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Monday, August 08, 2011

150 Year-Old Bible Stolen from Michigan Lodge

Break-ins at Masonic lodges seem to be on the rise around the country. Or perhaps they're just getting reported in the press more. Either way, the Masons of Palmyra Lodge No. 184 in Palmyra, Michigan just want their Bible back.

From Sunday's Daily Telegram for Lenawee County, Masonic Lodge looks for missing Bible by Dennis Pelham:

Who has a 150-year-old Bible belonging to the Palmyra Masonic Lodge?

“I’d like to have the old Bible back. Every meeting we used it,” said lodge secretary Eldon Clingaman of Palmyra.

He means every meeting since the lodge was chartered on Jan. 12, 1866.

Clingaman said the large, 31/2-inch-thick Bible was taken during a July 20 break-in of the lodge building on Lenawee Street in Palmyra. He said he believes 1859 is the date it was printed.

Lodge members were in the building on July 20. The next day Clingaman found a window broken out of a door. Someone got in and tossed around a box of food the lodge collected to donate to an emergency food pantry, he said. There was some other minor damage, but everything in the building is accounted for, except the Bible.

“It’s the only thing I could find missing,” he said.

A Lenawee County sheriff’s deputy made out a report on the break-in. But there has been no luck in tracking down the Bible, said Undersheriff James Anderson.

“That Bible probably isn’t worth much on the market, but it means the world to them,” Anderson said, referring to the lodge members.

No witnesses have yet come forward and there is no solid evidence pointing to any suspects, he said. Anyone with information that can help in recovering the Bible can call the sheriff’s department’s tip line at 266-6161 or 877-276-8477, he said, and remain anonymous if they wish.

Photo by Lad Strayer for the Daily Telegram.


  1. This should be the foundation of a new figure of speech: "Those guys were so crooked that they would steal the Bible right off the Lodge altar."

    My condolences to the brethren in Palmyra.

  2. Whoever stole it probably needed it more than the lodge. :p Though I doubt they'll actually open it.

  3. Seriously...that lodge cannot be poor. Why don't they have an alarm system?

  4. I keep wondering that myself. With Freemasonry more in the public light, more thieves think, "Oh yeah, I wonder what's in the Masonic lodge? An easy knockoff, since no one ever seems to be there."

    If you really can't afford an alarm system, merge or share a building with someone who can. Seriously.

  5. I am betting on Christian fundamentalists bent on the idea that they are liberating a holy book from of evil masons, but only ebay will tell.

  6. Actually I know these guys very well. This is a very rural lodge, like most in Lenawee. Lodge building has been a school, an asylum, hospital, etc. There are no real intrinsic valuables in these lodges but things more sentimental in nature - most going back to the 1860's. The building is pretty secure but even if it had an alarm system it is about 10-15 min at best for the sheriff to come through that area. I doubt very much that the thief (or thieves) were in there more than a couple of minutes - the lodge isn't that big, and they would have gotten out anyhow. It is not a matter of alarm system, merge or otherwise but awareness that the attacks from outsiders are going against lodges for reasons unknown to us or perceived threats of which we are unaware. There have been mild threats from other organizations but typically central to more urban areas. It also makes me very aware that the value of the obligations and actions and where to take them is very important. (I also suspect some fundamentalists in this nonsense.)


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