Powerful Words

by Senior Midnight Freemason Contributor
WB Gregory J. Knott


The Scottish Rite Creed
The cause of human progress is our cause,
the enfranchisement of human thought our supreme wish,
the freedom of human conscience our mission,
and the guarantee of equal rights to all peoples everywhere,
the end of our contention.

Words have powerful meanings. Some of the most powerful words in Freemasonry for myself, is the Scottish Rite Creed. When thought about deeply, these words encompass everything that Freemasonry should be about. Let me use this article to breakdown further and what I believe they mean.

“The cause of human progress is our cause” A cause when defined as a noun by the dictionary means a principle, aim or movement that, because of a deep commitment, one is prepared to defend or advocate. As a Freemason, I can think of no higher calling than working towards the progress of all human beings. We have numerous opportunities to work towards this progress within our fraternity. By building the individual man, we prepare him to enter back into the world a stronger, more committed individual capable of improving the people and places around him. These contributions move humanity forward in a positive direction.

“the enfranchisement of human thought is our supreme wish” Human beings are unique amongst all the Supreme Grand Architects creations in that we have the capacity of intellectual thought. When something is enfranchised, it is set free or liberated and guaranteed. As freemasons, we are builders. We are builders with our thoughts, with our actions and with our deeds. A free mind has boundless capabilities and when encouraged and nourished will produce remarkable results that will have a profound impact on the world around us.

“the freedom of human conscience our mission” Knowing right from wrong is a foundational bedrock of a civilized society. By liberating the human mind, we allow mankind to progress in our intellectual capacity in obtaining a deeper understanding of the world around us. The freedom of human conscience puts no limits on the ability of the individual to develop their own beliefs in areas such as religion and politics. As freemasons, we place a priority on the individual to develop to the very best of their ability and contribute in positive manner to society and mankind.

“and the guarantee of equal rights to all peoples everywhere, the end of our contention” Oppression is still present throughout the world and the forces of darkness seek to limit the freedom of the individual. Freemasonry builds men to improve themselves as individuals, in turn we are to be exemplars in society helping to build and improve the world around us.

Does Freemasonry live up to these lofty ideals? My answer is yes. Do individual freemasons fall short? Yes, we do. We work towards the perfection of the individual knowing that achieving such may be impossible. Collectively we put forth our efforts together to make a difference in our families, nation and world.

There has never been a time in human history when the ideals of freemasonry are needed more. Let us resolve to continue our work of self-improvement and thereby having a positive impact on the world around us.

~GJK

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.

Star Wars and Freemasonry - 5 Things You've Never Thought Of

by Midnight Freemason Guest Contributor
RWB:. Michael Jarzabek


Editors Note: I first was introduced to RW Jarzabek a month ago by the master mind behind Masonic Con in Attleboro Massachusetts, Bryan Simmons. Mike Jarzabek is a profound thinker and blew my mind with what he told me about the seemingly insane connections between Star Wars and Freemasonry. Recently I had the opportunity to sit down with Mike and record a new episode of "Whence Came You?" podcast where we really dove into some of these ideas. That episode is a couple weeks away, when it goes up, I'll post a link in this article as well. Until then, here's a teaser... 
________________________________________

I'm not saying that George Lucas borrowed Masonic ideas, though he may have.

I'm saying that there are certain ineffable truths which speak to the human soul to which both Star Wars and Freemasonry allude. We will explore five such allusions.

Anakin, Luke, and Hiram as the Master Craftsman:

When we first meet Anakin and Luke we learn that they are both very mechanically inclined. Anakin builds C-3PO from junk parts. Luke repairs him.

When we first see the droid he is without skin. R2-D2 comments that he is naked. When he finally gets skin, it is tarnished brass. Later in the story, he receives gold skin as a gift from Padme.

The Hiram that we meet in the Bible (1 Kings 7:13-14) is the son of a widow sent to cast the bronze furnishings of the temple. In 2 Chronicles 2:13-14, he is said to be, "skilled to work in gold and silver, bronze and iron, stone and wood, purple and blue, fine linen and crimson, and to make any engraving and to accomplish any plan which may be given to him..."

If we, like Vitruvius, interpret the temple to be representative of the human body...

Death Star as the unfinished temple:
The monad or point within a circle has always been a symbol of the creative principle.
The Death Star mirrors this although it is illustrative of the destructive principle.

How can one symbol mean two different things?

In 1 Kings 8:63 we learn that 22,000 oxen and 20,000 sheep and goats were sacrificed to dedicate the temple to the lord.

The Death Star was to designed to serve as a symbol of the strength of the Empire. It was employed to sacrifice planets in the service of maintaining order in the galaxy.

Are the unfinished temple and the unfinished Death Star two sides of the same coin?

Darth Vader as the Tragic Hero:

George Lucas has gone on record proclaiming Anakin as the hero in Star Wars. He is a hero in the tragic sense. He earns redemption through sacrificing himself for his son.

Where is the parallel to Freemasonry? Preston included many literary allusions in the lectures. Among these is a reference to Hamlet's famous soliloquy. Hamlet is one of the best known tragic heroes in literature.

"To be or not to be..."

Broken Column:

In Freemasonry we see the broken column as a symbol of the fragile state of our mortal coil.

In Star Wars we see this symbol in the use of the bacta tank. Both Darth Vader and Luke are seen broken and floating in the healing fluid.

Is this a symbol of our humanity?

Hero's Journey:

George Lucas was influenced heavily by the work of Joseph Campbell who is the author of a book called, "The Hero with a Thousand Faces". After reading this book Lucas intentionally structured Star Wars as a monomyth or hero's journey. What makes Star Wars interesting is that it is hard to identify just one hero or journey. There are multiple heroes each at different points in their journey.

The same can be said for Freemasonry. Throughout the three degrees, reference after reference is made to heroes from history and literature. However, the individual lodge, better than any ritual, represents this principle as we the Masons within it are all on our own hero's journey. At different times in our Masonic career we are the neophyte, the mentor, and the Master.
Whether or not Lucas or Preston intended any of these allusions is immaterial. All that matters is that these allusions speak to us and help us to better understand the world through understanding ourselves.

"May the Force be with you."

~MJ

RWB Michael Jarzabek is a Past Master of Brigham Lodge in Ludlow, Massachusetts. He is a PDDGM of the 28th Masonic District. He currently serves as Chairman of the Lodges of Instruction Committee for the Grand Lodge of Masons in Massachusetts.

What Kind of Mason Are You? Revisit


by Midnight Freemason Founder
Todd E. Creason

Editors Note* Published just before Christmas in 2012, this piece recently came to mind when I was thinking about the types of Freemasons we have. Specifically, the dues payers and the guys who show up and make it happen. In any case, enjoy this one, it's the third time it's been posted. Guys just seem to love it, it's great! - RJ

Are you an active member
The kind that would be missed
Or are you just content
That your name is on the list?

Do you attend the meetings
And mingle with the flock.
Or do you stay at home
To criticize and knock?

Do you take an active part
To help the work along
Or are you satisfied to be
The kind that just belongs?

Do you ever go to visit
A member who is sick,
Or leave the work to just a few
And talk about the "clique"?

Think this over
You know right from wrong,
Are you an active member
Or do you just belong?

~anonymous

Midnight Freemasons Contributor Greg Knott forwarded this to me about this time last year. Everyone seemed to enjoy it a great deal last year, so I thought I'd repost it for those of you that have joined us since. I hope it makes you think . . .

~TEC

Todd E. Creason, 33° is the founder of the Midnight Freemasons blog, and author of several books and novels, including the Famous American Freemasons series. He is member of Homer Lodge No. 199, and a Past Master of Ogden Lodge No. 754 (IL). 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, and Charter President of the Illini High Twelve in Champaign-Urbana (IL). He is also the author of the blog From Labor To Refreshment . . .

Spreading Cement?

by Midnight Freemason Contributor
Bill Hosler, PM


"The trowel is an instrument made use of by operative masons to spread the cement which unites a building into one common mass, but we, as Free and Accepted Masons, are taught to make use of it for the more noble and glorious purpose of spreading the cement of brotherly love and affection, that cement which unites us into one sacred band or society of brothers, among whom no contention should ever exist, but that noble emulation of who can best work or best agree."

I was recently watching a home improvement show on TV. The host was explaining to his audience that when most people refer to the slurry which hardens and creates a hard, unmoving mass, they call it cement, however they are actually creating and using concrete or mortar. Cement is actually just one component in creating concrete; it is a binder which holds all the ingredients of the mass together.

It's no secret our fraternity is now smaller than it was after World War 2. Some say the large numbers who joined during the conflict had been an anomaly, that the number of men who hold membership in our gentle craft is supposed to be small. Others believe the decline in membership is a cause for alarm, and the Fraternity needs to try to bring the number of members back to the “post war” numbers (or even to surpass them) at all costs.

Freemasonry has been trying to replace these lost members for nearly half of a century, trying everything in their power to entice new members into knocking on the doors of our lodges. Slogans like “2B1ASK1” and “I M Committed Now R U”, offering one day classes, discounts on dues, even premiums like T-shirts or sunshades for your automobile have brought some new men into our Fraternity, but for one reason or another they have all left the quarries to seek what they are looking for elsewhere. We keep asking ourselves “why?”

Maybe, much like that concrete we have been calling cement by mistake, we are offering these men something we call Freemasonry but which doesn’t measure up to the expectations we have laid out.

If you ask any builder, a sure way to weaken a building you are making is to substitute the quality ingredients of concrete with inferior ingredients. Sadly, many buildings have been destroyed over the years by using “shoddy” building materials in order to maximize profit or to lower the price of a bid in order to get the work.

These inferior materials may stay in place long enough to complete the building, but after a while the entire edifice will begin to crumble and eventually collapse. Usually, sadly, many unsuspecting souls who are occupying the building can lose their lives to the builders greed or incompetence.

Slowly our Fraternity has been replacing the quality ingredients which creates the strong concrete which has held our Fraternity together and has replaced them with inferior materials or left them out of the slurry altogether.

From the late nineteenth century, when a few intolerant “temperance” zealots thoroughly removed refreshment while ignoring the virtue of temperance by convincing Grand Lodges to remove all alcoholic beverages from our meetings and Temples, we have slowly been replacing the quality ingredients that made a lodge successful, which, in my opinion, has been causing the cracks in our once solid foundation.

We have further weaned our Fraternity by replacing dues which paid the bills of our lodges and paid for the maintenance of our buildings by offering Freemasonry as cheaply as humanly possible and replacing the money by holding fundraisers which no one volunteers for and which are rarely patronized even by the members.

The once fantastic food that lodge members enjoyed on fine china placed, on a beautifully pressed linen tablecloth, has give away to baloney sandwiches and potato chips on a floppy paper plate washed down with warm iced tea or cold coffee.

At one point in our history, the Brethren gathered into a beautifully ornate lodge room. They sat quietly while the lodge organist would play a light tune before lodge was opened and a thoughtful evening of discussion and learning made the men feel spiritually fulfilled. Sadly today we get badly performed ritual done by a Brother who was asked at the last minute to fill the chair. Once lodge is opened the process of listening to several sets of minutes from previous meeting be read in a monotone by Brother Secretary while the Treasurer gets prepared to tell the lodge how much money they don’t have.

As an added bonus you get to spend the rest of the evening arguing over the cost of the lodge’s bills and then vote to pay them (even though everyone there knows these bills were already paid several weeks ago).

The rest of the evening is begging for volunteers for fundraisers or to fix a piece of the building that has fallen down, and everyone tries to escape as quickly as possible. The last one out of the building, please shut off the lights.

The last ingredient which remains, “the cement”, has been reduced to young men hearing “Back in the sixties, we had fun. You should have been here then.” When the young man suggests reviving these old traditions or starting new traditions they are stopped cold. They are told “We couldn’t do that” or the ever popular “Grand Lodge won’t allow that.” Eventually these young “living stones” fall out of our Masonic edifice because the mortar which binds them there isn’t strong enough to hold them in place.

The young men who are looking to join are looking for those quality materials we tell the world we build with. They are looking for education, enlightenment, a sense of Brotherhood and friendship, a reason that they are on this planet. They have been told that “Freemasonry makes good men better.” That is what they are looking for.

Brethren if we want a strong fraternity which will stand up to the the storms and trials of the coming centuries we have to replace the “inferior” building materials with the things which made us the strong Fraternity we once were.

~BH
WB Bill Hosler was made a Master Mason in 2002 in Three Rivers Lodge #733 in Indiana. He served as Worshipful Master in 2007 and became a member of the internet committee for Indiana's Grand Lodge. Bill is currently a member of Roff Lodge No. 169 in Roff Oklahoma and Lebanon Lodge No. 837 in Frisco,Texas. Bill is also a member of the Valley of Fort Wayne Ancient Accepted Scottish Rite in Indiana. A typical active Freemason, Bill also served as the High Priest of Fort Wayne's Chapter of the York Rite No. 19 and was commander of of the Fort Wayne Commandery No. 4 of the Knight Templar. During all this he also served as the webmaster and magazine editor for the Mizpah Shrine in Fort Wayne Indiana.

The Consultant

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


Congratulations to Very Much Most Worshipful Brother John Henry Doe, who has just been elected the Grand-Grand Master of all of Freemasonry.  This is an opportunity he has long sought.  He's been griping for years about the problems facing the Brotherhood and now he, and he alone, has the power to turn things around.  So, now what?

VMMWB Doe: Well, first, I put on my gold jewel, gold apron, gold crown, grasp my gold baton of authority and sit in my gold chair in the East.  

Then what?

VMMWB Doe: Oh, you mean that isn't enough?  Well,  talk, as you know, is cheap.  So all the griping I've been doing has pretty much been hot air.  If I have real responsibilities here, I guess I'd better hire a consultant who has a track record of turning organizations around… someone from outside the fraternity who can take an objective look at Freemasonry and make recommendations in the unlikely event we're doing something wrong.

Accordingly, VMMWB Doe, after much consideration, hires the best business consultant around, Edsel P. Highpower III, MBA, to analyze the Craft and recommend actions for improvement.  Highpower studies the fraternity and reports back to VMMWB Doe.

VMMWB Doe: Well, Highpower, what do you think?

Highpower: I think you're nuts.

VMMWB Doe: Excuse me?

Highpower: Everyone says you have a membership problem.  Membership has been declining for decades and continues to decrease.  I understand you don't just want anyone to join, but, still, you really do have a membership issue.  YET YOU EXCLUDE HALF THE WORLD FROM BECOMING MEMBERS!

VMMWB Doe: Are you suggesting we should admit women?  You just don't understand us.  I can assure you we will never admit women.  What other bright ideas do you have?

Highpower: You lack strong consistent leadership.  Throughout the world Freemasonry is a conglomeration of separate Grand Lodges loosely connected, each making up its own rules.  It's even worse in the US — Fifty or so separate Grand Lodges sharing territories with fifty or so other Grand Lodges, some not recognizing others for whatever reason; and, frankly, a couple of Grand Lodges going completely off the rails.  

VMMWB Doe: You just don't understand us.  Freemasonry is a grass-roots organization.  We will never have a universal central leadership.  All they would ever do is raise our per-capita.

Highpower: You missed the point. Where is your single voice for Freemasonry?

VMMWB Doe: What about me? I am, after all, the Grand-Grand Master.

Highpower: You know very well this is a fictional piece.  Let's move on to the next issue.  This is not your father's world; this is not your father's Freemasonry.  We live in a world steeped in promotion and advertising.  It's everywhere.  Google isn't just a search engine, FaceBook isn't just a social network; their very essence is all about advertising.  Freemasonry does little to promote itself in a world that increasingly only responds to hype.  The public usually only sees stuff from places like the History Channel with overtones suggesting creepy things are going on behind Lodge doors.  You need to consistently, regularly get the word out about your real purpose and activities.  You need to do it in a classy way and not come off like a bunch of snake-oil salesmen.  To put it succinctly, you need a public relations program, and it goes back to needing that single voice for the Fraternity.

VMMWB Doe: Highpower, you really don't understand us.  Some of the stuff on TV and the Internet is such drivel it's not worth our response.  And we certainly don't like people who blow their own horn.  Advertising or, as you call it, promotion, is beneath us.  You won't see that around here.  Didn't you find anything I can use?

Highpower: I found this — most of your Lodge meetings are boring.

VMMWB Doe: How would you know? You're not a Mason and you're not allowed to attend our meetings.

Highpower: YOUR OWN MEMBERS SAY THEY ARE BORING.

VMMWB Doe: If our own members thought the meetings were boring attendance would be really low.

Highpower: I rest my case.

VMMWB Doe: Highpower, you're fired.  I don't need you.  I can come up with my own ideas to turn this Fraternity around.  In fact, I'm planning to introduce one that will be great.  I'm going to call it "Every Member Get A Member."

Epilog: After implementing his innovative "Every Member Get A Member" program, Very Much Most Worshipful Brother Doe continued to see membership decline, but at a slightly slower pace.  He counts that as his greatest achievement as the Grand-Grand Master of all of Freemasonry.

~SLH

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 amazon.com.

The Legacy

by Midnight Freemasons Founder
Todd E. Creason, 33°


It's inevitable--the older you get the more you think about what you're leaving behind.  Have you made a difference?  Have the things you've done left an impact?  Have you been a good father?  What will remain of you after you've gone?

I don't think about my legacy much, but a couple weeks ago, I found myself in a local tavern.  I was lost, so I'd stopped for directions.  Perfectly innocent.  I didn't want to appear rude, so I had a couple beers while I was there . . .  No, my wife didn't believe that either.  Anyway, when I visited the men's room, I noticed the mirror over the sink.  There was a little bronze plaque on it.  It said, "In Memoriam: Joe Smith."  I changed the name, but that little plaque got me thinking that I hope I leave more behind than a mirror in a men's room in a local watering hole.  

Many Freemasons achieve at least some small level of immortality in their Masonic Lodges.  If you visit a lodge, old or new, you'll see pictures of the Past Masters on the walls.  You'll find evidence of those men that came before you without trying very hard at all.  And those are wonderful tributes to those Masons that have dedicated themselves to Freemasonry.

But that's not what I want to leave behind.  What I want to leave behind isn't a faded picture of my handsome face.  What I want to leave behind is a strong lodge.  I want to leave my lodge better than it was when I found it.  I want it to be a place that continues to inspire men.  I want it to be a place that continues to teach us how to improve ourselves.  But most of all, I want it to still be there when my grandson is old enough to petition.  And his son, too.  Because I believe Freemasonry is that important--especially today in our increasingly valueless society.

But change is hard in a Masonic Lodge, and too many Lodges are on a path that will lead to their eventual demise--coasting through meeting after meeting to their inevitable end.  Members are hesitant to change things, or try new things.  I've found that out the hard way.  I've been working at it for a long time, and it's always been two steps forward, and three steps back.  But we're finally making some slow progress forward.  

The other thing that makes change so tough in a Masonic lodge?  You spend years working your way through the progressive line, and you finally find yourself in the East.  You have it all planned out, and you have a great year (or two) in the East, and you're so happy with what you've accomplished.  Then the election comes, and a new Mason is elected Worshipful Master.  And he has all kinds of ideas of his own, and that direction you were taking falls by the wayside and your Lodge heads in a new direction.  And what about your legacy?  In most cases, two or three years down the road, there's not much left of it.  

You'll find that true at the Lodge level, and at the Grand Lodge level as well.  I was the Secretary of a Lodge for a long time, and every two years without fail, the focus, the rules, and the emphasis changed with the installation of a new Grand Master.  But I've been very fortunate to have recognized this trend early on, and I've found a way to mitigate that constant shifting focus that comes with a new captain at the helm every year or two.  It works well, so I'm going to share it with you.  

I've been fortunate to have been involved in creating two new Masonic bodies!  I know--that's pretty uncommon in today's world!  But in 2012, a group of us chartered a new High Twelve Club in Champaign, Illinois--Illini High Twelve.  It took us a couple years to get it together, and of course, we wanted to do a few things differently than a typical High Twelve, so we had some convincing to do.  But it happened finally, and I was the Charter President.  Several Presidents later, it's still going strong, and doing basically the same thing we wanted to do when we began.  

And right now, we're in the process of chartering a brand new Chapter of the Royal Arch--again, with a very different slant.  It's a Chapter with a focus on education.  That seems to be a theme with me.  Anyway, Education is the focus of every chapter meeting.  Not a very typical format for the Royal Arch Chapter.  Again we had some convincing to do, but in June our Charter was approved but the Grand Chapter of Illinois.  I have little doubt that our new Chapter, Admiration Chapter, will still be education based for a long time to come.  

How do I know that?  Because when we put together the Illini High Twelve and Admiration Chapter, we sat down with our charter members, and our charter officers, and we put together a plan of what we wanted to do.  Those two organizations both started with a crystal clear vision of purpose.

Lodges are no different.  If you want to leave a legacy--a lasting change--you have to get everyone on the same page.  As I said before, established lodges are harder to change without a doubt.  But it can be done.  But you're not going to do it during your year or two in the East, so get that idea out of your head.  Nobody is that visionary.  You've got to get your heads together and come up with some consensus of what you want to do going forward.  That way each successive Worshipful Master advances that goal further down the road rather than shift the focus entirely.  

I'm currently the Master of Homer Lodge No. 199 (IL).  It's an old lodge, and it has been teetering on the edge of closure for years.  We serve two year terms in Homer, because in the past, we've barely had enough to open some months.  Some years ago we had the discussion--should we try and save the lodge, or should we merge the lodge with nearby Ogden Lodge No. 754.  We decided to make one final push to save it.  

I'm at the beginning of my second year.  Since that conversation some years ago, all the hard physical work to restore the Lodge has been managed by my predecessors.  The Lodge is beautiful.  It's been patched and painted, roofed, some brick work has been done, and everything has been cleaned and polished.  Let's just say we've all invested a lot of sweat equity into that old building--and it is a jewel.  That building also serves as the home of the new Admiration Chapter.  Since the restoration it has been used by the Knight Masons, the Allied Masonic Degrees, the York Rite, the Scottish Rite, the Shriners, and has been rededicate by the Grand Lodge of Illinois (first time we believe that Lodge had been visited by the Grand Lodge since the building was dedicated in 1893).  

It fell on me during my term to fill it up with new Masons.  We tried a number of things last year, with somewhat disappointing results.  This year, we're working on the meetings.  Every meeting is an event.  We start with education, and we invite local lodges to join us.  Slowly, the word is getting out.  We've added a few dual members.  We've had a few guests join us for our education programs.  Change is beginning to take hold.  

In fact, we recently received a petition from a young man whose great-grandfather was a member of our lodge.  He visited the lodge during one of our open houses.  You should have seen the look on his face when he found photos of both his great-grandfather and his great-grandmother hanging on our walls--they were both active in the Eastern Star Chapter that met in our building many decades ago.  When members of my lodge see things like that, it makes all that hard work worth it.  

Now my exit from the East is coming, but I have no worries.  What I started during my term will continue.  Because it's not just me.  The next two Worshipful Masters are on the same page--incidentally the next two Worshipful Masters are also Midnight Freemasons contributors.  I'm pretty lucky to have Greg Knott as a Senior Warden, and Darin Lahners as a Junior Warden.  We share the same view of the importance of Masonic education and member development to lodge health and growth.  But the most significant factor is that the members of Homer Lodge are really enjoying the meetings!  If we can continue having great meetings that our members look forward to, and adding new members, I think Homer Lodge will be around for some years to come.  

As Masons, ensuring the continuation of our Lodge should be our legacy.  How are your great-grandkids going to see your picture hanging on the wall if your lodge closed decades before they were born?

~TEC

Todd E. Creason, 33° 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.  He is a Past 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.DYou can contact him at: webmaster@toddcreason.org

Gloria

by Midnight Freemason Contributor
WB Scott S. Dueball



A few weeks back I visited a family who is closely tied to my lodge. No, their father isn’t a member of the lodge, nor a brother, nor cousin; In truth, you have to dig back more than three generations to find a member of the Craft in this family. But that’s not what my story is about. Well, not exactly. Gloria was my friend and my very early inspiration. If it weren’t for Gloria, I might not have a platform to tell this story. And for that matter, I might not be doing any of the things that I do within Masonry if I hadn’t met Gloria first.

As I was preparing for my time in the East, I wondered why we seemed to know so little about the man for which our lodge was dedicated; other than the obvious: he was a Past Grand Master and former Mayor of Chicago. I began to dig and found that one person had become interested enough to write a book about DeWitt Clinton Cregier, Gloria. Gloria had a passion for storytelling. She had a knack for becoming attached to stories that had gone unheard, yet needed to be told. It was this story that would bring us together. Gloria was the youngest Grandchild of D.C. Cregier whose story had become lost in the one hundred some years since he’d passed. She would be disappointed in me if I told this story without sharing with you some of the amazing things that D.C. Cregier contributed to.

D.C. Cregier was so much more than a few titles. In the wake of the devastation of the Great Chicago Fire, he organized our Gentle Craft and established a fund to help displaced brethren and repair affected lodges. The fund had generated more than $90,000 in 3 months in 1872; An amount that would approach $3,000,000 in today’s dollars. Gloria would tell you that, “...her grandaddy helped fight the fire the night his house burned to the ground.” That is the sort of altruism we don’t often encounter in today’s world. Cregier is forever memorialized on Chicago’s landmark Water Tower, as the man who designed the city’s pumping system.

But I must remind you that my story is not (at least, entirely) about our Brother Cregier. His is a story for another time. I would not know D.C. Cregier nor have an ounce of passion for the telling of his works were it not for Gloria. It has been my supreme pleausre to serve the lodge which bears her grandfather’s name because of what our friendship has meant. When I visited her family a few weeks back, it was to say goodbye to my dear friend who had passed amidst the celebration and BBQs on Independence Day. Gloria’s family expressed gratitude for the light we provided to her near the end. That gratitude ought to remind each of us of our role in this life. I can never express what Gloria has done for me and, in turn, the Fraternity. I owe Gloria for sharing that passion for storytelling and I hope that some of her light will shine in every stone I contribute to Masonry.

~SSD

WB Scott S. 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 Grand Lodge of Illinois as the State Education Officer. 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 SEO@ilmason.org