Thursday, November 02, 2006

A GLIMPSE AT ARCHITECTURE AND ITS IMPACT ON SYMBOLIC MASONRY

A curious puzzle that confronts a student of the Craft is the alleged transformation of Operative Masonry into Speculative Masonry.. On the one hand he is told that apprentices of actual builders generally undergo seven years work under the direct supervision and guidance of a master (or fellow of the craft, depending on the nomenclature used) before he can graduate to become a journeyman. The entered apprentice of symbolic Masonry, on the other hand, takes only from one to a couple of months depending on his ability to memorize the obligation and a portion of the lecture of the initiatory degree and from there he is promoted to become a fellowcraft, and finally to the degree of master mason. The obvious question therefore is: “why the wide disparity in the length of time” when both practices admittedly involve serious and dedicated concentration before he learns the ropes?

To answer that question, it will be necessary to take a glimpse at the beginnings of both Architecture and Masonry, and their relevance to apprenticeship.

I. A QUICK LOOK AT THE BIRTH OF ARCHITECTURE AND MASONRY

Unlike religion, the birth and creator of architecture cannot be ascertained with absolute certainty. Historical records tell us that the need for food first made man to learn how to plant and since plants require water to survive, it also taught him how to irrigate. This innovation expanded his horizon and started the geometrical growth of civilization. No sooner, it also required him to learn how to build roads and bridges, then to assemble powerful armies designed for conquests that their nations may expand and power and prosperity achieved.. Additionally, he also learned to build houses made of woods and bricks, the former of which triggered the art of Carpentry while the latter, that of Masonry, enabling him to enjoy comfort of his home and even acquire knowledge to build monuments to sing praises to their leaders. Thus was Architecture effectively subdivided into Agricultural, Civil, Geodetic, Carpentry, Masonry, Interior Design and its other allied fields.

Masonic writers are wont to credit the birth of Masonry to the ancient civilizations of Egypt, the Chaldeans, the Hindus and the Greeks. Indeed, for awesome edifices confirm their existence like the pyramids of Egypt, the legendary Tower of Babel and the Hanging Garden of Babylon, the Dravidian temples of India and the Parthenon of the Greeks. In addition, ancient capitals (or chapiters), among them the Egyptian Papyrus, the Persian Animal, the Indian Foliage and the three Greek columns named Doric, Ionic and Corinthian which all Freemasons are familiar with, bring mute testimony that indeed, these ancient peoples were the main source of mankind’s architectural talents.

In its early form, we learn that the first architect to be recorded in the annals of history was named Imhotep who was born circa 2,600 BC, the son of the Royal Architect named Kanofer, the former of whom built Egypt’s first pyramid, and although like Hiram Abif, his name was not directly mentioned as Master Builder because the credit went to his benefactor, posterity later recorded that it was indeed Imhotep who built it instead of the ruling monarch King Joser. Imhotep subsequently left a son named Rahotep and started a long line of descendants beginning with Kanofer spanning twenty five generations and ending with Kumanubra, the Minister of Public Works under the Persian king Darius I who lived around 490 BC. One can then well imagine the wealth of architectural knowledge that must have passed down from one generation to the next and the magnificent and awesome edifices these string of descendants may have built. And how these were done, one could but speculate as no credible records were registered. And how these illustrious experts did it to preserve their knowledge this writer cannot tell. But that lineage must have started the disciplined art of apprenticeship where the novice is patiently taught the science of architecture unimpeded by the hazards of war, religion and pestilence, and consequently must have clearly portrayed the actual transmission of priceless knowledge from one generation to the next. It may also be worth noting that recent writers conjectured that Melchizedek, the priest-king of Salem whom the patriarch Abraham met (remember the Christmas carol that mentioned Abraham?) may have been responsible in building the pyramids but the hypothesis does not have a leg to stand on for it to be seriously believed.


II MASONIC LEGEND AND BIBLICAL HISTORY

Masonic tradition informs us that the number of workers used in the building of King Solomon’s Temple that was built around 950 BC involved the following, and here, the source of information is the monitor which is being quoted verbatim :

“that there were employed in its erection, three Grand Masters, three thousand three hundred masters or overseers of the work, eighty thousand fellowcrafts or hewers on the mountains and in the quarries, seventy thousand Entered Apprentices or bearers of burden, etc. etc.”

In contrast, the words used 1Kings, 5:29 in the New American Bible, New Catholic Translation, are:

“Solomon had seventy thousand carriers and eighty thousand stonecutters in addition to the three thousand three hundred overseers answerable to Solomon;”

and in 2Chronicles,2:16-18 of the same book it said:

“Thereupon. Solomon took a census of all the alien men who were in the land of Israel (following the census David, his father, had taken of them) who were found to number one hundred fifty three thousand six hundred. Of these he made seventy thousand carriers and eighty thousand cutters in the mountains and three thousand six hundred (300 more than the figure mentioned in 1Kings, 5:29) overseers to keep the people working.”

III. A QUICK ANALYSIS

Now, while the figures used in the Monitor basically agree with that of sacred history, the titles or designations differ. Consider these:

1. The title Grand Master was not yet used in ancient times. Solomon and Hiram of Tyre are kings, while Hiram Abif was not and therefore a common title for the three could not be framed. That there were three Grand Masters makes the use of the word questionable especially because the ritual made mention of 3 Grand Masters. A logical alternative would have been to rank one as Grand Master and the other two as Grand Wardens.

2. While the term “master or overseers of the work” may be logical, the 3,300 figure can only form 1,100 fellowcraft lodges and an equal number of entered apprentice lodges. This is so because two masters are required to form a lodge of fellowcrafts and one for the apprentices. These figures will therefore have an average of 75 and 65 members per lodge respectively which is rather large. And these averages far exceed the 3, 5, 7 membership that was mentioned in the monitor.

3. The terms “fellowcraft” and “entered apprentices”, like the title “Grand Master”, were appended apparently only to romanticize the hierarchal titles of the workers to project the Hiram Abif legend in accordance with the tenets of the Craft.

4.The fairly large number of entered apprentices or bearers of burden (as called in the Holy Bible) was precipitated by the fact that the cedars and marbles are to be sawed and hewn in the mountains and in the quarries in their exact specifications and therefore required care in transport to the place where the temple is to be built. Note that in the strict sense, the word apprentice cannot possibly be elevated to fellowcrafts because these are two distinct functions.

5.A crucial issue involves the designation of Hiram Abif as Grand Master. Some writers contend that he was merely a worker skilled in brass, etc, thus equating his functions merely to that of an interior decorator since nowhere in the Holy Bible was it mentioned that he was the master of the works. If we are to consider ancient customs where the colossal edifices are credited to rulers (remember King Joser?!) and especially because the workers are Phoenicians as chronicled in 2Chronicles,2:16-18, then the apparent downgrading of the functions of Hiram Abif is not at all unusual. The chroniclers of the Holy Bible, after all, are Hebrews who are exalting the God-given talents and wisdom of Solomon and not of the men of Tyre. In modern-day Philippines, credit is given Imelda Marcos for the building of the Cultural Center of the Philippines (CCP) while the architect who actually built it is all but totally forgotten..

IV. THE ANCIENT MASONIC “SCHOOLS”

It appears the most prominent “Masonic school” of ancient times are the mystery schools of Egypt where even the ruling kings participated in the ceremonies. It is in the confines of these mystery schools where the wisest of philosophers from other nations visited Egypt to be initiated in the sacred mysteries at Memphis, Thebes and Hermopolis, that included, ancient philosophers like Solon, Pythagoras and Plato.

India’s role as a seat of learning cannot be downgraded. Elizabeth Clare Prophet in her books “The Lost Years of Jesus” and “The Lost Teachings of Jesus” contends that Jesus spent the 17 lost years of his life to the study of Eastern discipline in the Near East, which although not exactly pinpointed to be architectural studies, their schools of learning conforms basically with Egyptian mysteries. Sadly however, the lack of written materials on architecture in India, like those in Iran and China, were not passed on to subsequent generations and the failure of the geometricians of their time to write did not leave verifiable trails that would support their architectural wizardries.

But the Greeks were blessed. Many of their works were put down to writing and were preserved for posterity and the future generations to behold!

V. HOW ARCHITECTURE THRIVED IN THE ANNO DOMINI

Undoubtedly, the forerunner of architecture that grew side by side with Christianity were propagated by the Romans through its Roman Collegia. This organization was already working full steam when Julius Caesar, the enigmatic figure who not only cavorted with Cleopatra after she was presented as a gift at the age of 22 that was seductively wrapped in an oriental carpet (whether she was in her birthday suit, history did not say), also took with him to Rome no less than 2,000 priceless manuscripts in 48 BC, and later, after the death of Julius Caesar, Marcus Antonius (Marc Anthony to you), also helped himself and took away several thousand volumes more. These twin ransacking of the Alexandrian libraries may have been the reason why Tuscan and Composite increased to five the Orders of Architecture that were previously invented by the Greeks. The Romans, not really good architects but able administrators who are proficient at the building of roads and bridges, compensated their deficiency by simply adopting the talents of the citizens of subjugated countries whose expertise are deemed indispensable to their needs. The architects of the latter willingly worked (a few of course, grudgingly) for their masters to ply their trade following the dictum “if you can’t lick em, then prudence demand that you join em.”.

Emperor Diocletian who ruled the Roman Empire until 312 AD bitterly fought Christianity and as a consequence dealt leniently with the Roman Masons until the time they refused to make a statue for Aesculapius, the demigod of healing and medicine in ancient Greek mythology and consequently, Diocletian tortured to death the four master masons named Claudius, Nicosastrus, Symphorian and Castorius, and one apprentice named Simplicius when they refused to perform the emperor’s bidding.. These martyrs became the patron saints of Masons throughout Europe after their deaths and a poem about them was written called the Regius MS, a clear testimony that apprenticeship already existed during these days. The four crowned martyrs would also provide the name of Quatour Coronati Lodge that was established sometime later.

In fine, Masonry spread far and wide because of Rome’s power and Christianity’s steady growth. What was then the known world that comprise the European mainland benefited from the architectural expertise both of the subjugators and religious propagators. France had its Campomagnes, Italy its Comacine masters, Germany its Steinmetzens and the Druids who were later called Britons organized the tenets of Craft in the form of lodges. Additionally, the Knights Templar was also organized in 1118 by nine knights led by Hugh the Payens, which, after Jacque’s DeMolays death in 1314 triggered the formation of four Masonic lodges, the first at Naples in the East, the second at Edinburgh in the West, the third at Stockholm in the North and the fourth at Paris in the Southern backdoor. All these organizations basically have similar rules and regulations in administering their members which curiously always include a belief in a Supreme Being wherewith they acknowledge worthy of pious devotion and respect. As the monarchs built castles and palaces, so did the ecclesiastical authorities produced magnificent cathedrals that were the wonders of the day. Similarly, they established a general procedure on apprenticeship that generally last seven years before these initiates are declared masters of the trade. Said initiates were formally registered or entered in lodge records before they are formally accepted by the guilds and thus the creation of the phrase “Entered Apprentices.”

The birth of the Grand Lodges, most notably the Grand Lodge of England that was established in 1717, being of more contemporary origin and more so because these were already subjected to so numerous books citing their impact on apprenticeship will no longer be mentioned in detail for reasons that no longer need explanation.

VI. PARALELISM OF THE BUILDER’S APPRENTICE WITH THE MASONS OF THE SYMBOLIC MASONRY

So this article has now reached the crucial stage of comparing the apprentice of the Operative Masonry with that of its symbolic counterpart and therefore since the time frame is obviously different does it follow that the two like words are, in substance, not the same?!

Now, before that question is answered, it is noteworthy to explain that save for the fact that apprenticeship in Operative Masonry existed, how it was done was never committed to writing. This situation is of course normal because mystery schools and guilds are undoubtedly shrouded in secrecy and wee never put to print. How then can we compare the apprenticeship of Operative Masons with that of Speculative Masonry?! Isn’t it a fact that when one becomes a master mason in the symbolic degree he in effect has earned for him the equivalent rank of journeyman in the operative degree who is entitled to travel withersoever he wishes?!

Well, the answer can be both yes and no at the same time. But note the seven years span of time required in the apprenticeship of Operative Masons and the same number of years it will take to take to undergo the progressive line of officers of Speculative Masonry as will be explained below, which for the sake of brevity and to safe-keep certain tenets that do not deserve to be put to print, will be explained in very general terms.

1.The Junior Steward (the 1st year of symbolic apprenticeship.)

The Junior Steward is the lowest-ranking officer of the Lodge. In ancient times he and the Senior Steward serve as the reliable assistants of the Junior Warden during refreshments. Conversely, their jewels is a cornucopia, the symbol of abundance. With the advent of catering and the presence of lower-ranked subordinates like petitioners, fellowcrafts and newly-raised masons during the hour of refreshments, lodge customs now relieve the stewards of this antiquated duty.

During conferrals, however, he is tasked to assist his Senior in preparing the candidate to receive all the three degrees of Masonry. His job is simple, he follows his Senior’s bidding and imitate his moves and actions especially as these pertain to the floorworks and the proper handling of the rods. In the closing and opening of the lodge, he does nothing but watch, watch, watch!

2. The Senior Steward (2nd year)

Having completed his 1st year’s apprenticeship and upon proving his proficiency, he now takes the responsibilities of the Senior Steward who is principally assigned to prepare the candidate and train his successor to his previous job. He now learns by heart the qualifications of the candidate so that questions asked by the Senior Deacon are answered correctly and with dispatch.. He also improves his knowledge on the floorworks and keenly observes the movements not only of the Senior Deacon but also the others inside the lodge to enable him to put these to good use later when the need arise.

3. The Junior Deacon (3rd year)

He is then appointed Junior Deacon, whose job complements that of the Tyler’s, and has the equivalent responsibility of an Inner Guard. He also acts as the messenger of the Senior Warden. During opening and closing ceremonies and teams up with the Senior Deacon to perform the indispensable floorworks needed by the rituals of the Craft.

Except for a cameo role in the conferral of degrees, he does nothing except to keenly observe the Senior Deacon because in the ensuing year he will be expected to perform the latter’s job flawlessly if he can.

4. The Senior Deacon (4th year)

Having honed his knowledge on floorworks and their symbolism, he now is responsible for the arrangements and care of the Three Great Lights of Masonry. He also takes charge escorting the candidate during the conferral of degrees once inside the lodge. In addition, he is also tasked to prepare himself for the winding stairs lecture because he might be required to deliver it should occasion require.

5. The Junior Warden (5th year)

The first of the three lights, he is elected and within three years’ time is expected to govern the lodge. He is responsible during the hour of refreshment (omit the hour of refreshment and attending a lodge meeting will be boring), and more importantly, sits as master during first-degree conferrals. He is examined on his proficiency on the first-degree lecture, although whether he is able to put it to good use later, no one can tell! During opening and closing ceremonies he is like Eddie Garcia playing a small part in the movies starred by one of his best friends in movieland. When the need for it requires, especially when both the Worshipful Master and the Senior Warden are nowhere to be found, it is his indispensable duty to open the lodge otherwise all that they can do is convert the aborted lodge meeting to the hour of refreshment, which is his primary duty in the first place.

6 The Senior Warden (6th year)

Next in line to the coveted title called Worshipful Master, he assists the latter in opening and closing the lodge. On the subject of conferrals, he sits in the East and performs the functions of its illustrious tenant. Conversely, it is his indispensable duty to open and close the lodge whenever the Master is not around. He is also examined on his proficiency on the Winding Stairs lecture but it is seldom put to good use during his time as Senior Warden because he cannot sit in the east and do lecture of a fellowcraft degree at the same time.

7. The Worshipful Master(7th year)

His duties require him to be conversant with all the edicts, rules and regulations not only of his lodge which he is called to preside but also of the Constitution and bylaws of the Grand Lodge where it is beholden, that is, in addition to proficiency in the ritual wherein he will be first examined before he can ascend the Oriental Chair. Mastery of the 3rd degree lecture is also a must.

Although the rules require specific duties on both the Senior and Junior Wardens during conferral of degrees and also on the latter during the hours of refreshment, he is never relieved of his overall responsibilities. He may berate his junior when one brother has drank one too many for intemperance and excess, because while lodge rules allow him to delegate, he can never escape from his sworn responsibilities on everything that happened in the lodge. After his term ends, he is awarded the past master’s jewel to symbolize that he indeed has graduated as a “true blue master” capable of governing the lodge wherewith he is called to preside.

And to end this rather long article, it may be worth answering a veiled question that was playfully hidden by the founding fathers of Symbolic Masonry and that is:

If the worth of the builder’s apprentice is not the same as the apprentice of Symbolic Masonry, what then is equivalent worth of the degree of a Master Mason who has not gone through the chairs in the symbolic degree when compared with that of Operative Masonry?

and the answer is:

What else but a mason classified under the acronym KSF, or the knight, spoon and fork degree, for even in ancient times the use of these implements in banquets and merrymaking are indeed indispensable tools in the in the supposedly mysterious realm of Masonry!!

Sources:

Ancient Engineers- L. Sprague de Camp
Freemasons for Dummies- Christopher Hodapp
Freemason, Inside the World’s Oldest
Secret Society- H. Paul Jeffers
Morals and Dogma- Albert Pike
The Secret History of Freemasonry- Paul Naudon
The Secrets of Freemasonry- Robert Lomas
The Holy Bible
The Craft’s Monitor


Note: The writer is indebted to Dr. Constante Pacis for the several books that he graciously gifted the writer and were consequently used as inspirational references in composing this article.

Tuesday, January 31, 2006

THE POMMELS (OR BALLS) ATOP THE CHAPITERS

In the second-degree lecture, what the aging lion considers the most beautiful lesson is contained in a semi-coded sentence that says:

“The chapiters wr srmntd b pommls o bls rprsntg glbs.”

that was followed by an un-coded and rather long sentence that says thus:

“Their principal use, besides serving as maps to distinguish the outward parts of the earth, and the situation of the fixed stars, is to illustrate and explain the phenomena arising from the annual revolution of the earth around the sun as well as its diurnal rotation upon its own axis.”

Please note that two phrases that are subtly hidden in the sentence which can be summed up as follows: (1) “the annual revolution of the earth around the sun”, which means the year, and (2) “its diurnal rotation upon its own axis” which simply meant the day.

The greatest puzzle of course that confronts this writer is when was the second- degree lecture composed? Consider these curious facts that are presented in reverse order of occurrence as shown in Item III below. But first, let’s get to the Holy Bible where these phrases were derived:

I. THE PILLARS AND CHAPITERS AS MENTIONED IN THE HOLY BIBLE

2Chronicles 3:15-17 (King James Version) says:

“Also, he (meaning Huram or Hiram Abif) made before the house two pillars of thirty and five cubits high, and the chapiter that was on top of each of them was five cubits. And he made chains, as in the oracle, and put them on the heads of the pillars; and made a hundred pomegranates, and put them on the chains. And he reared up the pillars before the temple, and one the right hand, and the other on the left; and called the name of that on the right hand Jachin, and the name of that on the left Boaz.”.

that was followed by Chr. 4:11-12, that says:

. . . And Huram finished the work that he was to make for King Solomon for the house of God; to wit, the two pillars , and the pommels and the chapiters which were on the top of the pillars, and the two wreaths to cover the two pommels of the chapiters which were on top of the pillars.:

II. A MATTER OF SEMANTICS

Curiously, of the three key words that were used- namely, pillar, chapiter, and pommel, only “pillar” can be found in Webster’s New Compact Dictionary. The words chapiter and pommel are nowhere to be found. And so the need to consult the other versions of the Holy Bible.

Here are interesting discoveries.

King James New Amer. Bible Berkely Edition
(1) pillar column column
(2) chapiter capital capital
(3) pommel node bowl

The meanings as defined by the authoritative Webster Dictionary follow.

` pillar- a column or shaft standing alone especially as a monument

column- a pillar supporting a roof or gallery

chapiter- probably an archaic word as it is not listed in the dictionary

capital- the top part or piece of an architectural column

pommel- same as chapiter- probably an archaic word as it is also not in the dictionary

node- a thickened, swollen or differentiated area (as of tissue)

bowl- a concave vessel to hold liquids; a drinking vessel; a bowl-shaped part or structure.

On Item 1-

From the definitions listed above, it appears the word pillar is the more appropriate translation since the structures named Boaz and Jachin were built outside King Solomon’s Temple. It thus clearly shows that these are structural monuments and are not part of the building itself. The word “column” of course, may be considered a good synonym although not as accurate as the word “pillar”.

On Item 2-

While the word “chapiter” is not found in the dictionary, it appears to be synonymous to the word “capital” since both comprise the top part of an architectural column. This top part represents the identification mark of the different orders of architecture like the Tuscan, the Doric, the Ionic, the Corinthians and the Composite; architectural orders to which Freemasons are acquainted, and the Egyptian Papyrus, the Egyptian Date-Palm, the Persian Animal, the Indian Foliage and the Indian Plain Capital which even modern architects may not even have heard of.

On Item 3-

Here shows the most controversial renderings of the Hebrew word, whatever it is, from the manner these were translated three as shown above. While this writer cannot be definite in his own interpretation, it appears that pommel is a variant of “pomelo”, a round fruit, and therefore would look like a globe, which planet earth really is. The words “node” and “bowl” certainly have different appearances when differentiated from the word “pommel” and thus, interpretations on what was really atop the chapiters of King Solomon’s Temple will easily result in confusion..

And that is where the difference in the interpretation of planet earth, whether a globe or flat, or whether it is the sun that revolves around the earth or vice-versa are divergently rooted. Consider these.

III. SOME CURIOUS HISTORICAL OR BIBLICAL DATA

1. On 31 October 1992, some 350 years after Galileo's death, Pope John Paul II gave an address as vicar of the Catholic Church in which he admitted that errors had been made by the theological advisors in the case of Galileo. He declared the Galileo case closed, but did not admit that the Church was wrong to convict Galileo on a charge of heresy because of Galileo’s belief that the Earth rotates round the sun. (Source- Internet)

2. On April 12, 1961 Yuri Gagarin, the Soviet cosmonaut became the first human to orbit the earth. (Source- Internet)

Although not explicitly mentioned, this event confirms Galileo’s observation that it is the sun, and not the earth that is at the center of the universe. It also in effect confirmed that the moon is a satellite of the earth as not only did the scientific instruments validated this fact but Gagarin’s eyes in effect also did.

3. Galileo Galilei (1564-1642) was convicted of heresy by the Inquisition for advancing his belief on the heliocentric system, that is, that the sun is at the center of the universe and not the earth as propounded by Claudius Ptolemy (see Item 5 below).

4. In 1582 Pope Gregory XIII issued the Gregorian calendar that replaced the Julian Calendar of Julius Caesar that was created in 63 BC. This Gregorian calendar was based on the actual revolution of the earth around the sun consisting of 365 days, 5 hours, 48 minutes and 46 seconds, which is 11 minutes and 14 seconds less than the Julian calendar of 365 days every three years and 366 days on the fourth or leap year.

Instead, however, of using the actual number of days and hours as mentioned above, the Georgian calendar that we still use today, Pope Gregory XIII simply deducted the 11 days that had accumulated from the Julian calendar in 1582 and amended it by continuing the 3-year 365 day and 1-year 366 leap year cycle, except that years ending with hundreds were not considered as leap years unless it is divisible by 400. This explains why year 2000 that elapsed five years ago was a leap year. Conversely, it is not certain whether Julius Caesar simply rounded off the 1465 (365 x 3 plus 366) days every four years or 365.25 for reasons of exigency and not for any other reason. Incidentally, the Mayans of ancient America also converted the year as 365.222 although the date of its use and why it was so was not known.

5. In AD 548, Cosmas, who became a monk and wrote his memoirs expounded
the Christian view of the Earth that is similar to the first tabernacle of Moses and is therefore rectangular in form. This belief also places Jerusalem at the center of the earth where “Jacob in his vision saw. . . . reaching from earth to heavens”, etcetera, etcetera. Note also the Masonic ritual that says “lodges were situated due east and west as Moses. . . .”

6. Claudius Ptolemy, a Greek astronomer (90-168) who lived in Alexandria, Egypt during the first century AD propounded the theory of the geocentric system based on mathematical observations that it is the earth that is at the center and that the sun and the other planets moved around it. This treatise, expounded extensively in his works titled “The Almagest” had a very lasting impression on the astronomers and geographers of the time and was ultimately replaced only when Galileo Galilei propounded the theory of the heliocentricity of the sun. This treatise also in effect supports the biblical supposition of the sun rising in the east, setting in the west and with earth being static at the center.

The basic flaw of this theory is that while the 365 days, 5 hours 48 minutes and 46 seconds may also result if the sun indeed rotated around the earth as the time that it will take will be the same because of the same distance, the position of the fixed stars will necessarily be different. Note also that the exact place of the earth also dictate the equinoxes and the solstices, positions that will be altered if it is the sun that rotates around the earth and not vice versa. And consider also that the location of the other planets like Mars, Jupiter, Venus, etc., at a given time will turn haywire if it is the earth that it is at the center of the universe.

7. Julius Ceasar reformed the Egyptian calendar in 63 BC using the traditional 365 days normal year and the 366 days leap year, that in turn, was amended by the Georgian calendar in 1582.

8. King Solomon built his magnificent temple sometime 950 BC where the chapiters and pommels (or bowls, or nodes depending on the translation used) are mentioned in the Holy Bible.

9. Joshua, successor of Moses, is said to have commanded the sun to stand still and the moon to stay so that the Israelites nay defeat the Amorites. This biblical event may have occurred around 1274 BC.

IV SOME RELATED OBSERVATIONS

From the foregoing ancient historical and/or biblical data, the following observations may be gathered.

a). The proponents of the bowl-like or basin-like earth supports the theory that the earth is either round or semi-spherical and that there could not exist antipodes on the lower part of a the earth as unlike the lizards that could walk on ceilings upside down, common sense would dictate that antipodes would fall down from the earth if this is so.

b) The biblical quotation on Item 9 in which Joshua is said to have commanded the sun to stop and the moon to stay at their respective places supports the theory of Claudius Ptolemy that it is the earth that is stationary and that those that move are the sun and the moon wherewith Joshua was able to stop and win his war with the Amorites.

c) Item 6 supports the premise that the earth is in the form of a bowl, a basin (or half a sphere) that contained the land and the seas and all things therein contained.

d) The other facts support the sphericity of the earth that is already known to the ancient civilizations, notably, the Chaldees, the Greeks, the Egyptians and the Romans even before the birth of Jesus Christ.

V. THE ELUSIVE SEARCH FOR TRUTH

Ending this article can be anti-climactic. Having explained the sphericity of the earth and its relationship with the sun has aptly explained the relevance of the pommels (or balls) that the Craft’s second degree lecture. But there is a more important message that lurks behind the curtain and that is the search for “truth”. In this regard, let the aging lion now digress.

Some of the readers may have come across the adage that to learn Islam, one must study the Koran in earnest using the Arabic language for much is lost in its translation. The same case would also appear to the study of the Holy Bible for as one can observe, mis-rendering of the original word is not uncommon.

But this writer wonders, will the truth that already stares at our face, fail to convince our stubborn minds, simply because common sense previously told us it is not so?!

Our hero, Dr. Jose Rizal, for example, may still be considered lucky for after his death at the hands of the ecclesiastical authorities by firing squad, the same Church Fathers concocted a blasphemous act of twisting facts by saying Rizal retracted his Masonic beliefs and therefore has returned to the religious fold. As a consequence, brethren wince whenever this issue is brought to the fore.

But the immortal Galileo Galilei who died at the dungeons after being made to sign a retraction that the sun is not at the center of the universe was undoubtedly vindicated by later events saying he was right. Despite the overwhelming scientific evidence proving that the world is round and that it rotates around the sun in rhythmic cadence from time immemorial and will continue be so until the GAOTU decides to change its course, however, the Roman Church still vehemently rejects the glaring error that was made by the Inquisition some 350 years ago..

Sources:

The Ancient Engineers
The Discoverers
The Holy Bible
Internet files
The World’s Religions

Wednesday, January 18, 2006

BROTHERLY LOVE-- OUTSIDE THE LODGE

(Lecture delivered to the brethren of Dagohoy Lodge No. 84 on January 14, 2006)

Worshipful Master, brethren.

Today’s Masonic Education lecture is titled “Brotherly Love-- Outside the Lodge”. But before I deliver it to you, allow me to cite an anecdote that happened just a while ago that has relevance to this topic.

Before our lodge was opened a few minutes ago, and while waiting for the hat that VW Manuel Mende has ordered brought from his home to the lodge, Bro. Ryan Tirol, who was to act as master of the lodge due to the inability of both the Worshipful Master and the Senior Warden to sit in the East, with the former being indisposed and is scheduled for an operation, while the latter unduly late for the meeting, asked this writer if the lodge cannot be opened unless a hat is available.

Bro. Tirol, being a very young mason (he was raised less than two years ago), deserved to be given an explanation. And so the reply was: “our Fraternity relies heavily on symbolism, and that the master’s hat is indispensable as it makes him on top of all the other brethren. Without it, he will be just like any other, and therefore, subordination in the lodge cannot be effectively carried out.” He thereafter nodded as a sign that he understood.

So let me now get back to the topic.

Our monitor states that the first two things a master do when opening a lodge of whatever degree is (1)puts on hat, and (2) displays working tools. The first has just been explained and the second will now be done.

Note that we don’t have a working tool around. This inadvertence may be understandable as it may have been mislaid somewhere when we demolished our old lodge a few months ago. And so allow me to give the lodge a simple gift which I will now put below the Worshipful Master’s table to be displayed for all the brethren to see, thus complying with the requirement.

How I acquired the working tools is a story in itself. You see, last October, a few weeks prior to my departure for the metropolis to attend with my family the Christmas holidays, I sent two emails to two brethren.
These emails have more or less similar contents and sentence constructions except for the fact that one pertains to a request for working tools while the second for a set of gavels and columns that adorn the tables of the three lights. The first was addressed to Bro. Albert Encarnacion of Laong Laan Lodge No. 185 while the second was sent to VW Jose Ferlu Sudario of Juan Sumulong Lodge No. 169, lodges where the aging lion hold honorary membership, requesting if and would both lodges favor the aging lion with these Masonic furniture as gifts ?!

Let me now narrate what happened to the first email.

Bro. Albert’s reply was to the point. He simply said: “Approved.”

But before he was able to verbally present the request to the lodge, he accidentally met Bro. Rex Ramos, also of the same lodge, who readily said there is no more need to ask the lodge. He’ll buy it himself, anyway, he just closed an insurance deal and the commission was substantial.

The second email was as lucky. VW Ferlu accidentally narrated my request to WB Romulo Ignacio, past master of Antipolo Lodge No. 334 who assured the former that he will have the items carved somewhere at Taytay, Rizal, and to cut the long story short, the sets of gavel and the columns were immediately carved and given to VW Ferlu. And ultimately to the lion when he arrived in the metropolis the first week of December. When asked how much the furniture cost, the giver simply smiled and said: “since it is for your new lodge, Kuya Jun, that will be for free, or in the Castillan language, gratis et amore.”

Now, what makes the story interesting is that WB “Totoy” as the donor is called, and the aging lion, are not really known to each other, especially because the latter has already migrated to the scenic island of Bohol.

The incident that transpired on the working tools was not the same. Although the intended donee and donor have already met the first Saturday of December, the item was not yet purchased. During the multi-district convention that was held at the Grand Lodge last December 17, the aging lion chanced upon WB John Teng and so explained to him his predicament saying he might end up getting home without the item being brought along. Whereupon WB John, instead of replying directly, just dialed his cell phone and said “Bro. Rex, Kuya Jun is here with me at the Grand Lodge. I’m buying the working tools here at the Masonic Supply Store for him and you’ll just have to reimburse me when next we met. And that’s it!

Another gift that the lion expects to receive, although experiencing a snag in the mails, is a US $400 remittance that WB Dennis Alban of Integrity Lodge No. 997 promised; (in what part of the USA, the lion knows not where). He said he sent it last December 12 and yet by January 14, it hasn’t arrived yet. The aging lion therefore requested WB Moises Millanar, the addressee, to check it up with the post office to find out whatever happened while the lion assured the latter that he will make the corresponding follow-up with WB Dennis via email soonest he reach the lion’s den. This manna, when received, can easily fund the possible replacement of the tables of the three lights and possibly the rickety chairs that was used in the old, old, lodge.

There is yet another cash gift that is given by Bro. Orly Bernales of Leeward Lodge of the Grand Lodge of Hawaii, and at this instance, the lion requested that he stand so that his presence my be officially acknowledged and at the same time personally hand over the US $170 donation, coming as it is from his own lodge in scenic and hula-dancing island of Hawaii.

As you will note, dear brethren, those from other lodges outside our borders are as interested in our efforts to rebuild our own lodge. Time demanded that the old one be demolished as the structure, once mighty and imposing, has outlived its purpose. The founders of Dagohoy Lodge No. 84 surely will not fault us for making this bold move, their souls may even guard the new temple as indeed it is undoubtedly closer to their bones.

Note:

There are other donations received by the aging lion. From American Samoa, he received a total of US$ 80, the proceeds of which were spent mostly on the lion tamer’s harelip project and expenses related to the case of Melvyn Bernaldes who is undergoing treatment at the Vicente Sotto Hospital at Cebu City and to Jonel Lustrado who is taking medicines at home.

Another donor who insisted that he remains unidentified gave the aging lion P5,000 last December with the specific instruction that it be added to the Christmas expenses that the lion and his tamer are expected to incur at their backyard to celebrate Christmas. He said that the amount may not ameliorate or improve their lot, but about five hours merrymaking of these poor folks will already be good enough. He even promised that he will help defray the cost of a new project called “A Mini Park for the Kids” that is now being mulled by the lion tamer and his aging pet at their own backyard by the sea.

Wednesday, January 04, 2006

THE VAGARIES OF DIVERGING (IR)RELIGIOUS VIEWS

Freemasonry, although not a religion, expressly prohibits atheists from joining the Craft due to religious considerations. Of course there are others who are barred from joining, like women, young men in their non-age and old men in their dot-age, but their exclusion are due not to religion but to other reasons.

But are atheists the only persons who are barred on account of their religious conviction, or precisely, the lack of it? Let the aging lion now offer two other curious words in addition to atheists as defined Webster’s in Dictionary. This group, for the purpose of this article, will be called unbelievers.

I. THE UNBELEIVERS

Atheist- One who denies the existence of God.

Agnostic- Of or relating to the belief that the existence of any ultimate reality (as God) is unknown and probably unknowable.

Naturalist- One who advocates or practice the doctrine that denies a supernatural explanation of the origin, development, or end of the universe, and holds that scientific laws account for everything in nature.

From the above-mentioned definitions, both the atheist and the naturalist share the same belief that denies the existence of an Omnipotent God whereas the agnostic does not know and will probably end up not knowing till the end of time.

The same premise apparently holds true in so far as the existence of the soul is concerned except that to naturalists, birth, death and resurrection indeed apply in the form of science by observing all living things although nothing is mentioned at all about the soul.


II. THE BELIEVERS

People who believe in the Almighty can be categorized many ways, the most common of which are traceable to the religions that sprouted from two ancient civilizations, namely, that from the ancient Near East in old India, those that were established by the Semites in ancient Mesopotamia and from other sources. Here are eight of them.

A. From the ancient religions of the Near East.

1. The Hindus- this religion has about 330 million Gods, the most famous of whom are Brahma, Visnu and Siva. Their book of the Holy Writings is called Bhagavad-gita and have four social classes called (a) the Brahmins (priests), (b) Katriyas (warriors), (c) Vaisyas and (d) Sudras, the last two of which are underlings who served the first two classes. Its principal tenet revolves around the karmic effect of reincarnation and the eventual cleansing of the soul until it finally soars to the mighty heavens when freed of worldly sins. The large number of Gods may be intelligible and may be incomprehensible to non-Hindus but may probably be understood if the other gods are simply classified as saints as Christians do.

2. The Buddhists- Buddhism is a religion founded by Siddhartha Gautama who was born around 586 BC and grew up amidst luxury. He eventually left the worldly life of comfort and took the life of a wandering recluse. Buddha is not a God but one who has achieved that status after death. Its scriptures, in addition to the Bhagavad-gita, are the compiled teachings of Buddha. Its votaries comprise the inhabitants of the Chinese mainland, Korea, Japan and many of the other Southeast Asian nations notably Burma, Laos and Thailand and accounts for about forty percent of the world’s population and is probably the largest religion in the world. Like the Jains, the Buddhists have deep respect for animal life.

3. The Jains- Like the Hindus, this religion was founded (or re-founded) by Mahavra who was born around 599 B. C and claims its existence from immemorial antiquity. Their beliefs are said to be more strict and terse than Buddhism, they who strains their drinking water, wear masks and so on, to prevent them from accidentally taking life of living creatures since this act, even when not done on purpose, can bring bad karmic effect. Their austere life explains their dwindling members now to only about 3 million and located in India.

This religion has no concept of a Creator and that the Universe is roughly like the shape of a person with the population located somewhere at the waist, with the upper part representing the Heavens and the lower part representing Hell.. When after a series of reincarnations the soul finally is purified from its earthly sins, the soul rises up where it then forever resides free from pain.

B. FROM THE SEMITIC RELIGIONS

1. Judaism- Generally believed to be founded by Moses who was said to be responsible for the compilation of the Pentateuch which is the first five books of the Old Testament, this religion echoed the spiritual cravings of the Israelites and is considered the mother religion of both Christianity and Islam. Its God is either called Yahweh, Jehovah, El Shaddai, etc depending on what version or translation of the Holy Bible one reads..

2. Christianity- a breakaway and revolutionary group from Judaism, this religion sprouted from the face of the earth after the death of Jesus Christ, the perceived Messiah of the Israelites. Curiously, its rapid growth was ignited not by the mainstream Jews but by converts to the faith, especially Saul who was at one time a Roman soldier and who later took the name Paul when he propagated the faith to the Gentiles..

This religion was further strengthened by Emperor Constantine in 325 AD when at the Council of Nicea he made Christianity the official religion of Rome. It then spread like wildfire to Europe during the Middle Ages and then to the Americas and finally reaching even the far-away Philippines.

Christianity, incidentally is the most fragmented religion in the entire world what with its many sects that sprouted like mushrooms everywhere, each one claiming to be the sole repository of religious truth. In the Philippines alone, it has the Iglesia Filipina Independiente or the Aglipayan Church, the Iglesia ni Cristo, the Ang Dating Daan Movementof Eli Soriano, and the many other Protestant denominations that were established in Europe and in the Americas that have also successfully established branches in almost all the corners of the entire world, in addition to the Roman Catholic Church that the conquering Spaniards brought with them at the advent of the age of the Conquistadors. .

3. Islam- this religion was founded by Muhammad who is believed to have been born in AD 570. Its sacred book is called the Koran, the word of God that was revealed in Arabic by archangel Gabriel to the prophet Muhammad. This religion initially started in Mecca and by painstaking effort converted the adjoining towns up to the time of his death. In its teachings, the prophets of the faith include Abraham, Ishmael, Moses, Jesus Christ, and Mohammad being the last prophet in line.

This faith is considered aggressive because it allows its votaries to use the sword if need be in propagating the faith, and it is from religion where the word assassin was derived. Reaching as far as India, it also managed to have devotees in Pakistan and Bangladesh that caused the undue reduction of the Hindus in those places. Like the Roman Catholics it ultimately found its way to the Philippines where the MNLF and the MILF are the source of irritants of the Philippine government This religion, by some estimates, accounts for about 15 percent of the world’s population.

To understand this faith clearly, one is encouraged to learn the Arabic language as adherents claim, much is lost during translation into other languages.

C. FROM OTHER SOURCES

1. Zoroastrianism- One religion that has placed impressive impact during the ancient times and has even profoundly influenced the medieval times is the one founded by Zarathustra, a prophet who live sometime 600 BC in Syria. This religion expounds the belief that there are two Gods; one of good and the other of evil, the former called Ahura Mazda, and the latter Angra Mainyu, who are perpetually battling each other with varied fortunes. This religion is apparently the mother religion of Manichaeism, the Bogomils and the Cathars of Southern France, religions that believed in the dual principal gods, the last adherents of which were wiped out during the Inquisition sometime in the 1330’s. Tailings of this religion may still be found in India in but in significantly reduced number and are called the Pharsees. This group apparently are the same believers that were mentioned in the New Testament and were called the Pharisees during the time of Jesus Christ..

2. Pantheism- Webster’s compact dictionary defines this word as “a doctrine that equates God with the forces and laws of the universe.” Unknown even to many, its tenets, if you may call it that, is expounded in the 18· conferral of Scottish Rite and is succinctly summarized in the acronym INRI, the first word symbolizing the Infinity of God, the second representing Nature, the third meaning Reason, and the last symbolizing the Immortality of the Soul. If you doubt the writer’s word, take or refresh yourself on the said Scottish Rite conferral but don’t dare doze off while the lecture is concisely being explained.

This writer could not say for certain but it appears this doctrine is much similar to Jainism (see A-3) that was explained earlier.

From these eight religions may be classified two groups of people, the first comprising the multitude who are being assisted by the priests and are therefore considered passive believers- those who pray, go to sacred sites like the Benares for the Hindus, Mecca for the Muslims and Rome for the Catholics, and do the biddings of their appointed leaders. The other group comprise the adepts who explore the mysteries of religion on their own. As Francis Bacon, in his treatise “The Advancement of Learning” in 1605 said:

“Nay, Solomon, the king, although he excelled in the glory of the treasure and magnificent buildings, of shipping and navigation, of service and attendance, of fame and renown, and the like, yet he maketh no claim to all those glories, but only to the glory of inquisition of truth, for so he sayeth expressly, “The glory of God is to conceal a thing, but the glory of the king is to find it out”, as if, according to the innocent play of children, the Divine Majesty took delight to hide his work, to the end to have them found out as if kings could not obtain a greater honour than to be God’s playfellows in that game.”


III. THE THORNY SUBJECT OF GOD AND CREATION

Let those believers and progenitors of the faith declare that theirs is the only true religion although these may have been established only in the last century. But to this writer, the question is simply whether to believe in the Almighty or not. If God is non-existent, should it not follow that creation is only a matter of semantics, a word that the irreligious or the nonbelievers insist is the case?!

Let now this writer offer a few fallacious statements of one imminent psychologist who debunks the belief that God is a myth in an article that was posted in the Web, the relevant portions of which will be quoted in this article but without the author being mentioned.

1. When President (George) Bush allegedly said:

“God told me to strike Al Qaeda and I struck them and then, he instructed me to strike Saddam, most Americans were not alarmed to learn that their leader was receiving orders that no one could hear. America is an unusually religious nation the majority of people claim to believe in God.”
.
2. Quote from Albert Einstein

“I had deep religiosity, which, however, found an abrupt ending at the age of twelve. Through the reading of popular scientific books I soon reached the conviction that much in the stories of the Bible could not be true. The consequence was a positively fanatic orgy of freethinking coupled with the impression that youth is intentionally being deceived by the state through lies. It was a crushing impression. Suspicion against every kind of authority grew out of this experience, a skeptical attitude which were alive in any specific social environment- an attitude which has never left me.” (Autobiographical notes 1949)

3. Quote on the naturalist, William Paley, who laid the groundwork for the modern notion of intelligent design when he asked us to imagine what we would conclude wee we to come across a watch lying on the ground.

“The inference, we think is inevitable, that the watch must have had a maker- that there must have existed, at some time and at some place or other, an artificer or artificers who formed it for the purpose which we find it actually to answer, who comprehended its construction and designed its use.” (Natural Theology, 1802)

In other words, a watch is not a random assemblage of parts but a structured, ordered, obviously non-random assemblage of parts- and non random assemblage requires explanations. The existence of an intelligent assembler is a tempting explanation if only because it is at once so familiar and so complete. For most people, the material universe, biological life, and human consciousness are the kinds of curious, complex, well ordered phenomena that require explanation, an and intelligent designer provide just that.

But there are at least two problems with this explanation. First, the explanations that rely on the inexplicable are not explanations at all. They have the form of an explanation, but they do not have the content. Yet psychology experiments reveal that people are often satisfied with empty form. For instance, when experimenters approached people who were standing in line at a photo machine and said: “Can I get ahead of you?” the typical answer is No. But when they added at the end of his request the words” because I need to make some copies,” the typical answer was Yes.” The second request used the word “because” and sounded like an explanation, and the fact that this explanation told them nothing that they didn’t already know was oddly irrelevant.

Should the reader desire to read the article adverted to, he is advised to click http://www.edge.org/3rd_culture/gilbert05/gilbert05_index.html but the aging lion hereby warns you, you should be able to read, digest, discriminate, otherwise, this article is not for you..

This writer does not claim to be more knowledgeable than the author of the said article where these three quotations were lifted but point by point, here are his comments.

On Item 1- Too bad he accepted the words of President George W. Bush as gospel truth. Tsk,. tsk, tsk. Has it ever dawned on the author that Bush is a politician and an incorrigible liar, much like a lady president of another place.?

On Item 2- Albert Einstein, no doubt, was a genius in the scientific world. But about 70% of the world’s population are not Christians who do not believe in the Bible, and the while the remaining 30% are Christians, a large number doubts its infallibility and many of the remainder have not read that sacred book at all. It is much similar to an uninitiated who, after reading a portion of Albert Pike’s Morals and Dogma, generously supposed that it is Masonry’s sacred book and thus, any statement that counters his own beliefs are presumed by him to be sacrilegious and totally blasphemous.

Simply because Einstein said that there are many untruths (as he said it) in the Bible does not prove that God did not exist at all.

On Item 3- The example on the assumption that the watch probably has an artificer is fine. But the example on the copying machine is horrendous.

The second example using the word “because” won’t work because the natural law of “falling in line” demands that you wait for your turn. Except of course, if you press the nuzzle of a gun at the people ahead of you saying “If you don’t let me get ahead , I’ll use this gun at you.”

The start of creation then is a very tricky question. Naturalists claim that since Creation of the universe could not be proved then ergo, there is no Creator.

Well, oh well, this article has now exceeded the length allowed for an article like this. But now the writer knows why religion (or the lack of it) does not deserve to be discussed at all in a lodge room.

The conclusion is now yours!

Sunday, January 01, 2006

RETRACING FOOTPRINTS

AN OPEN EMAIL FROM THE AGING LION TO HIS ELDEST CUB

My dear son:

Your statement that you will soon petition for membership in Masonry was a pleasant surprise to your Tatay (Dad), for nowhere in time did he ever encourage you to join the Craft. The only occasion he recalls having invited you to a Masonic gathering was during his installation as master of his old lodge; but that was already a good ten years ago. Not that he objects to your intention but any self-respecting Mason will want that anyone, his son included, should join the Fraternity “of his own free will and accord.”

But since you have courageously expressed your desire to join, it may benefit you if you are apprised of the three most basic, yet very important tenets of the Craft before your petition is processed by the lodge where you intend to become a member.

I. BELIEF IN THE ALMIGHTY

You may well remember that your Tatay has dutifully took you, your Nanay and the rest of your siblings to church almost every Sunday from the time you could ever manage to walk. The three of you, that is, including both your sister and your youngest brother, were all enrolled at Angilicum School during your elementary and high school years thus enabling you to get a solid foundation of the faith where he himself was born to and though quite frankly your Dad may not be a deep-rooted Catholic (your Mom certainly is) ever since, we did endeavor to expose you to the Almighty the best way we knew.

But being nurtured to religion, as most Freemasons should be, will now offer a different twist. You should henceforth familiarize yourself to the fact that other members within the Fraternity may share diverging views. God may be called Yahweh, Jehovah, El Shaddai, Lord Krishna, Buddha, and even Allah, and that prudence should now dictate that you allow these members to practice their own respective beliefs they same way you will be allowed to practice your own. In many of his writings your Dad often calls the Almighty by the acronym GAOTU, the meaning of which you will surely learn later. Suffice it to say that these apparently divergent names meant all the same to him.

II THE IMMORTAILITY OF THE SOUL

The word “soul” in this context refers to your own and that it survives the grave, even when time shall be no more.

III THE BROTHERHOOD OF MAN

Being a bona-fide graduate of UP Los Banos, the word “brotherhood” should no longer be alien to you, especially because you have been very active in the Eagles Fraternity while still in college. But here are a few words on “Man” as symbolized in the context of the Craft.

“Man” is a generic term that should start with you, then to your wife Vicky and then to your two children on the first ladder of idyllic thought. In descending order of priorities, the ladder next involve your parents- your mother and myself. Then come your sister and your younger brother, their respective spouses and their children grouped together. Then come in lower rung your relatives from us, -your parents, and then to Vicky’s relatives. Next but still in descending order your officemates at San Miguel, and then your drinking buddies that you have accumulated from school and from your workplace all through the years. And then almost all in particular who somehow are interacting with you hence will also be added to the list.

“Brotherhood of Man” can get a little complicated since it is is extremely difficult to uphold harmonious relationship with all of them. But as the saying goes: “if you cannot maintain good relations with one or two, there is still no need to quarrel, simply shun those you don’t like and it will already suffice.” As Freemasons are wont to say: “cultivate relationship with those who can best work and best agree.”

Your Dad recalls with fond memories how he and your mother tried to raise you and your siblings the best way they could.. They spiritedly sent you all to Angelicum School in your formative years and also endeavored to enroll you all at the State University when you were already in the collegiate level. He also still recalls with clarity the time he handed you a bottle of beer after your graduation from high school since you have already qualified to study at UP in Los Banos, and subsequently enrolled you at a karate class that summer, with a terse reminder that since you will henceforth be away from the family, you might as well be ready to fight you own battles. He also cannot help but chuckle every time he remembers the date you were deposited at the Men’s Dorm at Los Banos where your Nanay dutifully presented you with a Catholic Edition of the Holy Bible, not knowing that inside it your Dad inserted a primer on “How Not to Contact Sexual Disease” that was issued by the United States Military Service. Even to this date however, he never had a chance to know which printed material you’ve read more often; you mother and your Dad never found out what the heck ever happened to these two priceless manuals of instruction.

You later graduated and in fine asked permission to get married with nary an objection heard from you father. All is well, he thought, you have aptly prepared yourself to face the world’s myriad of challenges, using your own wings and feathers that is the unseen vehicle of your soul..

And now you desire to join him in this oldest Fraternity.

It’s not a complicated thing really. You will be investigated upon by three members from the lodge where you intend to join and they will submit their evaluation on your strengths and weaknesses, on whether you are bad or good, and if the latter, can be made better. It is possible the record of your two sponsors may help but beyond that, it is your accomplishments that will really count as the basis of your eventual admission..

Your Dad is glad Vicky consented to your plan to join Freemasonry. That will loosen up some misimpressions that Masonry is not God fearing; also the fact that your sponsor is close to her because there might be some events you may not be free to relate to her and thus cause minor problems. But with the wife of your sponsor familiar with the actuations of her husband as a Mason, these possible irritants will considerably be lessened.

Wilfred Philip (Bong) Leano, your school buddy from way back in the upper eighties, is furnished a copy of this email and as such, may wish he is physically around during the time you will be raised. He may even daydream that he is once again a vaquero out to tame a young bull as you did together during your memorable and indeed suspenseful collegiate years..

Good luck on your petition, your Tatay hopes you make it.