Worshipful Master Bart Harvey     -     Secretary & Editor John "Corky" Daut
The December 2010 Issue
Merry Christmas

The Brothers of Waller Masonic Lodge #808 AF & AM would like to extend an invitation to all of our Brothers and their families, members of the Order of the Eastern Star and our friends.

The Dinner? - Again, Waller Lodge will furnish the meats, bread and drinks. Guests are ask to bring a covered dish or two with vegetables and/or deserts.

Where? - Waller Lodge at Main and Locust In Waller, Texas.

When? - December 11, 2010 Time? 6:30 PM

Christmas Donations? Please bring canned food and/or toys for charity, if you can. All donations will be given to the Waller Area Religious Ministries organization to help needy families.

It's Happening At Waller Lodge

By Corky

Right Worshipful Bob Podvin made a talk on the Grand Lodge laws regarding voting for candidates.

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It was decided to have the annual Christmas party on December 11, 2010. The Lodge will furnish the meat, bread and drinks and the ladies are ask to bring a side dish or desert.

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Bro. Wes Mersiovsky gave a report on the status of the various projects he is working on at this time. He also reported that the yard sale that he and Bro, Calvin Trapp and wives held at the Lodge last Friday and Saturday was a success. The sale was held to raise more money for the extensive remodeling of the Lodge kitchen and dinning room.

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Please say a prayer for,

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Brother Richard L. James Passed away Oct.23, 2010.

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Worshipful Master Bart Harvey's son in law was killed in an auto accident caused by a drunk driver.

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Brother Gregg Williams wife is still In the nursing home due to medical problems.

New Elevator Rises To Historic Occasion At Anoka Masonic Lodge

by Sue Austreng

Masons and guests applaud, expressing deep gratitude for the financial gifts and helping hands that made the dream of an elevator a reality at the Anoka Masonic Lodge. Photo by Sue Austreng

“Radio Free Masonry reported today that the physical barriers to the Anoka Lodge building were terminated with extreme prejudice.” Masons and guests applaud, expressing deep gratitude for the financial gifts and helping hands that made the dream of an elevator a reality at the Anoka Masonic Lodge. Photo by Sue Austreng

Such read the celebratory announcement, alerting members of the Anoka Masonic Lodge of the addition of a new elevator to the 90-year-old building located on Third Avenue in Anoka.

Those who are unable to negotiate the stairs leading down to the Masons’ meeting room will now be able to gather without difficulty, said Anoka Masonic Lodge Past Master Greg Vokovan during a Nov. 3 dedication ceremony at the Lodge.

“(We are) tearing down the physical barriers of our beloved lodge (and) providing unrestricted access for our entire Masonic family and community,” Vokovan said. The addition of an elevator – a $120,000 project – was accomplished with such efficiency and is such an accomplishment, said District Deputy Grand Master Tom Hendrickson, that “it may be a model for others to emulate.”

Indeed, the vision for an elevator appeared some 30 years ago, but due to seemingly insurmountable obstacles, the project was stalled until recently. According to Vokovan, who also served as chairman of the elevator committee, recently, after two years of collecting donations and staging fund-raisers and various other activities and events, the elevator vision became reality.

A giant financial boost was provided when an anonymous donor issued a generous challenge. The donor told the Masons that if they could match his $50,000 donation in a month, they could keep it. And they did. But, Vokovan said, much more was gained in the process.

“We received much more than money,” Vokovan said. “We now had unity… inspiration… and a clear vision.”

The donor, in turn, expressed his gratitude to the members of the lodge, gathered for the dedication ceremony Nov. 3.

“I feel very, very fortunate to do something for the lodge,” he said. “I’m proud to be a Mason and I feel very lucky and happy to do something for the lodge. Everybody pitched in like crazy and now it’s done. The credit belongs to everybody here.”

Master Randy Cook called the Anoka Lodge one that’s “known for its actions not its words.”

“We’re here tonight to celebrate an enormous accomplishment and to get the elevator in service as soon as possible,” Cook said.

With the dedication ceremony ending and the blessing and ribbon-cutting complete, the Anoka Masonic Lodge elevator doors parted Nov. 3, putting the new transport vehicle in action.

“Even though it only moves at 30 feet per minute, our meetings will begin on time,” Cook said, as the elevator descended and passengers departed to the Masons’ meeting room.

So You Want To Be An Officer

by W:. Tim Bryce, PM, MPS

So you have been asked to sit as a Steward or some other appointed office in the Lodge. Before you say yes, there are a few things you should know. First, there is really no such thing as a trivial office in a Masonic Lodge. But there is more to it than dressing up in a tuxedo and marching around in the Lodge room, there are certain duties and responsibilities associated with each chair which you will be expected to perform. In other words, there is more to being a Masonic officer than pomp and circumstance, you will be expected to work. If you are agreeing to become an officer simply as an excuse to buy a tux or to have some sort of Masonic title, than you are getting into it for the wrong reasons. Lodges need working officers, not facade.

More importantly, understand that becoming a Lodge officer requires considerable commitment. It means attending additional meetings, classes, workshops, and more memorization work. Further, once you are in the chairs (aka "in line") it will be expected that you stay in the rotation until you have become Worshipful Master, and this can take as long as seven years depending on where you enter the line. Although I am not necessarily a fan of our custom of rotating through the chairs, I do concede each chair teaches us a different set of responsibilities and skills. (As far as I am concerned, the Senior Deacon is the best seat in the house). If you are willing to accept the commitment and have something to offer the Lodge, great. If not, forget it.

Too often I see smaller lodges, who are desperate to fill chairs, raise new Brothers and immediately appoint them as officers (sometimes on the same night). The newbies are, of course, flattered and accept the position without question. Only later do they realize the commitment expected of them and balk at advancing through the line. Yes, we need to get our newly raised Brothers active in the Lodge, but this should not include putting them in the officers line right away. Instead, they should be allowed to sit on the sidelines, observe what is going on, then allow them to make a conscious decision to go into the line. By going in with both eyes wide open, they are more likely to accept the commitment required to properly serve as a Lodge officer.

I am most definitely not poo-pooing becoming a Lodge officer. Masonry teaches us a lot of lessons in life, becoming a Lodge officer kicks it up a notch and teaches us some basic management and people skills which are invaluable in both our personal and professional development. I just believe people should know what they are getting into, and are getting into it for the right reasons. For example, there are those shallow individuals who are only interested in having a Masonic title, and accomplish nothing for the Lodge. It chafes me when I see a "puppet" Worshipful Master who is led by his officers as opposed to the other way around. If they are only interested in chasing a Past Master's apron, I say let's give them the apron and get them the heck out of the way..

Dissension At Pine Island Masonic Lodge

By Corky

Editor's Note; Don't waste time searching for the Pine Island Masonic Lodge. It is a fiction. The picture below was originally my Great Grandfather John Wesley Pennington's one story store, post office and home in Pine Island in 1903. Through the magic of computers, I added a second story to the building to create a home for my Pine Island Lodge hall

It was Tuesday and a full moon night, so it was the stated meeting night for the Pine Island Masonic Lodge. Pine Island Lodge is old fashion and one of the few “Moon Lodges” left in Texas.

Old John Wesley Pennington settled in Pine Island in 1893. He had bought a small house and a couple of acres at the corner of Cochran Rd. and the Houston Highway where he built the Pine Island Mercantile beside the house. There was a good number of farmers in the area who had emigrated to Texas after the Civil War from Alabama, Georgia, Mississippi and Tennessee. Many of them including Brother Pennington were Freemasons so he built a second story over the store and a group of them petitioned the Grand Lodge Of Texas and Pine Island Masonic #99 was born..

Now, in 2010, the Lodge still meets over the old Mercantile building they had acquired back in the 50’s and the ground floor, no longer a store in the age of Wal Mart, was used as the dinning room and for local events.

Brother Pete Smith took a bite of the meatloaf the Stewards had provided and looked across the table at Brother Wilson, “You know, John, we are gonna vote on that Haddison boy’s petition tonight. I just can’t believe we might let him be a member of this Lodge. I don’t like him at all and his daddy is as crooked as a snake. I reckon I am gonna drop a black one on him. How about you?”

“Well,” Brother Wilson replied, I don’t like him and his daddy cheated me on that old truck he sold me, so I’ll drop one on him too. How about you William?” He said to the Brother on his right, “You wanta drop one on him to and we can keep people like him outta our Lodge?”

“I disagree with both of y’all, I’m for him. I don’t like old man Haddison either, but his son Bob is a good man, he works hard, don’t drink and is a good husband and father.” Charley Brown replied.

Later in the Lodge, Brother Pete stood up after the Investigation Committee’s reports had been read and after being recognized said, “I don’t care what the committee said, that boy ain’t no good and he shouldn’t be a member of my Lodge.” After he sat down Brother Will Milam stood up and said, I’ve known him all his life, he is a good man and he would be an asset to the Pine Island Lodge.”

When the ballot was taken, Red Haddison was elected to receive the degrees of Freemasonry

After the Lodge was closed, Brother Smith walked over to where Brother Wilson was standing on the porch with a couple of Brother Brothers and said, “Well, John, it looks like our two votes didn’t stop him”.

“Yeah, I talked to Snuffy and Bubba before the meeting about blocking him, but I guess they chickened out.” John replied. .

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This little story illustrates some things that could happen in a Lodge and could even go unnoticed.

However, all of the players in the story are guilty of one or more ‘Masonic Disciplinary Violations’ and should have charges filed against them. Brothers Pete Smith and John Wilson are guilty of breaking law #16 by disclosing to any person how he voted. And, Brothers Pete Smith, John Wilson and Will Milam are all guilty of breaking law #17 by “Canvassing (Soliciting votes) for or against a candidate.

The Laws Of the Grand Lodge Of Texas A.F. & A.M Chapter 2 – Title V - Article 505 … It is a Masonic Disciplinary Violations to…

16. Disclose to any person how he voted on any applicant for affiliation or for the degrees, or on any question decided by a secret ballot.

17. Canvass publicly for or against the admission of a candidate into Masonry. .

Masonic Anniversaries
Brother Years
Jimmy E. Hooper Sr.44
Richard E. Patterson43
Paul B. Cox16
Bart C. Harvey06
Happy Birthday To
Clem Reynolds78
Gary V. Mosmeyer66
Wes Mersiovsky59
Ted W. Wren III43
James Dee Magee41

Football Finally Makes Sense

A guy took his blonde girlfriend to her first football game. They had great seats right behind their team's bench. After the game, he asked her how she liked watching the game.

"Oh, I really liked it," she replied, "especially the tight pants and all the big muscles, but I just couldn't understand why they were killing each other over 25 cents."

Dumbfounded, her date asked, "What do you mean?"

"Well, they flipped a coin, one team got it and then for the rest of the game, all they kept screaming was: 'Get the quarter back! Get the quarter back!' I'm like...Helloooooo? It's only 25 cents!!!!”

A Hard Look At Lodge Dues And Endowed Memberships

By Corky

Back in October of 1986, Brother Doyle Sitton was the first member of Waller Lodge to buy an endowed membership. The annual Lodge dues at that time were $40.00 per year. Times were good and the selling point of paying a one time payment of $500.00 to the Grand Lodge of Texas and never having to pay Lodge dues again was a strong selling point. For the equivalent sum of twelve and a half year’s dues you were exempt from paying dues for the rest of your life and the Lodge would continue receiving payments from that investment long after you were deceased.

It appeared that the program was working well. By 2007 Waller Lodge was receiving about $1,400.00 annually from it’s endowments. However, almost overlooked was the fact that at the same time Waller Lodge was also loosing nearly $2,400.00 from dues from the endowed members for a net loss of almost $1,000.00.

Then came the recession in the late 2000’s and the program became a lose - lose situation. Waller Lodge receiving nothing from the endowed members program in 2009 and 2010 and the Lodge was still loosing $2,320.00 from these members dues..

By 2010 only 31 of the 72 Waller Lodge members were actually paying Lodge dues which would only bring in $2,480.00. This was just enough to pay about half of the Lodges annual utility bills

The official U.S. inflation rate from Jan. 1986 to Jan. 2010 was 97.71% or almost doubled. So, after 24 years and everything has at least doubled in cost, an endowed membership still costs $500.00 even though the Grand Lodge of Texas had given each Lodge permission to increase the price for it’s endowed memberships.

And now making the problem even worse, the 2011 dues have been raised to $100.00 annually and now endowed memberships are even more attractive.

For instance, Brother John Stalsby bought an endowed membership in February 2010 for $500.00, or the year 2011’s equivalent of 5 years dues. If Brother Stalsby lives to be a 50 year member he will have had 45 years of membership without being required to contribute one single penny toward the operation and maintenance of Waller Lodge.

Something about this system appears to be badly broken. If the present trend continues, indications are that within another decade or two, hardly no one will be paying dues and the funds required to operate and maintain Waller Lodge will have to come from the few Brothers who volunteer to work fundraisers and from donations.

Kentucky Holding Despite Splinter Over Gay Masons.

Posted by the Masonic Traveler

The Grand Lodge of Kentucky is the latest battle ground in the fight to bring Freemasonry into the 21st century, where brothers are

The Small Town Texas Masons E-Magazine

Don’t miss reading the monthly Small Town Texas Masons E-Magazine at, http://www.mastermason.com/STTM-Emag/

This Month features the Ashley Lodge, #681 A.F.& A.M. and Texas Masonic History - James Butler Bonham

This Month's Humor

Little David comes home from first grade and tells his father that they learned about the history of Valentine's Day.

"Since Valentine's day is for a Christian saint and we are Jewish," he asks, "will God get mad at me for giving someone a valentine?"

David's father thinks a bit, then says "No, I don't think God would get mad.

Who do you want to give a valentine to?"

"Osama Bin Laden," David says.

"Why Osama Bin Laden," his father asks in shock.

"Well," David says, "I thought that if a little American Jewish boy could have enough love to give Osama a valentine, he might start to think that maybe we're not all bad, and maybe start loving people a little bit. And if other kids saw what I did and sent valentines to Osama, he'd love everyone a lot. And then he'd start going all over the place to tell everyone how much he loved them and how he didn't hate anyone anymore."

His father's heart swells and he looks at his boy with newfound pride. "David, that's the most wonderful thing I've ever heard."

"I know," David says, "and once that gets him out in the open, the Marines could blow him away."

The Waller Lodge Electronic Newsletter Subscriber's Extra Features

Masonic Conspiracy No Excuse For Tax Evasion

I always knew something *funny* was going on in British Columbia. From the CTV British Columbia website, "Freemason conspiracy no excuse for dodging taxes" by Bethany Lindsay.

A former dentist who says her trial on income tax evasion was fixed by a shadowy conspiracy of Freemasons and Jews has lost her latest bid to get out of paying a quarter-million dollar fine.

Vancouver Dr. Eva Notburga Marita Sydel was convicted of tax evasion four years ago for failing to report a whopping $750,000 in income. She was fined $244,447 and sentenced to jail for 18 months.

Although she served out her jail sentence, Sydel has yet to pay any of the fines.

She filed an appeal of her conviction in 2007, but abandoned it the next year.

In her latest in a long series of appearances in B.C. courtrooms, Sydel petitioned to renew her appeal, claiming that she has found new evidence that provincial court Judge Paul Meyers, a Jew, had discriminated against because she is German by descent.

Acting as her own lawyer, she also argued that Meyers was part of a conspiracy of Freemasons -- an international fraternal organization dating back to the 1600s. Conspiracy theorists often claim that the "invisible empire" of Freemasons has quietly controlled governments and economies worldwide for centuries -- if not millennia.

Sydel claimed that Meyers and the chief investigator for the Canada Revenue Agency used secret Freemason sign language during her trial to communicate with each other and ensure she was convicted.

She also pointed out that Vancouver telephone numbers for the federal government all contain the digits 666 -- the so-called Satanic "sign of the beast," and a number said to be associated with Freemasonry.

In her affidavit, Sydel wrote that "Freemasonry is now completely in control of the Government of British Columbia, which controls the selection of the judges in the provincial court of British Columbia and controls the administration of the provincial court, the Supreme Court and Court of Appeal in British Columbia."

However, she did not present any evidence that anyone involved in her trial was a member of the Freemasons.

Surviving The Big Ones

By John "Corky" Daut

The big ones were the Great Depression and World War II, that period between the stock market crash of 1929 and 1945 when WW II ended.

In bad weather we usually played domino games. Our favorite was Shoot the Moon, but some time we played just plain dominoes. There seems to be a difference in the way we played plain dominoes, compared to our northern cousins. In the southern version, the free ends of the rows had to add up to five or a multiple of five to score points. If you played a domino with a five on the free end and the other free end of the row had a five free, you scored ten points, but if there was a double four on one end and you played the double six on the other end you scored twenty points. Another difference was that the first double played was called the spinner and you could play on it's ends as well as the sides, making up to four free ends.

Shoot the Moon was very popular. Even thought it was very similar to Forty Two, the most popular game for adults, the bidding and scoring was much simpler. If you thought you could catch 3 tricks, you would bid 3. Of course some of us would bid 4 on a 3 trick hand hoping to get help from the widow. For those who never played Moon, it is usually a 3 handed game. All of the blanks, except for the double blank are removed leaving 22 dominoes. Each player draws out 7 to play with. The highest bidder gets the remaining domino, picks the 7 he wants to play with and discards the eighth one before play starts.

Some of us had received a board game like Monopoly, Risk or Parcheesi for Christmas or some another special occasion. We would play the game on the lucky one's front porch if the weather was above freezing. Of course we could play on the living room floor, but then we would be to close to adults and have to behave accordingly.

Then of course there were also the card games like Rummy, Hearts, Spades, Go Fish and Old Maid, except at the houses of people like my grandmother Daut who believed that cards were tools of the devil. She lived 76 years without ever tasting a root beer because of it's name, but she played a mean game of Forty Two with her friends in the Eastern Star. I don't guess she ever knew that a lot of people play Forty Two or Moon for money.

In the summer time, I would often sit on my front step waiting for some of the gang to show up at the park across the street. If one of them brought a ball, I owned a bat and we could start a game of work up. By the way back in the early nineteen forties, the term "gang" meant the group of boys from ten or eleven years old to sixteen or seventeen who lived around Settegast park and normally played ball together.

Work up was a softball game you could play with as few as three players. With only three players, you had a batter, a combination pitcher, first baseman and a combination first baseman, fielder. When the batter made three outs, he became the fielder. The pitcher became the batter and the fielder became the pitcher. When more people arrived they were added to the out field and the ones already there moved up to create second and third basemen. After enough players showed up, more were moved to home plate waiting to bat.

The large concrete slab at the west end of the park house only had one basketball goal on the north edge. It's pretty hard for 2 teams to play a real game using the same goal. Besides, we usually didn't have enough boys for 2 teams and often not even enough for 1 team so we invented “Horse”. At least I think we invented the game, maybe we stole it.

One boy would shoot a basket, preferably in a difficult way. Maybe over his shoulder, or bounce it in, or shoot from 25 or 30 feet away, or throw it under one leg. Then each one of the other boys had to make a basket in exactly the same way in his turn with only one try. When it got back to the leader's turn, he would shoot the ball in a different way. If the leader missed a shot, the next boy in line became the new leader. Every time a player failed to duplicate a shot he was assigned a horse. After a player received 3 horses, he was out of the game. The winner was the last one standing. Then every one started a new game.

I hated that darn game. I was always or nearly always the first one out of the game. I think it must have given me an inferiority complex. Now, seventy five years later, I realized why I was never good at the game and I feel so much better. With one bad eye I had no depth perception and could not judge distances.

Criminal Record and Freemasonry?

From Brother Ken At The Masonic Travels Web Site

(Editor's Note; This post had 44 comments. Due to space I only included the first 4. You may view them all at Brother Ken's web site (Link above)


Several days ago I received an e-mail inquiring about the requirements for joining Freemasonry. The gentleman who e-mailed me said that currently he did not have the funds to join Freemasonry and he was going to wait until he was more financially stable before petitioning. The other point he made was that in his past he had a criminal record and he wondered if this would exclude him from joining the Craft entirely.

I have no idea about the nature of his criminal record, but it brought some interesting questions to mind which I had never really thought about. When I joined Freemasonry I don't recall being asked if I had ever been convicted of a crime, but it was a number of years ago and to be honest the form is a little bit hazy in my mind.

I did some searching on the internet and went to several Grand Lodge websites and downloaded their application forms, some which do include lines such as, "Have you ever been convicted of a felony?" with a further line, "Please explain."

I would hazard to guess everyone at some point in their life has had a few silly indiscretions, if not in their youth then as young adults. Perhaps you weren't caught or perhaps you were, but if you are honestly a "changed person" should you be excluded from the Light of Freemasonry?

Freemasonry "makes good men better" but I wonder how stringent the examining committee is and how they would react to a petitioner with a criminal record. Would that statement, "making good men better" exclude anyone who might have done mistakes earlier on in life?

"Being a man, freeborn, of good repute and well-recommended" is another statement which runs along the same lines. Can you honestly say that you are a "man of good repute"?

Grand Lodges around the world have their own rules about membership and what members can and cannot do. In some States of America you may not be involved in the alcohol industry, but in my jurisdiction that is no problem.

In the end of course it is up the members of the Lodge, everyone has the decision to make. So if you met a petitioner who was open about his past mistakes, earnest about changing his life for the good what would you cast?



Curt says:

I have wondered about this myself. I teach young adults (teenagers), many of whom have screwed up big time and find themseleves convicted of felonies. Many of the them are, simply put, good people.

It should be possible for someone to redeem oneself. Otherwise, Masonry, religion, life, the universe, and everything is meaningless. We all screw up sometimes. Its just a matter of degree.


Dustin says:

Depending on the severity of the transgression… If a man was convicted of a felony I think I would have a lot of trouble endorsing him.


Ken says:

Dustin, I would agree, the nature of the crime would have to be a serious factor in the determination. This would be a hard decision I think, one that I haven't come across in Lodge before.


king lexo says:

Good topic,

Once you have served your time and in your heart you have given up your wayward ways, you should be allowed. The standards of our forefathers is just the thing that keeps us apart, our whole society is so bias against ex-felons. How can you be a "Ex-felon" if you are done with your time and have moved on with your life, your only an Ex-felon when your IN jail, your a felon while you are committing crimes, this is not a play on words. It is up to us (post baby boomers) to make this change and think anew, just because you have a sorted past is no reason for Black Ball………..the one you do might do best for your craft.

A Little Military Humor?

It May Be More Truth Then Fiction.

Kentucky Holding Despite Splinter Over Gay Masons.

By the Masonic Traveler
From Freemason Information. com

Editor's Note; I was recently chewed out in an email from one of our Brothers. It was because I had reprinted a news report in the November issue about the Texas Prince Hall Lodge. I was accused of "It certainly seems to be stirring the pot, one which I feel needs to be left unstirred. I certainly hope that communication with prince halls is not the direction you are advocating that Waller Lodge take, but publishing that article sure seems to lean in that direction."

I would like to make my position very clear. I reprint news stories and reports verbatim, regarding things that are happening in the world of Freemasonry. And, especially anything that could possibly have an effect on Texas Freemasonry and Masons now or in the future.

Hiding from unpopular issues will never make them go away and as the old adage says, " Being forewarned is being forearmed'. If we are unaware of what is happening, how can we fight for what we believe in or against what we don't. And, the fact that I reprint them in this newsletter for your edification, does not in any way reflect my own personal opinions, likes or dislikes.

The Grand Lodge of Kentucky is the latest battle ground in the fight to bring Freemasonry into the 21st century, where brothers are calling other brothers “a flaming faggot” in their sexual orientation.

From the Lexington Herald-Leader in the state of Kentucky, the W. Master of Winchester Masonic lodge was asked to resign because of his recent coming out as being gay. His admission was enough to cause some distraught brothers to walk out on the W. Master because of their distress.

Refusing the insistence of his resignation, Frankfort lodge drafted a petition to change the state’s fraternal constitution to prohibit openly Gay men from being Masons, the proposed change saying:

“Freemasonry is pro-family and recognizes marriage as between one man and one woman. Any other relationship is a violation of the moral law and therefore unmasonic conduct. Homosexual relationships, openly professed and practiced, are a violation of the moral law and therefore unmasonic conduct. No openly homosexual Freemason shall be allowed to retain membership in this grand jurisdiction.”

Taken at the annual meeting of the Kentucky Grand Lodge, the constitutional change was rejected, but not without rumblings that there would be more on this in the future.

You can read the whole story on the Herald-Leader.

The issues does open the door to a wider consideration, that as roughly 15% of the U.S. population is gay (see the Gallup Poll data and the Demographics of sexual orientation from Wikipedia statistics) it goes without saying that so too then would the Lodge have a similar percentage of gay members. And, as such, those brothers may or may not be out in the open, given the reaction of those around them. is it right then to discriminate against them?

In the article, it mentions that following the vote there was a degree of grumbling that lead some observers to say that the issue would manifest again in the future to try and amend the constitution to encompass some meaning of family values so as to prohibit gay men from becoming member, which would likely mean some test administered at petition to determine orientation.

All of this is absolutely absurd, given that the fraternity is secular and precipitated on the idea of equality and liberty. On the reverse, the Kentucky state constitution was amended to say “Only a marriage between one man and one woman shall be valid or recognized as legal in Kentucky”, but this issue goes beyond the recognition of marriage to a discrimination based on preference.

The argument is that homosexuality goes against the moral law, but as I’ve pointed out in the past, which Moral Law? As a Mason, I have to say, their argument does not wash and any man who is a just and upright individual can stand and be a Mason.

Discrimination based on sexual orientation is not a valid argument to exclude from the organization, just as race (and gender) should not be either. To exclude by orientation like this is an undue control over someone in an area that has no consequence to their experience.

By accepting the reality that there are members who are gay, so too do we need to accept the idea of same sex partner widowers, who should be just as important in remembering as the heterosexual counterparts. Yes, this is a dramatic awakening to very real social issue and one that is not insurmountable or destructive towards the institution. To the contrary, to wall the Fraternity behind a morality test of pro-family/anti gay vitriol is a sure fire way to seal the future of the fraternity into a political abyss of social dis-unity. In other words, Freemasonry would no longer be an active participant in civil society becoming instead a political club house.

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

The Old Tiler Talks

Those Disclosures
From the Old Tiler's Talk - by Carl H. Claudy, The Temple Publishers

"I have just visited the Masonic library," began the New Brother, excitedly, "and I am much distressed."

"It is a shame," answered the Old Tiler, sympathetically. "It is the best we can do, as we can only afford just so much and so we haven't all the books we want. Even so there is a lot of good reading there and..."

"That isn't the trouble!" cried the New Brother. "What worries me is the apathetic attitude of the authorities of Masonry who permit so many books to be written about our secrets! I skimmed through some and all a man not a member of the lodge need do is read a few and he will know more Masonry than I do!"

"That is probably true!" smiled the Old Tiler. "But what of it? He will then be a well-informed man. You will remain ill-informed. Surely it is better to have well-informed profanes and ill-informed Masons than have both profane and Mason badly informed!"

"But the profane will learn our secrets! Where will we be when we have no secrets? How can Grand Lodge authorities allow brethren to publish what they have sworn never to reveal?"

"Oh! what makes you think these books contain secrets?"

"Why, I read them! There was one book which had an account of the great lights, and another which talked about Jachin and Boaz, and another which referred to the drama of Hiram Abif, and another which quoted old obligations at length to show the genesis of Masonic obligations and..."

"You are somewhat in the dark regarding the secrets of Freemasonry," observed the Old Tiler. "You can read of Jachin and Boaz, and Hiram in the Bible and the old obligations were printed long before they were incorporated in Freemasonry. The secrets of Freemasonry are not disclosed in the printed works of Masonic students. You are not to reveal anything not proper to be made known. You are not to describe the Masonic initiation. You are not to divulge the modes of recognition. But nowhere in any obligation of any degree in Freemasonry will you find any prohibition against teaching the principles of Masonry, or explaining the symbolism by which Masonry reveals her gentle teachings.

"In books learned Masons have expounded for you and me something of the meaning of Freemasonry; what it is all about, what it teaches, why it exists, what it can accomplish. It is not necessary to make a secret out of knowledge. It is not necessary that Masonry keep to herself the philosophy of conduct, morality, upright living, brotherhood, she has developed. That is for the world to read if it will. The pity of it is that so few will; that so many rob themselves of their Masonic birthright and refuse to read what has been written for them.

"Masonry is a far greater subject than most members of the fraternity know. The majority of us take the three degrees and stop. Not for us is there symbolism. Not for us is there an intimate intertwining between our order and the wise men, the knowledge of the past. Not for us is Masonry a welding together of the underlying principles which animate all religion, with the dogma left out. Not for us is there a literature, a tradition, a history. We let it all go by the board, content to wear a pin and pay dues and vote for a new Master...and call ourselves Masons.

"But a few of us in every lodge are not satisfied merely to be members; we want to be Masons in our minds as well as the records of the lodge. So we read and study. And once in a blue moon is born a Pike or a Pound, a Haywood or a Newton, a Mackey or a McBride, who interprets through the greatness of his vision that you and I may catch at least a glimpse of the vastness which is Freemasonry.

"They do that in books, but none tells what he has sworn never to reveal... why should he? But he explains the meaning of that which is hidden, so that we who have the key may understand. The trouble with our Masonic books is not that they tell which should not be told, but that we are not rich enough in our lodge to buy enough of the expositions of Freemasonry to educate all our brethren.

"Go back to that library. Take one or two books home with you. Read and reflect. When you find the Masonic author who has violated his obligation, show it to me, because I am an old, old man and I have heard of this forsworn author all my life, but I have never found him!"

"I'm going," answered the New Brother, "I wish I had more sense!"

"I don't!" came the smiling answer. "If you knew much there'd be no point in talking to you, and think of the fun we'd both lose!"

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