Wednesday, December 15, 2010


By Brother Jeff Godwin

In the ancient world of Operative Masonry the masons were often required to move from job to job much as in our modern time. It was further explained that ancient master masons, just as 1st class masons of today of today, were more likely to travel great distances than those of lesser ranks (FC & EA). Due to their experience (and today, usually a membership in the labor union representing the craft) they could move freely from job to job. Those doing so were normally members of a Masonic guild, whose members would, if known, vouch for the qualifications of (or recommend) another "traveling" mason.

In speculative masonry we as Master Masons may freely move from Lodge to Lodge (either visiting or moving membership) and upon proper avouchment or by testing be found worthy to attend another Master Mason Lodge. This is much the same as moving from one job to another or from one ancient Masonic guild to another.

Also, a Master Mason is a traveler from west to east, as east is the where the sun comes up, hence the source of light. This is why the master sits in the East. Because it is the source of light. Thus being a traveling man represents our journey from darkness to Masonic light (enlighten). We "traveled" symbolically when we were raised to the sublime degree of Master Mason. Remember the words, "It will be necessary for you to travel"? and the condition of the road we would have to travel?

In Masonry we are told to seek the light. Light in Masonry is knowledge and from that knowledge comes information and understanding.


By Robert H. Starr
Samuel Gompers-Benjamin Franklin Lodge No. 45
Washington, D.C.

You have now received the three Symbolic degrees of Ancient Craft Masonry and, I hope soon, such instruction in the work of those degrees as will enable you to pass a creditable examination therein—whenever you should visit lodges in this or other jurisdictions throughout the world where you are unknown and cannot be vouched for as a Master Mason.

You have also received, I hope, through the Lodge System of Masonic Education prescribed by our Grand Lodge an appreciation of the lessons we are trying to teach and are versed, at least to some extent, in the history, traditions, laws, customs and usages of the Craft. As a part of the Masonic Education program, you have been told of your privileges, your duties and your responsibilities as a member of your Masonic Lodge. Some of these may be enumerated briefly as follows:
(a) To hold membership in some lodge.
(b) To pay regularly and promptly such dues and assessments as your Lodge may
levy. To attend the communications of your Lodge, to join in its deliberations, to have a voice in its decisions and to assist in discharging its responsibilities, among which are:
1. Volunteer service on committees.
2. Donations to the Masonic Blood Bank, if eligible.
3. Assistance in conferring degrees.
4. Attendance and assistance at Masonic funeral services when summoned.

Your Lodge needs your help in these and many other ways. Masonry makes no demands; she provides opportunities, she gives you the key to a door, she opens a path to your feet, but she forces you neither to use the key nor travel the path. She beckons; you
may follow or not as you please. If you follow, you will travel strange ways, but you will find them increasingly pleasant the further you go.
This paper is limited to providing information about some of the courtesies and etiquette of lodge life as generally, although not necessarily universally, practiced. Masonry has developed its own conventions, governed by tradition, custom and usage, by which its members act in lodge and in the anteroom and live together with the least friction. Not to proceed according to their dictates is not a Masonic offense; it is merely a lack of Masonic manners. Unless you belong to a most unusual lodge, or had a most wise brother for an instructor, it is doubtful if you were told much about these little niceties of lodge conduct. You are supposed to attend your lodge and learn by observation.

Entering or retiring from lodge at labor or at refreshment by use of the due guard – symbol of a Mason’s obligations.

One of the prerogatives of a W.M. is to control the admission and retirement of both members and visitors to his lodge. Masons, entering a lodge give the due-guard to salute the W.M. at the Altar, if the lodge is at labor. This practice assures the W.M. that the brother knows on which degree the lodge is open. A brother making a wrong sign can be instructed immediately. He can readily determine this before giving the due-guard by observing how the square and compasses are placed upon the Holy Bible on the Altar. The salute informs the W.M. that the brother is a Mason of the degree on which the lodge is open; if he makes an inferior sign and cannot, on request, give the right one, the W.M. can then use other means to ascertain that no E.A. or F.C. is present in a Master Mason’s lodge. The salute is a silent assurance to the W.M. and through him to the brethren: “I remember my obligations.”

Brethren give a similar salute to the W.M. at the Altar upon retiring in order to get permission to leave. No one can enter or leave a lodge room while a lodge is at labor without permission. If the W.M. does not wish the brother who salutes to retire, he tells him so, instead of responding to the salute.

At refreshment the lodge is in charge of the J.W. in the South, which thus becomes, for the time being, constructively the East. The J.W.’s pillar is raised and the pillar of the S.W. is lowered. The same salutes are given to the J.W, as are usually given to the W.M. and for the same reasons, in the event a brother wishes to enter or retire.

The W.M. in the East occupies the most exalted position in the gift of the lodge. A lodge which does not honor its W.M., not because of what he himself may be, but on account of the honor given him, is lacking in Masonic courtesy. The position he occupies, not the man himself, must be given the utmost respect, if the traditions of the Fraternity are to be observed. It is, therefore, to the W,M., not to John Smith who happens to be the W.M., that you offer a salute when you enter or retire from lodge. Like any other salute, this may be done courteously and as if you meant it or perfunctorily as if you did not care. The man who puts one finger to his hat brim when he speaks to a woman on the street compares poorly with his well-bred neighbor who lifts his hat. Taking the hat off is the modern remains of the ancient custom of Knights who removed their helmets in the presence of those they felt their friends and thus, before those they wished to honor by showing that they trusted them. A man removes his hat before a woman to show his respect. Touching the brim is but a perfunctory salute. Similarly, the salute to the W.M. is your renewed pledge of fealty and service, your recognition before all your assembled brethren of your obligations. It is performed before the W.M. and the Altar to show him your veneration for his authority, your respect for all of that, for which he stands. To offer your salute as if you were in a hurry, too lazy properly to make it, or bored with its offering, is to be, Masonically a boor. Moreover, brethren should not approach the Altar with bundles or papers in hand. Some lodges permit smoking during a business meeting. Even here, however, a brother is not too respectful who makes a solemn salute to the W.M. before the Altar with a cigarette or cigar either in his mouth or in his hand.

Addressing the Lodge

In addressing the lodge for any purpose, a brother speaks to the W.M. The W.M. is the lodge. A brother stands to order when addressing the chair, gives salute (due-guard and penal sign) and begins speech only after the W.M.’s recognition. A brother does not turn his back on the W.M. to address the lodge without permission from him. He who seconds a motion rises and salutes when doing so. No brother should ever sit while speaking. Moreover, the spectacle of two brethren on their feet at the same time, arguing over a motion, facing each other and ignoring the W.M. is not one which any W.M. should permit. But it is also one which no W.M. should have to prevent!
Failure to obey the gavel at once is a grave discourtesy. The W.M. is all powerful in the lodge. He can put or refuse to put any motion. He can rule any brother out of order on any subject at any time. He can say what he will and will not permit to be discussed. Brethren who think him unfair, arbitrary, unjust, or acting illegally have redress; the Grand Lodge can be appealed to on any such matter. But in the lodge, the gavel, emblem of authority, is supreme. When a brother is rapped down, he should at once obey, without further discussion. It is very bad manners to do otherwise; indeed, it is close to the line between bad manners and a Masonic offense.


If an officer is absent, the officers below his station do not necessarily each move up a chair. There is no “advancement by right” for any office except that of W.M. The W.M. fills any vacancy by temporary appointment. In the absence of the W.M., the S.W. presides. In the absence of both the W.M. and the S.W., the J.W. presides. The W.M. may ask a P.M. or any brother he believes qualified to fill a temporarily vacant chair.

Alter and the East

Except in procession during a degree, it is practically universal that brethren do not pass between the Altar and the East in a lodge at labor. Why? This courtesy is rooted in the thought that the W.M. should have the Great Lights constantly in view. In theory, the Holy Bible, Square and Compasses on the Altar are dedicated to God, the Master and the Craft and are in the charge of the Master. He draws inspiration from the Great Lights on the Altar to preside over the lodge and, therefore, at no time should his view of them be interrupted. This custom is but a pretty courtesy, but it is rooted in a fundamental conception of the Craft - that the Altar is the center of Masonry and that from it and the Great Lights it bears, flow all that there is of Masonic inspiration, truth and light.

Brethren who respect the formalities of their lodge will not enter it undressed; that is, without their apron or while putting on that apron. Aprons should be put on before entering the lodge room. When, as
sometimes happens on “big nights”, there are not enough aprons, a handkerchief may be tucked in the belt to take its place. The spectacle of a late brother hurriedly entering the lodge room at the last moment, tying on his apron as he approaches the Altar is much on a par with a member of church entering it while putting on his collar and tie.
As you have already learned, the use of the apron is extremely old, not, as with the operative Masons, as a protector of clothing and body against tools and stone, but as a badge of honor. In all times and climes, it has been a badge of distinction. It is as such that a Mason wears it. The material of the Masonic apron - lambskin - is a symbol of innocence, as the lamb has always been. It is a courtesy much appreciated by all Tilers if brethren leaving the lodge room lay their aprons neatly in a pile or in the apron box, instead of dropping them anywhere for the Tiler to pick up and put away.


The thoughts above outlined will disclose that good manners in Masonry, like those in civil life, are rooted in kindness and flower in good will. They oil the Masonic wheels and enable them to revolve without creaking. They smooth the path of all in the lodge and prove to all the truth of the ritualistic explanation of that “more noble and glorious purpose” to which we are taught to put the trowel.

December Trestleboard


Well, it is time for a change. The annual Installation of Officers is scheduled for December 04, 2010. The event (Don’t miss this) will start at 07:00 pm sharp! Please plan on attending to support your new officers, including the New Master, and of course the retiring Master. I know these gentlemen have been working very hard to be the best!!

There have been many conferrals of degrees this year, including many deserving brethren who have been raised to the sublime degree of Master Mason. Many are waiting to advance. If you are one of these brothers who are working on your proficiency and need help, Worshipful Morris will be available on Wednesday evenings at the Lodge. Please let him know if you would like to meet with him.

Lastly, I would like to thank several of the brethren who have gone out of their way to support me as Master, and offered a kind ear. Well, there is not enough space to do that. THANK YOU ALL!

I am looking forward to serving Worshipful-elect Casalicchio for the New Year. I know it will be enjoyable.


Phill E. Mossey
Worshipful Master

Greetings from the West my true and trusted friends. I hope that this communication finds you all well.

First let me thank you for the confidence you have reposed in me. Allowing me to serve as the Master of Greenleaf Gardens Lodge No. 670 is an absolute honor. I promise to serve the lodge to the best of my abilities.

Secondly, as we transition into this next masonic year, we will be building upon the momentum of those who have come before us, and will be very busy, not just in our home, but without it as well. There is much work to be done in our community. The burdens and responsibilities will not fall upon the officers of your lodge alone, but we shall shoulder them together. It must be this way, and I believe wholeheartedly that we will enjoy the process, especially when we can stand back and enjoy the fruits of our labors. Brethren, with sincere effort and clear focus, this work will be noticeable. As I have mentioned to you before, you will be called upon to assist in these tasks, and your help will be appreciated in any way that you are able. From phone calls to our widows and brethren, to boots on the ground, all help is needed.

Additionally, I let me remind us all that, “Masonry takes good men and makes them better.” I love this statement, and it must be understood that it is not masonry alone which does or can do this, it is what you put into masonry, and the practice of its principals. Even the finest of maps cannot carry a man to his destination; it takes a first step, then a second, then a third and so forth. The map cannot do it alone.

Lastly, to Worshipful Phill Mossey, thank you for your service to our lodge, in this year, and each year before. We all know how much you give of yourself to masonry in general, and this is to be admired. Thank you for your fine leadership and gentle counsel.

Fraternally Yours,
Anthony Casalicchio
Senior Warden


Congratulations to our newly elected officers. I am excited that we have will for the first time in years have no Past Masters sitting in the line. That bodes well for our Lodge as it enters the next decade. Our ritual is crisp and we regularly read applications in our stated meetings. While the Lodge membership has continued to decline due to the passing of our older brethren, we will eventually turn the corner and begin to increase. We lost 15 members this year due to death and one demit. and The Lodge is now below 200 in membership. If you haven’t been here recently, come. If you live too far away visit a lodge near you. You have friends you have not yet met.

Have you moved and changed your phone number or can you give us your email address? Communication is important in Free Masonry. Worshipful Phill Mossey our Master has worked this year to make sure every member gets a personal call but our files still have a large number of bad phone #. We would appreciate your updating of your personal file. If you know of a widow who has passed away please let us know so we can correct the records. The list is never published so please help us out.
Do you know of a brother, widow or spouse who is in ill health or needs relief. Please let our Senior Warden know or call 562- 562-2755. The Lodge wants to help.
December is our annual Installation of officers. See you there

Jerry Garfield Laiblin, P.M.

Wednesday, October 6, 2010

October Trestleboard

Worshipful Master


During the month of October, I will be attending a well earned vacation for the first two weeks, so the Stated Meeting will be under the direction of our Senior Warden brother Anthony Casalicchio in the East. This will be a very important meeting, as a resolution for a change of Lodge dues and cost of Degrees has been read, and will be voted upon at this meeting. Please plan on attending as your voice should be heard.

The annual communication of Grand Lodge in California is now history for this year, with many exciting changes, and a new line of officers. Most Worshipful William J. Bray III has been installed and is working hard to make the Masonic Fraternity in California the best in the world.

This year our Lodge had the honor to have eight of our brethren at the annual communication. This gave them a chance to meet other Lodges, and learn just what the business side of our fraternity is.

Our officers have been working very hard to advance and qualify for their next year’s position. We also have several degrees still in progress through the end of the year.

I want to thank all the Brethren who have been here this year, attended degrees, and worked on committees, and ask everyone else, "Where have you been?" Please plan to attend your Lodge, and make it the best in the world.


Phill E. Mossey

Worshipful Master

Junior Warden


As we all know, fellowship holds a very important role in Masonry. It is the time that we spend together which brings us together. By spending quality time with our fellow brothers and their families we strengthen our bonds and thereby strengthen our Lodge. This year’s social calendar has offered us several opportunities to meet and bond, from activities such as movie nights to a day at the beach. One of the most traditional times for fellowship is during the breaking of bread. Our stated meeting dinners offer us a regular time to enjoy each others company, laugh, gossip, and make friends. This year several of our Brothers have taken time to make this night of fellowship extra special by personally designing the meals and executing the cuisine which has been giving the evenings an extra special touch of "family" closeness. Jerre Morris put his heart into creating a delicious meal for us in September; thank you Jerre.

For our October stated meeting dinner Brothers Gerry Laiblin and Brent Berry will be working hard in the kitchen to prepare a delicious meal for us. Please join us for dinner and take advantage of this perfect opportunity to become close with your Lodge.


David Rubin

Junior Warden




Our Annual Santa Maria Style BBQ had a great turnout. There isn’t enough room on this page to list the Brother’s and their wives or sweethearts who worked to make it a great evening.

The Lodge is sponsoring a Lifeline Screening on Wed, October 13 at our building. It is a community service by our Lodge to decrease the risk of stroke and other vascular diseases. If you live near Whittier or have a neighbor/friend who does, make them aware of the opportunity and save a life.

Have you moved and not changed your phone number or given us your email address?

We have recently received another batch of notices from the Post Office of bad addresses. The Lodge has made a great effort this year to contact every member and widow. Our files still have a large number of bad phone #. We would appreciate your updating of your personal file. If you know of a widow who has passed away please let us know so we can correct the records. The list is never published so please help us out.

Do you know of a brother, widow or spouse who is in ill health or needs relief. Please let our Senior Warden know or call 562- 562-2755. The Lodge wants to help.
I have been asked by several members to describe the process of remitting the dues of a Brother who can not pay his dues. The process is call remission of dues. Essentially the Lodge pays the direct cost of membership and Grand Lodge waives the per capita tax on any Brother who has his dues remitted. The process requires a written request (we will take a phone call) stating the reason. The charity committee reviews the need and makes a recommendation to the Lodge. The Lodge votes to remit the dues. The name of the Brother is never published. Common reasons are: fixed income is too low to pay normal household expenses; the Brother is no longer capable of being aware of unpaid bills, high medical bills or loss of job. We are required to review these individual annually to make sure the reason is still valid. There are benefits to Masonic membership in good standing for both the Brother and his widow... They include entrance to the Masonic Homes, in home care and support from Masonic Outreach services regardless of the place of residence. We have a number of brethren who live out of state who are receiving help where they live. We do not want to loss a Brother because of economics.

Jerry Garfield Laiblin, P.M.


Tuesday, August 31, 2010

September Trestleboard, Worshipful Master

September is upon us, and the year is over half done. It seems to me that the older I get, the faster time slips away. Well, it may just seem that way.

September starts out with the Stated Meeting, including dinner, which will be prepared and served by Worshipful Jerre Morris. He has an outstanding menu planned, so please plan to attend.

This is also the month for the Santa Maria BBQ – The Lodge has been hard a work planning this event and even convinced a few of our brethren to help with the entertainment. – This should be a great success! – We need your support.

Last but not least, September is also the annual communication of Grand Lodge. I have received a copy of the current resolutions, and will be discussing them with the Lodge soon. Please let me know of your feelings, so your vote will count.

I am looking forward to seeing you this month.


Phill E. Mossey

Worshipful Master

September Trestleboard, Junior Warden

I hope everyone has had an enjoyable summer and has had time to spend with family and friends. The time that we spend away from Lodge offers us opportunity to practice outside the Lodge those morals and values which are such an important part of Masonry.

As Master Masons we are encouraged to travel; to visit other Lodges, to spread the cement of brotherly love, and learn from others. This summer I was blessed with the opportunity to travel to Massachusetts. While there I was given a personal tour of the Grand Lodge of Massachusetts. This is a beautiful building situated right on the corner of Boston Commons. It houses impressive lodge rooms which accommodate several different branches of Masonry. The extensive library is not to be missed. My gracious host was a wealth of information and had many interesting historical as well as debatable (but fun) stories to relate. Please visit our website where I have posted some photos of my visit.

We look forward to visiting with everyone at Lodge and sharing our summer stories.


David Rubin

Junior Warden

September Trestleboard, Secretary

Our Annual Santa Maria Style BBQ is coming up on Saturday, September 11, 2010. The tickets have been mailed, so send a check and bring a guest. It will be a great evening. See you there.

The Lodge is sponsoring a Lifeline Screening on Wed, October 13 at our building. While there is a modest charge it is a community service by our Lodge to decrease the risk of stroke and other vascular diseases. If you live near Whittier and can come there is a discount to lodge members.

Have you moved and not changed your phone number or given us your email address? We have recently received notice from the Post Office of a number of address changes. The Lodge has made a great effort this year to contact every member and widow. Our files have a large number of bad phone #. We would appreciate your updating of your personal file.

The list is never published so please help us out. The August Stated meeting is the month when the Lodge and Temple Association reports on our financial condition. A short summary of those reports include; Investments of $697,000

The Lodge Treasurer reported having expenses less than budgeted but with a $10,000 deficit. Dues and Degree Fees no longer cover their intended costs.

The Temple Association Treasurer reported a 27% increase in rental income and a reduction in expenses with a $500 surplus for the first six months. The Secretary reported that we had a net loss of six members in the first six months. Membership is now 204 Master Masons.

Jerry Garfield Laiblin, P.M.


7 Facts you did not know about Freemasons

September 2010 Trestleboard

Freemasons has been a longstanding tradition since the Medieval Ages. Many people associate masonry with the Christian religion due to the crusades and have thought about Freemasons as members of organizations and communities that have hidden secrets and various ritualistic ceremonies. Regardless, there are facts about Freemasons that many people do not know and here are seven of them.

Freemasons Fact #1: Fraternities did not invite new members to join and close friends were prohibited by Masonic Law to give out invitations. Each member of a Masonry would have to become a member out of his own will and abilities.

Freemasons Fact #2: A Freemasons does not require any worship services to take place at the Lodge although it is highly affiliated with the church and religious virtues. Freemasons is strictly a fraternal organization where the meetings have been like club meetings. At these meetings, Freemasons discuss issues, community projects, current events and factors dealing with the Lodge.

Freemasons Fact #3: Masonic groups and societies have overtime become open to the public. Meetings of Freemasons are announced to the public and members of the groups are listed in public directories. The buildings in which meetings are held are marked by symbols and any other regalia such as Masonic rings are worn publicly. The idea of Freemasons as a secret society has been given up, but the only secrets that remain to the Masons are their passwords, signs of recognition and certain ceremonies.

Freemasons Fact #4: The Freemasons lodges in England have made it a custom for masons to wear white gloves. This tradition of wearing white gloves functions as protective clothing for stonemasons. It also became an act of etiquette in order to be well-mannered and bearing a formal dress code.

Freemasons Fact #5: There have been a handful of Presidents of the United States who were not only president, but also Freemasons. George Washington was the first person to be president of the US and a Master of a lodge. Theodore Roosevelt was initiated to a lodge where he changed its name from “Executive Mansion” to what is now known as the “White House.”

Freemasons Fact #6: One of the secret customs of Freemasons has been the Secret Ballot. The Secret Ballot was used when a man wanted to apply to become a Mason at a lodge and other members of the lodge would vote with the ballot to either accept or reject the man for membership. In addition, before admitting someone to become a mason, a thorough background check would be conducted first.

Freemasons Fact #7: Although Masonic communities and groups have revolved around initiations, levels of rank or degrees, rites and have been organized groups, there has not been one authoritative leader in Freemasons organizations. The Masons in Freemasons are governed by a set of laws and regulations of Freemasons itself. However, each Lodge has its own set of officers but every lodge in the entire world abides by the same symbols, degrees and rigor.

With these seven facts about Freemasons, it is now possible to make more accurate judgment about the nature of Freemasons, their organizations and the members.

Did You Know?

From the September 2010 Trestleboard

Independence Hall in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, USA has many, many Masonic connections. It stands on land purchased by Wm. Alllen, Grand Master of PA. The ground was staked by Edmond Wolley, a Mason. Thomas Boude, the brick mason, was the first Secretary of St. John's Lodge of Philadelphia and later Deputy Grand Master. Benjamin Franklin laid the cornerstone while Grand Master (1734) with the assistance of St. John's Lodge. Brother Andrew McNair of Philadelphia rang the bell to call the populace on July 8, 1776, to hear the reading of the Declaration of Independence. The Liberty Bell cracked in 1835 when it tolled the death of Chief Justice John Marshall, Past Grand Master of Virginia.

Jean Sibelius (1865-1957) the great composer of 'Finlandia' and other immortal musical works, composed the ritualistic music used by the Grand Lodge of New York and presented it to them in appreciation for the part played by Grand Lodge in establishing Masonry in Finland. He was a member of Suomi Lodge #1, Helsingfors.

Masonic emblems appear on the Giuseppe Garibaldi Monument in Rome having been restored after they were removed by Mussolini who substituted Fascist symbols for them. Garibaldi, great Italian liberator, was Grand Master of Italy.

Robert Newman, Sexton of Christ Church also known as the "Old North Church" in Boston was the man who hung the lantern to signal 'The Red Coats Are Coming'. Paul Revere then rode through the countryside to warn the colonists of the impending danger. Both were Masons. The present Rector, after arriving at the Church heard the frequent stories of Freemasonry's involvement there. After investigation of the organization, he too became a member!

"Oscar of the Waldorf", internationally famous chef was born in Switzerland Oscar Tschirky and was a member of Metropolitan Lodge #273, New York City.

The author of "Bambi" and other immortal stories for children was Brother Felix Salten (1869-1945), a member of the Lodge "Zur Warheit" in Vienna, Austria.

Sunday, August 8, 2010

Operation Greatest Gift

World War II ended in 1945, but it wasnt until 2004 that a memorial was dedicated in Washington, D.C. to the 16 million who served in the armed forces during that war.

Health and financial obstacles have prevented most surviving veterans, now well into their 80s, from taking the long trip to honor their fallen friends and their years of service.

Operation Greatest Gift, the Grand Masters Project for 2009-2010, will make this dream come true for hundreds of Californias World War II veterans.

We will organize several three-day trips to Washington, D.C. designed to provide what many veterans cannot provide for themselves: an assisted visit to the memorial, at no cost to them. Because of our support, they will have an opportunity to say goodbye to fallen friends, be recognized for their service to our country, and come to terms with an important part of their lives.

The Grand Masters Project will also raise funds to support the work of the Masonic Hospital Visitors Program Committee. This committee of dedicated Masons ensures that there is always a presence at our states veterans hospitals by providing friendship, social programs, and regular visitation.

Together, we can show our veterans that their service has not been forgotten.

Supporting Operation Greatest Gift

We expect to raise $400,000 to make this dream a reality. The Grand Master will be traveling throughout the state, and will be honored to accept gifts from both lodges and individuals.

Please contact the Grand Lodge Office of Philanthropy at 415/292-9117.

Wednesday, July 21, 2010

First Annual Lodge Beach Day

Huntington State Beach

WHEN: July 24th, 2010 Time 6am to 10pm
WHERE: Huntington State Beach
WHY: "For a Day of Fellowship"
NOTE: This event is open to everyone! Please invite friends and family and those who may be interested in Freemasonry. BRING what you would like to eat. We will have aq fire going all day for cooking.

I found a cool article that might help you plan. Cooking Around the Campfire

Thursday, July 1, 2010

July Trestleboard, Master


Well, summer has arrived, and we should all feel the hot and restful days of the season. But, work has not been completed. “What, we are still busy with degrees, candidate coaching and tasks to complete?” Yes that is very true! With all the degrees that were conferred during the first part of the year, the candidates must still pass and rise to there next level. And applications are still coming in! (What a wonderful problem) How long has it been since Masonry has heard that? Yes, my brethren, Masonry is again growing.

The officers are advancing to their next stations to qualify, and the officer’s coach is very hard at work! As so are the officers. Our Lodge is very lucky to have among its membership many hard working brothers who believe is the Masonic Fraternity teaching, and values. They have taken the many years of their experience and passed it on to the newer members. (I have had the benefit of this education, and without the many hours these brothers have given to pass on this valuable knowledge, I would not be where I am today) Thank You!!

The Santa Maria BBQ Committee has reminded me that the annual Santa Maria BBQ is rapidly approaching, and we should make plans to attend. This is a fund raiser for the maintenance and upkeep of our property. The date is scheduled for Saturday, September 11th. The cost, which as remained unchanged is still $ 25.00 per person. Children free!! This is a great value, the meal is well worth the price, but the company is beyond value.

Lastly, please remember that the Stated Meetings of July and August are business meetings only and do not have a meal before the meeting. Meeting starts at 7:30pm. Have a safe and great summer!!


Phill E. Mossey

Worshipful Master

July Trestleboard, Secretery


Our Annual Santa Maria Style BBQ is coming up on Saturday, September 11, 2010. Please save the date.

The Greenleaf Masonic Temple Association has recently finished putting in carpet and a dance floor in our main dining room. The room looks great and much more appealing to potential renters. The annual BBQ proceeds helped make this possible The Board has worked diligently to reduce costs of operation and maintain building maintenance of the Lodge’s Main asset, our building. Thanks to Brother, Joe Grubb we have reduced electrical costs by changing out lights. Brother, Charlie Trent has repaired the tile in the main ding room. Work parties led by our Wardens have improved the look of the kitchen and the exterior of the building.

You can help reduce the operating costs of our Lodge by sending in your e-mail address and having the Trestleboard and other announcements and events additions sent to your computer. Just e-mail and we will make the change. Each Trestleboard costs nearly a dollar to mail, so help your dues go a little further and save a few trees at the same time.

There are over 20 members who have not paid their 2010 dues. We will be paying $33 per member in the annual Grand Lodge assessment in early August so it would be a great help for as many people as possible to be paid up. If you are having some financial difficulties the Lodge will consider remitting your dues for 2010. We do not have to pay the assessment on members whose dues are remitted and the names are kept confidential... The action requires a written request. Please either pay or write the Lodge immediately.

Jerry Garfield Laiblin, P.M.


July Trestleboard, Junior Warden

Summer is upon us again. Although we will not be serving dinner at our July and August Stated Meetings, we encourage everyone to support the Lodge by continuing to attend the meetings. The fellowship will be enjoined by all. Speaking of fellowship, on Wednesday June 16th the Lodge hosted another movie night for the Brethren and their families.
We had about 20 people attend and it turned out to be a very enjoyable evening. We have more events in the planning for this summer and into the fall.

Brother Colburn is working diligently to keep our website posted with upcoming activities. Currently we are planning for a fun filled day at the beach. We will be staking out a fire ring at the Huntington Beach State Beach on Saturday July 24th and spending the day with our Brethren, families, and friends. It will be a day full of games, sun, biking, food, music, swimming, and good conversation. Please visit our website: and click on the “Activities” link or go directly to for full information about the beach party. We will be putting together a list of items that people can offer to help with and/or bring along to share. Let’s make this a great summer of fellowship!


David Rubin

Junior Warden



The first lodge in Kansas was Wyandotte Lodge. It net in the home of the Senior Warden, Matthew R. Walker. Mr. Walker, an Indian, acted as Tyler of the lodge. Later Mrs. Walker became the first Grand Matron of the Eastern Star in Kansas.


At the time he was raised in Highland Park Lodge No. 382 in Los Angeles, California, John Aasen was eight and a half feet tall and weighed 536 pounds. Twelve craftsmen were required for certain parts of the ceremony. There were 1500 Masons present to observe the ceremony.
Charles S. Stratton, a midget, was made a famous by P. T. Barnum as "General Tom Thumb". He was first presented to the public in 1842; as the time he was two feet high and weighed 16 pounds. In 1844 he married Lavinia Warren, also a midget. He settled in Bridgeport, Connecticut and was raised in St. John's Lodge No. 3 on October 3, 1862.


In 1899 Leader Scott (a pen name) published her book, The Cathedral builders, the story of a Great masonic Guild. This was followed in 1910 by W. Ravenscroft's The Comacines, their Predecessors and their Successors. The theory advanced is that when the Roman Collegia of Artificers were abolished, a group of workmen retired to an island in Lake Como where they preserved their technical skills and later built the cathedrals of Europe. This theory was followed by Joseph Fort Newton in The Builder and was widely accepted by readers of his popular book.


In 1853 the Reverend F. Peterson wrote on page 101 of his History of
Rhode Island and Newport of the past: "In the spring of 1658, Mordecai Campannall, Moses Packeckoe, Levi and others, in all fifteen families, arrived in Newport from Holland. They brought with them the three first degrees of Masonry, and worked them in the house of Campannall; and continue to do so, they and their successors, to the end of 1742." This statement has been repeated from time to time, although in 1870 the Grand Lodge of Massachusetts looked into the matter and could find no evidence to support the statement.


Extravagant claims are sometimes made in connection with the Masonic membership of the signers of the Declaration of Independence. There were fifty-six signers of the document. There is satisfactory evidence to prove conclusively that eight were Masons. Twenty-four others are sometimes claimed as Masons, but evidence submitted is not completely satisfactory, being based of hearsay and "tradition", rather than documents. There are twenty-four signers who have never been claimed as Masons. The best answer the question is as follows: "Scholars have proved that eight Signers were Masons. As many as thirty may have been."


To counteract similar exaggerations about the Masonic membership of the signers of the Constitution of the United States. Brother Ronald E. Heaton also researched The Masonic membership of Signers of the Constitution, he concluded that thirteen signers were Masons. Their membership is supported by clear and conclusive written records; there are seven signers who are sometimes claimed as members, but the evidence is insufficient and not conclusive; the balance were not Masons.


Occasionally one reads the heart-warming story that President Theodore Roosevelt's gardener was master of at the time. The story illustrates how all men become equal in a Masonic lodge. However there is no evidence to support this story.


Frederick the Great, a Mason without any doubt, while in a jewelry shop in Potsdam, Germany, observed a middle-aged woman exhibiting an article of silver having certain Masonic symbols, possibly a Past Master's jewel. She was trying to borrow money on it. She said she had come to this particular shop to avoid the usurers and because the owner of the shop was a Mason. The jeweler told her that he was not in the pawnbroking business and couldn't make the loan.


Another person in the shop asked her many questions concerning the jewel, whose it was, how she had possession of it, etc. The man offered to buy the jewel and kept raining the price. When he decided to make her the loan, he discovered he had no money in his pocket. He then disclosed to the surprised woman that he was the King.


Fredrick shook his staff at the jeweler and told him that he was not fit to be a Mason and threatened to file charges against him. The following morning the woman went to see Fredrick and the palace and he instructed her to return whenever she was in need of help.


by: Micheal Mayer

So many times we seem to look at Ritual Work as not being that important, and that it doesn't have to be done that well. We feel that just need to have more Masons for our Lodges. If we fail to share the teachings properly, who do you think looses?

I would like to have you think back to that first night, it could of been a warm or cool night, that we all share. That night we were so apprehensive , or for the sake of better words, confused as to what was going to happen. Those first words you heard said at the Lodge door, asking questions and wanting answers of you, and how you were treated was only the start of your Masonic life. That life that leads most of us on a continuous journey of Masonic travel the rest of our lives.

For some of us, who had to memorize the Degree and Obligations, we share something that no one else can understand. This task of learning them, that we choose to do, and we did. This struggle teaches us what we all can do with hard work and a true desire to accomplish things.

So many times I have listened to the lectures, and still I find them as interesting as the first time I heard them. Every time I hear them, I find a new perspective that I have missed before. I fear for those that do not choose to listen to them in this way, as they will never find the lessons that are taught there in Masonry.

And as for those that give those grand lectures, they learn as well. They learn how it feels to give that perfect lecture and also when they don't get it perfectly right! Most of the time just stopping for a moment to think or to taking a breath. I think we can all learn hidden lessons here too. How we should overlook everyone's little mistakes that we all make in life. Also to remember sometimes the best intentions go wrong by accident.

"Value Your Word" For What Worth Hath a Liar!

Friday, June 11, 2010

See What's New at

I like most of you received the below Note, but thought it appropriate to share.

Find It at

We're proud to announce the launch of the redesigned, your web destination for learning about the support services of the Masonic Homes of California.
Besides an updated look, now has a number of new features.

Streamlined information
• Site organized by the three distinct services offered by the Masonic Homes of California
o Masonic Homes for Seniors
o Masonic Senior Outreach (formerly MOS)
o Masonic Family Outreach
• At-a-glance information about services and eligibility
• Easy-to-find answers to frequent questions
New features
• Under Masonic Homes for Seniors tab, for each campus:
o Comprehensive information on Services, Features, and Recreation page
o Fee schedules
o Aerial views
o Google maps and directions
o New photo galleries
o Resident perpectives video clips
• Under Masonic Senior Outreach tab:
o FAQs
o Links to specialty services provided by related Masonic organications
Take a few minutes to visit the
redesigned site, and share the news with the fraternity.

Tuesday, June 1, 2010

June Trestleboard, Master


This month is our Public Schools Month, and with that comes the awarding of the Arnold Wilmott Scholarship. This year, four very deserving students and their families will be joining us at our stated meeting. Our Lodge will also be present to award them their checks at there School Awards ceremony.

Please join us to meet and congratulate these very bright students and families. Remember, the stated meeting dinner starts at 06:30 pm the first Wednesday of the Month. (June 2nd)

On June 16th, I have planned our 2nd Movie night at the Lodge. The last one was great, the Movie “UP” was shown, with many refreshments and good fellowship. This month we will be showing “Avator” – The movie starts at 6:00. Don’t be late!

Lastly, I would like to thank all the Brethren who came to the work party last month. Several repairs were made under the supervision of Brother Dave & Anthony.

Phill E. Mossey

The Pomegranates

By Wor. H. Meij

The word pomegranate comes from the French words pome grenate, or apple with many seeds. It is believed to have been first cultivated by the Phoenicians, and was widely available in the Mediterranean region. Pomegranates are explained in the second degree lecture, where it is explained that "th Poe fr th ex of it ses, de Pl."
Seeds serve as a symbol of fertility in many cultures. For example in ancient Greece, the pomegranate was attributed to Hera and Aphrodite (Venus). In ancient Rome newly wed women wore headdresses made from pomegranate twigs, and its juice was consumed as a remedy for infertility. Since the rind of the fruit is tough, but the juice sweet, the pomegranate came to symbolize the priest; severe on the outside, indulgent on the inside. Moses was ordered to put embroided pomegranates, with golden bells between them, at the bottom of the high-priest’s robe (Exodus 39:26). St. John of the Cross made the pomegranate seeds the symbol of divine perfection.
The Romans considered the Pomegranate to be the fruit mentioned as being abundant in Eden. Jewish tradition has it that pomegranates have 613 seeds, which equals the 613 commandments.
In the Greek myth of Persephone's abduction by Hades, lord of the underworld, the pomegranate represents life, regeneration, and marriage. One day while out gathering flowers, Persephone noticed a narcissus of exquisite beauty. As she bent down to pick it, the earth opened and Hades seized her and dragged her down to his kingdom. By eating a few pomegranate seeds, Persephone tied herself to Hades, the pomegranate
being a symbol of the indissolubility of marriage. Inconsolable at the loss of her daughter, the corn goddess Demeter prevented the earth from bearing fruit unless she saw her daughter again. Zeus intervened and worked out a compromise: Persephone should live with Hades for one third of the year and the other two thirds with Demeter. Persephone's return from the underworld each year is marked by the arrival of Spring.
Priests of Demeter and Eleusis were crowned with pomegranate branches. Pomegranates were also planted on the graves of heroes, perhaps in the hope of many successors. The Chinese also revere the fruit in this way, and it is one of the "Three Blessed Fruits of Buddhism," stemming from the legend of the demoness Hariti, who devoured children, and was cured of her evil habit by the Buddha, who gave her a pomegranate to eat.
In Persian mythology Isfandiyar eats a pomegranate and becomes invincible. In "The Persian War" Herodotus mentions golden pomegranates adorning the spears of warriors in the Persian phalanx.
Mohammed is said to have recommended the fruit to purge envy and hatred, and is referred to in the Koran as Rumman.

The Symbolism associated with the north

By Wor. H. Meij (Published in the June 2010 Trestleboard)

Why is it that the north has been associated with a place of darkness? We learn from the first degree lecture, that "there are three lights in a Lodge....There is none in the north”In "King Solomon’s Temple....the sun and moon....could dart no ray of light into the north part thereof. The north, therefore, we Masonically term a place of darkness”.
The Sun, while progressing through the ecliptic, never reaches farther than 23 degrees and 28 minutes north of the Equator. Therefore, a building that is erected further north than this would receive the sun, at its meridian height, only on its south side.
Similar references to darkness in the north can be found in the Bible. For example in Jeremiah 1-13/14 we find: “What seest thou? And I said, I see a seething pot; and the face thereof is toward the north. Then the Lord said unto me, out of the north an evil shall break forth upon all the inhabitants of the land”. Again, in Jeremiah 46-20: “destruction cometh; it cometh out of the north”.
As it is said that the Lord will rise again in the east, the east side of a church is always regarded as the most sacred. Indeed it was common practice for the dead to be buried with their feet towards to east, so that they could meet Him. In Wales, for example, a wind coming from the east, is referred to as "The wind of the dead man's feet". In a Lodge too, the east, the place of the Worshipful Master, where the Sun rises, is the most important.
Next is the south, then the west, and finally the north - this from the belief that the dead would rise in this order. Felons, therefore, were frequently buried in the north side of the churchyard. The east is considered God's side, where His throne is set; the west, man's side, the Galilee of the Gentiles; the south, the side of the “spirits made just” and angels, where the sun shines in her strength; the north, the devil's side, where Satan and his legion lurk to catch the unwary. Some churches
- 8 -
have still a “devil's door” in the north wall, which is opened at baptisms and communions to let the devil out.
Another passage in the Bible, shows that the north is also associated with other forms of death, such as sacrifices. In Leviticus 1/11, we read "He is to slaughter it at the north side of the altar before the Lord, and Aaron's sons the priests shall sprinkle its blood against the altar on all sides".
In ancient Central American cultures, where directions have a permanent symbolic importance, north is the place the living come from and the dead return to, a country of cold, hunger, night. The eagle, symbol of war, resides in the north, because it is the territory of hunting and combat. The colour of north is black. Ancient Mongols, when making toasts, spilled their cups to the south to honour fire, to the east to honour air, to the west to honour water, and to the north to honour the dead.
Perhaps partly based on this Mongol tradition, in the ancient Japanese sport of Sumo, there are 4 colored tassels hanging above the ring where the Japanese wrestling (Sumo) takes place. Each represents a direction, and a season. A black tassel is representative of the north, and winter. The Japanese strongly believe that sleeping with ones head towards the north is bad luck.

During the Middle ages, an accused person would stand facing his jidges to the North. According to the book of Bahir (one of the oldest Kabalistic texts), the North is the abode of evil and the home of Satan.

June Trestleboard, Senior Warden


This year, the Arnold Wilmott Scholarship Foundation, in which our Lodge administers, has the privilege of awarding four scholarships in the amount of $ 10,000.00 each to deserving High School graduating seniors. They are chosen out of many applications, from local Whittier area Schools and are reviewed by our Scholarship committee. The student is scored by grade point scores, SAT test scores, financial need, as well as a written essay about themselves. It has been a tradition to invite these students, and families to join us at our June Stated Meeting. Please plan to attend to meet and learn how these Scholarships affect the outcome of future leaders of our community.

I would also like to remind all members that our Lodge is continuing to receive applications for degrees. That means that we are busy conferring degrees. I know that there is scheduled several 2nd and 3rd degrees in the coming months. Please plan on attending, and help welcome and support the new brothers and they journey through the degrees of Masonry.

Fraternally yours,
Anthony Casalicchio, Senior Warden

June Trestleboard, Junior Warden


On the weekend of April 30 – May 2, Brother Anthony Casalicchio, his wife Wendy, and I had the opportunity to attend the Senior Wardens’ Retreat. It was a weekend full of learning, fellowship, and enjoyment. We began promptly at 7:00pm on Friday evening with a seminar style group presentation which touched upon important Masonic topics such as: keeping in touch with our Brothers and how to create a personal connection with our new members so as to make them feel welcome in the Lodge. We then broke into small discussion groups to delve deeper into more specific ideas related to these topics.

All of Saturday was devoted to more seminars and discussion groups, mainly focusing on the economics of a Lodge. We learned about managing our investments funds, lifetime member funds, and how to calculate Lodge membership dues. After a long day of work we retired to our rooms to don our tuxedos and evening dresses as joined everyone in the ballroom for dinner and a night of dancing. Sunday morning we were back in the lecture hall to learn about Grand Lodge finances and information for this year’s Annual Communication. All in all, it was a very informative workshop which will help us to continue to be a successful Lodge and give us the tools which we will utilize during our years as Senior Warden and Worshipful Master.

I would like to thank the Lodge for giving us the opportunity to attend.


David Rubin
Junior Warden

June Trestleboard, Secretary


This is the first issue of your Trestleboard that has been printed by our own machine. This will save our Lodge money over time as we move further into the electronic age. Enjoy!


In our very first entry into Free Masonry we received a lesson in Masonic Charity. Every man on submitting his Petition for Degrees made a contribution to the Masonic Homes Foundation. It is time for our Fraternity to refocus on the Homes and its mission. The Foundation was created to provide a residence for our widows and elderly Brethren. As times changed and the waiting list for admission began getting longer, Masonic Outreach Services was launched. MOS as it more commonly called was designed to help our families stay in their own homes by helping find local appropriate social services, assisting in the payment of bills and providing in home care. It even assists members and their widows who live in other states. As our economy turned down it was opened up to individuals less than 55. Today a number of our Greenleaf Gardens Brethren are being assisted by MOS. The problem is that only 1% of Masons statewide now contribute to the Homes or MOS and costs are rising. If you are capable, consider making a charitable contribution to maintain this critical program by making a designated gift to the California Masonic Foundation. If you need more information log on to the Grand Lodge web site or contact me. Let us continue to support Masonic Charity.

There are a few members who have not paid their 2010 dues. Please do so immediately.

Jerry Garfield Laiblin, P.M.

Monday, May 3, 2010

May 2010 Testleboard, Master


The Month of May has been proclaimed by the Most Worshipful Kenneth G. Nagel, Grand Master of Masons in California as “Masonic Youth Month”. This means that all Lodges in the State shall hold a function to support our Masonic Youth.

We are fortunate to have a Jobs Daughters Bethel, which meets at our building. The International Order of Jobs Daughters (Jobs Daughters International) Bethel Number 224 meets at our facility on the first & third Monday at 7:00pm. They are temperately meeting on the second and forth Saturday at 09:00am due the heavy school homework load that the girls are having.

Our Hall Association will be hosting the use of our building for a Spring Tea that they are holding on May 15th in the small activity room at 1 pm. This event will be used to honor mothers, promote welfare of family values and allow the girls to demonstrate the skills that they have learned. A special fashion show will be held as well as a silent auction. Funds raised for this event will be used to support several philosophic projects, and also to off set some of the cost of Grand Bethel. If you are interested in attending this event, or making a donation, contact the Lodge at (562) 695-2755. Tickets are available for a suggested donation of $ 10.00.

Now, last but not least, I need to ask the following questions:

  1. Do you know who our Masonic Youth Orders are? (There are three in California)
  2. Where they meet?
  3. The requirements are for membership?
  4. Have you ever attended one of their meetings?
If you call yourself a Mason, you should have answered YES to all the above questions.

If you have answered no to any of the above questions,
then see me or any other youth order leadership, to support your
obligation as a member of our Masonic Fraternity.

Also, this is VERY Important. Have you:
(1) Recommended anyone for membership?
(2) Volunteered to help?
Please support our Masonic Youth Orders, as they are our future.

Phill E. Mossey, PM
Master 2010

May 2010 Testleboard, Sr. Warden


Greetings from the West my brothers and friends. I pray that all of you are well in this month of May. This has definitely been a fast moving year and there is so much yet to be done. As the weather warms up and dries out, we will be conducting a few work parties, where various upkeep and improvement projects will be tackled. A list of the Temple’s needs is currently being put together by the Temple Board, so that each of these days will be as productive as it can be.

If you would like to be a part of the upkeep and improvement of your lodge, please call me to let me know that you are interested in helping. My cell phone number is listed on the inside of the front cover of this trestleboard. The dates are not set as of this moment, but call me anyhow so that we can stay ahead of the game. I will be contacting many of you to ask for your assistance, although it is always a pleasure to hear from you first. Thanks for your support in advance.

Also, I would like to wish all of the mothers of our brethren and those of their children a very happy Mother’s Day. Without you we would be nothing. Thank you.

Fraternally yours,
Anthony Casalicchio
Senior Warden

May 2010 Testleboard, Jr. Warden


As many of you know it takes a great deal of time and effort to keep the Lodge running. Many of our brothers have been very generous by offering their support and I would personally like to thank them. Our lodge officers also put forth extra effort in learning and practicing the ritual and performing degrees. We are at that time in the year when the officers are beginning to move into their advances stations in preparation for the ensuing Masonic year. This opens up the opportunity for others to become officers. I would encourage all Master Masons to take part in the daily business of the Lodge by becoming an officer for at least one year. It is a great chance to become closer with many of the Brothers, to learn more about how the Lodge functions, to hone your ritual, and to feel a stronger tie to the fraternity. If you are interested in becoming an officer or if you would just like to sit in as an officer for when someone is absent, please let us know. We would love to have you on board.


David Rubin
Junior Warden

May 2010 Testleboard, Secretary


I want to extend an invitation to you to check out our new web site at Brother Brian Colburn, our web master, has worked out a new format. You can even review our Trestleboard which has placed on a blog site and make your own comments. Greenleaf Gardens has indeed entered the World Wide Web. I want to also remind those who have not already done so that you can receive your Trestleboard by email. You will get it much earlier and the same time save the Lodge the postage bill. We have approximately 20 members who have taken advantage of the opportunity. If you will send me an email so that I make sure your email address is correct and I will add you to the list. The Lodge’s incoming email address is Your Trestleboard will arrive from the Lodge’s business email address.

Pencil some of the Lodge’s dates on your calendar and come see the work and effort of an officer’s corp. that is vital, energetic and making a significant impact on the Lodge and our beautiful building. Volunteers have changed out lights and made the building friendlier to the environment.

Save the June 2, 2010 Stated Meeting Dinner to meet our three 2010 Wilmot Scholarship winners. The committee also renewed six previous winners as they continue their education. We are very pleased with the quality of the young people we have been reviewing.

The 2010 version of our annual BBQ will be held on Saturday September 11, so save the date.
Jerry Garfield Laiblin, P.M.


Author Unknown
Goethe was one of the myriad-minded men of our race, and a devout member of our gentle Craft. When he lay dying, as the soft shadow began to fall over his mind, he said to a friend watching over his bed : "open the window and let in more light!" The last request of a great poet-Mason is the first quest of every Mason.

If one were asked to sum up the meaning of Masonry in one word, the only word equal to the task is - light! From its first lesson to its last lecture, in every degree and every symbol, the mission of Masonry is to bring the light of God into the life of man. It has no other aim, knowing that when the light shines the truth will be revealed.

A Lodge of Masons is a House of Light. Symbolically it has no roof but the sky, open to all the light of nature and of grace. As the sun rises in the East to open and rule the day, so the Master rises in the East to open and guide the Lodge in its labor. All the work of the Lodge is done under the eye and in the name of God, obeying Him who made the great lights, whose mercy endureth forever.

At the center of the Lodge, upon the Altar of Obligation, the Great Lights shine upon us, uniting the light of nature and the whiter light of revelation. Without them no Lodge is open in Due Form, and no business is valid. As the moon reflects the light of the sun, as the stars are seen only when the sun is hidden, so the Lesser Lights follow dimly when the Greater Lights lead.

To the door of the Lodge comes the seeker after Light, hoodwinked and groping his way - asking to be led out of shadows into realities; out of darkness into light. All initiation is "Bringing Men To Light," teaching them to see the moral order of the world in which they must learn their duty and find their true destiny. It is the most impressive drama on earth, a symbol of the Divine education of man. So, through all its degrees, its slowly unfolding symbols, the ministry of Masonry is to make men "Sons Of Light" - men of insight and understanding who know their way and can be of help to others who stumble in the dark. Ruskin was right: "To See Clearly is Life, Art, Philosophy and Religion - All In One." When the light shines the way is plain, and the highest service to humanity is to lead men out of the confused life of the senses into the light of moral law and spiritual faith.
To that end Masonry opens upon its Altar the one great Book of Light, its pages glow with "A Light That Never Was On Sea Or Land," shining through the tragedies of man and the tumults of time, showing us a path that shineth more and more unto the perfect day. From its first page to the last , the key-word of the Bible is light; until, at the end, when the City of God is built it will have no need of the sun or the moon or the stars; for God is the Light of it.

And God Said, Let There Be Light; And there was light. God Is Light, And In Him Is, No Darkness At All. Thy Word Is A Lamp Unto My Feet; And A Light Unto My Path. The entrance Of Thy Word, Giveth Light. The Lord Is My Light And My Salvation; Whom I Shall Fear. There Is No Light For The Righteous, Gladness For The True. The Lord Shall Be To Thee An Everlasting Light. To Them That Sat In Darkness, Light Is Sprung Up. He Stumbleth Not, Because He Seeth The Light. I Am Come A Light Into The World, While Ye Have The Light, Believe In The Light. Let Your Light Shine Before Man.
To find the real origin of Masonry we must go far back into the past, back before history. All the world over, at a certain stage of culture, men bowed down in worship of the sun, moon and the stars. In prehistoric graves the body was always buried in a sitting position, and always facing to the East, that the sleeper might be ready to spring up early to face the new and brighter day.

Such was the wonder of light and its power over man, and it is not strange that he rejoiced in its beauty, lifting up hands of praise. The Dawn was the first Altar in the old Light Religion of the race. Sunrise was an hour of prayer, and sunset, with its soft farewell fires, was the hour of sacrifice. After all, religion is a Divine Poetry, of which creeds are prose versions. Gleams of this old Light religion shine all through Masonry, in its faith, in its symbols, and still more in its effort to organize the light of God in the Soul of Man.

Such a faith is in accord with all the poetries and pieties of the race. Light is the loveliest gift of God to man; it is the mother of beauty and the joy of the world. It tells man all that he knows, and it is no wonder that his speech about it is gladsome and grateful. Light is to the mind what food is to the body; it brings the morning, when the shadows flee away, and the loveliness of the world is unveiled.

Also, there is a mystery in light. It is not matter, but a form of motion; it is not spirit, though is seems closely akin to it. Midway between the material and the spiritual, it is the gateway where matter and spirit pass and repass. Of all the glories in its gentleness, its benignity, its pity, falling with impartial benediction alike upon the just and the unjust, upon the splendor of wealth and the squalor of poverty.

Yes, God is light, and the mission of Masonry is to open the windows of the mind of man, letting the dim spark within us meet and blend with the light of God, in whom there is no darkness. There is "A Light That Lighteth Every Man That Cometh Into The World," as we learn in the Book of Holy Law; but too often it is made dim by evil, error and ignorance; until it seems well nigh to have gone out. Here now some of the most terrible words in the Bible: "Eyes they have, but they do not see." How many tragedies it explains, how many sorrows it accounts for. Most of our bigotries and brutalities are due to blindness. Most of the cruel wrongs we inflict upon each other are the blows and blunders of the sightless. Othello was blinded by jealousy, Macbeth by ambition; as we are apt to be blinded by passion, prejudice or greed.

With merciful clarity Jesus saw that men do awful things without seeing what they do. "Father, forgive them for they know not what they do." The pages of history are blacker than the hearts of the men that made the history. Man is not as wicked as the wrongs he has done. Unless we see this fact, much of the history of man will read like the records of hell - remembering the atrocities of the Inquisition, the terrors of the French Revolution, and the red horror of Russia. It is all a hideous nightmare - man stumbling and striking in the dark.

No, humanity is more blind than bad. In his play, "St. Joan," Shaw makes one of his characters say: "If you only saw what you think about, you would think quite differently about it. It would give you a great shock. I am not cruel by nature, but I did not know what cruelty was like. I have been a different man ever since." Alas, he did not see what he had done until the hoodwink had been taken off. More and more some of us divide men into two classes - those who see and those who do not see. The whole quality and meaning of life lies in what men see or fail to see. And
what we see depends upon what we are. In the Book of the Holy Law the verb "to see" is close akin to the verb "to be," which is to teach us that character is the secret and source of insight. Virtue is vision; vice is blindness.

"Blessed are the pure in heart, for they shall see god."

Thus our gentle Masonry, by seeking to "Bring Men to Light," not simply symbolically but morally and spiritually, is trying to lift the shadow of evil, ignorance and injustice off the life of man. It is a benign labor, to which we may well give the best that we are or hope to be, toiling to spread the skirts of light that we and all men may see what is true and do what is right.

What the sad world needs - what each of us needs - is more light, more love, more clarity of mind and more charity of heart; and this is what Masonry is trying to give us. Once we take it to heart, it will help us to see God in the face of our fellows, to see the power of a lie and its inherent weakness because it is false, to see the glory of truth and its final victory - to see these things is to be a Mason, to see these things is to be saved.

O Light that followeth all my way, I yield my flickering torch to thee; My heart restores its borrowed ray, That in thy sunshine's blaze, Its day may brighter, fairer be.

Tuesday, April 6, 2010

Freemasonry and American Manhood

I have been a long time subscriber to a Blog entitled "The Art of Manliness". The latest post involves Freemasonry and is actually a Podcast with Robert Davis who is a Freemason and and the Executive Secretary of the Guthrie Oklahoma Scottish Rite. It is a discussion of his book, "Understanding Manhood in America: Freemasonry’s Enduring Path to the Mature Masculine".

You can click on the title of this post above or here to listen!

Brian Colburn


Although there is no agreement about the origins of Freemasonry, one long-held belief is that it originated in England and Scotland during the early Renaissance with the cathedral building guilds.

Originally the guilds were formed to help their members gain employment and to uphold standards of craftsmanship. Various skill levels were distinguished, among other ways, through the use of secret handshakes and symbols. In addition to learning the craft, members of the guilds also received esoteric knowledge, which in turn attracted non-craftsmen members to the guilds. These members became known as “non-operative” or “speculative” masons; gradually, with the decline in cathedral building, speculative masons took prominence in and eventual control of the organization. Drawing on the past, these individuals, who started to call themselves Freemasons, incorporated ritual and symbolic language, mostly relating to the building trades and specifically to the building of King Solomon's Temple in Jerusalem.

After the creation of the Grand Lodge of England, in 1717, Freemasons unified and regulated themselves. The Grand Lodge of England, known as the Mother Lodge of the World, is the Masonic body that, therefore, “recognizes” other national Masonic Grand Lodges. The English Masonic Constitution of 1723 declared that Freemasons should not prevent others from joining the fraternity based upon the perspective member's nationality, race, or religion.

Freemasonry began admitting Jews as members in the mid-eighteenth century, first in England and then later in the Netherlands, France, Germany, and other countries. Nevertheless, European Freemasons tended to be ambivalent about who they allowed to join their organization. In some countries and in some locations, Masons allowed Jews to join their lodges. Other countries and other lodges, however, took deliberate steps to reject Jews from becoming members. The anti semitism that some Jews experienced while trying to join fraternal lodges was one reason for the creation of Jewish fraternal organizations, such as B'nai B'rith. German Jews founded the Berlin branch in 1885.

Most German Masonic lodges and their members affiliated with three Grand Lodges located in Prussia and known collectively as the “Old Prussian Grand Lodges.” These Grand Lodges and their subordinate lodges deliberately excluded non-Christians from membership. By 1922, they accounted for 70 percent of all Masons in Germany and numbered about 47,000 men. Six other Grand Lodges in Germany, including their subordinate lodges, were known as “Humanitarian” Lodges, because they accepted Jewish and Muslim males as well as Christians. Thus, a German Jew had to apply to a Humanitarian Lodge if he wanted to have any chance of joining a German Masonic lodge. In 1928, the Humanitarian Lodges had 24,000 members, and less than 3,000 of these were Jews.

Right-wing, conservative political leaders in Europe began to link Jews with Freemasons in the eighteenth century. Conservatives and Catholic clerics initially painted the Freemasons as hostile to religion and to the accepted aristocratic and clerical order. Since Masonic lodges were generally located in the larger cities of western Europe and England, where the majority of west European Jews lived, a rural distrust of an urban influence helped to cement the link between Jews and Freemasons. Conservatives and clerics throughout Europe blamed the coming of the French Revolution as well as all of its excesses, in part, on perceptions of a liberal, anti-clerical, and anti-aristocratic philosophy of the Freemasons.

During the nineteenth century, both nti-Semites and those opposed to Freemasonry argued that Jews manipulated Masonic ideology and international connections for nefarious purposes. They charged that Freemasons operated as front men for the Jews who preferred to remain inconspicuous and that the perceived Masonic belief in racial equality and human progress was a tool to serve Jewish interests, including the establishment of Jewish emancipation.

Among the most vociferous proponents of this thesis were conservatives in the Roman Catholic Church and members of the aristocracies in western and central Europe. French monarchists blamed the Jews and Freemasons for creating the Third Republic, where Jews enjoyed equal rights, aristocrats lost their special privileges, and the Catholic Church was, after 1905, separated from the state. Pope Leo XIII branded Freemasonry an enemy of “religion and society”: in his 1884 encyclical Humanum Genus, Leo claimed that Freemasons wanted to replace a Kingdom of God on earth by a kingdom of Satan under Freemason control. In 1894, the notorious French antisemite, Edouard Drumont, lent his support to an anti-Masonic world congress in Italy.

In Russia, the infamous racist forgery Protocols of the Learned Elders of Zion (1905) linked Jews and Masons in a conspiracy to control the world, by charging that the lodges were in the service of the “Elders of Zion.” After World War I, antisemites translated the Protocols into many languages, including English. In the United States, the influential and popular industrialist Henry Ford sponsored and supported the Protocolsallegations.

After World War I, in Weimar Germany right-wing German nationalists and antisemites claimed that Jews and Freemasons had conspired to provoke and prolong the war in order to bleed and destroy the aristocratic Empires of Germany, Russia, and Austria and to install Jewish domination by establishing constitutional democracy or Bolshevism. Antisemites continued to spread the idea that Jews would achieve world domination through Freemasonry. Pan-Germans and racists such as Alfred Rosenberg, one of Hitler's followers in the Nazi party, Erich Ludendorff, the Chief of the German Army's General Staff during World War I, and Ludendorff's wife, Mathilda, played prominent roles in disseminating anti-Masonic propaganda.

In 1922, Rosenberg published Das Verbrechen der Freimaurerei: Judentum, Jesuitismus, Deutsches Christentum (The Crime of Freemasonry: Jewry, Jesuitism, and German Christianity). Five years later, Ludendorff published Vernichtung der Freimaurerei durch Enthüllung ihrer Geheimnisse (Exterminating Freemasonry by Revealing its Secrets), in which he alleged that Freemason initiation and rituals trained the Christian members to be “artificial” Jews and condemned Masonic support of Jewish emancipation for bringing “alien” influences into German culture.

In his political testament, Mein Kampf (1925), Nazi party leader Adolf Hitler repeated the charge that the Jews used Freemasonry to achieve their political ends: “To strengthen his [i.e., the Jew's] political position, he tries to tear down the racial and civil barriers which for a time continue to restrain him at every step. To this end he fights with all the tenacity innate in him for religious tolerance -- and in Freemasonry, which has succumbed to him completely, he has an excellent instrument with which to fight for his aims and put them across. The governing circles and the higher strata of the political and economic bourgeoisie are brought into his nets by the strings of Freemasonry, and never need to suspect what is happening.”