Masonic Working Tools

I will be the first to admit, school is kicking my butt this semester. Unfortunately, since school is my highest priority at this time, other things tend to get pushed to the wayside. This does not mean that I will be posting here any less, it just may mean that the day of the week a new article gets posted may become a little erratic. Just wanted to give the heads up, since I know many of you check only Tuesday or Wednesday.


I wanted to talk this week about the working tools of a speculative Mason. First, a history lesson. Freemasonry takes many of its ideas and traditions from the occupation it was based on: masonry. The words to differentiate the two are speculative and operative. The people who lay bricks and do stone work for a living are usually referred to as “operative or stone” masons. Those who are in a fraternity and attend Lodge are called “speculative or Free” Masons. So, theoretically, you could be a Masonic mason. Also note that many people capitalize the fraternity member, but don’t capitalize the union member; this makes deciding which group someone is talking about online much simpler. There’s a lot more to the story on how these two are related, but that’s for another day.

Like many jobs out there, masons have their own set of tools, although I’d imagine they’ve changed quite a bit over the years. Freemasonry, also, has its own set of tools for their work; which are based on some of the traditional tools stone masons once used. One of the only straightforward things in Masonry is, the tools used for Masonic work, are called “working tools”. There are three working tools associated with each Blue Lodge degree, for a total of nine (ish). Many of the working tools are associated with an office in Blue Lodge, which you can read more about here.


Entered Apprentice: 2 or 3 tools

24 inch gauge


A gauge is just another word for ruler. The 24 inch ones are the kind that you usually now made out of metal, often used for drafting plans in stone masonry. During the speculative degree, the canidate learns that each number represents an hour in their day, which they are taught to divide into three separate, but equal parts: “eight hours for the service of God and a distressed worthy Brother, eight for our usual vocations and eight for refreshment and sleep.” T and I have had more than one discussion about what part of our lives fit into that, especially family. We decided that a lot can fit under the service of God umbrella.


Common gavel


Anyone who’s seen Law & Order knows what a gavel is. Here however, it refers to a type of hammer rather than an instrument to gain order in a court room.  There are lots of different looking gavels out there, but the common gavel has a part of it that comes to a point, used in stone masonry for cutting the edges off of bricks and stones. In speculative Masonry, the candidate is taught that the gavel is used by Freemasons “for the more noble and glorious purpose of divesting our hearts and consciences of the vices and superfluities of life.”




For those joining Lodges in the UK, the chisel is added to the Entered Apprentice degree. For the majority of Lodges in the US, this is left out. The stone mason uses the chisel to remove flaws from, and beautify a stone or gem, showing its inner beauty. During the degree work, the Masonic candidate is taught something similar: the importance of discipline and education in one’s life. “Just as the brilliance of the diamond is revealed by the skillful use of the chisel, so too will the beauties of the human mind be revealed through knowledge”


Fellowcraft: 3 tools




Chances are, you’ve seen a square as well; it’s a ruler with a 90 degree angle. In operative masonry, it is used to make clean  corners and work, and to help make sure that everything is well, square. The canidate for the FC degree in Freemasonry , its taught that the tool is to help “square your actions” or to “act upon the square”; that is, to make your virtues and morals shape your actions . This is one of the symbols most widely associated with Freemasonry, and with its simple shape, and simple but powerful lesson, it is easy to see why.




The level is the second working tool of the Fellowcraft degree. Again, you’ve probably come across one before. Operative masons and others use a level to test the horizontals of an object, to make sure that it is smooth, even, or, well, level. In speculative Masonry, the lessons for the level differ a bit depening on where you are. In some jurisdictions, it’s taught that  the level is a reminder that “that we come from the same

place, share in the same goal, and will eventually be judged by the same immutable law.” In others, the level is used as a symbol of equality among brethren in the Lodge. Still others teach that the level is a reminder that time has no preference for anyone,  “And for each and all, time will lead us to that undiscovered country from whose bourne no traveler returns”. Hard to pick just one of those lessons. I can’t imagine that any Lodge teaches all three. Also, please know that within Freemasonry, the level symbol used appears much different from the level you may use to hang a picture in your living room.




Okay, so, I had to look this one up. The third working tool of the Fellowcraft degree is a plumb, often called a plumb line in both forms of masonry. Apparently operative masonry also calls it a plumb bob. Think of it like a level for vertical things; it tells you how vertical something is (or isn’t); it can also be used to test perpendiculars. The lesson of the plumb line is for the canidate to be reminded to live a life that is upright, honest and just. “As an Insecure building must eventually fall, so he whose life is not supported by an upright course of conduct can no longer sustain a worthy reputation and must soon sink beneath the estimation of every good and virtous man.”


Master Mason: 1 or 3 tools




It’s not, as I once thought, a fancy pie server. An operative mason will use a trowel to spread cement between layers of  brick. In some jurisdictions, this is taught as the only working tool for a Master Mason; in others the three below are used instead. Where it is taught, the trowel is used to, “spread the cement of brotherly love and affection; that cement which unites us into one sacred band or society of friends and brothers.”



vintage-old-masonic-freemason-pencil-top-eraser-e61f69ef7f925e34ba1776f0ae298e4e (1)

You know it, you love it, the pencil. Obviously used by operative masons for marking down any number of things. But what can this seemingly innocuous item teach us? That everything we do, good or bad, is being written down by God, and that on the day that you stand before him, all of these deeds will be lain before you, and you will be judged. A less ominous lesson teaches that a Mason “must give an account of his actions and conduct through his mortal life,” to God.




Another one I had to look up, and to be honest, I could not find a reference that wasn’t speculative Masonry anywhere. It kind of looks like a spool of string on a stick. The stick is stuck in the ground, and the string, which is covered in chalk is unwound. The string could then be used to draw a nice straight line on the ground, to mark where a foundation or other part of a building may go. The skirrit reminds the Master Mason candidate of the straight and narrow path ahead of him that he will follow. “Regardless of what colour our volume of the sacred law is, we must ensure that we do not wander from the goal of perfection that we have set”.




The other oft seen symbol of masonry. As I’m sure you know from elementary school, stone masons use compasses to draw circles. It can also be used to draft, measure distance, and even navigate. The  lesson of the compass lies within its two moveable legs. As the compass can only open so wide, so are there boundaries of everything. “The Compasses, in defining limits and proportions, teach us the limits of

good and evil as laid down by the Great Architect.” Using proportion and balance in your work and life, can bring about stability and beauty in both.


If you would like to learn more in depth about the working tools, I highly recommend an adaptation of an esoteric lecture given by a brother in Canada, simply called The Working Tools of a Mason. Also, if you would ever like to own or gift a set of working tools, they are sold in various places. I am quite particular to this set, but try and find out which tools the jurisdiction uses!


As always, please contact me here, or at with any questions or comments you may have. Have a wonderful weekend!


The Masonic Bible…Qu’ran…Tanakh?

Every so often, I hear the same remark about Masonry, “Isn’t that some kind of weird religion?” No, of course it’s not. “But don’t they have their own Bible?” Well, yes, kinda.

I’m not exactly sure where people get the idea that Freemasonry is a religion. I think that it tends to be one of the rumors that spread around by people who have no idea what they are talking about, and may, or may not fear what is actually going on in those Lodge rooms.

So, let’s start with that. Freemasonry is not, nor will it ever be, a religion. In fact, it is very uncommon to have every member of a Lodge be of the same religion. The only requirement, for the majority of Lodges out there, is that the candidate believes in a higher power. Usually, that’s it. There’s no question as to who or what they think that higher power is, or how they choose to worship it, or not. Occasionally some Lodges will delve a bit deeper into these kinds of questions, but they tend to be vague and be wide open for interpretation. So, this means that a Christian, a Muslim, and a Buddhist could all be Freemasons, and even all be members of the same Lodge. Do you think you’re going to get people with that large of a variance of a belief to agree on religion? Good luck. In fact, religion, along with politics, is a topic of conversation in Lodge that is widely discouraged.

Right, so, Freemasonry is not a religion. But what about this Masonic Bible I keep hearing so much about? The Masonic Bible does exist, but not like you think. The Masonic Bible tends to be one of those things that conspiracy theorists say that you don’t get to actually know about until you’re a super secret 99th degree level Master Mason. Well, I hope one of those conspiracy theorists is reading this right now, because I am going to share with you never before seen pictures of a Masonic Bible.


Gasp! The horror, the horror, the…wait a second, isn’t that just a King James Version of the Bible? Yes, yes it is. Think of a Masonic Bible to be akin to a family Bible, or a study Bible. It has a different cover, some different stuff in the beginning, but after that, its just the same Bible you know and (may) love.

You see, when a Masonic candidate takes his oath, he swears on the Bible (usually, see below for more). In some Lodges, he may swear on the small, personal Bible for all three of his degrees, or in others, he may swear on the Lodge Bible for the first two, and then the small one for the Master Mason degree.

Alright, let’s talk about all that extra stuff. This is T’s Bible, and as you can see, it is a bit worse for wear. On the cover and spine, we see the square and compass, makes sense. In the first couple of pages, there’s usually some blank space and a lot of lines, as well as some sort of presentation page. This area is for inscription from friends and family, as well as noting when the Mason went through each of the degrees. Traditionally, after the third degree is finished, everyone else present signs the Bible, which is then presented to the candidate. The rest of it, as you can see, is the kind of stuff you could find on Wikipedia, though if anyone is interested in reading all of this part, I’d be happy to upload it. After that, it’s the Bible, same beginning, same middle, same end.

OES, as you can see, does more or less the same thing, only to a bit of a less degree. Only the cover is the major change you see, otherwise it’s a Bible that one may receive after confirmation. The different ribbons stuck in it is the way it was presented to me, and marks the passages from which the five heroines that make up the five OES degrees come from.

So, what if you’re not Christian? What if you’re a Jew, or Muslim, or anything else? Well, fear not, for Freemasonry has it covered. You may swear your oath on any Holy Book of your choosing. How I wish I’d known that when I joined! Unfortunately, it’s not something readily advertised, and in many cases, you may have to supply your own. In areas/Lodges where a religion other than Christianity is dominant, they may have a different holy book as “default”, or may even present a different holy book to the new member.

If you are ever able to make your way to the House of the Temple in Washington D.C., which is the headquarters of the Southern Jurisdiction of Scottish Rite; and you went into the Lodge room, this is what you would see on their altar.


That’s the Holy Bible, the Jewish Tanakh, the Muslum Qu’ran, and the Hindu Bhagavad Gita. And people try to say Freemasonry is a Christian organization!

As you can see, Freemasonry highly values the diversity of its members. Sometimes Lodge members may get this idea a bit muddled, but this picture illustrates it best. Do not be fearful of joining a Masonic body if you are not a Christian (although some of the auxiliary groups you may not be eligible), and do not be fearful of claims of a Masonic Bible, as it is simply, the Bible.

Also, if you’d like a virtual tour of the House of the Temple (which I highly recommend, that place is *gorgeous*!) check out this page.

The Obligation

The obligation is that which binds you to the secrets and ideals of the order you are joining. They are different for every organization, as well as every degree, but for the most part, they are the same.  I will not go over the exact wording here, but if you feel so inclined, they are not hard to look up online. However if you are joining or thinking of joining a Masonic body, do not look up the obligation beforehand. While I have never done this, I have spoken with many people who have, and they often feel that some of the “magic” of the moment is gone.

Often, many significant others of Masons who are not in Masonic bodies are concerned about what is in the obligation.  I would like to take this time to go over what each obligation contains, just to give you peace of mind. Please remember that this is just a general overview, and that obligations can vary fairly wildly from state to state.

Obligation of an Entered Apprentice

This obligation is super long, however, it really only contains three things. That the candidate swears to:

 Never reveal the secrets except to a confirmed brother.

  • Never reveal the secrets except in a regular Lodge (where they will presumably be revealed to someone else)
  • Never to write the secrets down so that they may be known to non-members.

Pretty simple right?

In the Fellowcraft degree, the candidate swears to:

  • To never reveal the secrets, except those entitled to them (I.e. New members)
  • To answer the signs – signs are a way that members can recognize each other
  • To obey summons – to Lodge, etc
  • To maintain the lessons taught in the first degree

The Master Mason degree is really just more of the same. The candidate swears to:

  • To never reveal the secrets, except to a known Brother or in Lodge
  • To adhere to the principals of the square and compasses
  • To answer signs
  • To obey summons, with the exception of illness and pressing emergencies
  • To maintain and uphold the five points of fellowship as applied to another Brother:
    Hand – friendship and support to him
    Feet – unite in mutual defense and support with him
    Posture of daily supplication – see to his needs, weaknesses and necessities
    Breast – safeguard his secrets
    Except for offences contrary to civil and religious law
    Honour – preserve his honour and repel slanders on his name

There are some mini obligations within the degrees, these are usually referred to as charges. The topics of the charges are:

1. Secrets

2.      Signs
3.      Summons
4.      Principles (including secrecy, behaviour, fidelity and integrity and fellowship)
5.      Charity and benevolence
6.      Harmony and peace
7.      Care and diligence
8.      Work ethic
9.      Education (including the VSL, Masonic knowledge and the Liberal Arts and Sciences)
10.  Civil duties
11.  The Virtues
12.  Equality and Justice
13.  Religion
14.  Sin
15.  Behaviour
16.  Usages and Customs
17.  Laws and Regulations
18.  Offences of Brethren
19.  Honour
20.  Danger
21.  Instruction and assistance for inferiors
22.  Improvement of morals

Really, in all of the Masonic organizations, the obligation contains about the same thing. Usually it’s less intense than the ones listed here.  

So, what about these secrets they are swearing to not reveal? It’s gotta be something super duper secret right? Well, it’s not really. While the rituals themselves are secretive, it’s not anything you can’t find online. The only thing you may have a hard time finding is referred to as the secret work, these are signs (gestures), phrases, and handshakes used for one member to be able to recognize another outside of Lodge. Even these you can find to some extent, I know for sure the secret work of OES is embarrassingly available. (But it is handy for when I forget something). Usually though, recognition goes something like, “hey are you a Mason?” Truth be told, if you don’t know someone outside of your Lodge, chances are you wont have much reason to discuss Masonic secrets with them; people who are non-Masons trying to learn secrets from a Mason are often painfully obvious.

There are, of course, consequences for breaking your obligation. Within the ritual, it still contains the original punishments for breaking the oath. Yes, it is true the punishments outlined are physical in nature, often having something to do with the sign or position for the degree received; for example (and no, this is not in the ritual), cutting off a hand for stealing. While many of these punishments seem harsh, the important thing to remember is that these are an allegory. The Nebraska Monitor states, “ The obligations of Freemasonry contain the reference to certain physical penalties, which are symbolic in nature and are intended only to impart the historical lessens [sic] of fidelity.” It is terribly important to remember that the only punishment that can actually be given to a Freemason for violating his obligation is reprimand, suspension, or expulsion.

Prince Hall Masonry

I recently attended a large public Masonic event with a friend who is not in the Masonic community at all. He seemed to enjoy himself, but at one point in time, he kind of paused, glanced around the room, and leaned in to whisper to me, “Everyone in this room is white. What gives?” Knowing that this would take a bit of an explanation, I told them I would have to explain on the ride home. Have you ever noticed this yourself? Do you know why this is the case? The reason may astound you, especially in this day and age.

UGLE was formed in 1717, and freemasonry began in the United States around 1740. Let’s put that into perspective. The US was not its own country at this point, as the Revolutionary War didn’t occur until 1775, slavery wasn’t abolished until 1865, and electricity didn’t enter homes until 1882. So, as you can imagine, the people forming Lodges in the American colonies were all white landowners, many of whom owned slaved and all of whom lit their house by candle. Now, who can be made a Mason? Ritual states that an idiot, a madman, or a fool cannot be made a Mason, for fairly obvious reasons. However, the ritual also states that they must be a man, of lawful age, and freeborn, meaning no one who is a slave or was once a slave can become a Mason. Now, that last requirement is really not such a big deal now days, where the point is kind of glossed over and assumed; but you bet it was a big deal in the 1740’s when Lodges were popping up all over the colonies.

To give you an idea what it was like at that time, Albert Pike was quoted stating, “”I am not inclined to mettle in the matter. I took my obligations to white men, not to Negroes. When I have to accept Negroes as brothers or leave Masonry, I shall leave it.” There were some black Masons at this time, usually from non-segregated jurisdictions. However, if they had to go to a segregated jurisdiction, they would often not be recognized. What’s more, while black Masons could meet as a Lodge, join the processions on St. John’s day, and give funeral rites, they could not preform degrees, or any other essential functions of a Lodge.

Prince Hall Then

Prince Hall

Sometime before the beginning of the Revolutionary War, a black, freeborn man named Prince Hall approached St. John’s Lodge in Boston, Massachusetts along with fourteen other men, seeking admittance to the order. They were turned away. They persevered however, and turned to Lodge #441, which was a member of the Grand Lodge of Ireland. The fifteen men were approved to join, and received their degree on March 6, 1775. Just so you have an idea of when this was happening, Parliament had declared Massachusetts to be in a state of rebellion that February, and the beginnings of the Revolutionary War took place that April. In 1782, the Lodge became attached to a military unit made up of British soldiers stationed in Boston. When the soldiers moved on, the black men decided to form their own Lodge, called African Lodge No.1, and Prince Hall was named the Grand Master.

They were, however, unable to create a charter, so they contacted UGLE for one. By some miracle, they granted it, and African Lodge No. 1 was changed to African Lodge No. 459. This was the first, officially recognized, all black Lodge in America. The African Lodges grew quickly in the area, so much so that Prince Hall had been named Provincial Grand Master for the African Lodges. In March of 1797, another African Lodge was formed in Philadelphia, and in June of that same year, another in Rhode Island. Despite their popularity and growth, the majority of Masons refused to recognize members of the African Lodges, even though they had received a charter from UGLE, and therefore were entitled to all Masonic rights, such as visitation to other Lodges. A few Grand Masters were sympathetic, but knew it would be a long time before recognition (that could hopefully lead to integration) would occur. If only they knew how long it would take.

Prince Hall died in 1807, and the three African Lodges got together to form a Grand Lodge, which they renamed Prince Hall Grand Lodge, in his honor.

Prince Hall Now

Dedication of the Prince Hall Masons Monument at Cambridge Massachusetts, September 13, 2008


What you’re about to read will surprise you. It may infuriate you, or make you question your membership within the Masonic community. If you feel this way, I highly encourage you to help facilitate within your own community events between your Lodge and your Local Prince Hall Lodge.

As of the last list compiled (which was 2011), do not recognize any member of a Prince Hall Lodge to be a Mason:







South Carolina

West Virginia

Let me say that again. Even though members of this Lodge can trace their roots back to African Lodge No.1, and have charters issued by the United Grand Lodge of England, these states still, well over 200 years later, do not recognize these men as Masons.


Many other states recognize the members as Masons, but do not extend to them full recognition. So, they could come and visit the “mainstream” (common colloquialism for majority-white Lodges), but they could not say, join (they would have to start all over), or vote. In fact the first Lodge to recognize Prince Hall Lodges was Connecticut, and that wasn’t until 1989. No, that’s not a typo, that’s almost 200 years later. Nebraska was the second state to recognize them in 1990, but made bigger waves by also allowing visitation.

Prince hall also has their own appendant Masonic groups. However, these are hardly recognized by any of the mainstream Masonic groups. Their Royal Arch Grand Chapters are recognized by 9 U.S. Jursdictions, and 1 Canadian one. Their Cryptic Mason Grand Councils are recognized by 3 states, and their Knights Templar Grand Commadaries are also recognized by 3 (different) states. The only state that recognizes all three groups is Illinois. In 2001, the Shines of North America voted to recognize all Prince Hall Shrines.

Now, I want to be very clear, that this does not mean that a black man cannot join a mainstream Lodge. To my knowledge, there is no Grand Lodge that has laws against this. However, actually becoming a member as a black man may be easier in some states than others.

So, what are Prince Hall Lodges like today? To be honest, I am not terribly familiar with them as they currently exist. In my city, PH has their own Lodge, Shrine, OES, Scottish Rite, and other auxiliary groups. They tend to be much more hidden from the public eye than mainstream Masonry, and to be honest, I can’t blame them. They have created a culture completely unlike mainstream Masonry. Nothing less than suit and tie is worn to Lodge, along with their signature white gloves. Officers often wear tuxes, even for a simple business meeting. OES is a much bigger deal. They actually use a different degree system, which includes the Queen of the South degree, which was the degree that originally served as the bridge between the OES and Daughters of the Nile degree. They have their own Shrine women’s auxiliary called Daughters of Isis. They also have their own Scottish Rite women’s auxiliary called the Order of the Golden Circle. It is a very different Masonic community, and I am sad to say I know next to nothing about it.

If there is a Prince Hall visitation day in your area, I highly recommend you do your best to attend. If it doesn’t exist, help organize one. They are our brothers and sisters in Masonry, we have so much to learn from each other, and it makes my heart heavy that we have pushed them away for so long, and continue to do so.

Masonic Education

You might have noticed that there was no post last week, you didn’t miss it, it just wasn’t there. I started nursing school last week, and needed a bit of a break from the additional work from The Mason’s Lady. So what does this mean for you? Sadly, I will be switching to posts every other week, instead of once a week while I am in school for the next few years. There will certainly be times when I am able to post more often. This should mean that the posts are that much more awesome!

Since school has started for myself, and for pretty much every school age child out there, I figured I would talk about a topic that was relevant to the time of year – Masonic education.

An EA tracing board

History of Masonic Education

Back in the day, with both speculative and operative Masonry, it was through the brotherhood that the young man received much of his education. Within operative Masonry, that is, stone cutters and building-builders, becoming a Mason meant literally becoming an Entered Apprentice; this is how he would learn his craft, and when he had mastered the craft and was able to take his own apprentices, he was called a Master Mason.

When speculative Masonry, or Freemasonry as we know it today, came about, formal education past a certain age was only for those who were extremely rich or talented. However, when a young man was able to become a Mason, the group made sure that he was not without education. During the Fellowcraft degree, there is a lengthy (I believe about 13 pages) lecture called the middle chamber lecture. It is here that the brother receives his formal, yet nontraditional education. The topics covered in the middle chamber lecture include: Order in Architecture – Tuscan, Doric, Ionic, Corinthian, and Composite; The Five Senses of Human Nature – Hearing, Seeing, Feeling, Smelling and Tasting; and The Seven Arts and Sciences – Grammar, Rhetoric, Logic, Arithmetic, Geometry, Music, and Astrology.Many of these topics now seem common sense to us, but remember that (for the most part), this is the same lecture given to candidates since the 1700’s.

Another important item used in Masonic education were tracing boards (note, these are different from trestle boards, as T and I discovered). Initially, these were chalk drawings on the floor or table where the Lodge met. Before the degree, or during, various Masonic symbols or emblems were drawn by the Worshipful Master or Tyler. These were used to make reference to during the degrees, a symbol being pointed to at the appropriate time in the degree. These were then mopped up or wiped away by the candidate afterwards, to help remind him of his oath to secrecy. After print became more readily available, permanent tracing boards were made. The symbols included often range from degree to degree, and Lodge to Lodge. They have since fallen out of favor.

Mason Busters showing us why Masonic Education is important

Mason Busters showing us why Masonic Education is important

Masonic Education Today

Masonic education has come a long way. A candidate no longer relies solely on the education provided during the degrees, in fact, for most people the information given is a nice review of the third grade. As I said before, tracing boards have fallen out of favor, and slowly, but surely, Lodges are beginning to add technology to their Lodges, and some use power points or short animations instead.

The internet is teeming with Masonic information, some correct, and some not so much. A word of advice: take everything you read about Masonry online with a grain of salt; although you can find all of the degree work online, it will mean so much more to you if you don’t know what’s coming when you receive them.

As far as websites are concerned, you’d might imagine that is going to have a bit of a bias when discussing Masonry. Here are some websites that I’ve found that seem to know what they’re talking about:

However, since Masonry seems to always be slow to get with the times, your best bet for education is always books.

One of the best things you can do for yourself, and for Freemasonry, is to educate yourself about it.After you drop the kids off at school, take the time to pick up a book yourself, even if its just for a few minutes. Get out there and learn!

So You’ve Decided to Join a Masonic Body

So, you’ve decided you want to do it. You wanna bite the bullet and join the Masons, OES, the Shrine, DeMolay or otherwise. What do you actually need to do to accomplish this goal? These next few weeks I will be touching on how to join a Masonic organization, and a brief overview of what happens when you first join.

The first step is to find what’s out there. If you live in a large city, you may have many different Lodges or Chapters in the area. (There’s around 12 here in Omaha.) If you are in a less populated area, you may only have one to choose from. If you are lucky enough to have options, use that to your advantage. Every Lodge feels differently, they attract different kinds of members, and have different kinds of focuses, such as ritual work, or fellowship. If you are able to shop around, do it, and join the Lodge or Chapter that “feels” right to you.Just because you meet with members from a Lodge does not mean you are tied to them. You have no obligation to a Lodge or Chapter until your initiation, and even then, if you move, or change your mind, its just a few forms to put in to transfer. If you find that there is only one group in your area, rock it. Work with what you’ve got. If you just feel like you just can’t make it work, look into surrounding areas. Many people choose to drive an hour or more for the right Lodge or Chapter. If you are having issues finding a Lodge or Chapter in your area, you will want to contact your jurisdiction’s Grand Lodge.

The best way to decide if a Lodge or Chapter is right for you, is to go as a visitor to some of their events. This means dinners, fundraisers, outings, and any other activity that they may put on that does not take place in the Lodge room. Get to know some of the members, connect with people. You may find that the majority of members are far older than you are. This is pretty much the norm across the board as far as Masonry and its affiliate groups are concerned. Don’t let this discourage you. Yes, it may mean you can’t bond over technology or video games, but the older generation are wonderful for life advice. For instance, T and I are getting married in October, and my chapter has given me some priceless advice not only for getting married, but also married life. I guess what I’m trying to say here is don’t write people off just because they are much older than you are. You probably have more in common than you think.

Alright, so you’ve found the Lodge or Chapter for you, and you’ve talked with some of the members, and you think it should be a good fit. The next step is to ask for a petition. This is basically just a form that has all of your contact information on it, as well as a few questions about yourself. You can see a example Masonic petition here. A lot of it is pretty standard stuff, think of it kind of like a job application. Mostly they are looking for the fact that you are who you say you are. Always answer as truthfully as possible. If you look at the petition, question 30 is one of constant debate. This will be worded differently in every jurisdiction (and really the way this one is worded is a little harsh, but hey, it’s Texas). Basically they are looking for the answer that you believe in some kind of higher power. As you can imagine, this tends to be a hot topic, but that is for another day. At this point we will leave it at that every potential Mason (as well as many affiliate groups) require a belief in a higher power. Please note: Some jurisdictions will ask if you were born male. If you identify as male, and you have a M marker on your drivers license, this is good enough for most states, but don’t be surprised if they outright ask you. This is also a topic for another day. Don’t worry too much about finding Mason’s that you know to sign it, this is why you go and have dinner with them a few times. What’s more, many members will jump at the chance to be what we call “first line signer”s.

With your petition filled out and turned in, you play the waiting game. Your petition will be read at the next business meeting, whenever that should be. Hopefully your contact (the person who gave you the petition) will let you know. Technically the entire petition is to be read during the meeting, but this is not usually the case due to time constraints. After reading the petition, a committee is formed, with the purpose of interviewing you. Regardless of what a petition says, a committee is always formed.

The interview is often a nerve racking event for many people, although it really shouldn’t be. Someone from the Lodge or Chapter will arrange to meet with you, either in your home, or at another location (mine was at the Shrine, I know that others have had theirs at coffee shops). Again, they are just looking to make sure that you are who you say you are. It’s really all very informal. They will ask you about your job, your relationships, your get the idea. It kind of feels a bit like you are filling out a very odd dating profile. You will want to dress at least business casual for this meeting, your contact will tell you if you need to wear more than that.

Once the interview is over, the committee goes back to the members, and give a brief description of what you are like, and if they would recommend you to become a member. Remember: very rarely is someone turned down for membership. Usually if they are, it is for a major reason, such as identity theft, background issues that you lied about (felonies, etc), or simply not meeting the requirements of membership. The vote for membership for must be unanimous. Masonic groups use a small box that contain white balls (or cubes) and black balls. A white cube is a yes vote, a black ball is a no. And yes, this is where the term “blackballed’ comes from. If for any reason, a member recieves a black ball, they are barred from petitioning to any Lodge or Chapter for six months. When that six months are up, they may attempt again, but it must be at the same Lodge or Chapter.

How I was notified of my acceptance. Yes, it was typed on a typewriter.

Once you are voted on and accepted, you will be notified, usually by mail. Your initiation date is set, and you wait some more. Please know that this system of petitioning can take a very long time, especially if a Lodge or Chapter only meets once a month. When I petitioned to join OES, it was about 4 months from when I got my petition until I was initiated. It’s not a fast moving process, so don’t get too frustrated.

Next week, we will take a look at what happens during an initiation. Until then, have  a great week!

Don’t Panic

Probably the most common email I receive is something along the lines of, “My boyfriend just became a Mason. What do I need to know? What do I need to do?”  Looking back, that is a question that I have yet to really address.  Hopefully I can shine some light on what you need to know when you or a loved one becomes a Mason, or even when they are just researching joining.

Take a Deep Breath and Start Reading

Probably one of the worse things about Masonry is the amount of information that is out there. This is also one of its greatest assets. The issue here is figuring out what information is correct, and which is not. When starting out your research, you will want to stick to reputable sources. Sometimes, even this can be hard. It’s not illegal for someone to call themselves a Mason or a brother, but it is pretty rude. This of course, happens most every day, regardless. There is a ton, and I mean a ton of websites, forums, books, YouTube channels, Netflix shows, magazines, etc., that relate to Freemasonry. If you can’t afford to purchase the books, there is a good chance that your local Lodge may have a copy they are able to loan you. Doing this will also help ensure that you aren’t reading a book written by a 99th level Mason who encourages everyone to wear their tin foil hats. Another issue  with information about Masons is the amount of sensationalism that tends to happen. For instance, the Netflix program The Truth Behind: The Freemasons,  is kind of a joke in our house. They make a huge deal about “the Masons sharing their secrets” and “never before seen footage of what actually goes on”. The truth is, what they show is parts of a Grand Lodge installation, done in full costume. Installations are generally public. Anyone reading this could go right now. Infact, you can even go to Youtube and watch an installation (It’s right here). So, be sure to take anything you read about Masons with a grain of salt.

 These are, what I’ve found, some of the best resources for someone new to the Masonic Community:

  • Freemasonry for Dummies by Bro. Hodapp – I cannot stress enough about this book. I know I’ve talked a lot about it before, but it is that important. Everyone, even 50 year Masons, should own this book. It is the best book to lay yourfoundation of Masonic knowledge on. Also, it’s only $16. Go buy it, right now.
  • The Newly Made Mason: Everything he and every Mason should know about Masonry by H.L. Haywood – Not just for Masons! I’ve not read a lot of this book, just had a chance to flip through a few times. I do know that this is often the book given when a Mason is raised to Master Mason.
  • The Masonic Lodge of EducationThere’s more than meets the eye for this website. Often when I am doing reseach, they will have the a small amount of information about a fairly obscure topic. (Just don’t waste your money on the Masonic Wife e-book they keep talking about, believe me.
  • The Iowa Masonic Library Did you know that Mason’s have their own library? It’s even in Iowa. The importance ofthis is that they actually will lend books to you, through the mail!
  • Masonic Magazines– There are a few out there, but Freemasonry Today tends to be the most popular.
  • Masonic Podcasts– made by Masons for Masons.The Mason’s Lady was featured on an episode of Whence Came You?
  • /r/FreemasonryIf you don’t know about Reddit, and even if you do, you should check out this sub reddit. Everyone there is always happy to answer your questions, or at least point you in the right direction.
  • Other Masonic BlogsAshlars and Ashes,  an RSS site of many known and active blogs
  • Your local Lodge, and Grand Lodge (more on that in a bit).



Find Your Local Masonic Community

 One of the most important things you can do when starting down the Masonic path, is research where Masons are in your area. Masonic groups are split into two levels of governing. The top level, is the jurisdiction or state that you live in. This is referred to as the Grand Lodge. These are the guys that make sure everyone is enforcing the bylaws of your state, and usually plan the bigger events and fundraisers. If you have trouble finding a Lodge in your area, I would recommend sending a letter to your Grand Lodge. You can find a list of US Grand Lodges and their websites here. The bottom level are the Lodges themselves. Each Lodge is self-governing, but must be sure that it follows all of the rules and bylaws set up by the state, as well as their own.

There are a couple of ways to find a local Lodge. A Grand Lodge website will have all of their Lodges listed with contact information. Another option would be, of course, to Google your town and Masonic Lodge. In larger cities however, you may have quite a few to choose from. I live in a large metropolitan city in the Midwest, and there are over 10 Lodges to choose from. If you have options, go and check it out. Often Lodges will have dinner before their meeting. You are welcome to come, and your SO as well. Find a Lodge that has the most people that you could see yourself spending time with and making firneds.

This might seem a little counterintuitive, but consider also contacting the organizations that you or your SO are not eligible, such as Scottish Rite, or the Shrine. This isn’t necessarily because you want to join, but because out side of the Lodge, these tend to be the organizations with the most social events. Consider attending some, or even volunteering your time. This will help you get in touch with the greater Masonic community outside of your Lodge. Another important reason to get in touch with these organizations, is that often one or more of them will help run or coordinate a local Masonic calendar. This should let you in on all the fun stuff- cookouts, dinners, raffles, scotch tastings…I think you get the idea.

 Get Involved

 I’ve probably said this a million times, and I will probably say it a million more. Masonry is what you put into it. If you want to be the crazy people that go to an event every night, or if you as a SO aren’t interested in it at all, or something in between, that is fine. There are always seemingly endless Masonic events and opportunities out there. If you don’t think it’s for you, but you are okay with your SO joining, that’s fine too, no one will fault you for it. If you get bummed out that you can’t join (like myself), get involved in other ways. Help cook meals, run events, or fundraise. There will always be something out there that you enjoy that you can help better Masonry. You can help better yourself as well. There are a number of official and unofficial female only Masonic organizations out there. Do some googling, find out what is available in your area. Enjoy yourself. On the other hand, there’s always something to be said about a night alone.

More The Mason’s Lady posts that can help a new Mason and/or their SO.

The Mason’s Lady

A Masonic Dictionary

A Look at the Lodge and its Officers

What Actually Happens at Lodge

Can’t Join ’em? Support ’em!

The Benefits of Being a Mason’s Lady

The Masonic Wife

Women and Freemasonry

I hope that kind of helps lay groundwork for the things you will want to look into when you or your SO are starting a Masonic journey. As always, still feel free to contact me with any questions you may have. You may have noted that a few things got changed around as far as the layout. I ended up catergorizing all of the posts, and then each catergory can be visited by using the menu at the top. The tag cloud and search bar have been moved to the bottom of the page. Hopefully this will help make the site a bit easier to navigate.

The Masonic Ring

I wanted to talk this week about something that tends to be a lengthy and often heated topic, even among Brothers. The issue is often that the Masonic ring can mean many different things to many different people. Some see it as a symbol of their own Masonic journeys and their dedication to the craft, others see it as an opportunity to share Freemasonry with the world and educate others on the topic, and of course, still others see it simply as a ring, and no more.

What is a Masonic ring?

It seems like such a simple question, but it does not have a simple answer. As we know, there are three degrees given within the Blue Lodge, Entered Apprentice, Fellowcraft and Master Mason. Although many things are given to a man when he joins a Lodge (even more so when he becomes a MM), a ring is not one of them. Actually, as a rule, no rings are given to a Mason from his Lodge at all. In fact, there are only two official rings given within Freemasonry to a candidate. Those are the rings given after receiving the 14th and 33rd degrees of the Scottish Rite. Any other ring you may see, has been chosen and purchased by the candidate, or given to him from a friend or family member. Most often the rings that you will see people wearing are rings with a square and compass (Blue Lodge rings) or rings with the double headed eagle (usually 32nd degree Scottish Rite rings). Some men may get new rings after their year as Worshipful Master, or after joining a appendant body (Scottish Rite and the Shrine are the most popular as far as rings are concerned.) It is often recommended (though not necessarily followed) that a man not wear a ring, or other Masonic markings until he has received his Master Mason degree.  There is no requirement that a member wear a ring or any other type of jewelry that may mark him as a Mason.

What does a Masonic ring mean?

Again, this seems like such a simple question, but has no correct answer. There are as many meanings to a Masonic ring as there are men wearing them.. I found this reason interesting:

To be forever bound to your obligation, which is your solemn promise, made of your own free will, before the Great Architect of the Universe, as well as your family, friends and brothers signifying your true and heartfelt desire to be forever bound in unity with the fraternity.

This is of course, not the only answer to the question. Some men use it as a kind of unspoken public promotion of their dedication to the fraternity and their Brothers. Others may wear it in hopes that someone may see it and inquire about it, and bring a new Brother to the fraternity. There are many stories of men who found themselves with a petition in their hands after they had asked a stranger about their Masonic rings. It can also serve as a way to identify other brothers whom you may not know. Of course, simply owning and wearing a Masonic ring is not enough; there are a number of phrases and passes taught to a new Mason that helps identify other Brothers who may be strangers. This is actually very important to identifying members, especially today when anyone can get on the internet and order a ring.

What’s the right way to wear a Masonic ring?

I bet you’re figuring out a pattern in this week’s article. Again, there is no correct answer here. There is no correct or proper way to wear a Masonic ring, except for the way that you feel comfortable wearing it. Many men wear the ring on the ring finder of their right hand, opposite of their wedding band. If you want to wear it on the first finger of your left hand however, no one is going to come knocking on your door wanting you to correct it. Usually, however, it is considered improper to wear more than one Masonic ring at the same time (save that for lapel pins!). In addition to this, many Masons do not recommend using a Masonic ring as a wedding band. The idea here is that if something happens that ends the marriage, you may associate those feelings with the fraternity, and it may  be best to just keep those two things separate.

The big discussion among the brethren is of course, which way the square and compass should be pointing when wearing a Masonic ring. Some men choose to wear the ring so that the two legs of the compass point toward themselves. Some say that this is to remind them of their obligation, or to remind themselves that they are Masons, and that it should reflect in all that they do. For these men, the ring serves as a self reminder of the tenants they honor and the fraternity that they represent. Others wear their rings so that the two legs of the compass point away from themselves. It is said that wearing the ring in this manner, that others see his actions and associate them with Masonry. Wearing the ring with the points facing out is actually more historically accurate. In the past, the rings were used as signet rings, for sealing the wax on letters, and this wearing points up would cause the seal to be right side up. A shorted version of this debate is that the points down reflects the light inward, and the points up reflects it outward. There is no right or wrong way to wear a Masonic ring, you may simply choose to wear it the way that you grab it off your bedside table in the morning. There are no edicts from any Grand Lodge stating the “correct” way to wear a Masonic ring, the choice is yours.

Where can I get a Masonic ring?

Some of us are lucky enough to receive rings as gifts when we receive degrees, or be handed family heirlooms. Others are not so lucky, and we are tasked with finding our own rings. There are thousands out there in all kinds of shapes, sizes, and prices. My number one recommendation for someone that is in the market for a Masonic ring is to look at pawn shops.It’s less of a gamble than buying online, since pawn shops will only buy in rings that are gold plated at the very least.Antique stores are also a great place to look. You may get lucky and get a great price on a really nice ring. Even if you think your town is too small to have any Masonic items in the shops, check it out anyway, you may be pleasantly surprised.

There are a lot of places to get Masonic rings online, and navigating the sites looking for the right one can be a bit daunting.Masonic rings come in many shapes and sizes. T’s looks like a class ring, whereas my OES rings are much smaller and delicate. Many Masonic rings are mass produced, if you are willing to spend a bit more, you can get something custom made. As long as you are a Master Mason, there is no rule as far as what a ring has to have, or can’t have. However, please respect the fraternities, and do not wear a ring for degrees that you have not yet received. It is considered bad taste, and in many areas can bar you from ever receiving the degrees.

This is by no means an exhaustive list.

Amazon is a great source, especially if you aren’t looking to spend much. The rings here start at just $2.

JemsbyJem is a great ring resource, and has some specialty rings you might not find elsewhere, like a Masonic EMT ring.

The Master’s Jewel also has some very unique rings, however as they are all handcrafted they can become quite pricey.

Etsy can be great if you’re looking for an antique or something unique like a spoon ring. Buy carefully here though, often people resell items that you can find for a much cheaper price.

Gordon’s Masonic Rings are great because they are all stainless steel, handmade, and all rings cost the same amount- $105.

Even Walmart and Target get in on it.

If none of those stores have anything you like, you may want to check out the mass market Masonic stores. Again, this is by no means an exhaustive list, and many of these stores carry the same item, so be sure and shop around.


Lauterer– Check out the sidebar for more rings

Red Tower Regalia


Freemason Store

Please note that often these store sell more than just Masonic rings, and will usually also sell rings for the major appendant bodies. So, if you are looking for an OES ring, or a Shrine ring, or anything else, many of these stores will also carry them.

Hope that this was an insightful look into something that seems so simple. Have a wonderful week!

Myths about Masonry, Part II

Alright! It’s time to wrap up last week’s article on myths about Masonry. If you missed last week’s article, please check it out for a small intro to the topic, as well as some other myths.

Myth #4- Masons worship the devil, or are involved in witchcraft

I was thinking about where this comes from the other evening in chapter, and came to the conclusion that there are a couple of major contributing factors. As I said last week, Masonry is not a religion, does not take the place of anyone’s religion, and actually requires that someone already have a faith before joining. I think that the first major influence that lead people to believe that Masons were devil worshipers came from G.O.A.T. As you know, goats, or goat heads, are often seen as symbols of devil worship or witchcraft, usually for the purpose of animal sacrifice. You may have seen many Masonic jokes or postcards that show Masons with a goat, or may have heard someone talk about “riding the goat” at a meeting. The Masonic phrase for God, the “Great Architect of the Universe”, or G.A.O.T.U., used to be referred to as “God of All Things” or G.O.A.T. This was changed quickly after the rumors began. In Chapter, I sit at Esther, which is the middle point of the star, and the point that causes so much controversy. I was thinking of why Rob Morris chose an inverted star, also called a pentagram, to represent the order. The traditional line used is that the star “points down to the manger”. This may have some truth, as OES tends to be very Christian oriented. I think that there may be simpler reasons, however. A Chapter room with all officers in attendance is 18 people. That alone can make for a crowded room, and the layout of the officers doesn’t help. If Esther’s point were at the top of the star, it would put three people in a row- the Chaplin, Esther, and the Marshall, which not only would make for a crowded front of the room, but would also result in a very empty back of the room. On top of this, another thought came to me as I sat at this point. If the star was not inverted, and the top point was Esther, this would have the star “point” to the East, and to the Worthy Matron. This may have given people the wrong idea, and think that the Worthy Matron and Patron were those that were meant to be worshiped and revered instead of God. Unfortunately, we may never know the true reason Morris chose this symbol. In addition to these points, someone who is a Satanist could become a Mason, and many have. Often hysteria about a topic begins when someone takes one example and begins to apply it to everyone else that fits even some of those same characteristics.

Myth#5- There are Masonic symbols hidden everywhere, if you know what to look for

Like many myths, this is one that is rooted in some truth. There are Masonic symbols everywhere, if you know where to look. All seeing eyes, double headed eagles, pentagrams, the square and compass, even the cornerstone of a building are Masonic symbols, and can be found almost anywhere if you look hard enough. Many older buildings may have served as a Masonic Lodge, and still bear their symbols. Money, movies, and more things that start with M (as well as those that don’t) can be hiding Masonic symbols “in plain sight”. The important thing to remember here is- many of these symbols are not exclusive to Masonry. Many people claim that the all Seeing Eye on the back of a US dollar is proof that Masons control the government. This symbol actually came from the artist Pierre Du Simitere, who was not a Mason. The concept can be traced back at least as far as ancient Egypt, where the eye of Horus was used as a symbol of power and protection. The pentagram, the symbol for OES, did not acquire any occult meanings until the 19th and 20th centuries, well after Masonry was established. Funnily enough, there is little argument about where the symbols of the Order of the Knights Templar came from. As far as there being a secret square and compass hidden in Washington D.C. that is the secret to the map of the super-secret Masonic treasure? Wishful thinking and often a cause of pareidolia, the scientific word for the psychological phenomena when we perceive vague stimuli as being significant. It has been theorized that humans are hard wired to see patterns like this, to make sense when there is none, in hopes of processing the information a bit easier. This is also the same phenomena that cause someone to see Jesus in a piece of toast.

Myth #6- Freemasonry is a secret society

This one we kind of did to ourselves. A lot of the idea of Masonry being a secret society came about during the 1950’s and 1960’s, its last real big boom. During the obligation, initiates swear that they will not let known any of the secrets presented to them during their initiation. The trouble is, it’s never explicitly stated what is a secret, and what is not. As T says, the only secrets are handshakes, and words of recognition. In our state, anything that is secret is written in code in the ritual book. In OES, all secrets are omitted from writing, and only given by word of mouth (which makes them that much harder to learn). You can learn all you want about Masonry, learn about each officer and what they do, much of the degree work, and even some of a Lodge’s actual business and never even graze learning a secret. The biggest secret in Masonry is that much of our meetings consist of paying the bills, and arguing over who has what percentage share of the building (my Chapter is going through this now, it’s not much fun to deal with, or to listen to). Nothing I ever write here will be a secret, and I have gone fairly in depth on a number of topics. If someone realty wanted to learn the secrets of Masonry, a quick Google search would probably do the trick. I would not, however, recommend doing so if you are, or are ever planning on being involved in the Masonic family. Freemasonry is not a secret society. A secret society would keep its existence hidden, and its membership secret. If Masonry is a secret society, we are doing a terrible job at it. We are very open, not only about our existence, but also about what we stand for, and the work that we do. Freemasonry isn’t a secret society, it’s a society with secrets.

There are a ton of myths and misconceptions out there surrounding Freemasonry. I may return to this topic in the future, simply because there are so many. These are kind of the common ones that you may come across in your lives. If you have any questions about any of these, or have a myth I did not cover that you would like to know about, please feel free to send me an email at  We will be kind of continuing this theme a bit next week, when we look at the sutble ways that Masonry affects the world around us. Have a wonderful week!

Myths about Masonry, Part I

Somehow, I managed to get myself off track as far as my posting day, it keeps slipping further and further into the week! In an effort to get myself back on track, I will be splitting this topic in two, so if you like this one, be sure to look out for more on the same subject next week.

I wanted to take this time to talk about myths and misconceptions. There are many of these surrounding Masonry, and while some are based in truth, more often than not they are way off base. Unfortunetly, it tends to be that popular culture, including movies (i.e. National Treasure), help perpetuate these myths, and people get the wrong idea about Freemasonry as a whole and what its all about. Depending on how much research they do before joining, this can also lead to some iniaties, and even Master Masons having incorrect notions about what goes on within Masonry. There are literally thousands of myths concerning Masonry, but over the next two weeks, I wanted to go over the most popular six.

Myth #1 Freemasons = The Illuminati

This is a big one, in fact, often the words Freemason and Illuminati are used interchangeably, along with shock terms such as “New World Order” and “lizard people”.  Freemasons are not, and never have been, any part of the illuminati (or lizard people for that matter). In fact, the Illuminati refers to several groups, many of which no longer exisit. Origionally, the Illuminati referred to the Bavarian Illuminati, a group formed in 1776, well after the beginnings of Freemasonry. Ironically, the group did their best to oust and prevent things like superstition, abuses of power, and the government purposely preventing all details of an event being known, more commonly known as obscurantism. The group did amass some power, and may have had a large hand in the French Revolution. They were forced underground in beginning in 1784, along with Freemasons and other “secret societies” .(Recall that Freemasonry was much more secretive during this time). They disbanded just before the 19th century, after many of their key leaders left, and most of their secret documents were seized and published. So, how does a group that hasn’t exisited for over 200 years get connected with Freemasonry? It seems that most of this happened around the time of the Morgan Affair, which in turn, caused the Anti-Masonic movement in the 1820’s and 30’s. This may have been in part due to a paper published by a member of the Illuminati titled “On the Influence Attributed to Philosophers, Free-Masons, and to the Illuminati on the Revolution of France.” They did take some cues from Freemasonry, hence the title.

Myth #2 Freemasonry is a religion

Many people think that Masonry is a religion, or that it takes over your current religion. This is simply untrue. I think that this idea comes from the fact that aspects of Freemasonry can mimick that of religion. Within any given religion, there are many rituals, such as kneeling, sitting, or bowing at certain times, as well as certain rituals used for different holidays. Much like religion, Masonry has many rituals within it, many of which are taken from various religions around the world, but most notably Judaism. Many people find comfort within the fellowship found after and before church services, and the same holds true for Freemasonry. Often you will see websites and people saying that Freemasons worship the devil (more on that next week), or that they worship a certain God. The truth is that any man who believes in a higher power can become a Mason, they do not have to be of one religion. In fact, God is often referred to as “The Grand Aritect of the Universe”, in order to make it more approachable to those that do not belong to a mainstream religion. A requirement to become a Mason that many people do not realize, is that one must believe in a higher power. An atheist cannot join regular, masculine Masonry. Many different jurisdictions word it differently, but the concept is the same. Beyond believing in a higher power, however, there is no further requirement. No one religion is required of a member (save for some of the higher orders of York Rite which require a member to be a Christian), and in fact, at the House of the Temple, the big headquarters of the Scottish Rite in Washington D.C., there is the holy book from every major religion in the world. Most Lodges simply use the Bible as their holy book, but an initiate may request that they take their oath on any holy book (this holds true for all appendant bodies), however in many cases they may need to supply their own. Many people also believe that the lessons taught in Masonry go against religions (usually cited as going against Christianity), however, the more you look into what Masonry teaches, you realize that the lessons actually go hand in hand with religion, specifically Christianity, and that many of the lessons and rituals are borrowed from Judaism.

Myth #3 Freemasons control the government, and even some Masons don’t know it


This myth is based on two incorrect notions. The first is that there is a centralized, global body that controls all of Masonry. I would hope that simply by reading this blog you know that this is not the case. Jurisdictions of Masonry vary by state to state, and country to country. In fact, simply because if there was, there would be no debate about whether women should be allowed to be Masons, or how to handle Prince Hall Masons. There is a centralized body for Scottish Rite, as well as for some of the other appendant bodies, but not all Masons choose to join them. It always makes me giggle when I think of the amount of coordination government control would take, which is something the Masonic bodies can struggle with. I’ve heard 20 minute arguments about when to hold a pancake breakfast. Heck, it took T and others three years for Masons in our state to agree to raise the dues $1.50 to benefit their own youth groups. The point is, this organization simply does not exist. Without its existence, the rest of the myth tends to crumble.  The other idea that this myth is based on, is the 33rd degree of the Scottish Rite. Something you will hear a lot of conspiracy theorists say is that nothing is fully revealed until you receive the 33rd degree.  I think that a lot of this comes from the fact that the 33rd degree is not given out that often. It is an honorary degree given to a member who has gone above and beyond for the organization. It is also the “highest” numbered degree that a member can obtain. (The quotes are because it is often said that nothing should be held higher than the third, or Master Mason degree.) Masons who attempt to refute the myth may be told that they don’t know what’s really going on because they have not yet been chosen to receive the degree. It’s silly really, the 33rd degree is not too different from the 32nd, and the 32nd from the 31st and so on and so forth. Don’t let anyone tell you otherwise. You also may hear people say that they are a 97th level Mason, these people claim that there are “hidden” degree beyond the 33rd. Often, these people either have no idea what they are talking about, or are members of a clandestine Lodge.

If you enjoyed this article, please be sure and check out next week’s, where we will be going over three more Masonic myths. Have a great week!