Proposed Resolution for the Virginia Grand Lodge in 2001:
To Provide Alternate Methods of Candidate Advancement
The undersigned members of our Grand Lodge, in accordance with Sections 1.16 and 1.17 of the Methodical Digest, propose the following amendments to the Methodical Digest to provide two methods for candidates to advance in the degrees of Freemasonry. Methodical Digest language proposed to be omitted is stricken out and proposed new language is shown in bold type.
Sec. 2.110. Candidate for Advancement Must be Examined in Open Lodge; A Ballot Taken on His Masonic Proficiency; Alternate Masonic Education Candidate Advancement Program. —
An Entered Apprentice or Fellowcraft, desiring advancement, must either:
(a) be examined in open Lodge in the degree from which he seeks to be advanced, and should prove himself proficient in the catechism of the degree, after which a ballot shall then be taken upon his Masonic proficiency, and if there be a majority in his favor he is thereby eligible for advancement; or
(b) as determined by the Worshipful Master of his Lodge, successfully complete the Virginia Grand Lodge Masonic education course, including memorization of the modes of recognition, detailed understanding of the meaning of the obligations in each of the degrees, and working with an education coach in detailed study and discussion of the Virginia Grand Lodge Masonic education booklets for each of the three degrees, as originally published in 1999.
Only Master Masons are entitled to ballot.
If option (a) is used, tThe Worshipful Master may, if he so desires, have the ballot on Masonic proficiency circulated collectively on all candidates examined on the same degree at that communication. If the collective ballot does not show a favorable majority, it must then be circulated separately on the Masonic proficiency of each candidate included in the collective ballot.
Requests for the conferring of degrees by Lodges of other Grand Jurisdictions as a courtesy to a Virginia Lodge shall be transmitted only through the Grand Secretary of this Grand Jurisdiction, as required by Section 2.103. (1987)
Sec. 2.111. Granting Extension of Time to Entered Apprentice or Fellowcraft Prior to Expiration of Six Months From Date of Receiving His Degree. — An Entered Apprentice or a Fellowcraft who has not been examined on his proficiency in the catechism of his last degree, or one who has been rejected because of lack of proficiency, or who has not completed the alternate Masonic education advancement program, may, prior to the expiration of six months from the date he received the degree, apply either in writing or by proxy, at a stated communication of the Lodge having personal jurisdiction over him or, if it be suspended or extinct to another chartered Lodge in the same Masonic district, for an extension at that or a future stated communication by a majority viva voce vote. If granted, the extension shall be for six months from the date of the grant and shall entitle him to sit in a Lodge working in any degree he has received.
An Entered Apprentice or a Fellowcraft who has been rejected for advancement because of lack of Masonic proficiency may, prior to the expiration of six months from the date of his last degree, and with the permission of the Worshipful Master of the Lodge which rejected him, be reexamined at any communication of the Lodge, or, if approved by the Worshipful Master, use the Masonic education advancement program. When six months have elapsed since he received his last degree, and he has neither advanced nor been granted an extension of time he is not entitled to further instruction or to sit in a Lodge of any degree. He must proceed in conformity with the provisions of Section 2.112. (1987)
Sec. 2.112. Granting Extension of Time to Entered Apprentice or Fellowcraft After Expiration of Six Months From Date of Receiving His Last Degree. — When six months have elapsed since he received his last degree an Entered Apprentice or a Fellowcraft who has not advanced solely because of lack of Masonic proficiency, and has not been granted an extension of time as provided for in Section 2.111, may apply for the right to further instruction, or, if approved by the Worshipful Master, use the Masonic education advancement program. His application must be made in writing at a stated communication of the Lodge having personal jurisdiction over him or, if it be suspended or extinct, to another chartered Lodge in the same Masonic district. (1975)
Reasons for this proposed change:
In 1999 the Grand Master instituted an alternative system of candidate advancement, allowing lodges to decide to have their candidates (a) memorize the modes of recognition, (b) learn and demonstrate a detailed understanding of the obligations of each of the degrees, and (c) work with a coach to study and discuss the questions and answers in three detailed Masonic education booklets, and demonstrate a good understanding of the philosophy, charities, achievements, and history of Freemasonry. This program was voluntary. Some lodges used it very successfully while others continued to use catechism memorization. The following year, the Grand Master continued this program, but in both years it was necessary for an edict to be issued to permit lodges to use either of the candidate advancement programs.
Some lodges continue to use the Masonic education advancement program and find it to be very helpful to their candidates and members. Since this program continues to be voluntary, no lodges are harmed in any way by the existence of this choice.
The Methodical Digest should now be amended to eliminate the need for Grand Master edicts each year to continue the alternate candidate advancement programs, and to make both of them a permanent part of our Masonic law and practices.
Paul M. Bessel, PDDGM, PM of Skidmore Daylight Lodge #237
[possibly all the other Bridge Builders?]