FROM THE PILLAR OF WISDOM
Brethren & Ladies:
Humanities beliefs so similar but different, separated by distance, culture and time seem to carry the same threads of our common desire to pass on to future generations each societies relations with each other and their world. Examples : codes of conduct, religion’s stories of the great flood, giants, spirits, ghosts, dragons, little people and how the world came into being. All these and many more are woven into the fabric of cultures around the world through time.
The Native Americans were not acquainted with Freemasonry as we know it today until the expansion of European culture into the North America. However, the late Bro. Alanson Skinner, an anthropologist related to a rite of the Midewiwin Society practiced by the different Algonquian tribes. He ascribes his knowledge to have been passed to him by an elder “past master of the rite” who desired him to write it down so that the ancient teachings might not be lost to future generations. So now let us enter the longhouse which is 120 ft. by 20 ft. and is oriented east and west. At one end is an antechamber, connected with the lodge, but separated from it by a partition. It is in this room that the initiate must undergo a rite of purification by means of a sweat bath. We also learn that the initiate has paid a heavy fee for his initiation with clothing, blankets and food,and has spent a long time in preparation. An elder “past master” has spent many hours teaching him the ritual by word of mouth. It has been handed down through countless generations in the same manner. Admission to the order is usually granted, but not always, to fill the place of a past member. The candidate may be male or female. We also learn that this is the fourth and final day of the initiation. During the earlier ceremonies the candidate was told the story of the lodge’s founding. Now the candidate is escorted to the western end of the lodge by a faithful friend, and there caused to face the east. In the eastern end of the lodge stands four elders each holding in his right hand an otter skin, a badge of membership, which also contains the roots and herbs which are used to heal the sick and a small shell supposed to contain all the virtues of that contained within and pass from it like an arrow into the body of the candidate. When all is ready the candidate is attacked by the first elder rushing him with a cry holding his Otter skin before him. The candidate shudders but stands his ground, the same with the second elder. The candidate shudders back but stands erect, the third elder comes forward and nearly fells the candidate, and now the fourth elder who represents the Great Dawn attacks and the candidate is killed and falls lifeless to the earth. Now the four elders gather around him to consult and the candidate is suddenly raised alive to his feet and a full member of the Midewiwin Society for life.
Brethren, if you would care to hear the lecture of the Midewiwin Society and a similar society of the Iroquois they will be given at our March Stated meeting as education in our American heritage.
Clint Black, PM, Master
FROM THE PILLAR OF STRENGTH
Three vignettes in Masonry;
The reason we have dictatorships is because a few disregard the rights of humans, and so your organization which has laid primary emphasis upon the promotion of human welfare has done a significant thing in times such as these. For let us not delude ourselves, human rights and human values are not perfectly secured, even in our beloved nation. Symptoms of the disregard of human values are found in the selfish use of power for self aggrandizement, power that is the right of all for their development. It is symbolized by prejudiced opinion that ignores the rights of others to give consideration to the course we should follow through the mass of complex issues which confront us; the disregard of human values is found in the carping criticism of ill temper that ignores the happiness of others, And so I pay tribute to your fraternity which lays primary emphasis upon human values. Dr. Detley W. Bronk, President John Hopkins University, speaking at the dedication of a Masonic Infirmary in Maryland.
It embraces the highest moral laws and will bear the test of any system of ethics or philosophy ever promulgated for the uplift of man. Its requirements are the things that are right, and its restraints are from the things that are wrong. Inculcating doctrines of patriotism and brotherly love, enjoying sentiments of exalted benevolence, encouraging all that is good, kind and charitable, reprobating all that is cruel and oppressive, its observance will uplift everyone under its influence. To do good to others, to forgive enemies, to love neighbors, to restrain passions, to honor parents, to respect authority, to return good for evil, not to cause anger, not to bear false witness, not to lie, not to steal. These are the essential elements of the moral law. General Douglas McArthur, written for the Western Australian Free Mason, 1950
What impresses me as most distinctive about Freemasonry is the ease with which it surmounts the national barriers which plague so many other endeavors. The lodges in Tokyo and vicinity with brethren from varying backgrounds are a splendid example of the way in which our Order can develop and exemplify its magnificent principles in an atmosphere of freedom and mutual understanding. General John E. Hull, Commander UN Forces Far East District in address before District G.L. of Japan, October 5, 1954.
Kyle Dau, PM, Sr. Warden
FROM THE PILLAR OF BEAUTY
Is Freemasonry a religion?
This question has been asked of me by close to half of those who discover that I am a member of our ancient and honorable fraternity, including prospective applicants.
The answer is of course no, Freemasonry is not a religion, however it is too simplistic an answer. To answer it in a more intelligent way I recently checked out Albert Pike’s “Morals and Dogma” from the San Diego Scottish Rite Library (thank you Bro. Norris), and will share with what I gleaned from it here.
Bro. Pike consolidated and reworked the Masonic degrees following the Blue Lodge degrees in the mid 1800’s. He is an unimpeachable source and this work contains his opinion on all things Masonic.
I would dare not presume to interpret Pike, and find it unnecessary. The same is true of the ritual. If one does not understand the meaning then one should read it, or if possible, recite it again. There is a conciseness in the work rarely found in literature of any kind.
However to answer this frequently asked question I am going to rearrange this passage of his work as below:
Says Pike “This is what is asked and answered in our catechism, in regard to the Lodge. A ‘Lodge’ is defined to be ‘an assemblage of Freemasons, duly congretated, having the sacred writings, square and compass, and a charter or warrant of constitution, authorizing them to work. Though Masonry neither usurps the place of, nor apes religion, prayer is an essential part of our ceremonies. It is the aspirations of the soul toward the Absolute and Infinite Intelligence, which is the One Supreme Deity, most feebly and misunderstandingly characterized as an ARCHITECT.”
He continues “Certain faculties of man are directed toward the Unknown – thought, meditation, prayer. The un known is an ocean, of which conscience is the compass. Thought, meditation, prayer , are the great mysterious pointings of the needle. It is a spiritual magnetism that thus connects the human soul with the Deity. These majestic irradiations of the soul pierce through the shadow toward the light. It is but a shallow scoff to say that prayer is absurd, because it is not possible for us, by means of it, to persuade God to change His plans. He produces foreknown and forintended effects, by the instrumentality of the forces of nature, all of which are His forces. Our own are part of these. Our free agency and our will are forces. We do not absurdly cease to make efforts to attain wealth or happiness, prolong life, and continue health, because we cannot by any effort change what is predestined, it is not the less of our effort, made of our free will, so, likewise, we pray. Will is a force. Thought is a force. Prayer is a force. Why should it not be of the law of God that prayer, like Faith and love, should have its effects?Man is not to be comprehended as a starting point, or progress as a goal, without these two great forces, Faith and Love. Prayer is sublime. Orisons that beg and clamor are pitiful. To deny the efficacy of prayer, is to deny that of Faith, Love and Effort. Yet the effects produced, when our hand, moved by our will, launches a pebble into the ocean, never cease; and every uttered word is registered for eternity upon the invisible air.
“Every Lodge is a Temple, and as a whole, and in its details symbolic. The Universe itself supplied man with the model for the first temples reared to the Divinity, the arrangement of the Temple of Solomon, the symbolic ornaments, which formed its chief decorations, and the dress of the High- Priest, all had reference to the order of the Universe, as then understood. The Temple contained many emblems of the seasons – the Sun, the Moon, the Planets, the Constellations Ursa Major and Minor, the Zodiac, the Elements, and the other parts of the World. It is the Master of this Lodge, of the Universe, Hermes. Of whom Khurum is the representative that is one of the lights of the Lodge.
“For further instruction as to the symbolism of the heavenly bodies, and of the sacred numbers, and of the temple and its details, you must wait patiently until you advance in Masonry, in the meantime exercising your intellect in studying them for yourself. To study and seek to interpret correctly the symbols of the Universe is the work of the sage and philosopher. It is to decipher the writing of God, and penetrate His thoughts.”
Authored by Sincerely and Fraternally,
Steven Laurvick, Jr. Warden
A big thanks to Mrs. Covert, the Valentines Day decorations were beautiful. We also enjoyed the little candy hearts.
Hope all of you were able to take advantage of this special day with your loved ones.
At February’s Stated Meeting we had the honor of meeting Leonard Kuhanjian. He was presented with his 50 year pin. Mr. Kuhanjian is an example of how a person can live his life to the fullest. He is quite an amazing man.
Update on the Shrine camping trip: all the cabins have been reserved and one room in the dorm. There are still three rooms in the dorm available.
CALLING ALL CHILDREN. April is dedicated to You! We will have a craft project, goodies and lots of fun. See you there!
GOOD NEWS – BAD LUCK NEWS
Good news! We learned that a lady needed a little assistance rising from her chair. The Brethren “passed the hat” and we collected sufficient funds to purchase a mechanical seat assistance device through the good work of Bro. Steve Laurvick.
Bad Luck! Upon delivery we discovered the device wouldn’t work with her required chair, so our good intentions could not be put to use for her. She expressed her gratitude for our thoughts.
RACE FOR CHILDREN'S WISHES FUND
We thank you for the generous donations received for the Race for Children’s Wishes fund raiser to be held in April. We also picked up some new team members too. If anyone is still interested in donating to this worthy cause, there is still time. We have until March 20, 2009 to meet our goals. If you have any questions or need more information, please contact me.
Sincerely and Fraternally,
Brother Jim Garrett and family.
NOTE OF THANKS
On behalf of our family we thank each of you for your kind thoughts, prayers, cards and gift basket. We are touched by your kindnesses to us during this difficult time. I am happy to report that we are on the mend. Lenten love and blessings to all.
Sincerely and Fraternally,
Brother Ronald Detzer, PM
MARCH STATED MEETING DINNER MENU
Corned Beef and Cabbage
Green Beans Almondine
Dutch Apple Pie
Hot and Cold Drinks
FROM THE SECRETARY’S DESK
PLEASE If you are not on the permanent dinner reservation list, call at least two days prior to Stated Meeting. We are always delighted to see you at Stated Meeting and dinner, but it can be difficult accommodating everyone who shows up without notice. Cost of dinner is $10.00 each. Brethren on the permanent list should call if they are unable to be with us for dinner. Please remember also to keep us advised of address and telephone changes. Mail returned by the USPS due to incorrect address costs your Lodge a hefty fee.
Fraternally, John S. Gamache, PM, Secretary
8 Patrick Comeaux
12 Frank Kent, PM
14 Richard Beebe
16 Jack Scherrer
19 Ronald Detzer, PM
20 Jeffery McDonald
22 Clair Martin
Robert Windle, PM
23 Donald Knoll
27 Maurice Lowe
ECHOES FROM THE PAST
53 Years - Charles Allen MM
John Teuscher, Jr. MM 3/29/56
51 Years - Erich Fritz MM 3/25/58
43 Years - R. B. Miller MM 3/22/66
35 Years - Floyd R. Covert, PM MM 3/17/74