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Reference Books

by Ed Halpaus
Grand Lodge Education Officer
Grand Lodge of A. F. & A. M. of Minnesota

Dear Masonic Student,

I was asked just today; is there a good book for definitions of words used in Freemasonry? There is, in fact there are a couple I always have within reach:

C. Bruce Hunter’s Masonic Dictionary from Macoy Publishing ISBN 0-88053-083-9 and A Glossary of the Craft and Holy Royal Arch Rituals of Freemasonry by A.C.F. Jackson. Published by Lewis Masonic ISBN 0-85318-190-X

These are excellent reference books to have handy, and they are small pocket size books that are easy to take along when you’re away from home.

Another good book of the same size is the Masonic Letter G by Paul Foster Case, also from Macoy ISBN 0-88053-066-9 There are some books that are small enough that you could read them cover to cover in a short time, and this is one of them. But to read it that way will short change the reader because, this is also a book that to really understand the contents of the book you will read it slower to study what the author has written, and it is a book you will read in and over many times in the future and always get a little bit more out of it.

Another pocket size book you can read quickly and easily, but never tire of reading again and again, and will always gain something every time you read it is; As A Man Thinketh by James Allen. You can get this book from many places in either hard or soft cover. The copy I carry with me in my back pack is soft cover and comes from DeVorss and Company; if you request it they will send you a catalog of the books they have to offer. It is a good source for self-help and inspirational books. As a Man Thinketh is not a Masonic Book, but it is a classic that many Masons would love to have and learn from.

A very good source for small inexpensive, but very good books on Freemasonry is The Masonic Service Association of North America (MSA), which is located t 8120 Fenton Street Silver Spring, MD 20910. The MSA publishes some wonderful reading and research material for the Masonic student: In addition to recommending to you its Short Talk Bulletins I also recommend their books and booklets. Three of their small booklets I have with me much of the time for reading and learning are the ‘Pocket Encyclopedia of Masonic Symbols’; ‘What is Freemasonry?’: and ‘One Hundred and One Questions about Freemasonry.’ For the Mason who would like to know more about Freemasonry there are a number of books / sources, which are very low to no cost available to him, and which take up very little room to have on hand.

One final book I would like to mention is Morals and Dogma by Albert Pike. The book itself is not a small book, but it is a book well worth reading and learning from: There is a wealth of knowledge and information that can be gained from reading and studying in this book. If you would like an electronic version of this book there is a great copy available at: this is one of the best e-publications of this book I know of.

Here is something on “Leadership” from the MSA booklet ‘What is Freemasonry?’ I mentioned above. I think you might enjoy reading it:

“A leader must be a man of good will toward his associates, and ethical in his relationships with them. He must be charitable toward those in need, and honest in his approach to those problems which confront him. It is essential that he be moderate in all things, yet fearless in the face of adversity. In his contacts with others, he must be diplomatic, tolerant, and fair in the decisions he is called upon to make. He cannot be egocentric, but must be aware of his limitations as a human being, and humble himself unashamedly in seeking Divine guidance to strengthen him as a man. Since the traditional teachings of Masonry encompass the values of friendship, morality, brotherly love, relief, truth, restraint, fortitude, prudence, justice, and reverence, it follows that the Craft can instill these intrinsic qualities of leadership in those who will accept and practice its fundamental principles.”

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Last modified: March 22, 2014