Tuesday, May 29, 2012

June Poll: Why Did You Become A Mason?

I'm taking a completely unscientific poll this month about why men join the fraternity. Be sure to take the poll in the right top of the blog and let me know. Feel free to comment further on your reasons here, especially if your vote falls into the "other" category.

Think about your "elevator pitch", the way you explain to a total stranger in 20 seconds what a Mason is—not some canned speech memorized from the back of a grand lodge brochure, and certainly not "a beautiful system of morality, veiled in allegory and illustrated by symbols," because that is a completely baffling phrase to someone who knows nothing about us. It's the job of all of us, every day, to live what we are taught, and to be someone's example of Freemasonry. So, tell someone why you joined, what makes you come back every Tuesday, why you give up your time and treasure to be a Mason.

Because that's what he really wants to know.

While I'm at it, thank you to everyone who has been reading this blog. I started it just over four years ago in May 2008, and today I see that there have been over 1,230,000 page views here since I began. That is staggering to me, and I am appreciative of the many notes, comments and kindnesses I have received because of it. I'll keep plugging away.

Lodge in Bakersfield, CA

A TV news report from Bakersfield, California about the local lodge, Libertas-Security Lodge No. 466.

Sunday, May 27, 2012

Masonic Restoration Foundation Symposium 8/23-25

California's Acadamia Lodge No. 487 will host the Masonic Restoration Foundation Symposium at the Oakland Scottish Rite from August 23rd through the 25th. Speakers have not yet been announced.
From the website: "This year’s symposium is hosted by Academia Lodge No. 847, California's oldest Traditional Observance lodge. Academia Lodge was constituted in 2004, and has provided a strong program of Masonic education to Freemasons of Northern California ever since. One of the fundamentals of Academia Lodge is our monthly celebration of Lodges of Instruction, in which original Masonic papers and reflections are shared in a candle-lit tiled setting, and then discussed during the formal agape dinner following. Attendees of the MRF Symposium will have an opportunity to experience this essential aspect of the Traditional Observance lodge model. "
PLEASE NOTE: Registration cost is $175 per person, and does NOT include hotel and airfare. See the website here: http://academialodge.org/mrf/

Saturday, May 26, 2012

Masonic Society in California

The Los Angeles 2nd Circle Presents The Masonic Society Dinner & Symposium

Saturday, July 28, 2012 at 6PM.

The cost for this event is $40

A Special Evening with Most Worshipful R. Stephen Doan, P.G.M., Grand Lodge of F. & A.M. of California, speaking on "Brothers & Sisters in Light: Female Masons & Co-Masonry" For Reservations, contact Simon McIlroy: simon.mcilroy@gmail.com, or phone 323-646-2277

Quarry Degree in Connecticut

The Brothers of Moosup Lodge No. 113 in Moosup, Connecticut will once again present a Quarry Rite Master Mason Degree at a working stone quarry just outside of town. The Degree will be on Saturday July 14, 2012.
The Quarry Rite, normally held on or near the Summer Solstice, is a one of a kind degree, performed outdoors, by torchlight, in an operative quarry. Under the stars, standard Connecticut Ritual is augmented by soliloquies written specially for the event. Reservations are required for the cookout dinner.
For more information, please see the front page of the Moosup Lodge Website. Go to: http://www.moosuplodge113.org

Friday, May 25, 2012

New Study Program Offered for the York Rite

Exciting news for all York Rite Masons eager to know more! The York Rite Sovereign College is now offering an education program for all York Rite Masons, based on the similar Master Craftsman Program pioneered by the Supreme Council of the Scottish Rite Southern Jurisdiction, and by one of the same authors.
Brother Robert G. Davis has created the Companion Adept of the Temple, a self-study program that covers the degrees and orders of the Royal Arch, Cryptic Council and Knights Templar. This is outstanding news for York Rite Masons who have long desired a way to continue their education. The program offers five exams of multiple choice and essay questions, focussing on the ritual, philosophy and esoteric aspects of the York Rite. The first two exams cover the Chapter Degrees; the third covers the Cryptic Rite; the fourth covers the Orders of Chivalry; and the final exam is entitled "The York Rite Traditions and Freemasonry."
The program is administered, appropriately, by the Sovereign College, and will cost $30. Resource material and reading lists are provided, along with ordering information, as well as guides to finding much of it using books available online, including works like Understanding the Royal Arch, Guide to the Royal Arch Chapter, Some Royal Arch Terms Examined, and The Royal Arch: Its Hidden Meaning. Symbolism of the degrees and orders is illustrated in the exam material.
This is truly exciting news for brethren who have literally begged for this type of program. The AASR's Master Craftsman Program has been wildly successful (we in the Northern Jurisdiction have nothing like it), and this fills an enormous void for York Rite Freemasons.
For ordering information, contact the York Rite Sovereign College's Detroit office at yrsc_na@yahoo.com.
Visit the Sovereign College website at www.yrscna.org

Monday, May 21, 2012

Traveling

Saturday's symposium at the Scottish Rite of Central New Jersey was a terrific day, and being on the same stage with Robert Davis and Brent Morris was a true honor. Hats off to organizers Mohamad Yatim and Moises Gomez of Atlas/Pythagoras Lodge for pulling off an excellent event.

My travels on the East Coast continue this week. This evening, Monday, May 21st, I'll be speaking at Nutley Lodge No. 25 in Nutley, NJ.

Wednesday May 23rd, I'll be speaking a Table Lodge for Ionic Lodge No. 31in Newport, Delaware. Tickets will be $25 in advance.

On June 2nd, I'll be speaking at the Grand Lodge of Michigan in Troy at a break-out session of their Annual Communication.

Masonic Society Semi-Annual Mtg in Philadelphia 7/27-28

The Masonic Society Semi-Annual Meeting will be held in Philadelphia July 27th and 28th, 2012. The hotel will be the DoubleTree City Center, 237 S Broad St Philadelphia PA. The rate we have negotiated is $149 per night, however if you book on Expedia now and pay-in-advance, the rate is $146 per night. The conference cost will be $75 per person (all inclusive) and $60 for banquet and dinner speaker only. The conference will be split between the Grand Lodge of Pennsylvania Temple and the Union League (http://www.unionleague.org/). The following is the conference schedule as of today (dependent on ongoing negotiations):

Friday evening, July 27: Meet up at a local Philadelphia watering hole. We are considering McGillin’s Olde Ale House (http://www.mcgillins.com/), if it is not too small for our enjoyment.

Saturday, July 28
Breakfast - (on own)
9:00 AM - Noon - Tour Grand Lodge of Pennsylvania Temple and museum
Noon - 1:00 PM - Lunch in the Temple
1:00 PM - 4:00 PM Presentations at the Union League by the New Jersey Lodge of Masonic Research and Education No. 1786 (NJ LOR) and The Livingston Library (GL of NY)
4:00 PM - 6:00 PM - (on own - TMS Board to meet for about an hour, with call in by those not present)6:00 PM - 7:00 PM - No host social hour at Union League
7:00 PM - 10:00 PM - Buffet supper and guest lecturer

Afternoon speakers will be:
Thomas Savini, Director Livingston Masonic Library Grand Lodge of New York
(http://www.nymasoniclibrary.org/) - Presentation of the Chancellor Robert R. Livingston Library

Ben Hoff, PM NJ LOR (http://njlore1786.org/) - a paper on the original Ahiman Rezon

Howard Kanowitz NJ LOR - a very unique presentation on the Battle of Gettysburg

Ray Thorne, current WM of NJ LOR - has a work in progress suitable to our Pennsylvania audiance

Dinner speaker - Thomas W. Jackson, PGS Grand Lodge of Pennsylvania and Exec. Sec. of the World Conference of Grand Lodges

Space will be limited to 50 for afternoon speakers series and to 100 for the banquet and dinner speaker. Please note that the Union League has a strict dress code, which we will have to abide by.

For reservations go to: http://tmssemiannual2012.eventbrite.com/

You need not be a member to attend the program, but please consider joining the Masonic Society today!

Saturday, May 19, 2012

Scottish Rite telethon - LIVE Tonight!

Direct your browser tonight, Saturday May 19th, to www.scottishrite.org for the first ever live Masonic telethon! The the Supreme Council of the Southern Jurisdiction is raising money to restore and endow Washington DC's magnificent House of the Temple, and they are holding the first of its kind live internet telethon live tonight. Emcee will be Illustrious Norm Crosby, 33°, and will feature celebrities like Dan Brown, and Masonic historians like S. Brent Morris and Art de Hoyos, paying tribute to Freemasonry with entertainment and education. Watch live from from 6PM until midnight, and be sure to donate to keep the House of the Temple as one of the greatest Masonic landmark facilities in the world.

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UPDATE: According to Brother Ron Blaisdell, the live telethon raised $400,000. The program is still available on the AASR website.

Thursday, May 17, 2012

Michael Halleran in DC Area Next Week

Michael Halleran, author of The Better Angels of Our Nature and the Brother, Brother series of stories in the Scottish Rite Journal will be speaking in the Washington DC area next week. May 24th he will be at Alexandria Washington Lodge No. 22 at 7:00PM (see for details).

Friday May 25th, he will be speaking at Naval Lodge No. 4 (click for details).

Road Trip to New Jersey, Delaware

It'll be a fun and busy week ahead on the East Coast. I'm off today for central New Jersey for the Scottish Rite Symposium with Brent Morris and Robert Davis, Saturday May 19 at the Valley of Central Jersey (103 Dunns Mill Road, Bordentown, New Jersey 08505) at 10:00 a.m. See here for details.


Monday evening I'll be speaking at Nutley Lodge No. 25 in Nutley, NJ.


And next Wednesday May 23rd, I'll be speaking a Table Lodge for Ionic Lodge No. 31in Newport, Delaware. Tickets will be $25 in advance.



From the Grand Lodge of Indiana

The 2012 meeting of the Grand Lodge F&AM of Indiana is now history. Congratulations to MW Gregory C. Wallbridge on an outstanding year as Grand Master, and to MW George A. Ingles on his election as our newest GM.

Three pieces of news for items close to my heart came at today's session. The brethren passed a resolution that now allows lodges to open and do business on the EA or FC degrees, at the Master's discretion. Not long ago ago this was a blasphemous idea and was studied for three years to make sure lodges didn't burst into flames with EAs sitting in them. It was one of our recommendations in Laudable Pursuit, long, long ago. Today, it became permanent by a very comfortable voting margin.

The second was an increase in the per capita for all members in the state from one to three dollars for the operation of Indiana Freemason's Hall in Indianapolis. This, too, passed by a comfortable margin, which tells me that the Masons of Indiana see the work the Temple Board has accomplished over the last few years and felt comfortable enough to express a substantial display of confidence in our abilities and stewardship of that fine building. It is the home of the Grand Lodge, and every Mason in the state has a stake in its ownership. I cannot adequately express my appreciation to the brethren for their trust and their generosity. All of us on the Temple Board thank you from the bottom of our hearts.

The third bit of news came in the form of a check for $12,000 from Grand Lodge to the Library and Museum Board, showing their ongoing support of the work of the last two years to create a library and museum that every Mason in the state can be proud of.

Many thanks to all of you.

Photo by Duane Vaught

Monday, May 14, 2012

Masonic Rules for Social Media?



The Grand Lodge of Massachusetts has created guidelines for its members concerning postings on social media like Facebook and Twitter. While this is an attempt to interject common sense into the postings of Masons (which we know isn't common at all), I'm not certain I am crazy about codifying such rules. In any case, here they are for your perusal.
Social Media Code of Conduct for Massachusetts Freemasons

  • A Mason should conduct his Social Media activities in a way that reflects his membership in the Craft.
  • He should act in a way that presents a positive image of his membership in Freemasonry to the world.
  • As a Mason, he must be aware that his postings are a permanent record; therefore, his conduct may
  • influence the world with a positive or a negative opinion about him personally and also about any organizations to which he belongs.
  • His actions on the various Social Media outlets should reflect the highest standards of morality and integrity he would practice within the Lodge.
  • To ensure our fraternity represents itself to the high standards we believe in, we must regulate our actions through Brother-to-Brother intervention. As a Mason, you should advise a Brother if you feel that what he has posted is improper within the framework of our Grand Constitutions, rules, regulations, and edicts.
  • Do not identify any Freemason as a member of the Craft unless he has provided his consent, or has already identified himself as such.
  • Lodge notices, and information contained within Lodge notices beyond the time and place of meeting, should not be discussed.
  • There should never be discussion related to the application, background or investigation of an applicant.
  • There should never be discussion regarding the ballot of an applicant.
  • There should never be discussion related to the business of a Lodge and what is discussed within our tyled doors.
  • The posting of pictures or videos of Lodge events must comply with the Grand Constitutions, rules, regulations, and edicts.
  • Information about Lodge or District social activities must comply with the regulations already in place for Lodge Notices (for example, no reference to alcohol or games of chance).
  • The posting of social activities of a Lodge or District should comply with the regulation standards already in place for the distribution of Lodge Notices and inserts.
  • No official communication with other Grand Lodges or their subordinate Lodges may take place online. Contact must be conducted through the Office of the Grand Secretary.

Sunday, May 13, 2012

Thanks to Massachusetts Brethren


My deepest thanks to MW Richard Stewart, Grand Master of Massachusetts, and all of his officers and committee members for the phenomenal job they did at yesterday's events in Boston. I have been to lodges and grand lodges all over the country and the world and I can honestly say that the Grand Master's Table Lodge was one of the most impressive, memorable and fun events it has been my extreme privilege to attend. Everything was first class and every detail was perfect, right down to the 70 Masons who served as waitstaff for the 260 attendees. It was truly an incredible experience, and I am honored by so much that was said during the course of the day. It will go down as one of the greatest experiences of my Masonic life.

I learned much about their signature charity, the Masonic Medical Research Laboratory, and was happy and honored to be a part of the events that raised money for this wonderful facility. Thanks to Brother Ron Kamp for his dedicated work in telling the story of the MMRL. It is truly a Masonic charity that is making a difference in the world and well worth our wholehearted support.

Wednesday, May 09, 2012

Back from France, I'm off to Boston

Alice and I are just back today from spending a week in Eze, a mountain village just outside of Monaco, in the south of France. An entire week of eating, drinking and being two great layabouts. My apologies if your emails haven't been answered, as I had no wi-fi connection, and probably wouldn't have signed on if I had. It's a trip I can heartily recommend, with two of our favorite restaurants on Earth.

If I ever agree to change planes at New York's JFK again, somebody please shoot me on the spot.

I'll be speaking on Saturday in Boston at three separate events, all at the grand lodge building. The day begins at the Massachusetts Lodge of Research, where I'll present my paper, "What's all of this Egyptian stuff doing in Freemasonry?" There is no charge for this event. In the afternoon, I'll conduct a group session on masonic research. The cost of the session is $25 and includes a parking voucher. And Saturday evening I'll be speaking at a Table Lodge hosted by MW Richard J. Stewart, Grand Master. Cost is $100, and includes parking, dinner and a firing glass. Proceeds go to the Masonic Medical Research Laboratory.