Thursday, August 31, 2006



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.


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.


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.


As a young man Sarkis H. Nahigian fled Armenia to escape persecution and arrived in the United States in 1890. He worked hard and became a successful businessman in Chicago and a devoted Mason. In 1948 he presented a priceless Oriental rug, 46½ feet long and 29½ feet wide, to the George Washington Masonic Memorial in Alexandria, Virginia. In presenting the gift he said:

"I came to America believing in miracles. I say these words with gratitude, faith and pride. Gratitude -- to the generations of hard-working and God-fearing men and women who came to this new country to make a home for freedom. Faith, in that the democracy they built will never die. Pride, in that my chance has come to show my appreciation for being an American. And believe me when I say there is no finer title, no higher position than to be a citizen of the United States."

"Here we have freedom of thought, freedom of the press, and freedom of speech. One does not appreciate what these freedoms mean until one recalls what it was to be deprived of them. Now, again, in humble spirit, it gives me great pleasure to donate to our beloved George Washington Memorial Building, the largest Persian Royal Meshed carpet I have ever known. I donate this carpet in grateful appreciation of all the unlimited privileges and friendships and support I have enjoyed in this blessed United States of America, and not among the least of these is my privilege of being a Mason."


President Calvin Coolidge had the reputation of being a person of few words. One time while attending a public function he was told by a young lady, "Mr. President, I made a bet that I can get you to say three words." To which he replied, "You lose."

Although not a Mason, he was not stingy with words when he talked about Freemasonry. While Governor of the Bay State, he addresses the Grand Lodge of Massachusetts and said: "It has not been my fortune to know very much about Freemasonry, but I have had the great fortune to know many Freemasons, and I have been able in that way to judge the tree by its fruits. I know of your high ideals. I have seen that you hold your meeting in the presence of the Bible, and I know that men who observe that formality have high sentiments of citizenship, of worth, and of character. That is the strength of our Commonwealth and Nation."

by John Hohenstein, Zerubbabel Lodge #15, Savannah, Georgia

It was a time not long after Fort Sumter and The War of Northern Aggression was well under way. The Yankees, as they are still wont to do, had promptly flocked to Hilton Head and Tybee Islands, the barrier islands on opposite sides of the mouth of the Savannah River. The Savannah Folks didn't mind much that the Yankees had stolen the good beaches, for the water was still a bit cool for Southern preferences and, besides, they knew the gnats and mosquitoes would teach the Yankees a lesson they'd never forget. So, the Southerners, as Southerners are wont to do sometimes, just waited.

They didn't have to wait very long before the Yankees on Hilton Head sent out a messenger under a white flag.

It seemed that the Yankees had among them a young fellow who had passed through the Fellow Craft Degree before shipping out. The Yanks were just sitting around slapping gnats when it occurred to one of them that, just maybe, there was a nearby lodge that could test him in the Fellow Craft Degree and raise him to that of a Master Mason.

As luck would have it, there was indeed a lodge in Savannah that would soon be having a Masters Degree.

One morning, not too many days later, a detail of Confederate Cavalry slipped across the Savannah River into South Carolina and traveled through Bluffton to the shore opposite Hilton Head Island.

From there they escorted one Fellow Craft Mason and, I believe, a number of Master Masons of the Northern Persuasion, safely through the Confederate Lines and back through about 35 miles of Confederate defenses to Savannah where the candidate and his witnesses were delivered into the lodge.

The records note that this Brother was indeed proficient in the Fellow Craft Degree and he was raised to the Degree of a Master Mason.

That night another detail of Confederate Cavalry, no doubt Brothers to a man, slipped back across the Savannah River and safely escorted their Brothers back to Hilton Head.

Anyway, I have loved this story since the first time I heard it. It clearly demonstrates that, at the darkest period in our Nation's history, when brothers were killing brothers, Brothers could still be Brothers.


Wednesday, August 30, 2006


The Cable-Tow, we are told, is purely Masonic in its meaning and use. It is so defined in the dictionary, but not always accurately, which shows that we ought not depend upon the ordinary dictionary for the truth about Masonic terms. Masonry has its own vocabulary and uses it in its own ways. Nor can our words always be defined for the benefit of the profane.

Even in Masonic lore the word cable-tow varies in form and use. In an early pamphlet by Pritard, issued in 1730, and meant to be an exposure of Masonry, the cable-tow is a called a “Cable-Rope,” and in another edition a “Tow-Line.” The same word “Tow-Line” is used in a pamphlet called “A Defense of Masonry,” written, it is believed, by Anderson as a reply to Pritchard about the same time. In neither pamphlet is the word used in exactly the form and sense in which it is used today; and in a note Pritchard, wishing to make everything Masonic absurd, explains it as meaning “The Roof of the Mouth!” In English lodges, the Cable-Tow, like the hoodwink, is used only in the first degree, and has no symbolical meaning at all, apparently.

In American lodges it is used in all three degrees, and has almost too many meanings. Some of our American teachers - Pike among them - see no meaning in the cable-tow beyond its obvious use in leading an initiate into the lodge, and the possible use of withdrawing him from it should he be unwilling or unworthy to advance.

To some of us this non-symbolical idea and use of the cable-tow is very strange, in view of what Masonry is in general, and particularly in its ceremonies of initiation. For Masonry is a chamber of imagery. The whole Lodge is a symbol. Every object, every act is symbolical. The whole fits together into a system of symbolism by which Masonry veils, and yet reveals, the truth it seeks to teach to such as have eyes to see and are ready to receive it.

As far back as we can go in the history of initiation, we find the cable-two, or something like it, used very much as it is used in a Masonic Lodge today. No matter what the origin and form of the word as we employ it may be - whether from the Hebrew “Khabel,” or the Dutch “cabel,” both meaning a rope - the fact is the same. In India, in Egypt and in most of the ancient Mysteries, a cord or cable was used in the same way and for the same purpose.

In the meaning, so far as we can make it out, seems to have been some kind of pledge - a vow in which a man pledged his life. Even outside initiatory rites we find it employed, as, for example, in a striking scene recorded in the Bible (I Kings 20:31,32), the description of which is almost Masonic. The King of Syria, Ben-hada, had been defeated in battle by the King of Israel and his servants are making a plea for his life. They approach the King of Israel “with ropes upon their heads,” and speak of his “Brother, Ben-hadad.” Why did they wear ropes, or nouses, on their heads?

Evidently to symbolize a pledge of some sort, given in a Lodge or otherwise, between the two Kings, of which they wished to remind the King of Israel. The King of Israel asked: “Is he yet alive? He is my brother.” Then we read that the servants of the Syrian King watched to see if the King of Israel made any sign, and, catching his sign, they brought the captive King of Syria before him. Not only was the life of the King of Syria spared, but a new pledge was made between the two men.

The cable-tow, then, is the outward and visible symbol of a vow in which a man has pledged his life, or has pledged himself to save another life at the risk of his own. Its length and strength are measured by the ability of the man to fulfill his obligation and his sense of the moral sanctity of his obligation - a test, that is, both of his capacity and of his character.

If a lodge is a symbol of the world, and initiation is our birth into the world of Masonry, the cable-tow is not unlike the cord which unites a child to its mother at birth; and so it is usually interpreted. Just as the physical cord, when cut, is replaced by a tie of love and obligation between mother and child, so, in one of the most impressive moments of initiation, the cable-tow is removed, because the brother, by his oath at the Altar of Obligation, is bound by a tie stronger than any physical cable. What before was an outward physical restraint has become a inward moral constraint. That is to say, force is replaced by love - outer authority by inner obligation - and that is the secret of security and the only basis of brotherhood.

The cable-tow is the sign of the pledge of the life of a man. As in his oath he agrees to forfeit his life if his vow is violated, so, positively, he pledges his life to the service of the Craft. He agrees to go to the aid of a Brother, using all his power in his behalf, “if within the length of his cable-tow,” which means, if within the reach of his power. How strange that any one should fail to see symbolical meaning in the cable-tow. It is, indeed, the great symbol of the mystic tie which Masonry spins and weaves between men, making them Brothers and helpers one of another.

But, let us remember that a cable-tow has two ends. If it binds a Mason to the Fraternity, by the same fact it binds the Fraternity to each man in it. The one obligation needs to be emphasized as much as the other. Happily, in our day we are beginning to see the other side of the obligation - that the Fraternity is under vows to its members to guide, instruct and train them for the effective service of the Craft and of humanity. Control, obedience, direction or guidance - these are the three meanings of the cable-tow, as it is interpreted by the best insight of the Craft.

Of course, by Control we do not mean that Masonry commands us in the same sense that it uses force. Not at all. Masonry rules men as beauty rules an artist, as love rules a lover. It does not drive; it draws. It controls us, shapes us through its human touch and its moral nobility. By the same method, by the same power it wins obedience and gives guidance and direction to our lives. At the Altar we take vows to follow and obey its high principles and ideals; and Masonic vows are not empty obligations - they are vows in which a man pledges his life and his sacred honor.

The old writers define the length of a cable-tow, which they sometimes call a “cables length,” variously. Some say it is seven hundred and twenty feet, or twice the measure of a circle. Others say that the length of the cable-tow is three miles. But such figures are merely symbolical, since in one man it may be three miles and in another it may easily be three thousand miles - or to the end of the earth. For each Mason the cable-tow reaches as far as his moral principles go and his material conditions will allow. Of that distance each must be his own judge, and indeed each does pass judgment upon himself accordingly, by his own acts in aid of others.


Tuesday, August 29, 2006


The disastrous attack by Japan against the United States at Pearl Harbor on December 7, 1941, resulted in some Masonic connections.

Henry C. Clausen, later to become the Sovereign Grand Commander of the Supreme Council, Scottish Rite, Southern Jurisdiction of the U.S., was assigned in 1944 by the U.S. Secretary of War, Henry L. Stimson, to conduct one of the many investigations of the Pearl Harbor attack in 1941. (Lodge of the Double Headed Eagle, by William L. Fox, pages 321-322). He conducted his extensive investigation during 1944 and 1945, while he was in the Judge Advocate General's Corps of the U.S. Army, a Major and then Lieutenant Colonel.

Fox said that Clausen "concluded it was absurd to assume any complicity on the part of President Roosevelt or General George C. Marshall" for the Pearl Harbor attack, but instead Clausen blamed communications problems and an unworkable system of military intelligence. (Conspiracy theorists might say that Clausen, the Freemason, found that Roosevelt and Marshall, also Freemasons, were not to blame.)

In the book At Dawn We Slept: The Untold Story of Pearl Harbor, by Gordon W. Prange, which is the most extensive book about the attack, the author refers to Clausen's appointment to investigate the Pearl Harbor attack saying that Stimson "had an excellent eye for a good man and could recognize efficiency when he saw it." He also says: "Clausen's judicious gaze reflected the astute lawyer which he was. Something in his eyes also revealed a touch of the mystic, a quality which led him to become a deeply committed Freemason of the thirty-third Degree." (page 668)

In Clausen's own book about his Pearl Harbor investigation, Pearl Harbor: Final Judgement, with Bruce Lee, published in 1992, shortly before his death, Clausen mentioned Freemasonry several times.

At pages 56-57 he wrote: "So I called upon Harry Truman and met him for the first time. He was cooperative, but stiffer and more formal than I had expected. . . . he didn't respond with any enthusiasm. Then I told him: "When you were the Grand Master of the Masons in Missouri, I was Grand Orator of the Masonic Grand Lodge of California." Hearing this, Truman literally jumped up from his chair, came around the desk and began shaking my hand vigorously. "You'll have my complete cooperation, Henry," he promised, and he immediately began to put his words into action."

At page 149 he wrote:
". . . MacArthur asked me some personal questions. I told him that when the war began, I had been the Grand Orator of the Masonic Grand Lodge of California, and I congratulated him, as I later did President Truman, on being made a thirty-third-degree Scottish Rite Mason.
"He kept me in his office for nearly another hour, talking about how to expand in the Far East the moral principles of Freemasonry. Every dictator in history has tried to put the Masons out of business because they believe in freedom. MacArthur was positive that Hitler had poisoned the minds of the Japanese against the Masonic Order for this very reason, and that was why even the Constitution of Japan forbade anyone from joining the order. MacArthur promised me that if and when he got to Japan, he was going to make sure that provision was eliminated from any future Constitution. He did, too.

"'Since we're talking in this fashion,' I said, 'may I tell you about the plight of some Masonic people in Manila? . . . Would there be any objection, General, to my using the military mail to send over some implements that are used to start up the Masonic Lodge, items such as rods, Bibles and so forth?' 'Absolutely not,' MacArthur said. 'I'm a Mason. My G-2, Willoughby, is a Mason. We'll make the arrangements for you.'

"Well, Willoughby went overboard. He told me to send anything I wanted. . . . MacArthur was also instrumental in getting confiscated property in Manila and Japan returned to the Masons, and the Order has had the basis to flourish in both places and inculcate the spiritual values MacArthur recommended."

Perhaps because of these comments, in Scapegoats: A Defense of Kimmel and Short at Pearl Harbor, by Edward L. Beach, the author, a retired U.S. Navy Captain, said that Clausen's book particularly faulted Admiral Kimmel and General Short for what happened at Pearl Harbor and other U.S. areas in December 1941, and layed qualified blame on President Roosevelt. (page 149)

"Significantly, he places no fault on either General Marshall or General MacArthur but took pleasure insofar as General MacArthur was concerned in the fortuitous fact that he and MacArthur were both thirty-second degree Masons. As he explains it, this fact itself exonerates MacArthur of any fault."


Monday, August 28, 2006


By W:. Patrick Bellotti, P.M.

Today I would like to go off topic a bit and show you some differences between life today versus 100 years ago. My intention is to display how society differed back then and in some way connect the changes with the challenges that not only Masonry but all fraternal organizations face today. Life is definitely not the same and I feel it is Masonry's job to keep seeking the formula to retain and increase Masonic membership.

I have listed below differences in everyday life in 1905 versus todays hectic pace of 2006. Here are some amazing statistics regarding the population of the United States in 1906.

The average life expectancy in the U.S. was 47 years old.
Only 14 percent of the homes in the U.S. had a bathtub.
Only 8 percent of the homes had a telephone. A three-minute call from Denver to New York City cost eleven dollars.
There were only 8,000 cars in the U.S., and only 144 miles of paved roads.
The maximum speed limit in most cities was 10 mph.
Alabama, Mississippi, Iowa, and Tennessee were each more heavily populated than California. With a mere 1.4 million people, California was only the 21st most populous state in the Union. The tallest structure in the world was the Eiffel Tower!
The average wage in the U.S. was 22 Cents per hour.
The average U.S. worker made between $200 and $400 per year .
A competent accountant could expect to earn $2000 per year, a dentist made $2,500 per year, a veterinarian $1,500 per year, and a mechanical engineer about $5,000 per year.
More than 95 percent of all births in the U.S. took place at HOME.
Ninety percent of all U.S. doctors had NO COLLEGE EDUCATION! Instead, they attended so-called medical schools, many of which were condemned in the press AND the government as "substandard."
Sugar cost four cents a pound.
Eggs were fourteen cents a dozen.
Coffee was fifteen cents a pound.
Most women only washed their hair once a month, and used borax or egg yolks for shampoo. Canada passed a law that prohibited poor people from entering into their country for any reason.

Five leading causes of death in the U.S. were: 1. Pneumonia and influenza 2. Tuberculosis 3. Diarrhea 4. Heart disease 5. Stroke
The American flag had 45 stars. Arizona, Oklahoma, New Mexico, Hawaii, and Alaska hadn't been admitted to the Union yet.
The population of Las Vegas, Nevada, was only 30!!!!
Crossword puzzles, canned beer, and ice tea hadn't been invented yet.

There was no Mother's Day or Father's Day.
Two out of every 10 U.S. adults couldn't read or write.
Only 6 percent of all Americans had graduated from high school.
Marijuana, heroin, and morphine were all available over the counter at the local corner drugstores.
Back then pharmacists said, "Heroin clears the complexion, gives buoyancy to the mind, regulates the stomach and bowels, and is, in fact, a perfect guardian of health." ( Shocking? ) There were about 230 reported Murders in the ENTIRE U.S.A. !

Today as I write this blog, I sent these statistics to you and others all over the United States, possibly the world, in a matter of just Seconds !.. You can see that life was sure different and our brotherhood has work to do to retain and increase membership as so much can be done from home and news and information can be obtained by hitting a few keys on the computer. We have to show that Masonry is more, much more to men who possess the values and ideals that make Masonry what it is.

The bottom line is that Masonry is a gift unto itself and those who already know that enjoy the rewards and benefits of what Masonry can accomplish. Our goal in 2006 is to embrace those who seek more light regarding our fraternity and to make sure they get the right information and true aim of what Masonry is all about and not what they may read or hear by people who use the modern tools to spread misinformation regarding our craft.

In closing although 2B1ASK1 is our motto, once asked, it is our duty to make sure potential candidates get all information and assistance to enter the craft. In todays world, if they don't get true guidance by the Brothers, they may turn to the modern conveniences and get misinformation and erroneous direction. We, as Masons must make sure that doesn't happen.


Sunday, August 27, 2006


Andy Griffith Show

Off to Hollywood. Andy goes to California to see his story, "Sheriff Without a Gun," being filmed. He mentions visiting his cousin who is the Grand Master that year. Andy Griffith, Ronny Howard, Frances Bavier, George Lindsey, Aneta Corsaut, Howard McNear. Written by Bill Idelson and Sam Bobrick Directed by Alan Rafkin. Season 6: 1965-66 Episode 166 (C).
Aunt Bee and the Lecturer Aunt Bee catches the eye of Professor Hubert St. John, a visiting lecturer. Some of the others are suspicious but Andy reassures them because, among other qualities, "the man is a mason." Written by: Michael Morris and Seaman Jacobs Directed by: Lee Phillips. Andy Griffith, Frances Bavier, Ronny Howard. Season 8: 1967-68 Episode 230 (229) (C). [Also see non-masonic fraternal references.]


In an episode entitled Veil of Death an evil wizard and King Zaad meet within a cavelike structure. The wizard speaks of the first phase of Mars, and the morning star born on the solstice. Immediately after, an aged square and compasses symbol can be seen on the wall above the right shoulder of the wizard.


Episode 8, "Lonnigan, Texas". A carney named Phineas Boffo wears a Knights Templar ring, mentioning that it is his lodge ring. Carnival owner, Samson, carries a money clip with the same red cross emblem on a black and white quartered background. HBO. 2003/11/10. Episode 9 includes someone attempting psychometry on a key fob while above him on the stage decorations are several symbols including a skull and crossbones and the all-seeing eye. They also visit a meeting of "the Benevolent Order of Templars." On their promotional website a sidebar "Carnivale Fact" notes: "Some experts claim that the Freemasons continue the traditions and mysteries of the Knights Templar, whose Order was founded in the 11th century to protect Christian pilgrims visiting the Holy Land."


"Requiem For A Falling Star." A Shriner’s ring is used to expose the murderer [01:05:55]. Peter Falk, Anne Baxter, Mel Ferrer. Season 2, Episode 5. Director: Richard Quine, written by: Jackson Gillis. January 21, 1973. [unconfirmed] * (Also see Dagger of the mind.)

The District

Episode 29: To Serve And Protect (20.10.01) Craig T. Nelson’s character, Chief Jack Mannion is seen wearing a masonic ring. (CBS) Producers: James Chory, Rob Corn, Denise Di Novi (executive), Terry George (executive), Lynn Marie Latham (executive), Craig T. Nelson (consulting) Cast: Craig T. Nelson, Lynne Thigpen, Jayne Brook, John Amos, Sean Patrick Thomas, Justin Theroux, Roger Aaron Brown, Michelle Forbes [unconfirmed]

Harvey Birdman - Attorney at Law

Episode 24, Season 3. "Bird Girl of Guantanamole" (8/14/2005) 1960s Hanna-Barbera cartoon character, Morocco Mole, is on trial, charged with being an enemy combatant. When accused of being Muslim, another character replies, "He’s not Muslim." When asked, "Then why the fez?" the reply is, "Shriner...3rd Degree...Clown Division." Written by Erik Richter, Michael Ouweleen. Director: Richard Ferguson Hull. Voices: Maurice LaMarche, Peter MacNicol, Paget Brewster, Bill Farmer.

Hill Street Blues

Michael Conrad (16 October 1925/10/16 - 1983/11/22) played Sgt. Philip Freemason Esterhaus for the first four seasons of this award winning show. His character was a kindly man, displaying a deep caring attitude towards the men and women in the squad; represented most forcibly by the admonition which he usesd as he dispersed the officers each day to go about their duties. As they leave, suddenly he breaks their movement by shouting the words, "Hey! Let’s be careful out there." Daniel J. Travanti, Veronica Hamil. 60 min. (Police drama) Jan. 15, 1981 to May 12, 1987. *

In the Heat of the Night

Non-mason, Carrol O'Conner, as Chief Gillespie wears a masonic ring on his left hand in at least one episode. Starring Carrol O'Connor [1922/08/02 - 2001/06/21].


Mail Call Three February 6, 1978. Written by Everett Greenbaum and Jim Fritzell. Directed by Charles Dubin. Radar (Gary Burghoff) tells Hawkeye (Alan Alda) that his mother’s new boyfriend "is a third degree mason" who takes her to the masonic lodge for bingo on Fridays.


In Season two, episode 14, the Millennium Group is revealed to be masonic. In Episode 2.16, when the "Old Man" is buried the Elder opens a wooden case and takes out a navigator’s compass which he drops into the grave. *


Mr. James tries to win a court case on the merits, but is losing, so he says a masonic word and the judge immediately says he wins his case. [unconfirmed]

The O.C.

The Way We Were.Marissa Cooper, played by Mischa Barton, wears what appears to be a square and compasses pendant. Marissa is described as "one of the few 'nice' characters amongst the spoiled and narcissistic teen population of Newport Beach." Her father, Jimmy Cooper, played by Tate Donovan, is described as a "corporate criminal". The O.C., FOX network series, Season 2, episode 2. (29) (11/11/2004) Director, Executive Producer, Doug Liman. Directed by Michael Lange, written by Allan Heinberg. The O.C. premiered 5 August 2003.

The Rockford Files

In this warm-hearted, detective drama, actor Noah Berry, Jr. (1913/08/10 -1994/11/1), as Joseph 'Rocky' Rockford, made several references to his attending lodge meetings. A Public Arts Roy Huggins Production in association with Cherokee Productions and Universal. Created by Roy Huggins and Stephen J. Cannell. September 13, 1974 - July 25, 1980 NBC (Crime Drama) 123 60 min. episodes + 9 TV movies. James Garner, Noah Beery Jr., Joe Santos, Stuart Margolin. [unconfirmed]

Rumpole of the Bailey

Martin Fisk plays Dave Anstey, who has been set up by his employer Freddie Allbright, played by Tony Caunter. Allbright, who is identified as a freemason, is later shown to be having an affair with Anstey's wife, and to have paid for a violent attack on another employee.
Dave Anstey : He'd even bought Mrs. Allbright a gift."
Horace Rumpole : "What was that?"
"It was an evening bag, very nice, very nice. For his ladies' night down at the masons." [00:06:40]
The Case of Identity. Episode 9, Season 2 (6/5/1979) Written by John Mortimer, directed by Derek Bennett. Jonathan Coy (Henry), Peggy Thorpe-Bates (Hilda Rumpole (1978-1983)), Peter Bowles (Guthrie Featherstone), Leo McKern (Horace Rumpole), Julian Curry (Claude Erskine-Brown), Richard Murdoch (Uncle Tom), Patricia Hodge (Phyllida Trant) , Tony Caunter (Freddie Allbright), Donald Eccles (Mr Justice Vosper), Stephanie Fayerman (Jennifer), Martin Fisk (Dave Anstey), Chris Gannon (Paddy O'Neil), Caroline Holdaway (Angela), Robert McBain (Joseph Truscott), Seretta Wilson (Betty Anstey)

The Simpsons

Episode 43, Season 2 (2-21) Three Men and a Comic Book, Written by Jeff Martin. Directed by Wes Archer. Original airdate: 1991/05/09. Mayor 'Diamond' Jim Quimby opens the 12th annual "Close Encounter of the Comic Book Kind" Convention by announcing: "Well, have fun and be sure to clear out by six for the Shriners." [00:03:21] Later, as Bart leaves, the Shriners can be seen arriving [00:06:43]. Production Code 7F21 *
Episode 91, Season 5 (5-10) $pringfield, Written by Bill Oakley, Josh Weinstein. Directed by Wes Archer. Original airdate: 1993/12/16. In one scene germs on Smithers' face sing out "Freemasons run the country" [00:13:10] while in an earlier scene a garbled reference is made to the Pythagorean formula for right angle triangles. Production Code 1F08 *
Episode 115, Season 6 (6-12) Homer the Great. Written by John Swartzwelder. Directed by Jim Reardon. Guest Starring Patrick Stewart as the voice of Number One. Original airdate 1995/01/08. Homer joins the Stonecutters, a secret fraternity.
Grampa: "I'm an Elk, a Mason, a communist; I'm the president of the Gay and Lesbian Alliance for some reason... ah here it is, the Stonecutters." [00:06:55]. Production Code 2F09.

This is your Life

Created by Ralph Edwards in the late 1940s, the show used a simple format of surprising an unsuspecting individual and informing them that "This is your life," then the subject watches their life unfold before them for the next 30 minutes. This episode featured Laurel and Hardy in the first and only time that the comedy team appeared live on television in the United States. One anecdote involves a pre-1927 movie that Oliver Hardy made in Jacksonville where his performance as a drunk was reported to his lodge who brought him up on charges, thinking he had actually been drunk. [unconfirmed]
Host, Ralph Edwards. Announcer, Bob Warren. Director: Richard Gottlieb, Axel Gruenberg. Guests: Margaret O'Connor Arata, Vivian Blaine, Lois Brooks, Bernard Delphont, Warren Doane, Frank Fouce, Oliver Hardy, Althea Miller Horne, Virginia Lucille Jones, Ida Kitaeva Lois Laurel, Stan Laurel, Leo McCarey, Roland Park, Hal Roach Jr., Ben Shipman. 30 min, USA, English, Black and White, Mono. Original Air Date: 1 December 1954.


(May, 2002) In a television advertisement created by Foote, Cone & Belding, a listing of life’s greatest mysteries ends with "... and Freemasonry."


Saturday, August 26, 2006


The cornerstone of the Capitol Building of the United Stated of America was laid with Masonic Honors on September 18, 1793. As the site was located within the Masonic jurisdiction of the Grand Lodge of Maryland, the ceremony was conducted under the auspices of that Grand Lodge with Rt. Wor. Joseph Clark as Grand Master pro tem. Wor. Brother and President George Washington presided over the ceremony, in which he was assisted by Rt. Wor. Brother Clark of Maryland, Wor. Brother Elisha C. Dick, Master of his home lodge, Alexandria Lodge No. 22 of Virginia, as well as Wor. Brother Valentine Reintzel, Master of Lodge No. 9 of Maryland (now Potomac Lodge No. 5 of the District of Columbia).

Both the silver Trowel and marble Gavel used by George Washington in laying the cornerstone were crafted especially for the occasion by Brother John Duffey, a silversmith of Alexandria who was a member of Fredericksburg Lodge No. 4. The trowel has a silver blade, silver shank, ivory handle and a silver cap on the end of the handle. In addition to the Trowel and Gavel, Brother Duffey crafted Masonic working tools of walnut for use in the ceremony. At the conclusion of the ceremony, President Washington presented the Gavel to the Master of Lodge No. 9 and the Trowel to the Master of Alexandria Lodge No. 22.

The inscription on the trowel was engraved on the underside of the blade sometime after 1805 and reads as follows:

"This Trowell, the property of Alexandria-Washington Lodge No. 22 A.F.& A.M. was used by General George Washington September 18, 1793 to lay the corner stone of the Capitol of the United States of America at Washington, D.C."

After the Capitol Cornerstone ceremony, we find no mention of the Trowel's use until 1816, when it helped lay the cornerstone of Mechanics' Hall on Alfred Street in Alexandria.

Subsequently, the Trowel was used by Alexandria-Washington Lodge for special cornerstone ceremonies, and demand became heavier during the first half of the twentieth century.
Alexandria-Washington Lodge looks on the Washington Trowel as one of its most prized possessions. Today, it is on public display in a special case in the Alexandria-Washington Replica Lodge Room in the George Washington Masonic National Memorial.

In addition to the above, cornerstone layings in which Alexandria-Washington Lodge participated and the Washington Trowel was used have included:

Saint Paul's Church, Alexandria (1817)
Smithsonian Institution, Washington, (1847)
Washington National Monument (1848)
George Washington Equestrian Statue, Richmond (1850)
Fireman's Monument at Ivy Hill Cemetery, Alexandria (1856)
Alexandria Hospital (Old, downtown Alexandria--not Seminary Road)
George Washington Park, Alexandria (1909)
Alexandria High School (1915)
Detroit Masonic Temple
House of the Temple, Scottish Rite, Washington
Masonic Temple, Grand Lodge of D.C., Washington
(Now the Museum of Women in the Arts)
Scottish Rite Temple, Kansas City, Mo.
High School, Salina, Kansas
U.S. Supreme Court, Washington
National Cathedral, Washington
Library of Congress, Washington
Alexandria Post Office and Custom House
George Washington Masonic National Memorial (1923)
U.S. Dept. of Commerce, by President Hoover
National Education Building, Washington (1930)
U.S. Post Office Building, Washington, by President Hoover (1932)
Department of Labor Building, by Grand Lodge of D.C. (1932)
Department of Interior Building by Presidnet Roosevelt (not Masonic)(1936)
Emmanuel Episcopal Church, Braddock Heights, Alexandria, Va.
George Washington High School, Alexandria
Thomas Jefferson Memorial, Washington (1939)
Fredericksburg Lodge # 4, Addition (1951)
Mary Washington College Fine Arts Building, Fredericksburg, (1951)
State Department Building, Washington (1957)
Mount Vernon Methodist Church (1958)
U.S. Capitol East Extension (1959)
Scottish Rite Temple, Alexandria (1959)
Elmer Timberman Lodge #54, Annandale, Virginia (1960)
James Monroe Memorial Law Library, Fredericksburg, Va. (1961)

Since the Replica Trowel was made, the Washington Trowel has been used only once in a cornerstone ceremony. This was for the 200th anniversary re-enactment of cornerstone laying of U.S. Capitol, in Washington, D.C. on September 18, 1993. Sponsored by the Grand Lodge of the District of Columbia, this event was attended by Masons from all over the United States.

As can be noted from the preceding list, the Washington Trowel was in demand for cornerstones of many important buildings. It was observed that the surface had become scratched from mortar, and in the 1960's, the Lodge, concerned about this wear and tear decided to have a Replica Trowel crafted.

Bro. George E. Olifer, an accomplished artist in precious metals and later Worsipful Master of the Lodge, was commissioned by the Lodge to replicate the Trowel as closely as possible. In each and every aspect except one, Wor. Olifer's handiwork is totally indistinguishable from the original. He marked the Replica with his own very small jewelers mark so that the replica can be identified, provided one knows where to look. His mark is in the same location on the Replica as John Duffy placed his mark on the original Trowel in 1793.

Since the late 1960's the Replica Trowel has been used whenever the Lodge is requested to lay a cornerstone or to provide the Trowel for display at a special event. The 200th anniversary re-enactment of the U.S. Capitol Cornerstone ceremony in September of 1993 was the one exception to this rule.

Some cornerstone events within the more recent past, in which the Replica Trowel has participated include:

Cornerstone of New Health Care Facility, Masonic Home at Bonnie Blink, Cockeysville, Md.,
Grand Lodge of Maryland (1981)
Re-enactment of Cornerstone Laying of Almas Shrine Temple Washington, D.C., Grand Lodge of D.C. (1986)
200th Anniversary Re-enactment of First Cornerstone of Federal District, Jones Point, Alexandria,
Virginia, Alexandria-Washington Lodge No. 22 (1991)
200th Anniversary Re-enactment of Cornerstone Laying of White House, Washington, D.C., Grand Lodge of D.C. (1992)
Cornerstone for Reconstruction of Washington Grist Mill Perryopolis, Pa., Grand Lodge of Pennsylvania, (1992)
Cornerstone of American Red Cross Chapter Building Alexandria, Virginia, Alexandria-Washington Lodge No. 22 (1995)
Cornerstone of Rural Electric Co-Op Association Building, Arlington, Virginia, Alexandria-Washington Lodge No. 22 (1995)
Re-enactment of Cornerstone Laying of Alexandria Academy, Alexandria, Virginia, Alexandria-Washington Lodge No. 22 (1995)
Cornerstone of Charles A Brigham, Jr. Masonic Temple, Madisonville- Madiera Lodge No. 419, Symmes Township, Ohio, Grand Lodge of Ohio, (1996)
Prepared April 3, 1998 by Wor. Bro. Frank Rosser Dunaway, Jr., PM, Alexandria -Washington Lodge#22.

The Trowel is the property of Alexandria Washington Lodge #22 and is currently on display in the Replica Lodge Room of the Memorial.


Friday, August 25, 2006


Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart was twenty-eight years of age when, in the autumn of 1784, he joined a Masonic Lodge. As a pianist, little Wolfgang had been an infant prodigy, exhibited by his father throughout Europe, but he was now a recognized and admired composer living in Vienna. The very year of his initiation his first great opera, The Marriage of Figaro, had been produced in Paris. This was, however, before the days of copyright law and the earnings of genius were meager.

During the eighteenth century, Freemasonry in Vienna had a political as well as a benevolent side. It counted as its members many highly placed politicians and ecclesiastics whose ideal was the regeneration of humanity by moral means. It was hated by the Catholic Church and certain despotic political authorities who deemed it dangerous, both to religion and the well being of the state. The Church, however, even as today in certain Latin countries, did not consider it expedient to challenge high-placed per sons nominally its members but also of the Fraternity.

The Empress Maria Theresa had been one who was opposed to Masonry and, in 1743, had ordered a Viennese Lodge raided, forcing its Master and her husband, Francis I, to make his escape by a secret staircase. The Emperor Joseph II (1780-90) was favourably inclined to the Fraternity, although the clergy did their best to get the Lodges suppressed.

Such was the Masonic milieu when Wolfgang Mozart became a Master Mason. He must have been greatly moved and inspired by his experience. Almost immediately he composed his Freemason’s Funeral Music and his music for the opening and closing of a Lodge. He now composed his opera, Don Giovanni, and his three great symphonies - the E flat, the G minor and the C major, as well as a great number of concertos and chamber-music works.

His last great opera, The Magic Flute, opened in Vienna on the evening of September 30, 1791. Mozart conducted the first two performances, when he was overtaken by his last illness. He lingered on while the opera had an unprecedented run of more than one hundred consecutive performances. It is said that in his sick bed, watch in hand, he would follow in imagination the performance of The Magic Flute in the theatre. Then he died after its 67th performance.

The Magic Flute makes no mention of Freemasonry as such, but it has always been accepted as a Masonic opera. Musicians assert that even the music has much Craft significance, beginning in the overture with its three solemn chords in the brass.

In keeping with the fashion of the time, the plot is half-serious, half-comic, a fantasy of magic and mystery laid in a never-never land called Egypt. It depicts the ancient mysteries and presents much Craft symbolism. To the Viennese of that day, The Queen of the, Night was clearly the unfriendly Empress Maria Theresa; the good Sarasto was Ignas von Born, an eminent scientist and Masonic leader; the hero Tamino was the good Emperor Joseph and the heroine Pamina, the Austrian people themselves.

The first program credited the libretto to the actor-producer, Schikaneder, but it is now thought that it was written by Giesceke, the friend and intimate of Goethe and Schiller, who probably desired to remain anonymous for political reasons.

The opera has remained popular through the years and is included in the present repertoire of the Metropolitan Opera Company.


Thursday, August 24, 2006


An old man lay sick in the Masonic State Home
His face was as white as the White Sea foam.
His eyes were dim; his hair was gray.
His back was bent with the toils of the way.
He unflatteringly spoke, and I heard him say,
I'm ready for my last degree.

I've come to the end of that level of time
That leads us all on to that Grand Lodge sublime.
From whose sacred form none ever returns.
More light in Masonry there I shall learn
By an altar where light ever more burns
I'm ready for my last degree.

With the apprentice's gauge I divided my time
And this I have found amidst life's' great turmoil:
Time for work, for worship and rest from my toil
My wages are due in corn, wine and oil-
I'm ready for my last degree.

Each day from life's quarries I've hewn out a stone,
With the gavel I've shaped them each one alone
And shipped them alone beyond that bright strand
To build me a house in that bright better land.
A spiritual house not made by hands-
I'm ready for my last degree.

I've squared each stone by the virtue square
And plumbed them all true as I shipped them there.
With the compass, I've measured the Master's Designs
And kept in the due bounds with his points and his lines.
My blueprints are folded-I've answer his signs
I'm ready for my last degree.

A few moments later the old man was dead
And I fancy I could see his soul as it fled
Upward and onward to that great door where he gave his alarm
And a voice did implore
The old man made answer with these words once more:
I'm ready for my last degree.

That night in a lodge free from strife and from storm
He took his last Degree-his last in due form
So may I live as to build day by day
A spiritual house in that land far away
So when I meet my Grand Master I can say,
I'm ready for my last degree.


Tuesday, August 22, 2006


Many of us may think of religion when we think of ritual, but ritual is used in every aspect of life. It's so much a part of us that we just don't notice it. Ritual simply means that some things are done more or less the same way each time.

Almost all school assemblies, for example, start with the principal or some other official calling for the attention of the group. Then the group is led in the Pledge of Allegiance. A school choir or the entire group may sing the school song. That's a ritual.

Almost all business meetings of every sort call the group to order, have a reading of the minutes of the last meeting, deal with old business, then with new business. That's a ritual.

Most groups use Robert's Rules of Order to conduct a meeting. That's probably the best-known book of ritual in the world.

There are social rituals which tell us how to meet people (we shake hands), how to join a conversation (we wait for a pause, and then speak), how to buy tickets to a concert (we wait in line and don't push in ahead of those who were there first). There are literally hundreds of examples, and they are all rituals.

Masonry uses a ritual because it's an effective way to teach important ideas -- the values we've talked about earlier. And it reminds us where we are, just as the ritual of a business meeting reminds people where they are and what they are supposed to be doing.

Masonry's ritual is very rich because it is so old. It has developed over centuries to contain some beautiful language and ideas expressed in symbols. But there's nothing unusual in using ritual. All of us do it every day.


Sunday, August 20, 2006


This was sent to me from W:. Paul Davis and thought it was great. If you have any noteworthy information or news, please send it to me and I will be glad to enter it here - Editor.

Red Skelton - The Pledge of Allegiance
From the Red Skelton Hour, January 14, 1969

Getting back to school, I remember a teacher that I had. Now I only went, I went through the seventh grade. I left home when I was 10 years old because I was hungry. (laughter) And .. this is true. I worked in the summer and went to school in the winter. But, I had this one teacher, he was the principal of the Harrison school, in Vincennes, Indiana. To me, this was the greatest teacher, a real sage of..of my time, anyhow.
He had such wisdom. We were all reciting the Pledge of Allegiance one day, and he walked over. This little old teacher ... Mr. Lasswell was his name. He said:

"I've been listening to you boys and girls recite the Pledge of Allegiance all semester and it seems as though it is becoming monotonous to you. If I may, may I recite it and try to explain to you the meaning of each word?

I - me, an individual, a committee of one.

Pledge - dedicate all of my worldly goods to give without self-pity.

Allegiance - my love and my devotion.

To the Flag[of the] - our standard, Old Glory, a symbol of freedom. Wherever she waves, there's respect because your loyalty has given her a dignity that shouts freedom is everybody's job.

United - that means that we have all come together.

States [of America] - individual communities that have united into 48 great states. 48 individual communities with pride and dignity and purpose, all divided with imaginary boundaries, yet united to a common purpose, and that's love for country.

and to the RepublicFor Which It Stands - Republic ... a state in which sovereign power is invested in representatives chosen by the people to govern. And government is the people and it's from the people to the leaders, not from the leaders to the people.

One Nation - One Nation ... meaning, so blessed by God.

Indivisible - incapable of being divided.

With Liberty - which is freedom, the right of power to live one's own life, without threats, fear, or some sort of retaliation.

And Justice - the principle or qualities of dealing fairly with others.

For All - For all ... which means, boys and girls, it's as much your country as it is mine.


Saturday, August 19, 2006

Learning the Work

"It seems to me," began the New Brother, offering a cigar to the Old Tiler, "that we make unnecessary demands on a candidate."

"Thanks," answered the Old Tiler. "Such as what, for instance?"

"A candidate who has received the Entered Apprentice degree must perfect himself in it before he gets his Fellowcraft. After he is a Fellowcraft he must learn that ritual before he can become a Master Mason. I can see the reason why all brethren must understand them and be able to tell about degrees, but I don't see why we must learn word for word and letter for letter. Last meeting we turned back a young fellow because he had not learned his Entered Apprentice degree. If he didn't learn it because he didn't want to he wasn't worth having, but it seems he just couldn't. Refusing him was an injustice. He's only one-third a Mason, and not likely to get any farther."

"You sure think of a lot of things Masonic to find fault with!" countered the Old Tiler. "But we would get along faster if you didn't mix your questions."

"How do you mean, mix them?"

"In one breath you want to know why Masonry requires learning degrees by heart, and don't I think it was an injustice to a certain young fellow because we wouldn't admit him to full membership when he couldn't or didn't, only you don't think it an injustice but a righteousness if he could and didn't. You agree that one of the safeguards of Masonry which keep it pure is what we call the ancient landmarks?"

"I agree."

"And you know one of the landmarks is that Masonry is secret?"

"Of course."

"If we printed the work would it be secret?"

"Certainly not. But you don't have to print it."

"No? But if we can't print it and won't learn it, how are we to give it to our sons?"


The New Brother saw a great light. "We all learn the work and so know when mistakes are made and correct them in the workers, and our sons hear the same work we did and learn it and transmit it. But wouldn't it be enough if only a few men learned the work- those well qualified and with good memories? How would that do?"

"It is good Masonry and good Americanism that the majority rules. Masonry is not a despotism but a democracy. If a favored few were the custodians of the work would not the favored few soon become the rulers of Masonry, just as the favored few have always ruled the lazy, the ignorant, and the stupid?"

"If that happened we'd just put them out of office."

"And put in men who didn't know the work? Then what becomes of your landmark?"

"You are too many for me," laughed the New Brother. "I guess there is a reason why we have to learn the work. But I still think we might make an occasional exception when a man just can't memorize."

"If you read the Bible, you know that a little leaven leavens the whole lump. One bad egg will spoil an omelette. The man who won't learn is not fit to be a Mason, since he is not willing to tread the path all his brethren have trod. The man who can't learn the work hasn't control enough of his brain to enable him to appreciate Masonic blessings. This is no question of education. A brother of this lodge has had so little education that he barely reads and write. His grammar is fearful and his knowledge of science so full of things that are not so that it is funny when it isn't pathetic. But he is a good Mason for all that, and bright as a dollar at learning the work. It's only the stupid, the lazy, the indifferent and dull-witted, the selfish and foolish man who can't learn or won't learn Masonry. They add nothing to it; it is better they are kept out. To make an exception merely would be to leaven our lump with sour leaven."

"But, Old Tiler, many who learned it once have forgotten it now."

"Of course they have! You can't do a quadratic equation or tell me the principle cities in Greenland, or bound Poland, or do a Latin declination. You learned it and forgot it. But you had the mental training. If I told you a quadratic was worked with an adding machine, that Poland was in china, or that hocus-pocus meant Caesar's lives, you'd know I was wrong. Same way with ritual; leaning it is Masonic training, and though we often forget it we never lose it entirely, and through the whole of us it is preserved to posterity."

"Oh, all right! I learned mine, any way. Have another cigar, won't you?"

"Thanks," answered the Old Tiler. "You have learned rather well, I'll admit, that I like your cigars!"


Thursday, August 17, 2006


When I was a young man, a long time ago,
The secrets of Masonry I wanted to know.
Of a Mason I asked what those secrets might be.
He replied,"First, we talk, then we will see.
"A petition he granted and ordered it filled
To be read at a meeting and a judgment be willed.
Then questions I answered about God and home;
Of habits and friends; a wife or alone.
In time I was summoned - a date to appear
Before an assembly of men gathered near.
I entered the building and looked up the stair;
Does pleasure or pain await me up there?
A hazing by paddle, taunting by joke?
My petition accepted or maybe revoked?
Introductions and handshakes welcomed me there
And lessons symbolic, an aid to prepare
For a journey in darkness, a predestined plight
To a Holy of Holies, the source of all light.
How well I remember what I heard someone say,
"To enter God's Kingdom there is but one way;
Be ye naked and blind, penniless and poor;
These you must suffer 'fore entering that door.
The journey ahead is not yours to know,
But trust in your God wherever you go.
"Then assurance from the darkness whispered tenderly,
"My Friend, be not afraid; TAKE MY HAND; FOLLOW ME."
With nervous attention a path I then trod;
A pathway in darkness to the altar of God.
With cable-tow and hoodwink, on bare bended knee,
A covenant was made there between God and me.
Charges and promises were made there that night.
Dispelling the darkness and bringing me light.
Mid lightening and thunder and Brethren on row!
Cast off the darkness! And cast off the tow!
In the company of men, a man you must be,
Moral in character, the whole world to see.
Trust in your God, promise daily anew
To be honest and upright in all things you do.
Each man is a brother in charity to share
With those suffering hunger, pain or despair.
The widow and orphan and brother in pain
Depend on your mercy their welfare to gain.
The secrets of Brethren keep only in mind.
To the ladies of Brethren be noble and kind.
Go now, my brother, your journey's begun
Your wages await you when your journey is done.
That journey I started, Oh, so long ago
And I've learned of those things I wanted to know.
I've learned of the secrets, not secret at all,
But hidden in knowledge within Masons' hall.
Childhood yields to manhood, manhood yields to age,
Ignorance yields to knowledge, knowledge yields to sage.
I've lived all my life the best that I could,
Knowing full well how a good Mason should.
I know of those times when I slipped and then fell.
What's right and what's wrong were not easy to tell.
But a trust in my God and a true brother's hand.
Helped raise me up and allowed me to stand.
I've strode down the old path, Masonically worn
By all Mason's raised for the Masons unborn.
But this tired old body, once young and so bold,
Now suffers the afflictions of having grown old.
The almond tree's flourished; the grinders are few.
The housekeepers tremble; desires fail too.
The locusts are a burden; fears are in the way.
The golden bowl is breaking, a little every day.
Mine eyes are again darkened, my sight again to fail;
I sense the Master's presence mid my family's silent wail.
I've laid aside my working tools, my day is nearly done.
For long I've played the game of life; the game's no longer fun.
Life's pathway ends before me. I see what's meant for me;
An acacia plant is growing where a beehive used to be.
The Ethereal Lodge has summoned from beyond the wailing wall
And I vowed that I must answer when summoned by a call.
Again I stand bewildered at the bottom of the stair
In nervous apprehension of what awaits me there.
Once again, and now alone, I stand without the door.
With faltering hand, I slowly knock as once I did before.
I pray again to hear those words, whispered tenderly,
"My son, be not afraid. TAKE MY HAND; FOLLOW ME.".

Wednesday, August 16, 2006


The answer to that question is simple. No. We do use ritual in the meetings, and because there is always an altar or table with the Volume of the Sacred Law open if a lodge is meeting, some people have confused Masonry with a religion, but it is not.

That does not mean that religion plays no part in Masonry -- it plays a very important part. A person who wants to become a Mason must have a belief in God. No atheist can ever become a Mason. Meetings open with prayer, and a Mason is taught, as one of the first lessons of Masonry, that one should pray for divine counsel and guidance before starting an important undertaking. But that does not make Masonry a "religion."

Sometimes people confuse Masonry with a religion because we call some Masonic buildings "temples." But we use the word in the same sense that Justice Oliver Wendell Holmes called the Supreme Court a "Temple of Justice" and because a Masonic lodge is a symbol of the Temple of Solomon. Neither Masonry nor the Supreme Court is a religion just because its members meet in a "temple."

In some ways, the relationship between Masonry and religion is like the relationship between the Parent-Teacher Association (the P.T.A.) and education. Members of the P.T.A. believe in the importance of education.

They support it.

They assert that no man or woman can be a complete and whole individual or live up to his or her full potential without education.

They encourage students to stay in school and parents to be involved with the education of their children.

They may give scholarships.

They encourage their members to get involved with and support their individual schools.

But there are some things P.T.A.s do not do. They don't teach. They don't tell people which school to attend. They don't try to tell people what they should study or what their major should be.

In much the same way, Masons believe in the importance of religion. Masonry encourages every Mason to be active in the religion and church of his own choice. Masonry teaches that, without religion, a man is alone and lost, and that without religion, he can never reach his full potential.

But Freemasonry does not tell a person which religion he should practice or how he should practice it. That is between the individual and God. That is the function of his house of worship, not his fraternity. And Masonry is a fraternity, not a religion.


Tuesday, August 15, 2006


It really isn't "secretive," although it sometimes has that reputation. Masons certainly don't make a secret of the fact that they are members of the fraternity. We wear rings, lapel pins and tie tacks with Masonic emblems like the Square and Compasses, the best known of Masonic signs which, logically, recalls the fraternity's roots in stonemasonry. Masonic buildings are clearly marked, and are usually listed in the phone book. Lodge activities are not secret picnics and other events are even listed in the newspapers, especially in smaller towns. Many lodges have answering machines which give the upcoming lodge activities. But there are some Masonic secrets, and they fall into two categories.

The first are the ways in which a man can identify himself as a Mason -- grips and passwords. We keep those private for obvious reasons. It is not at all unknown for unscrupulous people to try to pass themselves off as Masons in order to get assistance under false pretenses.

The second group is harder to describe, but they are the ones Masons usually mean if we talk about "Masonic secrets." They are secrets because they literally can't be talked about, can't be put into words. They are the changes that happen to a man when he really accepts responsibility for his own life and, at the same time, truly decides that his real happiness is in helping others.

It's a wonderful feeling, but it's something you simply can't explain to another person. That's why we sometimes say that Masonic secrets cannot ( rather than "may not") be told. Try telling someone exactly what you feel when you see a beautiful sunset, or when you hear music, like the national anthem, which suddenly stirs old memories, and you'll understand what we mean.

"Secret societies" became very popular in America in the late 1800s and early 1900s. There were literally hundreds of them, and most people belonged to two or three. Many of them were modeled on Masonry, and made a great point of having many "secrets." And Masonry got ranked with them. But if Masonry is a secret society, it's the worst-kept secret in town.


Monday, August 14, 2006

Blue Lodge Masonry

Freemasonry as we know it today came into being in the early 1700’s, when the first Grand Lodge of England was formed. Masonry prior to that time was a guild or union of stoneworkers, who practiced their trade throughout England and Europe, and were responsible for the beautiful cathedrals and public buildings throughout the continent. Whole masonic families lived and died during the construction of each of those buildings, some of which took over a century to build.

The term “Freemason” arose because these builders were not bound to a single Lord, Earl, Duke, or King, but instead worked under a contract, and when finished, were free to leave the country to take on another project. As this was a very prestigious fraternity, the gentry of the time applied for membership, and were “accepted”, whence originated the “Accepted” part of our Free and Accepted Masons. As time went by, more and more speculative Masons were accepted, and the actual building of massive structures declined, till around 1717, the majority of Freemasons were as we are today, builders of men and minds, instead of impressive edifices, and the first Grand Lodge of England was formed.

This discourse is designed to give you a brief introduction to the Craft and the mainstay of Freemasonry, the “Blue Lodge”, or symbolic lodge, as it is more properly known. Every Mason belonging to any Masonic body begins in a symbolic lodge, where he receives the first three degrees in Masonry. These are known, respectively, as the Entered Apprentice, Fellowcraft and Master Masons Degrees. Some refer to them as the 1st, 2nd and 3rd Degrees. I find those terms disagreeable, for to my knowledge, there are no rubber hoses, men in trench coats in darkened rooms or other forms of persuasion where a 3rd degree may be imposed upon one. Instead, only the most profound ritual and symbolism characterizes our degrees, designed to open the eyes and mind to a higher ideal. A person desiring admittance into our Fraternity must, of his own free will, approach a Master Mason and request a petition, which he must fill out in his own hand, and have it signed by two Masons who have known him for over a year. This oft-times is difficult, because some of us are so afraid of divulging secrets we don’t let it be known we are Masons. This is not as it should be, and gives rise to a subject for a whole evenings speech, but be that as it may, the non-Mason should have his signed petition submitted to a Lodge, where it is read at a regular meeting. A committee is formed to call on the prospect to determine his motives and acceptability. Their report is returned one month hence, when the petition is brought up for action. If the ballot by the members present is 100% in favor of the applicant, he is so informed and then informed of the time to appear for his Entered Apprentice degree. A single black ball in the ballot box is sufficient to prevent the prospect from being accepted, whence originated the term “Black Ball”.

Masonry is a closed society, not open to the general public, but rather to persons of like persuasions and ideals. While no two people are alike, they can share a common belief in the brotherhood of man and in ONE who we in Masonry refer to as the Supreme Architect of the Universe. The tenets of Masonry are Brotherhood, Relief and Truth. We espouse all men being equal, regardless of their worldly wealth or position, and attempt to relieve our fellow man’s woes and tribulations, again regardless of membership in the Fraternity. We also practice the virtue of Truth. This may be the hardest of all, because it is often easier to tell a “little white lie” than to confront one with the truth. I have been guilty, and expect to be so again, but every time I tell a “little white lie”, I think perhaps I’m not really doing that someone a favor.

Masonry is the oldest Fraternity in the world. Even though there are those who claim it is a false religion and heretic in nature, I, as a Christian, find nothing in Freemasonry contradictory with my Bible or beliefs. Some religions claim we as Freemasons worship the Devil, and require our members to make blood oaths. Neither is true. Our oaths, or obligations, as we call them, are purely symbolic in nature, to impress on the candidate the seriousness of our ceremonies and teachings. They are never to be taken literally. The only real penalties ever imposed in Masonry are those of reprimand, suspension and expulsion, depending on the severity of the offense. Masonry requires every applicant to profess a belief in Deity. No meeting of Masons can begin without the Holy Bible open on the Altar, and a prayer to the Almighty being made.

The ritual practiced by the symbolic lodge is called York Rite, and follows into the Royal Arch Chapter, thence into the Commandry. On the other side of the coin is the Scottish Rite, which opens another door of Masonry.

This has in no way intended to be an all-inclusive discourse, but merely a few words to perhaps pique your interest, and generate a few questions which we may be able to answer this evening.

In closing, Masonry is a brotherhood extending throughout the world, and never is a Mason truly alone while the Fraternity exists.


Saturday, August 12, 2006


Freemasonry is the science by which morality is taught through the visible symbols and instructive traditions associated with the erection of King Solomon's Temple some 3,000 years ago. Like every science and permanent institution, Freemasonry is built on certain conceded principles. These include a belief in the one living and true God, a revelation of His Will, the resurrection of the body, and the immortality of the soul. When we say, "one God," we refer to the supreme and benevolent being in which a man places his ultimate trust. We are a nondenominational institution accepting men of all faiths. Freemasonry is however, supportive of every religion believing in one God. It denies to no man his particular theological or secular beliefs, but rather complements those beliefs.

Without an expressed belief in these principles, no man can ever become a Freemason. Acceptance of the Fatherhood of God is the very foundation of the Masonic Institution. From the Fatherhood of God logically flows the Brotherhood of Man.

The Masonic Fraternity stands before the world today, not merely as a marvelous monument of antiquity, but older, larger, and more widely spread than almost any other human institution, having maintained for so many centuries the essentials of its primary organization. It has long outlived the circumstances which gave it birth. The necessities which called Freemasonry into being have long ago ceased to exist. Originally a company of stonemasons and builders whose monuments of rare skill now adorn almost every part of the old world, the hand of time has brought those operative labors to a close. But the everlasting principles upon which our Beloved Ancient Craft was founded are as intact today as when they emerged from the very shadows of history. Since its founding, dynasties have come and gone, nations have been born and buried, and countless orders and societies have been organized and passed into obscurity. Our Order has maintained its ancient organization, teaching its lessons of love, peace on earth, good will toward men, and is today a great and strong organization. It is true that our Fraternity no longer has cathedrals and monuments of stone to build, but it has even more noble work to perform than ever before.

Freemasonry is a broad system of ethics, a science of human duties, and a system of morals accepted by all religions as essential to human excellence based upon the recognition of Divine Truth, that mankind has a common origin and a common destiny; that God is the Creator and Father of all of us. Out of that relationship with Deity grows the Brotherhood of Man. Freemasonry's great purpose is to intensify that relationship. Freemasonry teaches love, faith, and duty; unites man in the strong embrace of fraternal fellowship, and induces emulation of who can best work and best agree. Freemasonry thus becomes a school wherein are taught not only the virtues, but the useful lessons of everyday life.

The Temple of King Solomon signifies to us the Temple of our bodies, that is, our Inner Spiritual Temple. The tools and implements used in the building of Solomon's Temple signify to us the cultivation of the virtues to be practiced in the erection of the inner spiritual temple of man. The traditions associated with Solomon's Temple serve as worthy examples for our imitation, and inspire in us a love of what is good and true.

Freemasonry teaches us that the most important part of life lies in the discharge of our duties toward God and our fellow man. That eminent patron of Freemasonry, St. John the Evangelist, so old that he had to be carried in the arms of his friends into an assembly of children, lifted himself up and said, "Little children, love one another." When asked, "Have you nothing else to tell us?" he replied, "I say this again and again, because if you do this, nothing more is needed." That is the foundation of Freemasonry.

Freemasonry is not a mere pastime; nor a mere amusement. It is an active, living principle. Its ritual, its symbolism, and its drama are not empty ceremonies. They serve to exemplify and impart important truths for mankind. Freemasonry adapts its theories, its ethical thought and its teachings to the practical relations of life.

There are no dogmas in Freemasonry. Its so called "secrecy" is confined to simple means of communication and methods of recognition. Its tenets are universally approved. What Freemasonry condemns no good man upholds. The essence of Freemasonry is character. A man is what he does. The Mason's life and worth is not measured by wealth, fame, or fortune, but by faithful, consistent, and unselfish service. In like manner, the measure and worth of any institution is the effect it has upon the individual and society.

What has Freemasonry given to mankind and society? It helped pave the way for freedom of speech. It has ever been the enemy of any power that suppressed free thought and the enslavement of the mind. It rejects bigotry, superstition, and persecution of all types; and the ignorance and fanaticism that invented instruments of torture and deprivation. It points out to man that free thought and free speech, and the study of the sciences, are necessary for mankind's mental and intellectual emancipation; that the study of nature brings man's soul nearer to his Creator; and that knowledge drives out ignorance and superstition. It has taught mankind that, after he has emancipated himself from the vices that tyrannize and oppress, he must learn to govern himself wisely by practicing the Cardinal Virtues of Freemasonry: Temperance, Fortitude, Prudence, and Justice.

Man is a social creature. As such, our nature compels us to seek the companionship of others. We, therefore, see our Brothers and their families, animated by the same noble purpose, meeting in the Lodge where they can feel the hearty touch of the hand, hear words of inspiration and encouragement, and enjoy the pleasure, entertainment, and fellowship of this time-honored institution. While gathered in assemblies, we confer our ceremonial degrees, provide relief to the indigent, assistance to the worthy, and administer systems of care to those who are less fortunate.

Freemasonry is all of this and much, much more. Beneath and beyond all of these is the deep, permanent passion for the betterment of the Brotherhood of Man. Freemasonry, ever supportive of religion, benevolence, and morality, places before man the incentives to goodness through the contemplation of the Holy Principles of Divine Truth.

The tenets of our Ancient Order are Brotherly Love, Relief and Truth-and first among them is Brotherly Love. It is the very cement which holds together the social edifice of this world. No one can measure the extent of human sympathy or brotherly love, but we know it to be one of the mightiest social forces of all time, and that without it, life would be a merciless and cruel existence. We know that when there is an unselfish love in the hearts of men, the better nature within each of us responds in kind. It is this kindly spirit of brotherhood, the gentle touch of the hand, and the sympathetic word that brings forth a harvest of good deeds, noble thoughts, and the highest aspirations of mankind.

Freemasonry has ever been the patron of learning. Its votaries long ago discovered that ignorance was the cause of nearly all of the evils and dangerous environments that afflict humanity; that education dispelled this evil, set free the victims of its influence, and put a smile where terror and despair had planted sorrow. In its unending efforts to eliminate such human afflictions, Freemasonry has perhaps performed its greatest labor, in helping to break down the walls of religious hatred and intolerance that for too long divided men into opposing sects and hostile camps. The great religious ecumenical councils of today, and the religious tolerance and mutual understanding they endeavor to convey, have been the foundation and practice of Freemasonry since time immemorial. The Freemason is thus prepared through ceremonies, ritual and moral lessons to undertake his Grand Mission to teach, by precept and example, all that is beautiful and useful in this life.

After all of the great lectures on philosophy have been delivered, when the wisest statesmen shall have done their utmost to alleviate what is harsh and cruel in social conditions, and science shall have unraveled the mysteries of the universe, there will still be the necessity for a kindly smile, a helping hand, a cup of water, and a quiet word of encouragement. It is because Freemasonry has ever given the cup of water, extended a hand to one who has fallen, and spoken words of comfort and cheer, that millions of good men of every religion and culture, and from every comer of the world have knelt at its altar.

It is these same men, Brothers in spirit and deed, with eyes uplifted and hearts responsive to the needs of those who are journeying through life with them, that form the Masonic Fraternity throughout the world. It is the good and true men of this Brotherhood that live with the great satisfaction which comes only from relieving suffering, dispensing happiness, and to aid the unification of mankind.

The structure of Freemasonry includes many organizations which we call our "Masonic Family." Just to name a few; Masonic organizations include (in part) the Blue Lodges, the Scottish and York Rite, and the Ancient Arabic Order of the Nobles of the Mystic Shrine. Ladies organizations include the Order of the Eastern Star, and the Amaranth, with membership open to men who are ' Freemasons. Youth organizations include Job's Daughters and Rainbow for Girls for young women, and the Order of DeMolay for young men.

Each of these organizations has its own unique ceremonies, and supports charitable and philanthropic causes. Every day the Masonic Family is responsible for contributing, literally, millions of dollars in charitable donations, and thousands of volunteer hours to worthwhile causes of every kind.

This, my Brethren, is Freemasonry. May it live on, through us, for countless ages, and may we be ever worthy to spread Masonic Light for the generations yet to come. To these, our principal beliefs and poetic truths, we say as our forefathers did before us:

So Mote It Be


Friday, August 11, 2006



In our fast paced world, where pressures on time become greater and greater, there are all too-few times when fathers can share quality time with their sons.

You probably have memories of those moments of sharing when the pace of living was a bit slower. Perhaps your father taught you to drive, or hunt, or fish. Maybe you have a memory of a spring afternoon when the two of you went out into the yard and threw a baseball back and forth or a little league game where you were on a team he helped to coach.

As boys grow into men, unfortunately the sharing opportunities grow even more rare.

As a young adult, you move out of the family home, establish a life and family of your own. There are fewer and fewer chances to share things with your father. Differences in age and changing times mean communication sometimes grow even more difficult.

But there's one thing you can always share with your father, no matter how much time or how many miles may separate you.


At the turn of the century, almost every man's father was a Mason. As was his father before him. And his before that. This tradition can be traced all the way back to the Middle Ages.
It was only natural; every man wanted to pass his wisdom, his knowledge, his experience, his good reputation on to his son. And Masonry was one of his most treasured experiences.
It was easier back then. We all lived in the same house, or at least in the same town. Leaving town for a new job was an uncommon opportunity. The family was closer. Fewer things got in the way of family traditions.

By the middle of this century, as the pace of life quickened and families moved apart, centuries-old traditions were stretched, often to the breaking point.

If your father is a Mason, he may not have talked much with you about the Fraternity. Many fathers are not sure what they can say, or how to say it. If you ask, you will probably find that not only your father but your grandfather and your uncles are or were Freemasons. So why didn't they ask you to join?

One thing is for sure, not because they don't want to share their love of the Fraternity with you or that they weren't very, very hopeful you would join. There's a strong tradition in the Fraternity that we don't ask people to join.

You have to ask to join.

It's part of a Mason's obligation that he can't ask you to become a member. In keeping this promise to the Fraternity, sometimes that gets carried a little too far.

This practice of not speaking about Freemasonry is really more tradition than any attempt to keep anyone from learning about Freemasonry. Masons once treated Masonry as a secret society - it was the popular thing to do. The secrets were simply ritualistic, of course, but it did mean that a man had to learn about Masonry by growing up with it. Fathers seldom talked directly with their sons about it.

But it's a rare Mason who does not hope in his heart that his sons will join the Craft
You see, there's a special bonding among Masons - a special feeling which comes from having shared the same deeply moving experiences, honouring the same ideals of truth and charity and brotherly love. It's a good feeling, and when that feeling is added to those which naturally exist between father and son - well, those of us who have been there can tell you there's nothing like it!

And that's true of Masons who move from one town to another and for those who don't visit a lodge for years at a time. Masonry isn't something which happens in the lodge - it happens in the heart.

That's why the tradition of joining Freemasonry runs so strongly in millions of families.
Unfortunately, in these modern ties, there's often a time or communication's gap between father and son that's hard to bridge. Many fathers find it hard to be with and to talk to their sons, much as they would like to. Freemasonry bridges that gap by bringing fathers and sons together in the Fraternity and through shared experiences and shared values.

A family's involvement in Freemasonry can go beyond the father-to-son relationship.There are Masonic youth organizations for the children including opportunities for both boys and girls. These organizations offer Masonic values designed to support the strong family values parents should have already instilled in their children. They offer special programs that focus on the needs of youth including social, athletic and self awareness programs.

There are organizations for adult women including Eastern Star - a world class organization for women to which Masons may also be members.

But Freemasonry is foremost a Fraternity for men. As a result, every father hopes the day will come when he will stand with his son just as his father stood with him as he was welcomed into the Craft.

Talk to your father about becoming a Mason. Ask him what the Fraternity has meant to him and what you will be able to give and get by belonging and being active in Freemasonry.

He'll be happy to get you a petition. Or surprise him; find another Mason submit the petition,
and then let your father know what night you're to receive the First Degree.

It's something for the whole family.


Wednesday, August 09, 2006


By Ernest Borgnine, 33
Member, Abingdon Lodge #48, Virginia

(From The Scottish Rite Journal)

In 1946, 1 traveled with a friend down to a little town called Abingdon, Virginia, to see what the Barter Theater had to offer. It offered nothing except hard work and board. My friend, not accepting the work they offered him, stayed one day - I stayed five years. In that time I grew to love the town and all it offered. The people, in particular, were simply marvelous.

Occasionally I would be assigned to go down to the printing shop and get posters made for the upcoming shows at the Barter Theater. One day, in talking to the owner of the print shop, one Elmo Vaughan, I found that he belonged to the local Masonic Lodge, No.48, in Abingdon. My father was also a Mason and had advanced to the Thirty-second Degree in Scottish Rite Masonry, and I told this to Elmo. He was pleased, and sensing his pleasure, I asked him if maybe I could join. He said nothing, continuing his work, and a short while later, I took my posters and left.

The next time I saw Elmo, I asked him again about joining the Masonic Order - again he said nothing - and again my work took me away. We became good friends and finally one day I passed by and again I asked if I could join the Masons. Instantly, he whipped out an application and I hurriedly filled it out. I didn't learn 'til later, that in those days, you had to ask three times.

I was thrilled! Not only was I going to be the first actor ever in Lodge No. 48, but I could just imagine my father's surprise when I would spring the old greetings on him! I wanted only to surprise my Dad - and was I surprised, when after I was made an Entered Apprentice, I found I had to remember everything that happened to me at that event and come back and answer questions about it!

I was assigned to a dear old man of about 92 years of age who, I felt, must have been there when the Lodge first started. He was really of the old school - and he started me out with the foot-to-foot, knee-to-knee and mouth-to-ear routine of teaching.

Besides doing my work for the Barter Theater and a little acting toboot, I was also going to that dear Brother for my work in Masonry.I would tramp all over those lovely hills and work on my "Whence came you's" and one day - oh, one fine day - I stood foot-to-foot with my Brother and answered every question perfectly! I was ecstatic! I was overjoyed and couldn't wait to get to Lodge to show my ability as an Entered Apprentice.

After I quieted down, that dear Brother said, "You've done fine, but aren't you really only half started?" I couldn't believe him! I knew my work; what else was there? He said "Wouldn't it be better if you knew all the questions too?

"I couldn't believe my ears! All that hard work and only half done? He gently sat me down foot-to-foot, knee-to-knee and mouth-to-ear and taught me all the questions. That didn't come easy, because I was almost doing the work by rote, but with careful listening and by really applying myself, I was soon able to deliver all the questions and answers perfectly! The night that I stood in front ofthe Lodge and was asked if I were ready to answer the questions of an Entered Apprentice, I respectfully asked if I could do both -questions and answers. I was granted that wish and later found that I was the second man in my Lodge to have ever done so! I am truly proud of that, never having demitted, I am still a member in good standing in Abingdon Lodge No. 48.

I tell this story not for the merit it might gain me, but to tell you that learning the Entered Apprentice obligation taught me a great lesson in acting as well: that before I ever attempt to do a part I should work, rehearse, feel, almost live that part to know what I am talking about!

As I've advanced in Masonry, I have found we are an elite group of people who believe in God, country, family and neighbors. We work hard to help our fellow man; and through our charitable work, such as support for the Childhood Language Disorders Centers, we have made it possible to help many children grow Into good American citizens. We should always be proud of the Order we belong to.Where in all the world do you find so many great men and Brothers who have helped the whole wide world? But - we are hiding our light under a bushel basket!

Recently I attended a dinner for a friend, and I ran across a Brother who identified himself in a hushed voice. I asked why he spoke in a whisper when talking about Masonry, and suddenly I realized he wasn't the only one who had ever done that. I speak out loud about Masonry to everyone! I'm proud of the fact that I belong to an organization that made me a better American, Christian,husband and neighbor; and all it took was a little self-determination by going foot-to-foot, knee-to-knee, and mouth-to-ear!


Tuesday, August 08, 2006