The Aha Moment

by Midnight Freemasons Founder
Todd E. Creason, 33°

Long before I was a Freemason, or a writer, I was a musician.  I spent countless hours behind a keyboard perfecting my craft.  I played in bands.  I played in bars.  I played everywhere.  One of my first jobs was in a music store.  I loved it then, and I still do.  I also taught piano for many years.

I enjoyed teaching.  The vast majority of my students became proficient in playing the piano.  A few went much further.  A few of my students had that "Aha Moment" like I did as they practiced.  For some it happened in a moment as if flipping a switch, and with a few it happened more slowly as their understanding of music and the instrument grew.  The aha moment is when suddenly that student stepped beyond just playing the notes written on the page, and started to play music.  You become a musician when the music becomes more than notes--when it becomes a form of expression.  And that's when the student begins to take off, and soon the teacher isn't teaching basic skills anymore, they are teaching the student techniques for turning their passion into music.

Very few music students have the aha moment.  They learn to read the notes and play the music on the page proficiently.  They play a saxophone in the school band, or play the piano in church on Sunday mornings.  But music never becomes a form of self expression--for them the piano is a tool, and music is a skill.  Not much different than learning to type a letter on a computer. 

I've had many aha moments in my life.  I had it as a piano student the first time when suddenly everything clicked, and if I could hear the music in my head I could play it on the piano.  I had it many years later one Sunday morning as I sat in church, when what I'd been listening to week after week suddenly rang true.  And I had that aha moment in a Masonic Lodge a year or so after I was raised a Master Mason--that moment when I suddenly realized somewhere between the ritual and what I'd been reading that Freemasonry was much more than a Fraternity.  I realized it was a way of life--a life changing path to a happier, more productive and meaningful existence!

Like with my piano students from years back, the vast majority of Freemasons will never understand that completely.  They'll never have that aha moment.  Just like when I was teaching piano, it's impossible to know which ones will, and which ones won't come to that greater understanding of the Craft.  We should go about teaching and mentoring every new Mason enthusiastically, because even the ones that never have that "aha moment" will still learn some basic concepts and skills they'll be able to benefit from and be able to use in life.

But those few that do truly gain an understanding of Freemasonry as it was intended--well, they'll be transformed and forever changed by it.  Those are the teachers, the mentors, the researchers, the writers, and the leaders of tomorrow.


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 No. 282.  You can contact him at:

From The Museum To The Lodge

by Midnight Freemasons Guest Contributor

Travis Simpkins

Since joining Freemasonry two years ago, I have often been asked what prompted my decision to submit a petition. I wasn't a very typical candidate. I didn't have a Masonic family connection and I didn't have any friends that I knew to be Masons. So, for me, it really wasn't a plain and direct choice. Rather, Freemasonry was a destination I found on a circuitous path that began in the galleries of a Museum.

Then, as now, I was involved with several different museums: the Isabella Stewart Gardner Museum, Worcester Art Museum, Worcester Historical Museum, the Massachusetts State House and I spent a great deal of time at the Museum of Fine Arts in Boston. The art museums are encyclopedic collections that range from Ancient Art to Andy Warhol. The historical museum and the State House contain objects with a localized American focus. As someone who is equally interested in ancient cultures and colonial history, these collective institutions were the perfect places to be.

I've been intrigued by everything related to ancient Egypt for as long as I can remember. Part of my museum assignments center on creating sketches of works in the collections and I still enjoy spending productive hours surrounded by archaeological treasures from Egyptian tombs. My initial interest in Masonic themes was fostered in those rooms. I don't recall the exact progression of studies that led me from one point to another, but references to Freemasonry's esoteric and stylistic influences are encountered frequently the more you look into the history of modern Egyptology from the 18th to the 20th Centuries. I have a curious mind, and through additional reading, I very quickly developed a respect for Masonic philosophy and practice. The concepts of self-improvement and a deep connection with history, which are so inherent within Freemasonry, were things that I found appealing and wanted to learn more about.

Masonic symbols and aesthetics interested me as well, and I'd spend a lot of time admiring a set of silver Masonic jewels created by Paul Revere in 1793 that were on display at the Worcester Art Museum. Also, a nearby gallery housed a collection of arms and armor that were inherited from the Higgins Armory Museum when it closed in 2013. Included among those objects was an early 19th Century ceremonial sword with a skull and crossbones on the hilt, utilized in the 28th Degree (Knight of the Sun) of the Ancient and Accepted Scottish Rite. My interest was piqued.

While watching a Masonic-themed documentary, I was impressed with the insights of one of the presenters, Dr. Mark Koltko-Rivera. I contacted him, explained who I am and that I was interested in learning more about joining. Brother Mark not only provided me with information, but he also directed me towards another valuable resource: Christopher Hodapp. Bro Hodapp was very helpful and his book, Freemasons for Dummies, was the catalyst in me taking the first step.

In beginning the process of looking at local Lodges, I felt compelled to revisit the Paul Revere jewels at the museum. I had looked at the aesthetics of the jewels many times, admired their beauty, but I hadn't looked very deeply into their background. I suppose, because they were so old, I just assumed that the Lodge from which they originated was no longer active. After taking note that the pieces were on loan from Morning Star Lodge, I looked them up online and discovered that the Lodge was not only still active but that it was located within a mile of my downtown apartment. I did some more research, reading through the long history of Morning Star Lodge, and was fascinated by it's connection to the patriot Isaiah Thomas and other notable figures within the community. That was it. A few days later I sent an email to the Secretary, met with the Brethren and here I am. I can honestly say that it was one of the best decisions I've ever made.

After relaying that brief story to fellow Freemasons, they usually ask if there is really much Masonic Art on display in an art museum. The answer is: It depends on how loosely you define the term. Much of what we would consider “Masonic Art”, like tracing boards and such, won't be found in the galleries of a non-specialized collection. However, there are many pieces that fit into the overall theme. Some of the other items I see on a regular basis, not mentioned above, include a medieval Chapter House brought over stone-by-stone from France, Babylonian carved reliefs, Crusader-era swords, a tapestry depicting Godfrey de Bouillon, portraits of George Washington, a cornerstone set in a Masonic ceremony by Paul Revere, marble statues of Gods & Goddesses, dozens of paintings portraying the Holy Saints John and Classical styles of architecture utilized within the museum buildings themselves. There's always plenty there if you look for it.

When mentioning museums and Masonry together, I've found that I am preaching to the choir much of the time. However, I also meet many Brothers who never visit museums. They'll ask what relevance museums might have to an average Masonic Lodge today. Some correlations should be obvious, but my basic viewpoint is that the quest for enlightenment is not by any means a one-way street. If Museums led me to Masonry, certainly it could work the other way around. A couple things come to mind. One is simply practical. Much of Masonic Ritual centers on events, allegorical or not, which take place in Ancient History. The distant past is often an abstract concept to fathom, hard to visualize, and it helps to place things in a relatable context. Objects in museums provide a tangible association with the past, a physical connection with history. Another aspect of Museums appeals to the core purpose of Freemasonry, namely self-improvement... the very thing which initially drew me to the Craft. Walking through the galleries of a Museum, one is surrounded by the wondrous creativity of mankind. And I've found that by looking at the great achievements of others, we can come to discover the true potential within ourselves.

- TS

Bro. Travis Simpkins is a freelance artist with clients throughout the United States and Europe. He currently works on projects for the Supreme Council, 33°, NMJ in Lexington, Massachusetts. He also serves as a portrait artist for the Grand Lodge of Massachusetts, Grand Lodge of New Jersey and other jurisdictions across North America. Bro. Simpkins is a member of Morning Star Lodge A.F. & A.M. in Worcester, Massachusetts. He is a 32°  Mason in the Ancient Accepted Scottish Rite, NMJ- Valleys of Worcester and Boston. He is also a member of  Eureka Royal Arch Chapter, Hiram Council of Royal & Select Master Masons and Worcester County Commandery No. 5, Knights Templar.

Freemason-ing Alone

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

In 2000, Harvard professor and political scientist Robert D. Putnam published a book entitled "Bowling Alone."  For a time, the book was all the rage in membership-based organizations as it attempted to explain, via an abundance of numbers, charts and graphs, the reasons for and effects of the decline of social interaction in our society.  The book became less the rage when readers found it offered more on the whys and wherefores and less on how to reverse the trend.  This trend, I might add, has continued its downward spiral since the book came out.

Putnam used the following bowling analogy to illustrate his premise: while the number of people who are participating in the sport of bowling has increased (Really? Meh, if he says so), participation in organized bowling leagues has declined.  We are, therefore, "bowling alone."

So, let's channel this over to Freemasonry: while interest in Freemasonry has increased (Really? Meh, if I say so*), participation in organized Freemasonry has declined.

*Come on. You have to give me this one. It is, after all the age of the "Belluminati."

I got to thinking about this while reading Robert Johnson's article, "What If We Actually Did Masonry?"  ( In it, RWB Robert wondered what would happen if, instead of running business-saturated Lodge meetings like we do now, we used the bulk of each meeting for Masonic education.  The more I read, the more I kept thinking, "attendance would go down even more."

Fortunately, Robert backed me up on that: "What would happen if we ALL changed the order of business, so that Masonic Education came right after the opening? What would happen if we spent twenty, thirty, dare I say an hour on a topical presentation complete with questions and answers with discussion from the brothers?  ...The chances are we would lose a lot of members by doing this."

Part of the issue is our society has become so "over-the-top."  Back in the day I could go to a rock concert and watch the band simply set up and rock on.  Today, for the attention-span-challenged, that same band on tour has to have flash, pyrotechnics and videos behind it while it plays.  We expect so much more.  If we held Woodstock today, we'd have to set the stage on fire and launch the space shuttle behind Country Joe and the Fish.  Try adding that kind of glitz to an hour-long discussion of "the symbolism of the point within a circle."

The other issue is that our boring meetings compete with the likes of 70-inch big-screen TVs with practically any movie ever made available any time we want it.  Add to that the constant buzz of activity on our smart phones, which sometimes includes 24/7 availability for our jobs and, oh yeah, the small matter of our family activities.  You want to match all that against a lengthy discussion of a point within a circle? Without pyrotechnics?

With all the activity and excitement happening around us we stay home glued to our cell phones and have less real social interaction.  We bowl alone.

So what could we do to stem this tide?  Easy… We could get rid of all TV's, smart phones, the Internet and especially those fidget-spinners and go back to the time when our grandfathers had nothing to do for social interaction and entertainment but go to a Lodge meeting; and, by the way, do you think granddad's Lodge spent an hour on Masonic education?

Well, we can't go back, can we?  But we can take advantage of what we have.  If you want Masonic education, go get it.  We don't have to depend on our Lodges for it.  And more than granddad, who had to borrow a book or go to the library, we have the world at our fingertips.  Listen to podcasts like "Whence Came You" or "The Masonic Roundtable." Read Masonic blogs like… hey, you're doing it right now.  Do some research and write an article or two.  Who knows where this can lead?  Maybe — and I know this is radical — one evening you can take your Brothers by surprise, stand up and present what you've learned in Lodge.  Be careful.  You should probably start out as if you're announcing a chili supper, then ease into your real purpose for speaking.

The fact is if we don't get a lot of what we want in Lodge, the fix starts with each of us individually.  It's just the way things are today.  Look at that. We're just like the rest of society. If we want something other than business meetings and bean dinners, the hubbub, toys and distractions of modern-day society are backing us into a corner and forcing us to go "Freemason-ing alone."


Bro. Steve Harrison, 33° , is Past Master of Liberty Lodge #31, Liberty, Missouri. He is also a Fellow and Past Master of the Missouri Lodge of Research. Among his other Masonic memberships are the St. Joseph Missouri Valley of the Scottish Rite, Liberty York Rite bodies, and Moila Shrine. He is also 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. Brother Steve was Editor of the Missouri Freemason magazine for a decade and is a regular contributor to the Whence Came You podcast. Born in Indiana, he has a Master's Degree from Indiana University and is retired from a 35 year career in information technology. Steve and his wife Carolyn reside in northwest Missouri. He is the author of dozens of magazine articles and three books: Freemasonry Crosses the Mississippi, Freemasons — Tales From the Craft and Freemasons at Oak Island.

The Sign Said, "Alterations"

by Midnight Freemason Contributor
Bill Hosler, PM

The sign on the dry cleaners window said “We do alterations” down the street from the house we rented in our new town. We had several articles of clothing which needed to be cleaned and I had several trousers which needed alterations, so we stopped by the cleaners one evening before they closed to drop off our goods.

As the young lady was checking in the laundry items I mentioned to her I have these several pair of trousers which needed to be altered. “ Oh, we don’t do alterations” the girl replied. Shocked at her statement I pointed at the window behind me and said “But your sign says “we do alterations.” She muttered something to the effect that they used to offer the service but they don’t offer it anymore. This led me to feel angry and to certain extent like they were trying to fool me “False advertising” flashed through my mind.

Since we couldn’t get the service their sign promised we collected our clothing and decided to go somewhere else. I walked out of the shop angry, and let down and to be honest feeling a bit cheated. What I felt was that, the shop lied and engaged in false advertising. Even now a year later when we drive by the establishment I look at and the sign is still in place and I wonder if other people were conned into shopping there by their falsehoods (Since there is no place else within an hours drive that provides this service I’m sure quite a few.)

I’m sure many young men have watched the DaVinci code or National Treasure or read on the web about the cool things Masons do and how our teachings will make a “Good man better” and possibly have subsequently left the Fraternity, feeling the way I did as I exited that shop. You walk into a location expecting to receive the service advertised by the business and walk out disgruntled and confused.

When a young man submits his petition and check for his initiation he expects to receive training and guidance in ways that will make him a better man, husband, father and maybe even a better citizen to the country in which he lives. Even more so, a more tolerant man who will learn to serve the deity in which he believes. Does a secretary reading three meetings worth of minutes, for thirty minutes make him a better man? About the same chance as putting a spatula in his hand and expecting Masonic enlightenment to find him while flipping pancakes will.

Anyone who has ever counted on drawing new and returning customers to their business knows you will never satisfy every customer who walks through your door, but to intentionally or even unintentionally use untrue advertising to drive new business to your location will in many cases bring the opposite effect. It might cost you traffic.

Everyone has heard of “Word of mouth advertising”, which is when each unsatisfied customer will tell his family or friends about his dissatisfaction (Or sometimes with is satisfaction) with your services and his experience could prejudice several people who might walk through your door. Think about how many times you have chosen, or not chosen a restaurant after looking at a businesse' Yelp reviews. So when we as Freemasons place “Making good men better” on all of our recruitment literature we had better be prepared to offer that service or we will continue to see our new new members walk right back out the door whence they came, and will tell their friends and coworkers, "...don’t bother joining."

I guess my point is, if one continues to deliver bad service or engages in misleading advertising to a customer base, eventually you will anger most of your customer base and their experience will prejudice others willingness to give you a try. So when we tell young men we “Take good men and make them better.” and we give them shoddy degree work, baloney sandwiches to eat and luke warm Kool-Aide to wash it down before an evening of minutes and arguing over the price of paper towels for the mens room, it might be hard to explain that these things will make you a better man and these poor men will feel hurt and cheated.


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.

We Can Be Heroes

by Midnight Freemason Contributor
WB Darin A. Lahners

In mythology, the monomyth or hero’s journey, is the common template of a broad category of storytelling that involves a hero who goes on an adventure, and returns a changed individual. Originally put forward by Joseph Campbell’s “The Hero with a Thousand Faces”, the monomyth can be seen illustrated time and time again in Hollywood and popular novels. While Campbell originally had 17 steps to his monomyth, subsequent authors have broken it down into more summarized variations. For the purposes of today’s article, I’ll be using the adaptation of it made by Christopher Vogler. Christopher Vogler adapted the monomyth into 12 steps. The 12 steps can be summarized best below:

ACT 1: Departure
  • The ordinary world
  • The call to adventure
  • Refusal of the call
  • Meeting with the mentor
  • Crossing the threshold to the special world.
ACT 2: Initiation
  • Tests, allies and enemies
  • Approach to the inmost cave
  • The ordeal
  • Reward
ACT 3: Return
  • The road back
  • The resurrection
  • Return with the elixir
My article today will focus on the journey of a candidate through their Masonic Degrees, and how the monomyth applies. While ACT 2 takes place during all 3 degrees, it would be my argument that ACT 1 only applies before the candidates 1st degree, and that ACT 3 only takes place during the second section of the 3rd degree.


The ordinary world – This is where the hero exists before his adventure begins. The hero is oblivious to the adventure to come. In general, this part of the monomyth humanizes the hero so that we can identify better with them and empathize with them during their journey. Masonically, this would be a candidate prior to petitioning a lodge.

The call to adventure – The hero’s adventure begins when they receive a call to action. This could be a threat to their safety, their family, or way of life in general. It could be as Dramatic as Luke Skywalker being shown the distress message from Leia Organa in Star Wars: A New Hope or as mundane as receiving a phone call. Masonically, this would happen when a candidate first thinks about joining the fraternity. Something causes his decision. For some of us, it could have been a friend or peer discussing Masonry. For others, it would have been a Father or Grandfather who was a Mason. Ultimately though, there is usually some outside force or circumstance which makes the candidate interested in joining Freemasonry.

Refusal of the call – The hero has second thoughts about going on the adventure. Normally the Hero will have second thoughts or be conflicted about going, often refusing the call because it’s easier to sit at home and do nothing than to undertake a perilous journey. This would be the candidate prior to petitioning the lodge. They might be interested in joining, but ultimately as I said, it’s easier to stay at home.

Meeting with the mentor – It’s at this crucial point where the Hero needs some guidance and meets a mentor figure that gives him something that they need. They could be given some item, advice, training or self-confidence. The mentor’s role is to provide the Hero with the power to overcome his refusal of the call, and help the hero begin his quest. Ultimately, this would be when a candidate petitions the lodge. They either meet with a mentor or peer, or meet with several. The candidate is ultimately given the information that was needed to make them heed their call, and to petition the lodge.

Crossing the threshold to the special world. – The Hero is now ready to begin their adventure. They may go willingly, or not, but they ultimately move from the world which is comfortable to one which is mysterious. This action ends ACT 1 and signifies the hero’s commitment to the adventure. The candidate literally undergoes this transition upon knocking three times at the door of the preparation room. They are in darkness and must commit their self to their ultimate quest, receiving the degrees of Freemasonry. They knock upon that door and once they are admitted, they cross the threshold from the ordinary to the extraordinary.


Tests, allies and enemies – The hero is confronted with a series of challenges. Obstacles are thrown in their path, and the hero must overcome them as they journey toward their ultimate goal. The hero finds out who they can trust, who they can’t and they are prepared for the challenges ahead as well. Each obstacle helps us gain insight into the hero’s character, and helps us identify with them. This takes place upon the candidate’s first entrance into the lodge. They are received in due form and is challenged by the Senior Deacon. They are lead around the lodge by the Senior Deacon and interrogated by the Junior and Senior Warden. They are also led to the Worshipful Master, who does the same.

Approach To The Inmost Cave - The inmost cave represents the location of the Hero’s ultimate challenge. As the hero approaches the cave, they may again face some doubts regarding their adventure. They may need to think about the next step, and ultimately find the strength to continue. For the candidate, this is when they make their turn to the East, their feet forming the angle of a square, standing erect before the altar. They are once again challenged to insure that their choice to approach remains the same as before.

Ordeal – The penultimate conflict that the hero faces upon their journey. It might be a physical test of strength against an enemy, or a battle of wits. The hero must draw upon everything they’ve learned up until now in order to survive the challenge. Basically, the hero undergoes a life – changing event and comes out of it a better person. Now, ultimately the oaths that a candidate takes invokes a promise of physical harm if they knowingly give away the secrets of Masonry. I think the ordeal that the candidate undergoes is an internal one, and one that they must deal with daily going forward. The process of being brought from darkness to light, is a metaphorical and philosophical ordeal. It’s a challenge to the candidate to live your life one way going forward or face penalties for not doing so. Ultimately, you are facing yourself in battle when you take your obligation, because you’re forced to choose to live by the promises you swore, or to not. You might be tested by your promises daily, or maybe never, but you always have to be aware of what they are and to honor them. Being a Freemason is a full time job because when you represent yourself going forward, you also represent your brethren. That’s the ordeal we must face not only during our obligation, but also by trying to live it daily.

Reward (Seizing the Sword) – After overcoming the adversity of the ordeal, the hero is transformed into a new state. They are battle-tested and often end up with an item of great importance as a reward. The reward might be an object of great power, or a secret, greater knowledge, or reuniting with a loved one. In all cases, the reward prepares the hero for the final leg of their journey back to the ordinary world. Ultimately, the reward given to a candidate is the password, grip or token, due guard and sign, how to wear their apron and their working tools, as well as the explanatory lectures and charges for that degree. Everything that happens after the obligation in the 1st and 2nd degrees, after the obligation to the second section in the 3rd, and after the second section of the 3rd degree, is a reward to the candidate. They are imparted with knowledge and wisdom that they did not have prior to their entry to the lodge. They were in darkness, and have been brought to light both literally and metaphorically. In our case the reward is how to act like a member of our fraternity both while in lodge and out of lodge.


The road back – this represents a retracing of the hero’s steps in reverse order from Crossing the Threshold to receiving the call to adventure. As the hero’s journey draws to an end, they are now worried about adjusting back to an ordinary life in the ordinary world. However, the journey is not yet over. There are still potential challenges to overcome, and there might be a moment where the hero must choose between personal objectives or to answering to a higher cause. The best example of this would be in The Matrix, where Neo chooses to save Morpheus from the agents with the help of Trinity. This was foreshadowed by the Oracle telling him that he’d have to choose his life over that of Morpheus’s’. In the 3rd degree, this would be represented by the candidate’s journey beset with the 3 ruffians, whereby they try to pry the secrets of a Master Mason from them.

Resurrection – This is the climax of the hero having to face his final and most difficult encounter with death. The final battle represents something far greater than the Hero’s own existence with the consequences being the fate of the world or universe which hang in the balance. Ultimately the hero will vanquish evil and save the day, and will be reborn either literally or metaphorically. Think of Luke destroying the Death Star, or Neo becoming the “One”. I think this is pretty self-explanatory to those that have gone through the 3rd degree. There is a deeply moving and profound thing that happens which transforms the candidate. Since our page is not tiled, and I assume we have some EA’s and Fellowcraft as well as “Profane” readers, I’ll not elaborate further.

Return with the Elixir – This is the final stage of the Hero’s journey. The hero returns back to the Ordinary World changed. They will have grown as a person due to their experiences. They will obtain a final reward, which is either literal or metaphoric. There is a resolution for the hero, but also his allies and detractors. Ultimately, the hero is back to where they started, and nothing will be the same for them. The new Master Mason’s journey is also complete for now. They have received some final instructions, tokens, words. They are able to vote in their lodge, wear a Masonic ring, and begin a new journey to the East.

So my brothers, I ask you: Are you not also a hero? Hasn’t each of us undergone this journey during our degrees? For some of us, like myself, I am close to the end of another journey, the journey to the East as being Worshipful Master of my lodge. The most important message that I can convey is to never let your Masonic journey end. Whether it be joining appendant bodies, or going through the chairs at your own lodge, there is an opportunity for each of us to be heroes. We just need to show up and do what is needed for the betterment of our lodge, community and ourselves. If someone out there sees you being a Masonic Hero, then maybe, just maybe, they might want to set out on their own adventure, and join our league of Heroes. I believe that our greatest advertisement is what message we deliver and represent. Maybe it’s time to stop hiding and to show the world what we are really made of. If we all can be heroes, then we might just be able to make the world a better place. I, for one, believe that can be the case.


The 50 Year Member - Some Assembly Ruired

by Midnight Freemason Contributor
Bill Hosler, PM

“You boys hurry up and get those things put away. When you're done come inside, I have warm cookies and cocoa for you.” The 50 Year member laughed. “Sometimes she talks to me like I’m one of her sons.” Pudge laughed. "I think it’s because she knows you are a big kid at heart.” The old man smiled, "I hope it’s that, and she isn’t slipping. By the way Pudge, I appreciate you spending your last holiday from work taking down my Christmas decorations. I know I haven’t added any new ones in years but it feels like it takes twice as long as it did a few decades ago.”

“You're welcome Brother. But I hate to see all these decorations and the holidays go away. It’s weird, it seems like they arrive one day and then, BOOM, they're gone. It’s like they were never even here.” Pudge continued to roll up the string of Christmas lights. “I have been giving this a lot of thought, maybe it’s your influence on me, but the holiday season has made me think about Masonry.”

The 50 Year member chuckled. “So it’s my influence that makes you see the symbolism in things. I guess I should consider that a big honor!”, the old man said with a hint of sarcasm mixed with humor. “I guess that means you are listening to me and actually learning. So tell me how the holidays mix with Masonry. Is it the giving? The spirituality of these season?”

Pudge took in a deep, nervous breath, “Well, I’ve been thinking how the season is a lot like joining Lodge for a lot of guys. They petition a lodge and it seems like forever waiting for the news, the petition to be accepted, then for the interview process and then the ballot, until the day finally arrives. Your excitement continues to build with each passing day until the first holiday, or, well the day the degree arrives.All in a sudden there are celebrations, decorations hanging everywhere. You enjoy yourself and begin to prepare for the next one, then that day arrives and you begin to look to the last one, this time with a bit of trepidation because you aren’t sure what the new year or in this case the Master Mason degree will bring. Then the holiday arrives and the next day it’s all over! It’s been done and it’s time to return to normal life.”

“For some fellas it’s just like today. All of the decorations are gone. Gifts are put away and it’s like nothing ever happened. Not one sign of the holiday season is left, like it was a dream. They continue to live their normal lives with Masonry only just another memory. No more of an effect on their lives as a Christmas from years ago did. Or worse yet, something bad happens to them like bad degree work or becoming disillusioned with the Craft, and that bad moment makes them turn their back on the holiday celebration, never to celebrate it again. Like Scrooge in the old Dickens book."

The old man sat down the box of ornaments he was holding in his hands. He smiled as he looked at his young Brother. “Wow, I guess some of what I have said has been trapped between those ears. You really have given this subject some thought.” The 50 Year member stood erect. “My first thought, off the top of my head is, I think everyone has had a disappointing Christmas. I mean, think about when you were a kid and you didn’t get the present you wrote about in your letter to Santa. Or worse yet you told him about while you were sitting on his lap at the department store and he promised you that it would be under your tree. I think every person who has wanted something for a gift, Christmas or otherwise has been disappointed in something they have received. But then you move on hoping next year you will get what you want.”

Pudges breathing grew quicker and a sharpness appeared in his voice, “See! That’s it! These guys are walking because they don’t like the gift they are given. They realize that Santa isn’t real and then they quit celebrating all together. It is just sad.”

“It sure is sad, but let me ask you two things; One, are they sad about what they received, or two, are they disgusted that what they were searching for took longer than three days to magically appear? There is a big difference in the two.”

The old man continued, “Let me ask you this. If I were to buy you one of those plastic model kits of a car, would you prefer to receive it un-assembled in kit form or should I paint the car, add the decals and assemble it first?” Pudges brow furrowed. I guess I would want to put it together myself. It’s more fun that way.” “Okay." Replied the 50 Year member. “Lets say I went out and bought you a fancy tool box and filled it with every hand tool I could find. Would you expect me to come over to your apartment and use those tools to fix your car for you?” Pudge laughed and said “Are you kidding? Heck no! I might ask you to help but I want to do my own work!”

The old man smiled. ”I think you have answered your own questions. Freemasonry provides you the tools and the materials but you have to take what you are given and put it together yourself. What does it always say on a box with a new toy; Some Assembly required? We can be there for these men we can assist them, like the example about fixing your car, but we can’t do it for them. If that is what they are really looking for, to have the truth poured over their head like it’s a baptism, then sadly they will never be happy because they will continue to search but never find what they are looking for.”
Pudge picked up several boxes of decorations and started to the old mans garage. “I guess the best holiday gift I could give them is to be there and help them with their Assembly work.”

“Honestly Brother that’s the gift that keeps on giving for the entire year, or in your case youngster, a lifetime, or at least what is left of my lifetime.” The old man said with a laugh.

Pudge retorted, "If you keep working so slow that won’t be long, as cold as it is out here.” with a smile on his face, "Lets get done. I’m ready for those cookies and cocoa your wife mentioned.”


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.

A Midnight Freemasons Road Trip

by Midnight Freemasons Founder
Todd E. Creason, 33°
left to right: Senior Warden Greg Knott, Katie Creason, Junior Warden Darin Lahners, and WM Todd E. Creason
We’ve been talking for some time about the possibility of starting a Masonic Library at our Lodge—Homer Lodge No. 199 (IL).  Our Lodge over the last several years has gained a reputation as a Lodge that puts a particular focus on education.  We even have a museum room in our Lodge, so a library seemed the next reasonable step. 

The focus on education is what saved our Lodge.  Homer Lodge was chartered in 1856, and our building was built in 1892, but in 2011 we about closed it.  The building needed an enormous amount of work, including a new roof, and there just weren’t many members left to help.  In fact, we had a difficult time getting enough members at our regular meetings to open. 

Fortunately, since the Lodge had nothing to lose but closing, we were able to try a few things to save it, and one of those things was to improve the meeting experience, and put a major focus on providing good quality education at every meeting.  Our thought was that eventually, Masons from other Lodges might come to our monthly programs.  We also hoped that a few might join our Lodge as dual members as well. 

Here it is six years later, and the Lodge is beginning to see results.  We’ve got a new roof, and a new mission.  The entire Lodge has been cleaned and restored inside and out (less a little more work to do on one exterior wall).  It is certainly one of the grandest Lodges in our area—the Lodge room itself is around 2,500 square feet with towering ceilings.  We even turned what was once a room full of junk into a museum, where we’ve displayed many of the artifacts from our long history we found stored in the attic.  In addition to that, there’s a new Royal Arch Chapter that has been formed, Admiration Chapter No. 282, with the same focus on education as the Lodge.  The building is in use constantly.  It’s been used by other local Lodges, the Knight Masons, the Allied Masonic Degrees, the Illinois Lodge of Research, the Shriners.  Masonry has returned to Homer, IL in a big way.  The Officers of the Grand Lodge of Illinois A. F. & A. M. even came and rededicated the Lodge two years ago. 

So we began talking about a library.  As you know, books are expensive, and books on Freemasonry can be very expensive.  We had just started talking about how we might finance a library, when I got a call—an email actually.  It was from Noel C. Dicks, who was the Grand Master of Illinois when I became a Mason.   He wanted to know if we’d ever thought about starting a library at Homer Lodge, because he knew a Mason, WB Bill Henry, that was looking to make some room in his basement by getting rid of a bunch of books he’d collected over the years on Freemasonry. 

Sometime it happens that way!

left to right: Darin Lahners, Todd E. Creason, Greg Knott, and library donor WB Bill Henry
Shortly before Christmas, three Midnight Freemasons, who also happen to be the three principle officers of Homer Lodge No. 199, went on a road trip to pick up a load of books—over 70 volumes.  It was an incredibly generous donation.  Bill Henry’s collection will form the core of our new library that will be enjoyed by members of Homer Lodge for generations to come.  And we plan to continue to add to our collection with the hopes that our library will become a place where new members and old can come and enhance their knowledge of our beloved Craft.

Saving a Lodge is a lot of work, but as I’ve said before, once the light of Masonry goes out, it never returns.  Sometimes it’s worth the hard work and effort to preserve that heritage at all costs.  And I’ll give you one good reason why.   

We have a young Fellow Craft that is about to be raised a Master Mason.  He wanted to join our Lodge in particular—it was a family tradition he wanted to bring back.  When I gave him the tour of the building before he petitioned, he found photographs of his great grandparents hanging on the wall in our museum—both involved in an Eastern Star Chapter that met at Homer Lodge many years ago.   
If Freemasonry changes that young man's life in the same positive way it has changed the lives of many of my Brothers, every drop of sweat has been worth it.


For your added enjoyment, here's an episode of "Masonic Curators" that featured Homer Lodge No. 199 presented by Senior Warden (and Midnight Freemason Senior Contributor) Greg Knott.

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 No. 282.  You can contact him at:

What If We Actually Did Masonry?

by Midnight Freemason Contributor
RW Robert H. Johnson

We’ve all been there, a meeting where everyone has to put in their two cents regarding a charity event or a lodge repair. A discussion that lasts twenty minutes too long. Men informing the lodge that they “know a guy.”, who can do it cheaper, or perhaps raising the dues $5 a year is too expensive, or still yet, perhaps it's about how much money is going to be earmarked for the upcoming scholarships.

I commend these brothers who dig into the nitty-gritty of lodge minutia. It’s something I’ve just never cared much about or felt I needed to contribute to. These guys are into it though, they do it without being prompted, they take ownership and are made sure their voices are heard.

The title of this article alludes to the core mission of Freemasonry, to make good men better. Yes we’re charitable, yes we serve our communities, but what are we teaching our members about actually improving men? I addressed this concern in a previous piece which you can read HERE.

What if though?

What if, that same gusto for discussing these things--building maintenance and pancake breakfasts, was had when we introduced Masonic Education? What if Masonic Education wasn’t met with eye rolls from around the lodge? What if people cared as much for Masonic Education as they do about the minutia? What if Worshipful Masters didn’t buckle under the stress of the membership, requiring Masonic Education to be a mere five minutes or less? What if we did what we’re supposed to do, and fulfill the membership in the Masonic way, through improvement and education? What if instead of being told that we should start a study club on off nights for Masonic Education, we embraced the present opportunity to affect all present?

What would happen if we ALL changed the order of business, so that Masonic Education came right after the opening? What would happen if we spent twenty, thirty, dare I say an hour on a topical presentation complete with questions and answers with discussion from the brothers? Maybe we just change it so that it’s all education and only a couple bills? What would happen if these brothers were as engaged in the educational topic as they are about replacing the toilet seat, or procuring the free pancake mix from the local restaurant? Would the previous discussed minutia be then seen as the five minute bastard of the meeting? Relegated to the end, much like education is in too many lodges?

The chances are we would lose a lot of members by doing this. In fact, because Freemasonry is many different things to many different people, the least of which is an educational system. To do these things would require some sort of drastic change within the organization. Perhaps the way to experience this for those interested is to start a new lodge based on these principles.

Recently there’s been some great conversation about members who are unsatisfied, starting their own lodges. In some cases, a Grand Lodge has asked the members, “Rather than walk away, why not start a new lodge?” Members took that advice. Members across the USA are taking that advice.

Perhaps something that needs to be considered here is that Freemasonry should serve to fulfill its membership. Instead, what occurs is that the membership is largely guilted into not giving up on the current lodge, not walking away and actually to double and triple down and urged to join all the other appendant bodies. These extra organizations which are looking for anyone at all to convey the degrees upon, many times in an abbreviated form, just to get a warm body in a position. Bro. Scott S. Dueball made a case for this in his piece, “Blue Lodge First”, read it HERE.

Above I asked a whole lot of questions, and in my imagination, I thought about the response I would likely get online and the things which would be talked about, if at all. I just couldn’t help but think to myself, that the response would be something like, “I wouldn’t go to lodge anymore.” or perhaps, “By doing education first or by pushing hard for Masonic Education like this, you’re being unbrotherly.” I don’t know how that would be true, but that's basically what I think I’d hear.

I think those imaginary but prophetic responses I mentioned earlier are why the idea would never work. It’s why the membership that’s out there should just go ahead and start a new lodge if they want the educational kind of experience. Focus on what you want and leave the rest behind until they learn to attract you through additional fulfillment, not by begging you to show up. Have doubts about how this works? Check out Admiration Chapter of Royal Arch Masons in Eastern IL. Or ask Homer Lodge, also in Eastern IL about having education right after opening and letting it go for " long as it goes." according to Todd E. Creason, founder of the Midnight Freemasons. In fact recently, Todd had let me know that one of their chief detractors in the beginning of this effort, recently came to him and Greg Knott to tell them how much he now looks forward to the meetings.

While some reading this might belong to an education focused lodge and have no issues, I assure you, you are the minority.

I have said it before, and I will say it again. If Freemasonry is indeed a system which teaches good men to be better, then we better start having more education meetings than degrees and business combined. If we’re not doing this, we’re just lip service.


Sacred Feminine?

by Midnight Freemason Contributor
Darin A. Lahners

Upon a recent viewing of the movie, The Da Vinci Code, I discovered something that had alluded me up until now. Dr. Langdon (played by Tom Hanks) was discussing the symbol of the sacred feminine with Sir Leigh Teabing (played by Ian McKellen). The feminine V which was presented reminded me very much of the Square displayed proudly daily on my Masonic Ring, which is intersected by a compass, with the Letter G in the middle. Is this accidental? Or like other symbols in Freemasonry – is there a hidden meaning to be found?

In Illinois, The blazing star is described as one of the ornaments of a lodge, as being a hieroglyphic representation of Divine Providence. In more ancient traditions, it is represented as consisting of two equilateral triangles interlocked. The triangle with the apex pointed down was emblematic of the Creator, with the apex pointing down toward the created universe, whereas the triangle pointing up was representative of man, pointing toward God, the Creator. When intertwined as a six pointed star, they would form a single figure, the symbol of unity between God and his creation. However, even more ancient was the hexagram being representative of sexual union between man and woman. The triangle pointed downward representing the feminine and the other triangle representing the male.

I know what you’re thinking. Don’t take my word for it. 

So what does this have to do with the Square and Compass? The Square and Compass is a representation of the Blazing Star. You have the Feminine Square intersecting with the Masculine Compass. Within the Square and Compass, a diamond shape surrounds the Letter ‘G’. This diamond shape also is similar to the double pointed oval used to represent the Yoni, or female sexual organs. This is more easily seen in the symbol of the Knife and Fork degree. G-D being the seat of creation of all things, he is positioned within the overtly feminine symbol of the Yoni, which is also representative of creation. 

In Albert Mackey’s “The Symbolism of Freemasonry: Illustrating and Explaining its Science and Philosophy, Its Legends, Myths and Symbols.”, he explains: “All the deities of pagan antiquity, however numerous they may be, can always be reduced to the two different forms of the generative principle—the active, or male, and the passive, or female. Hence the gods were always arranged in pairs, as Jupiter and Juno, Bacchus and Venus, Osiris and Isis.
But the ancients went farther. Believing that the procreative and productive powers of nature might be conceived to exist in the same individual, they made the older of their deities hermaphrodite, (having both male and female genitalia) and used the term man-virgin, to denote the union of the two sexes in the same divine person.”

Even in ancient Babylonian myth and early Hebrew myth, El , “God” – the supreme god of the Sumerians) and Yahweh shared the same consort, Asherah. According to Ronald L. Ecker, in his book “And Adam Knew Eve”:

“In the Bible her name often appears as ha asherah, meaning "the" asherah. In such instances the reference is not to the goddess but to a symbol of her, an object (in the plural asherim) that was apparently a sacred pole, tree, or group of trees (hence the translation "groves") at Israelite sanctuaries or "high places" as well as by altars of Baal. The erecting of asherim was among the "evil" deeds of kings like Ahab and Manasseh, and cutting the things down was a regular chore of "right" kings like Hezekiah and Josiah.

The presence of Asherah or her symbol at places where Yahweh, the biblical God of the Hebrews, was worshipped raises the question of whether the Canaanite goddess was considered also to be the consort of Yahweh.

We know from references to,
"the sons of God" (Gen. 6:1-4; Job 1:6, 2:1, 38:7)
"the host of heaven" (1 Kings 22:19)
"angels" (Gen. 19:1; Ps. 103:20)
God’s statement "Let us make man in our image" (Gen. 1:26),

...that Yahweh was not alone in his heaven.

We know also that Yahweh supplanted the Canaanite El to the extent that God’s other names in the Hebrew Bible include El, El Elyon ("God Most High"), El Shaddai ("God Almighty"), and the (originally) plural form Elohim (as in Gen. 1:1).”

But the Square and Compass isn’t the only symbol within Freemasonry that refers to this idea. If we go back to Mackey’s "The Symbolism of Freemasonry: Illustrating and Explaining Its Science and Philosophy, Its Legends, Myths and Symbols..”:

Now, this hermaphrodism of the Supreme Divinity was again supposed to be represented by the sun, which was the male generative energy, and by nature, or the universe, which was the female prolific principle. And this union was symbolized in different ways, but principally by the point within a circle, the point indicating the sun, and the circle the universe, invigorated and fertilized by his generative rays. And in some of the Indian cave-temples, this allusion was made more manifest by the inscription of the signs of the zodiac on the circle.”

Mackey goes onto then give the following explanation: “So far, then, we arrive at the true interpretation of the Masonic symbolism of the point within a circle. It is the same thing, but under a different form, as the Master and Wardens of a lodge. The Master and Wardens are symbols of the sun, the lodge of the universe, or world, just as the point is the symbol of the same sun, and the surrounding circle of the universe.

But the two perpendicular parallel lines remain to be explained. Everyone is familiar with the very recent interpretation, that they represent the two Saints John, the Baptist and the Evangelist. But this modern exposition must be abandoned, if we desire to obtain the true ancient signification.

In the first place, we must call to mind the fact that, at two particular points of his course, the sun is found in the zodiacal signs of Cancer (June) and Capricorn (December).

These points are astronomically distinguished as the summer and winter solstice. When the sun is in these points, he has reached his greatest northern and southern declination, (a gradual falling off from a higher state) and produces the most evident effects on the temperature of the seasons, and on the length of the days and nights.

These points, if we suppose the circle to represent the sun's apparent course, will be indicated by the points where the parallel lines touch the circle, or, in other words, the parallels will indicate the limits of the sun's extreme northern and southern declination, when he arrives at the solstitial points of Cancer and Capricorn.

But the days when the sun reaches these points are, respectively, the 21st of June and the 22d of December, and this will account for their subsequent application to the two Saints John, whose anniversaries have been placed by the church near those days.”

Is it so far-fetched then to imagine that our mysteries then refer to the Great Architect of the Universe as being similar? Isn’t it possible that the ‘G’ within the Square and Compass refers to this more ancient understanding of the creator as encompassing both the Masculine and Feminine?

Before your blood begins boiling, I want to point out that this wouldn’t be the only place in Freemasonry where we have symbols that refer to genitalia. As this isn’t a tiled page, I would just point out that all Master Masons should know what this refers to within our rituals. However, it also has a further allusion which should be clear to everyone in the context of this article. Yes my brothers, it is sublimely referring to the act of creation.

Of course, there are many explanations for our symbols. I’m just pointing out some coincidences between them and how the feminine has been represented. Many of these coincidences that Albert Mackey also understood. There are obviously many explanations for the symbols I’ve presented here. It is my goal to educate my brethren and for them to ultimately decide for themselves what they think.


WB Darin A. Lahners is the Worshipful Master of St. Joseph Lodge No.970 in St. Joseph and a plural member of Ogden Lodge No. 754 (IL), and Homer Lodge No. 199 (IL). He’s a member of the Scottish Rite Valley of Danville, a charter member of the new Illinois Royal Arch Chapter, Admiration Chapter U.D. and is the current Secretary of the Illini High Twelve Club No. 768 in Champaign – Urbana (IL). He is also a member of the Eastern Illinois Council No. 356 Allied Masonic Degrees. When he’s not busy enjoying Masonic fellowship, Darin spends his time as a DM for his children’s D&D campaign, reading, golfing, watching movies and listening to music. You can reach him by email at

Freemasonry and Fatherhood

by Midnight Freemason Contributor 
WB Adam Thayer

I have a two year old daughter… I should probably start by telling you that, or the rest of this article will seem entirely like conjecture. If you have a child too, I hope yours came with better instructions than mine, because so far the only real advice I’ve received is “Try not to kill her, and you’ll figure the rest out as you go.” The fact that this was given to me by a total stranger (a nurse at the hospital), told me that I was in for a real challenge.

Freemasonry has a lot that it can teach us when it comes to raising our children. For instance, sitting through the reading of the minutes can teach us about patience, which is an invaluable skill when it comes to your two year old arguing with you about watching Finding Nemo for the twentieth time this week. And haven’t we all seen a grumpy Past Master throwing a temper tantrum that could rival a child?

Now, I’ve never really been what you would call an overly emotional person. Sure, I cried tears of joy when the Cubs won the World Series (didn’t we all?), but never at weddings or a funeral, or even at the beginning of Up (which, I’m told, is incredibly sad for most people). I’ve noticed, however, that since Quinn has been born, there are many emotions that I hadn’t considered before. Seeing her try things for the first time, or solve a problem for herself, or even just the times that she wants to cuddle on the couch and watch cartoons (currently, her favorite is the 80’s run of Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles), has put a near perpetual lump in my throat.

Freemasonry teaches us that our emotions are a normal part of our existence, and that (when handled properly) can make us more well rounded people. In addition to teaching us to keep our passions circumscribed, it teaches us that while traversing that circle we can and should experience the whole range of emotions, instead of staying safely at the center point.

I’ve also found myself contemplating my own mortality more than ever before. Being a bit morbid, I’ve always had a fascination with my own demise, however death has generally existed more as something that happens to other, weaker people, people who weren’t strong enough to keep fighting for their existence. Of course, on an intellectual level, I knew that I, myself, would also die one day, however I never truly accepted the reality of the situation until having a child.

You see, children force us to think about the future, and in the future lies a time beyond our existence. For all of us, that day creeps closer and closer, so we start to make plans, and backup plans, contingency plans, worst case scenario plans, and even “if everything goes just perfectly, this could work” plans, to prepare our children to be able to live without us.

While having a child has made me focus on the future, it has also helped me to gain a greater respect for the past. I’ve been lucky in my Masonic career to meet men from so many different generations, and each has taught me something valuable when it comes to raising a child. Watching everything going on in the world, I definitely appreciate a simpler time with less things to worry about; I know my parents never had to worry about what I was watching on a tablet...

Children are, Masonically speaking, rather expensive. Money that was once going to our Masonic habit is suddenly being redirected to things like clothing, diapers, food, and whatever the heck an aspirator is. So far, my experience has been that as they age they become more expensive, and I see no reason to expect this trend to change until the time comes that I’m entirely destitute.
Of course, money is only part of the expense, while the larger and more important expense is time. Time is the currency that Masons use to best improve the world around us, and children require a LOT of time. The paradox, from what I’m seeing, is that the more time I invest into my daughter, the more she will go on to improve the world, thereby accomplishing our goals.

Finally, I’ve found that having a child makes it very difficult to ever get around to finishing anything that I start. This article, for instance, was started nearly five months ago, and no amount of editing has made it read any better than it did when I first started writing it. The ending, which tied it all together both intelligently and eloquently, was unfortunately overwritten by the Troll Holiday special (no, I have no idea how that’s possible, let’s just go with it, or this will sit on my computer for another five months before being revisited).


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!

The 24 Inch Gauge – Size Does Matter

by Midnight Freemason Guest Contributor
WB Robert E. Jackson

I was on a business trip, first one I've taken in a long time. Taking advantage of the 'free' time I had, I decided to catch up on some reading. There was a specific article that needed to be shared with my wife….an article entitled "It's not Masonry, he's just an (expletive)-hole." Her immediate response was "Is this for you or me?" I thought that was a good question, and I was thankful to this article for helping initiate a very difficult conversation…was I risking too much? How out of whack was my 24" gauge? As happens from time to time, my wife helped me view my situation from a different angle.

Throughout the discussion, I was trying to explain that I was trying to balance my responsibilities, but I felt that as Master, I needed to support each event on our calendar. Most frustrating was the fact that only a very few Brothers really stepped forward to help with the various endeavors. When they don't show up, my internal demons start theorizing…do they care? Is the latest episode of 'Dance Moms' really more important to them than our Lodge? What I didn't see, without her help, is that it is entirely possible that those men are active in their own way…being coaches, colleagues, fathers, husbands. Could it simply be possible that these men have a better handle of their 24 inch gauge?

I still joke, on occasion, about that working tool in our repertoire. Yes, we know of the even 24 divisions, but any further divisions aren't claimed to be divided evenly! As a self diagnosed workaholic, this lesson really resonated with me, and resurfaces every time I work late or find myself wasting time. Much like our political persuasions, or spiritual beliefs, a major strength of our Fraternity is our diversity. This includes the diversification of our priorities. For many of our Brothers, their family does come first. For others, their jobs come first. It isn't our position to judge, but it is our position to learn. The management of our time is a life skill, one that we must continue to hone each and every day. Unless, of course, your name is Brother Alessandro Cagliostro.

Robert Edward Jackson is a Past and presiding Master of Montgomery Lodge located in Milford, MA. His Masonic lineage includes his Father (Robert Maitland), Grandfather (Maitland Garrecht), and Great Grandfather (Edward Henry Jackson), a founding member of Scarsdale Lodge #1094 in Scarsdale, NY. When not studying ritual, he's busy being a father to his three kids, a husband, Boy Scout Leader, and a network engineer to pay for it all. He can be reached at

Reflections on a Long Year - 2017 edition

by Midnight Freemason Contributor
WB Adam Thayer 

“Brethren, as the year is drawing to a close, I, like many of you, find myself reflecting upon the challenges and achievements of the past year and turning an eager eye forward to see what the new year will bring. While my year has been full of many joys, there have been many trials that I did not believe I was prepared to handle and obstacles that seemed impossible to overcome. I feel relatively safe in saying that when you take the final tally of your year’s events, you will find a similar sentiment.”

I said that… two years ago now? Wow, two years has gone by so fast, it seems like I’m still preparing for my year as Senior Warden, not looking back at the end of my year in the East.

For anyone who has not yet sat in the East, it’s an interesting mix of feeling like a king and being convinced that you’re actually the jester. It’s a lot of work, no doubt, and a lot of reward, and if you’re really lucky, you’ve managed to do something that will improve your lodge for the future. For me, I hope that at least one of the old traditions that we brought back will continue into the future, and that the speech competition we’ve started will be a very successful program for years to come.

Some people enjoy being in charge, and are very good at it; I don’t. Somehow, I keep finding myself in leadership positions, when I would much rather spend my time writing, and editing my local Masonic newspaper, occasionally helping out with degree work as needed. If I could go the rest of my life without running another lodge, I would be perfectly happy, however the sad reality is that there are not enough qualified people around to handle all of the positions that need filled, and part of being a Mason is stepping into things you’d really rather not do.

We’ve spoken about Masonic burnout a lot on the site. I mean, a LOT. I’ve read every one of the articles, because I’m a huge fan of the writers here, and I read every article that gets published. After every burnout article, I always told myself “man, that’ll never happen to ME, I’m much stronger than that.” If I could sit down with that smug bastard right now, I’d smack him right in the face. After that was accomplished, I’d explain that burnout has nothing to do with strength, or a lack of strength, it’s from being strong for too long against overwhelming odds without any reprieve from the stress. Once I was certain that he understood, I’d smack him again, because let’s face it, he deserves it.

“For those of you who, like myself, have had a very painful year, I hope you can find comfort in the words of Ovid: Perfer et obdura, dolor hic tibi proderit olim. (Be patient and tough; someday this pain will be useful to you.)”

I wrote that too. (See, I told you, smug) I don’t disagree with what I said, because I still believe it to be absolutely true. I don’t believe, however, that it was nearly encompassing enough, as it didn’t address the issue I’m facing now: I’m tired. Green Mile, “like pieces of glass in my head, all the time” tired.

For those of you who have been long time readers, you may have noticed I was absent for a while; believe me, I’ve missed being here and writing so much that it eats away at me in those late hours when I really should be sleeping, and I apologize for being gone so long. For so long, writing was my inspiration, and what recharged my battery when it was running low; unfortunately, when times get tough, we often give up those things we should be holding like a life raft, and that has been my downfall this year as well.

It’s been a long year, but in the history of long years it surely hasn’t been the longest. It has been exhausting, trying, and at times overwhelming, and that’s just a typical evening with my two year old!

The best part of being a writer for this site is that when things are going well, I have all of you to celebrate and share the joy with, and when things have all gone pear shape I have you to commiserate with, which leads me to the last thing I said two years ago, and which is no less true today:

“I love each and every one of you, and there is absolutely nothing you can do about it!”


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!