Saturday, September 23, 2023

Grand Lodge of Idaho

This weekend (Thursday, Friday, and Saturday) was the 156th Annual Communication of the Most Worshipful Grand Lodge Ancient Free and Accepted Masons of Idaho. It was the first time I was able to attend Grand Lodge since 2019 as my duties as Deputy General Grand High Priest required me to travel to the Grand Chapter of Royal Arch Masons of Wyoming which often meets the same weekend.

Thursday morning, I and three other Sir Knights served as the Flag Bearers for the Opening of the Grand Lodge. Introductions were performed; there were visitors from Washington, Oregon, Wyoming, Arizona, Hawaii, and Paraguay.

We had 12 Resolutions this year that could be combined into 4 groups of resolutions: 1 was adding another certificate of proficiency for those wishing to serve as Masters of Lodges, 7 of them concerned amending and cleaning up our Penal Code, 3 concerned adding a Budget Committee and the procedures it would follow, and the last one wanted to allow lectures to be done through a video presentation. The only ones that were approved by the voting members of the Grand Lodge were those concerning the housekeeping of the Penal Code. All others were soundly defeated.

The first one, in my opinion, further muddied the waters. In Idaho, our Wardens must demonstrate proficiency in opening and closing a Lodge in all three degrees and pass the designated examination on Masonic Law. To serve as a Worshipful Master, a Brother currently needs a Full Worshipful Masters Certificate of Proficiency or an alternate Worshipful Masters Certificate of Proficiency (known as a "Secondary Worshipful Masters Certificate of Proficiency"). To gain full proficiency, one must have done everything in the Warden's Certificate as well as confer all three degrees, deliver the Masters Geometry Lecture in the Second Degree, serve as Master in the Second Section of the Third Degree, conduct a Stated Communication, deliver the First Degree Lecture, the Senior Deacons Lecture (often called "The Staircase Lecture") in the Second Degree, the Third Degree Lecture in open Lodge or before the District Deputy Grand Master of his District. An alternate certificate only requires one of the lectures instead of all of them. Some Lodges are struggling with getting Brothers to meet these standards and instead of mentoring they are trying to lower the bar.

Saturday morning, Masons and guests assembled at the Westgate Masonic Center, the new location for Boise Masonry, and performed a Cornerstone Dedication. I counted 94 people in the room and there were still several without the door that I wasn't able to get a good count on. I wore my Templar uniform and represented Idaho Commandery No.1 (one of the six owner bodies of the Westgate).

I want to congratulate Bro. H. Sherman Burger III, now Junior Past Grand Master of Idaho, for his year in the East and governing this Grand Lodge. I want to thank him for appointing me as Chairman of the Committee on Masonic Research and Education. I wish the best for the new Grand Master, Bro. Gary A.S. LaBruyere, and his officers. I've known Gary for some time and have served with him in several capacities in the Grand York Rite of Idaho where he has served as Grand High Priest of Royal Arch Masons of Idaho, Grand Master of Cryptic Masons of Idaho, and Grand Commander of Knights Templar of Idaho. I also wish the best of luck to the newly elected and installed Grand Secretary. Our last Grand Secretary decided to retire after 15 years of service and a Past Grand Master stepped into that position.

Wednesday, September 6, 2023

Sovereign Great Priory

In “The Hierarchy of the Knights Templars”, I compared the officers of the American Templary to that of the medieval progenitors. I have recently started researching the officer line of the British Templars. Like other British Masonic organizations, they have a governing body broken up into provinces and down to the constituent or local bodies.

In American Templary, the constituent or local body is known as a Commandery, then a State (or countries for those outside of the US) it is a Grand Commandery that may fall under a Department, and then all authority is vested in the Grand Encampment of Knights Templar USA. American Templary comprises the three Orders of Red Cross, Malta, and Temple. In the British system, the basic organizational unit is the Preceptory which falls under a Provincial Priory and the governing authority is known as the Great Priory of the United Religious, Military, and Masonic Orders of the Temple and of St. John of Jerusalem, Palestine, Rhodes and Malta of England and Wales and its Provinces Overseas. Also, In the British system, the Order of Malta comes after the Templar order and is conferred in a Priory, not the Preceptory

A Preceptory of Knights Templar is presided over by an Eminent Preceptor and the following officers:


First Constable 

Second Constable




Deputy Marshal


First Herald

Second Herald

Standard Bearer (Beauceant)

Standard Bearer (Vexillum Belli or Banner of War)

Banner Bearer

Captain of the Guards



An Eminent Preceptor only needs to appoint a Chaplain, First Constable, Second Constable, Treasurer, Registrar, Marshal, Captain of Guards, and Guard. There could be a Pro Preceptor appointed if a Prince of the blood royal is elected and accepts being Preceptor. 

Most Preceptories fall under a Provincial Priory which is presided over by a Right Eminent Provincial Prior and the following officers:

Very Eminent Provincial Sub-Prior 

Eminent Provincial Prelate 

Eminent Provincial Chancellor 

Eminent Provincial First Constable 

Eminent Provincial Second Constable 

Eminent Provincial Treasurer 

Eminent Provincial Registrar 

Eminent Provincial Vice-Chancellor 

Eminent Provincial Marshal 

Eminent Provincial Deputy Marshal 

Eminent Provincial Almoner 

Eminent Provincial Herald 

Eminent Provincial Standard Bearer (Beauceant) 

Eminent Provincial Standard Bearer (Vexillum Belli) 

Eminent Provincial Banner Bearer 

Eminent Provincial Sword Bearer 

Eminent Provincial Aide-de-Camp 

Eminent Provincial Warden of Regalia 

Eminent Provincial Chamberlain 

Eminent Provincial Captain of the Guard 

Eminent Provincial Organist 

Eminent Provincial Guard

Every Provincial Priory shall be composed of the Provincial Prior, past and present officers, Preceptors, Past Preceptors, Constables of every Preceptory in the Province, and any Installed Preceptors who are members of a Preceptory within the Province. 

Some Preceptories do not fall under a Province and are referred to as Unattached Preceptories similar to our Subordinate Commanderies. These Unattached Preceptories report directly to the Great Priory, but they may also be grouped and overseen by a Group Inspector. 

Provinces, Groups, and Unattached Preceptories fall under the Great Priory, the supreme Templar authority headquartered in England. The Great Priory is presided over by the Most Eminent and Supreme Grand Master and the following officers:

Most Eminent and Supreme Pro-Grand Master

Very High and Right Eminent Great Seneschal

Very Eminent Great Prelate

Very Eminent Great Chancellor  

Very Eminent First Great Constable  

Very Eminent Second Great Constable  

Very Eminent Great Treasurer  

Very Eminent Great Registrar  

Very Eminent President Grand Masters Council

Very Eminent Group Inspector

Very Eminent Great Vice-Chancellor

Very Eminent Great Marshal

Eminent Deputy Great Vice-Chancellor  

Eminent Deputy Great Marshal  

Eminent Great Almoner  

Eminent Great Herald  

Eminent Great Standard Bearer (Beauceant)

Eminent Great Standard Bearer (Vexillum Belli)

Eminent Grand Masters Banner Bearer  

Eminent Great Sword Bearer

Eminent Deputy Great Registrar

Eminent Deputy Great Almoner  

Eminent Assistant Great Vice-Chancellor

Eminent Deputy Great Sword Bearer

Eminent Assistant Great Chancellor

Eminent Great Aide-de-Camp

Eminent Great Warden of Regalia

Eminent Great Chamberlain

Eminent Great Captain of Guards

Eminent Great Organist

Eminent Deputy Great Organist

Eminent Great Guard

For the purposes of rank, the Provincial Prior ranks after the Great Seneschal. 

The Great Priory is composed of the Preceptors and Constables of its constituent Preceptories, and all Great Officers must be Installed Preceptors. 

As I mentioned earlier, the Order of Malta is separate and comes last in English Templary, but is still tied in with the hierarchy. Every Templar Preceptory is also a Priory of Malta. In most cases, the officers are the same although it depends on the nature of the Preceptory and Priory (sometimes the Eminent Preceptor is not the Prior). For a Preceptor to be also be a Prior, he must be a member first which requires you to have been elected to membership in a Priory of Malta. It is interesting to see how much closer an American Priory of Malta and a British Priory of Malta are in terms of their officer titles versus that seen in Templary. 

A Priory is presided over by an Eminent Prior and the following officers:

Captain General

Lieutenant General

First Lieutenant

Second Lieutenant



Deputy Mareschal 








Captain of the Outposts


Just like the Knights Templar, a Provincial Priory is presided over by a Rt. Em. Prov. Prior. A Provincial Prior may appoint a Provincial Sub-Prior and officers corresponding to the Great Priory.

The Order of Malta is governed by the Great Priory and is presided over by the Most Eminent and Supreme Grand Master and the following officers:

Very Eminent Great Prior of Malta 

Very Eminent Great Captain General 

Very Eminent Great Lieutenant General 

Very Eminent Great First Lieutenant 

Eminent Great Second Lieutenant 

Eminent Great Sub-Prior of Malta 

Very Eminent Great Prelate 

Eminent Great Mareschal 

Eminent Great Hospitaller 

Eminent Great Admiral 

Eminent Great Conservator 

Eminent Great Baillie 

Eminent Great Turcopolier 

Eminent Great Chancellor 

Eminent Great Treasurer 

Eminent Deputy Great Mareschals 

Eminent Great Banner Bearer 

Eminent Great Sword Bearer 

Eminent Great Captain of Outposts 

Eminent Great Organist 

Eminent Deputy Great Organist 

Eminent Great Guard

The Great Seneschal, Great Chancellor, President of the Grand Masters Council, Great Vice-Chancellor, Deputy Great Registrar, and Assistant Great Chancellor have no ceremonial duties but rank as Grand officers of Malta. 

There are also two awards given to those who have earned them: the Knight Grand Cross of the United Orders (KGC) and the Knights Commander of the United Orders (KCC).

Also see: The Rite of Baldwyn


Knights of Malta. (n.d.). Retrieved from Mark Masons' Hall, London: 

Statutes. (2022). Retrieved from Great Priory of the United Religious, Military and Masonic Orders of the Temple of St. John of Jerusalem, Palestine, Rhodes and Malta of England and Wales and its Provinces Overseas:

Saturday, September 2, 2023

2023 Convent General

This Labor Day Weekend I had the pleasure of attending the 88th Annual Conclave of the Convent General of the Knights of the York Cross of Honor. I took a red-eye flight and arrived in the late morning, so I missed the tours to the Guthrie Scottish Rite Temple and the National Cowboy & Western Heritage Museum. I grabbed lunch with a good friend from Alabama.

After dinner on Friday, we took a tour of the Oklahoma City Bombing Memorial. It's a moving memorial and the Grand Master General was very knowledgeable on the subject. The rest of the night was spent hanging out with Knights from all over North America.

Saturday morning, the Annual Conclave was opened by Oklahoma Priory No.9 before the gavel was given to the Grand Master General. Normal business was taken care of, but one notable item of business is that four amendments were brought to the floor. These resolutions would update our Constitution and Bylaws, but will be carried over to next year. The four concern several updates including increasing the fees that the Convent General charges Priories.

The annual meeting of the York Cross of Honor Medical Research Foundation was held and included an update on the cancer research being done at the Dartmouth Hitchcock Medical Center.

After a Memorial Service, the following officers were installed for the ensuing year:

Grand Master-General: Gary Miller

Deputy Grand Master-General: Jim McGee

Grand Warder of the Temple: Leland Burlison

Grand Treasurer-General: Reese Harrison

Grand Registrar-General: D. Allen Surratt

Grand Seneschal: Bart Henderson

Grand Marshal: Charles A. McCollum

Grand Sentinel: Chris Larsen

After some dinner with friends, now it's time to pack for my trip home in the morning. I hope everyone has a good Labor Day Weekend.

Tuesday, August 15, 2023

2023 Triennial

The last few days have been one for the books and closes a chapter in my life. Saturday I traveled to Branson, MO, for the 72nd Triennial Convocation of the General Grand Chapter of Royal Arch Masons International and the 48th Triennial Assembly of the General Grand Council of Cryptic Masons International. Due to the weather, my flights were delayed and so I didn't arrive at the hotel until 1am, but luckily I was able to get some sleep and relax most of Sunday morning.

With Sunday afternoon came the Public Opening of both organizations where I was honored to serve as a flag bearer of the Federal Republic of Germany and the State of Arizona. After the Public Opening, the General Grand Chaplains led us in a Memorial Service for those Companions who have departed during this Triennium. After dinner, several of us went through the degree of the Cigar & Whiskey which is a fundraising effort of the Grand Council of Michigan for the Cryptic Masons Medical Research Foundation. As we went through that, Mother Nature gave us a great lightning show.

Monday morning, the Most Illustrious Grand Master of Missouri opened a Grand Council of Cryptic Masons and then had the officers of the General Grand Council have been escorted in and introduced. The Most Puissant General Grand Master then closed the Grand Council of Missouri and opened the 48th Triennial Assembly of the General Grand Council of Cryptic Masons International.

After the obligatory Masonic introductions of distinguished guests, the General Grand Master gave his allocation. Among the items needing action was the approval to grant a charter to the Grand Council of Royal and Select Masters the Federated States of Brazil. Sadly, the dispensations for Germany and Paraguay were revoked.

The following Companions were elected to serve as officers for the General Grand Council:

William Snyder, General Grand Master-elect

Tom Taylor, Deputy General Grand Master

Keith Powell, General Grand Principal Conductor of the Work

Charles McCollum, General Grand Treasurer

Mark Irwin, General Grand Recorder

After the lunch, the Cryptic Masons Medical Research Foundation (CMMRF) Board meeting was held where there was a great presentation given. The General Grand Council officers for the 49th Triennium were then installed. Congratulations to Bill and I wish you the best of luck.

Monday night, there was an Aloha Banquet in honor of the outgoing General Grand Master who is a Past Illustrious Grand Master of Hawaii.

This morning the 72nd Triennial Convocation of the General Grand Chapter of Royal Arch Masons International was convened. After the allocation of the General Grand High Priest, there was a discussion on committee reports, but then we moved to elections and the following officers were selected:

Teko Foley, General Grand High Priest

Chad Burks, General Grand King

Reed Fanning, General Grand Scribe

Joe Kerr, General Grand Treasurer

Dick Browning, General Grand Secretary

Clyde Schoolfield, General Grand Trustee (9 Year Term)

John Logan, General Grand Trustee (3 Year Term)

The General Grand High Priest then named the recipients of the Distinguished Service Medal in Silver and in Gold for the Triennium. I am pleased to say that Most Excellent Companion Ron Birely of Colorado received the Silver Medal for the Northwest. I want to express my sincerest thanks to Steven Tiner for appointing me as Deputy General Grand High Priest for the 72nd Triennial and I wish Teko Foley and his officers the best in the next triennium. 

Now, I need to get some sleep before my flight home tomorrow.

Sunday, July 23, 2023

Rocky Mountain SRICF Conference

Last weekend I attended the 2023 Rocky Mountain SRICF Conference in Las Vegas, NV. Normally, the SRICF College of that State would host the conference, but there is no College currently in Nevada so a few of us came together to plan and coordinate putting on this conference.

Friday night, a few of us had dinner and talked until the restaurant had to kick us out so the custodial staff could clean the place. Saturday afternoon, once the Rocky Mountain Masonic Conference was concluded, the SRICF Conference started with a practicum performed by Frater Jaime Lamb from Arizona College. After him, Frater Piers Vaughan, Junior Deputy Supreme Magus of the SRICF, gave a presentation on the Kabballah. The Fraters and some guests went and had dinner.

Sunday morning, Frater Piers opened Supreme Magus College and we conferred all four Grades of the First Order upon several worthy candidates from Nevada. We've laid the foundation for establishing Rosicrucianism permanently in Nevada and getting an SRICF College chartered. Now, I’ve flown across half the country and onto another work trip.

Tuesday, July 4, 2023

Happy Independence Day

Happy Independence Day to all of my fellow Americans!

God bless our Founding Fathers!

God bless these United States!

Thursday, June 22, 2023

St. Alban

Today is the Feast Day of St. Alban, the Patron Saint of converts, refugees, and torture victims, is considered the first British Christian martyr, and, in some theories, is the founder of Freemasonry in England.

He lived sometime between the 3rd and 4th centuries, but the exact dates are debated among scholars. Some believed he died during the time of Diocletian while others believe that he died during the reign of Septimus Severus (a full century earlier) who would have been in England around this likely time of death of St. Alban. Other scholars have given a date between 251 and 259 AD as another possibility.

According to legend, Alban was a pagan Roman soldier who gave refuge to a Christian priest named Amphibalus who was fleeing persecutors. It is said that while hiding this priest he converted to Christianity as it is said he was impressed by the faith and piety of the Priest. When his house was to be searched, he donned the priest’s robes to take his place and allow the Priest to escape. When the Roman magistrate discovered Alban was not the priest, Alban was given a choice: comply with the pagan rites or be executed. Alban responded with:

"I worship and adore the true and living God who created all things."

Alban was then whipped, but Alban endured it. The Judge then ordered Alban to be taken to the top of a hill and beheaded. To get to the hill they had to cross a swift-running river (thought to be the “River Ver”) and the closest bridge was impassible due to protestors condemning Alban’s punishments. Alban looked to the heavens and a part of the river dried up to allow safe passage across. Such a show of power caused one of the executioners to throw down his weapons and ask to be executed alongside St. Alban. They were taken to the hill and before he was killed, Alban prayed for water to slake his thirst whereupon water sprang from the hill at his feet. It was here that he was beheaded. It is believed he was killed at the top of a hill near Verulamium (now known as St. Albans). This hill is now called Holywell Hill which was said to be a beautiful place.

Immediately after striking the fatal blow, the executioner’s eyes popped out of his head. It is believed that God so punished him so he could not rejoice over St. Alban’s death. Some legends state that the spring of water sprouted from where his head rolled to.

Some documents state that the Priest learned of Alban’s arrest and turned himself in, and was subsequently executed. Other legends state that the Judge ceased all persecutions in the region after learning of the miracles stemming from St. Alban’s torture and execution.

A Cathedral now stands where it is thought that he was executed and a well is at the bottom of Holywell Hill. The town of St. Alban’s (then Verulamium) became a cult center for the veneration of St. Alban

St. Alban’s in England is a popular pilgrimage for Christians and the name “Alban” was brought across to the US where many cities are named after him (i.e. Albany, NY). Such is his influence in England that many have considered him as a replacement for the Patron Saint of England as St. George never lived in England. In Switzerland, the largest annual festival is “Albanifest”. The Washington National Cathedral in Washington DC is located on Mount St. Alban.

As a Christian martyr, St. Alban demonstrated the power of faith in the face of persecution as well as the power of charity and hospitality, even to strangers and refugees.

In Masonic lore, a document called the Matthew Cooke Manuscript mentions a St. Alban who “loved well masons, and he gave them first their charges and manners first in England.” This manuscript is the oldest of a class of about one hundred early documents known as Freemasonry's Gothic Constitutions, and the second oldest known manuscript in Masonic history. The Cooke manuscript then goes on to discuss the legend of King Athelstan and Freemasonry. This legend was preserved in all the succeeding manuscript Constitutions until they were still further altered and enlarged by Anderson, Preston, and other Masonic historians of the last century.

The Regius Poem is one of the most famous manuscripts about early Freemasonry in medieval England, but does not mention St. Alban. The Krause Manuscript (c.a 18th century) where St. Amphibalus (the priest St. Alban helped) is described as a teacher to St. Alban; it is thought that the St. Adhabell mentioned in Cooke is a bastardization of St. Amphibalus. Some legends concerning these two state that St. Alban was in Rome to serve in the Army, but returned to England after his tour was complete. On his return home, he was accompanied by St. Amphibalus. In this story, Amphibalus fled from persecution to Alban not out of chance, but because they were already friends. During their friendship, Amphibalus is said to have converted him to Christianity, and where Alban created his regulations of the Craft. The story would evolve from the Cooke Manuscript to the Krause Manuscript and Dowland Manuscript.

Another Masonic source states that St. Alban was employed by the household of Carausius who revolted against the Roman Emperor Maximilian and declared themselves Emperors in England. Carausius is said to have put Alban in charge of building the walls and serving as Superintendent of the Craft. Some have declared him to be the Founder of Freemasonry in England and that St. Alban was made Grand Master. Whether this legend is true or not, the art of Masonry was introduced to England through the Romans and their artificers which may have included St. Alban. This legend of St. Alban with Masonry was perpetuated by Dr. Anderson in the second edition of his Constitutions of Freemasonry. The fog of time has clouded the research into St. Alban and his relationship to the Craft, but it does merit further research.

Today, there are about two dozen Masonic lodges around the world named for St. Alban.


1. Dawkins, P. (n.d.). The Two St. Albans. Francis Bacon Research Trust. 

2. Feast of St. Alban. (n.d.). Retrieved from Episcopal Church of St. Alban: 

3. Haywood, H. L. (n.d.). Matthew Cooke Manuscript. Retrieved from Grand Lodge of British Columbia & Yukon: 

4. Mackey, A. (n.d.). The Legend of St. Alban. In The History of Freemasonry. 

5. Saint Alban. (n.d.). Retrieved from Encyclopaedia Britannica: 

6. Saint Alban. (n.d.). Retrieved from New World Encyclopedia: 

7. St. Alban. (n.d.). Retrieved from Catholic News Agency: 

8. The Legend of St. Alban. (n.d.). Retrieved from St. Alban's Lodge No. 1455:

Friday, June 9, 2023

Idaho Brotherhood Night

Every year the Most Worshipful Grand Master of Masons in Idaho attends a function in Manhattan hosted by James W. Husted-Fiat Lux Lodge No.1068 and officers of the Grand Lodge of New York. So what started this? Why is the Grand Master of Idaho visiting a subordinate Lodge in New York? Why is a New York Lodge having an event called "Idaho Brotherhood Night"?

Well, it goes back a few years to the 1930s and the events leading to WWII. In 1933, Hitler was sworn in as Chancellor and, after the death of President Hindenburg in 1934, took complete dictatorial power over Germany. In 1935, Nazi Germany started targeting certain groups such as Jews, Communists, gypsies, mentally and physically disabled people, the intelligencia, and even Freemasons. In March 1938, Nazi Germany invaded and annexed Austria. In March of 1939, Nazi Germany invaded the Sudetenland, Czechoslovakia, and Poland. As a result, the British Prime Minister, Winston Churchill, declared war on Germany and officially kicked off WWII.

Now, stepping back to 1937 in the United States, Bro. George Briggs, Grand Representative of Idaho for the Grand Lodge of New York, taking his job seriously, invited M.W.Bro. William H. Thompson, the Most Worshipful Grand Master of Idaho (1936-1937), to James W. Husted-Fiat Lux Lodge No.1068 (then Lux Lodge No. 1079) in New York while they were both in Washington DC for a conference. To his delight and as an honor to his Lodge, the Grand Master acquiesced his request and received an amazing welcome during his visit. While Idaho and New York had a unique connection, it wasn't quite solidified.

At the 70th Annual Communication, M.W.Bro William H. Thompson condemned the Nazi regime and the deplorable treatment many faced. At the 71st Annual Communication (1938) of the Grand Lodge AF&AM of Idaho, M.W.Bro. Curtis F. Pike (PGM 1913-1914), the then Grand Secretary of Idaho, spoke out against the actions of Nazi Germany:

“During the past year, we contributed our might to the relief of our Masonic brethren who have been exiled from their homes by decree of the dictator of Germany. 300 Masons and their families are stranded in Switzerland. Driven from their homes in Vienna like wild boars, like wild geese in Switzerland in the forest. And for what reason. We venture to guess they were among the best citizens of Austria. Measured by all the proper standards of citizenship. Here in America and elsewhere, under the flags of liberal governments, masons are looked upon as most desirable citizens, we select them for positions of honor and leadership.”

The Grand Lodge AF&AM of Idaho would further condemn the cruel actions of Nazi Germany. Bro. Briggs, as Grand Representative to Idaho, read the proceedings and it gave him even more incentive to continue to invite the Grand Masters of Idaho to NY as Fiat Lux Lodge was composed predominantly of Jewish men. Thus a lasting friendship was established that has existed ever since.

According to M.W.Bro. G. Arthur Shoemaker, Past Grand Master of Idaho (2014-2015):

"That statement was NOT politically correct or in line with the popular sentiment at the time when it was given. Idaho was proven to be correct in our statement. This points out that as Masons we should not just follow the crowd or do what is popular. We need to think about what we are doing and do what is right even if the cost is high."

According to Bro. John Robinson, a member of James W. Husted-Fiat Lux lodge Lodge No.1068, said it best:

"It has come to represent the duty we masons here assert; what is right, to speak when others are silent and to do the right thing. This is embodied so well by the actions of our Idaho brothers who held up a light to push back the darkness as the world prepared for war."

The trip for the Grand Master usually consists of touring NYC including the Grand Lodge of New York building as well as a banquet/dinner and program at the Lodge. The Grand Master of Idaho is made an honorary member of James W. Husted-Fiat Lux No.1068. Nearly every Grand Master of Idaho has made the annual trip during their tenure, but due to a number of reasons (like Covid), some may visit in another year along with another Grand Master.

Idaho Brotherhood Night was once described during the 2010 visitation as thus:

"The relationship between a Grand Lodge nestled in the majestic peaks of the Rocky Mountains and a Lodge ensconced in the concrete canyons of Manhattan may seem strange at first glance, but the relationship is strong and heartfelt, and reflects Masonic Brotherhood at its finest."

May the friendship between these two jurisdictions never waiver and remain steadfast.

Saturday, June 3, 2023

Grand York Rite of Montana

Today was my last official visit as Deputy General Grand High Priest of the Northwest Region for the General Grand Chapter of Royal Arch Masons International. Thursday, the Department Commander, his wife, and I drove up from Idaho, and had dinner with the Deputy Grand Master of the Grand Encampment of Knights Templar USA.

Friday morning started with the Grand Council of Cryptic Masons of Montana followed by the Grand Commandery of Knights Templar of Montana. Friday night, a banquet was held where several Companions and Sir Knights received well-deserved awards.

This morning, the Grand Chapter of Royal Arch Masons of Montana met and I had the pleasure of representing the General Grand High Priest. I congratulate the Jr. Past Grand High Priest on a tough year. I wish the best for the newly installed Grand High Priest, a good friend of mine.

I'm now sitting in the Billings airport on my way to a work trip that will keep me on the road for the next three weeks.

Monday, May 29, 2023

Happy Memorial Day

I wish all of you a Happy Memorial Day. I had the pleasure of being with friends most of this weekend and had time to share stories remembering those men and women of the Armed Services who gave the ultimate sacrifice for their country and preceded me to that Undiscovered Country.

Tuesday, May 16, 2023

An Upate

I do apologize for not getting more educational and research material published. It has been a busy year at work. So far, I've spent nearly 70 days on the road and over 160,000 Skymiles flown. I'll be on the road the next 6 of 7 weeks...yes, 42 days (28 of them in a row). I'm working on some great articles for the website and for presenting in various Masonic bodies.

Sunday, May 14, 2023

Grand York Rite of Washington

Well, now I only have one more official visit to perform as Deputy General Grand High Priest. This weekend I visited the Grand Chapter of Royal Arch Masons of Washington, the Grand Council of Royal & Select Masters of Washington, and the Grand Commandery of Knights Templar of Washington. My Templar counterpart and I flew into Seattle on Thursday where a good friend, Companion, and Sir Knight picked us up from the airport and took us to brunch. The Right Eminent Grand Generalissimo of the Grand Encampment also flew in after us along with a distinguished Alabama Sir Knight.

Friday morning the Grand Chapter of Royal Arch Masons of Washington met and I had the pleasure of representing the General Grand Chapter of Royal Arch Masons International and the General Grand High Priest. It's always a pleasure attending Washington as it is a second Masonic home for me as much of my Masonic journey involved coming to Washington. Friday afternoon the Grand Council of Royal & Select Masters of Washington met followed by the Grand Banquet where I assisted the Grand High Priest in presenting several awards to deserving Companions.

Saturday morning I attended the Grand Commandery of Knights Templar of Washington where I watched two friends receive honorary membership in the Grand Commandery and the Illustrious Knight of the Triangle. The Illustrious Knight of the Triangle is awarded to Sir Knights who have given exceptional and dedicated service to the Commandery. I then attended the installation of a good friend and Sir Knight as Right Eminent Grand Commander of Washington. Saturday afternoon, several of us went to a brewery north of Seattle and hung out with old friends, and made new ones. We then traveled to southern Seattle and had dinner with old friends.

This morning I'm on my way home to be with my Mother: Happy Mother's Day!!!

Sunday, April 16, 2023

Grand York Rite of Idaho

Another year and another Grand York Rite of Idaho session has come and gone. Thursday was occupied with the Order of the High Priesthood, the Order of the Sword of Bunker Hill where I was elected and installed as, Honorable Grand Commander of the Left Wing for Syringa Order No.121, the Sovereign Order of Knights Preceptor where I was elected and installed as Master of Templars for Idaho Chapter, the Knights of the York Cross of Honor, and the Knight Commander of the Temple Dinner.

We held the Public Opening and Joint Session of the Grand York Rite of Idaho on Friday morning. Once the Joint Session was concluded, we conferred the Order of the Silver Trowel. Friday afternoon, the 90th Annual Assembly of the Grand Council of Cryptic Masons of Idaho was held. After the installation of officers, a divine service was held remembering all of the Companions and Sir Knights who had passed was held. Later, we had the Holy Land Pilgrimage Dinner at the Lodge in Idaho Falls. We then held the annual business meeting of Tri-Valley College No.178 of the York Rite Sovereign College of North America.

Saturday morning, the 115th Annual Convocation of the Grand Chapter of Royal Arch Masons of Idaho was held where one of my Masonic mentors presided. Art, the now Junior Past Grand High Priest, has known me my entire Masonic career: he was Captain of the Host when I was exalted a Royal Arch Mason and even knighted me into Templary. The 120th Annual Conclave of the Grand Commandery of Knights Templar of Idaho was held Friday afternoon where I was elected and installed as the Very Eminent Deputy Grand Commander for the ensuing year.

This morning, Intermountain Chapel No. 27 of the Commemorative Order of St. Thomas of Acon met and I was installed as the Worthy Master for the ensuing year.

Sunday, April 9, 2023

Grand York Rite of Oregon

My second official visit for the year is in the books. Several Idaho Masons, including my Templar counterpart, traveled across Idaho and Oregon to Coos Bay, OR.

Thursday morning started with Public Introductions followed by the Grand Chapter of Royal Arch Masons of Idaho. As Deputy General Grand High Priest I had the honor of representing Steven Tiner, the Most Excellent General Grand High Priest of the General Grand Chapter of Royal Arch Masons International. I thank the Grand Chapter for their warm welcome and hospitality.

Friday was filled by the Grand Council of Cryptic Masons of Oregon. At lunch, the Past Grand Masters Association met and raised money to help offset purchasing a new jewel for the Grand Treasurer. Friday night was the Grand Banquet where I sat between the Most Worshipful Grand Master of Masons in Oregon and the now Junior Past Grand High Priest of Oregon. It was a night of good food, good discussion, and recognizing several worthy Companions and Sir Knights with awards.

Saturday was dedicated to the Grand Commandery of Knights Templar of Oregon. I was blown away when DeMolay Commandery No.5 announced they were donating $10,000 to the Knights Templar Eye Foundation in the name of Sir Knight Loren Schrock who passed away in December 2022. I also had the pleasure of representing the Grand Commander of Idaho and assisting in the installation of officers as the Installing Grand Prelate.

Now, I and my traveling companions are on our way home.

Happy Easter!

Tuesday, March 14, 2023

Christianity vs Freemasonry

I've been a Freemason for nearly 17-years now and I've gone through countless degrees, orders, and grades, but I always remember the lessons, symbols, and charges given during the Entered Apprentice degree:

As a Mason, you are to regard the Volume of the Sacred Law as the great light in your profession; to consider it as the unerring standard of truth and justice; and to regulate your actions by the divine precepts it contains. In it you will learn the important duties which you owe to God, your neighbor, and yourself. To God, by never mentioning His name except with that awe and reverence which are due from the creature to his Creator; by imploring His aid in all your lawful undertakings; and by looking up to Him in every emergency, for comfort and support.

While most of the Masons in my Lodge are Christian, we do have men from other faiths represented and I have met Masons from all over representing the world's great religions. When I joined Freemasonry I considered myself a Christian, but I was not a church-goer (symptoms from bad experiences I had in my teen years). Once I was raised to the Sublime Degree of Master Mason, I didn't race into any concordant or appendant body; I was actually advised against doing that. I waited for nearly 2-years until I had both my Warden's Certificate of Proficiency and my Worshipful Master's Certificate of Proficiency (requirements to sit in the East in Idaho) before I even filed my petition to join the York Rite. I went to the York Rite as the Masons in my Lodge that I admired were heavily involved with the York Rite and I was always fascinated with the Knights Templar.

In the 15-years that I've been a Templar and a Mason, I have felt my Christian faith only strengthen. I see that Freemasonry (and Templary) compliments my faith and my faith completes Freemasonry. However, before I was even initiated as an Entered Apprentice Mason, I met a rabid anti-Mason during a flight who made some brazen and defamatory claims. After I joined, I found a small, but loud group of anti-Masons on social media platforms like Twitter who claim and I'm paraphrasing here, but often I see anti-Masons use the "I don't like Freemasonry and I'm a good Christian so, therefore, you're not a good Christian or a true Christian." I've even seen a few over the years say that since they consider themselves true Christians and they don't like Freemasonry that God must hate it as well. Freemasonry and Christianity are often seen as incompatible by some, but the fact remains that many Masons are Christians and there are several Christian orders (organizations) within the family of Freemasonry. I've seen accusations that there is devil worship in Freemasonry, that we're crypto-Jews, and many other sensational but baseless accusations that usually trace back to the Taxil Hoax.

Firstly, it is important to understand the principles of Freemasonry. Freemasonry is a fraternal organization that seeks to promote moral and spiritual values through a series of degrees. It is based on a set of moral and ethical principles that are designed to promote good citizenship, charity, and social welfare for all as well as brotherhood and camaraderie among its members. Christianity, on the other hand, emphasizes the importance of faith, love, and forgiveness, and seeks to promote a personal relationship with God.

At first glance, it may seem that these two belief systems are incompatible, but upon closer examination, it becomes clear that there are many areas of overlap between Freemasonry and Christianity. Both systems emphasize the importance of morality, charity, and service to others. Both also seek to promote the development of the individual, both morally and spiritually. It is important to note that Freemasonry, while religious, is not a religion itself.

One of the key areas of compatibility between Freemasonry and Christianity is the emphasis on moral and ethical values. Both systems place a strong emphasis on the importance of leading a virtuous life and on the importance of treating others with kindness, compassion, and respect. Both also emphasize the importance of self-improvement, and of striving to become a better person.

Another area of compatibility between Freemasonry and Christianity is the emphasis on charity and service to others. Both systems seek to promote the well-being of others, and encourage their members to engage in acts of charity and service. Freemasons are known for their charitable works, and many lodges have established charitable foundations supporting those in need (for both Masons and non-Masons). Similarly, Christianity emphasizes the importance of helping those in need, and encourages its followers to engage in acts of charity and service.

Finally, both Freemasonry and Christianity emphasize the importance of spiritual development. Freemasonry does not promote any particular religion, but it does require its members to have a belief in a Supreme Being. This belief can take many forms, and many Masons are also Christians who see their membership in the lodge as complementary to their faith. Similarly, Christianity emphasizes the importance of spiritual development and encourages its followers to deepen their relationship with God.

Freemasonry and Christianity are compatible belief systems that share many common values and principles. Both systems emphasize the importance of morality, charity, and service to others, and both seek to promote the development of the individual, both morally and spiritually. While there may be some differences in belief and practice, these are not insurmountable. Many Masons are also devout Christians who find that their membership in the lodge enhances their faith. Ultimately, both Freemasonry and Christianity seek to promote the well-being of humanity, and this common goal is what makes them compatible.

Saturday, March 4, 2023

North to Alaska

I've spent the past few days in Anchorage, AK, attending their Grand York Rite sessions. After traveling all morning, it was good to see the Alaskan Companions and Sir Knights.

Thursday morning, I attended Anchorage College No. 120 of the York Rite Sovereign College of North America and Denali Tabernacle LXXX of the Holy Royal Arch Knight Templar Priests. Thursday afternoon was the 71st Annual Convocation of the Grand Chapter of Royal Arch Masons of Alaska where I represented the General Grand Chapter of Royal Arch Masons International and had the pleasure of installing the 2022-2023 Grand Chapter officers. Thursday night was spent hanging out with my friends from the Grand Encampment of Knights Templar.

With Friday morning came the 41st Annual Assembly of the Grand Council of Cryptic Masons of Alaska and, in the afternoon, the 20th Annual Conclave of the Grand Commandery of Knights Templar of Alaska. Friday night I attended their Grand Banquet where I presented the Bronze Award to a worthy recipient and the Past Grand High Priest plaque. The rest of the night was spent hanging out in the hospitality suite and socializing with my fratres.

Now, I'm sitting at the Anchorage airport with the Most Illustrious Grand Master of Cryptic Masons of Idaho, my roommate during this trip, waiting for our flight back home. Thank you, Companions and Sir Knights, for the warm welcome and hospitality, but now it's time to say goodbye to the Last Frontier.

Saturday, February 18, 2023

Presiding Over the Red Cross

Today was a great day in Masonry. We held a meeting of Idaho College of the Societas Rosicruciana in Civitatibus Foederatis, Star Garnet Council No. 560 of the Allied Masonic Degrees, Idaho Priory No. 13 of the Knights of the York Cross of Honor, and St. Michael Conclave of the Red Cross of Constantine.

We initiated one Zelator (I°) and two Theorici (II°) at Idaho College. I am so thankful for the officers that I serve with.

We initiated two new members in Star Garnet Council and exemplified the Master of Tyre degree. Our Sovereign Master was also elected to receive the Knight Commander of the Royal Order of the Red Branch of Eri.

We had a quick business meeting for Idaho Priory and made some nominations that will be initiated at our annual meeting.

I had the pleasure of presiding over a joint meeting of St. Michael Conclave and St. Charles Conclave along with their Puissant Sovereign. We also had the Intendant General of Idaho and a Past Grand Sovereign in attendance. After the meeting, we had an excellent dinner overlooking the Snake River. Now, it’s time for bed before the long drive home in the morning.

Sunday, February 12, 2023

Masonic Week 2023

Another Masonic Week is in the bag. I got in early Thursday morning, as I came from a work trip in the Pacific Northwest, and I went straight into meetings. The Commemorative Order of St. Thomas of Acon was first up. It was the last meeting where a friend and mentor would preside over the order as Most Worthy Grand Master. I congratulate Joe on his term where we saw several new Chapels created. I am also honored to have been bestowed the rank of Past Grand Herald. I wish the new Most Worthy Grand Master the best of luck in his term. 

After a nice lunch (festive board) for the Knights of Acon and their guests, the Masonic Order of Athelstan met. After the initiation of new Court Masons, the Provincial Grand Court of the USA met and the Most Worshipful Grand Master of the order was in attendance from England. My constant travel companion and I went out for dinner before I had to get ready for the Masonic Order of the Bath. Due to the pandemic and other circumstances, we did not meet in 2021 or 2022. I was worried about the attendance, but we had 85 candidates show up! A great evening was had by all and, afterward, the officers of the High Council met and I was elected Most Honorable Commander-General of the Masonic Order of the Bath for the USA.

Friday morning I attended the Grand Council of Knight Masons where I was shocked when my name was called as a recipient of the Knight Commander of Zerubbabel. I want to thank those who nominated me from Knights of Tara Council No.560. I wish the best of luck to the new Grand officers for the ensuing year. After a quick lunch, it was time for the Grand College of the Holy Royal Arch Knights Templar Priests which had been brought back to Masonic Week (last year, it had been in Kentucky on a separate weekend). Then the Grand College of Rites met where it was announced that this year's Collectanea would be about a manuscript relating to the Baldwyn Rite. After drinks in the hotel bar with Brothers from England, France, and the Congo, it was time for the annual dinner of the Masonic Society where the Most Venerable Sovereign Grand Master of AMD in Canada was our guest speaker. The rest of the night was spent hanging out in hospitality suites with my Brothers; I didn't get to bed until 2:30am.

Needing sleep, I skipped the conferrals of the first Four Grades of the Royal Order of the Masonic Knights of the Scarlet Cord on Saturday morning. The 131st Annual Convocation of the Grand Council of the Allied Masonic Degrees of the USA was in the afternoon. The Sovereign Grand Master did a great job leading the meeting while fighting a bad head cold. We changed Grand Secretaries; the former has earned a happy retirement and the new one will do a fantastic job. Once the meeting was concluded and the new officers installed, it was time for the banquet where Most Venerable Brother Bob Davis have a great speech. The rest of the night was dedicated to socializing and hanging out with Brothers from all over the world.

Now, I'm 36,000 feet flying above the surface of the Earth and flying home. I've been gone 10 days and it will be nice to be home.

Tuesday, January 17, 2023

Visiting Iowa

I spent the last 5-days in Des Moines, IA, for work and while I was here I had the chance to reach out to some Masons that I knew lived here. This is one thing I love about being a Freemason: my job sends me all over the country, but no matter where I am, there are bound to be Brother Masons nearby.

After I flew in and got checked into my hotel, I headed to downtown Des Moines to the Scottish Rite Masonic Center where I attended the conferral of the Third Degree of Freemasonry. I always love watching degree work done in other jurisdictions. Legacy Lodge No.678 conferred the first section and the Grand Master and several Grand Lodge officers conferred the second section and raised the new Master Mason. Another Mason who was attending had raised to the Sublime Degree of Master Mason that morning so I presented both of the new Master Masons with the lapel pin of the Most Worshipful Grand Master of Masons in Idaho. I walked around and toured the rest of the building which had an excellent library and a large auditorium.

Friday after work I drove around and discovered how much Freemasonry had such a historical influence on the area. I even found a graveyard owned by the Masons. Saturday night, one of the Brothers who is heavily involved in both the York Rite and Scottish Rite took me out to dinner. Yesterday I had beers with another Brother and we had a good chat. Now I'm on my way to South Dakota for another work trip.