To Infinity and Beyond – The First Lunar Lodge

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 Astronauts was Brother Edwin Eugene (Buzz) Aldrin, Jr., a member of Clear Lake Lodge No. 1417, AF&AM, Seabrook, Texas. He was Initiated at Oak Park Lodge No. 864, Montgomery, Alabama, on February 17, 1955, Passed to Fellowcraft on April 12, 1955 and Raised at Lawrence N. Greenleaf Lodge, No. 169 in Denver, Colorado, on February 21, 1956. He received his York Rite Degrees and Orders at an all-state York Rite Festival, Waco Texas May, 1967 and is also a Member Arabia Shrine Temple, Houston.

As we all know on July 20, 1969, at 20:18 UTC, Neil Armstrong Landed the Lunar module Eagle opened the hatch, Armstrong became the first to step onto the lunar surface six hours after landing on July 21 at 02:56:15 UTC; Aldrin joined him about 20 minutes later. Brother Aldrin became the second person to walk on the moon and spent about 20 hours on the lunar surface before returning to the command module

 Prior to his trip to the moon, Brother Aldrin met with the Grandmaster of the Grand Lodge of Texas, Ancient Free and Accepted Masons, and asked Buzz if he would carry something to the moon for the Masons of Texas. Buzz Aldrin informed the Grandmaster that nothing would please him better, but it would have to be very light and very small.

 

The Grand Master of Texas prepared a special deputation in the name and by the authority of the Most Worshipful Grand Lodge of Texas A.F. & A.M authorising him to open a representation of the Grand Lodge of Texas, Ancient Free and Accepted Masons, on the moon and establish Masonic territorial Jurisdiction there for the Grand Lodge of Texas. It directed that he make due return of his acts.

To whom these presents shall come;

Greetings: “Whereas, it is impossible for me to be a member of the Apollo 11 Lunar Landing Flight; and, Whereas, the lunar landing will be accomplished in the near future, now, therefore, to the end and the rules and regulations of said Grand Lodge may be complied with, the ancient customs of the craft in such manner observed, by virtue of the power and authority in me vested and imposing full confidence in the skill and ability of Colonel of the United States Air Force, Edwin Eugene Aldrin, Jr., NASA Astronaut, and a Member of our Clear Lake Lodge No. 1417, A.F.& A.M., Seabrook Texas, I do hereby constitute and appoint him my special deputy, granting unto him full power in the premise and purpose of territorial Jurisdiction for the Most Worshipful Grand Lodge of Texas, Ancient and Free and Accepted Masons on the moon, and direct that he shall make due return of his acts hereunto as required by the Laws of said Grand Lodge. “Given under my hand and seal of my office at Waco, this the 2nd day of May, A.D. 1969, A.L. 5969”, and signed by J. Guy Smith, Grand Master.

After returning from the moon, Brother Aldrin returned the deputation with the following certification written on the back:

“This Special Deputation was carried to the moon by me on Apollo 11 on July 20, 1969”, signed Edwin E. Aldrin, Jr.

What few know is that Brother Aldrin carried a hand-made silk flag bearing the words “Supreme Council, 33° Southern Jurisdiction, USA.” to the moon within his Personal Preference Kit.

 

This flag is now on display at the Scottish Rite Masonic Museum located in Washington, DC.

The act of Aldrin carrying this proclamation eventually inspired the Chartering of Tranquility Lodge No.2000. Named after the landing site of Apollo 11, Tranquility Moon Base, Tranquility Lodge No.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.

Meetings are held quarterly at various cities in Texas, with the annual meeting being held in Waco each July.

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