The Outdoor Degree was held on Saturday, October 19 at Huggins Farm in Pritchardville. Our candidate, Lawrence Jordan Lee Glass, was raised to the Sublime Degree of a Master Mason in due form and tradition. I wish to thank all the brethren from the several lodges in District 4 who participated in this degree. I arrived early to find the picnic preparations in full swing and the shrimp being prepared for the Low Country Boil; however, not feeling well, I had to regretfully withdraw.
On Thursday the 24th, Harmony Lodge welcomed a new Brother, Donald Douglas Martin to the ancient Craft. I would like to thank Brother Carl Olson of Port Royal Lodge for introducing Brother Martin to his new brethren. RW Brother Joe Giunta, PDDGM, offered his expertise as lecturer and Worshipful Brother Jim Johnston, Master of Mt. Moriah Lodge in Yemassee declaimed on the significance of the Lambskin or White Leather Apron. Brother Jeff Light of Port Royal Lodge was kind enough to sit in our Treasurer’s chair.
I have often heard in conversation with my brothers that when asked by any brother, or during his initial interview why he wishes to become a Freemason, a prospective candidate informs us that although his father, grandfather, uncle, or other ancestor had been a Freemason, he was never told anything about the fraternity and is only interested in joining to find out what it’s all about or is tantalized by its mystery. We all know and affirm that the Red Book may not be discussed among the profane; however, the contents of the Ahiman Rezon are open to all! Everything in the Ahiman Rezon may be read to one’s offspring when they come of an age to understand its contents. It is replete with gems of knowledge and wisdom, historical precedent and tradition and moral value. Certainly, if exposed to the Ahiman Rezon at any time in advance of the prospect of initiation, a young man will better understand what Freemasonry is about and be better prepared to make up his mind whether to become a Brother or not.
I therefore urge the Brethren to consider reading to sons, grandsons and nephews from the Ahiman Rezon on occasions when answers to inquiring minds may be satisfied.
On November 9th at noon, Harmony Lodge will host its Annual Awards Luncheon. At this event Harmony Lodge awards its Mason of the Year and Emergency Medical Tech of the Year plaques to outstanding servants of the Craft and the public trust. I have invited RW Brother Henry Garbade, our District Deputy Grand Master, to speak on this occasion. Please mark your calendars and make every effort to attend. Thank you.
Howard R. Harris
Why cannot a maimed man be made a Mason?
He can. Half the Grand Lodges in the nation now admit men with various degrees of physical disability. Anciently it was forbidden because the fourth of the Old Charges sets forth that “No Master should take an Apprentice, unless he has sufficient Employment for him, and unless he be a perfect Youth, having no Maim or Defect in his Body, that may render him uncapable [sic] of learning the Art, of serving his Master’s Lord, and of being made and then a Fellow-Craft in due time. . .”
The “doctrine of the perfect youth” has plagued American Freemasonry for many years; originally all Grand Lodges were very strict; in later years more and more have found an “out” from the Old Charge in the words “that may render him uncapable of learning the art,” it being obvious that the lack of a finger, or even a hand or a foot, if corrected artificially, does not render a man “uncapable of learning the art” of being a Speculative Mason.
Why do brethren not pass between the Altar and the East when Lodge is at labor?
Brethren do not pass between the Altar and the East in a Masonic lodge at labor (except in a degree) because the Master is supposed to have the Great Lights constantly in view. In theory, at least, he draws inspiration from the Altar to preside over the lodge and must not, therefore, be prevented from seeing it at any time.
The custom is but a pretty courtesy, but it is rooted in a fundamental conception of the Craft – that the Altar is the center of Masonry, and that from it and from the Great Lights it bears, flow all that there is of Masonic inspiration and truth and light.
English lodges do not have this problem, since in them a pedestal near the Master is the Altar on which lies the Holy Book.
Why do brethren entering and leaving a lodge salute the Master?
Masons entering or leaving a lodge salute the Master at the Altar if the lodge is at labor – they salute the Junior Warden if the lodge is at refreshment. This practice assures the Master that the brother knows on what degree the lodge is open. A brother making a wrong sign can be instructed immediately. It informs the Master that the brother is a Mason of the degree on which the lodge is open; if he makes an inferior sign, and cannot, on request, give the right one, the Master can then use other means to ascertain that no Entered Apprentice or Fellowcraft is present in a Master Mason lodge. The salute is a silent assurance to the Master and through him to the brethren: “I remember my obligations.”
Brethren salute on retiring to get permission to leave. No one can enter or leave a lodge room while a lodge is at labor without permission. If the Master does not wish the brother who salutes to retire he tells him so, instead of responding to the salute.
At refreshment the lodge is in charge of the Junior Warden and the same salutes are given him as are usually given the Master, and for the same reasons. In some Grand Jurisdictions, on busy evenings, as during a visitation or other Masonic function, the Master will instruct the Tiler to ask the brethren to salute the West, instead of the East, in order to not have his own labors in the East interrupted.
[One Hundred One Questions About Freemasonry, The Masonic Service Association, 2003]
Howard R. Harris
Worshipful Master & Newsletter Editor
“I Vouch For Him”
To which for a Mason is Masonically to say: (1) that the brother doing the vouching has sat in open Lodge with the brother vouched for, or (2) that the brother vouching has subjected the brother vouched for to a strict trial and due examination, or (3) that the brother vouching has received the avouchment of some brother he knows to be a Master Mason, that the brother now vouched for is known to him as a Master Mason.
The number of men who have never taken the degrees who try to get into Masonic Lodges is very small. Nevertheless, there have been, are, and doubtless will be eavesdroppers.
Far more dangerous than the eavesdropper is the cowan, the man who has been legally raised but who has been dropped N.P.D. or suspended or expelled after trial; or he is an Entered Apprentice or a Fellowcraft whose advancement has been stopped for cause.
Some brethren are so unwise as to keep their good standing cards from year to year as an interesting collection. If such a collection be stolen the collection may be the innocent means of letting loose upon the Fraternity a whole flock of designing cowans, since dates upon such cards are changed with little difficulty. It is an excellent Masonic rule to destroy last year’s card as soon as this year’s card is received. Loss of a current card should be immediately reported to the Grand Secretary, as well as the Master of the Lodge.
Masonic avouchment can only be accomplished in the presence of the brother vouched for, the brother vouched to, and the brother vouching. Any other is un-Masonic and should never be tolerated or accepted
B does not receive lawful Masonic information when A says to him: “I have been to the Chapter with C.” It is true that no man may become a Royal Arch Mason unless he is first a Master Mason. A Royal Arch Mason, therefore, must at some time have been a Master Mason. But A cannot know how well the Chapter in question guards its tiled door. For all he knows to the contrary, C held a forged Chapter card, had been expelled from his Blue Lodge and yet managed to get into a Chapter. Doubtful? Probably! But possible nevertheless.
No avouchment may be accepted from an Entered Apprentice or a Fellowcraft. Not being Master Masons, these cannot possess lawful Masonic information about Master Masons. The right to vouch is strictly a Master Mason’s right; no brother of the first or second degree possesses
Vouching for a brother is a solemn undertaking. The voucher puts his Masonic credit against the credibility of the brother he vouches for; no squeamishness of felling should ever interfere. A Master Mason should not vouch for his blood brother unless he has sat in Lodge with him, tested him for himself, or unless his brother has been vouched for to him. He may be morally sure his brother is a Mason; a Lodge does not recognize such surety as lawful Masonic information.
The Lodge is more important than the brother. The sanctity of the tiled door is greater than the feelings of the individual. The Masonic honor of the brother doing the vouching should be of far greater worth to him than any consideration of expediency.
The entire law and the prophets may be covered in one small commandment: “Never vouch unless you have lawful Masonic knowledge.”
“. . . And Give Them Proper Instruction.” The Masonic Service Association, February, 1988
Christian E. Sherbert
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