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"My horizon of Masonry expanded, and my pride and joy were bubbling and effervescent. I couldn't wait to be able to confer the Degrees on others as there was so much I wanted to explain and elaborate about each Degree."
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I am proud to be a Mason

by Seymour Atlas

I shall never forget my first thought as I made my initial entrance into the Masonic Lodge that conferred the Entered Apprentice Degree on me, and followed with the Fellow Craft and Master Mason Degrees. I was immediately made to feel that I was surrounded by Brothers. I felt there were no strangers present. This was one big family that seemed to have adopted me, and I, in turn, was elated to adopt them as my family.
    My horizon of Masonry expanded, and my pride and joy were bubbling and effervescent. I couldn't wait to be able to confer the Degrees on others as there was so much I wanted to explain and elaborate about each Degree.
    I was offered this opportunity and immediately began to study and memorize many parts, and over the years I became very active, holding office, lecturing, and taking an active part in every phase of Masonry where my talents and abilities could be used. One aspect of Masonry that has made a great impression on me was the ability of all Brothers, regardless of religion, to ask me why did I need Masonry as a Rabbi, because my profession was one of integrity, kindness, honesty, and all the attributes expounded in Masonry. It was difficult for many to grasp my need for this addition and supplement to religion. I worked with men of different religions, as well as of the Hebrew faith, and they were all impressed when I would say that Masonry is not a religion, but to be a Mason we had to believe in God, and if this was the only aspect of our religion and we had no other formal religion, yet we adhered to all the moral teachings of Masonry; this too would have put us in the category of men of integrity. However, Masonry is not a substitute for religion, nor is it a religion.
    My experience has shown that Masons are, for the most part, deeply religious men. I am proud to be a Mason and a part of an organization that is devoted to helping, without question or embarrassment, widows, orphans, and those in need.
    I am proud to be a Mason and to be a part of a Fraternity dedicated to the upholding of the Constitution of the United States of America and the Bill of Rights.
    I am proud to be a Mason who believes in the freedom of mankind and the sanctity of human life.
    I am proud to be a Mason who believes in the dignity of God's children and opposes hatred and bigotry, and stands for truth, justice, kindness, integrity, and righteousness for all.
    I am proud to be a Mason and shall always be happy to number myself among those who uphold those cardinal principles and moral standards of life that are so needed if our organization is to continue on the high level that has been its character from its inception. May God grant it continued strength to go, to grow, and to glow so that I and all Masons can exclaim: "I am proud to be a Mason!"

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Globesby William R. Fischer

A question was asked, "If King Solomon's Temple was built in 967 B.C. and globes were placed on top of the pillars, how did they know the world was round?"
    This question is quite pertinent because it was not until 1522 that Magellan proved the world was round. How could the men of King Solomon's period know the world was round? The answer is they did not know.
    The contemporaries of Solomon believed the earth stood still, and was inside a hollow sphere with its inner surface dotted with stars revolving about the earth. This slow turning "celestial sphere" is the oldest theory of mankind observations of the "starry-decked heavens".
    This could explain the globe on the pillar at the right, but what about the one on the left? Even if they knew the earth was round this globe could not be a good representation of it. They did not know about the Americas. They thought the earth was an oblong square or rectangle, so there should have been a rectangle on the top of the pillar.
    What was there?
    It is believed that the "globes upon the pillars" are a corruption of the lily-work of the old testament. The lily was apparently the Egyptian lotus which was in Egypt a symbol of the universe. Thus the symbol of the universe was placed atop the pillars and referred to, as centuries past, as globes because of there round hollow shape.

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Why Freemasonry Survives

Chauncey M. Depew (1834-1928)
Financier, U. S. Senator

Institutions do not survive through the ages by accident; they live only through the possession and operation of everlasting principles. When an organization runs back beyond historic records, and relies upon tradition for the story of its origin, its career during a known period either justifies or falsifies the tradition. An ancestry of virtue and good works is a liberal education. The power of the accumulated wisdom of the past is a resistless impelling force upon the present. The architects, the decorators, the draftsmen, the woodcarvers, the workers in precious metals and the Masons who were building the famous Temple of King Solomon came from every nation in the then-known world. Their union of mutual help, protection, society and improvement was the marvel of an age when all navies were pirates and all nations enemies.

    Masonry, marching under the leadership of God and the banner that bears the motto, "Love thy neighbor as thyself," with the peasant and the prince, the mechanic and the merchant, the learned and the unlearned following in equal rank and common step, knows neither race nor nationality, neither caste nor condition, as it proudly and beneficially moves down the centuries.

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The Duties of a Mason to his Brother.

From an address by De Witt Clinton, before Holland Lodge, the evening of his installation, Dec. 24, 1793

    A Mason is bound to consult the happiness and to promote the interests of his brother; to avoid everything offensive to his feelings; to abstain from reproach censure and unjust suspicions; to warn him of tie machinations of his enemies; to advise him of his errors; to advance the welfare and reputation of his family; to protect the chastity of his house; to defend his life, his property, and what is dearer to a roan of honor, his character, against unjust attacks; to relieve his wants and his distress; to instill into his mind proper ideas of conduct in the department of life which he is called to fill; and, let me add, to foster his schemes of interest and promotion, if compatible with the paramount duties a man owes to the community. If such are the obligations which a man owes to brother, they are precisely the duties that one freemason ought to perform to another. Our Order enjoins them as rules from which nothing can justify a deviation, and considers their infraction a violation of honor; conscience and religion; a prostitution of all that is deemed sacred and venerable among men. But Masonry does not confine the benignity of her precepts to her followers; she rises higher in the scale of excellence, and enjoins the observance of honor, honesty and good faith to all men; she espouses the cause of universal benevolence and virtue; she declares as unworthy of her patronage those who violate the laws of rectitude, and her votaries exemplify in their lives the truth of the remark that, although there are vicious men in the fraternity, yet they are better, than if they were not Masons.

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Why does parliamentary law not apply to a lodge (of Masons)?

Source: 101 Questions About Freemasonry

 Parliamentary law, which governs the usual body of men assembled in any organization, cannot govern a Masonic lodge. A Master may put a motion, which has not been proposed or seconded. He can close debate at his pleasure. He does not have to put a question even after debate if he does not desire to do so. He entertains no motion to “lay on the table” or to “postpone” or “to adjourn.”  No one can “move the previous question” in a Masonic lodge, and so on.
    The reason is found in the responsibility, which is the Master’s. The Grand Lodge and the Grand Master hold him responsible for everything that happens in his lodge. There are certain things he cannot do with out lodge action (permission), such as spend lodge money. He cannot open before the time stated in the by-laws for a regular communication (stated meeting). But the lodge cannot dictate to him what can be discussed, and if, in his judgment, something should not be discussed or acted upon, it is for him and only for him to say that it should or should not. Were it otherwise, a lodge might “run away” with him, and in enthusiasm do that for which the Grand Lodge or Grand Master would censure or punish him. Therefore, the Master has full control of debate, and work, and acts; ordinary parliamentary law, which might interfere with that control, does not apply.
    This is not to say that parliamentary law, or more appropriately, the Rules of Order by which regular lodges perform their work, is not to be used in a Masonic lodge.  Far from it for an amended version of Robert’s Rules is an excellent tool by which a Master can expeditiously present, debate and resolve the business that regularly comes before such lodges. But even such a convenient tool as Robert’s Rules cannot legitimately be used to circumvent, for whatever reason or motive, the Master’s authority in conducting his lodge.

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What are the “High Degrees” in Masonry?
Source: 101 Questions About Freemasonry

In spite of the fact that this expression is in common use, there are no “high degrees” or “higher degrees”. There are only more degrees than those of the Symbolic Lodges of Ancient Craft Masonry.

There are degrees which are numerically, larger than the Third Degree; The Ancient and Accepted Scottish Rite has degrees numbered up to and including thirty-three. But a horizontal line thirty-three feet long is no higher than one three feet long; a hole in the ground thirty-three deep is no higher than one three feet deep. The conception of degrees as notches in a flagstaff which are three feet and thirty-three feet high  respectively is as false as it is natural.

All degrees of all rites of Masonry are depended on the three degrees of Symbolic Masonry; no man may receive the light from either the Scottish Rite or York Rite unless he be a Master Mason.

For this reason, no degree is “higher” than that of Master Mason.


Free and Accepted by William "Ray" Fischer

The Masons who were selected to build the temple of Solomon were declared free. These Free Masons were allowed to gather with their families and were exempt from paying taxes. They also had the privilege to bear arms. Thus, they were accepted as free men.
    At the destruction of the Temple by Ne-buch-a-nezzar, these Free Masons were taken to Babylon and put into captivity with the Jews. Cyrus, after taking control of Babylon, gave these Masons permission to return to Jerusalem to erect a second Temple, freeing them to do so.
    To be free they had to be accepted as free, hence the term Free and Accepted. Not all men in all cases are accepted as free, they are held by the restraints of doctrine and power. To be free in mind and body one must work at it. So if your are asked:
    Are you a Free Man?   * Yes.
    How do you know you are a free man?    * Because I am free to follow my dreams.
    What makes you a free man?    * The people around me, for I am accepted as a free man.
If you can answer these questions in this manor you are truly a Freemason.

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When is a Man a Mason?

—Joseph Fort Newton, "The Builders"

When is a man a Mason? When he can look out over the rivers, the hills and the far horizon with a profound sense of his own littleness in the vast scheme of things, and yet have faith, hope and courage - which is the root of every virtue. When he knows that down in his heart, every man is as noble, as vile, as Divine, as diabolic, and as lonely as himself, and seeks to know, to forgive and to love his fellow man.

When he knows how to sympathize with men in their sorrows, yes, even in their sins - knowing that each man fights a hard fight against many odds. When he has learned how to make friends and to keep them, and above all how to keep friends with himself. When he loves flowers, can hunt the birds without a gun, and feels the thrill of an old forgotten joy when he hears the laugh of a little child. When he can be happy and high minded amid the meaner drudgeries of life. When the star-crowned trees, and the glint of the sunlight on flowing waters, subdue him like the thought of one much loved and long dead.

 When no voice of distress reaches his ears in vain, and no hand seeks his aid without response. When he finds good in every faith that helps any man to lay hold of Divine things, and sees majestic meaning in life, whatever the name of that faith may be. When he can look into a wayside puddle and see something beyond mud, and into the face of the most forlorn fellow mortal and see something beyond sin.

 When he knows how to pray, how to love , how to hope. When he has kept faith with himself, with his fellow man, with his God; in his hand a sword for evil, in his heart a bit of a song - glad to live, but not afraid to die! Such a man has found the only real secret of Masonry, and the one which it is trying to give to all the world.

We are Builders masonicworld.com

We all agreed that Freemasonry is a splendid Fraternity; that it is steeped in tradition; that it numbers many great men of  the past and present as its Members; that it has a beautiful ritual; and that it is, indeed, a great honor to be a Freemason.
    However, in the final analysis the future of Freemasonry depends not on these things but on the influence it exerts in the life of each one of us.  If society is to be successful and everlasting, it must live and breathe the principles on which it is founded.  It must be  workable, and this means that the individual Members must live in the spirit of real Brotherhood, we must be a doer of the Word, not just a hearer only.
    To assume obligations of friendship, morality, and brotherly love; to reaffirm love for the dependence on an Eternal Father, are but  empty words lost forever in the restless air if they are not practiced in our daily life.  In this sense, we as present-day Masons could very well classify ourselves as “Operative Masons.”
    Our Lodge is not just a room.  It is not merely a place in which to enjoy fraternal fellowship.  It is not an organization which replaces the Church.  It is not the means of promoting one’s self in business.  What our Lodge really is, is a group of men, a group of Brothers, who have dedicated themselves to a common task, and that is to build.  A Freemason is a builder; a builder of character; a builder of a better community; a better nation; a better world in which to live; a builder of an Eternal Temple for the indwelling of God.  Such should be the real meaning of Freemasonry to each of us.  If not, we should re-dedicate our lives right now to those principles of Freemasonry to which we have obligated ourselves to accept, to learn, to  keep and to exemplify.
    We are brought to Light in order that we may let our Light so shine before our fellowmen, that they may see our good works and join us in glorifying The Great Architect of the Universe.

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The History of the Order of the Eastern Star
is divided into three Eras:

1.  The First Era extended from 1850 to 1866, under the leadership of Dr. Rob Morris, Poet Laureate of Masonry.
2.  The Second Era extended from 1866 to 1876, under the leadership of Robert Macoy of New York.
3.  The Third Era extends from 1876, when the General Grand Chapter, Order of the Eastern Star, was established to the present time.

Of these eras, the first is perhaps the most important as it prepared the way for the other two.  The real origin of the Order of the Eastern Star, like Masonry, will always be shrouded in mystery.  Many researchers believe it had a French origin as early as 1703.  By some, this is claimed to be the first inception of "Female Masonry" or "Androgynous Degrees" — (degrees for both men and women).
    There appeared at this time, to be a demand for "Side Degrees" or Degrees conferred on ladies, and quite a list sprang up -- "Heroines of Jericho", "Danger in the Dark", "Tall Cedars of Lebanon", etc.  These were extensively used but soon fell into decay for lack of lasting worth.  
    As to the real origin of the Eastern Star degrees in its Initiatory form, there is not the least shadow of doubt that the honor belongs to Dr. Rob Morris and its real origin comes under the First Era.  Dr. Morris had traveled many years.  He had written many books on Masonry which are valued references in many Masonic Libraries.  Never quite satisfied that all the good in Masonry should be confined to men, Dr. Morris felt that Masonry should be for the whole family.  But by the laws of that Ancient Order, women are not eligible for its degrees.  Knowing he could not change the Ancient Landmarks of Masonry, Dr. Morris sought some method by which women could share with the Masonic Brother the same inspiration that "prompts man to noble deeds."  Although he harbored these feelings for years, it wasn't until 1850, while confined to his home after an accident, that Dr. Morris fully developed the Eastern Star Degrees in their present initiatory form.  During this time, he carefully thought out the symbolism and significance of the floor plan and the corps of officers.  He conferred the degrees upon his wife and daughters, and some neighbors, presumably having an idea to clothe the ladies with certain words or signs whereby they might make themselves known to Master Masons.  These signs and so-called mysteries of the Order were communicated freely to all Master Masons and their relatives

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The Order of the Amaranth

Is a fraternal organization composed of Master Masons and their properly qualified female relatives. In its teachings, the members are emphatically reminded of their duties to God, to their country and to their fellow beings. They are urged to portray, by precept and example, their belief in the "Golden Rule" and by conforming to the virtues inherent in TRUTH, FAITH, WISDOM and CHARITY they can prove to others the goodness promulgated by the Order.  Charity is a guiding principal of the Order.  The Order's main charity is the Amaranth Diabetes Foundation.    In 1873, the "Rite of Adoption" was formed, with the "Order of the Eastern Star" as the first degree, and "The Queen of the South" as the second degree and the "Order of the Amaranth" as the third degree. The Order of the Amaranth was officially organized June 14, 1873 in New York City as part of the Rite of Adoption.  From 1873 until 1921, all members of the Amaranth were required to join the "Order of the Eastern Star" first, and to maintain this membership to be able to stay members of the Amaranth.In 1921, by mutual agreement, this requirement ceased. They are now completely separate organizations.
   For more information please visit www.Amaranth.org

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Will it be Too Late for You?

[From the April, 1995, Grand Lodge of Alberta (Canada) Bulletin - but we found it in the 18th April 1995 (sic) Veritatem Petite (Seek the Truth) of the Research Lodge of New South Wales.]

    Being raised to the Sublime Degree of a Master Mason is a great experience for any Mason. A Brother, just Raised, in his reply to the Toast told this story.  "There is one person whom I must particularly thank - my father. He joined the Masonic Lodge in Kelowna in 1977. I was 21 years old at the time and never heard of the Masons. A year later we moved to Calgary and, within a short time, Dad was raised to a Master Mason. I still knew nothing of the Masons. A couple of years later, Dad joined the Shrine. This time I saw something because it is hard to hide a fez and a marching patrol uniform! But I still knew nothing of the Shrine or the Masons.
    My father died in 1993 and I still knew nothing about the Masons, but the next morning my step-mother came downstairs to me with a watch and a Masonic ring. She told me that the ring had belonged to both my grandfather and my dad and now it was mine. I still knew nothing about the Masons.  The funeral was a few days later and the Shrine Marching Patrol Honour Guard was there. Standing at the top of the church aisle, I found I was looking down to where my father's casket lay between two rows of both familiar and unfamiliar faces. These were the Honour Guard formed in two ranks to pay their respect - it was then, when I knew what Masonry was about. It was about friendship, comradeship, fellowship and loyalty. The common bond of these things joined all these men and, at that moment, I knew I wanted to be a part of it.
    So the one person I want to thank most is not here to hear me say, "Thank you Dad - thank you for giving me the opportunity."  After the Festive Board was over, the NRB said that one of the Brethren came to him and told him that he had a son and after hearing the story, thinks he should talk to him about Masonry. He said it was hard to do, because he came from the 'old school' where nothing was said.
    The Newly Raised Brother walked away smiling because one part of his comments, that he had been unable to make because of his emotions, had already borne fruit. He had written in his notes, "It's too late for my father and I to share this night together but maybe, just maybe, it won't be too late for YOU."

Do yourself, your loved ones and Masonry a favor — ensure your Will is current.

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