Wednesday, August 31, 2011

Supreme Council of the Scottish Rite NMJ

I picked this tee shirt up over a year ago at Old Navy, but never wore it. I wasn't entitled.

It's a question of honor.

Today I can, even if the logo is a little off.

The 33rd degree on Tuesday in Chicago at the historic Merle Reskin Theatre was impressive and moving, and maybe the closest thing to a West Point moment I will ever experience. Congratulations to my 163 Illustrious classmates, and many, many thanks to everyone who made this day so special. Especially to Jeff Saunders, Jerry Collins and Pete Forest who made this doddering, sickly old man comfortable and made the traveling easy. Not sure I would have made it through the day without their kind help. The week was kind of touch and go, healthwise. And thanks to the unknown Russian gentleman in the elevator who tied my bow tie. It was a thousand little events and incidents and good wishes that made it so remarkable.

So many friends helped make it a great experience: Grand Master of Indiana Gregg Walbridge, Mike Sassman, Charles Compton, Linville Coner, Tim Hopewell, GM Bill Koon, Jonathan R. Elrod, Duane Vaught, David Goodwin, Chuck Wood, Ward Weber, J. Brian McNaughton, Mark Genung, DGM George Ingles, Jeff Zaring, Eric Seidensticker, Piers A. Vaughan (great to see you my friend after your own health issues!), Kent Hizer, Paul C. Page, Bob Elrod, Gail Kemp, Todd Creason, and everyone who I met for the first time in person from Facebook connections.

And especially to Sovereign Grand Commander William McNaughton, from whom I was privileged to receive my 33rd ring onstage. It was a day I'll never forget.

Finally, my apologies to anyone I've left out. It was a day of madness and confusion, and the memory skips on occasion. Alice, Wiley and I had a wonderful experience, and I will endeavor to live up to the honor.

Sunday, August 28, 2011

$3 Mil. Renovation for Cincinnati Scottish Rite Theatre


Cincinnati's Taft Theatre. built as part of the city's Masonic Center and Scottish Rite cathedral, has undergone a $3 million renovation for use as the temporary home of the Cincinnati Symphony Orchestra.

Fron the Cincinnati Enquirer:

After a $3 million upgrade, the historic theater now boasts a $1.3 million eco-friendly air conditioning system, larger, more comfortable seats, tripled capacity in the women's restrooms and doubled capacity in the men's restrooms. A new color scheme and lighting honor the building's past but bring it into the 21st century.

On Sept. 12, the Cincinnati Symphony Orchestra will host the grand reopening, which will launch a full concert season of rock, pop and R&B stars, comedians and more. The open house for invited guests and the public (tickets required) will include self-guided tours, light refreshments and a one-hour performance of Hollywood favorites by the Cincinnati Pops, led by its incoming conductor, John Morris Russell.

The theater was built in 1928 by the Scottish Rite of Freemasonry.



"It's all to accommodate the patron," said Mike Smith, Cincinnati Symphony Orchestra vice president of Riverbend Music Center and CEO of the orchestra's subsidiary, Music and Event Management Inc. (MEMI).

The Taft's renovation was funded by gifts from Cincinnati financier Carl H. Lindner and his wife, Edyth, and an anonymous donor. The project is "on time and under budget" following an accelerated three-month construction timeline, Smith said.

"We're pretty excited about it. For a building that's sort of been forgotten and ignored, I think it's going to be an integral part of the arts community," Smith said.

The Taft Theatre, named for Charles Phelps Taft, is part of the Cincinnati Masonic Temple. Over the years, it has presented Broadway shows such as "The Music Man," touring artists, performances by the Cincinnati Ballet and the CSO's "Home for the Holidays" concerts.

The CSO took over the Taft's operations in September, with plans to upgrade the aging venue as a more attractive space for touring acts and to provide a temporary home for the symphony and Pops orchestras when Music Hall undergoes a massive revitalization, now scheduled for 2013-14.

Saturday, August 27, 2011

New GL of Oregon Video

The Grand Lodge of Oregon has taken a bold step with a dramatic new video introduction to the fraternity.



It's not timid.

Thursday, August 25, 2011

DC Masonic Landmarks Undamaged by Quake

No known damage occured at the George Washington Masonic Memorial in Alexandria, VA after yesterday's earthquake. From the Memorial's website:

The tallest and most visible structure in Alexandria, Virginia, the George Washington Masonic National Memorial appears to be unscathed by yesterday's, August 23rd, earthquake. Pictures were knocked off the walls and some exhibits suffered minor damage. Engineers will be inspecting the entire building in the immediate future.

Nobody was injured either within the Memorial or on the grounds.

The Memorial remains open to the public for tours on the regular schedule.


No word yet as to the condition of the Scottish Rite House of the Temple in Washington, which is undergoing major structural renovation.

Unfortunately major cracks have been discovered in the Washington Monument's exterior stones, including one major displacement in the upper pyramidion.

Sunday, August 21, 2011

Jerald K. Lingle, Senior Grand Warden of Washington, Passes

RW Jerald K. Lingle, Senior Grand Warden of the Grand Lodge of Washington F&AM passed to the celestial lodge on August 20th. He was found Friday night in his home by his son. RW Bro. Lingle was 57 years old, and police do not suspect foul play.

He had been a a Mason County, Washington commissioner since January.

From the Kitsap Sun:

Fellow Commissioner Tim Sheldon said he received a phone call Friday from Mason County Sheriff Casey Salisbury telling him of Lingle's death.

"Jerry was great to work with. He was so enthusiastic about the job. He was a very caring person," Sheldon said. "He'll be really missed."

Lingle ran for commissioner campaigning as a conservative but running as an independent. He topped a field of six in the August primary in a race that included incumbent commissioner Ross Gallagher.

In November he received 57.13 percent of the vote to defeat Democrat Brenda Hirschi.

Lingle also was a 24-year veteran police officer in Shelton.

Sheldon said Lingle gave a moving speech at the memorial service for Tina Griswold, one of four Lakewood police officers killed by Maurice Clemmons in an early morning shooting in 2009. Lingle and Griswold had worked together in Shelton.

Sheldon said Lingle was doing a "fantastic" job as commissioner and was very popular.

Because Lingle ran as an independent Sheldon said he didn't know how his vacancy will be filled.



The Grand Lodge has not yet issued a statement.

His column is broken, and his brethren mourn. RIP.

H/T to Bro. Matt Appel, WM of Robert Burns #243

Saturday, August 20, 2011

Barf Alert: London Paper Discovers Masonic Policemen Again

Apparently, reporters at the UK's Telegraph have made an incredible discovery by using a mysterious tool few know about, called the "Internet." Reporter and "Investigations Editor" (Wow!) Jason Lewis has unearthed a secret Freemasons' lodge in London, secretly made up of secretive Masons who are secretly police officers in secret. Oh, I forgot the exclamation mark. And he did so by finding names of the officers secretly hidden on a secret website!

This is what passes for investigative reporting in England these days, apparently. Frankly, this would have even failed my high school Junior Journalist Club's standards.

In a political attempt to score points off of the Metropolitan Police and David Cameron's government in the wake of the London riots, Lewis' article stirs a meaningless pot of "controversy" over the fact that London police officers who are Masons established Sine Favore Lodge No. 9856 last September. They did so quite openly, and their website isn't exactly furtive. Yes, I know. Pesky details.

But let's get right to Mr. Lewis' scathing expose from the Telegraph, "Freemasons in the police leading the attack on David Cameron's riot response":

Leading police officers have set up a national Masonic lodge where they can meet in secret in defiance of fears about the influence of the secret society on the criminal justice system.

In defiance of fears... not laws, not rules, but simply "fears" because some people have hysterics over Freemasonry, stoked, not by any provable reality, but by myth and delusion. Over here, we call that paranoia.

The founding members include senior officials from the Police Federation, the police staff association, which is currently fighting the Government over its plans to cut budgets.

The new Masonic lodge is led by John Tully, a Metropolitan Police officer, who has given numerous interviews in recent days accusing the Prime Minister of "fighting violence, arson and looting on our city streets with sound-bites".

So, David Cameron's timid and slow response to the riots in an attempt to be sensitive and politically correct, a response that appalled Britons and foreigners alike, is not open to criticism by the police officers who were hamstrung by his "evolving" policies as the country burned. Got it.

Other founder members include officers from the Metropolitan Police, Essex Police, Thames Valley Police and from other forces including Northumbria, Dyfed Powys, South Wales, South Yorkshire and even a high ranking officer from the Royal Gibraltar Police.

Egads, no! Not the Royal Gibraltar Police! Zounds!

The "Sine Favore" Lodge was opened despite the conclusions of a Parliamentary inquiry which warned of public fears that "Freemasonry can have an unhealthy influence on the criminal justice system".

Fears. Not facts. Fears.

The inquiry followed questions about masonic involvement in the abandonment of an investigation into a shoot-to-kill policy in Northern Ireland and with the West Midlands Serious Crime Squad, which was disbanded after evidence of police malpractice.

NOT Masonic malpractice.

Membership is open to all serving and retired officers across Britain and others working alongside the police, including lawyers, criminologists and even the financial advisers who manage officers' retirement plans.

Sounds like they have pretty low standards, if they'll let all those lawyers, real estate developers, bankers and non-police in. Tough to keep law enforcement secrets with all those civilians roaming about in lodge.

The idea for the new police Masonic lodge grew out of a series unofficial get-togethers in hotel bars during Police Federation annual conferences.

Hotel bars, those dens of iniquities. Not good working class pubs.

Masonic rules require members to do all they can to support each other, to look after each other and to keep each others' lawful secrets.

Yes, that's right. Lawful secrets. Not unlawful ones.

New members of the so-called Brotherhood are blindfolded, a hangman's noose placed around their necks and they are warned their throat will be slit and their tongue torn out if they break their oath. Critics argue this could put them at odds with discharging their duty to serve the public.

"So-called" Brotherhood? If Lewis knew anything beyond what he read in his well-thumbed bathroom copy of "From Hell", and had actually researched Freemasonry, he would have found numerous instances of all lodges' generous gifts to all sorts of organizations. And if he'd ever seen the way the widows and orphans of fallen brother officers are aided by other Masons, he'd have shut his pie hole eight paragraphs back.

And by the way, Freemasonry in England removed the so-called "bloody oath" penalties from their ritual decades ago, specifically because crackpots like Lewis didn't understand symbolism. Frankly, a cowardly act that points out that Masonophobes will still use it as a stick to beat you with, so why bother changing ritual for people who are not members?

The inquiry by the Home Affairs Select Committee in 1998 called for a public register of police officers who joined the Freemasons, although in the end the then Labour government proposed that officers could make voluntary disclosures about their membership. Few did.

That's because ZERO wrongdoing was discovered by Jack Straw's cash-hemorrhaging witch hunt, and such registrations have been deemed illegal by both English law and the European Union. Picture having to "disclose" being a Catholic. In England. Again.

The new "Sine Favore" lodge, is named after the Latin motto of the Police Federation, "Without Fear, Without Favour".

The founders include Police Federation Treasurer Martyn Mordecai, John Giblin, chairman of the Federation's Sergeants Central Committee, and Steve Williams, general secretary of the Federation's Inspectors Central Committee.

Earlier this year Mr Giblin told the Federation's annual conference that government ministers "hate the police service" and wanted to "destroy" it.

A fair enough grumble from an officer who feels that government ministers make policy changes without consulting the police who have to carry them out. I'm guessing Lewis bitches about his bosses, too. Or is it merely Brother Giblin's Masonic membership that makes this seditious?

Other founding members include solicitor Tristan Hallam, a personal injury lawyer who specialises, according to his firm Russell Jones and Walker, in "road traffic accidents and public liability cases for both private clients and associations including the Police Federation".

Mr Hallam said: "Membership of any organisation is a personal choice. Russell Jones & Walker are aware of my membership."

I wonder if he's also a member of the Basingstoke Philately Hob Nobbers, the local ruggers club, or the IRA? Perhaps he's one of those creepy Rotarians! Or is his Masonic membership the only issue vital to national safety?

Stewart Imbimbo, an ex-Thames Valley police officer and now a senior official at Milton Keynes council, Robert Taylor, a financial adviser, Eric Misselke, director of a police credit union which provides cheap loans, savings accounts and insurance, and the Metropolitan Police's resident criminologist Dr Attilio Grandani.

...Did what? Lewis needs to go back to English Composition to learn that sentences have nouns, verbs and objects. But he can skip the class on innuendo; he's got that down pat.

Dr Grandani sits on the Metropolitan Police Authority's equality and diversity sub-committee and is behind the Met's new controversial statistical-led policing model, which aims to combat areas of high crime as opposed to more thinly spread bobbies-on-the-beat territorial policing.

Sounds like a common sense approach. Silly me. Can't be. Mason, you know. Must have a secret agenda.

Lodge number 9856 was officially opened by a senior Masonic official, Russell Race. He is the Metropolitan Grand Master, head of the Grand Lodge of London, a corporate financier and chairman of a construction firm behind the huge Westfield shopping centre in west London and The Pinnacle office development, which, when complete, will be the tallest building in the City of London.

The lodge is based at 10 Duke Street in central London, which is also the headquarters of the Supreme Council of the 33rd Degree, one of the most important and mysterious bodies in international Masonic circles, which has an elite membership of only 75 people.

Yes, only 75 members can be 33° Masons in England at any time. The U.S. jurisdictions also have limitations on "active" 33rds. An unlimited number may be 32° Masons. What's "mysterious" about it? Perhaps we can also have an accounting of all of London's membership numbers in its famous, infamous and "elite" private clubs.

The building, known as Grand East by Masons, contains the "Black Room", the "Red Room" and a "Chamber of Death", used for Masonic rituals.

The term is "Chamber of Reflection." Oh, silly me. Facts again. Lewis' line came directly out of Stephen Knight's juvenile exposé, "The Brotherhood," which has been denounced since its publication as false and filled with lies.

The Police Federation last night refused to discuss whether any of its officials had disclosed their involvement with Freemasonary.

A spokesman said: "Being a member of any organisation is a matter for the individual, so long as membership of that organisation does not compromise their duties and responsibilities as a police officer."

Indeed. And thank you for that. England is not a jackbooted dictatorship. Not yet.

Lodge Secretary Mr Tully, vice chairman of the Metropolitan Police Federation refused to comment.

And why should he comment on such a lurid, poorly researched hit piece masquerading as reportage?

Thankfully, in the U.S. we are not subjected to this brand of idiocy in the press. Freemasonry is treated here as a harmless diversion by doddering old men in crumbling buildings, and journalists who report on our successes behave as though they've discovered a curious alien species. But in Europe, our brethren are treated with derision, scorn, hatred and downright slander, as this character assassinating piece of codswallop proves.

Masonic Society: Masonic Announcements Page

A reminder of a recent addition to the Masonic Society website.

One of the regular features of the Journal of the Masonic Society is an announcement page for Conferences, Speeches, Symposia & Gatherings. That feature has now been added to the TMS website here.

If you have an announcement for an upcoming meeting, event, speaker, research lodge gathering, conference or other function that would be of interest to a wide Masonic audience, please forward them to articles@themasonicsociety.com

Naperville, Illinois Lodge to Present Downtown Mural


The brethren of Euclid Lodge No. 65 in Naperville, Illinois (photo above) are about to leave their mark on their town in a very big way. Naperville has a downtown arts program called the Century Art Walk, in which local businesses and artists provide murals on local buildings. Euclid No. 65 will be presenting a 12' x 18' mural depicting Masonry on the exterior wall of a local dry cleaners' across from their Temple building.

Euclid's W:.M:. Neville Diamond was interviewed in the Naperville Sun Times yesterday, and discussed the design:

The piece will be painted on three signboards by local artist Marianne Lisson Kuhn. Unlike the mural she is currently working on, “Naperville Loves a Parade,” it won’t be seen until completion because she will be working on it at her home. It is likely to be revealed in a special ceremony sometime in November.

The painting will depict George Washington with the American flag on one side, with Joseph Naper and the lodge building at 34 Jefferson Ave. on the other. Masonic symbolism will include a black and white squared carpet with a tessellated border plus a square and compass. An eye with the letter G representing God with the sun’s rays is the worldwide symbol of masonry.

They’ll [sic] also be two lists, one of famous people who were masons, the other of well-known Masonic Napervillians from the city’s past.

“In those days membership of the temple was never as public as it is now,” Diamond said. “People may not know that so many of our founding fathers were Freemasons.”

Historic Naperville figures listed include furniture maker and undertaker William J. Beidelman; city father Lewis Ellsworth; World War I veteran Judd Kendall; George Martin, owner of the Martin Mitchell mansion; James L. Nichols for whom the Nichols Library is named and Nicholas Stenger of the old Stenger Brewery in the city.


I have a request in to W:.B:. Diamond for a photo of the design, as it exists only as a concept sketch currently. He tells me to stay tuned...

Friday, August 19, 2011

A Modern Take on the Dudley Pocket Watch


The Barclay Watch Co. in North Apollo, Pennsylvania is offering a unique limited edition wristwatch. For those of us poor, distressed brethren whose pocketbooks can't afford an antique Dudley pocket watch, W:.B:. Edwin L. Barclay. P.M. has created the next best thing. It is a numbered, limited edition wristwatch based on the Dudley classic symbolic design, fully visible from the watch's face.

From the Barclay website:

Brother William Wallace Dudley built his factory in Lancaster, Pennsylvania, after working many years for the Hamilton Watch Company. Dudley produced pocket watches using the standard case and dial designs of that time period, but it was only upon turning the timepiece over that the exposed movement using the Masonic "emblems" was revealed.

Fewer than 6,000 of these rare pieces were ever created before the popularity of the wristwatch, which surpassed the sales of all pocket watches around 1927, forced the Dudley Watch Company to close its doors forever.

Today, Dudley's are highly desired by both pocket watch collectors and Freemasons. A Dudley with a gold case sold for $250 in the 1920's. Today, fine examples including the rare original box and paperwork can bring as much as $12,000 at auction.

Almost 90 years later... another Pennsylvania Freemason, Brother Edwin L. Barclay P.M., opens BARCLAY Watch Co., with a wristwatch designed for today's Mason.

A classic timepiece finely crafted in a 40mm solid stainless steel case, gold plated Masonic symbols, vintage crown, and an individually numbered exhibition caseback, displaying a modern 17 jewel automatic movement that never needs a battery. Presented on a padded, embossed leather strap and delivered in a deluxe presentation case.


Only 2,500 of these numbered watches will be produced. The price is currently $299, and Barclay Watch Co. is donating $40 from every watch sold, to Pennsylvania Masonic Charities (up to $100,000.)

"Masonic" Symbolism and the F.O.P.?


In the United States we are fortunate that lurid allegations concerning Freemasonry and law enforcement are rare. In other countries, especially across Great Britain, press accounts are more common that attempt to link Freemasons with wrongdoing, and expecially if there is the slightest hint of any Masonic connection to the police or the judiciary. The British press is overly fond of making certain that a criminal's Masonic membership, if it exists, gets plastered in the opening paragraph of any story. And former Home Secretary Jack Straw's notorious witch hunt against Masons in law enforcement in the U.K. made headlines for years, even though it found zero evidence of any improper influence of Freemasonry on police or other justice officials.

Curiously, there does appear to be a visual connection between police and Freemasonry in the U.S. It's right out in plain sight, and has been for over a century. It is the official seal of the Fraternal Order of Police. At first glance, it's not obvious, but on closer inspection, the All Seeing Eye and a fraternal handshake can be seen in the bottom points of a five-pointed star.

Symbols are curious things, and any seal that is an amalgamation of symbols borrows liberally from other sources. The FOP explains theirs on their website:

The five-cornered star tends to remind us of the allegiance we owe to our Flag and is a symbol of the authority with which we are entrusted. It is an honor the people we serve bestow upon us. They place their confidence and trust in us; serve them proudly.

Midway between the points and center of the star is a blue field representative of the thin blue line protecting those we serve. The points are of gold, which indicates the position under which we are now serving. The background is white, the unstained color representing the purity with which we should serve. We shall not let anything corrupt be injected into our order. Therefore, our colors are blue, gold and white.

The open eye is the eye of vigilance ever looking for danger and protecting all those under its care while they sleep or while awake. The clasped hands denote friendship. The hand of friendship is always extended to those in need of our comfort.

The circle surrounding the star midway indicates our never ending efforts to promote the welfare and advancement of this order. Within the half circle over the centerpiece is our motto, "Jus, Fidus, Libertatum" which translated means "Law Is a Safeguard of Freedom."

Certainly the five-pointed star was an early Masonic symbol (seen more in Europe these days than in mainstream U.S. jurisdictions), as a symbol of the five points of man (head, hands and feet), as well as the five points of fellowship. It survives today in the U.S., albeit inverted, as the symbol of the Order of the Eastern Star. The All Seeing Eye is by no means a purely Masonic symbol, and appears in Renaissance art as a Christian symbol for God (along with the far older Egyptian "Eye of Horus"). And the fraternal handshake appears in Masonic, Odd Fellows, and many, many other fraternal groups' artwork throughout the 18th century.

In addition, the seal in the center of the star is the coat of arms of the city of Pittsburgh, where the FOP was originally founded. The supposedly Latin motto is somewhat tortured grammatically, and any first year Latin student would have had their knuckles busted by Sister Mary Discipline over it. The design came from one of the founders, Delbert Nagle, the FOP's first Grand president in 1917, and was drawn by H. J. Garvy.

Nagle believed the motto meant "Fairness. Justice. Equality." After 50 years, a committee was formed to get to the bottom of the grammar problem, and several Catholic priests were consulted (including Monsignor John J. Doyle, historian for the Archdiocese of Indianapolis). The committee came up with the slightly corrected version of "Law Is a Safeguard of Freedom," even though that's something of a stretch as well.

The FOP was at first formed in secrecy in Pittsburgh because police in that city were not allowed to unionize. The FOP was technically not organized as a union, but a fraternity. Once the city's mayor approved of the group, it came out into the open. Like so many other fraternal groups that arose during the Golden Age of Fraternalism, it adopted customs originated in Masonic and Odd Fellows lodges, terms like grand lodge, passwords and handshakes.

Nagle also developed a "secret" ritual for initiates in 1916, based on the symbolism and "mysteries" of the FOP emblem. It's entirely likely that the specific All Seeing Eye and handshake images on the original seal were simply made from printer's block elements from existing fraternal artwork, which would account for their close similarity to Masonic artwork from the 1800s.

For all you'd ever care to know about the formation and history of the FOP, see Fraternal Order of Police 1915—1976: A History by Justin E. Walsh, Ph.D. Turner Publishing Company, 2004.

Freemason Universal Tartan


Kilt & Thistle Scottish Shoppes at kilts.com is an authorized dealer for the Freemason's Universal Tartan.

In 2004, the Grand Lodge of Utah sponsored the design and production of a Tartan fabric that would represent Freemasonry in Utah and elsewhere. The colors in the cloth were chosen to represent the various Masonic family organizations including the Blue Lodge, Scottish Rite, York Rite, Shrine of North America, Job's Daughters International, DeMolay International, Order of the Eastern Star, Daughters of the Nile, and more.



Anne Carroll Gilmour, an internationally known weaver specializing in traditional Scottish Tartan weaving, designed the pattern and submitted it to the Scottish Tartans Authority in Perthshire, Scotland for registration. The pattern was deemed unique and a registration certificate issued. A mill near Edinburgh weaves the cloth in bulk.

Kilt & Thistle offers the Freemason Universal Tartan as ties, vests, cummerbunds, sashes and especially kilts, for Scots and others with knees shapely enough to wear them (us German kids have to wear lederhosen).

The material can also be purchased by the yard from the Grand Lodge of Utah.

Nelson King: Services Today & Tomorrow

Brother Nelson King's obituary appeared today in the Toronto Star:

KING, Nelson - Peacefully at Scarborough Grace Hospital on Wednesday, August 17, 2011, at age 66. Beloved husband to Ellen and loving father to Vicki and her husband Greg Rout. Grandfather to Rebecca and Sarah. Nelson received his primary education in Perth, Ontario and graduated from Banting Institute, University of Toronto in 1967. He was appointed Assistant Editor (1992) and Editor (1994) of The Philalethes Society Journal of Masonic Research and Letters, the first non-US citizen to hold these positions. He is only the second Mason to ever hold the position of President and Editor of The Philalethes at the same time. He retired as Editor in June 2009. Nelson was a well known Masonic speaker throughout North and South America and the Caribbean. His book "Confessions of a Born Again Fundamentalist Freemason" has become a Masonic Best Seller. Nelson was a member of the Grand Lodge of Canada, in the Province of Ontario and Honourary Member of the Most Worshipful Prince Hall Grand Lodge of Connecticut and was a member of a number of other Prince Hall Lodges. He has received many honours and awards throughout his lifetime. Friends will be received at the Ogden Funeral Home, 4164 Sheppard Ave. East, Agincourt (east of Kennedy Rd.) on Friday evening from 7-9 p.m. A Masonic Service will be held at 2 o'clock on Saturday, August 20, followed by a memorial gathering. In lieu of flowers, please sign your organ donation card or go online to the Trillium Gift of Life Network Organ and Tissue donation www.giftoflife.on.ca

Thursday, August 18, 2011

New Shrine Temple for Europe in Germany Chartered

At the recent Imperial session of Shriners International held in Denver on July 5th, 2011, a charter was granted to Emirat Temple in Heidelberg, Germany for all of Europe.

Shrine Clubs in Europe go back to 1953, but Emirat is now officially the 194th Shrine Temple. Emirat currently sponsors clubs in Germany, Italy and Romania.

Wednesday, August 17, 2011

Nelson King (1945-2011) RIP


Brother Nelson King passed away peacefully this morning, August 17, 2011, according to a brief statement by his wife Ellen and his daughter Vicki Rout. Nelson had fallen and was hospitalized over the weekend. He was released to go home Sunday, but fell again, breaking his right shoulder and collarbone, and was readmitted yesterday.

UPDATE: There will be a visitation on Friday August 19, 2011 between 7:00 pm and 9:00 pm at Ogden Funeral Homes, 4164 Sheppard Avenue, East Scarborough Ontario M1S 1T3. There will also be a Masonic service and memorial reception on Saturday August 20, 2011 starting at 2:00 pm at Ogden Funeral Homes, 4164 Sheppard Avenue, East Scarborough, Ontario M1S 1T3
There will be a notice posted in the Toronto Star on Thursday August 18 and Friday August 19.


Nelson served as editor of the Philalethes Magazine from 1994 through 2009. On a personal note, he kindly served as the technical editor when I was writing Freemasons For Dummies, to make sure I didn't completely put my foot in it. When I was in hospital back in 2008, he was among the first to call and ask after my situation. Nelson was forceful, opinionated, and he stood by his beliefs.

He also stood by Freemasons.

The world today is a darker place from his passing.

From his website:

Born June 13, 1945 in Montreal, received his primary education in Perth Ontario, and graduated from Banting Institute, University of Toronto, 1967. Married to Ellen, and has two children, Christopher, and Victoria and two granddaughters. Nelson was appointed Assistant Editor in 1992 and Editor in August 1994] of The Philalethes Society Journal of Masonic Research and Letters, the first non-United States Citizen to hold these positions.

He is also only the second Mason to ever hold the position of President and Editor of The Philalethes at the same time. He retired as Editor in June 2009. Nelson is a well-known Masonic speaker, having spoken in the jurisdictions of Alberta, Arizona, California, Connecticut, Costa Rica, Cuba, The District of Columbia, Georgia, Indiana, Iowa, Jamacia [EC], Kansas, Kentucky, Louisiana, Massachusetts, Maine, Maryland, Minnesota, Missouri, New York, North Carolina, Nova Scotia, Ohio, Oklahoma, Ontario, Pennsylvania, Quebec, Texas, Virginia, and Washington.

Nelson developed the highly successful Internet Masonic Leadership Course. His book "Confessions of a Born Again Fundamentalist Freemason" has become a Masonic Best Seller. VoicePrint®, The National Broadcast Reading Service Inc. an international broadcasting reading service for the visually impaired has recorded some of his historical articles. Nelson was instrumental if the formation of the Masonic Relief for Cuba Committee. And he serves as the Executive Director of that program. He is also one of the few Canadian Freemasons, listed in latest Edition of the "Who is Who of Freemasonry.

Shriners' Lawsuit Fails in Theatre Renaming Case


Several years ago, the Murat Shrine Center in Indianapolis leased half of its incredible 1910 Middle Eastern-styled building and theatre to what is now Live Nation. The Murat Shriners negotiated a long lease deal that puts California-based event promoter Live Nation in charge of the theatre side of the building.



The Murat Theatre main auditorium.


Almost immediately, members were shocked as one of the first shows booked into the theatre was "The Vagina Chronicles." Freemasons all across Central Indiana were aghast.

Still, the name of Murat Shrine, formed in 1882, was still alive, and the theatre was still associated in the city's collective memory with Shriners.

Well, In March 2010, it was announced in the Indianapolis Star that Live Nation had struck a sponsorship deal with Old National Bank of Evansville, Indiana, and the Murat Theatre would thereafter be known as the Old National Center. Live Nation operates the 2,500-seat Murat Theatre, Egyptian room and other rooms within the building at 502 N. New Jersey St. under a long-term lease with MTA. Murat Shrine operates the rest of the building for its own offices, lounge/restaurant, meeting and event spaces.

A lawsuit followed as the Shrine attempted to stop the renaming of the theatre. Unfortunately, the lease contract gave LiveNation the right to erect new signage, and that's how they were able to convince the court they had every right in this case. Renaming wasn't prohibited by the lease, and what is not prohibited is allowed. Eventually, LiveNation has settled into referring to the venue as the Murat Theatre at Old National Center. Cumbersome, but a compromise. Still, the Shrine pushed forward with their suit.

Yesterday, the Indiana Court of Appeals affirmed a lower court decision that the Murat Shrine does not have the right to contest the renaming of the Temple's theatre by Live Nation and Old National Bank.

From the Indianapolis Business Journal, "Court affirms Murat Centre renaming decision":

The decision from the Indiana Court of Appeals, made public Tuesday morning, stems from a March 26 lawsuit brought by MTA. It attempted to block a three-year deal between the bank and Live Nation to rename the historic building the “Old National Centre.”

Marion Superior Court Judge John Hanley dismissed the suit in August, and MTA appealed.

“The plain language of the lease grants Live Nation the authority to sell naming rights to the leased premises and to post appropriate signs and advertising,” Senior Judge William Garrard wrote. “We conclude that there are no possible set of facts upon which MTA can recover against Live Nation for breach of contract.”


Indianapolis' Murat Shrine and Los Angeles' Al Malaikah Shrine duke it out regularly as to which is the largest Shrine in the world, in terms of membership.

Tuesday, August 16, 2011

Congrats, Brother Vick!


My friend and Masonic Brother from Texas, Richard Vickery, is safely back home from Afghanistan.

Today, he was awarded the Bronze Star for his service in the U.S. Air Force.

Congratulations, my friend. And thank you.

Sunday, August 14, 2011

Masonic Membership Stats for 2010 Released by MSA

The Masonic Service Association of North America has released the list of U.S. and Canadian Masonic membership statistics.

The total Masonic membership of North American continues to decline, and the numbers for 2010 were 1,373,453 (lowest since they began compiling stats in 1924). For Canada it is 86,210, a decline of 2,489 from 2009. However, the rate of decline is slowing, slowly.

The grand lodges of the District of Columbia, Utah, Alabama, Hawaii, New Mexico and Newfoundland/Labrador all show gains for 2010.

H/T to Ed King.

WEOFM: "The Lausanne Congress" by William Almeida DeCarvalho


The 24th video presentation from the Worldwide Exemplification of Freemasonry is now available. This week's program is "The Lausanne Congress" by William Almeida DeCarvalho of Brazil. .



William Almeida DeCarvalho is the former Grand Secretary of Education and Culture for the Grand Orient of Brazil.

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, August 13, 2011

Australian TV: Whatever happened to the Freemasons?


The Australian Broadcasting Company's news program "Compass" will air a show this Sunday on ABC-1, "Whatever happened to the Freemasons?" about the past and future of Freemasonry Down Under.

From the ABC website:

Whatever happened to... the Freemasons
Compass delves behind the aprons and funny handshakes to find out how Australian Freemasons are reinventing themselves to survive in the 21st Century.

Freemasons arrived in Australia with the First Fleet and up until quite recently were shrouded in secrecy and strictly maintained traditions. Freemasonry is not a religion, although in its heyday most Freemasons were either Protestants or Jews. Catholics were forbidden by their church from joining. Now, faced with declining membership the Masons have had to relax some of their rules and reinvent themselves. So, what does this silent band of brothers actually do? Are they even viable anymore? If so, who belongs and why?


A preview of the show can be seen here.

A radio interview with the Grand Master of Victoria, MWBro. Vaughan Werner can be heard here.

They lose 10 points in my book for the use of the hackneyed "funny handshake" meme.

Wheeling, WV Scottish Rite Receives Historical Society Grant


Desperate financial times combined with desperate structural issues sometimes call for creative funding alternatives when it comes to preserving our Masonic temples.

Back in July, the Wheeling, West Virginia Scottish Rite Cathedral was presented with a $68,000 check from the West Virginia State Historical Society to help pay for the installation of a new roof. Their regular work sessions also bring in volunteers to attack painting, boiler, plaster and electrical problems on a regular basis. It is a labor of love to keep their building open and functioning.

I drive through Wheeling several times a year burning up I-70 between Indianapolis and all points East. Now I need to stop and check out the Scottish Rite on one of my trips.

Get your building listed on the National Historic Register, form a 501-(c)3 foundation specifically to preserve your building so that you can give tax deductions for donations (money for fraternal organization use is NOT tax deductible), and start beating the bushes for help.

H/T to the Scottish Rite SJ website.

Masonic Restoration Foundation Symposium 8/19-20

The 2nd Masonic Restoration Foundation Symposium will take place next weekend, August 19-20, 2011 at the George Washington National Masonic Memorial in Alexandria, VA.

Alexandria-Washington Lodge No 22 will host the event.

The Keynote Speaker will be Julian Rees, Past Junior Grand Deacon, UGLE and Contributing Editor of Freemasonry Today.

Featured Speakers include Robert G. Davis, Shawn Eyer, Andrew Hammer, Pierre G. Normand, Cliff Porter, Paul Jacob Roberts, Mark Tabbert and Douglas Wood.

Books, Regalia and more will be available from The Craftsman's Apron, Toye USA, and the GW Memorial Gift Shop.

Registration fee is $60 and can be handled online here.

The MRF was formed in 2001 and provides education and training to individuals, lodges and Grand Lodges on ways to establish quality programs, academic excellence and social relevance in their Masonic communities.

Friday, August 12, 2011

International Conference on American & Latin American Freemasonry 12/3

The Grand Lodge of California's Institute for Masonic Studies and the University of California, Los Angeles has announced the International Conference on American & Latin American Freemasonry: A New Past & A New Future.
December 3, 2011, CLA Faculty Center, 480 Charles Young Dr. East, Los Angeles, CA 90095
Guest Speakers:
Margaret Jacob, UCLA
José Antonio Ferrer Benimeli, Universidad de Zaragoza
Miguel Guzmán-Stein, Universidad de Costa Rica
Ricardo Martínez Esquivel, Universidad de Costa Rica
María Eugenia Vázquez Semadeni, UCLA
Guillermo de los Reyes Heredia, University of Houston.


Contact the Grand Lodge of California, Adam Kendall at 415/292-9137 or email at akendall@freemason.org.

From the UCLA Freemasonry and Civil Society website:

UCLA's History Department in collaboration of the Grand Lodge of the State of California and its Masonic Foundation have developed a working relationship that will permit a post-doctoral fellow, this year Maria Eugenia Vazquez-Semadini, and a research assistant, Jesse Sadler, to develop two courses on the history of freemasonry within the context of civil society. One course is offered in the winter quarter, 2011, and the other in the spring quarter, 2011. Among the topics to be addressed in these courses: the role of civil society in the formation of modern political systems, the origins of Anglo-American civil society and of freemasonry, the Enlightenment and freemasonry, The American and French Revolutions contrasted, the emergence of anti-masonry in Europe and America in the early 19th century, with many more topics to follow.

Thursday, August 11, 2011

Arkansas Brother Seeks Video Funding Ideas


I received the following message from Brother Fritz Gisler in Arkansas who is attempting to put together a video history of that state's Grand Lodge for its 175th anniversary. He's looking for funding ideas, and I am unfamiliar with grants and foundations in Arkansas. Perhaps someone there can point him in the right direction. Please feel free to contact him directly.

Hello Brothers--

My name is Fritz Gisler. I am a member of Washington Lodge #1, F&AM in Fayetteville, Arkansas and 32 degree Mason in the Ancient and Accepted Scottish Rite, Fort Smith Valley.

I am also a video producer in Fayetteville, currently working for the City of Fayetteville directing the operations of both its Government Channel and Public Access Channel. While my video and television career spans over 30 years, my Masonic career has just started (I was raised last November).

In 2013 the Grand Lodge of the State of Arkansas will celebrate its 175th Anniversary. I have started the concept and pre-production on a video project that will document the history of Freemasonry in Arkansas. My goal is to have it completed for the installation of the Grand Master of Arkansas to present to him in 2013.

Obviously, with any project of this magnitude support is essential. I would not be able to even conceive of such an undertaking without the full support of my Lodge, the Grand Lodge, other Lodges around the State and other, non-Masonic, organizations. While I have no doubt of my ability to obtain any needed non-monetary support, it is the monetary support I am lacking.

I would greatly appreciate if any have ideas or suggestions of organizations, foundations or other non-profit groups to whom I might apply for grants or other types of funding to help defray production and distribution costs associated with this project.

My goal is to distribute this program to every Lodge in Arkansas, as well as museums, historical societies and other interested parties throughout the State. We also hope to have it telecast on Arkansas Education Television Network, the PBS affiliate in Arkansas.

Thank you in advance for your consideration. I look forward to hearing from you.
Fritz Gisler
Washington Lodge #1, F&AM
Fayetteville, Arkansas
fritz@southernhmc.com
479-957-1966

Wednesday, August 10, 2011

Burning Taper Relit

Brother David Ross, author of the Burning Taper blog, has had a very rough year that included a brief but very scary ride in Death's rumble seat, and a long struggle back. Fortunately, he is still with us, and has started to write again.

Good to have you back, Brother.

Stop in and say hello to him.

Tuesday, August 09, 2011

Philalethes Society and Phylaxis Society Joint Symposium 8/27


On August 27th, the Semi-Annual Meeting of the Philalethes Society will be held a joint symposium with the Phylaxis Society at the San Francisco Scottish Rite Center.

Keynote Speakers

The Resurgence of Interest in the Initiatic Experience in California Masonry
Allan Casalou - Grand Secretary, Grand Lodge of California

Masonic Initiation: The Transformation
Alton G. Roundtree - Noted Masonic author and Prince Hall Mason

Other Presenters

Comparative Fraternalism: The Difference between Induction & Initiation
Jordan Yelinek - Master, Northern California Research Lodge

Initiation: The Business in which We Are Engaged
Tom Worrel - Masonic author

John B. Williams - President, The Phylaxis Society

Adam G. Kendall - Librarian, Henry Wilson Coil Masonic Library

Set Your Face to the East: The Pursuit of Initiatic Efficacy in Observant Masonry
Shawn Eyer - Editor, Philalethes magazine

See the website here for more information.

Mason Admits Embezzling From Kansas City York Rite Bodies

Back in March, the US Attorney's Office in Kansas City, MO announced the federal indictment of Freemason Kirk McDaniel for embezzling $284,675 from the local York Rite bodies.

On Monday he pled guilty to the charges.

From from June 2000 through September 2005, he served as Secretary for Oriental Commandery #35 Knights Templar, Orient Chapter #102 Royal Arch Masons, and Shekinah Council #24 Cryptic Masons.

From an AP story on the KCTV-5 in Kansas City website, "Kansas man admits embezzling from Masons":

A northeast Kansas man has admitted embezzling nearly $285,000 from a Missouri-based Masonic organization he served as an officer.

The U.S. Attorney's office in Kansas City says that 75-year-old Kirk McDaniel faces up to 30 years in prison following his guilty plea Monday.

McDaniel is a resident of Prairie Village, Kan. As the secretary of the York Rite Masonic Bodies in Kansas City, he also took over some duties of the treasurer, such as writing checks and transferring funds between accounts.

McDaniel admitted that from June 2000 through late 2005, he transferred nearly $285,000 from the organization into private investment and bank accounts he opened. Prosecutors say McDaniel has paid back about $105,000.

A sentencing date will be scheduled later.

Monday, August 08, 2011

Wilbert M. Curtis Texas Prince Hall Library Museum


A belated congratulations to the Prince Hall brethren of Texas on the opening of the Wilbert M. Curtis Texas Prince Hall Library Museum in Ft. Worth back at the end of June.

From Museum of African-American Freemasonry opens today at Prince Hall Grand Masonic Temple in Fort Worth by Terry Evans in the Star Telegram on June 25th:

Treasures from the 136-year history of African-American Freemasonry in Texas will be unveiled today with the grand opening of the Wilbert M. Curtis Texas Prince Hall Library Museum.

The museum in the Prince Hall Grand Masonic Temple, 3433 Martin Luther King Freeway, opens at 9:15 a.m. with a ribbon cutting.
For more than a year Curtis, the lodge's grand master, led the effort to create and fill the museum, said Frank Jackson, the lodge's grand junior warden.

"Everyone who wants to preserve artifacts from their Texas lodges can send them here," Jackson said.
Plenty of people have, said Willie High Coleman Jr., chairman of the lodge's charitable foundation. Some of it is genealogical gold.
"We have records of membership applications," he said. "The applicants would have to tell everything about their families. For some of them, there's no other record that thorough."

The Lodge Room displays ornate furnishings and ritual items used by Prince Hall members for more than 60 years.
The collection includes an 1876 charter for San Antonio Lodge No. 1, the first lodge in Texas. Along one wall are massive portraits of past grand masters.

Smaller portraits depict such lodge members as William "Gooseneck Bill" McDonald, the first African-American millionaire in Texas.
"Gooseneck is probably the reason that the Prince Hall Grand Lodge is in Fort Worth," Coleman said.


From the July 2, 2011 issue of The Masonic Traveler:

The Library Museum adds an- other repository for the collection of Prince Hall Masonic History in the city. It will possess collections and preservation of Prince Hall Masonic History and activities in Tarrant County and throughout the state in the form of photos, paintings, books, articles, original lodge charters, cornerstones, ledgers, uniforms, a Lodge Room, etc. Many of the items date back to the late 1800's.

[snip]

The original design of the Library Museum was conceived by Nicole Hawthorne, daughter of Past Master Benny Tucker, the Chairman of the Archives Committee.

Hawthorne, a graduate of Baylor University with a Bachelors of Art in Interior Design, had been performing interior design since 2007. She was asked in June 2010 by her father to produce some drawings.

According to Hawthorne, she wanted to create something that reflected what the space would be used for. “I wanted the look and feel of the area to resemble a turn-of-the- century, new world library. The antiquated, over-sized portraits displayed there were inspiration for the rest of the design and eve- rything else branched from them,” said Hawthorne. “The design of the Library Museum was intended to be like a time capsule with a rich historic atmosphere.”

[snip]

The mission of the Wilbert M. Curtis Texas Prince Hall Library Museum is as follows:

To collect, organize, describe, make available, and preserve primary and secondary resource materials emphasizing the histori- cal documentation of the M.W.P.H.G.L. of Texas and its impact on the cultural milieu on the broader local communities, the state of Texas, the Jurisdictions under its authority and the larger of such records.

To serve as a resource and research center to stimulate and promote creative teaching and learning through the use of primary research materials; and pro- vide instruction in the use of those materials.

To promote research and scholarship by providing access and encouraging the use of its collections by members of the Masonic Family and the public at large.

To implement records management by formulating policy and procedures that will ensure the collection and preservation of the Library Museum’s materials.

The Library Museum is available to the public by appointment Monday thru Thursday from 10 a.m. - 4 p.m. Information about the Library Museum can be obtained by contacting the Grand Lodge Office at 817-534-4612 or by visiting www.wmctphlm.com.



The Library is open for research to Masons and non-Masons. The Library staff is available to provide some assistance for on-site visitors. While the stacks are closed, the staff will assist researchers in using the card catalog, computer database catalog, and finding aids to access whatever information may assist in answering the patron's questions. Photocopies of Library material are available at a cost of $0.25 per copy.Any Texas Master Mason in good standing with a lodge under the jurisdiction of the Wost Worshipful Prince Hall Grand Lodge of Texas may check out up to two books at a time for a period of one week.

150 Year-Old Bible Stolen from Michigan Lodge


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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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


Photo by Lad Strayer for the Daily Telegram.

Sunday, August 07, 2011

WEOFM: The Catholic Church & Freemasonry by Michel L. Brodsky


The 23rd video presentation from the Worldwide Exemplification of Freemasonry is now available. This week's program is "The Catholic Church and Freemasonry" by Michel L. Brodsky, PM.


Michel L. Brodsky was originally born in Belgium, fled the Nazis during WWII, went to England, and joined the Royal Navy. After the war, he returned to Belgium where he joined a lodge. He is a Past Master of London's Quatuor Coronati Lodge, No. 2076 and the Prestonian Lecturer for 1994. He is 86 years old and still very active in the fraternity. He previously presented a paper on WEOFM about the Grand Orient of France.

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.

Gifts of Brethren


H. L. Haywood wrote in “More About Masonry,”
"In the Eighteenth Century Lodges the Feast bulked so large in the lodge that in many of them the members were seated at the table when the lodges were opened and remained at it throughout the Communication, even when the degrees were conferred. The result was that Masonic fellowship was good fellowship in it, as in a warm and fruitful soil, acquaintanceship, friendship, and affection could flourish - there was no grim and silent sitting on a bench, staring across at a wall. Out of this festal spirit flowered the love which Masons had for their lodge. They brought gifts to it, and only by reading of old inventories can any present day Mason measure the extent of that love; there were gifts of chairs, tables, altars, pedestals, tapestries, draperies, silver, candle-sticks, oil paintings, libraries, Bibles, mementos, curios, regalia’s and portraits. The lodge was a home, warm, comfortable, luxurious, full of memories, and tokens, and affection, and even if a member died his, presence was never wholly absent; to such a lodge no member went grudgingly, nor had to be coaxed, nor was moved by that ghastly, cold thing called a sense of duty, but went as if drawn by a magnet, and counted the days until he could go.


Since time immemorial, artistic brethren have created unique furniture for their lodges, and each lodge has its own look and feel and personality because of these items that were lovingly crafted or donated.

A contemporary example is this unique modern lodge altar at Pearl of the West Lodge No. 146 in New port Richey, Florida. It was created by Brother Dave Rasmus (left), and donated by W:.B:. Ray Trahan, PM (right). The altar features a etched granite tops, a rotating square and compasses and lighting under the tabletop.

The brethren of this lodge have added many other details over the years, including a checkered floor with tessellated border, and an original painting of the construction of the Temple in the East. Click the photo to enlarge.

H/T to Jason Connors.

Karen Kidd in Boston October 29th

"A good Mason ought to be a good man. He ought to be three times more circumspect in his life and conversation than those who have never taken the same oath. He ought to be thrice three times more vigilant than those who never bent the knee within due Square; having bound himself by the most solemn vow. He having obtained more light, ought to impart knowledge to those who are yet blind and ignorant; and by a virtuous life do honor to the profession."
by A Lady of Boston (Hannah Mather Crocker), 1815

It has long been said that Hannah Mather Crocker (1752-1829), granddaughter of Puritan minister Cotton Mather of Boston, was the "Mistress" of a female Masonic lodge—St. Anne's Lodge—in Massachusetts in the 1770s. Female Masonic author Karen Kidd devotes a chapter to Hannah in her book Haunted Chambers: the Lives of Early Women Freemasons.

Karen will present a paper at the New England Historical Association's Fall 2011 conference in October. The Conference will be held at Emmanuel College in Boston, Massachusetts, on Saturday, October 29, 2011.

Her paper is “Who Made a Freemason of Hannah Mather Crocker? Means, Motive and Opportunity of Revolutionary Bostonian Masons.”

Karen Kidd is a member of a lodge of the Honorable Order of American Co-Masonry, American Federation of Human Rights.

Her most recent book is On Holy Ground: A History of The Honorable Order of American Co-Masonry.

Saturday, August 06, 2011

POLL: Masonic Grand Lodge Magazine Content

Some interesting results from an online poll asking about the content of a state's grand lodge magazine. I won't post the state as it is not meant as a criticism of the current content or job that the editors are doing. But I think the results are worth noting for any grand lodge publication and what members would find most useful, informative or interesting.

If grand lodges are spending lots of money and editors lots of time creating these publications, it costs just as much and takes just as much time to put out a product members will actually read as one they'll toss after the walk in from the mailbox.

This also comes with the codicil that an editor can only print what is sent to him, and that if members are unhappy with the content of their grand lodge magazines, then start typing.

Answers are listed in descending order of votes cast, not in the order they were originally asked. Respondents could only vote for one answer in each question. 58 votes were cast.


1. What would you like to see MORE of in the Grand Lodge Magazine?

Ritual and symbolism education [34.48%]
How-to articles (lodge management,
building issues, membership retention) [27.59%]
Masonic history [13.79%]
Photos and notices of lodge activities [6.90%]
National and international Masonic news [6.90%]
Masonic book reviews [6.90%]
Interviews with grand officers [3.45%]
Charity news [0.00%]
Spiritual inspiration [0.00%]
Masonic Home stories [0.00%]


2. What would you like to see LESS of in the Grand lodge Magazine?
Interviews with grand officers [24.14%]
Photos and notices of lodge activities [20.69%]
Spiritual inspiration [17.24%]
National and international Masonic news [13.79%]
Masonic Home stories [13.79%]
Charity news [6.90%]
How-to articles (lodge management,
building issues, membership retention) [3.45%]

Ritual and symbolism education [0.00%]
Masonic history [0.00%]
Masonic book reviews [0.00%]

Speaking at New York's 92nd Street Y 12/4/2011

NOTE: THIS EVENT HAS BEEN CANCELLED!

Alice Von Kannon and I will be speaking back to back in New York City at the 92nd Street Y at 92nd and Lexington Ave. as part of their Sunday Symposium Series on Sunday, December 4th. The topic is "Great Secret Societies Demystified." We'll be in the Weill Art Gallery, and the program begins at 11AM.

Tickets are $35 and can be ordered online at the website here.

From the website description:

Throughout its 300-year history, the Freemasons have been some of the world’s most revered leaders. However, its detractors have reviled it since its very beginning for its secretive nature, rituals and symbols. Christopher Hodapp, author of 'Freemasons for Dummies' and 'Solomon’s Builders,' explores society’s ongoing love/hate relationship with Freemasonry and its myths and legends.

From 'Foucault’s Pendulum' and 'The Da Vinci Code' to a recent lawsuit filed against the Vatican, Templar mania is as hot as it’s ever been. Alice Von Kannon, co-author of 'The Templar Code for Dummies,' looks at the improbable birth and tragic end of the Knights Templar.

POLL RESULTS: Festive Boards

JULY POLL QUESTION: Has your lodge held a Table Lodge/Festive Board in the last 12 months?

RESULTS:

Yes - 327 VOTES (60%)

No - 157 VOTES (29%)

What is that? - 56 VOTES (10%)

Total votes: 540
POLL CLOSED

Tom Jackson on Freemasonry Around the World

My friend and Brother, Thomas W. Jackson, Past Grand Secretary of Pennsylvania, is well traveled with a long glowing career in Freemasonry. His international travels are legendary (along with his reputation as a big game hunter). He and I have very different attitudes about Freemasonry in the United States, and we have shared the stage several times. His observations are illustrative of the broad variations in the culture of Freemasonry around the world. He makes the compelling case for higher dues, greater requirements, and that quality will attract quality: in short, that there's nothing wrong with elitism. I don't think he's wrong.

Tom spoke at the Grand Lodge of Montana's annual communication in 2009. Have a listen to his comments here. (Or read the text here)

GL of Missouri Collectible Coins


The Grand Lodge of Missouri is continuing its series of commemorative collectible coin sets. The second in the series is now available, with the Grand Master's theme of "Sharing Our Masonic Resources" is struck on the front, and the seal of the Grand Lodge is on the reverse.

The coins are $10 and the proceeds will go to the Grand Lodge Endowment Fund. They will be available at all upcoming Area Meetings, from DDGMs, or will be available for purchase online soon.

A portfolio is also available for $10 to display the series of Grand Master coins.

Grand Lodge of Indiana Procession Last Thursday


Here's one for my home team. From Friday's Indianapolis Star print edition. Well over 100 brethren from the Grand Lodge of Indiana F&AM and the MW Prince Hall Grand Lodge of Indiana F&AM attended on a very hot day.

Alas, I wasn't there—still recuperating.

More photos by Grand Photographer Carl Culmann:


Grand Master Gregory C. Walbridge of the GL of Indiana F&AM and
MW Otis Dodson, newly elected Grand Master of the MW Prince Hall GL of Indiana,
pass under an arch of steel.


Grand Master Gregory C. Walbridge and Past Grand Master Michael D. Brumback.




The whole gallery may be seen here.

Tuesday, August 02, 2011

Mt. Vernon 2011 Christmas Ornament: Washington's Prayer At Valley Forge


Each year, the White House Historical Society, the Mount Vernon Ladies Association and the U.S. Capitol all offer collectible Christmas ornaments through www.whitehousechristmasornament.com. The 2011 Mount Vernon ornament features a snow scene of Mount Vernon on one side, and artist Arnold Friberg's (1913-2010) famous 1975 painting of George Washington and "The Prayer at Valley Forge" on the other (oddly uncredited to the artist on the website).

The ornament is available for $28.

The story of Brother Washington praying in the snow comes from a diary of Isaac Potts. From the website:

Isaac Potts, 26 years old, was a resident of Valley Forge, and as a Quaker was opposed to the war. He supervised the grinding of the grain which George Washington ordered the neighboring farmers to bring to his army. The fullest account of Potts' testimony is in the "Diary and Remembrances" of Rev. Nathaniel Randolph Snowden, a Presbyterian minister and a Princeton graduate (Original Manuscript at the Historical Society of Pennsylvania; Call no. PHi.Am.1561-1568).

"I was riding with him (Mr. Potts) near Valley Forge, where the army lay during the war of the Revolution. Mr. Potts was a Senator in our state and a Whig. I told him I was agreeably surprised to find him a friend to his country as the Quakers were mostly Tories. He said, "It was so and I was a rank Tory once, for I never believed that America could proceed against Great Britain whose fleets and armies covered the land and ocean. But something very extraordinary converted me to the good faith."

"What was that?" I inquired. "Do you see that woods, and that plain?" It was about a quarter of a mile from the place we were riding. "There," said he, "laid the army of Washington. It was a most distressing time of ye war, and all were for giving up the ship but that one good man. In that woods," pointing to a close in view, "I heard a plaintive sound, as of a man at prayer. I tied my horse to a sapling and went quietly into the woods and to my astonishment I saw the great George Washington on his knees alone, with his sword on one side and his cocked hat on the other. He was at Prayer to the God of the Armies, beseeching to interpose with his Divine aid, as it was ye Crisis and the cause of the country, of humanity, and of the world.

"Such a prayer I never heard from the lips of man. I left him alone praying. I went home and told my wife, 'I saw a sight and heard today what I never saw or heard before', and just related to her what I had seen and heard and observed. We never thought a man could be a soldier and a Christian, but if there is one in the world, it is Washington. We thought it was the cause of God, and America could prevail."


I have a personal fondness for Friberg's painting, and I presented a framed print of it to my mother lodge, Broad Ripple No. 643, on the occasion of its 100th anniversary in 2001. Friberg was a successful commercial artist after WWII and studied under Norman Rockwell. In 1953 he was hired by Cecil B. DeMille to create preproduction paintings for the epic The Ten Commandments, for which he was nominated for an Academy Award.