Tuesday, December 27, 2016

Happy Birthday Albert Pike

December 29th Happy Birthday Albert Pike!

























I think that there isn't much to say about Albert Pike that hasn't been  already written extensively about. But I think to take a moment to recognize his his birthday is in order.

He was born in Boston Massachusetts on December 29, 1809. During his life he was an Attorney,Soldier,Writer,Poet, Philosopher, a member of the Oddfellows, and noted Freemason.

He died on April 2, 1891 in Washington D.C. at the Scottish Rite Temple.

Albert Pike is the only Civil War Confederate Military Officer with a statue in Washington D.C.
The statue is located near the Judiciary Square Metro Stop.

To learn more about Brother Pike I recommend the Book: "A life of Albert Pike By Warren Lee Brown.



"Ya Albert Pike certainly was a man who was an imaginative Tinker"




























Friday, December 16, 2016

Mark Master Quiz




                                                                               


Royal Arch Quiz Night
Mark Master
P.G.M. Tom Hendrickson


1.    How Did the Craftsman carry their work?
a)    On their left shoulder
b)    Between the thumb and fingers of the right hand
c)    In front of them in both hands
d)    In the right hand


2.    What tool did the Overseers use to test the work?
a)    24-inch gage
b)    Plumb line
c)    A Square
d)    Compasses

3.    How did the Overseers dispose of the rejected stone?
a)    Threw it to the ground at the Candidates feet
b)    Over their left shoulder
c)    Over their right shoulder
d)    Into the air

4.    When did the Craftsman receive their wages?
a)    The first hour of the first day of the week
b)    The third hour of the third day of the week
c)    The fifth hour of the fifth day of the week
d)    The sixth hour of the sixth day of the week

5.    What are the working Tools in the Mark Master Degree?
a)    Engravers Chisel and Mallet
b)    Wedge and Mallet
c)    Compass and Chalk
d)    Trowel and Sword


6.    What is the name of the rejected stone?
a)    Cornerstone
b)    Capstone
c)    Perfect Ashlar
d)    Keystone

7.    How many letters are upon the Keystone?
a)    Five
b)    Seven
c)    Eight
d)    None of the Above

8.    What are the letters that are upon the Keystone?
a)    H  T  M  L  A  T  K  S

b)    H  T  W  S  S  T  K  S

c)    H  T  B  S  K S  T  P

d)    H  T  T  F N  B  R  O

9.    To whom is the Lodge Mark Masters erected and dedicated to?
a)    God and the Holy St John
b)    God and King Solomon
c)    God and Hiram Abiff
d)    God and Zerubbabel

Friday, November 25, 2016

The Chapter Penny and Book of Marks

The Chapter Penny and Book of Marks
By Tom Hendrickson-P.G.M.

The Mark Master degree is the first of the Royal Arch Degrees. It is the completion of the Fellow Craft Degree, adding considerably much more insight and detail about our ancient craft.
There are many valuable lessons in the Mark Master Degree, but this paper will cover the areas surrounding the Chapter Penny and the Book of Marks.
The Mark Master degree is believed to have been originated by the ancient operative masons as a ceremony whereby the craftsman selected his unique personal mark which was recorded in the Chapters Book of Marks.  This unique mark would be the masonic signature for the mason’s lifetime and the operative stone mason would place his mark on the stones he prepared.  The mark would identify his work, served as a means of quality control and allowed the mason to receive his wages for the work he performed.
During the building of King Solomon’s Temple there were two classes of Fellow Crafts. The advanced masons were promoted based upon their diligence and skill level to the Mark Master. The Mark Master was paid in coin by the Senior Warden instead of being paid with corn, wine or oil. A week’s wages were a Penny or a half-shekel.
It is tradition in the Royal Arch Chapters that they create their own uniquely designed Chapter Penny. Each candidate who completes the Mark Master Degree is presented with the Chapter Penny as a worthy token of the rites of friendship and brotherly love. No, it’s not just another piece of Masonic Bling.
The new Mark Mason then selects a distinctive mark that he will keep for his lifetime and register’s the mark in his Chapter’s Book of Marks. This mark is then inscribed on his Chapter Penny within the Keystone side of the coin.
The remainder of this paper will examine many of the common characteristics of various Chapter Pennies and half-shekels from Minnesota Chapters.
I will also review some registered marks from various the “Book of Marks” from Royal Arch Chapters and look at the designs from the simple to ornate and beautiful works of art.
Now let’s take a look at some examples of Penny’s and Marks.
The most common Chapter Penny is having the obverse side-the front of the coin (in Minnesota we call that heads) is divided into three spaces by two circles. The inscription found in the outer most consisting of the name, number and location of the Chapter. The middle space contains the date when the charter was granted. The center space contains the word One Penny using two lines.
The reverse side(tails) will have the keystone bearing the letters H.T.W.S.S.T.K.S arranged in a circle. The center of the keystone is reserved for the Mark of the owner.
The letters represent the Mark of our ancient Grand Master. On the right a mallet, on the left a chisel.
  



This version of the Chapter Penny is fashioned to appear like an ancient half Shekel. The Chapter information is contained on the reverse side. 






Each Royal Arch Chapter maintains a Book of Marks. This is the master registry of all of the members Marks or their masonic signatures. As our ancient brethren before us. It is very possible to leaf thru the pages and gaze upon the marks of all of your Chapter members going back to the very founders themselves. This is a great place to look at what your Father or Grandfathers Mark may have looked like.
These books come in all shapes and colors. From the handmade leather bound to a three-ring notebook.



   
When you examine the individual Marks you will see, some were made by an artist directed by the member or some scratched out by the member himself.
I have elected to show you a few ordinate Marks from the mid-1800s.
The form that each Mark Master is presented with to complete.

 Completed Forms.



  


                                                                                

The Chapter Penny and the Chapter Book of Marks are just a few of the interesting and valuable lessons in the Mark Master Degree.
The lessons in the Royal Arch completes and fulfills the degrees that we received in the Blue lodge. It is often said that the Master Mason doesn’t fully grasp the whole story until he has completed his journey through the Royal Arch.

If you are interested in learning more about your ancient craft and wish to participate in its long traditions the Royal Arch is the only place where you can do that. 


I would like to say Many Thanks to the Minnesota Masonic Heritage Center and Doset Mark Anderson for helping me with this project

Wednesday, November 2, 2016

Honoring All Who Served


Some thoughts about my Dues Card

                                                                                   



Its about that time of the year when we are all getting our dues cards. He is a poem that I have published before. The poem also is attached to my dues card every year. I hope you enjoy it.


Masonic Membership Card
Author Unknown


I hold in my hand a little scrap of paper
2 1/2 x 3 1/2 inches in size.
It is of no intrinsic worth,
not a bond, not a check or receipt for valuables,
yet it is my most priceless possession.
It is my membership card in a Masonic Lodge.

It tells me that I have entered
into a spiritual kinship with my fellow Masons
to practice charity in word and deed;
to forgive and forget the faults of my brethren;
to hush the tongues of scandal and innuendo;
to care for the crippled, the hungry and the sick,
and to be fair and just to all mankind.

It tells me that no matter where
I may travel in the world,
I am welcome to visit a place where good fellowship prevails
among brothers and friends.

It tells me that my loved ones, my home,
and my household are under the protection
of every member of this great Fraternity,
who have sworn to defend and protect mine
as I have sworn to defend and protect theirs.

It tells me that should I ever be overtaken
by adversity or misfortune
through no fault of my own,
the hands of every Mason on the face of the earth
will be stretched forth to assist me in my necessities.

And finally, it tells me
that when my final exit from the stage of life has been made,
there will be gathered around my lifeless body,
friends and brothers who will recall to mind my virtues,
though they be but few,
and will forget my faults,
though they may be many.

It tells me that, and a great deal more,
this little card,
and makes me proud yet humble,
that I can possess this passport
into a society of friends and brothers
that are numbered in the millions.

Monday, October 24, 2016

York Rite Video

Wednesday, October 19, 2016

The Rest of the Story

                                                                         
                                 By Tom Hendrickson-P.G.M.

Have you ever not received all of the facts?  Not heard the entire story on something?  Have you only heard part of the story?
I can say that I have sure have been in that situation, and I believe you may have as well.
I used to have season tickets for the MN Gopher Hockey games.  There were times I would miss the first minutes of the game because of work.  After I would arrive and plop down in my seat, all of my friends around me would try to catch me up on the game or would say ahhh Tom, you missed all the action or you missed a great goal.  So of course I would rush home from the game to try and catch the highlights on the 10 o clock news.
I love to read.  I find reading to be a great stress reducer, especially after a tough shift (I am a retired cop).  I was reading a Tom Clancy novel and was riveted in the story.  Just as I got to a major plot development spot in the story I discovered that the printer had made a grave error in the printing of my book.  When I arrived on page 377 I discovered that every page thereafter was a repeat of page 377.  The book had 100 pages of page 377, like a never ending loop.  I had to know how the story ended, so of course, I had to buy a new book to read the ending.
Some years ago my buddies and I went to see a movie at the theater (remember those days when you only could see movies in the theater).  I cannot recall the title now, but I remember that it was a fantastic movie until three fourths of the way through the movie it stopped and we saw nothing but a blank screen.  The movie theater did not have the last reel of the film to finish the movie.  I had to see the ending, so another night I had to go back to the theater and watch the ending.
When the entire story is missing or it feels as something has been missed, this can lead to feeling a little lost, a little confused, or even a little frustrated.  
This same thing happens to those of us who receive the first Three Degrees in lodge and are now are Master Masons.  We did not get the whole story
After completion of my third degree I asked myself---first they lost the Word….then they gave me a substitute!!!  There were some big gaps and there were big pieces missing.
I knew with the months of studying and memorizing that I had to find the rest of the story which I did and you can too.
You will find the completion of the story only in the Royal Arch. Nowhere else.
If you are interested in getting the rest of the story and completing your Masonic journey you should consider talking to a member of the Royal Arch to learn how.
Get the rest of the story - don’t accept a substitute.  Join the Royal Arch.

Sunday, October 2, 2016

Royal Arch Quiz-1

                                                                             
This is the first of five installments of questions and answers that will be posted covering all the degrees of the Royal Arch. At the beginning of each month I will post the quiz, and at the end of the month the answers will be posted. For a complete description of my thoughts. Please see my September 15th posting.



Royal Arch Quiz Night
General Information
P.G.M. Tom Hendrickson

1.    Name the four degrees of the Royal Arch Chapter?
1)                                                    
2)
3)
4)

2.    Define the word Capitular



3.    The first three Masonic Degrees are often referred to as the Blue Lodge degrees.
In the York Rite the four Capitular degrees are often referred to as the ________ Degrees. Often referred to as _____ Lodge.


4.    In the United States the York Rite is a series of degrees that were collected together into a progressive system. It is also known as the _____________Rite.


5.    Where in the United States and what Lodge is the first Royal Arch recorded in the United States in 1753? I’ll give you a hint….it was George Washington’s Lodge.



6.    In the 1700s Grand Secretary Lawrence Dermott of the Antients Grand Lodge characterized the Royal Arch as “the root, heart and marrow of masonry and the capstone of the whole masonic system.


In your own words what do you think he meant by that?

Thursday, September 15, 2016

Royal Arch Education

I have had the wonderful opportunity this Summer to sit and study the Degrees in the Royal Arch.
During this time of study I thought of a way to share it in a easy format and can be fun to learn.

Its a five part learning that takes the form of a Trivia Test...I don't like the word Trivia but I think you'd better understand the concept. There are five parts Introduction-covers general Royal Arch Trivia to get you started, Mark Master, Past Master Virtual, Most Excellent, Royal Arch.

I meant it to be used in your Chapter Meeting as a form of Educational instruction. It should take about 15 to 25 minutes depending how spirited the conversation gets. You can break up into teams, appoint  a Quizmaster and keep score. Or you can have someone give the question and everyone shout out the answer. Id encourage having your Ritual handy and look up the ones you don't know.

Its a very good way for the new Companion to learn in a friendly environment, and for the older Sages a good way to stay sharp.

I plan on placing the Quiz on my blog at the start of the month. The answers will appear at the end of the Month. This way if you are wanting to do this at home or your office you can do your own research and wait to see how you did.

Now...I have not reveled anything that we consider the secrets. I used publish materials, and I checked my Minnesota Ritual which is in compliance to the Grand Chapter. Believe me as a lover of the Craft I believe and live my Obligation.

The quiz has a different number of questions on each quiz. Anywhere from five to nine. Some you may find easy others you may have to look up. This is not a PH.D or the Companion Adept or even the Master Craftsman, its a simple  way for you to  learn more about the Royal Arch without buying an expensive book and spending hours of your time.

I hope you enjoy it and Good Luck...Oh by the way tell me how you did!

Tuesday, September 6, 2016

The Cross and Crown
     
        
                                                                         
A couple of weeks ago I was in Cincinnati Ohio for the American Legion National Convention. It was during the Parade of States that I walked past the Cincinnati Masonic Temple. So two days later when I had a little free time I went back to the Temple and met my old friend Past Grand Master Mike Himes of the Grand Lodge of Ohio.
Mike gave me a tour of their 8 floors, 350,000 square foot Masonic Building. It is a beautiful building that has beautiful Blue Lodge Rooms, Royal Arch Chapter Rooms, Commandery Rooms, Easter Star Rooms, and the Scottish Rite Theater that holds 850 people. 
The image above in inlayed in the floor as all the Masonic bodies emblems as you get off the elevator on each of the floors.
This is the Cross and the Crown which is the Commandery Symbol. It is commonly interpreted as a reminder that death is not final but we will continue on victorious after death.
The words Hoc Signo Vinces were used by Constantine meaning By this sign thou shall conquer.


 
Past Grand Master 2004  Michael Himes

Friday, August 12, 2016

Masonic Knowledge and Some Advice


Last evening I had the wonderful opportunity to go to my Minneapolis Valley of the Scottish Rite. It was the big Summer event. After meeting a large group of perspective members, and a great dinner of bar-b-q. I was presented my certificate for the completion of the Master Craftsman-History and Ritual.

It took me maybe 10 or 11 months to complete it. I took last Summer off so that's partly why it may have taken me so long. This course covered all of the Scottish Rite degrees and historical perspective.
The Questions were clear and easy to understand, and the people correcting them did a very good job in trying to mail it back as soon as possible.
.

 Now here in Minneapolis we do all the degrees TWICE a year in the full form. Oh its a beautiful pageant with all the Actors in full costume and make up. There are stage back drops, with a sound committee, and lighting so its a full theatrical performance.  It truly is a treasure! I often brag about it, and when I met Sovereign Grand Commander Ronald Serle I  reminded him of the great work we do.
And in Minneapolis we have dinner before the degrees so you have time to talk and make new Brothers.

Did I learn anything during the course? No not really.I described it to my Masonic Scholar friends as a wonderful tour thru Albert Pikes immigration.Yes I would be more than happy to buy you a Cup or a Pint and explain my reasons.

I have just sent off  for the next Master Craftsman Esoterika. I truly enjoy learning and will give me another chance to look at the Blue lodge thru another tint of glass. Now Im using the next course only to warm me up for the York Rite Companion Adept program. Im working up to my Masters in Masonic Knowledge. Oh and  Ill sign up for French lessons and my Winter will be complete.Well a little Cross Country sking will be in the mix as well.

So if you are looking to expand your Masonic knowledge. I highly recommend you continue on and join the Royal Arch and finish your education. For the York Rite is Ancient Craft Freemasonry in the purest sense.For in the Royal Arch you will learn the rest of what was intended for you to be a full Mason. The Royal Arch completes the circle.

Think about it.... in the Blue lodge you learned a substitute word..The Royal Arch will give you the true word.So if your interested in learning the true Anchient Craft Freemasonry consider joining the Royal Arch.The Royal Arch is the authority. Everything else may teach you like things or similar or resemblances of  the Craft Freemasonry, but why accept imitations.
You may want to join my Royal Arch Chapter. We don't just have a meal before the meeting..We eat like Men! and everyone one of my fellow Companions and I enjoy very lively fun conversations and true Brotherhood.

If you want to go to a school of philosophy, and learn in the Albert Pike fashion I highly suggest you join the Scottish Rite. I highly recommend you don't fool around but join the Minneapolis Valley for its not just done right but its magnificat.A little dinner two plays the evening is complete.


Friday, July 8, 2016

Master Mason Murdered-Dallas Texas


Master Mason Brent Thompson a Dallas Police Officer was murdered yesterday in Downtown Dallas, Texas. He was on duty protecting the lives, and Constitutional Rights, of Black Lives protesters during a lawful march demonstrating their grievances.His life was taken by a Sniper who was filled with hate who is now no longer with us...

Brother Brent was a seven year Veteran of the Dallas Rapid Area Rapid Transit Police, He left a wife and family. He was a member of Corsicana Lodge #174 in Corsicana, Texas

Brother Brent's death is a senseless tragedy. He is a hero for defending other citizens constitutional rights. He paid the supreme sacrifice to support, and defend clause of his oath.

As a retired Cop of 33 years it always seems to me that the Cops who are killed are young, and have kids...Its hard to refrain from expressing my opinion, but I will say this, if the Dallas Police Department needs funds to replace R2D2 give me a call. I'll deliver the check personally.

Tuesday, July 5, 2016

Brother Helping Brother



Two weeks ago I was installed as the Commander of Richfield American Post #435. We have 1400 members. I was informed that there were no preparations made for the annual 4th of July parade. So with help we scrambled and prepared food,found bands and tents for the fireworks.
But who do you call when you need help..a Brother especially Wayne Fanjoy from Minnehaha Lodge who owns a 1952 mint Willis( other wise known to many as a Jeep) Wayne made the time in order for our July 4th presence be a great success. He had to scramble to get to another parade 9 miles away. If you dont know it...A willis Top speed down hill is 50mph. Driving at 30 is a speed experience...and a joy!

Brother helping Brother and Thanks again Wayne

Monday, July 4, 2016

New Video From The Grand Lodge of Massachusetts


The Grand Lodge of Massachusetts always does an excellent,inspirational job on everything they do.

Saturday, June 25, 2016

Photos from Minnesota 2016 Royal Arch Grand Session-Day One


Here is our new Grand High Priest Clifford Isley and the new Grand Chaplain Tom Hendrickson (me)
Clifford is going to have a great year and will guide us to some new exciting areas. Im just honored to have been asked to join in and help.


This is our out going High Priest Greg Schultz. Greg had a good year, and had many various programs that he worked on that helped us get better organized, and set in the right direction.
The gavel he is holding was made by Hugh Swift our Brother with just about every title and talent as well.


This top hat is called "The Dusty Old Beaver" It came from The Star in the East #33 Lodge. Its well over 100 plus years. Its sat on all its Masters, a few Grand Masters, and a few Grand High Priests heads from Owatonna Minnesota


This was the box lunch served. It was a new attempt this year...it wasnt as good as the bag lunch served at the Grand Lodge of Ohio, but it was ok


Monday, June 20, 2016

Red Wing Lodge “Bikes for Books” Captures Young Readers Attention





Bikes for Books Literacy Campaign
By Tom Hendrickson-PGM
About five years ago or so Red Wing Lodge #8 was looking for a project to help make their community a better place.  They approached Burnside elementary School in their hometown of Red Wing to partner for a program aimed at children’s literacy.
The Bikes for Books Literacy Campaign emphasizes the following.
It is essential to establish a love for reading early in a child’s life.
The program encourages students to read.
By encouraging reading, student’s comprehension skills improve.
The campaign recognizes student’s achievements in reading.

The program operates in this manner.  One boys bicycle and helmet along with one girls bicycle and helmet is given to one student per grade by random drawing.  To be eligible for the drawing a student must read eight books that have been approved by the teacher for that grade.  The teacher insures that the book is at the appropriate reading level (War and Peace is not at the third grade level. Ha) for the grade level.  The student receives one ticket for the drawing once the teacher has confirmed that the eight books have been read.  Reading eight books equals one change to win.  The more books the student reads the more chances they have to win.

In 2016 two bicycles were added to the program as prizes for the top readers within the entire elementary school.  This year 1152 books were read by the students and the top reader completed 120 books.
During the last week of school, at a school wide assembly, the drawings are held.  You can bet that there are a lot of kids with crossed fingers and a wish of “pick me, pick me”.

Red Wing Lodge and Burnside Elementary School Bikes for Books program has created a lot of excitement among the students and positive comments from parents and educators.  But the most important things are that the program encourages kids to read.

The Brothers of Red Wing Lodge would also like to thank MN Masonic Charities for assisting the Lodge in helping encouraging the kids at Burnside Elementary to read.


Thursday, June 16, 2016

Mark Master Degree - The Operative to Speculative Connection

Mark Master Tracing Board
Mark Master Degree
The Operative to Speculative Connection
Tom Hendrickson P.G.M.

The Mark Master degree is the first degree in the Royal Arch Chapter.  It is an extension of the Fellowcraft degree.

The Fellowcraft degree contains a great amount of wisdom and knowledge.  Its symbols and lessons can take a lifetime to learn.  Though the degree itself may stand on its own merits, the candidate can be left with many unanswered questions.  The Mark Master degree compliments and illustrates, in a practical manner, many of those questions.

The Mark Master degree takes the candidate to a time immediately before the death of Hiram Abif at a setting within a working stone quarry near King Solomon’s Temple.  The candidate is now a workman as a Fellowcraft laboring in the quarries and presenting his work for inspection. 

The Mark Master degree is explicitly related to working and building with stone.  It takes its name from the medieval term Masons Mark. The Mark Master degree explains the moral and ethical lessons of life such as the values of integrity, honesty, charity, taking pride in your own work and individual responsibility.  The working tools of the mallet and chisel are introduced along with the wages being paid by coin. 

When the Operative Mason became a Fellowcraft, he selected a distinctive symbol known as the Masons “Mark”.  This mark would serve as his signature, logo or trademark.  This unique mark would be recorded and registered in the lodges “Book of Marks” and this mark would be used for his lifetime.  It was and remains common that a father would pass their mark onto their son.

In a historical context, the Masons Mark had many practical purposes.  The Mason’s employment was effectively piecework.  He was given credit for the work completed and paid based upon his marked stones.  He was also held accountable for the quality of this work as each Mason’s stones were marked
.
Without exception Freemasonry has always been associated with stone masons.  It has borrowed much from the medieval operative stone masons such as the symbolism of the working tools, gauges and the use of marks.

In the ancient records of operative masonry, dating back over three centuries, there is mention of the Masons Mark.  As early as 1598, the Lodge of St Mary’s Chapel Scotland speaks of a Masons Mark and of the Mark Degree.

By reviewing old Scottish records it is clear that the speculative masons selected their marks just as the operative masons chose marks.  In the Mark book of the Masonic Lodge of Aberdeen dated 1670 it shows forty nine marks and the members names opposite the marks.

And finally, the Mark Master degree uses symbols, scriptures, links to other degrees, lectures, rituals and some drama to communicate a very powerful message that the Brother experiencing the Capitular Degree is going to be transformed from a Master Builder to a Spiritual Builder.  The Mark Master degree is his first step towards the revelations of the Holy Royal Arch Degree.

The Mark Master degree is another valuable piece of the puzzle you need to become a complete Freemason.  You have already started your journey in the pure and ancient craft by joining your lodge and advancing through the degrees.
If you are interested in learning more, and completing you journey, you may want to consider talking to a member of the Royal Arch for more information.






Sunday, June 12, 2016

Masons Marks_Operative

Thursday, May 26, 2016



 How the Royal Arch Completes the Story
By Thomas Hendrickson P.G.M.

In the 1700’s the Royal Arch was regarded as the Root, Heart and Marrow of Freemasonry.
For those of us in Freemasonry, symbolism is part of our way of life.  It causes us to take an extra moment or two to reflect upon something to find the greater meaning which is far more personal and meaningful than having it spoon fed to us in a 20 second sound bite.
We all interpret things differently so for me this is how I interpret these symbols.

The Root is a symbolic representation of our origins and in unseen ways the tree is supported and finds nourishment.

The Heart is used to symbolize the flow of life itself.  In ages past the heart was believed to be where the soul resided
.
The Marrow refers to the essence of life. Bone Marrow is a spongy tissue found inside the bones.  It produces the red and white blood cells along with platelets and adult stem cells which are essential for humans to live.  When I would visit the blood center to donate blood, I heard it referred to as the very essence of life.

So after reflecting on the descriptive words of Root, Heart and Marrow I believe the Brothers of our ancient craft believed strongly that the Royal Arch was important, essential and indispensable to the craft degrees.

My question is, how did the Royal Arch become so important?  What was the purpose of the Royal Arch?

We know that in England during the 1600’s, there were two degrees.  The Entered Apprentice and The Fellow Craft.  Up until 1717 some lodges were working one comprehensive degree, while others were working two degrees.  The Master Mason degree started appearing around 1730 (we know that the legend or Hiram was known around 1700).

It was determined by many that the Master Mason degree was incomplete. The candidate was left with an unfinished temple and a substitute word.  The candidate is left with more questions than answers.  I know that when I left the lodge room I said to my Masonic mentor, “How did they lose the word”?

It is easy to see that some speculative degree writers may have seen an opportunity to carefully weave the completion of the story from the same Hiramic legend used in the craft lodges to provide the completion of the story.  Thus the Royal Arch was born.
In England there were two major factions of Freemasons, the Ancients and the Moderns.  The Ancients considered the Royal Arch essential to Freemasonry. The Moderns officially disavowed the Royal Arch and in their official announcements they were very straight forward and blunt of their dislike for the Royal Arch.

As time went on the Moderns discovered many of their lodges were working the Royal Arch degree and many of their members
were belonged to Royal Arch Chapters. They were in amazement when they learned that many of their prominent members were Royal Arch Masons
.
Both sides come to understand the situation needed a solution and they stopped the infighting and developed a workable idea.  In October 1809 the Ancients and the Moderns agreed to create a Special Lodge called “The Lodge of Promulgation”.  The purpose of this lodge was to find a common ground and negotiate their differences.  In November 1813 they agreed to merge and signed the “Articles of Union”.

The actual union took place on St. Johns Day on December 28, 1813 at Freemasons Hall, creating the “United Grand Lodge of Ancient Freemasons of England, the very same Grand Lodge that we know today.

Both the Ancients and the Moderns felt that the Royal Arch was such an integral part of pure ancient masonry that it was written in their constitution.

By the solemn Act of Union between the two Grand Lodges of Freemasons of England in December, 1813, it was “declared and pronounced that the pure Ancient Masonry consists of three degrees and no more, viz those of the Entered apprentice, the Fellow Craft, and Master Mason including the Supreme Order of the Holy Royal Arch”.

The union clearly defined what pure ancient masonry was and created the Royal Arch as an Order to ensure the proper regulation of the Capstone of the Craft degrees.
So the Royal Arch stands on authority to bring the Master Mason into the full Masonic light, by the completion of pure ancient masonic degrees.

So if you completed the first three degrees and desire to be a Master Mason with the complete and intended purpose of the ancient craft you should seriously talk to your local Royal Arch and consider joining.