Old Leo Letters and Talks – April 27, 2011

Old Leo Letters and Talks
Issue # 7 – April 27, 2011
L.E.O. – Leadership – Education – Oratory!

“Wherever there is strife and hatred among the Brethren, there is no Masonry; for Masonry is peace, Brotherly Love, and Concord.” Albert Pike

“MY SYMPHONY,” By W.H. Channing
Publiushed by Revell Co. – Republished May 1916 in “The Builder”
Also called ‘Right Living is a Fine Art,’ By N.D. Hillis

“To live content with small means; to seek elegance rather than luxury, and refinement rather than fashion; to be worthy, not respectable, and wealthy, not rich; to listen to stars and birds, babes and sages with open heart; to study hard; to think quietly, act frankly, talk gently, await occasions, hurry never; in a word, to let the spiritual, unbidden and unconscious, grow up through the common – this is my symphony.”

“Often people attempt to live their lives backwards; they try to have more things, or more money, in order to do more of what they want, so they will be happier.  The way it actually works is the reverse.  You must first be who you really are, then do what you need to do, in order to have what you want.”  Margaret Young

Investigate for Knowledge and Understanding
By Ed Halpaus, FPS

One of the things the real and devout anti-Masons do is read Morals and Dogma: The real enemies of Masonry read Morals and Dogma to find things they can use against Freemasonry, and then they quote from it by using some interesting methods; they use text editing heavily: Text editing is taking some text (in this case from Morals and Dogma) editing out the parts they don’t want to use and stringing the part they do want to use with some of their own writing, or some text from another sentence or paragraph in M&D they also want to use, and then putting it together so it says something the original text never said or implied. That is serious text editing, which in reality is text revisionism.

The people we generally meet who have questions or think Masonry has something wrong with it have heard something from these ‘real’ anti-Masons, and being that they, like many people, are interested in Masonry they are concerned. Some of our friends and relatives when hearing or reading negative things about Freemasonry will naturally become concerned and will wonder, so we Masons need to study our Craft and all it contains in order to give them factual information regarding what the anti-Masons say when we have the chance.

Since the anti-Masons like to quote Brother Pike’s Morals and Dogma, Masons should read it, and then search out any quotes used by the anti-Masons to verify what they say. It is true that Freemasonry can stand up to investigation; so Masons should study and investigate it, it’s also true that the charges leveled against it by the anti-Masons of the world cannot stand up to investigation, so Masonic students should investigate these charges too. The charges by anti-Masons against the Craft are nearly always false.

Anti-Masons and some Masons will say that Morals and Dogma is hard to read, or they will think it only has value for the Masonic scholar, or only for a Scottish Rite Mason; sadly these misconceptions sometimes are passed from Brother to Brother for such a long period of time Masons think it’s true, but it isn’t.

Reading Morals and Dogma is not as hard as one might think, it is something the average Mason can read and understand: It is a book that every Mason can get something out of, even if you’re not in the Scottish Rite: You don’t need to be a Scottish Rite Mason to learn from the writings of Brother Albert Pike.

Having said that, I think the Scottish Rite is a fine Masonic Body to petition for further degrees.

I’m very happy I took the degrees of the Scottish Rite back in 1979, and I’ve enjoyed studying those degrees over the years just as I have the degrees of the Blue Lodge. I like a lot of the degrees of Scottish Rite Masonry, but one of my favorite and one I think all Masons would enjoy and gain some knowledge and understanding from is the 6th Degree; I highly recommend reading about it in Morals and Dogma.

What I recommend reading is short, only 6 pages long; it is Chapter 6 in Morals and Dogma and has to do with Brother Pike’s commentary on the 6th degree or the degree of Intimate Secretary. I think it should be a must read for every Mason. If you don’t own a copy of Morals and Dogma there may be a copy in your Lodge library for you to read, or if you prefer you could read it on-line at: http://www.phoenixmasonry.org/ and also www.amazon.com as a Kindle Book for little to no cost. If you would like an actual book a great source for used Masonic Books is Brother Harold Davidson of the Billings Masonic Library, and Librarian of The Philalethes Society, he can be reached at:  brodave@wtp.net

Here is just a small portion of what Brother Pike wrote in the chapter about the 6th degree:

“Masons must be kind and affectionate one to another. Frequenting the same temples, kneeling at the same altars, they should feel that respect and that kindness for each other, which their common relation and common approach to one God should inspire. There needs to be much more of the spirit of the ancient fellow-ship among us; more tenderness for each other’s faults, more forgiveness, more solicitude for each other’s improvement and good fortune; somewhat of brotherly feeling, that it be not shame to use the word ‘brother.’

“Nothing should be allowed to interfere with that kindness and affection: neither the spirit of business, absorbing, eager, and overreaching, ungenerous and hard in its dealings, keen and bitter in its competitions, low and sordid in its purposes; nor that of ambition, selfish, mercenary, restless, circumventing, living only in the opinion of others, envious of the good fortune of others, miserably vain of its own success, unjust, unscrupulous, and slanderous.”

Pretty easy to read and understand isn’t it? The whole 6 pages in this chapter are that easy too. And the entire chapter has to do with peace and harmony and how and what Masons can do to help achieve that.

By reading in this book we can learn from one of the most knowledgeable Masons who ever lived. That does not mean we would or should agree with everything he has written, but we ought to read it and consider what he wrote because, it might be we can use his thoughts and knowledge to help us in some way to become better men and in the process become better Masons and enjoy Freemasonry more.

“The secret to happiness is to put the burden of proof on unhappiness.” Robert Brault, www.robertbrault.com

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Some articles and publications by Ed Halpaus can be read at: http://halpaus.blogspot.com/ and http://sites.google.com/site/edsmasonicmatters/  and Ed’s Face Book page – Ed Halpaus (“The Old Leo”).

Some of Ed’s videos can be viewed at; www.youtube.com/glmned

Words to live by: “If only we’d stop trying to be happy we could have a pretty good time.” Edith Wharton

Fraternal regards,
Ed Halpaus
Grand Lodge Officer
Grand Lodge A.F. & A.M. of MN

Political Freedom, Religious Tolerance, Personal Integrity; Freemasonry – it’s not for everyone.