Sons of the East Part 1 The Mystery of the Temple

by Midnight Freemason contributor
James E. Frey 32°

Temple of Soloman

My Brethren, within the Masonic tradition the temple of Solomon is at the heart of its teaching the way the Mason not only perceives themselves, but the world around them. So the greater we understand the Masonic and Biblical material regarding the temple, greater we may better understand the cultural and social context of change within the human condition. 
Looking at Masonic ritual and the Bible in a cultural context has helped me have greater insights into certain inconsistencies with regards to the Temple historically. Looking at the Old Testament readings I find a mystery surrounding this temple. This mystery is caused by questions I found within the text and Masonic regarding the temple and has caused me to research and delve into antiquity to solve it. 
So it is clear that Solomon is first charged to build the Temple by his father David upon his deathbed. David received an order to construct a temple to the name of the Lord God but due to constant wars David never was able to construct his temple. Solomon was given the duty to construct the temple and to contemplate his new responsibility he traveled to the land of Gibeon inhabited by the Hivites. The Hivites are the decedents of Ham and lived across the mountainous regions stretching from Canaan to Lebanon within the Phoenician state. “And the King went to Gib’e-on to sacrifice there; for that was the great high place: a thousand burnth offerings did Solomon offer upon that altar.” (1 Kings 3:4)
  Gibeon was a Canaanite city north of Jerusalem that established a truce with Joshua preceding the period of kings. The Gibeonites are described in both (Joshua10:12 and 2 Samuel 21:2) as not Israelites but Amorites which are referred to in Sumerian texts as early as 2400BC. The Amorites originated from the area now known as Syria and Canaan. They were a nomadic people who were known to settle in the mountainous region of Jebel Bishri before migrating south into Mesopotamia. The Amorites founded the city of Bashan south of Mt. Herbon, which was invaded and conquered when the Israelites entered the Holy Land (Deuteronomy 3:3-12). It was at this time the Amorites migrated north to Gibeon. It should be noted that the Amorites would eventually be a factor in the fall of the Sumerian empire in the third dynasty of Ur, which would found the Babylonian Stat, which eventually destroys the temple.
King of Soloman
Now the question remains why would Solomon travel to a foreign state to seek guidance from God? The Amorites were without a doubt worshipers of Canaanite deities such as Ba’al. Within the boarders of Gibeon it would not be uncommon to find altars set up to Ba’al among the various mountains and hilltops. 
Now the title of Ba’al is given to many different gods and priests alike throughout the region. But I find it clear that in Gibeon there were worshipers of Ba’al Pe’or, or Ba’al of the mountain because the Amorites that once inhabited Bashan is the area inhabited by the Moabites who associated Ba’al with worship upon the peaks or high places. So it is of my opinion that Solomon sought to seek God in a foreign land on a high peak known for Ba’al worship instead of his own High Priests because he wanted to make contact with the deity of Ba’al instead of with Yahweh?
 It should be noted that within the cultural context of ancient civilizations you would pay homage to the local deities whom protected the area in which you visited. Early Jewish people were not the monotheistic culture they are perceived to be in the Bible, but a polytheistic people. This is why throughout the Old Testament Yahweh must compete for the worship from the Israelites for Ba’al who again and again sends prophets to Jerusalem. In fact the Jewish people were not monotheistic until after the Babylonian exile when King Cyrus sent the prophet Jeremiah to the Israelites. (Jeremiah 3-5)
After this deep religious experience Solomon receives a dream from God confirming his fate to build the Temple. So he sends word to Hiram King of Tyre to help him in his construction project. Hiram king of Tyre was a Phoenician King who ruled the city-state of Tyre in the north. Hiram agrees to aid Solomon in his project because it is said that Hiram was a friend of King David. “Thou knowest how that David my father could not build a house unto the name of the Lord his God for the wars that were about him on every side, until the Lord put them under the soles of his feet.”  (1 Kings 5: 3)
Hiram King of Tyre was first charged to gather all the timber from the cedar forests of Lebanon. Hiram calls upon the Sidonians as the labor in Lebanon, Hiram’s only condition that he supplies his men with 20,000 measures of wheat and 20 measures of oil. King Solomon then took a levy or tax among all of Israel and raised enough funding for 30,000 men to hue the supplies in Lebanon. Over these men Adoniram was appointed to oversee the work as well as the transportation of materials back to Jerusalem. 
There is also mentioned 70,000 workers of the temple or barers of burden, as well as 3,300 overseers of the work. There is no reference to how funding for this was arranged by King Solomon, so I believe it is a safe theory to assume that Hiram King of Tyre compensated the majority of the costs as well as supplied all the materials for the building of the Temple. 
The question I propose is why would King Solomon who was charged with building a Temple to Yahweh, allow a foreign king who worships foreign gods not only to build and construct his temple, but also to cover the majority of the cost of that temple? This is the question I propose to you to ask yourself as we move forward. There is a mystery concerning this temple, a mystery that as Masons we may preserve and not even know it… is the Temple of Solomon a temple to Yahweh? 

A Tribute to Some Men Who Have Made Me

by Midnight Freemason Contributor
L. Scott Niccum, 33°

Larry Niccum
I have been strangely quiet for some time now. I have tried to make posts giving props to men who have made an impact in my life to make me a better man and Mason. In the past year, we have struggled with quite a bit of heartache in our household losing my father Larry Niccum, my father-in-law Robert Westover, and Ill Joe Ethridge, 33rd Degree.  All three of these men have had such a profound effect on my life and have molded me into the person I have become. 

While I have struggled with moving forward, I kept wondering how I could give these men the credit they deserve, which I doubt I could. As is too often the case, I toyed with the idea of just putting off writing anything because I just didn't want to face the fact that three men who meant so much to me were gone.  Strange as it is, it took the kind words of my mother (Joe's widow) and Joe. They both told me without words, “If you want others to know about these men, then you know what to do.” I am reminded of the many times Joe would come into my work for his newspaper and quote a bit of ritual and respond to me, “Is it just pretty words or a way of life?” and smack with his paper and say, “I’ll see ya tomorrow.” 

Robert Westover
The ritual which we as Masons recite in our Degrees is not just part of our ceremonies but the road map of our lives, if we choose. In the last few years, I have begun to learn the lectures for our Degrees and a better way to point out the road map the Grand Warden has laid out for us and how these men have already shown me. 

Ritual is something we as Masons all know. Whether it’s our favorite we love to hear or give, or one we remember from our Degrees. My question to all of you that have heard the words: Are they just pretty words, or do you use them to navigate your life with all mankind? 

Keep your eyes open for a breakdown of some lectures and how it may make some men be better Masons which I hope will make three men I love very proud.

We are all products of what we have been exposed to. These three have made a difference in my life. Who has made a difference in yours?


L. Scott Niccum, 33° is a member and Past Master Greenup Lodge No. 125 (IL) and a plural member of Hutton Lodge No. 698 (IL).  He is a member of the Valley of Danville, and is Past Thrice Potent Master of the Danville Lodge of Perfection.  He also serves as the Eastern Illinois Area Coordinator for the IL CHIP Program for the Grand Lodge of Illinois A. F. & A. M. and is the Traveling Degrees Chairman for Valley of Danville.  Scott and his wife Marie live in Charleston, Illinois.

Brother James Madison?

by Midnight Freemason contributor
                                                                Steven L. Harrison, PM, FMLR

     Fifteen Freemasons have served as President of the United States.  For the record, the accepted list of those Brothers is as follows: George Washington, James Monroe, Andrew Jackson, James K. Polk, James Buchanan, Andrew Johnson, James Garfield, William McKinley, Theodore Roosevelt, William Howard Taft, Warren G. Harding, Franklin D. Roosevelt, Harry S. Truman, Lyndon Johnson and Gerald Ford.  When compiling such a list, one always has to note that Lyndon Johnson advanced no farther than the Entered Apprentice Degree; but an Entered Apprentice is, indeed, a Freemason.

     I say it's the accepted list because there is some debate about whether others belong on the list.  The most notable of those is Thomas Jefferson who may... or may not... have been a Freemason.  New World Order theorists, anti-Masons and others with some form of off-base agenda erroneously claim other presidents, from George W. Bush and Barack Obama to all of them, belong on the list.  Then there is the odd case of David Rice Atchison.  There is no doubt he was a Freemason, and he may... or may not... have been president for a single day, March 4, 1849 — a subject we'll leave for another time.

     There is one president, though, where the keepers of the official list (whomever they may be) might have it wrong.  

     James Madison (1751-1836) is usually not considered to be one of the US Presidents who was a Freemason, but strong evidence exists that he was a member. 

     On February 11, 1795, John Francis Mercer, Governor of Maryland, wrote the following to Madison in a letter which still exists in the Library of Congress: "I have had no opportunity of congratulating you before on your becoming a Free Mason — a very ancient and honorable fraternity." 

     John Dove, an early Grand Secretary of the Grand Lodge of Virginia said Madison was one of the original founders of Hiram Lodge 59 in 1800, and became a charter member. 

     On September 20, 1817, Madison marched in procession with Charlottesville Lodge 90 and Widow's Son Lodge 60 to lay the cornerstone of Central College at Charlottesville (later the University of Virginia).  

     According to William R. Denslow in his iconic book 10,000 Famous Freemasons, Madison may have been a member of Hiram Lodge 59, Westmoreland Court House, Virginia, which became dormant about 1814.  All Lodge records were lost or destroyed.  

     Perhaps most telling, however, were the attacks made on Madison during the anti-Masonic period.  

     It is safe to conclude just about the only thing not confirmed about the Masonic status of James Madison - most likely Brother James Madison - is the name of his original Lodge.


Steve Harrison, 32° KCCH, is a Past Master of Liberty Lodge #31, Liberty, Missouri.  He is the editor of the Missouri Freemasonmagazine, author of the book Freemasonry Crosses the Mississippi, a Fellow of the Missouri Lodge of Research and also its Senior Warden.  He is a dual member of Kearney Lodge #311, St. Joseph Missouri Valley of the Scottish Rite, Liberty York Rite, Moila Shrine and is a member of the DeMolay Legion of Honor.

Masonic Week

by Midnight Freemason contributor
WB Gregory J Knott

     Earlier this winter I had the opportunity to attend Masonic Week in Reston, Virginia.  Masonic Week is considered by some to be the event for Masonry nationally if you want to meet the authors, movers and shakers in Freemasonry.  Despite the many high profile attendees, many people I speak with still don't know what Masonic Week is.
  Masonic Week is really a series of meetings of Masonic Bodies that use this opportunity to come together in one location and share Masonic fellowship.  The Allied Masonic Degrees (AMD) are the center piece of the meetings.  AMD was the original organizer of Masonic Week and it has been held in the Washington DC area since 1938.  Numerous including the Masonic Societythe Philalethes SocietyKnight Masons and many others held their meetings. 
  The absolute best part of Masonic Week is meeting the brethren attending.    I had the opportunity to listen and/or speak with Masonic authors Christopher HodappBrent MorrisArturo de HoyosAndrew Hammer and John Palmer.  The Masonic Society hospitality suite was one of the favorite stops on the weekend.  Here in an informal setting, you can converse with some of the most well informed brethren in Masonry today. 
 Brother Jay Hochberg of the Magpie Mason, has an excellent series of articles from past years of Masonic Week. 
 Masonic Week 2014 is already in the planning process and will once again be held in the Hyatt at Reston, Virginia on February 13-16, 2014.   I would encourage all that can attend to do so.  It will be an experience you will never forget.


WB Gregory J. Knott is the Past Master of St. Joseph Lodge No. 970 in St. Joseph (IL) and a plural member of Ogden Lodge No. 754 (IL), and Homer Lodge No. 199 (IL). He's a member of both the Scottish Rite, and the York Rite, and is the Charter Secretary of the Illini High Twelve Club in Champaign-Urbana. He's also a member of the Ansar Shrine (IL) and the Eastern Illinois Council No. 356 Allied Masonic Degrees. Greg is very involved in Boy Scouts--an Eagle Scout himself, he serves the Grand Lodge of Illinois A. F. & A. M. as their representative to the National Association of Masonic Scouters.

The Feast of the Paschal Lamb, An Honor

by Midnight Freemason Contributor
R.W.B. Michael H Shirley

Photo from Life Magazine
A couple of years ago I accepted an offer to become an officer in the George E. Burow Chapter of Rose Croix in the Valley of Danville, Illinois, Ancient and Accepted Scottish Rite, NMJ. I knew what some of my duties would be (perform in degrees, take on increasing responsibility in Valley functions, attend board meetings, buy a tuxedo), but I was unclear on one thing, since I hadn’t attended it: the Feast of the Paschal Lamb. The Feast is conducted annually by past and present Rose Croix officers as a memorial to Valley members who have died in the preceding year. My wife describes it as an All Souls Day ceremony for Masons, and that’s a pretty good analogy. It’s open to the public, and family and friends of the decedents are specially invited to attend. 

In Danville, most of the speaking parts are taken by Past Most Wise Masters, with current officers taking spots as needed. For the past two years, I’ve had the duty of reading the Mystic Roll, the names of those who have died. Given our aging membership, it’s a long list, and it takes a while to read, especially since it’s done along with a slide show of each member’s name and photograph. And of all the things I’ve done in Masonry, it’s probably what I am most grateful for. 

Photo by WB Greg Knott
Last year, I sat out of sight in a balcony with a hand-held microphone, reading names from a glitchy program off of the screen in front of me. I was too nervous to really notice anything save my desire not to miss any names and pronounce them all correctly. This year, I stood at a podium, reading each name as it appeared on the screen, looking ahead on a list in front of me. There were no glitches; my Rose Croix Brethren did everything beautifully and the slide program worked as it was supposed to. And I realized again that everything passes. These were men who had loved Freemasonry as I do, who had participated in degrees there at the Danville Masonic Temple, standing on the floor of the preceptory as I did, and now they were gone. Each name, each face, held a lifetime of joy, sorrow, and everything in between, shared with their families, friends, and Brothers, and now they shared just a little more. Each name became a meditation for me, a moment of solemnity as I spoke it as clearly and reverently as I could, thinking of the times past when this ceremony was conducted by men who had since then all been called home by the Grand Warden of Heaven, to the time in the future when our own names would be pronounced, to be followed in a few seconds by another name, and then another.  And ultimately, no one would be left alive who remembered any of us as anything other than a name. So getting each name right mattered. Speaking each name reverently mattered. 

Being part of this fraternity is a privilege, and nowhere is it more apparent to me than at this Feast, when I speak my Brothers’ names with gratitude, my acceptance of this obligation a part of my larger obligation as a Rose Croix officer, a Freemason, and a man. And so I stand there, as reverently as I can, looking at their faces, speaking their names. As had been done before, and would be again, by men across generations. Brothers, in unbroken line, standing and speaking for one another, past, present, and future.


R.W.B. Michael H. Shirley is the Assistant Area Deputy Grand Master for the Eastern Area for the Grand Lodge of Illinois A.F. & A.M.  He is the Past Master of Tuscola Lodge No. 332 and Leadership Development Chairman for the Grand Lodge of Illinois. He's also a member of the Illinois Lodge of Research, the Scottish Rite, the York Rite, Eastern Star, and the Tall Cedars of Lebanon. He's also a member of the newly-chartered, Illini High Twelve No. 768 in Urbana-Champaign. The author of several articles on British history, he teaches at Eastern Illinois University.

In Whom Do You Put Your Trust?

by Midnight Freemason Contributor
                                                                 Steven L. Harrison, PM, FMLR
Photo by Bill Bradford, Gray Lodge #329, Houston, Texas

     The candidate, as instructed, knelt at the altar.  In front of him in the east, the Worshipful Master stood at his podium and asked a question we have all been asked, "In whom do you put your trust?"


     Having encountered similar hesitation before, the composed WM rephrased the question, "In whom do you put your spiritual trust?"

     After another long pause the candidate finally answered, "I guess I put my trust in myself.  If you are trying to get me to say I put my trust in God, I can't. I don't believe in God."

     Another period of silence followed.  Still composed and carefully assessing the situation, the Master asked, "Would you please repeat what you just said?"  The candidate repeated his answer.  Standing before a hushed and stunned Lodge, the veteran Master knew exactly what he had to say next, "Brother Senior Deacon, you will escort the candidate to the preparation room."

     Freemasons believe in God; and we take it seriously.  It's not just lip-service.  We tolerate all religions, but hold a belief in Deity as the single non-negotiable requirement to becoming a member.  No exceptions.  And no exception was made that night, either.

     Epilogue: This incident took place early in March, 2013, at Brotherhood Lodge #269 in St. Joseph, Missouri, with my good friend Dennis Vogel presiding.  The Missouri petition is very clear in stating that the candidate holds a strict belief in God, but this candidate signed the petition anyway.  The investigating committee covered the issue of belief in God with the candidate; and the candidate very skillfully crafted a satisfactory answer.    The question in Lodge, however, "In whom do you put your trust," doesn't leave a lot of wiggle room... as the candidate discovered.


Steve Harrison, 32° KCCH, is a Past Master of Liberty Lodge #31, Liberty, Missouri.  He is the editor of the Missouri Freemasonmagazine, author of the book Freemasonry Crosses the Mississippi, a Fellow of the Missouri Lodge of Research and also its Senior Warden.  He is a dual member of Kearney Lodge #311, St. Joseph Missouri Valley of the Scottish Rite, Liberty York Rite, Moila Shrine and is a member of the DeMolay Legion of Honor.

A Builders Adventure or Just Playing with Legos

by Midnight Freemasons Contributor
Bro. Robert Johnson 32°

So there I am, strolling the aisles of Toys R Us with my three sons, all of whom are 6 and under. The excitement of toys and the never-ending same repetitive question, “Can I get this?”,  echoing through out the store and the answer always being something along the lines of “Your birthday is right around the corner, not today.”. However I do have a soft spot for my sons creative energies. Sometimes I will let them buy those dreaded, pointed, bone crunching, midnight snack ruining, put another quarter in the swear jar and the bane of my bare feet, LEGO'S. 

WM of Lego Lodge #1 Illinois
Well, I found out early on that one of my sons really doesn't enjoy Lego's to much except for the actual Lego people. And you know what? They sell “Mystery” packs where there is a type of figure in each one that you open and assemble. You could get a goblin, a wizard, a police man etc. So this was right up my sons alley. By the way his name is Emmett. So Emmett opens a few of these “mystery” packs and inside there is this checklist of all the different minifigures. As I look over it I am immediately struck by one in particular. It is the Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde figure. He had this top hat and a tux on. I suspect your beginning to know where I took this. 

So after some dollars spent, I managed to buy quite a few of these minifigure packs and assembled a Lego Freemason. I used the legs, torso and white gloved hands of the butler, the gavel from the judge, the top hat from the Dr. Jekyll Mr. Hyde and then had to fashion an apron out of a piece of paper. It looked good. I posted pictures of it on Facebook, people were going crazy asking where they could buy it. I had the un-pleasure of letting them know it was a venture in cannibalizing my sons toys.

Then, after the excitement dwindled, my son asked me “Where is the Lego mans lodge?”. It was an eyebrow raising question certainly. So I did the only thing a dad would do. I set out to build a Lego lodge room. I ventured to the Lego website and downloaded their CAD software which lets you design anything you want with Lego's in a real virtual space. And I did it, I built a Lego lodge. It was not easy, having to find pieces to make things look right, altering things ever so slightly and other times having to forgo a few details because they simply just would not work. 

The last rendering I published. 
In the end I wanted to have Lego ship me the parts to build in real life what I built in the CAD software. However this was not possible any longer. They discontinued the project which allowed one to do this in January of 2012. My disappointment was short lived however. After posting screen shots of the Lego lodge, several fans of the show on Facebook began asking me for the creation file which I generated for this since I had announced I did what I could and I would do no more to it. I have no doubt someone will indeed have the means to create this in real life with Lego's by having all the parts already. I cant wait to see what the Brothers come up with. Certainly it will be great.


Sir Knight Robert Johnson, 32° is the editor of the Midnight Freemasons blog. He is a Freemason out of the First North-East District of Illinois. He belongs to Waukegan Lodge No. 78. He is also a member of the York Rite bodies Royal Arch, Cryptic Council and Knights Templar, and a member of the Scottish Rite Valley of Chicago. Brother Johnson currently produces and hosts a weekly Podcast (internet radio program) Whence Came You? which focuses on topics relating to Freemasonry. In addition, he produces video shorts focusing on driving interest in the Fraternity and writes original Masonic papers from time to time. He is a husband and father of three. He works full time in the safety industry and is also a photographer on the side as well as an avid home brewer. He is also working on two books, one is of a Masonic nature.

Something Amazing Was Nearly Lost

by Midnight Freemason Contributor 
Steven L. Harrison, PM, FMLR

     I grew up in Indianapolis.  If you know nothing else about Indy, you know they hold a little party there every year on Memorial Day weekend.  They have dances, dinners, concerts, breakfasts and a huge parade.  Then, to cap it all off, several drivers strap themselves into small jets on wheels and go for a 500 mile Sunday drive.  If you've only seen it on television, try it live sometime.  TV can't possibly capture it.  Imagine standing just a few feet away from the fastest field of race cars anywhere, three abreast — the only major race that starts that way — as they scream by at straightaway speeds nearing 230 mph.  The person standing next to you can shout as loud as possible, but you won't hear.  Your body vibrates in the ruckus so that, in a way, you feel like you're touching the cars.  The scent of fuel hangs in the air... you can smell the start.  When you are there, you are in such sensory overload you don't just watch the Indianapolis 500; you participate.

     Early on, the Indy 500 carved out a place in my brain and took up residence there.  It's a part of me, and this year I will see my 40th race.  I'm sometimes asked what is the best race I've seen there.  I sometimes answer "all of them."  There is, however, one that stands out.

     That race boiled down to being a sprint to the finish.  Nineteen-year-old Marco Andretti, grandson of racing great Mario Andretti, was leading in what was his first Indianapolis 500.  Veteran Sam Hornish, Jr., who had started on the pole, was running second, but a long way behind.  Hornish continued to close and with  a bit more than a lap left, he caught Andretti and attempted a pass.  It didn't work.  Sam lost momentum and fell ten car-lengths behind.  It was Marco's race for sure.

     For about three-quarters of the final lap, Hornish stayed far behind.  Then he turned on the afterburners.  He came out of turn four two car lengths behind and closed in.  He went right, then left and started to pull alongside.  With 400 feet left in the race, Marco Andretti still led.

     From my seat at the start/finish line, the two cars looked like they were fused together.  Then, gradually, Hornish's car oozed out of the blur.  Steadily, he continued to gain on Andretti.  Then the cars roared past with Hornish ahead by a whisker.

     Sam Hornish, Jr. had won what many analysts call the most exciting Indianapolis 500 ever.

     But that's not what I wanted to tell you about.

     Winning a great race is important; but what is more important is the character of the man.  Born in Defiance, Ohio in 1979, Sam followed in the footsteps of father when he joined  Omega Lodge #564 in 2001.   He is also a member of Zenobia Shrine in Toledo.  Brother Hornish is known on the racing circuit as a spiritual man with deep conviction, and as a fair and clean competitor.  At the end of the 2006 race, he knew that pass he attempted with a lap to go was too dangerous.  He knew it was likely to wreck Andretti, if not both of them and he elected to wait for a better opportunity.  Asked about this in his post-race press conference, Brother Hornish said, "All the wins in the world don't mean anything if you can't be glad about it at the end of the day.  I don't ever want to win a race like that, feeling like I cheated somebody out of the opportunity to win."

     Brother Sam, now a popular NASCAR racer, has been an important supporter of Shriner's Hospitals for Children.  His dedication to the principles of Freemasonry are reflected in the foundation he has established, which continues to support the Hospitals and other children's charities.

     Something amazing was nearly lost in the breathtaking ending of his Indy win.  It reflects the demeanor and Masonic background Sam Hornish demonstrates on and off the track.  In addition to winning the race, he won the Scott Brayton Sportsmanship Award.  In the 100-plus year history of the Indianapolis 500, it is the only time the race winner has won the sportsmanship award.     Acknowledging the fact that in racing the spotlight is on the driver, Brother Sam contrasted that with his work in Freemasonry, “In Lodge, it’s not about one person; it’s about working together with the whole group."  He does that well.


Steve Harrison, 32° KCCH, is a Past Master of Liberty Lodge #31, Liberty, Missouri.  He is the editor of the Missouri Freemasonmagazine, author of the book Freemasonry Crosses the Mississippi, a Fellow of the Missouri Lodge of Research and also its Senior Warden.  He is a dual member of Kearney Lodge #311, St. Joseph Missouri Valley of the Scottish Rite, Liberty York Rite, Moila Shrine and is a member of the DeMolay Legion of Honor.

Who is High 12 International?

by Midnight Freemason Contributor
WB Gregory J. Knott

     WB Todd Creason and myself recently led the formation of a High 12 club - Illini High 12 Club No. 768 based in Champaign-Urbana, Illinois.  But as we were going through the start-up process, many of our brethren asked, who are High 12?
     "High Twelve International’s founder, former minister, E. C. "Wallie" Wolcott, who was the YMCA’s General Secretary at the time and eight of his business associates who were also Master Masons, met in Sioux City, IA, for fellowship and camaraderie and chartered the first High Twelve International club.  It was Founders #1, chartered May 17, 1921."

"High Twelve is an organization of Master Masons who support Masonic causes with special emphasis on youth support and patriotic events. There are approximately 9,000 members in over 250 clubs nationwide and in foreign countries."
     Brother Creason and I had been working on a Masonic lunch club for sometime and during a visit to the 2011 annual communication of the Grand Lodge of Illinois met Roger Carson, who was the Illinois High 12 Association President at the time.

     Brother Carson helped us work through the chartering process and in June 2012 we officially became Illini High 12 No. 768. Brother Creason is the charter President and I am the charter Secretary.  The club has been growing nicely and has over 40 members at the present time. 

     We have focused on 2 main goals for the club, emphasizing a relaxed informal meeting style and having guest speakers where our members have an opportunity to learn what is happening in our community.  Our speakers have included a college president, county officials, and civic leaders.

     Our club also has worked with the University of Illinois ROTC program to send care packages to troops overseas.

     An additional benefit we have found is that our meetings are a great way to introduce prospective members to Masonry.  Our meetings are open to anyone and several of our members have brought guests that have then petitioned the Blue Lodge.

     I am very impressed with High Twelve and would recommend that brethren that want another avenue for fellowship consider joining a club.  If there isn't a club in your area, start one, it's a relatively easy process and the rewards are large.


WB Gregory J. Knott is the Past Master of St. Joseph Lodge No. 970 in St. Joseph (IL) and a plural member of Ogden Lodge No. 754 (IL), and Homer Lodge No. 199 (IL). He's a member of both the Scottish Rite, and the York Rite, and is the Charter Secretary of the Illini High Twelve Club in Champaign-Urbana. He's also a member of the Ansar Shrine (IL) and the Eastern Illinois Council No. 356 Allied Masonic Degrees. Greg is very involved in Boy Scouts--an Eagle Scout himself, he serves the Grand Lodge of Illinois A. F. & A. M. as their representative to the National Association of Masonic Scouters.

A Tiny Restoration, With a Big Impact Pt 2

by Midnight Freemason Contributor 
Bro. Robert Johnson 32°

Trimming off the old stuff.

There it sat, ripped pieces laying around this great piece of art. The next step was to trim off all that old warped white board. So I pulled out my mat cutter and got to work. It was no problem at all, except for, you know, this was the only one, I could only do this once. I could NOT mess this up. 

After the cuts
So I lined up my edges, took special care and cut away. After making my cuts, I set it aside and really looked at it. For the first time since I had been in possession of this lithograph, I could focus on IT instead of the tattered, stained and warped edges. Essentially I had “broke off the rough and superfluous parts” to coin one of our terms. 

Next was to pick out some colors for the matting. My “Blue” lodge is home to a few Masonic bodies including a Royal Arch chapter. So I decided, not knowing if this belonged to the RAM chapter or one of the Blue lodges, to use the colors of each of them, a blue mat for the inside and a red for the outside. It looked nice mocked up anyway.

The mock-up.
Next was cutting those mats, which is a bit harder than just cutting off the old parts of a curled mat board. I had to measure precisely the opening and what not. It’s not super complicated, but it can be nerve-racking, especially since I was doing this on a Sunday and the store which carries mat board is closed in the event I had a mishap. 

Needless to say it went fine I laid them together, I liked what I saw and now just needed to put it in a frame. The final project was a complete success. When I brought it in the following Monday, the Brothers couldn’t believe what I had done with it. The Worshipful Master of the lodge even gave me some credit in open lodge at that nights stated meeting. It now hangs in the dining hall. 

The finished piece.
It had an impact to most of the brothers there in the sense that the enthusiasm to keep Masonic treasures like these and others well kept is not dead. In fact it is the complete opposite. Many Brothers I know from around the county preserve special pieces from their lodges history by not only just cleaning them but building showcases and the like. It really is part of who we are. 

Next time you see something that you think is special, Masonic or not, make a big deal about it, start a project to restore it and bring back some history. You will be surprised to see the reactions and the new found appreciation that comes alive. 


Sir Knight Robert Johnson, 32° is the editor of the Midnight Freemasons blog.  He is a Freemason out of the First North-East District of Illinois. He belongs to Waukegan Lodge No. 78. He is also a member of the York Rite bodies Royal Arch, Cryptic Council and Knights Templar, and a member of the Scottish Rite Valley of Chicago.  Brother Johnson currently produces and hosts a weekly Podcast (internet radio program) Whence Came You? which focuses on topics relating to Freemasonry. In addition, he produces video shorts focusing on driving interest in the Fraternity and writes original Masonic papers from time to time. He is a husband and father of three. He works full time in the safety industry and is also a photographer on the side as well as an avid home brewer. He is also working on two books, one is of a Masonic nature.

Jungian Dream Interpretation of the Virtues

By Midnight Freemasons Contributor
By James Frey 32

My Brethren, it has long been my belief that what truly makes a good man better within our fraternity is our system of ritualistic initiation. Many men can study philosophy but it is only through an initiation that a man can experience philosophy. This experience shapes the Candidate’s individual perception of reality. As every event shapes the way we perceive the world, then the ritual experience of philosophy will shape an unconscious reaction to a sense of duty for high moral attainment. 
 Another reason I believe the Masonic system produces a deeper change is the use of symbols as a method to teach the candidate. Before this new liberal education, which is in a state of constant state of change, was developed by so called experts. Man learned for thousands of years through symbols and symbolic recognition. As masons we realize the importance in symbols and how we give certain symbols psychological energy to create a change within ourselves. To understand how symbols affect our minds we must look at them in psychological terms. One of the main psychological theories concerning symbols and their relation to the unconscious is the work of Carl Jung. Carl believed that there existed a collected unconscious that connected all humanity together; within this collected unconscious exists the perfect form of the archetypes and how we relate to them is through out own individual unconsciousness. It should be noted that one’s personal unconsciousness cannot begin to experience the collected unconscious, so the archetypes of the personal unconscious reflect the cultural symbols in which the individual lives.
Jung theorized that every individual had a personal unconscious that interpreted universal images found throughout all cultures and religions these were deemed these archetypes. Jung theorized that archetypes, or universal images, are passed down through memories and exist in the collected unconscious. So symbols are used by our personal unconscious to interpret these archetypes as to relate them to the conscious mind. This is why we find so many similar characters and themes throughout the world’s religions, mythology, and culture. 
Jung believed that these archetypes were also aspects of ourselves and how we related to symbols were how we related to the world. One of the archetypes Jung described in detail was the anima. The anima was the inner feminine symbol of man. It was how we related to women physically, emotionally, environmentally, and spiritually. 
In masonry the Candidate experiences the Anima through the four cardinal virtues Temperance, Fortitude, Prudence, and Justice. Temperance represents the first stage of the Anima. This is interesting because the first stage is representative of physical love. The mason learns to curve that passion and to keep it in due bounds. What then happens is a psychological balance creating harmony. Albert Mackey, 33 claims the lesson of temperance is to “The mason who properly appreciates the secrets which has solemnly promised never to reveal, will not, by yelling to the unrestrained call of appetite, permit reason and judgment to lose their seats, and subject himself by the indulgence in habits of excess.” p763 
This is interesting because according to forbidden Biblical texts Sex is only a sin when man no longer sees the spirit in a woman and she becomes as only a physical being devoid of spirit in the perception of the individual. (Gospel of Mary Magdalene) So one must overcome their own perception of a woman as only physical beings to establish not only a balanced and healthy relationship but also a healthy view of the feminine side of life.
 In a mythological sense this stage is represented by Eve who brought sexual sensation into the world. You will notice that that temperance pours the water of life into a chalice. In Jungian dream analysis both water and a bowl are representative the passive psychological force. To realize the feminine aspect of our selves we must realize that that feminine aspect exists universally and is a spiritual element within ourselves.
The Fortitude represents the second stage of the anima representing emotional love. This is a step above the first, this representative of a lover, wife, and partner. Often personified in ancient times as Aphrodite, the love goddess of the Greeks. Mackey writes, “it teaches him to let no dangers shake, no pains dissolve the inviolable fidelity he owes to the trusts reposed of him.” (P270) This is symbolic of the pains of emotional love. Projecting the desired aspects of our psyche onto our partner will psychologically cause emotional pain. This is because we unrealistically perceive our partners to embody these archetypes and do not accept them for their flaws and basic humanity. You see her gazing into a mirror; Jung would say this is symbolic with a problem concerning our sense of identity. We must realize to embody those aspects of desire in ourselves and not to seek them in a partner. If we don’t do this we are using a relationship to fill this void within ourselves. This blocks us from psychological advancement. But once we learn this lesson, we learn to become better husbands to our wives, and better appreciate and understand our emotional devotion to them. 
Prudence is representative to the third stage of the anima cycle, which is representative of the mother. Prudence appears with a warrior’s helmet denoting a stern but protective presence. At her feet she nurtures a bush, which shows the great cycle of life and the motherly force reproduction. Preston, another Masonic writer and philosopher who first introduced Prudence writes “Prudence is the true guide to human understanding, and consists in judging and determining with propriety what is to be said or done upon all occasions, what dangers we should endeavor to avoid and how to act in all our difficulties.” We must learn to see that our environment shapes the feminine aspects of ourselves as we progress psychologically. Because it is through our mother how we shape our view of all women.
 This stage is also representative of the development of our relationships with our wife to that of a mother herself. As she progresses from a physical being to an intellectual being, to a loving being, we progress with her learning to love her in new ways. 
The last virtue of the anima cycle is the fourth and highest which is representative of Sophia the goddess of wisdom to the ancient Pythagoreans. In Masonry Justice personifies this. Justice represents the divine feminine within us all, she holds the balance to show we have attained balance of our masculine and feminine forces. She holds a sword, which in Jungian dream imagery is the most masculine of symbols. She wears a crown upon her head, which is representative of the right to rule. Her feet firmly planted on the ground, body upright and true. Mackey writes, “This is the cornerstone on which alone he can expect to erect a superstructure alike honorable to himself and the fraternity.” P374  
Through the virtues we learn as an entered apprentice how to better understand our connections to our feminine side within the universe and ourselves. By doing this we create a psychological balance of our active and passive forces. This balances us emotionally, as well as mentally. As a Mason we are charged to be a good husband, it is within the virtues we learn to grow our connection to our mate physically, emotionally, mentally, and spiritually. These symbols develop the way our personal unconscious interprets the archetype of the Anima and helps us develop our consciousness to a higher plane of existence. 


James E Frey, 32° is a Past Sovereign Prince and current librarian of Valley of Danville AASR. Founder of the R.E.B.I.S Research Society he sits on two Blue Lodge Education committees as well as a guest lecturer on Occultism and Esoteric studies in masonry. He is also a Member of the Oak Lawn York Rite, Medinah Shriners, and Golden Dawn Collegium Spiritu Sancti. He also works as a counselor with emotionally and behaviorally challenged children. 

The Conference of Grand Masters in North America Opportunities for Business and Fellowship

by Midnight Freemason Contributor
Steven L. Harrison, PM, FMLR

     Most Brothers don't get much individual time with their Grand Masters, but as editor of the Missouri Freemason magazine, I'm fortunate to have known several.  I'll never forget, however, as a new editor, getting my first call from a Grand Master.  It might as well have been the Governor of my state.  Grand Masters are important. 

     In my experience, the ones I have known have gone out of their way to show it's the members who are important, not the Grand Masters — and they do that for good reason... but more on that later.

Inside the formal meetings, it's all business.
     With all that in mind I was thrilled to learn the Conference of Grand Masters in North America was scheduled to meet right down the road from my home.  I immediately started making plans to go.  Then, not too long ago I told a friend I was looking forward to what might be a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity.  "Oh, Steve," he sighed, "I've been to that conference.  You've never seen such a collection of bombastic egos assembled in one place."  Wow.  I'd say his experience has been a bit different than mine.  I wondered if  Missouri has just been lucky to have a string of great, friendly Grand Masters lately.  I guess I really didn't know what to think as I lowered my expectations a bit and headed for the big show.

     I spent three full days at the conference, taking in everything so that I might, in a manner of speaking, see the light by which Grand Masters work.  I was also on a secret mission to locate a few of the bombastic egos my friend mentioned.  I had a great time, met so many people and took part in so many conversations by the second afternoon I had nearly lost my voice.  I must admit, it was one of the most concentrated assemblages of bigshots I have ever attended;  but my quest for bombasts went unfulfilled.  Here is what I discovered:

Outside the formal meetings the author 
and Illinois Grand Master Terry 
Seward renew acquaintances 
and share a moment of fellowship.
     The business meetings were... well... all business.  The Grand Masters took their responsibilities seriously.  On some issues their consent was unanimous, but they didn't always agree.  When they didn't, I saw spirited debate, but no pomposity or bluster.  That's just my unscientific observation, and I did not, mind you, see every minute of the business meetings.

     Outside the meetings it was a different story.  The attendees seemed to me to be outgoing, gregarious and were genuinely interested in what I and others had to say about the Craft.  None in any way seemed absorbed in his own self-importance.  And it stands to reason.  These men are the leaders of our fraternity.  They are its ambassadors and virtually by necessity have to be its promoters.  The atmosphere was friendly.  For three days I had a terrific time making new friends and acquaintances, and renewing old friendships.  I don't know if I'll ever get a chance to do it again, but I'd like to.  

     As for my friend who thought I was headed into an encounter with a lot of big egos, maybe he was just having a bad day.


Steve Harrison, 32° KCCHis a Past Master of Liberty Lodge #31, Liberty, Missouri.  He is the editor of the Missouri Freemason magazine, author of the book Freemasonry Crosses the Mississippi, a Fellow of the Missouri Lodge of Research and also its Senior Warden.  He is a dual member of Kearney Lodge #311, St. Joseph Missouri Valley of the Scottish Rite, Liberty York Rite, Moila Shrine and is a member of the DeMolay Legion of Honor.