The 47th Problem of Euclid

By Wor. David J. Lettelier
for a Public Oration and Lecture

The 47th problem of Euclid (called that because Euclid included it in a book of numbered geometry problems) in which the sides are 3, 4, and 5 — all whole numbers — is also known as “the Egyptian string trick.”

The “trick” is that you take a string and tie knots in it to divide it into 12 divisions, the two ends joining.  (The divisions must be correct and equal or this will not work.)

Then get 3 sticks — thin ones, just strong enough to stick them into soft soil.  Stab one stick in the ground and arrange a knot at the stick, stretch three divisions away from it in any direction and insert the second stick in the ground, then place the third stick so that it falls on the knot between the 4-part and the 5-part division.  This forces the creation of a 3 : 4 : 5 right triangle.  The angle between the 3 units and the 4 units is of necessity a square or right angle.

The ancient Egyptians used the string trick to create right angles when re-measuring their fields after the annual Nile floods washed out boundary markers.  Their skill with this and other surveying methods led to the widely held (but false) belief that the Egyptians invented geometry (geo=earth, metry=measuring).

Thales the Greek supposedly picked the string trick up while traveling in Egypt and took it back to Greece.  Some say that the Greek mathematician and geometer Pythagoras, described in Masonic lectures as “our worthy brother,” also went to Egypt and learned it there on his own.  In any case, it was he who supplied the PROOF that the angle formed by the 3 : 4: 5 triangle is invariably square and perfect.  It is also said that he actually sacrificed a hecatomb, that is a sacrifice of one hundred bulls, which ranked as the highest kind of religious offering, upon completing the proof.

How is this forty-seventh proposition the foundation of all Masonry, and what was the significance of the problem which led to such a demonstration by the ancient philosopher? 

The knowledge contained in this proposition is at the bottom of all systems of measurement and every mechanic at the present day makes use of it consciously or unconsciously, whether it be the land surveyor blocking out a township, or the gardener measuring out his tennis court, or the carpenter calculating the pitch of a roof.  He may not know anything about geometry, but the “rule of thumb” by which he works has been deduced from this proposition.  To the practical builder the knowledge is invaluable, and if we will carry ourselves back in imagination to a time when this knowledge was still unknown, we will realize that its discovery was an event of great importance in the history of architecture, an epoch-making event to be ranked with such modern discoveries as those of the law of gravitation, wireless TV or telephones, and space travel.

Language Center News – November 2018

Hello from the OC Childhood Language Center  where we remain focused on helping children become strong communicators.    

The Orange County Childhood Language Center building in Santa Ana, CA
The Orange County Childhood Language Center building in Santa Ana, CA

The CLC reopened on September 25th after the summer break.  The reopening was delayed due to some water damage caused by a leaky pipe in the upstairs unit.  The building owners worked closely with the CLC to assess the damage and quickly repair the center, so the children could return.  Everyone is excited to have the children back at CLC, so they could continue the journey to becoming strong communicators.  We are so grateful for our new friend Melody for all the help and supports she has provided during this time.

We have over 50 children enrolled at the CLC and are scheduling evaluations to see who else can benefit from our award winning services.

Bright Smiles for the Children

Happy children display their new dental hygiene products (toothbrushes, in this case); gifts from the Orange County Childhood Language Center.
Happy children display their new dental hygiene products (toothbrushes, in this case); gifts from the Orange County Childhood Language Center.

It has become a tradition for Honorable Frankie Rosario 32° KCCH and his wife Cristi Shinn to provide backpacks and school supplies to the children at the CLC.  They generously search for just the right items that are needed to start the school year right.

This year Frankie & Cristi took this effort to a new level by adding dental hygiene supplies to the list.  Brother Frankie has learned that some families need help with basic dental hygiene supplies that can promote good oral health.

 The American Dental Association recommends everyone should brush their teeth twice a day with a fluoride toothpaste, a cleaning between your teeth once a day with floss and replacing your toothbrush every three or four months.

We look forward to bringing more great news to you from our CLC in the coming months.

David Frias, 32°
Chairman, President of the Board of Directors
Orange County Childhood Language Center

Message from the Master of Kadosh – November 2018

Greetings Brethren,

I’d like to thank the brethren for their recent support as my wife and I are proud to announce the birth of our second child, a daughter named Leona Lynn born on September 24th. I wasn’t able to attend our last stated communication and I also thank Brother Cervantes for filling in for me while I stayed home bonding with family. Our son Quinn is very excited to be a big brother and my wife and child are also both doing well. We feel incredibly blessed. 

At our Valley meeting next month, we’ll have a Cap & Ring ceremony following dinner and I ask the brethren to take an interest in our new member. Undoubtedly, our newest Master of the Royal Secret might be interested to know about our several philanthropic endeavors and/or opportunities to discuss the several degrees recently attended. I know I was quite overwhelmed when I first received the Scottish Rite Degrees. These are perfect introductions as we cultivate our newer relationships but another opportunity to extend the hand of brotherhood.

Nothing else much to report from my office as I’m still getting used to the midnight hours of being a new daddy again!

Fraternally, & Sincerely,

Brandon Cook, 32°
Master of Kadosh

Message from the Commander – November 2018


Whenever I finish working on a Super Breakfast I always have the same reflection.  The reflection on how fun it is to work with a group of guys on a project and achieve good results.  The Commander is responsible for organizing the event, but it is really the Team of Brothers that makes this a success.  At the end of the Super Breakfast I went home with a big smile, grateful for the time I spent with the Brothers and families.

I think we all recognize that Teamwork in business is crucial.  Colleagues must work together and try their best for the business to succeed.  In the Lodge, teamwork is just as important for us to enjoy the Masonic experience.  In other words, the enjoyment we might receive from attending Lodge will be improved by the strength of our Team.  We all need to bring our individual skills, talents and constructive feedback to the Lodge, so our Fraternity can grow and prosper.

The November Stated Meeting should be considered a must attend for everyone.  We are welcoming some new Brothers to the OC Scottish Rite Valley as well as some other ceremonies.  I hope everyone is able to attend and remembers to RSVP to the office.

David Frias, 32°

Message from the Wise Master – November 2018

Happy November, Brethren,

Last weekend I passed by a cellphone store and saw this “Military & Veterans plan” advertisement.  It reminded me that Veteran’s Day is coming.  The respect Americans show to their military personnel has really amazed me.   People call those who have served in the military “heroes” and never fail to appreciate them for their services.  

There are two major holidays dedicated to those who have served in our armed forces – the Memorial Day in May and the Veteran’s Day in November.  I always confused them.  It appears to me that people celebrate both days with barbecues and music festivals to honor those who have served in the military.  So what’s the difference?  This year I decided to do some research.  And I found out these two holidays are made for whole different purposes.

Veteran’s Day, formerly called Armistice Day, commemorates the signing of the armistice on November 11, 1918, that officially ended World War I. That war was called “the war to end all wars,” but we all know it turned out to be sadly inaccurate. Veteran’s Day is a day to thank and honor those who have served in our military.  It is the day to thank your veteran friends and families for their service.

Memorial Day dates back to the Civil War, in which an unimaginable 620,000 soldiers were killed. For perspective, that’s about the same number of people that live in Anaheim, Fullerton, Placentia, and Yorba Linda together today, a death toll huge enough to force the creation of national cemeteries.

The holiday used to be called Decoration Day because many people would spend the day placing decorations and flags on the graves of fallen soldiers. The name was changed in 1971, perhaps because so many of the fallen in the Vietnam War could not be brought home, and have no graves to decorate.

To most of us those two holidays seem the same.  But to many veterans, they are significantly different. Memorial Day is for remembering and honoring those who never had the chance to become veterans. That one day a year is all they and their loved ones have left.  So I figured.  Don’t treat Memorial Day as a day to honor our troops currently serving in the military. It’s not a day for them. As the word “Memorial” tells us, it’s a day for remembering and honoring those who sacrificed their lives in battle and are no longer among us.

But for every other day, especially the upcoming Veteran’s Day, let us thank our veterans and support our troops.


Yungfan “Philip” Liu, 32°
Wise Master

Message from the Senior Warden – November 2018

“He is a wise man who does not grieve for the things which he has not, but rejoices for those which he has.”


Fraternal Greetings from the West,

As the days grow shorter on our way to the Winter Solstice, we are arriving at the traditional time to reflect and express thanks for the many blessings in our lives.  I find it comforting and encouraging to stop and think about all of the wonderful people and relationships I have now and have had in my life. The overwhelming sense of gratitude is both humbling and inspirational. As masons we are spiritual builders, and gratitude is an important material in our building.  It is a key ingredient in the cement of brotherly love and affection which binds us together. When true, it hardens firmly to bind those perfect ashlars of our lives together in unity.

We, as masons, should be hungry to build.  We should abide every day by the three principal tenets and the four cardinal virtues emblematically represented by the three sides the triangle flap over the four sides of the aprons we wear. If we labor every day in the quarries and abide by these tenets and principles we will have much to be thankful for while resting on that symbolic seventh day.

So, my brothers, take Thanksgiving true to heart.  Give thanks for those things most important in your lives.  Look past the material and focus on those few precious jewels that are truly important to you.


Mike Gowder, 32°, KCCH
Senior Warden
Orange County Lodge of Perfection

Message from the Venerable Master – November 2018


Welcome to the month of November.  The year is coming to a close quickly, I can’t believe how fast it has gone by.  Some interesting facts about the month of November: In any given year, November starts on the same day of the week as March and ends on the same day of the week as August.  There is no mention of the month of November in any of Shakespeare’s plays or sonnets.  November 2 is the only day of the year that was the birthday of two US presidents: Warren Harding (born 1865) and James Polk (1795).  November is the only month when more rain usually falls on London than Paris.  “If there’s ice in November to bear a duck, there’ll be nothing after but sludge and muck” (old weather lore).  The Anglo-Saxons called November ‘Blotmonath’ after the blood of slaughtered cattle.

Please Join us at our stated meeting Monday 11/5/2018 where two significant things will be happening… First we will be having our Cap and Ring Ceremony along with some much improved food.  If you missed dinner last month you missed a great meal! We have changed caterers and if last months dinner was any indication these aren’t going to be meals to miss!

Here are your Masonic Tidbits for the month of November:

  • On November 4th 1752 Worshipful Brother George Washington was Made an Entered Apprentice in Fredericksburg Lodge, Virginia. 
  • On November 28th 1911 Brother Franklin D. Roosevelt was raised to the sublime degree of Master Mason.

Don’t forget to change your clocks on the 4th at 2:00am, remember spring forward, and fall back.  In 1966, President Lyndon Johnson signed the Uniform Time Act into law. The U.S. Dept. of Transportation is the keeper of daylight saving time.  Brother Lyndon Johnson received his first degree on October 30, 1937. After receiving the degree he found that his congressional duties (elected in 1937) took so much time he was unable to pursue further Masonic degrees.


Scott Davis, 32° KCCH
Venerable Master

A Message from the General Secretary – November 2018


The holiday season starts this month and is a busy time for all of us. Right now in early November, our Supreme office is sending out dues reminders for 2019 and prior years outstanding dues. If you are already fully paid up through 2019, you will not receive a notice. Otherwise, you should be receiving them in the mail soon. Supreme uses a cutoff date to check payments received close to the mailing date. If you receive a dues notice and you know that you are paid through 2019, please call the office and we will gladly help you.

Congratulations to all of our Brothers who participated in the Fall Reunion. The ritual work was uniformly superb. If you haven’t attended a Reunion recently, make a strong effort to watch degrees at the Spring Reunion in 2019. It will be a rewarding experience reconfirming why you became a Scottish Rite Mason. We welcomed 2 new Brothers as Masters of the Royal Secret. They are Brother Jose Rivera 32° and Brother Nicolai Lacson 32°. These new Brothers will be receiving their caps and rings at our Ceremony at the dinner following our stated meeting on November 5th. Please make a point of attending this event and meeting our new Brothers.

May you and your families have a safe and happy Thanksgiving.


Jamie Hopkins 32°
General Secretary

Thanksgiving Message


As is the case with most virtues, you do not magically become thankful. There are disciplines and habits you can cultivate that can reap a harvest of gratefulness in your life.

“Oh give thanks to the Lord, for he is good; for his steadfast love endures forever!”

1 Chronicles 16:34

Every good and perfect gift comes from God (James 1:17). When we begin to recognize and embrace this truth, it helps facilitate a greater relationship with Him.

There are disciplines and habits we can develop that help us create hearts that are thankful:

Giving thanks requires practice. We need to regularly give thanks for the good things in our lives. We need thankfulness and not criticism to be our default position. When you see something good in your life, point it out. Thank God for it. We all complain occasionally, but practice responding to your own complaining by finding things to be thankful for. This helps to rewire your brain to be as proficient at recognizing the good in your life as you are at identifying the bad.

Give thanks in all circumstances. Paul tells the Thessalonians to give thanks in all circumstances because it’s God’s will (1 Thess. 5:18). Why? We lack perspective about our lives. We don’t have the clarity to look at any situation and say with any certainty why it’s happening. What we do know is that God is in the middle of it, and He is working to bring good out of it. No matter what we are going through, we can give thanks that God is there. He is redeeming the situation and sustaining us through it. Left to our own devices, we focus on what’s going on around us. We transcend our experience when we’re able to lift our eyes above it and see God’s handiwork in the middle of it. A.W. Tozer says, “Perhaps it takes a purer faith to praise God for unrealized blessings than for those we once enjoyed or those we enjoy now.”

Give thanks when things are going well. It might seem silly to give this advice, but it’s important. Our default position is to expect that things will and should go well for us. When life is running smoothly, it’s easy for us to forget that this is a gift from God. We don’t see the ways he protects and guides us along the way to green pastures and still waters.

Recognize the good that has come from bad experiences. It’s good to spend some time reflecting on the difficulties you’ve already walked through. With enough distance, you can begin to recognize the good that came out of those experiences. Maybe it gave birth to a new blessing or it built your stamina and endurance. Either way, learning to see past trials through eternity’s perspective enables us to be more thankful during times of struggle.

Understand the power of giving thanks. I have seen all sorts of people walk through all sorts of horrendous experiences. It always seems to be the case that those who are the most thankful and have learned to recognize God’s hand have the most fortitude and grit.

Thanksgiving is a superpower. It enables us to see past our experiences and embrace the way that God is moving. Not only are thankful people able to draw strength from gratitude, but they’re also able to empower others with their perspective as well.

Rev. David J. Kussman, 33°
Asst. to the Personal Rep. and Chaplain,
Valley of Orange County