Monday, July 20, 2009

Apollo 11, Freemasons and the Moon

And you thought anti-Masonic conspiracists served no useful purpose.

Thanks to ConspiracyArchive.com, an article from the Scottish Rite SJ's old magazine, The New Age, December 1969 issue is available online. The article discusses Neil Armstrong and brother Buzz Aldrin's historic Apollo 11 walk on the Moon 40 years ago today. Aldrin is a Scottish Rite Mason, and took a hand-made silk flag to the Moon and back, donating it to the House of the Temple.

From the ConspiracyArchive blog:

The Apollo program was rife with Masons; they were proud of being involved, and weren’t shy about advertising the fact.

In the November 1969 edition of The New Age Magazine, there is an extensive article by Kenneth S. Kleinknecht, 33°, the Manager of the Apollo Program Command and Service Modules; Deputy Manager, Gemini Program; Manager, Project Mercury.

On page 13, we read:

Note how many of the astronauts themselves are Brother Masons: Edwin E. Aldrin, Jr.; L. Gordon Cooper, Jr.; Donn F. Eisle; Walter M. Schirra; Thomas P. Stafford; Edgar D. Mitchell, and Paul J. Weitz. Before his tragic death in a flash fire at Cape Kennedy on January 27, 1967, Virgil I. “Gus” Grissom was a Mason, too. Astronaut Gordon Cooper, during his epochal Gemini V spaceflight in August of 1965, carried with him an official Thirty-third Degree Jewel and a Scottish Rite flag. Via the lunar plaque, the Masonic ensignia and flag, and the Masonic astronauts themselves – Masonry already is in the space age. Can we doubt Freemasonry and its spiritual relevance to the modern era when even its material representatives have today made historic inroads into the infinite expanses of outer space?

Back then, Freemasonry wasn’t shy about admitting that the “Craft” is essentially a spiritual endeavor, either. In fact, right before Kleinknecht writes some bios on the Masonic astronauts (as well as Mason James Edwin Webb, the NASA administrator from 1961-68), he includes these words: “The mission of the Craft has always been one of salvation, but until now its field of endeavor was the individual and the bringing of him to the light. Masonry cannot think in these terms now. All men everywhere must hear our message or all men everywhere will perish” (ibid., pp. 15-16; my emphasis).

Kenneth S. Kleinknecht, by the way, was/is the brother of C. Fred Kleinknecht, 33°, Sovereign Grand Commander, The Supreme Council, 33° (Mother Council of the World), Southern Jurisdiction, USA, Washington.



Well, yes, as a matter of fact, we were indeed proud of the Masonic connections with the space program. As much as that seems to irritate the conspiracists.

Might as well let the other cat out of the bag. While he was on the Moon, Brother Aldrin claimed our lunar neighbor for the Masonic jurisdiction of the Grand Lodge of Texas. Aldrin was a member of Clear Lake Lodge # 1417 in Texas when he stepped onto the surface of the Moon. He carried a special deputation from the Grand Master to claim it as being in the territorial jurisdiction of the Grand Lodge of Texas.

In the wake of Aldrin's Masonic space mission, the Grand Lodge of Texas formed Tranquility Lodge No. 2000, named after Tranquility Base, the location of Apollo 11's landing. According to the lodge website,

On July 20, 1969, two American Astronauts landed on the moon of the planet Earth, in an area known as Mare Tranquilitatis , or "Sea of Tranquility". One of those brave men was Brother Edwin Eugene (Buzz) Aldrin, Jr., a member of Clear Lake Lodge No. 1417, AF&AM, Seabrook, Texas. Brother Aldrin carried with him SPECIAL DEPUTATION of then Grand Master J. Guy Smith, constituting and appointing Brother Aldrin as Special Deputy of the Grand Master, granting unto him full power in the premises to represent the Grand Master as such and authorize him to claim Masonic Territorial Jurisdiction for The Most Worshipful Grand Lodge of Texas, Ancient Free and Accepted Masons, on The Moon, and directed that he make due return of his acts. Brother Aldrin certified that the SPECIAL DEPUTATION was carried by him to the Moon on July 20, 1969.

(snip)

Tranquility Lodge 2000 was Chartered by The Grand Lodge of Texas for the purpose of promoting, encouraging, conducting and fostering the principles of Freemasonry, and to assist in promoting the health, welfare, education and patriotism of children worldwide.

The Grand Lodge of Texas is the first Grand Lodge to have a Member step onto the Moon, Brother Buzz Aldrin, in 1969. Through this event, The Grand Lodge of Texas has Chartered Tranquility Lodge 2000 for the purpose providing Fraternal Assistance to Masonic Organizations and other worthy organizations who help make life better for all living on Earth.

Tranquility Lodge 2000 is based in Texas under auspices of The Grand Lodge of Texas until such time as the Lodge may hold its meetings on the Moon. Our meetings are held quarterly at various cities in Texas, with the annual meeting being held in Waco each July...


So, here's to the three bravest men in the universe, Neil Armstrong, Buzz Aldrin and Michael Collins and the greatest moment in human history. It will never be equalled in my lifetime, not because men can't achieve such things anymore, but because society has lost the vision to try. The most stirring human achievement we seem to able to muster up these days is Richard Branson assuring the world his Virgin Galactic space tourism program will be "carbon neutral."

1 comment:

lightseeker said...

Ok, that has to be the coolest story of how a Lodge was named! I wish I had the time and resources to research more Lodge names that at the outset seem unconnected form their city, landmarks etc, but involve something that comes straight out of left field. Perhaps after I am initiated I will start to gather stories like this and put them together for all members to enjoy!