Friday, December 31, 2021

End of the Year

2021 was a busy year. Between Freemasonry and work, I spent 172 nights in a hotel and flew over 55,000 miles in a plane. January kicked off with two separate work trips to Hawaii (I know, rough).

In February, Masonic Week was virtual and I presided over a quick meeting of the officers of the High Council of the Masonic Order of the Bath of the USA where we decided to keep the officers the same for the ensuing year. March was taken up with work.

With April came the Grand York Rite of Idaho which was the first York Rite jurisdiction in the Northwest region to meet in person. I presided over the Order of the Silver Trowel, Knights of the York Cross of Honor, and Grand Council of Cryptic Masons of Idaho. I was also awarded the Order of the Secret Vault and Ephraim A. Kirby Awards. 

At the end of April, Idaho College SRICF and Star Garnet Council No.560 of the AMD were able to meet for the first time since the quarantine restrictions came down. The next weekend, my College's Secretary and I went to Wyoming for their SRICF College and York Rite College meetings.

My time in May and June was taken up with work trips. July took me to Alaska (it was weird having so much daylight). The next week I went to Phoenix to attend the Southwest Regional Red Cross of Constantine where I receive the College of Viceroys degree and the Southwest SRICF Conference hosted by Arizona College.

August took me to Minneapolis to attend the 68th Triennial of the Grand Encampment of Knights Templar of the USA. I was surprised to be asked to serve as Chairman of the Special Committee on Communications.

The first half of September was taken up with attending the Grand Chapter of Royal Arch Masons of Colorado and the Grand Chapter of Royal Arch Masons of Wyoming. Except for Idaho, all of the other Grand Chapters in the Northwest had not met in person so much of my job as Deputy General Grand High Priest of the Northwest had been attending virtual meetings. That month I was also appointed as Assistant Alumni Adviser for the Kappa Rho Chapter of the Kappa Sigma Fraternity. In October I presided over a portion of the Northwest York Rite Conference in Boise, ID. Two weeks later, I drove nearly 8-hours to attend the Northwest York Rite Festival in Wenatchee, WA.

With November came the 2021 Annual Meeting of the High Council of the Societas Rosicruciana in Civitatibus Foederatis in Louisville, KY. The next weekend was the conferral of the Chivalric Orders that the Grand Commandery of Knights Templar of Idaho in Boise, ID.

In December I was appointed IV Pillar of Redemption Tabernacle No.XL of the Holy Royal Arch Knights Templar Priests and elected Eminent Viceroy of St. Michael Conclave of the Red Cross of Constantine.

I'm looking forward to this next year and it is going to be even busier than 2021!

God bless all of you and have a Happy New Year.

Saturday, December 25, 2021

Merry Christmas

Merry Christmas and Happy Holidays to all of my family, friends, Brothers, Companions, Sir Knights, Companion Knights, Fellows, Knights Companion, Cousins, Knights, and Fratres around the world. 

Today we celebrate the birth of the Logos Incarnate, the Blessed Redeemer, the Glory of the Father, and the True Light of the World.

Sunday, December 19, 2021

Christmas Observance

The apex of the York Rite is the Knights Templar. We take the name Knights Templar not out of any claim of descendants or lineage, but rather as a commemoration of those Christian knights. This organization leaves the conventional story of the Symbolic Degrees and transitions us into the Christian knighthoods. A Commandery of Knights Templar does not confer degrees, but rather orders of knighthood. Unlike other Masonic bodies, including the Royal Arch and Cryptic Masons, which don't have specific religious requirements, one must be a Christian to join the Templars. Every local Commandery is encouraged to hold a Christmas Observance in December. This is a joyous occasion to celebrate the birth of Jesus of Nazareth, the Christ, the Savior of Mankind. The Christmas Observance is one of my favorite Templar activities as it allows us to bring together Sir Knights, Companions, Brothers, family, friends, and guests to celebrate the birth of Jesus Christ.

This custom began in 1876 when the first Knights Templar Christmas Toast was proposed by Sir Knight Stephen Berry, Past Commander of Portland Commandery No.2 in Maine, where he later served as the Grand Recorder of the Grand Commandery of Maine from 1892 to 1917. He started the custom when he invited other Grand Commanderies to “drink a toast at noon on Christmas Day in expressing the fine sentiments typical of the great order and its allegiance to the Great Captain of Our Salvation.” It went worldwide and encouraged Sir Knight Berry, in 1885, to broaden the scope of the toast and he was encouraged to request all Sir Knights to join in on Christmas Day at noon, in a libation pledging loyalty and obedience to the Most Eminent Grand Master. This began a custom of Christmas Observance of uniting a Fraternal Embrace on Christmas Day, at noon (Eastern Standard Time). Several Grand Commanders issued invitations to all subordinates in their jurisdictions, and from Maine to Texas, Massachusetts to Oregon and California, at the witching hour, the Templar’s rose simultaneously to honor the sentiment and the response. From there the Christmas Observance became a custom in all jurisdictions albeit that the Grand Commanderies could adjust the day and time of the toasts to bring about more attendance.

Today I attended the Christmas Observance of Twin Falls Commandery No. 10 in Jerome, ID. After a welcome by the Eminent Commander, the "old, old story" was read which tells the prophecy and birth of the Christ child according to the Old and New Testaments.

I read the Toast of the Grand Encampment Committee on Religious Activity and a Toast to the Most Eminent Grand Master was given. Toasts to the Most Worshipful Grand Master of Masons of Idaho, Most Excellent Grand High Priest of Royal Arch Masons of Idaho, Most Illustrious Grand Master of Cryptic Masons of Idaho, Right Eminent Grand Commander of Knights Templar of Idaho, and their responses were also given. I had the pleasure of representing the Right Eminent Grand Commander as he is currently out of the state. Now for the drive home to get everything ready for Christmas Day.

I’d like to end this article with a quote from James Allan Francis:

“Here is a man who was born in an obscure village, the child of a peasant woman. He grew up in another obscure village, where He worked in a carpenter shop until He was thirty, and then for three years He was an itinerant preacher. He never wrote a book. He never held an office. He never owned a home. He never had a family. He never went to college. He never put his foot inside a big city. He never traveled two hundred miles from the place where He was born. He never did one of the things that usually accompany greatness. He had no credentials but Himself. He had nothing to do with this world except the naked power of His divine manhood. While still a young man, the tide of public opinion turned against Him. His friends ran away. One of them denied Him. He was turned over to His enemies. He went through the mockery of a trial. He was nailed to a cross between two thieves. His executioners gambled for the only piece of property He had on earth while He was dying—and that was his coat. When he was dead He was taken down and laid in a borrowed grave through the pity of a friend. Nineteen wide centuries have come and gone and today He is the centerpiece of the human race and the leader of the column of progress. I am far within the mark when I say that all the armies that ever marched, and all the navies that ever were built, and all the parliaments that ever sat, all the kings that ever reigned, put together have not affected the life of man upon this earth as powerfully as has that One Solitary Life.”

Monday, December 6, 2021

Feast Day of Holy St. Nicholas


Today, Christians around the world are celebrating the Feast Day of Saint Nicholas who was a 4th Century Bishop of Myra and now considered the patron saint of Russia, Greece, several cities, sailors, children, merchants, travelers, victims of judicial mistakes, captives, archers, repentant thieves, brewers, pawnbrokers, the unmarried, pharmacists, and coopers. Known for his generosity and pension for secret gift-giving, St. Nicholas was the precursor to the modern figure known as Santa Claus in Western culture.

Little is known about the historical Saint Nicholas as the earliest accounts of his life were written centuries after his death and contain many legendary exaggerations. Ancient historical records were often kept on papyrus and parchment which was not very durable and often had to be rewritten onto new material to preserve it. Thus, it is not surprising that some of the earliest references to his name only trace to the 6th century. There are other such references as we know that Theodosius II and Justinian I dedicated churches to St. Nicholas. In the later middles ages, there were nearly 400 churches dedicated to St. Nicholas in England, 300 in Belgium, 34 in Rome, and 23 in the Netherlands; and was represented by Christian artists more frequently than any other saint, saving the Mary Theotokos.


Nicholas is said to have been born in a city called Patara, a maritime city a part of the Roman Empire (in what is now the city of Demre in Turkey) on March 15, 270 AD to two Christians named Epiphanes and Johane (some accounts name them Theophanes and Nonna). Nicholas lost his parents at a young age during an epidemic and was left a large inheritance, but because of his piety and faith, it is said that Nicholas used the wealth to help the poor and sick. I found one story stating that he was raised by his uncle who was the local Bishop. At some point in his youth, his uncle mentored him as a Reader and then later ordained him as a Priest of the church.

Around his 30th year, he made a pilgrimage to Egypt and the Levant to walk in the steps of Christ. On his return, he stopped through Myra. At the time, the clergy were in session to elect a new Bishop of Myra. The presiding bishop is said to have received a vision that whoever came first through the church doors at the hour of matins (a canonical hour before dawn) would be the new Bishop of Myra. As it happened, Nicholas was that man and at the age of 30 became a Bishop.

Nicholas served as Bishop during the religious turmoil of the late Roman Empire when Christians were still being persecuted. Under the reign of Diocletian (Emperor from 284 to 305), Nicholas was imprisoned and tortured. His incarceration lasted until Constantine assumed the imperial throne and released the Christians.

Some stories record that Nicholas attended the First Council of Nicaea (325 AD), but he isn’t mentioned in any writings by people who were actually at the council such as Athanasius of Alexandria or Eusebius. Some say that he was intentionally left off of the list because legend states that he slapped Arius for his argument that Jesus was divine, but not co-equal to God. For his aggression, Nicholas was said to have been defrocked and temporarily imprisoned, but was freed after the other clergy received a holy vision.


Known for his kindness, generosity, and piety, many legends are attributed to Nicholas which led to his canonization. The most famous concerns saving three daughters of a local man. Nicholas heard about a devout man who had lost his wealth and could not afford proper dowries for his daughters which, if remaining unmarried, would have been shunned and left to work as prostitutes or sold into slavery. Nicholas decided to help the father and save the girls. On three different nights, Nicholas left purses of money which allowed the father to arrange proper marriages for each of them. On the final night, the father followed and discovered that it was Nicholas who saved him and his daughters. Nicholas ordered the man not to reveal his charity and his scene is one of the most popular scenes in devotional art.

Other legends include Nicholas saving three men who were falsely imprisoned and sentenced to death. Another story recounts how Nicholas saved a ship he was on and held back a storm which caused Nicholas to become venerated as the patron saint of sailors. There is a legend that occurred during a famine when Nicholas was able to get wheat from maritime merchants without them losing their stores owed to the Empire, but enough to feed all in the area (feels reminiscent of Jesus’ miracle at the Wedding at Cana). Another legend tells how he resurrected three children, who had been murdered and pickled by a butcher planning to sell them as pork during a famine. This last legend is often depicted with Saint Nicholas with three naked children and a wooden barrel at his feet. This depiction became so widespread that many forgot the exact story and misrepresented it so Nicholas became the patron saint of children and, due to the barrels, patron saint of brewers.

Some scholars and critics believe that some of these legends originated in pagans and were then attributed to Nicholas. Counter arguments have been made that Nicholas’s opinion of women was more in line with that of 4th century Christianity when women played prominent roles in the movement before they were downplayed and subjugated in later centuries.

Death and Relics

Nicholas lived until December 6, 343, where he died in Myra. Under Theodosius II, a new church was built and the remains of Nicholas were entombed there. By the 11th century, the Seljuk Turks were conquering the Holy Land and were making their way through Anatolia (modern Turkey). By 1087, the inhabitants of Myra were now under the subjugation of the Seljuk Turks. This combined with the Great Schism of 1054 which divided the Roman Catholic Church and the Orthodox Churches, prompted a group of Italian merchants from Bari to sail to Myra and remove the major bones of Nicholas’s skeleton from his sarcophagus without any ecclesiastical authority. They brought them back to Bari where a church, named Basilica di San Nicola, was erected and inaugurated by Pope Urban II. Nicholas’s popularity was such that when word was spread that his remains were in Bari, demands flooded the basilica and small fragments of his bones were dispersed around western Europe which also spread and promoted the cult of St. Nicholas. Several more bone fragments were taken from Myra by Venetian sailors during the First Crusade and placed in the San Nicolò al Lido monastery in Venice. Others have reported that some fragments were taken by Normans in the 12-century and taken to Ireland (County Kilkenny). It is noted that St. Nicholas has the most bones still preserved in one spot (the crypt in Bari, Italy).

Veneration and Transformation

Christians in the Middle Ages celebrated him as a gift-giver: children would leave out their shoes or stockings on December 5 and find coins within them the next morning. One legend had nuns using the night of December 6 to pass out food and clothes on the doorstep of the needy. Veneration for St. Nicolas continued throughout the Middle Ages, but stopped abruptly with the Reformation when Protestantism rejected the idea of honoring saints.

The memory and adoration of St. Nicholas were preserved in Holland (western Netherlands) whom they called “Sinterklaas.” The Dutch portrayed him dressed in the red robes and miter of a bishop who would give out candies and presents to the good children while the bad kids received coal or potatoes. The tradition of Sinterklaas followed the Dutch to the American colonies when they established New Amsterdam (now New York City). The name Sinterklaas changed to Santa Claus with the English-speaking majority of the colonies and instead of celebrating him purely on December 6, Santa Claus became a part of the Christmas Season in the US. The modern image of Santa being of a jolly old man in a red suit trimmed with white fur and the idea of him being transported by a magical reindeer-drawn sleigh was cemented in the 19th century with depictions and publications by cartoonist Thomas Nast and poet Clement Clarke Moore.

In much of Europe, St. Nicholas Day is still celebrated by the giving of gifts and merrymaking so as to preserve the focus on Christ during Christmas. Even though Christmas has been heavily commercialized in the US, we can still remember St. Nicholas as a great example of generosity and a model for compassion.


1. Castelow, E. (n.d.). St Nicholas Day. Retrieved from Historic UK: 

2. McCann (IOHANNES IV), S. (n.d.). Holy St. Nicholas. Retrieved from Apostolic Johannite Church: 

3. Saint Nicholas. (2014, April 1). Retrieved from Biography: 

4. Saint Nicholas Day. (n.d.). Retrieved from Wikipedia: 

5. St. Nicholas. (n.d.). Retrieved from Catholic Online: 

6. St. Nicholas Day. (n.d.). Retrieved from National Today: 

7. St. Nicholas Day (Feast of St. Nicholas). (n.d.). Retrieved from Holidays Calendar: 

8. St. Nicholas Day. (2021, October 6). Retrieved from Encyclopedia Britannica: 

9. St. Nicholas Day: What is it & How is it Celebrated? (2020, December 3). Retrieved from FTD by Design: 

10. Who is St. Nicholas? (n.d.). Retrieved from St. Nicholas Center:

Saturday, December 4, 2021


Today was a busy day for the appendant bodies of the Idaho York Rite of Freemasonry. Before lunch, Tri-Valley College No.178 of the York Rite Sovereign College of North America had a quick business meeting. Several of us went to a local brewery for lunch.

After lunch, Redemption Tabernacle No.XL of the Holy Royal Arch Knights Templar Priests held its annual meeting where I was appointed and installed as the IV Pillar for the ensuing year. St. Michael Conclave of the Red Cross of Constantine then held its annual meeting where we initiated the Puissant Sovereign's son. Elections were then held and I am honored to have been elected and installed as the Eminent Viceroy (also styled "Venerable Eusebius"). After the installation, we went to a local steakhouse on the river for dinner. It's been a long, but great day.

Thursday, November 25, 2021

Happy Thanksgiving

To my family, friends, and fellow American Masons, have a Happy Thanksgiving. 

Sunday, November 14, 2021

RIP Harry Black

The Masons of Idaho and Freemasonry, in general, lost a great man today. Harry C. Black was born on July 24, 1931, in Northampton, MA, where he lived until August 1, 1951, when he enlisted in the United States Air Force (during the Korean War). He served until July 31, 1954, where he was honorably discharged while stationed at Mountain Home Air Force Base. It was while stationed in Idaho that he met his first wife Frances Jean Diehl with whom he had 3 kids. Frances passed away on March 17, 1981, and Harry married a second time, but it didn't last long. In 1991, he would marry an exceptional woman named Ava Mansell with whom he was still married at his passing.

Harry was initiated (April 19, 1963), passed (November 22, 1963), and raised (March 26, 1964) in Oriental Lodge No.60 in Boise, ID. He would serve that Lodge as its Worshipful Master in 1970. He also had the honor of serving as the Lodge's Tyler from 1976 to 2003 (with exception of one year). Harry was also a member of Silver City Lodge No.13 where he served as Worshipful Master numerous times. He served the Grand Lodge AF&AM of Idaho as District Deputy Grand Master in 1992 and 1993. Bro. Harry then served as the Most Worshipful Grand Master of Masons in Idaho for the 2004-2005 Masonic Year.

Harry was also a member of the Boise Valley of the Scottish Rite, the Boise York Rite, Royal Order of Scotland, El Korah Shriners, Order of the Eastern Star. Harry also worked with the Order of the DeMolay and Job's Daughters International.

Harry was one of the first Masons I ever met and was of the signers of my petition. I have so many fond memories of Harry. I remember back in 2007 and I was Senior Warden of the Lodge, he wondered if he would make it to his 50-Year Anniversary in Freemasonry as that was 7-years away at that time. I looked at him straight in the eyes and said "Harry, you're not allowed to die on me while I'm Master next year." He just laughed and said he'd try. When I came home from my second deployment to Iraq, I hadn't taken two steps into the Lodge room when Harry shot up to me, grabbed me by my shoulders, looked me up and down, and said, "Good! You're in one piece!" Then shook my hand and said, "Welcome home, Brother."

Harry was a fine ritualist, although, he did sometimes like to adlib and add in his own words, especially with the Master Mason Lecture. Harry, though, was a fountain of knowledge and if I needed a prompting, Harry was who I'd look to for a word. He served Freemasonry tirelessly and I'm going to miss him greatly.

Saturday, November 13, 2021

A Day of Templary

Today has been a long day as Sir Knights from all over Idaho came together to confer the Illustrious Order of the Red Cross, Order of Malta, and Order of the Temple upon several candidates.

I served as Warder for the Illustrious Order of the Red Cross, Eminent Prior for the Order of Malta, and Eminent Commander for the Order of the Temple.

With today's conferral, there have been 13 new Sir Knights created this year and we have more candidates in waiting that couldn't make it today.

Thursday, November 11, 2021

Happy Veteran's Day

To all of my Brothers and Sisters of the Armed Forces, past and present, I wish you all a Happy Veteran's Day. God bless all of you and God bless the United States.

A Day of Prayer

 From the Right Eminent Grand Prelate of the Grand Encampment:

We are taught never to undertake any great or important task without prayer. Life itself is important, and needs prayer. Our lives together are complicated and need constant prayer. Prayer has been a central theme in the United States since before its founding. In 1775, the Continental Congress asked the colonies to pray for wisdom in forming a new nation. In 1863, President Lincoln proclaimed a day of “humiliation, fasting, and prayer.” In 1952, President and MW Brother Harry S. Truman signed a joint resolution by Congress declaring an annual National Day of Prayer. In 1988, the law was amended to set the day as the first Thursday of every May and signed by President Reagan. Each year, the President signs a proclamation, encouraging all Americans to pray on this day.

The Grand Encampment of Knights Templar, being a Christian organization, has always reinforced the centrality of prayer in our lives. We recognize the essential nature of prayer in the governance of our own lives and our interactions with the world. At a time where political divisions, natural disasters, war, famine, and pestilence are tearing away at the very fabric of society globally, it comes to people of faith to pray ever more earnestly for aid from our Sovereign God. To this end, the Grand Master has authorized us as your Grand Prelates to call for a Grand Encampment Day of Prayer to be held on November 11th, 2021. This date was chosen for two reasons. First, it is the Feast of St. Martin, the patron Saint of Chaplains. Second, it is Veteran’s Day, a day where we thank all of those who have served to defend their country. This confluence of two important remembrances on one day helps us focus our reasons for prayer even more.

We ask that all Sir Knights, wheresoever dispersed throughout the world, join us in prayer on this Day. Pray often. Pray Fervently. Pray with your hearts and minds and voices. Pray with your actions and your attitudes. Pray together and pray alone. Share this date with all of our Masonic Brethren and ask them to pray. Share the date with those not involved in Masonry and ask them to pray. Share the date with those who may not know Christ, but see the power of prayer in whatever their relationship with God might be.


Almighty God, architect of the universe who has loved us and guided us, fed us, humbled us, and healed us: We ask your blessings on our Grand Encampment, and on all organizations and groups dedicated to serving you. Bless our Grand Master, Grand Commanders, officers, and every Sir Knight and their families. Give us the strength and bravery to follow you as our forebearers did into any battle, knowing that our arms are not strong enough, but that you can strengthen our hearts sufficiently to follow you and defend the Christian faith. Make us glad to serve you in reality and truth and forgive us when we stray from you and your Word. Make us mindful of you and your authority, taking away all arrogance and hatred that infect our hearts and minds. Bless our land with justice in all its varieties. Watch over the leaders of our country and communities, and those of nations and places throughout the earth, that peace, prosperity, and freedom are seen everywhere, and your name may be glorified without fear. Inspire us to walk uprightly and with mercy in our hearts. Help us to work with integrity and show mercy to those less fortunate. Provide our families with loving hearts and open ears to hear and heal each other’s pain and fear. Let us as parents, children, siblings, friends, and neighbors be examples of your loving-kindness and mercy. Bless our teachers that they might instruct and guide our young, remembering that all knowledge comes from you. Bless all who serve you through helping others, whether in healing the mind, body, or spirit, protecting our land, feeding the hungry, communicating with one another, building the environment that keeps us safe, or any other way. Save us from violence, discord, and confusion; from pride and arrogance, and from every evil. Fill our hearts with thankfulness, kindness, and generosity. Protect us from all forms of evil and temptation, from all types of greed and lust that destroy our hearts, relationships, and lives, and from the carelessness and negligence that hurt us and others. Please, O God our Father, strengthen our trust in you. Never let that trust fail; all which we ask in the Name of our Lord Jesus Christ. Amen.

Sunday, November 7, 2021

SRICF High Council 2021

Well, another SRICF High Council is in the books. My College's Secretary and I toured distilleries on Thursday then met up with the Suffragan and had dinner at Repeal Steakhouse

Friday morning started with the procession and opening of the High Council by Most Worthy Frater, Jeffrey Nelson, IX°, KGC. After his allocution, he installed several new Chief Adepts. After lunch, the educational presentations for the day started:

Esoteric Aspects of the Cornerstone Ceremony by Right Worthy Frater Ben Williams, IX°, Chief Adept of Colorado College

Alchemy and Freemasonry by Very Worthy Frater William Schuck, VII°, Ohio College

Following a quick break, the Fratres were led in a Practicum Exercise. 

Once the day's agenda was completed for the day, the Fratres wandered between three hospitality suites hosted by California College, Indiana College, and Alabama College. The Indiana College went and decorated their room with a Harry Potter theme.

Before long, it was time for the Royal Society of Knights Occidental dinner, followed by the conferring of the VIII° and IX°. Congratulations to the newly elevated Right Worthy Fratres including Frater Rick Rowe who serves as Third Ancient of Idaho College. The VIII° was conferred by the Chief Adepts of Nebraska, Alabama, and Texas while the IX° was conferred by the Most Worthy Supreme Magus. The rest of the night was spent socializing with my fellow Fratres.

Saturday started with a quick bit of business, including installing a new Secretary-General and chartering new Colleges in Brazil. Once completed, the Supreme Magus turned the gavel over to the Junior Deputy Supreme Magus who is in charge of the educational presentations. Today there were four presentations for the High Council:

The Six Days of Creation by Right Worthy Frater Tuoc Pham, VIII°, California College 

Esotericism in the Native American Tradition by Worthy Frater Taylor Keene, IV°, Nebraska College 

An Introduction to Acoustic Alchemy by Right Worthy Frater  Myron Deputat, VIII°, Secretary of New York College 

Esoteric Meaning of the Widow’s Son by Right Worthy Frater  Phillip R. Houtz, IX°, Chief Adept New Mexico College

The Supreme Magus then had pre-recorded messages from the Supreme Magi of Scotland, England, and Portugal. It was mentioned in the messages that Frater Joaquim Pinto Coelho, the Supreme Magus in Portugal, is retiring after 20-years. Next year is also the Sesquicentennial of the High Council in Scotland.

One last bit of business before we closed is that the Supreme Magus had to install a new Secretary-General who also received the Knight Grand Cross at the banquet later that night.

Once the festivities were done, I got a bit of sleep before I flew back home through Atlanta airport. I even got home in time to watch the last few Pledges of the Kappa Rho Chapter get initiated and become Brothers of that fraternity!

Sunday, October 31, 2021

2021 Northwest York Rite Festival

Two weeks ago, I attended the Northwest York Rite Conference in Boise, ID, and this weekend I attended the Northwest York Rite Festival in Wenatchee, WA. Masons from Oregon, Idaho, and Washington came together to confer the degrees and orders of the York Rite on 38 candidates (6 from Idaho) to include the current Most Worshipful Grand Master of Masons of Washington. The Right Eminent Deputy Grand Master, Sir Knight Jeff Bolstad, conferred the Order of the Temple.

It was worth the 800-mile roundtrip to see my Brothers from Washington, Oregon, Northern Idaho, and Montana. Now I'm back home and getting ready for the SRICF High Council meeting this next weekend.

Saturday, October 16, 2021

2021 Northwest York Rite Conference

Today completed another Northwest York Rite Conference. Yesterday was dedicated to Royal Arch Masonry and Cryptic Masonry while today was for the Knights Templar. I had the pleasure of presiding over the Royal Arch Masons portion. I'd like to thank the Executive Director of the Royal Arch Research Assistance, the General Grand Scribe of the General Grand Chapter of Royal Arch Masons International, and the Most Worshipful Grand Master of Masons in Idaho for attending. The afternoon was dedicated to the Cryptic Masons and the General Grand Council of Cryptic Masons International.

Today was taken up by the Knights Templar and the Grand Encampment. After welcoming everyone, the Most Eminent Grand Master addressed the Sir Knights present concerning his actions and decisions since taking office. The rest of the morning was dedicated to the Knights Templar Eye Foundation, a Legislative update from the 68th Triennial, and the introduction of the candidates who are running for Right Eminent Grand Captain General at the 69th Triennial. The afternoon was spent with a workshop with the Membership Committee.

Sunday, October 10, 2021

A Busy Month

I apologize that I've slowed down on publishing new articles. Since my trips to Colorado and Wyoming, I've had several busy weekends. The last weekend of September, I had meetings for the Societas Rosicruciana in Civitatibus Foederatis, Allied Masonic Degrees, Knight Masons, and the Commemorative Order of St. Thomas of Acon. 

The first weekend of October, I had a work trip in southern Idaho.

This weekend was busy as I presided over, on Saturday, the conferral of the two degrees of Cryptic Masonry (Royal Master and Select Master) in southern Idaho then drove back to Boise where, today, I served as Preceptor for the 32° (Master of the Royal Secret) of the Ancient & Accepted Scottish Rite.

This next weekend is the Northwest York Rite Conference. Once that is finished I'm hoping to finish the updates to the site and get some new content out.

Sunday, September 19, 2021

Colorado and Wyoming

This weekend and last weekend I spent traveling to the Grand York Rite of Colorado and Grand York Rite of Wyoming. The Grand York Rite of Colorado chose to hold their business meetings virtually and then they held a one-day session where they conferred the Order of High Priesthood and the Knights of the York Cross of Honor afterward they installed the officers for each of the three bodies. It was a pleasure to attend and they did one of the best jobs at conferring the Order of High Priesthood that I've ever seen. I had the pleasure of assisting the outgoing Grand High Priest in presenting awards as well as presenting him with his lifetime membership in the General Grand Chapter of Royal Arch Masons International.

This weekend was spent in Cheyenne with the Grand York Rite of Wyoming. Wyoming is like a second home and I enjoyed the hospitality. The Most Excellent Grand High Priest (who is also the Imperial Outer Guard for Shriners International) ran a very efficient meeting. During my comments, I called upon another Companion and we invested a very worthy Past Grand High Priest with the Ephraim A. Kirby Award. At the end of the first day, I helped cook dinner for the Pancake and Steak Dinner and was made a member of the Black Horse Troop. During the second day, I also attended the Grand Council of Cryptic Masons of Wyoming and the Grand Commandery of Knights Templar of Wyoming. At the Wyoming Banquet, I presented several awards to include presenting the outgoing Grand High Priest with his lifetime membership in the General Grand Chapter.

On both weekends, I traveled with my best friend and who is also the Northwest Department Commander (my counterpart in the Grand Encampment). He and I have a 2-year overlap in our duties as regional deputies for our respective body of the York Rite. Now to get home and get ready for next weekend's Masonic activities.

Friday, September 3, 2021

Yeomen of York

Anyone familiar with the American York Rite knows there are many honorary and invitational appendant bodies. A relatively new honorary body is called "Yeomen of York." The purpose of this order is "to promote York Rite Masonry, including the Symbolic Lodge."

This order was first established in Merrillville, IN, around 1993 by seven York Rite Masons. This order is by-invitation-only by a current member and eligibility for membership is predicated on active membership in all York Rite bodies, but to be an officer, one must have been initiated as a Knight of the York Cross of Honor.

The basic organizational unit is known as a Preceptory. From what I can find, there are Preceptories in Indiana, Illinois, Minnesota, and Missouri. Members are distinguished by a black beret, with a combined York Rite bodies patch. Preceptories are composed of the following officers:

Director General 

Deputy Director General 


Master of Ceremonies  




Preceptories fall under the governance of a Grand Preceptory which is composed of the following officers:

Grand Director General

Grand Deputy Director General

Grand Secretary/Treasurer

Grand Master of Ceremonies

Grand Adjutant

Grand Chaplain 

Grand Recorder

Yeomen were traditionally servants associated with noble households and the military. Around the Hundred Years' War, you started seeing "yeoman archers" in the armies as well as the navies. By the 17th century, "yeoman" became a rank for the seamen who were in charge of the ship's storage. The derivation of "yeoman" is uncertain, but, in my opinion, it is clearly of a Nordic/Scandinavian origin. It is agreed that yeoman is a combination of "yeo" and "man". The root of "yeo" is heavily debated. Some believe it "youngman" or "youngerman" which is considered to be synonymous with "lesser thegn", a social status in old England. Their use of the term "yeoman" though is very appropriate as this group is for members who are faithful servants to the Craft.


1. Grand Preceptory. (n.d.). Retrieved from Yeoman of York: 

2. Hodapp, C. (2008, April 06). Yeoman of York. Retrieved from Freemasons for Dummies: 

3. Preceptory No.3 - Yeoman of York. (n.d.). Retrieved from Clinton Masonic Lodge: 

4. Yeoman. (n.d.). Retrieved from Wikipedia:

Saturday, August 28, 2021

RIP Kent McCandless

It is with great regret that I announce the death of Most Worshipful Brother Kent R. McCandless. Bro. Kent was born in 1939 in Idaho Falls, ID. He joined the US Navy when he was 17 and was stationed in Kamisaya, Japan, and ended his service in October 1960 as a Petty Officer Second Class. He worked for a bank for several years where he met his wife Rosalyn whom he married in 1966. In 1977, he joined the Bonneville County Sheriff's Department where he served until December 31, 1999.

Kent was initiated, passed, and raised in Eagle Rock Lodge No.19 in the Spring of 1999. He served as its Worshipful Master in 2007 and 2008. He would serve as District Deputy Grand Master before being appointed as Junior Grand Steward and would serve as the Most Worshipful Grand Master of Masons in Idaho for 2018-2019. He was very active in several concordant bodies: he was a member of Shriners International for a period of time, a 33° in the Ancient & Accepted Scottish Rite, Southern Jurisdiction, and a Philosophus (IV°) in Wyoming College of the Societas Rosicruciana in Civitatibus Foederatis. He was also very active in the York Rite of Freemasonry: He presided over all three York Rite bodies in Idaho Falls and served as Right Eminent Grand Commander of the Grand Commandery of Knights Templar of Idaho in 2017-2018, Most Excellent Grand High Priest of the Grand Chapter of Royal Arch Masons of Idaho in 2020-2021, and was elected as an Honorary Past Grand Master of the Grand Council of Cryptic Masons of Idaho in 2021. He was also a recipient of both the Knight Templar Cross of Honor and Knight Commander of the Temple. He is also a Past President of the Order of High Priesthood of Idaho, Past Thrice Illustrious Master of the Order of the Silver Trowel of Idaho, Past Preceptor of the Idaho Chapter of the Sovereign Order of Knights Preceptor, member of the Order of the Sword of Bunker Hill, Past Sovereign Master of Fidelity Council No.277 of the Allied Masonic Degrees, Emeritus Member of Redemption Tabernacle No.XL of the Holy Royal Arch Knights Templar Priest, Past Prior of Idaho Priory No.13 of the Knights of the York Cross of Honor and recipient of the Knights of the York Grand Cross of Honor (Three Quadrants: Lodge, Chapter, and Commandery), Past Sovereign of St. Charles Conclave of the Red Cross of Constantine, and Past Pre-Eminent Governor of Tri-Valley College No.178 of the York Rite Sovereign College of North America

I had the pleasure of working with him in several Masonic organizations. Kent was a model Freemason and he will be greatly missed. Godspeed Brother.

Thursday, August 26, 2021

Worthy of the Name of Sir Knight

By Ella Wheeler Wilcox


Sir Knight of the world's oldest order, 

Sir Knight of the Army of God, 

You have crossed the strange mystical border, 

The ground floor of truth you have trod; 

You have entered the sanctum sanctorum, 

Which leads to the temple above, 

Where you come as a stone, and a Christ-chosen one, 

In the kingdom of Friendship and Love. 


As you stand in this new realm of beauty, 

Where each man you meet is your friend, 

Think not that your promise of duty 

In hall, or asylum, shall end; 

Outside, in the great world of pleasure, 

Beyond, in the clamor of trade, 

In the battle of life and its coarse daily strife 

Remember the vows you have made. 


Your service, majestic and solemn, 

Your symbols, suggestive and sweet, 

Your uniformed phalanx in column 

On gala days marching the street; 

Your sword and your plume and your helmet, 

Your "secrets" hid from the world's sight; 

These things are the small, lesser parts of the all 

Which are needed to form the true Knight. 


The martyrs who perished rejoicing 

In Templary's glorious laws, 

Who died 'midst the fagots while voicing 

The glory and worth of their cause-- 

They honored the title of "Templar" 

No more than the Knight of to-day 

Who mars not the name with one blemish of shame, 

But carries it clean through life's fray. 


To live for a cause, to endeavor 

To make your deeds grace it, to try 

And uphold its precepts forever, 

Is harder by far than to die. 

For the battle of life is unending, 

The enemy, Self, never tires, 

And the true Knight must slay that sly foe every day 

Ere he reaches the heights he desires. 


Sir Knight, have you pondered the meaning 

Of all you have heard and been told? 

Have you strengthened your heart for its weaning 

From vices and faults loved of old? 

Will you honor, in hours of temptation, 

Your promises noble and grand? 

Will your spirit be strong to do battle with wrong, 

"And having done all, to stand?" 


Will you ever be true to a brother I

n actions as well as in creed? 

Will you stand by his side as no other 

Could stand in the hour of his need? 

Will you boldly defend him from peril, 

And lift him from poverty's curse-- 

Will the promise of aid which you willingly made, 

Reach down from your lips to your purse?


The world's battle field is before you! 

Let Wisdom walk close by your side, 

Let Faith spread her snowy wings o'er you, 

Let Truth be your comrade and guide; 

Let Fortitude, Justice and Mercy Direct all your conduct aright, 

And let each word and act tell to men the proud fact, 

You are worthy of the name of "Sir Knight".

Thursday, August 19, 2021

2021 Grand Encampment

Well, it's been a busy few days. Saturday I flew into Minneapolis to attend the 68th Triennial Conclave of the Grand Encampment of Knights Templar of the USA. 

Sunday started with Divine Services led by the Grand Prelate and the afternoon was occupied with initiating of 14 new Knights by Trinity Chapel No.2 of the Commemorative Order of St. Thomas of Acon. That night was the Grand Master's Reception after which many of us went to the Hospitality Suite hosted by Jack Harper and the Grand Commandery of Texas.

Monday morning was the public session of the Grand Encampment which included a large number of introductions. We had the presiding officer or their representative for the Social Order of the Beauceant, DeMolay International, Red Cross of Constantine, George Washington National Masonic Memorial, Commemorative Order of St. Thomas of Acon, Knight Masons, Royal Order of Scotland, Holy Royal Arch Knights Templar Priests, Ancient & Accepted Scottish Rite (both Southern Jurisdiction and the Northern Masonic Jurisdiction), General Grand Council of Cryptic Masons International, General Grand Chapter of Royal Arch Masons International, Grand Encampment of Knights Templar - Prince Hall Affiliation, Grand Lodge of Minnesota, and Grand Lodge of North Dakota as well as the Grand Commanderies that form this body.

The Grand Master announced and the Sir Knights approved to make Sir Knight W. Bruce Pruitt, Past Grand Commander of California, an Honorary Past Grand Master of the Grand Encampment to which the Sir Knight enthusiastically approved. Sir Knight Pruitt was also elevated to Grand Cross Templar (GCT).

The afternoon session started with the Grand Master's allocation. After its approval, we moved into the Resolutions (and there were 28 of them). Here is a brief synopsis of them:

Resolution 2021-01: Amends Section 18 (Educational Foundation of the Grand Encampment) to allow for more people to be eligible for the scholarship - PASSED

Resolution 2021-02: Amends Section 18 1/2 (KTEF) which made sure that the Trustees are members of GEKT - PASSED

Resolution 2021-03: Amends Section 104 1/2 (Membership of KTEF Committee) and follows on to 2021-02 - PASSED 

Resolution 2021-04: Amends Section 52(d) (electronic proceedings) which allows Grand Commanderies to submit proceedings in digital format rather than printed to GEKT - PASSED

Resolution 2021-05: Repeals Sections 214 and 215 (public appearance in uniform) - PASSED 

Resolution 2021-06: Amends Section 36 to add a subsection about virtual grand conclaves - PASSED 

Resolution 2021-07: Amends Section 65 to add a subsection about virtual conclaves - PASSED 

Resolution 2021-08: Amends Section 259 allowing for Grand Commanders to set the dates for the wearing of the summer uniform - PASSED as AMENDED which struck out the final sentence of the resolution

Resolution 2021-09: Amends Section 66 (Short Form Opening) clarifying the use of the short form opening with a quorum of less than 9 knights - PASSED

Resolution 2021-10: Amends Section 235 (Retention of Rank) clarifying the retention of rank as long as the Sir Knight maintains membership in a Commandery under the Grand Encampment - PASSED

Resolution 2021-11: Amends Section 237 to add subsection about Retention of Honors (a follow-on to 2021-10) - PASSED 

Resolution 2021-12: Amends Section 2(a) (Grand Commander's Status) to allow Grand Commanders to retain honors if they move to a different jurisdiction (a follow-on to 2021-10 and 2021-11) - PASSED 

Resolution 2021-13: Amends Section 125 (Demise of Grand Commandery) clarifies what happens to remaining constituent Commanderies when a Grand Commander if they fall under minimum number of Commanderies - PASSED 

Resolution 2021-14: Amends Section 190(a) (Officers in Multiple Commanderies) to allow a Sir Knight to be an elected officer in more than one Commandery but not Commander of multiple Commanderies - PASSED 

Resolution 2021-15: Amends Section 204 (Trial of Offenses Post Adjudication by a Predicate Body) to clarify the language about a Commandery's right to being changes against a Sir Knight regardless of actions of predicate bodies (Lodge, Chapter, etc.) - PASSED 

Monday night, the dais officers and wives of the Grand Commandery of Idaho and our Jr. Past Grand Commander went to the Lyon's Pub in Minneapolis to have a "Family Dinner". The food and fellowship was excellent.

Tuesday morning's session started with the Committee on Charters and Dispensation. Sadly, the charter of the Grand Commandery of Croatia has been suspended for failing to file annual returns with the Grand Encampment. However, there is good news, we chartered Commanderies in Venezuela, Peru, Paraguay, Honduras, Lebanon, Ecuador, and Costa Rica.

After charters and dispensations, we returned to the remaining resolutions:

Resolution 2021-16: Amends Section 176 1/2 (Holding Commanderies) to allow the formation of Holding Commanderies in the event of Commandery demise or merger - PASSED as AMENDED to prevent Holding Commanderies from conferring orders. 

Resolution 2021-17: Amends Section 3(c)(2) (Special Purpose Commanderies) and Section 176 1/2 to permit formations for special purpose Commandery such as Research Commanderies - PASSED 

Resolution 2021-18: Adds a subsection to Section 176 for allowing the formation of Auxillary Units similarly seen with the Shriners - PASSED as AMENDED to allow flexibility for reporting to Grand Commander 

Resolution 2021-19: Amends 237(b) subsections a & c to amend qualifications of eligibility for Knight Templar Cross of Honor - PASSED 

Resolution 2021-20: Amends Chapter XXII, Section 260 and 261 for allowing aprons to be worn, if desired - PASSED

Resolution 2021-21: Replaces Section 178 for inclusion of an Attestation of Faith was AMENDED which struck the overly dogmatic language and used the words from the Order of Malta ritual that is more inclusive of all Christian denominations (see pic for change) - FAILED 

The Grand Encampment then recessed so that the Knights Templar Eye Foundation Corporate meeting could be held where the necessary business was conducted and the Trustees elected, then it was back to the resolutions:

Resolution 2021-22: Adds Section 99(a) for Recognition by Grand Encampment - FAILED for failing to achieve 2/3 vote. 

Resolution 2021-23: Rescinds 2012-01 and Duane Decision No. 5 concerning the Chevaliers Bienfaisants de la Cité Sainte - PASSED with over 3/4 votes

Resolution 2021-24: Amends Section 202 (forfeiture of membership or reinstatement for loss of predicated membership in the lodge, chapter, or council) to clarify the language and processes - PASSED 

Resolution 2021-25: Amends Section 82 (Exceptions to resident requirements for members of the uniformed services) to make changes and updates to the organizations listed in this section - PASSED as AMENDED with some housekeeping changes. 

Resolution 2021-26: Amends Section 201 (Forfeiture of Membership and Reinstatement non-affiliation in Lodge or Chapter or membership in an unrecognized Masonic Templar order) codified removing members from Chevaliers Bienfaisants de la Cité Sainte (CBCS) from the Grand Encampment - FAILED 

Resolution 2021-27: Amends Section 114 (Payment of mileage and per diem to officers and committee members) to include trustees - PASSED 

Resolution 2021-28: Amends Section 106(e) to make Electronic Communications a standing committee - PASSED

We then held elections for the officers of the 69th Triennium:

Most Eminent Grand Master: Michael Johnson 

Right Eminent Deputy Grand Master: David Kussman 

Right Eminent Grand Generalissimo: Jeffrey Bolstad 

Right Eminent Grand Captain General: Jack Harper 

Right Eminent Grand Treasurer: Bobby Simmons 

Right Eminent Grand Recorder: Larry Tucker

Congratulations to Jeff Nelson on his term as Most Eminent Grand Master for the 68th Triennium. You did a masteful job guiding the Grand Encampment over the last 3-years and with presiding over this meeting.

For the first time in Grand Encampment history, when the motion was made and approved to make Sir Knight Dickie W. Johnson of Tennessee a Honorary Past Grand Prelate of the Grand Encampment of Knights Templar of the USA. Sir Knight Russell Duckett, Most Eminent Grand Master of the Prince Hall Grand Encampment, was made an Honorary Grand Master of the Grand Encampment of Knights Templar of the USA.

There being no further business, the Grand Encampment adjourned for the day and the Sir Knights and their ladies met for the Grand Master's Banquet. Afterward many of us met in the Texas Hospitality Suite to celebrate the election and impending installation of Sir Knight Jack Harper as Grand Captain General. Even though I am not a Texan, I am a friend of Jack's and extremely proud of him and all that he does.

With Wednesday morning came the installation of officers. Congratulations to all of the new officers, but particularly to Sir Knight Jeremy Vaughn of Idaho who was installed as the Northwest Department Commander. I am excited to travel throughout the Northwest with my best friend as my Commandery counterpart.

Bruce Pruitt

Family Dinner

Dickie Johnson

Sir Knights and Ladies

Sir Knights with Most Eminent Grand Master


New Membership Certificate available from the Grand Encampment

Now, I sit at the airport awaiting my flight back home. It's been fun, but it is time to get home. Also, this is also my 700th article on this site!

Saturday, August 7, 2021

Ancient and Heroic Order of the Gordian Knot

Born in central Macedonia in 356 BC, Alexander the Great would rise to be known for his military and leadership skills that built one of the largest empires of the world covering Greece, Turkey, North Africa, the Levant, northern Arabia, Persia, and western India (roughly 5,200,000 square kilometers). His military campaigns increased contact and trade between east and west; helped lead the way for the Roman and Byzantine Empires; helped create the infrastructure that would assist the spread of Christianity; and founded many cities that bore his name, the most famous of which was in Egypt. With such accomplishments, it is unsurprising that so much research has been dedicated to him, even among Masonic scholars and researchers, but what surprised me is that there exists a Masonic organization known as the Ancient and Heroic Order of the Gordian Knot whose rituals surround a curious episode of Alexander and the town of Gordium.

The basic organizational unit is known as a Synod. Synods fall under a Supreme Grand Synod and there are Synods in Washington, Florida, Mississippi, Georgia, South Carolina, Tennessee, and Indiana. Synods are composed of the following officers:

Supernal Imperator Alexander

Inexorable Inquisitor

Imperial Exarch Ariston

Exalted Suzerain Parmenion

To be eligible for membership one must be a Master Mason in good standing. To serve as one of the four officers, one must be a Knight Templar of the York Rite or a 32° in the Ancient & Accepted Scottish Rite. Members wear a jewel in the form of an Ankh

The ritual is based upon the story of Alexander the Great during his time in Gordium. During his conquest of the Persian Empire, he stopped through the town of Gordium. Looking back at history, a Thracian tribe known as the Phrygians were settled in a town called Gordium. The Phrygian kingdom grew and the most famous of its kings was called Midas. This king is said to have fastened the yoke of his chariot with such a knot that nobody could untie it. The Phrygian kingdom would eventually fall to constant invasion and in 547 BC, King Cyrus of Persia conquered the region and made Gordium the capital of the region. Towards the end of 334 BC, the town fell to the armies of Alexander the Great. Now the chariot and with its know still existed and an oracle had declared that anyone who could untie the knot would become ruler of all Asia. Alexander entered the town and tried, but failed until he reasoned that it would make no difference how it was undone so he drew his sword and cut the knot in half. Another legend states that he pulled the linchpin and was able to untie it without cutting it. Some have suggested that this knot was a cipher communicated to kings of Phrygia while others suggest that it was used to legitimize Alexander's conquest and rule. Since that time, the term "Gordian knot" has referred to a complex or unsolvable problem. The chief lesson of this degree was to demonstrate the inherent unity of all regular Masons regardless of what rite or order they belong to.

The ritual was written by Varick Steele while he was working as a civilian employee in Germany in the 1960s. He spread this order throughout Germany and in Saudi Arabia, but with the downsizing of military troops, those Synods would eventually close. Lloyd Anderson, who had been initiated into the order in Germany, helped an inactive Synod get back onto its feet within the US. He, with the support of Brother Steele, then proceeded to establish more Synods which led to him re-establishing Supreme Grand Synod which is now headquartered in Indiana.


1. 10 Major Accomplishments of Alexander the Great. (2017, December 14). Retrieved from Learnodo-Newtonic:

2. Alexander the Great’s Achievements. (n.d.). Retrieved from Encyclopedia Britannica:

3. Andrews, E. (2016, February 3). What Was the Gordian Knot? Retrieved from History Channel: 

4. Outstanding Accomplishments of Alexander the Great. (2019, March 1). Retrieved from World History Edu: 

5. Supreme Grand Synod. (n.d.). Retrieved from Ancient and Heroic Order of the Gordian Knot: