Friday, June 30, 2006


By W:.Patrick Bellotti, Past Master, Meridian Lodge 691

In today’s world the BLOG which is a short acronym for Web Log, has become a useful tool for someone to get their message out to a large amount of people with the minimum of effort.

In Masonry, the Blog has been found to be a great way to educate, inform and instruct our Masonic brethren. What better way to let our message get through than by posting it online where it is available to any Brother 24 hours a day, 7 days a week. (Hence the term 24/7).

The truth of the matter though, is different. Masonry is woefully behind when it comes to the subjects of Masonic Blogging and Masonic Internet usage. That is a shame because much of today’s world uses the Internet as a vehicle and a source. A majority of people, especially men, use the Internet. Of those male users, an overwhelming majority, are younger persons who are a great target audience for our word and to send a message as to what we are all about.

Many new Brothers first exposure to Masonry was via the Internet. By having a Masonic Blog, one can insure that these interested brothers and potential candidates get the information they seek in a safe and Masonic way. The Blog can insure that no false facts reach the mass of people who have access to the Blog. At the same time our Masonic methods and secrets can remain safe from any “prying eyes”.

I want to stress that the Blog will show your Lodge positive results in a very short time. Inquiries to find out more on Masonry have been coming to me from people as far as Canada. To those persons I simply tell them to do a search on what they want to find out and as long as it can be revealed, the Internet will give them the necessary information they seek. On a local level, the term 2B1 – ASK1 can be easily addressed as any candidate can see where the local Lodge is with contact information. This makes it easier for a potential member to start down his Masonic journey.

Another way the Blog is useful is it can be a bridge between younger and older brothers. It is possible that older brothers can use the Blog to help younger brothers on Masonic History and ritual. Conversely, a younger brother can assist an older brother with the usage of the computer and access to the Internet. It is a mutually rewarding situation for Masonry.

In my case the Internet and Blog is far more than that of a toy to dabble with. It literally is my principal way to stay involved. I presently have a handicap which at this time prevents me from attending Lodge on a regular basis. Ask yourself this: How many other brothers are home because of a handicap or disability and of those at home, how many would find the Blog a useful way to make them feel part of a Lodge?

It is my pleasure to do this Blog and as I always do, I have to give credit to W:. Paul Davis, Past Master of Meridian Lodge in Islip for having the foresight to get this Blog off the ground as well as rekindling my interest in the Light. If you wish to share in this Blog remember to go to . Also if you wish to share something in the blog you can send it to me at my E-mail address at . If it is informative and accurate, I will have no problem adding it in the Blog whenever it becomes possible. I hope that there are others out there who are touched by this way of sharing the Masonic word.



George Washington

President 1789-1797 / Master Mason 1753

George Washington became a Mason at age 20 in 1753. He may have attended about 9 lodge meetings during the remaining 46 years of his life, and probably never presided over any lodge.

However, George Washington wrote letters in which he said he was happy to be a Mason, and also, in 1791, describing Masonry as being "founded in justice and benevolence," and "the grand object of Masonry is to promote the happiness of the human race."

But, when he was asked more specifically about Freemasonry in 1798, he wrote, ". . . So far as I am acquainted with the principles and Doctrines of Free Masonry, I conceive them to be founded on benevolence and to be exercised for the good of mankind. If it has been a Cloak to promote improper or nefarious objects, it is a melancholly [sic] proof that in unworthy hands, the best institutions may be made use of to promote the worst designs."

James Monroe

President 1817-1825 / Master Mason 1776
EA in Williamsburg Lodge #6 at Williamsburg, VA., Nov. 9, 1775, but there is no record of his taking any further degrees. The records of Cumberland Lodge #8 in Tennessee, June 8, 1819, show a reception for Monroe as "a Brother of the Craft." possibly MM 1776

Andrew Jackson

President 1829-1837 / Master Mason 1800
MM 1800?, his lodge is un-known but he is said to have attended at Clover Bottom Lodge under the Grand Lodge of Kentucky. He was present in lodge at Greeneville in 1801 and acted as Senior Warden pro tem. The records of St. Tammany Lodge #29 at Nashville, which became Harmony Lodge #1 under the Grand Lodge of Tennessee, show that Jackson was a member. Very active in Freemasonry, Grand Master of Tennessee 1822-1823

James K. Polk

President 1845-1849 / Master Mason 1820
EA, FC, MM, in Columbia Lodge #31, Columbia, Tenn., 1820, exalted a Royal Arch Mason in La Fayette Chapter #4 at Columbia in 1825

James Buchanan

President 1857-1861 / Master Mason 1817
EA Dec. 11, 1816, Lancaster Lodge #43, Lancaster, PA, FC & MM 1817, Junior Warden 1821-1822, Master 1825, exalted in Royal Arch Chapter # 43, in 1826, Deputy Grand Master of the Grand Lodge of Pennsylvania

Andrew Johnson

President 1865-1869 / Master Mason 1851
EA, FC, MM, in Greeneville Lodge No. 119 now #3 at Greeneville, Tenn. in 1851, probably a member of Greeneville Chapter #82, Royal Arch Masons, since he joined Nashville Commandery of Knights Templar #1 in 1859. He received the Scottish Rite degrees in the White House in 1867

James A. Garfield

President 1881 / Master Mason 1864
EA & FC Magnolia Lodge #20, Columbus, Ohio, MM Columbus Lodge #3O, 1864, Affiliated with Garrettsville Lodge #246 in 1866, Affiliated with Pentalpha Lodge #23 Washington, D. C. as charter member in 1869. Exalted in Columbus Royal Arch Chapter 1866, and Knight Templar 1866, 14th Degree Scottish Rite 1872

William McKinley

President 1897-1901 / Master Mason 1865
He is sometimes said to have received EA, FC, MM, in Hiram Lodge #10 in Winchester, West Virginia, in 1865, but William Moseley Brown is authority for the statement that this event took place in Hiram Lodge #21 at Winchester, Virginia in that year. McKinley affiliated with Canton Lodge #60 at Canton, Ohio in 1867 and later became a charter member of Eagle Lodge #43. He received the Capitular degrees in Canton in 1883 and was made a Knight Templar in 1884.

President William McKinley said in 1901 that the brotherhood of fraternal societies was similar to the brotherhood of "equal citizenship" in the U.S.

Theodore Roosevelt

President 1901-1909 / Master Mason 1901
EA, FC, MM, in Matinecock Lodge #806, Oyster Bay, NY in 1901. Somewhat active, and very supportive of Freemasonry.

Theodore Roosevelt, said in 1902, "One of the things that attracted me so greatly to Masonry . . . was that it really did live up to what we, as a government, are pledged to -- of treating each man on his merits as a Man"

William H. Taft

President 1909-1913 / Master Mason 1901
EA Feb. 18, 1909, MM "Mason at Sight" in Kilwinning Lodge #356, Cincinnati, Ohio, in 1901?, Evidently, that made hirn a member at large, for the Grand Lodge issued him a demit and he became a member of that lodge. Somewhat active, and very supportive of Freemasonry

Warren G. Harding

President 1921-1923 / Master Mason 1920

EA Lodge #7O, Marion, Ohio, Jun 28, 1901, received no other degree until after becoming U.S. President, FC & MM in Marion Lodge #70 in 1920 (MM Aug. 27, 1920), Royal Arch Chapter degrees in Marion Chapter #62 in 1921; Knight Templar in Marion Commandery #36, in 1921, Scottish Rite and Shrine in 1921

Franklin D. Roosevelt

President 1933-1945 / Master Mason 1911
EA Oct 11, 1911, FC, MM, in Holland Lodge #8, New York City, in 1911, Scottish Rite in Albany Consistory 1929, Shrine in 1930. Somewhat active, and very supportive of Freemasonry

Theodore Roosevelt, said in 1902, "One of the things that attracted me so greatly to Masonry . . . was that it really did live up to what we, as a government, are pledged to -- of treating each man on his merits as a Man"

Harry S. Truman

President 1945-1953 / Master Mason 1909
EA Feb. 9, 1909, Belton Lodge #450, Grandview, Missouri, MM 1909. In 1911, Truman was the 1st WM of the new Grandview Lodge #618. Grand Master of Missouri 1940-1941. Very active and supportive of Freemasonry, Master of Missouri Lodge of Research while U.S. President, Masonic Ritualist, district lecturer and deputy Grand Master for several years, buried with Masonic rites in Independence, MO, in televised ceremony.

Harry S. Truman was Grand Master of Missouri, an enthusiastic Masonic ritualist, and Master of lodges while an active politician. He attended Masonic lodge meetings while campaigning, and while he was President of the U.S., and he wrote, "The greatest honor that has ever come to me, and that can ever come to me in my life, is to be Grand Master of Masons in Missouri"

Gerald R. Ford

Pres. 1974-1977 / Master Mason 1951
EA Sep. 30, 1949, Malta Lodge #465, Grand Rapids, Michigan, courtesy FC & MM Columbia Lodge #3, Washington, D.C., Apr. 20 & May 18, 1951


Thursday, June 29, 2006


Before an aspirant for Masonry petitions for membership, he learns one lesson -- he must seek Masonry voluntarily. "Free will and accord" is a phrase occurring in all degrees in the Blue Lodge. It is placed there for the express purpose of reminding the applicant for the Masonic Degrees that he comes of his own volition and not as a result of persuasion or coercion by a friend who is a Mason.

To many Masons, an answer such as "No, I'm not a Mason as no one has ever asked me to join" is familiar and a little touching. The purpose of this presentation is to provide guidance whereby you may assist that man, whom you feel "should be a Mason, to voluntarily seek a petition.

Many of you have gone through the experience of, "I have heard that Masonry..." is a secret society; is a religion of sorts and is a bitter enemy of Roman Catholicism; is a rich man's fraternity, exclusive and Protestant; wields great power in politics; forbids its members to discuss Masonry with non-Masons; teaches its members that, right or wrong, a member must defend another at all costs; takes very strict obligations of a questionable nature; provokes unhappiness in homes because Masons are out evenings and do not tell their wives anything; is good to join for business and prestige; and so forth.


What could be further from the truth? Masonic Temples are to be seen in all principal cities and towns and even in small villages. The buildings are usually well kept and distinctly marked with a printed sign or the symbolic Square and Compass. Most are prominent buildings on main thoroughfares.

Notices of meetings for ritual, business or special occasions are publicized by newspaper, radio and TV. Frequently, meetings are held to which the public is invited. Family gatherings are on the schedule of most Lodges.

Secret? No. Secrets? Yes. Masons have (l) their own modes of recognition; (2) degree work which is not made known in the world at large and; (3) symbolic methods of instructing members (in the ways of neighborliness, the Golden Rule, patriotism, charity, etc.).

Far greater are the secrets of Government, college fraternities, and even families, but none would acknowledge these to be "secret". The word "secret" has come to be known as "sinister", "shady", "a fraud" by those who do not know or understand societies. Very emphatically we can say that Masonic Bodies are just the opposite; i.e., they are benevolent, moral, and proper.

Masons proudly appear in public to lay cornerstones of buildings; to attend other ceremonial and public functions; to attend funerals for deceased members; and to worship in a body at Divine Services. They openly declare themselves and their purposes.


Few are the Masons who do not attend and support some recognized Church, Synagogue or Temple. Every Mason takes his obligations in the name of God and is urged to attend a place of worship of his own choice. Many ministers, rabbis, deacons, Sunday School teachers, Church lay leaders and workers are Masons. Far from being a bitter enemy of the Church, Masonry is the particular friend of ANYONE professing a belief in a Supreme Being. Masons worship God in their religious edifices; they do not go to Lodge for that purpose. Masonry is religious to this extent; every Mason must believe in a Supreme Being; the immortality of the soul; the Fatherhood of God; and the Brotherhood of Man. These are first line requirements.


A man's wealth is of little interest to Masonry and certainly is no requirement to membership. Masonry does not deny the presence of highly paid executives and professional men on its rolls. Their memberships are as beneficial and desirable as are others. However, Masonry points with just as much pride to those Brothers whose vocations are train conductor, salesman, welder, cowboy, butcher, truck driver, etc. The latter group of men outnumber the former by a vast majority.

The initiation fees are most modest; the dues per year are usually much less than for country clubs or professional societies. Moreover, the initiation fee and Lodge dues structure may be discussed with your friends in dollars and cents as applicable to your particular Lodge.

Exclusiveness may well apply to Masonry. However, it is "exclusive" only in its moral requirements. No man of good character who comes to Masonry of his own free choice will be refused a petition. Any qualified man may apply and few are rejected.

"Protestant Organization" is one of the most common misconcepts of Masonry and it is one that is totally without foundation. Besides Protestants, hundreds of thousands of our members are adherents to other faiths. (Jewish, Roman Catholic, Mohammedan, Hindu, etc.). In fact, the faith that any man has in a Supreme Being qualifies him to petition; this then, truly makes Masonry a fraternity of and for all mankind. No atheist may be a Mason.


Masons, while in Lodge, are prohibited from discussing politics or any other subject which may cause dissension in its ranks. This is a landmark which is strictly observed. As citizens, Masons are encouraged to vote for candidates or parties of their choice, to hold appointive and elective offices and to express their views on political issues. Masons are good citizens. Their power in politics is in direct proportion to their numerical vote, keeping in mind that Masons are Republicans, Democrats, Socialists, Independents, etc. Their votes are spread as much as their political beliefs differ. They do not vote in a body.


There is no more defense for a Mason who does wrong in a civil, criminal or moral offense, than for any other person. A strict adherence to all the laws of God and of man is required by all Masons. They are bound to uphold the laws of the land in which they are located and to be true to their own Government.

And more to the point, a Mason who is alleged to have broken a moral, criminal or civil code may be brought before the Lodge and so charged. He is, of course, entitled to counsel in order to properly defend himself. If adjudged guilty he may be subject to the consequence of private reprimand, expulsion from the Fraternity, or one of the other penalties from the lightest to the most severe judgment.


In all Lodges, the Mason promises to uphold his Government, obey the Civil Magistrate, be of high moral character, practice brotherhood and benevolence, uphold the rights of all good men to freedom and happiness.


A Mason, like any other person, makes his home life according to his own views and circumstances. Most Masonic households are as congenial as the average, if not more so. Masons are not required to spend any time at Lodge -evenings or otherwise. (In olden days, small fines were assessed for non-attendance at meetings). To the contrary, they are told that while their presence is desirable and welcome at Lodge, they are admonished that the Lodge should in NO WAY conflict with their own home or business life. When a Mason attends Lodge, it is of his own free will and for his own enjoyment of the brotherhood to be found there.

It is true that many Masons do not tell their families the whys and wherefores of Masonry, the older Masons being more reticent than the younger ones. Masons of today are not only urged to converse about Masonic courses of conduct, but their families are encouraged to attend Lodge functions. Certainly, every Masonic wife should know and appreciate the purposes of Freemasonry.

As a matter of information in reference to the home or family aspect of Masonry, other bodies have been organized to interest not only wives, but also sons and daughters in Masonic families. These include Orders such as the Eastern Star, White Shrine, DeMolay, Rainbow Girls, and Job's Daughters. Local public libraries carry many books about Masonry and its family of related organizations.


Anyone detected trying to join the Masonic Fraternity for business reasons will not be given a petition. A petitioner who anticipates joining for commercial advantages (and a few do pass without detection) may be bitterly disappointed in Masonry as they expect financial gain rather than brotherhood. These men may drop out after a few years.

As with other fraternities, clubs and even vocations, no man gets more reward from it than the effort he affords to it. Masons do buy from other Masons, certainly, but usually because of better service and friendlier relations, not because of Lodge affiliation.

The search for prestige, as a reason for joining, may also be a source of disappointment. However, we must admit that a man joining Masonry for proper reasons will soon find that he does have more prestige in his community, but only because he has consciously (or unconsciously) become the better type of man which Masonry endeavors to make of him.


These are some of the facts which you may share with any person who is not a Mason. There are, of course, many other facts about Masonry, which you may discuss. If in doubt about discussing any phase of Masonry, consult with the Master of your Lodge or other person well versed in ritual and rules.

In any conversation when non-Masonic friends are present, under no circumstances allow the discussion to get out of hand or controversial. Broadly speaking, Masonry is as open as the Bible upon its Altar.
So Mote It Be!



The Jewels of Lodge officers shall be of silver or of white metal, to be worn either suspended from a blue velvet collar or as a badge on the left breast. None but officers may wear jewels, except Past Masters, the latter wearing them attached to a blue collar ribbon, or as a badge worn on the left breast. The jewels of a Past Master and of officers of a Lodge:

Past Master - The Blazing Sun within the Compasses extended on a quadrant.

Worshipful Master - The Square.

Senior Warden - The Level.

Junior Warden - The Plumb.

Treasurer - The Crossed Keys.

Secretary - The Crossed Pens.

Treasurer - The Crossed Pens.(same as secretary)

Chaplain - The Bible within a Circle.

Marshal - Baton in a Square.

Senior Deacon - The Square and Compasses united with a Sun.

Junior Deacon - The Square and Compasses united with a Moon.

Stewards - Cornucopia in a Circle.

Organist - Lyre in a Circl

Tyler - The Crossed Swords.

The Deacons' rods Shall be blue, the Stewards' rods white, surmounted by their proper jewels in silver or white metal.


Wednesday, June 28, 2006


I found this old article online and thought it contained some good information we all can use when we attend Lodge. Some of it is dated as it was written 80 years ago and a couple of points don't apply today. (i.e. smoking in the Lodge). Yet many things we sometimes disregard when attending the Lodge are covered here

Conventions are the rules which society makes for itself, without the force of law, by which its members live together with the least friction. It is not a sin to eat with one’s knife or to keep one’s hat on in the house; but these are “Not” good form, or good manners.

Masonry has developed its own conventions, by which its members act in Lodge and the Anteroom. Not to proceed according to their dictates is not a Masonic offense; it is merely a lack of Masonic manners.

As you Passed through the Third Degree you received instructions in the Ritual and the obligation. You were carefully taught those essential things which a man must know in order to be a Mason. But unless you belong to a most unusual Lodge, or had a most wise Brother for a mentor, it is doubtful if you were told much about these little niceties of Lodge conduct. You are supposed to attend your Lodge and learn by observation. Not all Brethren are observing, however. It is not uncommon to see some brother, old enough in Masonry to know better, crossing the lodge room between the Alter and the East (when lodge is open). He might have observed that his Brethren did not do it; but it is much more difficult to note the absence of an act than to take cognizance of something done.

Brethren do not pass between the Altar and the east in a Lodge that is open. It is a convention and there is no penalty for the infraction. It is a courtesy offered the Master. It is rooted in the theory that, as the Great Lights are necessary to shed their eternal light and wisdom upon the Master to govern the lodge with wisdom, this light should never be interrupted at any time; except, during the processions of an initiation and degree work; even for an instant.

Well informed Brethren do not take a seat in the East without an invitation. All Brethren within a tiled room are equal; and the officers are the servants of the Brethren, and not their superiors. All seats, then, might be considered “Open” to all. But Masonry exacts long services of her officers; Past Masters have worked hard and long for the Lodge they love. The Master recognizes their devotion and their loyalty with a special word of welcome, and an invitation to a “Seat in the East” to any distinguished visitor, or some member the Master wishes especially to honor. If all in the Lodge helped themselves to seats in the East there would be no opportunity for the Master to offer that courtesy.

Brethren who respect the formalities of their Lodge will not enter it undressed; that is, without their apron, or while putting that apron on. The spectacle of a brother walking up to the Altar, tying the strings and adjusting his apron while the Master waits for his salute, is not a pretty one. A man who entered church putting on his collar and tying his necktie could hardly be arrested, but he would surely receive unflattering comment. The strangeness of the new badge of a Mason and unfamiliarity with its meaning cause many to forget that it is as important to a Mason in lodge as clean clothing, properly adjusted is to a man in the street.

The Worshipful Master in the East occupies the most exalted position within the gift of the lodge. A lodge which does not honor its Master, not because of what he himself may be, but on account of the honor given him, is lacking in Masonic courtesy. The position he occupies, not the man, must be given the utmost respect, if the traditions of the Fraternity are to be observed.

It is, therefore, to the Master, not to John Smith who happens to be the Master, that you offer a salute when you enter or retire from your lodge, or any lodge. Like any other salute, this may be done courteously and as if you meant it, or perfunctorily as if you did not care. The man who puts one finger to his hat brim when he speaks to a woman on the street compares poorly with his well brought up neighbor who lifts his hat. Taking the hat off is the modern remains of the ancient custom of knights who removed their helmets in the presence of those they felt their friends, and thus, before those they wished to honor by showing that they trusted them. A man removes his hat before a woman to show his respect. Touching the brim is a perfunctory salute. Similarly, the salute to the Master is your renewed pledge of fealty and service, your public recognition before all men, or your obligation. It is performed before the Master and the Altar to show him your veneration for his authority, your respect for all that for which he stands. To offer your salute as if you were in hurry, too lazy to properly make it, or bored with its offering, is to be, Masonically, a boor.

A man in lodge is the servant of his Brethren, if he engages in any lodge activity. Servants stand in the presence of their superiors. therefore, no Mason sits while speaking, whether he addresses an officer or another brother. This does not refer to conversation on the benches during refreshment, but to discussion on the floor during a business meeting.

During the refreshment the Master relinquishes the gavel to the Junior Warden in the South, which becomes, for the time being, constructively the East. All that has been said about the respect due the Master in the East applies now to the Junior Warden in the South.

It is illegal to enter or leave the room during a ballot; it is discourteous to leave during a speech, or during a degree, except at the several natural periods which end one section and begin another.

Smoking is permitted in some lodge rooms during the business meeting. Alas, there are some which do not interdict it during a degree! You will, or course, be governed here by the custom of your own lodge, although it is to be hoped you will never lend the weight of your opinion toward establishing the custom of smoking during the solemn ceremonies of a degree. unless, indeed, you would like to smoke in church!

A courteous brother does not refuse a request made in the name of the lodge. There are three duties which devolve upon the membership which are too often “the other fellow’s business.” Every lodge at some time has a knock upon the door from some visiting brother. This requires the services of two brethren from the lodge in the examination committee. Some one has to do that work. To decline it, on any ground whatever, is discourteous to the Master, to whom you have said, in effect, “I don’t want to do my share; let George do it. I just want to sit here and enjoy myself while other fellows do the work.”

A degree cannot properly be put on without the services of conductors. When you are assigned such a piece of work, it is not Masonic courtesy to refuse, for the same reasons given above. And if you are selected as a member of the Fellowcraft Team in the Master Mason degree, the only excuse for not accepting is that of physical disability. Like other matters herein spoken of, refusal here is not a Masonic offense. Neither is it a legal offense to drink from a finger bowl, seat yourself at the table before your hostess, or spit on your host’s parlor floor! But the convention of good manners is what makes society pleasant, and Masonic good manners make lodge meetings pleasant.

One does not talk in church. God’s House is not for social conversation; it is for worship and the learning of the lesson of the day. A good Mason does not talk during the conferring of a degree. The lodge room is then a Temple of the Great Architect of the Universe, with the brethren working therein doing their humble best to make better stones for His spiritual Temple. Good manners as well as reverence dictate silence and attention during the work; officers and degree workers cannot do their best if distracted by conversation, and the irreverence cannot help but be distressing to the candidates.

There is a special lodge courtesy to be observed in all debates to any motion. One speaks to the Master; the Master is the lodge. One does not turn one’s back on him to address the lodge without permission from him. One stands to order when addressing the chair; customs differ in various jurisdictions as to the method of salute, but some salute should always be given when addressing the Master. The spectacle of two brethren on their feet at the same time, arguing over a motion, facing each other and ignoring the Master, is not one which any Master should permit. But it is also one which no Master should have to prevent!

Failure to obey the gavel at once is a grave discourtesy.

The Master is all powerful in the lodge. He can put or refuse to put any motion. He can rule any brother out of order on any subject at any time. He can say what he will, and what he will not, permit to be discussed. Brethren who think him unfair, arbitrary, unjust, or acting illegally have redress; the Grand Lodge can be appealed to on any such matter. But, in the lodge, the gavel, the emblem of authority, is supreme. When a brother is rapped down, he “Should” obey at once, without further discussion. It is very bad manners to do otherwise; indeed, it is close to the line between bad manners and a Masonic offense.

Failure to vote on a petition is so common in many jurisdictions that it may be considered stretching the list to include it under a heading of lodge discourtesies. In smaller lodges the Master probably requires the satisfaction of the law which provides that all brethren present vote. In larger ones, where there is much business, and many petitions, he may, and often does, declare the ballot closed after having asked, “Have all Brethren voted?” Even though he knows quite well that some may not have voted. This is not the place to discuss whether the Master is right or wrong in such an action. But the brother who does not vote, because he is too lazy, or too indifferent or for any other reason; is discourteous because he injures the ballot, its secrecy, its importance, and its value. Few brethren would be so thoughtless as to remain seated, or stand by their chairs, when a candidate is brought to light. Yet, indifference to one’s part in this solemn ceremony is less bad manners than indifference to the ballot; the former injures only a ceremony; but the latter may injure the lodge, and by that injury, the fraternity!

It is a courtesy to the Master to advise him beforehand that you intend to offer thus and such a motion, or wish to offer thus and such a matter for discussion. You have the right to do it without apprising him in advance, just as he has the right to rule you out of order. But the Master may have plans of his own for that meeting, into which your proposed motion or discourse does not fit in. Therefore, it is a courtesy to him, to ask him privately if you may be recognized for your purpose, and thus save him the disagreeable necessity of seeming arbitrary in a public refusal.

Lodge courtesies, like those of the profane world, are founded wholly in the Golden Rule. They oil the Masonic wheels and enable them to revolve without creaking. They smooth the path of all in the lodge, and prove to all and sundry the truth of the ritualistic explanation of that “More Noble and Glorious Purpose” to which we are taught to put the trowel!


Tuesday, June 27, 2006


The flag of our country is a precious thing to us as Americans and especially us as Masons. Bro. Paul Davis from Meridian Lodge in Islip sent the following to me regarding the history on why the flag is folded the way it is at ceremonies and events. I also want to say that Bro. Paul Davis has been instrumental in creating this blog for your enjoyment.

Understand what the flag draped coffin really means. Here is how to understand the flag that laid upon it and is surrendered to so many survivors .

Do you know that at military funerals, the 21-gun salute stands for the sum of the numbers in the year 1776?

Have you ever noticed the honor guard pays meticulous attention to correctly folding the United States of America Flag 13 times? You probably thought it was to symbolize the original 13 colonies, but we learn something new every day!

The 1st fold of the flag is a symbol of life.

The 2nd fold is a symbol of the belief in eternal life.

The 3rd fold is made in honor and remembrance of the veterans departing the ranks who gave a portion of their lives for the defense of the country to attain peace throughout the world.

The 4th fold represents the weaker nature, for as American citizens trusting in God, it is to Him we turn in times of peace as well as in time of war for His divine guidance.

The 5th fold is a tribute to the country, for in the words of Stephen Decatur, "Our Country, in dealing with other countries, may she always be right; but it is still our country, right or wrong.

The 6th fold is for where people's hearts lie. It is with their heart that They pledge allegiance to the flag of the United! States Of America, and the Republic for which it stands, one Nation under God, indivisible, with Liberty and Justice for all.

The 7th fold is a tribute to its Armed Forces, for it is through the Armed Forces that they protect their country and their flag against all her enemies, whether they be found within or without the boundaries of their republic.

The 8th fold is a tribute to the one who entered into the valley of the shadow of death, that we might see the light of day.

The 9th fold is a tribute to womanhood, and Mothers. For it has been through their faith, their love, loyalty and devotion that the character of the men and women who have made this country great has been molded.

The 10th fold is a tribute to the father, for he, too, has given his sons and daughters for the defense of their country since they were first born.

The 11th fold represents the lower portion of the seal of King David and King Solomon and glorifies in the Hebrews eyes, the God of Abraham, Isaac and Jacob.

The 12th fold represents an emblem of eternity and glorifies, in the Christians eyes, God the Father, the Son and Holy Spirit.

The 13th fold, or when the flag is completely folded, the stars are uppermost reminding them of their nations motto, "In God We Trust."

After the flag is completely folded and tucked in, it takes on the appearance of a cocked hat, ever reminding us of the soldiers who served under General George Washington, and the Sailors and Marines who served under Captain John Paul Jones, who were followed by their comrades and shipmates in the Armed Forces of the United States, preserving for them the rights, privileges and freedoms they enjoy today.

There are some traditions and ways of doing things that have deep meaning. In the future, you'll see flags folded and now you will know why.

Share this with the children you love and all others who love what is referred to, the symbol of " Liberty and Freedom"


Monday, June 26, 2006

Some Local Announcements

Dear Brethren, as of today we have been trying to get this blog going for the brothers of the Long Island District. We have tried to post on a daily basis and have high hopes that this blog catches on and is read by the Masons wherever they may be, especially in Suffolk County.

My name is Patrick Bellotti from Meridian Lodge in Islip and I am pleased to say that our efforts are starting to be rewarded as we have been asked to inform you that a golf tournament is to be held on Wednesday, July 26th and is being hosted by the Nassau District, Order of the Eastern Star at Bay Park in East Rockaway. This is a nine hole municipal course.

Tee off is at 10:30 with a BBQ Luncheon following play. Masonic affiliation is not necessary and tee sponsorships are $50.00.

Checks should be made out to Johnny B's Team, (That's the fund raising group for this year's Grand Patron, John Butcher, who is from the Nassau District.) and can be sent to:

Nancy Antonius
307 Clinton Street
Bellmore, New York 11710-3900

If anyone has any questions they can e-mail Nancy at or give her a call at 516-826-2314.

If any Suffolk County Lodges have any announcements to make feel free to respond to this blog and I will try to put the event in the blog.


"The First Line"

Earl W. Owens, Belpre (Ohio) Lodge #609
From: Freemasonry in Southeast Ohio

It's Lodge Night , and I'm getting ready
To assemble myself with the craft;
I've gone through my lecture so many times
Seems I know it now, both fore and aft.

I'm confident I guess. And I should be
For I've spoken many months in a mumble;
I know that the Brethren, will all be impressed
When you're good, It;s hard to be humble.

So it's out to the car, and away I go
Then fear strikes me, clear to the bone;
I'd better go through this. Just one more time,
It's my last chance, while I'm still alone.

I've hardly noticed this trip at all
Now suddenly, I'm parking the car;
My hearts beating wildly. As I climb the stairs
I hear voices. Not near, but far.
Their lips are all moving, but I don't hear a word
I have to concentrate on my First Line;
Sure it'll be easier the next time around
But the trick is to do it the first time.

The Lodge is now open, and the work has begun
The first section's about to come to a close;
Gee, I should have gone to the men's room.
I feel faint, and I can't breathe through my nose.

They've just called my name, and I've taken my place
Boy! They don't give a feller much time;
And I've lost my book in a shirt with one pocket
And I can't remember my First Line.

I've learned a good lesson. It is I who's impressed
And I shall never forget this first time;
After all of the prompting, I now am convinced,
Know it all, as good as the First Line!!


Sunday, June 25, 2006


Alphonse Cerza

With pleasure we present this Short Talk Bulletin prepared by the noted Masonic scholar and author, Brother Alphonse Cerza. He brings into perspective a variety of the answers we can all use in answering the title question .

Occasionally a member is asked by a non-Mason “What benefits do you receive from your Masonic membership?” Most members when asked this question for the first time have difficulty knowing what to say. This is especially true if the member has not given the matter any thought or he has had no experience explaining things to others. The situation can be further complicated for the member who erroneously believes that Freemasonry is a “secret” society and that the answer he may give might be disclosing a Masonic “secret.” We also must recognize that Freemasonry has so many facets and attractions that each member has sought membership in the Craft for a reason personal to himself. Each has entered the lodge in search of something that is prob-ably different than another member.

It is hoped that he has found in Freemasonry that which he was seeking. This facet or attraction is intimately connected with the specific benefit which the member logically would ex-plain in his answer to the question if he is not prepared to answer the question as a result of careful thought and consideration of all the possible benefits that have come to him as a result of his becoming a Mason. Every member should be aware of the possibility that such a question might be asked of him and he should be prepared to answer it fairly, truthfully, and completely. Here are some observations on the matter that will help you answer the question under consideration.

A benefit may be considered as anything which is helpful, profitable, favorable, and advantageous to a person. A benefit may take many forms such as improving a person in some way, promoting his happiness, raising his status socially, increasing his personal contacts with others, or assisting him in any number of other ways. In a general way the benefits of Masonic membership are both tangible and intangible.

Here are a few of the tangible benefits that come to mind at once. Many Grand Lodges maintain a Home for the needy members in their Golden Years. Some maintain a Home for the children of deceased members. It is a comfortable feeling to know that if you have minor children, and with an untimely death that your children will be taken care of by the Craft; and if you are unable to take care of yourself in your declining years, it is a calming feeling to know that there will be help available for you and your wife. In some areas the Craft maintains a hospital for the public and takes care of the needy members of the Craft as well when they require medical attention.

Most lodges have sick visitation committees. When a report is received of a sick member, steps are taken to have someone visit him. These visits are good for the person who is sick as well as for the one who is doing the visiting. If you are sick in bed or home bound, it is a great feeling to know that out there is someone who cares enough to take time to visit you. All members are taught to be charitable in word and deed. The word “charity” is used in the Craft in its broadest sense. When visiting a sick Brother you are urged to listen to his troubles, sympathize with him, and to help him unburden himself. Often the faithful breast and the listen-ing ear can do more good than all the medicine in the world to improve one’s spirits.

Many lodges have Low Twelve Clubs in which members make a nominal payment each time a member passes away. The money is de-posited in a bank account and when word is received that a member has died, the treasurer immediately presents the family with a check for the prescribed amount so that it may be used to meet expenses at once.

Some lodges and some Grand Lodges con-duct a blood bank program. Members of the lodges volunteer to give blood to the bank. When a member or someone in his family are in need of blood to regain their health, the blood in the bank is made available to them without cost .

If a Mason finds himself stranded in a strange place and is in need of help, there is al-ways available help not too far away. In some areas there are Masonic Boards of Relief to help in such cases. In other places the needy Mason can contact the local lodge which will render whatever assistance is necessary.

Many illustrations can be given of how Masonic charity has been dispensed to members and their families. Here are a few of them. A widow of a deceased member was in need of her house being painted and she called the secretary of the lodge for a recommendation of a painter who could do the job at a reasonable price. Knowing the tight financial condition of the caller, the secretary informed the Worshipful Master and a meeting was called at which the officers met to discuss the matter. As a result, several members donated the necessary material to paint the house for the widow. In Canada several years ago a widow called the Masonic Board of Relief and requested help in an un-usual situation. A family of skunks had settled in the crawl space under her house and she needed help to remove the new tenants. A number of lodge members were enlisted to bring this about.

(Many fascinating examples of Masonic

Charity can be found in prior Short Talk Bulletins. Indexes are available at no charge.)

Clearly, the intangible benefits predominate over the tangible ones. In some instances the benefits defy classification because they are a blend of both general benefits. The first benefit received by a candidate for the degrees is the contacts he makes with those that recommend him and those who investigate his petition. The next benefit is the receiving of the three degrees and the friendships that develop with the poster and others connected with his securing the needed proficiency to advance from one degree to the other. The ceremony of receiving the degrees together with the lectures is a new experience and hopefully the candidate has come to the meetings in the spirit of anticipating an important event with a receptive heart and mind. The impressive presentation is bound to have an important effect on him. He is bound to observe that he is the center of attraction, that the degree is conferred on him alone, and that we are concentrating our attention on him. This should convince him that we are devoted to the importance of each person who joins us in our work.

There are a number of intangible benefits that do not readily meet the eye, but they do exist in ample measure. Freemasonry is a selective organization and not everyone is accepted as a member. The mere fact that an application for membership has been filed indicates a desire to belong to something and to be associated with something worthwhile. He may not recognize this intangible element but he is seeking to “belong” to a worthwhile organization and to make his contribution to the work of the group. Let us recognize that there is nothing more destructive of one’s happiness than the feeling of being alone, of not being a part of anything worthwhile. When he becomes a member he acquires a large number of new Brothers bound by a solemn obligation to do everything possible to make this a better world in which to live. I know of one case where an only child joined a Masonic lodge and after he became a member was filled with joy for he was no longer an only child but had acquired Brothers that he did not have before.

Joining the Craft immediately gives the new member a new identity. He becomes a member of a world-wide fraternity dedicated to the Fatherhood of God and the Brotherhood of Man. Non-members are aware of the many fine charitable projects supported by Masons, and when a member is identified as such it is bound to reflect favorably in the eyes of the non-member. There is also the matter of securing identity with other Masons and creating warm friendships. Each member knows that in common with all other members he has taken a solemn obligation to be a good man and true. As a result, when meeting another Mason there is immediately established a close sense of friendship resulting from the unexpressed knowledge that they both have a common philosophy of life which makes them better men and that they can help and trust one another. This matter of identity is indicated by the many Masons who wear a Masonic pin and thereby tell the world of their identity with the Craft.

The member who becomes active in the work of the Craft acquires some degree of leadership and eventually develops a feeling of “importance” because he is serving the organization in worthwhile activities. Every person, in order to be happy, must feel that he is important to his family, his employer, his community, or some other group. The more experiences exist in one’s life the happier that person is bound to be. Sometimes we complain about the many persons who are introduced at Masonic meetings, but this is one way that we show our appreciation for work done and making the worker feel important because of services rendered.

Even the inactive member who pays his dues and attends Masonic functions occasionally will get a glow of satisfaction as he hears of the many activities being supported financially and otherwise by the Craft.

One of the most valuable benefits that is secured by being a Freemason is the unlimited opportunity to make deep and abiding friend-ships. Working with other good men on worthy projects has a way of developing into close friendly relations with a feeling of mutual respect for one another. You know that in case of need you can speak safely in confidence with a brother Mason. In case you are dejected you know that you have someone to speak with and unburden yourself as you pour your troubles into a sympathetic ear. I know of two cases of bachelors who lived in a single room each in separate boarding houses. Each night they went to a different lodge meeting with regularity so that over a period of time they virtually adopted certain lodges as their own. The friendships that they developed and the visiting they were able to do each night enriched their lives immensely and saved them from the boredom of sitting in a single room looking at four walls night after night.

Active members receive the greatest benefit from their connection with Freemasonry. Opportunity is afforded to develop one’s memory, working with others, learning to organize projects, develop speaking ability by making re-ports and presenting lectures, and learning how to work with others. There are many members who have no opportunity for an extensive for-mal education to thus secure considerable educational training.

The intangible benefit that is often over-looked is that the Craft teaches its members a philosophy of life. The importance of this benefit should not be overlooked because every person needs a philosophy of life to guide him or her in the journey through life. In past years a great deal of the turmoil with our youth was the confusion relative to an absence of a philosophy of life as they floundered around seeking something but not knowing what it was. Some-times these young folks spoke of high ideals but really had nothing that would guide them into meaningful activities to make these ideals a reality. If we could only reach the minds of these young people they and the Craft could profit greatly.

Another intangible benefit is the opportunity which the Craft offers its members to be-come associated with worthy projects that help make this a better world in which to live. These consist primarily of the many charitable projects that are supported by the lodges, the Grand Lodges, and the appendant bodies of the Craft.

Non-members are aware of the spirit of friendship that exists between members of the Craft. The question is sometimes asked out of curiosity whether Masons are required to patronize other Masons in their business transactions. Every Mason knows that there is no such rule of the Craft. But we must recognize that when one is considering entering into a business or professional relationship he is more likely to select someone that he knows and trusts. If you need the services of a real estate broker, for example, and you have been working on a project with a fellow member of your lodge, there can be little doubt that all things being equal your Masonic friend will receive your patron-age. Personal contacts, working together, developing friendships is bound to result in business and professional relationships in many in-stances even though no Masonic law requires this to be done.

For the member who is interested in intellectual pursuits, the reading of Masonic books especially in the area of Masonic philosophy and history, can be a valuable experience. These books, of course, can be read by non-Masons but they will not be able to receive full benefit of the material in these books because of their lack of complete information about the Craft .

Each member, if he gives this matter some thought, undoubtedly can recall instances in which his Masonic membership has proved to be a benefit to him. Above all else, it is well to be prepared to answer the question should the occasion arise, “What Benefits do you receive from your Masonic membership?”


Saturday, June 24, 2006


Listed below is a list of Suffolk County Lodges. Any potential candidates or brothers can use this as a reference.

WAMPONAMON #437 (F&AM) Since 1804, 200 Main Street, Sag Harbor, NY 11963. Meets 1st and 3rd Thursdays, 8 pm, except July and August. Phone: (631) 725-3838

STAR OF THE EAST 843 (F&AM). Since January 15, 1926 Meets 2nd and 4th Thursdays., 8PM,. At Sag Harbor Masonic Temple, Main Street, Sag Harbor.

SMITHTOWN 1127 (F&AM) Since May 4, 1949 34 River Road, Smithtown, NY 11787 (631) 265-9815. Meets 8 pm, 2nd & 4th Wednesdays except June, July, August.

RIVERHEAD 645 (F&AM) Since June 5, 1926 Roanoke Avenue, Riverhead, NY 11901 Meets 7:30 pm, 1st & 3rd Tuesdays

POTUNK 1071 (F&AM) Since June 5, 1926 108 West Montauk Highway Westhampton Beach, NY 11977 Lodge phone - (631) 288-9159

PECONIC 349 (F&AM) Since June 19, 1855 430 Main Street, Greenport, NY 11944. Lodge Phone: 631-477-0990 Meets 8 pm,. 1st & 3rd Wednesdays except July and August.

MERIDIAN 691 (F&AM) Since June 3, 1860 592 Main Street, Islip, NY 11751. Lodge Phone 631-581-1016 Meets 7:45 pm, 1st & 3rd Mondays, except July and August.

JEPHTHA 494 (F&AM) Since March 22, 1793 342-344 New York Avenue, Huntington, NY 11743. Meets 7:30 pm, 2nd & 4th Mondays, except July and August.

DONGAN PATENT 1134 (F&AM) Since 1951 Masonic Temple, 312 Main Street,
Port Jefferson, NY 11777. Lodge Phone: 631-473-9867 Meets 8 pm, 2nd & 4th Wednesdays except July and August.

CONNETQUOT 838 (F&AM) Since May 31, 1902 Masonic Temple, 85 North Main Street, Sayville, NY 11782. Lodge Phone: 631-589-9726

BAY SHORE 1043 (F&AM) Since 1924 Masonic Temple,. 1900 Brentwood Road, Brentwood, NY 11717. Lodge Phone 631-666-1166 Meets 7:45 pm, 2nd & 4th Thursdays, except July and August.

ANTIQUITY 11 (F&AM) Masonic Temple, 1900 Brentwood Road, Brentwood, NY 11717. Lodge Phone 435-1543

BABYLON 793 (F&AM) Since 1887 Masonic Temple, 250 West Main Street, Babylon,. NY 11702. Lodge hone 631-669-9212. Meets 7:30 pm, 2nd & 4th Wednesdays except July and August.

AMITYVILLE 977 (F&AM) Since 1921 Masonic Temple. 14 Avon Place, Amityville, NY 11701. Lodge Phone: 631-264-9749. Meets 8 pm 1st & 3rd Tuesdays except June, July and August.

ALCYONE 695 (F&AM) Since March 15, 1869 Masonic Temple. 162 Main Street, Northport, NY 11768. Lodge Phone: 631-754-9664. Meets 8 pm, 2nd & 4th Tuesdays except July and August.

Suffolk 60 312 Main St, Port Jefferson, NY 11776 Lodge Phone 631-588-8945 Meets 8 pm, 1st & 3rd Tuesdays
Old Town 908 40 Main St., South Hampton , NY 11968 Meets 8 pm, 1st & 3rd Mondays

Friday, June 23, 2006


On Flander's Field in World War One

She got a big hole from a Bertha gun.

She turned blood red in World War Two, And she hung limp and low a time or two.

She was in Korea and Vietnam,

She went where she was sent by her Uncle Sam. She waved from our ships upon the briny foam, Now they've about quit waving her back here at home. In our good land here she's been abused;

She's been burned, dishonored, denied, refused. And the government for which she stands Is scandalized throughout the land.

She's getting threadbare and she's wearing thin, But, she's in good shape for the shape she's in. Because she's been through the fire before, I believe she can take a whole lot more.

So we raise her up every morning, and we take her down every night, We don't let her touch the ground, and we fold her up right.

On second thought, I do like to brag

Because I'm mighty proud of that Ragged Old Flag."

(From the May-June 1989 issue of "The Sojourner.")


(Presented by Miss Nichole Sivigny at the 187th Annual Communication of the Grand Lodge of Minnesota, March 30, 1990)

"Remember me?

Some people call me Old Glory, others call me the Star Spangled Banner. But what ever they call me, I am your Flag. The Flag of the United States of America.

Something has been bothering me, so I thought I might talk it over with you.

I remember some time ago, people lined up on both sides of the street to watch the parade, and naturally I was always there, proudly waving in the breeze. When your daddy saw me coming, he immediately removed his hat and placed it over his heart, remember? And you, I remember you standing there, straight as a soldier. You didn't have a hat but you were giving the right salute. Remember your little sister, not to be outdone, she was saluting the same as you, with her hand over her heart, remember?

What happened? I'm still the same old Flag. Oh, a few more stars have been added since you were a boy, and a lot more blood has been shed since the parades of long ago. But I don't feel as proud as I used to. When I come down your street you just stand there with your hands in your pockets. I may get a small glance, but then you look away.

I see the children running around and shouting. They don't seem to know who I am. I saw one man take off his hat and look around. He didn't see anyone else with his hat off, so he quickly put it back on.

Is it a sin to be patriotic anymore? Have you forgotten what I stand for and where I've been? Anzio, Normandy, Omaha Beach, Guadalcanal, Korea and Vietnam. Take a look at the names on the Memorial Honor Roll sometime. Look at the names of those who never came back in order to keep this Republic free. One Nation Under God. When you were saluting me you were actually saluting them.

Well, it won't be long until I'll be coming down your street again, so when you see me, stand straight, place your right hand over your heart. I'll salute you by waving back, and I'll know that you remembered."

(This tribute was also published in the May-June 1989 issue of "The Sojourner."

Long Island Masons

A Good Masonic Story

A young man passed a pawnbroker’s shop. The money lender was standing in front of his shop, and the young man noted that he was wearing a large and beautiful Masonic emblem. After going on a whole block, apparently lost in thought, the young man turned back, stepped up to the pawnbroker, and addressed him: “I see you’re wearing a Masonic emblem. I’m a Freemason too. It happens that I’m desperately in need of $25 just now. I shall be able to repay it within ten days. You don’t know me; but I wonder whether the fact that you are a Freemason and that I am a Freemason is sufficient to induce you to lend me the money on my personal note.”

The pawnbroker mentally appraised the young man, who was clean-cut, neat and well-dressed. After a moments thought, he agreed to make the loan on the strength of the young man being a Freemason. Within a few days the young man repaid the loan as agreed and that ended the transaction.

About four months later the young man was in a Lodge receiving the Entered Apprentice Degree; he had not really been a Mason when he borrowed the $25. After he had been admitted for the second section of the degree, the young man looked across the Lodge room and saw the pawnbroker from whom he had borrowed the $25. His face turned crimson and he became nervous and jittery. He wondered whether he had been recognized by the pawnbroker. Apparently not, so he planned at the first opportunity to leave the Lodge room and avoid his benefactor. As soon as the Lodge was closed he moved quickly for the door, but the pawnbroker had recognized the young man, headed him off and, to the young man’s astonishment, approached him and greeted him with a smile and outstretched hand.

“Well, I see you weren’t a Freemason after all when you borrowed that $25,” the pawnbroker commented.

The blood rushed to the young man’s face as he stammered, “No, I wasn’t, but I wish you’d let me explain. I had always heard that Freemasons were charitable and ready to aid a Brother in distress. When I passed your shop that day I didn’t need that $25. I had plenty of money in my wallet, but when I saw the Masonic emblem you were wearing, I decided to find out whether the things I’d heard about Freemasonry were true. You let me have the money on the strength of my being a Freemason, so I concluded that what I had heard about Masons was true, that they are charitable, that they do aid Brethren in distress. That made such a deep impression on me that I presented my petition to this Lodge and here I am. I trust that with this explanation you will forgive me for having lied to you.”

The pawnbroker responded, “Don’t let that worry you too much. I wasn’t a Freemason when I let you have the money. I had no business wearing the Masonic emblem you saw. Another man had just borrowed some money on it, and it was so pretty that I put it on my lapel for a few minutes. I took it off the moment you left. I didn’t want anyone else borrowing money on the strength of my being a Freemason. When you asked for that $25, I remembered what I had heard about Masons, that they were honest, upright, and cared for their obligations promptly. It seemed to me that $25 wouldn’t be too much to lose to learn if what I’d heard was really true, so I lent you the money and you repaid it exactly as you said you would. That convinced me that what I’d heard about Masons was true so I presented my petition to this Lodge. I was the candidate just ahead of you.”

From the January 1977 New Mexico Freemason

Long Island Masons

Thursday, June 22, 2006


“Visiting” is undoubtedly a central pillar of Freemasonry. At the simplest level, it is the opportunity to share comradeship, to enjoy each other’s company, and as we move from “labour to refreshment” to enjoy the society of the Festive Board. But of course, visiting another Lodge offers much more than this, it provides opportunities to exchange ideas, to achieve a better understanding of the ceremony, and to make a fuller, more complete sense of the ritual.

Visiting reinforces those shared experiences that transcend the individual and his Lodge. Visiting helps serve as a guide, in our search for meaning and understanding within our Masonic journey. We are often led by a sense of aesthetics, to explore the linguistic and visual beauty of the ritual, as we seek out a different perspective to our own Lodge practices.

This is perhaps the reason why we seek further understanding, in another Brother’s Temple? To see different interpretations; and to help develop those fundamental ideas, which underpin freemasonry and unite our life. Those essential Masonic principles, which link morality, ethics and religion.

Through our attendance in another Brother’s Lodge we are often able to reinterpret our understanding of Freemasonry, but more than that, visiting helps us see that the most elegant and simple social and physical structures, are probably the ones, which hold the greatest truth.

“When we learned Pythagoras's theorem, we learned something about every right-angled triangle in the world, for all time. If we understand Newton's laws, we have grasped something about every particle that has ever existed”, (“Time”, S. Baxter 1999).

In Freemasonry, if we understand the allegorical lessons of moral truth, we have grasped insights into every moral issue that ever existed and have become fuller, more complete citizens of the world. “Visiting” is therefore, a sense of expanding horizons and consciousness, of fellowship, of enjoyment and advancement.

It is where the prosaic meets the profound. It is about making better sense of a peculiar system of morallty, lifting the veil of allegory and reflecting on the symbolism which permeates our ceremonies in all its forms. “Visiting” therefore can make a significant contribution in promoting the link between Masonic principles and universal world truths.

Long Island Masons

Wednesday, June 21, 2006

Lets Go to Lodge Tonight

Author Unknown

Say, Son, let's go to Lodge tonight;
We haven't been for years.
Let's don our little apron white
And sit among the peers.
I feel a kind of longing, Boy,
to climb up those old stairs;
I know we'd get a thrill of joy
and lay aside the care.
I'd like to get out on the floor--
Come on, let's get in the line;
I'd like to face the East once more
And give the same old sign.
I want to hear the gavel ring,
To hear the organ play;
I want to hear the Craftsmen sing
I think the Tyler'd let us in,
That old familiar lay.
Although he'd hesitate,
And then we'd see that same old grin.
Come on, or we'll be late.
Pass up your bridge or picture show,
Your wrestling bout or fight;
Switch off that darned old TV set--
Let's go to Lodge tonight.

Monday, June 19, 2006


Freemasonry is the oldest, largest
Fraternity in the world. It's members have
included Kings, Presidents, Prime
Ministers, Statesmen, Generals, Admirals,
Supreme Court Chief Justices, corporate
CEOs, opera stars, movie stars, and
probably, your next door neighbor.
And Masonry is always ready to
welcome good men into the Fraternity. It's
ready to welcome YOU, if in your heart
you can answer "yes" to a few questions.

Do you believe that there is such a
thing as honor, and that a man has a
responsibility to act with honor in
everything he does?

Masons teach that principle. We
believe that a life not founded on honor
is hollow and empty - that a man who
acts without honor is less than a man.

Do you believe in God?

No atheist can be a Mason. Masons do
not care what your individual faith is
that is a question between you and your
God - but we do require that a man believe
in a Supreme Being.

Are you willing to allow others the
same right to their own beliefs that
you insist on yourself?

Masonry insists on toleration - on the
right of each person to think for himself
in religious, social and political matters.

Do you believe that you have a
responsibility to leave the world a better
place than you found it?

Masonry teaches that each man has a
duty not only to himself but to others. We
must do what we can to make the world a
better place. Whether that means cleaning
up the environment,
working on civic projects, or helping
children to walk or read or see - the world
should be a better place because we have
passed through it.

Do you believe that it is not only more
blessed to give than to receive, it's also
more fun?

Masons are involved with the problems
and needs of others because we know it
gives each of us a good feeling - unlike any
other - to help. Much of our help is given
anonymously. We're not after gratitude,
we're more than rewarded by that feeling
which comes from knowing we have helped
another person overcome some adversity,
so that their life can go on.

Are you willing to give help to your
Brothers when they need it, and to
accept their help when you need it?

Masonry is mutual help. Not just
financial help (although that's there too)
but help in the sense of being there
when needed, giving support, lending a
sympathetic ear.

Do you feel that there's something more
to life than just financial success?

Masons know that self-development is
more precious than money in the bank or
social position or political power. Those
things often accompany self-development,
but they are no substitute for it. Masons
work at building their lives and character,
just as a carpenter works at building a

Do you believe that a person should
strive to be a good citizen and that we
have a moral duty to be true to the
country in which we live?

Masons believe that a country is strong
so long as freedom, equality, and the
opportunity for human development is
afforded to all. A Mason is true to his
government and its ideals. He supports its
laws and authority when both are just and
equitably applied. We uphold and maintain
the principles of good government, and
oppose every influence that would divide it
in a degrading manner.

Do you agree that man should show
compassion for others, that goodness of
heart is among the most important of
human values?

Masons do. We believe in a certain
reverence for living things, a tenderness
toward people who suffer. A loving
kindness for our fellow man, and a desire to
do right because it is right. Masonry teaches
that although all men are fallible and
capable of much wrong, when they
discover the goodness of heart, they have
found the true essence of virtue. Masonry
helps men see their potential for deep
goodness and virtue.

Do you believe that men should strive to
live a brotherly life?

Masons see brotherhood as a form of
wisdom, a sort of bond that holds men
together - a private friendship that tells us
we owe it to each other to be just in our
dealings and to refuse to speak evil of each
other. Masons believe a man should
maintain an attitude of good will, and
promote unity and
harmony in his relations with one
another, his family, and his community.
Masons call this way of life believing in
the Brotherhood of Man. It really means
that every Mason makes it his duty to
follow the golden rule. This is why
Masonry has been called one the of
greatest forces for good in the world.


Freemasonry offers much to its
members - the opportunity to grow,
the chance to make a difference, to
build a better world for our children. It
offers the chance to be with and work
with men who have the same values and
idealsmen who have answered "YES" to
these questions.

It's easy to find out more. Just find a
Mason and ask him about Masonry.
You probably know several Masons.
Perhaps you've seen the Square and
Compasses like the one in this brochure
on a pin or tie tack or bumper sticker. If
you know where the lodge is in your
community, stop by or look up the
number of your local Masonic lodge in
the phone book
and ask for the secretary of the lodge.
He'll be happy to help you.

Have you ever considered becoming
a Mason? We'd like a chance to talk
with you.

Saturday, June 17, 2006


"There is reason to believe that the family relationship is a weak link in then process that induces young men to seek Light within Freemasonry. Masons who attend lodge fifty or sixty times a year in addition to other Masonic organizations, are officers, or are engaged in a lot of committee work which take them away from their families,may be setting examples their sons do not wish to follow. "

It was not a pleasure trip for Jim. He had just flown half way across the country on a variety of air lines, and was now driving a rental car into the little town where he had been born and where he had grown up. It had been several years since he had been to his hometown. Many changes had taken place. Mentally, Jim was making note
of the changes.

There was a new wing on the old school from which he had graduated so many years ago .... a filling station where the old feed store usedto be .... a motel sprawled across the field where he used to play baseball .... a municipal parking lot with parking meters had replaced the movie hall .... and there was a fancy new hardware store next to the old drug store in the Masonic temple.

Jim continued driving slowly through the center of town to an impressive turn of the century white house with its manicured lawn. A dignified sign identified the house as "Goode Funeral Home--Benjamin A. Goode, Funeral Director." Parking the car, Jim took a deep breath, walked to the door and rang the bell. Answering the melodic chimes was a man with a full head of snow-white hair which accentuated his red face and penetrating eyes. Jim remembered Mr. Goode as one of his father's best friends, and was expecting him to be long-faced and distraut over his father's death.

Instead, Ben Goode was jovial and seemed genuinely glad to see Jim, greeting him with a hearty smile and firm handclasp. "Jim, you've grown a foot at least since I last saw you. C'mon into the kitchen and let's have a cup of coffee and a gab fest." One cup led to another as Jim told Mr. Goode of his stint with the Marines in Viet
Nam, his college days and his struggles in the business world. And, of course, he bragged about the fact that his wife was about to present him with their first child.

That was when Mr. Goode first mentioned Jim's father. "I remember the night when you were born. Your Dad was about the proudest father I ever saw. He came right from the hospital to the Lodge Hall bragging that Martha had just given birth to the future Master of Glenview Lodge. After the work that night, your Dad went down to the drug store and bought a box of the best 25c cigars they had and passed 'em around during refreshment."

Jim squirmed a bit in his chair and mumbled something about hadn't they better talk about arrangements for the funeral. "Nope!" Ben said, "When your Dad was Master of the Lodge, he planned every detail of every meeting .... and they always went off without a hitch. His funeral will, too, 'cause he planned it all. Reverend Shuter, who was Grand Chaplain a couple of years back, will conduct the service here at the Home; Ole Johnson, the Lodge Organist will play the music; the Pall Bearers are all Past Masters and the Graveside Service will be conducted by Bill Avery, the District Deputy, and the boys from the Lodge. You don't have to worry about a thing. "

Before leaving the funeral home, Jim looked in where his father's body rested in the coffin surrounded by mounds of flowers. Dad looked natural and at peace. The Past Master's jewel on his coat lapel glistened. Jim closed his eyes and offered a silent prayer.

As he said goodnight to his father's old friend, Ben Goode handed Jim an envelope. "Special delivery," he said. "Your Dad gave this to me a couple of weeks ago. Said he didn't trust the Post Office."

Once in his motel room, Jim took the envelope out of his pocket. In bold letters across the face of it, his father had written, "James Arthur Mastain." Inside the envelope were five pages of a hand written letter in the clear, though shaky, handwriting of his father.
He read:

"Dear Son:

Don't grieve for me. While the end of my mortal life draws near, I eagerly look forward to my journey to that undiscovered country from whose bourne no traveller returns.

I have lived a full, rich life. The good Lord has blessed me with his
bounty. Until this past year, I have had excellent health. Your mother and I had forty-seven years of mutual trust, understanding and love, before she went to her eternal rest. We were truly blessed when you came into our lives. We tried to give you the best of everything. We gloried in your accomplishments and shared your troubles. You are now a man, though you'll always be my little boy. You served your country well, and you are well on your way to becoming a successful business man. I'm proud of you, son, and am sorry I will not get to see my grand-child.

As I explained to you when you came back from Viet Nam, I could never ask you to become a Mason, that it must be your desire to become one. I'm hoping that some day
you will decide to become part of that Universal Brotherhood which has been such a major factor in my life.

Last night, in an effort to take my mind off my physical discomfort, I recited every bit of Masonic ritual I could remember, and mentally checked off how I had put into practice the tenets and teachings of Freemasonry. For the most part, I think I have been a true Man and Mason.

Masonry has made me a better man. It has brought me close to my religious teachings. It has made me a better person, a better husband and made me feel closer to Almighty God. I have enjoyed the fellowship of my Brothers and shared in their concern for our
fellow man.

There are some definite duties that a man owes to his God, his country, his family, his neighbor, and to himself. The one area in which I failed was in my duties to the family. When you were growing up, you must have thought there was nothing else in my life but Masonry. I realize now that I was over-zealous in my lodge activities--Lodge meetings, visitations, rehearsals, committees, study groups,candidate instruction.

I can't help wondering if that is why you never asked for a petition. It just may be that I gave you the wrong impression--that it was all work--that the duties of a Mason were too time consuming. One of the lessons in the ritual is that we should never let our zeal for the institution interfere with our usual vocations. I guess you might say that that's a lesson I learned--too late.

Son, my inevitable meeting with death is near, but my journey leads to the Everlasting Habitation of ourcreator. I ask that you think on these things.

Be a good man, a faithful husband, a loving and understanding father, true to the faith of your acceptance, and a good citizen. While these are the teachings of Freemasonry, they are attributes of a real man.

Your loving Father. "

Jim read the letter over and over. He recalled those high school days when Dad couldn't attend the school play in which he had the lead because it was "Official Visitation." He remembered the time when he wanted to get some paternal advice, only to find that "Dad's gone to a meeting. " He smiled as he remembered one time when they were in church. When the minister closed his prayer with "Amen," Dad had
automatically boomed, "So Mote it be."

Yes, he thought, I guess I have been "turned off" on the Masons. And, I guess it was because Dad worked so hard at it. I never knew much about it, but did know that it took a lot of work and a lot of time. I guess I just didn't want to get involved.

It was a big funeral. Ben Goode bustled around seeing that everyone was seated just so. The Masons all sat together. Jim couldn't help but think that they were here paying their respects to a Brother Mason, a friend and a man. Everything went off just as Ben Goode had said it would..."without a hitch" -- just as Dad had planned it.

Returning from the graveside service Jim thought, "What a great bunch of guys. Everyone of them had been influenced by Dad. They really loved him. What a close- to their talk about "immortality." They really make me feel that Dad isn't dead--he's just gone on a trip to a better life.

As they drove up to the Funeral Home, Mrs. Goode came out to meet them. "Jim," she said, "the hospital just called. Beth and your SON are both fine." Jim broke into a wide grin. "Ben," he said, "Let's go down to the drug store and get some of those 25c cigars. The boys at the lodge might like to know about the future Worshipful Master."

All names, places, events and lodges mentioned in this Bulletin
are fictional. Any relationship to actual events is purely
intentional. And, as this is fiction, you can be sure that
in subsequent weeks, Jim Mastain ''saw the Light. "

Long Island Masons

Friday, June 16, 2006


The following from Temple Topics (Illinois) is now being quoted with approval by other Masonic papers.

"What is the proper way to wear a Masonic ring? Should the points of the compass be toward or away from the body?

"If you were hanging the American flag, would you put the stars down? The same holds true of the ring. Usually it is a gift, and has sentimental value for the wearer. It should look right side up to him. Rings are therefore worn with the points of the compass toward the wearer."
This subject is one on which Grand Lodges have made no regulation and popular opinion is divided. We must therefore reason from analogy. When the emblem of the square and compasses is displayed on a building, pennant, button, watch charm etc., universal custom requires the points of the compass point downward. When displayed on the Altar they point away from the Master. As the Master from his station views the compass from the Altar of his lodge, the points are from, not towards him. As the wearer of a compass watch charm views it, the points are down and away from his eyes. In a similar way as he views the emblem on his ring the points should be down or away from his eyes.

The square is the symbol of earthly, the compass of heavenly perfection. As a combined emblem the ends of the square point up as a symbol of man's aspirations toward God; the points of the compass are down to represent heavenly qualities coming down from God to earth. Therefore it would seem that the proper way to wear a ring would be that is which its symbolism is best expressed; namely, that in which, when the hand is held in its usual position the points of the compass are towards the earth and away from the wearer's eyes.

Thus it will be seen that our conclusion does not agree with the writer in Temple Topics. He truly says that in hanging an American flag we would not put the stars down, but in hanging a compass or a square and compass, he surly would put the points of the compass down. The same rule holds when worn as a ring or button or a watch charm; namely, they would be worn the same way with the points down. When so worn they all serve the same purposes, and by no means the least of these purposes is to announce to the world the proud wearer is a Mason. -- Iowa Masonic Bulletin.

Thursday, June 15, 2006

George Washington Masonic National Memorial

George Washington Masonic National Memorial is dedicated to the memory of George Washington, a president and a Mason. George Washington belonged to Alexandria Lodge 22, and was named the lodge's Charter Master in 1788. Records of Washington presiding over the lodge are non-existent, possibly due to a fire at the original lodge's location in Alexandria's City Hall, which is where the lodge met until moving to the memorial in the early 1940s. Constructed between 1923 and 1932, it is located in Alexandria, Virginia atop Shooters Hill (named after a union fort on the same location) and affords views of Alexandria and Washington, D.C. to the north. It is near the King Street station of the Metro.

The George Washington Masonic National Memorial is the only Masonic building supported and maintained by the 52 Grand Lodges of the United States. This is counter to common Masonic practice, where a building is only supported by the Grand Lodge of the state in which it resides. The building also houses the collection of the Alexandria Lodge, which contains most of the fraternal artifacts of George Washington, including: Watson and Catsoul Apron, Sash, Past Master portrait, Working Tools and Trowel used to lay the cornerstone at the United States Capitol.

Isn't that a Secret?

A Quick Overview of Freemasonry for Those Who Would Like to Know a Little More About Us
If there's one thing most people are sure they know, it's that Masons are never supposed to talk about Masonry.

Not True. Oh, there are some secrets -- but there's nothing in them that would interest anyone except a Mason. Almost all of the "secrets" deal with ways of recognizing each other.

But as far as what Masonry is, what it does, what it teaches, how it's organized, where it came from, what goes on at a lodge meeting -- that's open for discussion. Given a chance, we'll probably tell you more than you really wanted to know. We'.re excited about the Fraternity, we get a lot out of it, and we really want to share that with others.

Then why hasn't anyone ever asked me to join? People have asked me to join Rotary, Lions, and other clubs.

It's no reflection on you. There is a rule in Masonry that a person must seek admission himself. We aren't allowed to go out and twist arms.

There's a reason for that. A person needs to come to Masonry because he really wants to, not because he's been talked into it. Masonry is a real commitment. If you are :a Mason and you need help, every Mason in the world, MUST help you, if he possibly can. By the same token, YOU must be willing to help any Mason who needs it.

And then there is another reason -- a person. has to be ready for Masonry. Masonry isn't a civic club, although we do a lot of civic projects, it's a Fraternity. We're dedicated to the growth and development of our members as human beings. A person has to be ready to grow, has to suspect that there is something more to life, and want to know what that is, before he is really ready to be a Mason.

What goes on in a Masonic Meeting?
There are two types of meeting agenda. The first is like the business meeting of any other organization. It takes us just a bit longer to call the meeting to order, because we use a longer opening ceremony or ritual than most civic clubs do. But, it reminds us of some of the most important lessons in Masonry.

Then, when the lodge is "open" we hear the reading of minutes, vote to pay bills, take care of old and new business, and plan projects, just like everyone else.

The other type of meeting is one in which new members are received. This is done with a beautiful ritual, centuries old, which is designed to teach some important lessons and to start the person thinking about his own nature as a spiritual being.
What's the initiation like?

The Ceremonies of Masonic initiation are meaningful and historic. Nothing humorous or embarrassing is permitted. In fact, it is a very serious Masonic offense to allow anything to happen during the initiation which is undignified or "funny."
I've heard that Masonry is a religion. Is it? Can a man be a Mason and a Christian at the same time?

Masonry acknowledges the existence of God No atheist can become a Mason. Prayer is an important part of the Masonic ritual. Masonic vows are taken in the name of God. But Masonry never tries to tell a person how he should think about God, or how he should worship God, or why he should believe. We offer no plan of salvation.

We teach that man should live a good life, not because that alone will earn him entrance into heaven, but because anything else is destructive, both to himself and to those around him. It is good to be good. As to whether a man can be a Mason and a Christian, the best answer is that most of us are.

There are Masons that belong to other faiths, including Judaism and Islam, but the majority in the United States are Christian. And we number many, many ministers of many different denominations. As Dr. Norman Vincent Peale, an active Mason himself, once remarked, "Masonry encourages men to be good, and that can never conflict with Christianity."

Are there any churches or religions whose members you won't accept as Masons?
No. A man's belief is his own business, and Masonry has no right to approve or disapprove of his belief.

What about those "Secret Vows" I hear so much about?

The exact words of the vows are secret; that's one of the ways we recognize each other. The contents of the vows are not. In less formal language than we use in the Ritual, a Mason promises:
to treat women with deference and respect,
to help a brother when he asks for and needs help,
to remember that people are entitled to dignity and respect and not to treat them as if they were things, to follow the directions of the Grand Lodge in things Masonic, and if he disagrees, to use the proper channels to express that disagreement and seek resolution., to respect the traditions of the Fraternity, and to keep secret the few things that are secret.

Why don't you let women join?
We're a Fraternity, a Brotherhood. The essence of a Fraternity is that it is for men, just as the essence of a sorority is that it is for women. That's the primary reason. Recent developments in psychology and sociology have discovered another. There is a thing called "male bonding." That's a new technical way of saying something that people have known for thousands of years. It's important for men to have a few things they do by themselves, just as it is for women to have the same thing.

But that doesn't mean that there's no place for women in Masonry. In fact, there are several Masonic organizations for both women and men. The order of the Eastern Star, with one of the most beautiful rituals around, is one.

So are the White Shrine of Jerusalem, the Order of Amaranth, the Social Order of the Beauseant, and several others.

Just what is a "Lodge?" What does it look like? Who runs it?
A lodge is both a meeting place for Masons and the Masons who meet there. You could actually say "The Lodge is meeting at the Lodge." It's a Middle English word. When the great cathedrals of the Middle Ages were being built, the Mason's had special, temporary building, built against the side of the cathedral, in which they met, received their pay, planned the work on the cathedral and socialized after work. The building was called a Lodge. The term has simply remained down through the ages.

As to the officers, the leader of the Lodge, the "president" is the Worshipful Master. That title doesn't mean we worship him, although some people have thought that is what it means. The titles we use come from Middle English, about the time of Chaucer. Just as mayors in England and Canada are addressed as "Your Worship," the Master of the Lodge is called "Worshipful Master" -- "Greatly Respected."

The First Vice President is the Senior Warden. The second Vice President is the Junior Warden. We have a Secretary and Treasurer, just like any other organization. Assisting the Master are the Senior and the Junior Deacons. They carry messages and help with the ritual work. The Senior and Junior Stewards help guide the candidate in the initiation and also traditionally set out refreshments. Finally, the Tiler, sits at the door to make sure that the Lodge is not interrupted and to help visitors get into the Lodge Room.

If that is the Lodge, what is the "Grand Lodge?"
The Grand Lodge is the State Organization of Masons. The local Lodges are members of the Grand Lodge. The Grand Master is the same as the State President.
Just what do Masons do?

Charity is the most visible Masonic Activity. Each year in Oklahoma alone, Masons give more than $4,000,000 in charity. Some are large projects, some are small. In addition to hundreds of local projects, the fraternity has a Children in Crisis program, giving grants to organizations working with children who have some need. It also has a major program, working with the Oklahoma Society to Prevent Blindness, testing thousands of school children and senior citizens for vision problems .

We have strong commitments to public education. Lodges have programs in which they recognize outstanding students. We have essay contests, awards for outstanding teachers and programs to help teachers get supplies. And the Fraternity gives hundreds of college scholarships to Oklahoma students each year.

All those things are external, and they are important. But the real things the Masons do are far more difficult to describe. In essence, we try to build ourselves into better men, better fathers, better husbands and better citizens. We strive for self- development. We try to learn more about what it means to be human.

How does a man become a Mason?
As we said earlier, no one will ever twist your arm. If you decide you want more Information, as we'll be happy to provide. If you want to join the craft, it works this way:
Ask any Mason for a petition.

Fill it out and return it to him. He'll take it to the Lodge and turn it in. A committee will be appointed to talk with you and with people you may list. The committee will report its recommendation back to the Lodge.

The Lodge will vote. If your petition is accepted, the Secretary will contact you about a date for the first degree, the Degree of Entered Apprentice.

You take the Degree, learn a bit of memory work from a brother, take the Second Degree, do a bit more memory work, take the Third Degree, and that's that. You're a fully-fledged Master Mason.

Long Island Masons

Wednesday, June 14, 2006

Did you Know Paul Revere was a Mason?

Robert Newman, Sexton of Christ Church also known as the "Old North Church" in Boston was the man who hung the lantern to signal 'The Red Coats Are Coming'.

Paul Revere then rode through the countryside to warn the colonists of the impending danger. Both were Masons.

The present Rector, after arriving at the Church heard the frequent stories of Freemasonry's involvement there. After investigation of the organization, he too became a mason!

Long Island Free Masons


Many hold this widespread misconception. "Secret Society," however, implies that Freemasons conceal their membership, that they meet in secret, and that their purposes remain secret.

Several authors have exposed the only "secrets of Freemasonry" well over a century ago, and members are encouraged to talk openly about the fraternity. More importantly, however, the fraternity does not hide its existence, its purpose or its membership.

The lessons taught in meetings improve and educate our members, but we do not discuss these lessons with those outside the fraternity. Lodge meetings, like those of many other groups, remain private and open only to members.

The rules and aims of Freemasonry, however, are available to the public. Meeting places are also known and, in many areas, become used by the local community for activities other than Freemasonry.
Long Island Free Masons