Posts by Frederic L. Milliken – Through the beehive, Fred brings inspiring, provocative, and controversial posts sure to make you think. In his posts, The Beehive is a place of sharing Brotherly Love, Affection and to approach the controversial with the motto “Damn the torpedoes, full Speed ahead!”
When Greg Stewart interviewed me for a piece on Freemason Information, I can remember him asking me where is Freemasonry headed, what’s working right now and what isn’t? That was the gist of what he was asking – what path does Freemasonry take for the future?
I have gotten to thinking of that question once more after watching Lodge Veritas’ Ryan Flynn Festive Board Promo video. While Freemasonry has shown a sharp decrease in Lodge attendance in the 21st century so far, it has also shown a huge increase in Internet Freemasonry.
So while the idea of Freemasonry, its philosophy, has shown a marked increase in activity on the Internet, especially within Social Media and You Tube Videos, the practice of Freemasonry in person has tailed off. Could that be because Lodge Meetings no longer discuss ideas but are continually bogged down by administrative issues? And great ritual performances have been replaced by the marketing of Freemasonry and its push for recognition in society with an over emphasis on charitable pursuits?
I recall that I, as a Texas Prince Hall Freemason, recently attended a Third Degree at a Dallas Grand Lodge of Texas Lodge. The degree was well done, the charge spot on and the gathering at a restaurant afterward a significant bonding and camaraderie addition to the evening. Why can’t we do this all the time, I asked myself?
And then there was the Grand Raising at Prince Hall Grand Lodge of Texas at its recent Winter Grand Session where Masonic talent from all over the state contributed to a majestic event that sent goose bumps down one’s spine. Why can’t we do this all the time, I asked myself?
Aye, there’s the rub!
Maybe we as Freemasons don’t “think great” enough. Maybe we have allowed our once great dominant fraternity to diminish itself by too many mundane and trivial pursuits. Maybe we don’t have the “fire in the belly” for our Craft anymore.
I have no crystal ball so I can’t tell you where Freemasonry is headed. I can tell you that Lodge Veritas in Oklahoma gets it. They understand what it will take, to borrow aTrump phrase, to make Freemasonry great again. After you watch the video, you will too. And…Brother Flynn is a great artist!
For a long time, Brother Wayne Anderson of Canada has been running a Masonic Newsletter featuring one paper that he sends out every Sunday. I have been a subscriber of his for years and we have become good friends. Recently he sent out a paper of mine which I had long forgotten that I had written. It was written on January 1, 2012. Perhaps you have read it before, perhaps you haven’t. I reprint it here as it seems to reflect thoughts that are universal and never go out of date.
Here is Anderson’s Sunday Newsletter paper that he sent out:
I want to wish each and every member of the Sunday Masonic Paper list a very Happy and Healthy 2016. Today’s paper comes from my long time friend, mentor and good Brother Fred Milliken.
My Masonic New Year’s Resolution
January 1, 2012 by Fred Milliken
Do you believe in coincidences? I don’t.
Do you believe in Angels? I do.
Guess you know where to classify me now.
Before I went to bed on New Year’s eve I read a piece from a friend and Brother who said that he was going to spend his New Year’s day in contemplation of what he had done in 2011 and what he had failed to do and how he could make 2012 Masonically better. Did he visit and help Brothers in need often enough? Did he listen and think about those Brothers who had asked his advice and those that had whispered in his ear? Did he walk the extra mile, did he let anyone down?
He asks himself:
Did I hold true to my values all year-long? Did I lose a friend through lack of communication to too much of it? Did I do all that was required of me in time of need? Did I make new friends? Did I create any enemies? Did I leave something undone that I could have finished, and many more questions that I ask of myself.
These are some of the things that he was going to cogitate on.
On New Year’s morning I read a piece from Canadian Brother Wayne Anderson’s Masonic Newsletter – Sunday Masonic Paper No. 611 – where Brother Doug Gray pondered:
As we approach the count down toward the end of 2011; and the beginning of a New Year, it is a time many use for some reflection! I just wanted to remind everyone that although Masonry is well known as a “Progressive Science”; it should also be remembered as a “Reflective Science.”
The true purpose and value in Masonry is to gain knowledge of ones self; and his own relationship with God.
We must use our Lodge time as a place to think, to consider our fellow-man, to become “Human” and to gain “Wisdom”.
Looking inward is the place to begin, evaluate shortcomings with respect to our obligation, our charges and our commitment to the working tools or each degree.
Brotherhood is our vision in Masonry. How well do you know your Lodge and District Brothers?
Buddha taught: Man is so entangled in the “Tragedy of Life”, they are bound together out of sympathy in a “Brotherhood of pity…” Zoroaster taught: That Men are Brethren because warriors in battle between “Light and Darkness” a “Brotherhood of Battle…” Confucius: Brothers because of “common obligations”, a “Brotherhood of Service.”
In my practice of religion I am quite familiar with “centering prayer” which is much like meditation. You take a symbol, a phrase, an idea or a short scripture reading and you meditate on it for hours, making sure you clear your mind of all else. You contemplate the thought you have chosen, repeating it over and over and listening for an answer. If your mind wanders onto something else you force it back often by repeating out loud your chosen thought. Over and over, hour after hour until you have an answer. Where the answer comes from I am not going to get into. That is up to your own personal belief system.
So not believing in coincidences and getting pushed by my Angel I decide to do some Masonic centering prayer/meditation on the Masonic symbol of the Point Within A Circle.
I cleared my mind of everything but the Point Within A Circle and began. Soon I found myself in a closed maze where I went around and around. At one end I bumped into St. John the Baptist at another end the Holy Scriptures and at a third point St. John the Evangelist. But what was the message, what were they trying to tell me? Over and over I pondered and meditated.
After some time it was clear to me that I was being strongly urged to make a Masonic New Year’s Resolution – a commitment to accomplish something in the coming year. But further meditation yielded no clue as to what that Masonic New Year’s Resolution should be. This was not going to be as easy as I thought.
Maybe this is where free will comes in. It’s all up to me. But I am not sure what I should choose. Perhaps you have some suggestions.
Wayne D. Anderson, FCF, MPS
D.D.G.M. Frontenac District, G.R.C. 2015-16
Coach Nagy’s book Building Boaz is aptly described by his subtitle – Uncommon Catechism For Uncommon Masonic Education. Nagy has written twelve new catechisms for the Entered Apprentice.
Nagy defines a catechism as “a book or manual of basic instruction giving a brief summary of the basic principles of a subject, usually by means of rote, formulaic statement or repetition in question and answer form.” It is also, “a close questioning or examination, as of a political figure, student or a person wishing to show their proficiency of a topic or subject.” Furthermore, it is “a body of work expressing fundamental principles or beliefs, especially when accepted uncritically, as a series of searching inquiries and responses on any targeted subject or interest.”
Most Freemasons will recognize this style of learning as many jurisdictions hand out little booklets of questions and answers also containing the obligation that the new Mason must memorize and be able to repeat back to the Lodge. Nagy takes that concept and expands upon it, giving us further insight and meaning into the teachings of the First Degree.
Nagy informs us:
John “Coach” Nagy
“The emphasis of this book is upon the Entered Apprentice Degree. Without a doubt, the focuses at play within this Degree are that of the Temple Foundation and Preparing the Stone that will eventually be Raised, Positioned and Cemented into that House not made by hand. For the benefit of this Temple Work to be long lasting, Masons must have both a Strong Foundation and a Properly Prepared Stone with a Strengthened Inner Core.”
“These two aspects, Strength and Proper Preparation, are critical in the Work of all Masons. They both Establish the Temples Built and guard Masons well against what may impede them in their Travels. Too many Temples fail or Travels cease due to flawed Foundations or yielding Stones – preventable failures all.”
“For new Masons today, the focus of their Work seems different than in years past. It appears now to be more suited toward having Brothers learn Ritual to support Ritual and the Lodge rather than learning what makes for Strong Entered Apprentices and earnestly Working toward Establishing necessary Strength within the newly Entered Stones.”
“The focus of this book is on those connections that come into supportive play for Masons long after the Initial Work is finished. To Travel upon the Masonic Path as an Entered Apprentice is to review and become familiar with Masonic ways. It is to examine and rectify your Morals in the Light of all which you profess to be Sacred. It is to assure that all that can weaken your Stone is removed while you Strengthen your core.”
People often ask how we as Masons make good men better. Even some Masons have no clue as to how this is done. What it involves, as Coach Nagy explains, is not mere memorization of Masonic ritual but rather study and contemplation beyond the Degree work that cements the virtues and the morality of Freemasonry firmly in the mind of the new Mason. The new Brother must understand the why and the how of the philosophy of Masonry in order to make himself a better man.
To facilitate that end, Nagy has put together a series of catechisms to provide a framework of study and reflection. Each catechism will explore the meaning of words. Nagy has the Brother get right down to the basics, the nitty gritty of it all.
For Nagy, the meaning of words is very important. Assign a false meaning to a word and you can destroy a whole philosophy. That is why Nagy uses the catechism format with its question and answer routine, so that meanings do not get mixed up in wrong definitions that can confuse or change the philosophy of Masonry. A word progresses to a concept, which leads to a thought or idea that taken all together as a whole makes a system or philosophy. And this is exactly how Nagy Builds Boaz.
It all starts with a word, and then another word and another and another until we have strung together a concept. Soon a thought or idea – a meaning – is established. Taking all these thoughts or ideas (catechisms) together and you have explained the meaning of the First Degree. Do this with the Second and Third Degree and you now have an understanding of the way of life that is Masonry.
Nagy is the Socrates of Freemasonry, asking question after question after question. It is very fortunate that in Building Boaz – Uncommon Catechism for Uncommon Masonic Education – Volume 2 we get answer after answer after answer. Nagy would be the first to tell you that these are not all the answers. There are many more which each individual Brother needs to discover on his own. But the beauty of Building Boaz is that it gets the new Mason in the frame of mind to make inquires and explore meanings – to ask questions and to search for answers and to get some answers. In so doing he cements the morality of Masonry into his inner core. That inner core will help to govern his outward actions. Many a time I have seen and heard of men who carry themselves above reproach. Their light shines to everybody they come in contact with. Often those around such a person want to know how he got that way. Chances are really good that person is a Freemason who has studied his Craft, built a firm foundation of Masonic understanding and strengthened his inner core.
That’s what Building Boaz is all about. This is not only a book that should be in every Mason’s library it should be presented by the Lodge to every new Entered Apprentice upon the completion of his First Degree. It also should be used for Masonic education for all in the Lodge Room, reinforcing those values that make Masonry truly a way of life.
PM Michael Huskisson 1283, GM Wilbert M. Curtis, Eric Brewer 1283, David Villegas 1283, David Bindel 1283, Rick Parker 1218
A Historical event in Texas Freemasonry took place on Friday, November 13, 2015. For the first time Brethren from Local Lodges of the Grand Lodge of Texas visited a Grand Session of The Most Worshipful Prince Hall Grand Lodge of Texas.
Past Grand Master Jerry Martin of the Grand Lodge of Texas visited the Summer Grand Session of Prince Hall in June of 2015, but no local Brethren accompanied him.
Newly Raised Master Masons Prince Hall Texas
The occasion this past Friday was a Grand Raising of 52 Fellow Crafts under the leadership of Grand Master Wilbert M. Curtis. Grand Master Curtis recognized the visiting Brethren from Jewel P. Lightfoot Lodge No 1283 and Irving Lodge No 1218 before proceeding with the degree.
Both Texas Grand Lodges signed a mutual compact of recognition in April of 2007, but that agreement prohibited intervisitation. It was not until the first of this year, 2015, that the compact was modified to allow cross visitation.
Brethren from Jewel P. Lightfoot No 1283 Grand Lodge of Texas just last month visited Pride of Mt. Pisgah No 135 Prince Hall Texas. In December Pride of Mt. Pisgah with Brethren from other Prince Hall Lodges will be visiting Jewel P. Lightfoot to observe their Third Degree.
Newly Raised Master Masons from Pride of Mt. Pisgah with Brothers from Mt. Pisgah and Grand Lodge of Texas Brethren
It seems that concerns that both Grand Lodges might have had over intervisitation were not anything to worry about. All visitations so far have been received with great joy and great fellowship. Welcome to the 21st Century!
Last week in Georgia, the Grand Master, Douglas McDonald, issued an edict with the endeavor to change their adultery provision to additionally read, “Homosexual activity with anyone subjects the offender to discipline.”
I’m afraid there will be more of this. Brethren should consider that they have all probably been sitting in lodge with homosexuals since the day they became an EA. I strongly encourage Masons to check their state’s code and take steps to remove these provisions. I’m no gay activist, but we live in different times now, and the Supreme Court has spoken on the subject. Like it or not, such rules may subject us to lawsuits, and I humbly beseech Grand Masters not to act rashly because homosexuality conflicts with their own personal views of morality. We have had thousands of gay members since our beginnings, almost entirely without incident or without bringing disgrace upon the Craft. What someone does in the privacy of their own bedrooms is none of our business, as long as they don’t bring their politics into the lodge room.
Hodapp also reports on the Grand Lodge of Tennessee attempting to expel a Gay member.
What an utterly embarrassing day it is for Freemasonry in the state of Georgia. An angry day. We are a non-religious educational institution based on Brotherly Love for our fellow man. Tolerance is a key tenet of the organization. A man’s character is all that matters. Not his race, his personal religion, his wealth or social status. And certainly NOT his sexuality.
Yet, our deeply religious Grand Master just shoved down our throats (pun intended) an edict that bans a homosexual from becoming a Mason on the basis that it’s moral sin under God. His version of God. There was no debate, no unanimous decision. There wasn’t a statewide call for this action by the brethren. It was issued like an executive order in the very last month of his term. He opened Pandora’s Box and I certainly gave him an earful of which I’ll probably be reprimanded for or worse. But I will not sit idly by without raising my voice.
This is what scares me about these Ralph Reed-type religious far-right wingers in our country. I believe in separation of church and state. I joined this institution specifically because religion and politics (two of the most divisive subjects of mankind) are strictly prohibited from being discussed within a lodge. And with one man’s actions, now all GA Masons will be painted as backward ass bigots.
Here is the second in a series from writer/researcher Hank Kraychir from his website Gnosis Masonry.
I think some may have missed the most important point in the first article , namely that today’s Freemasonry did not grow out of ancient stone guild operative Lodges that gradually became speculative but rather from aristocratic speculative Lodges that were brought to Britain by the Romans and existed long before the Stone Mason Guilds.
Kraychir makes that point here in article number two.
Dating the Foundation of English Masonry to 557 AD
In essence, Preston and Oliver gave a detailed background of Masonry in England, from Druid and Roman influences to its transformation into a popular fraternity without direct political influence. You see, for much of British history, Masonry fell under the direct influence of a King (or Queen), which will be explained further down in this blog.
On page 105 Preston wrote about the departure of the Romans. and confirmed Masonry’s presence during the period, “After the departure of the Romans from Britain, Masonry made but a slow progress, and was almost totally neglected, on account of the irruptions of the Picts and Scots, which obliged the southern inhabitants of the island to solicit the assistance of the Saxons, on order to repel these invaders.”
Preston continued, “Masonry got into repute, and Lodges were again formed” (p. 105). Therefore, there were Lodges before and after the 407 AD departure of the Romans. He continued, “but these, being under the direction of foreigners, were seldom convened, and never attained to any degree of consideration or importance” (p. 105). So again, Masonic Lodges existed, but they were under the rule of foreigners, perhaps the Saxons from Germany, so most native Britain’s did not want to participate.
Now this is where the story gets most interesting, Preston wrote in the following paragraph, “Masonry continued in a declining state till the year 557, when Austin, with forty more monks, among whom the sciences had been preserved, came into England… Masonry flourished under the patronage of Austin…” who was the “first Archbishop of Canterbury” (p. 105). Thus, St. Austin, a religious leader, became the patriarch or father of English Masonry. You see, although Masonry existed in England before 557, it was not fully accepted until Archbishop Austin took over its control. This, according to Preston, was the start of a long line of either religious or Royal control of the Craft in England; it would not be until the 18th century before Masonry in England became independent. This statement is also confirmation that religion played an important part of the formation and establishment of English Masonry; and dismisses the idea that early English Masons were simply a bunch of stone workers. This important point was made by Preston on page 7, “Masonry passes under two denominations,-operative and speculative,” which confirmed Masonry during the period was both operative and speculative in nature. Unlike today, which is speculative only.
On page 106, we also read about Bennet, Abbot of Wirral in 680 AD, who would eventually become inspector of Lodges and superintendent of all Masons in England; an appointed position by the King. Masonry again stayed in a low state until about 924 AD when King Edward died, and Athelstane, his son, became King. Athelstane “appointed his brother Edwin patron of the Masons” in England (p. 107).
This resulted in the “first Grand Lodge of England” being established in 926 (p. 107); an issue I have discussed previously. These facts still support the previous statement that Masonry remained under the control of the King, this time through his brother Edwin. And yet still Royal control of the Craft remained through the 17th century, which led to its limited participation by the British population and the common man. But everything changed by the 18th century (1717).
I know there will be critics who will attack the authors as stating unsubstantiated facts; I would expect nothing less from deniers of ancient Masonic history. Nevertheless, authors William Preston and George Oliver’s credentials are of the highest Masonic order, and their written works reflect this important fact. Also, Preston was a member of the Grand Lodge of England during the period of publication, which helped his research greatly. I would also remind Masonry that much of what we teach in our Lodges cannot be substantiated, and has been passed down through Masonic traditions; like the building of King Solomon’s Temple and even the Holy Bible that sits in the middle of our Lodge rooms – where are the references for these one might ask as well (*Smile*)! You see, it is far easier to be a denier of Masonic history than it is to prove it; that is why we have so many Masonic deniers of our own history. These deniers throw their denials around with no other proof than claiming something is false – I must ask, where is their proof when they make their claims of denial? Get my point.
In conclusion, it becomes even clearer that English Masonry can be dated to 557 AD, and even before under Roman control through Mithraism or Collegia It also looked like English Masonry was controlled by political authorities for much of its history, which hindered its growth and acceptance; but once it become an independent body (after 1717), it truly thrived and followed the British Empire around the globe, as its power and influence also grew. I know this conclusion is a simplistic interpretation of the book, but I don’t see any other way to get my points across in such short order. If you don’t believe me, read the book, Illustrations of Masonry, yourself, which will prove my points conclusively.
I have come across one of the most thought provoking articles in a long time. It’s not the same old hash but from a fellow Masonic writer Hank Kraychir who is a top rate Masonic researcher. His website, GnosisMasonry, has many wonderful and thoughtful articles on it. But this one strikes a cord that is so important to us all – OUR HISTORY.
So with permission from Brother Kraychir here is his wonderful article:
Dissecting The 1723 Constitutions Of Free-Masons; Dispelling Revisionist Myths.
A note from the author:
Please take your time reading and understanding this important article. I do not make my claims lightly, and I hope this article will lead others into researching this important topic further. I personally believe a hoax has occurred upon Freemasonry by revisionistpundits. I think it might have started out innocently enough, but it has gone on so long now that the 1717-1723 narrative claim has become fact within the minds of many within Freemasonry. In short, the document they claim proves the 1717 narrative does not support their positions. This article tells a different story than the one most Masons unjustifiably believe. To date, I believe this is the most important discovery I have made in my personal journey and research about Masonic history. I hope you enjoy reading this article, as much as I enjoyed researching and writing it ~/G|~
Pundits of the 1717-1723 narrative often refer to the 1723 Constitutions of Free-Masons as the document that proves their theory. And to be honest, since I was not familiar with the document, and had to rely on other writings and opinions, I had no response to the claim. That was until I was given an opportunity to buy a copy from Brother Michael Doxsee, who also sells other out-of-print Masonic books for those who might be interested in such things.
I took several weeks to read the book, and wrote notes along the way. The most obvious clue was found on the cover, which had two dates, “In the Year of Masonry-5723″ and “Anno Domini-1723,” (Anno Domini stands for A.D.). You see, as I will prove with words from the document, the authors of the 1723 Constitutions of Free-Masons held the position that they were upholding the ancient traditions passed down to them through Masonic history, its documents and traditions. The dates listed above prove they believed they held a lineage of some four thousand years. Now, I am not here to debate the validity of such a claim; rather, I hold the position that they only intended to continue with the traditions of the craft from the time period.
To further make my point, please consider the header page, which reads, “Printed by William Hunter, for John Senex at the Globe, and John Hooke at the Flower-deluce over against St. Dunstan’s Church, in fifth street.” So I beg the question, if John Hunter was the printer, who were John Senex and John Hooke in relationship to this book; and why do their names appear on the cover page and not James Anderson, who was mentioned way back on page 74, along with 60 other named individuals? These 61 names, including Anderson, are from the section entitled “Approbation.” The names listed, I assume, are in order of Masonic importance, only because they are not in alphabetical order, as one might presume. The word Approbation can be defined as, “an act of approving formally or officially.” Therefore, this was the final approval committee, which included Anderson.
Most interestingly, Anderson’s name was listed near the end of the page with the Roman Numeral XVII (17th out of 20 subsections that were listed) next to it. This ranking could lead to several speculations, of which that Anderson was simply a compiler, and performed some writings tasks, but was beholding to the views of other Masons; unlike his 1738 second edition, where he was much more involved, which would account for the major differences between the two Constitutions. This belief is confirmed by MasonicDictionary.com andThe Builder (1923):
“His own account of the work, as given in 1738, is that he was ordered to digest the Old Gothic Constitutions in a new and better method by Montagu on 29th September, 1721, that on 27th December, Montagu appointed fourteen learned brothers to examine the MS., and that after they had approved it was ordered to be printed…”
After the header, a dedication section followed, which dedicated the book to the Right Worshipful Grand-Master, the Duke of Montagu, who served the previous year. The importance of the section, written by Deputy Grand-Master J.T. Desaguliers (not Anderson), was that great pains had been taken to make sure the document aligned with old Records, History and Chronology:
“I need not tell your GRACE what Pains our learned AUTHOR has taken in compiling and digesting this Book from the old Records, and how accurately he has compar’d and made every thing agreeable to History and Chronology so as to render these New CONSTITUTIONS a just and exact Account of Masonry from the Beginning of the World to your Grace’s MASTERSHIP still preserving all that was truly ancient and authentic in the old ones.”
Following the Dedication sectional, “The Constitution” section was displayed, which essentially started the History of Freemasonry; portions of which were presumably compiled and written by Anderson, and edited and approved by the committee of fourteen. On the very first page, it was written, “Collected from their general RECORDS, and their faithful TRADITIONS of many ages” (p. 1). Notice the two words RECORDS and TRADITIONS were capitalized; so what exactly were these early 18th century Masons trying to tell the brethren? Simply stated, that they painstakingly gathered the old Records and combined them with their ancient traditions when they formed the historical section of the Constitutions. Again, I must stress, as I will stress throughout the writing of this article, they did not believe they were forming anything new; rather, they believed they were upholding ancient traditions.
Furthermore, how important was this history to these early Masons? Well, lets take a look at what they had to say on the matter, “At the admission of a NEW BROTHER, when the Master or Warden shall begin, or order some other Brother to read as follows…” (p. 1). Therefore, every new Mason was read this particular history. Again, I know some Masons have written negatively about this historical section; however, I must remind every Mason reading this post, our Masonic history should not always be taken literally, which sadly some pundits of the 1723 Constitutions had sorely forgotten or neglected on purpose? Case in point, if a Mason still thinks the story of Hiram Abiff is an accurate tale than he or she has never been instructed in the use of Masonic allegory; or as Albert Pike wrote about Hiram Abiff:
“Whatever Hiram really was, he is the type, perhaps an imaginary type, to us, of humanity in its highest phase; an exemplar of what man may and should become, in the course of ages, in his progress toward the realization of his destiny; an individual gifted with a glorious intellect, a noble soul, a fine organization, and a perfectly balanced moral being; an earnest of what humanity may be, and what we believe it will hereafter be in God’s good time; the possibility of the race made real” (Albert Pike, Morals and Dogma, 1871, p. 225).
As such, much of Masonic history is allegorical lessons based on historical events and people, which means these lessons have a deeper meaning, as Pike confirmed when he wrote about the ancient belief of using allegory to teach the mysteries:
“Nothing excites men’s curiosity so much as Mystery, concealing things which they desire to know: and nothing so much increases curiosity as obstacles that interpose to prevent them from indulging in the gratification of their desires… In this spirit of mystery they professed to imitate the Deity, who hides Himself from our senses, and conceals from us the springs by which He moves the Universe. They admitted that they concealed the highest truths under the veil of allegory, the more to excite the curiosity of men, and to urge them to investigation. The secrecy in which they buried their Mysteries, had that end. Those to whom they were confided, bound themselves, by the most fearful oaths, never to reveal them. They were not allowed even to speak of these important secrets with any others than the initiated; and the penalty of death was pronounced against any one indiscreet enough to reveal them, or found in the Temple without being an Initiate; and any one who had betrayed those secrets, was avoided by all, as excommunicated” (Albert Pike, Morals and Dogma, 1871, p. 384).
So when it was written, “No doubt Adam taught his Sons Geometry, and the use of it, in the several Arts and Crafts convenient, at least, for those early Times…” (p. 2), what did this mean? The story of Adam and Eve is nothing but a metaphor for men and women in the beginning of creation by God. Yet, some have gone out of their way to claim Anderson and the committee of fourteen did not know what they were writing about when they began the history of Masonry with Adam. REALLY? David Stevenson surmised the issue of starting the document with Adam, when he wrote:
“Thus, whatever faults later generations have found, the book satisfied those who had commissioned it. Over half of it, the History, describes the Craft’s ancient and exalted past. Taken as history as judged by modern scholarly standards, Anderson’s account is clearly absurd, but in some respects the abuse heaped on it, and therefore on Anderson himself, is unjustified. There is little point in raging against him for starting withAdam and then wending his way through the Old Testament, for in his time that was the conventional mainstream of the past, not a bizarre aberration. Moreover beginning the story of Masonry with Adam was to be expected. Everything started with the Creation, so a history naturally started there. To do otherwise would have been unsatisfactory, a starting in the middle of a subject. Masonry should be traced back to Adam, just as dynastic history traced royal families and national histories their origins to Adam” (Stevenson, David, James Anderson: Man and Mason, p. 110-111).
I will not go into the details from this particular section, but I will state that Anderson and the committee of fourteen gave a basic understanding of Masonry from a biblical perspective, which included Adam, Noah, Moses, etc; and added to it by mentioning Mitzraim and the Magi (p. 5). There was also an emphasis on King Solomon and the building of his Temple, which would be expected.
Nevertheless, what I found most interesting was discovered on pages 11 and 12; which was the fact that the name Hiram was written, “But above all, he sent his namesake Hiram, or Huram, the most accomplish’d Mason on Earth*.” I mentioned this particular point, only because some have stated that the Legend of Hiram Abiif did not start until after 1717, or after the 1723 Constitution was written; again, to which I had no answer until reading the document itself. Well, one only had to follow the footnotes at the bottom of the pages to see that Anderson and the committee of fourteen were writing about both Hiram, the King of Tyre, and Hiram Abiff, which, by the way, tells an entirely different account than the one I was taught in Blue Lodge Masonry:
“*We read (2 Chron. ii. 13.) Hiram, King of Tyre, (called there Huram) in his letter to King SOLOMON, Says, I have sent a cunning Man, le Huram Abhi, not to be translated according to the vulgar Greek and Latin, Huram my Father, as if this Architect was King HIRAM”S father; for his discrition, ver. 14. refutes it, and the Original plainly imports, Huram of my Father’s, viz. the Chief Master-Mason of my father, King ABIBALUS; (who enlarg’d and beautify’d the City of Tyre, as ancient Histories inform us, whereby the Tyrians at this time were most expert in Masonry) tho’ some think HIRAM the king might call Hiram the Architect Father, as learned and skillful Men were wont to be call’d of the old Times, or as Joseph was call’d the Father of PHARAOH; and as the same Hiram is called Solomon’s FATHER, (2 Chron. iv. 16.) where tis said
Shelomoh lammelech Abhif Churam ghnafah,
Did Huram, his Father, make a King Solomon.
But the Difficulty is over at once, by allowing the Word Abif to be the Surname of Hiram the Mason, called also (Chap. ii. 13.) Hiram Abi, as here Hiram Abif; for being so amply describ’d, (Chap. ii. 14.) we may easily support his Surname would not be conceal’d: And this Reading makes the sense plain and compleat, viz. that HIRAM, King of Tyre, sent to King Solomon his Namesake HIRAM ABIF, the Prince of Architects,describ’d (1 Kings vii. 14.) to be a Widow’s Son of the Tribe of Naphtbali;and in (Chron: ii. 14.) the said King of Tyre calls him the Son of a Woman of the Daughters of Dan; and in both places, that his Father was a man ofTyre: which Difficulty is remov’d bysupporting his Mother was either of the Tribe of Dan, or of the Daughters of the City called Dan in the Tribe ofNaphthali, and his deceased Father had been Naphthalite, whence his mother was call’d a Widow of Naphthali; for his father is not call’d aTyrian by Descent, but a Man of Tyre by Habitation; or Obed Edom the Levite is call’d a Gittite by living among the Gittites, and the Apostle Paula Man of Tarsus. But supporting a Mistake in Transcribers, and that his Father was really a Tyrian by Blood, and his Mother only of the Tribe either of Dan or of Naphthali, that can be no Bar against allowing of his vast Capacity; for as his father was a Worker in Brass, so be himself wasfill’d with Wisdom and Understanding, and Cunning to work all works of Brass: And as King SOLOMON sent for him, so King HIRAM, in his letter to Solomon, says, And now I have sent a cunning Man endued with Understanding, skillful to work in Gold, Silver, Brass, Iron, Stone, Timber, Purple, Blue, fine Linnen and Crimson; also to grave any manner of Graving, and to find out every Device which shall be put to him, with thy cunning Men, and with the cunning Men of my Lord David thy Father. This divinely inspired Workmen maintain’d this Character in erecting the Temple, and working the Utensils thereof, far beyond the Performances of Aholiab and Bezaleel, being Also universally capable of all sorts of Masonry.”
So what can be learned by reading the above footnote? Well first off, there were a few spelling mistakes, which Masonic historians continually gripe about. My response is, “get over it!” As I have stated before in other writings on this blog, history is replete with examples of spelling errors, many of which had nothing to do with the author, but rather the printer of the publication. Printing a document was far more difficult to perform some 300 years ago than it is today; and any comparisons between the two are simply disingenuous, and not worthy of a Mason seeking a high moral character. Furthermore, many Masons have incorrectly claimed that the legend of Hiram Abiff did not occur prior to the modern era; however, after reading the above footnote, which covered almost two pages within the 1723 Constitutions, it is obvious Anderson and the committee of fourteen felt differently. Sadly, no degree ritual was included in the Constitutions, which would aid us greatly today in understanding this important legend. Nevertheless, it is obvious the writers of this document understood its importance and included, at length, the history of the legend and its importance to Masonry during this period. Also, their version of Hiram Abiff had several twists and turns of which I was not familiar with, some of which left me puzzled. Like, what was the actual relationship between King Hiram and Hiram Abiff; especially when they used of the words “namesake” and “Prince,” which would lead me to believe Hiram Abiff was of Royal Blood and a member of King Hiram’s family? I will not delve into this query any further, other than to say, the above footnote left more questions than answers.
It should also be mentioned that the historical section included countless references, which I considered unusual for the time period. I have read many Masonic documents and books that had been written over the last two to three hundred years; most of which included either no referencing material, or very few at all. This point should be greatly considered when discussing the validity of the document and the true intent of its authors. Here is a general list of references, with some notes included, particularly its length:
Page 1: One side date reference.
Page 2: One bottom reference, three lines long; referencing metal working of Tubal Cain, music of Jubal, etc.
Page 3: One side date reference; and one bottom reference, eight lines long. It made references to the Vestiges of Antiquity, Enoch, Vespasian the Emperor, etc.
Page 4: One side date reference; and one bottom reference, six lines long. It referenced Nimrod, Moses, Bacchus, etc.
Page 5: One side date reference.
Page 6: One bottom reference, seven lines long. References to the Quarries of Arabia, and the building of ancient Egyptian monuments to honor the Empire.
Page 7: Two side date references.
Page 8: One side date reference.
Page 9: Two side date references; and one bottom reference, six lines long. It referenced Sampson, the Philistines, Secrets to his wife, honour (honor) among Masons, etc.
Page 10: One bottom reference, fourteen lines long, or about a third of the page. Referenced King Solomon, number of workers building the Temple, Hiram, etc.
Page 11: One bottom reference, twenty-six lines long, or 80% of the page. referenced the relationship between King Hiram and Hiram Abiff.
Page 12: One bottom reference, twenty-one lines long, or about 60% of the page. This reference was a continuation of the relationship between King Hiram and Hiram Abiff.
Page 13: One side date reference.
Page 15: One side date reference; and one bottom reference, seventeen lines long, or about 50% of the page. Referenced the Temple of Diana, Dresiphon and Archiphrom, and other Temples in Greece, etc.
Page 16: One side date reference; and one bottom reference, seventeen lines long, or 50% of the page. Referenced the architecture of Grand Monarch Nebuchadnezzar, his gardens, palaces, etc.
Page 17: One bottom reference, twenty-three lines long, or 70% of the page. This is a continuation of page 16 reference, with additions on the tower of Babel, etc.
Page 18: One side date reference; and one bottom reference, twenty-two lines long, or 75% of the page. This is yet another continuation of pages 16 and 17, with additions of Solomon’s Temple, Great Babylon, Grand Cyrus in Persia, etc.
Page 19: One side date reference.
Page 20: One side date reference; and one bottom reference, seven lines long. Referenced the Grecians and their barbarism.
Page 21: Three side date references; and one bottom reference, ten lines long. Referenced Pythagoras traveling into Egypt, the Magi, Cambyles~King of Persia, etc.
Page 22: One side date reference; and one bottom reference, nine lines long. Referenced Anaxagoras, Oenopides, Beiso and many others.
Page 23: One side date reference; and one bottom reference, fourteen lines long, or 45% of the page. Referenced Alexandria, Julius Caesar, Siege of Troy, etc.
Page 24: Two side date references: and one bottom reference, five lines long. Referenced Eratosthenes, Conon, Apollonius, etc.
Page 26: One bottom reference, eighteen lines long, or 50% of the page. Referenced Phidias, Nemefis, Minerva at Athens, etc.
Page 27: One bottom reference, eight lines long. Referenced Menelaus, Claudius, Ptolomeus, etc.
Page 28: One side date reference; and one bottom reference, eleven lines long, or 40% of the page. Referenced Roman Colonies, Citadels, Bridges, Art, etc.
Page 29: One bottom reference, fifteen lines long, or 50% of the page. Referenced Saxon and Scottish Kings, and Grand Masters of earlier Lodges, Laws, Charges, Regulations, etc.
Page 30: Three side date references. Also, it was claimed that King Athelstan was “…prevail’d… to improve the CONSTITUTION of the English Lodges.”
Page 31: Two side date references; and one bottom reference, six lines long. Referenced William the Conqueror, Roger de Montgomery, Nobility and Clergy, etc.
Page 32: One side date reference.
Page 34: One bottom reference, twenty-two lines long, or 70% of the page. Referenced ancient manuscripts, Lodges and Masonry, etc.
Page 35: One bottom reference, seventeen lines long, or 50% of the page. Referenced “Tertio Henrici Sexti, Cap. 1. An. Dom. 1425.”
Page 36: One bottom reference, sixteen lines long, or 50% of the page. Referenced the battle between the clergy and the ancient brethren of Masonry.
Page 38: Two side date references; and one bottom reference, ten lines long. Referenced Queen Elizabeth and her jealousies with Masonry.
Page 40: One side date reference; and one bottom reference, seventeen lines long, or 50% of the page. Referenced Henricus Comes Danby, 1632.
Page 41: One bottom reference, five lines long. Referenced an ancient Royal Palace, Judges, etc.
Page 42: One bottom reference, thirty-four lines long, or 85% of the page. Referenced King Charles the II. Mr. Grinlin Gibbons, etc.
Page 43: One bottom reference, nineteen lines long, or 60% of the page. Referenced Archbishop Sheldon, Sir Christopher Wren, King Henry VII, etc.
Page 44: One bottom reference, five lines long. Referenced the Bishop of Salisbury, three knocks, etc.
Page 45: One bottom reference, seventeen lines long, or 60% of the page. This reference is a continuation of the earlier page.
Page 46: One bottom reference, twenty-even lines long, or 70% of the page. Referenced Roman influence on Great Britain, Inigo Jones, Sir Charles Hotham, etc.
Page 47: One bottom reference, twenty-one lines long, or 45% of the page. This reference is a continuation from the previous page.
Page 48: One bottom reference, twenty-three lines long or 70% of the page. This reference is a continuation from the two previous pages.
So what can be learned from this basic reference overview of the historical section? Well, first off, it’s obvious the authors took much more care in presenting their case than pundits of the book led me to believe. Again, I am not here to prove or disprove the accuracy of the historical claim; nevertheless, I now believe that Anderson and the committee of fourteen, as well as the 60 other signers of the document, attempted to back up their claim, and used hundreds of references to prove it, which I believe was unusual for the period. In many cases, the authors used more than half a page to back up their claim; how these obvious references were missed by earlier writers is beyond me. In fact, almost every page included some type of reference.
I highlighted several references above that stood out. Like on pages 29 and 30, which mentioned the fact that there were earlier Constitutions, Grand Masters, Lodges, Laws, Charges and Regulations. Simply stated, how can pundits make the claim that the 1723 Constitutions of Free-Masons proved that the first Grand Lodge was formed in 1717, when the document itself claimed there were other Grand Lodges; and how can these pundits also claim that this document formed the first Constitution when the document claimed there were other Constitutions, and that they simply compiled from other ancient Constitutions, Documents, Laws, Charges and Regulations. In your author’s mind, any claims made about the date 1717 and the 1723 Constitutions of Free-Masons being the “first” is nothing but revisionism; it is an out and outright lie by revisionists with an agenda to disprove Masonic lineage!
The references listed also help support Anderson and the committee of fourteen’s assertion that Masonry started with the first records of recorded history; and evolved and immersed itself into and through many great cultures from the past. Most notably the Egyptians, Israelites, Greeks and in particularly the Romans, who left their mark on British culture before their departure from the island. This history has been well documented by other authors, including Joseph Newton, the author of The Builders (1914), which is a topic I wrote about previously on this blog.
Of particular interest, here are a few quotes, with my comments following, which further make my point:
Page 29: “No doubt several Saxon and Scottish Kings, with many of the Nobility, great Gentry, and Eminant Clergy, become Grand Masters of those early Lodges… which would also prompt them to enquire after the Laws, Charges, Regulations, Customs, and Usages, of the ancient Lodges… “
Comment: Here is a quote from the referenced section that mentioned other Grand Masters and previous Laws, Charges, Regulations, etc.
Page 30: “particularly by Charles Martell King of France, who according to the Old Records of Masons sent over several expert Crafts-men and learned Architects into England…”
Page 31: “for we read King EDWARD III. had an officer call’d the King’s Free-Masons…”
Comment: I have heard it time and time again that the term Freemason or Freemasonry began with the 1717 date and the writing of the 1723 Constitutions of Free-Masons; yet, the above quote proved the term was used much earlier. This again is proof of revisionism. The term itself may in fact have to do with a Mason being free to travel; and has nothing to do with the speculative overtones many pundits have proclaimed. Therefore, when someone tells you that there is a destination between the terms Masonry and Freemasonry based on the 1717-1723 dates, they are simply continuing and espousing a revisionist tale propagated to divide the Craft under a cover of lies.
Page 32: “yet King ATHELSTAN, (the Grandson of King ALFREDE the Great, a mighty Architect) the first anointed King of England… encourag’d many Masons from France… brought with them the Charges and Regulations of the Lodges preserved since the Roman times, who also prevail’d with the King to improve the CONSTITUTION of the English Lodges according to the Foreign model…”
Comment: And yet again, King Athelstan is a topic I have written about previously on this blog; however, also notice how the authors of the document mentioned that some Charges and Regulations came from France, and that other ones came from the time of the Roman empire. My question is, how would they know these were the same Charges and Regulations that came from Rome? They wouldn’t unless they had something to compare them with, like the ones in England. Also, notice the word CONSTITUTION was used with all capital letters! Do you think they were trying to say something? Like perhaps there was a previous Constitution. Yes!!! You see, according to Anderson and the committee of fourteen, the King only wanted to improve the Constitution, not create a new one.
Page 33: “and having brought with them all the writings and Records extant, some in Greek, some in Latin, some in French, and other languages, from the contents thereof that assembly did frame the CONSTITUTION and Charges of an English Lodge…”
Comment: Anderson and the committee of fourteen were writing about the period revolving around King Athelstan, who, according to the 1723 Constitutions of Free-Masons, used records that were compiled from other languages, notably Greek, Latin and French, to form a better or new Constitution. You want proof of Masonic lineage, here it is. A new Constitution was formed in Britain during the reign of King Athelstan using documents from Greece, Rome (Latin) and France. That would mean earlier Constitutions, Charges, Regulations and Customs were easily traced back to Greece; and since Greek was the primary scholarly language prior to the rise of Rome (Latin), this maybe further anecdotal proof that Masonic lineage goes back to Egypt or before? Although it was not mentioned by the authors, they were probably referencing the Ancient Collegia system.”
Page 38: “King James VI of Scotland… being a Mason King, reviv’d the English Lodges…”
Comment: First off, how could or would a King be a common Mason? You see, he would never be a member of a Masons guild; however, in a system of Operative and Speculative Masonry, a King could easily be a Mason King, but not the other way around. Therefore, any claim that modern Masonry simply copied the ancient traditions of workman guilds, is another false claim made by revisionists. Throughout the 1723 Constitutions of Free-Masons, Anderson and the committee of fourteen made no distinction about Masonry being nothing but an ancient science of both Operative and Speculative Masonry; just like our traditions teach us today.
This exercise could go on and on and on, but for the sake of time and space, I will simply conclude the historical section; and now proceed to the next section, “The Charges of a Free-Mason, Extracted from the Ancient Record of Lodges…,” which also holds several clues into the thinking of these early 18th century Freemasons.
Page 49: “The ancient Records of Lodges beyond Sea, and of those in England, Scotland, and Ireland, for the Use of the Lodges in London: TO BE READ At the Making of NEW BRETHREN, or when the MASTER shall order it.”
Comment: This quote is supported by an earlier quote on page 33, which dealt with the old Records from France, Rome (Latin) and Greece; and the Records from England, Scotland and Ireland, as well as the Records beyond the sea. Also, notice how it was a requirement to read these Charges to new brethren, just like in the historical section.
Page 50: “1. Concerning God and Religion… But thought in ancient Times Masons were charg’d in every Country to be of the Religion of that Country or Nation, whatever it was, yet tis now thought more expedient only to oblige them to that Religion in which all Men agree, leaving their particular Opinions to themselves…”
Comment: A big distinction can be made at this point. The authors readily admit that the old Charges required a Mason to be a member of the faith of the particular country he resided in; however, they declared that it was now thought more expedient to simply remain silent about religion when residing in a country. This maybe one of the more progressive changes made in the 1723 Constitutions of Free-Masons; one in which they readily admitted to changing.
Page 50: “II. Of the CIVIL MAGISTRATE Supreme and Subordinate… A Mason is a peaceable Subject to the Civil Powers… for as Masonry hath been always injured by War, Bloodshed, and Confusion, so ancient Kings and Princes have been much disposed to encourage the Craftsmen, because of their Peaceableness and Loyalty, whereby they practically answer’d the Cavils of their Adversaries, and promoted the Honour of the Fraternity…”
Comment: We see the authors mentioned the “ancient Kings and Princes” in reference to civil authority; and that Masonry had always been injured because of war, despite being loyal to civil authority. My thoughts immediately hypothesized this to mean the enemies of the state, who thought that Masons were loyal only to the state, would consider them to be their enemies as well. This uneasy relationship between warring parties maybe the link to the rise and fall of Masonry throughout the history of man. Nevertheless, the most important point made is that the authors did not simply make this rule up; rather, they gathered it from the ancient records.
Page 51-52: “IV. Of MASTERS, WARDENS, Fellows, and Apprentices… These Rules and Governors, supreme and subordinate, of the ancient Lodge, are to be obey’d in their respective Stations by all the Brethren, according to the old Charges and Regulations…”
Comment: Again, we see the authors referring to the “ancient Lodge” and “old Charges and Regulations.” I have to say it again, Masons during this period were only adhering to the traditions from the old Charges ~ for the most part, they did not create new Charges, unless otherwise specified.
Page 57: “POSTSCRIPT. A worthy brother, learned in the law, has communicated to the Author (while this sheet was printing) the opinion of the great Judge Coke upon the act against Masons, 3 Hen. VI. Chap. 1. which is printed in this Book, page, 35, and which quotation the Author has compared with the original, Yiz:
COKE S INSTITUTES, 3D PART, FOL. 99.
The cause wherefore this offence was made felony, is for that the good course and effect of the statutes of laborers were thereby violated and broken. Now, (says my Lord Coke) all the statutes concerning laborers, before this act, and whereunto this act doth refer, are repealed by the statute of 5. Eliz. Cap. 4. whereby the cause and end of the making of this act, is taken away; and consequently this act is become of no force or effect: for cessante ratione Legis, cessat i’psa Lex: And the indictment of felony upon this statute must contain, that those Chapters and Congregations were to the violating and breaking of the good course and effect of the statutes of laborers; which now cannot be so alleged, because the statutes be repealed. Therefore, this would be put out of the charge of justices of peace, written by Master Lambert, p. 227.
This quotation confirms the tradition of old Masons, that this most learned Judge really belonged to the ancient Lodge, and was a faithful brother.”
Comment: The above post-scripted quote referred to the Sir Edward Coke ~ [Cook] ( 1 February 1552 – 3 September 1634) who they believed was a Free-Mason; and who also adhered to the traditions of old Masons and the ancient Lodge.
The General Regulations Constitution:
Page 58: “GENERAL REGULATIONS… And now, by the Command of our said Right Worshipful GRAND-MASTER MONTAGU, the Author of this book has compar’d them with, and reduc’d them to the ancient Records and immemorial Usages of the Fraternity, and digested them into this new method, with several proper Explications, for the Use of the Lodges in and about London and Westminster.”
Comment: Here we see Anderson and the committee of fourteen commenting on the General Regulations, not their History or their Charges, just the General regulations, which was a separate Constitution. This too dealt with the old Records, but they did take certain liberties with regard to a “new method” regarding General Regulations. I do hope the reader of this article can see the difference between each of these sections or Constitutions. No where in the history section or Constitution was this claim made.
Page 72: “Upon this the Deputy shall rehearse the Charges of a Master, and the GRAND-MASTER shall ask the candidate, saying, Do you submit to the Charges, as Masters have done in all ages?”
Comment: Take note of the highlighted section above, which referred to Masters in all ages; again I write, Masons during this period were only following the traditions from earlier periods.
Page 73: “APPROBATION… And WHEREAS the old Constitutions in England have been much interpolated, mangled and miserably corrupted, not only with false Spelling, but even with many false Facts and gross Errors in History and Chronology, through Length of Time, and Ignorance of Transcribers, in the dark illiterate Ages…”
Comment: Here we see the reason for the compilation of the new Constitutions, which was because the old Constitutions had become corrupted. I have heard the term new Constitutions used several times in the book; therefore, they referred to their work as a new Constitution not the “first” Constitutions, as many pundits of Masonic history have misapplied.
History of Masonry Songs:
Page 75-90: “THE MASTER’S SONG, OR THE HISTORY OF MASONRY… THE WARDEN’S SONG: OR ANOTHER HISTORY of MASONRY. COMPOS’D Since the most noble Prince PHILIP Duke of WHARTON was Chosen GRANDMASTER… THE FELLOW-CRAFTS SONG: By our Brother CHARLES DELAFAYE Esg;… THE Enter’d PRENTICES SONG. By our late BROTHER Mr. MATTHEW BIRKHEAD, deceas’d…”
Comment: For the sake of time and space, I combined the last music section into one segment. Needless to say, I could easily go on and on to make my point; but let me just write that the music within the 1723 Constitutions of Free-Masons only confirms what was written in earlier sections and by myself in this analysis. Which is, Anderson, the committee of fourteen and the other signers of this work felt deeply about maintaining the Masonic tradition of adhering to the old doctrine. In no way did they believe they were starting anything new, other than those issues explicitly written about; like in the General Regulations. These songs were written by a variety of Masons, which are listed above, including Anderson, who wrote “The Master’s Song.”
So what did I learn by dissecting the 1723 Constitutions of Free-Masons? Well, first and foremost, I learned that an improper revisionist agenda has been propagated against Masonry for decades, if not longer. When the 1717 fairy tale began is not certain? Yet, by dissecting the 1723 Constitutions of Free-Masons, the document these revisionist pundits claim proved their point that Freemasonry began in 1717, I learned their allegation is unsupportable. Throughout the document, the authors repeatedly wrote that they were simply compiling a new Constitutions, which was based on old Constitutions, and old Records; some of which came from France, Rome (Latin) and Greece. It can be easily assumed that the authors of the 1717 Constitutions of Free-Masons took great care in researching their historical roots. And during the discovery process they discovered many historical errors, which they readily admitted to and did their best to correct. In no way did these men take their work lightly; rather, they understood the gravity of the task and sought out all available information to help create a new, not a “first,” beginning for Masonry in England.
I learned that James Anderson was not the exclusive author of the 1723 Constitutions of Free-Masons; rather, he was simply the principle compiler of the document, who was accountable to a committee of fourteen other prominent Masons. And that the document was ultimately approved by at least 61 Masons total, including Anderson. Therefore, any abhorrent claims against Anderson must now be rethought. You see, pundits continually argue that Anderson, who by the way was a prominent minister, had an agenda of rewriting Masonic history and making money off of the book. Claims I believe have been falsely and disingenuously applied. In fact, it has never been proven that he personally benefited from his work regarding the 1723 Constitutions of Free-Masons, which took about fifteen years to sell out of all first printed copies before another printing was conducted in 1738. Needless to say, very little money could have been earned between these printing dates.
Furthermore, I learned that the 1723 Constitutions of Free-Masons was an adulterated version of the old Constitutions and other related documents. In fact, the most profound claim against the book was made shortly after its initial publication, which claimed that it did not go far enough in supporting previously viewed Masonic history. This belief stands in stark contrast to contemporary claims that say the document is nothing but unsupportable falsehoods, which were made by the authors to glorify Masonry in England that had been previously struggling for recognition.
Moreover, I learned that the document used the age-old instruction of allegory, like when it applied the Biblical account of Adam to start Masonic history; a point pundits claim proved the inaccuracy of the document. To strike out against this claim simply shows a lack of knowledge regarding the use of Masonic allegory; like the story of Hiram Abiff, which is simply a metaphor for a variety of lessons.
I also learned that the story of Hiram Abiff was actually included in the 1723 Constitutions of Free-Masons; an issue pundits claim was not added to Masonry until about 1730 or so. Now, I will readily admit it was not included in the general writings; however, it was included in the detailed reference for Hiram on pages 11 and 12, which could have been easily found by simply reading the references on both pages.
The 1723 Constitutions of Free-Masons also detailed countless references, which I believe was unusual for the period, and a topic pundits neglected to credit. In truth, nearly every page from the historical section showed a reference; and in many cases showed several references that often took up more than half a page. The sad fact is, pundits of the document either showed outright scholarly neglect, or an outward bias, by forgetting to follow these important references. In short, the historical section clearly proved that the committee of fourteen and the 61 signers, including Anderson, of the document attempted to back up their claim with unusual scholarly references for the time. By following these references, I discovered that earlier Constitutions, Grand Masters, Lodges, Laws, Charges and Regulations existed. This is important, for you see, pundits continually claim there is simply no proof of earlier Constitutions, Grand Masters, Lodges, Laws, Charges and Regulations. Really? That is not what the 1723 Constitutions of Free-Masons continually wrote about and referenced. Simply stated, how can pundits make the claim that the 1723 Constitutions of Free-Masons proved the first Grand Lodge began in 1717, when the document itself wrote that there were other Grand Lodges; and how can these pundits also claim that this document formed the first Constitution when the document claimed they simply compiled from another (other) Constitutions and other ancient Documents, Laws, Charges and Regulations. In your author’s mind, any claims made about the 1717 date and the 1723 Constitutions of Free-Masons being the “first” is nothing but revisionism. In actual fact, such claims are an out and outright lie by revisionists with an agenda at disproving Masonic lineage!
The document also supports the works of other Masonic writers, like Joseph Newton, the author of The Builders (1914), who I wrote about previously on this blog. It also made mention of Masonic legends like Charles Martell, King of France and King Athelstan, King of England, and their efforts at promoting Masonry. I have heard it time and time again, that there is simply no proof that these two men were affiliated with Masonry. Really? Well, we now have the supreme document from the period that say’s otherwise. And one of the biggest discoveries came from page 33, which demonstrated that King Athelstan used records that came from France, Rome (Latin) and Greece to rewrite the Masonic Constitution during his reign.
Needless to say, I could add to this discussion at length; however, I think I have written enough to make my point in this article. But let it be said here, if you don’t believe my research, please purchase the book yourself and do your own research. And if you do, you will find the same findings I did, which stand in stark contrast to many of the revisionist fairy tales that have been propagated against Freemasonry for decades, if not for at least a century now. Thank you for reading ~/G\~
I recently had the pleasure to interview one of Phoenixmasonry’s own, Bro. Frederic Millken, Executive Director for the Phoenixmasonry Masonic Museum and Library. Frederic is a prominent and hard working Masonic author. The reason for the interview, however, was the recent intervisitation between the Most Worshipful Prince Hall Grand Lodge of Texas and the Grand Lodge of Texas. Frederic has a fascinating personal and Masonic history included here that I hope readers will find as interesting as I have.
Elena Llamas (EL): Frederic, first things first! Give us a bit of your personal background.
Frederic Milliken (Frederic): I was born and brought up in Lexington, Massachusetts the birthplace of the American Revolution. It was the battles of Lexington and Concord that started the Revolution. Lexington came first. Here Paul Revere rode into town hollering, “The British are coming,” the British are coming” (although he probably really said the Regulars or the Redcoats).
When I was 5 years old my father died. My mother worked three jobs to support me and my two sisters. She had a day job, part time night job and a weekend job. On the weekend she manned the Buckman tavern where the Minute Men gathered in the wee hours of the morning of April 19,1775. The Buckman tavern was on the northeast corner of the Lexington Green in 1775 and that same building is still there today. On the northwest corner today stands Simon W. Robinson Lodge where I went to DeMolay and on the southwest corner stands the First Parish Church where my Mom was secretary, her day job.
On weekends at the Buckman Tavern my Mom’s job was to be a tourist guide and she would go through the story of Paul Revere riding into town and the subsequent battle with the British that took place on the Lexington Green for any who wanted to hear. I can remember as a young boy sitting on the stone step just outside the screen door listening to her tell that tale over and over again. That’s why it was such an honor for me later on in life to become Master of Paul Revere Lodge and to participate in a Colonial Degree Team.
Every Patriot’s Day (April 19th) Lexington held a recreation of Paul Revere’s ride and a reenactment of the Battle of Lexington. In the afternoon there was a huge two hour parade. As a DeMolay I marched in that parade.
(EL): At what age did you join Freemasonry and where?
Frederic: I joined Freemasonry at the age of 45 in Plymouth, Massachusetts where the Pilgrims landed.
I worked in the next town over and my wife worked in Plymouth so we had many Plymouth acquaintances. Plymouth Lodge had just completed its brand new building a few years before my arrival. I was initiated in 1989 and immediately went into line as Junior Steward. The next year I jumped to Senior Deacon and three years later was Master. In 1992 I affiliated with Paul Revere Lodge in Brockton, Massachusetts where I lived. It was not long after that I entered Paul Revere’s two year line as Senior Deacon. I was Senior Deacon at Paul Revere the year I was Master in Plymouth. I can remember doing the Masters ritual for the First Degree on a Monday night in Plymouth and the next night, Tuesday, performing the Middle Chamber lecture in the Second Degree in Brockton. Immediately upon affiliating with Paul Revere Lodge I joined the Paul Revere Colonial Degree Team and as Master I brought that team to Plymouth Lodge for a historic night where over a hundred Masons gathered with five District Deputies in attendance, one from Rhode Island, to watch the degree team. I had to get permission for overflow parking from a business next door and hire a policeman to handle the traffic. That experience greatly influenced my philosophy on how, as Master, to put a yearly program together for a Lodge. My theme from then on became, “We Need To Celebrate Our Freemasonry.” And celebrate it we would!
Kilwinning Degree Team at Paul Revere Lodge with Bro. Frederic as Master
Both Plymouth Lodge and Paul Revere Lodge were high profile Lodges that had a lot going on. Paul Revere Lodge was looked upon as one of the five top Lodges in the state. I was honored to sit in the East in both these Lodges which were in two different Masonic Districts.
EL: Please elaborate on celebrating Freemasonry!
Frederic: What I am saying is THINK BIG! Many Lodges meet twice a month and they spend the majority of their time in boring business meetings where the topics of discussion are how much toilet paper should we buy and what do we do for the next fundraiser? How about inviting a guest speaker to enlighten the Brethren?
But even better than that how about planning and executing a big event where many Masons gather for some special brotherhood? When you do that you increase the pride Brothers feel for their fraternity and bolster their enthusiasm for the Craft. That all works for more camaraderie and perhaps more candidates.
After that first big bash with the Colonial Degree Team at Plymouth Lodge I continued to put on Masonic Events as large as I could come up with.
The Grand Daddy of them all was the Colonial Degree Team’s visit to Indiana. Bloomington, Indiana is my wife’s hometown and there you will find Monroe Lodge. Monroe (family name also spelled Munroe) was a natural, the name of the Revolutionary War Masonic patriot I had adopted for the Degree Team.
My correspondence with the Master of Monroe Lodge in Bloomington, Indiana, lasting for more than a year, proved fruitless in trying to put this undertaking together. After I stepped down from the East at Paul Revere Lodge and Monroe Lodge got a new Master talks picked up again and finally it was a go.
So on a Friday morning 18 Paul Revere Colonial Degree Team members boarded a plane for Indianapolis. There we were met by a small bus and a Past Grand Master of Indiana, MW Richard Hickham, and the Worshipful Master, Wor. Gary Denson, and some Brethren from Monroe Lodge. They transported us to Bloomington, about a 2 hour drive, where we stopped at the Bloomington Shrine Club for a steak dinner and welcoming speeches. Afterward we were taken to the state DeMoaly Chateau for billeting.
The next morning we were picked up by the bus and transported to the Lodge where we were served breakfast. After breakfast we visited the Lodge room and laid out what the degree would look like for the officers of Monroe Lodge. Then back in the bus we received a tour of Bloomington and Indiana University.
Saturday night we had dinner at the Lodge followed by the degree. The Lodge room was packed! After it was all over we went downtown to an Irish Pub and celebrated. Following that we were bused back to the DeMolay Chateau for some shuteye. The next morning, Sunday, the bus picked us up and transported us back to Indianapolis to the airport. By Sunday night we were back in Boston.
What a great time we all had and how rewarding it was to make new friends. That was really celebrating our Masonry!
EL: What attracted you to Freemasonry?
Frederic: My best friend in school introduced me to DeMolay. Battle Green DeMolay met at Simon W. Robinson Lodge AF & AM in Lexington, Massachusetts. Eventually I became Master Councilor. Our Dad Advisors were Freemasons and I became very acquainted with a Masonic Lodge and some of its workings by belonging to DeMolay. Joining DeMolay was the main reason for my later joining Freemasonry. But there is still another important reason. I reached a stage in my life where I really wanted to associate and become friendly with like minded men, that is those that value honesty, morality and uprightness. I found that every Mason I knew was a good man and that perhaps associating with many good men would keep me from straying into the less than noble world.
When I was elected to become Master for the first time at Plymouth Lodge I gathered an installation team of five Past Masters of Simon W. Robinson Lodge who were also Past Master Councilors of Battle Green DeMolay and all old friends of course. They installed me and my officers.
EL: Tell us more about The Paul Revere Colonial Degree Team
Frederic: The Paul Revere Colonial Degree Team was formed as a tribute to our nation’s Centennial in 1976. It was only supposed to be for that one year but was such a great hit that it continued on and is still active today. Each member of the team dresses in Colonial costume which always includes a tri-cornered hat and takes the name of a Revolutionary War Mason. The Team performs the second and third sections of the 3rd degree. At the end the Team’s Historian gives a lecture on our American Flag and the sacrifices that Colonial Mason’s made to make our country free. At the conclusion each Team member rises and gives a brief bio of the Revolutionary War Mason he represents.
While the Paul Revere Colonial Degree Team performs in its own Lodge its claim to fame is the travelling it does to put on this degree for other Lodges. I accompanied the Team to the 200th anniversary celebration of Provincetown Lodge on Cape Cod, to a Lodge in the state of Maine and to an outdoor degree held in the woods of the Grand Lodge’s retirement home with the Grand Master present, to name just a few. At the retirement home stone stations and altar had been carved out in a clearing in the woods at the bottom of a hill. As Master I took the Degree Team to Plymouth Lodge as we have already heard, to Simon W. Robinson Lodge in Lexington, MA and to Putnam, Connecticut, again to mention just the most memorable.
The visit to Simon W. Robinson Lodge was a really a big time affair. Along with our usual 3rd degree exemplification we also participated in a tri Table Lodge. Three Lodges came together with the District Deputy of that District so that we had three Masters in the East, three Senior Wardens in the West and three Junior Wardens in the south. We started at 4:00 PM on a Saturday and finally finished up at 11:00 PM.
The Putnam, CT performance was our second visit to this Lodge. The first visit was precipitated by a church member of mine who upon selling her house and cleaning out the basement found an old Masonic diploma. It was from the 1800s for a Mason completing his degrees at Putnam Lodge. So, after going through channels, I contacted the Lodge and arranged for us to bring a bus load of Paul Revere members to formerly return the diploma. That got us a return visit 6 months later with the Colonial Degree Team.
EL: What role did you have in the Team?
Frederic: My role was to do the Charge at the end of the degree before the Historian came on. I tried many different charges but eventually settled on one called “The Canadian Charge” in Massachusetts. This charge is known in many other states by a different name. For a historical sketch of this charge see the article penned by a friend here – http://phoenixmasonry.org/a_charge_by_any_other_name_is_still_a_charge.htm
As you remember each member of the Paul Revere Degree Team adopted the name of a Revolutionary War Mason. When I arrived onto the team all the famous names had been taken. With permission from the team leader I researched my own name. I wrote to the Grand Lodge Of Massachusetts Library and asked them if there were any Freemasons that fought in that battle against the British on April 19,1775. The reply stated that of some 70 Patriots that lined up to fight the British some where near 26 were Masons. That was remarkable because Lexington did not have a Masonic Lodge at that time. From that list I chose William Munroe.
William Munroe was a Sergeant in the Lexington Minute Man and he was stationed by the Lexington Green on an all night vigil the night of April 18,1775. He was to warn the Minute Men of any British activity in the area. When Paul Revere rode into town he woke up sleeping Masons in the area and had word sent to Captain Parker the leader of the Lexington Minutemen. Munroe was also the proprietor of the other tavern in town, the Munroe Tavern which still stands today just a stone’s throw down the street from the Scottish Rite National Heritage Museum.
In 1797 William Munroe went into Grand Lodge to receive a charter for Lexington’s first Masonic Lodge with himself as its first and founding Master. He was escorted to the East of Grand Lodge there to be received by Most Worshipful Paul Revere. Hiram Lodge met for some 40 years in the backrooms of Munroe Tavern in Lexington.
EL: Who were the other team members representing?
Frederic: I can’t remember all the names chosen by Colonial Degree Team members but some of them were Benjamin Franklin, John Hancock, Israel Putnam, John Paul Jones, Paul Revere, George Washington, John Marshall, Henry Knox, Robert Livingston, General Hugh Mercer, Ethan Allen, Patrick Henry, Benedict Arnold, Joseph Warren and of course the honorary American Marquis de LaFayette, These are some of the Revolutionary War Freemasons represented by the Paul Revere Colonial Degree Team.
EL: How fun! What led you to join Prince Hall Masonry?
I was Master of Plymouth Lodge in 1994 when Prince Hall recognition was being worked out. Recognition was formerly signed in 1995. Thereafter I was active in receiving Prince Hall visitations into Paul Revere Lodge. I was very impressed with their Masonic knowledge and work.
A few years later I started to become very active with Masonry on the Internet. There I met and corresponded with such stalwarts as Jeff Naylor, Chris Hodapp, Errrol Hinton, Stephen Dafoe and Theron Dunn to name a few. We all seemed to be involved with the reform Freemasonry movement. And among those reforms was recognition of Prince Hall. These were the days when “Laudable Pursuit” was penned. And I added my 2 cents in, often with biting sarcasm.
When I moved to Texas I joined the Grand Lodge of Texas AF & AM and went to their Grand Lodge Session. I was not impressed with some of the leadership and disappointed with the racial divide that was part of the tradition. I had some unfortunate incidents which I do not wish to go over again.
It was then I figured out that the best way I could work for racial justice within Freemasonry was to join Prince Hall. After all I had been an advocate for many years for Prince Hall recognition across the board in every state. I decided to put my feet where my mouth was and walked on over into Prince Hall Texas. I have never regretted that decision. I love and am much loved.
EL: Any other special personal Masonic history you want to share with the readers?
Frederic: The Fellowship Players of Fellowship Lodge in Bridgewater , Massachusetts, a town close to Brockton, invited me to take the part of Squire Bentley in the Masonic play “A Rose Upon The Altar,” by Carl Claudy. This is a very moving play about a man who disowns his daughter for marrying a man he disapproved of and the discussion that goes on in the Lodge room about his plight and his subsequent change of heart. By removing all Masonic signs, tokens and grips from the play, the Fellowship Players was able to get permission from the Grand Master to perform this play to the public at large.
We played for Lodges, Ladies nights and to the public. I can remember one performance for the Bridgewater Knights of Columbus and their wives and another in New Bedford for Masons visiting from England and their wives and the public.
These performances gave the Craft another way to feel proud of themselves and enthusiastic for their membership in the fraternity. It also introduced non Masons to a little slice of Masonic life and opened the door for a dialogue about Freemasonry.
Lastly it was one of the biggest joys of my Masonic career to be able to do this.
EL: Wow! That is awesome! Now, let’s talk about the recent events in Texas. What are your thoughts on the historic intervisitation between the Most Worshipful Prince Hall Grand Lodge of Texas and the Grand Lodge of Texas?
Frederic: I think intervisitation was long overdue and that now that it is here those that have a difficulty with Prince Hall are going to recede into the background and not be heard from hardly at all. A new day has dawned on Texas Freemasonry and it will be one of shared brotherhood. As the two Grand Lodges cooperate in a wide range of efforts together, all the fears and the fairy tales will disappear and we will become one in Masonic purpose and practice.
There were many forces behind the scene on both sides working for recognition for years and then for intervisitation. I was one of them but also from the Grand Lodge of Texas was Blake Bowden and his website “My Freemasonry.” Many other unknown and unheralded Masons on both sides of the aisle worked behind the scenes, especially to see that we could visit each other’s Lodges. There was literally a ground swell of sentiment from the rank and file that this was something that needed to be done. And I don’t think anything could have come of it all if Prince Hall Texas did not have such a gentle, soft spoken, easy going Grand Master in Honorable Wilbert M. Curtis.
EL: Really? You think Grand Master Curtis’ personality had a lot to do with it?
Frederic: You would really have to get to know the man to see how much his personality has kept the peace. I know that I am nowhere near that personality type. Cross me and I will let you have it, both barrels. But in the face of false accusations, finger pointing, lies and deceit Grand Master Curtis has remained calm, cool and collected. He has not fought fire with fire but rather with brotherly love and affection. He can be firm and commanding but never mean or derogatory. In some tough negotiations he was solid as a rock.
EL: This marks the first time in history that both Grand Lodges sat in a regular session together. How does this feel to you on a personal level?
Frederic: It is exhilarating! To know I have played a small, miniscule part, but one nevertheless, that is rewarding. I think that Prince Hall Freemasonry has been vindicated. I think that some of the misconceptions of Prince Hall will now disappear.
EL: Which misconceptions are you referring to?
Frederic: That Prince Hall Freemasonry is not regular; that it is Clandestine; that it does not perform acceptable ritual; that it is disrespectful to the Craft; that it is rowdy and raucous; that it doesn’t take Freemasonry seriously enough, that its first Grand Lodge was not formed according to Masonic protocol. These are all false misconceptions.
Race relations in the state will improve. My only disappointment was that I was too ill to participate on this historic occasion. But I know that years of opening my big mouth and even at times inserting my foot into it have paid off. That when it came time to choose the fork in the road, I didn’t take what I thought was the easiest path but the one that was the right thing to do. It means my rebel rousing days are over for Texas. However we have nine US Grand Lodges left who still do not recognize Prince Hall. This battle is won but the war is not yet over.
EL: What would you like to see happen in the future?
Frederic: I would like to see the two Grand Lodges do more things together inside and outside the Lodge room. Intervisitation opens up a whole new world to many Masons. Both Grand Lodges can celebrate some Masonic historical remembrances together. They can have a joint Table Lodge. They can join together on some charitable events. They can study Freemasonry together and pull lecturers from each Grand Lodge to speak at the other.
As it stands now each side must apply to its Grand Secretary to visit the other’s Grand Lodges and permission must be granted by the other side. I think that in time this requirement should just disappear and a more free flow of cross visitation assume its place.
They say time heals all wounds. I’m not so sure that is true but I am willing to give it a shot. As each Grand Lodge does more together it will cement the bounds of peace and harmony and brotherly love will freely flow.
EL: Hopefully! Are there other Caucasian Brothers in your Lodge?
Frederic: There was one other Brother who was Caucasian who has since demited and moved away. My Lodge also has a Brother of Filipino heritage.
EL: Do you want to share any racial insights from your perspective?
Frederic: I think that to rehash old instances and war stories does more harm than good. Suffice it to say that there was some animosity between Caucasians and African Americans in the state of Texas that bled over into Freemasonry. Those feelings have not all gone away but we are on the road to peace and harmony in Freemasonry.
All it really took was for some association to take place. I have maintained for years that if you sit down and break bread with a stranger or an enemy or someone you don’t understand, that that act of having a meal together opens up the common humanity you have with each other and promotes a mutual respect. Upon that can be built real friendship.
There will always be people who can’t see beyond skin color. This is not Utopia. Evil exists. But when you greet another Freemason on the five points of fellowship it matters not what race he is.
We would be wise to remember our ritual, “By the exercise of Brotherly Love we are taught to regard the whole human species as one Family – the high and low, rich and poor, who as created by one almighty Parent and inhabitants of the same planet are to aid, support and protect each other.”
EL: Seems like you have a positive and hopeful view of the future.
Frederic: There is only one place to go and that is up. Every close association, every time of togetherness will meld Brothers from both Grand Lodges into fraternal love. We can learn a lot from each other and in so doing we can come closer and closer together. New traditions will soon be formed. Some joint fellowships will become part of those new traditions. As that unfolds disharmony will become a thing of the past. As I said before a new day has dawned on Texas Freemasonry. It will never be what it was again.
EL: Wonderful! Frederic, you are an avid blogger and Masonic author. Tell us about your work and where it can be found.
Frederic: I write in other areas besides Freemasonry but it is my wish that these areas remain separate and unknown to each other. In this manner I can remain more open to other ideas and interface better with people of all different views without others having a preconceived notion of what I am all about. There is nothing worse than an agenda driven person who will not get off your ear. My thing is to approach fields from a point of view that fosters knowledge, education and understanding.
My Masonic writing started on the early well known Masonic websites with forums of the 90s. Masonic Light started by Jeff Naylor and frequented by Hodapp, Dafoe and Dunn gave way to The Lodge Room.com. Here I was in constant discussion on Masonic issues especially with my nemesis Theron Dunn who after he suddenly passed was replaced by Grayson Mayfield. When that Forum died I went on to Master Mason.com and then got out of the forum talk back and forth show altogether.
I formed my own blog “The Beehive” which I merged with Freemason Information by invitation of Greg Stewart. Those forum discussions formed the basis of the articles I then wrote which can be found on either Freemason Information or Phoenixmasonry. It is in these two places that I continue to write but with less frequency.
I have evolved over time. Much of my early Masonic writing was about the abuses of Freemasonry and certain Grand Lodges and the reforms needed. I really took some Grand Lodges to task and I wasn’t afraid to be vocal about it. Some of the high profile cases I wrote about were PGM Frank Haas, Derek Gordon, Mike McCabe, Victor Marshall and Gate City Lodge No 2 and Corey Bryson & Duke Bass Fortesque.
I actually got to meet in person Derek Gordon who resigned from the GL of Arkansas and Victor Marshall who the GL of Georgia attempted to expel because he was an African-American. Mike McCabe was expelled unjustly from New Jersey and Bryson & Fortesque were forced to resign from Florida for not being Christians.
I have gradually steered myself into a more philosophical approach and find great joy in telling the stories of some super Masonic Craftsmen. I was able to meet Masonic artist Ryan Flynn last year and record a session with him about his work.
There are two other places I write for which may not be open to all Masons. I write and deliver articles to the Phylaxis Society and to my Grand Lodge publication “The Texas Prince Hall Freemason.”
EL: You are also Executive Director for the Phoenixmasonry Masonic Museum and Library. Tell us about your work and experience there.
Frederic: It was President and owner David Lettelier who approached me about the position of Executive Director of Phoenixmasonry. He had read some of my writings and liked what he read. One of the first things I did upon coming aboard was to convince David that we needed to get into Social Media. I felt this was where Freemasonry on the Internet was going. So Dave and I put our heads together and opened a Phoenixmasonry Facebook page. I then added Twitter followed by Rebel Mouse. David starting putting many of my articles into the Phoenixmasonry essay session.
Soon I was to open a special Prince Hall section of the main website inaugurating its inception with the William Upton videos which tell such a heart rendering story. We added a few more article writers such as Nelson King and Ian Donald and the poetry of Ezekiel Bey. The Essay section was rapidly increasing. Adding books was very time consuming and proceeded at a slower pace.
But we wanted to give our readers the widest possible choice of Masonic content. It wasn’t long before we started to invest heavily into You Tube videos. We added a You Tube section to our Facebook page. This became very popular.
I spent a lot of time as Executive Director in marketing Phoenixmasonry especially among the Prince Hall brethren. I got the Grand Master of the Most Worshipful Prince Hall Grand Lodge of Texas to add a link to us on the Grand Lodge’s website. I worked with David on his project of a 10 year (2009) medallion minted as a thank you to all who had contributed to Phoenixmasonry’s success. That became a tremendous marketing tool as I carried a bunch of them with me wherever I went and gave to many influential Masons one as a gift.
My job concentrated on disseminating whatever we were doing to various Grand Lodges, Masonic websites and forums, Masonic Yahoo Groups and an extensive E-Mail list. It was my goal to always keep the name and content of Phoenixmasony on the lips of as many Masons as possible.
I took over the project of getting us a 501(c) 3 status with the IRS, filling out the laboriously long form and making sure all the information was correct. This designation will facilitate contributions to Phoenixmasonry from those who are looking for a good cause to contribute to.
What I started with David to increase our visibility has been continued with the addition of new blood to our team. We have added editorial assistants to our Facebook page who help us add the most interesting Masonic material we can find. We recently added
you, Public Relations Director Elena Llamas, and you have carried on right where we left off. You have spruced up our Facebook page, created a Phoenixmasonry You Tube channel adding many videos and put Phoenixmasonry on Pinterest, Instagram, Google +, Reddit and Tumblr. It’s a team effort and I am proud what all of us have been able to accomplish. Phoenixmasonry is the most complete and best Masonic website on the Internet.
EL: It is a pleasure to work with you at Phoenixmasonry! Thank you so much, Frederic, for sharing such a fascinating personal history and all you insights. I hope the readers have enjoyed this interview. For more information on Frederic’s work, you can find him at https://freemasoninformation.com.
“If you run with wolves, you will learn how to howl. But, if you associate with eagles, you will learn how to soar to great heights.”
I was watching a video by Dennis Prager on happiness recently when it suddenly came to me that this had much significance for my Freemasonry and what the Craft meant to me. Now you might not see any Masonic connection with the video included here. One of the reasons is that we all join Freemasonry for different reasons and we all participate in the aspect of Freemasonry that speaks loudest to us.
Some of us use Freemasonry to network. The connections you make within the Fraternity can do wonders for your business.
Some of us enjoy the camaraderie of Freemasonry and that is what we get out of the Craft. Being close to a circle of buddies is important to human beings who are by nature social animals. It is especially important to those who do not make friends in their other walks of life.
Some of us want to give back to society, to leave something behind that contributed to the well being of humankind. We take part in some of the many charitable works of Freemasonry and the institutions Freemasonry has set up to make life better.
Some of us are seekers of a moral way of life outside of organized religion. The virtues of Freemasonry fill a need for those of us who seek to lead a noble life, to lift our spirits into the next realm and who want to do it here, right now.
Some of us are intrigued by the esoteric side of Freemasonry and desire to pursue Hermetic and Gnostic study. We see a connection from the ancient mysteries of Egypt, Israel, Greece and Rome right up into our present time. This knowledge, we believe, will show us a path to a greater way of life.
Many of us pursue more than one of these sides of Freemasonry; many of us only one. It is true that Freemasonry is a way of life, but that way of life may be different to different Freemasons. The overriding factor that ties all these factors together is our desire to take control of our lives and make a difference – to other people but even more so to ourselves.
That’s what Dennis Prager is trying to do. He is purposefully trying to change his behavior for the better. He sees a moral obligation to be the best person he can be. Does that not sound like Freemasonry? Do we as Masons not see a moral obligation to be a better person? Is it not possible that many who have joined Freemasonry have made a conscious step to be a better person by joining with others who have the same goals? This becomes not a mutual admiration society but a mutual self improvement society. Dennis Prager is doing it all by himself but we as Freemasons are doing it together in a group.
So let me pause here to add two rules of thumb that have guided me in this quest to take control of my life and point it in the right direction.
1) We all need a cheering section in our lives, a group of people who will shore us up in our time of need and encourage us to be the best we can be. We do not need people who bring us down.
“A few years back, I looked around and noticed that all I did was hang around with other salespeople such as myself. Realizing that I wanted more from my life than to simply sit around talking about the great deal or the money I’d made that day, I sought out a new group of people to associate myself with—people who could help me on my new journey to become an author and motivational speaker. I ran ads on the Internet and in the newspaper seeking new people to associate with and “soak up the success” with, so to speak.”
“When I couldn’t find such a club, I decided to create one of my own. I called it the Influential Men’s Group. We met once a month and discussed our ideas and plans to make them become realities. Most important, we supported and held one other accountable to see those dreams come true.”
“As I write this now, I think to myself how grateful I am for all the wonderful people who’ve come into my life this past year. Due to this great group of people, I’ve gone from a business owner/salesman, to a number one best-selling author.”
“We are the company we keep. Choose your company wisely.”
Freemasonry is not only a way of life it is a family and as one big family there are always family members there to help you through the rough times and to bolster your spirit.
2) We are who we associate with
When you run with the wrong group you start to pick up their ways. When you run with the right group their righteousness rubs off on you.
“The less you associate with some people, the more your life will improve. Any time you tolerate mediocrity in others, it increases your mediocrity. An important attribute in successful people is their impatience with negative thinking and negative acting people. As you grow, your associates will change. Some of your friends will not want you to go on. They will want you to stay where they are. Friends that don’t help you climb will want you to crawl. Your friends will stretch your vision or choke your dream. Those that don’t increase you will eventually decrease you.”
“Never receive counsel from unproductive people. Never discuss your problems with someone incapable of contributing to the solution, because those who never succeed themselves are always first to tell you how. Not everyone has a right to speak into your life. You are certain to get the worst of the bargain when you exchange ideas with the wrong person. Don’t follow anyone who’s not going anywhere.”
“With some people you spend an evening: with others you invest it. Be careful where you stop to inquire for directions along the road of life. Wise is the person who fortifies his life with the right friendships. If you run with wolves, you will learn how to howl. But, if you associate with eagles, you will learn how to soar to great heights. ‘A mirror reflects a man’s face, but what he is really like is shown by the kind of friends he chooses.’”
“The simple but true fact of life is that you become like those with whom you closely associate – for the good and the bad.”
So I, as a Freemason, consciously sought out the Masonic Fraternity to help me with the ups and downs of life and to bond with others who are on the same path, knowing that I have surrounded myself with people of good will and a genuine interest in my well being. For me that was a good enough reason to join the Craft. And my life has been the better for it, because like Dennis Prager I have tried to modify my behavior for the better, only I am not doing it alone. I am doing it with my Brothers and Sisters who are my family and who love me as if I was blood.
“Often times I look at people and see so much potential. I see the people they surround them selves with and look at what they do with their spare time and am saddened by the reality of the potential waiting to burst out, but yet will never come.”
“Who we are now is based on past experiences and decisions that we have made and the influence we have received from others, but we can’t dwell on the past if we want to accomplish great things. Sometimes we need to make tough choices and make some changes in the friendships we have. At least we have to rethink who we are getting advice from.”
“If we are going to make a change in our life, it requires effort and surrounding ourselves with new people of influence. Find someone that has changed for the positive in any area and they will tell you that someone helped them through it all, that without that person they would have failed miserably. Look around at the people you associate with. Are they constantly learning and researching new ideas, expanding their minds and keeping up with new technology. Are they looking to have a positive impact on the people around them or are they filled with unending sarcasm and belittling of anyone that tries to change or make a difference.”
“Are you hanging around with people that think change is too hard and things will never get better, or are you surrounding yourself with people that have eyes of a child and think anything is possible.”
“It takes faith to believe in what we cannot see. Have faith and seek out people that are looking to make a difference and you will be amazed at how you too, will accomplish what you want.”
“I believe that if you truly want to walk on water, you have to get out of the boat.”
In an elaborate ceremony steeped in tradition, a time capsule dating to 1795 was returned on Wednesday to the cornerstone of the Massachusetts Statehouse, with a set of 2015 US mint coins and a silver plaque added to its contents for a future generation to discover.
A procession of freemasons marched up Beacon Hill as a fife and drum corps, clad in Colonial garb, played on the statehouse lawn. Military units stood at attention and a 19-gun salute was fired, all part of an effort to approximate the historically documented atmosphere of 4 July 1795, when the newly built cornerstone was drawn by 15 white horses from Boston’s Old South Church, across Boston Common to the construction site for the new state capitol.
On that day, the then Massachusetts governor, Samuel Adams, and Paul Revere, then Grand Master of the Grand Lodge of Masons, presided over a ceremony in which the time capsule was first deposited into the cornerstone.
During Thursday’s ceremony, Governor Charlie Baker joked that Adams is today better known to many people as a beer-maker than a key Revolutionary-era figure. But he said it was humbling to consider that the original capsule was placed just 15 years after Massachusetts adopted its constitution.
“What makes this time capsule so unusual is it’s not an interpretation from a historian, it’s not a passage in a text book, it’s the story that our predecessors from that Revolutionary time wanted us to know and understand,” Baker said.
The original container included an engraved silver plaque, a medal in honor of George Washington and a set of coins including one believed dated to the mid-1600s.
The capsule was removed in 1855 during construction of a new wing of the building. Its contents were transferred to a sturdier brass box and new items, including coins and newspapers, were added. Rediscovered last year during a water filtration project, the box was gingerly excavated from the building and later opened by conservators at the Museum of Fine Arts.
The latest contents, not revealed until Thursday’s ceremony, were a 2015 US mint coin set – including dollar coins of Presidents Truman, Eisenhower, Kennedy and Johnson – and a silver plaque commemorating Thursday’s event.
As was the case in 1855, the contents were placed in a new container, this one made of stainless steel with an oxygen-free interior to prevent deterioration.
The secretary of the Commonweath of Massachusetts, William Francis Galvin, Governor Charlie Baker and Masonic grand master Harvey Waugh
The secretary of state, William Galvin, who presided over the ceremony with Baker and Harvey Waugh, current Grand Master of the Massachusetts Grand Lodge of Masons, said it could be hundreds of years before the box is opened again but when it is, “the history we made today will be fondly remembered.”
Groups of invited schoolchildren, wearing T-shirts that read “Time To Go Back”, watched the ceremony along with state workers and curious tourists.