Dispatches from Maine

Just another person of little note writing about ordinary things. That I reside in Maine is icing on the cake.

05 January 2006

MMC: Conflicting Duties

I remember being Senior Deacon for the first time. Learning the opening my opening lines, only utilized in the Entered Apprentice and Fellowcraft degrees, was not difficult and first cemented my sense that the ritual teaches us our duties. As a Senior Deacon you utter this line:
To carry orders from the Worshipful Master in the East to the Senior Warden in the West and elsewhere about the lodge as he may direct, to receive and conduct the candidate, also to introduce and accomodate visiting brethren. [1]

This places in the hands of the Senior Deacon three tasks. First, he must respond to the requests of the Worshipful Master, which he often does in the ritual. Second, he takes control of the candidate within the lodge room itself, this too occurs often in the ritual (except in the presence of multiple candidates). Finally, he introduces visitors to the lodge, which we often see in the process of receiving first time visitors. This is all quite straightforward until we arrive a the installation of officers.

I first installed a slate of officers at my own installation as Master. Since these men were going to work on my behalf for a year I felt I owed it to them to show my respect for what they were about to do by learning the installation. I was installed by R.W. Bro. Alfred E. Neff, who has since passed to the celestial lodge above, and then proceeded to install all of the other officers. It was the installation of the Marshal which puzzled me:
You are appointed Marshal of this lodge. I invest you with this jewel, and place in your hands this baton as the badge of your office. It is your duty to organize the lodge, form and conduct all processions, introduce and accommodate visiting Brethren, and attend to such other interests, in the practice of our rites, as the Worshipful Master shall direct. [2]

In the installation the Marshal introduces visitors and in the opening the Senior Deacon introduces visitors. How does such an obvious conflict occur? The first step is to discover the history of the Installation of Officers. There are some mentions as old as Anderson's Constitutions, but the first full text is contained in "Illustrations of Masonry" by William Preston [3]. This ceremony is not the same as the Installation here in Maine, but it is quite close. By way of example, the sixteen charges and regulations to the Master, which begins with "You agree to be a good man and true and strictly to obey the moral law." are the same in both. The only difference is that Preston splits them into nine charges and six regulations. There is no installation of the Marshal in Prestons work. The "Ahiman Rezon," a ritual monitor from the Antients Grand Lodge, also does not contain an installation for the Marshall even in the 1873 edition. [4] It does, however, share the same list of 15 charges and regulations and carries an installation of the Grand Marshal [5].

Here are the research tasks:
  • When did the Installation of the Marshal first appear in the Maine Masonic Text Book (originally Drummond's Monitor)?
  • Based on the first written installation have the Marshal and Senior Deacon always had a conflict of duties?
  • Where did our form of installation for the Marshal come from (hint, not the Ahiman Rezon)?

1. Correct Work for Maine 1982, pg. 5
2. Maine Masonic Text Book 1942, pg. 71
3. "Illustrations of Masonry" by William Preston ( http://www.freemasons-freemasonry.com/preston_illustrations_masonry.html )
4. "Ahiman Rezon" by Daniel Sickels (1873), pg. 252-253.
5. ibid, pg. 276.

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