The Waller Masonic Lodge
      #808 AF & AM   E-Newsletter
             November 2009

It’s Happening At Waller Lodge
By Corky

We were happy to welcome Brothers Freddy Zack and Wayne Kluna as visitors from Hempstead Masonic Lodge #749 AF & AM at the October stated meeting.

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Junior Past Master Bob Podvin presented a very nice tee shirt with the Masonic symbol and the Brother’s name embroidered on it to each of the Brothers who were officers during his year

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Brother “Wes” Mersiovsky reported he has purchased some of the materials for the memorial garden and is finalizing the plans. Don’t forget, you can have a shrub planted in the Waller Lodge Memorial Garden in memory of any past Mason who may have near or dear to you for only $20.00

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The Lodge approved a request from the Waller chapter of the Order of the Eastern Star to be allowed to sell baked goods along with the Lodge’s food booth at Liendo this year as a fund raiser for the OES Chapter.

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A Masonic Bible, a certificate for donating $25 to the Grand Lodge home and a monitor was presented to our two newest Master Masons at the October stated meeting.

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Please say a prayer for,

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It was announced that Brother Doyle Sitton was doing well after his knee replacement.

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Brother Roy Shields is doing pretty good and on oxygen now.

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W. M. Dave Reagan ask the Brothers to say a prayer for Judy Shepherd, an old friend.

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Brother Ed Locklear had emergency gall bladder surgery and is doing well

Dan Brown Adores The Masons
Catholic League For Religious And Civil Rights
From The Rural Lodge Newsletter

Catholic League president Bill Donohue comments on Dan Brown’s The Lost Symbol and his apparent fondness of Freemasons:

Dan Brown may loathe Catholics, but he just adores the Masons. “Brown goes out of his way in ‘The LostSymbol’ to present the lodge as essentially benign and misunderstood,” says an AP story today.

The CatholicChurch, of course, is seen by Brown as essentially wicked and misunderstood only by its followers.

“Masons are praised for their religious tolerance,” the article says. Somehow Catholics failed to notice so abhorrent were Masons in their thrashing of Catholicism that the 1917 Code of Canon Law provided for automatic excommunication to any Catholic who joined a lodge. The current stricture in the Church, following the 1983 revisions to the Code, doesn’t mention Masons by name, but does retain excommunication for those who join anti-Catholic organizations.

Editor: (Rural Lodge newsletter) Freemasonry is patently not an anti-Catholic organization, it is (as stated above) to be praised for its re- ligious tolerance.

In his new book, Brown defends the Masons against “unfair” portrayals. So kind of him. In real life Brown says he has “enormous respect for the Masons.” Must be their historic anti-Catholicism that won him over.

Showing nothing but sweetness and light, the man who has made millions dumping on the Catholic Church says of his new work, “It’s a reverent look at their philosophy. I’m more interested in what they believe than all their rituals and conspiracy theories about them.” Now if only Brown had cut Catholics the same break. Brown says his own religious beliefs are a “work in progress.” Indeed, he is a work in progress. “I spend part of every day thinking about religion, spirituality and God—maybe more than people who go to church.

By Sunday, I’m pretty tired.” Good choice. The Lord said that was the day to rest. Maybe Brown will convert yet. Ron Howard must be salivating at the thought of directing the film version. At least he won’t have the Catholic League to kick him around.

Editor: (Waller News) We have three Masonic Brothers in this area who are openly Catholic and very active workers in their Catholic church and in their Masonic Lodge. One is even a member of the Knights of Columbus. This would seem to be living proof that Freemasonry does not have any prejudice against the Catholic Church even though the Catholic Church fights Freemasonry openly and in every way possible.

Freemasonry's Secrets Unraveled In Collection
MA, Lexington Minuteman

Though the National Heritage Museum and its archives boast a rich collection of archives, books and objects related to Freemasonry and other fraternal groups, it also has an extensive collection of anti-Masonic material.

This side of Freemasonry will be explored in “Freemasonry Unmasked!: Anti-Masonic Collections in the Van Gorden-Williams Library and Archives,” opening 3 October2009 through 16 May 2010.

Suspicion of Freemasonry is nearly as old as the fraternity itself. Since the early 1700s, groups have accused Freemasons of everything from plotting world revolution in their lodge rooms to worshiping Satan in their initiation ceremonies. Equating Masonic secrecy with darkness, sin, immorality, intemperance, treason, and the devil, anti-Masons have maligned the fraternity with both misconceptions and deliberate misstatements.

For hundreds of years, Freemasons have promoted fellowship, charity and education among its members. Despite this positive mission, they have also needed to battle these mistaken beliefs about the organization.

By looking at anti-Masonry in a historical context, objections to Freemasonry have often accompanied changes in society, such as religious revivals in America to totalitarian regimes in Europe.

In addition to helping understand the history of Freemasonry in America, the anti-Masonic movements and ideas shed light on the social, political and religious history of the United States. Over time, anti-Masonic propaganda has taken many forms. Exposés of Masonic ritual have been printed since the early 1700s. In the 1820s and 1830s, following the kidnapping and presumed murder of a former Mason who threatened to publish an exposure of Masonic ritual, Americans began producing anti-Masonic newspapers, almanacs, broadsides and other pieces. During this same period, a political party that promoted anti-Masonic candidates formed.

Editor:(Rural Lodge Newsletter) The museum in Lexington MA is a gift to the country by the Scottish Rite Masons (NMJ). It is open and free to all.

Masonic Anniversaries
Brother Years
Jimmy E. Hooper Sr.43
Richard E. Patterson 42
Paul B. Cox 15
Bart C. Harvey 05
Happy Birthday To
Clem Reynolds77
Walter M. Schiel, Jr.67
Gary V. Mosmeyer65
Wes Mersiovsky58
Ted W. Wren III42
James Dee Magee40

D.C. Decoder: A Government Vault Worthy of Dan Brown’s Attention

By Peter Grier

Remember paper? The hard copies of laws dating back to 1789 are held in a special archive called Records Group 11.

The National Archives Building
Somewhere in the Washington area, held in special locked rooms and treated with greatest care, is a treasure of ancient wisdom.

No, this has nothing to do with Masons. Why do you ask? Oh, I see - take that lead, add Freemasonry, and you get the plot of Dan Brown’s new novel, “The Lost Symbol.” (Decoder would never piggyback on the work of an author of thrillers, however popular that work might be.)

The fact is, there is a real national trove of great stuff - though not all of it is old, and the wisdom of some of it is debatable. It’s called Records Group 11, and it contains many original documents that define the United States.

The Constitution and its amendments. Treaties with other countries. And US laws - the actual parchment pieces of legislation signed by presidents, dating back to 1789.

It’s “the cream of the cream,” says National Archives archivist Rod Ross.

Records Group 11 is stored under controlled conditions in archives sites in Washington and College Park, Md., except for some superfabulous papers, such as the Constitution, which are on display in armored cases programmed to spray disabling gas when threatened by tattooed albino evil masterminds.

Sorry. That last bit isn’t true. I’ve been up too late reading Dan Brown.

Group 11, General Records of the US Government, is the answer to the question of where bills go after they become law. The process is not immediate, though - right now the newest stuff in there dates to 1994.

The actual stimulus bill, signed in February by President Obama? It will eventually end up in a Group 11 vault. If Congress manages to pass a healthcare reform bill, it, too, will be whisked away to archives custody.

There are other National Archive Records Groups. Group 25 is the records of the National Labor Relations Board. Group 58 contains documents pertaining to the IRS.

No, there is no Group 101, Records of Crashed UFOs. That would be fiction … and perhaps the subject of Mr. Brown’s next book.

A Warm Masonic Tale
Author Unknown

A tale of Masonic men surrounding a campfire in the Old West, at night, discussing the Fraternity and its teachings.

One old man listened patiently, and finally spoke up:

"I can tell you more bout Masonry in a little example than some of the great Masonic philosophers can in books. Everybody stand up, and gather in a circle around the campfire ."

They did that.

"Now, everybody hold hands with the man next to him."

They did that, too.

"Now, what do you See looking ahead ?"

"The face of a brother through the flames."

"What do you feel in front of you?"

"The warmth of the fire, and the comfort it brings on a cool night."

"What do you feel at your side?"

"The warm hand of a brother."

"OK. Now drop the hands, and turn around."

They do so.

"Now what do you See, looking ahead?"

"Complete darkness."

"What do you Feel, looking ahead?"

"A sense of loneliness, of being alienated".

"What do you feel at your side?"

"Nothing at all."

"What do you feel on your backside?"

"The warmth of the fire."

"So it Is with Masonry," said the old man."In Masonic gatherings, you can feel the warmth of Masonic interaction, you can see the face of a Brother through the light Masonry brings to you, and you can always feel the warm hand of your Masonic Brother.

When you turn away from Masonry, and are out in the world , you see darkness, feel alienated and alone, and do not feel the warm hand of your Masonic Brother.

But Masonry, and the warmth and light it brings, are just a turn away from you."

The Small Town Texas Masons E-Magazine

Don’t miss reading the monthly Small Town Texas Masons E-Magazine at,

This Month features Plano Lodge #768 A. F. & A. M and Why We Remember the Alamo

Victorian Experts Place Church On The Critical List

ST Edmund's Church in Falinge has been named as one of the country's top 10 endangered building by a leading architectural society.

The church made it onto the list after the Victorian Society issued a nationwide appeal to find the nations best and most threatened buildings.

The historic church was closed permanently in November 2007 due to dwindling congregation numbers. Since then it has fallen into disrepair, with no church funds available to fix it.

As a Grade Two listed building, the church cannot be demolished. Now Rochdale Council has stepped in to try to help, saying it has secured its immediate future and is looking at potential uses.

The church was built and given to the people of Rochdale by Albert Hudson Royds, former deputy provincial Grand master of the East Lancashire Lodges of Freemasons, at a rumoured cost of around £28,000.

It was widely considered to be a monument to Freemasonry and was admired for its features, especially its weathervane and lectern.

Dr Ian Dungavell, director of the Victorian Society, said: "We have been amazed at the response from the public. People clearly feel very strongly about beautiful, robust buildings being left to decay.

Even in the current economic climate money must be found to weather-proof these buildings and protect them from vandals. Future generations won't forgive us for leaving our heritage to deteriorate beyond repair."

The list also includes Oldham's decaying town hall and St Ignatius of Antioch church in Salford, which were both identified as Greater Manchester landmarks at risk of crumbling.

Featuring in the top 10 can have positive effects however, the chapels at Cathays Cemetery in Cardiff which were on last year's list have now been completely re-roofed.

The Swedish Church in Liverpool has had its listing upgraded to II* and Stonebridge School in Brent has recently been listed at Grade II, following an application by the Victorian Society

This Month's Humor

Jacob, age 92, and Rebecca, age 89, living in , are all excited about their decision to get married. They Go for a stroll to discuss the wedding, and on the way they Pass a Drugstore. Jacob suggests they go in.

Jacob addresses the man behind the counter: "Are you the owner?" The pharmacist answers, "Yes."

Jacob: "We're about to get married. Do you sell heart Medication?" Pharmacist: "Of course we do."

Jacob: "How about medicine for circulation?" Pharmacist: "All kinds "

Jacob: " Medicine for rheumatism?" Pharmacist: "Definitely."

Jacob: "How about suppositories?" Pharmacist: "You bet!"

Jacob: "Medicine for memory problems, arthritis and Alzheimer's?" Pharmacist: "Yes, a large variety. The works."

Jacob: "What about vitamins, sleeping pills, Geritol, antidotes for Parkinson's disease?" Pharmacist: "Absolutely."

Jacob: "Everything for heartburn and indigestion?" Pharmacist: "We sure do."

Jacob: "You sell wheelchairs and walkers and canes?"Pharmacist: "All speeds and Sizes."

Jacob: "Adult diapers?" Pharmacist: "Sure."

Jacob: "We'd like to use this store as our Bridal Registry."

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The Aude – Vide – Tace Column
By Bro.Michael A. Halleran 32° – Aude – Vide – Tace
From The Freemason Information Web Site

Euna Stubbs’ Meatloaf

Someone check the Old charges and see if they require us to use paper plates. I’m just back from looking at them and I don’t find any reference, so I thought perhaps I would draft my own.

III. Of LODGES (Amended 2009).

A LODGE is a place where Masons assemble and work: Hence that Assembly, or duly organiz’d Society of Masons, is call’d a LODGE, and every Brother ought to belong to one. The LODGE shall be caparisoned in SHAG CARPET and there shall be many avocado-coloured appliances – which provided they still operate shall not suffer themselves to be upgraded. INTERNET IS RIGHT OUT, as is such decoration or appurtenances that may not be made by hand or purchased for less than two SHILLINGS. In ancient Times, the LODGE was gloriously decorated in crimson, purple, bronze and gold, but these artifices being deemed too difficult to execute by modern Masons are to be hereunto cast aside in favour of vinyl tablecloths, paper plates and paper napkins which are easier. The persons admitted Members of a LODGE must be good and true Men, free-born, and of mature and discreet Age, who may abide forever the serving of meatloaf, green bean casserole and roast beefe the texture of boot leather.

There. Much better. Now, they’ll be no more harping among the young upstarts about how we need to “spruce things up a bit” or “take pride in ourselves.” We’re Masons, dang their eyes, and if we stand for anything, we stand for immovable change with an unshakable, mulish, bull-headed conviction that any and all change is not only untoward, but simply wrong.

Recently this issue came to a head when the Grand Lodge decided to hold its Warden’s School here. No problem, we’ve held the statewide Warden’s School off and on at my lodge since the 1950s – which is actually rather convenient because we still had some of the original leftovers and the menus were already printed. We’d just scratch out the names of the old Grand Masters and pencil in the names of the new ones – neatly mind you – and it took about 30 seconds worth of work, which if you ask me is time well spent for Masonry.

But then, a young Turk decided that we should change the menu and actually serve a meal that the guests would like to eat: smoked prime rib, new potatoes, that kind of stuff. Catered. Yes, you heard me, CATERED. Now over and above the fact that this was a slap in the face to Euna Stubbs who had been cooking meals for us since Pontius Pilate, the cost was simply astronomical: $14.00 per plate. Euna and the Star Chapter only charge us $5.50 a plate and that’s always been good enough for us in the past. The young Turks told us that since Grand Lodge was going to foot the entire bill, we might as well take them up on their offer, and serve a really nice meal (another slap in the face to Euna). Well, I voted for it in lodge of course, but don’t you worry, I spent the next month bitching about it to everyone who would listen about how extravagant it was, all this folderol and for what? Dinner with the Grand Master? In my view, if you start feeding them like that, you might as well set out food for all the stray cats in the neighborhood, too, as you’ll never be shed of any of them.

Now on the night of the dinner things really came to a head. This young Turk and his wife bought linen tablecloths – I hope it was with their own money – and (get this): FRESH FLOWERS to put on all the tables. Now over and above the fact that this was a slap in the face to Beulah Longbottom who made the centerpieces we always use for banquets during the Truman administration (now THERE was a Mason – no smoked prime rib for that man), God rest her soul, she’s dead now, of course – hard to believe it’s been over thirty years ago – but I digress… she made these centerpieces, all eight of them, by hand, from plastic forget-me-nots and yellow…I dunno… spikey-looking flower thingies, and Vernon Mantooth, who was master in ‘71, stapled some aluminum square and compasses onto them (he ran the plumbing supply store back then and he had one of the kids who worked for him cut them out of scrap flashing), and they’ve always been good enough in the past, but oh no! Not now. We have to have fresh flowers. And you know what? Those fresh flowers won’t even keep a week. Beulah’s flowers have been going strong for almost sixty-five years. Progress. Yeah, right.

I was all set to start unrolling the vinyl table-cloth covering thing from the roll we keep in the boiler room. It’s like a roll of trashbags, but instead of being black, it’s white. What? It looks good. Anyway, we cut it to length on each table and then tape it down at each of the four corners so that the table is covered nice and neatly. I was just getting started when all of a sudden the Jr. Warden says they want to use cloth tablecloths. I guess that saves on tape, which can be kind of expensive…you know, I’ve lobbied for years to just glue the vinyl down on each table and then after dinner is over, we can just take the tables out to the parking lot and spray them off, but it’s never gone anywhere. Anyway, so, you save on scotch tape with these newfangled cloth tablecloths, but then you have to wash them! I told the Jr. Warden this and he said he didn’t mind, he would wash them at home – which if you ask me is absolutely insane, but whatever: it doesn’t cost the lodge anything and if this guy is crazy enough to waste two hours of his time with the washer and dryer, I guess it’s ok with me.

So we have dinner, which was fine, although for $14.00 a plate, you’d think they’d give you Baked Alaska and Lobster Thermidor served by real French waiters flown over from France. I haven’t been to a restaurant in a while – I don’t get out all that much — but last time I ate at the Diner, I could have bought half the restaurant for fourteen dollars. Anyway, afterwards, the Grand Master and his group were very complimentary of the effort the lodge put forth, and they were specifically pleased with the meal – like they are too good for Euna’s meatloaf (another slap in the face, if you ask me), or something. But all the ladies could talk about were the fresh flowers. I tried telling one of them that it was a shame they wouldn’t last the week, but she said she didn’t mind and that she thought they were beautiful. Go figure. Now, normally we’d have been done right after this. We’d rip off the vinyl table covers, brush the crumbs off, stack the tables and chairs and then we could go upstairs and drink coffee for another two hours by ourselves, but not this time. You know why? Because some genius decided we should use real plates and silverware instead of paper plates and plastic forks. Luckily we had had about ten brothers there helping, but it still took us almost FORTY minutes to wash, dry and put all the stuff away. The younger guys were all having fun with it, but I thought it was ridiculous. And you want to know what the worst part of it was? Grand Lodge was so “impressed” that they want us to do the same thing next year. No good deed goes unpunished — isn’t that the truth.

But I still think gluing the vinyl table covering to the table would look a lot classier than taping it. And it would be much easier.

And that’s why we’re here, right?

The Computers For Masons Series
By RW Bro Barry Minster, PJGW
From, Freemasons Victoria Web Site

Computer Dangers For Masons (And Others)
Online Security and Identity Theft

The Internet is becoming a vital part of our every day living – offering never before access to information and the ability to do things in a quicker and better way – but is quicker always better? Every Internet user should at least have a basic understanding of the terms used and so I have collected a few of the more popular ones and put them in this article with a brief explanation of each.

Adware means, "Advertising Supported Software". It refers to placing adverts. In software or distributing them alongside a software download. Distributing a program that has adverts. for third parties such as a finance company, is Adware. Whilst generally harmless they are none the less annoying.

Bots [Robots] are software applications that run automated tasks over the Internet. Bots perform tasks that are both simple and structurally repetitive, at a much higher rate than would be possible for a human editor alone. Bots are used in a malicious way to coordinate attacks on networked computers for financial gain. (Thousands of infected PC's around the world can all be used at the same time for an unlawful act.)

Cross-site scripting. This is a method of placing malicious scripts on websites that are then "executed" inside the web browser of the person viewing the website. These scripting vulnerabilities can be used by attackers to bypass the access controls, however, as soon a new vulnerability becomes known, both the Internet Explorer and FireFox browsers are "patched" quickly. This is why it is essential to use the latest browser.

A Drive-by download is a program that is involuntarily downloaded to your computer, without your permission or even your awareness. A drive-by download can be commenced by simply visiting a Web site or viewing an HTML e-mail message.

Firewall. In its simplest form it is a software security mechanism that prevents unwanted/unauthorised Internet traffic from entering your computer. A firewall can also block software on your computer from sending out data as well. Having a software firewall on your computer is ESSENTIAL if you are connected to the Internet.

Malware is software that is designed to damage a computer system without the owner's informed permission. The expression is a general term used by computer professionals to mean a variety of forms of hostile, intrusive, or annoying software or program code.

Phishing is the act of deception by giving someone secret information or tricking them into doing something that they normally wouldn't or shouldn't do. For example: distributing e-mails to a number of users falsely claiming to be your bank in an endeavour to cheat the users into yielding private information like passwords. The latest versions of Internet Explorer 7 and FireFox 2 have built in phishing filters to help spot this kind of activity.

Root Kit is a set of tools that hackers embed in a victim's computer. They can act as a "back door" entrance onto your computer and provide information for the person who put them there. These tools have been especially designed to allow malicious processes or applications to run on your computer but evade detection.

Spyware is any technology that assists in collection of information about a computer user without their knowledge. Spyware can get in a computer as a virus or as the result of installing a new program. If you have some annoying advertising that appears on your computer all the time, you are likely infected with a spyware application.

A Trojan is a software application that installs malicious software while under the guise of doing something else. These are nasty things to get infected by and are used to steal data from you as you use your computer!.

A Virus is a computer program that can copy itself and infect a computer without permission or knowledge of the user. A virus can only spread from one computer to another when its host is taken to the uninfected computer, for instance by a user sending it over a network or carrying it on a removable medium such as a CD, USB drive or by the Internet and email. Not all viruses are harmful but they all cause problems on the infected PC..

A Worm is similar to a virus but with a different implementation. It is a self-replicating computer program. It uses a network to send copies of itself to other PC's and it may do so without any user intervention. Unlike a virus it does not need to attach itself to an existing program. Worms can bring a PC down to the point where it is impossible to use it because it too slow. Worms can also harm a company network by consuming most of the available network bandwidth, so that the connected PC's cannot speak with each other..

You can generally keep your computer safe if you use an up to date AntiVirus package, AntiSpyware package, make sure your Windows Firewall is on and have Windows Updates set to automatically receive any updates from Microsoft as they become available. It is also advisable to have another firewall that stops traffic out as well as in.

Abe Lincoln's Axe
By Jim Tresner
From The Oklahoma Mason April-May, 1995

The story is told of a historian, recording folk history in Illinois in the 1970's. Several people in the countryside had told him of a farm family which possessed the axe Abraham Lincoln had used when splitting logs for a living as a young man.

The historian finally found the farm, and found the farmer in the yard splitting wood for the living room fireplace. He asked him about the story.

"Yes," said the farmer, "it's true. Abe Lincoln lived around here as a young man, and he worked for a while splitting wood for my great-great-grandfather. Happened he'd bought a new axe from a peddler the day before Abe Lincoln came to work here, and he gave it to Lincoln to use. We've kept it ever since."

"That's a real historical treasure," said the historian. "It really ought to be in a museum. Would you mind going into the house and bringing it out so I could see it?"

"Oh we know it's important," said the farmer. "I take it to the school from time to time and tell the kids about it and Lincoln. Seems to sorta make him real for them. But I don't have to go into the house, I've got it here."

He handed the horrified historian the axe he had been using.

"You mean you're still USING it?!"

"Sure thing. An axe is meant to be used."

The historian looked it over carefully. "I must say your family has certainly taken good care of it."

"Sure, we know we're protecting history. Why we've replaced the handle twice and the head once."

In many ways, Masonry is like Abe Lincoln's axe. All of us tend to assume that Masonry has always been the way it was when we joined. And we become fiercely protective of it in that form. But, in fact, we've done more than replace the handle twice and the head once.

For example, the Eulogy to Mother was added to the stairway lecture in Oklahoma sometime between 1924and 1930. Almost no other state uses it.

When Oklahoma Territory and Indian Territory merged to form the Grand Lodge of Oklahoma, major changes in the ritual (both esoteric and exoteric) were made for at least 6 years as the two rituals were combined.

When Brothers George Washington, Benjamin Franklin, and Paul Revere (and the other Masons of their era and for decades to come) joined the Fraternity, they did not demonstrate proficiency by memorizing categorical lectures. Instead, the same evening they received a degree they sat around a table with the other Brethren of the Lodge. The Brethren asked each other questions and answered them for the instruction of the new Brother. They asked him questions, and helped him with the answers. The discussion continued until they were confident that he understood the lessons of the Degree. They then taught him the signs and tokens, and he was proficient. In many cases, he took the next Degree the next night. The system of demonstrating proficiency by memorizing categorical lectures is less than about twice as old as the average Mason in Oklahoma--not too long a span in the 1,000 year history of the Fraternity.

The custom of allowing 28 days to pass between Degrees came about for no other reason than the fact that most lodges only met every 28 days, on the nights of the full moon. There was no mystery behind that. Very few horses come equipped with head- lights, and only on nights of a full moon could people see well enough to leave their homes in the country and come into town for a meeting safely.

The names of the 3 ruffians have changed at least 3 times since the Master Mason Degree was created around 1727.

More importantly, the nature and purpose of the Fraternity has changed radically over time. It certainly is no longer a protective trade association, nor a political force amounting almost to a political party, but it has been those over its long history.

So yes, Masonry changes. It changes fairly frequently and sometimes dramatically. Far from being a bastion of conservative resistance to change, through most of its history it has been a major change agent--fostering revolutions in political life (the American revolution, for example) and social life. It created the tax-supported public school system. It created homes for the elderly and orphanages, and then worked for the sort of social legislation to make those wide-spread. It sought economic development for states and communities. Until the late 1940's and 50's, it was one of the most potent forces for change in America.

And Masonry is like Abe Lincoln's axe in another way. For, although the handle and head had been replaced, that axe was still the one used by Abe Lincoln in truth if not in fact. The farmer used it to teach. He told children about it and about Abe Lincoln. He helped make the past real to them, so that they could learn the great values of honesty and hard work which Lincoln typified.

It's the same with Masonry. In spite of the many changes which have already happened and the changes which are bound to happen in the future--for Masonry, like any living thing, must change and grow or die--it is still the same. It's essence—the lessons it teaches, the difference it makes in the lives of men, that great moment of transformation which is the goal of Masonry, when a man becomes something new and better than he was when be came in the door as a candidate--that essence cannot and will not be lost, as long as Brothers meet in the true Masonic spirit, to work and learn and study and improve themselves and the world.

That's Masonry. And like Abe Lincoln's axe, it was meant to be used, not to rust away in a museum case. That use keeps it bright and sharp and Masonic, no matter how often the handle and head need to be replaced.

A Little Military Humor From Iraq

Military Budget Cuts Backs Hurt Air Force

Brother Basilio Salazar

By Bro T. Lewis

Everyone agrees line officers are important to the lodge. But not everyone may be suited to “go through the chairs”. Certainly not everyone is comfortable being a line officer in a lodge. Some are unable to commit the necessary time. There are those who rightly or wrongly don't feel capable of learning and presenting properly the enormous amount of memory work involved. I readily agree it is daunting. Especially with the sure and certain knowledge that when you make a mistake, as all will, there is a room full of brothers that know you did. Many are uncomfortable with the responsibility of ultimately heading the lodge. These are all valid concerns worthy of consideration. But after that consideration, if a brother elects not to pursue a place in the line, is there no contribution he can make? Certainly not. Let me tell you about Brother Basilio Salazar.

To characterize Basilio Salazar as a truly unique individual is nothing less than just. First, he was a native Mexican – he looked Mexican, and he sounded Mexican. In Jackson, Tennessee in the seventies that alone would serve to set him apart. Next he was relatively short, I would estimate not more than 5' 5''. This feature was emphasized by the fact that he was, in the popular description “about as big around as he was tall”. If he weighed less than 250 pounds, there are no hound dogs in Georgia. He had spent several years as a successful professional wrestler under the ring name Chico “Hot Tamale” Cortez until an injury from an automobile accident ended his career. When I first met Brother Salazar and was told his history, I remembered having seen him wrestle many times. However Brother Salazar wasn't the coarse brutish man you might have expected by his former profession. He was refined and cultured as his real name sounded. Although he was a member of St. Johns Lodge #332 rather than ours, we all knew him, most called him Chico and everyone loved him. These things alone would have made him memorable, but Chico had a role in every degree put on in my home town. Chico delivered the charge.

I don't know why, but Brother Salazar did not seek to be in the chairs. Perhaps having to learn so much ritual in English rather than his native language made him uncomfortable. In any event, he contributed what he could. No degree in either lodge seemed complete unless Chico delivered the charge. And boy did he deliver it. It's difficult to describe. Basilio spoke with a moderate Latin accent rolling his r's and he pronounced masonry as “masondry”, but what struck you was how what he said so obviously came from his heart. It was not rote memory work for Chico, he understood and believed every word that came out of his mouth and you knew it listening to him. He was eloquent. And somehow the fact that he did speak with an accent brought home to us all the more the universality of our fraternity. When Chico finished the charge, took your hand and called you brother, you felt like one. And on the rare occasions when he missed a degree, even though the same words were spoken by someone else, Chico's absence was felt.

We all have unique talents that can contribute to the lodge if we choose to use them. It may be nothing more complex than helping clear the collation tables, or conducting the poor blind candidate with a firm arm to lean on so that he knows he's safe. Brother Basilio Salazar understood you don't have to be an officer to be important to the lodge. You just have to be willing to do what you can the best that you can.

Here are some of the "funnies" our grandparents enjoyed.

The Old Tiler Talks

On Being Asked to Join
From the Old Tiler's Talk - by Carl H. Claudy, The Temple Publishers

"I think it's an outrage," announced the New Brother with great emphasis, talking to the Old Tiler.

"Sure it is!" answered the Old Tiler.

"Why don't you have it stopped, then?"

"I dunno, what is it?"

"You just agreed with me it was an outrage. And now you don't know what it is!"

"No, I do not. But I am wise enough to agree with out-of-temper brethren. Then they don't get out of temper with me. So suppose you tell me what is an outrage?"

"All these brethren who try to get me to join things! Ever since I was raised they have been after me. Jones wants me to join his Chapter and Smith says as soon as I do I must come in his Council, and Robinson wants me in his Commandery and Jackson says I mustn't think of going York but must go Scottish Rite, and Brown tells of what he is going to have done to me when I join the Shrine, and Peters wants me to become a Veiled Prophet and Lem says I mustn't forget the Tall Cedars, and old Jerry tells me he'll never let up on me until I join the Eastern Star... it makes me ill."

"You sure do get sick easily," answered the Old Tiler.

"But I'll attend to it. Tomorrow I will see to it that at least ten brethren tell you you are not good enough for the Chapter, not wise enough to join the council, not brainy enough for the Rite, not sincere enough for the Commandery, not a good enough sport to stand the Grotto, Tall Cedars or Shrine initiation and not decent enough to join the woman's organization. That'll fix it all right and you can be well again."

"Hey, wait a minute! What do you mean, I am not decent enough for the women or good enough sport to stand the Shrine? I'm perfectly decent and as good a sport as-"

"Gently, gently! I did not say you were not- I said I'd arrange with a lot of brethren to tell you you were not."

"But why?"

"You get peeved when they tell you the other thing- I thought that was what you wanted."

"Our wires are crossed somewhere!"

"No, it is you who are cross and therefore not able to see straight," snapped the Old Tiler. You say it's an outrage that many brethren invite you to join with them. What is there outrageous about it? The brother who wants you in his Chapter sees in you good material out of which to make a Companion. The Knight who wants you in his Commandery thinks you will grace its uniform, live up to its high standards, conform to its usages. The brother who would like to have you in the Scottish Rite thinks you have brains enough to appreciate its philosophic degrees and believes that Albert Pike had such as you in mind when he wrote 'Morals and Dogma.' The Noble or the Veiled Prophet who asks you to come with him thinks you are a good sport, able to be the butt of a joke for a while that others may laugh, and that you may, in turn, enjoy the antics of others. They all take you for a regular fellow.

When you are asked to join the Eastern Star a great compliment is paid you- you are selected as a man fit to associate with fine women; you are accepted as a gentleman as well as a Mason, a man women will be proud to know. That is your outrage!"

"I never looked at it in that way. Masons do not ask others to join with Masons in Masonry and I suppose I thought- I felt-"

"You didn't think; you just thought you thought." The Old Tiler was smiling now. "Think again. There is every reason why Masonry should not ask the profane to be of it. Masonry is bigger than any man. It never seeks; it must be sought. But once a Mason the matter is different. The lodge has investigated you. You were found not wanting by your fellows. Why wouldn't your brother ask you to join another organization in which he is interested and which he thinks will interest you?"

"Well, but-"

"There is no 'but' which fits! There are many Masonic organizations, each filling its place. Chapter, Council, and Commandery extend the symbolic lodge story. The Scottish Rite tells it to the end in another way. Shrine, Grotto and Tall Cedars are happy places where Masons play. The Eastern Star practices charity, benevolence, kindness, the gentler side of life. None duplicate; all have work to do. The better the workers, the better the work. It is no outrage that they pay toy the compliment of asking you to join with them."

"But I haven't the time; I don't know if I could afford it."

"That is another story. All these organizations cannot make you more a Mason than you are now, but they might make you a better one. Whether you have the time or the means needed is your affair. It would indeed be an outrage if any one questioned you about that. These brethren who ask you to join with them think you have leisure enough to be a better Mason and of sufficient means to indulge that laudable ambition."

"Oh, of course, you are right and I am wrong, as usual. I guess I'm a-"

"A Mason," suggested the Old Tiler, gently.

"And a prospective, Companion, Knight or whatever it is they will call me when I join the Scottish Rite and all the rest!"

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