How Do You Eat An Elephant?

by Midnight Freemason Emeritus

Adam Thayer, PM

It’s an oft-repeated joke around our lodge: How do you eat an elephant? We tell it to newly made Entered Apprentices when they’re overwhelmed with learning proficiency, etiquette, names, titles, meeting times, and everything that comes with being a new member. We repeat it to the Worshipful Master when he has the inevitable mid-year freak out about how much he still wants to accomplish before the year is over and he is asked to retire to the sidelines. But for the purpose of this article, it’s a phrase that our Temple Board states at every meeting, every gathering, and every working day we hold.

Our Masonic Temple was built in 1934 and was (at the time) a state-of-the-art building. The building was purpose-built for Freemasonry and even includes a hidden room that you can only enter by being lowered into it for the York Rite degrees (shhh, don’t tell anyone, it’s not even on the blueprints). Every aspect of the building was designed for comfort during meetings, for providing a strong impression on candidates during degree work, and for being a family-friendly location for all of the various groups who meet here.

Having said that… our Temple was built in 1934. The walls are horsehair plaster, the oldest electrical is still cotton wrapped, and the years have not always been kind. Maintenance has varied from “we must do everything possible to take care of this building” to “who can we hire to fix this?” to “we can’t afford to fix it, maybe if we don’t look it will stop?”

A few years back, when our building was hemorrhaging money faster than we could replace it, and things were falling apart faster than we could afford to fix them, two enterprising brothers had a “revolutionary” idea – why are we paying someone to do a lot of this work, when we can do it ourselves?

In retrospect, it seems pretty obvious, doesn’t it? Why pay hundreds of dollars a month for lawn maintenance, when we all have lawn mowers, fertilizer spreaders, and access to all of the same types of yard care equipment that the “professionals” have. Sure, it may take us a bit longer because we’re using smaller mowers, smaller spreaders, and nothing that we can ride on, but there’s no reason we can’t spend the time to take care of a property we love so much.

So these two brothers made a plan; Saturday mornings, they would meet up at the building, and work on cleaning up the yard themselves. If anybody else happened to be around and wanted to help, they’d be welcomed with open arms and pointed in a direction to work.

That first year, we saved thousands of dollars on yard care. That same year, we also established a Capital Improvement & Repairs fund, that could be tapped for emergencies… and there are always emergencies.

Once summer was over, and the yard work was done for the year, the brothers (who, by now, were quite more than just two) didn’t want to stop coming down on Saturday mornings and decided to turn their attention to the inside of the building. After all, there were hundreds of little problems that we could fix ourselves, like leaky plumbing, flickering lights, crumbling plaster… Once they really started looking around the building, it became nearly overwhelming how much work had to be done, but how do you eat an elephant?

Over the course of that winter, the tenants of the building started noticing changes. Problems they had complained about for years were getting fixed. Some parts of the building would suddenly become inaccessible for a time as they were shut down for refurbishment. A building that was feeling old and tired was suddenly trying to spring back to life, one small area at a time. Even more importantly, brothers from across the four lodges who call the building home were working together, cooperating, learning, and laughing in the process.

Our building’s Eastern Star chapter noticed it too and wanted to help out, but most of them didn’t feel comfortable doing electrical work on a live circuit while dangling off a wooden ladder 15+ feet in the air (and yes, that HAS happened, don’t tell OSHA), so they turned their focus to the large kitchen and started making breakfast for us while we were working. I want to be very clear that they VOLUNTEERED for this, at no point did we ask, but they felt it was the best way they could contribute to the work, and we are incredibly grateful to Electa Chapter #8 for providing us excellent food every week while we’re working.

Within a few years, what began as two guys trying to save us a bit of money on yard maintenance has turned into a rotating team of twenty to thirty brothers and sisters who will come in for various projects, great fellowship, and amazing breakfasts. On any given Saturday, you may find one or two guys ripping into some plumbing issue, while another small team is repairing plaster and repainting, another group is cleaning up woodwork and yet another group is outside working on a pavement issue. If you come down, you will be put to work, and you may end up heading up a project if you are particularly good at something.

My own experience has been so varied I don’t even know where to begin. When I was added as a representative to the Temple Board, they immediately made me the IT Director because I have some (very VERY limited) experience with it, and have tasked me with projects as varied as covering the entire building with WiFi, to rewiring the lighting to be smart accessible, to installing security cameras, and my current project of putting speaker systems and Bluetooth receivers into both of our lodge rooms so people can hear better. I have learned how to plaster from Don, an 86-year-old man who is very active in the Eastern Star but has just become active in the lodge over the past few years because he made so many friends while working. I learned maintenance of our aging boiler system from Matt, a 49-year-old man who constantly surprises me with the depth of his knowledge of obscure things. I’ve learned yard maintenance from Joe, electrical from Mike, and painting from Lynn, and what we don’t know we learn and teach each other. More importantly, we’ve all learned better teamwork and leadership, which we take back to our lodges and chapters to improve them as well.

The Capital Improvements fund has come in handy more than once when we’ve had to replace air conditioners, lay new carpeting, and hire other similar projects that were just too big for experience and time to handle. We’ve gone from passing the hat each month to having an investment manager working to tell us the best timing to take on big new projects.

So why am I telling you all of this? Is it just to brag about how amazing things are going for us, and make you wish you were us too? Of course not, although I am very proud of what we’ve accomplished. It’s to teach you something very important that you can use in your own lodge: how do you eat an elephant? Nothing we have done is unique, or requires much knowledge beyond “Alexa, how do I replace a sink?”

Think of the projects your lodge would like to accomplish. It could be building-related like what I’ve listed above, but it could easily be “have more active members” or “be visible in the public” or “add education to every meeting”. Regardless of the project, if it’s worth doing it should seem overwhelming and impossible to accomplish. As an easy example, take “have more active members”; what are you going to give these members to do to be active? Where are you going to get them? If you bring in new members, you’re going to need people who can do all of the degree work, mentors to work with them, food and drink, and time. When you write down everything that you’ll need to have in place to make it happen, you should be freaked out by it, and if you aren’t… set your sights higher.

Or maybe you’re looking at something more personal, like learning a new lecture, weight loss, or quitting smoking. How about building up your skills to earn a promotion at work? Buying a house? It’s time for you to look inward and begin asking yourself the big questions: who are you and what do you want? To quote every meeting of salespeople I’ve ever sat through, find out the why and no how will stop you.

Whatever you’re looking at accomplishing, I know you can do it, but you have to start. Remember: two guys who said “we can mow the yard ourselves” have now, over the years we’ve been working, saved us hundreds of thousands of dollars by doing it ourselves, have taught dozens of men new skills, and forged friendships across lodges that barely talked to each other before even though we were in THE SAME BUILDING.

Hundreds of thousands of Entered Apprentices over history have left their first degree thinking “I’ll never learn all of this” and gone on to do amazing things in Freemasonry. Thousands of new Worshipful Masters have sat down with a plan of what they’d like to get done, and believed they could never do it all, while going on to bring massive improvements across their lodge, and I bet if we were to sit down with some Grand Masters they would tell you the same thing.

One of those two men I told you about is now turning his eye on our York Rite, being able to do all of the degree work ourselves without needing to send our brothers to a festival, and I have zero doubt that he will accomplish it. I know I’ll be there helping in any way I can, which gives us two, and that’s enough to make massive changes, especially when we start with something small, like “Let’s get a team together who can do the Mark Master degree”. I fully expect that if you check back with us in a few years, you’ll find a fully functioning degree team running all of the York Rite degrees and orders in-house.

In the meantime, you’ll still find us on Saturday mornings, repairing plaster, repainting decades-old paint, and discussing new projects we’d like to tackle. In between all of the laughing, teaching, and occasional swearing at some unexpected problem, you might just hear some ritual practice happening too. Quite a few newer members have been able to pass their proficiency because of what they’ve learned while we were pulling new electrical lines.

But I really should at least tell you the rest of the joke… How do you eat an elephant? One bite at a time.


from The Midnight Freemasons

“The Shade of Trees They’ll Never Sit Under”: Investing for the Lodge and Your Future Brethren

by Midnight Freemason Contributor
Phillip Welshans

Part 1: Introduction and Why This is Important

This material has been prepared for general and educational purposes only. This material does not provide recommendations concerning investments, investment strategies, or account types. It is not individualized to the needs of any specific investor and is not intended to suggest that any particular investment action is appropriate for you, nor is it intended to serve as the primary basis for investment decision-making. Any tax-related discussion contained in this material, including any attachments/links, is not intended or written to be used, and cannot be used, for the purpose of (i) avoiding any tax penalties or (ii) promoting, marketing, or recommending to any other party any transaction or matter addressed herein. Please consult your independent legal counsel and/or tax professional regarding any legal or tax issues raised in this material. All investments involve risk, including possible loss of principal.

Lodges consist of a number of brethren duly assembled, with the Holy Bible, square, and compasses, and a charter or warrant empowering them to work. This is true, so far as it goes. But we all know there’s a whole lot more that goes into making a lodge than just these basic requirements. Everything from adept ritualists to confer the degrees of Masonry, to men willing to do the administrative work of being secretaries and treasurers and committee heads, to brothers willing to volunteer to keep the outside of a lodge building clean and weed-free, is needed at one time or another to keep a lodge operational and successful. There are a thousand tasks and roles that need to be filled for a lodge to not only be formed but to thrive and grow.

Finances for a lodge are an important, if humdrum and oft-overlooked, part of that success. The Treasurer must know how much is coming in and going out of the lodge accounts to communicate an accurate picture of the lodge’s financial health to the Worshipful Master and the brethren. In many jurisdictions, the Grand Lodge also wants an annual accounting of each lodge’s finances to ensure the brethren are being faithful stewards of the dues and other monies entrusted to them by the membership. In Maryland, for example, each lodge must provide audited financial statements to the Grand Lodge by March 31st 1 or face a stern talking to from the Grand Secretary and possibly other consequences 2. Our lodge is fortunate to have a CPA as a member who graciously performs our audit each year as a service to the lodge. 

But beyond financial statements, there is an oft-overlooked, yet equally important financial requirement of many lodges today and that has to do with investment management. Many lodges are tax-exempt entities 3 that have existed for many, many years, and have accumulated in some cases substantial (millions of dollars) assets through bequests or lodge mergers, or property sales, and so on. The permutations as to how a lodge comes into possession of assets are endless, but the implications for all of us are clear: these assets are a legacy with which we have been entrusted and which we should pass on to our successors in better condition than we found them. Lodges are in the business of making Masons, as I have heard many times before. But frankly, without the financial resources to carry out that mission, where are we?

I’ve worked in the investment management industry for over 15 years now and bring my experience in the field to my lodge here in Maryland. So, I thought it might be worthwhile to write a series of posts aimed at discussing the big issues a lodge and its members face in managing their assets. To be clear, I will not be providing any financial advice or making any subjective comments on any specific investments (stocks, bonds, funds, etc.). There will be no forward-looking statements about market returns, etc. I’m not an advisor and am not acting as such here. See the disclosure at the top of each post. These posts should instead be used as a starting point for thinking more deeply about how your lodge’s assets are being invested and managed, whether it’s a few thousand or several million dollars. If nothing else, I hope this will give you some impetus to keep a closer eye on them and set up processes that the men who come after you can rely on to manage the lodge’s wealth and preserve it through the ups and downs of the markets. Long-term success in investing comes primarily through a patient application of a disciplined and thoughtful process over many years.

There is a saying, likely apocryphal but generally attributed to a Greek proverb, that says, “A society grows great when old men plant trees whose shade they know they shall never sit in.” Regardless of the provenance, this describes a lot of what we do in our speculative Masonic lodge rooms. We pass on the knowledge and Masonic light that was passed down to us by Past Masters or our fathers and grandfathers. But I hope that these brief posts will also demonstrate to you that we should take an operative view of this quotation as well and regard our lodges’ financial assets in the same way. The steps you take today, modest as they may seem, could plant the seeds for some very bountiful shade for your grandsons and beyond to enjoy. 

1 We had our committee meetings and forms signed to our Grand Inspector before March 1st this year, a record in efficiency. Go Palestine Lodge #189!

2 I actually don’t know what this would entail exactly, but just a call from the Grand Secretary would be bad enough, I think. Lodges have generally resisted moves to impose financial penalties on them, so I’m not sure if the Grand Lodge could levy an actual financial penalty here. Probably nobody alive today has ever encountered such a recalcitrant lodge, so just as the offense would be novel, so too would likely be the consequences. Maybe suspending the charter if it got bad enough.
3 Again, speaking in generalities here. Please don’t email me or leave a comment telling me your lodge is under an LLC or some other arrangement. That’s great. See the disclosures and talk to a tax professional to figure out what makes best sense for your lodge.


Phillip Welshans is Senior Warden of Palestine Lodge #189 in Catonsville, MD under the Grand Lodge of Maryland A.F. & A.M. He is also a member of the Maryland Masonic Lodge of Research #239, and the Hiram Guild of the Maryland Masonic Academy. As a member of the Ancient and Accepted Scottish Rite, S.J. in the Valley of Baltimore, he has completed the Master Craftsman programs and is a member of the Scottish Rite Research Society. His interests are primarily in Masonic education, particularly the history of the Craft, esotericism, and the philosophy of Masonry.

from The Midnight Freemasons

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from Whence Came You? – Freemasonry discussed and Masonic research for today’s Freemason

The Theater of Cruelty of the Hiramic Drama, Part II

by Midnight Freemason Contributor
Patrick Dey

In continuation of Part I, we will look at some things I think are issues with the usual manner of conducting the Hiramic Drama and how they may be remedied.

If the cast of the Third Degree did their job right, no candidate should be asleep, literally and metaphorically. Sadly, I have seen candidates actually fall asleep, and I have seen it during bad degree work. And that is a factor in Artaud’s Theater of Cruelty. Really, good theatrics and acting should be essential to all dramas, but I think that is something Masons all too often forget: they are conducting a drama, not ritual, and there is a difference. There is something ritualistic about the Hiramic Drama, but it is a drama first, then it is ritual second. The Hiramic Drama is a work of art. Seriously, it might be one of the most unique, brilliant, and powerful theatrical performances since… I don’t know when. Then Masons get wrapped up in getting the script letter perfect like they were doing the first section of the degree. Maybe get the oath down letter-perfect, because it is a quasi-legal agreement actionable under the Constitution of a jurisdiction, but the Hiramic Drama deserves better than a bunch of guys stammering through their lines trying to get every word stated perfectly in the exact order the ritual book says.

Stop that! We need to stop conducting ritual workshops for the Third Degree and bring in some high school theater nerds to give Masons a lesson or two in how to just roll with it, go with the flow, play off each other, improvise, how to intone and play with the cadence of speech, et cetera. Someone messes up the line? Role with it. Someone missed a word? There better not be a single sideliner shouting out what they were supposed to say. Mixed up the wording? Whatever. It makes this particular degree unique.

I will never forget the time I was doing a Master Mason Degree and acting as King Solomon. The brother who was supposed to act as King Hiram was running very late, but I’m punctual, so I appointed someone else who was capable to take their spot. Then halfway through the degree the original cast member shows up, and tries to swap places, but it is at a key interaction with King Hiram, and they are fiddling with swapping officer jewels and not saying their lines. I improvised and added a new line to keep things moving and make it seem like this is part of the work (the candidate doesn’t know that). Then the late brother says, “That’s not what you’re supposed to say.” So I improvised further: “I’m King Solomon and I say what I want, and I’m about to have King Hiram put to death if he doesn’t stop fiddling with his stuff and start doing his job. Now, where is Hiram Abif?!”

That may have been out of line, and I did get a finger wag afterward. However, such improvisation and going with the flow, not getting bogged down in getting the script perfectly verbatim is essential. Artaud advocates for theatrical productions to be open to doing it differently every time. He uses the example of Balinese theater to illustrate his point, with actors executing variations and nuanced differences that flow with the overall action. Theater is an art; not something to be regurgitated letter-perfect.

Maybe when a ruffian forgets his line, then another ruffian says it instead. And instead of the first ruffian saying, “Hey that was my line!” he should say, “You know, I was going to say the same thing! Let’s steal a boat!” Totally improvise it. Who cares? The candidate doesn’t know what the book says. Are we conducting this for the candidate or for the old guy sitting on the sidelines judging every word spoken?

Perhaps if King Solomon totally blanks on what he says next, the Secretary may say, “King Solomon, as your Court Advisor, perhaps we ought to do a roll call of the workmen to see if any are missing.” Give him a prompt, but work it into the drama, that way it sounds to the candidate like it’s a part of the Degree and not just hearing someone loudly whispering lines (and King Solomon loudly whispering back, “What?!”)

Artaud takes this a step further with his essay “No More Masterpieces.” Life is ever-changing. It doesn’t follow a script. Nothing happens the same way twice. Nor should the tragedy of Hiram Abif. 

To clone objects, events, and even living beings is neither natural nor conducive to life. Martin Heidegger was certainly cognizant of this when he critiques the scientist’s true purposes in testing nature: “Modern science’s way of representing pursues and entraps nature as a calculable coherence of forces… Physics, indeed already as pure theory, sets nature up to exhibit itself as a coherence of forces calculable in advance, it orders its experiments precisely for the purpose of asking whether and how nature reports itself when set up in this way.” In other words, when we shove nature into a box and inquire how a natural phenomenon will manifest itself, we will get results that are capable of being duplicated. In fact, this is one aspect of the scientific method: that results may be duplicated by others in similar conditions. Yet nature does not exist in a confined box, nor does nature ever truly duplicate its results. Nature manifests in a multitude of ways under various uncontrollable conditions. And while it is nice to know how nature behaves in a box, it is simply not natural for nature to live in a box. The same goes for life, and the same also goes for art. Art that lives in a box is dead. It is a mummy in a coffin: perfectly preserved and ugly.

Art that is fixed and replicable is dead. Masterpieces are such that live in boxes, curated and preserved as-is in museums, photographed and duplicated in the gift shop, and have no life other “than as an object on call for inspection by a tour group ordered there by the vacation industry” (to crib Heidegger again). These are dead relics and do not call us to the life we live now, but rather ask us to be amazed at a bygone era. As Artaud expresses it:

“Recognize that what has been said is not still to be said; that an expression does not have the same value twice, does not live two lives; that all words, once spoken are dead and function only at the moment when they are uttered, that a form once it has served, cannot be used again and asks only to be replaced by another, and that the theater is the only place in the world where a gesture, once made, can never be made the same way twice. If the public does not frequent our literary masterpieces, it is because those masterpieces are literary, that is to say, fixed; and fixed in forms that no longer respond to the needs of the time. Far from blaming the public, we ought to blame the formal screen we interpose between ourselves and the public, and this new form of idolatry, the idolatry of fixed masterpieces which is one of the aspects of bourgeois conformism.”

I would say that the very idolatry Artaud warns of is the written ritual, or even worse, the letter-perfect ritual. The relentless need to perfectly replicate each and every single Degree by adhering strictly to the written ritual is a detriment to, not just the drama itself, but also the Craft as an institution; and to stray from the written ritual in any conceivable way is met with utter contempt and ridicule. Don’t believe me? Switch up a word in your ritual work and see who shouts out the exact word that was written down; or who will approach you after the degree to correct you.

There are still other problems that arise from this over-emphasized worship of the written ritual. One is an issue we have all seen: that brother who is so focused on being letter-perfect that he then begins to stutter and stumble, and constantly needs to look over at the Secretary to make sure he got it right. How awful is this? It does not just ruin the experience for the candidate, it murders Hiram a second time… how boring it must be in that grave over there listening to a guy stammer through lines. Yes, the brother successfully regurgitated the written ritual word for word but absolutely butchered the ritual itself.

Now, if someone can do the degree letter perfectly and keep it fluid and fluent, then great. Do it. Nothing wrong with striving for perfection. However, for those in which conducting letter-perfect ritual is a hindrance to them doing good work, then let them switch it up, and let them improvise a bit. Since when did we start applying the charge that “no man may innovate upon the body of Masonry” to mean everything has to be perfectly executed exactly the same way each and every time? Is switching it up an innovation? Or is it just a circumstance of good dramatic degree work? Heck, most of this stuff was not even written down, much less memorized for the first decades of modern-day Freemasonry. It used to be ad hoc, it used to be interpretive, and then when it started to get written down in illicit Masonic exposures, it was then later that we took those clandestine documents to be gospel.

This need to be letter-perfect in our ritual is a symptom of decay: the fraternity is rotting like poor Hiram in his lonely grave. This is not evidence of a living tradition. Rather, Freemasons have become curators of a dead tradition. Freemasonry has become a museum, a cold box for masterpieces to live in, and no one is allowed to touch anything.

I would seriously advocate for emphasizing dramatic production over letter-perfect ritual. I’ll say it again, don’t do ritual workshops for the Third Degree, bring in stage actors to help your lodge with its dramatic performance. Such will ensure the enactment of the Hiramic Drama remains fresh and alive, not molding in a box. It will keep your candidate awake, and engaged, and hopefully, wake him up spiritually. Who knows, it may even wake up the Craft as a whole.



Patrick M. Dey is a Past Master of Nevada Lodge No. 4 in the ghost town of Nevadaville, Colorado, and currently serves as their Secretary, and is also a Past Master of Research Lodge of Colorado. He is a Past High Priest of Keystone Chapter No. 8, Past Illustrious Master of Hiram Council No. 7, Past Commander of Flatirons Commandery No. 7, and serves as the Secretary-Recorder of all three. He currently serves as the Exponent (Suffragan) of Colorado College, SRICF of which he is VIII Grade (Magister), and is a member of Gofannin Council No. 315 AMD and Kincora Council No. 8 Knight Masons. He is a facilitator for the Masonic Legacy Society, is the Editor of the Rocky Mountain Mason magazine, serves on the Board of Directors of the Grand Lodge of Colorado’s Library and Museum Association, and is the Deputy Grand Bartender of the Grand Lodge of Colorado (an ad hoc, joke position he is very proud to hold). He holds a Masters of Architecture degree from the University of Colorado, Denver, and works in the field of architecture in Denver, where he resides with wife and son.

from The Midnight Freemasons

From The Archives: The 50 Year Member- That Noble Contention

By Midnight Freemason Contributor

Bill Hosler, PM

The stillness of the temple’s Masonic library was shattered by the sounds of footsteps walking down the creaky wooden floors of the hallway outside the wood-paneled room. The 50-year member seemed puzzled to see the door of the library opened for a change. It is so rare to find anyone actually visiting the beautiful old room containing tomes of Masonic knowledge and history written by some of the greatest minds of the last few centuries. “Someone must be cleaning in there or using it as a storage room again.” The old man thought.

To the old man’s surprise and delight, he noticed a light was on as he walked by the room, but the room was occupied! Stopping dead in his tracks his feet left the creaky wooden floor of the hall and stepped into the deep plush blue carpet of the library.

There in the corner of the room with his feet resting on an ottoman, quietly seated in a beautiful old leather Queen Anne chair. The brown leather still in magnificent shape despite years of non-use was Pudge. It appeared Pudge’s mind was a million miles away lost in the contents of a dusty book the young man had pulled from the shelves of the Masonic library.

Pudge jumped in a startled fright as the old man exclaimed “There you are! I thought you dropped off the face of the earth! I have not seen you on social media in a few weeks. You have not been texting or returning emails. You have not even been here in the lodge for a couple of weeks. We missed you during degree work the other night.”

Still trying to catch his breath from the fright, his hands shaking, Pudge put his book down on his lap and sighed. “Yeah, I have been taking a little break from everything recently. I really needed to recharge and recenter my mind. I really think I am having a nervous breakdown. My stomach has been tied up in knots, and I feel nervous when I leave the house. I just cannot cope with all this negativity and constant arguing going on around me all time, so I have been spending a lot of time at home reading books, listening to calming music, and meditating.”

Pudge continues “Everywhere I look all of my friends are at each other’s throats over one issue or the other. I cannot turn on a TV or look at social media without people I know and love hating on each other, calling each other names, and threatening violence. It just doesn’t seem to stop. It almost makes me feel like my skin is crawling.”

“You can’t even seek refuge in lodge anymore. There are people being nasty towards each other at supper, or fighting afterward if we stop off before going home. I even notice it within a tiled lodge. I know there has always been bickering in stated meetings. Either we are spending too much on light bulbs about the proper way to do floor work. It has always been that way and it will probably never change but right now all of it just feels like fingernails across a blackboard. I just feel like I need to get away from all of this for a while or I will literally lose my mind.”

The old man smiled and slowly sat down in the chair next to Pudge. “I feel bad you didn’t think you could come to me for help. I want you to know you can always come to me to be a sounding board or if you need a shoulder to cry on. It is like I have told you, I think of you like I do one of my sons.” He patted the young man on his hand. “I totally understand, Pudge. Honestly, I honestly think all of this has been hard on all of us. I wish I could say a few magic words and make all this craziness go away but sadly I cannot. Hopefully, there is a light at the end of the tunnel. I have been thinking about this, I do not think we have any more discourse or angst than we have had before, we just have it in our faces more. Enough twenty-four news coverage and up-to-the-minute news, via the internet we just cannot escape it. We cannot even go out for a walk or venture out for a cup of coffee without a device bringing it to your attention. It is like you can’t get away from it. Add to that everything else we have encountered this year and it is almost like shaking a can of pop and opening it while the contents are still under pressure. All the soda shoots out everywhere spilling over everything and if you get a face full of it.”

The old man continued: “I cannot change the world, but I can do my best to tidy up my little corner of it. Sometimes when a man, a Brother is caught up in the moment he is blind to his surroundings. It is kinda like tunnel vision. Sadly, he may not see he is on the road to destruction until he has reached the point of no return. Maybe if you happen to encounter one of these Brothers who has forgotten how to subdue his passions, Maybe let’s say has gotten caught up in the moment, maybe try to take him aside just the two of you, and try to whisper some good counsel in his ear. It is a gamble. He may understand what you are trying to say to him ad heed your advice, or he may cuss you out. Hopefully someday what you said to him will begin to make sense and if it is not too late, he can change course. All you can do is try to help your brother, but it is up to him whether he accepts it.”

He paused and said: “Not long ago I came across a Past Grand Master from California, MWB Russ Charvonia. He has dedicated his Masonic career to Masonic civility. The Brother has written on the subject and given talks about civility. Most of this material he provides was created long before our current situation, but I can sure tell you all of it sure hits home right now. He has taken all the material he has collected and he has created and he put it all together on a website It really has a lot of great information that one can use in lodge newsletters or present during your lodge. Some of it can even be used in the profane world. Kinda reminded me of a song my son used to listen to back in the ’80s, called People are People by Dispatchy Moods.” Pudge replied and laughed: “I think you mean Depeche Mode.”

The old man smiled and said: “Yes, that’s what I said. When I was your age I always remember hearing: “You are either part of the solution or you are part of the problem!” Sitting here with your head in the sand like an ostrich, hoping it all goes away is a way to deal with the problem, but in no way is it a solution. I know it’s hard to stand in the line of fire between two opposing forces but like it says in the Volume of Sacred Law: “Blessed are the peacemakers: for they shall be called the children of God.”

Pudge started laughing and said, “There is also another saying, “The pioneers get all the arrows”. Pudge continued. “Seriously, I get what you are saying. All of this does not seem like it is going away anytime soon. I guess instead of sitting at home in the dark cowering in the corner until someone else fixes all the problems I could at least put my fears aside and try to be the solution. If it’s to be, it’s up to me like they say. Let’s give it a shot. I hope I can count on your help and support on this. I have a feeling I am surely going to need it. “

“You know you can count on me.” The 50-year member said “I think between the two of us we can come up with some kind of program to help get this off the ground. The DDGM is a friend of mine I will see if there are resources the Grand Lodge can provide to help us with this. Who knows? They may even want to adopt what we create and introduce it to lodges across the jurisdiction.”

Pudge’s eyes widened with amazement “Wouldn’t that be something?” Pudge said, “Honestly, that would be nice if it happened but If I did this it wouldn’t be to make a big name for myself.” The 50-year member chuckled “I understand that. Your humility is legendary. Call me later in the week and let me know what you come up with. Just do not become a hermit. You are too young and not rich enough to become the next Howard Hughes.”

“OK, Bro,” Pudge said with a confused look on his face. “Right now, I am going to sit here and finish reading this book. I wish someone would have told me about this room long before now. But I have one question for you. Who is Howard Hughes?” The old man groaned and put his hand on his forehead. “Oh geez!!! I must be getting old! Tell you what, just Google him!” He paused and then said mischievously: “I’ll talk to you later. I’m going to go home and take some anti-aging pills as long as I remember what I was planning to do once I reach the house!”


WB Bill Hosler was made a Master Mason in 2002 in Three Rivers Lodge #733 in Indiana. He served as Worshipful Master in 2007 and became a member of the internet committee for Indiana’s Grand Lodge. Bill is currently a member of Roff Lodge No. 169 in Roff Oklahoma and Lebanon Lodge No. 837 in Frisco, Texas. Bill is also a member of the Valley of Fort Wayne Ancient Accepted Scottish Rite in Indiana. A typical active Freemason, Bill also served as the High Priest of Fort Wayne’s Chapter of the York Rite No. 19 and was commander of the Fort Wayne Commandery No. 4 of the Knight Templar. During all this, he also served as the webmaster and magazine editor for the Mizpah Shrine in Fort Wayne Indiana.

from The Midnight Freemasons