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Emessay Notes April 2014


Montana PGM Jewel Being Worn In Utah

Drew Sanders was installed as Grand Master of Utah on February 1, and was presented the Past Grand Master's Jewel used by his great-great uncle from Montana, to wear during his term.

Thom Chisholm, Grand Master, and Reid Gardiner, Grand Secretary, both of Montana, made the presentation.

Wilbur Fisk Sanders was born in New York in 1834, then moved to Ohio in 1854, and after becoming an attorney, was raised in Akron Lodge, No. 83, in Akron, Ohio, in 1859.  In 1863, he moved west into what is now Montana.  For years, he played a significant role in the history of the Montana Territory, the State of Montana, and the Grand Lodge of Montana.

He was elected as the first Grand Secretary of the Grand Lodge of Montana in 1866, and two years later became its third Grand Master. After Montana was admitted as a state in 1889, Brother Sanders was elected to the U.S. Senate for one term. Years later, he was inducted as the first member of the Montana Masonic Hall of Fame when it was created. 

As Grand Secretary, he signed the Charter of Wasatch Lodge, No. 8, in Salt Lake City, Utah – now Wasatch Lodge No. 1 of the Grand Lodge of Utah.

Grand Master Drew Sanders is a member of Wasatch Lodge and continues the heritage of his family's Masonic excellence by wearing his famous forefather's PGM jewel.

Masonic Charity Leads To More Fraternal Service

Jim Gill, of Gridley, California, admits, "My father was Past Master twice, and I was a big thorn in his side, being wild and unruly in my youth and early adult life. I never considered myself worthy to be a Mason."

My motivation changed, he said, when Brother Masons reached out to help his father.

His parents were returning home to northern California from Palm Springs in 1993, when "dad caught pneumonia and barely made it into Fallon, Nevada. They knew no one in town and the hospital is lonely place.  Mom made one call to the Master of the Lodge, and then it was non-stop visitors until the day he left for home.

"Hearing what the brethren did for him – a stranger – I decided I wanted to try to become one." 

With his father's guidance and example, Brother Gill joined North Butte Lodge #230 and is now Junior Warden, having just stepped down as Master for the fourth time.

The elder Brother Gill was Master of Janesville Lodge No. 232 (now Lassen Janesville Lodge No. 149) in 1955 and 1962 and for many years a candidate coach.

"My dad joined the Celestial Lodge last year, and I can reflect how -- finally, after many years -- he was able to say he was proud of me."

More Suggestions For Old Masonic Bibles

In December, 2013, Emessay Notes published a suggestion about how to handle Masonic Bibles, which may be given to the Lodge – or an individual – following the death of a Masonic member.  The suggestion involved contacting the America Legion, which has a solemn ceremony for destroying old flags and Bibles.  In the February issue, we printed a few additional suggestions, and now have a couple more.

Eric A. Silver, a Past Master and Rabbi from Connecticut, explained that the Jewish faith has a different way of disposing of old Bibles, prayer books, Torah scrolls and other sacred texts that have become worn.  They are buried, often with the remains of a particularly pious individual.

In the Jewish tradition, burning a sacred text would be considered desecration since, over the years, Jewish enemies would burn such volumes to demonstrate their contempt the faith.  Brother Silver suggests the Bible be buried with the deceased Mason, or if the Bible is discovered after burial, it might be buried later with another Brother as a meaningful symbol.

Brother Robert B. Beam, a Past Master from Tennessee, suggests that a Bible could be given to a new Master Mason in the Lodge.  The family of the deceased knows that the Bible has a good home, the memory of the deceased Brother is honored, and a new Brother has a Bible with some Masonic history and tradition.  "Hopefully, it will help some other Brothers who, like me, don't want to see old Bibles either discarded or tossed in a box in a corner somewhere," he wrote.

Volume II Orders Coming In Rapidly

Each day's mail and each day's online sales are bringing in more and more orders for Volume II of the Masonic Service Association's "Complete Collection of Short Talk Bulletins."

Special "pre-publication" prices will last until September 1, 2014. Full details are at MSA's webpage,

Last year, Volume I received glowing comments, and Volume II -- covering the Short Talk Bulletins printed in 1938-1952 -- should be even better. It's more than 700 pages, re-edited, re-typeset, and indexed. It's perfect for every Mason's bookcase. AND, it's perfect for the library of every Masonic Lodge, as a "treasure house" for Masonic education.  (Please note: there is a special price for Lodges.)

Among recent comments on Facebook about Volume II were these:  "We'll recommended!"  and "This is a GREAT deal . . .(An order from me is coming soon)."
Also described in the information on the web site is that a limited supply of Volume I of the series is still available.

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