[White] Gloves

by Midnight Freemason Guest Contributor
WB:. Brendan Hickey, PhD 

When Masons wear white gloves, we do it to symbolize our desire that our actions be as pure and spotless as our gloves. That’s according to The Exemplar: A guide to a Mason’s actions by Stanley F. Maxwell (1985).

I have about three months left in the East, so I have been wearing gloves to meetings for most of the last 7 years or so. I keep them in the console of my car because they are easy to forget when heading out to a meeting. I have found that I typically get about a year out of one pair and then I toss them because they are too dirty to keep. I also like the connection between new gloves and a new job.

When we returned to labor after the summer, I looked at my gloves for this year. They are dirtier than I expected, dirtier than usual for a whole year in other offices. I’m happy about this.

I know that the black stains on the fingertips are a combination of sweat and ink. I run warm anyway, and in my lodge, the East is in the west, so the setting sun heats up that end of the lodge. The thermostats are on the Western wall. Combine all of that with a tux and a top hat and the extra lights and the exertion of meeting, and I’m dripping before I get the lodge open. My gloves help with the sweat and that helps to move pages around so it all works out.

There are other stains on my gloves that make no sense to me, that I can’t identify at all. I’m good with this, too. I came by those marks honestly, whatever they are.

I’m a big fan of this quote from Brother Theodore Roosevelt:
“It is not the critic who counts; not the man who points out how the strong man stumbles, or where the doer of deeds could have done them better. The credit belongs to the man who is actually in the arena, whose face is marred by dust and sweat and blood; who strives valiantly; who errs, who comes short again and again, because there is no effort without error and shortcoming; but who does actually strive to do the deeds; who knows great enthusiasms, the great devotions; who spends himself in a worthy cause; who at the best knows in the end the triumph of high achievement, and who at the worst, if he fails, at least fails while daring greatly, so that his place shall never be with those cold and timid souls who neither know victory nor defeat.”
I like where Maxwell was going with his interpretation of the symbolism of our white gloves. It’s not enough to simply talk a good game or intend good things. Part of the good and hard work of Freemasonry is converting those words and intentions into clear and meaningful action.

At the same time, though, I don’t want clean hands or clean gloves. I want the dirt and cuts and callouses that result from work. I want my actions to be good but I don’t want to be pure because I work in a world that isn’t, and I want to be useful in that world.

I like the ideals and I like the reality and I like this uncomfortable, challenging place between them. I’m looking at these dirty gloves from my time in the East and starting to think that I will keep them, that they may become my favorite reminders of this year. 


Worshipful Brendan Hickey is the Worshipful Master of Thomson Lodge No. 340 in Paoli, PA. 


Maxwell, S. F. (1985). The Exemplar: A guide to a Mason’s actions. Philadelphia, PA: The Right Worshipful Grand Lodge of Free and Accepted Masons of Pennsylvania.

Where are we headed?

by Senior Midnight Freemason Contributor
Gregory J. Knott 33° 

More than one article on this blog site has been written about our concerns about social media and the impact on society it is having today. For myself, these concerns have only deepened over time as I see what is happening on sites like Facebook, Instagram and Twitter and the contribution to what I consider a sharp moral decline in our communities. The nearly unfiltered comments from people are continually full of vitriol and other demeaning comments to others.

A recent 60 minutes program featured Facebook whistleblower Frances Haugen, who disclosed damning evidence that FB is fully aware, because of their own research, of the damage being done to society, especially to our young people.

I recently had a conversation with a college student and we spoke about social media and the negative impacts it is having. I observed to her that at her age (21), social media has essentially been in existence her entire life and that is all her generation had known. We discussed her grandparents who in their 80s are still very active, interacting with friends, attending card club, church, etc. as part of their social routine, but for friends her age that are becoming increasingly rare types of activities. These types of changes and numerous others that I could list collectively contribute to the loss of social capital in our communities.

In the small rural communities that I am a part of. the loss of social capital is especially true. The service clubs such as the Lions and Kiwanis, the bowling alley that hosted the weekly bowling leagues, declining church attendance, volunteer fire departments that are struggling to fill their ranks, the closure of the local newspapers, and numerous other examples I could give, all have contributed to a decline in social capital.

I clearly understand that things change over time, people's priorities change, new technologies come into being that change our lifestyles, but I am absolutely convinced that social media has accelerated these changes faster than we could have ever anticipated. Is FB solely to blame for the loss of social capital? Of course not, but FB has grown to such a size that it has become a monopoly for people’s time and attention that has been monetized through the vast advertising network FB has created.

Anxiety and mental health issues are on the rise. Conversations I have had with educators clearly point to social media as one of the primary causes in their opinion, for the increased stress that young people are under. Again these types of concerns are at the center of the FB whistleblower accusations.

I am hopeful though that people are beginning to realize what we have been doing to ourselves. Numerous people I speak with are oftentimes close to shutting FB off and deleting their accounts. FB and Instagram both were offline for part of a day recently and news accounts spoke about how people were talking face to face again, albeit for a short time. I haven’t walked away from FB yet, as it is how I communicate with so many friends across the country, and especially my Masonic brethren.

So where are we headed as a society? I am not looking to go back in time and hope for the return of the “good ole days”. What I am hoping for is a great awakening again to the importance of community and the rebuilding of the social capital that strengthens humanity.

Given this is a Masonic blog, I of course see where the local Masonic lodge can play a key part in the rebuilding of social capital. It can’t be done overnight and may be done differently than in past generations. What we have is a set of values that build the character of the individual Mason. The Mason then goes back into the community and helps build it to be a better place for everyone.

Society needs us. Society needs Freemasonry.


Gregory J. Knott, 33° 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 gknott63@gmail.com

Missing Commas

by Midnight Freemason Contributor
Bro. Randy Sanders

As Masons, we may know a phrase much like this one:  To learn to subdue my passions and to improve myself in Freemasonry.  Some lodges use very similar words in various parts of the ritual, and it is a beautiful phrase.  I heard a very similar phrase myself, and it left an impression on me even to this day.  I might have said these words, or again, very similar, myself. 

Why so vague?  The exact phrase and words are meaningless without context, denotation, and connotation combined.  In fact, they take on different meanings with the placement of commas.  George Steinmetz rightfully points out in his book “The Lost Word: Its Hidden Meaning” that commas weren’t used as much in older writing styles, and this tells me we should study the rituals and older poems with a bit of openness.  Let’s separate out some of the phrases by deconstructing sentences or chopping up long, wordy passages such as written by Albert Pike or other authors of the 18th and 19th centuries. 

Steinmetz goes on to examine this particular phrase of interest, and he applies an interesting logic.  Freemasonry is a trinary system, so this phrase in context doesn’t make sense.  The question being essentially: "Why are you here?"  The logical response would be either one single answer, or three.  If we look at the phrase as written, we see two:  Learn to subdue passions, and, improve myself.  Here we see Steinmetz at his best, taking a look at what we’ve seen or experienced for years and giving a different perspective in that we don’t know how they phrased this mouth-to-ear a couple of hundred years ago. 

With the addition of two commas, this phrase now makes more sense:  To learn, to subdue my passions, and to improve myself in Freemasonry.  There it is.  There is the trinary system in action, and looking a bit more deeply, we see the first phrase might apply to the EA, the second to the FC, and the third section to MM.  That is, to learn is the summation of the intent of the Entered Apprentice, to subdue passions is necessary for climbing the winding stairs, and improving your SELF in Freemasonry is synonymous with the lessons of the Third.  The phrase also applies to each degree as a complete answer.  The lessons of the EA also are to learn, subdue passions, and improve, while the FC lessons are to expand upon the lessons of the EA.  Becoming a MM doesn’t mean you are no longer EA or FC, and another excellent lesson is the realization that as a MM, the lessons of the EA and FC continue to be an integral part of your being an MM. 

We often hear the same ritual spoken the same way, the same inflections, the same phrasing.  Let us challenge that approach.  Why not start and stop in different places?  Turn words into phrases?  Change the inflection on words and syllables to test for different meanings? 

This isn’t a cited paper so much as an opinion piece, but I pulled the original concept from pp 28-29 “The Lost Word: Its Hidden Meaning” by George Steinmetz.  Macoy Publishing and Masonic Supply Co., Richmond, VA., 1953.


Bro. Randy and his wife Elyana live near St. Louis, Missouri, USA. Randy earned a Bachelors's Degree in Chemistry with an emphasis in Biochemistry, and he works in Telecom IT management. He volunteers as a professional and personal mentor, NRA certified Chief Range Safety Officer and enjoys competitive tactical pistol, rifle, and shotgun. He has 30 plus years teaching Wing Chun Kung Fu, Chi Kung, and healing arts. Randy served as a Logistics Section Chief on two different United States federal Disaster Medical Assistance Teams over a 12-year span. Randy's Masonic bio includes past Lodge Education Officer for two Symbolic Lodges, Founder of the Wentzville Lodge Book Club, member of the Grand Lodge of Missouri Education Committee, Sovereign Master of the E. F. Coonrod AMD Council No. 493, Co-Librarian of the Scottish Rite Valley of St. Louis, Clerk for the Academy of Reflection through the Valley of Guthrie, and a Facilitator for the Masonic Legacy Society. Randy is a founding administrator for Refracted Light, a full contributor to Midnight Freemasons, and an international presenter on esoteric topics. Randy hosts an ongoing weekly Masonic virtual Happy Hour on Friday evenings. Randy is an accomplished home chef, a certified barbecue judge, raises Great Pyrenees dogs, and enjoys travel and philosophy.

In Defense of the Hot Sands (Among other things)

by Midnight Freemason Contributor
WB Darin A. Lahners

Newly Initiated Noble Darin Lahners 

I recently joined the Shriners (aka Shriners International formally known as the Ancient Arabic Order of Nobles of the Mystic Shrine.  In all honesty, up until about a month ago, joining the Shrine was the furthest thing from my mind.  This changed when I took a trip with my mentor, friend, and fellow Midnight Freemasons Contributor, Greg Knott to his lake home on the shores of Lake Barkley in Kentucky.  It was at this time I learned that Greg was working on starting a Shrine Club, Salt Fork Shrine Club (named after the Salt Fork River that runs through several of the towns in Eastern Champaign County into Vermillion County).  The club would focus on membership primarily from the lodges located in St. Joseph, Ogden, Homer, and Sidney, however, it would welcome members from other lodges as well.  The idea of the club was twofold: 
1. Support the Shriners Children's Hospitals 
2. Use the club as a vessel to grow Blue Lodge membership in our area (especially in Saint Joseph).  

If you are a long-time reader of my articles, then you can recall my articles about our struggles with getting new membership at St. Joseph #970.  In any case, Greg pleaded his case and I decided that I would become a Shriner.  Initially, I was going to join in December at the Ansar Temple in Springfield, Illinois via the "Hot Sands" ceremony.  However, I was informed by Greg that the "Hot Sands" ceremony was retired, and therefore I would be going: "Cold Sands".    
Editors Note:  I am unable to verify if this is the case or not for all Shrine Temples or only for Ansar. I have heard rumors that it is an edict from the International body regarding retiring the "Hot Sands" ceremony.                                                             

Fellow Nobles of Salt Fork Shrine Club From L to R: Illus. Bro. Greg Knott, WB Mark Catron, WB Darin Lahners,Bro. Brian Clark

On September 25, I joined the Shrine in a quick ceremonial after the Grand Masters Festival in Champaign to become the first "official" new member of Salt Fork Shrine Club.  I was left wanting.  You see, I had gotten my hopes up for something more, and it was just alright.  I want to be clear I am really excited to join The Shrine, and I'm looking forward to uncovering some of the deeper aspects of its ceremonies and ritual, I just wish I would have experienced them first hand.  I wish I would have been given a choice regarding going through the "Hot Sands".

I am the first person to admit that this view is personally somewhat hypocritical regarding some of my other views regarding taboo topics that go against Masonic Tradition that I've written about ad nauseam here.  So what I am about to say will probably surprise you.  There are some traditions that we need to keep in place.   I believe the "Hot Sands" is one of these.  Yes... I'll allow you to pick your jaw up off of the floor, the same guy that is okay with allowing Women to have their own lodges is arguing for keeping tradition. The difference in my mind is that Women having their own lodges and doing their own thing doesn't really impact me personally.  However, if you want to call me a hypocrite, knock yourself out. 

I don't know what was behind the decision to retire the "Hot Sands" ceremony.  Maybe it was concern over potential lawsuits.   If there was a fear of lawsuits, I would have signed a waiver. Maybe it was due to some references to the Islamic faith in the Shrine ritual, and that was a bridge too far for some Freemasons, and it was felt that the ceremony needed to become more "user friendly".  Maybe it just takes too many brethren to put on the ceremony and with dwindling numbers, it just became infeasible to continue them in many areas, so it was easiest just to retire it.  At this point, anything I write here would be hearsay.  What I do know is that I was ready to embrace the Islamic themes of the ritual, walk the "Hot Sands" and encounter whatever else was thrown at me during them knowing that I was in the hands of true and trustworthy brothers.  I wasn't given the choice or the opportunity and I am disappointed to not have that.

Another hypocritical stance I have is this.  As a member of the Northern Masonic Jurisdiction of the Ancient Accepted Scottish Rite, I have been able to watch and experience many degrees during the pandemic due to the NMJ's documenting many of the degrees on video.  I know that there are a lot of detractors of the NMJ due to this.  However, given the way that AASR degrees are presented, I don't see any difference, and honestly, the production value of the videos is usually greater than anything I see in person.  This isn't meant to besmirch any of my Valley of Danville brethren, as they do fantastic degrees. As I am to understand, there are many Valleys that are smaller and don't have the ability to put on every degree, so the DVD/Video degrees fill an important role for these valleys.   So you'd think that I'd be okay with some rumors I have heard regarding the Grand Lodge of Illinois recording the Blue Lodge Degree Lectures and having the candidates watch a video presentation of them instead of having them recited to them from memory. In fact, the opposite is true.  

The difference to me is that in the case of the NMJ video degrees, the choice is optional.  A Valley can use them, however, they still have the option to present the degrees in a live format.  In the case of the "Hot Sands" or the Blue Lodge Degree Lectures, removing ritual or replacing it with a Video is different in my mind.  First of all, I think that we lose knowledge whenever a ritual is removed from circulation.  As the members that are familiar with how to perform the ritual die off, we are only left with the words.  I'd equate this with a non-Freemason going online and reading our various ritual that has leaked and telling themselves and others that they now know the "Secrets of Freemasonry".  The idea is absurd.  What they are missing is that there is something that happens during the initiation process, a transformation that takes place, and certain mannerisms, cadence, pronunciations given by those performing the degrees are a major part of that process.  When that part of the knowledge of the initiatory process is lost, then we are in effect no better off than the person in my example above.

As for the videos of the Blue Lodge Lectures, I'm sure you will be keen to point out, doesn't your argument hold true for the AASR videos?  Aren't we missing something by not having them done in person?  I would say no.  The nature of those degrees is such that they do not require any candidate participation.  The AASR degrees that do to my understanding will never be shown on Video.  So in watching them, the candidate(s) do not lose anything in their experience.  In my opinion, the lectures serve an important role in the initiatory process.

First and foremost, I think that moving the lectures to a video format completely contradicts everything that has happened up to that point in the degree.  If we look at the above example, if the point of the degree is to be a transformative process, then are we not countering that work by having everything done in a personal matter only to then say... to quote Monty Python: "And now for something completely different!"  Not only are we sending a mixed message to the candidate, but we are also laying the groundwork for more of our ritual to be delivered in this fashion.  In order for the initiatory experience to be transformative, it requires both those that are performing the work and the candidate to be engaged.  Think about the information that the lectures of each degree convey.  Especially in the Fellowcraft degree where there is more participation of the candidate.  Are you telling me that we aren't going to lose some meaning to our degrees if we go to a DVD format for the lectures?  It's preposterous to think that.  Not only that, but one of the beautiful hidden meanings of the lectures is the idea that our knowledge is conveyed mouth to ear in an intimate sacred setting. 

Everything has been in person so far... now you will watch a DVD.

The argument that I have heard for the reasoning for going to this format is that there are just not enough guys to perform the work.  That's absurd.  In Illinois, we have 46,711 Master Masons (according to the Grand Masters Report for 2021) currently.  In the next 10 years, we'll lose more due to attrition.  However, there are enough guys to perform the work.  The problem is that you have in every district a small clique of brothers that are doing the work, and they aren't doing a good job of succession planning.  In my case, there's never been any challenge to me personally to learn the lectures verbatim because, to be honest, I haven't seen the need.  All of the brothers outside of the clique have relied solely on the members of that clique to perform all of the degree work.  I've raised this point to members of the clique, essentially telling them to take others under their wing so they're ready in the case of the Grand Leveler coming to claim them.  Once again, once that knowledge is lost, then it's lost.  But don't give me the... "we don't have the manpower"excuse. Empower your members and hold them accountable, and encourage those in the clique to teach those members outside of the clique.  

The questions we need to ask ourselves are:
What do we want the initiatory experience to be?  Do we want it to be transformative or do we just want to "make" a Mason, Shriner, etc?
Are we willing to settle for less?

In my case, I want the initiatory experience to continue to be transformative. I am not willing to settle for less.  So, I know what I need to do.  First and foremost, I need to learn the lectures and other rituals that I am ignorant of and volunteer to perform them at degrees in my area.  I need to encourage others to do the same.  I also need to learn other rituals (like the Hot Sands) and have others entrusted with it so that if it is needed someday, it can be performed.  If anyone has a copy of the Hot Sands ritual that they'd be willing to share, email me at the address below.  We need to keep our rituals alive for future generations.  


WB Darin A. Lahners is our Co-Managing Editor. He is a host and producer of the "Meet, Act and Part" podcast. He is currently serving the Grand Lodge of Illinois Ancient Free and Accepted Masons as the Area Education Officer for the Eastern Masonic Area. He is a Past Master of St. Joseph Lodge No.970 in St. Joseph. He is also a plural member 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 a member of the Salt Fork Shrine Club under the Ansar Shrine. You can reach him by email at darin.lahners@gmail.com.

Reinventing the Wheel

by Midnight Freemason Contributor
Bro. Randy Sanders

One more charity fundraiser breakfast is in the books.  It was a great time of fellowship and charity in helping the local food bank with donations earmarked for children.  Our lodge hosted a breakfast of scrambled eggs, bacon, sausage, biscuits and gravy, and French toast along with the usual milk, juice, and especially coffee.  When we began setting up at 5:30am, the coffee just didn’t brew quickly enough.  The usual suspects wandered in over the next ten minutes, and we had the lodge in good shape with the doors scheduled to open at seven. 

Afterward, we cleaned and took stock of what was used, and I noticed Brother Joe scribbling on a pad of paper.  I walked over and asked “Whatcha doing?” in a curious tone, to which he replied “taking notes”.  To frame this a little better, Brother Joe and I spent almost two hours after the last AMD meeting discussing exactly this:  The need for Masons to take notes and perform after-action reporting.  I was very happy to see the follow-through as it had stayed in my mind too. 

It doesn’t exist if it’s not written down.  This isn’t necessarily true in all conditions, but when it comes to making things easier?  Well, you know the answer to that.  We get done with a function, pack it all away, maybe make a mental note that something needs refilling, then it’s on to the next project.  There’s very little documentation passed down from project to project, and listing out lessons learned?  It’s a habit that we should consider for our lodges and our future generations of Masons. 

I propose we consider simply writing it down.  Write notes.  Write down what went well, what didn’t go well, and what suggestions you think might improve things next time.  Put it in a binder by the Secretary’s desk.  Better yet, make it digital, then organize it in a couple of different storage mediums.  We don’t need to argue in lodge for 30 minutes about whether we could have used social media more efficiently, as that’s not what I’m writing about.  In fact, I would ask that we never go down that bad path of bringing after-action reporting to the lodge except to say “the after-action report is completed” as part of any committee report.  

What difference does an after-action report make?  Plenty.  Why reinvent the wheel each time we plan a spaghetti dinner, trivia night, family movie night, or even a charity breakfast?  The notes from one can then be added to the next, and before you know it, there’s a self-improvement cycle created.  We’re Masons.  We like self-improvement, right?  We keep the notes from each pancake breakfast, then one year it’s time to pass the torch to someone else to take lead on the committee.  Maybe it’s time for a new Worshipful Master to do the planning.  And there it is, a template to help make it successful.  Again.  Better than last year, and with a few added notes, it will be better next time too.  What if we were to do that with all our activities?


Bro. Randy and his wife Elyana live near St. Louis, Missouri, USA. Randy earned a Bachelors's Degree in Chemistry with an emphasis in Biochemistry, and he works in Telecom IT management. He volunteers as a professional and personal mentor, NRA certified Chief Range Safety Officer and enjoys competitive tactical pistol, rifle, and shotgun. He has 30 plus years teaching Wing Chun Kung Fu, Chi Kung, and healing arts. Randy served as a Logistics Section Chief on two different United States federal Disaster Medical Assistance Teams over a 12-year span. Randy's Masonic bio includes past Lodge Education Officer for two Symbolic Lodges, Founder of the Wentzville Lodge Book Club, member of the Grand Lodge of Missouri Education Committee, Sovereign Master of the E. F. Coonrod AMD Council No. 493, Co-Librarian of the Scottish Rite Valley of St. Louis, Clerk for the Academy of Reflection through the Valley of Guthrie, and a Facilitator for the Masonic Legacy Society. Randy is a founding administrator for Refracted Light, a full contributor to Midnight Freemasons, and an international presenter on esoteric topics. Randy hosts an ongoing weekly Masonic virtual Happy Hour on Friday evenings. Randy is an accomplished home chef, a certified barbecue judge, raises Great Pyrenees dogs, and enjoys travel and philosophy.

Arco Lodge #48

by Midnight Freemason Guest Contributor
MWB Russ W Smith

Editors Note:
Before I wrote my article: http://www.midnightfreemasons.org/2021/09/let-there-be-light.html, I had reached out to the Grand Lodge of Idaho to get information on Arco Lodge #48.  I received an answer from Most Worshipful Brother, Russ W Smith, who is the current GrandMaster of the Grand Lodge of Idaho Ancient Free and Accepted Masons.  The information he sent me is below.  It tells the story of Arco Lodge and its important place in Masonic History. 

Arco Lodge #48, located in Arco, Idaho was chartered on August 21, 1906, and over the years became an active center for Masonic and community social activities. The current building at 260 West Grand Avenue was built in 1916. Arco Lodge had the Concordant and Appendant Masonic organizations of Order of Eastern Star, Shriners Lost River Drum  Corp club, International Order of Job’s Daughters for young women, and Order of  DeMolay for young men. 

Like many social organizations in smaller towns, as the population decreased, activity in these social organizations decreased and eventually closed over the years. Arco Lodge #48  merged with Mt. McCaleb Lodge #64 in Mackay, Idaho in November 2020. 

Arco #48 Side Door

Arco Lodge #48 Worshipful Master station 

Arco Lodge #48, Senior Warden station 

 Arco #48 Centennial Pin

100 Year Centennial Celebration, 2006  

Arco Lodge Celebrates 100 Years 

This last Saturday, Masons from all over Idaho came to Bottolfsen Park to help members of Arco Lodge #48 celebrate the 100th year anniversary of their charter that was issued on  August 21, 1906. Over 150 individuals from both the community and lodge members 

were on hand to celebrate the centennial year. There were 9  

members from the Grand Lodge of Idaho present to help with the  

celebration, including the Most Worshipful Grand Master, Brother  

James Herndon from Blackfoot who is a dual member of Grove City  

Lodge #33, Blackfoot, and Lemhi Lodge #11, Salmon, Idaho.]

The ceremonies started shortly after 12:00 P.M. with a short  

presentation from the 1st Masonic District Deputy, Russ Smith, on the  

benefits of Masonry, what it is, and how it helps men to become better  

individuals. This was followed by a pledge of allegiance to the United  

States flag and after a prayer to bless the food, everyone enjoyed a picnic meal of buffalo roast beef or buffalo sloppy joes with corn on the cob, salad, baked beans, and dessert provided by B&B Catering,  


During the meal a presentation on the history of Arco Lodge #48 was  

given by Worshipful Master Jim Waymire and talked about the  

formation of the lodge from the Wood River area, the building of the  

Masonic building, the fire that almost completely destroyed the building in 1928, and the re-building which is the current structure that stands today. The Grand Master, James Herndon, then addressed the audience and talked about how Masonry benefits not only the individual but also society and the community through the members that donate time individually and are involved in other organizations.

Arco Lodge was selling commemorative hats and raffle tickets on a tanned buffalo hide and after dessert, the drawing for the buffalo hide was held and Neil Depew from Pocatello was the winner. The rest of the buffalo meat was raffled off and many individuals were awarded a tasty treat of buffalo meat. The buffalo was raised on the Hill Creek Bison Ranch and had been harvested by the Grand Master back in February.

An afternoon of good fellowship was enjoyed by all and everyone returned to their respective places of abode. Special thanks go to the community members and lodge members that attended. We hope that you have a better understanding and appreciation of what Freemasonry is and is not. Thanks to the Arco Advertiser for printing the ads and articles. It helped everyone to understand more about the lodge. And, thanks to the members of Arco Lodge #48 and their families for getting everything ready. With a little bit of hard work and perseverance, we might be able to make it another 100 years. (article originally published in the Arco Advertiser)

Arco Advertiser, newspaper article, 9-26-2016 

Public Invited To Help Arco Lodge #48 Celebrate Building Centennial Re-dedication,  October 8. 

Arco Lodge #48 is a member of the Masonic fraternity, a worldwide organization that promotes charity  and philanthropic service. The Grand Lodge of Idaho, Ancient Free and Accepted Masons issued a  charter to Arco Lodge on August 21, 1906. The local lodge celebrated their centennial year in 2006.  Their building was constructed in 1916, so their lodge building is 100 years old and one of the oldest  buildings in Arco. The Grand Lodge of Idaho Officers have been invited to re-dedicate the building on  Saturday, October 8 and will come from all over the state of Idaho to help with the celebration and  building re-dedication. The public is invited to the building dedication ceremony at 1:00 PM on Saturday,  October 8. There will be refreshments served afterwards. 

Arco Advertiser, newspaper article 10-3-2016 

Grand Lodge of Idaho to re-dedicate 100 year old Arco Lodge #48 Building this  Saturday, October 8. 

The Grand Lodge Officers, Ancient Free and Accepted Masons of Idaho, led by Most Worshipful Grand  Master Jim Hensley from Twin Falls will re-dedicate the Arco Lodge #48 building located at 260 West  Grand Avenue, Arco, Idaho, this Saturday at 1:00 PM. It was built in 1916 for the lodge and has been used for Eastern Star Friendship Chapter #37, Job’s Daughters International Bethel #51, and Demolay  Lost River Chapter meetings. The public is invited to attend the ceremony which will be the same ceremony that was performed on this building 100 years ago and the same one used by President George  Washington to lay the cornerstone for the United States Capital in 1793. Masons from all across Idaho will participate in the celebration. Come down and enjoy the ceremonial ritual of re-dedicating the building for continuing fraternal benevolence. Refreshments will be served and everyone is invited to attend this historical event in celebrating the contributions the Masonic fraternity has made in our community in the past and plans to continue in the future. A fun and informational time is anticipated for everyone. 


Arco #48 Masonic Building

100 Year Centennial Building Re-dedication, Grand Lodge of Idaho, 2016 

Arco Lit By Atomic Power 

Arco Recreation Center/City Clerk Building

Arco Rec Center Neon Sign at Night 

EBR-1 Atomic Energy harnessed, December 20, 1951 


The world's first peacetime use of nuclear power occurred when the U.S. Government switched on Experimental Breeder Reactor #1 (EBR-1) near Arco, Idaho, on December 20,  1951, and powered 4 lightbulbs with power from the reactor. The town of Arco, Idaho became the first city in the world to be lit by atomic power from  a reactor built near EBR-1, the BORAX III, on July 17, 1955. This occurred for about an  hour and though It was only temporary, it paved the way for commercial use of nuclear  power. 

What is not widely known is that the power was cut over on the transmission lines at night on July 17, 1955. This was done on purpose so the majority of the residents in Arco  would not know that the power they were using was generated by Atomic Power. This  information was captured in Susan M. Stacy’s book, “Proving the Principle”.  

The below is the public release from the Atomic Energy Commission on Arco being supplied with Atomic Power. Notice there is no mention of the actual time. 

AEC Press release for BORAX-III lighting Arco, Idaho 



P. O. BOX 59 

Lemont, Illinois 


Telephone: Lemont 800 (Argonne) 

Ext. 558 - 559 

August 11, 1955


Friday, 9:00 a.m., D.D.T. 

August 12, 1955 



Electricity, produced from nuclear energy, has been used to light and power a  town in the United States. Arco, Idaho, became the first community in the Nation to receive its entire supply of power from a nuclear source when, on July 17,1955, electricity produced in an experimental nuclear power plant operated by Argonne National  Laboratory at the U. S. Atomic Energy Commission's National Reactor Testing  Station, twenty miles from Arco, was fed into transmission lines supplying the small town. 

When the reactor power was cut in, utility lines supplying conventional power to Arco from the Utah Power and Light Company were disconnected. The entire community of 1,200 inhabitants then depended solely on nuclear power for more than an hour. 

Although the transmission of electricity from the nuclear power plant to Arco was, by prior arrangement, discontinued after the demonstration had been completed, the generation of electricity at the testing station site was continued. 

A motion picture record of the demonstration was presented to the United  Nations today at the International Conference on Peaceful Uses of Atomic  Energy, in Geneva, Switzerland. The United States delegation plans to make the film available during the Conference and to representatives of 72 nations in attendance. 

The experimental nuclear power plant, known as "BORAX", short for "Boiling  Reactor Experiment", was the subject of a major technical paper presented to the Conference August 9 by Dr. Walter H. Zinn, Director of Argonne National  Laboratory. The plant, which generates more than 2,000 kilowatts of electricity, was designed and constructed by the Laboratory. Harold V.  Lichtenberger, who is a U. S. technical advisor at Geneva, is Director of the  Laboratory's activities at the testing station.

This temporary transformer was  used to connect BORAX-III with the  town of Arco, Idaho.

The reactor for the nuclear power plant has been under development by the Laboratory since 1953. An experimental facility for conducting studies of a reactor of this type was constructed at the testing station site in the summer of 1953 and tests on safety and steady-state operating characteristics were conducted. The tests were sufficiently encouraging so that additional studies were made in the summer of 1954. 

Experience gained during the operation of this reactor warranted the addition of a turbo-generator so that the steam being produced could be converted into a more usable form of energy. This generation plant was placed into operation on June 28, 1955, and the production of electricity is continuing on a routine basis. 

The reactor consists of a pressure vessel containing an assemblage of enriched uranium-bearing plates submerged in water, plus a number of neutron-absorbing control rods. The water circulates through the reactor core by natural convection. Steam, produced by the heat created by the fissioning of uranium atoms, is conducted to the 3,500-kilowatt turbo-generator, located in a nearby building. 

The simplicity of construction, ease of operation, low cost, and high degree of safety suggest the possibility that this type of small power plant may be suitable for use in remote areas or in conjunction with mining or manufacturing operations.

~MWB Russ W Smith

MWB Russ W Smith is the current Grand Master of the Grand Lodge of Idaho, Ancient Free and Accepted Masons.  You can learn more about the Grand Lodge of Idaho here: http://www.idahomasons.org/

In Which All Men Agree

by Midnight Freemason Contributor
Bro. Ken JP Stuczynski

I had a lot of questions before I was willing to petition a Lodge. For me, it was never about wearing a grandfather’s ring or a specific charity project. I wanted to know how my association with the Craft would affect my moral reputation, and more importantly, how it would impact my conscience. The selling point for me was that I could be around people who were diverse in belief but shared my values.

Think about that.

As an interfaith minister and citizen of the world, I appreciate (rather than just tolerate) other beliefs. As someone educated in the Humanities, I accept that there is more than one way of looking at things, be it economics or politics or human nature. But I expect certain truths to be universally understood, even if the application of them may take forms that may pit us against one another. Masonry teaches us to Love one another in spite of our spirited debates and disparate votes.

The more I become aware of Masonic experiences across my jurisdiction and the world, the more I see a diversity of expressions of Masonic principles. However, I am also seeing a diversity of values, some of which are incompatible with what I would suggest are taught in our lessons. Contemplating the inconsistent amity regarding Prince Hall Masons, for example, exposes two centuries of fundamental duplicity. By continued support or silent complicity of segregated recognition, we clearly do not practice what we preach. But it’s more than institutionally systemic. It’s personal.

In the last year, it has become painfully obvious that political divisions have crept into the Craft. Or that’s what we think is happening. I suggest it’s much, much worse: basic values, rather than just specific beliefs, have become politicized. It is not that we are bringing politics into the Craft, but that people are bringing politics into the very discussion of our VALUES. Partisan lines have been drawn, even if only in stereotype, as to which human beings are worthy of our help and which deserve our fear. Justice has become a charged buzzword, Liberty a hollow platitude, Equality a battleground. These words have taken on political meanings that have nothing to do with the Morality on which all reasonable, good and decent people can agree.

There was even one Brother on Facebook who expressed how angered he became upon seeing a “Be Kind” bumper sticker. How bad have things gotten to where we use terms like “virtue signaling” to dismiss or even ridicule today’s version of “Love thy neighbor”? People don’t like being told that what they are doing (or not doing) is inconsiderate or selfish. We may be reminded of our obligations by some stranger and it infuriates us. (Mind you, such things may be worth civilly debating if there is an ethical rebuttal to be had. But such conversations are almost immediately framed by the actions or opinions of politicians, who, frankly, were not invited to the conversation.)

We may be wrestling over things like “political correctness” and “identity politics”, but the underlying values they deal with (however poorly or disingenuously) should not be held in question. Many of us use a dislike of certain people demanding civic duty and respect as an excuse to not be a good person. Instead, we defiantly base our patriotism on personal sovereignty without obligations. We put party identities over the country we claim to love. With so much ritual touching upon the subject of good citizenship, we must wonder if Brothers with this attitude have taken the same Degrees as the rest of us.

But don’t get me wrong. Masons aren’t perfect. So what makes us Masons? It’s not that we aren’t ever prejudiced or selfish, but that we try not to be. It’s not that we don’t sometimes ignore the needs of our fellow Man, or lack tolerance toward them, but that we aspire to do so as we are able. Seeking to be better ought to be considered an unwritten, yet non-negotiable Landmark of Masonry.

If we can at least agree on that, how many of us live up to it? Brother Franklin had his detailed plan to focus on a different virtue each week, yet after years of rotations had not become a Perfect Ashlar. But he made an honest, conscious effort to live a truly virtuous life nonetheless. How many Workmen actually do this most important of Masonic Work in some way, big or small? And if we are failing to do even this, do we accept whispered wise counsel and be awakened from our moral slumber? I would never ask more of a fellow Brother.

But there are those who are petulantly stubborn in their righteousness or simply do not care. Those latter stones may not ever be of suitable material, and yet some Lodge did a disservice to us all by admitting them to our quarries. At least from my experience, we are getting better at guarding the West Gate. Gone are the days when petitions were handed out like brochures to a carnival.

But we still find ourselves with a necessary purging of our Lodges. By that, I don’t mean merely to forbid prejudices, incivilities, or other Unmasonic conduct when and where we find it. I mean the Lodge within ourselves. What Masonic values have we rebelled against in the name of politics? Can we find a way to live up to our obligations without becoming untrue to our particular beliefs, political or otherwise? And if one has to go – a political belief or a principled value – we must decide which to divest ourselves of. Such choices will prove our true worth as good Men and Masons.


Bro. Ken JP Stuczynski is a member of West Seneca Lodge No.1111 and recently served as Master of Ken-Ton Lodge No.1186. As webmaster for NYMasons.Org he is on the Communications and Technology Committees for the Grand Lodge of the State of New York. He is also a Royal Arch Mason and 32nd Degree Scottish Rite Mason, serving his second term as Sovereign Prince of Palmoni Council in the Valley of Buffalo, NMJ. He also coordinates a Downtown Square Club monthly lunch in Buffalo, NY. He and his wife served as Patron and Matron of Pond Chapter No.853 Order of the Eastern Star and considered himself a “Masonic Feminist”.