more light #102
Alabama Historian Address
by Ed Halpaus
Grand Lodge Education Officer
Grand Lodge of A. F. & A. M. of Minnesota
GRAND HISTORIAN'S ADDRESS
James L. Gossett Grand Historian Grand Lodge of Alabama 1993
Most Worshipful Grand Master, I wish to express my appreciation for my
appointment as Grand Historian and to state that I have enjoyed serving as a
member of the Grand Lodge.
The 1992-93 Grand Lodge Officers have performed the cornerstone laying of Carbon
Hill Lodge No. 494 at Carbon Hill and the dedication of Littleville Lodge No.
881 at Littleville.
Freemasonry is the oldest and largest order in the world. Since Freemasonry is a
society of friends and brothers, it fits the definition of a fraternity. For
centuries, Masons have opposed prejudice, spiritual abuse, and political
tyranny. Masons have stood for integrity, freedom, and individual dignity.
Freemasons take pride in the part which the Fraternity has played in the history
of America. Masons have been prominent in government, science, sports,
entertainment, and man's newest field of space exploration. Masons believe in a
Supreme Being, in morality, and a practice of charity. Therefore, Masons welcome
a Christian, a Jew, a Buddhist or a Moslem.
One of Freemasonry's objectives is the making of better men. This is
accomplished through teaching. Masonry tries to inculcate in the minds of those
who come into it some of those virtues which are recognized as prerequisites for
a better life. Its teachings include brotherhood, morality, justice, tolerance,
citizenship, education and freedom of ideas, religious choice, and freedom of
expression. The primary objective of a Masonic Lodge should be to train its
members to understand the truths taught by its rituals and ceremonies. Brothers
working individually and collectively toward the objective of Masonry can add
much to the fraternity and leave the world in better condition for our brothers
Freemasonry came to America about the third decade of the Eighteenth Century.
St. John's Lodge at Boston, Massachusetts, established in 1733, is the oldest
Lodge on the North American Continent. Masonic qualities have been demonstrated
by our brothers since the beginning of the fraternity. George Washington was
proud of his Masonic Membership, saying, "The object of Freemasonry is to
promote the happiness of the human race." Washington's Masonic background was a
significant part of his philosophy of life. In fact, when he took the oath of
office as President, George Washington was serving as Worshipful Master of
Alexandria Lodge No. 22. Despite his overwhelming obligations as Commander of
the American Army and later as President of the United States, Brother George
Washington was an active member throughout his public life and into his
Freemasons laid the Cornerstone of the United States Capitol on September 18,
1793. Two hundred years later the Grand Lodges of Free and Accepted Masons of
the District of Columbia, Maryland and Virginia reenacted this historic ceremony
in Washington, D. C. to commemorate the bicentennial of the U. S. Capitol on
September 18, 1993. Today, with many additions and remodeling, the United States
Capitol is one of the most beautiful and widely recognized structures in the
world. To the people of these United States it continues to symbolize life,
liberty and happiness.
Masonic Light first came to Alabama with the establishment of Madison Lodge No.
21, under a dispensation issued by the Grand Lodge of Kentucky in 1811. Alabama
was admitted to the Union in 1819. Madison Lodge No. 21 and Alabama Lodge No. 21
assisted in forming the Grand Lodge of Alabama in 1821 and were re-designated as
Madison No. 1 and Alabama No. 2, respectively. The first Grand Lodge of Alabama
Annual Communication was held at Cahaba on December 11, 1821. In 1822, Alabama
No. 2 changed its name to Bethesda No. 2. In 1824, Madison No. 1 and Bethesda
No. 2 combined to form the lodge that continues to exist as Helion Lodge No. 1,
The Southern Baptist Convention of June 15 - 17, 1993, was attended by 17,886
messengers in Houston, Texas. Concerning Freemasonry, messengers overwhelmingly
approved a Home Mission Board report that stopped short of condemning
Freemasonry. This Home Mission Board report had been directed by The 1992
Southern Baptist Convention in Indianapolis, Indiana. The report states: "In
light of the fact that many tenets and teachings of Freemasonry are not
compatible with Christianity and Southern Baptist doctrine, while others are
compatible with Christianity and Southern Baptist doctrine, we therefore
recommend that consistent with our denomination's deep convictions regarding the
priesthood of the believer and the autonomy of the local church, membership in a
Masonic Order be a matter of personal conscience." The recommendation also urged
Baptists to "prayerfully and carefully evaluate Freemasonry in light of the
Lordship of Christ, the teachings of Scripture, and the findings of this report,
as led by the Holy Spirit of God."
The real worth of a Mason can never be measured in the opinion of others or in
the Masonic Honors he has attained. The standard by which a Mason must be judged
is by his own evaluation of his conduct and by the principles which he knows to
be unchanging. As you journey through life, you I will take your cue from the
beat of the drum. This feeling has been well expressed by Brother Gordon T.
Hallmark in the poem that follows:
The Beat of the Drum
Each life has a beat that it follows; We call it the beat of the drum, And once
the rhythm has started, The melody's sure to come.
It may be the beat of another, It may be a beat of our own, It may be a high
pitched frequency, Or it may be a lower tone.
And all through our lives we must follow the beat which has come to our mind, To
give our lives cadence and meaning, Our purpose in life so to find.
For our purpose is life's direction, Our life's goal it would be for some; So
listen as soul and you'll hear it, The beat, beat, beat of the drum.
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