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


Monday, May 31, 2010

Speaking at Logan Lodge #575 in Indianapolis Tuesday 6/1

Tomorrow evening (Tuesday, June 1st), I will have the pleasure of speaking at Major General John A. Logan Lodge No. 575 in Indianapolis at their stated meeting at Indiana Freemasons' Hall, which begins at 6:30PM.

Logan Lodge was chartered in 1888, and is named after Major General John A. Logan, one of the most famous and popular Union Army generals of the Civil War. After the war, Logan became a fierce Republican, an Illinois senator, and presided over the impeachment trial of Andrew Johnson. He was a staunch supporter for the cause of Veterans, and was one of the primary advocates of creating Memorial Day as a national holiday (a day that is important all across America, but especially here in Indianapolis). In fact, in honor of General Logan and Memorial Day, the lodge held a Master Mason degree this morning.

Logan Circle in D.C. is named after John A. Logan, and a beautiful equestrian statue of the general dominates the center of the neighborhood.

Many thanks to W:.B:. Fred Wade for the kind invitation. I am an honorary member of Logan Lodge, and it is always a terrific evening. The lodge will open at 6:30PM on the Entered Apprentice degree. The WM has relaxed the dress code for the evening from their normal Business/Casual, because of the summer heat in the building. Someday, we're going to have air conditioning, just as soon as we can dig up $2.5 million.

Sunday, May 30, 2010

New Book by Brother Philippe Benhamou

My friend, Brother and co-author of the French version of Freemasons For Dummies (Francs-maçons pour les Nuls), Philippe Benhamou just wrote today to say his new book, Histoire de l’Aviation pour les Nuls (History of Aviation for Dummies) has just been published.

He has also written 2007's Les grandes énigmes de la franc-maçonnerie (The Great Enigmas of Freemasonry).

Philippe is an engineer at the Office national d'études et de recherches aérospatiales (ONERA - Office of National Studies and Aerospace Research), the leading French research lab in aerospace and defense technology. He is a member of a lodge in the Grand Lodge of France.

'The Freemasons' Want To Send me a Million Simoleons!

Well, this is just plain amazing. This email came today, and I guess I am the recipient of $1.1 million from the "Freemasons!" Plus, a seat at the Round Table! I just can't wait to send these mysterious benefactors my bank account number!

Dear Beneficiary,

The Freemason society under the jurisdiction of the all Seeing Eye, Master Nicholas Brenner has selected you to be a beneficiary of our 2010 foundation laying grants and also an optional opening at the round table of the Freemason society after series of secret deliberations.

These grants are issued every year around the world in accordance with the objective of the Freemasons as stated by Thomas Paine in 1808 which is to ensure the continuous freedom of man and to enhance mans living conditions.

We will also advice that these funds which amount to USD1.1million be used to better the lot of man through your own initiative and also we will go further to inform that the open slot to become a Freemason is optional, you can decline the offer. Contact the below details for procedures,

Contact Barr. Macolm Spears
Email: mrmacolmspears@---.---
Phone: +60---------

Mrs. Jennifer Anderson
Grand Lodge Office Co-Secretary's.

Saturday, May 29, 2010

Masonic Conflicts in Cuba

The Grand Lodge of Cuba (Gran Logia de Cuba) is regular, and recognized by the majority of mainstream grand lodges around the world. It occupies a curious position, as it is one of the few nations with a Marxist dictatorship where Freemasonry still flourishes. It is said that, during Cuba's revolution, Fidel Castro took refuge in a Masonic lodge, and so has never shut down the fraternity there as other regimes have done. According to the 2010 List of Lodges-Masonic, the tiny island nation today has 316 lodges, with more than 29,000 members.

Freemasonry first appeared in Cuba in 1763, and largely grew from English and Irish military lodges. When the English departed, French Masons arrived, fleeing the Haitian revolution in 1791. The first lodge actually founded in Cuba was the Temple of the Theological Virtues, chartered in 1804 by the Grand Lodge of Louisiana.

Masonry occupies a unique position in Cuban society, where most civic groups are closely allied with, or monitored by, the government. They do not take a confrontational stance with authorities, yet they welcome dissidents as members. Mark Falcoff, a Latin American scholar at the American Enterprise Institute, a conservative think tank in Washington, said in 2003 that the Masons' non-confrontational approach toward authorities has allowed them to survive independently in a system where most civic groups are affiliated with the government.

After the fall of the Soviet Union, Cuba's principal trading partner, the government eased restrictions on Freemasonry, allowing them limited ability to participate in public ceremonies and to charter the first new lodges since 1967. Still, anything more than holding regular meetings requires government permission. And the publishing of Masonic books and even pamphlets is severely restricted. But what makes Freemasonry unique in Cuba is the role it played in the three decade struggle for independence from Spain between 1868 and 1895, with many Cuban revolutionaries like Joseph Marti, Antonia Maceo and "father of the nation" Carlos Manuel de Céspedes. Those national heros and their Masonic affiliation are hard for Communist authorities to sweep under the carpet. The result is Masonry's unusual ability to straddle the line between an oppressive state and freedom.

There is also a Grand Lodge of Cuba In Exile (Gran Logia de Cuba En el Exterior) operating in Miami.

Apparently, there is a new wrinkle in Cuban Freemasonry, concerning visitors from outside of the island. See the article, Crece militancia de masones en Cuba from El Nuevo Herald, a Spanish-language newspaper published in Miami, on May 24th, 2010. Below is a rough translation:

Militancy of Masons in Cuba Grows

May 23, 2010

by Juan O. Tamayo

The upcoming trial by the Masons of Cuba of a former Grand Master has highlighted the perseverance of the 30,000 members of the organization in spite of severe governmental controls on its direction.

Juan Manuel Collera Venta and two other Masons are accused of allowing a Mason initiated in Miami to attend a meeting in a lodge last year, violating a rule establishing that only members initiated in Cuba can visit the lodges of the island.

But the case has been surrounded by rumors that Collera is excessively tied to the government. Also it is said that the government pressured the Masons because he was elected Grand Master in 2000 and later opposed them in another unspecified case in 2005.

It was impossible to locate Collera for comment. But in a letter written a few days after the last accusation against him, filed in April, he described the trial as "morally fraudulent," and insinuated that it was the work of exiles. The direction of the Cuban lodges "was used to maintain a fence between us and the Brother Master Masons of the Lodges in exile," he wrote.

Masonic investigators are interviewing those involved in the case, and the trial is expected to take place in June, said Gustavo Pardo Valdes, president of the Cuban Academy of High Masonic Studies and freelance journalist who has reported on the case.

Several Masons of Miami interviewed for this story declined to comment on Collera, but repeatedly complained that the Cuban government put strong pressure on the Masonic leaders so they would follow the official line.

"All the Lodges are infiltrated, and whenever they have a meeting, the next day the government already knows what was discussed," said Manuel Olmedo, President of the Federation of Cuban Masons in Exile, Cuba First.

Nevertheless, and surprisingly, Masonry has survived in Cuba, despite an effort by pro-Castro members in 1959 to dissolve the group, alleging that the revolution had eliminated the necessity for such groups.

At present, Cuban Masons say that they have 30,000 members in 316 lodges. That is less than the 34,000 members and 340 lodges in 1958, but more than the 19,690 members in 1981.

In addition they control about 220 temples, Pardo said, although the government has confiscated five or six and all but three of the eleven floors of the Grand Lodge in central Havana.

More than a third of the members and lodges are in Havana, and some members also belong to the Communist Party of Cuba, according to a recent study by Jorge Luis Romeu, a Mason born in Cuban and a Professor of Statistics at the University of Syracuse, in New York.

Although the rules of the organization prohibit partisan political activities, 13 of the 75 dissidents jailed in the repression of 2003 known as the Black Spring are Masons, said Pardo by telephone from Havana.

Masonry is legal in Cuba, but is strictly controlled by the Office of Religious Affairs of the Central Committee of the Communist Party of Cuba, which has long been led by Caridad Diego.

The government, for example, requires that the lodges cancel the membership of Masons who emigrate, as well as reporting the activities of their lodges in detail, and that they obtain prior approval for any nonroutine activity, Olmedo said.

Pardo Valdes, former political prisoner and 33 degree Mason, said that in 2007 Diego blocked his efforts to be elected president of a high position, the Supreme Council, because of his political activism.

The donations of Masons from abroad usually pass through the Cuban Institute of Friendship with the Peoples, led by the government, which takes some of the money, added Olmedo. But another part comes to Cuban Masons directly for their charitable programs and conferences on subjects like the economy, history and literature.

The Llanso Masonic Home in Havana shelters about 90 elderly patients, including some who are not Masons, and the Cuban lodges maintain a blog, the Beehive. Last year it was necessary to close the web site of the Grand Lodge in Havana for want of funds.

Masonry was established in Cuba 150 years ago and gained political influence when many of its leading members, including the leader for independence Jose Marti, fought against the Spanish rule.

In Cuba there is also active the Sociedad de Antiguos Honorables Compañeros Distintos - called the Odd Fellows in English - with about 25,000 or 30,000 members, and the Knights of the Light, a group developed in the island, according to Pardo Valdes.

Indiana PGM Chuck Marlowe's Lady Marilyn Passes

For those of you who know R:.W:. Charles Marlowe, the immediate Past Grand Master of Indiana, this sad news came this morning from W:.B:. Bill Sassman:

Friends and Brothers,

It is with a heavy heart that I must inform you of the passing of Marilyn Marlowe early this morning. She left this world surrounded by her loving husband of 40 years and family at her bedside.

Chuck has asked for no phone calls for the time being, but cards and emails would be welcomed.

Arrangements are pending and will be announced as soon as they are final.
Geisen Funeral Home in Crown Point, Indiana will be in charge of arrangements


Please keep Chuck and his family in your prayers.

Bill Sassman

NOTE: Please contact me backchannel at hodapp @ aol.com if you need Chuck's email or address.



Arrangements for Marilyn Marlowe have been made.

Geisen Funeral Home, 606 E. 113th Ave., Crown Point, IN 46307

Saturday, June 5 2-6 PM Visitation

Sunday, June 6 11AM-1 PM Visitation, 1:00 service with George and Sandy Weister officiating.

Donations in Marilyn's memory may be made to the Indiana Masonic Home Assisted Living Facility.

If anyone wishes to send flowers, the family has been using Debbie's Designs in Crown Point (219) 662-1101.

Thursday, May 27, 2010

Speaking at the GL of North Dakota in Grand Forks 6/11-12

I'll be traveling directly from the Grand Lodge of Vermont to speak at the Grand Lodge of North Dakota's 121st Annual Communication, at the Alerus Center in Grand Forks.

On Friday, June 11th , I'll speak at the North Dakota Masonic College between 3 and 4 PM, and attending M:.W:. Grand Master Michael Bakken's banquet that evening.

Before all of that is the Grand Master’s Day in Mayville, ND, on Thursday, June 10th. The day starts with a golf scramble at the Mayville Golf Course located between Mayville and Portland on the North side of Highway 200. Then at 6pm there will be a Masonic/Shrine Parade through downtown Mayville. Lineup for the parade will take place on the campus of Mayville State University at 5:00 p.m. This will be a terrific opportunity for the Masons of North Dakota to show their Masonic/Shrine pride, and the Grand Master is suggesting brethren bring their your lodge banners. The day will end back at the golf course with a cook out.

Looking forward to good times in North Dakota!

Filipino Freemason Denied Catholic Burial

Unfortunately, the struggle between mainstream Freemasonry and Roman Catholicism goes on. It is based upon a fundamental misunderstanding about what Freemasonry is and is not. But sadly, the fallout sometimes reaches out and slaps unsuspecting family members in the face in their toughest hour of grief.

On May 19th, a former governor of Quezon province in the Philippines, Rafael "Raffy" Puchero Nantes, was killed with five others, when the helicopter they were traveling in developed rotor problems and crashed into a neighborhood in Lucena City.

Nantes was buried on May 22 in a private cemetery in Lucban town, Quezon. He was denied a Catholic burial service by Filipino Bishop Emilio Marquez because, according to newspaper accounts, he was a "born-again Christian and a Mason who did not repent."

From CathNewsAsia.com "Freemason politician denied Catholic burial" on May 25th:

Bishop Marquez said Nantes’ sister, a Catholic, asked him to reconsider his decision, but accepted it after he explained Church law.

“I explained to her that canon 1184 applies to his being a known born-again Christian, and the Philippine bishops’ protocol on Masonry, which does not allow for a Church burial,” Bishop Marquez said.

The Catholic Bishops’ Conference of the Philippines on March 14, 1990, declared Church funeral rites will be denied to any Catholic who belonged to any Masonic association, unless there was some sign of repentance before death.

According to the CBCPWorld website:

The CBCP (Catholic Bishops Conference on the Philippines) on March 14, 1990 issued its own guidelines in pursuance of the above directive. "Any Catholic who is publicly known as Mason, i.e. whose membership in any Masonic association can be proven in the external forum:

(a) may not receive Holy Communion

(b) may not be allowed to act as sponsor in Baptism, Confirmation, and weddings;

(c) may not be admitted as members of religious organizations;

(d) Church funeral rites may be denied unless some signs of repentance before death has been shown;

(e) where Church funeral rites were allowed by the Ordinary, no Masonic services shall be allowed in the church or cemetery immediately before or after the Church rites in order to avoid any public scandal."

Yet, the November 1983 Declaration on Masonic Associations (Quaesitum est), while maintaining that it is "forbidden" for Roman Catholics to become Freemasons, merely says, "The faithful, who enroll in Masonic associations are in a state of grave sin and may not receive Holy Communion." Baptism, Confirmation, weddings and funerals are not mentioned. It seems the Filipino bishops are making up their own rules. Quaesitum est was issued by the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith, the modern-day office of the Inquisition, and penned by then-prefect of the congregation, Joseph Cardinal Ratzinger, who became Pope Benedict XVI in 2005.

The 1917 code of Canon Law forbade Catholics, under the penalty of excommunication, to enroll in Masonic or other similar associations.

Can 2335: Affiliation With Masonic or Similar Societies. Those who join a Masonic sect or other societies of the same sort, which plot against the Church or against legitimate civil authority, incur ipso facto an excommunication simply reserved to the Holy See.

The 1983 Code of Canon Law superseded the 1917 Code, but when it was passed, the specific mention of Freemasonry was eliminated, instead referring to organizations that "plot against the Church."

Can. 1374. A person who joins an association which plots against the Church is to be punished with a just penalty; one who promotes or takes office in such an association is to be punished with an interdict.

Modern, mainstream English-derived Freemasonry in the US, Canada, the UK, Australia, and elsewhere does not plot against the Church. While there have been vocal anti-Catholic Masons who have railed against the Church, there is no anti-Catholic plotting by any US Grand Lodge. The Scottish Rite Southern Jurisdiction went through an unfortunate period when its leadership took regular swipes at the Church in print, largely over the issue of public versus private elementary schools. But that has not taken place since the early 1960s. The irregular Grande Oriente de France takes public stances on the Church with great frequency. But regular, recognized Freemasonry the world over does not. A Mason's religious beliefs are his own.

Meanwhile, Brother Nantes' brethren mourn his untimely loss and extend comfort and prayers to his family.

For a reasoned article exploring both sides of the story, see Clash of the dogmas by Johanna D. Poblete in BusinessWorld Weekender.

Speaking at Grand Lodge of Vermont June 9th

I'll have the honor of speaking at the Grand Lodge of Vermont on Wednesday, June 9th at the Killington Grand Summit Resort Hotel. Many, many thanks to M:.W:. Grand Master Thomas Johnston, IV for his kind invitation, and to R:.W:. Grand Secretary Cedric L. Smith for his hard work at figuring out how to get me in and out of Killington and accommodating my tight schedule. I do appreciate it.

I am very much looking forward to visiting Vermont for the first time, and to seeing brethren there!

Wednesday, May 26, 2010

Why HUGE Type?

After I added a link to mofuse.mobi for mobile phone users to the blog over a week ago, Windows Internet Explorer users have been reporting the page is displaying HUGE type. I am trying to find the reason and am aware of the problem. I am blaming Microsoft. Smart, virtuous users of Apple's Mac OSX/Safari, or Firefox don't seem to have these problems.

UPDATE: It turned out to be a dropped quotation mark and a stray h1 in the header.Thanks to Brother Chris Boettcher for spotting it.

Carthage, Missouri Masons Donate 2 Tons of Food

From a story at CathagePress.com today, "Masonic Lodge donates two tons of food to local pantries" by Charlie Slenker:

Eleven Masonic Lodges converged in Granby, Mo. to split up 45,000 pounds of frozen corn and broccoli that was donated by an anonymous national vendor — food they knew their communities could put to good use.
Jones said the members of the lodges came with trailers to load, and set to work helping one another. The food was divvied up based on town size and need.

“Everybody was helping everybody else,” Jones said. “We helped this lodge. We helped them. They helped us. We all helped each other load individual trailers, trucks and things like that.”

The Carthage Masonic Lodge came away with just over 4,000 pounds of food.

The question was where should it all go? Brian Bisbee, director of the Carthage Crisis Center, had the answer. The Crisis Center is one of the largest food donation operations in Carthage.

Bisbee knew where the food was needed most.

When Jones and his fellow masons got back to town that day, they found a number of entities waiting. Bisbee had contacted a number of area food pantries with empty refrigerators who were ecstatic for a chance to replenish their stock.

Again the masons lent a helping hand and worked until the food was passed out to entities like Crosslines and various church food pantries that help the needy.

“It’s very, very heartwarming in terms of the effort of these guys,” Bisbee said. “These guys got up early and were off on the road at 7 a.m. in the morning to go down to Granby and pick this food up.”

It’s that type of generosity that allows the Crisis Center to continue to provide the services it does.

Well done, brethren.

Last Chance: Masonic Society Symposium in London This Weekend

To celebrate the 350th anniversary of the Royal Society in 2010, The Masonic Society, in conjunction with Library and Museum of Freemasonry, will hold their 1st Annual Uk –Ireland Symposium in London on Friday and Saturday May 28th and 29th. If you are in the U.K., don't miss this event!

This first Masonic Society Symposium being held in England has as its theme ‘The Royal Society.’ Friday attendees will have a private guided tour of the London Freemason Hall Library and Museum's exhibition ‘Freemasons and the Royal Society’ (meet in the first floor lounge Freemasons Hall 4:00pm). This will be the last date of the exhibition , so don't miss it! The evening will end with an informal dinner and drinks at the popular Prince of Wales tavern on the corner of Great Queen Street.

Saturday, the symposium will move to the Kensal Community Centre (177 Kensal Road London W10 5BJ) where our talks for the day will be presented, and each session followed by questions and answers. The day will feature historians Michael Baigent (The Holy Blood and the Holy Grail, The Dead Sea Scrolls Deception ), and Robert L D Cooper (The Masonic Magician: The Life and Death of Count Cagliostro and His Egyptian Rite , The Rosslyn Hoax. Michael will will present ‘Aspects of the Royal Society’, and Robert will speak on ‘A Scottish View of the Foundation of the Royal Society’.

Delegates will be invited to a complimentary lunch. The total registration cost for the Saturday event is £ 10.00 inclusive of lunch. The organising committee consists of Yasha Beresiner (Chairman) David Naughton-Shires (Secretary) and Martyn Greene (Treasurer)

While reservations have closed, there is still time to take part. Contact brother David Naughton-Shires at 00 353 86 3951402 to book a place or join us for the tour and dinner even if you can't make the symposium.

Freemasonry in Buenos Aires

The May 26, 2010 Buenos Aires Herald has a lengthy article about the growth of Freemasonry there, predating the founding of the nation of Argentina.

From Freemasonry in Buenos Aires by Ian Thum:

Freemasonry in Buenos Aires was started with the consecration of a “Logia Independencia” in 1795 consisting of young intellectuals mostly with higher European degrees. Some of the most prominent members were Juan José Castelli, his cousin Manuel Belgrano, Juan José Paso, Feliciano Chiclana, Matías Irigoyen, Nicolás Rodríguez Peña, Hipólito Vieytes, Juan Larrea, Domingo Matheu and Antonio Luis Berutti.

Going forward in time and leading up to May 25, in 1808 Don José de San Martín joined his first lodge, the “Logia Integridad” in Cadiz, where the Worshipful Master of the lodge was General Francisco Solano, Captain General of Andalucia. It was at this time that San Martin, who was only a junior Mason at the time, met Lord Mac Duff, a noble Scotsman, who was plotting the liberation of South America.

San Martín travelled to England where he was put into contact with Alvear, Zapiola, Berro and Guido who formed part of the Lodge Lautaro created by Francisco de Miranda, who along with Bolívar, were already fighting in Venezuela for its liberation.

On March 9, 1812 San Martín arrived in Buenos Aires on board the Royal Navy Frigate George Canning direct from London, accompanied by a group of high ranking military personnel such as Chilavert, Zapiola, Carlos de Alvear, Arellano and Baron Olambert.

It is interesting to note that the First Triumvirate in 1811, the Second in 1812, the Declaration of Independence in Tucumán in 1816, the Constituent Assembly in 1853 and the Assembly of 1860 were mostly formed by Masons.

By this time there had already been a large immigration from the British Isles and Europe in general and it was on 10 June 1853 in Buenos Aires, that the first English Lodge working under English rule was consecrated. This was “Excelsior Lodge” under the Mastership of Samuel Hesse.

To this day, Excelsior Lodge No. 617 continues to meet regularly in Buenos Aires.

On 5 December 1861 and thanks to the intervention of Excelsior Lodge a Treaty was signed between the United Grand Lodge of England and the Grand Orient of the Argentine Republic whereby the United Grand Lodge of England recognises and acknowledges the Sovereignty and Independence of the Grand Orient of the Argentine Republic [sic] as a true Masonic Power located in Buenos Aires.

In 1861 Silver River Lodge No. 876 in Montevideo opened, in 1864 Star of the South Lodge No. 1025 and in 1872 Lodge of Harmony No. 1411 in Valparaíso followed, all three lodges are operative to this day.

Shortly after about 27 other English lodges were consecrated and started to operate in Buenos Aires, Rosario, Mendoza, Tucumán, Córdoba, Bahía Blanca, Campana, Quilmes, Villa Devoto, Hurlingham, Lomas de Zamora and Tigre.

English Masonry continues to this day working in Montevideo, Valparaíso, Buenos Aires, Córdoba city, Lomas de Zamora and Tigre, all under the District Grand Lodge of South America, Southern Division. This District covers Uruguay, Argentina and Chile.

The Grand Lodge of Argentina is headquartered in Buenos Aires at Perón 1242.

(Photo from Afterlife blog)

Asheville, NC Masonic Temple

An article at MountainXpress features the Masonic temple in downtown Asheville, North Carolina. See "Inside Asheville’s Masonic Temple" by Aiyanna Sezak-Blatt:

Ron Lambe, events committee chair and a 5-year Mason with the Asheville Temple, led an informal tour of the historic building, which was designed by Mason and renowned architect Richard Sharp Smith in 1913. The temple opened in 1915 and became headquarters for various branches of the Masonic order. During the tour, Lambe noted that the temple, historically, was more involved in supporting the greater Asheville community: During the Spanish Influenza epidemic in 1918 the temple functioned as a hospital and emergency ward, and in the 1950s the building was designated as a public bomb shelter. In recent years, however, the stately building has been closed for all public use.


Seating 270 people, the auditorium is located on the third floor of the building, with a horseshoe-shaped balcony overlooking the stage from the fourth floor. This section of the Temple was occupied by the Scottish Rite, and the auditorium was once referred to as the Scottish Rite Cathedral. Painted landscapes and backdrops are stacked in the eaves of the cathedral, hung in the fly loft above the stage. These elaborate paintings, which are being stored for future use, were once used for Masonic lessons, Lambe says, where biblical stories and teachings were dramatically enacted for educational purposes.

Keystone Mark Master’s Lodge No. 0 Constituted in Utah

Outside of the U.S., the concept of Mark Master's lodges are not uncommon, but they are largely unknown here. When the Antients and Moderns united in England in 1813, the Articles of Union made the curious (and mathematically bizarre) statement that "pure ancient Masonry consists of three degrees, and no more, viz: those of the Entered Apprentice, the Fellow Craft, and the Master Mason, including the Supreme Order of the Holy Royal Arch." The Mark degree is believed to have been composed of deleted or extracted ritual elements from the Fellow Craft and Master Mason degrees.

While Mark Master's lodges do not commonly appear in the US, that is now changing in Utah. Keystone Mark Master’s Lodge No. 0 is the first independent Mark Masons Lodge chartered under the jurisdiction of the Grand Chapter Royal Arch Masons of Utah, to promote the Royal Arch of the York Rite and create interest beyond the Blue Lodge through the lessons of Mark Masonry.

From the Ars Latomorum blog:

Keystone Mark Master’s Lodge No. 0 Constituted

Under the auspices of the Grand Chapter of Royal Arch Masons of Utah, Most Excellent Grand High Priest, Companion Bill Butterfield, constituted Keystone Mark Master’s Lodge No. 0, and installed the charter officers, for the purposes of advancing Mark Master Masonry, and the York Rite. All Master Masons of Symbolic Lodges hailing from, or in amity with, the Most Worshipful Grand Lodge of Free & Accepted Masons of Utah, are welcome to petition to receive the Mark Master’s Degree. All those who received their Mark Master Degree, from Utah Chapter No. 1 of Royal Arch Masons, or are Royal Arch Masons, are welcome to affiliate. Charter Membership petitions must be received by June 18, 2010.

Those interested take due notice, and govern yourself accordingly. For more information, please feel free to contact mailto:jmitchell@arslatomorum.com.

Tuesday, May 25, 2010

Masonic Society: New Orleans Sept. 24-25, 2010

The registration page for The Masonic Society's 2010 Semiannual Meeting is now live and you can get all the hotel and event registration info there. We will be in New Orleans' French Quarter, on Bourbon Street. The theme of this meeting is "Our Service to Masonry."

Click here.

You can register for the banquet and you will also find a link where you can reserve your room at the New Orleans Royal Sonesta Hotel. Or phone your reservation in at 504-586-0300 and use the group code "MASONIC". Make your reservations early, as we have a limited block of rooms, and there is a Saints game that weekend.

Don't miss this fantastic event!

Massachusetts' Corinthian Lodge Uncovers Rare Jewels

The brethren of Corinthian Lodge AF&AM in Concord, Massachusetts, may have uncovered real treasure in their archives. An article by WCVB-TV Channel 5 in Boston, "Mystery Mason 'Jewels' Made By Revere?" with photos by Cheryl Lecesse, describes a set of 18th century officer's jewels, possibly made by Paul Revere:

"We're excited. Proud. It links us again to the heritage that the lodge has," said Douglas Ellis, the senior deacon at the Corinthian Lodge in Concord, who said that about a year ago two members were doing some cleaning at the lodge and stumbled on a bag of antique-looking "jewels," the decorative medals Masons wear for ceremonial occasions.

"They thought they were just old regalia that had been tossed aside," said Ellis. "They were in a box up in a store room and we were like, 'Oh my. Look what we have here.'"

Suspecting that the jewels might be pretty valuable, last month they asked a visiting Mason from Spain who is something of a silver expert what he thought of the cache. He confirmed their hunch that the jewels very well may have been created by Paul Revere himself.

"We have the documentation that puts them at the date, 1797," said Ellis, referring to the year the Concord lodge was chartered, which was the same year Revere served as Grand Master.

It was also the same year that a set of jewels was donated to the Concord Lodge by its first Lodge Master, Dr. Isaac Hurd, who was initiated as a Freemason by none other than Revere, back in 1777.

"You know there was a very close tie between these two men," Ellis said, although he admits that it has been tough to say for sure that the jewels were made by Revere.

Subsequent examinations of the jewels made at the National Heritage Museum in Lexington and by the curator of the Revere silver collection at Boston's Museum Of Fine Arts show many similarities between the Concord lodge jewels and others known to have been made by Revere, but "there are also a lot of things that do not fit," said Ellis.

"There's a lot of mystery that's still out there," he said. "Although it's not conclusive, all the signs point in that direction."

Read the history of Corinthian Lodge here.

A local TV story about the jewels
can be seen here.

SOLOMON'S BUILDERS: FREEMASONS, FOUNDING FATHERS AND THE SECRETS OF WASHINGTON, D.C. deserves repeated and ongoing mention as an excellent survey of Freemason influences on United States history.
Midwest Book Review

Hodapp's work is the first well written account of the philosophical thinking that led to the formation of a common man's democracy. This is the reference book that teachers need to read and public schools use in their American History classes.
Karl Grube, Ph.D.
Bonisteel Masonic Library, Ann Arbor, MI

Indeed, this is one of the better books that I have seen that credits Freemasonry where credit is due, while debunking many of the more common claims made by both Freemasons who wish to see Freemasonry's positive influence everywhere, and by our enemies who use it to reveal Freemasonry's insidious attempt at world domination.
Thomas W. Jackson
The Northern Light Magazine

What distinguishes SOLOMON’S BUILDERS from the good and bad, malicious and benevolent, is its honesty, humor and clarity . . . With books such as SOLOMON’S BUILDERS some day the astrological signs, mystical cross-streets and conspiracy mumbo-jumbo of Washington, D.C. will be in its proper place – among the astrology predictions, crosswords and Junior Jumble of the funny pages.
Mark A. Tabbert
Author, American Freemasons: Three Centuries of Building Communities

In SOLOMON’S BUILDERS, Hodapp brings us something a little different; an academically written book on the early days of American Freemasonry without the pretentious trappings of most scholarly treatments on the subject. The book is meaty without being overwhelming and yet contains sufficient end notes to back the claims and research that has gone into the project. But perhaps the greatest thing the book accomplishes is that it separates fact from fiction and will hopefully dispel some long held notions about the Founding Fathers, masonic symbols and the ever present eye in the pyramid on the dollar bill; many myths, which are willfully accepted by members of the fraternity.
Stephen Dafoe
Author, Nobly Born

10th California Masonic Symposium June 5, 2010

The 10th Annual California Masonic Symposium is fast approaching on June 5, 2010!

The California Masonic Symposium encourages scholasticism in Freemasonry by providing a platform for the foremost historians and scholars who recognize the distinct impact the Craft has had upon societies internationally, particularly the Americas.

This year's symposium will present a portrait of Masonry around the time of the American Revolution - including how Masonry influenced American military leaders, why it was criticized by Thomas Jefferson, and how the fraternal experience changed after the war. Presenters will address questions such as:

• How did military lodges unite America's elites?
Henry Wilson Coil Lecturer Dr. Steven C. Bullock, professor of United States history at Worcester Polytechnic Institute and author of "Revolutionary Brotherhood: Freemasonry and the Transformation of the American Social Order, 1730- 1840"

• Why did Jefferson argue that Masonry was incompatible with a healthy democracy?
Matthew Crow, graduate student in American history at the University of California, Los Angeles and codeveloper of UCLA course "Freemasonry, Civil Society, and American Democracy"

• How did England's loss in the American Revolution change the Masonic experience abroad?
Dr. Jessica L. Harland-Jacobs, associate professor at the University of Florida and author of "How did military lodges change after the American Revolution?"

• The Symposium will conclude with a panel discussion on Masonry, military, and the emergence of American democracy.

Panel discussion to follow.

Date: June 5, 2010, 9 a.m. – 3 p.m.
Location: San Francisco Scottish Rite Center
2850 19th Avenue San Francisco, CA 94132-1602

Symposium Fee: Registration is free.

Complimentary parking is available in the Center’s garage. Event open to the public. Meals are not included. Optional Lunch will be available for $15 per person with advanced purchase.

Please register at http://www.freemason.org/document/10th%20Annual%20Symposium.pdf?documentId=1985

For questions, please contact Kim Hegg, Program Coordinator, at 415-292-9111 or khegg@freemason.org

Monday, May 24, 2010

Mumbai, India Freemasons' Hall

Freemasons' Hall in Mumbai (formerly Bombay), India is featured in today's Mumbai Mirror, as part of the article STEP INTO THE CITYS POCKETS: Five little-known hideaways where the relentless scramble of Mumbai suddenly comes to pause

The history of Freemasonry in India is a fascinating story. Just 12 years after the formation of the Grand Lodge of England, a petition was sent by English brethren in India to form a Provincial Grand Lodge in Calcutta, which was granted in 1728. The first Indian Mason was Omdat-ul-Omrah, Nawab Carnatic initiated in 1775.

The Grand Lodges of England, Scotland and Ireland all chartered lodges in India over the next two centuries. When the British colonial period came to an end, an independent Grand Lodge of India AF&AM was formed by 145 of the 277 lodges at work in the country, by mutual agreement with all of the GLs. The Grand Lodge of India was officially constituted on the 24th November 1961 in the Ashoka Hotel, New Delhi.

Saturday, May 22, 2010

140 Years of Templar Imagery - St. Bernard Commandery No. 35

Masonic Knights Templar should take a look at the literally hundreds of photographs from 1870 onward on Chicago's St. Bernard Commandery No. 35 website. It is an incredible record of images from competitions, triennials, and Templar memorabilia spanning 140 years.

Cleveland Prince Hall Temple Destroyed by Fire

A century old Prince Hall Masonic Temple in Cleveland was destroyed by fire on Wednesday. Originally built for the Knights of Pythias in 1907, it was purchased in 1912 by the B'nai B'rith. Cleveland's Prince Hall Masons bought the building in 1954. They had moved out six years ago, but were attempting to raise money to restore the city landmark at 1624 East 55th Street.

W:.B:. William Walker of Cleveland, Worshipful Master of Ecclesiastes Lodge No. 120 PHA, said paperwork, paintings, personal information, historic artifacts and furniture were stored in the building and are now lost.

Ecclesiastes Lodge No. 120 was formed in 1961 by 31 members from a non-Price Hall Masonic Lodge named Jonathan Lodge No. 69, International Free and Accepted Masons. When the 55th Street temple was vacated, they moved to Shaffer Memorial United Methodist Church on Miles Avenue.

Before the fire.

From a May 20th Cleveland Plain Dealer article by Ellen Kleinerman:

"My heart was broken when I heard the news," said George Trumbo, a retired Cleveland municipal court judge, a member since the '40s.

"I felt dismayed," said Melvin Russell, deputy grand lecturer of the seventh Masonic District. He was in a meeting when he heard of the fire.

Prince Hall Masons had gathered in the building, deemed a Cleveland landmark in 1995, for more than 50 years.

Russell said Masons moved their meetings to another location about six years ago after the building was deemed unsafe.
According to city records, a section of the roof and wall in the rear of the property were collapsing in 2006.

Russell said the group was in the midst of deciding whether to repair or replace the structure.

"The historical significance was a major factor in our discussions," Russell said. The building contained lots of internal architecture unique to fraternal organizations, he said, but restoration can be costly.

The building was used more recently to store documents, historic artifacts and paintings, Russell said. Some portraits dated to the early 1900s when the building was owned by other fraternal groups, he said.

Police investigators have ruled the cause of the blaze as arson. Demolition began Thursday.
Photos from the Cleveland Plain Dealer.

Friday, May 21, 2010

Please Think Less of Me

There's nothing duller than talking about personal health ailments. Forgive me if you have been following my weight loss exploits on Facebook and have heard most of this before, but lots of people asked about it at Grand Lodge this week. So I'll repeat it all here. Then I'll shut up about it.

Yep, 275 pounds. I didn't get this way by playin'.
Or by moving, for that matter.

The truth is, I'm a short little squirt.

Doesn't bother me, really. I grew up with a "little" brother who wound up at 6'10", so I never festered with a Napoleon complex. And for the first half of my life, I wasn't a butterball. But over the last decade or so, my weight has ballooned. Much of it has to do with going from film production work to sitting in front of a computer all day and night, and eating literally all of the wrong things, in industrial portions. (They pack Pringles in a can, so you can drink them.) Until now, it has been far easier to answer a doctor's demand that I get in shape with quips like, "Round is a shape. Yuk, yuk, yuk," than to actually do something about it.

The result is that I swelled up like a tick on a coonhound, to well more than twice the size I should be, and along with that have come all the usual suspects: high blood pressure, congestive heart, diabetes, swollen cankles like Hillary Clinton's, the inability to see my own feet, and invitations to play the "Underdog" balloon in the Macy's Thanksgiving Parade. After several years of dieting and losing the same 25 pounds, only to watch them come piling back on again with 10 of their friends like a bunch of sugared-up third graders at a Chinese smorgasbord, I decided to take a different approach.

Besides, I was tired of being followed by 8 guys in a rowboat armed with harpoons.

On May 6th, I went in to the hospital for lap band surgery. Lap band is a kind of bariatric surgery that does NOT have anything to do with stapling your stomach or rearranging your internal plumbing. It is a laparoscopic procedure that wraps a plastic ring, sort of like a wide wire wrap, around the top portion of your stomach to make it look like the first twist in a party balloon poodle sculpture, creating a restriction that only allows about 4 ounces of room at the top to fill up. Sort of like a gastric version of an LA cop chokehold.

The simplified cartoon version of the lap band in place.

As you digest, your lunch will make it through the restriction eventually, but the general effect is that your stomach simply won't be large enough anymore to contain three helpings of lasagna, a canned ham, cheese fries, a birthday cake and a six-pack of Bud Light. The ring itself has an expandable inner sleeve that can be adjusted larger or smaller through a sort of tire valve stem hidden under your skin. So if you are losing weight too fast, it can be opened up, and if you are not losing enough, it can be tightened.

My starting weight was 275. Yes, thanks very much, I worked very hard to get there. My goal is back to where I should be, at 140, or about half the man I am. Metaphorically, I mean. Realistically, I should expect 100 pounds off in a year. Once my system gets used to the band being in place and everything heals properly, I can eat most things, as long as I realize my new stomach capacity is 4 oz. for the rest of my life. That's one half cup. Which means I'll be taking home lots of to-go boxes and acting like a crazy old man bitching that the portions are always too big. And no more of the ubiquitous Diet Dr. Pepper cans most of you are used to seeing me with - carbonated drinks make your stomach inflate, dontcha know.

As a means of comparison, my friend and Masonic brother Michael D. Virgin recently had the more radical gastric bypass surgery on March 11th, and is already down about 73 pounds. Michael is taller than I am and started out at 495 pounds, so our situations are considerably different. He is chronicling his progress at www.confessionsofasoontobeformerfatty.com

Lap band, by contrast, is a simpler procedure, requiring five small incisions, that does not radically alter your digestive system. As a result, it provides slower weight loss than gastric bypass surgery does. But its incidence of complications and death is much smaller than gastric bypass—frankly, statistically insignificant on a worldwide scale. It is also considerably less expensive. You go home the next day, and recovery is much faster. Gastric bypass surgery can make you lose weight TOO fast, which can cause other problems. But because the lap band is adjustable, if you develop problems because of rapid weight loss, it can be deflated, and the loss can be slowed. And it can, if absolutely necessary, be completely removed.

In any case, bear with me over the next few months as I adapt to this new lifestyle. There may be some crankiness involved. Step one was a liquid diet for two weeks on both sides of the surgery. I stepped up to "mushy food" for the last five days (anything that could be poured out of a blender without the use of a spatula), and now progress to "soft food" (anything that can be cut with a plastic fork). Hormel chili and their roast beef hash are haute cuisine this week. As of today, I'm down 33 pounds.

My first post op appointment was today, and I was informed that I need to faithfully eat no more than 4 ounces at a sitting, from now on. Once the doctor starts filling the band insert, the opening will be not much larger than a pencil eraser. Puking on complete strangers is no fun - it's like being at a Phillies game. Occasionally, I want a Ritz cracker so badly, I would gladly mug a third world grocer for it. But most of the food cravings ended a month ago when I started on the liquid diet. I carefully explained that my life currently consists of driving for days on end and speaking at beef and chicken banquets. It was carefully explained back that, while the surgeon said I should be able to eventually eat steak again, he is not the person who gets the crying 3 AM phone calls that a piece of steak was stuck in the band, unable to go down or come up for four days.

The big lessons today were: don't get cocky that I have been able to swallow things easily this week, because that will soon come to an end; chew everything until it is pulverized before swallowing; and that a four ounce plate of roast beef hash should take 25 minutes to eat.

My surgeon was Dr. Keith McEwen at Riverview Hospital in Noblesville, and he has done more of these procedures than anyone in the state of Indiana. If you are interested in the procedure, info can be found here: http://www.lapband.com/

My father just turned 92. If I don't change the way I'm living, I won't have a chance at getting even close to that. If I lose the kind of weight I need to, the fist full of pills, the five shots of insulin every day, the sleep apnea, the aches and pains, will likely go away. Lap band, or for that matter any kind of bariatric surgery, is not some magic wand that effortlessly cures all ills. It's a tool that forces you to do what your brain and lack of will power won't. If you want to be a total schlub, you can go through all of this, and then ignore being full, start jamming down the food again, stretching it all back out, and gain it back. I have no illusions about what it can and cannot do.

This is a long way of explaining why I'll be regularly picking at my Masonic dinners and turning down free beer from now on. I will endeavor to not become that annoying zealot who lectures about health, diet and exercise. I won't bore you with the blow-by-blow, but will report on occasion for those interested in this procedure.

The first guy who says, "It's not a diet, it's a live-it" gets a punch in the nose.

Thursday, May 20, 2010

Masonic Society Semi-Annual Meeting in New Orleans 9/24-25

The Masonic Society's 2010 semiannual meeting will be held at the Royal Sonesta Hotel in New Orleans on Friday September 24th and Saturday the 25th. The hotel is located at 300 Bourbon Street right in the heart of the French Quarter with entertainment all around. Nathan will soon be putting up a link to a page where you can reserve your rooms and banquet tickets, so please grab your spot early. The rooms will be $159.00 per night (+ tax) for Friday and Saturday nights. For anyone who wants to come in early or stay a bit late, the room rate will be $109.00 for Thursday or Sunday nights. There will be a Saints home game that weekend so reserve early. Tickets for the banquet and all other events will be $65.00 and it will be a true blow-out. A full list of events will be posted shortly, but be prepared to have one great time!

Many more details coming soon! Keep watching the Masonic Society page for registration.

Statewide Texas Scottish Rite Convocation July 31-Aug 1

Texas brethren, mark your calendars for the 2010 State-Wide Philip Crosby Tucker Legacy Scottish Rite Convocation!

The Scottish Rite Orient of Texas (All nine Valleys — 9! Count 'em 9!— including 3 of the 5 largest in the U.S. - Dallas, Houston and Fort Worth) will be having its first ever statewide Biennial Convocation at the Scottish Rite Library & Museum in Waco on July 31-August 1.

This promises to be an outstanding event! There will be degrees, break-out sessions, a banquet and more.

The website for the event (still being constructed) is at www.texasscottishrite.org

(Thanks to Brother Pete Normand for the information.)

Wednesday, May 19, 2010

Ken Willis Installed as 160th Grand Master of Indiana

The Grand Lodge of Indiana F&AM has concluded its annual communication for 2010. Our new Worshipful Master for 2010-2011 is Most Worshipful Brother Kenneth E. Willis Jr. of Oakland City (located in the far southwest corner of the state, near Evansville).

MWBro. Willis was raised a Master Mason in 1986 in Oakland City Lodge #467, and served as Worshipful Master in 1993. He served the Evansville Valley of the Scottish Rite as Most Wise Master of Trinity Chapter of Rose Croix in 1999 and 2000, and was crowned an honorary 33rd Degree Scottish Rite Mason in 2002. He became a member of Hadi Shrine in 1986. He and his wife Paula are members of the Oakland City Chapter #451 OES.

Thanks to the many brethren who stopped by the Masonic Society table to say hello, pick up a brochure, or sign up for membership. Nathan, Jim and I appreciate it. It was great to see so many friends from across the state.

Props to Randy Zentz who has tremendous work on the Grand Lodge website (much of it hidden behind the Members Only area). And to Jim Daugherty who is about to unleash a flood of new videos, PowerPoint slides, and even a virtual Solomon's Temple online.

* * *

Congratulations to now Past Grand Master Charles F. Marlowe on what was a successful, but personally challenging year in the East. Alice and I extend our thoughts and prayers to Chuck and Marilyn.

Monday, May 17, 2010

Freemason Island, Louisiana

View Larger Map
The oil rig accident in the Gulf of Mexico has brought the tiny sliver of silt known as Freemason Island into the news. It is located about 85 miles east of New Orleans in Chandeleur Sound, and after several hurricanes, there is almost nothing left of it above the surface of the water. I got curious about the name of the island, but could find almost nothing about it on the web, apart from its status as a favorite location for local fishermen, and its dubious distinction of being where the oil slick was sighted on its way to the coast.

Brother Marc Conrad helped fill in information about the island on the Masonic Society forum today:

"This was one of the first Federally created bird reserves created under the auspices of the Audubon Society. It was created in 1904 by President and Freemason Teddy Roosevelt. There were originally three islands covering 10,000 acres where various birds would roost and mate. Famous birds roosting on Free Mason Islands were the Pelican (Louisiana's Masonic Scottish Rite Rose Croix State bird), the Red Egret and the Louisiana Egret.

The Red Egret is symbolic of the phoenix as seen by an artists depiction of the same above. The Pelican has obvious connections to the Scottish Rite's Rose Croix degree

Thanks, Marc.

Prince Hall Memorial Unveiling

The official unveiling of the Prince Hall Memorial in Cambridge, Massachusetts was this past weekend. Brother Gregory C. Hatton, Sr. has put many photos of the event up on his Facebook page. Click here.

Press coverage of the event:

Prince Hall monument to be unveiled in Cambridge
City presents new Prince Hall Memorial
Rediscovering a hero
Hundreds gather at Cambridge Common for Prince Hall

MSA Appeal for Tennessee

The Masonic Service Association of North America has issued an appeal for Freemasons in Tennessee who were victims of the flooding earlier this month:

May 2, 2010 saw massive flooding in many parts of Tennessee including the city of Nashville. Now that the waters have receded and damage assessment can be made it is very extensive. Recovery assistance is greatly needed.

Please forward to the MSA such funds as you feel appropriate to help our devastated Brethren and their families in this stricken jurisdiction. Please make checks payable to the MSA Disaster Relief Fund and send to:

8120 Fenton Street, Ste. 203,
Silver Spring, MD 20910-4785

Thank you very much for your help!

Most sincerely and fraternally,

Executive Secretary

Missouri Lodge of Research: Michael Halleran May 22nd

Michael A. Halleran, author of The Better Angels of Our Nature: Freemasonry in the American Civil War, will speak at the Missouri Lodge of Research this coming Saturday, May 22, 2010. Tickets are $20, and the program is open to all. The event will take place in the Community Room of the Grand Lodge of Missouri Complex, 6033 Masonic Drive, Columbia, MO 65202-6568. Doors open at 4:00pm, dinner at 5:00pm, and the lecture will follow.

All tickets MUST be purchased in advance of the event.

Visit http://www.momason.org/LodgeofResearch/tls.asp or their Facebook page for more information.

Saturday, May 15, 2010

Orphan Annie and Brother Warbucks Retiring After 85 Years

The long-running comic strip Annie is ending after 85 years, with the last cliffhanger installment on Sunday, June 13, if there's anyone out there who still knows what a newspaper is. Tribune Media Services says it is "taking Annie into the Internet age by pursuing new audiences for her in digital media."

Freemason Harold Lincoln Gray (1894-1968) created the strip originally as Little Orphan Annie on August 5, 1924, in the New York Daily News and later in the Chicago Tribune. According to the Grand Lodge of British Columbia & Yukon website, at its height it was syndicated in some 250 newspapers. It appears in just twenty today.

While few today would ever think the strip was controversial, at various times, Annie got herself involved with gangsters, vigilantes, pirates, evil labor union socialists, and even a plot involving the bombing of a German U-boat.

As the frame above illustrates, Oliver "Daddy" Warbucks was clearly a Freemason. So naturally he would care for an orphan.

Brother Gray continued to write and draw the comic strip up until his death in 1968. He was a charter member of Lombard Lodge No. 1098 in Lombard, Illinois in 1923.

Check out the National Heritage Museum page about Radio Orphan Annie's Secret Society.

Image from Grand Lodge of British Columbia & Yukon website: "With all his mines an' oil wells in the orient---Daddy's been out there hunnerts o' times---but he says one time he travelled to the East, but didn't make a dime, meant more to him than all th'other trips he'll ever make---I don't get it---do you?" Sandy the dog grins and winks knowingly. Cited by Alphonse Cerza in The Truth is Stranger than Fiction (1980), p. 20. Reproduced in California Freemason (Winter 1966).