Spring Summer 2011 Rising Point Web


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Spring/Summer 2011 issue of The Rising Point released! at: http://issuu.com/mitchozog/docs/spring_summer_2011_risingpoint

Page #3 - From the Parthenon to the Capitol
Page #10 - What exactly is More Light in Masonry?
Page #11 - Why Hitler Hates and Fears Freemasonry
Page #14 - Social Security and Freemasonry
Page #15 - Life and Progress Synonymous Terms
Page #16 - Fundamental Principles of Public Finance
Page #18 - Reading Masons and Masons who do not read
Page #21 - The Working Tools
Page #26 - the Power of the worshipful Master
Page #29 - Masonic Compact
Page #30 - The Intellectual Qualifications of Candidates
Page #33/34/35 - The Book Reviews

S & F
Mitchell Ozog, Editor in Chief
The Rising Point

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Spring Summer 2011 Rising Point Web

  1. 1. TheBONISTEELML.ORG Rising Point Volume 23. Issue 2 • • SPRING/SUMMER 2011 What exactly is “More Light” in Masonry? By Robert Blackburn From the Parthenon to US $9.95 the Capitol 10 By Leo Operti SPRING 2011 Made In Michigan
  2. 2. For those of you who are new to this publication, WELCOME TO SPRING/SUMMER 2011 we hope you enjoy what you see and come back. Suggestions and opinions are welcome. Contents Volume 23. Issue 2 - SPRING/SUMMER 2011 FEATURE ARTICLES MAILING ADDRESS THE RISING POINT Bonisteel Masonic Library 3 From the Parthenon to the Capitol What exactly is “More Light” in 2520 Arrowwood Trl Ann Arbor, MI 48105 10 Masonry? Web site: www.bonisteelml.org Why Hitler Hates and Fears 11 Freemasonry Bro. Mitchell Ozog , 32º Editor in Chief. 14 mozog@bonisteelml.org Social Security and Freemasonry Bro. Karl Grube, Ph.D., 32º Managing Editor kgrube@bonisteelml.org Bro. Robert Blackburn 32º Book Review Editor 16 Fundamental Principles of Public Finance LAYOUT & DESIGN Bro. Mitchell Ozog 18 Reading Masons and Masons who do not read COVER CREDITS Photo - Magdalena Ozog 21 The Working Tools 26 The Power of the worshipful Master Please point and click on page number to visit the page. 29 Masonic Compact BONISTEEL MASONIC LIBRARY FUND RAISER The Intellectual Qualifications of The Bonisteel Masonic Library of Ann Arbor & Detroit has established a goal of raising $5,000 for 2011 operations. Your contribution will assure the continuance of our award 30 Candidates winning quarterly publication Rising Point and the yearly costs of online publication. Simple scroll down to Pay Pal on the Index page at Bonisteel Masonic Library website donate by using a credit card. ........................................................www.bonisteelml.org 33 The Book Reviews THE RISING POINT is the official publication of Bonisteel Masonic Library and is published four times per year. Masonic Bodies are welcome to reprint from this publication provided that the article is reprinted in full, the name of the author and the source of the article are indicated, and a copy of the publication containing the reprint is sent to the editor. Submissions to this publication and all Correspondence concerning this publication should come through the Editor Mitchell Ozog. The Editor reserves the right to edit all materials received. Fair Use Notice: The Bonisteel Masonic Library web site and publication THE RISING POINT may at times contain copyrighted material the use of which has not always been specifically authorized by the copyright owner. We are making such material available in our efforts to advance understanding of environmental, political, human rights, economic, democracy, scientific, and social justice issues, etc.. We believe this constitutes a ‘fair use’ of any such copyrighted material as provided for in section 107 of the US Copyright Law. If you wish to use copyrighted material from this site or the publication Rising Point for purposes of your own that go beyond ‘fair use’, you must obtain permission from the copyright owner. In accordance with Title 17 U.S.C. Section 107, the material on The Bonisteel Masonic Library web site and publication Rising Point is distributed without profit to those who have expressed a prior interest in receiving the included information for research and educational purposes. For more information go to: http://www.law.cornell.edu/uscode/17/107.shtml United States Code: Title 17, Section 107 http://www4.law.cornell.edu/uscode/unframed/17/107.html Notwithstanding the provisions of sections 106 and 106A, the fair use of a copyrighted work, including such use by reproduction in copies or phonorecords or by any other means specified by that section, for purposes such as criticism, comment, news reporting, teaching (including multiple copies for classroom use), scholarship, or research, is not an infringement of copyright. In determining whether the use made of a work in any particular case is a fair use the factors to be considered shall include - (1) the purpose and character of the use, including whether such use is of a commercial nature or is for nonprofit educational purposes; (2) the nature of the copyrighted work; (3) the amount and substantiality of the portion used in relation to the copyrighted work as a whole; and (4) the effect of the use upon the potential market for or value of the copyrighted work. The fact that a work is unpublished shall not itself bar a finding of fair use if such finding is made upon consideration of all the above factors. Rising point SPRING/SUMMER 2011
  3. 3. From the Parthenon to the CaPitol By Wor. Bro. Leo OpertiPhoto #1 Photo #The genesis of this presentation occurred in November 2008 while looking up towards the Parthenon on the AthenianAcropolis, just as you see in the photo listening to a very knowledgeable guide and thinking that on that occasion that Iwas not going to attack the 90 plus steps to the top.Looking up, the Parthenon (photo #3) appeared as a tiara on the brow of a noble lady and a burgeoning but incompleteidea began to take shape in the shadows of my mind. Serendipity would have it that later that evening I would read the lastchapter of a book that I had taken along, ‘Solomon’s Power Brokers’ by Christopher Knight and Alan Butler, to which Iam indebted for parts of this presentation for therein laid “ the rest of the story” which rounded off the idea that had begunto form in my mind.Let me tell you a little about Athens tucked away in one of the many bays along the southern coast of Greece. It issituated within the “Fire Ring” of the Mediterranean Sea; an extensive zone of volcanic and seismic activity prone landssurrounding the “Mare Nostrum” as the Romans used to consider it. Over the millennia Athens has been subjected to a Photo # multitude of tremors. There are monuments and buildings of ancient Greece strewn everywhere. Remains are constantly being unearthed and usually left in their natural state. If possible, repairs and reconstructions are made. An example of this is the replica of the original Olympic stadium, Kallimarmaro, (photo #4) used for the first modern games held in 1896. One has to wonder how is it possible that the Acropolis was able to withstand these devastating seismic ravages standing some 300 feet above the city atop a solid granite pedestal while so many others inexorably crashed to the ground. One has to regret that the many of the damages were caused by the hand of man rather than by natural causes. Rising point SPRING/SUMMER 2011
  4. 4. An example of this is the destruction of part of the south colonnade by Venetian cannons in the late 1600’s in an attempt to conquer the city from the yoke of the Ottoman Empire. The Turks had used the Parthenon as an arsenal and magazine while the besiegers were endeavoring to destroy it. (photo #5) Another was the wonton removal of the frieze entablatures by Lord Elgin with no precaution as to their protection while disassembling the pieces. (photo #6) Conversely, the Temple of Apollo at Claros on the east Photo # coast of Turkey not far south of the site of ancient Troy was destroyed by earthquake. The temple was much Photo #5 smaller than the Parthenon, four columns wide by six long, but apparently built along the same lines. This temple housed an important oracle, one of the same stature as that of Delphi at Ephesus. The oracle sat in one of the caves below the temple and foretold the future for an important fee of course. (photo #7) A scribe sat in an adjoining chamber and recorded the utterances. These records were filed away in the event of future claims on the supposed inexactitudes of the prophecy. The omens were couched in convoluted format that any suspected error in the prediction was easily written off as misinterpretation by the recipient of the prophecy. (photo #8) This temple was completely flattened and the ruins were not discovered until the early 20th century. It would appear as if the roof flattened the building and pushed the columns aside. Why hadn’t a similar fate occurred to the Parthenon? This brings up another interesting issue. The layout of the temple appears to be that of a hypostyle hall as shown in this plan; a series of columns supporting cross beams, which in turn support a roof. For many years it was assumed that the temple was indeed covered. (photo #9) Photo #6 Recent studies, however, have concluded that the structure was in fact a peristyle; a peripheral colonnade surrounding an open space to house the ivory and gold statue of Athena which stood beyond the height of the columns in the cella, or interior cell. Thus there was indeed no roof structure thereby reducing the outward stress imposed by its weight. In their constant search for optical perfection, the Athenians introduced certain modifications to their structures that may have helped save the building from the ravages of the quakes and certainly cheated perspective; that optical illusion that make things appear smaller than they are when they are located far, or move away from the viewer. There are no straight lines at the Parthenon; (photo #10) the base shows a slight curvature raising the center axis some five inches higher than the corners. The seventeen flank columns and eight façade ones curve inwards at the top, which have a slightly larger diameter than the base. Likewise the corner columns have a slightly greater diameter than the Rising point SPRING/SUMMER 2011
  5. 5. Photo #7 others and are positioned closer. All this designed to give the viewer the impression of a formidable and awe inspiring structure created to house and honor the protector goddess of their city. It is possible that the inward inclination of the columns may have thwarted to some degree the outward thrust of the roofline, as occurred at Claros. While I am sure that you may find these comments regarding the Parthenon as interesting, that is not the purpose of this paper. I consider it an enduring symbol of a glorious Athenian age that gave us one of the Wonders of the Ancient World. Yet, Athens gave us something farPhoto #8 more important and enduring than the Parthenon. It is called δημοκρατία If this seems Greek to you, you are correct. It is more comprehensible when we apply Latin alphabet characters to the word that then reads dēmocratía demos = people + kratein = to rule. In plain English it is called democracy Athens, a city state, developed a socio-political system unknown at that time whereby all citizens could assemble forty times per year on a hill near the Acropolis called Pnyx. Pnyx was the meeting place of the world’s first ever Photo #9 democratic legislature, the Athenian assembly. As such, the Pnyx is the material embodiment of the principle of isçgoria “equal speech”, i.e. the equal right of every citizen to debate matters of policy. The other two principles of democracy were isonomia, equality under the law and isopoliteia, equality of vote and equal opportunity to assume political office. The right of equal speech was expressed by the presiding officer of the Pnyx assembly, who formally opened each debate with the invitation “Who wishes to speak?” Perhaps the catch here is the word “citizen” for not all individuals were citizens as such; some were slaves or other lesser category Photo #10 inhabitants who did not have those same rights. In other words, then as now, all are equal but some are more equal than others.It is not my intention to describe the architectural details of the Parthenon but to signify that while Athens provided the firstdemocracy in the ancient world, the United States of America provided the first democracy in the modern world and it is atthis point where I associate the Acropolis to the Capitol. Rising point SPRING/SUMMER 2011 5
  6. 6. A group of enlightened men and women, colonists of England under the common laws of that country and perhaps guidedby the grants of the Magna Carta replicated the same Athenian principles in this document penned by Jefferson which hetitled “A Declaration of the Representatives of the UNITED STATES OF AMERICA in General Congress assembled.”The famous initial words “When in the course of human events…” are well known, or should be known, by every citizenor resident of this country. The signed original document, known as the Declaration of Independence is housed in theLibrary of Congress and while the words are fading the principle is not. Jefferson finalized this draft in seventeen daysbetween June 11 and 28.Photo #11This mere act, one of freedom for some, one of rebellion for others, became the birthright of this country. But if I askanyone when was this document signed I expect the response will be “The Fourth of July, 1776 of course”.If you agree and research, you will find that you also are incorrect. Congress declared independence on July 2nd. Two dayslater, July 4th, Congress adopted the Declaration. The original parchment was written, copies were printed and on July19 Congress ordered the Declaration of Independence “to be engrossed and signed by the members”. The Delegates, ledby John Hancock began to sign the document on August 2, 1776. Nonetheless, since July 4th was the date that Congress“adopted” the Declaration that is the date we traditionally celebrate the event.Fifty-six signatures of the representatives of the thirteen colonies are affixed at the foot of that historic parchment.A lengthy war ensued which ended with surrender of Yorktown on October 19th, 1781 leading to a peace negotiation byGreat Britain and the treaty of Paris signed on September 3rd, 1783 recognizing the independence of the United States.In the interim the Articles of Confederation, which had been drawn up on March 2nd, 1781, proved to be insufficient as anationwide governing instrument.6 Rising point SPRING/SUMMER 2011
  7. 7. A new document was drawn consisting of seven articles. Later, on September 25th, 1789 Congress transmitted to thestate legislators twelve amendments, the first ten of which became the Bill of Rights, were ratified and became effectiveon December 15th, 1791.I again ask the question. When was this document signed and by whom?Thirty-nine delegates representing twelve states, including George Washington who signed both as President and delegatefrom Virginia affixed their signature to the Constitution of the United States of America on September 17th, 1787. Nodelegate from Rhode Island signed the Constitution. This date, September 17th will often be referred to in this paperThe delegates had been working for many weeks on its preparation and the document was completed and ready onSeptember 2nd. Yet while this was so and the delegates were assembled and remained in Philadelphia, they waited untilthe 17th to “engross and sign” the document to make it official. I have not found historical references to indicate thereason for this delay. However we may find a forceful reason in our own ritual.As a Fellowcraft, we are admonished to make a daily advancement in knowledge. The Charge insists, “the study ofthe liberal arts, that valuable branch of education which tends so effectively to polish and adorn the mind, is earnestlyrecommended to your consideration”. One of those liberal arts is Astronomy, assisted by which “we can observe the motions, measure the distance, comprehend thePhoto #1 magnitudes and calculate the periods and eclipses of the heavenly bodies. By it we learn the use of the globes, the systems of the world and the preliminary law of nature.” The celestial globe is a calendar that has been studied by humanity since its inception and more especially when humans included agriculture in their knowledge base. Later in our Masonic career we are presented with this figure. (photo #12) It is described as a monument erected to the memory of Hiram Abif consisting of a Virgin weeping over a broken column, an urn containing his ashes and Time unfolding the ringlets of her hair. The emblem of time, the scythe, the hourglass and a portion of a broken column may be readily interpreted but what of the Virgin? Nowhere in the Books of the Bible that relate the building of the first Temple at Jerusalem nor elsewhere in our ritual is there mention of a women except here. Why has this been inserted? Yet, if we recur to a ritual of the late 19th century, we will find another of the many versions of that figure. This one depicts (photo #13) the same characters but in a different context. Firstly and most significantly, a portion of the Zodiac is included. Time is clothed differently; rather than a long robe his waist is bound by what appear to be leaves; a reference to nature perhaps? There is neither hourglass nor urn. We see the entire column broken into two pieces. Time is not playing with the Virgin’s hair but pointing to the section of the Zodiac with the symbol of Virgo , that period of time between late August and Rising point SPRING/SUMMER 2011 7
  8. 8. Photo #1 late September that ends with the Autumnal equinox as shown, on September 23rd followed by the sign of Libra . You are aware that Virgo is Virgin in Latin. So we now begin to see a correlation. From ancient times, the week between the 17th and 23rd of September has been the start of the harvest season and represented in different rites and ceremonies. The Elusinian Mysteries were the center of Greek religious beliefs. They were held at the Spring and Autumnal equinoxes commencing in Athens and finalizing in Eleusis. The rites were dedicated to Demeter, Mother Earth, and her daughter Persephone. The Lesser Mysteries were offered for the general citizenry and represented Demeter’s loss of her daughter Persephone. According to the myth, Persephone had been kidnapped by Pluto the lord of the underworld, and taken to his domain, Hades. Demeter in her search for her daughter abandoned her earthly duties and the plants withered for lack of attention. Zeus intervened and arranged for Persephone to spend one third of the year in Hades and two thirds on earth thereby representing the seasons. The Greater Mysterieswere reserved for the elite and dealt with the basic principles of life and death, a way of living in happiness and of dyingwith greater hope. The initiates were bound to the utmost secrecy under penalty of death.Demeter has been compared to Ishtar of the Babylonians, Astarte of the Phoenicians and Isis, another fertility goddess.The Egyptian mysteries relate the death of the sun god Osiris. Similarly the Roman Dionysic corn god festivities relatedto the death and rebirth of the prime character.This pre-autumn period has been important for centuries back to the Stone Age. The week of September 17th to the23rd has been held in high esteem in religious and secular calendars too. September 17th is the festivity of Our Ladyof Sorrows; it is also the first day of harvest. On September 23rd 1456, named as St. Matthew’s Day, the cornerstone ofRoslyn chapel was laid.At this period certain significant astronomical events occur. Every eight years the planet Venus returns to the apparentsame point in the sky in relation to the earth’s horizon although the background stars are different. The planet, also knownas the morning star, moves one fifth of the Zodiac every year and completes a full lap of the Zodiac every 40 years. Everytwelve cycles, or 480 years, a major event, known as the Shekinah, occurs wherein the planets Mercury and Venus are inconjunction, forming a blazing star. The cornerstone of Solomon’s temple was laid at this time in 967 BC. 480 years laterin 487 BC the Shekinah returned as expected, when the cornerstone of the 2nd temple at Jerusalem was laid after KingCyrus of Babylon allowed the Hebrews to return to their land. The next sighting was expected in the year 8 BC. Was theShekinah the Blazing Star the Magi followed?The Constitution was signed by the delegates on September 17th, 1787 and on Sunday, September 23, the final day of theDemeter mysteries, Mercury and Venus were in conjunction before dawn forming the Shekinah. On Wednesday September18th 1793 the cornerstone of the US Capitol, the maximum exponent of self-rule and democracy, was laid. On that dayVenus and Mercury rose before the sun as morning stars and as the stone was laid and tapped by George Washington at11:00 am Venus, still visible, was directly overhead.On August 2nd, 1952 Congress resolved and requested that the week from September 17th to 23rd be designated asConstitution week. This bill laid in Congress for forty-six years until on September 16th, 2002 George Bush signed the billformalizing the request. This was the time of the Eleusinian Mysteries. Did the president know what he was signing? Rising point SPRING/SUMMER 2011
  9. 9. During this period the sun passes from Virgo to Libra. Virgo is the Zodiac sign of sacrifice and servitude. Libra is the signof justice, equality and freedom. Was it not appropriate that the Constitution be signed at that period?Ten of the fifty-six signers of the Declaration of Independence were proven Masons; fifteen of the forty signers of theConstitution were, at the time or later became, Masons.I have not been able to verify the data regarding the dates and time periods of the Shekinah indicated in any other sourcesthan the publication referred to in the opening statement. I have been able to do so in matters regarding the planet Venus,its recurrence, locations, etc. An example of this is its position at the cornerstone laying of the Capitol. Consequently, I amunable to affirm to the veracity matters stated regarding the Shekinah. However it does make a very good story.It would seem logical to assume that our ancient brethren knew of these reported events and timed the modern eventsaccordingly; or perhaps it was just chance. I will leave that conundrum to you.About author: Wor. Bro. Leo Operti P.M. Eureka Lodge # 106. Grand Lodge of Argentina, F. A. M. Past Grand Expert.Grand Lodge of Argentina P.M. Victory Lodge # 3926 at Buenos Aires. United Grand Lodge of England. A. F. A. M.(Victory Lodge ceased operations in 1980) P.M. Michigan Lodge of Research Information. Grand Lodge of MichiganSeptember 23, 2009Presented at Michigan Lodge of Research quarterly meeting held at Farmington Lodge # 151, Farmington, MI on Saturday,March 12, 2011 Rising point SPRING/SUMMER 2011 9
  10. 10. What eXaCtlY iS “more liGht” in maSonrY? W. Bro. Robert Blackburn., PM Many Masons today confuse ritual proficiency with Masonic “light.” While a deeper understanding and appreciation of ritual can lead to important personal insights, this is not the “light” our Masonic predecessors had in mind. Modern Masonry is a product of the European Enlightenment. “Light,” consequently, was knowledge of the world around us and, more particularly for Masonry, information that makes us all better human beings. Early Masons used their lodges to discuss a variety of topics, loosely ascribed to the seven “liberal arts and sciences.” The ability to intelligently discuss and debate such matters was considered a distinguishing characteristic of a Master Mason. Today’s Masonry has all but forgotten its intellectual heritage. Few lodges are active places of learning, Masonic or otherwise. They are social clubs and service organizations, mistaking memorization and philanthropy with Masonry. Real Masonry, it must be remembered, is about creating enlightened men. Ritual and charitable works are important. Ritual is the entrance to Masonry; philanthropy is one of Masonry’s many gifts. But for Masonry to be truly meaningful, education has to be its cornerstone. Lodges having libraries should update them. Members should organize regular book clubs and discussion groups. More importantly, time should be scheduled at every regular, non- degree meeting for education. This could be a Masonic “short talk” or other informative article. Better yet, a 20 to 30 minute member presentation when time permits. The “seven liberal arts and sciences” is a broad body of knowledge; no doubt every member could, and should, be able to contribute something for discussion. Lastly, lodges should arrange guest speakers or performers, such as university professors and musicians, for special lodge events. Such occasions can be opened to family and invited guests, spreading Masonry’s light a little further. All Masonic lodges should consider themselves “research lodges,” places where members learn about the Craft and grow as enlightened men. We fail ourselves, as Masons, if we do not make time at lodge for learning. We also fail our brothers when we are too stingy to share what we know. This is particularly true for new members who have high expectations of the Fraternity. Therefore, we must all continuously strive, individually and collectively, to bring more light to ourselves and Masonry. Without it, our lodges will be very dark indeed.10 Rising point SPRING/SUMMER 2011
  11. 11. Continued on page 12Rising point SPRING/SUMMER 2011 11
  12. 12. Continued on page 131 Rising point SPRING/SUMMER 2011
  13. 13. Article reprinted from “The Masonic Craftsman” January, 1943 No. 5Rising point SPRING/SUMMER 2011 1
  14. 14. 1 Rising point SPRING/SUMMER 2011
  15. 15. even though we do not regard ourselves as technically a“beneficiary” society.Article reprinted from “The Masonic Craftsman” April, 1940 No. 8 Article reprinted from “The Masonic Craftsman” April, 1940 No. 8 Rising point SPRING/SUMMER 2011 15
  16. 16. Article reprinted from “The Masonic Craftsman” January, 1943 No. 5 Continued on page 1716 Rising point SPRING/SUMMER 2011
  17. 17. Rising point SPRING/SUMMER 2011 17
  18. 18. reaDinG maSonS anD maSonS Who Do not reaD Albert G. Mackey 33° I SUPPOSE THERE are more Masons who are ignorant of all the principles of Freemasonry than there are men of any other class who are chargeable with the like ignorance of their own profession. There is not a watchmaker “The who does not know something about the elements of horology, nor is there ultimate success of a blacksmith who is altogether unacquainted with the properties of red- hot iron. Ascending to the higher walks of science, we would be much Masonry depends on the astonished to meet with a lawyer who was ignorant of the elements of intelligence of her disciples.” jurisprudence, or a physician who had never read a treatise on pathology, or a clergyman who knew nothing whatever of theology. Nevertheless, nothing is more common than to encounter Freemasons who are in utter darkness as to every thing that relates to Freemasonry. They are ignorant of its history -- they know not whether it is a mushroom production of today, or whether it goes back to remote ages for its origin. They have no comprehension of the esoteric meaning of its symbols or its ceremonies, and are hardly at home in its modes of recognition. And yet nothing is more common than to find such sciolists in the possession of high degrees and sometimes honored with elevated affairs in the Order, present at the meetings of lodges and chapters, intermeddling with the proceedings, taking an active part in all discussions and pertinaciously maintaining heterodox opinions in opposition to the judgment of brethren of far greater knowledge. Why, it may well be asked, should such things be? Why, in Masonry alone, should there be so much ignorance and so much presumption? If I ask a cobbler to make me a pair of boots, he tells me that he only mends and patches, and that he has not Iearned the higher branches of his craft, and then hie honestly declines the offered job. If I request a watchmaker to construct a mainspriiig for my chronometer, he answers that he cannot do it, that he has never learned how to make mainsprings, which belongs to a higher branch of the business, but that if I will bring him a spring ready made, he will insert it in my timepiece, because that he knows how to do. If I go to an artist with an order to paint me an historical picture, he will tell me that it is beyond his capacity, that he has never studied nor practiced the comportion of details, but has confined himself to the painting of portraits. Were he dishonest and presumptuous he would take my order and instead of a picture give me a daub. It is the Freemason alone who wants this modesty. He is too apt to think that the obligation not only makes him a Mason, but a learned Mason at the same time. He too often imagines that the mystical ceremonies which induct him into the Order are all that are necessary to make him cognizant of its principles. There are some Christian sects who believe that the water of baptism at once washes away all sin, past and prospective. So there are some Masons who think that the mere act of initiation is at once followed by an influx of all Masonic knowledge. They need no further study or research. All that they require to know has already been received by a sort of intuitive process. The great body of Masons may be divided into three classes. The first consists of those who made their application for initiation not from a desire for knowledge, but from some accidental motive, not always honorable. Such men have been led to seek reception either because it was likely, in their opinion, to facilitate their business operations, or to advance their political prospects, or in some other way to personally benefit them. In the commencement of a war, hundreds flock to the lodges in the hope of obtaining the “mystic sign,” which will be of service in the hour of danger. Their object having been attained, or having failed to attain it, these men become indifferent and, in time, fall into the rank of the non- affiliates. Of such Masons there is no hope. They are dead trees having no promise of fruit. Let them pass as utterly worthless, and incapable of improvement.18 Rising point SPRING/SUMMER 2011
  19. 19. THERE IS A second class consisting of men who are the it supplies material for months of study. He would fain risemoral and Masonic antipodes of the first. These make their higher in the scale of rank, and if by persevering efforts heapplication for admission, being prompted, as the ritual can attain the summit of the Rite and be invested with therequires, “by a favorable opinion conceived of the Institution, Thirty- third degree, little cares he for any knowledge ofand a desire of knowledge.” As soon as they are initiated, the organization of the Rite or the sublime lessons that itthey see in the ceremonies through which they have passed, teaches. He has reached the height of his ambition and isa philosophical meaning worthy of the trouble of inquiry. permitted to wear the double- headed eagle.They devote themselves to this inquiry. SUCH MASONS are distinguished not by the amount ofThey obtain Masonic books, they read Masonic periodicals, knowledge that they possess, but by the number of the jewelsand they converse with well-informed brethren. They make that they wear. They will give fifty dollars for a decoration,themselves acquainted with the history of the Association. but not fifty cents for a book.They investigate its origin and its ultimate design. They These men do great injury to Masonry. They have beenexplore the hidden sense of its symbols and they acquire the called its drones. But they are more than that. They are theinterpretation. Such Masons are always useful and honorable wasps, the deadly enemy of the industrious bees. They setmembers of the Order, and very frequently they become its a bad example to the younger Masons - they discourage theshining lights. Their lamp burns for the enlightenment of growth of Masonic literature - they drive intellectual men,others, and to them the Institution is indebted for whatever who would be willing to cultivate Masonic science, intoof an elevated position it has attained. For them, this article other fields of labor - they depress the energies of our writersis not written. - and they debase the character of Speculative Masonry as a branch of mental and moral philosophy.But between these two classes, just described, there is anintermediate one; not so bad as the first, but far below the When outsiders see men holding high rank and office insecond, which, unfortunately, comprises the body of the the Order who are almost as ignorant as themselves of theFraternity. principles of Freemasonry, and who, if asked, would say they looked upon it only as a social institution, these outsidersTHIS THIRD CLASS consists of Masons who joined the very naturally conclude that there cannot be anything ofSociety with unobjectionable motives, and with, perhaps the great value in a system whose highest positions are heldbest intentions. But they have failed to carry these intentions by men who profess to have no knowledge of its higherinto effect. They have made a grievous mistake. They development.have supposed that initiation was all that was requisite tomake them Masons, and that any further study was entirely IT MUST NOT be supposed that every Mason is expectedunnecessary. Hence, they never read a Masonic book. to be a learned Mason, or that every man who is initiated isBring to their notice the productions of the most celebrated required to devote himself to the study of Masonic scienceMasonic authors, and their remark is that they have no time and literature. Such an expectation would be foolish andto read-the claims of business are overwhelming. Show unreasonable. All men are not equally competent to graspthem a Masonic journal of recognized reputation, and ask and retain the same amount of knowledge. Order, says Popethem to subscribe. Their answer is, that they cannot afford -it, the times are hard and money is scarce. “Order is heaven’s first law and this confest, Some are, andAnd yet, there is no want of Masonic ambition in many of must be, greater than the rest, More rich, more wise”.these men. But their ambition is not in the right direction.They have no thirst for knowledge, but they have a very All that I contend for is, that when a candidate enters the foldgreat thirst for office or for degrees. They cannot afford of Masonry he should feel that there is something in it bettermoney or time for the purchase or perusal of Masonic books, than its mere grips and signs, and that he should endeavorbut they have enough of both to expend on the acquisition of with all his ability to attain some knowledge of that betterMasonic degrees. thing. He should not seek advancement to higher degrees until he knew something of the lower, nor grasp at office,It is astonishing with what avidity some Masons who do unless he had previously fulfilled with some reputation fornot understand the simplest rudiments of their art, and who Masonic knowledge, the duties of a private station. I oncehave utterly failed to comprehend the scope and meaning of knew a brother whose greed for office led him to pass throughprimary, symbolic Masonry, grasp at the empty honors of all the grades from Warden of his lodge to Grand Masterthe high degrees. The Master Mason who knows very little, of the jurisdiction, and who during that whole period hadif anything, of the Apprentice’s degree longs to be a Knight never read a Masonic book nor attempted to comprehend theTemplar. He knows nothing, and never expects to know meaning of a single symbol. For the year of his Mastershipanything, of the history of Templarism, or how and why he always found it convenient to have an excuse for absencethese old crusaders became incorporated with the Masonic from the lodge on the nights when degrees were to bebrotherhood. The height of his ambition is to wear the conferred. Yet, by his personal and social influences, he hadTemplar cross upon his breast. If he has entered the Scottish succeeded in elevating himself in rank above all those whoRite, the Lodge of Perfection will not content him, although were above him in Masonic knowledge. Rising point SPRING/SUMMER 2011 19
  20. 20. the expense of printing, while the authors get nothing; andThey were really far above him, for they all knew something, Masonic journals are being year after year carried off into theand he knew nothing. Had he remained in the background, literary Acaldama, where the corpses of defunct periodicalsnone could have complained. But, being where he was, and are deposited; and, worst of all, Masonry endures depressingseeking himself the position, he had no right to be ignorant. blows.It was his presumption that constituted his offense. The Mason who reads, however little, be it only the pages ofA more striking example is the following: A few years ago the monthly magazine to which he subscribes, will entertainwhile editing a Masonic periodical, I received a letter from higher views of the Institution and enjoy new delights inthe Grand Lecturer of a certain Grand Lodge who had been a the possession of these views. The Masons who do not readsubscriber, but who desired to discontinue his subscription. will know nothing of the interior beauties of SpeculativeIn assigning his reason, he said (a copy of the letter is now Masonry, but will be content to suppose it to be somethingbefore me), “although the work contains much valuable like Odd Fellowship, or the Order of the Knights of Pythiasinformation, I shall have no time to read, as I shall devote the - only, perhaps, a little older. Such a Mason must be anwhole of the present year to teaching.” I cannot but imagine indifferent one. He has laid no foundation for zeal.what a teacher such a man must have been, and what pupils If this indifference, instead of being checked, becomes morehe must have instructed. widely spread, the result is too apparent. Freemasonry must step down from the elevated position which she has beenTHIS ARTICLE is longer than I intended it to be. But I feel struggling, through the efforts of her scholars, to maintain,the importance of the subject. There are in the United States and our lodges, instead of becoming resorts for speculativemore than four hundred thousand affiliated Masons. How and philosophical thought, will deteriorate into social clubsmany of these are readers? One-half - or even one-tenth? or mere benefit societies. With so many rivals in that field,If only one-fourth of the men who are in the Order would her struggle for a prosperous life will be a hard one.read a little about it, and not depend for all they know of The ultimate success of Masonry depends on the intelligenceit on their visits to their lodges, they would entertain more of her disciples.elevated notions of its character. Through their sympathyscholars would be encouraged to discuss its principles and About the Author:to give to the public the results of their thoughts, and goodMasonic magazines would enjoy a prosperous existence. Albert Gallatin Mackey 33° was one of Freemasonry’s most insightful interpreters, and a voluminous author. This essayNOW, BECAUSE there are so few Masons that read, was first published in 1875, and is reprinted from The MasterMasonic books hardly do more than pay the publishers Mason (October 1924 issue). Detroit MASoNiC teMple0 Rising point SPRING/SUMMER 2011
  21. 21. the WorkinG toolS THE SHORT TALK BULLETIN The Masonic Service Association of the United States VOL. 6 April 1928 NO. 4Entered apprentice luxury, dissipation and destruction, his purposes were bad, and at the age of forty-two he died in a drunken fit.The Common Gavel, used by operative Masonsto break off the corners of rough stones, is in Charles the First of England insisted on the divinespeculative Freemasonry a symbol of power. right of kings. he had his courts decree that the King could do no wrong, filled the Tower of London withThe Twenty-four-inch gauge is an instrument used by political prisoners, tortured and decapitated his enemies,operative Masons to measure and lay out their work, claimed the right of life and death over his subjects, andbut in speculative Freemasonry we are taught by its exercised the unlimited power of an absolute monarch.symbolism to divide our time into three equal parts, His purposes were bad, and under Oliver Cromwellwhereby are found eight hours for refreshment and sleep, his career was canceled, the executioner swung aneight for our usual vocations and eight for the service axe and the head of Charles the first rolled in the dust.of God and humanity. There is an object in view and anend to be attained. It is, therefore, a symbol of purpose. These were unusual men occupying exceptional positions, but the power of destruction is terrific in the most ordinaryPower is the ability to act so as to produce change life. Czolgoez, the polish anarchist, was a man of a lowland cause event. Purpose is the idea or object order in the social scale, without wealth, without influence,kept before the mind as an end of effort or action. without education; from the casual viewpoint ignorant, insignificant and weak. His mind was the breeding groundModern science has uncovered so much power that thoughtful of crazy purposes, but he had sufficient destructivemen fear it will work the destruction of civilization unless a power to shoot William McKinley and assassinatecommensurate humane purpose is developed for its direction. the Chief Magistrate of the greatest nation on earth.The day and generation in which we live pulsates with Power directed by a good purpose is constructive, and resultspower, the world is held in place by dynamic oppositions, in achievement. It keeps the cars on the tracks and the wiresthe universe is vibrant with force and man is a part of the in the air, it turns the wheels of man’s industry and carriesdivine energy. The greatest think in God’s created universe the commerce of continents as upon a mighty shoulder.is a man. In him, according to the teachings of Freemasonry,is the eternal flame, the indestructible image of the livingWarren Hastings was born in 1732; his mother was a servantGod. The power of man cannot be defined, cannot be fenced girl who died when the baby was two days old; his fatherin, because it transcends all finite standards of measurement. deserted him, so he grew up as a charity child. He had a hungry mind and obtained an education as best he could.Power directed by a bad purpose is positive destruction. When eighteen years of age he shipped for India, workingAlexander the Great was the most powerful man of his own passage. He had a purpose in his life and there cameantiquity. With an army of 35,000 men he flung himself a power that enabled him to establish the Bengal Asiaticagainst a Persian horde of over one million. He conquered Society, to found colleges out of his own funds and in histhe world, but could not master himself. Intent on lust and own name. Disraeli said English supremacy in India was the Rising point SPRING/SUMMER 2011 1
  22. 22. direct result of this man’s work. Today the memory of Warren that all men are “created equal.” With most of us this is aHastings is linked with the greatness of the British Empire. glittering generality, born of the fact that we are all made of the same dust, share a common humanity and walk on theDavid Livingstone was a humble Scotchman, the son of a level of time until the grim democracy of death blots out allweaver and himself a worker at the spinning wheel. Into his distinctions, and the scepter of the prince and the staff of thesoul there came a great purpose of life, and he went to South beggar are laid side by side. It is apparent that men are notAfrica as a missionary. He was frail of body, never physically equal, and cannot be equal either in brain or brawn. Therestrong, but with the purpose there came to him a power to is no common mold by which humanity can be reducedbrave danger and endure privations. For a period of twenty to a dead level. The world has various demands requiringyears he blazed a trail of light through a dark continent, different powers; brains to devise great and importantdestroyed the slave trade in negroes, and convinced the undertakings; seers to dream dreams and behold visions;world that the salvation of Africa was a white man’s job. hands to execute the designs laid down upon the trestle board;In that commission he surrendered his life on his knees in scientists to adorn the mind and reveal the glories of thesupplication to God. His body was carried thousands of miles universe; poets to inspire the soul and play music on humanby a black man through jungles, over rivers, across land and heart-strings; pioneers to blaze out the path, and prophets toseas; last summer at Westminster Abbey I stood before his light up the way to a land where the rainbow never fades.mortal remains buried and honored in the sepulcher of Kings. The equality of which the Level is a symbol is one ofIn his early manhood Abraham Lincoln stood before a slave right and not one of gift and endowment. It stands for themarket in New Orleans. Upon the block was a young woman, equal right of every man to life, liberty and the pursuit ofstripped to the waist. he heard the auctioneer describe her happiness; the equal right of every man to be free fromfine points and estimate her value. He became conscious, oppression in the development of his own faculties. It meansnot simply of a black form, but of life divinely given. His the destruction of special privilege and arbitrary limitation.soul responded to the challenge of a supreme purposeand he said, “If I have a chance to strike this institution I Freemasonry presided over the birth of our Republic and bywill strike it hard.” Through the years there came to him the skill of its leaders wrote into the organic law of this landthe power to blaze out the path and light up the way for a the immutable truth of which the Level is a symbol. In anew baptism of human freedom, finally to seal that purpose Masonic lodge George Washington was taught that the Levelwith a martyr’s blood and ascend to the throne of God with is a symbol of equality. In the darkest hour of the Colonialfour million broken fetters in his hands. Now the whole cause, the soldiers, in a moment of despair and desperation,world joins in a myriad-voiced chorus of love and honor would have placed on washington’s head the crown of ato his memory. In every land and under every clime he is king. Hayden says, “The overthrow of the rump parliamentexalted and glorified as a mighty champion of human rights. by Cromwell, the breaking up of the imbecile directory by Napoleon were difficult tasks compared to the ease withHistory preserves in the clear amber of immortality the which the divided Continental Congress could have beenrecord of men, who, set on fire by some sublime purpose, dispersed.” Washington was not fighting for royal rank, nor fordedicate the power of their lives to its prosecution. coronation. As a champion of human rights, he was fighting for exact justice and equality of opportunity, and so the kingshipThe lesson is definite and practical. The twenty-four-inch and the crown were rejected with indignation and contempt.gauge and the common gavel speak to every Mason thelanguage of constructive purpose land personal power. They This symbol means that in a Masonic lodge every manmean that a Mason should cherish his ideals, the beauty that should count for one, and no man should count for moreforms in the mind, the music that stirs in his heart, the glory than one. In a Masonic lodge the weak and the strong, thethat drapes his purest purpose, for out of these things he rich and the poor, men of diverse creeds and capacity, meethas the power to build for himself la new world in which to upon the level, close their eyes to arbitrary distinctions andlive. reaffirm that Freemasonry regards no man for his worldly wealth or honors, that the internal and not the externalFellowcraft... qualifications of a man recommend him to Freemasonry.The Level is an instrument used by operative Masons to prove Albert Pike said that Freemasonry was the first apostle ofhorizontals. It is trite to say that it is a symbol of equality. equality. The truth of the Level is woven into the fabric ofThe Declaration of American Independence proclaims our free institutions. So by Craft and country we are picked Rising point SPRING/SUMMER 2011
  23. 23. and pledged to the practice of this priceless principle. In the eyes of the law he had committed the immoral act of theft. But his eyes saw pinched-up faces, his ears heardThe square is an instrument used by operative cries of hunger and, regardless of consequences, his conductMasons to square their work. In speculative corresponded with his conscience in a deed of moral heroism.Freemasonry it is a symbol of morality. Back of all the temporary circumstances and conditionsIt is white with a nameless age. Centuries before the Christian of men and the transitory moral codes evolved by humanera a negative statement of the Golden Rule was called the minds are certain positive standards of morality whichprinciple of acting on the square. Today the expression “upon the Divine Intelligence has impressed on every particle ofthe square” stands for truthful statement and honest dealing. matter and every pulsation of energy. They are the same for all mankind, regardless of place, time, race or religion. OfIn a superficial sense, morality is the verdict of the majority. these standards the trysquare is the Masonic mouthpiece.The elements of time and geography enter into the conception Freemasonry is defined as a beautiful system of morality. Itof moral standards. In some aspects morality is relative; is a woven tapestry of great moral principles and purposes.what is moral to one man may be immoral to another, Whenever a Mason fails to live up to the best that is in him,what is moral in one position may become immoral when whenever he blots out the divine light of his conscience,conditions are changed. The word is difficult of definition, whenever he is recreant to right as God gives him to seebut for everyday use, morality seems to be a correct the right, he is false to the trying square of his profession,correspondence between conscience, circumstance and but by this symbol Freemasonry teaches a morality thatconduct. Within definite limits men have a right to prescribe masters manners, molds mind and makes mighty manhood.standards of morality for themselves. In the eyes of the lawthere are two kinds of wrong. One is called “malum in se,” The plumb is an instrument used by operative Masons to trythat is, an act which is evil in itself and by reason of its perpendiculars. In speculative Freemasonry it is a symbol ofinherent nature. The other is “malum prohibitum” that is, an righteousness, that is, an upright life before God and man.act which is not naturally an evil, but only so in consequenceof its being forbidden. Except where fundamentals are Righteousness is not a sanctimonious word. It meansinvolved, it is dangerous for one man to attempt the rectitude of conduct, integrity of character, and deathlessapplication of his standards of morality to another man’s life. devotion to truth. The Psalmist asked, “Lord, who shall abide in thy Tabernacle?” and this was the answer: “He thatI remember reading a story of the great flood that came walketh uprightly, and worketh righteousness and speakethupon the Ohio. In the grey of the morning some men saw a the truth in his heart.” When correctly understood, the truthhouse floating down the river and on its top a human being. symbolized by the Plumb constitutes a challenge to courage.Going to the rescue, they found a woman whose life theywished to save, but she said, “No! In this house I have three In the Sixteenth century Giordazo Bruno taught a pluralitydead babies, I will not desert; I am going out with them.” of worlds; for this he was accused of heresy. He wasTo most of us that act would verge on the immorality of tried, convicted and imprisoned in a dungeon for sevensuicide; to her it was the expression of a mother’s love years. He was offered his liberty if he would recant, butdeeper than despair and death; her conduct corresponded Burno refused to stain the sanctity of his soul by denyingwith her conscience. We cannot place ourselves in her that which he believed to be true. He was taken from hiscircumstances and in charity should refrain from judgment. cell and led to the place of his execution, clad in a robe on which representations of devils had been painted. HeJean Valjean was a great hulk of a man, young and strong, was chained to a stake, about his body wood was piled,ignorant and big hearted, tramping the streets of Paris in fagots were lighted and on the spot in Rome where asearch of work, trying to care for a widowed sister and her monument now stands to his memory he was consumedfamily of seven little ones. there was no work to be had. He by the flames. Without the hope of heaven or the fear ofcould not bear to hear the voices of starving children so be hell he suffered death for the naked truth that was in him.came home late at night, thinking they would be asleep. Buthunger gnawed, and when he came in they were wide-awake The Great Light of Freemasonry contains this promise:and cried, “Oh, Uncle Jean, have you any work? Oh, Uncle “The righteous shall be in everlasting remembrance.”Jean, we are so hungry!” Madness seized the man; he went Men of tremendous power, men of creative genius, haveto the nearest bakery, broke the window and stole a loaf of passed into oblivion, but the righteousness of a pure andbread. Jean was arrested and sent to Toulon as a galley slave. noble character, of an unselfish and divinely inspired life Rising point SPRING/SUMMER 2011
  24. 24. finds perpetuation in the clear amber of immortality. Of The first is sympathy. Note intellectual sympathy thatthat righteousness the Plumb is a symbol in Freemasonry. passes by on the other side of the street and expresses sorrow, but a red-blooded sympathy that lifts a man up whoUnrighteousness has wrought the destruction of peoples has fallen down and speaks the light of a new hope intoand civilizations, but “righteousness exalteth a Nation.” his face. Dr. Hillis said that sympathy is the measure of a man’s intellectual power. Sympathy is more than this; itSymbols are not academic playthings, they is the measure of a man’s heart-throb and soul vision. Theare intended to provoke and sustain thought. great painters, poets, preachers, physicians, and patriots, whose names illuminate the pages of history, excelled theirFellowcraft Working Tools present to the mind basic ideas contemporaries in this one quality of human sympathy.of equality, morality and righteousness. The second avenue is service. I have read somewhere, mostMaster Mason... likely in one of the writings of Dr. Joseph Fort Newton, a statement that all over the vast temple of Freemasonry,All the implements of Masonry are assigned to the use from foundation stone to the highest pinnacle, is inscribedof a Master Mason. The principal one is the Trowel, an in letters of living light the divine truth that labor is love,instrument used by operative Masons to spread the cement that work is worship, and that not indolence but industrywhich unites the building into one common mass. In is the crowning glory of a man’s life whether he be rich orspeculative Freemasonry it is a symbol of Brotherhood. poor. In all the annals of human progress the men who have accomplished works which have lived after them, whichPaul stood on Mars Hill and said to the Athenians, “God have come up through cycles of time a blessing to succeedinghath made of one blood every nation of men.” That is not generations, had not before their eyes gold or fame oran expression of sentiment but the announcement of a fact, selfish aims or sordid gain, but had hung upon the wallswhether men desire or deny it, whether men cherish it in of their minds great ideals of human service to which theytheir hearts or crucify it. Man’s ignorance does not change remained devoted until the light faded and the day closed.the laws of nature nor vary their irresistible march. God’slaws vindicate themselves; they crush all who oppose and The third avenue is sacrifice, the most radiant word in thebreak into pieces everything that is not in harmony with their history of our race. The sacrifices of father and mother forpurpose. In the light of this truth it can be safely asserted the education of the child, the sacrifices of son and daughterthat no nation, no civilization can long endure which for the old folks back home, the sacrifices of the patriotdoes violence to the divine fact of human brotherhood. for the homeland and the Flag, the sacrifices of the great servants of humanity, have through the ages made musicFraternity is the basis of all important movements for in the souls of men. He who would take sacrifice out ofthe common good and the general welfare of society. human life would steal from maternity its sacred sweetness, expunge the wrinkles from the face of Abraham Lincoln,Freemasonry has been called a “society of friends and and obliterate the stripes of red in our National Flag.brothers employing symbols to teach the truth.” The trowelis a Masonic symbol of love, and with it we are to spread Every advance in civilization involves a victim. Before thethe cement of brotherly affection. Next to faith in God, the progress of the world stands an altar and on it a sacrifice.greatest landmark in Freemasonry is the “Brotherhood ofman.” We call each other “Brother”, but we sometimes fail Back in the centuries Socrates, with a cup of hemlockto realize that brotherhood is a reciprocal relationship. It poison pressed to his lips, offered himself upon the altarmeans that if I am to be a brother to you, then you must be of human sacrifice for the divine right of liberty in man.a brother to me. It is exceedingly practical; it is not only forgrateful gifts and happy hours, but for me when the soul is The words of Patrick Henry before the Virginia Assembly:sad, when the heart is pierced and pained, when the road is “The next gale that blows from the north will bringrough and ragged, and the way seems desolate and drear. to our ears the resounding clash of arms. I know not what course others may take, but as for me, give meThe sentiment of Brotherhood in a man’s heart is a futile thing liberty or give me death,” lifted the soul of Colonialunless he can find avenues for its external expression. So far America up to the coronation of a supreme sacrificeas I have been able to discover, there are three such avenues. and made this Republic of the West a possibility. Rising point SPRING/SUMMER 2011
  25. 25. In the world crisis, American soldiers and sailors, as the By the deathless light that shines from a Masonic Altar.champions of civilization, laid their all, their hopes, theiraspirations, their ambitions, their home ties and affections In Freemasonry we are familiar with the ancient drama ofupon the altar of human sacrifice to insure our national safety, sacrifice made in the name of faith, fortitude and fidelity.defend our national honor, and vindicate the ideals of AmericanIndependence on the battle fields of Flanders and of France. These three, sympathy, service, sacrifice, are the avenues for the external expression ofIn a little country school I was taught that our National Flag the sentiment of brotherhood in man’s heart.stands for the graves of men and the tears of women, foruntrammeled conscience and free institutions, for sacred In proportion as we are inspired by this ideal and use thesememories and great ideals; that its red stands for the blood avenues of expression, our Fraternity will contribute to humanthat bought it, its white for the purity of the motive that good and happiness and answer the end of its institution.caused it to be shed, its blue for loyalty ascending to the sky,and its stars for deeds of bravery brighter than the stars of Tools have been called “The evangelists of a new day.”faultless night, But when I think of George Washington and They are teachers not less than college and cathedral. Just asGen. Joseph Warren, and Capt. John Paul Jones, and that the Twenty-four-inch gauge and Common Gavel stand forheroic band of Masonic patriots in the American Revolution purpose and power, and the Level, Square and Plumb presentand cast the utility of our Craft against the background of its basic ideas of equality, morality and righteousness, so thehistory, I can see its stripes of red baptized in the sacrificial Trowel is Freemasonry’s symbol of unity and brotherhoodblood of our Fraternity, and its stars of glory illuminated among men. Rising point SPRING/SUMMER 2011 5
  26. 26. the PoWer oF the WorShiPFUl maSter THE SHORT TALK BULLETIN The Masonic Service Association of the United States VOL. 7 August 1929 NO. 8 The incumbent of the Oriental Chair has powers peculiar to his station; powers far greater than those of the President of a society or the Chairman of a meeting of any kind. President and Chairman are elected by the body over which they preside, and may be removed by that body. A Master is elected by his lodge, but cannot be removed by it; only by the Grand Master or Grand Lodge. The presiding officer is bound by the rules of order adopted by the body and by its by-laws. A lodge cannot pass by-laws to alter, amend or curtail the powers of a Master. Its by-laws are subject to approval by the proper Grand Lodge committee or by the Grand Master; seldom are any approved which infringe upon his ancient prerogatives and power; in those few instances in which improper by-laws have been approved, subsequent rulings have often declared the Master right in disregarding them. Grand Lodges differ in their interpretation of some of the “ancient usages and customs” of the Fraternity; what applies in one Jurisdiction does not necessarily apply in another. But certain powers of a Master are so well recognized that they may be considered universal. The occasional exceptions, if any, but prove the rule. The Master may congregate his lodge when he pleases, and for that purpose he wishes, provided, it does not interfere with the laws of the Grand Lodge. For instance, he may assemble his lodge at a Special Communication to confer degrees, at his pleasure; but he must not, in so doing, contravene that requirement of the Grand Lodge which calls for proper notice to the brethren, nor may a Master confer a degree in less than the statutory time following a preceding degree without a dispensation from the Grand Master. The Master has the right of presiding over and controlling his lodge, and only the Grand Master or his Deputy may suspend him. He may put any brother in the East to preside or to confer a degree; he may then resume the gavel at his pleasure even in the middle of a sentence if he wants to! But even when he has delegated authority temporarily the Master is not relieved from responsibility for what occurs in his lodge. It is the Master’s right to control lodge business and work. It is in a very real sense his lodge. He decides all points of order and no appeal from his decision may be taken to the lodge. He can initiate and terminate debate at his pleasure, he can second any motion, propose any motion, vote twice in case of a tie (not universal), open and close at his pleasure, with the usual exception that he may not open a Special Communication at an hour earlier than that given in the notice, or a Stated Communication earlier than the hour stated in the by-laws, without dispensation from the Grand Master. He is responsible only to the Grand Master and the Grand Lodge, and obligations he assumed when he was installed, his conscience and his God. The Master has the undoubted right to say who shall enter, and who must leave, the lodge room. He may deny any visitor entrance; indeed, he may deny a member the right to enter his own lodge, but he must have a good and sufficient reason therefor, otherwise his Grand Lodge will unquestionably rule such a drastic step arbitrary and punish6 Rising point SPRING/SUMMER 2011
  27. 27. accordingly. Per contra, if he permits the entry of a A Master cannot accept a petition or confer a degreevisitor to whom some member has objected, he may also without the consent of the lodge. It is for the lodge, not thesubject himself to Grand Lodge discipline. In other word, Master, to say from what men it will receive an application,his power to admit and exclude is absolute; his right upon what candidates degrees shall be conferred. Theto admit or exclude is hedged about by the pledges he Master has the same power to reject with the black balltakes at his installation and the rules of his Grand Lodge. that is possessed by any member, but no power whatever to accept any candidate against the will of the lodge.A very important power of a Master is that of appointingcommittees. No lodge may appoint a committee. The lodge The lodge, not the Master, must approve or disapprovemay pass a resolution that a committee be appointed, but the minutes of the preceding meeting. The Master cannotthe selection of that committee is an inherent right of the approve them; had he that power he might, with theMaster. He is, ex officio, a member of all committees he connivance of the Secretary, “run wild” in his lodge andappoints. The reason is obvious; he is responsible for the still his minutes would show no trace of his improperconduct of his lodge to the Grand Master and the Grand conduct. But the Master may refuse to put a motion toLodge. If the lodge could appoint committees and act confirm or approve minutes which he believes to beupon their recommendations, the Master would be in inaccurate or incomplete; in this way he can prevent athe anomalous position of having great responsibilities, careless, headstrong Secretary from doing what he wantsand no power to carry out their performance. with his minutes! Should a Master refuse to permit minutes to be confirmed, the matter would naturally be broughtThe Master, and only the Master, may order a committee before the Grand Lodge or the Grand Master for settlement.to examine a visiting brother. It is his responsibility to seethat no cowan or eavesdropper comes within the tiled door. A Master cannot suspend the by-laws. He must not permitTherefore, it is for him to pick a committee in which he the lodge to suspend the by-laws.has confidence. So. also, with the committees which report If the lodge wishes to change them, the means areupon petitioners, He is responsible for the accuracy, the available, not in suspension but in amendment.fair-mindedness, the speed and the intelligence of suchinvestigations. It is, therefore, for him to say to whom An odd exception may be noted, which has occurred inshall be delegated this necessary and important work. at least one Grand Jurisdiction and doubtless may occur in others. A very old lodge adopted by-laws shortly afterIt is generally , not exclusively, held that only the it was constituted, which by-laws were approved by aMaster can issue a summons. The dispute, where it young Grand Lodge before that body had, apparently,exists, is over the right of members present at a stated devoted much attention to these important rules.communication to summons the whole membership. For many years this lodge carried in its by-laws an “order of business” which specified, among other things, that followingIt may now be interesting to look for a moment at the reading of the minutes, the next business was balloting. Atsome matters in which the Worshipful Master is not the same meeting of this lodge was early (seven o’clock) thissupreme, and catalog a few things he may not do. by-law worked a hardship for years, compelling brethren who wished to vote to hurry to lodge, often at great inconvenience.The Master, and only the Master, appoints the appointiveofficers in his lodge. In most Jurisdictions, he may At last a Master was elected who saw that the by-lawremove such appointed officers at his pleasure. But he interfered with his right to conduct the business of thecannot suspend, or deprive of his station or place, any lodge as he thought proper. He balloted at what he thoughtofficer elected by the lodge. The Grand Master or his the proper time; the last order of business, not the first. AnDeputy may do this; the worshipful Master may not. indignant committee of Past Masters, who preferred the old order, applied to the Grand Master for relief. The GrandA Master may not spend lodge money without the consent Master promptly ruled that “order of business” in the by-of the lodge. As a matter of convenience, a Master laws could be no more than suggestive, not mandatory; andfrequently does pay out money in sudden emergencies, that the Worshipful Master had power to order a ballot on alooking to the lodge to reimburse him. But he cannot petition at the hour which seemed to him wise, provided--andspend any lodge funds without the permission of the lodge. this was stressed--that he ruled wisely, and did not postpone Rising point SPRING/SUMMER 2011 7
  28. 28. a ballot until after a degree, or until so late in the evening In broad outline, these are the important and principal that brethren wishing to vote upon it had left the lodge room. powers and responsibilities of a Worshipful Master, considered entirely from the standpoint of the “ancient A Worshipful Master has no more right to invade the usages and customs of the Craft.” Nothing is here said of privacy which shrouds the use of the black ball, or which the moral and spiritual duties which devolve upon a Master. conceals the reason for an objection to an elected candidate receiving the degrees, than the humblest member of the Volumes might be and some have been written upon how lodge. He cannot demand disclosure of action or motive a Worshipful Master should preside, in what ways he can from any brother, and should he do so, he would be “give the brethren good and wholesome instruction,” and subject to the severest discipline from Grand Lodge. upon his undoubted moral responsibility to do his best to Grand Lodges usually argue that a dereliction of duty by leave his lode better then he hound it. Here we are concerned a brother who possesses the ability and character to attain only with the legal aspect of his powers and duties. the East, is worse than that of some less well-informed brother. The Worshipful Master receives great honor, has Briefly, then, if he keeps within the laws, resolutions great privileges, enjoys great prerogatives and powers. and edicts of his Grand Lodge on the one hand, and the Therefore, he must measure up to great responsibilities. Landmarks, Old Charges, Constitutions and “ancient usages A Worshipful Master cannot resign. Vacancies occur in and customs” on the other, the power of the Worshipful the East through death, suspension by a Grand Master, Master is that of an absolute monarch. His responsibilities expulsion from the fraternity. No power can make a and his duties are those of an apostle of Light! Master attend to his duties if he desires to neglect them. If he will not, or does not, attend to them, the Senior He is as gifted brother who can fully measure up to the use Warden presides. He is, however, still Senior Warden; of his power and the power of his leadership. he does not become Master until elected and installed.8 Rising point SPRING/SUMMER 2011
  29. 29. BECAUSE I AM A FREEMASON…… I believe that freedom of religion is an inalienable human right and tolerance an indispensable trait ofhuman character; therefore, I will stand in my Lodge with Brothers of all faiths, and respect their beliefs asthey respect mine, and I will demonstrate the spirit of Brotherhood in all aspects of my life.… I know that education and the rational use of the mind are the keys to facing the problems of humanity;therefore, I will bring my questions and my ideas to my Lodge, and strive to advance the growth of my mindalongside my Brothers.… I know that the rich tradition of Freemasonry and its framework of Ritual are important platforms forgrowth and learning; therefore, I vow to stand upon these platforms to improve myself as a human being, andI vow to help in the mission of the Craft to provide tools, atmosphere, challenges and motivation to help eachBrother do the same.… I know that charity is the distinguishing human virtue, and that personal community service is the bestdemonstration of one’s commitment to humanity; I acknowledge that words without deeds are meaningless,and I vow to work with my Lodge to provide service to the community, and to promote charity, friendship,morality, harmony, integrity, fidelity and love.… I know that my obligation to community extends beyond my local sphere and is partly fulfilled in mypatriotism: love of my country, obedience to its laws and celebration of the freedoms and opportunities itsymbolizes.… I know that Page 3 leadership is best demonstrated by commitment to serving 2007 February 2007 Page 3 February others; I will therefore participate 2007 Page 3 Februaryin, and help work at improving individual leadership skills, and serve the Brothers of my Lodge to the best ofmy ability.… I know that friendship, fidelity and family are the foundations of a well-lived life; I therefore vow to bea faithful friend to my Brothers, as I expect my Lodge to respect my personal obligations, and to treat myfamily as though my family were their own.… I know that the last great lesson of Freemasonry -- the value of personal integrity and the sanctity of one’sword -- is a lesson for all people in all times; I therefore vow to be a man of my word.… I know that Masonry’s power is best exercised when its Light is shared with the world at large; I thereforevow to bring the best of myself to my Lodge, in order that my growth might be fostered and nurtured, and topresent myself to the world as a working Freemason, on the path to building a more perfect temple.Because I am a Freemason,these values and aspirations are guideposts for my progress through life. Source: Grand Lodge F.A.M. State Of New York - http://www.nymasons.org/cms/masoniccompact Rising point SPRING/SUMMER 2011 9