Private Collection Four
Masonic stories, and speeches about Freemasons
Masonic writings from a private collection, Private Collection Four 48 pages
"Old Tiler Talks" by Carl Claudy -1925
"Someone should speak to Brother Filmore," said the New Brother,
thoughtfully, sitting beside the Old Tiler.
"People do speak to him- I speak to him myself," countered the Old Tiler.
"I mean speak to him seriously."
"I speak to him seriously. I asked him tonight how his wife was,"
answered the Old Tiler.
"Oh, you know what I mean! I mean admonish him."
"About his carelessness of Masonic secrets. He runs the lantern and
leaves the slides out where any profane can see them. He takes them
home sometimes and his children can get them and..."
"I appoint you a committee of one to see that his children are all
properly murdered. No child should look at a Masonic slide and
"Now you are kidding me."
"Boy, you are kidding yourself. The only secret about a Masonic
lantern slide thousands of Masons have tried to find, but none ever
have. It is not to be revealed by looking at them."
"I don't understand..."
"No secrets of Freemasonry are to be learned from a Masonic lantern
slide. They are sold to any one who has the price. If there was
anything secret about a lantern slide, making it would be against
"But you said there was a secret..."
"Sure, but not a Masonic secret. Generations of Masons have tried
to learn who designed them that they might slay him with ceremony
and an axe. The harm done leaving Masonic lantern slides where the
profane may see them will come from the poor opinion the profane
gets from the Masonic slide conception of charity and brotherly
love and truth and relief. Some slides representing Time counting
the ringlets in the hair of the virgin give anyone with the
slightest idea of art the notion that Masons are all cubists! We
are trianglists or rightanglists, maybe, but not cubists! Those
illustrations of brotherly love in which one fat man lays a
ham-like arm lovingly about the bull-like neck of a misshapen Roman
gladiator would scare any child who saw it into such a fear of the
fraternity he would probably weep ever time Dad went to lodge...
but as far as giving away any Masonic secrets is concerned-
"You haven't the same reverence for the sacredness of Masonic ideas
as I have."
"Whoa! Boy, you have things upside down. My reverence for real
Masonic secrets is second to none. Your reverence is inclusive;
mine only for what is real. You wouldn't go home and tell your wife
that a lodgeroom has a chair in the east, where the Master sits,
that there is an Altar in the center of the lodge, or that
candidates take an obligation, would you?"
"I would! The scrubwomen see the lodgeroom. If they can be
permitted to view its sacred outlines, I see no reason why my wife
shouldn't. In lodge entertainments we don't move the Altar and
women have entertained us after the lodge was closed, more than
once. Any catalogue of Masonic paraphernalia advertises hoodwinks,
and ours are regularly sent to the laundry, anyhow!
"The real secrets of Freemasonry mean something for you and me,
which is not for the uninitiated. But they are not upon lantern
slides, in the size of the room, the height of the ceiling or even
the place where a Worshipful Master hangs his hat! Circumspection
in speaking of the things of the lodge, as opposed to the spirit of
a lodge, is necessary only that no false idea be given the
outsider. If it were possible to photograph men receiving the first
degree, the profane might laugh, unappreciative of the symbolism
they saw. But do you really think the value of Masonic secrets
would be decreased by such an exhibition?
"A number of men have written exposes of Masonry. Half true, half
manufactured, no one is interested in them. In second-hand
bookstores you can pick them up for a few cents. They are in every
Masonic library. If what they contained really harmed the
fraternity, would the librarians not destroy them?"
"The secrets of Freemasonry are carried in your heart; they are not
what you see with your eyes or touch with your fingers. There is
nothing secret about an organ, or the music books the choir uses,
or the gavel the Master holds in his hand, nor yet the books in
which the Secretary records who has paid his dues. The shape and
form and furniture of a lodge is not a secret, nor the time of
meetings nor the name of the Chaplain! The lantern slide conceals
no secret worth knowing, nor does the chart to which the lecturer
points nor even the carpet laid down the second degree. These are
all but a means of putting a picture in your mind and it is the
meaning of that picture which must be sacredly kept, not the means
which put it there."
"Then you don't think someone ought to speak to Brother Filmore
"No, but there was a brother in this lodge who had to be spoken to
seriously. I did it.."
"Why, who was it?" asked the New Brother anxiously.
"You!" said the Old Tiler.
"What we have done for ourselves alone dies with us, what we have done for
others and the world remains and is immortal. -Albert Pike
SOME WORDS FROM YESTERDAY (1970)
Looking at the overall picture of American Masonry candidly and
thoughtfully, it seems to me the greatest single need of our Craft
today is a membership with a better understanding of what our
Fraternity is and especially of what it is not. Few indeed are the
Master Masons who know what Freemasonry really is; even more rare is
the species with a comprehension of what Freemasonry is not. Seniority
and rank seem to have little relationship to our ignorance. The number
of Masters, Past Masters and Grand Masters who are hazy as to what our
Craft is all about is appalling.
What has happened?
Well, we seem to assume that Freemasonry, is a fly-by-night fad of the
mid-Twentieth Century; something to be tossed hither and yon by every
wind that blows. In the restless, superficial age in which we live, we
are impatient unless our organized bodies have slogans, and carry
banners, and make official pronouncements on about every subject under
the sun, however trivial. We want them to follow the conventional
pattern; to maintain lobbies, to publish aims and objectives, conduct
drives and campaigns, strive to get into the headlines and on the
airwaves, write checks to everything that sounds benevolent and has a
board of directors, and, in general, to have a finger in every pie.
Freemasonry does none of these.
Strange, is it not, that our ancient Craft should have gained for
itself such a preeminent position of honor and prestige when it does
almost nothing in the conventional manner!
Then what is this Freemasonry to which I urge our Brethren to return?
What are its aims and objectives? What does it do?
Perhaps the last place we would expect to find an answer would be in
the First Book of Kings, and even then the answer will come as
something of a disappointment, for it is all so different from the
ways to which we have become accustomed.
Elijah was languishing in his cave on Mount Horeb in the conviction
that of all God's children only he had remained faithful to his trust.
By divine command, Elijah went forth and stood upon the mountain, and
the prophet tells us what happened:
"And behold, the Lord passed by, and a great and strong wind rent the
mountains brake in pieces the rocks before the Lord; but the Lord was
not in the wind: and after the wind an earthquake; but the Lord was
not in the earthquake: and after the earthquake a fire; but the Lord
was not in the fire: and after the fire a still small voice."
What does that mean to us this day? It means that Freemasonry erects
its Temples within the hearts of men. Even though we may not
understand what we are saying, we sound forth our purpose in trumpet
tones when, in our own Declaration of Principles, we proclaim,
"Through the improvement and strengthening of the character of the
individual man, Freemasonry seeks to improve the community."
And we tell the candidate for the degrees of Masonry the same thing in
words striking in their simplicity. "The design of the Masonic
Institution," we say to him, "is to make its votaries wiser, better,
and consequently, happier." Not a word about mass action, nor pressure
groups, nor resolutions on matters of state policy. No "pro" this nor
"anti" that. No sales talk for any pet scheme. No great undertakings
to cure the ills of the world by making everyone over to fit a pattern
of our own design. No running about like chickens with their beads off
in search of a do-good project with which to gain favorable notice. No
restless biting of the nails to compete with a service club or a civic
league. No endless "busyness" which loses sight of the objective.
The message of Freemasonry? Just this: that the Lord is not to be
found in the wind, nor in the earthquake, nor in the fire, but in the
still, small voice!
The purpose of Freemasonry? Its purpose is the same as it has been
since the day when the stones for King Solomon's Temple were hewn,
squared and numbered in the quarries where they were raised. It is to
take an individual-just one man at a time, mind you, and as good a man
as possible-and try to make a better man out of him. That is all. How
desperately the world needs just that! And if that technique is
outmoded, then the experience of two thousand years is all wrong; the
Parable of the Mustard Seed is horse-and-buggy philosophy; the Leaven
in the Loaf is a cruel hoax.
The mere fact that men do not comprehend its purpose does not mean
that 'Freemasonry has no purpose, nor that its purpose is outmoded -it
only means that the stones are not being well hewn and squared in the
quarries where they are raised..
Freemasonry has not been tried in the balance and found wanting: it
has been found difficult and not tried.
More than anything else today, the world yearns for that same kind of
gentle, healing influence at work in the hearts of men. The Masonic
Institution, which sometimes is looked upon with scorn because it does
not operate in the conventional manner, is prepared to bear witness to
the fact that the conventional way of our age leaves much to be
desired, and to stand upon its own majestic affirmation that the way
to change human systems is to change human fives.
The wise and venerable Dean Roscoe Pound has seen more of life than
most of us, and views history with greater philosophical calm,
perhaps, than any of us Here is his message to his Brethren of the
Craft: "Freemasonry has more to offer the Twentieth Century than the
Twentieth Century has to offer Freemasonry."
Dwight L. Smith
Whither Are WE Traveling?
After reading Bro Dwight's message, I am moved to say something
revolutionary and simple. Revolutionary in that it discards all of
the self-rightous talk we hear about the Fraternity being some kind of
mythical Order uplifting mankind by its mere existance. And simple in
that it re-teaches us a lesson from the school playground: You must
keep your eye on the ball or you cannot catch or hit effectively. And
without catching or hitting, your game (of baseball) is lost. What is
this "new formula"? We must recognise that in order to uplift a man,
we must first initiate him. It is that simple! Freemasonry is first
and foremost a Rite of Passage. It has been the great rite of passage
for Western man since the spread of European civilization in the
1700s. If we keep this in mind and repeat it often, we will keep
membership up by treating each action as one that we would want to be
seen by the uninitiated to encourage him to want to be a member.
Also, we will put our time and energy into activities like Rainbow and
Jobies and DeMolay that bring in family members of the youth for
activities and get them interested in joining the lodge, as well as
visitor's banquets and other things more directly aimed at membership.
Even each unsung act of lodge generosity is seen by someone, who is
then more kindly disposed to our Order. Keep repeating that
freemaonsry is a rite of passage, and magically your purpose as a
lodge becomes clear: to improve each man and thus mankind by
initiating the influencial and the anonymous alike. Those who have
the time to come to their daughter's Rainbow activities will see the
lodge and the members, that is a man, a family man, whom I want in my
lodge. This is only one example, and I could go on, but you get the
idea. Have a purpose. Don't invent one just because someone said
that without a purpose the Fraternity would die. You already have a
purpose: Freemasonry is a Rite of Passage of the acceptance of adult
men into the fabric of Western society. The more we keep this in
mind, the more it will be the reality that it once was.
In my not-so-humble opinion,
Bro J. R. Martin, MPS, et al.
Dwight Smith refers to this article from the Dec 1961 Philalethes.
Who Killed Cock Robin ?
by ARTHUR H. STRICKLAND, M.P.S., (Kans.)
ALMOST every mail these days brings some Masonic literature containing
articles about poor attendance at Lodges, and losses in membership.
These articles, almost unanimously deplore the fact that memberships
are dropping down, and that attendance is falling off. Many are the
reasons that are advanced as to what causes this unfortunate
situation. This writer has read many of these articles trying to find
in one of them the answer to the problem. All sorts of opinions are
advanced but none seems to offer a solution. The lack of attendance is
attributed to motion picture shows, to the television, to motor cars
and to almost everything else. Also it is stated in some that the
modern idea of "togetherness" in families has hurt the attendance. All
of these things, no doubt, do contribute in some degree in keeping our
members away, but are they the real reason for the lack of enthusiasm
among our members?
It is an old theorem that what is easy to get, is not much
appreciated. It is our opinion that some of our loss in interest is
due to the fact that acquiring Masonic degrees has been made too easy
for the petitioners in recent years. In states where there is a
waiting period between degrees, this has been waived many times by
Grand Masters to permit candidates to hurry through the work. In our
own State of Kansas, the proposition is now being considered of doing
away with all waiting time, and letting the candidates progress as
they please. Some Lodges feel that they are obligated to call
innumerable special communications to rush candidates through as soon
as they are elected. We have done everything that we can think of to
cheapen Masonry. The whole burden has been assumed by the Lodge for
hustling men through the degrees, until all semblance of respect has
been eliminated from the minds of the candidates. Investigating
committees are slack in their investigations, and make reports to
their Lodges that are slipshod and not accurate. Many of these
committees fail altogether to make an investigation, and report with
no information at all.
These things have resulted in a lack of respect for the Order. We have
cheapened the Fraternity to the point that it is seriously reacting
against us. Our stated meetings are permitted to become dull and
uninteresting, and follow the same routine pattern. Officers are slow
to improve their programs, and the long tedious process of reading
minutes, allowing bills, reading correspondence, etc., finally wears
away the resistance of the "sideline" member, and he finally gives up
on the whole thing and stays home. The present day habit of
introducing everyone who has ever held any Masonic office is boring
and tiring to the members, and should be confined to official visits
of the Grand Master or his especially designated representative. This
writer has many times heard members complain of standing for 30 to 45
minutes or more while a long line of so-called distinguished guests is
brought in and one by one painfully introduced.
It is our considered opinion, that attendance at our Lodges will
improve when we start .to make our meetings attractive enough to
appeal to the members, and not before. Our presiding officers should
arrange to have the business handled promptly and efficiently, and
keep the boring features at a minimum. Get the business out of the
way, and then have time for some real "Masonic" activity. It can be
the conferral of a degree, or it can be a talk by some informed
Masons; it can be a paper prepared by one of the members on some
subject that is of interest to Masons; it can be the reading of the
Grand Lodge Laws and Regulations; it can be a reading of the
Landmarks, or the Ancient Articles; or it could be the reading of one
of the Masonic Service Association Short Talk Bulletins.
Any of these features would prove interesting, and when it is noised
around town that the Lodge is holding really interesting meetings, the
members will hear about it and come.
We hold the secret of attendance in our own breasts, and when the
officers make their meetings worthy of attendance, they will find that
the members will respond.
"Who killed cock robin? . . . I said the sparrow . . . "
From: James Sledge <Jasesledge@webtv.net>
Date: Friday, July 09, 1999 3:41 PM
The article by Brother Strickland published in The Philalethes in Dec
'61 "Who Killed Cock Robin" is right on the money with the exception
(IMO) of the following paragraph.
" some subject that is of interest to Masons; it can be the reading of
the Grand Lodge Laws and Regulations; it can be a reading of the
Landmarks, or the Ancient Articles; or it could be the reading of one of
the Masonic Service Association Short Talk Bulletins."
In my 50 years of attending Lodge meetings and I'll put my attendance
record against any Brother, the most BORING portion of any meeting is
for some Brother to READ from some paper for in most cases when a
Brother reads an article verbatim he usually doesn't pronounce words
properly and doesn't show any emotion whatsoever.
Using the above mentioned materiel is great but should be used only as
references in a talk about the subject.
I am looking forward to seeing more input on this subject.
THE SHORT TALK BULLETIN August 1999
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By: Bates LeGrand
Brother LeGrand is a member of the Texas Lodge of Research and a
Past Master of Richardson Lodge #1214, Richardson, Texas.
Circurnambulation Meditations was first published in the 1997-1998
Volume XXXII Transaction of the Texas Lodge of Research and is
reprinted as the 8-99 STB with permission. This article explains the
meaning of the phrases used in the Bible readings in each of the
three degrees of Masonry. -Editor
Entered Apprentice Degree: Psalm 133
Behold how good and how pleasant it is for brethren to dwell
together in unity: It is like the precious ointment upon the head,
that ran down upon the beard, even Aaron's beard, that went down to
the skirts of his garment: As the dew of Hermon, and as the dew that
descended upon the mountains of Zion; for there the Lord commanded
the blessing, even life forevermore.
This is one of approximately thirty-six songs of joy and praise that
are recorded in the Book of Psalms, this being one of many written
by King David. He begins by telling us to to observe," "take note,"
"be sure you understand" or "examine closely" the joy and pleasure
that is derived from unity or harmony among brethren.
The Psalmist gives two examples of how valuable the unity is. The
first is that of the precious "ointment" or oil with which Aaron,
Moses' older brother and spokesman, was consecrated as Israel's
first high priest. Expensive as it was, it is evident that it was
used in abundance since it ran from his head to his beard and all
the way down to the hem of his robe.
The second example is that of the dew of Hermon, which was essential
to the success of Israelite agriculture. They usually got the
earlier and later rains, but the dew was necessary to sustain their
crops during the long hot summers in that arid region. Mount Hermon
is the most beautiful mountain in Israel, so one can imagine how
much more beautiful it looked to the Israelites when it was covered
with the life-sustaining dew.
In the same manner, Mount Zion was beautiful to them because
Jerusalem, the Holy City, was built there. Ibis is where they went
to offer their sacrifices and to hold their religious feasts and
where the Lord God made that blessed promise of life everlasting.
This Scripture was probably chosen because unity is essential to the
success of Masonry. The unity we enjoy also adds to the pleasure of
belonging to a fraternity of like-minded brothers, interested in the
same moral and ethical principles.
Fellowcraft Degree: Amos 7:7-8
Thus He shewed me; and behold the Lord stood upon a wall made by a
plumb line, with a plumb line in His hand. And the Lord said unto
me, 'Amos, what seest thou?' And I said, 'A plumb line.' Thus saith
the Lord, 'Behold, I will set a plumb line in the midst of my people
Israel. I will not again pass by them anymore.'
Amos was a Judean shepherd in the middle 700s B.C. when he was
chosen to be a prophet of God. His main calling was to warn the
people of Israel of their impending destruction if they failed to
repent their sins.
God delivered the nation of Israel from slavery in Egypt about 1270
B.C. by many miracles, signs and wonders including:
1. The Egyptian plagues;
2. The parting of the waters of the Red Sea;
3. Moses' meeting with God on Mount Sinai to receive the stone
tablets containing the Ten Commandments;
4. Bringing water from a rock to quench their thirst;
5. Giving them manna from heaven for food;
6. Not letting their clothes wear out in forty years;
7. Parting the waters of the Jordan River;
8. Bringing them into the land of Canaan, the "promised land," and
defeating the idol worshippers who lived there.
After all these and many other miracles, the Israelites continued to
be an obstinate and disobedient people. God tried on numerous
occasions to bring them back into fellowship with Him. They would
usually say they would obey Him, God would forgive them, and then
they would revert to their wicked ways.
Then, in the days of Amos, some five hundred years after the Exodus,
the Israelites had sunk to an all time moral and spiritual low. The
nation was prosperous, but its prosperity was based on selfishness,
unfairness to the poor, robbery, theft and murder. The people
practiced a token worship of God, but they perverted true worship by
paying homage to pagan gods and idols. There was a complete lack of
mercy and justice and absolutely no regard for human life. It was at
this time that God, through Amos, told them that He will "Set a
plumb line in the midst of them"; that is to set a standard of
uprightness and justice for them: and that He will "not again pass
by them anymore"; he will not overlook their sins anymore.
True to form, the people of Israel, being complacent in their
prosperity, did not heed Amos' warning. As a result, Jerusalem was
destroyed, and the people enslaved in Assyria in 722 B.C.
This lesson admonishes us that while God is forgiving, there is a
limit to his patience.
This Scripture was probably chosen because of its reference to the
"plumb," which is one of the working tools of the Fellowcraft
Degree. The plumb is an instrument used by ancient and modem
craftsmen to determine whether an object is perfectly upright or
perpendicular; it has, therefore, become an emblem of the spiritual
and moral uprightness so essential in Masonry.
Masters Degree: Ecclesiastes 12:1-7
Remember now thy Creator in the days of thy youth, while the evil
days come not, nor the years draw nigh, when thou shalt say 'I have
no pleasure in them'; while the sun or the light or the moon, or the
stars be not darkened, nor the clouds return after the rain; In the
day when the keepers of the house shall tremble, and the strong men
shall bow themselves, and the grinders cease, because they are few,
and those that look out of the windows be darkened, And the doors
shall be shut in the streets, when the sound of the grinding is low,
and he shall rise up at the voice of the bird, and all the daughters
of music shall be brought low. Also, when they shall be afraid of
that which is high, and fears shall be in the way, and the almond
tree shall flourish, and the grasshopper shall be a burden, and
desire shall fail; because man goeth to his long home, and the
mourners go about the streets; or ever the silver cord be loosed, or
the golden bowl be broken, or the pitcher be broken at the fountain,
or the wheel broken at the cistern. Then shall the dust return to
the earth as it was and the spirit shall return to God who gave it.
Most people will agree that one cannot simply read the Bible and
expect to glean all meanings, and lessons. Given the lapse of time
since it was written and the evolution of languages, some research
is required. In no place in the Scriptures is this truth more
evident than in the Book of Ecclesiastes, which is liberally
sprinkled with metaphors. This is particularly evident in
Ecclesiastes 12:1-7, which all Master Masons will recognize as the
Scripture passage read during the Master Masons' Circumambulation.
Ecclesiastes is defined as "one who assembles" or "one who collects
wise sayings." It is liberally translated as "The Preacher." Neither
the date this book was written nor the identity of its author or
authors is certain. Until the l9th century, scholars thought it was
authored by King Solomon, but modem theologians feel that the true
composer is unknown. They believe it is written as if King Solomon
were the author. (This was an accepted literary device at that time
in history). Whoever the author may have been, he is exhorting young
people to avail themselves of God's blessings while they are still
One can read this passage over and over again without actually
understanding its meaning. At least two different Bible
commentaries, however, offer the following explanations:
REMEMBER now thy Creator: here, remember" means more than just
recalling to mind. It means to "reverence, honor, glorify and
In the Days of thy YOUTH: means while men are young.
While the EVIL DAYS come not: pertains to the rigors of old age.
Nor the YEARS DRAW NIGH: means when the time comes near.
When thou shalt Say "I HAVE NO PLEASURE IN THEM": refers to the
sadness of old age.
While the sun, or the light, or the moon, or the stars BE NOT
DARKENED nor the CLOUDS RETURN after the rain: refers to the storm
clouds of old age.
In the days when the KEEPERS of the HOUSE shall tremble: the keepers
are the hands and arms while the house represents the body.
And the STRONG MIEN shall bow themselves: refers to the legs
becoming crooked. [Bow is an archaic word, meaning to bend.]
And the GRINDERS cease because they are few: refers to missing
And those that look out of the WINDOWS be darkened: indicates the
eyes becoming weak.
And the DOORS shall be shut in the streets: pertains to the ears
When the sound of the GRINDING is low: pertains to toothless
And he shall RISE UP at the voice of the bird: indicates the
inability to sleep, gets up early when the birds start to sing.
And all the DAUGHTERS of MUSIC shall be brought low: indicates the
voice is failing and an inability to sing.
Also when they shall be AFRAID of that which is HIGH: pertains to
fear of heights and the fear of falling.
And FEARS shall be in the WAY: indicates the fear of crime; because
man cannot protect himself.
And the ALMOND TREE shall flourish: pertains to gray hair; referring
to the almost white blossoms of the almond tree.
And the GRASSHOPPER shall be a BURDEN: means man becomes weak,
unable to lift.
And DESIRE shall FAIL: pertains to the loss of physical appetites.
Because man goeth to his LONG HOME: means heaven.
And the MOURNERS go about the STREETS: pertains to the funeral
procession. [Perhaps hired mourners as was the custom in some
Or ever the SILVER CORD be loosed or the GOLDEN BOWL be broken: the
picture here is of a golden lamp suspended by a silver cord. The
silver cord comes loose, the golden bowl crashes to the floor, and
the light of life is extinguished.
Or the PITCHER be broken at the FOUNTAIN, or the WHEEL broken at the
CISTERN: this pertains to the water of life. The broken pitcher can
contain no more water. With the wheel broken, water can no longer be
drawn from the cistern.
Then shall the DUST return to the earth as it was: pertains to that
from which God created man.
And the SPIRIT shall return unto God who gave it: Genesis 2:7 tells
us that God formed man from the dust of the earth and breathed into
his nostrils the breath of life and man became a living soul. So, at
the time of death, man ceases to exist on earth and his spirit
returns to God, who gave it to him in the first place.
It is much easier for a young person to accept new concepts, ideas
and disciplines than one who is older and "set in his ways." By the
same token, it is easier for a youth to accept (remember) God and
his teachings, principles and ordinances than it is for an older
person. Whatever stage of our life, it is imperative that we as men
and Masons "REMEMBER NOW OUR CREATOR."
EMESSAU MOTES P2
MIC OFFERS NEW BROCHURE
The Masonic Information Center now has available a new full-color,
eight-panel brochure titled "Who Are the Masons?" Meant as a
"generic" brochure for use by Blue Lodges and all other Masonic
Bodies, the new publication provides an attractive, easy-to read
introduction to Freemasonry. It is a perfect handout to give to
prospective members, and it offers a clear description of Masonry
for the general public. Space is provided on the end panel so that a
Lodge, Grand Lodge, or other Masonic Body can Insert its own name as
a point of contact.
A complimentary copy of the brochure can be obtained by writing to
the address below. Larger orders (sold in lots of 50) may be made as
50 @ $.27 ea. = $ 13.50 500 @ $.23 ea. $115.00
100 @ $.25 ea. = $ 25.00 1000 @ $.20 ea. $200.00
(Plus Shipping) Order from and make checks payable to: Masonic
Information Center, 8120 Fenton Street, Silver Spring, MD 20910-4785.
8 NORTH AMERICAN DAYLIGHT LODGES
Historical references suggest that Medieval Masonic Guilds often met
on Saturday for such business as proving their apprentices. Logic
would tell us that, just as the first walls were erected on the
north side In order to keep the building area shaded for less time,
so would the meeting be during the day because few except the
nobility and clergy could afford the luxury of candles or lamp oil.
The goals and purposes of this organization shall be the exchange of
fellowship and to foster Masonic ideals amongst the members and
friends of Masonic Lodges which meet, as in ancient times, during
the daylight hours.
MSA is very pleased to provide our readers with an advance notice
that there will be a Conference for North American Daylight Lodges
in Toronto, Ontario, May 26-29, 2000. This is an early notice for
those who might like to plan a trip around the conference.
For more information please visit the website:
httpV/members.home.net/nacdl or contact the Conference Chairman:
Sheldon Kofsky, 11 Cowles Court, Richmond Hill, ON L4C 9A8
FAX: 905-770-3014;E-Mail email@example.com
4. NATIONAL CAMPING TRAVELERS, INC.
A Camping Club exclusively for Master Masons and their families.
"The object of National Camping Travelers, Inc., shall be for the
entertainment and enjoyment of those whose fraternal affiliations
are satisfactory and who use tents, trailers, campers, and other
recreational vehicles to sightsee, have fun, and promote good
fellowship, make friends along the way, and get more out of Life,
Liberty and the Pursuit of Happiness."
National Camping Travelers, Inc., a Fraternal Camping Club, was
founded in 1966 at Gettysburg, PA, by our late Brother Myron Fox and
twenty one other Masonic Families. The Club (NCT) was established as
a call to refreshment for those who enjoy the outdoors for
relaxation and good fellowship.
For Further Information Contact: National Camping Travelers, Inc
P.O. Box 2894 Chesapeake, VA 23327 (757) 4206829
E-mail:firstname.lastname@example.org Website:www.pinrLnet/ - netcamp
Preston Burner PM MPS Hiram's Oasis is at www.kena.org/hiram
the MSA 1999 catalog is available of you in an a ZIPed attachment by
request-just ask in an e-mail.
PEARL HARBOR AND TIRE
By: Randy T. S. Chang
This STB is the text of an address given to the delegates
attending the Conference of Grand Masters and the Conference of
Grand Secretaries in Honolulu, in Feb. 1999. At that time Randy TS.
Chang was serving as Grand Master of the Grand Lodge of Hawaii.
These remarks were given aboard the Battleship Missouri, the
"Mighty Mo." -Editor
Inasmuch as we Freemasons are committed to peace and harmony
among all people, and many outstanding patriotic Americans were
Freemasons who served our country well, and many of them served in
the Armed Forces of this country, both in its founding and in the
wars to defeat tyrants and dictators, we believe it is most
appropriate that we hold our opening ceremony at this very special
place in American History. I am referring to such men as George
Washington, John Paul Jones, Paul Revere, Benjamin Franklin, Andrew
Jackson, David Farragut, Edward Preble, and in later years . . .
Teddy Roosevelt, Eddie Rickenbacker, Jimmy Doolittle, Theodore
Roosevelt Jr., Ernest King, Homer Wallin, and Marc Mitscher.
Of the 123 Medals of Honor awarded in World War I, 16 were to
Freemasons. Of the 434 medals awarded in World War Il, 21 were to
Freemasons. Out of 131 medals awarded in the Korean conflict, 3
were to Freemasons. And out of the 240 medals awarded in the
Vietnam Era, 4 were awarded to Freemasons.
Since we are at Ford Island in Pearl Harbor let us start with
some of the major events that occurred here. World War II began for
the United States at this very location on December 7, 1941. In a
surprise attack the Imperial Japanese Navy's First Carrier Strike
Force struck most of the United States Military Bases on the Island
of Oahu of the then Territory of Hawaii. Pearl Harbor suffered the
greatest number of casualties and the destruction of many ships.
When the Battleship Arizona blew up and sank, 1,177 men were
trapped, some dead and others dying, in a twisted mass of metal,
engulfed in flames. In spite of the most intensified efforts to
extricate the dead only the bodies of 75 men could be removed, and
1,102 are still entombed in the Arizona. When Pearl Harbor was
attacked on that tragic Sunday morning of December 7, 1941, this
berth now occupied by the "Mighty Mo" was part of the area known as
"Battleship Row." Seven battleships were berthed in "Battleship
Row" in a North-South direction positioned as follows: First was
the NEVADA, followed by the ARIZONA which was inboard of the repair
ship Vestal. Next was the TENNESSEE, inboard of the WEST VIRGINIA.
Next in line was the MARYLAND which was berthed inboard of the
OKLAHOMA, followed by the tanker Neosha, with the CALIFORNIA at the
end of the row. These battleships were the main targets of the
Japanese Task Force. All but the Arizona and the Oklahoma were
eventually returned to service. The attack was carried out by two
waves of aircraft and lasted for about two hours. Fortunately, none
of the three U.S. Aircraft Carriers were in port at the time of the
attack. The Enterprise was enroute from Wake Island, the Lexington
was enroute to Midway Island, and the Saratoga was at the San Diego
Naval Base. Equally important was the fact that the Imperial
Japanese Navy did not know the whereabouts of the three carriers.
Admiral Isoroku Yamamoto, Commanderin-Chief of the Imperial
Japanese Fleet and principal architect of the Pearl Harbor attack,
was a strong proponent of air power and had counted heavily on
destroying the American Aircraft Carriers. Although the attack was
highly celebrated as a great victory by Imperial Japan, Yamamoto
considered it to be a seriously flawed victory because he realized
that the U.S. Carriers posed a powerful threat to any Japanese
plans for further conquest in the Pacific. As events evolved
Yamamoto's fears became a reality, beginning with the Imperial
Japanese Navy suffering a humiliating defeat in the Battle of
Midway on June 4-6, 1942. The vastly outnumbered and under-equipped
Americans inflicted the worst defeat on the Empire of Japan's
forces that they had ever experienced. The Japanese carriers Akagi,
Kaga, Soryu, and Hiryu that had participated in the December 7th
attack on Pearl Harbor were sunk, and about one-third of their
pilots, all seasoned veterans, were lost. Many Americans look back
at the December 7th surprise attack as a one-time successful strike
and nothing more than an end in itself. This was not the case. The
Japanese attack on Midway was the initial phase of "Eastern
Operation," Admiral Yamamoto's plan to conquer and occupy the
Hawaiian Islands. Taking Midway was to be followed by occupying the
Island of Hawaii in October of 1942, with the invasion of the
Island of Oahu scheduled for March 1943. The Japanese defeat at
Midway brought "Eastern Operation" to an abrupt halt, never to be
revived. The Battle of Midway turned the tide for the United States
and its Allies in the Pacific. By war's end, all the Japanese
ships, carriers and submarines that had participated in the
December 7, 1941 surprise attack had been sunk or destroyed by the
Americans. As you can see, we are located at one of the most
significant historical sites in the annals of American History. But
there is more to come. Let us leave the days of "Battleship Row"
and the decisive victory of the Americans in the Battle of Midway,
and move on to the "Mighty Mo" and its role in our history.
She was battleship gray not black like Commodore Perry's ships
in 1853. She made her way into Tokyo Bay on a mission that formally
ended the most disastrous war the world had ever endured. She was
the USS Missouri.
All the arrangements were made and everything was in place for
the great event. The date was September 2, 1945, and the
representatives of the defeated Empire of Japan boarded the USS
Missouri to sign the instrument of surrender. Overhead General
MacArthur's five-star flag, along with Admiral Nimitz's five stars,
floated beneath the American flag that had flown over the Capitol
in Washington, D.C. on December 7, 1941. Commodore Perry's flag was
flown in from the Naval Academy at Annapolis and draped over a
At 9:00 a.m. after the Chaplain had given the invocation and the
recorded playing of The Star Spangled Banner over the ship's public
address system, General MacArthur appeared and stepped directly to
the microphone, and with a single sheet of paper said:
We are gathered here, representative of the major warring
powers, to conclude a solemn agreement whereby peace may be
restored. It would be inappropriate to discuss here different
ideals and ideology or to meet in a spirit of distrust, malice or
hatred. Instead both the conquerors and the conquered must rise to
that higher dignity which alone benefits the sacred purposes we are
about to serve. It is my earnest hope and indeed the hope of all
mankind that a better world shall emerge, one founded upon faith
and understanding, a world dedicated to the dignity of man and the
fulfillment of his most cherished wish for freedom, tolerance, and
justice. As Supreme Commander for the Allied Powers, I announce it
my firm purpose, in the tradition of the countries 1 represent, to
proceed in the discharge of my responsibilities, while taking all
dispositions to insure that the terms of surrender are fully,
promptly, and faithfully complied with.
MacArthur's speech was without vengeance and stunned the
Japanese delegation who had expected the worst, especially those
who were associated or familiar with Japan's actions following the
surrender of Singapore, the Philippines, and the horrors of
Two copies of the surrender documents had been placed on an old
mess table. One bound in leather for the Allies, and the other
canvas bound for the Japanese. General MacArthur used five pens to
sign his signature on the documents. He was followed by the
delegates of the Allied Powers. MacArthur handed the first pen to
Lieutenant General Jonathan Wainwright who had taken over command
of the U.S. and Philippine Armed Forces in the Philippines when
MacArthur was evacuated to Australia by order of President
Roosevelt. The second pen went to Lieutenant General Arthur
Percival who had surrendered Singapore. The third pen would go to
West Point and the fourth to the Naval Academy. The last one was an
inexpensive red-barreled pen that belonged to his wife which he
used to sign the "Arthur" in his name, which she gave to their son.
Getting up from his chair at 9:25 a.m. MacArthur walked to the
microphone and in a steely voice said: "'These proceedings are now
closed." As the Japanese delegation was being led away, he put his
arm around Admiral Halsey's shoulders and said: "Bill where the
hell are those airplanes?" At that precise moment a fleet of B-29
bombers and Navy fighter aircraft came in from the South and roared
across the sky overhead as they flew toward the mists shrouding the
sacred mountain Fujiyama.
The 01 veranda deck of the "Mighty Mo" has a plaque on the spot
where the Formal Instrument of Surrender ending World War II was
The USS Missouri received three World War 11 Battle Stars, five
for Korea, and served in Operation Desert Storm.
Presidents Franklin Roosevelt and Harry Truman, General Douglas
MacArthur, General Jonathan Wainwright, and Commodore Matthew Pent'
were all Freemasons. Grand Master Samuel Hawthorne made General
MacArthur a Mason at Sight in the Grand Lodge of the Philippines on
January 17, 1936. The three degrees were conferred on MacArthur in
the presence of several hundred Master Masons. He subsequently
became a member of Manila Lodge No. 1. Douglas MacArthur and his
father Arthur -MacArthur, who was also a Freemason, are the only
father and son recipients of the Medal of Honor.
World War II began for the Americans here at Pearl Harbor on
December 7, 1941, and formally ended in Tokyo Bay on September 2,
1945, aboard the USS Missouri.
My brethren, ladies and guests, you are seated where two of the
most memorable and significant events in American History actually
took place .... I urge you to think about it.
WHAT IS NEEDED
By: A. G. Markham
In November 1996, Brother A. G. Markham delivered a paper to Quatuor
Coronati Lodge #2076, titled Some Problems of English Masonic
History. This paper was then printed in the 1997 Volume 110, ARS
Quatuor Coronatorum Transactions. From that paper the July 1999
Short Talk Bulletin was extracted. Because of the length of the
paper we, could not use all of the material and had to delete the
It is the feeling of MSA that this paper has enormous importance for
all Freemasons. We have divided this Short Talk Bulletin into two
parts. Part One-History and Part Two-Recommendations and
Conclusions. The very brief history of early Freemasonry in Europe
is both concise and informative. Part Two, Conclusions and
Recommendations, is very, very significant. In this section Brother
Markham explains the importance of involving professional general
historians, who are not members of the Craft, to help show
Freemasonry as "the remarkable historic institution, beneficial to
humanity, which it is. -Editor
In the 1600s Freemasonry was restricted to the British Isles and was
a private matter, rarely recorded in writing; least of all in
Ireland, and less so in England than in Scotland.
This is a major problem; and it is surprising that we know as much
as we do about English Masonry of the 1600s. It is possible to see
the existence of a remarkable brotherhood of non-operative masons,
based on well recognised custom (including, notably, secret modes of
recognition and those curious archaic documents the Old Charges),
spread more or less all over the nation, crossing class boundaries
in a very class conscious age, harmoniously and convivially uniting
men, including, I would accept, those of differing political
persuasions, and practising mutual charity. But this evidence is
limited in detail and does not extend to dispelling the mystery of
its origins, a mystery, which, though since to some extent cherished
by masons, has also lent itself to misinterpretation by writers,
both masonic and antimasonic.
In Scotland, written records of the 1600s show the existence of a
considerable number of lodges of operative masons, with a proportion
of non-operative brethren, some of them of high social rank, but
without sufficient involvement to take control, so that the lodges
remained operative in overall character as late as the 1720s. A
wider organisation of these lodges is suggested through provisions
of the Schaw Statutes of 1598/1599. Scottish masons had rudimentary
ceremonies of admission, when the secret "Mason Word" was imparted,
and versions of the Old Charges deriving from English originals. It
is certain that Freemasonry existed in Ireland during, at least,
part of the 1600s, but little more is known of it beyond a few
questionable artefacts bearing masonic symbols.
Despite some improvement in the 1700s, lack of evidence, due to
confidentiality, is a continuing problem; but, there is no doubt
that in the 1720s a dramatic upsurge of English Freemasonry took
place following the formation of a Grand Lodge by four nonoperative
London lodges in 1717. This Grand Lodge flourished and greatly
extended the number of lodges under its authority from 1721 onwards,
when the practice started of having members of the peerage as Grand
Masters, though mainly as figureheads. Two areas of masonic ideas
can be associated with this upsurge, the first being moral rules
known as the Charges of a Free-Mason, contained in a Book of
Constitutions compiled at the request of the Grand Lodge by James
Anderson, which was published (openly) in 1723; and the second being
found principally in an exposure (of confidential matters) in
catechism form known as Masonry Dissected, published by Samuel
Prichard in 1730, which is concerned with secret modes of
recognition and related ritual rather than moral provisions.
In the 1720s and '30s these two streams of ideas passed from England
into British territories overseas (particularly the American
colonies) and into continental Europe through France, where, for
example, the exposure written by the Abbe Gabriel Louis Perau, known
as Le Secret des Francs-Macons, published in 1742, describes the
ideas as practised with little variation in France at that time, and
demonstrates, better than anything written in English, why
Freemasonry was received with great acclaim.
But the French were not content with limiting the movement to the
supposed moral customs, secrets and ritual of stonemasons, and soon
related it also to ideals of knighthood, seeing the achievement of
equality more as a levelling up than as a levelling down, as in
England, though the wearing of masons' aprons continued as a
feature. Possibly from an association with a Jacobite Scot living in
France, the Chevalier Michael Ramsay, these knightly ideals were
embodied in numerous additional related degrees, known as "Scottish
Rites", producing a proliferation of ceremonial, but having, in
fact, no clear connection with Scottish Masonry. Some of these
degrees, notably the Strict Observance (which, deriving from France,
was developed in Germany), exceeded acceptable standards, and
brought Freemasonry into disrepute before they disappeared; but
others have, of course, continued respectably and extensively in
developed form up to the present day.
Despite excesses, the masonic movement was successful beyond all
imagination; and within a very short space of time. In 1738,
Frederick Lewis, Prince of Wales and, in 1739, Crown Prince
Frederick of Prussia were made masons. Frederick of Prussia was the
future Frederick the Great, who, on his accession as king in 1740,
became a protector of the Craft. Francis Stephen, Duke of Lorraine,
made an English mason as early as 1730, is said to have introduced
masonic ceremonial into his coronation as Holy Roman Emperor in
In a later period, shortly before the French Revolution, masons
included among their numbers both royalists and prospective
revolutionaries and, later still, not only six of the sons of George
III, but also most of the former non-commissioned officers of the
army of Louis XVI who became Marshals of France under Napoleon. More
significantly, great men, such as Montesquieu , Mozart, Goethe,
Franklin and Washington became members of the craft. Washington wore
a masonic apron in the masonic ceremony which took place at the
laying of the foundation stone of the United States Capitol in the
new city of Washington in 1793.
All this success was achieved despite strong antimasonic opposition
from the Church of Rome, commencing in 1738, and to a fluctuating
extent, from some of the absolutist monarchies of Europe, influenced
by groundless defamations of Masonry, such as allegations that
masons had instigated the French Revolution.
The formation and development of the English premier Grand Lodge
from 1717 onwards may be seen, in retrospect, as the most important
feature in this period of masonic history. When, in the late
eighteenth century, particularly in Germany, excesses arose in the
attempted development of Masonry and its rituals, including attempts
to use them for commercial gain, it was to the pure ideals of
"English Masonry" that a return was sought. Eugen Lennhoff wrote
with regard to the reforming work of Friedrich Ludwig Schroder:
"... All those superfluities which, in the course of time, had been
added to the simple symbolism of English ritual, with all its
beauty, were cast out by Schroder...''
We have seen that in 1742, Perau, a Frenchman (and the French have
rarely been admirers of English culture) presented Masonry largely
as it had arrived from England as an ideal system. Again, Lennhoff,
when writing of the Charges of a Free-Mason of 1723 referred to them
"... a masonic Magna Charta; the will to avoid anything tending
towards disunion; the yearning for 'friendly alliance with
But English commentators have tended not to appreciate these as
great achievements or even to see them as English.
This is the next problem of masonic history to which I wish to
refer, namely a failure properly to assess the significance of
English Masonry as offered to, and accepted by, the world from the
1720s onwards, a seeming mental short sightedness, which has failed
to grasp the overall historical perspective.
The Charges of a Free-Mason of 1723 have been largely unappreciated
by the accident of being included in the same volume as the
legendary history, written in similar vein to the legendary
histories in the Old Charges (including evident absurdities). Both
have been attributed to James Anderson (seen at the same time,
inconsistently, as innovator of important masonic ideas and author
of history which was not only unreliable but ludicrous); and this
belief has persisted despite the fact that, as will be shown, the
impossibility of such a view as to Anderson was explained by
Professors Knoop and Jones nearly fifty years ago. The result is
that the potential value of examining the Charges and legendary
history to trace earlier tradition has, generally speaking, been
The significance of the Charges of 1723 has also been largely
unrecognised, I believe, because of the pre-occupation of modem
masons with ritual; the Charges being seen as a relic to be largely
ignored in preference to ritual. But in the eighteenth century, it
was the Charges with their simple yet profound virtues of brotherly
equality, harmony and charity which enabled Freemasonry to achieve
its lasting success, and to outride persecution by the Church of
Rome, the caprices of absolutist monarchies and the French
Revolution; and which, though emerging into continental Europe and
the wider world with the Enlightenment, were to continue as a living
force when the Enlightenment had become outmoded. Ritual, generally,
was in a varying and unsettled state during that period.
To consider a further point, an implication may be drawn that as
Anderson was Scottish (and the son of a prominent Scottish mason),
the content of the Charges of 1723 is probably Scottish, although
the Charges (which were adopted in the Irish Constitutions virtually
in the same form in 1730) have never been adopted in the Scottish
Constitutions, even now. Coupled with the fact that as the oldest
surviving masonic catechisms are Scottish, and have some resemblance
to Masonry Dissected (though much shorter), and through the Schaw
Statutes and the Mason Word, it would follow that Masonry is, to all
intents and purposes, Scottish in origin. The views of David
Stevenson are recently familiar to us; but David Murray Lyon, an
eminent Scottish masonic historian of a hundred years ago and
protagonist of Scottish Masonry, was ready to allow that when John
Theophilus Desaguliers, Past Grand Master of the Grand Lodge of
England, was welcomed as a brother mason at the Lodge of Edinburgh
in 1721, it was likely that he introduced the Edinburgh masons to
speculative Masonry, Scottish Masonry still being largely operative.
PART II-CONCLUSION AND
These final points are perhaps the most serious problems of masonic
history, but I shall refer to them briefly in the light of what is
widely known and what I have already said. The first of these is
AntiMasonry. It is clear that there have been adverse reactions
continuously, side by side with evidence of the existence of
non-operative Masonry, from the 1600s to the present day, which have
varied between ridicule and accusations of conspiracy and
subversion. Anti-Masonry has been a happy hunting ground repeatedly
for journalists with nothing else to write about; but, far more
seriously, has been the basis of attacks on Freemasonry by important
religious bodies who have felt impelled to adopt this attitude
apparently in the belief that no one needs secrets unless they have
something wrong to hide. These attacks have been taken to the
extremes of persecution by the Inquisitions of the Church of Rome,
and by absolutist monarchies and Fascist and Communist
The second of these problems is that, despite its very interesting
historical character, Freemasonry has never been understood by
non-masonic historians as part of general history. I believe that
these two problems should be related together because an
authoritative sympathetic understanding of the history of Masonry,
even with some areas of doubt, might be a useful answer to
Anti-Masonry. The use of professional historians in the tracing back
of early features of masonic history against general historical
background is also important because a reasoned interpretation of
such features may have relevance to its essential meaning.
In these ways, professional general historians would have two main
functions; first, in interpreting, and confirming or resolving the
interpretation, of fragmentary early masonic history against general
background; and, secondly, in interpreting the broad perspectives of
early and later masonic history so as to integrate them as part of
Masonic historians would also have two important functions here;
first, in furnishing, in an accurate, complete and unbiassed manner,
details of masonic history to form the basis of the work of
historians who were not masons; and, secondly, in bearing in mind
that areas of masonic history which are fragmentary must have
explanations based somehow on fact and reason, and that pursuit of
truth with strict objectivity does not justify emphasising supposed
anomalies without attempting sensibly to resolve them by research
into background history with the assistance of professional
In the end, one would like to think it possible to show a proper
recognition of Freemasonry as the remarkable historic institution,
beneficial to humanity, which it is; and to demonstrate this
notwithstanding anti-masonic attacks; and despite the incapability
of explaining masonic origins entirely; but with, overall, a better
image, by being more acceptable to reason and being accepted by
nonmasonic historians of high professional standing. It is plainly a
difficult task, but what justification is there for not attempting
it? It is sometimes said that by defining problems one is already
part way towards solving them. This has been a hoped-for objective
of this paper, though with no claim to comprehensive coverage or
success; but as a modest attempt towards the advancement of masonic
FREEMASONRY IN SOCIETY
By: Michael W. Walker
Bro. Michael Walker is the Grand Secretary of the Grand Lodge of
Ireland. This STB was taken from an article titled "Freemasonry in
Society-Today and Tomorrow," which appeared in ARS QUATUOR
CORONATORUM Vol. 110 (1997). The original article was condensed for
On his initiation, the Brethren are assured that the candidate is
'living in good repute amongst his friends and neighbours.' He is
therefore, or should be, a peaceable and law-abiding citizen who
gets on well with others. A little later on, the candidate affirms
that he comes 'with a preconceived notion of the excellence of the
Order, a desire for knowledge and wishing to make himself more
extensively useful amongst his fellow men.' Later again, on being
charged, he is told that the foundation of Freemasonry is 'the
practice of every social and moral virtue.' He is exhorted to learn
how to discharge his duty to his God, his neighbour and himself, to
be an exemplary citizen and that, as an individual, he should
practise every domestic as well as public virtue and maintain those
truly Masonic characteristics, benevolence and brotherly love.
Following his second degree, he is told that he should 'not only
assent to the principles of the Craft, but steadily persevere in
their practice.' Finally, following his third degree, he is told
that 'his own behaviour should afford the best example for the
conduct of others.'
Later still, at the peak of his Craft career, on being installed in
the Chair of his Lodge, he consents to a comprehensive list of
instructions as to his attitude and behaviour. All in all, the
entire underlying principle is that by entering Freemasonry and by
his acceptance and practice of its tenets and precepts he should
become a credit to himself and an example to, and benefactor of,
It is expected and hoped that Freemasonry will bring about this
state of affairs but that, in his daily life, a Freemason will
interact with others as an individual and not in his capacity as a
Freemason. Freemasonry is therefore an intellectual and philosophic
exercise designed and intended to make an individual's contribution
to society, and development of self, greater than they might
otherwise have been had he not had the opportunity of extending his
capacities and capabilities through membership of the Order.
What Does Freemasonry Provide?
Election to membership of a Lodge and initiation into that Lodge
are an overt indication and confirmation of one's worth or value;
and recognition of such, by the Brethren. In itself, this should
increase self-esteem and hopefully generate a conscious or
sub-conscious desire to prove worthy of others' confidence and
trust. Subsequent promotions through the second and third degrees
are symbolic of the Brethren demonstrating their satisfaction that
their original choice and decision were correct and that the
candidate is worthy, both innately and by virtue of his zeal,
interest and proficiency in the symbolic Craft, for such
promotions. These additional and consequent marks of esteem should
engender in the candidate further personal satisfaction and
The Lodge teaches many skills, often untaught, or not experienced,
elsewhere. A Brother must speak in public, think on his feet, make
decisions, vote on issues, and chair meetings. These are invaluable
assets in all other aspects of his life and for many this may well
be the only opportunity of learning, practising and perfecting
these skills and techniques.
Is Freemasonry a Charity?
Freemasonry is not a Charity, but as in any fraternal setting, the
need of a Brother or his dependents, will receive the sympathy and
support of his Brethren, not always or necessarily, financial.
Charity is a natural off-shoot of Brotherly Love and is promoted
explicitly in the Masonic ethos, but it is not the 'raison d'etre'
of the Order.
The Purpose of Freemasonry
The purpose of Masonry is 'self-improvement'-not in the material
sense, but in the intellectual, moral and philosophic sense of
developing the whole persona and psyche so as, in the beautiful and
emotive language of the ritual, 'to fit ourselves to take our
places, as living stones, in that great spiritual building, not
made by hands, eternal in the Heavens.' Such a hypothetical whole,
developed, complete person must, in his journey through life, and
in his interaction with others, make a more extensive contribution
to society in general, thus realizing and fulfilling his expressed
wish on initiation, to become 'more extensively useful amongst his
fellow-men.' Such are the lofty, lawful and laudable aspirations of
As world changes happen faster, and in more complex and
unpredictable ways, our natural needs for security, control,
certainty and predictability- are being undermined. This type of
environment is a breeding ground for what is now termed the
'Achilles Syndrome' where more and more people who are, in fact,
high-achievers, suffer from a serious lack of selfesteem-men
apparently more so than women. This is gleaned from an article on
the work of Petruska Clarkson, a consultant chartered counsellor
and clinical psychologist.
Dr. Donal Murray, former Auxiliary Bishop of Dublin and now Bishop
of Limerick, identifies 'a hunger which is not being satisfied.
People need to feel they belong; they need to feel they can be
fully committed to something. The prevailing mood, in Ireland and
elsewhere, is one of disillusionment and cynicism. We have come to
see ourselves as living in a world of institutions and
structures-we think of ourselves as belonging not to a country but
to an economy; we think of our national life and resources in terms
of statistics and of the machinery of Government, rather than of
people and culture.'
Dr. Murray goes on to say 'it is increasingly presumed that the
ideal citizen possesses no strong religious or moral beliefs, or at
least has the decency not to intrude them into the public arena.
Strong moral beliefs are, we are told, divisive; religious belief
is, at best, embarrassing. In other words,' he continues, 'one is
not meant to participate in national life with one's wholeself,
with one's religious beliefs and moral convictions. These are
private matters. We are in danger of trying to build a culture
which regards as irrelevant the very realities which make people
tick. Divisiveness results only when religion and morality are
misunderstood. The individual conscience is worthy of respect
because it seeks the truth, as every human being is obliged to do.'
Freemasons will hardly fail to notice these references to ethics,
morality and truth the very foundation of Masonic teaching and
endeavour. But these cultural jewels-without-price are coming under
increasingly powerful destructive forces which are eroding the
foundation and base on which they rest. Conor Cruise O'Brien-a
distinguished Statesman and commentator-says that 'for as far back
as we can go in history, human discourse concerning ethics has been
infected, in varying degrees, with hypocrisy.' Another commentator
states that the term 'business ethics' is fast becoming an
oxymoron-that is a contradiction in terms; and the Bishop of
Waterford felt it necessary to denounce publicly 'the Cult of
What is needed, in all this, is some form of mental sheet-anchor-a.
sort of fixed navigational point like the pole-star which, when the
clouds pass, can be seen and provides the traveller with the means
to identify his exact position and thereby the knowledge to return
to the true path.
Freemasonry-A Part of, or Apartfrom, Society
Every individual, on occasion, is forced to be a little
introspective and ask himself 'who am I and where am F? Even an
organization such as the Masonic Order must also occasionally ask
itself 'what are we and where are we'? What we are has, to some
extent already been dealt with. We are a fraternal organization,
the aims of which are brotherly love, the relief of our distressed
Brethren and their dependents and the search after 'Truth' which we
may express as, and expand into, public and private morality, the
knowledge and fear of God and, following on from that, respect for,
and love of, our neighbour. This respect includes toleration of his
personal viewpoint, his religious beliefs and his political
opinions. If we pursue the aims of the Order, our search should
widen, yet focus our vision, while ever making us more deeply aware
of, and closer to, the Great Architect of the Universe, heightening
our spirituality and deepening our insight into that which we may
never hope fully to understand-and something like the search after
the mystic Grail as sought for, and fought for, by our possible,
even probable operative forebears, the Knights Templar who followed
on, in their own way, from the mythical Knights of the Grail
Romances and Arthurian Legend. There is so much more to Freemasonry
than the shallow depth of today's assessment and its scant
inspection by today's society, obsessed as society is with material
success for the individual rather than his contribution to society.
Into the Next Millennium
I have endeavoured to identify who we are, what we are and where we
are-now it is time to speculate on where we go from here. We are an
unfashionable group whose numbers are falling-not perhaps in the
developing countries, but in the developed world we are viewed as
an anachronism with an ethos which may represent an embarrassment
to many of today's moral lepers. 'Whence comest thou Gehazi'? You
will remember Elisha's devastating question to his servant who had
run after Naaman, seeking to profit from his Master's-that is,
someone else'sperformance and use of his talents.
As those who joined Freemasonry in great numbers after the Second
World War, because they found it the closest alternative or
substitute for the fellowship and support they found within the
Forces, now pass on to their reward, there is no surge of
candidates to replace them. So recruitment becomes a necessity,
though the means and emphasis must be very carefully gauged.
We must try to correct the false perception of us by, in
particular, the media and the Churches for they are the agencies
who can and do formulate and direct public opinion; and both are
highly suspicious and/or antagonistic.
What I am trying to emphasise is that as we move into the next
millennium we must be steadfast in our adherence to the Aims and
Principles and not attempt to obtain public acceptance through
promoting or pursuing non-masonic activities which can only, in the
long term, prove our undoing. We must be patient and bide our time
for we will come again. I have heard it said that the pace of life
and its stresses will get even more frenetic than at present and
that while we may be able to cope with this intellectually, it is
questionable if many can cope with it emotionally. In these
circumstances with the Internet bombarding us with a
Quatermass-like availability of ethical and unethical information
in the privacy of our own homes, I believe that Brother Michael
Yaxley, President of the Board of General Purposes of the Grand
Lodge of Tasmania is quite correct when he writes 'Society does
have a need for a body such as Freemasonry. I believe that this
need will increase rather than decrease. In the next century the
work place will not offer fellowship and camaraderie sufficient to
satisfy the social instincts that people have. Many people will
work at home, linked to the office by computer and telephone.
Others will work in an office with complex but nevertheless
inanimate equipment. The irony of the Age of Communication is that
people spend, and will spend, more time by themselves.'
As the American writer, Henry Adams saw it, 'The Indian Summer of
Life should be a little sunny and a little sad, and infinite in
wealth and depth of tonejust like the season.'
I think that pretty closely describes Freemasonry today-a little
sunny and infinite in wealth and depth of tone-we all can
sympathise with that. A little sad too with memories of past
greatness; and quieter more settled times when bogeymen were not
found everywhere and Freemasonry was a recognised, accepted and
fashionable part of society. Will our time come again? I think it
will-not perhaps an exact replica of the past, for we cannot turn
back the clock, but a slimmer, trimmer version with new vigour and
enthusiasm ready to meet the new millennium.
But remember, Brethren, as we enter and endure 'the Winter of our
discontent' we must maintain our standards and our dignity. There
can be no compromise with quality in any facet of our Institution.
One of Ireland's greatest actors and one of its best-known
characters, Michael Mac Liammoir, was once accused by a critic of
being ,square. ' 'Yes' said Mac Liammoir, 'perhaps you are right,
but so much better to be square than shapeless.' How appropriate
for Freemasonry at this time-let us hold firm to the symbolism of
the square and the compasses and let them be the means of restoring
Ordo ab Chao-order out of mental and moral chaos-as we strive to
readjust emotionally to the crushing pressures and stress of modem
Now Brethren, let me close on one final exhortation taken from the
beautiful language of our ritual-'See that you conduct yourselves,
out of Lodge as in Lodge, good men and Masons'; and remember those
immortal words of Polonius giving advice to his son Laertes as he
departs from Denmark, on his return to France, in Shakespeare's
greatest play, Hamlet'This above all, to thine own self be true;
and it must follow as the night the day, thou canst not then be
false to any man.'
Almost the entire Masonic ethos can be found in those few words-so
easy to remember, so difficult to put into practice.
I urge EVERY Mason to become a subscriber to the monthly MSA Short Talk
Bulletins. Order from The Masonic Service Association, 8120 Fenton
St. Silver Spring MD 22910-4785 301-588-4010----$4/year, $5
AND, The Southern California Research Lodge, P.O. Box 939
Ashland OR 97520 541-488-:8788 Fax: 541-488-8789 Scrlfam@aol.com
They sell books at a very good price and produce a monthly newsletter
that is superb. Dues are $15/yr (and worth twice that). And, if your
Lodge is a member, your secretary can inform them when you have a
candidate for the degrees and the Lodge will send a copy of "The Craft
and its Symbols" by Allen Roberts to the lodge for presentation at his
initation AND place him on the mailing list for 6 months!! This is the
best thing a candidate can get for his future education.
And Lastly, the Philalethes Society, Bi-Monthly publication--First
year $40, subsequent years $30. send to Philalethes Society, PO Box 70
Highland Springs VA 23075-0070---804-328-5043. (Also publisher of
many Masonic titles, many authored by Bro. Allen Roberts) ask for a
list. Many of the goodies are gleaned from these publications. Please
pass them along to others on your mailing list.
PRAYING IN LODGE
By: Gary Leazer
This STB was originally published in a brochure by the
Center for Interfaith Studies, Inc., and was reprinted in
the September 1999 Scottish Rite Journal. It has been
published as a Short Talk Bulletin with permission.
Bro. Leazer also wrote the 10-94 STB Fundamentalism
and Freemasonry. Rev. and Bro. Leazer is a member of
Clarkston Lodge #492, Clarkston, GA.
Critics of Freemasonry often ask, "Do Masons worship
Yahweh, the God of the Bible, when they join in
Masonic worship with Hindus, Moslems, and members
of other faiths?" Let me begin by pointing out that this
question suggests "worship" occurs in Lodge meetings.
This question is intended to set a certain bias against
Masonry before the question is seriously considered.
Worship does not take place in Masonic Lodge
meetings. Worship is the function of a religion. Thomas
E. Hager, Past Grand Master of Masons in Tennessee,
said in an April 22, 1994, letter to Baptist Press , the
official press service for the Southern Baptist
Convention, "Freemasonry is not a religion, nor is it a
substitute for a religion." Earl D. Harris, Past Grand
Master of Masons in Georgia, has clearly said, "We do
not go to Lodge buildings to worship" (Masonic
Messenger, July 1995, p. 34). Lodge meetings might be
compared to business meetings held in some churches
where minutes of the last meeting are read, bills are paid,
and old and new business are addressed.
The question is a great example of a "circular argument."
This logical fallacy begins with the conclusion: that
Masonic meetings are worship services where men
professing various faiths join together to worship a God
other than "Yahweh, the God of the Bible." The
argument simply travels around in circles until it comes
back to its original statement, concluding that Masons
worship a God other than Yahweh (or Jehovah).
Praying in Lodge Meetings
Prayers voiced in Lodge meetings do not make the
meeting a worship service. If so, then sessions of the
U.S. Congress would be "worship services" as a chaplain
or invited clergy leads in prayer to open the session.
Congress has been accused of many things, but never of
holding worship services. If prayers make a meeting a
worship service, the same criticism could be leveled
against organizations such as the Lions Club, the Boy
Scouts, and the VFW.
Until recent years, prayers were offered at high school
ball games by clergy in the community. Courts have
repeatedly ruled that prayers may not be offered before
such events. Critics complain that "God has been taken
out of public school" because prayers may not be given
by administrators or visiting clergy at the beginning of a
school day. Students, however, are allowed to pray on
their own initiative, either alone or with other students
who wish to join them in prayer. Masons alone have
been singled out by critics for praying in meetings while
these same critics complain that the official prayers are
not allowed in public schools.
Praying in Jesus' Name
Some Masonic critics are not opposed to prayer in
Lodge or other meetings, even when non-Christians are
present, but are opposed to the prayer when it does not
conclude with the specific words, "in the name of
Christ." They cite John 14:13-14, where Jesus said to his
disciples, "I will do whatever you ask in my name, so
that the Father may be glorified in the Son. If in my
name you ask for anything, I will do if' (NRSV).
Bailey Smith, a recent president of the Southern Baptist
Convention, made headlines in 1980 when he said God
does not hear the prayers of a Jew. Smith's position and
that of Masonic critics is that God only hears prayers
ending with "in Jesus' name" or prayers of repentance.
Preschool-age children are taught to pray simple prayers.
They seldom end it with the phrase "in Jesus' name" and
most have not made what evangelical Christians call a
profession of repentance and faith in Christ. Do Masonic
critics believe God hears the prayers of these children?
Are we misleading children when we tell them God
hears their prayers? I believe God hears the prayers of
every sincere person, and I do not think we are
misleading children when we tell them God hears and
answers their prayers.
It was drilled into my head by my professors during
seven years of theological education that a correct
interpretation of a biblical text requires examination of
the surrounding text, which often helps an individual
understand the text in question.
John 14:13-14 can be better understood if we examine
the setting for Jesus' statements. Although his disciples
had been with him for nearly three years, they still had
doubts about him. Philip asked him in John 14:8, "Lord,
show us the Father, and we will be satisfied." That is the
key verse to understand Jesus' teaching in John 14:13-14.
Jesus responded to Philip's question, "Have I been with
you all this time, Philip, and you still do not know me?
Whoever has seen me has seen the Father. How can you
say "Show us the Father?"
When Jesus said in verses 13-14, "1 will do whatever
you ask in my name," he was claiming deity. He was
saying, "God will hear your prayers if you pray in my
name because "I am in the Father and the Father is in
Jesus did not mean that unless a person concludes his
prayers with the words, "in the name of Jesus," God
would not hear nor answer prayers.
William W. Stevens, my theology professor at
Mississippi College, wrote in his Doctrines of the
Christian Religion (1976), "In my name" means
according to his will and purpose, in direct union with
him. It implies unity of thought and interest. One cannot
pray in the name of Jesus and pray selfishly" (p. 269).
The Expositor's Bible Commentary (Vol. 9, p. 146) says,
"Me phrase 'in my name,' however, is not a talisman
[magic object] for the command of supernatural energy.
He did not wish it to be used as a magical charm like an
Men look on the outward appearance and judge others
by the words used in a prayer (Matthew 6:5-8). God
looks at the heart. He knows what we need before we
ask. If the prayer is a genuine desire to talk to the Father
of all creation, He will hear and answer the prayer,
whatever words are or are not used. That is the kind of
God I know from my reading of the Bible and from
hours spent on my knees talking to Him.
During my ministry as a chaplain supervisor in the
Olympic Village during the 1996 Atlanta Olympic
games, chaplain volunteers from six major world faiths
joined together in prayer every day. Chaplains rotated
leading the group in prayer. Out of respect for chaplains
who did not share our faith, we did not always verbally
close our prayers "in Jesus' name."
Rev. James Draper, president of the Southern Baptist
Convention's Life Way Christian Resources (formerly
the Sunday School Board), resigned from Estelle Lodge
No. 582 in Euless, Texas, in 1984 after election for his
second term as president of the Southern Baptist
Convention (SBC) and as the Masonic controversy was
heating up in the SBC. He had transferred his
membership from Dell City Lodge No. 536 in Oklahoma
when he became pastor of the First Baptist Church of
Euless. In his letter of resignation, Draper, who served
one year as chaplain of his Lodge, said he always
concluded his prayers "in Jesus' name."
Praying to The Great Architect
of the Universe
Masonic critics have long and loudly argued that Masons
do not pray to Yahweh when they pray in Masonic
Lodges. Masonic critic William Schnoebelen refers to
the "generic" god of Masonry, "God-to-the-lowest-
denominator" and "Mr. Potato-Head God" when
speaking of the Great Architect of the Universe
(Masonry: Beyond the Light, pp. 44-46).
Another critic, John Ankerberg, quotes from Coil's
Masonic Encyclopedia to argue that Masons believe
Yahweh (or Jehovah) is inferior to "the universal god of
Masonry" (The Secret Teachings of the Masonic Lodge,
pp. 113-14). Ankerberg's quote is not in the 1995 edition
of Coil's Masonic Encyclopedia, the most recent edition,
except for a single sentence, "The Masonic test is [belief
in] a Supreme Being, and any qualification added is an
innovation and distortion." This sentence is simply a
requirement that men who desire to become Masons
must believe in one God (monotheism). Monotheism is
affirmed in biblical statements such as Deuteronomy 6:4,
"Hear, 0 Israel! The LORD is our God, the LORD is
one!" No statement in Coil's Masonic Encyclopedia
suggests that Masons believe Yahweh is an inferior God.
The phrase Great Architect of the Universe came into
Freemasonry as early as 1723, according to Coil's
Masonic Encyclopedia, when it appeared in James
Anderson's Book of Constitutions. Anderson, a Scottish
Presbyterian minister in London, did not invent the
phrase. It was repeatedly used by Reformed theologian
John Calvin (1509-1564). "In his Commentary on Psalm
19, Calvin states the heavens 'were wonderfully founded
by the Great Architect.' Again, according to the same
paragraph, Calvin writes 'when once we recognize God
as the Architect of the Universe, we are bound to marvel
at his Wisdom, Strength, and Goodness.' In fact, Calvin
repeatedly calls God 'the Architect of the Universe'and
refers to his works in nature as 'Architecture of the
Universe' 10 times in the Institutes of the Christian
Religion alone" (Coil's Masonic Encyclopedia, p. 516).
If we accept the logic of Masonic critics, then Calvin
must have believed the God revealed in the Psalms and
elsewhere in the Bible is a false god. This, of course, is
absurd, as are all of the Masonic critics' arguments.
Federal Reserve Notes ($1 bills) proclaim "In God We
Trust." The U.S. Mint has not defined "God." It is used
as a generic name for the Supreme Being. Individuals
may define God as they wish. In our religiously diverse
nation, individuals of different faiths will define who
they believe God is. I do not hear people calling for the
removal of "In God We Trust" from Federal Reserve
Notes because not everyone defines God as they do.
Praying with Persons of Other Faiths
On February 9, 1999, Baptist Press posted a story about
several Midwestern Baptist Theological Seminary
administrators and faculty members visiting mosques
while on a trip to North Africa and the Middle East.
Baptist Press states the administrators and faculty "were
awed by the mosques which provided an atmosphere for
prayer. Though the local worshipers gathered to pray to
Allah [the Arabic word for God], Midwestern's group
removed their shoes [as is the custom in mosques] and
spent time praying to the God of their Christian faith."
Mark Coppenger, president of Midwestern Seminary in
Kansas City, Missouri, was one of the Baptist visitors to
the mosques. Coppenger said, "As we sat, and knelt, and
stood [Muslims perform specific rituals which includes
standing, kneeling and bowing while praying to Allah] in
these moments of praise, confession, petition and
intercession, it occurred to us that Christians would do
well to have a similar location, atmosphere and posture
for prayer." "It is a pity that non-Christians and
sacramentalists [Roman Catholics] have appropriated the
notion of houses of prayer, when ours is the heritage of
orthodox prayer," Coppenger continued, referring to
mosques and Roman Catholic cathedrals and retreat
centers. "We have let them lead in an emphasis on
prayer by default."
When the group returned to Kansas City, Coppenger
decided to provide a place for prayer similar to that in
mosques for seminary students. He removed hundreds of
portable chairs from the chapel and laid down rolls of
carpet. Students were asked to remove their shoes when
they entered the "house of prayer," and a kneeling
position was recommended.
Coppenger, his administrators, and faculty joined
Muslims at prayer in a mosque. They reported they were
able to pray to Yahweh even while Muslims were
praying to God whom they call Allah. Coppenger and his
team even followed the Muslim practice of bowing,
kneeling, and prostrating themselves during the prayer
ritual and still found they could pray to Yahweh. I have
never felt I could not pray as my chosen faith leads me
while standing next to someone in a Lodge meeting who
does not share my faith.
Freemasons Do Not Worship in
In conclusion, Masons do not worship in Lodge
meetings. Each Mason freely prays as his faith dictates,
regardless of who is leading the group prayer, because
prayer is ultimately a personal encounter and
conversation between a man and his Creator.
From: Barnes A. Sharitt, Jr. To: Philalethes Subject: PSOC: The Builder Date: Sunday, August 15, 1999 17:06 THE BUILDER An elderly carpenter was ready to retire. He told his employer-contractor of his plans to leave the house building business and live a more leisurely life with his wife enjoying his extended family. He would miss the paycheck, but he needed to retire. They could get by. The contractor was sorry to see his good worker go and asked if he could build just one more house as a personal favor. The carpenter said yes, but in time it was easy to see that his heart was not in his work. He resorted to shoddy workmanship and used inferior materials. It was an unfortunate way to end his career. When the carpenter finished his work and the builder came to inspect the house, the contractor handed the front-door key to the carpenter. "This is your house, " he said, "my gift to you." What a shock! What a shame! If he had only known he was building his own house, he would have done it all so differently. Now he had to live in the home he had built none too well. So it is with us. We build our lives in a distracted way, reacting rather than acting, willing to put up less than the best. At important points we do not give the job our best effort. Then with a shock we look at the situation we have created and find that we are now living in the house we have built. If we had realized, we would have done it differently. Think of yourself as the carpenter. Think about your house. Each day you hammer a nail, place a board, or erect a wall. Build wisely. It is the only life you will ever build. Even if you live it for only one day more, that day deserves to be lived graciously and with dignity. The plaque on the wall says, "Life is a do-it-yourself project." Who could say it more clearly? Your life today is the result of your attitudes and choices in the past. Your life tomorrow will be the result of your attitudes and the choices you make today.
The TV taking time to warm up brings back memories....Phil
Kids today see reruns of "The Andy Griffith Show" and probably
think life in Mayberry was no more real than what the Clampett
family experienced in Beverly Hills. However, for many of us,
who grew up in the 1950s and '60s, life did imitate art. Here is
a list of remembrances that kids today just might not believe
existed except in a TV sitcom.
Being sent to the corner drugstore to test vacuum tubes for the
TV or radio.
When it took five minutes for the TV to warm up.
When Kool-Aid was the only drink for kids, other than milk and
When boys could not wear anything but leather shoes to school.
When all your friends got their hair cut at the kitchen table.
When nearly everyone's mom was at home when the kids got there.
When nobody owned a purebred dog.
When a dime was a decent allowance, and a quarter a huge bonus.
When you would reach into a muddy gutter for a penny.
When girls neither dated nor kissed until late high school, if
When your mom wore nylons that came in two pieces.
When all your teachers wore neckties or had their hair done.
When bible reading and prayer started every school day.
When you got your windshield cleaned, oil checked and gas pumped,
without asking, free. In addition, you got trading stamps, to
When laundry detergent had free glasses, dishes, or towels inside
When any parent could discipline and child or use him to carry
groceries, and nobody, not even the kid, thought a thing of it.
When it was considered a great privilege when your parents took
you out to a restaurant.
When school officials threatened to keep a kid back a grade if
they failed - and followed through with the threat.
When women were called, say, "Mrs. John Smith", instead of being
known by their birth names.
When being sent to the principals' office was nothing compared to
the fate that awaited a misbehaving student at home.
THE EYE IN THE PYRAMID
By S Brent Morris, P.M.
In, at times, a strongly worded article Dr. S. Brent Morris, a
member and Past Master of Patmos Lodge #70, Ellicott City,
Maryland, has "set the record straight" on the myth that the
Great Seal of the United States represents a Masonic symbol. The
facts are clearly presented, together with several examples of
the use of the "All Seeing Eye" prior to any known Masonic use.
This straightforward article is being presented as a STB so that
Freemasons may have an answer when the question is asked;
"Is the Seal of the United States a Masonic symbol?"
Historians must be cautious about many well known "facts." George
Washington chopped down a cherry tree when a boy and confessed
the deed to his father. Abner Doubleday invented the game of
baseball. Freemasons inserted some of their emblems (chief among
them the eye in the pyramid) into the reverse of the Great Seal
of the United States.
These historical "facts" are widely popular, commonly accepted,
and equally false.
The eye in the pyramid (emblazoned on the dollar bill, no less)
is often cited as "evidence" that sinister conspiracies abound
which will impose a "New World Order" on an unsuspecting
populace. Depending on whom you hear it from, the Masons are
planning the takeover themselves, or are working in concert with
European bankers, or are leading (or perhaps being led by) the
Illuminati (whoever they are). The notion of a world-wide Masonic
conspiracy would be laughable, if it weren't being repeated with
such earnest gullibility by conspiracists like Pat Robertson.
Sadly, Masons are sometimes counted among the gullible who repeat
the tall tale of the eye in the pyramid, often with a touch of
pride. They may be guilty of nothing worse than innocently
puffing the importance of their fraternity (as well as
themselves), but they're guilty none the less. The time has come
to state the truth plainly and simply!
The Great Seal of the United States is not a Masonic emblem, nor
does it contain hidden Masonic symbols. The details are there for
anyone to check, who's willing to rely on historical fact, rather
than hysterical fiction.
Benjamin Franklin was the only Mason on the 1st design
committee, and his suggestions had no Masonic content.
None of the final designers of the seal were Masons.
The interpretation of the eye on the seal is subtly different from
the interpretation used by Masons.
The eye in the pyramid is not nor has it ever been a Masonic
THE 1ST COMMITTEE
On Independence Day, 1776 a committee was created to design a
seal for the new American nation. The committee's members were
Benjamin Franklin, Thomas Jefferson, and John Adams, with Pierre
Du Simitiere as artist and consultant. Of the four men involved,
only Benjamin Franklin was a Mason, and he contributed nothing of
a Masonic nature to the committee's proposed design for a seal.
Du Simitiere, the committee's consultant and a non-Mason,
contributed several major design features that made their way
into the ultimate design of the seal: the shield, E Pluribus
Unum, MDCCLXXVI, and the eye of providence in a triangle."2 The
eye of providence on the seal thus can be traced, not to the
Masons, but to a non-Mason consultant to the committee.
"The single eye was a well-established artistic convention for an
omniscient Ubiquitous Deity" in the medallic art of the
Renaissance. Du Simitiere, who suggested using the symbol,
collected art books and was familiar with the artistic and
ornamental devices used in Renaissance art. This was the same
cultural iconography that eventually led Masons to add the
all-seeing eye to their symbols.
THE SECOND AND THIRD COMMITTEES
Congress declined the first committees suggestions as well as
those of its 1780 committee. Francis Hopkinson, consultant to the
second committee, had several ideas that eventually made it into
the seal: 'white and red stripes within a blue background for
the shield, a radiant constellation of thirteen stars, and an
olive branch."4 Hopkinson's greatest contribution to the current
seal came from his layout of a 1778 50-dollar colonial note in
which he used an unfinished pyramid in the design. The third and
last seal committee of 1782 produced a design that finally
satisfied Congress. Charles Thomson, Secretary of Congress, and
William Barton, artist and consultant, borrowed from earlier
designs and sketched what at length became the United States
The misinterpretation of the seal as a Masonic emblem may have
been first introduced a century later in 1884. Harvard Professor
Eliot Norton wrote that the reverse was practically incapable of
effective treatment; it can hardly, (however artistically treated
by the designer), look otherwise than as a dull emblem of a
INTERPRETING THE SYMBOL
The 'Remarks and Explanations" of Thomson and Barton are the only
explanation of the symbols' meaning. Despite what anti-Masons
may believe, there's no reason to doubt the interpretation
accepted by the Congress.
The Pyramid signified Strength and Duration: The Eye over it &
the Motto allude to the many signal interpositions of providence
in favor of the American cause.6
The committees and consultants who designed the great Seal of the
United States contained only one Mason, Benjamin Franklin. The
only possibly Masonic design element among the very many on the
seal is the eye of providence, and the interpretation of it by
the designers is different from that used by Masons. The eye on
the seal represents an active intervention of God in the affairs
of men, while the Masonic symbol stands for a passive awareness
by God of the activities of men.
The first 'Official" use and definition of the all seeing eye as
a Masonic symbol seems to have come in 1797 with The Freemasons
Monitor of Thomas Smith Webb-14 years after Congress adopted the
design for the seal. Here's how Webb explains the symbol.
"And although our thoughts, words and actions, may be hidden from
the eyes of man, yet that All-Seeing Eye, whom the Sun, Moon and
Stars obey, and under whose watchful care even comets perform
their stupendous revolutions, pervades the inmost recesses of the
human heart, and will reward us according to our merits."7
THE EYE IN THE PYRAMID
Besides the subtly different interpretations of the symbol, it is
notable that Webb did not describe the eye as being in a
triangle. Jeremy Ladd Cross published The True Masonic Chart or
Hieroglyphic Monitor in 1819, essentially an illustrated version
of Webb's Monitor.
In this first "official" depiction of Webb's symbol, Cross had
illustrator Amos Doolittle depict the eye surrounded by a
The all-seeing eye thus appears to be a rather recent addition to
Masonic symbolism. It is not found in any of the Gothic
Constitutions, written from about 1390 to 1730. The eye sometimes
in a triangle, sometimes in clouds, but nearly always surrounded
by a glory was a popular Masonic decorative device in the latter
half of the 18th century. Its use as a design element seems to
have been an artistic representation of the omniscience of God,
rather than some generally accepted Masonic symbol.
Its meaning in all cases, however, was that commonly given it by
society at large,a reminder of the constant presence of God. For
example, in 1614 the frontispiece of The History of the World by
Walter Raleigh showed an eye in a cloud labeled '~Providentia"
overlooking a globe. It has not been suggested that Raleigh' 5
History is a Masonic document despite the use of the all-seeing
eye. The eye of Providence was part of the common cultural
iconography of the 17th and 18th centuries. When placed in a
triangle, the eye went beyond a general representation of God to
a strongly Trinitarian statement. It was during this period that
Masonic ritual and symbolism evolved; and it is not surprising
that many symbols common to and understood by the general society
made their way into Masonic ceremonies. Masons may have preferred
the triangle because of the frequent use of the number 3 in their
ceremonies: three degrees, three original grand masters, three
principal officers, and so on.
Eventually the all-seeing eye came to be used officially by
Masons as a symbol for God, but this happened towards the end of
the eighteenth century, after congress had adopted the seal.
A pyramid, whether incomplete or finished, however, has never
been a Masonic symbol. It has no generally accepted symbolic
meaning, except perhaps permanence or mystery. The combining of
the eye of providence overlooking an unfinished pyramid is a
uniquely American, not Masonic, icon, and must be interpreted as
its designers intended. It has no Masonic context.
It's hard to know what leads some to see Masonic conspiracies
behind world events, but once that hypothesis is accepted, any
job and title can be misinterpreted as evidence." The Great Seal
of the United States is a classic example of such a
misinterpretation, and some Masons are as guilty of the
exaggeration as many anti-Masons. 7
The Great Seal and Masonic symbolism grew out of the same
cultural milieu. While the all- seeing eye had been popularized
in Masonic designs of the late eighteenth century, it did not
achieve any sort of official recognition until Webb's 1797
Monitor. Whatever status the symbol may have had during the
design of the Great Seal, it was not adopted or approved or
endorsed by any Grand Lodge. The seal's Eye of Providence and the
Mason's All Seeing Eye each express Divine Omnipotence, but they
are parallel uses of a shared icon, not a single symbol.
1. Robert Hieronimus, America's Secret Destiny (Rochester, Vt.: Destiny
Books, 1989), p.48.
2. Patterson and Dougall in Hieronimus, p.48.
3. Hieronimus, p.81.
4. Hieronimus, p.51.
5. Hieronimus, p.57.
6. ~ Thomas and W. Barton in Rieronimus, p.54.
7. Thomas Smith Webb, The Freemasons Monitor or Illustrations of Masonry
(Salem, Mass.: Cushing and Appleton, 1821), p.66.
8. Jeremy Ladd Cross, The True Masonic Chart or Hieroglyphic Monitor, 3rd
Conn.:By the Author, 1824), plate 22.
Cross, Jeremy Ladd. The True Masonic Chart or Hieroglyphic Monitor, 3rd ed.
Conn.: By the Author, 1824.
Hieronimus, Robert. America '5 Secret Destiny, Rochester, VT.: Destiny
Webb, Thomas Smith. The Freemasons Monitor or Illustrations of Masonry.
Mass.: Cushing and Appleton, 1821.
In 1949, my father had just returned home from the war. On
every American highway you could see soldiers in uniform
hitchhiking home to their families, as was the custom at that
time in America. Sadly, the thrill of his reunion with his
family was soon overshadowed. My grandmother became very ill and
had to be hospitalized. It was her kidneys, and the doctors told
my father that she needed a blood transfusion immediately or she
would not live through the night.
The problem was that Grandmother's blood type was AB-, a very
rare type even today, but even harder to get then because there
were no blood banks or air flights to ship blood. All the family
members were typed, but not one member was a match. So the
doctors gave the family no hope. My grandmother was dying. My
father left the hospital in tears to gather up all the family
members, so that everyone would get a chance to tell Grandmother
As my father was driving down the highway, he passed a soldier
in uniform hitchhiking home to his family. Deep in grief, my
father had no inclination at that moment to do a good deed. Yet
it was almost as if something outside himself pulled him to a
stop, and he waited as the stranger climbed into the car. My
father was too upset to even ask the soldier his name, but the
soldier noticed my father's tears right away and inquired about
Through his tears, my father told this total stranger that his
mother was lying in a hospital dying because the doctors had been
unable to locate her blood type, AB-, and if they did not locate
her blood type before nightfall, she would surely die. It got
very quiet in the car. Then this unidentified soldier extended
his hand out to my father, palm up. Resting in the palm of his
hand were the dogtags from around his neck. The blood type on the
tags was AB-. The soldier told my father to turn the car around
and get him to the hospital.
My grandmother lived until 1996, 47 years later, and to this
day no one in our family knows the soldier's name. But my father
has often wondered, was he a soldier or an angel in uniform?
Sometimes, we never know who God will bring into our lives to
carry out a special mission nor do we know whose lives God will
have us touch.
It Is The Mason As A Man Who Has Impacted History
by Thomas W Jackson FPS
For a considerable number of years I have been wondering how an
organization with as much influence as Freemasonry has had over
several hundred years, could fail to be acknowledged for its
contribution to the development of modern civilization and human
thought. I even developed a talk which I titled "How Can They
Ignore This?" In it, I ask those to whom I am speaking how often
they ever saw Freemasonry presented in a history text. I simply was
unable to comprehend how we could be ignored.
With the exception of organized religion, " Freemasonry probably
has created a greater beneficial impact upon the development of
present day civilization than any other organization which has
existed on Earth, and yet, when you read historical documentation
of the evolution of civilization, Freemasonry is rarely mentioned
and, if it is, it is only peripherally.
Last year, the first World Conference of Grand Masters was held in
Mexico City. Out of that conference came the Charter of Anahuac.
The third item in that Charter presented the need of the Craft in
the 21st Century "to fight against. . .ecological depredation,
contamination of the environment. .against . . ., social
instability . . ., and religious commitments in education, "
I have a very serious concern with any proposal that suggests
Freemasonry's involvement in political and/or religious issues, and
item three of the Charter suggests precisely that. There is no way
social and ecological issues can be dealt -with, without involving
politics or religion. This Craft has been able to weather the
storms which wiped out many organizations and even toppled
governments because it stayed above the controversies of religion
When I present my concerns about the Charter to some Masonic
leaders, the rebuttal I received was that Masonry must have been
involved in political and religious issues in the past.
Freemasonry's influence in the American Revolution was cited as an
example. They pointed to the actions of men like Washington,
Franklin, Lafayette, and others, as Masonic involvement. In
addition, Simon Bolivar in South America, Lajos Kusata in Hungary,
Theodore Kolokotronis in Greece, Benito Juarez in Mexico, amongst
many other who contributed so much to the concept of freedom, were
examples of political involvement in other countries.
And then, for the first time I began to understand why the
influence of Freemasonry is not discussed in history books. We
cannot deny the impact of Washington and so many others in the
development of American freedom; but it was Washington, the man,
not Washington the Mason, and not Freemasonry that made America
what it is. This is also true of Bolivar, Kusata, Kolokotronis, and
Jaurez and all of the other great patriots of their countries.
The philosophical purpose of Freemasonry always has been to develop
the man-to start with good men and make them better, to increase
the intellectual capacity of the individual, and to give the man
the incentive through our lessons to contribute to making the world
a better place to live.
As an ecologist, I have for more than 35 years expressed my views
on ecological issues and on the population explosion; but I speak
as a man, not as a Freemason. My compassionate thought of life
might have been nurtured in a Masonic Lodge, but, when I speak, it
is not Freemasonry speaking. When Washington acted, it was not
Freemasonry acting. Thankfully, Freemasonry has had great influence
on many leaders, but the man influenced does the acting. Thus we
read about the man in history texts, not the organization.
So, now I understand why Freemasonry does not occupy a prominent
place in history books, but that does not lessen its place in
history. It probably would behoove historians to discuss the
influence of Freemasonry on the man, and perhaps that is starting
THE MODERN COWAN
Floren L. Quick
In Scotland, the operative Mason knew cowans to be ignorant
builders who put stones together without mortar. They piled rough
fieldstones into a wall without hewing them true, or squaring them.
They masqueraded as Masters, but they did not have the Word.
Now and again, today - fortunately not too often - we find a
modern equivalent of the operative imposter. One such is the Mason
who manages a place in an officer's line with little or no effect
of his own to deserve it. With only that exertion that is necessary
to maintain his place, he continues to advance in line until he
receives the jewels and honours that he prizes so highly. But he
does not know the Constitution, and he does not understand the
traditions and dignity of the Craft. As a presiding officer, his
vocal ability is more noteworthy than his executive ability; and
when his term is ended, he is seldom seen until another honour or
prize appears to be within his grasp.
He is a contemporary builder who works without the benefit of
the mortar of real enthusiasm or accomplishments. His structure is
liken unto the rough stone wall, having little beauty of value. He
is the cowans of modern speculative Masonry.
He is to be pitied, for he is a Masonic failure. His honours
are shallow. Bringing no interest to his position, he received
little of the satisfaction and respect that belong to the real
Masonry has failed to reach him with a clear understanding of
those marks of true devotion which she has to offer. He never knows
the opportunities that the Craft makes available to those who
diligently seek them. He misses the opportunities that the Craft
makes available to strive for a just and worthy cause. He misses
the opportunity for continuing fellowship and friendship. He misses
the opportunity for loyalty and devotion. He misses the opportunity
for development of his executive, intellectual and oratorical
abilities. And most of all, he misses the opportunity for service -
to God - to his community - and to his fellow man.
These are the jewels that Masonry has to offer, but in his
quest for position and honours, the modern cowan misses them. Like
the operative cowan, he does not have the Word.
-reprinted from the Masonic Shimbun in the GLBC Bulletin, Nov. '79
From: "Tony Pope" There may not have been any direct Masonic content in the posting which Bro Feldman forwarded, but I'm sure we all share his concern and horror. Part of the forwarded posting reads: > Those in my parent's generation were dumbfounded. Who ever heard of Gentiles caring about Jews?< It affords me the opportunity to recount (yet again) a heartwarming story about a Jewish synagogue and a Masonic lodge in Van Diemen's Land (Tasmania) 155 years ago, which I encountered while researching for a book about Freemasonry in that charming little offshore 1% of Australia. Fraternally, Tony Pope MPS Global Masonic Publications St John's Lodge and the Synagogue The first lodge in the north of Tasmania was St John's Lodge, erected at Launceston in January 1843 under a dispensation granted by Tasmanian Operative Lodge (Irish Constitution) in Hobart. In the same month, the Jewish community in Launceston decided that the time was right to build a synagogue, and they addressed a petition to the Governor for a grant of land for this purpose. Subsequent events led to an unusual demonstration of brotherhood. The census of 1842 shows that there was a Jewish population in Launceston of 58 persons. The Jewish community petitioned Governor Sir John Franklin for a grant of land on which to build a synagogue, and also for land as a burial ground. Both applications were refused, although similar grants had been made to several Christian denominations. This was interpreted by the local newspapers and the general populace as religious bigotry, and when the tiny Jewish community determined to raise the money to purchase land and build the synagogue, they received generous and widespread support from the local newspapers and the Christian community. By mid-1844 they had sufficient funds and called for tenders. It was decided to make the laying of the foundation stone a gala occasion. On Tuesday, 1 October 1844 (the 18th day of Tishri, 5605, by the Jewish calendar), a crowd assembled in pouring rain for the event. A procession was formed outside the meeting place of St John's Lodge, led by the band of the 96th of Foot, followed by the brethren of the lodge in full regalia, with the members of the Jewish building committee in their midst and the remainder of the Jewish congregation at the rear. The band played Masonic airs, "Burns' Farewell" and "The Entered Apprentice", and led the way along St John Street to the chosen land. The lodge minutes record: "On arriving at the ground, suitable prayers were offered up to the Great Architect of the Universe, and a Masonic Anthem, expressly compiled for the occasion, was sung by the brethren, accompanied by the Military Band." After the laying of the foundation stone and dedication by the President of the congregation, Benjamin Francis, assisted by the Master of the lodge, Samuel Fox, they all reassembled and marched back behind the band. As Regimental Quartermaster and Worshipful Master, Samuel Fox provides an obvious link between the regiment and the lodge, but personal links between the lodge and the congregation are more difficult to establish. It is possible, of course, that Samuel Fox was a Jew. There are no contemporary Jewish records of the period, and Masonic records do not indicate religious affiliation. Benjamin Francis may have been a Mason. Some of the phrases in his address, as reported in the local press, had a decidedly Masonic flavour: "My Hebrew Brethren and Christian Friends--The unspeakable and deeply felt pleasure this occasion affords me, can only be known by the great being for whose worship and adoration we are met to found this temple. In the outpouring of my heart at this time, I thank God we are assembled even in the earth's furthest limits, I may almost say in the wilderness, to cement by brotherly love the bonds which have before-time bound the Hebrew community alike, amidst the fiercest political tyranny and the bitterest religious persecution. The bright sun of modern intelligence, however, is fast dissipating the noisome vapours of intolerance and bigotry, and mankind now learn, that their social, moral and religious happiness depend, not in religious dominancy, but rather in the exercise of love, benevolence and good will from one to the other. The example my christian friends have given this day of the absence of religious bigotry will be known in all lands, and shall be remembered when the pulsation of these generous hearts shall repose in their cold grave. May this day then join us in brotherly love and good feeling, and may the Almighty bless us with a contrite heart, health, happiness and prosperity." Postscript The synagogue still stands, as a building on the National Heritage List, but is not used for worship, due to a decline in numbers of practising Jews in Launceston. There was a period when the building was rented to Masons in Launceston for meetings of a Lodge of Instruction. The lodge no longer exists as a separate entity, having merged with two other lodges in the past decade.
The Old Past Master by Carl Claudy -1924
"I have been a Mason for a year now," remarked the Young Brother to the
Old Past Master "and while I find a great deal in Masonry to enjoy, and
like the fellows and all that, I am more or less in the dark as to what
good Masonry really is in the world. I don't mean that I can't appreciate
its charity, or its fellowship, but it seems to me that I don't get much
out of it; I can't really see why it has any function outside of that
relationship we enjoy in the lodge room and the little charitable acts we
"I think I could win an argument about you," smiled the Old Past
"An argument about me?"
"Yes. You say you have been a Master Mason for a year. I think I could
prove to the satisfaction of a jury of your peers who would <italic>not
</italic>need to be Master Masons; that while you are a lodge member in
good standing; you are not a Master Mason."
"I don't think I quite understand," puzzled the Young Mason. "I was quite
surely initiated, passed and was raised. I have my certificate and my
good standing card. I attend lodge regularly. I do what work I am
assigned. If that isn't being a Master Mason, what is?"
"You have the body but not the spirit," retorted the Old Past Master.
"You eat the husks and disregard the kernel. You know the ritual and fail
to understand its meaning. You carry the documents but for you they
attest but an empty form. You do not understand the first underlying
principle which makes Masonry the great force that she is. And yet, in
spite of it, you enjoy her blessings... which is one of her miracles,
that a man may love and profit by what he does not comprehend."
"Why....I...I just don't understand you at all. I am sure I am a good
"No man is a good Mason who thinks the fraternity has no function beyond
pleasant association in the lodge, and charity. Man, there are thousands
of Masons who never see the inside of a lodge and therefore, perforce,
miss the fellowship. There are thousands who never need her charity and
so come never in contact with one of its many features. Yet these may
take freely and largely from the treasure house which is Masonry.
"Masonry, my young friend, is an opportunity. It gives a man a chance to
do and to be, among the world of men, something he otherwise could not
attain. No man kneels at the Altar of Masonry and rises again the same
man. At the Altar something is taken from him never to return; his
feelings of living for himself alone. Be he never so selfish, never so
self-centered, never so much an individualist, at the Altar he leaves
behind him some of the dross of his purely profane make-up.
"No man kneels at the Altar of Masonry and rises the same man, because,
in the place where the dross and selfish was, is put a little of the most
Divine spark which men may see. Where was the self-interest is put an
interest in others. Where was the egotism is put love for one's fellow
"You say that the "fraternity has no function." Man, the fraternity
performs the greatest function of any institution at work among men, in
that it provides a common meeting ground where all of us, be our creed,
our social position, our wealth, our ideas, our station in life what they
may, may meet and understand one another.
"What was the downfall of Rome? Class hatred. What caused the Civil war?
Failure of one people to understand another, and an unequality of men
which this country could not endure. What caused the Great War? Class
hatred. What is the greatest leveler of class in the world? Masonry.
Where is the only place in which a capitalist and laborer, socialist and
democrat, fundamentalist and modernist, Jew and Gentile, gentle and
simple alike meet and forget their differences? In a Masonic lodge, boy,
through the influence of Masonry...Masonry, which opens her portals to
men because they <italic>are </italic>men, not because they are wealthy
or wise or foolish or great or small but because they seek the
brotherhood which only she can give.
"Masonry has no function? Why, son, the function of charity, great as it
is, is the <italic>least </italic>of the things Masonry does; the
fellowship in the lodge room, beautiful as it is, is at best not much
more than one can get in any good club, association, organization. These
are the beauties of Masonry, but they are also beauties of other
organizations. The great fundamental beauty of Masonry is all her own.
She, and only she, stretches a kindly and loving hand around the world,
uniting millions in a bond too strong for breaking. Time has demonstrated
that Masonry is too strong for war; too strong for hate, too strong for
jealousy and fear; the worst of men have used the strongest of means and
have but pushed Masonry to one side for the moment; not all their efforts
have broken her, or ever will!
"Masonry gives us all a chance to do and to be; to do a little, however
humble the part, in making the world better; to be a little larger, a
little fuller in our lives, a little nearer to the G.A.O.T.U. And unless
a man understands this, and believe it, and take it to his heart and live
it in his daily life, and strive to show it forth to others in his every
act; unless he live and love and labor in his Masonry, I say he is no
Master Mason; aye, though he belong to all Rites and carry all cards,
though he be hung as a Christmas tree with jewels and pins, though he be
an officer in all bodies. But the man who has it in his heart, and sees
in Masonry the chance to be in reality what he has sworn he would be, a
brother to his fellow Masons, is a Master Mason though he be raised but
tonight, belongs to no organization but his Blue Lodge and be too poor to
buy and wear a single pin."
The Young Brother, looking down, unfastened the emblem from his coat
label and handed it to the Old Past Master.
"Of course, you are right," he said, lowly. "Here is my pin. Don't give
it back to me until you think I am worthy to wear it."
The Old Past Master smiled. "I think you would better put it back now,"
he answered gently. "None are more fit to wear the square and compass
than those who know themselves unworthy, for they are those who strive to
be real Masons."
The Responsibility of Vouchers on Petitions
by Chris Dains, MPS (life)
This article has been developed from personal observations and
experience, and by borrowing from the writings of the late Most
Worshipful Archer Bailey Gay, PGM-VA, Grand Secretary at time of
Unfortunately, in recent times the West Gates in some of our
Lodges have not been properly guarded; endorsers have failed to
express why an applicant for the degrees is worthy and well
qualified to be a Mason. Sometimes the character of the man
subsequently admitted is far below desireable standards, and
after being admitted into our households, he has been prone to
cause men of similar qualities to seek from him and obtain their
admission as well. Thus the fraternity no longer has appeal to
those men possessing the quality and high character most desired.
All sorts of scoundrels who should have never been admitted, have
been. We find alcoholics, pedophiles, homosexuals, even rapists,
pathological liars and others who tend to be bent on changing
Freemasonry to meet their own standards. Sometimes for the sake
of change they flaunt our laws, customs and traditions in a
manner found primarily in one possessing an anti-establishment or
politically correct attitude.
To support this claim, witness the number of Masonic trials
conducted annually and reported in the Proceedings of various
Grand Lodges. Think of all those others who should have been but
never were censured or brought before the bar of Masonic justice.
Their misdeeds are swept under the proverbial rug suggesting
instead it is best to whisper good coulsel in their ears, or else
seek a reformation. That good counsel and reformation should
have occurred long before they were permitted entry through the
West Gates of our Lodges. In truth, based on some background
societal standards they should have been denied such honored
opportunity to take upon themselves that great and noble title of
Brother, accorded all Masons from that very first moment they
complete their obligation as an Entered Apprentice. .
The responsibility of vouchers on petitions is one little
understood by many of our members. Because of such lack of
understanding, it is one of the duties most frequently shirked by
the brethren generally because they do not understand it. Before
endorsing the petition of anyone for initiation, time should be
taken to discuss the matter with the applicant. The endorser
should know why the applicant wishes to become a Mason and
ascertain if he knows what he may expect and what may be expected
of him. He should be asked if he is prepared to give the time
necessary to discharge his duties as a Mason - to attend Lodge,
visit the sick, assist the officers by working on the various
committees when selected, and to devote some of his energies and
thoughts to the study of Freemasonry in order that he might have
a full appreciation of it.
If, after the interview, the voucher is satisfied with the
applicant's understanding and knows that he is of good moral
character, endorsement of the petition of a friend should be a
source of pleasure. However, the signing of the petition will
also demand your presence in the Lodge to give voice to your
recommendation for the benefit of the other members present and
prepared to cast their ballot for or against admission.
Vouchers are and should be rightly expected to be in
attendance when he whom they have seen fit to sponsor receives
each of the degrees.
Vouchers should never simply state that they know of no
reason why an applicant should not be accorded the rights and
benefits of Freemasonry. Each voucher should be able to state
without equivocation the attributes and character of the man whom
they believe is worthy and well qualified to enter into their
Lodge household. That is what it is -- each Lodge is a household
unto itself. Its doors or gates should at all times be securely
guarded against admission of one whose character is flawed, or
whose general conduct and personal habits without the Lodge may
one day serve to bring shame and disgrace upon the household in
particular and Freemasonry in general.
Guard well the West Gates of our Lodges and do not ever
hesitate to bar the admission of those who may be deemed unfit to
be in our midst, that the reputation of both Lodge and all of
Freemasonry may remain pure and unsullied.
"Old Tiler Talks" by Carl Claudy -1924
WHAT IS MASONRY?
"I've been a Mason six months now and I ought to know something
about Masonry. But there are more secrets in the fraternity I
don't know than those I have been told!"
The New Brother was puzzled. The Old Tiler laid down his sword,
picked up a half-smoked cigar and lit it, and settled back in his
"Get it out of your system," he invited.
"Is Masonry a religion," continued the New Brother, "or a system
of philosophy, or a childish getting together of men who like to
play politics and wear titles? I have heard it called all three.
Sometimes I think it's one and sometimes the other. What do you
"It isn't a childish getting together for the love of titles and
honors," answered the Old Tiler. "Men would soon invent a much
better organization for the satisfaction of such purposes. In
fact, he has invented better ones. Men who want to play politics
and be called the Grand High Cockalorum of the Exalted Central
Chamber of the Secret Sanctorum can join these. If Masonry were
nothing but play, it wouldn't live, and living, grow.
"Masonry isn't a religion. A religion, as I see it, is a belief
in deity and a means of expressing worship. Masonry recognizes
Deity, and proceeds only after asking divine guidance. But it
does not specify any particular deity. You can worship any God
you please and be a Mason. That is not true of any religion. If
you are a Buddhist, you worship Buddha. If a Christian, Christ is
your Deity. If you are a Mohammedan you are a worshipper of
Allah. In Masonry you will find Christian, Jew, Mohammedan and
Buddhist side by side.
"Masonry has been called a system of philosophy, but that is a
confining definition. I don't think Masonry has ever been truly
"Or God," put in the New Brother.
"Exactly. A witty Frenchman, asked if he believed in God,
replied, 'Before I answer, you must tell me your definition of
God. And when you tell me, I will answer you, no, because a God
defined is a God limited, and a limited God is no God.' Masonry
is something like that; it is brotherhood, unlimited, and when
you limit it by defining it you make it something it isn't."
"Deep stuff!" commented the New Brother.
"Masonry is 'deep stuff,'" answered the Old Tiler. "It's so deep
no man has ever found the bottom. Perhaps that is its greatest
charm; you can go as far as you like and still not see the limit.
The fascination of astronomy is the limitlessness of the field.
No telescope has seen the edge of the universe. The fascination
of Masonry is that it has no limits. The human heart has no limit
in depth and that which appeals most to the human heart cannot
have a limit."
"But that makes it so hard to understand!" sighed the New
"Isn't it the better for being difficult of comprehension?" asked
the Old Tiler. "A few days ago I heard an eminent divine and
Mason make an inspiring talk. I hear a lot of talks; nine-tenths
are empty words with a pale tallow-tip gleam of a faint idea
somewhere in them. So when a real talker lets the full radiance
of a whole idea shine on an audience, he is something to be
remembered. This speaker quoted a wonderful poem, by William
Herbert Carruth. I asked him to send it to me, and he did; please
note, this busy man, president of a university, and with a
thousand things to do, didn't forget the request of a brother he
never saw before!"
The Old Tiler put his hand in his pocket and took out a
much-thumbed piece of paper. "Listen you," he said, "'till I read
you just one verse of it:
"A picket frozen on duty; A mother, starved for her brood;
Socrates drinking the hemlock, and Jesus on the road; And
millions who, humble and nameless, The straight hard pathway
plod; Some call it consecration And others call it God.'
The New Brother said nothing, held silent by the beauty of the
"I am no poet," continued the Old Tiler, "and I know this isn't
very fitting, but I wrote something to go with those verses, just
to read to brothers like you." Shyly the Old Tiler continued:
"Many men, banded together Standing where Hiram stood; Hand to
back of the falling, Helping in brotherhood. Wise man, doctor,
lawyer, Poor man, man of the hod, Many call it Masonry And others
call it God."
"I don't think it makes much difference what we call it, do you?"
asked the New Brother.
and an extra:
"Rays of Freemasonry" by Dewey Wollstein -1953
WHAT IS FREEMASONRY?
Try to define it. Freemasonry is a sublime effort on the part of
Masons to give living proof to the world that all men are
brothers. The best definitions are inadequate. Then describe
Freemasonry. It is Understanding, Tolerance, Love, Hope,
Reverence,and Charity, all working through men who believe in the
nobility of mankind, in the God-made destiny of men, and in the
final triumph of good over evil.
Our description is inadequate. Freemasonry is the cabletow that
joins the hearts of Masons. It is felt in prosperity; it tugs at
the heart of the brother in distress and at the heart of the
brother who answers the call of distress. Freemasonry is the
Spirit that goes with a handshake. It is the mystery of Love, the
silent working of Nature. It is God's justice administered by men
who know God's mercy.
Freemasonry is that which brings sweet tears to the eyes of a
father when his son knock at the inner door.
Have we described Freemasonry? No, but there is something else to
Freemasonry is that which dictators despise.
There's a lot of truth in the following conversations
#: 188040 S7/Craft Lodge Issues
Fm: Mike Thomas 112540,636
To: john t. betts 112404,2562
>Why should a any young man choose to become a mason when most masons are old
>and only support their lodge out of a sense of duty rather than any benefit
they are >receiving?
It is my hope is that a man joins the Lodge for the benefits he can bestow
upon his fellow-man, and for the good he can do. One of the main problems with
society around the world is all the followers of the "Me" generation,
regardless of age. Prehaps this is an over simplification, but if I knew a
man was joining "for the benefits" he would receive, I would vote against his
To give direct answer to your questions:
>Why should a any young man choose to become a mason when most masons are
One advantage to the young man is the experience to be gleened from men who
have "been there, done that". Assuming that young man is teachable and not so
consumed with everything he thinks he already knows that he can't learn
anything from the experience of others. It's a sad person who must learn
everything by what he suffers in the school of hard knocks.
> and only support their lodge out of a sense of duty
I think you misjudge many of the motives of these "old" Masons. Certainly,
there is a sense of duty, and even Obligation. Why does a young person think
such is a negative? On the other hand, there is a pride and satisfaction in
supporting and helping the community, the Lodge, and the Craft - and being
united with like minded men working towards a common purpose..
> rather than any benefit they are receiving?
Let me list a few of the "Benefits" I've received:
1. Organizational Skills in planning and helping Lodge Functions.
2. Leadership Skills in dealing with varied personalities to accomplish a
3. Financial Training in assisting and planing and Organizational Budget.
4. Logistical and Supply Training in forecasting the needs of many social
functions, such as food - materials - facilities for varied events.
5. Experience in Bereavement Counseling helping a widow or Brother who has
just lost their spouse, plan for the Funeral as well as future necessities of
6. Increased mental faculties strengthened by the study and understanding of
the "Work" of a Masonic Lodge.
7. Increased Tact in resolving disputes that invariably occur as any group of
people work together.
8. Greater empathy for those in need or going through hard times, as I became
involved in relieving anothers suffering.
9. A support group of non-judgemental friends helping me to get through my
10. Training in leadership principles in Seminar Settings that would rival
the most expensive commercial training.
Each of these has inadvertently made me more valuable to my employer and thus
indirectly increased, my wages, my standard of living, and given me a higher
quality of home life. No benefits? I disagree. After all of this, however, my
most valued "benefit" has been that I've been able to give to others. All the
benefit I've received has been secondary and as a direct result of my service.
Those joining for "mercenary motives" and not willing to give of themselves
will indeed be sadly disappointed.
Mike Thomas, PM
#: 188041 S7/Craft Lodge Issues
Fm: Michael Poll/Sysop 110046,1751
To: john t. betts 112404,2562
>>Why should a any young man choose to become a mason when most masons
are old and only support their lodge out of a sense of duty rather than any
benefit they are receiving?<<
Welcome. Thank you for your comments.
Your question is one that all Masons should ask themselves. Why
*should* any young man (or any old man) join Freemasonry ? Any one who joins
Masonry for reasons of entertainment, social benefits or hopes of personal
gain would be better off never joining. A Masonic lodge meeting is second
rate entertainment at best. Anyone who feels that it is only duty that keeps
them in a Lodge, should, IMO, quit. Any one who feels that they are not
getting enough "benefits" from Masonry should quit.
Being a Mason requires a real hunger in your soul for personal growth
and a true desire to learn and serve. It is a great mistake to believe that
Masonry is right for everyone - it's not.
Why should any young man become a Mason ? Well, my friend, it is my
opinion that Masons have always been Masons in their heart long before joining
any lodge. One who is not a Mason at heart will not be one before or after
joining a lodge. Being a Mason is a life long journey that is *not* for
everyone and *not* to *ever* be considered an easy task or a rewarding task in
the material sense.
Your question makes very good sense to non- Masons. For me, your
question might as well be, "Why should Masons eat." Being a Mason is not
something that I do out of any sense of duty or any seeking of reward. I am a
Masons simply because I am a Mason. That's about it.
Michael R. Poll