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more light #278


by Ed Halpaus
Grand Lodge Education Officer
Grand Lodge of A. F. & A. M. of Minnesota

The term “Intender” comes to us direct from the old operative Lodge of Scotland.  More than 119 years before the first Grand Lodge was formed the Intender was an important official in the Lodges in Scotland, entrusted with the instruction of new candidates.  At that time the word “intend” meant: to stretch out, extend, expand, increase , intensify.  Therefore, the intender was a faithful companion and teacher whose duty it was to stretch out, extend, increase, and intensify the knowledge and understanding of the younger craftsman in the Science of Freemasonry.

The Schaw Statutes, an elaborate code of organization first drawn up in 1598 by William Schaw, Master of Work and General Warden of the Masons of Scotland, are found in the minutes of the Lodge of Edinburgh (Mary’s Chapel) No. 1.  These Statutes provided that an Intender be chosen by each new Fellowcraft, while the Lodge of Aitchison’s Haven provided Intenders for both new Entered Apprentices and new Fellowcrafts.  In time the office of Intender became so important that the youngest Master was chosen for this exacting service.

In recent decades the emphasis has been changing from merely producing Masons proficient in the rituals to that of producing educated Masons—Masons who not only love their ritual and know how to present it effectively, but who also have an ample knowledge of the background, the aims, and the purposes of the Fraternity.  It is here that the Intender becomes an important factor in developing an intelligent membership and a capable leadership to sustain and advance Freemasonry throughout the coming ages.

The Intender Program has but one major objective; to teach the fundamentals of Freemasonry to every candidate, so he may become a Master Mason in fact as well as in name.  It’s as simple as that!

Please note particularly the word fundamentals, for this Program does not go beyond those elements which are basic to our Craft, i.e., the principles and practices with which every Craftsman should be familiar if he is to bear with honor the proud title of Master Mason.  It is not the purpose of the Intender Program to produce Masonic “scholars” or to give the candidate advanced Masonic education.  It seeks to have him understand the Masonic way of life, that he may properly conduct himself as a Mason before his Brethren and before the world at large

This Program supports the traditional maxim that the Fraternity has the inherent right to insist that each of its votaries shall be well grounded in his Masonic duties and responsibilities; and it also embraces the equally important idea that he should understand clearly the Fraternity’s obligation to him.

If, during this process, there is ignited within the candidate that “spark” which urges him to seek for more and more Masonic Light, and thus to become an earnest and diligent student of Freemasonry, then the Program will have a plus value for him and for the Fraternity, for among such Masons will be found the future leaders of our Craft.

In this fast-moving age with its many demands on every man’s time and the numerous opportunities afforded him for spare-time diversions, we find Freemasonry in the position of competing for his attention.  Failure to realize this can only result in dues-paying members who never come to Lodge, receive no positive benefit from their membership, and whose help to the Craft is limited.

It is necessary to capture the interest of the Candidate from the start, and there is no better time to do so than when he is receiving the Degrees, and immediately thereafter.  This Program for Masonic Light will do much to arouse the Candidate’s interest and increase his desire to take an active part in the work of the Lodge.  The use of this Program will make the Candidate a better Mason and a permanent asset to Freemasonry and to the Community.

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Last modified: March 22, 2014