November - December 2008

Chalk Mountain Masonic Lodge #894 AF & AM
This Month's Featured Small Town Lodge

Chalk Mountain Lodge #894 - Before It Was Remodeled
The Lodge That Wouldn't Die.

The Small Town Texas Mason's E-magazine
Page II

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It was created to enlighten, educate and entertain Masons and non-Masons alike and as title suggests, it does feature a small town Texas Masonic Lodge and a story of Texas Masonic history in each issue


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Chalk Mountain The Lodge That Wouldn't Die

Chalk Mountain #894 Today

A Mason's Christmas

Traveing Man In Masonry

Stephen F. Austin, Father of Texas

I'm Telling You Who To Vote For

Old Masonic Picture Postcards

Freemasons Defy Mystical Roots In Bid For Members

Masonic Lodge Etiquette And Courtesies

N.C. Masons Give Nod To Black Brethren

Birthplace Of American Freemasonry

Lodge Is Not A Spectator Sport

University Presents Rare Insight Into Freemasonry

Early Chinese Philosophy

2007 Marks the 250th Birthday of Brother Lafayette

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Page III
Chalk Mountain The Masonic Lodge That Refused To Die

Roy's Words,

Chalk Mountain- If you blink you your eyes, you’ll miss Lodge No. 894. But, even if you see it, you’ll probably think it’s not used anymore.

It is ... barely. It's wedged inside the upstairs of an old, wooden frame building. That's why you'll probably doubt that the lodge exists. The building looks more like a monument of yesterdays fading into time than the home of a lodge. "Ha. Ha. Yeah, most people think it's an oddity when they see it (the lodge building). I guess I would too if I weren't so used to seeing it. But it would be an oddity to me if it weren't there," says Roy Underwood, one of the members. Underwood, who at 78 says he quit paying attention to his age when he realized he wasn't getting any younger, says his uncle built the building. "When he was building it, they wanted to put a lodge on top and that was fine with Uncle Jim because from the top on up was what cost the most to build," he says. So the upstairs became the Lodge. Downstairs was his uncle's store in Chalk Mountain, which today is little more than a memory on Highway 67 in the eastern part of Erath County. Underwood, whose house is a short distance from the lodge, grins as he recalls what the store was like." That's where I stole my first candy, me and my cousin would come over here and sometimes when my uncle would leave to make the rounds of the city, we would fill our pockets with candy," he says. He laughs and begins leading the way to the lodge. A pile of tops from cedar trees, thick and green, are burning in a nearby rock grate. The smoke and smell is heavy... as Underwood talks about Chalk Mountain.

"This town, oh it was like all the other little bergs. It was serving a purpose. Then the Model T came and it took the people to towns and these little bergs dried up." He is on the steps leading upstairs. Below is the part that used to be the store. Large telephone pole braces are holding up the top floor.

Underwood pauses a moment. He is chewing tobacco. He has the country man's hands--cracked, lined, thick and strong. One feels he could almost twist the padlock off if he wants to. He says the land on which he is standing was owned by his grandfather, a Civil War veteran. He came home from the war with two wounds but lived to be quite old. Underwood opens the door, flicks on a light switch and leads the way upstairs. The steps are in good condition, but creak with age. "How many members...Hell, I don't know, really I think we have about 30," Underwood says. He's upstairs now where the members meet once a month, or when the moon is full. The wooden walls have remnants of what apparently was once bright wall paper. It's torn and hanging in strips. The ceiling is wooden and there's an old wood stove for heat. Some of the windows are broken. Sitting near the chairs are several coffee cans that are used for spittoons. Underwood scores a bulls eye in one with his dark stream of tobacco juice.

There is a certificate hanging on the wall. It says the lodge was chartered on Dec. 8, 1904. Underwood puts on an old top hat. He looks like a movie character actor as he walks around wearing the hat. His deep, brown colored eyes are dancing in the fading light. A bee is trying frantically to find its way outside of one of the window panes. Dirt daubers have made nests in the ceilings and on some of the walls. "Oh, I enjoy this lodge. I know all of the members and I usually know who will be here. Lots of times, since this thing has become such an antique, we have more visitors than we do members in attendance. I guess they get a kick out of the antiquity." Underwood says. He leads the way outside. The padlock snaps loudly. Underwood stands back and looks at the old building. "Yes sir, I would really miss this place, he says. The wind catches his words and carries them down to some cedar brakes edging out from the nearby pocket of hills. A full moon is just coming up. It looks like a pocket of chalk dust framed in slow motion camera action. When the members step outside their houses tonight and look at the moon, they’ll know it will soon be meeting time.

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Page IV
Chalk Mountain #894 Today

After The Remodel

Chalk Mountain Lodge Number 894 began work under dispensation from the Grand Lodge of Texas on July 30th 1904. The lodge was set to work by R. W. John J. Ray D.D.G.M of the 36th district of the Grand Lodge of Texas, with Joe Dotson as the first Worshipful Master. There were nine members present and 31 visitors. The lodge was chartered to work on December 8th 1904.

The stated meetings were set for the first Saturday night on or after the full moon. The meetings were set to coincide with the full moon as the members either walked or rode to the meetings on horseback. The light of the full moon made it easier for them to see their way home after dark.

From 1904 to 1946, only 21 Masters served the lodge with many serving more than one term. At the May 30th 1953 meeting, a bill of 14 dollars was paid for the last set of oil lamps purchased, prior to the use of electricity, in the lodge. At the stated meeting of April 9th 1955, the lodge voted to send one of these oil lamps to Waco to be placed in the Grand Lodge Museum.

The original building was designed and built, by J.H. Underwood, a member of the lodge. The first floor was used as a grocery store and the second floor housed Chalk Mountain Lodge. In 1908, Brother Underwood gave the ownership of to the property to C.C. Hammock, with Chalk Mountain Lodge retaining ownership of the second floor lodge. In 1916 Mr. Hammock turned the deed of the property over to D.W. Lacky. In 1935 D.W. Lacky died and the store closed down. The lodge members continued meeting in the building at the original location until 1989. A dispute with the Underwood family descendents who had claimed ownership of the land led to the decision to move the second floor lodge. The lodge owned the second floor but not the first floor or land that it was built upon. Negotiations to buy the property the lodge was built upon were unsuccessful.

During The Remodel
Mr. Stacy Bright of Weatherford a non Mason donated a 1 acre lot to Chalk Mountain lodge. A foundation was poured and a concrete block lower first floor erected at the new location. On May 6th 1989 members of the lodge and other area Masons, along with considerable help from Shinn Construction Company Inc. and its workers cut loose and lifted the second floor lodge building and moved it ¼ mile away and set it on top of the new building.

The lodge has become known as the lodge that wouldn’t die, and continues to meet on the Saturday on or after a full moon. The lodge members stay involved in the surrounding community. The lodge provides Thanksgiving Dinners and Christmas Dinners to local families as well as supporting activities at the Three Way School.

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Page V
A Mason's Christmas
Carl Claudy

Masons, both young and old can still benefit from Carl Claudy stories that started in 1921. It's funny how these stories (lessons) that taught our Masonic grandfathers, are just as significant today as they were 80 years ago. The book with 70 of the "Old Tiler Talks" stories and 2 other Carl Claudy Masonic books may still be purchased from Temple Books

I don't believe in a Christmas celebration by the lodge. I don't think we ought to have one, or be asked to contribute to one or in any way engage in Christmas festivities."

"The Junior Mason spoke emphatically and with marked disapproval of the little ante-room group nearby, making happy plans for Yule-tide.

"That's very interesting," commented the Old Past Master. I like to hear points of view unfamiliar to me. Would you mind telling me why?"

"Of course not. It's very simple. Masonry is not Christian. King Solomon, of course, wasn't a Christian, nor were either of the Hiram's. Masonry admits to her ranks any good man of faith; Christian, Jewish, Mohammedan, Buddhist... it makes no difference, so he has a Faith. Then, as a lodge, we celebrate a holiday belonging to one faith. Now I personally am a Christian, and of course I celebrate Christmas. But my brother across the way is a Jew, who does not recognize Christianity. To ask him to spend his proportion of lodge funds in celebrating the birth of a Leader in Whom he does not believe would be exactly like asking me to celebrate, with my proportion of lodge money, the birth of Confucius. Of course, I have only one vote and the majority rules, but when it comes to personal contributions to a Masonic Christmas celebration, my hands will never come out of my pockets."

He shoved them deeper in as he spoke to emphasize his intention not to spend.

"Hum!" answered the Old Past Master. "So you think your Jewish brother across the way doesn't recognize Christianity? Don't you mean he doesn't recognize Christ as the Son of God? Wait a minute... Oh, Brother Samuels." The Old Past Master called across the ante-room. "Here a minute, will you?"

The Jewish brother rose and came forward.

"I just wanted to ask you if you are in favor or against the lodge Christmas celebration?" asked the Old Past Master.

"Me? I am in favor of it, of course, both for the lodge appropriation and the individual contribution."

"Thank you," nodded the Old Past Master. Then as the Jewish brother went back to his seat, he turned to the Junior Mason.

"You see, my son, our Jewish friend is not narrow. He does not believe in Christ as the Redeemer, but he recognizes that he lives in a country largely Christian, and belongs to a lodge largely Christian. To him the Christmas celebration is not one of His birthday, but of the spirit of joyousness and love which we mean when we sing, at Christmas time 'Peace on earth, good will towards men!' If you argue that 'peace' is only a Christian word, he might even quote to you the words of One who said 'I bring you not Peace, but a Sword.'

"Now let me explain something to you. The Jew has just as much right to refuse to recognize Christ as the Son of God, as you have to refuse to consider Mohammed the Prophet the followers of Allah say he is. But as an educated man, you must know that Mohammed was a good man, a devout leader, a wise teacher. As an educated man, you admit that the religion founded by Buddha has much in it that is good, and you admit that Confucius was a wise and just leader. Were you in the land where the birthdays of any of these were celebrated, would you refuse your part in the people's joy in their Leader, simply because you followed another? I trust not. Well, neither do our Jewish brethren or our Mohammedan brethren, desire to be left out of our celebration. They may not believe in the Divinity of Him we, as Christians, follow, but if they are good men and good Masons... they are perfectly willing to admit that the religion we follow is as good for us as theirs is for them, and to join with us in celebrating the day which is to us the glad day of all the year.

"Believe me, boy, Christmas doesn't mean Christ's birthday to many a man who calls himself Christian. It is not because of joy the He was born that many a good man celebrates Christmas. It is because his neighbor celebrates it, because it is a time of joy for little ones, because it is a day when he can express his thanks to his God that he is allowed to have a wife and family and children and friends and a lodge, because of that very 'peace on earth' spirit which is no more the property of the Gentile than the Jew, the Chinese or the Mohammedan.

Continued On Page 6

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Page VI
A Mason's Christmas
Continued From Page 5
"It is such a spirit that Masons join, all, in celebrating Christmas. It is on the Masonic side of the tree we dance, not the Christian side. When this lodge erects its Christmas tree in the basement and throws it open to the little ones of the poor of this town, you will find children of all kinds there; black, white, yellow, and brown, Jew and Gentile, Christian and Mohammedan. And you will find a Jew at the door, and among the biggest subscriptions will be those from some Jewish brethren, and there is a Jew who rents cars for a living who will supply us a dozen free to take baskets to those who cannot come. And when the Jewish Orphan Asylum has its fair, in the Spring, you will find many a Christian Mason attending to spend his money and help along the cause dear to his Jewish brethren, never remembering that they are of a different faith. That, my son, is Masonry."

"For Charity is neither Christian nor Jewish, nor Chinese nor Buddhistic. And celebrations which create joy in little hearts and feed the hungry and make the poor think that Masons do not forget the lessons in lodge, are not Christian alone, though they be held at Christmas, and are not for Christians alone, though the celebration be in His honor. Recall the ritual: 'By the exercise of brotherly love we are taught to regard the whole human species as one family, the high and low, the rich and poor, who, as created by one Almighty Parent, and inhabitants of the same planet, are to aid, support and protect each other'.

"It is with this thought that we, as Masons, celebrate Christmas, to bring joy to our brethren and their little ones, and truly observe the brotherhood of man and the Fatherhood of God, whether we be Jew or Gentile, Mohammedan or Buddhist." The Old Past Master ceased and stood musing, his old eyes looking back along a long line of lodge Christmas trees about which eager little faces danced. Then he turned to the Junior Mason.

"Well," he said smiling, "Do you understand?"

"I thank you for my Christmas present," came the answer. "Please tell me to which brother I should make my Christmas contribution?"

by Brother Jeff Godwin

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

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

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

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

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Page VII
This Issue's Visit In Texas Masonic History

Stephen F. Austin, Freemason and Father of Texas

Stephen Fuller Austin (November 3, 1793 – December 27, 1836), known as the "Father of Texas", led the second and ultimately successful colonization of the region of northern Mexico known as Bexar in the state of Coahuila y Tejas. Austin was made a Master Mason in Louisiana Lodge No. 109 in St. Genevieve, Louisiana, in June of 1815. From the time he first entered Mexico City in 1822 to renew his father’s land grant in order to bring families to Texas, until his death in 1836, his efforts and adventures are constantly mingled with the efforts and adventures of fellow Master Masons in Texas.

Austin's plan for a colony in Texas was halted when Mexico gained independence from Spain in 1821. Austin was informed that the junta instituyente, the new congress of the government of Agustín I of Mexico, refused to recognize the land grant made to his father by the Spanish government. Austin traveled to Mexico City and managed to persuade the junta instituyente to authorize the grant that had been given to his father, which would, in turn, permit immigration plans by Impresario Austin to continue. By late 1825, Austin had brought the first 300 families, now known in Texas history as the Old Three Hundred, to the land grant originally given to his father. Of the original 300 families, 39 of them are known to have been headed by Master Masons.

In contrast to the many ruffians who later came to Texas, Austin made every effort to accept only colonists who were law abiding, and of sterling character. In the same manner that a lodge requires background information on members, Austin required the colonists to bring with them documents that attested to their good character. Although he had effective civil and military authority over the settlers, he was quick to introduce a semblance of American law, and the Constitution of Coahuila y Tejas was agreed upon in November 1827. To uphold law and order and protect the colonists, Austin organized small armed groups that came to be known as the Texas Rangers. Despite his hopes, Austin was making little money from his endeavors. The colonists were unwilling to pay for his services as impresario, and most of the money gained was spent on the processes of government and public services. It was during these years that Austin sought to establish Freemasonry in Texas. Freemasonry was well established and accepted among the educated classes of Mexican society, and many of the men coming into Texas were Masons. It should be noted that the (American) Anti-Masonic political party was formed in 1826, and skepticism about Masonry was widespread in the United States at that time. It is the author’s belief that this led to the immigration of many Masons into Texas.

I'm Telling You Who To Vote For
By Tim Tyler - Maple Ridge News

Somehow I never thought that Canadian Masons and voters had the same problems we do. The following is an excerpt from BC Online.

Tim Tyler - Maple Ridge News
Tim Tyler is a 60 year old letter carrier and has been writing a weekly column for the Maple Ridge News for more than 20 years. Tyler lives in Ruskin in the eastern part of Maple Ridge with his wife and two children. Tyler comments on a variety of topics in a humourous, often sarcastic fashion.
Maple Ridge News

Published: October 02, 2008 6:00 PM

I'm going to make this election easy for you. . .

It's a free country. You can vote for a guy with 19th century mutton chops (You vote for me and I'll be your Chum), who has run no less than 7 times and is as much a fixture at election time as roadside signs, photo ops and hyperbole.

There are two independent candidates this year for those of you who are fed up with party politics and want the pleasure of voting without the pleasure of making a difference. Besides Chum Richardson, we have Evan Nicholson, whose website, Choosing Truth Ministries ( offers diatribes about the evils of Freemasonry and its links to the KKK, the mafia, and the scouting and brownie movements, the latter two promoting witchcraft and giving the devil a foothold into the church through their secret rituals. I knew that Lord Baden Powell was a trouble maker and that every apple I sold on the street as a cub scout was the devil's treat.

Should make for some interesting all-candidates debates.

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Old Masonic Postcards

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Page IX
Freemasons Defy Mystical Roots
In Bid For Members

By Alan Burke
Staff writer The Salem News - Beverly, MA

Hollywood couldn't concoct a more ominous crowd. All men, they gather to perform odd rituals. Their roots go back so many centuries, no one knows exactly when they started. They recognize one another through secret handshakes and exotic symbols. And now the Freemasons have startled the world with the ultimate conspiracy — television commercials aimed at attracting new members.

Except, it's not exactly a conspiracy if it's on television.

For that matter, says Charles Austin, a Freemason at the Salem Masonic Temple, they were never all that shadowy to start with. In the past, he scoffs, "people were claiming we were a secretive, satanic cult."

In truth, Austin says, the group has always been welcoming of anyone wanting to join. And if Freemasonry is a conspiracy, it's a conspiracy to do good, to provide scholarships, to donate to the Shriners' Hospital and help fellow Masons in need. (The Shriners are a subgroup of the Masons.)

"We use the mason's tools," says Austin. "The level. Every mason is on the level. The plumb line. Every mason is upright and erect."

"If it was secret," argues John Blaney of the Marblehead lodge, "there wouldn't be a sign outside every town saying 'Philanthropic Lodge of Masons meets every Thursday.'"

Nevertheless, not enough people know about the Masons to keep the membership lists stable.

Fraternal organizations in general have suffered a loss of members in recent years, says Alan Foulds of the Scottish Rite, another Masonic subgroup. The TV commercials feature an actor portraying Freemason Ben Franklin, calling for young men to join.

Over the years a number of lodges across the state have simply disappeared. Membership ranges from as many as 800 men in Salem's two lodges to 200 in Peabody, says Austin. "But if you get 20 percent of those at a meeting, you're doing a good job." Marblehead, half the size of Salem, is apparently doing a very good job, bucking the trend. The town lists as many as 600 at a lodge founded before the Revolution. Paul Revere signed the charter.

"I just got my pin for 60 years as a member," says Mason Emerson Brown. Becoming a Mason after service in World War II, the 87-year-old sees the organization partly as a social club. "You have a wonderful time here."

More importantly, he adds, "We help a lot of people who need it."

"It's a brotherhood dedicated to helping others," echoes Marblehead Mason Harry Christensen.

With Masons already in his family, he joined after service in Vietnam inspired him to help others.

Centuries of history

Freemasonry goes back at least to the 1600s. Almost any man is eligible — women can join auxiliary organizations. "We have members from all the religions," Christensen says, "Jewish, Moslem, Christian."

Belief in a supreme being is one of the prerequisites of Freemasonry, says Blaney.

He blames the recent declining membership on the time-consuming demands of modern life.

Marblehead with its unique sense of history and community has avoided such pitfalls. Marblehead is very close," explains Austin. "It's a neighborhood."

Moreover, the lodge itself has been careful to retain all the Masonic rituals and ceremonies. These tend to cement an individual's dedication, Blaney believes.

The decision to advertise was not without controversy within Freemasonry. "You may have lost a little bit of the mysticism," says Austin. "One side thought we should have made it more exclusive."

In the past, the Masons have waited for potential members to come to them. In just that way they attracted some impressive people, including presidents George Washington, Harry Truman, and Theodore and Franklin Roosevelt.

On the other hand, the TV commercials have had an impact.

"We've gotten people who wouldn't have thought of it to consider joining," says Austin. Many are young — although one was old enough to comment, "If I'd known about this, I would have joined 41 years ago."

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Page X
Masonic Lodge Etiquette And Courtesies

Conventions are the rules which society makes for itself, without the force of law, by which its members live together with the least friction.

There are four different salutes given within a Lodge:

(1. Saluting the Flag during Pledge of Allegiance.
(2. Saluting the Worshipful Master for permission to enter or retire from a Lodge.
(3. Saluting the Worshipful Master during opening or closing ceremonies or when addressing him while Lodge is in session.
(4. Saluting the Holy Writ before balloting as a reminder to yourself of the seriousness of the action you are about to take.

If an officer is absent, the officers below his station do not necessarily move up, each a chair. There is no "advancement by right" for any office except that of Master. The Master fills any vacancy by temporary appointment. In the absence of the Master the Senior Warden presides. In some jurisdictions it is Customary for a Master to ask a Past Master to fill a temporarily vacant chair; in others, he may ask any brother he believes qualified.

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.

When the Lodge is open, it is a form of grave disrespect for a member to pass between the East and the Altar except during progression in the degrees. The Master should always have the Holy Writ, his inspiration and Light, directly in view. In jurisdictions in which the Lesser Lights are placed in a triangular form about the Altar, it is customary not to walk between the Altar and a light.

The ballot box should be placed on the Altar, not on the three Great Lights, obscuring them. Nothing but the square and compasses should rest upon the open Book of the Law.

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.

Always be fully "dressed" before entering a Lodge while in session. It is a serious disrespect to the Master to approach the altar while still tying or adjusting your apron. This should be done in the anteroom prior to entry. The Tyler should insure that a brother arriving late is properly dressed before announcing him. When, as sometimes happens upon "big nights", there are not enough aprons, a handkerchief may be tucked in the belt to take its place.

Concerning dress: Many Lodges have dress codes. If you plan to visit a Lodge, make every effort to discern their standards for proper dress before your visit. If that is impossible, then you should dress as you would to attend church. Few, if any, Lodges will find fault with your dress if in a coat and tie, even though they may attend Lodge in formal dress. Some Lodges have a "come as you are" standard, especially those Lodges where many of their members are farmers or laborers who would not be able to return home after a day's work to change and make it to Lodge on time. Attending Lodge is an obligation. Being properly dressed is a courtesy to the Lodge officers and it's traditions.

Damaging subjects to the universal good name of Freemasonry are:

1.) Any mention of a goat to any person concerning the workings of a Lodge. The goat has for centuries been seen by many as a symbol of Satan. It is not in good taste, even though in jest, to "threaten" a candidate with "Riding the Goat!" When overheard by the profane, statements such as this add fuel to the long standing Anti-Masonic attitude.

2.) We do not have "Masonic Bibles!" There are no such items. We have Holy Bibles with the Masonic Emblems stamped on the front and some even with graphic illustrations within of King Solomon's Temple. We have them on our Lodge altars and we have personal copies, but those are not "Masonic Bibles!" They should not be referred to as such. For the same reasons as above, those who distrust our great Fraternity have often been heard to say "Freemasons do not believe in God. Why, they even have their own bible!"

In general, discussions of sectarian religion, partisan politics, race or any subject which divides men into opposed schools of thought are prohibited by Masonic law. In most lodges, speaking for or against any candidate prior to election is forbidden; good manners would seem to demand no such discussion even when permitted. The utterance of personalities, the showing of bitterness, ill will, criticism of officers or Grand Officers are of course discourteous.

It is illegal to enter or leave the room during a ballot. It is discourteous to leave during a speech, or during a degree, except at the several natural periods which end one section and begin another.

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Page XI
N.C. Masons Give Nod To Black Brethren

Richard Stradling, Staff Writer
The News & Observer Raleigh, N.C.
Tuesday, September 23, 2008

Prince Hall Founder Of USA Black Masonry
Members of the state's predominantly white Masonic organization struck down a vestige of the segregation era Friday when they voted to recognize members of the black organization as brother Masons.

The vote -- at the annual convention of the Ancient, Free and Accepted Masons of North Carolina in Winston-Salem -- follows years of frustration among the group's leadership, which each year had introduced a resolution to recognize the black group.

"Old ways, old cultures and old traditions die hard," said the group's grand master, David Cash, a Methodist minister from Kannapolis. "And that's why this is so monumental." The black organization, the Prince Hall Grand Lodge of Free and Accepted Masons of North Carolina, officially recognized its white counterpart in 2004. Prince Hall Grand Master Milton "Toby" Fitch Jr. said that Leonard Safrit Jr., a former grand master of the white group who has become a close friend, called him moments after Friday's vote, as he has each year since 2004.

"I could tell from his voice that this was a situation that he had waited for, that he had championed," said Fitch, a Superior Court judge in Edgecombe and Wilson counties. "It's something that should have occurred some time ago." Both organizations follow the ancient tenets and teachings of freemasonry, a fraternity founded by building craftsmen in medieval Europe. The state's white Masonic organization was founded in 1787, though some of the individual lodges date back earlier. The state's Prince Hall organization was founded in 1870.

Despite shared roots and goals, each group officially pretended the other did not exist.

Friday's vote does not merge the groups in any way. But it should lead to cooperation between the two Masonic organizations, which have about 60,000 members between them.

"I suspect that a lot of what we're going to be doing is feeling the relationship out in the coming months and years," said Ric Carter, secretary of the predominantly white group. "Several individual lodges are already cooperating, and I think we will see a lot more of that now."

Fitch said he, Cash and other representatives of the two organizations would begin meeting in Raleigh late this week to work out details of their new relationship, including questions about when and under what circumstances members can visit each other's lodges.

The resolution recognizing the Prince Hall group passed 642-328. Cash said that with an average age of about 62, most of the Masons in his organization grew up during segregation and have had to work to embrace the notion of diversity. "We've worked really hard to say that what we believe as Masons is that it is the internal qualities of a man that God sees and judges, not the external," Cash said.

There are now 10 state Masonic groups, most in the South, that do not recognize their Prince Hall counterparts as legitimate Masons, according to Paul M. Bessel, a Mason from the Washington, D.C., area who tracks them.

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Page XII
Birthplace Of American Freemasonry
Recognized By Local Open House Events

The current Grand Lodge of Massachusetts building at 186 Tremont St, built in 1898, is the third Grand Lodge structure erected on this site.

In 1733, Henry Price, a Boston merchant and tailor, received a charter from the Grand Lodge of England allowing him "to Constitute One or More Regular Lodge or Lodges as he shall think fit." On July 30 of that year, Price exercised his authority and 18 Freemasons were empowered to work as a Masonic lodge.

On the basis of this precedent, the Most Worshipful Grand Lodge of Ancient Free and Accepted Masons of the Commonwealth of Massachusetts was effectively established; 2008 marks its 275th Anniversary. It now holds the distinction of being the third oldest Grand Lodge in the world and the oldest in the Western Hemisphere. A Grand Lodge is the governing body that oversees the activities of the lodges within its jurisdiction.

On Saturday, Oct. 18, Caleb Butler Lodge, 11 Sculley Road, Ayer, will join with 235 lodges throughout the state and host an open house from 9 a.m. to 3 p.m., continuing a year-long commemoration that recognizes Massachusetts as the birthplace of American Freemasonry. Members of the lodge will be on hand to give tours of their building, and to help the public gain a better understanding of the fraternity, its history, and the positive impact it has on its members, their families, and the community.

The origins and history of Freemasonry are clouded in uncertainty. It is thought to have arisen from English and Scottish guilds of practicing stonemasons and cathedral builders in the Middle Ages. Others have speculated that the order descended from the Knights Templar. Over the years, researchers have never been able to conclusively determine exactly when, where, how or why Freemasonry evolved.

The formation of the first Grand Lodge in London in 1717 marks the beginning of the Modern (or "Speculative") era of Freemasonry, when members were no longer limited to working stonemasons. The Grand Lodge of Ireland was organized in 1725. The Grand Lodge of Massachusetts came next in 1733.

Lodge Is Not A Spectator Sport

I became a Master Mason in December of 2003, when I was attending school at Indiana University Bloomington. My home Lodge was over 200 miles away, so I visited Lodges around the state and was welcomed by many fine men in over a dozen communities. It was a wonderful way to meet people and learn more about our ancient fraternity.

Then, after school, I found myself back at Garfield Lodge No 569. I never had the experience of going to lodge on a regular basis, so I mainly watched from the sidelines. After almost four years, I never developed a connection with my home lodge -- an experience I am sure many Masons feel after they have been through a one-day class. With a lack of connection, I began to justify a lack of obligation to the operation and growth of the fraternity. Then, several officers of the Lodge reached out to me and personally invited me to meetings every week. I started attending and last year, I agreed to take an appointed office.

I, like many men in my generation, take my obligation seriously, and now I am developing that connection that I always looked for in other places. I know when I walk into that lodge building, or when I meet with any of them, that I can trust them and I am safe. Masonry is important to me now. Even though I am tired from working/driving 10 hours every day, I will still go to Lodge. I know that we do important work, and I want to truly be a part of that. I learn something new every time I have Masonic conversation and I now look forward to many years of service to our community and fellowship with my brothers.

~~Mike Sassman, Junior Steward

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The Small Town Texas Mason's E-magazine
University Presents Rare Insight Into Freemasonry
The Sheffield Telegraph
08 October 2008

The University of Sheffield's Centre for Research into Freemasonry, together with the Showroom Cinema, will screen two radical films this Autumn, documenting the mysterious world of the fraternal organisation.

Forces Occultes, a Nazi propaganda film made during the 1940's, will be shown for the first time with English subtitles on Monday 13 October 2008.

The film opposes the Freemasons and the Jews and depicts them attempting to push France into a war against Germany.

The Director, Jean Mamy (a.k.a Paul Riche), a journalist at the French fascist newspaper "Au pilori" and a fierce anti-Semite, was condemned to death because of his overt collaboration with the Nazi's. The film was later used during the Nuremberg trials as evidence of Nazi propaganda.

The Scottish Key, the first documentary film to look at the different theories about freemasonry and its origins, will have its UK premiere on Monday 10 November 2008. Spread across the globe, the Freemason's discrete and mysterious association has been a source of curiosity, fascination and suspicion for over 300 years.

The film, soon to be broadcast in Australia and Germany, examines previously unrevealed documents and reconstructs intriguing historical events to shed new light on a little known history.

Producer and co-author, François de Smet, will attend this special event and be available for the panel discussion that will follow afterwards. De Smet studied political philosophy at the Free University of Brussels and has published books and articles on human rights, racism and cultural diversity.

The Centre for Research into Freemasonry was established in 2000 as the first centre in a British university devoted to scholarly research into the freemasons, the fraternal organisation. The Centre studies the historical, social and cultural impact of freemasonry, particularly in Britain.

Doctor Andreas Önnerfors, Director of the Centre for Research into Freemasonry, said:

"The origins of freemasonry have triggered the fantasy and imagination of many people. Freemasonry invented a history of its own dating back to the creation of the world and involving many of the most important figures in world history.

"For many historians it is a big challenge to establish the truth. These two films represent two entirely different approaches towards this question, the one building entirely on prejudices and assumptions and the other on a scientific investigation."

Forces Occultes and The Scottish Key will be shown at the Showroom Cinema on Paternoster Row and will be followed by a panel discussion. Tickets will cost £3 and are available from the Showroom Cinema.

Early Chinese Philosophy

In China the implements of architecture were used in a system of moral philosophy at a very early date. Mencius, who wrote about 300 B.C., said: "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." 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."

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The Small Town Texas Mason's E-magazine
Page XIV
2007 Marks the 250th Birthday of Brother Lafayette
by Andrew A. Zellers-Frederick, Executive Director, The
Masonic Library and Museum of Pennsylvania

When the great names associated with those who fought during America's War for Independence are spoken, always beginning with Bro. George Washington, the name of Bro. Lafayette is invariably mentioned as a close second. Marie Joseph Yves Gilbert du Mortier, the Marquis de La Fayette (or Lafayette in English), was a young French aristocrat under 20 years of age, when he learned of the struggle in America for independence and resolved to serve the cause of liberty as a volunteer. Arriving in 1777, he fought in key battles, from Brandywine, where he was injured in September, to Yorktown in October 1781, where he developed a bond of deep friendship with Bro. Washington, which lasted as long as the General lived. Bro. Lafayette's great affection for the United States is also legendary, and he was posthumously made an Honorary Citizen (one of only six persons so honored).

Following the decisive 1781 Battle of Yorktown, Bro. Lafayette secured permission of Congress, which was meeting in Philadelphia, to return to his native France. Thanked by Congress with a fine letter of appreciation for his dedicated services to the young republic, he also received a personal letter from Bro. Washington saying: "I owe it to your friendship and to my affectionate regard for you, my dear Marquis, not to let you leave this country without carrying with you fresh marks of my attachment to you, and new expressions of the high sense I entertain of your military conduct and other important services in the course of the last campaign..." Lafayette's heartfelt reply was "Adieu, my dear General, I know your heart so well that I am sure no distance can alter your attachment to me. With the same candour I assure that my love, respect, my gratitude for you, are above expression..." Brothers Lafayette and Washington would see one another for the last time in 1784 when the Marquis visited America and stayed at Mount Vernon.

Nearly half a century after the American Revolution, Bro. Lafayette is officially invited by President and Brother James Monroe to visit the United States. A hectic tour of 25 states, including the sites associated with the war and visits to the remaining aging individuals associated with America's eight-year long independence struggle, began in August 1824 and lasted more than a year, until September 1825. During this time, Bro. Lafayette received more Masonic honors than any Freemason before or since with lodges, chapters, councils, commanderies, Scottish Rite and Grand Lodges conferring honorary degrees, citations, gifts and memberships. Today, there are more than 75 Masonic bodies within the United States named after him including 39 lodges, 18 chapters, four councils, four commanderies and seven Scottish Rite bodies. A high point of Bro. Lafayette's triumphant tour was his visit in Philadelphia. Arriving in the city's environs on Sept. 26, he was treated to a week-long, intense schedule of receptions, balls and special events which rekindled people's interest in the American Revolution and the dedication of those who served in it. An exceptional event of the Philadelphia festivities was the formal reception and dinner presented to him by the Grand Lodge of Pennsylvania on Oct. 2, 1824, and held at the rebuilt Chestnut Street Masonic Hall. The building was suitably adorned, and paintings of both Brothers Washington and Lafayette were placed within the banquet room. This year marks the 250th anniversary of Bro. Lafayette's birth (the actual birth date is Sept. 6). To commemorate this special historic occasion and Bro. Lafayette's contributions both to Freemasonry and America, The Masonic Library and Museum of PA has tentatively scheduled an all-day event on Saturday, Oct. 20, which will include scholarly lectures, a walking tour of Lafayetteassociated sites in Philadelphia and a luncheon at the historic City Tavern where Brothers Washington and Lafayette met for the first time. This event will have limited space, so advance reservations are strongly urged to avoid disappointment. For reservations or for inquiries about this event, call (215) 988-1909.

From the collection of The Masonic Library and Museum of PA

Translation of Letter from Bro. Lafayette to Peter Du Ponceau

La Grange 10 August 1828

This letter will be delivered, my dear comrade-in-arms, by a young man who was employed for a time at the American Consulate in Paris, and who was heartily recommended by Mr. Barnet and by Mr. Le Cordier, mayor of the Arrondissement (district) of Paris where I live. He recommends himself also by his own merit and by his father's name. I ask your good advice for him, and I renew the expression of friendship which I vowed to you.

Note: DuPonceau, (1760-1844) a lawyer, was Bro. Baron Von Steuben's aide-de-camp during the Revolution. An authority on American Indian languages, he petitioned Lodge No. 2, Philadelphia, and received his entered apprentice and fellow craft degrees on Aug. 14, 1782. There is no mention of a Master Mason degree.

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