Prefix to Questions and Answers

                             March 17, 1993
In the Masonic Year of 1976-1977 the Education Committee of Toronto Masonic 
District No. 3 Grand Lodge of Canada in the Province of Ontario, under the 
direction of R. W. Bro. Frank J. Bruce P.D.D.G.M. complied 47 questions which 
were sent to the late W. Bro. Harry Carr P.J.G.D., Past Secretary and Editor of 
Quatuor Coronati Lodge No. 2076 United Grand Lodge of England.  These are his 
answers.  It is to be noted that the answers refer to the Ritual and customs of 
the Grand Lodge of England in 1976.

This transcript of the Questions and Answers edited by W. Bro. Nelson King MPS

Question 1.    What is meant by the term "Symbolic Degrees" and "Symbolic 

Answer 1. If we look at the whole panorama of Masonry as it has developed in the 
last 600 years, we find dozens of Rites and hundreds of Degrees with an infinite 
variety of headings under which they could be classified or grouped.  Many of 
them have been rearranged; many have disappeared.

If I try to answer the question as simply as possible, I would say that the term 
"Symbolic Degrees" is a synonym for the Craft Degrees, as distinct from the so-
called "Capitular Degrees," e.g.,  those associated with Rose Croix and Knights 

Personally I greatly prefer the title "Craft Degrees," because they are the only 
Degrees which owe their origins directly to operative Masonry and which 
developed entirely out of the Mason Trade itself.  All the others are either 
offshoots or appendages.

Question 2.    Is there any documented account of the date or year when Masonry, 
as we know it today, was first practiced?

Answer 2. The essences of this question lies in the words "Masonry, as we know 
it today."  Our present system was virtually standardized in England around 
1813-1816, from materials that had been in existence since the 16th century, 
materials which had been gradually amplified, and later overlaid with 
speculative interpretation, especially during the second half of the 1700's.

I believe it would be impossible to prove the existence of more that one single 
ceremony of admission during the 1400's.

A two degree system came into use during the early 1500's and in 1598-1599 we 
have actual Lodge minutes [in tow Scottish Lodges] of the existence of two 
degrees, the first for the "Entered  Apprentice," and the second for the "Master 
of Fellow Craft" with evidence that they had been in use for some time.

Outside the Lodge, the Master was an employer and the Fellow Craft was an 
employee; but inside the Lodge they shared the same ceremony, which was 
conferred only upon fully-trained masons.  This point is very important when we 
come to consider the inevitable appearance of a system of three degrees.

The earliest minute recording of a third degree was in a London Musical Society 
in May 1725, and highly irregular.  The earliest record of a regular  third 
decree in a Masonic Lodge is dated March 25, 1726 at the second meeting of Lodge 
Dumbarton-Kilwinning, [now No. 18 on the register of the Grand Lodge of 

Question 3.    What is meant by the "Perfect Points of Entrance?"

Answer 3. They were first mentioned in ritual text dated 1696, when they clearly 
referred to secrets of the Entered Apprentice ceremony. In a series of questions 
asking how a mason could prove himself the first answer was; "by signes [sic] 
tokens and other points of my entrie [sic]."

In those days the first Point was "heill [sic] and conceall [sic]" and the 
second point was the penal sign of an Entered Apprentice.  In effect, the 
"Points of Entrance" were a brief summary of essential elements in the 
initiation ceremony, but they developed eventually, into a series of "trap-
questions," with very cautious answers.

In the late 1700's, Preston in this "First Lecture of Freemasonry" defined the 
"Points" as comprising the ceremonies of "preparation, admission and 
obligation."  In another version of the same Lecture, he gave the Points of 
Entrance as a set of code-words, "Of, At, and On," and the question ran:

     Question: Of what?
     Answer:   In relation to apparel,
     Question: At what?
     Answer:   The door of the Lodge.
     Question: On what?
     Answer:   On the left knee bare.

The "Of, At and On" became firmly established in our English Lectures in the 
next 20-30 years, until they eventually settled into the form in use to this 

Question 4.    What are the Points of Entrance?

Answer 4. Of, At and On.

     Of what?   Of my own free will and accord.
     At what?  At the door of the Lodge.
     On what?  On the pint of a sharp instrument presented to my N. L. B.

Question 5.    The "three lesser lights" are placed in the East, South and West.  
Why is there none in the North?

Answer 5. The answer to this question is in the First Lecture, Section III;  
"....because the Sun darts no ray of light from that quarter to our hemisphere."  
And the search for light is a major inspiration in our ceremonies.

Question 6.    What is the meaning of the word "Cable-tow?"  What is meant by 
the reference to its length?

Answer 6. The Oxford English Dictionary contains a number of cable combinations, 
e.g., "cable-rope, cable-range, cable-stock," etc., but does not give "cable-

The word tow has another significance, in addition to pulling or dragging, it 
also means the fibre of flax, or hemp, or jute.  A cable might be made of 
plaited wire, or of metal links, or of manmade fibres, but the combination 
"cable-tow" which seems to be of purely Masonic usage, implies almost certainly 
the natural fibre from which the rope is to be made.

The "cables length" is a unit of marine measurements, 1/10th of a sea mile, or 
607.56 feet.  We use the term "cables length" in two senses:

1.  "A cables length from the shore," implying that anything buried at that 
distance out at sea, could never be recovered.

2.  "If within the length of my cable-tow."  In operative times, attendance at 
Lodge or assembly was obligatory and there were penalties for non-attendance.  
Early regulations on this point varied from 5 to 50 miles, except "in the peril 
of death."  In effect, the length of the cable-tow implies that masons were 
obliged to attend, so long as it was humanly possible to do so.

Question 7:    Why does the Candidate wear the cable-tow while taking his 
Obligation?  He comes of his own free will, yet the cable-tow is a symbol of 

 Answer 7:     With us, the cable-tow serves the practical purpose of restraint. 
As a symbol it has several different meanings. I suggest: 

1 .  The implicit duty of regular attendance, 'if within the length of my cable-   
tow, as noted in another question and in the Obligation of the 3rd degree. 
2.    Humility, it, the frame of mind in which one enters the order. 
3.   Submission, to the regulations, tenets and principles of the Craft. 
4.   The bondage of ignorance until one sees the light, later on.

Question 8:    What is the meaning of the word "hele?"

Answer 8: To hide, conceal, keep secret.  The Oxford English Dictionary quotes 
the earliest English use of the word in c. 975 over a thousand years ago.

Question 9:    Why must the Brethren be convinced that the Candidate has no 
metal about him, "or else the ceremony, thus far, must have been repeated?" 

Answer 9: The reasons given in the "Charity Lecture" are adequate and complete. 
The reason for this deprivation arises from an ancient superstition of 
"pollution by metals" as shown in the account of the building of King Solomon's 
Temple. [1 Kings, 6 & 7] "...there was neither hammer nor axe nor any tool of 
iron heard in the house while it was in building." The proof or test is 
required, because all other points in the "preparation" of the Candidate are 
readily visible during the perambulations, but the absence of metals would not 
be visible, hence the special test. 

Question 10:   Explain the significance of the Candidate's dress in the 1st 
Degree. Why does he bare his right arm, left breast and left knee and why is he 
slipshod?  When did this first originate?

Answer 10:     The sum total of these procedures were not standardized in 
England until 1813-1816.  The individual items came into use at various times 
and the records are very scanty, e.g.  The "left knee bare" appears in the 
Dumfries No. 4 M.S. dated 1710. The "Naked Left Breast" appears in Masonry 
Dissected 1730 and the Wilkinson MS, 1730.  Slipshod, and other hints relating 
to clothing, appear in a curious question and answer in Masonry Dissected:
     Question:      How did he bring you?
     Answer:   Neither naked nor clothed, barefoot nor shod.    

The French exposures, from 1737 onwards, say that "he is made to wear his left 
shoe as a slipper." The bare right arm, came in much later and I have found no 
explicit record of that until the 1780's, in Preston's First Lecture.  The 
Graham MS, 1726 says "poor penniless and blind..." and also  "half naked, half 
shod, half barefoot, half kneeling, half standing." As to the reasons for these 
preparations etc. The stands on Holy Ground [Exodus III, v. 5] and to confirm 
the bond in the Obligation [Ruth IV. v 7. 8.] The bare right arm. to show that 
the Candidate carries no weapons. The naked left breast to ensure he is male, 
and the left is nearest the heart. The left knee because Christian Brethren. 
Take their Obligation on the left knee.  These are the traditional reasons, but 
practices are not uniform in different countries.

Question 11:   Why is Ruth IV used as a base for Obligation in the first Degree?

Answer 11:     I am not no sure if I understand the Question. The Book of Ruth 
was designed to demonstrate the quality of David's ancestry. When the childless 
Ruth was widowed, the law required that her husband's nearest kinsmen should 
marry her, that she might bear children "to raise up the name of the dead'. 
[Ruth IV, 5]. The nearest kinsmen was unable to accept the obligation, and, in 
witness that he had relinquished his rights, he slipped his shoe [Ruth IV, 8]. 
Boaz "a mighty man of wealth" and also a kinsmen, claimed the right, married 
Ruth and they became the great-grandparents of David. [See "Slipshod" in  
Question 10.]

Question 12:   What is the significance of the tracing Board?

Answer 12:     The earliest reference I have been able to find, is in the 
minutes of the Old King's Arms Lodge, No. 28, London. On Dec. 1st, 1735, the 
Lodge resolved...that the Foot Cloth made use of at the initiation of new 
members should be defaced.  The Lodge was ten years old in 1735, and the Foot 
Cloth must have been worn out. The Tracing Board, or "Floor Cloth" evolved from 
the early custom of drawing on the floor of the Lodge, a collection of symbols
relevant to particular degrees. Originally, it was the Tyler's duty to draw the 
designs in Chalk and Charcoal, and the Candidates duty at the end of the 
ceremony to wash out the design with "mop and pail." Later the designs were 
drawn or painted on "Floor Cloths" for more permanent use, and the collected 
symbols became the basis for the speculative interpretation of the ceremonies, 
which were eventually standardized as the Lectures on the Tracing Boards. As to 
the significance of the Tracing Board's; in the course of time the "Lodge Board" 
became "the Lodge" and acquired a quality of sanctity. "The Lodge stands on Holy 
Ground" and none were allowed to stand or walk on it. Finally, when the 
Consecration ceremony came into use, the essential elements of consecration, 
Corn, Wine, Oil and Salt were poured on "the Lodge", i.e.  on the Tracing Board.

Question 13:   Where does the Penal Sign of the First degree originate?

Answer 13:     It appears in several of our oldest ritual documents from 1696 
onwards. In England this [and several other familiar penalties] appear to have 
been in use as Naval punishments, authorized by the Admiralty from C. 1451 

Question 14:   What is the symbolism of the Rough Ashlar and the Perfect Ashlar?

Answer 14:     The more or less official symbolism of the Ashlars [as given in 
the first, Lecture Section 5] says that the Rough Ashlar is for the Entered 
Apprentice to work on, and the Perfect Ashlar is for the use of experienced 
Craftsmen when they test or adjust their tools. But symbolism in Freemasonry is 
a very personal matter, and I believe that we enter the Craft to build spiritual 
Temples within ourselves. For me the Ashlars are our symbolic foundation stones.
In English practice. the Candidate is placed in the North East part of the Lodge 
[where the Rough Ashlar rested in former times] and he stands at his own 
spiritual foundation stone, to hear the Charity Lecture, one of the great 
lessons of Freemasonry. In the Second Degree,  he stands in the South East 
corner, for a similar exhortation. Broadly, I equate the two  stones with the 
Candidate, upon his entry and progress in the Craft. He comes, in rough, 
unpolished condition, unaware of what the Craft holds for him, and ignorant of 
its teachings. Later, the polished stone marks his progress in the Craft and his 
greater understanding of its objects, duties and responsibilities. I should add 
that the Ashlars belong to an era when there were only two Degrees [Entered 
Apprentice and Master or Fellow Craft], and this may explain why the Perfect 
Ashlar, representing the peak of Masonic experience, comes in the second Degree. 
Finally, there are my own personal views and I do not speak with the voice of 
authority. A few moments of speculation may lead you to other ideas; so much the 

Question 15:   What is the origin of the Tyler and what were his duties?

Answer 15:     Originally "tiler", one who lay Tile. The spelling "Tyler" is 
said to be obsolete, except in Masonic usage.  The duties of the Tyler have been 
many and various, but some of them have disappeared since that Office first came 
into practice in the early 1700's. They are listed here, roughly in the order in 
which they appeared:

     [1] To guard the door of the Lodge, or Grand Lodge.
     [2] To deliver the Lodge Summonses.
     [3] To "draw the Lodge" i.e.  the Tracing Board.
     [4] To prepare the Candidates for each Degree, and announce them.
     [5] To take care of the Clothing, Jewels, and equipment.
     [6] To take charge of the Signature Book to ensure that all signed it.
     [7] To give the Tyler's Toast at the end of the after proceedings.

Question 16:   The year on an Application Form is shown as A.L. Why? 

Answer 16:     The A.L. - Anno Lucis [the year of light] appears on many Craft 
Documents. Our system of Masonic chronology is based on a pre-Christian 
tradition that the Messiah [Christ] would be born 4000 years after the Creation 
of the Universe, so that the calendar, in early Christian times, counted the 
Creation [Anno Lucis] as 4000 B.C.

Question 17:   Where did the word Cowan come from?

Answer 17:     The Oxford English Dictionary says "Derivation unknown," and 
defines it as "One who builds dry stone walls [i.e.  without mortar] ... applied 
derogatorily to one who does the work of a mason, but who has not been regularly 
apprenticed or bred to the trade." The word is probably of Scottish origin, and 
it appears, in that sense, in a large number of Scottish Masonic documents from 
1598 onwards [For further details see Carr's, "The Freemason at Work," pages 86-

Question 18:   What is the meaning of symbolism in Masonry? 

Answer 18:     Symbolism in Freemasonry is the means by which we explain or 
interpret the tenets, principles and philosophy of the Craft. The answer to 
Question: 14 may perhaps serve as an example. 

Question 19:   What is the peculiar characteristic of the colour Blue in Craft 

Answer 19:     The question seems to imply a quest for the symbolism of the two 
shades of Blue used in our [English] Craft Regalia, and I answer in that vein. 
The M.M. Apron in use today, was first prescribed in the Book of Constitution, 
1815, by the newly United Grand Lodge. It was then "plain white lambskin ... 
with sky-blue lining and an edging 1"/2 inches deep, "virtually identical with 
today's Apron which is officially described as with "light blue lining and an
edging not more than 2 inches in width ..."

Before that time there seems to have been total freedom of choice, both as to 
the colour of lining or edging, and of the various decorations, printed, 
painted, or embroidered with which they were frequently adorned. On 24 June 
1727, the Grand Lodge prescribed that Masters and Wardens of private Lodges 
should "wear the Jewels of Masonry hanging to a White Ribbon"; there was no 
mention of Aprons, which were Presumably of white skin. On 17 March 1731, Grand 
Officers were ordered to wear "blue Silk Ribbons" [ie Collars] and "Aprons lined 
with blue Silk". A note in the Rawlinson MS. c. 136, dated 1734, makes the 
earliest mention of "Garter Blue Silk" for the Grand Masters" Aprons and from 
this time onwards Grand Officers' Collars and Aprons are always linked with 
Garter Blue just as they are today. It is important to observe, however, that 
until 1745 at least, the blue Robes of the Garter Knights were of "a light sky-
blue" and there is useful confirmatory evidence that this was the original shade 
of Grand Officers' regalia, sky-blue! In 1745, the light sky-blue was altered by 
King George ll to the present rich Garter-blue, to distinguish his Garter 
Knights from those who received that honour from the Pretender. Our present use 
of the "garter-blue" so prescribed in the modern Constitution dates back to c. 
1745. Finally, it must be emphasized, that in all the scanty evidence on the 
choice of colours of English regalia, there is never any hint "that the colours 
of Freemasonry were selected with a view of symbolism". [For the details in 
this, I am mainly indebted to a valuable paper, Masonic Blue: in A.Q.C. 23, 
pages 309-320, by the late Bro. Dr. W. J. Chetwode Crawley].        

Question 20:   What is the basis of Masonic Chronology?

Answer 20:     See Question: 16.

Question 21:   What are the Landmarks of Masonry? How many are there?

Answer 21:     The best definitions of the term as applying to the Craft are:
[a] A landmark must have existed from "the time whereof the memory of man 
runneth not to the contrary."
[b] A Landmark is an element in the form or essence of the Society of such 
importance that Freemasonry would no longer be Freemasonry if it were removed. 
With such strict definitions it would be difficult to compile a list that 
genuinely conforms to those standards. The U.G.L. of England does not have a 
list, though many lists have been compiled [ranging from five to fifty items] 
and adopted by various Grand Lodges. The best known list in the Western 
Hemisphere was prepared by Albert Mackey who actually used the two definitions
quoted above. His list of 25 items was adopted by several USA jurisdictions, 
even though the majority of them could not possibly pass the strict test which 
he had himself prescribed. To illustrate the difficulty, I quote two of Mackey's 
Landmarks which cannot be Landmarks because we can actually date the period of 
their first appearance in Masonry. From the "Freemason at Work" p. 264, Mackey's 
No. 1 ... and Mackey's No. 2 ...]. To avoid a lengthy discussion of the kind of 
rules, customs and privileges that could never qualify as Landmarks, the 
following is a Code of Landmarks adopted by the newly formed Grand Lodge of Iran 
in 1970, Which I compiled for them at their request:

     a] Belief in God, the G.A.O.T.U.
     b] Belief in the immortality of the.soul.
     c] The V.S.L. which is an indispensable part of the Lodge, No Lodge may be      
opened without it and it must remain open and in full view while the Lodge is at      
     d] Every Mason must be male, free-born and of mature age.
     e] Every Mason, by his tenure, expresses his allegiance to the Sovereign or 
Ruler of his native land.
     f] The Landmarks of the Order can never be changed or repealed. [For 
further details see Carr, "The Freemason at Work" pages 263-267].

Question 22:   What is the essential use of Tokens in Freemasonry?

Answer 22:     To provide a virtually invisible means of proving oneself a Mason 
and of testing a stranger. The ritual says that they can be used "by night as 
well as by day".

Question 23:   What does the word Free signify when connected with Free Masonry?

Answer 23:     The origin of the term has given rise to much debate. In the 
earliest attempt to regulate building wages in 1212, the "freemason"s 
[sculptores lapidum liberorum] were distinguished from "masons" [caementorie] as 
separate classes of workmen, notably in their wages.  Masons were paid 1.5 to 3 
pence per day; freemasons received 2.5 to 4 pence, and in numerous later  
building accounts, the "freemason" [in a variety of spellings] are regularly
distinguished from "rough masons", layers, rough hewers, hard hewers, etc. 
Originally, the term "freemason" is undoubtedly connected with "freestone" 
[franche pere in Old French, where the "franche" means of excellent quality].  
Freestone was a fine-grained stone that could be worked in any direction and 
could be undercut, lending itself particularly to the carving of foliage, images 
and mouldings, vaulting, window-frames and door-ways. The skilled worker  in 
freestone was an artist and a precision worker, so that the designation 
"freemason" denoted "superior qualifications in the mason trade" Confusion 
arises however, when the titles are occasionally interchanged doubtless through 
carelessness. It is not surprising, perhaps, that when the character of the 
Craft began to change by the admission of "Accepted "or non-operative Masons, 
the title Freemasons was adopted, quite unofficially, for men who had never 
worked in stone. When Elias Ashmole recorded his admission on 16 October 1646, 
he wrote in his diary: "4:30 p.m. I was made a Freemason at Warrington,
in Lancashire, with Colonel Henry Mainwaring, of Karincharn in Cheshire". Two 
other uses of the word Free arise in the records of the mason trade: 

     [1] Free, ie not a bondman, who would not be eligible for admission even as 
an apprentice.
     [2] Free of the trade: it was customary in the London Masons Company as in 
many other crafts, for an apprentice at the end of.his indentures to buy his 
"freedom by the payment of certain fees. He then became "free of the trade" and 
was entitled to set up as a master. I am satisfied that neither of these 
connected with the title "Freemason". 

Question 24:   What is cubit measure?

Answer 24:     Originally, the distance from the elbow to the finger-tips 
[Oxford English Dictionary] varying at different is and places, but usually 
about 18-22 inches.

Question 25:   What is veiled allegory?

Answer 25:     There is an error in this question. It is not the allegory that 
is veiled. We use the allegory to veil our teachings. The best simple definition 
will explain my meaning: Allegory: to describe one subject in the guise of 

Question 26:   What do the references to the Golden Fleece and Roman Eagle mean 
in our Apron Charge?

Answer 26:     The Order of the Golden Fleece was one of the most illustrious 
Orders of Knighthood in Austria, Spain and Flanders, founded by Philip the Good, 
Duke of Burgundy and the Netherlands in 1429. The insignia, or Jewel of the 
Order is a golden sheepskin with head and feet, resembling a whole sheep hanging 
the middle from a gold and blue flintstone emitting flames. The Eagle was to the 
Romans the ensign of Imperial power. In battle it was borne on right wing of 
each Roman legion. It was held in veneration by the soldiers and regarded as 
affording sanctuary. We cite the Golden Fleece and Roman Eagle to illustrate
the respect and veneration that we owe to the simple white lambskin Apron.

Question 27:   What is the significance of the Wardens Columns being raised and 

Answer 27:     In Three Distinct Knocks, 1760 we find "Calling Off" and "Calling 
On". It begins with a series of whispered questions, carried by the Deacons, 
from the Worshipful Master to the Senior Warden and Junior Warden, after which 
the Junior Warden declares with a loud voice that "this lodge is called from 
Work to Refreshment; then he sets up his Column, and the Senior Warden lays his 
down; for the care of the Lodge is in the Hands of the Junior Warden while
they are at refreshment." Here we have the earliest details relating to the 
raising and lowering, of the Columns and the reasons for those procedures, 
showing that they were designed to draw a readily noticeable distinction between 
the Lodge when open and when "Called Off ", This would have been an important 
matter in those days, when "Work and Refreshment" [ie, ceremony, drink and 
dinning] all took place in the same Lodge room. The raising and lowering of the 
Columns is standard usage today but the whispered instructions have been 
replaced by a brief catechism spoken aloud.

Question 28:   Why is the Sun over the Junior Warden's chair and the Moon over 
the Senior Warden's if the Senior Warden is in charge during the work of the 
Lodge and the Junior Warden is in charge during Refreshment or not at work?

Answer 28:     Two unrelated problems are linked here, which were not designed 
to fit logically with each other, though they are not really incompatible. 
Perhaps the best explanation will appear if we trace how the Sun and Moon, 
Junior Warden and Senior Warden got into those positions. In our earliest ritual 
documents, we read frequently of "three lights," candles, standing in various 
indeterminate positions An exposure of 1724 said that they stood "Right,
East, South and West", [clearly implying the course of the sun at sunrise, at 
meridian and at sunset, though this was not mentioned in the text.] In Masonry 
Dissected, 1730, the "Three Lights" are still situated "East South and West" and 
they represent Sun, Moon, and Master-Mason, and the same text says that both 
Wardens stand in the West, In operative times, when the masons worked with 
hammer and chisel, there was only one Warden in charge of the craftsmen; he was 
"progress-chaser" and it was his duty to ensure that nothing disturbed the 
progress of the work.  In non-operative Lodges certainly before 1730
there were two Wardens and sometime between 1730 and 1760, when for ritual 
purposes it was deemed advisable to allocate specific duties to each, the Senior 
Warden remained in charge of the Lodge at labour, and the Junior Warden was 
placed in charge of the Lodge at Refreshment. The earliest ritual text that 
describes this is Three Distinct Knocks, 1760, where the Worshipful Master is in 
the East, and for the first time the Junior Warden is in the South and the 
Senior Warden in the West.  In the Opening ceremony the Junior Warden's duty is:

The better to observe the Sun, at high Meridian to call the Men off from Work to
Refreshment and to see that they come on in due time. Notice the Junior Warden, 
only called the Lodge to Refreshment at the midday break and it seems to me that 
the points raised by the question are not incompatible.  In the course of this 
lengthy answer I have tired to show:

[1]  How the three lights, East, South and West con to represent the daily 
course of the Sun.
[2]  How the Junior Warden  and Senior Warden arrived at the South  and West, 
and acquired the Sun and Moon emblems on their Chairs.
[3]  How the Junior Warden's duties came to be allocated.

The real problem is how to reconcile the East, South and West with the "Sun, 
Moon and Master," the traditional reply which still appears in our modern 
ritual.  After much study, I am convinced that if we said "South, West and 
East," that the problem would disappear as well.

Question 29:   Do the Tassels have to have lights in them, and why?

Answer 29:     Sorry, I have never heard of lights in Tassels.

Question 30:   [a] Are there any Lodges that use the Tracing Boards?
[b] Did they have one in the olden days of Masonry, say 1700-1800?

Answer 30:     [a] Yes. About 7,500 in England alone and in most Lodges in 
overseas jurisdictions that follow English usage. 
[b] Yes, with ample evidence from 1735 onwards. [See Question 12] But we only 
use then in the speculative sense, to explain the symbols of Masonry.

Question 31:   What shape is a parallelepipedon and how does it relate to 

Answer 31:     The Oxford English Dictionary. defines it as: A solid figure 
contained by six parallelograms, of which every two opposite ones are parallel. 
This is my pet abomination in Masonry.  There ought to be a law against words of 
more than 3 or 4 syllables! It appears in the First Lecture, Section III in 
answer to the Question asking "The form of the Lodge". The same question in 
1730, had the answer "A long square", and I feel that the man who decided to
use the Parallelepipedon ought to be shot!

Question 32:   Why does the Junior Deacon conduct the Candidate?  Could any 
other Officer do this job?

Answer 32:     In 1730, it was the Warden's job [and Deacons were rather rare].  
Since 1813 it has been the Junior Deacon."s duty, but any other Officer could be 
deputize tor him in his absence [or by arrangement].

Question 33:   Is there any significance in the Right Arm laid bare etc.?  If 
not, why bother?

Answer 33:     Certainly there is; [See Question 10] It would be fair to say 
that there is "significance in ever:y item of clothing, equipment and procedure, 
sometimes very important, sometimes almost trifling. But what is trifling to 
you, may be important to me. In matters of symbolism and interpretation, the 
significance that you work out for yourself is what really matters. Try it 
sometime; you will find it an interesting exercise. As for the Right Arm, it is 
bare to show that the candidate carries no weapons.

Question 34:   Did they have mosaic pavement in the Temple?  Where?

Answer 34      No. See 1 Kings V 15, which says that Solomon "...covered the 
floor of the house [ie. The Temple] with planks of fir." 

Question 35:   Was Boaz really the great-grandfather of David, a Prince and 
Ruler in Israel? 

Answer 35:     Boaz was "a mighty man of wealth" and he was neither Prince nor 
Ruler. The ritual would be less confusing if we said: "...great grandfather of 
David, who became a Ruler in Israel."

Question 36:   When does a man become a Mason, after his First or Third Degree?

Answer 36:     Under the United Grand Lodge of England, and in many 
jurisdictions that follow our usages, the Candidate becomes a Mason at the end 
of his Initiation, and I believe that this is probably true in most of the 
recognized Grand Lodges. In several Grand Lodges in the USA a Mason does not 
become a Member of his Lodge until he has passed his Proficiency Test in the 
Third Degree and in most of those cases he cannot enjoy the privileges of the 
Craft [eg, Masonic Funeral, etc., etc.] until he has signed the Lodge Register 
following the Proficiency Test.

Question 37:   Is there any record of a Candidate's death in the First Degree by 
impaling himself on the sword presented at the door of the Lodge?

Answer 37:     Positively no!

Question 38:   What is to be done if the Candidate declares himself unwilling to 
take his Obligation?

Answer 38:     You must not try to persuade him.  That would be a Masonic 
"crime", because he comes of his own free will. If this ever happened in my 
presence, I would see the Candidate courteously returned to the Preparation Room 
and as soon as he was ready [without a word of criticism] see him out and call a 
taxi for him.

Question 39:   If the penalties are not intended to be carried out, what is 
their purpose?

Answer 39:     They are traditional, based on 15th century Admiralty penalties 
for treason. Nobody has ever suffered those penalties and their contents have 
been a source of worry to Masons and Grand Lodges in many parts of the world. In 
1964, The English Grand Lodge resolved to approve "permissive changes" in the 
Obligations [plural] and in the relevant  passages in the ritual relating to the 
Obligations by which the Candidate undertakes now to "bear in mind" the 
"traditional penalty, that of having the..." Note, the Candidate does not 
undertake to suffer the penalty, or to inflict it, he only promises to bear it 
in mind. The permissive changes were "permissive" in so far that no Lodges were 
ordered to adopt them; they could only adopt them by a majority vote in the 
Lodge. A large number of Lodges adopted the changes; many still adhere to the 
earlier forms. [see Carr's, "The Freemason at Work", pages 38-45]

Question 40:   Why does the Entered Apprentice Apron not contain one rosette?

Answer 40:     It is not necessary. The Entered Apprentice Apron is always 
described as "a plain white lambskin" and every English Mason would know that it 
designates Entered Apprentice status. In the USA especially [but probably 
elsewhere too], only the Lodge Officers wear ornamented Aprons and all visitors 
and members wear a plain white - as emblems of equality - and in many 
jurisdictions, the grade of the wearer, Entered Apprentice Fellow Craft, or 
Master Mason is indicated by turning up the corners of the Apron or some 
similarly recognizable practice.

Question 41:   What does the "Broken Column" signify?

Answer 41:     It is an emblem of mortality and it has no place in our English 
ritual. In many of our Lodges, it is used as a collecting-box for Alms, but it 
has no status as a Masonic symbol. In the USA it appears with other symbols in 
many of the monitorial workings, associated, I believe, with the Master Mason 

Question 42:   What does the "Hoodwink" symbolize?

Answer 42:     The purpose of this term is to ensure that in case a Candidate 
refuses to undergo the ceremony, he may be led out of the Lodge without 
discovering its form. [First Lecture, Section Il]. The symbolism of the Hoodwink 
is the darkness of ignorance until the light of Masonry is made known to the 

Question 43:   What effect did the "Papal Bulls" have on Masonry?

Answer 43:     The whole story would require a very long answer and I must be 
brief. In the 240 years or so since the first Bull against the Masons was 
promulgated in 1738 by Pope Clement XII and reissued by many of his successors, 
in various forms during the next 150 years, they have prevented millions of good 
and respectable Roman Catholics from joining the Craft. Throughout the centuries 
no real attempt was made to bridge the gulf that separated the Freemasons from 
the Church of Rome, until after the Second Ecumenical Council. Some of the more 
liberal ideas that emerged from the Council, began to spill over into other  
fields and within a few years, spontaneous efforts were being started among 
sympathizers in France, Germany and the U.S.A., all working in their own fashion 
in the hope of reaching an accord between the Craft and the Roman Catholic 
Church. I myself was deeply concerned in the work, writing and lecturing on the 
subject and I had several important interviews with the Late Cardinal Heenan, 
who helped the cause very considerably in his approaches to the Papal 
authorities. The full story covering the public efforts and private negotiations 
has not yet been published. Suffice to say that in July 1974 Cardinal Heenan 
received a communication from the Holy See announcing that the Papal ban had 
been lifted. Roman Catholics everywhere [but not Officers of the Church of Rome] 
are now able to join the Craft without the penalty of excommunication and  
already a number of excellent Roman Catholic Candidates have joined the Craft in 
England. [See Carr's, "The Freemason at Work" pages 277-281].

Question 44:   What is the limit of a Mason's charity?

Answer 44:     In its pure original sense, e.g. man's love of his neighbour, 
kindness, affection, with some notion of generous or spontaneous goodness 
[Oxford English Dictionary] there is no limit to a Mason's charity. In its more 
common sense of alms, or more substantial gifts to the poor or to institutions, 
the English ritual specifies the limit, ie, "without detriment to yourself or 
connections." [dependants] .

Question 45:   What is the exact meaning of the word Cowan?

Answer 45:     The Oxford English Dictionary says "Derivation unknown", and 
defines it as "One who builds dry stone walls [ie, without mortar] - applied 
derogatorily to one who does the work of a mason, but who has not yet been 
regularly apprenticed or bred to the trade". The word is probably of Scottish 
origin, and it appears, in that sense, in a large number of Scottish Masonic 
documents from 1598 onwards. [For further details see Carr's "The Freemason at 
Work"  pages 86-89].

Question 46:   During the Master Mason Degree the Chaplain recited "Or ever the 
silver cord be loosed..." What is meant by the "silver cord"?

Answer 46:     The words are from Ecclesiastes XII which describes, in great 
detail, the decline of man in old age, and the failure of his senses, limbs and 
faculties. I would quote from my annotated Geneva Bible, which says that the 
"silver cord" is "the marrow of the backbone and sinews". It may be pure 
coincidence, but I am forcibly reminded of a passage in the Graham MS., 1 726, 
which, after describing the earliest raising within a Masonic context, contains 
the word "Here is yet marrow in this bone".

Question 47:   Distinguished between Hiram. King of Tyre and Hiram Abif? The 
Bible refers to only one.

Answer 47:     The question is wrong.  Both are mentioned several times in the 
course of the two Old Testament versions of the building of King Solomon's 
Temple. Hiram King Tyre appears in I Kings V, 1, as Hiram, King of Tyre and 
several times in the same chapter as Hiram. Hiram Abif, the "widow's son" 
appears first in I Kings VII, 13, and again in the same chapter in verse 40, 
where the name appears with two slightly different Hebrew spellings. This has
given rise to a  theory that there were two craftsmen named Hiram [Quite apart 
from Hiram, King of Tyre]

Hiram, King of Tyre appears in the Chronicles version [in ll Chronicles 11, 3] 
and he appears again as Hiram, King of Tyre in the same chapter, verse 11. In 
verse 13 he writes to Solomon saying that he has sent him a skilled craftsman, 
"a cunning man, endued with understanding, of Hiram my Father's."* these last 
four words in English are the translation of the Hebrew words "Le-Haram Aviv" 
and this sentence is the source of our words "Hiram Abif. It was Luther who 
first used this name [Hiram Abif] because he could not make sense of the Hebrew 
"of Haram my father's."  Note: In ll Chronicles, IV, 11, we find the name of 
Hiram, the craftsman, again with two different Hebrew spellings, suggesting that 
there were two craftsmen of the same name, a father and a son.  It is impossible 
to solve this problem more especially because, unlike our Hiramic legend - which 
is pure legend - there is no Biblical record of the death of Hiram, the 
marvellous craftsman.

*Footnote: More correctly "of Hiram his father".

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