Sunday, April 1, 2007

Oklahoma, Oklahoma!

Scottish Rite Masonic Temple
Guthrie, Oklahoma

On the last weekend in March, several of the local Masonic brethren from Auburn Lodge and I hopped in my kick ass Town & Country rental van down the Kansas Turnpike and made the four hour drive down to Guthrie, Oklahoma to stay and hang out at the infamous Scottish Rite Temple there.

Because it was my rental van, I had to drive. Unfortunately, an hour outside of Wichita, a terrential rain storm began. Let me tell you this was absolutely the most unbelievable rain I have ever seen. If it weren't for the lights on the truck in front of me, I wouldn't have been able to see where I was going. Stopping was out of the question as I wouldn't be able to see where I could pull over or would I know what was behind me. The rain was coming down so hard and fast, at one moment, my life passed before my eyes and I wondered what my mother was going to think knowing her son died on a highway in Kansas. Seriously, it was that scary. I've driven through snow storms in the BC Rockies, but this was really, really crazy. This went on for about an hour and a half.

Finally, we reached the Temple late Friday night and my friend Paul gave me a quick tour. And wow, this is absolutely the most beautiful building I have ever been in.

Saturday morning we got up early, and I registered, to which I had the secretary of my valley call ahead of time to confirm that me, a Canadian Mason was attending. There was a mix up and so one of the members asked me if I knew the 18th degree sign and password. I said, "As a matter of fact, I do." You see, they don't instruct them for any of the degrees anymore, but we do it in full in Edmonton. So I think my dear brother was caught off guard by him trying to catch ME off guard. That said, he probably didn't know that I'm currently the 2nd General of the Rose Croix body of the Edmonton Valley.

So they eventually let me and we watched degrees 17 to 21, then we had lunch and missed the 22nd, but caught 23 to 25. The 26th was not performed due to some of the cast not being able to make it. A banquet followed where the brethren invited their wives and girlfriends to which they were also invited to a play about Pontius Pilate and his dilemma.

Sunday we watched degrees 27 to 29 in the morning and 30 to 32 in the afternoon. The 31st has been revamped and is derived from the Egyptian Book of the Dead.

During the entire weekend, I was bugging my American Scottish Rite brethren and the caps they have to wear. In Canada, 32nd degree Masons wear a simple collar with a teutonic cross for a jewel at the end, where in th U.S., they wear black caps which in my opinion, makes them look like bell hops. So I continued to ask my friends why they haven't taken my bags up to my room yet.

Here are some of the photos of this beautiful building.

Left: One of the sitting rooms. Right: The Library

Left: Lodge room. Right: Egyptian Room

Left: Me and Bob Davis (Secretary of the Guthrie Valley). Right: A performance on stage. Look at the backdrops! This play was open to friends and family after the banquet.

These two are of the main auditorium being set up for a degree. The stage is very deep and has a couple dozen back drops which are used during the degree performances. The altar in the middle has a trap door on its back side.

Left: View from the first balcony. Right: Me at the big organ!

This is me and Dr. Jim Tresner, who is basically one of the most respected brethren in all of Masonry, especially in Scottish Rite circles. Saturday night he hosted an informal discussion in one of the sitting rooms where a couple dozen brethren asked him questions about Freemasonry. I stood up and brought greetings from the Supreme Council of Canada and the Edmonton Valley and proceeded to ask him two questions:

1) Which is your favourite degree in the Scottish Rite?
- He said, "The 18th, for obvious reasons."

2) Which is your favourite working tool?
- "The level."

Coincidentally, that's what I would answer.

I also asked a question regarding Buddhism and Freemasonry to which a brother from California answered very eloquently and was extemely enlightened by it all.

All and all it was an amazing trip, one I'll never forget and very glad I was able to take advantage of the short distance to travel while living in Topeka. The drive back was very pleasant, we stopped in Wichita for some food, and made it home in the late evening. I have to say again that I love driving the Kansas Turnpike. It's soooo smooth.

For all you Masons reading this, or anyone really, go visit this Temple and get a tour:


daisies said...

lovely photos ~ that library is beautiful !!

HOLY said...

wow - goi-juss building....

OK, now I'm a wee bit curious about the 18th rite....need to go dig up some info on it now.

sugar_aero said...

Gorgeous place, you look great in a suit (or tux). So tell me how many pairs of cufflinks do you own? All your fellow masons dress quite nicely too, even when you guys came to the pub after a meeting. It is too bad that in this day an age people don't enjoy getting dressed up to go places.