August 2021 Trestleboard
Sickness and Distress
Robin Winslett is still recovering from illness and phone calls are welcome! We were very pleased to see him attend our June stated meeting and he looked remarkably well for someone who has gone through what he has over the last year.
John Merrick passed to the Celestial Lodge Above on July 7th. See more in the Secretary’s article and in the memorial roll posted in this newsletter.
Brethren all, if you are aware of any member of this Lodge who is suffering from ill-health or other adverse circumstances, or you yourself are suffering the same and you feel that it would benefit the member to be contacted by members of the Lodge, please reach out to the Secretary and let him know!
Twin Peaks Lodge is dark in July and August. There will be no stated meeting this month. The next Stated Meeting will be held on September 13th, the 2nd Monday of the month. This is due to the fact that Labor Day will be observed on the 6th.
Other Activities and Dates
July 26th Meetup at Hopper’s Brewery in Midvale
Our end of month dinner will be at Hoppers Brew Pub & Grill located at the corner of 9th East and Fort Union Boulevard in Midvale, Utah. The date and time will be July 26th at 7:00 pm. Come on in out of the heat and enjoy some good food and conversation. At our June meet up, we had 12 folks in attendance including three spouses and one prospect! Yes! Family and friends are welcome, and if you know somebody who is investigating Masonic membership, events such as these are great opportunities for us to get to know each other! Their website can be found at https://www.hoppersbrewpub.com/, which includes their menu.
Labor Day – September 6th
This is a reminder to you that the 1st Monday of September is Labor Day, a federal holiday. As such, the September stated meeting for Twin Peaks Lodge will be on Sept. 13th @ 7:30 pm, which is the following Monday. Take due notice and govern yourselves accordingly. In the meantime, your Lodge officers hope that you will have a very pleasant Labor Day!
Announcement Regarding August Practices
Worshipful Brother Ric Wailes has ordered me to inform you that contrary to our intention at the beginning of summer, we will not meet at the Midvale Lodge Hall for any further practices until September. This is due to the fact that we neglected to ballot on the question of whether the brethren approve of spending the extra $525 for the use of the Hall, which was not budgeted. The Master feels very strongly that money should not be spent from the treasury without getting prior permission from the membership. W. Bro. Van Steeter offered the use of his basement at his home for officer practices on August 16th and 30th at 7 pm. For those that would like to get some team practice in, please contact him by phone or email and let him know if you are coming either of those two days. He can also provide you with his address.
From the East
July is almost behind us. The 4th of July has come and gone as has Pioneer Days. Two seemingly unrelated days. Both are related to freedom. The 4th was the date which the Colonies declared independence from Britain. The 24th marks the day that LDS “Mormon” pioneers first entered the Salt Lake Valley, which at that time was a territory of the United States. Those entering the valley fully believed that they were obtaining the freedom to worship as they felt was right.
Some of the great leaders who helped found this country were Free Masons, members of our craft. The vast majority of the male church members were also Free Masons although there is some dispute as to the validity of that claim.
As of January 15th, 2022, Grand Lodge of Utah will have been in existence for 150 years. Wasatch #1 Mt Moriah#2 and Argenta #3 met on that day in 1872, 150 years ago and opened the first session of the Grand Lodge Free and Accepted Masons of Utah.
Freemasonry has run into many difficulties in its years since what is called antiquity. It has been banned by religions, declared outlaw by governments, its members hunted down and being seen as the lowest of the low. It some places members have met death at the hands of others. One thing to note in all of those situations. Freemasonry may have been forced underground, yet it remains because of those who have a belief in its tenets. We all honor those who came before us and suffered in ways we have not, every time we meet for Stated or Special meetings. There are plenty of books out there on the history of Freemasonry. If you don’t want to purchase one or two, then get a library card and you can check them out or ask for an interlibrary loan at your local library.
September 13th we will once again meet for our stated or business meeting. We will open on the 1st degree as we want all members from MM to EA to attend. This will be a special meeting in that we have two Brothers who will be present to receive their 50-year pins. The Grand Master MWB Daniel Lawes will be in attendance for this celebration. Refreshments will be available after the meeting in the lower level. For those with concerns, I want you to know that all food will be brought into the Temple, drinks will be individually packaged, and I will apologize as there will be no community coffee or hot water available at this time.
I am looking forward to being able to once again use the kitchen and hopefully in time for our annual Veterans Day Breakfast. If we can do this it will be either the 7th or 14th of the month.
Remember there is a reason that the Master opens with “Due order and Decorum”. Many other groups use these same words, as a guide to behavior, in particularly the Armed Forces of the United States expect their members to act with such while they are on duty. It provides a standard or level of conduct expected from all members who serve From Generals down to basic recruits. It serves as a way of honoring the traditions of the past and those who also possessed, created, and believed in them. As members of the oldest Fraternity in the world, should we not also meet, act, and part in like manner?
Until September then, and I am looking forward to seeing as many of you as can make it that evening.
Richard L. Wailes, PM
On the Secretary’s Table
As most of you are aware, Brother John Merrick was called from labor to refreshment. He entered the Celestial Grand Lodge on July 7th. His memorial roll is included in this Trestleboard, but I wanted to bring up an important topic; the importance of making sure that instructions regarding a Masonic memorial service are included in the instructions to your executor.
All Masons, from the youngest Entered Apprentice to the long-serving Master Mason, are entitled to a Masonic memorial service if they so desire. This is a solemn and dignified ceremony which gives the Fraternity the opportunity to render final honors to a departed Brother.
Of course, a Mason may choose to forego such a service. This is entirely up to the brother. He should consult with his family and his place of worship for guidance if he is unsure.
I strongly recommend that as part of your will or instructions to your executor that you explicitly specify whether or not you want a Masonic funeral service (at the memorial hall, at the graveside). In other words, “Yes! I do!” or “No! I don’t!”
This is necessary to avoid confusion. Although a Lodge is always ready and honored to perform such a service, we never, ever want to be seen as attempting to impose our desires upon a family during such a difficult period. What we really want to avoid is what happened in this instance. Even though members of the family were contacted, we received no instruction as to yes or no. We received silence.
You will be happy to know that members of Argenta, Rocky Mountain, Twin Peaks and Grand Lodge attended John’s memorial in good numbers. It is the least we could do to pay our final respects to a departed brother.
Fraternally and cordially,
Glen Van Steeter, PM
In Memoriam – Brother John Russell Merrick: 1952-2021
Brother John Russell Merrick, known by many of his friends as “Big John” or “Large”, passed away the morning of July 7th, 2021, due to complications from cancer. He was born in Salt Lake City to William F. and Lucille Merrick on March 30th, 1952. At the time of his passing, he was 69 years of age.
John graduated from West High School and was a lifelong resident of Rose Park. He enlisted in the United States Navy in July 1970 and served a four-year enlistment. Upon his return, he worked for the Salt Lake County Sherriff’s office until he retired as a Lieutenant in April of 2000.
He was an enthusiastic motorcycle rider and was a member of the Blue Knights Law Enforcement Motorcycle Club for over 25 years. After his retirement, he spent much of his time travelling on his motorcycle internationally, from Ireland to Russia, and racking up over one-hundred thousand miles, never mind the half-million he garnered in North America. He loved to ride, and he loved to travel. His advice was: “Travel kills prejudice. Get out of your safe harbor and travel if you are able. There’s a great big, beautiful world out there.”
Brother John was initiated an Entered Apprentice on April 16, 2012; passed to the Fellow Craft degree on April 17th, 2013; and raised to the Degree of Master Mason on February 18th, 2014, in Argenta Lodge No. #3 of Salt Lake City, Utah. He was an affiliate member of Twin Peaks Lodge No. 32 in Midvale, Utah. Brother John was also a member of the Ancient Arabic Order of the Noble Mystic Shrine at El-Kalah Temple in Salt Lake City, as well as a member of the Ancient and Accepted Scottish Rite (SJ) in the Valley of Salt Lake.
John is survived by his wife Debra, their two children Tiffany McBaine (Preston), David (Kisha), six grandchildren, his parents Bill and Lucille and his siblings Leslie Clarke, Stevane Godina and Robert. He is preceded in death by his grandparents, his sister Anne Merrick and many aunts and uncles.
The following Brethren have anniversaries of their being raised to the Degree of Master Mason this month.
- Brother Lawrence D. McGill, raised on August 10, 1965, and has 56 years of service.
The following Brethren were born this month.
- Worshipful Brother Glen Van Steeter, born on August 2.
- Brother Frank Keller, born on August 14.
- Worshipful Brother Robert Denning, born on August 27.
- Brother Richard Hunt, born on August 30.
Educational: The Duties of the Junior Warden
He shall call the craft from labor to refreshment…
Anciently, it was the duty of the Junior Warden to observe the time and to release the workmen for the noon-time meal as well as to call them back to labor once the workman had been refreshed. Today, the Junior Warden is usually responsible for organizing the social and hospitality functions of the Lodge, such as refreshments served before or after Stated Meetings, or working with event committees regarding social events.
It is important to clarify that while the Junior Warden has traditionally been responsible for meeting refreshments, that does not mean that he must provide them. Ideally, he will work with a hospitality committee to arrange for brethren of the Lodge to take turns providing the meals.
He shall convene and preside over the Lodge in the absence of the Master and Senior Warden…
In the rare occasion that both the Master and Sr. Warden are unavailable, it falls to the Junior Warden to conduct a scheduled meeting of the Lodge.
He shall demonstrate his proficiency in opening, obligating, and closing the Lodge on at least one of the Three Degrees…
Before his election to Jr. Warden, he should be proficient in the ritual for conferring the Entered Apprentice degree (1st and 2nd Sections) and should also be proficient in opening and closing a Lodge of Entered Apprentices. Note that per Utah Grand Lodge code, only a duly elected and installed pedestal officer or a Past Master can confer a degree upon a candidate. Additionally:
- He should be actively working on one of the three Degree lectures and be prepared to give it from memory at some point during his year as Junior Warden.
- He should be able to confer any of the following with minimum notice:
- The Apron Lecture
- The “G” Lecture
- The Constitutional Questions
- The Working Tools lecture of the 1st Degree
- The “Charity” lecture of the 1st Degree.
- During his tenure as Junior Warden, he should work on the Sr. Warden’s ritual.
- He should also be proficient with at least one major part of the 2nd Section of the Third Degree.
He shall assist the Master and Sr. Warden in upholding the bylaws of the Lodge and the Utah Constitution and bylaws…
This is not to say that he must have these committed to memory, but that he should be able to find them easily. Especial attention should be paid to Title III – Regulations Relative to Lodges. Additionally, the Jr. Warden will have started reviewing the Utah Masonic Trial Code.
He shall assist the Senior Warden in planning and scheduling Degrees…
Although not inherited from the ancient duties of this office, the Junior Warden should be willing to help the Senior Warden in planning degrees. This will be very important should he progress to Senior Warden.
He shall oversee such committees as he may be assigned by the Worshipful Master…
Traditionally, the Sociability and Hospitality Committees of the Lodge are overseen by the Junior Warden. However, he should be prepared to serve happily and diligently on any committee assignment.
He shall diligently perform all other duties assigned to him by the Worshipful Master…
Does this really need explanation? The Mason who is contemplating throwing his hat in the ring for election to Junior Warden will start preparing early. Focus on the required ritual now will leave him more time for the equally demanding challenge of preparing a budget, a term calendar, and a term plan including meetings, events and committees during his Senior Warden year.
A Short Talk About Masonic Understanding
Submitted by W. Bro. Richard L. Wailes, Master of Twin Peaks Lodge No. 32
Who is the most dangerous individual in the world? It is the man who fully believes himself to be in the right so far as to exclude all other possibilities that are not the one, he believes. This is a position that we can compare to having blinders on. We cannot see other things that are around us.
In the first degree, we are taught that the Three Great Lights in Masonry are the Volume of Sacred Law, the Square and the Compasses. They do not sit on the Altar just to look pretty; they are there for a purpose.
The Volume of Sacred Law is the Inestimable gift from God to man. This is a great learning tool and is to be used to assist us in our spiritual or internal growth.
The Square is to remind us to square our precepts therein contained. Some think this means precepts contained in the Square, I know that when I started my Masonic journey, I did. It really means those precepts contained within the Sacred Law that we take our obligations on. So, we are to square our actions by the precepts contained within the Volume of Sacred Law, which include being fair and square with others, and taking responsibility and consequences for our actions.
Finally, we have the compasses. This is the tool that we are told we are to use to keep our passions within due bounds towards all mankind. More especially a Brother Mason.
More especially a Brother Mason, this indicates the benefit of being within that brotherhood of man or family, whose bonds help to protect all within from unfair practices and actions.
It is said in our closing charge that we are to remember a weak and erring brother and to “in the most tender manner to remind him of his failings, and to aid in his reformation, as well as to vindicate his character when wrongfully traduced”. Traduced, now there is a word not normally used in everyday language. It means to speak badly of or tell lies about someone to damage the reputation of another.
We are all taught that we must need to behave in a manner to protect one another, to try to guide each other and to be guided ourselves on a level path, walking upright in our several stations before man and God, using the tools of Masonry to ensure that we take right actions.
It becomes damaging to the fraternity, when men become distraught, and when they believe that they are not being understood, validated, or vindicated by others within the fraternity. Some of these men have left our Fraternity and shared our secrets with the world in a vindictive manner or have remained within the Fraternity and spread seeds of discord among us as retribution for wrongs that they felt were done to them.
We all have the opportunity to behave in a manner that shows us to be practitioners of our art; that of building a spiritual edifice, or not to behave in such a manner. That choice belongs to each and every one of us. Being able to make that choice means that we ensure that when we dress, we are not putting on blinders; that we are trying to see things with an open mind; to give the benefit of doubt to another and attempt to help them become better as a man and to perhaps better understand them. By this process we ourselves become better men.
I personally can look back on my life and see many, many serious and grievous errors, mistakes, and plain WRONG actions in that life. Can I, atone for all of them? No, I cannot. There are some behaviors, that if I were to ask for forgiveness and understanding, would only open wounds that are best left closed. Or as I have heard some folks say, “let sleeping dogs lie”.
If I cannot ask for forgiveness without causing more harm, how do I obtain it? I must learn to forgive myself, because I have recognized the harm that comes from such behavior, and I desire to not repeat it again.
When I look at myself as a rough ashlar, I find that all my rough edges are those things in life that cause not only hurt to others, but also causes misery, pain, and frustration to myself
Must I as an aggrieved individual forgive those who have stood against me or caused me and mine harm. Well the Bible as I understand it recommends such a course.
In support of that course, I have learned that if I continue to hold the hurt, or the anger towards another, and not deal with it in a positive manner, I am actually causing myself harm, because, I am not at peace. There is that part of me still desirous of getting my, just dues, my bound of flesh and it is this desire that keeps us from peace in our daily lives.
It is hoped that each of us consider what the volume of sacred law, the Square and Compasses really do mean. Not just the words we hear in the lecture when as a newly obligated Brother we were brought from darkness to see the light by which Masons work.
I try to live this, and I find that quite often, I do not succeed. Now, “not succeeding” does not mean failing.
Growth as a person is much like a baby learning to walk. We start by crawling as we begin to learn a new way to live outside the womb. Then we get a helping hand to hold onto as we start to walk in that new way. We let go! Oh No!! We lose our balance and fall.
Have we failed? No, we have not, we simply have not succeeded. Like the baby learning to walk, we start to crawl again, we reach out and try to pull ourselves up on something we think will support us only to have it fall over on us. So, we learn to find the stable support, the guiding hands that help us along. We start taking steps and we start succeeding.
Do we take off running everywhere? I think not. We have to learn to walk with confidence before we can attempt to run. Even when we run, we can fall and skin our knees. Yet we get back up, because by this time we have learned to be able to stand up on our own. We start walking again, then running again, only now we have learned to be more aware of things that might cause us to fall. In learning that lesson, we learn to keep an eye out for them.
How then do we fail? We fail, by failing to try. We all learn at different speeds; we understand at different levels. These differences can bring us together in understanding or can tear us apart and destroy each other.
Thus, the need to gain the ability not only to whisper words of good counsel to another, we also need to gain the ability to listen to those words of good counsel from another.
May we all whisper words of good counsel.
Test Your Knowledge – U.S. Citizenship
We all know that Masons in their respective nations are usually more aware of civics and history than the general population. Masonry teaches in the 1st Degree that you should be a just and peaceful citizen and true to your government. You’d not likely be surprised that generally, native-born Americans don’t have the best grasp of US History, the structure of the government, or even US geography. Many thousands of people each year become naturalized US citizens. One of the requirements of becoming a citizen is that you must answer ten questions taken from a pool of one hundred and score above 70%.
There is a website where you can test your knowledge. You are asked all 100 questions. You do not actually type in the answers or select. You just tell yourself what your answer would be, select “Show Answer” to see the correct answers and then select either “I got it wrong.” or “I got it right!”. It is a fun little test and only takes about 10 minutes. You can find the quiz app at https://civicsquestions.com/all/. You should try it! If you are interested, I got 94 right.