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August 13, 2021

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Smooth Stone and the Speculative Minecraftsman

By WB Chad Koelling, PM  • Contributing Writer

This article is for the Millennial Masons; at least they may connect to it more. Some of the older Masons will certainly be able to derive the meaning it tries to convey.  "Minecraft" is a video game that those of you with kids and grand-kids will likely be at least aware of while some of our younger brothers will likely have played or will be currently playing.  My own kids play the game so from time to time some random news article will pop up in my news-feed about the game.  It seems Minecraft has recently released a title update that allows for the creation of smooth stone.   Stay with me, I promise there is a message.

Minecraft, is largely a game that has some survival aspects, but chiefly is about gathering materials and building things.  In the search for smooth stone players must first gather cobblestone.  Cobblestone is one of the very first materials that players can gather and is rather rudimentary. Cobblestone is much like the new initiate that comes knocking at our doors.  It is unrefined.  Through the building and crafting process that exists in Minecraft eight pieces of cobblestone can be transformed into a furnace.  Why eight?

 I don’t know if the creators of Minecraft had any real significance in mind, but eight is a very important number in the Volume of Sacred Law.  Eight symbolizes renewal and rebirth in almost every instance that it is recorded in the Bible.  God created in six days, on the seventh he rested, after which on day eight he continued his work. God gave Noah instructions to build an ark.  Noah and his family consisted of eight people on the ark. After all that was in the world was destroyed they were tasked with rebuilding the Earth in righteousness.

Jewish law required circumcision.  Circumcisions were conducted on the eighth day. The circumcision was a covenant that existed between God an His people.  It was a testimony that the child had new life in God. In the new testament the number eight retains its significance.  Jesus stated the hour had come on the 10th day of Nissan.  He would be crucified on the 14th day of the month.  The resurrection took place after three days and three nights according to scripture placing the resurrection 8 days after the selection of Jesus as the Paschal Lamb.  

The Quran mentions the term “ar raghba (wish)” just eight times.  In all of them the wishes seem to be asking for things people wish they had done before death.  The most significant mention to this writing comes in the form (translations differ slightly) of “Oh we wish that we could be returned [to life on Earth] and not deny the signs of our Lord and be among the believers (Quran 6:27).”

Regardless of one’s faith the point here is that the eight pieces of Cobblestone in Minecraft are turned into a furnace.  The furnace gives the Cobblestone new life and by its shape as a furnace we are able to further refine cobblestone into regular stones.  Regular stones are then smelted once more into the furnace to produce smooth stones. There are three levels of stones.  Three of course is important to Masons.  Three degrees, three stages of life, three lights, and many other threes show up.

In Masonry we say that we are seeking to take rough ashlars and make the perfect by dividing the stone from all the vices and superfluities of life.  Likewise, in Minecraft, the Cobblestone is transformed in three stages to become smooth stone, but never perfect.  I think that is an important distinction to make as we will never become perfect in the unerring since, but certainly can become refined through the association of the cobblestones with the furnace of the lodge wherein regular and smooth stones are already gathered.  

Perhaps the most striking revelation came when I read the article that was certainly intended for the audience of my children was the use of the smooth stones in Minecraft.  It turns out that there are only two uses for smooth stones in the world of Minecraft; smooth stone slabs and blast furnaces.  Interesting indeed. Those Masons that have studied the art for years can be said to be the smooth stones of our lodges.  Those that naturally arise as leaders and educators are turning the cobblestones to regular stones.  The regular stones will too become smooth stones by the purer principles and influences of our art.

The smooth stone slab in the Minecraft world is the strongest foundation of all buildings that can be built in the game. I heard W∴B∴ Glenn Turner one time ask, “Why do we put pictures of Past Masters on the wall?”  His answer was that these men paved the way and laid the foundations of the lodges.  The blast furnace in Minecraft smelts gold and other substances at twice the rate of the cobblestone furnace.  Smooth stones are required for this process.  Just like in the lodge it is the members who have been refined by our teachings who are likely to be able to do the most good, exert the most influence, and ultimately build better lodges for the wisdom of future generations.

If you have made it this far, I only have one question remaining.  Will you be content to be a cobblestone?   Strive my brother for that refined state of man to be that smooth stone, that perfect ashlar, that rock and foundation upon which your lodge can rely to thrive even in these uncertain times.

 1: "Minecraft How to Make Smooth Stone - Alphr." 22 Feb. 2021, Accessed 12 Aug. 2021.
2: "John 12 NIV - Jesus Anointed at Bethany - Six days - Bible Gateway." Accessed 12 Aug. 2021.
3: "Did you know what “wishes” are mentioned in Quran? – Quran ...." 9 Sept. 2017, Accessed 12 Aug. 2021.

Tidings From Louisiana Lodges

Young Brother Presents Masonic Education; He Kilt It.

At the July 28, 2021 stated meeting of Abe Hinson No. 472, Bro. Ethan Smith, Junior Warden, presented an educational piece on the Freemasons Universal Tartan, while wearing his kilt in that pattern. The tartan was commissioned by, and registered to, the Grand Lodge of Utah. It was designed by Anne Carroll Gilmour, when her husband, MWB Ridgely H. Gilmour, served his year as Grand Master of the GL of Utah, in 2005. The tartan is free for use by all Masons, and the colors represent the various Masonic organizations and appendant bodies. Bro. Smith has taken it upon himself to present education at meetings on various subjects, as is common for brothers to do at Abe Hinson No. 472.


Lodge Brothers Make a Birthday House Call.

Pictured L to R: Bro. Brent Humphries, Secretary, Bro Clarence Durham, and W∴B∴ Billy Homan P∴M∴.
The members of Michael Dempsey No. 327 collected some money this past Tuesday for one of our members.  Bro. Clarence Durham will turn 94 years old on the August 16, and he has been a Mason for 54-1/2 years.  Due to his health and COVID precautions, Bro. Durham has not been to lodge in a while.  We thought it would be a great idea to get him a special birthday present, as he is now our oldest member.  Bro Durham was Initiated, Passed, and Raised at Abbeville No. 192 before moving to the Jena area.  

Order of the Amaranth Elects New Grand Officers

On Friday night, August 6, 2021, the Grand Court of Louisiana, Order of the Amaranth held its annual installation of Grand officers.  Honored Lady Michelle Cook-Zimmerman (left) will serve as Grand Royal Matron for the ensuing year, while Sir Knight Rob Hagen (right) will serve as Grand Royal Patron. 


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