Friday, October 27, 2006

Masonic Religion

Excerpt from Morals and Dogma by Albert Pike, Chapter XIII. Royal Arch of Solomon
Every Masonic Lodge is a temple of religion; and its teachings are instruction in religion. For here are inculcated disinterestedness, affection, toleration, devotedness, patriotism, truth, a generous sympathy with those who suffer and mourn, pity for the fallen, mercy for the erring, relief for those in want, Faith, Hope, and Charity. Here we meet as brethren, to learn to know and love each other. Here we greet each other gladly, are lenient to each other's faults, regardful of each other's feelings, ready to relieve each other's wants. This is the true religion revealed to the ancient patriarchs; which Masonry has taught for many centuries, and which it will continue to teach as long as time endures. If unworthy passions, or selfish, bitter, or revengeful feelings, contempt, dislike, hatred, enter here, they are intruders and not welcome, strangers uninvited, and not guests.

I enjoyed this little piece by Albert Pike. The application of Masonry to and as religion is one of the sweetest benefits to be had in Freemasonry (by those who are willing to receive it.) Masonry stays clear of the theological and salvific matters of Religion, and therefore is neither a Religion of its own, or the substitute for one, but as the handmaiden of Religion, a Brother should not be afraid to take up what it has to offer, sow it and reap a spiritual harvest from doing so.

My own religion is deeply Masonic (both on a personal level, and a historical level - me being a Mormon.) and I'm glad it is. The Masonic tenets of Liberty and Equality help to keep the whole system grounded for me, and allow me to avoid the type of vain pride that religionists can so easily become filled with and instead show genuine love and respect for all of my fellow beings.

Friday, October 20, 2006

Freemasonry: Monotheistic?

I was recently present at an investigative committee review of a new candidate for Masonry. An interesting question came up, "Are you monotheistic?" This shocked me. The real question, traditionally is "Do you believe in a Supreme Being?" There is a big difference between these two questions. After some dialogue with the candidate, the conclusion was reached that yes he believes there is a "head honcho" and that this satisfied the requirement.

1. How many people think Masonry requires monotheistic belief? Do certain Grand Jurisdictions have this as an official requirement?

2. How many Masons reading this are NOT monotheists? (I am not. I'm a henotheist)

3. What purpose would such a restriction be perceived to serve for the Good of Masonry?

Thursday, October 19, 2006

Heredom Archive

Here's an archive of short excerpts from the previous issues of "Heredom" - the journal of the Scottish Rite Research Society. There is a Membership level in SRRS open to anyone, whether Mason or non-Mason. Their publications are fascinating, and I recommend it to any brother looking for a little more Masonic light.

Heredom Archive

Tuesday, October 10, 2006

Do we need to disassociate with OES?

Darren Simpson's Blog quoted an article by James Downing that I found interesting. However, I was a bit distressed by this portion of the reporter's description of the Lodge room:
The lodge looks simple on the outside, but walk up a flight of stairs and you will find yourself in an ornate meeting room.

A throne on the east wall sits below a pentagram adorned with Masonic symbols. The Worshipful Master -- the head of the lodge -- sits on the throne, according to Galloway.

I'm actually not one to stand up against Pentagrams. In fact, there was one on my own wedding invitation. But, I know a lot of good men would be put off by such a prominent depiction of a pentagram above a throne in a society they are considering joining. But wait, the Pentagram isn't part of the Masonic furnishings... The only thing I can think of, is that OES had an Eastern Star pentagram suspended above the Master's chair. Probably unlit, but it attracted preening eyes of the reporter more than the letter-G (most likely mounted above the pentagram). Since Lodge wasn't opened, neither one was lit. This has now been published and raises red flags for anyone who reads it and has only the popular understanding of the symbol in mind.

Should we try to disassociate with OES and get it out of our lodges? Or maybe we should require OES's pentagram to be draped with a covering when not in use so that it does not create confusion, nor distract from Masonic degree work.

Sunday, October 08, 2006

What is Freemasonry?

(Taken from, where any comments on this article should also be posted.)

Freemasonry is often defined as a system of morality, veiled in allegory and illustrated by symbols. It is the oldest and largest fraternal order on the earth, and has in modern times, as well as in times of old, been a popular subject evoked in works of fiction and conspiracy theories. The aim of Masonry is to take good men and make them better. This aim is accomplished by teaching men what is expected of them as a member of The Craft by way of a special form of instruction using ancient rituals, which we call "degrees", which lay the candidate under solemn obligations, voluntarily assumed in the name of God, to perform those things required of them and abstain from those things prohibited by Masonry.

Because our obligations are taken in the name of God a man must possess belief in a Supreme Being in order to gain admission into the fraternity, but beyond this simple requirement Masonry places no further restriction or demand upon the religious beliefs of the individual candidate: His religion is his own business, however, Masonry does teach of the Fatherhood of God, the Brotherhood of Man, and the Immortality of the Soul. Masonry is not a religion, nor should it ever become the substitute for religion, but it is often said to be the handmaiden of religion, and encourages the individual Mason to be active in his faith and live by the Volume of Sacred Law (Scriptures such as the Holy Bible, Koran, or other holy writings) of his own faith.

Many of our principal symbols derive from the working tools of the Operative Stone Masons guilds of the middle ages, but to the modern Speculative Freemason they are used to teach us moral lessons, for example: The common gavel is an instrument used by operative Masons to break off the rough and superfluous parts of stones, the better to fit them for the builder's use. But we, as Free and Accepted Masons, are taught to make use of it for the more noble and glorious purpose of divesting our hearts and consciences of all the vices and superfluities of life: thereby fitting our minds as living stones for that spiritual building, that house not made with hands, eternal in the heavens.

The chief tenets of Masonry are Brotherly Love, Relief, and Truth, and a Mason is taught to practice the four cardinal virtues: Temperence, Fortitude, Prudence, and Justice. Masons come from all walks of life, and Masonic lodges exist in nearly every country of the world.

Candidates for Masonry must be free born, come under the tongue of good report, and be well recommended. The "free born" requirement is a relic from the days when slavery was common. It is important for a Mason to be free, because he must be able to make decisions for himself in order to be placed under the obligations of the fraternity. Additionally, a man must petition for the Degrees of Masonry by his own free will in order to be considered for membership: No one should ever be induced to become a Mason. If you are wondering why your friend, a member of the Lodge, has not asked you to join the fraternity, it is because that is not in the program: You must ask him, of your own free will, if you desire admission into the mysteries of our ancient and honorable order.

Saturday, October 07, 2006

Chapter and Council Degrees

I completed the remainder of my Chapter and Council Degrees on Friday, September 29, 2006.

Prior to this I had gone through the Past Master degree. So I just completed the following degrees:


6° Most Excellent Master
7° Royal Arch


8° Royal Master
9° Select Master

The degree work was all good (though there was room for improvement). This was our Fall York Rite Festival, and was conferred at the Masonic Center in Cottage Grove, Oregon, so I look forward to attending my "home" Chapter and Council meetings for the first time in the near future. Unfortunately I have to miss this month's convocation because I have a unique opportunity to go camping in a cave that I need to do before it gets much colder.

The meanings and symbolism behind the York Rite degrees is rich and although I benefited from the degrees I know I have a lot to learn as I become more familiar with the ritual. I think doing more than one degree on the same day is unfortunate in that it is so hard to soak in all the information that is presented, especially as the day nears the end.

One little point that I find fascinating is the verb used to indicate ascention to each degree, and I haven't seen it documented anywhere very well except concerning the Blue Lodge degrees. I will list them here, to the best of my ability, with a little help from the Internet to supplement my forgetfulness:

Initiated an Entered Apprentice Mason,
Passed to the Degree of Fellow Craft,
Raised to the Sublime Degree of Master Mason,
Advanced to the degree of Mark Master Mason,
Inducted into the Oriental Chair as a Past Master,
Received and Acknowledged a Most Excellent Master,
Exalted to the Most Sublime Degree of Royal Arch Mason.

I'm not sure if the Council degrees share the trait of having such a verb? At least, I do not recall any being used during our festival.

Renamed my Blog

I've renamed my personal Masonic blog from "King Solomon's Lodge" (informally King Solomon's Blog) to "Lodgical" thus allowing the title King Solomon's Lodge to be dedicated solely to the blog aggregator. The main URL will remain the same as it has been, but for those three of you who have subscribed to my feed, the feed address has changed:

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