August 3, 2021

I am the guy

Posted in Freemasonry, Uncategorized tagged , , , , , , , , at 1:45 pm by GeneGoldman

I Am The Guy
Author unknown
I’m the guy.
I’m the guy who joined our organization.
I’m the guy who paid dues to join.
I’m the guy who stood up in front of all of you and promised to be faithful and loyal.
I’m the guy who came to your meetings and no one paid any attention to.
I tried several times to be friendly with some of the fellows, but they all had their own buddies to sit next to.
I sat down several times but no one paid attention to me.
I hoped very much, that somebody would have asked me to take part in something but nobody noticed when I volunteered.
I missed a few meetings after joining because I was sick and couldn’t be there. No one asked me, at the next meeting, where I’d been.I guess it didn’t matter.
It didn’t matter very much to others whether I was there or not. The next meeting I decided to stay home and watch television. The following meeting I attended but no one asked, where I was when the last meeting was held.
You might say I’m a good guy, a good family man who holds a responsible job, who loves his community and his country. You know what else I am ? –
I’m the guy who never came back.
It amuses one, when I think back, on how the officers and members were discussing why they were losing members. It amuses me to think that they spent so much time looking for new members when I was there all the time. All they needed to do, was to make me feel needed, and wanted and welcome !!!***

Brothers, please take a bit of time to reflect on the words above…before you read the words below…

Below are other questions you might consider;

  • Have I been so busy establishing my own presence at Lodge that I have excluded a Brother who could have been a valuable resource at my Lodge?
  • When was the last time I telephoned that crusty old cogger who sits up in the corner of the South West just to say, Hi!
  • Have I ever considered asking that crusty old cogger or new guy whether he has insights into solving very complex Lodge events because he’s had a lot of time to see what’s happening or he might well have fresh new perspectives we’ve never even dreamed about?
  • Am I going have the nerve to ask these questions out loud at my next Lodge meeting?

July 28, 2021

“Old Tyler Talks” by Carl Claudy

Posted in Uncategorized at 12:52 pm by GeneGoldman

(With the deepest gratitude and appreciation)

“Old Tiler Talks” by Carl Claudy -1925
“What did you think of it?” inquired the Old Tiler of the New Brother as they came out of the lodge room in which a lodge had just been consecrated, dedicated and constituted. “It isn’t often that we have a chance to see that ceremony.”
“I don’t care if I never see it again.” returned the New Brother. It’s hot in there, and it struck me as a lot of blah, just words which mean nothing. Why do they have to go to all that bother? Why the corn and wine and oil? Why not just say, ‘you are a lodge- go ahead and work,’ and have it over with?”
“Would you have the Master say, ‘this lodge is open’ and ‘this lodge is closed’ for an opening and closing ceremony?” asked the Old Tiler.
“I wouldn’t go as far as that,” answered the New Brother. “But this ceremony leaves me cold. I can’t see any sense in having this new lodge anyhow!”
“Oh! So that’s it!” The Old Tiler smiled wisely. “You are objecting to the beautiful ceremony we have just witnessed because you are not in sympathy with the creation of a new lodge at this time and place!
“I wouldn’t say that.” The New Mason flushed.
“Did you, by any chance, happen to want election to an office in the new lodge, and they chose someone else?” The New Brother made no answer.
“There will be other new lodges!” comforted the Old Tiler. “And you are a little too young in Masonry to aspire to office in a new lodge. But I can’t let you keep this wrong attitude about one of the really beautiful ceremonies of our beloved order. Have you ever attended the graduation exercises of any grammar school, high school, or college?”
“My little girl graduated from the eighth grade into high school last week,” answered the New Brother. “Why?”
“It’s at least an even bet that you saw half of that ceremony through wet eyes,” answered the Old Tiler. “As you watched all those fresh faces, boys and girls leaving childhood for youth, taking the big step that is between the grade schools and high school, facing the unknown future so blithely, was not your heart touched with a knowledge of all the disappointments and heartaches these happy and carefree children must undergo?
“Of course.”
“You wouldn’t be a human father otherwise! To me a consecration, dedication and constitution of a lodge is something like that. The new little lodge starts out so bravely. It is composed of Masons who have had no Masonic responsibilities. Sometimes one can find an old Past Master who will go into the line, but generally they are new and untried officers. They satisfy the authorities that they are competent to confer the degrees, but who knows their abilities to form a new lodge into a coherent whole, their tact in keeping harmony, their knowledge of the necessity for practising brotherhood in the lodge?
“They come here, these brave bright brethren, and the Grand Lodge performs this beautiful ceremony. The corn, the wine, the oil, are poured for them. They are consecrated to God, dedicated to the Holy Saints John, and constituted a member of the family of lodges under this Grand Lodge. Masters of other lodges are present to wish them well. Some come bearing gifts- the jewels the officers wear, the working tools, perhaps a modest check from the lodge which sponsored them to help the new thin treasury get a start.
“They have no traditions to steady them. They have no matters of common knowledge to bind them together. They have no past of which to talk. All they possess is their mutual Masonry and their mutual responsibility- their hopes, their fears, their plans and their determination. An unwritten page is theirs on which to record their Masonic future. The Mystic Tie is all they know of lodge life. The Grand Master pronounces them a lodge, the charter or warrant is presented and they are born. To me it is a simple, beautiful, pathetic, and interesting site, and one I never tire of seeing.”
“I am a fool.” The New Mason spoke with conviction. “Old Tiler, why did the Senior Deacon gather up the corn that was used and put it carefully away?”
“He couldn’t gather the wine and oil, since they were spilled for good,” answered the Old Tiler. “But that little horn of corn will be kept until this new lodge itself sponsors another new lodge, then to be offered to them, that they may be consecrated with the same corn poured for the Mother Lodge.”
“Oh, I am a fool, indeed,” cried the New Mason. “Please take me with you to the next such ceremony, will you?”
The Old Tiler grunted. But it sounded like a promise.
Carl Johnson, 32′ Burlington Masonic Lodge #254 GL of Washington F&AM A&ASR, Valley of Bellingham Orient of Washington
“What we have done for ourselves alone dies with us, what we have done for others and the world remains and is immortal. -Albert Pike

“Old Tiler Talks” by Carl Claudy -1925
“The Old Tiler first appeared in print in August, 1921 when the first of four hundred and fourteen “Old Tiler Talks” were printed in the Fellowship Forum, a fraternal newspaper published in Washington, D.C.
In 1925 the publisher asked the author to select a few of the best of the talks and thirty-one were accordingly made into a little volume, copyrighted that year. The book, which sold for a dollar, ran into two editions of five thousand copies each.
By the time they were all sold the Fellowship Forum ran head on into the depression and disappeared and with it the Old Tiler.
His homely philosophy, sharp tongue and common sense, however, had made a place for him in the hearts of readers; demand for the book has never ceased, although it has lessened in the twenty-four years since the Old Tiler first spoke from between the covers.
At long last the Old Tiler sits again before the door of his lodge, there to repeat the tales which made him liked so long ago, and, from the wealth of material of his hundreds of homilies, make thirty-nine new talks to the book, a total of seventy in all…
….The author does not always agree with the Old Tiler- perhaps it is the Old Tiler who disagrees with the author! Some to whom that statement is made make answer: “Why don’t you make him say what you think? You are the boss man!”
All who have written know that, if they live, pen and ink characters have minds and thoughts of their own, sometimes to the benefit, sometimes to the grief of their fathers!
Therefore, with what is hoped is becoming modesty, this invitation is extended; whatever you like in the Old Tiler’s talks, credit to his creator; if his sharpness or his ideas offend, blame the Old Tiler not
The Author

“Old Tiler Talks” by Carl Claudy -1925
“Someone should speak to Brother Filmore,” said the New Brother, thoughtfully, sitting beside the Old Tiler.
“People do speak to him- I speak to him myself,” countered the Old Tiler.
“I mean speak to him seriously.”
“I speak to him seriously. I asked him tonight how his wife was,” answered the Old Tiler.
“Oh, you know what I mean! I mean admonish him.”
“About what?”
“About his carelessness of Masonic secrets. He runs the lantern and leaves the slides out where any profane can see them. He takes them home sometimes and his children can get them and…”
“I appoint you a committee of one to see that his children are all properly murdered. No child should look at a Masonic slide and live.”
“Now you are kidding me.”
“Boy, you are kidding yourself. The only secret about a Masonic lantern slide thousands of Masons have tried to find, but none ever have. It is not to be revealed by looking at them.”
“I don’t understand…”
“No secrets of Freemasonry are to be learned from a Masonic lantern slide. They are sold to any one who has the price. If there was anything secret about a lantern slide, making it would be against Masonic obligations.”
“But you said there was a secret…”
“Sure, but not a Masonic secret. Generations of Masons have tried to learn who designed them that they might slay him with ceremony and an axe. The harm done leaving Masonic lantern slides where the profane may see them will come from the poor opinion the profane gets from the Masonic slide conception of charity and brotherly love and truth and relief. Some slides representing Time counting the ringlets in the hair of the virgin give anyone with the slightest idea of art the notion that Masons are all cubists! We are trianglists or rightanglists, maybe, but not cubists! Those illustrations of brotherly love in which one fat man lays a ham-like arm lovingly about the bull-like neck of a misshapen Roman gladiator would scare any child who saw it into such a fear of the fraternity he would probably weep ever time Dad went to lodge… but as far as giving away any Masonic secrets is concerned- piffle!”
“You haven’t the same reverence for the sacredness of Masonic ideas as I have.”
“Whoa! Boy, you have things upside down. My reverence for real Masonic secrets is second to none. Your reverence is inclusive; mine only for what is real. You wouldn’t go home and tell your wife that a lodgeroom has a chair in the east, where the Master sits, that there is an Altar in the center of the lodge, or that candidates take an obligation, would you?”
“Certainly not!”
“I would! The scrubwomen see the lodgeroom. If they can be permitted to view its sacred outlines, I see no reason why my wife shouldn’t. In lodge entertainments we don’t move the Altar and women have entertained us after the lodge was closed, more than once. Any catalogue of Masonic paraphernalia advertises hoodwinks, and ours are regularly sent to the laundry, anyhow!
“The real secrets of Freemasonry mean something for you and me, which is not for the uninitiated. But they are not upon lantern slides, in the size of the room, the height of the ceiling or even the place where a Worshipful Master hangs his hat! Circumspection in speaking of the things of the lodge, as opposed to the spirit of a lodge, is necessary only that no false idea be given the outsider. If it were possible to photograph men receiving the first degree, the profane might laugh, unappreciative of the symbolism they saw. But do you really think the value of Masonic secrets would be decreased by such an exhibition?
“A number of men have written exposes of Masonry. Half true, half manufactured, no one is interested in them. In second-hand bookstores you can pick them up for a few cents. They are in every Masonic library. If what they contained really harmed the fraternity, would the librarians not destroy them?”
“The secrets of Freemasonry are carried in your heart; they are not what you see with your eyes or touch with your fingers. There is nothing secret about an organ, or the music books the choir uses, or the gavel the Master holds in his hand, nor yet the books in which the Secretary records who has paid his dues. The shape and form and furniture of a lodge is not a secret, nor the time of meetings nor the name of the Chaplain! The lantern slide conceals no secret worth knowing, nor does the chart to which the lecturer points nor even the carpet laid down the second degree. These are all but a means of putting a picture in your mind and it is the meaning of that picture which must be sacredly kept, not the means which put it there.”
“Then you don’t think someone ought to speak to Brother Filmore seriously!”
“No, but there was a brother in this lodge who had to be spoken to seriously. I did it..”
“Why, who was it?” asked the New Brother anxiously.
“You!” said the Old Tiler.

Carl Johnson, 32′ Burlington Masonic Lodge #254 GL of Washington F&AM A&ASR, Valley of Bellingham Orient of Washington
“What we have done for ourselves alone dies with us, what we have done for others and the world remains and is immortal. -Albert Pike

“Old Tiler Talks” by Carl Claudy -1924
“Darn the luck! I am assigned on a petition again and I am going fishing tomorrow!”
The New Brother looked dolefully at his notification slip.
“Why not see the applicant the next day?” asked the Old Tiler.
“Because he is going out of town. I got to see him tomorrow or else. And I want to go fishing. This committee stuff makes me tired, anyway. Say, if I get the Master to change my name to yours, will you do it for me?”
“Why, of course,” answered the Old Tiler. “I am always proud to be one of the Keepers of the Door.”
“Now that,” said the New Brother, “sounds both interesting and dangerous. It’s interesting, because I don’t understand it, and experience has taught me that when I come at you below the belt, as it were, I usually get kicked pronto and unexpectedly. Please explain the door which you like to keep, where the honor is, what me and my committee work have to do with it, and remember that I am a poor orphan che-ild alone in the wild anteroom with a raging Old Tiler, and not to be too hard on me?”
The Old Tiler did not smile. “I would laugh,” he confessed, “only it’s Masonry you are jesting about and it’s not a jest. Yes, I will tell you about the door. I wish I could speak the word in capital letter.
“Masonry is a structure of brotherly love, relief and truth, cemented with affection, erected on a square to God, and towering miles high above puny humanity, its foibles and its failings. Masonry is a structure of which we, its humble builders, are proud, because we know that we have built better than we knew. We have so built, partly because we have had help from so many men of so many past ages, and partly because we have had help we could neither see nor understand.
“Some look at our temple of Masonry and wonder. Some look, shrug shoulders and pass by. Some look at our temple of Masonry and see it not; others gaze on it and seek to enter.
“In this country there are nearly 16,000 doors to our temple of Masonry, through one of which a man must pass who would see it from the inside. There are so many doors in order that any man who desires, and who is fit, may find the door which is easy for him to enter. It is not true that it is ‘hard to be as Mason.”
“We only ask that an applicant be free-born, of age, a man, and of good character. He may be high or low, rich or poor, great or obscure, famous or unknown. If he is a good man we want him to see our temple from the inside as soon as he expresses a desire to do so.
“So we have 16,000 lodges -doors- to our temple of Masonry, that no man can say he came not in because he could not find a way.
“Certain things a man must do, inside our temple, and in a certain way he must live. If he lives the life, the temple is stronger. If he does not live the life, the temple is weakened.
“Hence, Keepers of the Door. Like any other symbol in Masonry, they are three; three brethren to keep each door safe, sacred and undefiled from the footsteps of evil men, self-seekers, the wicked, the blasphemous, the immoral. Those three who keep each door are not assigned to it for any length of time.
“Not theirs a service which may become onerous from time-taking and effort. The Master appoints three Keepers of the Door for every man who tries to enter. Today there is you and John and Jim. Tomorrow it will be George and Jack and Will. The next day another three will keep the door, if any man raps upon it.
“With due humility, but infinite pride, I am the Guardian of the Locked Door. As Tiler I suffer none to pass within who have not the right. But the open door no one man may guard; it takes three.
“You were appointed tonight as one of those three. Some one has rapped at the door and now it stands ajar. To you it has been said, ‘Keep thou the door; keep thou the faith; keep thou this thy temple pure and undefiled.’
“You do not want to labor. You want to go fishing. You ask me if I will do your work for you and I answer you, gladly, if so the Master shall find me worthy of the honor.”
“I shan’t ask him,” he answered low. “I am ashamed. I didn’t understand. I am not, I know, worthy of the honor, but as well as I know how, I will keep the door..”
“I thought you might,” smiled the Old Tiler. “After all, no one will catch all the fish; there will be some left for you some other time.”
“Not if it interferes with being Keeper of the Door,” answered the New Brother vigorously.
Carl Johnson, 32′ Burlington Masonic Lodge #254 GL of Washington F&AM A&ASR, Valley of Bellingham Orient of Washington
“What we have done for ourselves alone dies with us, what we have done for others and the world remains and is immortal. -Albert Pike

“Old Tiler Talks” by Carl Claudy -1924
“It was the funniest thing I ever saw!”
“What was?” asked the Old Tiler of the New Brother.
“That lodge meeting I attended in Hicksville. Listen, and I’ll tell you!”
“I’m listening. Anyone who can find a lodge meeting funny deserves to be listened to!” answered the Old Tiler.
“The lodge room was funny!” began the New Brother. “Lodge rooms ought to have leather-covered furniture and electric lights, a handsome painting in the east, an organ- be dignified, like ours. This lodge room was over the post office. There were two stoves in it. And every now and then the Junior Deacon put coal on! The Lesser Lights were kerosene lamps, and the Altar looked like an overgrown soap box! The benches were just chairs, and they didn’t have any lantern or slides- just an old chart to point to in the lecture.
But it wasn’t so much the room, it was the way they did their work. You’d have thought they were legislating for a world, not just having a lodge meeting. Such preciseness, such slow walking, such making every move and sign as if it were a drill team. There wasn’t a smile cracked the whole evening and even at refreshment, there wasn’t much talking or laughing. I’m glad to belong to a lodge where people are human!”
“Yes,” answered the Old Tiler, “I expect it is.”
“Expect what is?”
“Impossible for a New Brother to understand the work of a country lodge,” answered the Old Tiler. “What you saw wasn’t funny. Listen- it is you who are funny.”
“Me funny? Why, what do…”
“I said for you to listen!” sternly cut in the Old Tiler. “I have never been to Hicksville, but I have visited in many country lodges and your description is accurate. But your interpretation is damnable!
“Masonry is beautiful, truthful, philosophical, strives to draw men closer to God, to make them love their fellow, to be better men. Is that funny? The more regard men have for outward symbols, the more apt they are to have regard for what is within. A man who won’t clean his face and hands won’t have a clean heart and mind. A man who is slovenly in dress is apt to be slovenly in his heart. A lodge which reveres the work probably reveres the meaning behind the work.
“You criticize the Hicksville Lodge because it is too precise. Would that our own was more so! The officers who have so deep a regard for appearances can only have learned it through a thoughtful appreciation of what the appearances stand for.
“You have been taught that it is not the externals but the internals which mark a man and Mason. What difference can it make whether a lodge seats it membership on leather benches or chairs, or the floor, or doesn’t seat them at all? Our ancient brethren, so we are taught, met on hills and in valleys. Think you that they sat on leather benches, or the grass?
“It’s good to have a fine hall to meet in. It’s a joy to have an organ and electric lights and a stereopticon to show handsome slides. But all of these are merely easy ways of teaching the Masonic lesson. Doubtless Lincoln would have enjoyed electric lights to study by, instead of firelight. Doubtless he would have learned a little more in the same time had he had more books and better facilities. But he learned enough to make him live forever.
“We teach in a handsome hall, with beautiful accessories. If we teach as well as the poor country lodge with its chairs for benches, its kerosene lamps for Lesser Lights, its harmonium for organ, its chart for lantern slides, we can congratulate ourselves. When we look at the little lodge with its humble equipment, thank the Great Architect that there is so grand a system of philosophy, with so universal an appeal, as to make men content to study and practice it, regardless of external conditions.
“I do not know Hicksville Lodge, but it would be an even bet that they saved up money to get better lodge furniture and spent it to send some sick brother South or West, or to provide an education for the orphans of some brother who couldn’t do it for his children. In a country lodge you will get a sandwich and a cup of coffee after the meeting, in place of the elaborate banquet you may eat in the city; in the country lodge you will find few dress suits and not often a fine orator, but you will find a Masonic spirit, a feeling of genuine brotherly regard, which is too often absent in the larger, richer, city lodge.
“I find nothing ‘funny’ in the dignity and the seriousness of our country brethren. I find nothing of humor in poverty, nor anything but sweet Masonic service in the Junior Deacon putting coal on the fire. Would that we had a few brethren as serious, to put coal upon our Masonic fires, to warm us all.”
“You’ve put coals of fire on my head!” answered the New Brother, “I deserved a kicking and got off with a lecture. I’m going back to Hicksville Lodge next week and tell them what they taught me through you.”
“If you won’t expect me to laugh, I’ll go with you!” answered the Old Tiler, but his eyes smiled.
Carl Johnson, 32′ Burlington Masonic Lodge #254 GL of Washington F&AM A&ASR, Valley of Bellingham Orient of Washington
“What we have done for ourselves alone dies with us, what we have done for others and the world remains and is immortal. -Albert Pike

“Old Tiler Talks” by Carl Claudy -1924
The New Brother’s face showed a bad case of peeve, and his voice reflected it as he greeted the Old Tiler in the anteroom.
“S’matter, son?” inquired the Old Tiler. “You look like a cross between a thunder cloud and the Black Hole of Calcutta!”
“Politics!” snapped the New Brother. “I thought it was bad form, undignified, un-Masonic to electioneer for officers. It’s bad enough any time, but when they electioneer for one who isn’t in line for promotion and to throw out one who has served years in the chairs, I think it’s terrible!”
“Yes, yes, go on,” encouraged the Old Tiler. “Get it all out of your system.”
“Tonight they elected Bill Jones Junior Warden. He doesn’t attend regularly, does he? And Smith, who was in line for promotion, was dropped. Smith never missed a night last year and did his best as Senior Deacon. Jones is more popular than Smith, and may make a better officer, but the point is that Smith worked and Jones never has. So I’m peeved!”
“Wiser heads than yours have been peeved at politics in a lodge,” answered the Old Tiler. “It’s a difficult question. By Masonic usage any electioneering is taboo. The unwritten law and the theory contend for a free choice of officers by unbiased votes. But men are men first and Masons afterwards, and politics always have been played. I know of no way to stop a brother from telling another brother how he ought to vote!”
“That doesn’t dispose of the injustice of Smith,” answered the New Brother. “It isn’t right.”
“The majority thought it was right,” countered the Old Tiler. “Now that Jones has the job, I’ll tell you that I knew Smith wouldn’t get it. He has been faithful to his work, never missed a night, done his best. But his best just wasn’t good enough. You speak of Jones being more popular than Smith. There must be a reason, and if he is better liked he’ll make a better officer.”
“But it is still an injustice.” The New Brother was stubborn.
“You argue from the standpoint of the man who believes that a man elected or appointed to be Junior Steward has a neck-hold on the job ahead of him,” answered the Old tiler. “According to your idea any Junior Steward who attends lodge and does his work ought to be elected to the succeeding position each year as a reward of merit. Actually the job, not the man, is important. The good of the lodge is more important than the reward for the man.
“You don’t realize that Masonry is bigger than the individual, that the lodge is bigger than its officers, that the positions in line are greater than the men who fill them.
“A Master may make or mar a lodge. If he is a good Master, well-liked, popular, able, attentive to his duties and enthusiastic in his work, the lodge goes forward. If only enthusiasm and faithfulness recommend him and he lacks ability, and the respect and liking of his fellows, and he has not the equipment to rule, the lodge will go backwards. Smith is a nice fellow, faithful, enthusiastic. But he has more from the neck down than from the ears up. Jones hasn’t attended lodge much, but he is a brainy man, accustomed to preside, knows men and affairs, and, if he bears out the judgement of the brethren, will carry this lodge to new heights.
“Smith was given his chance for four years. In that time he could not demonstrate to the satisfaction of his brethren that he would make a good Master. It was a kindness to drop him now and not let him serve two more years. It is hard to be told ‘we don’t want you,’ but the lodge showed wisdom in choosing as Junior Warden a man in whom it believes, rather than merely rewarding faithful effort.
“I am sure the Master made a nice speech to Smith and thanked him for his work. His brethren will show him they like him as a brother if not as a Junior Warden. Smith will not be as peevish about it as are you. He has been a Mason long enough to know that the majority rule is the only rule on which a Masonic lodge can be conducted. He won’t understand his own limitations, or believe he couldn’t be as good an officer as Jones, but he will bow to the decision of his fellows and keep on doing the best he can. That is Masonry at its best. Politics is often Masonry at its worst, but in the long run the right men get chosen to do the right work. Sometimes it is a bit hard on the man, but the good Mason is willing to suffer for the love he bears his mother lodge.”
“As a peeve-remover you are a wonder!” smiled the New Brother. “But I wonder how you’d like to be supplanted by another Tiler?”
“When the lodge can find a better servant, I shall be glad to go,” answered the Old Tiler simply. “I try to be a Mason first, and an Old Tiler afterwards!”
Carl Johnson, 32′ Burlington Masonic Lodge #254 GL of Washington F&AM A&ASR, Valley of Bellingham Orient of Washington
“What we have done for ourselves alone dies with us, what we have done for others and the world remains and is immortal. -Albert Pike

“Old Tiler Talks” by Carl Claudy -1924
“I’ve been a Mason six months now and I ought to know something about Masonry. But there are more secrets in the fraternity I don’t know than those I have been told!”
The New Brother was puzzled. The Old Tiler laid down his sword, picked up a half-smoked cigar and lit it, and settled back in his chair.
“Get it out of your system,” he invited.
“Is Masonry a religion,” continued the New Brother, “or a system of philosophy, or a childish getting together of men who like to play politics and wear titles? I have heard it called all three. Sometimes I think it’s one and sometimes the other. What do you think?”
“It isn’t a childish getting together for the love of titles and honors,” answered the Old Tiler. “Men would soon invent a much better organization for the satisfaction of such purposes. In fact, he has invented better ones. Men who want to play politics and be called the Grand High Cockalorum of the Exalted Central Chamber of the Secret Sanctorum can join these. If Masonry were nothing but play, it wouldn’t live, and living, grow.
“Masonry isn’t a religion. A religion, as I see it, is a belief in deity and a means of expressing worship. Masonry recognizes Deity, and proceeds only after asking divine guidance. But it does not specify any particular deity. You can worship any God you please and be a Mason. That is not true of any religion. If you are a Buddhist, you worship Buddha. If a Christian, Christ is your Deity. If you are a Mohammedan you are a worshipper of Allah. In Masonry you will find Christian, Jew, Mohammedan and Buddhist side by side.
“Masonry has been called a system of philosophy, but that is a confining definition. I don’t think Masonry has ever been truly defined.”
“Or God,” put in the New Brother.
“Exactly. A witty Frenchman, asked if he believed in God, replied, ‘Before I answer, you must tell me your definition of God. And when you tell me, I will answer you, no, because a God defined is a God limited, and a limited God is no God.’ Masonry is something like that; it is brotherhood, unlimited, and when you limit it by defining it you make it something it isn’t.”
“Deep stuff!” commented the New Brother.
“Masonry is ‘deep stuff,'” answered the Old Tiler. “It’s so deep no man has ever found the bottom. Perhaps that is its greatest charm; you can go as far as you like and still not see the limit. The fascination of astronomy is the limitlessness of the field. No telescope has seen the edge of the universe. The fascination of Masonry is that it has no limits. The human heart has no limit in depth and that which appeals most to the human heart cannot have a limit.”
“But that makes it so hard to understand!” sighed the New Brother.
“Isn’t it the better for being difficult of comprehension?” asked the Old Tiler. “A few days ago I heard an eminent divine and Mason make an inspiring talk. I hear a lot of talks; nine-tenths are empty words with a pale tallow-tip gleam of a faint idea somewhere in them. So when a real talker lets the full radiance of a whole idea shine on an audience, he is something to be remembered. This speaker quoted a wonderful poem, by William Herbert Carruth. I asked him to send it to me, and he did; please note, this busy man, president of a university, and with a thousand things to do, didn’t forget the request of a brother he never saw before!”
The Old Tiler put his hand in his pocket and took out a much-thumbed piece of paper. “Listen you,” he said, “’till I read you just one verse of it:
“A picket frozen on duty; A mother, starved for her brood; Socrates drinking the hemlock, and Jesus on the rood; And millions who, humble and nameless, The straight hard pathway plod; Some call it consecration And others call it God.’
The New Brother said nothing, held silent by the beauty of the lines.
“I am no poet,” continued the Old Tiler, “and I know this isn’t very fitting, but I wrote something to go with those verses, just to read to brothers like you.” Shyly the Old Tiler continued:
“Many men, banded together Standing where Hiram stood; Hand to back of the falling, Helping in brotherhood. Wise man, doctor, lawyer, Poor man, man of the hod, Many call it Masonry And others call it God.”
“I don’t think it makes much difference what we call it, do you?” asked the New Brother.
Carl Johnson, 32′ Burlington Masonic Lodge #254 GL of Washington F&AM A&ASR, Valley of Bellingham Orient of Washington
“What we have done for ourselves alone dies with us, what we have done for others and the world remains and is immortal. -Albert Pike

“Old Tiler Talks” by Carl Claudy -1924
“Well, they’ll have to show me!” cried the New Brother to the Old Tiler, on guard in the anteroom with sword in hand.
“Who will have to show you what?” inquired the guardian of the door.
“The committee appointed to investigate a couple of petitions for reinstatement on the rolls of the lodge!” answered the New Brother. “Old Godfrey was dropped for nonpayment of dues thirty-six years ago. He has never petitioned this or any other lodge for membership since. Now he wants to reinstate himself. A brother Jerkins I never heard of, who was raised forty years ago and took a demit thirty-one years ago, wants to come back- he’s never affiliated in all that time.”
“I’ve heard of those cases,” mused the Old Tiler. “I helped raise them both.”
“You can’t tell me they haven’t put their eyes on our Masonic Home! Having reached an age which shows them some practical use for the fraternity, they now propose to pay a year’s dues, and then get into the Home to be taken care of for the rest of their lives! But not if I can stop it!
“Softly, softly, my brother!” warned the Old Tiler. “It is against the laws of the Grand Lodge to disclose to any one how you have voted or intend to vote on any application for membership.”
“Well, and I won’t then!” cried the New Brother. “But they won’t get in!”
“Are you not previous in judgement?” inquired the Old Tiler, gently. “Seems to me you’d better wait and hear what the committees have to say on the matter.”
“What could the committees say? I won’t let any softhearted committee pull anything on me. I love the lodge too much!”
“Don’t love her so much you forget that the ‘greatest of these is charity!'” warned the Old Tiler. “Nor that these whose motives you judge are yet your brethren, sworn to the same obligations.”
“I happen to know something about these cases. Brother Godfrey was a spoiled child. As a young man he had so much money that he didn’t know what to do with it. It was just carelessness that he allowed himself to be dropped N.P.D. He didn’t care for Masonry. He was all for travel, a good time, balls and parties and races and such. About ten years ago his wife died- he had a good wife and he was very fond of her. It changed him. He felt differently about many things. He commenced to do something for some one beside himself. He still has more money than he can spend. There is no possibility of his becoming a charge on the lodge. And I happen to know why he wants to come back.”
“Why is it?”
“He’s ashamed of himself!” answered the Old Tiler. “He’s offered to pay back all the back dues, with interest. I told him we couldn’t accept that; that he couldn’t buy his way back into the lodge. But he is no worse off than another in like case. If he tells the committee what he told me, that he is old enough to know better and to value brotherhood; that he wants again to be a part of our gentle Craft and to make up for what he has lost all these years, they will doubtless report favorably. This lodge will not override its committee unless someone has something personal against him.”
“Oh, well, that’s different, of course!” The New Brother looked a little ashamed. “How about Brother Jenkins?”
“Well, he’s different, too!” smiled the Old Tiler. “Brother Jenkins was a young man full of promise, fire and energy. He had a good position, a good income, a fine wife and four little children. Then he fell and hurt his head; he was two years under the doctor’s care. They had no money; she went to work. Of course the lodge helped. He got his wits back and went to work, but he couldn’t do any but physical labor. Something was gone from his mind. He was not crazy, but he couldn’t think hard or long. So he became a carpenter. He paid back to the lodge every penny it had spent on him. Then he took his demit. He couldn’t afford the dues and he wouldn’t let us carry him. Somehow he brought up his children; they are all happily married now. The wife is dead, worn out. He is alone, with an income quite sufficient for his simple needs, and four stalwart children to care for him if it isn’t enough. Now that he can afford it, he wants to come back into the lodge he loved and left.”
“Oh, you make me so ashamed! I’m a first-class moron and no Mason at all, to judge before I knew!” The New Brother looked at the Old Tiler remorsefully.
“It never pays,” grinned the Old Tiler. “I don’t believe any one will want to drop a black cube for Brother Jenkins, do you?”
“Not I!” cried the New Brother.
“Didn’t I tell you now to tell how you would vote?” chided the Old Tiler. But his eyes smiled.

Carl Johnson, 32′ Burlington Masonic Lodge #254 Grand Lodge of Washington, Free & Accepted Masons Ancient & Accepted Scottish Rite, Valley of Bellingham Orient of Washington
“What we have done for ourselves alone dies with us, what we have done for others and the world remains and is immortal. -Albert Pike

“Old Tiler Talks” by Carl Claudy -1924
“Jones is a nut!” remarked the New Brother to the Old Tiler. “I went with him yesterday to look up an applicant for membership. I didn’t know much about such things, so I let him do the talking. And the questions that man asked!”
“What did he want to know?”
“First, he wanted to know what kind of job the applicant held, how long he had been there, where he had worked before, was he satisfied, did he like his boss, how much he made and whether he saved any of it or spent it all!”
“Quite right, too,” commented the Old Tiler. “He wanted to know if the applicant was a solid citizen, able to pay his dues and unlikely to become a charge on the lodge. Chap who holds a job today and leaves it tomorrow for another is apt to be an applicant for charity.”
“But that’s one of the things a lodge is for- charity,” said the New Brother.
“To its members who are in need, yes,” answered the Old Tiler. “But no lodge willingly takes in members who may need charity. Masonry is not a crutch for the indigent. It is a staff for those who go lame in life’s, journey, but when a man starts out lame he has to get crutches from some other institution.”
“He asked, ‘Why do you want to become a Mason?’ that seemed to me an impertinence. A man’s reasons for wanting to join Masonry are no business of ours.”
“Is that so!” answered the Old Tiler. “Son, you know so many things that are not so! I have been on the petitions of a great many men and that is always my first question. I have heard many answers. Some men want to join because their fathers were Masons. Some think it will help them in life. Some frankly say they want to make friends so they can be successful. Others think that Masonry will help them in their religion. Still others want to be Masons because they want to belong to a secret society.”
“But why is that our business?”
“A man who wants to join a fraternity because his father belonged, is good material,” answered the Old Tiler. “He wants to imitate his father. As his father was a Mason it is probable that he was a good man. If the applicant desires to imitate a good man, and thinks we can help him, his motives are worthy. The man who wants to become a Mason to stiffen his religious belief is not a good candidate. Masonry demands no religion of its applicants, merely a belief in Deity. A man with religious convictions which are slipping and looks for something to prop them up, should go elsewhere than the Masonic Altar. Asking nothing but a belief in God, we have a right to demand that that belief be strong, well-grounded, unshakable, and beyond question.
“The man who says he wants to join the Masonic order because he wants to belong to a secret society doesn’t get asked and more questions! He is through right there. Masonry is no haven for curiosity seekers. The chap who thinks Masonry will make him friends who will help him in his business gets nowhere with a good committee. Masonry is not a business club. Imagine a man going to a minister and saying: ‘I want to join your church so I can sell lawn mowers to your members.’ Would the minister want him? Masonry is not a church, but it is holy to Masons. Masonry is a bright and shining light in a man’s heart which must not be sullies by profane motives. To attempt to use Masonry for business is like using the Bible to sit on- diverting from the proper purpose that which should be held sacred.
“The man who answers that question by saying, ‘I have always heard of Masons as men who receive help in being good men; I would like to have the privilege of becoming a member,’ is approaching the matter in the right spirit. Masonry doesn’t hunt the man, the man must hunt the lodge. And he must hunt with a pure motive, or cannot join any good lodge, with a good committee. The motive is vitally important. We want to know if he can afford $50 for a fee and $5 a year for dues. If they have to rob their children to join we have no use for them. We want to know if a man stands well with his fellows outside the lodge; if so he is apt to stand well with them inside. If he has few friends and those of doubtful character, the chances are he is not good timber for us.
“Masonry is what we make it. Every good man who comes into a lodge helps the fraternity. Every insincere man, every scoffer, every dishonest man who gets into lodge, injures the fraternity. Masonry can accomplish good in the hearts of men only as it is better than they are. When it becomes less good than the average man, the average man will not want to join, and Masonry’s power will be gone.
“The price of liberty, so we are told, is eternal vigilance. The price of quality in a lodge is eternal care by the investigation committee. An important job, it should be approached with the idea that the future of the lodge and of Masonry to some extent rests on the man making the investigation.
“Hm. Thanks. See you later.”
“You’re welcome- but what is your hurry?”
“Got to find Jones and tell him I’m the nut. Then ask the Master to let me go with him again and see if I can’t see something else in his questions besides foolishness!” answered the New Brother.
Carl Johnson, 32′ Burlington Masonic Lodge #254 Grand Lodge of Washington, Free & Accepted Masons Ancient & Accepted Scottish Rite, Valley of Bellingham Orient of Washington
“What we have done for ourselves alone dies with us, what we have done for others and the world remains and is immortal. -Albert Pike

“Old Tiler Talks” by Carl Claudy -1924
“How many brethren in this lodge are worth a hundred thousand dollars?” inquired the New Brother of the Old Tiler in the anteroom.
“I don’t know. Jones and Brown and Robinson and Hitchcock, certainly, and perhaps Wilson and Moore. You want to make a touch?” The Old Tiler looked curiously at his questioner.
“A friend of mine in interested in forming a company,” answered the New Brother, “and I intend to invest with him. As I want to see it succeed, I’ll go to see all the wealthy men and ask for subscriptions. We are going to manufacture a patent elevator device, that…”
“Why confine your list to those in this lodge? There are more men with money outside the lodge than in it.”
“But I have no right to ask them to invest money in a company just because I am interested in it!” The New Brother looked very virtuous.
“Have you right to ask brethren to spend money on your behalf because you belong to the lodge?” The Old Tiler looked shocked.
“Why, of course. We are brethren, are we not? Brethren help each other, don’t they?”
“I see no reason why any brother should spend money exploiting an invention, just because you are interested.,” answered the Old Tiler. “Masonry is not intended to influence a man’s business. If these brethren think well of the invention they will invest. If they don’t think well of it, they won’t. Masonry does not enter into the matter.”
“But it would mean much to me and to my friend, if this company should succeed and make a lot of money!” explained the New Mason.
“Suppose it doesn’t succeed, and loses a lot of money?” suggested the Old Tiler. The New Brother began to write in his notebook.
“That won’t happen,” he answered as he scribbled. “This is bound to succeed. But any business man takes a risk in any company in which he invests.”
“Now we get to the root of the matter!” exclaimed the Old Tiler. “They are to help you, because of their Masonry, which is mutual with you both; but if they lose, that’s because they took a risk!
“If the company was to develop a Masonic property or build a temple, I could see that your common Masonry might make an appeal. But I see no reason for anyone to buy stock in your company except a business reason.
“A mutual lodge membership may serve as an introduction between any two men to discuss anything of interest to one, in which he hopes to interest the other. Your mutual lodge membership is a guarantee the other man will receive a welcome. It ought to guarantee the other man that you will not abuse his time and confidence by taking up the one to exploit the other. He has the same right to expect consideration from you that you have to expect consideration from him. But you have no right to expect him to suspend hid business judgement just because you are both Masons.
If you have what you believe is a good proposition, and, therefore give your Masonic friends an opportunity to make some money, your motive in listing the wealthy members of this lodge is commendable. But you have no such idea. You hope they will win, and so, help you to win. But if they lose, that’s their lookout. That is not Masonic.
“Masonry does not butt into a man’s business. Only insofar as it guarantees that a brother is honest is it a help in business. As it promises mutual esteem and helpfulness it smooths the business path. But when you use Masonry to make the other fellow do something financial which he otherwise wouldn’t do, it is not a proper use of Masonry. Ask your friends to help you- that’s what friends are for. But don’t ask strangers, merely because they are fellow lodge members, to risk their money unless you are willing to begin not using Masonry as a means to private gain! Your friends will help you- brethren not close friends expect you to treat them in a brotherly way. It’s not brotherly to go to wealthy strangers and say, ‘I want some money from you, because we are both Masons!'” The Old Tiler stopped, short of breath.
The New Brother looked up from his busy writing, “I could hardly keep up with you!” he exclaimed. “You talked so fast. But I’m sure I got most of it. This will make a dandy speech!”
“Certainly. I have no intention of getting any subscriptions from anyone. I was after material for a talk I have been asked to give on Masonry in Business!”
“Upon my word!” cried the Old Tiler. Then he chuckled, “I hope you will see that I am invited inside to hear it,” he said good naturedly.
Carl Johnson, 32′ Burlington Masonic Lodge #254 Grand Lodge of Washington, Free & Accepted Masons Ancient & Accepted Scottish Rite, Valley of Bellingham Orient of Washington
“What we have done for ourselves alone dies with us, what we have done for others and the world remains and is immortal.” -Albert Pike
“Old Tiler Talks” by Carl Claudy -1924
“I’m seeking a little light,” said the New Brother, sitting down by the Old Tiler and reaching for his cigar case.
“I think I have a match-” the Old Tiler felt in his pocket. “I get you!” grinned the New Brother, “But that’s not the light I am looking for. I want light on a Masonic subject.”
“I don’t pretend to be the only Masonic illuminant,” answered the Old Tiler, “but if I have what you want, be sure I’ll let it shine.”
“Every now and then,” began the New Brother, “I hear Masonic talk in public places. At a poker game in a club where I was recently, I heard one man say, ‘Them you have passed, but me I shall not pass!’ Lots of men say they will do this or that on the square or on the level. I run across ‘and govern yourself accordingly’ in print every now and then. Are such public quotations from Masonic work against good Masonic practice?”
“It seems to me your question isn’t very complete,” answered the Old Tiler.
“Why not?”
“It takes no account of motives. If you hear a man say that the stream rose and his house and his children were in danger, but a tree fell across the rushing waters, so that in His mercy God damned the stream, you have heard testimony to His glory. And if you hear some man couple the name of Deity with the word which begins with D, you listen to profanity. Same sounds in each case; the difference is, the motive, the meaning.
“If I declare that I will do what I say I will do ‘on the square,’ any one understands that I mean I will act honestly. If any hearer knows the expression is Masonic, surely the fraternity has not been injured. But if I say to a stranger, or within a stranger’s hearing, ‘these are certain Masonic words, and we use them in the degrees’ and then repeat various phrases, I skirt dangerously close to breaking my obligation, and by the very fact that I seem to be careless with Masonic business, I am doing it harm!”
“That’s very plain, said the New Brother. “Suppose some man wants to learn if I am a Mason? Suppose I meet a man with a Masonic pin and want to examine him Masonicly? What about that?”
“You shouldn’t want to do things which can’t be done!” laughed the Old Tiler. You might, indeed, put the stranger through an examination as to what Masonry he knew, but it wouldn’t be Masonic. You have no right to constitute yourself an examining committee. That is the Master’s prerogative.
“Suppose he wants to talk Masonic secrets with me?”
“No Mason wants to talk Masonic secrets with any man he doesn’t know to be a Mason! The man who wants to talk secrets, without having sat in lodge with you, or being vouched for to you, is either very new or a very poor Mason or no Mason at all!”
“But surely one can talk Masonry with strangers; if they wear the pin and have a card they are probably Masons, and-“
“Talk all the Masonry you want! But make sure it is the Masonic talk you cold utter in the presence of your wife. Your true Mason won’t want you to talk any other kind in public. Not long ago I was on a train, and behind me two men, neither of them Masons, arguing about Masonry. The things they knew which were not so wonderful! But I never opened my mouth. And the conductor, whom I have known for years as a Mason, heard them, and all he did was wink at me. We knew the truth; they didn’t. What was the use of stirring up an argument?”
“What about giving some sign or word in a mixed company, so I can let the other fellows know I am a Mason?” asked the New Brother.
“Oh!” cried the Old Tiler. “You’ve been reading novels! You have an idea that when you go to a card party you should wiggle your ears or something, so that other Masons will know you are one, too! Nothing to that! Masonic recognitions are not for pleasure, but for need and use. You have been taught how to let others know, if you need to. You know how to recognize a Mason when he lets you know. But these are not for social gatherings, and the man who lards his speech with Masonic expressions is merely showing off.”
“I asked for light; we could substitute you for one of the Lesser Lights,” said the New Brother.
“If you mean that for a joke,” the Old Tiler answered slowly, “I shall think my words were wasted.”
“I didn’t,” protested the New Brother. “I was only trying to say, perhaps clumsily, that I thought you’d make a good Master!”
“Then I shall think only of the motive, thank you for the compliment, and forget the way you put it!” smiled the Old Tiler.
Carl Johnson, 32′ Burlington Masonic Lodge #254 Grand Lodge of Washington, Free & Accepted Masons Ancient & Accepted Scottish Rite, Valley of Bellingham Orient of Washington
“What we have done for ourselves alone dies with us, what we have done for others and the world remains and is immortal.” -Albert Pike
“Old Tiler Talks” by Carl Claudy -1924
“It seems to me,” began the New Brother, offering a cigar to the Old Tiler, “that we make unnecessary demands on a candidate.”
“Thanks,” answered the Old Tiler. “Such as what, for instance?”
“A candidate who has received the Entered Apprentice degree must perfect himself in it before he gets his Fellowcraft. After he is a Fellowcraft he must learn that ritual before he can become a Master Mason. I can see the reason why all brethren must understand them and be able to tell about degrees, but I don’t see why we must learn word for word and letter for letter. Last meeting we turned back a young fellow because he had not learned his Entered Apprentice degree. If he didn’t learn it because he didn’t want to he wasn’t worth having, but it seems he just couldn’t. Refusing him was an injustice. He’s only one-third a Mason, and not likely to get any farther.”
“You sure think of a lot of things Masonic to find fault with!” countered the Old Tiler. “But we would get along faster if you didn’t mix your questions.”
“How do you mean, mix them?”
“In one breath you want to know why Masonry requires learning degrees by heart, and don’t I think it was an injustice to a certain young fellow because we wouldn’t admit him to full membership when he couldn’t or didn’t, only you don’t think it an injustice but a righteousness if he could and didn’t. You agree that one of the safeguards of Masonry which keep it pure is what we call the ancient landmarks?”
“I agree.”
“And you know one of the landmarks is that Masonry is secret?”
“Of course.”
“If we printed the work would it be secret?”
“Certainly not. But you don’t have to print it.”
“No? But if we can’t print it and won’t learn it, how are we to give it to our sons?”
“Oh!” The New Brother saw a great light. “We all learn the work and so know when mistakes are made and correct them in the workers, and our sons hear the same work we did and learn it and transmit it. But wouldn’t it be enough if only a few men learned the work- those well qualified and with good memories? How would that do?”
“It is good Masonry and good Americanism that the majority rules. Masonry is not a despotism but a democracy. If a favored few were the custodians of the work would not the favored few soon become the rulers of Masonry, just as the favored few have always ruled the lazy, the ignorant, and the stupid?”
“If that happened we’d just put them out of office.”
“And put in men who didn’t know the work? Then what becomes of your landmark?”
“You are too many for me,” laughed the New Brother. “I guess there is a reason why we have to learn the work. But I still think we might make an occasional exception when a man just can’t memorize.”
“If you read the Bible, you know that a little leaven leavens the whole lump. One bad egg will spoil an omelette. The man who won’t learn is not fit to be a Mason, since he is not willing to tread the path all his brethren have trod. The man who can’t learn the work hasn’t control enough of his brain to enable him to appreciate Masonic blessings. This is no question of education. A brother of this lodge has had so little education that he barely reads and write. His grammar is fearful and his knowledge of science so full of things that are not so that it is funny when it isn’t pathetic. But he is a good Mason for all that, and bright as a dollar at learning the work. It’s only the stupid, the lazy, the indifferent and dull-witted, the selfish and foolish man who can’t learn or won’t learn Masonry. They add nothing to it; it is better they are kept out. To make an exception merely would be to leaven our lump with sour leaven.”
“But, Old Tiler, many who learned it once have forgotten it now.”
“Of course they have! You can’t do a quadratic equation or tell me the principle cities in Greenland, or bound Poland, or do a Latin declination. You learned it and forgot it. But you had the mental training. If I told you a quadratic was worked with an adding machine, that Poland was in china, or that hocus-pocus meant Caesar’s lives, you’d know I was wrong. Same way with ritual; leaning it is Masonic training, and though we often forget it we never lose it entirely, and through the whole of us it is preserved to posterity.”
“Oh, all right! I learned mine, any way. Have another cigar, won’t you?”
“Thanks,” answered the Old Tiler. “You have learned rather well, I’ll admit, that I like your cigars!”

Carl Johnson, 32′ Burlington Masonic Lodge #254 Grand Lodge of Washington, Free & Accepted Masons Ancient & Accepted Scottish Rite, Valley of Bellingham Orient of Washington
“What we have done for ourselves alone dies with us, what we have done for others and the world remains and is immortal.” -Albert Pike
“Old Tiler Talks” by Carl Claudy -1924
“We are coming to a pretty pass in our Masonry!” announced the New Brother, disgustedly.
“That has a familiar ring! No times like the old times, no days like the old days, everything going to the demnition bow-wows. They uncovered inscriptions like that in King Tut’s tomb!” grinned the Old Tiler. “What’s wrong our Masonry now?”
“All these extras in the lodge. First, we have a choir; that’s all right, since music adds to the solemnity and beauty of the degrees. Now we are forming a lodge glee club. There is to be a saxophone quartet and there is talk of a lodge band. A brother in lodge long enough to know better is organizing a dramatic society. If he has any dramatic instinct he should put it into the degrees. The Master is interesting some brethren in forming a Masonic club, and a lot of brethren are talking of a camping club, for summer fishing! This scattering of effort is a shame. We ought to put it into the work of the lodge; don’t you agree with me?”
“I sure do; I think all our effort Masonic should be Masonic effort!” answered the Old Tiler.
“That’s the first time I ever started a discussion with you and found you were on my side!” laughed the New Brother, triumphantly.
“Oh, I wouldn’t go as far as to say I was on your side this time. Our efforts ought to be Masonic, but I don’t see un-Masonic effort in a glee club, saxophone quartet, camping association, dramatic club, and so on. What’s wrong with them as Masonic work?”
“Why, Masonic work is putting on the degrees well, and making an impression on the candidate, and charity, and… and…”
“Go on, son, you are doing fine!”
“Oh, you know what I mean! Masonic work isn’t going camping or playing a saxophone!”
“Isn’t it?” asked the Old Tiler, interestedly. “Now, that’s a plain statement about which I can argue until tomorrow morning! But explain why playing a saxophone in a lodge for the pleasure of the lodge isn’t Masonic.”
“Oh, the time spent could be better spent in- in listening to the degrees.”
“Granted, if there were degrees to listen to. But you wouldn’t put on a degree without reason? If the lodge neglects its degree work to listen to a quartet, the quartet does harm. But if the quartet brings down brethren who like music, and to whom we can them give Masonic instruction, why isn’t it good Masonic work?”
“How about the dramatic club and the fishing association?”
“They are the same in intent. The dramatic club will gather together brethren interested in plays. It will develop histrionic talent which now doesn’t exist. It will train men for sincere and well-managed degree work. But if it never led a single man into our degree teams, it would still be a bond of union between men who would thus get better acquainted; the better members know each other the more united the lodge.
“Fishing is an innocent and delightful sport. When Masons congregate to enjoy it and prefer the company of each other to others, it speaks highly of the bonds of brotherhood. If I can afford it I will surely join. I’d much rather tell a fish that he has passed the other anglers, but me he cannot pass, in the presence of my brethren, than have to keep my thoughts to myself before strangers!”
“You think these extra growths on the body of the lodge don’t sap its strength?”
“I don’t think they are growths on the body of the lodge at all!” growled the Old Tiler. “Brethren who do these things are not taking strength from the lodge! Banding together to sing, play musical instruments, fish, act in plays together, shows a real feeling of brotherhood. The more such activities, the more united we will be.
“All work and no play makes a Mason a stay-at-home. Our ancient brethren specified the usages of refreshment. They understood that playing was as necessary as working. If part of us can play together for our own pleasure, well and good. If, at the same time, we can give pleasure to others, and benefit the lodge by increasing its unity, why, well and best of all!”
“You sure are a salesman!” cried the New Brother. “I ought not to afford it, but…”
“What have I sold you?” asked the Old Tiler, interestedly.
“Memberships in the glee club, the Masonic club, and the fishing club!” grinned the New Brother.

Carl Johnson, 32′ Burlington Masonic Lodge #254 Grand Lodge of Washington, Free & Accepted Masons Ancient & Accepted Scottish Rite, Valley of Bellingham Orient of Washington
“What we have done for ourselves alone dies with us, what we have done for others and the world remains and is immortal.” -Albert Pike
“Old Tiler Talks” by Carl Claudy -1924
“I am much disturbed!” announced the New Brother to the Old Tiler.
“Tell me about it. I have oil for troubled waters. If your water on the brain is disturbed, maybe I can soothe it!”
“I doubt it! I heard the name of Bedford Jones-Smith read out in lodge tonight as a petitioner. I don’t want Bedford here!”
“That’s nothing to be disturbed about,” answered the Old Tiler. “You have a vote, haven’t you? If you don’t want to wait until he comes up for ballot, go tell the committee what’s the matter with him.” The Old Tiler leaned back in his chair as if the question was settled.
“There isn’t anything the matter with him!” cried the New Brother. “If I could explain to the committee that Bedford was a rascal, or beat his wife, or stole money, or had been in jail or something, it wouldn’t be a problem. But so far as I know Bedford Jones-Smith is correct to the point of perfection. He is a thoroughly respectable man. I dislike him extremely. He rubs me the wrong way. I despise his unctuous manner; he shakes hands like a fish. I think he wears corsets, and he is the most perfect lady I know, but there isn’t a thing against him legally, mentally, morally! The committee will find him 100 per cent Simon pure, and this lodge will receive the original nincompoop, the pluperfect essence of idiocy, and the superheterodyne of jackasses, as a member!”
“Anything to stop you voting against him?” asked the Old Tiler. “It’s your privilege to cast your little black cube in secrecy against any man you don’t like.”
“That’s where the problem comes in! I know I can do it. I know that I don’t have to let Bedford Jones-smith into my Masonic home if I don’t want him, any more than I have to let him into my everyday life. It’s just because I can keep him out that I am troubled. If I do, I’ll feel that I did a mean act. Yet I don’t want that double-distilled ass in this lodge!”
“Suppose you dig a little deeper,” suggested the Old Tiler. “Just why don’t you want him?”
“Because I don’t like him!”
“And just why don’t you like him?”
“Because he stands for everything that I despise; he never plays games, he never works, he never does anything except wear fashionable clothes, go to parties, and is an irreproachable escort for dumb Doras. He’s not a man, he’s a wearer of trousers!”
“Sounds harmless,” said the Old Tiler. “He can’t pink tea here, can he? He certainly can’t bring any dumb Doras to this lodge. We don’t need any games played here, and we have so many men in lodge who never work at it that one more won’t hurt.”
“But it will make me uncomfortable to have him around.”
“Then keep him out!”
“Oh, you exasperate me! I come for help, and you laugh at me. What shall I do?”
“Really want to know?” asked the Old Tyler, the smile fading from his face.
“I really do!”
“Then I’ll tell you. Snap out of your conceited, selfish attitude. Get rid of the idea that your comfort, your feelings, your happiness are so important. Get hold of the thought that Masonry is so much bigger than you and Mr. Jones-Smith rolled up into one that together you are not a fly speck on its map, and separately you can’t be seen! Try to imagine yourself a part of a great institution which works wonders with men and forget that you are so important!
“By your own showing, nothing is the matter with this gentleman except that you don’t like his ways and manner. Doubtless, he doesn’t like yours. To him you are probably a rough-neck, a golf-playing, poker-playing, automobile-driving, hard-working, laboring man. He might not want to join the lodge if he knew you were in it! He has different standards. That they are not yours, or mine, doesn’t make him poor material for Masonry. The fact that he wants to be a Mason shows he has admirable qualities. That he is moral, and respectable, shows he has manhood. That his manners don’t please you is no reason for keeping him out. To keep a man who wants them from the blessings of Masonry because of personal dislike is a crime against those teachings of toleration which Masonry offers you. Let him in. Try to help him. Try to show him there is something else in life beyond fripperies and foolishness. Maybe you can make a regular Mason out of him. But don’t vote for him unless you are really prepared to take his hand and call him brother.
“Better let your conscience hurt you for being a snob than to have it hurt for being false to your obligation of brotherhood. Better realize you are a selfish and opinionated person than that you are a bad Mason, a forsworn member of the fraternity, a traitor to its principles, a…”
“For the love o’ Mike, let up on me! I’ll vote for the simp- for the man, I mean- and try my best. Old Tiler, Masonry has such a lot to do to make me a regular man, I’m afraid I’ll never learn!”
“You are getting there, son,” observed the Old Tiler, smiling with satisfaction. “Not every young Mason will admit he is an idiot even when it’s proved!”
Carl Johnson, 32′ Burlington Masonic Lodge #254 Grand Lodge of Washington, Free & Accepted Masons Ancient & Accepted Scottish Rite, Valley of Bellingham Orient of Washington
“What we have done for ourselves alone dies with us, what we have done for others and the world remains and is immortal.” -Albert Pike
[ERS] Easy Reading Sunday
“Old Tiler Talks” by Carl Claudy -1924
“I was embarrassed in lodge tonight!” announced the New Brother to the Old Tiler. “I don’t think the Master ought to make me feel that way!”
“That’s too bad,” answered the Old Tiler, with ready sympathy. “Did he call you down for something?”
“Oh, no. The Chaplain was absent, and the Master asked me to act in his place.”
“Why should that embarrass you?” asked the Old Tiler, still sympathetic.
“It embarrassed me horribly to say I wouldn’t.”
“Oh, you refused?”
“Of course I refused! My embarrassment was bad enough as it was, but to get up in front of the Altar and offer a prayer! Man, I couldn’t do that!”
“You surprise me!” answered the Old Tiler. “But let that pass. Who did act as Chaplain?”
“The Master asked the speaker of the evening, some brother I never saw before. He made a beautiful prayer, too. I heard him tell the Master he didn’t know the prayer in the ritual, but the Master said that didn’t matter, which I thought rather odd.”
“Can you remember what the stranger said?” asked the Old Tiler.
“Pretty well, I think,” answered the New Brother. “It was not long. He went to the Altar and kneeled, and then said ‘Almighty Architect of the Universe, we, as Master Masons, standing in a Masonic Lodge erected to thy glory, humbly petition that Thou look with favor upon this assembly of Thy children. Open our hearts that the eternal Masonic truth may find ready entry that we be enabled to make ourselves square stones, fitting in Thy sight for the great Temple, eternal in Thy heavens. We ask it in the name of the All-seeing Eye, Amen.”
“That was a pretty prayer,” responded the Old Tiler.
“But it wasn’t the ritual prayer,” objected the New Brother.
“No, nor it wasn’t by the appointed Chaplain,” retorted the Old Tiler. “What difference does it make to God whether we pray the same prayer at every lodge opening? It must be the sincerity and the thought behind the prayer which count in His sight, not the words. But in your refusal to act as Chaplain, it seems to me you put yourself in an unfortunate position. You shave yourself, don’t you?”
“Why, er, yes! What has that got to do with it?”
“Tomorrow morning, when you shave yourself, you’ll look in the mirror and you’ll say ‘Hello, coward!’ and that’s not nice, is it?”
“Do you think I was a coward?” asked the New Brother, wistfully.
“Scared stiff!” smiled the Old Tiler. “So conceited, so filled with the idea of all your brethren admiring you, you couldn’t bear to forget yourself, lest they falter in their admiration. Sure, that’s cowardly. You ducked a duty because of conceit!”
“Old tiler, you use strong words! It was not conceit. It was modesty. I didn’t think I was able.”
“Don’t fool yourself! You told me you were embarrassed. Why is a man embarrassed in public? Because he is afraid he won’t do well, won’t make a good appearance, won’t succeed, will be ridiculous. So you refused the pretty compliment the Master paid you, and refused your brethren the slight service of being their mouthpiece.”
“But I have never prayed in public!”
“Neither has any other man ever prayed in public prior to his first public prayer!” grinned the Old Tiler. “But please tell me why a man should be embarrassed before God? We are taught that He knoweth all things. If we can’t conceal anything from Him, He knows all about you! A man may be ashamed of himself, sorry for what he is and has been, but embarrassed, in prayer? As for being embarrassed before you brethren, that’s conceited. Almost any man is a match for an army if he has God with him. The man on his feet who talks aloud to God has no need to consider men. If men laugh, shame to them. In all my many years as a Mason, I never yet saw any man smile or say a word of ridicule at any one’s petition to Deity out loud which touched the hearts of all present who admired their fearlessness in facing the Great Architect and saying what was in their hearts. I never heard a man laugh when a Chaplain, ordained or substitute, made a petition to Deity. Whether it was the petition in the ritual, or one which came from the heart, be sure the Great Architect understood it. As for asking a blessing in the name of the All-Seeing Eye, what difference does it make to God by what name we call Him? That is a good Masonic name, sanctified by the reverent hearts of generations of men and Masons.
“For your own peace of mind, tell your Master you made a mistake and that you are sorry, and that if he will honor you by giving you an opportunity to pray for yourself and your brethren, you will, in the absence of the Chaplain, do your reverent best. And when you kneel before that Altar you will forget, as all Chaplains must who mean what they say, that any listen save the One to whom the prayer is addressed!”
“Old Tiler, I’ll try to do it!” cried the New Mason.
“Humph!” grunted the Old Tiler.
Carl Johnson, 32′ Burlington Masonic Lodge #254 Grand Lodge of Washington, Free & Accepted Masons Ancient & Accepted Scottish Rite, Valley of Bellingham Orient of Washington
“What we have done for ourselves alone dies with us, what we have done for others and the world remains and is immortal.” -Albert Pike
“Old Tiler Talks” by Carl Claudy -1924
“Old Tiler, why are not more Masons, Masons?” asked the New Brother in the anteroom.
“For the same reasons that not more friends are friends, or hot dogs, sausages, I guess,” answered the Old Tiler. “You tell me the answer.”
“It seems mighty queer to me that we can’t make more lodge members feel the inner spirit of Freemasonry,” answered the New Brother. “I can’t understand it.”
“That shows you haven’t a very observing pair of eyes or a great understanding of human nature,” smiled the Old Tiler. “If this were a perfect world made up of perfect men there would be no need of Freemasonry!”
“Maybe not. But if you can see what I can’t, and understand what is hidden from me, tell me, won’t you?”
“I’ll try,” answered the Old Tiler. “A great many years ago there was a great leader of men on earth; I don’t know whether it was Guatama Buddha, or Mohammed, or Brahma. No matter what his name was, this great leader and teacher of men wandered in a sparely settled part of the back country near the sea, hungry and tired and footsore. He had asked several of the country people for aid and shelter but while they were not unkind they also were poor and offered him nothing, thinking him one of themselves.
“At last, however, he found a poor peasant who took him in. The peasant gave him some dry clothes, for his were wet from storm, and shared his crust of bread and his humble cottage. In the morning he gave the wanderer breakfast and a staff to help him on his way.
“‘What can I do to repay you?’ asked the great leader of his host.
“‘I need no payment. I, too, have been a wanderer and you have both my sympathy and my aid for love only,’ answered the peasant.
“‘Then the great leader told him who he was. ‘And because I have power, I will reward you in any way you wish,’ he said. ‘Choose what you will have.’
“‘If it is indeed so, oh, my Lord,’ answered the peasant, ‘give me gold; gold, that I may buy clothes and food and women and wine; gold, that I may have power and place and prominence and happiness.’
“‘Gold I can give you, but it would be a poor gift,’ answered the great leader. ‘Who has gold without earning it eats of the tree of misery. And because you have been kind to me I will not give you such a curse. Gold you shall have, but a task you shall do to earn it. You wear an iron bracelet. On the shore of the sea, among many, is a pebble which if you touch it to iron will turn it to gold. Find it, and all iron will be your gold.’
“Hardly stopping to thank his benefactor, the peasant ran to the seashore to pick up pebbles and touch them to his bracelet to see if it would turn to gold. All morning he ran, picking up pebbles, touching the iron, and then, so that he wouldn’t pick up the wrong pebble twice, he tossed the useless pebbles, which were not the magic stone, into the sea.
“After a while the task became monotonous; pick up pebble, touch it to iron, throw it out in the sea- over and over again. So he amused himself with visions of what he would do when he should have won the great wealth. He planned his harem and his wine cellar, pictured the great banquets he would give, thought of the slaves he would purchase and how he would be recognized by all as a rich and powerful noble. Meanwhile, of course, he was busy picking up pebbles, touching them to his bracelet and throwing them into the sea.
“The day wore on. The visions became more and more entrancing, the task more and more mechanical. And at last, just as the sun was going down, the peasant looked at his bracelet- and behold! It was ruddy yellow gold! Some one of the thousands of pebbles he had touched to the iron was the lucky one, the magic one, and because he had been thinking of something else, doing his task mechanically, he cast it into the sea.”
The Old Tiler stopped, thoughtfully puffing at his cigar.
“That’s a very nice fable,” observed the New Brother.
“Much,” answered the Old Tiler. “In Masonry we are too much like the peasant. We take the pebbles of the beach, the many who apply to us, touch them to the iron of our Freemasonry and cast them out into the sea of life. Or we take the touchstone which is Freemasonry and touch it to the iron which is a man, and let him throw it away. Work the simile how you will, what we do is to neglect the newly made Mason; we give him only perfunctory attention. We do our work mechanically. We are letter perfect in our degrees, and too often without the spirit of them. We have ritualists who can dot every I and cross every T, who have every word in place and no wrong words, but who have no knowledge of what they say. I once knew a Grand Master who didn’t know what a hecatomb was, and plenty of Masons cannot tell you if the two pillars on the porch were supports for a loafing place or whether they have a spiritual meaning not at all concerned with the porches.
“The reason more Masons do not deserve the title is not altogether their fault. It’s our fault! We don’t know enough ourselves to teach them; we don’t care enough about it to teach them. A good balance in the bank, a growing membership, a free feed, ‘nice’ degrees- and we call ourselves a successful lodge. But we make only ten men real Masons for every hundred to whom we give the degrees, and the fault is ours, not theirs; my fault, your fault, our fault because we don’t study, don’t learn, don’t care to learn the real secrets of Freemasonry and so cannot teach them.”
“There is one who teaches in this lodge,” answered the New Brother, slowly, “and one who tries to learn.”
“Yes?” answered the Old Tiler. “Who are they?”
“You, who teach, and I, who try to learn,” answered the New Brother.
“Humph,” grunted the Old Tiler, but his eyes smiled, well pleased.

Carl Johnson, 32′ Burlington Masonic Lodge #254 Grand Lodge of Washington, Free & Accepted Masons Ancient & Accepted Scottish Rite, Valley of Bellingham Orient of Washington
“What we have done for ourselves alone dies with us, what we have done for others and the world remains and is immortal.” -Albert Pike
“Old Tiler Talks” by Carl Claudy -1924
“I’ve been watching you for half an hour and you haven’t missed calling a brother by name,” said the New Brother to the Old Tiler. “How do you do it?”
“Remembering names is my business. As Tiler I am supposed to know all the brethren of this lodge. I get paid for being a Tiler. If I didn’t know my job I would be taking money under false pretenses.”
“How did you learn names? I have been a member of this lodge for nearly a year. And I don’t know more than a dozen men by name. How do you do it?”
“How do you not do it?” countered the Old Tiler. “Don’t you ever know anyone by name in any organization you belong to?”
“Well, er- I- “
“I visited in one lodge once,” interrupted the Old Tiler, “where they used the scheme developed in so many luncheon clubs. The Master started an automatic roll call, in which each brother stood, gave his name, address and business and sat down. It smacked a little of the commercial to me. To hear a chap say, ‘My name is Bill Jones, agent for the Speedemup car, in business at 1567 Main Street,’ may be very informing to the brother who doesn’t know it, but it seems like advertising. I presume the scheme worked; everyone in that lodge got to know everyone else by name in time.
“In another lodge every brother wears a big, round celluloid name plate with his name printed on it in big letters. The Tiler, poor chap, has charge of a rack and is supposed to see that every brother entering the room has his button on and that none wears it home! This scheme works; you can read a brother’s name and call him by it, and probably remember it next time.
“Ready-made brotherhood is the dream of the professional Mason; ready-made acquaintance is the thing he strives for with his announcements and his celluloid buttons.
“I don’t regard the use of a name as essential. It is pleasant to be called by name, and nice to be able to remember them. But a name, after all, is an artificial distinction, conferred on us by our parents as a matter of convenience. A rose smells just as sweet if you call it a sunflower, and a man is the same whether you call him Jim or Jones. Not very long ago a man said to me: ‘I don’t know your name but you are Tiler of my lodge. My uncle in the country has just sent me a crate of strawberries. I can’t se ’em all and I’d like to give you some. Will you write your name and address on a card so I can send them?’
If he had known my name he could have sent them without asking for the card. But would they have tasted any better? I had a warm feeling at my heart; my brother had remembered my face and who I was, and wanted me to share his good luck. That he didn’t know my name didn’t seem to matter. He knew me.
“It’s friendly to call a man by his name. We are all more or less egocentric. (Doc Palmer tells me that the word means that we revolve about ourselves!) When people remember our names we think we have made an impression. It tickles our vanity. Half a dozen members in this lodge come only once a year. When I call them by name they swell up like poisoned pups. But they wouldn’t if they knew my system. One of them has prominent ears; so has a jackass. A jackass eats thistles. This man’s name is Nettleton. Another chap has a nose that looks as if it grew on a Brobdingnagian face. His name is Beekman. It’s no trick to remember them, because of the impression they make of ugliness. I remember your name as an earnest young brother trying to learn. I remember the Past Masters by remembering their services,. I know John and Jim and George and Elly and Harry and Joe and Frank and the rest because I know the men, know what they do, how they do it, what they stand for in the lodge and in Masonry; in other words, it’s the brother I know first, and in my mind I tack a name to him. To remember a name and tack a face to it is the trick accomplished by the celluloid button, the automatic roll call, by all schemes to make men know each other’s names with the idea that the name and not the man is important.
“You have been here nearly a year and know a dozen men by name. If you know a hundred by sight to speak to, you have accomplished something more important than filling your memory with names. But if you know only your dozen by sight and name, and no others either by sight or name, then there is something the matter with your idea of fellowship.
“In lodge, brothers learn to know each other; if they learn each other’s names in the process, well and good. But if they learn to know each other as human beings with friendly faces, it does make little difference whether they have good or poor memories for names.
“Our Master is a fine, lovable man. Every dog he meets on the street wags its tail and speaks to him, and he speaks to them all. I doubt if he knows their names. He has a poor memory for names, yet he never forgets a face. I know names and faces because it’s my job, but I’d make a poor Master.”
“I’m not so sure about your being a poor Master!”
“Well, I am! Don’t confuse a good memory, a good Mason and a good Master. I try to have the first and be the second!”
Carl Johnson, 32′ Burlington Masonic Lodge #254 Grand Lodge of Washington, Free & Accepted Masons Ancient & Accepted Scottish Rite, Southern Jurisdiction Valley of Bellingham, Orient of Washington
“What we have done for ourselves alone dies with us, what we have done for others and the world remains and is immortal.” -Albert Pike
“Old Tiler Talks” by Carl Claudy -1924
The New Brother leaned against the wall near the Old Tiler and lighted a cigar. “We would do more good in the world if we advertised ourselves more,” he said.
“Why?” asked the Old Tiler.
“So that those not members of the fraternity would know more about our work.”
“Why should they?”
“The more people know about us, the more regard they have for us, the more men would want to be Masons, the larger we would grow, and so the more powerful we would be!” answered the New Brother.
“You would advertise us until all men became Masons?”
“Well- er- I don’t know about all men; but certainly until most men applied.”
“If all men were Masons at heart there would be no need for Masonry,” answered the Old Tiler. “But not all who call themselves Master Masons are real Masons. What we need to do is advertise ourselves to our brethren.”
“But we know all about Masonry,” protested the New Brother, “the world at large does not.”
“Oh, no, we don’t know all about Masonry!” cried the Old Tiler. “Even the best-informed don’t know all about Masonry. The best-informed electricians do not know all about electricity; the best-informed astronomers do not know all about astronomy; the best-informed geologists do not know all about geology. We have much to learn.”
“But electricity and astronomy and geology are sciences. Masonry is- is- well, Masonry was made by men, and so men must know all about it.”
“Can a man make something greater than himself?” countered the Old Tiler. “Our ears hear sounds- translate vibrations of air or other material to our brains- as noise or music. But the ear is limited; we do not hear all the sounds in nature; some animals and insects hear noises we cannot hear. We have eyes, yet these imperfect instruments turn into color and light but a tiny proportion of light waves. Scientific instruments recognize vibrations which physical senses take no account of- radio and x-ray for instance. Yet our whole conception of the universe is founded on what we see and hear. Very likely the universe is entirely different from what we think. The ant’s tiny world is a hill; he has no knowledge of the size of the country in which is his home, let alone the size or shape of the world. A dog’s world is the city where he lives; not for him is the ocean or the continent or the world. The stars and the moon and the sun are to him but shining points. Our world is bigger; we see a universe through a telescope, but we can but speculate as to its extent or what is beyond the narrow confines of our instruments.
“Masonry is like that. Our hearts understand a certain kind of love. Prate as we will about brotherhood of man and Fatherhood of God, we yet compare the one to the love of two blood-brothers and the second to our feelings for our children. We measure both by the measuring rods we have.
“Real brotherhood and real Fatherhood of God may be grander, broader, deeper, wider, than we know. Masonry contains the thought; our brains have a limited comprehension of it. If this be so then we know little about Masonry, and what even the most learned of us think is probably far short of reality.”
“All that may be so,” answered the New Brother, “and it is a most interesting idea; but what has it to do with advertising to the profane?”
“Does a scientist make any progress by advertising his science?” countered the Old Tiler. “Will a geometrician discover a new principle by advertising for more students? Will the astronomer discover a new sun by running placards in the newspapers? Will a geologist discover the mystery of the earth’s interior by admitting more members to the geological society?
“Masonry needs no advertising to the profane, but advertising to its own members. I use the word in your sense, but I do not mean publicity. Masons need to be taught to extent Masonry’s influence over men’s hearts and minds. We do not need more material to work with, but better work on the half worked material we already have.
“Masonry is humble and secret; not for her the blare of trumpets and the scare head of publicity. To make it other than what it is would rob it of its character. To study, reflect, and labor in it is to be a scientist in Masonry, discovering constantly something new and better that it be more effective on those who embrace its gentle teachings and its mysterious power.”
“Oh, all right!” smiled the New Brother. “I won’t put it in the paper tomorrow. Old Tiler, where did you learn so much?”
“I didn’t,” smiled the Old Tiler. I know very little. But that little I learned by keeping an open mind and heart- which was taught me by-“
“By your teachers in school?”
“No, my son,” answered the Old Tiler, gravely, “by Masonry.”
Carl Johnson, 32′ Burlington Masonic Lodge #254 Grand Lodge of Washington, Free & Accepted Masons Ancient & Accepted Scottish Rite, Southern Jurisdiction Valley of Bellingham, Orient of Washington
“What we have done for ourselves alone dies with us, what we have done for others and the world remains and is immortal.” -Albert Pike
“Old Tiler Talks” by Carl Claudy -1924
“Did you have a happy Christmas?” inquired the New Brother in the anteroom.
“Indeed, yes! Did you?”
“Not particularly. Same old day, same old expense, same old gifts, same old things,” yawned the New Brother. “What did you do that made it happy?”
“First thing I went to church,” answered the Old Tiler.
“Why, I didn’t know you were a church goer!” The New Brother was surprised.
“It is debatable,” confessed the Old Tiler. “But on Christmas I like to go to church. Anyway, I had to see the rector. I had a turkey for someone who would need it. After church I got in the automobile and the chauffeur drove me to see Brother Fosdick and-“
“Whoa! You have a car and a chauffeur?” demanded the New Brother.
“Always on Christmas,” grinned the Old Tiler. “Feel mighty important, too! But it’s not mine, of course. A banker lends it to me.”
“I couldn’t get around without a car,” explained the Old Tiler. “So Brother Vanderveer lends me his. I called on old Brother Fosdick. He hasn’t been in lodge in ten years, but he doesn’t know it. He thinks he was at the last meeting, and will be there the next. His mind isn’t as clear as it was. He orders me to vote on this and how to do that, and is so important about it that he has a good time, thinking he is still a power in the lodge. It’s not much of a Christmas present, but it’s what he likes best.”
“Oh!” said the New Brother.
“Then I was driven to the Masonic Home. Had some toys for some pets and never can deny myself the pleasure of giving them.”
“Pets is the word. Two children of a brother of this lodge.”
“We had a riotous time, the kiddies and I. They showed me their tree and all their gifts and we played tag a while and they blew horns and it was real Christmas-like. It’s a shame to take up so much of the children’s time but I had a lot of fun and they were very kind, of course because I am old.”
“Is that it!” said the New Brother.
“The big kick came in the afternoon. I made a few calls on sick and housed brethren, and then went to dinner. After dinner we got in the car and went to the orphan asylum, and I had the time of my life. We must have given away five hundred dollars in toys and games and books and dolls.”
“You gave away five hundred dollars?”
“No, we did. I didn’t pay for them. I am poor. Brother Vanderveer paid for them. All I did was buy them and take them there in Brother Vanderveer’s car. He went along because he likes to.”
“All you did was spend the money and distribute it and plan it. He just went along, I see,” said the New Brother.
“Yes, I’d pay for part of them, but that would take some of the joy from Vanderveer,” the Old Tiler explained happily. “We had fun. Then we went back to Brother Vanderveer’s home and he gave me a present- think of that! There it is!” The Old Tiler pointed to a handsome stick. “He’s quite a wag, is Brother Vanderveer. He’s already done so much for me, lending me his car and all. I had no present for him, I told him so. He said I had already given him Christmas, which was nonsense, because I hadn’t given him anything. I hardly know where the day went. But I had a real good time. That’s what Christmas is for, isn’t it?”
“I always thought it was a day to get up late and laze around and stuff myself and go to bed disgusted,” snapped the New Brother. “I think I’ll try your scheme next time.”
“There’s plenty of room for you in the car,” answered the Old Tiler. “I’d love to have you and so would Brother Vanderveer.”
“Oh!” said the New Brother, thoughtfully.
Carl Johnson, 32′ Burlington Masonic Lodge #254 Grand Lodge of Washington, Free & Accepted Masons Ancient & Accepted Scottish Rite, Southern Jurisdiction Valley of Bellingham, Orient of Washington
“What we have done for ourselves alone dies with us, what we have done for others and the world remains and is immortal.” -Albert Pike
“Old Tiler Talks” by Carl Claudy -1924
“Old Tiler, I am in a jam!” The New Brother smiled, so the Old Tiler did not feel too worried. “If you don’t help me out, I will be up against it.”
“What’s the trouble now?” The Old Tiler put down his sword to take the cigar the New Brother held out. “Must be something very bad or you wouldn’t start me off with so good a cigar.”
“I have to make a Masonic address.”
“That has been done, and the addresser- yes, even the addressees- lived to tell the tale,” countered the Old Tiler.
“I don’t want just to get by. I want to make ’em remember it. I want to talk about something they haven’t heard before. I’ve listened to many Masonic speeches, and most of them bored me to tears.”
“There are rules for making a good address,” mused the Old Tiler. “The three great rules are, have something to say- say it- sit down. Sometimes they are stated ‘stand up, speak up, shut up.’ Terminal facilities of adequate proportions are needed by railroads and Masonic speakers.”
“That’s just it!” cried the new Brother. “I want to know what to say and how to say it.”
“Meaning you want me to make your speech for you, or to you, before you make it in there?”
“Well, er, no. Not exactly. But can’t you, er, suggest something?”
“I could, but I won’t. I’ll suggest a method of handling your subject, however. Most Masonic speeches suffer from lack of preparation, and of clear thinking about what the speaker wants to say.
“I can’t prepare you. I can’t make you think clearly. But I can tell you the essence of appeal. It is drama. If you want your hearers to hang on your words, dramatize your subject. If you talk about the Rough and Perfect Ashlars, bring your workman before your hearer; let them hear the strokes of the mallet on the chisel, let them feel the chips of stone as they fall to the ground. If you talk of the plumb line, make them see the Lord on His wall, watch the Children of Israel gather around, wondering at his putting a plumb ‘in the midst’ of them, that He would not pass by them any more. When you tell of brotherhood, don’t have it an abstraction, a theory, a hope; make it concrete. Tell some stories about it. Show one brother helping another; if you don’t know any stories, make them up. But bring the living thought, alive, into the lodge room; men are nothing but children grown up. We all like stories.
“A most entertaining speaker made a talk on Masonic charity. One by one he brought vividly before the lodge a child in a Masonic home, an old blind Mason who was helped to be self-supporting by a lodge, an old mother of a Master Mason who kept her home, thinking it was supported by what her son had left her; he hadn’t left a cent. The lodge pretended he had, and paid it during her life time. He made us see these people; we lived and grew up with the child; we shut our eyes to see how the blind man felt; from a window we saw the world go by, happy that our sons had kept us from want, as his simple words brought these things before us.
“The speaker spoke quietly, restrained, calmly. He didn’t make the eagle scream; there was almost no applause during his address. But he made us visualize the sweetness of Masonic charity, as distinct from the cool impersonality of mere giving. He made us proud that we belonged to an organization which worked. He dramatized charity, and made us see its living human aspects, not its economic importance, or its religious duty angle.
“That’s the answer of ‘how shall I make any Masonic speech interesting,’ my brother. Make it simple. Make it human. Make it dramatic. there is drama in all the Fraternity; any symbol, any tenet, any part of Masonry has a dramatic angle.
“I do not mean melodramatic. I don’t tell you to put battle, murder, sudden death, in your speech. Melodrama is action without character; drama is action with character. A railroad accident is melodrama. The mother who saves for a vacation and gives her son the money to buy a set of golf clubs is dramatic.
“Find the character behind the symbols; get the human side of the Craft into its teachings; tell them in terms of people and action, of the things they know only as theories, and your audience won’t walk out on you. Talk without ideas, and you’ll speak to empty benches.”
“I think,” began the New Mason, “I think-“
“That’s all that’s necessary,” smiled the Old Tiler.
“I think you’d better make this speech for me,”
“You think in melodrama,” laughed the Old tiler. “It’s you trouble, not mine.”

Carl Johnson, 32′ Burlington Masonic Lodge #254 Grand Lodge of Washington, Free & Accepted Masons Ancient & Accepted Scottish Rite, Southern Jurisdiction Valley of Bellingham, Orient of Washington
“What we have done for ourselves alone dies with us, what we have done for others and the world remains and is immortal.” -Albert Pike
“Old Tiler Talks” by Carl Claudy -1924
“Old Tiler, let’s start a campaign to buy new jewels and furniture.” “I have heard that before,” answered the Old Tiler to the New Brother. “What’s the matter with our jewels and our furniture?”
“So old-fashioned!” returned the New Brother, disgustedly. “I visited Corinth Lodge last night, in their beautiful new temple. All new paint, new mahogany furniture, new leather, bright and shining new jewels and all. It rather made me ashamed of our outfit.”
“But Corinth is a new lodge,” protested the Old Tiler.
“And this is an old one,” retorted the New Brother. “Why should we let the new lodges beat us?”
“We don’t. We have them beaten seven ways,” returned the Old Tiler, puzzled. “Our old furniture and jewels are beautiful in themselves, and are hallowed with age and memories.”
“Don’t you believe in lodges making progress and getting new things? Can’t we outgrow our temple?” asked the New Brother.
“We can. I doubt if we have. But a new temple is one thing, and new fittings quite another. The only beauty in modern fittings is their newness. There is no musk of age about them; no feeling of these having watched Masonic sights which have been worth seeing. We may have a new temple someday but when we give up our hundred-year-old Master’s chair and the crude jewels our officers have worn more than a hundred and twenty years I want to see it from the Grand Beyond.”
“Well- I never thought of it that way…”
“You are not the only one, retorted the Old Tiler. “Let me tell you a little story. In 1789, I think it was, a lodge in Trenton, N.J.- Trenton No. 5- built a temple. It is two stories high. Below is one big room, probably a refreshment room. Above is a lodge room. Atop that, an attic. Built of stone it was, and built to last.
“Trenton Lodge grew much too big for the little lodge room. In 1867 the old building became a school. Later it was used for commercial purposes, The brethren of Trenton Lodge, in those days, were too close to their old home to know what they were doing to it. They let it go.
“Years passed, and sentiment grew. Trenton began to make parks and change its streets. The old Masonic building was to be torn down to make room for a street. By now sentiment was all to the fore. So the Grand Lodge picked up the old building, lock, stock, and barrel, and moved it to land it owned, and laid another cornerstone with impressive ceremonies in 1915. Now the old building is a house of Masonic and patriotic relics, carefully and lovingly restored. Much of the old furniture was recovered. The East, a niche in the wall, had been boarded up to make a square room. That sacrilege was removed. The ceiling had been papered; when it was repapered, they found a sculptured sun, with radiating rays, directly above the Altar and seven stars, and a moon. They had been lovingly restored.
“Lafayette and Washington trod the boards in that floor. The old building was made when memories of Washington crossing the Delaware were fresh. The old jewels of the lodge are carefully preserved. If you were a member of Trenton Lodge No. 5, would you want too see all this thrown away for a new outfit?”
“Well, er- no. But does Trenton Lodge meet there?”
“No. They meet in a new temple immediately adjacent to the present site of the old building. Trenton Lodge has a vast pride in this ancient possession; it is a Mecca for the visiting Mason. Perhaps our old lodge will become such someday.
“I am an old man, and I love old things. I try to be progressive; I am accustomed to electric lights and steam-heat. But I could never be reconciled to diamond-set jewels for Master and Wardens. The Bible on the Altar our first Master gave us four generations ago is hallowed to me. I believe in progress, in comfortable meeting places and settings worthy of Masonry. But let us not discard the old merely because it is old. Let us cherish the hallowed old; when great history, patriotism, sacrifices, accomplishments are woven into the old, then should we cherish them.
“Such a lodge as this lodge. To wear the jewel a hundred Masters have worn is an infinitely prouder joy than to wear for the first time the newest and most elaborate jewel. To take an obligation on a Bible on which thousands have been obligated is holier, though not more binding, than to do so on a new Book.
“Let us have a new temple when we must; let us even have new carpets and new lights. But let us keep our old and time-worn jewels; let us stick to our old Bible; let us keep our memories and those objects around which memories cling, for of such stuff are the dreams of men. When a man thus dreams, his Freemasonry touches the heart because it comes from the heart.”
“You ought to have been- why, Old Tiler, you are a poet!” cried the New Brother.
“Humph!” snorted the Old Tiler. But he fingered his old sword, not unpleased.
Carl Johnson, 32′ Burlington Masonic Lodge #254 Grand Lodge of Washington, Free & Accepted Masons Ancient & Accepted Scottish Rite, Southern Jurisdiction Valley of Bellingham, Orient of Washington
“What we have done for ourselves alone dies with us, what we have done for others and the world remains and is immortal.” -Albert Pike
“Old Tiler Talks” by Carl Claudy -1924
“You know Briggs, the tobacco man?”
“I buy my cigars from him,” answered the Old Tiler.
“Have a cigar that Briggs didn’t sell!” answered the New Brother, offering his case. “I have bought my last one from Briggs!”
“Too expensive?” asked the Old Tiler. “Thank you for a match, too, I’ll supply the habit, though!”
“Much too expensive!” agreed the New Brother. “Briggs is a member of this lodge and I wanted to give him my trade, but he doesn’t appreciate it.”
“I always found old Briggsy a very decent sort of chap,” answered the Old Tiler, surprised. “We have bought lodge smokes from him for years. Many brethren give him their trade. What’s he done to you?”
“Sent me a bill marked ‘please remit!’ That’s something I don’t like. My credit is good. I always pay my bills.”
“Why did Briggs do it?”
“I suppose he wanted the money! I had intended to pay the bill, but I was short last month, so I let it go over. And then comes this insulting note!”
“Pay full price for the good?”
“Oh, no. Briggs always gives a little discount to the members of his lodge.”
“As a piece of Swiss cheese you are the smallest round hole filled with bad air I ever saw!” snorted the Old tiler, disgustedly. “First you ask for and take a discount, because of a common brotherhood, then you keep your brother waiting for his money, and finally you get peeved when he asks you for it and propose to take your trade elsewhere. I have heard of small potatoes and a few in a hill, but I didn’t know we had nubbins in this lodge that grew in hills all by themselves!”
“Why, how you talk!” responded the New Brother, indignantly. “Is it your idea of brotherhood to talk to me that way?”
“It surely is! In the most friendly manner I am reminding you of your faults! You treat Briggs in a most un-Masonic way and then grouch about the way he treats you! Asking for discounts because of a common Masonry is a most un-Masonic practice. You don’t say to a merchant, ‘Mr. Jones, you and I belong to the same church, therefore give me a discount.’ You don’t say, ‘Mr. Brown, you and I belong to the same country club, therefore give me a discount.’ You don’t say, ‘Mr. Smith, you and I graduated from high school in the same class, therefore give me a discount!’ But you do say to old Briggs, ‘Briggs, you and I belong to the same lodge, therefore give me a discount. If you don’t, I’ll buy elsewhere. And if you favor me I’ll keep you waiting for your money and when you ask me for it I’ll get peeved!’
“Masonry is not a purchasing society, a mutual benefit association, or a cooperative buying plan. When a Mason can buy from a Mason it is a pleasant custom to do so. Members who can help each other financially without loss to themselves should do so. But we should not use our common Masonry as a lever to make men favor us financially. We shouldn’t demand discounts. Masonry should make us charitable, not irritable. We shouldn’t visit on a brother the sins we commit. You were delinquent about that bill. Instead of being peevish, you should pay without taking a discount, and apologize to old Briggs for being so negligent of your obligation!
“Like vaccination, Masonry either takes or it doesn’t. If, seeing another Mason, you say to yourself, ‘He wears the same pin I do. I wonder what he will do for me?’ Masonry hasn’t taken with you. But if you say, ‘That chap wears a Masonic pin! I wonder what I can do to help my brother?’ your Masonry has taken.
“Briggs likes to favor his brethren. Most of us won’t let him give us discounts. I pay Briggs just what I’d pay any other cigar merchant, and glad to. I even walk out of my way to buy from Briggs, because I like to help him. the lodge takes no discount when it purchases cigars. Why should it? It’s not an object of charity. Briggs ought not to have to subsidize as customers his own lodge members. Yet you complain of a bill!”
“Wait a minute! I didn’t think. I’m on my way now to buy a whole lot of cigars from Briggs at the best price and pay my bill and tell Briggs I am sorry and…”
“Oh, I knew all that before!” grinned the Old Tiler. “You are not a bad potato, you know, just a little one. But you will grow!”
“And one of those boxes of cigars is for you!” ended the New Brother.
“Discount offered me for lending yourself to be my verbal chopping block!” grinned the Old Tiler.
“Not at all!” cried the New Brother. “Payment in full for half an hour’s conversation!”
Carl Johnson, 32′ Burlington Masonic Lodge #254 Grand Lodge of Washington, Free & Accepted Masons Ancient & Accepted Scottish Rite, Southern Jurisdiction Valley of Bellingham, Orient of Washington
“What we have done for ourselves alone dies with us, what we have done for others and the world remains and is immortal.” -Albert Pike
“Old Tiler Talks” by Carl Claudy -1924
“I never saw much point in this joke about ‘sitting up with the sick,'” began the New Brother to the Old Tiler, “but since I joined the lodge I do. I used to think it was a pretty idea; that a lodge member should sit up with a sick brother seemed real brotherhood. Now I find we don’t so I see the joke.”
“Do you, now! How keen is your sense of humor?” answered the Old Tiler. “Who told you we didn’t sit with our sick friends?”
“Why, no one. But if we did, I’d have heard of it, wouldn’t I?”
“Depends on the length of your ears. Yesterday I tried to buy a hat. The salesman showed me one and said it was twenty-five dollars. I asked him where the holes were. ‘What holes?’ he asked. I told him I meant the holes for the ears of the jackass who would pay twenty-five dollars for that hat. If your ears are long enough, maybe you can hear about our sitting up with our sick friends. But I presume you are hard of hearing?
“In small towns a few decades ago, nurses were few. When a brother was sick we often sat with him, to cheer him, hand him water or medicine, doing what we could. In modern days there is less need for such help. But don’t think we never do. Last month the Master called for volunteers to stay all night in a house where an old lady was dying. Our brother from that house was out of town. The old lady had a daughter and a nurse, but daughter was afraid to be alone. We had sixteen volunteers, and every night for a week two did their part. All they did was sit there and read, but who knows what comfort they were to that distracted daughter? The old lady finally died and in the day time. It looks as if what we did was wasted effort but the old lady might have died in the night; our brethren were there to help if she did. The daughter knew her husband’s brethren were within call so she slept secure in the protection Masonry threw about her.
“You say ‘we don’t sit up.’ Don’t confuse ‘sitting up’ with actually resting erect in a chair. No brother of this or any other good lodge is reported sick but he receives a call from the Master, Warden, chairman of the committee on the sick, or some brother. It makes no difference whether the brother is wealthy or poor, we see what we can do. Most members of the lodge are fairly prosperous citizens, able to look after themselves, but even so sick a member is human enough to value the interest the lodge takes. Knowing that his mighty brotherhood is anxious about him acts as a tonic. The sick man may be too ill to admit us to his bedside, but they tell him about it, and it heartens him.
“I was one visitor and a streetcar motorman was the other on duty last week. We visited an ill banker, president or director in half the companies in town. You never saw a man more pleased than Mr. Rich Man. He had us shown to his room and talked lodge and asked questions and wanted information about the fellows just as if he was a poor man like the rest of us. He happens to be a real Mason as well as a wealthy man. He wrote a letter to the Master and said our lodge visit had done him more good than his doctor, and wouldn’t he please send us or some other brethren again.
“I called on a sick brother too ill to see me. I saw his wife and his home and it was easy to see the brother needed help. He was too proud or his wife didn’t know enough to ask for it. So I reported and we sent our own doctor and nurse and paid some bills and generally managed until the brother got well. He paid back every cent, little by little, but he says he can never repay the kindness.
“‘Sitting up with a sick lodge member’ may be a good alibi for the poker player; I don’t know. I have read it in joke papers. But I never thought it funny, because I know how well Masonry does care for her sick, and how much it means to an ill man to have his brother take an interest in him. If you know any sick, tell us. If you hear of any, tell us. And if…say, did you ever visit a sick brother?”
“I never had the chance,” defended the New Brother.
“You mean you never made the chance!” countered the Old Tiler. “Will you go to the sick committee and ask for duty, or will i report your name for that duty to the Master? Or do you want to go on thinking it’s a joke?”
“I got an earful, didn’t I?” responded the New Brother. “You tell me to whom to go!”
Carl Johnson, 32′ Burlington Masonic Lodge #254 Grand Lodge of Washington, Free & Accepted Masons Ancient & Accepted Scottish Rite, Southern Jurisdiction Valley of Bellingham, Orient of Washington
“What we have done for ourselves alone dies with us, what we have done for others and the world remains and is immortal.” -Albert Pike

Bro. Carl ~
I find that I am most appreciative of the Carl Claudy “Old Tiler Talks” that you always post. The one you posted last ight about visiting the sick erally got my attention. Our Secretary is in the hospital right now. With a liver obstructed by a tumor, his kidneys failed trying to cleanse the blood of bile, and last night his heart stopped.
He was revived, and is now in critical condition and on a respirator in the Coronary Care Unit. Both I and the Wardens have been to visit, as well as our SD. Our group is a small one, and though not all have been to see him yet, all have called (before his heart stopped). His wife knows us all by name, and calls me regularly, as I do her. Last night, a PM fro another Lodge who has propsed membership with us came to visit, and met me at the hospital.
It’s so hard to see a so good and dear a friend and Brother as he is, lying unconscious, tubes everywhere. It must be triply hard for his wife and other family members. It eases them to see us there, to come in and find us already with him, and to sometimes leave and we are still remaining behind. thank you for your timely Tiler Talk — this time, I need it myself, so I’ll be able to be the help that I must be for my members, my Brother, and his family.
Rashied K. Sharrieff Al Bey, PM, MPS New York
“If you want Square Work, you don’t cut corners…”

“Old Tiler Talks” by Carl Claudy -1924
“Why do Masons spend their money so foolishly?” asked the New Brother.
“A fool and his money are soon parted,” answered the Old tiler.
“Do you think Masons are fools?”
“Certainly not. I was just agreeing that if Masons spend money foolishly they are foolish. What variety of foolish spending is teasing you?”
“Oh, a lot! We spend five dollars to send a funeral wreath to every brother’s funeral, and three dollars for flowers every time one is sick, and four dollars for fruit when one goes to the hospital. We decorate the lodge room when we have entertainment. We spend money for food for men who are well fed at home. We hire entertainers for a blow-out. My idea would be put all that money in an educational fund or a charity fund or…”
“By any chance,” interrupted the Old Tiler, “are you delivering a lecture? I want to talk, too!”
“I want you to talk. Tell me that I am right and that we do spend our money foolishly!”
“I can’t do that,” answered the Old Tiler. “But perhaps I can show you something on our side. You object to five dollar funeral wreaths to deceased brethren, and would rather see the money put in charity. Do you think we send the wreath to the dead man? With it we offer consolation to the family! We show that his brethren care that he has died and that the world may see that we hold our deceased brother in honor. If we are careless when grief comes to the loved ones of those we love, the world will hold it against us, and our influence be lessened.
“We send flowers to the sick and fruit to the hospital, that the ill brother may have the cheering comfort of knowing that in his hour of need his brethren forget him not. Is it, then, more charitable to feed a hungry body than a hungry heart? Have you ever been ill in a hospital? Did no one remember you with a card, a flower, a basket of fruit? If you were unremembered, you passed a sad hour in the thought that no one cared. If friends brought their friendship to you when you needed it you were helped to recover. If we do not cheer a worthy brother, for what does our brotherhood stand?
“Of course we decorate a lodge room for an entertainment! In your home are there but bare walls, without pictures, carpets or furniture? Do you give to the poor all you make over a bare subsistence? Do the poor spend only for food? In a poor man’s home you will find a flower, a book, a picture. Beauty is as much a need as bread. Cows chew cuds contentedly, but man must chew the cud of life with a spiritual as well as a physical outlook. The lodge room is our home. We decorate it for entertainment that all may remember their Masonic home as beautiful with pleasures taken together.
“Refreshment, whether sandwiches and coffee or a vocal or instrumental solo, refreshes mind and body. The solo we hear alone gives us not half the pleasure which comes from listening in company. The few cents per capita we spend for refreshment is no more wasted than were the twenty cents you paid for your cigar or the fifteen cents for your shoe shine!
“Suppose the world spent only for food, clothes and charity? The poor would become rich; ambition, thrift, independence and manhood would become extinct. If there were no music, painting, love of flowers, beautiful buildings in the world, where would our hearts reach when they seek something they know is just beyond? We do not see God in the ham sandwich as in the beautiful notes of music. I’ll agree He is everywhere, but we find Him easiest through our appreciation of the lovely, rather than the mundane things of life.
“Would you cease printing Bibles that more hungry people be fed? You argue that money not spent for charity is ill spent, but charity is but a part of Masonry. Masonry teaches men to help themselves, to think, to aid their fellows, not only by gifts, but by encouragement, cheer, help, aid, the kindly word. When we express them in the flower, the basket of fruit, the song or refreshment, we spend out money wisely.
“Truly the fool and his money are soon parted, but the fool parts with his for foolishness. We part with ours for value received, to carry Masonic cheer to the hearts of our brethren.”
“You are right, as you always are,” agreed the New Brother. “By the way, you are chairman of the committee on hospitals, are you not? Stick that in your pocket and make the next bunch of flowers or basket of fruit twice as big.”
That with which the New Brother soothed his conscience crinkled as it was folded.
Carl Johnson, 32′ Burlington Masonic Lodge #254 Grand Lodge of Washington, Free & Accepted Masons Ancient & Accepted Scottish Rite, Southern Jurisdiction Valley of Bellingham, Orient of Washington
“What we have done for ourselves alone dies with us, what we have done for others and the world remains and is immortal.” -Albert Pike
“Old Tiler Talks” by Carl Claudy -1924
“Why does Masonry fail so much?” puzzled the New Brother, dropping into a chair beside the Old Tiler in the anteroom.
“I didn’t know it did,” commented the Old Tiler. “But then, I’m an old man and my eyes are not very good. Maybe I don’t see clearly any more. Tell me about it.”
“Oh, you see well enough! You just don’t want to admit that the order to the service of which you have devoted so much time and thought is just a failure!”
“Is that so!” The Old Tiler seemed surprised. “You interest me! But pity my foibles and tell me your side of it!”
“Masonry fails because it doesn’t interest men sufficiently to make them practice what they preach. I was at Jones’ house tonight. Went to bring him to lodge in the car. After we had left he said: ‘Of course you know I’m not really going to lodge! Got a hen on! Nice fat lil’ poker game. Want to sit in?’ I told him I didn’t. But I took him to his ‘nice fat lil’ game!’ Now, there is a man who tells his family he is going to lodge, and then plays poker. I say Masonry has failed with him. It hasn’t even taught him to tell the truth!”
“Remember Roberts? He was arrested last week for forgery. He has been a member for several years. Yet Masonry couldn’t teach him to be honest. There was Williamson, who tried to kill his doctor; and Burton who has been defending an ugly divorce suit…they are lodge members, but Masonry didn’t teach them to be what they ought to be. And say…did you hear about Larson? Well…” the New Brother lowered his voice. “It’s being whispered about that…” He leaned over to talk in the Old Tilers ear. “Now, that isn’t Masonry…it’s a violation of all his obligations. So I say Masonry has failed with him. What do you say?”
“Yes, Masonry failed to make an impression on these men to suit you, even as Masonry has failed to make an impression on you to suit me!” snapped the Old Tiler. “That last remark you made was an unadulterated scandal! Does Masonry teach you to talk scandal? But never mind that! Let me dig a few weeds out of the scrubby, ill-tended, and unwatered garden you miscall your mind and see if we can’t get it ready to grow one straight thought!
“I know Jones. He is a member of the city club, the country club, Dr. Parkin’s church, and a luncheon club. Neither church nor luncheon club teach deception or foster lies. Both instruct in morality, one by precept, the other by practice. By what right do you blame Masonry for Jones’ failure to tell the truth, any more than the church or the luncheon club? Is Jones’ mother to blame because she didn’t teach her boy never to tell a lie? How about his Sunday School teacher and his wife? Are they to blame? If not, why is Masonry to blame?
“Roberts has been accused of forgery. I don’t know whether he is guilty or not. Williamson seems to have had some real justification for feeling enmity toward his doctor, although nothing justifies murder, of course. Burton may be a sinner or sinned against…I don’t know. As for Larson, it will take more than your whispers of scandal to make me believe ill of a brother until I know something.
“But let us suppose Roberts a forger, Williamson a murderer, Burton a Don Juan. All these men grew up, went to school, got out in the world, joined clubs, societies, orders, became Masons, members of a church…Why pick on Masonry as the failure when these men go wrong? Is it just? If the church of God can’t keep a man straight how can Masonry be expected to?
“It is rankly unjust to blame Christ for the failures of those who profess to follow Him. Was it Christ’s fault that Peter denied Him and Judas betrayed Him? Was it the fault of the religion they professed? Or was it the fault of the man, the character, the up-bringing, the times?
“Men fail, and fall, and rise and try again…or fall and stay in the mud. To those who rise Masonry has a helping hand to extend. To those who fail and stay fallen, she has charity. Not hers the fault that humanity is frail. She hold the torch; if they close their eyes to its radiance and refuse to see the narrow path that the torch illumines, will you blame the torch?
“Masonry does not fail men. Men fail Masonry. Masonry has the teachings, the thought, the ennobling influence, the example to set, the vision to show those who have eyes to see. If they close their hearts to the ennobling influence, will not profit by the example and shut their eyes to the vision, is that the fault of Masonry?
“You, my brother, have just talked scandal without proof; a whispered slander against the good name of a Mason. Has Masonry failed with you that it has not taught you tolerance, brotherly love, reticence, charity of thought? Or is the failure in you as it may be within these men you mention?”
“The Old Tiler waited. The New Brother hung his head. At last he spoke.
“I am most properly rebuked. How shall I make amends?”
“A great teacher said to you and all like you and to me and all like me; ‘Go, and sin no more!'” answered the Old Tiler reverently.

Carl Johnson, 32′ Burlington Masonic Lodge #254 Grand Lodge of Washington, Free & Accepted Masons Ancient & Accepted Scottish Rite, Southern Jurisdiction Valley of Bellingham, Orient of Washington
“What we have done for ourselves alone dies with us, what we have done for others and the world remains and is immortal.” -Albert Pike
“Old Tiler Talks” by Carl Claudy -1924
“I’m sore!” announced the New Brother to the Old Tiler.
“Where?” demanded the Old Tiler. “I’m no doctor, if it’s your teeth or your back.”
“It isn’t. It’s my feelings.”
“That’s different. As a soother of sore Masonic feelings I am the best doctor in captivity!” smiled the Old Tiler. “Pull out your symptoms and let’s look at them.”
“It’s being jumped on, if you must know,” began the New Brother. “I asked a friend to give me his petition to the lodge and Brother Smith heard it and walked all over me. How was I to know we didn’t go around asking for petition? At lunch a man I know made slighting remarks about Masonry and I defended it, and a brother took me to task afterwards and told me I shouldn’t discuss Masonry with the profane. How was I to know it wasn’t done in the best Masonic circles? Just this evening I answered the telephone and a feminine voice asked for Brother Jones and I said he wasn’t here. The Master walked up and down my spine for giving out information as to who was and wasn’t present. How was I to know that was a secret?”
“How do you usually find things out?” asked the Old Tiler.
“But I think I ought to be told these things! I think I should be instructed what to do and what not to do. I think…”
“I don’t think you think,” interrupted the Old Tiler. “I think you think you think. Really, you just react. Now answer a few questions, like a good patient, and I’ll cure your pimpled feelings, relieve the congestion in your inflamed emotions and reduce the swelling in your cranium and you’ll feel a lot better. In the first place, what’s your business?”
“Why, I am in the hardware business-I own the store at the corner of Main and Oak Streets-what’s that got to do with it?”
“When you went into the hardware business, did you know all there was to know about it?”
“I’ll say I didn’t and don’t now. But what…”
“I’m doing the question asking!” snapped the Old Tiler. “Did all the other hardware dealers of this town give you good advice? Did they all surround you day and night with council and assistance? Or did they let you paddle your own canoe?”
“Just that. I learned what I know by asking questions and reading, by listening to others who knew the game, by…”
“Exactly. You hung up a sign and launched out for yourself, and they accepted you at your own value-as a competitor, a man, a business agent, able to fight your own battles. That’s what we do in the lodge. We make you a Master Mason. We give you instruction in Masonry. We make you one of us. Then we turn you loose and expect you to act as if you were a man and a Mason, not a school child. If we spent al our time telling every new brother all we know, we’d have no time to practice brotherhood. We expect you to open not only your ears but your mouth. There are seventy-six men in that lodge tonight, any one of whom will answer any question you ask, and if they don’t know the answer they will find some one who does. But to expect the seventy-six to force information on you is unreasonable. They don’t know what you know; they have natural reluctance to put themselves in the position of teachers, when they don’t know if you want to learn or what you want to learn. Ask a question and you’ll hear something. Stick around with your mouth shut and you won’t”
“The fraternity has certain customs and usages. those who denounce it in public can do no harm, but defense can harm it. If a man gets up in public and says he thinks the public school is useless, the church a bad influence, and the government a failure, banks a hindrance to business and the automobile a blot on civilization, do you defend the school, the church, the government, the bank, the automobile? Every thinking human being knows the public school has made this country what it is, that the church makes men and women better, that this is the best of all governments and that the automobile is the greatest of time savers. These things are self-evident. The man who denies them makes himself, not the thing he criticizes, ridiculous. Criticism of Masonry hurts the man who utters it, not the Craft.”
“All that is true. I admit it, but I didn’t know it.”
“No, and you didn’t know you were not supposed to say whether Brother Jones was here or not. That’s his business. But I’m telling you because you asked me. I thought you knew all this. How was I supposed to know you didn’t? You never told me you didn’t!”
“Well, er-I thought-I mean-“
“You thought you thought you but you thought wrong!” smiled the Old Tiler. “Just remember, don’t do, don’t say, don’t think Masonry while you are new until you have asked. We are old; we have ideas, ways of doing and thinking, which have grown up through the years. You will learn them gradually as you attend lodge and talk with well-informed Masons. Don’t be afraid to open your mouth. No one will laugh at you, all will help. But don’t ask questions outside the lodge and don’t talk outside the lodge until you know what you are talking about.”
“I know one place outside the lodge where I can, do and shall talk!” defended the New Brother.
“In spite of what I say?” demanded the Old Tiler, somewhat tartly.
“Yep, in spite of what you say! And that place is right here in the anteroom,” smiled the New Brother. “And thank you.”
Carl Johnson, 32′ Burlington Masonic Lodge #254 Grand Lodge of Washington, Free & Accepted Masons Ancient & Accepted Scottish Rite, Southern Jurisdiction Valley of Bellingham, Orient of Washington
“What we have done for ourselves alone dies with us, what we have done for others and the world remains and is immortal.” -Albert Pike
“Old Tiler Talks” by Carl Claudy -1924
“There are a lot of things in Masonry,” began the New Brother to the Old Tiler.
“Bravo!” cried the Old Tiler, sarcastically. “Who told you all that?”
“And some of them,” continued the New Brother, “are more or less bull. I yield to no one in my love for the order, but I see its faults. And when I am expected to learn the science of geometry as a part of Masonry I know I am being bulled. There is no more sense to including geometry in the second degree than there would be including paleontology or…”
“I love to hear a man say he can see the faults of Masonry,” interrupted the Old Tiler, “because then I am in the presence of a master mind. Generations of philosophers have made Masonry what it is. When a new brother can plainly see its faults he is greater than all of these.”
“Of course I did not mean it that way. I just meant that I, er, you know…”
“Do I? Well, then I suppose I’d better not mince words about it. To say there is no sense to geometry in the second degree is to advertise the fact that you know nothing and care less for the symbolism of the order. Take from Masonry its symbolism and all you have left is a central thought with no means of expression. Imagine a great musician, deaf, blind, and paralyzed, his heart ringing with wonderful melodies and harmonies, yet unable to give them expression, and you have a mental picture of Masonry without symbolism. Symbolism is Masonry’s means of expressing thought, and geometry, in the second degree, is not an arithmetical study, but a symbol.
“Geometry was an outgrowth of the first science. The first glimpse brute man had there was aught in nature but haphazard chance or the capricious doing of a superior overlord was when he learned the stupendous fact that two and two always make four.
“From that humble beginning and recognition of the master law of the universe-which is, that law is universal, unchanging, and invariable-grew the study of things; their surfaces, their areas, their angles, their motions, their positions. Modern methods have gone farther than Euclid, but his work was perfectly done and Euclid’s geometry stands today as a perfect thing, as far as he took it.
“Geometry is the science of order. Reaching back to the first recognition that there was order in the world, it may stand for anyone who has eyes to see, as it does stand in Masonry, for man’s recognition of God in the universe. It is a symbol of universality. By geometry we know that natural law on earth is nature’s law for the stars. There have been few atheists in the world, but I venture to say that none of them have been geometricians or astronomers. They know too much to deny the existence of the Great Geometer when seeing His work.
“Geometry is everywhere. It is in the snowflake’s measured lines of crystallization. There is geometry of the honeycomb and a geometry of the cone of a fir tree. Mountains stand or fall as they obey or disobey the laws of geometry and the spider in her web and the planets in their orbits alike work according to the universal laws of geometry.
“‘I think God’s thoughts after Him,’ said the great astronomer Kepler, looking through his telescope and thinking of the geometry of the skies.
“If we know two angles and one dimension, we can find the other dimension. Man has angles and dimensions; and if we know enough of them we can find the rest. One of a man’s angles is his love of Masonry. Given a real love of Masonry as one angle, a willingness to live her precepts as the other and we can tell what sort of a man he is now, used to be, and will be in the future.
“It is a real geometry the second degree commends to you, my brother, because it is a symbol of law and order, of Deity, of universality. But it is spiritual geometry which you should study rather than the propositions of Euclid, bearing in mind that they are symbols of that which Masonry most venerates, most wisely teaches, and most greatly loves.
“Our ancient brother Pythagoras discovered the wonderful demonstration of the Great Architect which is the forty-seventh problem of Euclid. And so when I hear a young squirt of a Mason, with his eyes barely opened to the long path which is Masonry winding through the stars to God, say that the geometry in the second degree is bull, I wish I were young enough to take him out in the back lot and treat him as I would a small boy who found humor in church and fun in sacred things, and…”
“Oh, stop!” cried the New Brother. “I was wrong. I didn’t understand. Say, where can I get a geometry book? I want to know more about that forty-seventh problem.”
“In the reading room,” growled the Old tiler. “And, say, son, when you get it in your head, come back here and explain it all over again to me, will you?”
Carl Johnson, 32′ Burlington Masonic Lodge #254 Grand Lodge of Washington, Free & Accepted Masons Ancient & Accepted Scottish Rite, Southern Jurisdiction Valley of Bellingham, Orient of Washington
“What we have done for ourselves alone dies with us, what we have done for others and the world remains and is immortal.” -Albert Pike
“Old Tiler Talks” by Carl Claudy -1924
“Why don’t men practice what they preach?” demanded the New Brother of the Old Tiler, walking up and down in the anteroom.
“I dunno, why don’t they?” the Old Tiler hooked a chair nearer to his own. “Sit down, son, you remind me of a Marathon.”
“I don’t want to sit down! I want to know why men profess brotherhood and act like selfish beasts. I want to know why Masons agree to uphold each other in trouble and forget they have any brethren when trouble comes. I want to know why we preach charity and practice personal isolation from the other fellow’s woes. I want to know…”
“Don’t you also want to know why Masons preach toleration and broad-mindedness and then walk up and down the anteroom like cages lions, spouting intolerance and narrow-mindedness?” inquired the Old Tiler, mildly.
“That was right pat, for you,” laughed the New Brother, “but we prate a lot of charity and while we give money enough, we don’t do enough personal work!”
“Vague indictment,” countered the Old Tiler. “You have something on your chest beside your vest. Suppose you unload?”
“I was put on a sick committee last week,” began the New Brother. “And among our sick was a chap named Brown. We found him in Mercy Hospital. In a ward, he was, with a dozen or so other patients. He was pleased to see us and so appreciative of our visit, it was pathetic. Said if it wasn’t for the visits of his brethren he’d go crazy. Said some of us had been to see him every two weeks for several months. Then he pulled me down over his bed and said, “Look here, brother, you look like a regular guy; lemme tell you I am not the only Mason here, There are seven brethren in this ward, all from foreign jurisdictions, and no one visits them!”
“I hunted these chaps out, and I conferred with the committee, and we brought fruit and flowers and took them to all these seven, and five of them cried! And, damn it, I cried, too! Here they were, four of them hardly more than boys, in a strange town, in a strange place, and not a single Mason had hunted them up or said a word to them until we did it. I say we are pikers not to go and see them, and I’m going every week, and the lodge can pay the bills, or I will, but these chaps are going to think at least one brother believes in charity and…I don’t mean it as charity, I mean brotherhood and common decency. We preach a lot and do so little and we ought to be ashamed of ourselves and…”
“Whoa!” the Old Tiler grinned. “Back up, son! Your sentiments do you credit. It is true Masonic spirit to comfort the sick, but don’t be too hard on the lodge. A lodge is not omniscient, you know. Neither the Master nor the committee on the sick can know of every sick Mason in town. If those seven Masons had written to their own lodges and told the facts, those lodges would have written to us here, and we would have been on the job. Nine times out of ten when a strange brother in a strange town is sick and no Masons visit him, it’s because they don’t know he is there.
“Now you have discovered these brethren, you need not keep a monopoly of their care. Tell your story in lodge and you’ll start a whole procession of Masons toward Mercy Hospital. We are often apparently careless because we don’t know, but that we preach charity and practice its neglect I will not agree. Are you a better Mason than any in our lodge?”
“Why, of course not!”
“Well, are you a better man than any in our lodge?”
“I don’t think so!”
“You certainly do talk so!” responded the Old Tiler. “You have been to Mercy Hospital. You feelings have been touched by visible evidence of suffering and the need for Masonic visits. You are going to give what is needed. But you never did, before you went there. If you took the lodge out there wouldn’t they all feel the same way?”
“I suppose they would!”
“Then why damn them because they haven’t had your opportunity? You didn’t have to wait until you were drawn on a sick committee to go to Mercy Hospital. You just never thought of it. Now you have seen for yourself, you are moved to action. So would any of the rest of the Masons in this lodge be. Be charitable to them, too, as well as to the boys in the hospital. Go inside and tell your story; you’ll have plenty of company when you go to the hospital next time.”
“How do you know?”
“I visit Mount Alban Hospital every week,” said the Old Tiler, a little shyly, “and tell the boys, I know what they do.”
“There are times, answered the New Brother, “when I think you should be framed and put on a wall! You are too perfect to be real.”
“Oh, don’t say that!” cried the Old Tiler, “or I’ll think you are trying to borrow a cigar instead of just about to give me one!”
Carl Johnson, 32′ Burlington Masonic Lodge #254 Grand Lodge of Washington, Free & Accepted Masons Ancient & Accepted Scottish Rite, Southern Jurisdiction Valley of Bellingham, Orient of Washington
“What we have done for ourselves alone dies with us, what we have done for others and the world remains and is immortal.” -Albert Pike
“Old Tiler Talks” by Carl Claudy -1924
“If I had it my way,” began the New Brother, sitting beside the Old Tiler, “I’d make it a Masonic offense to laugh in the lodge room. We are not as serious about our Masonry as we should be.”
“Someone laughed at you, or you are talking to yourself very seriously!” answered the Old Tiler.
“I am not!” cried the New Brother. “I take Masonry seriously! What we do in the lodge room has the sacredness of a religious ceremony. I can see no difference between the sacredness of the Altar of Masonry and the altar of a church, and when I go and see the beautiful windows, and hear the music and watch the choir boys come up the aisle, and hear the minister give out the solemn text- well, you know how inspiring it is. I feel the same way in lodge sometimes, during the more solemn parts of the degrees. But we have a business meeting first and sometimes someone cracks a joke and everyone laughs, and some brethren misinterpret and giggle sometimes in the degrees, and there is some ritual which isn’t awe-inspiring and- and I think it should be changed!”
“Well, go ahead and change it!” cried the Old Tiler. “I don’t believe that absence of solemnity is a Masonic landmark which can’t be changed.”
“Of course it isn’t, but how can I change it?”
“That’s your problem!” smiled the Old Tiler. “You are the reformer, not I. But before I wasted much grey matter, I’d ask myself a few questions. You seem to like things serious, so this should come easy to you. Then I’d talk to the Chaplain. David is young, but he has common sense.
“It would do you good to go his church. You would find it as solemn and beautiful as any other during the service. But if you went to a vestry meeting you’d see David grin, and maybe someone would tell a ministerial joke. I can’t imagine God being displeased about it. Seems to me if he hadn’t wanted people to laugh he wouldn’t have made so many brethren to laugh at!
“Brother David would tell you that there was a time to be reverent and a time to be happy, and that a church in which people couldn’t be happy wasn’t much of a church. Ever go to a wedding? Ever see people grin and kiss the bride when it was over? Ever go to a church social? Ever go to the boys’ club in a red-blooded church?
“It didn’t hurt the church in their eyes, did it? Then why should it disconcert you to have a lodge room treated the same way? Get it out of your head that Masonry or religion is bound up in a room, or a building. It doesn’t hurt so long as we don’t laugh at the wrong time! It doesn’t hurt the solemnity of the Masonic degree that our lodge room is first but a business meeting hall and afterwards maybe a dining room. It is the spirit in which we do our work that counts, not the letter; it is the temple in our hearts which must be kept sacred, not the mere physical confines of brick and stone in which we meet.
“That there should be no cause for laughter during the degrees. But to say we can’t laugh in a lodge room is to get the dog by the wrong tail!
“Masonry, my son, is joyful, not mournful. It should be filled with laughter of little children, the happy smiles of contented women, the loveliness of faithful friendship, the joy of flowers and music and song. To make it too serious for smiles, too solemn for happiness, perverts it. If God made sunshine and children and flowers, don’t you suppose He wanted the one to dance with the other in the third? If He made happiness and human hearts, don’t you suppose He wanted the one to live in the other?
“Masonry is an attempt to live the brotherhood of man under the Fatherhood of God. The best of all human fathers can but touch the skirts of the Being who is the All Father. But did you ever see a human father worth his salt who didn’t want his children laughing and happy?
“There is a time for work and a time for play. There is a time for degrees and a time for refreshment. There is a time for business meetings and a time for ritual. There is a time for laughter and for joy as well as a time of solemnity and reverence. The one is just as important as the other.”
“I wish just once,” said the New Brother, “I could start something with you which I could finish!”
“Try offering me a cigar!” suggested the Old Tiler.
Carl Johnson, 32′ Burlington Masonic Lodge #254 Grand Lodge of Washington, Free & Accepted Masons Ancient & Accepted Scottish Rite, Southern Jurisdiction Valley of Bellingham, Orient of Washington
“What we have done for ourselves alone dies with us, what we have done for others and the world remains and is immortal.” -Albert Pike
“Old Tiler Talks” by Carl Claudy -1924
“I don’t hold with this subscription idea at all,” announced the New Brother to the Old Tiler. “Masonry should be a self-supporting institution and not ask for contributions.”
“Yes, yes, go on, you interest me. So does the braying of the jackass, the gurgling of a six months old child, the bleating of a lamb and the raucous cries of the crow.”
“You can call it what you like,” defended the New Brother, “but asking for contributions to build a temple is all wrong.”
“Just what do you mean, that Masonry should be self supporting?” asked the Old Tiler.
“Why, it ought to get along on its dues and fees!”
“Do you think you can get along entirely on your salary? You don’t borrow money to build a house, or to aid you in your business?”
“That’s different!”
“How is it different? You borrow to build a house, and the house is security for the loan. Someday you pay it back and own the house. We borrow from our members to build a temple and…”
“But that’s just the point. We don’t borrow, we beg. And we don’t pay back, we grab the temple and the fellows that have paid for it have nothing to show for it.”
“Suppose we ‘beg’ as you put it, sufficient contributions from our membership to build the temple and own it outright,” answered the Old Tiler. “The money we then spend on it is upkeep, overhead. We won’t charge ourselves rent because we won’t be paying on a loan. In our present temple the lodge pays the rent. With no rent to pay we will have more money in the treasury. With more money than it needs in the treasury a lodge may reduce its dues or spend more in charity and entertainment. The mere reducing of the rent charge will soon equal, per capita, the entire contribution asked for any individual brother.
“But apart from the dollars angle, a temple is more than a mere pile of stone in which is a room where Masons meet. The temple expresses Masonry to the world. As it is beautiful, solid, substantial, massive, permanent, so does the fraternity appear. As it is paid for, free from debt, a complete asset, so does the institution seem. A poor, mean temple argues that lodge members have so little belief in their order that they are not willing to provide it with proper quarters. As a beautiful church expresses veneration for the Creator, so does a beautiful building for Masonry express veneration for the order and reverence for the Great Architect in Whose shadow we labor and to Whom all temples of Masonry are erected.
“Our brethren have undertaken to erect a beautiful temple. They want a meeting place which is convenient and comfortable, in which they can take pride and which will show visitors that Masonry has love for its tenets. By a new temple they want to express the love they have for the vision of brotherhood. So they say, each to the other, ‘Brother, how much will you give?’ and brother answers brother, ‘All I can afford,’ and does so.
“We are asking less than $2 a month, less than ten cents a day. But it is enough. Each brother will make some little sacrifice for the order he loves. When the temple is built every brother will feel that it is truly his temple, in the actual sense of personal ownership. He may look at a block of stone on the wall and say to himself, ‘That is mine, I paid for it.’ And what a man buys because he loves it, he cherishes. Nothing which we could do will more thoroughly solidify our Masonry. When finished, the building will be out temple in the truest sense; not only that we went down in our pockets and paid for it, but ours because we put our hearts into it. And what a man puts his heart in, he defends, upholds, makes better.
“If we ask $100 from each brother, we will give every brother $1,000 worth of pride of ownership. We build not only for the brethren who would shoulder the burden in the heat of the day, but for the brethren who come after.
“Our ancient brethren who built the temples of the middle ages for all to see and revere, left their mark on time and history and on the generations which followed them. We will leave our mark on generations of our sons and their sons and their sons’ sons after them, because we are willing to make a freewill offering to that which, next to God, is the greatest leaven of our life, the fraternity which makes a man love his fellow men.”
“Oh, stop talking! Twice while you have been lecturing me I have mentally increased my subscription. Now I have doubled it. Hush, or I won’t be able to buy shoes for the baby!”
“Don’t start things, then!” grumbled the Old Tiler, but he smiled as he held out a fresh subscription blank and a fountain pen.
Carl Johnson, 32′ Burlington Masonic Lodge #254 Grand Lodge of Washington, Free & Accepted Masons Ancient & Accepted Scottish Rite, Southern Jurisdiction Valley of Bellingham, Orient of Washington
“What we have done for ourselves alone dies with us, what we have done for others and the world remains and is immortal.” -Albert Pike
“Old Tiler Talks” by Carl Claudy -1924
“Going so soon?” asked the Old Tiler, as the New Brother reached for his hat and coat.
“I have a most important Masonic mission to perform,” answered the New Brother, importantly.
“That’s interesting,” answered the Old Tiler. “I like to see new brethren so interested they are trusted with important Masonic missions. Care to tell me about it?”
“It can wait a few minutes,” answered the New Brother. “It’s a family matter. The young son of one of the members of our sister lodge came to me today to explain that his father wasn’t doing right. He doesn’t give the mother any money and the children need shoes, and this mistaken brother is spending his money on horse racing when he ought to be spending it on his family. The boy knew me and knew his father belonged to the fraternity. So he asked me to use the influence of Masonry to make him behave. That’s what I am going to do.”
“You grow more interesting every minute.” The Old Tiler hitched his chair against the wall and leaned back. “Tell me what you are going to do in the performance of this important Masonic mission.”
“I am going to explain to Brother Smith that his conduct is unbecoming that of a Mason, and to get him to reform.”
“And if he refuses?”
“I shall then threaten him with proceedings against him.”
“Such as?” inquired the Old Tiler.
“Why, one prefers charges, doesn’t one? The lodge tries him and inflicts what punishment is necessary. In this case the punishment would be to support his family!”
“And while you are thus engaging in conduct unbecoming a Mason, explaining to him how unbecoming his conduct is, who will come and explain your unbecoming conduct to you?”
“My unbecoming conduct! Why, I am going to do nothing unbecoming a Mason!”
“Oh, yes, you are!” answered the Old Tiler, emphatically. “In fact, you are trying to do several un-Masonic things all at once. Even with the best of intentions, for which I give you credit, you can’t succeed in getting any results but being shown the door, and, maybe, having charges preferred against you!”
“Why, you amaze me!” countered the New Brother. “I thought that one of the things Masonry was for was to make men act as they should!”
“You thought wrong!” answered the Old Tiler, “Masonry exists to *teach* men to act as they should, *persuade* them to do right, *encourage* them to be honest and upright, and thoughtful and kindly. But Masonry *makes* no man do as he should. Masonry does not attempt to usurp the law’s work. A man who will not support his family can be reached through the law. Masonry can reach him only through his heart. Charges can be preferred against him in his lodge, but with small prospects of results unless the law has first found him guilty. Masons try Masons for un-Masonic conduct. If the un-Masonic conduct is a legal matter, the law usually must first have taken its course. It is not for us to judge the legal aspects of his conduct, only the Masonic angles. And if he can say, ‘I have done nothing; I am free before the law; my record is clear;’ on what will you convict him?”
“Again, my friend, if this mission of yours is to be performed at all, it must be accomplished by the lodge, not the individual. If the brother were a member of this lodge, and son or wife complained to the Master about a brother’s conduct, the Master could appoint a committee to investigate and report to the lodge. But for you, an individual, to go butting into the family affairs of a man not even a brother of your own lodge, would be to subject you to insult. Personally, I think he would be justified in adding to his insults a swift kick which would land you in the middle of the pavement. He would well say he kicked you in defense of his family!
“The way to reach this brother, supposing he is doing the wrong thing, is through Masons he knows and respects. Let the son or wife go to the Master of his own lodge and say that the man is neglecting them. Let the Master of that lodge reason with him. Perhaps he needs help. The lodge will give it. Perhaps he is slipping for want of a friendly hand and sympathetic understanding. His own brethren will give it. It is not for you, any more than it is for them, to judge this man on one complaint until an investigation has shown what is the fact.
“You have no moral, legal, or fraternal right to ‘whisper good counsel in his ear’ until you know it is needed. By arrogating to yourself the powers of a Master and appointing yourself a committee of one to investigate, try, convict, admonish, and threaten with punishment a brother Master Mason, however good your intentions, you show yourself guilty of un-Masonic conduct and a decidedly un-Masonic ignorance. Where are you going now?”
“Back into the lodge!” The New Brother hung up his hat. “To see if I can learn something about this Masonic gun before I attempt to fire it!”
Carl Johnson, 32′ Burlington Masonic Lodge #254 Grand Lodge of Washington, Free & Accepted Masons Ancient & Accepted Scottish Rite, Southern Jurisdiction Valley of Bellingham, Orient of Washington
“What we have done for ourselves alone dies with us, what we have done for others and the world remains and is immortal.” -Albert Pike
“Old Tiler Talks” by Carl Claudy -1924
“It’s too bad!” complained the New Brother, “I’ve got drawn on a funeral committee on the very day I want to play golf. I wonder if I can find a substitute?”
“Very likely,” answered the Old Tiler. “The world is full of substitutes who perform the duties of people too lazy, inefficient, and careless of the rights of others to do it themselves.”
“Oh, come now, don’t be so rough!” The New Brother winced. “Going to funerals is all form. Why, I never even saw this deceased brother! What difference will it make to him or his family if I go to his funeral myself or get someone else to go for me?”
“No difference at all,” agreed the Old Tiler. The only person to whom it will make any difference will be you.”
“The difference it will make to me will be the difference between being bored and having a good game of golf!” asserted the New Brother.
“It will make other difference.” The Old Tiler was very emphatic. “One of them is that the only importance Masonry has is what it does to a man’s heart. Objectively, it is of less importance than the necktie he wears. The important part of Masonry is its leavening power on that part of a man which is the ego, the person, the individual.
“The effect Masonry has on a man’s heart is aided by the mechanics of Masonry; temple, lodge room, dignity of the order, its public appearances, the respect it shows to its dead, its educational work, appeal to the general public, its secrecy, its reputation of being above party and politics, its alliance with all religion and its participation in none. These make Masonry objective, but they are the outward semblance of the inward and spiritual Masonry. These you ought to know for yourself: charity, relief, brotherly love, truth, knowledge, self-sacrifice, tolerance.
“But how can you separate the inward and spiritual from the outward and objective? We build beautiful temples and meet in handsome lodge rooms, to express our love for our belief. We make lodge work dignified, well done, impressive, to express to ourselves our sense of the dignity of the truths we teach. We conduct the funeral of a deceased brother, not to make a show before the world, but to express to ourselves our regret that a brother has departed and our conviction that he has but traveled upward to that Temple Not Made With Hands, where the Supreme Architect waits for all who have been builders upon earth.
“The world does judge by externals. As we make an impressive appearance at a funeral, so do the profane judge us. If we make a poor and straggling appearance at a funeral, we are judged by those who do not know Masonry from the inside. Therefore it is important to those who care for the good name of Masonry that our funerals are well attended and that we conform to these outward marks of grief which custom has made essential at a funeral.
“It is usual to have a funeral committee. In large lodges it is more essential than in small, because in small lodges everyone knows everyone else and goes to a funeral because he wants to. In large lodges we don’t know everyone, and unless we have a committee we don’t put up the right kind of ‘front’ at a funeral. The more obscure and unknown the brother, the less the size of the lodge turnout. Hence the committee, chosen by lot or alphabetical order.
“In this lodge we have many members and we chose fifty brethren by the alphabet. Once in twenty funerals your name will be drawn. If we have five funerals a year, which is average, you will be called upon once in four years to aid your lodge to show its respect for the grief of the family of a departed brother, and show the profane that Masonry honors its own.
“You can get a substitute. I will substitute for you if you wish. I have no golf game to attract me. I substitute for a many good men. Sometimes I substitute because of a real reason; business, absence, illness. Sometimes I substitute because a man is too careless and too lazy to do his own work. But then, nothing I can do will help him. For the sake of the lodge I go in his place. For his own sake I try to show him what a mistake he makes in delegating to another the duty he owes his fraternity.
“Masonry means something in my heart. It means more as its reputation grows. If anything I can do aids that reputation, I am glad. When is this funeral you want me to attend for you?
“I don’t want you to,” answered the New Brother. “I’ve got to go now…”
“What’s your hurry?” asked the Old Tiler.
“I want to see the Secretary and tell him to put me down as a possible substitute next time, when someone does what I was going to do- miss my chance to do my last duty to one of my brethren.”
Carl Johnson, 32′ Burlington Masonic Lodge #254 Grand Lodge of Washington, Free & Accepted Masons Ancient & Accepted Scottish Rite, Southern Jurisdiction Valley of Bellingham, Orient of Washington
“What we have done for ourselves alone dies with us, what we have done for others and the world remains and is immortal.” -Albert Pike
“Old Tiler Talks” by Carl Claudy -1924
“Never have I been so glad to get to lodge as tonight!” began the New Brother to the Old tiler in the anteroom.
“Some one here owe you some money or something?” asked the Old Tiler.
“No indeed! But lying awake last night, thinking about Masonry, I tried to recall the word of a Master Mason… and I couldn’t! It was a lost word for me, sure enough! I couldn’t sleep all night, trying to remember. I couldn’t remember today and it bothered me a lot! So I was glad to come to lodge tonight and get instructed!”
“I shouldn’t have worried over that,” answered the Old Tiler. “Our memories play strange tricks. You didn’t need it, did you?”
“No, but a Mason ought not to forget it. It’s the most important thing in Masonry. If we don’t have it we cannot visit and work as a Master- and everything!”
“So we are told,” answered the old Tiler. “Yet don’t you mistake the meaning? The syllables you are taught to pronounce are not important.”
“Why, Old Tiler! How can you say that?”
“Because it is true,”answered the Old Tiler. “Is it important what particular piece of cloth is put in an apron? Is it important what particular piece of iron is used to make a pillar, or what particular copy of a million Bibles is on the Altar, or what particular piece of wood is used in the gavel? Isn’t it important that we wear an apron and know why, that we have a pillar to teach a lesson, that we revere the Great Light in Masonry, that we have a gavel for our control? Then are the syllables of the word important, or is the spirit, the meaning, the symbolism important?
“Masons must know the word, the modes of recognition, the signs and tokens. But all these may slip from memory and still a brother have Freemasonry in his heart. They are audible symbols of spiritual knowledge.
“We are taught that in the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God. Do you read into that statement some particular word? Or is the Word here used in the Old Jewish sense of the truth, the light of knowledge for which man may strive?
“Masonry’s search for the lost word is for far more than a syllable, my brother. The substitute word is more than an exclamation. It is an inward knowledge of oneness with the Great Architect, for which all men of all ages have searched. Not all search in vain; many find their Word. Even the substitute word could only be given under certain circumstances; doubtless those earnest seekers who found the real word could never assemble the circumstances under which it, too, might be given to humanity.
“But we continue to search. Slowly but surely man has come up from barbarianism. The world improves with age. Except in war men are less cruel now than centuries ago; men know more than they did centuries ago. We are all brutes underneath, but to be underneath connotes something above. In our long struggle after the lost word we have put something above the brute. On that we climb, and are by so much nearer the Word we seek.
“It is this which is important. Let not your heart be troubled if that strangest part of all God’s works, the human mind, plays a prank on you. Better men than you and I have forgotten their own names. Now and then one forgets the name of Deity. But in the end we remember, in some far place where angels see that our memories work! All you needed was conversation with any brother who had sat in lodge with you. If you desire, nothing prevents you from giving and receiving it as Masons are taught to do.
“Your only cause for worry is that you fail to keep always before you that Masonry in men’s hearts searches for a word which no man has yet put into words. The tender lesson of the Master Mason degree has been a solace to millions. The Word, substitute though it is, has meant much more than the scholar translates. It is this which you must never forget, even when your memory temporarily takes from you the recollection of the letters and their pronunciation.”
“You should be a travelling lecturer!” cried the New Brother.
“You mean that as a compliment, but I’d rather sit still and tile.”
“But you can’t get anywhere!” cried the New Brother.
“Neither can a sign post by the road,” smiled the Old Tiler. “Yet it points the way.”
Carl Johnson, 32′ Burlington Masonic Lodge #254 Grand Lodge of Washington, Free & Accepted Masons Ancient & Accepted Scottish Rite, Southern Jurisdiction Valley of Bellingham, Orient of Washington
“What we have done for ourselves alone dies with us, what we have done for others and the world remains and is immortal.” -Albert Pike
Thanks Brother Johnson. I hadn’t seen this before and I thank you for posting it
Lee A. Mai, PM Mt. Rushmore Lodge #220 Rapid City, South Dakota
Carl Johnson wrote: > > “Old Tiler Talks” by Carl Claudy -1924 > > THE FORGOTTEN WORD > > “Never have I been so glad to get to lodge as tonight!” began the New > Brother to the Old tiler in the anteroom. > > “Some one here owe you some money or something?” asked the Old Tiler. > > “No indeed! But lying awake last night, thinking about Masonry, I tried to > recall the word of a Master Mason… and I couldn’t! It was a lost word for > me, sure enough! I couldn’t sleep all night, trying to remember. I couldn’t > remember today and it bothered me a lot! So I was glad to come to lodge > tonight and get instructed!” > > “I shouldn’t have worried over that,” answered the Old Tiler. “Our memories > play strange tricks. You didn’t need it, did you?” > > “No, but a Mason ought not to forget it. It’s the most important thing in > Masonry. If we don’t have it we cannot visit and work as a Master- and > everything!” > > “So we are told,” answered the old Tiler. “Yet don’t you mistake the > meaning? The syllables you are taught to pronounce are not important.” > > “Why, Old Tiler! How can you say that?” > > “Because it is true,”answered the Old Tiler. “Is it important what > particular piece of cloth is put in an apron? Is it important what > particular piece of iron is used to make a pillar, or what particular copy > of a million Bibles is on the Altar, or what particular piece of wood is > used in the gavel? Isn’t it important that we wear an apron and know why, > that we have a pillar to teach a lesson, that we revere the Great Light in > Masonry, that we have a gavel for our control? Then are the syllables of > the word important, or is the spirit, the meaning, the symbolism important? > > “Masons must know the word, the modes of recognition, the signs and tokens. > But all these may slip from memory and still a brother have Freemasonry in > his heart. They are audible symbols of spiritual knowledge. > > “We are taught that in the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with > God. Do you read into that statement some particular word? Or is the Word > here used in the Old Jewish sense of the truth, the light of knowledge for > which man may strive? > > “Masonry’s search for the lost word is for far more than a syllable, my > brother. The substitute word is more than an exclamation. It is an inward > knowledge of oneness with the Great Architect, for which all men of all > ages have searched. Not all search in vain; many find their Word. Even the > substitute word could only be given under certain circumstances; doubtless > those earnest seekers who found the real word could never assemble the > circumstances under which it, too, might be given to humanity. > > “But we continue to search. Slowly but surely man has come up from > barbarianism. The world improves with age. Except in war men are less cruel > now than centuries ago; men know more than they did centuries ago. We are > all brutes underneath, but to be underneath connotes something above. In > our long struggle after the lost word we have put something above the > brute. On that we climb, and are by so much nearer the Word we seek. > > “It is this which is important. Let not your heart be troubled if that > strangest part of all God’s works, the human mind, plays a prank on you. > Better men than you and I have forgotten their own names. Now and then one > forgets the name of Deity. But in the end we remember, in some far place > where angels see that our memories work! All you needed was conversation > with any brother who had sat in lodge with you. If you desire, nothing > prevents you from giving and receiving it as Masons are taught to do. > > “Your only cause for worry is that you fail to keep always before you that > Masonry in men’s hearts searches for a word which no man has yet put into > words. The tender lesson of the Master Mason degree has been a solace to > millions. The Word, substitute though it is, has meant much more than the > scholar translates. It is this which you must never forget, even when your > memory temporarily takes from you the recollection of the letters and their > pronunciation.” > > “You should be a travelling lecturer!” cried the New Brother. > > “You mean that as a compliment, but I’d rather sit still and tile.” > > “But you can’t get anywhere!” cried the New Brother. > > “Neither can a sign post by the road,” smiled the Old Tiler. “Yet it points > the way.” > > Fraternally, > > Carl Johnson, 32′ > Burlington Masonic Lodge #254 > Grand Lodge of Washington, Free & Accepted Masons > Ancient & Accepted Scottish Rite, Southern Jurisdiction > Valley of Bellingham, Orient of Washington > > “What we have done for ourselves alone dies with us, what we have done for > others and the world remains and is immortal.” -Albert Pike
“Old Tiler Talks” by Carl Claudy -1924
“It’s a wonderful idea! I’m strong for it, strong!” cried the New Brother to the Old Tiler in the anteroom.
“Tell me about it!” begged the Old Tiler. “Wonderful ideas are rare!”
“A lot of us think the old lodge needs pepping up. We go along in the same old way, never doing much of anything different; just making Masons and having little lodgeroom talks and all. So we thought- Smitty and Bunny and Wilmot and a few others and I- that we’d start something. We plan to hire a boat and take the lodge down the river and have a special dispensation to hold a third degree and feed out on the water. We’ll hire a band, all Masons, of course, and probably have an entertainment afterwards; maybe we can get some high divers and hold a swimming race, too.”
“It is a wonderful idea,” commented the Old tiler, “but you don’t carry it far enough.”
“I thought maybe you could add to it,” said the New Brother, enthusiastically. “What would you suggest?”
“I think a small boat in the river is undignified. Why not hire an ocean liner? Why not go halfway to Europe, and instead of having diving and swimming matches, get a couple of whales and have a real whale of a time? Or you might be able to get Uncle Sam to lend you a couple of submarines.”
“I wouldn’t hire just a Masonic band. Get three or eleven bands, and have a competition to see which can blow the loudest. Hold all three of the degrees at once; the first in the hold, the second on deck and the third up in the crow’s nest. That would be different and exhilarating. Don’t be a piker! If you are going to innovate, innovate right!”
“Why, you are laughing at me! Don’t you think it’s a good idea to put pep in the lodge? Didn’t the Shriners hold an initiation in a cave, and another in the locks at the canal, and didn’t our ancient brethren hold their lodges on hill and in valleys and…”
“The Shrine did, and does, and will again, more power to it. The Shrine is a modern organization, with no need to uphold ancient traditions. the Shrine is a fun-loving organization, the playground for Masonry, and Masons; it thrives in the new, the different, the novel, the startling. I love the Shrine, and everything it does. I love a good comedy, too, but I don’t like to see a minister pulling funny stuff in the pulpit. And what is fine for the Shrine is poor for the lodge.
If our ancient brethren held their meetings on hills and in valleys, it was because they had no buildings. Had we no temples we would do the same. But our ancient brethren didn’t go out under the stars to be ‘peppy,’ nor should we.
“Somewhere or other in Shakespeare (I think it’s Henry IV) are the lines, ‘Fickle changelings and poor discontents, which gape and rub elbow at the news of hurley-burley innovations.’ There are ‘poor discontents’ who are dissatisfied unless they are amused, but they are not devoted lodge members.
“I can’t say much for your idea. Trying to put ‘pep’ into Masonic degrees is like painting a statue or putting perfume on a flower, or having red fire and a brass band at a funeral.
“Masonry is sacred and beautiful. It is beautiful with age that has mellowed and softened it, and given it the tints and colors of the glory of service. Could you improve the Grand Canyon with better colors than nature gave it? How can you improve a lodge meeting with a boat, a brass band and a diving contest? When you go on your knees to tell your Creator, do you play the phonograph, dance a jig and tell a funny story to put ‘pep’ in the performance?
“Masonry is much more than a lodge meeting. It is selflessness, brotherhood, charity, toleration, veneration; it is the sweet and quiet influence, which makes a brother more than a mere lodge member; it is an expression of the divine will to make men better. You cannot aid it with a boat trip or a brass band, my son; you cannot help it by innovations. You must take it or leave it as it is; that which has endured for centuries needs no such artificial stimulation.”
“But don’t you believe in entertainment or excursions or play?” asked the New Brother.
“Of course! Hire a boat, get a band, hold a diving contest, make merry, by all means. Have a lodge picnic, blow-out, whatever you will, and I’ll help you. But don’t spoil it by trying to make it into a lodge meeting, and don’t spoil a good meeting by trying to make it a picnic.
“We are taught to have refreshment. But we are not taught to mix labor and refreshment. It is first of the ancient laws that it is beyond the power of any Mason to change ancient laws. Find me any authority in the ancient laws for holding a third degree in a boat with a brass band and a diving contest and I’ll help you. Otherwise, I’ll try to keep the old lodge just as she is and save your pep for the excursion you want to give and don’t know it!”
“Something tells me this proposition will not be popular if I bring it up in lodge, unless I make it plain it’s an excursion and not an attempt to put ‘pep’ in the degrees,” answered the New Brother.
“Something tells me you are right, son,” answered the Old Tiler.
Carl Johnson, 32′ Burlington Masonic Lodge #254 Grand Lodge of Washington, Free & Accepted Masons Ancient & Accepted Scottish Rite, Southern Jurisdiction Valley of Bellingham, Orient of Washington
“What we have done for ourselves alone dies with us, what we have done for others and the world remains and is immortal.” -Albert Pike

July 9, 2021

What is a “Regular” Mason?

Posted in Uncategorized tagged , , , , , , , at 7:35 am by GeneGoldman

I once asked a friend – himself a noted Masonic researcher and author – about the Masonic meaning of “regular”. He said it is a *subjective* assessment that another jurisdiction is doing Masonry pretty much like we are. Makes sense. There are a lot of ways to make a pizza, but a *regular* pizza is dough, tomato sauce, mozzarella cheese, and possibly toppings like onion or meat. That is a *regular* pizza.

But a Chicago-style pie is also a pizza, but not what I would call “regular”. In fact, I love a good slice of Chicago-style pie. So is one of those concoctions with a cream sauce covered by vegan soy-based imitation feta cheese and cauliflower. But who would want to eat that?
⁠Consider where else the word “regular” may be used. Our *regular* vocations include our profession, but probably not a cruise to Antarctica. To me, “regular” poker is 5-card draw with a 3-card limit. There are countless varieties of poker games, but they are “irregular”. The “regular” Navy is active duty, usually on a ship. The Navy Reserves are also Navy, but they are not “regular”. It would be silly to consider a Reservist as “not really in the Navy”, or to insist that to “really” be in the Navy they must leave the Reserves and join the “regular” Navy. A sailor is a sailor, active duty or otherwise.

Some individuals make a big deal about being “regular” Masons. “Regular” Masonic jurisdictions are male-only, usually larger and longer established jurisdictions with some traceable pedigree, running back to somewhere in Europe (usually England, Ireland, Scotland, or France). Certainly, that is something special, and I am very happy as one. But there are many other “flavors” of Masonry out there. Mixed-gender and female-only jurisdictions are found all over Europe and North America (yes! [GASP] even the US). Smaller, even sparsely-populated jurisdictions. These are Masonry too.

Get used to it.

May 4, 2021

You Can’t Do That!

Posted in Uncategorized at 8:56 am by GeneGoldman

A friend told me once about a Master who was making his Committee appointments at the beginning of the year. He was appointing an Entered Apprentice as the chair of the Lodge budget and Finance Committee. The screaming could be heard from miles around.

“He isn’t even a Master Mason yet!”

“You can’t appoint someone that new to the fraternity as a committee chairman!”

“You have to be a past Master to even be ON that committee!”

And on and on. The thing was, that Entered Apprentice was a CPA. Not just a CPA, but a CPA who specialized in accounting for non-profit organizations. Not only that, but he wrote his Thesis on Accounting principles and considerations for Fraternal Organizations. Maybe it wasn’t such a bad idea after all.

Don’t be so bound by custom or outer trappings. Think about the entire question.

January 29, 2020

Masons’ Meet

Posted in Uncategorized tagged , , at 9:43 am by GeneGoldman

An Eastern Star’s Idea of What They Do
By Lola Lamoreux

PREPARATION: Set up the Lodge as shown in the diagram. Remove OES
furniture. All officers are out of their stations except the
Matron who
welcomes the Masons in the first address and then
retires. Those taking part in the Masonic meeting should wear
men’s clothing and look as much like “Masons” as possible. In a
bag place a level, a square, a plumb line, some books to
represent the Bible, charter and by-laws, a compass and a gavel.
There is another plumb line at the station of the Senior Warden.
The Worshipful Master wears a high hat and carries a cane. He may
also wear gloves. Gavels at stations of Senior Warden and Junior
Warden. Use all gavels often and loudly.

MUSIC: None at all

CHARACTERS: Ladies take the part of Worshipful Master, Senior Warden,
Junior Warden, Senior Deacon, Junior Deacon, Senior Steward,
Junior Steward, Secretary, Treasurer and Doorkeeper. Fewer may be
used is necessary.


Worthy Matron: Brother masons, we are more than happy to welcome you (and
your wives) tonight. There is no one any place in the world we
would rather entertain. We think you are almost perfect – except
for a small fault – you don’t tell us anything. For years untold
Mason’s wives have been trying to find out just a wee bit of what
you do in your meetings. Of course, we want you to understand
that this is not because we are curious, but because we feel we
might benefit ourselves and our organization by knowing. Well, we
realize that we haven’t been too successful in gaining the
knowledge we seek, but we’ve gathered a little here and a little
there. With a trifling imagination added, we have constructed
this program tonight. This is our idea of the way you conduct
your meetings. If we have made a few errors please forgive us.
There are parts we may have a bit hazy, but after the meeting any
of you will be at liberty to set us right on our mistakes. So,
welcome again, without further ado or ceremony we will consider
this a Masonic Lodge meeting and all present Masons good and

The Matron taps the gavel and then retires.

Enter the Worshipful Master. He wears a top hat, carries a cane and walks
in a decidedly important manner, looking neither to left nor right. He is
followed by a steward who carries the Lodge paraphernalia in a bag. This
paraphernalia consists of a level, a square, a compass, a Bible, a book
supposedly constitution and by-laws and charter and a plumb line.

The Worshipful Master goes to the East and is seated. The Steward places
the bag before him and retires. The Master opens the bag and speaks as he
pulls out the emblems and places them on the stand.

                                  THE MASONS MEET

 Here is the charter, the Bible, the laws,
 And the level - I declare it's full of flaws.
 We must get a new one before many years,
 Well, why should I worry, the end of my term nears.
 And here is the compass and there is the square,
 Oh, here is another; we've one to spare.
 And the plumb-line is ready to plumb every brother
 To see if we truly love one another.
 Here is my gavel, we'd better begin
 Those guys are always as late as sin.
 But surely the last cigarette has been smoken
 And it's time now for my words to be spoken.

Master raps the gavel hard

 Enter all officer good and true
 This gavel is a call to all of you.   gavel again

The officers enter. They are Senior Warden, Junior Warden, Senior Deacon,
Junior Deacon, Senior Steward, Junior Steward, Secretary, Treasurer and
Doorkeeper. They are seated as shown in the diagram.


                          TR              SEC




                SS   JS

                                  SW                     DK

Master seats Officers with a rap of the gavel.

 We enter now on the evening work,
 Pay attention - do not shirk.

Two raps of the gavel raises the Officers. As he addresses each in turn,
they reply to him before giving their parts. The Senior and Junior Wardens
may rap their gavels whenever the Master does if this is convenient.

Master to S.W.: What duties are assigned to you, Brother Mason good and

Senior Warden: When you are gone and that is that,
I step into your shoes and wear your hat.

Master to J.W.: What duties are assigned to you, Brother Mason good and

Junior Warden: I order the food for the oyster stews,
and other things for the Stewards to use.

Master to S.D.: What duties are assigned to you, Brother Mason good and

Senior Deacon: I hold my office and sit and wait,
for the next election to learn my fate.

Master to J.D.: What duties are assigned to you, Brother Mason good and

Junior Deacon: I carry my staff and tend the goat,
and all the candidate’s actions note.

Master to S.S.: What duties are assigned to you, Brother Mason good and

Senior Steward: I prepare the foods at times propitious,
and afterwards I wash the dishes.

Master: I now declare the Lodge is open,
Attend to business, let’s have no smokin’. raps gavel
Brethren, we are now ready for the plumbing. Senior Warden,
you will advance to the East with your plumb line and conduct the
ceremony. (gavel S.W. responds with his gavel and then comes to
the East.)

Senior Warden: Brethren, let us hope ye have walked and lived by the plumb
line since last we met. First we will have a report on last
week’s reparations and rectifications. Junior Steward, your

Junior Steward: Brethren, I took back the extra cookies I knew the
baker had given me by mistake. He thanked me and before I had
left the shop these two cookies had been sold to a waiting
customer. I have walked by the plumb-line since last we met.

Senior Warden: Junior Warden, your report.

Junior Warden: Brethren, I returned to the store and explained the mistake
in change that had been made. The store-keeper said, “You are an
honest man, just keep the change.” So I put the nickel back in my
pocket. It is my desire to donate it to the Treasury.

Senior Warden: Doorkeeper, your report.

Doorkeeper: Brethren, I went to the husband of the woman I mentioned in
our last plumbing ceremony. I explained in detail all about the
situation. The husband, who is my good Masonic brother, said
there were no hard feelings. I could buy his wife a cup of coffee
any time I wanted to before eight o’clock at night. We parted the
best of friends.

Senior Warden: This ends the reparations and rectifications. (gavel) Are
there any confessions to be made tonight? Remember – have you met
on the level and parted on the square? Have you plumbed the
depths of your nature? Be honest brethren, be just. (gavel)
Brethren, I must make a confession myself tonight. When leaving
home I discovered that my small son had eaten the plum off my
plumb-line. It was late, the stores were closed so I was forced
to substitute a prune for the plum. I deeply regret this incident
but it was really my wife’s fault. She should have watched the
child more closely. But no matter whose fault, I confess it and
await your decision on reparation and rectification.

Senior Steward: Worshipful Master, I recommend that the brother be
instructed to buy another plum immediately. It is unworthy that
we be pruned instead of plumbed.

Senior Deacon: Worshipful Master, It is not the fruit season. Where can a
plum be purchased?

Junior Steward: Worshipful Master, My wife has some canned plums,
perhaps I can take some when she isn’t looking.

Junior Deacon: Worshipful Master, If the brother did that he would be in
error and we should all be plumbed by a stolen plum. I object.

Junior Steward: Worshipful Master, It would not be stolen. I paid for
the plums, my wife merely canned them.

Doorkeeper: Worshipful Master, Why not purchase a can of plums in a
grocery store?

Junior Steward: Worshipful Master, I think the brother’s idea is a good
one. The plums may be dried in a secret place and would last the
Lodge for many years.

Senior Steward: Worshipful Master, I the suggestion is carried out, let
it not be the Senior Warden who dries the plums, his son would
probably find them and eat them all.

Senior Deacon: Worshipful Master, The question of who should pay for the
plum enters my mind. Should not the Senior Warden pay for it as
he lost the one belonging to the Lodge?

Senior Warden: Worshipful Master, It was really my wife’s fault for not
watching our son. Is a man responsible for the faults of his

Master: Brother Treasurer, how much money do we have in our

The Treasurer gets out a big book and thumbs through it

Treasurer: Worshipful Master, we have $15,389.57 in the treasury.

Master: Thank you, brother Treasurer. Brethren, I do not believe we
have the money from the treasury at this time for a new plum.

Doorkeeper: Worshipful Master, I will donate a plum so that the
discussion may end.
Master: Thank you brother, you are a good and true Mason, and now to
continue the reparation and rectification. Brother Senior Warden,
you will speak to your wife in no uncertain terms about the
negligence of bringing up your son and report at the next

Senior Warden: Worshipful Master, I shall be glad to do as you command.
Brethren, are there any other confessions? (gavel) Worshipful
Master, the Lodge has been properly plumbed.

Master: I now declare the plumbing closed for tonight. (gavel)

The Senior Warden returns to his station

Master: We will listen to the reading of the minutes.

Secretary: The regular meeting of Pink Lodge F&AM was held on …
with most of the officers present.The Worshipful Master opened
the Lodge in due form and the Senior Warden conducted the
plumbing. There were no reports and three confessions. The
minutes were read and corrected. A communication from the Eastern
Star was read.The ladies complained about the poor janitorial
service. They said that their white evening gowns became soiled
by dust and cobwebs about the room. They also wished a reduction
in rent and asked the Masons to donate $1,000.00 toward a new
rug. The communication was placed on file. No action was taken.
Brother … was reported ill and a collection of 79 cents was
taken to purchase flowers for him should he become worse. If he
improved in a day or two the money was to be put in the treasury.
The Senior Steward was instructed to prepare the annual oyster
supper to be held soon. Three petitions were balloted upon
unfavorably after the Master had given an inspiring and
instructive lecture on who should be entitled to sit among us as
brethren. Receipts of the evening, dues: $300.00. There were no
bills. Cash in the treasury $15,389.57. …., Secretary

Master: Any corrections? If not the minutes stand approved as read.
Reports of committees.

Junior Warden: I am glad to report that Brother … got better so I am
replacing the 79 cents we collected for flowers in the treasury.

Senior Warden: Brother … is not well. He has had indigestion for several

Junior Warden: Brother … had a new son, born last meeting night. He has
been named Mason in honor of the meeting night.

Senior Deacon: Brother … is having his teeth remade so is staying at home
for a few days. You will recall how loose they have been for

Master: Are there other reports? Communications and bills.

Secretary: This is a letter form the Eastern Star. I shall read
it. Dear Masons: We are establishing a fund for new dishes,
draperies, chairs and other furnishings and are inviting you to
take part in this. A few thousand dollars from your Lodge will be
greatly appreciated toward this new cause. Also, we are eagerly
awaiting a reply to our last communication to you. Since we
wrote, three more sisters have had to send their white dresses to
the cleaners. Thank you kindly for an early and favorable reply.
P.S. We are entertaining all Masons at our next meeting and hope
some of your will be present.

Master: What is your pleasure in regard to this request from the
Stars -of money and janitor service?

Senior Warden: I move we lay the matter on the table, but as many as can,
go to the party. The ladies usually put on a feed even if the
programs are rather dull.

Junior Warden: Second

Master: Passed. Is there any other business? (gavel) If not we are
ready for the closing ceremonies. Brother Doorkeeper, Instruct
the Tyler to look out, and see no strangers are running about.

Doorkeeper goes to the door and raps six times

Doorkeeper: Brother Tyler, you look out
and see no strangers are running about.
Worshipful Master good and true
I did what you said to do.

Master: Junior Steward you will approach the East

The Junior Steward comes to the East and takes the emblems as they are
passed to him. He places them in the bag.

Master: Brethren, gaze upon our emblem rare, let us all be just and
(gives Bible)
Keep your eyes upon the square, all that’s good and true to
dare. (square)
Let your deeds on the level be, from all evil try to flee
Obey all laws you feel you can, be a Mason, be a man
Never forget the true plumb-line, let it be your daily sign.
Brethren, we have met upon the level, now we part upon the
Of any too shady actions, I caution you beware. (gavel)
Now I declare the lodge closed.

Worshipful Master stalks out, cane in hand followed by the Junior Steward
who carries the bag. The other officers march out behind him.

The End!

October 18, 2019

Examining the Visitor

Posted in Freemasonry at 9:11 am by GeneGoldman

When someone requests admission as a visitor to a lodge in my jurisdiction, he may do so if he meets one (or more) of three criteria.

Someone who has sat in a Tiled lodge with the visitor may vouch for him. We call this “Avouchment”. The Brother vouching for the visitor is placing his personal imprimatur on the visit. This is a frequent occurrence when some member of our lodge has a buddy who is also a Mason.

The visitor may produce some official correspondence or communication from an authoritative source (such as our Grand Master) directing his admission. This rarely happens and is usually something very official.

The third criterion is the topic at hand. We call it “Due Examination”. I have been to lodges where this is more of an interrogation than anything else. I have also been to lodges where this is a very informal welcoming of a new friend and exchange of pertinent information. When we have a visitor who cannot be vouched for, and is not part of any official delegation, the Master appoints an Examination Committee (of three members, usually one with a lot of experience and one who is new to the process). The committee is charged to *satisfy themselves*, severally, that the visitor is a Master Mason in good standing, in a lodge chartered by a Grand Lodge that we recognise (called Amity).

On my first time on an investigating committee for a visiting Brother, the (potential) visitor was a rather old Brother who hadn’t been in a lodge room in decades. He never served as an officer, and his memory was never great, and now was failing as he advanced in years. The examination was very different from others I have done. We took a conversational tone and just got to know this Brother and try to make him comfortable, while also completing OUR mission.
He was very anxious about this visit, having flown for the first time half way across the country to be there. But he was overjoyed that he had made it in time for the meeting. It was very important to him that he be there that evening.
You see, the meeting was to confer the Entered Apprentice Degree on a very special candidate. And the candidate had no idea the visitor was going to be there.
Could you imagine turning away this visitor because he couldn’t remember some oath he was never taught to memorize in the first place? Or because he really didn’t remember much about his degrees? What would we have gained from subjecting him to a grueling interrogation? And some individuals (who claim to be Masons) boast about how they would do so!
Fortunately, we have a little card the committee takes in the examination room with the oath printed on it – and we coached him when he couldn’t make out the words.The newly obligated Entered Apprentice almost fainted when the hoodwink was removed and the visitor was standing there with the rest of us, welcoming his grandson as a Brother Mason.
It was a great evening.

June 4, 2019

Grand Oration on Tolerance

Posted in Freemasonry at 2:22 pm by GeneGoldman

R:.W:. S. Gilbert Weisman, W:. Grand Orator Grand Oration, Most Worshipful Grand Lodge of Florida F&AM 2014-2015


Most Worshipful Grand Master, Right Worshipful Deputy Grand Master, Elected and Appointed Grand Lodge Officers, Most Worshipful Past Grand Masters, Distinguished East, Guests, Ladies, and my Brothers all:

First I would like to thank M.W. James W. Ford, a friend and Brother of many years, for allowing me the opportunity to serve the Grand Lodge of Florida as your W. Grand Orator. I pray that I am worthy of this great honor.

In today’s world, with all of its complexities, diversities, and current political atmosphere, both here and abroad, “tolerance” is without a doubt a positive trait to not only have, but a trait to vigorously attempt to instill in others- especially a Brother Mason. Tolerance, by definition, is a fair, objective, and permissive attitude toward those whose opinions, practices, race, religion, and nationality, differ from one’s own.

In the very beginning of Masonic Ritual in the early 1700s, G-d was treated in Christian terms. In English and American Freemasonry, Christian references were removed from the ritual to enable men of different faiths to take part without compromising their own beliefs. This is Practical Tolerance.

This Practical Tolerance is one of our Fraternity’s great strengths – because it enables men of all faiths to meet in ordinary friendship, and, without interfering in the way each Brother practices his religion, it shows how much they really have in common.

So why then, are some Lodges less tolerant than others? Why, knowingly, are Brothers, the ones with their own agenda, allowed by the officers and members to continually render improper prayers at dinners, meeting after meeting? Is it because all who are in attendance are of like mind, and no one will care? Please understand, my Brothers, I’m not referring to the Brother who makes an accidental slip, or who unintentionally errs.

I agree with the learned Brothers who say that “no big deal should be made out of it.” But, for all to be totally silent, time after time, is to condone it.

The Masonic Information Center, in December 1993, and revised in September 1998, produced a sheet entitled “Freemasonry and Religion.” I’m sure that many of you have read it. To quote paragraph 5, Freemasonry Compared With Religion, it states: “Freemasonry lacks the basic elements of religion: It has no dogma or theology, no wish or means to enforce religious orthodoxy. It offers no sacraments. It does not claim to lead to salvation by works, by secret knowledge, or by any other means. The secrets of Freemasonry are concerned with modes of recognition, not with the means of salvation.”

You could also define tolerance as freedom from bigotry. Have you ever heard a close friend or Brother routinely make anti-Semitic comments, use the N-word in casual conversation, or tease someone about his surname?

And you stand there in silence, thinking, “What can I say in response to that?” Or laugh along uncomfortably. Or perhaps, frustrated or angry, you walk away without saying anything, thinking later, “I should have said something.”

That would have been the time to speak up. It is morally correct to encourage people to take a stand against everyday bigotry, apathy, and ignorance. It has no place in our society, our Fraternity, our schools, our places of worship, or our individual neighborhoods.

The United States of America is the great “melting pot,” a rich blend of cultural traditions from around the world. Many American families can trace their histories to immigrant ancestors who traveled great distances, enduring risk and hardship to make a home where they would be guaranteed basic freedoms. And for many American families – freedom came with a price. Their parents and grandparents were deprived of the basic rights we value or murdered for the way in which they believed in the Grand Architect of the Universe.

American Society was founded on freedom from religious persecution, and on tolerance of differences in beliefs and cultural heritage. The differences, or diversities, that emanate from people all over the world enrich our culture and bring new ideas and energy.

Today, more than ever, our kids interact with people of different ethnicities, religions, and cultures. Classrooms are increasingly diverse, as are our Blue Lodges, reflecting the communities where families live and work.

Most of you welcome the fact that we live in an increasingly diverse society, while some may feel more hesitant, especially if they have not had much exposure to people different from themselves. Many kids today are way ahead of their parents regarding exposure to cultural differences. Their circle of friends, their schoolmates, and their athletic teams are much more varied than those of even a generation ago.

Still, parents should help their kids prepare to live, learn, and work in communities that will become even more diverse – assuming that they choose to do so. Teaching tolerance is important, not just because it is part of our American heritage, but because the person who learns to be open to differences -will have more opportunities in education, in business, and in many other aspects of life.

In short, your children, and their children’s success depend on it. Success in today’s world- and tomorrows- depends on being able to understand, appreciate, and work with others of any race, color, or creed.

But, does tolerance mean that all behaviors have to be accepted? No, of course not. Behaviors that disrespect or hurt others, like being mean or bullying, or behaviors that break social rules, like lying or stealing, should not be tolerated. Tolerance is about accepting people for who they are- not about accepting bad behavior. Tolerance also means treating others the way that you would like to be treated.

Be aware of the way you talk about people who are different from yourself. Don’t make jokes that perpetuate stereotypes. They may seem like harmless fun, but they’ll surely undo attitudes of tolerance and respect. And, my Brothers and guests, sometimes it hurts.

Did you ever attempt to question and learn about holiday and religious celebrations that are not part of your own tradition? When you encourage a tolerant attitude in others and talk about their values, your listeners, especially Brother Masons – those “who can best work and best agree,” are more likely than not to follow your lead.

Political freedom, religious tolerance, personal integrity; Freemasonry – it may not be for everyone.

As it points out in the 8° of the Scottish Rite’s Morals & Dogma: “To comfort misfortune, to popularize knowledge, to teach whatever is true and pure in religion and philosophy, to accustom men to respect order and the proprieties of life, to point out the ways of genuine happiness, to prepare for that fortunate period, when all the factions of the Human Family, united by the bonds of Toleration and Fraternity, shall be but one household- these are the labors that may well excite zeal and even enthusiasm.”

As Pope Francis pointed out in his New Year’s Day Service on January 1, 2014: “We are all children of one Heavenly Father, we belong to the same Human Family, and we share a common destiny. This brings a responsibility for each to work, so that the world becomes a Community of Brothers who respect each other, accept each other in one’s diversity, and take care of one another.” He could just as well be speaking to a body of Freemasons.

Do you think that the word “tolerance” might be synonymous with the words “Mutual Respect?” Isn’t it just beautiful that we, as Masons, can gather together as Brothers, and witness and observe the sincere religious beliefs of each other, and do so in the true spirit of Brotherhood?

Oh, I realize that there may be some who have disdain for our beliefs, by their bigotry and prejudices. What they have yet to learn is that where there is no freedom, there can be no Masonic Lodge, and where there is bigotry, there can be no Freemasonry. Those concepts are incompatible. Our true strength is not measured by our numbers, but by our unity.

We are all Brothers – Christians, Moslems, and Jews. Yes! We are all Brothers, that was the Great Architect’s plan. It’s not our pins and rings that make us Masons. It’s the display of how we act and how we affect other people. And that, my Brothers and friends, is what stimulates the growth and stability of our Lodges.

As a former Justice of the Supreme Court of Utah, Attorney Dallin H. Oaks said on September 11, 2011: “Tolerance is defined as a friendly and fair attitude toward unfamiliar opinions and practices, or toward the persons who hold or practice them.” As modern transportation and communication have brought all of us into closer proximity to different people and different ideas, we have greater need for tolerance.

We experience such differences in TV and the Internet, through travel, and often in personal interactions in our neighborhoods and the marketplace. We are definitely challenged. We must work harder to build mutual respect, an attitude of forbearance, with tolerance for one another, regardless of the doctrines and philosophies which we may espouse. Tolerance and truth are a two-sided coin.

Tolerance, or respect, is one side of the coin, but truth is always on the other side. You cannot possess the coin of tolerance, without being conscious of both sides.

Freemasonry has always been in the forefront of supporting freedom of thought, expression, creativity, and religious beliefs. The following typifies the Masonic commitment to Freedom of Religion: Jasper Ridley, in his book “The Freemasons,” quoted from Anderson’s Constitutions (1723) in his section on religion, and then concluded that, “This opened the Freemason’s Lodge to anyone who believed in G-d,” or the ‘Great Architect of the Universe’ (as he is called in Anderson’s Constitution).

Roman Catholics were not excluded. Although they could not be Members of Parliament, Army Officers, or hold any public position in the state; they would be welcome in a Freemason’s Lodge. Jews were also welcome, though they were at first a little reluctant to join. Jews had been admitted, perhaps as early as 1724, but certainly by 1732.”

There may be, and probably are, times in life when situations develop that make compromise necessary; but when principles of right and wrong are involved, compromise is not a viable option.

A few notable quotes from well-informed sources, if I may? The Reverend Ralph Sockman, 1889-1970, former Senior Pastor of the United Methodist Church in New York City, said, “The test of courage comes when we are in the minority. The test of tolerance comes when we are in the majority.”

Author Brigitte Gabriel, born and raised in Lebanon, in her book entitled ‘Because They Hate,’ stated that, “Without understanding the past, you will never understand the present, and will have no idea how to plan for the future.”

The Kabbalah notes that, “Change occurs when the pain of changing is less than the pain of staying the same.”

And our learned Brother, M.W. Benjamin Franklin, once said, “The doorstep to the Temple of Wisdom is a knowledge of our own ignorance.” Remember, my Brothers, friends, and guests, “People of character do not allow their opinions to be silenced.”

The meaning of prejudice is apparent in the word itself. It signifies what it says, “to prejudge,” to make a decision beforehand. Bro. Leonard Wenz wrote an article in the Square & Compass, in March, 1970, pointing out that English Sociologist, Dr. Samuel Lowery, writing a book on this subject, affirms as Freud does, that prejudice is a mild form of paranoia, of the persecution mania, and is caused by the projection of stored-up resentments against some object other than that which caused them.

Dr. Lowery added, “Individuals then, must have a scapegoat on which they can release these tensions. It is usually a group, a race, or a religion, and usually there is little realization of the fact. It can go as deep as the sub-conscious.” He points out that if children were taught to regard prejudice as socially undesirable, and evidence of an unbalanced mind, they would logically seek other outlets for their hidden aggression. However, he concluded, “Prejudice is never reasoned into anyone; therefore, it cannot be reasoned out.”

In conclusion, and for a brief moment, let me take you back to the year 1938, November. In Nazi Germany, Kristallnacht, or Night of the Broken Glass, did not happen in a vacuum. No one intervened, and it paved the way for ‘unimaginable evil’ – aided by the local police, the very people you would expect to protect you.

The same is true for any form of abuse, bullying, humiliation, and terrorizing. We witness it every day, whether it’s in another country, on the playground, in the workplace, or in the privacy of a home. It starts in small ways and then escalates.

Holocaust survivor, Marie Silverman’s prayer that was offered in memory of Kristallnacht says it all – “Compassionate G-d, bless the leaders of all nations with the power of compassion. May we see the day when war and bloodshed cease, when a great peace will embrace the world.” Thank you and may G-d bless you.

R:.W:. S. Gilbert Weisman, W:. Grand Orator 2014-2015

March 1, 2019

Visit to a Country Lodge

Posted in Freemasonry at 1:07 pm by GeneGoldman

Visit to a Country Lodge (author unknown)
“Where were you last evening, Teddy?”
“Went down to the country.”
“Well you missed the meeting of your life. The Grand Master was here, we had an orchestra, the lodge room was beautifully decorated with palms and cut flowers and the banquet that followed was a peach. You surely missed it, Teddy.”
“I attended a meeting of a country lodge that night.”
“Wouldn’t some of those country Masons open their eyes if they could see a blow-out like the one we had last night?”
“Yes, I guess they would, but they made me open my eyes at their meeting all right.”
“In the first place it was held in the village schoolhouse, a two story brick building erected by this Masonic Lodge and given rent free to the county for school purposes all except the large hall on the second floor.”
“I was told about the meeting the day before and expressed my desire to attend, and the Master took me down to the butcher shop and told Chris Johnson, the butcher, what I wanted and requested him to get two more of the boys and examine me. Chris told me to come back after supper, and when I did there were exactly nine of the local members present, and they made a function of the examination and used up three hours asking me from how many wives King Solomon had to where the Master hung his hat.”
“They enjoyed themselves fine and I had a time that still seems like a bad dream to me. But from the moment that examination was over my standing in the village changed. I was the guest of the town and treated like a prince.”
“Next day, the farmers commenced coming in at daylight and at eleven o’clock the back fence of the court house was hitched full of gray mares, each with a colt at their heels, and the schoolhouse fence were full of farmers in their Sunday clothes each one whittling a stick and talking ‘Masonary’.”
“At noon the real function of the day came in the shape of a dinner served by the wives of the Masons in the lodge room. I expected a luncheon, but I found a feast instead! Whole hams, whole turkeys with the stuffing sticking out and running over the plate, armfuls of celery, gallons and gallons of gravy, and right in front of me a whole roasted pig with an apple in its mouth, and do you know, that pig looked like he was glad he had died to grace so noble a feast.”
“Honestly, the tables had to stand cross-legged to keep from falling down with their load, and when we got up a little child gathered up over a pint of buttons from under the table. Every night when I go to sleep I see that pig on that plate and a nice old lady that kept handing me glasses of boiled custard at that feed.”
“Well, I won’t make you hungry telling you about it. Enough to say that we ate and talked until four o’clock in the after- noon and I never had such a time in my life. They made me make a speech and I told all the stories that I had heard in the theaters this winter till the Master said I ought to travel with a show.”
“Then the women cleared up the place while we men went out and sat on the fence and smoked like furnaces.”
“At six o’clock the lodge was opened and although the Master wore a slouch hat, and although there was not a dress suit in the room and although the Senior Warden ( who was a farmer) had his favorite fox hound sitting solemnly beside his chair, I have never seen a more beautiful opening ceremony or a better rendered degree. It was the third and when the one candidate had finished the degree and listened to the lecture, I thought the work was over. But I was mistaken. The Master finished all the work in the ritual when he added something like this:”
“Jim, you are now a Mason. I fear that it will be many years before you know what that means. There is not a man in this room, Jim, that hasn’t watched you grow up from a little shaver in a calico dress to manhood. There is not a man in this room who did not watch you all through school, and although you have thought all through life that you had no father, I want to tell you that you had a hundred.”
“Your father belonged to this lodge, Jim,-was Master of it and although you can hardly remember him, every man in this room followed him to his grave and every one of us knows that his life was as spotless and square as a man’s life can be and, Jim, while we don’t know much about heaven, our innermost souls cry out the truthfulness of the life to come, and we know that somewhere in that great beyond your father is looking down on you and me this minute and is glad, and will watch your career as a man and a Mason with renewed confidence and hope. He and we will watch you from now on, Jim.” “He knew when you got into the habit of playing ten-cent limit with the gang down at the hotel and it hurt him and it hurt us.”
“All your future life, Jim, try to remember that he is looking down at you, and when there comes up a question of right and wrong to decide, try to think what he would like to have you do, and remember you have the honor of this old lodge to sustain now- the lodge that your father loved and was Master of. Of course you are a man now, Jim, but when you were a boy, a very little boy, your daddy used to take you in his arms and pray God that He would guide you in the path that you have started in tonight and partly for your daddy’s sake, partly for God’s sake, partly for the sake of the honor of this old lodge, but mostly for your own sake, Jim. I beg you never to take a step that will make us regret what we have done tonight.”
“Jim was in tears and I will admit that I was sniffing some myself when the old man got through. Somehow I had forgotten that he did not have on a tuxedo suit, somehow the fact that he had on a slouch hat instead of a plug, slipped out of my mind, and all that I remember and realize was that he was a true Mason.
“And now, my brethren, What came you here to do? When you joined our mystic circle, Had you a purpose in your heart To be of service to your fellow man, And perform your allotted part? Or came you out of curiosity Or motives personal in view? Tell me, brother of the square, What came you here to do? Have you failed to grasp the meaning Of the symbols of our chart? Have you failed to learned to subdue your passions And make improvements in your art? Do you always, always uphold the trusts On which we firmly stand, Teaching the Fatherhood of God And the Brotherhood of Man? Have you willing to Aid the brother When life surges were fierce and wild? Have you offered cheer and comfort To the Mason’s widow, wife and child? If you have done so, my brother, You are a Mason good and true, And can give a correct answer What came you here to do? “

A Living Mason

Posted in Uncategorized at 1:06 pm by GeneGoldman

One of my favorites:


“A Living Mason,”

author unknown

His name is John. He has wild hair, wears a T-shirt with holes in it, jeans and no shoes.

This was literally his wardrobe for his entire four years of college. He was at the top of his class. Kind of esoteric and very, very bright. He became a Mason recently while attending college. After moving to his new town, he finds down the street from his new apartment is a well dressed, very conservative Lodge. One day John decides to go there after work. He walks in with shoes, jeans, his work shirt, and longer hair.

The Lodge has already started and so John starts looking for a seat. The Lodge is completely packed and he can’t find a seat. By now the Brethren are really looking a bit uncomfortable, but no one says anything. John gets closer and closer and closer to the East and, when he realizes there are no seats, he squats down right on the carpet. (Although perfectly acceptable behavior at a college fellowship, trust me, this had never happened in this Lodge before!) By now the Brethren are really uptight, and the tension in the air is thick.

About this time, the Secretary realizes that from way at the back of the Lodge, a Past Master is slowly making his way toward John. Now the Past Master is in his eighties, has silver-gray hair, and a three-piece suit. A good man, very elegant, very dignified, very courtly. He walks with a cane and, as he starts walking toward this boy, everyone is saying to themselves that you can’t blame him for what he’s going to do.

How can you expect a man of his age and of his background to understand some college kid in the Lodge? It takes a long time for the man to reach the boy. The
Lodge is utterly silent except for the clicking of the man’s cane. All eyes are focused on him. You can’t even hear anyone breathing. The Secretary can’t
even continue with the “Minutes” until the Past Master does what he has to do. And now the Lodge watches as this elderly man drops his cane on the floor. With
great difficulty, he lowers himself and sits down next to John and welcomes him so he won’t be alone.

When the Secretary gains control, he say’s, “What I’m about to say, you will never remember. What you have just seen, you will never forget. Be careful how you live. You may be the only Mason some people will ever meet.”

November 27, 2018

Tribute to a dear friend

Posted in Freemasonry tagged , , , , , , , , , at 11:24 am by GeneGoldman

From the California Freemason magazine, November/December 2018


In the early 1780s, Austrian poet Joseph Franz Ratschky wrote an essay lauding the virtues of Masonry for the development of young men. In it, he insists that no organization is designed better for “either improving the heart or perfecting it,” “continuously developing the propensity for good,” and “through friendly exchange with fellows… transforming cold, insensitive self-love into universal, warm, brotherly love.” In his experiences with brothers, he saw that the path to self-betterment – that great aim of Masonry – was forged not only through the fraternity’s symbols and degrees, but through its friendships.

Scholar Heather Morrison, Ph.D., associate professor of history at the State University of New York, New Paltz, expands on this, writing of the fraternity during the Enlightenment: “The powerful draw of Freemasonry was due in no small part to this idea that the brotherhood saw into a man’s soul and celebrated all the hidden things that made him good. Outside the lodge, propriety isolated men. Within the association, however, sincere affection and trust between brothers took its place.” In the safety of the Masonic lodge, men had a rare opportunity to open themselves up to others. The relationships they made helped them develop into a “feeling, moral man in society.” Simply put, friends bring out the best in us. In Masonry, this is uniquely true.

Part of this comes from being exposed to new points of view. As every initiate learns in the first degree, one of Freemasonry’s remarkable abilities is to “conciliate true friendship among those who might otherwise have remained at a perpetual distance.” Perpetual distance is all too easy to come by: Left to our own devices, research shows that we tend to become friends either with people we see a lot – those who live near us and work with us – or people who are similar to us. That’s an awfully small pool. But Masonry dismantles the silos we usually build around ourselves. This is one of the many ways the fraternity was groundbreaking 300 years ago and remains so important today.

“Masonry presents us with opportunities for relationships that would never have happened otherwise,” says Gene Goldman, past master of Amity Lodge No. 442 and Black Mountain Lodge No. 445 in San Diego. And, he is quick to add, it cements those relationships with the degree experience. “I’ve known people who are pilots. Once they perform their first solo landing, they understand something no one else could understand about every other pilot. Going through the initiatic experience of Masonry is that moment. That bond is something you could never in a million years communicate with words.”

Many of Goldman’s close friends are men he wouldn’t otherwise have met or formed a bond with if it weren’t for Masonry. He became close with one brother, Leonardo Ilog, when a group from Black Mountain Lodge decided to check out the local “swap meet,” an open-air flea market in San Diego. Other brothers came and went from week to week, but Ilog and Goldman never missed it. They started carpooling, then grabbing lunch. Their texts each week evolved from formal (“Should I pick you up at 8:00 at the Park-n-Ride?”) to familiar (“The usual?”) to their own shorthand (“?” and “!”).

They were a classic odd couple. Goldman, a software developer and technical writer, is an extrovert who can be counted upon for frank discussion; some of his brothers have suggested the title “grand troublemaker.” Ilog, a retired Navy cook from the Philippines, is soft-spoken, mild-mannered, and averse to conflict. But as they wandered together past the booths at the swap meet – Goldman looking for tech gadgets, Ilog for kitchen knives – and over many drives and lunches, they began to open up about their lives, and to lean on each other.

“There’s no way that we would have met or formed that kind of relationship if it hadn’t been for Masonry,” Goldman says. “We didn’t move in the same circles. We didn’t have the same friends. We didn’t have the same interests, for the most part. He’s not into technology. I cook badly.” He laughs.

Their friendship evolved like their text messages. Goldman helped Ilog pick out a new cellphone. Ilog presented Goldman with a good kitchen knife. When Goldman and his wife went out of town for the weekend, they asked Ilog to swing by the house to check on their teenage daughters. When Ilog’s daughter got married, the Goldmans attended and helped celebrate. When Goldman was laid off from work years ago, Ilog was the first to call and offer support.

Ilog, who is 72, has suffered from Alzheimer’s disease in recent years, forcing their weekly outings to end. “But our great friendship will remain forever part of my life,” Goldman says. “I’m thankful that Masonry brought us together.”

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