“When you have a million dollar vision you don’t surround yourself with one cent minds.”

R. Lucille Samuel
The 8th Grand Princess Captain
Lone Star Grand Guild

Once again I am pleased to present R. Lucille Samuel, Grand Princess Captain of the Lone Star Grand Guild, Heroines of the Templars Crusade of Texas,  PHA Texas, with her annual (2017) Allocution. This is her last Allocution as Grand Princess Captain as she will be moving on to Royal Grand Perfect Matron of the Texas LOCOP in September.

Samuel is a fighter for being all you can be and getting the most out of your participation in your Fraternity. Never the shy one, she is not afraid to speak up and speak out to inspire and encourage those that she leads to step up to the plate and hit a home run. As many a great leader has done before her she is not afraid to criticize her fraternity or herself when the effort is lacking or the decisions are poor.

A very hard worker, a great speaker, and the definition of a leader here is what she had to say:


Two are better than one; because they have a good reward for their labour.  For if they fall, the one will lift up his fellow; but woe to him that is alone when he falleth; for he hath not another to help him up.  Ecclesiastes 4:9-10.

Are you committed to help our fellow brother or sister?

Last year was the Big “D” and now we have arrived in the ALAMO!

R. Lucille Samuel
The 8th Grand Princess Captain
Lone Star Grand Guild

I am thrilled to bring you greetings on behalf of the Lone Star Grand Guild, Heroines of the Templars Crusade of Texas, PHA!  The best in the WORLD!

So much has changed since we convened at this time last year.  Again there are smiles that are missing and empty voids in our lives.  However we continue our Crusade as Christian Soldiers in protecting our banner!  2017 is a New Year and we will embrace it.

Psalms 37:5 – Commit thy way unto the LORD; trust also in him; and he shall bring it to pass.

When you are interested in something you tend to do things when it is convenient for you.  When you are committed you make no excuses and you only produce results.  So you set goals for yourself and you start to become immersed in your work.  You put in long hours and become consistent in your strategies.  You are focused and feel confident in yourself.

Well, one day you wake up and you think I have achieved everything that I dreamed about and this show can run itself on autopilot.  So you start to slack off and start making excuses instead of keeping your commitment.

In these organizations today we have too many members that are only interested until they get in the door.  Once they become members we lose their commitment that they swore upon at the Altar.  They start with well you know I have to work late or I have something at church or I forgot about the meeting.   Well as long as you were looking pretty in your aprons, collars and bling it was all great.  When we asked you to serve the needy or feed the hungry or assist with a donation you lost interest.

You start out with innovative ideas and some where along the road you debated in your head and lost your commitment.  All those promises you made fell by the wayside.  Your total behavior has gone South.  Your service is the price you pay to occupy space on this earth.  It is the least you can do.

I have never known anyone to be successful by just being interested.  You have to have that driven desire to be committed.  Talk is cheap.  Put your work where your mouth is and Put Up or Shut Up!

Have you ever met people that have been everywhere and done everything?  Or as soon you speak they speak behind you to belittle you?  Like Social Media Stalkers when you post they are just waiting to post behind you.

If we as members do not retain our commitments to the Masonic Order it will die.  Some are already in the Hearse headed to the cemetery now.  Just because you may be the Leader does not mean you are LEADING!!!!!  When you stand before your Body and notice there are more empty seats than members Houston you have a problem!  They have lost interest in you and the organization.  Some of you that have reached the top floor in the elevator need to send it back down because you need HELP!  There is a fine line between “The Good of the Order and the Good of Self!  Stop promoting your own Agenda.  When your most passionate people become silent or walk away you need to realize your leadership is failing.

We need to switch our focus from our needs to their needs.  Take an interest in your membership.   How often do you visit your local organizations?  I don’t mean when you need a free trip but to really teach and talk to your membership.  Are you an assignment or an attachment?  You must seek to understand before seeking to be understood.  You cannot continue to be selfish and significant at the same time.

Another issue is worrying about what others think of you.  If Christ didn’t care why should we?  Never allow someone else’s opinion of you become your reality.  Education is when you read the fine print and experience is what you get when you don’t.

We need change!  We can’t keep doing the same repetitious programs and expect new results.  Sometimes people need to leave their positions in order for it to work.  Complaining every year about attendance and members not working for the order will not make progress.  I was once told when you have a million dollar vision you don’t surround yourself with one cent minds.

R. Lucille Samuel
The 8th Grand Princess Captain
Lone Star Grand Guild                                                                                                                                                               In closing I ask that we all remember “Wherever you go no matter the weather, always bring your own sunshine!”
I will continue to lead BY THE CROSS,
Lucille Samuel
The 8th Grand Princess Captain
Lone Star Grand Guild

You need to commit to the Order and realize that if you don’t peak their interest or motivate the body you will continue to sink like a Rock!  You have to lead from the front and the back.  If you are not willing to show your sweat and labor then don’t expect it from the members.  Encouragement is oxygen for the soul.  You can begin with an attitude of gratitude and stop being arrogant but try being humble!  You can’t gain the respect of others if you have no respect for yourself.  Materialist items don’t make you important.  Whether you drive a Mercedes or a Hyundai or you use words to intimidate others your effectiveness as a leader is defined by results not attributes.  The only man who never makes a mistake is the man who never does anything.

Your Energy is Contagious and either you affect people or you infect people.  Which are you?  If you affect people in a positive way it is always a plus.  But if you are a virus that infects people in a negative way then you need to remove yourself before you contaminate your membership.

In Hoc Signo Vinces – Symbols and Symbolism

york right, knight templar, freemasonry

In this installment of Symbols and Symbolism, we look at the meaning behind the iconic slogan of the York Right Knight TemplarsIn Hoc Signo Vinces (pronounced – in hohk sig-noh wing-kase). Translated from Latin to read “By this sign thou shalt conquer,” the motto, and its corresponding association with the passion cross are, perhaps, a misrepresentation of its original and true intention and an adoption by later Christian military orders in their conquest over the pagan world.

Despite its militaristic association, the motto and the symbols it represents have perhaps a far older symbolic meaning into the mysteries of Egypt and beyond.

From Albert Mackey’s Encyclopedia of Freemasonry:

On the Grand Standard of a Commandery of Knights Templar these words are inscribed over “a blood-red Passion Cross,” and they constitute in part the motto of the American branch of the Order. Their meaning, “By this sign thou shalt conquer,” is a substantial, but not literal, translation of the original Greek. For the origin of the motto, IN HOC SIGNO VINCES (pronounced “In hoke seeg-noh ween-case” from the Greek) we must go back to a well-known legend of the Church, which has, however, found more doubters than believers among the learned. Eusebius, who wrote a life of Constantine says that while the emperor was in Gaul, in the year 312, preparing for war with his rival, Maxentius, about the middle hours of the day, as the sun began to verge toward its setting, he saw in the heavens with his own eyes, the sun surmounted with the trophy of the cross, which was composed of light, and a legend annexed, which said “by this conquer.” This account Eusebius affirms to be in the words of Constantine.

Roman Emperor Constantine

Lactantius, who places the occurrence at a later date and on the eve of a battle with Maxentius, in which the latter was defeated, relates it not as an actual occurrence, but as a dream or vision; and this is now the generally received opinion of those who do not deem the whole legend a fabrication. On the next day, Constantine had an image of this cross made into a banner, called the labarum, which he ever afterward used as the imperial standard. Eusebius describes it very fully. It was not a Passion Cross, such as is now used on the modern Templar standard, but the monogram of Christ. The shaft was a very long spear.

On the toll was a crown composed of Gold and precious stones, and containing the sacred symbol, namely, the Greek letter “rho” or P. intersected by the “chi” or X, which two letters are the first and second of the name “XRISTOS”, or Christ. If then, the Templars retain the motto on their banner, they should, for the sake of historical accuracy, discard the Passion Cross, and replace it with the Constantinian Chronogram, or Cross of the Labarum. But the truth is that the ancient Templars used neither the Passion Cross, nor that of Constantine, nor was the motto “In Hoc Signo Vinces” on their standard. Their only banner was the black and white Beauseant, and at the bottom of it was inscribed their motto, also in Latin, “Non nobis Domine, non-nobis, sed nomini to da gloriam, meaning “Not unto us, O Lord, not unto us, but unto Thee give the glory.” This was the song or shout of victory sung by the Templars when triumphant in battle.

Constantine In Hoc Signo Vinces
Manly P Hall
Manly P Hall

Manly P. Hall, in his Secret Teachings of All Ages, finds parallels with In Hoc Sig Vinces in an examination of the Tau cross and the Crux Ansata, saying:

There are three distinct forms of the cross. The first is called the TAU (more correctly the TAV). It closely resembles the modern letter T, consisting of a horizontal bar resting on a vertical column, the two arms being of equal length. An oak tree cut off some feet above the ground and its upper part laid across the lower in this form was the symbol of the Druid god Hu. It is suspected that this symbol originated among the Egyptians from the spread of the horns of a bull or ram (Taurus or Aries) and the vertical line of its face. This is sometimes designated as the hammer cross, because if held by its vertical base it is not unlike a mallet or gavel. In one of the Qabbalistic Masonic legends, CHiram Abiff is given a hammer in the form of a TAU by his ancestor, Tubal-cain. The TAU cross is preserved to modern Masonry under the symbol of the T square. This appears to be the oldest form of the cross extant.

The TAU cross was inscribed on the forehead of every person admitted into the Mysteries of Mithras. When a king was initiated into the Egyptian Mysteries, the TAU was placed against his lips. It was tattooed upon the bodies of the candidates in some of the American Indian Mysteries. To the Qabbalist, the TAU stood for heaven and the Pythagorean tetracts. The Caduceus of Hermes was an outgrowth of the TAU cross.

Crux Ansata

The second type was that of a T, or TAU, cross surmounted by a circle, often foreshortened to the form of an upright oval. This was called by the ancients the Crux Ansata, or the cross of life (as illustrated as the ankh). It was the key to the Mysteries of antiquity and it probably gave rise to the more modern story of St. Peter’s golden key to heaven. In the Mysteries of Egypt, the candidate passed through all forms of actual and imaginary dangers, holding above his head the Crux Ansata, before which the powers of darkness fell back abashed. The student is reminded of the words In hoc signo vinces. The TAU form of the cross is not unlike the seal of Venus, as Richard Payne Knight has noted. He states: “The cross in this form is sometimes observable on coins, and several of them were found in a temple of Serapis [the Serapeum], demolished at the general destruction of those edifices by the Emperor Theodosius, and were said by the Christian antiquaries of that time to signify the future life.”

Augustus Le Plongeon, in his Sacred Mysteries Among the Mayas and Quiches, notes that the Crux Ansata, which he calls The Key to the Nile and the Symbol of Symbols, either in its complete form or as a simple TAU, was to be seen adorning the breasts of statues and bas-reliefs at Palenque, Copan, and throughout Central America. He notes that it was always associated with water; that among the Babylonians it was the emblem of the water gods; among the Scandinavians, of heaven and immortality; and among the Mayas, of rejuvenation and freedom from physical suffering.The third form of the cross is the familiar Roman or Greek type, which is closely associated with the crucifixion of Jesus Christ, although it is improbable that the cross used resembled its more familiar modern form. There are unlimited sub-varieties of crosses, differing in the relative proportions of their vertical and horizontal sections.

Read: Christianization of Freemasonry

blake cross

The third form of the cross is the familiar Roman or Greek type, which is closely associated with the crucifixion of Jesus Christ, although it is improbable that the cross used resembled its more familiar modern form. There are unlimited sub-varieties of crosses, differing in the relative proportions of their vertical and horizontal sections. Among the secret orders of different generations, we find compounded crosses, such as the triple TAU in the Royal Arch of Freemasonry and the double and triple crosses of both Masonic and Roman Catholic symbolism.

To the Christian, the cross has a twofold significance.

First, it is the symbol of the death of his Redeemer, through whose martyrdom he feels that he partakes of the glory of God; secondly, it is the symbol of humility, patience, and the burden of life. It is interesting that the cross should be both a symbol of life and a symbol of death. Many nations deeply considered the astronomical aspect of religion, and it is probable that the Persians, Greeks, and Hindus looked upon the cross as a symbol of the equinoxes and the solstices, in the belief that at certain seasons of the year the sun was symbolically crucified upon these imaginary celestial angles.

What Makes A Leader

R. Lucille Samuel

R. Lucille Samuel

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?

Job 5:2

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

Don’t Mess With Texas!

South Central Guild #3

“We’re the best in Texas, yes we are.”  “They come to watch us from afar.” (or something like that)

Left, left, left, right, left…to the right – MARCH…Halt, one, two…Right face…about face…forward march… to the rear march…

Such was a tiny micro example of the precision marching of the Lone Star Guild Drill Teams that I witnessed at Prince Hall Texas’ recent York Rite Conclave. Now I know of men’s Knight Templar drill teams but I have never heard of or seen women within Freemasonry performing within drill teams. Then again I haven’t been a York Rite member or a Prince Hall Mason for a long time either.

Bro. Frederic L. Milliken with Two South Central #39 Guild Members

Bro. Frederic L. Milliken with Two South Central #39 Guild Members

I don’t know for sure but I’m going to bet that my Mainstream Brethren have never heard of this. But it does go to show what a Masonic family is all about. In Prince Hall’s it means meeting with the female Bodies in the same building at the same time and coming together for some common functions and some good times. Luncheons, banquets, social mixers, yearly allocutions, awards ceremonies and installations are gender mixed. This builds a strong bond between the men’s side and the women’s side. And it provides strong cross support going both ways.

The Lone Star Guild Drill Teams Performances was one more thing that brought the

Prince Hall Family together. And it was a real morale booster. I left feeling really inspired and confident that my fraternity was going to do great things in the future. This sense of solidarity is a vital component of a healthy, growing, motivational Freemasonry and one that should be emulated elsewhere.

Grand Princess Captain R. Lucille Samuel was responsible for the creation of the Texas Guild’s drill teams and she will further educate us on how they came about and what they do.





In February of 2006 I was elected as the Grand Princess Captain of the Lone Star Grand Guild of Texas.  It was not until 2008 when I traveled to Charlotte, North Carolina that I came up with an idea.  At the Annual International Grand Encampment and International Grand Court of Cyrene Crusaders Session I saw men and women Drill Team competitions.  At the time the Right Eminent Grand Commander of Texas, Tony M. Moore had a men’s drill team.  There were only two members at this time but they stole the show.

Being a Retired Army Veteran I thought this could be a piece of cake as well as so much fun for the Guilds to compete in Texas.  Little did I know we would go on to the International Session and bring home 1st Place 2 years continuously.

When I returned to Texas, I sent out an email with the Drill Guidelines to all the Princess Captains and Special Deputies.  Each Guild Drill Team was to perform at the 2009 Grand Conclave in Killeen, Texas.  The Drill Team that competed was South Central Guild #39 of Killeen, Texas.  We were the host for the International Grand Encampment that year in Ft Worth, Texas.  South Central Guild placed first and became the 2009 International Grand Champions.

In 2010 we had two more Drill Teams to emerge at the Texas Grand Conclave in Houston giving us a total of 3.  They were Heart of Texas #38 of Temple Texas, South Central Guild #39 of Killeen, Texas, R. Lucille Samuel Guild #41 of Waxahachie, Texas.  At the International Session in Memphis, Tennessee all 3 Guilds placed.  4th Place R. Lucille Guild #41, 3rd Place South Central Guild #39 of Killeen, Texas and the 2010 International Grand Drill Team Champions Heart of Texas Guild #38!

In 2011 because there were no Teams Registered for competition in Baton Rouge, Heart of Texas Guild #38 remain the reigning International Grand Champions.

In February 2012 these 3 Drill Teams met again at our Texas Annual Grand Conclave in Dallas.  South Central Guild #39 (Valiant Ladies) are the Texas State Champs once again!

As you can see each Drill Team is unique in their own uniforms and styles of Drill and Entertainment.  It takes a lot of hard work, practice and dedication to ensure each member of the Drill Team is on the same step and beat as the others.  The Drill Teams have been watched and evaluated by myself and other Veterans or Sir Knights.  It is a competition but the most important thing is that they perform together as “ONE”.

The Drill Team Competition not only brings notoriety throughout the State and Nation but it gives these ladies a sense of pride and builds their self-esteem to compete in public.  It builds camaraderie among the Guild members and hopefully will encourage other members to form Drill Teams for their Guilds.  We have 12 Guilds in the state of Texas.  I am very proud of each and every member.  It is my dream that one day each Guild will have their own Drill Team.   “DON’T MESS WITH TEXAS!”

Please do not hesitate to contact Grand Princess Captain Samuel at and tell her what you think.

Will Our Organizations Sustain? ~ A Wake-Up Call

2012 York Rite Grand Commandery – PHA

I attended my first York Rite Grand Conclave recently. It was held in Dallas so I didn’t have to travel to all ends of Texas, a big state. Grand Sessions in Prince Hall Texas are great gatherings of celebration. Business is done but the emphasis is on camaraderie, fellowship, motivation and inspiration.

One of the things I like about Prince Hall is that it holds Grand Sessions of the men’s and women’s Bodies in the same building at the same time. Separated for most of the time they come together for meals, installation and a joint deliverance of each other’s annual allocution.  In this case it was the Grand Commandery and the Grand Guild coming together.

First up for the joint presentations of allocutions was the Grand Princess Captain of the Grand Guild, R. Lucille Samuel. Now annual allocutions, like state of the union addresses, are usually recounts of travels and accomplishments with maybe a bit of reinforcement and goals for the coming year…”I went here, I went there, we did this, we did that, our membership grew/lost, I have this new program for next year, etc.”

So I settled back in my chair, relaxed and lazily squinted up at Grand Princess Captain Lucille Samuel. Within minutes I sat bolt upright with a big smile of admiration. I was not going to have to listen to the usual pabulum this day. This Sister challenged her Body and all of us! And she did so boldly without the slightest hint of timidness, with the Right Eminent Grand Commander on one side of her and the Grand Master of Prince Hall Masons in Texas on her other side.

Below in her own words is what she had to say. The next day before our joint installation I approached her and told her that her message needed to be heard by others and that I can do that. So here is something that could be a wake-up call for your organization.

Will Our Organizations Sustain?  A Wake-up Call

By R. Lucille Samuel
Grand Princess Captain
Lone Star Grand Guild of Texas PHA

As I stated last year change is coming whether we are ready or not.  There are two things that can happen, we may stand still and allow life to pass us by or we can get on Board and transform from a Yard into a Garden.  We may have to alter our attitude but it is worth the risk for our Organizations.

We have a very important question to ask ourselves.  WILL OUR ORGANIZATIONS SUSTAIN and if so for how long?  At the present time we are walking on a very unstable foundation.  The infrastructure of our organizations is slowing weakening.  In order to remain strong and present a united front we have to work as ONE.  The statement I use quite often is “If You Don’t Stand For Something You Will Fall For Anything”!   At this time we are not standing we are sitting and allowing our organizations to slowly crumble around us.  We are so busy placing blame on each other instead of taking the time to SUSTAIN our organizations.

A lot of times leaders feel that if they have the financial security then the organization will remain strong and invincible.  This is only a short term fix to a long term problem.  You may have a brand new roof on your home but what good is it if the foundation is shaky!  If you want your organization to remain strong you have to employ the membership to SUSTAIN the foundation!

So what do we need to do to SUSTAIN our organizations?  We need to create programs that appeal to the interest of our membership.  We need to attract members that have a genuine interest in our mission.  Our focus needs to be on the Community and future of our youth.

Instead of the competitive struggles of each other we need to concentrate on the issues at hand.  We are losing our membership because we have lost our focus on the main objective.  These organizations were created to assist with charity, community service, educational assistance and support of our youth and elderly.  As leaders we are here to educate and train others to prepare to replace us in the future.  The problem is we have stopped teaching because we are too busy in competition with each other.  It should not matter who gives the most donations or raises the most money in fundraisers.  You may be educated by academics but you display ignorance in people skills.  Many of our leaders spend too much time worrying about losing their positions instead of researching why our membership is dwindling.  If you are losing more members than you are recruiting there should be a RED FLAG!  Talking down to others, rude attitudes or ignoring your officers and advisers is a sign of insecurity.  The last time I checked these are Non-Profit Organizations and we pay to become members.   Remember nothing on earth is permanent.  We all have a voice and a vote.  The same way you are voted in you can be voted out!

We are all here for a common purpose.  There should be no animosity toward another leader because their organization is excelling beyond the others.  The membership should not have to endure the pettiness of their leadership.  We need to TEACH what we PREACH!

In the book of Samuel there is a story of Saul the first King of Israel.  He made David his special assistant because he admired his work.  Although Saul was anointed by God he was also possessed by an evil spirit and he defied God.  He became jealous of David and tried to kill him on numerous occasions.  He nearly killed his own son because he was caught up in being superior to others.  In the end he took his own life.

The fact is this happens amongst our members of various organizations.  We become so fixated on our titles that we forget where we came from.  We treat our members without respect and honor.  We don’t stop to think how others feel or even ask their opinions.

In our organizations today we are not motivated for the right reasons.  Our motivation comes from the desire to reach the top before we have even scraped the bottom.  Whatever happened to work your way up and on the way receiving a few bumps and bruises to remind us why we started this journey in the first place.

It is very frustrating to watch what our pioneers shed blood and tears for slowly fade away.  We need to reflect back on our traditional values and goals.  In order to SUSTAIN our organizations we need to engage in two way communication.  It seems that we are not able to TALK to each other but we can TALK about each other.  There is so much work that needs to be accomplished that there is no room for envy or back biting.  If we spent as much time working together as we spend working apart this Jurisdiction could ROCK the Universe!

“People are like stained glass windows. They sparkle and shine when the sun is out, but when the darkness sets in their true beauty is revealed only if there is a light from within!”  We have to stay focused and assist members in their thirst for knowledge.  We need to renew our commitment to the organization.

In the story of Cain and Abel jealousy consumed Cain.  In order to SUSTAIN our organizations we have to realize that this is not a contest but it is all about the mission that brought us here.  Some of us panic at the thought of someone else learning our jobs.  We are afraid to share knowledge or experience in fear of replacement.  We stress out or make up untruths about others because we want them to feel inferior or incompetent.  We coerce or persuade members to vote against each other because of our insecurities.

We are an organization based upon the Christian religion.  There is no such thing as a part time Christian.  You cannot shout on Sunday and back-stab on Monday!  However it is a known fact that if you give more than is expected of you, you will get more than you expect.  Fulfillment is not what you receive but what you give.

We have to be flexible and able to adapt to change.  We cannot continue to use the same old strategies that were used to create organizations in the past.  There has to be a continuous improvement so the organization does not become complacent.  Involving the members and listening to their ideas also promotes growth.  Reward members when possible and publicize their positive achievements.   Fresh innovative ideas are needed in order to maintain our focus.  We cannot remain as the “status quo” to become what we want to be.  In order to attract and retain quality membership they have to be motivated and assured that they are crucial to our success.  Members also need to feel there is room for progression and acceleration within the ranks.

Our organization is similar to the engine of your car.  If you don’t perform the required maintenance the engine tends to not function properly and this affects the whole automobile.  Sometimes a major overhaul is needed.  No vehicle can perform effectively if the engine is not operational.  A leader cannot function without the assistance of their membership.

I challenge all leaders to forget about what we used to do and start focusing on what WE NEED TO DO!  Working against each other will never SUSTAIN our organizations.  If we don’t start now by supporting each other and working as ONE Jurisdiction there will be no future for the Masonic Family.  This is not a PROMISE this is a FACT!

Ask yourselves have I been a blessing to someone today or shared a blessing?  ‘Don’t look at me…Look at who is in charge of me…  Remember I can do all things through him who strengthens me.

Jesus had no servants, yet they called Him Master.
Had no degree, yet they called Him Teacher.

Had no medicines, yet they called Him Healer.
Had no army, yet kings feared Him.
He won no military battles, yet He conquered the world.

He committed no crime, yet they crucified Him.
He was buried in a tomb, yet He lives today.
Feel honored to serve such a Leader who loves us.

R. Lucille Samuel

Grand Princess Captain
Lone Star Grand Guild of Texas PHA
Heroines of the Templars Crusade
International Grand Junior Shepherdess
International Grand Deputy of Texas
International Grand Court of Cyrene Crusaders


Please do not hesitate to contact Grand Princess Captain Samuel at and tell her what you think.

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



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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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York Rite Survey Results


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

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

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

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

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

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

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

condition of york rite chapter chart 1


what portion of lodge belongs to your rite chart 2

which bodies compose the york rite chart 3

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

do you have to join all york rite bodies chart 5

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Ol’ Leroy McKrank and the Council of the Knights of the Royal Arch


yorkA couple of decades back, Ol’ Leroy McKrank decided to join the York Rite. Now this was the only other body of Masonry that Ol’ Leroy had ever joined, mainly because he refused to fork over the cash required to join any additional bodies. But at the time, each York Rite body’s dues were only five bucks a piece, so Ol’ Leroy thought it was a pretty good deal. Fifteen smackers for three organizations? Who could pass that up?

Leroy sat through all nine degrees, held over the course of a few months, with an expression of awe on his face. The Brethren of the York Rite took his expression to mean that he was thoroughly impressed with the degrees. However, Ol’ Leroy was actually in a state of shock. Everywhere he looked he saw extravagant sets for the degrees, various aprons with different designs upon them, and the most dumbfounding thing that Leroy noticed was the impressive uniforms of the Knights Templar. Shiny swords? Custom made chapeaus? This was surely the most wasteful display that he had ever seen in Freemasonry. Besides, Ol’ Leroy figured that you didn’t need three bodies to tell the whole story of the York Rite.

So after Ol’ Leroy McKrank had received the Order of the Temple, he went home and started to do some thinking. He was determined to create a less wasteful order for those that were interested in the York Rite, but he would also need a chance to implement it. He got the chance when the York Rite came to the Blue Lodge a few years later in dire straights. They needed help with the rent and Ol’ Leroy jumped at the opportunity.

“Well I’ll tell ya what your problem is,” Leroy told the High Priest of the Royal Arch Chapter, “too much gol’ dang waste! I got a plan that will save you all kinds of money and you won’t have to ask the lodge for nothin’!”

That is when Ol’ Leroy told them about the Council of the Knights of the Royal Arch. It was a single degree that enveloped all the teachings of the York Rite. It was like a book made into a movie. Sure, you get the general story line, but where is the content? Ol’ Leroy McKrank explained the degree in detail to the members.

“You see, you get your candidate to start off over here and then he goes and gets his work inspected and then can’t get paid, so he talks to the boss man and gets paid and to apologize for his not gettin’ paid the boss man makes him the Master of the Lodge. Then its time to dedicate the temple and then we tear it down and throw the candidate into the rubble to find some stuff and he does find some purdy important things.” Leroy proceeded to fly around the lodge room, giving a demonstration of the floor work for the degree. It looked as though he was running sprints from the west to the east and back to the west again. “Then we remind him of his last conversation with good ol’ Hiram who shows him where he’ll leave some important tools and when he goes to find what Hiram was tellin’ him about…well…the guards stop him and just about put him to death. But luckily, some other fella’ was nappin’ on the job so we’ll kill him instead and take it easy on the candidate this time.” Leroy cackled about his little joke before continuing. “So then he has to go to Persia and talk to that fella’ Darius and ask to build the temple. He gets into an argument about whether a beer, a purdy lady, or some ol’ duffer is more powerful and says that truth is better than all of them. Then he goes to Malta for some reason to become a Knight and then he winds up here and we read him the book of Matthew and take a few shots. You don’t need no swords or nothin’, just a couple of aprons and a couple of guys that can tell a story.”

Ol’ Leroy had a smile of pure satisfaction with his creation on his face. The members of the York Rite stood with their mouths open in disbelief. It is unknown whether they were so confused and awestruck by what they had heard or whether they were in such a destitute situation that they had no other options, but they accepted Ol’ Leroy’s proposal.

Leroy slapped his knee and cackled, “Now this is a Masonic degree!”

To this day, Ol’ Leroy McKrank’s York Rite body operates the only Council of the Knights of the Royal Arch.

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Wine, Kings, and Women

Which is the greatest? The strength of wine, the power of Kings, or the influence of women?

emblem, red cross,order of the red cross of constantine

Illustrious Order of the Red Cross of Constantine

Those of you that have been received in the Illustrious Order of the Red Cross will doubtless recognize this question. In the degree, Darius offers this question for discussion in his forum and a discussion ensues on the correct answer. This question brings some critical concepts to light for all Masons.

The foundation for this story is found in the Apocrypha.

The Apocrypha is a collection of works that were considered for addition in the Bible, but were generally not included in canonical texts. Because these books are not in most Bibles, many Masons are unfamiliar with the content of these works. The story relating to the aforementioned discussion is found the the book of 1 Esdras.

“And when they had eaten and drunken, and being satisfied were gone home, then Darius the king went into his bedchamber, and slept, and soon after awaked. Then three young men, that were of the guard that kept the king’s body, spake one to another; Let every one of us speak a sentence: he that shall overcome, and whose sentence shall seem wiser than the others, unto him shall the king Darius give great gifts, and great things in token of victory…The first wrote, Wine is the strongest. The second wrote, The king is strongest. The third wrote, Women are strongest: but above all things Truth beareth away the victory.” (1 Esdras 3:3-12)

Throughout the rest of the third and fourth chapters, the discussion relating to these questions take place. Not surprisingly, the man which states that “Truth beareth away the victory” is considered the victor.

For the Mason, these four influences may be applied to the four cardinal virtues: temperance, fortitude, prudence, and justice. The strength of wine leads to disregarding the concept of temperance. This virtue instructs the Mason to “avoid excess, or contracting any licentious or vicious habit.” However, the strength of wine encourages indulging in excess and creates vicious several vicious habits. The man who claims that wine is the strongest defends his thesis by saying:

“It maketh the mind of the king and of the fatherless child to be all one… It turneth also every thought into jollity and mirth, so that a man remembereth neither sorrow nor debt: And it maketh every heart rich, so that a man remembereth neither king nor governor; and it maketh to speak all things by talents:And when they are in their cups, they forget their love both to friends and brethren, and a little after draw out swords…(1 Esdras 3:19-22)

The power of kings requires that the virtue of fortitude be considered. The virtue of fortitude is described in Masonic ritual as “that noble and steady purpose of the mind whereby we are enabled to undergo any pain, peril or danger, when prudentially deemed expedient.” The man who claims that the king is the strongest states of the king:

And yet he is but one man: if he command to kill, they kill; if he command to spare, they spare; If he command to smite, they smite; if he command to make desolate, they make desolate; if he command to build, they build; If he command to cut down, they cut down; if he command to plant, they plant. (1 Esdras 4:7-9)

These sentences can describe only one thing: absolute tyranny. Fortitude is that virtue which admonishes the Mason to resist the efforts of tyranny to influence him to forsake his own morals. The strength of kings does not refer only the power of monarchs, but the power of any person who may use their influence for unscrupulous purposes.

The influence of women mandates that the virtue of prudence be observed. Masonic tradition states that this virtue “teaches us to regulate our lives and actions agreeably to the dictates of reason, and is that habit by which we wisely judge, and prudentially determine, on all things relative to our present as well as to our future happiness.” Does not the lust for women cause the Mason to momentarily consider forgetting the dictates of reason or sacrifice a happy future for a moment of pleasure? The man who makes this assertion says: “Yea, many there be that have run out of their wits for women, and become servants for their sakes.Many also have perished, have erred, and sinned, for women (1 Esdras 4:26-27).” Certainly, the lure of peculiar form and beauty will influence a man to disregard the virtue of prudence.

However, the third man who asserts that the influence of women defeats the strength of wine or kings also states that truth is the victor over all of these influences. This is consistent with the Masonic view of justice, which the ritual states “is the very cement and support of civil society.” For justice to be served, the truth must be ascertained. The man who introduces this argument to the conversation says that:

As for the truth, it endureth, and is always strong; it liveth and conquereth for evermore. With her there is no accepting of persons or rewards; but she doeth the things that are just, and refraineth from all unjust and wicked things; and all men do well like of her works. Neither in her judgment is any unrighteousness; and she is the strength, kingdom, power, and majesty, of all ages. Blessed be the God of truth. (1 Esdras 4:38-40)

Truth leads to justice and to overcoming the vices presented by the strength of wine, the power of kings, and the influence of women. Only through truth can the problems created by the influences be identified and corrected. It provides the support of civil society and is even symbolically represented by the feet, the foundation of the body. Therefore, truth is certainly the victor.

Blessed be the God of Truth.

Freemason Tim Bryce.

The Blue Lodge – the Bedrock of Freemasonry

The Family of Freemasonry
The Family of Freemasonry

I was smoking a cigar with a Brother the other day and we got into a lively discussion on the Blue Lodge (aka, Craft or Particular Lodge). He wondered why I was so committed to the Blue Lodge and not the other bodies of Freemasonry. Although I joined the Shrine and High 12, my participation in these bodies can be described as spotty at best. As to the Scottish Rite and York Rite, frankly, they haven’t made their case for me yet.

My friend argued, “Surely you do not believe the body of Masonic knowledge stops at the Blue Lodge door?”

Perhaps not, but I countered that the Blue Lodge is the bedrock of the fraternity. If it crumbles, so will all of the other Masonic bodies.

The Blue Lodge represents the foundation of the fraternity. All of the other Masonic bodies are built on top of it and, as such, they are totally dependent on its existence. Yet, it seems people are anxious to be raised and move on to these other bodies that are seemingly more fun and interesting. Perhaps this is because there are more rules and regulations heaped on to a Blue Lodge than the other bodies. Consequently, Blue Lodges are inhibited by their Grand Lodges, some to the point of paralysis.

Small wonder people want to move on to other bodies.

These other Masonic bodies often behave autonomously, as if they were independent of the Blue Lodge.

They’re not. They are totally dependent on it. Yet, they rarely lift a finger to help the Blue Lodge. Instead, they fly overhead like vultures waiting to pick off the new members for their own organizations. This is resulting in a growing rift between the Blue Lodge and the other bodies, a very unhealthy situation. Instead of snatching bodies, the other Masonic organizations should be looking for ways to cooperate with the Blue Lodge, such as attracting members, presenting educational programs, helping in fund-raisers, assisting in Lodge newsletters and web sites, etc. Instead of an adversarial relationship, they should be building a spirit of cooperation and trust. Unfortunately, this is not what is happening. Relations have gotten so bad that some Lodges flat-out refuse to let the other bodies in their doors.

I guess the point of all this is that we are all on the same team, but we should always be cognizant of the fact that the Blue Lodge is the bedrock of the fraternity. I like to think of it as the offensive front-line of a football team; without them, everyone else will get clobbered.

Keep the Faith.

Freemasonry From the Edge
Freemasonry From the Edge

by W:.Tim Bryce, PM, MPS
Palm Harbor, Florida, USA
A Foot Soldier for Freemasonry

NOTE: The opinions expressed in this essay are my own and do not necessarily represent the views or opinions of any Grand Masonic jurisdiction or any other Masonic related body. As with all of my Masonic articles herein, please feel free to reuse them in Masonic publications or re-post them on Masonic web sites (except Florida). When doing so, please add the following:

Article reprinted with permission of the author and Please forward me a copy of the publication when it is produced.

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Copyright © 2009 by Tim Bryce. All rights reserved.