Friday, July 29, 2011

Ron Paul: Not a Freemason. Really.


Brother Greg Taylor over on Freemason Information at long last spills the beans about a question that has vexed the Anti-Masonic New World Order harpies for at least five years: Is Ron Paul a Freemason?

After reams of Intertube chatter, YouTube pieces carefully analyzing every Ron Paul handshake that ever appeared on video, and chills up the spine every time he drives past a Masonic hall on a campaign stop, the Congressman and Republican/Libertarian presidential hopeful himself has finally laid the question to rest. Greg is reporting that the Ron Paul fan site, www.ronpaul.com has posted a handwritten note from the candidate, firmly stating, "I am not & never have been a Freemason."

If you can believe that...

Thursday, July 28, 2011

G. Washington Masonic Birthday Processional To Indiana State Capitol Building 8/4


Most Worshipful Grand Master Gregory C. Walbridge of the Grand Lodge of Indiana Free & Accepted Masons invites all Freemasons to participate with him and the officers of the Grand Lodge to celebrate the Masonic birthday of Brother George Washington. The ceremony will take place at the Masonic statue of George Washington that is located on the South lawn of the Indiana State Capital Building on Thursday, August 4, 2011 at 11 AM.

Brethren will assemble at 10 AM in the parking lot of the Indianapolis Valley of the Scottish Rite located at 650 N. Meridian Street, Indianapolis, IN 46204, and will step off at 11 AM sharp in processional to the Statehouse South lawn. The parade route/processional will go from Indiana Freemasons' Hall at North and Illinois Street and travel West on North Street to Capital Ave, South on Capital Ave. to West Washington Street, where it will use the sidewalk to approach the Statue of George Washington on the South lawn. Once at the statue, a ceremony will be preformed honoring George Washington's Masonic birthday, his contributions to Freemasonry, and to the United States.

Grand Lodge Officers will wear morning suit with full regalia. Masters and Lodge Officers wear sport coat and tie (preferred) or lodge polo shirt with pants together with aprons and jewels. All other Freemasons including EA's and FC's same as Lodge Officers above with white apron worn in proper form. Appendant Bodies full regalia. White gloves optional. No shorts please.

Ladies and guests are encouraged to meet the processional at the George Washington Masonic Statue on the South Lawn of the State Capital Building.

George Washington as Master Mason was sculpted initially from a wax mold at the American Sculptor Donald De Lue's studio in Leonard, New Jersey, and copyrighted in 1959. This sculpture was re-cast in 1986 and dedicated May 19, 1987 by the Grand Master of Freemasons of Indiana, J.C. Paxton of Warsaw, Indiana. The total cost of the gift was $100,000. Lieutenant Governor John Mutz accepted the statue on behalf of the state. The statue is located on the South lawn, West Washington Street side of the State Capital Building.

More on the Norway Killer's Masonic and Templar Connections


Today's Calgary Herald online features an article by A. Millar, analyzing the Masonic references and connections (and delusions) of Norway murderer, Anders Behring Breivik.

See Millar: Norway murderer’s Freemason obsession.

Meanwhile, the AP featured an article hunting the purported London-based "Knights Templar" that Brievik claimed to be affiliated with that was mounting a modern-day Crusade against Europe's Muslim population. Far-right blogger Paul Ray, who was once a part of the anti-Islamic English Defense League, says the "The Ancient Order of the Templar Knights" was indeed formed in 2002, but was more of a pipe dream than a real organized, structured group. Ray is known online as "Richard" on the blog "Lionheart."

The EDL's motto is, incidentally, "In Hoc Signo Vinces".

(Interestingly, Ray says he fled England two years ago and moved to Malta after his arrest at home for inciting racial hatred. What is it with Knights and Malta?)

See British group says no link to twin attacks.

Of course, none of these pesky details has put a sock in the squeakhole of anti-Masons like Alex Jones, who used the Norway tragedy and Breivik's Masonic membership as an entrée to spout more falsehoods, errors and lies in a five minute "interview" on Monday than most folks manage in a whole year. In it he claims the Bohemian Grove is a Masonic black magic gathering; that the Illuminati was founded inside of Masonic lodges; Albert Pike, "Supreme Commander of all global Masonry" predicted three world wars to set up a universal government in worship of the Masonic God, Lucifer... And that's just in his first 30 seconds. (How does this self-aggrandizing parade float keep getting attention from supposedly reputable media outlets?)

And never mind that the opening to the interview simply lumps the Knights Templar of Brievik's imagination with the the Masonic Templars. It's much simpler than doing actual research. In truth, Breivik never advanced beyond the 3rd degree of Master Mason, and was not a Masonic Knight Templar (which is a part of the Grand Lodge of Norway's 10-degree system, and not divided into a separate Rite as it is in most other countries).

Wednesday, July 27, 2011

2011 Bulwer-Lytton Contest Winners Announced

"It was a dark and stormy night; the rain fell in torrents--except at occasional intervals, when it was checked by a violent gust of wind which swept up the streets (for it is in London that our scene lies), rattling along the housetops, and fiercely agitating the scanty flame of the lamps that struggled against the darkness."

--Edward George Bulwer-Lytton, Paul Clifford (1830)


A professor from the University of Wisconsin in Oshkosh has won the 2011 Bulwer-Lytton Fiction Contest, sponsored each year by San Jose State University. The contest is named after British author and Freemason, Edward George Bulwer-Lytton (1803-1873), whose 1830 novel "Paul Clifford" begins with the oft-quoted opening line "It was a dark and stormy night."

The goal of the assignment is deceptively simple: to create the worst opening sentence of all time.

Grand Prize winner Sue Fondrie's entry charmed the judges: "Cheryl's mind turned like the vanes of a wind-powered turbine, chopping her sparrow-like thoughts into bloody pieces that fell onto a growing pile of forgotten memories."

Mike Mayfield of Austin, TX had the runner-up entry: "Sensing somehow a scudding lay in the offing, Skipper Bob tallied his tasks: reef the mains'l, mizzen, and jib, strike and brail the fores'l, mizzen stays'l and baggywrinkles, bowse the halyards, mainsheets, jacklines and vangs, turtle and belay fast the small cock, flemish the taffrail warps, batten the booby hatch, lay by his sou'wester, and find the bailing bucket."

All of the 2011 winners in various categories can be found here.

Since 1982, the English Department at San Jose State University has sponsored this annual "literary competition that challenges entrants to compose the opening sentence to the worst of all possible novels." The rules are straightforward: one sentence, no matter how torturously punctuated, for a fictional novel. Best to keep it below 50 or 60 words. Entries will be placed in categories. And the deadline is April 15th (appropriately, tax day in the U.S., which is its own dark and stormy night).

In spite of the derision heaped on his prolix prose these days, Brother Bulwer-Lytton was a well regarded novelist in his time, and contributed phrases that are a common part of society's vocabulary, like "the pen is mightier than the sword," "the great unwashed," and "the almighty dollar." His only Masonic work was his poem, The Mystic Art.

The world may rail at Masonry,
And scoff at Square and Line,
We'll follow with complacency
The Master's great Design.

A King can make a gartered Knight,
And breathe away another,
But he, with all his skill and might,
Can never make a Brother.

This power alone, thou Mystic Art,
Freemasonry, is thine;
The power to tame the savage heart
With brother-love divine!

Tuesday, July 26, 2011

Ron Howard Won't Be Directing 'The Lost Symbol'

Nikki Finke at Deadline: Hollywood is reporting that Ron Howard will not be directing Sony Pictures' big budget version of Dan Brown's novel, The Lost Symbol, after all:

"EXCLUSIVE: Ron Howard directed and produced both of Sony Pictures' films based on Dan Brown's bestselling novels, The Da Vinci Code (in 2006) and Angels & Demons (2009). Now I've learned that the Imagine Entertainment principal will not be directing the next movie based on Brown's 2009 book The Lost Symbol which is a follow-up to the events described in Da Vinci Code. "He wanted to produce this one, not direct," a Sony insider tells me. So Sony Pictures has started looking for a new helmer. Like the two other books made into films, this third one stars Tom Hanks as Harvard symbologist Robert Langdon. "Ron told Amy Pascal and Michael Lynton that he was not going to be directing Dan Brown's novels anymore," an insider tells me. "He just didn't want to do that thing over and over, the same character and the same stories." But if you look at Howard's box office track record as a director since his Oscar-winner A Beautiful Mind (2001), the Dan Brown films were his most successful with such wide release movies as Missing, Cinderella Man, and The Dilemma all underperforming. He could use a surefire hit. After all, The Lost Symbol sold one million hardcovers and e-books in the U.S., the UK, and Canada on its first day, making it the fastest selling adult novel in history."
It was reported back in December that Dan Brown has taken over the scripting of the movie, choosing to do the adaptation himself this time. Still no firm release date has been announced, but Summer 2013 seems increasingly likely.

Grand Lodge of Colorado Museum Goes Traveling

The Grand Lodge of Colorado AF&AM's Library & Musum is located at the GLs building in Colorado Springs, but a portion of its collection is hitting the road this year. The program is a part of the 150th anniversary celebration of the establishment of Freemasonry in Colorado.

Currently, the display is at the Sterling Public Library, and is sponsored by the lodge in Sterling.

From the Journal Advocate website, "Historic display marks Masons' milestone" by Callie Jones:

Items on display include a walking stick made by William and James Dunlap and carried by Abraham Lincoln, who carved his monogram on the silver head during his 1960 campaign against Stephan Douglas, and a violin owned by Jefferson. The violin was manufactured between the late 1700s and early 1800s and is inscribed "TJ 1824."

There is also information about Masonic United States presidents. Between 14 and 16 presidents were Freemasons, beginning with George Washington and ending with Gerald Ford.

Lincoln was not a Freemason but he maintained the highest level of respect for the institution. He petitioned Tyrian Lodge in Springfield, Ill., for membership shortly before his nomination for presidency in 1860, but withdrew his application for membership because he did not want to win the election because he was a Mason. He planned on reapplying for membership after his presidency.

Jefferson was believed to be active Mason during his life; however, little record of his Masonic activities exists.
Other items on display include a Civil War bone pipe carved by a prisoner of war during the Civil War, a letter from George Washington to the Grand Lodge of Pennsylvania, a picture of Theodore Roosevelt in Masonic dress and a variety of Past Grand Master and Past Master jewels and Grand Lodge officer pins, among other things.

There is also information about the first cornerstone in Colorado, which was laid by the Grand Lodge of Colorado Territory, for the depot of the Denver Pacific Railway Company.


The Colorado program is a unique way to bring Masonry and its history into local communities. The exhibit began touring the state in July 2010 and runs through December of 2011, lasting four to six weeks in each location. Any Colorado lodge that can provide suitable facilities and level of security (an alarm system is required) is eligible to receive the Museum's traveling exhibit.

[NOTE: There is actually no evidence whatsoever that Thomas Jefferson was a Freemason, even though his membership in the fraternity has been claimed off and on many times. There is the distant possibility that he joined the Lodge of the Nine Muses in Paris, but it has never been substantiated, nor have any records been found to definitively link him to Charlottesville, Virginia lodges. Still, many of his closest friends were brethren, as were his son-in-law Thomas M. Randolph, and his favorite grandson, Thomas Jefferson Randolph. And the Grand Lodge of South Carolina held a funeral procession in his honor. Enough question exists that the claim persists. CH]

Robert Burns Night at Indianapolis' Lodge Vitruvian Tonight 7/27

A last minute reminder!

The officers and brethren of Lodge Vitruvian #767 in Indianapolis cordially invite all Freemasons of any degree and their ladies to join us for our annual Robert Burns night on Tuesday, July 26th. The stated meeting will open at 7:00 P.M. at the temple of Broad Ripple Lodge located at 1716 Broad Ripple Ave., Indianapolis. The business meeting is restricted to Master Masons, but brethren of any degree and the ladies may join us for the festive board and program scheduled to begin at 8:00 P.M. at the Snooty Fox Restaurant, 1435 E. 86th St., Indianapolis. This is just west of the intersection of 86th St. and Westfield Bl. on the south side of the street. A buffet dinner will be served and there will be a cash bar. The menu will be the classic roast beef and tatties (with a pasta dish for those so inclined), served buffet style. The price for dinner is $20 per person, and there will be a cash bar available.

Dress for the evening will be tuxedo for officers and members and tuxedo or business attire for visitors. And kilts are certainly in order.

The evening's program will commence immediately after dinner. There will be a short presentation on the life of Robert Burns, featuring Samuel Lawson (see notes below). This will be followed by the reading of several Burns poems, the toast to the laddies and the lassies, and will conclude with the seven traditional toasts. There will be pipers to provide musical entertainment.

This is always the highlight of the Lodge Vitruvian year. In past years, this celebration has been held in January near the date of Burns's birthday of January 25. In order to avoid the inclement weather that has plagued us in recent years, we have moved the date to our July stated meeting to correspond closely to the date of Burns's death on July 21. The evening is always a lighthearted affair, with plenty of good food and lots of laughs. Polish up your most bilious Scottish brogue, bring your favorite Burns poem, and join us for what promises to be another night to remember.

Please send your RSVP's to James Dillman, WM at jrdill1955@yahoo.com

Program Notes:

Every traditional Burns' Dinner features some words to the immortal memory of Scotland's Ploughman Poet-Laureate, Robert Burns. This presentation will include a traditional telling of the story of certain facts and episodes of Burns' life, but with an added inclusion of a taste of his influence outside the borders of Scotland from just a few years after his death. Italian guitarist/composer Mauro Giuliani and Spaniard Fernado Sor composed solo guitar works for classical guitar based on Burns' songs, The Soldier's Return, This is No My Ain Lassie, and Ye Banks and Braes of Bonnie Doon. To conclude the presentation, all are welcome to join in singing a traditional rendering of 'Ye Banks and Braes'.

Samuel Lawson is a classical guitarist with the degree of Master of Music from Butler University in Indianapolis, IN, and has recently entered the Doctor of Arts program at Ball State University. He has made his own way performing, teaching, and writing music in Indiana, South Carolina, and Pittsburgh, PA, and has toured performing classical and jazz guitar with his wife and vocalist, Rebekah, through the south-eastern U.S., parts of California and the hostels of Scotland. While studying under Brett Terrell, professor of guitar, and Dr. James Briscoe, professor of music history, at Jordan College of Music, Butler University, Samuel gained a preference for a lecture-recital format rather than a traditional recital. Recently he has also started gaining a reputation as a public speaker for the Scottish Society of Indianapolis, the Indiana Society of the Classical Guitar, and his own recital-lectures. One of these concert-lectures demonstrates parallel movements in music and visual art history, and another leans more towards his cherished Scottish heritage. He also performs on Sunday afternoons 12:30-2:30 at Barcelona Tapas restaurant in downtown Indianapolis.

Monday, July 25, 2011

Indiana's Levant Preceptory in August Knight Templar Magazine

My article about Levant Preceptory, Indiana's Masonic Knight Templar medieval period recreation group, appears in the August 2011 issue of the Knight Templar Magazine, which arrived at Hodapphaüs today. Many thanks to editor and Sir Knight John Palmer.

Read it online here.

Levant is planning a trip to confer the Order of the Temple at the Detroit Masonic Center tentatively on March 24th, 2012. The combination of Sir Knights clad in chainmaille, broadswords and helms, on the floor of Detroit Commandery No. 1's exquisite medieval asylum will be the perfect combination. Details coming soon—don't miss it!

Home and Recovering

I am officially home after post-surgery recovery, and am again surrounded by the warm embraces of my bride and my poodle. So far the news is excellent. Almost two weeks ago, as the mask went over my face and the lights went out, my surgeon had anticipated removing all of my stomach in an effort to eradicate the cancer that was growing right at the connection between my esophagus and stomach. But once he perforated me across 270° of my total circumference (apparently with a Craftsman jigsaw) and started stomping around in my abdomen (apparently in cleats), it seems my chemotherapy had done more to stop the cancer in its tracks than he'd first thought. The result was that he was able to leave me with a decent sized stomach (actually larger than what I had after lap band surgery last year!), and remove 3 inches or so from my esophagus. He took a fistful o' lymph nodes out, just for laughs, and the preliminary pathology report is that there was just one microscopic sliver of cancer in one lymph node, and that is the extent of the spread.

To translate, that's the greatest news ever, and similar in tenor to the whizzing of a bullet sailing past my hairless head.

Oddly, I still have a rubber hose with a small valve growing out of my belly that, shirtless, makes me appear to be a cherubic hot water heater, and clothed, a shoplifter. The best explanation I can get is that it's for "emergencies." I am apparently stuck with this odd accessory for the next two months. Otherwise, my collection of scars look like a human interactive map of Peru's Nazca lines, with tiny scrapes and cuts in enough random spots all over to convince me that someone overturned a drawer of silverware on me by accident.

Recovery has been pockmarked with dazzling piles of narcotics and some truly startling hallucinations. At various times, I have been convinced I was in San Francisco, Seattle or San Diego, proving that drugs largely remain a West Coast fascination. And if it's all the same to everybody, I'd just as soon not have any more surgery again, like, ever. I still sleep more than I am awake, so I'm not being anti-social—just dancing the Oxycontin Merengue. But to give you some idea, this morning I felt just as fresh and prone to writhing in torment as I did the day after surgery, and I'm told to expect 5 to 6 more weeks of this before I feel like doing complex activities like changing from SyFy to the Weather Channel. On a pain scale of one to ten, with one being a baby unicorn gamboling in a field of buttercups, I am closer to the ten end, which is the equivalent of being hurled into the Stygian Pit at the end of a largish toasting fork, while being serenaded by the entire annoying cast of Glee with a selection of Neil Sedaka tunes. I'm at least slowly regaining my ability to form compound sentences. And, I am sufficiently emboldened by each days' progress to think that by the month's end I can tell friend, brother and attorney Michael Halleran that there's no need to sue anyone, after all.

Again, Alice and I are both hugely appreciative of everyone's cards, letters, emails, prayers and good wishes, and I thank all of you. Please bear with me for the next few weeks if I seem unresponsive to messages or fail to answer the phone. I'm probably on a magic carpet ride to Seattle.

Saturday, July 23, 2011

Norwegian Terror Suspect's Masonic Membership


A photo of alleged Norwegian mass-murderer, Anders Behring Breivik, dressed in Masonic regalia has been widely circulated across the web over the last two days. So, naturally, the usual lineup of anti-Masons, from the Daily Mail to David Icke and Alex Jones, are having a field day naming Breivik as a foot soldier in some worldwide Masonic revolution.

Grand Master Ivar A. Skaar of the Grand Lodge of Norway has posted the following message on the GL website today:

"I am appalled by the terrible crime has been committed in the government quarter and the Utøya," says the Norwegian-order Masonic Grand Master, Ivar A. Skar.

We [express] sorrow and compassion for those who have been affected and their relatives.

It has emerged in the media that the accused has been a member of the Norwegian Order of Freemasons. He is now excluded with immediate effect.

Exclusion is an expression of the acts he is accused of having carried out and the values ​​that appear to have motivated them is completely incompatible with what we stand for that order.

We build our business on Christian and humanist values ​​and want our members to contribute to the promotion of charity, peace and goodness in people.

The police will of course get all the help and information we can help with."

One source says Breivik's membership was in St. Olaus T.D. Tre Søiler No. 8 (the lodge of St. Olaf at the Three Columns) in Oslo. The Grand Lodge of Norway has approximately 20,000 members. It follows the Swedish Rite, which requires its members to declare a belief in Christianity.

From "Frimurerordenen: - Terrorsiktet hadde minimal kontakt med oss
" ("Masonic Order: - Terror accused had minimal contact with us"
) by Eva-Therese Grøttum:

The Associated Press in Norway wrote yesterday that the 32-year-old is a registered member of the Norwegian Masonic Order. The Norwegian Masonic order denies that accused terrorist Anders Behring Breivik (32) has had a membership of importance with in the order. He is now excluded, effective immediately.

[NOTE: I presume the actual Norwegian term "Eksklusjonen "is closer to our word "expelled." If you are stronger in the language than I am, please let me know — my Norwegian consists solely of the ability to say "fjord."]

"As far as we understand he has had minimal contact with the lodge," says Grand Master Ivar A. Skaar to VGNett (news service).

The [Grand Master's edict] states that he is excluded from the order effective immediately.

"Exclusion is an expression of the acts he is accused of having carried out and the values ​​that appear to have motivated them is completely incompatible with what we stand for [in Masonry], according to a press release.

It was Friday that 32-year-old Andres Behring Breivik was arrested and later charged with the heinous terrorist attacks that have shaken the whole world. At least 85 young people are now confirmed dead after he systematically shot and killed everyone he passed at the Labour Youth League summer camp at Utøya. [NOTE: That death toll is up to 93 as of Sunday morning, with another 90 wounded.]

Breivik is also accused of bombing a government building in which at least seven people were killed and nine seriously injured.

Background: Arrested 32-year-old calling himself nationalist
Beyond confirming that there has been a relationship between the Masonic Order and Breivik, GM Skaar does not wish to comment further on the matter at this time. He will not say when the contact occurred, or how active the terrorist accused was in the lodge.

Minimal Contact
Masonic Lodge says they have had minimal contact with Anders Behring Breivik.
"We have discussed the matter on the phone today, he says, referring to the lodge in the press release on the matter.

Meanwhile, CNN is reporting on Breivik's alleged 1,500 page manifesto, in which he describes himself as "Justiciar Knight Commander for Knights Templar Europe and one of several leaders of the National and pan-European Patriotic Resistance Movement." In it, he calls for a European civil war over the next 70 years, the deportation of Muslims from Europe, and the execution of "cultural Marxists."

According to an AP article on the St. Louis Today website, "Lawyer: Norway suspect wanted anti-Muslim crusade":

In the manifesto, Breivik referred to the Knights Templar group. European security officials said Sunday they were aware of increased Internet chatter from individuals claiming they belonged to the group, but were still investigating claims that Breivik, and other far-right individuals, attended a London meeting of its members in 2002.

[snip]

A 12-minute video clip posted on YouTube with the same title as the manifesto featured symbolic imagery of the Knights Templar and crusader kings as well as slides suggesting Europe is being overrun by Muslims. Police could not confirm that Breivik had posted the video, which also featured photographs of him dressed in a formal military uniform and in a wet suit pointing an assault rifle.

WEOFM: "Journeying Eastward" by Ravi S. Kudesia


The 22nd video presentation from the Worldwide Exemplification of Freemasonry is now available. This week's program is "Journeying Eastward" by Ravi S. Kudesia.


Brother Kadesia's paper highlights the relationship between Freemasonry and ancient Indian Vedanta philosophy. Ravi S. Kudesia is the founder / CEO of The Leadership Yoga. He is a nationally published thought leader who integrates yoga with organizational behavior and personal transformation. His work has appeared on CNN.com, Peter Drucker’s Leader to Leader Journal, Integral Yoga Magazine, and others. Ravi developed the Transformational Mindfulness mind-body exercise. He has researched with Harvard neurologists and the Institute for Extraordinary Living and developed business at top advertising firms including Modernista! and Campbell Ewald. Ravi is a graduate of Boston University’s School of Management,, and he is currently a doctoral student at Washington University in St. Louis’ Olin Business School.

The Worldwide Exemplification of Freemasonry 2011 Lecture Series is a free presentation of Masonic education endorsed by the Grand Lodge of Indiana F&AM, beginning January 1, 2011 and running through December 31, 2011.

Friday, July 15, 2011

WEOFM: "A Visit With Albert Pike" by James T. Tresner II


The 21st video presentation from the Worldwide Exemplification of Freemasonry is now available. This week's program is "A Visit with General Albert Pike" by James T. Tresner, PM.


Dr. James T. Tresner II is a Past Master of Albert Pike Masonic Lodge No. 162 in Oklahoma, Artistic Director for Guthrie Scottish Rite Temple, Editor of The Oklahoma Mason. He is the author of “Albert Pike, The Man Beyond the Monument” and "Vested In Glory." He is also the book reviewer of the Scottish Rite journal.

The Worldwide Exemplification of Freemasonry 2011 Lecture Series is a free presentation of Masonic education endorsed by the Grand Lodge of Indiana F&AM, beginning January 1, 2011 and running through December 31, 2011.

Thursday, July 14, 2011

Message for the Rocky Mountain Masonic Conference

The Rocky Mountain Masonic Conference opens in Salt Lake City, Utah today.



I promise I wish I was there. Speakers include Thomas W. Jackson, Cliff Porter and David Heathcote. Somebody please take notes for me...

Don't forget the Masonic Society Semi-Annual Meeting begins Saturday afternoon after the Conference ends. Speakers include Pete Normand, Glen Cook, Dr. Jay Williams, Dr. Ken Davis, and Grand Master of Utah, John Liley.

Have a great weekend!

Eat something solid for me. I'm on a strict morphine diet.

Wednesday, July 13, 2011

Surgery Day


Most of you know by now that I was diagnosed with stomach cancer back in March. (My apologies to Facebook folks who have been following this over there for the redundancy of this message—it posts automatically in a couple of places.)

Docs caught it quite by accident and very early. I've been through 9 weeks of chemotherapy, followed by a month long detox period (because, you know, it's poison). And now today—finally—they wheel me into surgery to remove all, or at least a major chunk, of my stomach (I won't know until I wake up). I'm thinking of the scene in Jaws when they cut the shark open and discover a license plate.


"Aw, you don't need a stomach to live," sez my surgeon, with all of the chirpy good cheer of the guy who gets to keep his. I may have to wrestle him for it. I'll be laying there on the table, gutted like a largish fish, making gurgling sounds, while he's carving up my stomach and discussing lunch.

Everybody discusses lunch at work.

I hate this already.

They say cancer is like a journey. Well, if they mean it's like that dismal Amtrak trip I took in 1976 when the air conditioning failed, the electrical system died, with no fresh water, no dining car, and stuck on a West Virginia siding for 12 hours waiting for a coal train derailment to get cleaned up, then perhaps 'they' are correct.

Barring any surprises that Doctor 'You Don't need A Stomach' might come across this afternoon, I'll be in the hospital for a full week. I'll recover for 6 weeks, and then, long about the time I have a full beard and a head of hair again, I'll get zapped for another 9 more weeks of chemo. My only revenge is to become Beelzebub's satanic patient, which I have every intention of doing.

The good news is that the prognosis is still positive. No one has taken Alice out in the hall and told her to take me skydiving and start hunting the safety deposit box key. Unfortunately, everything has taken much longer than I had hoped, which has given me much way too long a time to read really scary stuff on the Intertubz.

My apologies to the many groups for whom I've had to call off travel plans. I've had to cancel more than two dozen events for the year, and I promise all of you, I'd much rather be with you than doing what I'm doing. Hopefully by October, I'll be back to my curmudgeonly self. Alice and I have been invited to speak in New York City on December 4th at the 92nd Street Y, and I have no intention of missing it.

We both thank all of you for the literally hundreds of cards and letters, emails, phone calls and offers of help over the last few months as this has progressed. I can't adequately express how appreciative I am for all of the kind wishes and prayers from so many folks. Know that they have helped keep us happy and positive, and both of us owe so many of you a debt I cannot sufficiently repay.

Forgive me if I don't answer my phone or email. I'll be on a table with a hose up my nose and strangers peering into my gastrointestinal tract.

On really expensive drugs.

Administered by professional gas passers.

While they discuss their lunch.

Tuesday, July 12, 2011

GL of Utah F&AM Dedicates Cornerstone


On Sunday, July 10th, more than 250 guests and parishioners were on hand as Most Worshipful Brother John C. Liley Jr, Grand Master of Masons in Utah and officers of the Grand Lodge of Utah F&AM performed a cornerstone ceremony for the Community United Methodist Church in Ogden.

See more photos and Grand Orator Jason Varner's address here.

Masonic Society Semi-Annual Meeting and Banquet in Salt Lake City This Saturday!


The registration deadline for the Masonic Society Semi-Annual meeting and banquet on Saturday in Salt Lake City, Utah has been extended through the end of tomorrow, Wednesday, July 13th.

If you are attending the Rocky Mountain Masonic Conference this week, or if you are in the general vicinity, don't miss this outstanding event!

More information and registration form HERE.

Our events will take place Saturday afternoon, July 16 after the RMCC ends and the conferral of the Mark Master Degree in the magnificent Salt Lake Masonic Temple.

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

If you are planning on attending, please make your reservations before this Wednesday.

Here is Saturday's schedule:

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

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

Presenters:

  • Pierre "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, will present "The Scottish Influence on Freemasonry's Earliest High Degree"
  • Glen Cook, FMS, Past Grand Master, Most Worshipful Grand Lodge of Utah will present "The Legend of the Third Degree- A Tale of Loss and Sorrow"
  • 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 will be at the Alta Club located approximately midway between the Embassy Suites Hotel and the Salt Lake Masonic Temple.

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
Registration Fee (including banquet) $75.00 per person. Reserve online here.

Jack The Ripper Evidence To Remain Sealed


Jack the Ripper was the name given to possibly the most notorious serial killer in history, even though he was far from being posterity’s most prolific or eccentric murderer. In September of 1888, the killer methodically murdered five women, all prostitutes, in the Whitechapel neighborhood of London. He slit their throats, then dismembered them, in some cases removing portions of their inner organs. The killings stopped suddenly two months later, and the case has never been solved.

This curious little story appeared in Sunday's Daily Mirror in the UK, "Secret files on Jack the Ripper will not be released to the public" by Nick Owens:

Secret files which name four new Jack the Ripper suspects will not be released to the public.

Retired murder detective Trevor Marriott has fought to have a 900-page dossier on the 1888 Whitechapel murders released. But a tribunal last week ruled they must be kept hidden. Scotland Yard said living relatives of the suspects could be attacked.

It added that releasing the papers which name “grasses” would jeopardise the recruitment of modern-day informants.

Yesterday Mr Marriott, who is writing a book about the Ripper, who was never caught, said: “To censor the documents is absurd.

“They could help solve the mystery after all this time.”


So what does this have to do with Freemasons? (And what are "grasses", while we're at it.)

In 1976, Stephen Knight published Jack the Ripper: the Final Solution, in which he theorized that the killer was Dr. William Gull, private physician to Victoria, Queen of England. Knight alleged that Gull was a Freemason, and had been ordered by the Queen (or the Prime Minister, Robert Gascoyne-Cecil, 3rd Marquess of Salisbury) to kill the prostitutes because they knew of a secret marriage between the Queen's grandson, Prince Albert Edward, and a prostitute named Annie Crook. Eddy, as he was known, was in line to the throne after his father, the Prince of Wales, and being married to a hooker was bad enough. Worse was that she was Catholic, and compounding the scandal, she supposedly gave birth to a daughter. This would have been earth-shattering stuff if Eddy ever became king, because his successor would be his firstborn child, whether mom was working girl with a mattress on her back or not. And a Catholic heir was not exactly kosher for the Protestant English royalty.

The theory goes on that Masonic Dr. Gull went about killing all the women who knew about the marriage and the child. He cut them from ear to ear. He tore open a left breast or two. He cut open a torso and removed the organs, and even burned them.

Other supposed Masonic “evidence” was a message scrawled in chalk on a wall near one of the murder scenes: “The Juwes are the men That Will not be Blamed for nothing.” Sir Charles Warren, Commissioner of the Metropolitan Police and a Freemason, ordered the message destroyed, because he was afraid that anti-Jewish sentiment would be inflamed and Jews would be blamed for the killings (there had already been several near-riots). Knight’s version is that Warren erased the words before they could even be photographed to protect Freemasons. Knight believed that the Juwes were actually a reference to the attackers of Hiram Abiff in the Master Mason degree, Jubela, Jubelo and Jubelum. Never mind that no one besides Knight has ever referred to the three ruffians in Masonic ritual as Juwes.

The final victim, Mary Kelly, was murdered on the same evening as the quarterly meeting of Quatuor Coronati Lodge #2076, London's premiere research lodge. The first Worshipful Master of that Lodge, who may have attended that meeting not far from the murder scene, was Sir Charles Warren, who resigned as Police Commissioner that very night. Of course, records of the lodge show that he wasn't at the meeting that evening, but pesky details never stop a good conspiracy theory.

Knight’s theory hangs on the allegations of Joseph Sickert, who claimed he had learned the "truth" from his father, Walter Sickert, a well-known eccentric and painter of the period. Walter claimed to have been a friend of Prince Eddy and had supposedly witnessed the marriage. In fact, claimed Sickert, Eddy and Annie had met in his father's art studio, where they became besotted with each other. In later years Joseph Sickert retracted the entire yarn, gleefully calling it “a whopping fib” and a hoax. Mystery author Patricia Cornwell’s book Jack the Ripper: Portrait of a Killer-Case Closed, actually makes a fairly compelling case that the Ripper was, in fact, none other than Walter Sickert himself, who put clues to the killings in his own paintings.

Nevertheless, with his new-found success based on the lurid book, in 1984 Knight went on to write another anti-Masonic book, "The Brotherhood: The Secret World of the Freemasons," attempting to smear the fraternity even more. His wild allegations led to a flurry of anti-Masonic coverage in the British press. When he died in 1985 of a brain tumor, a fellow anti-Mason named Martin Short (not the comedian) went on the radio and implied that the Masons used an ultrasound death ray to kill him.

I didn’t make this stuff up. I’m not that good. Amazingly, Short quickly became the BBC's go-to guy for many years whenever an anti-Masonic story hit the headlines.

Regardless, no one seriously believes the William Gull/Freemason theory. The names of the three attackers of Hiram Abiff had been removed from English Masonic ritual 70 years before the Ripper murders took place, and no one ever called them Juwes anyway. The women’s bodies were horribly mutilated, but there was no pattern to them to really suggest any connection to Masonic ritual. Sir William Gull was 72 years old with a heart condition and had recently suffered a stroke—hardly a likely man to run down dark alleys after young girls, much less engage in the grueling act of carving them up while they struggled. Oh, there's also the sticky problem that Gull wasn't a Mason. And the English public would hardly have needed to be protected from the scandals of philandering princes, as they were as common as ragweed. English law forbade a Catholic from ascending to the throne, and it turned out that the real Annie Crook wasn’t even a Catholic to begin with. There remains zero evidence of any secret marriage between her and Prince Albert Edward. And for the pregnancy and birth dates of Annie's child to work out properly, there's the little problem that Prince Eddy was swanning about in Germany when the child was conceived.

This whole cockamamie theory would have died out in the 1980s after Joseph Sickert had blown the whistle on himself if it hadn’t been for a graphic novel by Alan Moore and Eddie Campbell. From Hell is considered to be a masterpiece of the graphic novel genre (we used to call them comic books, back when the world was young and dinosaurs ruled the Earth). In 2001 it was made into a film starring Johnny Depp. In many ways, a better telling of the story was made in 1978. Murder By Decree dramatized the same story as a Sherlock Holmes case, starring Christopher Plummer as Holmes and James Mason as Dr. Watson. Completely untrue, it is an entertaining yarn (and when I was in college, it was one of the first references I had ever seen to Freemasonry).

Which brings us back to the story in Sunday's Daily Mirror.

Just what are those four suspects' names that Scotland Yard still hides from the public?

Odd Fellows, perhaps?

As for "grasses", there's this explanation from The Phrase Finder:

Informers are variously known as squealers, noses, moles, snouts and stool pigeons. These terms invoke imagery of covert snooping around and of talking. Grass is less intuitive. It could just have arisen from 'snake in the grass', which derives from the writings of Virgil (in Latin, as 'latet anguis in herba') and has been known in English, meaning traitor, since the late 17th century.

There is another route to the word and this is via rhyming slang. Farmer and Henley's 1893 Dictionary of Slang defines 'grasshopper' as 'copper', i.e. policeman. The theory is that a 'grass' is someone who works for the police and so has become a surrogate 'copper'. The rhyming slang link was certainly believed in 1950 by the lexicographer Paul Tempest, when he wrote Lag's lexicon: a comprehensive dictionary and encyclopaedia of the English prison to-day:

"Grasser. One who gives information. A 'squealer’ or ‘squeaker'. The origin derives from rhyming slang: grasshopper - copper; a 'grass' or 'grasser' tells the 'copper' or policeman."


That comes only a few years after the term grass was coined and there seems little reason to doubt it as the derivation. The original users of the term 'grass up' were from the London underworld and would have certainly been better acquainted with rhyming slang than the works of Virgil.

Monday, July 11, 2011

Burns Night at Indianapolis' Lodge Vitruvian July 26th

"Then fill up a bumper and make it o'erflow,
And honours Masonic prepare for to throw;
May ev'ry true Brother of the Compass and Square
Have a big-belly'd bottle when harass'd with care."
—Robert Burns, No Churchman Am I

Brother Robert Burns (sometimes referred to as Rabbie Burns) is Scotland's favorite son and is regarded as the poet laureate of Freemasonry. He was born on January 25, 1759 and died on July 21, 1796. He was a prolific poet and lyricist and may be best known for writing the New Year's anthem, Auld Lang Syne, which is also frequently sung in Masonic lodges and gatherings.

The officers and brethren of Lodge Vitruvian #767 in Indianapolis cordially invite all Freemasons of any degree and their ladies to join us for our annual Robert Burns night on Tuesday, July 26th. The stated meeting will open at 7:00 P.M. at the temple of Broad Ripple Lodge located at 1716 Broad Ripple Ave., Indianapolis. The business meeting is restricted to Master Masons, but brethren of any degree and the ladies may join us for the festive board and program scheduled to begin at 8:00 P.M. at the Snooty Fox Restaurant, 1435 E. 86th St., Indianapolis. This is just west of the intersection of 86th St. and Westfield Bl. on the south side of the street. A buffet dinner will be served and there will be a cash bar. The menu will be the classic roast beef and tatties (with a pasta dish for those so inclined), served buffet style. The price for dinner is $20 per person, and there will be a cash bar available.

Dress for the evening will be tuxedo for officers and members and tuxedo or business attire for visitors. And kilts are certainly in order.

The evening's program will commence immediately after dinner. There will be a short presentation on the life of Robert Burns, featuring Samuel Lawson (see notes below). This will be followed by the reading of several Burns poems, the toast to the laddies and the lassies, and will conclude with the seven traditional toasts. There will be pipers to provide musical entertainment.

This is always the highlight of the Lodge Vitruvian year. In past years, this celebration has been held in January near the date of Burns's birthday of January 25. In order to avoid the inclement weather that has plagued us in recent years, we have moved the date to our July stated meeting to correspond closely to the date of Burns's death on July 21. The evening is always a lighthearted affair, with plenty of good food and lots of laughs. Polish up your most bilious Scottish brogue, bring your favorite Burns poem, and join us for what promises to be another night to remember. Please send your RSVP's to James Dillman, WM at jrdill1955@yahoo.com

Program Notes:

Every traditional Burns' Dinner features some words to the immortal memory of Scotland's Ploughman Poet-Laureate, Robert Burns. This presentation will include a traditional telling of the story of certain facts and episodes of Burns' life, but with an added inclusion of a taste of his influence outside the borders of Scotland from just a few years after his death. Italian guitarist/composer Mauro Giuliani and Spaniard Fernado Sor composed solo guitar works for classical guitar based on Burns' songs, The Soldier's Return, This is No My Ain Lassie, and Ye Banks and Braes of Bonnie Doon. To conclude the presentation, all are welcome to join in singing a traditional rendering of 'Ye Banks and Braes'.

Samuel Lawson is a classical guitarist with the degree of Master of Music from Butler University in Indianapolis, IN, and has recently entered the Doctor of Arts program at Ball State University. He has made his own way performing, teaching, and writing music in Indiana, South Carolina, and Pittsburgh, PA, and has toured performing classical and jazz guitar with his wife and vocalist, Rebekah, through the south-eastern U.S., parts of California and the hostels of Scotland. While studying under Brett Terrell, professor of guitar, and Dr. James Briscoe, professor of music history, at Jordan College of Music, Butler University, Samuel gained a preference for a lecture-recital format rather than a traditional recital. Recently he has also started gaining a reputation as a public speaker for the Scottish Society of Indianapolis, the Indiana Society of the Classical Guitar, and his own recital-lectures. One of these concert-lectures demonstrates parallel movements in music and visual art history, and another leans more towards his cherished Scottish heritage. He also performs on Sunday afternoons 12:30-2:30 at Barcelona Tapas restaurant in downtown Indianapolis.

Sunday, July 10, 2011

WEOFM: "Albert Pike and the Five Civilized Tribes" by Robert G. Davis


The 20th video presentation from the Worldwide Exemplification of Freemasonry is now available. This week's program is "Albert Pike and the Five Civilized Tribes" by Robert G. Davis, PM.


Robert G. Davis has distinguished himself with an impressive record of service to the Craft. He is Executive Secretary of the Guthrie Scottish Rite Bodies in Oklahoma. He is a Past Master of three Masonic Lodges, and served as the charter Master of Guildhall No. 553, a Traditional Observance Lodge in Oklahoma. He is a KYCH, a 33° Mason and recipient of the Grand Cross. He is currently the Vice President of the Scottish Rite Research Society and serves as editor of Heredom. He is also the editor of the High Council publications of the Masonic Rosicrucians. Before moving to Guthrie, Bro∴Davis served 14 years in the city management and city planning professions. He is currently the President of the Masonic Restoration Foundation.

The Worldwide Exemplification of Freemasonry 2011 Lecture Series is a free presentation of Masonic education endorsed by the Grand Lodge of Indiana F&AM, beginning January 1, 2011 and running through December 31, 2011.

Summer Stylin'


Just in time for our world takeover fund raisers, BustedTees is offering up this great tee shirt: 234th Annual Illuminati BBQ Picnic and Volleyball Tournament. A mere $20.

H/T to Brother Steve Settles.

Saturday, July 09, 2011

I'm Making Some Facebook Changes


Facebook, in its infinite wisdom, continues to restrict personal page friend lists to 5,000 contacts. When I started my Facebook page, I was clueless as to its inner workings, and never figured on bumping up against this limitation. Frankly, I've been a little astonished at the interest, and I appreciate everyone who has signed up as a friend there. Unfortunately, I am close to hitting the 5,000 limit this week.

As a result of Facebook's tyrannical rule, I am encouraging folks to "LIKE" the new fan page for Freemasons For Dummies, so I don't have to bounce friend requests. Eventually, I will make my personal page a quieter place.

CLICK HERE, and many thanks for your understanding.

Friday, July 08, 2011

Virginia's Metropolitan Lodge No. 161 PHA Ready To Come Home


When the Prince Hall Freemasons of Leesburg, Virginia's Metropolitan Lodge #161 decided in 2006 to renovate their historic 1887 Masonic hall (it served for a time as a school for African American girls), it meant hunting a temporary home in which to meet. After a brief time gathering in the local community center, they approached the brethren of nearby Olive Branch Masonic Lodge #114 of the Grand Lodge of Virginia AF&AM. The result was new friendships and the true bond of Masonic brotherhood.

From "Coming Home: Prince Hall Masons Ready For Return To Historic Lodge" by Samantha Bartram in Leesburg Today:

When renovations to the Metropolitan Lodge #161 began, its members had to think fast of places to meet and hold events. For a long while, the group had no choice but to gather in a small community center or at members' homes. That meant lugging equipment for ritual from place to place, conforming to unfamiliar schedules and other inconveniences.

"We had to always comply with their hours, take time to set up and break down-so we decided not to do that anymore," Ben Jones, of the Metropolitan Lodge #161 Prince Hall Masons, said. "When we were meeting over at the community center, I thought about it, and I said to Mike [Napper, then Worshipful Master of the Prince Hall Lodge], we ought to ask the Olive Branch Masons if we could just use their place! Mike inquired of their Worshipful Master and they said, ‘by all means, please use our lodge.' They were practically shoving keys in our hands."

"We felt like it was the right thing to do," Gary Williams, who was serving as Olive Branch Worshipful Master when approached by Napper, recalled. "When we realized they were completely shut out of their building, and even holding meetings in peoples' homes, we said this doesn't make sense, come use our lodge."

The two branches use the same equipment in ritual, meaning Prince Hall members no longer had to worry about such tedious roadblocks-all they had to do was come and worship. "They'd graciously allow us to use their lodge anytime. We'd just call ahead and they'd say, ‘fine,'" Jones said.

The easy exchange has continued for the past 18 months, with Prince Hall members coming and going as they please from the Olive Branch's 108 Cornwall Street lodge. "This was as far as I know, the first time the lodges have worked together in a fashion like this," Kevin Horman, current Worshipful Master of the Olive Branch Lodge, said, reflecting on sharing space between the two groups. "And it's been great."

Benefits To The Community
Still, though the two lodges certainly have bonded, the time is fast approaching for the Prince Hall brethren to head home to their new space. Jones cited August as a likely move-in date, even though some minor work, "painting, dry wall," would still need to be completed. "When we move back in it won't be all pretty, but at least we'll be in," Jones said. "We'll begin meeting there in August, then hopefully in 2012 when it gets warmer we'll straighten out the front, and the first floor for the computer lab."

It's understandable if that last statement causes the reader pause-a computer lab in a Masonic Lodge? But that's exactly what Jones is aiming for-a place where youth in the community become "producers of electronics, not consumers."

One stipulation of a state grant the Prince Hall lodge received in 2006 is that it must be accessible to the public for a period of time. At first, the members floated a museum of African-American history as a way to comply, but Jones had another idea. "We've got a problem with our young people. We find our youth-black and white-are becoming consumers and not producers. So the first floor of that lodge is going to be a place they learn to build computers," Jones said.

[snip]

Jones maintains little of what's already been accomplished would have been possible had it not been for the selfless efforts of the Olive Branch Lodge, local dignitaries and ordinary citizens. Sure, extending a helping hand might seem a matter of course for a neighbor in need, but to Jones, it carries greater significance. "It's not about cost or money-it's about what they've done. It's other people that didn't have to help, but they did," Jones said.

Williams agreed, adding that for his lodge, working with the Prince Hall masons has not only been fruitful in terms of forging new relationships, it's also indicative of old prejudices gradually falling away. "We are all members of this very small community, so to cooperate and recognize one another was the right thing to do," he said.

Both lodges agree there's more collaboration on the horizon. "I do think we'll continue to work together. We've made some personal friendships, and I think that will lead to several things we've discussed for us to do together in the future," Williams said.

"It's probably too dramatic to say it's been life uplifting, but [working with the Prince Hall Masons] has allowed us to be more comfortable when we see them about town. We've created that friendship and removed any remoteness," he added.

Wednesday, July 06, 2011

Indiana's Dwight L. Smith Lodge of Research July 9, 2011

The Dwight L. Smith Lodge of Research will meet next Saturday, July 9th, 2011, 12:00 PM at Jackson Lodge No. 146, 1818 Ewing St. (State Hwy. 11 & Redding Rd) in Seymour, IN. Lunch will be served.

WBro. Michael Gillard will present his paper "JUBILEE - 200 Years of Indiana Freemasonry".

This meeting is open to all Master Masons regardless of whether or not they are members of the Lodge. Cost of lunch will be $5.

The Lodge meets four times each year, twice in Indianapolis at Indiana Freemasons' Hall in Indianapolis, and once each in the northern and southern regions of the state. Currently, membership in the Lodge is open only to Indiana Freemasons who are members in good standing of a regular subordinate Lodge holden under charter of the Grand Lodge of Indiana, F. & A. M. Membership is $15 per year, due and payable on January 1 for the year in advance.

For more information, see the lodge website at www.indianalodgeofresearch.com , and be sure to sign up for the lodge Facebook page here.

Tuesday, July 05, 2011

France: 30% of GLNF Lodges Vote To Break With Stifani

The situation with the Grande Loge Nationale Française (GLNF) and its embattled Grand Master François Stifani took unusual twists in the last week.

• The hearing in which the Paris Court of Appeal would examine financial reports, scheduled for the end of June, has been postponed until September 8th, because of records submitted late to the court by GLNF.

• In the wake of the GL of Massachusetts and perhaps more U.S. grand lodges temporarily suspending fraternal relations with the GLNF, along with more than a dozen European GLs (including the United Grand Lodge of England cautioning its members not to visit GLNF lodges), Stifani emailed preemptive letters to U.S. jurisdictions on June 29th. Apparently to attempt to curry favor with American Masons, he extensively quotes Pennsylvania Past Grand Secretary Thomas Jackson from a speech apparently given at this year's World Conference of Grand Lodges in Columbia.

• On June 30th, a list was released of 581 GLNF lodges that have voted "To suspend temporarily our Masonic links with the Grande Loge Nationale Française, until such time as a Masonic body that respects the criteria of universal regular Freemasonry shall have been established once more on French territory." The list of lodges that have severed ties is not anonymous, and the decisions required a 2/3 vote of each lodge's members.

That's 1/3 of the approximately 1,665 GLNF chartered lodges, and the number is expected to climb as more internal votes continue this week.

POLL RESULTS: Traveling Men

JUNE POLL QUESTION: Outside of your Mother Lodge, approximately how many lodges a year do you visit?

Results:
0 = 52 votes (7%)

1-4 = 293 votes (44%)

5-9 = 148 votes (22%)

10 or more = 165 votes (25%)


Total votes = 658
Poll closed

Monday, July 04, 2011

Ben Franklin: A Timely Chat With America

The Grand Lodge of Massachusetts has posted the latest videos in their Ben Franklin Chats series on the www.askamason.com website.

Perfect for Independence Day is this one, A Timely Chat With America.

"Freemasonry is still providing that special place where young men can find their greatness, and accomplished men can give something back."

Happy Independence Day!

American Freemasonry in London

The United Grand Lodge of England's Library and Museum of Freemasonry in London's Freemason Hall on Great Queen Street kicks off the 4th of July with a new exhibit. "The Patriot Mason: Freemasonry in American Society" opens today and runs through December 22nd.

This new exhibition opens in the Library and Museum on America’s Independence Day, Monday 4th July, and continues until Christmas. It explores the role of freemasonry in American society from the 18th century to the present day, drawing on rarely seen objects from the Library and Museum’s own collections. One of the world’s rarest Masonic books – published by Benjamin Franklin in 1734 – will be displayed alongside the elaborate costumes and medals (Jewels) worn by American freemasons.


H/T to Karen Ralls

Sunday, July 03, 2011

WEOFM: "Critical Reading of Masonic Literature" by Yoshio Washizu, PGM


The 19th video presentation from the Worldwide Exemplification of Freemasonry is now available. This week's program is "Critical Reading of Masonic Literature" by Yoshio Washizu, PGM.


R:.W:.B:. Yoshio Washizu is a Past Grand Master of the Grand Lodge of Japan.

The Worldwide Exemplification of Freemasonry 2011 Lecture Series is a free presentation of Masonic education endorsed by the Grand Lodge of Indiana F&AM, beginning January 1, 2011 and running through December 31, 2011.

Saturday, July 02, 2011

"Freemason's Enigma" Online Puzzle Game


Bored with a little time to waste in frustration this holiday weekend? Check out Freemason's Enigma, a locked room/puzzle game from Abroy.com



It's from the same folks who created the equally frustrating Masonic Mystery a while back.