They live by three principles: morality, brotherly love and charity. How the freemasons teach these virtues, however, is a mystery only known to its members. But recently, the Boiling Spring freemasons revealed some details about the allure of freemasonry and their involvement in a fraternity often dismissed as a “secret society.”
The Boiling Springs Masonic Lodge celebrated 100 years of its cornerstone dedication with an event on Sunday, Nov. 18. The celebration was ripe with rituals and a symbolic new corner stone, representing the group’s structure and steadfast commitments.
“The first stone put in is at the northeast corner of building,” said Greg Neubauer, secretary of the Boiling Spring Lodge 152 freemasons. Neubauer cites movies such as “National Treasure” and “The Man Who Would Be King” as causing some of the freemason controversy. “There’s politics in every society. We’re not a society of secrets. We’re a society with a secret of making good men better,” Neubauer says. “There’s a lot of lineage of which you never hear on the History Channel.”
Little secrets are revealed. During the Revolutionary War, freemasons let prisoners of war go if they happened to also be freemasons. The forget-me-not flower was a symbol of freemasonry, Neubauer explains.
Famous freemasons include George Washington, Benjamin Franklin, Franklin Delano Roosevelt, Harry Truman, Douglas MacArthur, Winston Churchill, Gerald Ford, George McGovern and General Pershing. Streets dedicated to freemasons in Rutherford include Addison, Van Winkle and Vreeland.
No doubt, these historical state, national and global figures were familiar with the rituals of freemasonry. During the stone rededication ceremony, in which the freemasons used a duplicate stone to represent the building’s rededication, the Worshipful Master Paul DiGaetano rapped the gavel three times.
“The grand marshall is prepared to enter,” a freemason states. “Admit him,” someone replies.
A procession follows as Grand Master Glenn R. Trautmann is introduced, with nine claps. Trautmann detailed 100 years of freemasonry as an exemplary, integral part of the community. Grand Chaplain Kyle L. Nurge prays and asks for “love in our hearts and truth on our lips.” The lodge room is dedicated to virtue and universal benevolence. Nine more claps follow.
DiGaetano details the freemason history from 1882. In 1880, Dr. Ken King came to Union Hall to form the Addison Lodge. At the Passaic Lodge, on Feb. 27, 1882, Grand Master William Hartacher presided. In 1912, the cornerstone of the Boiling Springs lodge was laid.
“Why is it significant? In times of turmoil, we look for constants,” Trautman says, honoring the building and men who made their mark on history. In 1920, the Boiling Springs Lodge had 123 members. In 1932, the 50th anniversary was celebrated by Grand Master John H. Snyder. On Feb 27, 2007, the freemason’s celebrated the Addison lodge’s 125 anniversary. Henry Heber was master. Heber’s son was in attendance.
Charity is paramount in freemasonry. Each year, the Rutherford freemasons donate four $1,000 scholarships to college bound students. The Boiling Springs Lodge also supports the Dyslexia Center of New Jersey and Masonic home of New Jersey. DiGaetano gave a $1,000 check to Trautmann to use for charity, which will benefit Hurricane Sandy victims.
Donations by freemasons also helped update their lodge. The 100-year-old Boiling Springs lodge building shows its age. The structure has seen improvements to the main entrance, lobby, ladies area, banquet room and library room. Architectural improvements over the past year include the replacing of wood with marble flooring in the entrance area, adding custom book cases in the library, improving the ladies area and adding oak floor to the dining area.
Next, district Deputy Grand Master George Macany remarked that the building is made of brick, stone, mortar, and adheres to the freemasons’ solemn obligations to practice charity.
Trautmann noted that this is a time to rejoice in freemasonry, which varies greatly in the United States when compared to Europe.
“In Europe, it’s more of a philosophical society. Here we’re more of a charitable society. We preach the same morals. They study harder but we put philosophies to work,” Trautmann noted. Past master and Grand Champlain James Samuel Thomas Ely, Jr.’s family involvement in freemasonry dates back to the 1800s.
“Elys are like New Jersey Kennedys…almost like that level,” says Neubauer. Ely’s father and grandfather were freemasons. “When I was 10, I used to stand up on my bed, and at the edge of the bed was a dresser. I opened up the top drawer and saw a black book that had a white tie around it. I looked at dad and he said it was his Masonic manual and apron,” Ely recalls. The apron is pure white lambskin, an emblem of innocence and the badge of a mason, he notes. Freemason Doug Sinopoli, of Meadowlands Realty, discussed the “secrets” of freemasonry.
“Do husbands and wives have secrets? Do women’s clubs? Of course they do. We have ‘secrets’ only eligible to members that join,” Sinopoli noted.
Sinopoli noted that in ancient times, freemasons were individuals who built structures for kings. The bricks and mortar represented morals and strength of character, good nature. “The church got jealous because the freemasons kept to themselves,” Sinopoli revealed, noting that this angered the Pope and the Catholic Church officials.
So what does it take to be a freemason? Sound moral character, no criminal record, joining for right reasons and belief in a higher power. Four men do an investigation and visit candidates’ homes. Longtime membership and milestones warrant rewards representative of progress. Danson Jewelers in Hasbrouck Heights provides custom jewelry.
Even the women receive jewelry, as there is a women’s sect of the freemasons. The Eastern Star includes wives, sisters and mothers of the freemasons. The group meets once a month, and is headed by Worthy Matron Leader Ruth Simpson. Worthy Patron is Bill Ennis.
Freemason Michael Costello noted that the United States has seen some freemasonry changes.
“There’s a young masons’ movement for a more studious, esoteric involvement, more traditional like in Europe,” Costello explains.
To help mark the group’s celebration, the masons have purchased 125 copies of the Mason Temple commemorative from the Rutherford Historic Preservation Committee.
(source : KELLY NICHOLAIDES, http://www.northjersey.com/realestate/191158441_Rutherford_freemasons_celebrate_100_years.html?c=y&page=1)