Thursday, March 31, 2011

South Carolina Masonic Research Society Symposium April 22nd

Brother Grayson Mayfield on the Palmetto Bug blog is announcing that the South Carolina Masonic Research Society will hold its first symposium and banquet on April 22nd, 2011 at 7:00 PM in the Omar Shrine Temple, 176 Patriots Point Street, Mt. Pleasant, South Carolina 29464. The cost is $25.00 per person and this will be a formal or semi-formal dress event.

The keynote speaker will be Brother Michael A. Halleran, author of The Better Angels of our Nature: Freemasonry in the American Civil War and former editor of the Scottish Rite Research Society’s Plumbline. Halleran is a freelance writer and a practicing attorney in the Flint Hills of East-Central Kansas. A lecturer at Emporia State University, he is also an active Freemason, belonging to both Emporia Lodge No. 12, AF&AM, and Mount Zion Lodge No. 266, AF&AM, Topeka, Kansas. Halleran received the Mackey Award for Excellence in Masonic Scholarship by the Scottish Rite Research Society for his article on Civil War Freemasonry in that society’s journal: Heredom, vol. 14 (2006). In addition, he is the author of a regular column for The Scottish Rite Journal. He is a member of the Quatuor Coronati Correspondence Circle, and the Scottish Rite Research Society where he studies American military Masonry and the traditions of military lodges worldwide.

Also speaking will be WB Wayne Sirmon, an educator and scholar from Mobile, Alabama, who will be speaking in the dress and character John Fretwell (Grand Master of Texas, 1868) on the construction and testing of Confederate submarines as well as the development of torpedo mines. Brother Wayne will then discuss the discovery of the H.L. Hunley Submarine and the events leading up to the conduct of the funeral of the crew and the Masonic burial of Lt. George Dixon in Charleston in 2004.

Dr. David Harrison on the "Genesis of Freemasonry"

Lewis Masonic's Andrew Selwyn-Crome interviews historian and author Dr. David Harrison about his book The Genesis of Freemasonry.


Canadian Intelligence: al-Qaeda vs. Freemasonry


A brief article in the conservative Toronto-based National Post reveals a Canadian Security Intelligence Service (CSIS) report concerning Islamic extremists and their view of Freemasonry.

From "Islamist extremists view Freemasons as the enemy: report" by Stewart Bell:

As if it wasn’t enough that they want to blow up all the “Crusaders” and “Zionists,” now al-Qaeda has apparently chosen a new target: Freemasons.

A “secret” Canadian intelligence study newly-released to the National Post describes how Islamist conspiracy theorists have seen the enemy and it is Freemasonry.

“Islamist extremists and the Freemasons” is the actual title of a Canadian Security Intelligence Service intelligence assessment distributed in December 2009.

It says extremist ideologues have taken Dan Brown’s The Da Vinci Code and the Nicholas Cage film National Treasure as evidence of a conspiracy against Islam.

They have been telling youths that Freemasons are: anti-Muslim; have close ties to Israel; and have been conducting secret paramilitary operations in Europe.



H/T to Mike Bayrak.

UPDATE:
The National Post put up the text of the CSIS report a little later in the day.
See it here.

Arturo de Hoyos to Receive Minnesota Masonic Education Award

Each year, the Grand Lodge of Minnesota AF&AM bestows the Duane E. Anderson Excellence in Masonic Education Award at its annual communication. Read the story of Right Worshipful Brother Duane E. Anderson, PGM, and the award given in his honor, here.

The 2011 National recipient at the 158th Grand Lodge of Minnesota Annual Communication in St. Cloud, April 8-9, 2011, will be Illustrious Brother Arturo de Hoyos, 33°.

Art is a Past Master of McAllen Lodge No. 1110, AF&AM of Texas, and is the Grand Archivist and Grand Historian for the Supreme Council, 33°, Scottish Rite of Freemasonry Southern Jurisdiction in Washington, D.C. He is respected the world over as an an authority on the history, rituals, and symbolism of Freemasonry. Sometimes jokingly referred to as the "Grand Archivist of the Universe," he is the author, editor, and translator of numerous books and articles. He has an encyclopedic memory, reads many languages, and has been responsible for the rediscovery and illumination of numerous works about the Scottish Rite, including Pike's Esoterika, David Bernard's Light on Masonry, and the incredible Scottish Rite Ritual Monitor and Guide. And he's a first class shot.

Congratulations, Art!

Past recipients of the award:
National Awards

2010 No award presented

2009 Robert G. Davis, author

2008 Edward R. Halpaus, Grand Lodge Education Officer of the Grand Lodge of Minnesota

2007 Akram Elias, Past Grand Master, Grand Lodge of the District of Columbia

2006 Christopher Hodapp, author

2005 James Tresner, author

2004 Robert Conley, Past Grand Master, Grand Lodge of Michigan

2003 S. Brent Morris, author

2003 Nelson King, editor of the Philalethes Magazine

2003 Forrest Haggard, author and Past Grand Master, Grand Lodge of Kansas

Minnesota Awards

2010 No award presented

2009 John A. Freeburg - Anoka Lodge No. 30

2008 Bruce L. Sherman - Ancient Landmark Lodge No. 5, Olaf Kuhlke - Palestine Lodge No. 79

2007 Roger M. Firestone - Ancient Landmark Lodge No. 5,

2006 J. Kenneth Allsen - Rochester Lodge No. 21

2005 - Neil E. Neddermeyer - Wayzata Lodge No. 205

2004 Dexter Pehle - Minnehaha Lodge No. 165, Terry L. Tilton - Eveleth Lodge No. 239, James R. Billig - Clearwater Lodge No. 28, David A. Rahm - Helios Lodge No. 273

2003 John Worlein - Fidelity Lodge No. 39, Thomas Evans - Bloomington Lodge No. 340, Edward R. Halpaus - Mora Lodge No. 223, Anthony P. Keane, Lake Superior Lodge No. 349

Masonic Information Center Mark Twain Award Winners 2010

Four years ago, the Masonic Information Center created the Mark Twain Award, to "recognize Lodge leadership for asserting a uniquely Masonic identity both within the Lodge and throughout the community that is consistent with the Fraternity's historic focus on education, self-improvement, good works, and fellowship." It's the only national Masonic award of its kind, and it represents achievement at the local lodge level. Lodges that win the Twain award are working hard to make their individual lodge just that—individual. These lodges have found ways to make their lodge unique, distinctive, educational, vital to their members, and a part of the community in which they reside.

The Masonic Information Center is a committee recognized by the Conference of Grand Masters in North America, and the Twain Award winners were announced at the Conference in Arlington, Virginia last month. The MIC was originally funded in 1993 by John J. Robinson, author of Born In Blood, who was not a Mason at the time. Robinson gave a grant to start the Center in order to provide information to both Masons and non-Masons, and to respond to critics of the fraternity. The Center operates as part of the Masonic Service Association of North America. For more about the Twain Award, see here. Congratulations to the 2010 winners:

Helion Lodge #1, Huntsville, Alabama

Oasis Lodge #52, Tucson, Arizona

Henri Lodge #190, Tonganoxie, Kansas

Bay View Lodge #196, E. Boothbay, Maine

John T. Heard Lodge, Ipswich, Massachusetts

Helios Lodge #273, Cambridge, Minnesota

Boulder City Lodge #37, Boulder City, Nevada

Benevolent Lodge #7, Milford, New Hampshire

Atlas Pythagoras Lodge #10, Westfield, New Jersey

Temple Lodge #6, Albuquerque, New Mexico

Sandia Mountain Lodge #72, Albuquerque, New Mexico

Harmonie Lodge #699, Amherst, New York

Statesville Lodge #27, Statesville, North Carolina

Tippecanoe Lodge #174, Tipp City, Ohio

Sand Springs Lodge #475, Sand Springs, Oklahoma

South McAlester Lodge #96, McAlester, Oklahoma

Daylight Lodge #232, Seattle, Washington


The criteria for the Twain Award is designed to motivate lodges to plan its future and improve itself with meaningful activities that serve the needs of its own members. There's no checklist, no defined roadmap of specific items that get crossed off when completed. The goal is to motivate lodges to act for their own good, and the good of their community, and to do it in a thought out manner. The website has much information on it, but it does list suggested activities and ideas that every lodge ought to be considering, regardless of whether they are trying for an award or not.

Frustrated lodge officers are frequently hunting the silver bullet, the Big Fix that will fill their lodges and make them active and relevant to their members. The truth is, it's different for every lodge. This list is one place to start. If you've heard me speak at a lodge or grand lodge, you've heard me say over and over. Try everything, and when that doesn't work, try something else. But start by making your lodge a place YOU can't wait to come to every month, every week.

The MIC has a list of suggestions for lodges to use as a starting place to rejuvenate themselves, and while I don't want to reprint their whole website here, their suggestions are thoughtful ones:

- Apply concepts of education and self-improvements to current print and non-print communications tools of individual lodges, Grand Lodges, and national Masonic organizations and societies.

- Improve the environment of lodge-based fellowship; refresh the look of the lodge; welcome new members; improve presentation skills; provide mentoring to study degrees; strengthen communications skills.

- Organize group activities based on education and self-improvement that can enrich lodge-centered fellowship such as: welcoming committees, lodge renovation and clean up campaigns, leadership development conferences, mentor meetings, workshops on such things as Masonic ritual, history, symbolism, architectural works, art, and cultural works.

- Initiate workshops on Masonic personal growth topics such as leadership, stewardship, ethics, philosophy, and spirituality.

- Call on local educational faculty to present on topics that enrich the body, mind, and spirit of the brothers.

- Tap the talents of individual members and build a community of experts to help facilitate Masons to improve themselves and their community.

- Improve community accessibility to Masonry through public outreach activities and program or group hosting, tutoring, and mentoring.

- Offer Masonic recognition and incentive programs for educational initiatives, visitor programs and Chamber of Commerce presentations.

- Honor the Mason within yourself.

- Communicate regularly with neighboring lodges.

Wednesday, March 30, 2011

"Masonic Mystery" Game for Android Phones


"Masonic Mystery," a locked room puzzle game, is now available for free download from VitalGame here.

Don't have an Android phone but you still have an hour or more to kill? You can also play it online here.

2011 Masonic Society Semi-Annual Meeting in Salt Lake City 7/16


Plans for The Masonic Society Semi-Annual meeting are being finalized now. TMS will be complementing the already outstanding program put together by the Rocky Mountain Masonic Conference. Our events will take place Saturday afternoon, July 16 after the conferral of the Mark Master Degree in the Salt Lake Masonic Temple.

All Master Masons are welcome. Membership in TMS is not required.

Here is the schedule:

1:00 P.M. to 1:30 P.M. Registration

1:30 P.M. to 4:00 P.M. Presentations

Presenters:

  • Pete Normand, FMS, former editor of American Masonic Review, and of The Plumbline, the newsletter of the Scottish Rite Research Society and noted Masonic writer and speaker. (Topic to be announced)
  • Glen Cook, FMS, Past Grand Master, Most Worshipful Grand Lodge of Utah (Topic to be announced)
  • Dr. Jay Williams, TMS Member, Albuquerque, New Mexico. Dr. Williams has a Ph.D. in linguistics, and speaks the Navajo Indian language fluently. His presentation will be: Át’é jiní ‘It Was Said': The Transmission of Architectural Esoteric Knowledge in Navajo and Freemasonry
Symbols, along with the allegories in which they are embedded, provide means of reproducing sacred architecture with a high degree of accuracy without the aid of written forms, in that, such symbols are mnemonic aids or vehicles in the transmission of esoteric knowledge. Symbols within ceremonial Navajo (Diné) sandpaintings form a sacred allegorical template or iikááh which are required in building the hooghan or traditional Navajo home. Such means in reproducing sacred architecture parallels the universal construction of the Masonic Lodge. Such parallelism between Navajo and Masonic transmission of knowledge may be founding characteristics of traditionally oral-based societies.
  • Dr. Kenneth Davis, author, Past Master of Lodge Vitruvian No. 767 in Indianapolis, and member of TMS board of directors, Rio Rancho, New Mexico will speak on "Freemasonry and The Tarot"

Banquet

6:00 P.M. to 7:00 P.M. Cocktail Hour (Cash Bar, No Credit Cards Accepted)

7:00 P.M. Dinner
  • After dinner remarks will be made by Most Worshipful Brother John C. Liley, Jr., Grand Master of Masons, Grand Lodge of Utah

The banquet will be held at the Alta Club located approximately midway between the Embassy Suites Hotel and the Salt Lake Masonic Temple. We are working on finalizing the menu and that information will be provided as soon as it becomes available. Please note the dress code on the website and come dressed in a jacket and tie.

Registration Fee (including banquet) $75.00 per person.

To obtain the discounted room rate of $109 at the Embassy Suites Hotel in Salt Lake City, be sure to mention the RMMC. This applies even if you are only attending the TMS portion of the weekend. There will be no room discount available under the name of The Masonic Society. The number for the Embassy Suites is 801-359-7800.

Reservation information should be posted on the TMS website within days and will also appear in the Spring Issue of The Journal of the Masonic Society which will arrive in April.

Please be aware that while we are partnering with the RMMC to make the semi-annual meeting a broader experience for TMS members, these are two separate events and reservations must be made separately with the respective organizations. The RMMC will not accept reservations for the TMS portion of the weekend. The TMS event is not included in the $170 RMMC registration fee. TMS cannot accept reservations for the RMMC portion of the weekend.

Tuesday, March 29, 2011

Knight Templar Easter Observance on East and West Coasts


For the first time, the Knights Templar will be officially sponsoring Easter Sunrise observances on both the East and West Coasts.

The 81st Annual Easter Sunrise Service, sponsored by the Grand Encampment of Knights Templar of the United States of America, will be held on the steps of the George Washington Masonic Memorial, Alexandria, Virginia, on Sunday, April 24, 2011.

The parade will form on the lane leading up the hill and will step off at 7:30AM. The Service will begin at 8:00AM, and will be conducted by Right Eminent Grand Prelate, Sir Knight William D. Hartman.

The headquarters hotel will be the Hilton Alexandria Mark Center, 5000 Seminary Road, Alexandria, Virginia. A breakfast buffet will be served beginning at 6:00 AM at the Hilton Alexandria Mark Center on Easter morning. Buses will be available to leave at 6:30 AM, to take the Sir Knights and their ladies to the George Washington Masonic Memorial for the Sunrise Service.

On Saturday, April 23, 2011, at 10:15 AM, the Grand Commandery of Indiana will lay a wreath at the Tomb of the Unknowns at Arlington National Cemetery honoring their members who fell in combat as members of the Armed Forces of the United States of America. Additionally, the Grand Commandery of Georgia will lay a wreath at 11:15 AM.

For information on other events and to make reservations, see the Grand Encampment website here.



In Los Angeles, the West Coast Easter Observance will take place at 9:00AM Sunday, April 24th, at the Shrine Auditorium. The official hotel for the event is the USC Radisson. Los Angeles Commandery No. 9 is the host Commandery, and the Knights will assemble and march in formation down the street from the Raddison Hotel to the Shrine Auditorium.

See the official flyer here.

H/T to Sir Knight Rick Baca, Eminent Commander of Los Angeles Commandery No. 9.

(Photos from the 2010 Easter celebration)

Belgian Museum of Freemasonry Opens in Brussels


The Belgian Museum of Freemasonry officially inaugurated its new home on March 23rd, 2011, and will open to the public on April 1st. The Museum is an association of the many different Masonic obediences at work in Belgium, including the Grand Orient of Belgium, the Grande Loge Féminine de Belgique, the co-masonic Belgian Federation of Droit Humain, the the co-masonic Grand Lodge of Belgium, the Regular Grand Lodge of Belgium, and the Scottish Rite Sovereign College of Belgium.

Its new space is in a beautifully renovated facility, the Hotel Dewez, located at 73 rue de Laeken in Brussels, near the Brouckère or the St Catherine Underground stations. The building was originally the mansion of Laurent-Benoit Dewez (1731-1804), chief architect at the court of Governor Charles of Lorraine.

The Museum has been partially supported by Belgium's National Lottery.

The Belgian Museum of Freemasonry is open to the public Tuesday to Friday from 1pm to 5pm (6pm in July-August) and Saturday from 1pm to 4pm. It is also open to groups by appointment from Tuesday to Friday from 10am to 12pm. Guided tours, lectures and courses for groups must be reserved at least 15 days in advance). The Museum is closed on Sundays, Mondays, holidays and between Christmas and New Year.

Brother J. Edgar Hoover at the George Washington Masonic Memorial?


Actors Leonardo DiCaprio and Armie Hammer descend the steps of the George Washington Masonic Memorial in Alexandria, VA in a scene from the upcoming biopic, J. Edgar. The scene was shot on Monday. DiCaprio stars as FBI head J. Edgar Hoover, and Armie as FBI Associate Director and Hoover's protégé, Clyde Tolson. The film is directed by Clint Eastwood.

Photo from the Justjared.buzznet.com website.

Monday, March 28, 2011

Schofield House, Indiana's Masonic Birthplace: Pilgrimage on April 10, 2011


Many young Freemasons in Indiana are unaware of the Masonic treasure hiding in an unremarkable brick building on a quiet street in Madison, Indiana. It is a place every Hoosier Mason should visit, and even better, the perfect setting for a new candidate's initiation into the Craft.

Legend has it that the Grand Lodge of Free and Accepted Masons of Indiana, was organized in what we today call Schofield House on January 13, 1818. Built in 1816 in the federal style, this is believed to be the first two-story tavern house in Madison. The five lodges chartered at this first meeting were Vincennes #1, Madison #2, Charlestown #3, Lawrenceburg #4 and Corydon #5. Alexander Buckner, of Charlestown Lodge was the elected the first Grand Master.

The Grand Master of Indiana has announced a special event on April 10th, 2011:

February 8, 2011

Brethren,
On January 12, 1818, fourteen men met in a small room on the second floor of the Schofield House in Madison, Indiana and began the journey that is Indiana Freemasonry. As a result, on January 12, 2018, the Grand Lodge of Indiana will celebrate its 200th anniversary.

We are so lucky to have been able to preserve the building in which we got our start. It is a great part of our heritage, and it is our responsibility to support and maintain it. Many Lodges enjoy traveling to Madison and conferring degrees in that historic room. I hope that we can continue to have those events for the next 200 years.

On Sunday, April 10, 2011, I will make a Grand Master's Pilgrimage to the Schofield House. I invite you to join me. I will be at the Schofield House from 12:00 noon until 4:00 p.m., but I will not leave until all visitors have left.

If you can come and enjoy this historic home with me, I will give you a token of my appreciation. These tokens will be available only that day, and only from me.

At the end of your visit, you will be given the opportunity to show your support by leaving a free will donation that you feel is appropriate. I hope to see several hundred of my Brethren on April 10.

Fraternally,
Kenneth E. Willis, Jr.
Grand Master
Madison is a terrific place to explore. Homesteaders began populating the area in the early 1800s. In about 1810, settlers purchased 65 acres of land from the Indiana Territorial government for about $2.50 per acre and christened the town "Madison" after the reigning President of the United States. Indiana became a state in 1816, and Ohio and Kentucky lodges banded together quickly to form a new Grand Lodge of Indiana.

The large lodge room on the second floor was originally for overnight traveling guests. They were served their meals in the kitchen on the first floor, and the room directly below the lodge room was a tavern from which the brethren could order their wine, whisky and ale. The corner room was a general store, where, among other important items, their treasured cigars were available.

In 1972 the Ancient Accepted Scottish Rite in the Valley of Indianapolis purchased the property from the heirs of Mrs. Charlotte Schofield for eventual presentation to the Freemasons of Indiana. It was turned over to the Masonic Heritage Foundation, and extensive restorations were made. The building was opened to the public as a Masonic museum on April 19, 1975.

The upstairs is suitable for conferring degrees on candidates, but most would agree that the Entered Apprentice degree is the simplest to perform in the small room. It does not lend itself well to the MM degree, as there is limited floor-space and limited areas for seating. Be aware that the stairs leading up to the lodge room are steep and most certainly NOT handicapped accessible.

Nestled on the Ohio River, beautiful and historic Madison, Indiana is a terrific place to spend the day or a whole weekend, and the area is dotted with wonderful Bed & Breakfast establishments. Your ladies will not be bored while you are engaged in Masonic activities. There are also a number of nearby restaurants and taverns for your post-degree celebration, including the nearby Historic Broadway Hotel and Tavern, which dates from 1834 and is the oldest continuously operated hotel and tavern in Indiana. Which is still cigar friendly, by the way. And the perfect place to end a great day in lodge.

Sunday, March 27, 2011

WEOFM.ORG: "Knights Templar in England & New York" by Dr. Susan Sommers


The ninth video presentation from the Worldwide Exemplification of Freemasonry is now available on Vimeo in Flash format.

This week's program is "The Revival of a Patriotic Order: Knights Templar in England & New York" by Dr. Susan Sommers.


Dr. Susan Mitchell Sommers is a professor of history at Saint Vincent College in Latrobe, Pennsylvania.

The previous presentation was A Vast Chain Extending Round the Whole Globe: Freemasonry and Empire by Prof. Jessica Harland Jacobs

The Worldwide Exemplification of Freemasonry 2011 Lecture Series is a free presentation endorsed by the Grand Lodge of Indiana F&AM, beginning January 1, 2011 and running through December 31, 2011. At the conclusion of each presentation you will usually have an opportunity to join with the speakers in a live conversation on Facebook at the "Worldwide Exemplification of Freemasonry 2011 Lecture Series" page.

Saturday, March 26, 2011

Freemasonry in Bermuda

The Royal Gazette Online in Bermuda has a story today about Freemasonry and a local church on the island.

From "Fire unearths links between church and lodge" by Ira Philip:

That public-spirited action of the Masons on December 27, 1837 resulted in the church gaining its "lovely, simple, balanced symmetry, to quote from the book “Sandys”, which put St. James with its spiralling steeple and long welcoming aisle in a class by itself among public buildings in Bermuda.

St. James has a fascinating architectural history, being the oldest public building in the parish, with the original edifice built in 1653. Likewise Prince Alfred Lodge is steeped in history. In fact, the divine service on Saturday marked the 200th anniversary year of the founding of the lodge which was in 1801. Originally the Master of Prince Alfred, Wor. Bro. Allan T. Robinson, and his brethren had planned to make a spectacle of the dual commemorations, with a parade to St. James from West End School, led by the Somerset Brigade Band. Rarely are English Masons in full regalia allowed to parade in public. A special dispensation permitting it was granted by their Grand Lodge in England.


MORE

Yet Another New Writing Team for 'National Treasure 3'


In case you're breathless with anticipation over the alleged Christmas 2011 release of National Treasure 3, writers Carlo Bernard and Doug Miro, who replaced the scribblers of the first two films, Cormac and Marianne Wibberley, have been sacked. The new writing team is now Brian Koppelman and David Levien. who scripted The Rounders and Ocean's Thirteen.

Jon Turtletaub is still slated to direct, but time is ticking by and the production season is filling up fast. Wouldn't be surprised if the release date of this one slipped, especially since the last Cage/Turtletub matchup, The Sorcerer's Apprentice, floundered at the box office.

Masonic Society's UK–Ireland Symposium July 1-3, 2011


The Masonic Society's 2nd Annual UK–Ireland Symposium July 1-3, 2011
Edinburgh, Scotland
Hill Street Masonic Centre. Speakers TBA. £25 fee includes Lunch Saturday and complimentary admission to Rosslyn Chapel on Sunday.
Contact Michael Davey at md84419@gmail.com

Deadline for paper Submission is March 28th

The Symposium is the highlight of
The Masonic Society's yearly activities in the UK and Ireland region and the call for papers enables the Masonic Research community to tell us what everyone should be hearing about.

Timeframe

28th February - 7th March 2011 - candidate speakers chosen and contacted
28th March 2011 - deadline for papers (midnight GMT)
28th March - 11th April 2011 - final speakers chosen and contacted
11th April 2011 - Speakers and talks announced

The location and date of the symposium will be announced on or before 11th April 2011.

Interested in giving a talk?
Submit your talk proposal to Michael Davey now. If you would like to see a particular speaker, please let us know or direct them to Brother Davey.

What are we looking for?
We are looking for talks on any non-basic aspect of Freemasonry, be it mainstream, advanced, niche, esoteric, scientific or natural. Talks should be fresh, inspiring and about the cutting edge, emerging themes or new perspectives within Freemasonry. Ideally talks should have a strong original research component but talks without this component but which are appropriately entertaining will also be considered. Speakers should consider that the audience is likely to represent a very broad cross-section of the Fraternity and may include interested guests that are not Freemasons.

Most of all, we want speakers who have a deep knowledge of the topics they are proposing, are energetic and enthusiastic about their topic and want to share that knowledge with the community. Tell us what you are most passionate about and why we should be passionate about it too.

What's in it for you?
You get to present to a friendly audience who is keen to listen to and learn about everything you have to impart. It is also a great way to give back to the community, to develop your own speaking skills, develop friendships and meet other academics, researchers and lecturers. In addition, we are pleased to be able to offer a benefits package including:
invitation to the complimentary speakers' dinner complimentary lunch on the day.

We may be able to provide a hardship fund to cover reasonable travel and accomodation expenses for speakers that otherwise would not be able to attend. Please indicate if you would likely need to access this fund when you submit your talk proposal.

What is the format of the talk?
All speaker sessions are 55 minutes long including 10-15 minutes for questions. You'll present at the front of the room using a laptop, projector and screen and will have a microphone so the whole audience can hear you. Water will be provided and the chairperson will help you start and stop on time, direct questions from the audience and help you with anything else you need on the day.

You may also be invited to take part in a panel discussion towards the end of the day.

How to contact us
By email to: michael.davey@coderage.org

Speakers, please include an abstract of your proposed talk and your location.
If you would like to suggest a speaker, please include appropriate contact details for them and specify whether or not you have suggested to them that they speak at the Symposium.

Michael Davey
TMS 2nd Circle Chair, UK-Ireland region


Not a member of the Masonic Society yet?
We are the fastest growing Masonic research organization, with members in 17 countries around the globe!
Membership includes dues card, pin, a beautiful membership patent hand-sealed with wax, access to our members-only online discussion and research forum, and four issues of our quarterly Journal, which has been described as the best and most beautiful Masonic magazine available anywhere!All for a paltry $39 per year!

For information about joining , visit www.themasonicsociety.com

William N. Wine, RIP

With great sadness, I report the passing of WBro. William N. Wine at his home Friday in Concord, California. Bill was well known to many brethren from the CompuServe Masonry Forum, the first popular online community for Freemasons in the 1990s.

Bill was raised in June 1971 in Diablo Valley Lodge No. 448, and served as Master in 1978-79, and again in 1986-87. He was a founding member of Academia Lodge No. 847. He was also a member of Concord Star No. 384 of the Order of the Eastern Star. Among his many accomplishments and honors, Bill was a Past Grand High Priest of Royal Arch Masons in California, a Founding Fellow of the Masonic Society, a Fellow of the Philalethes Society, and served as president of the Philalethes' Cornerstone Computer Chapter. He was involved with Masonic education programs in California, including the formative years of the California Masonic Symposium. He was a Past Master of the Northern California Research Lodge, and a Past Master Councilor of the Northern California DeMolay Association.

Bill was a frequent attendee at Masonic Week in Washington, D.C. and Alexandria, VA, and I have fond memories of him enjoying his cigar and frequenting the TMS Hospitality Suite. He will be sorely missed.

His column is broken and his brethren mourn.
R.I.P.

UPDATE
I was contacted Saturday morning by Bill's niece Carina who lives in Massachusetts. His family is scattered across the country (his brother lives in Hawaii), and they are trying to assemble contact information for his lodges, as well as attempting to make funeral and memorial arrangements via long distance. If you have any information that can help the family in their planning, please contact her directly at onoparrots@gmail.com

Listing Your Masonic Conferences, Speeches, Symposia & Gatherings

A new feature has been added to the Masonic Society web page. An updated calendar of Masonic Conferences, Speeches, Symposia & Gatherings is now a new part of our main website. Go to www.themasonicsociety.com , wave your mouse over "News", and click on the link.

Help us keep the listings up to date by sending dates, locations and details of your Masonic gatherings, speeches, education programs, etc. to articles@themasonicsociety.com

Many thanks to our intrepid Secretary/Treasurer WBro. Nathan Brindle for doggedly tinkering with Joomlah to make this work.

Saranac Lake, NY's Masonic Methodist Church

From ‘Great secret of the Adirondacks’ by Nathan Brown, in the March 26th Adirondack Daily Enterprise:

Saranac Lake's Methodist Church, at the corner of Church and St. Bernard's streets, was finished in 1927 and is loaded with symbols associated with the Freemasons and references to King Solomon's Temple, which is hugely important in Freemasonry and is what Masonic temples are meant to represent. These were apparently worked in by Freemasons who were members of the congregation at the time and involved in its funding and construction, according to the research of the Rev. Maggie McCarey, who has been pastor there for almost four years.

[snip]

Michael Turmel is a 32nd-degree Scottish Rite Mason with Saranac Lake's Whiteface Mountain Lodge #789. One of his bachelor's degrees is in medieval and Renaissance history, and his master's is in classical archaeology, with a concentration in mythology and religion. He has been studying the symbolism in the church since he became aware of it a couple years ago. Turmel gave a presentation about the church's symbolism, at an open house at the lodge celebrating its 125th anniversary in spring 2010.


The article goes on to detail many of the hand-painted glass windows and other symbolism that fills the church. Some, like Solomon's Temple and Knight Templar imagery may be directly Masonic, York Rite and Scottish Rite. Not surprising, given the strong Methodist makeup of Freemasonry in the late 1800s and early 1900s. But it's hard to ignore the double headed eagle, clutching the sword, and the number 32 over its head.

Photo by Nathan Brown in the Adirondack Daily Enterprise.

Friday, March 25, 2011

Yes, I have cancer. And you thought I was a Scorpio.


So, this guy walks into a doctor's office. "Doc," he says, "I've lost sight in my right eye, and I'm so anemic I look like the Michelin Man in a snowstorm. I've had some kind of test, scan or probe every day for going on three weeks now. I've even discovered that the big difference between a colonoscopy and an upper G.I. is the way the camera tastes. So what's wrong with me?"

The doctor says, "Do you want the good news, or the bad news, first?"

The guy says, "Gimme the bad news first."

The doctor says, "Okay, you've got stomach cancer. The good news is, it's small, isolated, hasn't spread to any other organs or lymph nodes, and we can whack it with chemo before we hack it out, and you can get on with your life. And if you hadn't had the eyesight problem, we probably never would have known until it had really spread."

The guy's face goes as white as a big white thing. He says, "Wow. Uh, wow. Um, I think I'd like a second opinion."

The doctor says, "Okay, you're ugly, too."


Cue the audience for groans and titters of nervous laughter.

Unfortunately, I'm the guy.

Honestly, after the past three weeks, I feel as good as anyone could feel after they've been told they have a live hand grenade inside of them. If left alone in a room for five minutes with nothing but a knitting needle, a bottle of bourbon and a flashlight, I swear I would have gone in after it myself, just to get rid of it.

So the straight story is this. I start chemotherapy a week from Monday, once they determine the toxic chemicals won't make me keel over from a heart attack. I'll be fitted for a stylish and futuristic chemo pump to wear for two months, which will make me a real hit at TSA checkpoints. I'll be on chemo for three weeks, then they will go in and machete out the tumor, followed by another three weeks of more chemo. After which I'll be my old curmudgeonly self again.

Cancer, schmancer. No one is measuring me for a box, and I refuse to let anyone buy a new black suit for me unless I reach my target weight on my own. As Woody Allen said, "I am not afraid of death, I just don't want to be there when it happens." So I'm taking a rain check for at least another 30 years or so, and I'm planning on being the patient from Hell.

All in all, an enforced rest is probably what I've needed for a while, but all things being equal, I'd much prefer getting a tan and sipping umbrella drinks on the French Riviera than getting strapped to a Barcalounger watching the Today Show with an IV stuck in my arm and my beard falling out. But as I recall, there's an old bromide about beggars and choosers.

The pragmatic side of this mess has been that I've had to cancel all speaking events in April. As I reported last week, I am indebted to Brother S. Brent Morris for stepping in for me in Albuquerque, NM next weekend. It's just too early in this process for me to know whether I can participate in the other engagements I have accepted in May or June. The doctors say it all depends on how this progresses, so I promise I will contact those folks privately as soon as I know what my next steps are along this rocky path.

Many, many thanks from both Alice and me for the literally hundreds of messages, emails and phone calls of good wishes, positive vibes, dirty limericks, prayers and offers of assistance. We are both truly appreciative of everyone's concern. More to the point, I am blessed to know so many people from literally all around the world, and I cannot tell you how humbling and strengthening your thoughts and prayers have been. They are much appreciated.

Thursday, March 24, 2011

LondonMasons.com


Brother Paul Bradley in London has created a series of websites for Masons who enjoy gaming, and organizing Festive Boards.

His newest website is specifically for Freemasons who plan to visit lodges in London, especially at Freemasons' Hall on Great Queen Street. See www.LondonMasons.com

Louisiana's Marc Conrad Speaking in Colorado 4/6/2011


WBro. Marc Conrad will be speaking at the Grand Lodge of Colorado building in Colorado Springs, CO on Wednesday, April 6th at 7:30PM. Marc will be presenting a talk on "19th Century Louisiana Scottish Rite: Divergent Cultures Converge, Clash and Unite."

Dinner will begin at 6:30PM. RSVP to 719-471-7966

The Grand Lodge is located at 1150 Panorama Drive, Colorado Springs, CO

Anti-Gay Issue Returns in Kentucky

Back in October 2010, the assembled members of the Grand Lodge of Kentucky at their annual communication voted against legislation that would have banned openly gay men from joining Kentucky lodges. The controversy centered around WBro. John Wright. When Wright joined his lodge in 2007, he was married. In December 2009, he was elected to serve as the Master of his Winchester lodge. Wright and his wife subsequently filed for divorce in March 2010 because he realized he was gay. In May, when some members of the Masons found out, "news of my sexual orientation spread ... like wildfire," he said.

Anti-gay legislation failed at Grand Lodge, but that hasn't stopped individual Masons from bringing Masonic charges against Brother Wright.

From "Membership of openly gay Mason being challenged" by Valarie Honeycutt Spears in today's Herald Leader:

Last year, after John Wright told members of Right Angle Lodge in Winchester that he was gay, members of a lodge in Frankfort tried to change the Kentucky Masons' constitution so that openly gay men could not be members.

But in October, Masons at a statewide meeting turned down the proposal. At the time, Wright told the Herald-Leader he saw the vote as a sign that Masons in Kentucky would not discriminate against gays.

Now, Wright is facing a Masonic trial set for April 8, according to a letter from an official in the fraternity's administrative body, the Grand Lodge of Kentucky. Within weeks of the statewide vote, five Masons from Central Kentucky filed an internal petition, saying that Wright violated the group's constitution by forsaking his belief in God in declaring his homosexuality and by going public with information about the Masons.

Wright, a student at Eastern Kentucky University who also works for a military defense contractor, was Master of the Right Angle Lodge from December 2009 until December 2010, and he said this week that he remains a member. The Masons are said to be the world's oldest and largest fraternity.

Wright provided letters and other documents involving the complaint to the Herald-Leader.

In a Dec. 6 letter, Kentucky Grand Secretary Joseph R. Conway told Wright that Mason John C. Bourne, a member of a Nicholasville lodge, had filed an internal complaint alleging that Wright had engaged in "unmasonic conduct."

Bourne, a detective with the Jessamine County Sheriff's Department, declined to comment on the petition, which was also brought by four other Masons. Others who backed the complaint include: Dennis R. Gambrell and Doyle G. Rambo, members of two separate lodges in Lexington; Andrew R. Dixon, a member of a Versailles lodge; and Robert D. Roach, a member of a lodge in Lawrenceburg. All four men declined to comment about the petition.

When Wright became a Mason in 2007, he was married. Wright said he and his wife filed for divorce in March 2010 because he realized he was gay.

The complaint said Wright's behavior went against the Masonic constitution because he "violated the sanctity of his marriage" and "deserted her due to his homosexuality."

Another charge alleged that Wright revealed "privileged Masonic Communications ... to the non-Masonic world."
In a Feb. 9 letter to Wright, Conway said an investigative committee found probable cause to believe that Wright may have revealed privileged Masonic information and that he may have violated "his oath and obligation" by engaging in other relationships prior to the finalization of his divorce.

The complaint also alleged that Wright had violated the group's constitution because he had "openly forsaken his belief in God ... by refusing to obey the Moral Laws in declaring his homosexuality which the Moral law declares as an abomination to the law of God."

On that issue, the committee found "no probable cause," Conway's letter said.

Reached at the Grand Lodge of Kentucky headquarters in Jefferson County, Conway declined to comment about the charges.
In a March 15 response letter to Conway, Wright said he did not disavow his belief in God, divulge privileged Masonic communication or violate the sanctity of his marriage by divorcing his wife.

Wright said recently that after the vote in October, many men were upset that he was allowed to continue as a Mason.
"Personally, I feel these charges are retribution for speaking out about the discrimination that I experienced," he said.

"In my heart, I feel that if I had left my ex-wife for another woman, nothing would've been said to me about it, nor would I have been brought up on charges," Wright said. "I know of many Masons in Kentucky who have been divorced and re-married, some several times, and charges were never brought against them for abandoning their spouse by causing a divorce action to be filed," Wright said.

According to the group's constitution, if Wright is found guilty at a Masonic trial he can be admonished, reprimanded, suspended or expelled.




Update 3/25/2011

WBro. Wright has posted his official response to the Masonic charges here.

GL of Ontario's College of Freemasonry

The Grand Lodge of Ancient Free and Accepted Masons of Canada in the Province of Ontario offers an education program for Master Masons called the "Masonic Arts & Sciences For Master Masons" through their College of Freemasonry.

It is divided into four modules:

• Masonry at Work
• History and Origin of Masonry
• Administration and Organization
• Preparing for Leadership

Each module costs $40.00, and you may take them in any order.

After successful completion of each program, a certificate will be awarded. On completion of all four programs, a certificate for "THE COLLEGE OF FREEMASONRY" will be presented.

My understanding is that the program has now been opened up to masons outside of the GL of Ontario.

For more information, see the website here.

H/T to Brother Adam Thompson

Wednesday, March 23, 2011

W. Kirk MacNulty Speaking at GL of New York 4/15/2011

UPDATE: THIS EVENT HAS BEEN POSTPONED DUE TO BRO. MACNULTY UNDERGOING HEART SURGERY.

New York's Chancellor Robert R. Livingston Masonic Library presents a dinner lecture featuring W. Kirk MacNulty:
"THE SECRET IDENTITY OF MASONS"

Friday, April 15 · 6:00pm - 9:00pm
Grand Lodge of New York
71 West 23rd Street - 2nd Floor Banquet Room
New York, NY

Open to the general public
Cost of Dinner and Lecture is $60 per person

W. Kirk MacNulty is the author of several books on Freemasonry (Way of the Craftsman; Freemasonry: A Journey Through Ritual and Symbol; Freemasonry: Symbols, Secrets, Significance) . MacNulty’s writing focuses on the impact of Masonic history, philosophy and symbolism on the psychological and spiritual development of the individual.

Check must be mailed or Reservations must be sent to: info@nymasoniclibrary.org

Livingston Masonic Library
71 West 23rd Street, 14th fl
New York, NY 10010
212-337-6620

Brother MacNulty will have limited copies of his books available.

Dinner will be provided by Brother Jeff Vitanza of Affordable Caterers

MENU -
Monster Shrimp Cocktail
Traditional Bruschetta
Oysters on the Half Shell
Sushi - California Rolls - Vegetarian Rolls ( Marinated Tofu )
Roasted Corn Salad
Mexican Rice Salad
Fresh Mozzerella & Tomato Salad
Penne in Pink Sauce
Falafala Balls with Taziki Sauce
Chicken Murphy
Grilled Sliced Steak with Mushrooms
Mashed Potato's
Assorted Dinner Rolls with Butter Cups
Assorted Cakes
Coffee & Tea Service

American Lodge of Research: "Considering the Legacies of Jacobus Rex" 3/29/2011

The 350th Stated Communication of the American Lodge of Research will be held on Tuesday, March 29th, 2010, at 8pm

French Ionic Room, 10th Floor
Masonic Hall
71 West 23rd Street
New York, New York

W:.M:. Steven Lloyd Starkes will make his inaugural presentation, "Jack of All Trades: Considering the Legacies of Jacobus Rex."

PRE-MEETING OFFICERS' DINNER
Please join the officers for an informal "on-your-own" dinner at 6 pm at the Outback Steakhouse, across from Masonic Hall on West 23rd Street.

"Jack of All Trades: Considering the Legacies of Jacobus Rex"
Before our Gentle Craft donned the royal robes of Ceremonial Speculation there was only stone, and the Master Builders who alchemically turned Architecture into Enchantment. Yet lost in the rubble of those last quarries sits a stone that the Masonic historians have repeatedly rejected. It is the Worshipful Cornerstone of King Solomon reincarnate, King James VI and I - a.k.a. Jacobus Rex.

James VI & I (19 June 1566 – 27 March 1625) was King of Scots as James VI from 24 July 1567 (at age 13 months). On 24 March 1603, he also became King of England and Ireland as James I when he inherited the English crown and thereby united the Crowns of the Kingdoms of Scotland and England (each country remained legally separate, with their own Parliaments, judiciary, coinage etc., though both ruled by James). James VI & I continued to hold both crowns until his death in 1625, but based himself in England (the larger of the two realms) from 1603 when he succeeded the last Tudor monarch, Elizabeth I.

Under James during the Jacobean era, the "Golden Age" of Elizabethan literature and drama continued, with writers such as William Shakespeare, John Donne, Ben Jonson, and Sir Francis Bacon contributing to a flourishing literary culture. James himself was a talented scholar, the author of works such as Daemonologie (1597), True Law of Free Monarchies (1598), and Basilikon Doron(1599).

Some important legacies of "Jacobus Rex" will be examined -- some for the first time -- and given their due and proper notice.


H/T Brother Michael A. Chaplin

Tuesday, March 22, 2011

Kansas Masons and Cancer Research


The Kansas Masonic Foundation has surpassed its 2009 pledge of raising $2 million for cancer research at the Kansas University Cancer Center.

From the WellCommon.com website:

In March 2009, the foundation made a pledge of $2,011,000 — thus the name Campaign 2011 — to help KU in the fight against cancer. KU recognized the Mason’s generosity by naming the research wing of their cancer center the Kansas Masonic Cancer Research Institute.

The Masons presented a $166,000 check to Dr. Roy Jensen, director of the KU Cancer Center, at its recent annual meeting in Salina, bringing the campaign total to more than $2.1 million.

Since 1975, the Kansas Masonic Foundation has donated $22 million to cancer research at KU.

Its goal is to assist the KU Cancer Center in achieving National Cancer Institute designation — a designation that will not only benefit Kansas residents but patients across the Midwest region.

KU is making application on Sept. 25, 2011, which was the completion deadline for the Campaign 2011.

“The funds raised by Kansas Masons will help advance cancer awareness and research throughout the region. The Institute seeks to bring to the University of Kansas Cancer Center new cancer research programs, new resources for determining and providing more effective treatments, and greater opportunities to collaborate with the finest researchers around the world to conquer all forms of cancer.”

— Dr. Roy Jensen


The Kansas Masonic Foundation was established in 1966 to expand Masonic philanthropy in the fields of charitable, educational and scientific programs. They chose the fight against cancer as their top priority.

There are nearly 23,000 Masons who represent 243 Masonic Lodges in Kansas.

Those seeking more information can visit the Kansas Masonic Foundation Web site at kmfonline.org or call (785) 357-7646.

Fire Guts E. St Louis Masonic Lodge

StLToday.com reports that fire has gutted Southern Cross Lodge No. 112 PHA in East St. Louis, Illinois last night. The fire was discovered shortly after a meeting in the building, and the roof collapsed before firefighters could get the blaze under control.

The lodge was located in a former Catholic church built in the 19th century .

Firefighters were battling a rekindled hot spot at a Masonic lodge late this morning after the building caught fire Monday night.

The fire started about 9 p.m. Monday at the Southern Cross Masonic Lodge #112 on 8th Street between St. Louis Avenue and Martin Luther King Jr. Drive, according to East St. Louis Fire Chief Jason Blackmon.

Part of the building was burning Tuesday morning, Blackmon said, and firefighters were back to put the fire out. Firefighters had not determined a cause, he said. No one was inside and no one was injured.


Southern Cross Lodge No. 112 was chartered in 1924 by the Most Worshipful Prince Hall Grand Lodge Free And Accepted Mason State Of Illinois and its jurisdiction.

March Morsels of International Masonophobia

A March 17th story on NPR about internal struggles as Italy celebrated its 150th anniversary of unification talked about the battle between the southern part of the country and the separatist Northern League, that has long wanted the country split in two.

From "A Divided Italy Prepares For Unification Anniversary" by Sylvia Poggioli:

At a recent rally, League supporters hailed "a free Padania," their idealized independent statelet, named after the Latin word for the River Po. Supporters also hailed the recent burning in effigy of unity hero Giuseppe Garibaldi.

"Garibaldi was a mercenary," one man said, "financed by English Freemasons."

"He was not a saint," another broke in.

Northern Italy is one of Europe's richest regions, and League leader Umberto Bossi did not hide his ultimate goal. "The Northern League is the political force of the north, and we can defeat anyone who tries to block us," he said.

Before 1861, Italy was a patchwork of city-states and regions ruled by the pope or foreign monarchs. The Austrian statesman Metternich famously described Italy as a "mere geographical expression," convinced it could never achieve nationhood.

Meanwhile, over in Iran (there's a sentence I have never typed before), also on March 17th, the Tehran Times printed an analysis by Khalid Amayreh, who seems to have determined just who was running things in Egypt before their recent revolutions in the street.

You guessed it. Joooz and Freemasons.

From "Navigating Egypt According to Zionist Compass":

During the recent Egyptian revolution which deposed the tyrant Hosni Mubarak, Israel and its Zionist and Masonic tentacles in Europe and North America pressured government circles to do whatever could be done to shield and preserve the decadent Mubarak regime, but of course to no avail.

Atlantic Brotherhood Summit in Minneapolis: June 2-5


The Atlantic Brotherhood Summit, a joint event between Minnesota's Sir Winston Churchill Lodge No. 351 and the United Grand Lodge of England's Internet lodge No. 9659, will take place in Minneapolis, MN June 2-5, 2011.

Note that this date has been changed from May, in an effort to accommodate visiting brethren who may be attending the International Conference on the HIstory of Freemasonry (ICHF) in Alexandria, VA the previous weekend.

The program is still being planned, but the Atlantic Brotherhood Summit will include an American-style Barbecue, a boat cruise on the St. Croix River, a British Emulation Master Mason Degree and discussion at the Minneapolis Scottish Rite Temple, and a formal dinner and English Festive Board at the Minneapolis Club.

Sir Winston Churchill Lodge No. 351 was chartered in 2009 by the Grand Lodge of Minnesota AF&AM as an affinity lodge, in part, to perform UGLE-styled Emulation Ritual (as opposed to the Preston/Webb ritual in use in most U.S. mainstream jurisdictions).

Internet Lodge No. 9659 was consecrated in 1998 in Manchester, England, and has members from all over the world.

Masonic Virtual Tours Website

If you are fascinated by the actual architectural side of Freemasonry, stop by the Masonic Virtual Tours website at www.masonicvirtualtours.com and check out the collection of photos of temples there.

Masonic Virtual Tours was developed as a result of the W.M. Fred Kirby Bauer Masonic Leadership Institute of Massachusetts, and it currently only displays Massachusetts lodges, but it is not limited to just lodges from that state. Any lodge from any jurisdiction in the world can be added to the site. Be sure to explore the existing lodges already featured to see the photos and information required. Then contact Brother Joshua Hetzler at joshuahetzler@yahoo.com for details on how to get your lodge added.

Massachusetts Lodge Seeks Historic Apron Information


A pair of historic Masonic aprons from the 1800s has been uncovered at Olive Branch Lodge in Millbury, Massachusetts.

From an article in yesterday's Daily Graftron by Jennifer Lord Paluzzi:

Stephen Qualey wasn't expecting to find a Masonic mystery when he decided to clean out the back hallway of the Franklin Lodge.

But tucked away behind decades of boxes and detritus was a display case with a bit of treasure: two Masonic aprons and sashes from the early 19th century, linked to two Oxford men with ties to Millbury's Olive Branch Lodge. Now Qualey is on a mission to find descendants of the two men with the hope of finding out more information about the historic relics.


"When I saw it, I thought it was just an old window," said Qualey, the senior steward of the Franklin Lodge. "I took it out and laid it on the pool table, wiped off the dust and went 'Oh great, who tucked these back there and forgot about them?'"

Under the glass were two silk Masonic aprons and sashes, with documentation cards indicating they once belonged to Amasa Roberts and Royal Leland. Both were listed as members of Olive Branch Lodge in Millbury (considered a "Revere Lodge" because its charter was signed by then-Grand Master Paul Revere in 1797) and Leland is referenced as a charter member of the Franklin Lodge, founded in 1852.


Anyone with information or family history of these men are asked to contact Brother Qualey at seniorsteward@franklinlodge.org

For photos of Olive Branch Lodge, visit Masonic Virtual Tours here.

Freemasons For Dummies Now Available on Kindle

Without any fanfare, and completely unbeknownst to me, on March 3rd Wiley released the full Kindle version of Freemasons For Dummies, for $9.99.

For those so inclined.

The dead tree edition is still very much available.

Monday, March 21, 2011

Andrew Hammer at Oklahoma's Guildhall Lodge: April 6, 2011

WBro. Andrew Hammer, author of Observing the Craft: The Pursuit of Excellence in Masonic Labour and Observance and Past Master of Alexandria-Washington Lodge No. 22 in Virginia, will be the speaker at Oklahoma's Guildhall Lodge #553 on April 6, 2011. A Festive Board will be held in the Petroleum Club in Oklahoma City.

Guildhall Lodge is a Traditional Observance lodge established in 2003.

For reservations or more information, contact Robert Davis at gsrite@sbcglobal.net.

Brent Morris in Albuquerque April 2, 2011

Because of some unexpected health issues, I have been forced to cancel all of my speaking events in April. The Grand Lodge of New Mexico, the New Mexico Lodge of Research and the New Mexico Second Circle of the Masonic Society all had three events planned for my visit to Albuquerque at the beginning of April. My good friend and Brother S. Brent Morris ("The Complete Idiot's Guide To Freemasonry") has graciously agreed to step in at the last minute and appear at all three, in a true demonstration of how an Idiot covers for a Dummy.

I deeply appreciate Brent for leaping through some scheduling hoops to make this work without much warning, as well as the brethren in New Mexico for their kind understanding.


“COMPLETE IDIOT GUIDES” NEW MEXICO RESEARCHERS “FOR DUMMIES”
Three Events with S. Brent Morris Saturday, April 2, 2011

WB S. Brent Morris, 33° GC, is the editor of The Scottish Rite Journal, a publication of the Supreme Council of the Scottish Rite Southern Jurisdiction. He was the first American to be elected Master of London’s Quatuor Coronati Lodge, the oldest Masonic Research Lodge in the world. He is author of more than ten books on Freemasonry. WB Brent has served as Executive of the Cryptologic Mathematics Program at the National Security Agency.

Temple 6 Lodge, 3801 Osuna Road N.E., Albuquerque.
12:00 P.M.—New Mexico Lodge of Research – Special Communication WB Brent - A presentation to be announced.
Guests are welcome, presentation will be at Refreshment.


2:00-5:00 p.m.—Workshop: Masonic Research 101 - $25.00

Limited to 25 participants - Open to both Masons and non-Masons. A workshop, led by WB Brent, on the basics of Masonic research and publication, including individualized discussion of attendees’ own research interests.

Chama River Brewing Company, 4939 Pan American N.E., Albuquerque.
7:00 p.m.—NM 2nd Circle, The Masonic Society – Festive Board - $35.00
Ladies and other guests are welcome. Black tie (tuxedo), dinner dress for ladies.
WB Brent will provide a presentation that includes both a history lesson and a magic show intermingled with a three-course dinner, and the Ceremony of the Seven Toasts.

This cooperative event to promote Masonic research in general and activities in this Jurisdiction in particular have been encouraged and sponsored by:
Grand Lodge of New Mexico • Lodge of Research of New Mexico • NM 2nd Circle, The Masonic Society • MWGM Bobby Arther • WB Stephen Balke • WB Ken Davis

RSVP for events with WB Ken Davis, 505-918-3050 or kdavis@nmmasons.org. • For the 2:00 Workshop, bring a check for $25 per person payable to "The Lodge of Research of New Mexico." • For the 7:00 Festive Board, bring a check for $35 per person (including tax and tip) payable to "Bro. Jay Williams."

Vitruvian Crop Circle


My fellow brethren of Indianapolis' Lodge Virtuvian No. 767 should find inspiration from this crop art spotted on Google Maps in the north edge of Utting am Ammersee, Germany (see here).

Sunday, March 20, 2011

New Novel: "The Mozart Conspiracy"

In the wake of Dan Brown's The Lost Symbol comes a new novel by Welsh author Scott Mariani. The Mozart Conspiracy is the first of six thrillers in his series about British Special Air Services officer Ben Hope.

While Brother Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart's official cause of death has long been blamed on rheumatic fever (or on Antonio Salieri as depicted in Amadeus), Mariani's new novel finds a different villain. You guessed it: the Freemasons. Or at least a vaguely Masonic group called the "Order of Ra." The tale goes that the brethren were peeved at Mozart for spilling Masonic beans in his opera "Die Zauberflöte" (The Magic Flute), and poisoned him. Apparently, Ben Hope is hot on the trail of this horrid conspiracy.

From the advance publicity for the book:
Ben is on his way home from a mission when he receives a message from Leigh Llewellyn, an old flame and international opera star, saying she needs his help. Leigh is the sister of Ben's late friend, Oliver, who was at work on a book on Mozart when he died under mysterious circumstances. When Ben takes Leigh to the English countryside to guard her, deadly thugs attempt to kill them both. A lost Mozart letter, written in 1791 shortly before the composer's death and first discovered by Leigh's father, implicates a shadowy European group known as the Order of Ra, which remains a powerful secret force in Europe today. None of this matters much to either Ben or the reader as he singlehandedly kills his way to the top of the evil cabal.
Don't get your history from novels and movies.

Mozart became an Apprentice in Vienna's "Zur Wohltätigkeit" ("Beneficence") Lodge on December 14th, 1784. He was passed to the Fellow Craft degree less than a month later. He was raised to the Master Mason degree sometime before April 22, 1785 in Lodge "Zur Wahren Eintracht" ("True Concord"), considered to be the most aristocratic lodge in Vienna, and the mother lodge of Ignaz von Born.

Mozart's Mother lodge, "Zur Wohltätigkeit" was forced to consolidate in 1785 with two other lodges because of a royal decree by King Joseph II on December 1st, 1785 (the Freimaurerpatent, or "Masonic Decree") that was issued in reaction to the the breakup of the Illuminati in Bavaria, and the subsequent scare throughout France, Austria and the German states. The capital city of each province was allowed to have just one lodge, and each one was forced to report its membership list to the secret police on a regular basis. Vienna was allowed just two. After Christmas, "Zur wahren Eintracht" Lodge merged with the "Zu den drey Adlern" and "Zum Palmbaum" Lodges to form the "Zur Wahrheit" Lodge.

Meanwhile, Mozart’s mother lodge "Zur Wohltätigkeit" merged with "Zur den drei Feuern" and "Lodge Zur gekrönten Hoffnung," under the new name "Zur Neugekrönten Hoffnung" (New Crowned Hope). Joseph's decree was lifted in 1789, but many members left, spooked about being associated with "secret societies" the King was suspicious of.

Mozart's father, Leopold, became a Mason in 1785, and Mozart wrote "Fellow Crafts Journey" for his father's second degree ceremony. His brother-in-law Joseph Lange was also a Mason, as were many of his friends and patrons.

Mozart was an incredible hypochondriac, and while it's largely accepted that fever killed him, there's also a theory that he might very well have over-medicated himself to death with a deadly patent medicine. Interestingly, in the last year of his life, Mozart's wife Constanze became alarmed that the chronically depressed composer believed he was being poisoned, and he told her he was writing his famous "Requiem," not for a commission, but for his own death. She persuaded her husband to set the depressing work aside and instead to complete the "Freimaurerkantate," a cantata he was working on for the dedication of a new lodge building for "Zur Neugekrönten Hoffnung" on November 15, 1791. He happily finished the Masonic work, but soon fell into depression again afterwards, when he returned to working on the "Requiem."

Mozart died at 35 on December 5, 1791 in his home at No. 4 Rauhensteingasse in Vienna. The building was demolished in 1849, but a plaque marks the spot today. His lodge met at Rauhensteingasse Number 3 near the corner of Ballgasse. There is a clothing store in the building today, but there is still a small Masonic rough ashlar hanging over the arched doorway in an iron frame.

Apart from the hoary theory about being killed for breaking his oath of secrecy by putting Masonic secrets in his opera, some have also suggested Mozart was in debt up to his eyeballs from gambling with lodge brothers, who may have gotten tired of waiting for repayment. But there is another Masonic conspiracy, of a sort, associated with Mozart's death. It seems he may have been dallying with Magdelena Hofdemel, the 23-year old wife of lodge brother Franz Hofdemel. The day after Mozart's funeral, Hofdemel slashed his wife with a razor, then cut his own throat and died. Magdelena somehow survived the attack, and gave birth four months later to a bouncing baby boy, whom she named after both her dead husband and Brother Mozart. But the rumor was that Franz Hofdemel discovered the affair, and then poisoned Mozart as Step One of his murder/suicide plot. Magdelena's child was a walking billboard for Mozart's purported indiscretion, and Ludwig Von Beethoven, reputed to be a Vienna Freemason as well, refused to play in any venue Magdelena was attending.

Tales of an evil Salieri bent on destroying Mozart seem to be largely an artistic invention, as well. Salieri was a pallbearer and one of only five people at Mozart's burial. In fact, after Mozart's death, Constanze hired the composer to tutor her youngest son, Franz Xaver Wolfgang Mozart. Salieri was scarcely the hack he was portrayed as in Amadeus, and his many pupils included Beethoven, Franz Liszt and Franz Schubert.

"Exploring Mount Vernon"

On February 17th, Alabama Public Television created a live electronic field trip entitled “Exploring Mount Vernon" for about 50,000 students across the state. The program was co-sponsored by the George Washington Masonic Memorial. Kids were able to explore George Washington's estate and to interact with George and Martha via an online Skype connection.

Watch the promotional video for the program:

Saturday, March 19, 2011

Indianapolis Brethren Elected to Knights of the York Cross of Honour

My friends, brothers and fellow Sir Knights James Dillman, Gary Messer and Carson Smith of Indianapolis have all been duly elected today for reception into Indiana Priory No. 8 of the Knights of the York Cross of Honour (KYCH). All three have served as the presiding officers of the downtown Indianapolis York Rite bodies: Indianapolis Chapter No. 5, Royal Arch Masons; Indianapolis Council No. 2, Cryptic Masons; and Raper Commandery No. 1, Knights Templar.

I would add that all three of these brethren are also active members of Imhotep Council No. 434 Allied Masonic Degrees, and enthusiastic participants in Levant Preceptory, Indiana's medieval Knights Templar period recreation degree group.

A proposed candidate for the KYCH must have presided as the Master of a Masonic lodge, High Priest of a Royal Arch Chapter, Illustrious Master of a Cryptic Council, and Commander of a Knight Templar Commandery. Being awarded the Knight of the York Cross of Honour is recognition of the tremendous commitment of time, effort and leadership required to serve each of these organizations.

Congratulations, my friends, for honors well deserved. Thanks from all of your brethren to the three of you for your tireless devotion and efforts for the downtown Indianapolis York Rite bodies, and for York Rite Freemasonry throughout Indiana.

Indiana Priory No. 8 is the oldest KYCH Priory in the State of Indiana.

For more about the Knights of the York Cross of Honour, see the Convent general website here.