"To preserve the reputation of the Fraternity unsullied must be your constant care."


Thursday, September 30, 2010

Freemasonry in the Movies: "Ant Bully"

Frame from the movie "The Ant Bully" (2006). A grandma hops up out of her rocking chair, and you can briefly see a square and compasses on the back.

I'm just reporting it.

Freemasonry on the Glenn Beck Show

Anti-Masons in the U.S. have been thwarted lately. The overwhelming publication of books by mainstream publishers, and the airing of documentaries on Discovery, History, NatGeo, etc., along with Dan Brown's decidedly glowing view of Freemasonry in The Lost Symbol, have all helped to blunt the maniacal claims of of Masonophobes. Only the perennially nervous believe the Albert Pike-Lucifer-Bloody Oath-Dollar Bill-New World Order silliness anymore. No other time in the history of the fraternity has the general public been armed with more truthful information about Freemasonry, readily available, by believable sources.

I don't know what you think of Glenn Beck, pro or con, so please don't barrage me with messages about him. He has a tremendously popular program on Fox News Channel, and on Fridays over the last few months, he has been hosting special programs known as "Founders Fridays." On these, he has been delving into little-discussed people and events from US history, and tying the programs together with a theme that is very familiar to Freemasons, that of "Faith, Hope and Charity."

One of Beck's favorite resources has been evangelist David Barton, who is the founder of a Christian organization called WallBuilders. Barton specializes in collecting original documents from the 1700-1800s, and contends the founders were largely Christian, and the US was founded as an expressly Christian country. WallBuilders is described on its website as "dedicated to presenting America's forgotten history and heroes, with an emphasis on the moral, religious, and constitutional foundation on which America was built." Barton's appearances on Beck have given him much exposure. Look him up, read his views, and decide what you may think of his arguments.

I recently sent a copy of Solomon's Builders to the Beck offices, because each show seemed to be dancing around the obvious connections of many of the founders being discussed and their membership in Masonry. I wasn't certain what Beck or Barton thought of the Masonic influences on Washington, Franklin, Warren, Hancock, Revere and others, because it never came up.

Then came this curious exchange on the Glenn Beck Show on August 6, 2010. (See the video here.)

This is a transcript from the Fox site.

STEVEN, AUDIENCE MEMBER: Did the free masons influence George Washington? And do they still have an influence to this day?

BARTON: Free masons had an influence on George Washington but not what we think of today. There is a big difference between the two. Free masonry today is not what it was at the time of Washington.

It was introduced in America in 1734. Washington entered into what were called field lodges, which was the only way in the British military, the officers and the common guys could meet together.

So it doesn't have the rituals or oaths or anything else that's common today. Actually, by 1799 it began to change. Washington was dead then. 1813 —


BECK: Wait, wait, wait. I have seen a painting of George Washington laying the cornerstone.

BARTON: You bet.

BECK: He was wearing the apron and everything else.

BARTON: You bet. You bet.

BECK: What do you mean there was no —

BARTON: The painting was done in 1976. The painting was done —

BECK: What?

BARTON: Yes. The one in the Capitol of Washington standing and laying the cornerstone. Now, there were some in 1840s and '50s.

BECK: I believe I have seen his apron in Mt. Vernon.

BARTON: Oh, he has an apron.

BECK: Right.

BARTON: But he would not allow himself to be painted as a mason. One guy tried to paint him and he said no way.

BECK: OK. If he had been (UNINTELLIGIBLE). He had the rituals.

BARTON: No, because the rituals didn't come in until much later. 1825 is when the rituals appeared. So there were three simple degrees, no oaths, no rituals, whatever. That came in about 1813 with what is called speculative masonry.

BECK: May I ask — I've always thought the role that masons played in the Declaration or in the revolution in the forming of the nation was the honor of it as it was understood back then.

But that you had a place to where you could go and speak privately, openly and no one would violate the secret.

BARTON: That was more European than it was American. That was the European model, but it was not the American model. And that's the way they hid it from monarchs in Europe.

The American model, when spoke your piece straight out any way, it was not a problem. And you'll find most of Americans — Founding Fathers who became masons did so as British citizens.

And so it wasn't that big a deal for them. Washington records in his last two years and talking about the masonry, that it was a very small influence in his life. He maybe attended 12, 10 lodge meetings over 40 years.

BECK: The Illuminati is going to off him —

BARTON: Oh, yes. They hate this.

Beck was clearly trying to find out Barton's view (for what it's worth, I don't think Beck has an anti-Masonic viewpoint), but see the new wrinkle in what Barton says about it: Masonry wasn't really important to Washington, and in any case, it isn't the same Freemasonry as it became after 1825. No oaths or rituals before 1813-1825? Speculative Masonry didn't begin until 1813? There is no way to ignore the Masonic membership of many of the founders, so Barton explains it away as unimportant, and not really the Freemasonry that is around today. And he makes up dates to sound authoritative about it.

It's sort of like prohibitionists who try to dance around the "Wedding at Cana" story of Jesus making wine by saying, "It's not really wine the way we understand it today. It wasn't alcoholic."

Samuel Pritchard's Masonry Dissected, an exposure of Masonic ritual that includes obligations, was published in 1730. Speculative Masonry officially began in 1717, and was transitioning to it throughout the mid to late 1600s. All in plenty of time to be the Masonry joined by the Founding Founders. Barton's 1813 date is the date in England of the Union between the Moderns and the Antients. As for his 1825 date, I am guessing he is confusing it with the date of the disappearance of William Morgan and the publication of his exposure in 1826. But who knows?

Washington was initiated on November 4th, 1752, passed March 3rd, 1753, and raised a Master Mason on August 4th, 1753, in Fredericksburg Lodge, an Antients lodge in Virginia. It was NOT a "field" lodge (I presume Barton used this term to describe a military lodge). Antients lodges largely aligned themselves eventually (very generally) with the revolutionary side, while the "Moderns" lodges were (again, very generally) more "Tory" in makeup. Here Barton again either misunderstands or mischaracterizes in his estimation that it was somehow not fashionable for post-revolutionary citizens to become Masons. It's just nonsense.

As for Washington not allowing himself to be painted as a Mason?

From the website of Alexandria Washington Lodge No. 22:

In July 1792 Washington turned down a request for a sitting from American artist William Joseph Williams, telling Governor Henry Lee of Virginia: "I am so heartily tired of the attendance which, from one cause or another, I have bestowed on these kind of people, that it is now more than two years since I have resolved to sit no more for any of them; and have adhered to it; except in instances where it has been requested by public bodies, or for a particular purpose (not of the painters) and could not, without offence, be refused. I have been led to make this resolution for another reason besides the irksomeness of sitting, and the time I loose by it, which is, that these productions have, in my estimation, been made use of as a sort of tax upon individuals, by being engraved, and that badly, and hawked, or advertised for Sale." Williams then offered to paint Washington's portrait for the Alexandria (Virginia) Masonic Lodge No. 22. Lodge officers wrote Washington in 1793 that it would be " a source of the most refined gratification the tracing out and contemplating the various ornaments of his character in the resemblance of his person." Williams's portrait shows Washington as a Virginia past master, with Masonic regalia and jewels. Williams's careful depiction includes a scar on Washington's left cheek, smallpox scars on his nose and cheeks, and a mole under his right ear.

From a history of Alexandria Washington Lodge No. 22 by Charles H. Callahan:

The Lodge desiring a correct likeness of their illustrious First Master passed a resolution requesting General Washington to sit for the painting, obtained his consent and employed Williams, an artist of Philadelphia, to execute the work. At the time the painting was made, General Henry (Light Horse Harry) Lee, representing the Eighth Congressional District, in which Alexandria is situated, in the National Congress, being not only the official representative of their section but a member of the Fraternity, arranged for the sitting and introduced the artist to President Washington. After the work was completed and General Washington had approved it, Williams personally delivered the picture to the Lodge, who officially approved it and paid the artist for his service.

David Barton spoke about the Founding Fathers and the Masons on two episodes of WallbuildersLive.co, which can be found here.

Monday, May 03, 2010
The Question of Freemasonry and the Founding Fathers - Part 1

Tuesday, May 04, 2010
The Question of Freemasonry and the Founding Fathers - Part 2

He is familiar with much of the early history of Freemasonry in the US, which is why his assertions made both on Glenn Beck and on the Wallbuilders broadcast are so creative in his attempt to argue that the Masonry of Franklin, Revere, Hancock and Washington really isn't the same as Freemasonry after 1825 or so. His overarching contention is that the bulk of the Founders were essentially evangelical Christians, not deists. So if Masonry was creepy and required "bloody" and "anti-scriptual" oaths, those godly Founders could never have joined it.

Several years ago, he published a book, The Question of Freemasonry and the Founding Fathers. It is out of print, but I have a copy on the way. On his radio appearances, he seems to object to Masonry because it, in his view, treats all religions equally, and because it requires members to take "oaths" that are scripturally improper. I have not heard him make inflammatory remarks against the fraternity, or really attack it.

However, I was intrigued by his remarks concerning objections some of his own fans had to him "cavorting" with Beck, who is a recent convert to Mormonism.

Read this from his Facebook page (Much too long to quote here.)

Based on that explanation, I would simply ask that Barton, or any evangelical Christians who hold anti-Masonic feelings, would apply his same words to Freemasonry as he does to Beck and the Mormons:

• Recognize that we are, or strive to be, gentlemen of piety and virtue.
• Judge a tree based on the type of fruit it produces, not the label that it bears.
• Don't impede the efforts of others if they are not attacking and trying to injure you, even if those individuals are not part of your particular religious circle.
• If someone is not actively fighting against you, then consider him an ally, not an enemy.

Pushback in France Over Grand Orient

French reporter Francois Koch has a blog dedicated strictly to Masonic stories for L'Express magazine, in which he has been posting news stories about the internecine battles raging in both the Grande Loge National Français, as well as the September decision to allow women to join lodges in the Grand Orient de France (the largest grand lodge in France, considered irregular and unrecognized by US, Canadian, and UK GLs). As was to be expected, the faction seeking to remain a male-only fraternity has reared its head in protest.

From September 27th (my translation):

GODF: an offensive against "Coeducation"
by Francois Koch

The Union for a Male Grand Orient of France (UGODFM) has launched an offensive against decisions taken by the 2010 Convention on September 2, particularly those that amended Article 76 of the General Regulations stating that admission to the GODF must disregard the candidate's sex.

The "mono-gender brothers" are strongly encouraged by the UGODFM to file an appeal with the Supreme Chamber of Masonic Justice (CSJM) with the aim of overturning the decisions of the Convent ... as had been obtained against the votes of Convention 2009, on the same topic (see attached document).

Main arguments are detailed in a memorandum distributed to brothers supporting the UGODFM so they can use it to approach the CSJM:

1. The lodges should have been consulted before the delegates of lodges could vote, because these are decisions "of Masonic interest".

2. The decision to amend the General Regulations on non-discrimination vis-à-vis women should be confirmed at the Convent in 2012 before having the force of common law.

The entry of women into the GODF has not ended the flowing ink ... and is causing heated debates in the temples.

Subsequent checking of the website for the UGODFM at www.ugodfm.com reveals it to actually be the Union for a Masonic Grand Orient of France, and not "Union for a Male Grand Orient of France" as Koch reported.

Sunday, September 26, 2010

Masonic Society Invades New Orleans

Board of Directors Dinner at Broussard's in New Orleans on Friday night. Left to right, Randy Williams;
Mark Tabbert; Nathan Brindle; Chris Hodapp; Mike Poll; and Bo Cline.

It's been an amazing couple of days in New Orleans for the Masonic Society semiannual meeting! A great lineup of speakers Friday and Saturday, and an incredible day at Etoile Polaire Lodge No. 1. Food was great, the Royal Sonesta Hotel on Bourbon St is tremendous.

Randy Williams delivered an excellent presentation on creating a solid Masonic research paper, which will appear in the next issue of the Journal of the Masonic Society.

Mark Tabbert gave us updated information on the George Washington Masonic Memorial's digitizing program. Mark''s role will expanding, and he is getting trained to teach others how to load information into the database. That means grand lodge museums, individual lodges, and even private Masonic collections can be photographed, catalogued, and become part of the searchable, online database.

Marc Conrad's talk on early Louisiana Freemasonry was almost overwhelming. There is enough material for Marc to spend an entire weekend on all by himself. Louisiana's Masonic history, like everything else here, is complex and reflects the history of New Orleans itself, with French, Spanish and many other influences.

Andrew Hammer and the brethren of Alexandria Washington Lodge No. 23 in Alexandria, Virginia have made exciting philosophical and operational changes at their lodge, taking Traditional Observance lodge aspects and combing them with their own personalization. His paper was a preview for his new book, Observing The Craft, which is a call for a reverent and philosophically serious approach to the practice of Freemasonry. The book is due October 11th.

Bo Cline, PGM of Alaska, and Bill Mollere, SGIG for the Scottish Rite Orient of Louisiana, hosted an open forum on the subject of Masonic Unity and the sometime lack of it. Interesting observations came out of the discussion about spreading ourselves too thin in terms of our time and participation, competition between Masonic charities (and the misunderstanding of the concept of Masonic "Charity" that has been translated into institutionalized giving), along with our saints and martyrs who give their whole lives o the fraternity and expect everyone else to do the same. We didn't solve the world's problems, but it brought up topics little explored by our organizations.

Yasha Beresiner gave a great presentation on developments in English Freemasonry during the last hundred years, in case you think English Freemasonry has't changed much. His paper will also be in the next issue of the Journal. It was good to have Yasha here—he was in New Orleans attending a playing card convention (!) across town, and split his time between that event and ours.

Saturday afternoon was spent at Etoile Polaire (Polar Star) Lodge No. 1, a few blocks from the hotel. As was described by Marc Conrad in Issue 9 of the Journal, Etoile Polaire is one of just ten lodges in Louisiana that are allowed to work the French Rite version of Craft degrees, which are dramatically different from the Preston Webb workings most American Masons are familiar with. The brethren initiated a young man as an EA, and it was a fascinating ceremony to see. This is not just a few differences in words, it is a far more involved journey of trials and achievements for the candidate. If you missed this opportunity to see it, at some time in your Masonic life, you should witness this degree work that developed very differently from our English-derived versions.

While at Etoile Polaire, the Louisiana Lodge of Research was opened, and Dr. Michael Carpenter presented a detailed history of the French Rite in Louisiana Masonic history. The twists and turns of the development of these rituals ae still being discovered today, as new documents are being found.

Food was great, but come on, this is New Orleans. The gumbo at Etoile Polaire Lodge, with more shrimp than I have ever seen in one pot, was outstanding. The board of directors had a wonderful dinner at Broussard's, and the banquet meal at the Royal Sonesta hotel was also excellent.

I'd say it was damn fine time in New Orleans, and I extend my personal thanks to Mike Poll and Nathan Brindle who did the heavy lifting for this. Mike slugged everything out with the hotel, while Nathan handled the million secretarial things that happen behind the scenes that no one ever things about. Also to Marc Conrad and the rest of the Louisiana brethren who worked so hard to present a great series of programs locally. Kudos and huzzahs go to all of the presenters. And especially to everyone who turned out to make it a great event. And I really enjoyed the opportunity to spend a little time in person with Randy Williams at last. Randy works very hard on the Journal, along with making regular contributions of articles, so it was good to actually talk in a form besides email for a change.

Many, many thanks again to all. We have decided on the location for next year's semi-annual meeting. We are just waiting on an official letter from our hosts this coming week to confirm, and we will announce the date and location in the coming issue of the Journal.

Trevor Stewart in Columbia, MO Tuesday 9/28

Brother Trevor Stewart will be the Truman Lecturer at the Missouri Lodge of Research Breakfast at Annual Grand Lodge Communication this Tuesday October 28th.

Fom the Missouri Lodge of Resarch Facebook page:

The Missouri Lodge of Research is pleased to announce that the next "Truman Lecturer" will be well-known author, scholar and speaker, Trevor Stewart

Trevor Stewart is a retired lecturer who was educated at Birmingham, Sheffield, Durham and Newcastle Universities. His academic work specialised in English eighteenth-century English literature and his doctoral research focused on a coterie of Enlightenment gentlemen freemasons who lived in the north of England.

Bro. Stewart continued to give fully documented papers on various masonic subjects in American, Belgian, French, German and Scottish lodges – at both lodge and Provincial Grand Lodge levels - as well as in many English Lodges, Royal Arch Chapters and in London’s ancient Guildhall. He has also taught in history seminars at Cambridge, Oxford and Harvard Universities (2004) which focused on newly discovered contributions made by early eighteenth-century English freemasons to the development and spread of ‘Newtonianism’. In October 2007 he was invited by the Pennsylvania Grand Lodge Masonic Academy to give his paper on ‘A Way Forward – some seminar techniques’. He was the keynote speaker at the 2010 annual dinner of the Philalethes Society in Minneapolis. He was invited by the Grand Lodge of Romania to address their May 2010 communication in Huniazilor Castle and by the National Grand Lodge of Greece in June 2010 at their communication in Athens.

Bro. Stewart contributed papers on Freemasonry in the Enlightenment period to international conferences held at the Canonbury Masonic Research Centre (London), the University of Bordeaux and the first and second international UK conferences on the history of Freemasonry in Edinburgh (2007 & 2009). He has published several papers in the annual transactions of the Quatuor Coronati Lodge (AQC) and of the Leicester Lodge of Research, in Hibiscus (GL of Florida) and in The Ashlar, the leading Scottish masonic quarterly. He edited two volumes of The Canonbury Papers (2005 & 2006) for the Canonbury Masonic Research Centre (London). He has published numerous lectures in bound pamphlet format, a world-renowned English translation of Martinez de Pasqually’s crucial esoteric text Treatise on the Reintegration of Beings; and he has recently published a fully illustrated monograph on the famous 1702 Haughfoot Lodge, which formerly existed in the Scottish Borders region. He is planning three new books on the hitherto unpublished non-masonic writings of William Hutchinson (1732-1814), the founder of English masonic symbolism.

In 2004 Bro. Stewart was appointed by the United Grand Lodge of England to be its Prestonian Lecturer. He is a Past Master of three English Lodges, including the Quatuor Coronati Lodge No. 2076 (English Constitution) and in June 2010 was installed as the Right Worshipful Master of Lodge ‘Sir Robert Moray’ No. 1641 (the leading Scottish research lodge - Edinburgh).

In December 2007 he was elected to Honorary Membership of both The Alpha Lodge No. 116 (New Jersey) and St. John’s Lodge No. 1 (New York City). He was elected subsequently to Honorary Memberships of the Cincinnati and the Atlas-Pythagoras Lodges (New Jersey) and he is particularly delighted to be associated so strongly with such distinguished New Jersey masonic bodies. He was created Right Worshipful Grand Lecturer (Honorary) by the Grand Lodge of New Jersey in September 2009. He was created a Ninth Grade (Magus) by the SRICF in Washington DC (February 2007). He edited ‘From Across the Water’ an anthology of eight past papers from AQC on North American Freemasonry in the colonial era (copies may still available from the Scottish Rite Research Society, Washington DC).

Bro. Stewart has held office in all of the Orders which grace the English Masonic landscape, is a Life Member of various Scottish Orders - including the Grand Lodge of the Royal Order of Scotland - has been honoured in the Rectified Scottish Rite in Belgium and in the Ancient and Accepted Scottish Rite in Germany. In SRIA he was a member of its High Council, a Chief Adept of a Province, the Director-General of Studies and an active member of its Executive Committee. He edited the SRIA Transactions (2005).

Dr. Stewart is an entertaining speaker who is able to inject energy and enthusiasm into his educational programs. Trevor has announced that he will deliver a lecture entitled "Ripples in a Pool".

This new research paper presents a tentative model for doing masonic research. Using the image of a stone creating concentric ripples in a pool of water, Bro. Stewart examines narrative, contextual and philosophic approaches to masonic history - as ever widening frames of historiographical reference - and illustrates this model with detailed reference to an actual event,something awful which was done to a little inconsequential and modest Austrian-born freemason, Bro.Gustav Petri, in England in 1915 just after the outbreak of the First World War. Bro. Stewart outlines the narrative, contextual and philosophic implications of this incident and uses it to propose a general model for others wishing to do their own masonic research.

Speaking in Valparaiso, Indiana This Wednesday 9/29

I'll be speaking at the South Bend, Indiana Scottish Rite Membership Committee and Research Guild in Valparaiso, IN on Wednesday evening, September 29th.

From their Facebook page:

The South Bend, Indiana Scottish Rite Membership Committee and Research Guild proudly welcome Bro. Christopher Hodapp.

Bro. Hodapp is known for being the author of "Freemasonry for Dummies", but he also offers a vast knowledge on the fraternity that he will share with us. The event will be held on Wed. Sept. 29th at Glen Park Lodge in Valparaiso, IN. We will start off the evening at 6pm (cst) with a "Meet & Greet" session where you can meet Bro. Hodapp, purchase books and have them signed. The lecture will begin at 7:30 pm (cst). Following Bro. Hodapp will be 33rd degree nominee Jeffrey Karnes from the Valley of Indianapolis who will speak on the "Knights of St. Andrew" The evening will conclude with the presentation of the "Lincoln Play".

** This event is open to Master Masons **

Refreshments will be served in the dining room.

This event is RSVP only with a $5.00 charge to be paid in advance.

You can RSVP to this page but send money to:

Tim Farster
(Scottish Rite Education Event 9/29)
901 Harrison St.
LaPorte, IN. 46350

** Make checks out to "South Bend Scottish Rite"

Parking is available within a block of and around the building as needed.

Seating for this event may be at a premium so RSVP no later than Sept 15th.

Hope to see you there!

Kansas Wardens School in Emporia Next Week

I will be the keynote speaker at the 2010 Grand Lodge Wardens School at Emporia Lodge No. 12 on Saturday, October 2, 2010. Kansas brethren will be making me work for my supper—I'll be speaking three times during the course of the day.

From the Kansas Freemasons website:

Open to all Master Masons and their wives, and particularly valuable to incoming wardens and masters, the Wardens School provides training for the three principle officers of the lodge. With presentations on Masonic law, leadership, budget and finance, and for the first time real-time lodge scenarios illustrating common problems and their solutions, the Wardens School is indispensible for anyone approaching the East. A companion program for Master Mason’s ladies will accompany the men’s program, focusing on the Masonic education for ladies. Along with an explanation of Freemasonry, and answers to common questions about the fraternity, the ladies will tour a typical Masonic lodge before adjourning for an afternoon tea in a Victorian mansion. Registrations for the School must be made in advance and will include lunch (See registration form, Page 8). For more information about the Wardens School, please contact Jan Nelson at Grand Lodge, (785) 234 – 5518.

Hodapp, who will speak about “Revitalizing a Struggling Lodge,” as well as addressing the ladies’ program, will also be the featured speaker at dinner following the Wardens School. He has appeared on The History Channel and the Discovery Channel on the subject of Freemasonry and its role in the founding of the United States and the building of Washington D.C. He is a frequent TV and radio guest, as well as a popular speaker on Freemasonry, the Knights Templar, conspiracy theories, and secret societies. His new book, Deciphering The Lost Symbol, was published in January 2010.

The morning session begins at 9:00 a.m. (registration 8.30 a.m.). Dinner will be served at 6.00 p.m. in the Lodge dining hall at a cost of $15.00 per person. Attendance at the Wardens School is not required for dinner, but please make reservations by contacting the Grand Lodge Office as seating is limited.

After dinner, Bro. Chris will address the Lodge about “Freemasonry and the Dan Brown Effect.” Copies of his many books will be available to purchase, and fellowship and a book signing will be held immediately following.

Wednesday, September 22, 2010

"Spies of Capitol Hill" Tour in Washington DC Tomorrow 9/24

The United States Capitol Historical Society will present a "Spies of Capitol Hill Tour" on Thursday, September 23rd.

Retired intelligence officer and resident Spymaster shows you how ordinary neighborhoods and everyday objects on Capitol Hill become the backgrounds and instruments of the spy world.

September 30th
10 a.m.
with Carol Bessette

(202) 543-8919 X19 or to just save a space email us at rsvp@uschs.org

Tours are free to members.
Additional donations are gladly accepted.

Brother Walter Breuning, 32° Is Oldest Living American at 114

Walter Breuning- Scottish Rite Freemason from Scottish Rite on Vimeo.

Brother Walter Breuning, at 114 years old, is the oldest living American, and the 7th oldest person in the world. He celebrated his birthday yesterday at a retirement home in Great Falls, Montana. Brother Breuning is a 32° Scottish Rite Mason who joined the fraternity in 1925.

From the AP today:

Walter Breuning was born on Sept. 21, 1896, in Melrose, Minnesota, and moved to Montana in 1918, where he worked as a clerk for the Great Northern Railway for 50 years.

His wife, Agnes, a railroad telegraph operator from Butte, died in 1957. The couple had no children.

Breuning inherited the distinction of being the world's oldest man in July 2009 when Briton Henry Allingham died at age 113. Allingham had joked that the secret to long life was "Cigarettes, whisky and wild, wild women — and a good sense of humor," according to Guinness World Records.

The Guinness organization and the Gerontology Research Group each have verified Breuning as the world's oldest man and the fourth-oldest person. Three women were born earlier in the same year as Breuning.

Robert Young, senior consultant for gerontology for Guinness World Records, presented Breuning with a copy of the book's 2011 edition that lists him as the record holder.

Headed to New Orleans for the Masonic Society

Click image to enlarge.

Headed out for the Masonic Society Semiannual meeting in New Orleans.

The Royal Sonesta Hotel
300 Bourbon Street
New Orleans, LA 70130
Tel: (504) 586-0300
Fax: (504) 586-0335


1 PM
Randy Williams
"Wordcraft: Building a Solid Masonic Paper or Presentation
Room C

2 PM
Mark Tabbert
"Digitizing Proceedings, Masonic artifacts and You"
Room A

3 PM
Marc Conrad
"Early Louisiana Freemasonry: Three Cultures Converge"
Room C

Chris Hodapp
"Life, the Universe, and Freemasonry"
Room A

Board of Directors Meeting
Room C


Andrew Hammer
"Observing the Craft"
Room A


Etoile Polaire Lodge
LA Lodge of Research
1433 N. Rampart Street
New Orleans, LA

Michael Carpenter
"History of the French Rite ion Louisiana"

Lunch at Etoile Polaire Lodge

Bo Cline & Bill Mollere
"Masonic Unity"

Yasha Beresiner
"A hundred years of Freemasonry in England"

Grand Ballroom

The Masonic Society is the fastest growing research society dedicated to Freemasonry in the world. See more at our website.

Monday, September 20, 2010

New Jersey Masons Dedicate Church Cornerstone

New Jersey brethren, led by Grand Master Joseph H. Rival Jr., dedicated the cornerstone of Trinity Episcopal Church in Cranford, New Jersey on Sunday, September 19th.

From Freemasons Dedicate Trinity Episcopal Church Cornerstone:

Before laying the new 2010 cornerstone in place, officials also situated a time capsule behind the stone containing, among other items, photos of the church throughout the 20th century, newspaper clippings of articles focusing on the church, a 1922 silver dollar and a set of New Jersey state quarters minted in 1999.

Presided over by the New Jersey Grand Master Joseph H. Rival Jr., a symbolic freemason ritual then took place. The freemasons tested the strength of the stone with various masonry tools. Corn was then spread over the stone to represent nourishment and wine to represent refreshment. Finally, members poured a small amount of oil over the stone, symbolizing peace and joy.

With the cornerstone in place, the final steps of the renovation will roll out in the fall. Church officials expect that the pews, pulpit and lectern will be installed in the next two weeks. These pieces will be stained a chestnut color to match the interior of the church. A week later, an air conditioner system will grace the sanctuary.

On the three rooftop spires, three celtic crosses will be erected in early October, and treads will be placed on stairways in the preceding weeks.

Sunday, September 19, 2010

WXNT AM-1430 Indianapolis on Monday Morning

For folks close to Indianapolis, I will be on the radio Monday morning, September 20th, between 6-7AM on Newstalk 1430 AM WXNT. Jon Elrod will be filling in for vacationing host Abdul-Hakim Shabazz on "Abdul In The Morning."

Jon was a member of the Indiana House of Representatives from District 97 between 2006-2009. He and I will be discussing Masonic misconceptions, and whatever else it may turn into.

Yes, I know. Normally, six o'clock comes once a day, and that's at night. Unless I've been up all night, which could be the case.

Listen live here. Abdul is in transit from Myrtle Beach and will be back Tuesday.

Thursday, September 16, 2010

Western Star No. 2, Oldest Lodge in California

Western Star Lodge No. 2 has the oldest continuously operating Masonic lodge building in California.

From the Taking Care of History blog by Dottie Smith:

It is the oldest Masonic Lodge in California. It became the oldest in 1851 when the Grand Lodge of California, Free and Accepted Masons of Benton City, the original oldest lodge, consented to move their meeting location from Benton City to Shasta.

In 1854, the trustees of the Shasta Masonic Lodge purchased the upper floor of Norton and Tucker's brick building on the north side of Main Street in Shasta for $2,400 as their lodge meeting place; the building in the photo. On Dec. 27, 1854 (St. John's Day), members moved in Grand Procession, with the jewels and rods displayed, into their new lodge for a dedication ceremony.

The building was built in 1854 by Julius Norton and Silas Tucker to house their mercantile business. It was a two-story fireproof building (tin roof, brick walls) with a basement. In 1859, Norton and Tucker went bankrupt and the Masons acquired the remainder of the building.

The Millville Masonic Lodge, Northern Light Lodge No. 190, consolidated with the Shasta Lodge on March 1, 1999.

The historic plaque on the building reads:

"The oldest masonic lodge in the state of California. Chartered by the most worshipful Grand Lodge of Missouri on the 10th of May 1848. This building was dedicated on St John's Day, the 27th of December 1854, and has been in continuous use by the lodge ever since.

After the great fire of 1853, most of the city of Shasta was destroyed. The lodge lost all of its possessions, save its Missouri charter, and continued to meet on the upper floor of Dr. Benjamin Shurtleff's home which stood on a hill, west of town from 1851-1967 when it was lost to fire. On 4th of December, 1854, the lodge trustees purchased the upper floor of this building, the street level being the Norton and Tucker general merchandise. In 1857 the Lodge acquired ownership of the entire building."

Mark Tabbert at Templum Fidelis Lodge in Ontario 9/18

W:.B:. Mark Tabbert will be speaking at the festive board of Templum Fidelis Lodge No 746 in Bath, Ontario, Canada, this Saturday night, September 18th.

Title: "Why are John, Paul, George and Ben Famous Freemasons?"

Mark is the author of American Freemasons: Three Centuries of Building Communities. He is the Director of Collections at the George Washington Masonic Memorial in Alexandria, Virginia.

The cost of the evening is $75. It's last minute, but if you are interested, try making reservations by contacting events@templumfidelis.com

Templum Fidelis is Canada's first Traditional Observance lodge, operating in the jurisdiction of the Grand Lodge of Canada in the Province of Ontario. The mandatory dress code for all visitors and members is black tie tuxedos with white gloves. The lodge meets in the Village of Bath on the shores of Lake Ontario near the city of Kingston.

Richard Fletcher of MSA on Initiative Radio

"Initiative Radio", a radio program hosted by Angelea McKenzie, interviewed R:.W:. Richard Fletcher, Executive Secretary of the Masonic Service Association this week. Dick is a past Grand Master of Vermont.

The program will air nationally on outlets of National Public Radio, Pacifica Radio, Public Radio International and some college stations.

From the program's description:

Anti-Masonic hype is alive on the internet and continues to target successful pop music stars like Jay-Z, Rihanna and Lady Gaga, by accusing them of serving a Masonic/Satanic master through their song lyrics and the images in their music videos.

To get to the bottom of what the Freemasons are about, Angela McKenzie sits down with venerable Freemason Richard Fletcher, to learn about the origins and evolution of the craft; about the dual meaning of Masonic symbols like the trowel; about the significance of rituals like the Three Degrees and about the fraternity's secret handshakes which have been a mode of recognition since the seventeenth century. Fletcher also discusses America's original celebrity Mason George Washington; the charitable works of the Masons and he also does his level best to squash fears that Freemasonry has anything to do with witchcraft or devil worship

To listen to the show, or download it in a variety of formats, click here.
Comments about the show may be emailed to initiativeradio@yahoo.com.

Headed for St. Louis This Saturday

This Saturday, September 18th, I will be speaking at a luncheon at Beacon Lodge #3 in Hazlewood, Missouri. Hazlewood is on the northwest side of St. Louis. Beacon Lodge has a long, proud heritage in the St. Louis area, and was chartered in 1849. I'm looking forward to being there.

Lunch will be at 12 noon and is open to family, friends and anyone interested in Freemasonry. The lodge is requesting $10 for lunch. If you wish to attend, please RSVP at (314) 521-7511 (the lodge phone), or contact Worshipful Master Curtis Perkins.

In the late afternoon on my way home, I am stopping in at the Scottish Rite Valley of St. Louis—Job's Daughters International is having a dinner and reception for their Supreme Grand Guardian, Toni Underwood, beginning at 6:30PM.

There are four or five big Masonic events going on in the St. Louis area that same day—the town is jumpin'!

Wednesday, September 15, 2010

David A. McWilliams, Sr. Research and Education Lodge (PHA), in Washington, D.C.

W:.B:. Alton G. Roundtree, Master of the David A. McWilliams, Sr. Research and Education Lodge (PHA), in Washington, D.C., has announced a panel discussion to be held this coming Saturday, September 18, 2010.

Participants will include:
• Dr. S. Brent Morris, Managing Editor of Scottish Rite Journal
• MWPGM Kwame Acquaah, Grand Lodge of the District of Columbia
• RW Thomas C. Brook, Jr., ESQ, MWPHGL of New York
• SW Gregory S. Kearse, David A. McWilliams Research & Education Lodge, District of Columbia
• JW Dr. Adrian T. Taylor, David A. McWilliams Reseach & Education Lodge, District of Columbia

The un-tyled event will take place at the Prince Hall Masonic Temple, 1000 U Street NW, Washington, D.C. 5th Floor South Hall beginning at 1:00 pm.

History is what happens when you're not paying attention

Anybody who says this fraternity needs to change hasn't been looking around. Part of it is cultural, part is technological, and part is generational. But the Freemasonry we are living through today is definitely not your grandfather's fraternity.

A year ago, I was invited to speak at Annapolis Lodge No. 89 in Maryland. Among the brethren I met that evening was Brother Eric Madison. He and Brad Finnsson have formed FraternalSoft Inc. and created the great iPhone software application, Masonic Traveler. Masonic Traveler is an outstanding lodge finder ap that works intuitively with your iPhone, providing names, address, contact information, maps and step-by-step directions, and more for almost every Craft lodge in the US. If you hit a town and want to find the lodge, the ap locates you on a map via GPS and shows you where the closest lodges are.

Best of all, it has been supported by grand lodges themselves—information for each lodge was provided by grand secretaries. And the application listings are being added to all the time, including Prince Hall Affiliated lodges in many states. That makes it the most comprehensive electronic version of US lodge listings anywhere. I can't recommend this application heartily enough. It has helped me several times already, and well worth its $7.99 price.

Part of the work involved is that the developers load every lodge address into the software. That means they have looked at virtually every single Masonic lodge website in the US and Canada in the process of programming the ap. So today, Eric sent me a note pointing to the website of a Prince Hall lodge, Olive Branch Lodge No. 94 in Chicago.

Visit the site here and have a look at the introductory video on their front page, created by Brother Shawn Robinson.

My point in mentioning this is, whether Olive Branch's music or their video appeals to your taste or not, every lodge has its own personality. And every lodge that has an active lineup of new candidates and a regular rotation of officers coming through is going through a major evolution in programs, interests, vision and personality, right now. That means a lodge can be a very, very different place in as little as five years. Internet and social networking is allowing that evolution to happen at a faster rate than ever before in the history of the fraternity, as ideas are shared all around the Masonic world, instantly. Long-forgotten Masonic books that haven't been available in dozens and even hundreds of years are now available on Google, Kindle and iPad. We have greater opportunities for Masonic education than at any time in our history.

Go and visit other lodges and see how they do things. Steal great ideas and claim them as your own. Or better yet, improve on them. Every single lodge is wrestling with most of the same problems, but Masonic officers don't have to struggle in a vacuum. A great program, presentation, paper, dinner, charity plan, or even lodge decorating idea can be shared with brethren literally overnight. Cherry-pick the ideas that will work best for you and the active members of your lodge.

The point is, if your lodge is floundering and not serving the needs and desires of its active members—the ones who show up every month—you need to get to work right now. Even if all of your members are over the age of 70, age is no excuse for lousy programming, creepy food, bad ritual work, tattered regalia, or a building that is a disgrace. And it's easier than ever before in history to get the word out to the Masonic community about your activities, or to ask brethren in your area for help.

Tuesday, September 14, 2010

The Masonic Magician

Last year, Philippa Faulks and W:.B:. Robert Cooper published The Masonic Magician: The Life and Death of Count Cagliostro and His Egyptian Rite, the story of the fascinating life of occultist Giuseppe Balsamo, better known to history as Count Alessandro di Cagliostro. After an amazing life of adventures, crimes, intrigues, and inventive tall tales, he was arrested in 1789 by the Inquisition and sentenced to death for the crime of being a Freemason. His sentence was commuted to life imprisonment by Pope Pius VI, and he died in the Fortress of San Leo in 1795.

Dutch musician Corjan de Raaf has just released a song and music video, based on the book about the infamous Count, appropriately titled "Masonic Magician."

If you have wandered into the realm of research over the mysteries of France's Rennes-le-Château, the Priory of Sion and Father Bérenger Saunière, you may have come across de Raaf and his website Rennes-le-Château Research and Resource. If all you know about Rennes and the Priory came out of Dan Brown's The Da Vinci Code, spend some time on de Raaf's huge and expanding website.

Monday, September 13, 2010

Historic Cornerstone Ceremony in Virginia

On Saturday, September 11, 2010 an historic cornerstone event was held at the new Judicial Center in Lancaster, Virginia. It was the first time that both the Grand Lodge of Ancient, Free & Accepted Masons of Virginia and the Most Worshipful Prince Hall Grand Lodge of Virginia Free and Accepted Masons have jointly performed a public cornerstone ceremony.

According to county administrator William Pennell, Jr., a list naming all the ceremony participants was placed behind the cornerstone, which was carved with a square and compasses.

Photos have been posted of the event by Brother William Baumbach here.

H/T to Brother Christopher Chrzanowski

Poll Results: Grand Lodge Per Capita Fees

"Violent Attack" Threats Against Lodges in Oklahoma

An email threatening multiple Masonic lodges across Oklahoma, combined with a suspicious box found outside of the temple in Kingston, was enough to bring out the bomb squad Saturday night.

From the KXII.com website:

Police officers first arrived to the Lodge around 7:30pm, Saturday, after one of the members reported a strange box.

Lodge members were concerned because prior to the box's arrival, a threatening e-mail had been sent to the Masonic Lodge headquarters in Oklahoma City, pinpointing the Kingston building as a target for a potential violent attack.

Authorities say the email targeted several lodges across southern Oklahoma.

As the Oklahoma Highway Patrol bomb squad worked to open the suspicious box, they discovered it was just a case of bottled water with political advertising.

Crews cleared the scene around 2am, Sunday morning.

Investigators are looking into the source of that threatening e-mail, but say it appears the two events are unrelated.

Saturday, September 11, 2010

Nine Septembers Ago

My friend and Masonic brother Nathan Brindle posted a link today to what is perhaps the most difficult article I have ever read about the day of 9/11/2001. It's called The Falling Man by Tom Junod, from the September 2003 issue of Esquire. I have thought about it since I read it this morning, and it may very well be with me forever.

Just as I have never forgotten a piece Peggy Noonan wrote in the Wall Street Journal a year after the Twin Towers were destroyed. It was called The Fall After Sept. 11, and her words have haunted me for 8 solid years:

"The other day I walked by Saint Vincent's Hospital in downtown Manhattan and thought, as I always do when I walk by: This is where they waited for the wounded. The interns and nurses waited outside right here with gurneys for patients who didn't come. Because so few people were "wounded." The three thousand were dead. What happened to them? They were exploded into air. They became a cloud. We breathed them in."

The stories today all repeat the same rough statistic: "nearly 3000" died in the attacks that day. They weren't nearly 3000. They were 2,977 of our citizens and neighbors, who got up on a Tuesday morning, got dressed and went to work, who were murdered by 19 madmen. They all have names, and faces, and stories, and lives they touched in life and in death.

This morning, Vice President Joseph Biden and his wife Jill spoke in New York City at Zuccotti Park. He read portions of the poem "The Builders" by Henry Wadsworth Longfellow.

All are architects of Fate,
Working in these walls of Time;
Some with massive deeds and great,
Some with ornaments of rhyme.

Nothing useless is, or low;
Each thing in its place is best;
And what seems but idle show
Strengthens and supports the rest.

For the structure that we raise,
Time is with materials filled;
Our to-days and yesterdays
Are the blocks with which we build.

Truly shape and fashion these;
Leave no yawning gaps between;
Think not, because no man sees,
Such things will remain unseen.

In the elder days of Art,
Builders wrought with greatest care
Each minute and unseen part;
For the Gods see everywhere.

Let us do our work as well,
Both the unseen and the seen;
Make the house, where Gods may dwell,
Beautiful, entire, and clean.

Else our lives are incomplete,
Standing in these walls of Time,
Broken stairways, where the feet
Stumble as they seek to climb.

Build to-day, then, strong and sure,
With a firm and ample base;
And ascending and secure
Shall to-morrow find its place.

Thus alone can we attain
To those turrets, where the eye
Sees the world as one vast plain,
And one boundless reach of sky.

I am attending a Masonic event tonight. WBro. John Wade has come from England and will give a presentation about Masonic processions since the 1700s. Some of those processions over the last 300 years have been to lay cornerstones for buildings. Freemasons have been doing that as part of our public ceremonies almost since our modern beginnings in 1717. We dedicated the cornerstones that founded Washington, DC: the White House, the US Capitol building, and the very city itself.

The 20-ton granite cornerstone for the Freedom Tower that is being built at Ground Zero was ceremonially set into place on July 4th, 2004. Only 200 elected officials, families of the victims, and the press were invited to attend. And several members of the Grand Lodge of New York. The stone was removed two years later as construction plans were altered, and it sits in the quarry yard in Long Island. But it will be returned. And when it is, I hope Freemasons perform the public ceremony for it.

Because we build.

Let us do our work as well,
Both the unseen and the seen;
Make the house, where Gods may dwell,
Beautiful, entire, and clean

Thursday, September 09, 2010

GL of Arizona Masonic Education Academy Sept. 10-12th, 2010

The Grand Lodge of Arizona's Masonic Education Academy will be this weekend, Friday, September 10th through Sunday, September 12th at the Little America Hotel, 2515 E. Butler Ave, Flagstaff, AZ.

• Mixer 6-9PM

Presentations 8AM-5:15PM
• "Initiation, in World History and in the EA Degree" — Brother Ron Watkins
• "Freemasonry as an Instrument of Initiation" — WBro. W. Kirk MacNulty
• "The Rough Ashlar and the Perfect Ashlar" — MWBro. Rex Hutchens
• "Gods, Heroes and Freemasonry" — Bro. Loren Gallegly
• "The Ornaments of the Lodge; Mosaic Pavement, Indented Tessel; and the Blazing Star" — WBo. Shawn Eyer
• "Lessons from the First Degree Tracing Board" — WBro. W. Kirk McNulty

• Dinner 6PM

Presentations 9AM-12:40PM
• "An Entered Apprentice’s Journey" — WBro. Bill Branch and Bro. Manual Ramirez
• "In Whom Do You Put Your Trust?" — MWBro. Rex Hutchens

The enrollment fee for the 2010 Academy is $155 unless you are not staying at the hotel then add $45; for ladies at dinner, add $45. After August 28, 2010, $165 enrollment, for ladies and others at dinner $60.

See the Academy notice here.
THE ENROLLMENT DEADLINE HAS PASSED. Contact the Grand Lodge of Arizona F&AM directly at 1-888-214-1122.

If rooms are needed, contact the hotel at (800) 352-4386.

Speaking Today 9/9 in Columbus, IN

I'll have the pleasure of speaking today at the High Twelve Club of Columbus, Indiana. They meet for lunch in the private room at the Sirloin Stockade, 3114 North National Road, in Columbus, IN.

Lunch begins at 11AM, and I will start yakking at noon.

Ladies are invited, too. If you are in the area, come out. Their High Twelve Club is quite active and is always well attended.

High Twelve is an international association of local clubs made up of Master Masons who meet informally for lunch. The group was founded in 1921 by E. C. Wolcott. To find out more, or to find the contact in your state to see if there is a club that meets near you, see their website at www.high12.org

Masonic Author Kirk MacNulty in Kansas City, MO 10/16

W. Kirk MacNulty 33°, author of "Freemasonry: Symbols, Secrets, Significance", "Freemasonry: A Journey Through Ritual and Symbol," and "The Way of the Craftsmen," will be speaking at the Scottish Rite Temple in Kansas City on Saturday, October 16th.

His talk will be about Masonic symbolism, and is open to all Freemasons.

The lecture will begin at 6:30pm , and attendees are invited to gather at a local restaurant afterwards.

The Kansas City Scottish Rite is located at 1330 East Linwood Blvd Kansas City, MO.

Tickets are $20 in advance and $25 at the door. Please RSVP to Mike Lockwood 816-516-1262

Wednesday, September 08, 2010

Prestonian Lecturer John Wade in Indianapolis This Saturday 9/11

A last minute reminder to brethren in Indiana and surrounding states.

Brother John Wade, the Prestonian Lecturer for 2009 from England, will present his lecture, "‘Go and do thou likewise': English Masonic Processions from the 18th to the 20th Centuries"
this Saturday, September 11, 2010 at the Indianapolis Scottish Rite Cathedral.

Reception at 6PM, Lecture at 7PM, dinner to follow.

To register for dinner and the lecture, see the Grand Lodge website at:

$60 Lecture & Dinner, $25 Lecture Only or $35 Dinner Only

The Lecturer

Brother Dr. John Stephen Wade was born in Edinburgh in 1947, but moved to Leeds when his father was appointed lecturer at the university there. He was educated at High Storrs Grammar School Sheffield and the University of Durham where he read Classics. Following a 20 year career as a Classics teacher in Sheffield, during which time he wrote a thesis on Philip of Macedon for his MA dissertation, he transferred his Classics teaching to Further Education and then on to Higher Education at the University of Sheffield, where he finished his full-time career as Teaching Fellow in Latin and Greek. Having taken an early retirement in 2005, Bro. Wade continues to teach Latin to postgraduate students at the University, to assist in the Centre for Research into Freemasonry and Fraternity in the Humanities Research Institute, and has just successfully completed his doctoral thesis on the Latin writings of the Tudor martyrologist, John Foxe.

Bro. Wade was initiated into Fellowship Lodge No. 4069 in 1981 and exalted into Fellowship Royal Arch Chapter No. 4069 in 1985. He was installed as the Master of Fellowship Lodge in 1991 and was the founding Master of Amadeus Lodge No. 9359 in 1994. He is a Past Provincial Junior Grand Warden in both Yorkshire West Riding and Derbyshire, and a Past Provincial Grand Sojourner in the Royal Arch, as well as a Past Sovereign in the Rose Croix. In the Mark degree Bro. Wade has just been appointed acting Provincial Grand Registrar for the Mark Province of Derbyshire. A Past Sovereign in the Red Cross of Constantine, he is currently a Divisional Steward, as well as being an active member of a number of other orders. From 2003-2005 he was President of the Sheffield Masonic Study Circle. Having been elected a full member of Quatuor Coronati Lodge in 2005, he was appointed Secretary of the Lodge in November 2008

Brother Wade also manages to find time to be a member of lodges in Scotland, Ireland, Italy and the United States and to be the musical director of the Sheffield and District Masonic Choir which he founded in 1991.


Cost Options: $60 Lecture & Dinner, $25 Lecture Only or $35 Dinner Only (electronic option includes $3 processing fee)

Dinner Menu: Hors D’Oeuvre - Imported Cheese wedges with Grapes and Strawberries garnished with Dried Fruits, Marcona Almonds and Imported Crackers

Salad - Caesar Salad with fresh grated Parmesan Cheese

Entree - Boneless Breast of Chicken with Corn and Basil Relish, Herbed Mashed Potatoes,
Fresh Green Beans Amandine with Basil, Thomas’ Homemade Rolls with Butter

Dessert - Assortment of Seasonal Cheesecakes

His Lecture

‘Go and do thou likewise': English Masonic Processions from the 18th to the 20th Centuries.
(The Prestonian Lecture for 2009)

In this paper Brother John Wade looks at Masonic processions, which were a regular occurrence in many parts of England from the first quarter of the eighteenth century to the immediate pre-second world war period in the late 1930s. Very few have occurred in the last seventy-five years. He asks why we have retreated from public space during the last seventy-five years, and whether, perhaps, we have got nervous about the public perception of masons, or whether we are embarrassed about ourselves. The paper surveys public processions of masons over two centuries and examines the association of civic, ecclesiastical and Masonic bodies in public ceremonies of foundation stone laying, the dedication of completed buildings and other occasions for public thanksgiving. Bro. Wade suggests that as we move further into the twenty-first century, we need to be protagonistic about our civility and civil identity. For the man in the street we should be demonstrating that we have a civil association with the community, and that we are not a secret society or private members' club. Bro. Wade suggest that we explore the possibility for a return of some of these public activities. He considers that as far as our public image is concerned, we have lost that civil association that we have had for hundreds of years. Our forefathers among the leaders of both the civic and ecclesiastical authorities appreciated the symbolic importance of the presence of the masons on these major occasions for the community.

The History

The Prestonian Lectureship

William Preston (1742-1818), a very active Freemason at the end of the eighteenth and the beginning of the nineteenth centuries, developed an elaborate system of Masonic instruction, by means of catechetical lectures, which was practiced in association with the Lodge of Antiquity of which he was, at one time, Master.

At his death, he bequeathed to Grand Lodge the sum of £300, the interest from which was to be applied to some well informed Mason to deliver annually a Lecture on the First, Second or Third Degree of the Order of Masonry, according to the system practiced in the Lodge of Antiquity during Preston's Mastership.

With occasional intermissions, lectures on his method were accordingly delivered from 1820 until 1862, when the Lectureship was allowed to lapse. In 1924 it was revived, with certain modifications of the original scheme: the lecturer delivering a paper on a Masonic subject of his own selection.

The Prestonian Lecture is the only lecture held under the authority of the United Grand Lodge of England and, with the exception of the years 1940-46, regular appointments have been made annually since 1924 to the present day.

The Man

William Preston
By Trevor Stewart

William Preston was born in Edinburgh where his father was an attorney. He was well educated there. He came to London in 1760 and worked for one of the King's Printers. He was initiated into Freemasonry in 1763 in a newly constituted Antients' lodge, No. 111.

In the following year its members accepted a warrant (or charter) from the Moderns' Grand Lodge as Caledonian Lodge No. 325, which still exists at No. 134.

Preston was Master of several London lodges and in 1774 he visited the famous old Lodge of Antiquity, now No. 2, and he was immediately elected a joining member and also their Master! He also held an appointment as Deputy Secretary to the Moderns' Grand Lodge and as such he compiled an appendix to the Book of Constitutions in the 1776 edition.

Unfortunately, partly as a result of personal disputes, Preston and several others members of the Lodge of Antiquity fell foul of the Moderns' Grand Lodge when they appeared in public in 1777 wearing their Masonic regalia while returning from a church service. A complaint against them was investigated and in 1778 Preston was expelled after he claimed that the Lodge of Antiquity, since it was a ‘Time Immemorial' lodge that pre-dated the Grand Lodge, was not subject to the rule of the Grand Lodge.

On withdrawing this claim he was reinstated, but the majority of the members of the lodge expelled three members whereupon they were all expelled by the Grand Lodge. An ‘authority' was obtained from a rival Grand Lodge of York to establish yet another Grand Lodge, to be known as the Grand Lodge of England South of the River Trent. After a while Preston became Deputy Grand Master of that new Masonic body. It was never very active and ceased to exist in 1789. After that, all of the members of the old Antiquity Lodge who had been disqualified by the Moderns' Grand Lodge were admitted back into the fold and into the Lodge of Antiquity.

In 1772 Preston had published his book Illustrations of Masonry and it became enormously famous for 100 years, running through no less than seventeen editions. He also wrote his famous catechetical lectures of the three Craft Degrees and, with help from teams of fellow enthusiasts, he delivered them to lodges. He formed the Grand Chapter of Harodim to promote these texts.

He was buried in St Paul's Cathedral and one of his legacies instituted the Prestonian Lectures.

Coming from out of town?
Overnight Accomodations: Omni Severin Hotel, 40 West Jackson Place, Indianapolis, IN 46225. Call 1-800-THE-OMNI using the password Prestonian Lecture for the special rate of $99.

Airlift Lodge No. 838 in Wiesbaden

Brother Clarence "Clay" Anderson on the MasonicLight Yahoo list frequently posts articles he has translated from the European press. Below is a story that appeared in Germany yesterday on the Wiesbadener Tagblatt website about an interesting lodge at work in Germany: Luftbruecke Lodge No. 838 ("Airlift Lodge") in Wiesbaden.

The "Secret" Legacy of the Airlift

September 4, 2010
by Marcel Pauly

Wiesbaden Masonic Lodge has New Officers / Public Ceremony on Sunday

Goethe was one, so was Mozart. Even the first U.S. President, George Washington, was a Freemason. Up to today, the mystical gentlemen pull the strings behind closed doors and direct world events. Or do they?

Thanks to novelists such as Dan Brown, the wildest conspiracy theories have sprung up around the Masonic lodges. Matthias Hartmann has already heard it all, and can laugh about it. He is an honorary member of the English speaking "Luftbruecke [Airlift] Lodge No. 838" in Wiesbaden. "Of course, in reality Freemasonry has nothing conspiratorial. It is a worldwide ethical fraternity of men. Although one must add that there are now a number of lodges of women."

As for the Freemasons, they work on themselves and on becoming better human beings, said Hartmann. "We strive for ideals such as tolerance, freedom and humanity. People come together from different social and cultural backgrounds, to exchange experiences with each other and to discuss the greater and smaller problems in the world. There are also special rituals, in which existential questions of life and death should be experienced. Freemasonry is for us an emotional space," says Hartmann.

All this is done according to established rules in the lodge's Freemason Temple, which is usually not open to the public. The secrecy of the organization has certainly contributed to its air of mystery -- even in Wiesbaden.

The local Luftbruecke Lodge was founded in 1957 by American Freemasons, who participated as pilots and soldiers of the U.S. Air Force during the Berlin Airlift (1948/49). Today the lodge includes more than 200 members worldwide, of whom 30 live in Wiesbaden and meet regularly. Among them there are no longer just Americans and Germans, but also Turks, Frenchmen, British, and many other nationalities. "The more mixed a lodge is, the closer we can come to our ideals," says Hartmann.

Any adult can apply for membership in a Masonic lodge. He will begin as an "Apprentice," in time become a "Fellow," and finally be raised to a "Master." The terms originate, not coincidentally, from the working craftsmen: the tradition of the Freemasons dates back to the stonemasons of the 15th and 16th century, who organized themselves into brotherhoods.

Depending on their status, the Freemasons are allowed to participate in various rituals. For example, while the rituals of the first degree are open to the Apprentices, the rituals of the third degree are reserved for
Masters. "It's like in school. One does not send a first grader to be taught in a fourth grade class, because he lacks the skills for it. Once a Mason has met certain conditions, he can attain a higher degree," explained

The "Master in the Chair" is what the Masons call the chairman of their group. He is elected once a year by the Wiesbaden Luftbruecke Lodge, as happened last Wednesday. The future head of the Lodge will be the Australian Douglas Gardner. On Sunday, September 5, he is being installed into his office with a ceremony. Following the Anglo-Saxon Masonic tradition, Airlift Lodge is opening its Temple to the public.

(Translated by Brother Clay Anderson.)

Luftbruecke Lodge is chartered by the American Canadian Grand Lodge AF&AM, which is a part of the United Grand Lodges of Germany. The ACGL and the UGLofG have a fascinating history. Read more here.

Sunday, September 05, 2010

Pennsylvania's German-language Lodge: Hermann-Humboldt Lodge No. 125

The variety of Freemasonry never ceases to amaze me. I was contacted this evening by W:.B:. Pierre Hans Rausch, the Master of Pennsylvania's Hermann-Humboldt Lodge No. 125. It is one of a rare number of foreign language lodges in the US, performing its rituals in German.

From the lodge history on their website:

It was at first intended that Concordia Lodge, which was constituted in 1795, should be a German Lodge, but being unable to get the necessary authority to conduct the deliberations in German, it became an English speaking Lodge .It took fifteen years of striving before the Right Worshipful Grand Lodge recognized the benefit of granting a charter to a Lodge permitting the use of the German language in its proceedings.

On December 12, 1810 a petition was drawn up by ten members of Concordia Lodge, No. 67, asking permission to withdraw and present a petition to the Grand Lodge in the endeavor to procure a charter to hold a Lodge in the German tongue. Their petition was granted by Concordia Lodge on December 14, 1810. . . The contitution of Hermanns Lodge NO. 125 and the installation of its officers took place at Grand Lodge on Friday ,January 25, 1811.


From 1873 until 2004 the Lodge held its meetings in the Masonic Temple at One North Broad Street In Philadelphia, Pennsylvania. One of its members ,Brother Anthony Bournonville, in 1852 was unanimously elected Grand Master of the Grand Lodge of Pennsylvania- the first ethnic German to occupy this prestigious office!

Hermann, now Hermann-Humboldt Lodge ( merged in 2002 ) has always cherished and honored the sacred heritage of its founders: furtherance of Masonic principles; preservation of the German language in ritualistic work; active Interest in all German endeavors and undertakings and fraternal benevolence! The proceedings continue to be conducted in German and the German language along with English is still spoken at all of its festivities and meetings. It can be justly said that Hermann-Humboldt Lodge ranks among the most important German institutions of this country and earnestly endeavors to carry out the fundamental principles of Freemasonry and make them universally beneficial!

The lodge will celebrate its 200th anniversary on February 12th, 2011 at the Grand Lodge of Pennsylvania.



Bro. Brian Fegely from Philadelphia passed along the message that Hermann Lodge and Humboldt Lodge were merged from two Philadelphia city lodges which worked Pennsylvania ritual in the German language. He also says there is a lodge near Reading that uses Pennsylvania Dutch, a variant of Swabian dialect.

Thanks Brian.