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Masonic Service Association of North America

Emessay Notes December 2007

Masonic Questions

In the annual published proceedings of Ars Quatuor Coronatorum there is a section responding to questions about Freemasonry. The following questions were answered in Vol. 118 (2006).

What is the origin of the black and white pavement?

The squared pavement, now preserved in our carpet, almost certainly is derived from the floor pattern. This type of flooring is very evident in art, particularly in Dutch interiors of both churches and houses of important people. As has happened so often Freemasonry has used a common artefact and given it a more esoteric meaning.

Should the V.S.L. be placed so that it can be read by the W.M. or the Candidate?

The V.S.L. is an essential part of the Lodge when in session, and there is no specific rule as to which way it should be turned. But when it is to be used by a Candidate for the purpose of taking an Obligation, it becomes, in a certain sense, his Book. Our lodges are required to provide for each Candidate that particular version of Holy Writ which belongs to his faith and for the Obligation, at least, there can be no doubt that the Book should be so arranged that he can recognize and read it.

Light in Freemasonry

The Home Mission Board Report on Freemasonry criticizes Freemasonry for the “prevalent use of the term ‘light,’ which some may understand as a reference to salvation rather than knowledge or truth. Many anti-Masons believe the term light refers to an alleged salvation available through Freemasonry. As any dictionary indicates, there are many definitions of light. The term does not always refer to Jesus Christ or salvation. The definition is determined by the person using the term, not by the interpreter. The motto of the Baltimore Sun is “Light for all.” Would anyone argue that the Baltimore Sun is teaching salvation in its pages. No, it uses “light” in the sense of knowledge or information, just as do Masons. The motto of Yale University is “LUX,” a Latin word for “light.” The list could go on.

(Source: Fundamentalism & Freemasonry, Dr. Gary Leazer)


Ignaz Joseph Pleyel

On June 16, 2007, the Postal authorities of Austria released a stamp to honor the 250th Anniversary of the birth of Bro. Ignaz Joseph Pleyel. Every Mason is familiar with Pleyel’s Hymn – the funeral dirge used in the Master Mason Degree – which first appeared as a hymn tune in Arnold and Callcott’s Psalms in 1791. The History of Freemasonry in Austria-Hungary by Ludwig Abafi, published in Budapest in 1899, includes a list of lodge members for the year 1784 which clearly states that Ignaz Pleyel was a Fellowcraft in Lodge Zum Goldenen Rad (Golden Wheel) in Eberau, now Austria – formerly Monorokerek, Hungary.

   Ignaz Joseph Pleyel was born June 1, 1757, in Ruppertal, Austria (near Vienna) the 24th son of the village schoolmaster at that town. He developed into a noted pianist and studied under Haydn for several years. He made a concert tour through Italy and France in 1786 where he was widely acclaimed. In 1789 he became the musical director of the cathedral at Strasburg. Due to the French Revolution, he was forced to flee to London where he again studied under Haydn and was conducting in London in 1791-92. He returned to Paris in 1795 and published music. He founded a highly successful piano factory known as Pleyel, Wollf and Company which he turned over to his son, Camilla, himself a widely-known pianist as was his wife, Marie Felicity. For a number of years he was Editor of Bibliotheque Musicale and, in total, published 20 symphonies and sonatas. He died at his estate near Paris November 14, 1831.

(Source: The Philatelic Freemason – Nov/Dec 2007)

Healthy Bones, Healthy Bodies

Shriners Hospitals for Children will work to raise awareness of the need  for children, especially those with special health needs. to have “Healthy Bones, Healthy Bodies.” U.S. Bone and Joint Decade, which continues through 2011, is a concerted worldwide effort to increase understanding and treatment of musculoskeletal disorders and injuries through prevention, education and research.

Shriners Hospitals for Children is a leader in efforts to understand, prevent and treat musculoskeletal problems associated with pediatric  orthopaedic conditions and injuries. Having a physical disability that limits mobility can lead to a lack of exercise and additional health risks, including obesity, high blood sugar and high blood pressure, which can lead to cardiovascular problems. Limited mobility also increases the risk of osteoporosis.

  “Like the rest of the body, bones are living entities,” said Donald Lighter, M.D., associate director of medical affairs for Shriners Hospitals for Children. “Exercise and proper nutrition tend to increase bone density and improve skeletal health.”

Most of the 19 Shriners Hospitals specializing in orthopaedic problems can provide information, resources, programs and activities to help patients maintain physical fitness, including access to a wide variety of adaptive sports – from archery to weightlifting. Adaptive sports offer the same benefits as traditional activities, including enhanced flexibility and balance, increased stamina and strength, and improved self-image and social skills.

   Shriners Hospitals are also involved in research projects to improve fitness opportunities for children and youth with special health needs. These include a study to determine ways functional electrical stimulation can be used to initiate movement and provide the benefits of exercise for patients with spinal cord injuries or cerebral palsy.

Source: Shrine News Release)


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