Collected by Ray Dotson, P.M.

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The oldest known Masonic writing, the Regius Manuscript or "Poem of Moral Duties," was discovered to be a Masonic document by a non-Mason, J. O. Halliwell, in 1839.  It was written about 1390 and was given the name "Regius" because it was found in the Royal Library of England.  It is now a part of the British Museum.  Some common Masonic Ritual terms in use today are found in it such as "So Mote It Be." (7)

 

In China, about 300 B.C., Mencius wrote "A master Mason, in teaching his apprentices, makes use of the compasses and the square. Ye who are engaged in the pursuit of Wisdom, must also make use of the compasses and the square." Additionally, in a book called Great Learning, 500 B.C., we find that "A man should abstain from doing unto others what he would not they should do unto him; and this is called the principle of acting on the square."

 

In 1920, Gate City Lodge #522 in Kansas City MO met every day of the week except Sunday to confer a record 1,107 degrees, averaging 21 degrees a week.     (1)

 

Music written by Brother John Stafford Smith (1750-1836) of Inverness Lodge #4 in London was, at one time, used by an Irish Masonic Orphans' Home as their song.  Later it became a popular drinking song for many years known as To Anacreon in Heaven.  Then, some years later, the music was adopted by Francis Scott Key to which he wrote the words to our National Anthem,  The Star Spangled Banner.   (2)

 

In 1860 in Limerick, Ireland, there was found in a small chapel a stone dated 1517 with the following inscription: 

"I will serve to live with love & care
Upon the level, by the square."
(2)

 

The Commissioner of Patents In 1872 ruled that the Masonic Square and Compasses emblem could not be used in any trademark or trade name for commercial purposes.   (2)

 

In Christchurch New Zealand, there are two natural eroded stone pillars standing at the entrance to Tumbledown Bay.  Looking from the land, the one on the left is named Boaz and the other on the right is named Jachin.  Leads one to believe that the founders were indeed members of The Craft.  (5)

 

In the Wisconsin Masonic Journal we find it stated that John Wesley, the Founder of Methodism was made a Mason in Downpatrick Lodge #36, in Ireland, on October 30, 1738.  However, according to Brother Alphonse Cerza writing for the Masonic Service Association, a thorough investigation of this statement was made by Brother W. J. Chetwode Crawley who says:

"Reviewing the circumstances of the supposed initiation of the Reverend John Wesley ... we are driven to the conclusion that the idea is altogether illusory, and based on a palpable confusion of identity."

Also, the Reverend Wesley's diaries prove that he was in England on the night another John Wesley was made a Mason in Downpatrick, Ireland. (3) (5) (2)

 

Lux in Tenebris Lodge # 3856 in London is for blind Masons.  The Latin words mean "Light in Darkness."    (2)

 

By Ancient custom, the King was always covered while his subjects were never covered in his presence.  The American custom of the Master of the Lodge wearing a hat as a symbol of his authority is apparently a result of that ancient custom.   (4)

 

Ahiman Rezon, written by Laurence Dermott in 1764, was the Book of Constitutions for the Antients Grand Lodge, a ritual that is still in wide usage.  The title was derived from three Hebrew words, "ahim", "manah", and "raizon". But, what does the term mean?  
At different times it has been interpreted as: A Help to a Brother; Faithful Brother Secretary; Will of Selected Brethren; Law of Prepared Brethren; Secrets of a Prepared Brother; Royal Builder; and The Thoughts or Opinions of a True and Faithful Brother. No one knows for sure what meaning Brother Dermott gave to the term.   (7)

 

In all my research on Brother Washington, I can find only two references to his having or wearing a sash.
One is the blue sash he wore in the painting by Charles Willson Peale (1741 - 1827) .
The other is the bloodstained sash given him in 1755 by the dying and defeated British general Edward Braddock at the Battle of Monongahela, where Washington became a war hero at age 23. Brother Washington kept Braddock's sash and pistol and carried them throughout the remainder of the war of Independence.
In a letter written in 1932 by Mrs. Ellis Lovell Crosby, a great-great-niece of President Washington to Brother S. J. Pridgen of Atlanta, GA, she states: "I am sending a piece of fringe from Washington's sash.  I sold the sash to Pierpont Morgan for $3,500.00. He gave it to Mount Vernon and it now hangs in the hallway of the mansion. I only took a little from the sash so as to keep it..."
She presented the small piece of the sash to Georgia Lodge #96, F&AM of Atlanta which they proudly displayed among their archives.
I do not know whether the fringe came from the sash worn in the painting or the one given Brother Washington by General Braddock, but my guess would be the latter.
If anyone can enlighten me on this matter, please do so.

Much of this data was gleaned from "Georgia Lodge Tidings", Vol. 10, July 2, 1932.

 

"The Character of a Freemason"
From the Farmer's Almanac, 1823
Andover, Massachusetts

The real Freemason is distinguished from the rest of Mankind by the uniform unrestrained rectitude of his conduct. Other men are honest in fear of punishment which the law might inflect; they are religious in expectation of being rewarded, or in dread of the devil, in the next world. A Freemason would be just if there were no laws, human or divine except those written in his heart by the finger of his Creator. In every climate, under every system of religion, he is the same. He kneels before the Universal Throne of God in gratitude for the blessings he has received and humble solicitation for his future protection. He venerates the good men of all religions. He disturbs not the religion of others. He restrains his passions, because they cannot be indulged without injuring his neighbor or himself. He gives no offense, because he does not choose to be offended. He contracts no debts which he is certain he cannot discharge, because he is honest upon principle."

Thanks to "THE TRESTLE BOARD" Cochran Masonic Lodge #217 F&AM Cochran, Georgia, USA

 

When Brothers Richard E. Byrd and Bernt Balchen first flew over the North and South Poles, they dropped a Masonic flag on each Pole.  Then, in the 1933-35 expedition, Brother Balchen tossed his Shrine Fez on the North Pole.  (2)

 

The town of Keystone, near Mount Rushmore in South Dakota, was named by a gold prospector in 1877 for his York Rite Chapter watch charm.   (3)

 

"'3 TIMES 3' - In ancient times the Entered Apprentice Degree was alone prevalent amongst the generality of our Lodges; for no Brothers could be passed and raised except in the Grand Lodge, and few availed themselves of the privilege.  Hence they had only one sign, one token, and one word, and these three constituted the honors.  But the members of the Grand Lodge had three signs, three tokens, and three words, and therefore, three times three were appropriately termed the Grand Honors."

from the September 1974 Bulletin of the Masonic Relief Association
of the U.S. and Canada
(5)

 

A Brother was initiated on August 23, 1879 by Lodge #239 in a balloon flying over Paris .  (2)

 

Well known actor Jack Carson was the first of five candidates to receive the Entered Apprentice degree at Cecile Daylight Lodge #305 in Independence, MO in 1936.  He was taught the proficiency while the other four candidates were being initiated.  By his request, he then returned his Entered Apprentice proficiency that same evening, even examining himself.  He gave a perfect proficiency!   (1)

 

Brother and General Thomas H. Benton, Grand Master in Iowa, 1860-1862, posted federal troops around Brother Albert Pike's Masonic Library at Little Rock, Arkansas to protect its valuable contents when that city was invaded during the Civil War.  (2)

 

"No man ever took the oaths and subscribed to the obligations with greater watchfulness and care than I exercised in receiving the various rites of Masonry, and I say with due deliberation and without fear of breaking the faith. I have never encountered a lesson, never witnessed an example, never heard an obligation uttered which could not be openly proclaimed to the world." The words of a Mason who was also a President of the United States, Warren G. Harding.

 

The earliest known appearance of the letter "G" inside the interlaced square and compasses is on a photo of an etching in "Freemasonry A Journey Through Ritual and Symbol" by Kirk MacNulty.  The date shown on the etching is "5776" which we Masons know to be 1776 in standard dating form. Another very early appearance is on a cast bronze plate made by Paul Revere in 1796.  By the year 1800 the combined symbol had appeared in England on embroidered aprons and upon a "Master's Tracing Board.  In the language of some countries, the letter "G" does not stand for either "God" or "Geometry" so it is not a part of their basic symbol of Freemasonry.  (5)

 

Of the early American Astronauts, John Glenn, L. Gordon Cooper, Virgil I. (Gus) Grissom, Edwin E. Aldrin, Jr., Thomas P. Stafford, and Donn F. Eisele were members of our "GentleCraft."  (2)

 

The Baltimore Convention in 1840 moved all Lodge business from the first to the third degree.  Most all Lodge business elsewhere throughout the world is conducted in the first degree. (5)

 

The Holy Book must be opened upon the altar before a Masonic Lodge may be opened.  Freemasonry is not concerned with doctrine or dogma or sect or denomination, but only with "that natural religion in which all men agree."  Therefore, the Holy Book is called the V.S.L. or Volume of Sacred Law or the Book of the Law.  If the members of a Lodge are Christian, Moslem, Jewish or Buddhist, the V.S.L. of their particular belief is opened upon their altar.  The V.S.L. is, therefore, a symbol of the revealed will and teachings of the Great Architect of the Universe - a name under which any Freemason can worship that Deity in Whom he puts his faith and trust.  (4)

 

The examination of a candidate for proficiency in the previous degree was first introduced in 1850 in Louisiana. (5)

 

While stationed in Louisiana during WW I, preparing to go overseas, Major General James H. Doolittle, under special dispensation issued by the Grand Lodges of both California and Louisiana, was elected to membership in Hollenbeck Lodge #319 of California and initiated, passed, and raised in one meeting in Lake Charles Lodge #16 of Louisiana.  A recent storm had wrecked the Lake Charles Masonic Temple and the degrees were conferred in the local Elks Temple, loaned for the purpose.  (5)

 

In 1892 the world's tallest building was the Masonic Temple at Randolph and State Streets in Chicago.  (2)

 

According to Solomon's Lodge No. 1, F. & A. M. in Savannah, Georgia, founded February 21, 1734 by the English Statesman, philanthropist and Freemason Br. James Edward Oglethorpe, it is the oldest Continuously Operating English Constituted Lodge of Freemasons in the Western Hemisphere. Solomon's Lodge has in its possession a 1733 John Baskett Bible which was actually signed and given to the Lodge, during its earliest days, by Oglethorpe the founder of the Colony of Georgia."

 

Frdric Auguste Bartholdi, creator of the Statue of Liberty, first tried to plant his luminous lady not in New York harbour, but at the homely entrance to the Suez Canal.  In her original form, she was to be an Egyptian peasant swathed in robes, and titled "Egypt Bringing Light to Asia." (5)

 

The Rite of Perfection that had flourished in France in the first half of the 18th century had been sanctioned by the Grand Lodge of France in Bordeaux, the oldest provincial Masonic center in France.
Stephen (Etienne) Morin, a traveling wine merchant, received his Masonic degrees in Loge La Francaise, Bordeaux. Several years later he became Master of a new lodge, Loge Parfaite Harmonie, which was concentrating on "higher" degrees. At the time, France was a hotbed for additional, or "higher," Masonic degrees.
Morin sailed to the West Indies with authority to spread the Rite of Perfection in the Western Hemisphere and to "create Deputy Inspectors in all places where the sublime degrees are not established." It was in Jamaica that he met Henry Andrew Francken, who was deputized by Morin and given authorization to take the Rite to the American colonies.
Francken's Masonic background is unknown. He may have received the degrees in Holland, although some historians believe he was initiated in the West Indies between 1762-67.
Both Morin and Francken played important roles in establishing the "higher" degrees in the Western Hemisphere and laying the foundation for today's Scottish Rite.  (13)

 

The Republic of Texas had four Presidents: David G. Burnett, 1836; Sam Houston, 1836-1838; Mirabeau B. Lamar, 1838-1841; Sam Houston, 1841-1844; Anson Jones, 1844-1846.  All were Freemasons.    (4)

 

Resolution passed by the U.S. House of Representatives in January, 2005

109th CONGRESS
1st Session
H. RES. 17

IN THE HOUSE OF REPRESENTATIVES
January 4, 2005


Mr. GILLMOR (for himself and Mr. KINGSTON) submitted the following resolution; which was referred to the Committee on Government Reform

RESOLUTION

Recognizing the thousands of Freemasons in every State in the Nation and honoring them for their many contributions to the Nation throughout its history.

Whereas Freemasons, whose long lineage extends back to before the Nation's founding, have set an example of high moral standards and charity for all people;

Whereas the Founding Fathers of this great Nation and signers of the Constitution, most of whom were Freemasons, provided a well-rounded basis for developing themselves and others into valuable citizens of the United States;

Whereas members of the Masonic Fraternity, both individually and as an organization, continue to make invaluable charitable contributions of service to the United States;

Whereas the Masonic Fraternity continues to provide for the charitable relief and education of the citizens of the United States;

Whereas the Masonic Fraternity is deserving of formal recognition of their long history of care-giving for the citizenry and their example of high moral standards; and

Whereas Freemasons have always revered and celebrated St. John's Day, June 24th, as dedicated to their patron saints: Now, therefore, be it

Resolved, That the House of Representatives recognizes the thousands of Freemasons in every State in the Nation and honors them for their many contributions to the Nation throughout its history.

 

Massachusetts lodges have no numbers.  Pennsylvania has eleven lodges with numbers but no names.  Georgia has two lodges identified as number 1, Social #1 and Solomons #1.  Neither Maryland, Pennsylvania, or Tennessee has a lodge with the number 1.  (2)

 

The first registered livestock brand in Montana was the Square and Compasses dating back to before May 25, 1872 when brands were first registered.  It is still in use today.   (3)

 

In 1952, eighty-nine percent of the U.S. Supreme Court Justices were Freemasons.  (14)

 

For more than 138 years, the Lodge St. George of Bermuda has paid Bermuda's Governor "one peppercorn" as annual rent of the old state house.   (2)

 

Anthony Sayer, the first Grand Master of the Premier Grand Lodge in London, was chosen because he was the "Oldest Master Mason then Master of a Lodge."  (6)

 

William R. Davie, an honor graduate of Princeton College and Governor of North Carolina  1798-99, was nominated as Grand Master of Masons on December 11, 1792, having become a Master Mason only the day before.  He was not present for his installation on December 30th.  Yet he held the position of Grand Master for 7 years and is known as one of the most active Grand Masters in North Carolina history.  He is credited with being the "father" of the University of North Carolina, the first State University in America. He laid the cornerstone of the first building, "Old East" in 1793 containing a dedication plate which became missing during the Civil War.  The plate was considered lost until it was found in a scrap heap in Clarksville, TN in 1916 and restored to its rightful place.  (8)

 

Originally, Ghiblim was a name for stonecutters.  Over many generations it changed to Giblim, Gibalim, Chibbelum, Jublime, Jibelum, Jabulem, and finally to Jubelum.  (4)

 

Former Governor of New Hampshire, Joseph A. Gilmore, was made a Mason at sight on April 28, 1863.  He received his Scottish Rite degrees quickly and was awarded the thirty-third degree on May 7 of the same year... 9 days total.   (2)

 

Masonic "Firing Glasses" of 18th Century England are priceless collectors items.  Used for toasts, their thick bases were a protection when rapped upon the table in unison to accentuate applause, causing a sound similar to firing.   (3)

 

A lodge is opened by its Master in "due form" meaning according to ancient usages and customs, the laws and ritual of its Grand Lodge.
A Grand Lodge is opened by the Grand Master in "ample form"  meaning he has the power and authority to deviate from common ritual to save time. (4)

 

As commanding General at the fall of Savannah, Brother John W. Geary placed federal troops around Solomon's Lodge #1 to save it from looting and damage.   (7)

 

Every United States President from Tennessee (Andrew Jackson, Andrew Johnson, and James K. Polk) was a mason.  All were born in North Carolina.   (2)

 

Masonic dates are written "A.L." for "Anno Lucis" or "In the year of Light" which is 4000 years plus the current year. i.e. the year 2001 written Masonically would be 6001.  This is because the practice has followed the ancient belief that the world was created when God said "Let there be light", 4000 years before Christ.  (4)

 

In 1906, Brother Theodore Roosevelt received the Nobel Peace Prize for his efforts in bringing the leaders of Russia and Japan to New Hampshire where they signed a peace treaty.    (7)

 

The great composer, Jean Sibelius (Finlandia), when he was 56, was initiated, passed and raised from 10 a.m. to 7 p.m. with an intermission of an hour out for lunch.

 

The Masonic (Square and Compasses) ring is not an official item of Masonic Jewelry.  General consensus seems to be that if the wearer wishes to advise others that he is a Master Mason, then he should wear the ring with the Compasses points toward the fingertips.  If the ring is worn to remind the wearer that he is a Master Mason, then he should wear it with the compasses points toward the wrist.   (4)

 

In Hammer vs. State, 173 Indiana, 199 (1909) The Supreme Court of Indiana upheld a statute which made it a criminal offense to wear the emblem of any society or organization of which one is not a member.  The court based its decision on the fact that membership in such societies is the result of fitness and selection and that the wearing of such emblems by non-members is a deceit and false pretense.  (2)

 

Brother "Buzz" Aldrin, a member of Clear Lake Lodge #1417 in Texas, when he stepped onto the surface of the moon, carried a special deputation from his Grand Master to claim the moon as being in the territorial jurisdiction of the Grand Lodge of Texas.  And so it is.   (5)

 

The first evidence of Freemasonry in North America appeared in Nova Scotia.  A stone engraved on the top with a square and compasses was found on the shore of Goat Island in the Annapolis Basin in Nova Scotia.  In the center of the flat slab was the date 1606.  Dr. Charles T. Jackson of Boston wrote about it in 1829, calling it the "Annapolis Stone."  The stone is said to have become a part of a wall for a building; it was covered with cement and never found again. (7)

 

The word "Worshipful" is used when addressing the Master of the Lodge.  "Worship" is derived from the Old English "worchyppe" or "worchyp" meaning "greatly respected." In the Wycliffe Bible, "Honor thy father and thy mother" appears as "Worchyp thy fadir and thy modir." 
Grand Masters are called "Most Worshipful" meaning "Most greatly respected" (except in Pennsylvania where the Grand Master is "Right Worshipful" as are Past Grand Masters both there and in Texas).   (4)

 

In 1987, President Ronald Reagan (not a Mason) was awarded honorary membership in the Scottish Rite Bodies and in the Shrine...   Masonic Jurisprudence did not and does not condone these actions!  Only Master Masons may hold membership in any Appendant body.  (7)

 

When asked how he came to be a Mason, President McKinley explained:
"After the battle of Opequam, I went with the surgeon of our Ohio regiment to the field where there were about 5,000 Confederate prisoners under guard.  Almost as soon as we passed the guard, I noticed the doctor shook hands with a number of Confederate prisoners.  He also took from his pocket a roll of bills and distributed all  he had among them.  Boy-like, I looked on in wonderment; I didn't know what it all meant.  On the way back to camp I asked him:

'Did you know these men or ever see them before?'
'No,' replied the doctor, 'I never saw them before.'
'But,' I persisted, 'You gave them a lot of money, all you had about you.  Do you ever expect to get it back?'
'Well,' said the doctor, 'if they are able to pay me back, they will.  But it makes no difference to me; they are brother Masons in trouble and I am only doing my duty.'
"I said to myself, 'If that is Masonry, I will take some of it myself.' "  (2)

 

New Bern, the Colonial Capital of North Carolina, is said to be the smallest city in the USA in which one can obtain ALL the degrees of Freemasonry, Entered Apprentice through the Scottish Rite, York Rite, and the Shrine.  (11)

 

On April 22, 2002, Masonic Lodges in Ohio initiated, passed, and raised a total of 7,734 Masons in a one-day-class.  Of these, 4,956 witnessed only the 32nd degree of the Scottish Rite but became full-fledged Scottish Rite Masons the same day.  550 of the 570 Lodges in the state participated in this event.  (13)

 

When the first Grand Lodge was formed in 1717, it had no jurisdiction, ritual, constitution or laws.  There were only two degrees...   The third degree was first reported in 1725 and came into being without sanction of the Grand Lodge.   The practice of issuing Warrants to Lodges began in 1757.  There were no investigating committees for new candidates.  Instead, the Master took a voice vote.  (5)

 

Once, Lincoln Lodge #138 of Filmore, MO, when their members were growing old and no initiations were being held, a campaign for new members was launched.  All of the young men of Filmore and the vicinity were balloted upon in the Lodge.  All the successful candidates were then handed a petition.
Masonic or Un-Masonic, it worked and the Lodge soon had enough new members to continue work.  

It would appear that this procedure, once considered by many to be largely Un-Masonic, is once again being practiced in some statewide jurisdictions.  Otherwise, how could 7,000 plus new initiates possibly be gathered for a one-day class?  Just wondering....  (1)

 

For a more modern version of the above, the Grand Master of Masons of Kansas for 2003, M.W. Robert L. Tomlinson, Jr., when he assumed the Grand East, instituted a "permissive edict" permitting any Lodge in his jurisdiction to "allow petitions for the Mysteries to be received and balloted upon in the usual manner (including an investigation) without the man knowing and if elected, the recommending brother informs him that he has been selected for membership..."   (5)

 

Winnedumah Lodge #287 of Bishop, CA occasionally holds its meetings at 288 feet below sea level in Death Valley, the lowest Lodge in North America. 
(Thanks to WBro. James E. (Bubba) Pate of
Tonopah Nevada for correcting my errors)

 

From the 1740's until the re-unification of the two Grand Lodges of England in 1813, the Royal Arch or 4th degree was a regular part of the "Antients" system of Masonry. (5)

 

St. John's Chapel, Edinburgh, Scotland is said to be the oldest Masonic Lodge Room (1736) in the world. The oldest known Lodge Room in the U.S. is situated in Prentiss House, Marble head, Massachusetts (1760). The oldest Masonic Lodge Building is the Lodge Hall of Royal White Hart Lodge No. 2, Halifax, North Carolina (1771). (The Webmaster is proud to have been a member of this Lodge for some time.)
(Various sources)  (2)

 

   For the sixth time in history, a pre-revolutionary Bible owned by the Masonic order was to be used for the swearing in of a U.S. president. 
   George W. Bush had intended to take the oath of office as the nation's 43rd president on the historic Masonic bible. George Washington was the first, in 1789. The last was George H.W. Bush, who used the Bible in 1989. 
   On Friday, 19 January 2001, three officials of the Manhattan-based St. John's Lodge of Free and Accepted Masons boarded an Amtrak liner for Washington, D.C., carrying the nine-pound, 234-year-old King James Bible in a special container. At Union Station, they were met by inaugural committee officials and escorted to the inaugural site. They were literally waiting in the wings in a room adjacent to the inauguration platform when, at the 12th hour, a decision was made (attributed to the Vice President, but not confirmed) not to jeopardize the Bible because of the rain then pelting the area.
   Bound in London in 1767, the Bible was brought to the colonies and given by Jonathan Hampton to the St. John's Lodge in lower Manhattan three years later when he became its grand master. 
   Just before Washington was to take his oath of office on the steps of Federal Hall in New York City on April 30, 1789, it was discovered that there was no Bible on hand. The then-New York Gov. Robert Livingston, a Masonic grand master, borrowed the lodge's bible from St. John's Masonic Lodge, which had meeting rooms just a short distance away. A statue of Washington marks the site in front of the present-day Federal Hall on Wall Street. 
   No printer in the colonies produced Bibles at the time, and the London import, bound in maroon Moroccan leather with silver hasps, was ''probably close to a year's wages for the average fellow.'' Despite its age and history, the lodge today puts no monetary value on the book. ''I guess the word is priceless,'' a representative said.
   Other presidents who have placed their left hand on the Masonic Bible were Warren G. Harding in 1921, Dwight D. Eisenhower in 1953, and Jimmy Carter in 1977. Among the six, only Washington and Harding were Masons.
   Harry Truman, probably the most active Mason among the nation's chief executives, did not use it, nor did several other Masons who served as president. 
   In 1867, President Andrew Johnson, attending the dedication of a new Masonic temple in Boston, asked that the George Washington inaugural Bible be brought to his hotel room, and was seen by aides ''to weep as he held it in his hands". 
   In addition to its role in presidential oath-taking, the Bible was used at Washington's funeral in December, 1799, the dedication of the Washington Monument in Washington, D.C. in 1885, the re-laying of the U.S. Capitol's cornerstone in 1959, and the christening of the aircraft carrier USS George Washington at Norfolk, Va., in 1992. 
   It was on display at the New York world's fair in 1964-65 and at the White House for 30 days after the elder Bush's inaugural. 
   Between travels, it is maintained by the National Parks Service in a protective display case at Federal Hall, open to Genesis 49, 50, the pages on which Washington rested his hand to be sworn in. 

 

A charter issued on January 14, 1771 by the Duke of Beaufort commissioned Brother Joseph Montfort of Halifax, North Carolina as Grand Master "of and for America."  (8)

 

A Lodge may not be adjourned for any purpose.  No member has the authority to present a motion for adjournment since that would usurp the Master's power.  A Lodge must be in one of three conditions: Closed, open and at work, or at refreshment.  (4)

 

Ben Franklin published the first Masonic book in America in 1734, a reprint of Anderson's 'Book of Constitutions.' (9)

 

During the years that Spain was under the control of General Franco, Freemasonry was a "crime" and Masons were imprisoned for a term of years equal to the number of Masonic degrees possessed by the "guilty one."   (2)

 

The Obligation and the Oath:  The obligation is a promise made by the candidate to the members of his Lodge and to the Fraternity.  The oath is the "So help me God!" that follows the obligation.

 

Of the 254 counties in Texas, 102 are named for Freemasons.  Among them are Stephen F. Austin, Robert Emmett, Bledsoe Baylor, James Bowie, David Crockett, George M. Dallas, Rev. John B. Denton, Jack Hayes, Sam Houston, Anson Jones, Mirabeau B. Lamar, James Madison, Pat Neff, James K. Polk, Sam Ross, Adolphus Sterne, Edward H. Tarrant, William B. Travis, and George Washington. (12)

 

The word "Freemason" appeared for the first time in the Statutes of England, dated 1487 and the term "Master Mason" first appeared after the name of William Orchard of Magdalen College in 1479 (9)

 

Concerning the oft-heard statement by some that Freemasonry is a religion, the Supreme Court of Nebraska, in deciding a case some years ago, used the following illuminating language:

    "The guiding thought is not religion but religious toleration .... The Masonic fraternity refrains from intruding into the field of religion and confines itself to the teaching of morality and duty to one's fellow men, which makes better men and better citizens.
    "The distinction is clear between such ethical teachings and the doctrines of religion. One cannot espouse a religion without belief and faith in its peculiar doctrines. A fraternity broad enough to take in and cover with its mantle Christian, Moslem and Jew, without requiring him to renounce his religion, is not a religious organization, although its members may join in prayer which, in the case of each, is a petition addressed to his own Deity. Neither can the belief in the immortality of the soul be denominated religious in the sense that it is typical of any religion, of any race, or of any age. It constitutes one of the most beautiful and consoling features of our own religion, but it is equally found in almost every other. It is so unusual and spontaneous that it is not so much belief or dogma as it is an instinct of the human soul. Neither does it imply or require adherence to any system of religious worship.
    "The fact that belief in the doctrines or deity of no particular religion is required, of itself refutes the theory that the Masonic ritual embodies a religion, or that its teachings are religious." (10)

 

"to that undiscovered country from whose bourn no traveler returns." 

Exact wording used in Hamlet, Act 111, Scene 1 by William Shakespeare.  (Not a Mason) 
"Bourn", meaning "boundary" is now an obsolete word except in literature and Masonic ritual.

 

The first American Masonic ritual, "Freemason's Monitor", was published in Albany, NY in 1797 by Brother Thomas Smith Webb. It was largely based on William Preston's writings in England.

 

Brother George Washington took his oath of office outside, on the balcony where the crowd could see and participate in the ceremony. In the center was a small table with covering of crimson velvet upon which lay [a] superbly bound Bible on crimson velvet cushion.  The Bible was opened to Chapter 49 and 50 of Genesis.  (15)

 

 

 

Acknowledgements:

1) "History of Freemasonry in Missouri," Missouri Lodge of Research.
2)"The Truth is Stranger than Fiction," by Alphonse Cerza, Masonic Service Association, 1967.
3) "Wisconsin Masonic Journal".
4) "One Hundred One Questions about Freemasonry" Masonic Service Association, 1955.
5) "Fraternal Review", Southern California Research Lodge F&AM.
6) "Freemasonry: A Celebration of the Craft"
by John Hamill and Robert Gilbert.
7) "Masonic Trivia and Facts", Allen E. Roberts.
8) "Launching the Craft" by Thomas C. Parramore, 1975 (Grand Lodge of North Carolina, AF&AM)
9)
"Masonic Parallels with History." by Alphonse Cerza. The Masonic Service Association, 1983.
10) "Let There Be Light." by Alphonse Cerza. The Masonic Service Association, 1983.
11) "Sudan Shrine Temple Directory" by Sudan Temple Staff, 1991
12) "The Scottish Rite Journal", Southern Jurisdiction
13) "The Northern Light", Scottish Rite, Northern Jurisdiction
14) "10,000 Famous Freemasons", William R. Denslow
15) "St John's Lodge Bible (The first Inauguration)", by C.F. William Maurer, Masonic Service Association, Sept., 2001
 

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