Council

Congratulations to Brandon Mullins, PC for being installed as Southeastern Michigan Battalion Commander after his election to the prestigious post earlier this year. Thanks for your dedicated service to Templary. Companion Brandon, Ann Arbor Council’s Thrice Illustrious Master was also honored with the Grand Master’s Service Award and Grand Master’s Meritorious award at the Grand Council session, which due to circumstances he was unable to control with his babysitter he was sadly not in attendance to receive these special honors. Thanks for your great efforts in York Rite Masonry Brandon!

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Come along with us as we take companions to the crypt at this amazing all degree day up in Pontiac.

While I usually try to avoid putting a candidate through more than one degree at a time, this is a rare opportunity to see one of the best council degree teams in the country, and meet companions from across the state.

So if you have yet to join council, or just want to come along, mark your calendar, RSVP, and we’ll carpool up to Pontiac together.

Hope to see you there!

Brandon Mullins
Thrice Illustrious Master

It was a lot of gold in the room for our humble chapter, but it was great to be in company of such wonderful companions and we hope to see them again soon! We send our special thanks to Most Excellent High Priest, David Dossette of the Grand Chapter Royal Arch Masons of Michigan, and Most Illustrious Grand Master, Robert Troutman of the  Grand Council, Royal and Select Masons of Michigan for visiting us this evening.  Brandon Mullins Thrice Illustrious Master 

It was a lot of gold in the room for our humble chapter, but it was great to be in company of such wonderful companions and we hope to see them again soon! We send our special thanks to Most Excellent High Priest, David Dossette of the Grand Chapter Royal Arch Masons of Michigan, and Most Illustrious Grand Master, Robert Troutman of the Grand Council, Royal and Select Masons of Michigan for visiting us this evening.

Brandon Mullins
Thrice Illustrious Master 

Companions,

It is a very sad day for Cryptic Masonry. Most Puissant Companion George C. Sellars, the Most Puissant General Grand Master passed away today February 10, 2013. He passed away at home with his family by his side.

His Funeral arrangements are as follows: A.H. Peters Funeral Home, 20705 Mack Avenue, Grosse Pointe, MI 48236. Viewing on Tuesday, February 12, 2013 from 1:00 PM to 9:00 PM. Masonic Service at 8:00 PM. (Tentative Commandery Honor Guard 7:30 PM to 8:00 PM) Wednesday, February 13, 2013, Funeral Service at Noon at the Funeral Home.

Corey Curtiss
Junior Past Illustrious Master 

Congratulations to our new Thrice Illustrious Master Brandon Mullins. It was a pleasure to serve as Master of our Council in 2012. As I now take the station at the right hand of our TIM, I know that Illustrious Companion Mullins will in fact be one of the best Masters in the history of our Council. I am excited to support him in his work in our crypt and in his endeavors to grow and enrich our Council’s membership. Here’s to the 2013 Cryptic year; its going to be a stellar 12 months!

Corey Curtiss
Junior Past Illustrious master 

From the Crypt | May 2012

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Greeting’s Companions, Ladies, and Family:

I hope you had a wonderful April and holiday celebration with your families. We had a very eventful April meeting, primarily revolving around discussion of our consolidation efforts with the other York Rite Bodies in Washtenaw County. The main course of which was our resolution to put the consolidation of Ann Arbor #86 into Union #11 in Ypsilanti. Shortly letters will be sent out to all members inviting them to an official vote and discussion at our next stated meeting on May 21st. The proposal will consolidate our resources and membership into one great Council that will work under the banner and charter of Union Council #11.

A group of representatives from Ann Arbor, Ypsilanti, and Milan have been working to determine the terms of our Consolidation. One aesthetic and historical concern is maintaining the lowest number as possible in the effort and all members of the consolidation committee agreed that it was important to maintain the lowest number and Oldest Charter (hence our consolidation into #11). Other concerns are being addressed such as meeting day, location, and line of officers. Please come to or send communication to our next stated meeting to help hash out details.

The executive leadership and active membership sees this as a positive move so that we may form a York Rite group focused on membership development and providing an added value experience to that membership instead of simply focusing on getting enough people to fill the chairs or even worse, finding enough people to open. We want our members to focus on their favorite parts of the York Rite and not just on the tedious process of keeping everybody going all the time. It’s this TIM’s hope that our current plan will put us on the path to growth and revitalization so the Washtenaw York Rite bodies united can thrive.

I hope to see you soon!

Corey F. Curtiss

Thrice Illustrious Master

Ann Arbor Council #86 

From the Crypt | Apr 2012

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Greetings Companions,

I hope this message finds you and your families doing well!

Our regularly scheduled March School of Instruction was cancelled as our new Arch Deputy was otherwise detained.We will be rescheduling it for our Council meeting on Monday, April 16th at 6:30 p.m. We are starting early as the Chapter and Commandery will be conducting its annual meeting and elections that night as well. I hope you can be in attendance to receive some excellent instruction on the degree work of the Cryptic rite.

It’s my sad duty to inform you of the passing of Past Grand Master, Most Illustrious Companion Bill Skrepnek, 33 degree on the morning of 21 March 2012.Please keep his widow, Lady Doris in your prayers. I had the pleasure of being present during the installation proceedings of Flushing Lodge in December 2011.Bill performed every part (except that of Marshal of course) word perfect and with great enthusiasm.He will be greatly missed.

The weather here in southeastern Michigan is unseasonably warm.I hope you’re enjoying it!And to our Companions in other states:we miss you!Until our next meeting!

Yours in Cryptic Masonry,

Corey F. Curtiss

Thrice Illustrious Master

Ann Arbor Council #86 

From the Crypt | Mar 2012

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Dear Companions,

Oh how the Cryptic year moves quickly.We are busy in the Royal Arch chapter preparing future Candidates for the Royal and Select Degrees.As I discussed at our annual installation of Officers in December, the Council focuses on Preservation and we as a Council and York Rite collective are working to Preserve not only our great body but our entire organization.It begins with you! You companions, are our boots on the ground. Please spread the word about the great work in the Council and its meaningful degree structure.It is not a body to be missed and those that petition and follow though to discover where the secrets of our Craft are preserved will not regret their decision.

Your Master is busy helping the Royal Arch body with degree work so we can have candidates for our degrees. In addition, I will be traveling to the East Central conference the second weekend of March in Indiana for a leadership forum to help write new plans on our Trestle Board with the hope that we continue to engage and provide an added value organization for Companions to call home and preserve our unique mysteries.

In addition, at 6:30 p.m. on the third Monday of March (19 March 2012) we will have our School of Instruction from our new Arch Deputy, the representative from Grand Council.Please be there in properly clothed to practice the Opening and Closing in the Select Master degree and the reception of Grand Officers.We look forward to seeing you for that and the Washtenaw Chapter’s Past Master degree with Allegory!

Corey Curtiss, TIM

Ann Arbor Council No. 86, R&SM 2012 Installation of Officers

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Greetings Friends & Companions,

I am pleased to announce the Ann Arbor Council #86 OPEN Installation of Officers for the 2012 Cryptic Year: Monday December 19th, 2011 at 7:30 p.m. at Calvary United Methodist Church, 1415 Miller Avenue (at Newport Rd), Ann Arbor, 48103 with Corey Curtiss the TIM-elect, Brandon Mullins, Deputy-elect, and Hon. SJ Elden, PCW-elect. Due to facility limitations we will not have dinner but will more than likely go out to celebrate after. The dress and color of the evening is fomal and Purple. All are invited! Installing officer is Most Puissant George Sellars, General Grand Master with PMIGM Brian Himes, PMIGM Stephen Striggow, and Grand Chaplain Larry Inscho, PMEGHP. We hope to see you there!

Corey Curtiss

TIM-elect

From the Crypt | Nov 2011

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As you all know by now George Lucero was transferred to New Mexico earlier this year. It was his original intention to serve as Thrice Illustrious Master for a period of two years to give us, hopefully, a smooth transition into the future for the Council. 

Corey Curtis has volunteered to step forward and assume the reigns in upcoming year, if you the Companions of Ann Arbor are in agreement. It will be necessary for him to have some assistance if the Council is to continue to flourish. Hope you are able and willing to step forward and assist him in his planned goals.

Contact him to let him know that you will be there for him. This makes the job of planning and preparing so much easier. 

They have a nice core of Companions in attendance at the meetings, but, they do need assistance. Especially since we know that they have some degrees that need to be performed on new candidates, with the assistance and support of Ypsilanti’s Union Council.

From the Crypt | Sep 2011

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George, Amanda and the kids are all now well settled in in Albuquerque, New Mexico at his new job.

Paul & Beth will be in their new home in Maricopa, AZ by the middle of September.

Please note the header of the Council. This means that we are going to need to get Ann Arbor Council off and going on a new start very soon. 

Art Davidge has agreed to take over as the Recorder of the Commandery. 

We have some new young Companions in the Council and several new candidates for the degrees. Some have agreed to step forth and assist in this transformation and regrowth of the Council. We are still needing others to do so. Don’t be a stranger to the Cryptic Craft.

The election will be in December so come out for the next couple of months. Check out the work and the Companions in attendance. I know that by doing so you will come away with the feeling of wanting to be a more active part of this organization.

Congratulations to Stephen Striggow on his fine year as the Grand Master of Royal and Select Masons for this past year. 

We send our congratulations and best wishes for an even more successful year, if that is possible, to Dwight A. Humm, Most Illustrious Grand Master for 2011-2012, and his core of Officers for the coming year.

From the Crypt | Jul 2011

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Greetings Companions and Friends,

George has asked me to say hello for him this month, and at the same time to wish all his very best and to say goodbye, for now. His move for the military will take place on the 10th of July. He will be leaving us for Albuquerque, New Mexico where he will begin his 2nd 24 years of service to our Country.

Since June was his last meeting with us, this year, we made a presentation to him of his Past Thrice Illustrious Masters Apron. Sure it’s a little early, but he deserves it. It actually looks very good on him.

Adam Smith was greeted into the Council on June 4th in Auburn Hills at Pontiac’s all Council Degree Day. 

We have 2 candidates in waiting to be greeted and all indications are that the 3 Brothers coming into the Chapter are also desirous of joining the Council. The plans for the Council Degrees will be set shortly after the 1st of September. Watch the calendar for the dates and locations.

Grand Council will be conducted this year at the Lexington Hotel in Lansing. Thursday, August 18th. The Grand Banquet will be that evening. Hope you can enjoy the evening with us.

Southeastern Michigan York Rite Association is going to be at the Tecumseh Masonic Lodge on Wednesday, July 27th. It will be a Family Pot Luck Picnic beginning at 6 pm. The meeting will begin at about 7 pm. We will be voting whether we can and should make a donation to the 3 Grand York Rite Charities. Also, it will be the Annual Meeting for the Association.

A few of you still owe your dues for this year. Please send ASAP.

Hope that this finds each of you in the best of health and happiness. Enjoy your July 4th celebration with family and friends.

Paul Howell, PTIM

All Council Degree Day | Jun 2011

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Greetings Friends & Companions,

Pontiac Council No.3, Royal & Select Masters is hosting an All Council Degree Day this Satuday, June 4th at the Pontiac Masonic Temple. The Grand Council Officers will be pourtraying the degrees making this a very special evening made even more special by the fact that the Ann Arbor York Rite’s own, Adam Smith will be receiving  his Cryptic degrees there. They open at 1pm, the Royal Master degree begins at 1:30pm, and the Super Excellent Master at 4:00pm. So If you’re interested in taking part, showing your support or just seeing the impressive work of the grand degree team feel free to tag along. 

Brandon Mullins

Deputy Master

From the Crypt | Jun 2011

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Greetings Companions and Friends,

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Council work throughout the State is keeping busy.

June 4th – All Degree Day in Pontiac.

June 18th – All Degree Day in Kingsford.

September 10th – All Degree Day in Howell.

We have several candidates in waiting, now, but hope and expect to be doing the work ourselves. It was great to have the Most Illustrious Grand Master, Steve Striggow, in Ann Arbor for our last meeting. He is very gracious and kept us all relaxed and at ease. We hope to be seeing each of you at our next Stated Assembly on June 20th while we begin to make plans for the immediate future.

George Lucero

Thrice Illustrious Master

From the Crypt | May 2011

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Greetings Companions and Friends,

Last month our Thrice Illustrious Master, George Lucero asked me to write “From the Crypt” and I’m continuing the subject I wrote on last month, today. 

The subject was identifying the “Crypt” in Cryptic Masonry and the factual history behind crypt and King Solomon’s Temple above. In the article I spoke of the traditional site of King Solomon’s Temple which is where the Dome of the Rock stands now and the evidence that points to belief that there is a genuine crypt below.  But what we’ll be talking about is a possible alternate theory of the location and how that could change how we think about the Temple Mount.

Architect, Tuvia Sagiv has been studying the Temple Mount and has put forth a controversial theory. He states that King Solomon’s Temple wasn’t standing where the Dome of the Rock is now but between the Dome of the Rock and Al-Aqsa Mosque.

Looking at the Solomon’s Temple from an architectural and logistical perspective he states that given the elevation of the Dome of the Rock water flow required for ritual bathing and sacrifices would have been impossible. Archeologists believe they may have found an aqueduct close to the Dome of the Rock but given the angle and direction of the aqueduct Sagiv believes there is no way water would have been able to reach where the Dome currently stands. Giving further credence to his theory is infrared pictures taken of the Temple Mount that shows that directly behind the Western or Wailing Wall is a structure that in many ways fits the dimensions of the Second Temple as laid out in scripture. 

A major component of his theory though relies on the history of yet another temple that rested upon the temple mount. Not a Jewish, Christian or Muslim temple but the temple of Jupiter which the Romans built on the Temple Mount. Now any archeologist will tell you that holy sites are often built on top of one another. From the Vatican to Spanish missions we often find that holy sites are regularly designed to cover up the previous religion of the area. So that fact would lead one to assume that the Dome of the Rock WAS in fact built on the ruins of the Second Temple. Not so, says Sagiv. History tells us that the Romans built a massive Jupiter Temple upon the ruins of the Second Temple and though it was technically over the site of Solomon’s Temple it was designed to take up the majority of the Temple Mount and Sagiv states it had one large structure where the Dome of the Rock stands,  another large structure where the Al-Aqsa Mosque stands on the other side of the Temple Mount, and a large statue of a horse built over where they thought stood the Sanctum Sanctorum, the Holy of Holies as a way of promoting the Roman belief that they had defeated the Jewish people. This is backed up by examples of other temples to Jupiter built by the same architect in the same period. Then before or during the Ummayad period of rule Jupiter’s Temple including the horse statue was destroyed and the Al-Aqsa Mosque and Dome of the Rock were built in its place leaving the Holy of Holies unmarked and lost to the ages. 

So what’s the problem? Whether you’re looking for Solomon’s Temple or Sulaiman’s Mosque this is an amazing archeological find. Well the consensus among Rabbis and Imams is that the whole theory is a lot of wishful thinking, and the plan requires some major changes to holy sites. To get to the underground ruins or crypt of the temple one would have to destroy much of the western wall and dig up Muslim land, and no one would be willing to disturb such holy sites on little more than a theory.

Personally I couldn’t tell you for sure as much as I would love to be certain. Perhaps one day men will dig beneath the Dome of the Rock or behind the Western Wall in search of undeniable proof of the location of King Solomon’s Temple and the long hidden Sanctum Sanctorum. But until that light shines upon us we’ll have to wait and wonder.

I hope you’ve enjoyed this letter and hope that if you have never considered Cryptic Masonry or have just been waiting for the right time, come check us out and let us show you into the Crypt. We have three new companions in waiting so you can be assured you’ll be in good company.

Brandon Mullins

Deputy Master

From the Crypt | Apr 2011

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Greetings Companions and Friends,

Our Thrice Illustrious Master George Lucero asked me to write this month’s letter so I thought I would pose a question. What makes Cryptic Masonry so Cryptic? Isn’t all Freemasonry Cryptic? Well that very well may be true. Webster defines something as being Cryptic by having a hidden or obscure meaning, and every good and lawful Mason knows that the symbols used in the lodge have meanings that may not be immediately clear with interpretations that may not be shared by all. This as one might expect is no different in Cryptic Masonry. But Cryptic Masonry is not so named because of this fact, but because of where the word cryptic is derived. Cryptic goes all the way back to the Ancient Greek term κρύπτη, which means a hidden place, which we now translate as Crypt. Cryptic Masonry, otherwise known as the Council of Royal and Select Masters deals with a hidden place or crypt found within King Solomon’s Temple.

Now Cryptic Masonry like the rest of Freemasonry deals with allegorical interpretations of historical events that are not purported to be factual. But I would fervently advocate the idea that knowledge of such events only adds to the Masonic experience and while the focus of degrees will always be the allegorical lessons there in, a Mason should make himself knowledgeable of the history surrounding these degrees as well.

Well as most of us know that the traditional place of King Solomon’s Temple, as well as the Second Temple is on Temple Mount in Jerusalem where the Dome of the Rock stands today. What is lesser known is the details on the real crypt beneath it. Modern technology has allowed scholars to prove the existence of a crypt beneath the Dome of the Rock but Muslim authorities strictly forbid excavation by outsiders and appear to have little interest in disturbing their third holiest site. Evidence has been found that the Knights Templar attempted to excavate the area during their era and were met with debatable levels of success but since that time no archeological excavations have taken place under the dome of the rock.

But what if we’ve been looking in the wrong place all along? What if the Dome of the Rock wasn’t built upon King Solomon’s Temple? Well I’ll explore those questions in my next letter. In the meantime if you’re a Royal Arch Mason and have never considered the Council of Royal of Select Masters, please do, we have a great deal to show you.

Brandon Mullins

Deputy Master

From the Crypt | Mar 2011

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Greetings Companions and Friends,

Royal Master

This is the first of the Council degrees. It is conferred in a place known as the council chamber, which represents the private apartment of King Solomon’s Temple, where he and his two associates met for consultation and deliberation during the construction of the Temple, and the drama portrayed in it sheds additional light on both the Master Mason and Royal Arch degrees. It and the following degree are essential to a clear understanding of the events of one section of the Royal Arch.

Select Master

In the Select Master’s degree which is the second of the Council, the place of meeting represents a “Secret Vault” or crypt beneath the Temple. The historical object of the degree is to commemorate the deposits of an important secretor treasure which, after the preliminary preparations, is said to have been made by our three Grand Masters.

Super Excellent Master

This degree was not originally a part of the Cryptic system, and is not in all jurisdictions as yet. It has one of the best written rituals in Masonry. It deals with incidents in the reign of King Nebuchadnezzar when Zedekiah, the last King of Judah, was conquered and carried captive to Babylon. It enlarges upon the section of the Royal Arch having to do with the capture of Jerusalem by the Babylonian King, and teaches in most dramatic fashion the lesson of fidelity.

From the Crypt | Feb 2011

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Greetings Companions and Friends,

Hope that the weather is doing better for you, your health and your families health than it is doing for those at the home of the Lucero family. Our Stated Assembly in January was rather poorly attended. Not only was George unable to be in attendance due to ill health, but also so were Rod Deyo, Walter Howarth, and Art Stoll. Corey Curtiss had to be out of town on business with the Scouts and several others were missing for various reasons, some to be just in warmer climates for a few months, some for going out of business sales and others because they had been too busy at work.

George sent out the following poem which is meant for all.

I said a prayer for you today

And know that God must have heard,

I felt the answer in my heart

Although He spoke not a word.

I didn’t ask for wealth or fame

(I knew you wouldn’t mind)

I asked Him to send treasures

Of a far more lasting kind.

I prayed that He’d be near you

At the start of each new day,

To grant you health and blessings

And friends to share your way.

I asked for happiness for you

In all things great and small

But it was for his loving care

I prayed the most of all.

The leaders of Ann Arbor’s three York Rite Masonic Groups are working and planning for the upcoming several months, actually for the next year and a half.

Each of them has agreed to serve their respective bodies for a two year term so that they can get programs planned and implemented. It now requires that each of us step forward and offer our assistance to them for serving us.

Paul C. Howell, PTIM