Well, the holidays are behind us and it’s time to reflect on the great times that we spent together with our families and friends. The holidays are very special in many ways to all of us. For me, I had my sister and in-laws come up from Florida, and my step-son and his family here from New York to celebrate with me. I hope that everyone had an awesome time as well!
We are well into inspection season, and myself and several officers have been busy visiting other lodges. I’ve always found it interesting how each lodge has certain unique ways that lodges are furnished that differs from lodge to lodge. They all follow the rituals, but have little things that distinguish them. Maybe they have different pillars, or their officer’s chairs. I like that the altars are different with each lodge. Some lodge rooms are small, and some are very large. Each one has its own character. That shows diversity. This is very cool. Our lodges are different, but they’re all doing the same thing. They’re making good men better. This is the goal of every lodge.
Last month we had several activities. We had a Pot Luck and Game Night event went off really well. We had families turn out for a night of food, fun and fellowship! We also had our legendary Breakfast in the Park. This went off very well and had a big turnout, even without snow! This month we had our annual Awards Night that was hosted by our SW Bill Ritley to honor the brethren who has served this fraternity for many years. We celebrated 40, 50, and 65 year service awards. In March will be our annual inspection. This year it will be in the FC degree, and I and the officers will continue to visit other lodges inspections to help support them. I was reading through the archives of past Trestle board articles, and ran across this very interesting one.
Masonic myths and outright falsehood are continually spread concerning Freemasonry. This is an attempt to set and keep the history of the Craft straight. Throughout the centuries Freemasonry has taught its valuable lessons through allegory and symbols. The man from Galilee used parables extensively and well. Many historians and better speakers constantly employ anecdotes to illustrate the points they want to make. These methods emphasize the search for truth in an interesting and factual manner.
Myths on the other hand, can be innocent or dangerous. They can be outright lies or the perpetuation of distortions handed down through the generations. Many of these were invented by Masonic writers and speakers to enhance the image of Freemasonry. Some of these corruptions have caused the Craft problems with creditable historians because they were outrageous lies. Freemasonry, actually, requires no exaggeration to magnify its greatness. The simple truth is all that is required to tell its story. This is the reason for this column; to attempt to destroy the myths that have been prevalent, often for centuries, by telling the truth. Let’s begin with the period of the War for American Independence. Here are just a few examples.
Myth: Thomas Jefferson and Patrick Henry were Freemasons. Fact: Neither Thomas Jefferson or Patrick Henry were members of the Craft.
Fact: An exhaustive search of Masonic records in Virginia, and elsewhere, offers no iota of evidence to make them Freemasons. Jefferson participated in the cornerstone lying of his University at Charlottesville, which was done masonically. He praised Freemasonry and his own words proved he had never been a member of the Craft.
Myth: All of George Washington’s generals during the War for American Independence were Masons.
Fact: Thirty-three of the general serving under Washington were members of the Craft, a long way from “all.” The late James R. Case and Ronald E. Heaton made comprehensive studies of the Revolutionary period and debunked many of the claims considered here.
Myth: Washington insisted that the Marquis de Lafayette be made a Mason before he would promote him to general, and the same claim has been made about the Baron von Steuben.
Fact: Both Lafayette and von Steuben were Freemasons before they arrived to help fight the British. This was true of Lafayette even though he wasn’t 21 years of age when he arrived in America. It’s highly likely that Washington never did know they were Masons. The stories of both of these men are highly interesting, but space prohibits the telling of them here.
Myth: The governors of the thirteen original colonies when Washington was inaugurated President of the United States were Freemasons.
Fact: From Lexington until the inauguration thirty different men served as governors. Of these, ten were Freemasons. That’s one-third! Wouldn’t it be wonderful for the country if we could claim the same percentage today?
Myth: All, or almost all, Signers of the Articles of Confederation, Signers of the Declaration of Independence, and Signers of the Constitution were Freemasons.
Fact: Ten of the signers of the Articles, nine signers of the Declaration, and thirteen signers of the Constitution -- and only this number -- were, or would become, Freemasons. Even so, this is an excellent percentage
of the participants. It should be noted that Edmund Randolph, governor and Grand Master of Virginia, although an important participant in the Constitutional Convention, didn’t sign the document. He did, however, fight for its ratification. It should also be noted that four Presidents of the Continental Congresses were Freemasons: Peyton Randolph of Virginia, John Hancock of Massachusetts, Henry Laurens of South Carolina, and Arthur St. Clair of Pennsylvania. (For further study see Masonic Membership of the Founding Fathers, The Masonic Service Association, 8120 Fenton St., Silver Spring, MD 20910,) Myth: There are many aprons owned or worn by George Washington floating around.
Fact: The only documented apron owned by Washington was one presented by the firm of Watson and Cassoul. It had been made by nuns at Nantes. It was the only apron listed in Washington’s inventory that was released after his death
Make Freemasonry a part of your life everyday!
Steven Pominville, Worshipful Master