Making a Case for Templarism

by Midnight Freemason Contributor
Bro. Randy Sanders

When I petitioned York Rite years ago, I petitioned too early in my Masonic path. It wasn’t that I needed more time to learn my Blue Lodge lessons, it was that there existed too few learned companions that could teach the deep lessons. The same remains today, meaning in most cases I had to learn the lessons on my own and without any mentoring, just like in Blue Lodge. Fast forward to receiving my Orders in Knights Templar, and I was stunned at the words I heard, the amazing allegory, the beautiful charges to be a better man. And I held deep hope in my heart when I attended my first and second Commandry meetings which also turned out to be my last.

Why would they be my last? After all, I experienced sheer beauty and powerful imagery in receiving the orders. How can I make a case for Templarism if I myself became disillusioned over stale coffee and dragging business meetings? You know, the same stale coffee and dragging business meetings we endure in Blue Lodge? I experienced even worse in the Asylum. I listened to adult men argue over the placement of a ribbon or pants length on a uniform of no significance, argue over foot placement during extremely basic marching and maneuvering drills, and watched them wear funny hats in the name of a 150-ish-year-old tradition. A tradition supposedly connected to a centuries-old religious military order that quite possibly obtained and applied the spiritual teachings of the East.

Doesn’t sound like much reason yet, right? The meaning is lost on those focused on the outer trappings. That is partly my definition of outer trappings: physicality that inhibits passage into the inner workings of anything. Remember the lessons of the Entered Apprentice to not get caught up in the outside world, to subdue your passions so that you might shed the physical and thereby get on with the important stuff. Today’s Templars with a few exceptions lost their way, and we can bring life back into an organization with such beautiful lessons. We must be the ones who teach those lessons because those adept at teaching the lessons within the organization become scarce. There’s egotistical infighting at the leadership levels as recently exposed at the national level, there’s devolution into the unimportant worries of whether a uniform is worn correctly, or the hat has enough feathers, or the foot is lifted high enough while marching. It’s all allegory. It isn’t important except to those who never understood the allegory.

Knights Templar and Templarism is indeed worth saving, and we should make the effort. Templarism allegory demonstrates the 24-inch gauge by teaching us to work toward preparation and to balance our time. It teaches personal ritual by demonstrating preparing the uniform as an allegory of cleansing and preparing yourself to meditate or do inner work (see an excellent article or catch the YouTube reading of Personal Ritual by Brother Chuck Dunning). Templarism teaches the allegory of the righteous battle as a means toward working hard to find your higher self, and finally, Templarism parallels the journey toward enlightenment by the finding of the Lost Word. What? No lost word? Templarism calls it the Holy Grail.

Again, the lessons of Templarism, largely lost on most current Templars, continue to be worthy of saving. Templarism teaches a wonderful set of philosophical values and moral virtues. Templarism lessons extend well beyond the stale coffee, silly costumes, and stomping footwork for those willing to take that next allegorical marching step. The symbolism encompasses a contemplative path toward Light, and the allegories of the Orders demonstrate the inner workings of the Psyche, or Self, on its various cyclical journeys. Journeys that lead to the Divine. These remain powerful internal lessons we may preserve while reminding the leadership and ritualists that the external lessons are outer trappings that have trapped many unworthy Knights thus denying them the Grail. There are always deeper meanings to any Masonic body.


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.


  1. I just can't support an organization that creates a situation of second class citizens in Freemasonry based on their religion.

  2. I enjoyed reading your post. My father was a very active Mason in multiple bodies (Royal Arch, Council, Commandery, Scottish Rite) as well as invitation only bodies (HRAKTP, ROoS, RCofC, AMD) while he was alive. He loved Templary. I think his frustrations with the Commandery match yours, especially as age makes it harder to march in formation (it's a younger person's thing), much less perform sword drill.

    He loved the ritual, and being retired US Army, enjoyed the uniform. He belonged to several Commanderies, at least two were predominantly military and retired military. He felt that many younger members that were not military didn't enjoy the uniform, while many military members did, which created a tough situation.

    I belong to a non-Masonic Templar organization, and one of my bucket list goals is to go to the Church of the Holy Sepulchre in Jerusalem. It is interesting that for a few hundred years, the pavement in front of the Edicule (the little house over the purported tomb) is a tesselated pavement like in Masonic Lodges.

    The Tomb of Christ by Martin Biddle
    The Church of the Holy Sepulchre by Martin Biddle; Gideon Avni; Jon Seligman; Tamar Winter

    Have you ever considered that the timing of Masonic Ritual as a whole, Templar ritual in specific, was influenced by the Church of the Holy Sepulchre? We know what the mission was supposed to be for the original Poor Fellow soldiers of Christ during the Crusades. When the Crusaders controlled Jerusalem after the First Crusade (but before they lost it) - they reworked the Church of the Holy Sepulchre, including the Edicule. All I am saying is that the archeological and historical record of the Church of the Holy Sepulchre may have influenced early Freemasonry. No way to absolutely prove this, but it is food for thought.

    The uniform isn't historically accurate, then again, even the current uniform of the Order of St. John is based off of a military dress uniform. Let's say the uniform is modified to cap and mantle (more like the UK) - the ritual should be changed. Maybe it is time to consider other changes to ritual ?


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