Sunday, January 27, 2008

Iowa York Rite College

Yesterday was the winter meeting of the Iowa York Rite College in Marshalltown. We met at the Masonic Temple in Marshalltown. We initiated eleven new Knights of York in this impressive ceremony. There was a great turnout and we were fortunate to have M.W. Bro. Donald E. Mosier, Grand Master of Masons in Iowa in attendnace.

I sensed a lot of warmth and brotherly love exhibited among the brothers in attendance. Everyone really seemed to have an enjoyable afternoon and our meal afterwards was delicious! Congratulations to our Governor, Greg Anderson for a very successful meeting.

Several knights were honored included Billy Joe and Bryce Hildreth who will be receiving the Order of the Purple Cross later on this year. Bro. Tim Anderson will also be receiving that honor as well. Several service awards were presented to well deserving brothers.

The York Legend dates back to 926 A.D. and its Constitution played a formulative part in the founding of the Grand Lodge of England in 1717 on through the present day. The year 926 A.D. marks the beginning of the Order working under an authoritative Charter. The Charter of York was adopted at the general assembly of the craft held in ancient York under the patronage of King Athelstan, the first Saxon monarch to assume the title "King of England". Athelstan prepared and submitted all the documents which had been saved from the fires of the Roman invaders.

King Athelstan--like his grandfater Alfred the Great--is described as being a liberal thinker. He was also an architect and in addition to his many acts of church building and the promotion of learning, he gave charters to many Masonic guilds.

Every Grand Lodge today is a lineal descendent of the 926 York Assembly of Masons. Every copy of the Ancient Manuscript Constitutions reaffirms this end in 1717 when the first organized speculative Grand Lodge was organized, the terms of the York Charter were adopted and used as a basis for its Constitution and Declaration of Principles.

I also enjoy going to the meetings of the Iowa York Rite College. The degree work portrays a wonderful story of our Masonic history and it is enjoyable to see it portrayed by such able ritualists that we have in the College. One of my very favorite parts is the Rose Lecture. It is a beautiful lecture.

Congratulations to all of our new Knights of York!

Wednesday, January 23, 2008

Secretary's Conference

Tonight I attended the Secretary's Conference at Southgate Lodge in Des Moines. Bro. Bill Crawford, Grand Secretary conducted the workshop and as always there was a lot of good discussion among the brother secretary's there.

We had several new secretary and also some "old timers". I think the longevity award goes to Bro. Lester Fleming, PGM (Secretary of Faithful Lodge at Runnells). Les said he was starting his 41st year...he said he had already received his 50 year pin as a Mason, was wondering if there would be a special one for him when he attained 50 years as a Secretary.

The Secretary are the unsung heroes of our lodges. There is a lot more to the job than most of our brothers ever know. We are the ones that keep the lodges running and know the "ins and outs"...both good and bad. We have it in our perogative to either make the Worshipful Master look good or bad. If the Master does not have confidence of the Secretary, then he is in for a "long" year. Most of the time, even if the Secretary does have to make the Worshipful Master look good, I think he does so because of his love for the lodge.

I have had times in the past five years where I have been not very happy with our Worshipful Masters (including right now), but I step up to the plate because of my love for the lodge. I was Worshipful Master in 2003, since that time I feel we have had really only one brother who served in that capacity and really tried to do what he was supposed to do and he had been a Mason for only a few short years. Bro. Kerry Walker served as our W.M. in Newton Lodge #59 in 2004. Kerry had only been a Mason for four years, but he really worked hard fulfiling his duties as Master. He was organized and tried to do some new things to appeal for younger Masons and also propsective Masons. Bro. Kerry was awarded the Young Mason of the Year Award in 2003.

I don't think the rest of our Masters have had a "clue". It makes me both angry and frustrated. Where is our Masonic leadership? It is out there in places, but unfortunately often times it is far and few between. Everybody says "I'm so busy"...well aren't we all! It takes committment, organization, and preparation. Our best leaders are those who are the busiest. They are the ones who exhibit these three characteristics.

We had a great turnout tonight (probably at least 25) and there were two lodges who had other officers there besides there Secretary (includng the Worshipful Master). King David #407 sent their SW, WM, Secretary and ex Secretary, which I thought was great. Bro. Tom Megel (the ex Secretary) was there to help his successor learn the job. That says a lot. Why can't more of our officers take an active interest? All of the officers of the lodge should have an interest in learning how the lodge is operated. Learning can not happen without knowledge.

Monday, January 21, 2008


I was reading Bro. Jay's blog last night about DeMolay and it brought some thoughts to mind. First, I wished when I was a kid that there would have been DeMolay in the town where I grew up. The small town where I grew up did have a lodge, but no DeMolay Chapter. My dad probably would have gotten me in if there would have been a chapter.

About three years ago some brothers in Grinnell tried to revive their DeMolay Chapter. Formerly it was named after Bro. Sharp Lannom who was the owner of DeLong Sportswear. Brothers from a few of the lodges around the area agreed to help out and try to get it going again. Unfortunately the brother who really wanted to "push" this and get it going had some personal problems and things just kind of fell apart. One of the other brothers moved away and the other ones of us were from other lodges, so it was difficult for us to get something going in someone else's lodge. I think some of our brothers that were helping with the Chapter failed to realize that DeMolay is like anything else, it needs promotion!

We did initiate three boys. Two of them have now turned majority. I don't know if we will ever get this going or not. We and the boys decided to name the chapter "Central Iowa"...we all wanted to name it after Bro. Madison Tomfeld, but I guess there is some rule that you can't have a chapter named after someone if they are still living. Bro. Madison was very active in DeMolay in Muscatine when he was a young boy (70 years ago)! He is a Chevalier and is very proud of that.

I always attend at least one DeMolay initiatory ceremony a year (usually the Grand Masters Class). I always enjoy seeing the degree work...the boys do a great job. It seems that Iowa DeMolay might be a little bit on a wane right now. Bro. Shane Harshbarger did a great job when he served as Executive Officer. Shane really worked at DeMolay and we had some years of positive growth in Iowa. With all of the interest being shown in Iowa Masonry, it would seem that DeMolay would also rebound.

It is always interesting to go back and see some famous men who were DeMolays in their boyhood...Bill Clinton, Carl Albert (Speaker of the US House), Walt Disney, John Wayne, Buddy Ebsen (Jed Clampett fame). The list goes on and on. DeMolay is a great organization that helps young boys prepare for adulthood. Our society today certainly needs organizations like DeMolay to teach morals and virtues to our future leaders.

Sunday, January 20, 2008

Blue Lodge OFficers Breakfast

Yesterday I attended the annual Blue Lodge Officers' Breakfast at the Des Moines Scottish Rite. I have went for the past several years and I must say it is something that I always enjoy and look forward to as a way to start off a New Year.

It is fun to go in and meet old friends, but also meet some new ones. It is also fun to see those brothers who are either new officers in their lodge or the ones that have assumed the responsibilities of the Oriental Chair.

I did finally manage to get another one of our officers from Newton Lodge #59 to go along with me yesterday. Bro. Gary Pearson, our Senior Steward went along with me. Gary told me to do "the talking" and then I forgot to introduce. Luckily Gary is not a bashful guy and he got around and met several people.

I admire some of the lodges who are able to get four or five of their officers to go to this breakfast. I always tell brothers in my lodge that the real fun of Masonry is getting out and going. I think some of the Newton boys are afraid to leave town...their carriages might turn into pumpkins! How do you learn about Masonry, if you don't get out there and experience it!

Some of the great friends that I saw yesterday were Bros. Bud Erickson, Charlie Brinkerhoff, Sam Wise, Bill Knoll, John Clearman, Brian Pappadacus, Craig Davis, David Dryer, George Robinson, Jay Simser, Doug Woodley, Greg Spooner, David Minor...everywhere I looked I saw friends. What a feeling! That is what Masonry is all about...that is the true secret of our fraternity!

Saturday, January 19, 2008

Shrine Past Masters

Well, I'm finally getting back to this blog to finish it. I started on Friday night. I wanted to write about a great group of friends and brothers that I hang out with and which really mean a lot to me...the Za-Ga-Zig Shrine Past Masters' Club.

I had the honor and privilege of serving as President of that group last year. We raised 44 new brother Masons and visited 25 central Iowa lodges in 2007. I think the farthest west was Corning, the farthest south was Mt. Ayr, farthest east was Newton and the northernmost was Iowa Falls. I didn't make all of them, but most of them. I will always fondly remember serving as President of the Club.

We are a pretty close group of brothers working in the quaries of Freemasonry. We have two Past Grand Masters among our craft: M.W. Bro. Robert (Bud) Erickson PGM and M.W. Bro. Charlie Brinkerhoff PGM. Bro. Bud serves as our Club Secretary and scheduler. I have really come to think a lot of Bro. Bud through my work with the Shrine Past Masters. Bro. Junior Sharp (PSGW) is serving as our President in 2008 and he is ably served by Bros. Rick Martin (1st VP) and Floyd Nesbitt (2nd VP) both from Crest City Lodge in Creston.

Bro. Al Dunlap is our "driver". He is so dedicated in making sure all of our costumes are where they need to be when they need to be there. Another Bro. that isn't able to come much anymore, but was a real Shrine Past Masters "fixture" for so many years, was Bro. Lloyd Shank. Lloyd was raised in 1948 in Beatrice Lodge #26 in Beatrice, Nebraska. He will be a 60 year Mason on January 28th. Lloyd was the longtime secretary of the Past Masters. He always portrayed the 1st "R" and so ably. We all miss having Bro. Lloyd out with us on our outings.

Another brother that I fondly remember from the Past Masters' Club was Dean Walters. He was always the 2 "R" and had the distinction of wearing the red wig. When Dean was there, nobody else took that part. Dean has now passed to the Grand Lodge Above. Bro. Doyle Champion, another long time central Iowa Mason was a member of the group. Doyle too has passed to the Grand Lodge Above.

Bro. Bud always treats us to the Midnight Soliquoy and what a rendetion! He really gives it his all. The one line in there that has really made a big impression with me is "oh, what a piece of work man is"...I'm becoming cynical in my old age and always refer back to that line from Bro. Bud.

I heard on Saturday that we will be appearing at the Scottish Rite Park to put on a degree later on this year. I was really pleased to hear that. I know it will bring back a lot of memories for some of the older brothers who are no longer able to get out and attend lodge. I'm looking forward to this.

We have three degrees the last week of January. We will be at Arcadia #249 in Ames on January 31st. Come and see us...we put on a pretty good show!

(the picture is from our last degree in 2007, Newton Lodge #59 on November 29th when we raised Bro. Jim McVey. The "fat" guy in purple (me) portrayed King Solomon).

Sunday, January 13, 2008

Bro. Mike

One of our new officers in Newton Lodge #59 this year is Bro. Mike Rush. He was raised in June of 2007 and he has been a great addition to our lodge. He already has earned the "Two to Grow" award. Mike is always thinking of ways that we make the lodge better and that is one of the things that I really like about him.

Mike did a lot of research on the Masons before he decided to petition. He was not one of those guys that someone just "talked" into joining. He knew what the Masons were about before he came in. He and I have had some great talks about Freemasonry and what new Masons are looking for.

Mike and his wife are both originally from Canada. It is interesting to hear him talk about differences between our two countries. Another thing that I enjoy about Mike is his "bantering" with Bro. Al Jensen...I think Al might have met his match with this brother!

He is a great guy and has become a good friend. I know he is also a great dad. The picture is of him and his daughter Taylor at our installation yesterday.

Newton Lodge #59 Installation

Yesterday, Newton Lodge #59 had our installation of the 2008 officers. M.W. Bro. Alfred "LeRoy" Jensen PGM served as our Installing Master. Bro. Al always promises to put a little "levity" into things. Bro. Bob Kilfoil PJGW served as our Installing Marshal. Bob's first appointment in Grand Lodge was a Grand Marshal back in 1974-1975. He always enjoys serving as Marshal and does a great job. It was great to see him and Al working together...what a team! Bro. Gordon Enyart served as our Installing Chaplain and Bro. Paul Bergmann as our Installing Secretary.

Of our 2008 officer corps, we have three new brothers who were just raised this past year. We have some "green horns" but they have a lot of enthusiasm and that is what we need! Bro. Ward Bailey will be serving as our Worshipful Master for 2008. Ward is a Past Master of Newton Lodge #59, but he stepped up to the plate when we needed help. Lets have a great year in 2008 in Newton Lodge #59!

Wednesday, January 9, 2008

Installation at Hermon Lodge #273

Tonight I had the pleasure of participating in the installation of the 2008 officers of Hermon Lodge #273 at Grinnell. I always enjoy going over to lodge at Grinnell. They have a beautiful Temple and the brothers in Newton and Grinnell are always willing to work back and forth with each other.

I had the pleasure of serving as the Installing Marshal this evening. M.W. Bro. Ross McCulla P.G.M. was the Installing Master. Bro. Ross is someone I really admire. He truly is a Mason's Mason. He is always so distinguished and eloquent. He performs the installation ceremony from memory and so that always seems so special.

Tonight Bro. Jim Bell was installed as Worshipful Master of Hermon Lodge #237. Bro. Jim has been a member in Grinnell for three years and was a member for several years previously before coming to Grinnell.

After Bro. Ross had installed him as Master, Bro. Jim made some comments to the assembled brethren and ladies before the installation continued. I was so impressed with his comments as they came directly from the heart and expressed his feelings on how Masonry had changed him. Jim is an ex Marine. He said his military service had somewhat hardened him, but Masonry has changed him. He made comments to each of his officers and told each one individually what they meant to him and his life.

Jim's comments certainly came from the heart. I was so impressed and thought what a wonderful way to start your year as Worshipful Master.

Bro. Madison Tomfeld was installed as Treasurer. Madison is such a great brother and someone I truly truly admire. When I went to escort him to the East, I was going to do it from the right side as I thought it would be easier for doing. He told me to get over on the left side! No short cuts for Madison! He truly is the heart and soul of Hermon Lodge #273 and is a great example to all of us. I had the pleasure of nominating him for the T.S. Parvin award in 2003. Bro. Madison was a truly deserving recipient of this award.

Are We Giving Our Brothers What They Want?

Today I attended the weekly meeting of the Des Moines Hi-12 Club No. 4. I always enjoy going to the meetings (when I can get there). There are a bunch of great buys in this club. The speakers are generally interesting, the food is good, and the view from the "Top of the Tower" of the Mercy Holiday Inn is always great. I enjoy standing at the window and looking out over the Des Moines skyline.

I had the pleasure of introducing M.W. Bro. Donald Mosier, Grand Master at today's meeting. Somehow I have been delegated as the official introducer when the Grand Master comes to our club...this is the third time that I have had the pleasure of introducing the Grand Master when he comes to speak to our club.

Bro. Don gave a great presenation. He is a great speaker and his talks are always interesting and thought provoking.

One of the comments that he made in his comments today was in reference to the number of brothers who have recently been dropped because of non payment of dues. He said the particularly alarming thing about this was that many of them are new Masons (having received their degree work in the last 3 or 4 years).

What has made these new brothers make the decision that their membership in our fraternity is not worth the price of their yearly dues? I am sure there are a variety of reasons, but one of the major reasons that I see is that many of our lodges simply do not do a very good job of meeting the needs of our brothers.

I think we lose brother Masons from our fraternity because they really don't have a sense of belonging. We take them through their degrees, give them their Masonic Englightenment coursework (and many times not very well at that) and presto you are now Bro. what can you do for us? How about next Saturday morning in the kitchen cooking pancakes?

We don't really grow that bond of friendship and brotherly love between men anymore. Becoming and being a Mason is a lifetime process of growing and learning.
We need to grow our bonds of frienship between brothers both inside and outside the lodge room. We as brothers of the fraternity want to feel that our fellow brothers really and sincerely care about us as fellow human beings and many of us want to be able to share those feelings with others.

Young Masons of today want to come to a place where they can experience the traditions and customs of their grandfathers and great grandfathers. They want a place where they can learn and have an avenue to give back to their communities and fellow man. They want lodges that are well run and are progressive in their thinking.

The lodges that are prospering and growing are those lodges which exhibit those characteristics. The future of Masonry is not about simply churning men through degrees, it is about teaching and exhibiting to them a way of life.

These brothers that are being dropped for nonpayment of dues are being dropped because we the Masonic fraternity have not met their needs. They paid their initiation fees, gave of their time to receive their degree work, and probably initiatially participated in the lodge and it's activities. We the members of the lodges failed them by not meeting their needs, that is why they have now come to the point of not seeing value in their membership and feel it is no longer worthwhile.

It is time that we as brothers of the fraternity live up to the expecations that our new brothers have placed in us by meeting their expectations of what Masonry truly is. It is time for us to deliver the goods that we promised when they signed their petitions.

Saturday, January 5, 2008

Masonic Installations

Today I attended the installation of the 2008 officers of King David Lodge #407 in Altoona and Southgate Lodge #657 in Des Moines. Bro. Marion Klaver was installed as Worshipful Master at King David and Bro. Garth Searcy at Southgate. I have known both of these brothers for some time and so it was a real privilege for me to be at their installations as they and their officers start the new year.

I always like to attend a few installations each January. I enjoy hearing the outgoing Master review his year and the accomplishments of his lodge and it is enjoyable to see the new officers anticipating the work of the coming year. I especially like to see those new Masons holding office for the first time. You can sense in them a lot of anticipation for their new duties.

Bro. Craig Davis presented Bro. Gil Mote (the outgoing W.M. of Southgate Lodge) with a plaque honoring Southgate for attaining the silver level for the Lodge of the Year. It is my understanding that Bro. Gil was a first time Worshipful Master. Gil is a past Grand Patron of the Order of the Eastern Star. He is a great guy and I always enjoy visiting with him when our paths cross. He was a great leader for Southgate. Bro. Tony Palmer was the outgoing Worshipful Master at King David. Tony also had a good year. I know his dad (Steve Palmer) and his father-in-law (Don Timmons) who are both Past Masters of King David are very proud of this young brother and his leadership of King David.

I have always felt that at the end of a Worshipful Master's term in office if he has lived up to the responsibilities of his office, part of him should feel a sense of relief to hand the gavel over to his successor, but the other part of his being should be beeming with pride over what was accomplished during the year. Being Worshipful Master of a lodge is like having a second full time job for that particular year, but if you have put your "heart and soul" into the job, it will be a year that you will never forgot and you will have earned a well deserved level of respect from the brethren of your lodge.

For those of you who are serving as Worshipful Masters this year, give it "your all". Live up to the responsibilities that the brethren of your lodge have placed in your hands. Lead with humbleness and serve with pride. Make it a great year for yourself and your lodge.

Thursday, January 3, 2008

Farewell My Friend

Lyle Johnson & Becky Harrison
November 10, 2007

Iowa Masonry lost a true craftsman today and I lost a good friend. Bro. Lyle Johnson passed to the Grand Lodge Above and received the Masters' Word from the Master Builder.

Lyle was a "Masons' Mason". Although Sioux City was home to him, he truly was a brother to all Masons throughout this great state. Lyle was one that traveled far and wide and brothers in all corners of the state knew and loved him. Whenever you saw him, you were always greeted with a great big smile, a hearty hello and a friendly handshake. It was always a treat to see Lyle and spend some time with him. He truly was a living embodiment of Masonry.

Bro. Lyle was raised in Landmark Lodge No. 103 on February 29, 1960 and served as Worshipful Master in 1979. He served the Grand Lodge of Iowa as Sr. Grand Deacon (1977-78); Sr. Grand Warden (1982-1983) and Deputy Grand Master (1985-1986). He was a member of Sioux City Chapter #62 RAM; Zadok Council #24 R&SM; and Columbian Commandery #18 K.T. He served as Grand Commandery of the Grand Commander Knights Templar of Iowa during 1998-1999. He was a member of the Scottish Rite Bodies in Sioux City where he had been coroneted a 33rd degree. He was a member of Abu Bekr Shrine and Isis Chapter 173 O.E.S. where he had served as Past Patron. Lyle was also a member and past sovereign of St. Bartholomew Conclave Red Cross of Constantine.

My friend and brother, you are going to be very much missed by all of us. You were a friend to each and everyone of us. May you enter into the Glory of the Grand Lodge Above and hear from the Master those welcoming words: "Well done good and faithful servant, enter thou into the joy of thy Lord". Rest in Peace until we meet again.

Wednesday, January 2, 2008

A Stroll Down Memory Lane

My good friend and brother, Max Higgason sent me a fun and interesting email a couple days ago that showed several items from years gone past. I thought I would share a few of these to see how many you recollect. As we start a new year and make dreams for the coming year, let us take a few moments to think back on years' past and some of the wonderful memories that we have from those years. Have fun reminiscing!

Tuesday, January 1, 2008

Auld Lang Syne

Should old acquaintance be forgot,and never brought to mind ?Should old acquaintance be forgot,and auld lang syne ?
For auld lang syne, my dear,
for auld lang syne,
we'll take a cup o’ kindness yet,
for auld lang syne.
And surely you’ll buy your pint cup !And surely I’ll buy mine !And we'll take a cup o’ kindness yet,for auld lang syne.
We two have run about the slopes,and picked the daisies fine ;But we’ve wandered many a weary foot,since auld lang syne.
We two have paddled in the stream,from morning sun till dine† ;But seas between us broad have roaredsince auld lang syne.
And there’s a hand my trusty friend !And give us a hand o’ thine !And we’ll take a right good-will draught,for auld lang syne.

Bro. Robert Burns is attributed to be the author of "Auld Lang Syne" which as we know is traditionally sang on New Year's Eve to say goodbye to the old year and to welcome in the New Year. Similar poems by Robert Ayton (1570–1638), Allan Ramsay (1686-1757) and James Watson (1711) as well as older folk songs, use the same phrase, and predate Burns.

Singing the song on Hogmanay or New Year's Day very quickly became a custom of the Scots which soon spread to other parts of the British Isles. As Scots and other Brits emigrated around the world, they took the song with them.

Guy Lombardo and his Royal Canadians are attributed to making the song famous in the United States. He and his band first performed this song in 1929.

"Auld Lang Syne" is usually sung each year at midnight on New Year's Day (Hogmany in Scotland) in the United Kingdom, the Republic of Ireland, the United States, Australia, New Zealand, South Africa, Hong Kong, and English-speaking areas of India, Pakistan, and Canada, and signifies the start of a new year.

In Scotland it is often sung at the end of a céilidh or a dance. It is common practice that everyone joins hands with the person next to them to form a great circle around the dance floor. At the beginning of the last verse everyone crosses their arms across their breast, so that the right hand reaches out to the neighbour on the left and vice versa. During the last chorus people might start jumping up and down. When the tune ends everyone rushes to the middle, while still holding hands. When the circle is re-established, everyone turns under the arms to end up facing outwards with hands still joined.

It is used as a graduation song and a funeral song in Taiwan and Hong Kong, symbolizing an end or a goodbye. In Japan and Hungary, too, it is used in graduation, and many stores and restaurants play it to usher customers out at the end of a business day. Before the composition of Aegukga, the lyrics of Korea’s national anthem were sung to the tune of this song. In the Indian Armed Forces, as well as the Pakistani Military, the band plays this song during the graduating parade of the recruits.

In the Philippines, it is well known and sung at celebrations like graduations, New Year and Christmas Day. Also, before 1972, it was the tune for the Gaumii salaam anthem of The Maldives (with the current words). In Thailand, it is used for Samakkkhi Chumnum(Together in unity), sung after sports.

In Brazil, Portugal, France, Spain, Greece, Poland and Germany this song is used to mark a farewell. It is also used in the Scout movement for the same purpose, but with lyrics that are a little different.

It has also been used on other occasions as a farewell. One occasion that falls in this category was in October 2000, when the body of former Canadian prime minister Pierre Trudeau left Parliament Hill in Ottawa for the last time, going to Montreal for the state funeral.

Robert Burns was born on January 25, 1759 in the parish of Alloway, Aryshire, England. He was initiated as an Entered Apprentice on July 4, 1781 in Lodge St. David at Tarbloton, passed to the degree of a Fellowcraft and raised on October 1,1781 at the age of 23.

On July 27, 1784 he was installed as Deputy Master in Lodge St. James. In May of 1787 he received the Royal Arch degree in St. Ebbe's Lodge at Eyemouth. The brethren waived his initiatory fee as the felt so priviledge to have one of Burns' stature as a member of their lodge. In 1792 he was elected to the office of Senior Warden in Lodge St. Andrew at Dumfries.

In February 1787, Burns was made the Poet Laureate of Lodge Canongate Kilwinning No. 2, Edinburgh. Wallace McLeod, in his essay "Robert Burns", quotes the minute book, which states:
The Right Worshipful Master, having observed that Brother Burns was present in the lodge, who is well known as a great poetic writer, and for a late publication of his works, which have been universally commended, submitted that he should be assumed a [honourary] member of this lodge, which was unanimously agreed to, and he was assumed accordingly (McLeod, pp.169-171, Mackay, pp. 273-274).

Burns felt that Freemasonry was a cure for many of the social ills of the day. Marie Roberts, in "Burns and the Masonic Enlightenment" states that Freemasonry not only spoke out for the ideals of "liberty, fraternity, equality", but also was responsible for the creation of nationalistic feelings and fervour, as a number of Freemasons played prominent roles in the American and French revolutions.

Above all else, Freemasonry's spirit of Brotherhood had a special place in Burns's heart. Roberts states that "For Burns, Freemasonry was a compound of mysticism and conviviality" (p. 335). This attitude is found in one of his most famous works, "Auld Lang Syne", a song that millions of people around the world know and love. We hear it at New Years and our moved by its message of old friends reminiscing about days past. T.G. Paterson, in "Auld Lang Syne and Brother Robert Burns" says:
For [Burns], "Auld Lang Syne" is a concrete expression of his love of mankind and his ideal of international brotherhood.

Bro. Robert Burns passed to the Grand Lodge Above in 1796 at the age of 37 years.