency Class and performs the ritual Answers in an exemplary manner as determined by class instructors.
We are offering classes in Omaha and Lincoln at this time. If interest is expressed, we will bring a Grand Lodge Individual Proficiency Class to your lodge, no matter where you are in the great state of Nebraska. Classes begin in February 2021 and continue until Summer 2022.
I look forward to seeing you in class!
JAMES A. CARLTON
2021 Grand Master (Elect)
How can I get involved in an Individual Proficiency Class?If you are interested in attending the Grand Lodge Individual Proficiency Class, email:
Omaha and all other Nebraska communities:John Herbolsheimer
What are the objectives of the Individual Proficiency Class?The Individual Proficiency Class seeks to provide motivation, structure, and assistance to Nebraska Masons wanting to learn and perfect our Masonic Ritual. By the end of the annual class, graduates will:
What format is used to learn and perfect Masonic Ritual?The courses are presented in a combination of lectures and practical exercises. At the beginning of each class, students are evaluated on memorization of the previous class assignment. Students are evaluated at numerous way points by the Grand Custodian, a Grand Lodge Officer, or a Deputy Grand Custodian on their level of proficiency in the ritual. The decisions of the Grand Custodian, Grand Lodge Officer, and Deputy Grand Custodians are final.
Students are evaluated in a “Round Table” format: seated around a table, a designated student will recite the first few lines of the assignment. The student seated next to him will recite the next few lines. The designated speaker will continue to change until the first student is reached. This rotation repeats until the entire assignment is completed. Students are rotated often and never sit in the same order, therefore they must memorize and be prepared to recite all of the assignment, as they never know what part will be their responsibility. Students will be provided materials that highlight methods to remember ritual content and order.
The instructors hope that students will find themselves looking forward to attending class meetings. Attendance is not mandatory, but remedial assistance is difficult to justify if students frequently miss class. With the short time allotted, students risk their ability to be certified if they do not attend. Students may also request to test out early for any segment of instruction. If they fail in an early attempt they may continue the program and re-test with the rest of the class. We also ask that students be aware the class pace may need to be slowed or accelerated once its flow is established.
When a student successfully passes all three formal evaluations, he will be certified Individually Proficient by the Grand Custodian. Note that the original curriculum was designed to pace a student to become fully proficient in one year's time. This pace was found to be somewhat challenging for Masons who already knew a significant portion of the ritual, and very difficult for a newly raised Mason. So a curriculum is now designed to achieve proficiency in roughly 15 months. All schedules are subject to change as determined by the instructor.
This class is for everyone regardless of their current rank status, not just an EA Mason. All seasoned Masons—especially those assigned to mentor new ones--are encouraged to attend these classes as well. It doesn’t matter if you don’t know the EA Questions now; a good leader understands life is a continuous learning process and the only thing to be ashamed of is an overall refusal to learn something new.
Due to the increased availability of instructors through the new “Deputy Grand Custodian At Large” program, created in 2018, the Grand Lodge will offer this class in any part of the state where there is sufficient interest. If you have questions or concerns, please contact the Grand Lodge Office at 402-475-4640.
Individual Proficiency: One-on-One LearningAs a result of the "Deputy Grand Custodian At Large" program, the individual Proficiency Class for full ritual certification also includes one-on-one sessions with a DGC, personaly tailored to your learning style, schedule, and pace. Based on the curriculum that has graduated over 40 students certified individually proficient in Nebraska Work since 2013, a DGC will work with you personally and provide instruction and helpful technqiues that make it easier to learn. Your personal class sessions can start at any time, any place.
Register online at http://bit.ly/glneproficiency and select the option for Individual Proficiency One-on-One Learning, or call the Grand Lodge office at 402-475-4640.
Mini-ciphers and Grand Master's CoinsTo support our individual proficiency programs, we have created mini-ciphers, containing just the Question and Answers portion of the Entered Apprentice and Fellow Craft degrees. We have opted not to produce a Master Mason mini-cipher because it would be somewhat redundant to the complete cipher. We hope that lodges will provide their newly raised Master Masons with a complete cipher so they can learn Questions and Answers and also be exposed to the rest of our beautiful ritual. Remember, this is the perfect time to suggest to a new Master Mason that he may want to start learning some portion of the degree work that appealed to him during his degrees. All ciphers can be obtained from the Grand Lodge office at minimal cost.
The Grand Master’s Coin for Full-form Proficiency Excellence program is continuing. The coins are awarded to those brothers who elect to individually test on the answers portion fo the Questions and Answers. A high level of proficiency must be demonstrated to earn a coin. If your lodge has a candidate who is demonstrating a high level of proficiency, and wants to test for a coin, contact the Grand Lodge office. They will work with the Grand Custodian to arrange for a pre-test with a Deputy Grand Custodian, followed by a test with a Deputy Grand Custodian appointed by the Grand Custodian. Remember that the candidate can be declared proficient by the Worshipful Master and progress to the following degree, regardless of his success in earning a coin.
Where can I obtain more information?
If have questions or concerns, please contact the Grand Lodge Office at 402-475-4640.