A Journal for the Masonic Student

Published Monthly by the National Masonic Research Society


Vol. 13 No. 1 – January 1927



Bro. J. J. Tyler, Ohio

A "GRAND Convention of Freemasons in the State of Ohio" was held at Chillicothe Jan. 4, 1808, for the purpose of forming the Grand Lodge of Ohio. Representatives were present from Marietta, Cincinnati, Warren, Zanesville and Chillicothe. The lodge at Worthington was represented by its W.M., the Reverend James Kilbourne, but for some reason, not now known, his credentials were deemed insufficient and the lodge was not allowed a representative in the convention. The formation of the Grand Lodge of Ohio antedates that of the Most Worshipful United Grand Lodge of England five years.

The next Grand Communication of the Grand Lodge of Ohio was held at Chillicothe Jan. 2, 1809, being "the day appointed by the grand convention for the first Grand Communication of said Grand Lodge." The Grand Lodge consisted of the accredited delegates of but four lodges that met in convention and organized the Grand Lodge, the American Union No. 1 of Marietta not being represented. "About the time it would have been necessary for them to commence their journey, an alarming and unprecedented inundation had laid that town under water, and the distress and confusion inseparable from such a situation probably prevented the attendance of their delegation." The credentials of New England Lodge had not been approved and only four lodges surrendered their charters and submitted their by-laws, Chillicothe, Zanesville, Warren and Cincinnati.

Although the Grand Lodge had been regularly organized by five lodges the previous year, yet the legality of continuing its existence with a representation from but four lodges seems to have been a matter of grave doubt as the subject was referred to an able committee, of which the Honorable Bro. Lewis Cass (General Cass was the first Grand Master of Ohio and later be came Grand Master of Michigan) was chairman. Their report was adopted by the Grand Lodge and a copy sent to all other Grand Lodges "in the Union."

In this report the committee state that although it was customary for five subordinate lodges to be present previous to any business being transacted, yet only four lodges were present at the formation of the Grand Lodge in London, and "if the present opportunity should pass, and the work we have already performed be lost, we have little prospect of the establishment of a Grand Lodge in this state for an indefinite period." The constitution of the Grand Lodge of Kentucky was adopted for temporary use.

The name adopted at the time of the institution of the Grand Lodge was "The Grand Lodge of the Most Ancient and Honorable Fraternity of Free and Accepted Masons of the State of Ohio," and it was later incorporated under that name.


The Grand Lodge of Ohio was the sixteenth Grand Lodge established in the United States. The six Masonic lodges existing in the State of Ohio at the time of the formation of the Grand Lodge in 1808 were:

  1. American Union Lodge, No. 1, organized June 28, 1790, by Capt. Jonathan Heart who was the last Worshipful Master of a military lodge by that name. The organization took place at Fort Harmar (the first military post in the Northwest territory and was built in 1785) opposite Marietta. This lodge is now American Union Lodge, No. 1, Marietta, Ohio.
  2. Novo Caesarea Lodge, No. 10, was chartered Sept. 8, 1791, by the Grand Lodge of New Jersey, and after a union at a later date of two factions is now known as Novo Caesarea Harmony Lodge, No. 2, Cincinnati, Ohio.
  3. Erie Lodge, No. 47, was chartered by the Grand Lodge of Connecticut Oct. 19, 1803. Later, after a long period of inactivity, it was reorganized as the present Old Erie Lodge, No. 3, Warren, Ohio.
  4. New England Lodge, No. 48, was chartered at the same time as Erie Lodge, No. 47 (Oct. 19, 1803), and is now New England Lodge, No. 4, Worthington, Ohio.
  5. Amity Lodge, No. 105, was chartered June 24, 1805, by the Grand Lodge of Pennsylvania and is now the present Amity Lodge, No. 5, Zanesville, Ohio.
  6. Sciota Lodge, No. 2, was chartered by the Grand Lodge of Massachusetts Nov. 22, 1805, and is now Sciota Lodge, No. 6, Chillicothe, Ohio.


New England Lodge, No. 4, of Worthington, Ohio, was chartered by the M. W. Grand Lodge of Connecticut as No. 48 on the roll of the Grand Lodge Oct. 19, A.D. 1803. The lodge continued to work under this charter until the convention called to meet at Chillicothe on the first Monday of January, 1808, to form a Grand Lodge. At that convention the lodge was represented by its Worshipful Master, the Reverend James Kilbourne, but for some reason, not now known, his credentials were deemed insufficient and the lodge was not allowed a representation in the convention.

At the first meeting of the Grand Lodge, held on Jan. 2, 1809, New England Lodge was requested to join with other lodges in the Grand Lodge, and to send its representatives to the next Annual Communication.

At the next Annual Communication of the Grand Lodge, in 1810, New England Lodge was represented by its Worshipful Master, the Reverend James Kilbourne, who was elected Junior Grand Warden by the Grand Lodge to which office he was re-elected in 1811.

In 1818 Bro. Chester Griswold, of New England Lodge, was elected M. W. Grand Master of Masons in Ohio, and Bro. John Snow was elected R. W. Senior Warden.

In 1819 John Snow, who was then Master of New England Lodge, was elected M. W. Grand Master, which position he held until the Grand Communication of 1824, and in 1829 he was again elected Grand Master and served one year as such.

In 1820 the present brick lodge building was erected on a lot owned by John Snow who, in April, 1824, for the consideration of ninety-five dollars, executed a deed conveying the lot with its appurtenances to Jeremiah Morrow, as Governor of the State of Ohio, and his successors, to hold the same for the use of the lodge and Horeb Chapter for the uses and purposes named forever.

The lodge continued to work through the anti-Masonic period (1828-1842) and was represented at every Annual Communication of the Grand Lodge of Ohio except 1832 and 1833. In 1829 and 1830 the Annual Communications of the Grand Lodge of Ohio were held in this building. "The last communication of the Grand Lodge of Ohio to be held in the old Temple was occasioned by the visit of Sir Alfred Robbins, of the Grand Lodge of England, on May 31, 1924, at high noon, by Grand Master Bro. C. M. Vorhees, of Columbus, Ohio."


In 1887 the M. W. Grand Lodge of Ohio, for the protection of its subordinate lodges and their members from the impositions of the promoters of clandestinism, declared the so-called Cerneau bodies to be "irregular, illegal and un-Masonic," and subsequently issued an edict prohibiting all Masons of its obedience from becoming members therein or promoting in any manner the interest of bodies declared by it to be clandestine.

In response to a mandate of G. M. Levi C. Goodale requiring their renunciation of Cerneauism, at a meeting of New England Lodge, No. 4, in April, 1891, "a resolution was adopted declaring that New England Lodge renounced its allegiance" to the Grand Lodge of Ohio, and that it "would act as an independent lodge." Being largely in majority in officers and membership the rebellious members immediately took possession of the lodge room, charter and all other property of New England Lodge. As soon as advised of the situation, Grand Master Goodale arrested the charter of New England Lodge, No. 4 (1891), but a short time later it was restored and the lodge has continued to work ever since as New England Lodge, No. 4, F.&A.M.

The proceedings of the Grand Lodge show that about April 28, 1891, twelve disloyal members of New England Lodge, with three other Masons, members of a loyal lodge, organized a so-called Grand Lodge of Ancient Free and Accepted Masons of Ohio. The suspended members having been in the majority, as has been stated, retained possession of the lodge building, furniture, library and records and even refused to surrender the old charter of 1814, and "an action was begun by the suspended and expelled members claiming to be beneficiaries under the Snow deed, to cancel and set aside the deed." The case was carried through the courts until it reached the Supreme Court of Ohio, by which "it was decided that the loyal members were the proper beneficiaries under the deed made by John Snow to the Governor of Ohio."

In September, 1907, the Clandestine Lodge surrendered the property to its rightful owners, New England Lodge, No. 4, and at the first stated meeting in October, 1907, the lodge held its first meeting in the old building since its surreptitious possession by the clandestine body.

The Ohio Freemason of January, 1912, "official publication of the Grand Lodge of Ancient Free and Accepted Masons of Ohio," lists seventeen lodges — Ohio, 7, Pennsylvania, 8, and New Jersey, 2.

* * *


Report of "Decision No. 4," in the M. W. Grand Master's address to the Grand Lodge of Ohio, Dayton, Oct. 25, 1887.

Inquiries have been made by a large number of brethren as to the legality of certain bodies in this jurisdiction claiming to be Masonic, which go under the name of Cerneau Bodies of the A. and A. S. Rite.

Answer: A reference to my decision No. 18, made last year, and approved by the Grand Lodge, has, in most cases, been a sufficient answer. But a more specific answer has been requested by some who are members of such bodies, and who desire a direct answer to the question, "Are they regular and legal, or irregular and illegal?" To such, the answer has been as definite as could be desired, viz. That they are irregular, illegal and un-Masonic, and ought not to be countenanced or recognized in any manner.

* * *


Bro. S. H. Goodwin, Utah

THE Sage of Concord has somewhere expressed his disapproval of those who demand consistency in the conduct of life. He advised those to whom he addressed himself to think and act today, regardless of what was thought and done yesterday, or of any contradiction that may follow on the morrow. Such a course as this may present no difficulties in the case of a dreamy philosopher and apostle of Transcendentalism, but with a prophet and herald of a new evangel, the situation is not so simple, for to his other functions is bound to be added that of exemplar. In other words, he must commend this newly discovered "more excellent way" to others by his own strict adherence to its requirements. Further, for one who claims to have been divinely commissioned to proclaim to an apostate world that all of its religious forms and beliefs are wrong and unworthy of acceptance, [1] and that he alone, of all the sons of men, has been made custodian of a new faith that is to save a lost world — for him to be indifferent to such an important matter as agreement between precept and practice in his own conduct, and for this inconsistency to involve a manifest disregard of the plain teachings of the latest very word of God, of which that same prophet is the sole messenger: such circumstances are bound to call for an explanation, "for if the trumpet give an uncertain voice, who shall prepare for war?"

It is the "uncertain sound" given forth concerning Joseph Smith's connection with Freemasonry, and the consequent bewilderment among certain of his followers that furnish the subject of the present paper. "Why was Joseph the prophet a Freemason?" and "Why is the church [Mormon] opposed to secret societies?" These questions — more particularly the first one — slightly varied in form have often appeared in print in church publications and have long been subjects of interest, and sometimes of discussion by followers of this latter-day prophet.

To the informed Craftsman a casual reading of these interrogatories will probably disclose the secret of their vitality as being rooted in an obvious and perplexing inconsistency on the part of the founder of this new faith. The Mormon church, organized in 1830, is based upon the Book of Mormon; and for this, and for the other standard works of the church, all of which are the veritable Word of God, and which beyond dispute inculcate opposition to secret societies, Joseph Smith was primarily and immediately responsible. The teachings of these books on this subject are so clear and unmistakable that they are used by the leaders of the church, as the ultimate authority, to discourage any connection. of the disciples of this faith with such organizations. Yet, Joseph Smith himself became a Mason at Nauvoo — Why?

In two previous papers the present writer has set forth some of his findings with reference to certain contacts of Mormonism with Masonry. [2] In this study attention is directed to certain of the attempts made by church writers during the past sixty years, or thereabouts, to explain the Mormon prophet's connection with Freemasonry and to minimize the influence of the palpable contradiction between his teachings and practice in this respect. The necessity for such an explanation and a justification of the glaring inconsistency referred to becomes apparent when we consider, for example, the unparalleled claims of the prophet and the exalted position assigned to the head of the church by his followers. This will be made manifest as we proceed but an illustration or two may well be given place here. Said a recent president of the church:

Next to God and Christ, on earth, is placed one unto whom the keys of power and the authority of the holy Priesthood are conferred and unto whom the right of the presidency is given. He is God's mouth-piece to his people, in all things pertaining to the building up of Zion and to the spiritual and temporal salvation of the people. He is God's vicegerent. [3]

And of Joseph Smith it was declared by the same official:

The Lord raised him up ... and endowed him with divine authority. [4]


The fact is well known, as intimated above, that the Mormon church is opposed to secret societies. This antagonism is based on the explicit teachings of the "Book of Mormon," "Doctrine and Covenants," "Pearl of Great Price," and the "Holy Scriptures Translated and Corrected by the Spirit of Revelation by Joseph Smith." The first three books named are the standard works of the church, that is, they have been adopted as such by formal action of the church, while the fourth furnishes a part of the contents of the "Pearl of Great Price." And the additional fact is worthy of record here that inasmuch as these books purport to be later revelations of the will and purposes of the Almighty, and since the doctrine of immediate, or continuous, revelation is a basic principle of the organization, it follows as a matter of course that they largely supersede the Great Light as a rule and guide to faith and practice. Indeed, the Mormon prophet himself did not hesitate to assign first place to his "Golden Bible," as witness this statement, recorded in his journal:

I told the brethren [the twelve apostles] that the Book of Mormon was the most correct of any book on earth, and the keystone of our religion, and a man would get nearer God by abiding by its precepts than any other book. [5]

And recently two members of the council of the "twelve apostles" — on different occasions — touched on the superiority of the standard books of the church. One declared that in many instances the sacred writings believed in by Christianity are not equal to the modern revelations given by Joseph Smith and recorded in the Doctrine and Covenants. The other stated "that the Bible at best is only a record — not the gospel, and gives no authority to act in God's name." [6]

The unmistakable hostile references to secret organizations in the several books named above and especially in the Book of Mormon are so numerous, and their meaning is so unequivocal that there is no escape from the conclusion, it would seem, that to those who accept these volumes as containing the authentic revelations of the divine will, membership in any secret society — outside of the church — is strictly prohibited. And this, as will be shown presently, is the construction placed on those passages by the teachers and leaders of the church.

In a previous study on the general subject of Mormonism and Masonry, the present writer traced these strictures to the Mormon prophet's reaction to that bitter, malignant anti-Masonic environment in the midst of which he lived at the time the alleged "translation" from the "plates" was being made and given to the world. [7] The fact will be recalled that in the earlier study just alluded to the point was made that at the time William Morgan disappeared Joseph Smith lived only a few miles from Batavia; that a year, almost to a day, after that disappearance the "golden plates" were given into the hands of the prophet; that during that period and subsequent thereto — as well as for some time previously — he had been subjected to those powerful influences which wrought such tremendous changes in the entire social fabric of that part of New York and bereft the people of both willingness and ability to weigh facts fairly, and united them in the one common purpose to destroy the Masonic institution. In common, too, with the great majority of the inhabitants of those pioneer settlements Joseph Smith and his father's family had been caught in the swirl of religious excitement — generated in those immense camp meetings that marked the period just antecedent to that now under review — which for years intermittently gripped the people of Western New York and gave birth to an unhallowed brood of sects and isms and religious controversies. The young prophet himself has put on record the fact, as noted by another, that his first great psychic experiences were aroused by a revival, one result of which was his first "vision." No better preparation than this could have been had for the ready acceptance of the vicious and groundless charges made by the enemies of Freemasonry, or to assure their reappearance in the Book of Mormon along with many other echoes and reflections of the prophet's environment. [8]


Then, too, Joseph Smith must often have witnessed the conferring of the various Masonic degrees by renouncing Masons in great public mass meetings called for the purpose, and have been familiar with the long series of resolutions often presented at church conferences and public mass meetings, which recited the alleged misdemeanors and crimes of the Craft, including about every offense in the criminal calendar, and which were adopted with the greatest enthusiasm and given trumpet voice through the press. Further, it will be recalled that in the paper on "Anti-Masonry in the Book of Mormon," referred to above, evidence was presented which established beyond reasonable doubt that the principal charges formulated by the enemies of Masonry during that period reappear in the Book of Mormon, often in the very phraseology in which the original resolutions were framed. To be sure all these references to secret societies in the Book of Mormon appear under the transparent disguise of an alleged history of an ancient American secret society which operated, it is said, among the early progenitors of the Mormon faith, but the real source of these passages cannot be successfully controverted. Their manifest origin in the unhealthy religious and anti-Masonic atmosphere in which the prophet lived so impressed his contemporaries that attention was called to the fact by them as something generally understood and about which there was no controversy. [9] And the additional fact is not without significance in this connection that Oliver Cowdrey, Joseph Smith's first amanuensis and one of the "witnesses" to the "divine origin" of the Book of Mormon, was "bitterly opposed to the Masons." [10]


So much with reference to the origin of portions of the Book of Mormon appeared to be necessary in order that certain facts essential to a proper understanding of the background of the present study might be in possession of the reader.

But whatever the manifest origin of the Book of Mormon, and its unmistakable reflections of local conditions of the period, to the Latter Day Saint it is the veritable word of God, the keystone of his religion, as the prophet insisted. Hence its pronouncements with reference to secret organizations are authoritative, binding, and declare the will of the Almighty. And the position of the church with reference to these societies, if one may judge from oft-repeated utterances of those who are authorized to speak for that organization, is in harmony with these teachings. Evidence in support of this statement is abundant but only a few illustrations can be given here.

Joseph F. Smith, later president of the church, in reply to a correspondent who requested him to "give some Bible and Book of Mormon evidences that secret societies are the institutions of the evil one," gave a considerable list of references to three of the books named above (but none from the Bible) and then added:

The reason why the church, through its authority, is opposed to its members connecting themselves with oath-bound secret combinations must be clear to every well-informed Latter Day Saint. Revelation has plainly pointed out their origin, character and tendency. [11]

On another occasion the same writer, when discussing "Secret Societies," quoted at length from the Book of Mormon, [12] and stated that it was eminently proper that attention should be directed to this subject, among other reasons named, so

... that our young men who in some quarters are being induced to become members of secret organizations may be reminded of the word of the Lord on this subject.

Then he continued:

It is very strange that Latter Day Saints, with the Book of Mormon in their hands, should become entangled in these institutions against which a prophet of God has so emphatically raised his voice — institutions which threaten the liberties of all people and portend the destruction of whatever nation fosters them.... But all this aside [he had discussed at length reasons given by these young men for such action], the saints have the word of the Lord upon this subject, and they are made acquainted with the warning that the Lord has placed on record concerning secret organizations; and whatever the seeming advantages may be, the word of the Lord ought to restrain men who believe in that word from becoming connected with those institutions. Whatever they may have in view now we have the word of the Lord for it that they will seek to overthrow the liberties of all lands and of all people who foster them, and with such affairs Latter Day Saints ought to have nothing to do. [13]

The reader who is at all familiar with the character of the charges so often hurled at the Craft by their anti-Masonic enemies will readily detect a strongly reminiscent flavor in some of the phraseology of the last quotation. For example: " ... institutions which threaten the liberties of all people and portend the destruction of whatever nation fosters them"; and: " ... they [these secret societies] will seek to overthrow the liberties of all lands and of all people who foster them."

Other reasons for the opposition of the church to secret societies have been urged by the authorities, as in the following instance:

The church is provided with so many priesthood organizations that only these can be recognized therein.... There is enough to do in the Ward organizations under church control.... No member of the church should be led away by men who under any pretext seek to induce them to become members of any organization ... outside the control of the church. [14]

And this:

It is a well known truth that the counsel of the first Presidency of the church, in all cases, has been and is against our brethren joining secret organizations for any purpose whatsoever ... however worthy their aims ... they are outside the pale of the church and by joining them, young men divide with man-made organizations their allegiance to the church.... In joining other societies than the church, young men render themselves liable to have their feelings, in whole or in part, alienated from the church.... Those of the brethren who are still in doubt as to the evils of secret organizations, will find abundant proof in the history of the church, as written in the Book of Mormon.... The members of our church who have faith to heed the advice of the authorities thereof, will not ally themselves, under any pretense with any organization not instituted by the Lord for the building up of Zion. [15]

Less serious objections presented by church leaders against membership in these secret societies include, among others: interference with "quorum duties"; furnishes an excuse for not paying tithe — the lodge dues being given preference — and membership makes such demands upon the resources that Elders have declined to go when "called on a mission." [16]

Enough has been said to indicate the position of the church on this subject as well as some of the reasons for that position. Before taking leave of this phase of the subject, however, it may be well to introduce one or two quotations to show the character of the measures adopted by the church authorities for dealing with those who, in the face of the plain teachings of their sacred books and the known disapproval of church authorities, become associated with these organizations.

The president of the church when addressing a large gathering of young people, in the Salt Lake Tabernacle, on the subject: "Secret Societies," used the following language:

Think of the fallacies and wickedness in the people doing this [that is, becoming members of these organizations]. They are bound to hold secret all that transpires and to defend their members whether they are doing right or wrong.... Now I'll tell you what the church has done about this. We have passed a resolution that men who are identified with these secret organizations shall not be preferred as bishops or sought for as counsellors. The same when it comes to selecting Mutual Improvement Association officers. The men who have done this have disqualified themselves and are not fit to hold these offices.

On my own responsibility, I will say that any man who is a member of these organizations ought not to be allowed the privileges or blessings of the gospel. [17]

The same official returned to this subject on another occasion when speaking at a Quarterly Conference of the church. If any of the followers of the prophet present had been uncertain as to the mind and purpose of the church in this matter that uncertainty must have been dissipated by the president's words. He said:

The authorities of this church have the right, and will use it to excommunicate members who will set aside the authority placed over them by God, for all members must act in harmony with their bishops and stake (sic) presidency. [18]

That the Mormon church is opposed to its members having any connection with secret societies must be manifest. That the grounds of this opposition are to be found in the teachings of the four books named in an earlier paragraph is no less clear. That Joseph Smith, "by the spirit of revelation," was the instrument used by God to give to the world these latter-day revelations is not only admitted but is proclaimed by the church. That this herald of a new gospel was not only selected from among all the sons of men for this "divine mission," but for a period of something like seven years (1820-1827), he was especially tested, trained and instructed for this peculiar responsibility, is also affirmed, and that without any qualification whatever. To him was given the high privilege of standing next to "God and Christ on earth." More, "The assertion of Joseph Smith that he had seen the Father and Son in a cloud of light, is true." [19] More unusual still it is matter of record that one of these two, addressing the prophet, "pointed to the other, saying: "This is my beloved Son, hear him!" [20] And further, in order that no part of his preparation should be wanting it is recorded that:

In May, 1829, Joseph Smith and Oliver Cowdery were baptized, and by John the Baptist, ordained to the Aaronic Priesthood. His words in ordaining them were — "Upon you my fellow servants, in the name of Messiah, I confer the Priesthood of Aaron, which holds the keys of the ministering of angels, and of the Gospel of repentance, and of baptism by immersion for the remission of sins, and this shall never be taken away again from the earth, until the sons of Levi do offer again an offering unto the Lord in righteousness." [21]

That the foregoing statements represent facts, fully confirmed, the literature of the church clearly teaches. Yet, the prophet Joseph Smith, occupying a position in relation to Deity unique in the world's history; with unequalled opportunities of knowing the will of God by direct revelation, and the purport of the teachings of the sacred records of the church touching secret societies — he of all men, disregarding the will of the Most High as therein set forth, allied himself with the most reprehensible of all these organizations and became a Freemason! And this connection with Masonry appears not to have been regarded by him as a mere incident, or matter of indifference, as certain church writers would have us believe. [22] On the contrary, Freemasonry appears to have met with his hearty approval and support. He seems to have been the first candidate to receive the degrees in the newly organized Lodge at Nauvoo; by example at least he encouraged his followers to become Freemasons, and this they did in almost incredible numbers; he visited other lodges with Grand Lodge officers; he approved the building of a Masonic hall in Nauvoo, was present when the cornerstone was laid, and six months after the dispensations of the Nauvoo lodges had been annulled by the Grand Lodge he attended the dedication of the building and, apparently, continued to be present at the meetings of his lodge up to the time of his death. On occasion, too, and in emergencies, he did not hesitate to appeal to, and invoke the assistance of the Fraternity, as witness these words from that strange and inexplicable document of the many for which he was responsible, "An Appeal to the Green Mountain Boys":

I appeal, also, to the fraternity of brethren who are honored by kindred ties, to assist a brother in distress, in all cases where it can be done according to the rules of the order, to extend the boon of benevolence and protection, in avenging the Lord of his enemies, as if a Solomon, a Hiram and a St. John, or a Washington raised his hands before a wondering world and exclaimed: "My life for his." Light, Liberty and Virtue forever. [23]

And again, in that final, tragic moment in Carthage jail, when the bullets of a frenzied and irresponsible mob cut short his life, the last words that fell from his lips were a fragment from the Masonic ritual. [24]


The foregoing facts have been set out with considerable detail in order that the reader whose acquaintance with the situation may be limited, may have before him some of the elements that enter into the problem presented by the prophet's unexplained change of base with reference to secret societies. Now to summarize, briefly, before passing to the next phase of the subject.

We have shown that the Mormon church is opposed to secret societies; that this disapproval rests upon nothing less than the clear unqualified teachings on the subject in the several basic books adopted and accepted by the church; that Joseph Smith, founder of the church and "prophet, seer and revelator" of that organization was responsible for those books; that the numerous references to secret societies to be found in these works, more particularly in the Book of Mormon, represent his unmistakable reaction to the anti-Masonic environment in which they were produced, and finally, that the prophet, regardless of the repeated warnings, denunciations and explicit teachings of the word of God, not only became identified with Masonry, but he appears to have approved of the institution and to have given to it the measure of interest, time and service of the average member.

With these facts in mind we are in position to understand the significance — to his followers — of the prophet's action, and to appreciate the anxiety of the leaders of the church to lessen the influence of his amazing and perennially troublesome inconsistency.


The present writer does not know how early the necessity for an explanation and justification of Joseph Smith's connection with Masonry made itself felt. He does know that fully fifty years ago a prominent church writer dealt with the prophet's inconsistency in this matter and presented what he conceived to be the motives that prompted this action. Earlier than that, we suspect, the adherents of this faith were too busily engaged in solving the very real and immediate problems incident to settlement in a new and forbidding country, and wresting from a reluctant, sage-brush desert subsistence for themselves and families to give any thought to such questions. Then, too, the bulk of the membership were people of mature years — fruits of the missionary campaign carried on from the very beginning of the church. They were of the same generation as the prophet; the influence of his person and story was still a dominating factor in their thought and faith and life, and the gospel he proclaimed — had it not received the martyrs' seal in Carthage jail? But with improved material conditions: the coming of something like order, and an established community life, and the institutions which are a part of such life, the area of interests naturally widened, and opportunities were afforded for a consideration of the foundations on which was builded this new faith.

But more influential than anything else in the matter under consideration, we suspect, was the coming to maturity of a younger generation in this household of faith. They were young children, or were not born when the events occurred which sifted and solidified the membership of the church, and made possible its later development. The older people could very well go on ignoring any problems or perplexing questions growing out of their early history, or could regard them as a part of "the mystery of faith." But their children did not start out from their point of view, and were without that experience which confirmed their parents' conviction that with leaders who were the very mouthpiece of God there was no occasion for concern. With them, without some rational explanation of apparent and acknowledged contradictions, their faith might be weakened, or even blighted. At all events this theory finds support in the fact that the discussions of the questions which furnish our present subject — as well as of the more serious ones respecting the methods employed in "translating" the Book of Mormon — have for the most part first appeared in the literature prepared for the young people of the church.

Considerably more than twenty-five years ago the attention of the writer of these lines was first directed to the subject of this paper, and the questions, together with the answer given at that time, at once engaged his interest. The communication containing these queries was addressed to the editor (later a president of the church) of a then recently established young people's magazine. In reply to the question, "Why was Joseph the prophet a Freemason?" the editor did not venture to formulate an answer in his own words, but instead referred his correspondent to a certain passage from the prophet's journal. This reads:

... I preached in the grove on the keys of the kingdom.... The keys are certain signs and words by which the false spirits and personages may be detected from true, which cannot be revealed to the Elders till the Temple is completed.... There are signs in heaven, earth and hell; the Elders must know them all, to be endowed with power, to finish their work and prevent imposition. The devil knows many signs but does not know the sign of the Son of Man, or Jesus. [25]


To the uninitiated these words are likely to convey little of meaning, and to suggest even less of reason for connecting them up as an answer to the question under consideration. As just noted, the editor made no comment. Apparently he considered the words themselves a complete and sufficient answer to the question asked. Under the circumstances the assumption seems to be justified that the significance of this passage is so generally understood by Latter Day Saints, and the reference to the prophet's connection with Masonry so clear and unmistakable that all that was required to explain and justify his action was to give book and page where his words are to be found. But what are we to understand by Joseph Smith's statement just quoted? This, it would seem: That the prophet felt that he should become a Mason because he believed the Masons had in their possession certain "keys," in the form of signs and words which it behooved the Elders to know so that by this means "false spirits and personages may be detected from the true," and further, that "the Elders must know them all, to be endowed with power, to finish their work and prevent imposition." And this interpretation seems to be confirmed by the fact that hundreds of Mormons became members of the Nauvoo lodges, and that in this number were included the four men, Brigham Young, John Taylor, Wilford Woodruff and Lorenzo Snow, who in the order named became presidents of the church as successors of Joseph Smith. How Masonic signs and words could be used in the manner and for the purpose indicated, the present writer would not attempt to explain — he does not know. It is barely possible, of course, that the prophet had in mind another purpose than the one just given. The fact is matter of common knowledge that his followers today claim that the Masonic signs, grips, words and ceremonies which form a part of the Temple rites of the Mormon church were revealed to Joseph Smith by an angel, and that, long before he became a Mason, and that he desired to determine for himself the character and extent of the resemblance, and the agreement between the Masonic ritual and the one in use among angelic beings who made known to him these ceremonies. [26]

Here it may be well to note the fact, in passing, that the angelic origin of the Temple ceremonies which seem to be so largely Masonic, and the use to be made of them, have not always met with full acceptance by followers of the prophet. A single illustration of this must suffice.

Nearly sixty years ago a vigorous church writer expressed himself in no uncertain terms on this subject. He was discussing "The Keys of the Priesthood," in response to a quotation from a reader who wished to be reassured that the "Keys" of the Priesthood which Joseph Smith had given to the world came to him as a duly authenticated divine revelation. In this connection he said:

There is a great deal of talk among Latter Day Saints about his [Joseph Smith's] having "keys" given to him; or in other words, certain "signs and key-words" by which he could tell those spirits who belonged to the true order from the false. It is taught that there is a sort of divine Masonry among the angels who hold the priesthood, by which they can detect those who do not belong to their order. Those who cannot give the signs correctly are supposed to be imposters. Now it is assumed that these secret signs were made known to Joseph Smith, and that by their aid he was able to escape deception from evil spirits and hence it is argued that the authority of the priesthood is known to have come from a divine source.

After pointing out what he characterized as "the folly of such an idea," which he says may be "seen at a glance," he continued:

If there is an idea of which a grown up, reasoning man ought to be ashamed, it is the notion that the God of the Universe and angelic beings has no better way of detecting devilish spirits and unauthorized beings than by certain grips and secret words — that, in other words, they need such a puny, imperfect thing as a species of Masonry by which to keep the evil and the pure apart. [27]

There appears to be good sense as well as sound reason in these paragraphs, but the views of the editor of the young people's periodical, as indicated by his use of the excerpt from the prophet's journal noted above, appear to be in harmony with those generally held by church teachers.


But whatever measure of comfort or satisfaction the editor's correspondent may have derived from the answer given, for others it seems not to have been convincing or to have been accepted as final. In other words, the answer did not answer — the problem remained, and remains, unsolved. This appears from the fact that quite recently in the columns of the same magazine (and twenty years after the answer referred to above was given) the present editor of the periodical remarked, under the caption, "Masonry and Mormonism," that an inquiry had been received by the church authorities "relative to the prophet Joseph Smith's connection with Masonry, and its connection with Temple ceremonies, and to the endowment rites having been copied from Masonry, etc." The editor added, that the inquirer sought information on these subjects, and that an explanation had been submitted "which we think will adequately answer the frequent questions that come to the Improvement Era regarding them." These words show that Joseph Smith's connection with Masonry, and the palpable inconsistency of his action in this particular, continue to be a stumbling block to the younger and more thoughtful ones among the faithful.

In the present instance the one whose "explanation" was to lay for all time this troublesome subject very discreetly avoided all reference to the probable motives that actuated the prophet and were responsible for his affiliation with the Craft, and devoted his argument to establishing the origin of the Temple ceremonies. This he finds in a "revelation" recorded in the "Book of Abraham," which purports to be a "translation" of an Egyptian papyrus which Joseph Smith obtained, it is said, with a mummy that came into his possession. He concludes the exposition of his theory with this comforting, if not conclusive, assurance:

The Saints may rest assured that what we have through the prophet, in relation to the priesthood and its sacred mysteries, resulted from the revelations of God to Joseph Smith, and not from the prophet's incidental and brief connection with Masonry. [28]

An earlier writer does not hesitate to meet the issue squarely and to answer the question as to motives in the following manner:

It will be remembered what an unconquerable aversion Joseph Smith manifested, even as a boy of fifteen, to receiving any particle of faith or authority from the churches of Christendom, and also that he was commanded by the personage in the first vision to join none of them. What then is the significance of his becoming a Freemason? This: He understood that the chain of Masonry is the endless chain of brotherhood linking all the worlds — the heavens and the earths — but he believed that this earth had lost much of its purpose, its light, its Keys, and its spirit — its chief loss being the Key of revelation. For instance, his conception might be expressed in the statement that the Masonic Church on earth ought to be in constant communication with the Masonic Church in heaven thus constituting a universal brotherhood indeed, notwithstanding its many nations, races, religions, civilizations and lawgivers. [29]

From the foregoing recital of facts it must be plain to anyone that while answers and explanations have frequently been tendered, and all by friendly writers, the question: "Why was Joseph the prophet a Freemason?" has not been satisfactorily disposed of. The problem presented by his strange indifference to the divine will, of which, presumably, none had a more complete and accurate understanding than he, remains a problem still: "a stone of stumbling and a rock of offense" to many of his followers.


In view of these circumstances perhaps the present writer will not be thought presumptuous if he adds his own speculations on this subject to those herein recorded. That undue weight may not be attached to his views he freely admits that he can claim no measure of that "authority" which others have brought to a consideration of the subject of this paper and which we are justified in assuming especially qualified them to give a categorical, if unsatisfactory, answer to this troublesome question.

In the writer's opinion not one but several considerations were influential in leading the prophet to reverse himself in the matter of Freemasonry.

In the first place, the anti-Masonic movement — so manifestly responsible for the numerous unfriendly references to secret societies sprinkled over the pages of the basic books of the Mormon faith — was a dozen years behind him. In the meantime he had securely established himself in a distant state as the recognized leader of a numerous and devoted people to whom he was the very "mouthpiece" of the Almighty. His favorite brother and inseparable companion, Hyrum Smith, who exerted a continuous and very great influence over him, had long been a member of the Craft, though apparently, not active therein; so also had Heber C. Kimball who, next to Hyrum Smith perhaps, stood closest to Joseph Smith; and many others among his faithful adherents and close personal friends and admirers were members of the Fraternity. Furthermore, a Masonic lodge was about to be established in Nauvoo toward which many of his followers were favorably inclined and in which they would hold membership. It would hardly be the part of wisdom for him, the prophet, seer and revelator, the revered leader and guide in all other matters to be excluded from an institution in which so many of his people would most certainly find a place. Besides, as intimated in an earlier paragraph, by holding membership in the lodge he would be in a position to make use of that organization — as he had made use of all other organizations created as occasion arose and of which his people were members — to bind them more closely to himself and to make it contribute to the accomplishment of the ends he had in view. Membership in the lodge made possible its correlation with the other agencies which he used so adroitly and effectually to extend and solidify his power. And in view of certain well-known characteristics of Joseph Smith, especially the strong tendency to "show off," and to get into the "limelight," [30] the fact that the Grand Master of the Grand Lodge of Illinois — a skilled and astute politician and at the time a candidate for the State Legislature, and who was looking for votes — was willing to bestow upon him the unusual distinction of making him a "Mason at sight": this of itself would be an influential factor in the matter. Nor is it improbable, in view of all that is known of the irresponsible and practically unlimited power Joseph Smith exercised over his people at the time Nauvoo Lodge was organized, that he felt quite indifferent to any necessity of harmonizing precept and practice, if indeed such a thought occurred to him at all. The mandate against secret societies was to be found only in the books which he had given to the church and of the actual origin of which only he had definite and indisputable knowledge. There was none to call him to account, and he knew, as others did not, how much of value to attach to the pronouncements contained in the books which he had given to the world. Why shouldn't he become a Mason, if it pleased him?

The motives here suggested are not given as being the only ones that probably influenced the prophet's action, but we are fully convinced that, to say the very least, they are quite as likely to have been responsible for his affiliation with Masonry as any of those put forward by his followers, who, recognizing the anomalous position of their prophet, have thus far sought in vain for a satisfactory explanation of his conduct in this particular, and for a solution of the problem presented by these "Unanswered Questions."


  1. Times and Seasons, Vol. 3, p. 727.
  2. Little Masonic Library, Vol. 8; THE BUILDER, Vol. 10, 1924, pp. 323, 363.
  3. Conference Reports, April, 1898, pp. 68, 69; Oct., 1901, p. 96.
  4. Conference Report, Oct., 1917, p. 3; Separatism in Utah 1847-1870, F. D. Daines, Annual Report of American Historical Association, 1917, p. 334.
  5. History of the Church, Period i, Joseph Smith, B. H. Roberts, Vol. iv, p. 461; The Mormon Point of View, N. H. Nelson, Vol. i, 1904, p. 146.
  6. Apostle M. J. Ballard, Salt Lake Herald, Dec. 29, 1919, p. 5.
  7. THE BUILDER, Vol. 10, 1924, pp. 323, 363.
  8. Primitive Traits in Religious Revivals, F. M. Davenport 1905, p. 187; Psychological and Ethical Aspects of Mormon Group Life, 1917, p. 14. E. E. Ericksen.
  9. Delusions: An Analysis of the Book of Mormon, A. Campbell, Millenial Harbinger, Feb., 1831; Journal of a Residence and Tour of the U.S. of North America, 1833-34, E. S. Abdy Vol. i, pp. 320-325; Vol. iii, pp. 40-42, 54-59.
  10. From Palmyra to Independence, R. Etzenhouse, 1894, p. 345, 347.
  11. Improvement Era, Vol. iv, 1900, p. 59.
  12. Ether, Chapter 8.
  13. Improvement Era, Vol. i, 1898, pp. 374-376.
  14. Improvement Era, Vol. vi, 1903, pp. 150-151.
  15. Improvement Era, Vol. vi, 1903, pp. 305-307
  16. Gospel Doctrine, Jos. F. Smith, 1920, p. 135
  17. Provo Enquirer (Mormon), Nov. 12, 1900.
  18. Provo Enquirer (Mormon) Jan. 13, 1902.
  19. Millenial Star, Vol. xxxv, 1873, p. 794; Conference Report, April 4, 1926, p. 51.
  20. From Liverpool to Salt Lake, Linforth, 1855, p. 71; cf. History of the Church, Period i, Joseph Smith, B. H. Roberts, Vol. 1, p. 5. Note, pp. 40-43, Doctrine and Covenants, Sec. 27; 128:20; Apostle M. J. Ballard, Salt Lake Herald, Dec. 29, 1919, p. 5
  21. From Liverpool to Salt Lake, Linforth, 1855, p. 71.
  22. Improvement Era, Vol. xxiv, 1921, p. 939.
  23. General Joseph Smith, Appeal to the Green Mountain Boys (Pamphlet), Dec., 1843, cf. History of the Church, Period i, Joseph Smith, B. H. Roberts, Vol. vi, Note p. 75.
  24. Note: B. H. Roberts, writing years after the event, argues that the prophet could not have had in mind any thought of assistance from a man-made organization, but must have thought only of divine help. But John Taylor, at the time editor of the Times and Seasons, and later a president of the church, who was with the prophet at the time of the tragedy in Carthage jail and was wounded by one of the bullets intended for the two brothers, wrote an account of the events of that afternoon a few days after they happened. He had no doubt as to the Masonic import of the last words of the Mormon prophet. Times and Seasons, Vol. v, July 15, 1844, p. 585; cf. History of the Mormon Church, B. H. Roberts, Note 1, Americana, Vol. vi, July, 1911, pp. 695-96.
  25. Gems from the Life of Joseph, Compendium of the Gospel p. 257, cf. History of the Church, Period i, Joseph Smith, B. H. Roberts, Vol. iv, p. 608
  26. M. J. Ballard, Salt Lake Herald, Dec. 29, 1919, p. 5; History of the Church, Period i, Joseph Smith, B. H. Roberts, Vol. ii, pp. 235, 348-351; Improvement Era, Vol xxiv, 1921, p. 938.
  27. Salt Lake Tribune, Oct. 8, 1870
  28. Improvement Era, Vol. xxiv, 1921, p. 938; cf. Little Masonic Library, Vol. 8, chapters 7 and 8.
  29. Life of Joseph the Prophet, E. W. Tullidge, 1874, pp. 391-392
  30. History of the Church, Period i, Joseph Smith, B. H. Roberts, Vol. vi, Note, p. 75.

Much disturbance was caused in May, 1842, by a bitter controversy between Gen. John C. Bennett and Joseph Smith. The former had been thwarted in his personal ambitions and now repudiated all connection with the church, saying he had only joined the Saints in order to be able to expose their leaders. From the slanders he originated came the stories that were used to rouse the passions of the mob that killed Smith. It was however a schism in the community rather than in the church. Bennett was forced to resign the office of Mayor which Smith unwisely accepted. Bennett was tried and expelled by Nauvoo Lodge, but his part was taken by Bodley Lodge at Quincy which preferred complaints to the Grand Lodge which seem to have been found baseless.

* * *


Bro. Ernest E. Thiemeyer, Missouri

WHEN the Pilgrim fathers landed at Plymouth in the early seventeenth century they doubtless had little intimation of the importance future generations would place on their adventure. It is within the powers of modern conception to believe that even in wildest dreams a vision of the bustling empire of the present could have come to these hardy pioneers. Equally hard to picture is the idea that they gave any thought to the possibility of a mass of mythical stories growing up around them. This might be carried farther into the development of American history and it would be no more easy to believe that two such figures as Washington and Lincoln ever dreamed of becoming almost saintly heroes. It is a tendency, however, to picture the outstanding personages who have gone before as beings who could do no wrong. The saying that "the evil men do lives after them, but the good is oft interred in their bones" has worked, at least so far as America is concerned, in direct opposites. George Washington and Abraham Lincoln were intensely human characters, but they have been raised upon pedestals of imagination and crowned with virtues. This frequently makes their lives examples to be held up for the admiration and worship of the younger generation. That the great good these men accomplished should not be a source of inspiration is most untrue, but the mythical character which hangs like a mantle about such men causes the youth to be a bit disappointed when he finds his hero was actually of flesh and blood similar to his own.

One figure who as a subject for worship attains the heart of every child. It may be the dramatic character of the part he played in the Revolution; be his daring hatred of the then existent laws and the officers charged with their enforcement. It makes no real difference the truth remains that Paul Revere stands out as a dominant character. Aside from the purely historical significance of the man and his acts there is another point which doubtless will prove interesting. What traces has he left behind and what are the surroundings of these relics today?

One place and only one can supply this information — Boston. Much is said of Lexington and Concord and the route of Paul Revere's ride. The neighborhood in which Paul Revere lived receives only passing comment. In the northern portion of Boston, not very far from the busy North Station, one finds narrow, crooked streets and on one of them is struck with a not very impressive, but quaint two-story building. Its rough board finish makes it strangely incongruous in its more modern surroundings. The feeling of curiosity changes to one of respect when it is learned that this is the house in which the famous horseman lived. A closer examination reveals that the windows are of leaded glass, the panes diamond shaped and some of them faintly purple in the sunlight. The feeling of age grows when one realizes that these colored panes are originals and the coloring is due to the action of light and time on certain chemicals in the glass.

The door is opened and one beholds a room bare almost to the extreme. There is not much furniture, but the table in the middle of the room would gladden the heart of any collector of antiques. Typically colonial, the furnishings are just such as might have found a place in the home of an early American patriot. Immediately to the rear a door opens into the kitchen, on the second floor two bedrooms. An interminable amount of space could be taken up with descriptions of this house, but we shall pass on with no more than the comment that much of the furniture belonged to Paul Revere, the balance is made up of pieces typical of the period and of such nature as to make the equipage of the place as near as possible to what it was one hundred fifty years ago.

A sense of austere ruggedness pervades the place and it is hard to imagine this as the home of one so incensed with the ideals of our revolutionist. It is felt, however, that if the owner became possessed with an idea of right he would have been determined to fight for his ideal and die for it if necessary. The bustle of the street is forgotten and for a few moments one reflects upon the past, almost lives in the period.

A thought of fleeting time and much more to be accomplished drives one from his reverie and into the street. The view is of an almost squalid Italian section of modern Boston. The odor of fermenting grapes pervades the early autumn atmosphere. Huge cans of refuse from the anti-Volsteadian activities greet one's eyes and nostrils at every turn. This is frequently since the feeling is experienced that a warning to automobilists such as is found near Marblehead, and reading "Our streets are narrow and crooked; please drive carefully," would not be out of place. A short walk in the direction of the Charles River and to the west of the house brings one to the Old North Church. If it so happens that your visit is timed for noon or late afternoon you will be followed by a swarm of swarthy olive-skinned children begging to act as guides through the maze of garlic, spaghetti, etc., to say nothing more of crooked streets, that leads to the church. Our guide was an Italian of eight summers who knew his history and recited it in much the manner of the child at a school celebration. A word of warning is necessary. Be stocked with pennies and small change or you may find your guide deserting you for a more lucrative calling.

The story of North Church is interesting, but sufficiently well known to require no repetition. Those who have visited any early American churches would find it boresome because they are all alike. Suffice it to say then that the original pews are still in use and the church still enjoys the protection of the Episcopal Diocese of Boston. Services are held regularly and the congregation is made up largely of descendants of the families who attended in Revolutionary days.

A much shorter walk up a hill to the west and we find Copp's Hill Burial Ground crowning a bluff of the Charles River and commanding a view of Charleston and the Bunker Hill Monument. On the gate is a bronze plate bearing the following inscription:





JUNE 17, 1775.

Inordinate curiosity, perhaps it would be better to say morbid curiosity, makes you swing open the large iron gate and glance around. If your gaze should wander to the west you would be struck with a seeming incongruity. The monuments are all small, in the nature of headstones, but above the even rows rises a monument of recent design. The Mason is first struck with the gray granite and its broken column. Closer examination is called for and next a gilt medallion bearing the jewel of a Grand Master rouses your interest to fever pitch. The inscription clarifies matters and you realize that you stand before the grave of the founder of Negro Masonry — Prince Hall. There has been much written on this most interesting subject, and there is no need for our continuing the discussion. The inscription says:


JUNE 24th, A.D. 1895 A.L. 5895

What could be on the opposite side? We search for an inscription, but our attention is distracted by a small stone immediately in back of the monument. The lettering is badly eroded, but it is not difficult to make out that

Died Dec. 7, 1807.

On the reverse we read that

Aged 24 years.

Because of nothing in particular except perhaps a deeply instilled instinct to turn to the right we follow the western wall of the cemetery. Before fifty feet have been covered we receive another shock. Glaring from a headstone of more than average height is a square and compass. Our attention is undivided and we learn that the stone was erected

WHO DIED MARCH 23rd, 1806;
AET. 51

Though Neptune's waves and boreas blast
Have tost me to and fro
Now well escaped from all their rage
I'm anchored here below.
Safely I ride in triumph here
With many of our fleet
Till signals call to weigh again
Our admired Christ to meet.
O may all those I've left behind
Be wash'd in Jesus blood
And when they leave this world of sin
Be ever with the Lord.

WHO DIED AT SEA Dec. 14, 1816.

What began as a sight seeing tour has rapidly changed character and is now furnishing food for thought. We view the morning in retrospect, Prince Hall, the gateway to Copp's Hill, and here we stop. Who were the men mentioned there? The frailty of the human mind where names are concerned has overtaken us and only one stands out — Cotton Mather. In one of those fanciful flights of imagination we think of Salem. Its quaint streets, wonderful colonial doorways, the witch monument — here we have it, some where we have beard that Cotton Mather was associated with Salem witch trials in some way. The thought is dismissed, we wonder what connection that has with the Masonic graves in Copp's Hill. Then with some amusement we remember that Montague Summers in his "History of Witchcraft" says that Albert Pike of Charleston was Grand Master of a modern sect of Satanists. According to the same author the modern Satanist is only a survival of the old witch, so perhaps it has more connection than appeared at first blush.

Somehow we don't recall which side Cotton Mather favored in the Salem witch prosecution, but we have a feeling that it wasn't the witches.

If Cotton Mather did favor the Satanistic cult from Summers' point of view he may have been a Mason. This brings an interesting comparison, though it cannot be laid that there is any reason to believe it. Paul Revere, Grand Master of Masons in Massachusetts, Albert Pike, Supreme Grand Commander of the Ancient and Accepted Scottish Rite, and Cotton Mather, all Satanists according to some people's views. But we wander and our mind is filled. with foolishness, let us turn back to Capt. Newman.

And now thoughts begin to chase each other through our brains. Paul Revere and Capt. Robert Newman both Masons. Is there any connection between them? While we ponder on this though an iron memorial meets our gaze. It is readily learned that it was erected by the Sons of the American Revolution. The plate attached adds to our quandary:

APRIL 19th, 1775

If one didn't know before, he would by this time be quite sure that April 19, 1775, was the date of Bro. Paul's famous ride. Living in the past for an hour or more as we have done inclines one to dream. The crowded streets and tenements fade from view, all grows dark. It is a night one hundred fifty-one years ago. We discern faintly a man on the far river bank with his horse. Standing faintly white against the night sky is the tower of Old North Church. All is dark and still. A light flashes from the spire, hoofs beat and Paul Revere is off. Where did that light come from? Who put it there? The dream grows hazy, was it the sexton? But there is no one to answer our question. Even this unsatisfied doubt cannot cause regret that American history has lived, even though the moment was brief.

* * *


THE author of this exceedingly frank confession of the faith that is in him desires us to withhold his name for very good personal and private reasons. What he has written will doubtless prove very provocative. We are hoping to present other articles on the same theme from different points of view by competent brethren The subject is gone into more fully on the Editorial page.

SOME few months ago I was so rash as to express myself on the subject of evolution. If recollection does not fail, I went even to the extreme of saying that the evolutionary theory of genesis was possibly more susceptible of proof than the account in Genesis. Much to my surprise I was told that I had no right to hold such an opinion as long as I was a member of the Masonic Fraternity. The condemnation may not have been as harsh in form as this, but this was the gist of it. It is this incident which in no small measure accounts for the full and frank confession I intend to make. It is only after some thought that I have deemed it proper to express myself on the subject of God and Freemasonry, and farther than that to make an effort to define the rather hazily coordinated set of ideas which I call God.

A word in defense of this decision is necessary. No one realizes any more fully than the writer that the subject of religion is banned as a topic for discussion in the lodge. This might, on the surface, seem to preclude the possibility of anyone defining his God; really it does not. Religion is one thing and God quite another. In a general sense it may be said that God is the ideal and religion the means by which we hope to attain that ideal. I shall steer a path as far from religion (in the above sense) as is possible. There is only one point which it is hoped to make clear. It is not necessary to call to mind a certain portion of the ceremony of initiation in which the candidate makes for himself a short but very significant answer. Usually it consists of just two words: "In God." The main purpose of this discussion is to define what I meant when I professed to put my trust in God. A secondary object is to defend myself and others who are in the same category from the darts of such thoughtless critics as the one above mentioned and to justify not only my own membership in the Masonic Fraternity, but the membership of others whose Deity is as indefinite as my own.

It might as well be confessed before going any farther that I do not know what God is, that is, with any degree of certainty. At times it seems to be one thing and then, when the surroundings undergo a change, it may be something very different. There are times when I believe that God is an entity that lives and breathes as I do. That is when I permit myself to forget the things I have been taught and revel in the pure joy of living. This experience comes to all of us, I believe. There are other periods when some thought is given to the subject and the evidence carefully weighed on every side, which leads to a conception one might call his rational Deity, the other being his emotional God. At this time it is not necessary to state in more detail the meaning I have in mind, it will, I think, become apparent as the thread of the discussion winds itself through the haze of thought which always surrounds this subject in my own mind.

The human race is made up of creatures who are largely influenced by environment. It is necessary, therefore, to make some sort of a statement on past life and surroundings before we can begin to look at this subject of God with anything like understanding. By this is not meant an understanding of God, but an understanding of my conception of God. The sort of information necessary falls, I think, into three main divisions, first, home life and what might be termed extra-curriculum activities; second, secular education; and last, religious education. In no one of these three can I profess to anything but ordinary experiences, just such surroundings as are met day in and day out by the great mass of American people.

My early life was what one would expect to find in an ordinary American home where peace and contentment are the chief assets and financial status average. I cannot say that any of my extra-school life was either abnormal or subnormal. I enjoyed the out of doors, still do for that matter; played the usual games and associated in the usual manner with my companions. Of recent years, it must be confessed that I have found my recreation in fields which are not usually enjoyed by people of my own age. It is, I think, rather unusual to find those who are still on the near side of thirty enjoying reading, other than fiction, to the exclusion of most of the lighter pleasures of life. It is in this respect only that my present make-up is anything but average.

So far as education is concerned my equipment is no cause for wonder. The traditional grammar school training including the three R's and such other material as is usually confided to the pupils in public schools, was the basis. There was no such thing as elective work until I reached high school. It was here that I acquired my first taste of science. I liked it and made most of my opportunities. Such Botany, Physiology, Physics, Chemistry, and Geology as came in my path were elected for no particular reason except that I found them interesting. Aside from the work in science the curriculum required a certain amount of English, foreign languages, mathematics, history, etc. It was in college, however, that my interests were allowed to run away from my better judgment. Here my work was confined principally to Geology and Chemistry. A smattering of other work was included, but I soon found that there was no incentive in these fields. I continued my language work because I expected to use it after years. At this period I was determined to take up oil geology and expected to be called to foreign fields. The lack of balance in this training is quite clearly illustrated by the fact that fully two-thirds of my college work was done in scientific subjects and the other third principally of advanced work in foreign languages.

It would be unfair to consider that education ceased with the formal exit from schools. I have done, perhaps, more reading since the close of my school life than the average person. At first it was purely fiction, not entirely of the best seller class, but rather following the recommendations of men who were supposed to know the good from the bad. Lately I have delved somewhat into anthropology, philosophy, psychology, history and such subjects. Religious training is a phase of education which may raise some controversy. For this reason I am intentionally avoiding the mention of any particular sects or creeds. It is sufficient to say that during my lifetime I attended three different denominational churches. All widely divergent and all, to me, equally interesting. In none of them have I been able to find just what I want. Early in life I went to the church of which my parents were members. A natural and inevitable proceeding. I went through the formality of becoming a member of the church and attended with some regularity for two years afterwards. I was about half way through high school when I lost interest. A little later I changed and became a member of another parish and a different denomination. The causes for this change are twofold. One is, I think, unimportant, at least it appears so in retrospect. This was that I was dissatisfied with the doctrines of the church of which I had originally been a member. I cannot recall at this writing just what it was that caused me to cease attending church, but have a feeling that I had lost interest in the proceedings because they meant nothing in particular to me. The other, and doubtless most important reason for the change was that one of my schoolmates, of the opposite sex, attended the institution into which I wandered. For almost four years I attended regularly, transferred my membership and even today it remains there though I have been inside the building only once in the last six years. A few years ago I strayed into another denominational institution. This was after a period of stress which will find its story later in the discussion. For a year or more I tried my best to see something that would hold me to this belief. I then gave up in despair and have been to church only occasionally in the past two years.

During all of my church experience, with the possible exception of the first affiliation, I have made an honest effort to see and believe in the God of these churches. In the first case the cessation of interest was due possibly to some unconscious urging which told me that there I could not find that for which I was searching. The chief difficulty encountered was collating my scientific training with religious doctrines. Whether or not this was the real reason for my losing interest in churches and creeds, I would not care to state. I disqualify myself as judge on the grounds of incompetency.

With this preface we can begin to trace mental developments and changes which have led to the conclusions I now hold. My first recollection of any conscious objection to church doctrines comes at a period shortly before I graduated from the secondary school. I had been studying physiography for several months. The time came when theories of earthly origin were up for discussion. I could not understand how the Biblical account of creation could be coordinated with scientific theory. Still I was not ready to give up the idea of a Creator. There was much I did not understand and I cannot truthfully say that conditions here have changed greatly since them. I had not come into contact with evolution as yet, perhaps, it would be better to say that such contact as had been made did not mean very much to me. It was not until I reached my sophomore year in college that evolution came to have a very definite significance. At that time I was studying palaeontology. The fossil remains which have been dug up from the geologic past were most interesting; it was a revelation to see the whole fauna and flora of the world today unfolding in gradational steps before your gaze. Here is where I found that for which I had long sought. A clear picture of how man came into being. It needed no God to make the present condition of man clear, no explanation was necessary. He started out as a simple creature and by force of circumstances came to be what he is. To my mind there was only one course open and I took it. Up to this point I think I might have been classed as an agnostic. I was not certain that a God existed, I was willing to have anyone who could present sufficient evidence prove his existence to me. There was now a change, however; instead of passively resisting a belief in God, I absolutely denied that such a Being existed. In other words, I became an atheist. Looking backward I think I am here perhaps a bit harsh in my judgment of myself. There were times when I wondered about the whole thing, my disbelief was not always assured. This phase of the subject may be allowed to rest for the moment; I do not want to confuse my emotional personality with my reasoning one. I can well remember long evenings in my room at college where arguments on religion were not barred, but welcomed. Many of my friends and colleagues staunchly defended the existence of a Supreme Being and I as firmly denied. Religious discussions always wound up with some such argument as this. It seemed that I could not avoid it, and I cannot say that I wanted to; it was too pleasing to me to flaunt my newly acquired wisdom. So far as I ever thought of myself, I became a mass of living protoplasm, here today, and gone tomorrow. Carefully, sometimes almost painfully, I went over the details of my theory, arguing both for and against, yet the atheist always won over the agnostic. For three years approximately I held to this opinion. At least the rational, reasoning being that was in me held to it.

It was only six months before I became a Freemason that my attitude changed. How that change came about forms an interesting story in itself, interesting to me at least, and there are things in relation to it that must be told if this is to be anything like as complete a confession of faith (or lack of faith, according to the point of view) as I should like it to be. Before taking up that side of the question, I want to retrace a bit and picture the emotional beliefs that sometimes caused me to doubt what, to me, were the rational ones. As has been indicated, I have always been fond of the out of doors. It was always my custom to get into the open country whenever the opportunity offered. Until I went to college I always had plenty of company. Thoughts did not run away with me because I was always occupied with the others and with things around me. At college, however, things were a bit different. It was not always possible to find someone who was free to roam as I liked to do, and often the impulse would come over me when there was no one in close enough proximity to tag along. This led to my wandering off alone. After the first few afternoons I began to enjoy it. The habit grew and finally it was rare that I even looked for a companion when the impulse came over me. I packed up and went. It was only a mile or so from our house to a winding creek, a steep bluff on one side, and a fertile flood plain a mile or so wide on the other. I took to wandering along this stream. In the spring of the year the birds were plentiful and more often than not I would pick a shady spot and lie down. Nearly always in this season of the year when the plants were sprouting new leaves and everything was fresh with the newness of spring, I would fall into a revery. The beauty of the landscape always appealed and particularly at this season. To try to follow my thoughts through one of these idle afternoons would be impossible. But I did often wonder about everything around. How did the birds happen to be colored as they were? What made them so beautiful? Why did the trees assume the shapes they had? What was responsible for the massed beauty of the whole scene? Perhaps I was beginning to find God. In my own mind I often thought that I was, but then on returning to town things would assume an entirely changed aspect and the old method of reasoning would persuade me that I was as much of an atheist as ever. Even in the course of my reveries, I could always find reasons within the bounds of scientific theory which would explain the things I wondered about. Still there were times when I often thought there must be something in the form of a Creator. It seemed impossible to imagine such coordination as one finds in nature just happening.

And so the chain to date leads first through belief, to doubting belief, to unbelief, and finally to doubting unbelief. It seems that we are arguing in a circle and coming back to the original starting point. This is in a sense true, and there is one step needed to complete the change. What was responsible for the return to belief? I finally came to see that even though evolution explained many things which I had hitherto found unexplainable, there was still a question for which no answer had been found. Roughly, and a bit inaccurately stated, evolution teaches that man grew out of a lower form of life. We can carry this back to the dinosaurs, the shellfish, the trilobites, and finally we come to a little one-celled animal called the amoeba. The great interrogation point is here inserted. Where did the amoeba come from? It was this question which in the final analysis was responsible for my coming back into the fold of believers. The circle is complete, not because it has come back to the point from which it started, but because today I have a firm belief in a supernatural power which I call God. The belief is the same as it was earlier in life, but the God is different and consequently the circle is not quite a circle, but some other figure — a spiral perhaps.

The origin of the amoeba, unexplainable by any process of reasoning which had hitherto formed a part of my mental processes, caused me to see that there must be someone or something responsible for that spark in the simplest of creatures which we cannot reproduce in any scientific laboratory. The same science which could not offer an explanation of this one point prompted the discard of the personal element in a search for God. Because evolution to me thoroughly proves the method in which man came into being I cannot conceive of a God in the likeness of man. The Bible says somewhere that God created man in His image and likeness. I do not think so, but think that man created God in his image and likeness. Reasons for this conclusion are plentiful and may be found by consulting almost any good reference work on cultural anthropology. If we desire to trace the rise and development of religion we find first that man worshipped forces which he did not understand. We come at a later stage to idol worship and the anthropomorphic deities. These are clearly images, physical reflections of man's thoughts. They represent God in the way man thought he should look. When we reach that stage of development where idol worship is prohibited we do not find idols, but we find mental images taking the place of idols. Today we find, in the Christian world at least, that God represents everything that is good in man. He becomes a mental image of the perfect man. This stage is, to me, no more than a glorified ideal, and when we consider the closeness of idol and ideal as they appear on paper and as they are in derivation, we can easily see how close idol worship and the worship of mental images really are. The one is no more than the concrete reflection of the other.

Since the anthropomorphic God, the God in man's image, is one of the question, of what material will we construct a Deity? Man was not in existence when the breath of life was blown into that flowing cell we now call the amoeba. Since this was the first of God's living works shall we say that the God we should worship was a sort of glorified creature of the same type? That is on the surface a foolish question. Those of my readers who have ever had the privilege of looking through the lens of a high-powered microscope at the creature mentioned will agree with me that no such creature, no matter how glorified, can ever account for the wonders of the world which surround us. Even if God is pictured as such an entity we are degenerating to that already criticised idol worship. We are finding something tangible, some mental picture, some ideal upon which to fasten our faith.

To my mind there is no need for any sort of a picture, mental or physical, by which to imagine God. We have seen that there must be something to account for the life we find in this simplest of living creatures. Let us, then, content ourselves with calling it something without trying to fasten any recognizable characteristics to it. The only way in which God can be recognized then is through the wonders performed. This Divine Something, commonly called God, is the power which created life, or possibly Life itself, it is the power which caused the evolutionary forces to follow the paths which led to the development of man. It is, aside from this, the power which accounts for the unity, the harmony, the beauty which surrounds us. It is the directing force which accounts for things as they are.

The statement was made above that God was the ideal and religion the means by which we hoped to attain it. This statement perhaps holds true of religions in general, but, so far as the writer can see, is not strictly true where God becomes such an entity as has just been pictured. The ideal must be divorced from the religion. I think this God might be termed Aristotlean in character. "Divine Providence coincides completely for Aristotle with the operation of natural causes" (Aristotle, Ethics, i, 10; Zeller, Aristotle and the Earlier Peripatetics, ii, 329). Continuing along this line we find a being incorporeal, indivisible, spaceless, sexless, passionless, changeless, perfect, eternal. One would not agree with the statement that "God moves the world as the beloved object moves the lover," as Aristotle puts it (Aristotle, Metaphysics, ix, 7), for this seems to deny a Creator and the writer's belief is that God did create life. Because, however, God is, as he thought, Spaceless, Sexless, etc., it cannot take the form of an ideal toward which religion may strive, but becomes a striving toward a goal, the attainment of which is as much God's desire as our own.

This separated religion must be defined. It takes on the nature of a philosophy of life, but it is a philosophy directed by the same Power that has directed the evolutionary processes from the beginning. The God I have in mind has delegated to it the task of keeping the forward movement of the world in a progressive state. We know not, and neither does it matter, what form this progression takes, so long as it conforms with the evolutionary laws which have been built up through the ages and under the direction of God. If the immutable laws of nature are to continue in their present paths, man, who is apparently only in the ascendency of his power, is to become supreme, the most numerous and the most powerful species in existence. The next stage will be man's degradation, his fall from the throne, and this period in his natural history will see the rise of a new and more powerful race, not of men, but of creatures of some sort. They will be an outgrowth of the environmental developments which have made it impossible for man to survive.

Our duty and our religion immediately becomes clear. Our lives must be so ordered that when the final decline of man sets in and the new race rises, this new species will be in every way superior to man. Religion under such a line of thought is just as moral and just as good as the religions of the past. It is only by keeping clean and fit, both mentally and physically, that we can hope to meet the conditions which surround us. In one sense this verges on the science of eugenics. But that phase of the question need not be considered here. On the other side, we must think and act correctly. What is to be the guide to such right thinking? There is no better source book than the Bible. It is a collection of experiences of a race from time immemorial and it is the experience of a race of men which progressed. The race may or may not be in supremacy today, that is non-essential. If they have given way to something better, we can profit by the method of living which enabled them to reach supremacy. We can discard those things which, on the basis of modern thought, seem to have given rise to their decline. We can survey the races that have surpassed them and learn of the things which enabled the new to dominate the old. In seeing those things which point toward retrogression and avoiding their contacts, we can rest assured that the mental habits thus formed will be passed on to our descendants and that they in turn will steer clear of those things which caused our decline. So, it is that by an avoidance of detrimental influences we build up the race and lay the foundations for the new and better race which is doubtless to come.

It will need little explanation to collate this belief of God with that expressed in Masonic ritual. It is well to consider, however, that we are not asked to express a belief in God, but a trust in God. In either case the justification is as immediate. I place my trust in a force which is responsible for life. This God is just as much responsible for man as is the God of Genesis; the end is the same, it is only the means by which God becomes responsible for man that differs. I believe fully in my God as the hope and salvation of the human race. The difference being that the salvation will come in a different manner. Instead of a hypothetical, highly imaginative after world, man is to be saved by the production of a new race in which the good in man will live after him and the evil be interred with his bones. Since I was not asked to define in precise terms just what the God I trusted and believed in was I can see no reason why anyone has any just cause for complaint because I happen to hold to an opinion which differs from his. I do not ask him to change his God and substitute mine in order to stay in the Fraternity. I respect the opinions of others, they are doubtless as near right as I am, and I leave them to enjoy such happiness as they may get from the contemplation of their God. I ask no more for myself.

On this subject, we might accept in final analysis the words of Will Durant in his Story of Philosophy, "Inductive data fall upon us from all sides like the lava of Vesuvius; we suffocate with uncoordinated facts; our minds are overwhelmed with sciences breeding and multiplying into specialistic chaos for want of synthetic thought and a unifying philosophy. We are all mere fragments of what a man might be." Like men — no conception of God is complete.

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Editor-in-Chief — R. J. Meekren

Associate Editors

Louis Block, Iowa
Robert L. Clegg, Ohio
Gilbert W. Daynes, England
Ray V. Denslow, Missouri
George H. Dern, Utah
N. W. J. Haydon, Canada
R. V. Harris, Canada
C. C. Hunt, Iowa
Charles F. Irwin, Ohio
A. L. Kress, Pennsylvania
F. H. Littklefield, Missouri
Joseph E. Morcombe, California
Joseph Fort Newton, New York
Arthur C. Parker, New York
J. Hugo Tatsch, Iowa
Jesse M. Whited, California
David E. W. Williamson, Nevada

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THERE are two days in the year that by tradition are set aside for observance by Freemasons. That they are also feasts of the Christian Church, and were before that festivals of a primitive paganism, does not lessen or abrogate their immemorial connection with the Fraternity; they are the days of St. John in Harvest and St. John in Winter — the Baptist and the Evangelist. The one, who said of himself, "I must decrease," is celebrated at midsummer, about the longest day of the year; the other, who was to all the earth a messenger of the good tidings and peace and good will towards men, at that time when the days have begun to lengthen once more. That our Lord was born on the twenty-fifth of December and St. John on the twenty-seventh, is perhaps possible but certainly not probable. Just as the church later often took over the ancient sanctuaries of primitive divinities and hallowed them to the service of the new faith, so did it take over the old festivals. And for what reason should it not have done so? The symbolical fitness is patent to all, and the time when men could see that once again the sun was returning on his annual course, was the time set to rejoice at the coming of the day-spring from on high, the birth of the Babe of Bethlehem, that little city of Judah, and the wondrous star which led the wise men from the East to the manger cradle; and also to remember that beloved disciple, the second of the perfect parallels in religion as in Masonry.

What was the origin of this connection of the two Holy Saints John with the Masonic Craft is far from certain. That it happened by chance is hardly to be credited. True, men and cities and gilds and countries and confraternities adopted patron saints as a matter of course; yet nearly always there was some reason for the particular choice. And why did the Masons adopt two patrons of the same name whose days have so intimate a connection with the course of the sun? Here again a symbolism is obvious — beginning and completion, laying the foundation and setting the cape stone; but what such a thought had to do with the actual choice it would be hard to say. What is certain is the fact that the two Saints are so closely associated with the Craft that in many countries what we call the "Blue Lodge," the Symbolic Degrees, is known simply as St. John's Masonry.

In the United States this connection is largely lost, except for one or two allusions in the ritual. Here and there may perhaps be found an old lodge that still includes June 24 and Dec. 27 in the list of its stated assemblies. In this they retain an echo of the time when these two days were not only the chief days of meeting, but perhaps the only ones, the days when apprentices were entered, and Fellows passed as Masters of their Craft. Fortunately this lapse has not occurred elsewhere and there may be hope that in the future the Masonry of this country will recover this ancient usage.

However, of this perhaps more on another occasion; it is another aspect of the season of which we would speak. It is a time of ending and beginning. Christmas, St. John's Day, and New Year, are three high points of a festival that runs from the Eve of the Nativity to Epiphany. The cape stone of our year's labor was seated last month, and the volume of 1926 completed. With this we lay the foundation stone of the New Year's work. It is not for the craftsman to say whether it be truly squared, and firmly set, let others judge. But here we wish our readers, and fellow members of the Research Society, a happy and fortunate New Year; and if they will help as they have in the past, our new work may be confidently carried forward in the hope of a successful conclusion.

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JUST as in the lodge room the assembled brethren listen again to the instructions given to the youngest Apprentices (and it does them no harm) so here our senior members will please to bear with us patiently while we once more say something of the National Masonic Research Society, its objects and aims, and the purpose and policy of its organ, THE BUILDER. Properly speaking, or rather in the sense that the word is usually applied to a periodical, THE BUILDER has no policy. Possibly there may be some exception taken to this statement in view of our advocacy of the National Masonic Tuberculosis Sanatoria Association. Bro. R. J. Newton, the Publicity Manager of the Association, is chiefly responsible for that, for it was he who converted the Executive of the Society from an attitude of comparatively passive approval to one of active support. This matter is, however, in a different category; it is one that touches all Masons directly whether they are interested in research and study or not. It is a matter of relief and of justice, one of obligation in short, and we conceive that for this no excuse or explanation is needed and none will be offered. There are thousands, literally, of our brethren in dire need, in danger of death, not to speak of their wives and children. And those who have so nobly sought to assist them are taxed far beyond their strength. It is a national question, and as we have members all over the whole country it was and is our plain duty to do what we can. There is no especial credit attached to it; practically every Masonic periodical in the United States has taken the question up and is doing its part for this cause in its own field. So much then for that. Outside of this exceedingly practical and imperative problem THE BUILDER has no purpose other than that of acting as a means of communication between members of the Society and affording an open forum for the discussion of all such questions dealing with Freemasonry as may be properly broached in public.

Scattered all over the country, or indeed all over the world, as our members are, it is physically impossible for them to meet together, even infrequently; it is only through the pages of a regularly published periodical that the work of individuals can be brought to the knowledge of others, and examined and discussed. THE BUILDER is therefore the substitute for a monthly meeting, neither more nor less. There is in this manifest disadvantages, but also fortunately some compensations. In any case it is the only possible machinery for the purpose.

Being what it is, still less than in the case of other magazines, has the Editor in charge any responsibility for the opinions expressed by contributors, no more indeed than a judge on the bench for what the learned counsel for the defense may say on behalf of his client, or the presiding officer of a deliberative assembly for the motions he puts or the resolutions passed; so long as all is done in order and within the bounds of decency and decorum. The judge may have a strong opinion as to the rights and wrongs of the case before him, but it is his place only to hold the balance even between the opposing parties and see that both sides have opportunity to argue their contention.

Nevertheless there is a very heavy responsibility laid upon the editorial staff. THE BUILDER has only a very limited amount of space available, just as law courts and legislatures have but a limited amount of time. The result is congestion. Thus there is an ever present problem of what is to come next. We have the same duty as the Master of a lodge, without his opportunities of learning what question is best taken up now and what may be deferred. There is only one object in view, the advance of Masonic knowledge and the interest of our members, but all this has to be gauged on the slightest indications. If those who are not pleased in any given case will but remember this they will perhaps be more ready to excuse in a spirit of fraternal charity.

The field of Masonic research is a much wider one than is usually supposed; and we are in no wise limited to any part of it. It is generally, but erroneously, taken for granted that the history of the Order is the only subject properly its object. History is most important, much more so than multitudes of our brethren realize. At any moment a dry fact of history may be brought to life by some question of present day policy. There have been many controversies in the Fraternity that would never have arisen had the opponents had more complete historical knowledge. Our ritual, our symbols, our teaching, our jurisprudence is all rooted in the past. It is not a question of dwelling on "departed glories," as one brother puts it, but of obtaining material by which the future is to be shaped. But on this it may be possible to enlarge at some future time, at present we merely wish to make the point, that the recording and publication in accessible form of patiently collected facts, dry and uninteresting as they may be, is a real necessity for the future. Some space therefore must be always allotted to such matter as this.

Then there is the question of symbolism and symbolic teaching. As Speculative Masonry is defined "as a peculiar system of morality, veiled in allegory and illustrated by symbols," this too is a subject of moment. The nature of a symbol or allegory is to teach by suggestion, by association of ideas, consequently they are always applicable however the conditions of society at large may change, and as these conditions are in a state of continual flux there is always place for further and newer applications.

Finally, there are the practical questions of the present day. These are nearly always controversial, not to say explosive. Yet they need discussion, and especially should they be discussed in an atmosphere of pure investigation, or in the spirit of an impartial, unprejudiced search for truth. And right here we will find the practical use of history. No one of the questions of the hour can be safely decided, in line with the spirit of the Fraternity, without a knowledge of what is relevant to it in the past, or what has been done elsewhere in the world.

It is to be admitted that such questions raise many difficulties. Still, as some uncritical partizans would write history by projecting present-day conditions backwards, so it is possible to discuss the present in the dry light of historical research, putting aside prejudice and passion. Not easy, but possible.

In the course of consultation and correspondence a number of such questions of practical moment have emerged, and some we hope to have presented in THE BUILDER during the coming year. One which is more and more taking up the attention of the rulers of the Craft is that of Masonic Education. There are many problems involved here, its nature and scope, the responsibilities (if any) of ruling bodies, and the most efficient machinery. This last, of course, touches us as a Society very closely, as it is the very work on which we are engaged.

Another concerns the tendencies and the direction in which they are leading, to be observed in the Order today. Such tendencies as those as are exhibited in our lodges with enormous membership, in which the personal friendship and fraternal relationship that should exist are in imminent danger of being lost. What shall it profit a lodge to gain the whole world on its roll if it lose its soul in doing it? Then there is the tendency to centralization and loss of ancient rights, towards getting involved in questions of religious and political import. Not yet have these become prominent, but it behooves us to see whither we are going before we have gone too far.

Thus it seems on a survey of the field that there is much of interest and much of the greatest moment to do. The difficulty is going to be to get it all in, but this is a problem that must be solved as best it can as we go forward.

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DURING the past year there has been a revival of a question that many educated people supposed had been threshed out thirty years and more ago, the relationship of science and religion. This seems the more curious as the fashionable vogue in science is now in full reaction against the mechanistic and materialistic views that held the field a generation ago. Due to research into the structure of matter, and the theory of relativity, the current theories in scientific circles seem far more favorable now to a spiritual interpretation of the world than was the case even ten years ago. Masonry, we are emphatically told, has no dogmas, no creed. It teaches by symbols which each may interpret for himself. Yet one thing is demanded of the candidate for our mysteries, that he profess faith in God. In a sense there seems a contradiction here, for belief in God is a religious dogma, that is, it is a creed that is taught by all religions.

Now there is no doubt that under this simple requirement there are hidden wide differences of opinion. It is asserted by some brethren that a certain limiting conception of the Deity is also demanded, as for example, that it must be believed also that God is a Personal Being, as well as the First Cause, and Origin of all things. This is a question that has bearing on many other problems. There is no doubt, judging by the many articles and books written by brethren of occultist and theosophical tendencies, that other conceptions of the Deity exist in the Order side by side with those we may call Theistic. Masons of what, for distinction, we may call the orthodox school, seem always to ignore these; they never condemn them, even when they urge most strongly that their own views are the only ones allowable. What, then, is the actual state of affairs? Are the latter right, or is Masonry tolerant of more indefinite interpretations?

This was a question that it seemed appropriate to discuss at this time, and the matter was brought to a head by the receipt of the article that appears on an earlier page of this number. It is a very intimate personal confession, and outlines a definite spiritual progress. Reading it with sympathy (for what believer has not at some time been beset by doubt?) it seems pretty certain that the stage reached at the conclusion cannot be a permanent one. The progress is definite towards at least a theistic belief on the part of the author.

It seems obvious that this brother does not believe in the unique inspiration of the Bible. This raises other questions. His position cannot be opposed on the grounds of Scriptural texts, at least not without discussion of their authority, but only by arguments drawn from science and philosophy whose authority he does acknowledge. But the main questions raised are these: Does the simple requirement made by Masonry of a belief in God imply any particular conception of God? If so, why has not such conception been explicitly defined? And furthermore, what right would any Grand Lodge have in the matter of laying down such definition, and what should be the attitude of other Grand Lodges in the case that this were done? If belief in God means (Masonically) belief in a personal Deity, have we not then the beginning of a dogmatic creed, a thing that it has always been said did not exist? We hope to have these questions and others that will naturally arise, fully discussed by a number of competent brethren from all points of view. A Lay Brother's Confession of doubt and faith comes opportunely as an introduction and a challenge.

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Bro. J. H. Tatsch, Iowa

The examination and care of many Masonic periodicals in the course of library routine, chiefly in filing and binding, brings points to the fore that are not observed by the casual reader, but which add greatly to the serviceability of the publications.

To begin with, I believe that the city in which the magazine maintains its headquarters should appear on the outside front cover as a part of, or close to, the title. There are a number of magazines of similar name, and in order to identify any of them, it is necessary to turn through many leaves.

Magazines that are clipped (and all good ones are) lose their identity if the name of the publication does not appear on each page. The best place is at the top; some of them have it in small type in the lower corners. The month and year, or exact date if published at lesser intervals, is a great convenience to students when printed on each page at the marginal edge. This is especially true when searching through bound volumes, for almost invariably an article referred to in a periodical is described by name of the periodical and date of issue, rather than by volume and issue numbers.

Each issue should have a volume and issue number, so that readers who preserve their files will know when volumes end, or if they are complete. A new Masonic periodical launched during 1926 is deficient in this respect.

The greatest sorrow in a librarian's life, insofar as periodicals are concerned, is a change of size in the middle of a volume. I have one publication in mind which changed sizes three times in one year. Fortunately, not all are such grievous offenders; but it is surprising to note how many changed size and form at an awkward period.

As far as a careful reader is concerned, a book without an index is a useless encumbrance. The expense of preparing one is nominal; but it enhances a volume one hundred fold. The same applies in still greater measure to a bound periodical, for to seek something in a magazine that has no index is like looking for a needle in a haystack. Much that is of inestimable worth to Masonic students is lost to the world because it is effectively buried in pages of dead type. The magazines which publish indexes are providing longevity insurance for themselves, and will exert an influence exceeding the life of the publications.

* * *


Bro. Gilbert W. Daynes, England

THE United Grand Lodge of Antient Free and Accepted Masons of England is a collective body comprising a general representation of all private lodges on record, the Grand Stewards of the year, the present and Past Grand Officers, with the Grand Master at their head. I propose in this article to deal only with the Grand Master and the Grand Officers.

The Grand Master is nominated yearly at the Grand Lodge held in December, and elected at the Grand Lodge held the foIlowing March. The Grand Master so elected is regularly installed on the day of the Grand Annual Masonic Festival, which is held on the Wednesday following St. George's Day, the 23rd April. To this Festival are to be admitted all regular Masons who provide themselves with tickets from the Grand Stewards, at present costing one guinea.

Upon the occasion of the Grand Master's Installation he appoints the Grand Officers for the year, who are thereupon installed or invested. At first the Grand Officers consisted only of the two Grand Wardens, but from time to time additional appointments have been authorized. Today the Grand Officers annually appointed in April are as follows: Pro Grand Master (who must be a Peer of the Realm and is only appointed when the Grand Master is a Prince of the Blood Royal); Deputy Grand Master; Two Grand Wardens; Two Grand Chaplains; Grand Registrar; Deputy Grand Registrar; President of the Board of General Purposes; Grand Director of Ceremonies; Twelve Grand Deacons; Two Assistant Grand Chaplains; Two Assistant Grand Registrars; Grand Superintendent of Works; Two Assistant Grand Superintendents of Works; Two Deputy Grand Directors of Ceremonies; Twelve Assistant Grand Directors of Ceremonies; Grand Sword Bearer; Deputy Grand Sword Bearer; Two Assistant Grand Sword Bearers; Two Grand Standard Bearers; Six Assistant Grand Standard Bearers; Grand Organist; Assistant Grand Secretary; Grand Pursuivant; Four Assistant Grand Pursuivants.

The Grand Officers also include the President of the Board of Benevolence, annually appointed and invested by the Grand Master at the December Meeting of Grand Lodge, and the Grand Secretary and Grand Tyler, who upon appointment by the Grand Master continue in office without reappointment during the pleasure of Grand Lodge.

There is only one elective Grand Office besides that of the Grand Master, viz., the Grand Treasurer. The Constitutions provide that he shall be nominated at the September Meeting of Grand Lodge from members of Grand Lodge who have not already held Grand Office, and be elected at the Grand Lodge in March. In the event of a contest a postal ballot is provided for. Voting papers are to be sent to each private lodge and every member of that lodge who is a member of Grand Lodge is entitled to record his vote.

In addition to the Annual Appointments the Grand Master makes a number of promotions in Grand Rank, when important services to the Craft deserve further acknowledgment. He also annually confers Past Rank upon a number of brethren meriting recognition.

At the Annual Grand Festival, held at Freemasons' Hall, London, on Wednesday, 27th April, 1925, the Pro Grand Master, Lord Ampthill, referring to these Appointments and Promotions, said:

You are aware of the existence of a vague idea that every Lodge in the Jurisdiction of the United Grand Lodge of England ought to have a Grand Officer in turn, while there are Lodges which claim that their antiquity and their high reputation entitle them to have Grand Lodge collars regularly allotted. I wish to make it clear that the conferment of Grand Rank is a personal distinction and not a Lodge recognition. It is an honour to any Lodge to have a Grand Officer among its members; but the Lodges which are not so fortunate have no more cause to complain than towns and villages which do not happen to be the birthplace of eminent citizens. Even if Grand Rank were given as a recognition to Lodges, it would obviously be impossible to satisfy 4000 Lodges with the fifty appointments which the Grand Master has at his disposal. Nothing short of a miracle on the lines of the miracle of the loaves and fishes could meet a requirement of that kind.

The nature of our time-honoured constitution is such that, once we have elected a brother to preside over the rest in the capacity of Master of a Lodge, we leave it to his discretion to select his own Officers. On precisely the same principle, we leave it to the personal discretion of the M. W. Grand Master to select his own Grand Officers. Just as the Private Lodge elects only the Master and the Treasurer, so Grand Lodge elects only the Grand Master and the Grand Treasurer. The same principle runs right through the Craft; and it is a wise principle of governance which has stood the test of time. The duty of selecting the Grand Officers you have thus entrusted to the Grand Master is one of exceeding difficulty, which naturally has been increasing with the growth and expansion of the Craft.

It would not be possible for the Grand Master to deal single-handed with all the matters which are left to his determination; and he, therefore, summons to his assistance, as all his predecessors have done, some of his principal Officers, and particularly those whose tenure of office is not restricted to a single year. The committee of personal advisers thus formed is known as the Grand Master's Council. This is a natural and legitimate outcome of the authority vested in the Grand Master by the Grand Lodge of England, just as it is absolutely within the right of the Worshipful Master of a Private Lodge to hold regular consultations with experienced Past Masters of his Lodge. The Grand Master's Council assists the Grand Master in all those matters which are left to his personal discretion or belong to his office; and one of the most difficult and important tasks that fall to its lot is the selection of the names of brethren to be submitted to the Grand Master for appointment to Grand Rank. Five or six hundred recommendations have every year to be examined, tabulated, and classified. Countless enquiries have to be made. Many and various considerations, personal, social and local, besides the Masonic record of the nominee, have to be regarded. It is impossible to set up any definite standard or test of merit. Everything has to be taken into account; and the only invariable test is that the distinction of any individual brother should be of credit and acceptance to the Craft.

But, while individual merit is thus the primary consideration, it is essential that there should be a fair distribution of Grand honours as between London and the Provinces and Districts, and again as between the larger and the smaller Provinces and Districts. You will see, therefore, that the difficult task of advising the Grand Master in this matter has to be performed with conscientious care and all possible vigilance: and all his advisers are deeply sensible of their responsibility towards the Grand Master and for the honour and reputation of the Craft

In concluding his remarks the Pro Grand Master emphasized the reciprocal duty and striving of the Grand Officers, whereby the value and distinction of Grand Rank might be maintained and enhanced.

* * *


Bro. James H. Cooke, 32°, a disabled ex-service man in California, confined to his bed by reason of injury received during the World War, has requested THE BUILDER to aid him, through the medium of its columns, in the prosecution of his hobby, which is the collection of stamps. There are many brethren getting parcels in the daily mail with United States stamps attached. These can be cut off in a second of time and will make Bro. Cooke happy with something that would otherwise go to waste.

He will be glad to receive pre-cancelled stamps of all denominations excepting only the familiar two-cent variety containing the head of our first President as is used on our letters. He asks that they be left on the wrapping paper, which protects them from tearing, as to detach them renders them thin and useless unless they are soaked off. Any and all stamps coIlected may be sent directly to Bro. Cooke, whose address is Box E, Carmel, Cal.

* * *


Bulletin of the National Masonic Tuberculosis Sanatoria Association

Incorporated by Authority of the Grand Lodge of New Mexico, A.F. & A.M.

Masonic Temple, Albuquerque, N.M.


Herbert B. Holt, Grand Master, President

Richard H. Hanna, Vice-President

Jaffa Miller, Vice-President

Alpheus A. Keen, Secretary

FRANCIS E. LESTER, Executive Secretary, Las Cruces, New Mexico

JOHN W. TURNER, Treasurer

ARIZONA — Lloyd C. Henning, Holbrook.

ARKANSAS — Claude L. Hill, Grand Master, Booneville.

CONNECTICUT — Fred A. Borland, Past Grand Master, South Manchester.

FLORIDA — Cary B. Fish, Grand Master, Sarasota.

GEORGIA — Dr. J. P. Bowdoin, Past Grand Master.

IDAHO — Will H. Gibson, Grand Master, Boise.

KENTUCKY — G. Allison Holland, Grand Master, Lexington.

MINNESOTA — Albert F. Pray, Grand Master, Minneapolis,

MISSISSIPPI — John R. Tally, Grand Master, Hattiesburg.

MISSOURI — Wm. W. Martin, Grand Master, Doniphan.

MONTANA — Dr. W. J. Marshall, Missoula.

NEW JERSEY — Benjamin F. Havens, Junior Grand Warden, Trenton.

NEW MEXICO — Herbert B. Holt, Grand Master, Las Cruces.

NORTH CAROLINA — Dr. J. C. Braswell, Past Grand Master, Whitakers.

NORTH DAKOTA — Dr. J. S. Lamont, Dunseith.

OKLAHOMA — Gilbert B. Bristow, Past Grand Master, Roosevelt.

RHODE ISLAND — Howard Knight, Past Grand Master, Providence.

SOUTH CAROLINA — Charlton DuRant, Grand Master, Manning.

SOUTH DAKOTA — L. M. Simons, Grand Master, Bellefourche.

TENNESSEE — Andrew E. McCullagh, Grand Master, Maryville.

TEXAS — Dr. Felix P. Miller, El Paso.

UTAH — Fred M. Nye, Ogden.

VERMONT — Christie B. Crowell, Grand Master, Brattleboro.

WASHINGTON — Morton Gregory, Grand Master, Masonic Temple, Tacoma.

WISCONSIN — Fred L. Wright, Past Senior Grand Warden, Milwaukee.

WYOMING — Frank S. Knittle, Grand Master, Casper.

ORDER OF THE EASTERN STAR, GENERAL GRAND CHAPTER — Mrs. Clara Henrich, Most Worthy Grand Matron, Newport, Ky.

Robert J. Newton, Editor, Publicity Director N.M.T.S.A. Las Cruces, New Mexico.

"Smiling Sam" Shafer

WHEN you read his experience you may wonder what he has to smile about.

Bro. Shafer is a member of New Philadelphia Lodge, No. 177, of the city of the same name. He has been a sufferer from tuberculosis for about thirteen years. He was formerly a railroad telegrapher by occupation and was with the Baltimore & Ohio Railway for eight years before his first break-down. He tells his own story in telegraphic style:

"In the spring of 1913 began to show signs of illness -suspected tuberculosis. On strict examination found nothing, but owing to inside steady confinement doctors advised me to get away for awhile and go to Denver. Went to Denver and remained four months, returned East, said to be well. Returned to work and in six weeks began to show signs again. I quit inside work then and got away for a year and roughed it in Michigan. Seemed to get along fine.

"In 1915 resumed railroad work again, and soon, work getting so strenuous owing to the war, not enough men, in 1918 had a complete relapse after training 35 days to be a train dispatcher. Had several hemorrhages and it was then that I realized that I was up .against real tuberculosis. Doctors advised me to try the Ohio State Sanatorium; went there on Aug. 12, 1918, and left May 1, 1919, improved in weight but no change in lung condition. Was then advised by the doctors of the Ohio State Sanatorium that I had a tubercular cavity in left lung. They suggested that I get out of Ohio and come to Southwest, New Mexico -or Arizona, but owing to lack of funds I could not come when they advised and instead tried to work and results were that I worked fourteen months at telegraphy .and contracted colds until I was down, and when I landed in Tucson in the fall of 1920 1 had a complete ,collapse. Was confined in St. Mary's Hospital for -seven months at expense of $150 a month. Got to the point where I could get around but never able to sustain myself, and after staying there nearly three years was told that I would have to resort to thorocoplastic surgery in order to get anywhere.

"Went back East in the summer of 1923 and decided to try surgery. In November, 1923, came to Albuquerque and consulted some doctors, and on Nov. 20, 1,923, 1 underwent the first operation, having portions of eight ribs removed. This was not successful and again on May 13, 1925, I underwent the same operation, this time having portions of ten ribs removed. The results are favorable, while not so good as should be considering the amount of suffering, time and expense, and all indications are that I may have to undergo a little more surgery in order to collapse the lung completely.

"My income is $65 a month from the Elks with an occasional boost from the members of my Masonic Lodge. My only hope" is that they keep me in a dry climate for, as you know, my chances would be rather slim back East."

Bro. Shafer first got into touch with the advocates of the building of Masonic Tuberculosis Sanatoria about four years ago. On March 24, 1926, he wrote again:

"I am pleased to advise that I am still alive, but not able to do any work. Have often wondered what was ever done by the Masons."

There are many Masons like Bro. Shafer who need hospital care and who "wonder what was ever done by the Masons" in the matter of providing sanatorium care and treatment for Masonic consumptives. The question comes from many hundreds of sick, "When will the Door of Hope (the entrance to the first Masonic Sanatorium) be Opened to them?"

* * *


Bro. Hartwell E. Roberts, Reid Lodge, No. 163, Mansfield, Ark.

Bro. No. 125. This brother's story is covered in the following letter written by the Secretary of a southwestern lodge to his home lodge:

"Bro. ____ died here suddenly and is to be buried tomorrow in El Paso. I am reliably informed that Mrs. _____ is in very poor financial condition and will probably have to have some help to defray burial expenses. While I have not been able to talk to her to find out the exact condition I will do so as soon as I can and advise you. She is by no means a well woman; had a severe stroke of paralysis, or something akin to it, last year, from which she has never recovered. It was only the indomitable will of Bro. ___ that kept him earning a living the past few years. The week before he died he ran a temperature of 103 while working in the local bank. He simply could not take time to rest and this led to his death, Which was due to heart exhaustion or failure. He died in his sleep without a struggle."

Many, like this brother, driven by the necessity of providing food and shelter for loved ones, lose all chance for life because they do not, or will not, ask for help.

* * *

Rear Admiral R. E. Coontz, U. S. Navy, stationed at the Naval Operating Base, Hampton Roads, Virginia, recently in command of the Pacific fleet, is practically interested in the Masonic Sanatorium. He writes:

"I am in complete sympathy with your worthy effort. I hope that the various Masonic Jurisdictions, whose members come to Texas, Arizona, New Mexico and the Southwest, will take the matter up and push it to a satisfactory conclusion."

Bro. Coontz also made a contribution to the cause.

* * *

A San Antonio Mason, Bro. Harry Rogers, was elected President of the Rotary International. Bro. Rogers is interested in all Masonic activities and was one of the first and largest contributors to the work and expense of the Texas Tuberculosis Sanatorium Committee, which was operating without any appropriation from the Texas Grand Lodge.

* * *

If Masonry itself is to remain strong and healthy it needs at this time an interest or cause closer to its heart that will bring to its members the spirit of brotherhood and sacrifice and permit them to feel that they are a living part of this spirit, because they are enacting it in real life.

* * *


Bros. A. L. Kress and R. J. Meekren


IN the Study Club last month we took under consideration the construction of the Gothic arch in order to obtain more light upon the technique of the Operative Freemasons of the Middle Ages. It was noted that the voussoirs or "vault" stones of which the arch is composed were, in theory at least, interchangeable, being cut to the same curves and angles though differing in length. It is not at all likely, however, that this interchangeability was developed at all in practice, except perhaps by accident, as there would be no practical advantage in it. Each stone was undoubtedly intended for a certain position and marked accordingly.


The voussoir being worked, the next step would be to cut the mouldings, and these also would naturally be worked from templets. It is very curious that Speculative Masons have dwelt so exclusively on squared work. It is possibly easier to fit in with a symbolic system, but unfortunately it has led to extraordinary assertions as to the difficulty of squaring a stone. It is highly probable that there were many cowans, the lowens, losses, layers and rough masons of the Old Charges, who could square a stone well enough. What distinguished the Freemason was ability to do work "neither oblong nor square," carved and moulded work. It is significant in this respect that none of the Old Charges speak of squared work; when a traveling mason turned up the master was to give him work "if he had any mould stone" to be done in his place, if not he was to "refresh him with money" to enable him to go on to the next lodge.

This regulation is coupled with two others, that no mason, or sometimes more specifically, no master or fellow, was to make any mould square or rule for any rough layer, and that no layer was to be set to work on mould stone either within the lodge (with the fellows) or without it (off by himself somewhere) even if he had a mould (or mould square) of his own making. It is quite obvious that the later copyists had but the vaguest idea of what it was all about from the many extraordinary corruptions in the various texts; some of them evidently had no ideas at all, but copied blindly what they read in the document before them. Two chief forms or variants have appeared. In one, very numerously represented, the "square" has been separated from the first part of the compound term "mould" just as we saw it had probably been separated from "astler" in the list of jewels given in the Examination, so that the prohibition reads "no mould, nor square, nor rule." But on reflection this does not seem very significant. Neither rule nor square was peculiar to the mason's craft, and both are such simple, obvious tools that there could be no secret about making them. A cowan, if too unintelligent or clumsy to make them for himself, could get a carpenter, for instance, to make them for him. The latter would be under no prohibition in the matter. A mould-square or rule must have been some special appliance not easily understood or made.

The other corruption, while seemingly straightforward enough, has turned the provision into pure nonsense. The Inigo Jones MS. is an example. It says:

That no Master or Fellow make any Mould or Square or Rule to Mould Stones withall, but such as are allowed by the Fraternity.

We can only suppose that this was an attempt to amend a corrupt text in the light of the theory that was abroad, quoted by Aubrey from Dugdalel and often retailed since, that the Freemasons were a highly organized body of men working under orders from a central authority. The copyist saw something in his text that seemed to prohibit someone from working by a mould of his own making; and it not being clear who was forbidden, or why, assumed it applied to members of the Fraternity, and so added the saving clause about what was allowed by the Craft. But from the infinite variety of mouldings actually existent it would be hard to imagine what was not to be permitted.


Another inference emerges from the consideration of the different versions of these regulations. They do not appear at all in the very oldest documents, in the later ones their meaning has been forgotten and they have become largely unintelligible. It is probable that their introduction into the Masonic code marks the beginning of the period of transition, of the decay of the lodge as an Operative organization. A new style of architecture was coming in, the professional architect began to appear, while the more intelligent rough masons were trying to better their position, and finding themselves able to do the new work. Apprentices who had served their time were neglecting their "Admission" or "Entering" to the old fraternity. In Scotland unequivocal records exist of this state of affairs, and it is also there provided that "cowans" may be employed if fellows of craft can not be obtained. The masters would be tempted to employ the outsiders, perhaps because they were cheaper, perhaps because they were more under their power; for the accepted mason, even if working as a journeyman, was his master's equal. In order to stem the tide new rules would be made, tacitly allowing the employment of the rough mason or the "lewis" (who is in some cases expressly described as one who has learned the trade as an apprentice but who has not been admitted according to the manner and custom of making masons) but forbidding their employment on the more skilled kinds of work.


We have seen that the arch would have to be drawn in full in order to find the length of the arcs — perhaps in the case of large ones it might have been half size. It would also be necessary in order to find the angles of the keystones, which could not be worked in the same way as the voussoirs. In addition to this it would be necessary to draw the profile of the mouldings. In Fig. 1 we have shown such a profile or section as it might have been laid out on a squared floor or pavement. Assuming the cross lines to be six inches apart, which is much closer than would be probable, the outside thickness of the arch is a little under three feet, while between the inner and outside curves it is almost eighteen inches. It would be very natural in practice to make each measurement in round numbers where possible, but it was shown here somewhat less in order to show how lines could be set off from the squares.

The various rounds having been drawn inside the rectangles of the main dimensions the templets would be made from them. The modern way is to cut the profile of a moulding out of thin sheet metal, but the term "mould square" does not seem to fully fit such an appliance. We suggest that basically the old method was to use a square into which thin pieces of wood were fitted that could be cut out to fit the curves. If a groove were rabeted on the inside of the two limbs of the square the same tool would serve for any mouldings by changing the pieces inserted. Fig. 1 shows the form such an appliance may have taken.

The tradition of moulded work still lingered, apparently, as late as 1730, for Prichard refers to it in a confused way:

Q. What do you learn by being an Operative Mason?

A. Hue, Square, Mould-stone, lay a level and raise a Perpendicular.

The first part of the answer, as printed, is simply nonsense, but in the light of the clauses in the Old Charges relating to the subject we may suppose the original form of which it is a corrupt rendering was, [To] hew, square [and] mould-stone, or something equivalent; though that itself would probably not be very old, as the question is obviously intended to balance the preceding one:

Q. What do you learn by being a Gentleman Mason?

A. Secrecy, Morality and Good Fellowship.

Such explanations would not appear until a stage had been reached where the non-operatives formed at least a very considerable part of the membership of the fraternity.


Since the above was written we happened upon a number of pertinent quotations relative to the word "mould" as used in a technical sense by masons. They are collected in that mine of valuable reference The New English Dictionary, to which we are in a number of special points already so greatly indebted. The definition of the word in this connection is "a pattern, a templet." The quotations to illustrate its use range in date from the fourteenth to the eighteenth centuries. It is highly probable that more modern instances still could be found. We give several of them as typical; the earliest is from the Ely Sacrist Roll of 1323:

Bordis empt' pro moldis cementariorum faciendum. [1]

which might be rendered:

Purchasing boards for making molds for the masons.

The next is from Langland's Piers Plowman, and without the context does not have much meaning, but it is probably allegorical:

If any masoun made a molde yer-to moche wonder it were.

Another, of date 1513, the precise origin of which is not given, is as follows:

Lyme, sand ... moolds, ordinaunces, and every other thyng.

And last, is one from Smeaton, designer and builder of the famous Eddystone Lighthouse:

A gang of masons ... who were according to moulds and drawings to hew the stones.

It seems obvious from these that the word has been pretty continuously used for centuries in a much more general sense than that of "mouldings." In fact it might be taken as a technical term for the "shape" of the stone purely and simply, and thus might even have been applied to square ashlar work. Still it is very doubtful if it were ever given this extension of meaning even if quite logical. Technicalities are governed by convenience. Square would fully designate one form, mould-stone would include every thing that was worked to some shape that was not square. It would thus include "moulded" stone in the sense used above, as stones bearing members of ornamental mouldings. But this wider usage makes it very possible, and even probable, that the "square" with the curved blade, depicted in the window at Chartres, was a "mouldsquare." In that case the form suggested in Fig. 1 may have to be rejected on the very good ground that it is not required, a sufficiently satisfactory interpretation for the term being found in ascribing it to an implement of which the actual form has come down to us.


We must now return to the "square pavement" or "floor" set aside for the drawing of such full sized details as were necessary. There is no need to suppose that it was always, or even generally, paved with tile or flagstone, or whatever it might be, although where the work was going to take a long period of years to bring to completion, this may perhaps have been done. It is barely possible that the term was understood in its primary sense of a floor of beaten or rammed earth. A wooden floor would have served equally well as a stone one, or the ground might have been levelled and laid with cement or plaster, as is done by the Persian Craftsmen. Or even finely sifted loam well beaten down, or clay spread over the space and smoothed over. Any or all such methods would have served, and circumstances would determine which was most convenient in any given case. In shape, the area would probably have been longer than wide for the purely practical reason that most of the details to be laid out on it were greater in elevation in proportion to ground plan.

It is most likely that in many cases, when it was possible, the actual floor of the building erected was used for this purpose — the flagged or tiled pavement of the church or other structure. But when the work was quite new other means would have to be adopted.

The floor, having been prepared, the first thing to be done in using it would be to lay down a base line. This might be ruled, or if of any length, done with a tightly stretched chalked cord, a method still in use by carpenters. Cutting this at right angles a center line would have to be drawn. The right angle would doubtless be found by the simple geometric construction of intersecting arcs. We say doubtless, because it is the simplest and most direct method of doing it. Now if the work to be done was of sufficient extent and importance to warrant the preparation of a special floor, it would obviously be of great advantage to have these lines permanently marked, so they would not have to be drawn afresh for every design laid down. It would also follow, seeing it is not very convenient to rule lines of any length on the ground, that a series of lines crossing each other at right angles at equal distances would be very helpful. In Fig. 1 such lines are shown very close together. Probably they would not have been at smaller intervals than two or three feet. At two feet apart any desired point in the whole area could be determined within the appropriate square by means of a two-foot rule, or twenty-four-inch gauge, or with a pair of large compasses. In a number of old representations of Mason's tools we find just such compasses depicted. As for example, in the illustration here reproduced from THE BUILDER, August, 1925, where the two legs of the instrument, judging by the height of the figures, must be three feet or more in length. Compasses of this size would not be used on a drawing board but would be well adapted for the purpose suggested.

As this discussion has been rather lengthy it may be as well here to recapitulate. It must be understood that what we have said is almost entirely hypothetical, but we think nevertheless that it does give an outline of a practicable technique of design which is adapted to the conditions, so far as they can be reconstructed, and which fits in with such facts as have come down to us. It is generally known that the details of Gothic work were left very largely to the individual craftsman to work out for himself; while working drawings in the profusion and minuteness of detail that would be necessary today were out of the of the question, if for no other reason than the difficulty and expense of obtaining materials on which to make them. The only drawings that have come down to us are of the nature of sketches. Had larger plans, drawn to scale, been customary, we could confidently expect that some of them would have survived among the wealth of records in the muniment rooms of old churches and cathedrals. On the other hand, if made on the spot, as required, they naturally would not be preserved, for one could be effaced to make room for the next. The use of a floor for the purpose of making large full size designs is borne out by parallel cases, such as old time sail-makers lofts and ship yards, and in some cases modern structural steel work. That it would be divided into squares, and the whole area bounded by a rectangular outline, is more conjectural, but the convenience is so obvious that it seems hardly possible it was not employed, and it agrees with the consensus of the Catechisms that the pavement was square, and the other tradition that it was chequered, or divided into smaller squares. Finally we may mention cases where what appear to be full sized details of arches, mouldings, columns and so on, have been carefully incised on stone floors and pavements, as at Limoges and Clermont. It is possible that these permanent records cut in stone were used for making "mould squares" and other gauges and templets. Building operations in those days were rather leisurely as a rule and often interrupted. It would save much trouble and the making new measurements to have these models ready to hand when work was resumed. [2]


There is one more consideration which might help to explain the change from a square or mosaic chequered pavement to a trestle board that has already been mentioned but on which a word or two more may be said. This is the fact that many lodges through the eighteenth century were opened and closed and worked with the members seated about a table. A great variety of practice seems to have existed. Even in the second half of the century it would appear that in some places candidates were initiated, the lodge being so arranged. In other places initiation ceremonies were performed in another room, or another part of the same room, or the table removed. Where the more slovenly habit prevailed, as we may surely call that in which the members remained at the table, it is probable that the diagrams that properly were drawn on the floor were transferred to the table. That working tools, lights, etc., were is certain. And in some cases there was a cloth with emblems embroidered or painted on it covering the table. [3] The only question is, how early did this habit come into vogue? That can only be conjectured, but it seems probable that all these variations of practice must go back much earlier than 1717. There could hardly have been time for such divergencies to come into being had the re-organization of the Craft resulted in a standard form. Whether within or without the fold of the Grand Lodge the variations must have existed. It is not offered as an argument but it is merely suggested, that had the table habit grown up in the first decade of the century, or earlier, there would have been an obvious and concrete reason for the change in phrase from "pavement" to "trasel board," aside from such possible misunderstandings as were supposed in an earlier article of this series. [4]



  1. This is quoted by Gould, Concise History, p. 99.
  2. A.Q.C. VI, p. 104.
  3. Referred to in Study Club, August, 1926, p. 249. Some of the printed works assume that the members of the lodge were seated round a table during the ceremonies. That lodges were commonly opened and closed at table, and lectures given is well known.
  4. THE BUILDER, November, 1926, pages 344-5.

* * *


The books reviewed in these pages can be procured through the Book Department of the N.M.R.S. at the prices given, which always include postage These prices are subject (as a matter of precaution) to change without notice; though occasion for this will very seldom arise. Occasionally it may happen, where books are privately printed, that there is no supply available, but some indication of this will be given in the review. The Book Department is equipped to procure any books in print on any subject, and will make inquiries for second-hand works and books out of print.

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THIS BELIEVING WORLD. By Lewis Browne. Published by the Macmillan Co., New York. Cloth, table of contents, index, bibliography, 334 pages. Price, postpaid, $3.65.

THE religions of mankind are an index to the stage of cultural development he has attained. In the early stages religion consisted largely of magical ceremonies. The village or tribe feared its environment and these rates were practiced as a means of allaying the fear. It is not these primitive religions which have the widest appeal, however. The more modern faiths are however of interest to almost everyone. Is it because they are dissatisfied with their own beliefs? Not necessarily. It seems to be the natural curiosity of mankind — the desire to know something about these things so often mentioned. So often we hear of the religions of Confucius, Buddha, Mohammed, and very often these names mean no more than a designation for a religious sect and possibly we know something about the localities in which they make their widest appeal. Farther than this we know little. The desire is often felt, less frequently expressed, to know what it is that these beliefs have to offer, and to learn how they came into being.

The means of satisfying this curiosity is not immediately at hand. As a result often the desire for knowledge dies at its birth. It frequently goes through a resurrecting process and may at some later time furnish a motive sufficiently strong to encourage an effort to attain the wished for information. If the experience of the writer is a fair criterion the investigator finds himself confronted with a mass of material of so formidable a character that it would require much laborious reading and concentrated effort to acquire even the most meagre knowledge of the subject. The average individual cares not for a detailed and scholarly analysis of the philosophies of religions, neither does he seek a history minute in its treatment. The necessary information must be placed in a brief outline if a long-felt want is to be satisfied.

There are in this world comparatively few people who are sufficiently interested in primitive religions to read twelve volumes of Sir J. G. Frazer's Golden Bough. There are not many more who could muster enough courage to tackle the single volume just to satisfy an idle curiosity. One does not care to read the Sacred Books of the East to learn about Oriental religions. This is not surprising in view of the fact that few Christians read the Bible to learn about their own belief.

It becomes apparent that we need a concise and popular history of religion which will satisfy the wants of the ordinary reader. Detail can be omitted and the discussion of philosophies must be couched in language sufficiently clear to be intelligible without the expenditure of too much effort. Such a book has recently come to light and is to be found in Dr. Lewis Browne's This Believing World.

One asset possessed by this work is its appearance. The efforts of scholars when published only too frequently have a formidable and forbidding appearance. They look as deep and dry — as they often are. Few indeed are the great students who are gifted also with an interesting style. Dr. Browne aside from his scholarly attainments is an artist and has profusely illustrated his work with drawings that are a joy to behold. His style is readable and holds the interest. What more could one ask? There is, however, more. It is typographically a splendid piece of work, sufficiently so that to lovers of books it will be a delight for this alone.

The arrangement of the work follows the old custom, eight books, each with an introductory illustration in keeping with its subject. The first book treats of the beginnings, and the second with primitive religions in what might be termed a transition stage from magic to more purely religious beliefs. As to the balance of the work, each book is devoted to religions in certain sections of the world, India, China, Persia, Israel, Europe and Arabia each come in for their share of the discussion.

Some of the author's conclusions might be questioned. He has, however, followed generally accepted opinions throughout his work and for this reason his book merits the strongest recommendation to readers who are not interested in technical details concerning the study of comparative religions.


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THE TRAVELS OF MARCO POLO, THE VENETIAN; With an Introduction by John Masefield. Published by E. P. Dutton & Co., New York. Cloth, table of contents, illustrated, notes, appendix and index, 461 pages. Price, postpaid, $3.20.

THE LIFE OF BENVENUTO CELLINI, A FLORENTINE ARTIST. Translated into English by Anne MacDonell, with an Introduction by Henry Wilson. Cloth, table of contents, illustrated, notes, index, 368 pages. Price, postpaid, $3.20.

THESE works are certainly to be numbered among the world's most remarkable books, one written about three hundred and sixty years ago and the other nearly two hundred and seventy years before that. Both are autobiographies, and of both the authors were Italians. The earlier of the two lived when the Crusades were still a living memory, in the height of that wonderful, restless, swiftly advancing period known as the Middle Ages; the other at their end, in the glory of the Renaissance. One was a diplomat, courtier and administrator in far countries; the other, one of those extraordinary all-around artist-craftsmen in which that period was so comparatively rich and other ages so poor. Soldier, gunner, musician, sportsman, and one must add, according to our rules, assassin as well; inventor, mechanic, draughtsman, sculptor, jeweler, seal cutter, die maker, but before all, and all the time, a goldsmith. Not so great as Leonardo or Michaelangelo, the latter of whom he knew and immensely admired, yet he was only just below their class. The one an engineer more than a printer, the other a painter more than an architect; Cellini was, unlike them, chiefly a metal worker, preferring small work to large — the description of that Hiram who was sent to King Solomon would, as it stands in the Bible, have fitted him exactly. One more thing in which he was the child of his age, he made sundry essays in the art of poesy, and many a professional writer might envy the terse, vivid style of his "Life."

Autobiography is almost always interesting even when the subject of the tale is himself nobody and of no particular account. Few men have written of themselves with the complete frankness of Cellini, he was fettered neither by modesty nor shame, praised his own work as liberally as that of others, and told of his passing love affairs as he might have spoken of eating or drinking. Marco Polo is much more restrained. Unlike the other he had no desire to write, and it was only in the enforced idleness of a dungeon at Genoa that he was prevailed on by a fellow prisoner of war, who was something of an author, to dictate his life and adventures. He tells how his father and uncle first sailed in their own ship as merchant adventurers to Constantinople and proceeded thence into the Black Sea, and how by various accidents more than by fixed design they came to Bokhara, and there meeting some envoys of the great Kublai Khan were persuaded by them to go to China; the journey being not a matter of months but of years. The Khan was delighted to see them, and eventually sent them back home with letters to the Pope, and a request for a hundred missionaries to come and preach Christianity in his dominions. They carried out this embassy, in the course of more years; but arrived in Europe at a time when one Pope, Clement IV, was recently deceased and his successor not elected. Waiting two years, they gave up in despair and decided to return to China, this time taking Marco along with them. What an adventure trip for a boy of fifteen! And he was not to see his own land or his own people again for twenty-five years, during which years he traveled the length and breadth of Asia.

As it happened, extraordinarily enough, they had actually set out from Aiasso, a port east of Tarsus from which the caravans started, when they heard that Tedaldo, Papal Legate in Syria and Egypt, had been elected Pope and they hurried back (he was then at Acre, the last place held by the Crusaders) to see him before he left for Rome. He gave them letters to the Great Khan, but was only able, apparently, to find two men to go as missionaries, two Franciscan monks. These proved very fainthearted, and before the journey was well begun turned back frightened by the rumors of fighting. One wonders what differences might have been written in history had the hundred been sent, and carried out the work.

Some of the places passed through on this second journey were never seen again by Europeans until the latter part of last century; Marco Polo's account indeed suffered neglect and disbelief until quite recent times, simply because he told the truth, and the truth was not what people expected or wanted to hear.

They entered China via the great Gobi Desert, recently of newspaper fame through the discovery of fossil dinosaur eggs, and were warmly received by the Khan-emperor of China and overlord of most of Asia. The latter took a great fancy to the Italian boy, or young man rather, for he was about twenty-one when he reached China. Again one is moved to wonder at the journey.

Chinese official records mention his appointment to public office, as a sort of Commissioner, and member of the Imperial Council. The Emperor employed him on what were apparently "go, look, see," missions, to find out how things were going in distant places, and to make personal reports by which official ones could be checked. The independence and honesty of the three "outer barbarians" caused him to put great trust and confidence in them, and incidentally to make them all three very wealthy. Naturally their position was not altogether easy or safe, but they retained the Emperor's favor all through to the end. At the last they began to be homesick. Kublai would not listen to any suggestion of their going home, and they feared to press the matter, but they began to get very anxious. The Emperor was getting old and they doubtless had justification for believing his successor might not be very friendly. A diplomatic mission saved them. A state marriage between a Mongol princess and a king of Tabriz was arranged and the Polos as "skilled in navigation" were sent with the bride's escort — a two years' voyage from China to the Persian Gulf, to find on their arrival that her husband-elect was dead. Apparently his son married her. However, the Polos were able to make their way from Tabriz to Trebizond and Constantinople and thence to Venice, where they arrived weary and ragged and unknown, and were refused entrance to their own home. However, in their rags were sewn up the value of several kings' ransom in pearls and precious stones, and so they established their identity. It seems that wealth, especially in a form so appealing to the imagination, is as convincing as proof of identity as it is potent in other respects. These details we get from other sources, the book merely says they arrived safely "in the enjoyment of health and great riches" and that they "offered up their thanks to God."

One thing is very striking about Marco Polo's account of the countries and cities of Asia; and that is his constant references to the existence of Christian churches. Over and over again we read "there are Christians" in such a city, or sometimes "there are many Christians here", or the King or governor of such a place is a Christian. When some hundreds of years later these same countries began to be opened up to European commerce all trace of Christianity had passed as completely as footprints in the sands of the seashore. It is a curious and not very comforting fact. For the rest the picture we have presented to us does not match at all with the customary idea of the agelong immobility of the Orient. It seems that then it was as restless and changing as Europe itself.

While Marco Polo's account of his travels strikes the reader with the matter-of-fact solidity of Robinson Crusoe, Benvenuto Cellini's account of his adventures, more circumscribed in point of space, reads like a fantastic romance. The only thing that seems to keep us within touch of reality are the constant references to his work and the detailed descriptions of his designs. His escape from the Castle of Sant Angelo ranks high among the stories of such adventures, and like Baron Trenke in like case he broke his leg in falling from the outer wall, yet managed to get clear away to his friends.

We see incidentally the high esteem that these artist-craftsmen had for themselves. Some came from the lowest ranks, some were of good family, but talent raised them to a position in which birth was forgotten. Cellini was less of a flatterer with the great than others, and his freedom of speech was constantly offending his patrons. A strange character reveals itself, generous, honest, fiery-tempered, revengeful, religious, after his own fashion-his Bible reading in the dungeon of Sant Angelo might match that of Bunyan, and the wonderful visions he had also; and with all this, simply and matter-of-factly immoral according to our ideas. One feels that he would have been well worth knowing were one able to keep from a quarrel with him.

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YOU CAN'T WIN. By Jack Black. Published by The Macmillan Company, New York. Cloth, 394 pages. Price, postpaid,

DELINQUENTS AND CRIMINALS, THEIR MAKING AND UNMAKING. By William Healy and Augusta F. Bronner. Published by The Macmillan Company, New York. Cloth, table of contents, index, 311 pages. Price, postpaid, $3.70.

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THESE two books are very different in character, there being in truth but a slim connection between them. Nevertheless the story of Jack Black might well form an account of one of the cases in Delinquents and Criminals, so that it is not inappropriate to consider them together.

The latter book is a study of the effectiveness of modern juvenile court methods. Several hundred cases have been utilized to furnish evidence upon which to base conclusions. Cases were studied first in the Juvenile Court, methods of treatment collated, and then in a follow-up of the same cases results were determined. It was astonishing to learn of the outcomes, 40.6 per cent were failures, the successes were 32.8 per cent, 17.6 per cent were not found and the balance were either dead, indifferent successes or confined in institutions for mentally abnormal patients.

In the failures were found thirteen known homicides, thirty-nine professional criminals in the 256 males who did not succeed. In the female list there was one chronic thief, one swindler and forger, and twenty-two were definitely prostitutes. In other cases the offenses were not compiled.

It becomes apparent that something must be wrong with our method of treating juvenile delinquents. This conclusion is born out by the story of Jack Black. Had his case been differently handled, in spite of unfortunate conditions in childhood and youth, he might have been an honest man. This reformation came later in life, through the kindness of individuals who seemed to understand his case.

The effects of uniform treatment for all who are classed as criminals is clearly shown in Black's story and just as plainly in the study of Healy and Bronner. The actual prediction of careers by these students was born out in many cases. There is, of course, no method by which we can judge what might have happened had these cases been differently handled except that we can compare them with other studies where methods of treatment recommended were followed and success was met.

Both books lead one to conclude that the only way in which we will satisfactorily solve the criminal problem is by a careful study of individual cases and a specific treatment for each case. A careful diagnosis, including environment, mentality, personal weaknesses, etc., will give us something upon which to work. Corrective measures can be more accurately recommended and we will doubtless secure better than 38 per cent of successes under such methods.

Delinquents and Criminals, as has been indicated, is a book of statistics. It covers every phase of the problem carefully and offers suggestions for further research. It is a book which every good citizen interested in the welfare of the country should read and study.

You Can't Win is, on the other hand, an autobiography of a reformed criminal. It is interestingly and entertainingly written for the most part, though some sections seem unnecessarily dull. It points a sufficiently obvious moral, yet one that too many at the present day are prone to forget. A deeper question is also raised, and that is regarding the validity of the practical aims and ideals of the majority of people in our modern world.

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BIBLE MYSTERY AND BIBLE MEANING. By T. Troward. Published by Robert McBride & Co., New York. Cloth, table of contents, 323 pages. Price, postpaid, $2.15.

THERE are three attitudes, three points of view. regarding the Holy Scriptures. Though quite distinct it is possible for the first and second to be mingled. The one is that they are literally inspired, and that the writers were but faithful amanuenses writing at the dictation of God, and that they must be taken at their face value. Another, and it is as old, if not older than the first, that they are mystical and symbolical in character, and contain the deepest and most recondite mysteries veiled under allegories and parables. The third is in its full development quite modern, and that is the critical, which would use all the aids of historical, archaeological and philological science to explain and interpret them. The first two assume inspiration, the last does not necessarily exclude it. The author of the present work decidedly takes the second of these three points of view. With this he is also an apostle of a type of faith which may be classed with what is known as New Thought and Christian Science. Unlike many such writers his work compels respect if not agreement.

His line of interpretation has analogies with Masonry. He stresses the symbol of light and of Temple Building, and from an occasional expression here and there it might be inferred that he was himself a member of the Craft. By profession a lawyer, and for many years a judge in India, it is natural that his arguments should be clear and telling, and a certain dispassionate reserve tells of the habit of judicial impartiality. Nevertheless he is here an advocate of his own strongly held beliefs.

It is impossible in the space available to discuss the argument in detail, but we can briefly indicate their trend and the conclusions to which they lead. Like all of the school to which we referred him above he believes that the material is absolutely dependent upon the spiritual. That strife and competition, and the restless, acquisitive rush of modern life is unnecessary. That if we withdraw ourselves to a higher plane all these mundane needs will naturally and simply come as it were of themselves, as sunshine and rain and beauty come to the lilies of the field. There is undoubted warrant for this in the teaching of our Lord, and it is hard for a Christian to deny even if he doubt.

In the chapter on the Devil be emphasizes the non-existence of evil. Evil is to good as cold is to heat or light to darkness, not an entity but a relation. There are more good or less good, or so little good as to be practically no good, and in consequence there can be no spirit or principle of evil. This again is hard to deny on philosophic grounds, and many of the early Christian fathers could be quoted in its favor.

The object to be attained is freedom from subconscious fear and doubt. Belief in God as the continuous source of our own lives and individuality, the realization of which, while solving all problems automatically, removes anxieties and worries, hates, envies, jealousies, and finally working down to the material plane will produce or enable us to obtain all that we need to live happy, full and useful lives. As he puts it, it is hard to refuse a general assent, although in detail one may not agree. One notices, though not so much so as in most of such works, a lack of finality, an apparent ability to come to any definite conclusion. This is not in itself to be complained of, for the nature of things makes it impossible for the seer to clearly tell what his vision may have been. The legitimate objection is to a sort of implication that such a definite solution will be reached, so that as one gets towards the end, it seems as if it must come out on the next page or in the next chapter. Mystery can only be adequately dealt with mysteriously, by hints, by figures, by allegories — an attempt to deal with it plainly in words of two syllables leads simply to anti-climax and pathos. This is however a general criticism of the type — the present work deserves it comparatively very little. Those who are inclined to this kind of religious belief will find the book, we believe, very valuable, and they may feel, if it be any comfort to them, that those who are not will find it very difficult to deny what is said without endangering the foundations of their own orthodoxy.

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THE GREAT BAN: A Study in Masonic Interpretation. By Lyman Brightman Russell. Published by the author. Paper, 22 pages. A limited number available. Price, postpaid, 35c.

THIS is really a very suggestive piece of work, and its value is not to be measured by its length. It is not in any way conclusive as the author has lacked access to certain information relevant to his thesis; information, it must be confessed, exceedingly difficult to obtain.

The first four pages comprise a little essay on symbolism generally which is one of the best things of the kind that the reviewer has seen for a long time. The matter under the next heading, "The Symbolism of the Lodge," we feel more dubious about.

The main part of the pamphlet however deals with the derivation of the "Substitute Word," a subject naturally of very great interest to Masons. Since Mackey endeavored to interpret the form of the word now used from Hebrew roots, and incidentally sought to change the number of syllables to bring it back to what he supposed was its proper pronunciation in view of his theory of its origin, no one has published anything further on the subject. We are heartily in accord with Bro. Russell that it is not a Hebrew word, though not for the same reasons that he advances.

He argues that it is of Aryan origin, either Persian or Indian. We would agree that its roots are probably Indo-European, but should be inclined to look for them in some western language.

Of course he does not deal with any significant word in use among American Masons, but only with certain forms, two especially, cited in Pound's Masonic Jurisprudence, and which will be found elsewhere, as in Gould's essays. One of these has been supposed to have been an invention of the rather mythical "Jacobite" Masonry, while the other is given in one of the earliest known printed catechisms. This last is the word Maughbin, and is really the one that Bro. Russell seeks to interpret. He derives the first part from the root "mag," meaning great. It appears in the Latin magnus, and in some languages tends to end in a guttural sound.

The second syllable he equates with the Persian "Ban," meaning master or ruler. The same word is used in the Balkans today in the same sense, and a "Banate" in that part of the world is an administrative district. He would thus interpret the word as meaning the Great Master.

This is very attractive, and if the word be accepted as a real one, and in its original place it seems almost to be used as a name or a title, then some such meaning as this would seem very natural.

We wish, however, he had either translated it in full for the title page, or left it untranslated, for as it stands it suggests something entirely foreign to his subject. If the pamphlet should be reprinted we hope this will be done.

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In reading an article not long since, having reference to the introduction of Royal Arch Masonry into the Republic of Texas, I came upon the following statement:

"In 1835 one Samuel M. Williams, prominent in the early history of Texas, went from San Felipe de Austin to New York. By what right of jurisdiction, by whom recommended, or by what custom the bodies of New York acted, the record is silent, so far as we have seen, but by dispensation he received the three symbolic degrees the same night, in Independent Royal Arch Lodge, No. 2, New York, Nov. 21, 1835. Was exalted a Royal Arch Mason in Jerusalem Chapter, No. 8, New York City, receiving all the Chapter Degrees on the same date, viz., Nov. 25, 1835, and on or about Dec. 1, 1835, received the Orders of Knighthood in Morton Commandery, No. 4."

Could you give me any information as to the correctness of the above statement?

J.A.G., Texas.

We cannot find anything about the Bro. Samuel M. Williams about whom you make inquiries. However, I do not think that the account which you quote is necessarily to be suspected. It was quite customary in those days for the interval between the degrees to be waived. Apparently lodges and chapters often took this upon themselves without any reference to the Grand Officers. It was particularly done in just such cases as this of Bro. Williams, that is to say when a man was about to leave the locality or when he was a sojourner there. Also the rules of jurisdiction were much more elastic, or rather, had not been so closely formulated as they are today in the United States. In other parts of the world this sort of thing could even yet occur. As for example, in England the lodges have no territorial jurisdiction at all and a prospective candidate can join any lodge in any part of the country as he prefers.

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Please give me a brief history of the Red Cross of Constantine?

Where is the Premiere Council of the Order located?

E.E.G., Pennsylvania.

There was an article upon this subject in THE BUILDER for December, 1923, by M. W. Bro. George W. Warvelle, P.G.M. of Illinois and a Past Grand Sovereign of the Order. This gives a very complete account of the Order as it at present exists, and a sketch of its history, both real and traditional.

The Red Cross of Constantine is a Masonic degree the full title of which is the "Masonic and Military Orders of Rome and of the Red Cross of Constantine." The Order is conferred on Master Masons or of higher Craft rank, according to English practice. Mackey's Encyclopedia gives the following information: "A degree founded on the circumstance of the vision of a cross, which appeared in the heavens to the Emperor Constantine. It formed originally a part of the Rosaic Rite, and is now practiced in England, Ireland, Scotland and some of the English colonies, as a distinct Order, the meetings being called "conclaves" and the presiding officer of the Grand Imperial Council of the whole Order, "Grand Sovereign." Its existence in England as a Masonic Degree has been traced, according to Bro. R. W. Little (Freemasons' Magazine) to the year 1780, when it was given by Bro. Charles Shirreff. It was reorganized in 1804 by Walter Rodwell Wright, who supplied its present ritual. A fuller account of its rise and development is given in Mackey's "History," revised edition (Clegg's), on page 1414. Contrary to the English practice it is necessary in this country for a Mason to have attained the Royal Arch before he is eligible to the Order. All of the literature published by the Order is singularly reserved about the address of the Imperial Council. There is, however, a St. Bartholomew Conclave, Des Moines, Iowa, from whom the address might be obtained.

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I regret that in the reprint of my lecture in the Merseyside Transactions, quoted in Nov., p. 347, there was a typographical error not observed until too late. The contract — it should have read — was circa, 1430, not 1630. This was amended in the reprint recently published in the Masonic Record. I have now the actual date, "Monday before the Feast of the Natyvyte of Sainte John the Baptist." [xi. Hen: VI, 12, 1433.] There were two John Assers, temp. 1417-1446, who were well known in Chester and district. They were father and son.

I am afraid the amendment takes away some of your argument, for there were detailed working plans available generally by 1666, but it does not prove that two centuries earlier the Masons had little to guide them and worked by common knowledge, or collective knowledge, acquired in their lodges, and by initiation.

I am well acquainted with Westminster Abbey, but cannot place your Fig. 2. Can you tell me what part of Edward the Confessor's Shrine is referred to? I can tally off Fig. 1 mostly, on the spot. You will remember the pieces of mosaic or stone were triangular and square where used for filling. The work is mostly Florentine, circa 1268 to 1307.

J. Walter Hobbs.

The correction in the date of this contract, which puts it back into the fifteenth century instead of the seventeenth, does entirely invalidate the immediate conclusion that was drawn from it in the Study Club for last month, i.e., that even so late as the seventeenth century there were Masons capable of working without detailed plans at a time when, as Bro. Hobbs remarks, professional architects and their plans had taken the place of the old "Masters of the Work." But this does not affect the general course of the argument at all, for the comment was made only in passing and was merely incidental in character. In fact, the correct date makes the example even more apposite as support to the conclusion it was desired to emphasize.

The mosaic designs illustrated as Figures 1 and 2 were taken from Lethaby's work on Westminster Abbey. From the account given of the latter it would appear that the design does not now exist as a mosaic, but has been conjecturally restored from the indentation left in the plaster in which the tesserae were set.

We are very much obliged to Bro. Hobbs for his interest and timely correction.

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Recently I saw an article by Bro. C. H. Claudy, in which he says that the word "subordinate" is not correct when applied to a lodge. What do you say to this?

M.D., California.

We presume that the article you speak of is one of the more recent "Old Tiler Talks." Bro. Claudy has a great gift for giving good and wholesome instruction on matters Masonic in a most interesting form. In this particular case we are, however, inclined to disagree with him. "Subordinate" is very generally used, as he admits, and there is usually a sufficient reason for the widespread adoption of a word in any given connection. The earliest term for a lodge as distinguishing it from the Grand Lodge was "particular." This was used in the Regulations that Anderson tells us were formulated by Grand Master Payne in 1720. These rules seem to have marked a definite stage in the evolution of the Grand Lodge system. At the very first there seems little doubt that the Masons in and about London in the year 1717 intended only to revive the General Assembly spoken of in the old MS. Constitutions of which every Mason was a member, and which every Master and Fellow was obliged to attend on receiving due notice. In accordance with this idea the Grand Lodge was at first also called a General Lodge. It would seem that the term "particular" was in distinction to this conception of the Grand or General Lodge being composed of every member of the Craft within hail. Payne's Regulations, however, very early turned it into a representative institution obviously based on the constitution of the British House of Commons. Even so traces of the older conception are to be seen in the articles dealing with the Annual Feast, especially in Articles XXXVII and XXXIX, where it is expressly stated that even the Apprentices could speak and make motions and vote on any proposed changes in the Constitutions and Regulations. Once, however, the Grand Lodge had become a representative body it naturally came to be regarded as the source of Masonic authority, or perhaps more accurately as the proper channel through which such authority was employed. The Regulations had at the same time crystallized the individual lodges, making them rigid and permanent bodies where by previous tradition they were only particular groups of Masons meeting more or less at hazard. The lodge then tended to become a select coterie of Masons especially congenial to each other. There being no thought as yet of territorial jurisdiction every brother and every candidate could pick and choose his lodge. This system still prevails in England, and the term "private" very aptly expresses the nature of the underlying conception.

In America Freemasonry almost from the first had a strong legalistic bent. The bulk of Masonic Jurisprudence is to a very great extent of American origin and to a very great extent remains peculiar to America. Legalism, with its passion for clearcut definitions and regulated relationships has tended to give powers to the Grand Lodges that are unheard of in other parts of the world, where the individual lodges still retain to a very great extent their original autonomy. This process would seem in recent years, following the general trend in civil and political affairs towards centralization, to be much accelerated. Every time one of our Grand Lodges meets it would seem that the constituent lodges are fettered by some new rule, or shorn of some old right. It is surely not without significance, then, that the use of the word "subordinate" has become so general that it is given as the proper term in such a well-known work of reference as Mackey's Encyclopaedia. It is true that the Grand Lodge is formed by its constituents in the first place, and that the representatives of the individual lodges always compose it, nevertheless, once created it becomes supreme, and without any quibbling (whether it ought to be so or not is another question) any individual lodge is subordinate to it in every practical sense of the word. It is only necessary to imagine what would happen were a lodge to try to exercise some of the powers that a hundred years ago every lodge possessed.

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My attention has been drawn to a paragraph in the Fraternal Correspondence Report in the Proceedings of an American jurisdiction. It relates to a decision of the Grand Master of Manitoba to the effect that a Fellowcraft is a member of the lodge in which he has been initiated and passed. The writer of the report seems to find this strange. He, says: "As we view things here a Fellowcraft is neither a Mason nor a member of the lodge." This sounds more than strange to me, amazing would seem a better word for it. Is not the candidate told in the Change in the First Degree that we "congratulate you on being admitted a member of our Ancient and honorable Institution?" and is he not asked in the lecture, "Who are you that want instruction?" to which he is taught to answer, "A Free and Accepted Mason." Could you inform me if this opinion is general in the United States, and if so, how it came to arise?

E.G.S., Canada.

Unfortunately we have no definite information on this last point, but there is no doubt that the opinion is very widespread in this country that Entered Apprentices and Fellowcrafts are not members of the lodge, and even that they are not yet Masons at all, strictly speaking. This would appear to be a kind of pseudo-logical deduction from the former opinion. And this in spite of the language of the rituals, which in somewhat different words to those quoted above imply just as clearly that the Apprentice duly entered is a Mason, with duties and rights as such.

In this matter Freemasonry in the United States has developed on a line peculiar to itself, in quite sharp distinction to that of the rest of the world. The theory seems to have developed within the last hundred years, but we have not any definite information as to when it first appeared, or where. It would seem, however, from a number of indications, that Rob Morris had a great deal to do with its propagation and standardization, so to speak, though it is hardly likely that he originated it entirely. The evolution of the new doctrine may be briefly outlined thus: originally the lodge was regarded as a lodge of Masons, and in principle it so remains everywhere except in the United States. In order to form and open lodge it was necessary to have every rank and grade in the Craft represented; it was not a lodge of any special grade. When there was any matter to be considered or business to be transacted that pertained entirely to a higher grade, all those present who had not attained to it were directed to retire; but before the lodge could be duly closed they had to return again to take their part. As the ritual was developed and expanded this naturally led to the retiring of the lower grades being accompanied by set forms, which though ritualistic had a very obvious necessary end in view which it will not be necessary to specify further. Gradually these forms came to parallel the original opening ceremony more and more closely, and by mutual reaction led to the theory of superior lodges whose membership was restricted to the higher degrees, and these later came to take the aspect of distinct entities in themselves. The lodge was still a lodge of Masons of all grades, but in addition there were also lodges of Fellowcrafts and of Masters. From this it was natural that the lodge proper should come to be regarded as a lodge of Entered Apprentices, and that expressions to this effect should be inserted into the ritual. Though Masonic students familiar with the many variations in the traditional forms will be able to find that there are a number of traces still left which reveal the older conception.

Originally, in this country, as elsewhere throughout the world today, the business of the lodge was all transacted in the inclusive "lodge," or as we now say, a lodge of Entered Apprentices, The next stage in this country seems to have been a custom of transacting business on any degree as seemed convenient. If candidates were to be initiated, then on the first. If any brother was to be passed or raised, then it might be done on the appropriate degree, to save more than one form of opening and closing. The last and present stage was to restrict it entirely to the lodge of Master Masons, thus entirely reversing the original arrangement. Concurrently with the reaching of this stage of development, the idea grew up (quite naturally) that the Fellowcrafts and Apprentices were not members of the lodge because they had been crowded out of all their original rights and privileges in it. But as they had to be made in some kind of a lodge, the theory arose that these lodges were separate entities of a somewhat shadowy kind, which were formed and opened by the Master of the Master's lodge, under the authority of its charter. On this line of argument, the Fellowcraft had membership in an occasional body which never met except to pass Apprentices, and which had no other function than this.

This logical evolution from a basis of original misconception has even gone so far that it had been seriously proposed that the presentation of the apron should be transferred to the Third Degree on the ground that till he has been raised a man is not yet a Mason.

The subject is a very complex one and deserves fuller treatment, and a good deal remains to be determined as to the actual development of this American doctrine. It may be noted, however, that according to the Anderson's Constitutions, Apprentices not only had a right to be present at the meeting of the Grand Lodge, but it is explicitly stated that they have a right to speak and to vote. If in the Grand Lodge, then much more in their own would they have this right.

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In number 10 of THE BUILDER, of October, 1926, on page 292, in the article on the Rite of Strict Observance is a mistake on line 44. It is not the Convention of Wiesbaden but of Wiesenbad, a little village near Hanau (near Frankfurt am Main). I hope that you will be interested in this.

Karl Markert, Leipsig, Germany.