An Unsuccessful Assassination

by Midnight Freemason Contributor
RW Robert H. Johnson

November 1st, attempt on Brother Harry Truman's life was thwarted in what was called "...the biggest gunfight the Secret Service had ever seen." In short, Truman was napping while two Puerto Rican Nationalists devised a plan to take out the president.

The entire ordeal cost the life of only one White House Police Officer, Brother Leslie Coffelt. One of the assailants was mortally wounded and the other was sentenced to death, which was later commuted by Bro. Truman, to a life sentence.

Update: Bro. Coffelt was laid to rest in Arlington Cemetery with a Masonic service done by Potomac Lodge No. 5

For further details, Follow Potomac Lodge No. 5 on Facebook. Many thanks to the lodge for updating us here at the Midnight Freemasons on the fraternal update of Bro. Coffelt.

See their post HERE


Bro. Robert Johnson, PM is the Managing Editor of the Midnight Freemasons blog. He is a Freemason out of the 1st N.E. District of Illinois. He currently serves as the Secretary of Waukegan Lodge No. 78 where he is a Past Master. He also serves as the District Deputy for the 1st N.E. District of Illinois. Brother Johnson currently produces and hosts weekly Podcasts (internet radio programs) Whence Came You? & Masonic Radio Theatre which focus on topics relating to Freemasonry. He is also a co-host of The Masonic Roundtable, a Masonic talk show. He is a husband and father of four, works full time in the executive medical industry and is also an avid home brewer. He is currently working on a book of Masonic essays and one on Occult Anatomy to be released soon.

Just Another Entered Apprentice Degree

by Midnight Freemason Contributor
RW Robert H. Johnson

The shuffling of feet, the sound of men laughing and the clinking of people putting on jewels. The jokes about apron strings being too short and the sound of the gavel. We opened lodge, we obligated a new brother and then we had dessert. I spoke to men about the degree and about plans to push unity within our district. We had a great degree night, you can even ask the candidate, he'll tell you it was awesome...I hope ;)

We went out for drinks since there was a nice pub about two blocks from the lodge. We sat outside so a few members could have their cigars while we all sat around,  joked, pondered and talked about all manner of Masonic things. Too be sure, it was definitely too cold to sit outside under the dark autumn sky. But no one, no one at all wanted to get up and go inside where the music was a just a little too loud and the conversation would've been stifled. And no one wanted to go home either.

We were just eight guys, including the new Entered Apprentice, sitting around and enjoying the fellowship. After we shared some jokes and some hilarious, yet embarrassing stories, we asked him, "Did you join the right fraternity?" He nodded his head and laughed. He said, "I was in the service, I've heard it all." And we all chuckled at that. Other than jokes we also offered him something else, something we offer every man who asks and puts in the effort.

We offer true friendship and brotherhood. Not the kind that ends when you move away, or the kind that only lasts as long as you hang around. What we offer is something more, it's special and ineffable. I think he gets it, so we did our job. As we all fell silent for what seemed to be just about a second too long, we all stood up and started to shake hands as we walked to the door and parted ways.

And that's it guys. Nothing special, but yet it is. Just another Entered Apprentice Degree, just another day, changing the world.


Bro. Robert Johnson, PM is the Managing Editor of the Midnight Freemasons blog. He is a Freemason out of the 1st N.E. District of Illinois. He currently serves as the Secretary of Waukegan Lodge No. 78 where he is a Past Master. He also serves as the District Deputy for the 1st N.E. District of Illinois. Brother Johnson currently produces and hosts weekly Podcasts (internet radio programs) Whence Came You? & Masonic Radio Theatre which focus on topics relating to Freemasonry. He is also a co-host of The Masonic Roundtable, a Masonic talk show. He is a husband and father of four, works full time in the executive medical industry and is also an avid home brewer. He is currently working on a book of Masonic essays and one on Occult Anatomy to be released soon.

Games in the Lodge

By Midnight Freemason Contributor
WB Gregory J. Knott

At a recent estate sale in my hometown, I acquired some items that were from the former St. Joseph Knights of Pythias (KP) lodge. This lodge closed at least 35 years ago and I didn’t know much about it. But in researching local history over the years, I know that many of the prominent citizens in our town were members and that it was quite an active organization.

The items I acquired, were not priceless pieces of KP history, but they were various pieces from some games. A cribbage scoring blank, a couple of dominoes, an inkwell bottle and a shuffle board puck. Similarly, when members of Homer Lodge No. 199 were cleaning out the attic, we found playing cards, poker chips and other games.

Like the items I acquired from the KP lodge, the items we found in the attic have no real monetary value, but do provide a real insight into the activities within the lodge itself from days gone by.

Growing up, we played all kinds of board games, card games including euchre, dominoes, etc. Most of the hours playing, were with my grandparents and others of the World War 2 generation. It was a great way to connect with each other and spend time.

I can imagine the brethren of the KP lodge, Homer Masonic Lodge and countless others across the nation also spent time together playing these games. This of course, was a time before social media and many other distractions that we use to fill time today, in our modern society.

These brethren were growing their brotherhood, by spending time together, without the need of a meeting or ritual. Just an informal setting, probably in the dining room, engaging in fun, and conversation. Doesn’t it sound relaxing?

At a future meeting, I am going to suggest that we have a game night. We can bring our favorite board games, dominoes or just a deck of cards. Invite family and friends. What a great opportunity to introduce a potential new member to the lodge, have an activity with our family, and build the bonds of friendship closer with one another.

Want to play?


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. You can contact him at

It's Not About Titles and Prestige, It's About Servitude to the Craft

by Midnight Freemason Contributor
Bro. Dan Gentry

I have a secret. The brothers who have met me may or may not know this. It is a deep, dark secret and you must be patient with me, it is difficult to admit. Brothers...I do not wear Masonic regalia outside of lodge events. There, I said it. Upon my car, you will not see any emblems or symbols, my hands wear but one ring, my wedding ring and it is not Masonic in nature. My shirts are mostly covered in warnings to others to not mess with me or are in support of law enforcement or fire departments. My hat is from the 101st Airborne where I served in the US Army, and my sweaters are usually of my old high school, my daughters high school, or some name brand.

I know that some of you believe that you need to buy me some regalia and make me official, some may want to adorn my car in stickers and emblems. How can I be a Mason and not show others this prestige of which I belong?? But just like titles I have had, I pay this no mind. I do not find I must advertise my relationship to the craft. In fact, in most cases, I believe it to be detrimental. Okay, so why do I tell you this? Why would I forsake the ritual of wearing rings and pins and buying lapel extensions for more pins, hats, shirts and more pins? It is a simple answer: I see no need. Why would I? So people will ask me about the craft and I can be a walking billboard and advertisement? I am an elitist of thought, believing that the only way to further the craft, is to make it harder to join. Make it mandatory to go through degrees slowly and not cater to the whims of an individual to boost numbers. Follow the patterns of the craft these last few years, and you will see we are on a decline in membership and I say, "good." Why? Because I want men who want to help the community, who want to study history and want to understand the esoteric value. Again, I'm an elitist and an idealist. Fewer people and higher dues. More "Brothers" and less of every other title. Less pomp and circumstance and more value and work.

You see, many men climb and claw their way up the ladders, and when they reach the "top", they feel the journey is complete because now they are what they perceive as at the top, and they have the title they deserve. This is appalling to me for one very important reason. I have been taught that each man who goes through the initiation is a Brother and I have been taught that "Brother" is the greatest title that could ever be bestowed upon me. Now I'm being told, "no, you need to have Right Worshipful and a PM after your name to have an opinion or to show your opinion has any worth". Funny part is, I'm hard headed and I am not big on rank, all this does for me is make me never want to move through any lines, serve in any position or take up any office of the lodge and it causes me to have disdain. I have been in chairs, by the way. In fact, I was an "unofficial official Senior Deacon". I was good at what I did, tried to improve every time I did it, got down and dirty with the esoteric values of the work and did my due diligence. You see, I was where the lodge needed me to be, doing what they asked me to do. It's not about titles and prestige, it is about servitude to the craft, and that servitude is diminished when it is overshadowed when a wrong sense of worth is attached to a position of servitude.

Do us all a favor, drop the titles, the hurt looks you display when you are "only" called Brother, roll up your sleeves and get back into the quarry and show the other brothers you lead from the front. The Army taught me that there are men that are actually leading the group, and the other ones are just reminding everyone what their "rank" is because no one wants to follow them. Sorry if this is harsh, but in my opinion, we've put up with it for too long, and it's time for those concerned with titles to move on and let the Brothers do their work.


Brother Daniel "Doc" Gentry is a Brother Master Mason under the Grand Lodge of Ancient Free and Accepted Mason's of the State of Illinois, in the 1st Northeast district. His sign is Leo, and has been known to enjoy long walks in blizzards. He is stubborn and has no plans of joining the York or Scottish Rite anytime soon. Also in his spare time, he is a great DM for D&D games. Sacred Geometery! You can reach him by email at

Another Day, Another Cliché

by Midnight Freemason Contributor
Steven L. Harrison, 33°, FMLR

There is a common scenario that, in one form or another, seems to crop up in almost every initiation I've attended. You may recognize it: at the end of the degree the Master gives the attendees a chance to introduce themselves and speak if they wish. Congratulations abound and at some point one of the Brothers will tell the new initiate, "You will get out of Freemasonry what you put into it." Another day, another cliché.

Then there's that other scenario. You meet an old acquaintance whom you know to be a member and he tells you he dropped out, "All they wanted was my money."

Did you ever stop to think those two overworked remarks are related?

Take, for example, our two esteemed Brothers John Doe and Joe Doakes. John and Joe are the same age and, like all of us, have family responsibilities and demanding jobs. Raised on the same evening, their Masonic journeys take two distinct paths.

John dives right in, starts helping out around the Lodge, participates in the social functions and eventually fills in for officers in their absence. He participates in degree work, becomes interested in the ritual and begins reading articles about its meaning. The incoming Master asks him to step into the officers' line and his progression through the chairs begins. He eventually becomes Master, serves on Grand Lodge committees, joins appendant bodies, his Lodge of Research and maybe writes a couple of articles himself.

Joe, on the other hand, attends a few meetings after his raising but loses interest. Every once in a while he comes to a meeting, but doesn't have much to say; he's not involved in any of the Lodge's projects and most of the planning just bores him. He stops going to meetings altogether and loses touch with his Brothers. They, in turn, don't bother to stay in touch with him since he's drifted away. Joe's proud to be a member, thinks Freemasonry does good things but something seems to be missing.

Each year John and Joe receive a couple pieces of mail from their Lodge and maybe a couple more from the Grand Lodge. Face it, most of those letters contain an appeal for funds.

Then one day, years after becoming members, John and Joe receive their annual dues notices. John pays and doesn't think much about it, except maybe that it's a small price to pay for the value he gets from the fraternity. Joe, however, looks at the statement and thinks back to his only contact with the fraternity this year — those appeals for funds; and now it's not an appeal… it's mandatory. He decides it's not worth it and tosses the dues notice in the trash, "All they ever want is my money."

It is true that we as members have an obligation to stay in touch with Brothers who are no longer active and to encourage them to become involved. However, another cliché comes to mind: "You can lead a horse to water, but you can't make him drink."

The ultimate responsibility for making this fraternity (or pretty much any other life experience) rewarding lies with each of us individually. When things get boring, do something about it (dare I mention, "when the going gets tough the tough get going?").
In the end both Joe and John are right. Joe was right when he said he only heard from the members if they wanted money. He was also right that something was missing. Unfortunately, what was missing was Joe himself.

John, on the other hand, indeed got out of Freemasonry what he put into it.

Most clichés become clichés because they are, ahem… "tried and true."


Bro. Steve Harrison, 33° is 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 Worshipful Master. He is a dual member of Kearney Lodge #311, St. Joseph Missouri Valley of the Scottish Rite, Liberty York Rite, Moila Shrine and a member and Past Dean of the DeMolay Legion of Honor. Brother Harrison is a regular contributor to the Midnight Freemasons blog as well as several other Masonic publications. His latest book, Freemasons: Tales From the Craft & Freemasons at Oak Island. Both are available on

Day By Day, The Masonic Way: Anger

by Midnight Freemason Contributor
WB Adam Thayer

Of all the emotions that we experience in our daily lives, anger may be one of the most potent. It has the ability to completely consume and overwhelm our rational mind, leaving us a complete slave to its whims. It, along with love, is one of our most God-like emotions; outside of love, the Bible speaks most frequently of God’s anger at His wayward children.

The most dangerous part about anger is that, often, it leads us into irrational, potentially damaging actions that can negatively affect us far into the future. Our peers, seeing our actions, may lose respect for us. We may say words in anger that damage, or even destroy, our relationships. If we’re especially unwise, we may even vent our anger in writing, leaving proof of our inability to control our emotions for all to see.

Brothers, this is an especially difficult topic for me, because I struggle with controlling my anger daily. To me, it has become an almost separate entity; a beast that has taken up residence in my mind and that I have to fight against to maintain the balance in myself. I had such a dread of writing this topic that I have developed an inability to write for the past two months and have had to rely on articles that I banked up for just such an occasion.

The thing about anger is, there really isn’t a good answer to it. If you indulge in it to get past it, you hurt those around you as well as yourself. If you bottle it up, it will eat away at you until you explode in rage. Besides, the whole goal was to control the anger, not suppress it.

In my search for more light about anger, I find myself contemplating two striking (and often overlooked) symbols from our ritual.

The first is the Volume of Sacred Law. Now of course each Mason brings to the table his own Volume, and I cannot begin to tell you what is in yours, however I can tell you the words of King Solomon that are in mine: “Fools give full vent to their rage” (Proverbs 29:11). Solomon was wise enough to recognize the importance of keeping his anger in check, and there is no greater example for a Freemason to inspire to.

The second symbol, which is one I find useful in so many situations, is the compass (or, if you prefer, compasses). The art of circumscription is one that can be applied to so many situations that it is hardly any wonder our ancient brethren chose it (along with the square) to be the most public symbol of our craft. It is a subtle craft; when appropriately applied, it may go unnoticed by the world outside of ourselves.

Taken together, these symbols become even more powerful; we can use the teachings of our Volume of Sacred Law to help us learn how to better circumscribe our anger. Our Volume of Sacred Law teaches us how to appropriately express our anger, and the compass reminds us of how to reign it in.

In theory, all of that is great. In practice, when the blood is boiling, and all I want to do is lash out and make the irritant feel as much torment as possible, it is very difficult to remember that there are boundaries to our actions that we must NEVER suffer our passions to cross. So, here are some practical solutions, in the hopes that you will find them useful, and that I will keep reminding myself of them:

1) Remove yourself from the situation. Odds are, if you stay within the situation, you’ll just make your anger worse, like leaving a pot of water on the stove until it boils over.

2) Think, think, think. What is causing your anger, what are some possible solutions, and most importantly ask yourself what the outcome would be if you really let your anger out like you want.

3) Talk, but do it carefully, and don’t stop thinking. It’s important to release the anger slowly and carefully, and in a non-confrontational manner. While you’re talking, instead of saying “you”, try saying “I”, and be specific. For example, instead of saying “You never do any of the work at the lodge”, try saying “I’m upset that I had to spend an hour cleaning the kitchen alone”. It is much more useful to express yourself in this manner.

4) Exercise. I hate exercise, but since I’ve started back in I’ve dropped weight, put on muscle, and feel much less stress than I used to. It’s important to not neglect the physical temple while we’re refining the mental temple.

5) Forgive. Forgiveness is one of the most powerful tools we have at our disposal, and can go a long way to healing ourselves and our relationships. If we start with forgiveness, we often find that the anger has resolved itself.

I hope this has helped you. I know that writing it, and just admitting my own issues, definitely has helped me.


WB. Bro. 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 He will not help you get your whites whiter or your brights brighter, but he does enjoy conversing with brothers from around the world!

Elections Have Consequences

By Midnight Freemasons Contributor 
WB Gregory J. Knott

With the presidential election just a few weeks away, my Facebook feed has been filled with posts about why you should or shouldn’t vote for a particular candidate.   It’s great to see citizens involved in our democracy, it strengthens our nation.
I have never missed voting in an election, and consider it both one of the highest privileges, and responsibilities that I have as a citizen.  But, why does voting matter, even if your selection of candidates is limited?   Because elections have consequences.
Let’s consider this phrase again; elections have consequences, even in your local Masonic lodge.   
When you put a brother in a chair, have you considered if they truly have the capacity to fill the position, and not just the chair?  If a brother starts as Junior Deacon and is planning to work their way through the chairs, can you look ahead down the road to see what kind of Worshipful Master of the lodge they might be in a few years?
One of the amazing opportunities in Freemasonry, is the ability to grow as an individual.  Being an officer, elected or appointed is certainly one of the ways to achieve this growth.   But being an officer may not be for everyone.   Let me reflect on some characteristics, that I believe are helpful to look for in an individual who is seeking election or appointment to an office.
Do they have the time? I have learned the hard way, that the monthly meeting is just the beginning of the time commitment to be an officers in a lodge.   There will be degree nights, dinners, practices, fundraisers, etc.   You don’t have to be at all of them, but you should be at most.
Do they have an eagerness to learn?   Each of the chairs comes with a certain level of responsibility.  In the progressive rotation, this amount of responsibility increases with each new position and reaches a capstone with becoming the Worshipful Master.  I found that an individual who wishes to learn, not just the ritual, but the responsibilities for the position, are good candidates for officers.  Learning is an excellent way for individual growth.
Do they have the ability to plan and ask for assistance?  By the time a brother becomes the Junior Warden, they should be seriously thinking about what it is they want to accomplish, as they work their way to the East.   Waiting until you assume office as the Worshipful Master to lay out your plans, is too late.   Planning at least a year in advance, putting together an annual calendar, asking brothers to assist in various capacities will greatly increase the chances of having a successful term of office.
Do they have the ability to listen?   Along with the planning process mentioned above, I am always looking for a good listener.   This individual knows that they cannot achieve success alone, and they are eager to hear what other brethren think and learn of their desires in helping make the lodge a success. 
Can they lead?  Being a leader is not simply a matter of issuing edicts and orders, but comes with a desire to serve others.   The term servant-leadership, was coined by Robert Greenleaf when he said, “The servant-leader is servant first…It begins with the natural feeling that one wants to serve, to serve first.”  The servant-leader is in a position to help others grow, shares the power, and by doing so helps these individual achieve their greatest potential.
Do they have compassion?  One of most important and basic tenants of Freemasonry is caring for others, and not just when they are sick or in their darkest times.  Having compassion could simply mean having a conversation with a brother who is troubled, helping the widow with raking the leaves or being there in times of illness and distress.  But it also means setting the tone in the lodge, so that it becomes a welcoming place where brothers want to come back again and again, because they know someone truly cares.
There are any number of other characteristics that are also important, and your list might differ from mine.  But recall the next time your lodge is holding elections, that the privilege of voting in the lodge is one of our basic rights as Master Masons, but it also carries that important responsibility of being informed and casting a vote that will impact the future of your lodge.
Elections have consequences.
For more information on voting within the lodge, read these articles I wrote in 2012 “Voting is a Masonic Principal” part one and Voting is a Masonic Principal - Part II.   
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.  

That Ashlar Ain't Going To Chip Itself: Part 2

by Midnight Freemasons Founder
Todd E. Creason

I emphasized in Part 1 how important it is for Freemasons to take the responsibility of educating themselves about Freemasonry seriously, and then sharing what they've learned with the Brethren.  But there's an even more important aspect to this education and research than just studying the subject of Freemasonry.  You know, they're called working tools for a reason.  If you want to accomplish anything, you have to use the tools yourself.  Apply them.  As my pastor would undoubtedly tell you, there's a big difference between studying the contents of the Holy Bible and applying what you find in the Holy Bible to your daily life--one is the study of theology, and the other is the application of faith.

That's the same thing we're talking about here.  When many of us joined this Fraternity, we did so with a desire to improve ourselves.  However, improvement doesn't come from filling our heads with arcane facts and information.  The improvement comes from actually applying the things we're learning.  Learning how to improve our character.  Learning how to improve the way we interact with others.  Learning to improve our moral character and living a virtuous life.  Learning how to improve the world around us.  Learning how to help those in need. 

But in order to be successful at this, we have to take a very honest inventory, and make a very detailed inspection of ourselves and our character.  Just like the operative masons did when they worked in stone, we have to find those imperfections, and the places that could use a little work, and apply those tools as necessary.  That's not an easy thing for some of us to do.  It's much easier to see the faults in others than to see the flaws in ourselves.  Honest self-reflection is something that takes great courage and great wisdom to be able to accomplish.  In order to improve ourselves we have to take a very long and honest look at the man in the mirror.

Ben Franklin had a system for doing this, and it became a habit he continued throughout his entire lifetime.  He identified 13 virtues he wanted to constantly improve himself on.  He kept track in a small book he carried with him how he did on each of those 13 virtues every day.  And each week, he selected one of those virtues to work on in particular. As remarkable a man as he is remembered as being, and as accomplished as he was in so many things, he never stopped working at trying to improve himself each and every day.

Freemasonry isn't a social club, although there is and always has been a social aspect to it.  If you joined for a ring and a bumper sticker, you're probably not going to understand what I'm talking about.  First and foremost, a Masonic Lodge is supposed to be a place of enlightenment.  It's supposed to be a place of learning--learning to improve ourselves, learning to better our character, learning to become better community leaders, better husbands, better fathers.  It's a place where men go and learn both from the wealth of knowledge Masons have accumulated over hundreds of years, but also from each other.  In too many places, this has been forgotten.  However, in many others, we're beginning to remember this again and the true purpose of Masonry, the self-improvement aspect of the Craft, is beginning to take root again. 

I encourage you to dive into all that Masonry has to offer.  Some of that knowledge you'll find in your Lodge.  Some of it in the library.  Some of it in the many wonderful research organizations out there for you to join and from the wealth of knowledge put out in the numerous publications this Fraternity has available.  There is so much there, you'll never be able to learn everything there is to know about Freemasonry in a lifetime.  But the study and application of even the most basic rudiments of our Craft will improve your life in immeasurable ways. 

You'll see those benefits once you begin, and it will drive you to continue to learn all you can.


Todd E. Creason, 33°, FMLR is the Founder of the Midnight Freemasons blog and is a regular contributor.  He is the award winning 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 the Worshipful Master of Homer Lodge No. 199 and a Past Master of Ogden Lodge No. 754, where is currently serves as Secretary.  He is the Sovereign Master of the Eastern Illinois Council No. 356 Allied Masonic Degrees.  He is a Fellow at the Missouri Lodge of Research. (FMLR) and a charter member of a new Illinois Royal Arch Chapter, Admiration Chapter U.D.  You can contact him at:

Past Master & Widow's Night

by Midnight Freemason Guest Contributor
WB Scott Dueball

Prior to being elected to serve in the East, I had known that I wanted to bring back the Past Master's and Widows Banquet. I have been a Mason all over the country and have seen the value that events like this provide to a lodge and its members. Like many, my lodge had become consumed with the minutes, communications and degrees and had lost sight of the responsibility we have to care for our widows. In the midst of our other duties, we had forgotten that solemn obligation that we have to the families of our Brethren especially after their passing. In addition, we had forgotten to recognize the devotion of the Past Masters who continually work to support the lodge.

What I will lay out is a plan that is both simple and impactful. My approach began with a theme. Having a theme helps to focus your message. Mine was "Lifetime of Service". That obviously describes the Past Masters but also speaks to the sacrifices that their ladies and our widows have made. This theme of service was woven into the presentations and recognition handed out. The theme was expressed through the favors that everyone took home to commemorate the evening: cannons used in our round of toasts.

Moving beyond the theme, I was looking for a way to add value for our widows. What would make the evening worthwhile? How can I re-establish a connection between the lodge and these ladies? It starts with communication. Not all widows want to be contacted. Our widows committee reached out and created a list of those who wished to be contacted by the lodge. From there, we made classy invitations on cardstock. Each of the widows received a handwritten note expressing that we would cover the cost of their meal. We stated that even if they could not attend we are here if they ever needed anything.

The Grand Lodge of Illinois has a number of social services available to its members. We have a programs that provide financial assistance, medical or dental assistance. Many of these programs cover our widows and orphans. We have social and healthcare workers who can direct us to all sorts of support. Unfortunately, I doubt that our ladies know that. we wrote to the individuals representing each of these programs who were more than thrilled to provide our widows with brochures, letters, and pamphlets. I typed up a quick note to the ladies with some upcoming dates and our contact info. It was important that at the end of the day, at least they know they can call us if they need anything. Lastly, I wrote to our Grand Master and asked if he would write a few words to our PMs and Widows expressing gratitude. All of these items were clipped together and handed out at the conclusion of the evening.

In the end, the event was a roaring success. Each of the widows spoke to me and felt the value that we had worked to provide. They asked when the next event they could attend would be and how they could participate in the work we were doing as an organization. Its difficult to articulate what that meant to me. I left feeling fulfilled. My advice is to remember who the event are for. Stay focused on the widow's needs and make sure to clearly state the appreciation you have for the Past Masters.

WB Scott Dueball is the Worshipful Master of D.C. Cregier Lodge No. 81 in Wheeling, IL and holds a dual membership in Denver Lodge No. 5 in Denver, CO. He currently serves the 2nd Northeast District of the Grand Lodge of Illinois as the Education Officer and a Co-Manager of the WheelingFreemasons page. Scott is also a member of the Palatine York Rite bodies and the Valley of Chicago A.A.S.R.-N.M.J. He is passionate about the development of young masons, strategy and visioning for Lodges. He can be reached at

Southern Hospitality

By Midnight Freemason Contributor
WB Gregory J. Knott

During a recent visit to New Orleans, I had the privilege of attending a third degree at Perfect Union No. 1.  Perfect Union is the oldest lodge in Louisiana.  According to some research I did, Perfect Union was chartered March 30, 1794 by the Grand Lodge of South Carolina, as Parfaite Union No. 29.  It’s work, was originally conducted in French and later in English, later it came under the jurisdiction of the Grand Lodge of Louisiana after the grand lodge formation.

My friend, brother Michael Poll, owner of Cornerstone Publishing and the Editor of the Journal of the Masonic Society, picked me up and gave me a quick tour of downtown New Orleans.  We drove by the former grand lodge building, which is now a Hilton Hotel and other buildings with a masonic connection.   I inquired, about the damage done by hurricane Katrina a few years back and Mike was able to describe the devastation the entire region suffered.  Many of the areas have come back and others have not.

We arrived at Perfect Union Lodge, which meets in the lodge building of Germania Lodge No. 46, as do several other masonic lodges.  This lodge building suffered damage as a result of Katrina, and has been restored and updated.   The ground level is a dining room and the lodge room is on the upper level.

Wonderful smells were flowing out of the kitchen as we entered the dining room, and as I expected, the brethren were serving a traditional southern dish of red beans and rice.   Though I had never meet any of these brethren prior (other than Mike and his two sons), I was greeted like an old friend.   The food and conversation was fantastic.

This being my first visit to Perfect Union, I met with an investigation committee so that I might be properly examined and thus proving myself to be a Master Mason.  

Upon entering the lodge room on the second floor, I immediately noticed some differences to the lodge rooms I am familiar with in Illinois.  In particular, the secretary and the treasurer desks appeared to be backwards.  Each desk had a symbol on the front of that particular office, and this is how I knew they appeared to be reversed.   But this is one of the unique differences of freemasonry in Louisiana.  

There are a number of lodges, that work under the Scottish Rite blue lodge ritual.   These lodges, were formed prior to the adoption of the current Louisiana Blue Lodge ritual and were permitted to keep their historical rituals.  Thus, some of the officer stations, are in different locations than in what is referred to locally, in the York Rite lodges.  Perfect Union Lodge, works the current Louisiana ritual and the third degree that I was to see, would be conducted in this manner.   

One of the unique artifacts in the lodge, was a statue of King Solomon.   This statue used to be on the grand lodge building in downtown New Orleans, but was removed and kept after this building was sold.  I have never seen anything quite like it.

The candidate being raised that night, was the nephew of the DDGM.    Brother Poll and his sons were all members of the degree cast.  Present in the room were a Past Grand Master of Louisiana, and DDGM’s from several neighboring districts. 

The work differed from the Illinois ritual I am accustomed to, yet the words were familiar.   The degree was performed with great precision and the candidate was raised in due form.

Visiting other lodges and jurisdictions, is truly one of the greatest privileges of being a freemason.  If you are taking a business trip or a vacation, I encourage you to see if there is a local lodge that may be meeting.   You will make new friends, and enjoy the fraternal comradery that our great organization is founded upon.

My thanks to Brother Poll and the other brothers of Perfect Union Lodge No. 1, for allowing me to visit and witness a third degree.


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.  

That Ashlar Ain't Going To Chip Itself: Part 1

by Midnight Freemasons Founder
Todd E. Creason
I often hear grumbling from new Masons that education is not being provided in their lodges.  Sadly, that's true in a great many places today.  In fact, I was disappointed myself when I became a Master Mason and found the same thing true.  I expected that what I had learned going through my degrees would be further explained and expanded upon.  That wasn't the case.  I joined the York Rite and found the same thing true.  I joined the Scottish Rite and found the same thing true.  It seemed to me that beyond the degrees, all those bodies at that time were offering their members were business meetings, long on business and completely devoid of any educational aspects. 

However, it does no good to grumble about it and try and push your Lodge into doing education.  The truth of the matter is that in many places, it's not that these bodies won't do education--it's because they can't.  It's been so long since education has been a part of that culture that many in leadership of these bodies have never learned anything beyond what is contained within those degrees, and the ritual itself.  There are no Masonic scholars or teachers there! 

So what I'm encouraging you to do, is to do the same thing I did.  Educate yourself!  There is no shortage of material.  There are libraries in many Lodges--sadly many unused, but on the bright side, you'll have the place to yourself.  Many of the terrific books on Freemasonry are available at Barnes & Noble or can be ordered from Amazon.  There are vast resources available through Masonic research organizations.  See if your state has a Lodge of Research.  There are great resources available like the Library at the House of the Temple with extremely knowledgable individuals like my friend Arturo de Hoyos there to assist you with your research topics.  The more you explore the topics of Freemasonry, and the more you network, the more like-minded people you're going to encounter--Masons interested in bringing education back to Freemasonry. 

Take personal responsibility for your education, and begin learning and researching.  And then share what you're learning!  Be the change!  You be the one to bring that education back to your Lodge, to your Valley, to your Chapter.  Travel to other Lodges.  Speak.  Write.  Network with Brothers that share your interests.

That's what I've tried to do.  And along the way I've run into a lot of Masons wanting to do the same thing--that's how this blog the Midnight Freemasons got started.  I started pushing out pieces back in about 2006 or 2007, and then a few years ago I got the idea to turn it into a contributor blog--then there were two of us, then six, then ten, and now 12 (there have been as many as 14 Midnight Freemasons)--and I couldn't even guess at this point how many guest contributors we've had over the last few years, and how many more we've got coming.  Our Editor Robert Johnson has the Whence Came You? Podcast.  He's was also instrumental in creating and being a member of The Masonic Roundtable podcast.  Just about all of the Midnight Freemasons have expanded into their own education projects.  It's an amazing thing to see--the remarkable research that's being shared, and the creative ways that it is being done. 

Fellow Midnight Freemason Greg Knott and I are very passionate about this subject, and have pushed hard on this topic for many years.  And we've had great success at it.  We've put together presentations, videos, and written numerous articles.  As a result of our efforts, we've run across many other Brothers wanting to do the same thing, and they've helped us put together a new High 12 Club that meets each month--simple format, we have a meal in a local restaurant, and we have a speaker that teaches our members something new.  And these Masons we've linked up with helped put together a new Royal Arch Chapter of the York Rite, Admiration Chapter, with a focus on Masonic education.  Not even chartered yet, Admiration Chapter is already experiencing tremendous interest, and is already growing rapidly.

As I wrote in my first book, Freemasonry has always attracted industrious men.  If you want education in your Lodge, and if you're reading this blog there is a good indication that you do, then don't wait for somebody else to do it.  Take your education upon yourself, seek out others with those same interests, network with knowledgeable people within the Fraternity to assist you with finding materials relevant to your research interests.  And when you feel comfortable that you've become knowledgeable enough to do so, by all means share it! 

I'll tell you from experience--there are no limits to what you can accomplish in this Fraternity if you're willing to apply yourself.  As you work on improving yourself through this process of learning, you'll be able to help improve others as well.  And I think you'll discover as I have, that there is nothing more satisfying.


Todd E. Creason, 33°, FMLR is the Founder of the Midnight Freemasons blog and is a regular contributor.  He is the award winning 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 the Worshipful Master of Homer Lodge No. 199 and a Past Master of Ogden Lodge No. 754, where is currently serves as Secretary.  He is the Sovereign Master of the Eastern Illinois Council No. 356 Allied Masonic Degrees.  He is a Fellow at the Missouri Lodge of Research. (FMLR) and a charter member of a new Illinois Royal Arch Chapter, Admiration Chapter U.D.  You can contact him at: