Commander’s Comments | May 2012

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Sir Knights,

I’d first like to start out by thanking the you all for sticking with me for another year. I’d like to think our commandery has made some improvements over the past year, but we still have a long way to go. So I deeply appreciate your confidence in me, and hope to have another amazing year in templary. In addition I’d like to apologize of not writing enough of these letters. A busy life and last minute changes in plans have kept me from getting them out on time if ever, and while updates to our website, calendar and Facebook page are nice, the importance of a personal letter is not lost on me and I pledge to get them out with more regularity this year. 

It seems I’ve had no shortage of opportunities to don my uniform this spring. On Palm Sunday we took part in Ypsilanti Commandery No.54’s Easter Observance at St. Luke’s Episcopal Church in Ypsilanti. 

The Wednesday following Easter I was up in Toronto and visited Cyrene Preceptory No. 29, where by pure happenstance was I able to visit them on a night when they were conferring the Order of the Temple, and come to find out this was the first time they had conferred the order in over two years. On top of that I had the honor of filling in as Sword Bearer!

And on Friday, April 12th my Junior Warden and I were fortunate enough to attend Detroit Commandery No. 1’s installation of officers, where Reverend and Sir Knight Pat Thompson was installed as Eminent Commander. 

Now, you might think that attending all these events would give me my fill of commandery for a while, but if anything they compel me to take part in more. Funny how it works that way. Speaking of which we have a few important things coming up for commandery: For starters our Right Eminent Grand Commander, Cortland Rule has invited us, and the rest of the Southeastern Battalion to commemorate the ascension of Jesus Christ at Holloway Raisin Presbyterian Church for Adrian Commandery No. 4’s Ascension Observance, Sunday, May 5th. We will assemble at 9:15am, and the church service will begin at 9:30am. This is a full uniformed event and your families are invited. So we hope to see every Sir Knight who can make it in attendance.

We also have some work of our own to do. We have two Knights of Malta in waiting to receive the Order of the Temple. Adrian Commandery has agreed to help us with one of the knightings and the way it’s looking we’ll save the other for our inspection. A scheduling conflict caused our original date to fall through so we’re currently looking to set up another, so please keep an eye on our website and calendar for the latest information. In addition, inspection season is right around the corner so dates for practices and the inspection itself will be popping up soon, so once again, be sure to keep an eye out for those. Speaking of our calendar we recently had to change calendar services so our new calendar is located here as well as our website, 

April’s meeting was in fact a very busy one. In addition to elections, and annual reports we voted on two honorary statuses which will be officially announced later, and voted to at long last produce new commandery jewels for the members of our commandery. Because of that, for this letter I had hoped to provide you with a history of our jewel complete with who originally created it, and the timeline of production. Well, after digging through our records I’m sad to say most the details are probably lost to the ages. However I was able to put together a few images of our jewels evolution, and will give you a little insight into the meaning behind it. 

The earliest record of our jewel I could find was an article in the “Ann Arbor Argus” newspaper dated August 19, 1892 which was in fact a summary of a “Denver Times” article from August 8, 1892 which detailed Ann Arbor Commandery’s trip to Denver and gave information on the commandery as a whole.  In it they described the armorial crest which makes up the jewel and our legend upon it, Deo duce ferro comitante which signifies ‘God for my leader, my sword for my companion.’ The phrase itself is often credited as the official motto of the Earl of Charlemount, Ireland but it’s thought to be much older, and served as traditional motto for Sir Knights throughout Ireland and beyond. 

The jewel itself is known to have had at least two versions. One of which is a copper stamping, and the other cast in silver with portions plated in gold. I’ve yet to find a date on a copper version, and the only one known to be in masonic hands is on display at the Detroit Masonic Temple, but the silver and gold design dates back to at least the 1920s, and is believed to have been produced for far longer than any other. In heraldic tradition the use of silver and gold on an armorial crest signifies peace & sincerity along with generosity & elevation of the mind, and the swords in saltire behind it pointing upward signifies a readiness to fight evil. That along with the traditional Templar symbol of the red cross, and the crown above it makes for both a handsome and meaningful crest.  The colors of the ribbon are unsurprisingly said to represent the University of Michigan, which has obvious implications of education and support for our local community but given the definition of “maize and blue” has changed over the years, the blue on the ribbon was much lighter. 

When we began discussing which version to reproduce, the silver and gold design was the obvious choice, but we didn’t ignore the older versions entirely and took cues from them on some of the finer details and updated the colors of the ribbon to match contemporary University of Michigan colors. The jewel is currently being worked on Hattrick’s Merchandise and Service located in Arizona which also recently reproduced Northville Commandery’s jewel, so I have every confidence in their abilities, and they should be available for June’s stated conclave. 

Speaking of upcoming conclaves have decided to cancel May’s conclave due to it falling on the annual Grand Lodge session, but remember we still have the Ascension Service on May 5th, and Ann Arbor Council No. 86 will be taking a road trip up to Pontiac for their Council All Degree Day, so don’t think for a second that the Ann Arbor York Rite is taking the month off. We have plenty to do and plenty to plan for.

So, I’d like to thank you for taking the time to read this letter, and I’d just like to remind you to keep up with our website, keep up with our calendar, and keep reading the Ann Arbor Masonic News as we have a lot going on these days and we’d love to see you there.

Deo duce, ferro comitante,

Brandon Mullins, Commander


Please join us as we, along with the rest of the Southeastern Battalion commemorate the ascension of Jesus Christ at Holloway Raisin Presbyterian Church for Adrian Commandery No. 4’s Ascension Observance, Sunday, May 5th. We will assemble at 9:15am, and the church service will begin at 9:30am.

Holloway Raisin Presbyterian Church is located at 5598 Holloway Rd., Britton, Michigan 49229. All Sir Knights are to attend in full uniform, but all are welcome so I hope to see you all and your ladies out for what is sure to be a great morning.

Deo duce, ferro comitante,
Brandon Mullins, Commander

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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

Washtenaw Chapter No. 6, RAM & Ann Arbor Commandery No. 13, 2012-2013 Installation of Officers

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Brothers, Companions, Sir Knights and Friends,

Please join the Washtenaw Chapter No. 6, Royal Arch Masons and Ann Arbor Commandery No. 13, Knights Templar as we install our officers for the 2012-2013 year. This event is open to the public and very well may be your last chance to attend an Ann Arbor York Rite installat

ion so please feel free to come out and join in the festivities. We’ll have snacks and fellowship starting at 6:30pm, the Chapter Installation will begin at 7:00pm, and the Commandery Installation will follow at 8:00pm. We hope to see you there!

I’ll also make mention that the installation team is still in need of members so if you’re familiar with the ceremony your help would be greatly appreciated!

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 

Region 3 Meritorious Service Award Dinner

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Join Washtenaw Chapter No. 6, and the Grand Chapter, Royal Arch Masons of Michigan as we honor 2011 Michigan - Region 3 Meritorious Service Award Recipient, Companion, Arthur W. Davidge.

The event will be held on Saturday, May 12th, 2012 at the Clarion Hotel and Conferen

ce Center at 2900 Jackson Ave, Ann Arbor, MI 48103

Reception: 6:00pm

Dinner: 6:30pm

Buffet (Roast Beef & Turkey) 25.00 per person

Send reservations no later than May 1st to:

or the Washtenaw Chapter No. 6 office using the flyer found below:

4551 N. Maple Rd.

Ann Arbpr, MI 48105

Event Flyer

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Greetings Traveling Companions,

I wish you safety and prosperity on all of your journeys, and today I’d like to update you on one of my own. I’m writing this message from Toronto, Ontario where tonight it will be my honor to represent Washtenaw Chapter No. 6, Royal Arch Masons of Michigan as I visit King Solomon’s Chapter No. 8, Royal Arch Masons of Canada in the Province of Ontario this evening. I’ve been meaning to visit them for a number of years given my many trips up this way but I haven’t been able to until now. Not only does this give me my first opportunity to visit the Chapter of a foreign country but also this particular chapter is of interest to me because it was founded only two days after my blue lodge, Myrtle Lodge No. 89, Free and Accepted Masons, and almost 7 years to the date after our own Chapter. But before my visit I’d like to share a video with you that comes from Grand Chapter of Royal Arch Masons of Canada public relations website, It features a great deal of information about the Royal Arch in general and gives some insight into the Canadian perspective on it.

Well my Companions, enjoy the video, and I’ll tell you how the trip went when I get back. Thanks for reading.


As with every trip I’ve taken to visit our Canadian brethren the hospitality and courtesy was downright impressive and the experience very interesting. This was my first visit to a foreign chapter and while there was no degree work this evening I was able to see the Canadian open and closing and in general get a feel for how they operate. The officers and opening were a bit alien to me but after while I began to pick up on the similarities and began to see how our bodies clearly shared the same ancestry.

While I didn’t get to see a degree I was able to witness their election night, and I’d like to congratulate all the new officers of King Solomon’s Chapter No. 8, and most especially Excellent Companion Obafemi Adiete on being elected as First Principal, the equivalent of High Priest in an American Chapter.

Once again I’d like to thank the Companions of King Solomon’s Chapter No. 8, Royal Arch Masons of Canada in the Province of Ontario for welcoming me, allowing me to sit in their chapter.

Dominus Vobiscum,

Brandon Mullins, HP

High Priest's Address | May 2011

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Greetings Friends & Companions,

First and foremost, for this month’s address I would like to congratulate our three newest companions, Adam Smith, James Piper, and Kenneth Landstrom, as well as the multichapter degree team which made it all possible. It was a great night, and I wish these companions a multitude of blessings on their continued journey with us. 

Spring is making its final bumpy decent into Michigan, and for Royal Arch Masons spring means elections and installations. Well as you may have previously read the officers of Washtenaw Chapter will be serving a second term so if you want to attend one of our installations you’re just going to have to wait till next year. Sorry. But there have been two very notable lineup changes. As many of you know Al Christ has moved out of state for work, but has still maintained many duties as secretary. Well given it’s pretty difficult to do the job hundreds of miles away Art Davidge has graciously agreed to take over as secretary for the insuring year. Along with Art, George Lucero has also taken over the position of King for Walt Howarth whose health has made it difficult for him to attend as of late. So given there will be no lavish installation ceremony, our newly elected companions will have to settle for my sincere thanks for taking these new positions, and hope that they will take as much joy sitting in those positions as I have in seeing them there. 

In preparing for last month’s degree I found myself in want of a certain ring which I was unable to find. After a time I decided upon a suitable ring for my purposes, but it did leave me wondering why the heck I was looking for it in the first place. The ring I was looking for was the signet of Zerubbabel. So who is Zerubbabel and why is his signet so important?

Well while he isn’t someone you run into during the first three degrees, continue your search for light and you’ll find that he’s a bit of an appendant body celebrity. Whether you go York or Scottish Rite his influence on a number of degrees cannot be avoided. So who is he? Well Sometime in the 6th century, BC, Zerubbabel, the Jewish prince led the Jews out of Babylonian captivity, and traveled a rough road of his own which involved standing up to a king, becoming the governor of Judah and laying the foundation for the second temple. Religious texts don’t give us all that much to go on but his importance cannot be understated. 

So what’s the deal with his signet ring? Well for starters a signet ring is a ring which was historically used by those in authority to place an official seal upon wax in order to deem documents genuine. Meaning whoever carried the ring carried the authority that came along with the seal. Well Zerubbabel, being a ruler of antiquity may have very well carried a signet ring for the afore mentioned purpose, but as is often the case, we have to go deeper than that. 

“Zerubbabel the LORD’s Signet Ring

The word of the LORD came to Haggai a second time on the twenty-fourth day of the month: “Tell Zerubbabel governor of Judah that I am going to shake the heavens and the earth. I will overturn royal thrones and shatter the power of the foreign kingdoms. I will overthrow chariots and their drivers; horses and their riders will fall, each by the sword of his brother. “‘On that day,’ declares the LORD Almighty, ‘I will take you, my servant Zerubbabel son of Shealtiel,’ declares the LORD, ‘and I will make you like my signet ring, for I have chosen you,’ declares the LORD Almighty.” 

- Haggai 2:20-23 NIV

Zerubbabel may have had a unique place as the man who led the Jews out of captivity, and as the governor of Judah but I think it can easily be said that none of those titles compare to signet ring of the LORD of Hosts. It’s isn’t the signet of Zerubbabel we should be looking for, but looking to Zerubbabel as that seal od divine authority.  Zerubbabel, from that day fourth would become a sign of the LORD’s authenticity on this Earth and continue his work with a divine seal of approval. 

Zerubbabel, Governor of Judah, Builder of the Second Temple, Notary of the Almighty. Whatever his title there is no mistaking that this man was of great importance and worthy example for any Mason to follow.

I’ve hope you enjoyed this month’s address and further hope that  if you’re able you might drop in to visit us at one of our meetings on the third Monday of each month at Calvary Methodist Church in Ann Arbor. We have a small meal that begins at 6:15pm and we open at 7pm. And if you are not yet a companion, we’d welcome your petition. It’s a rough road, but well worth the journey. 

Dominus Vobiscum,

Brandon Mullins, HP

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