Monday, July 31, 2006


Last night I knelt where Hiram knelt
and took an obligation
today I'm closer to my God
and I'm a Master Mason

Tho' heretofore my fellow men
seemed each one like the other
today I search each one apart
I'm looking for my brother

And as I feel his friendly grip
it fills my heart with pride
I know that while I'm on the square
that he is by my side

His footsteps on my errand go
if I should such require:
His prayers will lead in my behalf
if I should so desire

My words are safe within his breast
as though within my own
his hand forever at my back
to help me safely home

Good counsel whispers in my ear
and warns of any danger
By square and compass, Brother now!
Who once would call me stranger

I might have lived a moral life
and risen to distinction
Without my Brothers helping hand
and fellowship of Masons

But God, who knows how hard it is
to resist life's temptations
knows why I knelt where Hiram knelt
and took that obligation.


Sunday, July 30, 2006


by H. Jordan Rosoce 32 degree

THE Fellow-Craft is introduced to the wonders of his world of art
and science through portals flanked by two massive pillars.
Detailed description of these pillars in the Books of Kings
indicates a style of design common to Egyptian architecture, where a
pillar terminates in a capital representing a conventionalized lotus
blossom, or the seed pod of that sacred lily. Such twin pillars are
frequently found among Egyptian and Sumerian archaeological remains.

The pillars of King Solomon's Temple, and in fact that entire group
of structures, were the work of Phoenician artists, according to the
Biblical account. From other sources we gather that these same
designers and craftsmen, initiated Dionysiac architects, were
responsible for the magnificent palaces and temples at Byblos, the
cultural and esthetic center of ancient Phoenicia. The Phoenician
realm occupied an area roughly the same as that of modern Syria and
Lebanon, and in Biblical accounts is usually cal led Tyre, from the
name of its then capital city. Byblos, also known as Gub'l or
Gebal, the present-day village of Jebeil, was particularly famous
for architects and sculptors.

The twin pillars symbolize the dual nature of life and death,
positive and negative or rather active (establishment) and passive
(endurance), male and female, light and dark, good and evil, uniting
in a central point of equilibrium, the apex of an equilateral
triangle; a circle between two parallel uprights. Isis represented
standing between two pillars of opposing polarity, the Ark of the
Covenant between two Cherubim, Christ crucified between two thieves,
are all symbols of the same trinity, the complete ness and
perfection of Deity.

That the twin pillars resemble the conventional symbol for Gemini,
third sign of the Zodiac, is no accident, but rather due to the
common ancestry of the two apparently unrelated symbols.

In some lectures the pillars are said to be 35 cubits high, the
height given in II Chronicles, King James Version. Another version
of the same source gives the height as 120 cubits. Since the height
of the first or outer chamber was probably no more than 30 cubits,
the measurement given in I Kings: 18 cubits, seems more likely to be
correct. The addition of map globes atop the pillars is a modern
invention, with little Biblical or other authority and serving
little purpose but to permit the lecturer to harp upon the
advantages of studying astronomy, geography, etc., worthy pursuits
but wholely unrelated to the symbolism of the pillars.

Whether the three chambers of the Temple were connected by stairs is
debatable. The best-informed scholars believe the Temple roof was
flat, in which case the successively decreasing heights of the
chambers, plus the somewhat sloping configuration of the site, would
require approach and connection by means of either stairways or of
some sort of ladder and trapdoor arrangement. Certainly the
fantastically elaborate many-storied versions of the Temple depicted
by some well-intentioned but ill-informed Bible illustrators and
Masonic artists are so illogical and at variance with the few known
facts and testimony of both the Bible and history as to seem the
figments of a disordered imagination. Josephus stated that the
Temple was of Grecian style which implies entablature and
consequently a flat roof, although he had the cart before the horse,
since Greek architecture was derived from Phoenician, not the

In any case, the stairway of our lectures is purely symbolic,
consisting as it does of the significant numbers 3, 5, and 7. In
such a series, 3 symbolizes such qualities as peace, friendship,
justice, piety, temperance, and virtue. 5 represents light, health,
and vitality- 7 is a symbol of control, judgment, government, and


Thursday, July 27, 2006


First, plant five rows of peas...

Preparation, Purity, Presence, Promptness, and Perservence

Then, plant three rows of squash...

Squash gossip, Squash interference,
Squash indifference, Squash unjust criticism.

Add five rows of lettuces...

Let us be faithful to duty, Let us be unselfish and loyal, Let us be true to our obligations,
Let us obey rules and regulations, and let us love one another.

And since no garden is complete without them, finally plant turnips...

Turn up for meetings, turn up with a smile,
Turn up with new ideas, Turn up with new members,
Turn up with determination to make everything count for something.

If you plant all of the above, you will enjoy a perfect Masonic Garden,
and reap lots of pleasure for your effort !!


Wednesday, July 26, 2006












Tuesday, July 25, 2006


I found a number of older masonic stories. There were two series of them. The first series was titled "The Old Tiler Speaks" and the next series of stories were called "The Old Master Speaks". What makes these stories a good read is that they are easy to understand and written so that you actually feel you are speaking to a Tiler or Master. Some of it is dated but that is entertaining in itself as it makes you get a feel for earlier times when things such as membership were far different than today - editor.

"There are a lot of Masons in this old lodge tonight" began the Old Past Master. "See the new faces? Must be most two hundred. Pretty good attendance, what?"

"But is it a good attendance?" asked the Very New Mason. "Why, there must be six hundred members on the rolls. Seems a pity they can't all get out to enjoy this kind of an evening, doesn't it? Seems to me Masonry fails when she has so many on the rolls who don't come regularly to lodge."

"I don't agree with you!" answered the Old Past Master. "Masonry succeeds because she gets so many of her members to take an interest! True, she might...if she were a wizard... so interest every one of her devotees that all would crowd the lodge room every meeting might. Then, I think, there would be no use for Masonry, because the millennium would have come. But in place of being discouraged because only a third or a fourth of our members attend, I am always highly encouraged because so many do attend.

"You see, my brother, Masons are picked from the general body of men by two processes, and neither one of them works out for the very best interests of the Order. The first process is a man's making up his mind he wants to be a Mason. If we could go to the best men and ask them, we would get a lot better men than we do, of course. Equally, of course, we would vastly injure the Order by making it seek the man instead of the man seek its gentle philosophy. I wouldn't change that unwritten law for anything, but the fact remains that as the first selection of Masons is made by the profane, it isn't always for the best interests of the Order.

"The second selective work is done by committee. Now in theory every one appointed on a committee to examine a member is a sort of cross between a criminal lawyer, an experienced detective, a minister of the gospel, a super-perfect man, a well read Mason and an Abraham Lincoln for judgement!

"But as a matter of fact most committeemen are just average men like you and me, and we do our work on committees in just an average sort of way, with the result that many a self-selected candidate slips into our ranks who has no real reason for being there. The theory is that all men become Masons because of a veneration of our principles. The fact is that a lot become Masons because their brother is one, or their boss is one, or they want to wear a pin and be a secret society member, or they hope it will help them in business.

"They get into the lodge and find it quite different from what they expect. They learn that they can't pass out business cards, that it doesn't help them because the boss belongs, and that they don't have to come to lodge to wear a pin. If they are the kind of men to whom Masonry doesn't appeal because of her truth, her philosophy, her Light, her aid in living, they wander away. They become mere dues-payers, and often, stomach Masons, who come around for the feed or entertainment.

"Don't let it distress you. It takes all sorts of people to make a world and it would be a very stupid place indeed if we were all alike. There is room in the world for the man who doesn't care for Masonry. He has his part to play in the world as well as the man to whom Masonry makes great appeal. Do not condemn him because he has become a member of the fraternity and found it not to his liking. At least there is something in his heart which was not there before.

"And let me tell you something, my brother. There are many, many men who become Masons, in the sense that they join a lodge and pay dues, although they never attend, who do good Masonic work. There is Filby, for instance. Filby has been a member of this lodge twenty years and has never been in it, to my knowledge, since the day he was raised. I don't know why. I rather think he was frightened, and showed it, and has been afraid of being laughed at, now that he knows there was nothing to be frightened about. But there was never need for money that Filby didn't contribute; there was never a committee appointed to work on the Masonic Home that Filby didn't head. There was never any work to be done outside the lodge that Filby didn't try to help do it. He is a good Mason, even if he doesn't attend lodge.

"And there are lots of young men who join the fraternity and neglect their lodge in early years, who turn their hearts towards it in later years; boys who are too fond of girls and dances and good times to spend a moment in serious thought while they are just in the puppy age, who grow up finally to become thoughtful men, turning their hearts toward the noble teachings of this fraternity and becoming most ardent lodge members and attenders.

"Oh, no, my brother, never weep because we have but a portion of our membership at a meeting. Be glad we have so many; be happy that those who come, come so regularly and enthusiastically, be proud that there is such a large number of men content to sit through the same degrees year after year to learn what they can, let sink deeper the hidden beauties of the story, absorb a little more of that secret doctrine which lies behind the words of the ritual.

"Masonry is not for yesterday, for today, for tomorrow alone. She is for all the ages to come. The Temple Not Build With Hands cannot be built alone by you and me, nor in a day, nor yet a century. And remember that the stone rejected by the builder was finally found the most necessary of them all. Perhaps the man who doesn't come now to lodge may be the most ernest and powerful Mason of tomorrow. Only the Great Architect knows. Masonry is His work. Be content to let it be done His way."


Sunday, July 23, 2006


By W:. Patrick Bellotti, P.M.

There are many Masonic related points of interest located in or near our nation's capitol. Today I want to share some information of the Washington Monument. This was built to honor our first president and prominent mason - George Washington.

The construction of a monument to honor George Washington was first considered by the Continental Congress in 1783. At the time of his death, and during the next three decades, Congress neglected to take definite action on many additional proposals for the erection of a suitable memorial. In 1833, the Washington National Monument Society was organized by influential citizens of the National Capital who undertook the building of a "great National Monument to the memory of Washington at the seat of the Federal Government."

The progress of the society was slow at first. By 1847, however, $87,000 (including interest) had been collected by popular subscription. A design submitted by Robert Mills, a well-known architect, was selected. It provided for a decorated obelisk 600 feet high which was to rise from a circular colonnaded building 100 feet high and 250 feet in diameter. This temple was to be an American pantheon, a repository for statues of Presidents and national heroes, containing a colossal statue of George Washington.

The original design, however, was greatly altered in the course of construction and the present monument - a hollow shaft without decoration or embellishment - has little in common with Mills' elaborate plan. The proportions of Mills' shaft, which were at variance with traditional dimensions of obelisks, were altered to conform to the classical conception, thus producing an obelisk that for grace and delicacy of outline is unexcelled by any in Egypt.

On July 4, 1848, the cornerstone was laid with elaborate Masonic ceremonies. The trowel used by Washington at the laying of the cornerstone of the Capitol in 1793 was used on this occasion.

Work progressed favorably until 1854, when the building of the monument became involved in a political quarrel. Many citizens became dissatisfied with the work and the collection of funds lagged. This unfortunate affair and the growing antagonism between the North and South, which resulted in the Civil War, brought construction to a halt. For almost 25 years, the monument stood incomplete at the height of about 150 feet. Finally on August 2, 1876, President Grant approved an act which provided that the Federal Government should complete the erection of the monument. The Corps of Engineers of the War Department was placed in charge of the work.

In 1880, work was resumed on the shaft. The new Maryland marble with which the remainder of the monument is faced was secured from the same vein as the original stone used for the lower part. It came from a different stratum, however, which explains the "ring" noticeable on the shaft. The walls of the memorial reached 500 feet on August 9, 1884, and the capstone was set in place on the following December 6, marking the completion of the work. The monument was dedicated on February 21, 1885, and opened to the public on October 9, 1888.

The top may be reached by elevator or by an iron stairway. The first elevator was a steam hoist, used until 1901 when the first electric elevator was installed. The present elevator, installed in 1959, makes the ascent in 70 seconds. The iron stairway consists of 50 landings and 897 steps.
Inserted into the interior walls are 188 carved stones presented by individuals, societies, cities, States, and nations of the world.

The Monument in Statistics

Total cost: $1,187,710

Height of monument above floor: 555 feet 5 1/8 inches

Width at base of shaft: 55 feet 1 1/2 inches

Width at top of shaft: 34 feet 5 1/2 inches

Thickness of walls at base of shaft: 15 feet

Thickness of walls at top of shaft: 18 inches

Depth of foundation: 36 feet 10 inches

Weight of monument: 90,854 tons

Sway of monument in 30-mile-per-hour wind: 0.125 of an inch


Saturday, July 22, 2006


We're not really claiming that we're perfect: it's simply not true! Masonry has it's faults and problems. Sometimes a member slips into alcoholism, mental depression or other forms of sickness. Sometimes a member will forget his vows and act wrongly towards another human being. Sometimes a member will cheat, steal, or wrong someone else. It has happened, much as we'd like to wish it had not.

When it does, anti-Masons are quick to point out these shortcomings. Rather than extend a helping hand to someone who has stumbled or fallen, they'd rather mock and rejoice in the ill-fortune. Most seem to get great pleasure in the pain and suffering another member of mankind is facing - and justify their glee because in their minds, 'Masons deserve whatever they get!'

Most people understand that you can not judge an entire organization by the actions of one member - particularly when that member is acting as an individual and not on behalf of the organization. Nevertheless, anti-Masons quickly attribute whatever perceived shortcoming they find in a fellow human being as a result of their Masonic connection. Is this rational? Not really - but it happens, and far too often.

If a person gives a break or benefit to a relative, it's often 'expected' yet when a Mason helps someone they might know through their lodge, they're accused of 'protecting' another Mason. If for some reason they had not become involved, then they would have been charged with abandoning their brothers. It's a no-win situation - but could be resolved in the minds of the anti-Masonic faction if there were no Masonry.

Interesting too is when one of 'theirs' falls, they quickly distance themselves and suddenly the person or ideology seems to cease to exist in their minds. At one point in the US, many fundamentalist preachers used Masonry as one of their convenient 'whipping boys'; following the spectacularly visible 'fall from grace' by so many of them, now anti-Masons seem quite reluctant to tout their particular spiritual leader apparently because of fear that he may soon be found in some scandal.

Regardless, though, few Masons relish the thought of someone else suffering. The precepts of Masonry encourage toleration and forbearance. Masonry supports the concept that it is far better to help someone up than to kick them down.

For that reason alone, we will perhaps never be able to be understood by those who enjoy the sufferings of their fellow human beings!

Are all Masons perfect? No, they aren't...
but most are striving to be better!


Friday, July 21, 2006


Freemasonry is the oldest, and by far, the largest fraternal order in the world. Its lodges stretch around the globe, and like the British Empire, it might well be said that the sun never sets upon the Masonic lodge.

Fraternity means an association of brothers, and that is exactly what Freemasonry is - a society of friends and brothers.

The origins of Freemasonry date back to the dawn of civilization. The Egyptians practiced many of the philosophies known to modern Free­masonry, and men practiced many of the operative skills as guilds formed in Europe during the Tenth Century. Written records of modern Freemasonry have been kept since 1717 with the formation of a general governing body called a Grand Lodge in England.

It is not a secret society in that its Temples are openly marked and almost everyone in the community knows where they are located. The Grand Lodge publishes a roster of the members of every lodge in the jurisdiction. Many of the Lodges have individual bulletins or newsletters which carry the names of the officers and members, as well. Thus it is, in the strictest sense of the word, a society with secrets, and these are limited to its obligation, its modes of recognition, such as pass words and grips, etc. and certain parts of its ritual.

It is religious in character, but is not a religion. It is founded upon the basic principle of the Brotherhood of Man under the Fatherhood of God, and everyone who comes to its lodges must express a particular belief about God, for this is the privilege of each individual and is not infringed upon by our Fraternity.

Freemasonry practices selective charities, founded on the principle of brotherly need which is not applicable in all cases that appear similar. No member has a specific claim upon the society for its charity, for this is not a right acquired by becoming a member of the society, rather it is a privilege.


Thursday, July 20, 2006


By Danny Thomas, 33ø
(From the October 1990 Fresno Scottish Rite Bulletin with credit to Kansas Masonic Bulletin)

The years found me an admirer of the great work the Masonic Order has been doing in making this world a better place for all of us to live. I have, for a long time, desired to be one of you and rejoice that now I can proudly boast of my membership in one of the world's greatest fraternal associations. I am grateful for those individuals who have in quiet ways motivated me in my work on behalf of unfortunate children. I am grateful for the high moment in my life when the doors of Freemasonry were opened to me. Since then I have had many pleasant times of fraternal fellowship and even opportunities for service in the work of many branches of Freemasonry.

Our Order, for now I can say, "our order," teaches, "the brotherhood of man under the fatherhood of God" and this is great! The world needs so desperately to discover the value of this great truth in human relationships and world affairs. It is also a truth that will motivate men and women to continue to explore avenues of service and areas of common concerns in order to restore a measure of sanity to the madness of our day and to enrich the quality of life for all peoples everywhere. Now I join hands and heart with you in all your endeavors of philanthropy and say we must not slacken our efforts "to do good to all," especially those with needs that will not be met if we fail in our common task of service to humanity.

On stage, screen, platform, and in private life I have always sought to bring a smile to the face of others and put a little joy in their lives. I am grateful now for the larger opportunity which is mine to adopt the tenets of Freemasonry as my own and hopefully be able to have a small part in spreading Masonry's message of love and caring to a larger audience, for wherever I go, I will be proud to tell others of my work and concern in behalf of all that you are doing, unselfishly, for others.

Someone once asked me why did I want to be a Mason and my reply was: "Because Masons care for those who cannot care forthemselves." The Shriners have always been a favorite of mine because of their work for crippled and burned children. Also I am excited about efforts proposed at the recent Conference of Grand Masters in regard to drug abuse among young people.

It is great to be a Freemason! I am proud of what we are doing. I shall assist in every way I can our work of mercy, and it doesn't hurt to be a Brother with a "big mouth and lots of television cameras" to help get the message across. Masons are people of goodwill who want to "keep our kids alive" and we are doing this throughout the world. Our purpose is noble and humanitarian. Our labors will be crowned with success, for as Freemasons we will bring to our mission the best we have, regardless of what it demands from us in the way of sacrifice and service. We will make sure that in the tomorrows, life will be better for those who suffer today.

I was a Freemason in my heart long before I was accepted as a member in this great Fraternity. I was an out-sider but now I am one of you, and the remaining years of my life will be spent in seeking in some small way to say to all: "Thank you for making me a Freemason." I want always to make you laugh but I trust that I will also make you care and that now, together, we will put melody in the heart of the world that will sing of a better life for all people. The task challenges us to larger efforts and higher goals that will demand from all of us the best we have to make a better life for others. My promise to Freemasons everywhere is that I will give the task my best!


Wednesday, July 19, 2006


Institutions do not survive through the ages by accident; they live only through the possession and operation of everlasting principles. When an organization runs back beyond historic records, and relies upon tradition for the story of its origin, its career during a known period either justifies or falsifies the tradition. An ancestry of virtue and good works is a liberal education. The power of the accumulated wisdom of the past is a resistless impelling force upon the present. The architects, the decorators, the draftsmen, the woodcarvers,the workers in precious metals and the Masons who were building the famous Temple of King Solomon came from every nation in the then-known world. Their union of mutual help, protection, society and improvement was the marvel of an age when all navies were pirates and all nations enemies.

Masonry, marching under the leadership of God and the banner that bears the motto, "Love thy neighbor as thyself,"with the peasant and the prince, the mechanic and the
merchant, the learned and the unlearned following in equal rank and common step, knows neither race nor nationality,neither caste nor condition, as it proudly and beneficially
moves down the centuries.

Chauncey M. Depew (1834-1928)
Financier, U. S. Senator


Tuesday, July 18, 2006


by: Unknown

There were four of them in the Ante Room besides the Tiler; a Past Master, a Junior Officer, the Oldest Member and a newly raised brother. They had been telling the newly made brother what they could of the Ancient Craft, what he night expect from it and in it, and how he could proceed to get the greatest benefit from it.

When they had finished, he asked: “Tell me, you are old and experienced in Masonry, what does it really mean to you?” “What does Masonry mean to me? The Past Master stopped to weigh his words. “I think it means the chance of being of service to my fellow men.
“I have had the distinguished honor of being selected, at one time, to preside over this lodge. The honor, deserved or not, came because I was willing to serve my fellow members and work for the good of the Order. As I look back on it, I see that readiness to serve was created in me by my feeling of gratitude to the Fraternity for what I had received from it. Yet, all that I did receive - friends, good times, instruction and a new idea - came to me from serving. So, in a way, I have to say that a desire to serve came from serving!

I think every man has a desire to be of use in the world. It may be in the big outside world, or some inner, restricted world; but the desire to serve is the same. The teacher in the schools is not one because of the rewards; a good teacher has to teach. He or she can’t be happy doing anything else. The Minister in the church is seldom rewarded materially as he might have been in some other profession. His reward has to come from the consciousness of having been of use. I have talked to a great many men who are distinguished successes in their several lines, and none of them ever considered their material success as their greatest reward. I know a railroad builder who is far more proud of his success in tunneling a mountain than in the riches he has won for his family. I know a banker who points with much more pride to the businesses he has helped to build than to his own substantial fortune. And so I find it in Masonry - there is a much greater joy in the actual feeling that one is of use to his fellows, than there is in the honor of being selected as one to lead, for a while, an organization.

“I am still active in this lodge. There are no more honors for me to win here. I shall never be anything but a Past Master. Yet I find real pleasure in working on the Educational Committee, and in being a member of the Instruction Committee.

“I believe that many men, especially those whose vocations in life do not appear, on the surface, as being of conspicuous service to mankind, find in Masonry an opportunity to express that altruism which is deep in every man’s heart. They here express themselves as servants of men. They learn in order to teach. They work, in order that other men may have a better time, be happier and more comfortable. They call on the sick, not because it is the thing for a Mason to do, but to render to their unfortunate brethren some mead of comfort from their own state of health and happiness.

“The lodge to me is place of labor - a place where I can be of some use in the world without thought of reward or hope of any material pay. Yes, I think I can answer your question by saying; “Masonry means to me the chance to be of service.”

The Junior Officer took up the conversation.
“To me, Masonry means inspiration,” he stated. “I am a Municipal Court Judge. My daily work is concerned entirely with the lower, harder, meaner and dirtier side of life. I spend my day with bootleggers, wife-beaters, thieves, sneaks and dope-peddlers. I hear only the sadder sort of stories. If I believed all life was like what I see of it, I wouldn’t want to live.
“But, I don’t believe it. A very wise old Judge, with whom I talked before I went on the bench told me that the most important thing a Judge had to do was to keep a sane viewpoint. He said a Judge who allowed himself to become warped in his valuation of human beings was not a good Judge. Masonry is the inspiration that keeps me from allowing what I see, to be, to me, all there is of life.

“In Masonry I find only an altruistic viewpoint. There is not, anywhere in Masonry a single thing that is selfish. There is in it not a prayer for self. There is in it not a single act which a Brother does which is for himself. Officers in the Lodge, of whom I’m proud to be one, work hard to put on a good degree, doing the work correctly, trying to make it impressive - why? Not for themselves, Not that they may get anything out of it, but in order that the candidate be properly impressed and instructed - so that he can make something of Masonry his own and thus be a better man. “Brethren appointed on an investigating committee must go out and work. They must take time from their own pleasures or labors to look into the qualifications of anyone who wants to be a Mason, and has submitted a petition. There is nothing in it for them. They do it unselfishly, for their fellows, and the petitioner. That is inspiring. It shows that there is another side to life than the one I see all day long.

“Anyone who sits all day in my sort of a court might well be excused for thinking that God has deserted a part of the earth, and some of His people. It’s hard to believe that the drunken sot who beats an innocent child, the dope-peddler who deliberately tries to turn a school boy into a cocaine fiend so he can sell him “Snow,” the bootlegger who deliberately sells, to unsuspecting fools, booze he knows to be poisonous; can have any good in him. Masonry teaches me that there is good everywhere, in every man, if you only hunt deep enough. Masonry never lets me forget that a Perfect Ashlar is made of a Rough Ashlar - that the perfect stone is inside the rough stone all the time, only waiting the cunning hand of the workman to knock away the rough-nesses to reveal the perfection underneath. Masonry teaches me there is a perfect ashlar under the rough exteriors I see. I am not sure I could keep on knowing that, if it wasn’t for Freemasonry raising my eyes upward and keeping always in my heart the knowledge that more men are good than bad, more men helpful than hindering, more men God-Fearing than God-Hating. So I must answer you, my brother, that to me Masonry means inspiration, a holding constantly before my inner eyes a spiritual ideal, so that I can forget the material wrong and evil which is so rife in the world in which I live.”

“Well, I’ll agree that Freemasonry may be all things to all men,” the Oldest Mason began, seeing that the Junior Officer had finished. “And perhaps you won’t think that what Masonry means to me is as big and as fine as the opportunity for service that the Past Master sees, and the inspiration that the Junior Officer finds. To me, Masonry means the chance to make friends.

“The young man thinks that friends are easy to make, and I dare say many a man thinks he could make them as easily in a club or a board of trade as he could in a lodge. But there is a great difference between the friendships made in profane gatherings, and those which result from meeting ON THE LEVEL.

“As I see it, there must be some sort of mutually shared background for any real friendship. Two men must have something to which both can hold if they are to draw themselves together, against the naturally repellent forces which makes us all suspicious of all the rest of humanity.

“There is a GOLDEN CORD in Masonry to which we can all hold. We all have a cable tow about us, and by it we can pull ourselves closer together. We meet on a common level. We think the same sort of thoughts at the same time. When we worship the grand Articifer of the Universe, we do it in the same way, with the same words, at the same time. It is not germane to say, BUT SO THEY DO IN A CHURCH. for there are a great many churches, each with its own way of approach to the throne of the Most High. But in all Masonic lodges, the approach is one ground of unity, on which friendships may be formed.

“There is another. How says our ritual? To relieve the distressed is a duty incumbent upon all, but particularly on Masons, who are linked together by an indissoluble chain of sincere affection. To soothe the unhappy, to sympathize with their misfortunes, to compassionate their miseries and restore peace to their troubled minds, is the great aim we have in view. On this basis we form out friendships and establish connections. I find the charity and the sympathy of a Masonic Lodge a great force in the making of friends, and strangely enough, it makes little difference which end of the golden cord the individual brother holds. If I sympathize and try to help my brother, I become friendly toward him. If I am in trouble, and he sympathizes with and tries to help me, I feel friendly toward him. I feel friendly to the new young brother just coming into the lodge because he has won his way against odds, into out charmed circle, and I wish him well. The mere wishing him good luck makes me feel friendly. To the older members, with whom I have stood so many times in lodge prayer, with whom I have joined so many times in degrees, with whom so many times I have visited the sick, attended funerals or enjoyed innocent gaiety at refreshment. I am friendly because of our common interests and feelings.

“I have made, and I think that every good Mason does, some of the best friends in the world, through Masonic association. Masonry picks her brethren. We are all alike in a few fundamentals, before we become Masons. So we have an unusual opportunity to make friends in Masonry. I think that must stand as my answer to our young brother’s question, what Masonry means to me - an opportunity to make friends.

“Now that our young friend has heard us, I should like to hear what he thinks. What, my brother, does Masonry mean to you?” The newly raised brother flushed a little, embarrassed at being called on for an expression of opinion in the presence of those so much older and wiser in the Craft.

“It’s all so new to me,” he answered, hesitating a little, “I am quite willing to take your several interpretations of Masonry and its meaning. But so far none of you has mentioned what it is to me, the of the opportunity which Masonry gives. To me, Masonry means a chance to learn. I have been instructed that I should study the seven liberal arts and sciences, and the several degrees all put a good deal of stress on the teachings of Masonry. I have read one or two books which hint at a great deal that is concealed, much more than is revealed. It seems to me that the world of study and information which Freemasonry opens up to her initiates is her greatest boon. I find a great many different interpretations of Masonic symbols. Unless I conclude that some are right and some are wrong, a symbol must have many meanings. Yet only one is given in the degree. That must mean that it is intended that I study them, and dig into them for myself, and try to find all the various meanings.

“My business in life is that of a teacher of English. I know how peculiar is the symbolism of words. Take the word profane, which one of you used. It comes from pro - without - and fane, the church. You used it as meaning just that - some one without the Temple of Freemasonry. Time has corrupted that good old English word to mean something entirely different - most of us think of something profane as meaning opposed to what is sacred; to profane is to make light of, or blaspheme that which is Holy. It seems to me that some Masonic symbols may have been changed by time, too, as words are changed, and that the patient digger after facts might uncover a mine of interesting and valuable information if he is willing to study. So, without in any way putting my thoughts forward as better than those I have heard, I think Masonry means to me, at least so far, an opportunity to increase my knowledge.”

“We haven’t heard from the Tiler yet!” The Past Master turned to the Guardian of the Door. “What does Masonry mean to you?”

“You’ve all wasted a lot of words to say something you all mean!” responded the Tiler. “One of you thinks Masonry means SERVICE, another thinks it means INSPIRATION. and another thinks it means FRIENDS, and still another thinks it means KNOWLEDGE. They all come from the same source. And that is what Masonry really means.

“You have overlooked what is to me the most significant symbols. If Masonry means SERVICE, and FRIENDS, and INSPIRATION, and KNOWLEDGE; what else can you say it means, except just GOD?”


Monday, July 17, 2006


It is not ornamental, the cost is not great,
There are other things far more useful, yet truly I state,
Tho of all my possesions, there's none can compare,
With that white leather apron, which all Masons wear.

As a young lad I wondered just what it all meant,
When Dad hustled around, and so much time was spent
On shaving and dressing and looking just right,
Until Mother would say: "It's the Masons tonight.

"And some winter nights she said: "What makes you go,
Way up there tonight thru the sleet and the snow,
You see the same things every month of the year.
"Then Dad would reply: "Yes, I know it, my dear.

"Forty years I have seen the same things, it is true.
And though they are old, they always seem new,
For the hands that I clasp, and the friends that I greet,
Seem a little bit closer each time that we meet.

"Years later I stood at that very same door,
With good men and true who had entered before,
I knelt at the alter, and there I was taught
That virtue and honor can never be bought.

That the spotless white lambskin all Masons revere,
If worthily worn grows more precious each year,
That service to others brings blessings untold,
That man may be poor tho surrounded by gold.

I learned that true brotherhood flourishes there,
That enmities fade 'neath the compass and square,
That wealth and position are all thrust aside,
As there on the level men meet and abide.

So, honor the lambskin, may it always remain
Forever unblemished, and free from all stain,
And when we are called to the Great Father's love,
May we all take our place in that Lodge up above.

Composed byEdgar A. Guest


Saturday, July 15, 2006


Today I am going off topic a bit and share with you this article on flag etiquiette. In these times we, as Masons, should lead the way in our communities to show the proper ways to display and respect our flag - editor


The Flag Code, which formalizes and unifies the traditional ways in which we give respect to the flag, also contains specific instructions on how the flag is not to be used. They are:
The flag should never be dipped to any person or thing. It is flown upside down only as a distress signal.
The flag should not be used as a drapery, or for covering a speakers desk, draping a platform, or for any decoration in general. Bunting of blue, white and red stripes is available for these purposes. The blue stripe of the bunting should be on the top.
The flag should never be used for any advertising purpose. It should not be embroidered, printed or otherwise impressed on such articles as cushions, handkerchiefs, napkins, boxes, or anything intended to be discarded after temporary use. Advertising signs should not be attached to the staff or halyard
The flag should not be used as part of a costume or athletic uniform, except that a flag patch may be used on the uniform of military personnel, fireman, policeman and members of patriotic organizations.
The flag should never have placed on it, or attached to it, any mark, insignia, letter, word, number, figure, or drawing of any kind.
The flag should never be used as a receptacle for receiving, holding, carrying, or delivering anything.
When the flag is lowered, no part of it should touch the ground or any other object; it should be received by waiting hands and arms. To store the flag it should be folded neatly and ceremoniously.
The flag should be cleaned and mended when necessary.
When a flag is so worn it is no longer fit to serve as a symbol of our country, it should be destroyed by burning in a dignified manner.

Note: Most American Legion Posts regularly conduct a dignified flag burning ceremony, often on Flag Day, June 14th. Many Cub Scout Packs, Boy Scout Troops, and Girl Scout Troops retire flags regularly as well. Contact your local American Legion Hall or Scout Troop to inquire about the availability of this service.

Displaying the Flag Outdoors

When the flag is displayed from a staff projecting from a window, balcony, or a building, the union should be at the peak of the staff unless the flag is at half staff.
When it is displayed from the same flagpole with another flag - of a state, community, society or Scout unit - the flag of the United States must always be at the top except that the church pennant may be flown above the flag during church services for Navy personnel when conducted by a Naval chaplain on a ship at sea.
When the flag is displayed over a street, it should be hung vertically, with the union to the north or east. If the flag is suspended over a sidewalk, the flag's union should be farthest from the building.
When flown with flags of states, communities, or societies on separate flag poles which are of the same height and in a straight line, the flag of the United States is always placed in the position of honor - to its own right...The other flags may be smaller but none may be larger...No other flag ever should be placed above it...The flag of the United States is always the first flag raised and the last to be lowered.
When flown with the national banner of other countries, each flag must be displayed from a separate pole of the same height. Each flag should be the same size. They should be raised and lowered simultaneously. The flag of one nation may not be displayed above that of another nation.

Raising and Lowering the Flag

The flag should be raised briskly and lowered slowly and ceremoniously. Ordinarily it should be displayed only between sunrise and sunset. It should be illuminated if displayed at night.The flag of the United States of America is saluted as it is hoisted and lowered. The salute is held until the flag is unsnapped from the halyard or through the last note of music, whichever is the longest.

Displaying the Flag Indoors

When on display, the flag is accorded the place of honor, always positioned to its own right. Place it to the right of the speaker or staging area or sanctuary. Other flags should be to the left.
The flag of the United States of America should be at the center and at the highest point of the group when a number of flags of states, localities, or societies are grouped for display.
When one flag is used with the flag of the United States of America and the staffs are crossed, the flag of the United States is placed on its own right with its staff in front of the other flag.
When displaying the flag against a wall, vertically or horizontally, the flag's union (stars) should be at the top, to the flag's own right, and to the observer's left.

Parading and Saluting the Flag

When carried in a procession, the flag should be to the right of the marchers. When other flags are carried, the flag of the United States may be centered in front of the others or carried to their right. When the flag passes in a procession, or when it is hoisted or lowered, all should face the flag and salute.

The Salute

To salute, all persons come to attention. Those in uniform give the appropriate formal salute. Citizens not in uniform salute by placing their right hand over the heart and men with head cover should remove it and hold it to left shoulder, hand over the heart. Members of organizations in formation salute upon command of the person in charge.

The Pledge of Allegiance and National Anthem

The pledge of allegiance should be rendered by standing at attention, facing the flag, and saluting.When the national anthem is played or sung, citizens should stand at attention and salute at the first note and hold the salute through the last note. The salute is directed to the flag, if displayed, otherwise to the music.

The Flag in Mourning

To place the flag at half staff, hoist it to the peak for an instant and lower it to a position half way between the top and bottom of the staff. The flag is to be raised again to the peak for a moment before it is lowered. On Memorial Day the flag is displayed at half staff until noon and at full staff from noon to sunset.
The flag is to be flown at half staff in mourning for designated, principal government leaders and upon presidential or gubernatorial order.
When used to cover a casket, the flag should be placed with the union at the head and over the left shoulder. It should not be lowered into the grave.


Friday, July 14, 2006


By W:.Patrick Bellotti, P.M.

In my time in the Fraternity I have always marveled at the ability of my Brethren to make their ritual work both informative and entertaining. When their years of experience were taken into account it truly made the Masonic work very memorable and special. At the same time I have seen other Brothers recite the work and although every word was correct, something was missing. It somehow loses something when ritual work is said with no emotion and from rote memory. There are ways to make the delivery of your Ritual work better and it is not too hard to accomplish. Let me point out some ways.

To begin with first and foremost is to know your subject matter. Know what you are conveying to the others in the Lodge. If you are just saying words without knowing their meaning, it is immediately picked by by the others and the beauty is taken out of the work.

Secondly, you should believe the message you are conveying. You fool noone if you recite words without believing what they mean. Ritual work is a beautiful thing to observe and you as a speaker can make or break it's message.

Third you should speak loud enough so the Brother's can hear your words. It is a natural human trait to speak lowly in a crowd due to nervousness but that can easily be overcome with practice and confidence.

Pronounciation is the next phase of effective ritual work. Go over your part and see if there are any words that you are not sure how to pronounce. Don't be proud. If there is a word that you are not sure how to pronouce then ask another Brother. It is better to ask then to hear a word mispronounced during ritual. Sometimes mispronounced many times because it is repeated in the ritual. Don't be proud. We all have been there.

The final aspect is Articulation. You may know all of your part but did you say it clearly? Did you say each word so that every brother in the Lodge understand your words? This is important. Nothing takes away from ritual then hearing someone mumble their way through a paragraph. In this case I would say to SLOW DOWN. Take your time and speak with conviction. You will be amazed how different the same words sound to others when you follow this simple style.

Just practice your parts at home and try these methods. You will see that your message to your Brethren will be improved and much more entertaining and clearer to your audience. Every Mason has their own story of their early times doing ritual so just remember that you are not alone and it is something every Mason gets through. If you have any other tips or stories you wish to share I invite you to let me know.


Thursday, July 13, 2006


The following address was given in 1984 by Ernest J. Goppert Jr, P.G.M. of Wyoming. This communication was held in Cody, Wyoming and was in honor of its founder William Cody, more commomly known as Buffalo Bill - editor

A child, destined to great fame, was born on a farm in LeClaire, Scott County, lowa, on February 26, 1846 to Isaac Cody and Mary Leacock Cody. Isaac abandoned his farm to work as a stage driver and the family moved to the vicinity of Fort Leavenworth, Kansas. At the age of eleven, Bill lost his father in the Kan-sas border war. Bill’s mother was a woman of the highest character and developed in him nobility of soul, fortitude and courage which endeared him to the hearts of all who were destined to meet and know him. She died when Bill who was still in his teens was serving with the Kansas Cavalry.
Following his father’s death, Bill secured employment as a “carrier boy” on a supply train. Later at age fourteen he obtained a lucrative job as a rider for the Pony Express. Bill made the longest trip on record. Upon reaching Three Crossings he learned that the rider at Sweetwater had been killed and he was requested to ride the next leg. He made a trip of 321 miles without stopping except for meals and to change horses.
At seventeen, Bill enlisted in the 9th Kansas Cavalry. Later he served as a Scout in Tennessee and as a Trooper in Missouri. In 1866 he married Louisa Frederici in St. Louis. Bill con-tracted with the Goddard Brothers to furnish the Kansas Pacific Railroad with all the buffalo meat required to feed the laborers engaged in road construction and in eighteen months (1867-68) killed 4,280 buffalo which earned him the name by which he is best known—“Buffalo Bill. “
From September, 1869, when he first caught the notice of General Phil Sheridan by some daring riding through Indian country, until December, 1872, when he resigned to go on the stage, Cody was continuously on army payrolls as a civilian scout. In July, 1869, he achieved some fame for guiding the 5th Cavalry to its spectacular victory at Summit Springs, Col-orado. The troops returned in August, 1869, to Fort McPherson, Nebraska. Cody felt sure enough of his employment to send for his wife. According to Mrs. Cody, when she saw him at Fort McPherson, for the first time, he was wearing long hair, moustache and goatee— the style of prairie scouts of those days. In September, while buffalo hunting with Major Frank North to supply the garrison with meat, Cody and North were surrounded by Indians and barely fought their way back to the command. With the 5th Cavalry, they then pursued the Indians for ninety miles to Standing Rock Agency, Dakota. Finally, the expedition return-ed to Fort McPherson on October 28.
Within less than three weeks, Captain W.B. Brown organized in his quarters the Plalte Valley Lodge No. 32 of the A.F.& A.M. under the jurisdiction of the Grand Lodge of Nebraska. Cody and Brown were close friends, and it is likely that Cody petitioned right away for membership. One of the officers of the Lodge was the post’s physician, Dr. David Frank Powell. Powell, later known as “White Beaver,” became fast friends with “Buffalo Bill” and eventually died in Cody, Wyoming. On his 24th birthday, Cody was elected to membership. He was initiated March 6, 1870 and passed April 2, 1870.
During 1870, Cody was involved in only one official Indian fight. However, he was kept busy hunting and guiding visiting dignitaries. One of those dignitaries Professor Othniel Marsh, a Yale paleontologist, was on his way to the Big Horn Basin to do some dinosaur bone hunting. It is Marsh whom Cody credited for exciting his interest in the Big Horn Basin country. Cody also served in the capacity of Justice of the Peace at Fort McPherson. He had been appointed by the army commander because he was the most reliable of the local civilian employees. In addition to performing routine chores such as marriages (“whom God and ‘Buffalo Bill’ have joined together let no man put asunder”). Cody also served as a sort of unofficial detective and policeman. Certain-ly one of the biggest events in his life was the birth late in the year of his only son, Kit Carson Cody.
On January 10, 1871, Cody was raised to the sublime degree of Master Mason. Within a few months, he was cited for “conspicuous and gallant conduct” for a skirmish on Bird Wood Creek, Nebraska. He also began to achieve wider national fame as a guide for distinguished hunting parties. In September, 1871, he led the famous Bennett/Jerome hunt which resulted in an invitation to New York. General Sheridan was so pleased with his conduct of that and a subsequent hunt that he asked Cody to guide the Grand Duke Alexis of Russia in January, 1872. Three months later, April, Cody was awarded the Medal of Honor for a skirmish while on detached duty with the 3rd Cavalry. Finally, in 1872, he accepted the invitation to go to New York. There he saw himself portrayed in a stage play and was persuaded by Ned Buntline to star in a drama written express-ly for him. From that time forward, he and his partner, Texas Jack Omohundro, spent half their lives on the plains and half on the stages of all the major cities of the East.
Cody founded his famous Wild West Show in 1883. In 1887, he took the show to Europe for the first time to be the featured attraction during the celebration of Queen Victoria’s Golden Jubilee. Though he remained in England as the toast of British society through October he petitioned Euphrates Chapter No. 15, Royal Arch Masons of North Platte, Nebraska by mail in September. Within a month of the closing of the 1888 season on November 18th, he was advanced to the degree of Mark Master, inducted into the Oriental Chair and received and acknowledged a Most Excellent Master. On the following day he was exalted to the Royal Arch Degree. In addition to running the Wild West Show, which showed on Staten Island in 1888, Cody was running a stock ranch near North Platte and traveling back and forth between the East and Far West.
Thereafter, Cody petitioned Palestine Commandery No. 13, order of Knights Templar of North Platte, Nebraska, and duly elected and received the Illustrious Order of the Red Cross on April I, 1889 and on the following day received the Order of Malta and was dubbed a Knight Templar, just before sailing once again to Europe. This European tour, which began in Paris for the Centennial Exposition, lasted for three years. Cody was back and forth between Europe and America during that time.
Just before returning for another tour of England, he petitioned Tangier Temple of the Ancient Arabic Order Nobles of the Mystic Shrine of Omaha, Nebraska on March 22, 1892, and walked the burning sands three days later. In the meantime, he had found time to lead a hunting expedition through the Grand Canyon and into the Kaibab country of Utah, serve as a marshal during the inauguration of President Benjamin Harrison, and act as Chief of Scouts for General Miles in a futile attempt to head off what became the Wounded Knee Massacre.
1893 had been his most successful year in show business, perhaps the most successful year in history in outdoor show business. The season of 1894 in Brooklyn promised to be just as good. Cody by this time had been seen in per-son by millions of people on two continents and his name was a household word. He was well on his way to being the most famous man, perhaps, in the world, and certainly the most photographed.
The Northern Jurisdiction of the Ancient Accepted Scottish Rite of Freemasonry in the Valley of New York City honored “Buffalo Bill” by conferring all of its degrees in the Lodge of Perfection (4ø-14ø), the Council of Princes (15ø16ø), the Chapter of Rose Croix (17ø-18ø), and the Consistory (19ø-32ø) in the same day, April 4, 1894. This special action by this New York Body exemplified their desire and that of all Masons of the time to recognize not only “Buffalo Bill’s” dedication to his fraternal duties, but also to acknowledge the adherence to the principles of friendship, morality, and brotherly love.
By all accounts, Cody’s life provided an ex-emplary model for Masons. he was a man of his word in his dealings with all people. He dealt with people of all races, religions, sexes, and occupations, as equals, and was always open handed in helping those less fortunate than himself .
“Buffalo Bill” gave the last performance of his Wild West Show at Portsmouth, Virginia where he became ill with a cold and headed for his Wyoming ranch. He stopped off at Denver to visit his sister and died suddenly from uremia on January 10, 1917. Although “Buffalo Bill” left a will stating he wished to be buried on top of Cedar Mountain about five miles west of his town, Cody, Wyoming, he was actually buried atop Lookout Mountain, 20 miles west of Denver. After his remains had lain in state in a bronze casket in the Capitol Rotunda in Denver, a service was held, and his body was placed in a temporary vault while a permanent tomb could be cut out of the solid granite atop Lookout Mountain.
At the request of Platte Valley Lodge of North Platte, Golden City Lodge No. 1, Golden, Colorado conferred Masonic burial rites on June 3, 1917, atop Lookout Mountain, at 3:00 o’clock in the afternoon. Worshipful Master G.W. Parfet, Jr. of Golden City Lodge No. I appointed eight brother pallbearers who were dressed in their Knight Templar uniforms. At the request of Mrs. Cody, and almost five months after his death, the casket was opened and an estimated 10,000 viewed the dead pioneer and trail blazer. It was estimated that more than 20,000 persons visited the spot and 15,000 were present at the burial ceremony having walked or ridden to the top of Lookout Mountain. It was certainly one of the largest, if not the largest, Masonic burial ever. These words were said by the Masons over the grave:
“His spirit ascends to God who gave it,
His memory we cherish in our hearts.
His body we consign to the earth.”
Before his burial, a group of friends and family members formed an organization to foster and perpetuate the memory of “Buffalo Bill” in Cody, Wyoming. From this timely but meager start the world famous Buffalo Bill Historical Center has developed.


Wednesday, July 12, 2006

What do Younger Masons Really Want?

Timothy Bonney, MPS, from his web-site Freemasonry Resources

I have been a Master Mason for just three short years. I turned 40 this year, and by all demographics, can still be considered a younger Freemason.
No one seemed to have ever asked any younger Masons if easier Freemasonry is what they really want!

During the time I have have been a Freemason I have been told by many older experienced Freemasons that we have to make it easier for young guys to join. I've been told that the decline in membership is partially due to it being to hard for young men to find time from family and work to Freemasons. So, we have to make it easier.

So, it the pursuit of making it easier we have offered One Day Classes. We have loosened the rules on proficiency in the first lecture. We've kept our dues low to accommodate men who may not have the funds to pay higher dues. In many lodges we have been less rigorous in our examination of new candidates by investigating committees. You seldom hear about a black cubed being dropped because, after all, don't we need the members?

But, there has been one basic problem with all that I have been told by long experienced Masons about what younger men want. None of them seemed to have ever asked any younger Masons if easier Freemasonry is what they really want! And, in fact, I have come to believe that easier Freemasonry is not what younger men who want to join our fraternity are wanting at all! My own experience is echoed in the stories I hear from Masons under forty.

Younger Masons do not want Freemasonry handed to them. They want to earn it!
I became a Freemason in great part because of the witness of my Grandfather to the value of Freemasonry. When he died I attended his Masonic service and was impressed by the men in dark suit, white gloves, and white aprons who paid tribute to my Grandfather. At that funeral, I promised myself that some day I would be a Mason if such a fraternity of honorable men would have me.

More than a decade passed before I acted on that promise. during that time I read every web page, book, and article I could find on Freemasonry. I read about the history, philosophy, and ethics of the Craft.

When I petitioned Phoenix Lodge, I was informed that I could receive my degrees in a One Day Class. But, I thought about my Grandfather and requested that I received my degrees in the usual way. I wanted to experience the full initiatory experience my Father, Grand Father, and Great-Grandfather had experienced. I wanted to memorize every word of the ciphers given to me. I did not want my mentor to cut me any slack.

We want the freemasonry of our Fathers and Grandfathers. We want to be challenged, stretched, educated, and trained. We want the opportunity to take our rough ashlars and begin to smooth them.

As I have seen young men come into the Craft I have seen that they want many of the the same things I wanted. Young Masons do not want anyone to make it easy for them. Younger Masons that I have talked to believe that we need to make it harder and not easier to receive the degrees. Younger Masons want to read and learn about the philosophy and teaching of Craft Masonry. They do not want Freemasonry handed to them. They want to earn it!

In my own professional life I have made a study of young adults. While my study involved young adults in a church setting, I had opportunity to write some course material for use by churches for young adult ministries.

Much of what I learned about young adults applies to Freemasonry as much as it does church. Young people are searching in our society. They are searching for meaning, depth, and focus to their lives. They are searching for a philosophy and ethic that will help them to live a better life. They are searching for growth and self-improvement. In short, they are searching for what Ancient Craft Freemasonry in its purest form offers them.

If older Masons really ask young Masons what we really want, I believe you will find that we want the fundamentals of the ancient and honorable Craft of Freemasons. We want the freemasonry of Anderson's constitutions. We want the freemasonry of our Fathers and Grand-fathers. We want to be challenged, stretched, educated, and trained. We want the opportunity to take our rough ashlars and begin to smooth them. We want to be Freemasons in the fullest sense of the word!


Tuesday, July 11, 2006


I walked through a County Court House square
On a park bench an old man was sitting there.
I said, "Your old Court House is kinda run down.
"He said, "No, it will do for our little town.
"I said, "Your old flag pole is leaning a little bit.
And that's a ragged old Flag you've got hanging on it.
"He said, "Have a seat," and I sat down.
"Is this the first time you've been to our little town?"I said, "I think it is.
"Well," he said, "I don't like to brag.
But we're kinda proud of that ragged old Flag
You see, we got a little hole in that Flag there,
When Washington took it across the Delaware.
And, it got powder burns, the night Francis Scott Key
Sat watching it, writing 'Oh, Say Can You See.'
And, it got a bad rip at New Orleans
When Packingham and Jackson took it on the scene.
And, it almost fell at the Alamo beside the Texas Flag.
But she waved on through.
She got cut with a sword at Chancerville,
And she got cut again at Shilo Hill.
There was Robert E. Lee, Bouregard and Bragg,
The south wind blew hard on that ragged old Flag.
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."

(author unknown)


Monday, July 10, 2006


“The Forget-Me-Not” The story behind this emblem of the Craft in Germany

As early as the year 1934, soon after Hitler's rise to power, it became apparent that Freemasonry was in danger. In the same year, the German Grand Lodge of the Sun in Bayreuth (one of the pre-war German Grand Lodges), realized the imminent problems facing them and elected to wear a little blue flower, the Forget Me Not, in lieu of the traditional Square and Compasses, as a mark of identity for Masons. It was felt the new symbol would not attract attention-from the Nazis, who were in the process of confiscating and appropriating Masonic Lodges and property. Masonry had gone underground and it was necessary that the Brethren have some readily recognizable means of identification.

Throughout the entire Nazi era a little blue flower in a lapel marked a Brother. In the Concentration Camps and in the cities a little blue Forget Me Not distinguished the lapels of those who refused to allow the Light of Masonry to be extinguished.

In 1947, when the Grand Lodge of the Sun was reopened in Batyreuth by Past Grand Master Beyer. A little blue pin, in the shape of a Forget Me Not, was proposed and adopted as the official emblem of the first annual convention of those who had survived the bitter years of semi-darkness, bringing the Light of Masonry once again into the Temples.

At the first Annual Convent of the United Grand Lodges of Germany in 1948. The pin was adopted as an official Masonic emblem honouring those valiant Brethren who carried their work on under adverse conditions. Thus did a simple flower blossom forth into a meaningful emblem of the Fraternity and became perhaps the most widely worn pin among Freemasons in Germany. In many Lodges, the Forget-Me-Not is presented to new Master Masons, at which time its history is briefly explained.


Sunday, July 09, 2006


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


One of the nicest times of the year coincides with the time that most Lodges go on hiatus for the summer. As ironic as this sounds, there are many valid reasons for this break. It is the time of the year that many Brothers go away with their families on vacation. It is also, in most Lodges, the time after the election of new officers. A result of this is that many incoming Masters have yet to fine tune their Trestle board for the upcoming year.

It does seem a shame though that the best time of the year becomes non productive as far as Lodge work goes. I would like to propose a few generic activities that the Brothers can participate in over the summer. By joining together in these activities, the Lodge can be up and running and ready for its work the minute the Masonic year commences.

For starters, the summer break is a great time to have a Lodge work party to clean the Lodge and spruce it up for the new Officers and the Brothers. When I was Master, I instituted a work party and I made it as inclusive as I could. Not only were the Lodge Brothers invited but I extended the work party to include the Eastern Star as I felt they would also benefit by having the Lodge in top condition. I was happy to see that it was a good success. Many Brothers not only came and happily worked but a surprise reward was having them give much appreciated suggestions and input which would not normally be shared. The informal atmosphere put everyone at ease and everyone worked hard from the basement up to the attic. Items were restored in a more orderly fashion and pieces that best could be classified as “junk” were given a classy disposal.

As far as cleaning, the Lodge revealed treasures that were buried under years of dust, dirt and neglect. People were awed by the beauty of the Lodge that was normally overlooked. The best thing was this "can do" attitude continued past my term and subsequent Masters took it further by giving the Lodge a new look, new rugs and new paint both inside and outside the building. Today the Lodge is both beautiful and historical as many restorations were done.

This is easier accomplished in the summer months as the work party is not under the gun to have the Lodge ready by the next weekly meeting.

Another summer project which is a beneficial for the Officers is to get a jump on their degree work. If your Lodge is going to put on a degree at the beginning of the year it sometimes is, shall we say, not as sharp as it is later in the year. A summer practice gives confidence and knowledge to the officers who are, in some cases, doing their parts for the first time. A summer practice also fosters comfort and confidence in the officers as they learn to work together.

I don’t want you to think that I am advocating year round Masonry. We already practice Masonry year round in our hearts and by our actions. I merely wanted to share some things with the Brothers who are looking for something to do on the break.

If you have any ideas or thoughts I cordially invite you to share them with me. I will be glad to pass them along.


Saturday, July 08, 2006

Planting a Masonic Garden

Planting a Masonic Garden

First, plant five rows of peas...Preparation, Purity, Presence, Promptness, and Perservence

Then, plant three rows of squash...Squash gossip, Squash interference, Squash indifference, Squash unjust criticism.

Add five rows of lettuces...Let us be faithful to duty, Let us be unselfish and loyal, Let us be true to our obligations, Let us obey rules and regulations, and let us love one another.

And since no garden is complete without them, finally plant turnips...Turn up for meetings, turn up with a smile, Turn up with new ideas, Turn up with new members, Turn up with determination to make everything count for something.

If you plant all of the above, you will enjoy a perfect Masonic Garden, and reap lots of pleasure for your effort !!


Friday, July 07, 2006



James Hoban was the architect who designed and supervised the construction of the White House. When the British destroyed this building during the War of 1812, he designed the one replacing it. James Hoban was a Mason. He was probably present when the cornerstone was laid by Maryland Lodge No. 9 of Georgetown on October 13, 1792, with Masonic ceremony. He was also a devout Roman Catholic.

During President Truman's term of office it was necessary to rebuild the White House. In 1952, while the work was in progress, Brother Truman discovered that some of the original stones contained traditional "Mason's marks". He directed that these stones be preserved and delegated the duty to Major General Harry H. Vaughan, Brother Renah F. Camalier, and the Grand Lodge of the District of Columbia. These stones were distributed to the Grand Lodges of the United States and to certain territories and foreign governments. On February 22, 1966, the last stone was presented to the George Washington National Masonic Memorial Association for display in the Temple on Shooter's Hill.


On his famous solo flight over the Atlantic in 1927 Colonel Charles A. Lindbergh wore the square and compasses on his jacket as a good luck emblem. He was a Mason at the time.

When Bernt Balchen, explorer and air pioneer, flew over the North Pole and the South Pole with Brother Richard E. Byrd, they dropped Masonic flags on both Poles. In the 1933-35 expedition over the South Pole, Brother Balchen also tossed his Shrine fez on the Pole.

Leroy Gordon Cooper, Jr., famous astronaut, on his 22 orbit flight carried a Masonic coin in his pocket as well as a blue Masonic flag which he later presented to his mother lodge, Carbondale No. 82, Carbondale, Colorado.

On August 23, 1879, Lodge No. 239 of France held a meeting in a balloon flying over Paris, at which time a Brother was initiated.

The inventors of the first balloon were Joseph Montgolfier, Michel Montgolfier, and Jacques Etielle; all were members of the Nine Sisters Lodge in France.

Brother Eddie Rickenbacker, World War I air ace, was a devoted Mason for many years.


Rudyard Kipling, the famous English author, was born in India of English parents. He was educated in England but returned to India in 1880. He was initiated in Hope and Perseverance Lodge No. 782, Lahore, Punjab, India in 1886. A special dispensation was necessary as he was only twenty years and six months at the time. When he took the degrees, there were four Holy Books upon the alter representing the dominant religions in the area. Upon his rising he was immediately elected secretary; and he prepared the minutes of that meeting himself.

Many years later he wrote: "I was secretary for some years of Hope and Perseverance Lodge No. 782, E. C., Lahore, which included Brethren of at least four creeds. I was entered by a member of Brahmo Somaj, a Hindu; passed by a Mohammedan; and raised by an Englishman. Our Tyler was an Indian Jew. We met, of course on the level, and the only difference anyone would notice was that at the banquets, some of the Brethren, who were debarred by caste from eating food not ceremonially prepared, sat over empty plates."


When General Horatio King asked William McKinley how he happen to become a Mason he explained: "After the Battle of Opequam, I went with our surgeon of our Ohio regiment to the field where there were about 5,000 Confederate prisoners under guard. Almost as soon as we passed the guard, I noticed the doctor shook the hands with a number of Confederate prisoners. He also took from his pocket a roll of bills and distributed all he had among them. Boy-like, I looked on in wonderment; I didn't know what it all meant. On the way back from camp I asked him:

"Did you know these men or ever see them before?"

"No," replied the doctor, "I never saw them before."

"But," I persisted, "You gave them a lot of money, all you had about you. Do you ever expect to get it back?"

"Well'" said the doctor, "If they are able to pay me back, they will. But it makes no difference to me; they are brother Masons in trouble and I am only doing my duty."

"I said to myself, If that is Freemasonry I will take some of it for myself."


"Fort Masonic" was built on what was known as the Heights of Brooklyn, which later became Bond and Nevins Streets, Brooklyn, New York. On August 22, 1814, the Grand Lodge of New York adopted a resolution by which, on September 1, the officers of the Grand Lodge accompanied by a group of Masons from fourteen lodges, went to the place and performed one day's work. On September 17, another day's work was done to complete the work.

Fort Hiram" was built on October 3, 1814, at Fort Point, Rhode Island, but the Grand Lodge which supervised 230 Masons at work. Thomas Smith Webb was Grand Master at the time. The purpose of the fortification was to protect the harbor of Providence, Rhode Island.


Thursday, July 06, 2006


I ran across some short items and felt I would share them with you - editor

Ancient Definition
In The Farmers Almanac for 1823 published at Andover, Mass., the following was printed under the heading, "Character of a Freemason":

The real Freemason is distinguished from the rest of Mankind by the uniform unrestrained rectitude of his conduct. Other men are honest in fear of punishment which the law might inflect; they are religious in expectation of being rewarded, or in dread of the devil, in the next world. A Freemason would be just if there were no laws, human or divine except those written in his heart by the finger of his Creator. In every climate, under every system of religion, he is the same. He kneels before the Universal Throne of God in gratitude for the blessings he has received and humble solicitation for his future protection. He venerates the good men of all religions. He disturbs not the religion of others. He restrains his passions, because they cannot be indulged without injuring his neighbor or himself. He gives no offense, because he does not choose to be offended. He contracts no debts which he is certain he cannot discharge, because he is honest upon principal.

Poem: "Side-Liners"

Earl W. Owens, Belpre (Ohio) Lodge #609 PDDGM - 17th Masonic District of Ohio

There's a certain group of people Who, much credit never get. They do not give the Lectures Or in the Big Chair, ever set.

Just the "bearers of burden" These fellows of yours and mine. They give their all for the building Laying one stone at a time.

They will never be presented In the East for our applause. Still we could not do without them They're so important to our cause.

They do not see the Trestle Board Or behold the Grand Design. Just cheerfully give to their Master Laying one stone at a time.

So you tell me, as we gather Who with Grand Honors we show? Is it the Sailboats so lovely, Or the breeze that makes them go?

Alas! Well Done! Faithful servant You've run your race just fine. Enjoy the fruits of your Labor, From Laying one stone at a time!

Wednesday, July 05, 2006


by Sheldon A. Munn

The Battle of Gettysburg was fought in the hot, sticky days of July Ist, 2nd and 3rd, 1863. Confederate General Robert E. Lee had brought his 70,000 soldiers northward for food and supplies; to relieve Virginia from the ravages of war; to influence the powerful northern Peace Party to stop the war, and to gain Confederate recognition and support from Britain and France. Lee also was looking for an opportunity to defeat the Union Army away from its base in Washington, D.C.

Twenty-seven months before the Battle of Gettysburg, the first shots of the war between the states were fired between Masons. Confederate Brigadier General P.G.T. Beauregard fired on Union Major Robert Anderson, defending Fort Sumter in Charleston, South Carolina. Beauregard was a Mason and Knight Templar from New Orleans, Louisiana. Anderson was a Mason from Trenton, New Jersey.

As the war began with shots fired between Masonic brothers, so did the greatest battle of the war. It was in the morning hours of July 1, 1863, when Lieutenant Marcellus Jones fired the first shot that began the Battle of Gettysburg. Jones, a carpenter and a Mason from Wheaton, Illinois, used a Sharps 52-caliber breech-loading rifle, invented and manufactured by Christian Sharps, a Mason from Philadelphia. The shot that Jones fired was directed at Confederate troops led by Brigadier General Henry Heth, a Mason from Rocky Mountain Lodge in the Utah Territory.

In mentioning the Rocky Mountain Lodge, you will find it interesting to know that while it surrendered its charter due to the war, over two hundred Masonic Lodges were created during the war. An even more unusual circumstance unfolds when we learn that John C. Robinson, a Union Brigadier General and immediate Past Master of the Rocky Mountain Lodge, was heavily involved in the first days fighting at Gettysburg. The desperate fighting that day also involved Confederate Major General Henry Heth. Henry Heth had been John Robinson’s Senior Warden in the Rocky Mountain Lodge.

Later that morning, Union Brigadier General Solomon Meredith, a Mason from Indiana, and Colonel Lucius Fairchild, a Mason from Wisconsin, met and held the Confederates on the bloodied fields and woods between Herr’s Ridge and the Seminary for over 8-hours. Among those attacking Meredith’s legendary Iron Brigade and Fairchild’s hard-fighting 2nd Wisconsin Intantry regiment was Con-federate Colonel James Connor, a Past Master of Landmark Lodge in Charleston, South Carolina. Colonel Henry Morrow of the 24th Michigan was with Meredith’s Iron Brigade. During the furious fighting, Mor-row was struck in the head by a Confederate bullet. Later, a Confederate surgeon, iden-tifying himself as a Mason, decided that Morrow’s scalp wound was “too serious” for him to be marched away as a prisoner-of-war. This act of Masonic compassion probably saved Morrow’s life.

The very first regimental volley of the battle was fired by the men of the 56th Pennsylvania Volunteers, led by Colonel John W. Hofmann, a Mason from Nor-ristown, Pennsylvania. Before the first days battle ended, Hofmann’s bloodied regiment would be forced from the fields north of the Chambersburg Road by a gallant charge led by Major William Cox, commander of the 2nd North Carolina infantry. William Cox was a Mason from Raleigh, North Carolina. He was wounded eleven times during the war and would later become a Brigadier General. Cox also became a Congressman and served as the Grand Master of North Carolina for four years.

Early in the evening of the 2nd day’s battle, on the ridge north of Devil’s Den, Union Major General Winfield Hancock told Colonel Edward Cross, “Today you’ll earn your star” meaning that Cross would win his promotion to Brigadier General for his brilliant service over the past two years. Colonel Cross, a Mason from New Hampshire, had received twelve wounds during his heroic service, however his thirteenth wound would be fatal and he was killed leading his brigade against the attacking Confederates led by Brigadier General George Thomas Anderson, a Mason from Atlanta, Georgia.

According to Lieutenant General James Longstreet, Commander of the Con-federate First Corps, the most gallant charge of the entire war was led by Brigadier General William Barksdale, a Mason from Jackson, Mississippi. When Longstreet ordered him forward, Barksdale was on the front-line. It was in that position, after forcing the Union lines to col-lapse and retreat, that he was shot—mortally wounded—wearing a clean white linen shirt fastened with Masonic studs.

Barksdale’s courageous charge was directed at the bloody Peach Orchard, defended in part by the men of the 2nd New Hampshire regiment (Co. B) led by Captain Thomas Hubbard, a Mason from Concord, New Hampshire. Hubbard was killed on the battlefield and was buried by Confederate Masons.

Consider the significance of this act, when soldiers in the midst of a major bat-tle, take the time and care to bury an enemy soldier! Unusual in every sense of the word, but not so unusual when you consider that it happened between Masons.

While the entire southern end of the battlefield erupted with savage fighting at the Peach Orchard, the Wheatfield, and Devil’s Den, a hero was born on the rocky, wooded southern slope of Little Round Top. Colonel Joshua Lawrence Chamberlain, formerly a language pro-fessor at Bowdoin College in Maine, was in command of the 20th Maine Infantry defending the critical Union left flank. The determined Confederates launched attack after attack against Chamberlain’s shat-tered line. The gallant defenders held their position heroically despite their fearful losses. Running out of ammunition, and without reinforcements, Chamberlain knew that the next Confederate attack would destroy his line and cause the loss of the Federal armies strong defensive position. It was then that Chamberlain, a man schooled in religion and language, ordered his men to fix bayonets and charge the attack-ing Confederates in a swinging barn-door like maneuver. His unorthodox attack shocked the Rebels, causing them to scat-ter in hurried retreat. Chamberlain was a Mason, a member of United Lodge in Brunswick, Maine. He would receive a Congressional Medal of Honor in recogni-tion of his courage and heroism at Gettysburg.

While Chamberlain was gallantly defending the southern end of the Union’s fish-hook shaped line, another Mason was desperately trying to overrun the Union army on the opposite end of that line on Culp’s Hill. John Brown Gordon, a successful businessman and lawyer from Georgia, had fought with brilliance throughout the two years prior to Gettys-burg. Gordon had been severely wounded nine-months earlier at the Battle of Anti-etam (September 17, 1862). A bullet hole in his hat had saved him from drowning in his own blood as he lay unconscious on the battle field. Gordon was a man of extraordinary compassion and care—a trait taught at our fraternities holy altars. During Gordon’s attack on the first day, which resulted in the Confederates forcing the Union Army to retreat from their position in the fields north of Gettysburg, Union Brigadier General Francis Barlow was severely wounded. A Confederate bullet paralyzed his arms and legs. When Gordon, in the midst of his attack, saw Barlow, he dismounted, gave Barlow water from his canteen and saw that he was cared for. Another instance where a Mason’s compassion and care for his brother transcended the hostili-ty normally found between enemies. The Battle of Gettysburg was culminated in an attack, the likes of which the world had never seen, nor would ever see again. It was on the atternoon of July 3rd, follow-ing a two-hour cannonade of volcanic pro-portions, that three Confederate Generals, all Virginia Masons, led the attack that has become known as Pickett’s Charge. Cor-rectly named Longstreet’s Assault, Major General George Pickett, Brigadier General James Kemper and Brigadier General Lewis Armistead led their 12,000 men across the mile-long rolling fields to crash against the center of the Union line near the clump of trees that became the “High Water Mark of the Confederacy.”

As the Confederate tide swept closer to the Union line, a sergeant in the 14th Virginia Infantry came upon some Union skirmishers huddled in the tall wheat, who had been cut off from their retreat. The Virginians would have been fully justified in killing the Union soldiers. They were the enemy! But the sergeant recognized a Masonic sign—the sign of distress—thrown by one of the Yankees and ordered his men to pass them by. Wasn’t it fortunate that the Virginia Sergeant, Drewry B. Easley, was a Mason—a member of South Boston Lodge, in Halitax County, Virginia.

Brigadier General Lewis Armistead was the only officer to pierce the Union line. As Armistead crossed the low stone wall that formed the front of the Union defense line, he shouted, “Give ‘em the cold steel boys!” Holding his black hat on the tip of his sword to guide his men, since all his color-bearers had been killed, he led his 150 Vir-ginians amidst the swirling tide of blue-coats. Placing his hand on a hot, smoking Union cannon barrel, he claimed it his, in the name of the Old Dominion. Instantly he was struck by two bullets and fell, giving the sign of distress, “. . . as the son of a widow.” At the same time, Major General Winfield Scott Hancock, the general com-manding the Union troops defending the line at the center of the Confederate attack saw his old friend and Masonic brother fall. Hancock, a member of Charity Lodge in Norristown, Pennsylvania, who was severely wounded at the same time, ordered his chief of staff, Captain Henry Harrison Bingham, a Mason from Philadelphia, to go to Armistead’s aid. Bingham had Armistead taken to the 11th Corps field hospital where he received the best medical care possible. When Armistead died, Hancock saw that his personal belongings were handled according to his wishes. The Armistead-Hancock story is most unusual, especially when you consider that they were, in fact, enemies. But it is not unusual when you consider that they were Masons. Again we witness the power of brotherly-love, care and concern ... transcending the most severe hatred and hostility associated with battle.

The Battle of Gettysburg was fought be-tween 70,000 Confederates and 93,000 Union soldiers. Over 50,000 men became casualties in those three terrible days. The Confederate Army would retreat back into Virginia and the war would continue for another eighteen months.

The war began with shots fired between Masonic brothers. The greatest battle of that war was started with shots fired bet-ween Masonic brothers. How do you sup-pose the war ended?
Come with me, to that chill, damp, Easter Sunday morning on April 9, 1865, in Appomattox, Virginia, when over 112,000 well-fed and well-equipped federal soldiers surrounded the 26,765 starving, ragged Confederates—all that remained of the once invincible Army of Northern Virginia. It was a time for the Yankee’s to shout and cheer! It was a time to celebrate. It was the end of the war—the bloodiest, in American casualties, that the world had ever seen or would ever see again. 618,000 men became casualties. But, the killing years were finally over! No one would have disputed the Yankee’s right to scream, shout and cheer. But when Confederate General John Gordon brought his battle hardened Stonewall Brigade on the field to lay down their guns and furl their tattered flags, Union General Joshua Lawrence Chamberlain ordered his men to give their former enemies a full military salute. It was an honorable and heartfelt act. It was the first act to heal the wounds of a nation and that greeting was given by a Mason! It was an act that uplifted the spirits of every man present. But then what would you have expected? Remember that both Joshua Chamberlain and John Gordon were Masons, representing a brotherhood that was never divided, now dedicated to a nation indivisible.

Let us take pride from the heritage of dedication and heroism demonstrated by our gallant brothers who advanced the principles of freedom, liberty and justice. And let us share that pride with all Americans to the advancement of our fraternity and the good of America.