Saturday, September 30, 2006

An Open Letter To Dr. John Ankerberg, Dr. John Weldon

Dear Sirs,

To introduce myself, I am Corky from Pine Island, Texas. I am 78 years old. Baptized in the University Baptist Church in Houston in 1944. Some years later became a Mason, joined the Scottish Rite and the Shrine and have never found a conflict between Christianity and Masonry.

I am sorry, but I can not agree with you. I would however, like to make a couple of points. One of the things I love about our Bible(the King James Translation) is that it reveals the truth about all things.

One of the truths I love best is found in the book of Luke,

(Luke 6:37) Judge not, and ye shall not be judged: condemn not, and ye shall not be condemned: forgive, and ye shall be forgiven:

Some people would think that it is saying that if you condemn Masonry you will be condemned. And, maybe even that if you forgive Masons for what you see as sin, you will be also be forgiven.

Mark also left a message anti-Masons should heed;

(Mar 12:31) And the second is like, namely this, Thou shalt love thy neighbor as thyself. There is none other commandment greater than these.

And then Paul added another line to it;
(Gal 5:15) But if ye bite and devour one another, take heed that ye be not consumed one of another.

That seems that Christ is saying that we should all get along with each other. It didn't even say,
Thou shalt love Baptists or Christians only. It said, love thy neighbor.

But that must not be right, because that is the same thing Masonry teaches.

Then there is the statement in your article, "If you are a Christian, when the Lodge teaches a man that by his good life and by his good deeds God will admit him into heaven, is't that contrary to biblical teaching?" Actually, Masonry teaches that men will be judged by their works.

But then in our Bible, Jesus says in Revalations,

(Rev 22:12) And, behold, I come quickly; and my reward is with me, to give every man according as his work shall be.

Now that really sounded like Jesus said men will be rewarded in heaven according to their works.

Then there is the Mason's bible, that you and other anti-Masons love to quote from, Albert Pike's "Morals And Dogma." I have been a Blue Lodge Mason for many years and a Scottish Rite Mason and a Shriner. I am a Past Master and a Lodge Treasurer and have been Secretary, Warden and Deacon of more then one Lodge, but I have never seen a copy, or even heard a word quoted from "Morals and Dogma" in my life in a Masonic Lodge. In fact, I had never even heard of "Morals and Dogma" until I read about it on an anti-Masonic web site.

I guess that is another failing of Masonry, we don't even teach from the "Masonic Bible".

Sunday, September 24, 2006

Why Not, The Knights Templar?

Since no living person, really knows the true beginnings of Freemasonry, it's hard to understand why so many Masonic historians can not see the evidence pointing toward Freemasonry being a direct descendant of the Knights Templar? Of course, Masonry teaches every Brother to think for himself. After all, a historian is only one man with an opinion just like the rest of us. Maybe more educated, but then Education is only a tool. Owning a saw does not make a man a cabinet maker, nor does having an extensive education make a man's opinion infallible.

The following are some of the pieces of evidence that all Masons should consider when thinking about Masonry's beginnings.

On Friday the thirteenth of October 1307, Jaques de Molay Grand Master of the Templars, and sixty of his senior knights were arrested in Paris. At the same time many thousands of other Templars were arrested all over France. A few escaped arrest and simply fled the country.

Immediately after the first arrests the King sent agents to take possession of the Templar treasury. The great treasure (which was the objective of outlawing and arresting the Templars) had vanished without trace, as had almost the entire Templar fleet. French Masonic ritual indicates that Scotland was designated as the place of refuge or safe keeping for the Templar treasures.

In 1312, after the Council of Vienne, and under extreme pressure from King Philip IV, Pope Clement V issued an edict officially dissolving and outlawing the Knights Templar Order. Under threat of excommunication, the edict ordered every country's ruler to seize all Templar property for the Catholic Church and execute the Templars.

Most of the kings and nobles who had supported the Knights up until that time, finally gave in to the Pope’s orders and dissolved the order. However, most of them were not as brutal as the French. In England many Knights were arrested and tried, but not found guilty. The Templars found a relative safe haven in Scotland, since Robert the Bruce, the King of Scots, had already been excommunicated for other reasons, and couldn’t care less about the Papal commands.

Fast forward a hundred years to the Rosslyn Chapel in Scotland. Rosslyn Chapel was built by Sir William St Clair Last St Clair Earl of Orkney to house artifacts brought by the Knights Templar to Scotland in 1126. He was a direct descent of William de St Clair, the Last Templar Grand Master of Scotland Between 1118 and 1128. The Templars had excavated the ruins of Herod's Temple in Jerusalem and brought back artifacts.

This was proven in 1860 when the British Army Engineers mounted an expedition to Jerusalem. They excavated beneath Temple Mount and found many deep tunnels in which they also found and recorded Templar artifacts.

The layout of Rosslyn Chapel near Edinburgh Scotland, which was started in 1440, is an exact replica of the ground plan of the Third Temple, built in Jerusalem by Herod and destroyed in the First Century by the Romans. A statue in the Rosslyn Chapel that was carved at the time the Chapel was being built shows a man kneeling between two pillars. He is blindfolded and has a running noose about his neck. His feet are in a strange and unnatural posture and in his left hand he holds a bible. The end of the rope about his neck is held by another man who is wearing the mantle of a Knight Templar. This was two hundred and seventy years before the claimed founding of the Craft in England.

Degrees in the Ancient and Accepted Scottish Rite such as the Knight of Saint Andrew, the Knight of Rose-Croix, and the 32nd Degree in Consistory make reference to a "Masonic Knights Templar" connection.

A few more thoughts;

Why did the Templars completely disappear during the 1100's when they were in no danger in Scotland?

Why did Masonic Lodges develop in Scotland and England and spread to the aristocracy in Europe instead of working up from the stonemasons? There were many times more Cathedrals being built in France, Spain, Portugal, and Germany and many times more stone masons in Europe.

You can understand how the Knights Templar may have required blood oaths from it’s members, after 1307, to prevent revealing any information about the order, because they had been outlawed, on the pain of death throughout the Christian world by the Catholic Church, except in Scotland. But, why would stone masons require blood oaths from workmen to protect the secrets of building a church?

Why is the Masonic youth organization for young men, the Order of DeMolay, named after the last Grand Master of the Templar order, Templar Jacques de Molay who was executed?

Why is the Masonic Knights Templar, one of the largest philanthropic organizations in the United States, and the largest Templar order in the world? The Order's efforts include the "Knights Templar Eye Foundation", and the "Knights Templar Holy Land Pilgrimage".

Why is the Knights Templar the final order joined in the York Rite Masons. (Unlike other Masonic bodies which only require a belief in a Supreme Being regardless of religion, membership in Knights Templar is open only to Master Masons who promise to defend the Christian faith, as did the original Knights Templar founded in the 12th Century.)

Actually, some historians have make the connection between the Knights Templar and Masonry, such as John Robinson in Born in Blood and Dr. Robert Lomas in The Origins of Freemasonry.

Wednesday, September 20, 2006

The ‘NO CHICKEN’ Bar-B-Que Chicken Sale

Waller Lodge held a new type of fund raiser this past August, a “NO CHICKEN” bar-b-que chicken fund raiser.

What is a no chicken sale, you may ask? During the August stated meeting, one of the Brothers made the suggestion that we should hold a fundraiser to raise cash for a small local project. Of course being small town Texans what could be more Masonic then a bar-b-que chicken sale.

After some discussion, it was decided that the price of chickens has increased so much since the last sale, our profits would pretty small. It was also brought up that many of the Brothers are getting older and the August temperature here would be in the 100’s.

One of the Brothers stood up and said he would rather just donate $20.00 to the project then try to bar-b-que and sell the hot chicken halves in our summer heat. Almost every one of the members present agreed that it was an excellent idea for a summer fund raiser and the "No-Chicken Sale" was born.

It was decided to extend the program through the September stated meeting, so that every member not there for the August meeting could have a chance to participate in helping our Lodge. A notice about the, "No Chicken Sale", was also included in the September newsletter.

We probably took in about as much as the profit we would have made in a past bar-b-sale sale without an upfront financial outlay and it all took place in the air conditioned Lodge Room.

This may not work so well for our northern Brothers in the summer, but I but it would work well in January.

Friday, September 15, 2006

Small Town Texas Masons,There Really Is A Difference

Families come first in our group of Small Town Texas Masons. In 1998, after living in the Humble area of north Houston for 42 years, we moved to the little community of Pine Islan d. It's 45 miles west of Houston, between Waller and Hempstead. At the time I was a member of two large city Lodges in the Houston area, but had lost interest in the Lodge and hadn't attended meetings at either Lodge for a few years.

After living in Pine Island for awhile a cousin invited me to visit Waller Masonic Lodge #808 AF & AM, 5 miles east of Pine Island, and Hempstead Masonic Lodge #749 AF & AM, 5 miles to the west. After visiting both Lodges a few times, I demitted from the two large city Lodges and joined the 2 local Lodges.

The main thing that attracted me to the small town Lodges was the family social hour and dinner before each stated meeting. On stated meeting nights at both Lodges, Brothers, with wives and children, join together for dinner from 6:30 PM to 7:30 PM. In all my years as a member of the “large city” Lodges, I don't remember ever seeing a wife or child in the building on a regular stated meeting night.

We feel the small town Lodge family hours have a very positive effect on families. It gives the ladies the feeling that Lodge night isn't just an excuse for husbands to get away from the wives and children for one night. The Lodges pay for the groceries that the Stewards use to prepare the dinners. Donations to the kitty jar usually come within 15 or 20 dollars of the expenditure, if they don't cover it, and the ladies bring deserts. At 7:30 PM when the brothers assemble in the Lodge room for the Lodge meeting, wives either double up to get a ride home or wait around in the dining room playing cards or dominos until the meeting is over. We feel that the cost to the Lodges are very small compared to the benefits of having our wives socialize and get to know our other Brothers and their wives, they also enjoy some good home cooking without having to cook supper and clean up afterward. Most actually look forward to Lodge night here rather then complain about being left at home alone.

I never miss Lodge meetings anymore and best of all, I regained my interest in the Lodge. I am currently the Treasurer and Junior Past Master of Waller Lodge and served as Secretary 6 years for Hempstead Lodge. I also write the newsletter for Waller Lodge and the Masters, Wardens & Secretaries Association and maintain web sites for the Association and both Lodges plus another Masonic web site of my own. But, even more important, is knowing our brothers wives and children and having our having our wives know them and their families. We have developed a much stronger sense of brotherhood then we ever experienced as members of the larger large city Lodges.

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