Paul M. Bessel gets to the heart of understanding Freemasonry with this light, easy to read and understand question and answer book. Designed to take the reader and student through the three craft degrees in a step by step, section by section manner, this work can help new Masons and those interested in Freemasonry learn the basic facts about our Craft.
This book "Masonic Questions & Answers" is a real mine of information and an excellent starting point for candidates, Entered Apprentices, Fellow Crafts and Master Masons.
Furthermore it gives an outlook on Masonic history, philosophy, and symbolism of the Craft.
Paul M. Bessel, 33°, is currently (2005) Senior Grand Warden of the Grand Lodge of Washington DC (District of Columbia), and a Past Master, Member, and Honorary member of Lodges in Washington DC, Virginia, and New York, and of most of the Masonic appendant and concordant bodies. He was one of the founders and a Past Master of the Civil War Lodge of Research #1865, District Deputy Grand Master for Research Lodges in Virginia, and Past President of the Masonic Library and Museum Association. He is a Fellow and Life Member of the Scottish Rite Research Society and the Philalethes Society and Executive Secretary of the Allen E. Roberts Masonic Leadership Center.
Paul is well known in "computer Masonry." He is the founder and moderator of Masonic email message groups and maintains extensive websites for Masonic education. He is also the author of many articles in Masonic publications and a speaker on varied topics at many Masonic meetings.
The book is divided in three main sections, each one dedicated to the respective Degree.
I totally agree with the author that there is not an official definition of Freemasonry simply because no one can officially speak for all the Craft. Further on in the book and correctly, Paul Bessel defines Freemasonry as a Fraternity composed by moral men of legal age who believe in God and, of their own free will, receive in Lodge degrees which depict a system of morality.
But Freemasonry is and will always be a way of life.
The book is easy to read also when approaches the basic, but intricate and subtle symbolism of the Degrees.
Many new members do not stay active in the Lodge after the Third Degree because they are not stimulated enough to keep them interested. Usually it is because they do not even understand the Fraternity they have just joined.
Every candidate is a stranger to Freemasonry and Freemasonry is a stranger to him. It is not merely a Lodge that he joins, but a great Fraternity with a history stretching back over many centuries.
A candidate has every right to expect that the Lodge will provide much of the information he needs. But many Brethren never receive this information and are permitted to come—and perhaps go undirected and uninstructed.
That's why I warmly recommend this book and thanks Paul to have been made available it to Freemasons. This book should be read and discussed in Lodge, and for this purpose I suggest it should be present in every Lodge library."
Bruno Virgilio Gazzo
PS Review of FM
"Ill. Brother Bessel has one of the most impressive Masonic résumés around. He has created a vast and very useful website (www.bessel.org). I went to it when I wanted to know how many Grand Jurisdictions had printed monitors, for example, and when I wanted to know the position of each state on dual and plural memberships. It is a great resource. Now he has written a book which is a good start for Masons and non-Masons alike. The book takes you through the three Degrees in a question and answer format. It is very helpful, especially for new Masons, and I have added it to my personal list of books to recommend to those beginning their Masonic journey. By the way, the book has an excellent section on Masonic resources on the Internet. Its worth the purchase price of the book just for that."
Book Review Editor
The Scottish Rite Journal
Published by Cornerstone Book Publishers.