Washington Idaho Rainbow Kickoff to 2017!

Washington Idaho Rainbow is excited for our 2016-2017 Grand Year and the ties that bind us with our Masonic families. We were so excited to see so many of you at our Dream Camp in August when our Grand Worthy Advisor, May Powell, announced our Serve Project, Alzheimer’s AssociationHilarity for Charity, as well as our local community outreach in making a difference with those needing assistance with memory care.

On September 11th, we had a great kick-off for Hilarity for Charity, with our first Color Run, which was in conjunction with Sultan-Monroe Lodge. Approximately 160 people participated in this explosion of color and raised $20,000. Several Masonic Leaders were in attendance including our Grand Worthy Advisor, May Powell; Washington DeMolay’s State Master Councilor, Luke Walker; Worthy Grand Matron of Washington, Peggy Mills; and Most Worshipful Grand Master of Washington, Jim Mendoza. Approximately $17,000 will go to the Hilarity for Charity (www.hilarityforcharity.org) and $3,000 will go to the local education fund for Sultan-Monroe Lodge. Community effort was received from Evergreen Speedway donating water, ZipFizz energy drink for their support and donations of water bottles, color packets and monetary donation, and Monroe PlazaStarbucks for coffee for our volunteers.

In Rainbow, we like to keep busy, and our girls with their many chaperones, have been traveling across Washington/Idaho to Official Visits as well as instituting our new assembly in Twin Falls, Idaho. It’s been amazing to see many of our masonic family on the sidelines during these events supporting our girls, viewing their ritual work and participating in the fun and fellowship.

Fun is not only about the girls – we have adult fun too. At our annual Fundraising Gala in November, many adults joined to raise $17,480.00 in funds not only to help with our annual jurisdictional budget, but also with our Leadership program. Because of those in attendance, over 121 girls will be able to attend Leadership Camp for free, and we will be able to send one of our adults for training in the nationally renowned “Girl Meets World” leadership program. If you’d like to donate toany of our programs, contact, Kris Arnold, Grand Executive CommitteeTreasurer, at win1kristi@aol.com. Thank you to the many leaders in our masonic family for attending the Gala and supporting our cause. Without each of you, there would be no We. Because of your support, Rainbow is alive and well in Washington and Idaho.

In December, we will continue to travel through our Jurisdiction, attending many meetings and initiations, and celebrate the holiday season through service and fun. In the new year, we will continue our travels toreceptions and visiting many of your events as well.

To find out more about upcoming jurisdictional Rainbow events, visit http://nwrainbow.org/events/.

To find a local assembly and meeting date, visit http://nwrainbow.org/about/where-to-find-rainbow/.

Wishing you all a spectacular holiday season and one amazing new year. We look forward to sharing many events along our journey.

Until we write again,

Dot Gosset

Print Media, WA/ID I.O.R.G.

The Grand Standard of the Most Worshipful Grand Lodge of Free and Accepted Masons of Washington

The record of the 1877 proceedings of the Grand Lodge of Washington includes a report presented by Bro. T. M. Reed, for the special committee appointed to procure a Grand Lodge Banner, and Jewels and Aprons for the Grand Lecturer and Grand Chaplain:

To M. W. Grand Lodge of Washington:

The special committee appointed near the close of our last Annual Grand Communication, and authorized to procure a Grand Lodge Banner, having suitable design and inscriptions, for the use of this Grand Lodge, and also, to procure suitable Regalia and Jewels for the offices of Grand Lecturer and Grand Chaplain, respectively report that they have discharged the duties assigned them. Before purchasing the Banner your committee corresponded with various Masonic furnishing establishments in the East, and one of our members made it a special point while on a recent visit to San Francisco, and the Atlantic cities, to elicit such information as would aid the committee in the choice of a Banner of such style, quality and price, as would meet the desires and be alike creditable and pleasing to the Grand Lodge. Your committee flatter themselves they have succeeded, and feel assured the result of their labors will be satisfactory to the Grand Lodge. The Banner cost $150, to which add Express charges of $15.30 making a total of $165.30. It was manufactured at the well known establishment of J. D. Caldwell & Co., Cincinnati, Ohio. The description of the Banner is as follows: Size 56×40 inches; double white silk ground; ornamented by blue top skirt, differing in style on either side; on front side, painted Grand Lodge Seal, solid gold device and lettering in back, the corners embellished and ornamented with appropriate scroll designs – blue on top skirting border, the word “ALKI” our Territorial motto. Reverse side – white silk ground blue top skirt, painted on body of Banner a large shield representing the lion, the ox, the man and the eagle, the shield encircled by a wreath of variegated colors. The words “Grand Lodge of Washington” encircling the whole device on reverse side. Two and a half inch gold fringe, with gold tassels around the margin of Banner and skirting; metal top piece, jointed staff, roller, gold cord and tassels, &c.

The Jewels and Regalia cost $34, including Express charges, bill for which, including the Banner, are herewith presented, the whole having been paid by the Grand Secretary, and charged in his incidental expense account.

Fraternally submitted,

J. R. Hayden,

P. A. Preston,

T. M. Reed,

Committee

Today’s Grand Standard retains many of the features described on the 1877 Banner.

The Grand Standard of the Most Worshipful Grand Lodge, F&AM of Washington measures approximately 25” wide and 42” long, and is rich in both color and Masonic symbolism. The rod upon which it is carried is nearly 94” long, inclusive of the 8” brass spear point at the top.

The art and science of devising, displaying, and granting armorial insignia and of tracing and recording genealogies is referred to as heraldry. The primary mechanism to display the heraldic devices is on an escutcheon or shield.iModern heraldry often adds a motto displayed on a ribbon.

Dexter and sinister are terms, which refer to the specific locations on a shield bearing a coat of arms. Dexter (Latin for “right”) refers to the right from the viewpoint of the bearer of the shield. Sinister (Latin for “left”) refers to the left from the viewpoint of the bearer.ii Similarly, chief and base refer to the top and bottom of the shield, respectively.

The obverse of the Grand Standard is a field of white, bearing the name GRAND LODGE OF WASHINGTON, a shield, a laurel wreath, and the square & compasses. Across the top of the obverse is a purple bib emblazoned with the word “ALKI”.

The shield of the Grand Standard consists of a lion on a field of red (Dexter Chief), an ox on a field of blue (Sinister Chief) an eagle on a field of white (Sinister Base), and a man on a field of blue (Dexter Base).

Royal Arch Masonry tradition teaches us that the symbols on the shield are representative of the “Four Living Creatures”, or the four principal tribes of Israel; Judah (the Lion, representing strength), Ephraim (the Ox, representing patience), Reuben (the Eagle, representing swiftness), and Dan (the Man, representing intelligence).iii

We read in the Volume of Sacred Law about the four living creatures in Ezekiel 1:5-11 and again in Revelation 4:7.

The colored fields upon which the symbols are placed also have Masonic meaning; red is representative of the regeneration of life, blue represents the vault of heaven and is a symbol of universal friendship and benevolence, and white represents purity and innocence.iv (York Rite tradition would have the Man on a field of purple, which is described as an emblem of union consisting of blue and crimson.)

The laurel is an emblem of achievement; and the laurel crown in Freemasonry is given to him who has made a conquest over his passions.v

The square represents morality, and teaches us to regulate our actions and harmonize our conduct by the principles of morality and virtue.

The Compasses represents virtue, and teach us to circumscribe our desires and keep our passions within due bounds.

The motto, “Alki”, is a Chinook word meaning “by and by”. [“Alki” is also the Washington State Motto. Washington was admitted to the Union as the 42nd state in 1889, some 30 years after the Grand Lodge of Washington was established.]

Purple is in Freemasonry a symbol of fraternal union, because, being compounded of blue, the color of the Ancient Craft, and red, which is that of the Royal Arch, it is intended to signify the close connection and harmony which should ever exist between those two portions of the Masonic system. It may be observed that this allusion to the union and harmony between blue and red Masonry is singularly carried out in the Hebrew word, which signifies purple.This word, which is argamun, is derived from ragam, or rehem, one of whose significations is “a friend.”vi

The perimeter of the Standard is trimmed in gold fringe. The color gold represents light emerging from darkness, and wisdom.vii

The reverse of the Grand Standard is a field of white, bearing the seal of the Most Worshipful Grand Lodge F&AM of Washington, crossed swords, and additional decorations presumed as ornamental. Across the top of the reverse is a purple bib emblazoned with the All-Seeing Eye.

Fraternally,

Gordon Johnson, Grand Standard Bearer

The seal of the Most Worshipful Grand Lodge F&AM of Washington which consists of:

  • Grand Lodge of Free & Accepted Masons
  • All-Seeing Eye (representative of the Great Architect of the Universe), under which is inscribed “Love”.
  • A Seaman holding an anchor (which is a symbol of hope) and an orchid (which is a symbol of strength), and the phrase “Exitus Acta Probat”, which means the outcome justifies the deed [Dexter].
  • A mosaic pavement (emblematical of human life) with three columns (which represent wisdom, strength, and beauty), three steps (which represent the three degrees of Masonry and the three principal stages of human life), the 47th problem of Euclid (inspiring Masons to be lovers of the arts and sciences), sun, moon, and comet (which perform their revolutions under the watchful care of the All-Seeing Eye) [Sinister].
  • Square and Compasses, under which is inscribed “In God is our Trust” and “Dec. 8, 5858” (Date on which our Grand Lodge was established).
  • Washington Territory

References from Volume of Sacred Law:

Ezekiel 1: 5 and in the fire was what looked like four living creatures. In appearance their form was human, 6 but each of them had four faces and four wings. 7 Their legs were straight; their feet were like those of a calf and gleamed like burnished bronze. 8 Under their wings on their four sides they had human hands. All four of them had faces and wings, 9 and the wings of one touched the wings of another. Each one went straight ahead; they did not turn as they moved. 10 Their faces looked like this: Each of the four had the face of a human being, and on the right side each had the face of a lion, and on the left the face of an ox; each also had the face of an eagle. 11 Such were their faces.

Revelation 4:7 The first living creature was like a lion, the second was like an ox, the third had a face like a man, the fourth was like a flying eagle.

UPDATE – VW Norman A. Watts Memorial Service

It is with a heavy heart that we inform you that former District Deputy and Grand Lodge Team member Norman A. Watts has passed.

The Memorial Services will be held on Saturday, January 7th, at 11:00 a.m. at the Maple Park Lutheran Brethren Church in Lynnwood.  Service will be a church service only, no Masonic Service. Refreshments to follow.  Norm was the primary chef when large meals were served at the church.

Maple Park Lutheran Brethren Church:
17620 60th Ave W., Lynnwood, WA 98037 – 425.743.2288

Sympathy or “Thinking of You” cards can be addressed to Pat Watts:
1427 100th St SW, No. 151, Lynnwood, WA 98204

Our prayers are with his family and friends at this time.  He will be greatly missed.

 

A Christmas Message from the Grand Master

For me, the Christmas season really begins when I hear Andy Williams singing “It’s the Most Wonderful Time of the Year“. There are two key reasons why I feel this way: One, the Andy Williams Christmas specials were an important part of my childhood. Two, it truly is the most wonderful time of the year.

Masonically speaking, it is the height of the installation season. This is our opportunity as brethren to give thanks to the outgoing Master for all of his hard work, to give best wishes to his successor, and to pledge the support of the Brethren to the new ‘team’. I recall my installation as Master of Frank S. Land Lodge No. 313 as a joyous occasion. The energy in the room was electric. I could feel that no one wanted me to fail. No doubt, others who have made the journey to East feel the same way. What’s not wonderful about that?

This is also a time of religious and moral reflection that inspire many people to reach out to those who are in need. Though Freemasonry is not a charity in the truest sense of the word, charity is an inseparable part of Freemasonry. It is my belief that you cannot be a Freemason if you are not charitable. Being charitable is one way that you can Be the Difference and add to the wonder of the season.

Most importantly, it is a time when those of us of faith – whatever that faith may be – celebrate then the traditions of our faith. For me and my family, that celebration is Christmas. The story of the birth of Christ as related in the Book of Luke, Chapter 2, (most eloquently recited by Linus Van Pelt) is what makes this time of year most wonderful.

I also enjoy the secular traditions of the season – shopping, decorating the house, looking at neighborhood light displays, holiday specials, preparing the meal, and the look of joy on a loved one’s face when a present is opened. Lest I forget, I still visit Santa and get my picture taken.

As I wrap up my Christmas message, I share these words from “Santa Claus is Coming to Town”:

How can they talk about Santa Claus when there is so much unhappiness in the world? Poor, misguided folks. They missed the whole point. Lot’s of unhappiness? Maybe so. But doesn’t Santa take a little bit of that unhappiness away? Doesn’t a smile on Christmas morning scratch out a tear cried on a sadder day? Not much maybe. But what would happen if we all tried to be like Santa and learned to give as only he can give: of ourselves, our talents, our love and our hearts? Maybe we could all learn Santa’s beautiful lesson and maybe there would finally be peace on Earth and good will toward men.

A Very Merry Christmas, Happy New Year, and the Best of the Holiday Season to one and all – God Bless Us, Everyone!

An Encouragement for Generosity this Season

Brethren,

As Grand Chaplain for the state of Washington of Freemasons it is my humble honor to focus our attention on the spiritual nature of our craft, reminding each of us during this season of giving that beyond the lofty titles that we bestow upon one another, whether it be Worshipful, Illustrious, Grand, Noble, Sir Knight, Worthy Matron, etc., we must always remember where we have all first been made a Mason, in our hearts. We have not just been given flowery titles but have obligated ourselves to the aid and support of our kind offices to every human being who may have need of our assistance as far as our cable tow can reach.  

We should all take great pride in the amazing good our craft in its many lodges, rites, chapters, assemblies, bethels, courts, shrines, etc, have contributed to those lives that are touched by our efforts and without us, would not have the quality of life they do today. 

As a fraternity, we stand peerless in our generosity in our programs, hospitals, and funding but we must not let the larger fraternity, of which we are a part cause us to become complacent in our individual lives. 

Each of us who have stood at the alter of Freemasonry have promised that we will demonstrate our masonic ideals in all our actions. Please consider taking personal action by contacting your lodge or chapter secretary, master, or worthy matron. Make contact with your Washington Masonic Charities representative and see what needs have come to their attention where you may be able to assist.

I hope each of you will demonstrate personally your generosity this year. Get involved with your communities and share in their efforts such as angel trees, shelters, food banks, coat and clothing gathering, and on and on. Be the difference in your sphere of influence and let this time of giving and this coming new year be for you the great blessing it can be with your help. Be light and love and let your personal lives and actions contribute to the betterment of others. May the Great teachings of our fraternity shine in every decision that you make.

“…There are those who give little of the much which they have–and they give it for recognition and their hidden desire makes their gifts unwholesome. And there are those who have little and give it all. These are the believers in life and the bounty of life, and their coffer is never empty.

There are those who give with joy, and that joy is their reward and there are those who give with pain, and that pain is their baptism. And there are those who give and know not pain in giving, nor do they seek joy, nor give with mindfulness of virtue; They give as in yonder valley the myrtle breathes its fragrance into space. Through the hands of such as these God speaks, and from behind their eyes He smiles upon the earth….” – The Prophet, Kahlil Gibran

 

May the Great Architect favor all your actions this holiday season and may you be blessed through this coming year.

Grand Chaplain, W. John Lawson

Most Worshipful Grand Lodge of Freemasonry and Accepted Masons of Washington

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Secretary, Treasurer & Temple Board Training scheduled for January in Bremerton

A new class has been added to the Secretary, Treasurer and Temple Board Training schedule.  This is a great opportunity for anyone who is currently serving in one or more of these positions or is thinking about making themselves available in the future. We look forward to seeing you there. To sign up for the free training, please call Chantal at the Grand Lodge office (253.625.7891) or click on one of the options below:

Secretary, Treasurer and Temple Board Trustee Training – Bremerton 

DATE AND TIME

Sat, January 28, 2017

11:00 AM – 4:00 PM PST

Add to Calendar

LOCATION

Bremerton Lodge, No. 117

878 5th St.

Bremerton, WA 98337

View Map

Additional dates and locations will be added as they are confirmed.

Brethren, Whence came you?

By W:.B:. Mike Priddy

Over the last few months my blogs have been pretty academic and serious in nature. This time I thought I would throw something lighter out for your consideration.

As young Masons we are told we will get an education in the symbols of Masonry, and to be certain we do get some instructions on some of our symbols during the degrees, but it is truly left to us to seek their deeper meaning. As you no doubt know there is something of a cottage industry around the ‘secret’ symbols of Freemasonry, but what most non-masons don’t know is that the symbols we use are so obscure many of us don’t know what they mean!

I have spoken with many of our brothers about our symbols and am always stumped by the lack of interest in personally investigating their meanings. To be clear I don’t mean reading what someone else has written about them but rather a personal quest for esoteric meaning. Each of us has our own story, with our own experiences and perspective. I encourage each of you to take a moment and look at our symbols, and explore the emotions, ideas and memories they elicit. Other men may know more about the traditional meaning of a symbol, but no one knows more about what it says to you than you!

image-1About 10 years ago I was walking through our preparation room, as I had done many times but on this night I was drawn to the circle, point, and two parallel lines which is displayed in all regularly constituted Masonic Lodges. Now I am sure each of you have had the experience of something that has become routine in your life suddenly taking on special significance and meaning. That night this most common of masonic symbols jumped out at me in a completely new way, with meaning and clarity. I saw in that set of symbols a map! I did not know where it pointed, though I should have, but it was clear to me in that instant I was looking at a symbolic representation of the world.

I’ll explain what I saw later, but first I would like to explain something about symbols. We have language that we use every day, which is composed of, letters, words, sentences, paragraphs, syntax and grammar. This method of communication can be very precise and can relay ideas and thoughts between individuals separated by time and space with a clarity and depth that can be startling. Consider the power of the Bible, Koran or Torah. Volumes written centuries ago can still inspire men and women in today’s modern technological and complex world. But before there was the written word our species used another method to communicate, symbols. Much science has been dedicated to the power of symbols, and how in many cases the power of symbols to elicit meaning across not only time and space but also across cultures. Unlike the precise meaning of a word a symbol has layers of meanings and as we study them they can lead us on a journey toward not just the common truth but to universal Truth that only the soul can experience. Because of the depth and power of symbols we can see different meanings in symbols each time we look at them, and yet the sum of the symbol’s meanings over time can become itself a complex tapestry of enlightenment.

Some symbols are natural, ingrained in all people. Carl Jung, a 20th century psychologist called these symbols ‘archetypes’. In our common unconscious for example we all experience symbolic images of Mother, Father, and Shadow and many times they speak to us in dreams as characters representing fundamental human meaning. Other symbols are created, like the US Flag, the square and compass and a red octagon (Stop!).

image-2So, the circle, point and parallel lines are in the rudimentary sense a symbol of moral compass. We all learn this early in our practice as Masons. Let’s say that is a surface meaning, and that there might be another meaning, in this case a map. So how can that be a map? That night when I looked at the parallel lines what jumped out at me was the images of the Holy Saints John standing next to the parallel lines. They were the first clue. You see each Saint in the Catholic tradition has a feast day. Many old churches in Europe face sun rise on the feast day of the Saint they are named after. The early churches like our Lodges are aligned toward the east and since the sun rises in a different place each morning, east was assigned at sunrise on the day of the Saint’s feast. The interesting thing about the two saints John is that their feast days fall very close to the two solstices, approximately June 21st and December 21st, the longest and shortest day of the year. The feast days of the Saints John are June 23rd and December 27th. On Solstices the sun is as far north or south as it travels in the sky, and the lines that represents that southern and northern most point are two parallel, horizontal, lines on maps and globes. These are called the Tropics of Cancer and Capricorn. The fact that the feast days of these two saints fell near the dates of the solstices, from which the tropics were derived, and that they were standing next to two parallel lines seemed to great a coincidence.

The obvious problem with this idea is that the lines, while parallel, are vertically aligned setting them 90 degrees off. In fact, in my research I discovered that someone had approached Albert Pike years ago with the same idea as mine and Pike had dismissed it for exactly that reason. So for a time I let it go, but I was not satisfied. You see there was another part of the symbol that caught my eye. The Bible at the top of the circle was key to decoding the symbol. As in our Lodges the east is considered, symbolically, to be the direction from which enlightenment comes. That Bible on top seemed to say, “look at me dummy, I’m the east!” If that was true the lines would be oriented correctly, but why would someone draw the symbol on its side? There was an answer and eventually I found it.

When you look at a map you usually turn the map until North is at the top. We call this “orienting” the map. BUT the word orient is Latin for EAST. Why would turning the map to a north alignment be called “easting” the map? Because in medieval times maps had east on top! That’s right, and on those maps the tropics would have been aligned vertically!

image-3These maps were called O and T maps because a circle, the O, represented the earth, and the continents formed a rough T. Now it get’s really interesting. O and T maps sometimes have a dot in the center that represents a city. Do you care to guess what city? It seems the Holy Saints John are pointing us to Jerusalem!

So, while I have no proof that this ancient Masonic symbol is in fact intended to be a map to Jerusalem I think I have shown that it could be. Even if it never was intended to be a map to Jerusalem for me this symbol now is a reminder of our Masonic mythology as well as a reminder to live with in a certain moral and ethical compass. Like many symbols this one has depth for me, and I hope perhaps its does for you too.

Now Brethren I challenge you. Go to Lodge, pick a symbol that speaks to you and explore it, stare at it, research it, meditate on it and listen for that quiet voice in the still parts of your heart. Bring our symbols to life again and you will breathe new Light into your Lodge.image-4

Freemasons in Spokane move headquarters after nearly a century

Originally published on Spokesman.com

A group of men are huddled in a half circle inside the cold walls of the decrepit Selkirk building downtown. Many of them are wearing ornate aprons embroidered in different colors and patterns. One man talks from behind a podium with a broadsword stuck in a piece of wood in front.

A large stone sits to his right – a ceremonial cornerstone in dedication of the new-old building that will soon house several chapters of Freemasons, called “lodges.”

One by one, the tools of Freemasonry – the square, level and plumb – are used to measure the stone and inspect its worth. Then, corn, wine and oil are poured on its surface.

“May the all boundless offer nature bless the inhabitants of this place with abundance of the necessaries, conveniences and comforts of life,” says Jim Mendoza, Grandmaster of the Freemasons of Washington. “And grant to us all a supply of the corn of nourishment, the wine of refreshment and the oil of joy.”

Upon hearing these words, the masons cross their chests with their arms, their hands outstretched; they look like mummies. They bow their heads: “so mote it be,” they say in unison. The stone is perfect.

Sometimes, this is what being a Freemason is – fraternity, with a little pomp and circumstance. It’s much less exciting than the pop culture image of Freemasonry: Nicholas Cage in the “National Treasure” film franchise hunting down a fabulous hidden treasure stashed by the Founding Fathers – many of them Freemasons.

In reality, Freemasons are closer to a college fraternity (without all of the “buffoonery,” they jokingly say) than an all-powerful secret society. There are rules, expectations, a strong sense of community, and a deep history spanning as far back as the 14th century.

There are also many powerful and historical figures among their ranks: George Washington, Paul Revere, Theodore Roosevelt, John Elway and Steve Wozniak, the Apple co-founder, to name a few.

In Washington, Freemasonry began in 1858, and in Spokane, around 1880 – when settlers first arrived to the area. The first lodge was formed not long after. In 1910, there were enough masons to warrant their own building – the Masonic Center on Riverside Avenue (Theodore Roosevelt was present for the groundbreaking).

They stayed there for a century, until it was sold in 2013. The center was too large, and the amenities in too much disrepair to afford. The lodges headquartered there moved in with other lodges, with a plan to move out once the new center is complete. The ceremony Saturday was one of the last steps before construction and repair go into full swing at 506 W. Second Ave.

Many of the windows are boarded, and the walls have large, gaping holes exposing the outside. Several sections of the first floor are unfinished, showing the earthy foundation sitting underneath. Rather than move into a finished building, tradition is to either build a new one or find one that could use some tender love and care.

“We like to fix things up better than we found them,” said Richard Coffland, a deputy grandmaster.

By early next year, the space will look a lot different. The plan is to knock down the rusted metal beams on the first floor; the space will be shared by Spokane Lodge 34, Oriental 74 and North Hill 210. On the top floor will be a masonic museum and library preserving the storied history of Freemasonry in Spokane.

The second floor will be shared by the Scottish Rite, another branch of masonry, and Early Life Speech and Language clinic, which provides free research-based therapy for children ages 2 to 7.

Ashley Miller, the clinic’s development officer, said half of the second floor of the new masonic building was offered as a permanent home to the nonprofit. For the past two years, Freemasons have remained one of the clinic’s top supporters, having just put on a large golf tournament to raise funds.

“They’re always looking for ways to help us grow,” Miller said.

It’s self-improvement and improving the community, Freemasons say, that is the essence of being a Freemason – not necessarily the complex ceremonies or ornate dress codes. For hundreds of years, masons have donated to their communities, helped construct new buildings and repaired old ones. And all the while, they’ve lectured the fraternity is more about building human character than anything.

“In that sense, we are all architects,” Mendoza said.

As for conspiracy theories about Freemasons controlling the United States government, having ties to the Illuminati, or stashing treasure as portrayed in Hollywood blockbusters?

“I find it to be very humorous,” Mendoza said. “I look at it this way: I attend many of the lodge meetings where they argue over who’s going to bring condiments to the barbecue.”

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