The musings of a previously unemployed Jewish Freemason. I write about the job search, about Judaism, and about Freemasonry.

Thursday, June 18, 2009

Shrine; Bunker Hill; Third Degree

It's been a few weeks since I've checked in. My life has been seriously busy, but I wanted my readers to know what I've been up to, even if I don't have a long time available to write at this moment.

  1. I joined the Ancient Arabic Nobles of the Mystic Shrine, and had my Ceremonial last weekend. My girlfriend and I went to Aleppo Shrine Temple for the afternoon, and I enjoyed it immensely. To be honest, I was not going to consider joining the Shrine until after I had passed through the Officer's Line at my blue lodge, but the announcement that the Springfield, MA Shriner's Hospital was on the closure list changed my mind. I figured that if I joined the Shrine in 5-7 years, that's 5-7 years worth of dues they're not getting that could be going to helping Springfield stay open.

    They really know how to impress a new Noble. The Grand Master of Massachusetts and his Grand Marshall were there, along with the Grand Commander of the York Rite for Massachusetts. They have lots of patrols, bands, and other groups. My girlfriend was joking that I should become a Shrine Clown. A part of me is tempted, and a part of me is horrified. Actually, if I were to join one of the patrols, I would join the Aleppo Shrine Minutemen. They are a Colonial-themed drill team with real live muskets (black powder weapons = loud) and Colonial-era costumes. The only problem is that they meet twice a month, and one of those times is when my blue lodge meets.

    The Shrine seems like a lot of fun, but I'm going to be conservative about joining groups there until after I sit in the East, assuming I earn that honor some day. I'm already going to be Junior Deacon next year at my blue lodge, am very active in Lodge of Instruction for the 3rd District, and I'm active in Lodge of Perfection at the Scottish Rite. I don't want to burn myself out.

  2. Last night, my lodge laid a wreath for General Joseph Warren at the bottom of the Bunker Hill Monument in honor of Bunker Hill Day. General Joseph Warren died at the battle. He was Grand Master of the Ancient Grand Lodge of Massachusetts. His commission, from General George Washington, had not arrived when he got to Breed's Hill, so he picked up a musket and fought as a private and was felled by a bullet in the battle.

    It is a legend within my lodge, almost certainly apocryphal, that the brigade he fought alongside were Masons from the Ancient lodges in the area, most especially the Massachusetts Lodge and the Lodge of St. Andrew (MW Paul Revere's mother lodge), and when he was killed, the Brothers gave the Grand Hailing Sign, and the British soldiers fighting them, who were also Masons, stopped fighting and declared a temporary cease fire. The masons converged around the body of the fallen Grand Master and performed improvised Masonic funeral rites, and then continued the battle. The body was unearthed by British soldiers who were not masons, and the body desecrated. The corpse was recovered by Brothers and was re-buried after the battle, and Warren's family moved the body to a family plot years later. Thus, our slain Grand Master was buried three times, like another slain Grand Master we know.

    In honor of this, the Brothers present pledged an Oath as Master Masons that, when peace returned to this nation after victory, they would charter a new lodge in his honor. The Treaty of Paris was signed, and before the ink was dry, the charter of King Solomon's Lodge was signed by MW Moses Michael Hays, and RW Paul Revere, the Grand Senior Warden. Originally, the lodge was to be named Joseph Warren Lodge, but the Grand Master pointed out that, as the first lodge chartered in a free and peaceful America, King Solomon's Lodge was a more appropriate name, as it represented a new beginning. Eleven years after being chartered, the Brothers of King Solomon's lodge built the original Bunker Hill Monument in memory of MW Joseph Warren. We owned the land it stood on, and maintained the monument.

    In the Morgan era, the monument became a symbol of masonry, and a target of hatred. It was often vandalized, and eventually destroyed by anti-Masons. It was understood that the monument should be rebuilt, this time by public subscription open to non-Masons, so that the monument would be a symbol of the Battle of Bunker Hill rather than just one fallen Grand Master. Noah Webster led the effort, and the first railway system in the USA was built to transport the quarried granite from New Hampshire to the site on Breed's Hill. When it was completed, King Solomon's Lodge donated the land to the Bunker Hill Monument Association, and in honor of our donation, a granite replica of the original monument (which was wooden) was erected at the base of the new monument. We've laid a wreath in front of the replica of the original monument every year since.

    After the ceremony, we met at the Warren Tavern in Charlestown for refreshments. King Solomon's Lodge met at the Warren Tavern for the first three decades of our existence. A good time was had by all.

  3. Tonight, my lodge is raising six brothers to the Sublime Degree. It is Past Masters' Night. There will be filet mignon and lobster. At least one 50 year medal will be awarded. The new officers will be picked. And I'm delivering the Emblems lecture at the end of the degree ceremony. One of the candidates is my first sponsored candidate. I've very proud of him. It should be quite a night.

This is my first anniversary of my raising. I'm a Sublime Prince of the Royal Secret in the Scottish Rite and active in Lodge of Perfection there, a Noble of the Mystic Shrine, the Inside Sentinel of my lodge and come September the Junior Deacon. I have completed all the requirements for the Master Mason Rookie Award, and at the will and pleasure of the Worshipful Master and the Grand Lodge of Massachusetts, they may deem me fit to receive it. I know the Emblems lecture, and plan to learn the Middle Chamber lecture this summer to understudy for the Senior Deacon (although I cannot imagine that he'll miss a Second Degree). I've really taken to the Fraternity, and feel very much at home here.


  1. Good to hear King Solomon's is doing well. The only time I ever had a car stolen was attending one of your meetings - but your lodge was also where, for the first time, I ever did ritual 'in public' as a 16yo DeMolay. Great to hear things are still going well. Enjoy your Freemasonry: it'll bring you a lifetime of memories!

    Ed King

  2. Congratulations on what sounds like a hectic, but fulfilling first year! I was also raised a little over a year ago, and will be stepping into the Senior Deacon's chair next year, as well as taking on the position of lodge historian. I've held off on joining any of the other bodies; being an officer keeps me quite busy enough! I have had similar thoughts about joining the Shrine, though... I live too far from either one in Massachusetts to be very active, but the dues (at least some of them) would still be going to the cause.

    FYI Ill. Phillip Thomas, P. P., Chairman of the Board of Governors for Shriners Hospital, Springfield, will be speaking at the 26th district Lodge of Instruction next Tuesday, presumably about the plight of the Springfield hospital (and, by extension, Mehla Shrine)

  3. Brothers Ed and A.C., thank you for your comments. I am an admirer of Bro. Ed's website, Keep up the good work!