A Message from MWGM Tom Needham

At the 148th Annual Communication of the Grand Lodge of Ancient Free and Accepted Masons of Wyoming, I was elected Grand Master of Masons in the State. I am grateful for the support of the Brothers throughout Wyoming. This year’s Grand Lodge Session was a success due to the hard work of Most Worshipful Grand Master Mathew J. Ramey. It was an honor to serve as Deputy Grand Master beside Grand Master Ramey during 2022/23. Congratulations on a job well done!

The Grand Lodge of Wyoming consists of its elected and appointed officers and members, Past Grand Masters, Past Grand Wardens, Past Grand Treasurers, Past Grand Secretaries, and the Worshipful Masters and Wardens of the constituent lodges or their lawful representatives, who represent and serve every Freemason in the State of Wyoming. I pray GOD will bless me with wisdom in all undertakings as we move forward.   

As Grand Master, I am honored to serve with humility. With your support and the blessings of the Great Architect, I will strive to live up to the legacy of my exceptional predecessors. Our experienced Grand Line Officers are dedicated to today’s challenges. While we cannot solve all our fraternity’s problems, we are committed to carrying the torch and paving the way for future generations of Freemasons in Wyoming.


Grand Master

Address by Grand Master Thomas G. Needham—Brethren before closing the 149th Annual
Communication of the Grand Lodge A. F. & A.M. of Wyoming.


I have heard people suggest it is time to try Masonry, but I was initially unsure what that
meant. After conducting some research and studying and asking why we are here? I
concluded that Masonry pursues three goals: we are here to learn, subdue, and improve.
Masonic lodges resemble colleges where friends and brothers share knowledge and learn.
The term “college” finds its roots in the Latin word collegium, which means partnership.
Masonic teachings are conveyed within the Lodge and intended to be implemented and
practiced in daily life outside it.
As I was exploring different aspects of Freemasonry, I found that there are still two distinct
viewpoints within the organization: “The Ancients” and “The Moderns.” Despite the
merger of the two grand lodges in 1813, the philosophical differences between these two
factions have persisted.
In America, the difference between the two is evident. The two factions take different views
on nearly everything in Freemasonry, including whether or not the Masonic ritual has an
esoteric or spiritual component. The “Modern” elements see nothing esoteric, mystical, and
spiritual; they desire less secrecy, open meetings, and open houses where the general public
can view every part of the temple and the fraternity mystique dispelled.
The “Ancients” focus on the fraternity’s esoteric, mystical, and spiritual aspects. They are
interested in the meaning of the ritual, its roots, its evolution, and its history. Being
champions of secrecy tradition, they do not prefer more openness or dumbing down of the
fraternity. The Ancients oppose the lowest common denominator.
The philosophy of Freemasonry handed down from the more esoteric and mystical
approach to Freemasonry as practiced by the Scottish Freemasons of the 1600s holds
particular interest. As a result of this period, lodges began to use the Art of Memory.
We are excited to announce the launch of our new initiative, Ritual Excellence, in Wyoming
lodges. The centerpiece of this program is “The Art of Memory Award,” which aims to raise
the bar for ritual performances in lodges. Our goal is to create a team of highly skilled Brothers
who can deliver exceptional ceremonies that will leave a lasting impression on candidates and
spectators alike. This initiative will boost pride in the quality of each Lodge’s ritual presentation
and inspire greater enthusiasm among its members. Furthermore, this program is fully aligned
with the Master Builder Program, which is rapidly expanding.
Masons need to understand the symbols and allegory of the Craft degrees to practice

In Freemasonry, ritual is the foundation that unlocks the mystical, spiritual, and philosophical
aspects. It is important to memorize and understand the rituals to comprehend Masonry’s
uniqueness fully.

The Masonic ritual works more profoundly in the human mind, including the conscious and
subconscious. The conscious mind searches for goals and purpose, while the subconscious seeks

It is crucial to highlight the significance of everything in the lodge environment to the
subconscious mind. There should be no random events during the ritual; adherence to the
regulated tradition is essential in every Masonic Lodge.

Ceremonies should be a concise and seamless exchange communicated through symbolic
language; this allows the subconscious mind to make internal connections and incorporate ritual
teachings. The subconscious mind quickly understands symbols.

Becoming a Freemason is a gradual, lifelong process that demands more than just being initiated
into the three degrees. Masonry is a profoundly personal pursuit of knowledge in science,
philosophy, art, and universal truths.

It is time to reassess common beliefs about Freemasonry when acknowledging that it is
deliberately hidden and conveyed through allegorical and symbolic representations.
Study, contemplation, and meditation reveal these symbols’ mysteries and significance.
When contemplating Freemasonry, consider the following:

“Discovery is seeing what everybody else has seen and thinking what nobody else has
thought.” Dr. Albert von Szent-Gyorgyi, Nobel Prize in the Physiology or Medicine 1937.

Albert Von Sen Yurgi

Speculative Freemasonry emerged due to William Schaw’s Statutes of 1598 and 1599.
These statutes brought the hermetic and esoteric “Art of Memory” practice to the seven
lodges in and around Edinburgh with documented minutes and records.
Speculative Masonry arrived in England from Scotland; it came across the Scottish border into
England, finding a home in places like the Lodge at Alnwick and the Lodge at York.
During the early days of speculative lodges, the focus was on the quality of individuals who
embraced and learned the teachings of the craft rather than the number of members.
In the past, Operative Masons kept their art and sacred geometry knowledge secret. Only
those who showed their abilities and finished a long apprenticeship were considered skilled
enough to be called Masters.
Speculative Masonry followed a similar approach to the Operative craft, focusing on
keeping a small but highly skilled group of individuals. Freemasonry did not aim to expand
its reach or increase membership numbers. Why? Because,

The wisdom of the ages is not sought by many and is known by few.

Freemasons may hear the phrase “Freemasonry has no secrets” from their fellow members.
However, it’s critical to understand that our rituals have a hidden purpose modern lodges may
have lost, much like the early Grand Lodge, which denounced old traditions without fully
grasping their significance. It’s up to us to discover the true meaning behind these customs.
Brethren, we are members of the “Ancient Free and Accepted Mason.” It is time to mirror
the “Ancients” of old and focus on the fraternity’s esoteric, mystical, and spiritual aspects
as the aims and purpose of the fraternity.

As Masons, we must take a moment to reflect on ourselves and acknowledge that we have
neglected to teach our fraternity’s true aims and purposes; this has resulted in a flawed and
distorted reflection in our Masonic mirror. We have two options: repair and polish the mirror or
accept the distortions as the culture of our fraternity. The former will enable new generations to
discover the truths we teach, while the latter will condemn Freemasonry to a momentary
historical existence.

It’s important to understand that leadership is not a title or position but a behavior. Each brother
has the potential to be a leader, even if they are unaware of it. Leaders demonstrate the passion
and determination needed to achieve the desired transformation by taking the initiative to make
positive changes. Those who seek progress must be willing to put in the necessary effort and
assume personal responsibility instead of relying solely on formal leaders. It’s crucial to abide by
the Constitution, laws, mandates, and lessons of Masonic behavior.

Masonic education is essential for gaining Masonic knowledge. Education is necessary to foster
philosophical and speculative thinking. Many Lodges have lost their sense of purpose and instead
become more like social clubs. Stated differently: The absence of Masonic education breeds
Masonic ignorance, but the illusion of Masonic knowledge is even worse than Masonic

The fact and consequences of declining numbers reveal that none of the programs offered in the
last 70 years have altered the trajectory of Masonry. We need a new paradigm for replacing
masons to sustain a lodge. Recruit the quality men you want in your Lodge. It is essential to
remember that we are the oldest fraternal group, offering a unique path to spiritual enlightenment
through esoteric and mystical teaching.

To truly achieve our goals, we need to move away from simply relying on statistics and
focus on providing more comprehensive education to men about the meaning and
objectives of Masonry.

Masonry is exclusive and should only be for some men. Quality should be our top priority, and
mediocrity should not be rewarded. Strive for the extraordinary, not just the good enough.
The select few members of our fraternity are the foundation of our strength. The exceptional
quality of men on the path to becoming well-instructed Freemasons is where our true power lies.
As you travel seeking enlightenment and finding your place and purpose in this vast universe,
remember to plant some seeds to cultivate so that future generations may reap the harvest and
perpetuate the endless cycle. The seeds we sew are necessary to achieve greatness. One may
never rest in the shade of one of the trees they plant; you pay it forward for someone else. In

doing so, there is meaning. Every man today is a result of his thoughts of yesterday. Remember,
if every man helped his neighbor, no one would be without help. In this, too, there is meaning.

Finally, I leave you with this definition of Freemasonry.
Offered by Jean-Claude Malterre


is a body of wise, powerful, beautiful, and transcendental
teachings conveyed through symbolism,
promoting a fraternal, exemplary, and moral way of life,
which, voluntarily observed by initiated men,
contributes to their spiritual fulfillment
and, through them, to the
Betterment of Humanity.