Category Archives: Lodge Events

June 2017 Stated Communication

Among other activities, our June Stated Communication is when our Bernard Hogan Essay Contest winners present their essays. This year’s winner, Brevin Martin, was in attendance with his family to present his essay to the Lodge.


Freemasonry in the American Revolution
by Brevin Martin

Freemasons have been in the United States since its inception; some even say that Freemasons helped bring about the founding of the United States through the American Revolution. Masonic Temples were used for meetings. Members from both sides of the Revolution were welcome and actively participated in Masonic meetings without politics being involved. Others are convinced that the American Revolution itself started in Masonic meetings with discussion of unfair British policies and how to combat them. Not all of the major “players” in the Revolution were Freemasons, but many of them were. Ten signers of the Articles of Confederation, nine signers of the Declaration of Independence, thirteen signers of the Constitution, and four Presidents of the Continental Congress were — or later became — Freemasons. The brotherhood of the Masons and the trust established be being a Freemason helped people who didn’t otherwise know each other to become loyal confidants. Samuel Adams, John Hancock, Paul Revere, Joseph Warren, George Washington and Benjamin Franklin are well-known names from the American Revolution…they were also Freemasons!

John Hancock was a wealthy businessman who decided to get involved with politics by securing political office in Boston and then the colonial legislature in Massachusetts. Paul Revere — a silversmith and not of the elite social class of John Hancock — was a Senior Grand Deacon in the Grand Lodge of Massachusetts and was a good friend of Joseph Warren, Master of the Grand Lodge of Massachusetts. They became friends due, in large part, to their membership in the St. Andrews Lodge (Boston, Massachusetts). Samuel Adams was a graduate of Harvard and came from a very politically-active family in Boston. A lead of the Sons of Liberty — and kind of a troublemaker — Adams frequently challenged British policies. All four of these men were Freemasons and belonged to the Grand Lodge of Massachusetts. At the time Joseph Warren sent Paul Revere to warn John Hancock and Sam Adams that the British regulars were marching to Concord, Hancock and Adams had warrants issued for their arrest. Without being in the brotherhood of Freemasons, the American Revolution may have had a completely different outcome. All of these men were active members of the Freemasons until their deaths.

There were many notable Freemasons involved with the American Revolution, but George Washington and Benjamin Franklin are among the most well-known. George Washington would be the “celebrity” by today’s standard, but Benjamin Franklin did more for the Masonic organization.

George Washington’s influence on American history is inestimable. He was the Commander of the Continental Army, served as President of the Constitutional Convention, and later became the first President of the United States. He was a devout mason; he was first initiated in 1752 in the lodge of Fredericksburg, Virginia. He remained an active member until his death in 1799. He rose to the level of Master of the Alexandria Lodge No. 22 (which was subsequently renamed the “Alexandria-Washington” Lodge No. 22). Washington surrounded himself with Freemasons; he used a Masonic Bible from the St. John’s Masonic Lodge No. 1 (New York City), and his oath was given by Robert Livingston, a prominent Mason and the Chancellor of New York. Livingston later served as one of five members of the committee tasked with drafting the Declaration of Independence. George Washington even incorporated Masonic practices as he and other members of the Maryland and Virginia Masonic Lodges laid the cornerstone of the US Capitol building.

Benjamin Franklin joined the Masonic Lodge of St. John in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, in 1732 and remained an active member until his death. He eventually became Grand Master of his lodge as well as Grand Master of the Nine Sisters Lodge in Paris, France. He joined the Parisian lodge while serving as a diplomat in France. Interestingly, Benjamin Franklin traveled to other European countries to attend different Masonic Lodges and meetings. He was well-known for serving on the committee to draft the Declaration of Independence and his work in the Continental Congress, but he was just as dedicated to his Masonic Lodge. He created its bylaws and he also published the Constitution of the Free-Masons.

In conclusion, Freemasons helped create the United States of America, helped form the foundation of our laws and beliefs, and much of the Founders’ creative thinking can be traced to the fundamentals of Freemasonry. The fact that these men belonged to the same fraternal organization gave them the opportunity to interact with other Masons and crate and important connection, vital to the formation of our nation. Found fathers and historical figures, Freemasons truly shaped the very concept of the United States of America.


Worshipful Brother Kemble presents Chase Martin with his first place prize and plaque. Pictured above, left to right: Dan Kemble, P.M., Secretary; Brevin “Chase” Martin; Buddy Wallace, Master.
Pictured above, left to right: Doug Logan, History teacher at Cooper High School; Don Martin; Brandon Martin; Rose Martin; Buddy Wallace, Master; Right Worshipful Brother Gary Rose, Grand Senior Warden, Grand Lodge of Kentucky.

Right Worshipful Brother Gary Rose, Grand Senior Warden of the Grand Lodge of Kentucky was our guest speaker for the evening. He spoke briefly on a series of interesting topics to get everyone thinking then opened the floor for questions and discussion.

Bicycles Presented at Kelly Elementary School

Wednesday, May 24th was the last day of school at Kelly Elementary School.  Elvin E. Helms Lodge No. 926 sponsored eight bicycles that were presented to students as attendance awards.

Three Kelly students had perfect attendance for the school year.  Those students were allowed to select a bicycle of their choice as a reward for this accomplishment.

Kelly Elementary School students with perfect attendance during the 2016-2107 school year. Congratulations!

The remaining bicycles went into a drawing for students that had at least one month of perfect attendance.

Thanks to Family Resource Center Coordinator Shelly Hoxmeier, who facilitated our donation of the bicycles to Kelly Elementary School!

In attendance, representing Elvin E. Helms No. 926, were, left to right: Travis Bush, P.M., Treasurer; Dan Kemble, P.M., Secretary; Buddy Wallace, Worshipful Master; Ed Tanner, P.M.

Visit to Bro. J. R. Ross

Bro. Ed Tanner and Bro. Dan Kemble visit with Bro. J. R. Ross at the Sam Swope Care Center, Louisville, Kentucky.

On Saturday, May 20, members of our Lodge visited Bro. J. R. Ross at The Masonic Homes in Louisville.  Bro. Ross is a resident at the Sam Swope Care Center and is a member of St. George Lodge No. 239 in Louisville.  He is a 43-year member of our Fraternity.  Bro. Ross never married and has no children.  His Lodge Brothers are truly his family.  Through the assistance of Worshipful Bro. Bruce Lott, our Lodge “adopted” Bro. Ross in 2016.

We found Bro. Ross to be in good health and in good spirits.  He was happy to see his Brothers from Elvin E. Helms Lodge and especially thanked us for the afghan that we sent him last Christmas.  During the course of our visit, Bro. Ross said at least a half dozen times that he thanked God daily for having the good fortune to live in the Masonic Homes.

The Sam Swope Care Center is a beautiful facility.  As evidenced by Bro. Ross, the residents are well cared for and happy in their surroundings.  Seeing our Brother so happy and content is a vivid demonstration of the importance of the Masonic Care program.  We can all be proud of the job done by The Masonic Homes of Kentucky.

May 2017 Stated Communication

The Brothers of Elvin E. Helms No. 926 met in Stated Communication on May 9, 2017. Our Worshipful District Deputy Grand Master Kevin Schneider of Bradford No. 123 was our guest speaker for the evening.

Pictured above, left to right: Kevin Schneider, District Deputy Grand Master, District 18, Grand Lodge of Kentucky; Worshipful Master Buddy Wallace.

Seven Kinds of Ashlars

Tonight Brothers, I want to discuss “The Seven types of Ashlars used in Masonry”

• Bastard
• Rough
• Common
• Perfect
• Raised
• Positioned
• Cemented

Bastard Ashlar (0)
An Operative mason’s term for a stone that has been freed from the rubble that surrounds it, so that it can be taken to the building site -and- if selected be worked on.

Rough Ashlar (0/S)
A stone that is free of enough major imperfections that it can be worked by the builder to become suitable for use in the building. In speculative masonry the rough ashlar is a man who has been examined, he has been found free of major flaws. He is “accepted” to become a stone for our building.

Common Ashlar (0)
Once the rough ashlar is being worked on, it is referred to as the common ashlar. Any man who has undergone out initiation is a common ashlar.

Common – from Latin communis ” shared by all or many; general, not specific; familiar, not pretentious”

In our degree progression, this is a Brother who has been initiated. He should be acceptable to us all even if he did nothing to change himself.  However, our ritual directs him (us) to actually undergoing the transformation that occurs from using the working tools of an EA.

Positioned Ashlar (0)
An ashlar that has been raised to the proper height and has been set into its final place within a structure.

Perfect Ashlar (O/S)
An ashlar that is completely suitable for the builder’s use. It is ready in its own right to be a part of the build. This is a Brother who has completed the EA work and is an upright man and Mason when viewed externally and internally.

This is a Brother who is considered a proficient EA.

Raised Ashlar (0/S)
An ashlar which has been further adjusted by the Working Tools of the fellow.

Cemented Ashlar (0/S)
Stones that bound together to complete the building. Only perfected, true, and properly positioned stones are use because they can be most easily and permanently cemented together.

Tonight I want to focus on the Perfect Ashlar. The question is: Do we ever become a perfect ashlar? If so, when? Your thoughts?

To explore this a bit, let’s consider the term “perfect”. Think about the following phrases:

• Perfectly fine (it will do)
• Perfect Game (no hits or runs)
• Perfect Gentleman

Part of the problem is that words today are used differently that they were in the past (queer> odd, gay> happy). So, let’s take a look at the etymology of the word perfect:

perfect (v.)

“to bring to full development,” late 14c., parfiten, from perfect (adj.).

perfect (adj.)

early 15c. alteration of Middle English parfit (c. 1300), from Old French parfit “finished, completed, ready” (11c.), from Latin per “completely” (see per) + combining form of facere “to make, to do”

We even run into this term in religious writings:

The English Term Perfect:

Biblical and Philosophical Tensions– Dennis Bratcher (Christian Resource Institute)

 

The word “perfect” that we knock around so much in theological and biblical discussions is often misunderstood. We tend to apply an unqualified philosophical meaning to it and have it mean “without flaw” or “without error” or put it into other absolute categories. It then becomes easy to say that Jesus’ command in the Sermon on the Mount (Matt 5:48), “Be therefore perfect, even as your heavenly Father is perfect,” is a laudable goal, but one that is impossible for human beings to achieve. That is even easier to do from certain doctrinal or theological positions that assume human beings cannot ever respond to God beyond their contaminated sinful nature (see Body and Soul).

The problem in this thinking is that the Hebrew word (tam or tamim) does not carry the same meaning of “without flaw” in an absolute sense as does the term “perfect” in English. Tamim basically means complete or mature or healthy (for example, Lev 22:21). There are some sacrificial passages in the Priestly codes that describe animals acceptable for sacrifice as tamim. Some might take this in an absolute sense as “without flaw.” However, the sense is really
“healthy” in the sense of “free from any mark or damage” (BBE) or with “no blemish” (NRSV, KJV). In other words, it must be a healthy animal and not be lame or sick or one that has obvious deformities

That meaning of healthy, whole, or mature dominates most use of the equivalent Greek term in the New Testament (telos or tefeios). Something, or someone, can be complete, healthy, or mature yet not be “without flaw.” So, while there are places In the New Testament that translate the word telos as perfect, other places reveal that it carries the meaning of healthy or mature. For example, in Ephesians 4:13

4:13 until all of us come to the unity of the faith and of the knowledge of the Son of God, to maturity, to the measure of the full stature of Christ.

Here the word translated “maturity” is the word teleios, which is the same word translated “perfect” in Matthew 5:48: Be perfect, therefore, as your heavenly Father is perfect.

So part of the problem is this: we confuse “perfect” to mean flawless, instead of mature or healthy. So at what point in our masonic lifetime are we considered mature?

I point you to the three ages of man as pointed out by our ritual. We are considered “adults” as Fellowcraft.

What point are we considered suitable so that we can be adjusted to fit in with our Brethren? At the end of the EA. We are adjusted, as it references in the degrees, by the Plumb, the Square and the Level. The EA degree is about “perfecting ourselves”. The Fe degree is about adjusting ourselves to fit others, so that we can be raised. And only after we are “tried” and found “true” with others can we be cemented together.

Final Thoughts

Our process of improving a man requires us to only admit the best men to our lodges. Why?

Think about the nature of the EA working tools, the 24″ gauge and the gavel. And if we add in the “missing tool” from our continental brethren, the difference becomes more obvious. That being the chisel? In operative masonry, what are these tools used for? In speculative, how are they used?

The working tools of the EA teach us to remove excess stuff. The compasses in the EA teach us to limit ourselves. Even the four cardinal virtues when fully analyzed teach us limiting behaviors.

So I ask you one final question tonight Brothers. Is there any part of our lodge’s maturing and improvement process that adds to the man??

If our tools only remove the bad stuff, then perhaps that explains why the “common ashlars” that we select for our lodges must be high quality men who are truly prepared when they come to our worksite.

I want to thank Dr John Nagy, the author of the BBB series, for allowing me to use the reference about the 7 Kinds of Ashlars. I want to thank WB Kemble for inviting me tonight. Thank you to the WM for allowing me to have this time. And finally thanks to all of you here tonight for your attention and participation. I hope you found this useful.

April 2017 Stated Communication

The Brothers of Elvin E. Helms No. 926 met in Stated Communication on Tuesday, April 11, 2017. Worshipful Brother John Cissell of Buechel No. 896 traveled to Petersburg to be our guest speaker for the evening. The topic was Circumambulation.

Pictured above, left to right: Worshipful Master Buddy Wallace, Worshipful Brother John Cissell.

Circumambulation

Good evening Brothers.  It is a personal pleasure to be invited to speak to you this evening and I will be addressing a subject that I hold in high regard.  Before we get started, I’d like you to consider the central question of the evening.  Why do we perform ritual and do we understand the symbolism of the ritual we perform?

When asked, almost all Brothers can tell you that the badge of a Mason is his apron.  Many will tell you that which makes him a Mason is his obligation, and most can tell you the purpose of the working tools of each degree.  Some can recite for you the uses of Chalk, Charcoal and Clay, or the symbolism of the beehive or pot of incense.  A gifted few can deliver the mountainous Stair Lecture in its eloquent explanations of the various forms of architecture and the liberal Arts & Sciences.  I am not going to spend our time here this evening pealing apart one of those worthy subjects however.  This evening I am going to ask you to consider one of the most often overlooked components of our ritual.  And while this small piece of ritual may seem trivial as we take the first step in considering it, I ask that you keep an open mind to the very nature of esoteric initiation, which is what our ritual truly is.  This evening we are going to consider the very steps taken about the altar during the conduct of all ritual, and what those steps represent.

What is Circumambulation?

Circumambulation – the noun, or Circumambulate – the verb, from the Latin Circum (around) and Ambulare (to walk) Merriam-Webster defines as to circle on foot, especially ritualistically.  Oxford defines it as the act of moving around a sacred object or idol.  Though the Etymology of the word dates to ancient times, its first known usage occurred in 1606.  It is believed that the circumambulation dates to ancient times, prior to all, or at least most of the current concepts of religion going back to the time when humankind worshipped the sun and other forces of nature.  Both the Greeks and Romans are known to have circumambulated their sacred objects.  Ritualized circumambulation occurs today in many of the world’s religions and is an integral part of Hinduism and Buddhism in Eastern religions as well as Christianity, Judaism and Islam.  Circumambulation occurs in both Sunwise (clockwise) and Widdershins (counter-clockwise) motions.  Masonic Circumambulation occurs Sunwise, with the Altar always to the Right.

While we do not know with certainty how the act of circling the Altar first became part of the rituals of Masonry, many speculate that the practice began during the Operative roots of the Craft and was intended to allow for a proper inspection of new candidates for physical deficiency or inadequacy. While we cannot know with certainty the when or why, we can explore the meaning and the symbolism associated with the Rite of Circumambulation in Freemasonry.

Masonic Scholar Carl Claudy, in his book Introduction to Freemasonry states “Among the first religions were sun and fire worship.  Prehistoric man found God in nature…Worship of the sun in the sky was done symbolically by worship of fire upon piles of stones which were the first altars….Early man imitated the God he worshiped.   Heat and light he could give by fire, so lighting the fire on the altar became an important religious ceremony.  And early man could imitate the movements of his God.”  Most ritualistic circumambulation occurs in a clockwise motion, from East to West through the South following the movement of the sun across the sky as observed in the Northern hemisphere.  As early man worshipped the sun, the procession was not just a physical act, but a mystical one as well.  Brother Mackey wrote that circumambulation “had a reference to the motion of the heavenly bodies, which according to the ancient poets and philosophers produced a harmonious sound, inaudible to mortal ears, which was called ‘the music of the spheres.’”  As humankind evolved from worshiping nature to polytheism, henotheism (the worship of a single god while not denying the existence or possible existence of other deities) and monotheism the rite of circumambulation necessarily took on new meaning.  No longer simply an act of imitation, circumambulation became an act of purification made possible through the structured proximity to the holy.

Many Observant lodges in America, and most European lodges execute the Officer’s Procession, whereby the officer’s enter the lodge in a solemn line and proceed about the Altar before assuming their appropriate stations.  In the 18th and 19th centuries, The Senior Deacon would frequently travel from his station to the Secretary’s desk to retrieve the Volume of Sacred Law, and then proceed to the Altar to display the Great Lights appropriate to the degree being worked.  The entire time, the Senior Deacon would keep the Altar on his right side.  At the end of the meeting, he would follow the same path, East through the South, approaching the Altar from the West always keeping the Altar to his right.  Within the lodge room, this procession purified the profane and transformed it into the sacred space necessary to perform our initiation rites.

In the stereopticon lecture (the third section) of the Entered Apprentice, we are taught that among the several decorations found within every regular and well-governed lodge of Entered Apprentices you will find a point within a circle, touching upon two parallel lines.  We are taught that the point represents the individual Brother, the circle is the boundary line of duty, beyond which we are never to suffer our prejudices or passions to betray us, and that while traversing this boundary line, we necessarily touch upon the two lines and our volume of sacred law.  We are also taught that for those Masons who keep themselves thus circumscribed within those due bounds, it is impossible to materially err.  Like most of you, I have heard those words many times within the walls of a lodge of Entered Apprentices.  In my travels, I have looked for the literal symbol just described without fail in every lodge I’ve entered, and seldom find it displayed as such.  After beginning my study of the Rite of Circumambulation though, I found this symbol…..at least its esoteric representation…..in every lodge I’ve entered, be that a lodge of Entered Apprentice, Fellow Craft or Master Mason.

Symbolically, the point is the Volume of Sacred Law, the parallel lines are the Master in the East and the Senior Warden in the West and finally, the circle is made by the candidate led by the Senior Deacon in procession about the Altar.  By proper attention to the act of circumambulating the Altar, in reverent procession, we not only symbolically sanctify the lodge room and purify the candidate for the initiation, but we also should be reminded of our own obligation to keep our own actions and passions within due bounds.

While I do not dare tell you that the Rite of Circumambulation is the most important step taken within the lodge room, nor that it is the most meaningful component to our ritual, I do want to impress upon you the weight of the procession about the Altar and draw your attention to its proper care.  I am of the firm belief that through knowledge…..that knowledge of what those steps represent, we are better enabled to perform our ritual with the sincerity and gravity that it deserves.  If we pay greater attention to the smallest detail……literally the meaning of the steps we take around the Altar then we almost certainly will be compelled to give greater attention to the more obvious components of our ritual.  And I believe that is a path to a more enriching Masonic experience, for it is our single claim, when we answer the Masters challenge in each degree, while standing in the East for the first time, to be a traveler in search of Light.  Let us shine the light of knowledge upon our ritual, and thereby elevate our appreciation for it and those who have come this way before us.  I leave you this evening my Brothers with a hearty thanks for the opportunity to fellowship with and address you.  I also ask you to reflect upon that central question that I opened with… Why do we perform ritual and do we understand the symbolism of the ritual we perform?

Kelly Chorus Performs Spring Concert

The Kelly Elementary School Chorus, under the direction of Ms. Holly Trenkamp, performed their Spring Concert on Thursday, March 30, 2017 to a full house at Belleview Baptist Church.  Following the concert, Elvin E. Helms Lodge No. 926 served punch and cookies to the choir members, faculty, relatives and friends.  The Lodge wishes to congratulate the Choir and Ms. Trenkamp on a job well done.  Thanks to all who came out to support the Choir and a special thanks to Jillian Gross for baking most of the cookies that were enjoyed by all!

Eight members of our Lodge and one visiting Brother attended the Spring Concert.  They are, left to right, Bro. Jason Wallace, Sr. Warden, Bro. Kenny Williamson, P. M., Bro. Buddy Wallace, Worshipful Master, Bro. Dennis Stephens, Jr. Deacon, Bro. Rick Campbell, Tyler, Bro. Ed Tanner, Sr., Steward, Bro. Larry York, Secretary at DeMoss Lodge No. 220 and Sr. Warden at Wilmington Lodge No. 362, Bro. Dan Kemble, Secretary and Bro. Adam Gross, Jr. Warden.

Ms. Trenkamp gets the Choir organized prior to the performance.

Choir members chat with each other before the performance.

The Choir takes a quick run through prior to showtime.

The Kelly Elementary Choir performing during their Spring Concert.

Ms. Trenkamp introduces the next selection.

The Choir begins their final number.

Belleview Baptist Church is a beautiful venue for the concert.  Pictured above is one of the Church’s stained glass windows.

Worshipful Master Buddy Wallace and Choir Director Holly Trenkamp after the performance.

March 2017 Stated Communication

The stated meeting of Elvin E. Helms Lodge No. 926 on March 14, 2017 saw a full house at Lodge despite Winter’s last blast of cold weather and snow.  We were honored to have representatives from five other District 18 Lodges in attendance at our meeting, including four current Masters – Worshipful Bro. David Bird from Good Faith Lodge No. 95, Worshipful Bro. Joe Deck from Bradford Lodge No. 123, Worshipful Bro. Sean Weaver from Phoenix Lodge No. 719 and Worshipful Bro. Tom Cooper from Hebron Lodge No. 757.

Bradford Lodge No. 123, with six in attendance, claimed the District 18 Traveling Gavel.

Worshipful Bro. Eddie Hazelett, Past Master of Paintsville Lodge No. 381 and current member of the Grand Lodge of Kentucky’s Committee on Education, presented our Masonic Education for the evening.  Worshipful Bro. Hazelett told the story of how Scots Masons were involved in the construction of the White House in Washington, D. C.  Bro. Hazelett’s presentation was excellent and the Lodge presented him with an honorary membership in Elvin E. Helms Lodge no. 926.

Click here to view Worshipful Bro. Eddie Hazelett’s presentation.

We were delighted to have Worshipful Bro. Al Collier in Lodge with us again.  Bro. Al has been caring for his wife, Jenny, who has been ill.  Being a full-time caregiver, Bro. Al has been unable to attend Lodge.  He and Jenny recently celebrated their 66th wedding anniversary.  Congratulations to Bro. Al and Jenny and may they enjoy many more anniversaries.

We received good news regarding Bro. Garry Kelly’s recovery.  Bro. Garry has been responding to treatment and will continue to receive therapy in Florida.  His address is:

Bro. Garry C. Kelly
Room 1414
Orlando Health Rehabilitation Institute
52 Underwood Street
Orlando, Florida  32806

Please feel free to drop Bro. Garry a line or a card to cheer him.

Our Lodge is draped in mourning to observe the death of Bro. Emmett Ralph Elliott, a 52-year member of our Lodge.  Bro. Elliott died on March 3, 2017.

Our next meeting is Tuesday, April 11.  Please join us for a good time of food, fellowship and Masonic Education.

In Memory of Ralph Elliott

Ralph Elliott, 90, of Crestwood, husband of Stephania Brewer Elliott, died Friday, March 3, 2017 at Hosparus Care Center in Louisville.

Ralph was born in Boone County, Kentucky February 25, 1927 the son of the late Emmett & Viola Caldwell Elliott. He was a World War II Veteran having served in the U.S. Army and U.S. Navy. He then spent most of his working life in land management and disposal with the U.S. Corp of Engineers. He was also a 50 year member of Elvin E. Helms Masonic Lodge No. 926 F&AM in Petersburg, Kentucky and a longtime support of Trooper Island.

Besides his wife of 44 years he leaves to cherish his memory 5 daughters, Darlene, Lisa (Todd), JaNene, Michele (Michael Noe) and Mary Jane, 3 sons, Alan (Ruth), Rob and Kenny (Rhnea), sister, Ann Brown, 11 grandchildren, 13 great grandchildren, several nieces & nephews and extended family. He was preceded in death by his granddaughter, Kerry Elliott.

In lieu of flowers the family has requested memorials to Hosparus.

6th Annual David Wood Memorial Chili Cook-Off Results

This year the David Wood Memorial Chili Cook-Off had eight entries. Chili chefs included David Bird, Debbie Bush, Travis Bush, Rick Campbell, Dave Cassesa, Lora Rodgers, Ed Tanner, and Buddy Wallace. The overall winner, and new unofficial Mayor of Petersburg for the ensuing term, was Debbie Bush, followed by David Bird in second, and Dave Cassesa in third.

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The category winners were:

Traditional: Dave Cassesa, first place; Buddy Wallace, second place; Lora Rodgers, third place.

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Hot: Rick Campbell, first place; Travis Bush, second place; Ed Tanner, third place.

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Exotic: Debbie Bush, first place; David Bird, second place.

Overall the David Wood Memorial Chili Cook-Off was a great success with receipts of over $1400 for the various community programs of Elvin E. Helms No. 926.

Bro. Mike Moses of Boone-Union No. 304 won the split-the-pot.

February 2017 Stated Communication

Our speaker for our February educational program was Worshipful Brother Dan Kemble and spoke of the Ancient Landmarks of Freemasonry.

The Ancient Landmarks: An Introduction

Early in one’s Masonic journey, the new Mason is confronted with the concept of the “Ancient Landmarks.” Perhaps no other topic in Freemasonry has generated so much study, so much debate and so little agreement.

Landmarks are defined as objects or features of a landscape that are easily seen and recognized from a distance, especially one that enables someone to establish their location.

Albert G. Mackey, the noted and prolific Masonic writer, wrote that Landmarks mark boundaries and, more in the Masonic sense, mark the boundaries between the profane world and the Masonic world.

As Masons, we generally encounter the term “landmarks” twice – once when receiving the charge as a newly raised Master Mason, and again during a Lodge’s annual installation of officers.

The Master Mason Degree Charge states:

Universal benevolence you are always to inculcate, and by the regularity of your own behavior afford the best example for the conduct of the less informed. The ancient Landmarks of the Order, intrusted to your care, you are carefully to observe, and never suffer them to be infringed, or countenance a deviation from the established usages and customs of the Fraternity.

In the Installation ceremony, the Master Elect is asked:

Do you promise to respect genuine and true Brethren, and to discountenance imposters and all dissenters from the Ancient Landmarks and Constitutions of Masonry?

But beyond these two instances, how much are we taught, and how much do we really know about the Ancient Landmarks?

For the first 100 years or so following the creation of the Grand Lodge of England in 1717, little was written about the Landmarks.

Anderson’s The Constitutions of the Free-Masons of 1723 says, “Every annual Grand Lodge has an inherent power and authority to make new regulations, or to alter these, for the real benefit of this ancient Fraternity; provided always that the old Landmarks are carefully preserved.” While we accept Anderson’s Constitutions as an integral part of the foundation of Freemasonry as we know it, it sheds little light on what, exactly, the ancient Landmarks are.

In the 1820s, Masonic scholar, George Oliver made oblique references to the Landmarks in several of his writings, but did not specifically identify them.

In 1856, M. W. Bro. Rob Morris, who would serve as Grand Master of the Grand Lodge of Kentucky in 1858-1859, published a list of 17 Ancient Landmarks in his Code of Masonic Law. Morris’s list of Landmarks is noteworthy in that it differs so greatly from the other lists that followed, and seemed to have but little effect on the general direction of the debate about the Landmarks. The Ancient Landmarks, as enumerated by M. W. Bro. Morris is provided on a
separate sheet.

W. Bro. J. W. S. Mitchell, Grand Master of the Grand Lodge of Missouri, rejected Morris’s list of Landmarks, saying that “all, or nearly all” of the Landmarks were included in Andersons Constitutions of 1723. M. W. Bro. Mitchell’s reading of Anderson’s Constitutions is puzzling, given its silence on specifics of the Landmarks.

Morris’s list, and Mitchell’s subsequent rejection, touched off a lasting debate about the identity and nature of the Landmarks. The next Masonic scholar to weigh in on the subject was the renowned Dr. A. G. Mackey.

Albert Gallatin Mackey (1807-1881) was a South Carolina physician and one of the greatest Masonic thinkers and writers of the 19th century. In 1859 Dr. Mackey published A Textbook of Masonic Jurisprudence which discusses, in great depth, Mackey’s understanding of the Landmarks.

In his Textbook, Mackey established four tests which must be met in order for a custom to be considered a Landmark. The four tests are:

  1. It must be an unwritten law or custom;
  2. It must has existed “from a time when the memory of man runneth not to the contrary;”
  3. It must be universal; and
  4. It cannot be changed.

All four tests must be met for a practice or custom to be considered a Landmark.

Mackey then went on to list 25 Ancient Landmarks which, in his opinion, met the four tests. Those 25 Landmarks are provided on an attached sheet.

The study of the Landmarks caught the interest of Henry Bannister Grant, known to most of us as H. B. Grant. Bro. Grant was a native New Yorker who moved to Kentucky as an adult. He joined Hiram Lodge No.4, in Frankfort, then, upon moving to Louisville, became
instrumental in the founding of Louisville Lodge No. 400.

Bro. H. B. Grant served as Grand Secretary of the Grand Lodge of Kentucky from 1887-1912. In 1889, R. W. Bro. Grant published his list of Ancient Landmarks in the “Masonic Home Journal,” beginning in February of 1889. R. W. Bro. Grant said, “The Ancient Landmarks of Freemasonry are the immemorial usages and fundamental principles of the Craft and are unchangeable.” Note the similarity to Mackey in the use of the terms immemorial (existing since antiquity) and unchangeable.

Right Worshipful Bro. Grant then proceeded to list 54 Ancient Landmarks of the Craft.

These Landmarks can be found in Bro. Grant’s Vest Pocket Trestle-Board and Working-Tools. A list of Landmarks as identified by R. W. Bro. Grant is provided on an attached sheet.

In 1889, the Grand Lodge of Kentucky adopted the 4th Edition of its Constitution, which incorporated Grant’s List of Ancient Landmarks. R. W. Bro. Grant died (in office) in 1912. Several years after the death of Bro. Grant, the Grand Lodge of Kentucky directed W. Bro.
Henry Pirtle, author of the Kentucky Monitor, to revise our Constitution. In 1919, Bro. Pirtle completed his task and the Grand Lodge of Kentucky approved the 5th Edition of its Constitution. Missing from the Constitution were R. W. Bro. Grant’s list of Landmarks. Pirtle explained as follows, “The so-called ‘Ancient Landmarks’ which were included in the Fourth Edition have never received the endorsement of the Grand Lodge and have proved misleading to Brethren in this and other states for this reason. No one knows what the’ Ancient Landmarks,’ so often referred to, really are. And it seemed better to the compiler of this edition [Pirtle] to
avoid entering upon the wide field of controversy over this subject.”

In 1918, the Grand Lodge of Massachusetts formally entered the debate on the Landmarks, by announcing that it recognized six Ancient Landmarks:

  1. Membership is limited to free born adult males;
  2. The practice of monotheism;
  3. A belief in the immortality of the soul;
  4. A Volume of Sacred Law;
  5. The Legend of the Third Degree; and
  6. The symbolism of the operative art of Masonry.

The Grand Lodge of Massachusetts, in publishing this list, went on to declare that the list was not “exclusive.”

In 1920, Massachusetts Freemason and noted American legal scholar Roscoe Pound published Lectures on Masonic Jurisprudence. In Lectures, Dean Pound identified seven
Ancient Landmarks, as follows:

  1. Belief in God.
  2. Belief in the persistence of personality.
  3. A “book of law” is an indispensable part of the furniture of every Lodge.
  4. The legend of the third degree.
  5. Secrecy.
  6. The symbolism of an operative art.
  7. That a Mason must be a man, freeborn, and of age.

Pound wrote that there were “certain universal, unalterable and unrepealable Fundamentals which have existed from time immemorial and are so thoroughly a part of Masonry that no Masonic authority may derogate from them or do aught but maintain them.”

A study of the Landmarks does not reach a definitive conclusion as to how many exist and what their specific nature is. In reflecting upon the debate about the Landmarks, and with reference to Mackey’s four-fold test, Melvin M. Johnson, who served as Grand Master of Massachusetts from 1914-1916, commented as follows, “Probably all Masonic students will agree to this definition and then proceed immediately to disagree upon the list of those fundamentals which are to be classified as universal, unalterable and unrepealable.” M. W. Bro. Johnson’s analysis is probably the most correct statement that can be made about the Landmarks. Yet their study is of infinite interest to Masons and the source of unending, and hopefully, productive, hours of discussion.

Sources:

Albert G. Mackey, M. D., A Textbook of Masonic Jurisprudence, Macoy & Sickels, Publishers, New York, New York, 1859.

B. Grant, Vest Pocket Trestle-Board and Working Tools, Masonic Home Print, Masonic Home, Kentucky, 1914.

Book of Constitutions of The Grand Lodge of Kentucky,4th Edition, Press ofthe Masonic Home Journal, Masonic Home, Kentucky, 1893.

Rob Morris, A Code of Masonic Law; Being a Practical Exhibit of the Landmarks and Usages of Ancient Craft Masonry, J. F. Brennan, Louisville, Kentucky, 1856.

Coils Masonic Encyclopedia, Macoy Publishing & Masonic Supply Co., Richmond, Virginia, 1961.

Roscoe Pound, Lectures on Masonic Jurisprudence, National Masonic Research Society, Anamosa, Iowa, 1920.

Delivered by Dan M. Kemble
Elvin E. Helms Lodge No. 926
Petersburg, Kentucky
February 14,2017

W. Bro. Rob Morris’s List of Landmarks (1856)

  1. The Masonic Landmarks are unchangeable and imperative.
  2. Masonry is a system, teaching symbolically; piety, morality, charity and self-discipline.
  3. The law of God is the rule and limit of Masonry.
  4. The Civil Law, so far as it accords with the divine, is obligatory on Masons.
  5. The Masonic Lodge and the Masonic Institutions are one and indivisible.
  6. Masonic qualification regards the mental, moral and physical nature of
  7. Personal worth and merit are the basis of official worth and merit.
  8. The official duties of Masonry are esoteric.
  9. The selection of Masonic material and the general labors of the Masonic Craft are
  10. The honors of Masonry are the gratitude of the Craft and the approval of God.
  11. Masonic promotion, both private and official, is by grades.
  12. The Grand Master may have a deputy.
  13. The head of the Lodge is the Master, duly elected by the Craft.
  14. The medium of communication between the head and the body of the Lodge is the Warden, duly elected by the Craft.
  15. Obedience to the Master and Wardens is obligatory upon the members.
  16. Secrecy is an indispensable element of Masonry.
  17. The Grand Lodge is supreme in its sphere of jurisdiction, and controls both the Subordinate Lodges and individual Masons, but is always subject to the Ancient Landmarks.

Ancient Landmarks from Mackey’s A Textbook of Masonic Jurisprudence (1859)

  1. The modes of recognition.
  2. The division of Masonry into three degrees.
  3. The legend of the third degree.
  4. The government of the fraternity, by a presiding officer called the Grand Master, who is elected from the body of the Craft.
  5. The prerogative of the Grand Master to preside over every assembly of the Craft.
  6. The prerogative of the Grand Master to grant dispensations for the conferring of the degrees at irregular times.
  7. The prerogative of the Grand Master to give dispensations for opening and holding Lodges.
  8. The prerogative of the Grand Master to make Masons at sight.
  9. The necessity of Masons to congregate in Lodges.
  10. The government of the Craft, when congregated in Lodges, by a Master and two Wardens.
  11. The necessity that every Lodge, when congregated, should be duly tiled.
  12. The right of every Mason to be represented in all general meetings of the Craft, and to instruct his representatives.
  13. The right of every Mason to appeal from the decision of his Brethren in Lodge convened, to the Grand Lodge or General Assembly of Masons.
  14. The right of every Mason to visit and sit in every regular Lodge.
  15. No visitor unknown to the Brethren present, or to some one of them as a Mason, can enter a Lodge without first passing an examination according to ancient usage.
  16. No Lodge can interfere in the business of another Lodge, nor give degrees to Brethren who are members of other Lodges.
  17. Every Freemason is amenable to the laws and regulations of the Masonic jurisdiction in which he resides, and this although he may not be a member of any Lodge.
  18. Certain qualifications for candidates are derived from a Landmark of the Order.
  19. A belief in the existence of God as the Grand Architect of the Universe.
  20. A belief in the resurrection to a future life.
  21. The book of law shall constitute an indispensable part of the furniture of every Lodge.
  22. The equality of all Masons.
  23. The secrecy of the institution.
  24. The foundation of a speculative science upon an operative art, and the symbolic use and explanation of the terms of that art, for the purposes of religious or moral teaching.
  25. That these Landmarks can never be changed.

Some of the

ANCIENT LANDMARKS

See Proofs (prepared by H. B. Grant) in Ky. Book of Constitutions, 4th. Ed. (1889)

  1. The Ancient Landmarks of Freemasonry are the immemorial usages and fundamental principles of the Craft and, are unchangeable.
  2. Freemasonry (existing “from a time whereofthe memory of man runneth not to the contrary”), was anciently operative and speculative; it is now speculative, embracing a system of ethics – moral, religious and philosophical – and relates to the social, ethical and intellectual progress of man.
  3. Freemasonry embraces the degrees of Entered Apprentice, Fellow Craft and Master Mason, which are conferred in regular Lodges whose rites and ceremonies are private.
  4. The legend of the third degree.
  5. Secrecy is an essential element of Masonry, and every Mason is bound by irrevocable ties to keep inviolate the private ceremonies, signs and words of Masonry, and the business of the Lodge, including the ballot, and (excepting treason and murder) never to divulge any accepted secret confided to him.
  6. Writing or printing the esoteric part of Masonry plainly or by sign or otherwise, is contrary to the covenants of the Fraternity.
  7. The Covenants of a Mason do not conflict with his duty to God, his country, his family, his neighbor, or himself, but are binding upon his conscience and actions.
  8. Belief in the existence and reverencing the name of the Supreme Being, whom men call God, and whom Masons refer to as “The Grand Architect of the Universe,” is unqualifiedly demanded.
  9. Belief in the immortality of the soul and the resurrection to a future life.
  10. “The Book of Law,” Square and Compasses, are the Great Lights in Masonry, and their presence in an open Lodge is indispensable.
  11. The Principal Tenets of Masonry are Brotherly Love, Relief and Truth.
  12. The Cardinal Virtues of Masonry are Temperance, Fortitude, Prudence and Justice.
  13. The white lambskin apron is the badge of a Mason.
  14. The Square and Compasses are Masonic symbols of morality.
  15. The Saints Johns’ Days (June 24 and December 27) are Masonic Festivals.
  16. The “General Assembly,” or Grand Lodge, is the supreme legislative, judicial and executive body of the Craft in all matters Masonic within its territorial jurisdiction, and is composed of representatives from Lodges therein.
  17. A Lodge is an organized body of Freemasons, having a Warrant of Constitution authorizing it to work.
  18. Every Lodge, Grand and Subordinate, when lawfully congregated, must be clothed, tyled and opened before it can proceed to work.
  19. Masons meet in the Lodge upon the level of equality, and address each other as Brother.
  20. A Lodge, duly opened, has the right to instruct its representatives to Grand Lodge.
  21. Questions of politics, or sectarian religious beliefs, cannot be brought into a Lodge.
  22. A Mason in good fellowship with some regular Lodge may visit any Lodge not his own when it will not disturb the harmony of the Lodge visited.
  23. A Mason cannot sit in a clandestine Lodge, nor converse on the secrets of Masonry with a clandestine made Mason, nor with one who is under suspension or expulsion.
  24. The Grand Master is the executive head of the Craft, and presiding officer of the Grand Lodge, by which he is elected and whose laws he must obey.
  25. The Grand Master may preside in any Lodge in his jurisdiction.
  26. The Grand Master may suspend the Master of a Lodge or arrest a Lodge charter for cause.
  27. The officers of a Lodge are the Master, Senior Warden, Junior Warden, Secretary, Treasurer, Senior Deacon, Junior Deacon Steward and Tyler.
  28. The Master is the head of the Lodge, and, as a presiding officer, governs it according to the laws usages of the Fraternity, and may convene it at pleasure.
  29. The Master must have been a Warden [except in the formation of a new Lodge, or when no Past Master or Past Warden who is competent and willing to serve is a member of the Lodge].
  30. The Master, by virtue of his office, represents his Lodge in Grand Lodge.
  31. The Master becomes a “Past Master” at the close of his official term.
  32. The Wardens of a Lodge must be Master Masons.
  33. In the absence of the Master, the Senior Warden performs his duties. In the absence of both, the Junior Warden acts.
  34. Officers of a Lodge, Grand or Subordinate, hold their offices until their successors are lawfully chosen and inducted into office, or become lawfully disqualified.
  35. A Mason is not to urge any person to become a candidate for the mysteries of Masonry, for every candidate must offer himself voluntarily and unsolicited.
  36. Every candidate must be a man, free born, of mature and discreet age, of good morals and report, possessed of intelligence and having the natural use of his limbs that will enable him to receive and impart Craft mysteries.
  37. It is the internal qualifications of a man that recommend him to become a Mason.
  38. Careful inquiry into the physical, intellectual and moral fitness of every candidate for the mysteries of Masonry is indispensable.
  39. Advancement to the degrees of Fellow Craft or Master Mason is not to be made without examination as to the qualifications of the candidate, and by unanimous consent.
  40. Unanimous consent of the Lodge, expressed by ballot, is essential before initiation or admission to affiliation.
  41. A Mason must be a good man and true, conforming to the laws of justice and virtue, called “the moral law. “
  42. Every Mason must be obedient to the laws of the country in which he lives or sojourns.
  43. No Brother can recognize anyone as a Mason until after strict trial or lawful information.
  44. A Mason is bound to use the utmost caution when in the presence of strangers or profanes, that no sign, token or word to which they may not be entitled shall be discovered by them.
  45. Every Mason out to belong to some Lodge, attend its meetings and share its burdens.
  46. A Brother is not to be admitted to Lodge membership without certificate [or demit], due notice and inquiry.
  47. Every Mason must patiently submit to the award of his Brethren in Lodge assembled [subject to appeal to Grand Lodge].
  48. A Mason must be true to his fellow; instruct, admonish, defend and assist; but never traduce or supplant him.
  49. A Mason shall not have unlawful knowledge ofthe wife, daughter, sister, mother or servant of his fellow.
  50. A Mason should be diligent in business and pay his just debts.
  51. Every Mason must obey Lodge summons.
  52. The only penalties known to Masonry are fines, reprimand, suspension for a definite period, and expulsion.
  53. A Mason cannot be disciplined without having an opportunity to be heard in his own defense [unless he absconds or cannot be reached by notice].
  54. Every [affiliated] Mason is entitled to burial with Masonic [ceremonies and] honors.