The times they are a-changin'

by Midnight Freemason Contributor
WB Darin A. Lahners

Come mothers and fathers
Throughout the land
And don't criticize
What you can't understand
Your sons and your daughters
Are beyond your command
Your old road is rapidly agin'
Please get out of the new one
If you can't lend your hand
For the times they are a-changin'
-Bro. Bob Dylan

Freemasonry, which is supposed to be a refuge from Religion, Politics, and other sectarian subjects has in fact become a hotbed of Religion, Politics, and sectarian subjects. We are taught in the Fellowcraft degree to study the seven Liberal Arts and Sciences.  One of these, Logic, is an attempt to scientifically study and differentiate between valid and invalid arguments or statements. Yet, it seems that we have a large number of brethren who no longer have the capacity for logic or critical thought, and instead feel it necessary to share opinions that are nothing more than what they have been conditioned to believe by the social media they read or the news that they watch.  

Maybe because we have so many Parrot Masons, if you are not familiar with the term I'd urge you to read this article: (, in our fraternity, they try to find the other parrot Masons when they go to their lodge for an event. They huddle up and regurgitate everything that the media or social media has told them, much like a mother bird feeds her young. Unfortunately, the vomitous diatribe that comes from their echo chambers and exits their mouths sprays everyone around them, much like that infamous scene in The Exorcist, where a Pazuzu-possessed Regan sprays Father Karras with her vomit, and I must admit I am just as shocked by this when it occurs as he was.  Yet, I feel powerless to stop it.  When it happens outside the lodge room, at a pre-degree or meeting dinner, I can at the very least get up and leave the room when it gets to a point where I might not be able to subdue my passions.  However, I have begun to witness this in tyled lodge rooms.    

While I agree brethren should be able to practice whatever religion they want to practice and support whatever political party they want to support. I grow tired of hearing the same things I see in the news or on social media in our lodge buildings. It has become an issue when we can no longer subdue our passions regarding whatever our echo chamber tells us to be angry towards. It becomes something that we need to fight against when there are Grand Lodge policies that are formed because of individual political or religious beliefs, the majority membership's political or religious beliefs, or due to outside pressure regarding these beliefs from the profane world.

A recent Grand Master's ruling regarding gender identity stated: "It is important to understand that this decision does not constitute a judgment of this Grand Lodge, moral or otherwise, on the issues of gender identity, gender expression, or transgender issues. As in the case of spiritual and political matters, every Mason is free to form a private opinion on the subject. The Grand Lodge is forever committed to individual freedom of conscience and personal liberty in every lawful pursuit. However, not every such pursuit qualifies an individual to become or remain a Mason."  
First and foremost, how will this rule be enforced? In my mind, short of having some zealots who insist on making the candidate very uncomfortable by demanding to see proof of their manhood (use your imagination here), I don't see how it is. Not convinced? Taken to the extreme, the above isn't going to catch someone who has had gender reassignment surgery undergoing the "examination" as alluded to above.

For the sake of argument, let's imagine for a second that there is a rule issued by a Grand Lodge banning anyone who holds membership in the Klu Klux Klan from being a member in their jurisdiction. While I would hope most of our members would see such membership as being antithetical to membership in the Freemasons, short of having a member on record as stating their membership in the Klan, such a rule would seem to be equally unenforceable. If the member of this group was able to abide by the rules and regulations of his lodge and Grand Lodge, as well as act Masonically towards the men that he will have negative opinions about, and he doesn't disclose his membership, then it is possible his brothers may not know. While all of the above is a big "if", I use this example to illustrate the point that rules that restrict membership are difficult to enforce, especially when the only way to enforce them is to invade one's privacy.

Look, it's not my place to judge what a separate Grand Lodge Jurisdiction does since it's not my jurisdiction, but I should be allowed to question the motivation behind it.  We must understand that these rules are only useful as an essential statement of principles from a particular Grand Lodge and little else, even if that Grand Lodge claims it's not a statement of their "official" belief. While they make us feel better about ourselves, and maybe the institution of Freemasonry depending on your personal point of view on the subject, do they really serve a good purpose? At the end of the day, Grand Lodge constitutions already have systems in place for individual Lodges to determine who they wish to become members of our fraternity, and systems to handle matters of jurisprudence when an offense occurs that needs to be litigated. Do we need to further legislate who can join and who cannot? It seems like an overreach to me.  

Furthermore, the below justification for this particular ruling opens up a wide range of brethren to potentially lose their membership or be banned from becoming Freemasons based on a logical fallacy that is attempting to interpret personal beliefs from the past and apply them to the present. The justification which is given in this particular case states: 

“The persons admitted members of a Lodge must be good and true men, freeborn, and of a mature and discreet age; no bondmen, no woman, no immoral or scandalous men, but of good report.”
The Old Charges form an integral part of our more than one hundred-year-old Constitution. The “system of ancient laws and customs of the Craft” which they contain are timeless and universally adhered to in all Grand Lodges throughout the world with which this Grand Lodge is in fraternal relations. As such, The Old Charges must be understood in the context of the time in which they were written and at the time they were incorporated into our Constitution of 1920, not given new meaning based on current attitudes and practices among some concerning gender or other matters. Anyone who desires to become a Mason, and any Mason who wishes to remain in our fraternity, must be a man, as Dr. Anderson understood men to be in 1722 and as our forebearers understood them to be at the time of the adoption of our current Constitution."

By this rationale, then one could potentially argue for banning or suspending all sorts of individuals from membership other than transgender individuals. Dr. Anderson's idea of what a man was in 1722 or the forebearer's ideas of what a man was at the time of their constitutional adoption is much different than our ideas now. In fact, Anderson's language regarding a mature and discreet age could be used to argue that anyone under a certain age, which is most likely higher than what our minimum age currently is depending on the jurisdiction, should be banned. Don't get me started on the language regarding "freeborn" and "bondmen", as one can use their own imagination to see how that could be used. What about the idea of "no immoral or scandalous men"? That leaves a lot up to interpretation. Wouldn't someone who was divorced in Dr. Anderson's time potentially fall under the immoral or scandalous category? If we have to use this as our 24-inch gauge, then I fear that many members would not be up to snuff.

Anderson's attitudes about God and religion would be different than what today as well. Let's face it, Article I of the Ancient Charges is often interpreted as being a statement of belief in a Trinitary or Christian God. I guess all the non-Christian brethren are out of luck because of Dr. Anderson's understanding of God, he was after all a Presbyterian minister. From a strict understanding, Anderson's God would be one that was Presbyterian, and if you are Roman Catholic, Lutheran, Baptist, Methodist, etc, sorry, you're also out of luck because we're basing our membership decisions on a strict interpretation of what Anderson's understanding was at that time.

Interestingly enough, there is no mention of what Article IV says and it clearly states: 
"unless he be a perfect Youth having no Maim or Defects in his Body that may render him uncapable of learning the Art of serving his Master's Lord, and of being made a Brother, and then a Fellow-Craft in due Time, even after he has served such a Term of Years as the Custom of the Country directs; and that he should be descended of honest Parents; that so, when otherwise qualifi'd he may arrive to the Honour of being the Warden, and then the Master of the Lodge, the Grand Warden, and at length the Grand Master of all the Lodges, according to his Merit."

Maybe they only think Dr. Anderson should render his opinion regarding what a man is, but ignore what he might consider a Maim or Defect. Again, does this not lend itself to interpretation? Going back to article III, If one were to argue that Dr. Anderson's attitudes toward men who were tattooed would qualify them as immoral or scandalous men, or as having a defect that might render him incapable of learning the Art of serving his Master's Lord, you'd have a whole lot of members that would need to be suspended by using the same rationale that the above ruling uses, yours truly would be included in this group. 

When we cherry-pick the Ancient Charges to back one's personal beliefs or attitudes toward a certain set of individuals, we open the door to widespread discrimination against a wide range of individuals depending on the belief system of the one making the rules. Hiding behind Ancient Charges to back a rule which seems to be influenced by one's personal belief system is troubling, to say the least. When Grand Lodges make policies regarding membership qualifications based on the justification of beliefs from a very narrow 18th or 19th Century viewpoint, it becomes a slippery slope.

While in this particular case, you might feel that this particular Grand Lodge is correct with this particular ruling, what happens when there is a rule created that impacts you negatively?  When Freemasonry crosses this taboo boundary and rules are implemented that are directly influenced by one's political or religious beliefs, and those beliefs are ones you share, it's easy to support such rules. But what happens when the rules go against your personal beliefs? What happens when rules are made based on an opposing political or religious viewpoint from your own? What happens when you're the one being discriminated against because of how you look or choose to identify either politically, religiously, or socially? That is not as easy of an answer, right?  

My greatest fear is that you will see this trend continue, and eventually, you will see division in our Fraternity along religious/political lines, where you have Grand Lodges start to withdraw recognition from other Grand Lodges, pull charters from their individual member lodges, and punish their members that speak or act out against such policies or rulings. We have already seen this occur in separate incidents where we have seen Grand Masters take action against individual lodge members and individual lodges in 2022 and 2023.  Again, not my jurisdiction, but it seems in both cases that some outside influences were or are influencing the decisions.   

I am forced to ask what happens when there is an evitable disagreement between two brethren and one of the brethren decides to accuse the other of being that which the rule is against? In the case of the ruling above regarding gender, making such an accusation would be relatively easy to do. In adjudicating the supposed offense, I would think that any member assigned to a committee would agree that it's not so easy to ask the other brother to prove his innocence. While it's easy for him to do so with a simple act, do we really want to get to a point where we have to ask the other brother to perform that act?

It leads me to 
a presentation that is called Start With Why, which is given by my good Friend and Brother, Greg Knott. In this presentation, he talks about the book by Simon Sinek, Start with Why: How Great Leaders Inspire Everyone to Take Action. Using the book as his guide, he develops his "Why" for Freemasonry by defining it as Freemasonry is an organization for men who want to escape the Status Quo, the "How" as working upon improving themselves using the moral teachings of Freemasonry instilled by the degree system, and the "What" by asking Why aren't you a member? While I love this presentation and his ideas presented in it, in order for the Why to be realized, we all must escape the Status Quo, which is the profane world. 

How can we expect to do this as long as we allow Politics and Religion to infiltrate Freemasonry? The answer is that we can't. As long as we continue to bring in these forces, then we can not escape the status quo, and we can't have harmony which, as we are reminded of in the First Degree when the Senior Warden is explaining his duties, is the strength and support of all institutions, especially ours.

Instead of continuing to hold fast to the idea that Freemasonry must be beholden to the status quo of what the "Ancient Landmarks" laid out about regarding Freemasonry over Three Hundred Years ago by Dr. Anderson, we need to start redefining what we want Freemasonry to look like three hundred years in the future.  We need to, as Illus. Brother Knott states, "Escape the Status Quo". I used the title of Bro. Bob Dylan's song, "The times they are a-changin'" for this article to illustrate that we are at a time in history where well-established ideas or concepts are being challenged.  

Because these things are happening rapidly, many of our belief systems are being challenged before we have gathered all of the information needed to make decisions.  Couple this with Freemasonry being rigid and not unable to adapt quickly to societal changes, and it's no wonder that Grandmasters might feel a need to overregulate to protect Freemasonry from these things especially when it might be easier for them to do so because of their own biases.  However, we need to start by asking "Why?" I understand that many of these things are going to be difficult issues to discuss without personal bias.  However, I feel that we must be compelled to begin to think about them and discuss them.

Let's think about a few examples to ponder. We have witnessed the United States government admit that there are Unidentified Aerial Phenomena in our skies, we don't have any idea regarding what they are or where they come from, but they seem to be intelligently controlled. This should make us question humanity's place in the universe, and if we are being visited by advanced extraterrestrial entities, and if so, how long have they been visiting us?  Or are they also inhabitants of our planet?  Or are they demonic like some people believe? What happens if they make their presence known to us and tell us that we're just a genetic experiment created by them?  Would this make you question your belief in the Grand Architect of the Universe who we believe is our creator?  I've already explored an idea of their membership in another article, but it makes you wonder, if they have no gender, are they disqualified from Freemasonry?       

We are on the cusp of potentially having Artificially Intelligent forms of life being created, cars that drive themselves, and maybe even a form of immortality in the form of uploading consciousness to the cloud as we see the lines between technology and what it means to be a human blur.  What does this mean for our Fraternity?  How do we react when an artificially intelligent robot petitions a lodge?  Not only will the robot be genderless, but can we really be sure that it's joining of its own free will and accord if it's been programmed to be intelligent?  Not to mention its belief in a supreme being.  What do we do if we, (humanity), being their creator are worshipped as a deity, much like we worship God believing him to be our creator?   This opens a huge can of worms, doesn't it? 

Apply this same logic to someone who has a brain implant that allows their thoughts/experiences/perceptions to be read by a computer, essentially their consciousness, will be stored in the cloud.  We already carry devices that are listening to us at all times, and I don't see anyone clutching their pearls over the idea that our "secrets" are being recorded.  
Yet, mention the subject of gender and see the same brethren clutch those pearls and cry about the obligation they took.  If only we enforced the other things mentioned in that same ritual.  I have met in my time in Freemasonry a large number of old men in their dotage, madmen, and fools, who have all been initiated, passed, and raised.  Mention women and a large percentage of our membership loses their minds. Add to this that there ievidence that Anderson's Ancient Landmarks might not be historically accurate. There is an equally compelling argument that women were recruited into and welcomed into the speculative ranks in a more widespread manner than previously thought. (See Dame Masons: Women and Freemasonry for more information on this. Link: ).  

When we ask "Why", maybe we can discover that maybe Dr. Anderson either wasn't aware of this or maybe he chose to ignore this to fit his own beliefs or agenda. In either case, if the "truth" of our founding documents is being called into question, don't we owe it to ourselves and our "accepted" history to figure this out for ourselves especially when we value truth as one of our main tenets?  Instead of looking at the issues from the point of view of Dr. Anderson's time, do we not owe it to ourselves and our Fraternity to explore and look for truth in this matter?  

Our collective inability to separate our fraternity from the divisions plaguing the profane world is one of the major problems facing Freemasonry. The propaganda of our siloed echo chambers,  the 24-hour news cycle, and social media algorithms, only show us what we want to see and allow us to hear what we want to hear.  I am forced to ask "Why?".  It is my personal belief that it is because those in power in many cases intentionally attempt to divide us because when we're fighting amongst ourselves, we are not asking "Why?" instead.  We should
 unite and call into question the policies of our lodges or Grand Lodges when they could be biased because of one's personal sectarian belief systems.  We need to do this, not because we support them or oppose them due to our own biased personal beliefs, but because we can no longer afford to allow these things to enter into Freemasonry and divide us into tribes like we are in the profane world.

We must use the jewels of a Fellowcraft, why are: the attentive ear, the instructive tongue, and the faithful breast, to rise above the forces that seek to divide us and ruin our fraternity.  We need to learn to find our commonalities instead of focusing on our differences by using the attentive ear to listen to each other. When we use the attentive ear to understand each other, we can then start building dialogue by using the instructive tongue. We can then work towards a more difficult task of re-examining the definitions of what it means to be a Freemason based on all of the available facts at this time. Remember that our operative brethren, when faced with the potential of having their lodges close, did something radical.  Instead of being blindly beholden to their past, they invited non-Masons to join their ranks.  We must do something similar to discuss difficult issues like gender and racism today or perhaps the robots which may be in near future. Most importantly, we must use the faithful breast to subdue our passions and keep these difficult conversations civil and free from our personal political and/or religious bias.  I realize it won't be easy, but we must liberally use the cement of Brotherly Love to remember that we are all brothers, not enemies.  


WB Darin A. Lahners
is our 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

A Return to Basics - Masonic Education Begins Anew

by Midnight Freemason Emeritus Contributor
R.H. Johnson

After starting a whole new Masonic Lodge bent on nothing but fulfilling an intense desire for Masonic Education, I demitted from my Mother Lodge (Waukegan No. 78). I had my reasons. I had, from the time of my Raising, until I took my demit, never been a sideliner. From Jr. Steward to Worshipful Master, and then immediately into the Secretary seat for three years--We met every Monday, no exceptions. I missed, in all those years, maybe five meetings. I loved Waukegan 78.

In October of 2019, Spes Novum Lodge No. 1183 received its charter from the Grand Lodge of Illinois. What a proud day. Fast forward through the years until now. A pandemic, drastic shifts in the way people are working, schooling, and, let's not forget, the home life that changed. What a time...

Spes Novum No. 1183 is what I believe to be the Premier Masonic Education Lodge in the State of Illinois. We do our thing. It's magical. It's education that cannot be matched. And we are succinct in all business, with no concern with anything other than a Genuine Masonic Lodge Experience, focussed on Education, Brotherly Love, and Connections.

Something, for me, was missing. How do you go from meeting every Monday, to just once a month? My Big Brother Bob came over to knock out a tile backsplash for my kitchen. A typical Brother, wouldn't take money. My wife baked him some of her famous cookies as payment. Sitting at the table in the dining room, chatting with Big Brother Bob, I realized how much I missed seeing him every week. And for that matter, all the members.

I disappeared for a few moments. I printed out an affiliation petition and filled it out. I sealed it, and when Big Brother Bob was about to take off, I handed him the envelope. I said, "Can you give this to Carl? It's my petition to come back." Bob looked surprised and happy.

The following Monday, I joined the Brothers for a Fraternal night at a local pizza joint where significant others and spouses were gathered. News spread fast of my petition to re-affiliate with Waukegan 78. Lots of smiles and handshakes and hugs where I heard, "Glad you're coming back." At the next stated meeting, I sat in the familiar orange cloth-covered pew seats and listened to my old friend, mentor, and Secretary read my petition. The District Deputy was in attendance for his annual visit, which also happened to be his final one, as he was retiring from the position to follow his wife to Nebraska.

My petition to re-affiliate had to lay over, and an investigation committee was assigned. Fast forward a bit. I met with my committee, and they assured themselves, I was in the right frame of mind and without mercenary motives, and reported favorably. At the next stated meeting, after being accosted by several Lodge members not present the previous month--(I was almost hugged to death. We should all be so lucky.) I sat in those same orange cushioned pews, and once more, my petition was brought up. I was asked to retire from the Lodge whilst the members had to vote.

I was a little nervous. I had left the Lodge, and I know not everyone was happy about it. I wondered if I would pass the vote. I was called back in, and as I approached the altar, I was greeted by clapping hands and the words of the Worshipful Master that I helped Raise, "Welcome Home." I was emotional inside.

Not being able to sit still, I accepted the offer to become the Lodge's new LEO (Lodge Education Officer.) From it, I came, and to it, I returned. My plan is to have concise, one-page Masonic Education written up for each meeting of Waukegan 78 and then, offer these Lodge Education pieces right here on the Midnight Freemasons after I've presented them to the members of Waukegan 78. They will likely also appear in The Lyceum.

I hope you enjoyed this piece and that you also enjoy the short educational pieces that are to come.


RWB Johnson is an Emeritus Managing Editor of the Midnight Freemasons blog. He is a Freemason out of the 2nd N.E. District of Illinois. He currently serves as the Secretary of Spes Novum Lodge No. 1183. He is a Past Master of Waukegan Lodge 78 and a Past District Deputy Grand Master for the 1st N.E. District of Illinois. He is the current V:. Sovereign Grand Inspector for AMD in IL. Brother Johnson currently produces and hosts his weekly Podcast, Whence Came You?, which focuses on topics relating to Freemasonry. He is also a co-host of The Masonic Roundtable, a Masonic talk show. He is a husband and father of four and works full-time in the executive medical industry. He is the co-author of "It's Business Time - Adapting a Corporate Path for Freemasonry", “The Master’s Word: A Short Treatise on the Word, the Light, and the Self – Annotated Edition,” and author of "How to Charter a Lodge: A No-Nonsense, Unsanctioned Guide. More books are on the way.

Do Masons Move Quickly or Slowly?

by Midnight Freemason Contributor
Bro. Randy Sanders

My morning meditations recently led me to a fork in the road into which I asked one of my mentors for insight. Do I continue at the same pace, do I speed up, or do I slow down? In our charity, our outreach, and our Masonic work we often find demands on our time that conflict with our commitments to family, work, and our focus on Deity. Should I speed up my personal practices, keep on track, or slow down?

The options intrigued me and may be fuel for additional meditations, but in the interim, I wanted to share my personal thoughts as to why I asked for insight from my own mentors. I recently misread some instructions in an Academy Of Reflection course with a form of discursive meditation. That is briefly, a meditation upon a phrase or symbol, or in this case, it focuses on a series of phrases. I missed the series part and focused only on the first phrase for several weeks. This mistake slowed down my progress, or did it? Focusing on that first phrase gave me insight that I journaled, and that insight didn’t occur until the last week of my exercise. By then if I had stuck to the schedule, I would have already passed that initial phase while moving on to two others. I might well have missed this insight had I stuck to the schedule and only allotted x number of meditations on that first phrase before proceeding to the next.

The insight revolves around preparing a proper attitude and atmosphere when meeting with others to meditate in a group, and my insight involved my own actions and responsibility. The phrase “If it is to be, it is up to me…” may be the best summation of my thoughts, but it is true at every level. If we prepare for a lodge meeting, a work presentation, a night out with my wife, or any number of personal tasks, the responsibility lies only with ourselves.

We rely on our spouses, family, friends, and yes, Masonic Brothers to complete their responsibilities just as we take on our own duties and responsibilities. We serve others out of this duty and responsibility, yet how often do we not take time to stop and smell the roses? If I hadn’t taken the extended time to focus on the one portion of that meditation, would I have missed the insight? I don’t know, but I do know that by my mistake of giving myself more time for that portion, I gained and grew from it.

There are advantages to working through things quickly. Bruce Lee is famously quoted from an old Wing Chun (and other martial arts) philosophy: Absorb that which is useful, reflect or reject that which is not. This nugget of wisdom applies universally to any education in that we should absorb what we can but not worry too much about what we may have missed at that time. We may not have been ready to receive all of the instructions. In many cases within Freemasonry, the lesson has depth meant to reach each person at the level they are ready to receive, and I often experience profound concepts revealed through reviewing past lessons. Yes, that means I missed some or many good points the first time, and at that time I absorbed and learned that which I was ready to receive. The same applies to traditional martial arts. Repetition provides insight. Bruce is often credited with another old paraphrased saying: Don’t fear the martial artist who knows one thousand kicks. Fear the martial artist who practiced one kick a thousand times.

That may seem the opposite of what I said about the advantages of working things through quickly and moving on to the next lesson. My point is to know a thousand things, then go back and repeat them a thousand times each. When we slow down, we learn our lessons deeply. When we move quickly we learn what we’re immediately ready to learn, then later our deeper lessons connect over time with additional reflection. When we slow down we find ways to connect that lesson to other lessons. When we move quickly that lesson may be connected to a dozen others with another flash of insight. See there are advantages to doing both, and that’s what happens with Masonic education for example. We read a book and absorb the authors’ thoughts typically in a quick manner as we probably do not meditate or reflect deeply on what that author wrote. Later, we sit in lodge and something that the author wrote pops into our minds. We now have a choice as to further reflection or simply letting that connection happen and then moving on. We have the choice to slow down and contemplate deeper meanings, or we might acknowledge the connection and move along until the next connection happens. Both have advantages, and both should be a part of our routine.

Do we move quickly or slowly?


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.

The Progressive Line Strategy: How to use it - To beat it. Part 1

by Midnight Freemason Guest Contributor
Bro. Mark St. Cyr

If there’s one topic within the Craft that elicits more biased arguments for or against than the “Chamber of Reflection,” it’s  the idea behind progressive lines. So what I would like to argue  differently in this missive is something I feel many don’t truly think  through, which is this…


Rather than allowing the progressive line (PL) system to work  against change. i.e., allowing for bad policy implementations or  weak management accountabilities to remain calcified. How can  it be made to work as to both effect change, but more  importantly, solidify that change? 

Think it can’t? Then let’s buckle up and dive-in as I’ll explain in this multiple-installment series (because it’s almost its own book)  how to do just that. But as usual, first, the disclaimer: 

This is not intended to denigrate the idea of a PL, nor the  brothers that dedicate themselves to the tasks they bear. What  this speaks directly to is how to instill a necessary change into  any management practice (our example will be the PL) that has  allowed itself to calcify, for whatever the reason. Many times  those within it (PL) may not be aware to just how hindering the  practice has become. The following is a respectful roadmap for  those that do, yet, just haven’t been able to decipher a way  through.  

So, with that out of the way, here we go… 

Rather than go through the details of what a PL is and how it works. I’m just going to assume everyone reading this knows and spare with the mundane for brevity’s sake. i.e., It’s basically a  known-known throughout the Craft.

One of the very first fundamental processes any change agent  needs to fully grasp that I’ve extensively opined on: is to ditch the  idea many other so-called “business gurus” regurgitate ad  nauseam, which is “think outside the box.”  

This scholastic platitude to any self-respecting entrepreneur is a  limiting concept from which to start from (it’s almost as bad as the brain-dead ‘right brain/left brain’ tripe, but I digress).  

The more effective starting point you need to begin with is this:  What if there is no box?  

If this sounds a lot like the famous line from the Matrix movie  e.g., “There is no spoon.” That’s great, and understanding that metaphor may be more consequential than you think at first blush. 

Note: I know there are many out there reading this thinking “Just  who does this guy think he is saying stuff like this?!” And it’s a  fair point. So I offer the following for you to think about. Most so-called “business gurus” beg to get speaking gigs at $5K. I start at $50K+. I’m not saying that to brag, I’m stating it for context only to those that usually mock first - ask repeat questions later. 

So now let’s begin to bend some rules as the idea implies.


Rather than contemplate all the ideas and mechanics that make up the current model of any PL that we’ve taken as a hindrance or obstacle. Let’s flip it on its head, and think from the standpoint that the PL, is in fact, the very vehicle to both bend and serve the will of a group of change agents for the betterment of a  bad situation. Meaning: to not only facilitate that needed change but to enable it to perpetually carry forward.

In other words, rather than trying to bend it, or change it via sheer willpower (“That would be impossible” as you remember also from the movie). Let’s use it as currently constructed to both solidify and perpetuate new and better applications. Doing this, suddenly not only the viewpoint changes but so to will it be easier to manifest the wanted effects.  

So what’s the first step?” great question… 

There is a myriad of stand-alone, along with interconnected variables and more, that would take up a library wing on each.  However, for simplicity, I’m going to keep this general in tone so you get the idea and can adapt to what will be one’s own myriad of circumstances for efficacy, which is by far the more important point. 

For reference, we’re going with a PL consisting of seven members. e.g., WM,SW,JW,SD,JD,SS,JS. I am not including the  Tres. nor Sec. on purpose, for in most instances these two figures, more often than not, have to be overcome separately regarding change than any other. And yes, I used “overcome”  intentionally. But that’s for later. Right now let’s just concern ourselves with the seven concerns of the PL. 

It all starts with seven… 

To effectively begin the process of change there needs to be a  minimum of seven brothers aligned and dedicated to the proposed change. It doesn’t matter if they’re currently serving officers, past officers, or simple members. But you need seven.  Why? 

Because if everything went your way (hey, it can happen), you need to be able to fill the entire line for true success. If not?  (Cue the scary music here.)

Now that I have your attention. (Hopefully)  We’ll discuss it in the next segment… 

See you there. 

Mark St.Cyr 


How Do You Eat An Elephant?

by Midnight Freemason Emeritus
Adam Thayer, PM

It’s an oft-repeated joke around our lodge: How do you eat an elephant? We tell it to newly made Entered Apprentices when they’re overwhelmed with learning proficiency, etiquette, names, titles, meeting times, and everything that comes with being a new member. We repeat it to the Worshipful Master when he has the inevitable mid-year freak out about how much he still wants to accomplish before the year is over and he is asked to retire to the sidelines. But for the purpose of this article, it’s a phrase that our Temple Board states at every meeting, every gathering, and every working day we hold.

Our Masonic Temple was built in 1934 and was (at the time) a state-of-the-art building. The building was purpose-built for Freemasonry and even includes a hidden room that you can only enter by being lowered into it for the York Rite degrees (shhh, don’t tell anyone, it’s not even on the blueprints). Every aspect of the building was designed for comfort during meetings, for providing a strong impression on candidates during degree work, and for being a family-friendly location for all of the various groups who meet here.

Having said that… our Temple was built in 1934. The walls are horsehair plaster, the oldest electrical is still cotton wrapped, and the years have not always been kind. Maintenance has varied from “we must do everything possible to take care of this building” to “who can we hire to fix this?” to “we can’t afford to fix it, maybe if we don’t look it will stop?”

A few years back, when our building was hemorrhaging money faster than we could replace it, and things were falling apart faster than we could afford to fix them, two enterprising brothers had a “revolutionary” idea – why are we paying someone to do a lot of this work, when we can do it ourselves?

In retrospect, it seems pretty obvious, doesn’t it? Why pay hundreds of dollars a month for lawn maintenance, when we all have lawn mowers, fertilizer spreaders, and access to all of the same types of yard care equipment that the “professionals” have. Sure, it may take us a bit longer because we’re using smaller mowers, smaller spreaders, and nothing that we can ride on, but there’s no reason we can’t spend the time to take care of a property we love so much.

So these two brothers made a plan; Saturday mornings, they would meet up at the building, and work on cleaning up the yard themselves. If anybody else happened to be around and wanted to help, they’d be welcomed with open arms and pointed in a direction to work.

That first year, we saved thousands of dollars on yard care. That same year, we also established a Capital Improvement & Repairs fund, that could be tapped for emergencies… and there are always emergencies.

Once summer was over, and the yard work was done for the year, the brothers (who, by now, were quite more than just two) didn’t want to stop coming down on Saturday mornings and decided to turn their attention to the inside of the building. After all, there were hundreds of little problems that we could fix ourselves, like leaky plumbing, flickering lights, crumbling plaster… Once they really started looking around the building, it became nearly overwhelming how much work had to be done, but how do you eat an elephant?

Over the course of that winter, the tenants of the building started noticing changes. Problems they had complained about for years were getting fixed. Some parts of the building would suddenly become inaccessible for a time as they were shut down for refurbishment. A building that was feeling old and tired was suddenly trying to spring back to life, one small area at a time. Even more importantly, brothers from across the four lodges who call the building home were working together, cooperating, learning, and laughing in the process.

Our building’s Eastern Star chapter noticed it too and wanted to help out, but most of them didn’t feel comfortable doing electrical work on a live circuit while dangling off a wooden ladder 15+ feet in the air (and yes, that HAS happened, don’t tell OSHA), so they turned their focus to the large kitchen and started making breakfast for us while we were working. I want to be very clear that they VOLUNTEERED for this, at no point did we ask, but they felt it was the best way they could contribute to the work, and we are incredibly grateful to Electa Chapter #8 for providing us excellent food every week while we’re working.

Within a few years, what began as two guys trying to save us a bit of money on yard maintenance has turned into a rotating team of twenty to thirty brothers and sisters who will come in for various projects, great fellowship, and amazing breakfasts. On any given Saturday, you may find one or two guys ripping into some plumbing issue, while another small team is repairing plaster and repainting, another group is cleaning up woodwork and yet another group is outside working on a pavement issue. If you come down, you will be put to work, and you may end up heading up a project if you are particularly good at something.

My own experience has been so varied I don’t even know where to begin. When I was added as a representative to the Temple Board, they immediately made me the IT Director because I have some (very VERY limited) experience with it, and have tasked me with projects as varied as covering the entire building with WiFi, to rewiring the lighting to be smart accessible, to installing security cameras, and my current project of putting speaker systems and Bluetooth receivers into both of our lodge rooms so people can hear better. I have learned how to plaster from Don, an 86-year-old man who is very active in the Eastern Star but has just become active in the lodge over the past few years because he made so many friends while working. I learned maintenance of our aging boiler system from Matt, a 49-year-old man who constantly surprises me with the depth of his knowledge of obscure things. I’ve learned yard maintenance from Joe, electrical from Mike, and painting from Lynn, and what we don’t know we learn and teach each other. More importantly, we’ve all learned better teamwork and leadership, which we take back to our lodges and chapters to improve them as well.

The Capital Improvements fund has come in handy more than once when we’ve had to replace air conditioners, lay new carpeting, and hire other similar projects that were just too big for experience and time to handle. We’ve gone from passing the hat each month to having an investment manager working to tell us the best timing to take on big new projects.

So why am I telling you all of this? Is it just to brag about how amazing things are going for us, and make you wish you were us too? Of course not, although I am very proud of what we’ve accomplished. It’s to teach you something very important that you can use in your own lodge: how do you eat an elephant? Nothing we have done is unique, or requires much knowledge beyond “Alexa, how do I replace a sink?”

Think of the projects your lodge would like to accomplish. It could be building-related like what I’ve listed above, but it could easily be “have more active members” or “be visible in the public” or “add education to every meeting”. Regardless of the project, if it’s worth doing it should seem overwhelming and impossible to accomplish. As an easy example, take “have more active members”; what are you going to give these members to do to be active? Where are you going to get them? If you bring in new members, you’re going to need people who can do all of the degree work, mentors to work with them, food and drink, and time. When you write down everything that you’ll need to have in place to make it happen, you should be freaked out by it, and if you aren’t… set your sights higher.

Or maybe you’re looking at something more personal, like learning a new lecture, weight loss, or quitting smoking. How about building up your skills to earn a promotion at work? Buying a house? It’s time for you to look inward and begin asking yourself the big questions: who are you and what do you want? To quote every meeting of salespeople I’ve ever sat through, find out the why and no how will stop you.

Whatever you’re looking at accomplishing, I know you can do it, but you have to start. Remember: two guys who said “we can mow the yard ourselves” have now, over the years we’ve been working, saved us hundreds of thousands of dollars by doing it ourselves, have taught dozens of men new skills, and forged friendships across lodges that barely talked to each other before even though we were in THE SAME BUILDING.

Hundreds of thousands of Entered Apprentices over history have left their first degree thinking “I’ll never learn all of this” and gone on to do amazing things in Freemasonry. Thousands of new Worshipful Masters have sat down with a plan of what they’d like to get done, and believed they could never do it all, while going on to bring massive improvements across their lodge, and I bet if we were to sit down with some Grand Masters they would tell you the same thing.

One of those two men I told you about is now turning his eye on our York Rite, being able to do all of the degree work ourselves without needing to send our brothers to a festival, and I have zero doubt that he will accomplish it. I know I’ll be there helping in any way I can, which gives us two, and that’s enough to make massive changes, especially when we start with something small, like “Let’s get a team together who can do the Mark Master degree”. I fully expect that if you check back with us in a few years, you’ll find a fully functioning degree team running all of the York Rite degrees and orders in-house.

In the meantime, you’ll still find us on Saturday mornings, repairing plaster, repainting decades-old paint, and discussing new projects we’d like to tackle. In between all of the laughing, teaching, and occasional swearing at some unexpected problem, you might just hear some ritual practice happening too. Quite a few newer members have been able to pass their proficiency because of what they’ve learned while we were pulling new electrical lines.

But I really should at least tell you the rest of the joke… How do you eat an elephant? One bite at a time.


“The Shade of Trees They’ll Never Sit Under”: Investing for the Lodge and Your Future Brethren

by Midnight Freemason Contributor
Phillip Welshans

Part 1: Introduction and Why This is Important

This material has been prepared for general and educational purposes only. This material does not provide recommendations concerning investments, investment strategies, or account types. It is not individualized to the needs of any specific investor and is not intended to suggest that any particular investment action is appropriate for you, nor is it intended to serve as the primary basis for investment decision-making. Any tax-related discussion contained in this material, including any attachments/links, is not intended or written to be used, and cannot be used, for the purpose of (i) avoiding any tax penalties or (ii) promoting, marketing, or recommending to any other party any transaction or matter addressed herein. Please consult your independent legal counsel and/or tax professional regarding any legal or tax issues raised in this material. All investments involve risk, including possible loss of principal.

Lodges consist of a number of brethren duly assembled, with the Holy Bible, square, and compasses, and a charter or warrant empowering them to work. This is true, so far as it goes. But we all know there's a whole lot more that goes into making a lodge than just these basic requirements. Everything from adept ritualists to confer the degrees of Masonry, to men willing to do the administrative work of being secretaries and treasurers and committee heads, to brothers willing to volunteer to keep the outside of a lodge building clean and weed-free, is needed at one time or another to keep a lodge operational and successful. There are a thousand tasks and roles that need to be filled for a lodge to not only be formed but to thrive and grow.

Finances for a lodge are an important, if humdrum and oft-overlooked, part of that success. The Treasurer must know how much is coming in and going out of the lodge accounts to communicate an accurate picture of the lodge's financial health to the Worshipful Master and the brethren. In many jurisdictions, the Grand Lodge also wants an annual accounting of each lodge's finances to ensure the brethren are being faithful stewards of the dues and other monies entrusted to them by the membership. In Maryland, for example, each lodge must provide audited financial statements to the Grand Lodge by March 31st 1 or face a stern talking to from the Grand Secretary and possibly other consequences 2. Our lodge is fortunate to have a CPA as a member who graciously performs our audit each year as a service to the lodge. 

But beyond financial statements, there is an oft-overlooked, yet equally important financial requirement of many lodges today and that has to do with investment management. Many lodges are tax-exempt entities 3 that have existed for many, many years, and have accumulated in some cases substantial (millions of dollars) assets through bequests or lodge mergers, or property sales, and so on. The permutations as to how a lodge comes into possession of assets are endless, but the implications for all of us are clear: these assets are a legacy with which we have been entrusted and which we should pass on to our successors in better condition than we found them. Lodges are in the business of making Masons, as I have heard many times before. But frankly, without the financial resources to carry out that mission, where are we?

I've worked in the investment management industry for over 15 years now and bring my experience in the field to my lodge here in Maryland. So, I thought it might be worthwhile to write a series of posts aimed at discussing the big issues a lodge and its members face in managing their assets. To be clear, I will not be providing any financial advice or making any subjective comments on any specific investments (stocks, bonds, funds, etc.). There will be no forward-looking statements about market returns, etc. I'm not an advisor and am not acting as such here. See the disclosure at the top of each post. These posts should instead be used as a starting point for thinking more deeply about how your lodge's assets are being invested and managed, whether it's a few thousand or several million dollars. If nothing else, I hope this will give you some impetus to keep a closer eye on them and set up processes that the men who come after you can rely on to manage the lodge's wealth and preserve it through the ups and downs of the markets. Long-term success in investing comes primarily through a patient application of a disciplined and thoughtful process over many years.

There is a saying, likely apocryphal but generally attributed to a Greek proverb, that says, "A society grows great when old men plant trees whose shade they know they shall never sit in." Regardless of the provenance, this describes a lot of what we do in our speculative Masonic lodge rooms. We pass on the knowledge and Masonic light that was passed down to us by Past Masters or our fathers and grandfathers. But I hope that these brief posts will also demonstrate to you that we should take an operative view of this quotation as well and regard our lodges' financial assets in the same way. The steps you take today, modest as they may seem, could plant the seeds for some very bountiful shade for your grandsons and beyond to enjoy. 

1 We had our committee meetings and forms signed to our Grand Inspector before March 1st this year, a record in efficiency. Go Palestine Lodge #189!
2 I actually don't know what this would entail exactly, but just a call from the Grand Secretary would be bad enough, I think. Lodges have generally resisted moves to impose financial penalties on them, so I'm not sure if the Grand Lodge could levy an actual financial penalty here. Probably nobody alive today has ever encountered such a recalcitrant lodge, so just as the offense would be novel, so too would likely be the consequences. Maybe suspending the charter if it got bad enough.
3 Again, speaking in generalities here. Please don't email me or leave a comment telling me your lodge is under an LLC or some other arrangement. That's great. See the disclosures and talk to a tax professional to figure out what makes best sense for your lodge.


Phillip Welshans is Senior Warden of Palestine Lodge #189 in Catonsville, MD under the Grand Lodge of Maryland A.F. & A.M. He is also a member of the Maryland Masonic Lodge of Research #239, and the Hiram Guild of the Maryland Masonic Academy. As a member of the Ancient and Accepted Scottish Rite, S.J. in the Valley of Baltimore, he has completed the Master Craftsman programs and is a member of the Scottish Rite Research Society. His interests are primarily in Masonic education, particularly the history of the Craft, esotericism, and the philosophy of Masonry.

The Theater of Cruelty of the Hiramic Drama, Part II

by Midnight Freemason Contributor
Patrick Dey

In continuation of Part I, we will look at some things I think are issues with the usual manner of conducting the Hiramic Drama and how they may be remedied.

If the cast of the Third Degree did their job right, no candidate should be asleep, literally and metaphorically. Sadly, I have seen candidates actually fall asleep, and I have seen it during bad degree work. And that is a factor in Artaud’s Theater of Cruelty. Really, good theatrics and acting should be essential to all dramas, but I think that is something Masons all too often forget: they are conducting a drama, not ritual, and there is a difference. There is something ritualistic about the Hiramic Drama, but it is a drama first, then it is ritual second. The Hiramic Drama is a work of art. Seriously, it might be one of the most unique, brilliant, and powerful theatrical performances since… I don’t know when. Then Masons get wrapped up in getting the script letter perfect like they were doing the first section of the degree. Maybe get the oath down letter-perfect, because it is a quasi-legal agreement actionable under the Constitution of a jurisdiction, but the Hiramic Drama deserves better than a bunch of guys stammering through their lines trying to get every word stated perfectly in the exact order the ritual book says.

Stop that! We need to stop conducting ritual workshops for the Third Degree and bring in some high school theater nerds to give Masons a lesson or two in how to just roll with it, go with the flow, play off each other, improvise, how to intone and play with the cadence of speech, et cetera. Someone messes up the line? Role with it. Someone missed a word? There better not be a single sideliner shouting out what they were supposed to say. Mixed up the wording? Whatever. It makes this particular degree unique.

I will never forget the time I was doing a Master Mason Degree and acting as King Solomon. The brother who was supposed to act as King Hiram was running very late, but I’m punctual, so I appointed someone else who was capable to take their spot. Then halfway through the degree the original cast member shows up, and tries to swap places, but it is at a key interaction with King Hiram, and they are fiddling with swapping officer jewels and not saying their lines. I improvised and added a new line to keep things moving and make it seem like this is part of the work (the candidate doesn’t know that). Then the late brother says, “That’s not what you’re supposed to say.” So I improvised further: “I’m King Solomon and I say what I want, and I’m about to have King Hiram put to death if he doesn’t stop fiddling with his stuff and start doing his job. Now, where is Hiram Abif?!”

That may have been out of line, and I did get a finger wag afterward. However, such improvisation and going with the flow, not getting bogged down in getting the script perfectly verbatim is essential. Artaud advocates for theatrical productions to be open to doing it differently every time. He uses the example of Balinese theater to illustrate his point, with actors executing variations and nuanced differences that flow with the overall action. Theater is an art; not something to be regurgitated letter-perfect.

Maybe when a ruffian forgets his line, then another ruffian says it instead. And instead of the first ruffian saying, “Hey that was my line!” he should say, “You know, I was going to say the same thing! Let’s steal a boat!” Totally improvise it. Who cares? The candidate doesn’t know what the book says. Are we conducting this for the candidate or for the old guy sitting on the sidelines judging every word spoken?

Perhaps if King Solomon totally blanks on what he says next, the Secretary may say, “King Solomon, as your Court Advisor, perhaps we ought to do a roll call of the workmen to see if any are missing.” Give him a prompt, but work it into the drama, that way it sounds to the candidate like it’s a part of the Degree and not just hearing someone loudly whispering lines (and King Solomon loudly whispering back, “What?!”)

Artaud takes this a step further with his essay “No More Masterpieces.” Life is ever-changing. It doesn’t follow a script. Nothing happens the same way twice. Nor should the tragedy of Hiram Abif. 

To clone objects, events, and even living beings is neither natural nor conducive to life. Martin Heidegger was certainly cognizant of this when he critiques the scientist’s true purposes in testing nature: “Modern science’s way of representing pursues and entraps nature as a calculable coherence of forces… Physics, indeed already as pure theory, sets nature up to exhibit itself as a coherence of forces calculable in advance, it orders its experiments precisely for the purpose of asking whether and how nature reports itself when set up in this way.” In other words, when we shove nature into a box and inquire how a natural phenomenon will manifest itself, we will get results that are capable of being duplicated. In fact, this is one aspect of the scientific method: that results may be duplicated by others in similar conditions. Yet nature does not exist in a confined box, nor does nature ever truly duplicate its results. Nature manifests in a multitude of ways under various uncontrollable conditions. And while it is nice to know how nature behaves in a box, it is simply not natural for nature to live in a box. The same goes for life, and the same also goes for art. Art that lives in a box is dead. It is a mummy in a coffin: perfectly preserved and ugly.

Art that is fixed and replicable is dead. Masterpieces are such that live in boxes, curated and preserved as-is in museums, photographed and duplicated in the gift shop, and have no life other “than as an object on call for inspection by a tour group ordered there by the vacation industry” (to crib Heidegger again). These are dead relics and do not call us to the life we live now, but rather ask us to be amazed at a bygone era. As Artaud expresses it:

“Recognize that what has been said is not still to be said; that an expression does not have the same value twice, does not live two lives; that all words, once spoken are dead and function only at the moment when they are uttered, that a form once it has served, cannot be used again and asks only to be replaced by another, and that the theater is the only place in the world where a gesture, once made, can never be made the same way twice. If the public does not frequent our literary masterpieces, it is because those masterpieces are literary, that is to say, fixed; and fixed in forms that no longer respond to the needs of the time. Far from blaming the public, we ought to blame the formal screen we interpose between ourselves and the public, and this new form of idolatry, the idolatry of fixed masterpieces which is one of the aspects of bourgeois conformism.”

I would say that the very idolatry Artaud warns of is the written ritual, or even worse, the letter-perfect ritual. The relentless need to perfectly replicate each and every single Degree by adhering strictly to the written ritual is a detriment to, not just the drama itself, but also the Craft as an institution; and to stray from the written ritual in any conceivable way is met with utter contempt and ridicule. Don’t believe me? Switch up a word in your ritual work and see who shouts out the exact word that was written down; or who will approach you after the degree to correct you.

There are still other problems that arise from this over-emphasized worship of the written ritual. One is an issue we have all seen: that brother who is so focused on being letter-perfect that he then begins to stutter and stumble, and constantly needs to look over at the Secretary to make sure he got it right. How awful is this? It does not just ruin the experience for the candidate, it murders Hiram a second time… how boring it must be in that grave over there listening to a guy stammer through lines. Yes, the brother successfully regurgitated the written ritual word for word but absolutely butchered the ritual itself.

Now, if someone can do the degree letter perfectly and keep it fluid and fluent, then great. Do it. Nothing wrong with striving for perfection. However, for those in which conducting letter-perfect ritual is a hindrance to them doing good work, then let them switch it up, and let them improvise a bit. Since when did we start applying the charge that “no man may innovate upon the body of Masonry” to mean everything has to be perfectly executed exactly the same way each and every time? Is switching it up an innovation? Or is it just a circumstance of good dramatic degree work? Heck, most of this stuff was not even written down, much less memorized for the first decades of modern-day Freemasonry. It used to be ad hoc, it used to be interpretive, and then when it started to get written down in illicit Masonic exposures, it was then later that we took those clandestine documents to be gospel.

This need to be letter-perfect in our ritual is a symptom of decay: the fraternity is rotting like poor Hiram in his lonely grave. This is not evidence of a living tradition. Rather, Freemasons have become curators of a dead tradition. Freemasonry has become a museum, a cold box for masterpieces to live in, and no one is allowed to touch anything.

I would seriously advocate for emphasizing dramatic production over letter-perfect ritual. I’ll say it again, don’t do ritual workshops for the Third Degree, bring in stage actors to help your lodge with its dramatic performance. Such will ensure the enactment of the Hiramic Drama remains fresh and alive, not molding in a box. It will keep your candidate awake, and engaged, and hopefully, wake him up spiritually. Who knows, it may even wake up the Craft as a whole.



Patrick M. Dey is a Past Master of Nevada Lodge No. 4 in the ghost town of Nevadaville, Colorado, and currently serves as their Secretary, and is also a Past Master of Research Lodge of Colorado. He is a Past High Priest of Keystone Chapter No. 8, Past Illustrious Master of Hiram Council No. 7, Past Commander of Flatirons Commandery No. 7, and serves as the Secretary-Recorder of all three. He currently serves as the Exponent (Suffragan) of Colorado College, SRICF of which he is VIII Grade (Magister), and is a member of Gofannin Council No. 315 AMD and Kincora Council No. 8 Knight Masons. He is a facilitator for the Masonic Legacy Society, is the Editor of the Rocky Mountain Mason magazine, serves on the Board of Directors of the Grand Lodge of Colorado’s Library and Museum Association, and is the Deputy Grand Bartender of the Grand Lodge of Colorado (an ad hoc, joke position he is very proud to hold). He holds a Masters of Architecture degree from the University of Colorado, Denver, and works in the field of architecture in Denver, where he resides with wife and son.