In His Image

hand of GodThroughout my entire life, there has been one Biblical passage that has fascinated me more than any other. It appears early in the first book of the Bible in the first chapter of Genesis.

So God created man in his own image, in the image of God he created him; male and female he created them.” (Genesis 1:27)

The statements contained within this Biblical passage could provide every man with a lifetime of contemplation and could provide topics with which an endless supply of tomes could be created. I have no desire to discuss the last part of the passage which concerns the gender of the Almighty. Instead, I am going to focus on the first part of the passage which states that we (man) were created in His image. In particular, I want to discuss an esoteric and somewhat controversial subject: if we were created in His image, can we become Gods?

The reason that I ask this question is because there was a time that I would have loudly proclaimed “No!” The issue that brought this subject to light for me was gene therapy. According to the Oak Ridge National Laboratory website, “Gene therapy is a technique for correcting defective genes responsible for disease development.”1 When I first considered the concept of correcting defective genes, I decided that the practice was nothing more than man “playing God.” The idea frightened me and I was uncomfortable with the subject.

Years later, I began exploring the meaning of the previously mentioned passage from Genesis. While I was struggling with the concept of being created in God’s image, another scientific concept came to my attention. A laboratory in Switzerland has been working on recreating the Big Bang in order to understand how the universe was created.2 It was at this point that I started asking the question: what if we are just understanding how God created the universe?

This inevitably led me to link science with religion. Through science we better understand the universe and all things therein contained. Therefore, we enhance our knowledge of God’s creation and also are empowered with that knowledge to become creators ourselves. Ultimately, we must ask ourselves “If we can recreate the conditions that created the universe, if we can cure and eliminate genetic diseases, and if we can manipulate all of nature to suit our will, have we become more like God?” For me, the answer has shifted from a firm “No!” to a contemplative “Perhaps.”

Yet, while I ponder the connections between science and religion and between man and God, the truth is that these are questions which cannot be answered. There will always be the scientist who says that there is no God. There will always be the religious leader who believes that science is blasphemy. There will always be those that believe that God is an untouchable entity and there will be those that do actually believe that men can become Gods.

Everyone has an opinion. The important thing is that we ask the question.

1. Oak Ridge National Laboratory

2. Mong, Adrienne. “Teams Toil Underground to Recreated Big Bang.”

Like what you are reading at the Euphrates? Email the author at to join the Banks of the Euphrates mailing list.

The Unlodged Mason

empty churchBack in November, my good friend and Brother Frederic Milliken wrote an article entitled Message to the Unlodged Mason. In the article, Fred discussed the importance of attending lodge and the advantages of having personal interaction with other Freemasons. I generally agree with Fred’s conclusion on this subject and believe that that attending lodge functions is essential to the Masonic experience, but I also can identify with the plight of what Fred calls the unlodged Mason.

Fred correctly compares the unlodged Mason to the Christian that does not attend church. This is a fair comparison because it is my opinion that the purpose and structure of Masonry is much more similar to that of a religious organization than that of a community organization. So why do some Christians not attend church? Many Christians do not attend church because the goals of the church may not match the goals of the worshiper. Some churches have an all or nothing approach to dogma and require that you agree with the church’s opinion on every matter. Other churches continually ask for more and more out of their volunteers which eventually sucks all of the enthusiasm out of the those in the congregation that offer their time and resources. Then, there are also those worshipers that attend service or Bible study searching for answers to their complex questions about spirituality and that constantly receive replies that are either not straightforward or that sidestep the question all together. This constant cycle of a church not aligning with the individual worshiper’s values, requiring him to over-commit to the organization, and not providing him with the spiritual knowledge he seeks results in the Christian walking away from the congregation.

Not surprisingly, this is exactly what occurs in our Masonic lodges as well. Numerous individual Masons have been turned away from the lodge because he brought new ideas to the assembly and was told that “this isn’t how we’ve done it before.” Lodges often volunteer their young, enthusiastic members for every task which inevitably interferes with that member’s family and vocational responsibilities. Finally, many men come to the Masonic lodge looking for a method of self improvement and enlightenment and find an organization that neglects education almost entirely.

Freemasonry often plays a big role in the lives of unlodged Masons. I have personally met many Masons who don’t attend lodge that have noticed my ring. They are always excited to interact with another Mason and often mention how important the fraternity is to them. Other unlodged Masons are avid Masonic researchers. Still others would gladly come back to the lodge if they felt that they would not be compelled to volunteer for every single lodge function and constantly put the lodge first in their lives.

It is also important to note that the lodge is not always at fault for each individual Mason that does not attend lodge. Some Masons have unrealistic expectations of the fraternity, others probably should have never joined, and there are those that just don’t feel like going. For some reason, these men continue to pay their dues, but they are just not interested in interacting with their assemblies. However, our lodges can and should work to make functions more attractive to those that do not attend lodge for the reasons mentioned in the previous paragraph. Our lodges should not do this for the sake of the organization, but for the sake of those individual Brothers because they do need real, personal Masonic interaction.

If our lodges accept and tolerate individual opinions and values, if we expect a reasonable amount of involvement from our members, and if we offer the spiritual and moral enlightenment that our Brothers seek, our unlodged Masons are much more likely to start attending lodge. With a wider variety of Brothers, the beautiful Masonic tapestry will be enhanced and become even more colorful. Like Brother Fred wrote in his article: there ain’t nothing like the real thing, baby.

brotherly love, union, chain, fraternal ties

Brotherly Love

brotherly love, union, chain, fraternal tiesWe have heard over and over that Freemasonry is a Brotherhood. That it is a fraternity. We use the term Masonic Family when referring to the group of organizations associated with Masonry. But it often seems that we use these terms out of habit, without any sense of meaning behind the words that are coming out of our mouths.

I can think of countless lodge meetings that I have attended where we recognize men as Brother Smith or Worshipful Brother Jones. We use the term Brother so often that we become desensitized to its meaning. Soon the word ‘Brother’ becomes little more than a substitute for ‘Mister’ or ‘Sir.’ Perhaps this is a failing of our institution’s protocol or perhaps it is our own fault for overusing this word. But in the spirit of the Christmas season, I’d like to talk a little bit about what the word ‘Brother’ means to me.

A Brother is your next of kin. He is more than a friend, he is your own flesh and blood. A man for which you would lay down your life. In the Masonic lodge, the term refers to the men of that mystic tie, that solemn obligation which we have all taken. This obligation is more than just a formality or organizational oath. The obligation is a pledge to be true to God, to yourself, and to your neighbor. The obligation is our promise to live and act virtuously and to love our fellow man. When we assume this obligation, we are declaring that we wish to be in the company of men who share the same values and ideals. By uniting ourselves with this honorable pledge, we become Brothers of that ancient and honorable clan: the Freemasons.

Unfortunately, we find that throughout history that relationships between brothers have not always been worthy of emulation. Two of the greatest examples of this are found in the Old Testament. We read of Cain murdering Abel in Genesis and when God inquires about Abel’s whereabouts, Cain replies “Am I my Brother’s keeper?” We learn that Jacob was willing to trick his father Isaac in order to obtain Esau’s blessing. We need not look far to see similar actions occurring today. Our Masonic lodges are full of Brothers who resent each other out of jealousy or are too proud to meet each another upon the level. We have arguments and feuds over lodge business and we often neglect our fellow Masons in need of relief.

During the Christmas holiday, Christians celebrate the birth of Jesus who would grow up to become a leader that espoused the ideals of Brotherhood. Of all the lessons that Jesus taught, the most important is undoubtedly his new commandment: love one another. This is exactly what we as Freemasons and as Brothers should do. For if we love one another we will act by the square, we will circumscribe our desires, and we will give relief to our worthy Brother Masons. If we use the word ‘Brother’ not out of habit, but out of love, we will truly be a Masonic family. And by loving one another, we can understand the spirit of that solemn obligation.

One of the tenets of our profession is Brotherly Love and I propose that we all make this theme our focus for the new year. Let us make love a bigger part of the Masonic equation and let us focus on the meaning of being a Brotherhood.

My Brothers, love one another.

Like what you are reading at the Euphrates? Email the author at to join the Banks of the Euphrates mailing list.

The Realization of Truth

purest form of worshipOne of my favorite scenes in any movie occurs at the climax of the classic film Ben-Hur. During the scene where Jesus is carrying his crucifix through Jerusalem, he collapses underneath the weight of his burden. As Simon of Cyrene is ordered by the Roman soldiers to pick up Jesus’ cross, Judah Ben-Hur (played by Charleton Hesston) pushes through the crowd to give the man they call ‘King of the Jews’ a drink of water.

What I find so beautiful about this scene is that it is the purest form of worship. At this moment, Charleton Hesston’s character is devoid of dogma or religious opinion. He knows that he is witnessing a moment of great realization and does not try to rationalize it or explain it. He only feels the power of the event and offers his praise for the gift of enlightenment which he is receiving.

While the movie is portraying a fictional aspect of the story of Jesus’ crucifixion, it is also providing the piece of the story which is so desperately yearned for when reading the Biblical account of the event. None of the Gospels speak of any assistance given to Jesus during his crucifixion. They are all in agreement that Mary Magdalene remained faithful to him at the end, but we only read of the disciples betraying Jesus. Judas Iscariot had betrayed him and Peter had denied knowing him. Certainly the others would continue proselytizing men to become Christians later, but where were they at the darkest time for their Lord? Were they too busy writing down what they saw and forming the doctrine for their new religion? It is an easy thing to speak of faith, it is another thing to actually have it.

The character of Ben-Hur has nothing to offer the man in suffering, whom he has come to regard as the messiah. However, he throws himself before him with the only offering that he can provide. This is a beautiful action and properly displays the pure realization of truth. In that moment when we discover truth, we can neither define nor rationalize our feelings. We can only find ourselves on our knees in wide-eyed awe of our new understanding.

In many ways, it reminds me of the Masonic process of coming to light. I was only able to truly accept a great realization once in my Masonic career and that was during my first degree. This was because I had no idea of what to expect, I thought of nothing and only focused on the moment. When I was brought to light, it was a truly transcendent moment and it really did change the course of my life. However, after the first degree I had an idea of what to expect and was simply too busy trying to anticipate my next step rather than accept the truth as it came to me.

Perhaps that is the greatest challenge facing the craft today. Are we too busy anticipating the next step in the fraternity’s future and developing a plan to fill our lodges with members? Are we too concerned with the mistakes that the organization has made today and how to fix them? Do we put too much effort into making sure that the recitation of ritual is perfect without understanding the truth which it teaches? Do we rush to research the ritual’s deeper meanings in order to fill volumes rather than letting the realization come to us?

Masonry embodies pure worship. It only offers lessons which are left to its initiates to decipher. It has no dogma and is not concerned with the particular beliefs of its individual members. Perhaps we as Masons must be like Ben-Hur. In our moment of realization, we may have little to offer Masonry, but let us offer whatever we can to the fraternity with sincerity. It is not for us to define the fraternity or propound upon its value to the profane world. What we must do is recognize its truths not with words, but with action.

Like what you are reading at the Euphrates? Email the author at to join the Banks of the Euphrates mailing list.

York, christian knight, templar descendant, english knight, Order of the Temple of the Commandery



York, christian knight, templar descendant, english knight, Order of the Temple of the Commandery

York Rite Cross and Crown – A Cross and Crown laid upon the Cross Pattée inscribed with “In Hoc Signo Vinces”

The LORD said to me, “Take a large scroll and write on it with an ordinary pen: Maher-Shalal-Hash-Baz. And I will call in Uriah the priest and Zechariah son of Jeberekiah as reliable witnesses for me.

Then I went to the prophetess, and she conceived and gave birth to a son. And the LORD said to me, “Name him Maher-Shalal-Hash-Baz. Before the boy knows how to say ‘My father’ or ‘My mother,’ the wealth of Damascus and the plunder of Samaria will be carried off by the king of Assyria.” Isaiah 8:1-4

This passage will more than likely spark the interest of those who have taken the Order of the Temple of the Commandery in the American York Rite. When I opened up my Bible to examine this bit of scripture, I was not terribly excited. I find the book of Isaiah to be the Revelations of the Old Testament. Interpreting and understanding prophesies is something that I am very uncomfortable with and find that examining such writings typically results in a headache. But determined to find some sort of applicable meaning in this passage, I focused on the task at hand and forged ahead in a bit of Biblical research.

I thought that perhaps the name Maher-Shalal-Hash-Baz might be the key to understanding this passage. This name is defined in the New International Version of the Bible as “quick to the plunder, swift to the spoil.” Considering the last part of the piece of scripture quoted above, this definition does not seem odd. But when considering its place in the Order of the Temple, this meaning does not seem to make much sense.

However, this passage from scripture is actually referring to information found in the seventh chapter of the book of Isaiah. In this chapter, King Rezin of Aram and Pekah, son of Ramaliah King of Israel, have decided to fight Jerusalem and overtake the city. Ahaz, the king of Judah, is troubled by these events, but God sends Isaiah to tell Ahaz:

It will not take place, it will not happen, for the head of Aram is Damascus, and the head of Damascus is only Rezin. Within sixty-five years Ephraim will be too shattered to be a people. The head of Ephraim is Samaria, and the head of Samaria is only Remaliah’s son. If you do not stand firm in your faith, you will not stand at all.” Isaiah 7:7-9

These pieces of scripture are relevant to the period during the Order of the Temple when the candidate is symbolically serving his three years as a pilgrim warrior. A pilgrim is a person that is on a spiritual quest, a religious journey. He is a traveler who has humbled himself and whose piety has urged him to seek a holy destination. As a warrior, he is engaged in a cause or conflict. Therefore, the ninth verse of the seventh chapter of Isaiah couldn’t be more applicable: “If you do not stand firm in your faith, you will not stand at all.”

But what is faith? Is it that blind belief of something that can not be proven? The eleventh chapter of Hebrews says “Now faith is being sure of what we hope for and certain of what we do not see.” However, this makes the word faith, as found in Isaiah, seem rather worthless. Considering this definition, without an irrational belief in something with no empirical evidence, you will not stand at all. But what if faith is something more?

The Mason should exhibit wisdom, strength, and beauty in all that he does. If you have no faith in God, you have no wisdom; if you have no faith in yourself, you have no strength; if others have no faith in you, you have no beauty. Therefore, if you have no wisdom, strength, or beauty, you will not stand at all. Perhaps the name Maher-Shalal-Hash-Baz really means that without this wisdom, strength, and beauty a Mason’s life will be easily plundered and spoiled.

Like what you are reading at the Euphrates? Email the author at to join the Banks of the Euphrates mailing list.

Walking the Walk


walk the walkEvery once in a while, I’ll meet someone that asks me “So what is a Freemason?”

Like most Brothers, I want to tell them how great of an organization is, how it is so important in society, and how much it has enlightened me personally, and usually I do. However, sometimes I feel a bit apprehensive about giving give these inquisitors the old Masonic sales pitch: “It’s the world’s largest and oldest fraternity. It is a group of men with good morals that gather to improve themselves through a philosophical education, fellowship with like-minded people, and improve the world through charitable acts.”

Now most of you are probably asking “What’s wrong with that?”

Well…nothing if you are encouraging men to join the fraternity, but there might be something wrong with it if you feel that it is very important to tell the truth. It is easy to use some flowery language and an impressive description to sell the fraternity, but to be truthful about what really goes on within a Masonic lodge can be difficult.

Would you really want to explain to a prospective Mason what really goes on at a typical lodge meeting? Let’s imagine how that conversation would play out.

Inquirer: So what do Masons do?

Mason: Well, we have a couple of lodge meetings a month.

Inquirer: What do you do there?

Mason: We read the minutes of the previous meeting and make any necessary corrections to them. Then we pay the bills, read any correspondence, and vote on any new petitioners. Then we proceed to discuss business for about an hour. Like, last week we were discussing how we were going to put on a spaghetti dinner. Our Junior Warden had it all planned out and then one of the older Past Masters told him how he ought to do it. We also discussed how we might go about making the necessary repairs to the building. Then we closed the lodge and went downstairs to eat some generic-brand cookies and drink some coffee before going home.

Inquirer: I thought you had philosophical education.

Mason: We do when we perform the degrees.

Inquirer: How often does that happen?

Mason: Sometimes once a month. Sometimes we will go several months without doing any degrees.

Inquirer: What about the fellowship you were talking about?

Mason: That’s what the coffee and cookies are.

Inquirer: What about the charity?

Mason: Well, that’s why we’re doing the spaghetti dinner, so that we can raise money in order to write a check to the Grand Lodge’s charity.

Inquirer: That sounds kind of boring.

Mason: Want a petition?

Freemasons view the organization in the proper light, but they don’t always run the organization with that same philosophy. Freemasons need to take all of the great things that they have to say about the fraternity and actually accomplish them in lodge.

We need to walk the walk, not just talk the talk.

At your next lodge meeting, take a chance and walk the walk. If someone talks about the greatness of Masonic charity, stand up and make a motion to go visit a sick Brother or provide some service for a Masonic widow. Read a paper on Masonic teachings and discuss it with your lodge. Go out to dinner with your Brothers and have some real fellowship.

That way, the next time someone asks you “What is Freemasonry?” you can answer them with a clear conscience.

Like what you are reading at the Euphrates? Email the author at to join the Banks of the Euphrates mailing list.

York Rite Survey Results


Back in the beginning of August, I asked all of my readers to give me a helping hand by taking my York Rite Survey.

yorkI received many responses (about twice as many as I had expected) and discovered some interesting things about the awareness level that Freemasons have about the York Rite. Below are a series of charts which display the results of this survey. In the results, the term ‘Members’ refers to those Masons belonging to the York Rite, ‘Prospective Members’ refers to those Masons that indicated a desire to join the York Rite, and ‘Non-Members’ refers to those Masons that did not wish to join the York Rite or indicated that they did not know what the York Rite is.

The results that were of great interest to me were the answers to the following questions:

  • Which bodies compose the American York Rite of Freemasonry?
  • Do you have to be a Christian to join the American York Rite of Freemasonry?
  • Do you have to join all of the bodies in order to become a full fledged member?

The bodies that compose the American York Rite are the Chapter of Royal Arch Masons, Council of Royal and Select Masters, and the Commandery of Knights Templar. Judging from the high percentage of incorrect answers to this question (even 15% of York Rite members answered incorrectly), a large number of Freemasons don’t really know who or what the York Rite is. This is a serious issue that the York Rite must overcome.

The question of whether a man must be a Christian or not to join the York Rite was met with ambiguity. In all honesty, I can understand why. The only body of the York Rite which can be considered Christian is the Commandery of Knights Templar. Keep in mind that you can just join the Chapter and Council if you don’t wish to become a part of the Commandery. The Commandery does not explicitly state that you cannot join if you are not a Christian, but a man is required to answer the question “If called to fight in a religious cause, will you give preference to the Christian religion?” in the affirmative. I would not feel comfortable answering “yes” to that question if I was a Jew, a Muslim, or member of any other religion. To be truthful, I nearly answered that question with a “no” because I would never fight in a religious cause. Nevertheless, I think the confusion about this requirement among York Rite members and non-members alike shows that the Grand Encampment needs to settle this issue by taking action to either clearly state that a man must be, or does not have to be, a Christian to join the Commandery once and for all.

Finally, you do not have to join all of the York Rite bodies to be a full fledged member. If a man only joins the Chapter or joins both the Chapter and the Council, he can participate in that order in any capacity. He can hold any position, including that of the highest office in the jurisdiction. Therefore, if you are uninterested in becoming a member of the Commandery (as are many Masons that I have communicated with) you can still join the Chapter of Royal Arch and Council of Royal and Select Masters and be entitled to all the rights and benefits of those organizations.

condition of york rite chapter chart 1


what portion of lodge belongs to your rite chart 2

which bodies compose the york rite chart 3

do you have to be a christian to join the york rite chart 4

do you have to join all york rite bodies chart 5

Like what you are reading at the Euphrates? Email the author at to join the Banks of the Euphrates mailing list.

blunders in the masonic world

Seven Blunders of the Masonic World

blunders in the masonic world

What are the most common blunders that occur in the Masonic lodge?  They might not be as uncommon as you think.

Ritual Without Meaning

Too many times, we are more concerned about performing the ritual perfectly without understanding what it means. I know many men that give great lectures, but will confide that they don’t even know what something means. Ritual for the sake of tradition is worthless. Ritual for the sake of enlightenment is valuable. An understanding of the ritual’s meaning is far more important than just memorizing it.

Fellowship Without Frivolity

Whenever Masons decide to hold a function for fellowship, a discussion typically ensues about how to make the function have the smallest impact on the lodge’s coffers and the wallets of the members. This results in paper plates, meager meals, and boring events. To spend money wisely in order to make fellowship a grand time is wise for the lodge that wants to be successful.

Quantity Without Quality

A lodge with seven great men that believe in the Masonic ideals and actively labor to improve themselves—and therefore the lodge—is far better off than a lodge with one hundred men that show up to lodge just to show up to lodge.

Education Without Philosophy

Many times, we think of Masonic education as being a lesson on the local lodge’s history, a famous Mason, the history of the world wide fraternity, or how to do the ritual properly. But if no philosophy is covered in Masonic education, then little self improvement is accomplished. Discussing Masonic lessons in terms of philosophy, ideas, and a man’s conduct is what truly transforms men into Masons. It is important to discuss topics that are foreign to a lodge’s membership and it is sometimes even necessary to challenge our preconceived ideologies through Masonic education.

Charity Without Connection

Big institutional charities often require that fund raisers be conducted and large checks written to the people that actually perform the charity. This type of charity is devoid of self improvement because it has no real connection. If we extend our hands to our needed Brethren and devote our own skills and time to their problems, then we are engaging in true, meaningful charity.

Frugality Without Discretion

Frugality is not a tenet of Freemasonry, a cardinal virtue, or a Landmark. It is okay for the lodge to spend its funds on worthwhile activities that will enhance the Masonic experience of its Brethren. Not everything should be done in the cheapest way, a habit to which we have become accustomed.

Leadership Without Competence

A man does not deserve to be Master of the lodge solely because he has spent a certain amount of years in the lodge. We elect leaders without any regard for the skills that they possess to function in that capacity. Only competent, qualified men should be elected to preside over the Craft.

Dan Brown’s New Book is Coming Out-So What?


lostsymbolOn Tuesday, September 15th, Dan Brown’s new book entitled The Lost Symbol will hit shelves at bookstores throughout the U.S. and probably most of the world. Because his previous book The DaVinci Code is one of the most widely read books in history, many people believe that The Lost Symbol has the potential to be a cultural phenomenon as well.

Freemasons have been among the most devout followers of the development of The Lost Symbol because Brown made it clear that the book would deal with the institution of Freemasonry.  Now that the release of the book is imminent, the excitement and angst among Freemasons about the book has reached a fever pitch and after reading several blog and website entries over the past few weeks, it appears that many Freemasons fear that they will have to defend the organization against any attack that Dan Brown may make on the world’s oldest fraternity.

However, I remain indifferent about this event. So The Lost Symbol deals with Freemasonry, so what?

For those worried about what dispersions the book may cast on Freemasonry, I must ask a simple question: Doesn’t Dan Brown write fiction? It is true that I have personally spoken to more than one person that read The DaVinci Code and remained firmly convinced that Jesus had a child and the Catholic church knows it.  However, these cases are rare and aren’t really worth worrying about.

Dan Brown’s book will more than likely spike Google searches on “Who are the Freemasons?” or “What is Freemasonry?” Some of those people will wind up on Freemasonry Watch and some of those will wind up on Freemason Information.  Some of those people will believe that Masonry is part of some conspiracy and some may just petition our lodges. I believe that we waste way too much time worrying about the former and not enough time worrying about the latter. Those that petition our lodges because they have read The Lost Symbol and performed subsequent research will require us to take a closer look at the fraternity and answer some questions. So let’s examine some of the inquiries to which we may have to give a response.

Petitioner’s Question: “So is any of the stuff about Freemasonry in The Lost Symbol true?”

This question is simple to answer because anything hinting at a conspiracy in the book is obviously false, unless you one of those Freemasons that is still trying to prove to yourself that you are not part of some heinous, New World Order planning organization.

Freemason’s Answer: “You must realize that Dan Brown’s book is a work of fiction, it’s solely meant for entertainment. Have you conducted any other research about the fraternity? If you haven’t, I’ll give you some real information and you can look through it and decide for yourself if Freemasonry is something that you want to pursue further.”

Petitioner’s Question: “So what do Freemasons really do?”

Now this is an interesting question. Will you be honest or will you paint a pretty picture of your lodge meetings. Many lodges would have to answer this question by saying, “Well, we pay the bills, sometimes we have cold baloney sandwiches afterward, and once in a while we’ll raise a little money for charity.” So if we want to answer this question honestly and give an attractive view of our fraternity to those that may want to join we are going to have to start changing the way we operate our lodges so that we can give the following answer.

Freemason’s Answer: “Freemasonry is a fraternity that believes in actively improving its members through a virtuous education, fellowship, and charity. In order to become a Freemason, you will have to take three degrees which provide a wonderful course of allegorical instruction designed to help you become a better man. After becoming a Mason you will help to confer these degrees and learn more about their symbolism through philosophical instruction and discussion. Freemasons also enjoy fellowship with each other through several activities which include fine dinners and other various lodge functions. Freemasonry is also a charitable organization that provides relief to its members and contributes to external charities such as the Child Identification Program.”

Petitioner’s Question: “So who can join Freemasonry?”

You should know this answer by now.

Freemason’s Answer: “If you are a man of legal age, of good moral character, who believes in a Supreme Being, and already has the Masonic principles firmly imprinted in his heart and mind, then you can become a Freemason.”

Ultimately, Dan Brown’s book can only be good for Freemasonry, because it will spike interest. Any publicity is good publicity after all. But if we want to make the most out of this opportunity, we will have to take the following actions: guard the West Gate and make sure that we give these new men what they expect from the order. We will have to use their skills, their ideas, and their fresh point of view to strengthen and enhance our beloved institution.

Or we can just keep doing what we’ve always done and see yet another crop of perfectly good Masons disappear because they were disappointed in what they found once they entered the Sanctum Sanctorum.

Like what you are reading at the Euphrates? Email the author at to join the  Banks of the Euphrates mailing list.

The Seven Blunders of the World


Mahatma Gandhi developed seven blunders of the world.

Gandhi was a man that believed in change through peace and his pacifistic rebellion in India inspired many other peaceful protests such as Martin Luther King Jr.’s civil rights crusade. He was a man that lived in a century of unimaginable violence and let the regularity of his own behavior afford the best example for that of others less informed. His seven blunders of the world should certainly give Masons pause and the contemplation of their effects provides an excellent guide for their conduct.

Wealth without Work

A child that receives a toy as a gift will quickly lose interest in it and toss it to the side. But the child that does chores to earn his allowance in order to buy the toy that he wants will cherish it for an extend period of time.

Pleasure Without Conscience

There is certainly nothing wrong with enjoying life. While every person has a right to pursue what makes him happy, a lack of conscience will only lead to suffering. Pleasure without conscience leads to alcoholism, adultery, gambling addiction, and other personal injuries.

Knowledge Without Character

A wise man may be able to benefit society, but if he lacks a character worthy of emulation he will never have an audience. If a man has knowledge, but is conceited because of it or uses it immorally for his own gain he is worthless.

Commerce Without Morality

The man that cheats and defrauds his customers may make more money in the beginning, but he will lose everything when the truth is revealed.

Science Without Humanity

Scientific discovery used for the destruction of humanity rather than for its benefit, is a waste of man’s reasoning skills. Nuclear power offers incredible benefits for those who use it properly, but has caused great anxiety because it was first used for violent purposes.

Worship Without Sacrifice

It is good to worship, but if worship is unaccompanied by sacrifice no self-improvement is made. This does not mean that lambs must be slain and burned as an offering, but that divesting ourselves of the superfluities of life—which is a sacrifice—produces the fruit of worship.

Politics Without Principle

A firm understanding of politics will allow a man in office to accomplish anything he pleases. However, if it is used without principle it only serves to corrupt the government and enslave the masses.