Tuesday, February 28, 2012

We meet in our Lodges regularly we perform our ceremonial work and repeat catechetical instruction-lectures night after night with a less or greater degree of intelligence and verbal perfection, and there our work ends, though the ability to perform this work creditably were the be-all and the end-all of Masonic work: Seldom or never do we employ our Lodge meeting for that purpose for which, quite as much as for ceremonial purposes, they were intended, for "expatiating on the mysteries of the Craft," and perhaps our neglect to do so is because we have ourselves imperfectly realized what those mysteries are into which our Order was primarily formed to introduce us.

- W. L. Wilmshurst, The Deeper symbolism of Masonry

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Thursday, February 23, 2012

The Name of God

OK, the name of God scenario.  When you are at Church, any of the following designations are clearly references to God.

The Christ
The King of Kings
The Prince of Peace
The Lamb
The Lily of the Valley
The Bright and Morning Star
The Vine
The Good Sheperd
The Lord
The Savior
The Messiah
The Author and Finisher of my Faith

When you hear any of these names, phrases, titles, you understand and accept that God is being referred to.  Most religions believe there is only one God.  They believe that people who use other names are misguided.  Of course, some religions teach that Allah, Jehovah, and God the Father of Christ are all different Gods.  But most religions believe that there is only one Supreme Being, whatever he may be called.

For some though, the fact that Freemasons refer to the one God, the Supreme Being, as the "Great Architect of the Universe", means that it is a different God altogether.  It's funny how people who believe that there is only one true God have so many conceptual images, verbal designations, names, symbols, and concepts to describe Him.  It seems that the fewer names that are used, the greater difficulty in knowing if it is the right God or not.

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Wednesday, February 22, 2012

Numerology: The Number 40

Then was Jesus led up of the Spirit into the wilderness to be tempted of the devil. 

And when he had fasted forty days and forty nights, he was afterward an hungred. 

Matthew 4:1-2

The Scripture appears to highlight the number 40 here.  As relates to time, I identify this as a number of transformation.

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Tuesday, February 21, 2012

The Plumb Rule

This article on the Plumb Rule is taken from the excellent website “The Masonic Trowel”, as written and edited by Bro. Joe Sanchez, and is used with his explicit permission (masonictrowel.com).  It is an excellent elemental level exploration of one working tool, its history and implications.  The original article can be found at:

The Plumb Rule

The jewels of the three principal officers of a Lodge are also the working tools of the fellowcraft degree. They are the: PLUMB, LEVEL, and SQUARE. Why are these jewels given these distinctions? There are two basic reasons: First, in earlier times, the fellowcraft was the ultimate degree. There was no Master Mason degree. The fellowcraft was the Journeyman of today. The working tools of a fellowcraft were the tools of a master craftsman or journeyman. When the master mason degree was instituted, other working tools were selected to fulfill the ritual requirements. Secondly, while masonry makes use of many esteemed working tools, (ie: Gavel, 24" gauge, trowel, skirret, chisel, pencil, setting maul, etc..) it is the square, level and the plumb which are the fundamental tools that are absolutely necessary to erect any edifice be it physical or spiritual.

The plumb or plumb rule is an instrument of antiquity. The earliest craftsmen used a weighted cord as a plumb. The Greeks of yore formed a bob of lead on a cord and they gave it a name: MOLUBDOS, meaning lead. From this working tool evolved the name MOLYBDENUM, the name of a well known metal. The ever practical Romans took the word and latinized it to become PLUMBUM, the tool to measure perpendiculars of structures, walls, aqueducts, and fortifications in every corner of the roman empire. The Gauls adopted the tool, and their successors, the Normans, shortened the word to PLOMB. The Britons added the letter "a" to coin a new word: APLOMB, meaning not easily upset -- not off center. Later, Englishmen revised the spelling to PLUMB and it became a verb as well as a noun. Early English mariners used this tool. Shakespeare called it a plummet: "Deeper than ere a plummet sounded." It was the French who began to call the lead bob a ball. In French BOULE, meaning a ball of lead small leaden balls or boules were the primitive BULLETS. The Latins modified the word to BULLA. They used very small bullas which they compressed into a thin wafer, utilizing it as a legal seal for documents. Thus was born the Papal BULL -- it is definitely not of bovine origins!

While originally a simple lead weight on a string, the plumb, when required by expert craftsmen, evolved into the shape of the Junior Wardents jewel, and specifically adapted for operative stonemasons. It is interesting to note that this jewel or tool is sometimes found to be richly embellished with symbols (sun, moon, all-seeing eye, etc.) and at other times very plain.

Reference to the plumb arises throughout masonic rituals and books and throughout the lore of masonic catch-questions: Examples:

Question: How long have you been a mason?

Answer: Ever since I was raised from a dead level to a living perpendicular on the squares by the hand of a friend, whom later I found to be a brother.

If you were to visit an American York Rite lodges you will find that in the FC degree the VSL is opened on the book of Amos; and it contains an excellent example of the beauty of the plumb:

"Behold, the Lord stood upon a wall, with a plumb line in his hand. He said: "Amos, what seeth thou?" Amos replied, "A plumb line." The Lord said, "Behold, I will set a plumb line amidst my people Israel, and I will pass by them nevermore."

To the operative masons, the level and plumb were intertwined, and together they formed a square. Brethren, the plumb rule is an instrument used in architecture by which a building is raised in a perpendicular direction; and it is figurative of an upright and true course of life. It typifies care against any deviation from the masonic upright line of conduct! If you apply the square to the level, you get the PLUMB -- the living perpendicular esteemed by all true craftsmen, and the emblem of growth and immortality. It is a truly magnificent jewel, an indispensable working tool; and when applied to the work with its fellows, the square and the level, it opens the doorway of that middle chamber in those immortal mansions, whence all goodness emanates.

The best logician is our God,
Whom the conclusion never fails;
He speaks - it is; He wills -- it stands;
He blows -- it falls; He breathes -- it lives;
His words are true .-- e'en without proof,
His counsel rules without command,
Therefore can none foresee his end -
Unless on God is built his hope.
And if we here below would learn
By Compass, Needles Square and Plumb,
We never must o'erlook the mete
Wherewith our God hath measur'd us.

Poem: by J.V.A. Andreae, a German and printed in 1623. Translated into English by:- F.F. Schnitger and G.W. Speth
Brethren, I give to you one last reference, from Isaiah XXV, 16-17:
"Therefore thus saith the Lord God, Behold, I lay in Zion for a foundation a stone, a tried stone, a precious corner stone, a sure foundation: he that believeth shall not make haste. Judgment also will I lay to the line; and rightness to the plummet."

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Sunday, February 19, 2012

Biblical Instruction

"Give not that which is holy unto the dogs, neither cast ye your pearls before swine, lest they trample them under their feet, and turn again and rend you.

Ask, and it shall be given you; seek, and ye shall find; knock, and it shall be opened unto you:
For every one that asketh receiveth; and he that seeketh findeth; and to him that knocketh it shall be opened."

Gospel of St. Matthew 7: 6 - 8

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Thursday, February 16, 2012

Is It OK to Pray Together?

OK, here's another scenario.  You are invited to a wedding.  Your friend is of another religious faith than you.  His daughter is getting married and he wants to share it with you, so you are invited.  You are one of the only ones there of your faith, but it is a beautiful ceremony.  Although you don't completely understand all of the details, the traditions, or the significance of each activity, you can follow along pretty good.

It turns out the wedding is pretty similar to how weddings take place in your religion.  There are commitments made, with participation and expectations for family and friends, and there are appeals to God for the blessing of the union.  You stand up when everyone else stands, and you kneel when everyone else kneels.  You repeat what others say, if you can follow along.  Nothing is said which would contradict your own beliefs, so you feel pretty OK.

At a few points throughout the ceremony, there is prayer.  You find that everyone is asked to bow their heads or close their eyes.  The prayers are in English, so nothing is said you wouldn't understand.  The Officiant prays to "God".  he asks for blessings for the couple.  Even though you don't practice this religion, you know who "God" is, and when you prayed in your heart, you prayed to the God you know, understand, and worship.

But wait?  Which God did you pray to?  Which God did all the other people around you pray to?  Oh no?!  Have you blasphemed?

Of course not.  You prayed only to "God".  When you asked for a blessing for the couple, you were thinking in your heart of the God you worship.  It never occurred to you that you might be worshiping a different God than your own, because you were not.

Freemasonry is much like this.  Even though people around you may mean something other than what you mean, your religion is not compromised even if you step inside a house of worship of a religion you do not practice.  Because you are not scared of people who have a different religion, you were able to learn, experience another culture.  You might have liked it, you might have hated it.  But it did not harm you spiritually.  

People can pray together and be of different religions.  Just as someone of a different faith could come into your Church without harming the practice of your religion, you could go into someone else's house of worship.

Those critics of Freemasonry who object to it on religious reasons, sometimes say this is why a person of faith cannot be a Freemason.  Basically, they are saying if you practice their religion, your relationship with God is external.  Whatever is said around you is what you believe.  If someone prays around you to a God you do not pray to, YOU will have sinned.  If you pray near someone who does not practice your faith, you won't be practicing your faith.

If your relationship with your God is on a firm enough foundation that the mere existence of other religions is not enough to shatter your faith, you might be able to be a Freemason.

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Wednesday, February 15, 2012

Freemasonry recruits through attraction.

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Tuesday, February 14, 2012

The "higher path" of Masonry

For Masonry means this or it means nothing worth the serious pursuit of thoughtful men; nothing that cannot be pursued as well outside the Craft as within it. It proclaims the fact that there exists a higher and more secret path of life than that which we normally tread, and that when the outer world and its pursuits and rewards lose their attractiveness for us and prove insufficient to our deeper needs, as sooner or later they will, we are compelled to turn back upon ourselves, to seek and knock at the door of a world within; and it is upon this inner world, and the path to and through it, that Masonry promises light, charts the way, and indicates the qualifications and conditions of progress. This is the sole aim and intention of Masonry. Behind its more elementary and obvious symbolism, behind its counsels to virtue and conventional morality, behind the platitudes and and sententious phraseology (which nowadays might well be subjected to competent and intelligent revision) with which, after the fashion of their day, the eighteenth-century compilers of its ceremonies clothed its teaching, there exists the framework of a scheme of initiation into that higher path of life where alone the secrets and mysteries of our being are to be learned; a scheme moreover that, as will be shown later in these pages, reproduces for the modern world the main features of the Ancient Mysteries, and that has been well described by a learned writer on the subject as "an epitome or it reflection at a far distance of the once universal science".

- W. L. Wilmshurst


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Sunday, February 12, 2012

Biblical Light

"Neither do men light a candle, and put it under a bushel, but on a candlestick; and it giveth light unto all that are in the house.

Let your light so shine before men, that they may see your good works, and glorify your Father which is in heaven."

Gospel of St. Matthew 5: 15 - 16

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Thursday, February 9, 2012

Praying Together

Source: Virginia.Catholic.org
OK, here's the scenario.  You're at work when your boss invites you and some co-workers out for lunch.  You all go out to eat together.  Before you eat, you silently bow your head to pray over your food.  Everyone doesn't do this, but the way you were raised, you bless your food at every meal.  You don't know what religion your co-workers might be, and you don't much care.  It is a diverse environment with people of many religions.  It's not really your business, and you're fine with this.  You simply exercise the tenets of your own faith and move on.

When you're around you're family, maybe everyone prays together, while one person recites a prayer, and then you all eat.  Or maybe you don't.  Or when you are in Church, maybe everyone prays together, with a leader.  But you're not at Church right now.  Some of the people around you don't pray at all, and maybe a few others close their own eyes and bless their own food.

But wait a minute?  What religion are those other people? Are they Christian?  You don't know!  Oh no!  If you have accidently prayed with people who are of a different faith then you,... that is... its... well what does that mean?  Did you accidentally worship the wrong God?

But you wouldn't worry about that, right?  Because you are not in a Church, a Mosque, or a Temple, you are in a restaurant.  And you were not practicing a religion, you are just having lunch.  Your prayer was quick and personal.  You performed an expression to the God you worship, and nothing the people around you did or did not do changes or in any way impacts your faith.

Freemasonry is something like this.  It allows people of different faiths to participate in a shared experience.  Each may have different faith.  Each may even pray, or participate in prayer, at the same time, and in the same place.  Yet each has a personal experience, worshiping their own God.  That one person may focus his heart on Allah, another on Jehovah, another on Christ, does not invalidate the faith of any of them.  One person's faith has no more impact on anothers in the Lodge than it does in a restaurant.  We can pray together.

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Tuesday, February 7, 2012

The Wearing of White

Candidate: 1. one that aspires to or is nominated or qualified for an office, membership, or award.  2. one likely or suited to undergo or be chosen for something specified.  3. a student in the process of meeting final requirements for a degree.

(Source: Merriam-Webster Dictionary)

"Candidate" is a derivative of the Latin "candida" (white). In Ancient Rome, people running for political office would usually wear togas chalked and bleached to be bright white at speeches, debates, conventions, and other public functions."

(Source: Wikipedia)

The true candidate must indeed needs be, as the word candidus implies, a "white man," white within as symbolically he is white-vestured without, so that no inward stain or soilure may obstruct the dawn within his soul of that Light which he professes to be the predominant wish of his heart on asking for admission; whilst, if really desirous of learning the secrets and mysteries of his own being, he must be prepared to divest himself of all past preconceptions and thought-habits and, with childlike meekness and docility, surrender his mind to the reception of some perhaps novel and unexpected truths which Initiation promises to impart and which will more and more unfold and justify themselves within those, and those only, who are, and continue to keep themselves, properly prepared for them.

(Source: The Meaning of Masonry by W.L. Wilmshurst)

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Sunday, February 5, 2012

The Five Articles of Remonstrance - Article V

That those who are incorporated into Christ by a true faith, and have thereby become partakers of his life-giving spirit, have thereby full power to strive against Satan, sin, the world, and their own flesh, and to win the victory, it being well understood that it is ever through the assisting grace of the Holy Ghost; and that Jesus Christ assists them through his Spirit in all temptations, extends to them his hand; and if only they are ready for the conflict, and desire his help, and are not inactive, keeps them from falling, so that they, by no craft or power of Satan, can be misled, nor plucked out of Christ's hands, according to the word of Christ, John x. 28: "Neither shall any man pluck them out of my hand." But whether they are capable, through negligence, of forsaking again the first beginnings of their life in Christ, of again returning to this present evil world, of turning away from the holy doctrine which was delivered them, of losing a good conscience, of becoming devoid of grace, that must be more particularly determined out of the Holy Scriptures before they can teach it with the full persuasion of their minds.

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Wednesday, February 1, 2012


And think not to say within yourselves, We have Abraham to [our] father: for I say unto you, that God is able of these stones to raise up children unto Abraham.

Matthew 3:9

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