From the Archives: Day By Day, The Masonic Way: Disappointment

by Midnight Freemason Contributor
WB Adam Thayer

Brethren, as I look back over the pieces I’ve written in the past few years, I see many things I’m very proud of. There were a great many papers on various topics, full of emotion and passion, but what I’ve found missing is what I would consider “solid” education, that is, a practical application of the instructions we are taught in our three degrees. Over the next series of papers I write, I plan to address that issue. I hope to be able to provide some solid teachings, and learn something myself in the process!

Many minds far greater than my own have written examinations of the symbols that are presented, and I promise that if you spend the time pouring over their writings you will find it to be a rewarding and enriching pursuit. Instead of retreading the words of our forefathers, I hope to break new ground by discussing the issues that face our brothers today. I won’t even pretend to be doing this for entirely noble reasons; to a degree (if you’ll excuse the pun), this is my attempt to deal with these issues in my own life and, through that process, find peace for myself.

Tonight, the issue that is most heavy on my mind is that of disappointment. Disappointment comes in many forms; maybe you didn’t get the promotion you deserved, or your team ended their season with a 6-7 record (I’m looking at you Cornhuskers), or maybe your evening just didn’t go the way you had hoped it would. Disappointment is a common human condition, however to dismiss it so easily is to downplay how absolutely crushing the experience can be when it occurs.

At its core, disappointment comes from reality not living up to our expectations. Perhaps our expectations were set too high, perhaps we ignored the reality of our situation, or perhaps the world is a complex, sometimes cruel place where things don’t go the way they should. Whatever the real reason, disappointment taken to an extreme can lead to severe anxiety issues, with sufferers going out of their way to avoid any risk that may lead to disappointment.

King Solomon knew disappointment; even with all of his accomplishments he saw failure after crushing failure, leading him to say “I surveyed all that my hands had done and what I had toiled to achieve, everything was meaningless, a chasing after the wind.” King Solomon definitely had a flair for the melodramatic, however I believe we can all identify with the sentiment: after all of our hard work and effort, when everything comes crashing down around us, what is the point of our labors?

When faced with disappointment, my mind first goes to thoughts of the mosaic pavement. Being the representative of human existence, it is necessarily equally checkered with both white and black tiles, which we are taught is emblematical of the good and evil in our lives. It could also be said to represent our victories and our defeats, our joys and our disappointments, which equal out in the long run of our lives.

A man much wiser (and significantly cheesier than I) once stated that walking the mosaic pavement is very hard on the feet. This is most especially true when we’re face to face with our disappointments.

There is an insidious danger in disappointment: often, we turn to our vices to help ease the pain. Solomon turned to both wine and women to make him forget the suffering crush of his disappointments, and it worked… for a while. However, he learned what we all must learn: the harder you try to escape reality, the more painful it is when it reasserts itself. After spending many drunken years amassing a fortune filled with every pleasure money could buy, he found himself more emotionally destitute than he began.

Truly dealing with our disappointments head-on takes courage, but it also takes a humble spirit. It begins with accepting what has happened, which many of us have a very difficult time with. It also takes time, something that I myself have an issue with; we want everything fixed right now, not at some magical later date. Finally, it takes a willingness to learn from the situation, to prepare us for future storms.

Here’s a little secret from me to you: life is full of disappointments. Rather than letting them destroy us, we have the opportunity to learn and grow from them. If the human life is an alchemical process, then disappointment is the process which transforms our rough ashlars into perfect ashlars.

I hope you can learn to channel your disappointments into your passion; for me, that passion is writing, and the large number of papers that have been posted since my first guest post nearly two years ago is a testament to the disappointments in my life. For one of my good friends, he pours his disappointment into music, and has constantly improved his talent to a near professional level. Whatever your passion is, I encourage you to pour all of your frustrations into it; let them fuel you as you strive to become ever greater.

I won’t leave you with a banal platitude like “when one door closes, another one opens” (in the words of Bill Murray, just open the door, that’s how doors work), but I will tell you that I have learned this: life is like a beautiful jigsaw puzzle. You can’t start to make sense of it until it has all fallen apart.


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!

From the archives: The 50 Year Member: Part One - The Internet

by Midnight Freemason Guest Contributor
Bill Hosler PM

The 50 year Mason sat in his den watching the beehive of activity surrounding him. he sat in his chair surrounded by boxes, wires and cords laying all over the floor and devices he had never seen and had no clue what they were for.
He watched as his grandchildren assembled a computer onto his old writing desk. The kids were talking to each other in jargon that might as well have been a foreign language to him. “I hope they know what they are doing” he thought to himself.
His wife had wanted a computer in their house for a long time.  She keeps saying “We need to keep up with the times.” and the most important “We can talk to the great grandchildren”.  He knew this was important to her. They never got to see the kids since they moved away and he figured there was a yearning inside her to see them on a regular basis.  She could talk to them on the phone but it wasn’t a substitute to see their smiling face every day.  “Women need stuff like that” he figured.
Once the devices were all assembled he gazed upon this new thing on his old desk. All these boxes with what looked like a TV on the desk he had paid the monthly bills on all these years. It was making sounds and lots of little green lights blinking on the little boxes. “Looks like something out of Star Trek” He mumbled.  His wife could barely contain her excitement “How do I get on Facebook? She asked her son.  “All the girls at the club are on Facebook” she stated. “Oh Brother” he thought to himself but he had been married long enough to know not to say it out loud. His son slowly and patiently began to show his wife how to use the computer and access the internet.
That evening Brother Johnson went down to the temple for the lodge’s monthly meeting. During dinner he was talking to his longtime friends and Brothers. It began with the same conversation they had had for the last half century. Lies about their latest fishing trip, the next Shrine ceremonial. It was the same conversation they had over and over. The same old jokes they had been telling each other for years.  Sometimes it gets stale but at least he gets to see the guys and catch up with what is going on their lives.
Brother Smith mentioned he was going to attend a Grand lodge event in the southern part of the state. Smith wondered if anyone wanted to go along with him. “How did you hear about that?” the 50 year member asked him. “I didn’t get a letter from the Grand lodge.”  Laughing out loud Smith said “I got an email about it from the Grand Lodge last week. “They send me information about events all the time”.  I get emails from the Scottish Rite too.” “I seen pictures of the last event on the Grand lodge’s website, it looked like fun so I thought I would go!”
“Freemasonry on the internet?” Exclaimed the 50 year member. “I never knew you could do that!” “What about all of our secrets? It will destroy the Fraternity!” 
The new guy was sitting at the end of the table. He was raised a few months ago. He didn’t talk much.  The Brethren didn’t talk to him much either.  He was so different than the other members. He had tattoos all the way up his arms and his head was shaven he wore a lot of jewelry. He even has a Masonic ring with a Square and compass in the middle of a skull! Brother Johnson had thought about blackballing him but so many Brethren had a favorable opinion of him when they reported back to the lodge after his interview he decided he wouldn’t throw the black ball “He will probably lose interest soon anyway” Brother Johnson figured. “You can find all kinds of information about Masonry on the net. Sure you can find out the secrets but those are mostly posted by anti masons but there are a lot of resources that will make you a better mason.”
“Really? Like what?” Brother Johnson asked. The new Brother said “Well first, like this lodge. I would never know it existed if it wasn’t for the internet. I had heard of Freemasonry and I did an internet search and found our Grand lodge’s website.  I searched their website and found this lodge. “Our lodge has a website?” The 50 year member asked.  “I’ll be darned! What do you do with that?” “Lots of things” the new member replied “It has the lodges address, a calendar of events, Monthly messages from the Master and Wardens about what our lodge is doing. It even has photos of lodge events. Some of the photos go all the way back to the founding of the lodge! You can even print out a petition.  It’s really a great resource.”
The 50 year member was shocked. “And this website brings in members?” Brother Smith started laughing “John where do you think all the young men who have been coming into our lodge have come from in the last few years?” John was shocked. He had thought they came into the lodge like he had. His father had been a Mason on his 21st birthday his mother had given him a petition that morning at breakfast. “Your father can’t give it to you” his mother said “But there isn’t anything that says I can’t.” That’s the way it was done. He went through the degrees and took his place in lodge.
“So what else can you find on the internet about Freemasonry?” The 50 year member asked. “About anything you want” the newly obligated Brother responded. “Masonic literature, news from around the world, videos and photographs of events. You can even chat with masons from all over the world. I have made a lot of Masonic friends from all over the world.”  The new brother pulled his mobile phone out of his pocket. “Take a look at this” The new Brother said. “This is a video that was taken last month at Grand lodge. It is the installation of our new Grand Master during the public officer installation. It’s been all over Facebook.” The new Brother said”.
“Facebook!” The 50 year member exclaimed. “My wife is now on Facebook. Is she looking at this?” “I doubt it” The new Brother said. “Facebook is different for each person who joins it. It is driven by your interests and the people you choose to associate with on the website.” The 50 year members mind was swimming. Not only can you find Freemasonry so easily on the internet but this guy is looking at it on his telephone! He isn’t even using a computer!  Maybe the internet isn’t the Devils den he thought it was the 50 year member thought. If men he had known and trusted for years are using it and gaining benefit from it and this young man he was speaking to became a member because of it maybe his wife was right.  He did need to keep up with the times.
“I just had a computer installed at my house today.” The 50 year member said to the young man. “Is there a way you can show me how to use it and find these things?” “Absolutely.” The young man said. “I can show you the basics and soon you will work it on your own in no time!” If you will give me your telephone number we can arrange a time to meet and we can get started.” By the way, my name is Jeremy Puglise, My friends call me “Pudge” as he put out his hand. “My name is John Johnson” The 50 year member said as he took the mans hand. I think you just brought me from darkness to light for a second time!”


Bill Hosler was raised in 2002 in Three Rivers lodge #733 in Fort Wayne, Indiana. He served as master of the lodge in 2007 and was a member of the Internet committee for the Grand Lodge of Indiana F&AM. Bill is currently a member of Roff lodge #169 in Roff, Oklahoma and Lebanon lodge #837 in Frisco, Texas he is also a 32° Scottish Rite Mason within the Fort Wayne, Indiana Valley AASR NMJ. Bill has also served as High priest of Fort Wayne Chapter #19 Royal Arch masons and Commander of Fort Wayne Commandery #4 Knights Templar and the Webmaster and magazine editor for Mizpah Shrine in Fort Wayne, Indiana.

The Outer Door as a Threshold

by Midnight Freemason Contributor
Bro. Randy Sanders

The other evening, I browsed across Chuck Dunning’s YouTube Channel: Contemplative Builder. That’s not unusual as I often find nuggets for my contemplative meditations. Still, this particular time I listened again to his short presentation entitled Personal Ritual: A Contemplative Tool for Masonry Beyond the Lodge. One of the items catching my attention struck me as it hadn’t before. Brother Chuck noted the ritual of stepping into the Lodge room as a distinct meaningful action of personal ritual.

We remind ourselves the Lodge is a sacred place, a space in which we set aside the outside world so that we may mix together in friendship and brotherly love. A place where the mystic tie binds us together, and brings connection and fulfillment. This is our space. This is our Lodge.

It struck a chord within me that we enter Freemasonry on a step, and we enter the Lodge every meeting with one step across the threshold of the outer door. What does that mean to you? What feelings come to mind when you enter the Lodge and see your Brothers? All too often I find myself stepping across that threshold immediately looking forward to shaking hands with my Lodge Brothers and visitors, renewing that greeting, and picking up fraternity with those I hadn’t seen in a while.

In actuality, it remains a simple step forward, but symbolically we cross a threshold into the sacred space we create. We consecrate our Masonic Temples to Deity, we learn lessons in morality and virtue, and we help each other to become better humans through brotherly love, relief, and truth. Stepping into that sacred space is a gift, a blessing if you will, and everything we do or say inside that sacred space is worthy of contemplation.

I still want to shake everyone’s hand. That is just a part of my upbringing, and I want to connect with every Mason attending Lodge that evening. After listening again to that presentation, I now see I also want to focus on what that step across the threshold means every time I make that step. I want to explore this realization in additional ways by considering my interactions with every piece of the Lodge from the officer stations to the furnishings of the Lodge and everything in between.

Sometimes we might consider a door or a threshold as a veil, and crossing that veil is something we should never take lightly.


Randy and his wife Elyana live near St. Louis, Missouri, USA. Randy earned a bachelor'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 of 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 is a 32nd-degree KCCH and Knight Templar. His 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 open 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.

A Friday Thought . . .

by Midnight Freemasons Founder
Todd E. Creason, 33°

I ran across this stunning image a couple weeks ago somewhere on social media.  I couldn't have said it any better myself . . . in fact, I HAVE said this a few times on here, but not as well.  Like it or not, when we represent ourselves as Freemasons, we represent the entire Fraternity. 

I used to say that Freemasonry's best advertising was its members.  In the social media age, I think that's working against us at times.  Let's remember who we are and what we represent when we interact with the world . . . and try to remember that when we represent ourselves as Freemasons to the world with a ring, a hat, a bumper sticker, or most especially on social media-- each of us represents ALL of us.

Social media has made the world a much smaller place.  Always remember for better or worse, you're somebody's impression of Freemasonry.  Just like the sign says.


Todd E. Creason, 33° is an award winning author of several books and novels, including the Famous American Freemasons series.  He is the author of the the From Labor To Refreshment blog.  He is a Past Master of Homer Lodge No. 199 and Ogden Lodge No. 754 (IL) where he currently serves as Secretary.  He is a 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).  He is a charter member of the a new Illinois Royal Arch Chapter, Admiration Chapter No. 282 and currently serves as EHP.  He is also a member of Tuscola Odd Fellows Lodge No. 316.  You can contact him at:

Causation or Correlation?

by Midnight Freemason Guest Contributor
Bro. Mark St. Cyr

About Those “Glory Days”

Membership Numbers… Note: As always I would like to presage the following with this disclaimer: In no way, shape, manner or form am I trying to disparage anyone or any body. What follows is an argument based purely on Masonic fact that needs no footnotes, for it proves itself in both meaning as well as its use of symbology.

This is a discussion for “Adults Only.” Both figuratively and literally, while also being slightly in-your-face enough to move the needle for context to address current numbers and their possible implications.

So with all that now on the table, here we go…

Causation or Correlation - you decide. 

If you’ve heard it once you’ve heard it a thousand times, “Back in the day we came to Lodge because of our commitment to blah, blah, blah.”

I have no doubt there was true commitment from many Brothers of those times and since. However, I would like to take issue with a bit of it - and maybe - put some additional context around all that “glory days” swagger of times gone by using artifacts from that very same past.

Masons do research into how the Craft came about centuries ago, and both ponder as well as project their thoughts into formulating any impetus and intents.

Many of us also dwell upon the “good ol’ days” when Lodge rooms were filled to the brim and new Temples erected at a pace that would make a Wall Street real estate tycoon blush during the mid-20th century. Then, as was eloquently professed by Bill Murray in the opening scenes of “Stripes” (1981 Columbia Pictures) “…depression set in.”


Since the late 1960’s early 70s we’ve been in both a depressing numbers spiral as well as sentiment dilemma as to our future ever since.

But does anyone really understand the real possibility (if not probability) for both all that influx then outflow? Hint: It may not be what you think.

Remember in the opening lines that “Causation - Correlation” part of this conversation I proposed? Let’s also delve a bit into another line from above also, shall we? aka “Adults Only.”

Everyone talks about “After the war…” when referring to what’s colloquially known as the “Age of Fraternalism” and with it, give reasonings as to why it had such an impact on the fraternity.

Well, maybe it did. But possibly not solely for the reasons many articulate.

In and around the middle of 1945, as there was resettlement into what we might call “normal life” and the collective world breathed a sigh of relief. Many embarked on what some might call “Living life to its fullest via any and all of life’s adult pleasures.” After all, many of this era thought every passing day could be their last, so now living life was to be put through all its zeal.

No one could (or should) blame them, for it was also a different time. But now, since we’ve put time on the table, let’s put it in chart form so we can view and postulate in real-time. To wit:

The above charts out membership via the Masonic Service Assoc. since they began and is the most referred to when numbers enter the picture. The notations are my own, and we’ll discuss them. Just note, although their record keeping begins in 1924, there’s still a lot we can speculate if we want to possibly open the doors for some true introspective assertions on current membership. And I will.

Warning: As I stated prior this is an “Adults Only” conversation, so if you find yourself wanting to yell at me through your screens in a “How dare you insinuate…!” manner. Remember, I’m using actual masonic artifacts and trying to put the pieces together for better understanding using both the history of the time and the underpinnings of the human condition, that we are always trying to scrutinize for possible improvement, nothing more. i.e., I’m only a messenger.

As you can see in the graph above, I made a notation regarding the “Temperance Movement” (TM). The reason for it is relevant to that other question I posed “causation or correlation?”

“And the relevance for all that is?” you may be asking. Great question, let’s see, shall we?

The TM really got going in the early 1800s gaining steam across the globe, and by 1909 a world prohibition conference in London formed the foundation of an International Prohibition Confederation. (source: Here in the U.S., this culminated in what we now know as “Prohibition” in the 1920s and 30s with a constitutional amendment.

The date of 1909 and the idea behind its revelation is that in the U.S., just about at that same time, a little-known organization thrust itself onto the Masonic scene. They’re known as “Jesters.”

Founded in 1911 the Royal Order of Jesters functions in connection with Freemasonry and the Shriners. It is said to be an “invite only” Order. (source: 

This particular group is said to be focused on one thing and one thing only: Having fun. But here’s an artifact that I dug up where you can clearly see they take one area of “ritual” very seriously…

“Why are you pointing this out in particular? After all, don’t we basically do this regarding Lodge, anyway?” Again, great question, but let’s remember some of those dates and relate them to the graph.

To use today’s vernacular “The hammer was coming down, hard!” regarding anything alcohol and more, especially so in 1911. Or said differently, with insinuation - you didn’t want to be “seen” having anything to do with alcohol during this period.

And then, in less time than most can memorize a lecture - it would be illegal to do so here in the U.S.

Now look at that graph again and notice precisely it was during this time membership numbers were exploding higher.

(Note: Yes, even though the graph begins in ’24, we can safely assume as we’ve parsed through other literature of times prior membership was in the accent going into ’24 and continuing through.)

Then, we begin to drop off a cliff.

Guess what happened precisely at that time frame? “WW2” you say?

Yes, there’s that, but it’s also the end of prohibition, e.g., officially 1933, unofficially circa 1931/32. Suddenly being “seen” is no longer a paramount consideration. Then, there’s the war.

Membership numbers remain flat for all intents and purposes till about 1945ish with good reason. Then, we begin to explode again. Why? Many have their inclinations and insinuations, but here’s one many may not fully comprehend for both its draw as well as efficacy to these now returning men to be “seen” partaking in.

So let’s now see if this prior insinuation holds any argument as we go through some decades…

For your consideration I offer the following, let’s begin with the back of a brochure for a Masonic gathering which at its time was all the rage. To wit: 

Remember what I said about this being an “Adults Only” conversation? Great, so let’s flip it over and see the full frontal along with its centerfolds… (following images source: “censored” my own) 

As you can clearly see in the above, this artifact is from not only the years right after the war, but also in what is known as the golden age of adult theater where it was fashionable to see, but maybe not as much so to “be seen” if you catch the drift.

But then, much in tangent with the fall of membership, so to did the drapes of polite society and it was no longer risqué or anything else of risk that needed to be held in close quarters or behind closed doors. i.e., No longer did men need to find other like-minded, fun-loving others to partake in these venues. After all, you now had versions of “What happens in Vegas, stays in Vegas.” Replacing the need of the Jester motto or any other wink to secrecy.

Again, to reiterate the insinuation point: There was no longer a need to find others or partake in closed quarter fashion with those others to partake in fare “others” may not have a particular passion for. Yet, it was fully accepted by all those that both were of like minds, or better yet, of like mouths as for keeping them shut. Again - Vegas anyone?

So now that I’ve probably got a few of you swearing under your breath, believing I’m making disparaging insinuations or commentary against the Shrine or any other Body.

To that, I would answer wholeheartedly - absolutely not!

And if you do, then it is you that is willingly not understanding my premise and need to, if, you want to argue or contemplate membership going forward. Period, full stop.

What I am insinuating (because all of it is complete conjecture, even those that use the war argument as a basis) is that - like it or not and argue that it is or it isn’t - the fact that our structure or system for membership that has been copied by countless other organizations, just so happened to be, the perfect structure for men of like minds that wanted to partake in entertainment that was either frowned upon or other by polite society, and all it took for the “price of admission” was to join Lodge then move into the concordant Body. Is an exercise of ignorance-is-bliss to anyone trying to sort causation and correlation arguments seriously.

In other words, let me use this example…

It’s like a willingness to dare not look under the carpet where there’s a noticeable hump next to the 5-year-old standing there holding a broom saying “I swept the floor for you!” You’re going to praise, thank, or whatever. But you know you’re going to have to look, like it or not. You just hope it’s what you want to be there, not what you dare not try to think about might be.

Today the Craft is doing many things trying to retain and increase membership back to the “glory days” level.

The problem is: It’s trying to do so without the tools, slogans, events, and other aspects that are no longer considered acceptable to Masons.

Think about it, can you imagine the uproar today if the Shrine itself put on another event mimicking the one above, even though it was actually, perfectly acceptable at the time and did?

You can’t be looking to replicate numbers that may have been achieved using enticements that today are completely anathema to the Craft. It’s beyond foolish and leads to nothing but complete and utter frustration for those that keep trying. For it won’t work and needs to stop and be thought through for better tactics and achievable and appropriate results going forward.

i.e., Those “working tools” of the past no longer apply, they actually hinder.

Think I’m off base? Fair enough, so consider the following for your own contemplation exercise. Ready?

I would bet dollars to doughnuts that using the above 1946 example as a construct that if a Masonic Con was announced using Masonic Education as the lead - then using “Sally” as the finale, there would be such an uproar that Masonic trials, suspensions and more would shake the very Earth with their weight in numbers hitting Solomon’s floor.

But I would also bet…

It would be the most popular, most well attended, and would probably gain new members in drove if the midsection held a one-day class as mandatory to view the finale.

Think about it.

To reiterate, I am not proposing that we do anything of the sort. However, what I am advocating is: that this is why you need to look at membership rolls with a more discerning eye going forward. For the “entertainment value” of yesteryear are no longer part of our community. And last time I looked…

Booze and sex still have quite an attraction, but we don’t associate with either anymore.

Again, don’t let that point be lost. Truly think about it, and we can plan ahead accordingly. Be willfully ignorant of the possibilities for explaining the past--And you’re planning for oblivion.

Oh, and one last thing for those that maybe think I have no idea what that “Golden age of adult theater” might have entailed. I just leave with the following. To wit:

Lili just so happens to be that era's biggest star.

But then again, what would I know about any of that, right?

~Bro. Mark St.Cyr Freemason

Our So-Called Knowledge

 by Midnight Freemason Contributor
WB Darin A. Lahners

As much as I preach about the evils of social media and try to limit my use of it and especially commenting on it, occasionally I succumb to doing so. Recently I did succumb to that temptation when I came to the defense of MWB Robert Davis who had innocently responded to a comment in a Masonic Facebook group from someone who stated that they were not a Freemason, but that our "so-called knowledge" is easily available to anyone who seeks it.  Now, MWB Davis replied to the comment stating that what he read in ritual exposures are not the "secrets".  This lead the commenter to attack MWB Davis, with claims that the Freemasons are nothing more than men pretending they are better than other men and that MWB Davis was egotistical for replying in such a fashion.  Those of you who like me have had the extreme honor of meeting MWB Davis know this is not the case.  In any case, I got involved and the commenter went back and forth with us.  

While one might think that can read the multitude of Masonic Rituals available for public consumption for our "so called knowledge", they will never understand it.  The key to the understanding of our "knowledge" is the transformative art of our degree system.  An egregor is a term used in Ritual Magick which is the collective energy or force of a group of individuals that are united toward a common purpose. The continued reverent repetition of our ritual over time creates this egregor as a reservoir of spiritual power which influences the ritual, the lodge members and the lodge itself. 

The lodge is a sacred space because we make it into one.  It is through our reverent presentation of our opening ritual which includes a pray to deity for it's blessing upon all the lodge members that we seal this space for our sacredotal and royal art, invoking the egregor to empower us to meet on the level and act by the plumb.  When we perform our closing ritual, we unseal the same space. While it might seem trite to do this for our stated business meetings, the egregor that we tap into it is hoped will help guide the proceedings to be positive and productive.  However, the egregor is most powerfully employed during the initiatory degrees.  It is only as part of this egregor where the transformative energies of our degree work takes hold on each candidate, on a sublime and spiritual level.   

I believe that the key to true understanding of Freemasonry is not something that is found in parroting the ritual, going through the motions of the floorwork, and laissez faire adherence to Masonic etiquette. It is only found through meaningful, thoughtful and reverent presentation of the ritual and floorwork to create the egregor.  When lodges are united in this cause, I believe that the lodge is healthy on both a spiritual and material level because the egregor is being maintained and perhaps fed by the actions of the lodge.  When lodges and their members do not care to treat our ritual and floorwork reverently, by not memorizing it and continuing to practice it, that we see dysfunction because the egregor is no longer maintained, the reservoir of power is continually drained until it ceases to exist. 

Which type of brother do you want to be?  One that only has "so-called knowledge" or one that has understanding?  We are told in the opening of the Entered Apprentice degree in my jurisdiction that we come to lodge to subdue our passions and improve ourselves in Masonry.  I believe that we should be doing this all of the time.  It is through the study, observation and practice of our ritual and floorwork whereby we should endeavor to learn to meaningfully, thoughtfully and reverently employ it in our lodges.  When we along with our brothers are able to do this, then we achieve true understanding of Freemasonry.  That understanding is that while Freemasonry can be studied individually, it can only be employed properly in unison with your brothers.  My hope is that you are aspiring to maintain and feed the egregor within your lodges. 


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 also a member of the Scottish Rite Valley of Danville, a charter member of Illinois Royal Arch Chapter, Admiration Chapter No. 282, Salt Fork Shrine Club under the Ansar Shrine, and a grade one (Zelator) in the S.C.R.I.F. Prairieland College in Illinois. He is also a Fellow of the Illinois Lodge of Research. He was presented with the Torok Award from the Illinois Lodge of Research in 2021. You can reach him by email at 

Why Do I Dress For Lodge?

by Midnight Freemasons Founder
Todd E. Creason, 33°

Three sharply dressed Midnight Freemasons at a Masonic education symposium.  Left to right: Greg Knott, Robert Johnson, and Todd Creason.
The topic of dressing for Lodge keeps coming up.  I made a comment on a discussion our editor Robert Johnson started the other night on social media.  I thought I’d expand on that remark a bit.

When I joined the Fraternity I didn’t own a jacket.  I’d been wearing a shirt and tie to work for years, but I’d never worn a jacket.   I was in my late thirties, and I didn’t even know my size.  I went and bought one days after I was raised.  It was the first of many new experiences I had when I became a Master Mason.  Part of becoming a Master Mason is learning to see ourselves differently.  I’ve become something different over time as a Mason.  Something better than I was. I didn’t join the Lodge to stay the same, I joined to change.  I didn’t join the Lodge to be accepted as I was—I joined the Lodge out of a desire to learn to be something more.

It was the culture of Masons in my Lodge to dress for degree work and special events, and so that’s what I do.  That's what I've done since the beginning.  We dress alike to show we’re Brothers.  We dress because we’re supposed to be leaders and examples in our community.  We dress to show respect for the due solemnity and importance of the work that we are doing.  We dress to impress upon our new members that what they are becoming a part of is very different from what they’ve known.  We dress so that when others in the community see us coming and going from the Lodge they know we must be doing something important.  

I’ve seen a number of young men dress in that jacket and tie for the first time since then.  I’ve taught a few of them how to tie a tie.  In fact that first jacket I bought somehow shrank over time (probably all the dinners), and I gave it to a new member to wear.  I’ve seen other Masons do the same thing.  When I joined the York Rite Chapter, I didn’t have a red jacket which is customarily worn in my area—and I didn’t really have the cash to lay out at that time to buy one.  My good friend Sean McBride was traveling with the Grand Chapter and found a jacket in his travels for me to wear.  That meant a lot to me at the time that he’d thought about me.  I was able to go to meetings properly dressed like my Brothers in Chapter.

Now a few people in that first discussion said they can’t dress for Lodge because they go right from work to Lodge.  So do I.  So do many more of us in my Lodge.  You know how many times I’ve changed at work before going to Lodge, or changed at the Lodge when I get there?  I wish I had a dollar for every time I’d changed into a suit in the bathroom of a funeral home prior to Masonic Funeral Rites.  I often leave my jacket and my apron at the Lodge so I don't have to run home for them when I'm pressed for time.  And I’m not the only one—you know what you see in cars parked outside my Lodge on a Royal Arch Chapter night?  Masons walking in carrying their suit bags.  There’s a difference between “can’t dress” and “don’t want to dress” for Lodge. 

Now whether or not you dress for Lodge should be up to the culture of your Lodge.  We don’t dress for regularly stated meetings.  Some Lodges do—in fact, I just visited one that wears a full tuxedo and gloves for their stated meetings!  I had Midnight Freemasons Greg Knott and Darin Lahners with me that night, and we all felt a little under-dressed in our suits.  But they accepted us as we were, and we enjoyed one of the best evenings and festive boards any of us had every experienced before.  Some Lodges wear blue suits.  Some wear black suits.  My Lodge just wants our members to wear a jacket and tie.  I usually wear the best combination of jacket, vest, and pants I can pull together from my closet that are free of stains--those pieces usually wind up belonging to about three different suits.  

I think a lot of the conflict over dress is about Lodges having a tradition to dress in a certain way, and a few new members disregarding it.  The established members get upset, and those that have disregarded the traditional standard of dress set by the Lodge get in a huff and say they shouldn't be judged by how they dress, and they don't have time to dress, and it's too expensive, and it's about the internal not the external qualifications of a man, etc.  At least that’s what I see during these debates almost without exception.  I've never really understood that.  I knew the members of my Lodge dressed up.  I'd seen it before I'd joined.  I looked forward to doing the same, and knew I'd have to buy some clothes after I was raised. If I had a problem with dressing up, I certainly wouldn't have joined a Masonic Lodge, because I knew full well that Masons dress up. 

Masonry is a tradition.  Each Lodge has its own unique identity and culture.  By all means, if your Lodge has a custom and a tradition to dress in a certain way either for all their events or certain events . . . respect it!  Freemasonry, and your Lodge in particular, shouldn’t have to change to accommodate you—the idea is that you’re going to change as a result of Freemasonry!  Isn't that why we joined? 


Todd E. Creason, 33° is the Founder of the Midnight Freemasons blog, and an award winning author of several books and novels, including the Famous American Freemasons series. Todd started the Midnight Freemason blog in 2006, and in 2012 he opened it up as a contributor blog The Midnight Freemasons (plural). Todd has written more than 1,000 pieces for the blog since it began. He is a Past Master of Homer Lodge No. 199 and Ogden Lodge No. 754 (IL) where he currently serves as Secretary. 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). He is a charter member of the a new Illinois Royal Arch Chapter, Admiration Chapter No. 282 and currently serves as EHP. You can contact him at:

The 24-Inch Gauge

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

“The Twenty-four Inch Gauge is an instrument made use of by operative Masons to measure and lay out their work; but we, as free and accepted Masons, are taught to make use of it for the more noble and glorious purpose of dividing our time. Being divided into 24 equal parts, it is emblematic of the 24 hours of the day, which we are taught to divide into three equal parts, whereby are found eight hours for the service of God and a distressed worthy brother, eight for our usual vocations and eight for refreshment and sleep.”

His name was… well, let’s call him Buddy. I had completed my petition for the mysteries of Freemasonry and the lodge had instructed me to give it to him. Buddy stopped by my house to pick it up. Under Missouri rules my father, from another jurisdiction, could not sponsor me, so Buddy, whom I had never met, was to be my first-line signer. I handed him the petition, we had a brief conversation, and Buddy left. As he was walking toward his car, I said, “I guess I’ll see you in lodge.”

Buddy turned and shook his head. “No,” he said, “I don’t attend. I’m burned out on Freemasonry.” That was the first and last time I ever saw my first-line signer.

What a thing to say to a candidate replete with the anticipation of his upcoming adventure with the Craft! I wondered how that had happened to Buddy. Too many boring meetings? Or had he taken an office in every body he belonged to leaving himself too time-stressed for his other responsibilities? Or both?

The admonition of the Twenty-Four Inch Gauge is not that we should walk around with a stopwatch ticking off each day in eight hour segments labeled service, work, and refreshment. Its symbolism teaches us to divide our time among those activities. Moderation in all things.

Most of us admire the guy who sets the world on fire with 70 hours a week at work in order to provide for his family and become successful. Likewise, for the Brother who is an active member of many Masonic bodies, holding offices, attending every meeting, and spending his valuable time to help the fraternity prosper; but the message of the Twenty-four Inch Gauge says that will catch up with us. All work and no play makes Hiram a dull boy; and it burns him out.

Occasionally, being a workaholic or a Masonaholic os commendable, but even race drivers have to make a pit stop once in awhile, or they’ll find themselves sitting on the backstretch out of fuel. So it is with us. Slow and steady might win the race, but a lot of us don’t know anything about those two concepts.

The minister at my church is currently on a three-month sabbatical. She’s a hard worker, dedicated, effective, and successful; but in her final message before leaving, she reminded us, “we are human beings, not human doings.” For some in our congregation (not unlike many of our Brothers) who are stuck in the work-a-day world a sabbatical is a foreign concept. One member griped, “She should try running her own business. I don’t even get a vacation.” Yet, even with his blessing we sent her off knowing she will come back refreshed and renewed, both physically and, more important, spiritually.

And so will I. I’m taking some time off.

Unlike Brother Buddy, I am not burned out on Freemasonry. I am, however, overextended in many of my life’s pursuits, and it’s time for a break. I’m not going anywhere. I’m just taking my own personal sabbatical. It’s time to, as advised in the text of the twenty-four inch gauge, divide my time into three equal parts instead of one bloated, stressful, unmanageable lump. I can’t thank Robert Johnson enough for allowing me to do these segments on his show, or Darin Lahners for publishing my articles on the Midnight Freemasons blog – and there will be more – for now I won’t be with you on the podcast or the blog anytime soon, but I will see you in lodge.


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.