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Emessay Notes April 2015 

Heart And Soul Of Freemasonry 

Bill Norton, a Past Master of Tompkins Lodge in Fort Oglethorpe, Georgia, was prompted by a Short Talk Bulletin article to write an essay about the “Heart and Soul” of our Fraternity.  Excerpts from his words are reprinted here:

History is covered with displays of passion, relief and aid. Even in times of war and times of desperate need, lives have been saved, individuals as well as families, Masonic and non-masonic, due to the teachings of Freemasonry.

Brothers have been saved by physical and/or monetary methods, saved by Masonic brethren, whether they were officers or soldiers of war  -- simply by displaying or noticing a Masonic emblem. Even though the recipient of this grace or charity was a perceived enemy, but still recognized as a brother or brother’s family in need.

Famous men abound in historic lore of Freemasonry -- from Kings, Princes, Potentates, Presidents, and Founders of our country and elected leaders of many paths. Since time immemorial, legends of acts of charity and forgiveness have abounded.

The heart and soul of Freemasonry is and always has been within every Mason. It is their passion, their teaching, how they display their belief, learning to adhere to the ceremonies of Freemasonry and showing their passions of brotherly love for each other and their families. Carrying the emotions of life and their love for the craft.  As it was when they were first brought to light. 

Oregon Lodge Helps Homeless

During this winter’s many bouts of freezing weather, Florence Lodge, near Florence, Oregon, opened its doors to homeless individuals, who were seeking shelter from the cold.

In November, Lodge members voted to make their building available as an emergency warming shelter whenever temperatures drop below 30 degrees F., or a combination of wind chill, wind, and rainfall make it necessary to provide shelter from the elements.

The Florence emergency cold weather shelter committee supplied cots, blankets, and pillows.  Volunteers helped prepare and serve dinners, remove tables and chairs and set up the cots, and monitor the premises throughout the night.  In the morning, a second shift of volunteers set up tables and prepared breakfast.

Members of several local churches, and others in the community, helped the Lodge in this effort to relieve the distressed in Florence.

(From Oregon Masonic News, February, 2015.)

200th Anniversary Of Battle Of New Orleans

On December 24, 1814, Great Britain and the United States signed a treaty in Ghent, Belgium, to end the War of 1812.  However, news was slow to cross the Atlantic, and on January 8, 1815, the two sides met in what has been described as one of the conflict’s biggest battles, the bloody Battle of New Orleans. 

Andrew Jackson, with an assortment of militia fighters, frontiersmen, slaves, Indians, and even pirates weathered an assault by a superior British force, and won a momentous victory.

This victory vaulted Jackson to national prominence and ultimately the Presidency of the United States.

Andrew Jackson was a Tennessee Mason, although there is some debate as to which Lodge he belonged, according to 10,000 Famous Freemasons, published by the Missouri Lodge of Research.  However, he was elected Grand Master of the Grand Lodge of Tennessee in 1822 and again in 1823, serving until October, 1824.

He was elected President of the United States in 1824 and again in 1828, and holds the distinction of being one of only two Freemasons to serve as both a Grand Master and U.S. President. (Harry S. Truman was the other.)

John Steinbeck’s Masonic Connection

 The famous author, John Ernest Steinbeck, Jr., was born in Salinas, California, is 1902.  Among his greatest books are The Grapes of Wrath (which won a Pulitzer Prize in 1939), Of Mice and Men, and “Winter of Our Discontent.” He earned the Nobel Prize for Literature in 1962.

Steinbeck’s father and paternal grandfather were both active Masons. Young Steinbeck was a member of the Order of DeMolay and received his degrees in Masonry in 1929 in Salinas Lodge.  He reportedly stated that he joined the Masons to please his father, finding the Fraternity rather pompous, staid and conventional, and dismissed it as “flumdummery.” He withdrew from the Lodge in 1933.

However, there is good reason to assume that he believed in the principles upon which Freemasonry is built, as his work over a large number of years is suffused with many references to the Fraternity.

Following his death -- some 40 years after he joined Salinas Lodge -- a certificate was found, preserved, in his New York apartment, that had been presented to him by the Lodge at the time of his raising – not the act of someone for whom Freemasonry was considered irrelevant.
(From The Philatelic Freemason, March/April, 2015)

How A Few Rock Bands Got Their Names

  • Chicago.   They originally called themselves Chicago Transit Authority (CTA), but had to shorten it after the City of Chicago sued.
  • Alice Cooper.  Lead singer Vincent Furnier (a Senior DeMolay) claims to have gotten his stage name from a Ouija board through which he met a spirit with that name.
  • Metallica.  Drummer Lars Ulrich was helping a friend name a heavy metal magazine. Ulrich’s two suggestions: (1) Metal Mania (which the friend used, and (2) Metallica.
  • Black Sabbath.  From 1963 Boris Karloff horror movie.
  • Def Leppard.  Singer Joe Elliot once drew a picture of a leopard with no ears – a “deaf leopard.”

(From an article by Oliver Perry Steward in Masonic Temple Topics in October, 2014, and reprinted in “Fraternal Review” of the Southern California Research Lodge.)

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