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An Interview with Grand Secretary Jerry W. Kopp (Part Four)


Author(s): Scott Douglas Jacobsen

Publication (Outlet/Website): In-Sight: Independent Interview-Based Journal

Publication Date (yyyy/mm/dd): 2015/11/22


Interview with RW Bro. Jerry W. Kopp. He discusses: the incorporation of symbols into initiations and rituals; Masonic Higher Education Bursary Fund, and the philanthropy’s fulfillment for individuals and lodges of freemasonry; attributes of the Grand Architect of the Universe or the Supreme Being; alignment of freemasons with The Grand Architect of the Universe or Supreme Being; and the near and far future for the 5,000,000 active freemasons.

Keywords: freemasons, Grand Architect of the Universe, Grand Secretary, initiation, Jerry W. Kopp, philanthropy, rituals, Supreme Being, symbols, The Grand Lodge of Alberta Ancient, Free & Accepted Masons.

An Interview with Grand Secretary Jerry W. Kopp[1],[2]

23. Symbols perform important functions in ritual magic for numerous organizations including the aforementioned.[3]  How do Freemasons incorporate unique symbols into their initiations and rituals? (Of course, this will not implicate divulgence of the non-secret society’s secrets.)

It’s interesting. If we go back to the stone mason times, before there was speculative freemasonry, we had stone masons, which was the operative. There was a hierarchy in there. And the hierarchy, of course, existed through experience. Now, some of the people that were hired on as entered apprentice might not have been, or couldn’t read, linguistics where they were illiterate. They may have been illiterate. So, first of all, in any of these stone masons, it’s interesting, when they were building these cathedrals the word “law” actually derived from the operative masons.

On the cathedral or temple, they had a lean-to, or something similar to that, against the building they were building, and that was called the “lodge.” What happened in that lodge? That was a gathering place for those employees. It was social area for those employees. It was an area where they received instructions. And they had devotional aspects in the lodge. They went out on job sites, and did evotionals before taking lunch, you name it. That’s the name “lodge” comes from.

Now, the lessons that were taught to some of these illiterates, and they would already be starting to say, “Okay, you know, the square is — means square actions. Square, ninety degrees, and they’ll put interpretation of the Creator on there, that when you approach somebody beyond the square, be square.” In other words, be honest; so if you saw the square, it would remind you also of your spiritual or your faith, to say, ‘Oh, I see the square. That means I need to square. Oh, yea, I got to think about being honest, being on the level.” In other words, we’re all on the level. We’re all born on the level.

So they gave into the, on the speculative side, meaning to each of the symbols that were incorporated into the building of any of these cathedrals or temples. And that’s where the symbolism comes from. And, of course, now, we’re talking about passage. You wouldn’t want to hire a guy that’s an entered apprentice, and go on to the 9th floor of the temple to do the fine works. He hasn’t been skilled enough to do that. Get what I mean?

In other words, he can cut a 2×4, but he cannot make it look fancy yet because he hasn’t got those skills. Or, let’s go to modern times, we send somebody off to school to get his training in electrical work. Now, we’re not going to take that trainee and go down to the petro-Canada building and wire up the building. And put him in charge because he doesn’t have the skills yet. So how do we stop anybody from going and getting into that area? I see. Now, we’re going to use, in the operative sense, maybe, a grip and password. And that basically goes back to biblical times as well.

The movement of people in the Middle East, they could tell people by how they pronounced certain words, and if they could pronounce a certain would, you could go, “Oh, he cannot pronounce that certain word. He can’t be one of ours.” And so, that’s where the pass-words and pass-grips come from. They were secret to those in the trade. They were secret to those qualified to work on the 9th floor. So if he goes up there, and he didn’t know the word or the grip, he didn’t on the floor to go onto that 9th floor.

24. The Grand Lodge of Alberta Ancient, Free & Accepted Masons conducts charitable functions for the public.  For instance, in the area of education, the Masonic Higher Education Bursary Fund provides funds for these.[4],[5] What does philanthropy and magnanimity fulfill for individuals and lodges of freemasonry?

It goes right back to the initial here, where you described part of a charge. It’s, “Do you see a man who quietly and modestly moves through the sphere of his life?” We don’t want notoriety. We will just do the good for the benefit of the society. And our charity work is the same way. We do it quietly with no fanfare, no recognition. Although, I think in some ways, that philosophy has changed somewhat. In that, we do take the opportunity for some photo sessions to show the community that somebody has benefitted from the Masonic Higher Education Bursary. Or the Masonic Foundation, where a lodge said, “You know, the hospital needs a machine that lifts patients out of the bed and puts them in the bath tub, but the hospital cannot afford them.”

So the lodge engages in a fundraiser, and then they go to the Masonic Foundation to double-up those funds, and purchase one of those units. And we also have another charity that’s totally within the organization, totally within the organization. It doesn’t have any connection with anybody outside. It is not a recognized charity. It is not involved in the government. It’s just within, and that’s our personal money is put into an account and when we find a brother of a lodge that has suddenly come on financial hard times – for whatever reason. It may be that he got in a car accident and lost his job, so we can give him some financial support, temporarily.

So that’s a type of thing. And you go to other countries, and I take a look at New Zealand and Australia. They have philanthropies down there that, you know, they have hospitals — not hospitals, like senior complexes. They had schools at one time for children in need, no necessarily for freemason’s children – for all children. That’s the thing with the Higher Education Bursary or the Masonic Foundation. We cannot, under government law, limit that access to those kinds of funds to masons only; otherwise, we cannot be a recognized charity. It has to be open. It has to available to everybody. Many of our students have no masonic connections.

And I think that’s good, that’s excellent. That’s beauty of the freemasons.

25. The Grand Architect of the Universe or the Supreme Being holds great weight in freemasonic theory. According to The Grand Lodge of Alberta Ancient, Free & Accepted Masons, what are the of attributes this entity?

What are the attributes? I’d say He’s given us lots of rules, if you are of a Christian background and then he’s given us the Ten Commandments. If you’re of another faith, there’s six commandment, two commandments, and I think greatest of them all, of which applies to all religions, is you treat others the way you expect to be treated. And the thing is with the description of God, many religions do it as well, he is the Great Architect, the Grand Geometrician, who else can be? Where would all of this intelligence stem from? From God, that’s our interpretation. That may not necessarily be the interpretation of another religious group or an atheist. An atheist may not necessarily agree with us.

But we look at God as the greatest, give him any title you want: Supreme King, you name it. He is it. He’s the guy that has designed everything in front of us, and we live in, and what have you. He has given us the universe.

26. How might an individual freemason align themselves with The Grand Architect of the Universe through fraternity, ritual, service, and general worship?

We’ve basically said it all in all the previous questions. We continue to say that live by the principles of God: be in harmony with each other, use the rituals, which are an extraction of much of the work is in our written, sacred, writings. And our service, of course, is a natural phenomenon, in that we help each other. And the general worship being, of course, if you’re of a religious person to continue with your faith and practice your faith, but above all to believe in God and spirituality.

27. What near and far future seems most probable for the current 5,000,000 active freemasons?

Well, I think in a lot of respects we have a lot of work to do. I think that many — I’m a speaker. So I do a lot of speaking on freemasonry and try to energize people in freemasonry. There’s the old saying, “A lodge needs to give the best bang for the buck.” And so, when you go to a lodge meeting, we don’t just want to hear minutes, accounts, have lunch, and then go home. We need to have teachings. I do a lot of that. I teach and I try and motivate people to, you know, get them involved, and to get them to read books that are of importance, i.e. the sacred writings, your ritual, and books that are — describe freemasonry.

I think you’ve listed quite a few books or references here that — as a matter of fact you listed references that I haven’t seen before. Are you studying for a doctorate degree by any chance? (Laughs)…

…Well, I’m an undergraduate (Laughs)…

…Well, you’ve got some references here, and highly intelligent references…

…Oh, that’s very kind, thank you…

…Well, I think freemasonry in its current condition is going to see a decline in its membership. We’re going to see a further decline in some countries we see increases in membership, but we’re going to see a further decline worldwide until we come to the realization that we need to give something in lodges that enthuses the membership. And, you know, our churches, our places of worship, are in the same trouble as we are as freemasons. We’re not giving a good-enough session to maintain interest in our churches and our lodges. And we need to grab onto that.

And once we start to motivate people to think that way, think and get the close connection between our principles and God’s principles, I think a lot of people don’t understand that. Really, what I’m saying is; that, although we have many people that aren’t freemasons that don’t understand anything about freemasonry and are quick to make judgment, we also have freemasons within the organization that don’t understand freemasonry at all. I suppose they become a burden to us. I mean, you know, they’re in it for the wrong reason.


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Appendix I: Footnotes

[1] Grand Secretary, The Grand Lodge of Alberta Ancient, Free & Accepted Masons; Retired Member, Royal Canadian Mounted Police.

[2] First publication on November 22, 2015 at

[3] As listed in question 18, it says, “Scottish Rite, Ancient Arabic Order of the Nobles of the Mystic Shrine (the “Shriners”), Order of the Eastern Star, the Order of DeMolay, the Order of Builders, the Order of Job’s Daughters, the Order of Rainbow.”

[4] The Masonic Higher Education Bursary Fund states, “The Masonic Higher Education Bursary Fund was founded by a Resolution passed at the Grand Communication of 1957 under GM Ross Sheppard, to be the official Outreach Charity of the Grand Lodge of Alberta.”

Please see Masonic Higher Education Bursary Fund. (2015). Masonic Higher Education Bursary Fund. Retrieved from

[5] A summary description of its philosophy in relation to the public through the Masonic Higher Education Bursary Fund says, “Do the good act, not for yourself, but for the cause of the good.” Please see The Grand Lodge of Alberta Ancient, Free & Accepted Masons. (2015). The Grand Lodge of Alberta Ancient, Free & Accepted Masons. Retrieved from


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