On November 17, 2016 Deputy Grand Master of the Most Worshipful Prince Hall Grand Lodge of Texas F & AM Michael T. Anderson spoke at Jewel P. Lightfoot Lodge No. 1283, Grand Lodge of Texas AF & AM upon the invitation of Worshipful David Bindel. Worshipful Bindel remarked that he thought this could be a historic moment being that this might be the first time a Prince Hall Grand Lodge Officer addressed a Lodge of the Grand Lodge of Texas.
The Lodge opened on the Third Degree at 7:15 PM with a procession of Lodge officers and visitors marching into the Lodge. The Lodge was promptly taken from Labor to Refreshment whereupon Worshipful Bindel announced that this Special Communication was one of a series labeled “Building The Temple,” whereby the Lodge focuses on engaging in dialogue to construct something useful and grow together in Masonic light and in our appreciation of each other.
Without further ado, Worshipful Bindel introduced DGM Anderson reciting his brief Masonic biography after which he gave him the floor.
DGM Anderson began his address by admitting that he had not prepared a formal presentation. He then proceeded to speak from the heart starting his remarks with the importance of the Altar in the Lodge. He went through the meaning and moral teachings of the Three Lessor Lights and the Three Great Lights. Anderson asked those assembled where else could they find an organization that taught such high moral standards.
Anderson spoke about how when he was young, he was a bit on the wild side, and that it was the lessons of Freemasonry that made him into the man he is today. He told us all that he rarely read the Bible when he was young and rarely went to church, but that Freemasonry and the study of its morality, not only made him a better man but led him to studying the Bible and a regular attendee at church.
Anderson stressed the importance of the Masonic philosophy that it is the internal not the external characteristics that recommend a man to be made a Mason. He was emphatic that this one tenet of Freemasonry was responsible for bringing together men of many different walks and stations in life. Can you not see how much more peace and harmony there would be in this world if this tenet was universally adopted, he asked?
He spoke briefly on Prince Hall Freemasonry saying if you want to know about us look at me. I am a product of what we are all about. In contrasting the number of years Masters and Grand Masters serve in each Grand Lodge, he said that he thought five years was the right number for the time of service. The first year, he said, the Master tip toes around not wanting to offend anyone. In the second year he begins to formulate his programs and the stamp he wants to put on his Lodge. Then he has three years to implement his vision. Anderson said he served ten years as Master of Pride of Mt. Pisgah No. 135 but he only intended to serve five. But after five years, some of the Brethren of the Lodge came to him and implored him to continue otherwise many would become inactive.
Taking questions from the Brethren, he articulated the importance of the 24” Gauge. He remarked that eight hours in the service of God did not involve going to church, but rather was all about helping others, doing God’s work in the world. He further expounded that if a man doesn’t work he doesn’t eat. Anderson told us that he had taken a lot of jobs in his life he didn’t much care for but that it put food on the table.
Another question had Anderson expounding on the symbolism of the Point Within A Circle. Anderson said that the point was you and I and the circle was God, that which had no beginning and no end. In our journey through life, if we listen, if we have an open mind, if we are attentive, then we will touch God and God will touch us as we venture out to the outer edges of the noble life.
There were a couple of questions that followed about what can we do as Masons to promote peace and harmony in the world. It seems to many that we are becoming more and more divided and at odds with each other. Anderson went right back to the theme that it is the internal not the external that a Mason looks at in another. It was at this point that Past Grand Master of the Grand Lodge of Texas, Elmer Murphy, rose and came out to Anderson and put his arm around him and related an old story in his family about a Black man who helped his father to pick up body parts after an explosion at a chemical factory. He was a big man, Murphy said and then something about his being in the Navy. I loved that man, I heard him say.
I don’t even know if I have that story right since I was concentrating on what I saw before me rather than what was being said. Here was a PGM of the Grand Lodge of Texas and the DGM of the most Worshipful Prince Hall Grand Lodge of Texas arm in arm reinforcing the concept that it is the internal not the external part of a man that is important. And when PGM Murphy completed his tale he hugged DGM Anderson, whereupon every Brother in the room rose to give them both a thunderous applause.
Back in 2006 both Grand Lodges did not recognize each other. In 2007 a Compact of Recognition was signed, but without intervisitation and Masonic intercourse. Just last year those last barriers were removed. And this evening witnessed further progress in Masonic closeness.
The speech being over introductions of all visiting Brethren were made. It was duly noted that we had a Brother from the Prince Hall Grand Lodge of Maryland, and a Cuban Brother who was a member of a military Lodge in South Korea.
Worshipful Bindel then presented DGM Anderson with a gift of a gavel and a certificate that made him an honorary member of Jewel P. Lightfoot. Lodge was left to expire at midnight and we all took off for the Komali Mexican Restaurant.
At the restaurant, we satisfied ourselves with good food and libation. But most of all we experienced that Masonic tenet of Brotherly Love and Affection. There were many toasts offered and many new friends made. When we finally parted it was midnight and I returned home with the knowledge that this had truly been a historic occasion.
Brother John “Corky” Wheeler Daut passed away July 11, 2016 at the age of 88. In his earlier years he was Superintendent of the Department of Solid Waste for Houston, Texas. Later he was to open his own business, Daut’s Repair Service, repairing small engines and sharpening saws. Towards the end of his life he operated Pine Island Pen Works specializing in the manufacture and sale of wooden writing pens.
But he is best known for “The Small Town Texas Masons E-Magazine”that he published every month. It was a prodigious undertaking that included Masonic articles from all over the world. From Masonic News to esoteric studies to writings from the Old Masters and everything in between, the magazine covered the thought and the going-ons of Freemasonry. He wrote the last edition just weeks before his death. He also published a newsletter-magazine for his own Lodge, Waller Lodge of Pine Island Texas where he touted, “We Are The Largest, ‘Small Town Texas Lodge’ Web Site, On The Internet, Over 100 Pages of Masonic Information and Education.”
He was raised to a Master Mason in the Cedar Bayou Lodge #321 at the age of 64. Later he joined Humble Lodge #79 but demitted from both when he moved to Pine Island Texas. There he joined Waller Lodge #808 and became its Master in 2005. Along the way he affiliated with Hempsted Lodge #749 and became its Secretary.
Brother Daut’s enthusiasm for the Craft and his outreach to Masons all over the world from a small Texas community makes his accomplishments all the more laudable. He showed the world what can be done when your heart is in the right place and you possess and display the peace and harmony that Masonry teaches you.
“Well done, thou good and faithful servant! Enter thou into the joy of thy Lord!”
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.
Intervisitation with The Most Worshipful Prince Hall Grand Lodge of Texas has just been approved by the Grand Lodge of Texas on Saturday December 6, 2014 at 12 Noon. The Most Worshipful Prince Hall Grand Lodge of Texas approved the same in its mid-winter Grand Session in November. The two Grand Lodges have been under mutual recognition without visitation for a number of years. Now that cross visitation has been approved by both parties it is a reality.
The two Texas Grand Lodges signed a compact of mutual recognition on April 23, 2007 but without cross visitation. So for the past seven years Freemasons from one Grand Lodge could not attend the Communications of the other Grand Lodge.
This is all water over the dam now. A new day has dawned and a new era of brotherly love and affection has begun.
Some people attain the level of leadership just because they have been around a long time. Some people get to be “head honcho” because they are everybody’s friend and nobody’s enemy. Still others have risen to the top through wheeling and dealing and doing favors expecting favors in return.
Such leaders, after attaining power, rarely ruffle any feathers. They go along to get along. They do things the way they have always been done. They refuse to push people to greater heights or hold anybody accountable for anything. They revel in their honors but do little to further their organization.
None of this describes R. Lucille Samuel, Grand Princess Captain Lone Star Grand Guild of Texas PHA. Samuel is far from a “Do Nothing” leader. Rather she is the type that might say, “Let the chips fall where they may but we are moving forward embracing change.”
You will understand where she is coming from and what type of a leader that she is when you read her recent address to the Grand Guild, delivered at her Grand Session and in conjunction with the Grand Sessions of all the York Rite Bodies of The Most Worshipful Prince Hall Grand Lodge Of Texas.
Read the words of a true leader:
2013 has been an awesome year for the Grand Guild. We have had very successful Regional Trainings and our membership continues to excel.
So where do we go from HERE?
For wrath killeth the foolish man and envy slayeth the silly one.
We need to change our organizational outlook. We have no peripheral vision. Most of us can only see straight forward and any type of change is out of the question. You cannot be afraid of failure. Your success is not measured by the number of times you fall but upon the way you handle recovery. It is not how high you climb but how you got there. You must have the courage to take risks.
You cannot lead where you don’t go and you can’t teach what you don’t know. The key to being a successful leader is earning respect not because of your Title or position. People who work together will ALWAYS WIN!
You cannot lead an organization if you are afraid of change or what other people will think. You have to realize that people will always talk especially those that envy you. Unfortunately we don’t like to see others succeed. Instead of giving encouraging words of advice or wisdom we would rather watch others fail. You do realize that when the Leader fails so does the organization. A lot of times you will hear the phrase well THEY said. My interpretation of that is as follows.
The letters in THEY stand for: – T for Tongue which is a very sharp weapon used against others. H stands for Hateful things that people will do to see you Fail. E stands for ENVY of those that feel you are a threat to them. They aren’t happy so they feel that no one else should be happy. Y stands for YOU because THEY never said anything YOU did.
We cannot continue to use the same strategies that our Ancestors used. It may have worked great for them in their time but times have definitely changed, The phrase, “Well that is how we have always done it,” has to GO! If we wish to attract members into our organizations that are talented and well educated a Change must come. You cannot run a well oiled machine on tap water. There is no reason we should not have the largest membership Rolls in the world. What makes any other organization better than the Prince Hall Masonic Family?
I was told a successful person is one who can lay a firm foundation with the bricks that others have thrown at him. Well we don’t want to hurt anyone’s feelings because they have been in the Order since the Last Supper. Their wisdom is always welcome. But we cannot continue to tip toe around others feelings. The ship needs to sail and those who can’t swim need to stay on the shore.
We are also afraid to share knowledge with others in fear of them replacing us. Knowledge is power and should not be used as a weapon. A great leader surrounds themselves with people that have talents and ideas which make the organization shine. It is a very selfish person that allows their personal gain to deter progress. Remember that not all people in charge are leaders. Sometimes it is by virtue of them being in the right place at the right time or there was no one else at the time available.
So what do we do to change that? Stop nominating your friends instead of the qualified person. Stop trying to run the Organization alone. We know you want all the credit and glory. Share your knowledge and information to all. Tomorrow is promised to no one. There should never be a time when one person steps out of a position and someone else cannot step in. When your organization is losing more members than receiving new members that is a sign. When your Annual Conference Registration continues to decline Houston we have serious problem!
We need to make a change. This is a volunteer organization and people will not continue to spend money on Registration and travel to attend meetings that continue to hold the same old programs. When you have Officers that do absolutely nothing during the Year and you continue to keep them in office people will not support you. It is so petty of you to threaten people or hold grudges against them just because they run for office against you. You are not doing anything so get out of the way! There is no motivation. When your Annual Session minutes state the same business every year and the only thing that changes is the DATE you are in trouble.
If we do not make a change the Prince Hall Family will dissipate into thin air. All of the hard work our Trail Blazers accomplished will be in vain.
We have to take charge now and work TOGETHER. Working against each other we will not survive. We have to have the Wisdom to know that Music means nothing if the audience is DEAF! We cannot go back and change the past but we can start today by making a new beginning and become the WINNING TEAM!
Holding grudges against someone for something that happened years ago will not solve anything either. Most of you don’t even remember why you are angry anyway. We are not here to become a Social Club but to conduct the business of this Great Order.
People may forget what you said to them but they will never forget how you treated them.
Remember the pessimist sees the difficulty in every situation and the optimist sees the opportunity in every difficulty. Be an Optimist!
Proverbs 14:33 Wisdom resteth in the heart of him that hath understanding; but that which is in the midst of fools is made known.
We will never have peace if we never let go of wanting to change the past and controlling the future. You will never be successful if you have to always ask “What’s In It For Me”?
In closing I ask that we all remember “Effective leadership is not about making speeches or being liked; leadership is defined by results and not attributes.
I will continue to lead BY THE CROSS,
R. Lucille Samuel
Grand Princess Captain
Lone Star Grand Guild of Texas PHA
Heroines of the Templars Crusade
International Grand Senior Shepherdess
International Grand Deputy of Texas
International Grand Court of Cyrene Crusaders
“BRING ONE TEACH TWO”
Some days you don’t even feel like getting out of bed. Saturday, April 27, 2013 was one of those days and while I slept in I didn’t stay in. Oh no, no way. For there was a rooftop raising to go to and I was to be the Chaplain. So with a cold, muscular-skeletal issues, nevertheless, I persevered because this might be a once in a lifetime opportunity.
Arriving early I was able to take pictures as the rooftop space was being set up and in the light of day. We opened Lodge as the sun set and 6 Fellow Crafts were raised to the sublime degree of Master Mason in the night. We had two sidelights and the lighting of the three lesser lights around the altar. That was all.
This whole idea was the brainchild of Worshipful Jerome D. Lacy, Master of Metropolitan Lodge #146, DeSoto, Texas, a Lodge of the Most Worshipful Prince Hall Grand Lodge of Texas. We gathered on the 5th floor rooftop of a building on the side of a hill in Dallas along I35 just south of downtown Dallas. From this vantage point one could see a beautiful view of the core city of Dallas.
The degree was performed by a degree team comprised of Brothers from many of the Lodges of the 11th Masonic District. All 11 Lodges of the district had representatives present to watch this degree. Both the Grand Master and Deputy Grand Master were present to lend their support.
What a sight it was to see 6 Brothers at the altar taking their obligation illuminated just by the three lesser lights and 75 Master Masons on the right and the left. The Master was on the East side of the altar under the wands and the Chaplain on the West side under the wands.
Only a little bit later these 6 Brothers were raised under the canopy of a true starry decked heaven, the one that God made. Afterward we all sat down for a meal under the stars and fellowshipped only as Master Masons can.
The night was a huge success and when anybody asks me about this “Masonic male bonding thing,” I always tell them you got to see it and experience it to believe it. This was one of many great instances where being a Freemason was proved to be something special!
You correspond with Brothers for years. You get to know them really well. Or perhaps you go through a particularly trying time just once with a Brother long distance. That’s enough for a strong bond. But still there is something lacking, the joy of a face to face relationship.
In town for the 2013 Phylaxis Convention, I got together with Brothers Beaux Pettys, WM Victor Marshall, PM Mike Bjelajac and Carlos Peon all from the Mainstream Grand Lodge of Georgia.
Perhaps you remember the story of African American Brother Victor Marshall who the Grand Lodge of Georgia tried to expel because of the color of his skin. And then after that battle was won when they refused to admit him to the Scottish Rite.
In case those stories got by you here are the original articles:
Mike Bjelajac was Master of the Lodge at the time and it is upon his shoulders that much of the heat was applied. Just a few minutes of conversation with Mike and you could tell why he handled it so well. He is a mild mannered, kind Brother, the non excitable type.
The Gate City Lodge Brothers decided to dine with me at the Phylaxis Society host hotel. This made for a good deal of interaction between Brothers from different Grand Lodges. You would never know that Georgia does not recognize Prince Hall by the way and manner in which brotherly love and affection was demonstrated this night.
Another chapter in life has been experienced and I am back home in Texas, now. But the joy of a time when we could break bread together, laugh and hug each other and get to know something of the inner man will live with me for many years hence. Truly there is no substitute for fraternity and fellowship in person.
Phoenixmasonry records on its website the existence of a White Supremacist organization with Masonic influence called Knights of the Golden Circle.
The Knights of the Golden Circle was a Texas-based secret society. Their objective was to create a confederation of slave-holding states in parts of Mexico and the West Indies, extending slavery; the group’s plan thus mirrored the objectives of secession, a cause they actively supported during the Civil War. Legend has it that they hid the fabled confederate gold allegedly sent off for safe keeping as the waning days of the war. Others have linked them to the KKK.
At the link below is a fascinating history of the KGC and the historical context, it is after all subtitled “A History of Secession from 1834 to 1861.” It was written by a member of the order and published in 1861. The rituals and degree structure described in this book clearly indicate the influence of Freemasonry; whether it was founded by men who happened to be Masons is unclear, as Freemasonry is not mentioned in the text. (1)
Knights of Pythias, Brownwood, 1903. Back row center, with his hat removed and held across his left shoulder, is Henry Ford—founder of the Knights of Pythias Command in Brownwood, Texas. Ford was KPs first Chancellor, the county clerk and a local bank owner with two others.
Few people know of the Knights of the Golden Circle and even fewer know about the purpose for which it existed. It is probably the greatest untold story today in the history of the United States. That is unusual because during the last century this very large, powerful, secret and subversive southern organization had such a profound influence and effect over the course of many years that they almost succeeded in changing the course of our history.
It has been said of them that they were one of the deadliest, wealthiest, most secretive and subversive spy and underground organizations in the history of the world. It is known that they operated not only in the United States, but also around the glove for 65 years (1851 to 1916). Also, that the original Ku Klux Klan was their military arm. Some of the finest and craftiest brains in the South helped organize and direct the activities of the Knights of the Golden Circle. The group was heavy on ritual, most of which was borrowed from the Masonic Lodge and later from the Knights of Pythias. Some were also members of the Rosicrucians. Their wealth was due to the huge amount of money, valuables and equipment that they had accumulated for the purpose of restarting the Civil War.
So, you might wonder then if that is true, why haven’t we read about them in our history books or heard them mentioned in our schools before? That is a hard question to answer, but maybe because they were such devout, die-hard, southern rebels, working for a southern cause that was eventually defeated and one that is not popular today. However, the fact remains that since they did exist and were a very large and powerful organization for many years, I think that their story should be known today.
But during the 1800’s, many stories and articles did appear about the Knights of the Golden Circle in many newspapers, magazines and periodicals, before, during, and after the Civil War. But somehow, these stories have been overlooked or purposely omitted from our modern-day history books. So, who were the Knights of the Golden Circle and what was their purpose?
Origins of the Knights of the Golden Circle
Actually, their beginning goes back to a long period before the Civil War when our young nation was reaching out for more territory. They were part of the overall imperialist’s movement to expand out borders westward, even though they had not officially taken on the name of the Knights of the Golden Circle. Then, when the issue of slavery began to divide the sentiments of our country, they started to support the Southern states in trying to keep slavery alive because most of them were Southerners. As the issue of slavery finally divided the Union and the Civil War began, they became ardent supporters of the southern cause. This is when the organization became secret and went underground in their efforts to aid the Confederacy. Since they were considered subversive, that is why they became a secret organization. President Lincoln once referred to their very effective efforts against the North, as a “Fifth Column.” That could have been the origin of the term.
Then, after the war was over, they refused to accept the terms of the southern surrender. They had been working diligently for many years to accomplish their goals and were not about to give them up. They had too much momentum going. Also, they were still bitter over the issue of slavery and of not establishing a Confederate nation independent from the northern states. This is when they went underground with a strongly determined and clandestine, even bizarre, plan to eventually restart the Civil War at a later time.(2)
FURTHER UNDERTAKINGS AND MASONIC INFLUENCE
Shortly before the Civil War began, the state of Texas was the greatest source of this organization’s strength. Texas was home for at least thirty-two K.G.C. castles in twenty-seven counties, including the towns of San Antonio, Marshall, Canton, and Castroville. Evidence suggests that San Antonio may have served as the organization’s national headquarters for a time.
The South began to secede from the Union in January 1861, and in February of that year, seven seceding states ratified the Confederate Constitution and named Jefferson Davis as provisional president. The Knights of the Golden Circle became the first and most powerful ally of the newly-created Confederate States ofAmerica.
Before the Civil War officially started on April 12, 1861, when shots were fired on Fort Sumter, South Carolina, and before Texas had held its election on the secession referendum on February 23, 1861, Texas volunteer forces, which included 150 K.G.C. soldiers under the command of Col. Ben McCulloch, forced the surrender of the federal arsenal at San Antonio that was under the command of Bvt. Maj. Gen. David E. Twiggs on February 15, 1861. Knights of the Golden Circle who were involved in this mission included Capt. Trevanion Teel, Sgt. R. H. Williams, John Robert Baylor, and Sgt. Morgan Wolfe Merrick. Following this quick victory, volunteers who were mostly from K.G.C. companies, forced the surrender of all federal posts between San Antonio and El Paso.
Perhaps the best documentation as to the power and influence of the Knights of the Golden Circle during the Civil War is The Private Journal and Diary of John H. Surratt, The Conspirator which was written by John Harrison Surratt and later edited by Dion Haco and published by Frederic A. Brady of New York in 1866. In this journal, Surratt goes into great detail when describing how he was introduced to the K.G.C. in the summer of 1860 by another Knight, John Wilkes Booth, and inducted into this mysterious organization on July 2, 1860, at a castle in Baltimore,Maryland. Surratt describes the elaborate and secret induction ceremony and its rituals and tells that cabinet members, congressmen, judges, actors, and other politicians were in attendance. Maybe the most significant revelation of Surratt’s diary is that the Knights of the Golden Circle began plotting to kidnap Abraham Lincoln in 1860, before Lincoln was even inaugurated in 1861, and continued throughout the Civil War, resulting in President Lincoln’s assassination by fellow Knight Booth on April 14, 1865.
After trying unsuccessfully to peacefully resolve the conflicts between North and South, the Knights of the Golden Circle threw its full support behind the newly-created Confederate States of America and added its trained military men to the Confederate States Army. Several Confederate military groups during the Civil War were composed either totally or in large part of members of the Knights of theGolden Circle. One notable example of K.G.C. military participation in the Civil War included the Confederate’s Western Expansion Movement of 1861 and 1862 led by Lt. Col. John Robert Baylor and Gen. Henry Hopkins Sibley.
In 1861 Albert Pike travelled to Indian Territory and negotiated an alliance with Cherokee Chief Stand Watie. Prior to the beginning of hostilities, Pike helped Watie to become a Thirty-second Degree Scottish Rite Mason. Watie was also in the K.G.C., and he was later commissioned a colonel in command of the First Regiment of Cherokee Mounted Rifles. In May 1864 Chief Watie was promoted to the rank of brigadier general in the Confederate States Army making him the only Native American of this rank in the Confederate Army. Watie’s command was to serve under CSA officers Albert Pike, Benjamin McCulloch, Thomas Hindman, and Sterling Price. They fought in engagements in Indian Territory, Kansas, Arkansas, Texas, and Missouri.
One of the most feared organizations of all Confederates, whose members were in large part Knights of the Golden Circle, was what was called Quantrill’s Guerrillas or Quantrill’s Raiders. The Missouri-based band was formed in December 1861 by William Clark Quantrill and originally consisted of only ten men who were determined to right the wrongs done to Missourians by Union occupational soldiers. Their mortal enemies were the Kansas Jayhawkers and the Red Legs who were the plague of Missouri. As the war raged on in Missouri and neighboring states, Quantrill’s band attracted hundreds more men into its ranks. Quantrill’s Guerrillas became an official arm of the Confederate Army after May 1862, when the Confederate Congress approved the Partisan Ranger Act. Other leaders of Quantrill’s Guerrillas included William C. “Bloody Bill” Anderson, David Pool, William Gregg, and George Todd. Some of the major engagements this deadly guerrilla force participated in included the Lawrence, Kansas, raid on August 21, 1863, the battle near Baxter Springs, Kansas, in October 1863, and two battles at and near Centralia in Missouri in September of 1864. The bulk of Quantrill’s band wintered in Grayson County, Texas, from 1861 through 1864. (3)
From “A History of Secession from 1834 to 1861” comes this insight into the rituals of The Knights of the Golden Circle. This entire work is rather lengthy but very revealing and is available in full on Phoenixmasonry.
I will now give you the signs, grips, password, and token of the First Degree of the K. C. G. (Of course a misprint for K. G. C.)
This Dcgree has a name, which I may now give you—it is the ” I,” (Knight of the Iron Hand.) The first great sign of the…
Order is thus made, 7, (Hands open, palms touching and resting on the top or the head, fingers pointed upwards). The answer to this is 8 (open hands touching shoulder where epaulettes are worn ; elbows close to the side).
These are battle-field signs, and are not to be used under ordinary circumstances. The common sign of recognition is 9 (right forefinger drawn across upper lip under nose, as if rubbing). The answer 10, (with forefinger and thumb of left hand take hold of’ left ear).
To gain admission to a Lorking Castle, or the room of any K. G. C., give 11 (one distinct rap) at the door, The Sentinel on duty will then raise the wicket and demand the countersign, which is 12, (SOLDIERS, always lettered except at Castle door.) You will then pass to the center of the room and give the true sign of the K. G. C.; it is 13. (left hand on heart; right hand raised) This will be recognized by a bow from the Captain, when you will at once take your seat. The sign of assent is 14, (both hands up) of dissent 15, (one hand tip) the grip is 16, (press with thumb one inch above second knuckle) the token 17, (Golden Circle encasing block bands closed on scroll : the whole to be the size of a dime)
Every member may wear the sign of his degree.
And now, reader, yon know as much about the signs, grips, tokens, &c., of the Knights of the Golden Circle as they themselves do. We may here remark that the initiation fee for the First Degree is one dollar, for the Second five dollars, for the Third ten.
From the Second or Financial Degree we need give but little.
The following is the closing part of the initiation:
Captain. The head quarters of this organization are at 23, (Monterey) where most of the stores and munitions are deposited. The Financial Head quarters are at —; Col. N. J.Scott is at present Financial Chairman.
KNIGHTS OF THE GOLDEN CIRCLE. 83
Captain. I shall now give you the unwritten parts of this work, and I trust you will be careful in its use. If a general war ensues, we shall dispense with the First Degree, and rely on this and the Third.
Name—18 (True Faith) sign—25 (fore finger and thumb of right hands joined, while with thc rest of the hand upon the right eye is touching with the middle finger,) answer—26 (same with left hand and left eye) password 27 (Monterey) night word of distress-32 (St Mary) response-3I and say 5 (grasp by wrist and say Rio Grande) emblem—28 (gold circle encasing Greek cross, in center of which is star) This is the 29 (key) to our 30 (secret alphabet) use of 33 (K. G. C.) 56 (Gcorge ley) guard sign 28 (gold circle encasing Greek CROSS, in center of which is a star) silence 25 (forefinger and thumb of right hand joined, while with the rest of the hand open the right, eye left is touching on middle finger) on lips; danger—right—same with and now it remains for us to give the Ritual of the Third Degree, which, as being the most importaut, we shall publish almost entire. We have not the time or space for commenting on it now.
Every citizen can judge of it for himself: The Roman Catholics and the foreign born population will see how they are proscribed by this mysterious Order ; this central and guiding power of the secession and disunion party. All will see, too, that the Order declares for a Monarchy, a Limited Monarchy, as they call it, until all their purposes in regard to Mexico shall have been accomplished, and we need not suggest how bricf will be the period within which, if they get their Limited Monarchy, they will make it an Absolute Monarchy.
THIRD or POLITICAL DEGREE OF THE 33 (K. G. C.)— NAMED 57
(Knights Of the Columbian Star)
INSTRUCTIONS: Officers of the Council shall be a Governor and a Secretary. Every 57 (Knight of the Columbian Star) is qualified to act in either capacity.
Qualifications for Membership.
Candidate must be familiar with the work of the two former Degrees ; must have been born in 58 (a Slave State), or if in 59 (a Free State) he must be a citizen; 60 (a Protestant) and 61 (a Slaveholder). A candidate who was horn in 58 (a Slave State) need not be 61 (a Slaveholder) provided he can give 62 (Evidences of character as a Southern man).
Object: To form a council for the 33 (K. G. C.) and to organize 63 (a government) for 2 (Mexico.) No 57 (Knight of the Columbian Star) shall admit, except to a brother 57, that he has this Degree, for reasons that will hereafter appear. Any two 57s84 RITUAL OF THE can confer the degree on others, the oldest 57 acting as Governor.
Although it is pure conjecture one has to wonder whether present day Southern Freemasonry’s objection to recognizing Prince Hall, its insistence on being a White, Christian only Fraternity as exemplified by the recent religious rulings of the Mainstream Grand Lodge of Florida, has a direct correlation in the teachings of The Knights of the Golden Circle and other White Supremacist organizations being passed down from father to son, generation after generation.
The Most Worshipful Prince Hall Grand Lodge of Texas held its Mid Winter Grand Session Friday night 11/9/12 and all day Saturday 11/10/12. Friday night’s tradition is a mass raising of Fellow Crafts from around the state. This is not a one day class. The candidates have received their first and second degrees in their home Lodges. And the raising is done pretty much the same as a raising in the local Lodge. The main difference would be that candidates go through the gates about eight at a time.
This year we had 82 Fellow Crafts to be raised. Total time from beginning to end was about 3 ½ hours. It is quite a sight to see 82 Brothers circumambulating around the Lodge. It requires about a dozen “mangers” to make it work.
I do the “On Yonder Book” charge after the degree which I have adapted for audience participation at the end.
This year I wrote a prelude to the charge, a new way to introduce it and foretell what was to come. Here is what I told the newly raised Master Masons:
Congratulations on being raised to the sublime degree of Master Mason. It now becomes my duty to remind you of the promises you have made. Do you know what I am talking about?
Here’s what I want you to do. When you get back home I want you to attend the next meeting of your Lodge and participate in or observe an opening.
There you will find that after the Master tyles the Lodge and receives the password form the Brethren he starts the opening ceremony by asking the Senior Warden, “Are You a Master Mason?”
The Senior Warden replies, “I am.”
Then The Master asks the Senior Warden, “What induced you to become a Master Mason?”
The Senior Warden answers.
The Master then asks, “What makes you a Master Mason?”
Everybody in the room, What makes you a Master Mason?
That’s what we are talking about.
These promises were not made to your Lodge, your Worshipful Master or even to the Grand Master. These promises were made to God and they are with you for the rest of your life.
You must realize what all the other Master Masons in this room know and respect and live up to – that everything you say, do and represent from this moment forward is a direct reflection on this group, your Brothers, and the thousands of members who have come before you. Everything you put out to the world is a direct reflection on this fraternity. Every decision, every achievement, every mistake you make happens to all of us from this point forward (thanks to RW Bro. Hugh Goldie).
As a Master Mason it is incumbent on you, then, not to dishonor Freemasonry, nor embarrass your Lodge or Grand Lodge nor bring shame on yourselves.
I will not let you out of this building tonight without first impressing on your minds in the strongest manner how solemn and how important those Obligations that you have taken are.
So let us now begin.
And that’s what it was for these 82 new Master Masons, a new beginning.