Grand Lodge Oration
Given in Grand Lodge Session
January 29, 2011
Relative Truth and Certain Change
Theodis W. “Ted” Brown, Junior
Grand Orator MMX
Ancient Free and
Accepted Masons of Colorado
Most Worshipful Grand Master, Right Worshipful Deputy Grand Master, Right Worshipful Grand Wardens, Worshipful Grand Brethren, Distinguished Visitors, Worshipful Masters and Brethren All – Welcome to the 149th Grand Oration.
First and foremost, Most Worshipful Grand Master, I wish to thank you for appointing me as Grand Orator for this, your year as the Elected Leader of our Grand Lodge. Just as I suspect that your election to the highest office our brethren can bestow is probably the greatest honor you’ve received in Masonry, so, your appointment of me is, in fact, the highest honor bestowed upon me since I became a member of our beloved Fraternity twenty years ago on the 16th of this month. Thank you.
“Truth, Most Worshipful Grand Master,
is the Corner Stone of the Masonic
edifice, the Stone of Foundation
of Enoch, and the Glory of
the Grand Architect
of the Universe.”
Unfortunately, brethren, these are not MY words. Instead, this wonderful definition of “Truth” was read by me some nine years ago, when I made my first effort to read “Restorations of Masonic Geometry and Symbolry”, the Magnum Opus of Most Worshipful Brother Henry Pelham Holmes Bromwell, Past Grand Master of the Most Worshipful Grand Lodge of Ancient Free and Accepted Masons of Illinois, in 1864.
These words are extracted from the Oration of MW Brother Bromwell given on May 20, 1868, upon the occasion of Laying of the Corner Stone Ceremony of the Masonic Temple, in Washington, D.C. In addition to serving as Grand Master in Illinois, Most Worshipful Bromwell also served that Grand Lodge as Grand Orator on four occasions.
He moved to Denver 1870, affiliated with Denver Lodge # 5, served as Grand Orator of the Grand Lodge Colorado in 1877 and in 1889 was made an Honorary Member of this Grand Lodge because of his distinguished service to Freemasonry. I do not know, Most Worshipful Grand Master, when it occurred, but not long ago, the following introduction was a part of the
Colorado Craftsman for the Masonic Burial Service:
“Prepared by M. W. Brother Henry P. H. Bromwell,
Past Grand Master of Illinois, and Honorary Member of the
Grand Lodge of Colorado. Revised
and abridged by the Grand Lodge in 1954.”
This introduction was at some recent time omitted from the Colorado Craftsman, and is not in the Clear Text Key. I pray it can be restored to its rightful place. Most Worshipful Brother Bromwell’s efforts in preparing our beautiful Burial (or Funeral) Service should not be forgotten nor this recognition omitted.
I’ll start, Most Worshipful, at a period in our history that, to an individual, may seem far removed from the present but it was only four-hundred and eleven (411) years ago on February 17, 1600, when Giordano Bruno, was burned at the stake for heresy. Among other offenses, Bruno was one of the first to express the view of an infinite universe, with myriads of worlds. A statute of Bruno was erected in Rome, 289 years later, in 1889 by the Civil Authorities at the place of his death.
In March 1610, Galileo Galilei, published Sidereus Nuncius, or Starry Messenger, in which he reported having observed through his telescope, the moon and its mountains (at the time, the moon was thought to be smooth), and four bodies revolving around the planet Jupiter. Although this seems to be the beginning of Galileo’s difficulties with the religious authorities, it was not until 1633, that he was charged with heresy for having held that the Earth is not the center of the universe and moves; and, also that the Sun was stationary. He was placed under house arrest and remained so until his death on February 15, 1654. In 2008 “a statue was planned to stand in the Vatican gardens near the apartment in which Galileo was incarcerated.” (1) This was 375 years after he was placed under house arrest and 354 years after his death.
The Thirty Years War commenced in 1619 and ended in 1649. This was a war between Catholic and Protestants. All “Christens” involved, lost. The Royal Society was founded in 1660 and continues today. In 1717 members of four Masonic lodges meet at the Goose and Gridiron to discuss and establish a Grand Lodge. In 1732 Freemasonry arrived in America and in 1738, the Roman Catholic Church issued its first Papal Bull prohibiting its adherents from becoming Freemasons.
Today, Most Worshipful, the Vatican Advanced Technology Telescope is located on Mt. Graham, in Graham County, Arizona, and is said to have “achieved ‘first light’” in 1993, only 393 years after the death of Bruno. That was a very good year!
My point in reciting some of the important dates of the last 410 years is to emphasize the words “Certain Change” during this time period. This Most Worshipful Grand Lodge in 2011 celebrates its Sesquicentennial – One Hundred and Fifty years during which many of our early and founding Members helped to establish this magnificent State of Colorado. We have not only witnessed this “Certain Change” we have helped to design and implement it. This Grand Lodge has helped to establish Masonic lodges in Wyoming, Montana and Utah. We have aided in creating educational institutions, churches and schools.
Our early leaders founded newspapers and the Colorado Historical Society and swiftly, over the fifteen years between 1861 and 1876 oversaw the creation of this Great State. I marvel at those early masons like M. W. Brothers Allyn Weston who came here from Michigan; Henry Moore Teller, who served the Grand Lodge seven times as Grand Master and was one of our first two U. S. Senators and, Andrew Mason, fifth Grand Master of Colorado and founding Master of Nevada Lodge # 4, Empire Lodge # 8 and Washington Lodge (now Georgetown) # 12. And when M. W. Andrew Mason had finished his labors in this Grand Jurisdiction, why he just traipsed on over to Utah to help Freemasonry there.
And, so, Most Worshipful Grand Master, in the short span of 149 years, our efforts, as Free Masons in Colorado, have been to perpetuate the great “Truths” which have been a part of man’s heritage from “time immemorial.” Since the meeting of the four “founding” Lodges in 1717 and the subsequent announcement to the world in 1721 of the existence of the Grand Lodge, there have been numerous volumes published on Freemasonry, and Samuel Pritchard’s “Masonry Dissected” in 1730, may have been the very first “expose’”. Of course, this was not intended to be harmful, and indeed, was “Dedicated” to the “Right Worshipful and Honorable Fraternity of Free and Accepted Masons.
In the last ten to fifteen years, there has been no “let-up” by producers on the History, Discovery or History International Channels, to obtain directly from the mouths of Masons, every known, and suspected “secret of Freemasonry.” And, sadly, there appears to be a steady source of “masons” willing to set aside their obligations.
In 1992, the first exoplanet was “detected” and astronomers quickly confirmed it. Today, the NASA Jet Propulsion Laboratory has counted 510 planets outside our solar system, none of which are “Earthlike.” It seems we are on the way to discovering Giordano Bruno’s “infinite number of planets.” How long before “life” is discovered outside our solar system?
Thank you, Most Worshipful Grand Master.
Theodis W. “Ted” Brown, Jr.
Grand Orator, 2011 – 2012
January 29, 2011