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Article placed below by: Bill Buchholz


There are some pamphlets available from:
Masonic Information Center
8120 Fenton St.
Silver Spring, MD 20910-4785
There have been many studies made and guesses as to when or why the
Masonic Fraternity was founded.
Suffice it to say no one knows, for sure.

There are those that believe it started out during the building of King
Solomon's Temple as part of the craft of building the temple.

"In 1717, Masonry created a formal organization in England when the first
Grand Lodge was formed. A Grand Lodge is the administrative body in
charge of Masonary in some geographical area. In the United States, there
is a Grand Lodge in each state and the District of Columbia. In Canada,
there is a Grand Lodge in each province. Local organizations of Masons
are called lodges. There are lodges in most towns, and large cities
usually have several. There are about 13,200 lodges in the United
States."
Masonic Information Center, Silver Springs Md. 16th printing.

The Blue Lodge Mason, referred to as Craft Masonry the first 3 degrees is
open to all men who profess a belief in a Supreme Being. At one time to
become a member you had to ask a member for a membership application. It
was forbidden by to solicit applicants. A father wasn't allowed to ask
his son. It was expected that a young man would observe the life and
actions of a mason and thus would want to become a member of the same
organization.

Too many members were so engrossed in the secrecy of the organization
that they frequently hid there good works from others. At Grand Lodge
last year I mentioned that "We were so secret that we sometimes didn't
know what we did." There were some chuckles among the attendees.

We are now advertising on the radio, TV, and Bill Boards.

We can now ask men to join our ranks, however they still must profess a
belief in a Supreme Being.

Blue Lodge Masons (3rd Degree members are Master Masons) have several
charities, one of the main ones is support of widows and orphans of
masons and then support of the Masonic Homes. 

I will complete my year as Master of the Lodge next week. In my year as
Master our Lodge donated money to the USO on two occasions, Monetary
Donations to two different food pantries in North St. Louis, and at our
150th Anniversary Party the attending members sent over $800 to the
victims of the Oklahoma and Kansas Tornados this last spring. Couple this
with food donations to the Catholic Marydale Center for children. We also
participated in the Old Newsboys day collection and sent money to
families of men who died from the effects of cancer. Note, not one of
these charities  were to Masonic members or their families. We went out
into our community.

There are so many allied Masonic Organizations, it is difficult to
remember all of them.

A couple of the major ones are:

Scottish Rite Masons, 4th thru 33rd degree. You must be a Blue Lodge
Member (Master Mason) to become a Scottish Rite Mason. One of the main
charities of the Scottish Rite are Language Disorders in children. (The
33rd degree is an honorary degree). These Language Disorder Clinics are
FREE. No charges are ever made for care.

York Rite Masons, I am not too familiar with the York Rite, however the
degrees are Royal Arch Masons (Capitular Degrees), Royal and Select
Masters  (Cryptic Degrees) the Commandery  Knight Templar, they were a
uniform, sword and plumed hat. The York Rite is basically Christian
Oriented, while the Scottish Rite is more ecumenical, i.e. for all
religious beliefs. 

As I mentioned above my personal knowledge is limited when it comes to
the York Rite. They also have several charities that they support. You
must also be a Blue Lodge Member (Master Mason) before you can petition
the York Rite.

Shriners, probably the most recognizable Masonic Organization. There are
few people that are not aware of the Shriners Orthopedic Hospitals and
the Shriners Burns Institutes. Both of these charities are again for
children and FREE. The only requirement one needs is the signature of a
Shriner. You don't have to be poor to receive treatment, the philosophy
is that if you have a child that requires care, and if you must pay for
the care you will be poor. Some of the themes of the Shriners "The Circus
with a Purpose", "No man stands so tall as when he reaches down to help a
child." Notice all this is for children. To become a Shriner a man must
be a Master Mason and either of Scottish Rite or York Rite Mason. The
Shriner wears a Jeweled Red Fez, for recognition.

Believe it or not some rather influential people were rejected for
membership in the Shrine because they didn't want to go through the Blue
Lodge and the Scottish Rite or York Rite.

Then there are the Grottos of North America. I am the 1997 Past Monarch
of Alhambra Grotto of St. Louis. The Grotto is looked upon as the fun
group of Masons. You must be a Master Mason to belong, this is the only
requirement. We wear a Black Jeweled Fez for recognition. Our main
charity is Dentistry for the Handicapped Child. In the past 5 years we
have managed to obtain over $30,000 each year, in free dental care, in
the St. Louis area. Not bad for at last count 99 members. Yes you will
see us out looking for handouts, but we give away a Colgate Toothbrush to
each child. This care is also FREE. The only requirement is that you
contact a member of the Grotto to start the paper work, we call him "Dr.
of Smiles".

There are also other organizations such as the 
The White Shrine of Jerusalem
The Tall Cedars of Lebanon
The Eastern Star

Your Organizations:
Jobs Daughters
Rainbow Girls
DeMolay (for young men)

Somewhere in this mess of mine I have listings of other allied
organizations, but for the life of me I can't find them. 

Hope this is a bit clearer.

Bill Buchholz  kimbuc@juno.com 

©
This page created by: Bill Buschholz
and placed here by
Mary A. Hudson P.M. O.E.S.
mahud@rollanet.org
Sept 09, 1999 for MOGenWeb

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