Instructor’s Manual

Originally Prepared in 1984
by the Masonic Education & Lodge Service Committee
R.W. Walter M. Macdougall, Chairman
R.W. John E. Anagnostos
R.W. N. James Coolong, Grand Lecturer
R.W. Ernest H. Curtis, Dept. Grand Master
R.W. Edwin v. George, Grand Secretary
R.W. Wilbur F. Loveitt
R.W. Charles Plummer
R.W. S. Clyde Ross

Revised 2009/2010 Masonic Education & Lodge Service Committee
R.W. Richard Bowden
R.W. Walter Hodgdon
V.W. William Layman
R.W. Steven Mairs
Wor. Donald McDougal
V.W. Christian Ratliff
R.W. Lester Smith
R.W. David Walker
R.W. Timothy Martel, Chairman
M.W. Robert R. Landry, Grand Master


  • Section 1 – Accepted Candidate
  • Section 2 – Entered Apprentice
  • Section 3 – Fellow Craft
  • Section 4 – Master Mason
  • Section 5 – Fourth Night Program

Picture of MW Ralph J Pollard
Dedicated To
Most Worshipful Ralph J. Pollard
Honorary Past Grand Master, Grand Lodge of Maine
Chairman of the Committee on Masonic Education and Lodge Service 1954 – 1970
Author of the “Pollard Plan ” program of Candidate Instruction









In 1980, Most Worshipful Harland F. Small, presiding Grand Master of Freemasons in Maine, directed Right Worshipful Ernest H. Curtis, then chairman of the Committee on Masonic Education and Lodge Service, to develop a revised plan for the Masonic education of candidates and new master masons including a manual for Masonic instructors.

The Grand Lodge’s Pollard Booklets developed by Most Worshipful Ralph J. Pollard, one of Maine’s finest Masonic scholars, were used as a basis for this expanded educational opportunity for candidates and new master masons. A comparative study was conducted of educational plans and educational manuals employed in other grand jurisdictions, and the advice of prominent Maine masons was sought and compiled. The resulting plan and the draft for an accompanying instructor’s manual was “field tested” by the committee by direction of Most Worshipful C. Ross Buzzell and through the cooperation of forty lodges within the state.

At the termination of this “pilot phase,” the draft for the instructor’s manual was reviewed by the Committee on Masonic Education and Lodge Service and read for final review by two Past Grand Masters appointed by Most Worshipful Peter C. Schmidt: Most Worshipful brothers Charles E. Crossland and Roger I. White.

As a result of the combined effort of many masons, The Instructor’s Manual places in the hands of Masonic educators and instructors within this grand jurisdiction a most valuable tool which will assist them in their efforts to assure that Freemasonry shall “live in the hearts of men.”

R.W. Walter M. Macdougall, Chairman

Committee on M.E. & L.S.

A.L. 5985


Each of us has come to this honorable and ancient Fraternity with the purpose of improving himself in Masonry. Each of us has quickly learned that this improvement is not a passive process. We are to improve both through active study and by doing. Service and comprehension become our watchwords. “Every human being has a claim upon our good offices,” and we are to “endeavor to add to the common stock of knowledge and understanding,.” Such are the admonitions which we receive. Such is the opportunity which Freemasonry offers us.

We are provided with working tools; we hear the inculcation of “wise and serious truths,” and we witness the unfolding of Freemasonry’s ritual with its symbols shining like stars in a great constellation. We begin the journey from the shadows in the west toward the illuminated east. It is a journey of individual striving and personal commitment, yet it is not intended that we should travel alone or without assistance.

The ancient charges give ample indication of the essential relationship between the mason who had mastered his craft and the apprentice who was commencing his training. From generation to generation, the art and the science of the builder was transmitted through a program of education within the Craft. Upon this instruction of the apprentice rested both the continuance of the art and the growth of the science.

Near the end of that era in which Freemasons built in stone, there appeared in the minutes of a Scottish Lodge and in the regulations known as the Shaw Statutes the mention of an appointed “Intender.” The duty of the Intender was to expand the knowledge and to increase the understanding of the apprentice and new mason. In the position of the “Intender,” we find an early expression of the importance of a continuing program of education within the active and well-functioning lodge.

Today, the Masonic instructor within each lodge is an “Intender” in the fine old meaning of that term. His is the opportunity to assist the accepted candidate and the new mason in building a Masonic foundation. His is the challenge to encourage the new mason’s efforts, to provide direction, and to give a proper scope to the abilities of each individual whom he has the privilege of helping. But it is not the new mason only who is the beneficiary in this process, of Masonic education, for through the instructional process the teacher comes to more fully understand the meaning of his own profession as a Freemason.


When we apply the analogy of that greatest of cosmic events to the making of a mason, we mean no irreverence. When the potential of Freemasonry is consummated in the reality of a man’s life, it is for him a cosmic event. It is for him the coming of a new day – a day illumined by the light which dispels the darkness.

There must be light at the beginning of a man’s Masonic experience – a light which kindles his interest and which makes clear and shining his path through the three degrees of Craft Masonry. The purpose of any program in Masonic education is to assure that there will be that light in full measure. It is a challenge of the highest order, for often the opportunity of capturing the interest and of inspiring the commitment of a man to the way of the Freemason comes but once and with his knock upon the lodge door.

Will there be light? Will we raise a man into the fellowship and wisdom of the Craft? This is the challenge.


The Fraternity has good reason to request from the initiate and new mason his wholehearted participation. Without such a willingness on the part of the individual, the Fraternity can contribute little to his experience and to his Masonic growth. Correlatively, the candidate and new mason have equal right to expect from the Fraternity ample instruction and assistance.

Without such guidance and help, a man cannot be expected to find his way alone through the bewildering range of topics, ideas, and concepts which await him when he knocks upon the lodge door. Consider the spectrum which confronts the new mason:

  1. The multifold teachings and symbolisms of our ritual.
  2. The aims of the Fraternity at large.
  3. The history of Freemasonry.
  4. The present organization and government of the Craft.
  5. The individual’s responsibility as a member of his lodge.
  6. The rights and privileges of the individual mason.

Obviously, it takes years of study and exposure to fully understand all these Masonic considerations, but to some extent the candidate and new mason is exposed to all these aspects during the brief time he is taking the degrees of Craft Masonry. If we expect him to find his way, to build a proper foundation, and to feel a sense of belonging as a working member of his lodge, he must have proper help. The need for Masonic instruction of the finest caliber beyond that provided in our degree work is as obvious as it is essential.


Proper help is the key phrase in the aim of Masonic education. We should complete this phrase by adding proper help for the individual candidate and new master mason.

While there are many similarities between the backgrounds, abilities, and aims of the men who seek admission into the Fraternity, each man is to some degree different and must be greeted and understood as an individual who must make Freemasonry his own. Masonic education, at its best, is personalized education based upon universal truths. It is a process of instruction which capitalizes upon the candidate’s strengths and which matches the instruction to the means by which he learns most readily.

The choice of methods utilized in Masonic education is most important, for it is the applied method which sets what educators term the “climate” or the feeling of a cooperative endeavor and a sense of progress toward desired goals.

The methods which we employ as Masonic instructors must be more than immediately effective; they must be consistent with the mission and philosophy of Freemasonry as well as with its ritualistic vehicle. The assumption that the ends justify the means is a dangerous one, for the means by which we deal with other human beings inevitably shape the end product.

In addition, the choice of educational methods and means to be used in Masonic education must be governed by the fact that we are involved in a specialized form of adult education.

It is worth taking a closer look at these factors which govern our instructional efforts.

The mission of Freemasonry is to build a better world of human relationships and achievements through the inspiration, dedication, and understanding of individual human beings. The task of the Masonic instructor, therefore, is not one of indoctrination, but rather of assisting in the growing comprehension of a new brother. The direction and the storehouse of wisdom for such a journey in growth is contained within the ritual of Freemasonry. The role of the Masonic instructor is to accompany the new brother in his journey from the west toward the East and to do so with understanding and inspiration.

The vehicle which characterizes our, Craft degrees is one of symbolism and allegory. The spiritual as well as the intellectual growth of mankind has long developed by means of this same vehicle which begins with what the hands can touch and with what is common in our experience and which ends in the abstract which only the soul and the mind can grasp. The vehicle of Masonic ritualistic instruction is especially well suited to the fundamental goals of the Fraternity. A chief aim of the Masonic instructor should be to assist the new mason in exploring the wealth of meaning provided in the symbolism, allegory, and teachings of Craft Masonry.

The philosophy of Freemasonry which is carried upon the vehicle of symbolism and allegory is predicated upon the belief in the potential of the individual human being whose intellect and sense of moral purpose arise from the intimate relationship of the Creator to that which is created. Such a belief emphasizes the importance of the individual and presents the purpose of life as an on-going quest for fulfillment and, the attainment of wisdom and compassion. At every step, the methods adopted for use in Programs of Masonic instruction must assist the individual mason in his progress toward voluntary incorporation of Freemasonry’s wisdom and inspiration within his own understanding and convictions.

Finally, both the magnitude and the challenge presented in Masonic education demand that the instructor make use of the best information concerning the learning process in general. Much is known about this process, about effective teaching practice and about the variability of learning styles. IT IS NOT EXPECTED THAT THE MASONIC INSTRUCTOR WILL BE A MASTER TEACHER; however, he will find a study of the elements of good teaching practice well worth the effort. One of the great advantages of a commitment to Masonic education is the inevitable growth of instructor himself both in his knowledge of Freemasonry and in his ability to help a new brother.


The Instructor’s Manual presented on the following pages may well appear to be a Masonic educator’s smorgasbord.

It is important for the reader and user of this manual to keep in mind that this manual is intended as a guide and as a source book. IT IS NOT THE INTENTION OF THE GRAND LODGE COMMITTEE ON MASONIC EDUCATION AND LODGE SERVICE THAT ALL THE MATERIAL PROVIDED IN THIS MANUAL WILL BE USED WITH EACH CANDIDATE OR NEW MASTER MASON. The variety-of needs, interests, and backgrounds of those brethren with whom the instructor will be working demands that the manual provide the instructor with a range of material from which he and the new mason can make appropriate selections. While the presentation offered in this manual is not the only form which a Masonic educational process can take, the manual does underscore many essentials in the development of Masonic understanding. It brings together a great deal of Masonic information along with suggestions for varied approaches thus saving the Masonic instructor much time in research and in preparation.

Those parts of the manual which use the lecture mode ARE NOT INTENDED FOR MEMORIZATION on the part of the instructor. Research, especially in the area of adult education, demonstrates that we retain very little of what we are exposed to through the lecture method. Our understanding and retention of facts and concepts is greatly facilitated by participation in a dialogue and in “hands-on” experiences where all our senses are brought into play. Those parts of the manual which employ the lecture mode do so only as a means of providing a general format while suggesting important considerations which should be considered in a “give-and-take” experience carried on by the instructor and the new mason. The old proverb which says “Tell me and I shall forget, show me and I will remember, involve me and I shall understand” contains a good deal of wisdom.

The main body of this manual is divided into four sections: The Accepted Candidate, The Entered Apprentice, The Fellow Craft, and The Master Mason. Each section is subdivided into three parts. The first part of each section attempts to set the tone and to provide an overview. The second part may be described as an “on-sight visitation” in which the candidate is provided with an opportunity of preparing for or reviewing each step in his Masonic experience provided in the degree work. The third part contains background material and suggests topics for use in discussing the Pollard Plan Booklets.

In addition to the four sections listed above, there is provided a fifth element entitled The Fourth Night Program. This program represents a vital part of the entire educational effort. Held in open lodge, this program gives the opportunity for welcoming the new master mason into the fellowship of his lodge and for introducing him to the activities and practices of the Craft when assembled on the level.


Proper help for candidates and new master masons can only be assured through the high caliber of instructional effort within the lodges and by, the active support of such programs by the Grand Lodge acting through its Committee on Masonic Education and Lodge Service.

Such a mutual assistance calls for a plan which will provide communication, assign duties, assure evaluation, and maintain support. The following plan represents a recommended format.

  1. The Candidate and New Mason Educational Program Within the Lodge
    1. General Objective: To assure that every candidate and new mason receives individual help in preparing for, reviewing and in understanding his Masonic experience through a structured educational program provided by dedicated and well-trained instructors.
    2. Personnel: The instructional personnel at the Lodge level should consist of an Educational Coordinator and at least two Instructors. (Lodges with large numbers of candidates may need more than two instructors.) Past experience in Lodges with very successful Education Programs has shown that the use of Educational Coordinators greatly enhances the program of Candidate Education. When used the following may be considered.
      1. Educational Coordinators:
        1. Appointment – The master of each subordinate lodge should appoint an educational coordinator. The master should notify the District Education Representative of this appointment as soon as possible.
        2. Duties of the Educational Coordinator – The Coordinator shall be responsible for the candidate and new mason’s education apart from the ritual instruction of the degree work. He shall assign instructors, schedule instruction sessions, monitor the quality of instruction, make available instructional materials, and assist in the training of instructors. In addition, the Coordinator shall keep a record of the educational progress of each candidate including a record of the giving of the ritual lessons before the lodge. (See Candidate Education Record Sheet.)
      2. Educational Instructors:
        1. Appointment – It is recommended that the master of the lodge in concert with the Educational Coordinator appoint at least two instructors.
        2. Duties of the Educational Instructors – The instructors under the direction of the coordinator shall conduct the educational sessions.

Alternative Approach – In cases where the candidate load is small and where lodges are so geographically located as to allow close cooperation, lodges may wish to combine their candidate educational programs utilizing appointed instructors from the various lodges working under a chosen educational coordinator who shall make his reports to both the masters and to the District Representative of the Grand Lodge Committee on Education. It is possible that such a united program could be organized upon a district level. However, such a program would not relieve the master of each lodge from the responsibility of assuring that candidates and new masons of his lodge are receiving adequate, individualized instruction. Under such conditions it will be the master’s duty to see that proper records are kept showing the educational progress of each candidate.

  1. The Committee on Masonic Education’s Part and Role
    1. The District Education Representatives of the Committee on Masonic Education
      1. Role: The District Education Representatives (DER) shall be the contact between the Committee on Masonic Education and Lodge Services and the educational coordinators in each lodge in his district.
      2. Duty of the DER:  Duty of District Representatives: It shall be the duty of the District Representatives to assist the educational coordinators in the organization of lodge programs for candidate education, to assure a supply of educational materials, to maintain communication to and from the Committee on Masonic Education, and to help in the arrangement of training sessions for the lodge educational instructors. In those cases where lodges are pooling their educational programs, the representatives shall assist in the coordination. Of particular importance is the representative’s role in relaying the field experience of the coordinators and instructors to the Committee on Masonic Education for the purposes of program evaluation and revision.
    2. The Committee on Masonic Education’s Role
      1. The Committee shall work through the district representatives to provide the following:
        1. Instruction and training sessions for coordinators and instructors.
        2. Support of Lodge Programs by:
          1. Advisory services on problems of an educational nature.
          2. Supply of new and revised educational materials.
          3. Providing of a regular and systematic opportunity for evaluation and revamping of the educational program and materials through the joint evaluation of representatives, committee members, coordinators, and instructors.
        3. Encouragement in the form of visitations and the presentations of aspects of Masonic education.
        4. Circulation of a newsletter for coordinators and instructors featuring current information on education and shared field experiences.
        5. Periodic updating covering advances in teaching techniques, the understanding of the learning process, and Masonic scholarship.


Pre-planning, attempt, evaluation, reconstruction, and renewed effort represent the process through which we humans progress toward any desired goal. As Masonic educators, we are dependent upon feedback gained during actual instruction if we are to continually improve our educational endeavors.

Such a continued process of setting a tentative direction and then refining that direction on the basis of experience and evaluation calls for a joint effort between the Committee on Masonic Education, the Committee’s representatives, and the instructional teams working within the lodges.

The Instructor’s Manual provides the basis upon which we can begin this process in the direction of our goal which is to provide the proper help to every individual who seeks the wisdom and the united strength of Freemasonry.

The Instructor’s Manual is continued in the following parts:

  1. Instructor’s Manual for the Accepted Candidate
  2. Instructor’s Manual for the Entered Apprentice
  3. Instructor’s Manual for Fellow Craft
  4. Instructor’s Manual for the Master Mason