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From the Consistory West

Portrait of Dave KingA Teutonic Cross with a crimson rose at the center One cool Spring afternoon a few years back, I had little to do and decided to walk up to the Anythink Library that we are fortunate to have in our development. As I was browsing through the books, my eye caught a small little book "The Butterfly Effect: How Your Life Matters" by Andy Anderson. This is one of those small novelty books with only 122 pages.

It was one of those actions that you have no justification for doing, but I started flipping through the pages and it piqued my interest. I picked a comfortable chair and sat down to read.

The theme of the book is that all of our actions, no matter how small, have an impact on the universe. As Scottish Rite Masons, we learn that every action has a cause and every cause has an action and this little book demonstrated this concept with a couple of great examples.

The one that I was most impressed with goes something like this:
During the Civil War, on a farm near Diamond, Missouri, lived a farmer named Moses and his wife Susan. Moses and his wife did not believe in slavery and harbored a black woman and her infant son. On a cold night in January, Quantrill's Raiders rode through the area and burned the barn, shot several people, and dragged off the black woman named Mary Washington, who refused to let go of her infant son George. Mary was Susan's best friend, and with his wife so distraught, Moses sent word through the neighbors, looking for the woman and her son, and two days later arranged a meeting with the bandits.

Moses rode for several hours North to the appointed crossroads in Kansas and at the time arranged in the middle of the night he met with four of Quantrill's Raiders. They were on horseback and carrying torches, and they had sacks over their heads with slits cut for their eyes. There Moses traded the only horse he had left on his farm for a dirty burlap bag and its contents they threw to him.

Then Moses opened the bag and found a cold, naked, almost dead, baby boy. He put the child inside his coat to warm him with his own body heat and he walked all night and most of the morning to get the child to safety. There, he made a promise to the child to raise and educate him to honor the boy's mother he knew was already dead.

That was the night the farmer gave that baby his name. And that is how Moses and Susan Carver came to raise that baby, George Washington Carver.

When Carver was nineteen years old and a student at Iowa State University, he had a dairy science professor who, on Saturday and Sunday afternoons, would allow his six-year-old son to go on botanical expeditions with Carver. It was George Washington Carver who took the boy and instilled in him a love for plants and a vision for what they could do for humanity. It was Carver who pointed six-year-old Henry Wallace's life in a specific direction, long before he became Vice President of the United States.

Henry Wallace was Franklin Roosevelt's second Vice President and served from 1941 to 1945, just before Harry Truman served as Vice President. Wallace was the former Secretary of Agriculture before being Vice President. While Vice President, he used his power to create a station in Mexico whose sole purpose was to hybridize corn and wheat for arid climates. There, he hired a man named Norman Borlaug to run the program.

In 2004, ABC News aired a weekly news segment called "Person of the Week." On Friday, April 2nd, Norman Borlaug at age 91 was honored for his specific corn and wheat seed that he developed which thrived in climates from the dust bowl of Western Africa to our own desert Southwest and Central America, and to the plains of Siberia across Europe and Asia. He and his hybrid crops have been credited for saving the lives of more than two billion people from famine. Borlaug also won a Nobel Prize and was awarded the Presidential Medal of Freedom.

So, in reality, should Norman Borlaug get credit for feeding two billion people, or maybe Henry Wallace who gave him the opportunity, or George Washington Carver who inspired Wallace, or Moses Carver who rescued baby George Washington Carver?

This is a real-life example of Cause and Effect. Each person made a choice that affected someone else's life and ultimately the world.

When I finished reading this story, the Double-Headed Eagle came to mind. One head is looking into the past, seeing that the most recent event is only a result of past events and past events are only results of prior events back to the beginning of time. The other head is looking to the future, seeing whatever I do today will have an impact on the future to eternity. So, our choices must be made wisely.


David A. King, 32° KCCH
Prior, Denver Consistory


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