Monday, June 29, 2009

Gate City Lodge Story Hits the Papers

For good or ill, the Gate City Lodge No. 2 story in Atlanta has hit the mainstream press.

From an article in today's Atlanta Journal Constitution.

The Grand Lodge of Georgia Free and Accepted Masons, a fraternal organization, is being sued by an Atlanta chapter and its senior officer who say the group’s state leaders are trying to disband the local affiliate because it accepted a black man as a member.

The complaint, filed by Gate City Lodge No. 2 and its head, Michael J. Bjelajac, in DeKalb County Superior Court, also names Douglas Hubert Ethridge of Atlanta, Starling A. “Sonny” Hicks of Stockbridge and W. Franklin Aspinwall Jr. of Kingsland as defendants.

In the 31-page complaint, filed June 18, Bjelajac and Gate City claim when they accepted 26-year-old Victor Marshall into membership last fall, Hicks and Ethridge wrote letters to the state organization. The letters stated allowing a non-white man into the group violated the association’s moral and Masonic laws.

Hicks and Ethridge sought to have Bjelajac expelled from the group and the dissolution of the Gate City chapter, which has 190 members and counted the late Atlanta Mayor William B. Hartsfield among its ranks.


UPDATE

The story grows today.

The article, Masons' spat over black inductee spills into court (Associated Press) appeared in the Washington Post. the Boston Herald, and papers as far west as Colorado)

Meanwhile, Dick Petty in Insider Advantage Georgia reports the story, pointing out:

The suit not only brings unwanted attention to a group whose internal squabbles almost always remain behind the veil of secrecy, but potentially undercuts arguments by Gov. Sonny Perdue and others that the state’s racial progress in recent years makes its continued placement under rigid strictures of the Voting Rights Act unnecessary.

Saturday, June 27, 2009

Tuscola Lodge No. 332, Tuscola, Illinois 6/30

I'll have the honor of speaking to the brethren and friends of Tuscola Lodge No. 332 AF&AM in Tuscola, Illinois this coming Tuesday, June 30th, at 7PM CT. (Tuscola is located about 25 minutes south of Champaign, Illinois off of I-57).

If you are in the vicinity, please stop by the lodge at 105 1/2 N Main St, Tuscola, IL‎.

For more details, contact brother Michael Shirley, Senior Warden at m.h.shirley @ gmail.com

Friday, June 26, 2009

Europe: LinkedIn vs. Freemasonry?


From today's online edition of Britain's The Economist comes an article about the influence of personal networking groups on business, focussing on France. Interestingly, it leads with the use of Freemasonry as a business connnection in France. Indeed, the article is headlined "LinkedIn v. Freemasons."

An excerpt:

FRANÇOIS PÉROL, the adviser whom Nicolas Sarkozy, France’s president, controversially appointed in February to head two merging mutual banks, is not known as a champion of transparency. But Mr Pérol has let it be known that he intends to reduce the influence of freemasons at Caisse d’Epargne and Banque Populaire. He has refused an invitation to a tenue blanche ouverte, a masonic meeting that non-freemasons may attend. And he does not want senior posts shared among the banks’ various rival lodges.

French business may be particularly full of networks, but every country has its cliques, whether based on education, social background or spiritual beliefs. In Spain, Italy and Latin America as well as France, businesspeople speak of the influence of Opus Dei, a conservative Catholic lay order which supports a number of business schools. America has its Ivy League alumni groups and Rotary clubs. Chinese businesspeople often rely on guanxi, or personal connections.


Rest of the article here.

Thursday, June 25, 2009

Indiana PGM William T. Sharp Passes Away

Indiana Past Grand Master William T. Sharp, Sr. passed to the Grand Lodge Above on Saturday, June 20th. Calling will be Thursday, June 25, from 4 p.m. - 8 p.m. at Flanner and Buchanan Mortuary, 1305 Broad Ripple Ave., Indianapolis. The Masonic Service will follow at 8:00 p.m. The funeral service will be on Friday, June 26, at 10:00 a.m. at the mortuary.

Judge Sharp was Grand Master in Indiana in 1988-89.

From the obituary in the Indianapolis Star:

Judge William T. Sharp 88, Indianapolis, passed away June 20, surrounded by his loving family. Born December 27, 1920, to Charles and Emma (Furry) Sharp, in Cumberland IN, he was raised on farms in the Cumberland, New Palestine, and Oaklandon areas. He graduated from Warren Central High School in 1939 and married his high school sweetheart, Betty Jane Bridgins on July 3, 1941. During WWII he served in the Coast Guard on Long Island, New York and on a troop transport ship to Italy. Following military service, he graduated from Butler University and Indiana University School of Law, then began his private practice while also serving as Marion County Deputy Prosecutor. Although Judge Sharp was a teetotaler, former Indiana Governor Welsh appointed him to serve on the Indiana Alcoholic Beverage Commission. During his distinguished career, he received the Chamber of Commerce Good Government Award in 1966; was presented Sagamore of the Wabash awards by former Indiana governors Handley, Welsh, Branigin, Whitcomb, Bowen and Orr; the Distinguished Hoosier Award from Governor Bayh; as well as an Honorary Kentucky Colonel commission from then Governor Patton. He was the Republican nominee for Mayor of Indianapolis in 1958, and the runner-up Republican candidate for Governor of Indiana in 1972. He became Judge of Marion County Municipal Court #4 in 1962, and after redesigning the court system, became the first Presiding Judge. He was elected Circuit Court Judge of Owen County, serving from 1970-1982. After retiring in 1982, he served as president or chairman of many boards and foundations, including The Indiana Masonic Home Foundation; Lilly Foundation Eisenhower Scholarship, Retired Indiana Public Employees Association, Lions Club and many charitable organizations. He served as Grand Master of the Grand Lodge Free and Accepted Masons of the State of Indiana from 1988-89, and was active in many of the affiliated organizations, including the Scottish Rite, Murat Shrine, National Sojourners, and Red Cross of Constantine. He was honored to receive the Scottish Rite 33rd degree and the Caleb B. Smith Award for his years of distinguished service to the Masonic order. Throughout his life, education remained a high priority. Even after retiring, he earned a Masters degree and a Doctorate.


WBro. Jim Dillman told this story about MWB Sharp on Hiram's Forum:

The Grand Architect works in mysterious ways. MWB Sharp was in attendance at the rededication of Indiana Freemasons' Hall just a week-and-a-half ago. I had communicated with his son, Bill, prior to the date regarding arrangements for his dad and mom who were both in wheelchairs, but very excited about attending the rededication. I know that many of the brethren in attendance were thrilled that the Sharps had made the effort to attend in spite of their very frail health. While refreshments were being served in the dining room, I watched a steady stream of brethren make their way to the Sharp's table to greet them. I made a point to go over and introduce myself to thank them for coming. We spent several minutes chatting about Freemasonry and MWB Sharp's time as a judge. I found both of them to be delightful people and they told me how much they had enjoyed the day. I am so happy that I took the time to visit with them.

For those that aren't aware of it, MWB Sharp was the Republican candidate for mayor of Indianapolis in 1960, an election that he ultimately lost. MWB John Grein, who served as Deputy Grand Master under MWB Sharp told me about an article written after the election in the Indianapolis Times by a well-known reporter whose name escapes me at the moment. The reporter wrote that MWB Sharp's biggest problem is "that he is too honest." What better epitaph could one ask for? Rest in peace, MWB Sharp. You did us proud.

Wednesday, June 24, 2009

Masonic Society Semi-Annual Meeting, Indianapolis 10/24


The Masonic Society will hold its first Semi-Annual Meeting in Indianapolis on Saturday, October 24, 2009.

Indiana Freemasons' Hall, 525 N. Illinois St., Indianapolis, Indiana
Starts 9 AM Eastern Time. Concludes after the Banquet

In the spirit of the recent Centennial Rededication of Indiana Freemasons' Hall, the theme of The Masonic Society's first Semi-Annual will be "Rededicating The Craft"

The day will begin with a thematic kickoff by the Grand Master of Masons in Indiana, MWBro. Charles F. Marlowe. Other presentations are in the works.

Presentations and other submissions
All proposals for presentations and papers for consideration should be directed to Bro. Jay Hochberg, Submissions Coordinator of The Journal of The Masonic Society. Please email your submissions no later than August 24, 2009.

Please note that all submissions will be subject to review for suitability to the theme of the event.

Registration
$65, includes luncheon and banquet. Both members of the Society and non-members are welcome to register and attend.

Your Lady or Other Guest may attend the conference and banquet for an additional $65.

The registration page is found here. Deadline for registration is Saturday, October 17, 2009.

Accommodations
The Society has arranged for a limited number of rooms at the Hilton Garden Inn Indianapolis Downtown, which is about seven blocks from Indiana Freemasons' Hall. We have negotiated a rate of $109/night for Friday, October 23, 2009 (with checkout on Saturday, October 24, 2009). NOTE: If you plan to stay in the hotel, please reserve early as there is a large convention in Downtown Indianapolis winding up the same weekend of our meeting. Rooms may be reserved at the reduced rate through September 24, 2009. We cannot guarantee any room availability after that date.

Rooms may be reserved online at this link.

Alternately, you may call the hotel directly at 317-405-5709 and use the group name "The Masonic Society" and group code "TMS".

PLEASE NOTE: The special room rate is for registered and paid attendees ONLY. Because room availability is limited, we will monitor hotel reservations closely and will cancel all reservations for which there is no corresponding registered, paid attendee.

Lunch and Dinner
Our Luncheon and Banquet will both be served in the main Dining Room of Indiana Freemasons' Hall.

Ladies' program
Ladies are invited to join us for the presentations on Saturday, or they may choose to "wander" the amenities of Downtown Indianapolis. However, if your lady has an interest in attending a more formal ladies' program, please contact the secretary-treasurer. (No guarantees, but if a sufficient number of ladies indicate an interest, we will do our best to accommodate them.)

For updated information, see the official Semi-Annual meeting webpage.

Not a member of the Masonic Society yet? To join online, visit our website here.

St. John the Baptist Day

“There is in every regular and well governed Lodge, a certain point within a circle, embordered by two parallel perpendicular lines. . .. “

Today, June 24th, Freemasons celebrate the Feast of St. John Baptist. A curious thing for a non-sectarian group to do.

In 1740, Chevalier Andrew Michael Ramsey, a Scottish expatriate living in France, as Orator of the Grand Lodge of France, first suggested what morphed into the Templar theory of the formation of Freemasons. "During the time of the holy wars in Palestine, several principal lords and citizens associated themselves together, and entered into a vow to re-establish the temples of the Christians in the Holy Land; and engaged themselves by an oath to employ their talents and their fortune in restoring architecture to its primitive institution. They adopted several ancient signs and symbolic words drawn from religion by which they might distinguish themselves from the infidels and recognize each other in the midst of the Saracens. They communicated these signs and words only to those who had solemnly sworn, often at the foot of the altar, never to reveal them. This was not an oath of execration but a bond uniting men of all nations into the same confraternity. Some time after our order was united with the Knights of St. John of Jerusalem. Hence our lodges are, in all Christian countries, called Lodges of St. John."

Ramsey largely invented his tale out of whole cloth, and there is nothing to suggest that his account was anything more than a fairy tale.

In what is called the Old York Lecture from about 1770 in England has the following as part of its EA catechism:

"Q. To whom were the lodges dedicated during the Mosaic dispensation?"__"

A. To Moses, the chosen of God, and Solomon, the son of David."__

"Q. And under what name were the Masons known during that period?"__

"A. Under the name of Dionysiacs, Geometricians, or Masters in Israel."__

"Q. But as Solomon was a Jew, and died long before the promulgation of Christianity, to whom were they dedicated under the Christian dispensation?"__

"A. From Solomon the patronage of Masonry passed to St. John the Baptist."__

"Q. And under what name were they known after the promulgation of Christianity?"__

"A. Under the name of Essenes, Architects, or Freemasons."__

"Q. Why were the lodges dedicated to St. John the Baptist?"__

"A. Because he was the forerunner of our Saviour, and by preaching repentance and humiliation, drew the first parallel of the Gospel."__

"Q. Had St. John the Baptist any equal?"__

"A. He had; St. John the Evangelist."__

"Q. Why was he said to be the equal of the Baptist?"__

"A. Because he finished by his learning what the other began by his zeal, and thus drew a second line parallel to the former; ever since which time Freemason's lodges in all Christian countries, have been dedicated to the one, or the other, or both of these worthy and worshipful men."


The Preston Lectures, which is what our own rituals are based upon (by way of Thomas Smith Webb in the US), were the standard in England until the reconciliation between the "Ancient" and "Modern" factions in 1813, when a compromise was developed. References to the Saints were removed, the parallel lines were said to represent Moses and Solomon, and the lodges dedicated "to God and his service." Our English brethren removed the saints to eliminate any hint of religious sectarianism.

In our American version, one of the least understood symbols is a certain point within a circle, bounded by two parallel lines, with the volume of sacred law at the top.

The symbol is actually based on an old astrological and alchemical symbol. The point in the center represented the Earth, which was thought to be the center of the universe. The heavens were believed to spin around the Earth, represented by the circle. The two lines represented the summer and winter solstices, the longest and shortest days of the year. For thousands of years, these days were celebrated as pagan feast days all over the world, and they were especially important to farming societies, because they were the astronomical methods of determining planting seasons.

In about 300A.D., the Catholic Church began to dedicate popular pagan feast days to the saints. June 24th, the longest day of the year, was declared St. John the Baptist day, while December 27th, the shortest day, was dedicated to St. John the Evangelist. Collectively, Masons refer to them as the Holy Saints John.

Operative Freemasonry was first developed when Roman Catholicism was the prevailing religion, and these feast days continued under the Church of England. It was common for guilds and other trade groups to adopt a patron saint or two. Some Masons picked both Saints John, and over the centuries Masons commonly celebrate their feast days with banquets. And curiously, even though Freemasonry today is non-denominational and non-sectarian, American Masons have retained these customs of old. Part of the ritual in America says that Masons come “from the Holy Saints John of Jerusalem,” while in other parts of the world, lodges are dedicated to King Solomon.

John the Baptist was zealous, while John the Evangelist was learned, and by picking both of them as patron saints, Masons symbolically united both passion and reason.

The symbol also shows the Volume of Sacred Law at the top. In Masonry, the point represents the individual, and the circle is the boundary of his actions. Taken as a whole, the symbol implies that a Mason should consult the sacred texts of his own religion to achieve the proper balance between passion and intensity on one side, and knowledge and education on the other. In other words, he should balance education, excitement and faith to effectively subdue his passions. In a way, it is a graphic representation of the conscience.

Tuesday, June 23, 2009

Hammond, Indiana Temple Demolished

The Hammond, Indiana Masonic Temple is being demolished today, to make way for a new city charter school. Once home to blue lodges, the York Rite and the Shrine, the temple was abandoned in the 1990s.

From the Northwest Indiana Times today:

The iconic 65,000-square-foot Gothic building that was once the hub of social activity for many Hammond residents met the claw of an excavator, driven by Mayor Thomas McDermott, Jr., clearing the way for the new Hammond Urban Academy.

McDermott said that while the red brick and limestone facade looks well preserved, it masks an interior that is beyond repair.

Tony Rodriguez, head Mason at the Garfield Lodge, said by the time they left the building in 1999, there already was significant water damage, and the ceiling was beginning to collapse in certain areas.

"It's a beautiful building," he said. "The massive cost of maintaining the building became overwhelming."

Garfield Lodge member Mark Schaade said the building was known for its massive auditorium and expansive ballroom, home to some of the city's biggest soirees.


From the Northwest Indiana Times over a year ago:

The mammoth cornerstone to the ornately elegant three-story red brick building on Muenich Court was laid May 1, 1907, to great fanfare. Speaker for the day was none other than Charles Fairbanks, vice president under U.S. President Theodore Roosevelt.

In 1921, the Masonic Building Association enhanced the building to the tune of $440,000. By the 1970s, its replacement cost was estimated at $4.8 million. Today, it is estimated its restoration could top $20 million.

Patrick Swibes, chairman of the Hammond Historic Preservation Commission, said the building was once a candidate for preservation.

"The building has been terribly compromised over the last 12 to 15 years," Swibes said. "Once the roof goes, it lets water into the building, which disintegrates a building pretty quickly."

Swibes said most of the damage is to the theater. The stage in the building's enormous auditorium once showcased Shrine circuses, basketball games, theater plays, miniature golf and concerts.

One of Hammond's most ornate buildings, it is heavily customized with terra-cotta designs. The Muenich Court entryway contains leaded glass windows, glazed multicolored Egyptian heads and arched, hooded door surrounds.


Sadly, a look at the Masonic list in Indiana reveals surrounding that there are lodges in nearby Griffith, East Chicago, Gary, Highland and Schererville, but there are no Masonic lodges left in Hammond.

For one photographer's album of the Temple's last days standing, see here.

----------------------------

UPDATE

This from Wednesday's Gary Post-Tribune:

The huge Freemason emblem on the southeast corner and the Shriners emblem on the southwest corner will be preserved, as will slabs of Indiana limestone shaped into arched doorways and windows and caps on two towers on the south facade and other spots on the building, said Joel Carney, project engineer with Amereco Engineering.

"Lost Symbol" website

Doubleday has launched a new, "official" teaser website for Dan Brown's new book, The Lost Symbol. The sequel to The Da Vinci Code is due in stores on September 15th, and the rumors still persist that it will be about the Freemasons.

New Book: Fraternal Regalia I - Knights Templar

My very good friend, and the current Eminent Commander of Indianapolis' Raper Commandery No. 1, Carson Smith, eats, sleeps, and breathes the Masonic order of the Knights Templar. When John D. Hamilton's book, The American Fraternal Sword, came out earlier this year, depicting more than 600 swords in full color, he described it as "Templar porn."

Comes now a new book by Michael C. MacDonald that I'm afraid is going to keep Sir Knight Carson up all knight reading under the covers with a flashlight: Fraternal Regalia I: Knights Templar - A Collectors Guide to the Orders, Degrees, Activities, Uniforms, Swords, Regalia, and Collectible Souvenirs of the Commandery of the Knights Templar of York Rite Freemasonry. It covers Knights Templar regalia and collectibles from 1800 to 1930.

The book is available from http://internetsword.com:
Hardbound 8/12 x 11. 230 pages! Over 500 high quality B&W photos and illustrations! Many period cabinet photos illustrating the various uniforms, regalia and activities of the Commandery of the Knights Templar! 51 swords illustrated from period regalia catalogs! 19 swords illustrated in detailed pictorials! Black Uniform and White uniforms described in detail! Price Guide Included! This book describes - Masonic Lodge Structure - York Rite Structure - Order of the Red Cross - Order of the Knights of Malta - Order of the Knights Templar - Ritual regalia - KT Rank & Insignia - The White Uniform - The Black Uniform - Fatigue uniform - Hats - Sashes - Swords & Daggers - Conclave Medals - Officers Jewels - Parade & Drill Teams - Mounted Commanderies - Symbology - Triennial Conclaves - Souvenirs - Pilgrimages - Badges - Ribbons - Jewelry


The book is sponsored by the Internet Sword Collectors Association.

The price is $59.

Thanks to Mark Tabbert for the heads up.

When Good Ideas Go Broke


So much for making faster trips through security at the airport. I got this email tonight.

Clear to Cease Operations

At 11:00 p.m. PST today, Clear will cease operations. Clear's parent company, Verified Identity Pass, Inc. has been unable to negotiate an agreement with its senior creditor to continue operations.

After today, Clear lanes will be unavailable.

Sincerely,
Clear Customer Support

Verified Identity Pass
600 Third Avenue
10th Floor
New York, NY 10016


Over the last two years I've gotten to know the Clear folks at Indianapolis, and the service was a godsend in places like Denver and most recently Atlanta's airports. Pay an annual fee, give up some private information, a fingerprint and a retina scan, and get personally escorted to the head of the TSA line. Unfortunately, Clear has become another victim of the economy.

Sunday, June 21, 2009

Home From South Dakota

I'm back home at last from South Dakota. Many thanks to MWBro. Virgil Anderson, the immediate Past Grand Master, his wife Vi, and especially to WBro. Perry Anderson and his lady Dee, for their many kindnesses to Alice, Wiley and me during their Grand Lodge in Sioux Falls. It was great to meet so many brethren, and I am absolutely humbled by the decision of the South Dakota Lodge of Masonic Research to use Freemasons For Dummies as their book selection this year for their members.

The drive home allowed me to think further on the Georgia situation. I have seen elsewhere comments calling for the suspension of fraternal relations in Georgia over this. Keep in mind, the Grand Master and the Grand Lodge have done NOTHING as of yet, apart from allowing Masonic charges to proceed. No decisions have been made, no trial has been held. Further, it is my understanding that there are NO written portions of the Georgia Masonic code that prohibit black men from being made Masons. In light of the Grand Master's letter explaining Brother Marshall's proper membership, along with sitting with Brother Marshall in lodge, I do not believe MWBro. Jennings has any desire to see Gate City or its Master found guilty of any offense. I cannot help but believe it is most likely that the whole point of allowing these charges to be brought is to get this festering wound on the body of Georgia Masonry out on the table and dispensed with, once and for all.

Several black brethren were raised in Kentucky last year. A tiny handful of bigoted members attempted to block the raising of a black Mason in Florida, and the Grand Master had to step in. Indiana has not been a cakewalk—we were at one time the center of Klan activity in the United States, and David Stephenson, the Grand Dragon of the KKK in 22 states was a member of Irvington Lodge No. 666 (!) in Indianapolis, back in the 1920s. But we have raised African-American brethren in my lodge, and others throughout Indiana, and we enjoy an outstanding relationship with Prince Hall lodges in the city (our immediate Past Master is now part of a Prince Hall degree team that raised several brethren last weekend, with both Grand Masters of Indiana present). Not all that long ago, we held a joint degree in the downtown Indianapolis temple, and Prince Hall brethren were raised on the floor of what was unofficially known in the 20s as the "Klan Lodge."

As the old proverb goes, "One does evil enough when one does nothing good." There is no easy way to break men of a lifetime of prejudices. But there are strong leaders in many of the states with a history of longstanding racism, who are moving through the grand officers lines, and are attempting to put things right and bring Freemasonry in their states closer to its intended design of brotherly love and tolerance.

The British politician and poet Thomas Babington Macaulay famously said, "The measure of a man's real character is what he would do if he knew he never would be found out." Grand Master Jennings is deserving of our respect and trust. No one outside of Georgia has a right to know his plans or beliefs, but the Internet has made it impossible to keep these matters private anymore. The spotlight of the Masonic world is now pointed at him and at Georgia Freemasonry to see what happens next. That's an uncomfortable spot to be in.

Saturday, June 20, 2009

Masonic Bigotry and Georgia

"There was a land of Cavaliers and Cotton Fields called the Old South... Here in this pretty world Gallantry took its last bow... Here was the last ever to be seen of Knights and their Ladies Fair, of Master and of Slave... Look for it only in books, for it is no more than a dream remembered. A Civilization gone with the wind..."


Would that that were true.

Longtime readers of this blog know how I feel about bigotry in Freemasonry. In my view, there is no place in a fraternity that prides itself on universal brotherhood, that hides its head in the sand when any of its members or lodges engage in racism. I fought it in my lodge. I've had Masons from the South tell me my lodge was destroying the Craft by allowing black men to join. I've seen a Prince Hall Grand Master shut down visitations with mainstream lodges because my lodge "stole" black candidates he felt his Grand Lodge "owned." I've had a Georgia Mason who was a cop jab me in the chest and tell me in no uncertain terms that a black man could not be a Mason, period.

Gate City Lodge No. 2 in Atlanta has been gaining national attention for its outstanding programming this year. Its officers and members are showing what dedication to Freemasonry and to Masonic education can do to make a difference in their community. And as the old saying goes, no good deed goes unpunished.

Earlier this year, Gate City Lodge received a petition from, and properly voted, initiated, passed and raised a black member. This brother came to the lodge of his own free will - he was not steered or coerced into joining Gate City. His initiation and subsequent degrees were a milestone in the history of the mainstream Grand Lodge of Georgia—while non-whites have become members of GLofGa lodges over the years, this was different. Because Brother Victor Marshall was the first African American.

The event caused enough controversy in the state that the Grand Master of Georgia, MWbro. J. Edward Jennings, Jr., issued an official statement that Brother Marshall had indeed been properly made a Freemason in Gate City Lodge No. 2.

On June 2nd, 2009, WBro. Michael J. Bjelajac, the Worshipful Master of Gate City No. 2 was served with official charges filed with the Grand Lodge by two other lodges in connection with the membership of Brother Marshall. WBro. Sterling A. Hicks, Master of Philologia Lodge No. 178, on behalf of his lodge, charged Bjelajac with violating "moral laws of Free and Accepted Masons and the moral duties as Worshipful Master" by allowing Brother Victor Marshall to be raised as a Master Mason. Specifically in the charges, the violation of this "moral law" came from allowing a "non-white" to be raised in Gate City Lodge.

WBro. Douglas Hubert Ethridge, Master of Metro Daylight Lodge No. 743, likewise charged WBro. Bjelajac with secretly forming a "Cabal" to overturn the "constitution, laws, ancient landmarks, customs and traditions of Free & Accepted Masons" in Georgia. Ethridge asserts in his charges that non-whites have "never" been raised in a lodge under the Grand Lodge of Georgia, and that Bjelajac "paraded" Brother Marshall into other lodges, shielded by Grand Master Jennings' official letter. Ethridge concludes that Bjelajac committed acts that conflicted with the "ancient customs and traditions which are the immemorial usages and fundamentals of the Craft which have existed from time immemorial and are unchangeable."

In an age when black Masons are Masters of mainstream lodges in states like Florida and North Carolina, as well as the Grand master of the District of Columbia (to say nothing of a black man occupying the most powerful political office in the world), and especially in light of the fact that the Grand Master of Georgia has already weighed in on the regularity and authenticity of Brother Marshall's raising, these charges should have been laughed out of the Grand Secretary's office with an extra helping of derision. But they weren't. The charges were properly filed, and WBro. Bjelajac was duly served. If found guilty of the charges, Bjelajac could be suspended. Worse, because Philologia Lodge No. 178 filed charges against Gate City itself, they could lose their charter, effectively suspending their entire membership.

All of this might have remained private, but Bjelajac and Gate City have decided to fight back in the courts, and the documents are now public record. They are requesting an injunction by the court to stop the Grand Lodge's trial commission from proceeding further. Curiously, the trial commission moved its initial hearing to a tiny venue, too small to hold more than a handful of people, and scheduled on a day when Bjelajac and others were known to be on vacation, with less than 30 days notice. Gate City obviously felt backed into a corner.

An examination of their complaint for a restraining order shows a massive and detailed answering of the charges against Bjelajac and Gate City. Not the least of which is the assertion that "non-whites" (Asians, Native Americans, etc) have long been accepted as members in Georgia, without complaint. No, these charges are strictly about the Peculiar Institution and efforts of a few bigots to keep black men out of mainstream Freemasonry in the Old South. ("Ancient customs" and "immemorial usages"? if that were true, how did an English Military lodge initiate, pass and raise Prince Hall and his 14 black friends in 1776? And why would the Premiere Grand Lodge in London issue a lodge of black Masons a charter, which they still have in their possession?)

I wish Gate City had not involved the courts, but they unquestionably felt squeezed. It could very well have been that Grand Master Jennings allowed the charges to go to a trial commission specifically in order to finally expose this bigotry for what it is, and definitively make the point that there is no written law prohibiting black men from joining Georgia lodges. I HOPE that was his reasoning. To risk a trial commission yanking Bjelajac's dues card and Gate City's charter is a risky way to make a point. With the civil courts involved now, it takes things to a new level. Not the least of which is the endangerment of the Grand Lodge's tax status as a Georgia corporation, if it is found that they engage in institutional racism.

I am on the road in South Dakota, and will update this post later with link to the court public documents. My deepest hope is that this sad event will drag grand lodges that discriminate openly or covertly into the 21st century (or at least 1972). It is abhorrent that men no longer find institutional discrimination in their jobs, housing, restaurants, transportation, or banking, yet can still find it within the lodge rooms of a fraternal organization that ostensibly teaches brotherly love, relief and truth to its members. The time has come to pitch the bigots out and make it known far and wide there's no place in Freemasonry for them.

Another question to be answered is, what will be the reaction of grand masters and grand lodges around the world if the Grand Lodge of Georgia (or any other grand lodge) takes the unbelievable position that black men cannot be mainstream Freemasons? Surely that's more important than which French grand lodge Minnesota chose to recognize a few years ago, or whether the GLofDC invaded the GL of New York's territory in Lebanon last year.

Isn't it?

----------------------------------

EDIT:

I'm home at last on Sunday evening. By now, many of you have seen the Masonic charges and the civil court filing in the Gate City Lodge situation—I had intended to post the now-public documents, but being on the road precluded me from doing so. In the meantime, Greg over at Freemason Information has done so. See them here.

Tuesday, June 16, 2009

Bloomsday and South Dakota


Ulysses and James Joyce fans, it's Bloomsday. The action of Joyce's 1922 novel all takes place on June 16th, and the Irish and literary folks alike have embraced this as Leopold Bloom Day. In Dublin, enthusiasts reenact Bloom's activities as described in the book.

According to one account,

At lunchtime it's traditional to stop off for a glass of burgundy and a Gorgonzola sandwich at Davy Byrne's Pub on Duke Street, just as Bloom did. In the afternoon the Ormond Hotel is the spot for an afternoon pint, where Bloom was tempted by the barmaids in the Sirens chapter.


The fictional Bloom, by the way, was a Freemason.

The book was notoriously banned in the US for its graphic content. Oddly, it was first published in Paris by Shakespeare and Company. I was just standing in their store a month ago.

I have to say that listening to Garrison Keillor read "Mary Bloom's Soliloquy" on NPR's Writer's Almanac tonight ("I put my arms around him yes and drew him down to me so he could feel my breasts all perfume yes and his heart was going like mad and yes I said yes I will Yes") was creepier than a backrub from grandma.

We're leaving for the Grand Lodge of South Dakota meeting in Sioux Falls. Looking forward to being there! I'll be speaking to their Lodge of Research on Friday afternoon at 4:00.

"Secrets of the Founding Fathers" History Channel June 29th


Last November, I was in Washington DC with Digital Ranch Productions being interviewed for a History Channel program, "Secrets of the Founding Fathers." The interviews were based largely on my book "Solomon's Builders."

Brothers Mark Tabbert ("American Freemasons: Three Centuries of Building Communities") and S. Brent Morris ("The Complete Idiot's Guide To Freemasonry") were also interviewed, along with Richard Brookhiser ("Founding Father: Rediscovering George Washington"), Steven Bullock ("Revolutionary Brotherhood"), Robert Hieronimus ("Founding Fathers, Secret Societies"), and many others. I have not seen the edited program, and so I can make no promises of how the final product turned out. We shot at Lafayette Park, in front of the Capitol. in Alexandria at Gatsby's Tavern, at the site of the original cornerstone of the Federal City, and in front of the House of the Temple. The production company spent time in Philadelphia and traveled to England, as well.

I noticed today it has appeared on the History Channel schedule for Monday, June 29th at 8PM, and will rerun again at midnight, EST.

Here, then, is the official listing:

Secrets of the Founding Fathers Monday, June 29th 08:00 PM Tuesday, June 30th 12:00 AM

Investigates the history and symbology so prominent in the creation of the United States, and traces the intricate connections of the Founders with Freemasonry, other secret organizations and between each other. How did the trademarks of the highly secretive Masons become integrated into the Great Seal, and on the dollar bill containing the All-Seeing Eye? Did the grid design of the nation's capital--commissioned by George Washington and completed by Pierre L'Enfant--contain occult symbols embraced by the Illuminati in 1776? Did Benjamin Franklin and George Washington deliberately enlist 33 Freemason generals from France to grow the fraternal brotherhood among Masonic nations? Explore the secret (and secretly dark) sides of the men responsible for laying the foundation of the United States.


As I said, I make no promises. I'll be as surprised as you are.

The full broadcast schedule is:

Mon 6/29 8:00-10:00pm
Tue 6/30 12:00-2:00am
Fri 7/3 8:00-10:00pm
Sat 7/4 12:00-2:00am
Sun 7/5 2:00-4:00pm

Monday, June 15, 2009

The Great Debate Within African American Freemasonry

Should Prince Hall Grand Lodges “recognize” African-American non-Prince Hall bodies?

For decades, this question has bedeviled the African-American Masonic community, as confusion and argument has raged over Prince Hall Affiliated (PHA), versus Prince Hall Origin (PHO) grand lodges. Further tossed into the mix are literally hundreds of African American grand lodges that have sprung up independently across the US. The Phylaxis Society, a research group similar in spirit to the Philalethes Society and the Masonic Society, but largely PHA-oriented, has long derided anything but PHA grand lodges as spurious, or to use the Phylaxis nomenclature, "bogus." Hundreds of these totally irregular and clandestine grand lodges consist of one or two lodges and are unquestionably money making or ego stroking ventures, totally unconnected with even a vague connection to legitimate Freemasonry.

But the PHO lodges in particular present a quandary within African American Freemasonry, because they, like PHA grand lodges, descended from Prince Hall's African Lodge in Boston. The difference is that PHO lodges split during a brief experiment within the Prince Hall lodges with a national grand lodge. Referred to as the "National Compact," a group of Prince Hall lodges assembled what they hoped would become a national governing body on June 24th, 1847. Not all states joined in the Compact, and schisms began to develop. In 1863, there was a major walkout by a large group of grand lodges who wished to return to the state grand lodge system. PHO (National Compact) grand lodges still exist, but the PHA grand lodges have dominated African American Freemasonry, and are the grand lodges that have been recognized by their mainstream counterparts. The history of this is explored in Out of the Shadows: The Emergence of Prince Hall Freemasonry in America, 200 Years of Endurance, by Alton G. Roundtree and Paul M. Bessel. The book stirred up new controversies when it was released.

On Tuesday, June 23, 2009, RW Ezekiel M. Bey of Cornerstone Lodge # 37 and WM Thomas C. Brooks, Jr. of Adelphic Union Lodge #14 will debate the question, "Should Prince Hall Grand Lodges “recognize” African-American non-Prince Hall bodies?" WM Brooks will argue for, while RW Bey argues against the question. This debate will be free of charge and open to the public.

Location: Prince Hall Plaza – 454 West 155th Street – 3rd Floor, New York City, begins at 7:30pm

For more information contact JW Jonathan Shim at (914) 564-9858, or email Adelphic Union Lodge # 14 at AUL14@ymail.com

Why I Don't Work In Advertising Anymore

This has nothing to do with Freemasonry. It DOES have to do with what I don't do anymore, and why.

John Scofield is a gentleman I've known for 25 years. He worked for my old boss Dean Crow before I was hired in 1984, and struck out on his own. He is one of the finest film/video editors you'll find anywhere. You've seen his work on the air.

Indianapolis was a curious town for the production business, and up until about five years ago, it had more than its share of tremendously talented directors, editors, lighting, grip and production design people, along with equally talented and award winning advertising agencies. Unfortunately, the trend towards consolidation of what were once drug store chains, electronics retailers, grocery stores, phone companies and other utility providers, banks, and many other industries resulted in business disappearing for our advertising community. Hundreds of these folks lost the jobs they'd worked for much of their adult lives, not because their work wasn't outstanding, but because the clients just merged away.

But something else happened, too. And John Scofield has made a little film about that something else. Watch it here.

Sunday, June 14, 2009

Collector Reprints of the Oldest Speculative Masonic Minute Books

Masonic Publishing Company in Glasgow, Scotland is offering a unique book, aimed at collectors and libraries. It is a 250 copy limited edition reprint of the First Minute Books 1642-1758, and 1758-1807 of The Mother Lodge of Scotland, Lodge Mother Kilwinning No.0.These are the oldest Masonic Minute books in the world. They are hand-bound in calf-skin leather on cotton-content paper, and delivered in a wooden presentation box.

The price is £1950. There is no online ordering method, but they can be contacted at macash@btinernet.com, or by mail from:
Masonic Publishing Company, 30 Loanbank Quadrant, Glasgow G51 3HZ, Scotland.

Also, see the Lodge Mother Kilwinning No. 0 website here.

A Great Day in Indianapolis

Saturday was a great day for Freemasonry in Indiana. An estimated 250 Masons marched from the Murat Shrine to Freemasons' Hall down North Street. We were led by the Knights Templar color guard and the Grand Lodge officers, followed by Blue Lodge Masons from across the state, members and officers from the appendant bodies and youth groups, and ending with the Murat Shrine band.

(I will add that my only "uh-oh" moment of the day was driving past Massachusetts Avenue and seeing a large crowd coincidentally heading downtown for Gay Pride Day, led by a gentleman wearing nothing but a Speedo and carrying a large, inflated banana. I was a little concerned that the image of 250 guys marching down the street wearing aprons might be misconstrued as either mocking by some or unduly supportive by others.)

Another hundred or more Masons, family and friends made their way into the auditorium, which could have been a whole lot hotter if it hadn't been in the 60s last night. Those who entered through the west doors filed past our new security desk, constructed by PGM Richard Elman, and our just-delivered computerized information kiosk, partially paid for by a generous grant from the Scottish Rite Valley of Indianapolis. Entertaining the growing crowd was Grand Organist James McNabney. The stage was quickly crowded with Grand Lodge officers, Past Grand Masters and the Temple Board members. After introductions by Wbro. Dillman, Temple Board president, Jim read the proclamations by Governor Mitch Daniels, Indianapolis Mayor Greg Ballard, and Indianapolis City Councilman Ed Colman declaring June 6-13th as Freemason Week.

Keynote speaker U.S. Congressman Dan Burton, member of Evergreen-Oriental Lodge No. 500, who represents Indiana's 5th Congressional District, was introduced by former Army buddy, Grand Secretary Max Carpenter, and spoke on the long association between Freemasonry in the U.S. and patriotism, reminding the audience of the Masonic membership of many of the founders of our nation and 15 presidents. He recalled the laying of the cornerstone of the US Capitol on September 21st, 1793 by George Washington, surrounded by Freemasons, and dressed in his Masonic regalia, performing much the same ceremony as today's. Following his remarks, Brother Burton was presented with the Caleb B. Smith Award, the highest award that can be given by the Grand Lodge of Indiana for service to the fraternity.

Grand Master Charles F. Marlowe presented a beautiful plaque to Freemasons' Hall, to commemorate the occasion. Handmade from acacia wood, and inscribed in marble and brass, this stunning memorial marks the 100th anniversary of the building in the most beautiful manner possible. It will be hung in the south hallway once we can find a secure way to keep its hefty weight from pulling the plaster off the wall!

Grand Master Marlowe's remarks were brief, but challenged us to keep improving the building, and encouraged ALL brethren in Indiana to remember what a profound effect our fraternal edifices have on our newest members, as well as the communities in which we reside. He also took the opportunity to ask Indiana masons to reach the goal of 2,500 new Masons this year. Upon ending his remarks, he presented Jim Dillman with the hand-made gavel used at Grand Lodge this past May, and a check that will go towards an etched logo for the front of the new security desk - money raised by brethren in northern Indiana.

The rededication ceremony by the Grand Lodge officers followed, with the traditional trying of the building using the ancient tools of Masonry, and re-consecrating it with corn, wine and oil.

At the conclusion of the ceremony, refreshments were served, and guests filled the building to socialize and to tour its many rooms. Brother McNabney entertained a group in the third floor south lodge room playing its 100 year old pipe organ. Careful explorers found the beginnings of the Grand Lodge Library and Museum just beginning to take shape on the 5th floor. Assisting in serving up cake and punch were the young men of the Indianapolis Demolay Chapter that has just moved into the building in the last year. Every day seems to bring new activity, groups or events. The building is more alive than it has been in decades.

Many, many thanks to everyone who helped to make this a very special occasion for Indiana Freemasonry. Grand Master Marlowe said during his remarks that we cannot live the history of the past, but we can make history today. History was indeed made today in Indianapolis, and the Freemasons from every corner of the state of Indiana have much to be proud of. Freemasons' Hall is the headquarters of our fraternity. It is not just an Indianapolis temple building—every Indiana Mason is a partial owner of this magnificent temple. The Grand Master has given his permission for lodges from anywhere in Indiana to come and perform degrees in its four lodge rooms.

I left the building about 5:00 or so, and Wbro. Jim Dillman was snoring soundly in his office chair, the last guy in the place. He earned it. He had a busy day.

Wednesday, June 10, 2009

More on Shriners' Hospital Closings

CNN online has more coverage today about the potential closings of Shriners Hospitals, and the ideas being floated to save them. See here.

A Century at Indiana Freemasons' Hall

The 100th anniversary rededication of Indiana Freemasons' Hall will take place this Saturday, June 13th.

12:00 P.M. Procession begins forming in the Murat Shrine parking lot.
1:00 P.M. Procession to Indiana Freemasons' Hall begins
2:00 P.M. Rededication ceremony begins

All times are Eastern Daylight Time (fast time for those in some parts of the state)

Please wear your officer aprons and jewels if you hold an office in your lodge. White gloves are also recommended, but not required. If you would like to wear the regalia of an appendant body, please feel free to do so.

The keynote address will be given by U.S. Congressman Dan Burton, a member of Evergreen-Oriental Lodge #500. Grand Master Charles Marlowe and the Grand Lodge officers will be conducting the rededication ceremony. The building will be open after the ceremony for those who would like to see the many recent changes the building has undergone.

This year, the Grand Lodge Library and Museum has been returned to Freemasons’ Hall after a decade in Franklin at the Masonic Home. The second kitchen for the dining hall is gone and now serves as office space, as well as new, modern bathrooms. The rooftop promenade deck is no longer used by the Knights Templar or partygoers seeking a breathtaking view of the city. It now bristles with cell phone towers. Long a dark curiosity on the city skyline, new exterior lighting has made it stand out as never before. And its auditorium has been reopened to the public after nearly four decades of darkness. Rooms have been freshly painted and decorated, and new policies now make it more accessible to the public than at any time in its long history. Long range plans include a new capital improvement campaign to at last add air-conditioning and to modernize the stage, auditorium and kitchen. And while time has worked its inexorable will against its sturdy Indiana limestone, the
Freemasons of Indiana still call it home a century after it was built.

For 100 years, Indiana Freemasons’ Hall has been the fraternal home of thousands of men from every walk of life—from captains of business and the halls of government, to doctors, teachers, shop keepers, factory workers, and the neighbor next door. It enters its second century with the same mission as the day it opened: to extend a warm welcome to the Freemasons of Indiana, as well as to the community which it proudly calls home.

Traveling to South Dakota 6/19

Alice, Wiley and I are again packing up the Dummwägen, and heading for the land of Mount Rushmore. I'll be speaking to the South Dakota Lodge of Masonic Research at its meeting during Grand Lodge on Friday, June 19th, 2009. Grand Lodge will meet at the Holiday Inn Sioux Falls – City Centre, 100 West 8th Street, Sioux Falls, South Dakota.

My presentation will begin at 4:00PM and will be open to all. Members of the SDLMR in attendance will receive an autographed copy of “Freemasons for Dummies,” and membership in the Research Lodge is a mere $8. So if you are a South Dakota Mason, this could be the bargain of the year!

Looking forward to meeting brethren at the Grand Lodge of South Dakota!

Sunday, June 07, 2009

Ladies' Oriental Shrine Drops Masonic requirement

I have received a message that the Ladies' Oriental Shrine of North America voted at their annual meeting of the Grand Council in May to drop the requirement of a Masonic connection for membership. Founded in Wheeling, West Virginia in 1903, the LOSNA does not claim to be an official auxiliary of Shrine International (formerly known as the Ancient Arabic Order of the Nobles of the Mystic Shrine). They are a separate and distinct Order.

According to their website, up until this recent vote, a candidate had to be "related to a member of the Ancient Arabic Order of the Nobles of the Mystic Shrine or a Master Mason by birth, marriage or adoption. "

This will unquestionably be a topic of conversation when Shrine International holds its annual Imperial Council Session in San Antonio, Texas in July. The Shrine has lost $3 billion (with a B) out of its former $8 billion foundation fund in the last 18 months, and is voting to close 6 of its 22 hospitals. Shrine International is making subtle and not so subtle changes in its public image, and even its initiation ritual that moves it away from the Masonic connection. It is clear that, if the primary purpose of Shrine International is to operate its hospitals, the Masonic community is no longer large enough or well-heeled enough to sustain its support. The Shrine has little choice but to open its doors to the general public and drop its Masonic requirement.

That said, I don't see a 2/3 majority vote passing anytime soon, which will only lead to a deepening financial catastrophe for them, because members will want to sentimentally cling to the past instead of realistically planning for the future. IMO, Freemasonry and the Shrine need to part company. Yes, grand lodges will lose some members, and the Shrine will lose some members. But both will adjust.

New Bern, NC Temple Celebrates 200th


The St. John's Masonic Lodge and theatre in New Bern, North Carolina celebrated its 200th anniversary this weekend, and got a nice mention on the TV news. According to the story, it took eight years to build from 1801 to 1809 and was originally called the Masonic Opera House. It served time as both a Confederate arsenal, and later, a Union hospital during the Civil War

Monday, June 01, 2009

International Conference on the History of Freemasonry 2009

Let me remove a misconception that many within the Craft, as well as the non-Masonic world may have, that there is little interest in the history, philosophy and symbolism of Freemasonry today.

Don’t you believe it.


The second International Conference on the History of Freemasonry in Edinburgh, Scotland was held May 29-31st at the Grand Lodge of Scotland. The conference brought together approximately 170 Masonic and non-Masonic academic historians, researchers, authors and interested parties from all over the world. The ICHF is the brainchild of Scotland-based Supersonic Events Ltd., and is co-sponsored by the Centre for Research into Freemasonry, University of Sheffield; Centre interdisciplinaire bordelais d’étude des lumières-Lumières Nature Société, Université de Bordeaux III; Centre d’Étude de la Langue et de la Littérature Françaises des XVIIe et XVIIIe siècles (CELLF), Sorbonne IV, Paris; Chair of Freemasonry, Faculty of Religious Studies, University of Leiden; Centre de la Méditerrannée Moderne et Contemporaine, Université de Nice Sophia-Antipolis; and the Interdisciplinary Research Group Freemasonry, Free University of Brussels.

In addition, the conference had the support of the Grand Lodge of Scotland, the Grand Lodge of Ireland, and the United Grand Lodge of England.

The gathering coincided this year with the 250th anniversary of the birth of Robert Burns, currently being celebrated all over Scotland as “The Homecoming”, and there were many papers that explored Burns’ life, works, and connection (both real and imaginary) with Freemasonry. The spirit of Burns was immediately called to mind, as the 11th Earl of Elgin helped to open the first day’s session with the display of the Masonic apron of Burns, accompanied by a piper. (Paul Rich’s paper on Friday discussed the controversy over competing Burns aprons, and comes down in favor of the one presented by Lord Elgin as the authentic one). Lord Elgin, Andrew Douglas Alexander Thomas Bruce, is a direct living descendant of Robert the Bruce, and served as Grand Master of Scotland between 1961 and 1965. He serves as the head of the Royal Order of Scotland.

More than 70 papers were presented over the course of the event, which was held again at the beautiful Grand Lodge of Scotland's Freemason Hall on Edinburgh's George Street. In many ways the conference is an overwhelming experience. Apart from the plenary lectures, the sessions ran in three concurrent tracks, so no matter how hard you tried, you missed 2/3 of the papers. On the other hand, that usually meant there was something being presented at any time that would appeal to your interests.



Plenary lecture 1: Pierre-Yves Beaurepaire, France
Researching Freemasonry in the 21st Century: Chances and Challenges

Paper 1a. Matthew Scanlan, UK
The historiography of early freemasonry: methodological flaws

Paper 1b. J Scott Kenney, Canada
Pragmatic Constructions of History among Freemasons

Paper 1c. Frank Albo, UK
Charles Robert Cockerell, Freemasonry and the Origins of Gothic Architecture

Session 2: The material culture of Freemasonry I
Paper 2a. Jennifer S Alexander, UK
Masons' marks and signatures on monuments

Paper 2b. Hilary Anderson Stelling, USA
Tokens of Friendship, Brotherhood and Self: American Mark Medals from the 1780s-1820s

Paper 2c. François Rognon, France
L’étonnante aventure des « archives russes » et leur apport dans l’étude de la franc-maçonnerie française de la première moitié du 20e siècle

Session 3: Freemasonry in the United States I
Paper 3a. Damien Amblard, USA
When the Profane Besieged the Temple: The Ideological Origins of American Antimasonry, 1798-1829

Paper 3b. Mark Tabbert, USA
Prince Hall, African Lodge # 459 and the American Masonic Landscape of the 1770-80s.

Paper 3c. Mark Lause, USA
Other Brothers: the African-American Experience of the Mid-19th Century Revolutionary Secret Societies

Session 4: Franc-Maçonnerie et societé civile dans l’Europe méridionale
Paper 4a. Pierre-Yves Beaurepaire, France
La loge maçonnique dans l’Europe des Lumières au regard de l’espace public : une
relecture de Ju_rgen Habermas au miroir de la sociabilité et du divertissement.


Paper 4b. Luis P. Martin, France
Pratiques sociales et engagements politiques dans la Franc-Maçonnerie espagnole (XIXe-XXe siècles)

Paper 4c. Fulvio Conti, Italy
Les frères dans l’espace public: sociabilité et participation politique dans la francmaçonnerie italienne (XIXe-XXe siècles)

Session 5: Mexican Masonic Scholarship in the 21st Century
Paper 5a. Dr. Guillermo de los Reyes, USA
Masonic Nation: The Impact of Freemasonry in the Discourses of Mexican Nationalism

Paper 5b. Carlos F. Martínez Moreno, Mexico
Two Perspectives on the Efforts of Secularization in Symbolic Freemasonry in Mexico during the 19th and 20th Centuries

Paper 5c. Daniel Guitérrez-Sandoval, USA
Albert Pike’s Mexican Connections

Session 6: Freemasonry in the United States II
Paper 6a. James W. Daniel, UK
The US and us, 1840-1890: the influence of American freemasonry on British freemasonry

Paper 6b. Todd William Kissam, USA
Ritual and Contextual Significance in Albert Pike's Masonic Baptism of 1871

Paper 6c. Adam Kendall, USA
Klad in White Hoods and Aprons: The K.K.K. and the Infiltration of California Freemasonry

17.30 Session 7: The material culture of freemasonry II
Paper 7a. Diane Clements, UK
Mind the gaps! (in archive records)

Paper 7b. Mark J R Dennis, UK
Living with Symbols? Masonic Material Culture

Paper 7c. Susan A Snell, UK
Poetry in motion: the role of verse contributions to masonic periodicals during the long eighteenth century

Session 8: Global Freemasonry in the 20th century
Paper 8a. Helge Bjørn Horrisland, Norway
Norwegian masonic activity in London during WWII

Paper 8b. Pauline Chakmakjian, UK
Japanese Indigenisation of Masonic Ritual

Paper 8c. Joachim Berger, Germany
Between universal values and national ties: Freemasons face the challenge of ‘Europe’, c. 1850–1930

Session 9: Freemasonry in the United States III
Paper 9a. Peter Paul Fuchs, USA
Incense to the intellect: Philosophical and Religious Dimensions of the Albert Pike Library as seen in his Major Works.

Paper 9b. Aimee E. Newell, USA
The Masonic “Careers” of Boston Artist John Ritto Penniman and His Apprentices

Paper 9c. Kathleen Smith Kutolowski, USA
The Strange Case of the Missing Masons: A Generation of Lost Freemasonic History on the Western New York Frontier

UGLE Prestonian lecturer 2009
John Wade, UK
Go thou and do likewise: English Masonic processions from the 18th to the 20th centuries

Plenary lecture 3: William D. Moore, USA
Riding the Goat: Secrecy, Masculinity, and Fraternal High Jinks in the United States 1845-1930

Session 10: The rise of Afro-American freemasonry
Paper 10a. Stephen A. Kantrowitz, USA
Brotherhood Denied: Black Freemasonry and The Limits of Reconstruction.

Paper 10b. Julie Winch, USA
‘A Late Thing I Guess’ – The Early Years of Philadelphia’s African Masonic Lodge.

Paper 10c. Chernoh Sesay, USA
Between Empire and the Lodge: Mobility and the Origins of Black Freemasonry.

Session 11: Italian Freemasonry and Fascism, Prussian freemasonry and National Socialism: a critical comparison
Paper 11a. Dirk Niemeyer, Germany
The "Große Loge von Preußen" (the Grand Lodge of Prussia) in the Weimar Republic and in the early "Drittes Reich": A "nonpolitical" society in a changing political space of policy

Paper 11b. Giuseppe Vatri, Italy
Italian Freemasonry and Fascism: from friendship to defence (1921-1923)

Paper 11c. Hans-Hermann Höhmann, Germany
German Freemasonry after World War II: Masonic “Policy of Remembrance”

Paper 11d. Fabio Venzi, Italy
Freemasonry and Fascism

Session 12: Russian Freemasonry and European networks in the 18th century
Paper 12a. Tatiana Artemyeva, Russia
Masonic Networks and Intellectual Communications in 18-century Russia

Paper 12b. Robert Collis, UK
Jacobite Networks and Freemasonry in Russia 1689-1732

Paper 12c. Natalie Bayer, USA
“We are the teachers now”: Resistance to Foreign Leadership in Russian Freemasonry in the End of the Eighteenth Century.

Session 13: Performing Freemasonry
Paper 13a. Kristiane Hasselmann, Germany
Performing Freemasonry: The practicalsymbolic Constitution of a Civic Habitus in
18th-Century Englan
d

Paper 13b. Prof. Michael Franz & Eleonore Kalisch, Germany
The value-situation as specific signsituation. Masonic ethic in its historical
Context


Paper 13c. Andreas Önnerfors, UK
Semiotics of the Un-outspoken: Masonic Ritual and the Borders of Historical
Hermeneutics


Session 14: Freemasonry and the West Indies
Paper 14a. Cécile Révauger, France
From Robert Burns_ dream of Jamaica to Masonic facts in the British West Indies: Barbados, Trinidad and Grenada

Paper 14b. Aviston D. Downes, Barbados
Britishness and Brotherhood: Freemasonry and White Colonial Identity in Barbados, 1740-1890

Paper 14c. Emilie Charles, Trinidad
Societal impacts on the development of the craft in Trinidad & Tobago

Session 15: Robert Burns and Freemasonry I
Paper 15a. Carolyn Bain, USA
Commodification of Identity: Robert Burns Celebrity Spokesperson for Freemasonry and the Egalitarian Stage

Paper 15b. Mark Tabbert, USA
Robert Burns and American Freemasonry
(Mark was supposed to read a paper written by another author, which failed to arrive. Instead, he gave a wonderful, off the cuff presentation about the changes in ethnic perceptions in American history, how “Scottishness” was defined over the years, and how both Burns and Scottish heritage have been adapted for use by Freemasonry over time.)

Paper 15c. Paul Rich, USA
Robert Burns, Charles Kirkpatrick Sharpe, and the Mystery of the Master's Apron

Session 16: Freemasonry Imagined: National, International, Antinational
Paper 16a. Jeffrey Tyssens, Belgium
“Bacillus Gallicus”: Nationality and Anti-Masonic Discourse in the Early American
Republic


Paper 16b. Anaïs Maes, Belgium
The Birth of the Belgian Nation State: Masonic “National” Discourses

Paper 16c. Jimmy Koeppen, Belgium
The Conspiracy of Freemasons, Jews and Communists. An Analysis of German and
French Nationalist Discourse (1918-1940).

(It was great to see Jimmy again this time. He is the translator of the Danish version of "Vrijmetselarij voor dummies.” )

Paper 16d. Petri Mirala, Belgium
Irish Freemasonry: From Radicalism to Loyalism

Session 17: Preservation of Masonic source material
Paper 17a. Diane Clements, UK
Digitising Masonic periodicals

Paper 17b. Mark Tabbert, USA
Digitising US Grand lodge proceedings

Paper 17c. Susan A Snell, UK
The historical records survey of the UGLE

Session 18: Robert Burns and Freemasonry II
Paper 18a. Heather Calloway, USA
Chapbooks of the Burnsiana Collection at the House of the Temple Library

Paper 18b. Iain D. MacIntosh, UK
The Burness (Burnes) Family of Montrose, Cousins to Robert Burns.

Paper 18c. Trevor Stewart, UK
Polymnia and the Craft: an exploration of newly discovered examples of a popular literary genre and the seventeenth-century Scottish Craft

Session 19: Freemasonry and the Enlightenment
Paper 19a. Roger Dachez, France
Early French Masonic Exposures (1737-1751): a reappraisal and some methodological reflections

Paper 19b. Róbert Péter, Hungary
Religion and Enlightenment in Thomas Dunckerley´s Neglected Writings

Session 20: Freemasonry in the world
Paper 20a. Thierry Millet, France
La franc-maçonnerie en Syrie et au Liban indépendants (1940-1958) (in French)

Paper 20b. Annti Talvitie, Finland
Cultural Contexts of Masonic Mysteries: the case of Finland

Plenary lecture 3: Valentine Bold, UK
'Witty...lusty, and tender': On editing Robert Burns' 'Merry Muses of Caledonia'.

Session 21: Masonic association within early Industrial England
Paper 21a. John Astbury, UK
Membership of the ‘King’s Head’ Lodge, Salford, 1727

Paper 21b. David Hawkins, UK
Membership of the ‘Anchor and Hope’ Lodge, Bolton, 1732-1813.

Paper 21c. John Acaster, UK
The composition of Masonic membership in Manchester and Salford during the period of early industrialisation before 1813.

Session 22: Freemasonry, building the Empire?
Paper 22a. R. Hughes Montgomery, New Zealand
Working Class Scottish Freemasonry outside Scotland

Paper 22b. Bob James, Australia
The ‘Builders of the Empire’ thesis and the Australian experience

Paper 23c. Patrick J Flynn, Ireland
The influence of an Irish Military Lodge, the 1st Volunteer Lodge No. 620, on Irish Society and Freemasonry

Session 23: Aspects of British freemasonry
Paper 23a. David Harrison, UK
Education and Charity are essential features of freemasonry

Paper 23b. John Belton & Bob Cooper, UK
Scotlands Masons - membership and occupations of freemasons 1800-2000

Session 24: Freemasonry at Sea
Paper 24a. Michael J. Hearn & Brain Coak, UK
Freemasonry at Sea. The Story of Shipboard Lodges

Paper 24b. Eric Saunier, France
“The Sailors and the Freemasonry ": the interest of a new object of research for masonic historiography.

Plenary lecture 4: Andrew Prescott, Lampeter
‘Tinsel and glitter and high-sounding titles’: Thinking About Freemasonry in the Age of Robert Burns


Dr. Henrik Bogdan, author of the book Western Esotericism and Rituals of Initiation, who was supposed to deliver one of the plenary lectures, was injured in an auto accident and was unable to attend.




The prevailing hope is that the 2011 conference will be held in Alexandria, Virginia at the George Washington National Masonic Memorial, and then in a variety of European cities every two years. But Edinburgh is the conference's spiritual home, and rightly so, with the city's rich history of Freemasonry and its role in the origins of the modern fraternity.