The Attic

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

In 1816, General William Clark (of the Lewis and Clark Expedition) built what was one of only a few brick houses in St. Louis. Clark used the lower floor for business. Missouri Lodge 12, with its Tennessee charter, met in a room on the second story there from the time Clark completed the house until late 1817. Masons described the house as "poorly adapted for Masonic purposes and inconveniently located." They approached Brother Thompson Douglass, who was constructing a two-story building in the center of town, and persuaded him to add an attic, which the Masons could use. Were that building standing today where it stood in 1817, at its spot in the center of old St. Louis, it would be directly under the gleaming Gateway to the West monument, better known as the St. Louis Arch.

Upon its completion, the Masons moved into the thirty-eight square foot room to conduct their business. There they also founded Missouri Royal Arch Chapter No. 1, and, in 1821, organized the Grand Lodge of Missouri, chartering what today is St. Louis Missouri Lodge 1.

Frederick L. Billon was raised at the age of twenty-two in that very room. Born in 1801, Billon lived to be 94 years of age in a life that spanned virtually all of the 19th century. He served as Missouri's Grand Secretary for many years and thoroughly chronicled Missouri Masonry during that time. In his memoirs, he talks about one particular meeting in that third-story room which he attended on Friday April 29, 1825.

That evening, the young Brother, still a relatively new Mason, ascended the creaky wooden stairs and as he entered the Lodge room, he discovered two visitors. In Billon's words, "we were honored by a visit from our Nation's distinguished guest, our illustrious Brother General Lafayette, on the occasion of his visit to St. Louis, accompanied by his son George Washington Lafayette, on which occasion they were both duly elected Honorary members of our Grand Lodge." The United States had invited the 68-year-old French aristocrat, who had supported our country and commanded American troops in the Revolution, to tour the country.

Billon writes, "This room was used for Masonic purposes… until the close of the year 1833, when Missouri Lodge No. 1, under the pressure of circumstances, ceased her labors for a time, and the Grand Lodge was removed to Columbia Boone County." The so-called "pressure of circumstances" he mentions is a euphemism for the brutal aftermath of the Morgan affair.

For sixteen years that nondescript room provided an auspicious venue for the formation of the Grand Lodge of Missouri and served as its Grand Lodge offices. It also saw the formation of Missouri's first Lodge, the first Missouri Royal Arch Chapter, was a reception room for the great Lafayette, hosted the ceremony honoring him, and saw countless other Masonic ceremonies and events – all this in an attic that was conceived as an afterthought.
It's graphic proof that it doesn't matter where Brothers meet; rather it matters how they meet, act and part.


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 is 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.

Opus Galli Anonymi

by Midnight Freemasons Contributor
WB Darin A. Lahners

I was sitting at my desk in the AITS building on the south end of the University of Illinois Urbana-Champaign’s research park when I received either a text or instant message from fellow Midnight Freemason contributor Greg Knott. Greg worked at the Main Library at that point, and his message simply said something along the lines of “If you want to see the Newton document, be here at 2:45PM”. I don't remember the exact time, but you can bet that I immediately spoke to my supervisor about allowing me to take the time off to be at the Main Library building at the time that Greg mentioned. This was in May of 2018.

Yes, it’s taken me over two years to write this article. I’ve wanted to write it for a long time, however both Greg and I made a promise to a library employee to not discuss what occurred or share photos of the document on social media. At the time, the library had recently acquired “Opus Galli Anonymi” by Sir Isaac Newton at auction. I think that the idea was that while the document was available to the public, due to the historical significance of the item, the employee did not want to give the impression that one could walk in and demand to see it.

“Opus Galli Anonymi” is a Newton’s manuscript translation of an anonymous French work detailing the creation of the philosopher’s stone into Latin. His inscription on front wrapper below title 'Opus galli anonymi' indicates that the procedures described in the text are similar to that of the French alchemical physician Pierre-Jean Fabre in his work L'abregé des secrets chymiques. No comparable source text is known, however. Newton's heavy emendations and corrections suggest that he was not merely transcribing, but extemporaneously creating an original translation from the French text, possibly with his own interpretations and elucidations. [i]

While there is no evidence that supports that Newton was a Freemason, he was very close friends with the Rev. John Theophilus Desaguliers. There is also a lodge, Isaac Newton University Lodge #859, which is for primarily made up of alumni and current students of Cambridge University. It is undeniable however that Newton was an alchemist.

Several documents other documents indicate an interest by Newton in the procurement or development of the philosopher's stone. Most notably are documents entitled Artephius his secret Book, followed by The Epistle of Iohn Pontanus, wherein he beareth witness of ye book of Artephius; these are themselves a collection of excerpts from another work entitled Nicholas Flammel, His Exposition of the Hieroglyphicall Figures which he caused to be painted upon an Arch in St Innocents Church-yard in Paris. Together with The secret Booke of Artephius, And the Epistle of Iohn Pontanus: Containing both the Theoricke and the Practicke of the Philosophers Stone. This work may also have been referenced by Newton in its Latin version found within Lazarus Zetzner's Theatrum Chemicum, a volume often associated with the Turba Philosophorum and other early European alchemical manuscripts. Nicolas Flamel, one subject of the aforementioned work, was a notable, though mysterious figure, often associated with the discovery of the philosopher's stone, hieroglyphical figures, early forms of tarot, and occultism. Artephius, and his "secret book", were also subjects of interest to 17th-century alchemists.

There is also The Epitome of the treasure of health written by Edwardus Generosus Anglicus innominatus who lived Anno Domini 1562. This is a twenty-eight-page treatise on the philosopher's stone, the Animal or Angelicall Stone, the Prospective stone or magical stone of Moses, and the vegetable or the growing stone. The treatise concludes with an alchemical poem.[ii]

Newton also extensively studied and wrote about the Temple of Solomon, dedicating an entire chapter of The Chronology of Ancient Kingdoms Amended due to his knowledge of and fascination with the temple. While a scholar of the bible, Newton was also interested in the sacred geometry of Solomon's Temple, such as golden sections, conic sections, spirals, orthographic projection, and other harmonious constructions, but he also believed that the dimensions and proportions represented more. Newton believed that the temple was designed by King Solomon with divine guidance. To Newton, the geometry of the temple represented more than a mathematical blueprint, it also provided a time-frame chronology of Hebrew history. It was for this reason that he included a chapter devoted to the temple within The Chronology of Ancient Kingdoms Amended, a section which initially may seem unrelated to the historical nature of the book as a whole. Newton felt that just as the writings of ancient philosophers, scholars, and Biblical figures contained within them unknown sacred wisdom, the same was true of their architecture. He believed that these men had hidden their knowledge in a complex code of symbolic and mathematical language that, when deciphered, would reveal an unknown knowledge of how nature works.[iii]

Being able to see the document and the handwriting of one of the most influential scientific minds in History is something that I will never be able to forget. We were also able to view the book of Genesis from a Gutenberg bible that was in the library’s collection. I was humbled and honored to be able to view these documents. Being able to share the experience with Greg made it even more memorable. For those of you that are interested, the document can be viewed at:



WB Darin A. Lahners is a Past Master of and Worshipful Master of St. Joseph Lodge No.970 in St. Joseph. He is also a plural member of Ogden Lodge No. 754 (IL), and of Homer Lodge No. 199 (IL), where he is also a Past Master. He’s a member of the Scottish Rite Valley of Danville, a charter member of Illinois Royal Arch Chapter, Admiration Chapter No. 282 and is the current Secretary of the Illini High Twelve Club No. 768 in Champaign – Urbana (IL). You can reach him by email at

Serving as a Steward

By Midnight Freemasons Senior Contributor

W.B. Gregory J. Knott

I will be serving as the Senior Steward of St. Joseph Lodge No. 970 this coming year. WB Darin Lahners, Master of St. Joseph Lodge appointed me to this position and I am glad to serve.

As I was being installed during a meeting held virtually on Zoom, I listened to the ritual from the Illinois Book of Ceremonials; “ are appointed Senior Steward of St. Joseph Lodge No. 970, and will now be invested with the jewel and rod of your office. You are to assist the deacons and other officers in performing their respective duties, and when the lodge is at refreshment it will by your province to extend to visiting brethren such attentions as circumstances may suggest. Your regular and early attendance at our meetings will afford the best proof of zeal and attachment to the lodge. You will repair to your respective place in the lodge.”

As I thought about what these duties were, I thought to myself, this job is really a good fit for me. I had already served as Master of St. Joseph Lodge in 2011, so I’ve already had the opportunity to sit in the Oriental Chair. I have never been one to be a Grumpy Past Master, so I am eager to help the lodge try new things and do it differently than I did as Master.

I enjoy working with new members, especially those that may be holding an office for the first time. I’m not a great ritualist, but I know enough to help get them to know and understand the work. As Senior Steward, I am in a good position to assist in this role.

Greeting visitors and ensuring they have a good experience in visiting our lodge is of utmost importance. A friendly lodge is a place where they will want to return. This kind of welcoming atmosphere is vital for brothers to have the ability to learn, achieve personal growth, and get those things out of masonry that we so boldly promise during the degree work.

As a Steward I am charged with being a regular attendee of meetings and to ensure I am there early. Doing so illustrates my zeal and attachment to lodge. But is merely showing up early and often enough? My answer is no, there is more to be done.

So many times, we end up putting brothers in the Stewards chairs, just so we can fill the slate of officers for the year, even when in many cases we know they might never actually come to the meeting. But the Senior Steward is in a unique position to have a great influence in the lodge through assisting other brothers and helping foster the atmosphere for our brothers to become all they might be.

I am looking forward to my year as Senior Steward.


WB Gregory J. Knott is a founding member and Senior Contributor of the Midnight Freemasons blog. He is a Past Master of St. Joseph Lodge No. 970 in St. Joseph (IL) and a plural member of Ogden Lodge No. 754 (IL), Homer Lodge No. 199 (IL) and Naval Lodge No. 4 in Washington, DC. He’s a member of the Scottish Rite, the York Rite, Eastern Star and is the Charter Secretary of the Illini High Twelve Club No. 768 in Champaign-Urbana. He is also a member of ANSAR Shrine (IL) and the Eastern Illinois Council No. 356 Allied Masonic Degrees. Greg serves on the Board of Directors of The Masonic Society and is a member of the Scottish Rite Research Society and The Philathes Society. He is a charter member of a new Illinois Royal Arch Chapter, Admiration Chapter U.D. and serves as its Secretary. Greg is very involved in Boy Scouts—an Eagle Scout himself, he is a member of the National Association of Masonic Scouters. You can contact him at

Where are you going to dwell?

by Midnight Freemason Contributor
Brian L. Pettice, 33˚

The Midnight Freemasons: What Is the Scottish Rite of Freemasonry?

As we return to lodge in the coming days, hopefully we can also return to thinking of and treating our brethren and our fellow human beings better than our social media posts and the news suggests that we have during these past few months.

In the Grand Lodge of Illinois the second degree scripture reading is from 1 Corinthians 13 verses 1-7 and 13. Let us consider these verses and how we might reflect on and apply them to return to or strengthen that Brotherly Love that we Masons profess to believe. I think if we insert ourselves into these verses and make them about each of us, it can serve as a look in the mirror that spurs a call to action.

1 Though I speak with the tongues of men and of angels, and have not charity, I am become as sounding brass, or a tinkling cymbal.

2 And though I have the gift of prophecy, and understand all mysteries, and all knowledge; and though I have all faith, so that I could remove mountains, and have not charity, I am nothing.

3 And though I bestow all my goods to feed the poor, and though I give my body to be burned, and have not charity, it profiteth me nothing.

4 Charity suffereth long, and is kind; charity envieth not; charity vaunteth not itself, is not puffed up,

5 Doth not behave itself unseemly, seeketh not her own, is not easily provoked, thinketh no evil;

6 Rejoiceth not in iniquity, but rejoiceth in the truth;

7 Beareth all things, believeth all things, hopeth all things, endureth all things.

13 And now abideth faith, hope, charity, these three; but the greatest of these is charity.

The first thing that comes to my mind in reading this is the use of the word charity. In other translations the word love is used. In any case, the many scholars believe that the word takes the meaning of the Greek agape or that love which is unchanging and unconditional—that love which selflessly puts the needs of others ahead of self without expectation of reward. In order to understand this better, let’s look at the English standard Version of the same verses.

1 If I speak in the tongues of men and of angels, but have not love, I am a noisy gong or a clanging cymbal.

2 And if I have prophetic powers, and understand all mysteries and all knowledge, and if I have all faith, so as to remove mountains, but have not love, I am nothing.

3 If I give away all I have, and if I deliver up my body to be burned,but have not love, I gain nothing.

4 Love is patient and kind; love does not envy or boast; it is not arrogant

5 or rude. It does not insist on its own way; it is not irritable or resentful;

6 it does not rejoice at wrongdoing, but rejoices with the truth.

7 Love bears all things, believes all things, hopes all things, endures all things.

13 So now faith, hope, and love abide, these three; but the greatest of these is love.

The first three verses tell us that whatever spiritual gifts we may come to possess or sacrifices we may make, are useless without love. Verses four through seven tell us how love should be. The final verse charges us to remain or dwell in Faith, Hope, and Love—but the greatest is Love.

Few places in the Masonic ritual is there a better description of how we should see and treat and love each other. But do we?

Here is the exercise that I think will provide that look in the mirror—that deep reflection we take of ourselves, our motives, and our actions—that hopefully drives us to action. In verses four through seven, turn each statement describing Love and make it a question about yourself.

Am I patient and kind?

Do I envy or boast?

Am I arrogant or rude?

Do I insist on my own way?

Am I irritable or resentful?

Do I rejoice at wrong doing or at the truth?

Do I bear all things, do I believe all things, do I hope all things, do I endure all things?

Do I remain or dwell in Faith, Hope, and especially Love?

What are your answers to these questions? Are you happy with those answers? What action are you going to take?

Where are you going to dwell?


Brian L. Pettice, 33° is a Past Master of Anchor Lodge No. 980 and plural member of Olive Branch Lodge No. 38 in Danville, IL and an Honorary Member of a couple of others. He is also an active member of both the York and Scottish Rites. He cherishes the Brothers that have become Friends over the years and is thankful for the opportunities Freemasonry gives and has given him to examine and improve himself, to meet people he might not otherwise have had chance to meet, and to do things he might not otherwise have had a chance to do. He is employed as an electrician at the University of Illinois and lives near Alvin, IL with his wife Janet and their son Aidan. He looks forward to sharing the joy the fraternity brings him with others. His email address is

From The Midnight Freemason Archives:The Flat Earth And Other Masonic Secrets

by Midnight Freemasons Contributor
WM Darin A. Lahners

Freemasons have been and will continue to be a target for conspiracy theorists because we are as they say, a secret society.  As a freemason, and an avid follower of conspiracy theories, I guess I fall into the category of a hypocrite.  For me, reading about and researching conspiracy theories is a way to unwind, and to often laugh at the ridiculousness of the human imagination.   This being said, there are some conspiracy theories that I somewhat subscribe to.  I do believe that there was a conspiracy to kill JFK, I believe that not all of the official story of 9/11 is true, especially surrounding what caused Building 7 of the World Trade Center to come down, and I believe that it’s possible that technologically advanced extraterrestrial life could be visiting us.   So be forewarned, I’m obviously a tinfoil hat wearing nut. 

One of the things that we are hiding as Freemasons, apart from the location of Solomon’s Treasure, the Ark of Covenant, and numerous other secrets, is the fact that the earth is flat.  This is according to many supporters and believers in the flat earth.  The reasons that they believe in the flat earth are numerous.  Many of them are religious fundamentalists, and take the bible verbatim.  In the KJV of the bible, in Genesis, the creation story says that the earth is covered by a vault (firmament) and the celestial bodies move inside the vault.  They believe that the Sun and the Moon are smaller bodies roughly the same size which are near (3000 miles) the earth.  You can read a pretty good summary of what they subscribe to here:

If you’re on the fence still, please read this:

However, I want to deal with why they believe that Freemasons are involved in hiding the flat earth.  One of the main tenets of flat earth belief is that the theory of Gravity is a lie.  Furthermore, Sir Isaac Newton was a Freemason, and the Freemasonic Royal Society has been pushing this lie since its inception.  Although there is no definitive information about Newton being a Freemason, it’s obvious that he is.  His hand in both of the below portraits display this, because he’s apparently giving the Masonic M hand sign.  You know the one, right?    M = Mason!!!!! 

Now in all fairness, Newton was a member of the Royal Society, which was founded by Christopher Wren, who may or may not have been a Freemason.  (The United Grand Lodge of England website doesn’t list him as one but The Grand Lodge of British Columbia and Yukon in Canada says he was.)  There have also been many members of the Royal Society who were in fact Freemasons, such as John Desaguliers, who is regarded as the father of the Grand Lodge System.  Anyway, Gravity is a lie made up by the Freemason Newton to hide the fact that the earth is flat.   You heard it here first.  Don’t get me started on Einstein.  Total Freemason, even though even though there is no record of him being one.   I believe this circa late 90’s website lists both he and Newton!  (PS: Masonic Lodge 56, do your homework!)   

In fact, the whole Heliocentric model of the Universe is a lie.   The flat earth is the center of the universe.   Those who promote the Heliocentric Model are Freemasons.   

I have proof:

Yes, anytime a square or compass shows up in a painting, it means that person is a Freemason. Just like every time a playing card shows up in a painting, it means that person is a professional poker player.

I mean it’s just coincidence that the square and compass can be used in mathematics.   Everyone knows that you all became Freemasons in High School Geometry.  You used a compass didn’t you?
But most importantly, since we hide everything in plain sight…. What do you think the G in the square and compass means?   Gravity.  Which we made up.  There’s no reason that you’re not floating right now.  We’ve told you this recently in the Motion Picture IT.  “You’ll float too!”  A direct reference to the Freemasons via our control of Hollywood.  So what keeps us on the ground?  Magnetism.   Yes another invisible force which like gravity depends upon the mass and attraction between two objects.  That’s not too farfetched is it?

By the way, the Freemasons apparently control NASA too.   Because we control Hollywood, and all Hollywood major players are Freemasons, it’s easy for us to make the best sci-fi films.  I mean NASA’s budget in 2016 was 19.3 Billion dollars.  We can totally make it seem like we have men in orbit on a “Space Station” above the “ball” earth with that kind of budget right?   Never mind that you can take photos of the International Space Station from the ground with the aid of telescope.  We don’t have satellites in orbit either.   GPS is just based off triangulation from ground based cell phone towers.  Don’t let the fact that I can take a dedicated GPS device on a plane flight and have it give me positional readings, airspeed and elevation at 30000 feet in the air dissuade you.  We’ve never been to space or the moon! Wake up Sheeple! Seriously, it’s all CGI.   Just ask the Masonic film directors and producers like: Spielberg, Lucas, Roddenberry, Howard, Haskin, Cameron, and Kubrick.  Once again, there’s no proof that they are Freemasons, but we should never let facts get in the way of a good conspiracy.

Yes, without a doubt, there were many Freemasons who were astronauts.   Buzz Aldrin, Gordon Cooper, Dr. Edgar Mitchell, and John Glenn were Freemasons, just to name a few.   Yes, Buzz Aldrin took a Southern Jurisdiction Flag to the moon… err film set, where fellow Freemason Stanley Kubrick directed the whole thing.  It’s not like there are any laser reflectors on the moon left by the Freemasonic Lying Astronauts that allow precise measurements of the Earth-Moon distance for the last four decades.  I mean to say that if we had the ability to measure the distance from the earth to the moon, then that would totally destroy the whole flat earth thing right?  Flat earthers believe that the earth and the moon are both 3000 miles above the plane of the earth.  It’s a complete masonic lie when the distance is measured to be at an average of 239,228.3 miles.

There is however an even more sinister way in which we Freemasons hide the flat earth from the masses.   Since we hide everything in plain sight, I present to you how you can really tell that the earth is flat……  Drumroll please.

That’s right.  Every time a masonic lodge holds a pancake breakfast, it’s reminding you sheeple of our intellectual superiority over you.  We love our pancakes as much as we love our flat earth knowledge.   The pancake is a perfect representation of the flat earth!   Pancakes are flat, the earth is flat.   Any other questions?????

I didn’t write this article to trifle with your emotions.  I would hope that I’ve not offended anyone that truly believes that the earth is flat.   Honestly, if that’s your belief, good for you.   You see, if there is one thing that being a Freemason has taught me, it’s to be tolerate towards mankind.  It’s possible that you worship a different god, or have a different favorite sports team, believe that the earth is flat, or have a different skin color or sexual orientation.  None of that matters to me.  What matters to me is that you believe in tolerance.  I think I see why many of the flat earthers use Freemasonry as a scapegoat.  It’s because they really don’t know anything about us. 

We are not a ‘secret’ society.  Yes we take an oath to not reveal certain parts of our ceremonies.  However, Most Lodge buildings are well marked with the square and compass, or other masonic markings – Like a sign that says – so and so lodge meets here on such and such night.   Anyone who meets the qualifications can join (In Illinois this means that you are 18, have never had a felony conviction, and believe in a supreme being).  You just have to ask another member about joining to join.   We don’t actively recruit members.   I know that some of the Grand Lodges have relaxed this, but for the most part, this is still the case.  So I’m breaking the golden rule right now.   I’m talking the person who stumbled upon this blog because they think I’m confirming what the dozens of flat earth YouTube videos and websites state about Masonry hiding the flat earth.   I ask you to go to your local lodge and ask to join.   What have you got to lose?  If you really want to see what our mysteries consist of, if you want to see if we’re hiding anything, then come on down.  Maybe you’ll convert some of us into believing that the earth is flat.  We won’t care one way or another once you’re a brother.  But of course, what do I know.  I’m only a 32nd Degree Scottish Rite Mason.   They tell you all the good stuff at the 33rd Degree.   

Am I right, Todd Creason????   


WB Darin A. Lahners is a Past Master of and Worshipful Master of St. Joseph Lodge No.970 in St. Joseph. He is also a plural member of Ogden Lodge No. 754 (IL), and of Homer Lodge No. 199 (IL), where he is also a Past Master. He’s a member of the Scottish Rite Valley of Danville, a charter member of Illinois Royal Arch Chapter, Admiration Chapter No. 282 and is the current Secretary of the Illini High Twelve Club No. 768 in Champaign – Urbana (IL). You can reach him by email at