Wednesday, February 27, 2013

4th International Conference on the History of Freemasonry

The preliminary schedule for the 4th International Conference on the History of Freemasonry is available from the Grand Lodge of Scotland website. Click here.

The Conference will take place in Edinburgh, Scotland May 24-26, 2013.

Tuesday, February 26, 2013

Journal of the Masonic Society #18

Issue 18 of the Journal of the Masonic Society is off to the printer's.
This issue includes:
• THE ROLE OF THE WILLING SUSPENSION OF BELIEF IN MASONIC RITUAL by WILLIAM S. BURKLE

• THE CRAFTSMAN’S ALLEGORY by DAN ELLNOR

• THE STAINED GLASS OF NEW YORK'S TOMPKINS MEMORIAL CHAPEL by CHRISTOPHER L. HODAPP 
• THE HANDSHAKE by JOI GRIEG 
• KNIGHTS OF THE SQUARE AND COMPASSES by JASON L. MAIR 

This issue’s cover features Lorado Taft’s “Eternal Solitude” in Washington, D.C.’s Graceland Cemetery. Photograph by Christopher L. Hodapp.

If you aren't a member of the Masonic Society, it's easy to join online and costs a paltry $39 a year. In return, you get a pin, membership card, the coolest membership patent anywhere (sealed with a real wax seal), and four issues of the best Masonic magazine in the business. Visit the Masonic Society website at www.themasonicsociety.com

Monday, February 25, 2013

PA's Academy of Masonic Knowledge March 16th


The 2013 Spring session of the Pennsylvania Academy of Masonic Knowledge will be held on Saturday, March 16th, in the Deike Auditorium of the Masonic Cultural Center on the campus of Masonic Village in Elizabethtown, Pennsylvania. Registration will open at 8:30 AM with the program beginning at 9:30 AM. A lunch (voluntary contribution) will be served at noon and the program will be completed by 3:00 PM. All Masons are welcome to attend. Dress is coat and tie.

The program for the day includes:
  • Brother Alexandre Cleven, Most Worshipful Past Grand Master of the Regular Grand Lodge of Belgium, speaking on Freemasonry in Belgium

  • A Survey of Topics for the New Mason
* Theodore W. Schick, Jr.: Philosophical Roots of Freemasonry 
* Larry A. Derr, DDGM: The Mentoring Program / Aspects of Social Media 
* Paul D. Fisher: Historic Grand Lodge Leaders 
* Charles S. Canning: Pennsylvania’s Unique Ritual / Worthwhile Books  
* Thomas W. Jackson, RWPGS: Freemasonry and Religion  
The great objective in Freemasonry is to gain useful knowledge, and the Academy provides a great opportunity for the Brethren to learn and to understand more about the significance of the Craft. Plan to attend and bring a Brother or two along with you.

Pre-registration is required. To pre-register, please send your name, address, Lodge number, and telephone
by e-mail (preferred) to: AMKSecretary@pagrandlodge.org
or by phone: (215) 988-1901
or by mail to : 
Academy of Masonic Knowledge
Masonic Temple, One North Broad Street, Philadelphia, PA 19107 

Please recognize that a cost is incurred to the program for your registration. If you pre-register and subsequently determine that you will be unable to attend, please have the Masonic courtesy to cancel your reservation by the same method and providing the same information. 

Hardcore Pawn



I was the resident Freemasonry "guy" on a recent episode of Hardcore Pawn: Chicago ("Paranormal Pawn"). Pretty silly but a fun way to spend a rainy afternoon in Chicago. I missed the show during Masonic Week because the hotel's cable lineup didn't include TruTV, but here it is online.

That may be the only time I've ever heard of Carl Claudy's books being possessed.

Sunday, February 24, 2013

Former GL of Ohio Site For Sale

The Grand Lodge of Ohio moved it's location from its longtime home in Worthington, Ohio to Springfield onto the campus of the Ohio Masonic Retirement Community in December. This triggered a clause in a 1955 agreement and the ownership reverted to New England Lodge chartered in 1803. That leaves the seven Masonic bodies that meet in it's old buildings in a quandary.

From the Worthington News on February 13th:

The historic building that houses the New England Lodge in downtown Worthington is for sale.
The old lodge building at 634 High St. was built by Worthington founder James Kilbourne in 1820. Kilbourne and many of the community's founders were Masons and needed a meeting place.

In 1955, the Grand Lodge of Ohio built an addition to the building. The two are attached by a breezeway.

The statewide organization moved its offices from Worthington to Springfield in December 2012. According to a 1954 agreement, the deed was transferred to the New England Lodge, which is the local Masonic organization.

The New England Lodge cannot afford to maintain the building, said lodge member and longtime Worthington resident Michael Clevenger.

"We would entertain any and all proposals," he said. "We hope someone would maintain it in such a manner that we could continue to meet there."

Asking price for the building is $1.5 million. A half-acre grassy area north and east of the building is priced at $229,000.

The organization also would consider a long-term lease agreement. The new building has a kitchen and dining area and could be used as a restaurant. A catering company has approached the lodge and is considering the site for an event venue.

"I would like to see something to drive visitors to downtown Worthington," said Clevenger, who sits on the board of the Convention and Visitors Bureau of Worthington.

Offices, restaurants or a mix of uses are how Worthington Economic Development Manager Jeff Harris sees the lodge redeveloping. One possibility would be a law firm."We would like to see something that adds vibrancy to downtown, but we would also like to see something that brings workers to the city," he said.

The 1820 building has 1,500 square feet on each of its two floors. The ground floor once housed the state Masonic museum. Display cases and historic items have been removed.Upstairs is a meeting room. The entire building is furnished as a lodge would have been in the 1820s. It is on the U.S. Register of Historic Places.

The 1955 building has 5,000 square feet on each of three floors. On the lower levels are small offices, with an auditorium-style meeting room on the upper level.

The building is zoned C-3, for offices and institution, but both Clevenger and Harris said C-5 would be appropriate. C-5 is the downtown zoning category that allows for offices, restaurants and commercial uses.

"It is a great building, but it needs updating," Clevenger said. "It has a pleasant look from the outside."

Seven Masonic-related organizations meet in the building.The New England Lodge has 750 members.Like the membership of many churches and service organizations, Masons are aging and dying, with overall numbers dwindling. But the New England Lodge has gone the other way. Many of its officers are in their 30s, Clevenger said.The New England Lodge is the longest continually operating lodge west of the Allegheny Mountains, and Clevenger does not see it disbanding any time soon. If it must move, it will, but even that would not be easy, he said."For us to go out of business would be a big step," he said.


H/T Mike Clevenger

Masonic Cornerstone Denied by Ga. County Commissioners

The Franklin County Commissioners in Lavonia, Georgia have denied a request by area Freemasons to dedicate their new fire station with a Masonic cornerstone.

From the Independent Mail in Anderson, SC, "Request for Masonic cornerstone at Lavonia EMS station denied" by M. J. Kneiser:

LAVONIA, Ga. -- The steel is up on the new Lavonia EMS station, but thing one that won’t be part of the new building is a Masonic cornerstone. The Franklin County chapter of the Masons had requested they be allowed to donate the cornerstone which would feature the Masonic symbol and the names of county and municipal leaders. The new station is on Gerrard Road. But the Franklin County commissioners were split in their support of the cornerstone request. The motion to approve the cornerstone was defeated in a 3-to-2 vote. Commissioners Tom Bridges and David Strickland voted in favor of it and Clint Harper, Bob Franklin and Jeff Jacques voting against the request.
Strickland made the motion that would allow the Masonic cornerstone to be installed at the station.
“I make a motion that we allow the Masons to put the cornerstone on the new EMS building in Lavonia due to the fact that it goes to show that we support the efforts of the Shriners,” Strickland said.
Strickland’s motion was seconded by Bridges, the commission’s chairman. But Harper opposed the idea. Harper said he was concerned that a Masonic cornerstone would be seen as political advertising.
“A lot of it is political,” Harper said. “This (EMS building) belongs to the citizens of Franklin County. They paid for it. As commissioners, we did not have a lot to do with it either way. I am against doing this.”
Harper said if Strickland’s motion did pass, he did not want his name on the cornerstone.
Franklin said he was worried if the county allowed the Masons to donate the cornerstone with their symbol on it, other groups would want the same thing on other county buildings.
“Lord only knows how many more,” Franklin said. “Are we going to sit up here and say it’s OK and then the next group comes along and we say, ‘We don’t want their group.’ So, I’m against it.”
Jacques recalled a similar situation in the county last year that raised ethical and conflict of interest issues.
“While it is very positive, seemingly, we had a very similar issue that arose last year where a business or group that wanted to provide a similar service to the county and we said ‘no,’” Jacques said. “I believe you’re setting yourself up on a slippery slope.”
Bridges said he had no problem with a Masonic cornerstone and pointed to other surrounding public buildings.
“I did a good bit of research and discovered quite a number of courthouses around the state have these on them, primarily because the Masons are the backbone of America,” Bridges said. “The closest one is the courthouse in Habersham County.”


Saturday, February 23, 2013

Shawn Eyer Newest Blue Friar

Still getting caught up from Masonic Week...

On Friday, February 8th, the Society of Blue Friars' Grand Abbot S. Brent Morris named Shawn Eyer as its newest Friar, number 102. Shawn is the editor of The Philalethes magazine.

The Society of Blue Friars was established in 1932 specifically to recognize Masonic authors. There are currently 24 living members.

Congratulations, Brother Shawn on this great honor!

Wednesday, February 20, 2013

Short Talk Bulletin Bound Volumes Coming Soon


The Masonic Service Association of North America is embarking on a monumental publishing effort. The MSA has published a Short Talk Bulletin virtually every month since 1923. Now, they are assembling these gems of Masonic education into bound volumes, freshly edited and typeset. It will soon be possible to own complete bound sets on subjects that range from Masonic history, symbolism, philosophy and biographies.

Volume 1 (1923-1937) of five projected volumes will be printed in Fall 2013 for delivery before Christmas, featuring an index and more than 750 pages. Subsequent volumes will be published every 9-12 months. All profits will be used to support MSA activities. The books are edited by Brother S. Brent Morris, editor of the Scottish Rite Journal.

Three options are planned.

The Master Mason Edition will be bound in linen fabric with sewn signatures. Price: $90 + $7 shipping (Pre-publication price: $55 + $7 shipping if ordered before September 1st, 2013).

The Lodge Edition is identical to the Master Mason edition, but lodges may order 1 copy per lodge for $45 + $7 shipping, only if paid for with a Lodge check. Must be ordered before September 1st, 2013.

The Grand Master Edition is bonded leather binding, with gilt edges, and satin book marks, and autographed. Price is $150 + $15 shipping. Pre-publication price is $110 + $15 shipping if ordered before September 1st, 2013.

Shipping costs are for U.S. orders only. Please contact the MSANA for non-U.S. orders.

Publication of this volume is dependent upon sufficient pre-publication sales prior to September 1st, 2013. All pre-publication payments will be reimbursed if there are an insufficient number of orders.

Order online here.

Monday, February 18, 2013

Laudable Pursuit

It appears that the Knights of the North website has finally disappeared. I suspect Jeff Naylor simply decided he didn't want to pay for the domain anymore. For those interested in downloading a copy of Laudable Pursuit, click here: http://www.hodapps.com/LaudablePursuitFinal.pdf

If you are interested in a hard copy, a paperback edition is available from Lulu.com here for $7.98.

Laudable Pursuit is an examination of the state of Freemasonry in the United States, and a plan of action for rejuvenating lodges in the 21st century. Based on topics raised in the 1960's by renowned Masonic author, Indiana Past Grand Master Dwight L. Smith - and then promptly ignored by the fraternity – this work is intended as a starting point for the future direction of Freemasonry. Laudaable Pursuit is presented as a combination of both progressive and traditional action for those interested in Freemasonry to its once noble stature in U.S. society, as well as equipping the fraternity for the new century.

The Knights were created as an online Masonic think tank, and the paper was presented in 2005 before Lodge Vitruvian No. 767 in Indianapolis.

Many of the Knights themselves banded together five years ago and formed The Masonic Society.

UPDATE: The site is back up again at http://www.knightsofthenorth.com






Michigan Masonic Museum & Library Director

The Michigan Masonic Charitable Foundation is seeking a full time Director responsible for oversight and operations of our Masonic Museum and Library located in Grand Rapids. The ideal candidate will possess a bachelor’s degree, experience in a museum and/or library, and an in-depth knowledge of Masons and Masonic history. The Michigan Masonic Charitable Foundation is an EEO employer.

Please submit resumes to:
Masonic Pathways
Human Resources Department
1200 Wright Avenue
Alma, MI 48801

Sunday, February 17, 2013

Brent Morris to Speak at Dwight L. Smith Meeting, 3/16

Indiana's Dwight L. Smith Lodge of Research will be host to S. Brent Morris, PM at its March 16th meeting. Also speaking will be John Bridegroom, PM and JW of Dwight L. Smith Lodge.

Morris will be speaking on “The Higher Degrees”. It is a look at the timeline of the high degrees of Masonry. He will be available to discuss his presentation and we will have many of his books on hand.

Dwight L. Smith Lodge will open on March 16th at 1:00pm in the dining room at Freemason’s Hall in Indianapolis. All Master Masons are invited to attend. Light snacks will be available following the meeting.

WBro. Morris' appearance is made possible, in part, by assistance from The Masonic Society (themasonicsociety.com).

Biography of Brent Morris

S. Brent Morris, 33°, Grand Cross, is Managing Editor of the Scottish Rite Journal, the largest circulation Masonic magazine in the world. He retired after 25 years as a mathematician with the federal government and has taught at Duke, Johns Hopkins, and George Washington Universities. He is a Past Master of Patmos Lodge No. 70, Ellicott City, Maryland, and Quatuor Coronati Lodge No. 2076, London, a life member and Mackey Scholar of the Scottish Rite Research Society, a Fellow of the Philalethes Society, recipient of the Philalethes Society Certificate of Literature, an honorary Fellow of the Phylaxis Society, founding Editor of Heredom, the transactions of the Scottish Rite Research Society, and Grand Abbot of the Society of Blue Friars. He is author of many articles on Freemasonry and the books, •Complete Idiot’s Guide to Freemasonry, •Masonic Philanthropies: A Tradition of Caring, •Cornerstones of Freedom: A Masonic Tradition, •The Folger Manuscript: The Cryptanalysis and Interpretation of an American Masonic Manuscript, •A Radical in the East. He and Arturo de Hoyos co-authored •Committed to the Flames: The History and Rituals of a Secret Masonic Rite, •Is It True What They Say About Freemasonry? and co-edited •Freemasonry in Context: History, Ritual, and Controversy. He is co-editor of •Freemasonry on Both Sides of the Atlantic. He is also a member of the Shrine, York Rite, the Red Cross of Constantine, the Royal Order of Scotland, and the Allied Masonic Degrees.

Saturday, February 16, 2013

Virginia Beach Lodge Hitting The Road

A lodge in Virginia Beach may soon be hitting the road for a new location. Literally.

From an article by Margaret Matray in the 2/11/2013 Virginian-Pilot:
A building more than 120 years old could be hitting the road soon, headed for a new plot of land about three miles away.  
 The City Council is scheduled to vote Tuesday on a conditional use permit that would allow Princess Anne Masonic Lodge No. 25 to be moved from 2849 Princess Anne Road southeast to 3067 West Neck Road. In January, the Planning Commission recommended approval of the permit in a 9-1 vote. 
 The two-story, 2,120-square-foot lodge was built in the late 1800s on land leased from the Princess Anne County Courthouse. It was moved in 1936 to the western end of the courthouse property and moved a second time in 1968 to its current spot on Princess Anne Road, according to a proposal submitted to the planning commission.  
 In decades since, road projects have encroached on the lodge site, according to the proposal, and a more rural location is needed. The lodge would be moved to land owned by Emma Smithson Fountain, whose father was a member. In 2011, a conservation easement was placed on the property on West Neck Road to preserve two areas: the historic Thomas Woodhouse House and 3.75 acres designated for a Masonic lodge. Fountain donated that portion of the site to the lodge, according to the proposal.  
 If the council approves the move, a landscape buffer would be built to separate the site from single-family homes nearby. The lodge could add a 6,500-square-foot expansion, according to the proposal.

Mercedes, Satan and Masons

I am still getting caught up after being on the road to Masonic Week for 10 days. While I was gone, Mark Koltko-Rivera in New York broke the story that MercedesUSA was airing a Super Bowl commercial entitled "Soul" that featured Willem Dafoe as Satan, and two shots that clearly showed the Horned One sporting a Masonic ring on his pointed fingernailed hand.

Thanks to the complaints of many Freemasons, Mercedes altered the edit of the commercial for the Super Bowl airing removing the closeup of the ring, and issued an official apology on their Facebook page:
We apologize to anyone offended by the use of the ring worn in our commercial, 'Soul,' that ran during the Super Bowl. 
It was not our intention to make any association with the Freemasons or any organization. In fact, neither we nor our advertising agency were aware that the ring could be associated with the Freemasons. To avoid any confusion going forward, we will modify the commercial prior to any future television airings.
While I wish the apology had been in a more widely seen venue, it appears that enough voices can make a difference. It remains more than slightly risible for them to claim that there was no intention to associate the Freemasons with Old Scratch, because they clearly did.

Mercedes still has the extended 1:50 version on YouTube, with the ring featured in two shots. See it here.

Morristown, NJ Lodge Escapes Arson Attempt

Cincinnati Lodge No. 3 in Morristown, New Jersey narrowly escaped being burned to the ground last week, thanks to the bravery of RW Brother Drew Jardine. From last Sunday's Daily Record:

Drew Jardine planned to snow-blow around the Morristown Masonic Center Friday night but said he wound up wrestling with a man who burst into the center carrying jugs of gasoline and hollering that he would burn the place down.
Morristown Police Capt. Steve Sarinelli identified the suspect as John Mowbray, 50, of Morris Township.
“It’s unclear what his motive was,’’ Sarinelli said.
There was vandalism to the Masonic Center a few days before Friday’s incident and police are exploring a possible connection between Mowbray’s alleged break-in and the earlier criminal mischief, Sarinelli said.
In an interview Saturday morning in the sitting room of the circa-1930, Colonial center on Maple Avenue, Jardine said he was waiting for the snow to wane so he could clear the sidewalks when he heard the front door being forced open around 10:20 p.m.
"It's a stroke of luck I was here. The building could have been burned down," said Jardine, 57, a member of the center's building committee.
Jardine said he confronted the intruder, a stranger in his fifties, who was carrying four quarts of gasoline in milk containers. Jardine said he exchanged blows with the man, who was trying to get up stairs to the center's second floor, and he was able to wrestle him to the floor.
The jugs fell during the scuffle and one broke open so that the center's sitting room and foyer still reeked of gasoline Saturday morning.
Jardine said he managed to hold the man on the ground while he called police on his cell phone. Police confirmed that the suspect was taken into custody, charged with attempted arson and burglary, and lodged in the Morris County jail on $100,000 bail.

Wednesday, February 13, 2013

Ohio and WV Again In Amity

Per the Grand Lodge of Ohio's Facebook page:

"Effective this date: February 11, 2013, The Most Worshipful Grand Lodge of AF&AM of West Virginia has reestablished fraternal recognition of The Most Worshipful Grand Lodge of F&AM of Ohio. The respective edicts will be mailed to the Lodge Secretary's with the quarterly Grand Secretary’s Newsletter." 

The details I have heard are that the GM of Ohio looked at the code and saw that no one person could receive the degrees more than once and so, as Frank Haas, the former GM of WV, had received degrees in both WV and OH, he should not be an OH Mason and dutifully expelled him. With the expulsion of Mr. Haas, WV and OH are now, once again, in amity. The big loser here is Frank Haas, who is once again not a Mason.

GL of Arkansas Approves Shrine Decision

Last week, the assembled delegates of the Grand Lodge of Arkansas formally approved (in what amounts to a referendum) the decision of the Grand Master declaring the Shrine clandestine. Last year the delegates approved declaring the shrine clandestine. This vote approved the statements and letters issued by the current GM concerning the shrine, and the choice he declared his members must make concerning either being a member of the shrine or blue lodge, but not both.


In another matter, Grand Lodge approved background checks on new petitions.