The Builder Magazine
August 1919 - Volume V - Number 8
OF THE MASONIC OVERSEAS MISSION
BY BRO. GEO. L. SCHOONOVER,
P. G. M., IOWA
DECIDEDLY the most
significant and far reaching occurrence of the conference at Cedar Rapids was
the report of the Overseas Mission in which Judge Scudder, a Justice of the
Supreme Court of New York, and a most scholarly and forward looking brother,
recited to those present the details of the negotiations with the government
looking to the fraternity being recognized as one of the official agencies
engaged in welfare work among the men of the army and navy overseas. The
Masonry of the United States was so recognized by the War Department, the
activities in which it proposed to engage were approved, and everything was
apparently smooth in the pathway of service along which we desired to travel,
until some agency, not disclosed by name in the report of the Overseas
Mission, by some subterranean methods blocked our way. No reasons were given
which would stand the test of fair and unbiased analysis. Certain officials
stated that "the Masonic fraternity had been the victim of a series of
circumstances." The Mission was refused passports to go to France and engage
in this work as an independent, recognized agency.
After a series of long
negotiations the Overseas Mission was accepted by the Y. M. C. A. as a part of
their welfare machine on foreign soil. They, too, approved the desire and
ambition expressed by our Mission, and passports were applied for by them for
our five Overseas Commissioners to go as Y. M. C. A. secretaries, the basis of
their work when they reached France having been mutually agreed upon.
The application for passports
remained pigeonholed in Washington for seven weeks without a reply. Then Judge
Scudder, becoming somewhat impatient at the delay went to Washington to
ascertain the cause. He found that the passports were to be denied. In making
the application for passports, nothing of the intended purpose of the Overseas
Mission to engage in Masonic activities had been covered up everything was
frank and aboveboard. Without doubt it was for this reason that the
applications were held up, and were about to be refused. Judge Scudder had
several copies of the Overseas Mission's report with him, for by this time it
had been distributed to the several Grand Jurisdictions in printed form. He
read considerable portions of it, notably those which argued the case as it
appeared to the Mission, to certain governmental officials. The results
followed one another with miraculous rapidity. Within an hour from the time
Judge Scudder had finished reading this report, the passports were
forthcoming, and the Mission was able to sail. In fact, so illuminating had
been the arguments and reasons set forth in support of our Masonic contentions
for practically a year and a half prior to that time, that the Mission was
informed that if it so desired it might sail as an independent agency, but
because the Mission had given its word to the Y. M. C. A., this opportunity
could not, of course, be availed of. To have done so would have meant to break
faith q with the "Y."
The Overseas Mission sailed
the week of February 6, 1919, more than a year and a half after their original
intention, and part of them returned to New York on May 5,1919. For the
following summary of their findings and activities I am indebted to Brother
Scudder, chairman of the Mission, who recently made an exhaustive report at
the Grand Lodge of New York. Unfortunately I cannot now give this report in
his own language, and must for the sake of space summarize in a few paragraphs
his most illuminating survey of the conditions which they found and the steps
which they took to have Masonry play its part.
They knew the fraternity in
America to be aggrieved because it had not been allowed to participate as it
had been promised that it should do, because that permission had been in
effect withdrawn. They only guessed that our soldier brethren on the other
side had longed for them to come, been disappointed that they did not come,
and, finally, felt that they had been neglected by Masonry. They had joined
Masonry for its high aspirations and ideals; they felt that these had not been
lived up to, and so far as their knowledge went in the premises, they could
only feel that the neglect was due to indifference. When, therefore, our
Overseas Mission arrived in France they found our boys in khaki cold. From
their viewpoint it seemed that, the Mission having sailed when the seas were
safe, it was adding insult to the injury, or else gave ground for an
indictment of cowardice. They were homesick, these boys. They had had no
Masonry to lean upon except that of their own construction, and they were not
in a mood to come home and feel that the Masonry which they left behind was
the same Masonry that they had conceived it to be. The Mission found them
filled with but one idea, that of coming home, and they were coming sore at
heart, disappointed, and critical of the fraternity.
Despite the difficulties of
travel, of delayed mails, of military discipline, of some opposition in
government circles, of convincing the overseas supervisors of the Y. M. C. A.
of the value of the work which the Mission had in view, they were able, after
five or six weeks of what seemed inconsequential accomplishment, to begin to
make some headway. In time they were able to reach the hearts of the boys and
convince them that the reason for Masonry's absence from the welfare
activities on foreign soil was not one of choice. They showed them how and why
it had been deemed unwise by some governmental officials to let us go, and
that those officials seemed to have the power to keep us at home. The overseas
officials of the Y. M. C. A., at first incredulous and skeptical, came after
awhile to see that the proposed work was worth while, and the attendance upon
Masonic meetings which they finally permitted in the "Y" huts generally proved
to them the desire on the part of Masons for the Masonic fellowship which had
been theretofore denied them. The meetings became enthusiastic. The clubs
formed, and there were more than sixty of them, mounted to thousands in
membership, and the Masonic meetings taxed the capacity of the huts. Once the
Masons in khaki understood the story which the Mission had to tell, they
became once more the firm and enthusiastic and proud supporters of the Masonic
fraternity which they had been when at home. Once the Y. M. C. A. realized
fully how catering to the desire of Masons to meet upon the level helped to
revive its own usefulness in a considerable degree, they lent their full
influence to these new and long-denied activities. The personnel of the
Mission was splendid. Their morale was high, their self-sacrifice complete.
Personal comforts they had none, but they carried the great message of Masonry
all over France and the occupied portion of Germany. They went into Belgium
and Flanders and Italy, likewise, and their reception was a tribute indeed to
the at last partially consummated desire of the Masons of America.
In a private interview, Judge
Scudder gave his conclusions as to the value of the work, somewhat after the
"It was pitiful to see how
little the boys needed to make them happy. They organized their clubs and did
business, as a rule, as nearly in accordance with lodge practice as they
could. The very similarity of their meetings to those to which they were
accustomed in the lodges at home seemed to make them happy. Small
entertainments were sufficient. The opportunity for an unrestricted -Masonic
fellowship was what they craved. Gathered together from all quarters of the
United States, they found infinite joy in merely talking together, under the
club auspices, and spent the next to the last minute of their leave together
in this way. All that was needed was a semblance of the Masonic intercourse
which they loved, and their hearts responded in an atmosphere of fellowship
which made the simplest kind of a meeting a unanimous success.
"We had some opposition at
times much of it. But after the preliminary weeks of waiting were over, we
found that we had made some substantial progress toward the perfection of our
plans. We did not do what we had covenanted with the Y. M. C. A. to do go
over and assume responsibility for certain huts at our own expense, under
their supervision. We did not do it because we were asked not to do so. The
"Y" found in our plan of club co-ordination a wiser course, and were generous
enough to accept it, in fact to adopt it, and on their own motion, assume much
of the expense of it, because they found that it was a real addition to their
own activities, and was helping materially their own cause. They became
convinced that the Masonic fraternal tie was the strongest tie binding men of
the fraternity together the best tie there is. At first they witnessed our
efforts with misgiving, but they became convinced, and were finally so far won
over as to feel that the adoption of our designs was a substantial drawing
card for them.
"This entire work was
conducted in behalf of the Masonry of the United States. No state in
particular was mentioned. Every brother was welcomed, no matter where he
hailed from. And the Masonic soldiers are coming home, convinced that the
fraternity had a real desire to serve, that it was prevented from serving in
the first instance by opposition which was able to control the governmental
policy. They are coming home convinced of the good effects of the fraternity.
They appreciate our stand in persisting until we could get to them, even
though we were compelled to forego our desire to do so as an independent
agency. Our fraternity will not be on the defensive before them as they come
back. They will not be bitter they will understand the obstacles which we had
to overcome, and by the manner of our overcoming them, which they now
appreciate, they are convinced that through it all our hearts were with them.
They are proud of their Masonry now. Contrast this with the opinion they held
of it when they believed that they had been forgotten and there had been those
who had not neglected to remind them of it and you will have some appreciation
of the value of the mission. However its work may have succeeded in measuring
up to our own desires, we may be sure that our soldier brethren now know why
we did not get to France sooner, and they know why we had to come as we did
come, in the garb of another agency.
"The delivery of this message
has cost the fraternity in the United States not more than $15,000 expended
overseas up to date; if the work is continued for a year, it will cost us,
under the very advantageous circumstances under which we now work, not to
exceed a total of perhaps double that amount. Is it not worth it ?"
THE LARGE LODGE QUESTION
BY BRO. A. G. PITTS.
SECRETARY PALESTINE LODGE, MICHIGAN
IT is possible, though this
might not be suspected, to treat of the question of large lodges in a way to
bring out some really illuminating points. I shall only indicate the various
heads of such a discussion.
1. THE WHY OF LARGE LODGES
It is noteworthy that they
begin in and are usually confined to cities which have, beside lodges,
chapters, commanderies, a shrine, a grotto and a full complement of Scottish
Rite bodies. The exceptions are a few lodges which do not meet all this
competition but the most of it. The competition is a little less keen not
much, because if they have no shrine and no Scottish Rite still those bodies
exist in near-by cities and divide the interest and the energies of their
members in only a slightly less degree. For the rest those lodges have grown
large in imitation or in rivalry of the large lodges of the other class.
Large lodges in America are
the result of the excess of Masonic bodies in America. If a city lodge has 300
active workers in Masonry, 250 of them will be active chiefly in Commandery,
Shrine, Grotto, Scottish Rite or Chapter. Fifty active workers is hardly too
many for a lodge. To have that many the lodge needs 300 who are active in some
branch of Masonry. To have 300 who are at all active in any branch of Masonry
she must have at least 1800 members on her roll. Ergo, the smallest number
suitable for a Masonic lodge in a large American city is 1800.
2. INACTIVE MEMBERS
How about the five-sixths of
inactive members? One-sixth will be non-residents. One-sixth will be men who
by reason of lack of taste or of ability never became active and never would
have done so whether they had joined a large lodge or a small one. One-third
will be those who have been active but have ceased to be so, and, in the large
cities which we are considering, one-sixth will be men who never cared for the
lodge and never expected to, but who used the lodge only to get into the
It is proper to consider the
wishes of these men. Which will they prefer: to belong to the ideal small
lodge or to belong to one which by reason of its size and its consequent
activities has a state-wide, perhaps a national, perhaps even an international
3. WHAT IS A SMALL LODGE
American Masons have no
notion. I have never known a small lodge in any American city. Those that have
few members are in that situation because they are just out of the Grand
Master's hands. All have the intent and purpose of growing large. They are
already large lodges in intent and purpose, in heterogeneity, in point of
I can see great good in a
really small lodge and great good in a really large lodge. I can see no good
in one betwixt and between. And, unfortunately, that is the situation of
nine-tenths of our city lodges. Nearly all the distinguished Masons who took
part in the symposium in the June issue of THE BUILDER speak of the virtue
there is in the close fellowship of small lodges. Have they stopped to think?
There will be just as many cliques and jealousies, just as many divergencies
of taste and sympathy, in a lodge of 100 members, as American lodges are
constituted, as in one of 3,000. The cliques and circles will be smaller, that
is all, and consequently more injurious. The man of education and of scholarly
tastes and habits of mind will seek the society of his kind. He may find them
in the lodge of 3,000. He almost certainly will not in the American lodge of
This brings me back to my
question, "What is a small lodge?" The answer is: It is a lodge of men who
have similar tastes and interests and habits of thought and who come together
for that reason. If a lodge is a cross-section of the community no one member
will take a genuine warm and abiding interest in every other member whether
the lodge has 100 or 3,000 members.
The Lodge Quatuor Coronati is
the typical small lodge. I need not describe it. Years ago I read of the
organization of a lodge to be confined to the clergy connected with St. Paul's
Cathedral in London. Another genuine small lodge.
The demand is made that Grand
Lodges shall legislate against large lodges. But the large American lodges are
the result of American Grand Lodge innovations. First, the excess of Masonic
bodies to which I have already referred and which has been promoted by grand
lodge legislators if not by grand lodge legislation. Second, by the law,
almost universal in America, that a man may belong to but one lodge. Do you
suppose that I, a member of the largest lodge in the world, would not also
belong to one of the smallest if I were allowed to do so? One that was
organized on the basis of a similarity of tastes and avocations (mark, not
vocations) and intellectual interests.
An Englishman who devoted as
much attention to Masonry as I have done would belong to at least four lodges.
One because it was his father's lodge and he was made in it. A second because
it was devoted to the study of Masonry. A third, because he would meet there
the men to whom he could give and from whom he could receive the most useful
ideas along his line of thought and activity. And so on. Nor in any one would
four-fifths of the members be running after "higher bodies," they being
practically non-existent in all parts of the British Empire except Canada
which is contaminated by her nearness to the United States.
Say as much as you like in
praise of the British system of small lodges but don't talk about small lodges
for this country. The time is forever past for them in the United States.
A small lodge is one
essentially small and that would always and in any event be small because
however broad a man may be his real intimates will always be few. A small
lodge in America is small only because it has not yet grown large. It will,
with its fifty members, already have educated men and illiterates, men that
read books, men that read magazines, men that read nothing but newspapers and
men that read nothing at all. They will all know one another well, say your
writers. No doubt and that is the reason why they will avoid one another and
the lodge. Where do you find the dry rot, the inactivity, the somnolence?
Where does the situation arise where one circle will blackball every one of a
certain other circle so that no one can be elected and the lodge is at a
standstill? Invariably in the villages where there can be but one lodge, and
accordingly even that weak sort of selection cannot take effect which takes
place in any city where there are as many as half a dozen lodges.
The accepted answer to the
famous question, "Is life worth living?" is: "It depends upon the individual."
That is also the answer to the question, "Is a large lodge justifiable?"
I confess I know of but one
large lodge which has justified its existence. No doubt there are others but I
have not happened to know them and I know many of the other kind. But if there
is only one large lodge (and that the largest of all) which has worked out the
excuses and the reasons for its numbers, that is enough. It proves the
possibility of a solution. It kills all excuse for legislating against large
numbers. Let the other large lodges alone. They will learn.
A lodge of 3,000 members is
without excuse or reason for existence if it is conducted just as it was when
it had 300 members. Three thousand members bring new problems which must be
solved. Especially they bring new possibilities which must be taken advantage
I have been secretary of
Palestine Lodge for 27 years and have known her intimately when she had 200
members and when she had 3,200 and at every stage between.
Now I quote from the June
Brother Hamilton says: "It is
a practically universal rule that the smaller the membership the larger
percentage of members attend the meetings."
Palestine Lodge, then, is the
exception. She will have an attendance of 600 next Friday. Two hundred take
lunch together in the lodge house every day, not always the same 200 by any
means. Fifteen hundred people mostly members and their ladies will take the
annual evening boat ride together June 18, if the experience of past years is
any criterion. She is planning a dinner for next fall to honor her 500
returned soldiers and she thinks it necessary to find a room where 2,000 can
sit together and be served.
There are never 600 members
in her lodge room at one time but she has learned that presence in her house
is the desideratum, not continuous presence in her lodge room.
From Bro. Street: "A better
camaraderie will be obtained and preserved" (in the small lodge). I defy him
to produce a lodge (in the United States) where there is more solidarity, more
maternity or more intimacy than in Palestine.
"Where initiations are so
numerous as they must be in large lodges little or no time is left for the
development of the social or study side of Masonry."
On the contrary in Palestine
Lodge the social side is being developed every day and for an average of 10
hours every day instead of a few minutes in the intervals of work twice a
month. How can you beat the social effect of having 200 take lunch together
every day and an average of 100 dining together every day?
My dear brother, if your
lodge is large enough the social side will be developed while the work is
going on. Next Friday in Palestine Lodge at a certain time there will be 300
men listening to after- dinner speeches and music in Palestine's large dining
room, fifty more dining with ladies in the small dining rooms, fifty carrying
on the work in Palestine's lodge room, fifty more playing together in other
parts of the house cards, billiards, etc., fifty talking or reading in other
parts of the house, many of them in the ladies' drawing room in company with
ladies and fifty more coming and going.
No one can fix his eyes upon
his vest and figure out exactly how Palestine Lodge is run. But the
information is not hard to come at. Lacking the information, one need not
assume that she is run just like the lodge which meets twice a month.
Palestine meets formally twice a week but she keeps open house all the time
every day from 11 a. m. to 11 p. m.
The one guiding principle of
Palestine Lodge is that a lodge of 3,000 must not be run like one of 300. If
you. try to imagine Palestine Lodge, as fast as pictures arise before you of
the ways of the lodge you know, discard them one by one. Palestine is
different. That is her justification. If she resembled in any particular the
lodge she was when she had 300 members that would condemn her.
"In every large lodge the
proper caution in admitting members can not be observed."
Our jurisdiction is the city
of Detroit, covering, perhaps 100 square miles. We find it necessary to keep
two card catalogues one of which is arranged by wards and districts and
streets. It is very hard for any man to find a decent place to live in Detroit
where he will not have a Palestine man on each side of him within two blocks.
Those two members will be on his committee. Would the situation be improved if
we had 100 members, one to each square mile?
What a difference there
always is between theory and experience. In fact we find it easier to appoint
suitable and neighboring committees as the lodge grows. From this point of
view 3,000 is the smallest number that can properly cover a city of the size
of Detroit. Nevertheless we are true to the principle to do nothing as we did
when we were 300 strong. I cannot stop on details but having a big house of
our own we can and do insist on applicants coming down there to be looked over
before being balloted upon.
"We have no time for
addresses," etc., says Bro. Adams. I refer to what I have said concerning
after dinner programs. We have them twice a month and a notable speaker each
time. We can give any speaker an audience worthy of him.
Bro. Carson asks: "Can a
member of such a lodge know all the others?" Of course not. How did the idea
ever arise that that is necessary? But I venture to say that there is not a
man in Palestine Lodge today who does not know more members of Palestine Lodge
than I knew a month before I was first elected secretary when she had 200
members and I had been a member four years.
The way to get the members
acquainted is to give them a beautiful big home where they can and do eat
together, play together, read together and talk together for twelve hours
every day, and six days every week. But you must have 3,000 members before you
can establish such a home. Palestine's home represents an investment of
"Give him the opportunity of
spending a social hour with his friends." We give him the opportunity
seventy-two hours of every week.
Bro. Schoonover says the
large lodge is negligent on funeral occasions. Our attendance at funerals is
entirely satisfactory if we are given time to send- notices and not unbecoming
in any case. We gathered twenty to go sixty miles to bury a brother last month
and got them all by telephone. But we have had to change our methods in this
matter as in every other. We bury a larger proportion of our dead than we did
when we had 300 members. Here is a text for a separate article but I must
We confer 900 degrees a year
and nobody sweats a hair. How can we do it? Another article is called for. As
in every other particular we have changed our ways since the time when we had
300 members. But I must expressly deny that there has arisen any tendency to
slight or neglect the work in any particular.
We have not enough officers,
and do not make as many past masters as we ought. This is true but it is an
argument for taking off restrictions instead of for putting on new ones. We
have invented half a dozen ways of making half a dozen past masters a year but
Grand Lodge will allow none of them.
Now it would take another
article to tell about the advantages which Palestine Lodge secures from her
large numbers. It may be that she is the only one on earth that does secure
all these advantages. That is the fault of the individual lodges, not of the
Let it be once more stated
and emphasized that there is no excuse for the existence of a large lodge
unless it secures the advantages which large numbers can give.
Let me simply catalogue a few
of those advantages:
1. The Palestine Lodge House,
a cozy, economical club where lunch is served every noon and dinner every
night. It comprises a large dining room, two small dining rooms, billiard
rooms, card rooms, a reading room, ladies' drawing room, ladies' sitting room,
a ball room, a lodge room, etc. It is open every day except Sunday. The lodge
meets twice a week at 5 p. m. The members come to lodge from their work. They
meet their wives there and have dinner together. While the men are at lodge
the ladies entertain one another. Formerly they played bridge. During the war
they did an enormous amount of war relief work in the Lodge House. The dining
room does a business of $3,000 a month. From this can be estimated how many
meals are sold. Before the war there was a dancing party in the ballroom twice
a month at least. And yet they tell us that large lodges cannot cultivate the
social side! I dare assert that nothing less than a large lodge can properly
cultivate social features.
The Palestine Lodge House
represents an investment of about $185,000.00. There are outstanding about
$40,000.00 of bonds. They could easily be taken up within the next three
years. It is likely that they will not be, but when $40,000.00 is accumulated
more bonds will be issued and an addition built. Plans have been made for a
building 50x100 feet and ten stories high. This, it is estimated, will cost
about $250,000.00. The lot is 100x130. Some day (possibly very soon,) it will
all be covered with a new building. At least two parties are negotiating with
us now. one proposition is for a hotel twenty-one stories high, 100x130 feet,
of which the lodge would occupy the floors from the third to the seventh
2. Prestige. See the last
sentence. Anyone would be proud to be in partnership with Palestine Lodge.
This refers to Detroit. But Palestine Lodge has an international reputation.
It is not a dream that a Mason who was making a trip from New Zealand to
England so planned it that he could stop off to visit Palestine Lodge. On the
other hand your writers write about large lodges (including Palestine) knowing
nothing and caring less as to what they (Palestine) are really like.
3. The Palestine Bulletin, a
twenty-page monthly which also has an international reputation and which while
primarily reporting the activities of Palestine Lodge has frequently printed
original articles equal to the best of Masonic literature anywhere.
4. Zeal and devotion. A
hundred illustrations could be given. Few ever quit. An average of ten a year
are suspended and ten a year dimitted. That would be in the same proportion as
one of each a year for a lodge of 300 members. One of your wise men said that
in the large lodge members soon get tired and "resign." Of course he knows.
What does he mean ?
For many years the Palestine
men in Chicago have maintained "The Palestine Club of Chicago." The members
take lunch together every Friday at Marshall Pield's store for men. Where is
your small lodge that an grip men like that?
5. The Palestine Directory. A
book of 200 pages giving the name, number, business address, residence
address, telephone number, and date of membership of all the members. Also
arranged as to business. A Palestine man hardly dares buy anything without
consulting this business directory. Palestine is notorious or solidarity. It
is made a reproach to her.
6. The Palestine Button.
Smaller lodges have Lodge buttons but not until you have 3,000 members are
they worth while. Members make one another's acquaintance in China by the fact
that both wear the button.
7. Adequacy for any good
work. We sent the tuberculosis sanitarium $400.00 the other day. We raised
thousands of dollars for war relief work. The Palestine Lodge House Red Cross
section was one of the best in the city. We were used as a headquarters on the
occasion of a recent big welcome to a returning regiment. We spent $600.00 on
Christmas boxes for our soldiers in France. We have published the names and
details of the service of our 500 soldiers in a thirty-page book. We are
looking after several orphans and assisting several widows. Masonic homes
would be unnecessary if all lodges were like Palestine and, of course, home
relief is better and cheaper than institutional relief.
8. We can look after our
members almost anywhere. We have twenty in Los Angeles, forty in Chicago,
twenty in Cleveland, twenty-five in New York, and so on. When a non-resident
member is sick or in double we notify members of his own lodge in his own town
to look after him.
9. Dignity. Hardly any one in
Palestine Lodge fancies that the lodges exist only to make men eligible to the
"higher bodies." Indeed we have almost killed that idea in Detroit. The newer
generation of Masons do not even realize that such used to be the feeling in
Detroit as it is yet in most cities. Perhaps it is not worth noting but it is
a fact that every Mason that objects to large lodges is a higher degree man.
Also that the Scottish Rite bodies, the Shrine and the Grotto find profit in
limiting the number of their bodies and exaggerating their size. If these
brethren would say frankly that their preference for small lodges is due to
the sentiment that they do not want the lodges to equal in dignity and
influence the Consistories and the Shrine their position would be reasonable
at least. A natural objection would be an improvement on those thus far
expressed which are all artificial and laboriously manufactured.
One of your writers speaks of
the great success of the Shrine and makes that an argument for small lodges.
It is a wonder that he did not say that the success of the Shrine is due to
the small size of the temples. The one in Chicago, for example, has not to
exceed 15,000 members. But it is growing!
I stop solely out of regard
for your space. What I have written is so composed that there are joints which
are not connected and which look like flaws. Let them be pointed out by
others. I am willing to come again.
If there be such a thing in
America as a Masonic writer or a Masonic official who is sincerely devoted to
the good of Masonry (meaning the lodges), that man when he knows Palestine
Lodge will hail her plan and system as a new and useful invention, the
harbinger of a new era in American Masonry, the remedy for the worst faults of
THE HANDCLASP OF THE SOUL
We can never know what life
But we know that it is love,
In a world where so much
That alone can merit prove.
There's no moral realm above
'Tis the qualifying plane,
Man is glorified to love it
'Tis his limit to attain.
Human Love, "head of the
In the alchemy of man,
Is the real and chief adorner
Of all others in the plan,
Love of virtue, love of
Love of all things as a whole
In their glorious unity
Makes for quality of Soul.
There is not of earth, a
That behind a creed can hide,
Love alone leads to the
There realities abide.
Love, the scandalized for
By negation's formal role
Waits to fold their tell-tale
In the handclasp of the soul.
Bro. L. B. Mitchell,
ACACIA IN THE ARMY
BY BRO. G. A. KENDERDINE,
THE SCHOOL OF FIRE at Fort Sill, Oklahoma,
probably brought together as representative a body of college men among the
students and officers as has ever been assembled in the United States.
Practically every educational institution was represented, and during the
early autumn of 1918 a Fraternity and College register was established at the
desk of the School of Fire Y.M.C.A., in the hope of uniting various college
and fraternity men, who were enlisted in, or on the staff of, or students in
the Artillery Training School. No effort was made to canvass the school for
registration. A small notice on the officers' bulletin board, and another in
the "Y" was all the publicity that was given the matter. The register lay on
the desk under the notice of all who desired to open it. From the appearance
of its pages and from the comments of those who found their fraternity
brothers or graduates or students of the same colleges through its pages, the
register was well worth the little effort in its making.
106 colleges and universities were represented by 272 students
registered, and 42 fraternities were represented by 296 men registered. The
apparent discrepancy in the figures is accounted for by
the fact that a number of the fraternities being professional,
permitted duplicate membership.
Although by no means
the largest of national
the Acacia had the largest number of men registered, there being 19, with a
representation of 14 chapters. This data was largely secured through the
efforts and pains of R. G. Buzzard, 2nd Lieutenant Signal Corps, an alumnus of
Chicago Acacia. As soon as Brother Buzzard had noted these names he saw each
of the brothers and called an informal meeting at the Y.W.C.A. Hostess House
which was largely attended and another meeting was arranged for a few days
later in the nature of a six o'clock dinner, followed by a theater party,
which was truly an enjoyable occasion.
Most of the men present at the dinner were able to
appear for the group photograph, though one or two, as is usually the case,
were detained by duty. It is a matter of considerable pride and satisfaction
to Acacians that so representative a gathering could be assembled, and it
speaks volumes for the fraternal is impulses as well as the calibre of Acacia
men. Each one of these men, with the exception of the writer, was either a
commissioned officer in the U. S. Army, or a student in the Aviation Corps,
who was later to obtain commission, and had therefore added to their threefold
Acacia selection still another mark of recognition.
A few days after the picture was taken the
demobilization order scattered these men far and wide, but the memory of the
Fort Sill "Chapter" will not soon fade, and furnishes one of the happiest
episodes of these men's military experiences.
KEEPING HIM "FIT"
Our responsibilities to our wounded are not yet
over. The Red Cross acts as the people's intermediary. Debarkation hospitals
in the large cities adjacent to ports are crowded to capacity and base
hospitals are continually increasing their facilities to care for the wounded
who come in with every ship.
One of the greatest needs that presents itself in
hastening the recovery of these boys is proper recreation. Deprived of the
natural physical ability to seek relaxation they are dependent for mental
stimulation on the pleasures that are brought to them.
The Red Cross has planned out a program of social
and physical recreation suited to the needs of these recovering boys, and
calculated to encourage that spirit of cheerfulness which is so great a factor
in their recovery.
Games and sports have been arranged for under the
department of Military Relief, through the Recreational Committees. These
pleasures are suited to the individual needs of every type of patient. They
include film shows, high class vaudeville entertainments, concerts,
educational lectures and such games and sports as may be indulged in by
recovering patients. An important feature of this department is the Bureau of
Musical Activities, and many have been the donations of band instruments,
music, and offers of service from music houses, musicians and teachers, who
are lending their help in gratifying the desire not only to hear but to create
good music that lies in the hearts of our boys. One of the greatest aids to
this service has been in the donation by different teachers of a definite
number of hours each week to provide instruction in the hospitals.
And so, to the question" Now that the war is done
is the Red Cross work over?" we answer "No, not only is it not over but what
has been done is but a beginning." With past experiences to build on and the
future needs so plain to our sight, we point down the long road ahead and say
with hope, confidence and the joy of service, "the work of the Red Cross goes
A CATHOLIC TREATISE ON
PART II ORGANIZATION AND
THE characteristic feature of
the organization of speculative Masonry is the Grand Lodge system founded in
1717. Every regular Grand Lodge or Supreme Council in the Scottish, or Grand
Orient in the mixed system, constitutes a supreme independent body with
legislative, judicial, and executive powers. It is composed of the lodges or
inferior bodies of its jurisdiction or of their representatives regularly
assembled and the grand officers whom they elect. A duly constituted lodge
exercises the same powers but in a more restricted sphere. The indispensable
officers of a lodge are the Worshipful Master (French Venerable; German
Meister von Stuhl), the Senior and Junior Warden, and the Tiler. The master
and the wardens are usually aided by two deacons and two stewards for the
ceremonial and convivial work and by a treasurer and a secretary. Many lodges
have a Chaplain for religious ceremonies and addresses. The same officers in
large numbers and with sounding titles (Most Worshipful Grand Master,
Sovereign Grand Commander, etc.) exist in the Grand Lodges. As the expenses of
the members are heavy, only wealthy persons can afford to join the fraternity.
The number of candidates is further restricted by prescriptions regarding
their moral, intellectual, social, and physical qualifications, and by a
regulation which requires unanimity of votes in secret balloting for their
admission. Thus, contrary to its pretended universality, Freemasonry appears
to be a most exclusive society, the more so as it is a secret society, closed
off from the profane world of common mortals. "Freemasonry," says the
"Keystone" of Philadelphia (Chr., 1885, I, 259), "has no right to be popular.
It is a secret society. It is for the few, not the many, for the select, not
for the masses." Practically, it is true, the prescriptions concerting the
intellectual and moral endowments are not rigourously obeyed. "Numbers are
being admitted . . . whose sole object is to make their membership a means for
advancing their pecuniary interest" (Chr., 1881, I, 6). "There are a goodly
number again, who value Freemasonry solely for the convivial meetings attached
to it." "Again I have heard men say openly, that they had joined to gain
introduction to a certain class of individuals as a trading matter and that
they were forced to do so because every one did so. Then there is the great
class who join it out of curiosity or perhaps, because somebody in a position
above them is a Mason." "Near akin to this is that class of individuals who
wish for congenial society" (Chr., 1884, II, 196). "In Masonry they find the
means of ready access to society, which is denied to them by social
conventionalities. They have wealth but neither by birth nor education are
they eligible for polite and fine intercourse." "The shop is never absent from
their words and deeds." "The Masonic body includes a large number of
publicans" (Chr., 1885, I, 259), etc., etc.
Of the Masonic rule brotherly
love, relief, and truth certainly the two former, especially as understood in
the sense of mutual assistance in all the emergencies of life, is for most of
the candidates the principal reason for joining. This mutual assistance,
especially symbolized by the five points of fellowship and the "grand hailing
sign of distress" in the third degree, is one of the most fundamental
characteristics of Freemasonry. By his oath the Master Mason is pledged to
maintain and uphold the five points of fellowship in act as well as in words,
i. e., to assist a Master Mason on every occasion according to his ability,
and particularly when he makes the sign of distress. In Duncan, "American
Ritual" (229), the Royal Arch-Mason even swears: "I will assist a companion R.
A.-Mason, when I see him engaged in any difficulty and will espouse his cause
so as to extricate him from the same whether he be right or wrong." It is a
fact attested by experienced men of all countries that, wherever Masonry is
influential, non-Masons have to suffer in their interests from the
systematical preferment which Masons give each other in appointment to offices
and employment. Even Bismarck (Gedanken und Erinnerungen, 1898, I, 302 sq.)
complained of the effects of such mutual Masonic assistance, which is
detrimental alike to civic equality and to public interests. In Masonic books
and magazines unlawful and treacherous acts, performed in rendering this
mutual assistance, are recommended and praised as a glory of Freemasonry. "The
inexorable laws of war themselves," says the official orator of the Grand
Orient de France, Lefebvre d'Aumale (Solstice, 24 June, 1841, Proces-verb.,
62), "had to bend before Freemasonry, which is perhaps the most striking proof
of its power. A sign sufficed to stop the slaughter; the combatants threw away
their arms, embraced each other fraternally and at once became friends and
Brethren as their oaths prescribed," and the "Handbuch," 3rd ed., II, 109,
declares: "this sign has had beneficial effect, particularly in times of war,
where it often disarms the bitterest enemies, so that they listen to the voice
of humanity and give each other mutual assistance instead of killing each
other" (see also Freemason, Lond., 1901, 181; Clavel, 288 sqq.; Ragon, "Cours,"
164; Herold, 191, No. 10; "Handbuch," 2nd ed., II, 451 sqq.). Even the widely
spread suspicion, that justice is sometimes thwarted and Masonic criminals
saved from due punishment, cannot be deemed groundless. The said practice of
mutual assistance is so reprehensible that Masonic authors themselves (e. g.,
Krause, ibid., 2nd ed., I, 2, 429; Marbach, "Frei-maurer-Gelubde," 22-35)
condemn it severely. "If," says Bro. Marbach (23), "Freemasonry really could
be an association and even a secret one of men of the most different ranks of
society, assisting and advancing each other, it would be an iniquitous
association, and the police would have no more urgent duty than to exterminate
Another characteristic of
Masonic law is that "treason" and "rebellion" against civil authority are
declared only political crimes, which affect the good standing of a brother no
more than heresy, and furnish no ground for a Masonic trial (Mackey,
"Jurisprudence," 509). The importance which Masonry attaches to this point is
manifest from the fact that it is set forth in the Article II of the "Old
Charges," which defines the duties of a Freemason with respect to the State
and civil powers. Compared with the corresponding injunction of the "Gothic"
constitutions of operative masonry, it is no less ambiguous than Article I
concerning God and religion. The old Gothic Constitutions candidly enjoined:
"Also you shall be true liegemen to the King without treason or falsehood and
that you shall know no treason but you mend it, if you may, or else warn the
King or his council thereof" (Thorp, Ms., 1629, A. Q. C., XI, 210; Rawlinson,
Ms. 1900, A. Q. C., XI, 22; Hughan, "Old Charges"). The second article of
modern speculative Freemasonry (1723) runs: "Of the civil magistrates, supreme
and subordinate. A Mason is a peaceable subject to the Civil Powers, wherever
he resides or works, and is never to be concerned in Plots and Conspiracies
against the peace and welfare of the Nation, nor to behave himself undutifully
to inferior Magistrates; for as Masonry hath always been injured by War,
Bloodshed and Confusion so ancient Kings and Princes have been much disposed
to encourage the craftsmen, because of their Peaceableness and Loyalty,
whereby they practically answer'd the Cavils of their adversaries and promoted
the Honour of Fraternity, who ever flourished in Times of Peace. So that if a
Brother should be a Rebel against the State, he is not to be countenanc'd in
his Rebellion, however he may be pitied as an unhappy man; and, if convicted
of no other Crime, though the loyal Brotherhood must and ought to disown his
Rebellion, and give no Umbrage or Ground of political Jealousy to the
Government for the time being; they cannot expel him from the Lodge and his
Relation to it remains indefeasible."
Hence rebellion by modern
speculative Masonry is only disapproved when plots are directed against the
peace and welfare of the nation. The brotherhood ought to disown the
rebellion, but only in order to preserve the fraternity from annoyance by the
civil authorities. A brother, then, guilty of rebellion cannot be expelled
from the lodge; on the contrary, his fellow Masons are particularly obliged to
have pity on his misfortune when he (in prison or before the courts) has to
suffer from the consequences of his rebellion, and give him brotherly
assistance as far as they can. Freemasonry itself as a body is very peaceable
and loyal, but it does not disapprove; on the contrary, it commends those
brethren who through love of freedom and the national welfare successfully
plot against monarchs and other despotic rulers, while as an association of
public utility it claims privilege and protection through kings, princes, and
other high dignitaries for the success of its peaceful work. "Loyalty to
freedom," says Chr., 1875, I, 81, "overrides all other considerations- The
wisdom of this regulation, remarks Mackey (Jurisprudence, 510, note 1), "will
be apparent when we consider, that if treason or rebellion were Masonic
crimes, almost every Mason in the United Colonies, in 1776, would have been
subject to expulsion and every Lodge to a forfeiture of its warrant by the G.
LL. of England and Scotland, under whose jurisdiction they were at the time."
A misleading adage is "once a
Mason always a Mason." This is often taken to mean that "the Masonic tie is
indissoluble, that there is no absolution from its consequences (Chr-, 1885,
I, 161) or "Obligations" (Chris 1889, II, 58), that not even death can sever
the connexion of a Mason with Freemasonry (Chr., 1883, II, 331)- But certainly
a Mason has the "right of demission (Mackey, "Jurisprudence," 232 sq.), and
this right, whatever be the opinion of Masonic jurisprudences according to the
inalienable natural rights of man, extends to a complete withdrawal not only
from the lodge but also from the brotherhood. In the scale of Masonic
penalties, expulsion" is the most severe (Mackeys op- cite 514 sqq- )- Besides
those who have been expelled or have resigned there are many "unaffiliated
Masons who have ceased to be "active" members of a lodge, but, according to
Masonic law, which, of course, can oblige no more than is authorized by the
general rules of morality, they remain subject to the lodge within the
Jurisdiction of which they reside.
As to unity, Masonic
authorities unanimously affirm that Freemasonry throughout the world is one,
and that all freemasons form in reality but one lodge; that distinct lodges
exist only for the sake of convenience, and that consequently every regular
Mason is entitled to be received in every regular lodge of the world as a
brother, and, if in distress, to be relieved. The good understanding among
Masons of different countries is furthered by personal intercourse and by
correspondence, especially between the grand secretary offices and
international congresses (Paris, 1889; Antwerp, 1894; Hague, 1896; Paris,
1900; Geneva, 1902; Brussels, 1904; Rome, intended for Oct., 1911) which led
to the establishment, in 1903, of a permanent international office at
Neuchatel, Switzerland (Chr., 1907, II, 119). There is no general Grand Lodge
or direction of Freemasonry, though various attempts have been made in nearly
every larger state or country to establish one. Incessant dissensions between
Masonic systems and bodies are characteristic of Freemasonry in all countries
and times. But the federative unity of Freemasonry suffices to prove a true
solidarity among Masons and Masonic bodies throughout the world; hence the
charge of complicity in the machinations which some of them carry on. This
solidarity is openly avowed by Masonic authorities. Pike, for instance, writes
(Off. Bull., 1885, VII, 29): "When the journal in London which speaks of the
Freemasonry of the G. L. of England, deprecatingly protested that the English
Freemasonry was innocent of the charges preferred by the Papal Bull (Encycl.
1884) against Freemasonry, when it declared that English Freemasonry had no
opinions political or religious, and that it did not in the least degree
sympathize with the loose opinions and extravagant utterances of part of the
Continental Freemasonry, it was very justly and very conclusively checkmated
by the Romish Organs with the reply, 'It is idle for you to protest. You are
Freemasons and you recognize them as Freemasons. You give them countenance,
encouragement and support and you are jointly responsible with them and cannot
shirk that responsibility.'"
As accurate statistics are
not always to be had and the methods of enumeration differ in different
countries, total numbers can only be approximated. Thus in most of the lodges
of the United States only the Masters (third degree) are counted, while in
other countries the apprentices and fellows are added. There are besides many
unaffiliated Masons (having ceased to be members of a lodge) who are not
included. Their number may be estimated at two-thirds of that of the active
Masons. In England a Mason may act as member of many lodges. Confirming our
statement as to the active members of the strictly Masonic bodies, which in
calendars and year books are registered as such, we may, upon recent and
reliable sources Mackey, "Encyclopedia," 1908, 1007 sq.; "Annual of Universal
Masonry," Berne, 1909; "Mas. Year Book 1909," London; "Kalendar fur Freimaurer,"
Leipzig, 1909), estimate the actual state of Freemasonry as follows: Grand
O's, G. L's, Supr. Couns., and other Scottish G. bodies, 183; lodges 26500;
Masons, about 2,000,000; the number of the Grand Chapters of Royal Arch is: in
the United States, 2968 subordinate chapters, under one General Grand Chapter;
England, 46 Grand Chapters with 1015 subordinate chapters; English colonies
and foreign Masonic centres, 18 Grand Chapters with 150 subordinate chapters.
The census of craft Masonry (1909) is as follows:
Countries Lodges Members Great Britain
and Colonies (exe. Canada) 4,670 262,651
Canada 727 60,728 United States:
White 12,916 1,203,159 Latin Countries (Europe and S.
America) 2,500 120,000 Other European countries
771 90,700 Africa 53
Total 22,937 1,767,388
INNER WORE OF FREEMASONRY:
MASONIC SYMBOLISM AND OATHS
"From first to last," says
Pike (I, 340), "Masonry is work." The Masonic "work," properly so-called, is
the inner secret ritualistic work by which Masons are made and educated for
the outer work, consisting in action for the welfare of mankind according to
Masonic principles. Masons are made by the three ceremonies of initiation
(first degree), passing (second degree), and raising (third degree). The
symbols displayed in these ceremonies and explained according to the Masonic
principles and to the verbal hints given in the rituals and lectures of the
three degrees, are the manual of Masonic instruction. The education thus begun
is completed by the whole lodge life, in which every Mason is advised to take
an active part, attending the lodge meetings regularly, profiting, according
to his ability, by the means which Masonry affords him, to perfect himself in
conformity with Masonic ideals, and contributing to the discussions of Masonic
themes and to a good lodge government, which is represented as a model of the
government of society at large. The lodge is to be a type of the world (Chr.,
1890, I, 99) and Masons are intended to take part in the regeneration of the
human race (Chr., 1900, II, 3). "The symbolism of Freemasonry," says Pike in a
letter to Gould, 2 December, 1888 (A. Q. G., XVI, 28), "is the very soul of
Masonry." And Boyd, the Grand Orator of Missouri, confirms: "It is from the
beginning to the end, symbol, symbol, symbol" (Chr., 1902, I, 167).
The principal advantages of
this symbolism, which is not peculiar to Freemasonry but refers to the
mysteries and doctrines of all ages and of all factors of civilization, are
the following: (1) As it is adaptable to all possible opinions, doctrines, and
tastes, it attracts the candidates and fascinates the initiated. (2) It
preserves the unsectarian unity of Freemasonry in spite of profound
differences in religion, race, national feeling, and individual tendencies.
(3) It sums up the theoretical and practical wisdom of all ages and nations in
a universally intelligible language. (4) It trains the Mason to consider
existing institutions, religious, political, and social, as passing phases of
human evolution and to discover by his own study the reforms to be realized in
behalf of Masonic progress, and the means to realize them. (5) It teaches him
to see in prevailing doctrines and dogmas merely subjective conceptions or
changing symbols of a deeper universal truth in the sense of Masonic ideals.
(6) It allows Freemasonry to conceal its real purposes from the profane and
even from those among the initiated, who are unable to appreciate those aims,
as Masonry intends. "Masonry," says Pike, "jealously conceals its secrets and
intentionally leads conceited interpreters astray" (, 105). "Part of the
Symbols are displayed ....to the Initiated, but he is intentionally misled by
false interpretations ( , 819). "The initiated are few though many hear the
Thyrsus" (, 355). "The meaning of the Symbols is not unfolded at once. We
give you hints only in general. You must study out the recondite and
mysterious meaning for yourself" (, 128). "It is for each individual Mason
to discover the secret of Masonry by reflection on its symbols and a wise
consideration of what is said and done in the work" ( , 218). "The
universal cry throughout the Masonic world," says Mackey (Inner Sanctuary I,
311), "is for light; our lodges are henceforth to be schools, our labour is to
be study, our wages are to be learning; the types and symbols, the myths and
allegories of the institution are only beginning to be investigated with
reference to the ultimate meaning and Freemasons now thoroughly understand
that often quoted definition, that Masonry is a science of morality veiled in
allegory and illustrated by symbols."
Masonic symbols can be and
are interpreted in different senses. By orthodox Anglican ecclesiastics the
whole symbolism of the Old and New Testament connected with the symbolism of
the Temple of Solomon was treated as Masonic symbolism and Masonry as the
"handmaid of religion" (Oliver, Hist. Landmarks, I, 128) which,-"in almost
every part of every degree refers distinctly and plainly to a crucified
Saviour" (Oliver, ibid., I, 146, 65; II, 7 sq.). Many Masonic authors in the
Latin countries (Clavel, Ragnon, etc.) and some of the principal
Anglo-American authors (Pike, Mackey, etc.) dedare, that Masonic symbolism in
its original and proper meaning refers above all to the solar and phallic
worship of the ancient mysteries, especially the Egyptian (Pike , 771 sq.).
"It is in the antique symbols and their occult meaning," says Pike ( ,
397), "that the true secrets of Freemasonry consist. These must reveal its
nature and true purposes." In conformity with this rule of interpretation, the
letter G in the symbol of Glory (Blazing Star) or the Greek Gamma (square),
summing up all Masonry is very commonly explained as meaning "generation"; the
initial letter of the Tetragrammaton and the whole name is explained as male
or male- female principle (Pike , 698 sq., 751, 849; , IV, 342 sq.;
Mackey, "Symbolism," 112 sqq., 186 sqq.; see also Preuss, "American
Freemasonry," 175 sqq.). In the same sense according to the ancient
interpretation are explained the two pillars Boaz and Jachin; the Rosecroix (a
cross with a rose in the centre); the point within the circle; the "vesica
piscis," the well-known sign for the Saviour; the triple Tau; Sun and Moon;
Hiram and Christ (Osiris); the coffin; the Middle Chamber and even the Sancta
Sanctorum, as adyta or most holy parts of each temple, usually contained
hideous objects of phallic worship (Mackey, "Dictionary," s. v. Phallus;
Oliver, "Signs," 206-17; V. Longo, La Mass. Specul.).
As Masons even in their
official lectures and rituals, generally claim an Egyptian origin for Masonic
symbolism and a close "affinity" of "Masonic usages and customs with those of
the Ancient Egyptians" (Ritual, I [first] degree), such interpretations are to
be deemed officially authorized. Pike says, moreover, that "almost every one
of the ancient Masonic symbols" has "four distinct meanings, one as it were
within the other, the moral, political, philosophical and spiritual meaning"
(Pike , 128). From the political point of view Pike with many other
Anglo-American Scotch Masons interprets all Masonic symbolism in the sense of
a systematic struggle against every kind of political and religious
"despotism." Hiram, Christ, Molay are regarded only as representatives of
"Humanity" the "Apostles of Liberty, Equality, Fraternity" (Pike , 141).
The Cross (a double or quadruple square) is "no specific Christian symbol,"
"to all of us it is an emblem of Nature and of Eternal life; whether of them
only let each say for himself" (Pike, ibid., 100 sq.). The Cross X (Christ)
was the Sign of the Creative Wisdom or Logos, the Son of God. Mithraism signed
its soldiers on the forehead with a cross, etc. (, 291 sq.). I. N. R. I.,
the inscription of the Cross is, Masonically read: "Igne Natura Renovatur
Integra." The regeneration of nature by the influence of the sun symbolizes
the spiritual regeneration of mankind by the sacred fire (truth and love) of
Masonry, as a purely naturalistic institution (Pike , III, 81; , 291;
Ragon, 1. c., 7686). "The first assassin of Hiram is Royalty as the common
type of tyranny," striking "with its rule of iron at the throat of Hiram and
making freedom of speech treason." The second assassin is the Pontificate
(Papacy) "aiming the square of steel at the heart of the victim" (, I, 288
sq.). Christ dying on Calvary is for Masonry "the greatest among the apostles
of Humanity, braving Roman despotism and the fanaticism and bigotry of the
priesthood" (ibid., III, 142 sq.). Under the symbol of the cross "the legions
of freedom shall march to victory" (ibid., III, 146).
The Kadosh (thirtieth
degree), trampling on the papal tiara and the royal crown, is destined to
wreak a just vengeance on these "high criminals" for the murder of Molay
(ibid., IV, 474 sq.), and "as the apostle of truth and the rights of man"
(ibid., IV, 478), to deliver mankind "from the bondage of Despotism and the
thraldom of spiritual Tyranny" (ibid., IV, 476). "In most rituals of this
degree everything breathes vengeance" against religious and political
"Despotism" (ibid., IV, 547). Thus Masonic symbols are said to be "radiant of
ideas, which should penetrate the soul of every Mason and be clearly reflected
in his character and conduct, till he become a pillar of strength to the
fraternity" ("Masonic Advocate" of Indianapolis, Chr., 1900, I, 296). "There
is no iota of Masonic Ritual," adds the "Voice" of Chicago, "which is void of
significance" (Chr., 1897, II, 83). These interpretations, it is true, are not
officially adopted in Anglo-American craft rituals; but they appear fully
authorized, though not the only ones authorized even by its system and by the
first two articles of the "Old Charge" (1723), which contains the fundamental
law of Freemasonry. As to the unsectarian character of Masonry and its
symbolism, Pike justly remarks: "Masonry propagates ne creed, except its own
most simple and sublime one taught by Nature and Reason. There has never been
a false Religion in the world. The permanent one universal revelation is
written in visible Nature and explained by the Reason and is completed by the
wise analogies of faith. There is but one true religion, one dogma, one
legitimate belief" (, I, 271). Consequently, also, the Bible as a Masonic
symbol, is to be interpreted as a symbol of the Book of Nature or the Code of
human reason and conscience, while Christian and other dogmas have for
Freemasonry but the import of changing symbols veiling the one permanent
truth, of which Masonic "Science" and "Arts" are a "progressive revelation,"
and application (ibid., I, 280; , 516 sq.).
It should be noted, that the
great majority of Masons are far from being "initiated" and "are grovelling in
Egyptian darkness" (Chr., 1878, II, 28). "The Masonry of the higher degrees,"
says Pike , I, 311), "teaches the great truths of intellectual science; but
as to these, even as to the rudiments and first principles, Blue Masonry is
absolutely dumb. Its dramas seem intended to teach the resurrection of the
body." "The pretended possession of mysterious secrets has enabled Blue
Masonry to number its initiates by tens of thousands. Never were any pretenses
to the possession of mysterious knowledge so baseless and so absurd as those
of the Blue and Royal Arch Chapter Degrees" (ibid., IV, 388 sq.). "The aping
Christianity of Blue Masonry made it simply an emasculated and impotent
society with large and sounding pretenses and slender performances. And yet
its multitudes adhere to it, because initiation is a necessity for the Human
Soul; and because it instinctively longs for a union of the many under the
control of a single will, in things spiritual as well as in things temporal,
for a Hierarchy and a Monarch" (ibid., IV, 389 sq.). "It is for the Adept to
understand the meaning of the Symbols" (, 849); and Oliver declares:
"Brethren, high in rank and office, are often unacquainted with the elementary
principles of the science" (Oliver, "Theocratic Philosophy," 355). Masons "may
be fifty years Masters of the Chair and yet not learn the secret of the
Brotherhood. This secret is, in its own nature, invulnerable; for the Mason,
to whom it has become known, can only have guessed it and certainly not have
received it from any one; he has discovered it, because he has been in the
lodge, marked, learned and inwardly digested. When he arrives at the
discovery, he unquestionably keeps it to himself, not communicating it even to
his most intimate Brother, because, should this person not have capability to
discover it of himself, he would likewise be wanting in the capability to use
it, if he received it verbally. For this reason it will forever remain a
secret" (Oliver, Hist. Landmarks, I, 11, 21; "Freemasons' Quarterly Rev.," I,
31; Casanova in Ragon, "Rit. 3rd Degree," 35).
In view of the fact that the
secrets of Masonry are unknown to the bulk of Masons, the oaths of secrecy
taken on the Bible are all the more startling and unjustifiable. The oath, for
instance, of the first degree is as follows: "I, in the presence of the Great
Architect of the Universe, . . . do hereby and hereon solomnly and sincerely
swear, that I will always hide, conceal and never reveal any part or parts,
any point or points of the secrets or mysteries of or belonging to Free and
Accepted Masons in Masonry which may heretofore have been known by, shall now
or may at any future time be communicated to me," etc. "These several points I
solemnly swear to observe under no less penalty, than to have my throat cut
across, my tongue torn out by the root and my body buried in the sands of the
sea," "or the more efficient punishment of being branded as a wilfully
perjured individual, void of all moral worth." "So help me God," etc. Similar
oaths, but with severer penalties attached, are taken in the advanced degrees.
The principal contents of the promises are according to Pike: eighteenth
degree: "I obligate and pledge myself always to sustain, that it belongs to
Masonry to teach the great unsectarian truths, that do not exclusively belong
to any religion and acknowledge that I have no right whatever to exact from
others the acceptation of any particular interpretation of Masonic symbols,
that I may attribute to them by the virtue of my personal belief. I obligate
and solemnly pledge myself to respect and sustain by all means and under any
circumstances Liberty of Speech, Liberty of Thought and Liberty of Conscience
in religious and political matters" (Pike , III, 68). Thirtieth Degree: A.
"I solemnly and freely vow obedience to all my regular superiors.... I pledge
myself to be devoted, soul and body, to the protection of innocence, the
vindication of right, the crushing of oppression and the punishment of every
infraction against the law of Humanity and of Man's rights. . . never, either
by interest or by fear, or even to save my existence, to submit to nor suffer
any material despotism, that may enslave or oppress humanity by the usurpation
or abuse of power. I vow never to submit to or tolerate any intellectual
Despotism, that may pretend to chain or fetter free thought, etc." B. "I
solemnly vow to consecrate my life to the ends of the Order of Knights of
Kadosh, and to co-operate most efficaciously by all means prescribed by the
constituted authorities of the order to attain them. I solemnly vow and
consecrate, to these ends, my words, my power, my strength, my influence, my
intelligence and my life. I vow to consider myself henceforward and forever as
the Apostle of Truth and of the rights of man." C. "I vow myself to the utmost
to bring due punishment upon the oppressors, the usurpers and the wicked; I
pledge myself never to harm a Knight Kadosh, either by word or deed . . .; I
vow that if I find him as a foe in the battlefield, I will save his life, when
he makes me the Sign of Distress, and that I will free him from prison and
confinement upon land or water, even to the risk of my own life or my own
liberty. I pledge myself to vindicate right and truth even by might and
violence, if necessary and duly ordered by my regular superiors." D. "I pledge
myself to obey without hesitation any order whatever it may be of my regular
Superiors in the Order" (ibid., IV, 470, 488, 520).
OUTER WORK OF FREEMASONRY:
ITS ACHIEVEMENTS PURPOSES AND METHODS
The outer work of
Freemasonry, though uniform in its fundamental character and its general
lines, varies considerably in different countries and different Masonic
symbols. "Charitable" or "philanthropic" purposes are chiefly pursued by
English, German, and American Masonry, while practically at least, they are
neglected by Masons in the Latin countries, who are absorbed by political
activity. But even in England, where relatively the largest sums are spent for
charitable purposes, Masonic philanthropy does not seem to be inspired by very
high ideals of generosity and disinterestedness, at least with respect to the
great mass of the brethren; the principal contributions are made by a few very
wealthy brethren and the rest by such as are well-to-do. Moreover, in all
countries it is almost exclusively Masons and their families that profit by
Masonic charity. Masonic beneficence towards the "profane" world is little
more than figurative, consisting in the propagation and application of Masonic
principles by which Masons pretend to promote the welfare of mankind; and if
Masons, particularly in Catholic countries, occasionally devote themselves to
charitable works as ordinarily understood, their aim is to gain sympathy and
thereby further their real purposes. In North America, especially in the
United States, a characteristic feature of the outer work is the tendency
toward display in the construction of sumptuous Masonic "temples," in Masonic
processions, at the laying of cornerstones and the dedication of public
buildings and even of Christian churches. This tendency has frequently been
rebuked by Masonic writers. "The Masonry of this continent has gone mad after
high degreeism and grand titleism. We tell the brethren, that if they do not
pay more attention to the pure, simple, beautiful symbolism of the Lodge and
less to the tinsel, furbelow, fuss and feathers of Scotch Ritism and
Templarism, the Craft will yet be shaken to its very foundations !" "Let the
tocsin be sounded" (Chr., 1880, II, 179). "Many Masons have passed through the
ceremony without any inspiration; but, in public parades of the Lodges (also
in England) they may generally be found in the front rank and at the Masonic
banquets they can neither be equalled nor excelled" (ibid., 1892, I, 246). For
similar criticism see Chr., 1880, II, 195; 1875, I, 394.
But the real object of both
inner and outer work is the propagation and application of the Masonic
principles. The truly Masonic method is, that the lodge is the common ground
on which men of different religions and political opinions, provided they
accept the general Masonic principles, can meet; hence, it does not directly
and actively interfere with party politics, but excludes political and
religious discussions from the meetings, leaving each Mason to apply the
principles to problems of the day. But this method is openly disowned by
contemporaneous Masonry in the Latin countries and by many Supreme Councils of
the Ancient and Accepted Scottish system, by the Grand Lodge of Hungary, the
Grand Orient of Belgium, etc. It was and is practically rejected also by
German and even by American and English Masonry. Thus American Masonic lodges,
at least so leading Masonic authors openly claim, had a preponderant part in
the movement for independence, the lodges of the "Ancients" in general
promoting this movement and those of the "Moderns" siding with Great Britain
(Gould, "Concise History" 419). According to the "Masonic Review" Freemasonry
was instrumental in forming the American Union (1776), claiming fifty-two (Chr.,
1893, I, 147), or even fifty-five (Chr., 1906, I, 202), out of the fifty-six
of the "signers of the Declaration of Independence as members of the Order."
Other Masonic periodicals, however, claim that only six of the signers ("New
Age," May, 1910, 464), and only nine of the presidents of the United States
avere Freemasons ("Acacia," II, 409). In the French Revolution (1789) and the
later revolutionary movements in France, Italy, Spain, Portugal, Central and
South America, Masonic bodies, it is claimed, took a more or less active part,
as is stated by prominent representatives of the Grand Lodges in the several
countries and in many cases by "profane" impartial historians (see Congres
Intern. of Paris, 1889, in "Compte rendu du Grand Orient de France," 1889;
Browers, "L'action, etc."; Bruck, "Geh. Gesellsch, in Spanien"; "Handbuch";
articles on the different countries, etc.). In Russia also Freemasonry finally
turned out to be a "political conspiracy" of Masonically organized clubs that
covered the land.
Even with regard to the most
recent Turkish Revolution, it seems certain, that the Young Turkish party,
which made and directed the Revolution, was guided by Masons, and that
Masonry, especially the Grand Orients of Italy and France, had a preponderant
role in the Revolution (see "Rivista," 1909, 76 sqq.; 1908, 394; "Acacia,"
1908, II, 36; "Bauhutte," 1909, 143; "La Franc-Maconnerie demasquee," 1909,
93-96; "Compte rendu du Convent. du Gr. Or. de France," 21-26 Sept., 1908,
34-38). In conducting this work Freemasonry propagates principles which,
logically developed, as shown above, are essentially revolutionary and serve
as a basis for all kinds of revolutionary movements. Directing Masons to find
out for themselves practical reforms in conformity with Masonic ideals and to
work for their realization, it fosters in its members and through them in
society at large the spirit of innovation. As an apparently harmless and even
beneficent association, which in reality is, through its secrecy and ambiguous
symbolism, subject to the most different influences, it furnishes in critical
times a shelter for conspiracy, and even when its lodges themselves are not
transformed into conspiracy clubs, Masons are trained and encouraged to found
new associations for such purposes or to make use of existing associations.
Thus, Freemasonry in the eighteenth century, as a powerful ally of infidelity,
prepared the French Revolution. The alliance of Freemasonry with philosophy
was publicly sealed by the solemn initiation of Voltaire, the chief of these
philosophers, 7 February, 1778, and his reception of the Masonic garb from the
famous materialist Bro. Helvetius (Handbuch, 3rd ed., II, 517). Prior to the
Revolution various conspiratory societies arose in connexion with Freemasonry
from which they borrowed its forms and methods; Illuminati, clubs of Jacobins,
etc. A relatively large number of the leading revolutionists were members of
Masonic lodges, trained by lodge life for their political career. Even the
programme of the Revolution expressed in the "rights of man" was, as shown
above, drawn from Masonic principles, and its device: "Liberty, Equality,
Fraternity" is the very device of Freemasonry. Similarly, Freemasonry,
together with the Carbonari, co-operated in the Italian revolutionary movement
of the nineteenth century. Nearly all the prominent leaders and among them
Massini and Garibaldi, are extolled by Masonry as its most distinguished
members. In Germany and Austria, Freemasonry during the eighteenth century was
a powerful ally of the so-called party of "Enlightenment" (Aufklaerung), and
of Josephinism; in the nineteenth century of the pseudo-Liberal and of the
In order to appreciate
rightly the activity of Freemasonry in Germany, Sweden, Denmark and England,
and in France under the Napoleonic regime, the special relations between
Freemasonry and the reigning dynasties must not be overlooked. In Germany two-
thirds of the Masons are members of the old Prussian Grand Lodges under the
protectorship of a member of the Royal Dynasty, which implies a severe control
of all lodge activity in conformity with the aims of the Government. Hence
German Freemasons are scarcely capable of independent action. But they
certainly furthered the movement by which Prussia gradually became the leading
state of Germany, considered by them as the "representative and the protector
of modern evolution" against "Ultramontanism," "bigotry," and "Papal
usurpations." They also instigated the "Kulturkampf." The celebrated
jurisconsult and Mason, Grandmaster Bluntschli, was one of the foremost
agitators in this conflict; he also stirred up the Swiss "Kulturkampf." At his
instigation the assembly of the "Federation of the German Grand Lodges," in
order to increase lodge activity in the sense of the "Kulturkampf," declared,
24 May, 1874: "It is a professional duty for the lodges to see to it, that the
brethren become fully conscious of the relations of Freemasonry to the sphere
of ethical life and cultural purposes. Freemasons are obliged to put into
effect the principles of Freemasonry in practical life and to defend the
ethical foundations of human society, whensoever these are assailed. The
Federation of the German Grand Lodges will provide, that every year questions
of actuality be proposed to all lodges for discussion and uniform action"
(Gruber , 6; Ewald, "Loge und Kulturkampf"). German Freemasons put forth
untiring efforts to exert a decisive influence on the whole life of the nation
in keeping with Masonic principles, thus maintaining a perpetual silent "Kulturkampf."
The principal means which they employ are popular libraries, conferences, the
affiliation of kindred associations and institutions, the creation, where
necessary, of new institutions, through which the Masonic spirit permeates the
nation (see Herold, No. 37 and 33 sqq.). A similar activity is displayed by
the Austrian Freemasons.
(To be concluded)
THE COVERING OF MY SOUL
If I cut the covering of my
soul from the clear blue sky
And pin it to the milky way
for the coming by and by,
And charge the angel of my
heart to bring it at my call
I can but trustingly go on to
whatever may befall,
For I shall know that it will
be myself reflected true
Because 'tis not of human
hand or mortal ken review,
And that what'er it may
reveal, 'twill all first handed be,-
The Nature covering, God's
own, between Himself and me.
-Bro. L. B. Mitchell.
Every human heart is human.
ON THE TRAINING OF A FATHER
BY DR. DAVID STARR JORDAN
Chancellor, Leland Stanford
Fathers are quite as hard to
train as boys, and from experience all along the line, I have come to the
conclusion that fathers and boys alike will mostly go their own way, in the
long run getting "what is coming to them."
But it is in the power of the
father to help a boy realize his best instead of his worst tendencies and
possibilities. To this end, a father should be sympathetic and patient,
helping the development of whatever natural taste or genius a boy may have.
Virtue is never negative and a boy is held from idleness or vice by giving him
something better to work at. If a boy has a real love for some study or for
some worthy line of work, encourage that. It marks the way out from
temptation. A boy needs in his development sympathy rather than financial
help. His ideals need strengthening, not his purse. To have money to burn will
ruin all those who burn it. It is hard to raise a boy who is rich and knows
that whatever he wants is his for the asking. He is likely to be content with
what money can buy, and it cannot buy very much that is worth having. It can
help in many things, but a mere aid is not the thing itself.
The father can promote the
plain virtues of sobriety, honesty, tolerance, and kindliness. The most
effective way of teaching these virtues is for him to illustrate them in
himself to show how righteousness looks when it is lived. Occasionally a
father successfully proves his point by becoming the awful example. But that
is not the best way, and right living can be most effectively taught, not by
precept but by practice. And remember always that right living is a positive
thing. It is not secured by inhibitions. "Don't, don't, don't" never leads to
any thing worth while. Don't say to boys: "Keep off the grass. Keep out of the
dirt. Keep away from the slums." Rather indicate places it is better to go to:
"This way to citizenship; this way to science, to art, to a worthy
It is worth while to remember
that the boy is the germ of what the man is to be. You cannot change his
nature much, but you can develop the best in him till it overshadows the
worst. The life of a man at forty will be what was in his heart at twenty-one.
And a father may say to his boys something like this, which in one way or
another I have said to thousands of boys in this and other countries:
"Your first duty in life is
toward your afterself. So live that your afterself the man you ought to be may
in his time be possible and actual.
"Far away in the years he is
waiting his turn. His body, his brain, his soul, are in your boyish hands. He
cannot help himself.
"What will you leave for him?
"Will it be a body unspoiled
by lust or dissipation; a mind trained to think and act; a nervous system true
as a dial in its response to the truth about you? Will you, Boy, let him come
as a man among men in his time?
"Or will you throw away his
inheritance before he has had the chance to touch it? Will you turn over to
him a brain distorted, a mind diseased; a will untrained to action; a spinal
cord grown through and through with the devil grass we call wild oats ?
"Will you let him come,
taking your place, gaining through your experience, happy in your friendships,
hallowed through your joys, building on them his own?
"Or will you fling it all
away, decreeing, wanton-like, that the man you might have been shall never be?
"This is your problem in life
the problem vastly more important to you than any or all others. How will you
meet it, as man or as a fool? It is your problem today and every day, and the
hour of your choice is the crisis in your history."
THE MASONIC RELIEF
ASSOCIATION OF THE UNITED STATES AND CANADA
BY BRO. JOHN F. MASSEY,
ACTING PRESIDENT, PENNSYLVANIA
THE purpose for which the
Masonic Relief Association of the United States and Canada was organized is
two-fold in its nature. First, to facilitate the proper and prompt
distribution of Masonic Charity to the worthy in distress, and second, to
protect the Charity Fund against the unworthy of all classes who make claim
For a brief history of the
association and its methods of operation the reader is referred to the
September, 1917, number of THE BUILDER. A few words here, however, as to the
history of Masonic Relief work will not be out of place. The origin and the
progressive development of this association, like that of all other permanent
institutions for the betterment of the human race, has followed the original
and continually increasing necessity. Every separate pledge in the Masonic
obligation was originally incorporated therein because of a necessity. Every
Master Mason for centuries past has been obligated to assist a worthy brother
and his family in distress, because they had the worthy poor and unfortunate
with them. The obligation is qualified and limited to the worthy applicants
because they, too, had to deal with imposters and the unworthy.
In Masonic Relief work we
meet with two general classes of importers; namely, profanes, who, never
having been admitted to the order, yet endeavor to pass themselves for regular
Freemasons; and Masons, who, having been expelled or suspended from the order,
conceal the fact and still claim the privileges of members in good standing.
The first are easily detected; the latter, having once been invested with
proper instructions can stand the test of an examination and their true
position must be discovered only by information derived from the lodges which
have suspended or expelled them. The Tiler's Oath is intended to meet each of
these cases but perjury added to imposture will easily escape this test.
If it is the duty of one
Mason to assist another, it naturally follows that every Mason has the right
to claim that assistance from his brother. It is this duty that the
obligations of Masonry are especially intended to enforce, and this right that
they are intended to sustain. The misuse and abuse of these privileges in all
ages have made it necessary to use not only precaution but co- operative
organization against it.
We read in the early history
of Masonry that the Masters thus charged their brethren: "You are cautiously
to examine a strange brother in such a method as prudence shall direct you
that you may not be imposed upon by an ignorant, false pretender, whom you are
to reject with contempt and derision; and beware of giving him any hints of
knowledge." We learn also in those ancient days that the impositions upon the
Charity of the order necessitated the organization of Relief Boards in the
larger cities. They consisted of representatives from all the lodges. The
members of the Board by frequent meetings and consultations were better
enabled to distinguish the worthy from the unworthy, and to detect attempts at
imposition. Similar organizations under different names were established by
the Grand Lodge of England for the distribution of the Fund of Benevolence.
The Lodge of Benevolence was composed of all of the present and past Grand
officers, all acting Masters of lodges and twelve Past Masters. There were
many formalities to be complied with before the petition of an applicant for
assistance could be presented at their meetings.
We have in this, our present
organization, a summing up of many years of experience which have developed
into the more improved and ready methods of extending Masonic Charities.
Through the instruments at hand the unworthy can easily be detected and the
worthy distressed quickly relieved.
Freemasonry is a human
institution and its successes and failures have grown out of the conduct of
its members. It was instituted for the noble purpose of developing in mankind
the God-given blessing of a love for the mysterious unknown that love and
aspiration which tends to lift him out of a state of mental depravity and
ignorance to higher ground, and purer atmosphere of living and thinking. To
attain unto these heights demands the employment of all the leading Masonic
virtues. The individual member who possesses these virtues, made manifest in
his life, is reckoned as a contributing factor in its successes. The member
whose life does not show forth such an inheritance and is characterized by
unwholesome living, is reckoned as contributing to the failures of the
institution. The majority of those who have brought discredit upon our
institution were not Masons at heart when received into the order. It is this
class which has proven themselves unworthy and have made the organization of a
Masonic Relief Association necessary.
At a very early period in his
initiation, a candidate for the mysteries of Freemasonry is informed that the
Great Tenets of the order are brotherly love, relief, and truth. These virtues
are illustrated and their practice recommended to him at every step in his
progress; and his instruction, though continually varied in its mode, is so
constantly repeated as infallibly to impress upon his mind their absolute
necessity in the constitution of a good Mason. Every Mason is acquainted with
the Five Points of Fellowship. He knows their symbolic meaning. They are
beautifully summed by Oliver: "Assisting a brother in his distress, supporting
him in his virtuous undertakings, praying for his welfare, keeping inviolate
his secrets, and vindicating his reputation as well in his absence as in his
presence." He can never forget the interesting incidents which accompanied
their explanation; and while he has this knowledge and retains his
remembrance, he can be at no loss to understand what are his duties and what
must be his conduct in relation to the principles of Brotherly Love and
These impressive lessons in
the early training of the young initiate are most lasting and render him an
easy victim to the shrewd but unworthy importers.
Charity as applied to Masonry
is different from the usual accepted meaning. All true Masons meet upon the
same level regardless of wealth or station. In giving assistance we strive to
avoid the too common error of considering Charity only as that sentiment of
commiseration which leads us to assist the poor and unfortunate with pecuniary
donations. Its Masonic application is more noble and more extensive. We are
taught not only to relieve a brother's material wants, the cry of hunger,
etc., but to fellowship with him upon our own level, stripped of worldly
titles and honors. When we thus appeal to him, giving spiritual advice,
lifting him up morally and spiritually with no sense of humiliation to him, we
set him free from his passion and wants. To such charity there is a
reciprocity rich in Brotherly Love and sincere appreciation.
Co-operating in this
association are forty-six Grand Lodges in the United States and Canada and
many Boards of Relief in other Grand Jurisdictions. The organization, however,
will not be complete, neither in form nor in the work it seeks to accomplish,
until every organization of recognized Freemasonry, the world over, is in
The recent sore trials and
sufferings, common in a certain degree to all, the League of Nations, and a
Universal Peace, should develop a stronger Fraternal spirit among the Nations,
and strengthen a universal Brotherhood.
Following this great world
disturbance in which many have been separated from their families and
permanent occupations, there will be for some time to come considerable unrest
and a possible increase in the number of applicants for assistance. No doubt a
large percentage of this increase will be due to the unworthiness of some who
were hurriedly received into the order because of the emergency. Let us,
therefore, be cautious but at the same time make good the boast of pride in
our institution "That a Mason, destitute and worthy, may find in every clime a
brother, and in every land a home "
THE ELEUSINIAN MYSTERIES AND
BY BRO. DUDLEY WRIGHT,
ASSISTANT EDITOR "THE FREEMASON." LONDON
THE ELEUSINIAN MYSTERIES -
THEIR MYSTICAL SIGNIFICANCE
LIFE, as we know it, was
looked upon by the ancient philosophers as death. Plato considered the body as
the sepulchre of the soul and in the "Cratylus" acquiesces in the doctrine of
Orpheus that the soul is punished through its union with the body. Empedocles,
lamenting his connection with this corporeal world, pathetically exclaimed:
For this I weep, for this
indulge my woe,
That ever my Oh such novel
realms should know.
He also calls this material
abode, or the realms of generation,
a joyless region,
Where slaughter, rage, and
countless ills reside.
Philolaus, the celebrated
The ancient theologists and
priests testify that the soul is united with the body for the sake of
suffering punishment and that it is buried in the body as in a sepulchre
while Pythagoras himself
Whatever we see when awake is
death, and when asleep a dream.
This is the truth intended to
be expressed in the Mysteries. Pindar, speaking of the Eleusinian Mysteries,
Blessed is he who on seeing
those common concerns under the earth knows both the end of life and the given
end of Jupiter.
Psyche is said to have fallen
asleep in Hades through rashly attempting to behold corporeal beauty and the
truth intended to be taught by the Lesser Mysteries was that prudent men who
earnestly employed themselves in divine concerns were, above all others, in a
vigilant state and that imprudent men who pursued objects of a different
nature were asleep and only engaged in the delusions of dreams and if they
happened to die in this sleep before they were aroused they would be afflicted
with similar, but still sharper, visions in a future state.
Matter was regarded by the
Egyptians as a certain mire or mud. They called matter the dregs or sediment
of the first life. Before the first purification the candidate for initiation
into the Eleusinian Mysteries was smeared with clay or mire, which it was the
object of the purification to wash away. While the soul is in a state of
servitude to the body it lives confined as it were in bonds through the
dominion of this Titanic life. The Lesser Mysteries were intended to symbolize
the condition of the soul while subservient to the body and a liberation from
this servitude, through purgative virtues, was what the wisdom of the Ancients
intended to signify by the descent into Hades and the speedy return from those
dark abodes. They were held to contain perfective rites and appearances and
the tradition of the sacred doctrines necessary to the perfection or
accomplishment of the most splendid visions. The perfective part, said Proclus,
precedes initiation, as initiation precedes inspection.
Dogmatic instruction was not
included in the Mysteries: the doctrine of the immortality of the soul traces
its origin to sources anterior to the rise of the Mysteries. At Eleusis the
way was shown how to secure for the soul after death the best possible fate.
The miracle of regeneration rather than the eternity of being was taught.
Plato in the seventh book of
the Republic says:
He who is not able by the
exercise of his reason to define the idea of the good, separating it from all
other objects and piercing as in a battle through every kind of argument;
endeavouring to confute, not according to opinion hut according to evidence,
and proceeding with all these dialectical exercises with an unshaken reason he
who cannot accomplish this, would you not say that he neither knows the good
itself, nor anything which is properly demonstrated good? And would you not
assert that such a one when he apprehended it rather through the medium of
opinion than of science, that in the present life he is sunk in sleep and
conversant with delusions and dreams; and that before he is roused to a
vigilant state he will descend to Hades, and be overwhelmed with sleep
Olympiodorus in this MS
Commentary on the Gorgias of Plato says of the Elysian fields:
It is necessary to know that
the fortunate islands are said to be raised above the sea.... Hercules is
reported to have accomplished his last labour in the Hesperian regions,
signifying by this that having vanquished an obscure and terrestrial life, he
afterwards lived in open day, that is, in truth and resplendent light. So that
he who in the present state vanquishes as much as possible a corporeal life,
through the exercise of the cathartic virtues, passes in reality into the
fortunate islands at the soul, and lives surrounded with the bright splendours
of truth and wisdom proceeding from the sun of good.
The esoteric teaching was
not, of course, grasped by all initiates: the majority merely recognised or
grasped the exoteric doctrine of a future state of rewards and punishments.
Virgil, in his description of the Mysteries in the Aeneid, confines himself to
the exoteric teaching. Aenas having passed over the Stygian lake meets with
the three-headed Celberus. By Cerberus must be understood the discriminative
part of the soul, of which a dog, on account of its sagacity, is an emblem.
The three heads signify the intellective, dianoetic, and doxastic powers. "He
dragg'd the three mouth'd dog to upper day," i. e., by temperance, continence,
and other virtues he drew upwards the various powers of the soul.
The fable of Persephone, as
belonging to the Mysteries, was properly of a mixed nature, composed of all
four species of fables theological, physical, animistic, and material.
According to the arcana of ancient theology, the Coric order, i. e., that
belonging to Persephone, is two-fold, one part supermundane and the other
According to the rumour of
theologists, who delivered to us the most holy Eleusinian Mysteries,
Persephone abides on high, in those dwellings of her mother which she prepared
for her in inaccessible places, exempt from the sensible world. But she
likewise dwells with Pluto, administering terrestrial concerns, governing the
recesses of the earth and imparting soul to beings which are of themselves
inanimate and dead.
According to Nosselt the
following may be taken as the meaning of the myth of Demeter and her lost
Persephone, the daughter of
the all-productive earth (Demeter) is the seed. The earth rejoices at the
sight of the plants and flowers, but they fade and wither, and the seed
disappears quickly from the face of the earth when it is strewn on the ground.
The dreaded monarch of the under world has taken possession of it. In vain the
mother Searches for her child, the whole face of nature mourns her loss, and
everything sorrows and grieves with her. But, secretly and unseen, the seed
develops itself in the lap of the earth, and at length it starts forth: what
was dead is now alive; the earth, all decked with fresh green, rejoices at the
recovery of her long-lost daughter and everything shares in the joy.
Demeter was worshipped in a
two-fold sense by the Greeks as the foundress of agriculture and as goddess of
law and order. They used to celebrate yearly in her honour the Thesmophoria,
or Festival of Laws.
According to Taylor, the
Platonist, Demeter in the legend represents the evolution of that
self-inspective part of our nature which we properly determine intellect, and
Persephone that vital, self-moving, and animate part which we call soul. Pluto
signifies the whole of a material nature, and, according to Pythagoras, the
empire of this god commences downward from the Galaxy or Milky Way. Sallust
says that among the mundane divinities Ceres is the deity of the planet
Saturn. The cavern signifies the entrance into mundane life accomplished by
the union of the soul with this terrestrial body. Demeter, who was afraid lest
some violence be offered to Persephone on account of her inimitable beauty,
conveyed her privately to Sicily and concealed her in a house built on purpose
by the Cyclops while she herself directs her course to the temple of Cybele,
the mother of the gods. Here we see the first cause of the soul's descent,
viz., her desertion of a life wholly according to intellect, occultly
signified by the separation of Persephone and Demeter. Afterwards Jupiter
instructed Venus to go and betray Persephone from her retirement that Pluto
might be enabled to carry her away, and, to prevent any suspicion in the
virgin's mind, he commanded Diana and Pallas to bear her company. The three
goddesses on arrival found Persephone at work on a scarf for her mother, on
which she had embroidered the primitive chaos and the formation of the world.
Venus is significant of desire, which, even in the celestial regions (for such
is the residence of Persephone until she is ravished by Pluto) begins silently
and fraudulently to creep into the recesses of the soul. Minerva is symbolical
of the rational power of the soul; and Diana represents nature, or the merely
natural and vegetable part of our composition, both ensnared through the
allurements of desire.
In Ovid we have Narcissus,
the metamorphosis of a youth who fell a victim to love of his own corporeal
form. The rape of Persephone, according to the Homeric Hymn to Demeter, was
the immediate consequence of her gathering this wonderful flower. By Narcissus
falling in love with his shadow in the limpid stream we behold a beautiful
representation of a soul, which, by vehemently gazing on the flowing condition
of a material body, becomes enamoured of a corporeal life and changed into a
life consisting wholly of the mere energies of nature. Pluto, forcing his
passage through the earth, seizes on Persephone and carries her away, despite
the resistance of Minerva and Diana, who are forbidden by Jupiter to attempt
her deliverance. This signifies that the lapse of the soul into a material
nature is contrary to the genuine wish and proper condition. Pluto, having
hurried Persephone into the infernal regions, marriage next succeeds. That is
to say, the soul having sunk into the profoundities of a material nature,
there is the union with the dark tenement of the body. Night is with great
beauty and propriety introduced, standing by the nuptial couch and confirming
the oblivious league. That is to say, the soul, by union with a material body,
becomes familiar with darkness and subject to the empire of night, in
consequence of which she dwells wholly with delusive phantoms and till she
breaks her fetters is deprived of the perception of that which is real and
The nine days of the Festival
are significant of the descent of the soul. The soul, in falling Mom her
original, divine abode in the heavens, passes through eight spheres, viz., the
inerratic sphere and the seven planets, assuming a different body and
employing different energies in each, and finally becomes connected with the
sublunary world and a terrene body on the ninth.
Demeter and the art of
tillage signifies the descent of intellect into the realms of generation and
becomes the greatest benefit and ornament which a material nature is capable
of receiving: without the participation of intellect in the lower regions of
matter nothing but an irrational soul and a brutal life would subsist.
The teaching of the Mysteries
was that virtue only could entitle men to happiness and that rites,
ceremonies, lustrations, and sacrifices would not supply the® want. Virgil
declares that the secret of the Mysteries was the unity of the Godhead. The
Mysteries declared that the after life was not necessarily or for all men the
shadowy, weary existence which it had hitherto been supposed to be, but that
there were rites of purification and sacrifices of a sacramental kind which
gave man a better hope for the future. Thus the Eleusinian Mysteries became
the chief agent in the conversion of the Greek world from the Homeric view of
Hades to a more hopeful belief as to man's state after death.
Pindar says, referring to the
Happy is he who has seen
these things before leaving this world: he realises the beginning and the end
of life, as ordained by Zeus.
Oh, thrice blessed the
mortals, who, having contemplated these Mysteries, have descended to Hades;
for those only will there be a future life of happiness the others there will
find nothing but suffering.
Isocrates, in his Panegyrics,
Demeter, who came to our
country, bestowed on us two priceless gifts, the cultivation of the fruits of
the earth, which compelled us to leave our savage state; and the ceremony
which brings to the initiated the sweetest consolation at death and the hope
(To be continued )
BY BRO. LEWIS ALEXANDER
No truth is taught, or
Without comparison is made
In mental channels which
Each subject to the mind
With similarity to things
Already measured by the mind,
And such comparison then
A fitting symbol thus
Acquaintance with the things
By which much knowledge is
Can only come in fair degree
By use of light to us
Then vision's functions aptly
When light exists within its
A symbol then we thus observe
In moral light with knowledge
We speak of light on subjects
No tangible appearance hold
By thoughts or actions that
Our minds as nature's truths
So light a symbol thus
For truth and wisdom's
While by its glow, appear the
Of life's experience
In vain the toiling builders
Before their plans with care
And though the mind can well
The structure to be labored
The keen activities of mind
Can scarce be held within the
Without the use of plans
To form a perfect record
Then each drawn line displays
Each figure typifies desire
To imitate the object wrought
In the same form its lines
An object lesson to the mind,
A symbol true of mental plan
To which the builder's wish
The careful work of
The trestle board of nature
A vast array of symbols rare,
While all her elements
Unchanging truths designed
Impressed more deeply in the
When craftsmen diligently
To gather from symbolic art
The truths that through its
THE FRATERNAL FORUM
EDITED BY BRO. GEORGE FRAZER,
PRESIDENT, BOARD OF STEWARDS
Wildey E. Atchison, Iowa.
Geo. W. Baird, District of
Joseph Barnett, California.
H. P. Burke, Colorado.
Joe L. Carson, Virginia.
R. M. C. Condon, Michigan.
John A. Davilla, Louisiana.
Jos; W. Eggleston, Virginia.
Henry R. Evans, District of
H. D. Funk, Minnesota.
Asahall W. Gage. Florida.
Joseph C. Greenfield,
Frederick W. Hamilton,
H. L. Haywood, Iowa.
T. W. Hugo, Minnesota.
M. M. Johnson, Massachusetts.
P. E. Kellett, Manitoba.
John G. Keplinger, Illinois.
Harold A. Kingsbury,
Dr. Wm. F. Kuhn, Missouri.
Dr. G. Alfred Lawrence, New
Julius H. McCollum.
Dr. John Lewin McLeish, Ohio.
Joseph W. Norwood, Kentucky.
Frank E. Noyes, Wisconsin.
John Pickard, Missouri.
C. M. Sehenek, Colorado.
Francis W. Shepardson,
Silas H. Shepherd, Wisconsin.
Oliver D. Street, Alabama.
Denman S. Wagstaff,
S. W. Williams. Tennessee.
Contributions to this Monthly
Department of Personal Opinion are invited from each writer who has
contributed one or more articles to THE BUILDER. Subjects for discussion are
selected as being alive in the administration of Masonry today. Discussions of
polities, religious creeds or personal prejudices are avoided the purpose of
the Department being to afford a vehicle for comparing the personal opinions
of leading Masonic students- The contributing editors assume responsibility
only for what each writes over his own signature- Comment from our Members on
the Subjects discussed here will be welcomed on the question Box Department.
QUESTION NO. 13
"What is the real secret of
Freemasonry? To what extent is it possible to tell it to a profane? Brother
Joseph Fort Newton says that the only thing secret about Freemasonry is its
method of teaching. Do you agree with him? How far may the Masonic press go in
public interpretation of the meaning of our symbolism, etc?"
No Secret at All.
The "secret" of Freemasonry
is not secret at all. It is simply the moral and spiritual ideals of the
brotherhood which we endeavor to teach and to help each other to practice.
There was a time when such ideas and ideals as Masonry cherishes had to be
secret. They were under ban of the law, to say nothing of any mystic
speculations which may from time to time have been associated with Freemasonry
or indulged in under its cover.
It is not many centuries
since any man convicted of holding ideas which are common among Masons today
concerning God and human relations to Him would have been liable to be sent to
There are also embalmed in
Freemasonry, like flies in amber, certain relics of the primitive mode of
thought whereby certain rules and formulas were held to have compelling power
over spirits both good and evil and even over the gods. There is nothing more
common among primitive people than this idea of a secret word with vast and
wonderful power. All that of course is of the past.
The "secrets" of Freemasonry
are the methods of recognition and identification.
The "secret" is not the
exclusive property of Freemasonry, is not in its fulness the property of any
Mason, and, I am sorry to say, is not to any great extent that of some Masons
whom I know.
The possibility of telling it
to the profane depends entirely upon the mental and spiritual capacity of the
man who is trying to tell it and the man to whom he is trying to tell it. It
is of course "impossible" to communicate "secrets" of Freemasonry to the
profane, but I need hardly remark that it is entirely improper to do so.
You say, "Brother Joseph Fort
Newton says that the only thing secret about Freemasonry is its method of
teaching. Do you agree with him ?"
I do not know whether I agree
with him because I do not know what he means. If he means; as I suspect he
does, that the secret thing about-Freemasonry is its ritual I agree with him,
but it is hardly correct to define a method of teaching as a secret. As I have
just said the ritual is the means of identification. Teaching by ritual is in
itself a very common method and is neither "secret" nor exclusively Masonic.
In my judgment, the Masonic
press would do well to let the matter of public interpretation of Masonic
symbolism entirely alone. I fancy, however, that this is a counsel of
perfection. So much has already been written on the subject that more or less
in addition will probably do more good than harm for the reason that it will
increase confusion. The subject has already involved endless discussion and
more would make it just a little bit more difficult for the profane to make
anything out of it. If we could have a Masonic press which was sacred to
Masonic eyes, nothing could be more desirable than a discussion of our
symbolism. Nothing is more desirable than a discussion of that symbolism
before Masonic audiences. Unfortunately, however, the Masonic press is to all
intents and purposes as open to the public eye as any other publication. one
real question of the propriety of the discussion of Masonic symbols in the
Masonic press is now, after so much has already been written, a purely
Frederick W. Hamilton, Grand
* * *
Secrets of Ancient Origin.
(1) My belief is that the
"real secret" of Freemasonry was made public in the first editions of works on
architecture and of the holy Bible: this has been amplified by recent
translations of the more ancient hieroglyphs in Egypt.
(2) You ask "to what extent
is it possible to tell it to a profane?" Assuming you mean to what extent is
it proper to tell it to a profane I would say it were better not to discuss
any of it with a profane.
(3) I have not discovered
that the method in common use in teaching Masonry dithers from other methods.
Masonry is not an occult science: not a science at all: it is a system of
morals: its purpose is, I believe, "to unite men of every nation, sect and
opinion," so it is not at liberty to assume the role of any particular sect.
(4) I cannot see that any
harm may come from the Masonic Press publishing all or our symbolism, but I
would not like to see it made common by appearing in the daily Press.
G. W. Baird, P.G.M., District
* * *
Favors Wide Opportunities for
1. Freemasonry nowhere states
that it has a particular secret. What transpires inside the guarded door is
secret, but not necessarily a secret. Where the word is used in the singular
form it is always as an adjective. The noun is always in the plural. The
symbol for it is in the Third degree; and the Symbolism is always kept before
the members in opening and closing the business meetings.
2. A great mass of
information concerning Freemasonry can be found in any large Encyclopedia. The
only information Freemasonry itself should give to the profane is that
Freemasonry does not solicit candidates, and that it promises them absolutely
nothing except the opportunity to seek knowledge and so be of greater service
in the world of men.
3. I do not agree with
brother Newton that our method of teaching is "the only thing secret about
Freemasonry." Our method of teaching is a universal method, practiced by every
teacher of whom there is any record; and, being such, it naturally commends
itself. Freemasonry keeps its ritual secret.
4. The interpretation of our
symbolism in the Masonic Press seems desirable, in so far as it does not
explain our ritual to the profane. Everything that will enlighten anyone in
moral, intellectual and spiritual knowledge is always good, even though the
uninitiated does not profit from it so much as the initiate does.
Joseph Barnett, California.
* * *
Stand Out in the Open.
It has aptly been said by
some that the real secret of Freemasonry is that it has no secret. In my
opinion this is true so far as the philosophy and mission of the fraternity is
concerned. Its only secret is its method of teaching. The lessons taught in
Masonic ritual and symbolism were hoary with age centuries before Freemasonry,
as we know it, was born. These lessons, all of them, either in whole or in
part, are taught by every existing institution we have that labors for the
uplift and betterment of the individual and of society in general.
It has always seemed to me
that one of the weaknesses of freemasonry in the past has been that it has
enveloped itself too much in a veil of secrecy. Why should not profane as well
as Mason know what our aim and intent is ? There can be no secret about it if
the same thing is taught by so many other institutions. t seems to me that if
it were more widely known what we stand for, it would result in attracting a
larger percentage of the "thinkers" and the "doers" than we at present receive
To my mind we have stood long
enough in seclusion and the day is coming (and it will be more imperative as
the years go by) when institutions as well as men, will have to stand out in
the open, and stand for something, and declare what they stand for.
P. E. Kellett, P. G. M.,
* * *
The Less Advertising the
Prior to 1717 Masonry was a
secret society. It put nothing of its doings on paper. Its ritual, including
methods of recognition in dark or light were transmitted, as was profane
history and tradition everywhere, from mouth to ear. The Scottish bards were
illustrations of the general system and we are indebted to Sir Walter Scott
for a knowledge of that fact. One or two lodges in Scotland seem to have been
an exception to the extreme secrecy of Masonry in the seventeenth century in
that they kept records. Today our obligatory secrecy seems to be confined to
our ritual including words of recognition. All that transpires behind a tiled
door should be secret and sacred but, unfortunately, it is not. To me the real
secret of Masonry cannot be expressed in words. It is the mysterious influence
it has upon the relation of brother to brother and man to his God. Some never
feel it and are therefore never Masons even if they become Grand Masters and
thereafter wear the "customary" jewel. It could not be told to a profane
because words cannot describe or account for it. It is not merely "its method
of teaching." That is only an assertion of its existence.
As to "how far the Masonic
press may go in public interpretation of the meaning of our symbolism, etc.."
I think the less far the better. We are not a mutual benefit society as the
public understands the term. We should not seek public favor, and should smile
at profane attack or even criticism. Our every effort should be to return to
the good old way. To cultivate brotherly love and use our secrecy to keep
ourselves "unspotted from the world." Monitors containing a part of our
symbolism are a mistake, and printed or even cipher rituals, are a crime.
Parades in regalia are foolish vanity. The less we advertise our institution
save by living as its precepts teach us to do, the more good we will do, and
the more the profane world will revere our organization, if indeed the latter
be of any consequence whatever.
Jos. W. Eggleston, P. G. M.,
* * *
Our Duty is to Teach.
"How to be happy," is the
real secret of Freemasonry-so simple and yet so profound!
I can only ask, what is the
great object of Masonic research?
Is it not Truth? And is it
not Truth that makes men Free? And who can be happy but Free men?
Then a knowledge of Truth is
the secret or another way of expressing it.
But what is Truth ? The
answer involves the study of a science we call Freemasonry or Geometry or
Morality or a number of other names, in order to comprehend it. To comprehend
is to be an apprehender or Apprentice. But to gain a knowledge of Truth
necessitates personal effort, work. Which is to say that such knowledge can
only be achieved by "living the life" of a Mason, or as we say, becoming a
Fellow Craft. To use this knowledge rightly is to be a Master in a literal
sense. And mastership means happiness.
But in Masonry this
mastership is one of self and perfect mastership is a knowledge of self
resulting from perfect self control, so that "self-control is another way of
expressing the "secret of Freemasonry.
"To what extent is it
possible to tell it to the profane?" One may tell it all and be thought a fool
or a wise man according to his hearer. But if by this question is meant to
what extent is it possible to reveal or make plain this secret to the profane,
I must answer that experience and observation convinces me, only so far is it
possible, as the capacity of the profane will permit. One may explain the
mysteries of integral calculus to a fool and be thought a fool in turn.
I do not agree with Brother
Joseph Fort Newton that the only thing secret about Freemasonry is its method
of teaching, if by this he means what he literally says. But I think he means
something different. I think he means that as an organization or school of
self-selected and volunteer teachers of humanity, we have made it a law that
certain arts, parts and points of this organized system of teaching, peculiar
to our selves, be not communicated to others. These arts, parts and points
pertain solely to the methods of recognition, the ceremonies and other mouth
to ear communications, that would not be comprehensible to others not
initiated, or which would enable impostors to gain admittance to the lodges
and thereby cause inharmony. The reason for this is plain when we consider
that humanity is not all worthy and well-qualified, duly and truly prepared to
receive and understand our symbolic and allegorical short cuts to teaching the
science of Freemasonry.
But the science itself can be
taught openly by all Masons in such language as adapted to the understanding
of those they teach. Indeed every Freemason is obligated to teach if he
Lastly, in my opinion, the
Masonic Press not only may but in duty bound is obligated to go just as far as
its editors' and owners' knowledge permits, in publicly interpreting "the
meaning of our symbolism, etc." How else are we to carry out the great
educational work for humanity we have undertaken?
The plain truth is that too
often Masonic officers are as ignorant of such things as new born babes. Hence
they cannot possibly teach others either within or without the lodge! Who is
to enlighten the members save the writers of books and the press? What members
are thus taught the public should know if the public can comprehend.
Joseph W. Norwood, Kentucky.
* * * A Plea for Constructive
The real secret of Masonry is
contained in a single word, which may mean all that a man may conceive as
being particularly applicable to his own individual, spiritual, mental and
physical case, defining without reserve, the duties he owes to country, God,
his neighbor and himself- When such a word has been in truth found by an
individual to entirely, adequately and unquestionably express for him and to
him, this sublime secret, which has the innate power to make him a real man
and Mason, then this individual should become very talkative, communicative ad
lib. This secret, if it be discovered in a state of sufficient positive
inherence, to dignify it as a sort of "spirit-control" or ever present guide,
is the real secret of Masonry! Masonry has been proven to be the secret of
civilization" the guide ever-present as a unit of and by itself. Masonry is
the author of the process of assimilation of diverging generalities and a
final conclusion or result of much addition and much more subtraction carried
on by countless philosophers, who have in turn preceded and followed Christ
and all other humanized "perfections," man has touched in his gropings toward
the Light. If we could so demean ourselves, as to be able to speak by deed and
act, as well as word, the "science" of Masonry could be confidently taught
from the "house tops" ! As Christian Science had its birth in Masonry, so it
seems to be going hand in hand with us down "the line-" Sometimes there are
extravagant claims made for it, but one can always count on a "plus" product
of man-fed enthusiasm, in connection with most anything that "really works."
All of this should be good for a "profane." I am not exposing anything. I
agree with Brother Newton, as far as the gist of the above written paragraphs
is concerned, but if taken in connection with ritualism, symbolism, signs,
etc., I believe the Masonic Press ought to be curbed generally. I believe "THE
BUILDER" to be also within "gun- shot." If writers can see nothing in i; all
but a repetition of the supposed and acknowledged secret work, they should
cease to write about "what they know about Masonry." Put a curb on
explanations of "fancied formulas," gifted "sooth-sayings," and indeed all the
"speculation" indulged in, by men who know as little about these subjects as
far as they relate to our Masonry, as should be permissible in discussion. A
so-called "Doctor" Pottinger from Kansas or some other "Sun-flower" State,
published a "Sign" book a short time ago. I heard him lecture on something he
called "An interpretation of all the Masonic Signs and Symbols." Ye gods! or
in French "pour l'amour de Dieu" - let us be divorced forever from such a
"barnacle upon our body-politic" as it were. Let us keep the secret work, as
we call it, entirely secret. It should be easy to so keep it. Public
discussion in the Press, in books and by means of poorly censored lectures,
does Masonry more harm than otherwise. From another viewpoint I would suggest
that it cheapens "what you have to sell." What we expect for the secrets of
our Masonry, is a commensurate return in golden endowments of character. We do
so want to sell our Masonry for as much of "that" as we can get. If the time
should come, when open forums would be the proper place, when no lodge expense
need be incurred, when much more of the "divine" should take the place of our
"humanly ordered" affairs, then come on with your exposes, with your auctions
of "ancient landmarks," with your surrender of fortifications to the wolves,
that are always howling about our stockades, waiting for an opportunity to
tear our flesh into sacrificial "bits," that the "Saints of the centuries" may
be fed. What Masonry needs is a unification of objects and aims, a universal
ritualism, a centralized control and a consequent standard of Masonic
education. We need a Supreme Ruler or Rulers here on earth. A council of
councils presided over by one of their number for the sake of intelligent
dictum, who shall prescribe the bounds of propriety Masonic, and fix the
penalty for injudicious advertising. I believe the remedy suggested to be a
part of the answer I have made to the questions propounded.
Denman S. Wagstaff, P. M.,
* * *
The "Masonic Press" is
The real Secret of
Freemasonry is truth and light, or which the candidate in each and all of the
degrees, in all the rites of Freemasonry, pursues his investigations while
passing through our various ceremonies.
The profane already knows
this much, but the ceremonies by which he is led from one degree to anther,
the passing words, the signs, and the various methods of sound, sight and
touch by which he is enabled to unlock the doors of the many storehouses of
Masonic information, or make himself known to the Brotherhood, are ours to
give him if he proves himself worthy, and his to keep with an inviolable
secrecy if we repose this confidence in him.
Man from the earliest days
has sought the truth, as one series of mysteries after another proves to us,
always under the cover of secrecy, because to vulgarize the object of the
search would naturally destroy the intensive struggle of the earnest seeker.
The profane has a right to
know that the search for truth is the object of Freemasonry. He knows where
and when we meet, we publish the names of the officers and members of our
lodges and a lot more besides, when we have done all this he has no right to
demand more unless he is prepared to bind himself to us as we are to one
To my mind there is a mass of
information given the profane that were better recorded only in our minutes,
the publication of the proceedings of our tyled communications in the profane
press should not be tolerated, at the same time a judicious and persistent
advertising of our public activities is good and useful propaganda.
After all the "Masonic Press"
is the "Profane Press," there is nothing printed that is not the property of
the "wide, wide world" sooner or later, and we should govern ourselves
As to our symbolism, it has
been the symbolism of all Mysteries, all religions, and all peoples for all
time - its interpretation is open to all mankind.
Joseph L. Carson, Virginia.
* * *
"Injudicious Discussion of
The real secrets of
Freemasonry are truths which are vital to the development of man's higher
nature. In Freemasonry these truths are taught by a system peculiar to the
Fraternity, and even this method is partially esoteric. The method of
teaching, however, does not reveal to the student the truths which are vital
he must apply the method and study the meaning of the forms and ceremonies
with the idea ever before him that "Masonry consists of a course of ancient
hieroglyphical and moral instructions, taught according to ancient usage, by
types, emblems and allegorical figures."
To the student, who applies
himself with freedom fervency and zeal, secrets of the most vital import are
revealed; not by a better informed brother, but through the study of the
symbolical teaching which is the peculiar characteristic of freemasonry.
Much has been written upon
the subject of Masonic symbolism, and there is much that will serve as a guide
to the student; but he must progress of his own tree will and interpret the
symbolic teaching himself A Masonic sage said, "I should in fact only follow
the instructions of the ancient masters if I should say but part and leave the
rest unuttered, that each might discover it for himself. It was the old custom
of Masonry, like the nature goddess Isis, to lift only a corner of her veil;
and she may boast; like Isis, that for no man has she wholly raised the veil."
In studying the symbolism of
Freemasonry to discover the valuable secrets it contains, may we not set as
our guide the rule that every symbol and allegory of Masonry which has been
handed down from the remote past, illustrates some moral or spiritual truth?
The ritual is the key to all
the secrets of Masonry, but in itself is not a vital secret, although it is
partly esoteric. A man might know every form and ceremony of the ritual and be
in utter ignorance of the secrets of Masonry. High ideals and pure motives are
essential to the discovery of the vital secrets of Freemasonry.
It is impossible to tell the
profane the secrets of Masonry, but it is possible and advisable to inform the
inquiring profane and prospective candidate that Masonry is a system of
morality which uses methods which are esoteric to furnish worthy men with the
key to profound and vital truths and that it will be useless for him to become
a member of the Fraternity unless he expects to diligently study the
symbolical teachings and improve himself mentally, morally and spiritually.
I do not agree with Joseph
Fort Newton when he maintains that the only thing secret about Freemasonry is
its method of teaching. In reading the antimasonic literature we are forcibly
impressed with the erroneous deductions which a superficial knowledge gives.
Extreme caution should be
used in the discussion of the interpretation of the meaning of Masonic
symbolism by the Masonic press. While it is doubtful if anyone not prepared
with honest motives and who has the welfare of his fellowman at heart may ever
discover the secrets of Freemasonry, it is not advisable to open the way for
adverse criticism by the injudicious discussion of esoteric subjects.
Silas H. Shepherd, Chairman
Masonic Research Committee,
* * *
What is Secret?
To give proper expression of
my thought upon these questions and the avowment of our Brother Newton it is
necessary to determine the precise meaning of his statement which,
fortunately, is concise, and supposedly means:
"That the method of teaching
esoteric Masonry by oral transmission, illustrated by symbols, constitutes our
I cannot agree that the
method of teaching either esoteric or exoteric Masonry is a secret. I do not
understand that the system is intended to be a secret. But I think the thing,
or things, thus orally taught are the secrets the method is to preserve them
Our Landmarks, (whatever they
may be), our system of morality, our objective of character building, our
social and friendly intercourse, our Masonic equality, our charity of thought
and deed, our liberty of conscience, and our necessary belief in the existence
of Deity and all similar tenets and intentions are widely known, and knowledge
of them can be readily obtained by anyone frown printed works on Masonry.
What, then, comprises the
secrets that are taught only by word of mouth? To my mind they are the modes
of recognition. "The attentive ear receives the sound from the instructive
tongue and the mysteries of Freemasonry are safely lodged in the repository of
A survey of these mysteries
discovers that each and every one is a method of recognition. This is true
even of the lessons of the legend, and of the legend itself, and is also true
of the obligations. Necessarily the greater part and most important of these
"modes" carry the germ of our system of "making men better," because they
inculcate, in a forcible way, our "Great Landmark," as it seems to me, "The
Fatherhood of God and the Brotherhood of Man."
If the knowledge of "One
self-existing God" was ever the secret of any cult, and if Masonry is in any
way descended from such a society, that secret was disclosed by God himself at
Sinai, and Solomon afterwards published the knowledge to all the world by
erecting a Sacred Temple, not only for the Jews, but for all peoples, for the
worship of the One Eternal Self-existing God. Our belief in the immortality of
the soul is not a secret, but the lesson by which it is Masonically taught,
being a mode of recognition, is-secret.
In answer to question two,
"To what extent is it possible to tell our secrets to a profane?" I should
answer that all modes of recognition whether simple grips or words, ceremonies
or esoteric symbols, the customs of Freemasonry, the peculiarities of lodge
organization and phraseology that are means of recognition should be orally
communicated only to Masons entitled to know the same.
To the last question I should
answer that the Masonic press or any other press can properly dilate upon, or
explain, our symbolism and our purposes, except as above restricted.
The ethics of publishing
Masonic matter is not now as strict as formerly was thought incumbent, and, no
doubt, the extreme reticence of former times was the means of destruction to
many valuable documents but there is a real danger at present in the
publication of Masonic subjects of a too great latitude being assumed as
permissible. To my mind a recent article in THE BUILDER was of this character.
"To speculate" originally
meant to meditate upon, or to investigate, the properties of sacred things.
Therefore it is most appropriate that we work in speculative Masonry and I
take this opportunity to express my belief that original Masonry was of that
type and during the period when we were merged within the body of operative
Masonry my opinion is that our mysteries were an inheritance to them.
Our system of morality when
rightly worked results in the upbuilding of character under all conditions of
It is eminently proper to
publish dissertations upon this or analogous subjects and among these there
are so few modes of recognition that practically the whole system can be
The fact that we do not
solicit membership is a proper matter for publication as well as to discuss
its benefits or disadvantages. But the reason why our would-be votaries must
make unsolicited application for our mysteries trenches upon a mode of
recognition and should only be spoken of between Masons.
By maintaining secret every
mode of recognition the great principles of our Institution are subserved and
if no other end was attained except the charm through them of recognizing a
brother in public or private assemblages by casual or pointed advertance to
Masonic subjects, it would be sufficient justification for their preservation
as our secrets.
Wm. F. Bowe, Georgia.
* * *
Tell What the Uninitiated Can
The real secret of
Freemasonry, if there be one single dominating secret, is made up of a
combination of other secrets. Broadly speaking these are the methods of
recognition, the obligations and methods of administering them, the mode of
conferring degrees, the legend of the Third degree. This would include the
catechisms of the various lectures, words, grips, signs, etc. can we weld
these into one and if so what is it? Let us analyze Brother Newton's statement
that it is the method of teaching. To begin with we realize that our
interpretation may be widely different from his. To us the method of teaching
consists of the impressing upon the mind wise and serious truths by the
employment of beautiful ceremonies and lectures. The ceremonies are such that
the candidate or neophyte is caused to be one of the principal characters and
takes a prominent part and as the action develops receives a deep impression
that teaches him a lesson, his very ignorance of the course the action is to
take making the lesson vivid and lasting. While we agree that our particular
ceremony or ceremonies are secret yet from information gained from reliable
sources we find that other organizations use the same method in principle. In
discussing these subjects we must take the view-point of a man who has taken
the three degrees and no more. Some of us have gone a little farther some the
whole way, and it is often hard to eliminate from one's mind those things
learned later. Taking this view-point I cannot find anything to call the one
dominating secret that includes and covers all the secrets that are unfolded
to the Blue Lodge Mason.
Let us now turn to the
profane. We must here remember that many things spoken or written are so clear
to the initiated that it seems as though they shouted secrets. The initiated
subconsciously and unconsciously place the words in a different setting, read
over and under, before and after, words which are not there nor can the
profane imagine them. The hidden meaning in such passages is as clear as
crystal to the initiated, as clear as mud to the profane. There is much we can
tell the profane without breaking any oath to secrecy, the limit being the
secrets as outlined above, but I can conceive of no advantage gained in
telling him what he cannot understand nor appreciate, not having the
connecting link. I do not approve of even approaching the boundary in such
things where there is absolutely nothing to be gained and such remarks in the
mouths of the unskilled initiated might do harm.
Masonic publications, on the
other hand, are issued for the initiated; nearly if not quite all who write
are well enough read to be trusted to be skilful in their interpretation of
symbolism and in their arrangement of words. The writer does not have to say
baldly that this refers to the second section of the nth degree or that to the
first section of some other. He can say enough so that the initiate knows to
what he refers without mentioning the context in the ritual. As a test we must
put ourselves in the place of the profane by divesting our minds of all those
things which we know from initiation and then judge whether our words by
themselves will reveal anything necessarily secret.
Julius H. McCollum,
* * *
Openly Propagate Principles.
It is as difficult to answer
this question as it would be to explain what is the secret of friendship, or
love, or patriotism, or religion. Freemasonry has its secrets but they are so
elusive, so subtle that it is quite impossible to catch them in a net of
words. Moreover, it has many different kinds of secrets, symbolic, ceremonial,
experiential, mystical, etc., therefore it is quite difficult to select out of
these what would be considered as the secret, the real secret of the Craft.
Considering the matter
by-and-large I believe that Dr. Newton's definition is very near the truth.
Almost every one of our symbols has been, or is, known to others: much in
our ritual was borrowed by our Masonic fathers from other secret societies:
many of our usages are being employed by other fraternities at the present
day: therefore it would seem that Masonry is distinguished from these others
by the manner in which it has assembled these elements, and by the way in
which it brings its truths home to the candidate: in other words, as Dr.
Newton says, by its methods of teaching. Masonry's method is all its own. The
second and fourth articles in your question may be answered together. Neither
a Mason nor the Masonic press can be suffered to tell anything that will
reveal what is done or said in initiation else they both violate the plain
letter of the obligations: but the truths and principles embodied in the
ritual, or illustrated by its various parts, may be expounded ad lib, and so
also with the symbols, and with our "Masonic philosophy." THE BUILDER is
expounding the ritual from month to month. Albert Pike, and countless other
Masonic writers, have interpreted our symbols in hundreds of books and essays:
Brother Roscoe Pound has given us a book on Masonic philosophy: no sane Mason,
so far as I know, has yet taken offense at any of these. So far as I am
personally concerned I should be pleased to see the Craft more openly
propagate its principles and its spirit: that could be done without the
slightest violation of the obligations.
H. L. Haywood, Iowa.
* * *
Secret to the Mason as Well.
The Real Secret of
Freemasonry, as I understand it, is a "secret" only in that it is something
discovered only with difficulty: only to be found by patient study and
interpreting of the symbolism of Masonry. It is a knowledge of that type of
true religion applicable to the particular life-problem of each individual
searcher. In the nature of the case, it can not be told to the profane or to
the Mason. Each must find it for himself; it is not physically capable of
being told. Though a Masonic philosopher tell his interpretation of the
symbolism, he can not tell the secret. For, as the student gathers the ideas
of his instructor, the student accepts them only with reservations and
variations, fitting them to his own particular life-problem. And lo! the
secret that the philosopher tried to tell has not been told: instead a new
real secret of Freemasonry has been conceived in the brain of the student,
never to pass beyond it except as it is manifested in good works and a true
Evidently, then, I do not
agree with Brother Newton that the only thing secret in Masonry is the method
The Masonic press may and
should "go to the limit" in public interpretation of Masonic symbolism. What
harm can it do? And it can do a vast amount of good.
Harold A. Kingsbury,
* * *
I heartily agree with Brother
Joseph Fort Newton. Wm. F. Kuhn, P. G. M., Missouri.
* * *
A Spiritual Truth.
I believe the real secret of
Freemasonry is a key to life eternal. As I view it humanity ranges in an
infinite number of degrees from the human brute up to the conscious sons of
God. Thousands of years ago the sons potentiality is inherent in each of us
developed a series of correspondences between the lower and the higher life
which they expressed in symbolism, astronomical, mathematical and geometrical.
These symbols formed the basis of the mystery teachings and were explained to
those who were lawfully entitled to receive them. you will remember that even
the founder of the Christian religion did not openly teach the truths
concerning the kingdom. He taught the multitudes in parables and later
privately explained their meanings to his disciples. A little thought and
experience will show the reason for this. In our everyday life we are very
careful about revealing the truths of adult life to a child so in the life of
the spirit the ancient teachers found it not only unwise but unsafe to teach
heavenly truths to earthy men. The same holds true today.
I do not agree with Brother
Newton in his statement that the only secret about Freemasonry is its method
of teaching. The whole body of Masonic knowledge is a secret most heavily
veiled from the profane as well as from the initiate and it is only he who
lives the life who shall understand the teaching.
The Masonic press should have
considerable latitude in the public interpretation of our symbolism. It will
be a benefit to those who can grasp it and it will not be understood by those
who are not yet prepared to receive it.
John G. Keplinger, Illinois.
* * *
A Secret Personal to the
The real secret of Masonry?
You would not believe me if I told you. We might agree upon many points but
Masonry whispers a personal secret to each individual. It is the same that we
read in the great book of Nature and revelation that our monitors speak of.
I know not if James Allen be
a member of the Masonic fraternity but his writings proclaim him a Mason in
his heart. Those little books "As a Man Thinketh," "Out from the Heart" and
"Through the Gate of Good" set forth the experience of one who has traveled
from West to East and returning, is pointing the way to light and life, to
distressed brethren everywhere.
I am thoroughly in accord
with Brother Newton that Masonry has no secret because its teachings are all
about us, upon every hand. We see them daily exemplified by Mason and
non-Mason and, sad to relate, trampled under foot, cast aside and made of no
account by those who have pledged their honor to observe them. No danger of
Masonry's secret being "discovered" or "revealed" when so many Masons perceive
them (those teachings) not. Tell them out. Publish them in the streets of Gath
and Askalon and in the highways and byways so that he who seeks a sensational
revelation in his initiation may say, "If that be the secret, I'll none of
it"; and so those duly and truly prepared may reverently seek more light and
swell the membership. Grips and passwords and "work," important as they are,
do not make Masons.
The several articles I have
contributed to THE BUILDER on "What an Entered Apprentice Ought to Know,"
"What a Fellow Craft Ought to Know," and "What a Master Mason Ought to Know,"
as far as they go, lay bare what to my mind is the essence of the teachings of
Masonry and all they conceal is the methods by which those teachings are
presented to the candidate. Hal Riviere, Georgia.
A System of Theology?
To my mind the real secret of
Freemasonry is its doctrines of the existence of God and the immortality of
the soul. To the Masonic philosopher the universe is a symbol or material
expression of a divine unity, a Will transcending human comprehension, which
we call the Grand Architect of the Universe. We are rays from that Great
Light, individuated. Partaking of the divine life we are immortal; the grave
is only an incident in our career. But you will say, all this is known to the
profane, consequently it is not a secret. True, but there was a time when it
was the grandest of secrets. In the Mysteries, the prototypes of Masonry, the
doctrine of the unity of duty was taught to initiates of proved worth and
intelligence. It was the esoteric instruction of the hierophants, when the
world outside the sanctum sanctorum was steeped in polytheism, idolatry, and
crass ignorance. Today the above doctrines are secrets to materialists and
atheists living on the sense plane only. To the casually minded the things of
the spirit are foolishness. If the materialistic philosophy advances,
Freemasonry will be the grand depository of doctrines that are esoteric in
every sense of the word. Any knowledge that is hidden from a man, because of
the fact that his apprehension of such is atrophied, is secret knowledge.
"Freemasonry," says Brother
Frank C. Higgins (The Beginning of Masonry, New York, 1916) ". . . is
fundamentally and structurally a system of natural theology, proving the
existence and attributes of the one time God to the satisfaction of the
intellect, and so supplying a bulwark to faith unattainable by any other
means. The nature of this proof . . . is founded on precisely the same
assumption as the natural theology of a Paley or a Brougham of our own era
that evidence of design or intention proves the presence of Mind, the wisdom,
power, and beauty of which may be inferred from the result." In the Fellow
Craft degree, with its emphasis upon geometry, is contained this revelation
drawn from the Book of Nature, man's first Bible. In the Master's degree is
set forth the grand dogma of the Mysteries the immortality of the soul. Those
Continental systems of so-called Masonry which have ignored or repudiated this
philosophy of Deity have no real secrets.
In the old days of operative
Masonry the days of the medieval cathedral builders the real secret of the
Craft was in all probability the forming of the pointed arch by means of the
Euclidean geometry; the evolving of the perfect triangle from the interlaced
circles (visica pisces), which the churchman of the period used as a symbol of
the birth of the logos, or Divine Word, the creative word that brought the
universe into being. When Masonry became speculative, the architectural and
building secrets of the ancient gilds were relegated to the background, and
philosophical speculations into the nature and attributes of Deity became the
sine qua non of the Craft.
The means by which Masons
know each other are secret so far as the profane are concerned, but they do
not constitute the grand secret, the real secret. Brother J. Fort Newton
declares that the only thing secret about Freemasonry is its method of
teaching. He is correct so far as he goes, but he does not go far enough.
So far as the public
interpretation of the meaning of our symbolism is concerned, I think the
Masonic press should have all the liberty it desires, so long as it does not
reveal the methods by which one brother knows another brother in the dark as
well as the light the esoteric part of the ritual. I am of the opinion that
many of our symbols and doctrines are borrowed from Rosicrucian and Cabalistic
sciences, especially the latter. Any light that can be thrown on this subject
is of value.
Henry R. Evans. District of
THE TRESTLE BOARD DESIGN
What's the design, my
Upon the Trestle Board today?
Your Temple building has
And each day's work from sun
Should show in its design the
That means the building of a
The building that interprets
The ideal Trestle Board
The Temple building you essay
Should grow in beauty by the
E'en though it be a rugged
And yours to bear a heavy
But wheresoe'er the way may
Or whatsoe'er may be your
The heart must everything
That's in the Trestle Board
And while there's none can
build for you
It compensatingly is true
That none can your soul work
Or take from it its keener
And if its plan be bold and
As in the light it may
Yet others may the soul
That's in your Trestle Board
And in the Temple building
That Masonry unfolds to man
The TRUTH, as it is
Real SERVICE and true
With CHARACTER is what
The best that is beneath the
And this will serve you to
The better Trestle Board
And there is in the mystic
So much that centers in the
So much that leads your loves
To social cheer and rest and
And yet, that traces in its
The larger way to build a man
That helps you so much to
Your special Trestle Board
And now my brother, tell me,
What are your thoughts of
As helping you to find the
And leaving to your heart the
While ever pleading that you
From every moral blemish
O, what can hold more that’s
Than this, YOUR Trestle Board
- Bro. L. B. Mitchell,
PEACE, AND THE NEW WAR
WHAT does the future hold for Freemasonry? It is
perhaps better that we do not know. The trial of our mettle is a test of our
real strength. We cannot deny the fact that never in the history of American
Masonry were the threatening clouds of rancor and distrust thicker upon the
horizon than now. Never before were we more truly in a storm-tossed world.
Whether we will or no, we are in the very center of a very maelstrom of
uncertainty and political distress. If our duty in the world has not been
plain in the past, and it has not, then certainly it is worth careful study
and meditation now. We must come to understand it. We must realize it. In this
we dare not fail. The conditions before us cannot be laughed out of court.
They must be faced.
The great war, which we hope has now won for the
world a long era of peace, has marked the final death of feudalism. That
institution, which we had fondly believed to be dead, has shown a surprising
vigor. As we have since realized, it was the frenzied strength of insanity.
Yet it has decimated the youth of the world, and very nearly made of
civilization a charnel-house. That it did not succeed in its dream of
autocratic and despotic domination is due to the dimly realized but gradually
awakening sense of justice in mankind. Though it had power to hypnotize the
central European powers, it could not put to sleep the democratic ideals of
the Anglo-Saxon. The future covenant of nations will be written in the English
tongue, and for us, as Americans, there can be but one real fundamental peace.
It will be the peace which the Anglo-Saxon shall guarantee to the world,
against all challengers whatsoever.
The real question as to the peace of the new
world, then, is whether the Anglo-Saxons of all nations will agree upon the
duties and responsibilities which each of the countries in which they live
shall have in its preservation. That problem is still to be worked out. Let us
pray that it will be done. Let us be willing to sacrifice something of
self-interest, that it may be done.
There is another war at hand, the war of class
hatred. It has overthrown the good, as well as the bad, in Russia. It is
founded upon the prime maxim of anarchy that the individual has the right to
live for self alone. What he wants must be his. Applied to property it means
communism - common ownership. Even women are property, and as such, subject to
the bestial whim of one man - or of all. Intellectual leadership is scorned,
and the intellectual head cut off. Primitive man again emerges from the caves
and bowels of the earth, defying civilization, announcing that by force of his
brute strength brawn is again to supplant brain.
Both necessity and duty will give Masonry a call
to arms in this new and awful conflict. Masonry claims to be an association
for intellectual advancement. Its ancient ceremonies reveal a time when men
embodied in ritual the great truths of human knowledge. Its very objects are
to make men "wiser, better, and consequently happier." Such an institution as
ours finds no place in any Bolshevist program. Yet never was there a greater
need for it.
In common with every other nation and society, we
must come to learn that the ideals and the progress for which mankind has
fought its way upward, step by step, are as much at stake in this new war as
they were when the Kaiser challenged the whole world to defeat his ambition.
No form of government except a democratic form of government can hope to
defeat this class hatred, now growing in every land. Every democratic form of
government will have to fight for its very existence. Shall Masonry support
democracy through to the end of the conflict? In a word, is Masonry prepared
to become a virile exponent and defender and preserver of true Americanism? As
I see it this is the issue which confronts us at this very hour, an issue
which demands a firm application of our ancient principle of human freedom
governed, tempered, guided, and controlled by order, system, and law.
If we are to build a truer Americanism in the
United States it means that we as a people must accustom ourselves to a new
atmosphere of fairness, of equality, and of brotherhood. "Hymns of hate" must
be replaced by songs of love. The solving of the problems which our
civilization now faces must be done in this new spirit of brotherhood. The
League of Nations may be furthered by limitations of armaments and the right
of self-determination of peoples, but if a real peace shall endure, it must be
builded upon a league of brothers which must be formed, free from all taint of
Happily for us, this atmosphere of true
brotherhood is no new atmosphere to the Masonic fraternity. The old charges
define Masonry as a living exemplification of the men of the world dwelling
together in unity as brethren. We must now find our place in this new world
with the lessons of old ringing in our ears. The value which we place upon our
heritage of principles will be revealed by the way in which we call upon our
Masonic leaders to join the vanguard of the upholders of true freedom for
mankind. Our definition of that freedom must be unmistakably an American
definition. Those landmarks which are real will be a guide upon our way, and
will not restrict us. Our ritual, too, will guide us. Our whole Masonic system
is so closely akin to true democracy that our task will be largely one of wise
and sympathetic interpretation.
If we but will, this wonderful Masonic system of ours may be
made a real melting pot of freedom. If we remain true to our traditions, it
will be no crude, undirected process of cohesion. Masonry has a formula for
brotherhood. It rests upon the identical pnnciples which
written large into the constitution
of the United States. It is a process by which men come to realize those vital
duties which must ever go hand in hand with all true equality and freedom. it
is a process of education. It is unique. It is sane. It is trustworthy. It has
a lasting value to the world, especially in these times of great stress. But
the use of the formula means work. It means finding leadership of the right
kind. It means a whole craft inspired by the steadfastness, faith, and zeal of
Zerubbabel of old. G.L.S.
THE QUESTION BOX
THE BUILDER is an open forum for free and
fraternal discussion. Each of its contributors writes under his own name, and
is responsible for his own opinions. Believing that a unity of spirit is
better than a uniformity of opinion, the Research Society, as such, does not
champion any one school of Masonic thought as over against another, but offers
to all alike a medium for fellowship and instruction, leaving each to stand or
fall by its own merits.
The Question Box and Correspondence Column are
open to all members of the Society at all times. Questions of any nature on
Masonic subjects are earnestly invited from our members, particularly those
connected with lodges or study clubs which are following our "Bulletin Course
of Masonic Study." When requested, questions will be answered promptly by mail
before publication in this department.
WHO KNOWS THE NAME OF THIS BOOK OR AUTHOR?
Can you inform me of the name of a book (and the
writer) describing the voyage, search, and finding of the gold for King
Solomon's Temple? It follows the ships through the Mediterranean Sea, around
through the Atlantic to South America, etc. M.I.M., Washington.
We are unable to locate such a book. If any reader
of THE BUlLDER can help us in the matter, please do so.
* * *
THE COUNCIL DEGREES CONFERRED
IN ROYAL ARCH CHAPTERS IN VIRGINIA
What degrees were conferred in Royal Arch Chapters
in the State of Virginia during the years 1898 to 1900, inclusive?
Are the degrees of Royal and Select Master and the
Super-Excellent Master degree under the jurisdiction of the Grand Chapter of
Virginia, and are they conferred in Royal Arch Chapters in that State?
In what order are the Chapter and Council degrees
worked in Virginia? H.P., Ohio.
The degrees conferred in Royal Arch Chapters in
Virginia during the years of 1898 to 1900, inclusive, were the Mark Master,
Past Master, Royal Master, Select Master, Most Excellent Master and the Royal
Arch. These degrees are still conferred in the order named.
The degree of Super-Excellent Master is not worked
* * *
MASONRY IN CHILI
Are there any Masonic lodges in Chili besides
those chartered by the Grand Lodge of Massachusetts? When was Freemasonry
first introduced in that country?
Freemasonry was introduced into Chili in 1841 by
the Grand Orient of France. The Grand Lodges of Massachusetts and California
organized lodges in that country in 1860 and 1851, but at the present time we
find no Chili lodges on the California register. There are three under the
jurisdiction of the Grand Lodge of Massachusetts, located at Conception,
Santiago and Valparaiso.
The Grand Lodge of Chili, organized on May 24th,
1862, had at the last report (1917) 27 lodges on its roll comprising a total
of 3,618 members. The Grand Lodge is recognized by the Grand Lodges of
Arkansas, Canada, District of Columbis Illinois, Kansas, Maryland, Missouri
and North Dakota.
* * *
INFORMATION WANTED CONCERNING
Doubtless you will appreciate knowing that I
possess a live specimen of Acacia vera, or Tournefort, which I procured from
Giza Mouderiel, Egypt. I have been for four years trying to secure this
specimen and received it about three weeks ago.
In the same length of time I have been endeavoring to compile a
history of this tree but find it quite difficult. Have you any information
concerning it other than that published in the
November, 1918, number of THE BUILDER?
There is one thing which I beg to inquire if you can
straight on - I find from different sources that the "Shittah” wood was the
Acacia vera and another authority says it was the Acacia seyal. Do you know
which is correct?
Upon investigation we also find authority for both “vera” and "seyal."
Possibly some member of the Society who has made a similar study may be able
to throw some light
A NATIONAL MASONIC
We have been greatly interested in the movement
started in the right direction for a National Masonic organization. After our
service in France, all Masons in the Army are in a position to appreciate our
shortcomings and the crying need for such an organization.
In this Regiment, the 316th Field Artillery, we
organized a Masonic Club after the declaration of the armistice, and have a
healthy organization of eighty-six members representing thirty-five
When in command of the 315th Artillery at Camp
Lee, Virginia, we organized a similar Club under a charter granted by the
Grand Lodge of Virginia, but our present Club is without such a charter.
The Master Masons have felt, in the vast majority
of cases, that they were neglected; they saw nothing being done for them in a
tangible way. When men are giving up all they have - their lives - the buying
of Liberty Bonds, savings stamps, or subscriptions to welfare societies which
were pooled, does not fill the want. The men felt that the great Masonic
Fraternity was backing them in words only, while they saw other societies
actually doing something for their comfort and welfare. The sick were not
looked after by the Masons, except in isolated cases, where Clubs had been
formed, nor were the dead cared for as they would have been had a general
Masonic organization existed.
The men do not understand the Masonic
understandings between jurisdictions, they do not understand why all American
Masons do not affiliate with all French Masons. These differences are hard to
explain to all and are unfortunate. They are surely not in keeping with the
Brotherhood of Man doctrine, or even a League of Nations.
The French Masons have made great sacrifices in
this war and in every case that has come to our knowledge have been willing to
meet us more than half way, and do not understand the position some of our
American Grand Lodges have taken, a most unfortunate condition.
We believe that a National organization is
absolutely essential; we cannot stand alone as an unorganized body of many
Grand Jurisdictions, and we trust that the failures of this war will soon be
corrected and that a permanent National organization will be perfected and put
on a real working basis.
Col. R. P. Reeder, Chairman
316th Field Artillery Masonic
Oisseau le Petit, France.
* * *
MASONIC EDUCATION SPREADING
A number of brethren were dining together in this
city not long ago when one brother said: "The Korean revolution is a result of
the introduction of Christianity. The Koreans take the bible too literally."
This immediately called forth the reply: "What would have been the effect had
Freemasonry operated there instead of Christianity?" The suggestivenessof the
query produced a hush, and the matter dropped, but the incident set me to
As a body are not we Freemasons still largely only
a collection of potentialities ? It seems to be almost inevitable that the
constant pressure of attention to detail should crush out the spirit of study
and inquiry. This is the reason I hail the National Masonic Research Society,
and yet something more than we are accomplishing must be done if the ritual is
to be kept subservient to independent thought. I have always flattered myself
that I was a student, but only a few days ago I was horrified to find, on
looking over my files of THE BUILDER, that I had become so absorbed in making
Masons that the Journal had remained unread for four months.
Constituted as we are radical, wholesale reform
must come down to the bottom from the top. I therefore write you to suggest
that directly or indirectly, as circumstances make it seem best, that our
Grand Lodges should ensure by regulation, by allocution or by other means that
every Worshipful Master should, before taking his seat in the East, give proof
of a certain minimum acquaintance with the history, the philosophy and the
significance of the ritual he works. This might be accomplished by making
every candidate for the Master's chair pass a stated examination in a
prescribed course in Freemasonry, or by granting diplomas to any brother who
takes the course, and only allowing diplomaed brethren to approach the East.
A simpler course of study for which certificates
could be issued might be required from every newly-raised candidate as a
warranty of good standing.
Surely such a proposal is not impossible, but it
is possible only if the Grand Lodges will take it up.
C. Spurgeon Medhurst, China.
(Were THE BUILDER to advocate the passing of such
legislation as our brother in China proposes we fear that we should be
considered presumptions and our motives in the matter might be questioned.
However, the fact that hundreds of study clubs have been organized, not only
in the United States and Canada but in other countries, during the past few
years and that a system of organized Masonic study has been inaugurated in a
surprisingly large number of lodges, which number is being constantly added
to, leads us to believe that the study movement has become established on a
firm foundation and that the majority of future Masters will be better
qualified in many respects to dispense information among the Craft than many
of their predecessors. That education and enlightenment on Masonic subjects is
gradually becoming an important factor in Masonry of the present day is
manifested by the great increase in the membership of the Research Society and
the appearance in the field of Masonic literature of many new publications
that are really worth while, as well as the improvement of many Masonic
periodicals that have been in circulation for some years. - Editor.)
* * *
A WASHINGTON BROTHER'S ENDORSEMENT OF THE
MASONIC SERVIVE ASSOCIATION
George Lawler, Member
Executive Commission M.S.A.,
Dear Brother Lawler:
Presumably through the kindness of Brother
Schoonover, whom I had the pleasure of meeting in Spokane a few years ago, I
was sent a copy of the Proceedings of the Cedar Rapids Masonic Conference
shortly after publication. This conference was, in my opinion, the first
practical meeting of its kind. The entire subject is so replete with
possibilities, yet so simple in its operation, that one wonders why it was not
thought of long ago.
It is not my intention to discuss the
establishment of a Masonic Service Association in the light of any alleged
violation of "ancient landmarks," or from the puerile standpoint of "what was
good enough for my father is good enough for me." In spite of his recantation,
it has been demonstrated that Galileo's statement to the effect that the earth
moves is correct; and in a similar manner it has been proven that Masonry is a
progressive science, in spite of the attempts of earnest, but misguided
individuals, to hold it to the channels in which it flowed when the present
form of Masonic government was established. We only have to hearken back to
the years following 1717 to realize that the brethren of those days looked
upon Grand Lodges as distinct innovations; yet, in spite of the opposition
advanced, Grand Lodges have been established wherever Masonry flourished, and
it is only the student of Masonry who knows that there was a time when this
now established form of Masonic government was an innovation. To such an
extent has this doctrine been fostered upon the craft that even our rituals
and monitors conform to the new standard, and conspire to deceive the newly
admitted candidate to our mysteries. Glaring inaccuracies, not to use a
stronger term, are rife in our degree work, and these have even been
strengthened by Masonic historians whose zeal outstripped their reverence for
that trait which should solely inspire all historians: Accuracy.
"Masonry is a progressive science." I would like
to see this phrase emblazoned upon the walls of every temple, as an ever
present reminder to consider its meaning. There would be no violation of
"ancient landmarks" if the first phrase were thoroughly understood. Only such
principles are ancient landmarks which alone preserve their integrity as the
physical form changes. Masonry is not dependent upon any particular form of
government and administration for its perpetuation, as this is only the
physical vehicle through which the soul of the institution expresses itself;
but the physical form must change with the needs of the spirit, or the spirit
will depart, leaving behind only an empty and resounding shell.
The eighteenth century; together with the greater
part of the nineteenth, was an era of analysis. The present century, with its
introduction of the last decades of the nineteenth, is the forerunner of a
synthetic age. Instead of striving to ascertain wherein we differ, we are
striving today to see wherein we agree, and to leave the non-essentials out of
the discussion. The union of labor into organizations for mutual protection
and benefit, the combination of capital into syndicates for greater economic
development, the amalgamation of Protestant churches into larger bodies with
common principles, the proposed association of states and nations into a
league for mutual benefit, all of these prove my assertion that this is a
synthetic and a constructive age. Those of us who are not drunk at the feast
with the perfumes and vapors of mutual admiration, the adoration of
sycophants, and the honeyed and sickening expressions of the secretly envious,
can read "Mene, Mene, Tekel, Upharsin” upon the wall, and know that the
Belshazzars of this century are on the road to speedy destruction.
Like the votaries at the shrine of a pagan god,
created out of inert matter by the worshippers themselves our sensibilities
are benumbed with the perfume exhaled from the sensuous vapors eddying forth
from before the idol. Until we develop a Moses in our own midst to lead us
forth from Misraim to the Promised Land, we must depend upon rank outsiders to
burst open the doors. It is distasteful, but nevertheless true, that Mr.
Fosdick's charge of "lack of co-ordination" is well grounded when considered
from the standpoint of nation-wide service. True we do work in harmony in a
national crisis, but it takes nothing less than a calamity, such as a flood or
an earthquake, to produce results. If we can organize upon a basis wherein no
attention will be paid to petty quarrels, such as the right of a lodge in one
state to bury a brother in another state, or the question of perpetual
jurisdiction of one state over a former applicant now residing elsewhere, and
can concentrate upon the larger questions of the day, then we shall make
progress in the right direction.
Not having attended previous Grand Masters'
conferences, or having had an opportunity of reading their minutes, I am not
in a position to criticize or praise the discussions at such conferences. As
an observer, however, it would seem that nothing of great benefit has
resulted. Possibly trivial differences were adjusted in so far as they
affected the fraternity, but apparently nothing came out of the meetings which
was of a distinct humanitarian benefit. On the other hand, the Masonic Service
Association which has grown out of the Cedar Rapids conference has
potentialities which we do not realize at the present time, but which
Association is the meeting ground for united Masonic effort in the future.
It is immaterial to the average member of the
Craft - and I consider myself an average member - how Masonry accomplishes its
results. I care not one whit if it is done by a Central Grand Lodge or by a
Service Association, and the recipients of the benefits accruing from such
organization care just about as little. If we can unite upon a plan of action
which will make Masonry a virile force in this world, one that exemplifies its
work in actual beneficial deeds, rather than in moral precepts, Masonry will
be perpetuated for future generations. But if we fail - as we have failed in
the war, and are failing now - the Craft will degenerate into a mere social
appendage to our community life, and will carry on a precarious existence by
appealing to the curious only.
As I said in my address to the Grand Lodge last
June, if we were to ask a representative Mason just what Masonry had done for
the world, he would be hard pressed for an answer. Masonry today is living
upon its past traditions, and as the light of Truth is brought to bear upon
these claims and traditions, we find many of them unsubstantiated.
The time has come for the Craft to take new
measure of itself. The inventory shows a list of two million names, the great
majority of whom are clean cut, intelligent and capable men. What defects of a
moral character there may be are offset by the sterling worth and integrity of
over 99 per cent of the membership. We represent today 49 jurisdictions with
as many leaders, and have our efficiency reduced in the same proportion. While
we are only two per cent of the entire population, the regard and esteem in
which Masonry and its leaders are held by the uninitiated, gives us a far
greater influence, and a project supported by the Masonic institution will
carry with it a support far in excess of our own two per cent. With the
influence of our own membership, and with the support of those who will follow
our leadership, let us not betray the confidence reposed in us. Let us take
such action as will insure Masonry's participation in the great problems
looming upon the horizon, so that we shall be unafraid, prepared and ready to
throw ourselves in the struggle for equality and righteousness now dawning
upon this world.
The opportunity for the Grand Lodge of Washington
to bring the Masonic Service Association into permanent existence by being
among the first fifteen to cast an affirmative vote is past. Let us not fail,
however, to add to the total which is now accumulating and to at least be
among those whose names shall be written upon the Magna Charta of Masonic
service. The Grand Lodge of Washington can honor the Craft and itself by
supporting the Masonic Service Association, and if I am present at the next
communication, I shall do all in my power to influence an affirmative vote.
Jacob Hugo Tatsch,
(Since the foregoing letter was written, the Grand
Lodge of Washington has ratified the Constitution of The Masonic Service
Association and become a signatory membery of that organization. - Editor.)
* * *
THE AUTHOR OF THE POEM "NOT
In the May number of THE BUILDER you publish five verses of a
very striking poem with which I am familiar, "Not Understood," which for many
years has been a prime favorite for public recitation throughout Australasia,
the author being Thomas Bracken, a well-known poet of New Zealand. This poem
is contained in a volume of his verses published by Gordon
Wellington, N.Z. He also wrote the New Zealand National Hymn. As you state
"Author unknown," it occurs to me that you may be interested to learn of his
W. P. Caton, Virginia.
* * *
JOSEPH JEFFERSON'S POEM
"IMMORTALITY" - A CORRECTION
In the June issue of THE BUILDER you published
Joseph Jefferson's beautiful poem, "Immortality," the last lines of which
"And so this emblem shall
A sign of humility."
I desire to call attention to the substitution of
the word "humility" for "immortality." Many years ago I put this poem in my
scrap book, and the last two lines are:
"And so this emblem shall
A sign of immortality."
T. W Peace Tennessee
Nothing is less sincere than our mode of asking
and giving advice. He who asks seems to have deference for the opinion of his
friend, while he only aims to get approval of his own and make his friend
responsible for his action. And he who gives repays the confidence supposed to
be placed in him by a seemingly disinterested zeal, while he seldom means
anything by his advice but his own interest or reputation. - Rochefoucauld.
To be worth anything, character must be capable of
standing firm upon its feet in the world of daily work, temptation and trial;
and able to bear the wear and tear of actual life. Cloistered virtues do not
count for much. - S. Smiles
A good intention clothes itself with sudden power.