The Rest of the Masonic Story

Discussion in 'Masonic Education' started by Blake Bowden, Apr 11, 2010.

  1. Blake Bowden

    Blake Bowden Administrator Staff Member


    Bro. Bill was initiated into Freemasonry some 3 months before his 21st birthday. And only five years later, he was elected Master of his Lodge. It didn't take long for Bro. Bill to become dissatisfied with the lack of Masonic education and the poor ritual work in his Lodge. And he took it upon himself to do something about it. He decided he would become a competent Master on the subject of Freemasonry. In doing so, he would speak with the most experienced Masons he could find, even with several from foreign countries. He convened square & compass meetings once or twice a week to discuss the lectures and for mutual improvement. After some time, he was able to put to memory the entire First Degree lectures and made several improvements of his own design. Bro. Bill was even invited to make a special presentation at the Grand Lodge demonstrating what he had accomplished in improving the workings and education of the Craft. His popularity continued to rise such, that he was invited to join and eventually became Master of Lodge No. 1, the premier Lodge in that Grand Lodge jurisdiction. It should be remembered, that Bro. Bill was still only in his twenties.

    By the time Bro. Bill reached his mid-thirties things were not going quite as well as before. His over-enthusiastic approach and the pushiness of his character, had alienated some of his Masonic associates. They all clearly regarded him with affection and appreciated his intellect, his organizing ability and contributions to the Craft, but when balanced with other undesirable aspects of his character, he was no longer a welcomed insider. Bro. Bill had been Master of Lodge No. 1 for 3 1/2 years, and feeling somewhat un-appreciated, he had already decided not to run for re-election.

    On St. John the Evangelist day, a local clergyman and member of the Fraternity invited the Brethren to a special St. John's Day service. Bro. Bill asked the Brethren to attend wearing their aprons, jewels of office and white gloves. Following the service, they would then walk the short distance from the church to a nearby house where a Festive Board was prepared. This seemingly innocuous act was, however, in direct contravention to a Grand Lodge edict that directed no parades or other public exhibitions of Freemasonry could be conducted without the expressed approval of the Grand Lodge. The result was a sad period for the Fraternity. Bro. Bill refused to acknowledge he had done anything wrong and was eventually expelled from all Fraternal association by the Grand Lodge for un-Masonic conduct. Only 7 years earlier, Bro. Bill, who appeared to have been on the threshold of a great future in the Fraternity, now went back into the darkness for the sake of an opinion which had become an obsession.

    Eleven years passed before Bro. Bill would settle his disagreement with the Grand Lodge. During this time, he had changed his attitude and his life, although he still would not admit he had been wrong in his actions. But at long last, he had grown up in his Masonic thinking and matured in his dealings with people. Bro. Bill went on to publish many more Masonic works and became regarded as a true sage of the Craft. When Bro. Bill was 76, he left his terrestrial Lodge No. 1 to join the Supreme Architect of the Universe in that celestial Lodge No. 1 above.

    Bro. Bill's legacy remains with us each time a young brother does his proficiency and each time the lectures are given in the three degrees. For the lecture and catechism system we use today is also known as the Prestonian system, developed and promulgated in the late 1700's by Bro. William (Bill) Preston for the Mother Grand Lodge of World, the Grand Lodge of England.

    And now you know - the rest of the story.

    Source: Bro. Jerry McKissack
    Last edited: Oct 19, 2015

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