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Masonic Service Association of North America

Emessay Notes October 2006

Herschel H. Hobbs

Hobbs preached more than 700 sermons on the syndicated Baptist Hour between 1958 and 1978. He served on the “Peace Committee” which attempted (unsuccessfully) to resolve the controversy that erupted between SBC moderates and fundamentalists in 1979. Each quarter for 28 years, 90.000 Southern Baptist Sunday School teachers used his 100 commentaries to prepare weekly Bible studies; he was the Baptist Sunday School Board’s most prolific writer. He wrote at least 147 books and Bible commentaries. He served as trustee of several SBC agencies and was SBC president from 1961-63. He served as pastor of several churches, including First Baptist Church, Oklahoma City, from 1949-72. Gene Garrison, his successor at First Baptist Church, Oklahoma City, spoke of Hobbs as one of the “great men of the Christian Faith.”

         Herschel Hobbs was a Mason in good standing for 33 years. He was initiated into Siloam Lodge No. 276 in Oklahoma City in February 1961, passed to the degree of Fellow Craft in May 1961 and raised a Master Mason on 02 January 1962 at the age of 54, which was during his first term as president of the Southern Baptist Convention. Hobbs took his Scottish Rite degrees in January 1966, which was during the years he preached on the Baptist Hour and while he pastored the First Baptist Church in Oklahoma City.

(Source: Gary Leazer, CIS Masonic Report  Feb. 2006)

Did You Know?

Are the Tracing Board and the Trestle Board Masonically the same?

         No. The tracing-board bears upon it representations of the several symbols of one or all the degrees; the trestle board is that drawing board, supported upon a trestle, on which, anciently, the Master Builder drew his designs. In early lodges Masonic symbols were drawn upon the earth or floor with charcoal or chalk; these were erased when the meeting was over. Later, such symbols were presented upon a permanent surface and became the Master’s Carpet, and today in many lodges are to be seen upon oil cloth or canvas, pointed out by a Deacon during the delivery of the lecture. Trestle board appeared at least two hundred years ago, mentioned in Prichard’s Masonry Dissected, early expose of Masonic ritual. Mackey considers that the Volume of the Sacred Law is the trestle board of modern Masons.

(Source: MSA Digest 101 Questions About Freemasonry)

 Education as the Key to Tolerance

   Traditionally, throughout its long history, symbolic and philosophical Freemasonry has taken a leading role in the promotion of learning and education. From its early beginnings, in the 17th and 18th centuries in England and Scotland, Masons were among the founders of learned academies, such as the Royal Society. Numberless Masons have been active in education at every level from grammar school through university.

   Freemasons have been leading educators in Latin America and many other countries. To give just one example, Domingo Faustino Sarmiento, who was a leading Argentinean educational reformer, and later President of his country, was also an active Mason who became Sovereign Grand Commander of the Supreme Council of the Scottish Rite in Argentina. All his writings and actions are infused with Masonic philosophy.

   In Chile, Mexico and elsewhere, Masonry has played a vital role in introducing non-sectarian, universal and free education at the elementary and secondary school levels. In Chile, numerous individual Lodges have organized and managed dozens of private schools that provide high-quality free education to the poor.

   An interesting development in the past century has been the appearance of Masonic-supported universities, such as the Free University of Brussels, and the recently-founded La Republica University in Santiago, Chile, created and run by Freemasons. Its name comes from Club de la Republica, as the Grand Lodge of Chile headquarters are known. Other Masonic-sponsored universities have been founded or are in the process of being established in various other countries. In the United States, I can mention Girard College, founded by Bro. Stephen Girard, and Hamilton College, founded by Bro. Samuel Kirkland. I’m sure there are others.

   An educated man learns to appreciate the wide range of opinions on any subject. Freemasonry, in addition, allows men of many different professions and backgrounds to meet together in a spirit of cooperation and understanding.

   This brings me to the issue of education within the Lodge. All our wonderful principles and ideals are worthless, unless they are actually inculcated in the minds of each Mason. Why are our fundamental principles designated as landmarks? Because they are signposts, they point the way, they are not constraining walls, not anchors, but compasses. Freemasonry is not restricted to what goes on within the Lodge room. It has to become a way of life in order for the Initiate to become a true and full-fledged Mason.

(Source: Masonic Symbols and Signposts – by: Leon Zeldis – Pg. 163-64)

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