WHAT IS AN INTENDER?

Handbook of Freemasonry in Michigan

 

The term "Intender" comes to us direct from the old operative Lodge of Scotland. More than 119 years before the first Grand Lodge was formed the Intender was an important official in the Lodges in Scotland">


WHAT IS AN INTENDER?

Handbook of Freemasonry in Michigan

 

The term "Intender" comes to us direct from the old operative Lodge of Scotland. More than 119 years before the first Grand Lodge was formed the Intender was an important official in the Lodges in Scotland, entrusted with the instruction of new candidates. At that time the word "intend" meant: to stretch out, extend, expand, increase, intensify. Therefore, the Intender was a faithful companion and teacher whose duty it was to stretch out, extend, expand, increase, and intensify the knowledge and understanding of the younger craftsman in the Science of Masonry.

The Schaw Statutes, an elaborate code of organization first drawn up in 1598 by William Schaw, Master of Work and General Warden of the Masons of Scotland, are found in the minutes of the Lodge of Edinburgh (Mary's Chapel) No. 1. These Statutes provided that an Intender be chosen by each new Fellowcraft, while the Lodge of Aitchison's Haven provided Intenders for both new Entered Apprentices and new Fellowcrafts. In time the office of Intender became so important that the youngest Master was chosen for this exacting service.

In recent decades the emphasis has been changing from merely producing Masons proficient in the rituals to that of producing educated Masons – Masons who not only love their ritual and know how to present it effectively, but who also have an ample knowledge of the background, the aims, and the purposes of the Fraternity. It is here that the Intender becomes an important factor in developing an intelligent membership and a capable leadership to sustain and advance Freemasonry throughout the coming ages.

PURPOSE OF THE INTENDER PROGRAM

The Intender Program has but one major objective; to teach the fundamentals of Freemasonry to every candidate, so he may become a Master Mason in fact as well as in name. It's as simple as that!

Please note particularly the word fundamentals, for this Program does not go beyond those elements which are basic to our Craft, i.e., the principles and practices with which every Craftsman should be familiar if he is to bear with honor the proud title of Master Mason. It is not the purpose of‑the Intender Program to produce Masonic "scholars" or to give the candidate advanced Masonic education. It seeks to have him understand the Masonic way of life, that he may properly conduct himself as a Mason before his Brethren and before the world at large.

This Program supports the traditional maxim that the Fraternity has the inherent right to insist that each of its votaries shall be well grounded in his Masonic duties and responsibilities; and it also embraces the equally important idea that he should understand clearly the Fraternity's obligation to him.

If, during this process, there is ignited within the candidate that "spark" which urges him to seek for more and more Masonic Light, and thus to become an earnest and diligent student of Freemasonry, then the Program will have a plus value for him and for the Fraternity, for among such Masons will be found the future leaders of our Craft.

In this fast‑moving age with its many demands on every man's time and the numerous opportunities afforded him for spare‑time diversions, we find Freemasonry in the position of competing for his attention. Failure to realize this can only result in dues paying members who never come to Lodge, receive no positive benefit from their membership, and whose help to the Craft is limited.

It is necessary to capture the interest of the Candidate from the start, and there is no better time to do so than when he is receiving the Degrees, and immediately thereafter. This Program for Masonic Light will do much to arouse the Candidate's interest and increase his desire to take an active part in the work of the Lodge. The use of this Program will make the Candidate a better Mason and a permanent asset to Freemasonry and to the Community.

THE METHOD

The Intender Program is based upon the simple truism that the average man will learn more quickly and more effectively when he receives individual and personal attention from an instructor. Group or class instruction has its place in Masonry as well as in the field of general instruction. But the fact remains that many advantages accrue to the pupil, and the teacher, when "the attentive ear receives the sound from the instructive tongue." It is not for naught we are reminded that "thus, through a succession of ages are transmitted unimpaired the most excellent tenets of our Institution."

The Intender Program seeks to re‑establish the "attentive ear" and the "instructive tongue" by a method that is both simple and practical in this modern day of rapid tempo, when time is an important factor in every man's life.

FIRST, the Program places the responsibility for adequate candidate instruction squarely upon the Lodge, where it rightfully belongs.

SECOND, the Lodge in turn delegates the responsibility to a small group of experienced and faithful members who are known as Intenders. A small Lodge will need but few Intenders, while a large Lodge will need proportionately more.

THIRD, The Intender is charged with the responsibility of giving adequate fundamental instruction to each candidate assigned to him. He becomes his faithful adviser, friend, and teacher from the time his petition has been balloted upon until he becomes a proficient Master Mason.

Here is the basis of the Intender Program: The candidate's source of instruction will be the five CANDIDATE BOOKLETS which are presented to him as he progresses through the degrees, and such other material as may be supplied from time to time by the Grand Lodge Committee on Masonic Service and Education.

 

         THE RECOMMENDED PROCEDURE IS QUITE SIMPLE:

            1.   After the Worshipful Master has declared a petitioner elected to receive the degrees, he immediately appoints an Intender for the candidate and reminds him of his duties. These duties include contacting the signers of the petition and the members of the Investigating Committee, therefore these names should be written down for the benefit of the Intender.. The Secretary can send these in a letter to the Intender informing him of his assignment.

2.  The Intender will then immediately contact his candidate, explain to him that he is to be his Intender and make the necessary arrangements to meet with him and his wife.

            3.  The Intender will meet with his candidate at any

convenient place, where comfort and privacy is assured, although the most common location will be the candidate's home. When he is satisfied that the candidate understands all the subjects discussed in the booklet "Your Quest For Light" (and having answered such proper questions as the candidate may ask of him) he should discuss the purpose and brief history of Freemasonry and present the candidate and his wife with the second booklet, "Some Background For An Aspirant." (The Investigating Committee may have given the petitioner a copy of "Interesting Facts About Freemasonry," in which case the Intender should be prepared to discuss this also.)

In all contact with the candidates the Intender should nurture an atmosphere of informality  and make his pupil feel that he is a faithful friend, adviser, and teacher‑‑and that such is the prevailing spirit among all Freemasons. A stilted or "formal" approach to the duties of instruction will do much to defeat the very purpose of this Program.

4. After this meeting, the Intender should arrange to pick up the candidate the night of his initiation or arrange to meet him at the Temple at a specified time. The preinitiation duties thus will have been completed, but the candidate should not receive his first degree until this has been accomplished.

          5. During the times that the candidate (and later "Brother") is at the Temple, the Intender should act as a perfect host, introducing him to the brothers present and seeing to it that he is comfortable and at ease. Under no circumstances should the candidate be left alone except for the brief period required to change clothes.

6. The same procedure should be followed after the candidate has received each degree, presenting Booklets No. 3, "The Entered Apprentice," No. 4, "The Fellowcraft," No. 5, "The Master Mason."

Bearing in mind that his major objective is to instruct the candidate in Masonic fundamentals‑‑that both the candidate and the Craft may profit thereby‑‑the alert and diligent Intender will encourage his pupil to ask appropriate questions. Some men by nature are hesitant or "retiring" yet they are as eager to learn as others. In such cases, the Intender, can do much to arouse his pupil’s interest by voluntarily giving him some of the information in this Handbook‑‑particularly those points which are essential to his future Masonic life.

As you continue to meet with the new brother, you will discover that you will run out of topics of your own and your pupil’s invention.  Under these circumstances this Intender Handbook will be particularly useful—it is suggested that as a minimum you simply go over the questions and answers contained in the appropriate section of this Handbook.

7.  After the candidate has been seated as a member of the Lodge, the Intender’s duties increase rather than diminish. By this time, the Intender and the candidate should be close friends and companions. From that time on for the period of at least one year, the Intender should see that the Brother attends lodge meetings regularly, explain to him the forms, customs, and procedures peculiar to our Masonic meetings, the various jewels worn by our officers, and the emblematic meaning of the various jewels and rod ornaments. The Intender should carefully select a varied diet of Masonic activities, arranging to take the new member on visits to other lodges, that he becomes acquainted with the procedure of visitation. He should be made acquainted with our Masonic Home and have the Grand Lodge Home Endowment Fund and the Lodge Charity Fund and charitable program explained to him. The Intender should find out the interests of the new Brother and report these to the Worshipful Master, that his talents may be utilized in the best interest of the Lodge. Many more means of service to the new Brother, and to the Craft, will suggest themselves during the year in which the Intender will act as a "big brother" to the new member, appointed to guide and direct him in this new adventure as a member of our Fraternity.

Remember, Brother Intender, yours is the golden opportunity to mold a new Brother into a Mason who is well qualified to travel and work as such.

 

IMPORTANT: The Intender Plan embraces instruction only in those fundamentals which either are not mentioned or are not fully explained in the Ritual. The catechism is Ritual and is under the jurisdiction of the Worshipful Master. It is not to be rehearsed by the Intender unless the Worshipful Master appoints one man to be both Intender and Instructor, or unless the brother specifically asks the Intender for help.

 

HOW TO USE THIS HANDBOOK

            1.      Again it is emphasized that the Intender Program is based entirely upon the six Candidate Information Booklets and the Pamphlet "Interesting Facts About Freemasonry." Therefore, the candidate must have an opportunity to study each booklet before its contents are discussed with his Intender. For effective instruction, however, the candidate should be urged to study each booklet without delay, and the subsequent conference with his Intender should follow as soon as possible.

            2.       This Handbook contains the questions, and their answers, which are most likely to be asked by a candidate. Obviously, there will be some questions, probably many, that your Grand Lodge Committee on Masonic Service and Education has not anticipated. When such a question arises the Intender naturally will answer it if he can. If he cannot answer, he should very frankly so inform his candidate, and then make every effort to find the proper answer and to later inform his pupil at the earliest opportunity. This Committee stands ready to assist when called upon to do so.

3. Appendix A lists the four paperbacks which we are recommending that the lodges present to their newly‑made Master Masons. The Intender is urged to familiarize himself with the material in these paperbacks whether or not his Lodge presents these to its new members.

Appendix B contains a brief bibliography which any Intender will find helpful.

4. This Handbook is divided into four sections bearing the same headings as the Candidate Information Booklets, i.e., "Interesting Facts About Freemasonry" and "Some Background for An Aspirant"‑‑"The Entered Apprentice"‑‑ "The Fellowcraft"‑‑"The Master Mason."

5. Each question is preceded by a descriptive heading in bold type. For the most part, the headings follow in natural sequence as the degree proceeds.  Thus, any subject may be located quickly.

           6. When the candidate asks a question and it is necessary for the Intender to refer to this Handbook for the answer, he will first locate the proper section (corresponding to the Booklet under discussion) and then look for the heading relating to the question – or he may refer to the index.  He may read the answer as it is written in this Handbook, or reply in his own words after he has refreshed his memory concerning the answer.

SUMMARY AN INTENDER SHOULD

1. Arrange to meet with his pupil once before receipt of the E. A. degree and once after receipt of each of  the degrees, attempting as best he can to teach all that he knows about Masonry including the answers to the questions contained in this Handbook.

2. Inform the signers of the petition and the members of the Investigating Committee as to when each degree is scheduled.

3. Be a good Host!

4.  Bring the newly-made Mason back to some lodge regularly for the first twelve months after he receives his MM degree.

 

CONGRATULATIONS!

Finally, this Committee extends its heartiest congratulations to you upon your preferment. From among all your Brethren you have been chosen to carry forward a task upon which depends much of the future welfare of Freemasonry in Michigan. This is a rare opportunity that comes to few Masons, rich in its vision of service to our Craft and equally rewarding to him who serves. May every success attend your labors! Committee on Masonic Service and Education

INTERESTING FACTS ABOUT FREEMASONRY AND SOME BACKGROUND FOR AN ASPIRANT

1 - Definition of Freemasonry

Freemasonry is defined as consisting of a course of moral instruction, illustrated by types, emblems, and allegorical figures. The classical definition is: "A beautiful system of morality, veiled in allegory and illustrated by symbols." Webster says an allegory "represents by suggestive resemblance," and a symbol is "a visible sign or representation of an idea."

After an extensive analysis of the opinions of other eminent Masonic scholars, the late Brother Charles C. Hunt, Grand Secretary of Iowa, proposed the following definition: "Freemasonry is an organized society of men symbolically applying the principles of operative masonry and architecture to the science and art of character building." This especially distinguishes our Fraternity from all other organizations which teach a system of morality.

2 - Purpose of Freemasonry

"Through the improvement and strengthening of the character of the individual man, Freemasonry seeks to improve the community. Thus, it impresses upon its members the principles of personal righteousness and personal responsibility, enlightens them as to those things which make for human welfare, and inspires them with that feeling of charity, or good will, toward all mankind which will move them to translate principle and conviction into action."

Freemasonry also seeks to enlighten the mind, promote peace and understanding ‑ and whatever may enhance and adorn man's contacts with man ‑ and to stimulate the noble and generous impulses of the human heart to practice its basic tenets of Brotherly Love, Relief, and Truth.

The Fraternity stands firmly on the bedrock foundation of Universal Brotherhood and all that is implied by that noble ideal.

3 - Origin 

How old is Freemasonry? No one knows. Freemasonry was not created at a given moment, or in a single day, month, or year. It is a growth whose roots extend in many directions, often beyond historical record.

The first known recorded mention of Masonry is in an ancient document, now known as the Halllwell Manuscript or Regius Poem, written in verse by an unknown scribe about 1390 A.D. It is written on vellum, 4 by 5 inches in size and

bound in Russian leather; the manuscript is housed in the British Museum. In this document, as well as in more than 100 other ancient documents known as the "Gothic Constitutions," the story of King Athelstan of England (925‑940) is related wherein in 926 A.D. he invited the Masonic Guilds to commence the construction of abbeys and towers. Thus, Operative Masonry in England can be traced to this date, 926 A.D.; we are unable to document any earlier date, thus Masonic history prior to 926 A.D. rests entirely upon legend.

Modern or Speculative Freemasonry, as we know it today, evolved from the Grand Lodge which was organized in London in 1717.

Untold volumes have been written concerning this question of Masonic origin, and much has found its way into print that is pure fancy and with no basis in fact. The earnest Masonic student is therefore cautioned against placing credence in anything that purports to establish a definite place, date, or even a specific era, as the beginning of Freemasonry.

The Fraternity as an Operative Craft is very old. Beyond that fact we cannot go with assurance; but its honorable record of noble and distinctive service to mankind for centurieslonger by far than any fraternal Order now extant ‑is beyond dispute and may be a source of infinite pride to every Craftsman.

4 - Free and Accepted

Masons are "Free and Accepted" for reasons to be found in the early history of Freemasonry, which the candidate is urged to study with diligence.

         Our Masonic ancestors were skilled artisans whose work was essential to the welfare of Church and State, and to the progress of their day. Although the lives and labors of most workmen were encircled by restrictions of many kinds, these

expert craftsmen were exempt from the heavy hand of autocratic power ‑ "free" to pursue their labors and live their lives in a manner consistent with their skills. They were "free" from many things which made burdensome the lives of common workmen.

In a social sense, too, they were "free" men ‑ not bound, not in captivity; and it has long been an established custom that only men who are "free born and of lawful age" can become members of our Fraternity.

The word "accepted" also carries a special meaning. During the late years of  Operative Masonry, education or "learning" was difficult to get. Association with  learned men was almost impossible outside of the Church. Thus many thoughtful  men sought membership among the Freemasons of their day ‑ not with the idea of practicing Operative Masonry, but to receive a part of the learning and the social contacts to be had from such an association. A place was made for these men by taking them in the operative Craft as "accepted" Masons ‑ members who had something to offer and who also desired to receive something from the Lodge, but they were distinguished from the operative Freemasons by the title "accepted." They were speculative Masons as the term is understood today.

As the operative Craft waned, the number of "accepted" or speculative members grew in proportion until, early in the 18th Century, the Fraternity became wholly speculative.

5 - Is Freemasonry a Secret Society?

Freemasonry is not a secret society; rather it is a society with secrets. A secret society, among other things, meets in a secret place unknown to the general public; its membership is secret and nothing is publicly known concerning its aims, principles, and organization.

Masonic Lodges usually occupy a prominent location in the community and their Temples customarily are identified by a display of one or more well known Masonic emblems. Anyone may see who enters or leaves a Masonic Temple; and most members of the Craft wear Masonic insignia somewhere on their persons so all may see that they hold membership in the Fraternity.

         Masonic principles, ideals, philosophy, and purposes may be known to any one who desires to make inquiry, or to read about them in the multitude of books

available to any man, woman, or child ‑ and they are often discussed in public notices. The organization of the various Masonic bodies also is a matter of common knowledge. Its leaders, and usually the great majority of its membership, are known and respected by all who endorse men of high purpose.

        The only secrets of Freemasonry are its methods of recognition ‑to protect it against intruders and imposters‑and its system of symbolic instruction. However, this does not mean that the internal affairs of a Lodge may be discussed promiscuously by its members outside of the Temple, particularly in the presence of non‑Masons. In those matters which affect the business of his Lodge‑and that means all business‑silence and circumspection are strictly enjoined on all Masons.

The internal affairs of a Lodge are private and should be so treated by every member‑just as he would treat the private affairs of his own family.

6 - What Subjects are Barred from Discussion in a Masonic meeting?

First, it is well to constantly bear in mind that Masons, when meeting as such, are always on a common level. There is no distinction of worldly position, class, race, or creed. Every Mason is entitled to his own thoughts and beliefs, according to the dictates of his own conscience‑as long as he believes in one Supreme Being and conforms to the laws and usages of the Fraternity. King, prince, and potentate‑or a President‑ in a Masonic Lodge, meets with other men on a common footing and without social distinction; for here each stands before his Creator as a man, nothing more and nothing less!

Freemasonry seeks to unite men‑not to separate them. Therefore any subject is barred from discussion in a Masonic Lodge which might create friction or contention between men who are otherwise favorably disposed toward each other. This applies with particular force to discussion concerning any specific religion, and also to partisan politics.

        This does not mean that there can be no differences of opinion, or arguments or debate, about legitimate Lodge business or other matters which affect the Lodge's welfare. Such discussion is wholesome and progressive, as long as it is confined to good taste and a genuine tolerance for the opinion of others. In all legitimate debates, however, it is a maxim that peace and harmony must prevail. Therefore, when the Lodge has "spoken," either by a secret ballot or a show of hands, from that instant the decision of the Lodge must be accepted by all, even those who may have voted "nay"except in cases where a legal appeal is permitted.

7 - Is Freemasonry a Religion?

Definitely not!‑although it is deeply religious in many of its ways. While affiliation with a church is not a prerequisite for membership, a large majority of Masons do belong to a church of their choice.  Since Freemasonry is not a religion, no Mason can conscientiously substitute his belief in and loyalty to the Fraternity for the Church of his choice. If he attends no church, that is strictly his own affair; but if he thinks or says that "Masonry is his religion," he knows neither the character of religion nor of Masonry.

8 - Why can’t an Atheist Become a Freemason?

An atheist denies the existence of a Supreme Being. This is directly contrary to a fundamental Landmark of Freemasonry, and also to a primary requisite for admission to the Fraternity. [See Key 4‑17, Section 2, of our Blue Book (Book of Constitutions)]

9 - Can a Roman Catholic Become a Freemason?

The relationship between Freemasonry and Roman Catholicism is grossly misunderstood, not only by the general public but also by too many members of our Fraternity.

There is no "war"‑cold or hot‑between the two, at least so far as Freemasonry is concerned. There is absolutely nothing in any of the Masonic doctrines, rules or regulations to prohibit a member of the Roman Catholic Church from becoming a Freemason merely because he is a Roman Catholic. If such was the case, our claim of universality and that we have no theological dogma and make no distinction between men because of their religious beliefs, would be sheer hypocrisy.

However, for reasons best known to them, a succession of Roman Catholic Popes have looked upon our Fraternity with disfavor, and have caused to be issued from time to time several Encyclicals, or official edicts, denouncing Freemasonry and prohibiting Roman Catholics from holding membership therein. Naturally these edicts have deterred many members of the Roman Catholic Church from applying for admission to the Masonic Fraternity in some countries.

Nevertheless, many Roman Catholics have been Masons. For the most part, Masonry has given no official recognition to the Popes' disfavor, but has adhered to its own admonition of "silence and circumspection" through the years.

The present (and vacillating) situation is reflected in the following article which appeared on the Associated Press wire on October 18, 1974, and in the report of the Catholic Bishops on June 7, 1985:

MEMBERSHIP IN MASONS OK FOR CATHOLICS NEW YORK (AP)

Roman Catholic laymen, barred from belonging to Masonic lodges for more than two centuries, now may do so without church objections so long as the particular lodge doesn’t foster anti-Catholicism.

That’s the interpretation put out by U. S. Catholic leadership on a recent letter from the Vatican’s office on doctrinal matters. The step comes after several years of exploratory friendly gestures between some American Catholic leaders and Masonic groups, chiefly sessions arranged by the Rev. John A. O’Brien of the University of Notre Dame.

Father O’Brien became the first Catholic priest to speak at a Masonic meeting in 1964 in South Bend, Ind., and afterward took part in similar conciliatory gatherings in the rising ecumenical mood of the period, saying:

"We’re all children of the same Father, and it’s about time that we put our Brotherhood into practice.”

Free Masonry, an international fraternal order open to all believers in God, includes about 4 million Masons in this country, with lodges in each state operating under an independent, state-wide grand lodge.

Atthough some Catholics previously have been members, despite the broad church prohibition against it, the new ruling limits application of the ban only to cases in which a specific lodge opposes the church.

Report and Study Concerning Freemasonry

The Catholic Bishops housed in the United States released their report on June 7, 1985. 1t consisted of three parts: a covering letter by Cardinal Bernard F. Law of Boston, committee chairman; “Pastoral Problems of Masonic Memberships” and “ Catholicism and Freemasonry” by Professor William Whalen of Purdue University. The latter’s account appears to be the basis for the Bishop’s thinking, and that is unfortunate because Professor Whalen is not a Freemason and apparently knows little about the laws, teachings and philosophy of Freemasonry.  There are many errors of fact in his report.

         The Cardinal’s covering letter states: The enclosed report shows that the principles of Masonry are incompatible with Christian faith and practice whether or not a specific Masonic organization happens to be engaging

in activity against the church.” The report by Whalen states: “ The church today considers Masonic membership serious enough to deny Eucharist  to “Catholic Masons.” A copy of the Bishop’s report can be obtained by sending 75 cents and a stamped self-addressed envelope to CRUX of the News, 25 Chaplain St., Albany, NY 12204—ask foe the July 15, 1985, edition,  but be prepared to be shocked by the errors propagated in Prof. Whalen’s report.

10 - Do Freemasons Engage in Politics?

Not as Freemasons, for to do so in the name of the Fraternity, or as a member thereof, not only would be contrary to our rules and regulations but also would nullify one of Freemasonry's basic objectives‑‑to unite men of every country, sect, and opinion.

However, as a citizen of his country, state, and nation, every Mason is urged to perform his civic duties through all possible channels of expression. He is not barred from participation in politics as a citizen. Many prominent politicians and statesmen of the past and the present have been and are members and staunch supporters of our Ancient Craft.

11 - Why Have Freemasons Been Persecuted in Totalitarian Countries?

Communism, Fascism, and all so‑called subversive "isms" breed and thrive on darkness and ignorance. These forms of government are based on hatred of all persons outside their group and practice intolerance by suppressing all types of freedom. Persuasion is by force, not by intellect. Freemasons say, above all else, "Let there be Light." The dictator, as such, must have control of every phase of the lives of his people, else he can not be a "dictator." Freemasons believe inherently in freedom and democracy and love and understanding between all men. Therefore, they can do naught but oppose a dictatorship ‑and dictators will tolerate no opposition, as history has amply proved. Thus Freemasonry and Communism, Fascism, etc., cannot co‑exist.

12 - What Constitutes Masonic Charity?

The very form of a Lodge, as you will learn, is limited only by the vastness of the universe. Masonic Charity should be equally extensive and this refers to Charity in its broadest sense. Therefore, one of the basic tenets of a Mason's profession is Relief.

The Michigan Masonic Home at Alma, maintained and supported by the Craft of this State, for "the Master Mason, his wife, the widow, or the mother of a deceased Master Mason and female members of the Order of Eastern Star" represents the great heart of Michigan Masonry. The candidate should lose no time in becoming acquainted with this magnificent, living example of Masonic benevolence. He is urged to write to The Administrator, Michigan Masonic Home, 1200 Wright Avenue, Alma, Michigan 48801, for a Manual of Information and to visit the Michigan Masonic Home at the earliest opportunity.

But our Masonic Home is by no means the end of Masonic Charity. True, it is one very important means to an end‑‑for here, as Masons, we collectively extend Masonic benevolence on a scale which far surpasses our abilities as separate individuals or Lodges. The Masonic Home is thus an outstanding example of what can be accomplished when many thousands of individuals each contribute a modest sum (the per capita assessment) to create a very substantial fund which is impartially administered for a common cause.

Yet, payment of the Michigan Masonic Home per capita assessment does not absolve a Mason or a Lodge from the further practice of Masonic Charity wherever and whenever it may be needed, within the terms of our obligations‑‑for every Mason has solemnly promised to "aid and assist all poor distressed Master Masons, their widows and orphans" when they apply to him within the broad meaning of the obligation he has taken‑and this applies equally to Lodges, of course. This responsibility never ceases, and it is not restricted within tangible boundaries. Thus, Masonic Charity actually is, or should be, as boundless as the universe.

The Mason who understands this fully and practices Charity in its broadest sense in his daily life‑thereby discharging his Masonic obligation‑ soon discovers why Charity has been called "the greatest of these;" and his reward is that inward peace which surpasseth all understanding.

13 - What are the Qualifications of a Petitioner for Masonry?

1.      A Lodge shall not initiate, pass or raise a candidate who lacks any qualifications required of him by ancient usage or the Master Mason's obligation.

2.      A Lodge shall not confer any degree upon a candidate who will not profess a belief in God and the existence of a Supreme Being.

3.    A Lodge in Michigan has the exclusive right to determine whether a candidate has the necessary qualifications to be made a Mason in accordance with the customs and Landmarks of Ancient Freemasonry.

4.      A Lodge in Michigan shall not accept a Petition for the Degree in Masonry from a candidate who is less than nineteen years of age.

5.      A Lodge shall not accept a Petition for the Degrees in Masonry from a candidate who has not been domiciled with: its territorial jurisdiction for at least twelve months.

       See Blue Book Key 4‑17, Sections 1 through 6.

14 - Free Will and Accord

        Every act a Mason performs, as a Mason or in the name of Masonry and throughout his entire Masonic life, is the result of his own "free will and accord." Never is hetold that he shall or shall not do anything, except as it may be implied in the Ritual or in the rules and regulations of the Fraternity, which apply to all for the common good.

        It follows, therefore, that even a man's first approach to our portals must be upon the same basis ‑ a voluntary act, unbiased by solicitation from any member. Thus he is prompted in his desire to be a Mason only by a favorable opinion of the Institution, and is unbiased by friends and not influenced by mercenary or unworthy motives. He is a "free" man, performing a "free" act; and when finally he becomes a Mason he will find that this freedom of thought and action is one of his most cherished privileges.

The Fraternity flourishes, prospers and spreads its teachings through the mode of life exemplified by its members. Thus every Mason, by the example of his personal life and by acts performed of his own "free will and accord," becomes a silent but active Masonic ambassador to the world at large. Thus, and only thus, do we attract desirable men to apply for membership.

That this method is successful and bears "good fruit" is evidenced by the Fraternity's continued existence through the years.

15 - What is Symbolism?  Why is it so Important to Freemasonry?

Symbolism is the use and interpretation of symbols or emblems. Literally, a symbol is a comparison. The word symbol is derived from two Greek words meaning to throw together, to place side by side. Thus, "a symbol is a visible representation of some object or thing, real or imagined, employed to convey a certain idea."

We have no other way to express ideas than by the use of symbols. Words themselves are only symbols. When we say a man is "lion‑hearted," we use symbolism. In ordinary usage, however, by symbol we mean an object which stands for an idea. The Flag is a symbol of our Country; the Cross is a symbol of Christianity; the builder’s Square is a Masonic symbol of Virtue.

Extending this conception further, ceremonies and actions may also be symbolic. The military salute is a symbol of obedience and discipline. A hearty handclasp may symbolize several ideas, friendship, faith, sympathy. Kneeling for prayer is a symbol of humility, submission, obedience‑reverence.

A great Masonic scholar once said that "the symbolism of Masonry is the soul of Masonry." This becomes apparent when we realize that it is not enough merely to state ideas; they must be driven home with emphasis which not only will impress but also will be retained by the candidate's mind. So these ideas, garnered from the wisdom of ages, are represented by symbols.

"Freemasonry is rehearsed to the candidate by the rendition of ritual, imparted to his mind by story, and impressed upon the memory by symbols. By drama, story and symbol, the eye, the ear and the recollection continually enrich the mind and quicken the conscience of the thinking members of the Craft."

16 - What is the Significance of the Term “Blue Lodge”?

Although the organization which confers the degrees of Entered Apprentice, Fellow Craft, and Master Mason commonly is called the "Blue Lodge," its correct name is "symbolic Lodge."

How, when, or why the term "Blue Lodge" originated is not known, but there have been many attempted explanations for this description. One is stated by a prominent author as follows:

"The three degrees of Symbolic Masonry are clothed in or ornamented with blue, whence they are commonly known as Blue Lodge Masonry. Blue is the color of truth or fidelity; and it is a remarkable fact that the Brethren have ever remained true to the blue degrees. Under the reign of William III of England blue was adopted as the favorite color of the Craft.

"This durable and beautiful color was adopted as the peculiar characteristic of an Institution which has stood the test of ages, and which is as much distinguished by the durability of its materials or principles, as by the beauty of its superstructure. It is an emblem of universal friendship and benevolence; and instructs us that, in the mind of a Mason, those virtues should be as expansive as the blue arch of heaven itself."

17 - How may I receive the Most Benefit From the Entered Apprentice Degree?

         By approaching your first step in Masonry ‑ the E. A. Degree - with a humble and serene attitude; with mind and heart attuned to those things which elevate man to the position of dignity and responsibility which his Creator intended him to occupy. Before you enter the Lodge room dismiss from your mind all worldly matters that might detract from the seriousness and solemnity of that which you will hear and see. Be keenly alert to all that is said and done, for in this manner only can you receive and assimilate the time honored teachings of Freemasonry.

The methods used for your instruction will be new to you, for the great lessons of our Craft are taught by allegory and by symbolism. But these methods are as effective as they are ancient, as you will discover if your mind and heart are receptive as the degree progresses. Remember, too, that every Mason in the Lodge room is your friend, and will soon be your Brother. Each is ready to teach if you are ready to learn.

18 - Is There any “Horse-Play” in any of the Symbolic Degrees?

None whatsoever, at any place or at any time in our ceremonies. The Ritual of Freemasonry is serious in all its aspects ‑ from first to last. There is no place for foolishness or "horse play" of any kind.

Anything contrary to the above which is told to a candidate, jokingly or otherwise, is false ‑ and it desecrates the honorable purposes of our ancient Craft. The candidate need have no apprehension whatever as to the manner of his reception or his treatment in each of the degrees. From the very first he is among friends who will soon be his Brothers.

19 - What About Those “High” Masonic Degrees?   “A man I Know has Gone as “High” as a Mason can go”

The emphasis here is on the adjective "high" and as such shows a failure to appreciate a fundamental lesson taught in Masonry; to wit, all Master Masons meet under all circumstances upon a common level. . When you are finally made a Master Mason, you will be as "high" in Masonic stature as any Mason can go, no matter how many subsequent degrees you may receive in the appendant bodies.

However, after receiving the Master Mason degree it is possible to learn more about Masonry in two ways:

(1) by diligent study and (2) by taking degrees in appendant bodies which are intended to advance your knowledge. These degrees may be called advanced degrees, but in this process you gain no "higher" stature a Mason ‑ the Master Mason degree is the summit of our ancient and honorable craft.

The most common pathways for a Mason to travel in receiving these advanced degrees are the York and Scottish Rites. Both pathways provide a Mason with some 32 degrees and sometimes a Mason who receives the last degree of either Rite considers himself "to have gone as far as he can go". This only displays his own ignorance. Coil's Masonic Encyclopedia lists over 1100 advanced Masonic degrees; whereas many of these are defunct, 32 degrees can hardly be considered as going as far as a Mason can go.

For true Masonic advancement there is no substitute for self study. Your Masonic Service and Education Committee stands ready to provide assistance in obtaining books for self‑study. A good start is the library recommended in Appendix B.

20 - To What do we Refer When we Talk About the Ancient Mysteries?

         There is evidence of the existence of an elementary type of craft association as early as the time of the construction of King Solomon's Temple (about 1012 B.C.), where we find the Dionysian Artificers, men banded together as a trade group specializing in architecture. Some authorities contend that the Dionysian Artificers were sent by Hiram King of Tyre to assist King Solomon. In addition to the bond established by reason of their vocation, the Dionysian Artificers were united even more closely by rite and ceremonies of the Dionysian Mysteries, one of the many primitive religious sects which flourished in the pre‑Christian era in Greece, Rome, Egypt, and Persia. There were many of these Ancient or Classic Mysteries, as they are called, among which were the Mysteries of Eleusis from Greece; and the Celtic Mysteries of the Druids from Britain and Gaul. Seemingly common to all these Mysteries was the purpose of imparting to their members a moral code to be followed during life and the inspirational emphasis on hope for life after death. The subject of the Ancient Mysteries is a fascinating study in itself. The further treatment of this subject can be found in Chapter l of C. A. Snodgrass, "Light From the Sanctuary of the Royal Arch," for those interested in the Ancient Mysteries and their relationship to Freemasonry.

21 - What Were the Roman Collegia?

During the domination of the Roman Empire we find more highly organized groups of tradesmen and artisans designated as the Roman Collegia. These were societies of Men with a common purpose or goal, some associated by reason of a craft or trade, and others because of similar political or religious views. Each had its own leader, called the Magister, or, freely translated, Master.  Each had it’s own peculiar rites or initiation, customs, and regula­tions.  Among these collegia was the College of Architects, members of which had much prestige and possessed privileges and freedoms denied to others, because of the great importance placea on building at the time. It is further pointed out by Darrah in his book,"The History and Evolution of Freemasonry," that the collegia were the forerunners of societies of workmen and artisans which organiza­tions, through various periods of rise and decline, finally after eighteen hundred years of constant evolution have culminated in Freemasonry.

22 - When and Where was the First Grand Lodge Formed?

A substantiated claim shows that the first Speculative Grand Lodge came into being at York, England, in 1705 and a record exists showing that it met each year in annual Assembly and was presided over by Speculative Masons. It died, however, about 1792.

         The Grand Lodge formed in London in 1717 by four lodges meet­ing in a tavern room has persisted through a continuing history to this day and hence it is to that Grand Lodge that credit is given as being the "First Grand Lodge". All of our information comes from Anderson's reconstructed minutes written 20 years

later. There were four officers: A Grand Master (although we are not certain that he was called that at the time) a Deputy and two Grand Wardens. This Grand Lodge was given jurisdiction over all of the lodges in London and Westminister. New lodges could be formed only by warrant from the Grand Master. This Grand

Lodge never did declare or announce that it had expanded its jurisdiction to all of England, yet that expansion came as the merit of the new organization was demonstrated and requests for warrants were received from all parts of the realm.

23 - Is There a Grand Lodge of the United States?

         No, there is no single organization which can claim jurisdiction over Masonry in the United States. Instead, there are fifty-one Grand Lodges, each one comprised of the lodges in a state, and the District of Columbia. Each Lodge is governed by the Grand Lodge under which it operates and from which it was Chartered.

24 - Who was the First Mason in America?

The first speculative Mason to come to America is reputed to be John Skene, a native of Aberdeen, Scotland. He arrived in the colonies in 1682. He was number 27 on the membership role of Aberdeen Lodge No. 1 territorial. This lodge has minutes going back to 1670, which show that each Mason registered was required to make his mark (a sign by which his work would be labeled). This lodge was the mother lodge of Dr. James Anderson, who later authored England's Constitutions of 1723. Skene was Deputy Governor of West Jersey from 1685 to his death in 1690 and incidentally an ancestor of the late Past Master, Humphreys Springstun, who served as Chairman of Michigan's Committee on Appeals for fifteen years.

25 - What and Where was the First Lodge in America formed?

The first Masonic lodge to be chartered in America was St. John's Lodge in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania. The constitution and other documentation show that it came into existence in 1727. The Constitution of some 22 pages exists; Brother Thomas Cormick penned the work and it is the oldest Masonic document in America.

26 - Intender - Who is responsible for the proper instruction of a candidate?

The Worshipful Master of the Lodge bears the full responsibility; but under the Intender Program he designates a qualified Brother to act as the candidate's special adviser and instructor (called an Intender) until he has completely understood the fundamentals of the three degrees.

The Worshipful Master also appoints a qualified Brother to assist the newly made Brother in learning his assigned lessons.

27 - Why Must an Applicant for Masonry First be Prepared in his Heart?

The heart is the traditional seat of the affections, passions, and desires. All the actions of a man's life issue and proceed from the heart. As a man's heart is, so will his life be. If his heart is clean and pure, his life cannot be wicked and vicious. Fundamentally, Masonry's first concern is with the strengthening of character in the individual ‑ the building of a Spiritual Temple‑and unless the heart is receptive the mind will not properly respond to this basic objective.

28 - Why is the Candidate Duly and Truly Prepared?

The wearing of special garments furnished by the Lodge is symbolic. It emphasizes the concern of Freemasonry with a man's internal worth, rather than with his external adornments of position, wealth, or environment. By wearing these garments the candidate also signifies the sincerity of his intentions.

The hoodwink demonstrates that the sightless individual needs a guide, and it symbolizes our dependence upon moral teachings for guidance in our daily conduct. "We walk by faith and not by sight." The hoodwink also signifies that the candidate has laid aside the distractions of the outer world and is prepared to concentrate upon the lessons he will receive in the Lodge room.

The cable‑tow symbolizes the length or extent of the candidate's responsibility as measured by the "scope of his reasonable ability" to live up to his obligations.

29 - Why am I from a Lodge of the Saints John of Jerusalem?

According to a Masonic legend the first or Mother Lodge of the Fraternity was located at Jerusalem and anciently was dedicated to King Solomon. Later, Lodges were dedicated to St. John the Baptist, then to St. John the Evangelist ‑ and finally to both. The legend further declares that all Lodges are descendants of the original Lodge at Jerusalem; so, in keeping with this tradition, we say that every Mason hails from such a Lodge, which is equivalent to saying that he is from "a just and lawfully constituted Lodge."

30 - What is the Significance of the Candidate’s Journey Around the Lodge Room?

This journey has a two‑fold purpose; (1) to enable all present to view the candidate and ascertain that he is "duly and truly prepared"; and (2) it is patterned after one of the most ancient of all religious rites, an important part of which was the circumambulation around an altar, moving in the same direction as the sun. In his search for Light the candidate starts from darkness, the North, travels to the East (the source of Light) and then by way of the South to the West ‑ and back into darkness. He again comes out of the North and passes through the same course again and again in his progress, moving in the same direction as the sun, i.e., according to natural laws and Truth as gathered by human wisdom through the ages.

31 - What is the Proper Form and Situation of a Masonic Lodge Room?

Lodges are usually laid out in the form of an oblong rectangle. If it is physically possible, and convenient, the East should be at the east end of the room and the West at the west end. However, this is not an official requirement of the Grand Lodge of Michigan and many Lodges are not so situated because structural conditions will not permit.

It must be emphasized that the Masonic "East" is purely symbolic, for it represents the source of Light ‑ hence the Worshipful Master's station is located there. Obviously it could be located at any point of the compass and still be the source of Light, as long as the Worshipful Master is seated there. This symbolism is clearly stated in the ceremony of opening and closing a Lodge.

32 - Worshipful Master

(a) Why is the Master called Worshipful:

"Worshipful" is an old English word signifying "worthy of respect." Masonically it is a title of respect for the office of the presiding officer, the Master, who the Brethren believe possessed of sufficient knowledge, wisdom, and integrity to preside over them in a proper manner. We use the word in its ancient sense, not in its modern sense of denoting awe and humility before a Supreme Being.

(b) Why does only the Master wear a hat?

There are two reasons, both symbolic:(l) Keeping the head covered while all others are uncovered has long been symbolic of superior rank or office. By the same token, uncovering the head in the presence of superior rank has long been established as a mark of respect. (2) Traditionally, the Master of a Masonic Lodge wears a hat while presiding over his Lodge because King Solomon wore a crown as a mark of royal dignity.

(c) What special courtesies are due the Worshipful Master?

There are a number of such courtesies which will be apparent as the candidate becomes familiar with Lodge practices. One of traditional importance should be mentioned here because it has become so firmly a part of Masonry that it is falsely believed by many to be a Masonic law: "Never pass between the Master and the altar while Lodge is in session, except when it is necessary during degree work." Symbolically this is purported to signify that in his conduct of Lodge affairs, the Master should never lose sight of the basic principles represented in the Great Lights. This is a noble thought and courtesy, but it is not a Masonic law.

(d) What are the powers of the Worshipful Master?

         The powers of a Worshipful Master are very great; far more varied and positive than those of any other organization now in existence. From his decisions there can be no appeal to the Lodge. He is answerable only to the Grand Lodge for acts growing out of his official duties. A list enumerating the specific powers and prerogatives of the Worshipful Master would be a long one indeed, and no doubt incomplete at best. The Blue Book of Masonic Laws of the Grand Lodge of Michigan set forth many such powers, among which are: To call meetings of the Lodge and open same, to invite a competent Brother to preside after the Lodge is opened, to fill vacancies in accordance with the by‑laws, to arrest the conferring of a degree when the candidate is deemed unworthy, to order charges preferred when deemed just, to rule on the admissibility of evidence and points of law and order, to receive or deny admission to a visitor. The powers of a Worshipful Master are derived from the Grand Lodge to which his Lodge is subordinate. There are certain limitations upon his powers as well, and these are set forth in the Grand Lodge Blue Book of Constitutions.

The Worshipful Master shall be the sole judge of all questions of order that may arise, and there shall be no appeal to the Lodge from his decision. The Penal Code of the Grand Lodge of Michigan provides that the Grand Master and Masters of Lodges are answerable only to the Grand Lodge for acts growing out of their official duties. Hence an appeal to the Grand Lodge is the only recourse offered a Brother who objects to a decision of the Worshipful Master.

33 - What is the Symbolism of the Masonic Altar?

The altar is one of the most ancient symbols of mankind. It has had great significance for all ages since the dawn of history, and the candidate might profitably devote hours to the study of this one subject.

In Masonry the altar, among other things, is a symbol of Faith. On it rest the Three Great Lights, and to it comes the candidate in search of Light and to offer himself, symbolically, to the service of his fellow man and the Grand Architect of the Universe. Here he takes his obligations. It is called an "Altar" because it is the piece of furniture in the Lodge upon which rests the Holy Bible. In every activity of the Lodge the altar is the focal point for all the Brethren, that the precepts for which it stands and the Great Lights that rest thereon may guide their every thought and action.

34 - What is the Significance of the Holy Bible in Freemasonry?

This question obviously is too comprehensive to permit of complete treatment in this Manual. The following, however, represent a few of the fundamental facts concerning the place of the Holy Bible in Freemasonry:

        The Volume of the Sacred Law is one of the Ancient Landmarks of Freemasonry and is an indispensable part of the furniture of a Lodge. In our Grand Jurisdiction it usually is represented by the Holy Bible, but any candidate not a Christian may, for the purpose of his obligation, have substituted for it any other volume which he considers sacred: e.g., the Old Testament, the Koran, the Vedas, or the Laws of Confucious. In some foreign Lodges more than one Sacred Book is open on the altar at the same time, and the candidate may elect the one on which he wishes to be obligated.

The Holy Bible, or the Volume of the Sacred Law, is open during all official meetings of a Lodge to indicate that its teachings are "the rule and guide of Faith," by the Light of which we must ever guide our conduct.

35 - What is the Real Purpose of the Obligation?

The obligation, and the manner in which it is taken, is visible and audible evidence of the candidate's sincerity of purpose. Without it nothing he might say or do could be considered binding. By taking it he gives irrevocable evidence of his sincere intentions.

          Thus the Fraternity not only binds him to certain responsibilities, but also protects itself against a revelation of the secrets of Freemasonry, which have to do chiefly with its methods of recognition and of symbolic instruction. It should be here emphasized that the great truths taught by Freemasonry are not secret ‑ only the manner of teaching them.

36 - What Penalties Will I Actually Incur if I Violate my Obligations?

Violation of his obligations may subject a Mason to the scorn of his Brethren, or to losing his right of membership, but never to physical punishment of any kind. The ancient oral penalties are retained in the obligations to emphasize how seriously the Fraternity regards the responsibilities voluntarily assumed by a Mason. The penalties are symbolical and intended to emphasize the seriousness of the undertaking. The violation of a Masonic obligation is a most serious offense, which may deserve the severest punishment, but for which the Brother is penalized only by reprimand, suspension, or expulsion from the Craft.

37 - What is the Purpose of the Due Guard?

It is primarily a reminder of your obligations and its use is a silent pledge to continue to perform them faithfully.

The Due Guard also may be a sign of salutation, and in some jurisdictions is used upon entering or leaving a Lodge. It is indicative of the degree in which a Lodge is working, and is, along with the sign, your pledge to conform to the usages thereof.

Note to INTENDER: It would be helpful here to review the Due Guard (and Sign) with the candidate, and impress upon him the importance of giving both with precision. Too often this part of our ceremonies is given in a careless manner.

38 - Apron

(a)     Is the Lambskin Apron more ancient than the Golden Fleece or Roman Eagle and more honorable than the Star and Garter?

The apron was used as a symbol in many of the Ancient Mysteries. In Masonic ritual it is compared with some of the most noted and honored decorations of ancient and modern Europe, with the assurance that it, too, is an ennobling decoration. To Freemasons the apron also is a symbol of the dignity of work, and of the care that should be exercised to do our work in a manner that reflects credit upon our character.

(b) When do Masons wear the White Apron?

On all Lodge occasions; aprons and white gloves should be worn in public only for Masonic funerals or during other strictly Masonic ceremonies which are under the direct supervision of a Lodge or the Grand Lodge, such as the public installations of officers, temple dedications or the laying of a cornerstone.

39 - What Connection has “Something of a Metallic Kind” With Masonic Charity?

This ceremony is often called the Rite of Destitution. It not only charges us to give physical relief, but also to give thought and time to the aid of others, visiting the sick, and sympathizing with the unfortunate.

40 - What Special Significance has the Northeast Corner of the Lodge?

It has been suggested that it was a matter of practicality to begin a building at the Northeast corner because it is only in that corner that one can easily establish sight lines in the early morning because of the location of the sun.

        The first stone of a building is usually placed in the Northeast corner because that is the beginning, the line where darkness (North) ends, and light (East) begins.This custom is as old as mankind. The Entered Apprentice has but laid the foundation whereon to build his future moral edifice, that of life and character, and his position thus aptly symbolizes the end of the preparatory period and the beginning of the constructive period of human life.

41 - The Charge

         What is a Masonic "charge?"

At an appropriate place in the ceremonies of each degree the candidate receives a concise summary of his new duties and responsibilities; and he is "charged" or exhorted to perform them in a creditable manner.

42 - What are the Ancient Charges?

The Charges of a Freemason, acknowledged as containing the fundamental principles of ancient written and unwritten Masonic law, were collected from the old records of the Fraternity by a learned committee headed by Brother James Anderson, and given to the Craft in 1723. These Charges may be found in the supplement to the Blue Book (available from the Grand Lodge Office) starting at pages O‑1 and P‑1.

43 - With What Particular Masonic Emblems Should I be Familiar as an Entered Apprentice?

An emblem is the visible representation of an idea, often carrying allegorical significance and suggesting some truth or fact. Thus the Flag is the emblem of the United States ‑ speaking to us in a broad language that is at once more vivid and understandable than mere words.

All Masonic emblems are important; and each should be completely understood by the candidate. To convey their meaning clearly the Intender should review with his candidates the symbolic explanations for each degree.

44 - Lectures of the E. A. Degree

    (a) What is the purpose of the First Lecture ?

To impress upon the candidate the significance of the various ceremonies and the order in which he received them in the degree.

    (b)  Memorization of the Catechism is no longer required

Until November 1992, most of the content of the First Lecture was adopted as a lesson for the new Brother to commit to memory (a catechism). Such memorization is no longer required.  It is considered necessary only for the new Brother to know the token, word, step and sign of the degree. Should you visit

another Lodge and be examined, you should so state. One of the purposes of the original lesson (catechism) was to require you to meet with a knowledgeable Mason, who would not only teach you the lesson but would teach you other things about the Fraternity.  This latter activity is now taken up by your Intender.

    (c) What is the purpose of the second lecture?

This lecture elaborates on certain phases of the degree work in order that the candidate may clearly understand the purpose behind some of the important ceremonies through which he has passed. It not only instructs, but also interprets much of the degree's basic symbolism.

Since much of this lecture concerns King Solomon's Temple, it should be here emphasized that, contrary to the conceptions gained by many Masons, the Fraternity was not founded by that ancient and wise king. Freemasonry, as an organized Craft, came into being many centuries after the reign of Solomon. Evolution of our Ritual formulated the various Masonic legends connected with Solomon and his Temple as the basis for much of the symbolism with which our Ritual abounds.

    (d) What is the purpose of the third lecture?

It continues the basic teachings of the degree and, to impress them indelibly on the mind, it visually presents important E.A. symbols, and discusses moral applications. The tenets of Freemasonry‑‑Brotherly Love, Relief, and Truth‑‑and the four cardinal virtues‑‑Temperance, Fortitude, Prudence, and Justice‑‑ are given particular emphasis.

45 - How did the Ritual Originate?

The first actual information about a ceremony or "ritual" comes from a collection of documents which we call the "Old Charges" or "Manuscript Constitutions" of Freemasonry. They begin with the Regius Manuscript c. 1390.

When we study these as a collection, we can reconstruct an outline of the admission ceremony which began with a prayer followed by a "reading" of the "Masonic history." Then one of the elders held a book, sometimes referred to as "the book," "the Bible" or "the Holy Bible" upon which the one to be admitted placed his hands. In that position the regulations were read to him and after this, he took the oath, a simple oath of fidelity to the king, to the master and to the craft that he would obey the regulations and never bring the craft to shame. This early oath was copied from the guild oath of that time with no penalties; it was just a simple oath of fidelity.

 46 - How Many Degrees had Ancient Freemasonry?

          There was only one ceremony during the fourteenth and fifteenth centuries and this was presumably for the "fellow of the craft" because the apprentice had no stature in those days; the apprentice was "a piece of property" that belonged to his master who could be bought and sold in the same way that the master could buy or sell a horse. Nearly 150 years were to pass before parliament recognized that perhaps an entered apprentice was a human being with certain rights and privileges.

          About 1550 we find evidence for two degrees.

The first indications that three degrees were being considered was a single sheet of paper dated 1711 found among the papers of an Irish doctor and scientist, Sir Thomas Molyneux. In the records of Lodge Dumbarton Kilwinning of March 1726 we find the first minutes of the Masters (third) degree actually being conferred on a Gabrael Porterfield. Thus, at the time of the formation of the Grand Lodge in 1717 there were only two degrees being conferred.

The third degree was not a new invention. It was the original second degree, with its five points of fellowship and word, which was moved to the third place by a division of the original first degree into two.

Eventually the United Grand Lodge of England made the following important declaration concerning Symbolic ("Blue Lodge") Masonry:

          "It is declared and pronounced that Ancient Craft Masonry consists of three degrees, and no more, viz., those of Entered Apprentice, the Fellowcraft, and the Master Mason including the Holy Royal Arch." The Royal Arch has since been eliminated from the Symbolic Lodge and is now worked in Chapters of Royal Arch Masons.

47 - Why Does the Ritual Contain so Many Unfamiliar Words and Phrases?

         Much of the present ritual was written during the 18th Century. Naturally it partook of the language and idioms of that period‑plus words and phrases of an earlier day. The earliest rituals were designed by men who recognized the value of such words in "clinching" the attention of the candidate as well as their extraordinary power of expressing an idea either symbolically or literally. Changes have been made in the ritual from time to time, but these particular words and phrases have become such an integral part of Freemasonry that (it is hoped) they will never be altered or abandoned.

48 - When Should I Arise or be Seated While Lodge is in Session?

The gavel is the symbol of authority by which the Worshipful Master governs his Lodge. One sound of the gavel calls the Brethren to order; two sounds calls the officers of the Lodge to their feet; three sounds will cause all the Brethren to arise; one sound will seat the Lodge or any Brother thereof.

49 - The Tyler

(a)       What is the meaning of the word "tyle"?

The word "tyle" is here presented in its archaic form merely because it thus represents another connective link with the earlier days of Freemasonry. The modern spelling is "tile."

The Lodge is said to be "tyled" when the necessary precautions have been taken to prevent the approach of "cowans and eavesdroppers," intruders or persons not properly qualified to enter a Masonic Lodge. The Tyler is the officer who enforces these rules.

(b)       What are the qualifications of the Tyler?

         He must be a Master Mason, but not necessarily a member of the Lodge which he tyles. Where several Lodges meet in the same hall, one Brother may be employed to tyle for them all. This is not a customary practice in Michigan however. It is highly desirable that a Tyler have a wide acquaintance among the Lodge's membership.

 (c)      What are the duties of the Tyler?

The chief duty of the Tyler is to guard the West Gate, that none may enter the Lodge who are not qualified. He also informs the Junior Deacon when a qualified Brother wishes to enter while the Lodge is in session and should, at the same time, advise the Brother concerning the degree in which the Lodge is then working. He also ascertains that all who so enter the Lodge are properly clothed and if visitors are qualified and properly vouched for. Some Lodges require the Tyler to see that the Lodge room is in proper order prior to each meeting.

50 - Why do Masons Respond at the Conclusion of Prayer by Saying “So Mote it be” and What does the Expression Mean?

The members who thus respond signify that they adopt as their own the words of the prayer. It comes from Old Middle English and means, "So may it ever be."

51 - Is it Mandatory to use the Prayers as they appear in the Ritual?

         Yes.  In Michigan the prayers are a part of our Standard Work.

52 - Rights of an Entered Apprentice

An Entered Apprentice has limited privileges. He is not required to pay dues, cannot vote or hold office, can attend only the E.A. Degree, and can receive Masonic burial services or attend a Masonic funeral clothed as a Mason. He has no right to organized Masonic charity from the Lodge; although, of course, he may receive individual Masonic charity. He has the right of instruction by competent Brothers, and the right to ask for the opportunity of demonstrating his proficiency and advancing to the Fellowcraft degree. He may not receive his other degrees elsewhere without the consent of his Lodge.

53 - What are the Particular Responsibilities of an Entered Apprentice?

Keeping inviolate the secrets entrusted to his care; compliance with every part of his obligation; the observation of proper conduct and decorum, both within and without the Lodge, and a display of diligence in seeking Masonic knowledge.

 

THE FELLOWCRAFT

 

54 - Fellowcraft Degree

In the Fellowcraft degree the emphasis is on the zest for learning and the search for Truth. The degree symbolizes the value of knowledge and the cultivation of the mind. In this degree the candidate takes a symbolic journey and receives instructions similar to those once given to operative workmen. The degree is symbolic of one of the great goals which all men should seek‑self‑ development in the journey of life.

55 - Operative and Speculative Masonry

Operative Masonry was the immediate predecessor of Speculative Masonry. It represents that period in Masonic history, prior to the 18th Century, when members of the Craft were operative stone masons and architects, actually engaged in the construction of private and public buildings. They were the most skilled artisans of their day and much of their labor was devoted to the erection of the great cathedrals which now grace the landscapes of Europe.

Speculative Masonry refers to the character of our Craft as it developed from the final years of the operative era to modern times ‑ particularly since 1717, when the first Grand Lodge was organized. The actual working tools of the builders or operative Masons ‑ the gauge the gavel (or stone mallet), the square, plumb, level, trowel, etc. ‑ no longer are used by Freemasons to erect structures of stone, but as symbolic tools in the erection of their personal spiritual temples, houses "not made with hands." They have become powerful symbols which carry moral and spiritual lessons to a speculative Craft. Thus, through these symbolic "working tools" Freemasonry has become a system of ethics inculcating the principles of right conduct ‑ a way of life.

56 - When and Why did Masonry Change From Operative to Speculative?

The change occurred gradually over a period extending from the latter half of the 17th Century to the earIy part of the 18th Century. Gentlemen of that day, including rulers and high‑ranking officials who had no desire or intent to become stone masons or builders, sought membership in the Operative Lodges for the many spiritual, social, and cultural advantages they offered. By consent they were admitted and became "accepted" Masons, whose interest in the Lodge was purely "speculative."

As the Gothic style of architecture began to decline, the demand for operative Masons ‑ builders and architects‑ gradually diminished until, finally, the very existence of the operative Craft was seriously threatened.

Fortunately, at this time there was evidenced a growing interest in Speculative Masonry with a corresponding increase in the number of "accepted" members. If this interest had not prevailed, it is probable that the Craft would have passed into oblivion ‑ and there would be no Freemasonry today. However, the Craft literally was "saved" by the "accepted" members, and in 1717 four old London Lodges held a joint meeting in the Goose and Gridiron Tavern and organized a Grand Lodge. Thus the operative Craft became purely speculative; and, with the organization of the Mother Grand Lodge, Speculative Masonry became dominant and has remained so ever since.

57 - What is the Length of my Cable Tow?

In earlier days a cable tow was as long as an hour's journey, roughly, three miles. However, the Baltimore Masonic convention of 1843 declared that the symbolical length of a cable tow is "the scope of a Brother's reasonable ability;" and this is the generally accepted meaning today. In other words, a Mason is bound to his Brethren by a tie which is as long and as strong as his conscience dictates, and he must determine for himself what constitutes his reasonable ability.

58 - What are the Basic Teachings of the Second Degree?

As the Entered Apprentice degree, with its moral instruction, is symbolic of life, the Fellowcraft degree is symbolic of manhood with its increased duties and obligations. Here the candidate is urged, literally and symbolically, to advance his education, particularly in the fields of history, science, and the liberal arts, that he may occupy with honor his allotted place in the great structure of human society.

William Preston (1742‑1818), to whom we are indebted for a generous portion of our modern Masonic Ritual, evidently intended the Fellowcraft degree to be the beginning of a liberal education; and, indeed, in his day it was. Today every school boy is familiar with most of the facts presented by this degree; but he knows nothing of its symbolic interpret-ation, of course, or that it is intended to be an open door to further study.

         A learned Past Grand Master of Iowa has written: "The Fellowcraft degree symbolized that period of life when a man prepares for life's work and strives to erect his spiritual Temple agreeably to the designs drawn on the Trestle Board. As a Fellowcraft, you receive more light in Masonry; you are invested with the working tools so necessary for the tasks of manhood; you are encouraged to continue in the acquisition of knowledge, in the cultivation of the mind, and in the search for Truth."

 

59 - Why does the Middle Chamber Lecture of the Fellowcraft Degree Contain such Elementary Subjects? 

No matter how well‑grounded a candidate may be in the subject covered by the Middle Chamber lecture, he is not or ever will be so "learned" that he may conscientiously cease his studies and "rest on his laurels." We say that "Masonry is a progressive science." So must the acquisition of useful knowledge be continuously progressive in the life of a man, an ever onward march that never ceases, else he becomes static or stagnant and his position in society becomes less secure and less valuable to his fellow man. Freemasonry expects it votaries to seek, seek, seek ‑ to learn, learn, learn ‑ and thus by precept and example to teach, teach, teach! Thus, and only thus, can our Craft carry its beneficient influence into every avenue of human activity ‑ and accomplish its mission.

All useful knowledge rests upon elementary fundamentals to keep it in proper perspective ‑ and to remind the candidate forcibly that the process of education never ceases. The Fellowcraft degree accomplishes this in an admirable manner, for it not only reviews the basic elements of education but in so doing it automatically reminds the candidate how far we have progressed in the acquisition of useful knowledge in our modern day. Thus by contrast it sets before him a progressive pattern for the future.

Look about you! Consider the elements that "disturb" our daily lives ‑ all of them! Quickly the realization will come that most of the burdens borne by mankind result from the departure by the world's people from the simple verities, the fundamentals which must guide the human race if it ultimately is to find real happiness ‑which lies only on the path to Truth!

Thus the Middle Chamber lecture, with its elementary fundamentals, presents a logical approach to Truth and permits the candidate to view in true perspective the Grand Architect and His works.

          The detailed discussion on the Five Orders of Architecture, which is a prominent part of the Middle Chamber lecture has several objectives. While it fixes the candidate's attention on the growth and the importance of architecture in general ‑and by inference displays the magnitude of its influence on the progress of man ‑ it emphasizes, too, that architecture is a symbol of the very foundation of Freemasonry, which is a speculative science derived from an operative art.

60 - What is the Symbolism of the Approach to the Middle Chamber?

In its Companion to the Monitor the Grand Lodge of Iowa explains this fully. The following excerpts are illustrative: "The journey to the Middle Chamber is based upon a legend connected with the building of King Solomon's Temple. Like most Masonic teaching it is symbolic; and if you would profit by its lessons and apply them to the building and beautifying of your own Spiritual Temple, you must really work as a Speculative Mason...

"It is said that at the building of the Temple, Fellowcrafts met in the Middle Chamber on the evening of the sixth day of every week to receive their wages. None but worthy craftsmen were admitted, and these were invested with certain mysterious signs, tokens, and words, by means of which they were able to pass the guards....

"The journey (to the Middle Chamber) is an allegory, a symbol of the journey of life and the reward for faithful living....

"In our journey from the quarries to the Middle Chamber, we are now within the precincts of the Temple, and before us is the beautiful arched gateway which leads to the inner court. Passing through this gateway, we come to the porch and the entrance of the Temple, where you observe two brazen pillars, one on the right hand, the other on the left, called Jachin and Boaz...

"We have considered the names Boaz and Jachin as meaning strength and establishment. An equally good translation of the word Boaz is power, and of the word Jachin, wisdom or control...

        "Masonry conducts you between these pillars and earnestly recommends them to your attention. We hope that you may draw from them inspiration for your journey to the Middle Chamber of life. You need the things they typify; power ‑ physical, mental, and moral strength to stand for the right, strength on occasion to say "No"; control ‑ that your power may not be wasted but bring only good to yourself and to your fellows; wisdom ‑ to make the right decisions in the issues of life from day to day....

"If with strength comes wisdom, if with power comes control, you may confidently hope to reach your Middle Chamber and receive wages....

"There is nothing in the Biblical description of the Pillars... to indicate that they were surmounted by Globes; but Masons of modern times have added them, delineating on one the divisions of the earth and on the other the heavenly bodies...

"Hence the Globes denote the universality of Masonry and teach us so to regulate our lives that when we pass from earth, the terrestrial, it may be to that other and better world, the celestial....

"In our symbolic journey we have reached a flight of winding stairs (consisting of three, five, and seven steps). In a symbolic sense you are now preparing for your life work, and the stairs represent the means by which you are to climb from the depths of your earthly nature to the heights of a moral and spiritual life....

"A winding stairway is one to try a man's soul... You can see only to the next turning, perhaps only one step in advance. You will need to keep the Pillars constantly in mind as symbols of your faith, for you cannot see the Middle Chamber; you must depend upon your faith, that there is a Middle Chamber. Once started, there can be no return; and as the Worshipful Master informed you, it will be necessary that you make the regular advance; none other will serve. It is only by your own honest effort that you can climb the stairs. And then, no matter how hard you try, you may never reach the Middle Chamber of your boyhood dreams. The stairway is long, and the Angel of Death may be just out of sight around the corner....

          "The Pillars we may consider as symbols of our faith in God, and the Three Steps teach that we are dependent on Him and that our first care should be to harmonize our will with His and build our Temple agreeably to the Divine plan....

"By the five steps you are taught to use Order in the architecture of your Temple and to improve yourself by a rational development of all your natural powers. ...

"The seven steps symbolized that the crowning glory of man is the development of mind and spirit...your destiny as an immortal being requires you to ascend step by step until you reach the summit where the treasures of Truth await you. ... Unless you have acquired the secret signs, tokens, and words of the faithful Craftsman by putting into daily practice the moral and spiritual teachings found in the Great Light of Masonry, you cannot pass the inner door to the place of wages."

61 - What are the Actual Wages of a Fellowcraft?

Corn, wine, and oil, symbolizing the wealth of life in mental and spiritual, not financial realms. In the Old Testament, these three were physical wealth; in Freemasonry, corn represents plenty, referring to opportunity, work, friends; oil represents joy, happiness, gladness; wine, health, spirituality, and peace. Together, corn, wine, and oil represent the rewards of a good life. They are also the elements of consecration used in Masonic cornerstone layings, and dedication and in the constitution and consecration of a new lodge.

The meaning of the word corn, as it is used in the Fellowcraft degree, should be clarified. In the United States, and particularly in the Middle West, the word generally is used when referring to "Indian Maize," the "corn" which grows so abundantly in our fields. Most candidates therefore are confused when they hear reference to a "sheaf of corn" and then see it represented by a sheaf of wheat.

In most parts of the world the word "corn" is used in its collective sense and refers to all small grain. This is its meaning when used in any of our Masonic ceremonies, and grain collectively is usually represented by wheat ‑ although any small grain such as barley, oats, maize, etc., may properly be used.

62 - The Letter “G”

The letter "G" is the symbol of Geometry; also, in American ritual, of the sacred name of Deity. The symbolism of this important Masonic Emblem has been the subject of innumerable papers, books, and articles, many of which have attempted to evolve esoteric meanings which are both complicated and fanciful.

In his Introduction to Freemasonry, Brother Carl H. Claudy says: "Aye, God is always geometrizing. Geometry is particularly His science. Freemasonry makes it especially the science of the Fellowcraft Degree and couples it with the symbol of the Great Architect of the Universe. No teaching of Freemasonry is greater; none is simpler than this. The Fellowcraft who sees it as the very crux and climax of the degree, the reality behind the form, has learned as no words may teach him for what he climbed the Winding Stairs, and the true wages of a Fellowcraft which he found within the Middle Chamber."

In this country after 1750 the letter "G" was combined with the Square and Compasses in Masonic lapel emblems, rings, etc. The combination is a symbol of Symbolic Masonry which is unique to America.

63 - Where can I Learn More About Solomon’s Temple?

Refer to the Holy Bible and read "The First Book of the Kings" (I Kings), beginning with Chapter 5.

Also read "The First Book of the Chronicles" (I Chronicles), beginning with Chapter 2.

Bear in mind, however, that the Masonic ritualistic mention of the Temple is symbolic ‑ and sometimes legendary. Therefore, details of construction and development, as presented by Masonic Ritual, frequently differ from the Biblical account.

You will learn more about Masonry's legendary Temple of Solomon in the Master Mason degree.

64 - With What Particular Emblems Should I be Familiar as Fellowcraft?

The Plumb, Square, and Level; Corn, Wine, and Oil; The Pillars of the Porch; the Globes; the Winding Stairs and the 3, 5, and 7 Steps; the Orders of Architecture; emblems representative of the Liberal Arts and Sciences, and the letter "G".

 

65 - What are my Rights as a Fellowcraft?

See No. 52. A Fellowcraft has no more rights than an Entered Apprentice, except the privilege of attending his own Lodge which is working in the Fellowcraft degree.

66 - What are the Particular Responsibilities of a Fellowcraft?

To the responsibilities of an Entered Apprentice have now been added those contained in the obligation of a Fellowcraft. The extent to which these responsibilities have been expanded will be clarified by a careful review of the obligations of both degrees.

          But a Fellowcraft's duties extend beyond a literal interpretation of the obligation he has taken. He now is committed to "the acquisition of knowledge" and the fruitful application thereof, so he may occupy a useful and honored position in society.


THE MASTER MASON

67 - What may I Expect From the Master Mason Degree?

The Master Mason degree exemplifies, by the now familiar methods of allegory and symbolism, Freemasonry's answer to one of the most profound of all mortal queries into the divine nature of the universe. In this degree the recurrent theme of Brotherly Love, Relief, and Truth, also is given further emphasis. As a Master Mason you will also become a voting member of the Fraternity, with added privileges and responsibilities which will be explained to you at the proper time.

It would be impossible to over‑emphasize the importance, the dignity, and the sublime teaching of the Master Mason degree. It is the magnificent climax of all that has preceded. The power of this degree is such that Brother Edwin Booth, one of the greatest tragedian actors the world has ever produced, once said that he would rather play the leading role in this degree of Freemasonry than any part that could be assigned to him in any of the great dramas of history.

68 - What are the Essential Differences in the First Section of the Master Mason Degree and the Corresponding Sections of the two Preceding Degrees?

Many of the differences are too obvious to require discussion. As a "progressive moral science" Masonry advances the candidate according to a regular pattern which should be apparent to him as the degrees unfold.

The outstanding difference, of course, lies in the character of the numerous obligations which are assumed by the Master Mason. With emphasis it should be stressed here that each and every one of the points of the obligation is an important and complete entity ‑ and each is to be rigidly observed and practiced. All are binding ‑ forever!

If the new Master Mason will thoughtfully review his obligations from time to time, he will be constantly aware of his responsibilities, and will realize that each point has a highly important purpose and fits perfectly into an overall pattern which has been designed to establish his proper relationship to the Fraternity, to the Grand Architect of the Universe, and all of His creatures.

69 - Why is the Master Mason Degree Called the Sublime Degree?

In its legend of the Craft "the Sublime Degree" departs utterly from the familiar. Instead of being concerned with moral principles and exhortations, as is the First degree, or with architecture and learning, as is the Second, it answers the cry of Job, "If a man die, shall he live again?"

"The legend of the Craft is at once the tragedy and the hope of man; it is virtue struck down by error, evil, and sin, and raised again by truth, goodness, and mercy. It is the story of the resurrection of that 'which bears the nearest affinity to that supreme intelligence which pervades all nature.' It is the answer to Job. It is at once the beginning of the even more sacred legend‑ ‑of that which was lost‑and the assurance that at long last he who seeks shall find. ...

"The Hiramic Legend is the glory of Freemasonry; the search for that which was lost is the glory of life.

"Never may we find it here. You shall gaze through microscope and telescope and catch no sight of its shadow. You shall travel in many lands and far, and see it not. You shall listen to all the words of al1 the tongues which all men have ever spoken and will speak‑‑The Lost Word is not heard. Were it but a word, how easy it would be to invent another! But it is not a word, but The Word, the great secret, the unknowableness, the will o' the wisp to follow, a pot of gold at the end of the rainbow. Never here is it to be found, but the search for it is the reason for life.

          "The Sublime Degree teaches that in another life it may be found."

          "That is why it is the sublime Degree."

                      ‑‑ Quotations from "Introduction to Freemasonry" by Carl H. Claudy

          See Question 84, p. 46.

70 - What is a Clandestine Lodge and a Clandestine Mason?

A clandestine Lodge is a Lodge not subordinate to any Grand Lodge recognized by the Grand Lodge of Michigan. A clandestine Mason is a member of a clandestine Lodge. Thus, neither a clandestine Lodge nor a member thereof is considered to be a Masonic Lodge or a Mason by Grand Lodges or constituent Lodges of legitimate origin, i.e., descended from the Grand Lodge of 1717.

To determine whether a given lodge is considered regular or clandestine, a brother should refer to the book "List of Lodges, Masonic" kept by all Secretaries and Tylers. If the lodge does not appear in that book, it must be considered clandestine.

71 - Does the Masonic Fraternity Discriminate Against Ethnic or Minority Groups?

The answer is "No!" Membership in a constituent Lodge of the Grand Lodge, F. & A.M. of Michigan is not restricted on the basis of a candidate's race, creed or national origin. We have in our own membership or in the membership of other regularly recognized Grand Lodges, brethren of every generally known race, national origin, and organized religion.

72 - Are Lodges with Predominantly African-American Membership Clandestine?

No, Lodges are regular or clandestine by virtue of the manner in which they and their Grand Lodges were formed, whether they demand a belief in diety and whether their practices are in accord with ancient customs and usages. [See Section B of the (Blue) Book of Constitutions of the Grand Lodge of Michigan]. There are lodges with African-American membership that are regular and others with African-American membership that are clandestine. The list of all lodges which are recognized by the Grand Lodge of Michigan is contained in the book kept by the Secretaries and Tylers of all lodges entitled "List of Lodges, Masonic".

In May 1997, the Grand Lodge F & AM of Michigan and the Prince Hall Grand Lodge F & AM of Michigan mutually recognized each other.  As of May 1998, fraternal visitations and associations are encouraged but are by invitation only.  See our Grand Lodge Proceedings 1997, p. 67 and 1998, p. 289.

The Grand Lodge of Michigan maintains fraternal relations with many jurisdictions who include African-American lodges in their membership and we are as free to visit those lodges as they are welcome to visit our lodges. As an example, the Grand Lodge of Michigan maintains fraternal relations with the Grand Lodge of New Jersey which has one African-American lodge, Alpha Lodge No. 116 of  Newark, and with many other jurisdictions which have lodges which number as high as fifty-percent blacks in their membership, such as lodges in Nova Scotia, the Caribbean, and South America.

However, there are several predominantly African-American Masonic organizations who are considered clandestine. The two largest of these are the Affiliates of the National Compact Grand Lodge of Free and Accepted Masons of Color for the USA and the John G. Jones Affiliation.

For further information we refer the interested reader to Coil's Masonic Encyclopedia and the out‑of‑print book, "Negro Masonry in the United States," by

Harold V. B. Voorhis, the latter available on loan by writing to the Iowa Masonic Library P.O. Box 279 Cedar Rapids, Iowa 52406.

73 - What is the Meaning of the Word “Dotage” as used in Freemasonry?

Dotage may be defined as impotence of body as well as of mind from old age. It is a condition marked by childish desires with consequent loss of judgment and memory. No precise age can be fixed at which these deficiencies occur. They appear earlier in some individuals than in others. The Lodge must determine for itself whether a specific petitioner falls in this category.

But however old a petitioner may be, if he is in the possession of his healthy mental faculties, his age alone does not disqualify him. It is not the number of his years, but their effect on his mind that should be the basic test.

74 - Why does Masonry Deny Admission to Women?

          One of the unquestioned Landmarks of Freemasonry is that a candidate for initiation must be a man. This, of course, prohibits the initiation of women.

Freemasonry began at a time when it was a "man's world." Women, so to speak, were relegated to work in the home. This early tradition became imbedded in Masonic law by the passage of time.

Speculative Masonry is also the application of Operative Masonry to moral and intellectual purposes. Thus, since only hale and hearty men were employed by the Craft in the construction of the ancient edifices, so modern Lodges have the   indispensable requirement that the candidate for Freemasonry must be a man, capable of performing such work as the Master shall assign him.

75 - What Importance is Attached to the Signs, Words, and Tokens of Masonry?

First, of course, they are an essential part of our code of recognition, whereby a Mason may prove himself to be a member of the Craft, or may recognize another as such. Although of themselves they are not sufficient proof of membership in the Fraternity, they constitute very important links in the chain of evidence. Thus they become an essential part of a Brother's examination for admittance as a visitor to a Lodge, in the absence of proper avouchment.

You are reminded, too, that each sign, word, and token has a symbolic meaning, which should enrich the mind and improve your conduct as a Mason.

It is recommended that the Intender rehearse with the candidate in a private place the following: (a) The due guard and sign of the Master Mason degree. (b) The pass‑grip and pass word of the Master Mason degree. (c) The strong grip of a Master Mason. (d) The Grand Masonic Word ‑ in proper manner. (e) The Grand Hailing Sign and accompanying words.

Precision in the execution of all movements connected with signs and grips is a splendid attribute for any Mason to cultivate. It not only gives evidence that he understands the meaning of what he is doing, but also indicates his respect for the dignity of his membership. "Sloppy" or careless, half‑hearted movements are unsightly and have no place in a Masonic Lodge.

76 - What is Meant by “Travel in Foreign Countries?”

Our ancient operative Brethren desired to become Masters so, when they travelled in foreign countries, they could still practice their craft.

Speculative Freemasons still desire to "travel in foreign countries" and study their Craft that they may receive such instruction as will enable them to do so, and when so travelling, to receive a Master's Wages.

But the "foreign countries" do not mean to us the various geographical and political divisions of the Old World, nor do we use the Word we learn as a means of identification to enable us to build material temples and receive coin of the realm for our labor. "Foreign countries" is to us a symbol.

Like all the rest of the symbols, it has more than one interpretation, but unlike many, none of these is very difficult to trace or understand.

Freemasonry itself is the first "foreign country" in which the initiate will travel; a world as different from the familiar workaday world as France is different from England, or Belgium from Greece. ... Surely such a land is a "foreign country" to the stranger within its borders; and the visitor must study it, learn its language and its customs, if he is to enjoy it and profit thereby. ..

Freemasonry has many "foreign countries" within it, and he is the wise and happy Freemason who works patiently at the pleasant task of visiting and studying them.

          There are the Masonic "foreign countries" of philosophy, of jurisprudence, of history. No Freemason is really worthy of the name who does not understand something of how his new domain is governed, of what it stands for, and why. And, too, there is the "foreign" country of Symbolism, of which so much has already been said.

As a Master Mason, a man has the right to travel in all the "foreign countries" of Freemasonry. If he will but learn the work and keep himself in good standing, he may visit where he will. But it is not within the doors of other Lodges than his own that he will find the guide posts of those truly Masonic "foreign countries" to which he has been given the passport by his Brethren. He will find the gateways to those lands in the library, in the study club, in books and magazines, and, most and best of all, in the quiet hour alone, when what he has read and learned comes back to him to be pondered over and thought through.

The "foreign country" of Masonic symbolism has engaged the thoughtful and serious consideration of hundreds of able Masonic students, as has that of the history of our Order. Not to visit them both; aye, not to make oneself a citizen of them both, is to refuse the privileges one has sought and labored to obtain. One asks for a petition, requests one's friend to take it to his Lodge, knocks on the door, takes obligations, works to learn, and finally receives the Master's Degree. One receives it, works for it...why? That one may travel in far lands and receive the reward there awaiting. ...

Then why hesitate? Why wait? Why put off? Why allow others to pass on and gain, while one stands, the gate open, the new land beckoning, and all the Masonic world to see? 

That is the symbolism of the "foreign countries" ... that is the meaning of the phrase which once meant, to Operative Masons, exactly what it says. To the

Freemason today who reads it aright it is a clarion call to action, to study, to an earnest pressing forward on the new highway. .

And at the end of the journey, when the last "foreign country" of Freemasonry has been travelled and learned and loved, you shall come to a new gate, above which there is a new name written ... and when you have read it you will know the True Word of a Master Mason.

 

                                              Excerpts from "Foreign Countries" by Carl H. Claudy

77 - Wages of a Mason

Our ancient operative Brother received for his labor, corn, wine, and oil ‑ products of the earth ‑ or whatever else would contribute to his physical welfare and support. His labor for the most part was manual, and his wages had to do with his physical or material well being.

          The Free and Accepted Mason, as such, is concerned only with moral work. His reward, therefore, is to be found within himself.

Brother Carl H. Claudy has put it this way: "Master's Wages ‑ a phrase symbolic of the rewards which come to a Mason who learns what he professes and practices what he learns. The wages of a Master are different for each Brother; each asks what he will and receives that for which he labors. If he works as a menial for a menial's wage, that is what he will receive. If he demands much he will receive much, provided he earns it. This is one of the great intangibles, difficult to express in words, known well to all who love and labor in the Craft,

I worked for menial's hire Only to learn, dismayed, That any wage I asked of life,  Life would have paid.

"The intangibles of love, friendship, respect, opportunity, happy labor, associations, are the wages of a Master who earns them. Not all do earn them ‑ hence, the phrase in the mouth of a Lodge officer, descriptive of his duty, 'to pay the Craft their wages if any be their due. ... "'

78 - Solomon’s Temple

(a) What is the symbolic meaning of King Solomon's Temple? 

Symbolic interpretations concerning the Temple of Solomon, in all of its aspects, are practically inexhaustible.

All rational opinion, however, seems to center on the symbolic representation of Man as a Temple of God. Says I Corinthians 3:16, 17, "Know ye not that ye are the temple of God, and that the spirit of God dwelleth in you. If any man defile the temple of God him shall God destroy; for the temple of God is holy, which temple ye are." Thus, when Freemasonry undertakes the idealistic task of elevating mankind through the strengthening of character in the individual it seeks to so improve each Mason that he, as a symbolic Temple, will be better fitted as a suitable dwelling place for the Most High God.

          The chief purpose of Solomon's Temple was to provide a suitable dwelling for the Most High God ‑ in the Sanctum Sanctorum or Holy of Holies. There are many who claim that it was the most perfect edifice ever erected. Be that as it may, the fact remains that "perfection" was the goal ‑just as perfection of body, mind, and character should be the goal of every Master Mason, whereby he may become a Temple suitable as a dwelling place for the Most High God. Thus Freemasonry  urges each of its Craftsmen to erect his Temple of Character for the same purpose that brought into being the great and "perfect" Temple of Solomon.

 (b) Where was Solomon’s Temple erected?

          The Temple was located on Mt. Moriah, near the place where Abraham was about to offer up his son Isaac, and where David met and appeased the Destroying Angel. David purchased the site from Oman, the Jebusite, to whom he paid the sum of fifty shekels of silver according to II Samuel 24:18‑25, although the sum is stated to be six hundred shekels in I Chronicles 21:18‑27.

(c) How long did it take to build the Temple?

Seven and one half years were spent in its erection. The Temple was destroyed in 586 B.C., by Nebuchadnezzar, King of Chaldees.

79 - Solomon, King of Israel

He was the son of David and Bathsheba, born about 997 B.C. He became King in 977 B.C. and died about 937 B.C. The name Solomon means "peaceful."

80 - Hiram, King of Tyre

Hiram, King of Tyre, was a staunch friend of King David. He also was a friend and ally of David's son, Solomon, and actually assisted him by supplying certain materials for the construction of the Temple.

The Masonic Ritual assigns some duties to Hiram of Tyre that are purely legendary‑but which are essential to the drama of the Master Mason Degree.

81 - Trestle Board

The Trestle Board is a Masonic symbol of moral law. As one of the "movable jewels" of a Lodge, it is the "board" on which the Master draws his designs, from which the rough stone is converted into the perfect ashlar and as such built into the walls of the Temple.

 The Trestle Board of a Speculative Mason is that on which he draws the designs for his character and spiritual growth ‑ or, in other words, on which he lays the basis for his moral law.

82 - Who Wrote the Masonic Funeral Dirge?

David Vinton, one of the early "traveling Masonic‑lecturers, was the author.

He was born January 6, 1774, at Medford, Massachusetts, and died at Shakertown, Kentucky, in July, 1833. The dirge, set to the music of Pleyel's Hymn, was first published in the "Masonic Minstrel" at Dedham, Massachusetts, in 1816.

83 - What Masonic Meaning Applies to the Sprig of Acacia?

It symbolizes Freemasonry's great doctrine, the immortality of the soul. The acacia in all probability became a Masonic emblem because of a Jewish custom of planting a branch of Acacia Vera (gum arabic plant) on the grave of a departed relative.

84 - Why is it Said That a Candidate is Raised to the Sublime Degree of a Master Mason?

This expression refers, materially, to a portion of the ceremony of the Master Mason Degree; but, symbolically, it presents a resurrection after death and a Mason's faith in immortality.

          Here is the sublime climax of the Symbolic Degrees; and if a Brother misses its meaning, sees the living, the dying, the "raising" of the Master only as a literal drama‑designed to teach the virtues of fortitude and inflexible fidelity‑he has found Light but partially, and the Sublime Degree to him is naught but a theatrical play with a moral.

"Instead of being concerned with moral principles and exhortations, as is the first degree, or with architecture and learning, as is the second, it answers the cry of Job, 'If a man die, shall he live again?'

"The degree delves into the deepest recesses of a man's nature. While it leads the initiate into the Sanctum Sanctorum of the Temple, it probes into the Holy of Holies of his heart.

"As a whole the degree is symbolical of that old age by the wisdom of which 'we may enjoy the happy reflections consequent on a well‑spent life, and die in the hope of a glorious immortality.'

"But it is much more than that. It is at once the universal and yearning question of man throughout all ages‑‑and its answer. It teaches no creed, no dogma, no religion: only that there is a hope of immortality; there is a Great Architect by whose mercy we may live again; leaving to each Brother his choice of interpretation by which he may reach the Great Beyond.

"It teaches of the power‑and the powerlessness‑ of evil. For those who are happy in a belief in the resurrection of the physical body of which Paul taught, the degree assures of all the longing heart can wish.

"When the lesson of the greatest hope and the dearest wish of all mankind is made manifest, the Sublime Degree turns to this life and this Brotherhood, and in the symbolism of the Lion, the exposition of the Five Points of Fellowship, the means by which a Mason may claim all that a man may from his Brother, and the Word, ties together the Hiramic Legend and daily living in a manner which no thoughtful man may see and hear without a thrill; a way at once awe‑inspiring and heartening, terrible but beautiful, sternly uncompromising yet strangely comforting.

"It is because the degree is all this‑and more, much more, which cannot be put into words‑that it means so much to those of whom it becomes a part. The ceremony is not of the earth, earthy, but of that land of the inner life, that home of the spirit where each man thinks the secret thoughts he tells never ‑never."

85 - Hiram Abif and the Legend

(a) Who was Hiram Abif?

Hiram Abif was a widow's son of the tribe of Naphtali, a man of Tyre; and there is no character in the annals of Freemasonry of whose life is so dependent on tradition as this celebrated architect of King Solomon's Temple.

Of this artist, whom Freemasons recognize sometimes as Hiram the Builder, sometimes as the Widow's Son, but more commonly as Hiram Abif, the earliest account is found in the First Book of Kings (Chapter 7:13, 14).

"And King Solomon sent and fetched Hiram out of Tyre. He was a widow's son of the tribe of Haphtali, and his father was a man of Tyre, a worker in brass, and he was filled with wisdom and understanding, and cunning to work all works in brass. And he came to King Solomon and wrought all his work."

He is next mentioned in the Second Book of Chronicles (Chapter 2:13, 14), in the following letter from Hiram of Tyre to King Solomon:

"And now I have sent a cunning man, endued with understanding of Huram my father 's. The son of a woman of the daughters of Dan, and his father was a man of

Tyre, skillful to work in gold and in silver, in brass, in iron, in stone and in timber, in purple, in blue and in fine linen and in crimson; also to grave any manner of graving, and to find out every device which shall be put to him, with thy cunning men, and with the cunning men of my lord David, thy father."

(b) Why was Hiram, our ancient Grand Master, called "Abif?"

The word Abif means "his father," or "my father," Hiram Abif is therefore correctly translated "Hiram, my father," the "my father" being a term of great respect. Hiram, the Widow's Son, was the father of all his workmen in the same sense that the patriarchs of old were "fathers" of their respective tribes.

(c)     Is the drama, of which Hiram Abif is the central figure truth or fiction?

This sublime drama as presented by Freemasonry is strictly legendary. In fact it is usually referred to in Masonic literature as the "Legend of Hiram Abif," or the "Hiramic Legend."

Hiram of Tyre, of course, actually lives [See Biblical references under (a) above]. But the Masonic legend in which he plays the leading role is not historical. It was adopted by our early ritual writers to exemplify in highly dramatic form the sublime teachings of the Master Mason Degree.

86 - Who was Pythagorus and What did he do for Masonry?

Pythagoras was one of the most remarkable and able Greek Philosophers. He established a system of schools, of a secret order, in Crotona. Some Masonic scholars believe that the esoteric (secret) Masonic doctrines are derived from his schools. Pythagoras was a profound student of the science of numbers. He is credited by Anderson in his Constitutions of 1738 with the discovery of the Forty‑seventh Problem of Euclid, although it really was discovered by Archimedes.

87 - What are the Ancient Landmarks of Masonry?

Masonic authorities are not in agreement on the number of Landmarks. The eminent Masonic student Albert G. Mackey lists 25 Landmarks. Some authorities have listed more; others less.

The Jurisdiction of Michigan, in May 1970, approved the following as Ancient Landmarks of Masonry:

(1) Monotheism is the sole dogma of Freemasonry. Belief in one God is required of every initiate, but his conception of the Supreme Being is left to his own interpretation. Freemasonry is not concerned with theological distinctions. This is the basis of our universality.

(2) Belief in Immortality is the ultimate lesson of Masonic philosophy. "The soul of man is the highest product of God's creative handiwork. Now, after God has spent untold time in creating man and endowing him with a soul, which is the refIection of His image, is it reasonable to suppose that man lives here on earth for a brief span and then is extinguished by death?"

           (3) The Volume of the Sacred Law is an indispensable part of the furniture of the Lodge. In our Jurisdiction it is the Bible, but in some countries any candidate not a Christian may have substituted for it any other volume he considers sacred: e.g., the Old Testament, Koran, Vedas, or Laws of Confucius.

To these, all other Jurisdictions which have adopted an official list have agreed on the addition of the following four:

 (4) The Legend of the Third Degree. This is the most important and significant of the legendary symbols of Freemasonry. It has descended from age to age by oral tradition, and has been preserved in every regular Masonic rite, practiced in any country or language, with no essential alteration.

(5) Masonic Secrecy includes only methods of recognition and of symbolic instruction. It does not extend to everything relating to the Institution. A secret society is one whose members are not publicly known, and whose existence is concealed from the world. Masonic bodies, however, meet openly; there is no secrecy concerning membership or officers; and Masonic symbols and philosophy are discussed in thousands of books accessible to anyone. Masonry has no part in subversive activities, yet its secrets belong to the Fraternity just as the private affairs of a family are its own concern.

(6) Symbolism of the Operative Art means that Masonic symbols are taken from architecture. Almost without exception they relate to the building art; Square, Level, Plumb, Ashlars, Pillars, Trestle Board, etc. The grand idea of Masonry is that the development of character is like the Building of a Temple; the same rules apply to both. There must first be a plan, then a foundation and framework, and finally, proportion and harmony of line. There must be "wisdom to contrive, strength to support, and beauty to adorn all great and important undertakings." This is a practical truth of universal application to all forms of achievement. The symbols of Freemasonry are drawn from the experience of the ages.

(7) A Mason must be a freeborn male adult. In Operative Masonry women and young men could not work at the mason's trade; so traditionally membership in the Craft has been confined to male adults, and from long usage this practice has become imbedded in the Fraternity as a Landmark.

88 - With What Principal Emblems of the Master Mason Degree Should I be Familiar?

The square and Compasses, an emblem which appears in all three degrees; the Trowel, the Pot of Incense, the Bee Hive, the Book of Constitutions guarded by the Tyler's sword, the Sword Pointing to a Naked Heart, the Anchor and Ark, the Forty‑seventh Problem of Euclid, the Hour Glass, the Scythe, and the ninth Masonic emblem, which is explained only in a tyled Lodge.

89 - Rights of a Master Mason

(a)     Masonic Burial.

To be eligible for Masonic burial a deceased Brother must meet the following requirements: (1) He must be a Mason ( E. A. sufficient), (2) He must be in good standing; i.e., not under sentence of suspension or expulsion. (3) He need not necessarily be affiliated with the Lodge within whose jurisdiction he dies.

(b)     Masonic Relief. My grandfather used to tell my mother, "If you ever need help, just call on a Mason." Is this true?

The expression, "Just call on the Masons," is one of the most misunderstood of all the many popular beliefs regarding Freemasonry. When grandfather told mother to "call on the Masons" if she needed help, that did not mean that an open sesame could be provided the descendant of a Mason for the asking. It did mean that the wife or minor child of a Mason, living or dead, is entitled to Masonic relief under the same conditions that would apply to a Master Mason.

To be eligible to apply for relief, a Mason must not be under the sentence of suspension or expulsion, and he must be deemed worthy.

Michigan holds to the principle that the adult child of a Master Mason is not considered an orphan in the Masonic sense. Also, it is a generally accepted principle that the widow of a Master Mason, upon remarriage, forfeits any claim to Masonic consideration on the membership of her former husband.

A Master Mason is obligated to a Brother and to his widow and orphans to the extent of his ability. A Lodge which finds a sojourning Mason, his widow or orphans in destitute circumstances should afford them temporary relief, in the meantime notifying the Lodge to which they belong, and thereafter be governed by its instructions.

When a stranger representing himself as a Mason applies for relief to another Mason, the usual practice is to refer the needy Brother to the Worshipful Master of the Lodge. Oftentimes this is the means of detecting imposters.

(c)     Visitation ‑ If I want to visit another Lodge, how do I proceed?

        To visit a Lodge, a Brother must be able to exhibit documentary evidence that he is a Mason in good standing, and, if not vouched for by a Brother, he must pass a satisfactory examination before an examining committee on the essentials of the three degrees. But no visitor can be received into a Lodge in Michigan as long as a single member of that lodge present objects. 

(d)    Special Favors ‑‑ What kind of special favors will I receive now that I am a Master Mason and how much additional influence will I have? Will I get a better job if my boss is a Mason or will the chief of police "fix" my ticket for a traffic violation if he is a Mason?

Freemasonry does not seek to contravene the laws of the land, and no Mason should ask or expect favors in the outside world to which others would not be entitled. Those who seek through Freemasonry to gain special favors, get a better job, or escape justice do not comprehend the meaning of Masonry, nor will they ever reap the real benefits it bestows, because such benefits will not be apparent to the selfish eye.

90 - Responsibilities of a Master Mason

(a)     Attendance ‑What is the duty of a Mason in respect to attendance at his Lodge?

The Ancient Charges provide that "in Ancient Times no Master or Fellow could be absent from it (his Lodge), especially when warned to appear at it, without incurring a Severe Censure, unless it appeared to the Master and Wardens that pure necessity hindered him," Freemasonry today has no minimum attendance requirements, offers no attendance prizes, and prescribes no penalty for absence. But certainly a Master Mason is morally obligated to be loyal to the Lodge which  The Master Mason permits him to enjoy the benefits of Freemasonry ‑ and this includes attendance as frequently as possible at the meetings of the Lodge.

(b)     Investigation ‑ To whom should the investigation of a petitioner for Masonry be entrusted?

Only to those members who, in the opinion of the Worshipful Master, are most likely to make a prompt, individual, complete, and impartial inquiry into the petitioner's character and to find out if he is worthy to be made a Mason.

 (c)    Balloting on petitions‑Under what circumstances should I use the black ball (cube) in balloting?

 If a Mason is convinced in his heart, after due inquiry into his motives, that a petitioner for membership is unworthy, he should not hesitate to use the black cube in balloting on the petitioner. Personal likes or dislikes, misunderstandings, or grudges should be put aside in that solemn moment. The only standard which should govern a Mason's action in balloting should be: Will this petitioner uphold or injure the good name of Freemasonry if he should become a member?

(d)     Secrecy ‑ Has a Mason the right to declare how he voted on a Ballot?

Key 4‑20, Section 17, of our Blue Book states "A Mason should not inquire as to who has cast a white ball or a black cube, nor shall he reveal the color of his ballot to any person, nor question or be questioned thereon. A Mason who casts a black cube without just cause, or for un‑Masonic motives, or reveals the color of his ballot, violates his obligation and he may be tried therefor; if found guilty, he shall be punished for such un‑Masonic conduct.

(e)     Examination of a visitor. – If  I am appointed to examine a visitor to my Lodge, what should I do?

The visitor shall be required to furnish documentary evidence as to his name, the name and number of his Lodge, its location and his current membership in good standing.

His Lodge should then be checked against the list of recognized Lodges contained in a book which the Tyler of the Lodge should have on hand. He should then be required to take the test oath and be examined in his knowledge of Masonry to the extent that you are satisfied that he is a Master Mason.

91 - Plural Membership, may a Michigan Mason Lawfully Belong to More Than one Lodge at the Same Time?

A Master Mason, in good standing in a Lodge either within or without this Grand Jurisdiction, may retain and continue his membership in such Lodge and also become a member of as many chartered Lodges in this Grand Jurisdiction as will accept him if the Master Mason has resided in this Grand Jurisdiction for at least six months at the time that he petitions for plural membership. See Key 4‑25, Sections 13 through 24, page F‑53 of the Blue Book.

92 - What Rules Govern a Brother While Speaking in a Lodge?

          A Brother who desires to speak should arise, address the Worshipful Master and await recognition. He should observe due order and decorum and should not discuss subjects which might disturb the harmony of the Lodge, such as political or religious matters.

93 - If I Want to Propose Something for the Good of the Lodge, how do I go About it?

Any proper motion may be presented to the Lodge by a member at a Stated Meeting. If the proposition involves an amendment to the by‑laws of the Lodge it should be submitted in accordance with those by‑laws.

94 - Masonic Law

(a)     What was the first basic law of Freemasonry?

          First, the Old Charges, in manuscript form; later, the famous Constitutions of Freemasonry, compiled by the Rev. James Anderson in 1722 and published in 1723, commonly known as Anderson's Constitutions. These, with the Ancient Landmarks, constitute the historical background of authority for the Book of Constitutions and By‑Laws of the Grand Lodge of Michigan, which is the present fundamental law of Ancient Craft Masonry in this State.

(b) Where may I obtain a detailed explanation of Masonic Law?

         For a general explanation see Mackey's "Jurisprudence of Freemasonry." For more detailed and specific information refer to the Book of Constitutions and By‑Laws of the Grand Lodge of Michigan commonly called the Blue Book.

95 - What are the Powers of a Grand Lodge, and From Whence are They Derived?

          The Grand Lodge is the highest source of Masonic authority in Ancient Craft Masonry within its jurisdiction. Its powers include the following: (1) To grant Dispensations and Charters to organize Lodges, (2) To hold jurisdiction over all Masons within the State in which it operates, (3) To pass judgment on appeals from the decision of any Lodge, (4) To assign jurisdictional lines between Lodges, (5) To render final decision on controversies or grievances brought by appeal or otherwise, (6) To enact laws and regulations, which are the supreme Masonic law of the State, (7) To assess and collect dues for the support of its activities, (8) To supervise the state and condition of its own finances, (9) To reprimand, suspend, or expel any member from its own body for cause, (10) To review the reports of its officers and Lodges at each Annual Meeting, and (11) To do whatever may contribute to the well‑being of the Fraternity in the State.

Grand Lodge consists of, (1) The Lodges within its jurisdiction, represented by the Worshipful Masters or their legal representatives, (2) present elected Grand Lodge Officers, (3) Past Grand Masters, (4) Past Masters (the latter without voting rights). Certain of the powers of the Grand Lodge are inherent, i.e., inborn, or existing without question.

96 - What are the Powers and Privileges of the Grand Master?

         The Grand Master has the power:

(1) To convene the Grand Lodge in special meeting in case of emergency, (2) To preside at all special and stated meetings, (3) To exercise the executive functions of the Grand Lodge when not in session, (4) To decide all interim questions of usage, order, and Masonic law, (5) To require the attendance of, and information from, any of the Grand Lodge officers concerning their respective offices and duties, (6) To convene any Lodge within the juris-diction, and in person, or by deputy, to preside therein, inspect their proceedings, and require their conformity to Masonic laws and rules, (7) To issue his dispensa-tion to any Lodge, or in person, to make a Mason or confer any degree at will, subject only to the restraints of the ancient charges and the landmarks of Masonry, (8) To suspend the functions of any Lodge for good reasons, (9) To command every Grand Officer and to call on any of them for advice and assistance on matters and things relative to the Craft, (10) In person or by proxy appointed in writing to constitute Lodges, dedicate Masonic buildings and lay cornerstones of  Masonic buildings, public buildings, and structures, (11) To appoint representatives, by warrant, in any other recognized Grand Lodge, and receive and accredit such representatives from other Grand Lodges, (12) To see that the Ancient Landmarks and Charges are observed. All acts and decisions of the Grand Master are subject to review of Grand Lodge at the following Grand Lodge Communication.

97 - Grand Honors - What are Grand Honors? Why and how are they given and to whom are they due?

Grand Honors may be described as a Masonic salute, given to distinguished Brethren in authority or on specified ceremonial occasions.  Since 1995, our private and public Grand Honors are the same and are thought to derive from the practice of gun salutes and are a substitute therefor. They consist of first striking the left palm with the right hand three times, then striking the right palm with the left hand three times, then striking the left palm with the right hand three times, making nine concussions in all.  The Grand Honors are technically said to be given "by three times three."

In Michigan those entitled to Grand Honors are: The Most Worshipful Grand Master, his official representative, and such other Brethren as he may designate. The Grand Lecturer is authorized to select a Mason from the sidelines to receive Grand Honors for the purpose of instruction.

98 - What is the Proper way to Wear a Masonic Ring?

Michigan has no Masonic regulations governing the wearing of personal jewelry or emblems by Masons. Many Masons like to wear the ring with the points of the compasses toward their hearts, so that the Square and Compasses will appear in the same position that they occupied when they first beheld them. Others prefer that the Square and Compasses will appear "right side up" to the observer in the same position that a lapel emblem should occupy. In this matter a Mason may be governed by his preference and sense of good taste.

99 - There is a National Memorial Dedicated to George Washington, the Mason.  Where is it?

The George Washington National Masonic Memorial is situated on Shooter's Hill, on the outskirts of Alexandria, Virginia, on land once owned by Washington and on a site originally proposed for the location of the Capitol of the United States. The movement to erect this great Memorial originated in 1910. The cornerstone was laid in 1923 and the Memorial was dedicated in 1932 as a part of the ceremonies commemorating the bicentennial of Washington's birth. The Masons of Michigan through their Grand Lodge, have contributed liberally to the erection and maintenance of this Memorial. Each Lodge must collect the sum of fifty ($0.50) cents from each dues-paying Master Mason, which is turned over to the Grand Lodge to be used annually as a contribution to the George Washington National Masonic Memorial Association.  [See Key 5-27, Section 1(e), of our 1998 Blue Book.]

 

100 - Why are Masonic Lodges in Some Jurisdictions Designated as A. F. & A. M. While in Others They are F. & A. M. or even A. F. M.?

Before the United Grand Lodge of England was formed in 1813, there were two Grand Lodges working in England. One was known as the "Ancients" and the other as the "Moderns." Both of these Grand Lodges issued charters to Lodges in the United States. Those chartered by the "Moderns" (which was the older Grand Lodge) used the title F. & A.M., while those chartered by the "Ancients" used the title A.F. & A.M., (Ancient Free and Accepted Masons). The Grand Lodges in the various States then chose the title, either F. & A.M. or A.F. & A.M., preferred by the Lodges participating in the formation of that Grand Lodge.

Twenty‑five of the jurisdictions in this country refer to themselves as F. & A.M., twenty‑six call themselves A.F. & A.M., and one (South Carolina) uses the title A.F.M. (Ancient Free Masons).

 

THE END

 

APPENDIX A. THE FOUR EDUCATIONAL PAPERBACKS

(The following paperbacks are recommended for presentation by the lodges to their newlymade Master Masons at one month intervals following the conferral of the third degree They are available form the Grand Lodge Office, 233 E. Fulton St., Grand Rapids, MI 49503

         *1. An Introduction to Freemasonry, H.L. Haywood ‑ a paperback describing the origin and purpose of Masonry, the American System, the side orders, a discussion of each of the three degrees and a history of World and American Masonry.

2. Freemasonry and the Drums of 'Seventy‑Five', Sidney Morse ‑ a paperback stor Colonial Masonry and the American Revolution.

3. Masonry Under Two Flags, Allen E. Roberts ‑ a history of Masonry and the Civil War, a story of brotherly love, relief and truth. This should be a must reading for every Mason.

       **4. The Builders, Joseph Fort Newton ‑ a paperback edition of the long heralded work on the philosophy history and interpretation of Freemasonry.

Those lodges so desiring may choose to present still another paperback: A Pilgrim's Path ‑ One Man's Road to the Masonic Temple, John J. Robinson ‑ a large paperback book of interest to every Mason.

* This booklet is presently not available because it is out‑of‑print.  It is suggested that the Lodge give a hardbound copy of   Introduction to Freemasonry by Carl H. Claudy instead.

** This booklet will soon be out-of-print.  When that happens, it is suggested that the Lodge give a hardbound copy of  The Builders.

APPENDIX B. A SMALL MASONIC LIBRARY

(Any Intender who wishes to expand his knowledge of Masonry will profit from reading any and all of the following books. The source appears as a number in parentheses after the title, with a list of sources noted at the end. )

Masonic Encyclopedia, Coil (1) ‑ a single volume work which is thorough and also convenient to take along.

The Little Masonic Library, 5 vols. (1) ‑ this is a five volume set containing a wide variety of historical and philosophical material on Masonry. The print is small and, as such, somewhat difficult to read; but the price makes it a superb bargain.

History of Freemasonry, 4 vols., Gould (2) ‑ much that has been written on Masonic history is misleading. For a scholarly and truthful presentation of the Masonic history, this is the book to read.

House Undivided, Roberts (1) ‑ this should be required reading for every Mason, particularly be he American. It is a history of the Craft just prior to, during, and after the Civil War.

Freemasonry in Michigan, Vol. 1, Smith and Fey (1) ‑ the early history of the Craft in Michigan.

Freemasonry in Michigan, Vol. 2, Smith and Fey (1) ‑ a continuation of the history of the Craft in Michigan.

10,000 Famous Freemasons, 4 vols., Denslow (1) ‑ a compilation of short biographical sketches which can be used as a basis for interesting talks.

Born in Blood, Robinson (1) ‑ a history of the Peasants' Rebellion in England which the author, not a Mason at the time, thinks was led by Freemasons.

A Pilgrim's Path ‑ One Man's Road to the Masonic Temple, Robinson (1) ‑ this is recommended reading for every Mason and non‑Mason.

Brother Truman, Roberts (1) ‑ a Masonic biography of former President and Past Grand Master, Harry Truman ‑ most enjoyable.

SOURCES:

1. Grand Lodge of Michigan • 1204 Wright Avenue • Alma, MI 48801-1133 - website - http://www.michiganmasons.org
2. Educational Bureau, P.O. Box 529, Trenton, MO 64683

 

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