Dwight Smith


"In the absence of the Master you are to govern the Lodge; in his presence you are to assist him in the government of it. We firmly rely on your knowledge of Freemasonry, and attachment to the Lodge, for the faithful discharge of the duties of this important trust.

"Look Well to the West."

— From the ritual for the Installation of Lodge Officers

Just as great stress is placed on preparation of a candidate, so must the Senior Warden be "duly and truly prepared" before he even thinks of advancing to the East.

Duly And Truly Prepared

Dear Tom:

WHAT a thrill it was to witness your installation as Senior Warden last night! It was well worth the long trip. Next year, if all goes well, my cup will overflow.

Here is something I haven't told you before: Several years ago when I had the privilege of serving as your Mentor, I thought I saw possibilities in you, provided the flame could be kept burning. Thank goodness, it still burns, and now you are in the West, a station that is all important if you are to serve with distinction in the East.

"Look well to the West," the Installing Officer charged you last night. It isn't a part of the ceremony, but my pulse always beats faster at those lines of the English poet Arthur Hugh Clough:

"And not by eastern windows only,
When daylight comes, comes in the light;
In front, the sun climbs slow, how slowly,
But westward, look, the land is bright."

Last night my mind went back to the occasion when I signed your petition as one of the recommenders. Then came my assignment by the Master to be your Mentor. I recalled the pleasant evening when I accompanied you to Lodge for your Entered Apprentice degree, and for the degrees that followed. There were the evenings we spent in conversation on Freemasonry; what it means; what it is all about. You asked questions. An apt pupil you were, Tom — the kind from whom a teacher can learn much.

I'm sorry I cannot be with you at every meeting this year; in fact it is doubtful whether I can be there at all because of the great distance. As a substitute for those happy mentor-pupil talks we have had in years past, I am going to write to you each month, God willing, outlining some of my thoughts on what you can do to become a better Senior Warden, and, in so doing, a better Worshipful Master should you be called to that high office.

You made me uncomfortable only once, my lad, in last night's installation. That was in the understandable slip of the tongue when you referred to your ambition to be a Past Master of Acacia Lodge.

An ambition to be a Past Master? Forget it, Tom. You didn't mean that, I am sure. If I know you as I believe I do, you want to be Master of our Lodge, the finest Master old Acacia Lodge has ever had. Let's keep those eyes fixed on the true goal — the joy of leading, and doing, and serving — not on the rewards that come and the long rest you're going to get after the Year is over!

You recall, of course, the great stress that is placed on the preparation of a candidate during the degrees. Let's see, it is something like six times, isn't it, that the question is asked before the candidate is obligated? The Brethren must be satisfied that he is indeed "duly and truly prepared."

So should the Senior Warden be duly and truly prepared before he even thinks of advancing to the East. This year, then, is your golden opportunity.

Let's think about what you can do, beginning now, to be a strong right arm for the Worshipful Master, and, in doing so, prepare yourself for leadership.

Your "working tools." There are many.

First of all, buy a copy of Carl H. Claudy's great work, The Master's Book. More years ago than I like to think I received that little pocket-size book as a Christmas gift from my wife. It is as valuable today as it was then.

Your Official Ritual.

Your copy of the Indiana Monitor and Freemason's Guide.

The Indiana Blue Book of Masonic Law.

If you are not already a Mentor, try to borrow a copy of the Mentor's Manual. Read it. Then read it again.

You receive The Indiana Freemason monthly. Read it also. Messages you should be getting will be published therein. If you don't read our official magazine you'll be cutting the lines of communication.

Ask the Secretary to see an official copy of the by-laws of Acacia Lodge. You need to become familiar with our own local code.

Get a copy of the Masonic Home Yearbook. If you can't find someone who has a copy, write to the Indiana Masonic Home and ask for one.

Your "home work." No one expects you to have a Ph.D. degree, Tom, but everyone, from the youngest Entered Apprentice on up, expects you to have done your "home work." One day sooner than we think you will be the symbol of Freemasonry in the old home town. Masons and nonMasons alike will expect you to know the answers, for you will be Worshipful Master.

Do some reading, then. Try to broaden your knowledge of what Freemasonry is. Start with the simple books, those that tell the story in everyday language.

First of all should come Carl H. Claudy's Introduction to Freemasonry. You'll find it delightful, worth reading again and again.

Then get two little books by H. L. Haywood. First comes The Newly Made Mason, and after that, More About Masonry.

That will be enough for one year. I'd rather see you read these three small books carefully and thoughtfully than to attempt too much.

Preparing for faultless ritual. It goes without saying that the Worshipful Master, symbol of Freemasonry in the community, must be able to carry his part in The Work effectively. It isn't necessary that you preside during every degree. Let the Wardens take their turn now and then; invite a Past Master to the East. To do so provides a little variety, relieves the Master, helps to train the officers, and pleases those who are asked to do the honors.

But when you do preside during the conferring of a degree, your work should be impeccable.

Frightening, Tom? I trust not, for knowing you as I do, the greater the challenge the more enthusiastic and determined the response.

It all adds up to the fact that to be Worshipful Master of a Lodge of Freemasons calls for more than just one year's concentrated effort. On the contrary, it calls for not less than two years during which your sights will be fixed on the goal without a moment's deviation. All this in two years? Three or four would be better.

Good luck, laddie. You can do it!

— Your Old Mentor

Origin: Magna Borealis Lux - Edmonton AB (403) 475-6061 (760:35/765.0)