Saturday, May 31, 2008

Montana York Rite June 4-7, 2008

Now that I've been disengoitered and am getting to where I'm feeling up to moving around again, I'll be in Great Falls, Montana June 4-7th at their York Rite Grand Sessions. I'll be speaking Friday night about the Knights Templar. Stop by and say hello if you're in the vicinity.

Friday, May 30, 2008

New Blog: Van Gorden-Williams Library & Archives

Jeffrey Croteau, manager of the Van Gorden-Williams Library & Archives at the AASR-NJ's National Heritage Museum in Lexington, Massachusetts has started a blog featuring images, stories and news from the library.

See it here.

He dropped me a note because he saw the entry about Masonic email scams, since they had recently posted a story about "impostor Masons" from an earlier age.

With as much as they have in their archives, this promises to be an endlessly interesting site to visit on a regular basis.

Thursday, May 29, 2008

Email Scam: Freemason Society of Bournemouth

A message from Brother Victor Sereno in Britain warns of a Masonic email scam making the rounds:

I have been told of a scam which seems to be aimed at US brn.
There is a message purporting to come from the Freemason Society of Bournemouth offering grants for masonic purposes.
This `society' doesn't exist; the telephone numbers are not local Bournemouth numbers.

It appears to be a phishing ploy.

Please delete such an `offer' if you receive it.


See the 3rd Annual Nigerian Email Conference.

Monday, May 26, 2008

York Rite Doings in Oregon

Brother Jeff over at Lodgical has an interesting post about a new Royal Arch Chapter opening in Roseburg, Oregon, described as a "European Concept" RAM Chapter.

Interesting things are happening on the York Rite front in Oregon. Check out the website for Oregon Commandery No. 1 and the direction they are headed, especially their creation of armorial bearings.

Thursday, May 22, 2008

Indiana Grand Lodge 2008

Indiana's Grand Lodge Communication is now history, and it was a surprisingly enjoyable couple of days.

First off, congratulations to MWBro. Jeffrey P. Zaring (left), our newly elected Grand Master for 2008-2009. Along with many thanks to outgoing GM Duane Vaught for his year in the Grand East.

While I was personally disappointed that certain legislation was deemed "not in proper form," it was heartening that the proposal to allow wine at Masonic feasts only lost by a very close 20 votes. With some education in the coming year, perhaps this archaic and frankly illogical episode of Masonic prohibition will at last end. What part of "started in taverns" do our brethren not understand? Our JWs are to see that we do not convert the purposes of refreshment into intemperance or excess, not engage in a Masonic crusade to restore the Volstead Act. Perhaps they will understand next year.

A $1.75 per capita increase passed with a minimum of screaming or shouts of "Fixed income!" from the assembled Masters. Frankly, quite refreshing.

One presentation I won't go into many details on was quite enlightening. PGM Vaught sent out a survey of new Master Masons, and the results were frankly quite startling. I am waiting on a more detailed analysis of the results, but one important finding was that, after a decade of wags declaring that "young men don't have the time or patience to become Masons the old way," the real truth is that men who joined under the age of 30 want to take their time, with more difficult requirements and an individual experience. It was the men in their 40s and up who have no patience and want the one day class experience. There was MUCH more in this study, but once it is more carefully examined, I think it will turn a lot of assumptions Masonic leaders around the country have been making on their ears.

Following the installation of officers on Wednesday, what appeared to be in excess of 200 Masons lined up behind the Templars of Raper Commandery No. 1 and paraded from the Scottish Rite Cathedral across North Street (creating a brief menace to navigation) to the northeast corner of Indiana Freemasons' Hall, where the original 1909 cornerstone was rededicated (see photos by Brother Fred Golgart here). This event kicks off the beginning of the centennial celebration of the headquarters of Indiana Freemasonry, which will culminate next year in some Big Doings™. More as it becomes available.


Myself, Jim Dillman, Roger S. Van Gorden PGM, and Nathan Brindle.

Several of the Founding Fellows of The Masonic Society were on hand. Honestly. When we joined this fraternity, we all weighed 110 pounds.

Wbro. Jim Dillman, along with Wbro. Ken Ruckersfeld, was awarded the Order of Service to Masonry, an honor conferred on brethren for true service and selfless sacrifice to the fraternity in Indiana. This is no mere piece of Masonic bling, or a backpat from cronies in Grand lodge. It is voted upon by a committee, and the vote must be unanimous. It is not awarded every year, and is one of the highest honors any Indiana Mason can achieve. My heartfelt congratulations go out to Ken and Jim. Honestly, when PGM Vaught announced Jim's award at Grand Lodge, I almost cried. I serve with him (and Nathan) on the Indianapolis Masonic Temple Association board. Jim puts 20 hours a week or more in at Indiana Freemasons' Hall, in addition to his full time job. He has been the spark that has resulted in a complete turnaround in the destiny of the building, and in changing the minds of so many naysayers who are now stepping up to help. He's about to get us started on a multi-million dollar fundraising program, and I truly don't know what we'd do without him.

With all of that, he spends what little time he has left traveling central Indiana lodges to help with any aspect of the ritual that is needed. There are literally hundreds of Indiana Masons for whom Jim has played a role in their degree work. And he was instrumental this year in spearheading the formation, practices and performances of Levant Preceptory.

Likewise, Ken Ruckersfeld has been a tireless worker for Freemasonry. He is a member of Pentalpha Lodge in Indianapolis, but he is also one of the driving forces behind Indiana's Bartimaeus Lodge U.D., a special purpose lodge that exists solely to assist lodges in conferring degrees on handicapped candidates.

Bravo to both of these outstanding brethren.

Tuesday, May 20, 2008

Ron Paul Rumors

Politics can be an unintentionally hilarious pastime, especially in an election year.

The latest rumor circulating around the political blogosphere is that Ron Paul might be a Freemason. Naturally, for those who tilt to extremes, that either puts angel's wings or devils horns on him, depending on your point of view.

Sunday, May 18, 2008

Meet The Millennial Masons


A terrific article in today's LA Times about young men rediscovering Freemasonry in Southern California.

to paraphrase that Oldsmobile campaign, these definitely aren't your father's Freemasons. They are bar owners, male models and olive-oil brokers. They are men like Zulu, an L.A. tattoo artist with a swirling Maori-inspired design inked across his face and a panoply of metal piercing his ears, nose and face. They are men like Jonathan Kanarek, who runs a men's vintage clothing store on Hollywood Boulevard and whose retro chic wardrobe of polka-dot ascots, glen-plaid jackets and smartly pressed pocket squares earned him a spot on Esquire magazine's 2007 list of best-dressed real men in America. And they are men like Daemon Hillin, whose surfer-dude looks and blinding white smile can be found on Japanese TV, where he plays sidekick and comic foil to the Japanese version of the Hilton sisters.

They are also all men who want to be part of an all-for-one and one-for-all brotherhood built on shared ideals, philosophical pursuits and a penchant for rings, aprons and funny hats...

What (Johnny Royal) read about the Masonic ideals -- wisdom, strength, beauty and the pursuit of knowledge -- made him decide to pursue membership. "My generation wants to be part of something beyond itself," Royal said. "I want to learn; I want to participate."


Specifically mentioned were brethren from North Hollywood No. 542, Elysian Lodge No. 418, and Santa Monica-Palisades No. 307. Easily one of the best articles I've read in the press about the fraternity in a long, long time.

Friday, May 16, 2008

Memorial Service for Brother Theron Dunn

Brother Theron's step-daughter Kari has circulated the following information for his Masonic memorial service, for those who wish to attend.

The Services will be held on:

Saturday, June 21st., 2008
2pm
Masonic Temple
2313 S. Main St.
Corona, CA

Wednesday, May 14, 2008

John Slifko and the Grand Orient of the US

Well-known California Mason John Slifko, who has been associated with California's Roosevelt Center For The Study Of Civil Society & Freemasonry has demitted from his regular lodge and circulated the following message:

Dear Brothers and Sisters:

Rumors have been circulating at the United Grand Lodge of England and among the members of the Grand Lodges in America about my status at the new Grand Orient of the United States of America (GO USA). I can confirm that I have been elected as the new Grand Master of the GO USA and that I have accepted. I am also a member of the George Washington Union (men and women) in America.

I want to thank the outgoing Grand Master Aaron Peavy for his remarkable and strong efforts. I very much look forward to working with him, the Executive Council, GO USA, and the members of this new effort in traditional cosmopolitan Freemasonry.

It is also my hope to have the best of working relations with my friends and Sisters from the Women's Grand Lodge of Belgium, the Women's Grand Lodge of France and Le Droit Humain. There are others that can be mentioned.

The GO USA has its patent from the Grand Orient of France. Further news will be forthcoming over the next year.

Fraternally and Sincerely,
John Slifko



Not really a big surprise.

In a 2005 article by Alex Roslin that was critical of Masonry and Southern race relations, this was said about John:

John Slifko hopes to save Masonry by returning it to its radical roots. He is setting up the Franklin and Eleanor Roosevelt Center for the Study of Civil Society and Freemasonry, an international team of like-minded progressive scholars. Slifko believes that ending Masonry’s legacy of racism is just the first step. Next, it should let in women. He says, “The issue of blacks and women in Freemasonry is a barometer.”


So John's out to "save Freemasonry," is he? A whole lot of Masons have already been working an awfully long time to end racism in Freemasonry, but the issues of blacks and women in Freemasonry are two distinct and completely unrelated topics. Not to be unduly churlish, but was he equally outraged in his days at UCLA and do everything he could to encourage the Delta Gammas and Alpha Delta Pi ladies to drop their female-only status? Or wasn't he that progressive?

I do feel compelled to ask what his stance is on the issue of those who break their word in Freemasonry?

Slifko was made a regular Mason in California in the 1970s, demitted and spent time in Co-Masonry, and re-entered regular Masonry in the GL of California while he was pursuing his PhD. If his letter above can be believed, he apparently still held his membership in the George Washington Union GL. Now yesterday, he proclaimed that he had just received his demit from the GL of California, which allowed him to officially announce he had been elected Grand Master of the Grand Orient of the US, along with revealing his ongoing Co-Masonic membership.

Now I don't know John Slifko, have never corresponded with him, and am trying to hold my tongue here. But some questions immediately come to mind. When he took his obligation in his first lodge, was he fibbing? After he returned from his sojourn into Co-Masonry and re-entered a lodge under the GL of California, wasn't he lying and breaking his obligation then by failing to disclose his ongoing membership in Co-Masonry? (And who was on THAT investigative committee?) Did he simply return to regular Freemasonry because it was advantageous to do so while setting up the Roosevelt Center? And when he was elected Grand Master of GOofUSA, he was still a member of a GL of California lodge, so wasn't he breaking his obligation yet again? He only felt confident enough to announce his election once he had his demit safely tucked in his pocket.

A Freemason's obligation is principally about keeping our word. Not about "secrecy." Not about branding "clandestine" Masons. But about our own honor. If, as a Mason, we find that the rules of our obedience are in conflict with our personal beliefs, honor demands that we openly try to change the rules, or resign. If a Mason finds a different obedience that more agrees with his personal moral "barometer," so be it. But it looks like some very deliberate planning and timing has taken place in this case that has been less than honorable. That's unfortunate.

I wish the GOofUSA no ill will (or John, for that matter). Its founders have long claimed to be building a better Freemasonry. But its creation has been pockmarked with more than one less than honorable activity and behavior, and this is just one more piece of that puzzle. They continue to appear to be building their grand lodge on a very rocky foundation. Slifko was once quoted as saying that American Masons “seem to be more interested in the McDonaldization of it and the marketing of it, than in revisiting the intellectual quality of it.” Nothing like tarring almost 2 million men with a broad, sneering brush, tinged with academic snobbery. If he really wanted to reinvest the intellectual quality of Freemasonry, he might have started with honesty.

Tuesday, May 13, 2008

R. Theron Dunn Passes Away

At 1 PM PT, this message has arrived from James Dunn:

I am sorry to say that R. Theron Dunn has passed away this afternoon. His family was at his side. Thank You for yours and all the well wishes

James Dunn


Farewell, my friend. Enter thou into the joys of thy Lord.

Saturday, May 10, 2008

WBro. Theron Dunn Gravely Ill

This evening both Manny Blanco of Moreno Valley Lodge and Adam Kendall in California are reporting that Brother Theron Dunn has been hospitalized with kidney failure. The outlook is so dire that he is in danger of not surviving the weekend.

According to "Prometheus" on the NOS forum:
Theron was in surgery this morning. It was successful but he is in critical condition.

The doctors give him a 48 hour window before they know if he will be okay. In the last 30 minutes his BP has come up. This is a good sign. She is receiving calls and says that all calls and prayers are welcome. She will be up all night to talk to any one who wants to know what is going on. She is also letting everyone know that all who can should come and visit to pay possible last respects.

Pray if you can.


His stepson has reported that an ulcer burst, and he is suffering from septic shock. Theron is on a ventilator, but he has been conscious and knows his family is at his side. The hope is that his blood pressure will rise enough (above 100) to place him on dialysis, but the morphine used to control his pain is currently keeping that blood pressure too low. Visitors are being restricted, as of Friday evening. He is at the Kaiser Medical Center in Riverside, CA.

If praying has given you an inside track with the Grand Architect of the Universe, please say some for our brother tonight.

Friday, May 09, 2008

Mister Bobo, the Masonic Dyna-Monkey


From the Shirt-Woot website.

The occult scientists in the Masonic Labs thought they were perfecting the ultimate soldier for Freemasonry, a chimpanzee who would carry out any mission against the enemies of the Masons (the Internation Scrabble Federation, the Girl Scouts, the NRA, and especially those stuck-up Rosicrucians). But while the radiation enhanced Bobo’s physical and mental abilities to superchimp levels, it did not render him docile. To the contrary. He mastered the secret mysteries in about half an hour, and now sits upon the Masonic Throne. And the covert global network of Fremasonry, all the power amassed through the centuries, will now be an instrument of mankind’s ultimate downfall at the hands of our chimpanzee cousins. Tremble, humanity!


I especially like the PM jewel, made from a banana.

Thursday, May 08, 2008

2008 World Conference of Masonic Grand Lodges Coin


To commemorate the 2008 World Conference of Masonic Grand Lodges in Washington DC, a limited edition coin has been made available for $50.

See the website here.

I love the design. And if the square and compasses over the unfinished pyramid doesn't drive the New World Order moonbats out of their nests in the joo-joo trees, I don't know what will.

Wednesday, May 07, 2008

Jonathan Coulton's "I'm A Mason Now"



The things you find when you go trolling for Masonic topics.

Friend and brother Mike Walkup passed along a sound clip of a song by Jonathan Coulton, called "I'm A Mason Now."


You used to laugh at me when I drove a Shriner’s car
You said it’d never fly that I’d never get this far
I always knew that I would make it someday
Now you’d be safer staying out of my way

Cause guess what I’m a Mason now
And you better take care if you want to stay
On the good side of the guy who’s
Got the secret handshake down

You think you’re pretty bad with your pretty trophy wife
You drive a pretty car through your polo trophy life
I got a robe and a pretty nice ring
You bet that brotherhood’s a wonderful thing

Guess what I’m a Mason now
And you better take care if you want to stay
On the good side of the guy who’s
Got the secret handshake down

Should we talk about the governments that I control?
Should we talk about the hands of fate, the dice they roll?
The secret things you’ll never see?
The secret man you’ll never be?
The secret rooms that have no windows?

Too late to make amends cause the wheel’s in motion now
So get up off your knees, try to carry on somehow
You can’t escape it so you better not try
Now there’s some friends of mine who’d like to say hi

Guess what I’m a Mason now
And you better take care if you want to stay
On the good side of the guy who’s
Got the secret handshake down


Coulton became *famous* on da intertubes for his "Thing A Week" podcasts, writing a new song every week for a year. His bio says, "Coulton's is the voice of every spooky elementary school kid who could never quite keep his shirt tucked in or shoes tied; every lovelorn mason and mad scientist; every one of us who has ever sat despairingly on the floor, surrounded by parts of an Ikea endtable, weeping over our allen wrenches." He lives in Colchester, Connecticut.

(Image from Smoking Monkey)

Tuesday, May 06, 2008

Author Todd E. Creason in Lawrenceville, Illinois 6/14

The York Rite Bodies over in southeastern Illinois are continuing their author invitational dinners. On June 14th 2008 they will host Brother Todd E. Creason, the Illinois Masonic author of the book "Famous American Freemasons".

Dinner will be held at Callahan's Restaurant in Lawrenceville, Illinois, located on the ground floor of the Elks Club. There will be a social hour, book purchases and book signing at 6:00pm followed by a dinner at 7:00pm. The cost of the dinner will be $15.00 per person.

Contact Bill Hussey at bigbill111@verizon.net for more information.

Saturday, May 03, 2008

Announcing The Masonic Society



"The ultimate success of Masonry depends on the intelligence of her disciples." - Albert Mackey


An exciting, new organization to cultivate a greater understanding of Freemasonry has been launched to serve the Craft throughout North America. Called simply The Masonic Society, we are gathering together brothers who have a deep and abiding desire to seek knowledge, explore history, discover symbolism, debate philosophies, and in short, who will be at the forefront of charting a path for the future of Freemasonry. While some of its Founding Fellows are among the best known writers, researchers and organizers in Freemasonry, The Masonic Society is made up of authors, historians, scholars, ritualists, administrators, internet authors - experienced veterans, and new Masons alike, embracing traditional and new forms of media.

The Masonic Society will publish its quarterly Journal, containing insights into the meaning of Masonry in a literary yet accessible voice. The writers you'll meet are many of the very same authors and educators you already know from the world's leading lodges and societies of Masonic research, and others from local lodges you may have visited in your travels. What brings them together in this enterprise is their never faltering love of Freemasonry and their mutual desire to shine that Light toward brethren who might not feel "at home" in a formal research lodge or research society. In each issue, you'll be informed and entertained by timely reporting of current events from around the globe; by its insightful opinions; by the scholarship of non-Masons in academia; and by many, many more thought-provoking attractions that have been absent from Masonic magazines for decades.

The Journal Of The Masonic Society will help to nurture research lodges around the US and Canada by featuring the best of their work that rarely gets distributed outside of their own meetings. And The Journal will be the only North American magazine devoted to Freemasonry that will feature advertising from the world of Masonic publishing, regalia, jewelry and collectibles - companies that currently have no way to tell Freemasons they are open for business.

The official launch date of The Masonic Society was May 1st, and the response has already been overwhelming. We hope you will see fit to join, and make The Masonic Society your own.

For more information or to join online, go to: www.themasonicsociety.com

Apologies To My Ohio York Rite Brethren

My sincerest apologies go out to my northwest Ohio York Rite brothers who had been expecting me to speak to them today. I sent an email to Jim Buckingham two weeks ago informing him of my impending operation, but like a fool of the internet age, I neglected to actually call him. As a result, he apparently never saw my message, and he was more than a little surprised when Alice called him back from the hospital Wednesday night.

I hope you'll give me the opportunity to make amends next year. And my special apologies to Jim.

Friday, May 02, 2008

Still In Hospital

Well, day 2 of my medical adventure wasn't nearly as hopeful as day 1, and I spent all of Thursday traipsing through Morphia's garden of delights in search of something to mask the chest pain. I have a delightfully grisly, t-shaped scar that still feels like I've been stomped on by the entire defensive line of the Colts in cleats. Coughing is a real treat.

Day 3 and I'm still in hospital with a slight fever. The docs suspect an infection of some kind, so they are in search of that possibility.

I picked a helluva time to be involved with the startup of a Masonic research group. I fired up the laptop today to discover my mailbox filled up yesterday afternoon at 4:00PM. So if you have sent me a note since yesterday, I probably didn't get it.

Many, many thanks to everyone who has signed up so early. Secretary Nathan Brindle is keeping track of the memberships, but unfortunately I'm the guy with some of the supplies for the new membership packs, and we had some delays out of the box with a few details. All will be hammered out quickly, and my apologies go out to you for picking a stooopid time to be on the operating table.

Most of all, thanks to all who have sent kind words of encouragement. They are appreciated.