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The Cross Keys The Monthly Newsletter of Lodge Houstoun St. Johnstone

February 2014

In this issue:

Ancient Penalties WW1 Letter Another Perspective A Little Known Architect History Class Learns Another VC Winner The Shield of Unity

Cross Keys Feb 2014

Walking the Road / Seeking the Light

Number 173

Ancient Penalties You hear Brethren talk of modernising Freemasonry to address the need to attract more suitable and indeed younger members to our ranks if we are to continue as a relevant organisation in 21 st Century society. I would agree entirely with that precept and can see many improvements both at national and local level of the outward face of the Craft and how it contributes to Scottish society. Should this modernisation trend also impact on our rituals which were written for a different time with different social modes? If you trawl the anti-Masonic sites on the Internet, or read any of the myriad of Masonic exposure books, it would appear that one of the main problems those critics have with Masonry is the nature of the obligations taken by a candidate and in particular the penalties supposedly incurred by him should he break his obligation. We have three distinct obligations couched in unfamiliar wording, which can be challenging for a candidate to absorb. Surely these could be shortened and modernised or even condensed into a single obligation.? So, are our current obligations and penalties outdated, obscurely worded and not in tune with modern society or are they an intrinsic part of our ritual that upholds strong links to our past? The three obligations are lengthy pieces of ritual to learn (just ask any RWM or PM!) and contain some archaic phrases that we would never use in everyday speech. When was the last time you used ‚warranted and worshipful; hereby, hereat and hereon; to hele; whereby and whereon; without evasion, equivocation or mental reservation‛. I would guess not since the time you took these obligations yourself or as a master administering the same. There are repetitions between the three obligations which suggest that they could readily be condensed, possibly into one; with plenty of scope to update the tongue twisting phrases to create a more user friendly modern version. Did you know that the Oath of Office taken by the incoming President of the United States is only 35 words long? ‚I do solemnly swear that I will faithfully execute the office of President of the United States and will to the best of my ability, preserve, protect and defend the constitution of the United States‛ The Oath of Allegiance taken by the UK Prime Minister is even shorter. ‚I do swear that I will be faithful and bear true allegiance to Her Majesty Queen Elizabeth, her heirs and successors, according to law. So help me God.” These onerous commitments are short and to the point and consist of words common to everyday speech; however they are used to obligate two of the most powerful persons on the planet to abide by the laws that govern their respective nations. Would the brevity of these two oaths, or obligations, not make us think to shorten ours as administered in each of the three degrees to something akin to them and to remove the archaic phrases that seem irrelevant to modern speech? Why have three obligations at all? We could reduce the three down to one which could be taken by the candidate in the EA degree when he first enters Freemasonry. After all there are duplications between each obligation and we could surely condense all three into a single one that would suffice and be easily understood. Something as simple and straightforward as: I solemnly swear and give my word as my bond That I will never to reveal the secrets of Freemasonry to anyone. That I will abide by the Laws and Constitution of the GLS That I will obey the master and the By-Laws of this Lodge That I will aid and support my fellow Brethren to the best of my ability So help me God.

Cross Keys Feb 2014

Ancient Penalties (ctd) Easy for the candidate to understand, easy for the master to learn – short simple and to the point. If everyone in the Craft stood firm behind these simple commitments many a dispute would have been avoided. However, would that one obligation be too simple, too short and ultimately deprived of all depth of the feeling and commitment that should be imparted to a candidate who we want to be enthralled by its import on him as a newly made Mason? The candidate taking his obligation is the focal part of our ceremonial and for him it marks his progress in Masonry. He takes his first obligation when he is initiated, he takes his second one when he is passed and finally he takes his third when he is raised. These three obligations help the candidate to separate the three degrees one from another and as they are usually taken a month apart (or longer in some cases) they serve to readdress in his mind the common lesson each one contains – his word should be his bond. In my opinion the use of archaic phrases mentioned earlier in this article only help to impress on the candidate the content of each obligation by making him think. If each obligation was reduced to a short two liner, or all three distilled into one as suggested earlier then it would not have the same impression on the candidate. In the majority of cases a candidate will not understand the meaning of a phrase which he has never used before and he is therefore more likely to ask someone to explain its meaning to him and by doing so the message contained in the obligation will be better absorbed by him. We want our candidates to think hard about the meaning of the obligation and to ask questions, after all an enquiring mind is the best way for them to improve their Masonic knowledge. I would argue that if we were to make our obligations shorter and written in a more modern language style they would lose their impact with the candidate who would immediately assume that he fully understood the level of his commitment to Masonry without having to think too hard about what he has just undertaken. By keeping our obligations just the way they are and not modernising the language used, we maintain our links with the past and encourage our candidates to think about and enquire about, the content and meaning of them. When, by asking questions of their proposer or mentor, they fully understand the meaning of their obligation and the commitment it requires, they will be more inclined to abide by it. We should be encouraging enquiring minds so let’s not make it too easy for the candidate to think he is fully cognisant of his obligation after repeating it once! Penalties As we are all aware there are ritual penalties associated with each of the three obligations discussed. The form of these ‚ancient penalties‛ has been the focus of much discussion among masonic detractors and phrases such as ‚blood oaths‛; ridiculous and absurd‛ ‚gruesome penalties‛ and ‚barbaric‛ have been used to describe them. We all know what they are in each degree and I have no intention of delineating them here. If these penalties associated with the respective obligations are so contentious why not drop them from the ritual altogether? Grand Lodge has previously decreed that the ancient penalties be removed from the body of the obligations and only explained to the candidate after they have been taken. Within the obligation itself we rely on the moral penalty invoked – his word should be his bond.

Cross Keys Feb 2014

Ancient Penalties (ctd) We should establish from the outset that these ancient penalties are purely symbolic and form part of the allegorical style of our ritual. None of these penalties have ever been inflicted on any Brother at any time in the history of Freemasonry for breaking his obligation. To think that they have would be absurd. They are used to emphasise to the candidate the importance placed on the obligation he has just taken, while relying entirely on his own moral character to abide by it: our only redress being censure, suspension or expulsion. There are plenty of ex masons breaking their obligation by writing so called exposures and they are still walking about hale and hearty! Why were they not subjected to these ‚gruesome penalties‛ for breaking with their obligation? If the ancient penalties are never to be inflicted why maintain them in our ceremonial? In each degree the signs used at certain points in our ritual are derived from the nature of the penalty associated with a particular degree. If we dropped the ancient penalties and the explanation of them, then these signs would have no real relevance for the candidate who, by their constant use, silently reminds himself of his obligations. Before his obligation is administered to him the candidate is informed that the vows he will take ‚are not incompatible with your moral, your civil or your religious duties.‛ During the obligation he is informed that we rely solely on the ‚moral penalty‛. An honest and upright man will always hold his word as his bond and that is the moral penalty that will guide his actions. However the symbolism contained in the ancient penalties should still hold relevance for him as he progresses through the science. Their use in the ritual working signs of the degrees helps to further emphasise the importance we place on the obligations he has taken. In conclusion I feel that the present form and linguistic structure of our obligations best serves the needs of the Lodge. Their format retains the links with our past Brethren that are so important to us as Freemasons and the use of our archaic phraseology should make the candidate think more about what he has truly undertaken in joining our fraternity. The moving of the ancient penalties from the obligation, their explanation being given after the candidate has completed it, reflect the fact that they never have and never will be used as the ultimate sanction. If we cannot rely on a candidate to uphold his moral commitment to abide by his obligations then we have chosen the wrong man! Modernisation of the external face of Masonry can only help to attract more applicants which will in turn secure the future of the Craft; however it is important to maintain the mystique and symbolism contained in our ritual, which makes us such a fascinating organisation to be part of.

Bro. Ken Blackie (242)

Cross Keys Feb 2014

First World War Letter

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Another Perspective Membership retention is a topic not unique to our own Grand Lodge. Other jurisdictions are also concerned. Retention is the subject of this excerpt from a Masonic newspaper. It provides some thoughts on why our Brothers might not be with us tonight, and encourages them to return to Lodge. Among the suggestions, here are ‚< a few of the most important, leaving the filling up of the outline to the reader himself: ‚1st.Let your Lodge room be comfortable and cheerful, and give it as much of a home character as possible. ‚2nd. Let your furniture and regalia be neat, clean, and appropriate. ‚3rd. Let the intercourse of the members be entirely kind and fraternal. ‚4th. Let the work be at all times illustrated fully and accurately. ‚5th. Let the business be transacted with becoming dispatch and earnestness, and all the members feel themselves interested in whatever in introduced. ‚6th. Let the degrees be conferred with all possible care, without levity or rudeness. ‚7th. Let the exercises of the evening be varied, especially during the winter season, by brief essays and addresses. ‚8th. Indulge frequently in fraternal visits to other Lodges in your vicinity.‛ Source is the Masonic News – of 1872. And although 152 years have passed since the Masonic News published this, the admonitions remain relevant. Cypress Lodge 292 in Naples, Florida published its own much more recent suggestions: ‚We should utilize and respect the skills of our brothers ... Young and old! They need to become interested, involved, empowered and their abilities and opinions respected!

‚Cypress Lodge must be made as attractive as possible, inside and out. We are still the largest and most respected fraternal organization in the world. Let's make certain that visitors and guests are impressed by our surroundings.

Continued over Cross Keys Feb 2014

Another Perspective (ctd) ‚Make our meetings fun, educational, efficient and interesting! We must be respectful of everyone's time. Prospective and existing members have to want to be there... or they will simply spend their precious time elsewhere. ‚We have to become a visible, active part of the community and participants in the organized celebrations and activities that already exist. We should proudly announce our upcoming programs, charitable events and contributions to the greater community and invite other worthy organizations to our events and meetings.‛ Brethren, take a quiet moment and reflect on your own Lodge. Is your Lodge boring? All too many of our Lodges become mired down in administrative and deliberative activities during open Lodge – activities which might be best conducted outside the Lodge, before or after the meeting. Our new Brothers joined for Masonry! We promised them that. If we fail to deliver on our promise, they will go elsewhere to find what they are looking for. Here are a few of my own suggestions:

Open the Lodge on time! Nothing is more boring than standing around waiting, after you have made good effort to be at Lodge at the announced hour of opening.

Conduct the work of the evening BEFORE the administrative work – immediately after opening. Many bored Brothers intentionally arrive late so they do not have to sit through the minutia. After a couple of meetings, they will arrive in a more timely manner so as not to miss the work of the Lodge.

Have an interesting program related to the Craft. An important lecture on tax credits is best left for a lecture outside the Lodge.

Close the Lodge in a timely manner so the Brethren may attend to post-Lodge fraternal functions – or return home, as needed.

Does that sound too simplistic? Sometimes we overlook the obvious. Remember the KISS principle? Keep It Short and Simple.

And KISS applies as well to membership retention.

By William J. Thomas, Deputy Grand Master Grand Lodge of New York

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A Little Known Architect Peter Lyle Barclay Henderson was born in Edinburgh in 1848, son of Barclay Henderson and Mary Lyle. His father was engineer of the Edinburgh Gas Light Company's Works and his parentage probably determined the predominantly industrial nature of his practice. He was educated at Moray House and by private tuition, and in 1863 he was articled to Charles Leadbetter and James W Smith who were civil engineers as well as architects, concurrently studying at Edinburgh School of Art. He commenced independent practice at Oxford Street, Edinburgh in 1873 (according to his nomination papers: Pike gives 1881) and in 1875 married Helen Smart, daughter of James Aikman. He was admitted FRIBA on 3 December 1906, his proposers being Hippolyte Jean Blanc, also a brewer's architect, James Macintyre Henry, and Colin B Cownie, the then secretary of the Edinburgh Architectural Association. Henderson was essentially a brewer's and licensed trade architect with fourteen major clients in that field, but some of his work, particularly Mackay's St Leonard's Brewery, had considerable merit. He took an active part in public life: he was for three years moderator of Edinburgh High Constables and was a member of the Merchant Company, but failed to secure election to the Town Council in 1890. He was 'well known in Masonic circles, having attained to the 31st Degree of Scottish Masonry and been for three years the master of the Lodge of Edinburgh'. In 1899, he won the contract to design a new â&#x20AC;&#x2DC;Egyptianâ&#x20AC;&#x2122; Chapter Room in The Supreme Royal Arch building in Queen Street, Edinburgh (right). Unfortunately, this has since been sold and they share premises in St. John Street, off the Canongate. Henderson died at Colinton on 2 June 1912. His wife had predeceased him; he was survived by a son and four daughters.

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Farmersville, Texas Outdoor Degree

Photos from the recent outdoor degree from Farmersville Masonic Lodge No. 214 in Texas. This is a fairly common event in US masonry and would appear to be well supported by the brethren, particularly if there is also a big BBQ to follow! I wonder if any Scottish lodges have thought of something similar and if their PGL would allow it! Or would we just freeze?

The Thursday Club On Thursday 30th January, the first meeting of the Thursday Club was held in Lodge Craigends No.1042 with over 100 brethren in attendance. An EAD was conferred by Lodge Paisley St. James No.1116. This meeting is for lodges who meet on the same night to have a chance of visiting each other on a month with 5 weeks窶馬ext meeting on 29th May in Neilston with Lodge Craigends conferring a degree.

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From the Columns The lodge once again first footed our friends in Kilbarchan. On Tuesday 7th January, 23 brethren visited the lodge to confer the MMDâ&#x20AC;&#x201D;a splendid turnout. On 9th January, back in our own lodge, the MMD was conferred on Bro. Alistair Morrison by the OBs of the lodge which was witnessed by 76 brethrenâ&#x20AC;&#x201D;again another healthy attendance. On 23rd January, the EAD was conferred on Mr Alistair Griffiths with over 80 signing the book.

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GL News The Overseas, External Affairs and Special Purposes Committee unanimously agreed to recommend to Grand Committee and Grand Lodge that a Charter be granted to brethren in Jordan to form a lodge having the name Lodge Wisdom. And another in Lebanon with the name Lodge Pythagoras.

PGL News Sunday 20th April, 2014—PGL Divine service in Stowe Brae Kirk, 82 Causeyside Street, Paisley. PA1 1YP at 3pm. All brethren welcome—regalia to be worn. Monday 21st April, 2014—PGC in Lodge 458, Busby Monday 28th April, 2014—Tri-Annual Communication of the PGL in Lodge Craigends No.1042 (change to Handbook). Below: Bro. Willie Shannon and George Hill PM with PGL and guests—see P.16

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History Class and Freemasonry Last term, under the direction of Eastern Illinois University history professor Debra A. Reid, an EIU history class has earned kudos for its work in unearthing the background of Masons. According to a press release from the Illinois State Historical Society, history class 4930 researched and created an temporary exhibit housed in the entrance of EIU’s historic Booth Library called ‚Building a Brotherhood: Freemasonry in Central Illinois.‛ For this, the class was awarded a Certificate of Excellence from the ISHS. The students researched the topic, interviewed local Masons, borrowed artifacts and photos from local organizations and the university archives, wrote the script and text blocks and produced an exhibit on eight panels and two display cases that included an brochure and audio-visual elements. The students and their instructor should be commended for their work, said William Furry, ISHS executive director. More than 90 guests gathered at the Executive Mansion in Springfield to recognize the brightest and best interpreters of Prairie State history. Represented were nearly threedozen Illinois authors, museums, exhibit organizers, social studies teachers, students, and individuals who made outstanding contributions toward the promotion, preservation, and study of Illinois history. Former ISHS President Mark W. Sorensen, chair of the awards committee, noted that the program had a record number of entries this year and the competition was stiff. Is there a reason why Scottish university faculties tend to avoid the subject? There must be many unanswered questions in which the Craft could shed some (historical) light on. I suspect over the next 5—15 years, we will see a larger uptake from certain faculties in which they actively seek masonic evidence on their research, some of which can only be obtained from actual lodges. This working between both parties can only have a positive effect on the Craft. On a similar, but much smaller scale, the lodge history book was presented to the Johnstone History Society and many members were delighted that they could do local research as many records 242 have are the only records in the town about certain individuals. I was delighted to visit the lodge in Bellshill many years ago who were able to show me my great grandfather’s signature—possibly the only signature in existence. Perhaps a long way to go in Scotland, but things are moving. PGL Edinburgh are reviewing one of their lodges having students links. Although England has had university lodges for many years, we are beginning to look into this aspect of the Craft. A useful source of revenue since over 90% of the population will soon have some kind of degree unless the recent trend stops.

Cross Keys Feb 2014

A Lesson for Every Mason Along with the current discussions of Freedom, there is one form which, if obtained, will give more happiness than all the others which are offered in the name of security, a word that we have come to associate with our most precious heritage, but which must never be confused with such golden words as Freedom and Liberty. This form of Freedom is "Freedom from Arrogance." No one can grant it. It must be achieved by the individual through an understanding of self, and a desire for self- improvement. We must then see ourselves in relation to all society. Arrogance is a false shield. We use it foolishly to hide something of ourselves, yet it only serves as a crystal through which that very part of us becomes visible. Condescension and inferiority are no part of humility. Humility is the attribute of one who dwells neither on his perfection nor his imperfections. Humility is the art of being natural, of being kind, of being considerate of others. Humility is honesty. Humility makes brotherhood a reality through the understanding of our common faults. Our Masonic Apron teaches us humility. Let us study that lesson of the Apron in order to become "properly clothed." One who attains Freedom from Arrogance is in truth Free. Dewey Wollstein (1953)

February Events in 242

Thursday 13thâ&#x20AC;&#x201D;FC by OBs Thursday 27thâ&#x20AC;&#x201D;MM by OBs The master is hoping to visit the following: 3rd : 1219 4th: 307 11th: 426 17th: 437 or 205 18th: 156 20th 1167

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Another Masonic VC Winner Bro. Sgt William Traynor was so badly hurt during the rescue for which he was awarded the honour that the War Office mistakenly told his wife that he had died in battle. It was after 3 o'clock in the morning on February 6, 1901, when 2,000 enemy Boer soldiers launched a a surprise attack on the British camp at Bothwell in South Africa. They set horses loose to run wild through the camp and disorientate the British, fooling the troops into thinking they were under attack from the cavalry. Many were killed in their beds before they had even dressed to respond to the attack. Twenty-four officers were killed and 53 were badly wounded. But not so Sergeant Traynor. The soldier, of the 2nd battalion West Yorkshire regiment, threw himself out of his trench and into the battle. And when he saw a wounded comrade stranded on the battlefield, he rushed to his aid under heavy enemy fire. He was shot in the leg and chest but carried on - and with the help of a fellow soldier, he managed to drag the wounded man to safety. Officials prematurely sent his wife a telegram informing her that her husband had been killed in action. For gallant action, he was awarded the Victoria Cross. Happily, they were wrong, and Sgt Traynor went on to recover and reunite with his wife. But his army career was over - his injuries were such that they led to him being discharged from the army. Bro. Traynor was initiated into Military Jubilee Lodge No 2195 in February 1919, Passed in March 1919, and Raised in April 1919. He was Master in 1925 and remained a member until his death in 1954. He was a founder of Snargate Lodge No 6770 in November 1948 and also remained a member there until his death. Provincial honours came in 1935 with appointment to Provincial Grand Sword Bearer (Kent). He was the first member of Military Jubilee Lodge to be honoured with Grand Rank as Past Assistant Grand Sword Bearer in 1951. He was exalted into the Holy Royal Arch in January 1920, at the Military Jubilee Chapter No 2195, where he was First Principal in 1927 and 1928. He gained the rank of Provincial Grand Sword Bearer (Kent) in 1934. WBro Traynor had six children in all, and his twin boys joined the army, both reaching the rank of Major in the Royal Engineers. Both also became members of Military Jubilee Lodge. He died on 20th October 1954, at Buckland Hospital. The funeral was held at St Andrews, Buckland, and was attended by a large congregation, including the Mayor, many representatives of the Services and of Veterans and masonic Lodges.

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Qualificationsâ&#x20AC;&#x201D;still applicable

Although written in 1872, I would think so. Masonry has survived the test of time compared to many fraternal organisations so why change some of the qualities which have the Craft alive?

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Honorary Awards Bro. Willie Shannon of Lodge Douglas No.1557 in East Kilbride received Honorary Provincial Grand Senior Deacon at the January Communication of the PGL along with Bro. George Hill PM 1218. Bro. Willie affiliated to Lodge Douglas No 1557 in 1975 from Lodge St. Kentigern No,976. One incident with Bro. Willie was at the 275th Anniversary of Grand Lodge. When leaving, he complete with a ‚Killie‛ pie in his hand asked the Grand Master Mason to sign his programme at the same time informed him he knew his father—needless to say the GMM was delight to sign it. The offices held in Lodge Douglas are as follows:1975-76 Organist 1976-77 Senior Chaplain 1977-78 Inner Guard 1978-79 Junior Deacon 1979-81 Secretary 1981-88 Almoner 1989-90 Substitute Master 2010-11 Tyler 2011-12 Depute Master 2012-current Jeweller Bro. Willie is as active as he was when he joined and has never sought lime light or honours—this current recognition was unexpected, but thoroughly deserving and I’m sure the whole Province wish him well. Bro. Willie is seen below with his brethren from 1557 at the Tri-Annual in January.

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The Shield of Unity

The centennial ceremony The Shield of Unity dramatically portrays the events which culminated in the union of Scottish, English and Irish freemasons in Victoria, Australia under one Grand Lodge. Bro. Robert McGregor (second left) is one of our Cross Keys readers.

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Presentation from West to East Some brethren from Lodge Nitshill No.1478 visited Portobello Lodge No.226 in order to make a presentation on their recent 200th Anniversary. Bro. David Jack PM Sec 1478 presented the plaque to the master which looks superb.

242 ADVERT 242 was 200 years old in 2011 and commissioned a stamp sheet from the Royal Mail ( These are currently available from them at £37 OR from the lodge at £10 (see or email Bro. Grant Macleod). The A4 sheet depicts images of the lodge and is legal tender.

Thought of the Month “To be true, and to seek to find and learn the Truth, are the great objects of every good Mason” Albert Pike, Morals & Dogma Cross Keys Feb 2014

Masonic Notices

From Sept. 1872 Notice the meeting on a Monday night. Would this be more convenient to brethren?

In Memoriam The dead are like the stars by day … withdrawn from mortal eye… yet not extinct that hold their way In glory through the sky… .Spirits of bondage thus set free… .Vanish amidst immensity… While human thought… .Like human sight… .Fail to pursue…. Their trackless flight.

It is with deep sadness and much regret that we have to inform you of a loss sustained to the craft in Renfrewshire in the passing to the Grand Lodge above of the following Brother: Bro. Cross Keys Feb 2014

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Thanks to Bro. Allan Stobo RWM for proof reading.

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Cross Keys Feb 2014

Cross Keys Masonic Magazine February 2014