April 30, 2008

King Solomon and His Followers — A Valuable Aid to the Memory

A few years ago, a then-girlfriend gifted me this genuine Masonic handbook, printed in 1920, as a Christmas present. (I wish everyone had such a good understanding of my tastes.) The entirety of the manual is written in nigh-impenetrable code and shorthand, save passages like that in the middle of the left-hand page, quoting from Genesis.

From what I’ve read, Freemasons technically are disallowed from using printed guides like these, for the exact reason of dissemination by persons like myself. Seeing as it was published prior to 1923, it’s all public domain under U.S. copyright law anyhow. But even so, leafing through something so painstakingly shrouded in secrecy is still mildly creepy.

comments

  1. Sheila Ryan on April 30th, 2008 at 10:34 am

    A friend’s father owned a one-volume encyclopedia of Freemasonry, a compendium not of secret lore but simply of Masonic history written by Masons for Masons. Still, there was an aura of taboo about that book, and when we were eight or so years old, my friend and I liked to page through it surreptitiously and frighten ourselves out of all proportion in response to perfectly benign illustrations of people and places.

  2. Nathan Harrison on April 30th, 2008 at 11:06 am

    This Walken is one of mine — I treasure this little curio so much because I suppose someone probably put it to practical use, which fuels the imagination. And I wish that somewhere it bore the mark of its former owner, but I’d guess even Masons who stoop to picking up the Cliff’s Notes have the good sense not to put a “This Book Belongs To:” plate inside the front cover.

  3. Sheila Ryan on April 30th, 2008 at 12:09 pm

    Maybe the former owner wrote marginalia in disappearing ink.

  4. AzraelBrown on April 30th, 2008 at 1:26 pm

    I own a similar book — old Masonic books were often written in “pseudocode” to sustain the aura of mysticism. Your book above looks like a lot of the ‘keys’ — there’s not a direct one-to-one for characters; one or more may translate to a word (often it’s the first letter of the word or ‘looks’ like the word) , but the word is often only gained through context and different codes for the same words in different sentences — meaning you already need to have a good idea of what the phrase is before you can read it. OMG LOL those wacky freemasons :) ! I’m impressed with your book’s use of non-characters; the typesetter must have been a master.

  5. Robert Herzog on April 30th, 2008 at 1:33 pm

    Wonderful little volume. I am a mason and my father gave me his “code books” for all three degrees and I love them. The idea is that the “code” are actually prompts for material that is meant to be memorized “mouth to ear”. It’s not so much that its super secret stuff, its helping to enforce the oral tradition in masonry as well as the old fashioned art of memorization and oratory. Anyway even the “real” secret stuff isn’t written in code it is represented by blanks “______”.

  6. Nathan Harrison on April 30th, 2008 at 2:18 pm

    You’re right — “code” is a definite misnomer here; it’s shorthand through and through. Exceptionally complicated, befuddling (to the uninitiated) shorthand, but that label still fits better than “code”.

  7. A.C. on April 30th, 2008 at 2:57 pm

    I have the 21st century equivalent from the Grand Lodge of Massachusetts sitting here on my desk. Once you start actually looking into what the Masons are all about, all the secret decoder ring stuff ceases to be sinister/creepy, (but no less time-honored/vaguely mystical. :) )

  8. Lee Martin on April 30th, 2008 at 3:55 pm

    It looks a lot like the “Ecce Orienti” cipher books published by Redding in the late 19th-early 20th century. Some grand lodges allowed them, others did not. (Although GL of Pennsylvania forbade these books, they sold like hotcakes, anyway.)

    The last time I saw one of those, it had regular text at the front about some nonsense ritual to make it look non-masonic.

    Nice gift!

  9. Sheila Ryan on April 30th, 2008 at 6:12 pm

    What a great thread this has turned out to be.

  10. Andrew Simone on April 30th, 2008 at 6:24 pm

    Tell me about it, Sheila.

  11. haggis basher on April 30th, 2008 at 11:54 pm

    What are Free Mason’s all about?

    Well, I could tell you but its a secret!

  12. Jim Heathman on June 10th, 2008 at 12:08 pm

    Thank you all. Got here by Googling because I just wanted to know what I have, and now I know. Mine is a 1943 copy with copyright dates on the following page of 1907 by J. A Gavitt and 1913, 1914, and 1942 by Allen Publishing Co. I am not a Mason, but I was a DeMolay. Now, what do I do with this thing?

  13. WTT on June 12th, 2008 at 5:45 pm

    Allo –

    What great stories have been posted herein…!

    Having translated bits and pieces of my own copy, I can say that the “cypher” is actually a fairly simple combination of word abbreviations and symbol-for-letter substitutions. Once you have the hang of the thing, you can read it at a pretty fair clip. Although your comprehension will be vastly aided by knowing certain common Freemasonry concepts and words, this is certainly not necessary. One has to admire the dedication of the cypher master, here–it’s surprisingly uniform, for such a relatively long work. The use of symbols that resemble letters, however, is surprisingly simpleminded. (Once you understand this, you’re halfway there, already.)

    By the way–these volumes are not universally “illlegal” for brethren to own. This is rather interesting:
    http://bessel.org/writrits.htm
    Also–keep in mind that most of this stuff is merely mundane order-of-business stuff, rather than timeless prose and high ritual. Imagine Robert’s Rules of Order crossed with the Rituale Romanum, you’ll not be too far off….

    Regards,

    WTT

  14. Richard on August 16th, 2008 at 2:49 pm

    These books are meant to help keep the rituals true and exact. The reader knows the text by memorization from mouth to ear. The printed text serves a a reminder in case of memory lapse so that the rituals never change over time. Without having gone through the ritual you would nveer figure out this entire book. it takes recognition of words you have already heard as much as knowing how to cipher the code. If you are that interested why not petition a local lodge and find out the entire thing? I have one and can read every word!!

  15. CTJDCR on September 9th, 2008 at 1:05 am

    These ritual books vary by jurisdiction. I’m curious as to what state or jurisdiction W.D. refers to?

  16. CMGJS on September 29th, 2008 at 8:17 pm

    Not so much secret code, merely a prompt (highly effective one at that). Some ritual books will only create a prompt for the important phrases and words. The idea is that the candidate or speaker will actually learn and understand what is being said. In this day and age of instant gratification this isn’t always such a popular concept.

  17. Beverly on December 4th, 2008 at 9:51 pm

    I found this thread while looking up info on this little book I have. “Ecce
    Orienti” National Series, Ninth Edition 1894. The cover and back are separated but with the book.

    Anyone interested in it can email me at pumpkincake@sbcglobal.net

    Thanks

  18. Frank H. Blair on January 26th, 2009 at 1:28 pm

    While sorting through some old books in our family estate, we found an 1899 copy of “Ecce Orienti”. I can remember my father memorizing passages in a book during WW2 when he was working his way up through the various stages of the Scottish Rite lodge on the Panama Canal Zone. I to am curious about the interesting prompts in the volume, particularly those comments by WTT.

  19. Russell on February 8th, 2009 at 8:21 am

    I also have an edition of ” KING SOLOMON ND HIS FOLLOWERS IOWA…….
    would love to be able to read it. Can anyone help ?

  20. Coob on February 16th, 2009 at 8:05 pm

    I, too, have a copy of King Solomon and his Followers, Iowa.
    Copyright 1898 C. Gavitt, 1915, 1951 by Allen Publishing Co.
    Small book – about 6 x 4″. Mine is blue, snap-close, with a tiny rose embroidered in the top middle. Page edges are a light red, almost pink…
    I’ve started deciphering it on my own. You, friends, are right – word abbreviations and symbol substitutions are the rote of this pseudocode.
    The symbols, typeface and letter-stuttering in my copy are exactly the same
    as in the book pictured above, and I’m presuming it, too, is by Allen Publishing Co.
    It is the rituals/ceremonies for giving the first three blue degrees of Entered Apprentice, Fellow Craft, and Master Mason, as well as lectures and narrative on various other things Masonry thinks virtuous.
    Some paragraphs in my copy are plain English, smaller typeface.

    Russel, since both of our copies are Iowan, maybe we could compare,
    or I might be able to help you with some translation.
    belacobros@yahoo.com
    I have about 25% figured out so far (keep putting it down for other projects!).

    Thanks for the info, everybody!
    Glad I found this place.

  21. john on February 21st, 2009 at 5:06 pm

    yes i have the same book, my grandpa was a mason and he left it after he died. i cant find the symbols anywhere on the enternet its like a secret font they have. its nothing a keyboard can type so it must be a type writer the only thing on it from a key board could be @ % stuff like that but ive been trying to decode it and nothing is helping. perhaps we could work together someway to decode it

  22. brian on March 4th, 2009 at 9:13 pm

    As Richard points out above, the easiest way to decode the cipher (misnomer, I know) would be to contact your local Lodge and meet with one of us to talk about what we do (I had my 1st meeting in a bar; we’re hardly all that formal anymore!). Most state Grand Lodges have a Lodge Locator on their main website. Whether or not you should want to petition for membership, I can guarantee you an interesting conversation.
    Bro. B. Etchieson
    L.E.O.
    Montgomery Lodge #258, A.F. & A.M.
    St. Paul, MN

  23. Wendy Stringer on December 23rd, 2009 at 8:06 am

    I picked this little book up at an antique store last week while looking for some old books. My grandfather in law is a mason and so are some of our friends. I have a question about the stamp in this book. My husband said his grandfather has one like it but I have never seen it. But this one has been well used and and even has the stress marks of being held and used a lot. There is a stamp in the front which may just be on all of them but I dont know. The stamp is deep purple on the first page. It says
    “Huelen” Lodge.
    A.’.F.’. & A.’.M.’.
    CASILLA 3776
    SANTIAGO
    (these characters after the letters are actually a triangle of dots I cant reproduce on this keyboard) Its identical to the one above and copywright is 1910 by J.A. Gavitt / Allen Publishing 1936
    Anyone have any idea? Thank you
    Wendy

  24. Pat Rice on February 19th, 2010 at 11:53 am

    I have found “Ecce Orienti” National series 8 by Redding & CO. It is in great shape.
    This was in my fathers things, along with ab apron with his name and dates from 1944. I had no idea he was part of the order of Masons. Now I am extremely curious what all the code means.

  25. T. Rye on February 19th, 2010 at 3:27 pm

    This is such an interesting and entertaining thread. The simple fact of the matter is- if you were meant to be able to read it, YOU WOULD be able to!
    I’m sure that some of the intellectuals out there have been able to pick-out a number of words and sentences, but the simple fact remains- the only ones who can TRULY translate this text are those who have undergone Masonic ritual and dedicated the hundreds of neccesary hours to the memorization of Masonic Oratory.
    Personally, I can read this book as fluently and fluidly as I could any newspaper of restraunt menu! But that is because I have the necessary frame of reference.
    I advise all those who are curious to petition a Lodge for membership. Only then will you ever be equipped to have a meaninfull understanding of these “codes”
    - a Texas Brother

  26. Coob on February 20th, 2010 at 7:22 pm

    @T. Rye – I’m sure you can read Masonic codes fluently, but how deep down the never-ending rabbit hole of levels of interpretation have you been allowed to fall?

  27. T.Rye on February 20th, 2010 at 8:20 pm

    @Coob-

    You are missing the point, my friend. Even though I CAN read the prompting language in the code boook, the point is- I don’t have to! And the reason that I don’t have to is because I have it memorized. And I memorized it NOT by reading a code book, but by participating in the age-old tradition of esoteric oratory (the committing of un-written words to memory) as all worthy Brothers have done before me. The code book is viewed as “clandestine” by ALL Masonic jurisdictions, and is almost exclusively NOT used by the serious practitioner of Freemasonry.
    Concerning your “rabbit-hole” analogy, I assume you are refering to the ridiculous urban ledgend which suggests that Freemasons are involved in sinister activities that include taking over the government, controlling politics, creating a uniform race, etc. I have been a Mason for a good portion of my life. I have been involved with every single appendant organization in existance, and have achieved EVERY possible level of membership possible. That being the case, I can safely say- NO SUCH secret hierarchy exists!
    Masonry, Sir, is NOT a cult, nor religion, and not even a “secret society.” We are a Fraternity. And like any fraternity, the specifics of our rites, rituals, philosophies, and teachings are privledged to members. If these tenets were made known to the public, they would thus become meaningless. That is why they are they are safeguarded, NOT because we intend to “use” them against our fellow man.
    Please know that I am NOT trying to be combative. But i am ademant about defending my fraternity from attacks by the ill-informed and the conpiracy theorists. Our only objective in this world is to improve ourselves as human beings. To profess our belief in a benevolent God (be it Jehova, Allah, Budda- we embrace ALL faiths, so long as it IS a faith). We strive to serve and protect ALL our fellow human beings by the means of charity and good will, and intend NO harm or evil toward this world we so dearly love!

  28. Michael Grant Smith on February 20th, 2010 at 9:34 pm

    clusterfreemasonry.

  29. M∴M∴ on February 21st, 2010 at 7:09 am

    @T.Rye
    My grandfathers are both serious practitioners of Freemasonry, and both still have ritual books. They’re also both 33° in the Scottish Rite, and whatever the highest degree is in the York Rite.
    Are you 100° in the Memphis and Misraim Rite? That’s the highest degree in Freemasonry.

  30. M∴M∴ on February 21st, 2010 at 7:19 am

    I forgot to mention that I can read all of those ciphers. I’m a girl, but know all the rituals. How did that happen? I used to “borrow” the books, decode what I could, and then fill in the blanks from old “exposé” books!
    :)

  31. T.Rye on February 21st, 2010 at 11:49 am

    @MM
    No offense is meant to your Grandfathers (or anyone who chooses to rely on a codebook). Im only saying that I (as well as most dedicated Brothers) choose to rely on memory and esoteric skills, rather than use the books as a crutch. I am not at all suprised that you are able to decode these writings, since you have admittedly used “expose” literature to help you understand what you are trying to decode. As I (and others) have previously stated, the codes serve as a series of prompts to remind you of information that you’ve previously been exposed to. Anyone with reasonable intelligence and some form of exposure to the rituals of Freemasonry will no doubt be able to understand most (if not all) of these symbols.
    So, Congratulations M’am! You’ve cracked our “scarey, super-secret codes!” But what kind of spirtual and emotional growth have you received from your new-found knowledge? My guess is- Very little.

    In reference to your comments about Memphis and Mizraim Rite: I acknowledge the existence of this obscure and pseudo-form of Masonic ritual. I have no problem with any person who wishes to adopt and embrace this system of the craft as their own. But this is what you need to understand: The American system of Freemasonry is comprised of State Grand Lodges which are sovereign unto themselves (i.e. as a Texas Mason, I answer to NO higher authority than the Grand Lodge of Texas).

    Each Grand Lodge recognizes the Master Mason or 3rd Degree as the highest and most sublime degree in Ancient Free and Accepted Masonry (A.F. & A.M.). Each Grand Lodge recognizes a certain number of “Appendant Bodies” which are legitimate and authentic Masonic organizations. These include: The Scottish Rite, The York Rite, The Shrine, Order of the Eastern Star, Order of DeMolay, Job’s Daughters, etc. While these bodies DO have their own structure and degree system (i.e. 33rd degree, Illustrious Master, Potentate, etc), there is NO higher degree or honor in the order than that of the Master Mason! Furthermore, every Grand Lodge recognizes a number of “clandestine” or “irregular forms of Masonry, to which your Ancient and Primative Rite of Memphis & Mizraim most certainly belongs. Others include: Prince Hall Masonry, The Hermetic Order of the Golden Dawn, Ordo Templi Orientis, and many others. Many of these pseudo-masonic organizations were formed by disgruntled or ex-communicated Freemasons (such as Allister Crowley and Theodor Reuss) . Such is the case with the Rite of Memphis & Mizraim, which has its roots in Italy, France, and Egypt in the early 19th century.

    As I said, I have NO grievance toward those who wish to embrace the teachings and seek affiliation with these organizations. But as a practitioner of the TRUE craft of AF & AM, I view these organizations as bogus, irregular, and of no consequence to my status as a Master Mason of the Most Worshipful Grand Lodge of Texas.

  32. Deron Bauman on February 21st, 2010 at 11:54 am

    I’m the best. That’s all there is to it. All the rest of y’all can go fuck yourselves.

  33. T.Rye on February 21st, 2010 at 11:58 am

    @Bauman-

    What a profound and intelligent response. Bravo, sir!

  34. Deron Bauman on February 21st, 2010 at 11:59 am

    thank you.

  35. Michael Grant Smith on February 21st, 2010 at 2:37 pm

    Clubs are about exclusion, not inclusion.

  36. Derek White on February 21st, 2010 at 9:56 pm

    whoa, i got to get a hold of one of these. Though those masons freak me out. Not that it needs to be deciphered you can always make up your own interpretation.

    I just finished a long post about some other coded texts and the like– Dead Sea Scrolls, the CODEX SERAPHINIANUS, Mirtha Dermisache & our friend Faruk Ulay, etc. Here’s the link if you’re into these sorts of things [that i'm sure will be nixed but i don't know how to do that without going into the interface]:
    http://5cense.com/10/clam_parade.htm

  37. M∴M∴ on February 21st, 2010 at 11:06 pm

    @T.Rye

    No offense is intended, here, in my rebuttal!

    “No offense is meant to your Grandfathers (or anyone who chooses to rely on a codebook). Im only saying that I (as well as most dedicated Brothers) choose to rely on memory and esoteric skills, rather than use the books as a crutch.”

    I don’t think that any offense could be taken by two gentlemen who have been in the Craft for 50 years each, to anything anyone says, especially when that person is so mistaken about certain things. What’s your definition of “most dedicated”? They’re both Past Masters, multiple times, of multiple lodges, and both served in the state Grand Lodge as officers. You’re a Past Master as well, I presume, from your authoritative responses. By the way, what are “esoteric skills”? The information is esoteric, but what else is required to learn ritual, other than endless repetition and good memory? I was told that most lodges in most states use ritual books for training. Texas lodges don’t, though?

    “I am not at all suprised that you are able to decode these writings, since you have admittedly used “expose” literature to help you understand what you are trying to decode. As I (and others) have previously stated, the codes serve as a series of prompts to remind you of information that you’ve previously been exposed to.”

    I’m well aware of how the books are used. (I also used historical Freemasonry documents to figure things out, but that’s a different issue.) You use the term “codebook.” These are cipher books. They don’t use codes, they use ciphers. By the way, I never admitted to using “exposé” literature to help understand what I had deciphered. I only used those to help decipher them. I actually used original esoteric source materials to help understand the rituals.

    “So, Congratulations M’am! You’ve cracked our “scarey, super-secret codes!” But what kind of spirtual and emotional growth have you received from your new-found knowledge? My guess is- Very little.”

    Mademoiselle, s’il vous plaît. Like I said, they’re not codes. I didn’t find anything about the rituals or the secret parts at all frightening. I’ve had my “newfound knowledge” of Freemasonry for more than a decade. When I compare and contrast it to a lot of other writings of initiatic orders of the Western esoteric tradition and the Occult Revival Period, I’ve got to say that most of it is very derivative and watered down.

    The only truly novel parts are the Solomonic legend (which probably dates no earlier than the 18th century) and the links to European operative craft guilds. Other than that, Freemasonry borrowed a lot from the Rosicrucian documents of the 17th century, mystery schools, and mystical literature of the Medieval Period and the Enlightenment. The source texts which all of the Freemasonic writers allude to offer much more “spiritual and emotional growth” than anything that remains in Freemasonry.

    “In reference to your comments about Memphis and Mizraim Rite: I acknowledge the existence of this obscure and pseudo-form of Masonic ritual. I have no problem with any person who wishes to adopt and embrace this system of the craft as their own. But this is what you need to understand: The American system of Freemasonry is comprised of State Grand Lodges which are sovereign unto themselves (i.e. as a Texas Mason, I answer to NO higher authority than the Grand Lodge of Texas).”

    The Ancient and Primitive Rite of Memphis-Misraim Rite has its origins in the Rite of Narbonne, which was started in 1725, I think. This tradition broke ties with the United Grand Lodge of England before 1800, and by 1889 took its present form. So even if you want to factor in the irregularity with the Grand Lodge of England, its traditional lineage still predates the Grand Lodge of Louisiana’s 1837 charter of the Grand Lodge of Texas. How much do you know about the Memphis-Misraim rituals? They’re hardly obscure, and the Rite is hardly a false form of Freemasonry. It has lots more classical esoteric content than any of the UGLE or American rituals. It even goes deeper and further into the past of stonemason’s guilds than the Solomonic legend, if you want to go into that area. Plus, it doesn’t discriminate against women, or separate them into other “appendant” orders. How hypocritical is it for some speculative Freemasons to talk about how the Craft “makes men better,” but then deny regular membership to women? Is that because it wouldn’t make women better, too? Hmph!

    “Each Grand Lodge recognizes the Master Mason or 3rd Degree as the highest and most sublime degree in Ancient Free and Accepted Masonry (A.F. & A.M.). Each Grand Lodge recognizes a certain number of “Appendant Bodies” which are legitimate and authentic Masonic organizations. These include: The Scottish Rite, The York Rite, The Shrine, Order of the Eastern Star, Order of DeMolay, Job’s Daughters, etc. While these bodies DO have their own structure and degree system (i.e. 33rd degree, Illustrious Master, Potentate, etc), there is NO higher degree or honor in the order than that of the Master Mason! Furthermore, every Grand Lodge recognizes a number of “clandestine” or “irregular forms of Masonry, to which your Ancient and Primative Rite of Memphis & Mizraim most certainly belongs. Others include: Prince Hall Masonry, The Hermetic Order of the Golden Dawn, Ordo Templi Orientis, and many others. Many of these pseudo-masonic organizations were formed by disgruntled or ex-communicated Freemasons (such as Allister Crowley and Theodor Reuss) . Such is the case with the Rite of Memphis & Mizraim, which has its roots in Italy, France, and Egypt in the early 19th century.”

    Your knowledge of Freemasonry history contains some flaws. The Golden Dawn had aspects of Freemasonry, but that wasn’t the focus, and its founders were hardly “disgruntled of ex-communicated Freemasons.” The same goes for the O∴T∴O∴. Aleister Crowley’s claim to the first three degrees is highly questionable, discounted by many writers, and calls into question whether he was really even eligible to receive the later degrees. Like I mentioned, the modern origins of Memphis Misraim were in the 1720s, within a few years of the modern origins of the United GLE origins in 1717. Are you sure that the Grand Lodge of Texas A∴F∴ & A∴M∴ doesn’t recognize the Most Worshipful Prince Hall Grand Lodge of Texas as being regular? Are these wrong, then?
    http://bessel.org/masrec/phamap.htm
    http://www.mwphglotx.org/compact.htm

    Also, about nothing being higher than the third degree, I guess that’s true as far as it goes, but why would any Grand Lodge stand for the Scottish Rite and the York Rite talking about how their degrees round out or complete a man’s masonic education, and associate a higher number degree to the ritual and information, if there was not a higher rank implied? I’m not suggest any disinformation conspiracies, mind you, I’m just saying that European tradition specifically, for example, doesn’t make this claim. I think it has to do with American and English Freemasonry losing their interest or understanding of Freemasonry’s roots. That fits right in with how a lot of Freemasons have little interest or understanding of the Western esoteric tradition.

    “As I said, I have NO grievance toward those who wish to embrace the teachings and seek affiliation with these organizations. But as a practitioner of the TRUE craft of AF & AM, I view these organizations as bogus, irregular, and of no consequence to my status as a Master Mason of the Most Worshipful Grand Lodge of Texas.”

    I had no idea that the Grand Lodge of Texas (or any body in) had a monopoly on any “true” Craft of Freemasonry! I doubt that many rites would lose much sleep over not being considered regular with a Grand Lodge whose charter dates back only to 1837. It’s exactly like Christian sects arguing over legitimacy. Eventually, whoever is still around in two hundred years will rewrite history to legitimize his own Rite.

    :)

  38. Cindy Scroggins on February 22nd, 2010 at 10:08 am

    Did I ever tell y’all about my stint as a mason?

  39. T.Rye on February 22nd, 2010 at 1:05 pm

    @MM-

    No offense taken! The practice of scholarly research is, by nature, one of spirited debate and speculation (of which you and I have NO deficiency!)
    You couldn’t be MORE correct when you say “It’s exactly like Christian sects arguing over legitimacy…”. The true origins of ANYTHING are speculative at best.
    Allow me to clarify the following:
    I do not profess to believe that my Grand Lodge of Texas (or that of any other US state) holds any form of “Monopoly” on Freemasonry, as you stated.
    I was simply outlining and clarifying that in the US, we recognize organizational authority on a state-wide basis, not a national one (as is done in other countries). All Grand Lodges in the US recognize each other as “regular” and “legitimate” and enjoy full reciprocity with each other.
    At present, the GLT does not recognize any Prince Hall Lodges as being legitimate forms of the Craft, which I believe to be unfortunate. There is a remarkable story behind the origins of Prince Hall Masonry which is very significant to the overall history of our country. It has come to my attention that while Prince Hall Organizations generally prefer to remain separately distinguished, there is an effort underway to establish mutual recognition of authenticity with US Grand Lodges similar to the recognition PH Lodges have with the UGLE. Personally, I would be much in favor of this.

    Now, let’s be adults here. I have in NO way attacked the quality of your knowledge of Masonic history (which I believe to be commendable), so I’d appreciate the same courtesy from you. I am fully aware of the origins of the O.G.D., and yes, there are multiple examples of members and founders who were either former Freemasons or petitioners who were denied initiation.

    You are correct in that the legitimacy of Aliester Crowley’s Masonic degrees is highly disputed. My point was that he was most likely expelled from, or denied initiation to a regular Lodge- thus leading to his alternative involvements. I’ve written extensively on Crowley’s life, persona, and contributions/distractions from Freemasonry. So let’s not go there!

    Concerning the Rite of Memphis-Mizraim:
    I’m VERY familiar with the degrees of these rites, because the overwhelming majority of them were taken from the Scottish Rite and York Rite of Freemasonry! Allow me to correct your dates concerning the validity of this cult:
    The earliest historical documentations of the Rite of Mizraim date back to only 1784, when John Balsamo founded the Rite of High Egyptian Masonry. The Rite of Memphis was constituted by Jacques Etienne Marconis de Nègre in 1838, as a variant of the Rite of Misraïm. He did so by “borrowing” the elements of Cryptic, Capitular, and Chivalric Degrees of the York Rite of Freemasonry, and combining them with alchemical mythology.
    The combined Rite of Memphis-Mizraim which you describe did not come into being until General Giuseppe Garibaldi combined the two rites in 1881.
    In contrast, the UGLE was officially chartered in 1717 (a fact which can be physically documented). Its original membership included operative stone masonry guilds that were responsible for the construction of the Cathedrals, Palaces, and Temples of the time. And of course Memphis-Mizraim pre-dates the founding of US Grand Lodges. My point is- The UGLE is considered the “parent organization” for the majority of Grand Lodge Authorities in the US and abroad, and is proven to be the oldest documentable origin of modern Freemasonry in existence. (FAR pre-dating the Rite of M.M.)

    Concerning your comment about women in Masonry:
    This is an easy one! Masonry is a Fraternity. [Fraternity (from the Latin ‘frater’: "brother")] I’m not sure what else I can say here. If you are a die-hard feminist who thinks it is somehow chauvinistic for men to desire an association with each other in the absence of women, then we probably won’t be able to have a very productive discussion. I will say that the allegorical teachings of Masonry are largely directed at making us better husbands, fathers, sons, etc. Basically, we are NOT about exclusion based on gender. It’s just that the historical teachings of Freemasonry have very little to offer women.

    Finally, the little item that sparked all of this: the codebook!
    Yes, I continue to refer to it as “the codebook” in spite of your little chiding, because that is the preferred nomenclature in my neck of the woods. I’m well-aware of the difference between a ‘code’ and a ‘cypher.’

    Again, I intend NO attack on your Grandfathers. Though I don’t even know them- they are my brothers. And I would render them limitless aid and defense at the peril of my own death, if they were in need.
    But the fact remains- the esoteric works of Freemasonry are forbidden to be put to print in any shape, form, or fashion! That, by definition, makes these books clandestine. I do not know to what jurisdiction your grandfathers belong, but the Grand Lodge of Texas maintains a standing edict that “any codebook found to be within a Lodge under Texas jurisdiction is to be promptly removed and disposed of…”
    Now, having said that- I (and most others) understand that our memories tend to fade, we tend to get out of practice, and the esoteric work we once learned can begin to slip away. In these cases, it is not uncommon for a brother to make discrete use of a codebook to supplement and improve his proficiency in Masonic allegory. Our rituals and symbolism are taught in one way, and one way only: “the memorization of oratory from a learned mouth to a willing ear.” You seem to think that these codebooks are used regularly to teach the esotericism of Masonry. And if that is the case then it is YOU, Ma’am, (and not I) who is mistaken about a great number of things.

  40. Deron Bauman on February 22nd, 2010 at 1:11 pm

    I’m the best, mother fuckers! the fucking best!

  41. Cindy Scroggins on February 22nd, 2010 at 1:29 pm

    I’m pretty sure sanjose is a freemason.

  42. Deron Bauman on February 22nd, 2010 at 1:35 pm

    I almost like this guy better.

  43. Cindy Scroggins on February 22nd, 2010 at 1:36 pm

    Oh, absolutely. This thread makes me very happy.

  44. M∴M∴ on February 22nd, 2010 at 9:48 pm

    @T.Rye

    In future, I’ll make my responses much shorter!

    >>”No offense taken! The practice of scholarly research is, by nature, one of spirited debate and speculation (of which you and I have NO deficiency!) You couldn’t be MORE correct when you say “It’s exactly like Christian sects arguing over legitimacy…”. The true origins of ANYTHING are speculative at best.”

    That’s a dodgy answer! Most historians would disagree. You even mention physical documentation later, as being proof positive. Gee whiz.

    >>”Allow me to clarify the following: I do not profess to believe that my Grand Lodge of Texas (or that of any other US state) holds any form of “Monopoly” on Freemasonry, as you stated.”

    I didn’t “state” that. I stated (very facetiously), “I had no idea that the Grand Lodge of Texas (or any body in) had a monopoly on any “true” Craft of Freemasonry!” Let’s not misrepresent what each other is saying.

    >>”I was simply outlining and clarifying that in the US, we recognize organizational authority on a state-wide basis, not a national one (as is done in other countries). All Grand Lodges in the US recognize each other as “regular” and “legitimate” and enjoy full reciprocity with each other. At present, the GLT does not recognize any Prince Hall Lodges as being legitimate forms of the Craft, which I believe to be unfortunate. There is a remarkable story behind the origins of Prince Hall Masonry which is very significant to the overall history of our country. It has come to my attention that while Prince Hall Organizations generally prefer to remain separately distinguished, there is an effort underway to establish mutual recognition of authenticity with US Grand Lodges similar to the recognition PH Lodges have with the UGLE. Personally, I would be much in favor of this.”

    This sounds like you’re backpedaling. In you prior post, you stated: “As I said, I have NO grievance toward those who wish to embrace the teachings and seek affiliation with these organizations. But as a practitioner of the TRUE craft of AF & AM, I view these organizations as bogus, irregular, and of no consequence to my status as a Master Mason of the Most Worshipful Grand Lodge of Texas.”

    It seems like in the first breath, you state that you view Prince Hall Freemasonry as being bogus, because the Grand Lodge of Texas deems it irregular. In the second breath, you state, “At present, the GLT does not recognize any Prince Hall Lodges as being legitimate forms of the Craft, which I believe to be unfortunate.” If you believe that Prince Hall Freemasonry is bogus, why do you consider it unfortunate that the GLT deems it an irregular form of the Craft? Do you only think that it’s bogus, because the GLT says that it is? How is that logical? That almost sounds like more circular reasoning, there.

    I’m not trying to equate denial of Prince Hall Freemasonry with racist practices (I don’t think that anybody reasonably denies that this has happened in the past, though). I’m trying to understand. So, as long as the Grand Lodge of Texas officially stated that lodges could admit women, that would be okay with you? (Wouldn’t this also make it look like the GLT was admitting that the policy was wrong, all along?) What I’m getting at is that you seem to put more weight into what your state Grand Lodge says that what any principle of Freemasonry states. Don’t changes in constitutions carry the implicit admission that previous interpretations were incorrect or inappropriate? Exactly where’s the line between obedience and indoctrination?

    >>”Now, let’s be adults here. I have in NO way attacked the quality of your knowledge of Masonic history (which I believe to be commendable), so I’d appreciate the same courtesy from you. I am fully aware of the origins of the O.G.D., and yes, there are multiple examples of members and founders who were either former Freemasons or petitioners who were denied initiation.”

    Oh, I’m an adult. Some might disagree, though.

    :)

    I appreciate the compliment. There’s a difference between pointing out that somebody is misstating facts, and attacking his or her quality of his or her knowledge of Masonic history. You obviously know a lot about Masonic history, but every time you “correct” me, you throw out more “facts” that sound incorrect to me. When I’m wrong, I’m willing to admit it, because I’d rather be embarrassed and corrected, than just plain wrong.

    You stated, “Many of these pseudo-masonic organizations were formed by disgruntled or ex-communicated Freemasons (such as Allister Crowley and Theodor Reuss).” I stated, “Your knowledge of Freemasonry history contains some flaws. The Golden Dawn had aspects of Freemasonry, but that wasn’t the focus, and its founders were hardly “disgruntled of ex-communicated Freemasons.”" Now, you state, “I am fully aware of the origins of the O.G.D., and yes, there are multiple examples of members and founders who were either former Freemasons or petitioners who were denied initiation.”

    You keep misstating my statements. You mentioned the “founders,” and so did I. Two of its three founders, Woodman and Westcott, both still were Freemasons, when the Hermetic Order of the Golden Dawn was founded in 1888. The third founder, Mathers, had joined a lodge in 1877, and had demitted in 1882. Do you have evidence that he demitted because he was disgruntled, or that either Woodman or Westcott were disgruntled? I couldn’t find a thing about excommunication, either.

    http://www.golden-dawn.org/biowoodman.html
    http://www.golden-dawn.org/biowestcott.html
    http://www.golden-dawn.org/biomathers.html
    http://www.golden-dawn.org/truth_mathers.html
    “Mathers was initiated at Bournemouth into the Lodge of Hengest No. 195. He was sponsored by a E.L.V. Rebbeck, a well-known real estate agent. Mathers progressed through Entered Apprentice, Fellow Craft and finally to Master Mason. This he accomplished in less than 18 months. However, by 1882 Mathers had resigned from the Lodge. One can only wonder as to why. In any event it seems he had more important work to apply his energies to, but that important work would not rise from the horizon for several years. That work, of course, was the formal creation of the English/American Order called the Golden Dawn.”

    >>”You are correct in that the legitimacy of Aliester Crowley’s Masonic degrees is highly disputed. My point was that he was most likely expelled from, or denied initiation to a regular Lodge- thus leading to his alternative involvements. I’ve written extensively on Crowley’s life, persona, and contributions/distractions from Freemasonry. So let’s not go there!”

    Oh, let’s go there!

    :)

    I personally think Crowley was bat-shit crazy. (That’s my personal opinion.)

    Um, “distractions” or “detractions”?

    I’ve never known legitimate historians to presume so much, from so few available facts! This is new territory, and very exciting! Exactly what have you published on the subject? By the way, have you used the collection of Crowley material at the University of Texas?

    http://freemasonry.bcy.ca/aqc/crowley.html
    Crowley was initiated into the Golden Dawn in 1898. It seems he had no interest in Freemasonry until 1900 or later. Then, he thought that his 1901 Mexican initiation (which there’s no record of) made him “regular.” He also thought his 1904 Paris initiation (which there’s a record of) made him “regular,” even though it didn’t. So, which lodge denied him membership? Which lodge expelled him? Wouldn’t this information, if it existed, be pretty widely publicized?

    Does your own scholarship indicate this is incorrect? It looks like the only disappointment he possibly could have had with Freemasonry, that would have led to “alternative involvements,” was that the Freemasonic bodies he knew about had little to do with esoteric studies (which he probably would have know beforehand, anyway).

    >>”Concerning the Rite of Memphis-Mizraim: I’m VERY familiar with the degrees of these rites, because the overwhelming majority of them were taken from the Scottish Rite and York Rite of Freemasonry! Allow me to correct your dates concerning the validity of this cult: The earliest historical documentations of the Rite of Mizraim date back to only 1784, when John Balsamo founded the Rite of High Egyptian Masonry. The Rite of Memphis was constituted by Jacques Etienne Marconis de Nègre in 1838, as a variant of the Rite of Misraïm. He did so by “borrowing” the elements of Cryptic, Capitular, and Chivalric Degrees of the York Rite of Freemasonry, and combining them with alchemical mythology. The combined Rite of Memphis-Mizraim which you describe did not come into being until General Giuseppe Garibaldi combined the two rites in 1881.

    Are you copying and pasting from Wikipedia, without attribution? At least I’m citing my sources, when I do. That’s naughty of you. Also, I’m not posting “dates concerning the validity.” I’m posting dates relating to its origins, specifically the Rites considered to be its forerunners.

    How is the Ancient and Primitive Rite of Memphis and Misraim a “cult”? Do you consider all Freemasonry bodies “cults,” then?

    Waite dates the Oriental Order back to 1814. I found a source dating the Philadelphes of Narbonne Rite to 1780, but that states its origins predated the import of Freemasonry from England in the 1720s. Of course, I know about Cagliostro, and the Carbonari. Borrowing from the Scottish Rite? That’s accurate, but to be fair, one of the founders of the “combined Rites” had the warrant to administer those degrees. Above the 33rd degree, they’re different in form.

    >>”In contrast, the UGLE was officially chartered in 1717 (a fact which can be physically documented). Its original membership included operative stone masonry guilds that were responsible for the construction of the Cathedrals, Palaces, and Temples of the time. And of course Memphis-Mizraim pre-dates the founding of US Grand Lodges. My point is- The UGLE is considered the “parent organization” for the majority of Grand Lodge Authorities in the US and abroad, and is proven to be the oldest documentable origin of modern Freemasonry in existence. (FAR pre-dating the Rite of M.M.)”

    http://www.ugle.org.uk/wp-content/uploads/2010/01/boc-2009-online-craft-rules.pdf
    “A Lodge not to act without a Warrant: 101. Except under the provisions of Rule 95, no Lodge may meet without a warrant of constitution from the Grand Master, which is to be specially entrusted to each Master at his installation, to be held by him in safe custody on behalf of the Grand Master. The Master shall produce it at every meeting of the Lodge. This regulation does not apply to the Lodge of Antiquity, No. 2, the Royal Somerset House and Inverness Lodge, No. 4, and the Lodge of Fortitude and Old Cumberland, No. 12, which act under immemorial constitutions.”

    The GLE/UGLE was never “chartered.” It was “formed.” It issues “warrants” in order to “charter” lodges. You’re incorrect about the GLE/UGLE being “proven to be the oldest documentable origin of modern Freemasonry in existence.” The four original lodges which formed it (three still exist, they’re listed in that passage) predate the UGLE, but nobody seems to know by how long. It is, apparently, the oldest existing Grand Lodge. Mackey claims that DeSaguliers, the inventor of speculative Freemasonry, was initiated into one of those “time immemorial” lodges in 1712. Just so we’re straight, this is speculative Freemasonry. Operative Freemasonry guilds were all over England and Europe for centuries before speculative Freemasonry was ever dreamed up.

    >>”Concerning your comment about women in Masonry: This is an easy one! Masonry is a Fraternity. [Fraternity (from the Latin ‘frater’: "brother")] I’m not sure what else I can say here. If you are a die-hard feminist who thinks it is somehow chauvinistic for men to desire an association with each other in the absence of women, then we probably won’t be able to have a very productive discussion. I will say that the allegorical teachings of Masonry are largely directed at making us better husbands, fathers, sons, etc. Basically, we are NOT about exclusion based on gender. It’s just that the historical teachings of Freemasonry have very little to offer women.”

    Are you serious, Sir? A fraternity doesn’t allow entrance to women, because allowing entrance to women is not allowed in a fraternity? That’s called circular reasoning. I’ve combed the “esoteric” lectures of the first three degrees of Masonry, and have never found anything that’s gender-specific. I won’t offend your sensibility by asking for an example, because I would never ask somebody to break a promise, and because I probably know as much as you about the rituals and lectures, and because I know that you’re talking through your hat. I’m not a “die-hard feminist,” but I know ridiculous and baseless sexism when I see it. Is that a tenet of Masonry, or is that your own stance? The “historical teachings of Freemasonry” used in Europe in coed lodges are very similar, as well, and the women involved seem to get a lot out of them. Also, if “the historical teachings of Freemasonry have very little to offer women,” then I assume that you consider the Order of the Eastern Star, Job’s Daughters International, the International Order of the Rainbow for Girls, and the Organization of Triangles all worthless. Is that correct? All of these organizations have, at one time or another, referred to themselves as Masonic, and were all formed (originally, anyway) for females affiliated with male who were Freemasons. You say, “Basically, we are NOT about exclusion based on gender.” Whatever you’re “about,” you do exclude based on sex (gender’s a different subject). In other words, I understand that Freemasonry didn’t come about as a club to keep females out, but that’s a core rule, is it not? It’s one thing to practice discrimination based on sex, but it’s another thing to practice discrimination based on sex while denying its basis. Believe me, I’ve never been fired up about joining any organization which wouldn’t admit me, because of my biological composition. I have better things to do with my time (like go to the spa, get my hair and nails done, eat bon-bons, watch soap operas all day, and other super-secret girl-things girls do).

    http://easternstar.org/about_oes.html
    “What It Is: The Order of the Eastern Star is the largest fraternal organization in the world to which both women and men may belong.”

    Either they’re using the wrong term (and should use “co-ed”), or somebody should tell them to stop admitting women to their fraternity!

    >>”Finally, the little item that sparked all of this: the codebook! Yes, I continue to refer to it as “the codebook” in spite of your little chiding, because that is the preferred nomenclature in my neck of the woods. I’m well-aware of the difference between a ‘code’ and a ‘cypher.’”

    Well, whatever the preferred nomenclature is in your neck of the woods, a cipher manual or book is not even remotely similar to a code book. If you’re not interested in proper terminology, that says more about your attention to detail than I can say! (Also, your “little chiding” comment sounds like you’re attempting to dismiss valid criticism by belittling the critic. Call me sensitive, but I’d hate to think that you used that terminology because I’m female, or a young person.)

    >>”Again, I intend NO attack on your Grandfathers. Though I don’t even know them- they are my brothers. And I would render them limitless aid and defense at the peril of my own death, if they were in need. But the fact remains- the esoteric works of Freemasonry are forbidden to be put to print in any shape, form, or fashion! That, by definition, makes these books clandestine. I do not know to what jurisdiction your grandfathers belong, but the Grand Lodge of Texas maintains a standing edict that “any codebook found to be within a Lodge under Texas jurisdiction is to be promptly removed and disposed of…”

    Here are some links:

    http://www.amazon.com/King-Solomon-His-Followers-Valuable/product-reviews/0880532599/ref=cm_cr_dp_all_helpful?ie=UTF8&coliid=&showViewpoints=1&colid=&sortBy=bySubmissionDateDescending
    “the Texas Grand Lodge in 2007 DID allow the use of ciphers by Masons and teachers as aids, but not in lodge or on lodge property.”

    Is this correct, or incorrect?

    http://web.mit.edu/dryfoo/Masonry/Letters/letter0004.html
    “In Texas there is no recognized code book. Having said that I can tell you that there is a book which one can purchase from [various sources]…”
    “As I said it is not authorized in Texas however a lot of brothers do have them, they just do not talk about them and they never bring them to Lodge with them.”

    Is this the real story, or is the writer lying?

    http://www.grandlodgeoftexas.org/texas_mason/2008-winter.pdf
    “15. (Committee on Work, assisted by P&P). Re-write Article 505.20 to make cipher/code books a Masonic offense.”

    Why would they need to outlaw cipher books, if the books were already outlawed?

    http://www.bessel.org/writrits.htm
    “From an email message in June 2008: Texas at last Grand Lodge approved the use of ciphers to help, but NOT in the lodge or on lodge property. And it did not officially approve any specific cipher, just that use of them in training and memory aids were OK.”

    This sounds very clear.

    http://fromdarknesstolight-somoteitbe.blogspot.com/2007/12/we-arent-men-we-use-to-be.html
    “As far as ciphers, this past year the Grand Lodge has authorized them, and they have some strict guidance. First, only Master Masons can own them, second they can’t be used in open lodge, third they can’t be shown to an EA or FC.”

    Is this not true? This makes it sound like the Grand Lodge of Texas is slipping into anarchy!

    http://www.smithfieldlodge.com/TB/2008/TB_0801.pdf
    “Resolution # 9 – Adopted Art 505 Use of Cipher Book as amended. Cannot be used anywhere on Lodge premises, in front of candidate when instructing candidate. No offense for owning one.”

    This suggests that the Grand Lodge of Texas amended its rules. Is it slipping? Would you say that it doesn’t care about the quality of Masons that Texas lodges produce these days?

    My question is this. Is all of this information incorrect, or are you just not very familiar with the official policies of the Grand Lodge of Texas?

    You didn’t respond to my comment about you being a Master or Past Master, but in all fairness, I didn’t really ask a question. Are you currently the Master of a lodge, or are you a Past Master? It would certainly bolster your credibility!

    >>”Now, having said that- I (and most others) understand that our memories tend to fade, we tend to get out of practice, and the esoteric work we once learned can begin to slip away. In these cases, it is not uncommon for a brother to make discrete use of a codebook to supplement and improve his proficiency in Masonic allegory. Our rituals and symbolism are taught in one way, and one way only: “the memorization of oratory from a learned mouth to a willing ear.” You seem to think that these codebooks are used regularly to teach the esotericism of Masonry. And if that is the case then it is YOU, Ma’am, (and not I) who is mistaken about a great number of things.”

    Your answer is confusing. You say in one breath that if the esoteric work he once learned begins to slip away (your terminology) a Mason may use a cipher manual “to supplement and improve his proficiency in Masonic allegory.” That sounds to me like you’re suggesting that cipher manuals contain information about Masonic allegory, and, by corollary, esoteric work. You say in the next breath, though, that I would be mistaken in believing that cipher manuals are used regularly to teach the esotericism of Masonry (your terminology). So, are you being unclear and/or self-contradictory, or am I misunderstanding something? I understand about all the esotericism of Freemasonry. I also understand all about other Western esotericism.

  45. M∴M∴ on February 22nd, 2010 at 9:51 pm

    Admins:
    What’s the character limit on postings. here?

    I just tried posting something, but it’s not showing as being pending.

  46. Cindy Scroggins on February 23rd, 2010 at 11:02 am

    Hey, Deron. Wanna go bowling?

  47. Deron Bauman on February 23rd, 2010 at 11:10 am

    fuck it.

    let’s go bowling.

  48. Cindy Scroggins on February 23rd, 2010 at 11:40 am

    Okay. Because I’m pretty sure these guys are goldbricking.

  49. Deron Bauman on February 23rd, 2010 at 11:44 am

    Three thousand years of beautiful tradition.

  50. T.Rye on February 23rd, 2010 at 2:02 pm

    @MM
    At this point, I think we need to just agree to disagree on a few things. But allow me to clarify and justify some items you have expressed concern about.
    My statement about “…anything being speculative…” was meant tongue-in-cheek. That quote is not mine- it is John J. Robinson’s. I believe that even forms of physical proof must still be speculated upon in order to make reasonable conclusions. And you are right, we do have a tendency to misrepresent what the other is saying; I think in many cases, we are saying the same thing.
    Concerning Prince Hall Masonry: I can see where you would find my reasoning as “circular” here, so allow me to clarify. Texas, at present, is one of about half of the states in the US which is not in communication with any PH jurisdictions. Personally, I believe this to be unfortunate because of the unique history of PHM, and its importance to the history of our country. I inadvertently lumped PHM into the list of Orders I view as bogus and irregular. This was a mistake on my part. PHM is virtually identical to mainstream AF&AM because Prince Hall himself was regularly initiated in Military Lodge #441 (under jurisdiction of the UGLE). While my Grand Lodge does not officially consider PHM to be legitimate, I unofficially do! And I certainly do not lump them in with OTO or Rites of MM, which I consider to be totally bogus and clandestine. I did not adequately explain this previously, and for that I apologize.
    Concerning Crowley: “Bat-shit crazy” is an excellent analogy! I will even allow myself a moment to ‘LOL!’ I authored a treatise on Crowley’s years as a hedonist, bi-sexual, recreational drug user, and ceremonial magician (during the years when he preferred to be known as “The Great Beast”), and his influence over notable individuals such as Jimmy Page and Ozzy Osbourne. We should really think about collaborating and co-authoring further works on the subject. Like you, I find it fascinating that this man is so revered and regarded given the down-right creepy nature of his rise to notoriety! And no, I have not examined the material At UT. Being a Texas Aggie, I’m usually not inclined to visit that “other college” in Austin. (Just kidding!!) It is widely accepted that Crowley’s 1904 initiation in France was legitimate, but not complete. It was during this time that he renounced Christianity which, at the time, would have been grounds to halt his progress toward the 3rd degree in Masonry. As to specific documentation of this, I know of none.
    Concerning the Rite of MM: Wikipedia? Seriously?? I’m sure that the majority of “researchers” out there in cyber-space consider Wiki to be the one-stop-shop for reliable sources. I, on the other hand, prefer to rely on more accurate and credible sources of documentation. Let the cyber-geeks cite Wiki and Google all they want. I will rely on my PH.D. (s) OK let me clarify my stance: You are correct in your statement that the UGLE never drafted any official “Charter.” I misstated my facts and misused the word. The living document granting regulatory authority to the UGLE are The Constitutions of Freemasonry (which I have personally viewed), and was drafted in 1723 by James Anderson. This document, citing the 1717 organization, is what gives the UGLE authority to charter and regulate subordinate Lodges. This far predates any notable organized activities of the beginnings of the Rite of MM. The UGLE is considered to be the benchmark for modern speculative Freemasonry throughout the world. It is considered the parent organization of Freemasonry in North America, and all state GLs enjoy full reciprocity and recognition with the UGLE. I consider ANY organization to be a cult which borrows from the principles of Masonry and attempts to make them their own (without authorization from a duly recognized Masonic body). I will correct your statement that “Above the 33rd degree, they [degrees] are different in form.” Above the 33rd degree, they are in fact derived from the Cryptic, Capitular, and Chivalric degrees of the York Rite. Beyond that, they are just simply made-up.
    You need not define Speculative Masonry for me; I have forgotten more about the practice of it than you will ever know. Your statements are (understandably) misinformed: Speculative Masonry was never “dreamed-up.” It was practiced by operative Masons since time immemorial in the Lodges adjacent to the cathedrals, palaces, and temples which they constructed throughout the middle ages. Is there evidence of this? Well, yes and no. No, in that there is no provable documentation; the lessons of Speculative Masonry were (and have always been) taught my means of esotericism. And, yes…in a way there is an abundance of evidence, because of the manner in which Freemasonry exists today.
    Concerning women in Masonry: My statement about feminism was unfortunate and insensitive, and for that I apologize. It was, at best, a poor attempt at humor. And you are very correct- the word ‘fraternity’ has become linguistically distorted over the course of time. It is literally translated as a “brotherhood”, but has become widely accepted as a general organizational term. Concerning the Order of the Eastern Star and other co-ed appendants: I certainly do not consider these organizations to be worthless! They are in integral part of Freemasonry, and they make it possible for Masonic Families to enjoy the fellowship and teachings of the Craft together. That is why I am member of the OES! If you have in fact examined the rituals of Freemasonry so diligently, and have not uncovered references to gender- then you aren’t doing as good of a deciphering job as you think. Or as I have previously stated- you (and others) lack the proper frame of reference, and emotional/intellectual foundations to fully appreciate what you are exposing your mind to. Masonic allegory is steeped in references to women. The teachings of Freemasonry are directed specifically at men. They teach us to be better fathers, husbands, sons, and brothers. I love my mother, I love my wife, and I love my daughters. And I cherish the lessons of Freemasonry for teaching me to subdue my passions and help me attempt to be a better MAN. So again I say, the “Blue Lodge” of Freemasonry has very little to offer women in the way of enlightenment! This is why the OES (and the like) exist; so that the relevant teachings of Freemasonry can be carried over and shared with our female relatives and companions. There is NOT a sexist bone in my body, or in the foundations and tenets of our beloved Craft!
    Finally, concerning the codebook: I don’t think we are actually disagreeing about much here. I am personally opposed to the use and existence of them, because I believe they compromise the security of the esoteric work. Having said that- they are really of little consequence anymore. Ever since Al Gore invented the internet, anyone can expose or reveal any amount of information they want in a matter of seconds! You are correct- the Grand Lodge of Texas Committee on Work (of which I have been a member) can’t seem to make up its mind on these damn books, which is frustrating. My original statement was that codebooks are not to me carried or used on Lodge premises, and are not to be used as a regular part of candidate instruction. This is the current position of the GLT (CoW), so like I said- I’m not quite sure what our disagreement is here. Also, you asked about my Masonic credentials. I am a Past-Master of ceremony, past Steward, and current Marshal of my home Lodge. I am also a member a member of various Masonic research societies in the US and abroad.

  51. Deron Bauman on February 23rd, 2010 at 2:08 pm

    my balls weigh 30 lbs each.

  52. Cindy Scroggins on February 23rd, 2010 at 2:31 pm

    You should try curling.

  53. Deron Bauman on February 23rd, 2010 at 2:34 pm

    my esoteric skills fucked your mom in the ass.

  54. T.Rye on February 23rd, 2010 at 2:47 pm

    @Bauman

    Wow. It certainly is a testiment to your character and intelligence (or lack there of) if all you are capable of is making vulgar and insulting comments toward individuals who are trying to engage in a meaningful dicussion.

  55. Deron Bauman on February 23rd, 2010 at 2:54 pm

    my character weighs less than my balls.

  56. Cindy Scroggins on February 23rd, 2010 at 3:20 pm

    Figure skating, then.

  57. Daryl Scroggins on February 23rd, 2010 at 3:28 pm

    Do you ever feel like you have been shit on–and not in a good way? I get the feeling some people smile hard way before anything happens to warrant it, because they just know the whole world will be delighted to have the telephone book read to them. Isn’t there some Free Mason site where people like T.Rye et. al. can print big piles of comments like this and get their dogs in there in it with a few cans of beef stew and a large tub of vaseline and just go at it?

    Fuck it, let’s go bowling.

  58. T.Rye on February 23rd, 2010 at 3:42 pm

    Not to worry Mr. Scroggins. I fully intend to leave this site once I receieve a final response from ‘MM’. You will never have to view my posts again, and you and your associates can go on with your various meaningful discussions of bowling and genitalia.

  59. Cindy Scroggins on February 23rd, 2010 at 3:42 pm

    Deron and I have switched to figure skating. That’s what he’s built for.

  60. Cindy Scroggins on February 23rd, 2010 at 3:47 pm

    Mr. Rye, to be serious for a moment, I’m sure that you and MM have not stopped to think about the fact that you have been commenting on a nearly 2-year old post to this blog–OUR blog. We do welcome comments, but when those comments begin to resemble bizarre dissertations, we take notice–and, in this case, it has become a source of amusement for us.

    You have been using our site for your own interests, and we have allowed that. You’re welcome.

  61. Deron Bauman on February 23rd, 2010 at 3:48 pm

    T.Rye, if you leave, to whom will I express my superiority?

  62. Cindy Scroggins on February 23rd, 2010 at 3:49 pm

    Leave it on the curling field, Bauman.

  63. Deron Bauman on February 23rd, 2010 at 3:50 pm

    my balls!

    their girth!

  64. T.Rye on February 23rd, 2010 at 4:04 pm

    @Ms. Scroggins-

    First of all, thank you indeed, for allowing me to use your site to engage in these dicussions. I never intended for them to take-on their current form, and I therefore apologize for deviating from any type of decorum previously established on this site. Obviously you have the right to be entertained and even critical of my comments, but you have to admit- some of your members are bordering on insulting. The comment referring to “fucking my mother in the ass” was totally unprovoked and extremely insulting.

  65. T.Rye on February 23rd, 2010 at 4:08 pm

    @MM-
    It has been made clear to me that our discussions are no longer welcome on this site. If you wish to continue our discussion, please feel free to email me at: ag.friends@yahoo.com

  66. Deron Bauman on February 23rd, 2010 at 4:21 pm

    I am the greatest singer. In the world.

  67. Kathy Hilen-Smith on February 23rd, 2010 at 4:59 pm

    T.Rye, you haven’t seen insulting. You want insulting? Go fuck your boring self-important Mason self, okay?

    Deron, pictures please.

  68. T.Rye on February 23rd, 2010 at 5:03 pm

    Fuck all of yall and go straight to Hell with your dogs right behind you fucking you in the ass with a strap-on!

    There, how was that?

  69. Kathy Hilen-Smith on February 23rd, 2010 at 5:04 pm

    Cute! With practice, you could fit in here.

  70. Deron Bauman on February 23rd, 2010 at 5:25 pm

    that turned out better than I had hoped.

  71. Daryl Scroggins on February 23rd, 2010 at 5:47 pm

    Oh, T.Rye–now you’re getting the hang of it. Of course my interest in Masonry is the Ruuuuuunes on my ass. They are the sneaky kind–the kind that fade out the instant I look for them. I try to catch them off guard, as it were, in reflections, with cameras, and just the plain old quick look–fast, I mean fast, and sometimes, for a glorious instant, I see them! Haven’t been able to read them yet but I Will! I’ll get’em! And when I do I’ll past the news on to you, of course, since you are probably looking at the ruuuuuunes on your ass too.

  72. Michael Grant Smith on February 23rd, 2010 at 6:00 pm

    That’s it. I want to be a Mason.

    I just want to make sure the appropriate parties get due credit. I heard there’s a monetary consideration involved. Commission.

    If I put up a little extra something something, could I skip ahead a few levels?

    I apologize if I sound like I’m mocking or teasing. I’m not. I’m serious.

    I’ll bring my own stones or balls or whatever is helpful.

  73. rebecca yarbor on March 2nd, 2010 at 10:18 pm

    i have recently come into possesion of my grandparents book it is dated 1902 no.11 NEB my pages differ from yours my page 10 says e.a. then on to other things .reg business is on page 8.

  74. The Language of Nosferatu | clusterflock on September 15th, 2010 at 5:59 am

    [...] house to rent? Is this what we did before craigslist? Or are vampires a subsect of our friends the freemasons (or vice-versa)? Here’s a look at the text up [...]

  75. Clipper Ordiway on April 3rd, 2012 at 12:46 am

    A friend gave me a copy King Solomon and His Followers N.J.
    She was going to throw it away. It is copyrighted (I think it says 1900. The typist messed up the last number)and revised in 1918.
    The original owner put his name inside:
    B. E. Colman
    B(unlegable) N.J.
    F.& A.W. Arcaya(?) #67
    Nov. 1918

    I also have:
    The Standard Work and Lectures of Ancient Craft Masonry
    In the Jurisdiction of the Grand Lodge of Free Masons of the State of New York
    Copyright 1960 by Edward R. Carmen

    The owner put his name inside:
    George A. Colman

    My friend was going to throw this away as well.

  76. Derek White on April 3rd, 2012 at 10:44 am

    This Masonic handbook thread is kind of like that monkey riding the goat.

    Speaking of monkeys riding goats, here’s another one i posted on Goat Rodeo recently.

  77. Sheila Ryan on April 3rd, 2012 at 11:42 am

    And thanks for sharing another goat-riding monkey video, Derek.