Some Interesting Masonic Trivia

Taken mostly from “The Truth is Stranger than Fiction”
By Bro. Alphonse Cerza,
Masonic Service Association,

register, masonic paper, freemason history
Masonic Register from 1876

At one time, Golden Lodge #5, Stanstead, Canada occupied a lodge room, which straddled the boundary between Canada and the United States.  There were entrances on both sides of the border.

Washington Chapter #3 of Portsmouth, NH announced its meetings via the town crier, who received from 6 to 25 cents for his work.

In 1872 the Commissioner of Patents held that the Masonic emblem could not be used in a trademark or trade name for commercial purposes.

In Hammer v. State, 173 Indiana, 199 (1909), the Supreme Court ruled that it was a criminal offense to wear the emblem of any society or organization of which one is not a member. The court based its decision on the fact that the membership in such societies is the result of fitness and selection and that the wearing of such emblems by non-members is a deceit and false pretense.

In Robinson v. Yates City Lodge, 86 Illinois, 598 (1877), a court ruled that an expelled Mason was not entitled to the return of his degree fees. The court held that the plaintiff voluntarily paid the fees and the expulsion under the provisions of the rules of the organization does not constitute the rescission of a contract under which the fees were paid.

Frederick A Bartholdi, a freemason, designed the statue of Liberty which stands in NY harbor.  The Grand Lodge of NY laid the corner stone on August
5, 1885.

Bernard Pierre Mangam, Marshall of France and Senator was appointed Grand Master of the Grand Orient of France and served from 1862 to 1865. This is unusual because he was not a Mason. He was appointed by Emperor Napoleon III.

The letters of the English word GOD are the first three letters of Hebrew words for beauty, strength, and wisdom. G in Gomez, O in Oz, D in Dabar.

In 1860 in Limerick, Ireland, there as found a stone in a small chapel, dated 1517, with the following inscription: “I will serve to live with love & care, upon the level, and by the square.”

Francis Stephens, the Duke of Lorraine, received the first two Masonic degrees in 1731 in a special lodge convened at The Hague, Holland, becoming the first known royal freemason. Later he received the third degree in England. In 1735 renounced his title.

Dr. Joseph Ignace Guillotine was a member of Concorde Fraternelle Lodge of Paris and a member of the French Assembly. He obviously invented the device that bears his name and was later executed with one.

The Rev. William Dodd, first Chaplain of the Grand Lodge of England, was hanged for forgery on June 2nd, 1777.

In 1839 the Mormons left Missouri and settled in the area of Nauvoo, IL. On October 15, 1841, the IL Grand Master issued a dispensation to form a lodge at Nauvoo. On March 15th, 1842, Joseph Smith received his first degree and the others shortly after. Certain irregularities were reported – in five months the lodge initiated 256 candidates and 243 were raised. After investigation, the Grand Master revoked the dispensation, but the lodge continued to work. On April 5, 1844, the Mormon masons dedicated a Masonic Temple. IL Masons got in trouble for taking part in the ceremony. Opposition to the group and internal dissension led to the assassination of Joseph Smith and the removal of the Mormons from IL.

Operative Lodge #150 in Aberdeen, Scotland is unusual in that it is only open to operative stonemasons.

Dr. Edward Jenner, in 1789 discovered the vaccination process against smallpox. He was worshipful master of Faith and Friendship Lodge #270 in Berkeley, England at the time.

In July 1863, Confederate raiders rode into Versailles, IN, capturing the local militia and stealing the county treasury. The next day, General John Morgan (CSA), learned that his men had also made off with the jewels of the local lodge. They were returned the following day.  Morgan was from Daviess Lodge #22, Lexington, KY.

Wheelock Commandery No. 5 in Texas had all 55 of its members killed serving in the Confederate Army. The Commandery ceased to exist.

Missouri’s first Confederate Capitol was the Masonic Building in Neosho, MS. From here the legislature passed the Act of Secession.

USA General Thomas Benton, also Grand Master of Iowa, ordered Federal troops to protect Albert Pike’s home and prevent the library from being burned, when his troops took Little Rock, AR.

July 2, 1751, Ferdinand VI of Spain issued an edict against Freemasonry. Father Jose Torrubia secured a special dispensation from the Pope, joined a lodge, secured the names of its members, and proceeded to have them arrested. Hundreds were arrested, persecuted, and imprisoned.

When Mussolini gained control of Italy, Masonic lodges were declared illegal and the Grand Master was arrested, tried, and imprisoned, where he died.

Mussolini also ordered all Masonic references removed, including the emblems on the base of Garibaldi’s monument in Rome.

After the restoration of the republic, fascist emblems were removed and the Masonic emblems restored.

In Fascist Spain under Franco, it was a crime to be a freemason. Masons convicted had to serve prison terms equal in years to the number of Masonic degrees possessed. Master Mason – 3 years.

Winnedumah Lodge #287 of Bishop, CA holds its meetings at 270 feet below sea level, the lowest lodge in North America.

In 1954 Martin’s Station Lodge No. 188 of VA was opened 952 feet below the surface of Cumberland Mountain in Cudjo’s Cave, which lies between Cumberland Gap, Tenn. and Middleburo, KY. 345 Masons were present and a MM degree was conferred.

Chicago, IL has three American Legion Posts whose memberships are entirely Masonic.

All four Presidents of the Republic of Texas, David Burnett, Sam Houston, Mirabeau Lamar, and Anson Jones, were Masons.

Between 1737 and 1779 two sailing ships of interest operated off the U.S. eastern seaboard, Freemason and Master Mason.

The Freemason caught fire and sank in Marblehead Harbor, Mass in 1779.

On November 10, 1928, the Grand Lodge of California held a special communication at Culver City, to lay the corner stone of the Masonic temple. The lodge room was so crowded that the Grand Lodge officers were unable to enter. They retired to the Ladies’ powder room to open the grand lodge for the ceremony.

In 1801, Czar Alexander I of Russia banned the craft. In 1803 he rescinded the order and became a Freemason. But in 1822 he again ordered Freemasonry banned in Russia.

In May, 1843, a group of representatives from fourteen Grand Lodges met in Baltimore, MD, with the view of adopting uniform Masonic rituals. The meeting was presided over by John Dove of VA; Charles W. Moore of Mass. prepared the proposed ritual. The convention’s work was not generally accepted.

In 1799, Barton Lodge in Upper Canada accepted “good merchantable wheat” in payment of lodge dues.

Lodge St. George in Bermuda has rented an old state house since 1816 from the Governor for the sum of “one peppercorn per year.”

Abraham Jones served as Grand Master of Kentucky 1833-34 and Grand Master of Illinois, 1840-41.

Dr. Carlos Rodriguez-Jimenez was grand master of the grand lodge of Venezuela in 1947.

In 1957 he became the grand master of the Grand Lodge of Japan.

In 1892, the tallest building in the world was the Masonic Temple at Randolph and State Streets, Chicago, IL.

Brother William Brockmeier (1866-1947) of St. Louis conducted 5586 Masonic funeral services.

Thomas Jacob Shryock served as Grand Master of Masons in Maryland for 32 years. He died after being elected to serve his 33rd Term.

The largest Master’s chair is in Ophir Lodge #33 Murphys, CA. It is 15 feet long and can seat the Master, living Past Masters, and visiting dignitaries.

On June 7, 1921, Mystic Lodge #21 of Red Bank, NJ had conferred half of the MM degree on brother Lyman C. Van when the power went out. He didn’t receive the rest of the degree for several weeks, making him for a time, a “two and half degree” mason.

When the great Obelisk of Alexandria (Cleopatra’s Needle) was moved to New York in 1880, there were discovered certain emblems on the original foundation and pedestal. One is clearly a square, causing some to conclude that Masonry existed in ancient Egypt. This issue is still open to debate.

The two structures in the U.S that have elevators which move sideways, in addition to up and down are the Arch in St. Louis and the George Washington Masonic Memorial in Alexandria.

The Grand Master of Mass. commanded rebels at Bunker Hill while the Grand Master of England commanded English forces. The G.M of Mass. was killed.

On August 23, 1879, Lodge #239 of France held a meeting in a balloon flying over Paris, at which time a candidate was initiated.

On his famous solo flight across the Atlantic, Charles Lindbergh wore a square and compasses on his jacket as a good luck piece. He was a mason.

Richard E. Byrd and his pilot Bernt Balchen, both brothers, dropped Masonic flags over the north and south poles. Brother Balchen also tossed his Shrine Fez on the South Pole.

Gordon Cooper, in his Mercury capsule, carried a Masonic coin and a blue Masonic flag on his 22 orbit flight, which he later presented to his mother lodge.

Montana’s first livestock brand was the Square and Compasses and is still in use. It was registered by Poindexter & Orr of Beaverhead County, MT in 1873.

Andrew McNair, a Philadelphia Mason, rang the Liberty bell in Independence Hall of July 8, 1776 to call the people together to hear the reading of the Declaration of Independence. The bell developed a crack when it was rung for the death of Chief Justice Marshall, Past Grand Master of Virginia.

Grand Masters generally have the power to make “masons at sight,” which means the Master can do away with the formalities such as filing of petitions, waiting periods, etc. Some famous Masons who were made include: William H. Taft, General George Marshall, and General Douglas MacArthur.

In the 1800’s several grand lodges established Masonic colleges.  The most successful of which was in Hannibal, MS in 1847. Kentucky, Tennessee, Arkansas, North Carolina, and Georgia all tried it but all were eventually closed due to lack of support.

In the spring of 1966, brother Dallas Coleman of Denison Lodge #373 of Kansas was digging a pond when he came across an overturned gravestone marked with the Square and Compasses. Research lead to a determination that it belonged to Brother Henry Craig (1832-1862) of Valley Falls Lodge #21. The brethren of the lodge reset and cleaned the monument and erected a fence around it to keep livestock away and continue to maintain it.

Lyndon Johnson took the first degree of Masonry on October 30, 1937 but never progressed any further.

Sam Rayburn, Speaker of the House took his first degree on August 7, 1922. He died in 1961 without receiving the second.

Warren G. Harding was initiated on June 28, 1901 and it took him 19 years to complete the other two.

Lodges in Mass. have no numbers.

In Penn. there are 11 lodges that have numbers but no names.

In Georgia there are two lodges with the number 1.

In Maryland, Tennessee and Penn. there is no lodge with the number 1

Masonic Place Names in the US: Anchor, IL,  Beehive, MT,  Boaz, AL,  Charity, MS,  Circle, MT,  Cowan, TN,  Emblem, WY,  Eureka, WV,  Faith, SD,  False Pass, AK,  Fidelity, IL,  Five Points, AL,  Freeborn, MN,  Grand Pass, MS,  Hiram, MA,  Hope, AK,  Jachin, AL,  Justice, IL,  Lodge, SC,  Mason, KY,  Masonic Home, KY,  Masontown, WV,  Square, MT,  Steward, IL,  Symbol, KY Temperance, MI,  Tyler, TX.

Hiram Abiff Boaz, born Dec. 18 1866 in Murray, KY. Received his degrees in 1922 before an unusually large crowd and served as Grand Chaplin (TX) in 1953.

Joseph A. Gilmore (1811-1867), former governor of N.H. was made a Mason at sight on April 28, 1863. He received Scottish Rite degrees and was awarded 33rd degree on May 7, 1863 – only 9 days later.

Between 1890 (when it became a state) and 1951, every Governor of Wyoming, except one, was a Mason. The one, Mrs. William A. Ross, was the wife of a mason and a member of Eastern Star.

Every President from Tenn. was a Mason (Jackson, Johnson, Polk)

President FDR raised two of his sons on the same night, Nov 7, 1935 – Architect Lodge #519 in NY.

In 1951, while President, Harry Truman served as Master of his lodge.

Sacramento Chapter #3, Royal Arch Masons has supplied 4 governors of CA. (J. Neeley Johnson, Lantham, Pacheo, Hiram Johnson)

William Hesketh Lever Lodge #2916, England was the only lodge named for a non-mason, the first Viscount of Leverhulme (the soap manufacturer) who was first initiated there and later formed Leverhulme Lodge #4438.

Paul Revere was a Mason, as was his cohort, Robert Newman, who hung the lantern in the Old North Church.

Angelo Soliman, was born in Africa in 1721 and brought to Europe as a slave at the age of ten. He was educated, married, and became a favorite in the royal court in Vienna. Somewhere before 1771 he became a mason. When he died 1776, the Emperor had his body stuffed and mounted in the Natural History Museum, becoming not only the first black of African birth to become a mason, but the also the first mason to be stuffed, mounted, and displayed.

John Aasen of Highland Park Lodge No. 382 in Los Angeles, CA was the largest known MM ever raised. At the time he was 8.5 feet tall and weighed 536 pounds.

Charles Stratton, a.k.a. Tom Thumb, was 24 inches high and weighed 16 pounds when raised in 1862.

Theodore Parvin was Grand Secretary for Iowa from 1844 to 1901, except for 1852- 53 when he was Grand Master.

When asked of Masonry, President William McKinley explained:  “After the battle of Opequam, I went with the surgeon of our Ohio regiment to the field where 5,000 confederate prisoners were under guard.  As soon as we passed the guard, the doctor shook hands with a number of prisoners and began passing out his roll of bills. On the way back to camp I asked him, ‘Did you know those men?’ ‘No’ ‘But you gave them a lot of money, do you expect to get it back?’ ‘If they are able to pay me back, they will. It makes no difference to me; they are brother masons in trouble and I am only doing my duty.’ I said to myself, ‘If that is Masonry, I will take some of it myself.'”

– Sent to Beehive from Carl’s List

Fred Milliken,Freemason Information,The Beehive

Is Change A Dirty Masonic Word?

I was coming home from work the other day and listening to the radio when the announcer said that the production of CDs was slowly being stopped. The era of the CD is over. Oh my, I wondered, what am I going to do now? And then I realized that I hadn’t even gotten rid of all of my 8 track tapes yet.

Now I know how my grandfather felt. He was born in 1881 and died in 1980. He once told me that he had seen the advent of what was then every modern invention, from the mass use of the auto, to the radio, to TV, the airplane, the refrigerator, air conditioning and on and on. When he started out his career in his 20’s he was a salesman operating out of a horse and buggy. Before he died he saw a man land on the moon. Now that kind of change can frizzle your brain.

Change is so prevalent today. Our President ran his first campaign on the slogans of HOPE and CHANGE. But it seems, at least to me, that the change that technology is bringing us is moving at a more rapid rate every decade or is that just my imagination? One can purchase the latest in technology and it is outmoded in what seems a flash. My first computer lasted me 10 years, my second only 5 years and my third will be replaced after 3 years.

Here is an idea of what the near future could see.


From the mundane to the extraordinary, it seems every day a new piece of technology is released that promises to revolutionize the way people live. The Mind Lamp from Psyleron uses electron tunneling, a process that measures quantum-scale probabilistic events, to determine what color your mind is thinking about in order to shift the lamp to that color. For people who have trouble texting, the Android application “ThickButtons” anticipates which letters are most likely next when typing a text on a touch screen smart phone, and the program expands those letters to make texting easier. From the co-inventor of Twitter comes Square, an accessory that plugs into your smart phone that allows a mobile merchant to swipe a credit card anywhere they receive cell service.


Thanks to advancements in the field of medicine, the quality and length of human lives continues to improve. Scientists from the University of California, Los Angeles have engineered mesoporous silica nanoparticles that successfully increase the percentage of cancer fighting drugs delivered to tumors during chemotherapy. A vaccine developed by Pfizer called CDX-110 causes white blood cells in the body to target and destroy cancer producing cells in the brain. Two studies released in “The New England Journal of Medicine” have proved that the asthma pills Singulair and Accolate work as successfully in preventing asthma symptoms as steroid inhalers. Each of these inventions offer a chance to ease the suffering of individuals afflicted with these conditions.


Recent developments in scientific equipment have allowed scientists to continue uncovering the mysteries of the universe. A half-mile underground in Geneva, Switzerland, is the Large Hadron Collider, a particle accelerator designed to allow physicists to study the smallest known particles. Physicists hope to use the collider to recreate the conditions that existed immediately following the Big Bang. NASA’s Gravity Probe B has confirmed two key predictions related to Einstein’s theory of relativity by measuring the warping of space and time around a gravitational body, and how much a spinning object pulls space and time when rotating.


Researchers from Google have developed a car that drives itself automatically using artificial intelligence software. The car’s on board computer uses video cameras, radar sensors and laser guidance software, along with detailed maps, to navigate roads and traffic. The firefighting vehicle Amatoya has an insulated cabin that can withstand temperatures of more than 600 degrees, and is armed with dual high-powered water cannons that allow the vehicle’s crew to fight fires from within.

Read more: Recent Innovations in Technology at



All this has me wondering of course about Freemasonry. While the world spins on a high speed hi tech mode of constant change, what is Freemasonry doing? Of course I don’t mean the message but the messenger. The tenets and virtues of Freemasonry are timeless as is its ritual. So the question is, are we really keeping up with the times in the deliverance of that message?


Could Freemasonry using technology actually hold a meeting online?

Could it do away with altogether its Lodge building?

Could it streamline itself into having all degrees performed at Grand Lodge, as part of a Grand Lodge session, three times a year for every Lodge in the jurisdiction?

Could its record keeping become 100% digital?

Could all the messages a Lodge or Grand Lodge needs to deliver to its members be done electronically?

Does Freemasonry make efficient use of websites, You Tube and E Readers now?

Does Freemasonry in your jurisdiction use Facebook and Twitter now?

Does your Grand Master, Grand Lodge officers and local Lodge Master text?


What I see now is also the death of the home PC and even the laptop. The younger generation is communicating by texting, reading from E-readers, and connecting to the World Wide Web and everything and anything via smart phones. If Freemasonry desires to connect with the present generation will they be willing to use the tools that this generation uses? And will they be able to communicate the timeless message of Freemasonry in a manner that today’s hi tech youngsters can receive? Or is change really a dirty Masonic word?

Supply Side Versus Vulture Freemasonry

DGM Michael T. Anderson PHA MLK Parade

DGM Michael T. Anderson PHA MLK Parade

Reflecting on the last few years in Freemasonry, I have been remembering what a friend of mine always said, “Nobody knows who we are anymore.”  This was always followed by an intense debate over modern Freemasonry’s use of Institutionalized charity to solve that problem.  He thought all the charity work was great and just the thing to get Freemasons noticed.  I thought it was too expensive and time consuming, taking away from the practice of Freemasonry.

If you want people to know who you are then connect with the community.  This means getting active in the small local efforts to make your community better. One of the ways Freemasonry can get noticed is to march in a parade. Here you can see the Prince Hall Texas Masons marching through Dallas on Martin Luther King Day.  Leading the group is Deputy Grand Master Michael T. Anderson (on the left, front waving), no stranger to Freemason Information regulars. He made an appearance on Masonic Central which is archived here.

If you want to be of service to those in your area clean a highway, spruce up a park or maintain a ball field. Or have your Lodge host a hero’s night honoring a special teacher, fireman, policeman, social worker or charity service group. Hold the honoring ceremony outside the Lodge, open to the public and invite the press.  Another alternative is to run a blood drive offering a free breakfast to all who donate. If you have a hospital in your area regularly scheduled visitations to any and all would be most welcome. Local scholarships given by local Lodges, not Grand Lodges, will cement a friendly community relationship, provide a much better outlet for that Masonic charitable component and get Freemasonry noticed, all at the same time.

Where Freemasonry gets off on the wrong track is when it goes into big time, impersonal, costly and never ending charity – Institutionalized charity – aimed at everybody, to gain publicity. Or when Freemasonry runs costly television, radio and theater ads. Instead of making the product better they spend their money on trying to market Freemasonry. What they are trying to do is to increase the supply by hyping the demand when they really should be increasing the demand by hyping the supply. If that doesn’t seem to ring true, The Beehive will get Art Laffer to explain it to you.

The Mainstream Grand Lodge of Minnesota has announced that it will raise and donate $65 million to cure Cancer. A noble gesture for sure but how is this helping Freemasonry in that state? Think of all the more productive ways that money could be spent. The Grand Lodge could help any of its chartered local Lodges replace a costly building expense like a new furnace. It could run workshops and seminars to better educate the Brethren. It could pay for a speaker’s bureau to tour the state adding, in many cases, a much needed zest to boring business meetings. It could finance out of state large visitations beyond the budget of most Lodges. It could make the difference between a Lodge having to fold or a Lodge able to continue on. In essence Grand Lodge could do a lot to further the growth of Freemasonry and lead local Lodges in a more inspired, better educated and higher quality practice of Freemasonry. Improve the product and the membership will grow as a result of that effort. It is “Supply Side” Freemasonry at its best.

And Minnesota isn’t the only one who has chosen this path. The Mainstream Grand Lodge of Massachusetts now runs a massive health care system at multiple locations in addition to a very expensive CHIP program. Recently the Grand Lodge has doubled its Grand Lodge dues and fees that local Lodges must cough up, who in turn pass the burden onto the local Lodge Brethren. Many other Grand Lodges have similar such programs. This is “Vulture” Freemasonry at its worst.

What do massive charities, health systems and cash donations do for the advancement of Freemasonry within a jurisdiction? Why try to buy good will and notoriety when just practicing the virtues and tenets of Freemasonry will do more for you? If all the sweat, effort and money goes to marketing, advertising and financing others while bankrupting and diminishing Freemasonry, everybody loses. Why not try being side by side in the trenches with your community rather than an outsider trying to buy friends. And then go celebrate and march in a parade.

Bridging The Gap

Behold, how good and pleasant it is when brothers dwell in unity!

Brethren of West Virginia, Arkansas, even my own state of Texas and others – take due notice and govern yourselves accordingly.

Bridging the Gap

MW Fred Kaiser & Wor. Harry Weaver III

MW Fred Kaiser & Wor. Harry Weaver III

I have been a Brother of Redeemer Lodge #53 for nine years. Since my initiation, I have had the pleasure of visiting with Brothers from the “mainstream” lodges under the auspices of the Grand Lodge of Michigan. During this time, I have made many, many great friends. One of these wonderful friends is a Brother by the name of Richard Mackie. Bro. Mackie is the liaison from the Grand Lodge of Michigan to the Most Worshipful Prince Hall Grand Lodge of Michigan. Bro. Mackie and I have remained in close contact throughout the years and he has attended many Redeemer functions and is an honorary member of Redeemer Lodge #53. When I was elected Junior Warden, Bro. Mackie informed me that he wanted to do something special when I become Worshipful Master. I didn’t think much of it then because it seemed as if that would take an eternity. I was elected Worshipful Master in December of 2010 and Bro. Mackie kept his promise.

In September of 2011, Bro. Mackie called me and asked me if I was prepared to do something special. He proceeded to inform me that he had spoken with his Grand Master, Most Worshipful Bro. Fred Kaiser, who wanted to visit Redeemer. Of course I agreed, not knowing what I was really getting myself into. After a series of emails and phone conversations between Bro. Mackey and I, we decided that the Grand Master would attend our Master Mason degree on November 26, 2011. Bro. Mackie promised to get a guest list together and send it to me prior to the degree so that we could properly prepare. I really didn’t know what kind of number to expect so I waited patiently. I received an email from Bro. Mackie a few days prior to the degree stating that he had 29 guests confirmed. I was elated with this and moved forward with planning the repast to follow the degree.

From Labor To Refreshment, Redeemer #53

From Labor To Refreshment, Redeemer #53

On the evening of November 26, 2011, Redeemer Lodge made history. This day marks the first such occasion when a sitting Grand Master from the Grand Lodge of Michigan has ever sat in a tyled lodge under the Most Worshipful Prince Hall Grand Lodge of Michigan. It turns out that included in those 29 guests were the Grand Wardens along with several appointed Grand Lodge officers. While 29 guests RSVP’d, we ended up with about 60 Brothers from the Grand Lodge of Michigan and an additional 15 Brothers visiting from other PHA lodges in the jurisdiction visiting to witness the raising of Bro. David Robinson and Bro. Tom Robinson to the Sublime Degree.  This was truly a momentous occasion and I could never have imagined such an outcome. I am proud to have been the Worshipful Master for such an amazing event.  Redeemer was nearly flawless with the ritual work, as always but we were absolutely flawless in the spreading of Brotherly love and affection in fellowshipping with ALL of our Brethren. The Brothers that were raised had an awesome experience that they will never forget. Their journey began with them knowing that we are ALL Brothers, regardless of our skin color, political beliefs, religious beliefs or any other matter. We meet on the Level, act by the Plumb and part on the Square.

Redeemer Lodge #53, F & AM, PHA, MI

Redeemer Lodge #53, F & AM, PHA, MI

Bro. Harry Weaver, III
Worshipful Master
Redeemer Lodge #53, F&AM, PHA
Detroit, MI

What Is Killing Freemasonry

Freemasonry cannot serve two masters, the world and itself. The biggest mistake it has made is to listen to the whining attacks made by its detractors.  Freemasonry just benefits Freemasons they say as if they had some claim on what we are, what we do and what we say. Our critics have embarrassed us, claiming that we are an exclusive, snobbish, selfish group that exists exclusively for the betterment of its members and that we show so much favoritism for each other that the result is a discrimination of the rest of society.

Thus post Vietnam War Freemasonry changed the focus of the Craft. Some of the changes came right after WWII but the Vietnam War era marked the rapid decline in membership that swung the pendulum of modern day Freemasonry squarely into the camp of Masonic revisionism.

What that involved is taking Freemasonry from a contemplative, learning, value orientated society to one of action, action for the betterment of society as a whole. Freemasonry did this partially to appease its critics and partially to adopt the Shrine model of recruitment. But appeasement didn’t work for Chamberlain in dealing with Hitler and it hasn’t worked to appease our detractors. Our critics are as vocal as ever.  Meanwhile we have diluted and corrupted our beloved fraternity in order to try to please others or to take the easy way out in the area of growth.

The ancient mystery schools of Egypt, Greece and Rome, on which Freemasonry is modeled, did not try to be something to everybody. Rather they concentrated their efforts on improving their members through knowledge, instruction, brotherhood and spirituality.

Does that mean Freemasons should be a cloistered sect of Monks having no dealings with the outside world and no right to comment on anything civil or spiritual? The answer is No! We, as Freemasons, can get behind ideas but not policies. No marching in the streets or sponsorship of legislative bills for Freemasonry.  Instead we can seek to educate the public on the ideals of political freedom and democratic government, public education, religious freedom with the separation of church and state and the worthiness of the individual.  These were ideals imbued into Freemasonry from the Enlightenment from which Freemasonry arose.

Three main corruptions have come out of post Vietnam War Freemasonry.

  1. Increased power of Grand Lodges at the expense of local Lodges
  2. The marketing of Freemasonry
  3. Charity to all mankind

In the modern era Grand Lodges and Grand Masters have assumed powers never before granted to them. Some Grand Lodges are running wild squashing dissent, stifling creativity and purging the ranks of any and all who do not toe the line. In the process they have, in order to save the fraternity they tell us, foisted upon Freemasonry the evils of marketing Freemasonry which removes from Freemasonry the ability to practice Freemasonry and extensive Self Perpetuating Institutionalized giveaways to civil society that is bankrupting the fraternity.  The Grand Lodge of Massachusetts is a prime example of a Grand Lodge so into Institutionalized charity and running a complex health system out of multiple locations that it has had to drastically increase Grand Lodge dues and assessments to its charted Lodges in order to pay for its excesses. See Massachusetts to Double Dues?

Do we have to beg the community to notice us and in the process try to market Freemasonry or do we create a better Order internally and let membership grow by word of mouth? Do we have to try to convince someone to become a Mason or do we create such a good product that the worthy uninitiated will come in large numbers knocking on our door of their own free will and accord? Do we have to try to save the world or can we be content with taking care of our own without being made to feel guilty? Do we exist to march in parades, raise funds for the Cancer Society or the Heart Fund and run CHIP programs for civil society or are we here for Brothers in need, our widows and orphans and scholarships for our young? Do we intend, forever, to let our critics portray us as a religion? Do we intend to let non Masons set the agenda for Master Masons? Can we learn how to survive as we downsize?

Plainly we are not an action society; we are a self improvement brotherhood. The road to sustainable growth is returning Freemasonry into a sharing Brotherhood who cares for itself and revives itself by doing a better job of inculcating its ideals, virtues and tenets into its membership, by decentralizing its governance, by stop trying to sell Freemasonry as one sells used cars and by leaving the saving of the world to others.

Georgia Turned Down An Opportunity To Adopt Non Dicriminatory Statutes in 2009

Georgia Masons had the opportunity in their 2009 Grand Session to come out firmly and clearly on the record against anti discriminatory practices. These resolutions were proposed to be added to the Masonic code after the persecution of Gate City Lodge #2 and were proposed by many different Brothers in the hopes that a situation of this kind would never happen again, it being emphatically addressed in the Masonic code of the Grand Lodge.

These actions were also undertaken because of the code that was used to bring the Worshipful Master of Gate City Lodge No. 2, Michael J. Bjelajac to trial.  He was charged with allowing the raising of a non-white man.  This you can see in the previous article here on Freemason Information – Georgia Gate City Lodge Persecutor Honored By Scottish Rite.

So if these words were used to charge a Brother, the Grand Lodge code must have an article in it that prohibits the raising of a Black Man. Even if the Grand Master or a committee or by vote of the Grand Lodge removed this provision it was still very disconcerting to many Georgia Masons that it was used to charge a Brother with. So those so concerned wished to make doubly sure that a statute of this nature buried in the fine print of Grand Lodge code would never be used again to persecute a Georgia Mason.

I have picked four of these proposed additions to the Georgia Grand Lodge Constitution to give you an idea of what these Brothers were aiming at.


“Racism and racial discrimination being antithetical to the principles of Freemasonry it is unmasonic conduct for any Mason to exclude, reject or deny or to solicit, advocate or encourage any other Mason to exclude, reject or deny the petition of any otherwise qualified applicant for the degrees of Freemasonry on the basis of race, ethnicity or national origin.”


“Any man, otherwise qualified, is eligible as an applicant for the degree of Freemasonry without regard to race, ethnicity, social class, national origin or religious persuasion.”


“It is gross un-Masonic conduct for a Mason to advocate the denial of, or to encourage any other Mason to deny the petition of an applicant for the mysteries of Freemasonry because the applicant is of a particular social class, ethncity, nationality, race or religion.”


“It is gross un-Masonic conduct for a Mason to require or to encourage any other Mason to pledge or swear not to elect, initiate, pass, or raise a candidate for the mysteries of Freemasonry because the candidate is of a particular social class, ethnicity, nationality, race or religion.”

Presented with the opportunity to put the race question behind them the Grand Lodge in Grand Session VOTED DOWN ALL THESE RESOLUTIONS OVERWHELMINGLY!

Some Masons have said that these resolutions are superfluous and not needed. The Grand Lodge already has such provisions in its code.  Well, it also had a statute against the raising of a non white. What is the harm in these additions? What’s wrong with being a little superfluous in the name of justice? Maybe the current code is not clear.  Perhaps it is a bit ambiguous. Maybe these additions would close any loopholes. Why not err in the name of justice for all?

Have you not heard of couples later in their marriage renewing their marriage vows?  Have you not heard of Christians renewing their baptismal vows? Let’s not make excuses to deny, let us have reasons to permit.

The voting down of these resolutions in Grand Session points to the Grand Master who supposedly healed the Gate City Lodge No. 2 mess.  Any Grand Master in Grand Session holds an enormous influence over the voting body. It would be hard to believe that if the Grand Master was solidly and emphatically behind these additions to the Georgia Masonic code that they would have been defeated. And even if… Not by an overwhelming rejection.

It leads one to believe that the Grand Lodge of Georgia yielded to outside pressure and public opinion in 2009, only to come back strong again to reassert itself as anti Black African American.

Are you, Brethren willing to accept Georgia’s decision without protest?

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Georgia Gate City Lodge Persecutor Honored By Scottish Rite

James Tyroff is a Georgia Mason who was one of the members of the Grand Lodge of Georgia who preferred charges against Gate City Lodge No. 2 in 2009 for admitting a Black African-American Mason to their Lodge. The same Black African American, Victor Marshall, who was just blackballed twice by the Atlanta Scottish Rite.

Well James Tyroff has just been rewarded by The Scottish Rite with the honor of a red cap. This honor was conferred on him after Marshall & Waters had been blackballed for the second time by the Scottish Rite. Verification can be obtained here.

The red cap, emblazoned with the red and gold cross of a Knight Commander, designates that the wearer is a 32nd Degree Mason who has been invested with the “rank and decoration” of Knight Commander of the Court of Honor, usually abbreviated K.C.C.H.

If Georgia has healed Gate City Lodge No. 2 and the Grand Master has reformed Georgia’s former racist ways with his edicts why reward those who tried to keep Black African-Americans out of Lodges in Georgia? WHY IS THIS MAN BEING HONORED? It’s a slap in the face to those working for a color blind Freemasonry. It looks as if Georgia Masons are thumbing their nose at Gate City Lodge No. 2 and all those Masons in Georgia who would like to see reconciliation between Black and White Freemasonry.

Tyroff openly flouts his anti Black African-American feelings signing all his correspondence with, “Just say no to 21st century universal Masonry.”  These are code words used in the South similar to other disguises of attitude like “states rights.”

Tyroff authored all the 2009 documents against Gate City Lodge No. 2 below.

Georgia Black Mainstream Mason Is Black Balled Again For The Second Time In His Masonic Journey

Sometimes lightening strikes twice – to the same spot. When it does you know that either God is in control or the fix is in. In the case of Gate City Lodge #2, Atlanta, Georgia it is definitely the latter.

You might remember the articles The Beehive published in 2009 – My Brother’s Keeper, Open Racism in Georgia Freemasonry and Georgia: Not Such A Peachy Masonic State describing the machinations that the Grand Lodge of Georgia went through to try to keep out a Black African-American.  His name was Victor Marshall and he was raised to the sublime degree of Master Mason by Gate City Lodge #2, after which the Worshipful Master  was brought up on charges –  of “allowing a non-white man to join Freemasonry” –   that were approved by the Grand Master.

Georgia, blackball, Freemasonry

Since no Black Man had been initiated in Georgia Freemasonry in 275 years, the charges were interpreted that “Ancient Lights” of the Grand Lodge of Georgia prohibited Black Men from becoming F & AM.  The charges called for the Worshipful Master to be expelled and the Lodge to lose its Charter.   Mortified by this blatantly evil and certainly illegal affront to the Lodge, and having had first-hand experience with “Masonic Justice”, David Johnston and David Llewellyn, members of Gate City Lodge No. 2 and attorneys, filed for an injunction in civil court against the Grand Lodge of Georgia.

Oooppps – The Grand Lodge never thought the public would find that out.  When they did and the resulted outcry reached a clamor of disdain as the story spread throughout the nation, the plaintiffs in the case revoked their charges and the Grand Lodge of Georgia ultimately backed down deciding that was one battle they could not win.

They say by doing that one lives to fight another day. And that other day has arrived. Victor Marshall and Zeithlin Waters from Gate City Lodge #2, both Raised on the same night and having studied their catechisms together, submitted applications to the Atlanta Scottish Rite Body. Now the first thing that you have to understand about the story that will unfold here is that it is SOP to ballot on an entire class with one ballot for all. And so on November of 2010 the entire class of applications including Marshall and Waters was balloted upon. One or more black balls were cast on the first ballot.  Then and only then was an individual ballot cast for each applicant one at a time. Marshall and Waters were the last two to be voted on and both were blackballed. All others were approved. No comments were made on the ballot and the two Brothers were informed that their applications were not approved and that it would be six months before they could reapply.

In March of 2011 a called Communication of the Scottish Rite Valley of Atlanta was held for the purpose of balloting on a new class. This class did not include Marshall & Waters for they were still waiting out their 6 months to reapply. As was the custom the entire class was balloted upon with one ballot. On the first ballot one or more black balls were cast.  Each petition was then read individually and subsequently black balled. The whispered speculation was that Gate City Lodge members or sympathizers were striking back for the black balling of Marshall and Waters. The Personal Representative to the Grand Master rose to say how ashamed he was to be a Mason that night – thus commenting on a ballot which is actually unmasonic and a chargeable offense.

On April of 2011 at a stated meeting of the Scottish Rite Valley of Atlanta was held with business being among other things balloting on candidates once again. This vote was taken on a few new petitions as well as all of the candidates black balled in March. Again Marshall and Waters were not included. On the first ballot for the entire class one or more black balls were cast. The individual petitions were then read and balloted upon.  Each petition was rejected (black balled).

The SGIG arose to speak castigating any who would use the ballot for retribution and declaring how ashamed he was of the way this process had worked out. He went on to say that whoever threw the cubes was suffering from a mental illness.  He declared the ballot null and void and then took the unprecedented action of healing the ballot declaring all petitions granted.  He also ordered the black balls expunged from the personal records of those who received them. 

On October of 2011 a called Communication of The Scottish Rite Valley of Atlanta was held for the purpose of voting on petitions. For this called meeting a limited number of summonses had been sent out. Not everybody was called to this meeting.  This was a new class of 30 with Marshall and Waters added.  It had been almost a year since they had been black balled.  They could not get into the spring class of 2011 as not quite six months had lapsed since they had been black balled.  They had waited their 6 months and reapplied.   Before the vote, the SGIG advised all called to vote their conscience. But this time around the voting would not operate in the usual manner.  The entire class would not be balloted upon en masse as was the custom. Right from the start each candidate would be balloted upon individually, and Marshall and Waters were ballots number 29 and 30, the last two.  In the hour and a half that ensued, twenty eight candidates were approved but the 29th and 30th, Marshall and Waters, were blackballed. Once again the SGIG rose to thank all who participated for voting their conscience.  But he did not heal Marshall and Waters as he had done with the class of April 2011. He did not ask that the black balls be expunged from their Masonic records either.

This is where you can say the fix is in. The very actions of the leadership involved in this process leads to that conclusion. The SGIG and The Personal Representative to the Grand Master were only ashamed of any black balling when it did not involve Marshall and Waters. Comments were made by those in power after the balloting process in the 2nd and 3rd cases but not in the 1st and 4th when Marshall and Waters were being considered. The rules or the customary methods of procedure were changed at the leadership’s whim. The SGIG could heal an entire class but he couldn’t heal just two others.  He could heal a whole class in one month not making them wait 6 months to be voted on again but he wouldn’t extend that privilege to Marshall and Waters. In both instances where candidates were voted on individually Marshall and Waters were always the last two to be balloted upon.

Of further note, the crowd at the ballot box swelled when Waters and Marshall’s petitions were being voted upon.  Yet, during the two votes when entire classes were being cubed, there was an instance where a Grand Lodge of Georgia Officer stopped an entire line of voters from proceeding by refusing to move forward to cast his ballot.   At one point, only three people, other than Scottish Rite Officers, were voting.

Georgia Mainstream Freemasons think they have won the second battle, round two. But they thought the same way in the first round before the publicity forced them to retreat. Here we are again fighting the same fight and calling upon all Masons nationwide to put pressure upon The Scottish Rite, Southern Jurisdiction to act in a Masonic manner, put an end to such shenanigans and heal Marshall and Waters without further comment. If we did it once we can do it again.  The ball is in your court, Brother.

A History Making Grand Session

A Grand Session in Prince Hall is a very special, interesting and motivating experience especially when the female Orders meet at the same time.  Texas is no exception where Eastern Star and the Heroines of Jericho meet simultaneously separately but attend the luncheons, social events, banquets and prayerful times with the Master Masons.  It is rightfully billed a Prince Hall family event.

I don’t know how the women run their sessions but on the men’s side, often tedious and boring business is mixed well with awards and celebrations. We have annual awards for the Master Mason of the year, the District of the year, the District Deputy of the year and a special meritorious service of the year award. We have an awards luncheon with the whole Prince Hall family and a family night dinner open to the spouses and friends of members. The highlight of the awards luncheon was the presentation of scholarship awards from each House. And family night, as always, carried with it a prominent guest speaker who always delivers us an inspiring message.

This year’s guest speaker was Dr. Bro. Osiefield Anderson, a PHD in mathematics and a college professor. His theme was it is time to get up off our butts and do something about society that is crumbling and decaying all around us. A master of inspiring poetry he motivated us all to action. His motto is, “It is not how long a man lives that matters, but how well he lives.”

Out of Session any member of the Prince Hall family could participate in a gospel festival, a church service, a dance-social party and a Lodge of Sorrow for those who have traveled to the Celestial Lodge above.

And if that was all there was we would all go home happy, well fed and fired up. But when you throw in an extra special event in the middle of all this you fashion a Grand Session that will go down in history. Such was the June 2011 four day Grand Session of Prince Hall, Texas.

That history making event was the opening of the Wilbert M. Curtis Texas Prince Hall Library Museum. After more than a year in the making, the Library Museum was opened with a special ribbon cutting ceremony that included representatives from six jurisdictions, mostly Grand Masters, civic leaders and the head of the Fort Worth Black Historical & Genealogical Society. The Deputy Grand Master and Wardens consecrated the occasion with corn, wine and oil. Speeches were made and prayers raised up, the ribbon cut and finally it was time to go inside and see what treasures were in store for us.

And we were not disappointed. There were pictures, plaques, paintings and actual early uniforms, dress and jewels. There were also rare books and the records and minutes of Texas Prince Hall Grand Lodge dating back to the 1870’s. Copies of early Grand Lodge publications were in abundance. At one end of the Library Museum you opened a door into a well furnished Lodge Room. Before your eyes was a beautiful hand crafted wooden altar and stations made by a Brother who received one of this year’s Grand Lodge awards.

The Heroines of Jericho and Eastern Star are well represented in the Library Museum with early dress, pictures and presentations. One thing that distinguishes Prince Hall Masonry is how closely the men’s and women’s Orders work together. It is truly one big family.

There is much more to come. Contributions to the Library Museum are still coming in and in the years that follow much will be added. The Library Museum welcomes gifts of books, papers, manuscripts, photographs, artwork, records, audio tapes, video tapes, maps, pamphlets, scrapbooks, oral history, memorabilia and other archival records of historical value which will enhance the teaching, learning, research and service of the members affiliated with the MWPHGLTX and or is interested in the advancement of knowledge related to Free Masonry.

Now the Prince Hall family of Texas has a place to deposit its archives and to tell its own story, a story it will continuously share with others.

The Path Of Destruction

This year my Grand Lodge will be involved in a major struggle for power at its Grand Session. So once again I am dismayed at the way Freemasonry is headed.

What is lacking is a Freemasonry focusing strongly on its message. The key words here are research, education, instruction, reading, scholarship and discussion. Oh we have some of that but very little. You can find a Research Lodge here and there and maybe an esoteric society if you look hard. But the majority of the Craft is doing something else other than learning about the organization to which they belong.

In the absence of scholarship and study what do Freemasons do? Released from the duty of learning and applying a philosophy, a way of life, they take up their time in vying for office, honors and titles. Years are spent in politicking, networking and implementing the pet projects of those ahead of them, so that they can climb the ladder to the next level. But the next level is not attained by any increase in one’s knowledge or understanding of the Craft.

Consequently much of Freemasonry is governed by leaders who couldn’t pass a simple test about their fraternity.

But that is not how it is supposed to be. Freemasonry derives much of its thought from the Ancient Mysteries. In fact some Masonic scholars contend that there has been from long before Christ a certain body of knowledge that builds a better understanding of life that has been passed down from generation to generation through various and sundry organizations. Most of the Ancient Mysteries ran “Mystery Schools.” And the focus of their efforts was directed towards learning and study. Pythagoras is a good example of one who taught a philosophy, a way of life, in the true Gnostic tradition, that is a body of knowledge that the masses were not privy to. Leaders were those, then, that had attained a certain level of scholastic achievement. The goal was to progress to a higher soul level – from knowledge to wisdom to soul development.

The modern day Masonic strategy to grow the Craft, is to turn Freemasonry into a charity, and in many cases a slave to Institutionalized charity. When not jockeying for position, Masons are consuming enormous time and effort in what they characterize as the betterment of humankind, but only if it offers some payback in return. The idea here is to gain notoriety and publicity through work in the community and also to prove that critics, who say that Freemasonry is some secret society only concerned with itself not giving a dam about society, are wrong. But when it becomes a way to buy and bribe friends, impress and convince the uninitiated that we really are a good organization to join, the morality becomes suspect.

The sad part of all this is that it doesn’t work. You don’t get a large number of candidates from marketing Freemasonry. The real way to grow Freemasonry is through its message. If Freemasons would regard themselves primarily as a philosophy and a tool for personal development instead of a charity and a tool for personal prestige then it would be successful in attracting new members. It never ceases to amaze me that Masons think they can sell Masonry by turning themselves into slaves for all those in need. What does that do for an individual looking into the Craft? The strength of Freemasonry is its ability to inspire and motivate members and to give them an understanding of how to live a rewarding and satisfying life that will leave a memorable legacy behind. This is something that Freemasonry can do for them rather than offering them, a life of service to others. All of this is found in the philosophy and teachings of this wonderful fraternity. But in order to sell that and teach that, passing it on to others, one has to study and understand what Freemasonry is all about and what it has to offer. If we will do that we will draw people like a magnet.

Picture a Christian church that runs a food pantry, mans a soup kitchen and does all sorts of community work (charity) and offers a weekly worship service (ritual-degrees) but never talks about or studies the Gospel, the good news, or mentions Jesus Christ – no Bible study, no Sunday school, no discussion groups. That’s where Freemasonry is at today.

The result of this path of destruction is constant power plays and Masonic purges. The Frank Haas, Derek Gordon, Mike McCabe stories are just the tip of the iceberg. All across this nation Freemasons are being expelled and the charter of Lodges pulled in record numbers because those involved are perceived as some sort of political threat to those in power. What has been created in the United States, are 51 fiefdoms, 51 monopolies, accountable to no one else who have all agreed to support each other no matter what the other has done, no matter how heinous the crime. And all 51 have a pact that if you are thrown out of one Grand Lodge you are thrown out of them all. There is no place for the unjustly treated to go. What you have is a system that is incapable of rendering justice, one of the Four Cardinal Virtues. If you lead a reform movement in your Grand Lodge you will be expelled. If you publish a paper where you express disagreement with your Grand Master’s policies you will be expelled. One Grand Lodge will even go so far as to prohibit its members from Masonically conversing via E-Mail. Another will not admit you if you work in the liquor business, another if you are missing an arm or a leg. And we haven’t even touched the race issue.

The mess is that we have too many versions of Freemasonry floating around and too many Grand Lodges violating their member’s rights as guaranteed under the Constitution of the United States. What is Freemasonry? Well it depends on what state you are in. You can own a McDonald’s franchise but you can’t change the product. But American Freemasonry can. The result of this mess is that there are no standards to be kept. Freemasonry is whatever any of the 51 Grand Lodges says it is. Imagine driving your car in your state and then hitting the state line where the next state required you to drive on the opposite side of the road. There is no need for such deliberate confusion. Nor are such radical differences in Freemasonry from one state to another so as to make them like night and day a great way to operate Freemasonry in the 21st century. We are not a land of 51 countries. And today’s Mason is so much more mobile than his 18th and 19th century ancestors.

To cement their authority and ensure that they have a free hand in all that they do, American Masonry invented the Rite of Exclusive Territorial Jurisdiction. As a friend and Brother from South Carolina told me, anything that is not part of the Mainstream Grand Lodge of South Carolina is clandestine Masonry even if it has a recognizable charter and even if it also practices regular Freemasonry. That takes care of any competition that might be an outlet to overbearing tyranny. Monopolies everywhere, however, are known as abusers of power. There are many clandestine Grand Lodges that do a better job of Masonry than the monopolies of Mainstream Freemasonry. Most, however, would not exist if abuses were not allowed.

I firmly believe that returning Freemasonry to a philosophy embracing scholarship and study and to a charitable organization rather than a charity will solve many of these problems. But the Conference of Grand Masters is still going to have to come up with a way to discipline the Craft.

I wonder what the world would look like today if in 1940 we had told the Japanese that we would not interfere in their conquest of all of Asia and if we had just ignored Hitler and let him do whatever he wanted. The United States has no designs of conquest in the world. Still it finds it necessary to interfere in another country’s business when to do otherwise would be to allow horrific injustice and depravity to prevail.

We all say we want the civil courts to stay out of Freemasonry. But when all else fails, when that is all that is left available, when the Conference of Grand Masters refuses to act, then to right wrongs the path chosen will be the one(s) that has not been closed. If Freemasonry refuses to police itself, then civil government will do it for them.

In the end it is possible to move from the path of destruction to the path of instruction and with the right Masonic leadership policing the Craft, to enter a new Golden Age of Freemasonry.