The Three Degrees of Freemasonry

Freemasonry is a fraternal organization that confers the three degrees of Entry Apprentice, Fellowcraft, and Master Mason. These degrees are the foundation of the Masonic system and are considered to be of equal rank and prestige. The concept and names of each grade were adapted from the artisan guilds of the Middle Ages. The first degree, Entering Apprentice, is the initial step in becoming a Mason.

This degree is focused on introducing the candidate to the basic principles of Freemasonry and its teachings. The second degree, Fellowcraft, is focused on furthering the candidate's knowledge of Masonic principles and teachings. The third degree, Master Mason, is the highest degree in Freemasonry and is focused on teaching the candidate about the highest principles of Freemasonry. In addition to these three standard Masonic degrees, members may choose to obtain complementary degrees in attached Masonic organizations such as the Scottish Rite, York Rite, or Shrine (among many others).

These honorary degrees are high honors but are not considered to be of greater rank or prestige than the title of Master Mason. Members of Freemasonry are committed to treating each other with equal respect and friendship at all stages of life. Those who have earned additional degrees or achieved leadership ranks are not “more Masons” than any other Masonic master. This is because one of the core values of Freemasonry is equality.

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