Click the insignia to go to websites about the many facets of Masonry  

Welcome to my page on Freemasonry. My name is David Will, and I am a 31 year old Mason from West Virginia. I entered into the light of Masonry in my hometown of Point Pleasant, West Virginia. I'm now Worshipful Master of Marshall Union Lodge #8, in Moundsville, West Virginia.

I come from a family of Masons with a rich tradition in Masonry going back at least four generations.  I'm a 32° Scottish Rite Mason, as well as being a Knight Templar.  In the meantime, I have put this page together to celebrate my love of Masonry, and truly hope that it can be a benefit to the craft. I encourage the Bretheren to continue e-mailing me with suggestions of how I can make this page better for those travelling through. Also, I would be glad to answer any questions you might have. Click here to e-mail me!

I want to thank the 50,000 visitors who have come to my page on Freemasonry since April 2005. With this site having been online for nearly eight, the response has been incredible. It brings joy to my heart that this site can be of benefit to the craft. I also want to thank those who have e-mailed me with words of encouragement and suggestions to better the page. I hope and pray that this continues to be the valuable service to the Craft that it seems to have become.

Table of Contents

(Last Update 7/24/2013)

Personal Editorials
Making Good Men Better: An Introduction
A Christian and a Mason
Ernest Borgnine 33° -- An Exemplary Workman in Masonry
The Myth of Gaotu
Vergissmeinnicht -- Let Us Never Forget
Masonic Service Association of North America -- Hurricane Katrina Relief
Deciphering a Lie: Breaking Apart the Infamous James Chick "Baphomet" Tract
Becoming a Royal Arch Mason
Masonic Oaths and Christianity
The Music of Freemasonry
The Leo Taxil Hoax
A Christian Outlook on Masonic Symbolism
Every Christian Mason Should Become a Knight Templar

The Christian Mason Editorials
#1 "Keeping the Faith"
#2 "The Lambskin of Christ"

Useful Resources

Video: "Is Freemasonry Relevant in Today's World?"
Emblematic Structure of Freemasonry
"What's Your Answer?" -- Article from the Masonic Service Association
A Masonic Poem -- Author Unknown
The Regius Manuscript
High Quality Suppliers of Masonic Merchandise
Poem: I See You've Traveled Some
Poem: The Craft
Freemasonry Webring

More Useful Resources (Off Site)

The Working Tools Magazine
Freemasonry for Dummies
Living Stones Magazine
Exeter News-Letter Online: "Masons' Charitable Events Help Many"

Pietre-Stones Review of Freemasonry
Online Books at Peitre-Stones Review
The Ahiman Rezon
Masons and Movies
What is Royal Arch Masonry?
Ohio Lodge of Research
Grand Lodge of F&AM on Yahoo!Groups
A Page About Freemasonry (Gary Dryfoos)
Masonic Quarterly -- a British Journal
"What's a Mason?" - Grand Lodge of the State of New York
Bro. George Washington's Masonic Apron
Is It True What They Say About Freemasonry? The Methods of Anti-Masons
It's About Time! Moving Masonry into the 21st Century (PDF)

Tips for Masonic Webdevelopers
Masonic Clipart

Videos
Video about Freemasonry from New York!
Video Concerning the York Rite of Freemasonry from Pennsylvania
Full Throttle: Mini Grand Prix
(This fun little video shows the efforts of a group of Masons to win a Mini Grand Prix to raise money for Arthritis)

Masonic Organizations for Kids!
Click the below insignias for the official websites of each!

DeMolay (Boys)

Job's Daughters (Girls)

Rainbow Girls

My Other Websites

I don't update my Google Blog as much as I should.  I'm hoping that with my recent motivation to get back into maintaining my websites, that I can do a better job of all of this for my readers.  My Facebook is still the easiest way to get ahold of me other than my e-mail address.

My Facebook
My Twitter

Making Good Men Better: An Introduction

            I've had many people inquire as to what exactly Freemasonry is, and what it means to be a Mason.  There are few really simple answers, but I shall endeavor to give you the gist of it in such as way that you can decide for yourself if Masonry is something that you are interested in.

            The Masons are a religious fraternity that date back more than 700 years in recorded history, and find their origins in legends dating back to the building of King Solomon's temple.  Freemasonry is a men's religious fraternity, and the oldest remaining fraternity on Earth.  The organization boasts more than two million active members at present with lodges across the face of the planet.

            Basically, Freemasonry (a term that is interchangeable with Masonry) is an organization whose purpose is to teach devoutly religious men to live by principles of ethics and virtues, whose basis can be found in the Holy Bible.  There are few true secrets in Masonry.  The only things that are not known to the outside world are the rituals, secret methods by which Masons can identify each other, and the business of the Lodge itself. 

            Why the secrecy?  Firstly, the nature of the rituals is a very personal thing for those who go through it.  It binds together the men who share it in a way hard to describe.  That is the first step toward brotherhood: shared experience.  Secondly, since it is a brotherhood, Masonry looks upon its members as a family.  No one would expect another person to talk about their family's financial concerns (i.e. Grandma's Social Security check, or Uncle Steve's tax statements), nor should it be expected to talk about the actual business inside the Lodge room. Some people raise an eyebrow when they hear about the grips and words of a Master Mason, and how they are not to be shared with non-Masons. Simply put, every fraternity has its own ways of identifying each other and gaining access, whether it be as simple as a pledge pin, or as elaborate as grips and words, but in the end, Masonry is no different. Bro. Roger Firestone had this to say about the "secrecy":

            'There are fewer secrets to Freemasonry than most non-members imagine; even many Masons are not entirely clear on what is and is not secret in Masonry. The moral principles of Masonry are the same as those taught you in Sunday school or at your mother's knee (sometimes over it!); it is only the exact procedures and words by which those principles are taught in Masonry that are secret, for it is the knowledge of those that distinguishes a Mason from those who are not members. To be entitled to the fellowship peculiar to the Lodge, a Mason must be able to identify himself, and these secrets provide the means for doing so.

            A better term than "secrecy" would be privacy. Masonry is not a public organization like a school board or a city council. It is an association of private citizens, just like a country club or a church. No one who is not a member has a right to know about the internal workings of any of these things. They are private to the group, not "secret." '

-- Roger Firestone

            Masonry is open about the work that it does, however.  Masons everywhere are involved in charitable work benefiting a wide variety of people.  Here, at Marshall University, we have the Scottish Rite Childhood Speech and Language Center, which was funded by the Scottish Rite, an organization within Masonry.  Overall, in the many facets of Masonry, millions of dollars per day are donated to charity.  Children staying at a Shiner's Hospital go for free.  All medical bills there are paid by the Brotherhood. There is an estimated 1.4 million dollars a day that is given to charity by the "Blue Lodge" alone.

I am a graduate student at Marshall University, where I've attended college for five years. Our two libraries on campus at Marshall are named for Masons.  James E. Morrow was not only the former principal of then Marshall College (1870's) but also one of the founding member's of Huntington Lodge #53.  John Deaver Drinko, for who the other library is named was a 33° Scottish Rite Mason.

            Masonry is open to all men who are aged 21 years or older.  There is a saying that goes, "If you are waiting to be asked to become a Mason, you will die waiting."  This is accurate.  We are not allowed to solicit members, so that the decision to become a Mason will be yours and your alone, and not come through any form of coercion.  Free will is at the heart of Masonic teachings.  If it is not something that you wish to remain a part of, you can step back at any time.  There is no one who will make you finish.

            What does the slogan at the top mean by "Making Good Men Better?" Masonry, contrary to popular belief, is not a social club for the "right people" to get into that only looks after the "right people." It is our hope that those who come through the doors of the Lodge better themselves through our beliefs and tenants. Our rituals are steeped in the scriptures, and teach morality, honor, and a desire for service. These are chararacteristics that any man should strive for. We, as Masons, do not want people who will not embody these virtues. A convicted felon, someone known for spousal abuse, etc., would not be eligible. But in Masonry, a beggar stands beside a king as equals. We know no race, creed, color, or economic status within our doors.

            When considering Masonry, look at it with an open mind. Especially in this day of technology, you will find more materials against us than supporting us. Every day, more websites appear with damaging misinformation and outright lies about Freemasonry. If you take it upon yourself to enter into the mysteries of Freemasonry, you will find that all of the misinformation and lies are stripped away, and the new Mason is left the truth, polished and pure -- Freemasonry is the oldest and most noble fraternity in the world. You will not regret your journey.

            Every man's work in Masonry is different. Mine, for now, is through this website. I thank all who travel here for their time, and those who have e-mailed me for your kind words. Feedback is important, so that I will always be able to benefit the craft through this page. My commentary on Masonry will grow as this page does.  I already have a few articles here that I have written, as well as other resources that I've stumbled across. I hope this page can be a nexus of ideas from many sources. I will continue to make other resources available as I come across them.  Above, there is a link to an incredible video about Masonry that was produced by the Grand Lodge of the State of New York.  It is a very enlightening film.  Click the golden Masonic button to move back to the top or click the blue emblem at the bottom to return to the rest of my website.  

Enjoy!

Bro. D. David Will, Jr. 32°, KT

Marshall Union #8 - Moundsville, WV

A Christian and a Mason

            Sadly, some of the most frequent attacks against Masonry come from the Church. There are several denominations who believe the hatred that has been spread about us for hundreds of years. I chalk this up to simply a lack of understanding, and one that I hope I can do my part to remedy. I will proudly proclaim on this website for all to see, I am a devout Christian who lives and breathes by the Word of our LORD! I live my life from day to day in the hope of my Savior, which is Christ our Lord. I read daily from God's Word, taking in His holy teachings and I am in Church every week. Believe not what has been said about Masonry from without, for deception is the work of darker forces.

            The young candidate, at the beginning of his walk in Masonry, is asked to make a declaration of faith. The first, and one of the most stirring realities of Freemasonry is that an atheist cannot be a Mason. We are a Holy Fraternity, whose origins go back in recorded history more than a thousand years, and whose legends go back to Biblical times. Because Masons are called to serve God through their craft, it would be illogical for an atheist to even consider our work. When asked in whom I placed my faith, I proudly said that it was in the Lord Jesus Christ.

            I was raised in a Baptist Church in Point Pleasant, WV. In that Church, there were many wonderful men who were great role models for me in life. After I was saved, I volunteered to be one of the ushers (who in our church also took up the offeratory), and soon found that several of these men, whom I had admired my whole life, were Masons. Some of the most Godly men that I knew had partaken in the mysteries of Masonry. When I started attending the Episcopal Church in late High School with a friend, I found that several of the more respected members of the congregation were Masons as well. In fact, when our new Priest came to Christ Episcopal, I was more than pleased to find out that he, himself, was a travelling man.

            For those who say that the two traditions conflict, I share this aphorism from George Oliver (1782-1867), in The Book of the Lodge: "As you are a Christian Mason, you must on all occasions study to perform the duties of Christian morality, which are comprehended under the triple category of God, your neighbour and yourself." Every rite and ritual performed in the Lodge has its basis in scripture. During the degreework, the candidate finds himself nearly overwhelmed with scriptural references and verses that go along with the ideas that are being conveyed about morality, duty, and honor. The Holy Bible rests in the center of the Lodge with his pages open, and all meetings are opened and closed prayerfully, offering up blessings to the Lord our God, and asking His guidance in all our work. In fact, the G that is found at the center of the Square and Compasses stands for God and Geometry. God, for he is the Great Architect of the Universe, and our hope through His Son, and Geometry, because God has given us Geometry to understand the beauty of His creation.

            Masonic work is a wonderful thing. We take part in various charities, donating millions of dollars per day between the various appendant bodies. You'll notice, however, that there is almost no publicity about our work. That has led many skeptics to wonder about what what we do in "secret." Yet, if you turn to God's Word, Mathew 6:1-4 says, " 1Be careful not to do your ‘acts of righteousness’ before men, to be seen by them. If you do, you will have no reward from your Father in heaven. 2So when you give to the needy, do not announce it with trumpets, as the hypocrites do in the synagogues and on the streets, to be honored by men. I tell you the truth, they have received their reward in full. 3But when you give to the needy, do not let your left hand know what your right hand is doing, 4so that your giving may be in secret. Then your Father, who sees what is done in secret, will reward you." As Masons, we don't feel a desire to announce our work to the world. That would be prideful, and that is something we will not do. Masonic temperance goes beyond the body but into the mind, heart, and soul, where our strongest passions lie. It would benefit us none in this world to brag about what we do.

            One of the most common misconceptions that people have about Masonry the claim that are affiliated with Lucifer. This is as far from the truth as could be possible. One of the reasons for this is the use of the term Blazing Star, as being one of the Ornaments of the Lodge in the first degree. Blazing Star is traced falsely, in this incidence, back to the rebuking of Lucifer in Isaiah. The truth is found easily, however, in the Minnesota Masonic Manual where it is expressed that the Blazing Star that is held so dear in the first degree is indeed The Star Of Bethelem, whose light led the Magi to the infant Christ. There will always be those, however, that speak against the good works of the Lodge. It is our duty to stand firm against such assaults. As it is written in 2 Corinthians 11:12-15 “And what I do I will continue to do, in order to undermine the claim of those who would like to claim that in their boasted mission they work on the same terms as we do. For such men are false apostles, deceitful workmen, disguising themselves as apostles of Christ. And no wonder, for even Satan disguises himself as an angel of light. So it is not strange if his servants also disguise themselves as servants of righteousness. Their end will correspond to their deeds.” It should be remebered that even the Devil can quote scripture for his own purpose. When he tempted Christ, he quoted Psalm 91:11-12. This is reinforced with Christ's words in Matthew 7:15 & 16: " Beware of false prophets, who come to you in sheep's clothing but inwardly are ravenous wolves. You will know them by their fruits."

            All my life, I've known that I've wanted to be a Mason. It is part of who I am as a person. My Christianity will always be the most imporant aspect of my life though. The two are not mutually exclusive though. In my heart of hearts, I feel that I express part of who I am as a Christian through who I am as a Mason. Different people serve the Lord in different ways. Some choose to do it through song, others by working with children, or by actually going into the ministry. Part of my ministry comes through being a Mason. People see the ring on my hand and ask me about it, and I take that as an opportunity to not only tell them about the fact that I am a Mason, but to also share with them about the Lord Jesus Christ.

            In close, I share with you the word of a Brother. He told me that he was glad that I knew the difference between who I am and whose I am. I am a Mason. This is who I am. I belong to my Lord and Savior Jesus Christ.

            Heavenly Father, speed fast my heart to serve you and your Will for my life. I praise you with all my being, Lord, as I lift up your hands to your divine joy. May I always be a builder for you. Amen.

Bro. D. David Will, Jr. 32°, KT

Marshall Union #8 - Point Pleasant, WV

Ernest Borgnine -- An Exemplary Workman in Masonry

            Masonry, in all its forms, calls good men to do great things. Masonic charities, whether they be through the Blue Lodge itself, or through the appendant bodies, actively endeavors to be a benefit to all mankind. Masonic charity is not found just within the Masonic Lodge, nor is it extended to only Masons. It is our love for service that helps define us, and how we serve the Lord while we are here.

            Ernest Borgnine, a famous Hollywood actor of many decades, is a 33° Scottish Rite Mason. He has been active for more than fifty years in the craft, and continues to do so. The one philanthropy that he highly invovled in is the Scottish Rite Childhood Language Center at Richmond, Inc., where he serves as the Honorary Chairman.

The following clipping comes from the website of the Supreme Council 33°, Southern Jurisdiction, USA of Ancient Free and Accepted Scottish Rite Masons.

The Myth of Gaotu

            Many times, as a Mason, you'll either hear someone cite Gaotu as being the "Masonic God," and proof once and for all of our allegiances with the Devil. This is one of the greatest myths that anti-Masons have, and is one that they cling onto with everything they have! "Why, in all of the Masonic Monitors, we see Gaotu being listed in all of the prayers!" Yes, that may be the case, but you will notice that it is spelled G.A.O.T.U. This simply stands for the Great Architect of the Universe, or a kindly nickname for God. If you examine Hebrews 11:9-10, the Apostle Paul said, "By faith [Abraham] made his home in the promised land like a stranger in a foreign country; he lives in tents, as did Isaac and Jacob, who were heirs with of the same promise. For he was looking forward to the city wih foundations, whose architect and builder is God." It is likely that the city with foundations that Paul was speaking of is the Heavenly Jerusalem, the City of the Living God, as spoken of in Hebrews 12:22.

            What an incredible image to see the founder and author of our Christian faith, the Lord our God, as the Great Architect of this Universe. The Universe was not a mistake by any means. It wasn't something that just happened randomly, as the staunchest of atheists would tell you. I can't imagine how someone can look at the complexity of our world and believe that it was all part a cosmic accident. If that were the case, and there wasn't an eternity with our Lord, then humanity would be the saddest irony that will ever be. G.A.O.T.U. is a term that we, as Masons, revere as being one of the many words we use to refer to God. Just as people call Him Jehovah, Yahweh, Lord, God, Father, etc., this is but another in a host of loving names that illustrate the Supremacy and Lordship of our Father God.

            Milton, in Paradise Lost, which my fiancée had to read for a Masters level class at Marshall, describes in beautiful imagery the Lord designing and building our world. In Book VII:225, it reads, "He took the golden compasses, prepared / In God's eternal store, to circumscribe / This universe, and all created things: / One foot he centered, and the other turned / Round through the vast profundity obscure, / And said, 'Thus far extend, thus far thy bounds, / This be thy just circumference, O world.' " That it such a beautiful image. In my mind, I can imagine our Great Architect doing just that.

            In our Masonic traditions, we rely heavily on the story of the building of Solomon's Temple. In the Biblical accounts, God gave the dimensions of and the instructions for the temple's construction. It had to be built to His specifications. This is the work of an architect, and as it seems fitting that God would design His Temple, that would make him the Great Architect thereof.

            There will always be detractors who take simple things and make them out to whatever they believe it to be (hence lawyers and politicians). No matter what the detractors and decriers might say, we continue as we always have. They only seek to harm what we love so dearly. As much as is put online concerning the truth of G.A.O.T.U., and other Masonic words, there will be that much more that people will invent to serve their own purposes. The best thing to do, if you wish to learn about Masonry, is to talk to Masons, go the website of your local Grand Lodge, etc. Contrary to popular belief, we have nothing to hide.        

Bro. D. David Will, Jr. 32°, KT

Marshall Union #8 - Moundsville, WV

 

Vergissmeinnicht -- Let Us Never Forget

(Memorial Day, 2005)

            Memorial Day is about remembrance: remembrance of those we love and have lost. While traditionally remembrance of those who have died in the armed services, Memorial Day has become about remembering all of our loved ones, no matter how they have left our lives. Let us never forget the sacrifices that our soldiers have made for us to ensure that our freedoms will always continue. In the spirit of Memorial Day, and remembering those who have been lost, for whatever reason, I write this article.

            During the time leading up to the Second World War, Europe faced times of grave peril. The Nazi machine stretched out its terrible hand and struck anyone who did not fit Adolf Hitler's view of human perfection. Not only were the Jews subjected to Hilter's assault, so were gypsies, Russians, the invalid and the mentally infirm, and a host of other peoples. Included among those who were persecuted were Masons. It wasn't long before the Square and Compasses marked men for death in the Third Reich. It has been estimated that between 80,000 and 200,000 Masons were executed by the Nazis during WWII, although the exact number may never be known.

            A product of this time is the Vergissmeinnicht, or Forget-Me-Not. This little blue flower has become a beloved symbol of Masonry in Germany, and throughout the world, although in some places (especially in the United States), it is not widely known. The origins of the Vergissmeinnicht are left open to interpretation, for the are multiple stories behind it, but one of these stories goes like this:


In early 1934, soon after Hitler's rise to power, it became evident that Freemasonry was in danger. In that same year, the "Grand Lodge of the Sun" (one of the pre-war German Grand Lodges, located in Bayreuth) realizing the grave dangers involved, adopted the little blue Forget-Me-Not flower as a substitute for the traditional square and compasses. It was felt the flower would provide brethren with an outward means of identification while lessening the risk of possible recognition in public by the Nazis, who were engaged in wholesale confiscation of all Masonic Lodge properties. Freemasonry went undercover, and this delicate flower assumed its role as a symbol of Masonry surviving throughout the reign of darkness.

During the ensuing decade of Nazi power a little blue Forget-Me-Not flower worn in a Brother's lapel served as one method whereby brethren could identify each other in public, and in cities and concentration camps throughout Europe. The Forget-Me-Not distinguished the lapels of countless brethren who staunchly refused to allow the symbolic Light of Masonry to be completely extinguished.

When the 'Grand Lodge of the Sun' was reopened in Bayreuth in 1947, by Past Grand Master Beyer, a little pin in the shape of a Forget-Me-Not was officially adopted as the emblem of that first annual convention of the brethren who had survived the bitter years of semi-darkness to rekindle the Masonic Light.

At the first Annual Convent of the new United Grand Lodge of Germany AF&AM (VGLvD), in 1948, the pin was adopted as an official Masonic emblem in honor of the thousands of valiant Brethren who carried on their Masonic work under adverse conditions. The following year, each delegate to the Conference of Grand Masters in Washington, D.C., received one from Dr. Theodor Vogel, Grand Master of the VGLvD.

Thus did a simple flower blossom forth into a symbol of the fraternity, and become perhaps the most widely worn emblem among Freemasons in Germany; a pin presented ceremoniously to newly-made Masons in most of the Lodges of the American-Canadian Grand Lodge, AF&AM within the United Grand Lodges of Germany. In the years since adoption, its significance world-wide has been attested to by the tens of thousands of brethren who now display it with meaningful pride.

            This exact text comes from http://www.fidelity-Masonic.co.uk, but I have seen it on several websites in almost this exact form. I'm not sure the origins of this block of text, but to the Brother(s) who wrote it, I thank you. The Vergessmeinnicht is an incredible symbol of brotherhood and solidarity. German Masons stood up in the face of oppression and banded together to continue their work in further secrecy. They, like the Jews, were hated by Hitler's Nazi regime. They fought back, in their own little way, and continued doing what they felt they were compelled by God to do. Still, to this very day, we honor those brave men through the wearing of the Vergissmeinnicht flower: a symbol of light in the midst of terrible darkness. May we never forget.

Bro. D. David Will, Jr. 32°, KT

Marshall Union #8 - Moundsville, WV

Becoming a Royal Arch Mason


Click on this image for a larger version.

My initiation into the Royal Arch Degrees of the York Rite was one of the most exhilirating experiences of my travels in Masonry. For those who go through these degrees, they are are a particularly memorable experience. That is why I am proud to share the above picture with you. This is photo of my Initiation Class for the Royal Arch degrees, when they were conferred in Parkersburg during the Summer of 2005. (Many thanks to Bro. Patrick Wenztel for sending this to me!)

What is the Royal Arch, you may ask? The Royal Arch is the first part of York Rite Masonry. To join the York Rite and thus petition the Royal Arch Chapter, you must already be a Master Mason. The York Rite comes in two forms depending on where you live. In most states here in the United States, they have what are called the Chapter, Council, and Commandry. In West Virginia, we have only Chapter and Commandry. What Royal Arch Masonry can be described as, is a continuation of the Masonic journey through the learning of more of our heritage, stories, and symbolism.  To become a Knight Templar, one must start with Royal Arch Masonry.

Royal Arch Masonry further emphasizes Masonic ideals as expressed in the ritual of the Blue Lodge, but further adds to the rich beauty of Masonry. Delving deeper into the spiritual significance found in Masonry, the degrees of the Royal Arch "reveals the full light of Ancient Craft Masonry" through rich Biblical tradition.

Masons wishing to further their Masonic Education are most certainly encouraged to partake in these degrees. They are a worthwhile experience that will find great meaning in the lives of Brother Masons who experience them. Any Mason wishing to join the Royal Arch must petition their local Chapter for candidacy. Any York Rite Masons in your home Lodge will be able to give you more information.

The Grand Chapter of Ohio shares this quote on their webiste, which I find very meaningful.

"To bring the blind by a way that they knew not;
to lead them in paths they have not known;
to make darkness light before them,
and crooked things straight;
these things to do unto them,
and not forsake them."

Bro. D. David Will, Jr. 32°, KT

Marshall Union #8 - Moundsville, WV

Masonic Oaths and Christianity

Again, you have heard that the ancients were told, "You shall not make false vows, but shall fulfill your vows to the Lord." But I say to you, make no oath at all, either by heaven, for it is the throne of God, or by the earth, for it is the footstool of His feet, or by Jerusalem, for it is the city of the great King. Nor shall you make an oath by your head, for you cannot make one hair white or black. But let your statement be, "Yes, yes" or "No, no"; and anything beyond these is of evil. (Matthew 5:33-37)

This is a difficult piece of scripture to reconcile for we Christians who are also Masons. Many anti-Masonic sources try to say that this is definitive proof of the "sin" which is Freemasonry. There are those who believe wholeheartedly that this comes to mean that Oaths of any kind are evil, and of the Devil. By this reasoning, they would also come around and say that Freemasonry must then be of the Devil.

Christ reminded us here of the importance of fulfilling our vows, our oaths before God. Every time a President is inaugurated here in the United States, as it is with leaders and rulers in other countries, they take an oath of office, to uphold the law and the traditions of their people. Is this oath wrong? No, for it is a solemn oath. The kind of oath-swearing that we are warned of in Matthew 5:33-37 is of a flippant kind. You hear people say things like, "Well, by God we'll beat those Blue Devils on the gridiron tonight!" That is the kind of oaths that we are warned of. These oaths have no meaning, no honor. They are an abuse of God's name as if they had swore a curse.

Therefore, I turn your attention to another part of scripture:

"For men swear by one greater than themselves, and with them an oath given as confirmation is an end of every dispute. Because God wanted to make the unchanging nature of his purpose very clear to the heirs of what was promised, he confirmed it with an oath." (Hebrews 6:16)

God Himself made an oath to his people, knowing that in that oath He would never lie to them. God is unchanging in all things. We recognize that, as well as the strength found in making a true oath. Masonic oaths are a true oath. They are taken with much prayer, and much contemplation. We study the words and what they mean in our lives. The words are in turn integrated into who we are as men as and as Masons.

If we were to hold ourselves to a total lack of oaths, where would we be? There would be no vows of any kind, such as wedding vows. Oaths of office and of service as well as pledges of allegiance and loyalty would all be stricken. This was never God's intention. Solemn oaths are an expression of our desire to live by God's Will and plan for our lives. In solemn oaths, we beg God's strength and support, for we don't pledge a solemn by God (as if He were ours to pledge by), rather we pledge a solemn oath to God that we will obey Him with His help. There is a vast difference between the two.

Bro. D. David Will, Jr. 32°, KT

Marshall Union #8 - Moundsville, WV

The Music of Freemasonry

Some of the greatest creative minds of the past several hundred years have been Masons. This can be fully seen in the richness of music that was written by Freemasons. Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart was a Freemason, as were Hayden, Souza, and Sibelius. Their love of the Craft has influenced their music in unimaginable ways.

Normally, I would just post an off-site link in the off-site resources, but this site is a special case. Called "The Music of Freemasonry," it contains a wonderful assortment of Masonically inspired music by the above composers. The files are in midi format, but if you want higher quality representations, you can easily go onto a site like Amazon or Barnes & Noble to purchase CD's with these wonderful pieces. The midis are samples. Click the link below to enjoy this very special music.

Bro. D. David Will, Jr. 32°, KT

Marshall Union #8 - Moundsville, WV

The Music of Freemasonry

The Leo Taxil Hoax

"During these twelve years spent under the banner of the Church and although I registered as a prankster, I realized how wrong it is to impute the malice of some people to doctrines." -- Léo Taxil

One of the biggest problems facing Masons throughout the world is the accusation of our being in league with Lucifer. There are websites all over the Internet that try to "expose" this unholy alliance once and for all. Not only is this supposed alliance untrue, but it was proven to be a hoax through the confession of the very man who who created the idea, Léo Taxil.

Marie-Joseph-Gabriel-Antoine Jogand-Pagès, also known as Léo Taxil, was born on March 21, 1854 in Marseilles, France. Taxil had made the attempt to become a Mason earlier in life, but found himself expelled before completing the First Degree because it was learned that he was an Atheist. One of the requirements to become a Mason is belief in Deity. Although the ritual and history of the Lodge is firmly rooted in the Holy Bible worldwide, the Lodge would not bar entrance to a candidate for not being a Christian specifically. An Athiest cannot become a Mason, because of the requirement of a profession of faith in Deity. This refusal of admittance infuriated the vitriolic writer, and he set out to play the penultimate prank, in his opinion, on both bodies.

As an atheist, he held a bitter hatred for not only Freemasonry, but also Catholic Church. Shortly after being accused of libel for publishing an accusative text about supposed love-life of Pope Pius IX, he made a sudden "conversion" to Catholicism (one that he would later admit was fraudulent). So, this was his chance to embarrass both groups.

Taxil, in his writings, created a fictitious devil-worshiping society that he claimed existed within the ranks of the Higher Degrees that he called Palladium. In his writings (written under a psuedonym), Taxil attributes the following quote to Albert Pike, 33°:

"That which we must say to the world is that we worship a god, but it is the god that one adores without superstition. To you, Sovereign Grand Inspectors General, we say this, that you may repeat it to the brethren of the 32nd, 31st and 30th degrees: The masonic Religion should be, by all of us initiates of the higher degrees, maintained in the Purity of the Luciferian doctrine. If Lucifer were not God, would Adonay and his priests calumniate him?
Yes, Lucifer is God, and unfortunately Adonay is also god. For the eternal law is that there is no light without shade, no beauty without ugliness, no white without black, for the absolute can only exist as two gods; darkness being necessary for light to serve as its foil as the pedestal is necessary to the statue, and the brake to the locomotive....
Thus, the doctrine of Satanism is a heresy, and the true and pure philosophical religion is the belief in Lucifer, the equal of Adonay; but Lucifer, God of Light and God of Good, is struggling for humanity against Adonay, the God of Darkness and Evil."

These words were never said or written by Albert Pike. Written in a book called Woman and Child in Universal Freemasonry, by Abel Clarin de la Rive, the author cites a Diana Vaughan as being the origin of this supposed Pike quote. Vaughan, it was said, was a Masonic Satanic Priestess who had close communication with Pike. De la Rive was so positive of Vaughan's role in the Luciferian cult that he wrote, "It was the Sister Diana Vaughan that Albert Pike,-- in order to give her the greatest mark of confidence,--charged to carry his Luciferian encyclical, to Paris, during the Universal Exposition." Where this part of the story gets interesting, her book, Mémoires d'une ex-Palladiste, was actually creation of Taxil himself. Diana Vaughan never existed. Finally, de la Rive would admit that he was duped by the hoax.

In Taxil's public confession, he outlined the drastic ends to which he carried his hoax. He created not only Vaughan (who he touted as a repentant Catholic convert), but also Sophia Walder, the fictitious Grand High Priestess of Palladism. The icing on the cake was the "expert", one Dr. Bataille. Bataille was the real name of a fellow prankster (called pseudonymously Sapeck) who Taxil held in high esteem. The naming of his created expert was meant as an homage to Sapeck. Diana Vaughan's name was first revealed to the public in a work supposedly written by Dr. Bataille.

More interesting, is the fact that in his confession, Taxil had a good laugh at the expense of de la Rive, who he said the following of: "I had to immerse myself in these two sciences in order to imagine everything and in such a way that they wouldn't realize it was a prank. Can one believe, for instance, that it was easy to take Monsieur de la Rive for a ride, he, the embodiment of an inquiring mind, who examines the slightest trifles with a microscope and who could beat our best investigating judges?" Taxil took great pride in the fact that he had used his unwitting victims to further propagate his ruse.

Why detractors continue to cite the frauds of Léo Taxil as proof of their claims remains a mystery. Taxil's hoax was so complete that many have referred to Pike as "Sovereign Pontiff of Universal Freemasonry." Pike never held this position, chiefly because it is one that Taxil invented as well. There has never been a single individual as the "head" of Freemasonry. Despite overwhelming evidence that the claims made against Freemasonry were indeed fraudulent, anti-Masonic writers continue to use them as definitive proof of their claims. One can only hope that this trend will die off as the availability of material to the contrary becomes more readily accessible.

*****

Source Material:

de Hoyos, Arturo and S. Brent Morris, Is it True What They Say about Freemasonry? 2nd Edition. All rights reserved. © 1993, 1997 Masonic Information Center. HTML version copyright © 1998 by Art deHoyos. http://www.srmason-sj.org/web/SRpublications/DeHoyos.htm

Grand Lodge of British Columbia and the Yukon, "The Confession of Léo Taxil." Alain Bernheim, A. William Samii, and Eric Serejski, trans., "The Confession of Léo Taxil," Heredom, Transactions of the Scottish Research Society, vol. 5, pp. 137-68. © 1997 Scottish Rite Research Society. All Rights Reserved. http://freemasonry.bcy.ca/texts/taxilconfession.html

Grand Lodge of British Columbia and the Yukon, "Who Was Léo Taxil." http://freemasonry.bcy.ca/anti-masonry/anti-masonry03.html#taxil

Bro. D. David Will, Jr. 32°, KT

Marshall Union #8 - Moundsville, WV

A Christian Outlook on Masonic Symbolism

Christ spoke in parables, using rich symbolism to get across the messages that He hoped to convey. Sometimes those listening had a difficult time understanding the wisdom that Christ was imparting, but in the end the message seemed to get across, although the Apostles sometimes needed a little prompting to get the full effect. Symbolism is one of the oldest, most perfect ways to explain a principle. What it all comes down to is that a picture is worth a thousand words. In a nutshell, symbolism is a picture of an idea. This picture forms in our mind, allowing us to break down and analyze each of the individual parts of the image without having to muddle through pages and pages of endless text, hoping to glean the best parts out, those most pertinant to our lives.

The first image in this series is concerning the Rough and Perfect Ashlars. I would not hope to claim the wisdom of this imagery, but rather to explain it in brief here. The Masonic scholar who presented these notions was William Leslie Wilmshurst, a devoutly Christian Mason who used scripture in his books to bring great depth of understanding. I'll explain it from my own understanding and experience.

Ashlars are building stones, much like bricks, that are used to build walls and castles. These building stones are solid and sturdy, and make up much of the structures in the Holy Land. King Solomon's Temple would have been built of such stones. They are a reminder to Masons as to the state of the soul as we enter the world, rough and unworked. An ashlar is not ready for use in building until it has been honed into a perfect ashlar.

The Rough Ashlar is a stone, raw in its form. As we first come into the world, we are in a raw form, in a state of being outside of the Father in Sin. If we were to exist outside of God, we would always be in that rough state, never becoming more than we are, and never finding our place eternally with Him. Once we accept Christ into our lives, His Grace helps us to chip away those rough edges. As we grow in our faith closer to Him, we eventually become the Perfect Ashlar, a stone devoid of fault. How can we be in this perfect state, you might ask? It is only through the Blood of Christ who washes away the roughness. When we pass to that Enternal Kingdom, the House not made with hands, our stone is added with the rest to build God's new Jerusalem, as explained in Scripture.

Moreover, the Perfect Ashlar holds a beautiful secret. One might say that any imagery can be placed in a Christian light if you look hard enough, but the Ashlar gives up its greatest secret to those who would look. "Ask and it shall be given unto you, seek and ye shall find." (Luke 11:9) As with anything in Masonry, the Perfect Ashlar is on the square. It is a perfect cube, equidistant in its points. If you unfold this cube and lay the sides out as a flat, two dimensional object, you see the truth of the Perfect Ashlar. It forms a Cross. Not only a Cross, but the Cross, that of Christ himself. The Ashlar teaches that if we are to be a part of God's Eternal Kingdom, it must be done through the Cross, for it is only through Calvary's Cross that we can leave our Rough, sinful states behind and attain the Grace of Salvation.

Bro. D. David Will, Jr. 32°, KT

Marshall Union #8 - Moundsville, WV


 Every Christian Mason Should Become a Knight Templar

By Sir Knight D. David Will, Jr.

(Written by Request of the Grand Encampment of West Virginia)

The title stems from an old saying in the Craft, and I have come to realize that it is every bit as important today as it always has been. The Blue Lodge, or what we sometimes call “Old Craft Masonry,” is a splendidly beautiful expression of our Brotherhood in this holy order, but for many of us, we realize that it is not complete. There is much more to the journey through Masonry that we cannot find just through the three degrees alone. I personally discovered this when I was Knighted in January of 2010.

Yes, the raising to the Sublime Degree of Master Mason is the completion of Old Craft Masonry, and is all that is truly necessary to be a Mason. In fact, there are those that believe that one is better off to remain with just the Blue Lodge, because without it there is no Masonry. Yet, the new Mason is left with a cliff-hanger. A truth that has been lost, and a history that is unresolved. The temple stands uncompleted, and is left without the guardians that it so preciously needs and deserves.

This is is where York Rite Masonry comes in, and most especially the Order of the Knights Templar. Templars throughout history have been charged with defending the widow and orphan, and coming to the aid of the Christian faith itself whenever we are called to serve. As men throughout my family's long history in Masonry have experienced, I too received that call to take my love of Masonry one step further into the Knights Templar.

Wheeling Commandry No 1 is located in Wheeling, West Virginia, on the Ohio River at the Scottish Rite Cathedral. An old building, with a rich history, the Cathedral has an amazingly imposing presence from the street that set the stage for how great and important of an undertaking I was about to enter. That day, five of us came together seeking still further light in Masonry through the Order of the Temple, arriving as Masonic Brothers together, but truly understanding and appreciating that Brotherhood when we left.

York Rite Masonry is a fascinating bond in our beloved organization. To put on the work that day, men traveled from across the state on a particularly beautiful day, just to spend it inside. When other men probably took that Saturday to get done some necessary yard work, complete a project, or just commune with the beauty of nature that we enjoy here in West Virginia, these men used their time for the benefit of others. Asking nothing in return, they gave of themselves to ensure that the vows that they once took to support and uphold the Christian Faith as Knights Templar would continue for another generation.

After a wonderful reception from the Brethren, we proceeded with the initiation. Instead of degrees, the progression to the Temple is done through Orders. The three Orders of this process are of the Order of the Red Cross, the Order of Malta, and the Order of the Temple. Depending on various factors, a long form of the ritual or a short form thereof can be used. In this case, the short form was used for both the Order of the Red Cross and the Order of Malta.

The Order of the Red Cross is set during a story of the time of Zerabbubel and the building of the Second Temple. Through the beautiful narratives contained within, it sets the stage for a day of engrossing wonder as the candidate is introduced to a story of the nature of truth, helping the candidate to understand everything that will come after. Although composed of a story from before the life of Christ, the truth that the narrative conveys becomes clear as the rest of the day unfolds, adding its own unique depth to the tale as the day continues.

The Order of Malta is the step leading up to the magnificent Order of the Temple. Finding itself told through Paul's time on that island, as well as several other stories from the New Testament, trust and faith in God through Christ is impressed upon the candidate as they are prepared for the journey to
follow. The history of the Knights of Malta is detailed, and then the candidate is reminded of the life, death, resurrection, and ascension of our Lord and Savior, Jesus Christ. While the story of the Gospel is alluded to throughout the rituals of even the Blue Lodge, this is the first chiefly Christian degree in Masonry.

The Order of the Temple is one of the most staggering experiences in the whole of Masonry. The beauty of going through this degree is such that it's matched only by the ritual of the Sublime Degree of Master Mason. The Third Degree will always be the most important and most memorable experience in the life of a Mason, but in my eyes the Order of the Temple has become a close second. Over the past week since my Knighting, I have had time to reflect on what went on during the ceremonies and have realized that it is a life-changing experience.

Before beginning any journey, it is necessary that the candidate take time for solitary prayer and reflection. We have learned in Masonry that no task should be undertaken without consulting God before we begin. This was no different. Even that moment of prayer and reflection will have a lasting impact on me, as we candidates were confronted with the reality of life and death, and implored to continue to put our faith in Jesus Christ as we proceeded.

The ritual itself was representative of the pilgrimage that our early Brothers made in preparation to become a Knight of the Temple. Such an undertaking wasn't simply a matter of picking up a sword and declaring willingness to chase after damsels in distress and fight glorious battles. The manner of chivalry that these men held dear was a devotion to God first, in defending Christianity, and then caring and protecting those who no one else spoke for.

A pilgrimage was necessary of these men, and a ritual representing that pilgrimage was demanded of us, with appropriate lessons to reinforce the virtues espoused within. The pilgrimage was broken into three sections, each of which brought the candidate deeper and deeper into the beautiful mythos of the Order, while further strengthening the bonds of the Knight-to-Be with their own faith.

The last section of the Order of the Temple was one of the most solemn and beautiful experiences in my life. Sealing within the heart and mind the vows that we, as newly-made Knights took, we reaffirmed our desire to stand as guardians of the Christian faith for all time.

As Knights, we are impressed with what is our bounden duty to be defenders of the faith, just as the Knights of old have done, but today's Knights Templar have a farther reach still. Today's Templars are intimately connected to the communities in which they are a member through the charity work that they do. The Templars provide vision care for those who cannot afford it through the Knights Templar Eye Foundation, “so that others may see,” and educational scholarships through the Educational Foundation. Also, the Grand Encampment provides grants for clergy to take their own pilgrimage to the Holy Land. These charities are just part of everything that the young Knight has before him to enjoy.

Having just been through my Knighting myself, I can say with certainty that I recommend it to any Christian Mason who wishes to take their journey in Masonry a step further. The rich depth and beauty of the ritual has left an indelible mark on my heart and mind, bringing me closer still to God than ever before. Every Christian Mason should become a Knight Templar and experience as I have the full measure of what York Rite Masonry has to offer.

Bro. D. David Will, Jr. 32°, KT

Marshall Union #8 - Moundsville, WV

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