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President’s Message, July 2021

Here in the United States, our Independence Day is upon us, and while I don’t feel right passing off someone else’s words in my messages to you, I have to share the following. It’s just that we don’t hear oratory like this anymore. I’ll refrain from editorializing on why we typically do not hear rhetoric of this nature from today’s Masonic leaders, and will only point out that what you are about to read is thematically consistent with two messages printed in the pages of The Journal of the Masonic Society. The first, in Issue 41 (Summer 2018), was the text of the after dinner remarks by Bro. Eric Diamond, one of our Board members, at our annual meeting several months earlier. The second, from this February, was delivered by our guest speaker, MW Bro. Akram Elias, and is summarized in Issue 52 (Spring 2021). But this is excerpted from remarks at the cornerstone ceremony of the Rocky Mountain Scottish Rite Consistory in Colorado in November 1921.

Masonic Lodges are a confederacy of moral republics—her temples, centers of law and order, citadels of stability—for aside from its spiritual, altruistic significance, a Masonic Temple has its utility side. It is as practical as a soldier’s ration. It has to do with government and with the home. It is an auxiliary in the State house, to the church, to legislation, and an active partner to any institution or cause whose aim is the uplift and betterment of man. This Temple will be a college of manhood, a university where Americanization will be fostered, a home of brotherhood and fellowship, and a sanctuary of friendship and a school of patriotism and liberty. It is the reserve line in every battle for free government, good citizenship, civic virtue, and education. It has enemies, as all have who aggressively fight ignorance, bigotry, and wrong. They affect our purposes no more than winds against granite rock, and to those enemies Freemasonry sends its challenge:

“Hammer away, ye hostile hands,
Your hammers break, God’s anvil stands.”

When completed, there will be built within this Temple an altar; upon the altar, a Bible; draping both, an American flag. Upon their knees, with hands upon these symbols of faith, every Mason must pledge his loyalty to God, country, home, and his fellow men. In Masonic Temples, creed is optional, loyalty to country and God imperative. All in all, Masonry is organized righteousness—mobilized patriotism.

Those words were spoken by Bro. Alva Adams, who served three non-consecutive terms as governor of Colorado. He also was prominent in Freemasonry there, having been Grand Lecturer of the Grand Lodge, and also the Sovereign Grand Inspector General of the Ancient and Accepted Scottish Rite at that time. The couplet at the conclusion comes from the poem “Hammer and Anvil” by Samuel Valentine Cole, which I recommend to you.

If your lodge is reducing Independence Day to a cookout and maybe participation in a local parade, remember Adams’ clarion for a moral republic and a college of manhood.