Rocky Mountain Mason Vol. 2, Issue 3
In this issue: Evidence the Royal Arch Precedes the 3ยบ History of the Colorado Ritual Why the Larmenius Charter is Probably Fake History of Freemasonry and the Military and much more!
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Rocky Mountain Mason
From the Editor
hat makes a man a Mason? What makes a man a Templar? There are some out there who believe that, in order to be a Templar, you have to be in some sort of direct lineage from Jaques DeMolay himself – as if a mere laying on of hands was sufficient to inculcate the great teachings of the ages. I’ve met a bunch of these chaps, they take great pride in their own pedigree by marking contradistinctions to those “fish-fry Masons” and “fake Templars” who, of course, know nothing like them. Their need to lower their Brethren to raise themselves up belies an insecurity inherent in all who are desirous of stature. They seem to forget the first place a man is prepared to be made a Mason. After all, that’s where the true lineage of Chivalric Masonry is transmitted – in the heart.
Anyone who feels the need to claim some sort of secret transmission to an unknown, invisible progenitor of earthly wisdom is probably suspect, and their motives questionable. If someone is busy, quietly, presenting to you alleged successions and authenticities, marked by signatures and handprints, with promises of great secrets soon-to-be-revealed, ask yourself why this person needs to market these secrets in this way – why do they need some quest for legitimacy? Surely, when the legitimate man speaks, his words are enough?
That’s why in this edition of the Rocky Mountain Mason you might find some enjoyment in the Lies of Larmenius, an investigation into the authenticity of a document purported by some to name a succession of secret Grand Masters from Jaques DeMolay right down to the present day. Why all these secret Grand Masters would be so rich and noble, with strong connections to the French Crown (which of course suppressed the Templars to begin with) remains a curiosity to anyone employing even the least amount of logic and contextual analysis. A problem with some Frenchmen, it seems, is a desire to romance, high position, and noble blood. Alas, some of our Brethren as well, perhaps. We take some pains to divest the Craft of such ill-sourced notions and caution, watch the West Gate! Additional articles in this issue include Freemasonry for the Military Professionals, by Major-General (ret.) H. Lloyd Wilkerson. We recognize it’s not everyday a decorated member of the armed forces submits an article for publication, and we humbly thank Bro. Wilkerson for his contribution to these pages, and yet more-so his service to our country. It is thanks to Brethren like him, whose actions define a noble character more than any birthright, that we are able to print this magazine unmolested by tyrannical ambitions which, in all cases, appear to suppress Freemasonry wherever they discover it. God bless America! We’d also like to thank M.W.Bro. Michael McMillan, P.G.M. of Colorado, for his continued support and his current article, the first in a series, on the Stations and Places, and also W.Bro. Michael Moore, S.G.S. of the M.W.G.L. of Colorado, for his regular column A Western Mason’s Perspective, this time on the transmission of the Masonic Ritual to Colorado – which, a fair analysis suggests, is one of the oldest renditions of PrestonWebb work in use today. Additionally, we are very fortunate to include an article on The Concept of Freedom as Presented in the First Degree by a Grand Officer of U.G.L.E, for which we are indebted to Bro. Richard Ainsworth of Bilton, Warks., in the U.K. We hope you take as much pleasure from reading this issue of the Rocky Mountain Mason as we have labored in producing it. If so, then every hour was worth it. Sincerely and fraternally, Ben Williams Publisher Laughing Lion Press 5
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Masonic Symposium Nov. 21 & 22
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Arturo De Hoyos Rex Hutchens
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A Free Man An Examination of the Concept of Freedom in the First Degree
by W. Bro. Niall Johnson
Past Assistant Grand Director of Ceremonies United Grand Lodge of England 8
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The City of London has for centuries be free”? amiliarity may not necessarily been home to many “companies”, that is, There has always been some breed contempt, but it guilds, of craftsmen who have constituted mystery surrounding the use of the term certainly encourages an the Corporation of the City and thereby “Freemason” and many attempts have unquestioning acceptance. For its governance. As you may know, the City been made to identify its source. There are years I drove to work each day on has long stood outside the authority of the plenty of references to freemasonry from monarch and to this day, when the Queen the mid-fourteenth century onwards but automatic pilot and hardly ever enters the City her coach is obliged to stop they are without exception solely concerned noticed anything; for thirty years – usually at the site of Temple Bar - until, with operative masons. It may be that they I have been listening to and taking with the formal presentation of the City’s were so called because they worked in “free part in Masonic ritual and, I suspect sword, she is allowed to enter. Freedom stone”; or that they were “free” in that they like most of us, rarely bothered could be achieved by membership of a were obliged by their work to move about company – and sometimes even the freedom and were therefore not tied to the land; to ask what was intended, what it of the City itself. Oddly, freemasons alone perhaps they were simply, again by virtue means, and why we do what we do. have a single syllabled name; every other of their work and necessary movement, But just occasionally something company incorporating the word “free” free from tolls or taxes levied on others. A brings itself to one’s attention and in its title uses it as an adjective and not suggestion was made in the Gentleman’s causes one to part of a compound noun. Certainly think. Thus it “As you may know, the City has long stood outside the there was a mason was with this authority of the monarch and to this day, when the Queen company in London; word “free”. it was, however, small
enters the City her coach is obliged to stop – usually at the
If we start from because most masons first principles, site of Temple Bar - until, with the formal presentation of the by the very nature of we call ourselves City’s sword, she is allowed to enter.” their profession were “free and accepted itinerants employed in various parts of the masons”. The country and were not settled in business Magazine in 1740 that, following the “accepted” bit is easy – it just means in a specific location as other craftsmen impressing of masons by Edward III to that we have been accepted into a were. Thus it may be that the original enlarge Windsor Castle, they had agreed lodge, that is “initiated”. And it is at freemason was free in a variety of ways – not to work and had established various the initiation ceremony that the word as a worker in freestone, enjoying freedom tokens etc. to know one another by and to “free” is used so extensively – would from tolls and taxes and being made free assist one another against being impressed. you believe no fewer than fifteen by his association with a guild or company An even more amusing suggestion was that times from when the candidate enters and probably the City of London itself. the term comes from the French Le Frère the temple until he kneels to take the Whatever the truth of it – and we shall Maçon – brother mason – and had been obligation! Some of those references never know for certain – there is a fairly corrupted over the years to Freemason. obvious dividing line to be drawn between we are all immediately familiar with. Unfortunately, since the French for the freedoms of the mediaeval operative freemason is franc-macon, that cannot be. Which of us hasn’t at some time had masons and their speculative descendants. What is abundantly clear is that the term a quiet snigger at the phrase “masonry Many of the references to freedom existed in the middle ages but it almost is free”? And yet the very fact that we in the candidate’s first encounter with certainly refers only to the operative snigger at this shows that we know it masonry are – on the face of it – more masons and, although they certainly doesn’t refer to money; therefore we easily explained. I say on the face of it preserved their guilds by the use of tokens must know it refers to something else – because I suspect that there is a neat little and pass words, it has little to do with the but what? In what way can “masonry paradox lying underneath. Much is made symbolic masonry established later.
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of the candidate’s being a “free man”. In always have, the reason being I imagine, draconian in their regulation of the order to make sense of this we need to that as an undergraduate you could not lives of apprentices – hence perhaps the return to modern masonry’s origins in possibly be bound apprentice and were bloodthirsty oaths some of us took when the 18th century. Now before you tell therefore free. And reference to Rule 157 we joined. me, let me say that I am well aware of in the Book of Constitutions says that Masonry these days is a pretty the pre-eighteenth century references those under the age of twenty-one may be harmless sort of beast. It is an urban myth, to what appears to bear some relation to admitted by “dispensation of the Grand perpetuated by a few barmy politicians to Masonry as we know it. I am aware of Master, or Provincial Grand Master or hide their own inadequacies, that we have Ben Jonson who, in his play The Alchemist District Grand Master.” And it adds that and employ influence. We nowadays describes an initiation very similar to our “Every candidate must be a free man, and espouse openness and pass ourselves off own and in his masque Loves Wel-Com in reputable circumstances.” Let us also as a charitable organisation. But it wasn’t at Bolsover written to entertain King remember that in the eighteenth century always thus. The charitable dimension Charles 1st at Bolsover Castle in 1634 has there were only two universities in this has always been present but needs to a character called Maul – The Freemason, country and that a university education be understood in the sense of the Latin Elias Ashmole initiated in Warrington in was available only to those from wealthy “caritas” – dispassionate love, the sentiment 1646, the Kirkwall Scroll – carbon dated and privileged families until comparatively described in the Address to the Brethren to the 15th century although the painting recent times. following Installation; it did not mean on it is probably much later, the supposed And if you know the novel, you supporting good causes of any and every influence of the Knights Templar on might think here about Thomas Hardy’s variety – that has only come about during Scottish Freemasonry etc. I know all that portrayal of a working man with a first the tenure of the present Grand Master. – but the starting point for freemasonry as class brain attempting to gain admission Influence there certainly was during we know it, our rituals and our lodges is, to Oxford in Jude the Obscure. If, the late nineteenth and early twentieth I believe, the eighteenth century – the Age therefore, I am correct in thinking that the centuries when it was the norm for all the of Reason. University Lodges could admit below the local worthies to be members of the lodge By that time – but as two world the active mediaeval wars changed the “Masonry these days is a pretty harmless sort of beast. It stonemasons’ structure of society, is an urban myth, perpetuated by a few barmy politicians guilds were things so the composition of of the past, but our membership has to hide their own inadequacies, that we have and employ the metaphor of changed accordingly influence. We nowadays espouse openness and pass building the temple and I imagine the was meaningful and average golf club ourselves off as a charitable organisation. But it wasn’t the working tools wields more influence always thus.” and recognition nowadays. We’re not signs held a certain even a secret society attraction for the intellectuals of the age of twenty-one without the need for anymore – we don’t need to be; but we day. The development of the temple was a dispensation it rather supports the idea did two hundred and fifty years ago when intended to represent our growth on the that the freedom implied is that of a man the ideas that brought us about were moral plane, the working tools of each bound to no other. What does seem odd, dangerous in the extreme. So let’s look degree are symbolic of the attributes to be however, is that when making the candidate back to the early days of our institution acquired and the recognition signs kept the an apprentice we should be asking about and try to see why freedom and “freedom uninstructed at bay. But first you had to be freedom from apprenticeship – hence the of inclination” were so important and why initiated – and for that you must be “free”. underlying paradox I spoke of before. the concept of freemasonry has irritated That question may simply derive from the And why should our illustrious eighteenth and indeed frightened so many people so imagined workings of a stonemason’s guild century forebears, none of whom was much over the centuries. – that is, are you no longer an apprentice ever likely to be – or have been – bound The eighteenth century began with a bound to a master? And that would appear apprentice, ask this question unless there greater period of stability for this country to be substantiated by the question we was some other motive? Of course we than it had known for ages, first under the usually ask with that – “and of the full age could just dismiss it as playacting – but I rule of William and Mary, then Queen of twenty-one years?” – since indentures doubt that minds of the calibre of Newton Anne and then the Elector of Hanover, usually bound apprentices from the age or his assistant Desaguliers, the 3rd Grand George I. Art and science, literature of fourteen to twenty-one years. Now Master of the Premier Grand Lodge and and architecture flourished again, ideas some of you, like me, have probably long reputed to be the author of the 3rd Degree abounded and, inevitably, the status laboured under the impression that you Ceremony, really indulged in that. And quo was questioned. Talk was the order must be twenty-one to become a mason. if it were just playacting it would give the of the day for the intelligentsia and the Not true. Two lodges, Apollo No. 357 and lie to everything we profess to believe and coffee houses and inns were hotbeds of Isaac Newton No. 859, in the Universities render our ceremonies pointless. If you discussion – witness our own early lodges of Oxford and Cambridge respectively, care to look at some of the indentures being established in taverns. Science really certainly admit men of eighteen and of the period you’ll find that they were started to come of age and throw off its 10
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lessraft B d C Goour entle G
Rocky Mountain Mason Magazine
magical connotations – but it is worth reminding oneself that no less a figure than Newton remained an alchemist all his days and wrote some pretty amazing stuff on the prophecies of Daniel, and on the Apocalypse as well as a history of creation. And let us not forget, apples and gravity permitting, that Newton’s great work was with light – another very potent Masonic symbol. Perhaps too we should remember that alchemy was in many ways a search for the truth and not just the transmutation of base metal into gold with which it is permanently associated in the popular imagination. Roman Catholicism had long been outlawed from these shores but the established church was being called into question for its corrupt practices and the Wesleys’ Methodist movement begun in Oxford soon gained ground particularly with the underprivileged. We really were at a crossroads in our history and it was into the vacuum left by the discrediting of so many long accepted notions that modern Masonry was born. “A system of morality, veiled in allegory and illustrated by symbols” is how we describe Freemasonry; yet at the time this was being written there was already such a system in existence Rocky Mountain Mason
– it was called Christianity. It would seem, therefore, superfluous to introduce another such system and particularly one which lacked historical legitimacy and the need for religious belief. And yet that was probably the whole point; miracles do not sit comfortably in the Age of Reason and there are none in Freemasonry. Where dissatisfaction with the Church led the Wesleys to redefine their Christianity others, perhaps because of their scientific backgrounds and being less ready to accept without questioning but not yet ready to adopt anything other than an agnostic approach to religion, found satisfaction in a code of conduct founded on brotherhood. But in order to embrace this system they would need to be “free”, that is to say, not bound intellectually, politically or ideologically; but at liberty to enter the metaphor presented by the Masonic allegory, to enjoy the fruits of fellowship and to dare to hope that death is not the end. You can probably see why Roman Catholicism, which of all branches of Christianity binds its adherents most firmly to itself, finds such difficulty in tolerating Freemasonry. No matter how much the aims of both are in concert, it
is the freedom sought by the one which makes it anathema to the other. You might like to remember that Galileo spent the last years of his life under house arrest for daring to say that the earth was not the centre of our universe and that it revolved around the sun and not vice-versa. I’m always amused that the Roman Church only accepted this a few years ago when Galileo was finally pardoned in 1992! It is probably this very concept of freedom which has also managed to upset so many states. If I might digress for a little while I wonder whether we might consider “freedom” itself and try to ascertain just what we understand by it. One of the great oddities of this word is that these days we always define it in the negative – that is to say, we explain what it is not. We fail ever to think of it as a positive absolute but instead think of it as a state in which we are not constrained, not bound etc. Again, it wasn’t always like this. We are very modest in Derbyshire and make very little of the fact that one of the greatest of all political thinkers lies buried in the tiny church at Ault Hucknall, just to the east of Chesterfield. His name was Thomas Hobbes; he was tutor to the 11
Earls of Devonshire and his acquaintance was astonishing ranging from Ben Jonson to Galileo and Descartes. But it was the geometry of Euclid – if that rings any bells with you – which left the most enduring impression on him. His greatest work published in 1651 was “Leviathan”, named for the Hebrew sea monster – do you recall that psalm which includes the words: “There go the ships, and there is that Leviathan whom thou hast made to take his pastime therein”? The world for Hobbes was a mechanical system driven by the forces of attraction and repulsion governing human psychology and determining good and evil. Human beings are wholly selfish and, in a state of nature, there would be “a war of every man against every man.” Therefore in the light of self-interest we are forced to establish a social contract in which we surrender the right of aggression to an absolute ruler whose commands are law. Clearly, one man’s freedom is another man’s anarchy! The paradox is that freedom can only be
attained by accepting boundaries and limitations to one’s freedom – hence perhaps the insistence on freedom in the Initiation ceremony when the candidate is being bound as an entered apprentice. If pushed I might posit the notion that there is no such thing as freedom. More than a century after Hobbes, Jean Jacques Rousseau, in his “Social Contract” – you remember those opening words: “Man is born free but is everywhere in chains” – reiterated the idea of a state in which the individual surrenders his rights totally to the collective general will which by definition represents the common good - and those who do not subscribe to this can then “be forced to be free in their own interests.” His words. And it was his text in this work that became the slogan and bible of the French Revolution of 1789 – “Liberty, Equality, Fraternity.” Is it fanciful of me to think that those words are not too far removed from the Masonic ideal? And are they not the ideals enshrined in the American Declaration of Independence?
Do you remember those simple but so powerful words? – “We hold these Truths to be self-evident, that all Men are created equal, that they are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable Rights, that among these are Life, Liberty and the Pursuit of Happiness.” The eighteenth century, as well as being the age of reason, was also the century of revolution. England had had its revolution a century before, but it became convulsed with paranoia when it considered the concept of freedom, saw the terror across the channel, and contemplated the loss of its American Colonies in 1776. Actually, I think Rousseau, who was an odd individual whose life contradicted his books – he had a longstanding affair with an illiterate girl, Thérèse Levasseur who bore him five children all of whom were put into the workhouse and who lived near Ashbourne at Wootton Hall for two years when he was forced to leave France - got it all wrong. No one is ever born free. Our lives are constrained from the moment
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of conception; we have no influence over whom we are born to, when or where we are born, our physical and intellectual make-up etc., etc.. The concept of the Noble Savage dates from that time too – but as Hobbes had so effectively shown, there is no such animal, and Rousseau’s friend Voltaire had a lot of fun with the idea in his book “L’Ingénue”. I mentioned some time ago the loss of the American Colonies and the birth of the United States of America – the land of the free. I’m always fascinated by Presidential Inaugurations and especially by the oath taken by the President and the much longer one by the VicePresident. They are purely Masonic oaths - which is not surprising given the number of Founding Fathers who were Freemasons. And have you ever studied the Dollar Bill, the famous greenback? It’s an amusing exercise to see just how many Masonic emblems you can find and if you would like to try it later I have one here. Freedom really seems to have been the underlying principle throughout the century, whether it be freedom from oppression by the state, freedom from religious dogma and persecution, or freedom of thought, be it philosophical or scientific. And it is only to be expected that those who controlled the apparatus of church or state should be at pains to curtail any movement which might threaten them. That is as true today as it was two hundred and fifty years ago and I dare to suggest that still the most dangerous weapon facing any state is freedom of thought. I further suggest that it is the notion of being free, having a freedom of inclination, and belonging to a society which labels itself as free, that strikes fear into the hearts of those who would and do persecute us. Presumably that was what motivated Hitler to ban Masonry and still motivates totalitarian states in which we are not welcome. Frankly, I don’t think they have much to be afraid of. Sadly we pay lip service to the splendid rituals which have been bequeathed to us; too many of us speak and hear the words without trying to understand what they signify; and now there is a movement gathering momentum for ceremonies to be read rather than learned. To do that misses the whole point and ignores that admonition at the end Rocky Mountain Mason
of the First Degree Charge – to make a daily advancement in Masonic knowledge. Looking back again to our early brethren, I cannot believe that they met only to initiate or pass candidates – the 3rd Degree being reserved for the Master, hence the Master Mason’s Degree. They would have talked and debated the issues of the day.
Masonry for them was another means of seeking the truth – not just somewhere to go on the second Monday in the month. It was daring, vibrant, quarrelsome. Living, as we do, comfortable lives in a quiet place with an equable climate, untouched by much of what happens in the world at large, free to come and go as we please, free to think what we will, it is easy to grow complacent. It is easy to go on doing “what we’ve always done” without giving it a great deal of thought – thought, after all, is for Quatuor Coronati Lodge or for a University Department specialising in Masonic research. Well, actually, no – I don’t believe it is. If we are not just a dining club, if we are not just Oxfam with rolled up trouser legs, there must be some meaning, some point in what we do and it should be incumbent upon all of us to try to understand our ceremonies, engage in debate about our practices and undertake a little Masonic education. If
Masonry is free, and if we who joined it are free, we owe that freedom to our forebears and it should not be taken for granted. Rather we should understand it, treasure it, continue to seek the truth and work to preserve it so that we may pass it on to our successors, pure and unsullied as we received it. Another great political thinker, John Stuart Mill, said that “with freedom comes responsibility.” And that, I think, is why such insistence is placed on the word “free” in the First Degree ceremony. It is a glorious double paradox – only by being free can a man be bound an Entered Apprentice; but it is only by being bound that he can become free. And it is by his acceptance of the moral limitations imposed on him by his new-found freedom that he engages himself to uphold all the responsibility it entails. So there you have it. We are not free, we never were and we never shall be. But by the willing acceptance of a code of conduct, by ensuring that we keep our lives and actions within due bounds, we may enjoy a certain freedom. The music of Bach and Mozart, the poetry of Chaucer and Shakespeare, some of the greatest creations – and yet they all work within the constraints of incredibly restrictive forms. I am sure that that is what our eighteenth century forebears had in mind when they insisted on a man’s freedom and kept the word free as an integral part of their name. Living in a different age and a different culture, with a recent turbulent history and no great life expectancy, it was exciting to have thrown off the shackles of the past and to be able to catch a glimpse of a free and marvellous future. But they understood that commitment and responsibility were needed, and a new set of rules and constraints must be adopted if the promised freedoms were to be enjoyed to the full. And that is a lesson that echoes down the ages in the First Degree. By all means let us enjoy ourselves in Masonry – having a good time is certainly an important part of what we do. But we must never become so blasé that we cease to listen to the words of our ritual and thereby miss the point of what we are there for. Since our own initiations we may have seen more Firsts than we can remember, but it is a ceremony that still has much to teach us if we will only listen. 13
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The Traveling Gavel
FATE, LUCK, or just a
By M.W.Bro. Charles G. Johnson - Past Grand Master of Masons of Colorado
efore I began my travels in the Grand Lodge line, I had an experience that could not be filed in the category of any of the words in the title of this essay. A Brother named Russ was a member of Akron Lodge in the late eighties and early nineties. Russ was a good friend to all who knew him and he was certainly a Brother who led by example. His membership in our Lodge provided a ready and willing worker on all projects as well as an experienced leader of men.
Russ moved to Wyoming during that time and transferred his Masonic membership to Burns Lodge #41, a small town of 500 people in the southeastern part of that State. He became active there and made many friends as he had done in Akron. He was instrumental in helping build a new Lodge and contributed to the success of the Lodge in gaining membership. He eventually moved back to his boyhood town of Julesburg to be closer to his parents and to work in the family business. Sadly, he passed away suddenly at age 41 in 2003.
Russ’s dad contacted the Akron Brethren to conduct a proper funeral for his son. The normally simple task of completing that request was hampered by many issues. Russ was not a Colorado Mason at that point and his parents did not know the officials in Wyoming to contact about a memorial service. Colorado Masonic Code did not allow Akron Brethren to conduct the ceremony without permission from the Grand Lodge of Wyoming. It was a real dilemma and time was running out. As Secretary of Akron Lodge, I contacted the Grand Lodge and then contacted the Secretary of Burns Lodge in Wyoming. In a matter of a few minutes we formulated a plan to meet in Julesburg on the appointed date and conduct the Masonic services. We divided up the necessary parts and agreed on the documents that needed to be provided to the family. On the day of the funeral six Brethren from Akron and seven from Burns, Wyoming, conducted an impressive ceremony for their friend and Brother. The family was very comforted by the fact that such a ceremony was done. John Farmer of Wyoming and I were part of that team and left
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Julesburg on that day feeling proud of our efforts and knowing that we had complied with the wishes of the family. We both understood that we had done the ‘right thing’, even though it did not closely follow the Code in our respective jurisdictions. That should have been the end of the story but our paths soon crossed again a few years later when we met at a Masonic conference in Idaho. Coincidentally, we were both appointed to the Grand Lodge Officer line in our respective states and were serving in the same office as well. As time progressed we both advanced and in 2010 we both were serving as Grand Masters. In November of that Masonic year, I went to Burns Lodge #41 as it was the occasion of Grand Master John’s official visit to his home Lodge. I was accompanied by our Deputy Grand Master John Egan and Grand Marshal Bob Elsloo. I went because I needed to tell this story to the Lodge as a testimonial that Masons care for each other and that the restrictions of time and space should not deter us from properly recognizing our departed Brethren. Many of the men in attendance had travelled to Julesburg for the service and many had fond memories of our mutual friend. As I reflect on that time, I wonder if this chain of events leading up to the funeral involved Fate and the answer is no. I then wondered if the Brethren from Burns Lodge and the Brethren from Akron Lodge came together in the farthest corner of our State as the result of just plain luck, and the answer is again no. Could it just be a darn old coincidence that this tribute to our Brother occurred? Again the answer is no. None of this just happened, it was guided by a higher spiritual power that is hard to explain. The major point to be made here is that John and I did not realize how this singular event would impact our lives, nor did either of us think we would ever ascend to the highest office our respective Brethren could bestow by their vote. In spite of our importance as State leaders, we were still Masons meeting on the level. All the titles, all the jewelry, all the honors that we have been blessed to receive do not reflect our duties as Masons. It is not about who we are, but all about what we do. What we did that day in 2003 for our friend Russ was more important than who we eventually became. We both were reminded of that fact on that cold November evening and renewed a friendship that will last forever.
The History of Colorado Ritual Work
hy does Freemasonry use rituals? Why is there a set form for opening and closing a lodge? Why not open and close by a simple announcement or sound of the gavel? The answers are the same as the answers to many Masonic questions: it has always been done that way. There has undoubtedly been more or less ritualism in Freemasonry from the beginning. â€“ Henry Coil Coilâ€™s Masonic Encyclopedia, pg. 566
Rocky Mountain Mason
A Western Mason’s Perspective By W.Bro. Michael Moore, Senior Grand Steward, MWGLCO
n intimate acquaintance with the ritual constitutes what is called a “bright Mason”. –Albert Macky Lexicon of Freemasonry
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t is easy to map the spread of Freemasonry across our American land; there are good charts made to show this path. But when we start talking about the ritual that was used as our group and how it spread, it is a different story. In a fraternity that promotes order, protocol and balance, the early rituals used were pretty chaotic and are much harder to pinpoint. We know older Masonic rituals used in America included Thomas Webb’s (who was the Grand Secretary of Iowa) and the William Preston lectures, (first seen in 1797, in Freemason’s Monitor or Illustrations of Masonry) and I have to wonder if either of these influenced who we are today as Colorado Masons.
What we do know about this is our state’s first meetings were not regular lodge meetings, according to J.D. Ramage, for they had no authority to form lodges or hold regular meetings at that time and none of these held recognition of any kind. Most of these early lodge meetings centered on food and the observances of special Masonic celebrations. When the state’s early lodges had their credentials in order, what ritual was used when the first initiates were made in Colorado in 1859/60? Our first, first degree was done on December 10th, 1859; our first Fellow Craft on January 7th, 1860, and the first Master Mason degree was performed on February 6th, 1860,1 on the second floor of the Auraria Lodge on Ferry Street (also known as 1361 Eleventh St).2 1. Centennial Celebration, pg 7 2. Centennial Celebration 1861-1961, pg 7
This is where it can get interesting when trying to figure out which ritual(s) were in use at that time. Of our first lodges, three were from Kansas, two from Nebraska: Golden City – Kansas, Auraria and Nevada were under dispensation from the Grand Lodge of Kansas; Summit #7 (Parkville) and Rocky Mountain from Nebraska. It would be logical that any early work done was with the ritual of the state that gave them their dispensation. But which one, since these papers came from two states? Or did we see multiple rituals in use at the time? We know that the Russell gold rush party, which contained the first Freemasons that formed our Grand Lodge, came from Georgia. Henry Allen, who some regard as the “father of Colorado Freemasonry” was from Iowa. Through the years it was generally accepted that the first work was the Kansas work. The Kansas work is a little wordier than ours, but you can see from their monitors how close the two rituals are. Our 1922 version of the work has this to say about the relationship: The EA charge is a very old charge; the substance of it was written in 1774 by Hutchison and published in his Spirit of Freemasonry. Preston considerably enlarged and improved it and inserted it in his Illustrations. Webb afterwards reduced it to its present abridged form by omitting many of Preston’s paragraphs.3 What we see looking back is that that the early masters of the lodges governed each of their lodges with the rules and ritual they were familiar with (and that makes sense). So multiple versions of the ritual were being used in our founding lodges and this was something that plagued the state for a number of years. On August 2nd, 1861 there was a motion made at the first meeting of the new grand lodge: …resolved, that a school of instruction be established by 3. Colorado Craftsman, 1922, pg 37
this Grand Lodge and that at least one day at each Grand Communication, be set aside for the purpose of instruction by the M. W. Grand master, in order that uniformity in the work may be obtained in this Jurisdiction. The motion was adopted at that meeting.4 Having different ritual used in different lodges in the state was a problem, since candidates were getting different training and different initiatic experiences. Seventeen years after the preceding quote, in 1878, the same problem had to mentioned again – this time by Grand Master C. J. Hart in his address: We have adopted a uniform work and enacted laws prohibiting the introduction of any other among our Lodges, and yet, notwithstanding this, the work in this jurisdiction is almost as varied as the colors in Joseph’s coat. Finally a committee of five past grand masters looked into this problem and in 1882, made their report. Basically the committee said that the work the present Grand Lecturer liked was essentially similar to what Allyn Weston used in his lodge. Weston was made a mason in Michigan, and that may have been what was used in some of the lodges up to the 1911 revisions. In 1915, our Grand Lecturer William Cooper said it was that ritual whose, “...wording was purified by Grand Lodge”. Grand Lecturer Cooper gave us his thoughts on the linage of our Colorado ritual: From what I can learn of these matters, I am inclined to think that our line of descent is pretty clear. Beginning with Webb, we have Gleason and Fowle, then Barney, and through Michigan, [to] 4. Our Masonic Heritage, pg 71
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Photo by George B. Clark
Home of Auraria Lodge Under Dispensation. October 1, 1859, at 1361 11th St., in Denver
Colorado. It must be remembered however, that the Barney work, as taught to him by Wilson in Vermont in 1818, is not the same Barney work inherited. The streams are clouded; possibly it has been purified by additions and mingling. The Brother Wilson above referred to, subsequent to 1818, went to Iowa and Kansas, and the system of lectures which he learned from Barney in 1818 was adopted by those two jurisdictions. I think there is no doubt that Vermont, Iowa and Kansas have a better title to the original work of 1818 (whatever it was) than have Michigan, Illinois and Colorado. Whether the original BarneyGleason- Webb work of 1818 is
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better than the modified BarneyGleason-Webb work of Colorado is another question. That quote gives us our best answer to where we inherited our ritual. There had been no monitor adapted by our Grand Lodge for many years, but we know the Mackey Monitor had been unofficially in use in some lodges. The jurisprudence committee in 1900 had the opinion that it met the demands and wishes of our officers and recommended no change to it if it were adopted for our use. Six years later, the Macoy Manual was adopted (to show how quickly things can change), which lasted until 1911 when the Colorado Craftsman was made. While the 100th anniversary brochure says Allen Weston was our first Grand Lecturer, more recent data shows L.E. Hardy served in that position for two years before Weston.
Why was so much effort was put into all this through the years by various committees and individuals and why is this topic a good one for an article? Ritual is the first taste of light any candidate gets when he becomes a Mason. For it to be unified (taught the same in all lodges) means that none will get parts of it left out or modified and not have the same experience and learning presented to him. It takes time and energy to put on any of the Blue Lodge degrees, and probably it is best that way. Those presenting it must learn it, to be able to pass it on to another generation. And a lot is packed into that short time circumambulating the lodge floor. Ritual is what brings together the mishmash of philosophy, science, moral teachings plus some religious thought and blends it all together into one story or theme that can be then taught, studied and applied. Which, I am guessing, is why
in 1949, a system of District Lecturers was started in Colorado again after the failing of this program in the early 1880’s. The group failed with their first try because the men appointed to the positions could not give the time or effort needed. Our 100th anniversary booklet lists the reason was because of not wanting to neglect their businesses and the hazardousness of travel as major contributors for the outcome. We need to remember that by 1878, our jurisdiction was much larger than just the present day boundaries of the state. We had chartered lodges in Montana, Wyoming and Utah (Montana Lodge #9 in Virginia City, Helena City #10; Argenta #21 in Salt Lake City and Laramie #16 in Wyoming). The Blue Lodge degrees, along with the York and Scottish Rites, add different perspectives to the basic theme, yet all of them have a goal – to make those who come in contact with their ritual a better person. Its kaleidoscope approach has something for everybody. Ritual is the mode of opening and closing a lodge, of conferring degrees, of installation and other duties constitute a system of ceremonies which are called ritual. Much of this ritual is esoteric and not being permitted to be committed to writing is communicated by oral instruction…. Ritual is but the outer garment which covers the body, which is subject to continual variation. Albert Mackey The history of how we journeyed in our ritual is important, for it tells the story of where our lodges have been and where we as a jurisdiction will be heading in the future. As we have seen in this article, ritual changes and is not set in stone. The basic themes are constant, but minor presentations of it do change. We
all know this, each time it is presented; it is different because the brothers who present it have differences in tone, attitude, style, delivery and level of comfort. Maybe it is that which makes our ritual so good – it has something for everybody. All who come to Freemasonry see that it is a deep and inexhaustible well that will challenge anyone to learn all of it in one lifetime. If you ask a number of brothers what they think of ritual in general, you will get a variety of answers. Some don’t think much on it except they are required to recite it before others in our meetings. Some just consider it something they have to do and know little of it besides the printed words they recite. Others find no value in it and would like to do away with it. Yet our ritual serves an important role in the life of Masonry. Ritual is not, or should not be, a torture device for those having to learn it and present it to new members. Having seen a handful of states’ floor work, I think the Colorado style of this to be a good compromise of effectiveness and efficiency, while still retaining its ties to our European roots, yet is American in its feel. My advice to the reader in regards to our ritual? Learn all you can in this. Be ready when you are called upon to present it and do a good job communicating it, whether it is an opening or closing or a lengthy lecture. The average Mason learns the ritual twice in his Masonic life. Once when he experiences it for the first time and secondly when he performs it on behalf of another. Let its themes and words do its work in you and then be able to present it to others who are open and interested in learning about what we do. Ritual is a tool or conveyance for imparting knowledge and truth. Masonry doesn’t exclusively own ritual, we see it in other groups, but I think we use it and pass it on the best. For those interested in further information on this topic, I would suggest reading what Coil says on this in his encyclopedia on this topic. If that is not enough, here are some links to some of the early rituals mentioned here:
Webb’s Monitor: http : / / w w w. pho e n i x mas on r y. org / webbs_monitor/table_of_contents.htm or http://www.coloradofreemasons. org/pdfDocuments/library/ TheFreemasonsMonitor.pdf Preston’s version: http : / / pi c t ou m a s ons . org / l i br ar y / Preston,%20Wi l liam%20-%20 Illustrations%20of%20Masonry%20 %5Bpdf%5D.pdf or ht t p : / / w w w. c o l o r a d o f re e m a s o n s . org/pdfDocuments/library/ IllustrationsOfMasonry.pdf Macoy’s Monitor: http : / / w w w. pho e n i x mas on r y. org / masonicmuseum/1853_macoy_monitor. htm
Rocky Mountain Mason
Denver Consistory Unveils
W. B. John P. Trainor, Ph.D, GMus. of the M.W. Grand Lodge of Colorado, A. F. & A. M.
he Scottish Rite Consistories contribute significantly to the communities where they are located. For the Denver Consistory, this benevolence includes the 9 Health Fair, cash donations to Children’s Hospital, scholarships to support studies on audiology, and Christmas gatherings for children, as well as using the building to house lodges, serve celebratory luncheons, and exemplify the advanced degrees of Scottish Rite Freemasonry.
The Denver Consistory resides in an historic building listed on the registry of Historic places, and constantly seeks new ways to utilize the facility for community benefit. Most recently, the beautifully appointed auditorium has been chosen as a venue for a Classical Music Concert Series highlighting some of the Denver area’s finest orchestral and vocal talent.
Committees and individuals are working at fever pitch to ready the Scottish Rite auditorium and the various performing ensembles for the first program, scheduled for October 10, 2015. Each concert will include pre- and post- events with hors d’oeuvres and cash bar. Doors open at 6:00 p.m., concerts begin at 7:30, and last 90 minutes to two hours with a 30-minute intermission. One of the outstanding features of the Scottish Rite Classical Music Series is the performances on the Consistory’s historic Kimball organ. In 2006 a grant proposal was written to History Colorado for total restoration of the organ, and work was begun in September 2007. Most of the organ was dismantled and transported to the Morel shops for cleaning, repair, re-wiring and re-leathering. The 16’ pipes were cleaned and refurbished in situ. The restoration adhered to very strict requirements as set forth by the grant, and concluded after almost two years of work. The Kimball organ #6781 has three manuals, 4 divisions, 17 stops, 50 registers, and 19 ranks. It is used monthly for meetings, during the twice-yearly reunions, and will provide a musical prelude prior to each of the concerts. The October 10th concert, featuring Devin Patrick Hughes conducting the Arapahoe Philharmonic and The Cherry Creek Chorale, will include Peer Gynt, which Edvard Grieg wrote as incidental music to Henrik Ibsen’s five act play, and Beethoven’s Ninth Symphony (the “Choral” Symphony), famous for the final movement’s rousing setting of the poem An die Freude, by one of our famous Freemasons,
Friedrich Schiller. December features two concerts on the 11th and 12th. Included in the program will be David Rutherford conducting Musica Sacra and the Seicento Baroque Ensemble in Handel’s Messiah. An all American concert will be performed by the Lakewood Symphony Orchestra under the direction of Matt Switzer on March 5th, 2016. Included will be George Gershwin’s American in Paris, and four dance Episodes from Rodeo by Aaron Copland. Matt Switzer will also conduct the world premiere of his antiphonal arrangement for organ and orchestra which he has dedicated to the Scottish Rite, and Joshua Sawicki will solo in the virtuoso piano composition, Rhapsody in Blue, by another famous Masonic composer, George Gershwin. The finale concert on April 16th will feature and emphasize the Denver Consistory Kimball organ. The Littleton Symphony Orchestra will appear under the direction of retired principal cellist of the Colorado Symphony Orchestra, Jurgen de Lemos. Concert goers will recognize the theme music to Stanley Kubrick’s iconic film, 2001: A Space Odyssey in the opening of Also Sprach Zarathustra by Richard Strauss, and the Stokowski arrangement of the Toccata and Fugue in d minor by Johann Sebastian Bach. The Piano Concerto No. 2 of Sergei Rachmaninoff and Giovanni Gabrielli’s Pieces for Brass and Organ lead to the grand finale: the Adagio and Finale from Camille Saint-Saëns’ Symphony No 3 (The Organ Symphony). The featured organist will be Josiah Hammell. All the concerts are slated to be recorded by Orbital Media Networks, and hosted by the Colorado Grand Lodge’s Grand Musician, Dr. John Trainor. Preparations are being made to distribute recordings to Public Broadcast Systems nationwide. The Scottish Rite Classical Music Series promises to be an outstanding experience for all who attend. Tickets are selling fast, and we recommend purchasing yours soon. Seats are only $35 per concert, with free parking about a block away. Pre-concert hors d’oeuvres are an additional $15, and the post-concert reception is only an additional $6. Tickets can be purchased by contacting the Denver Consistory at 303-861-4261 or by visiting: srconcerts.org.
Freemasonry for the
Professionals By H. Lloyd Wilkerson, Major General U.S. Marine Corps (Ret)
he major portion of my adult life has been spent in the service of my country as a career Marine. During that active duty career of more than 36 years, I was a Freemason for all but four years. I often craved to know more of the relationships between our fraternity and its military members in antiquity, but I had little time for such academic exploration. From my childhood I have heard stories about brother Masons, serving in opposing armies, who spared each other from death upon being recognized as fraternity brothers. These stories are prevalent in the history of the American Revolution, the American Civil War, and in World War I, but are decreasingly prevalent thereafter in World War II, the Korean War, and the Vietnam War.
The Commander-in-Chief of our Forces in the American Revolution, Brother General George Washington, is reported to have visited a lodge with his British adversaries while under a flag of truce. The nature of warfare has changed so much over the
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centuries that a modern field commander cannot comprehend how such an act could be possible. But the modern armies fight so differently! They do not go into winter quarters and bivouac for months in a gentlemanâ€™s agreement that it is too cold to fight. They do not cease fighting just because it is becoming dark.
They use other reasons that will appear equally ridiculous to our successors. Let me share with you some of the highlights of my research. I know you will recognize some of my parochialism as a U. S. Marine, so please forgive me. However, I will begin with the discussion of the nature of Freemasonry prior to the establishment of the Grand Lodge of England in 1717, and of course, prior to the establishment of the U. S. Marine Corps about which I will comment later. To refresh your memories about Masonic affairs before grand lodges were formed, there were no charters, no regularly elected officers, and no regular lodges as we know them today. Seventeenth and early eighteenth century lodges were very informal, were attended by any Freemason who happened to be in the area. Since they often had
no permanent officers, the oldest master clergy, and men of great influence sought have Military (traveling) Lodges. The first in attendance assumed the East. Masonic to become part of the Fraternity. Before such authorization appears to have been membership was at-large rather than in an the period of Grand Lodges, the Colonies made by the Grand Lodge of Scotland in individual lodge, no dues were paid, and had many military and civilian men who 1743 when “at the recommendation of no certificates of membership (dues cards) were made Masons prior to departure the Earl of Kilmarnock, Grand Master, were issued. Voluntary contributions from from their homelands. According to the the first Military Lodge (under the Grand those present were solicited to pay for food practice of the time, that Freemasons had Lodge) was erected, the petitioners all and drink consumed at the meeting and to the immemorial right to meet together, belonging to Colonel Lees’ regiment, support charity. It appears to me they did these Freemasons doubtless held Masonic afterwards the 55th foot.”3 “The first considerable drinking compared to our English Military Lodge was established in communications and initiated candidates modern lodge meetings where complete 1750, and attached to the 31st Foot.”4 It as was being done in England and abstinence is the law and most Freemasons had the distinction of providing the ten elsewhere. Additionally, they appeared to I know consume no spirits during the day charter members of the first stationary have continued this practice far beyond of a meeting. Freemasons met whenever lodge in Florida in 1771. The 31st Foot 1717 when the Grand Lodge of England and wherever they desired, had no lodge was departing Florida and these members was established. buildings as such, but most frequently met were local civilians who had joined the Along with the Grand Lodges came in local taverns where food, drink, and Regimental Lodge. more standardization of the ritual, more lodging were available.1 Regimental Lodges proliferated in the control of lodge affairs including chartering, At first, few if any records or minutes Forces of England, Ireland, and Scotland meetings, and initiations. Technically, all were kept. It is interesting to me that the during the Eighteenth Century. By 1760, lodges in the Colonies became clandestine very first record of making of a Mason in because of the lengthy conflict with the until they received written charters. Some England (but not in French in which an English lodge) many Regiments This lodge was formed in an enemy country, and utilized from was in 1641 when England General Hamilton participated, there lodge rooms in which Napoleon and his officers held and certain Masters were at least fifty Masonic communications more than a century before....” Regimental Lodges and others from in the Colonies. Lodge of Edinburgh met at Newcastle, “They were England, and admitted the Rt. Hon. Robert warranted by both the Antient and the lodges acted promptly and others rather Moray (Murray), General Quarter Master Modern Grand Lodges of England, and slowly in obtaining charters. One that of the Army of Scotland. This preceding the Grand Lodges of Scotland, Ireland, met at Tun Tavern in Philadelphia boasts outside the boundaries of the Kingdom and the Provincial Grand Lodges of of having the first recorded lodge meeting was approved by the Lodge.2 It was normal Massachusetts, Pennsylvania, and New in America. It was denied being known in the transition period between operative York. At the time hostilities started in the as the oldest authorized lodge in America and purely speculative Freemasonry to Revolution, the number of military lodges by failure to submit a timely request for bring in high-ranking military and civil had increased about fifty percent. At the a charter to some Grand Lodge. Our leaders. When we consider that this close of the French and Indian Wars there Brother General George Washington was candidate was the supplier of goods for the were, in addition to the military lodges, made a Freemason in the Fredericksburg Army of Scotland, and that some lodges about one hundred lodges warranted by (VA) Lodge in 1752, technically a were known as “Leg of Mutton” for causing the Grand Lodges previously named. clandestine lodge, for it did not receive the candidate to provide food for the night Military Lodges greatly accelerated the its charter until 1758. But such was the of his initiation, we might speculate about growth of Colonial Freemasonry.”5 It is nature of communications and attention why they traveled outside the Kingdom to no wonder that so many of the civil and to detail in those days. Who would fault make General Moray a Mason and what military leaders of the Revolutionary War them? They saw no immediate need to assessment was required of him. were Freemasons! apply for a charter! With the establishment of the Grand As the Revolutionary War approached, Members of military organizations Lodges of England, Ireland, and Scotland, the U. S. Marine Corps was organized in may well have held their own Masonic all between 1717 and 1736, Freemasonry that same Tun Tavern in Philadelphia where communications as their civilian brothers quickly spread throughout Europe and the first recorded meeting of Freemasons did in immemorial or Saints John Lodges, the English Colonies. The nobility, the but I have not been able to document such 3. 3 Robert Freke Gould, A Concise History events. The military Freemasons did join 1. Henry Wilson Coil, Sr., Freemasonry of Freemasonry, London: Gale & Polden, Ltd. their civilian brothers in the taverns for Through Six Centuries, Vols. I & II 1904, pg. 356. meetings. However, an accommodation (Richmond: Macoy Publishing and 4. 4 Ibid. pg. 420 was made for the professional soldiers Masonic Supply Company, Inc: 1967), 5. William H. Knutz, Colonial Freemasonry, when Grand Lodges began issuing Pg. 106 Chicago: Committee on Education, Grand warrants or charters for Regiments to 2. Ibid. pg. 109 Lodge of the State of Illinois, pg. 11-12.
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had taken place in 1731. The Innkeeper of Tun Tavern, Samuel Nicholas, was a member of the Lodge and later became its Junior Warden. He was commissioned a Captain of Marines by the President of the Continental Congress in 1775 and was directed to recruit two battalions of Marines. He set up his recruiting station in Tun Tavern and is recorded in our history as the First Commandant with rank of Major. The Regimental Military (traveling) Lodge system was perpetuated in the American Military Forces, first by the Colonial Grand Lodges, and finally by the State Grand Lodges. Throughout the Revolution, the Mexican War, the Civil War in both camps, and to a lesser degree in the Spanish-American War and World War I, the military Freemason could find his brothers in a traveling Military Lodge in his organization. The stories of Freemasons saving the lives and property of their brothers in the opposing camps are probably true. Dr. Joseph Newton in
Rocky Mountain Mason
his book, The Builders, A Story and Study of Freemasonry, tells that the Union Army Commander who attacked Little Rock, Arkansas, ordered a guard to be stationed around the home of [Confederate] General Albert Pike to protect his library. What a blessing for Freemasonry! Dr. Newton also expresses gratitude for the kindness of a brother Freemason in the Union Army who spared the life of his father, a prisoner of war from the Southern Army and himself a Freemason. In the Final Foreword dated 1948, Dr. Newton makes some observations I cannot confirm or deny of my own experience. He states that the Fraternity was ill prepared to administer to the mobilized Masonic brethren during World War I, but by the World War II timeframe, the Masonic Service Association (organized in 1919) and the War Service Work of the Grand Lodges of America were ready to serve and provided tremendous comfort and relief to military Freemasons away from their homes. I must have fought in the
wrong places in World War II, Korea, and Vietnam, for these activities have never come to my attention. But Military Lodges did exist in World War I, for instance, near the end of the War, a lodge of particular interest to U.S. Marines and soldiers was Overseas Lodge No. 40, Coblenz, Germany. This lodge was formed in an enemy country, and utilized lodge rooms in which Napoleon and his officers held Masonic communications more than a century before. Shortly after the American Army entered Germany in December 1918, a small group of brothers organized a Masonic Club in Coblenz. This Club met regularly in the Kaiserâ€™s Gymnasium Hall and in six months had become a body of some 3,200 souls. Overseas Lodge No. 40 was the outgrowth of this Masonic Club with a dispensation granted by the Grand Lodge of Rhode Island. The Lodge did not hold its Masonic communications in the Kaiserâ€™s Gymnasium, but began
conferring degrees utilizing the German Masonic Temple, home of Johannis Lodge, Frederick Zur Vater-land, originally an Army Lodge during the Napoleonic Wars. This lodge was first organized in 1812 as a field lodge during Napoleon’s Campaign in Russia. Three future Commandants of the U. S. Marine Corps became Freemasons in Overseas Lodge No. 40 during its short existence: General John A. Lejeune, probably the most outstanding Marine of the Twentieth Century for whom Marine Corps Base, Camp Lejeune NC, and John A. Lejeune Lodge No. 350, Quantico, VA, were named; General Wendell C. Neville; and General Lemuel C. Shepherd, under whom I have often served and from whom I have taken this story. General Shepherd tells this story of General Lejeune’s initiation as it originated with fellow U S. Army officers in the second Army Division when General Lejeune commanded it. General Lejeune is reported to have called his driver and told him he was going to Coblenz. When he named the hour of departure, the driver’s face fell. ‘I was going to ask if I could get off this afternoon, sir,’ he said. ‘No, you had better come along,’ the General replied, ‘You will have plenty of time to yourself in Coblenz.’ ‘Yes sir,’ said the driver, although he was not wholly cheerful. ‘Where to, sir?’ he asked as he was entering Coblenz about 26
three o’clock that afternoon. The driver gave his chief a peculiar look as he nodded that he understood. At the gate in front of the Temple, General Lejeune tarried a moment to tell the driver to be back promptly at seven o’clock. ‘But, sir,’ was the smiling reply, ‘I also have been notified to report here this afternoon,’ and together they entered the Temple to take their First Degrees. Generals Lejeune and Shepherd were raised in this same Lodge on the same night. When General Shepherd, then a company commander, submitted his petition, he was sponsored and coached by the company gunnery sergeant of his company. He elaborated and evaluated much later saying: Thus did Overseas Lodge develop and strengthen a fellowship between men of all ranks in the Army and the Marine Corps. Upon its return to America, Overseas Lodge was established at Providence, Rhode Island, where it continues active at this time. In order to be eligible for admission an applicant must have served in one of the armed services. The work continues to be conducted in the same manner as in Germany, the officers of the Lodge wearing their service uniforms and carrying out the
ritual with military precision. An interesting souvenir possessed by the Lodge is a Masonic diploma presented by a descendant of the French Lodge stationed in Coblenz during the Napoleonic War, which was issued by the Great Orient of France in 1816 and bears the signature of both Napoleon and Marshall Ney.”6 If there were any Military Lodges traveling with U. S. Forces subsequent to World War I, I have overlooked the records about them. Some writers say there were none. This inquiry would not be complete without investigation of activities in the Orient. The Field Lodge that accompanied the North Dakota Regiment of Volunteer Infantry transported Freemasonry to the Philippines in 1898. This Lodge was established by a dispensation granted by the Grand Lodge of the State of North Dakota and its charter members consisted of both officers and enlisted men of the regiment. In a short time it had received 100 petitions and had to refuse to receive more. I have read of no other lodge that has had the ceremony of obligation of a candidate interrupted by rifle fire! It departed the Philippines with its Regiment about a year later.7 6. General Lemuel C. Shepherd, U. S, Marine Corps (Ret), An Address to the Members of John A. Lejeune Lodge No. 350, A. F. & A. M. Quantico, VA 16 Oct 1961 (Lodge Bulletin Nov 61). 7. La Von Parker Linn, Fifty Years of National Rocky Mountain Mason
Shortly after departure of the North Dakota Regiment with its Military Lodge, A Sojourners Club was formed in Manila. It was composed of Freemasons who were in good standing and who wished to promote good fellowship and contribute to the welfare of their less fortunate brothers. By 1901 this group of Sojourners had obtained a dispensation from the Grand Lodge of California to form a permanent Lodge in Manila. As the members of the Sojourners Club were charter members of the newly formed Manila Lodge, the Club was disestablished. But in 1907, the Sojourners Club was again formed in Manila, this time to provide a way for military Freemasons to know each other better and to be of assistance to those in distress.8 These military Freemasons, officers and enlisted men, returned home throughout the period preceding World War I with good feeling about the Club and its function. In the months immediately following World War I, a group of commissioned officers of all the Military Services who were Freemasons held meetings in Chicago, Illinois, and formed the organization now known as The National Sojourners, Inc.9 It is now composed of Freemasons who are also commissioned officers and warrant officers, past and present, of the Armed Services of the United States, the U. S. Coast Guard, the Public Health Service, or Coast and Geodetic Survey. Commissioned officers in any armed services of a nation allied with the United States in time of war may also be qualified for membership. National Sojourners, Inc. is organized into chapters with the objective of strengthening our national defenses, promoting patriotic ideals, and providing good fellowship among its members. It has served its purposes well and has established over 500 chapters during the ensuing years. The only misfortune of its early existence was its unwillingness to accept enlisted men as members. It was created in an era of extreme class-consciousness within our society as pertained to officers and enlisted men. I am a member and have been since World War II. But I found it difficult to sway the membership to change the rules even to allow career staff noncommissioned officers to become members. But we have Sojourners, Washington, D. C.: National Sojourners, Inc. 1970 pg. 13-14. 8. Ibid. pg. 15-19. 9. Ibid. pg. 26.
Rocky Mountain Mason
persevered! As the years have passed, The National Sojourners, Inc., has offered membership to senior noncommissioned officers of the Armed Forces. These new members have invigorated the organization and have taken positions of leadership in all echelons of authority. This has greatly increased the potential to enrich the lives of military Freemasons who are serving our country in far off lands where Masonic Lodges are not readily available. In modern warfare, combat is often continuous and intense for the span of time of an entire campaign. Armies must keep on the move to avoid destruction by the enemy. No winter bivouacs are possible, nor is there an opportunity for much rest for the troops. Rather, personnel are replaced in the combat zone on a periodic basis and returned to their homeland for recuperation from wounds or sickness, and for reorientation and retraining. The combat zone is hardly a place to confer degrees! The North Dakota Regiment discovered that in 1898! Nor is man capable of evaluating the true qualifications of a petitioner in the combat environment. Emotions for survival run too high and ”loyalties of necessity” are too strong for one to make an accurate assessment of the overall moral character of his fighting companions. Even if time were available to conduct regular lodge communications in military traveling lodges, the experiences of the North Dakota Lodge would be repeated, for men of many varied moral persuasions tend to fraternize under the pressures of common dangers. Joining the Masons might become the “thing to do at the moment” and the ballot box would be too timid to be effective. I would not subscribe to the establishment of traveling lodges in our Armed Forces today. In the final analysis, except in the combat zone, military Freemasons are seldom stationed beyond easy commuting distances of regular lodges where their presence would be honored. Our responsibility as Masonic leaders is to provide accurate information to Freemasons who are entering the military establishment and to encourage and lead them to the Masonic lodges nearest their duty stations. In the end, the habit of regular attendance at Lodge is hard to break!
BIBLOGRAPHY Castells, The Rev. F. deP. Our Ancient Brethren, the Originators of Freemasonry. London: A Lewis (Masonic Publishers) Limited, 30/32 Fleet St. Coil, Henry Wilson, P.M., 32° K.C.C.H. A Comprehensive View of Freemasonry. Richmond: Macoy Publishing and Masonic Supply Company, Inc. 1973 Coil, Henry Wilson, Sr. Freemasonry Through Six Centuries, Volumes I & II. Richmond: Macoy Publishing and Masonic Supply Company, Inc. 1967 Cole, Robert Glenn. Masonic Gleanings. Chicago; Kable Printing Co. 1954 Gould, Robert Freke. A Concise History of Freemasonry. London: Gale & Polden, Ltd. 1904 Knutz, William H. Colonial Freemasonry. Chicago: Committee on Education, Grand Lodge of the State of Illinois. Linn, LaVon Parker, Fifty Years of National Sojourners. Washington, D.C. National Sojourners, Inc. 1970 Newton, Joseph Fort, Litt.D. The Men’s House. Richmond: Macoy Publishing and Masonic Supply Company, Inc. 1969 Newton, Joseph Fort, Litt.D. The Builders. Richmond: Macoy Publishing and Masonic Supply Company. Inc. 1951 Shepherd, Lemuel A. General, USMC (ret). An Address to the Members of John A. Lejeune Lodge No. 350, A.F. & A. M., Quantico, Va. 16 Oct 61. John A. Lejeune Lodge Bul. Nov 61 Ward, J. S. An Outline History of Freemasonry, The Masonic Handbook Series, Studies in the Growth of the Order. No 4. London: The Basketville Press, Ltd. 1924
The Knights of St. Andrew I
n early 1993, in the Valley of Tulsa, Orient of Oklahoma, Illustrious Brother Weldon Good, 33º, determined a solution to a growing problem. Lackluster retention of Scottish Rite Masons, along with slackening participation among those who still paid their dues, was increasing stress on the Valley, especially during reunions. It was a one-two punch; less participation meant less quality work as the fewer active members ramped up their efforts to cover the short fall. Decreased quality in putting on the degrees lessened retention rates. And so it goes.
Illustrious Brother Weldon Good, 33º, determined a need to reward service to the Valley, encourage members to get involved, and stay involved. So early in 1993 he prevailed upon the SGIG to allow the creation of a service order, the Knights of Saint Andrew.
This was to be a black hat only order, a sort of distinction among Brethren of the 32º to encourage involvement. With a striking uniform, a separate degree, and select invitations, the Knights of Saint Andrew blossomed. Before the end of the year, in October, the second KSA Chapter appeared, in the Valley of Guthrie. Then, in 1994, the third, in the valley of McAlester. Today there are more than 350 KSA Chapters active in both the Southern 28
and Northern Jurisdictions of the Ancient and Accepted Scottish Rite. The KSA draws its history from the era 1220-1232 A.D., during the 5th and 6th Crusades. According to this history, a Confraternity was established at Acre with similar raison d’etre as the Templars – to defend and protect pilgrims paying their devotions in the Holy Land. They were predominantly of French extraction. They chose to meet at the castle in Acre and selected St. Andrew, the Apostle, as their patron saint. Legend presented during the ritual, however, harkens back to the Battle of Bannockburn where Robert the Bruce defeated the English in 1314, with the assistance of a band of knights who mysteriously showed up just in time. A connection with the recently disbanded and suppressed Templars is alleged, and Robert the Bruce reclaimed them in the Order of the Thistle, dubbing them Knights of Saint Andrew. Today the KSA provides an invaluable designation of Scottish Rite Masons, differentiating Brethren willing to serve their Valley with a visible attire and a graded system of wearable honors. This encourages and rewards participation in a lively and visible way. It’s also a good excuse to wear a kilt and affect a Scottish brogue. Many Valleys now enjoy an annual Robert Burns banquet every year, an event typically hosted by the KSA. While each KSA Chapter is independent (there is no centralized base for their operations, each Chapter meets under its own Consistory) a mission statement common to many reads:
The Knights of St. Andrew exist as a social group on behalf of themselves as a service organization on behalf of all members of their consistory. They are under the immediate supervision of the Secretary of their Scottish Rite Consistory and provide services where they are needed. This includes, but is not limited to, aiding, acting as greeters, providing escort services to other dignitaries, (or for special events created for the ladies during reunions or other functions), serving as guides, assisting at the Scottish Rite Reunions, putting on the 29th Degree (Knights of St. Andrew), and helping present the Colors when called upon. The Knights of St. Andrew can also assist in the calling committees, participate in civic activities, promote fund-raising events, and aid in any special event. This is a living list and will continue to be developed as new ideas and concepts are presented to meet needs and goals. Most meetings of the KSA are open to any Masons to attend. If you’re interested in learning more about the KSA chapters operative in your Valley, contact your Consistory Secretary and get a name or two. Then, consider showing up for a meeting (or the annual Robert Burns Feast) and get involved. Rocky Mountain Mason
How to recognize your KSA Officers. Many KSA Chapters use the following insignia (colored feathers and bonnet badges) to designate their Officers
Chieftan Headsman All Barons (honorary) K.C.C.H. 33ยบ All Past Officers All General Membership
Timeline of the Knights of Saint Andrew Also Known as The Order of the Thistle or the Scots Guard
Third KSA Chapter formed in Valley of McAlester, Orient of Oklahoma.
Ill. Weldon Good, 33ยบ forms the first Chapter of the Knights of St Andrew in Valley of Tusla, Orient of Oklahoma Second KSA Chapter formed in October, Valley of Guthrie, Orient of Oklahoma
KSA celebrates 20 years Guthrie Chapter KSA sponsors Medieval Festival - in concert with the Society for Creative Anachronism and the Arthurian Order of Avalon.
April: First national Gathering of the KSA, at Guthrie, OK. 134 KSA Chapters in the Southern Jurisdiction and 19 KSA Chapters in the Northern Masonic Jurisdiction.
ne of the earliest references to offer components of masonic ritual reminiscent of the third degree is the Graham Manuscript, of 1726. Composed a mere nine years after the formation of the first Grand Lodge in England, the Graham manuscript includes a catechism with some interesting narrative recognizable to any worthy Mason of the contemporary Lodge. Much has been written about this manuscript with attention to itâ€™s portrayal of subject matter potentially archetypal for the Third Degree as worked today, in the 21st Century. However, less remarked upon by Masonic scholars are references reminiscent of workings of the Royal Arch degree, thereby suggestive that a prototypical third degree (or raising) was inextricably linked with the communication of what is now known as the Royal Arch degree.
Rocky Mountain Mason
as Part of the
How the 18th Century Graham Manuscript, long a prototype for the 3rd degree, makes explicit referencesto material now associated with the Royal Arch degree....
The Graham manuscript clearly sets forth precepts still used in Lodge today. The first question, From whence came you? should be recognizable to any Mason. References to God and St. John follow throughout. There is a consistent Christian thread throughout which should not be overlooked; the origin, no doubt, of the dedicatory premise of our modern Lodges. I’ve cited some of the manuscript below, where particularly relevant to modern Masonic workings. You may perhaps recognize the ancestry to our own work today. Rocky Mountain Mason
From whence came you?
I came from a right worshipful Lodge of Masters and fellows belonging to God and holy saint John who doth greet all true and perfect brothers of our holy secrets so do I you if I find you to be one.
I greet you well brother craving your name – Answer J and the other is to say his is B.1
1. The initials of “J” and “B” should be familiar to anyone who has stood on the porch of the Temple.
How shall I know you are a free Mason? By true word, signs, and tokens from my entering.
How were you made a free Mason? By a true and perfect Lodge.
What is a perfect Loge?
The center of a true heart.
How came you into the Lodge? Poor and penniless, blind and ignorant of our secrets.
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What posture did you pass your oath in? I was neither sitting, standing, going, running, riding, hinging, nor flying, naked, nor clothed, shod, nor barefoot.
What were you sworn to?
For to hale and conceal our secrets.
What other tenets did your oath carry? My second was to obey God and all true Squares made or send from a brother, my third was never to steal lest I should offend God and shame the square, my fourth was never to commit adultery with a brother’s wife nor tell him a willful lie, my fifth was to desire no unjust revenge of a brother but love and relieve him when it’s in my power it not hurting myself too far.
I pass you have been in a Lodge yet I demand how many lights belong to a Lodge? I answer 12.
What are they?
The first 3 jewels [are] Father, Son, and Holy Ghost; Sun, Moon, Master Mason; square, rule, plumb; line, mall, and chisel.
I pass you entered, yet I demand if you were raised? Yes I was.
There is more, but space here is limited. The catechism ends with a description of Shem, Ham, and Japheth searching for the secrets Noah purportedly brought with him from the antediluvian world. This leads them to Noah’s grave where they seek to raise the body. Shem, ham, and Japheth2 [went to] their father, Noah’s, grave for to try if they could find anything about him for to lead them to the veritable secret which this famous preacher had, for I hope all will allow that all things needful for the new world was in the ark with Noah. Now these three men had already agreed that if they did 2. Royal Arch Masons should recognize the importance of these names when passing the veils.
not find the very thing itself that the first thing that they found was to be to them as a secret then not doubting but did most firmly believe that God was able and would also prove willing through their faith, prayer, and obedience for to cause what they did find for to prove as veritable to them as if they had received the secret at first from God Himself at its headspring, so came to the grave finding nothing save the dead body almost consumed away taking a grip at a finger it came away so from joint to joint so to the wrist so to the elbow so they reared up the dead body and supported it setting foot to foot, knee to knee, breast to breast, cheek to cheek, and hand to back, and cried out, “help O father,” as if they had said, “O father of heaven help us now for our Earthly father cannot,” so laid down the dead body again and not knowing what to do – so one said here is yet marrow in this bone and the second said but a dry bone and third said it stinketh so they agreed for to give it a name as is known in free masonry to this day…
Rocky Mountain Mason
With this word, which they appropriated as placeholder for the secrets lost, enough faith was created that the true secrets were revealed, as it were, in silence – in the reverent space this chosen word, now hallowed, created for the influx of holy knowledge. Henceforth, “works stood” – that is, buildings (and other endeavors, perhaps) were true, square, and level, and withstood the agency of “infernal and squandering spirits”. The narrative then turns to Bezaliel,3 who was born with an inspired understanding of the secret “titles” and “pallies”4 of the Godhead. At this point it is worth observing two things. First, that the raising of Noah5 was performed on the five points of fellowship, and therefore the word adopted at the grave must only be communicable between two people, one person at a time. (It is perhaps significant also for Christians adopting the Old Testament legitimacy as Beni Noah6.) Second, we must remark on the introduction of Bezaliel, who is significant in modern workings of the Royal Arch degree. However, the main reference that appears reminiscent of modern Royal Arch rituals is the phraseology of “a treble voice” applied to the utterance of some secret knowledge. The word “treble” means “threefold”, not the choral designation of an unbroken male voice of the upper register. The first reference to this “treble voice” is in the catechism early on: 3. The attentive reader will note Bezaliel was the chief artisan of the Tabernacle, who under the supervision of Moses, with the assistance of Aholiab, built the Ark of the Covenant wherein were deposited the book of the Law, the pod of Manna, Aaron’s rod, and the tables of stone on which was the Decalogue written by the finger of God. 4. Could be plural of “pally”, adjective meaning friendly, and thus signify familiarity with angelic forces believed to be in the control of enlightened man. Bezaliel is mentioned repeatedly throughout modern workings of the Royal Arch Degree as practiced in the U.S. 5. This is in line with Masonic scholarship on the subject, holding that the Noachite rite was precedent to the Hiramic legend of later workings. The Allied Masonic Degrees still harbor the Noachite Rite. 6. That is “sons of Noah”, an epithet applied by Jews to non-Jews who remain holy in the eyes of God. Rocky Mountain Mason
our articles. Wherefore it appears evident that having been entered, passed, and raised, the secrets were discovered by consent of a Lodge “obtained by a treble voice”. This cannot be the communication of the word upon the five points of fellowship, as illustrated at the graveside, and conferred man to man. The second place this phrase, “treble voice”, is mentioned is in regards to the Master – one of the lights of the Lodge:
What are they [the 12 jewels]? What did you see in Lodge when you did see? I saw truth the world and Justice and brotherly Love.
What was behind you?
Perjury and hatred of brotherhood forever if I discover our secrets without the consent of a Lodge, except that have obtained a treble voice by being entered, passed, and raised and conformed by 3 several Lodges and not so except I take the party sworn to be true to
The first 3 jewels [are] Father, Son, and Holy Ghost; Sun, Moon, Master Mason; square, rule, plumb; line, mall, and chisel.
Prove all these proper.
As for the blessed trinity they afford reason; as for the sun, he renders Light day and night; as for the Moon, she is a dark body of water and doth receive her Light from the sun, and is also queen of waters, which is the best of levels; as for the Master mason, he teaches the trade and ought to have a treble voice in teaching of our secrets if he be a bright man because we do believe into a super oratory power for although the 70 had great power yet the 11 had more for they chose Matthias in place of Judas;7 as for square, rule, plumb, line, mall and chisel, they are six tools that no mason can perform true work without the major part of them.
The third (and last) reference to a “treble voice” is more clear and definitive, which appears to reference the sounding of a trisyllabic word of resounding virtue: … then was born Bezaliel who was so called of God before conceived in the [womb] and this holy man knew by inspiration that the secret 7. The 11 referred to here is clearly the disciples after the death (or suicide) of Judas and the election, by lots, of Matthias. The “70 had great power”, however, appears (at least to me) inconclusive in this context. 35
titles and primitive pallies of the Godhead was preservative, and he built on them in so much that no infernal squandering spirit durst presume to shake his handiwork so his works became so famous while the two younger brothers of the aforesaid king Abloyin8 desired for to be instructed by him his noble science by which he wrought, to which he agreed conditionally they were not to discover it without another to themselves to make a treble voice so they entered oath and he taught them the theory and practical part of masonry and they did work. Then was masons wages called up in that realm, then was masons numbered with kings and princes yet near to the death of Bezaliel he desired to be buried in the valley of Jehosaphat and have [carved] over him according to his deserving which was performed by these two princes and this was [carved] as follows: Here lies the flower of masonry, superior of many other, companion to a king and to princes, a brother, here lies the heart all secrets could conceal, here lies the tongue that never did reveal. Significant in the above is mention of holiness “preservative” of edifices and structures erected by Bezaliel, that two princes came to learn of his divine science but were instructed to find another person (to make three) and thus “make a treble voice”. Only after having a third person with whom to render the “treble voice” did Bezaliel impart the secrets of speculative and operative Craft masonry. This is 8. In the short time required to prepare this article for this publication, the author regretfully was unable to discover the king to whom this name refers.
contrary to the secret raised at Noah’s graveside by his three sons. The chronology of the chosen narrative, Noah – who yielded secrets from the antediluvian world – and then Bezaliel seems to suggest a chronology of raising, then the secret imparted by the “treble voice”. The one is the substitute (Shem, Ham, and Japheth agree to accept whatever they find first at the graveside, much like Solomon in the third degree today), the other the true word communicable in a treble voice. As is imparted in the lecture of the Royal Arch Degree today, the Great and Ineffable Name of God was so powerful it was never spoken except in solemn ceremonies and with the greatest of reverence. The Ineffable Name has long been held in legend to bestow mighty power upon the utterer – the ground shook when the High Priest uttered it three times on the day of atonement in the sanctuary of the tabernacle. To take the Ineffable name in vain was a sin; desecrating the Holy Word could divorce it of its power – because the word was set apart (the word “Holy” in Hebrew is etymologically linked to the verb to “set aside”). To take the Lord’s name in vain is still frowned upon, significantly in both the Order of the High Priesthood for Past Excellent High Priests and the Rite of Perfection in the Scottish Rite. The sanctity the word required meant it could not be spoken, except in the most proper and emergent of situations. Therefore, the rendering of the Name in three, by three, was arguably undertaken for the purposes of instruction, to intone and thus invoke the indwelling of Deity. When this act was performed with the due sanctity, and the specialness secrecy was meant to impart, the effect must have been profound. While there is nothing definitive in ritualistic terms we can point to in the Graham manuscript indicative of the Royal Arch degree as we know it today, the cloth from which the degree was cut
is clearly being stitched upon the loom of early Craft masonry. It is also pertinent to note that the Royal Arch, when it was properly codified in the mid-18th Century, was accessible only to Past Masters of a Lodge – a caveat still operative today by virtue of the “virtual past master’s degree” in the Capitular Rite. There are other references to material now peculiar to the Royal Arch Degree from 17th and 18th Century literature on the subject,9 but we will have to leave those for another time. Suffice it to say, though, material now practiced as the Royal Arch degree remains historically some of the most influential and important teachings formative of the Craft.
9. The author, though bound to secrecy on the actual particulars, has it on good authority (sworn by a most worthy companion whose word is well respected worldwide) that there exists in Scotland, in possession of a dignitary there, formation papers of a Grand Chapter dating to no later than the 16th Century.
Rocky Mountain Mason
Denver Consistory presents
Scottish Rite Classical Music Series
2015-2016 \\ Denver Consistory \\ 1370 Grant St, Denver CO CONCERT I - BEETHOVEN’S 9TH SYMPONY
October 10, 2015 (one performance) The Arapahoe Philharmonic under the musical direction of Brian Patrick Hughes, will present Beethoven’s Ninth Symphony along with the Cherry Creek Choral Soloists: Tiffany Blake, Soprano -Sarah Barber, Mezzo-Soprano -Jason Baldwin, Tenor -Steven Taylor, Baritone.
CONCERT II - HANDEL’S MESSIAH
December 11 & 12, 2015 (two performances) Musica Sacra Chamber Orchestra, David Rutherford, Music Director, with the Seicento Baroque Ensemble Soloist: Pearl Rutherford, Soprano –Sarah Barber, Mezzo-Soprano -James Baumgarder, Tenor -Steven Taylor, Baritone.
CONCERT III - ALL AMERICAN
March 5, 2016 (one performance) All American-Lakewood Symphony Orchestra, Matt Switzer, Music Director. George Gershwin -American in Paris; Aaron Copeland -Four Dance Episodes from Rodeo; Matt Switzer -World Premier of an antiphonal arrangement for organ and orchestra to be dedicated to the Scottish Rite; George Gershwin -Rhapsody in Blue Piano: Joshua Sawicki.
CONCERT IV - ALL AMERICAN
April 16, 2016 (one performance) Littleton Symphony Orchestra, Jurgen de Lemos, Music Director; Richard Strauss -Opening of Also SprachZarathustra (with organ); J.S. Bach, arrangement by Stokowski -Toccata and Fugue in D minor; Sergei Rachmaninoff Piano Concerto No 2 Giovanni Gabrielli-Pieces for Brass and Organ; Camille Saint-Saëns -Symphony No 3 (Organ Symphony), Adagio and Finale Organ: Josiah Hammell.
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The Lodge Room Up Over
ost Masons in Colorado are familiar with the Lodge room over Simpkins Store in Fairplay, mainly thanks to Lawrence Greenleaf ’s poem of the same name. I’d heard the poem shortly after being raised. Greenleaf, who was Grand Master in Colorado in 1880, wrote the poem in 1898 depicting a rustic, frontier Lodge that, despite humble accommodation, tended the Masonic light with acumen and upheld charity and society in the wild west pioneer town. It inspires many western Masons to this day.
Greenleaf read his poem at the dedication of the new Lodge building in Telluride, on May 23, 1899, one year after he wrote it, as recorded in the Telluride Daily Journal. I’m a Past Master of Telluride, and even though the Lodge claims some propriety to the poem because of Greenleaf ’s reading there, I’d never actually visited the Lodge room over Simpkins Store.
Then, one Saturday in July this year, the Holy Order of High Priesthood had me in Fairplay for ritual practice, and despite the cold afternoon and our summer dress (Fairplay is nearly 10,000 feet above sea level) we decided to take a trip across Main Street, brave that cold wind, and check out 38
this iconic Lodge room. It’s a simple wooden building, unchanged much in the last century. Simpkins Store is preserved as a sort of pharmacy/general store, and is of interest as well to any lover of the history of the frontier. But upstairs, through a small low-slung doorway, the Lodge room is a real treat. The walls are not insulated. Daylight is visible between the rough hewn planks. They must have made good use of the wood-burning stove back then, because the shell of a building was good only for tamping the wind that still somehow made its way through the chinks in the planking. Access to the Lodge room is made
available through a tourist shop that acts as a sort of gateway to Southpark City, a preserved block of this frontier town. Ambling across the thoroughfare, one ascends a tight group of wooden stairs to gain admission to the Lodge anteroom. Preserved behind a perspex screen, visitors can look in at the little Lodge room and all the accouterments set up in much the same way as 125 years ago. The first thing to strike me was how small it was. Conducting candidates around the altar, it must have been difficult to get the scriptural readings done between the gavels – or else they must have proceeded very slowly. There’s a Templar exhibit stuck into the corner near the Lodge doorway, with one of those Victorian uniforms – the long-coat with high collar, heavy black wool, sized to fit the diminutive stature of the 19th Century male. A chapeau is displayed as well, the ostrich feather aged and wilted, but not unlike many worn by members of the Temple today. The small library in the ante room is home to some lovely editions of Gould’s History of Freemasonry and Mackey’s Encyclopedia among other titles. The binding in those days was fantastic, and the gilded hardcovers are a sight to behold. If you ever get the chance, take a trip to Fairplay, to Southpark City, and check out the Lodge Room Over Simpkins Store. Doric Lodge No. 25, of Fairplay, still holds a meeting there, once a year in August. It gets crowded, though, so arrive early if you want to sit in Lodge. Rocky Mountain Mason
he plainest Lodge room in the land was over Simpkins’ store, Where Friendship Lodge had met each month for fifty’ years or more. When o’er the earth the moon full-orbed, had cast her brightest beams, The Brethren came from miles around on horseback and In teams, And 0! what heavy grasp of hand, what welcome met them there, As mingling with the waiting groups they slowly mount the stair, Exchanging fragmentary news or prophecies of crop, Until they reach the Tyler’s room and current topics drop, To turn their thoughts to nobler themes they cherish and adore, And which were heard on meeting night up over Simpkins’ Store.
o city eyes, a cheerless room, long usage had defaced, The tell-tale lines of lath and beam on wall and ceiling traced. The light from oil-fed lamps was dim and yellow in its hue, The carpet once could pattern boast though now ‘twas lost to view The altar and the pedestals that marked the stations three, The gate-post pillars topped with balls, the rude-carved Letter G, Were village joiner’s clumsy work, with many things beside, Where beauty’s lines were all effaced and ornament denied. There could be left no lingering doubt if doubt there was before, The plainest Lodge room in the land was over Simpkins’ Store.
hile musing thus on outward form the meeting time drew near And we had glimpse of inner life through watchful eye and ear. When Lodge convened at gavel’s sound with officers in place, We looked for strange, conglomerate work, but could no errors trace. The more we saw the more we heard, the greater our amaze, To find those country Brethren there so skilled in Masons’ ways. But greater marvels were to come before the night was through, Where unity was not mere name, but fell on hearts like dew Where tenets had the mind imbued, and truths rich fruitage bore, In plainest Lodge room in the land, up over Simpkins’ Store.
o hear the record of their acts was music to the ear We sing of deeds unwritten which on angel’s scroll appear; A widow’s case for our helpless ones Lodge funds were running low A dozen Brethren sprang to feet and offers were not slow Food, raiment things of needful sort while one gave load of wood, Another shoes for little ones, for each gave what he could. Then spoke the last ‘I haven’t things like these to give out then, Some ready money may help out’; - and he laid down a ten. Were Brother cast on darkest square upon life’s checkered floor A beacon light to reach the white was over Simpkins’ Store.
ike scoffer who remained to pray, impressed by sight and sound, The faded carpet ‘neath our feet was now like holy ground. The walls that had such a dingy look turned celestial blue, The ceiling changed to canopy where stars were shining through. Bright tongues of flame from altar leaped, the G was vivid blaze, All common things seemed glorified by heaven’s reflected rays. 0! wondrous transformation wrought through ministry of love- Behold the Lodge Room Beautiful! fair type of that above, The vision fades-the lesson lives! and taught as ne’er before, In plainest Lodge room in the land-up over Simpkins’ Store.
he sun was like a wound above the road to Versailles, spilling blood into the clouds. The men were feverish. Furor demands a quickening, it seems, even as gravity sweeps the blade. They burst into the jails all at once, and hacked the noblemen to bits.
It was September 9, 1792. Justice is too slow, it seems: Something had to be done. No. Something had to be undone.
Rocky Mountain Mason
why the “larmenius charter”, purporting a secret succession of Grand Masters since Jaques Demolay, is most likley a fake...
Among the prisoners that day was Louis-Hercule Timoléon, Duc de Cossé Brissac, a regular at the King’s court, master of the King’s pantry, and Governor of Paris. He had broken bread with kings. Now he was just another dismembered corpse, reduced to anonymity in death and the equality of bones. Rocky Mountain Mason
Several days later – maybe weeks – the crowd became impatient as the lots were cried. A man stepped forward, and raised his hand. It was Bro. Jaques Philippe Ledru, physician to House of Brissac, the son of Nicolas-Philippe Ledru, the famous prestidigitator, illusionist, and man-abouttown – known by his cognomen Comus,
for the Greek god of revelry – who’d once performed for the King. But Bro. Jaques was less famous than his father. No one had recognized him. He bid again. He must win that desk! So begins the legend of Larmenius. Freemasonry is filled with stories of lost knowledge, found in some hollow 41
place. The antediluvian wisdom of Atlantis Templar Secrets no doubt, to be able to turn made, of a long lost Gospel of John, known had survived the flood in a hollow pillar, a lead into gold. In attempts to prove his as the Levitikon. This apocryphal text replica Ark of the Covenant beneath the magical ability, though, he was discovered essentially rewrote the Gospel according to Holy of Holies, so why not the Temple in in his rouse – he had simply concealed John, placing John in supereminency over the leg of an escritoire? a jeweler’s strip of gold to the bottom of Christ. But the Johannite Gnostic Church, Did Jaques Ledru, physician to Cossé the crucible in the hopes it would melt as it became known, would likewise Brissac, know a parchment was concealed during the “experiment” and then be splinter (as so many do) among the in the leg of the desk he won that day at revealed as an amorphous blob once the avaricious in-dealings of zealous disciples auction? Or was he just trying to salvage chaff had burned away. Unfortunately for and overcompensating egos. his patron’s estate? We may never know. him, he failed to heat it enough, and the Today a number of neo-Templar But it wasn’t until twelve years later that obviousness of his fraud was embarrassing organizations feign legitimacy to the any discovery was announced, this time to us both.... When the flame was turned Temple through this document and this by another physician – Bro. Bernard off, and the ash removed, a perfect strip of man. They pooh-pooh the Masonic Raymond Fabré-Palaprat – at the court of jewelers gold was revealed – you could still Knights Templar as some sort of imposition Napoleon. make out the marks left by the tinsnips on their rightful ascendency. They seem to Fabré-Palaprat and Ledru were used to cut it down to size. “That’s need proof of a direct lineage to the last Brothers and friends. Ledru had odd,” he said, “this time it manifested as Grand Master of the Temple and neglect apparently shown the parchment to Fabréa strip of gold stuck to the bottom of the what makes a man a Knight in the first Palaprat and a few others. It was written crucible….” place – not a parchment, but his heart. in a simple substitution cipher; but once Something changed before my eyes Most scholars believe the parchment deciphered it appeared to read in Latin an that day, I assure you, but it wasn’t the (the “Larmenius Charter”, as it has come unbroken chain of Grand Masters of the gold. to be known) to be a forgery – either Poor Knights of Christ and the Temple Some men grow delusions like rose by Philippe, Duke of Orleans, with the of Solomon – irrefutable proof of the gardens. If you expose them for what they assistance of a Jesuit monk known only succession, you see – from the death of are (weeds choking out the truth) they as Bonani, in the early 18th Century Jaques DeMolay in 1314 attack you, as if defending right up to 1792, with the their life’s work. Sadly, “Some men grow delusions like rose gardens. If bloody execution of the in many cases, it actually last Grand Master in secret, you expose them for what they are (weeds choking is. This unhappy fact is Cossé Brissac himself, out the truth) they attack you, as if defending their pertinent to the exchanges heaped up in that Versailles we find throughout history life’s work. Sadly, in many cases, it actually is.” prison. It was just too good regarding the Larmenius to be true. Charter, alas, from both By authority of the sides. So bare that in mind. (around 1705), or by Ledru and Palaprat Charter in their possession, Fabré-Palaprat The Larmenius Charter, then, has themselves, in the early 19th Century and Ledru sought to resurrect a new been written about extensively, not least (around 1804). Zealots of neo-Templar by the eminent Masonic scholar Albert Templar lineage. But Ledru refused the organizations, on the other hand, are Mackey in his Encyclopedia of Freemasonry. Grand Mastership. Perhaps he thought it steadfast: The document is real, they Mackey takes an unfavorable view of unseemly? It was deemed by all that some declaim, and any attempts to denounce the document, drawing off the research noble should take the title. Fabré-Palaprat it as a forgery are proof enough of a preformed in the latter 19th Century by graciously deigned to fill the office, at least conspiracy of Mother Church to discredit a number of writers who claimed to have temporarily, until a suitable replacement their rightful place. examined it in person: of noble blood could be found. But he Unfortunately, there is motivation had no desire to relinquish the position. He [Duke of Orleans] caused on both sides of this issue. For those who He retained the Grand Mastership for the new statutes to be constructed; wish to legitimize their Orders (or cults, rest of his life. and an Italian Jesuit, by name as case may be) and those who wish to He kept many titles, each betraying Father Bonani, who was a learned delegitimize them – there is a certain some sort of desire for aggrandizement, antiquary and an excellent madness, unfortunately, that seems to such as “Most Eminent Highness” and designer, fabricated the document attach to the Knights Templar, and twist “Very Great, Powerful and Excellent now known as the Charter of their legend to substantiate some sort of Prince” even “Most Serene Lord”. Larmenius, and thus pretended personal delusion. This makes men artful, Apparently the humility of the Temple, to attach the new society to the even deceitful, and motivates each side as which typically dubbed its leaders “Vicars ancient Order of the Templars. claimants of veracity. of Christ”, had escaped Mr. Fabré-Palaprat. I’ve had personal experience of this Such large personalities as these, According to Mackey, Philippe, madness, I’m afraid. I’ve met one such though, would result in splits to Duke of Orleans, had established a rakish Knight (a Grand Master of one particular his newfound Order, and rend the society at the French Court. Known as neo-Templar organization, as it happens) establishment of a gnostic church based on “La Petite Resurrection des Templiers”, it who claimed, by inheritance of the True yet another discovery he claimed to have dealt in lechery, overeating, and general 42
Rocky Mountain Mason
Evidence of Spuriousness? E go frater Johannes Marcus Larmenius, hyerosolimitanus, Dei gratia et secretissimo venerandi sanctissimique martyris, supremi templi militiæ magistri (cui honos et gloria) decreto, communi fratrum consilio confirmato, super universum templi ordinem, summo et supremo magisterio insignitus, singulis has decretales litteras visuris, salutem, salutem, salutem.
Notum sit omnibus tam præsentibus quam futuris, quod, deficientibus, propter extremam ætatem, viribus, rerum angustia et gubernaculi gravitate perpensis, ad majorem Dei gloriam, ordinis, fratrum et statutorum tutelam et salutem, ego supra dictus, humilis magister militiæ Templi, inter validiores manus supremum statuerim deponere magisterium: Idcirco, Deo juvante, unoque supremi conventus equitum consensu, apud eminentem commendatorem et carissimum, Franciscum Thomam Theobaldum Alexandrinum, supremum ordinis templi magisterium, auctoritatem et privilegia contuli, et hoc præsenti decreto, pro vita, confero cum potestate, secundum temporis et rerum leges, fratri alteri, institutionis et ingenii nobilitate morumque honestate præstantissimo, summum et supremum ordinis templi magisterium, sine commilitonum templi conventus; et, rebus ita sese habentibus, succesor ad nutum eligatur. Ne autem languescant supremi officii munera, sint nunc et perenniter quatuor supremi magistri vicarii; supremam potestatem, eminentiam et auctoritatem; super universum ordinem, salvo jure supremi magistri habentes; qui vicarii magistri apud seniores secundum professionis seriem eligantur. Quod statutum è commendato mihi et fratribus voto sacrosancti suprà dicto venerandi beatissimique magistri nostri, martyris (cui honos et gloria) amen.
The Jesuit motto
The Society of Jesus (the “Jesuits”) was founded in 1540 – 226 years after the death of Jaques DeMolay.
Use of Single Consonants Classical Latin would write quattor and commissa, so if the cipher was letter for letter substitution (as it is meant to be) this sigle usage may allude to a Spanish author.
Ego denique, fratrum supremi conventus decreto, è suprema mihi comissa auctoritate, Scotos Templarios ordinis desertores, anathemate percussas, illosque et fratres sancti Johannis hyerosolimae, dominiorum militiæ spoliatores (quibus apud Deum misericordia) extrà girum templi, nunc et in futurum, volo, dico et jubeo. Signa, ideo, pseudo-fratribus, ignota et ignoscenda constitui, ore commilitonibus tradenda, et quo, in supremo conventu, jam tradere modo placuit. Quæ vero signa tantummodo pateant post debitam professionem et æquestrem consecrationem, secundùm templi commilitonum statuta, ritus et usus, suprà dicto eminenti commendatoris à me transmissa, sicut à venerando et sanctissimo martyre magistro Jacobo de Molaya (cui honos et gloria) in meas manus habui tradita. Fiat sicut dixi fiat. Amen.
Curse of “Scottish Templars” It does seem a bit odd that the GM of the Templars would curse the men who escaped to Scotland – especially since most of them actually escaped to Portugal. Unless the wirter of the Latin was seeking to delegitimize competitors using Scottish descendency in their rites and rituals, that is.
Relics of DeMolay Supposedly In Possession of a Neo-Templar Organization Founded by Bernard Raymond Fabré-Palaprat in 1805
1. Charter of Larmenius 2. A volume of 27 paper sheets in folio, bound in crimson velvet, satin, and gold, containing the statutes of the Order in manuscript, and signed “Philip” [Duke of Orleans?]. 3. Small copper reliquary, in the shape of a Gothic Church, containing four fragments or burnt bones, wrapped in a piece of linen – said to be taken from the funeral pile at Isles de Juifs. [i.e. as belonging to either Jaques DeMolay or Geoffrey de Charney.] 4. A sword, said to have belonged to DeMolay. 5. A helmet, supposed to be of Guy, Dauphin D’Auvergne. 6. An old gilt spur. 7. A bronze patina, in the interior of which is engraved an extended hand, having the ring and little fingers bent in upon the palm, which is the form of the episcopal benediction in the Roman Church. 8. A pax in gilt bronze, containing a representation of St. John, under a gothic arch. The pax is a small plate of gold, silver, or other rich material, carried round by the priest to communicate the “kiss of peace.” 9. Three Gothic seals. 10. A tall ivory cross and three miters, richly ornamented. 11. The beauseant, in white linen, with four black rays. 12. The war standard in white linen, with four black rays. Of these, Clavel, a Frenchman writing in the 19th Century, who Mackey says was “on the spot” [i.e. an eyewitness] writes: “the copper reliquary, the sword, the ivory cross, and the three miters were bought by Lebolond from an old iron shop in the market of St. Jean, and from a maker of church vestments in the suburbs of Paris, while the helmet was taken by Arnal from one of the government armories.” 44
Rocky Mountain Mason
largesse. It’s mark was a man’s foot on a woman’s face. Whatever the exploits of this society of the French Royal Court, once discovered, King Louis XIV found it necessary to disband it. We read in Mackey: In the year 1682, and in the reign of Louis XIV, a licentious society was established by several young noblemen, which took the name of “La Petite Resurrection des Templiers,” or “The Little Resurrection of the Templars.” The members wore concealed upon their shirts a decoration in the form of a cross, on which was embossed the figure of a man trampling on a woman, who lay prostrate at his feet. The emblematic signification of this symbol was, it is apparent, as unworthy of the character of man as it was derogatory to the condition and claims of woman; and the king, having been informed of the infamous proceedings which took place at the meetings, dissolved the society (which it was said was on the eve of initiating the dauphin); caused its leader, a prince of the blood, to be ignominiously punished, and banished the members from the court; the heaviest penalty that, in those days of servile submission to the throne, could be inflicted on a courtier. Then, Mackey suggests, Ledru, who may have garnered the Charter from the hollow leg of Cossé de Brissac’s writing desk (or assisted in the fabrication of it outright) and Fabré-Palaprat used the document to establish their own Templar authority, this time with political aspirations. Even Napoleon, it is said, drew some interest in the group. According to Mackey, one Francisco Alvaro da Sylva Frevre de Porto infiltrated
Rocky Mountain Mason
the Order shortly after its founding. Da Sylva was, it is alleged, an agent of King John V of Portugal (who’s Knights of Christ legitimately claimed decadency from the Temple). Da Sylva became FabréPalaprat’s secretary in the Order, and, at Fabré-Palaprat’s direction, sent a copy of the charter to King John V of Portugal seeking authentication and legitimacy for the Order, but the King denounced it as fake. Nonetheless, this document of much controversy remains important for a number of reasons. If real, it demonstrates that DeMolay had conferred the Order of the Temple to a successor, to be perpetuated in secret, “only to be made known after due profession and knightly consecrations” had occurred. If a forgery, then the attempt to impose it on the world is a bold and unworthy deception and, as any equilibrium must depend on its initial conditions, so those Orders claiming their legitimacy form it are likewise deceived (and thus, ultimately, deceitful). Neo-Templar organizations claiming their decadency through the Charter are: Ordo Supremus Militaris Templi Hierosolymitani (OSMTH) and Ordre Sovuverain et Militaire du Temple de Jerusalem (OSMTJ). Offshoots of these organizations include the Johannite Gnostic Church and Ordre Souverain du Temple Initiatique (OSTI) founded by AMORC Imperator, Raymond Bernard, after his initiation into OSMTH in the 1950s. Of course, each claims to be the one true Temple. Most scholars contend the Charter’s Latin, once substituted for the simple cipher in which the document was originally written, is too good – the scholastic, ecclesiastical Latin more typical of the 18th Century than the 14th Century. W.Bro, Christopher Hodapp takes this view, writing in The Templar Code for Dummies that: The charter (which is actually
in the hands of the Freemasons and is available for inspection at Mark Masons Hall in London), is indeed written in a cipher code, and when translated, is in Latin, as one would expect a document from a 14th-century Catholic order of monks to be. But it is not in the ecclesiastical form of Latin typically found in religious documents of the period. Instead, it is polished, formal, and quite scholarly – a little too scholarly, in fact. However, this argument is not, by itself, convincing. Latin is an old language, and certainly the Church has cultivated perfection in Latin during the centuries it has employed the language since even the Dark Ages. This view was confirmed to me personally by the chair of the Department of Languages and Literature at Denver University, Dr. Victor Castellani. However, Dr. Castellani did point out some specific discrepancies in the usage more typical of a later time. Particularly, the use of the word rerum, ordinarily translated as “thing”, and used in the Charter ecclesiastically, to mean “the world”. In his own words: Maybe it’s too classical according to people who know this style, but that doesn’t bother me at all. It’s a nice usage. But it could be anachronistic. It could be something that was not done at the time when this was supposed to be written and something that was picked up during the humanist period. If the forger is a Jesuit, he has the benefit of Catholic humanism, the Latin of someone like Erasmus, for example, is much better than the Latin of Dante. He also pointed out the single lettering in words like quattor and comissa,
ordinarily using a double consonant. Not plan to escape Philip the Fair’s mass arrest? authority to me committed, I will, definitive proof or a forgery, mind you, but In order for him to denounce them, he declare, and command that the a suggestion that the author was possibly must have been aware of their flight there. Scottish Templars, as deserters of Spanish, as the suspected forger, Bonani, The inherent logic just doesn’t hold up. It the Order, are to be accursed, and was meant to be. seems much more likely that this curse was that they and the Brethren of Saint Another question raised is the specific motivated to bolster a competitor above a John of Jerusalem, upon whom phraseology employed in the second rival and diminish an established history may God have mercy, as spoliators paragraph, ad majorem Dei gloriam, of the Temple which, in fact, was not of the domains of our soldiery are meaning “To the greater glory of God”, the established until the latter 18th Century – now and hereafter to be considered motto of the Jesuit order itself, established nearly 500 years after the time the Charter as beyond the pale of the Temple I in 1540 – more than 200 years after the was allegedly written! have therefore established signs, year when Johan Marcus Larmenius was Additional points raised by people unknown to our false Brethren, meant to be penning the document. who have examined the Charter include and not to be known by them, to Granted, it could be a coincidence, but an illiterate man’s signature as Grand be orally communicated to our it is a significant one. Supporters of the Master (showing some good penmanship fellow-soldiers, and in which document may contend, however, that for an illiterate) and incorrect titling of way I have already been pleased this was because the founder of the Jesuits, various nobles throughout the list. But to communicate them in the Ignatius de Loyola, was influenced by vexingly, these are still explainable in other Supreme Convention. these secret Templars – the society of Jesus ways aside from forging the document. This seems to be a dig at the Scotch was, after all, founded in Paris. But it does However, with each addition of another Templars of Masonic origin. It is certainly seem more likely a forger, if a Jesuit (as curiosity and peculiarity, the odds begin to odd that a Grand Master of the Templars alleged), could not resist putting in a nod build until it becomes statistically unlikely would curse any knights that escaped the to his own order…. the document is genuine. Why would flames of the perfidious Pope and the Further clues are found in the method all the Grand Masters of the Temple be corrupt King of France. You would think and style of illumination of the manuscript. nobles at the French Royal Court? While he would be happy for them! And Scotland At the turn of the this is possible, 20th Century, the it does seem a “Legitimacy doesn’t come from veracious claims to some little imprudent document fell to for a secret order the scrutiny of the transmission. It comes from receipt of teachings and their committed to premier research adoption in the heart. The true inheritor wears the mantle of acts of charity in lodge in England, secret and perhaps Quator Coronati. simple truth, never grandiose claims desirous of legitimacy.” contrary any belief We read from a in humility and paper regarding was not the only place “deserting” knights sacred anonymity. this inquiry: fled, either; particularly, Portugal was a Moreover, anyone who requires such The Charter has been carefully safe haven – there the Templars simply a document to prove they are the direct examined for me by Sir changed their names to the Knights of descendants of the Temple is suspect and George Warner, Keeper of Christ. There were substantially more their motivations surely questionable. the Manuscripts at the British fleeing Templars in Portugal than Scotland, Legitimacy doesn’t come from veracious Museum, who is one of the especially around the time period when claims to some transmission. It comes greatest experts on the subject. this Charter is supposed to have been from receipt of teachings and their He says, that whilst the Latin is written. And some Knights surely made adoption in the heart. The true inheritor that of the fourteenth century, the it to Switzerland, too. Thus this curse by wears the mantle of simple truth, never illumination cannot be, but it may a supposed Grand Master is out of place, grandiose claims desirous of legitimacy. be any time from the latter part of out of time, partial, exacted, and peculiar Perhaps the only way to be sure, the fifteenth century, so that we – unless we accept that the real author of though, is to carbon date the document. seem no nearer to the true history the charter was deliberately attempting On this note, I emailed the Mark Masons of this remarkable document than to bolster his Templar organization above Grand Lodge on St. James Street in before. a competitor organization, such as the London earlier this year, offering to pay for Masonic Knights Templar, well established such a test. After a few weeks I received But for me the clincher is towards at the time of writing, say, in the late 18th a rather short reply: “We do not wish to the end in the Charter proper, where Century – when the Scottish connection carbon date the Larmenius Charter.” Larmenius himself calls down a curse upon to the Knights Templar was gaining Like so many things in our Craft, the Scottish Templars, denouncing them reputation following Ramsay’s famous perhaps the mystery is better than fact. “beyond the pale of the Temple”: oration in 1741. And, anyway, how would Larmenius Finally, on consequence of a have known the Templars had deserted to decree of a Supreme Convention of Scotland if it was not, indeed, part of some the Brethren, and by the supreme 46
Rocky Mountain Mason
Co N nt o ra ct
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t some point, usually prior to the opening of our lodges, we hear an admonition to the officers to “repair to” or “assume” their stations and places. Their position in the lodge room can be variable, and sometimes the new members, or even the older ones aren’t really sure what is meant by the terms. This part is pretty simple.
A “station” in the lodge is occupied by one of the “immovable jewels” and the officer representing them which are the Plumb (Junior Warden), the Level (Senior Warden), and the Square (Worshipful Master) which are found in the South, West, and East of the Lodge. The “places” in the lodge are the assigned seats for the other officers: Treasurer, Secretary, Senior and Junior Deacons, Senior and Junior Stewards, Chaplain, Marshal, Tyler or Tiler, and other officers.
Just to keep things interesting, the titles may be different, and there might be a number of other officers in the lodge
as well depending on the jurisdiction. In some places the Brother in the East is called the Right Worshipful Master and the other officers are addressed as Worshipful, such as Worshipful Junior Warden or Worshipful Senior Deacon. There may be additional officers such as Bible Bearers, Sword Bearers, Flag Bearers, and others. In some places you will see the furniture of the lodge arranged differently as well. Where we teach our Brothers not to pass between the altar and the WM, in some lodges the altar is placed directly in front of the WM so that can never happen. The position of the Three Great Lights is fairly universal, but the position of the Three Lesser Lights may be different. It can get a little confusing at times, but that is part of the fun of visiting other lodges which is one of the greatest gifts we receive as Masons, and I cannot be too strong in encouraging you to get out of your own house and see how others live in theirs. You might think the only duties of the various officers are those recited during the opening of the lodge, or perhaps you have attended an Installation ceremony and heard the charges given at that time. Even though one list is longer than the other, it still does not cover all the
things necessary for the running of a well governed, efficient, and effective lodge. The following is my interpretation of those things that should be done by some of the officers, and it has grown out of my years and the many positions I have filled while serving the Craft, visiting numerous other lodges in the United States and overseas, and discussions with Masons from other jurisdictions where I have not yet had the pleasure of visiting. Feel free to disagree with me or add other things you think are important. That is what we are taught to do, think things through and discover new or hidden meanings. However, when you do, please discuss them with others and share your light. We have to start somewhere, so why not start with what is often the most under-appreciated officers in the lodge, the Stewards. The Stewards are probably the most under-rated officers in the lodge, even though they have important functions to perform. In some lodges they are the beginning of the “progressive” line, and may be the Worshipful Master in a few years. That is how I started, and the years of learning and preparation served me and my lodge well. Rather than rushing me along on my Masonic journey, my
Rocky Mountain Mason
lodge gave me time to learn, question, and contemplate the many facets of the craft before being put in a position to make those very important decisions that devolve upon the Master. First, let me get one of my rants out of the way. The title is Steward, not “Stewart”. Stewart is a name that derived from the office of the Steward to the King or Queen and not the title of an officer. They work directly under the supervision of the Junior Warden, and are his assistants just as the Senior Deacon is to the Worshipful Master and the Junior Deacon is to the Senior Warden. They frequently assist in preparing the candidates, assist with processions, and may be called upon to perform other functions. One thing we should keep in mind is never underappreciate the people who are feeding you! Treat them well and you may avoid the horror of day old donuts and weak tepid coffee for refreshments after every meeting. Traditionally the Stewards were in charge of serving the meals at lodge or during festive boards, but today they may cook them or provide them in some other manner as well. They may set the tables prior to the dinner, take care of the dishes and dining area afterward, or perform a number of other functions Rocky Mountain Mason
by M.W.Bro. Michael MacMillan, P.G.M. of Colorado
to see to the period of refreshment. One of their most important and traditional duties in lodges that partake of wine or other alcoholic beverages is in watching out for their Brothers’ welfare. They should be making certain the Brothers do not pass the bounds of good sense, lose their sense of propriety in their conduct, and perhaps put themselves in a perilous position concerning making their way home after the dinner or other event. The Stewards should act as bartenders, and if they sense someone has gone beyond moderation, or if the Worshipful Master, Wardens, or another Brother have voiced concern to them, they should stop serving the Brother in question. You can address this issue without singling any one out by putting a limit on the number of drinks per person in advance, but that requires a way of keeping track such as using cards or some other method. Whatever we do, we should avoid insulting our Brother’s dignity in a loud and demeaning manner and handle such situations with the care to which we have pledged ourselves in seeing to our Brother’s welfare. Although each individual Brother is responsible for his own actions, we should all be looking out for our Brothers in this and other instances, and in fact
are obligated to do so. This is one of those situations where whispering wise counsel in a Brother’s ear may be called for. If necessary we should be willing to take drastic action to safeguard our Brothers against the possibility of hurting themselves or others, or the humiliation and expense of being arrested. While these actions may not be appreciated at the moment, they certainly will be later. The blood alcohol levels that can trigger such an event have gotten so low that a couple of drinks can often be enough to put you over the limit. Running afoul of these limits can lead to disastrous consequences not only for the individual Brother, but for his family, friends, and the community at large. By moderating our own actions and with a little help from our friends this situation is easily avoided. This is the first installment of what is planned to be a four part series discussing the duties of our officers and I hope it will promote some discussion in your lodge, and perhaps a rethinking of what we ask our Brothers to do in the various positions.
PHOTO BY BEN WILLIAMS
Donâ€™t see your Lodge represented? Send us your pictures to: email@example.com
PHOTO BY JOHN MORENO
1. Brethren of Golden City Lodge No. 1 A.F. & A.M. at Buffalo Billâ€™s Funeral Reenactment. 2. Knights of Saint Andrew, Bart Wegner and Dennis Klinefelter present a $500 check to the Rite Care Foundation after the annual Robert Burns Dinner in Denver. 3. Bro. John Attebery introduces the newest member to the Masonic Family, his daughter Anita Marie, who attended her first Grand Lodge session when she was but a few weeks old. 4. Rev. Jim Harris invokes the blessing of Deity, and remembrance of our departed Brethren, at the Rose Croix Ceremony of Remembrance. 5. Brethren of the Scottish Rite at the 9 News Health Fair. 6. Doc Powell gives a free dental checkup at the 9 News Health Fair hosted each year by the Denver Consistory. 7. Sir Knight Joe Summer, Right Eminent Grand Commander of the Grand Commandery of Knights Templar of Colorado, awaits an official visit in Sterling Colorado.
PHOTO BY JOHN MORENO
PHOTO BY JOHN MORENO
PHOTO BY BEN WILLIAMS
PHOTO BY SUE SUMMERS
PHOTO BY JOHN MORENO
PHOTO BY SUE SUMMERS
PHOTO BY JOHN MORENO
PHOTO BY SUE SUMMERS
PHOTO BY JOHN MORENO
PHOTO BY JOHN MORENO
PHOTO BY JEFF BEAUPREZ
PHOTO BY JEFF BEAUPREZ
1. 50 year members of the Scottish Rite recieve the highest honor, a blue hat, at the Denver Consistory. 2. Lovely ladies at the Ladies Luncheon at Denver Consistory. 3. The Grand Cryptic Masons officer line of New Mexico. 4. Peper Gisi, a candidate for the Scottish Rite, Denver Consistory, might need to pee. 5. Sir Knights enjoy a meal before receiving the Grand Commander in Sterling, CO, including two Past Grand Masters of Colorado, Charlie Johnson (front right) and Dana Speaks (second from front, on left). 6. Masons marched in the St. Patrickâ€™s Day Parade in Denver and show amity between A.F. & A.M. and PHA Brethren. 7. New Sir Knights brought through the Order of the Temple at the Angel of Shavano Encampment near Salida - 20 candidates (not all pictured) received a hearty welcome into the magnanimous Order of the Temple. 8. Sir Knight Ron Garret about to perform a Calvary Charge at the Angel of Shavano. Methinks the enemy might well get away.....
Ascension Sermon Delivered May 17, 2015, at Flat Irons Commandery No. 7
By Sir Knight Michael Burnett
“Christ in you, the hope of Glory.”
rothers and Sisters, today we celebrate the Ascension of Jesus into Heaven; indeed, we celebrate the defining moment in our religion; the most perfect example of Jesus as the Christ. The Ascension is key to the Christian religion, for without it, ours would be a worldly and passing faith. It is the Ascension, or the return of Jesus to his Divine Abode, which affords us the Way to Divine Union: a path guided by the Truth of Jesus’ wisdom, and a Life steeped in the Power of the Holy Spirit. Experientially, the significance of the Ascension is the consummate “happy ending.” It ensured the continued faith of the remaining eleven disciples, who were understandably shaken by the death of their spiritual leader. They had hold of Spiritual Truth, but what good was it if it would only guarantee their torturous deaths? The human frailty, even of those closest to Jesus, had caused their vision to fall short; after all, even men of Faith struggle to hold belief without tangible proof. The reappearance of the Savior to his disciples restored their Hope in eternal life, which had waned almost
to the point of extinction at the sight of Jesus’ death on the cross.
Theologically, the Ascension is the moment of the CHRISTOS, or intersection between the realms of God and Man through the character of Jesus. It is the moment in which Christ is in this world, but not of it; while before He was a God walking among men, We now experience Him being called to serve his higher nature in a higher realm. In the moment of the Ascension, Christ becomes the “bridge” between the world of the Infinite and the world of the finite; living proof to man of God’s presence among them; indeed, an ourpouring of the Holy Spirit upon them. In this light, the Ascension bolsters our Faith in a Power greater than ever before imagined. Symbolically, the significance of the Ascension is best understood through a meditation on the form of the Christian, or Passion, Cross. The cross which we celebrate has its roots deep in history: ancient religious tradition understood the relationship between Heaven and Man through the Tau, or T, cross. This basic geometric shape expressed, through the vertical line, the methaphorically “upward” inclination of the spiritual man, and the intersection thereof with the realm of Heaven, expressed by the horizontal line. As Jesus ascended into Heaven, as both God and Man, he symbolically “rent the veil” separating Man from God, expressed
geometrically by the continuation of the vertical line through the horizontal. In the Passion Cross, we see a bold statement about the changed relationship between God and Man: a two-way street, so to speak. The key to this radical access to God? Love. In Paul’s letter to the Corinthians, he speaks of Love as the most enduring of all things, saying: “And now these three remain: faith, hope and love. But the greatest of these is love.” As Masons, we prefer the King James translation, reading “charity” for “love.” We are also taught as Masons that “Faith may be lost in sight; Hope ends in fruition; but Charity extends beyond the grave, through the boundless realms of eternity.” Charity, however, is inexorably tied with Love and is indeed an outward expresion thereof. One cannot be truly charitable without having Love in their heart. Truly, in the light of Christ, it is Love which extends through eternity. We may be known as men and women of Faith, or of Hope, but Christ commands us to walk and act as brothers and sisters of Love. In the book of John, Christ delivers a “new commandment,” exhorting his disciples to “...love one another; as I have loved you, that ye also love one another. Rocky Mountain Mason
Non nobis Domine, non nobis sed Nomini Tuo da Gloriam! By this shall all men know that ye are my disciples, if ye have love one to another.” Christ understood the power of Love, and its universality. Despite the reigning opinion that love is something complex and rare, in truth it is nothing l e s s than the driving force of our world. We need look no further than that grand book of wisdom which God has left open for all of us, the book of Nature. Love keeps balance in the wild, compelling even the most violent of animals to acts of mercy. Likewise, it is the same pure, untarnished love that drives the mother to protect her young against predators, even with her life. There is little, if any, cruelty among the agents of the natural world; what violence is done is done of vital necessity. It is we, as humans, who have invented cruelty and hatred: a lesson Jesus knew all too well. Jesus was born into a world of religious tyranny consumed by greed and worldly power. Amidst the hundreds of prevailing commandments observed by the people of his time, He offered his disciples but one: one quite possibly
more difficult to obey than the hundreds which preceded it. He commanded them to love one another. This exhortation, to perform all acts in this life out of brotherly love for all mankind, is oftentimes far more difficult than we care to admit. Indifference, or even malice, is far too often the more convenient route for us to take. Active, compassionate, radical love is a never-ending challenge. It is not easy. In truth, as it has been expressed in various art forms throughout the generations, love hurts. But this is the crux of the Christian religion. The radical Love of Christ requires of us a deep sacrifice without immediate promise of reward. This deep, pervading, eternal Love is the message for which Jesus was sent into this world; why He was killed; and why He was raised. It is this raising with which we are primarily concerned today. When Christ ascended to the Heavens, he made Himself a light unto the world, and promised to all his Disciples an outpouring of Divine Power through the Holy Spirit. The same disciples went on to accomplish great things in the name of Christ, and thus in the name of Love. Like flames ignited, the Apostles spread forth to cary the Light of Christ’s Wisdom, and the warmth of his Compassion, to the very ends of the Earth. All this, mind you, without the aid of the communications network which we in the modern world take for granted. The men and women who went forth with the Light of Christ in their hearts accomplished
things greater than they ever considered possible, but not in their name, nor to their Glory, but for the sake and Glory of Christ and his eternal Love. We, as Knights of the Cross, understand well their mission, and their zeal. Brother Sir Knights, I remind you today that as we are soldiers of Christ, we are therefore sworn soldiers of Love itself, tasked with a neverending struggle against the forces of hatred so rapidly advancing around us. As it has been said, “we can do no great things; only small things with great love.” It is amazing what can be accomplished when mercenary motives and personal glory are set aside and replaced with the fire of Divine Love. It is ever the goal of the Christian spirit to empty itself of all things unecessary, that it may be filled with the Holy Spirit. Today, I dare to say that when we choose Love as a guiding principle, when we align our thoughts and actions with Christ’s boundless compassion, what we do on earth is nothing short of the work of the Holy Spirit. Let the celebration of the Ascension, then, not be limited to today; may Christ be risen in your heart each and every moment, and Love prevail in your mind and soul, and thus in your thoughts and actions. Let Love be the guide and rule of your life, and may every moment bring you closer to the mystery so eloquently phrased by the Apostle Paul: “Christ in You, the hope of Glory.” Amen.
Homecoming Address of the
Grand Chapter of Royal Arch
Delivered at Keystone Chapter No. 2 on April 14, 2015
t is a great honor for me to be in my home Chapter as the MEGHP. This is where I became a Royal Arch Mason. And by that I donâ€™t mean that this is where I took my degrees. I mean this is where I learned what it means to be a Royal Arch Mason. I believe that a man becomes a Royal Arch Mason three places, his wallet, his mind and his heart.
First, his wallet. He pays the fees and he takes the degrees, and pays his annual dues and bingo he is one. The second place a man becomes a Royal Arch Mason is in his mind, intellectually. And this can only be accomplished by study and with the help of the leaders of his Chapter. Only after a man wraps his mind around some of the lessons of the Royal Arch will he ever become a Royal Arch Mason in the most important place, his heart. Once a man becomes a Royal Arch Mason in his heart it becomes an unquenchable thirst! He continues to look for more and more meaning in our degrees. The thoughts and lessons he takes from this search for meaning influence his personal and professional life. And, perhaps, just maybe that ray of the divine 56
light we all possess will shine bright enough that others may see it. I use the heart tonight to represent the spiritual part of man. That part of man that cannot be seen but that we all know is there. There is only one way to know and internalize the lessons of the Royal Arch in our hearts, spiritually, and that is to experience them through the Degree work, and discuss your thoughts with others about their meaning. Given that explanation, I hope it helps you understand why I believe that one important thing we can give each other is Royal Arch discussion about the symbolism, and meanings of the various lessons in our degrees. So far this year it has been my great
privilege to visit 22 of the 27 Royal Arch Chapters in the State. And at each, with very few exceptions, I offered some type of Royal Arch discussion, or education. I know that the discussion and education of the Royal Arch is well established here at Chapter 2. To continue that tradition tonight I want to talk about the Keystone, probably the most recognizable symbols in all of Royal Arch Masonry. The definition of a Keystone is simple: 1. A wedge-shaped piece of stone or wood at the summit of an arch, regarded as holding the other pieces in place. 2. Something on which associated things depend. We are first introduced to this odd shaped stone in the Mark Master Degree. This stone is so important that it follows us throughout our Royal Arch journey and becomes the most recognized symbol of the Royal Arch. I call the Mark Master Degree the Degree of recognition and discovery. In this degree the Keystone is introduced to us very early in our Royal Arch journey. We open our experience as a Royal Arch Mason with the young fellow craft finding the odd shaped stone, a stone that is different than all the rest, later called the Keystone in the rubbish of the temple. Recognizing its beauty he picks it up presents it and in fact defends it to his Rocky Mountain Mason
Grand High Priest
Masons of Colorado
companions. The degree would have the observer place himself in the position of the young fellow craft un-wittingly discovering something very significant, although not yet fully aware of the importance of his discovery. Before the M.M. Degree proceeds very far we are reminded of a small piece of scripture. In Acts 4:11 we read, “This Jesus is the stone you builders rejected; he has become the cornerstone.” There are several pieces of scripture, both Old and New Testament, that confirm the fact that this stone, the keystone, is a metaphor for Jesus of Nazareth. And the builders that rejected this stone were the Sadducees and Pharisees that plotted against and eventually crucified Jesus. And the great light of Masonry goes on to tell us that this rejected stone becomes the corner stone of the church. (Ps. 118.22, Mt 21.42, Mk12.10, Acts 4.11) In the M.M. Degree we are told that, without this keystone, the temple cannot be completed. Is that to say that man’s life – my life – cannot ever really be complete without Jesus of Nazareth? The M.E.M. Degree, the next Degree in succession, is the Degree of application. In this Degree we learn how, where, and why to apply the stone. To the unthinking companion the application of the stone in the ritual is just the final architectural step to complete the temple. But if I may recall for you a small Rocky Mountain Mason
by MEC Ron Birely, MEGHP
piece of the ritual where we are told, “this is the stone rejected as unfit for use. It was wrought by our grand master H.A. who preferred death to dishonor. His life and deeds will ever stand forth like a pillar of Beauty to command the admiration of all mankind. As he now stands accepted by the GAOTU, so this piece of work, beautiful in design and highly symbolic in character, shall stand accepted by us and all men through all generations to remind them of the dignity of labor, sacredness of trust confided to them to adorn and beautify their lives by a faithful devotion to the duties they owe to their God, their country, their families and their neighbors, and all mankind, that when their earthly tabernacles shall be dissolved they may be accepted into the house of God”. Interesting list of applications to be sure. It has come to me in the recent past that this stone, the keystone, which became the cornerstone, has significant meaning in my life. Isaiah the prophet tells us in chapter 28:16: So this is what the Sovereign Lord says: “see, I lay a stone in Zion, a tested stone, a precious corner stone for a sure foundation; the one who relies on it will never be stricken with panic.” Here I believe that Isaiah is telling us if you are building anything, i.e. a meaningful life or a successful Royal Arch
Chapter, you need a firm base. Isaiah speaks of a foundation stone, a corner stone that will be laid in Zion. This corner stone is the Messiah, the foundation on whom we build our lives. So in closing I want to come back to the basic definitions of keystone. 1. A wedge shape piece of stone or wood at the summit of an arch, regarded as holding the other pieces in place. 2. Something on which associated things depend. As I build my earthly temple I have come to realize that it can never be completed without the keystone. If one was to view their life using this metaphor of the arch, could it be that the lesson of the keystone in our ritual is telling us that one side of the arch represents the material side of man, and the other side the spiritual side of man of which both depend on the keystone? For me personally this metaphor works. I am sure that in the room there are other interpretations of this symbol and I hope that at some future meeting, you will be willing to share your interpretations with us. I will leave you with this closing thought. The prophet Isaiah tells us the Lord our God only requires three things of us: To deal justly, love mercy, and walk humbly with your God Thank you.
As delivered at the Pasture Degrees of the Royal Arch, near Akron, CO, for the benefit of M.W.Bro. Charlie Johnson, P.G.M. of the M.W. Grand Lodge of Colorado, and for the Amusement of the Companions, we give you:
Ode to Ol’ Charlie By M. Scott Wilson, R.E.P.G.C., Grand Commandery of Knights Templar of Colorado
hy do we wait till a feller’s gone before we tell of his worth?
Why do we wait, why not tell him now, he’s the finest feller on earth? Why do we wait till a feller’s gone to send him flowers galore?
When a single rose would have meant so much if we had taken it to his door? Why do we wait until he cannot hear the good things we might say? Why not tell him now and share in his Joy today? Of course we are busy, that’s our excuse, But why-o-why do we wait? To tell a man of our love for him until it becomes too late? That’s what I’m fixin to do. Ol Charlie’s getting a little grizzled around the muzzle these days. The grass thatch on the roof is getting a little thin and he hasn’t seen his belt buckle for a few summers. He used to ride, rope, shoot, fight, and court the ladies with the best of em. Now, he moseys around and takes time to appreciate the prairie cactus flowers and the company of his fetching lady and the younguns. He has ridden a lot of trails, some good, some not so. He’s made a lot of deals, some good, some not so good. He can sit back and smile, knowing he never cheated a man, wronged a lady, or didn’t stop to help an orphan. When he stood for something, he stood behind it. Common 58
sense and sense of right and justice has always prevailed. He’s made mistakes and always tried to right any wrong. There are a few things I don’t understand. I too like Ol Charlie used to ride, rope, shoot, and fight with the best and all the ailments that afflict all Ol Cowpokes plague me. But as hard as I can reflect, I can’t figure out what a Cowboy yell is. We all yelled a lot, still do when the need pops up. There’s the yell when you squat in a cactus patch. There’s that yell that a Cowboy hollers when he gits up in the outhouse and some of his fur gets caught on that pesky nail. Some city slickers and cowboy wanna be’s might think that YeeHaw is a cowboy yell. No real cowboy would confuse a critter usin those two words together. You see that’s one of the reverse oxymoronic plutiseroids. You see Yee means “ turn right” and Haw means “turn left” That needs no ciphering. I thought maybe it might be “Yodeladiewhoo” but that’s just the first part of the question, “ Are you the lady who dropped yer kerchief ”? Guess I’m too simple to understand that citified talk. Real Cowboys like Ol Charlie live by a strict code. Only Ol Cowboys like Charlie know what it really means to “ride for the brand”, and he still rides for that brand. It is the oldest brand in Montana. You never mess with a Cowboy’s hat. Even if you ask and he says OK, he is
politely lying. You always tip or doff your hat to a lady, even if you know she isn’t a lady. A Cowboy always doffs his hat when he comes inside and never wears it when he sits down to eat. He never puts his hat on a bed. Yes, there are always exceptions to every rule. He fills his hat with water and lets his horse drink first. How a Cowboy handles his hat is a direct reflection on his manner of Respect and Honor. Ol Charlie knows how to handle his hat. He agrees to disagree. He don’t care what yer religion or politics is, just keep to it and he’ll keep to his. Every man should have a chance to make a wrong right. Cowboys mind their business. You mind yours, thanks. An Ol Cowboy like Charlie probably won’t give you his opinion unless asked, but make sure you really want to know before asking and don’t walk away or interrupt until he’s done. A Cowboy’s business is his own, not yours. You better have a damn good reason for stickin yer nose where it doesn’t belong, or you may be pickin yer nose in yer left ear. Some young bucks think that pullin leather is un Cowboy like, but as Ol Charlie knows as he heads into the autumn that pullin leather is just another survival skill to keep us away from the Saw Bones in town. When you step into the street with your back against the wall to uphold Honor and Integrity, you don’t have your gun in the holster. Slappin leather is for fools. You have it in your hand with a live Rocky Mountain Mason
round under the hammer cocked back and your finger on the trigger. You look em in the eye and tell them it’s time to balance the scale or move on. God gave us all the firewood we need, you just have to get up off your lazy, whinin butt and pick it up. A real Cowboy like Ol Charlie doesn’t send a text, write an email, send a letter, stand on a soap box and spout lilly liver lies, he stands toe to toe, nose to nose, eye to eye as a real man should. If he’s wrong, he’ll admit it and back down, but if he is right, and you don’t feel a chill go up your spine, then you are a fool and are in for one hell of an education. Ol Charlie will BS you to death but the Ol Cowboy will never lie to you on purpose. Give him a plate of beans and sit around the campfire and he’ll hold his own. When the chips are down an yer up again it and there’s no way out, you can bet that you will feel that gentle yet strong hand on yer shoulder and Ol Charlie’s calm voice say, “ we’ve got this Son, we’ve got this.” Real Cowboys like Ol Charlie are becoming a rare breed. You may not like what the Ol Cowboy tells ye, but you will know where you stand with him and that is worth everything. One of these days, we know not when, Ol Charlie will unsaddle his horse the last time. He’ll hang his chaps on a nail, unbuckle his gunbelt and lay it on
the box next to the door and lay his hat on top, because when trouble brews, yer hat and gun belt are the first two things a Cowboy grabs. He will bunk down for the night, take his last breath, and die. There will be the usual carryin on. Crying, mourning, family get togethers and meals. The boys will send out emails, edicts, memorandums, directives. Epitaphs, memorials, death notices will be written, along with biographies, resume’s, and what evers. Most of them won’t be accurate. Why won’t they be accurate?, because you didn’t listen when he was alive. You see, Ol Cowboys like Charlie write their own Epitaphs while they’re living but almost all of you didn’t listen. We will all be back out here in the plains to help put Ol Charlie in the ground. There will be the usual menagerie of dissemblers and lookers on. And they will be dressed in every imaginable array of colors, fanciness, trinkets, charms and ornaments around their necks and on their heads. Some quoting the Good Lord, others, ritual, as in “done regularly and in precisely and same way each time”. They will be using flowers, roses, acacia, evergreen, dust and ash, all trying to force upon Ol Charlie’s soul, the meaning of his earthly existence. When really, the lowly tumbleweed with a tad bit of loco would be more fitting. Because ritual, “done regularly and in precisely the same way each time”, only fits those of you who
don’t know who you are or how you fit. Me, I’ll be there. No colored jackets, no bobbles or spangles or funny hats. No white gloves or effigy knowing full well I never said anything contrary about Ol Charlie behind his back. Just my long coat and a string tie and my ol Cowboy hat in my hand with my head bowed; not saying goodbye, but showing my last respects to a good Ol Cowboy, saddle Pal and friend. So, why do we wait till a feller’s gone before we tell of his worth Why do we wait, why not tell him now, he’s the finest feller on earth? Why do we wait till a feller’s gone to send him flowers galore? When a single rose would have meant so much if we had taken it to his door? Why do we wait until he cannot hear the good things we might say? Why not tell him now and share in his Joy today? Of course we are busy, that’s our excuse, But why o why do we wait To tell a man of our love for him until it becomes too late So, I give to you, my friend, no plaque, no certificate of appreciation, no medal or jewel or lapel pin, no silver, no gold or card for your wallet; just a simple rose, a grizzly bear hug, and an I love you to put a smile in your heart until God decides to take you home.
aking a movie about the Fraternity is always tricky – if you’re not a Mason then what you think you know cannot be confirmed, and the film ends up tinged with sweaty conspiracies and popular fantasies most filmmakers cannot readily discriminate among. If you are a Mason, then your obligation not to reveal the secrets of Freemasonry collides with any compelling script.
Most moves that incorporate the Fraternity in some fashion typically thrive on inferences of the word “Freemason”, conjuring images of secrecy, privilege, darkness, even forbidden knowledge. They must by nature rely on intrigue, generally exploiting the mystery non-members often confront when contemplating the Fraternity. Occult and spiritualist leanings typically abound, at best half-truths, self-serving, and of little benefit to the Craft itself. As such, the very idea of making a movie about the Fraternity is often distasteful to Masons, who ordinarily prefer understatement to publicity.
That said, we are in an era of decreasing membership, the impact of movies like National Treasure and the Da Vinci Code cannot be overlooked. There really is, to quote Bro. P. T. Barnum, no such thing as bad publicity. All this, then, should be taken into account when considering The Freemason (whose executive producer, Joseph James, is a Freemason by the way) . It is, at the very least, an attempt to present the Fraternity in an attractive light. The story is a fairly one-dimensional whodunit – a rich and powerful Mason is murdered in the Grand Lodge in Salt Lake City, and a cryptic note left in the corpse’s hand. The movie’s star, Sean Astin (who played Frodo in the Lord of the Rings trilogy, and who
you might recall from his role in the ‘80s kids classic, Goonies) is brought in as an investigating detective. At the same time, the daughter of the murdered Mason (the movie’s love interest) hires a freelance writer to investigate, as well. The plot revolves around, of course, access to hidden knowledge. In this case, alchemical secrets belonging to Newton who, everyone knows, spent quite a bit of time on the esoteric arts, including alchemy. The Brothers of the Grand Lodge of Salt Lake are also members of another order, Sanctum Aurum, “holy gold”, whose secrets are somehow passed alongside the Masonic degrees. Can you guess what secrets those might be? Yep, transmutation of metals.... The murderer wants this knowledge, and is willing to kill to get it. The Masons, bound in secrecy, are sworn to protect it. Overall the film (which was funded by the producers out of pocket and released independently) is well made – on par with a made-for-TV movie. But, on the whole, it fails to deliver. The score is weak, the writing unconvincing, the storyline lagging in places, and the scenes overacted (with the exception of Astin). Careful not to reveal any secrets, the writer has attempted to reword certain parts of the ritual. For example, the Grand Lodge initiates in a Royal Arch lodge room, the penalties are all hodgepodged together. And scenes of balloting for candidates are depicted, with the candidate in the room. But rather than skirt the obligation, and make one chuckle, these inconsistencies would probably leave Masons in the audience with a sense of inauthenticity. And the movie is hurt by that. Those scenes were unnecessary to deliver the plot line anyway. More care could have been taken to depict the Fraternity but partially, and the film would have probably been better for it. Nonetheless, it’s a fun movie and will likely garner the status of a cult classic among some members of the Craft. It’s worth a view just for the fun of it. And it will probably appeal to families – might make a fun film to show the grandchildren after dinner one night.
Rocky Mountain Mason
In an era of decreasing membership, the impact of movies like National Treasure and the Da Vinci Code cannot be overlooked...
Rocky Mountain Mason
he working tools of Masonry are the traditional tools of operative masons. They were wellknown when Freemasonry came to light in 1717 with the formation of the first Grand Lodge in London, England. At that time, science was enjoying a renaissance. Many discoveries and innovations were yet to come.
Many important discoveries have eased the manual work that was dependent at the time on muscle power—human or animal. Man learned to harness the energy of steam and then to generate electricity. He also learned to control the latter with a Switch.
Although not a traditional working tool, the Switch would be an interesting addition to our collection of working tools. This simple device comes in many forms, from microscope transistors that comprise modern electronic devices such as computers, smart phones and controllers; to wall switches that control illumination of our home, office, church and Lodge rooms; to giant relays controlling energy at major junctions of modern electrical power grids. Switches, coupled with electrical motors, have enabled machines to be built to perform any manual task—from washing clothes to mixing mortar and cement, to carrying and placing burdens (e.g. forklifts—sorry Entered Apprentices—far fewer “bearers of burdens” are needed and their value has consequently decreased significantly). A Switch might be presented as a working tool by the Master to a brother undergoing a degree and explained as follows. “My brother, I now present you with a Switch. “The Switch, in one of its many forms, is an implement used by operative masons to control a single bit of data or a vast quantity 62
By W.Bro. JohnR. Balzer
of energy. Microscopic transistors operate communication, computing, controlling, and entertainment devices; standard Switches control illumination of our dwellings, workplaces, churches, and Lodges and operate machines that perform physical work; and giant relays direct the flow of enormous energies. “But we, as Free and Accepted Masons, are taught to make use of it for two more noble and glorious purposes: illuminating our lives and directing our energies. First, as a Switch can instantly transform a room from darkness to light so should we as Free and Accepted Masons banish the darkness of ignorance, superstitions, and prejudices and instead be illuminated with Masonic principles when brought to light. Second, as a Switch can instantly transform a machine from a state of rest to a state of full work, so should we as Free and Accepted Masons be prepared to immediately devote all of our energies and abilities to completing the work laid down by the Master on his trestle-board, when called upon to do so. These better enable us to display the beauties of Masonic light and work to the world at large.” Innovations in Masonry are prohibited by the Installation ritual—at least to the Master and his Lodge. But the Grand Lodge can do as it chooses. Might a Switch not find a worthy place in our ritual? Its allusions to light would further illuminate any degree, especially the first. Or it could be made a part of a supplemental ritual or degree—for example, the Past Master’s degree. Or—and this is really radical—Brothers could be encouraged to look around themselves and identify other potential working tools, explaining them both Operatively and Speculatively as I have done for the Switch above. Such an assignment could be done as a public display to entertain a lodge—how about a Grand Lodge meeting? Food for thought. Rocky Mountain Mason
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Issue 7 of the Rocky Mountain Mason magazine. A magazine published by Freemasons in the Rocky Mountains. Distributed internationally.