Rising Point Volume 23. Issue 2 •
• SPRING/SUMMER 2011
What exactly is “More Light” in Masonry? By Robert Blackburn
SPRING 2011 Made In Michigan
From the Parthenon to the Capitol 10
By Leo Operti
WELCOME TO SPRING/SUMMER 2011
For those of you who are new to this publication, we hope you enjoy what you see and come back. Suggestions and opinions are welcome.
Volume 23. Issue 2 - SPRING/SUMMER 2011
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From the Parthenon to the Capitol
What exactly is “More Light” in Masonry?
Why Hitler Hates and Fears Freemasonry
Social Security and Freemasonry Fundamental Principles of Public Finance
Reading Masons and Masons who do not read
The Working Tools
The Power of the worshipful Master
The Intellectual Qualifications of Candidates
The Book Reviews
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From the Parthenon To the Capitol By Wor. Bro. Leo Operti
The genesis of this presentation occurred in November 2008 while looking up towards the Parthenon on the Athenian Acropolis, just as you see in the photo listening to a very knowledgeable guide and thinking that on that occasion that I was not going to attack the 90 plus steps to the top. Looking up, the Parthenon (photo #3) appeared as a tiara on the brow of a noble lady and a burgeoning but incomplete idea began to take shape in the shadows of my mind. Serendipity would have it that later that evening I would read the last chapter of a book that I had taken along, ‘Solomon’s Power Brokers’ by Christopher Knight and Alan Butler, to which I am indebted for parts of this presentation for therein laid “ the rest of the story” which rounded off the idea that had begun to form in my mind. Let me tell you a little about Athens tucked away in one of the many bays along the southern coast of Greece. It is situated within the “Fire Ring” of the Mediterranean Sea; an extensive zone of volcanic and seismic activity prone lands surrounding the “Mare Nostrum” as the Romans used to consider it. Over the millennia Athens has been subjected to a multitude of tremors. There are monuments and buildings of Photo #3 ancient Greece strewn everywhere. Remains are constantly being unearthed and usually left in their natural state. If possible, repairs and reconstructions are made. An example of this is the replica of the original Olympic stadium, Kallimarmaro, (photo #4) used for the first modern games held in 1896. One has to wonder how is it possible that the Acropolis was able to withstand these devastating seismic ravages standing some 300 feet above the city atop a solid granite pedestal while so many others inexorably crashed to the ground. One has to regret that the many of the damages were caused by the hand of man rather than by natural causes. Rising point SPRING/SUMMER 2011
An example of this is the destruction of part of the south colonnade by Venetian cannons in the late 1600â€™s in an attempt to conquer the city from the yoke of the Ottoman Empire. The Turks had used the Parthenon as an arsenal and magazine while the besiegers were endeavoring to destroy it. (photo #5) Another was the wonton removal of the frieze entablatures by Lord Elgin with no precaution as to their protection while disassembling the pieces. (photo #6) Conversely, the Temple of Apollo at Claros on the east Photo #4 coast of Turkey not far south of the site of ancient Troy was destroyed by earthquake. The temple was much smaller than the Parthenon, four columns wide by six Photo #5 long, but apparently built along the same lines. This temple housed an important oracle, one of the same stature as that of Delphi at Ephesus. The oracle sat in one of the caves below the temple and foretold the future for an important fee of course. (photo #7) A scribe sat in an adjoining chamber and recorded the utterances. These records were filed away in the event of future claims on the supposed inexactitudes of the prophecy. The omens were couched in convoluted format that any suspected error in the prediction was easily written off as misinterpretation by the recipient of the prophecy. (photo #8) This temple was completely flattened and the ruins were not discovered until the early 20th century. It would appear as if the roof flattened the building and pushed the columns aside. Why hadnâ€™t a similar fate occurred to the Parthenon? This brings up another interesting issue. The layout of the temple appears to be that of a hypostyle hall as shown in this plan; a series of columns supporting cross beams, which in turn support a roof. For many years it was assumed that the temple was indeed covered. (photo #9) Photo #6 Recent studies, however, have concluded that the structure was in fact a peristyle; a peripheral colonnade surrounding an open space to house the ivory and gold statue of Athena which stood beyond the height of the columns in the cella, or interior cell. Thus there was indeed no roof structure thereby reducing the outward stress imposed by its weight. In their constant search for optical perfection, the Athenians introduced certain modifications to their structures that may have helped save the building from the ravages of the quakes and certainly cheated perspective; that optical illusion that make things appear smaller than they are when they are located far, or move away from the viewer. There are no straight lines at the Parthenon; (photo #10) the base shows a slight curvature raising the center axis some five inches higher than the corners. The seventeen flank columns and eight faĂ§ade ones curve inwards at the top, which have a slightly larger diameter than the base. Likewise the corner columns have a slightly greater diameter than the
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others and are positioned closer. All this designed to give the viewer the impression of a formidable and awe inspiring structure created to house and honor the protector goddess of their city. It is possible that the inward inclination of the columns may have thwarted to some degree the outward thrust of the roofline, as occurred at Claros. While I am sure that you may find these comments regarding the Parthenon as interesting, that is not the purpose of this paper. I consider it an enduring symbol of a glorious Athenian age that gave us one of the Wonders of the Ancient World. Yet, Athens gave us something far more important and enduring than the Parthenon. It is called
δημοκρατία If this seems Greek to you, you are correct.
It is more comprehensible when we apply Latin alphabet characters to the word that then reads
dēmocratía demos = people + kratein = to rule. In plain English it is called democracy Athens, a city state, developed a socio-political system unknown at that time whereby all citizens could assemble forty times per year on a hill near the Acropolis called Pnyx. Pnyx was the meeting place of the world’s first ever democratic legislature, the Athenian assembly. As such, Photo #9 the Pnyx is the material embodiment of the principle of isçgoria “equal speech”, i.e. the equal right of every citizen to debate matters of policy. The other two principles of democracy were isonomia, equality under the law and isopoliteia, equality of vote and equal opportunity to assume political office. The right of equal speech was expressed by the presiding officer of the Pnyx assembly, who formally opened each debate with the invitation “Who wishes to speak?” Perhaps the catch here is the word “citizen” for not all individuals were citizens as such; some were slaves or other lesser category inhabitants who did not have those same rights. In other words, then Photo #10 as now, all are equal but some are more equal than others. It is not my intention to describe the architectural details of the Parthenon but to signify that while Athens provided the first democracy in the ancient world, the United States of America provided the first democracy in the modern world and it is at this point where I associate the Acropolis to the Capitol. Rising point SPRING/SUMMER 2011
A group of enlightened men and women, colonists of England under the common laws of that country and perhaps guided by the grants of the Magna Carta replicated the same Athenian principles in this document penned by Jefferson which he titled “A Declaration of the Representatives of the UNITED STATES OF AMERICA in General Congress assembled.” The famous initial words “When in the course of human events…” are well known, or should be known, by every citizen or resident of this country. The signed original document, known as the Declaration of Independence is housed in the Library of Congress and while the words are fading the principle is not. Jefferson finalized this draft in seventeen days between June 11 and 28.
This mere act, one of freedom for some, one of rebellion for others, became the birthright of this country. But if I ask anyone when was this document signed I expect the response will be “The Fourth of July, 1776 of course”. If you agree and research, you will find that you also are incorrect. Congress declared independence on July 2nd. Two days later, July 4th, Congress adopted the Declaration. The original parchment was written, copies were printed and on July 19 Congress ordered the Declaration of Independence “to be engrossed and signed by the members”. The Delegates, led by John Hancock began to sign the document on August 2, 1776. Nonetheless, since July 4th was the date that Congress “adopted” the Declaration that is the date we traditionally celebrate the event. Fifty-six signatures of the representatives of the thirteen colonies are affixed at the foot of that historic parchment. A lengthy war ensued which ended with surrender of Yorktown on October 19th, 1781 leading to a peace negotiation by Great Britain and the treaty of Paris signed on September 3rd, 1783 recognizing the independence of the United States. In the interim the Articles of Confederation, which had been drawn up on March 2nd, 1781, proved to be insufficient as a nationwide governing instrument.
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A new document was drawn consisting of seven articles. Later, on September 25th, 1789 Congress transmitted to the state legislators twelve amendments, the first ten of which became the Bill of Rights, were ratified and became effective on December 15th, 1791. I again ask the question. When was this document signed and by whom? Thirty-nine delegates representing twelve states, including George Washington who signed both as President and delegate from Virginia affixed their signature to the Constitution of the United States of America on September 17th, 1787. No delegate from Rhode Island signed the Constitution. This date, September 17th will often be referred to in this paper The delegates had been working for many weeks on its preparation and the document was completed and ready on September 2nd. Yet while this was so and the delegates were assembled and remained in Philadelphia, they waited until the 17th to “engross and sign” the document to make it official. I have not found historical references to indicate the reason for this delay. However we may find a forceful reason in our own ritual. As a Fellowcraft, we are admonished to make a daily advancement in knowledge. The Charge insists, “the study of the liberal arts, that valuable branch of education which tends so effectively to polish and adorn the mind, is earnestly recommended to your consideration”. One of those liberal arts is Astronomy, assisted by which “we can observe the motions, measure the distance, comprehend the Photo #12 magnitudes and calculate the periods and eclipses of the heavenly bodies. By it we learn the use of the globes, the systems of the world and the preliminary law of nature.” The celestial globe is a calendar that has been studied by humanity since its inception and more especially when humans included agriculture in their knowledge base. Later in our Masonic career we are presented with this figure. (photo #12) It is described as a monument erected to the memory of Hiram Abif consisting of a Virgin weeping over a broken column, an urn containing his ashes and Time unfolding the ringlets of her hair. The emblem of time, the scythe, the hourglass and a portion of a broken column may be readily interpreted but what of the Virgin? Nowhere in the Books of the Bible that relate the building of the first Temple at Jerusalem nor elsewhere in our ritual is there mention of a women except here. Why has this been inserted? Yet, if we recur to a ritual of the late 19th century, we will find another of the many versions of that figure. This one depicts (photo #13) the same characters but in a different context. Firstly and most significantly, a portion of the Zodiac is included. Time is clothed differently; rather than a long robe his waist is bound by what appear to be leaves; a reference to nature perhaps? There is neither hourglass nor urn. We see the entire column broken into two pieces. Time is not playing with the Virgin’s hair but pointing to the section of the Zodiac with the symbol of Virgo , that period of time between late August and Rising point SPRING/SUMMER 2011
late September that ends with the Autumnal equinox as shown, on September 23rd followed by the sign of Libra . You are aware that Virgo is Virgin in Latin. So we now begin to see a correlation. From ancient times, the week between the 17th and 23rd of September has been the start of the harvest season and represented in different rites and ceremonies. The Elusinian Mysteries were the center of Greek religious beliefs. They were held at the Spring and Autumnal equinoxes commencing in Athens and finalizing in Eleusis. The rites were dedicated to Demeter, Mother Earth, and her daughter Persephone.
The Lesser Mysteries were offered for the general citizenry and represented Demeter’s loss of her daughter Persephone. According to the myth, Persephone had been kidnapped by Pluto the lord of the underworld, and taken to his domain, Hades. Demeter in her search for her daughter abandoned her earthly duties and the plants withered for lack of attention. Zeus intervened and arranged for Persephone to spend one third of the year in Hades and two thirds on earth thereby representing the seasons. The Greater Mysteries were reserved for the elite and dealt with the basic principles of life and death, a way of living in happiness and of dying with greater hope. The initiates were bound to the utmost secrecy under penalty of death. Demeter has been compared to Ishtar of the Babylonians, Astarte of the Phoenicians and Isis, another fertility goddess. The Egyptian mysteries relate the death of the sun god Osiris. Similarly the Roman Dionysic corn god festivities related to the death and rebirth of the prime character. This pre-autumn period has been important for centuries back to the Stone Age. The week of September 17th to the 23rd has been held in high esteem in religious and secular calendars too. September 17th is the festivity of Our Lady of Sorrows; it is also the first day of harvest. On September 23rd 1456, named as St. Matthew’s Day, the cornerstone of Roslyn chapel was laid. At this period certain significant astronomical events occur. Every eight years the planet Venus returns to the apparent same point in the sky in relation to the earth’s horizon although the background stars are different. The planet, also known as the morning star, moves one fifth of the Zodiac every year and completes a full lap of the Zodiac every 40 years. Every twelve cycles, or 480 years, a major event, known as the Shekinah, occurs wherein the planets Mercury and Venus are in conjunction, forming a blazing star. The cornerstone of Solomon’s temple was laid at this time in 967 BC. 480 years later in 487 BC the Shekinah returned as expected, when the cornerstone of the 2nd temple at Jerusalem was laid after King Cyrus of Babylon allowed the Hebrews to return to their land. The next sighting was expected in the year 8 BC. Was the Shekinah the Blazing Star the Magi followed? The Constitution was signed by the delegates on September 17th, 1787 and on Sunday, September 23, the final day of the Demeter mysteries, Mercury and Venus were in conjunction before dawn forming the Shekinah. On Wednesday September 18th 1793 the cornerstone of the US Capitol, the maximum exponent of self-rule and democracy, was laid. On that day Venus and Mercury rose before the sun as morning stars and as the stone was laid and tapped by George Washington at 11:00 am Venus, still visible, was directly overhead. On August 2nd, 1952 Congress resolved and requested that the week from September 17th to 23rd be designated as Constitution week. This bill laid in Congress for forty-six years until on September 16th, 2002 George Bush signed the bill formalizing the request. This was the time of the Eleusinian Mysteries. Did the president know what he was signing? Rising point SPRING/SUMMER 2011
During this period the sun passes from Virgo to Libra. Virgo is the Zodiac sign of sacrifice and servitude. Libra is the sign of justice, equality and freedom. Was it not appropriate that the Constitution be signed at that period? Ten of the fifty-six signers of the Declaration of Independence were proven Masons; fifteen of the forty signers of the Constitution were, at the time or later became, Masons. I have not been able to verify the data regarding the dates and time periods of the Shekinah indicated in any other sources than the publication referred to in the opening statement. I have been able to do so in matters regarding the planet Venus, its recurrence, locations, etc. An example of this is its position at the cornerstone laying of the Capitol. Consequently, I am unable to affirm to the veracity matters stated regarding the Shekinah. However it does make a very good story. It would seem logical to assume that our ancient brethren knew of these reported events and timed the modern events accordingly; or perhaps it was just chance. I will leave that conundrum to you. About author: Wor. Bro. Leo Operti P.M. Eureka Lodge # 106. Grand Lodge of Argentina, F. & A. M. Past Grand Expert. Grand Lodge of Argentina P.M. Victory Lodge # 3926 at Buenos Aires. United Grand Lodge of England. A. F. & A. M. (Victory Lodge ceased operations in 1980) P.M. Michigan Lodge of Research & Information. Grand Lodge of Michigan September 23, 2009 Presented at Michigan Lodge of Research quarterly meeting held at Farmington Lodge # 151, Farmington, MI on Saturday, March 12, 2011
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WHAT EXACTLY IS “MORE LIGHT” IN MASONRY? W. Bro. Robert Blackburn., PM Many Masons today confuse ritual proficiency with Masonic “light.” While a deeper understanding and appreciation of ritual can lead to important personal insights, this is not the “light” our Masonic predecessors had in mind. Modern Masonry is a product of the European Enlightenment. “Light,” consequently, was knowledge of the world around us and, more particularly for Masonry, information that makes us all better human beings. Early Masons used their lodges to discuss a variety of topics, loosely ascribed to the seven “liberal arts and sciences.” The ability to intelligently discuss and debate such matters was considered a distinguishing characteristic of a Master Mason. Today’s Masonry has all but forgotten its intellectual heritage. Few lodges are active places of learning, Masonic or otherwise. They are social clubs and service organizations, mistaking memorization and philanthropy with Masonry. Real Masonry, it must be remembered, is about creating enlightened men. Ritual and charitable works are important. Ritual is the entrance to Masonry; philanthropy is one of Masonry’s many gifts. But for Masonry to be truly meaningful, education has to be its cornerstone. Lodges having libraries should update them. Members should organize regular book clubs and discussion groups. More importantly, time should be scheduled at every regular, nondegree meeting for education. This could be a Masonic “short talk” or other informative article. Better yet, a 20 to 30 minute member presentation when time permits. The “seven liberal arts and sciences” is a broad body of knowledge; no doubt every member could, and should, be able to contribute something for discussion. Lastly, lodges should arrange guest speakers or performers, such as university professors and musicians, for special lodge events. Such occasions can be opened to family and invited guests, spreading Masonry’s light a little further. All Masonic lodges should consider themselves “research lodges,” places where members learn about the Craft and grow as enlightened men. We fail ourselves, as Masons, if we do not make time at lodge for learning. We also fail our brothers when we are too stingy to share what we know. This is particularly true for new members who have high expectations of the Fraternity. Therefore, we must all continuously strive, individually and collectively, to bring more light to ourselves and Masonry. Without it, our lodges will be very dark indeed.
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Continued on page 12
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Continued on page 13
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Article reprinted from “The Masonic Craftsman” January, 1943 No. 5
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even though we do not regard ourselves as technically a “beneficiary” society. Article reprinted from “The Masonic Craftsman” April, 1940 No. 8
Article reprinted from “The Masonic Craftsman” April, 1940 No. 8
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Article reprinted from “The Masonic Craftsman” January, 1943 No. 5
Continued on page 17
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READING MASONS AND MASONS WHO DO NOT READ I SUPPOSE THERE are more Masons who are ignorant of all the principles of Freemasonry than there are men of any other class who are chargeable with the like ignorance of their own profession. There is not a watchmaker who does not know something about the elements of horology, nor is there a blacksmith who is altogether unacquainted with the properties of redhot iron. Ascending to the higher walks of science, we would be much astonished to meet with a lawyer who was ignorant of the elements of jurisprudence, or a physician who had never read a treatise on pathology, or a clergyman who knew nothing whatever of theology.
Albert G. Mackey 33°
“The ultimate success of Masonry depends on the intelligence of her disciples.”
Nevertheless, nothing is more common than to encounter Freemasons who are in utter darkness as to every thing that relates to Freemasonry. They are ignorant of its history -- they know not whether it is a mushroom production of today, or whether it goes back to remote ages for its origin. They have no comprehension of the esoteric meaning of its symbols or its ceremonies, and are hardly at home in its modes of recognition. And yet nothing is more common than to find such sciolists in the possession of high degrees and sometimes honored with elevated affairs in the Order, present at the meetings of lodges and chapters, intermeddling with the proceedings, taking an active part in all discussions and pertinaciously maintaining heterodox opinions in opposition to the judgment of brethren of far greater knowledge. Why, it may well be asked, should such things be? Why, in Masonry alone, should there be so much ignorance and so much presumption? If I ask a cobbler to make me a pair of boots, he tells me that he only mends and patches, and that he has not Iearned the higher branches of his craft, and then hie honestly declines the offered job. If I request a watchmaker to construct a mainspriiig for my chronometer, he answers that he cannot do it, that he has never learned how to make mainsprings, which belongs to a higher branch of the business, but that if I will bring him a spring ready made, he will insert it in my timepiece, because that he knows how to do. If I go to an artist with an order to paint me an historical picture, he will tell me that it is beyond his capacity, that he has never studied nor practiced the comportion of details, but has confined himself to the painting of portraits. Were he dishonest and presumptuous he would take my order and instead of a picture give me a daub. It is the Freemason alone who wants this modesty. He is too apt to think that the obligation not only makes him a Mason, but a learned Mason at the same time. He too often imagines that the mystical ceremonies which induct him into the Order are all that are necessary to make him cognizant of its principles. There are some Christian sects who believe that the water of baptism at once washes away all sin, past and prospective. So there are some Masons who think that the mere act of initiation is at once followed by an influx of all Masonic knowledge. They need no further study or research. All that they require to know has already been received by a sort of intuitive process. The great body of Masons may be divided into three classes. The first consists of those who made their application for initiation not from a desire for knowledge, but from some accidental motive, not always honorable. Such men have been led to seek reception either because it was likely, in their opinion, to facilitate their business operations, or to advance their political prospects, or in some other way to personally benefit them. In the commencement of a war, hundreds flock to the lodges in the hope of obtaining the “mystic sign,” which will be of service in the hour of danger. Their object having been attained, or having failed to attain it, these men become indifferent and, in time, fall into the rank of the non- affiliates. Of such Masons there is no hope. They are dead trees having no promise of fruit. Let them pass as utterly worthless, and incapable of improvement. 18
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THERE IS A second class consisting of men who are the moral and Masonic antipodes of the first. These make their application for admission, being prompted, as the ritual requires, “by a favorable opinion conceived of the Institution, and a desire of knowledge.” As soon as they are initiated, they see in the ceremonies through which they have passed, a philosophical meaning worthy of the trouble of inquiry. They devote themselves to this inquiry. They obtain Masonic books, they read Masonic periodicals, and they converse with well-informed brethren. They make themselves acquainted with the history of the Association. They investigate its origin and its ultimate design. They explore the hidden sense of its symbols and they acquire the interpretation. Such Masons are always useful and honorable members of the Order, and very frequently they become its shining lights. Their lamp burns for the enlightenment of others, and to them the Institution is indebted for whatever of an elevated position it has attained. For them, this article is not written.
it supplies material for months of study. He would fain rise higher in the scale of rank, and if by persevering efforts he can attain the summit of the Rite and be invested with the Thirty- third degree, little cares he for any knowledge of the organization of the Rite or the sublime lessons that it teaches. He has reached the height of his ambition and is permitted to wear the double- headed eagle. SUCH MASONS are distinguished not by the amount of knowledge that they possess, but by the number of the jewels that they wear. They will give fifty dollars for a decoration, but not fifty cents for a book. These men do great injury to Masonry. They have been called its drones. But they are more than that. They are the wasps, the deadly enemy of the industrious bees. They set a bad example to the younger Masons - they discourage the growth of Masonic literature - they drive intellectual men, who would be willing to cultivate Masonic science, into other fields of labor - they depress the energies of our writers - and they debase the character of Speculative Masonry as a branch of mental and moral philosophy.
But between these two classes, just described, there is an intermediate one; not so bad as the first, but far below the When outsiders see men holding high rank and office in second, which, unfortunately, comprises the body of the the Order who are almost as ignorant as themselves of the Fraternity. principles of Freemasonry, and who, if asked, would say they looked upon it only as a social institution, these outsiders THIS THIRD CLASS consists of Masons who joined the very naturally conclude that there cannot be anything of Society with unobjectionable motives, and with, perhaps the great value in a system whose highest positions are held best intentions. But they have failed to carry these intentions by men who profess to have no knowledge of its higher into effect. They have made a grievous mistake. They development. have supposed that initiation was all that was requisite to make them Masons, and that any further study was entirely IT MUST NOT be supposed that every Mason is expected unnecessary. Hence, they never read a Masonic book. to be a learned Mason, or that every man who is initiated is Bring to their notice the productions of the most celebrated required to devote himself to the study of Masonic science Masonic authors, and their remark is that they have no time and literature. Such an expectation would be foolish and to read-the claims of business are overwhelming. Show unreasonable. All men are not equally competent to grasp them a Masonic journal of recognized reputation, and ask and retain the same amount of knowledge. Order, says Pope them to subscribe. Their answer is, that they cannot afford it, the times are hard and money is scarce. “Order is heaven’s first law and this confest, Some are, and And yet, there is no want of Masonic ambition in many of must be, greater than the rest, More rich, more wise”. these men. But their ambition is not in the right direction. They have no thirst for knowledge, but they have a very All that I contend for is, that when a candidate enters the fold great thirst for office or for degrees. They cannot afford of Masonry he should feel that there is something in it better money or time for the purchase or perusal of Masonic books, than its mere grips and signs, and that he should endeavor but they have enough of both to expend on the acquisition of with all his ability to attain some knowledge of that better Masonic degrees. thing. He should not seek advancement to higher degrees until he knew something of the lower, nor grasp at office, It is astonishing with what avidity some Masons who do unless he had previously fulfilled with some reputation for not understand the simplest rudiments of their art, and who Masonic knowledge, the duties of a private station. I once have utterly failed to comprehend the scope and meaning of knew a brother whose greed for office led him to pass through primary, symbolic Masonry, grasp at the empty honors of all the grades from Warden of his lodge to Grand Master the high degrees. The Master Mason who knows very little, of the jurisdiction, and who during that whole period had if anything, of the Apprentice’s degree longs to be a Knight never read a Masonic book nor attempted to comprehend the Templar. He knows nothing, and never expects to know meaning of a single symbol. For the year of his Mastership anything, of the history of Templarism, or how and why he always found it convenient to have an excuse for absence these old crusaders became incorporated with the Masonic from the lodge on the nights when degrees were to be brotherhood. The height of his ambition is to wear the conferred. Yet, by his personal and social influences, he had Templar cross upon his breast. If he has entered the Scottish succeeded in elevating himself in rank above all those who Rite, the Lodge of Perfection will not content him, although were above him in Masonic knowledge. Rising point SPRING/SUMMER 2011
the expense of printing, while the authors get nothing; and Masonic journals are being year after year carried off into the literary Acaldama, where the corpses of defunct periodicals are deposited; and, worst of all, Masonry endures depressing blows. The Mason who reads, however little, be it only the pages of the monthly magazine to which he subscribes, will entertain higher views of the Institution and enjoy new delights in the possession of these views. The Masons who do not read will know nothing of the interior beauties of Speculative Masonry, but will be content to suppose it to be something like Odd Fellowship, or the Order of the Knights of Pythias - only, perhaps, a little older. Such a Mason must be an indifferent one. He has laid no foundation for zeal. If this indifference, instead of being checked, becomes more widely spread, the result is too apparent. Freemasonry must step down from the elevated position which she has been THIS ARTICLE is longer than I intended it to be. But I feel struggling, through the efforts of her scholars, to maintain, the importance of the subject. There are in the United States and our lodges, instead of becoming resorts for speculative more than four hundred thousand affiliated Masons. How and philosophical thought, will deteriorate into social clubs many of these are readers? One-half - or even one-tenth? or mere benefit societies. With so many rivals in that field, If only one-fourth of the men who are in the Order would her struggle for a prosperous life will be a hard one. read a little about it, and not depend for all they know of The ultimate success of Masonry depends on the intelligence it on their visits to their lodges, they would entertain more of her disciples. elevated notions of its character. Through their sympathy scholars would be encouraged to discuss its principles and About the Author: to give to the public the results of their thoughts, and good Masonic magazines would enjoy a prosperous existence. Albert Gallatin Mackey 33° was one of Freemasonry’s most insightful interpreters, and a voluminous author. This essay NOW, BECAUSE there are so few Masons that read, was first published in 1875, and is reprinted from The Master Masonic books hardly do more than pay the publishers Mason (October 1924 issue). They were really far above him, for they all knew something, and he knew nothing. Had he remained in the background, none could have complained. But, being where he was, and seeking himself the position, he had no right to be ignorant. It was his presumption that constituted his offense. A more striking example is the following: A few years ago while editing a Masonic periodical, I received a letter from the Grand Lecturer of a certain Grand Lodge who had been a subscriber, but who desired to discontinue his subscription. In assigning his reason, he said (a copy of the letter is now before me), “although the work contains much valuable information, I shall have no time to read, as I shall devote the whole of the present year to teaching.” I cannot but imagine what a teacher such a man must have been, and what pupils he must have instructed.
Detroit MASONIC temple
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the working tools THE SHORT TALK BULLETIN The Masonic Service Association of the United States VOL. 6 April 1928 NO. 4
luxury, dissipation and destruction, his purposes were bad, and at the age of forty-two he died in a drunken fit.
The Common Gavel, used by operative Masons to break off the corners of rough stones, is in Charles the First of England insisted on the divine speculative Freemasonry a symbol of power. right of kings. he had his courts decree that the King could do no wrong, filled the Tower of London with The Twenty-four-inch gauge is an instrument used by political prisoners, tortured and decapitated his enemies, operative Masons to measure and lay out their work, claimed the right of life and death over his subjects, and but in speculative Freemasonry we are taught by its exercised the unlimited power of an absolute monarch. symbolism to divide our time into three equal parts, His purposes were bad, and under Oliver Cromwell whereby are found eight hours for refreshment and sleep, his career was canceled, the executioner swung an eight for our usual vocations and eight for the service axe and the head of Charles the first rolled in the dust. of God and humanity. There is an object in view and an end to be attained. It is, therefore, a symbol of purpose. These were unusual men occupying exceptional positions, but the power of destruction is terrific in the most ordinary Power is the ability to act so as to produce change life. Czolgoez, the polish anarchist, was a man of a low land cause event. Purpose is the idea or object order in the social scale, without wealth, without influence, kept before the mind as an end of effort or action. without education; from the casual viewpoint ignorant, insignificant and weak. His mind was the breeding ground Modern science has uncovered so much power that thoughtful of crazy purposes, but he had sufficient destructive men fear it will work the destruction of civilization unless a power to shoot William McKinley and assassinate commensurate humane purpose is developed for its direction. the Chief Magistrate of the greatest nation on earth. The day and generation in which we live pulsates with power, the world is held in place by dynamic oppositions, the universe is vibrant with force and man is a part of the divine energy. The greatest think in Godâ€™s created universe is a man. In him, according to the teachings of Freemasonry, is the eternal flame, the indestructible image of the living God. The power of man cannot be defined, cannot be fenced in, because it transcends all finite standards of measurement.
Power directed by a good purpose is constructive, and results in achievement. It keeps the cars on the tracks and the wires in the air, it turns the wheels of manâ€™s industry and carries the commerce of continents as upon a mighty shoulder.
Warren Hastings was born in 1732; his mother was a servant girl who died when the baby was two days old; his father deserted him, so he grew up as a charity child. He had a hungry mind and obtained an education as best he could. Power directed by a bad purpose is positive destruction. When eighteen years of age he shipped for India, working Alexander the Great was the most powerful man of his own passage. He had a purpose in his life and there came antiquity. With an army of 35,000 men he flung himself a power that enabled him to establish the Bengal Asiatic against a Persian horde of over one million. He conquered Society, to found colleges out of his own funds and in his the world, but could not master himself. Intent on lust and own name. Disraeli said English supremacy in India was the Rising point SPRING/SUMMER 2011
direct result of this man’s work. Today the memory of Warren that all men are “created equal.” With most of us this is a Hastings is linked with the greatness of the British Empire. glittering generality, born of the fact that we are all made of the same dust, share a common humanity and walk on the David Livingstone was a humble Scotchman, the son of a level of time until the grim democracy of death blots out all weaver and himself a worker at the spinning wheel. Into his distinctions, and the scepter of the prince and the staff of the soul there came a great purpose of life, and he went to South beggar are laid side by side. It is apparent that men are not Africa as a missionary. He was frail of body, never physically equal, and cannot be equal either in brain or brawn. There strong, but with the purpose there came to him a power to is no common mold by which humanity can be reduced brave danger and endure privations. For a period of twenty to a dead level. The world has various demands requiring years he blazed a trail of light through a dark continent, different powers; brains to devise great and important destroyed the slave trade in negroes, and convinced the undertakings; seers to dream dreams and behold visions; world that the salvation of Africa was a white man’s job. hands to execute the designs laid down upon the trestle board; In that commission he surrendered his life on his knees in scientists to adorn the mind and reveal the glories of the supplication to God. His body was carried thousands of miles universe; poets to inspire the soul and play music on human by a black man through jungles, over rivers, across land and heart-strings; pioneers to blaze out the path, and prophets to seas; last summer at Westminster Abbey I stood before his light up the way to a land where the rainbow never fades. mortal remains buried and honored in the sepulcher of Kings. The equality of which the Level is a symbol is one of In his early manhood Abraham Lincoln stood before a slave right and not one of gift and endowment. It stands for the market in New Orleans. Upon the block was a young woman, equal right of every man to life, liberty and the pursuit of stripped to the waist. he heard the auctioneer describe her happiness; the equal right of every man to be free from fine points and estimate her value. He became conscious, oppression in the development of his own faculties. It means not simply of a black form, but of life divinely given. His the destruction of special privilege and arbitrary limitation. soul responded to the challenge of a supreme purpose and he said, “If I have a chance to strike this institution I Freemasonry presided over the birth of our Republic and by will strike it hard.” Through the years there came to him the skill of its leaders wrote into the organic law of this land the power to blaze out the path and light up the way for a the immutable truth of which the Level is a symbol. In a new baptism of human freedom, finally to seal that purpose Masonic lodge George Washington was taught that the Level with a martyr’s blood and ascend to the throne of God with is a symbol of equality. In the darkest hour of the Colonial four million broken fetters in his hands. Now the whole cause, the soldiers, in a moment of despair and desperation, world joins in a myriad-voiced chorus of love and honor would have placed on washington’s head the crown of a to his memory. In every land and under every clime he is king. Hayden says, “The overthrow of the rump parliament exalted and glorified as a mighty champion of human rights. by Cromwell, the breaking up of the imbecile directory by Napoleon were difficult tasks compared to the ease with History preserves in the clear amber of immortality the which the divided Continental Congress could have been record of men, who, set on fire by some sublime purpose, dispersed.” Washington was not fighting for royal rank, nor for dedicate the power of their lives to its prosecution. coronation. As a champion of human rights, he was fighting for exact justice and equality of opportunity, and so the kingship The lesson is definite and practical. The twenty-four-inch and the crown were rejected with indignation and contempt. gauge and the common gavel speak to every Mason the language of constructive purpose land personal power. They This symbol means that in a Masonic lodge every man mean that a Mason should cherish his ideals, the beauty that should count for one, and no man should count for more forms in the mind, the music that stirs in his heart, the glory than one. In a Masonic lodge the weak and the strong, the that drapes his purest purpose, for out of these things he rich and the poor, men of diverse creeds and capacity, meet has the power to build for himself la new world in which to upon the level, close their eyes to arbitrary distinctions and live. reaffirm that Freemasonry regards no man for his worldly wealth or honors, that the internal and not the external Fellowcraft... qualifications of a man recommend him to Freemasonry. The Level is an instrument used by operative Masons to prove Albert Pike said that Freemasonry was the first apostle of horizontals. It is trite to say that it is a symbol of equality. equality. The truth of the Level is woven into the fabric of The Declaration of American Independence proclaims our free institutions. So by Craft and country we are picked 22
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and pledged to the practice of this priceless principle. In the eyes of the law he had committed the immoral act of theft. But his eyes saw pinched-up faces, his ears heard The square is an instrument used by operative cries of hunger and, regardless of consequences, his conduct Masons to square their work. In speculative corresponded with his conscience in a deed of moral heroism. Freemasonry it is a symbol of morality. Back of all the temporary circumstances and conditions It is white with a nameless age. Centuries before the Christian of men and the transitory moral codes evolved by human era a negative statement of the Golden Rule was called the minds are certain positive standards of morality which principle of acting on the square. Today the expression “upon the Divine Intelligence has impressed on every particle of the square” stands for truthful statement and honest dealing. matter and every pulsation of energy. They are the same for all mankind, regardless of place, time, race or religion. Of In a superficial sense, morality is the verdict of the majority. these standards the trysquare is the Masonic mouthpiece. The elements of time and geography enter into the conception Freemasonry is defined as a beautiful system of morality. It of moral standards. In some aspects morality is relative; is a woven tapestry of great moral principles and purposes. what is moral to one man may be immoral to another, Whenever a Mason fails to live up to the best that is in him, what is moral in one position may become immoral when whenever he blots out the divine light of his conscience, conditions are changed. The word is difficult of definition, whenever he is recreant to right as God gives him to see but for everyday use, morality seems to be a correct the right, he is false to the trying square of his profession, correspondence between conscience, circumstance and but by this symbol Freemasonry teaches a morality that conduct. Within definite limits men have a right to prescribe masters manners, molds mind and makes mighty manhood. standards of morality for themselves. In the eyes of the law there are two kinds of wrong. One is called “malum in se,” The plumb is an instrument used by operative Masons to try that is, an act which is evil in itself and by reason of its perpendiculars. In speculative Freemasonry it is a symbol of inherent nature. The other is “malum prohibitum” that is, an righteousness, that is, an upright life before God and man. act which is not naturally an evil, but only so in consequence of its being forbidden. Except where fundamentals are Righteousness is not a sanctimonious word. It means involved, it is dangerous for one man to attempt the rectitude of conduct, integrity of character, and deathless application of his standards of morality to another man’s life. devotion to truth. The Psalmist asked, “Lord, who shall abide in thy Tabernacle?” and this was the answer: “He that I remember reading a story of the great flood that came walketh uprightly, and worketh righteousness and speaketh upon the Ohio. In the grey of the morning some men saw a the truth in his heart.” When correctly understood, the truth house floating down the river and on its top a human being. symbolized by the Plumb constitutes a challenge to courage. Going to the rescue, they found a woman whose life they wished to save, but she said, “No! In this house I have three In the Sixteenth century Giordazo Bruno taught a plurality dead babies, I will not desert; I am going out with them.” of worlds; for this he was accused of heresy. He was To most of us that act would verge on the immorality of tried, convicted and imprisoned in a dungeon for seven suicide; to her it was the expression of a mother’s love years. He was offered his liberty if he would recant, but deeper than despair and death; her conduct corresponded Burno refused to stain the sanctity of his soul by denying with her conscience. We cannot place ourselves in her that which he believed to be true. He was taken from his circumstances and in charity should refrain from judgment. cell and led to the place of his execution, clad in a robe on which representations of devils had been painted. He Jean Valjean was a great hulk of a man, young and strong, was chained to a stake, about his body wood was piled, ignorant and big hearted, tramping the streets of Paris in fagots were lighted and on the spot in Rome where a search of work, trying to care for a widowed sister and her monument now stands to his memory he was consumed family of seven little ones. there was no work to be had. He by the flames. Without the hope of heaven or the fear of could not bear to hear the voices of starving children so be hell he suffered death for the naked truth that was in him. came home late at night, thinking they would be asleep. But hunger gnawed, and when he came in they were wide-awake The Great Light of Freemasonry contains this promise: and cried, “Oh, Uncle Jean, have you any work? Oh, Uncle “The righteous shall be in everlasting remembrance.” Jean, we are so hungry!” Madness seized the man; he went Men of tremendous power, men of creative genius, have to the nearest bakery, broke the window and stole a loaf of passed into oblivion, but the righteousness of a pure and bread. Jean was arrested and sent to Toulon as a galley slave. noble character, of an unselfish and divinely inspired life Rising point SPRING/SUMMER 2011
finds perpetuation in the clear amber of immortality. Of The first is sympathy. Note intellectual sympathy that that righteousness the Plumb is a symbol in Freemasonry. passes by on the other side of the street and expresses sorrow, but a red-blooded sympathy that lifts a man up who Unrighteousness has wrought the destruction of peoples has fallen down and speaks the light of a new hope into and civilizations, but “righteousness exalteth a Nation.” his face. Dr. Hillis said that sympathy is the measure of a man’s intellectual power. Sympathy is more than this; it Symbols are not academic playthings, they is the measure of a man’s heart-throb and soul vision. The are intended to provoke and sustain thought. great painters, poets, preachers, physicians, and patriots, whose names illuminate the pages of history, excelled their Fellowcraft Working Tools present to the mind basic ideas contemporaries in this one quality of human sympathy. of equality, morality and righteousness. The second avenue is service. I have read somewhere, most Master Mason... likely in one of the writings of Dr. Joseph Fort Newton, a statement that all over the vast temple of Freemasonry, All the implements of Masonry are assigned to the use from foundation stone to the highest pinnacle, is inscribed of a Master Mason. The principal one is the Trowel, an in letters of living light the divine truth that labor is love, instrument used by operative Masons to spread the cement that work is worship, and that not indolence but industry which unites the building into one common mass. In is the crowning glory of a man’s life whether he be rich or speculative Freemasonry it is a symbol of Brotherhood. poor. In all the annals of human progress the men who have accomplished works which have lived after them, which Paul stood on Mars Hill and said to the Athenians, “God have come up through cycles of time a blessing to succeeding hath made of one blood every nation of men.” That is not generations, had not before their eyes gold or fame or an expression of sentiment but the announcement of a fact, selfish aims or sordid gain, but had hung upon the walls whether men desire or deny it, whether men cherish it in of their minds great ideals of human service to which they their hearts or crucify it. Man’s ignorance does not change remained devoted until the light faded and the day closed. the laws of nature nor vary their irresistible march. God’s laws vindicate themselves; they crush all who oppose and The third avenue is sacrifice, the most radiant word in the break into pieces everything that is not in harmony with their history of our race. The sacrifices of father and mother for purpose. In the light of this truth it can be safely asserted the education of the child, the sacrifices of son and daughter that no nation, no civilization can long endure which for the old folks back home, the sacrifices of the patriot does violence to the divine fact of human brotherhood. for the homeland and the Flag, the sacrifices of the great servants of humanity, have through the ages made music Fraternity is the basis of all important movements for in the souls of men. He who would take sacrifice out of the common good and the general welfare of society. human life would steal from maternity its sacred sweetness, expunge the wrinkles from the face of Abraham Lincoln, Freemasonry has been called a “society of friends and and obliterate the stripes of red in our National Flag. brothers employing symbols to teach the truth.” The trowel is a Masonic symbol of love, and with it we are to spread Every advance in civilization involves a victim. Before the the cement of brotherly affection. Next to faith in God, the progress of the world stands an altar and on it a sacrifice. greatest landmark in Freemasonry is the “Brotherhood of man.” We call each other “Brother”, but we sometimes fail Back in the centuries Socrates, with a cup of hemlock to realize that brotherhood is a reciprocal relationship. It poison pressed to his lips, offered himself upon the altar means that if I am to be a brother to you, then you must be of human sacrifice for the divine right of liberty in man. a brother to me. It is exceedingly practical; it is not only for grateful gifts and happy hours, but for me when the soul is The words of Patrick Henry before the Virginia Assembly: sad, when the heart is pierced and pained, when the road is “The next gale that blows from the north will bring rough and ragged, and the way seems desolate and drear. to our ears the resounding clash of arms. I know not what course others may take, but as for me, give me The sentiment of Brotherhood in a man’s heart is a futile thing liberty or give me death,” lifted the soul of Colonial unless he can find avenues for its external expression. So far America up to the coronation of a supreme sacrifice as I have been able to discover, there are three such avenues. and made this Republic of the West a possibility. 24
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In the world crisis, American soldiers and sailors, as the champions of civilization, laid their all, their hopes, their aspirations, their ambitions, their home ties and affections upon the altar of human sacrifice to insure our national safety, defend our national honor, and vindicate the ideals of American Independence on the battle fields of Flanders and of France. In a little country school I was taught that our National Flag stands for the graves of men and the tears of women, for untrammeled conscience and free institutions, for sacred memories and great ideals; that its red stands for the blood that bought it, its white for the purity of the motive that caused it to be shed, its blue for loyalty ascending to the sky, and its stars for deeds of bravery brighter than the stars of faultless night, But when I think of George Washington and Gen. Joseph Warren, and Capt. John Paul Jones, and that heroic band of Masonic patriots in the American Revolution and cast the utility of our Craft against the background of its history, I can see its stripes of red baptized in the sacrificial blood of our Fraternity, and its stars of glory illuminated
By the deathless light that shines from a Masonic Altar. In Freemasonry we are familiar with the ancient drama of sacrifice made in the name of faith, fortitude and fidelity. These three, sympathy, service, sacrifice, are the avenues for the external expression of the sentiment of brotherhood in man’s heart. In proportion as we are inspired by this ideal and use these avenues of expression, our Fraternity will contribute to human good and happiness and answer the end of its institution. Tools have been called “The evangelists of a new day.” They are teachers not less than college and cathedral. Just as the Twenty-four-inch gauge and Common Gavel stand for purpose and power, and the Level, Square and Plumb present basic ideas of equality, morality and righteousness, so the Trowel is Freemasonry’s symbol of unity and brotherhood among men.
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The POWER OF THE WORSHIPFUL MASTER THE SHORT TALK BULLETIN The Masonic Service Association of the United States VOL. 7 August 1929 NO. 8
The incumbent of the Oriental Chair has powers peculiar to his station; powers far greater than those of the President of a society or the Chairman of a meeting of any kind. President and Chairman are elected by the body over which they preside, and may be removed by that body. A Master is elected by his lodge, but cannot be removed by it; only by the Grand Master or Grand Lodge. The presiding officer is bound by the rules of order adopted by the body and by its by-laws. A lodge cannot pass by-laws to alter, amend or curtail the powers of a Master. Its by-laws are subject to approval by the proper Grand Lodge committee or by the Grand Master; seldom are any approved which infringe upon his ancient prerogatives and power; in those few instances in which improper by-laws have been approved, subsequent rulings have often declared the Master right in disregarding them. Grand Lodges differ in their â€œancient usages and customsâ€? of Jurisdiction does not necessarily of a Master are so well recognized that The occasional exceptions,
interpretation of some of the the Fraternity; what applies in one apply in another. But certain powers they may be considered universal. if any, but prove the rule.
The Master may congregate his purpose he wishes, provided, it does Grand Lodge. For instance, he may Communication to confer degrees, not, in so doing, contravene that which calls for proper notice to the a degree in less than the statutory degree without a dispensation
lodge when he pleases, and for that not interfere with the laws of the assemble his lodge at a Special at his pleasure; but he must requirement of the Grand Lodge brethren, nor may a Master confer time following a preceding from the Grand Master.
The Master has the right of presiding over and controlling his lodge, and only the Grand Master or his Deputy may suspend him. He may put any brother in the East to preside or to confer a degree; he may then resume the gavel at his pleasure even in the middle of a sentence if he wants to! But even when he has delegated authority temporarily the Master is not relieved from responsibility for what occurs in his lodge. It is the Masterâ€™s right to control lodge business and work. It is in a very real sense his lodge. He decides all points of order and no appeal from his decision may be taken to the lodge. He can initiate and terminate debate at his pleasure, he can second any motion, propose any motion, vote twice in case of a tie (not universal), open and close at his pleasure, with the usual exception that he may not open a Special Communication at an hour earlier than that given in the notice, or a Stated Communication earlier than the hour stated in the by-laws, without dispensation from the Grand Master. He is responsible only to the Grand Master and the Grand Lodge, and obligations he assumed when he was installed, his conscience and his God. The Master has the undoubted right to say who shall enter, and who must leave, the lodge room. He may deny any visitor entrance; indeed, he may deny a member the right to enter his own lodge, but he must have a good and sufficient reason therefor, otherwise his Grand Lodge will unquestionably rule such a drastic step arbitrary and punish 26
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accordingly. Per contra, if he permits the entry of a visitor to whom some member has objected, he may also subject himself to Grand Lodge discipline. In other word, his power to admit and exclude is absolute; his right to admit or exclude is hedged about by the pledges he takes at his installation and the rules of his Grand Lodge. A very important power of a Master is that of appointing committees. No lodge may appoint a committee. The lodge may pass a resolution that a committee be appointed, but the selection of that committee is an inherent right of the Master. He is, ex officio, a member of all committees he appoints. The reason is obvious; he is responsible for the conduct of his lodge to the Grand Master and the Grand Lodge. If the lodge could appoint committees and act upon their recommendations, the Master would be in the anomalous position of having great responsibilities, and no power to carry out their performance. The Master, and only the Master, may order a committee to examine a visiting brother. It is his responsibility to see that no cowan or eavesdropper comes within the tiled door. Therefore, it is for him to pick a committee in which he has confidence. So. also, with the committees which report upon petitioners, He is responsible for the accuracy, the fair-mindedness, the speed and the intelligence of such investigations. It is, therefore, for him to say to whom shall be delegated this necessary and important work.
A Master cannot accept a petition or confer a degree without the consent of the lodge. It is for the lodge, not the Master, to say from what men it will receive an application, upon what candidates degrees shall be conferred. The Master has the same power to reject with the black ball that is possessed by any member, but no power whatever to accept any candidate against the will of the lodge. The lodge, not the Master, must approve or disapprove the minutes of the preceding meeting. The Master cannot approve them; had he that power he might, with the connivance of the Secretary, “run wild” in his lodge and still his minutes would show no trace of his improper conduct. But the Master may refuse to put a motion to confirm or approve minutes which he believes to be inaccurate or incomplete; in this way he can prevent a careless, headstrong Secretary from doing what he wants with his minutes! Should a Master refuse to permit minutes to be confirmed, the matter would naturally be brought before the Grand Lodge or the Grand Master for settlement. A Master cannot suspend the by-laws. He must not permit the lodge to suspend the by-laws. If the lodge wishes to change them, the means are available, not in suspension but in amendment.
An odd exception may be noted, which has occurred in at least one Grand Jurisdiction and doubtless may occur in others. A very old lodge adopted by-laws shortly after It is generally , not exclusively, held that only the it was constituted, which by-laws were approved by a Master can issue a summons. The dispute, where it young Grand Lodge before that body had, apparently, exists, is over the right of members present at a stated devoted much attention to these important rules. communication to summons the whole membership. For many years this lodge carried in its by-laws an “order of business” which specified, among other things, that following It may now be interesting to look for a moment at the reading of the minutes, the next business was balloting. At some matters in which the Worshipful Master is not the same meeting of this lodge was early (seven o’clock) this supreme, and catalog a few things he may not do. by-law worked a hardship for years, compelling brethren who wished to vote to hurry to lodge, often at great inconvenience. The Master, and only the Master, appoints the appointive officers in his lodge. In most Jurisdictions, he may At last a Master was elected who saw that the by-law remove such appointed officers at his pleasure. But he interfered with his right to conduct the business of the cannot suspend, or deprive of his station or place, any lodge as he thought proper. He balloted at what he thought officer elected by the lodge. The Grand Master or his the proper time; the last order of business, not the first. An Deputy may do this; the worshipful Master may not. indignant committee of Past Masters, who preferred the old order, applied to the Grand Master for relief. The Grand A Master may not spend lodge money without the consent Master promptly ruled that “order of business” in the byof the lodge. As a matter of convenience, a Master laws could be no more than suggestive, not mandatory; and frequently does pay out money in sudden emergencies, that the Worshipful Master had power to order a ballot on a looking to the lodge to reimburse him. But he cannot petition at the hour which seemed to him wise, provided--and spend any lodge funds without the permission of the lodge. this was stressed--that he ruled wisely, and did not postpone Rising point SPRING/SUMMER 2011
a ballot until after a degree, or until so late in the evening that brethren wishing to vote upon it had left the lodge room. A Worshipful Master has no more right to invade the privacy which shrouds the use of the black ball, or which conceals the reason for an objection to an elected candidate receiving the degrees, than the humblest member of the lodge. He cannot demand disclosure of action or motive from any brother, and should he do so, he would be subject to the severest discipline from Grand Lodge. Grand Lodges usually argue that a dereliction of duty by a brother who possesses the ability and character to attain the East, is worse than that of some less well-informed brother. The Worshipful Master receives great honor, has great privileges, enjoys great prerogatives and powers. Therefore, he must measure up to great responsibilities. A Worshipful Master cannot resign. Vacancies occur in the East through death, suspension by a Grand Master, expulsion from the fraternity. No power can make a Master attend to his duties if he desires to neglect them. If he will not, or does not, attend to them, the Senior Warden presides. He is, however, still Senior Warden; he does not become Master until elected and installed.
In broad outline, these are the important and principal powers and responsibilities of a Worshipful Master, considered entirely from the standpoint of the “ancient usages and customs of the Craft.” Nothing is here said of the moral and spiritual duties which devolve upon a Master. Volumes might be and some have been written upon how a Worshipful Master should preside, in what ways he can “give the brethren good and wholesome instruction,” and upon his undoubted moral responsibility to do his best to leave his lode better then he hound it. Here we are concerned only with the legal aspect of his powers and duties. Briefly, then, if he keeps within the laws, resolutions and edicts of his Grand Lodge on the one hand, and the Landmarks, Old Charges, Constitutions and “ancient usages and customs” on the other, the power of the Worshipful Master is that of an absolute monarch. His responsibilities and his duties are those of an apostle of Light! He is as gifted brother who can fully measure up to the use of his power and the power of his leadership.
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BECAUSE I AM A FREEMASON… … I believe that freedom of religion is an inalienable human right and tolerance an indispensable trait of human character; therefore, I will stand in my Lodge with Brothers of all faiths, and respect their beliefs as they respect mine, and I will demonstrate the spirit of Brotherhood in all aspects of my life. … I know that education and the rational use of the mind are the keys to facing the problems of humanity; therefore, I will bring my questions and my ideas to my Lodge, and strive to advance the growth of my mind alongside my Brothers. … I know that the rich tradition of Freemasonry and its framework of Ritual are important platforms for growth and learning; therefore, I vow to stand upon these platforms to improve myself as a human being, and I vow to help in the mission of the Craft to provide tools, atmosphere, challenges and motivation to help each Brother do the same. … I know that charity is the distinguishing human virtue, and that personal community service is the best demonstration of one’s commitment to humanity; I acknowledge that words without deeds are meaningless, and I vow to work with my Lodge to provide service to the community, and to promote charity, friendship, morality, harmony, integrity, fidelity and love. … I know that my obligation to community extends beyond my local sphere and is partly fulfilled in my patriotism: love of my country, obedience to its laws and celebration of the freedoms and opportunities it symbolizes. … I know that Page leadership is best demonstrated by commitment to serving others; I willPagetherefore participate 3 February 2007 3 February 2007 Page 3 February 2007 in, and help work at improving individual leadership skills, and serve the Brothers of my Lodge to the best of my ability. … I know that friendship, fidelity and family are the foundations of a well-lived life; I therefore vow to be a faithful friend to my Brothers, as I expect my Lodge to respect my personal obligations, and to treat my family as though my family were their own. … I know that the last great lesson of Freemasonry -- the value of personal integrity and the sanctity of one’s word -- is a lesson for all people in all times; I therefore vow to be a man of my word. … I know that Masonry’s power is best exercised when its Light is shared with the world at large; I therefore vow to bring the best of myself to my Lodge, in order that my growth might be fostered and nurtured, and to present myself to the world as a working Freemason, on the path to building a more perfect temple. Because I am a Freemason, these values and aspirations are guideposts for my progress through life. Source: Grand Lodge F.&A.M. State Of New York - http://www.nymasons.org/cms/masoniccompact
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THE INTELLECTUAL QUALIFICATIONS OF CANDIDATES
By Albert G. Mackey
The Old Charges and Ancient Constitutions are not as arts and sciences, and have made some progress in one explicit in relation to the intellectual as to the moral and or other of them; and he must, previous to his initiation, physical qualifications of candidates, and, therefore, in subscribe his name at full length, to a declaration of the coming to a decision on this following import,” etc. And subject, we are compelled in a note to this regulation, it to draw our conclusions is said, “Any individual who from analogy, from common cannot write is, consequently, sense, and from the peculiar ineligible to be admitted into character of the institution. the Order.” The question that here suggests itself on this subject is, what particular amount of human learning is required as a constitutional qualification for initiation? During a careful examination of every ancient document to which I have had access, I have met with no positive enactment forbidding the admission of uneducated persons, even of those who can neither read nor write. The unwritten, as well as the written laws of the Order, require that the candidate shall be neither a fool nor an idiot, but that he shall possess a discreet judgment, and be in the enjoyment of all the senses of a man. But one who is unable to subscribe his name, or to read it when written, might still very easily prove himself to be within the requirements of this regulation.
If this authority were universal in its character, there would be no necessity for a further discussion of the subject. But the modern constitutions of the Grand Lodge of England are only of force within its own jurisdiction, and we are therefore again compelled to resort to a mode of reasoning for the proper deduction of our conclusions on this subject. It is undoubtedly true that in the early period of the world, when Freemasonry took its origin, the arts of reading and writing were not so generally disseminated among all classes of the community as they now are, when the blessings of a common education can be readily and cheaply obtained.
And it may, therefore, be supposed that among our ancient Brethren there were many who could neither read nor write. But after all, this is a mere assumption, which, The Constitutions of England, formed since the union of the although it may be based on probability, has no direct two Grand Lodges in 1813, are certainly explicit enough on evidence for its support. And, on the other hand, we see this subject. They require even more than a bare knowledge throughout all our ancient regulations, that a marked of reading and writing, for, in describing the qualifications distinction was made by our rulers between the Freemason of a candidate, they say: “He should be a lover of the liberal and the Mason who was not free; as, for instance, in the 30
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conclusion of the fifth chapter of the Ancient Charges, where it is said: â€œNo laborer shall be employed in the common work of Masonry, nor shall Freemasons work with those who are not free, without an urgent necessity.â€? And this would seem to indicate a higher estimation by the fraternity of their own character, which might be derived from their greater attainments in knowledge. That in those days the ordinary operative masons could neither read nor write, is a fact established by history. But it does not follow that the Freemasons, who were a separate society of craftsmen, were in the same unhappy category; it is even probable, that the fact that they were not so, but that they were, in comparison with the unaccepted masons, educated men, may have been the reason of the distinction made between these two classes of workmen. But further, all the teachings of Freemasonry are delivered on the assumption that the recipients are men of some education, with the means of improving their minds and increasing their knowledge. Even the Entered Apprentice is reminded, by the rough and perfect ashlars, of the importance and necessity of a virtuous education, in fitting him for the discharge of his duties. To the Fellow Craft, the study of the liberal arts and sciences is earnestly recommended; and indeed, that sacred hieroglyphic, the knowledge of whose occult signification constitutes the most solemn part of his instruction, presupposes an acquaintance at least with the art of reading. And the Master Mason is expressly told in the explanation of the forty-seventh problem of Euclid, as one of the symbols of the third degree, that it was introduced into Masonry to teach the Brethren the value of the arts and sciences, and that the Mason, like the discoverer of the problem, our ancient Brother Pythagoras, should be a diligent cultivator of learning. Our lectures, too, abound in allusions which none but a person of some cultivation of mind could understand or appreciate, and to address them, or any portion of our charges which refer to the improvement of the intellect and the augmentation of knowledge, to persons who can neither read nor write, would be, it seems to us, a mockery unworthy of the sacred character of our institution. From these facts and this method of reasoning, I deduce the conclusion that the framers of Masonry, in its present organization as a speculative institution, must have intended to admit none into its fraternity whose minds had not received some preliminary cultivation, and I am, therefore, clearly of opinion, that a person who cannot read and write is not legally qualified for admission.
As to the inexpediency of receiving such candidates, there can be no question or doubt. If Masonry be, as its disciples claim for it, a scientific institution, whose great object is to improve the understanding and to enlarge and adorn the mind, whose character cannot be appreciated, and whose lessons of symbolic wisdom cannot be acquired, without much studious application, how preposterous would it be to place, among its disciples, one who had lived to adult years, without having known the necessity or felt the ambition for a knowledge of the alphabet of his mother tongue? Such a man could make no advancement in the art of Masonry; and while he would confer no substantial advantage on the institution, he would, by his manifest incapacity and ignorance, detract, in the eyes of strangers, from its honor and dignity as an intellectual society. Idiots and madmen are excluded from admission into the Order, for the evident reason that the former from an absence, and the latter from a perversion of the intellectual faculties, are incapable of comprehending the objects, or of assuming the responsibilities and obligations of the institution. A question here suggests itself whether a person of present knowledge. That in those days the ordinary operative masons could neither read nor write, is a fact established by history. But it does not follow that the Freemasons, who were a separate society of craftsmen, were in the same unhappy category; it is even probable, that the fact that they were not so, but that they were, in comparison with the unaccepted masons, educated men, may have been the reason of the distinction made between these two classes of workmen. But further, all the teachings of Freemasonry are delivered on the assumption that the recipients are men of some education, with the means of improving their minds and increasing their knowledge. Even the Entered Apprentice is reminded, by the rough and perfect ashlars, of the importance and necessity of a virtuous education, in fitting him for the discharge of his duties. To the Fellow Craft, the study of the liberal arts and sciences is earnestly recommended; and indeed, that sacred hieroglyphic, the knowledge of whose occult signification constitutes the most solemn part of his instruction, presupposes an acquaintance at least with the art of reading. And the Master Mason is expressly told in the explanation of the forty-seventh problem of Euclid, as one of the symbols of the third degree, that it was introduced into Masonry to teach the Brethren the value of the arts and sciences, and that the Mason, like the discoverer of the problem, our ancient Brother Pythagoras, should be a diligent cultivator of learning. Our lectures, too, abound in allusions which none but a person of some cultivation of
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mind could understand or appreciate, and to address them, or any portion of our charges which refer to the improvement of the intellect and the augmentation of knowledge, to persons who can neither read nor write, would be, it seems to us, a mockery unworthy of the sacred character of our institution. From these facts and this method of reasoning, I deduce the conclusion that the framers of Masonry, in its present organization as a speculative institution, must have intended to admit none into its fraternity whose minds had not received some preliminary cultivation, and I am, therefore, clearly of opinion, that a person who cannot read and write is not legally qualified for admission. As to the inexpediency of receiving such candidates, there can be no question or doubt. If Masonry be, as its disciples claim for it, a scientific institution, whose great object is to improve the understanding and to enlarge and adorn the mind, whose character cannot be appreciated, and whose lessons of symbolic wisdom cannot be acquired, without much studious application, how preposterous would it be to place, among its disciples, one who had lived to adult years, without having known the necessity or felt the ambition for a knowledge of the alphabet of his mother tongue? Such a man could make no advancement in the art of Masonry; and while he would confer no substantial advantage on the institution, he would, by his manifest incapacity and ignorance, detract, in the eyes of strangers, from its honor and dignity as an intellectual society. Idiots and madmen are excluded from admission into the Order, for the evident reason that the former from an absence,
and the latter from a perversion of the intellectual faculties, are incapable of comprehending the objects, or of assuming the responsibilities and obligations of the institution. A question here suggests itself whether a person of present sound mind, but who had formerly been deranged, can legally be initiated. The answer to this question turns on the fact of his having perfectly recovered. If the present sanity of the applicant is merely a lucid interval, which physicians know to be sometimes vouched to lunatics, with the absolute certainty, or at best, the strong probability, of an eventual return to a state of mental derangement, he is not, of course, qualified for initiation. But if there has been a real and durable recovery (of which a physician will be a competent judge), then there can be no possible objection to his admission, if otherwise eligible. We are not to look to what the candidate once was, but to what he now is. Dotage, or the mental imbecility produced by excessive old age, is also a disqualification for admission. Distinguished as it is by puerile desires and pursuits, by a failure of the memory, a deficiency of the judgment, and a general obliteration of the mental powers, its external signs are easily appreciated, and furnish at once abundant reason why, like idiots and madmen, the superannuated dotard is unfit to be the recipient of our mystic instructions. From Book of The Principles of Masonic Law A Treatise on the Constitutional Laws, Usages And Landmarks of Freemasonry, By Albert G. Mackey. - Project Gutenbergâ€™s - http://www.gutenberg.org
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The Manuscript Found in Saragossa Jan Potocki (1761 – 1815) lived a life that reads more like fiction than fact. A Polish nobleman, army officer, novice Knight of Malta, ethnologist, linguist, early balloonist, and world traveler, he is without question one of the most intriguing figures of his age. Yet there is more to Potocki, including some rather dark rumors too. Potocki had a keen interest in the occult and was an acquaintance of Alessandro Cagliostro (into whose elaborate Egyptian-styled Masonry he may have been initiated). Potocki’s two marriages ended in accusations of incest. Thereafter, Potocki retreated to his estate where he is said to have committed suicide with a silver bullet he fashioned from a sugar bowl handle - a gift from his mother – which he had blessed by his priest. Potocki wrote several travelogues documenting his adventures. He also left a novel, originally written in French, titled The Manuscript Found in Saragossa (1814). A literary nesting doll, the book is a collection of interwoven stories adopting a variety styles and conceits. The “manuscript” is said to have been found by a French military officer who, following his capture, is presented with a translated copy of the work. Superficially, it is the diary and recollections of a young army captain in the Walloon Guards who has been called to Madrid for a new posting. While en route, this Alphonse van Worden is separated from his companions and forced to take refuge in an abandoned hostelry. Here he meets two beautiful Muslim princesses who may, or may not be, the ghosts of two recently hung bandits, the Zoto brothers. Bound by his strict code of honor, if not chastity, the young soldier’s word is repeatedly tried and tested as he encounters the Inquisition, a religious hermit, bandits, cabalists, gypsies, a mathematician, the “Wandering Jew,” and a mysterious Muslim sheik that controls the lonely Spanish countryside where the story takes place. The Manuscript Found in Saragossa is a delicious rabbit
hole down which the Masonic reader will, at times, feel he is witnessing a series of obscure Ecosais degrees. Its 66 stories are by turn humorous, picaresque, erotic, gothic, and esoteric. Many incidents and characters call to mind the cards from the Tarot’s Major Arcana. Even the protagonist, Van Worden, is left to wonder whether he hasn’t been caught up in a vast conspiracy, the substance of which is always just beyond his grasp: …I recognized the ill-starred gallows of Zoto’s brothers. The sight of this made me curious. I hastened down and indeed came to the foot of the gallows from which the two hanged men were suspended. I looked away and sadly climbed back to camp. The gypsy chief asked me where I had been. I replied that I had been down to the gallows of Zoto’s two brothers. ‘Where are they,’ asked the gypsy. ‘What do you mean,’ I replied. ‘Are they in the habit of absenting themselves?’ ‘Often,’ said the gypsy, ‘especially at night.’ These few words made me very pensive. I found myself once again in the neighborhood of those damned ghosts and whether or not they were vampires or had been used to persecute me, I believed that I had much to fear from them. I was morose for the rest of the day, did not eat supper and went to bed, where I dreamed of vampires, phantoms, nightmares, spectres and hanged men.
Potocki’s Manuscript is meant to entertain rather than illuminate. It deservedly draws comparisons with The Arabian Nights, Canterbury Tales, and Decameron. Whether The Manuscript constitutes “Masonic” literature, on the other hand, is up to the reader to decide. But be forewarned, there will be as many twists and turns to reach that conclusion as there are in the book itself. Jan Potocki, The Manuscript Found in Saragossa, trans. by Ian Mclean (Penguin Books 1996, $ 17.00 USD)
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The Better Angels Of Our Nature: Freemasonry in the American Civil War Masonic histories are often (and rightly so) relegated to the dark corners of bookshops along with other “mystical” curiosities and esoterica. The problem is two-fold: a) they are the product of amateur enthusiasts, not trained specialists; b) the books, upon serious examination, prove little more than unsupported mishmashes of anecdote, legend, and wild conjecture. It is a rare gem that breaks this mold. But that is exactly what The Better Angels of Our Nature does - and it does it well. Better Angels, according to Halleran, “… is an effort to provide a more evidentiary approach to documenting the intersections – and there are many – of warfare and Masonry during the American Civil War… [T] his study has examined Masonic myth with a critical eye. Incidents that can be shown to be spurious, or to be factually inaccurate, have been identified and examined in detail throughout the text.” It is somewhat amazing - given the sheer volume of Civil War literature - that Better Angels is the first scholarly attempt to examine the role, if any, Freemasonry played in this conflict. The result is a slim, though ultimately satisfying, read which views Masonry from the perspective where it counts - the personal level. By the mid-19th century, American Freemasonry was enjoying a comeback. The Morgan Affair, though not forgotten, had been put to rest. For many, the Fraternity was now seen as a positive embodiment of middle class, Protestant, Victorian values and ideals. Roughly 4% of eligible men were members of the Craft (207,872 in 1860) with 5,113 lodges spread throughout the various states. Freemasonry was more common in the Confederacy, with Mississippi, Florida, and Georgia enjoying the highest membership percentages. Halleran argues convincingly that the Order’s “mystic ties” transcended national politics and even military orders, tempering the harshness and cruelty of war and providing a unique space where men could find aid, support, and peace in the midst of events much larger than themselves. Halleran takes a thematic approach to his material, marshalling what otherwise might be seen as unrelated incidents into categories such as combat, prison life, funerals, and military lodges. He also does a nice job of contextualizing the Craft within the scope of 19th-century fraternalism. If there is an oversight in Better Angels, it is Halleran’s omission of grand lodge proceedings, pronouncements, and responses, if any, to the conflict. It would have been interesting, for instance, to know what types of relief, and how it was directed, grand lodges may have organized for brothers in the field, prison, or wounded and their widows and orphans. Better Angels is a welcome and important update to Allen Roberts’ House Undivided (Macoy Publishing and Masonic Supply Co. 1961). It may prove a wonderful calling card for the Fraternity as well. Just as these real life examples of brotherly love, relief, and truth inspired countless Civil War veterans to join the Fraternity at their earliest opportunity, Halleran’s book, in retelling such accounts, may inspire even more good men to seek admission to our Order. We can only hope, therefore, that Better Angels Of Our Nature receives the attention it justly deserves. Michael A. Halleran, The Better Angels Of Our Nature: Freemasonry in the American Civil War (University of Alabama Press 2010, $24.95 USD)
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BUILDERS OF EMPIRE: FREEMASONRY AND BRITISH IMPERIALISM, 1717 - 1927 Freemasonry’s rise, its grand lodges, distinguished members, and even military connections have long been the subject of historical scrutiny. Jessica L. Harland-Jacobs, however, has accomplished something more audacious and interesting in Freemasonry and British Imperialism. She demonstrates convincingly that Masonry, despite its cosmopolitan and early revolutionary associations, ultimately worked handin-hand with colonial interests to shape a notion of British imperialism which, at its height, sought to transcend geography and indigenous identities. It sought to do this, Harland-Jacobs argues, by augmenting imperial splendor with Masonry’s own “ornamentalism” and providing social, cultural, and practical benefits to British citizens engaged in foreign trade and colonization. Harland-Jacobs became curious about Masonry following a lecture she attended on the United Irish Rebellion of 1798. Freemasonry, she came to realize: …presents an excellent way to evaluate the contribution of cultural institutions to the historical process of globalization. Freemasons established one of the first global institutional networks that not only linked far flung Britons to one another but also brought Britons into contact with other European imperialists as well as indigenous men throughout the formal and informal empires. An analysis of Freemasonry makes it possible to identify various characteristics that enable institutions to function on a worldwide basis and promote globalization… We should therefore seek the history of globalization not only in the trading networks and empires of the early modern period... but also in the cultural institutions that connected men across the global landscape of the eighteenth and nineteenth centuries.
Harland-Jacobs traces the Order through its development as “Thank you” an Enlightenment social club, as a Professor Harlandmeans of connectivity, support, and personal Jacobs for this important advancement for British contribution to Masonic Masons abroad, and, scholarship. following the American, French, and failed Irish Rebellion of 1798, as an organization which aggressively affirmed its loyalty to the Crown with public demonstrations, orations, charity, and military service. “Whether living in Dublin, Montreal, or Calcutta,” HarlandJacob suggests, “a man gained a keen awareness of the empire by belonging to Masonry.” Harland-Jacobs marshals an impressive array of source material, creating a sweeping view of British Masonry over more than two centuries. Of particular interest are the relationships and conflicts between Irish, Scottish, and English Masonry as they spread through the Empire (such as the admission of former convicts into Irish lodges in Australia) and the attempt to integrate indigenous men into “British” Masonry while, at the same time, maintaining power identities of “ruling” and “subject” peoples. HarlandJacobs concludes her history with the Empire’s dissolution looming on the horizon. She quotes Indian Mason and writer K.R. Cama as reminiscing, “One of the happy results attainted by introducing natives into Masonry has been that of bringing them to closely associate, socially, with their European brethren – I was almost going to say, masters.” That Masonry continues in India and other former colonies to this day, despite such conflicted feelings, is a testament to its true universalism and the gifts it offers worthy brethren. It is impossible to recommend this book enough. Builders of Empire should be required reading for anyone interested in British imperialism and Masonry in particular. Nor could I, having read it, consider my personal Masonic library complete without it. Builders of Empire contains information on Irish Masonry, for instance, I’ve read nowhere else. “Thank you” Professor Harland-Jacobs for this important contribution to Masonic scholarship. Jessica L. Harland-Jacobs, Builders of Empire: Freemasonry and British Imperialism, 1717-1927 (University of North Carolina Press 2007, $ 42.95 USD)
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Rising point SPRING/SUMMER 2011
Published on Apr 16, 2011
THE RISING POINT is the official publication of Bonisteel Masonic Library and is published two times per year. The primary objective of Risi...