Harry S. Truman Presidential Library & Museum

Truman, John Anderson, 1851-1914; Young, Solomon, 1815-1892; Pike, Albert, 1809-1891

Longhand Note of Former President Harry S. Truman, October 30, 1953. President's Secretary's Files - Longhand Notes.

Oct. 30, 1953

I have had a very great interest in Speculative Masonry since I received my first degree on Feb. 9, 1909 in Belton Lodge No. 450 over in Cass County.

I had a couple of cousins who at the time lived on a farm over east of our farm. They were old bachelors and great Masons. Their father was my mother's first cousin and had been brought up by my Grandfather Young. These cousins of mine took my application to Belton Lodge and took a great interest in my Masonic welfare.

I received my 3rd degree on March 9, 1909 and built up a reputation by learning all the candidate's lectures in a proficient manner from the Deputy Grand Master and District Lecturer who was the cashier of the Bank of Belton and who believed that my father and I were good risks for loans.

The Grand Lecturer came to Belton immediately after I'd been raised and taught me to be letter perfect in the candidates lectures. He also made a Senior deacon and a Junior deacon out of me and let me open and close the Lodge of Instruction until I could do it without a bobble. From that time on I studied and read Masonic History and to this day I'm interested in it.

It is a system of Morals that is based entirely on the Scriptures. There is no reading as interesting as the Old and New Testaments especially those parts referred to in every Masonic Degree from 1 to 33 in the Scottish Rite and through Chapter and Commandecy in the York Rite.

The organization is very old. Historically the Grand Lodge of England began in 1717. But tradition goes far back of that. You can never cease to be interested and entertained mentally if you become interested in Masonic tradition.

Read your Morals and Dogma by Albert Pike-a Major General in the Confederate Army.

I have here a copy of the old charges-a document written in 1727 the Cormack Manuscript. The original is in the Archives of the Grand Lodge of Pennsylvania at Philadelphia. There are two similar manuscripts in the archives of the Grand Lodge of Massachusetts. They are most interesting documents. I'd like to read you an extract or two. (Read)

Now these old Masons of the Middle ages who built the Cathedrals and other great buildings were the labor unions of that day. You'll find marks of the old stone masons all over the great buildings of Europe and you'll find them on the old sand stone section of the Capital and we found a lot of them in the White building. There was enough of these old stones so that I replaced about of dozen of them over each fireplace in the old kitchen on the first floor and sent one each to every Grand Lodge in the country.

Scottish Rite Oct. 30, 1953 Ivanhoe Temple 8 P.M.

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