The Builder Magazine

January 1917 – Volume III – Number 1


Part 1

Continued in Part 2

.xx Next Month: February 1917
Previous Month: December 1916www General Index


By Bro. Joseph Fort Newton

"O come awa', O come awa'
Strang brither o' the West-lan',
Altho' we hinna meikle gear,
Yer welcome tae our best, man.
Auld Scotias bens an' glens cry oot
A greetin' tae the West-man,
An' honest herts an' frien'ly han's
But wish ye wad them test, man:
O come awa', syne come awa'
An' be our luckie guest, man."

THESE lines, written by an honoured and beloved Mason, came floating down to London-town from the Land of Robert Burns. How could any one resist such an invitation; how could one ever forget such a welcome? And so I went to Scotland, by the Midland route, up through rural farming England by way of Bedford, the city of Bunyan; then over "the peak country" into Yorkshire, with a glimpse of Lancashire; across the wide moorland district to Cumberland, and the beautiful Eden Valley of "Merrie Carlyle" with its cathedral and castles, of which Scott sang in The Lay of the Last Minstrel. Ten miles further on we crossed the border at Gretna, now a great munitions center, and another twenty miles brought us to Dumfries and the Burns country.

Our first stop was at Glasgow on the Clyde, the commercial and industrial capital of Scotland, the rival of Liverpool in shipping-trade and of Manchester in its manufactures, and perhaps the foremost city in the world in its solution of the problem of public utilities. Standing on the site of an Episcopal see founded by St. Mungo in 560 A. D., Glasgow has a long and thrilling history, much of which is enshrined in its noble cathedral, which more than any other building I saw in Briton gave me a sense of gray antiquity. But my mission to Glasgow was Masonic, and for Masonic students its chief claim to fame is that it is the home of Progress Lodge, and its distinguished guide, philosopher and teacher, Brother A. S. MacBride, of whom all may read elsewhere in this issue. He it was who wrote those lines of greeting and welcome, and all that the poet predicted was more than fulfilled in fact.

Such a reception! Never in all his life has ye humble editor enjoyed a hospitality more hearty and more happy, or a brotherly courtesy more complete in its appointments or more exquisitely canny in its delicate details. Truly, that was "The End of a Perfect Day," dross-drained and lovely, and set like a gem in my heart forever. As I was led into Progress Lodge to be introduced, a Brother stepped forward and took from beneath the Bible an American flag, which he spread over the Altar, as the entire Lodge rose and cheered. It was one of many such acts of thoughtful courtesy which marked the evening, like so many stars. The Lodge was then opened in form, and I was permitted, by the kindness of the Worshipful Master, to respond to the greetings of the Brethren, to express appreciation of the work of Brother MacBride, and to tell of the fame of Progress Lodge on this side of the sea. They were much interested in my brief sketch of present tendencies in American Masonry, and of the interest in Masonic Research among us.

Next day I was shown the city of Glasgow, its lovely homes, its churches, its schools and university, its neat and well-kept branch-libraries and its great central Library—where, in the safety vault, I had a peep at old editions of the poems of Burns which made it hard ) obey the law which commands us not to covet our neighbours goods. Then we visited the homes in which Glasgow houses some fourteen thousand Belgian refugees, and found them well-arranged and carefully kept, all under the management of a Past Master of Progress Lodge. As we entered a home for children, whose parents are either lost or killed, their little faces lighted up with greetings, each giving us a fine military salute, saying "Good morning, and thank you." Some of those faces haunt me still, with their curly locks and bright eyes – tiny waifs sent adrift by the horror of war, and finding home and food and care in the lovely land of Scotland.

In Glasgow, as everywhere in England and Scotland, the squares and parks are adorned with statues and memorials of great men of war and state, of science and religion, poets and prophets and soldiers standing side by side. It is so in George Square, the finest open pace in the city, surrounded by the spacious Municipal buildings –in which there is a lovely staircase of marble and alabaster – the Post Office, the Bank of Scotland, the Merchant's House, and so forth. Walter Scott, Queen Victoria, Prince Albert, Sir John Moore, Campbell, Clyde, Watt, Peel, Robert Burns, Livingstone and Gladstone, all look down upon the passer-by, reminding him of the fine issues to which human life ascends. Great men grow where great men are honoured, and the sons of old Scotland go all over the earth, everywhere taking the lead in whatever field they enter.

High Street, leading to the Cathedral, was the chief thoroughfare in the old city of St. Mungo, and at "Bell o' the Brae," where it sweeps to the right and begins to ascend, Wallace won a victory in 1300. The Cathedral, as I have said, is truly a noble monument, its chief glory, perhaps, being its Crypt, a finely proportioned structure, with a fine vaulting. Some of its sixty-five pillars are crowned by exquisitely carved capitals, and for a Mason who has an eye for angles and arches it is a pure delight. What workmen they were in those days of old! On the north side is the tomb of Edward Irving, of whom a portrait appears, as St. John the Baptist, in the window above. The Cathedral is frequently referred to in "Rob Roy," by Walter Scott, but the classical description of it is, undoubtedly, that of Andrew Fairservice.

After lunch at the Liberal Club, we were off for a pin about the city and down to Loch Lomond. It was crisp, clear, ideal day – even the Weather Man, who does not always behave well in Scotland, seemed to have been tipped or otherwise induced to be at his best. We had a glimpse of the Clyde along the way, thronged with boats, bordered by vast ship-yards full of boats in he building. At Renton we paused to see the monument to Smollet, and better still for a visit to the Lodge Room of the Lodge Leven St. John, in which some of the visions of Brother MacBride in respect of Lodge decorations and arrangements have been worked out. Then there was a real and happy surprise. Entering a quaint little shop, and climbing a winding stair, we found ourselves in the presence of a stately old Highland gentlemen, clad in the garb of his clan, waiting to receive us with all the eats and drinks of the olden days. It was a peep back into the past, picturesque and unforgettable, for which I was deeply grateful.

Down the valley we went, on one side the wooded hills, rich in waving ferns, and on the other, presently, Loch Lomond – the while Brother MacBride told the history and legend of the places we passed in suchwise that one hardly knew where one ended and the other began. Loch Lomond is in some respects the loveliest of the Scottish lakes. Seen on such a clear day, with the majestic form of Ben Lomond towering beyond, having a crown of cloud upon his head – looking like Mount Sinai – it is a picture that can never fade. Returning by Loch Long and Loch Gare, we hasten back to Glasgow to catch the train for Edinburgh, where, for the first time in my life, I was arrested. But as Kipling would say, "that is another story."

Return to Top



By Robert Burns

“A prayer when fainting fits, and other alarming symptoms of a pleurisy or some other dangerous disorder, which indeed still threaten me, first put nature on the alarm.” (First Common-Place Book, under date August, 1784)

A manuscript in the Burns Monument, Edinburgh, has the heading, “A Prayer when dangerously threatened with pleuritic attacks.”

There seems to be an uncertainty about the date of this poem, for though assigned to 1784, the entry in the “Common-Place Book” above noted proves it earlier than the August of that year. The poem was probably written during the poet’s residence in Irvine, when, as would appear in a letter written to his father, 27th December, 1781, he had the prospect of “perhaps very soon” bidding “adieu to all the pains and uneasiness and disquietudes of this weary life.” (Burns Poems, Cambridge edition.)

O thou unknown, Almighty cause
Of all my hope and fear!
In whose dread presence, ere an hour,
Perhaps I must appear!
If I have wandered in those paths
Of life I ought to shun-
As something, loudly, in my breast,
Remonstrates I have done-
Thou know’st that Thou hast formed me
With passions wild and strong;
And list’ning to their witching voice
Has often led me wrong.
Where human weakness has come short,
Or frailty stept aside,
Do Thou, All-good – for such Thou art-
In shades of darkness hide.
Where with intention I have erred,
No other plea I have
But, thou art good; and Goodness still
Delighteth to forgive.

Return to Top



By The Grand Lodge Committee

TO the Most Worshipful Grand Lodge of California:

Your Committee on Masonic Education, continued from last year to formulate plans for research and study, beg to report as follows:

We feel it to be not only a duty, but a pleasure, to do our full part in furthering the cause which should and will be of more and more importance as the years roll by, notwithstanding the action of the Grand Lodge last year in refusing to adopt our then proposed plan of lectures.

We are especially anxious that the Grand Lodge should give its active and unqualified support to the cause of Masonic Education. Last year, as indicated above, the essential portions of our report and recommendations were referred to the Finance Committee and not reported back, thus leaving the balance of little effect.

If ever there was a time in the history of our fraternity when men need enlightenment and understanding, that time is now. They need the understanding which shall help them to understand themselves. They need the understanding which shall deepen their sympathies for their fellows. They need the understanding which shall broaden their outlook in life. They need the understanding which shall make them more kind and tolerant of all men, particularly of those they call their brethren. The trend of events the past year or so will verify all this.

In our Masonic Lodge rooms the great principles of human brotherhood should be so sanely voiced that our members will see in them real beauty, and understand that they can endure only when harmony prevails.

The basic principles for which we stand should be so earnestly and eloquently impressed both on our candidates and our members that all will be aroused by a mighty inspiration.

In our work, we should depend less on formalism and more on enlightenment. We owe more to the candidates who knock at our doors than we sometimes give them after they have crossed the portals. Mere ritualism alone will not suffice – it is appealing so far as it goes – but it does not go far enough; not every man is prepared to grasp its hidden meaning.

At the very outset of his Masonic career, the candidate should be thrilled with the vital principles and purposes of the Fraternity, and these should be made known to him as clearly as pure English can define them. Nor should that interest be allowed to wane and become inactive through any fault of ours.

We have among our members many men of ability who can aid materially in accomplishing this work. How shall we go about it? Let us only reiterate what we asked for last year, and with the hope that this time we will receive the hearty co-operation of the Grand Lodge.

We therefore sum up this report by submitting the following points for consideration, being the same four paragraphs that appeared in our report last year, and as found on page 508 of the printed proceedings of 1915, as follows:

First: That a Committee on Masonic Education, consisting of three members, be appointed by the M. W. Grand Master to serve for the ensuing year. That it shall be the duty of this Committee to exercise a helpful influence toward all Lodges who desire their counsel and advice. That this Committee shall foster and encourage throughout this jurisdiction the study and research of Masonic tradition, history, literature, law, philosophy, and dominant purposes of this Institution.

Second: That a series of lectures to be read in our Lodges at stated periods, shall be prepared under the direction of such Committee; such lectures to be submitted to the M. W. Grand Master for his approval, and afterward printed; one lecture to be mailed each month to every Lodge in this jurisdiction, but only on request.

Third: That a series of three lectures be prepared under the direction of the Committee on Masonic Education, along exoteric lines, appropriate respectively to the E.A., F.C., and M.M. degrees; such lectures to be first approved by the M.W. Grand Master and afterwards printed. These lectures to be placed in the candidate's hands after he has received each degree. The lectures to be sold to the Lodges desiring them, at cost.

Fourth: That the formation of Study Clubs be encouraged, and that this feature of the work follow a systematic and carefully conceived plan.

Irving J. Mitchell, Alfred W. Bush, John Whicher, Committee.

The report was adopted.

(This is an exceedingly wise and able report, and its adoption by the Grand Lodge of California is a significant omen. Seldom have we seen the need for Masonic education stated with more force and aptness, both from the point of view of the efficiency of the Order and its influence upon society, and the recommendations cover about all the methods so far tried albeit keeping the whole program, and rightly so, immediately under the supervision of the Grand Master and the Committee. The suggestion about the three lectures on the first three degrees is most timely, for that it takes advantage of the fresh impression in the minds of newly admitted Brethren, making use of an enthusiasm and interest too often neglected and wasted. We note with deep interest the encouragement given to the formation of study clubs, which promises to be so important and delightful a feature of Masonry in the years to come.

Howbeit, we are minded to call special attention to the suggestion to induce able and well-informed men of the jurisdiction to prepare themselves for service as Masonic lecturers or instructors. There are any number of such men in every jurisdiction, and we have the feeling that this will be the final solution of the vexed problem of securing competent and reliable Masonic lecturers. Why not have a Board of such lecturers, as we have in many jurisdictions for the teaching of the ritual – what could be more delightful, interesting and worth while both for the lecturers and for the young men whom they inspire and instruct in Masonry? This is not meant to depreciate, in the least, the services of professional Masonic lecturers, some of whom have done most valuable work – although others are very disappointing and unsatisfactory, often setting forth strange, fantastic eccentric notions in the name of Masonry. All this is avoided by the recommendation of the California Committee, whose suggestion is worthy of thoughtful pondering by every jurisdiction awake to the necessity of Masonic education. – Editor.)

Return to Top



By Bro. Joseph Fort Newton

A. S. MacBride

MASONRY had many great teachers in times past, men of the first order of intellect who devoted their fine powers to the exposition of its simple, wise and beautiful truth. Pike, Parvin, Mackey, Fort, Gould, Speth, Crawley, Findel, Hughan, it is an honour to recall the names of such men, into whose labours we have entered, and whose legacy of inspiration and instruction is a priceless inheritance. Noble men, great Masons, tireless students, wise teachers – our debt to them is beyond calculation. But reverence for the work of men of other days should not make us forget our leaders today who are doing so much to interpret Masonry and make it eloquent and effective for its high purposes.

Masonry has great teachers today, many of them, but no one more worthy of the honour of his Brethren of every land and rank than Brother A. S. MacBride, of Lodge Progress, Glasgow. More than once we have said that his lectures on "Speculative Masonry" is one of the best Masonic books ever written, and we are ready any time to give a reason for the faith that is in us. First of all, its style is the native speech of Masonry – simple, lucid, and aglow with poetic light and beauty. There are passages that haunt you like noble music when the book has been laid aside. Second, it is a book of vision, in which Masonry is shown to be a wise, clear-seeing, practical Moral Idealism, touched with spiritual meanings and taught in symbols, parables, emblems, and dramas. Third, it is a book of careful, painstaking, reliable scholarship – three things which make it one of the real classics of the Order, and we sincerely hope that it is a fore-runner of other books of like spirit and quality.

As will be seen from the accompanying sketch, Brother MacBride was trained in the tradition and lore of the Craft by wise teachers of the olden time, whose method was as thorough as their knowledge was profound. For twenty-five years, or more, he has been a teacher of Masonry in the land of Robert Burns instructing young men in the symbolism and ceremonial of the Craft, and he has left a permanent impress upon the Masonry of his native land. His artist-eye exquisite sense of the fitness of things, together with his rich learning and sound common sense, make him an ideal instructor, and with these are joined a fine enthusiasm. Whether in public printed lecture, or in the more private teaching of the Order – examples of which lie before us in the form of rituals of the first three degrees – his work has the same sagacious insight, the same fine sanity, and the same delicate touch of poetry which mark him as a truly great teacher of Masonry.

Such men are rare, and we wish the work of Brother to be more widely known on this side of the waters, we present the following brief sketch of his Masonic career, by one of the Past Masters of Lodge Progress, with illustrations showing the new home of Lodge Leven St. John for which he did so much and where he is so beloved. It is such a sketch as the too great modesty of its subject would permit, interesting and valuable for its data, but conveying but a very slight impression of a man of unmistakable distinction of character of singular personal and intellectual charm, brotherly withal and winning; a gracious gentleman of Scotland, to know whom is to have something to remember of the finest tradition of his country and his race – a Mason to whom the world is a temple, a poet to whom the world is a song.

Brother A. S. MacBride was initiated in Lodge Leven St. John on the 13th July, 1866. On November the 19th, of the same year, he was elected Secretary; and on November 22nd, 1867, he was elected Master. The Lodge Leven St. John was constituted on April 9th, 1788, by several members of the craft residing in and about the towns of Leven in Dumbartonshire. As stated in the Charter, it was granted "for holding a Lodge in the said towns of Leven." That is, it was a movable Charter, and the old minute books which are preserved in fairly good order and which go back to the 6th November, 1788, show that meetings were held in various places from the river Fruin on Loch Lomond side, to the bridge over the river Leven at Dumbarton. These old minutes seem to indicate the existence of an unchartered Lodge, previous to the existing Charter from the Grand Lodge in Edinburgh.

It has been a practice from 1788 at least, as shown by the Minutes of the Lodge, to appoint instructors to every newly initiated member; and Brother MacBride in this respect had the good fortune to have as his instructors two of the very oldest Masons in the Lodge. It is to the instruction he then received that he attributes the enthusiastic interest with which he has for fifty years studied the history and symbolism of Masonry. It was at one time the universal custom in all Scottish Lodges to appoint these instructors (or "intenders" as they were called) to newly entered brethren, and it is to be regretted that this good old custom has been abandoned generally. It is still, however faithfully observed in Lodge Leven St. John.

In the second year of his accession to the chair, Brother MacBride introduced his system of lectures and instruction. He began, first of all, with the office-bearers, and in a year or two with the members of the Lodge. After seven years he retired from the chair, but still maintained a close connection with the Lodge. In 1879, with some reluctance and only at the unanimous and strong desire of the members, he once more accepted the position of Master. He continued in office until 1884, and as Past Master continued taking an active interest in the Lodge affairs. He was recalled again to the chair in 1887, and was in harness until 1896.

During this period of nearly thirty years the Lodge established a reputation for a high standard of "work," discipline and enterprise, and its members became celebrated for their knowledge of Masonry. The Lodges in Scotland generally, at that time, met in licensed premises; and Leven St. John met in the Black Bull Inn, in the village of Renton. The higher ideals of the craft, however, began to dominate the minds of the members, and the incongruity of having solemn and sacred ceremonies in a hall devoted to the worship of Bacchus determined them in 1891 to have a building of their own. Although a country Lodge, whose membership was small in number and practically composed of workmen, yet such was its vital energy and enthusiasm that, despite many difficulties, a commodious Lodge Room was erected. In a few years the Lodge building was not only completed free from debt but a new building fund was formed of upwards of three-hundred pounds for extensions. These extensions have now been completed and the building stands a monument to the enthusiasm and loyal devotion of the members, for, with the exception of three brethren belonging to other Lodges who unsolicited sent donations, all the expense amounting to about three thousand pounds has been defrayed by them. The Lodge Room presents some unique features which the accompanying photographs will partly show, in its pillars, winding stair of three, five and seven steps, and its middle chamber.

Sixteen years ago Brother MacBride removed to Glasgow and there threw in his lot with Lodge "Progress," which had been established two years previous. This Lodge is founded on temperance principles, a part of its constitution being, "No intoxicating or spirituous liquors shall be permitted at any meeting or communication of the Lodge, or held under the auspices of the Lodge." This was in Brother MacBride's opinion a movement that deserved the encouragement of every well wisher of the craft. Personally, he was not a total abstainer, but the drinking customs in connection with many lodges had become such a serious evil that some counterweight was greatly needed, and he therefore joined Lodge Progress. His long experience gave him an early opportunity of being of service to that Lodge; its members, while full of enthusiasm, being practically inexperienced in the work of Masonry.

In November, 1900, he was elected Master, and during that year he applied himself to the training of office-bearers in a knowledge of their duties and of the "work" in connection with the various degrees. In the succeeding year, and for fully ten years as a Past Master, he applied himself to the work of instruction. Enthusiastic instructive Lodge meetings were carried on for three or four months every winter. At these meetings lectures were delivered by him which have been revised and printed in a work entitled "Speculative Masonry." Besides this, various symbols and ceremonies were explained in detail and the students attending were also given an opportunity of "working." The result has been this: Lodge Progress stands out, not only as the strongest Lodge in Scotland, but also as representing the highest ideal in its method of "working." It is no boast, but a plain fact that these two Lodges, Leven St. John and Lodge Progress, are models in the manner in which they "work" the ceremonies of the various degrees, and in the knowledge possessed by their members of the symbolism and principles of Masonry.

When residing in the province of Dumbarton Brother MacBride took an interest in the proceedings of the Provincial Grand Lodge of Dumbarton. He was Secretary for a number of years and filled the offices successively of Provincial Grand Junior Warden, Provincial Grand Senior Warden, and Deputy Provincial Grand Master. On removing to Glasgow he was asked to allow himself to be nominated for office in the Provincial Grand Lodge of Glasgow but refused, considering that his energies could be directed to better purpose in the Lodge of Instruction connected with Lodge Progress. He, however, gave his services as a member of Provincial Grand Committee for a number of years.

Brother MacBride has been a member of the "Quatuor Coronati Lodge," London, since May, 1893, and has found the transactions of that Lodge of immense value to him in the course of his Masonic studies He has always been an advocate for reform in Lodge "working," and his criticisms of the coarse, vulgar methods adopted in some lodges brought on him occasionally the condemnation of his brethren, who, not having studied the symbolism of the craft, had very little conception of its real beauty and significance. These controversies, however, are all now things of the past, and he has been able to overcome, or modify, the news adverse to his mode of "working," and to gain generally the respect and esteem of those who at one time were his opponents.

Everywhere in the west of Scotland there has been of late years a marked improvement in the "work" of Masonry. The atmosphere of the lodges has been purified and elevated to a very considerable extent, and a larger and closer knowledge of its symbolism has been diffused amongst its members; and Brother MacBride rejoices at having been able in some degree to have contributed to this beneficial result.

All of which is true as to facts and dates, but not all of the truth, being a bare statement and far too conservative in its restrained recital, needing an added touch of appreciation and estimate of a distinguished service to the Fraternity. The work of Brother MacBride in behalf of Masonry may be divided into three parts, as things Masonic are so often divided: First, his genius as an expositor of the history, philosophy and symbolism of the Craft, proof of which may be known and read by all in the book to which we have referred. Second, his mastery of the ritual, and his poetic insight and literary skill in making it not only more luminous, but more perfect as a medium through which the spirit and truth of Masonry may be conveyed to the initiate. Of this aspect of his work we may not write in detail, except to say that the ritual prepared by him comes nearer to our ideal of what a Masonic ritual should be, alike in accuracy, dignity and beauty of form, and depth and suggestiveness of meaning, than any we have ever seen. It is an unalloyed delight to eye and ear and heart – Masonry wearing a robe woven by a poet-hand, and worthy of its spirit and truth.

And the third part of his labour is equally important – the manner in which he uses the ritual, thus wrought out, not only to evoke the Spirit of Masonry and to promote its fellowship, but to teach the truth it was meant to teach. He is a teacher who trains teachers – following the teachers who trained him – using the ritual, keeping close to the ritual, and through it leading his pupils to the wider questions that grow out of it and are suggested by it. Herein his method is sound, both Masonically and pedagogically, and it is a hint to put those who would teach Masonry on the right track. Moreover, his first care is to train the officers of the Lodge, making them leaders and teachers of the Craft as they should be. Take, for example, the following "Hints to Masters," which serve as a preface to the ritual of Lodge Progress:

  1. The Master should not be Craftsman, labourer, and everything. He should superintend and direct the work.
  2. Have a meeting of the Office-bearers, as soon after the election as possible, to arrange your work, and to encourage them to study and enter upon their duties with an enthusiastic spirit.
  3. Get each Office-bearer to learn the duties of the Office immediately above his, so that he may, when required, be able to perform them.
  4. Always remember it is the Master's work to plan, and to draw out the plan of work. Treat your Office-bearers confidentially and show them your plan, and then you may rightly expect them to work to it.
  5. Give every encouragement to any one who wishes to work, and get your Officers to do the same; but bear in mind that your own members have the first claim on your assistance and encouragement.
  6. Don't parade your authority, but prove yourself worthy of the power placed in your hands, by using it as seldom as possible.
  7. Remember the best Master is he who best serves the Craft. 'Tis no wonder that such a method, used in a spirit of Masonic idealism made effective by a fine practical capacity, has attested its worth and wisdom in rich results. It was the rare pleasure of a lifetime to visit Lodge Progress – of which we offer a brief account elsewhere in this issue to meet its members, and to join with them in paying homage to one of the wisest Masonic teachers of our generation whose work has won, and will continue to win increasingly, the lasting and grateful honor of the Craft in all lands where its gentle labours are known.

Return to Top



By Fay Hempstead - Poet Laureate of Freemasonry

Light and white are its leathern folds;
And a priceless lesson its texture holds.
Symbol it is, as the years increases,
Of the paths that lead through the fields of Peace.
Type it is of the higher sphere,
Where the deeds of the body, ended here,
Shall one by one the by-way be.
To pass the gates of Eternity.

Emblem it is of life intense,
Held aloof from the world of sense;
Of the upright walk and the lofty mind,
Far from the dross of Earth inclined.
Sign it is that he who wears
Its sweep unsullied, about him bears
That which should be to mind and heart
A set reminder of his art.

So may it ever bring to thee
The high resolves of Purity.
Its spotless filed of shining white,
Serve to guide thy steps aright;
Thy daily life, in scope and plan,
Be that of the strong and upright man.
And signal shall the honour be.
Unto those who wear it worthily

Receive it thus to symbolize
Its drift, in the life that before thee lies.
Badge as it is of a great degree,
Be it chart and compass unto thee.

Return to Top



By Bro. Wildey E. Atchison. A.S.S't Rr.N.'Y

I. Affiliation

THERE are many roads of Masonic Research. And while perhaps the most logical beginning for Study groups would be along the pathways bordered by the stories of the past, where here and there might be found a memorial of some prehistoric "Men's House," yet to many of us, a browse among the modern Masonic pastures is of equal interest. And so, while Brother Clegg leads us far afield in the land of folklore and mediaeval events which have a bearing upon the earlier aspects of this Institution we call Freemasonry, let those who are interested in the present, sit down in the ante-room for awhile, and consider the many-sided questions of Jurisprudence, as they are exhibited for us in the Codes and Judicial Decisions of our American Grand Lodges.

Let it be understood at the outset that this is intended as no exhaustive treatise upon Masonic Law. Nor will we attempt to codify the Statutes of our Grand Jurisdictions. Manifestly, a Masonic Journal, even the Journal of a Society devoted exclusively to Masonic Research, is no place for that. But just as many a man studies the Law, not with the expectation of practising it as a profession, but simply that he may ask intelligent questions and thereby keep out of legal tangles, so will we, as a matter of common information, make a careful, though somewhat limited investigation into the books of Masonic law as they are. And all this to the end that we may acquaint the Members of our Society with the fundamentals of our American Masonic Jurisprudence.

We all study Civil Government, that we may know something of our duties as a citizen in the State. Our present purpose is to take up a few of the more important points of Masonic citizenship, if you please. Let me repeat that I aim at no formal codification. This effort is simply to portray, through the means of a brief tabulation, a comparative statement of the legal machinery of Masonry, but comprehensive enough so that the fundamentals will be easily understood.

There is ample excuse for such a series as this will be, if excuse were needed, in the embarrassing situations created among Brethren whose vocation keeps them traveling through different States. It has been stated with cause, that many a Mason loses interest, and becomes indifferent, if not a non-affiliate, because of his own unfamiliarity with the common requirements regarding visitation. And again, Brethren who contemplate a change of residence to another State, hesitate a long time before affiliating with the Fraternity in their new homes, simply because they do not know anything about the formal steps which must be taken. They feel that to attend Lodge regularly in their newfound homes is an imposition upon the very men who would be glad to greet them as Brethren; they feel that to attend the banquets and functions of the Lodge without joining in the expense incurred (as they would be doing if they paid dues) is demanding too much of Courtesy. The constraint remains, often for a long period, before some good Brother of the Lodge discovers the fact of membership, and brings the lonesome one into the fold in the proper manner.

The present study concerns "Affiliation." It will be followed, from time to time, by others. So far as each table goes, it will embody the Codified Law and the Judicial Decisions affecting the points considered, and we shall in every case endeavour to have our brief statement of the proposition checked up by the Grand Secretary of each Jurisdiction, that it may be accurate. If errors are found, we shall welcome correction. And if, after reading the present table, the Brethren of the Society believe that it will be worth while to reprint them (for we expect to cover at least twenty or more of the important subjects), we shall be glad to do so at the close of the series.

Necessarily these tables will overlap one another at many points – that is inevitable. But we shall do our best to keep the lines as clearly drawn between them as possible, and shall welcome your suggestions which will make the presentation more practical, more timely, or better calculated to fill the need.

The February subject will be "Advancement." Other topics on the way are "Demits," "Visitation," "Qualifications," etc. Occasionally we hope to be able to vary this program with discussions of these questions from the viewpoint of Grand Lodges outside of America.

It was found necessary to restrict the subdivisions of the subject to the number given in the chart, not only for conservation of space in THE BUILDER, but to avoid digression, as the subject of Affiliation is intimately connected with others such as Balloting, the Masonic standing of unaffiliated Masons, etc. Neither has it been practical to quote the exact wording of the various Codes in the narrow space allotted to the different headings. But the attitude of each Grand Lodge has been stated in as few words as possible, and in a uniform manner where possible, ignoring certain peculiar linguistic forms which, while officially adopted in the various Grand Jurisdictions, are immaterial from the point of view of this study. But we believe our members will have no difficulty in grasping the important features of the problems involved.

Return to Top



By H. Rider Haggard

IF any reader will take the trouble to consult a modern map of central South Africa, he may see a vast block of territory bounded, roughly speaking, by the Zambesi on the north and the Transvaal on the south, by Barotseland and Bechuanaland on the west, and by Portuguese East Africa on the east, measuring perhaps six hundred miles square.

Scattered over this huge expanse are found ancient ruins, whereof about five hundred are known to exist, while doubtless many more remain to be discovered. These ruins, in spite of certain late theories to the contrary, it would seem almost certain – or so, at least, my late friend, Theodore Bent, and other learned persons have concluded – were built by people of Semitic race, perhaps Phoenicians, or, to be more accurate, South Arabian Himyarites, a people rendered somewhat obscure by age. At any rate, they worshiped the sun, the moon, the planets, and other forces of nature, and took observations of the more distant stars. Also, in the intervals of these pious occupations, they were exceedingly keen business men. Business took them to South Africa, where they were not native, and business kept them there, until at last, while still engaged on business, or so it seems most probable, they were all of them slain.

Their occupation was gold-mining, perhaps with a little trading in "ivory, almug-trees, apes and peacocks" – or ostriches – thrown in. They opened up hundreds of gold reefs, from which it is estimated that they extracted at least seventy-five million pounds' worth of gold, and probably a great deal more. They built scores of forts to protect their line of communication with the coast. They erected vast stronghold temples, of which the Great Zimbabwe, that is situated practically in the center of the block of territory delimited above, is the largest yet discovered. They worshipped the sun and the moon, as I have said. They enslaved the local population by tens of thousands to labour in the mines and other public works, for gold-seeking was evidently their state monopoly.

A Vanished People

They came, they dwelt, they vanished. That is all we know about them. What they were like, what their domestic habits, what land they took ship from, to what land returned, how they spent their leisure, in what dwellings they abode, whither they carried their dead for burial – of all these things and many others we are utterly ignorant.

But Mr. Andrew Lang, with that fine touch of his, has put the problem in a little poem that once he wrote at my request for a paper in which I was interested at the time, so much better than I can do, that I will quote a couple of his verses:

Into the darkness whence they came,
They passed; their country knoweth none.
They and their gods without a name
Partake the same oblivion.
Their work they did, their work is done,
Whose gold, it may be, shone like fire,
About the brows of Solomon,
And in the House of God's Desire.

The pestilence, the desert spear,
Smote them; they passed, with none to tell
The names of them that laboured there;
Stark walls and crumbling crucible,
Strait gates and graves, and ruined well,
Abide, dumb monuments of old;
We know but that men fought and fell,
Like us, like us for love of gold.

The thing is strange, almost terrifying to think of. We modern folk are very vain of ourselves. We can hardly conceive a state of affairs on this little planet in which we shall not fill a large part; when for practical purposes, except for some obscure traces of blood, our particular race, the Anglo-Saxon, the Teutonic, the Gallic, whatever it may be, has passed away and been forgotten. Imagine London, Paris, Berlin, Chicago, and those who built them, forgotten ! Yet such things may well come about; indeed, there are forces at work in the world, although few folk give a thought to them, which seem likely to bring them about a great deal sooner than we anticipate.

As we think today, so doubtless these Phoenicians, or Himyarites, or whoever they may have been, thought in their day. Remember, it must have been a great people that without the aid of steam or firearms could have penetrated, not peacefully, we may be sure, into the dark heart of Africa, and there have established their dominion over its teeming millions of population.

Under The Conquerors

Probably the struggle was long and fierce – how fierce their fortifications show, for evidently they lived the overlords, the taskmasters of hostile multitudes; yes, multitudes and multitudes, for there are great districts in Rhodesia where, for league after league, even the mountainsides are terraced by the patient, laborious toil of man, that every inch of soil might be made available for the growth of food. Yet these fierce Semitic traders broke their spirit and brought them under the yoke; forced them to dig in the dark mines for gold, to pound the quartz with stone hammers and bake it in crucibles; forced them to quarry the hard granite and ironstone to the shape and size of the bricks whereto they were accustomed in their land of origin, and, generation by generation, to build up the mighty, immemorial mass of temple fortresses.

When did they do it? No one knows, but from the orientation of the ruins to the winter or the summer solstice, or to northern stars, scholars think that the earliest of them were built somewhere about two thousand years before Christ. And when did they cease from their labours, leaving nothing behind them but these dry-built walls – for, although they were proficient in the manufacture of cement, they used no mortar – and the hollow pits whence they had dug the gold, and the instruments with which they treated it ? That no scholar can tell us, although many scholars have theories on the matter. They vanished, that is all. Probably the subject tribes, having learned their masters' wisdom, rose up and massacred them to the last man; and in those days there was no historian to record it and no novelist to make a story of the thing.

Solemn, awe-inspiring, the great elliptical building of Zimbabwe still stands beneath the moon, which once doubtless was worshipped from its courts. In it are the altars and the sacred cone where once the priests made prayer, or perchance offered sacrifice of children to Baal and to Ashtaroth.

The People Of The Sun

On the hill above, amidst the granite boulders, frowns the fortress, and all round stretch the foundation blocks of a dead city. Here the Makalanga, that is, the People of the Sun, descendants without doubt of the Semitic conquerors and the native races, still make offerings of black oxen to the spirits of their ancestors – or did so till within a few years gone. The temple, too, or so they hold, is still haunted by those spirits; none will enter it at night. But of the beginning of it all these folk know nothing. If questioned, they say only that the place was built by white men "when stones were soft"; that is, countless ages ago.

What a place it must have been when the monoliths and the carven vultures, each upon its soapstone pillar, stood in their places upon the broad, flat tops of the walls, when the goldsmiths were at work and the merchants trafficked in the courts, when the processions wound their way through the narrow passages, and the white-robed, tall-capped priests did sacrifice in the shrines !

Where did they bury their dead, one wonders. For of these, as yet, no cemetery has been found. Perhaps they cremated them and cast their ashes to the winds. Perhaps they embalmed them, if they were individuals of consequence, and sent them back to Arabia or to Tyre, as the Chinese send home their dead today, while humbler folk were cast out to the beasts and birds. Or perhaps they still lie in deep and hidden kloofs among the mountains.

Return to Top



We have a debt to every great heart, to every fine genius; to those who have put life and fortune on the cast of an act of justice; to those who have added new sciences; to those who have refined life by elegant pursuits. 'Tis the fine souls who serve us, and not what is called fine society. – Emerson.

Return to Top



Dec. 18-19, 1773

In seventeen hundred seventy three
Three ships left Albion's docks with tea.

They little dreamed of what destiny planned
As they sailed away to the western land,

For to Boston harbour they were bound
Where the proud old world got turned around.

Now the Colonist loved his tea to sip
'Twas the stamp thereon made him "bite his lip."

And he vowed that there would trouble be
If the King sent on the stamp taxed tea.

So the local Masonic Lodge, you see,
Planned to have a "party" when came the tea.

And the secret they kept till it came in, –
Now soon the festivities would begin.

The communication to order came
And outlined the details of the "game."

The Junior Warden from labour, then
Called to refreshments the waiting men.

And soon they went out as Indians red,
And the chief, the Junior Warden, led.

And the whoops that rang in the streets that night
Were the signals that started the Colonies right.

And on and on to the wharf they flew,
And no sentry or watchman their errand knew.

Their torches flared that December night,
And their hatchets gleamed in the sombre light.

And they brushed the sailors aghast aside
And consigned the tea to the ocean's tide.

And as o'er the railings the chests were flung
They were smashed with the hatchets deftly swung.

And those "reds" ceased not till the cargoes three
Were "brewing" away in the "salted sea."

And back to the Lodge they swiftly sped
As Revere, the Junior Warden, led.

And SOME things were said that had the ring
Of eternal defiance to the King!

No tax, not agreed, will we ever pay
On the goods of the realm sent to Boston Bay!

And the Lodge was closed in its due form
As the gray in the east foretold the morn.

~ ~ ~ ~

So it was that this way of "serving the tea"
Set the fires that made the Colonies free.

And from this time on till victory came
The Masonic Colonist was "in the game."

And the Nation should ever its tribute pay
To the "party" that night in Boston Bay.
– L. B. Mitchell, Mich.

Return to Top



Why do I see these empty boats, sailing on airy seas ?
One haunted me the whole night long, swaying with every breeze,
Returning always near the eaves, or by the skylight glass:
There it will wait me many weeks, and then, at last, will pass.
Each soul is haunted by a ship in which that soul might ride
And climb the glorious mysteries of Heaven's silent tide
In voyages that change the very metes and bounds of fate –
O, empty boats, we all refuse, that by our windows wait!
-Vachel Lindsay.

Return to Top



Edited by Bro. Robert I. Clegg, Caxton Building, Cleveland Ohio


By R.I. Clegg

THERE are some old documents known to us, as the Ancient Charges. These show that the Freemasons of the middle ages possessed a curious tradition peculiar to themselves. This tradition dealt with the origin of Masonry and the invention of geometry, that branch of the liberal arts and sciences that enters so largely into the practice of the craft whether operative or speculative. Conder, in his book. "The Hole Craft and Fellowship of Masons," says that "this tradition was without doubt largely due to the clerical influence exercised over their calling."

Not only is this very probable but there is internal evidence to indicate that the oldest of these Ancient Charges was written by one holding office in the Church.

This contact of the Lodge and the Church is not surprising. From the most remote antiquity Masons have built structures to house the worshippers of the Deity. At all stages of the work they have been associated with the priesthood. They were also intimately allied with those religious orders affiliated with the Church.

This fact is of itself sufficient to account for the semi-religious body that the Masons became. It explains the moral teaching and the curious traditions found embedded so intimately within the Masonic organization which has so freely drawn upon the sacred books of the Church and from legendary history.

Brother Conder says further: "Undoubtedly such was the fact. It is therefore without surprise that about the end of the fourteenth or early in the fifteenth century we find a document, evidently founded on a much earlier one (or on remote oral traditions) which recites the supposed history of the Fellowship of Masons, and lays down rules for the guidance of its members; at the same time inculcating a behaviour and conduct, which if not a gratuitous insertion is as regards ordinary workmen greatly in advance of the spirit of the time, and far beyond that practised by the other trades. No doubt this was to support the craft in maintaining its ancient worthy position, and in order that its members might continue to hold their ancient and honourable station."

"As the beauty of the so-called Gothic architecture advanced under the wing of the Church, schools of Masonry, wherein the elements of Euclid were taught to the higher classes of operative masons, became attached to certain religious houses and from time to time efficient workmen left these schools for work further afield."

Not only in their structural designs but in the decoration of their buildings the old craftsmen made liberal employment of the principles set forth by the great geometrician, Euclid. In the construction of the equilateral triangle entering into the very first proposition of Euclid's famous "Elements" there was shown to the Master Mason a new form for the arch, a suggestion for the familiar trifoil representative of the Trinity, and by the intersection of the circles he was symbolically shown "the Deity ever present where the eternity of the past overlapped the eternity of the future, who was, and is, and is to be."

"If we follow the details of Gothic architecture, we shall see that the triangle and the circle form the keystone to that ornamental tracery for which this style is noted. This symbolical language of Masonry, together with the use of the Mason's square and compasses, would doubtless be used by the ecclesiastics as an object lesson to the workmen engaged on the sacred edifice and so become incorporated in the traditions of their gild. The Masons at the cathedrals and other large ecclesiastical buildings were attached to the monastery, and often a technical school of Masonry was founded by the monks who in teaching the craft would not forget the higher or symbolical meaning to be derived from the geometrical figures used in tracing sections, etc." Thus far I quote Brother Conder.

How far is this vision borne out by the facts? To my mind it has a very reasonable foundation. Let us take but one of the old monastic orders and compare it with Freemasonry. I will not now take the time or space to go carefully into a comparison of the Ancient Charges or any part of them with the rules and regulations laid down by any order of monks. Such a comparison while interesting is largely unnecessary because for all practical purposes the monitorial charges of today are similar to those given in the old charges. You may therefore compare for yourselves what I may say of any monastic institution and determine how far it resembles the Freemasonry that is known to you by its distinctive charges and ceremonies, by our authorized and familiar monitor and ritual.

We will, if you please, consider then the order of St. Benedict. That great lawgiver, dying in the year 542, saw one night in a vision the whole world gathered together under one beam of the sun. So states Gregory in the following century and the tale has come down the long years. In the light of this very suggestive illumination his followers had great breadth in religious convictions.

Said the Venerable Bede: "You know, my brother, the custom of the Roman Church in which you remember you were bred up. But it pleases me that if you have found anything either in the Roman or the Galician, or any other Church, which may be more acceptable to Almighty God, you carefully make choice of the same, and sedulously teach the Church of the English, which as yet is new in the Faith, whatsoever you can gather from the several Churches. For things are not to be loved for the sake of places, but places for the sake of good things. Choose therefore from every Church those things that are pious, religious, and upright, and when you have, as it were, made them up into one body, let the minds of the English be accustomed thereto." Such were the instructions of Gregory to Augustine.

Newman has given us in the Mission of St. Benedict to Europe an estimate so richly coloured by his affectionate regard for the brethren that it reads with extravagant force.

"Silent men were observed about the country, or discovered in the forest digging, cleaning, and building; and other silent men, not seen, were sitting in the cold cloister tiring their eyes and keeping their attention on the stretch, while they painfully deciphered, then copied and recopied, the manuscripts which they had saved. There was no one that contended or cried out, or drew attention to what was going on; but by degrees the woody swamp became a hermitage, a religious house, a farm, an abbey, a village, a seminary, a school of learning, and a city. Roads and villages connected it with other abbeys and cities which had similarly grown up; and what the haughty Alaric or fierce Attila had broken to pieces these patient meditative men have brought together and made to live again. And then, when they had in the course of many years gained their peaceful victories, perhaps some new invaders came, and with fire and sword undid their slow and persevering toil in an hour. Down in the dust lay the labour and civilization of centuries- -churches, colleges, cloisters, libraries – and nothing was left to them but to begin all over again; but this they did without grudging, so promptly, cheerfully, and tranquilly, as if it were by some law of nature that the restoration came; and they were like the flowers and shrubs and great trees which they reared, and which when ill-treated do not take vengeance or remember evil, but give forth fresh branches, leaves and blossoms, perhaps in greater profusion or with richer quality, for the very reason that the old were rudely broken off."

Of Dunstan, whose work in the restoration after the ravages of war was notable, Newman recites: "As a religious he showed himself in the simple character of a Benedictine. He had a taste for the arts generally, especially music. He painted and embroidered; his skill in smith's work is recorded in the well-known legend of his combat with the evil one. And, as the monks of Hilarion joined gardening with psalmody, and Bernard and his Cistercians joined field work with meditation, so did St. Dunstan use music and painting as directly expressive or suggestive of devotion. 'He excelled in writing, painting, moulding in wax, carving in wood and bone, and in work in gold, silver, iron, and brass,' says the author of his life in Surius, 'and he used his skill in musical instruments to charm away from himself and others their secular annoyances, and to raise them to the theme of heavenly harmony, both by the sweet words with which he accompanied his airs and by the concord of the airs themselves.'"

We are told that when a young man desired to enter the monastery of St. Augustine he had to remain for some time in the guest house as a postulant. When the day was fixed for the admission, or as it was called, the "rastura," the shaving of his head, the prior gave him notice that three days before he was to dine with the abbot. The abbot would then call the prior and two of the seniors, and they appointed the novice-master who was charged to instruct him in all that was necessary for his state, and to supply all his wants. The abbot, then, after some kind words, left the youth in the hands of the master, who examined him and found out if he had everything he wanted for the time of his probation.

The postulant was then warned to cleanse his soul by confession if necessary, and was then instructed in the rudiments of monastic ceremonial. These instructions were spread over the intervening days on one of which the postulant dined with the prior.

On the day appointed the postulant attended divine service and made an offering after the reading of the Gospel. His master then took him to the chapel and there prepared him diligently for the ceremony.

When the hour arrived he went with his master into the chapter house where the brethren were assembled and prostrated himself before the abbot.

He was then asked what he desired and he replied in the usual form. He was then bidden to arise, and was told by the abbot how hard and trying was the life that he desired.

Then he was asked if he was freeborn. Was he in good health and free from any incurable disease ? Was he ready to accept hardships as well as pleasant things, to obey and bear ignominy for the love of Christ? To these questions he replied "Yes, by the grace of God."

Continuing the examination the abbot asked if the postulant had ever been professed in any other stricter order; whether he was bound by any promise of marriage, and was he free from debt and irregularity.

On receiving an answer in the negative the abbot granted his prayer; and he was forthwith taken by the novice-master to have his head shaved and be invested with the monastic habit.

Gould gives us the essentials of the initiation into the order of St. Benedict as "The vow was to be made with all possible solemnity, in the chapel, before the relics in the shrine, with the abbot and all the brethren standing by, and once made it was to be irrevocable."

He further points out the relation of the ritual to darkness as connected with death and initiation. Upon the matter of the ceremonial he had the advantage of quoting directly from a communication sent to him by an eyewitness, and which was given in the following terms:

"St. Pauls without the walls of Rome is a basilica church, and in the apse behind the high altar another altar had been fitted up. The head of the Benedictines is a mitred abbot. On this morning the abbot was sitting as I entered the church, with his mitre on his head and crozier in hand. Soon after our entrance a young man was led up to the abbot who placed a black cowl on his head. The young man then descended the steps, went upon his knees, put his hands as in the act of prayer, when each of the monks present came up and, also on their knees, kissed him in turn. When they had finished, a velvet cloth, with gold or silver embroidery on it, was spread in front of the altar; on this the young man lay down and a black silk pall was laid over him. Thus, under semblance of a state of death he lay while mass was celebrated by the abbot. When this was finished, one of the deacons of the mass approached where the young man lay, and muttered a few words from a book he held in his hand. I understood that the words used were from the Psalms, and were to this effect: 'Oh thou that sleepest, arise to everlasting life.' The man then arose, was led to the altar, where I think he received the sacrament, and then took his place among the Brotherhood."

The significant numbers three, five and seven are curiously found to be employed by the Benedictines. There were "three voices" to be recognized among the brethren in the chapter. These were the ones of the accuser, the answerer, and the judge.

Another "five voices" were those of him who presided, the guardians of the order; the precentor and succentor; the brothers charged with keeping the silence, "because silence is called the key of the whole order"; and then the almoner and sub-almoner. These five in their order were the first to proclaim any one who through their respective offices they knew had infringed the rules. The monk so proclaimed had to go out into the center of the chapter and prostrating made confession of his fault, and saying "Mea culpa" (I have done wrong) and promising amendment then received penance and rebuke.

Every one who had ceased to be under ward had a right to speak in the chapter on "three points"; defects in the public worship, the breaking of silence, and the distribution of alms. On all other subjects he must ask leave to speak.

In processions there was to be preserved a distance of "seven" feet between each of the monks.

But sufficient has been pointed out to serve our purpose. These extracts will be found highly suggestive to the thoughtful Mason and will recall much that is bound up in his own experience.

Return to Top

Hints For Further Research

The two preceding issues of the Bulletin have had a number of references for the study of Freemasonry in the middle ages. To these I may add the two volumes entitled "The Black Monks of St. Benedict," by E. L. Taunton, and published by John C. Nimmo of London, and Longmans, Green and Co., New York. Free use of this work has been made for presenting the above facts.

Return to Top

Keystone Kraftsmen Klub

In response to your "Get Together" letter of September, let me present "Keystone Kraftsmen Klub" as a new member of the Correspondence Circle.

This is the beginning of an earnest, active society of Craftsmen who desire to know why and how they are known as Masons.

The announced purposes are given as "the attainment of greater efficiency in degree work, a practical knowledge of the various lectures and a better understanding of the tenets and philosophy of Masonry."

An invitation was extended to all Master Masons residing in this vicinity as well as to the members of Keystone Lodge No. 153, F. & A. M., upon the regular monthly Lodge notice.

Permanent organization was perfected on Tuesday evening November 7, the brethren present including the Master, Junior Warden, Senior Deacon and a Past Master. At this meeting it was decided to follow Masonic usage rather than an elaborate code of by-laws for the government of the sessions.

The presiding officer is to be the Master of Keystone Lodge if he be a member of the Klub. If he is not a member, a vice president will take the chair. The purpose of this is many sided as you will see. In the first place, we are sure of the "brightest" Mason being in the chair, that we shall have him handy for information as to what he desires in the Lodge during his administration, that he can see that his staff of officers is efficient in their work, and also see that nothing but good Masonic subjects are studied. He is not expected to take an active part in the preparation of papers unless he so desires.

The Chairman of the Program Committee, who chooses one assistant, will assign all topics for papers, by and with the advice of the President. He will assist the members in the preparation of papers, advise them as to where to find the information desired, if possible, and act as Librarian of the Klub.

The Treasurer will also be the Chairman of the Membership Committee. He and his assistant will pass upon all applications for membership, collect the dues, issue membership cards, which are to be signed by the President, and keep the funds, paying them out by check.

The Secretary, then, has but his minutes and correspondence to handle

For the present our dues are $2.00 per year, payable in advance.

Meetings will be held on the second and fourth Wednesdays of the month, except during June, July and August. The second meeting in June is to be used as a "Pilgrimage" to some place of Masonic interest.

It is proposed to secure speakers on special topics from time to time, and issue special invitations therefor.

One of the first benefits to be secured is a standard course of instruction for candidates, and an established school of instruction for the officers, in floorwork as well as the lectures. The floorwork to be exemplified in the Lodge room.

We shall be pleased to be put in touch with other clubs through the "clearing house" you have established, and to receive suggestions at any time.

The Keystone Kraftsmen Klub will thoroughly enjoy the articles published in "The Builder," and Keystone Lodge will receive as much benefit from this club as it will agree to hear.

With best wishes for success in your great work, T. George Middleton, P. M., Chairman Programme Committee.

This excellent plan should fully fill that long-felt want of which I am hearing so much. A skilfully planned administration it is, hinging as it should upon close contact with Lodge authority and making excellent progress. An ideal arrangement truly from many points of view and cannot but be richly successful. Say, Brother Middleton, when you arrange that "Pilgrimage" in June, please do not fail to let me know of it. If within easy reach of the possibilities I shall gladly join you. And in the meantime kindly continue to keep me in touch with your doings.

Return to Top

New Work For The Fellowcrafts

I was a little surprised to see a portion of my letter some time since printed in THE BUILDER of November. Your offer to help start me off is timely and good.

There is connected with Adelphi Lodge an organization called the Fellow-craft Club whose primary aim is to keep the Brothers in line so that we may have a full, well-drilled floor team. It appealed to me that I could put the proposition of a Study Club up to the F. C. club and if they took it up it would help me in getting the study idea going in New Haven.

I met with them last evening and the idea was taken up more enthusiastically than I dared hope. I told them briefly what I hoped to do and asked them to think it over until next meeting one month hence – my idea being that I would rather drop the whole thing than have to be and make all the enthusiasm myself. They voted to subscribe for THE BUILDER and next month I am to address them on the modest subject of "Masonic Law" and at that time present a modus operandi.

This is where you come in. I have my organization place and time of meeting. Our idea is to use perhaps an hour of the club's meeting time in this way. I should like some advice as to program and methods of conduct. For the good of the Craft in general and Adelphi Lodge in particular I want to make a success of it. Our club has 72 members on the list and there was an attendance of 13 besides myself last evening and this was normal for no one but the secretary-treasurer knew what I was about to propose.

I apologize for writing so long a letter but I wished to show my proposition from all sides thinking also that it might help some other Brother to know of the F. C. Club and perhaps organize one which would combine study with actual Lodge service as ours will if we succeed.
Julius H. McCollum, Sec'y Adelphi Lodge No. 63, New Haven, Conn.

Suppose you try out the Keystone Kraftsmen Klub as explained by Brother Middleton in this issue. When you run out of papers prepared by any of your members, try one of mine. In every issue of THE BUILDER I aim to publish a paper on some question of interest to my Brother Masons. If I don't happen to take such lines of study as in your judgment may seem most desirable, kindly let me know. But your situation is so closely akin to that of Brother Middleton's that I wish you would put into practice as far as possible and let us know the results. too, have something to do with a Masonic Club, being President of a Masonic Temple Association of considerable size. To many of us your experience will be of the greatest interest and consequence.

Return to Top

Lodge Is A School

In late issue of THE BUILDER many writers are stressing the importance of making the Lodge a Study Club. Really if we had taken second thought, that is what a Lodge is, and always has been, a place where "Masons meet," where the "Worshipful Master gives good and wholesome instruction," etc. It is a hopeless task to try to get up anything new in Masonry. All that is best for man physically and spiritually, and the sanest, simplest way of doing it, has been culled from the wisdom of ages, so that all that remains for him to do is to put in practice the beautiful system, to the end that life on earth may be sane, normal, easy to live and full of intense enjoyment. By all means revive the ancient practice and make the Lodge a study club. A. K. Bradley, Tioga, Texas.

True enough ! A Lodge is the place for work and for study. Just as a diamond reflects all rays of light with added glory in color and in brilliance so has the Lodge, to the seeing eye, to the informed intellect, to the awakened mind, a message of grouped facts and instruction borrowed from the near and the remote past. Converging in that geometrical crystal of history that we call the Lodge, our priceless heritage should there be turned into glowing radiance of service, a truly perfect reflection in new uses of old tenets, the ancient made modern. You do well to remind us that the Lodge is a School. Would that our hearts are ever open to its teaching.

Return to Top

Putting It Up To George

We had a meeting for the starting of a Study Club on Wednesday last, in the Scottish Rite Club Rooms of our Temple. There were but five men present – discouragement enough for any five men. However, we have come back like Antaios, doubly determined that by our own endeavours and your assistance we shall receive further light in Masonry.

Accordingly we have set a second meeting for Thursday November 23, at the same place and for the same purpose. We have set it far enough into the future that we can have opportunity to communicate with all Brethren possible. Fraternal Lodge No. 37 has nobly come to our assistance and instructed its Secretary to send a postal card notice of this meeting to all its members. Our own lodge, Trinity No. 208, has a notice of it published in its monthly Bulletin. We further intend to have it noticed on all bulletin boards, and in the City papers.

We are especially interested in the closing paragraph of your letter in which you offer your valued assistance in preparing by-laws and organizing. Will you kindly send me what you have on this so that I can present a plan of organization at the meeting ? Albert Block, 310 City Hall, Davenport, Iowa.

In response to your letter of recent date I am enclosing you herewith a copy of the by-laws adopted by the Boone, Iowa, Study Club. You will note that their code is a model of simplicity and, it would seem to me, could be adopted by other Clubs with very little modification. They have provided for three officers: a President, Vice-President and a Secretary-Treasurer which are practically all that should be required.

Some Study Clubs are asking us for a cut-and-dried program of study to cover a period of six months or a year. Others are using Brother Clegg's articles which appear each month in the "Correspondence Circle Bulletin." Personally I consider the latter course more preferable.

Brother Clegg is making a series of the articles, connecting them up one with the other, and they are going to prove fascinating as well as instructive. This, to my mind, is what the Brethren want, the majority of them will not care to be loaded up with dry facts and specific data which they cannot remember. That all the Brethren will agree in the opinions expressed by Brother Clegg is not to be expected. In fact the articles are written with a view of inviting expressions of diverse opinions of the members of the Study Clubs.

We want them to prepare papers on the subjects to be read and discussed at the same meetings at which Brother Clegg's articles are used, and to send copies of their papers to us so that we may forward them to the other Clubs.

For this reason we shall ask the Clubs to use Brother Clegg's articles at their meetings a month later than their appearance in THE BUILDER in order to enable the Study Club members to prepare their papers on the subject and mail copies of them to us not later than the fifteenth of the following month so that we may have time to copy them here and send them out to the other Clubs in advance of their meetings.

We also hope that the Study Club Secretaries will mail us each month a report of their proceedings so that we at Anamosa may be kept in close touch with each individual Club.

I shall anxiously await the result of your meeting and wish you every success in the organization of your Club.
Geo. L. Schoonover, Secretary.

Brother Schoonover's answering letter fills the bill in so many directions that I could not refrain from publishing it. Explaining as it does so clearly the desire we all have for a frank and thorough discussion of the papers published in the Bulletin, I sincerely trust its suggestions will be followed with zest and with all practicable regularity. Of many minds are Masons. Differences of opinion are common to us upon various branches of Masonic study. No one, least of all myself, should fail to welcome every effort at a better understanding of Masonry. To bring about a wholesome regard for study and for students among Masons, to set a still larger section than ever of the Craft to work, to do this acceptably in a cheering spirit and systematic style, is indeed a task. But already there's great encouragement. And many thanks for that compliment, G. L. S.

Return to Top

Developing Individual Effort In The Study Club

A word about our Study Club may be of interest. We have a membership of fifteen with an attendance of about twelve, and at this time are taking up the study of Brother Newton's book, "The Builders." We assign two questions to each member for each semi-monthly meeting, we first gave a greater number of questions, and confined the answers to the book answers but found this not satisfactory, as we frequently departed from the book for other information, and found that the study lasted longer than we believed best for a continued interest in the work. So we decided to limit it to two questions and allow the members to depart from the book answers and give a review of the question assigned from any research they desired to follow.

Our dues are one dollar per year. We frequently have a luncheon or dinner prior to the study, and on occasion, we gave an evening to the consideration of Masonic poetry to which we invited the ladies, assigning to the guests selections to read or recite.

We are pleased with the interest in the club work and observe that the members dislike to miss a single meeting, and frequently forego other important functions in order to be present.

The by-laws of the Boone, Iowa, club are of interest, but we do not think they are as well adapted to a club having in mind individual effort, as those adopted by our club.

Our purpose is to make every member a student and in turn an instructor, to require individual study and effort, and in order to accomplish this object, we have limited the membership to fifteen, believing that if a greater number desire to become members, that a second club would be a greater advantage than to have so many members that the individual effort might be overlooked.

In the notes of the Study Club Department we believe the plan suggested of a larger membership, would require instruction more in the nature of a lecture, this we believe would be instructive for the hour, but it is not the kind of effort that will stay with the student.

We shall be pleased to have any suggestions from time to time, and will be glad to submit special papers as we have opportunity. Clark Cooper, President Masonic Study Club, Canon City, Colo.

Whether a Study Club shall be large or small is not offhand an easy question for me to answer. Your point, Brother Cooper, is decidedly worth pondering. It is not quite the same question as to the preference between large lodges and small ones, as I see your position. Do we not all agree that there should be more complete circulation of Masonic knowledge among the Brethren? How far then shall we restrict Study Club membership ? Of course there may be a distinct advantage in independent meetings, and even of an organization separately, of the leaders, the "instructors," to use Brother Cooper's term. But in some way the work of the Study Club ought to get before the brethren at large. You recognized this social impulse in most commendable style, Brother Cooper, when you enlarged your audience to include the ladies. Why should we not oftener plan for papers attractive to that sex ? The idea seems eminently deserving of imitation. Here are the rules of the Boone Club:

Return to Top

Boone Masonic Study Club

Constitution and By-Laws

PREAMBLE – The Masons of Boone, Iowa, being desirous of obtaining for themselves "Further Light in Masonry," and of promoting to the best of their ability the Cause of Masonic Research, for the good of the Order, hereby associate themselves into an organization for Masonic Study and Research.

ARTICLE I – The name of this organization shall be the Boone Masonic Study Club.

ARTICLE II – The object of this organization shall be the improvement of its membership in Masonic knowledge

ARTICLE III – The Club shall be composed of such Master Masons as, having expressed a desire for "Further Light in Masonry," shall make application for membership and be elected thereto by a majority vote of the members present.

ARTICLE IV – The officers of this Club shall be a President, Vice-President and Secretary-Treasurer, elected by a majority vote of the members present at the December meeting of each year. The duties of these officers shall be such as usually appertain to their respective positions, and the absence of one or more of them shall automatically place the responsibilities of presiding over the meetings of the Club upon the officer next in order as above mentioned. The newly elected officers are to assume their duties at the January meeting next following their election.

ARTICLE V – The meetings of the Club shall be monthly, on the third Wednesday evening of each month, and the hour shall correspond to the hours of meeting of Mt. Olive Lodge No. 79. Special meetings may be held when deemed necessary for the good of the Club.

ARTICLE VI – Dues in the Club shall be Twenty-five cents annually, payable in advance. These dues shall be applied to the running expenses of the Club, subject to the decision of the three principal officers.

ARTICLE VII – There shall be only one standing committee, the Program Committee, which shall be composed of the three principal officers. The President shall have power to appoint any other committees he may deem desirable or necessary.

ARTICLE VIII – This Constitution and By-Laws may be amended at any regular meeting of the Club, such amendment having been proposed in writing at the next previous meeting, by a two-thirds vote of the members present.

Return to Top

A Masonic Study Club In Session

As my last endeavour to inform you of our endeavours met so favourable response, I am going to try again and hope you will be able to see our weakness and help us strengthen it.

Meeting of four brethren; two interested brethren unavoidably absent.

Preface of Mackey's "Symbolism" read and attention directed to explanation of the ritual of Wisconsin given the candidate, in which he is informed that the lessons of Masonry are taught by types, emblems and allegorical figures. A full comprehension of this work would undoubtedly clear many brethren's mind of the confusion which appears to prevail.

We then read Speth's "What is Freemasonry," each taking turns reading and others taking notes of points to be raised. A discussion followed.

A brief description of Anderson's "Book of Constitutions" (1723) was given and attention particularly directed to regulation 39 and its significance. The question was also brought out that among Masonic students there are several schools of thought and that Bro. G.W. Speth belonged to what might be called a critical or exact school and furthermore, that, while Speth, Gould, Hughan and others of their rank were critical in their method and did not wish to give as history anything which was doubtful, they freely admitted that much lay outside the scope of their knowledge and they were not dogmatic in their views of the origin of Masonry.

The following questions were also asked all of which were not fully answered:

  1. How far does Masonry antedate Christ's time?
  2. Does the Bible conflict with the teachings of Masonry?
  3. Who were the ancient Magi?
  4. Are the Magi the same as spoken of in the Bible as bringing their book to the Apostles and burning them? (Acts 19:19-)
  5. Who were the great world characters who were Masons?
  6. What is the meaning of cowan?

As exhibit we had: Reprint of "H. F. Beaumont Mss." Reprint of "York rolls." Fac simile of "Regius Ms." Reprint of "Anderson's Book of Constitutions" (1723).

Questions discussed at previous meeting were enlarged upon and meeting was closed with everybody pleased and happy.

In answer to Question 1, the different schools of thought were mentioned and it was considered one of those problems which we, in the primary class, must not try to solve but leave open for our best efforts when we proved ourselves proficient in the elementary work.

Question No. 2 was unanimously decided in the negative.

For the information of the Brother asking Questions 3 and 4, I am loaning him "Arcane Schools" (page 79 contains reference), "History of Initiation" (lecture IV has some light), "Rollins Ancient History" (Book 4, Art. 4, has reference), and references in Gould's History, and will look up such others as I can.

Question No. 5 is one none of us were qualified to fully answer but we will be on the lookout and note them as much as possible. I have a fairly good idea of our most noted American Masons.

Question No. 6 was answered by Mackey's Encyclopedia.

Hoping this may be of use to you and that by constructive criticism you may help us, I am, Yours to find the key to the door of knowledge, Silas H. Shepherd, Hartland, Wis.

Just the thing I want. To tell me of what you are trying to do and how you are going about it and what you have to do with is the sort of story that whets my Masonic interest to the acme of keenness. There's little I can tell you of any way to better what you have in hand. Anything from me may sound presumptuous. But I'll risk it if only to show my desire to lend a hand.

What a wealth of material you possess! Is there not just a little danger that the very amount of it may oppress and deter the average inquirer from going ahead on his own more limited course of research ? Please let me have your advice on this matter. You have doubtless noticed that I try to give references in my own articles and I do like to lay hands on sources of information readily available for everybody. We must make it easy for the average Mason to start his studies.

I'm not concerned with accelerating the progress of brethren of the Hartland quality. They are speeded up in great style. But I do worry over what we can do to enthuse those whose opportunities and capacities are much less auspicious. I rely upon your help in this work. Please continue to give me the active benefit of your goodwill and of your valued criticism.

Regulation 39, to which you refer, will be interesting to many:

"Every Annual Grand Lodge has an inherent Power and Authority to make new Regulations, or to alter these, for the real Benefit of this ancient Fraternity: Provided always that the old Landmarks be carefully preserv'd, and that such Alterations and new Regulations be proposed and agreed to at the third Quarterly Communication preceding the Annual Grand Feast; and that they be offered also to the Perusal of all the Brethren before Dinner, in writing, even of the Youngest Apprentice; the Approbation and Consent of the Majority present being absolutely necessary to make the same binding and obligatory; which must, after Dinner, and after the new Grand Master is install'd be solemnly desir'd; as it was desir'd and obtain'd for these REGULATIONS, when propos'd by the GRAND LODGE, to about 150 Brethren, on St. John Baptist's Day, 1721."

Your Question 5 reminds me of the long list given in the Annual of the International Bureau for Masonic Affairs. It includes Lincoln though I am not aware of any evidence to prove his membership. However, Brother la-Tente's lists of Masons Illustrés and of Dates importantes de l'Histoire de la Maçonnerie were undertaken with all sincerity by that enthusiastic Freemason and it is to be hoped that they may be corrected wherever amendment is found necessary. Is there any record connecting Lincoln with the Craft as an initiate ?

Return to Top

The Organization Of Study Clubs

I find that there exists in many sections a pronounced desire for some more formal scheme of organization than has so far been outlined by me. From the National Masonic Research Society's headquarters at Anamosa, Iowa, there is sent to every inquirer a list of the fellow members in his locality so that he can make a very convenient start at the organization of Study Club. If steps to this end have already been made then the inquirer gets the addresses of those already active, and every effort is made to set him at work under the best possible auspices. So far so good.

But more is asked. Too often there is a tendency to "stick on the way" and the launching of the enterprise does not then advance rapidly enough to suit a very natural and common desire for results.

Return to Top

Expert Assistance At The Start

If we could but send on a competent brother to begin the work, offer advice, instruct the officers, lay out a preliminary course of work, we could leave the members busy, pleased, ambitious, and resultful. Sometime somehow we shall do something after this style. Some task! Yes, but there is a plan even now under consideration whereby such an effort may be practically put into operation. But it is far too remote to count upon for the present.

How then shall we bring about that happy condition of affairs which will satisfy the demand for a formal organization? Not by any complicated system of control at long range or by any unwieldy method of local management will the best results be obtained. Just enough to hold all hands together in unity is plenty. Not too formal lest peradventure "the letter killeth." A just mean, an even balance, a happy medium is eminently desirable.

Return to Top

Distribute The Study Club Duties

First of all we must distribute the duties among as many members as is possible. On the other hand keep the duties themselves down to a minimum. Thus each member will probably have something to do but will not be burdened to discouragement. Many hands make light work.

There will be a President to perform the usual functions of that office. There will be a Vice-President or two to take charge in the absence of the President. A Secretary will attend to preparing and sending notices and the general correspondence but he should not clutter up his own wheels by lengthy minutes of the proceedings. The Treasurer will handle the funds and collect and disburse them. Many times the two offices, Treasurer and Secretary, may profitably be combined. The Librarian will take charge of such books and magazines and manuscripts as may come into the possession of the Club and will distribute them to the members and preserve them as required. There will be a Master Builder to prepare the program for each meeting. There will be a Critic to see that the subject is properly discussed and that definite progress is accomplished. And there will be a Reporter to keep the headquarters of our Society at Anamosa regularly informed as to the work that is being done.

Return to Top

Better A Few Faithful Than An Idle Many

Inasmuch as I see no good reason why a Study Club with say but two or three really loyal and active members cannot do effective work my readers will at once understand that I do not deem it necessary to have every one of the foregoing positions filled by a separate and distinct brother. But the titles and the synopsis of their duties will furnish an idea of the work that in my opinion should be accomplished by the officers to maintain satisfactory progress in research.

Return to Top

Maintaining An Interest

Programmes depend so much upon individual taste that suggestions can only be made very roughly. Of course the BULLETIN will be coming along regularly with its notes for various courses of Masonic study so there will be no lack of matters for consideration. In the absence of any other plan tackle a copy of Mackey's revised Encyclopedia or "THE BUILDERS" and read any section that strikes you as especially favourable, the one most to your liking. Follow the reading with a discussion. Prior to the meeting have the Secretary state the subject in his announcements, and also have the Critic line up two or more members to study the same section or chapter in advance and be prepared to discuss some angle of it. Any Masonic essay or topic may be examined in the same style.

Return to Top

Sleepy Or Wide-Awake Study Clubs

Unless the meetings are of interest, and exciting a strong desire for attendance, we must expect a dormant Club. Much rests upon the ability of everybody to do his part. Here is indeed the purpose of my suggestion that many hands be actively employed. No one to do very much and yet all to do a fair share. Visitors should be invited, but not allowed admission at successive meetings unless they are accepted as members. No one should be proposed for membership unless agreeable to all and willing on his part to be active in doing whatever shall be assigned him to do. Continued absence may be challenged and the offender warned. If he improves not, then a fine may fit his case if the limit of expulsion be not chosen. But the regular meetings of congenial brethren in agreeable surroundings for the instructive examination of matters Masonic would surely be alluring. Remember always that different duties fit different men; one of the very best of presiding officers known to me would be the poorest of Secretaries; one delighted in listening to the results of Masonic research is, as I have often found, indisposed to individual digging.

Return to Top

Topics To Be Tabooed

Whether the members of a Study Club are all affiliated with the same Masonic bodies or not, there will be matters that in the discussions it is the part of wisdom to avoid. Questions of Lodge policy, for example, might be embarrassing if ventilated thoughtlessly in a research organization. Yet there are occasions when the consideration of Lodge practices is as harmless and unobjectionable as any other topic of Masonic importance. Right here is the benefit of the Master Builder and the President. The one sees that the proper subject is selected, and the other is charged with the duty of allowing none but appropriate presentation and seemly argument upon it.

Return to Top

Laying Out The Rules

Having gone thus far in a general way let me now lay out a set of regulations following the foregoing lines. Fill in the various blanks to suit your collective. judgment when organizing.

RULE I. – The name of this Study Club shall be ………………

RULE II. – The purpose shall be the promotion of Masonic study and discussion.

RULE III. – The Officers shall be a President, Vice President, Secretary, Treasurer, Librarian, Master Builder, Critic, Reporter, and Guard.

RULE IV. – The President shall perform the usual duties of a Chairman.

RULE V. – The Vice-President shall in the absence of the President assume the chair and perform all the duties of that position.

RULE VI. – The Secretary shall keep a record of the proceedings, send out notices of the meetings, prepare and forward to the National Masonic Research Society on the date of institution, and regularly every half year thereafter on the first day of January and July, a statement of membership and a copy of his semi-annual report of receipts and disbursements. He will also forward to the headquarters of the National Masonic Research Society results of elections and appointments of officers and the names and addresses and Lodge affiliations of all new members when they are admitted to membership.

RULE VII. – The Treasurer shall collect and hold the funds. He shall pay them out only upon orders prepared by the Secretary and countersigned by the President.

RULE VIII. – The Librarian shall take charge of all books and magazines and MSS in the possession of this Study Club.

RULE IX. – The Master Builder shall prepare the programme for each meeting and assist the President in its most effective presentation.

RULE X. – The Critic shall see that proper discussion takes place at all meetings.

RULE XI. – The Reporter will keep the National Masonic Research Society informed regularly and frequently of the activities of this Study Club.

RULE XII. – The Guard will attend to the door, act as messenger, and also introduce new members and visitors.

RULE XIII. – The President, Secretary and the Treasurer shall be elected semi-annually by written ballots without any other previous nominations. The remaining officers shall be appointed by the President. Any officer may be removed from office by a two-thirds vote of those present at any meeting called to consider such vote, all the members having been notified.

RULE XIV. – Meetings shall be held at. . (place) . . monthly upon . . (date) . . and punctually at the following time……. Meetings falling upon St. John's Days, the twenty-fourth of June and the twenty-seventh of December, or in default of this coincidence of time, the meetings immediately following these dates shall be designated as Election Days.

RULE XV. – Dues shall be payable in advance on the admission of an applicant for membership, and are again due and payable on Election Days. The semi-annual dues of each member shall be $……Members in arrears cannot vote nor hold office and are subject to expulsion.

RULE XVI. – Applications for membership shall be on a prescribed form and the action thereon shall be by ballot, two blackballs rejecting the applicant. Any application may be renewed after an interval of six months.

RULE XVII. – Special meetings may be called by the President at any time, or by any three members in good standing.

RULE XVIII. – A quorum for the transaction of business shall consist of not less than… members.

RULE XIX. – Rules may be amended by a two-thirds vote at any meeting of which usual notice he been given.

Return to Top

And, Finally And Moreover

Say, brother, don't you just ache to start something of this sort? Well, then, don't wait for large numbers. Get two or three good fellows like yourself together. Read this story of mine over, to them. Ask, nay, tell them to vote "Aye." Then write to the Secretary, George L. Schoonover, at Anamosa, Iowa. He will help. Topics will be suggested to you. Pointers on programmes offered freely to you whenever you want them.

Start something. When you get the data all in hand, bring together your best studious Masonic friends. Talk it over. The cost can be as little as you choose. My notion would be for the pleasantest of Masonic meetings. Let there be frequent occasions when refreshments as well as research will be temperately relished and good cheer be abundant. Of such was Freemasonry of old.

Handled with prudence, temperance, and zeal, and with a goodly assortment of fortitude, these Study Clubs may be sturdy Foundations, helpful and enjoyable associations of truly Masonic builders.

Return to Top


Masonic Study In The Lodge

In the smaller cities, where Lodges are not too crowded with degree work, it is recommended that the Lodge take up the study of Masonry as a body. The ideal plan would be to set aside one meeting each month for this purpose. This could be either a regular or a special meeting. If a regular meeting is decided upon, let the Lodge be prompt in opening at the stated time and dispose of the routine business as quickly as possible. Then turn the Lodge over to the Chairman of the Program Committee and proceed with the reading and discussion of the articles and papers which have been made ready for presentation. The degree work, under this plan, would be confined to special meetings. If on the other hand special meetings are deemed more practical for the purpose, let them be approximately thirty days apart, selecting if possible a definite meeting night of each month. This meeting night to be exclusive for study programs.

Return to Top

How To Present The Proposition To Your Lodge

The Worshipful Master should be interested, first of all. With his sincere co-operation, very much can be accomplished. Then take two weeks or a month to advertise the preliminary meeting at which the proposition is to be considered. Have your Secretary emphasize the date and purpose of the meeting in all his notices that are sent out in the meantime. Some Lodges are inserting notices in their home newspapers. The day before the meeting send out the last notices, and urge every member to be present.

At your preliminary meeting the Brother having the responsibility of introducing the subject should have all the necessary data for presentation:

  • Some copies of the "Correspondence Circle Bulletin."
  • Our regular Study Club Bulletin.
  • The special Bound Volume Offer of the N. M. R. S.
  • Some N. M. R. S. Membership Circulars for distribution.

This will enable him to outline what the purpose of organizing is, how the papers are to be brought before the members, what the National Masonic Research Society is and how it can be of help to your group.

After all the facts are presented and discussed, a "Research Committee" should be appointed to take charge of programs, assist the Brethren in preparing papers, lead the discussions, etc. The same Committee, or the group as a whole, should also then and there determine how far it wishes to go in purchasing books of reference, etc.

The meetings may be called whatever you wish – "Research Meetings" and "Research Communications" have been suggested for Lodge use – of course if you organize a Study Club, simply a meeting of it called will give notice to all.

These suggestions are by no means complete, but they emphasize the lengths to which we are willing to go in order to make this work a success. If you have other suggestions to offer, or if there is any particular phase of organization which you feel like taking up with us, "let it be known, and quickly."

Return to Top

Use Of Brother Clegg's Articles

We have thought out the problem of everybody working together along this same outline, and it seems to us that if all Lodges and Study Clubs will use these articles at their meeting night the month following their appearance in the Correspondence Circle Bulletin, we shall all work to better advantage. And for this reason: it will enable you to get to us copies of additional papers prepared for presentation at your next meeting, and then we can pass them on to other Study Clubs, who, in their turn, will send us material which we can pass on to you. For example, if these copies of your additional papers get to us not later than the fifteenth of the month – that is two weeks after THE BUILDER reaches you – then we can review them, gather together all the good points and make a general distribution prior to the first of the next month – in other words, in time for your meetings. Such a plan, consistently worked to and systematically carried out, will give us all the maximum of benefit – almost as good as having a joint meeting. Send your communications direct to


Return to Top

Notice To Our Members

If our members will send us a list of the newly elected officers in their respective Lodges, we will be very glad to take up with them ways and means by which we can be of service to them. It looks very much as if 1917 were to be a year of study for many thousands of American Masons, and it is fitting that it should be so. We are prepared to be of material assistance to groups desiring to have a share in this movement. The foregoing discussion of method will be followed, next Month, by an instalment, at least, of our Course of Study, which is now practically completed. Comprehensive, but based upon books which are easily accessible to the student, we believe that any Lodge will be able to follow it through. The measure of advantage derived, as always, will depend upon the use that is made of it. And so, from every point of view, we are anxious that the Brethren should know about it – and particularly the Masters and Wardens for 1917.

Return to Top


Continued in Part 2

.xx Next Month: February 1917
Previous Month: December 1916www General Index


Unless otherwise stated, the content of this page is licensed under Creative Commons Attribution-ShareAlike 3.0 License