Indianapolis Lodge #669

To Be One Ask One

Further Light - Masonic Education
Thoughts
Love is friendship that has caught fire. It is quiet understanding, mutual confidence, sharing and forgiving. It is loyalty through good and bad times. It settles for less than perfection and makes allowances for human weaknesses. - Ann Landers

The doorstep to the temple of wisdom is knowledge of our own ignorance. - Benjamin Franklin

What we have done for ourselves alone dies with us; what we have done for others and the world remains and is immortal. - Albert Pike

Our creator is the same and never changes despite the names given Him by people here and in all parts of the world.  Even if we gave Him no name at all, He would still be there, within us, waiting to give us good on this earth.  - George Washington Carver

Love me when I least deserve it, because that's when I really need it. - Swedish Proverb

Everyone should carefully observe which way his heart draws him, and then choose that way with all his strength. - Hasidic Proverb

A closed mind is like a closed book; just a block of wood. - Chinese Proverb

2016 Light
"Many writers and thinkers have tried to define Freemasonry but it really defeats definition. It is too complex, too profound in conception, to easily expressed in words. Perhaps the simplest and best definition of all is the phrase "the brotherhood of man under the fatherhood of God." Our Masonic forefathers had an understanding of human needs and human aspirations. They may never have dreamed of the mindless computer which governs our lives, or the fission of matter which threatens our lives, but they understood human nature and what motivates the spirit of man. Thus from a simple process of using stone and mortar for building they progressed to the most important of lifes's functions, the building of character." - Lance L. Williams

2014 Light
"Remember now thy Creator in the days of thy youth, while the evil days come not, nor the years draw nigh, when thou shalt say, I have no pleasure in them;

While the sun, or the light, or the moon, or the stars, be not darkened, nor the clouds return after the rain: In the day when the keepers of the house shall tremble, and the strong men shall bow themselves, and the grinders cease because they are few, and those that look out of the windows be darkened.

And the doors shall be shut in the streets, when the sound of the grinding is low, and he shall rise up at the voice of the bird, and all the daughters of musick shall be brought low. Also when they shall be afraid of that which is high, and fears shall be in the way, and the almond tree shall flourish, and the grasshopper shall be a burden, and desire shall fail; because man goeth to his long home, and the mourners go about the streets; or ever the silver cord be loosed, or the golden bowl be broken, or the pitcher be broken at the fountain, or the wheel broken at the cistern. Then shall the dust return to the earth as it was; and the spirit shall return unto God who gave it," - Ecclesiastes (Chapter 12)


November 2013

RULES OF MASONIC ETIQUETTE

THE MASTER'S AUTHORITY:

During his term in office, the brother who has been elected as Master is the most powerful member of the Lodge. He also shoulders all of its many responsibilities. The Worshipful Master has the authority to: 1. Rule any brother out of order on any subject at any time. 2. Decide what can and cannot be discussed.

 WALKING BETWEEN THE ALTAR AND THE WORSHIPFUL MASTER:
Brethren do not pass between the Altar and the East when the lodge is open.
Why?
 As a courtesy to the Master, it is necessary that the three Great Lights which shine their eternal light and wisdom upon the Master to help him govern the lodge should never be in shadow, not even for a millisecond, during the processes of an initiation or degree work.
 

. SITTING IN THE EAST: Brethren do not take a seat in the East without an invitation... even if all other seats are full.  Why? While all Brethren within a tiled room are equal to one another, and the officers are servants of the brethren, all lodge officers have worked and studied long and hard for their lodge. It is, therefore, the Master’s prerogative to recognize this devotion and their loyalty by inviting distinguished visitors or a special member whom the Master wishes to honor to sit with him in the East.


 STAND WHEN YOU SPEAK:
No man sits while speaking in the lodge room, no matter if he addresses an officer or another brother.  Why? All lodge activity is based on each man in the lodge as being a servant of the Brethren. This includes the Worshipful Master and his officers. While the man, himself, who has been elected Worshipful Master does not gain any special honor, personally, as the Worshipful Master, it is to the Worshipful Master as the Master of the Lodge that a member stands to address. It is simply a form of respect.
 
 TALKING: "Side" talk while a degree is being conferred is considered bad manners.
Why? 
The lodge room is a Temple of the Great Architect of the Universe. The brethren within are working to make the best ashlars (stones) for His spiritual temple.  HOW? If you have something of interest to say, raise your hand. When the Master recognizes you, you must stand up, and be recognized by the Master to speak. To address the brethren, you should say: “Worshipful Master, Wardens and Brethren”.
 
. SPEAKING: If you wish to offer a predetermined motion or matter for discussion, advise the Master beforehand.  Why? Advising the Master before the meeting that you intend to bring up a specific motion or a matter for discussion is an important courtesy. You may, indeed, do it without advising him in advance, but the Master may have plans of his own for that meeting, for which your proposed motion or discussion may not easily fit into the allotted time frame. As a courtesy to him, his work, and his dedication to the members, it is best to ask him privately, beforehand, if he will be able to recognize you to speak your purpose. This saves "face" for both of you. You will not publicly be refused and he will not have to seem disagreeable or arrogant in his refusal of your motion.
 
 OBEY THE GAVEL: You must immediately obey the gavel. Why? Failure to immediately obey the gavel is a GRAVE DISCOURTESY and VERY poor Masonic Etiquette. The Master is all powerful in the lodge and his word is final.  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 what he will not, permit to be discussed. When a brother is rapped down, he should obey at once, without any further discussion. It is VERY bad manners to do otherwise. In fact, it is perilously close to the line between bad manners and a Masonic offense. Masonic etiquette decries anyone who does not obey the gavel.
 
 TURNING YOUR BACK:  Never turn one’s back on the Master to address the lodge without first receiving permission from the Master to speak. Why? Any debates that are in motion must be conducted using proper Masonic etiquette. One always stands to order when addressing the chair.. 
 
 
. BALLOTING: Do not enter or leave the lodge room during a ballot.  Why? It is discourteous to leave the lodge room during a speech, during a degree, etc. There are several natural periods, such as at the end of one section and before the next begins, or when the Master puts the lodge at ease until the sound of the gavel. Then, and only then, you may leave the lodge without being considered rude. It is Masonic Etiquette that all brethren are expected to vote when requested to do so. Failure to cast your ballot not only results in your failure to share in your duties, but is in direct disobedience of the Master’s request.
 
 VOTING IS MANDATORY: When an issue is put to a vote, all brethren should vote.  Why? A brother who does not vote is discourteous because he skews the ballot. He becomes the weak link in a strong chain. No matter what the reason of his non-vote, he injures the lodge’s ballot, its value and its secrecy. Failure to vote can injure a lodge’s feeling of brotherhood, and by that injury, can injure the Masonic fraternity. No matter what reason you may privately hold about voting, it is poor Masonic Etiquette to fail to vote when requested to do so by the Master.
 
 EXHIBIT GOOD POSTURE:  Why? Good posture is necessary while within the Lodge room. Lounging, leaning and slovenly attitudes should be avoided. Poor posture is considered poor Masonic etiquette..
 
 
 NO PRACTICAL JOKES NOR OFF-COLOR STORIES:  Why? The great lessons of Masonry, which are taught by our ritual, should never be demeaned by levity or pranks. The lodge room is not a proper location for the telling of practical jokes, pranks, horseplay nor off-color stories.

 USE PROPER MASONIC NAMES:  Why? It is common courtesy to be accurate in speaking a brother’s name, so it is proper Masonic etiquette to address officers, members, and visitors by their correct Masonic titles and addresses.

 

July 2013
 
Can Freemasonry actually prepare me for greatness?
 
 
No organization can guarantee to make anyone great -- the capacity and motivation must come from the individual. But the powerful values and important truths that are taught as part of the Masonic tradition have proven to inspire, challenge, and develop leadership in men throughout the centuries. Benjamin Franklin may have said it best, describing the Fraternity as a place to "prepare himself."
 

Today, men are preparing themselves for greatness in Lodges the world over. If you think there's greatness in you, we invite your interest.


June 2013

 

UP FROM THE ASHES
Life of immortality. Ashes to ashes, dust to dust. Can we rise up? Do you believe? We must believe!
 

Ancient mythology teaches us that the Giant Bird “Phoenix” had a head finely crested, a body covered with beautiful plumage, and eyes sparkling like stars. She was said to live six hundred years in the wilderness, when she built for herself a funeral pyre of aromatic woods, which she ignited with the fanning of her wings, and emerged from the flames with a new life. Hence the Phoenix has been adopted universally as a symbol of immortality. That beautiful Temple of King Solomon rose from the rubbish and ashes of those barbarous forces to become an even more magnificent and resplendent structure. In that Great “Civil War” that was fought on our soil we found Fathers and Sons, Brothers, Friends all fighting against each other for the cause in which they believed to be right and just. That Great War not only split the country it split families and friends. At its conclusion this country was able to raise itself from the ashes of despair and ruin to build a stronger and greater country. We as a country and individuals grow stronger and more resolved from adversity and defeat.

 

Each of us has had the feeling of being consumed by fire. The problems of our lives have left us in the pit of despair, the ashes of destruction, although it may not have been the fire that creates those ashes. We all have had problems that we need to overcome in our lives and in the lives of those who we love and cherish. We, each of us, has found the desire, strength and resolve to resurrect ourselves and rise from the ashes, stronger and better men than we were to begin with. As Dr. Martin Luther King so aptly put it, “We Can Overcome.” Not only must we believe that we can, but that we MUST, overcome the adversity affecting us and our lives.

 

Our lives could be us as an individual, a close friend, or organization to which we believe. Each of us and our organizations have hit low points in our lives. Adversity and the overcoming of it makes us stronger. The adversity that consumes organizations make them even stronger as they raise themselves from the rubbish and ashes of the Temple.
 
 

The Masonic Penalties

Perhaps the term "ancient penalties" is not the best expression for the consequences of the Obligations. What they really are and what we might be better served to refer to them as is "ancient symbolic penalties” These penalties were never included in modern Masonry for the purpose of having an enforceable violent penalty. They were included simply as a symbolic representation of how seriously an obligated candidate should view his oath.
 
Some might argue that if these are simply symbolic why not remove and replace them with more practical and enforceable consequences. At first glance that might seem prudent, but such logic is somewhat misleading, because so much of what we have around us and which we hold dear is represented in symbols of practically every kind. Symbolism is a very rich and important part of human life. It certainly should not and probably could not be cast aside even if we wanted to do so.
 
Architects, geographers, generals, astronomers, in fact anyone whose field relies on the use of numbers or mathematical expressions, would be helpless were it not for symbols. We encounter symbols even while engaging in the most routine and mundane acts Most of us drive an automobile every day of our lives. Consider for a moment the importance of symbols in operating a motor vehicle. The functions of all the controls are depicted by symbols, the numbers on the speedometer are no more than symbols, various shapes and designs that constitute highway signs are but mere symbols, and the road map we use to arrive at a new and unfamiliar destination is simply a sheet covered in symbols. Each of the fore-mentioned symbols is established and represented in a specific place and manner to ensure understanding regardless of the language, and to some degree the comprehension level of the operator. Obviously, symbols are a most effective means of communication, which serve to ensure accurate understanding regardless of language, education or intellect. Symbolism, of course is no more than a particular item, such as an icon or figure that is presented to remind us of something else, often times an idea, philosophy or promise. We need only to look in the very first Book of the Holy Scriptures to see that the Grand Artificer required of Cain and Abel formal sacrifices, which are simply symbols representing our gratitude and obedience to the Lord. This points to both the importance and the long time existence of symbols. Modern symbols come in an endless variety of shapes, forms and styles. The newspaper we read, the calendar we consult, the watch we check, and the menu from which we order, as well as the bills we pay, all depend on our understanding of symbols. Yet some might say that unlike the “Penalties of the Obligations," those are all symbols lacking any violent origin. However, that may not be entirely accurate. Many symbols in use today depict a violent consequence and their design is intended to remind us of that hazard. Thus, can we not agree that some symbols depicting violence can be very effective communicators to warn us of danger? For an example what does the skull and crossbones on a bottle of liquid do for us? One of the most striking parts of the Masonic obligation is the specification of the penalty of the obligation. A man would have to be callous or mentally dull not to be impacted by the detailing of the penalties. What better way could our fraternity impress unto our candidates the seriousness of the obligations they are assuming? While the penalties are not meant to be carried out physically, they are can be just as devastating, because they destroy a Mason’s spiritual ties to our beloved Craft. Could there be a worst penalty?

May 2013

UP FROM THE ASHES
Life of immortality. Ashes to ashes, dust to dust. Can we rise up? Do you believe? We must believe!
 
Ancient mythology teaches us that the Giant Bird “Phoenix” had a head finely crested, a body covered with
beautiful plumage, and eyes sparkling like stars. She was said to live six hundred years in the wilderness, when she built for herself a funeral pyre of aromatic woods, which she ignited with the fanning of her wings, and emerged from the flames with a new life. Hence the Phoenix has been adopted universally as a symbol of immortality. That beautiful Temple of King Solomon rose from the rubbish and ashes of those barbarous forces to become an even more magnificent and resplendent structure.In that Great “Civil War” that was fought on our soil we found Fathers and Sons, Brothers, Friends all fighting against each other for the cause in which they believed to be right and just. That Great War not only split the country it split families and friends. At its conclusion this country was able to raise itself from the ashes of despair and ruin to build a stronger and greater country. We as a country and individuals grow stronger and more resolved from adversity and defeat.
Each of us has had the feeling of being consumed by fire. The problems of our lives have left us in the pit of despair, the ashes of destruction, although it may not have been the fire that creates those ashes. We all have had problems that we need to overcome in our lives and in the lives of those who we love and cherish. We, each of us,has found the desire, strength and resolve to resurrect ourselves and rise from the ashes, stronger and better men than we were to begin with. As Dr. Martin Luther King so aptly put it, “We Can Overcome.” Not only must we believe that we can, but that we MUST, overcome the adversity affecting us and our lives.
 
Our lives could be us as an individual, a close friend, or organization to which we believe. Each of us and our
organizations have hit low points in our lives. Adversity and the overcoming of it makes us stronger. The adversity that consumes organizations make them even stronger as they raise themselves from the rubbish and ashes of the Temple.
 
 

The Masonic Penalties

Perhaps the term "ancient penalties" is not the best expression for the consequences of the Obligations. What they really are and what we might be better served to refer to them as is "ancient symbolic penalties” These penalties were never included in modern Masonry for the purpose of having an enforceable violent penalty. They were included simply as a symbolic representation of how seriously an obligated candidate should view his oath.
 
Some might argue that if these are simply symbolic why not remove and replace them with more practical and enforceable consequences. At first glance that might seem prudent, but such logic is somewhat misleading, because so much of what we have around us and which we hold dear is represented in symbols of practically every kind. Symbolism is a very rich and important part of human life. It certainly should not and probably could not be cast aside even if we wanted to do so.
 
Architects, geographers, generals, astronomers, in fact anyone whose field relies on the use of numbers or mathematical expressions, would be helpless were it not for symbols. We encounter symbols even while engaging in the most routine and mundane acts Most of us drive an automobile every day of our lives. Consider for a moment the importance of symbols in operating a motor vehicle. The functions of all the controls are depicted by symbols, the numbers on the speedometer are no more than symbols, various shapes and designs that constitute highway signs are but mere symbols, and the road map we use to arrive at a new and unfamiliar destination is simply a sheet covered in symbols. Each of the fore-mentioned symbols is established and represented in a specific place and manner to ensure understanding regardless of the language, and to some degree the comprehension level of the operator. Obviously, symbols are a most effective means of communication, which serve to ensure accurate understanding regardless of language, education or intellect. Symbolism, of course is no more than a particular item, such as an icon or figure that is presented to remind us of something else, often times an idea, philosophy or promise. We need only to look in the very first Book of the Holy Scriptures to see that the Grand Artificer required of Cain and Abel formal sacrifices, which are simply symbols representing our gratitude and obedience to the Lord. This points to both the importance and the long time existence of symbols. Modern symbols come in an endless variety of shapes, forms and styles. The newspaper we read, the calendar we consult, the watch we check, and the menu from which we order, as well as the bills we pay, all depend on our understanding of symbols. Yet some might say that unlike the “Penalties of the Obligations," those are all symbols lacking any violent origin. However, that may not be entirely accurate. Many symbols in use today depict a violent consequence and their design is intended to remind us of that hazard. Thus, can we not agree that some symbols depicting violence can be very effective communicators to warn us of danger? For an example what does the skull and crossbones on a bottle of liquid do for us? One of the most striking parts of the Masonic obligation is the specification of the penalty of the obligation. A man would have to be callous or mentally dull not to be impacted by the detailing of the penalties. What better way could our fraternity impress unto our candidates the seriousness of the obligations they are assuming? While the penalties are not meant to be carried out physically, they are can be just as devastating, because they destroy a Mason’s spiritual ties to our beloved Craft. Could there be a worst penalty?

April 2013
 
"If you don't design your own life plan, chances are you'll fall into someone else's plan, and guess what they have planned for you? Not much." -- Jim Rohn
 
"It is necessary to help others, not only in our prayers, but in our daily lives. If we find we cannot help others, the least we can do is to desist from harming others." -- Dalai Lama
 
Five Masonic Thoughts - Our Basic Function
The basic function of a Masonic Lodge is to make Master Masons. This does not mean the formality of raising candidates. It extends far beyond that period in the life of a Mason. The task of making Master Masons must be directed toward all of us, those who are Master Masons and those who are in the process of becoming Master Masons. The fruits of our efforts to teach and to learn about Freemasonry, the interest that we show the candidates as we welcome them into the new world of Freemasonry, will be evident in the years to come. If we sow well, we are bound to reap well.
 
Being Well and Duly Prepared
Being "Well and Duly Prepared" is a Masonic expression. Masons understand its significance in the Lodge Rooms. However, they may also interpret it outside the Lodge. No Mason enters even the ground floor of the Lodge unless he is "Well and Duly Prepared." So simple is his dress that it provokes no envy. He is dressed properly for the occasion, and everyone so dressed feels perfectly at ease among Brethren. No place here for the rich to boast of fine raiment and resplendent jewels, nor for the poor to envy his more fortunate Brother or covet his wealth. Their clothing in each case symbolizes labor and innocence. With hand and brain, each is ready to serve his fellowman; with forbearance and toleration, each is willing to forgive the crude and ignorant everywhere. To carry the symbolism of Masonic investiture still further, every Mason should be clothed in the habiliments of truth. His wardrobe should contain the robe of justice, with which to protect those who, for any reason, have been deprived of their just rights; the mantle of charity, with which to comfort those made destitute, many times by no cause of their own; the tunic of toleration, with which to hide the weakness of the wayward, and help them to the road of recovery; the cloak of mercy, toleration, with which to cover the wounded and suffering in mind or body with unstinted sympathy and kindness. These garments are all of genius quality, measured and cut by a Master Tailor. They are serviceable and in good tast on every occasion. They, too, may be had without money and without price, and, the man who wears them is truly "properly clothed," and "Well and Duly Prepared" as a Master Mason.

February 2013 - What is meant by "Fellowcraft"
Excerpted from "The Masonic Scholar"
 
Within Freemasonry, the color blue is a symbol of universal friendship and benevolence, as it is the color of the vault of heaven. Blue is the only color other than white which should be used in a Master's Lodge for decorations. Within the Blue Lodge are conferred the Craft Degrees. These Masonic rituals represent three degrees which are taken in sequence. First, the Entered Apprentice Degree. Second, the Fellow Craft Degree. And finally the Third, the Master Mason Degree.
 
"Fellow Craft" is one of the large number of terms which have a technical meaning peculiar to Freemasonry and are seldom found elsewhere. In Operative Masonry, a "craft" was an organization of skilled workmen in some trade or calling; a "fellow" meant one who held membership in such a craft, obligated to the same duties and allowed the same privileges. In Freemasonry, it possesses two separate meanings, one of which we may call the Operative meaning, and the other the Speculative. In its Operative period, Freemasons were skilled workmen engaged as architects and builders; like other skilled workmen they had an organized craft of their own, the general form of which was called a "guild". This guild had officers, laws, rules, regulations, and customs of its own, rigorously binding on all members. It divided its membership into two grades, the lower of which, composed of apprentices, was explained to you in our first meeting. You have already learned the operative meaning of Fellow Craft; now that the craft is no longer operative, the term possesses a very different meaning, yet it is still used in its original sense in certain parts of the Ritual, and, of course, it is frequently met with in the histories of the Fraternity. Operative Masonry began to decline at about the time of the Reformation, when lodges became few in number and small in membership. A few of these in England began to admit into membership men with no intention of practicing Operative Masonry, but who were attracted by the Craft's antiquity, and for social and philosophical reasons. These were called Speculative Masons. At the beginning of the eighteenth century, these Speculatives so increased in numbers that they gained control, and during the first quarter of that century completely transformed the Craft into the Speculative Fraternity we now have. Although they adhered as closely as possible to the old customs, they made some radical changes to the Society for its new purposes. One of the most important of these was to abandon the old rule of dividing the members into two grades, or degrees, and to adopt the new rule of dividing them into three. The second was called the Fellow Craft's Degree, the third was the Master Mason's Degree. The term fellow craft is now used as the name of the one who has received the second degree. You are a Fellowcraft; you have passed through the ceremonies, assumed the obligations of the Fellowcraft's Degree, and are registered as a Fellowcraft in the books of the Lodge. You can sit in your own Lodge when open as either a lodge of Apprentices, or of Fellowcraft's, but not as Master Masons. Your duties are to do and br all that a Fellowcraft's Lodge requires. Freemasonry is too extensive to be exemplified in a ritual or to be presented through initiation in one evening. One Degree follows another and the members of each stand on a different level of rights and duties; but this does not mean that the Masonry presented in either the First or the Second degree, so far as its nature and teachings are concerned, is less important, or less binding, than that presented in the Third Degree. All that is taught in the First and Second Degrees belongs as vitally and permanently to Freemasonry as that which is taught in the Third; there is necessary subordination in the grades of membership, but there is no subordination of the Masonry presented in each grade. Do not, therefore, be tempted to look upon the Fellow Craft's Degree as a mere stepping stone to the Third. Freemasonry gave to you one part of itself in the First, another portion in the Second, and in the Third it will give you yet another, but it is always Freemasonry throughout. Therefore, we urge on you the same studious attention while you are a Fellow Craft that you doubtless expect to give when you are a Master Mason.

November 2012: The Lambskin Aprin
Author Unknown
 
It is not ornamental, the cost is not so great,
There are other things for more useful, yet truly here I do state:
Though of all my possessions, there is none which can compare,
With that white leather apron, which all Freemasons wear.
 
As a lad I wondered just what it all meant,
When Dad hustled around, and so much time was spent,
on shaving and dressing and looking just right,
Until Mother would say: "There's a Lodge meeting tonight."
 
And some winter nights she said: "What makes you go
Way up there tonight through sleet and the snow?
You see the same things every month of the year."
Then Dad would reply: "Yes, I know, my Dear."
 
"Forty years I have seen the same things, it is true.
And, though they are old, they always seem so new.
For the hands that I clasp, and the friends that I greet,
Seem a bit closer each and every time we meet."
 
Years later I stood at that very same door,
With good men and true who had entered before.
I knelt at the alter, and there I was taught
That Virtue and Honor can never be bought.
 
That the spotless white lambskin that all Freemasons revere,
If worthily worn grows more precious each year.
That Service to others brings blessings untold;
That without it man may be poor even when surrounded by gold.
 
I learned that True Brotherhood flourishes there,
That enmities fade beneath the Compass and Square,
That wealth and position are all thrust aside,
As there on the Level Brethren meet and peacefully abide.
 
So Honor the lambskin, may it always remain
Forever unblemished, and free from all stain.
 
And when we are called to the Great Father's love,
May we all take our place in the Celestial Lodge up above.

September 2012: Freeemasonary Is Many Things
 
Freemasonry is a Story of Life; with all its joys, its heartaches, its failures, and its final triumph over all earthly things. Anyone can read it, in countless books. Its teachings, its symbols, and its ambitions, are open for general observation. They are practiced in the light, and are held up for all the world to see. Freemasonry is not practiced in the dark, neither are its teachings the dogma for some forbidden cult. We, as Freemasons, are required to reflect the light; to practice its teachings and love by their direction. No greater thing can be said of Freemasonry than it is an ideal way of life. No other fraternity offers such profound lessons in its Ritual or Work as does Free-masonry. Each word and each act in the ceremonies of the lodge carries a true lesson to each of us, if we will but open our eyes to see, our ears to hear and our hearts to accept. We can study Freemasonry for years, as we attend its meetings, and each time we stop to think on the things said and done, we get a new meaning and inspiration from them. There is a never-ending source of pleasure in the various shades of meaning that can be read into each line of our work. Each new meaning and interpretation that we put into some word or act will make that passage live for us, and we will begin to see Freemasonry for what it is intended. Great men have devoted many years of study and meditation to the cause of Freemasonry and when their work is finished they realized they they have only begun to see the light and that they have only started to uncover the true meanings of the work. Freemasonry has been talked of and written about by countless men in every country of the world. Its members have been persecuted in all lands at one time or the other, but it still grows and flourishes as no other fraternity on earth today. There must be something good and great in Freemasonry, for it to stand through the years as a beacon of light to its members and as a symbol of the true way of life for all to see and follow. Its greatness is not due to its secret teachings, its mysteries or fanfare of its deeds, but rather to the profound lessons taught to its members and to the comfort, inspiration and enlightenment brought to all who will but study.
 

 
Freemasonry frowns on advertising its good deeds, preferring to let those who benefit from them reflect its goodness, that others might have hope and desire the better things of life. Freemasonry offers comfort to those who sorrow, hope for those who despair, wise counsel for those who err, and the joys and contentment of life to all.

July 2012 education: Pledge of Allegiance
 
Francis Julius Bellamy (May 18, 1885 - August 28, 1931) one-time Baptist minister and prominent member of the Christian Socialist movement, wrote the original USA Pledge of Allegiance, first published in the September 8, 1892 issue of The Youth's Companion. Brother Francis Julius Bellamy was a member of Little Falls Lodge No. 181 Little Falls, NY. The Pledge of Allegiance has since come under several - sometimes controversial - revisions. Bellamy's original words were: "I pledge allegiance to my Flag and the Republic for which it stands, one nation, indivisible, with liberty and justice for all." In 1923, the National Flag Conference called for the words "my Flag" to be changed to "the Flag of the United States". The words "of America" were added a year later. The phrase "under God" was incorporated into the Pledge of Allegiance on June 14, 1954 by a Joint Resolution of Congress.

June 2012 - Dare to be Different
 
The intent of this article is to show that substantial increases in attendance are possible provided the Master dares to be different. This does not imply the need to experiment with so called "up-to-date" methodologies. On the contrary, it requires stimulating those members we already have as well as those whol will be voluntarily attracted into our midst with pure and unimpaired Freemasonry. The sooner we stop blaming poor attendance on the failure of the Craft to modernize, the better. The last substantial influx of new members into Freemasonry occurred over forty years ago. Since then, many reasons have been suggested for the decrease in attendance. Members have moved away from the metropolitan area lodges. Once in suburbia they become accustomed to more leisure time, more holidays, and longer vacations. Some turn to service clubs, where the results of their participation may be more apparent. Others find that civic responsibilities take up their evening hours. Family ties now take precedence over fraternal ties. For some, longer work hours and the pressure of doing business at night are contributing factors. The majority, however, do not attend simply because they choose not to attend. They are bored to tears with business meetings. Those who are not ritualists find little inspiration sitting on the sidelines listening to the same brethren perform the degree work and give the lectures time after time. Their contentions are real and cannot be brushed aside. We live in an achievement oriented society that views ambiguous programs with skepticism. Mediocrity no longer suffices. It is time Masonic leaders stopped saying " something should be done" and begin saying "I'm going to do something about it." The call to the Master is the same today as it was when candidates petitioned in droves: to create an atmosphere for intellectual and spiritual growth so that members know from experience they are misisng something by not attending lodge. Merely to suggest programs that others find helpful is only part of the answer. What may work for one lodge may not necessarily work for another.
 
Symbolic Lodge Masonry cries out for an enlightened membership responsive to the Master who carefully lays his designs upon the trestleboard. The approach, therefore, includes preparing the members as well as the Master. There are no shortcuts.