Have Faith

by Midnight Freemason Contributor
RWB Michael H. Shirley

"My observation is that whenever one person is found adequate to the discharge of a duty, it is worse executed by two persons, and scarcely done at all if three or more are employed therein." –George Washington.

"Keep it simple" is a guide that rarely leads us astray, and it is a simple truth that "let George do it" is a temptation that grows as responsibility decreases. George Washington trusted others to do their best, and gave them the chance to prove their worth. Worshipful Masters well advised to follow this example. Show faith in those you lead and give them a task that will stretch them. They will almost always prove themselves adequate to its discharge. 


R.W.B. Michael H. Shirley serves the Grand Lodge of Illinois, A.F. & A.M, as Leadership Development Chairman and Assistant Area Deputy Grand Master of the Eastern Area. A Certified Lodge Instructor, he is a Past Master and Life Member of Tuscola Lodge No. 332 and a plural member of Island City Lodge No. 330, F & AM, in Minocqua, Wisconsin. He is Past Most Wise Master of the George E. Burow Chapter of Rose Croix in the Valley of Danville, IL; he is also a member of the Illinois Lodge of Research, the York Rite, Eastern Illinois Council No. 356 Allied Masonic Degrees, Eastern Star, Illini High Twelve, and the Tall Cedars of Lebanon.The author of several article on British and American history, he teaches at Eastern Illinois University.You can contact him at: m.h.shirley@gmail.com

Masonic Rings Revisited

by Midnight Freemasons Contributor
Todd E. Creason, 33°

Some time back, Midnight Freemason Brian Schimian and I wrote a tongue and cheek piece about the proper way to wear Masonic rings called Masonic Rings: Points In Or Out?  Let's just say it created quite a lively conversation.  It has gotten more hits than another other post in our history (thus far).  But there were some interesting ring traditions that came out of that discussion.  Local customs about rings run the gambit.

I thought I'd share one I thought was particularly interesting.

One Mason shared with me the way he's worn his ring everyday for as long as he's been a Mason.  He said every day when he's getting ready to leave the house, he takes his ring off his dresser and puts it on without looking at it.  He said if the points were towards him, he'd work that day on improving himself, and if the points were out, he'd work on improving the world around him.

To me, the way that Brother wears his ring encompasses what Freemasonry is all about--improving ourselves, and improving the world around us.  Often I find as Masons we spend a lot of time working to improve the world, and to make an impact on our communities, but we don't always spend enough time chipping away at that rough ashlar.  We should set time aside every week to work on ourselves through inspirational reading, spiritual activities, educational pursuits, working on our relationships with our family, friends and co-workers, learning new skills, working on our flaws--whatever it is that needs to be improved within ourselves.

So try and remember that the work we do on ourselves is every bit as important as the work we do improving our society.


Todd E. Creason, 33°, FMLR is the Founder of the Midnight Freemasons blog and is a regular contributor.  He is the author of several books and novels, including the Famous American Freemasons series. He is the author of the From Labor to Refreshment blog.  He is a Past Master of Ogden Lodge No. 754 (IL), and currently serves as the Secretary, and is also a member of Homer Lodge No. 199 where he serves as Senior Warden.  He is a member the Scottish Rite Valley of Danville, the York Rite Bodies of Champaign/Urbana (IL), the Ansar Shrine (IL), Eastern Illinois Council No. 356 Allied Masonic Degrees, Charter President of the Illini High Twelve in Champaign-Urbana (IL), and a Fellow of the Missouri Lodge of Research.  He is a charter member of a new Illinois Royal Arch Chapter, Admiration Chapter U.D.  He was named the 2014 Illinois Secretary of the Year Award by the Illinois Masonic Secretaries Association.  You can contact him at: webmaster@toddcreason.org

How to Solve the Membership Problem

by Midnight Freemason Contributor
Robert H. Johnson, PM

Not too long ago, I published the partial results of a few surveys I completed about certain topics within Freemasonry. The first was when I tried to ascertain if the AASR (Ancient Accepted Scottish Rite) brothers knew what the "Royal Secret" was. You can read those results HERE. The second time around I though perhaps I would ask what people thought Freemasonry is in relation to the question I proposed. Find those results HERE. And the last time I ran it, I tried to ascertain just what would make our fraternity better. So, I created the "Let's Make Freemasonry Better" survey. Those results have never been released...until NOW.

Shortly after I released some data, I was contacted by Bro. Greg Stewart, Masonic author, Blogger etc. He talked to me about a survey he ran back in the 1990s. I was amazed at the results which he shared with me. Now, another survey is underway. Brother Jon Ruark, PM is undergoing the most comprehensive data analysis that has ever been done. While many of the questions he asks are similar to what we have asked before, it's how you're able to filter those results when it's complete that matters. This can give us some really intriguing views into what our strengths, weaknesses are and any other trends that may be present. Please take the time to watch the video presentation Bro. Ruark made at the Pennsylvania Academy of Masonic Knowledge. Skip to the 17 minute mark, as annotated in the video to get right to the presentation.

Now, I will invite you to take the new survey, and again it is imperative that you do. Remember, you can skip questions but honesty will give us answers. Follow the link below and then, read on.

So, what now? I am finally ready to release all my data. For the first time ever...take a look at the charted data below and enjoy. Over 1000 masons from Facebook, Twitter and other social media outlets were surveyed.

Deportment and Upright Character

by Midnight Freemason Contributor
WB Gregory J. Knott

Returning from a road trip with fellow Midnight Freemason Todd Creason, to the 160th Anniversary rededication of Pekin Royal Arch Chapter No. 25 in Pekin, Illinois, we began discussing current day issues and the severe lack of civility in today’s culture and language. It wasn’t lost on either us, that Freemasonry has an incredible opportunity to once again help reshape American culture, with the very ideals that we espouse in our fraternity.  
One ideal that Todd brought up was “deportment” and I have to admit, I didn’t fully know or understand the definition of deportment. I was familiar with the word having heard it in the second degree charge, but it was time for me to do some homework.
Merriam-Webster defines deportment as “the manner in which one conducts oneself”.
The charge says in part: “Your past regular deportment and upright character have merited the honor we have now conferred…” (Duncans Ritual of Freemasonry).   
Is the charge only referring to our conduct as Freemason’s within the lodge?  What about our interactions with the outside world?  Do those matter?  The second degree charge also talks about a mason’s “upright character”, how does this interrelate with deportment?
Looking further at definitions:  upright as an adjective means adhering to rectitude, righteous, honorable and just; character refers to a person’s behavior, qualities of honesty and reputation.
A brother who has come through the second degree to hear these words, is considered by his brethren to have led a life worthy of first being elected to receive the degrees, then becoming an Entered Apprentice and having made further progress in Masonry by being passed to the degree of Fellow Craft.
We as Masons are expected to lead our lives both inside and outside the lodge in a manner that is exemplary for others.  The world is looking at our conduct, at our actions, listening to our words and examining our behaviors.   This is an opportunity and duty to influence the world in a positive manner.
Staying on this path is hard work, requires constant attention, is not always easy and may at times seem frustrating when so much of the world acts otherwise.  The benefits of leading such a life are large though, such as setting a good example for your children, mentoring and encouraging others, and improving your community and lodge.
There are many men in Freemasonry who I consider their deportment and upright character to be exemplary.  It’s one of the reasons I keep coming back to meetings, reunions and dinners.   Being around them and learning from them, helps make me a better individual.
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), Homer Lodge No. 199 (IL) and Naval Lodge No. 4 in Washington, DC.  He’s a member of the Scottish Rite, the York Rite, Eastern Star and is the Charter Secretary of the Illini High Twelve Club No. 768 in Champaign-Urbana.  He is also a member of ANSAR Shrine (IL) and the Eastern Illinois Council No. 356 Allied Masonic Degrees.  Greg serves on the Board of Directors of The Masonic Society and is a member of the Scottish Rite Research Society and The Philathes Society.  Greg is very involved in Boy Scouts—an Eagle Scout himself, he is a member of the National Association of Masonic Scouters. 

Leadership is Not a Transaction

by Midnight Freemason Contributor
RWB Michael H Shirley

“Charity sees the need, not the cause.” –German proverb

“Transactional Leadership” is a phrase to describe a rewards and punishments system of management. It is a perfectly valid form of management, but it is not leadership, and ought not be called that. We can hope that others will improve, but if we help them with the understanding that they will do something in return we are engaged in a transaction: we are giving nothing. A gift has no strings attached; when we expect something in return, we are thinking only of ourselves. If we would lead, we must give of ourselves, and set the example we hope others will imitate. Leadership is not a transaction.


R.W.B. Michael H. Shirley serves the Grand Lodge of Illinois, A.F. & A.M, as Leadership Development Chairman and Assistant Area Deputy Grand Master of the Eastern Area. A Certified Lodge Instructor, he is a Past Master and Life Member of Tuscola Lodge No. 332 and a plural member of Island City Lodge No. 330, F & AM, in Minocqua, Wisconsin. He is Past Most Wise Master of the George E. Burow Chapter of Rose Croix in the Valley of Danville, IL; he is also a member of the Illinois Lodge of Research, the York Rite, Eastern Illinois Council No. 356 Allied Masonic Degrees, Eastern Star, Illini High Twelve, and the Tall Cedars of Lebanon.The author of several article on British and American history, he teaches at Eastern Illinois University.You can contact him at: m.h.shirley@gmail.com

You Say You Want A Revolution…

by Midnight Freemason Contributor
WB Adam Thayer

I suppose I should start by telling you how Masonically lucky I am. At the perfect place in my life, I stumbled into Freemasonry, and have found something to commit myself to. I’ve established close friendships with my brothers, first in my home lodge, then later across the state, and finally worldwide. I’ve been blessed with a platform to write on, with like-minded brothers who teach me more than I could ever hope, and a great base of readers who encourage me to ever work harder. Thanks to brothers like Robert Johnson, I’ve expanded into audio, and I get to tell people around the world some of the cool articles I’ve found.

I love this fraternity, and am continually blessed by applying its teachings in my life.

Lately, however, I’ve noticed a growing trend towards.... let’s call it “dissatisfaction”. Maybe it’s been there all along, and I’m just now noticing it. Maybe, as some have said, the “honeymoon period” is over.

In some, it is pretty light and good natured (Hey, these minutes sure are boring). In others, it has become the kind of unhappiness that leads men to leave for good. In a few cases, I’ve even seen it becoming self-destructive, leading to ever more outlandish acts to voice their dissatisfaction.

The membership of our fraternity, in short, is suffering a crisis.

The issue of homosexuality in Freemasonry has become a lightning-rod for these problems, with brothers choosing sides, and vehemently digging in and defending their positions, but it is not the root cause of the problem, just the hot-button of the moment.

I’ve seen some men calling for a revolution, of sorts, similar to the rift that occurred between the Antients and the Moderns.

"You say you want a revolution, well you know we all want to change the world. But when you talk about destruction, don’t you know that you can count me out?"

I know, it’s rather trite to quote The Beatles in a piece on social change, but sometimes you just can’t write it any better than they did.

While I’m not afraid to fight for improvement in our fraternity, it’s important not to allow our passions to lead us into the destruction of those values we hold so dearly, and it’s equally important that we not allow our arguments to bubble out into the public view where it starts to hurt our reputation.

I don’t have any right to tell you that, because if you’ve followed me online, you’ve seen me speak vociferously regarding some of our issues. Had you asked me a week ago, I would have told you that it was important to fight the status quo, because the status is not quo. (Yes, I frequently quote Dr. Horrible in my daily life)

This week, I received feedback on another piece I had written from a non-Mason. It’s usually pretty cool when you get to hear from someone outside the fraternity on things they have picked up on from reading through our writings here, except this time the message wasn’t as great; he told me that he’s been thinking about joining for a long time, but that he keeps hearing about all the troubles we’re having in the fraternity, and he is reconsidering where his search for light is going to take him.

Reading it, I felt like I had been kicked in the stomach. In my zeal to seek improvements for our craft, I’ve contributed to scaring away the very men we’re trying to attract!

Gentlemen, I want to see a better tomorrow for Freemasonry, but I realized something important: it isn’t going to come from me. Or from you. The future of Freemasonry is going to come from the men who haven’t joined yet, and it’s our job to protect the fraternity until they get here, so that they may find in it all of the things we ourselves were searching for.

Because after all, don’t you know it’s gonna be alright?


WB. Adam Thayer is the Senior Warden of Lancaster Lodge No. 54 in Lincoln (NE) and a past master of Oliver Lodge No. 38 in Seward (NE). He’s an active member in the Knights of Saint Andrew, and on occasion remembers to visit the Scottish and York Rites as well. He continues to be reappointed to the Grand Lodge of Nebraska Education Committee, and serves with fervency and zeal. He is a sub-host on The Whence Came You podcast, and may be reached at adam@wcypodcast.com. He will not help you get your whites whiter or your brights brighter, but he does enjoy conversing with brothers from around the world!

Expect Greatness

by Midnight Freemason Contributor
RWB Michael H. Shirley

"It is the nature of man to rise to greatness if greatness is expected of him. " –John Steinbeck

Too many lodge leaders think that they can motivate others with harsh words and high demands. They can, but not in the way they think. There are two external drivers to achievement: the desire to prove someone right and the desire to prove someone wrong. Someone who thinks we are capable of great things can fill us with such confidence that we rise to their expectations. Too often, however, we are motivated to disprove others’ doubts about us. We can achieve greatness either way, but positive motivation is inherently creative, and negative motivation is inherently destructive. Anger motivates, but it destroys. Positive motivation arises from and creates love and gratitude. To create something positive and lasting, we must practice positive motivation. If we would be Masonic leaders, we must act first with compassion for others, and recognize high potential in those who do not see it in themselves. If we expect greatness from others, they will achieve it.


R.W.B. Michael H. Shirley serves the Grand Lodge of Illinois, A.F. & A.M, as Leadership Development Chairman and Assistant Area Deputy Grand Master of the Eastern Area. A Certified Lodge Instructor, he is a Past Master and Life Member of Tuscola Lodge No. 332 and a plural member of Island City Lodge No. 330, F & AM, in Minocqua, Wisconsin. He is Past Most Wise Master of the George E. Burow Chapter of Rose Croix in the Valley of Danville, IL; he is also a member of the Illinois Lodge of Research, the York Rite, Eastern Illinois Council No. 356 Allied Masonic Degrees, Eastern Star, Illini High Twelve, and the Tall Cedars of Lebanon.The author of several article on British and American history, he teaches at Eastern Illinois University.You can contact him at: m.h.shirley@gmail.com

Was a Freemason President Involved in Lincoln's Assassination?

by Midnight Freemason Contributor
Robert H. Johnson

Wild question right? Well, perhaps not too wild for some. There is a conspiracy theory which holds that Andrew Johnson, Vice President to Abraham Lincoln, was the culprit who arranged the Presidential Assassination. This conspiracy was so entertained in the day, that a special Congressional Assassination Committee was formed just to investigate Johnson! 

Here are some facts to consider;
  • Andrew Johnson was made a Master Mason in 1843 in Greeneville Lodge No. 119, now No. 3 at Greeneville, Tenn.
  • Andrew was actually Lincoln's third choice behind Hannibal Hamlin and General Benjamin Butler. 
  • Lincoln had little to do with his Vice President after the inauguration due to Johnson's public drunkenness during his speech to Congress. Reports of his slurred speech and inappropriate  commentary travelled far and wide. 
  • Mary Todd Lincoln and several members of congress were convinced that Johnson knew of the conspiracy and did nothing to prevent it. 
  • Several hours before Lincoln was shot, John Wilkes Booth stopped by the Kirkwood house to meet with Johnson, but he was not home. Wilkes left a note for Johnson. 
  • It is reported that while Johnson was the military governor of Tennessee, He and Booth kept two sisters as their mistresses, whom they shared and were frequently seen together! (Civil War Echoes 1907 by Hamilton Howard)
  • While Johnson refused to join the confederacy and did join the Union, he did not believe in the abolition of slavery. When Lincoln delivered the Emancipation Proclamation, it's widely believed that Johnson managed to secure a promise from Lincoln that while the proclamation would apply to all the slaves held by those states in rebellion, Tennessee would be exempt. 

The preceding are the bullet points of the conspiracy. There is truth and anecdote alike, but it's all in the history books. The motive? The Presidency, a broken promise about the abolition of slaves in Tennessee and the public shaming for his drunkenness. Johnson was cleared of any involvement by that special committee, but it didn't stop the rest of the United States from viewing him suspiciously for many years. Johnson of course went on to become the 17th President of the United States. While he has the respect of Americans for being a leader of its people, to say he didn't tarnish the name of Freemasons worldwide with his drunken antics is probably understated. As for the involvement in the assassination of Lincoln, well, only God knows. 


  1. Millard, Joseph "America's Greatest Unsolved Murder" True, February 1953
  2. "An Overview of John Wilkes Boothe's Assassination of President Abraham Lincoln."http://home.att.net/~rjnorton/lincoln75.html
  3. Rhodehamel, John, and Louise Taper, EDS. Right or Wrong, God Judge Me: The Writings of John Wilkes Boothe. Pbk. ED. Urbana: University of Illinois Press, 2001
  4. Hamilton Howard, Civil War Echoes (1907)
  5. Conspiracies & Secret Societies, Brad Steiger, Sherry Steiger


Bro. Robert Johnson, PM is the Managing Editor of the Midnight Freemasons blog. He is a Freemason out of the First North-East District of Illinois. He is the Secretary of Waukegan Lodge No. 78 and Education officer for the 1st N.E. District of Illinois as well as a former member on the Grand Lodge Education Committee. He is also a member of the York Rite bodies, AMD, The Illinois Lodge of Research and a member of the Scottish Rite Valley of Chicago as well as a charter member of the Society of King Solomon, a charity organization run by the Grand Lodge of Illinois. Brother Johnson currently produces and hosts weekly Podcasts (internet radio programs) Whence Came You? & Masonic Radio Theatrewhich focus 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 also a co-host of The Masonic Roundtable, a Masonic talk show. He is a husband and father of four. He works full time in the executive medical industry and is also a photographer on the side as well as an avid home brewer. He is currently working on a book of Masonic essays.

The Three Secrets Your Grand Master Doesn’t WANT YOU To Know

by Midnight Freemason Contributor
WB Adam Thayer

How about that headline? Pretty exciting, wasn’t it? Definitely made you want to click right through, and see what those secrets might be… Of course, if you’ve been on the internet for any length of time, you recognize this as what is being called “clickbait”. It’s a headline specifically designed to get your attention and get you to view the page, so that the owner can get some of that sweet advertising revenue from your views.

Why does it work? Well, there are two main aspects in play here. First, they are promising you something exciting and interesting, and perhaps even secret. Second, the human brain is oddly wired to find enjoyment in list-formats, because it tells them roughly what to expect, and approximately how long the experience will last. It’s crazy, and psychologists are still trying to figure out exactly why it works from an evolutionary standpoint. For marketers, it doesn’t matter why it works, they just know that it does.

For most of our existence, Freemasonry has avoided the “clickbait” trap of marketing. Instead of making attractive offers to induce membership, we’ve relied on a quiet word-of-mouth campaign to let the public know what we’re about, and gathered new members who came of their own free will. If you’ll indulge me (and if not, why are you still reading this?), I’d like to try something a little different:

Become a Freemason and learn the FIVE SECRET WORDS that can CHANGE the WORLD.

If we marketed Freemasonry like that, how many new men would we have pounding down our doors? Can you picture billboards and radio ads blasting that message, reaching parts of the public that we’ve never reached before?

What quality of men would we get? Would we get the men we want, who are going to contribute to the betterment of the fraternity? Or would we get the curiosity seekers? In short, would we get the best of the best, or the worst of the worst?

Clickbait marketing works, pure and simple, but is it a good fit for Masonry? I once wrote about recruitment in terms of a shotgun and a sniper rifle, and clickbait marketing is the purest example of the shotgun approach. Do we try to attract everyone, in the hopes that we get some good diamonds among the coal? Or do we continue to be selective in who we let in, at the risk of overlooking good men and potentially going extinct due to lack of interest?

The question I keep coming back to is: Don’t we already do this with our Rites? I can’t speak for how your experience has been, but I joined both the Scottish and York Rites on the promise that I would gain a further understanding of the symbolism in our craft, in ways that I could use in my own life to improve myself. Instead, I found ritual that was performed out of a book, by men who didn’t understand what they were trying to teach, and business meetings that were more stuffy and stilted than the Blue Lodge meetings that everyone complains about. Of course, not all areas face the same issues that my region does, so if you’re in a Rite where you’re getting good education, AWESOME! I hope you can help to spread that to other regions that aren’t doing it!

To me, it illustrates the true downside of clickbait marketing: you can attract viewers (or in our case, members) with it, but you won’t necessarily keep them. Even if you have great substance to back it up, you’re going to lose a majority of what you’ve gained; anything easily gained is also easily lost.

Unfortunately, I’m seeing the trend of clickbait headlines creeping into our education as well. On some other Masonic sites out there, I’m starting to notice more and more headlines that read like they’re an article from BuzzFeed or Cracked: “Twelve Secrets Of Freemasonry That You Didn’t Know”, “Four Surprising Men Who Were Masons”, and so on. They’re sacrificing content for clicks, and it shows; it is no surprise to anybody that George Washington was a Freemason, we all are aware of that, and you can’t claim to be shocked to tell us!

(As a side note here, I’m specifically NOT naming those sites, because I still have a lot of respect for them. To the brothers who run them and are doing this: please stop, it’s degrading to all of us.)

I’ve written myself into the worst place for an author to find himself: I have provided the problem, but I don’t have the solution! As a writer, I hate not being able to neatly wrap everything up in a bow for you, but as a Freemason I’m actually pretty happy about it. Freemasonry, regardless of what people tell you, doesn’t always provide the answers, but instead gives you the tools to start finding them yourself.

Now, if you want to find out what the actual answers are, tune in next week when we present “Adam Thayer Provides The Seven Answers That YOUR GRAND LODGE Doesn’t Want You To Read!!!”


Bro. Adam Thayer is the Junior Warden of Lancaster Lodge No 54 in Lincoln (NE) and the Worshipful Master of Oliver Lodge No. 38 in Seward (NE). He’s an active member of the Scottish Rite, and Knight Master of the Lincoln Valley Knights of Saint Andrew. Adam serves on the Education Committee of the Grand Lodge of Nebraska. You can contact him at adam.thayer@gmail.com

To Be Heroes

by Midnight Freemason Contributor
RWB Michael H. Shirley

”High sentiments always win in the end, The leaders who offer blood, toil, tears and sweat always get more out of their followers than those who offer safety and a good time. When it comes to the pinch, human beings are heroic." -- George Orwell

People want to be inspired to do great things and to become great themselves. We all secretly see ourselves as heroes, but know deep down that by ourselves we aren’t. Those who enable us to become what we want to be are the best leaders, because ultimately, leadership is about inspiring others to be great. That lesson is too often lost in our lodges, with the mundane business of running things driving out aspirations to a higher purpose. It’s hard to remember why we became Masons during the second hour of minutia-ridden discussion about the advisability of adding waffles to the pancake breakfast menu.

Masonry is a progressive moral science, whose principles and mystic ceremonies are constructed to convey eternal truths through allegory and beautiful language. It calls us, through its ritual, to live heroically. We cannot ignore the mundane things required to exist in the profane world, but if they become the center of our lives, then we have removed ourselves from the essence of Masonry. We have chosen to be mundane.

To live heroically does not mean that we should routinely charge into burning buildings or seek out danger. It means simply that we should aspire to live lives of great purpose, always looking to improve ourselves, and ever seeking to give voice to the better angels of our nature. Masons are called to be heroes in everyday clothing, helping one another and doing good wherever possible. Let us live, Brethren, in the ever-present creative promise of today. Let us be the heroes needed in this moment, now, for ourselves and others. Let us be Masons.


R.W.B. Michael H. Shirley serves the Grand Lodge of Illinois, A.F. & A.M, as Leadership Development Chairman and Assistant Area Deputy Grand Master of the Eastern Area. A Certified Lodge Instructor, he is a Past Master and Life Member of Tuscola Lodge No. 332 and a plural member of Island City Lodge No. 330, F & AM, in Minocqua, Wisconsin. He is Past Most Wise Master of the George E. Burow Chapter of Rose Croix in the Valley of Danville, IL; he is also a member of the Illinois Lodge of Research, the York Rite, Eastern Illinois Council No. 356 Allied Masonic Degrees, Eastern Star, Illini High Twelve, and the Tall Cedars of Lebanon.The author of several article on British and American history, he teaches at Eastern Illinois University.You can contact him at: m.h.shirley@gmail.com

The Midnight Freemasons Get an International Correspondent!

A Special Message from the Editor

Ever since Ill. Bro. Todd E. Creason started this thing called "The Midnight Freemasons", it's had this amazing potential to grow. It certainly has done that. With over a million hits, over 950 articles and posts on various Masonic topics by a team that went from just Todd, to a team of 8 to a team of 14.

Today is an important day. Today, we bring on our 15th regular contributor and our first international corespondent. The Midnight Freemasons are proud to announce that Brother Wayne D.J.  Greeley has accepted an offer to write for us. Bro. Greeley hails from Brisbane which is in Queensland, Australia.

Bro. Wayne has published a couple articles with us in the past, and you can view them through the links below. Congratulations and Welcome aboard Brother!

                                 The Second Crucifixion

Brother Wayne Greenley is member of Mount Pleasant Lodge No. 361 holding under the United Grand Lodge of Queensland. Currently he is studying a Bachelor of Laws (Honours) and a Bachelor of Business at QUT. In his spare time he likes to read, listen to music and research the Craft. He is looking forward to joining other orders when he’s permitted to in the next year and also to soon begin his journey through the progression of officers starting off with the Inner Guard.

Peace and Harmony

by Midnight Freemason Contributor
Bro. Brian Schimian

Peace and Harmony, seemingly this should be a simple concept. In the aspect of “within Lodge” the peace and harmony starts with the abstention from conversations related to politics and religion. This is a good start as these topics generally have deep rooted beginnings, which are instilled by our parents and others that we hold as pillars in our lives. Even the most educated and fact based position can and most likely will be taken as an attack against one’s self. Also in Lodge, we are supposed to maintain a “Brotherly” discord when discussing all matters.  Should the Brethren of the Lodge fail to subdue their passions, the gavel and word of the Worshipful Master is the final word.

Peace and Harmony in Lodge is also a pillar of the degree work. If you look at the teachings of all three degrees, you will find that topic repeated, either directly or through ritual and symbolism. Now if you also look at the teachings of the degrees, we learn that the Lodge or Temple is not just considered a physical building, but also to be considered as our mind and body as well. This is possibly easiest to be seen with the symbolism of the rough ashlar and the perfect ashlar. We are always supposed to be using the working tools to not only measure our interactions with the Brethren of the Lodge and those around us every day, but to ensure that we are living our life as upright citizens and continually working on our Temple or Rough Ashlar, molding ourselves into that Perfect Ashlar.

As in Lodge, at almost every point in our lives, we are faced with situations and questions where we as Masons are supposed to measure our decisions and actions by the working tools as they were described to us in our lectures. I will say that I do pride myself on the level of sincerity in which I hold the obligations and lessons which have molded my life thus far. I do try to make all of my life decisions by the Square and on the Level.  I like to live my life by a few simple rules which I find are summed up fairly well by the “Templar’s Oath”:

Be without fear in the face of your enemy.
Stand Brave and Upright, that the Lord may Love Thee.
Speak the Truth always, even if it means your death.
Protect the helpless and do no wrong.

Given my past employment, these rules have served me very well and ensured that I made it home after every shift. I have also learned to endure the worst of times, alone. I like to feel that I do not “need” anyone, even though we all do need others to lean on at points in our lives. A basic level of programming as human beings is interaction with other humans, on several levels. Everyone, no matter how independent of a soul, needs companionship and someone to share the joys of life with.  As Masons we love to meet and share in the bonds of Brotherhood. Some meet before and/or after meetings, some seek appendant bodies. I personally have found a deeper, tighter bond of Brotherhood overtime as I have found my way through different Masonic circles.  

After my father passed, I found a great ability to use writing as a means of therapy and meditation, helping to maintain some level of “Peace & Harmony” within MY Temple.  I get to write and work through the ideas bouncing around in my head and along the way, I hopefully get to find some answers and my readers hopefully get to take a journey and possibly find some answers of their own.  I do know that some have, because they have reached out and become very good friends to me. It is safe to say that if you are in my life, it’s because I value you. If you are in my life, there is little to nothing that I would not do for you. Blood makes you related, Loyalty makes you family.

To get back on track, the need to maintain “Peace & Harmony” in OUR Temples goes for the questions and decisions that we face and make daily. What to have for a meal, what clothes to wear for the day, which route we take to go to work, where and how we choose to spend the eight hours of the day reserved for refreshment and those for service to Deity. The relationships that we maintain and those that we walk away from. All throughout our daily life, we make decisions, some are simple and some are the result of nothing more than muscle memory. Others are trivial and some, a result of a lifetime of observations, interactions, perceptions and past decisions based on the same.

 So when we consider the “Temple” as our body and the shaping of our “Ashlar” as the decisions we are constantly making, all in a means of maintaining “Peace & Harmony”, what happens when you make a decision on a direction you want to go with your life and then all of a sudden something happens or someone you never expected walks into your life that seemingly changes you for the better? What if someone walks out of your life or are lost to the Celestial Lodge above? What if that something or someone challenges the past decisions that you have made, be they six days ago or six years ago? How do you maintain “Peace & Harmony” when you are made to question your own decisions?

Luckily the idea of shaping our Ashlar is symbolic and we do not regularly have to worry about the errant strike of a gavel on the chisel in an unsteady hand, removing more of the stone than we intended. Then again, inevitably the result of some decisions we do make will cause unintended results even when they are intended to be good, personal and/or internal. Once words have left your mouth, they can not be retrieved and as they say, actions speak louder than words. The best thing we can do to maintain OUR “Peace & Harmony" is to do everything in our power to bolster the same for those in our lives.  

The more “Peace & Harmony” we as Masons and Men can spread, the more solid our base becomes from which to build ourselves. Even if time does lessen the pain, the damage is there forever. With the most abundant attempts at reconciliation, that scar can never be repaired. Much like attempting to make a precision chisel in a stone. Sometimes you take away more than you intended or created a crack that can only be patched. When we make personal decisions about what we are going to do regarding the manner in which we live our lives, the same damage can be done if we do not have the ability to subdue our passions.  

We as Masons MUST learn to temper our responses in action and word. All the time, every time.  You can not however affect a change in another persons level of peace and harmony if they are not already receptive to the ideology. Sometimes you have to make the hard decisions and instead of asking why someone continues to hurt you, perhaps you should be asking why you keep letting them. Always remember that every decision we make is like a pebble tossed into a pond, there is always a ripple, if ever so slight.

For now, I am tempering my passions and sticking with: “Be patient, some things take time.”  Regardless of how I feel or what I want, I need to be patient. Which is something I am not particularly good at… Don’t judge me, I’m working on it… One person can only do so much and “do no harm” , to me includes not influencing another's decision by being negative in any manner, as easy as it may be to do. I feel that to do so, I would be violating my obligations as a Mason and a man, I have to remember to use my working tools. I must make sure that my actions are Right and on the Level, spreading Love and allowing others to make their own decisions.  That is the only way that I can see to maintain “Peace & Harmony” in MY Temple and that of those I hold dear in my life.  Even if that makes me fall short of MY wants. At least I maintain my integrity and my word.

I will weather the ripples that come my way, as I always do.


Bro. Brian Schimian is Life of Member A.O. Fay #676 in Highland Park Illinois and the Medinah Shriners - Lake County Shrine Club. He was also the Past Master Counselor of DeMolay - Lakes Chapter in 1995. Most recently, Brian became a Companion of the York Rite, joining Waukegan Chapter #41 R.A.M. Brian is a father of two children. You can follow his blog "It is. In God. I do." where he publishes even more excellent content. "Start Square, Finish Level"

Hope in the East

by Midnight Freemason Contributor
RWB Michael H. Shirley

There are days when I get depressed with the state of the things, and have trouble finding light anywhere. Today was one of those days, and, as is my wont, I turned for inspiration to Grand Orations of the past. Grand Orator Brother Beryl S. Kinser gave me just what I needed to read:

So, my brothers, let us, as Master Masons, let us always be facing the East, the direction from which comes light, hope, and promise, the bright and golden hours of the future.

In facing the East may we stand erect. The Supreme Architect of the Universe never intended that his workmen should grovel in the dust of negation and debasement or flounder in the gutter of moral disintegration and despair. This truth he impressed upon his prophet Ezekiel, a captive in Babylonia. God spoke to the prophet, prostrate in despair and hopelessness, alongside the Euphrates River, “Son of man, stand on they feet, and I will speak to thee. So may we be on our feet and face the East, standing erect, expectant and hopeful.

And then may we journey toward the East with regular upright steps, knowing full well that God expects of us rectitude of conduct and resolute purpose, for we are responsible and privileged persons, qualified to travel anywhere, to work and to receive wages.

When we journey toward the rising sun we are able to keep alive that glorious spirit which time and change can never make old. We will be moving toward the fulfillment of hope, the realization of better things to come and for us the dawn will come sooner and the light will get brighter….

Go East, old man or young man. Time and age have absolutely nothing to do with it except to provide the opportunity of adding wisdom and grace, dignity, stature and meaning, to life. Go East, man, and live!

There is hope in our gentle Craft, as Brother Kinser noted so eloquently. Sometimes it comes unbidden, without effort, but often it takes looking for it. Today I found it in the 1963 Proceedings of the Grand Lodge of Illinois. Look well to the East, Brethren, for there are better days ahead.


R.W.B. Michael H. Shirley serves the Grand Lodge of Illinois, A.F. & A.M, as Leadership Development Chairman and Assistant Area Deputy Grand Master of the Eastern Area. A Certified Lodge Instructor, he is a Past Master and Life Member of Tuscola Lodge No. 332 and a plural member of Island City Lodge No. 330, F & AM, in Minocqua, Wisconsin. He is Past Most Wise Master of the George E. Burow Chapter of Rose Croix in the Valley of Danville, IL; he is also a member of the Illinois Lodge of Research, the York Rite, Eastern Illinois Council No. 356 Allied Masonic Degrees, Eastern Star, Illini High Twelve, and the Tall Cedars of Lebanon.The author of several article on British and American history, he teaches at Eastern Illinois University.You can contact him at: m.h.shirley@gmail.com