SRA 76 Monthly Magazine
Cover Story, Freemasonry and the Holocaust Did You Know? Bonhill and Alexandria Royal Arch Lodge No. 321. The Candidate Famous Freemasons – Masons at the Alamo Oaths, Obligations and Penalties Rays of Masonry Old Tiler Talks Seven Little Chains Did you Know? Tubal Cain and my Grandfather The Kirkwall Scroll – Part 7 The Emblems of Freemasonry Main Website – Ancient Symbolic Penalties
Volume 13 Issue 7 No. 105 November 2017
In this issue: Cover Story ‘Freemasonry and the Holocaust’ This great article looks at Freemasonry during the Nazi Regime, and the freemasons who were incarcerated in Concentration Camps for nothing more than being a Freemason!
Page 8, ‘Did You Know?’ Page 10, ‘Bonhill and Alexandria Royal Arch No. 321. A History of one of our Old Scottish Lodges. Page 13, ‘The Candidate.’ The Qualifications of the Candidate Page 16, ‘Masons at the Alamo’ Famous Freemasons. Page 19, ‘Oaths, Obligations and Penalties’ The Origin of oaths and obligations. Page 21, ‘Rays of Masonry.’ “Personality” Page 22, ‘The Old Tiler Talks.’ “Discounts”, sixty-second in the series. Page 24, ‘Seven Little Chains’ Page 25, ‘Did You Know?’ The Prestonian Lecture Page 26, The thoughts of Bro. Rabbi Raymond Apple. Page 27, ‘The Kirkwall Scroll – Part 7. Page 28, ‘Fraternity - Poem Page 29, ‘The Emblems of Freemasonry.’
In the Lectures website The article for this month is ‘Ancient Symbolic Penalties’. [Link] Front cover – Adapted picture of a concentration camp.
Freemasonry and the Holocaust We've all learned in history classes about World War II and how people of the Jewish faith were rounded up, imprisoned, and brutally tortured and killed by the Nazis, but what most people don't know is that the Freemasons were among those rounded up and systematically murdered by the Nazi war machine. “During the Holocaust between ten and eleven million people were murdered by the Nazi’s, Jews accounted for approximately 5.7 million and the rest were non-Jews. Among the non-Jews were certain types of people such as Gypsies, Soviets, Polish Citizens, Jehovah’s witnesses and other political and religious opponents which included Freemasons. Nazi ideology believed that the “high degree” Masons were willing members of the Jewish conspiracy, and many of the Nazi’s believed Freemasonry was one of the causes of Germany losing the first World War.” Hitler strongly believed that the Jews and Freemasons in tandem controlled the press, which is evident from his book Mein Kampf, “The general pacifistic paralysis of the national instinct of self-preservation begun by Freemasonry is then transmitted to the masses of society by the Jewish Press” To understand the hatred aimed at Freemasonry from the Nazi party, we have to begin by going back in time to World
War One, at the time where the political and social consequences of Germany's humiliating defeat were beginning to take a toll on the German political landscape. “The responsibility for the war, the defeat, and the peace terms were blamed on the opponents of the war and on those politicians who favoured the democratic process”,and as we all are aware, a Masonic Lodge definitely operates on a democratic process. Despite this, the Lodges in Germany grew quite well until the Nazi party began seizing control of power in 1925, at which point there were more than eighty two thousand Masons and six hundred thirty two Lodges in Germany. German Lodges at this time were considered, “places of coalition for likeminded people, beyond political disagreement and economic misery” and they did attract new members after 1925, yet they never had the social standing or clout that American or British Lodges had due to the growing atmosphere of antiSemitic and anti-Masonic attitudes in Germany post 1925. Also, at that time Freemasonry in Germany was divided, because there were the Old Prussian Grand Lodges and the Humanitarian Grand Lodges. The Old Prussian Grand Lodges had deliberately excluded Jews from membership and the majority of their members were also part of the German Nationalist milieu. There was also a movement among the Old Prussian Lodges to drop the Jewish story-line for the degrees to make them more Aryan in nature. The Humanitarian Grand Lodges members were mostly members of political parties that were in the middle left of the political spectrum. Three of the eight Grand Lodges were Old Prussian and five were Humanitarian and the Old Prussian Grand 2
Lodges were the oldest in Germany because they had secured Royal Patronage from their beginning. “Most members of the Old Prussian Lodges and even some members of the few dogmatic Humanitarian Lodges did not find the central elements of the Nazi Party’s ideology to be contradictory to their Masonic beliefs. Instead, they found the ideology to be rather complimentary to their own understanding of Freemasonry. Before the Nazis came to power, the president of the German Freemason Association, Diedrich Bischoff, even suggested an inspiration of the “Third Reich” based on or through Masonic idealism.” At this time a man named Erich Ludendorff, the former chief of the German Army’s General Staff during World War One, became an outspoken critic of the fraternity, and openly attacked it, including his 1927 publication, “Exterminating Freemasonry by Uncovering its Secrets”. In this work he completely distorted and falsified the rituals of Freemasonry under the Grand National Lodge of Freemasons of Germany, and in it he claimed that Freemasons had training to become artificial Jews. “This defamatory piece of writing made all of the nine regular Grand Lodges in Germany agree with each other. On September 15, 1927, the Grand Masters published a declaration that rejected Ludendorff”s depiction of Freemasonry and described it as an “incitement to the German Nation” and “Misleading to the masses.” This was the only time when all of the German Grand Lodges would unite to counter an accusation of their nationalist enemies.” This would have been a most difficult time to be a Freemason, because we are told to obey the laws of our country; however, when a country like Germany was undergoing a radically negative 3
transformation in the two decades leading up to World War Two, this would have been an extremely difficult thing to do for any true and honest member of the craft. On January 30, 1933, Adolf Hitler, the leader of the Nazi party, was appointed German Chancellor. At this point, the Grand Lodges of Germany were still very much estranged from each other, but they were well aware that they were facing an uncertain and dangerous future, because the Nazi’s had always been very hostile towards any kind of Freemasonry. In Hitler’s book, Mein Kampf, he claimed that “the Jew” used Freemasonry as an “excellent instrument” as the Fraternity was “completely under the Jews spell.” By April 7, 1933, Herman Goring who was then the Nazi Minister of the Interior had met with the Grand Master of the National Lodge of Freemasons of Germany and a law was passed that would reorganize the Grand Lodge as follows: 1) “The Order will return to its original shape. From today on, the term National Lodge of Freemasons of Germany, which was taken on in the 18th century will no longer be valid. The order will henceforth have the name that corresponds with its nature: German Christian Order of the Grail of the Knights Templar. 2) With this decision, the order has ceased to be a Masonic corporation.” With the Creation of these new “German Christian Orders” the rituals of German Freemasonry had changed with it. This was something that the more nationally oriented Old Prussian, and a few of the Humanitarian Lodges, had wanted in the first place. With this edict in place, the Old Prussian Lodges
replaced some of the Old Testament legends with Germanic legends and the mythology of the Holy Grail, the saga of the Germanic God Baldur took place of Hiram Abiff, and the Pillars were now named Light and Folk and were no longer Jachin and Boaz. The chequered floor no longer showed Solomon’s Temple but was now a representation of Germany’s Strasburg’s Cathedral. It appears that the German Freemasons where desperately trying to hang on to Freemasonry as best they could, while at the same time trying to appease the laws of their country. However, even with concessions and changes, the noose continued to be tightened around the neck of Freemasonry, because on September 6, 1933 the regulations enacted the previous April were not only being harshly enforced, but a new ordinance was enacted: “Brothers who are not of Aryan descent are to be honourably discharged from the order immediately, persons with Aryan descent are in this ordinance defined as persons whose parents and grandparents were Aryans, and for Brothers who are Jewish, point one will be enforced.” These same guidelines would be used for new members as well. One could say that at this time Freemasonry as it was intended to be was all but dead in Germany. Because of these new regulations, German Freemasons couldn’t see how they could possibly continue under the Nazi regime, and the German division of the Universal Masonic League as well as the Freemasons Union of the Rising Sun dissolved. Scottish Rite Masonry was over with as well, although they did not formally dissolve, they simply longer existed. Palestine.
“In June 1933, at a secret meeting in Frankfurt am Main, Grand Master Leo Muffelmann and some of his close companions decided to move the Symbolic Lodge to Palestine. The Symbolic Grand Lodge of Germany in Exile was constituted on November 17, 1933, when British authorities gave the needed permission.” In the early part of 1934 the chief of the Nazi Party court system ruled that Masons who did not leave their Lodges prior to January 30, 1933 were not permitted to join the Nazi party. The Reichstag President Hermann Goering stated that, “in National Socialist Germany there is no place for Freemasonry”, and he issued a decree calling for the Lodges to voluntarily dissolve, yet required these to be submitted to him for approval so that the property of all Lodges could be confiscated under the "Enabling Act". The Enabling Act also stated that “those who had been members of Lodges when Hitler came to power in January 1933 were prohibited from holding office in the Nazi party or its paramilitary arms and were ineligible for appointment in public service.” In May 1934, German Freemasonry was once again dealt another blow when the Ministry of Defence banned membership in Lodges to all personnel, soldiers, and civilian employees. By 1935 every single Masonic Lodge and organization relating to Freemasonry had either been prohibited, dissolved or forcibly shut down. Those that had voluntarily shut down were not declared hostile to the state, but their possessions were seized and controlled by the Gestapo. Those that were shut down by force were declared hostile to the state, and their possessions were confiscated, their records were destroyed, and their buildings were vandalized. The members of these hostile Lodges were 4
dismissed from civil service and transferred from any positions of power that they held in the profane world. While many former Freemasons within Germany tried to keep in contact with one another despite a ban disallowing them to do so, many did regularly meet under the pretext of playing the game skat. Although these gatherings were not actually Masonic meetings it did help preserve the bonds of Brotherhood even though on occasion these meetings took place under the watchful eyes of the Gestapo. Even though German Freemasonry had effectively been eliminated, Nazi propaganda continued to link conspiracy theories and numerous printed cartoons and articles would portray and perpetuate this “Jewish-Masonic conspiracy.” This became a particular obsession with the chief of Security Police, Reinhard Heydrich, who “counted the Masons, along with the Jews and the political clergy, as the most implacable enemies of the German race.” He even argued the need to eliminate any visible manifestations of these enemies, and to also root out from every German the “indirect influence of the Jewish Spirit”-a Jewish, liberal and Masonic infectious residue that remains in the unconscious of many, above all in the academic and intellectual world.” Heydrich also created a special section of the Security Service to specifically deal with Freemasonry, because they believed that Masons shaped public opinion through the press, exercised political power, and that they were in a position to provoke war, subversion, and revolution. Beginning with the annexation of Austria, in 1938, the persecution of Freemasons increased. At the beginning of World War 5
Two in 1939, almost five million copies of the “NSDAP (Nazi Party) letter of political instruction against Freemasonry” had been distributed. While in Nazi Germany a former Freemason was usually not personally persecuted, unless he was also a Jew or did not act in conformity with the Nazi system, in countries occupied by Nazi Germany, being a member of a Masonic Lodge could mean a direct risk of losing property and even one's life. In 1942 Hitler appointed Alfred Rosenberg, to intellectually fight Jews and Freemasons, and Rosenberg ordered the personal property, real property, archives, records, libraries, and artworks of Freemasons and Jews to be confiscated or destroyed.  Eventually, Freemasons were rounded up with the political dissidents, Jews, Gypsies, and others deemed unfit or dangerous, and taken to concentration camps. It has been estimated that anywhere between eighty thousand and two hundred thousand Freemasons were murdered under Nazi rule. I will not highlight the tragedy and horror that occurred in the concentration camps, I will however describe the fortitude that some of our Brethren had, and how they continued to carry on the Light of Freemasonry in the concentration camps. The people in the concentration camps wore a mark to show the guards of the camps what kind of prisoner each individual was. The Freemasons were considered political prisoners and had to wear inverted red triangles on their shirts and pants to identify them as such. it is rumoured that Freemasons identified each other by these red triangles on their clothing, and there is also the speculation that Freemasons wore the edelweiss or blue forget me not on their lapel to identify each other; however, there is no hard evidence of either of these being
true other than word to mouth passed down through the generations.
over the hut so the Brethren could have their meetings in secrecy.
There is however undisputed proof of Masonic Lodges operating within concentrations camps. Yes, even in the face of mechanized murder and genocide, Freemasonry was still able to carry on because of the strong will and desire of its Members to maintain the Order, and its cherished principles. The first known Lodge
Some of the topics of these meetings included topics about the position of women in Freemasonry, the future of Belgium, and one dedicated to the symbol of the Great Architect of the Universe. Sadly only two members of this Lodge survived the detention in this concentration camp, Somerhausen and the newly initiated
to exist within the walls of a concentrations camp was the Lodge Liberte Cherie or Beloved Liberty Lodge. This Lodge was started by seven Belgian Freemasons on November 15, 1943 inside Hut 6 of Esterwegen Concentration Camp. The original seven Freemasons that were members of this Lodge were Paul Hanson, Luc Somerhausen, Jean De Schrijver, Jean Sugg, Henri Story, Amedee Miclotte, Franz Rochat and Guy Hannecart. These men also initiated, passed and raised Brother Fernand Erauw whom was also a Belgian. Paul Hanson was the Master of the Lodge. The Brothers met around a table inside hut #6 which was otherwise used for cartridge sorting while a Catholic Priest stood watch
Erauw. The Lodge stopped working at the beginning of 1944. The other Masonic Lodge that we know of was Obstinate Lodge or L’Obstinee. This was another Masonic Lodge founded inside the walls of a Nazi prisoner of war camp called Oflag which was located near Hamburg, Germany. It was founded by captured soldiers that were members of the Grand Orient of Belgium. We do not know much more about this Lodge other than that the Grand Orient of Belgium officially recognized this Lodge on July 14, 1946. We sadly do not know just how many Freemasons and Lodges were in operation “under cover” in POW and concentration camps because of the basic fact that absolute secrecy literally
meant the difference between life and death for their members. There is a reason why I chose to write about what is most likely the most horrible and disgusting example persecution against our Fraternity, and that is to show the reader, Mason or not, that no matter what you throw at the Masonic fraternity we always find a way to rise above, and not only survive, but thrive. We are a strong brotherhood, bound by mystic ties that are stronger than earthly persecution. For my brethren, I hope this story of persecution and resolve hit you right in the gut, and is a call for to action for higher deeds and nobler purposes, especially to those Brethren who attend a Lodge that contains nothing more than boring business meetings. If you are a member of a stale and boring lodge, let me ask you this; after what you just read are you content with your Lodge remaining stagnant and stale, or are you going to honour our Masonic brothers who have been persecuted and killed because of their devotion to our craft? We must honour our departed Brethren by creating the fraternity and world that they dreamed of, and died for. Freemasonry will always live on, but it is up to the Brethren of now to decide how. This article by Bro. Shawn M. Gorley was sourced from ‘The Laudable Pursuit” website. The editor thanks the website for their permission to reproduce this article here.
End Notes:  Our red triangle, Freemasonry and the holocaust presentation Jan. 9, 2012 by Adam T. Osman www.squareofvirtue.wordpress.com  Mein Kampf by Adolph Hitler 1925 pages 315-320  In the Eye of a Hurricane: German Freemasonry in the Weimar Republic and the Third Reich by Ralf Melzer  These numbers are from C. van Dalen’s Kalendar fur Friemaurer, 1926 Page 94  In the Eye of a Hurricane: German Freemasonry in the Weimar Republic and the Third Reich by Ralf Melzer  Ibid page 206  In the Eye of a Hurricane: German Freemasonry in the Weimar Republic and the Third Reich by Ralf Melzer page 208.  Mein Kampf, by Adolph Hitler 1929, 1933 page 345  Archives of the Grand Lodge of Freemasons, Berlin  Archives of the Grand Lodge of Freemasons, Berlin  In the Eye of a Hurricane: German Freemasonry in the Weimar Republic and the Third Reich by Ralf Melzer page 211  United States Holocaust Memorial Museum Encyclopedia, updated June 10, 2013 ©US Holocaust Memorial Museum, Washington, D.C.  Ibid  A letter from Veljko Varicak, Grand Commander of the Supreme Council of Slovenia, stored in the Archive of the Supreme Council, 33°, S.J. Washington D.C.  In the Eye of a Hurricane: German Freemasonry in the Weimar Republic and the Third Reich by Ralf Melzer page 217  Our red triangle, Freemasonry and the Holocaust presentation Jan. 9, 2012 by Adam T. Osman www.squareofvirtue.wordpress.com  Ibid
LEST WE FORGET 7
DID YOU KNOW?
work on the great Houses of God, which were the Freemasons' work. They were proud of their abilities and of their reputation and strict in their rules.
Question: What are "a Master's wages?" Answer. According to the ritual, corn, wine and oil are symbolic of the payment a Freemason earns today by "good work, true work, square work.â€? Masterâ€™s Wages" may be the same, may be different, for every brother. They are the friendships formed through Freemasonry; the consciousness of unselfish work; taking part in movements and actions for the betterment of the condition of neighbours; inherent in learning and in making it possible for other men to learn that men of widely different beliefs, convictions, circumstances, education, skills and character may live and work, play and love together in peace and happiness. A Master's Wages are intangible, but the more real because any brother may earn as rnuch as he will, "I worked for menial's wages Only to learn, dismayed, Any wage I asked of lodge, Lodge would have paid." This reminds us that, as in other walks of life, the only limit to the wages a Master Mason may receive is the limit he himself determines by his deeds.
Question: Why "Entered"?
To become a Freemason a young lad was required to serve a seven year apprenticeship before he might ask to be permitted to make and submit to his superiors his "Master's Piece," and be admitted as a "Fellow of the Craft." Before he could serve his time he had to prove himself; therefore he served a period of time as an Apprentice. If at the end of that period he had shown himself possessed of the necessary qualifications of industry, character, decency and probity, he was "entered" on the books of the Craft and became an "Entered Apprentice." Originally an Apprentice was not a member of the Masonic Craft, even after being entered on the books of the Lodge; not until he had passed his apprenticeship and been accepted as a Fellow was he a Craftsman. This practice gradually gave way to the modern idea and after l717; Apprentices initiated in Lodge formed the bulk of the Craft. Ritual teaches that the Apprentice is a symbol of youth; the Fellow Craft, of manhood; and the Master, of old age; probably this conception is derived from the fact that learners, beginners, are young, experts are men, and the wise and learned the elder group.
Answer. The word goes back to operative days. The Freemasons of the Middle Ages were a select group; they were the highestclass artisans of their time. It required sound health, moral character, high intelligence, to be a good operative Freemason, permitted to
Question: Why do Masons wear aprons? Answer. The use of the apron is extremely old, not, as with the operative Masons, as a protector of clothing and body against tools and stone, but as a badge of honour. It was so used by the priests of Israel, by candidates for the mysteries of Mithra in 8
Persia, by the ancient Japanese in religious worship. Ethiopia knew aprons, as did Egypt. In all times and climes, it has been a badge of distinction. It is as such that a Mason wears it. The material of the Masonic apron-lambskin--is a symbol of innocence, as the lamb has always been. Colour and material are important in its symbolism, but Masonry admits the "symbol of the symbol"--as, for instance, an electric light in place of a candle. Hence a Mason has more than once been "properly clothed" when the lambskin aprons of the Lodge were all in use and he came through the tiled door clad in a white handkerchief!
Question: What is the symbolism of the ashlars? Answer. In architecture, an ashlar is a squared stone. Masonicly, the ashlars are "rough"--not dressed, squared, or polished-and "perfect"--ready for use in wall or other structure. The information given in most rituals is scanty, and does not include the greater meanings, which symbolists find in these two stones. Students direct attention to the fact that the perfect ashlar is made from the rough ashlar entirely by a process of taking away, or removal of unwanted material. Nothing is added to a rough ashlar to make it perfect. The analogy to the Mason, who is a building stone in the spiritual temple of Masonry, is that the perfect man is within the rough man, and that perfection is to be obtained by a process of taking away the "vices and superfluities of life." Every beautiful statue ever carved from stone was always within that stone, needing only the tool of the artist to take away the material not wanted and leave the statue, which was there since the stone was 9
first formed. Compare Luke VI 1:21: "The kingdom of God is within you."
Question: Why do some Grand Lodges forbid Brethren to ask their friends to become Masons? Answer. One of the fundamental concepts of Freemasonry is that application for membership must be wholly a voluntary act. A man must seek far himself and join "of my own free will and accord." Under no other formula can men unite brethren of a thousand religious and political beliefs. Under no more constricting act could Freemasonry accomplish her only end, the building of character among men. Men who become members of a Masonic Lodge for any other reason than their own desires can neither receive nor give to others the advantages of a wholly voluntary association. Freemasonry is bigger than any man; the man must seek its blessings; it never seeks the man. The above Questions and answers were collected from various constitutions across the world, and in no way reflect the views or thoughts of the editor and or his Lodge or Mother Constitution.
â€œNot all men build alike their lives, some raise their edifice with ease, but most with an infinite labour, after many failures and bitter griefâ€™s. Only he is happy who will not be dismayed by grief or failure, and who finds in human love a divine encouragement to raise stone upon stone till naught is wanting." Anon.
Bonhill and Alexandria Royal Arch Lodge No.321
This Lodge owes its existence to a topographical feature. Though barely a mile distant, the nearest Lodge to Bonhill in 1826 was separated from it by a swift, dangerous, unbridged river, the Leven, which flows from Loch Lomond into the Clyde at Dumbarton. It is the second swiftest river in Scotland, having an average width of 150 feet, and though its average depth in summer is some three feet, it can rise some six feet in winter. It has been known to rise eight feet. So it was that eleven masons residing in Bonhill met in the house of one, Brother William Cumin, a Vintner, on 22nd January 1826 to pray Grand Lodge to grant them a charter. The main reason they gave was, "We can't attend except by crossing a rapid, deep and dangerous ferry which at night is almost impossible with any degree of personal safety." The Lodge they couldn't attend was Leven St John's Lodge at Renton, founded 1788. Little is known about these Brethren except that the moving spirit was Alex Leckie. He was a surgeon, born in Campsie, and besides having been Junior Warden in Leven St John's Lodge he became, in 1829, chairman of The Vale of Leven Temperance Society, the second of its kind in Scotland. He had matriculated in Glasgow University, and did notable service during the cholera epidemic of the 1840's.
He retired to Dunoon, and died in Glasgow in 1877. The charter was granted on 6th February 1826 under the title of" Bonhill St Andrew's Royal Arch Lodge", and the following April they received the number 321 which they have held ever since. At their second meeting on 21st February 1826 Brother Leckie was requested to make out a code of by-laws which he submitted on the 28th. Brother Leckie knew the social habits of Bonhill, and framed the bye-laws accordingly. The office bearers were to be thirteen in number. Bye-law III stated that any member refusing an office after election shall be fined, the fines going to Lodge funds. Moreover, the bye-laws also stipulated that any E.A. wishing to be passed and raised had to re-apply to Master, who was to call a meeting according to By-law VIII and again decide by ballot. By-law VIII decreed that applicants for admission should write to Master who was to order the Tyler to call a meeting, the members of which were to ballot. There had to be a two-thirds majority. Thus, to become a master mason there had to be two distinct applications and two separate ballots. Bye-law XV discloses Brother Leckie's interest in the Temperance movement, not to be confused with Total Abstinence. This bye-law insists that all members, after the Lodge is closed, shall repair to their respective homes; doing otherwise shall subject the offenders to a severe reprimand and fine. Furthermore, any person behaving disgracefully when out of Lodge shall not only be censured, but shall also be liable to exclusion from membership. Their scale of penalties soon came into operation. One Brother was fined 3/- for 10
three times forgetting to address his fellowmembers as "Brother". The Secretary was fined 1/- on one occasion and 5/- on another for neglecting his books, and three others were "fined in one shilling for cursing and swearing", and yet another was ejected for " disorderly conduct". Even Brother Leckie did not escape when he refused the chair after re-election in 1829. He was fined 5/-. In this way was discipline maintained-and it worked. Their first Entrants were initiated on 21st February 1826. Their meeting place was fixed according to circumstances. Within a distance of some 300 yards in Main Street, Bonhill, were six "Vintners", "Distillers" or "Whisky Shops". The Lodge made use of them all in spite of Bye-law XV, and the drink problem gave them some concern. Many were the motions and decisions made to control it, "to exclude all manner of debauchery and drunkenness", as the minute books inform us. The Brethren struggled along, building up their Lodge and clearing all debts. But the economic depression overtook them between 1830 and 1832, when they started paying out "supply" or "benevolence", as we would now call it. They reduced their entrance fee to 2/6, but of no avail, and by December 1833 they, like many other Lodges at that time, succumbed, and were declared dormant. The Lodge lay dormant for thirty-one years. The old village of Bonhill had grown considerably by 1864, and the town of Alexandria across the river now exceeded Bonhill in both size and population due to the expansion of the dyeing industry. Moreover, the Leven had been bridged at both Bonhill and Balloch. Bonhill bridge had been erected in 1836 and Balloch bridge 11
in 1841. Hence, intercourse between the two communities was now safe and quick. This being so, on 10th August 1864, a Brother Findlay invited seven masons to his house to consider an application to Grand Lodge with the object of reviving the old charter of 1826. The result of their deliberations was an application to Grand Lodge dated 24th August 1864, praying for the renewal of the old charter under the title of" St Andrew's Royal Arch Lodge, Bonhill and Alexandria". In answer, Grand Lodge pointed out that there was no dormant charter for Alexandria, but there was for Bonhill. Eventually, on 8th November 1864, Grand Lodge provided them with a letter of dispensation enabling them to practice as masons under the title of" Bonhill and Alexandria St Andrew's Royal Arch Lodge, No. 321. This letter of dispensation of 8th November 1864 seems to have been their only authority for many years, as evidence from the minute books shows that none of the members at that time had ever seen the original charter. Many references are made between 1877 and 1900 to" our working letter ", but none to "charter", and even as late as 1921 they had to request Grand Lodge to supply them with the Lodge's exact title so that it could be carved above the doorway of their newly acquired temple. Grand Lodge's answer to this request was that the title was "St Andrew's Royal Arch Lodge, Bonhill, No. 321 ", but if they wished to change, they should petition Grand Lodge. Consequently, in June 1921 it was moved in Lodge that title should be "Lodge Bonhill and Alexandria Royal Arch, No. 321 ". But there is no record of a
petition having been sent to Grand Lodge to that effect. The matter was cleared up about fifty years ago by the discovery of the old original charter on the wall of an old lady's house in Bonhill. It had probably been in her family's possession for some ninety years! It was returned to the Lodge where it is now closely guarded. Other measures were taken to conform to Grand Lodge Laws. The Mark degree was acknowledged in 1872; the new Installation ceremony in 1873, and Grand Lodge knocks were adopted in 1879. Justice too, was administered on several occasions, when members at different times were reprimanded for being guilty of unworthy conduct. And the "drink problem" was still in evidence as late as 1906. The R.W.M. at the time, stated, at a discussion on the bylaws, that he was convinced that masonry and alcohol did not go together. He withdrew this remark later on "due to circumstances which had taken place since". What the circumstances were is not recorded. As has been noted, from 1826 they made use of the many public houses in Bonhill, and continued to do so after their reponing in 1864, eventually settling in the newest, Bonhill Inn, built in 1864. Then about 1880 they moved tentatively across the river to Alexandria to hold most of their meetings in the Public Hall there, though, for sentimental reasons, they continued to hold four meetings a year in Bonhill. It was about 1880, in accordance with Grand Lodge's recommendation that Lodges should vacate licensed premises and procure halls of their own, that they began to think of complying. One consequence was that they came to a better understanding with the Public Hall
Company, and leased the side room for a period of thirteen years with an option of a renewal at the end of that term. Moreover, they inaugurated a building fund the object of which was to purchase or build a hall of their own. In May 1920, after many disappointments and frustrations, an unexpected circumstance arose. A hall in Gilmour Street, built by one of their Past Masters, for The Scots' Girls Friendly Society, and presented to the people of the Vale of Leven, was not being made use of, and was on the market for sale. They immediately got in touch with the Brother, and by his good graces, obtained the hall for a fifth of its original cost. It has been the Lodge's property ever since, being consecrated in 1921. It is known as The Masonic Temple, and is an edifice of outstanding architectural beauty, both inside and outside, and is one of the finest buildings in the Vale of Leven. The Lodge celebrates its 150th anniversary on 6th February 1976, and its story, starting on the east side of the valley of the Leven to reach the west side, where it has been established, reveals during its long existence, like other human institutions, a chequer-board of nights and days; an experience of both the sunshine of prosperity and the shadow of adversity. This History of Bonhill and Alexandria No. 321 written by Bro. John Agnew was adapted by the editor for the magazine, the Lodge website which can be viewed by clicking here. Our thanks go to the Lodge No. 321 whom the editor and the newsletter acknowledge to be the copyright owner of this History.
Freemasonry first asks questions of the candidate for initiation, then questions about him. A lodge must be satisfied as to five important matters; a petitioner’s motive for applying for the degrees; his physical being; his mental equipment; his moral character and his political status, using the word in its non-partisan sense. It is highly important that Freemasons understand that a man’s motives for petitioning a lodge are proper, otherwise we cannot guard our West Gate from invasion by those who will not, because they cannot, become good Master Masons. A man must ask for “Light, of his own free will and accord.” Not only must he so declare in his petition, but nine times during his initiation he must repeat the statement. Here grow the roots of that unwritten but universally understood prohibition - no Mason must ask his friend to join the Order. It is easy to persuade a friend to “join something.” We enjoy our country club we would enjoy it more if our friend was a member. We put an application before him and persuade him to sign it; quite right and proper. We belong, perhaps, to a debating club or an amateur theatrical society, or a Board of Trade or a luncheon club. Enjoying these activities, we desire our friend also to have these pleasure so we ask him to become one of our circle. An entirely proper procedure in such organizations but it is a wholly improper 13
course in Masonry. Unless a man petitions the Fraternity impelled by something within himself, he must state an untruth nine times in his initiation. Unless he is first prepared “in his heart” and not in his mind, he can never grasp the simple but sublime essentials of brotherhood. To ask our friend to petition our lodge, then, is to do him not a favour but an injury. In most Jurisdictions a petitioner is required seriously to declare upon his honour, not only that he comes of his own free will and accord, but uninfluenced by any hope of financial gain. There are men who want to become Freemasons because they believe that the wider acquaintance and the friends made in the lodge will be “good for business.” So do men join the church or a bible class because they believe they can sell their goods to their fellow members. But the man who desires to become a member of a church that he may sell it a new carpet will hardly be an asset to the house of God; he who would become a Freemason in order to get the trade of his fellow lodge members will hardly be in a frame of mind either sincerely to promise brotherhood or faithfully to live up to its obligations. Hence Freemasonry’s need to obtain the most solemn declaration possible of the secret intentions, the real motives, the hidden desires of those who would join our Mystic Circle. The “Doctrine of the Perfect Youth” is perennially a matter for discussion in Grand Lodges. The origin of the requirement that a man be perfect in all his limbs and parts goes back to the days before written history of the Craft. Mackey states that the first written law on the subject is found in the fifth article of the Old York or Gothic Constitutions adopted at York in A.D. 926: “A Candidate must be without blemish and have full and proper use of his limbs; for a
maimed man can do the Craft no good.” This requirement has been repeated, and again repeated at various times in many different forms; in the “Ancient Charges at Making” (1686) and in the “Constitutions of 1722-23” which put into print the customs and enactments of the Mother Grand Lodge in 1717. The same Masonic authority makes the 18th Landmark read: “Certain qualifications of a candidate for initiation are derived from a Landmark of the Order. These qualifications are; that he shall be a man - shall be unmutilated - free born and of mature age. That is to say, a woman, a cripple or a slave, or one born in slavery, is disqualified for initiation into the rites of Masonry.” Just how strictly this law should be interpreted is a moot question, and different Jurisdictions rule in different ways upon it. In no Jurisdiction, for instance, is a man considered to be ineligible because he wears glasses, or has a gold tooth! In most Jurisdictions he must be “perfect” with two arms, two legs, to hands and two feet. In some Jurisdictions, if he can conform to the requirements of the degrees, he may lack one or more fingers not vital to the tokens; in other he may not. The foundation of the doctrine was an operative requirement; obviously a maimed man could not do as “good work, true work, square work” as the able-bodied man. The requirement has been carried over in Speculative Masonry. Its greatest importance today is less in the need for physical strength and mobility than in undoubted fact that if we materially alter this Ancient Landmark, these old “usages and customs,” then we can alter others; admit women, elect by a majority vote, dispense with the Tiler and hold our
meetings in the public square! Physical qualifications have a further importance of a practical nature; other things being equal, the maimed man and the cripple are more apt to become charges upon the lodge than the strong and whole. Finally, the weak and feeble of body cannot offer to their brethren that same assistance in danger which the able-bodied may give. Inspired by patriotism some Jurisdictions have relaxed the severity of their physical requirements in favour of soldiers who have suffered in behalf of their country. Into the argument pro and con as to the expedience of such relaxations this Bulletin can not go. Suffice it here that the lodge to which an applicant applies should be meticulously careful to see that the candidate conforms literally to the requirements as laid down by the Grand Lodge. It is hardly necessary to say that the petition of a woman cannot be entertained under any circumstances whatsoever, nor need the reasons for it to be discussed here. The mental qualifications required of a candidate are dictated more by the desires of the individual lodges than by any stated law. Many Jurisdictions have ruled that a man who cannot read is not an eligible petitioner, for the good and sufficient reason that he who cannot read cannot search the Great Light, nor discover for himself the by-laws of his lodge, the constitution of the Grand Lodge, or the Old Charges and ancient Constitutions. The ability to read and write, however, important though it is, does not make a man educated! Nothing is said in our Ritual about the need of an education prior to becoming a Mason, but by implication a man is supposed to have sufficient educational background to be able to study 14
the seven liberal arts and sciences. “Sufficient education” is a very broad phrase and may include all sorts of men, of all sorts of education, as, indeed, it does. A man may not know the multiplication table, murder the King’s English, and believe geometry is something to eat; and yet be a hard-working, true-hearted, single-minded brother to his brethren. But it will hardly be doubted that if all Freemasons were of such limited educational equipment the Order would perish from the earth from the lack of appreciation of what it is, where it came from, and whither is it going! First the friend who presents the petition; next the committee appointed to investigate; and finally the lodge must be the judge of what constitutes “sufficient mental equipment” to enable a man to become a good member of the lodge. A few ritualistic lions are in the path. He who is silly, is childish, in his dotage, who is insane, is known to be a fool - may not legally receive the degrees. It is to be noted that “dotage” is not a matter of years but of the effect of years. A man of four score, in full possession of his mental faculties is not in his dotage. Premature senility may attack a man in his fifties; he may truly be in his “dotage.” Similarly, a “fool” does not mean, Masonically, a man without what we consider good judgment. “Jones was a fool to go into that stock” - “He is foolish to try to build that house” - What a fool he is to sell his store now” - do not really express belief that the man is a “fool” in the Masonic sense, merely that in these particular cases he acts as we think a fool would act. Masonically, a man is a “fool” who suffers from arrested mental development. He is not mad, neither is he in his dotage, but he lacks the ordinary mental equipment and 15
judgment ability of the rest of humanity. Such a one, of course, is ineligible to receive the degrees, since he can neither comprehend not live up to their teachings. The moral qualifications a petitioner should possess are fully understood by all. The petitioner must express his belief in Deity. No atheist can be made a Mason. He must be “under the tongue of good report” - i.e., have a good reputation in his community. He must “obey the moral law.” But just how much is included in this phrase is an open question. While a “moral man” may be hard to define, he is easy to recognize. Committees seldom have much trouble in ascertaining that a man “morally fit” to become a Mason is, indeed, so. The contrary is not always true moral unfitness often masquerades under the appearance of virtue - hence the need for the competent committee. In some Jurisdictions a separate ballot is taken on the candidate for the second and third degrees, to test his “moral fitness,” but usually the ballot which elects a petitioner to the degrees is considered to express the opinion of the membership on all his qualifications at once. The applicant for the degrees must be “of mature and discreet age’ (from the Old Charges). In this country that is the legal majority. In some foreign Jurisdictions it varies from eighteen, for a “lewis” or son of a Mason, to twenty-five. Our requirement of legal age is dictated not only by the fact that Masonry is for men, and a youth does not become a man until he is twenty-one; but because to be made a Mason in the United States a man must be a citizen, and citizenship, in its real sense, is not held by minors.
Our political requirements are most explicit upon the question of being free born. Many have erroneously thought that such qualification was “read into” the body of Masonry to keep out men of the coloured race. Unquestionably “free born” means not only not born a slave, but not born of parents who have been slaves, or whose forebears were slaves. Thus “free born” does bar men of African descent in this country from becoming a Mason. But the provision was an integral part of Masonic law long before Africans were imported into this country - see the statute from the Old York Constitution already quoted. The custom even goes further into antiquity. In the ancient Mysteries of Greece and Rome, from which Masonry derives something of its form, similar law prevailed. No man born a slave, or made a slave, even if freed (manumitted) could be initiated. It is practically a universal requirement that the candidate be a resident of the Jurisdiction to which he applies for a period of one year prior to making the application. A man who has not resided for a reasonable period in one place cannot have demonstrated to his neighbours the kind of man that he really is. A committee is handicapped in making an investigation of a man who is not among friends and neighbours. Grand Lodges are usually very strict about this; but Grand Masters occasionally, upon a very good reason being shown, grant dispensations to shorten the statutory period. A man who has resided in a Jurisdiction for ten months, let us say, is ordered to Japan for three years. He desires to become a Mason before he departs. If he is satisfied that the applicant can show the committee his moral worth, a Grand Master may permit him to make application and receive the degrees before he departs. During the war, when all requirements
seemed of less than the usual importance when seen in the fierce white light of patriotism; length of residence in a Jurisdiction was sometimes lost sight of. A man considered worthy to have his petition placed before a Masonic lodge has much to recommend him. If the committee has done its work well, and, if on the strength of that report the lodge elects him. he may well feel that an important seal has been placed upon his reputation and character. That some committees do their work ill is evidenced by the occasional failures of brethren to walk uprightly. That the vast majority of committees are intelligent and faithful is proven by the reputation of the Fraternity and the undoubted fact that a man known to be a Master Mason is almost universally considered to be a good man and true! This was sourced from the Short Talk Bulletin May 1930. Author is unknown.
Famous Freemasons Masons at the Alamo
Many researchers have attempted to verify the Masonic membership of the Alamo heroes. The records, of course, are few and 16
the Grand Lodge of Texas was not yet formed. The following quotes are taken, from the article "Confusion in the Temple." The article was written in connection with the Alamo anniversary ceremony on March 6, 1976. On that day a bronze plaque was dedicated to the memory of the "unidentified Masons who gave their lives in the battle of the Alamo." In particular, the article sketches the history of five Alamo leaders who died during the siege and who are today recognized as Masons â€” James Bonham, James Bowie, David Crockett, Almaron Dickenson, and William Travis. "There was no Grand Lodge in Texas in 1835, when the Alamo Heroes were alive. Two years were to pass before one was formed. Only from Grand Lodges or the subordinate lodges from which they came, could [membership] records be obtained. Fire, storm, war, political disharmony, and time have hidden such records from view. Upon what, then, do we base our claim that at least five of the Alamo Heroes were Masons? "James Bowie was one of the heroes. Bowie was born in 1795 in that part of Tennessee that later became a part of Kentucky. When he was seven, Bowie's family moved to Louisiana .. . "in 1827, Bowie left Louisiana and by 1828 was in Texas. In 1831, he married ... The couple spent their honeymoon in New Orleans, and tales assert that Bowie visited a Masonic lodge during their stay. No proof of such a visit has been found. The marriage ended two years later with the death of Bowie's wife and two children during a cholera epidemic in Saltillo, Mexico.... 17
"James Bowie liked the Mexicans and the frontiersmen, but after the deaths of his wife and children he threw in his lot with the Texans-, thus he shared the command of the Alamo with Travis... . "There is no absolute proof that he was a Mason.... Louisiana legend says Bowie was a member of Loge L'Humble Chaumiere in Opelousas, now Humble Cottage Lodge No. 19.... The best proof that James Bowie was a Mason is that when his estate was probated two years after the Battle of the Alamo a well-worn Masonic apron was listed among his effects and was claimed by his heirs. "Almaron Dickinson's wife and baby are the main proof that he was a Mason. Nothing is known about Dickenson's life before he came to Texas. He was born in either Tennessee or Pennsylvania.... "In Texas, Almaron Dickinson lived in Gonzales and was a blacksmith. In San Antonio, before the Battle of the Alamo began, Almaron Dickinson, with his wife, Susan, and their baby, Angelina, visited the Ramon Musquiz family. Ramon Musquiz was a well-known Mason and government official. When the battle seemed imminent, and over the objections of the Musquiz family, Dickinson took his wife and baby into the Alamo. When the fighting began, he covered them with a Masonic apron, admonishing his wife that the apron could save their lives. And it did! "General Manuel F. Castrillon, a prominent Mason in the Mexican army, recognizing the apron, saw to it that Mrs. Dickinson was taken to Santa Anna, renegade Mason.... "David Crockett was the most controversial of all! ... We know certainly that David
Crockett was from the western part of Tennessee, that he represented western Tennessee in Congress, that following his defeat for re-election to Congress in 1835 he journeyed to Texas [and] joined with the Texans in the Alamo ...
(who helped organize the first regularly accepted lodge in Texas), Stephen F. Austin (who had earlier petitioned for a lodge charter), and Leander Calvin Cunningham (who tried to rescue Travis from the Alamo, but failed).
"Proof that David Crockett was a Mason is based mainly upon the frequent appearance of a Masonic apron reputed to have belonged to Crockett. The apron was preserved and treasured by E. M. Taylor of Paducah, Kentucky, who inherited it from an uncle . . . to whom David Crockett gave the apron for safekeeping in 1835 when he left for Texas. In 1897, the existence of the apron was verified by an item in the Missouri Freemason....
"James Bonham is remembered, as a Mason because he was the only messenger who returned to the Alamo and died by the side of his friend and Brother.
"That David Crockett was a member of the Masonic Order is bolstered by a statement in Gould's Military Lodges, printed in 1899, to that effect; but no actual record of David Crockett's Masonic affiliation is probable. During the Civil War, the courthouse and the Masonic lodge building in Dresden, lWeakley) County, Tennessee, Crockett's old home in the district he represented in Congress and where he was most likely to have held Masonic membership, burned....
"Santa Anna was vengeful. Even before the battle began, the question arose on how to dispose of any prisoners taken. Santa Anna was determined that when finally the last of the defenders was dead or captured, he would take ~ his vengeance. Certain Masons, among them General Manuel Castrillon and Colonel Juan Almonte, tried to ease the torture Santa Anna was determined to inflict. That they failed was no fault of 'the Mexican Masons. General Castrillon and Colonel Almonte voiced principles in accordance with the universality of Freemasonry, principles affecting the rights of men, and principles of honour and virtue.
Thus, there is little likelihood that any written Masonic record of David Crockett can be found. Our real proof rests upon the apron.... "The Masonic records of William Barret Travis and James Bonham were lost to fire, war, and time. The main argument supporting the belief that they were Masons is the universal acceptance by Masonic writers that they were. "Travis numbered among his acquaintances nearly every prominent Mason in Texas ... Among them were Dr. James Aeneas Phelps
"The Mexicans respected the courage of Travis. Several left accounts of how he died; for his sandy, red hair shone like a beacon in the early dawn. As the Mexicans breached the wall, Travis retreated, paused, and fired â€“ retreated, paused, and fired â€“ again and again. Shortly, he fell.
"Santa Anna was adamant. The bodies of the dead defenders of the Alamo were burned. Later,, Captain Juan N. Senguin buried the ashes, some in San Fernando Cathedral. They are gone, but their spirits are enshrined in the hearts, of Masons everywhere." Sourced from The Knight Templar magazine Feb 1981.
Oaths, Obligations & Penalties As with Masonryâ€™s origins and language, Masonic obligations are often poorly understood. The root of the problem which anti- Masons and some conspiracy theorists have with the Masonic obligation seems to be based on a complete misunderstanding of the penalties imposed on Masons who violate the obligations they accept when earning degrees. Anti-Masonry writers have claimed that these penalties keep Masons in fear of their lives and well- being. This faulty interpretation is another smoking gun loaded with blanks. Consider this serious penalty: That the offender be drawn to the gallows, and not be carried or walk: though usually a sledge or hurdle is allowed, to preserve the offender from the extreme torment of being dragged on the ground or pavement; that he be hanged by the neck and then cut down alive; that his entrails be taken out and burned, while he is yet alive; That his head be cut off; That his body be divided in four parts; and, that his head and quarters be at the kingâ€™s disposal. This penalty, commonly known as being drawn and quartered, was very real and literal. It was the penalty each signer of the Declaration of Independence potentially faced, along with all the principal officers in the Continental Army, because it was the price for disloyalty to King George III as spelled out in Englandâ€™s Third Law of Treason. The penalty had been carried out 19
by many English monarchs in the past, so each signer and principle officer of the new nation knew what they could look forward to if the American Revolutionary War was not won. Penalties for the violation of obligations taken by Masons are symbolic, not physical, and are not in any way tied to the legislative or monarchical law of either England or the United States. To a nonMason the penalties, numerous versions of which are published in many books and web sites, may appear quite gruesome, and critics have alleged that the punishments are irreligious; both these claims miss or ignore the point that they are allegorical in nature, not literal. A second important point is that the penalties are not inflicted by the Lodge or anyone else within the fraternity, but are rather expressions of how personally disgraced and contemptible one should feel for violating such an obligation. The only actual penalties in Freemasonry that can be imposed on a Mason by his fellow Masons are those of reprimand, suspension or expulsion.
The penalties mentioned sound gruesome indeed. However, when placed in the symbolic or metaphorical context these punishments can be correctly interpreted as, respectively, separating the mind from the body; the inability to communicate clearly on spiritual/esoteric subjects; the feeling of shame at being reprimanded or “marked” as dishonourable; and suspension or expulsion from the fraternity. Oaths & Obligations The word “oath” is often substituted for the word “obligation” in many writings about Masonry. The word obligation is from the Latin obligationem meaning “a binding.” In Masonry obligations establish a bond, an agreement of intention, a responsibility and duty agreed upon, a constraint of action, a pledge and an acknowledgment of promises made.
While no “gruesome” penalties are subscribed within them, there are oaths of
allegiance; oaths of citizenship, oaths of office and of course many more, including the Cub Scout Oath, which begins “On my honour I will do my best to do my duty to God and my country.” Physicians swear the Hippocratic Oath, one of the oldest known binding documents, in which the first line traditionally was: “I swear by Apollo, the healer, Asclepius, Hygieia, and Panacea, and I take to witness all the gods, all the goddesses, to keep according to my ability and my judgment, the following Oath and agreement…” Although the Hippocratic Oath for two thousand years referred to “gods” and “goddesses“(the modern version from 1964 no longer does) there has hardly been an uproar against physicians taking the oath. Often the anti-Mason stance is that one cannot take an oath promising to do something that has not been disclosed – in other words, full knowledge is required for an oath to be legitimate and binding. The
answer to this objection is that so long as the matter is good (i.e., not against morality) 20
and is intended to accomplish a worthy end, it is binding on the person making the promise. Another variant on this position is that the oath is one to do evil and is therefore not binding. A promise to do something harmful or evil is never binding, of course; the law does not enforce such a promise and one’s conscience should not be troubled if one fails to keep an immoral promise. Yet another assertion often made by antiMasons is that Masonic oaths somehow supersede civil or criminal codes, placing Masons “above the law.” This too is untrue. In the case of Owens vs. Frank, 7 Wyo. 457 (1898) the Supreme Court of Wyoming considered this specific point and in its opinion said: However binding an obligation may be, as between members of the same society, secret or otherwise, not to divulge to others that which may be confidentially communicated to them, such an obligation must be understood to be subject to the laws of the country, and doubtless the societies themselves recognize that such a limitation attaches to the obligation; and therefore it cannot be said that the obligation is violated when the disclosure is compelled in a court of justice, in the course of administration of the laws. Masons know the obligation they have taken is an ethical one that it does not conflict with any moral or legal duty they owe to anyone else. Contextual facts illustrate the same. Sourced from “The Craftsman.” 2014
Rays of Masonry “Personality”
The public is offered a vast assortment of books today on "Bought Personality." Each promises a rich reward to anyone who adopts the methods necessary to make friends and influence people. The point is that each of us should become a strange and hypnotic power over the other. We should know exactly how to be just deceptive enough to put over our proposition. Whether or not our conclusion is based on sound reasoning is not important. The world is moving fast and we must memorize the magic words that will make us financially successful. But we who are relegated to a life of sombre insignificance, who cannot master the intricate lessons, are wondering what has become of the more substantial ingredients that make a person rich in personality. What has become of common decency, simple courtesy, and thoughtful kindness? Is there no place today for unquestionable honor, straightforward statements, a sense of humor, and the enjoyment of wholesome pleasures of life? Is there a better way of making friends by making ourselves worthy to be a friend? Is there a more potent recipe for influencing people than by our acts that tend to inspire confidence? Is there a more successful selling campaign than that of having a worthy product to offer? Should we throw a curtain of words over us and build up a synthetic personality? Let us remember the lessons that we learned as Entered Apprentice Masons. And let us recall the patient climb of the Fellowcraft who cheerfully ascends the steps of life, grateful of the privilege of working and learning. And let us indelibly carry with us the sublime lessons of the Third Degree. Personality is the natural product of *Character.* Dewey Wollstein 1953.
I always found old Briggs a very decent sort of chap," answered the Old Tiler, surprised. "We have bought lodge smokes from him for years. Many brethren give him their trade. What's he done to you?" "Sent me a bill marked 'please remit!' That's something I donâ€™t like. My credit is good. I always pay my bills.'' "Why did Briggs do it?" "I suppose he wanted the money! I had intended to pay the bill, but I was short last month, so I let it go over. And then comes this insulting note!" "Pay full price for the goods?''
"You know Briggs, the tobacco man?" "I buy my cigars from him. '' answered the Old Tiler. "Have a cigar that Briggs didn't sell!'' answered the New Brother, offering his case. "I have bought my last one from Briggs!" "To expensive?" asked the Old Tiler. ''Thank you for a match, too. I'll supply the habit, though!" Much too expensive!" agreed the New Brother. Briggs is a member of this lodge and I wanted to give him my trade, but he doesn't appreciate it."
"Oh, no. Briggs always gives a little discount to the members of his lodge." "As a piece of Swiss cheese you are the smallest round hole filled with bad air I ever saw!" snorted the Old Tiler, disgustedly. "First you ask for and take a discount, because of a common brotherhood, then you keep your brother waiting for his money, and finally you get peeved when he asks you for it and propose to take your trade elsewhere. I have heard of small potatoes and few in a hill, but I didn't know we had nubbins in this lodge that grew in hills all by themselves!" "Why, how you talk!" responded the New Brother, indignantly. "Is it your idea of brotherhood to talk to me that way?" "It surely is! In the most friendly manner I am reminding you of your faults! You 22
treat Briggs in a most un-Masonic way and then grouch about the way he treats you! Asking for discounts because of a common Masonry is a most un-Masonic practice. You don't say to a merchant, 'Mr. Jones, you and I belong to the same church, therefore give me a discount.' You don't say 'Mr. Brown, You and I belong to the same country club, therefore give me a discount.' You don't say, 'Mr. Smith, you and I graduated from high school in the same class, therefore give me a discount! But you do say to old Briggs, ‘Briggs, you and I belong to the same lodge, therefore give me a discount. If you don't, I'll buy elsewhere. And if you favour me I'll keep you waiting for your money and when you ask me for it I'll get peeved!' "Masonry is not a purchasing society, a mutual benefit association, or a cooperative buying plan. When a Mason can buy from a Mason it is a pleasant custom to do so. Members who can help each other financially without loss to themselves should do so. But we should not use our common Masonry as a lever to make men favour us financially. We shouldn't demand discounts. Masonry should make us charitable, not irritable. We shouldn't visit on a brother the sins we commit. You were delinquent about that bill. Instead of being peevish, you should pay without taking a discount, and apologize to old Briggs for being so neglectful of your obligation! "Like vaccination, Masonry either takes or it doesn't. If, seeing another Mason, you say to yourself, 'He wears the same pin I do. I wonder what he will do for 23
me?' Masonry hasn't taken with you. But if you say, 'That chap wears a Masonic pin! I wonder what I can do to help my brother?' Your Masonry has taken. "Briggs likes to favour his brethren. Most of us won't let him give us discounts. I pay Briggs just what I'd pay any other cigar merchant, and glad to. I even walk out of my way to buy from Briggs, because I like to help him. The lodge takes no discount when it purchases cigars. Why should it? It's not an object of charity. Briggs ought not to have to subsidize as customers his own lodge members. Yet you complain of a bill!" "Wait a minute! I didn't think. I'm on my way now to buy a whole lot of cigars from Briggs at the best price and to pay my bill and tell Briggs I am sorry and . . . "Oh, I knew all that before!" grinned the Old Tiler. "You are not a bad potato, you know, just a little one. But you will grow!'' "And one of those boxes of cigars is for you!" ended the New Brother. "Discount offered me for lending yourself to be my verbal chopping block!" grinned the Old Tiler. "Not at all!" cried the New Brother. "Payment in full for half an hour's conversation!"
This is the sixty-second article in this regular feature, ‘The Old Tiler Talks,’ each month we publish in the newsletter one of these interesting and informative pieces by Carl Claudy.
Seven Little Chains It probably seems to most Masons that there should be some symbolic significance attached to the seven little chains which adorn the tassels on our Craft aprons. After all, the number seven has long had special significance - the seven ages of man, the seven cardinal virtues, the seven mortal sins, and so on. The question has a number of answers – „No‟, „Yes‟, „Perhaps‟. Let me explain. A number of modern Masonic writers tell us that it is far too easy to go overboard with symbolism, and try to find a symbolic meaning in everything or every action in Freemasonry. They suggest that symbolism should be restricted to that given in our rituals, pointing out that the symbolism explanations given there are clear, simple and wholly satisfying. If we do as suggested, and restrict ourselves to the ritual symbolism, then most Masons will say that there is no symbolical meaning for the seven little chains. Quite obviously, this is because there is no mention of the seven little chains in the standard rituals approved by the various Grand Lodges. On the other hand, there are some rituals in Queensland, Australia, which do mention the seven little chains and give a meaning to them. Equally obviously then, the Masons who use these rituals are entitled to say that the seven little chains do have a symbolic meaning. In the English Emulation ritual, there is an optional charge which may be used when presenting a Master Mason with his apron.
It states, in part: “To each of these ribbons seven tassels are attached to remind us that no Lodge is perfect unless seven Brethren are present; that in olden days the seven ages of man were thought to be influenced by the seven then known planets; and no Master Mason was considered efficient unless he had some knowledge of the seven liberal arts and sciences.” Other rituals may well have some other meaning given to the seven little chains. One can, of course, decide that even though our rituals do not mention the seven little chains, there should be a symbolical meaning attached to them. One could decide that they represent the seven liberal arts and sciences, in which we should be proficient; or the seven cardinal virtues, which we should always practice; or the seven mortal sins, which we should always avoid; or anything else for that matter. But if one does this, one should also be fully aware that this is a personal symbolism only, and may well be disagreed with by others. But this option gives us the third answer, Perhaps. Brother F. R. Worth, a member of Quatuor Coronati Lodge in London, had this to say about the seven little chains when writing about them: “The symbolic origins of the tassels and their seven little chains are also shrouded in mystery. It is far better to accept the probability that regalia makers from 1830 onwards contrived a symmetrical design for the Apron by placing the tassels and their ornamental chains on either side of the Apron.” Brother Worth seems to be suggesting that the regalia makers, knowing that the number seven is of importance in myth, legends, the Bible, religion, Freemasonry and other areas, put seven little chains on the tassels, leaving Masons to argue about their meaning. And this may well have been the case. 24
DID YOU KNOW? Question: What are the Prestonian Lectures? Answer: William Preston died in the year 1818, aged 76, after a lifetime of service to the Craft, devoted largely to the study and perfection of the Masonic Lectures. They were designed, primarily, to furnish instruction and explanation of the procedure and symbolism of the ceremonies, by means of Question and Answer, and Preston— perhaps more than any other single individual—may be credited with the best of the English language that is preserved in our present-day Ritual. By his Will he left various legacies to Masonic charities, and an additional sum of £300 in Consols to the Grand Lodge, with the direction that the income from it was to be applied as a fee ‘to some well-informed Mason to deliver annually a lecture on the First, Second or Third Degree of the Order of Masonry according to the system practised in the Lodge of Antiquity during his Mastership.’ In 1819 United Grand Lodge endorsed the opinion of the Grand Master that insistence on uniformity in regard to the Lectures was not desirable in the interests of Masonry, but Preston’s Lectures were delivered each year, with occasional intermissions, from 1820 until 1862, when they were discontinued. Until that time the Lectures were mainly in Question and Answer form, as Preston had designed them, but surviving records show that some of them were rearranged and delivered in narrative form. In 1924 the Prestonian Lectureship was revived with substantial modifications to the original scheme, the Lecturer now submitting a Masonic subject of his own selection, and (with the exception of the 25
years 1940—1946) regular appointments have been made annually since 1924 to the present day. The foregoing notes may suffice to show the distinction between Preston’s Lectures and the Prestonian Lectures since 1924. Nowadays, the Prestonian Lecturer is chosen by a special committee of the Grand Lodge and he has to deliver three ‘Official’ Lectures to Lodges applying for that honour. The ‘Official’ deliveries are usually allocated to one selected Lodge in London and two in the provinces. In addition to these three, the Lecturer generally delivers the same lecture, unofficially, to other Lodges all over the country, and it is customary for printed copies of the Lecture to be sold—in vast numbers—for the benefit of one of the Masonic charities selected by the author. The Prestonian Lectures have the unique distinction that they are the only Lectures given ‘with the authority of the Grand Lodge’. There are also two unusual financial aspects attaching to them. Firstly that the Lecturer is paid for his services, though the modest fee is not nearly so important as the honour of the appointment. Secondly, the Lodges which are honoured with the Official deliveries of the Lectures are expected to take special measures for assembling a large audience and, for that reason, they are permitted—on that occasion only—to make a small nominal charge for admission. Prints of the earlier ‘Prestonian Lectures’ are now very scarce, but the Collected Prestonian Lectures, 1925—1960, have been published by the Quatuor Coronati Lodge (twenty-seven Lectures in one volume) and that is available to members of the Q.C. Correspondence Circle. The above answers were given by W. Bro. Harry Carr, a former Secretary of Quatuor Coronati Lodge No. 2076.
Tubal Cain and my Grandfather My maternal grandmother was the only grandparent I ever knew. My other grandparents died before I was born. The one who is relevant to this story is my father’s father, who bore the distinguished Biblical name of Betzalel (or “Bezalel”; literally, “in the shadow of God”). In his memory I have the same Hebrew name, which I use on Jewish religious occasions. Why am I giving my readers these personal details which appear to have nothing to do with the masonic life? Simply because in all the years in which I have been a Freemason I have wondered why our three Craft degrees, which name so many Biblical personages, do not give Betzalel a mention – not my grandfather, but the Betzalel who was the expert architect and artisan responsible for the construction of Israel’s first sanctuary. Countless Biblical figures have a place in the Craft. My late friend and mentor, RW Bro Harry Kellerman, once gave me a list of them for the purposes of a Who’s Who in Free masonry which I will hopefully one day complete. There is no Betzalel in the list. Other Crafts men are there. There is Solomon the king of Israel, Hiram the king of Tyre, Hiram Abiff (who may or may not be identical with the first Hiram). But no Betzalel! We do of course have Tubal Cain, the son of Lamech (correctly, Lemech – the “ch” is
as in the Scottish “loch”) and Zillah, and the brother of Na’amah (Gen. 4:22). Tubal Cain who “forged implements of copper and iron” has a double-barrelled name with two components – “Tuval”, a smith, from a root that means to bring or produce, and “Kayin”, which the Jewish sages derived from a root that means to complete or make perfect; they believed that he overcame the sin of Cain, who killed his own brother. In forging metal implements he gave mankind a choice between being a Cain who destroys and a Tubal Cain who constructs. The contributions which Tubal Cain’s family made to the emergence of civilisation are exceptional. Yaval was the inventor of tents and animal husbandry, Yuval the inventor of musical instruments and Tubal Cain the inventor of metal implements. Freemasonry rightly accords to the family credit for the basis of human culture. They were builders who had ideas and practical capacities. As progenitors of so much that later generations take for granted they deserve to be known and remembered. But so does Betzalel. In making the tradition of temple-building possible he should have been honoured much more by the masonic Craft. If Hiram Abiff could have a degree built around his life and legend, surely Betzalel deserved no less.
By Rt. Wor. Bro. Rabbi Dr Raymond Apple, AO RFD, Past Deputy Grand Master of the United Grand Lodge of New South Wales & the Australian Capital Territory. Click the name to go to his website.
What are they, and why painted in this form?
Now among the mythological creatures of the Mysteries were the harpies. They were described by the Greeks as being composite, with the heads of maidens and the bodies of birds. The wings of the harpies were composed of metal and their flight was, accompanied by a terrible clanging noise. During his wanderings, Ă†neas, the Trojan hero, landed on the island of the Harpies, where he and his followers vainly battled with these monsters.
When we look to the picture of the two cherubimâ€™s on the Ark of the Covenant, they are in the character of two angels.
In earlier versions of Greek myth, Harpies were described as beautiful, winged maidens (angels). Later they became winged monsters (devils) with the face of an ugly old woman and equipped with crooked, sharp talons.
When we look at the picture on the Scroll, we see that the body is of a female in a body of a bird.
They were represented carrying off persons to the underworld and inflicting punishment or tormenting them.
In the Encyclopaedia of Traditional Symbols, we find that Harpy has a head and breast of a woman and claws of a vulture: associated with sudden death; whirlwinds and storms; the feminine principle in its destructive aspect. We see between them the black and white tessellated floor on which stands an Altar with a book standing on it. So here in this picture we see all symbols of opposites: The two pillars, Jachin & Boaz; Male and female, the black & white floor; good & evil. The two harpies around the altar with the book on it, again it can be good and evil in balance with the book of wisdom on the altar (Holiness). Here we see that everything in life is dual, and can only be known by contrasting it to its opposite. The two in combination produce a third, which is a synthesis of perfect balance. Positive and negative can never be complete without the other. The Breastplate of the High Priest, showing the twelve tribes of Israel with the sacred serpent, and the headgear were a regular part of the pre-1856 Royal Arch Masonry, but has now been lost in that Order. It is still retained in the Allied Masonic Degree of â€œGrand High Priestâ€?. We see a grapevine growing on one of the pillars. When we look to the Apprentice Pillar in the Rosslyn Chapel we see also a vine winding around this pillar. The grapevine is a symbol of abundance and life. In Ancient Greece it was devoted to Dionysus; but it was a symbol of rebirth as
well, related to the Dionysian mysteries, which celebrated the god of Ecstasy as the lord of both death and the rebirth of every life form, this is what the degrees are teaching us; death and rebirth. So next month let us go to the next picture on the Scroll. Thanks once again to W.Bro. Fred Vandenberg of lodge Kring Niew Holland in Melbourne Australia, the Masonic Study Circle.
FRATERNITY If I could write one little word Upon the hearts of men, I'd dip into the fount of love And write with golden pen One little word and only one, And feel life's work on earth well done: For every heart would speak to me That one sweet word "Fraternity". The angel throng would sing a song, The sweetest ever heard, If they could read in human hearts That precious little word, For kindly thoughts and kindly deeds Are the treasures more than crown and creeds: In these the angel host would see The children of "Fraternity" A man will need no other creed, To guide him on life's sea If he embarks upon the ark Of true Fraternity. For love divine will clasp his hand And lead him to the promised land; Love to his fellow-man shall be His passport to eternity. 28
THE EMBLEMS OF FREEMASONRY The Second Degree The Middle Chamber. The conventional lecture on the Tracing Board of the Second Degree deals in great fullness with the Middle Chamber of King Solomon’s Temple whence the ancient Craftsman had to retire at stated intervals to receive his wages. It pictures him as pas sing the pillars Jachin and Boaz, only to find his further progress barred by the J.W., who demanded the password and pass grip. Having satisfied this brother on these points the Craftsman passed up a winding stair consisting of three, five, and seven steps. Arrived at the top he found himself at the door of the-Middle Chamber which was open, but properly tyled by the S.W. against all under the-degree of F.C. After the Craftsman was able to prove his position to the S.W. he was permitted to enter the chamber where he received his wages, which he took without scruple or diffidence without scruple, knowing he had justly earned it, and without diffidence, from the unbounded confidence he placed in the integrity of his employers. Our English Version of the Bible finds winding stairs in the Temple, but there cannot be any doubt that, with regard to Freemasonry, the whole story of the Middle Chamber and the Winding Stair is simply an allegory-the Winding Stair a symbol of the toilsome ascent after Knowledge, and the wages received in the Middle Chamber a symbol of the reward which awaits all who steadily pursue their arm. The Winding Stair. In his search for further light the F.C. approaches the E... by symbolically ascending the Winding Stair which consisted of three short flights of three, five, and seven steps respectively. The total number of steps, in all, Fifteen, is a symbol of much significance, for this was a sacred number in the East for the reason that the letters of the Holy Name “JAH” were in their numerical value equal to fifteen. The thoughtful Freemason, therefore, may well regard the Fifteen Steps of the Winding Stair as, to some extent, a symbol of the name of the Great Architect of the Universe. The Three Steps. The Three Steps allude to the three Masons who rule a Lodge: these are the R.W.M., the W.S.W., and the W.J.W. These three rule the Lodge because there were but three Grand Masters who bore sway at the building of the first Temple at Jerusalem, namely, Solomon, King of Israel; Hiram, King of Tyre; and Hiram Abiff. They also represent the three stages in life - youth, manhood, and old age. Also, they refer to the three principal supports in Freemasonry which are Wisdom, Strength, and Beauty. When more particularly applied to the case of the E.A. they represent the three stages of his early career as a Craftsman, first, his being born into the Masonic life; secondly, his ignorance of the teachings of the grand 29
system of the Fraternity ; and thirdly, the lessons which he receives in his early days as a necessary preparation for the later degrees. The Five Steps. The Five Steps allude to the five Masons who hold a Lodge - namely, the R.W.M., the two Wardens and two Fellow-crafts. Five hold a Lodge in allusion to the five noble orders of architecture which are Tuscan, Doric, Ionic, Corinthian, and Composite. They also allude to the five human senses, Seeing, Hearing, Touching, Tasting, and Smelling. As each of these orders of architecture and human senses will be briefly dealt with later, further reference is unnecessary here. The Seven Steps The seven steps allude to the seven, or more, Masons who make a Lodge perfect, because Solomon was seven years in building, completing, and dedicating the Temple at Jerusalem to the service of God. They also allude to the Seven Sabbatical years, the Seven Years of Famine, the Seven Golden Candlesticks, the Seven Days of the Week, the seven Wonders of the World, and lastly, and more particularly, to the Seven Liberal Arts and Sciences – Grammar, Rhetoric, Logic, Arithmetic, Geometry, Music, and Astronomy. Wages The Wages of an E.A. and F.C. are Corn, Wine, and Oil. The King of Tyre furnished timber for the Temple in exchange for stipulated proportions of corn, wine and oil; and at the building of the Temple a certain allowance of corn, wine and oil was made to each lodge. To the Speculative Freemason Corn is an emblem of Plenty, Wine is the symbol of Cheerfulness, and Oil is indicative of Peace. The student of the Tracing Board will discover an Ear of Corn growing near a running stream. This, as he learns in the course of the Second Degree, represents Plenty. The Senses. The senses which are alluded to in the flight of five steps that forms part of the winding stair, are too well known to call for more than passing notice. The first three – those of Seeing, Hearing, and Touching – by which respectively we distinguish objects, forms and colours, appreciate sounds and acquire ideas if hardness, softness, smoothness, and roughness, heat and cold – are particularly essential to Freemasons in respect of the fact that by their means the Brethren perceive Signs, recognise Words, and distinguish Grips. The others – Tasting and Smelling – demonstrate along with those already mentioned the amazing wisdom of the Great Architect of the Universe. The whole subject is well calculated to give food for thought to the contemplative brother and, as he exercises the varied sense day by day and hour by hour, to lead him to look with adoration from Nature up to Nature’s God. This monthly feature is taken from William Harvey’s book, “The Emblems of Freemasonry” 1918.
Until next month, Keep the faith! The Editor 30
Published on Oct 28, 2017