Iowa Freemasonry is a personal journal of a Freemason in central Iowa. This blog documents my Masonic research interests, experiences, and reflections. Welcome!

Saturday, November 24, 2012

Lefsa stick or Knight Templar sword?

Never had lefsa before? Be sure to attend the Operative Lodge #308 Christmas party- details TBA.

Sunday, November 18, 2012

York Rite Fall Festival

The Des Moines York Rite bodies hosted the 2012 Fall Festival this past weekend. Over sixteen candidates were knighted including candidates from Ottumwa, South Dakota, and Albia. The Most Illustrious Grand Master of the Grand Council of South Dakota Roger Kehm was among the many guests at the festival.

Pictures of the set-up, festival, and banquet are below:

Saturday, November 17, 2012

York Rite 2012 Fall Festival

The 2012 Fall York Rite Festival begins this morning with the Mark Master Degree and continues through the Order of the Temple this afternoon. Times and location are below:

Chapter Degrees
7:45 AM  Mark Master
8:30 AM Past Master
9:15 AM Most Excellent Master
10:15 AM Royal Arch Mason

LUNCH 12:00

Council Degrees
12:45 PM Royal Master
1:30 PM Select Master

Commandery Orders
2:15 PM Order of the Red Cross (Short Form), Order of Malta (Short Form)
3:00 PM Order of the Temple

519 Park Street
Des Moines, Iowa

Monday, November 12, 2012


November is election time for more than just political offices such as the president and congress; Masonic Lodges also elect their officers during this month. Officers in a Masonic Lodge are of two general types: elected and appointed. Elected officers include the Worshipful Master, senior warden, and junior warden (secretary and treasurer are also elected). The Worshipful Master is the leader of the Lodge and he appoints two stewards, junior steward and senior steward, as well as two deacons, junior deacon and senior deacon.  Typically, a Freemason progresses through the “line” of officers starting with junior steward and continuing through the deacon positions then the wardens and ending as the Master of the Lodge; each officer’s term lasts one year. For example, if a man starts as junior steward and is reappointed by succeeding Masters and then elected to the positions of the wardens, he will reach the position of Master of the Lodge in seven years.

Elections in Masonic Lodges are quite different than elections for political office. Carl Claudy writes about this in A Master’s Wages. His writing illustrates one of the biggest differences between elections for political office and our elections: the lack of electioneering. Masonic elections are intentionally structured in such a way that electioneering, politics, and lobbying are not just discouraged but inherently ineffective. Claudy writes: “…many lodges do not hold elections for the lower positions, but leave these to be filled by appointment. If succeeding Masters reappoint those already appointed, when they have faithfully served, they eventually get, in line, to whether they must be elected or dropped. Which depends entirely on the man.” I teach American Government to high school students and I can assure you that American elections are not similarly structured!

Operative Lodge #308 held its elections at the November Stated Meeting this evening and the following officers were elected:
Worshipful Master: John Whitaker
Senior Warden: Keith Gordon
Junior Warden: Scott Nemmers
Secretary: Jim Trotter
Treasurer: Bob Koss

Congratulations to WM John Whitaker, the Wardens, and the Secretary and Treasurer!

Thursday, November 8, 2012

Operative Lodge and Star Lodge: common work for an uncommon purpose

Star Lodge #115 in Madrid raised a brother to the sublime degree of a Master Mason yesterday evening. This small town Lodge has been quite active the past several years with new brothers joining and more experienced brothers passing the test for their Masonic Instructor’s Certificate. (Past Master Brian Ahrens is the most recent member of Star Lodge to have received this honor). Last night’s Third Degree was well attended with visitors from five Lodges in attendance including Operative #308 in Polk City and Mt. Olive #79 in Boone. 

Operative Lodge #308 and Star Lodge #115 have an especially close relationship. Operative Lodge was formed by several brothers from Star Lodge #115. In 1857, Star Lodge held its first meeting in what was then known as the town of Swedes Point, now Madrid. In 1871, brothers from Madrid, with the permission and encouragement of Star Lodge, applied to the Grand Lodge of Iowa for a charter to begin a Lodge in Polk City. Today, several brothers of Operative Lodge are also members of Star Lodge, including Operative’s Worshipful Master and Senior Deacon.

Freemasonry is a brotherhood which draws us closer together and builds community. We each experience this in different ways, even when we are engaged in a common goal. The Third Degree is one way to extend the meaning of this brotherhood simply by participating together as a community of men in a common work for an uncommon purpose. Star Lodge and Operative Lodge share these strong bonds of community, work, and purpose and it was an honor to be a part of this 140 year relationship yesterday evening.

Tuesday, November 6, 2012

Grand Master's Area Meeting- Home Lodge #370 Nov. 6th

I attended the Grand Masters Area Meeting (GMAM) at Home Lodge #370 in Pleasant Hill, Iowa last night. The GMAMs are held by the Grand Master to communicate with local lodges as well as give Freemasons from around Iowa the opportunity to learn more about the Grand Master’s program. This year, Most Worshipful Bryce Hildreth has established “The Ties That Bind” as his theme.

The GMAM at Home Lodge was well attended and the program lasted approximately 90 minutes. Lodge Service Committee member Greg Spooner opened the evening and welcomed all to Home Lodge. Kurt Hoffman told the audience about the Grand Lodge’s new program to reach out to those interested in learning more about Freemasonry through a website: Iowa Freemasonry. The site is aimed at those who are not Freemasons and features video as well as crisp, clean graphics related to the Craft. If you haven’t yet seen the page, check it out here. Grand Lodge encourages local lodges to use the site as an introduction for any local men who may be interested in learning more about Freemasonry.

The Grand Master then made a brief presentation on his program and answered questions from the audience in an informal atmosphere. He emphasized that Grand Lodge is here to serve the local lodges; without strong local lodges, Grand Lodge will not be strong. Specific issues discussed included past proposals to end the remission of dues for 50-year Masons, the importance of ritual as a way of teaching good men how to become better men, and one-day classes.

The evening concluded with refreshments served by Home Lodge members. I took several (bad and blurry) pictures below.

Sunday, November 4, 2012

Fall Reunion and Double Eagle Gala

Pictures from the Des Moines Scottish Rite's Fall 2012 Reunion and Double Eagle Gala:

Friday, November 2, 2012

Des Moines Scottish Rite Fall Reunion Schedule: Weekend Two



6:00 PM 20th DegreeMaster of the Symbolic Lodge
7:10 PM 21st DegreeNoachite or Prussian Knight
8:20 PM22nd Degree Knight of the Royal Axe
8:00 AM23rd Degree Chief of the Tabernacle
8:40 AM24th Degree Prince of the Tabernacle
9:25 AM26th Degree Prince of Mercy
10:20 AM 27th DegreeKnight of the Sun
11:25 AM 28th DegreeKnight Commander of Temple
12:10 PM LUNCH

1:05 PM 29th DegreeScottish Knight of St. Andrew
1:50 PM30th Degree Knight Kadosh
3:05 PM 31st DegreeInspector Inquisitor
4:15 PM32nd Degree Master of the Royal Secret(1st Section)
5:10 PM 32nd DegreeMaster of the Royal Secret (2nd Section)