My Friend, thank you for your interest in Freemasonry!
The purpose of this mail-out is to tell you some more about our organization and to try to satisfy your curiosity.
Included are some papers for you to read. We hope you will have the chance to read them, and that they will answer
most of your questions. We want to deal with any further questions you may have, so feel free to ask questions
at any time.
We believe that becoming a Mason is a significant occasion in your life, and we want you to feel confident and
comfortable with what is involved. Masonry has a different meaning for each of us, but for all of us, it includes
the practice of morality.
It is often said that the basic principles of Freemasonry include brotherly love, relief, and truth.
That is to say, we strive to be friendly, kind, and sincere in our dealings with others.
Masonry also recognizes each individual's right to his own beliefs and practices.
For this reason, we are not allowed to discuss matters of religious or political controversy in the context
of the Lodge. This love and tolerance for all men, so fundamental in Masonry, leads to mutual respect and honour.
In Masonry, you will find men of good will and high ideals; men who believe in a Supreme Being and who try to live
in a spirit of universal brotherhood. In general terms, a Masonic Lodge is a place where all can work together
with a rare unanimity, looking towards a brighter tomorrow.
Freemasonry recognizes that you have obligations to your family, your work, your religious beliefs,
your community, and yourself. These must take priority, and Freemasonry does not interfere with your
ability to meet these obligations. It simply attempts to share brotherly love and fellowship,
and to offer a helping hand. Although it is a fraternity, it is neither a service club nor a benevolent society.
It does participate in and support many charitable activities.
One of our first lessons is our responsibility to care for others.
As a member of the fraternity, you will have rights and corresponding duties. You will be expected to maintain the
regulations of the fraternity; in general terms, to be obedient to your Worshipful Master and his officers,
when acting in the discharge of their duties; to pay the dues that you may owe promptly; and to attend meetings
when requested. These basic duties are common to every Lodge; others will be explained as you
advance through the degrees.
The privileges that accompany these duties are equally important. They include the right to attend all meetings
of the Lodge when qualified; the right to participate in voting on Lodge affairs; and the privilege of visiting
other Lodges on appropriate occasions, when you are properly qualified.
Your regular attendance at our meetings will give you a chance to learn more about Masonry, as you listen to
our age-old ceremonies and discuss them with your brethren. You will also be able to enjoy fraternal fellowship
and develop new friendships.
We encourage you to share your feelings about becoming a Mason with your wife and family, and to discuss
Masonry and its objectives with them.
There is much more that might be said; we have barely scratched the surface. For now, however, let me conclude
by saying that we look forward to having you in our midst. All of us recall our admission into Masonry with a
mixture of nostalgia and joy. You may be sure that an interesting set of experiences lies before you; they will
be dignified, instructive, and sometimes even inspiring. In addition, once you are a part of Freemasonry, you
will have many opportunities to do, to learn, to seek fulfillment, and to help others. Go forward with
confidence and joyful anticipation!
You should expect certain costs. At the time of your application, there is a non-refundable charge of $75.00.
This $75.00 fee, payable by cheque or cash must accompany your application form. Should your application
prove favorable, you will be approved to receive the 3 degree's (Entered Apprentice, Fellow Craft and Master Mason)
On the evening of your initiation into the Craft which is the Entered Apprentice degree, prior to the ceremony,
you will be required to pay $125.00 which will be collected by the Secretary.
On the evening of your raising to the Fellow Craft degree a fee of $125.00 will be required,
also collected by the Secretary prior to the commencement of the ceremony.
The fee for the Master Mason or 3rd degree is $125.00, again collected by the Secretary, prior to the commencement
of the ceremony. The Annual Dormer Lodge dues are $150.00 per annum plus the annual Grand Lodge Assessment, which
at the current time is $44.00.
Additionally, you will be requested to pay $15.00 per year towards the Masonic Community Charities Fund which
supports the Cancer Car Program. Please be advised that this $15.00 donation to the Masonic Cancer Car Program
is not a mandatory assessment but one that is strongly encouraged to maintain this worthwhile charitable program.
And lastly, Dormer lodge has established a Community Outreach Fund.
This fund was established by the brethren of Dormer Lodge to support worthwhile causes within or own community.
The membership is asked to support this fund with a $25.00 annual donation. Once again, donations to the
Dormer Lodge Community Outreach Fund, like the Masonic Cancer Car Program, is done on a volunteer basis rather
than mandatory but all members of Dormer Lodge are urged to help out with a $25.00 donation to keep this fund working.
The total costs to you will be $450.00 to belong.
This fee is usually spread over One year, Once you have joined, should you decide to support the
Masonic Cancer Car Program and Dormer Lodge Community Outreach Fund, your costs will be $$210.00
(Annual Lodge Dues, Grand Lodge Assessment, Cancer Car Donation and Community Outreach Fund Donation) payable on
the 1st of January each year.
If you wish to apply for membership, ask your contact person for a “Petition for Membership”.
If your petition is accepted, a committee will be sent to visit you. The committee’s responsibility is to get
to know you better and recommend your petition to the members. There is no reason to worry; every potential Freemason
must meet with a committee after their petition is received.
ENJOY IT! BE A PART OF IT! ASK QUESTIONS!
FREEMASONRY A WAY OF LIFE
You have, no doubt, heard of Freemasonry, and perhaps you have wondered what it is. It is natural that there
should be some questions in your mind. This paper has been prepared for those who are not members of our Order,
to inform them of the aims and purposes of our organisation.
Our traditions go back over the centuries to the days of the "Operative Masons", the men who built the cathedrals,
abbeys and castlesin times long past. In the 17th century the need for such buildings declined, but the practices
and customs of the Operative Craft left an influence on a new movement that began in the second half of that century.
Groups of men began to meet occasionally in various places in England.
Men who were not actually builders, but who evidently had some interest in the old Craft. Some, no doubt,
had an actual connection with it.
But these new groups had no direct concern with the building trade. It would appear that they were men of
integrity who enjoyed fellowship in an atmosphere of mutual trust amid the bitter divisions of the time.
In order to give a basic form to their meetings it seems they adopted certain of the traditions and practices
of the operative or working masons, and were influenced by the Scottish operative Lodges.
They called themselves "Masons", and when a man was admitted as a member of a group or lodge, he was said to
have been "made a Mason".
In 1717 four such lodges that had been meeting regularly in London and Westminster decided to form a "Grand Lodge"
and to elect a "Grand Master" as their head. As more Lodges were established in England they looked to this
Grand Lodge for guidance. Thus over the years regulations were set up to govern the Craft,
a Constitution was adopted, and the simple ceremonies of the earlier years were elaborated until they became the
three degrees or steps which we now have. It was in this way that what we call Speculative Masonry gradually evolved.
From England Freemasonry spread to other countries where Lodges were formed, and eventually Grand Lodges were set up.
There are now about 150 Grand Lodges in the world, with a total membership of nearly six million.
One of these is the Grand Lodge of B.C. and Yukon, with 167 Lodges and almost 18,000 members.
From very early times Freemasonry has provided an opportunity for men to meet and enjoy the pleasures of
friendly companionship in the spirit of helpfulness and charity, and guided by strict moral principles.
Its members are encouraged to practice a way of life that will sustain high standards in their relationships with
their fellow men. In other words, the practice of Brotherhood.
It is an organisation, which recognises no distinction between races, creeds, or social qualifications.
The organisation of Freemasonry is based on a system of Grand Lodges, and each one is sovereign and independent
within its own territory.
There is no central authority governing all Freemasonry, but each Grand Lodge, in order to be "recognised" by
must maintain acceptable standards and follow established traditions and practices of Freemasonry. The Grand Master, with
his officers, supervises the "constituent lodges", and each Lodge and member is required to observe the regulations set out in the
The Lodge is the basic unit of Freemasonry. Each year it elects its officers to manage its affairs. Through them the members
are encouraged to achieve a better understanding of the ideals and principles of our Craft. It is through the Lodge that a man becomes a
member of our Fraternity.
When he has been accepted, he receives, over a period of time, the three degrees of Freemasonry. It is through these
degrees that our teachings are mainly presented, as each one conveys a moral lesson.
While Freemasonry has a religious basis, it is neither a religion nor a substitute for religion. Before he can be admitted
a member, a man must profess his belief in a Supreme Being (by whatever name He is known), be of mature age and good moral character.
Freemasonry does not go beyond that nor does it question a man’s particular faith or religious dogma.
It does urge him to practice the religious belief, which he holds.
Freemasons meet regularly in their Lodges for the transaction of necessary business, for fellowship, and for the discussion
of matters of Masonic interest.
They are pledged to preserve the moral fibre and quality of life, and to act in a spirit of helpfulness towards all men.
They are taught to make Charity and Benevolence a distinguishing characteristic of their Masonic life.
Our Grand Lodge has a number of charitable projects. It has its own Benevolent Fund, Community Charities Fund, and Bursary Fund,
all built up by the contributions of our members.
Freemasons do not appeal to the public for funds; all contributions come from our own resources.
In this way an attempt is made to inspire our members with a feeling of charity and goodwill towards all mankind.
Other Masonic Bodies:
The whole purpose and teaching of Freemasonry is communicated through the three degrees of the Craft Lodge. A member,
however, may wish to extend his experiences of Freemasonry by participating in additional degrees such as the Scottish Rite,
Royal Arch Masonry, or he can become a member of the Shrine.
The Shriners, through their colourful parades, their annual circus, and their work for crippled and burned children, are probably
the best known to the public.
However, to become a member of any of these bodies a man must be, and remain a member of his Craft Lodge.
Since membership in the Masonic Order is for men only, there are various women's and youth organisations, which may require
sponsorship by Masonic Lodges, or for those who are relatives of Freemasons.
These groups have an affinity with Freemasonry but Freemasonry does not interfere in their workings and is not responsible for their actions.
A man becomes a Freemason only through his own volition. We do not solicit members. When he makes his application the decision
as to his acceptance rests with the Lodge members. If a man has some thought of becoming a Freemason he should approach a friend
whom he knows to be a Freemason, who will explain the procedure.
AIMS & RELATIONSHIPS OF THE CRAFT
From time to time the Grand Lodge of British Columbia and Yukon has deemed it desirable to set forth in precise form the Aims of
Freemasonry as consistently practised under its jurisdiction since it came into being as an organisation in 1871,
and also to define the principles governing its relations with those other Grand Lodges with which it is in fraternal accord.
It is necessary to emphasise, again, certain fundamental principles in the Order.
The first condition of admission and membership to the Order is a belief in a Supreme Being.
This is essential and admits of no compromise.
A Holy Book, referred by Freemasons as “The Volume of the Sacred Law”, is always open in the lodges.
Every candidate is required to take his obligation on that Book.
The Book is from the religion practiced by that individual. And imparts a sanctity to an oath or promise taken upon it.
Everyone who enters Freemasonry is, at the onset, strictly forbidden to countenance any act which may have a tendency to subvert
the peace and good order of society; he must pay due obedience to the law of any country in which he resides or which may
afford him protection, and he must never be remiss in the allegiance due to the Sovereign of his native land.
Thus while British Columbia and Yukon Freemasonry inculcates in each of its members the duties of loyalty and citizenship, it
reserves to the individual the right to hold his own opinion with regard to public affairs.
But, neither in any lodge, nor at any time in his capacity as a Freemason, is he permitted to discuss or to advance
his view on theological or political questions.
The Grand Lodge has always consistently refused to express any opinion on questions of foreign or domestic state policy either
at home or abroad.
It will not allow its name to be associated with any action, however humanitarian it may appear to be, which infringes its
unalterable policy of standing aloof from every question affecting the relations between one government or another,
or between political parties.
The Grand Lodge is aware that there exists bodies, styling themselves as Freemasons, which do not adhere to these principles,
and while that attitude exists, the Grand Lodge of British Columbia and Yukon refuses absolutely to have any relations with such bodies,
or to regard them as Freemasons.
The Grand Lodge of British Columbia and Yukon is a Sovereign and Independent body practising Freemasonry only within the three
degrees and only within the limits defined in it’s constitutions as "pure Ancient Masonry". It does not recognise or admit the
existence of any Superior Masonic authority, however styled.
The Grand Lodge of British Columbia and Yukon will refuse to participate in conferences with so called International
Associations claiming to represent Freemasonry, which admit to membership groups that fail to conform strictly to the
principles upon which the Grand Lodge of British Columbia and Yukon is founded, nor can any such International Association represent its views.
There is no secret with regard to any of the basic principles of Freemasonry, some of which have been stated above.
The Grand Lodge of British Columbia and Yukon will always consider the recognition of those Grand Lodges, which profess, and practice,
and can show that they have consistently professed and practised, those established and unaltered principles,
but in no circumstances will it enter into discussion with a view to any new or varied interpretation of them.
They must be accepted and practised wholeheartedly and in their entirety by those who desire to be recognised as Freemasons by
the Grand Lodge of British Columbia and Yukon.
The United Grand Lodge of England has been asked if it stands by the Aims and Relationships of the Craft.
The United Grand Lodge of England replied that it stood by every word of the declaration, and has since asked for the opinion
of the Grand Lodges of Ireland and Scotland. A conference was held between the three Grand Lodges,
and all unhesitatingly reaffirmed the statement that was pronounced in 1938: nothing in present day affairs has been found that could
cause them to change from that attitude.
The Grand Lodge of British Columbia and Yukon and the three Grand Lodges of England, Ireland and Scotland are convinced that by a
rigid adherence to these Aims and Relationships, that Freemasonry has survived the constantly changing doctrines of the outside world,
and are further compelled to place on record their complete disapproval of any action which may tend to permit the slightest departure
from the basic principles of Freemasonry.
They are strongly of the opinion that if any Grand Lodge does so; it cannot maintain a claim to be following the Ancient Landmarks of the Order.
BROTHERLY LOVE, RELIEF, & TRUTH
The Three Grand Principles of Freemasonry are brotherly love, relief and truth.
Perhaps before explaining these three, one should first look at the meanings of "Grand" and "Principles"
Grand –“of chief importance, splendid, imposing, and noble”. (Oxford English Dictionary)
Principle – “a fundamental truth, a moral rule by which conduct may be guided”. (Oxford English Dictionary)
Truth – “An accurate representation” (Oxford English Dictionary)
Therefore, Brotherly Love, Relief and Truth can be regarded as the most important and noble rules for the guidance of a Freemason's
These Grand Principles have been in existence for hundreds of years, indeed one document from 1775 states that a mason is "strictly
to obey the moral law", and further enjoins him to "act honourably to all men" not just Freemasons.
This, as understood by a Freemason, is more than a belief; it is a reality and offers men a philosophy for their life's guidance.
It enables them to enjoy harmony and fellowship with men of all nationalities and classes.
A Freemason is taught to regard the whole human species as one family his family. By this, masonry unites men of every country,
sect and opinion, enabling them to enjoy true friendship. In one part of our ritual, it is called "disinterested friendship"
friendship for the sake of being that person's friend, with no hidden or avaricious motives.
Brotherly love is placed as the first of the foundation principles of freemasonry, because where pure disinterested love exists
among men, there can be found harmony and goodwill.
This gives ease, removes or lessens some cause of distress, affords aid, helps a person in time of poverty, gives assistance in
time of danger or difficulty.
It is the second grand principle on which the order is founded, and is brought to the attention of every man during his admission
to the Craft.The Ancient Lectures state that it is a duty incumbent on all men, particularly Freemasons.
On this basis we establish our friendships and form our connections.
Every man made a Freemason professes a sincere desire to "render himself more extensively serviceable to his fellow creatures".
What can this mean, other than extending relief, in any form, to our brother, our neighbour, indeed any man who may require or desire it,
as liberally as his necessities may require and our abilities permit.
The moral teachings of Freemasonry are of no value unless put into practice.
It is also a measure of comfort to every Freemason to know that if his path becomes difficult, brethren, in remembrance of their Masonic
teachings and obligations, will come to his assistance, without thought of personal reward.
Indeed, relief perhaps could better be described as "benevolent relief”. Brethren are also encouraged to seek their own relief by
looking inward to the “Great Architect of the Universe” or by whatever name their own religious persuasion may call Him.
Freemasonry is non-sectarian in nature, allowing men of all religious persuasions to join.
Masonically, truth is defined as "a Divine attribute, and foundation of every Masonic virtue". This virtue is taught at every initiation.
Hence, hypocrisy and deceit ought to be unknown, and sincerity and plain dealing is characteristic of a good Freemason. This has a practical
bearing of the daily lives of Freemasons.
Truth must be differentiated from knowledge. It is the basis of character, enabling us to understand ourselves, and thereby be better men.
The quality of being true is exemplified in what ought to be the character of a Freemason; integrity, uprightness, sincerity, and fidelity.
These, and thus truth, embody the highest ideals we can weave into life.
The entire philosophy of Freemasonry is built around the individual; the building of a moral edifice within the heart of a man.
As a final quote, a Freemason, the Rev. K. Healey, in 1951, at an assembly of the Church of England said, "It is a brotherhood, which seeks
after truth, encourages members to uphold one another in the highest moral principles, and in strict honesty of purpose
and integrity in all matters of business"
(The Pocket History of Freemasonry, by F.L. Pick and G.N. Knight, 1992, published by Hutchinson, London.)
THE FORMATION OF THE FIRST GRAND LODGE
The first Grand Lodge, the first in the world, was founded in London, England in 1717.
The story of 'organised' Freemasonry started with the establishment of the Grand Lodge and is found in Bro. James Anderson's Book of
Constitutions (1738, pp 109 110):
"King George 1 entered London most magnificently on 20 Sept. 1714”, and after the rebellion was over A.D. 1716, the few Lodges at
London finding themselves neglected by Sir Christopher Wren, thought fit to cement under a Grand Master as the Centre (sic)
of Union and Harmony, viz., the Lodges that met were:
•At the Goose and Gridiron Alehouse in St. Paul's Churchyard.
•At the Crown Alehouse in Parker's Lane neat Drury Lane.
•At the Apple Tree Tavern in Charles Street, Covent Garden.
•At the Rummer and Grapes Tavern in Channel Row, Westminster.
"They and some old Brothers meet at the said Apple Tree, and having put into the Chair the oldest Master Mason
(now the Master of the Lodge) they constituted themselves a Grand Lodge pro Tempore in Due Form, and forthwith revived the Quarterly
Communication of the Officers of Lodges (called the Grand Lodge) resolved to hold the Annual Assembly and Feast, and then chuse (sic)
a Grand Master from among themselves, till they shall have the Honour of a Noble Brother at their Head."
The decision having been made to unite in a Grand Lodge, the stage was now set for the first formal meeting. Anderson writes:
"Accordingly, on St. John Baptist's Day, in the 3rd year of King George 1, A.D. 1717, the assembly and Feast of the Free and Accepted Masons
was held at the foresaid Goose and Gridiron Ale House.
Before dinner, the oldest Master Mason (and now the Master of a Lodge) in the chair, proposed a list of proper Candidates; and the
Brethren by a Majority of Hands elected Mr. ANTHONY SAYER Gentleman, Grand Master of Masons (Capt. Joseph Elliott, Mr. Jacob Lamball, Carpenter)
Grand Wardens, who being forthwith invested with the Badges of Office and Power by the said oldest Master, and installed was duly
congratulated by the Assembly who payed him Homage.
Sayer Grand Master commanded the Masters and Wardens of Lodges to meet the Grand Officers every Quarter in Communication, at the Place
that he should appoint in his Summons sent by the Tyler."
Of the four old Lodges, which met at the Apple Tree Tavern and formed themselves into a Grand Lodge, No. 2
that at the Crown Ale House lapsed in 1736.
The other three have maintained a continuous existence, preserving their identity intact so that their descendants of today are as follows:
The original No. 1, that met at the Goose and Gridiron is now known as the Lodge of Antiquity No. 2
the Grand Master's Lodge is now No. 1.
The original No. 3, that met at the Apple Tree Tavern is now known as the Lodge of Fortitude and Old Cumberland No. 3.
The original No. 4, which met at the Rummer, and Grapes Tavern is now known as the Royal Somerset House and Inverness Lodge No. 4.
There is much which has been written of these old Lodges Nos. 2,3, and 4 since that time but this is all there is written about the
formation of the first Grand Lodge. All other Grand Lodges about the world have been formed since that date.
Most Grand Lodges have their roots stemming from this Grand Lodge.
In England, since 1717, there are now over 8,240 Lodges with 83 different Grand Lodge appointments.
In British Columbia, there are 167 Lodges with 59 Grand Lodge Appointments.
THE ORIGINS AND EARLY HISTORY OF FREEMASONRY IN BRITISH COLUMBIA
Since the Grand Lodge of British Columbia and Yukon is so young, it is fortunate that we have a relatively well-documented account
of the early formations of Lodges in the British Columbia Colonies and Vancouver Island Colony before the establishment of the
Grand Lodge of British Columbia.
This paper will attempt to give the history of the lodges formed in the very young province before that event.
As in other Grand Jurisdictions around the world, our Ancient Order grew with the economic development of the Province. In early times that
economy was based on fur trade. This trade declined in 1858 when the first great gold rush to the Province began.
The first suggestion of Freemasonry emerging on Vancouver Island was actually in a carrying case of a Dr. Tolmie who moved to Victoria in 1859.
It is not certain if Dr. Tolmie was a Freemason, since there are no records of his being involved in any Masonic activities around this time.
Through the hands of several relatives, this same case is now in the hands of Prince of Wales Lodge #100, it being last in the possession
of Dr. Frank Patterson, a member of that Lodge.
There were numerous Masons in the population who inundated Victoria during the Gold Rush. On July 10th 1958, in the Victoria Gazette there
appeared the following notice:
The members of the Ancient Order of Free and Accepted Masons in good standing are invited to meet on
Monday July 12th, at 7:00 o' clock p.m. in Southgate and Mitchell's new store, upstairs.
It is assumed that J.J. Southgate, an Englishman and who had Masonic connections in California, submitted the notice.
There were seven brethren who were definitely present at this inaugural meeting of July 12th, 1858.
They were L.L. Southgate and George Pearkes from English Lodges, William Jaffray from an Irish Lodge, James N. and William H. Thain,
brothers from New Brunswick and Californian Lodges respectively, Ronald J. McDonell, from an Australian Lodge, and Allen MacDonald from a
Others may have been present but only these seven were recorded. Some time after this meeting and probably other informal meetings a petition
was drafted to the United Grand Lodge of England to establish a Masonic Lodge in Victoria. Bro. Southgate's name was presented as
Master of the Lodge and Bro. Pearkes as Senior Warden. In the British Colonist, a paper under the editorialship of Amor De Cosmos,
which commenced publication in December 1858, the following paragraph appeared:
Victoria Lodge of F. and A.M. Preliminary measures have been taken for the establishment of a Masonic Lodge in Victoria.
The petition for a charter will go to England on the next steamer.
The following gentlemen have been named as office bearers: Capt. Southgate, W.M., George Pearkes, S.W., William Jaffray, J.W., A. De Cosmos,
Secretary, J. N. Thain, Treasurer, W.H.Thain, S.D., R.J. McDonell, J.D.
After a long trip about Cape Horn, the petition was duly received in London and a Charter; dated March 19th, 1859 arrived back at Victoria,
unfortunately with irregularities. This necessitated its return to the Grand Secretary in London for correction. Not until March 14th, 1860
was a charter received in proper order.
Now the original petition had 18 signatures upon it, 11 more than the original. On March 20th, 1860 the following appeared in the
Victoria Lodge No. 1085. Our Masonic Brethren will be pleased to learn that the charter applied for to the Grand Lodge of England
has arrived and is now in possession of J.J. Southgate, Esq. Arrangements are now in progress to speedily organise the Lodge
in "due and ancient form of which the Brethren will have "due and timely notice".
The constitution, installation and investiture of officers took place on August 20th 1860, in the upper storey of the Feardon Building,
otherwise known as "Stationers Hall". The installing officer was W. Bro. Henry Aguilar, RX, Past Master of Good Report Lodge No. 158,
and who was commanding H.M. gunboat "Grappler", then stationed in Esquimalt.
Also participating in these ceremonies was W.Bro. Robert Burnaby. He had affiliated with the newly formed Lodge,
which practised the "Emulation" or "English" work.
The second Masonic Lodge in the Province was established in New Westminster, as Union Lodge No. 1201, E.R. Remember at that time
British Columbia and Vancouver Island were separate colonies.
Perhaps Union Lodge can boast of being the first British Columbia Lodge! It practised the "Scotch" or "American" work.
The third Lodge to be formed was Vancouver Lodge No. 421, Scottish Registry, and once again on Vancouver Island. Dr. Israel Wood Powell,
established this Lodge.
He had been a member of Elgin Lodge No. 348, S.R. in Montreal. They practised the "Scotch" or "York" works. The organisational
meeting was held on October 20th, 1862, when 8 brethren were present.
In 1865, Nanaimo brethren made application to the Grand Lodge of England for a charter. The original charter was lost in the wreck
of the Hudson's Bay Steamer "Labouchere" on a voyage from San Francisco to Victoria. Not until 1867 did the replacement charter arrive.
The first communication of Nanaimo Lodge No. 1090 E.R. was held on May 15th, 1867.
Brethren from Victoria attended the first lodge meeting by travelling on the steamer "Sir James Douglas" which was chartered for the occasion.
British Columbia Lodge No. 1187 E.R. was next to be established with Caledonia Lodge No. 478 S.R. in Nanaimo followed by Quadra Lodge No. 508,
S.R. in Victoria. Nine Lodges existed when there began talks of creating a Grand Lodge of British Columbia in 1871, but that's another story.
FREEMASONRY AND RELIGION
Although Freemasonry is many things to many men it is, basically, an association of friends. It is a fraternity that admits to its
membership men, of all races, creeds and colours, who have a belief in a Supreme Being.
What, then, is the connection between religion and Freemasonry? A plain, simple answer is "There is no connection between the
two any more that there is between religion and the Rotary Club or between religion and the Cancer Society." Haffner, in his book Workman
Unashamed (available in the Grand Lodge Library) points out that Freemasonry lacks the basic elements of religion.
It has no theological doctrine and, by forbidding religious discussion at its meetings, will not allow a "Masonic theological doctrine"
to develop. Secondly, it offers no sacraments and, thirdly, he points out, it does not claim to lead to Salvation by good works,
by secret knowledge or by any other means.
The official pronouncement by the United Grand Lodge of England on Freemasonry and Religion contains a simple, positive statement:
"Freemasonry is not a religion, nor is it a substitute for religion.
It demands of its member's belief in a Supreme Being, but provides no system of faith of its own. Its ritual includes prayers,
but these relate only to the matter instantly in hand and do not amount to the practice of religion.”
We are interested in Faith only, not theology. When Freemasonry accepts a Christian or a Jew or a Buddhist or a Sikh or a Muslim or
a man of any religious persuasion, it does not accept him as such, but as a man.
When he joins Freemasonry, he brings with him his own religious background and allegiance.
He is not subscribing to a new religion when he becomes a Freemason any more than he does when he joins the Boy Scouts or the Liberal Party.
Some of the problems our critics have related to the writings of so called authorities that do not necessarily have their facts straight.
There are so many differences between Grand Lodges that any information, written in a preface to a book such as a "Masonic Bible",
claiming to speak for Freemasonry throughout the world needs to be checked carefully.
One such book states that Freemasons believe they can attain everlasting salvation by doing good works.
This is one of the oldest heresies in Christianity and. quite rightly; the Christian Church attacks this because it believes that the
only way to obtain Salvation is through faith.
This should remind the reader of the first round on Jacob's Ladder. Freemasonry, in this Jurisdiction, is not concerned with providing a
means of salvation but regards this as something that each man will find within his own religion.
If Freemasonry were a religion, there would be no need for Masons to attend church, synagogue, mosque or temple.
One American evangelist contacted all the American Grand Lodges a few years ago and asked who they saw as the authoritative writers on Masonry.
Twenty five of them replied naming people such as Pike and Mackey, whose names are the same ones that immediately occur to many
British Columbia Masons as authorities on Freemasonry. These men wrote 150 years ago!
Just as churches have changed in that time so has Freemasonry. The reader, who wishes to read a modern,well-researched book on this topic,
is referred to the one by Haffner, mentioned above.
If people want to throw stones, that's their business. In order to answer some of the criticisms, one has to stoop to the level
of the critic. That is not the Masonic way. A man's relationship with God is his business.
Freemasonry is wise to stay clear from such debate.
ANCIENT FREE & ACCEPTED MASONS
You may have noticed on the letter you received from the Secretary of the Lodge, when you were invited to attend a meeting, that
the name of your lodge was followed by the number of the lodge and then these letters, A. F. & A. M. What do these letters mean and how did they come to be
associated with the Lodge name?
The letters mean Ancient, Free and Accepted Masons.
This title has not always been connected with the names of Lodges. The first Grand Lodge ever formed, was the Grand Lodge of England,
in 1717. In 1730 a man by the name of Samuel Pritchard published an 'expose' called Masonry Dissected.
Its contents were not completely accurate, though the Masons in London, fearing that impostors may attempt to enter their lodges
with knowledge gained from this book, changed a few modes of recognition. This change incensed a group of Masons from Ireland and
Scotland who could also not gain entrance because of the changes, changes they did not know.
They felt some landmarks had been changed. By 1751, that group had established a rival Grand Lodge with its intent to return to
the old Institutions. They called themselves "The Most Ancient and Honourable Society of Free and Accepted Masons." Later,
they became known as the Ancients while the original Grand Lodge of England, formed in 1717 were known as the Moderns.
A final reconciliation of differences occurred in 1813 when the two Grand Lodges formed as one and were called
"The United Grand Lodge of Ancient, Free and Accepted Masons of England.
The origin of the difference between Mason and Freemason (if any) is unknown. The term Free probably had different implications at
various periods of Masonic history. It may at different times have meant freedom from serfdom,
freedom from town or borough regulations or, and this is more generally accepted today, it described a worker of freestone,
a type of stone that can be readily cut and shaped with accuracy, as opposed to one who works in roughstone, which cannot be so shaped.
(Eddie 1978 p. 17) Pick and Knight (1990,) state..."The earliest use of the word Freemason occurs in 1376, when it implies an
operative mason of somewhat superior class ... During the seventeenth century a number of examples of the use of this word suggests
that it was beginning to beapplied especially to the non operative mason." Certainly this distinction applies today.
Mackey (1907 p. 294) suggests the word free, in connection with a Mason, originally signified that the person so called was free
of the company or gild of incorporated Masons. In the 10th century the term freemason appears to have been used when
travelling freemasons were incorporated by the Roman Pontiff.
In another sense free means not bound, not in captivity. It is not permitted for a man to be initiated into Masonry who at the time
is restrained of his liberties. The Grand Lodge of England extends the doctrine that Freemasons should be free thinkers and allowed
to express their thoughts and be unrestricted in their actions.
The word accepted might have originated with a London Masons' Company, an operative organisation that existed near the end of the
fourteenth century.After the year 1619, records of this company show non operative masons, (speculative masons), joining.
Within the London Masons' Company was an inner body called the "Acception" to which non members could belong.
Elias Ashmole, an Englishman and Antiquary made reference in his diary that in 1646 he was "made a Freemason" in what was a purely
speculative Lodge in Warrington,in Lancashire, England. In 1682 he records his attendance at a meeting of the London Masons'
Company when both Operative and Speculative members were present.
Evidently it was possible for Gentleman Masons to become members without joining the Company. A small publication in 1676, 6 years
before Ashmole's visit to the London Masons' Company, had printed a skit entitled "Poor Robin's Intelligencer" on the subject
of the "Company of Accepted Masons".
Today, most Lodges use these initials after the name of the Lodge. In United States of America and Ireland, lodges use the
initials F. & A.M. and A.F.& A.M. depending whether they styled themselves after the Moderns or the Ancients.
(Eddie A.R. Masonic Bulletin Vancouver, B.C. Nov. 1978.)
(Mackay, A.G. Encyclopaedia of Freemasonry, Louis H. Everts & Co.
(Pick, F.L. & Knight, G. N., The Pocket History of Freemasonry, London, 1990)