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


Tuesday, May 31, 2011

New Orleans Scottish Rite History & Research Symposium June 1-4, 2011

The history of Freemasonry in Louisiana is as colorful and rich as everything else about that incredible region, with influences from France, Spain, England and the Caribbean. In celebration of the bicentennial of the creation of the Grand Consistory of Louisiana, the New Orleans Scottish Rite History & Research Symposium will be held in New Orleans tomorrow through Saturday. Some of the world’s leading scholars and historians will present papers on the history and development of the Ancient Accepted Scottish Rite, as well as high grade Scottish Rite Masonry in New Orleans. It is truly an historic gathering, and if you are in the area, don't miss it!

Speakers include:

• Marc Conrad - 19th Century Louisiana Freemasonry: Divergent Cultures Clash, Converge, and Unite.
• Michael Poll - The Journey to Discovering the History of the Scottish Rite in New Orleans
• Daniel Castoriano - Masonic Documents of Etoile Polaire Lodge
• Michael Tisserand - Degrees of Krazy: the Masonic roots of George Herriman’s comic strip Krazy Kat
• S. Brent Morris - Pre-1801 Lodges of Perfection
• Cliff Porter - 19th Century SR Masonic Baptisms and Marriages
• Michael Carpenter - Chamber of Reflection
• Plus Pete Normand, Wayne E. Sirmon, Timothy Roberts, and Jean Jacques Zambrowski

There will be a walking tour of the French Quarter, an open house at the historic Lodge Etoile Polaire No. 1, and more.

The Masonic Society is a proud sponsor of this event.

This is designed as a public event. No paper or material will be offered or presented in a public setting which should be reserved for Masons only. This conference welcomes the non-Masonic academic community and recognizes the contributions to Masonic history which have been made by non-Masonic academics.

The Symposium will be held at the The Royal Sonesta Hotel, which is conveniently located in the historic French Quarter.

Registration is $125.00 per person, including the banquet and conference events. Registration can be accomplished online, along with hotel reservations, at http://www.neworleansaasr.info

Monday, May 30, 2011

Brother Wounded in Afganistan

I discovered this message belatedly from April, sent by the Grand Lodge of Iowa.

Brother Dustin Morrison, a member of Taylor Lodge No. 156 at Bedford, was recently wounded when a massive improvised explosive device detonated underneath the Cougar MRAP in which he was riding while on a routine combat patrol mission in eastern Afghanistan’s restive Paktia province. Two others were wounded and one soldier was killed. The wounded were evacuated to a treatment center in Germany. They are members of Bravo Company, of the 2nd Brigade Combat Team of the Iowa National Guard.

Expressions of care and concern may be sent to Brother Morrison’s home at 1010 North 16th Street, Apartment B6, Clarinda, Iowa 51632-1139.

Masonic Society: UK 2nd Annual Symposium in July

Brother Michael Davey, the Masonic Society's 2nd Circle Chair for the UK-Ireland region sends along this update:

A gentle reminder that the UK-Ireland Circle of the Masonic Society will host its 2nd Annual Symposium on Saturday, July 2nd in Edinburgh, Scotland.

We are fortunate to have three excellent speakers this year.

• W.Bro. Patrick McCann will be speaking about the Shriner movement in Europe.

• W.Bro. Eddie Alicoon will be taking a lighthearted and informative look at some of the most famous Freemasons.

• W.Bro. Andrew Hammer presents his paper on Observing the Craft - a manifesto for the observant Mason.

The Saturday wraps up with a panel discussion and tour of Hill Street Masonic Centre followed by an informal dinner in the evening (please note dinner is not included in the ticket price). On Sunday there is a private tour of Rosslyn Chapel.

More info and flyer: http://englishlodges.org.uk/tms/

Tickets for the Symposium are £25 including lunch on Saturday and complementary entry to Rosslyn Chapel on Sunday.

Credit or debit card payments may be made via Paypal.

Cheques should be made payable to Mr. Michael Davey and sent to 3 High Street, Stanwick, WELLINGBOROUGH, Northants, NN9 6QA. Please remember to include all your contact details (name/address/postcode/email/telephone).

Click here to download PDF flyer.

The Masonic Society, is an independent, non-profit educational organization serving Freemasonry, and the fastest growing Masonic research society in the world, with members in 17 countries.

Poll: "Is Freemasonry compatible with Christianity?"

The UK's Church Times has an article about the recent situation with the Church of England in which Reverend Jonathan Baker was encouraged to resign his Masonic membership by the Archbishop of Canterbury before his consecration as the next Bishop of Ebbsfleet.

If you have an opinion on the matter, the Church Times also has an online poll asking the question, "Is Freemasonry compatible with Christianity?"

Currently, out of 12,094 votes, 95% of the responses are "yes."

I'd say that's pretty overwhelming.

See also: More Masonophobia in the Church of England


UPDATE June 3rd

An interesting lineup of letters in the Church Times this week, including a response from the Grand Secretary of the UGLE. I don't know about other U.S. Masons, but I was a little surprised to read that UGLE made changes in its ritual to respond to Church of England objections in the 1980s.

Really. The word J--b-l-- was removed from the English Royal Arch degree.

As to his note that Freemasonry does not prohibit women from joining, we concur in the U.S. Mainstream Freemasonry merely requires its members to not be present at the making of women Masons, and not to communicate Masonically with them. But just as in England, I think we all realize there are female Freemasons here and all around the world who are every bit as passionate about the Craft as we are.

As to allegations of Freemasons secretly scratching each others' backs for job advancement and pecuniary reward, good for Mr Christopher Haffner for asking, "does anyone know how much back-scratching goes into the secret process of making senior appointments in the Church of England?"

Joplin, Missouri Update

The death toll from the deadly tornado a week ago in Joplin, Missouri today stands at 139, with at least 105 still missing, and more than 900 injured. This was posted today by Brother Craig Carter on Facebook about relief efforts at the Scottish Rite Valley of Joplin.

Scottish Rite, Valley of Joplin

We are offering free hot meals to any relief workers or volunteers.

We can use people in the kitchen, drivers, and people to pass out food and water.

Short answer on whether help is needed----yes, absolutely yes, hell yes.

Hey everyone! If you are planning on coming out, the things To bring are energy drinks, Gatorade, and chocolate anything. We go through about a thousand pounds of meat a day, if you're going to bring us meat, bring a way to keep it cool. Thanks everyone!!!

We were out there today helping. If you or someone you know plans on volunteering anytime this week,
please post it here so we can have a good idea of what kind of headcount we are looking at. And while you're at it, you could always post what you intend to bring so we can have an idea of whats coming and when. Thank you everyone!!!

We prepared and delivered 2,000 meals. We had 50 guys/gals there, and we worked our tails off. We had approximately 8 vehicles (4 persons per) running chow into the affected area, the rest of the folks were flying around a huge kitchen getting everything into boxes and ready for transportation. Moreover, they are going to try and serve supper tomorrow. The Scottish Rite is going to try to keep this going for three weeks.

Short answer on whether help is needed----yes, absolutely yes, hell yes. Work starts at 7 am


For regular updates, keep checking the Scottish Rite Orient of Missouri website.

Please contact the Valley’s office at (417) 623-3219 if you would like to help. If you would like to make a donation, you may send a check payable to the Scottish Rite Valley of Joplin with the notation “tornado disaster relief”.

Scottish Rite Valley of Joplin
Attention: Richard Lowrey
505 S. Byers
Joplin, MO 64801

Memorial Day

The Indiana War Memorial in Indianapolis

Logan Lodge No. 575 in Indianapolis 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. Because he was born and raised by settlers who (like Abraham Lincoln himself) had come to Illinois out of Kentucky, Logan's sympathies were torn by both sides in the conflict. His own brother-in-law, Hilbert A. Cunningham, joined the Confederate Army for two years as head of the South's only Northern-born group, Company G of the 15th Tennessee, before deserting in 1863 to join the Union side, where he became a captain on Logan's staff.

After the war, John Logan became a fierce Republican, an Illinois senator, a vice-presidential candidate, 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 what eventually came to be called Memorial Day as a national holiday (a day that is important all across America, but especially here in Indianapolis).

Brother Logan was raised as a Master Mason in Mitchell Lodge No. 85 in Pinckneyville, Illinois. He was a York Rite Mason and Templar in Chicago. He was also a member of the Scottish Rite there, and was elected to be coroneted a 33° in 1886, but died before it could be conferred.

Memorial Day (originally known as Decoration Day) was officially declared on May 5th, 1868 by General Logan, in his role as national commander of a relatively new fraternal group, the Grand Army of the Republic. It was first observed on May 30th of that year when flowers were placed on the graves of both Union and Confederate soldiers at Arlington National Cemetery. As a result of his own personal circumstances and his experience during the war, as well as his wide popularity throughout the reunited nation, he was uniquely qualified to establish this healing annual day for observance and memory.


General Orders No.11, WASHINGTON, D.C., May 5, 1868

The 30th day of May, 1868, is designated for the purpose of strewing with flowers or otherwise decorating the graves of comrades who died in defense of their country during the late rebellion, and whose bodies now lie in almost every city, village, and hamlet church-yard in the land. In this observance no form of ceremony is prescribed, but posts and comrades will in their own way arrange such fitting services and testimonials of respect as circumstances may permit.

We are organized, comrades, as our regulations tell us, for the purpose among other things, "of preserving and strengthening those kind and fraternal feelings which have bound together the soldiers, sailors, and marines who united to suppress the late rebellion." What can aid more to assure this result than cherishing tenderly the memory of our heroic dead, who made their breasts a barricade between our country and its foes? Their soldier lives were the reveille of freedom to a race in chains, and their deaths the tattoo of rebellious tyranny in arms. We should guard their graves with sacred vigilance. All that the consecrated wealth and taste of the nation can add to their adornment and security is but a fitting tribute to the memory of her slain defenders. Let no wanton foot tread rudely on such hallowed grounds. Let pleasant paths invite the coming and going of reverent visitors and fond mourners. Let no vandalism of avarice or neglect, no ravages of time testify to the present or to the coming generations that we have forgotten as a people the cost of a free and undivided republic.

If other eyes grow dull, other hands slack, and other hearts cold in the solemn trust, ours shall keep it well as long as the light and warmth of life remain to us.

Let us, then, at the time appointed gather around their sacred remains and garland the passionless mounds above them with the choicest flowers of spring-time; let us raise above them the dear old flag they saved from hishonor; let us in this solemn presence renew our pledges to aid and assist those whom they have left among us a sacred charge upon a nation's gratitude, the soldier's and sailor's widow and orphan.

It is the purpose of the Commander-in-Chief to inaugurate this observance with the hope that it will be kept up from year to year, while a survivor of the war remains to honor the memory of his departed comrades. He earnestly desires the public press to lend its friendly aid in bringing to the notice of comrades in all parts of the country in time for simultaneous compliance therewith.
Department commanders will use efforts to make this order effective.
By order of


Adjutant General


The Grand Army of the Republic was made up of veterans of the Union Army who had served in the Civil War. By 1890, the GAR had 490,000 members, and held an annual National Encampment every year from 1866 until its final encampment in Indianapolis in 1949. Seven years later, its last member, Albert Woolson, died, and the GAR was formally dissolved.

Don't simply treat the day as part of a warm three day weekend. Take a moment to reflect upon those men and women who have given the "last full measure of devotion" for their country. Decorate their graves. Visit their memorials. Raise the flag in their honor. Lift up their widows and orphans.

And remember.

Saturday, May 28, 2011

Omaha Masons and Memorial Day

Brethren of Omaha, Nebraska's Centennial Lodge No. 326 mark the Memorial Day weekend in a very special way—by planting small American flags on the grave sites of 4,000 veterans and their spouses.

From the Omaha World Herald, "Volunteers mark 4,000 graves," by Carol Bicak:

Three years ago for a Masonic lodge service project, Phil Edwards decided to put flags on the graves of former military members in Westlawn-Hillcrest Memorial Park, where he works part time.

Now it has become an annual ritual. Edwards said he, fellow Centennial Lodge 326 member Carl Diamond and Carl's wife, Carol, set out more than 4,000 of the flags between Wednesday and Friday.

How long the project takes depends on the number of other volunteers who show up. This year Boy Scouts and DeMolay members assisted. Friends and family also help out.

It's not an easy chore. There are 140 acres to cover. . .

Well done, brethren.

Centennial Lodge No. 326 meets at the West Omaha Masonic Temple.
Photo by Kiley Cruse, for the Omaha World Herald.

Friday, May 27, 2011

"The boys at the lodge won't understand..."


'I Think I'm Dancing With A Man' by Rodney Carrington

Grand Lodge of Missouri: Online Donations for Joplin Disaster Relief

The Grand Lodge of Missouri AF&AM has established a disaster relief fund for tornado victims in Joplin, and donations can now be made online at the Grand Lodge’s website at www.momason.org

Brothers in the Fraternity and the community at large will be helped through designated donations, restricted to use by victims of the Joplin area devastation and the recovery effort in the community.

Those who wish to volunteer for the clean-up efforts may do so by clicking the United Way's “Sign-Up to Volunteer” link at http://www.211missouri.org/.

The Scottish Rite Valley of Joplin continues to feed volunteers and will be in need of assistance cooking and serving food beginning on Tuesday. Please contact the Valley’s office at (417) 623-3219 if you would like to help. If you would like to make a donation, you may send a check payable to the Scottish Rite Valley of Joplin with the notation “tornado disaster relief”.

Scottish Rite Valley of Joplin
Attention: Richard Lowrey
505 S. Byers
Joplin, MO 64801

The Joplin Parks and Recreation Department is in need of chain saws, rakes, weed trimmers and lawn mowers to assist with various efforts. Please contact them at (417) 625-4718 if you can supply any of these items.

For regular updates, keep checking the Scottish Rite Orient of Missouri website.

Atlantic Brotherhood Summit in Minneapolis: June 2-5

The Atlantic Brotherhood Summit, a joint event between Minnesota's Sir Winston Churchill Lodge No. 351 and the United Grand Lodge of England's Internet lodge No. 9659, will take place in Minneapolis, MN June 2-5, 2011.

Note that this date has been changed from May, in an effort to accommodate visiting brethren who may be attending the International Conference on the HIstory of Freemasonry (ICHF) in Alexandria, VA the previous weekend.

The Summit will include an American-style Barbecue, a boat cruise on the St. Croix River, a British Emulation Master Mason Degree and discussion at the Minneapolis Scottish Rite Temple, and a formal dinner and English Festive Board at the Minneapolis Club.

Sir Winston Churchill Lodge No. 351 was chartered in 2009 by the Grand Lodge of Minnesota AF&AM as an affinity lodge, in part, to perform UGLE-styled Emulation Ritual (as opposed to the Preston/Webb ritual in use in most U.S. mainstream jurisdictions).

Internet Lodge No. 9659 was consecrated in 1998 in Manchester, England, and has members from all over the world.

ICHF Opens Today at the GW Memorial

The 3rd International Conference on the History of Freemasonry opened today at the George Washington Masonic Memorial in Alexandria, VA. It is the largest international gathering of both Freemasons and academics on the subject of Masonry and history. Alice and I were both slated to present papers, but my bout with stomach cancer put an end to our travel for several months. All things being equal, we'd much rather be in Virginia today. I attended the two previous conferences in Scotland, and it's a dirty trick that I can't be at the one in the U.S. Dammit.

If you are attending, please stop by the Masonic Society table in the Marketplace area, and if you aren't a member, consider signing up. Also, because the Conference does not publish the papers, if you are a presenter, I'd like to take the opportunity to invite you to submit your paper to the Journal of the Masonic Society for publication.

The Conference runs today through Sunday. Lacking my own boots on the ground, I'm hoping someone there will take lots of notes and photos and share them.

One maddening statistic: organizers tell me there were only about 200 attendees signed up this year, and over half of them are the presenters themselves. The Conference was well publicized for at least a year, and It is astonishing to me that the North American Masonic community did not step up and support this incredible event with larger numbers. A poor turnout like this will undoubtedly result in no strong desire of the organizers to return to these shores anytime in the near future.

How we do so love to take careful aim at our own foot and blast away with both barrels.

Below is the preliminary lineup of speakers and papers:

Friday May 27th, 2011

Plenary lecture 1: Professor Steven Bullock: The First Capital Cornerstone Laying: Masonry, Alexandria, the Nation, and the

• Freemasonry as a Factor in American Society
1a. Daniel Egel, USA
Did Freemasonry Help Solve the Common Good Problem? An Examination of the Historical Expansion of American Education in the Western United States

1b. Brent Morris, USA
American Masonic Membership Trends

1c. John Belton, UK
An Ungolden Age of Fraternalism?: A Comparison of Craft Masonic Membership in Confederate and Union States 1850-1900.

• Freemasonry and Religion I
2a. Klaus-Jürgen Grün, Germany
Celebrating Nature. Freemasonry and its Contribution to the Secularization of Religion

2b. Jan Snoek, Germany
The Female Case: The Religious Dimension of the Adoption Rite

2c. Martin Papenheim, Germany
Albert Pike‘s and Eugène Goblet d‘Alviella‘s Reforms of the Scottish Rite and the Theory of Religion in the late 19th Century

2d. Hans-Hermann Hoffmann, Germany
"Christian", "humanitarian" and "reformist" positions in conflict: The religious discourse of German Freemasons from "Vormärz" up to the republic of Weimar 1840-1933

• Mozart and Freemasonry
3a. Neva Krysteva, Bulgaria
Mozart: The Contrapuntal Temple in the last Symphony

3b. Ruben Gurevich, Canada
Does Mozart’s “Die Zauberflöte” have a “meaning”?

3c. Gabriel Mancuso, Italy
Eine kleine Freymaurer-Kantate (A Short Masonic Cantata). Genesis, development and musical characteristics of the last work

• Freemasonry in the Far East
4a. Pauline Chakmakjian, UK
General MacArthur & The Grand Lodge of Japan

4b. Teodoro Kalaw IV, Phillippines
The Genealogy of Philippine Freemasonry

• New approaches to British Freemasonry I
5a. Susan Sommers, USA
The Apotheosis of Thomas Dunckerley

5b. Diane Clements, UK
Working at Freemasons’ Hall 1850-1920

5c. James W. Daniel, UK
Anglo-American Masonic relations 1871-90

• Freemasonry and Religion II
6a. Peter Paul Fuchs, USA
From the Ethos of the Temple: Masonic Contexts of Theism, Deism and Atheism

6b. Mark E. Koltko-Rivera, USA
Of Mormons and Masons: Freemasonry’s Craft Rituals of Initiation and the Latter-Day Saint Temple Ceremonies

• Perceptions of Freemasonry
7a. Henrik Bogdan, Sweden
Freemasonry and Popular Culture

7b. Carolyn Bain, USA
Masonic Laureateship: Performance, Identity, and Transformation

• Freemasonry in Mexico I
8a. Guillermo Izabal, USA, Chair
Deconstructing Herencias Secretas: Freemasonry, Politics, and Society in Mexico

8b. Paul Rich, USA
“Herencias Secretas” and the Extraordinary Varieties of Contemporary Mexican Freemasonry

8c. David Merchant, USA
Answered and Unanswered questions in ’Herencias Secretas’ Discussant: Guillermo de los Reyes, USA

• New approaches to British Freemasonry II
9a. David Harrison, UK
The Lymm Freemasons: A new insight into early Freemasonry and the Warrington Lodge of Elias Ashmole

9b. Róbert Péter, Hungary
Freemasonry in the 18th-century London press – a quantitative analysis

9c. Harriet Sandvall, UK
‘The Accomplishment of so great a Design...’ The architecture and interior design of the first purpose-built Masonic hall in England

• Impacts of Freemasonry I
10a. Richard W. Van Doren, USA
Cry Fowle: The Life, Times, and Masonic Influence of Henry Fowle of Boston

10b. Hilary Anderson Stelling,
USA “What I am today”: Benjamin Emmons’ Masonic Gift

• Freemasonry in the Hapsburg Empire
11a. Martin Javor, Slovakia
The Enlightenment in Practice: Freemasonry in Upper Hungary in the Eighteenth Century

11b. Alice Reiniger, Austria
An Analysis of the Draskovich Observance, a Freemasonry Document of the Late Eighteenth Century from Croatia.

11c. Eszter Gantner, Germany
Freemasonry and modernism? The influence of the freemasonry

• Freemasonry in Mexico II: History, Literature and Culture in Mexican Freemasonry.
12a. María Eugenia Vázquez Semadeni, Mexico.
Public debate about Freemasonry, United States 1780-1810, México 1820-1830.

12b. Carlos Francisco Martínez Moreno, Mexico.
American Freemasonry in México during the 19th century and the beginning of the 20th century

12c. Guillermo de los Reyes USA
Freemasonry, Folklore, and Cultural Production in a Socio- Literary Context: The impact of literature and folklore in Mexican and American Masonry

• Plenary lecture 2: Arturo de Hoyos: The Battle to Control High Grade Masonry in the United States

• Book and journal presentations
Young Researchers get together, presentation of ongoing research projects (organised by young researchers panel)

Saturday May 28th, 2011

• Plenary lecture 3: Professor Chernoh Sesay, Jr: 'All things here are frail and changeable': The Social and Political Origins of Prince Hall Freemasonry in the late 18th century.

• Early American Freemasonry I
13a. John Wade, UK
Public Masonic Processions in the Thirteen American Colonies

13b. John B. Slifko, USA
Dolley Madison and the Freemason Benjamin Latrobe in the Making of the President’s House, Washington City, and beyond

13c. Roger Burt, UK
Freemasonry and the Gold Rushes

• Anti-freemasonry and Conservatism in Europe around 1800: lines of development
14a. Andrew McKenzie- McHarg, Germany
Visions of Conspiracy: the Anti- Masonry of Former Masons in late 18th century Germany

14b. Damien Amblard, France
The Early Writings of a Famous Anti-Mason: Politics in the Writings of the Abbé Barruel, 1788-1797.

14c. Claus Oberhauser, Austria
John Robison and his ‘Proofs of a Conspiracy’

• Freemasonry in the Middle East
15a. Stephan Schmid, Lebanon
Freemasonry during the Arab Nahda, 1860 - 1914: A New Reading of the Evolution of the Arabic Printing Press and the Modern Arab Intellectual Elite.

15b. Thierry Millet, France
The rise of American Masonry in French Levant

15c. Saïd Chaaya, France
The “Nahda” in the 19th century Lebanon and its relationship with the Masonic Lodges: The Intellectual and Cultural
Renaissance, an Oriental “Aufklärung”

• Aspects of Fraternalism
16a. James Jack, UK
Free Gardeners and Freemasons – A comparison

16b. Bob James, Australia
A Response to Snoek: Fraternal Societies in Australia, 1788- 2010.

16c. William D. Moore, USA
Darius Wilson, Confidence Games, and the Limits of American Fraternal Respectability, 1875-1915

• Session 17: Early American Freemasonry II
17a. Alan Capps, USA
The First Band of Brothers – George Washington and the Freemasons of Alexandria Lodge No. 22

17b. Ami Pflugrad-Jackisch, USA
’Our Illustrious Brother George Washington’: Fraternal Orders, Public Space, and Civic Brotherhood in Antebellum Virginia

• Dynamic Freemasonry in 18th and early 19th century Lancashire
18a. John Astbury, UK
Scottish Freemasons in Manchester and the USA 1800- 1830

18b. David Hawkins, UK
Relationships within and between lodges around Bolton in Georgian England

18c. John Belton, UK
The Royal Arch within early Lancashire Masonry

• Freemasonry in Latin America
19a. Miguel Guzmán-Stein, Costa Rica
Woman, Freemasonry and the Order of the Eastern Star in Latin America. The times of Andres Cassard (1865-1875)

19b. Ricardo Martinéz Esquivel, Costa Rica
Mystical sociability: Freemasons and Theosophists in the organization of the Co- Freemasonry and the Liberal Catholic Church in Costa Rica during the 1920s

• Contradictions of Fraternalism: Practices of Inclusion and Exclusion I
20a. Panel A Inclusion: Community Formation and Social Action
Kristofer Allerfeldt, UK & Jeffrey Tyssen, Belgium

20b. Jeffrey Tyssens
Ghost Town Brotherhood: Virginia Fraternities in West American Mining Towns, 1879-1912

20c. Anaïs Maes
Brothers in Temperance: Good Templar Lodges in Belgium and the Netherlands (Early 20th Century)

• Early American Freemasonry III
21a. Michael S. Kaulback, USA
A Scottish Lodge in the Grand Jurisdiction of Massachusetts

21b. Todd Wm. Kissam, USA
A Founder’s Faith: The Contributions and Example of Illustrious Brother Frederick Dalcho, original member of the Ancient and Accepted Scottish Rite.

21c. Hannah M. Lane, USA
Maine and New Brunswick freemasons and contested political geographies, 1770 - 1870

• Women and Freemasonry
22a. James Allen, USA
Freemason Women and Modern Civic Life in George Sand’s ‘La Comtesse de Rudolstadt’ (1843)

22b. N.N., N.A.
The Reverend, The Bluestocking, and Freemasons Behaving Badly: An Exploration and Close Reading of “A Series of Letters on Freemasonry” by “a Lady of Boston”

22c. Karen Kidd, USA
Co-Masonry’s Place in the History of North American Freemasonry

• Impacts of Freemasonry II
23b. Shawn E. Eyer, USA
The Degree Lectures of Waller Rodwell Wright: A Critical Analysis of the Ritual Drafts of a Member of William Preston’s Inner Circle

• Contradictions of Fraternalism: Practices of Inclusion and Exclusion II

Panel B Exclusion: Racism and Denominational Closure

24a. Adam Geoffrey Kendall, USA
The Masonic Whitewash Committee of California: American Anti-Catholicism, Freemasonry and the Knights of Columbus in the 1910s

24b. Kristofer Allerfeldt, UK
The Ku Klux Klan and Fraternalism in the 1920s.

24c. Joesphe G. Stiles, USA Using Progressive-era Ku Klux Klan Activity in Kansas to Understand Changes in Freemasonry and Similar Fraternal Organizations

• Plenary lecture 4: Robert Cooper: Scottish Freemasonry in the Thirteen Colonies

• Gala Dinner

Sunday May 29th, 2011

• Plenary round table: Freemasonry, gender and history.
Chaired by Andrew Prescott, with Margaret Jacob, Cecile Revauger and James Smith Allen.

• Afro-American Freemasonry
25a. Jose O. Diaz, USA
“A Long Vexed Question:” The Alpha Affair, Black Masonry, and Northern Reconstruction.

25b. Jeff Croteau, USA
Black Abolitionists in White Lodges: Richard P.G. Wright and Theodore Sedgwick Wright

25c. Stephen Hill Sr., USA
John Wesley Dobbs

• Irish Freemasonry and its Impact I
26a. Patrick J. Flynn, Ireland
Freemasonry in North America, the Irish Influence

26b. Petri Mirala, Finland
Irish Masonry: a key to wider Atlantic networks?

• Performing the Political: Speech and Song as Ideological Vehicles in 19th Century Belgian Freemasonry
27a. Jimmy Koppen, Belgium
Agapè and the Polis: Table Rhetoric and Political Mobilization of Belgian Lodges in the 19th Century

27b. Anaïs Maes, Belgium
Informal or Official? The Lodge’s “Conférences” and “Morceaux d’Architecture” and their Political Message, 1798- 1872

27c. David Vergauwen, Belgium Masonic Songs: Themes and Political Discourse in the First Half of the Nineteenth Century

27d. NN, N.A.
Music at the Cradle: Belgian Masonic Music and the Birth of a State (1830-1865)

• Central and Eastern European Freemasonry
28a. Guilia Delogu, Italy
Masonic lexicon and themes in Italian and French poetry, from the Enlightenment to the Napoleonic Age

28b. Ljubinka Toseva Karpowicz, Croatia The Role of Masonic Lodges
Sirius and Italia Nuova in the Political History of Rijeka (1901-1926)

• Material Culture of Freemasonry
29a. Aimee E. Newell, USA Sparkling through Time: Paul Revere’s Masonic Jewels

29b. Heather K. Calloway
Use of regalia in the Ancient & Accepted Scottish Rite of Freemasonry

29c. Helge Björn Horrisland, Norway
The Roosevelt Picture – an episode of restitution

• Irish Freemasonry and its Impact II
30a. Breandán Mac Suibhne, USA
The Freemasons and the Fannet Ghost: An Episode in Irish Cultural History, 1786–1822

30b Geraldine Stubbs, UK
Conviviality, Sociability: Fraternity & Commotions, Ructions & Shenanigans: Freemasonry in Ballybay 1746 – 1843

• Eighteenth century Russian freemasonry
31a. Natalie Bayer, USA
Mind, Matter, Soul and a Mechanical Chess-Playing Turk: Some Cartesian Elements in Russian Eighteenth-Century Masonic Thought

31b. Tatiana Artyemeva, Russia
Philosophy of History in Russian Eighteenth-Century Masonry

• Freemasonry and Music
32a. India D’Avignon, USA
Freemasons Franklin, Mozart, Mesmer and the Glass Armonica

32b. David Vergauwen, Belgium
Making Wagner happen

• Plenary lecture 5: Dr. Andreas Önnerfors: Researching the History of Freemasonry: 3x3 ways forward!

Masonic Society New Jersey 2nd Circle St John's Dinner 6/24

The New Jersey Second Circle of the Masonic Society will host a Saint John's Day Feast on Friday, June 24 in North Brunswick, New Jersey.

The Masonic Society's St. John's Day Feast
Friday, June 24 at 7 p.m.
Sir John's Restaurant (230 Washington Pl., North Brunswick, NJ)

In honor of St. John's Day, the featured speaker will be Dr. Charles Haberl, the Director of the Center for Middle Eastern Studies at Rutgers University. His topic will be the Mandaean faith, a tiny Abrahamic religion that upholds John the Baptist as its ultimate teacher. This religion exists in and around Iraq, but is almost on the verge of extinction. The plight they suffer today makes Dr. Haberl's presentation even more compelling, and what he has to say about the Baptist in particular should intrigue every Freemason.

Dr. Haberl also is an Assistant Professor at the Department of African, Middle Eastern, and South Asian Languages and Literatures at Rutgers. He has served as an Undergraduate Fulbright Faculty Advisor and as a member of the Advisory Committee for Study Abroad Programs in the Middle East at Rutgers, as well as a juror and panelist for the United States Department of State's Critical Language Scholarships for Intensive Summer Institutes. With James McGrath of Butler University, he received an NEH grant to translate the Mandaean Book of John in 2010. We are very fortunate to have him.

Dinner plans:
Unlimited hot hors d'oeuvres (served butler style), choice of entree (Baked Stuffed Chicken or Roast Top Sirloin of Beef or Broiled Stuffed, Filet of Flounder). Plus side dishes, salad, desserts with coffee etc., and unlimited soft drinks. (Cash bar only.)

It is NOT necessary to be a member of The Masonic Society to attend this special event. ALL Masons, their ladies, and friends are welcome to this fraternal and spiritual celebration of one of the Patrons of the Craft. Remember it was on June 24, 1717 when the Grand Lodge of England was formed, ushering in the age of modern Freemasonry as we know it.

$50 per person. Seating is limited, so no walk-ins can be accommodated. Reservations are required and can be made ONLY by sending your payment, via PayPal. Transmit payment to masonicrsvp@gmail.com no later than June 16. Please include entrée choice as a message with your payment.

The Masonic Society, is an independent, non-profit educational organization serving Freemasonry, and the fastest growing Masonic research society in the world, with members in 17 countries.

H/T to Jay Hochberg

Palestinian is Grand Master of Grand Lodge of Israel AF&AM

Over the last week or so, political news in the U.S. has been filled with headlines about Israel. President Obama called for a return to Israel's 1967 borders. President Benjamin Netanyahu pushed back and explained why such a move would be a suicidal act of madness. Meanwhile, President of the Palestinian National Authority, Mahmoud Abbas, has embraced partnership with the terrorist group Hamas, whose leadership continues to vow to eviscerate the Jews and push them all into the sea. And next door over in Egypt, in the midst of the much vaunted "Arab Spring," Coptic Christians are being slaughtered in the streets and their churches burned.

With all of that going on, it is perhaps a faint glimmer of light in that part of the world that shines from the seal of the Grand Lodge of the State of Israel of Ancient, Free & Accepted Masons. That single image contains the Hebrew Star of David, the Muslim crescent, and the Christian cross, along with the square and compasses of Freemasonry. In all of the Middle East, it is in the Masonic lodges of Israel where men of all faiths regularly put aside their differences and seek to meet each other on the level as true brethren. The Grand Lodge of Israel has approximately 1,200 members who comprise at least five major religions and meet in 56 lodges, working in ten languages.

On January 25th, Most W:.B:. Nadim Mansour was installed as Grand Master of the Grand Lodge of Israel 2011-2013. He is a Greek Orthodox Palestinian Arab, who was born in Haifa, and moved to Acre at the age of 5. He was initiated as a Lewis in 1971 into Lodge Akko, a lodge of which his father was a founding member. In 1980, he was elected Master of his lodge. He is also a 33rd degree Mason in the Ancient & Accepted Rite, where he is Grand Orator of the Supreme Council, State of Israel.

GM Mansour is the third Palestinian Arab to serve as Grand Master of Israel since the 1950s.

A belated Mazel Tov is in order.

See this extensive website for more information about Freemasonry in Israel.

Thursday, May 26, 2011

Art DeHoyos on Pike's "Morals & Dogma"

Illus. Bro. Arturo de Hoyos has long spoken of his own ongoing "Magnum Opus," his annotated version of "Morals & Dogma," Albert Pike's book about the Scottish Rite degrees and the symbolism and philosophy contained in them. It has long been understood that Pike borrowed, cribbed or just plain plagiarized from many sources, without bothering with pesky footnotes or references (stealing from one source is plagiarism, but from ten sources it's research). The conventional wisdom is that much of it came from Eliphas Levi's French work, "Dogme et Ritual de la Haute Magie", published in 1855-56. But Pike drew from many, many other sources, and Art has spent twenty years chasing down Pike's original research. Art's goal has been to go through M&D line by line and determine where and what Pike took from other works, as well as providing footnotes, essays, illustrations, translations, and a wealth of other supporting material. He has not changed Pike's text—but he has doubled the size of the work with new supporting material.

Frankly, the biggest limit on the book has been the size the printer can mechanically pack between two covers. But sooner or later, you have to call it quits. The book will be ready "soon," and the galleys are being proofed now.

Art is uniquely positioned for this job. He works in the Scottish Rite Southern Jurisdiction headquarters, the House of the Temple, which contains Pike's personal library. And he can read and translate at least seven languages, along with possessing what I enviously regard as the kind of thoroughly annoying mind which has allowed him to almost commit the whole of M&D to memory. Also working with Art has been Illus. Bro. Rex Hutchens, author of "A Bridge to Light."

The Scottish Rite Southern Jurisdiction has made an incredible commitment to educating their members and providing reference material on ritual, symbolism, history and philosophy. From the Master Craftsman education program and the Scottish Rite Research Society, to the publication of incredible books like this and the Scottish Rite Ritual and Monitor, they have toiled diligently in an ongoing effort to provide a rich and rewarding, ongoing system of quality instruction to 32° members eager to learn more about their degrees.

We in the Northern Jurisdiction can only sigh with envy.

UPDATE: More About Joplin Tornado Relief Efforts

The following messages have been posted on the Scottish Rite Orient of Missouri website about the situation in Joplin:

Brethren and friends,

So many have already shown their heartfelt love and support for those in distress in Joplin. All of our prayers are helping as well. Please see the contact information below as to how you may help further at this time. We have also been blessed by other Jurisdictions from around our country who are helping in every respect as well. I have been advised that all of our DeMolays and their families in the area have been accounted for without any fatalities. Unfortunately, at present, at least 35% of our Masonic Family in Joplin have been seriously affected by the tornados and storms. Please help where you can. God bless those in need and all who surround them.

Sincerely and fraternally,
Dad Cockerham


Subject: Joplin Update


We have been in contact with the Secretary of the Scottish Rite (which also houses Friendship Lodge #345) in Joplin. To date they are unaware on any fatalities to area Masons, although some have had their homes damaged or destroyed. The Scottish Rite Temple was not damaged and the Joplin Valley is currently serving 600 meals a day to volunteers and the community even though they are under a boil order for their water supply.

They have been receiving donations of food and water, but their greatest need now is funds so they can continue their efforts.

If you would like to make a donation, you may send a check payable to the Scottish Rite Valley of Joplin with the notation “tornado disaster relief”. The Valley of St. Joseph will be accepting donations of behalf of Joplin or you may send payment direct to Joplin. The Grand Lodge of Missouri has also established a disaster relief fund and payment should be made payable and sent to the Grand Lodge of Missouri with the notation “Joplin area disaster relief”. I have included the addresses below.

Scottish Rite Valley of St. Joseph
515 North 6th St.
St. Joseph, MO. 64501-1802

Scottish Rite Valley of Joplin
Attn:Richard Lowrey
505 South Byers Ave.
Joplin, MO. 64801-2609

Grand Lodge of Missouri
6033 Masonic Dr., Suite B
Columbia, MO. 65202-6568

Please keep the community of Joplin in your thoughts and prayers.

Richard Paul PDDGM 7th District
Executive Secretary Scottish Rite, Valley of St. Joseph

The Joplin storm was the deadliest single tornado in America since modern record-keeping began over 60 years ago, claiming the lives of at least 125 people. As of this afternoon, Missouri public safety officials say that 232 people are still missing.

Masonic Society Semi-Annual Meeting in Salt Lake City 7/16

Make your reservations now for the The Masonic Society Semi-Annual Meeting in Salt Lake City, Utah!

TMS will be complementing the already outstanding program put together by the Rocky Mountain Masonic Conference. Our events will take place Saturday afternoon, July 16 after the conferral of the Mark Master Degree in the magnificent Salt Lake Masonic Temple.

All Master Masons are welcome. Membership in TMS is not required.

Here is the schedule:

1:00 P.M. to 1:30 P.M. Registration

1:30 P.M. to 4:00 P.M. Presentations


  • Pierre "Pete" Normand, FMS, former editor of American Masonic Review, and of The Plumbline, the newsletter of the Scottish Rite Research Society and noted Masonic writer and speaker. (Topic to be announced)
  • Glen Cook, FMS, Past Grand Master, Most Worshipful Grand Lodge of Utah (Topic to be announced)
  • Dr. Jay Williams, TMS Member, Albuquerque, New Mexico. Dr. Williams has a Ph.D. in linguistics, and speaks the Navajo Indian language fluently. His presentation will be: Át’é jiní ‘It Was Said': The Transmission of Architectural Esoteric Knowledge in Navajo and Freemasonry
Symbols, along with the allegories in which they are embedded, provide means of reproducing sacred architecture with a high degree of accuracy without the aid of written forms, in that, such symbols are mnemonic aids or vehicles in the transmission of esoteric knowledge. Symbols within ceremonial Navajo (Diné) sandpaintings form a sacred allegorical template or iikááh which are required in building the hooghan or traditional Navajo home. Such means in reproducing sacred architecture parallels the universal construction of the Masonic Lodge. Such parallelism between Navajo and Masonic transmission of knowledge may be founding characteristics of traditionally oral-based societies.
  • Dr. Kenneth Davis, author, Past Master of Lodge Vitruvian No. 767 in Indianapolis, and member of TMS board of directors, Rio Rancho, New Mexico will speak on "Freemasonry and The Tarot"

Banquet will be at the Alta Club located approximately midway between the Embassy Suites Hotel and the Salt Lake Masonic Temple.

6:00 P.M. to 7:00 P.M. Cocktail Hour (Cash Bar, No Credit Cards Accepted)

7:00 P.M. Dinner
  • After dinner remarks will be made by Most Worshipful Brother John C. Liley, Jr., Grand Master of Masons, Grand Lodge of Utah
Registration Fee (including banquet) $75.00 per person. Reserve online here.

Hotel information:
To obtain the discounted room rate of $109 at the Embassy Suites Hotel in Salt Lake City, be sure to mention the RMMC. This applies even if you are only attending the TMS portion of the weekend. There will be no room discount available under the name of The Masonic Society. The number for the Embassy Suites is 801-359-7800.

Please be aware that while we are partnering with the RMMC to make the semi-annual meeting a broader experience for TMS members, these are two separate events and reservations must be made separately with the respective organizations. The RMMC will not accept reservations for the TMS portion of the weekend. The TMS event is not included in the $170 RMMC registration fee. TMS cannot accept reservations for the RMMC portion of the weekend.

Wednesday, May 25, 2011

Indiana Widow's Sons Raising Money For Riley Hospital

The Widows Sons International Motorcycle Association has expanded over the last few years into eleven states in the U.S. and five countries outside the U.S. The club is open to Freemasons who ride a street or highway-legal motorcycle and are in good standing in their blue lodge.

The Widows Sons Masonic Riders of Indiana regularly participate in the Miracle Ride for Riley Hospital For Children here in Indianapolis. This motorcycle ride takes place annually, and thousands of riders come from all points of the state to end up at the Riley Hospital for Children. In 2010, the Miracle Ride raised $285,000 with about 7,000 motorcycles participating.

Riley is consistently ranked among the top comprehensive pediatric hospitals in the nation. Funded solely by donations, Riley offers medical care to all Indiana children, regardless of a family's ability to pay.

This year's 18th annual Miracle Ride will take place on June 4th & 5th. Brother Aaron Taylor from Valparaiso has again set up a sponsor page for the Miracle Ride in the name of Indiana Freemasons and the Widows Sons Masonic Riders of Indiana. As of today, they need only $3,000 to reach their goal of $10,000! If you feel so inclined, please take a moment to click here and make a donation.

Tornado Disaster in Joplin, MO: AASR Needs Volunteers

Calling southwest Missouri-area Masons.

The Joplin Valley Scottish Rite needs help in their kitchen to cook and deliver meals for the tornado victims and the relief and rescue workers, Thursday and Friday 7 am-11 am, and 11 am-3 pm. Contact Tom Berger 417-781-1605 or the Valley office at 417-623-3719 to volunteer.

Brother Don Huggins in Kansas City reports:

"They could also use some more food, cleaning supplies, help keeping the Temple clean, etc. They are working their rear ends off feeding people. The KC Valley is getting a supply delivery ready but tornados in the KC area this afternoon have slowed us down a little. Please make sure to coordinate your arrival and not just "show up" unexpectedly . . .

"There is no electricity, water, etc so if someone arrives expecting to be fed, housed, etc they will further burden the system . . . ATMs, gasoline, food, bottled water, cash, are scarce. The motels, college dorms, etc are full of emergency workers and victims so it is critical to coordinate with the Joplin Valley to make sure they can fit you in for sleeping . This will be a long term project because it will take a long time to clean up which has not really started. They are still looking for injured and missing people.

"The Temple in Joplin will need not only cooks but also someone to clean the bathrooms, floors, repair anything that breaks like toilets or kitchen equipment, and eventually when this is all over to get the building back in shape."

The Valley of Joplin Scottish Rite Masonic Center is located at 505 S. Byers Ave.

Also, click here for a message from the Grand Master of Missouri AF&AM, M:.W:. Gail S. Turner, regarding disaster relief. Donations may be made payable to the Grand Lodge of Missouri with the notation "Joplin area disaster relief".

Tuesday, May 24, 2011

2nd Masonic Restoration Foundation Symposium in Alexandria, VA 8/19

The 2nd Masonic Restoration Foundation Symposium will take place from August 19-21, at the George Washington Masonic Memorial. This year the Symposium will be hosted under the auspices of Alexandria-Washington Lodge No. 22, one of the most historic lodges in the nation, and a proponent of excellence in Masonic observance.

Meetings will be held at the Memorial in the Alexandria-Washington Lodge Room and the Memorial Theater. The event will begin with a special Festive Board held in the Grand Masonic Hall on Friday evening, featuring Keynote Speaker, Julian Rees, Julian Rees, Past Junior Grand Deacon, UGLE, and Contributing Editor of Freemasonry Today magazine.

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

Early Registration (until July 19) for the Symposium is $50.00. Bear in mind there are limited searts available, and last year's event in Colorado was quickly sold out. The official hotel is the Hilton Alexandria Old Town.

The Masonic Restoration Foundation is a non-profit, tax exempt 501c(3) educational organization that provides news, research, and analysis relating to the rich heritage in Freemasonry and current trends in the American Fraternal Experience. The Masonic Restoration Foundation Symposium is the largest gathering of Masons in the United States who are expressly committed to observing the highest standards of excellence in the Craft.

Download the complete program here.

Sunday, May 22, 2011

Broken Windows

(This column appeared in Issue 2 Autumn 2008 of the Journal of the Masonic Society)

Sixty years ago, a broken window would get a kid in serious trouble. Neighbors would round up the miscreant and there would be a price to pay for causing the damage. But the proliferation of broken windows, with no consequences for the offenders, signals a lack of control, an erosion of caring, and a devastating loss of pride.

Criminologists James Q. Wilson and George Kelling developed the `broken windows’ thesis to explain the growth of crime and decay in urban areas that are plagued by vandalism and unkempt property. The theory goes that if a building has broken windows, graffiti on the walls and trash in the foyer, it encourages – nay, invites – vandalism, crime and further deterioration. If the landlord doesn’t fix the problem immediately, he’s a big part of the problem, because he is providing an atmosphere of decay for the whole neighborhood, whose inhabitants will come to believe their community is a lost cause.

I contend that the same theory can be applied to our aging, decaying Masonic buildings. The more we neglect our Temples on the outside, the more they rot spiritually on the inside, spiraling into lethargy and failure. One of the most misunderstood phrases in Masonry is that the fraternity regards the internal and not the external qualifications of a man, and we’ve gone on to believe it about our Temples. The truth is that what is on the outside is a reflection of what goes on inside—both in men and in buildings. We’ve been breaking our own windows. And it’s high time we got a whuppin’ for it.

In 1892, the Freemasons of Chicago built the tallest skyscraper in the world, twenty-two stories high, and it remained the tallest building in Chicago for more than thirty years. In 1926 the Masons of Detroit opened the largest Masonic building in the world, home to almost thirty different Masonic bodies, with room for a total of fifty. It had more than a thousand rooms, three auditoriums including one that seated 4,100 people, restaurants, ballrooms, hotel rooms, a barber shop, even an indoor pool. They believed “build it and they will come.” They donated lavishly to their fraternity and constructed splendid Temples for us, designed to last for generations as proud symbols of Freemasonry. And they spent lots of their own money, at a time when there were no tax incentives to do so; nor were there social safety nets for their retirements. Times were tough, yet they still gave much in both time and treasure to Freemasonry for these places we now often treat with such appalling neglect. What our forefathers constructed for the Ages, many now scornfully dismiss as white elephants.

In the effort to be politically correct, we don’t call them Temples anymore, but our fathers and grandfathers and great-grandfathers sure did. These were Temples to the ideals of Freemasonry. Great things went on inside of them, and the community knew who and what the Freemasons were and what they stood for. The Masonic Temple was vital to a community. Balls were held there. Political debates were held there. Visiting celebrities and luminaries were feted there. Immigrant citizens were sworn in there. Today, thousands of people drive past our faceless buildings and never know what they are.

Freemasonry is not a building, and lodges can meet anywhere, but these Temples are a part of our heritage. They are priceless, irreplaceable treasures. And we throw them away at our own peril. The least we can do is protect the best of them until a new generation comes along that cherishes them as our grandfathers did. But as every year ticks by and one more Temple goes away, we will never get them back. And we certainly won’t ever have the vision—or the guts—to build another. When new men see these tumble down places, so obviously uncared for by our own members, why would they want to join us? And if they do join and are treated like bratty interlopers for daring to suggest spending any money to clean up the joint, they won’t come back.

My own lodge’s original three-story brick building (sold far below fair market value fifteen years ago) was entirely financed by one individual brother’s gift in 1907 of what would today amount to almost $700,000. We stopped asking our members for money for our own Temples long ago in favor of our Masonic Homes, the Shrine hospitals, the Dyslexic Centers, the CHIPs programs, the York Rite charities, and more. But as wonderful as those programs are, we are making a big mistake if every penny we have goes into them.

We don’t ask anymore. We don’t ask ourselves to step up to the plate to collect $2000 for carpeting, or $4000 for a furnace, or $10,000 for a parking lot, or a million for a new building. Churches do, and so do every other kind of community organization, from YMCAs to country clubs. So did Lodges, once.

Don’t misunderstand—not every clapboard pigeon roost from the 1920s necessarily needs to be preserved, any more than my rural uncle’s outhouse from the same era. One neighbor’s historic landmark is another’s ramshackle eyesore. In most cases, we really do have too many lodge buildings. We don’t walk or ride a horse to the Stated Meeting anymore, so we no longer need a lodge every five miles as the crow flies. It is a far better use of our resources for there to be many smaller lodges that meet in one common Temple.

If we don’t present a dignified face to the outside world and provide meeting places that our old and new members are proud of, we are slitting our own throats. Better for us to meet in a hotel ballroom than in a fallen-down barn of a place that we fail to maintain. At least a hotel will keep it clean, repaired, climate-controlled and well lit. But if we have any desire to really rebuild this fraternity, our Temples need to regain their place at the center of our communities, as they were 60, 80 and a hundred years ago. They need to be places we want to come to, and bring our friends and families to. They need to be comfortable and inviting, places where brethren want to congregate before and after meetings, instead of eating, meeting and fleeing from.

That isn’t going to happen with $45 annual dues and no strategic financial planning for the future.

Evansville, Indiana Masonic Temple Endangered

Evansville, Indiana's downtown Masonic Temple was opened in 1912. In 1982, it was placed on the National Register of Historic Places. Now, due to declining numbers and rising costs, the Temple is in imminent danger of not making it to its centennial celebration next year. And that's a damned shame.

The Temple is home to Evansville Lodge No. 64, Reed Lodge No. 316, Lessing Lodge No. 464, Constellation Lodge No. 748, Daylight Lodge No. 752, along with the Scottish Rite Valley of Evansville and the Evansville York Rite bodies of Evansville Chapter No. 12 RAM, Simpson Council No. 23 and LaValette Commandery No. 15 Knights Templar.

From today's Evansville Courier & Press, "Both Masons and their lodge face a perilous future" by Joshua Claybourn:

"The once proud tradition of Masonry now faces declining membership and dues and rising maintenance costs, putting a tremendous financial strain on lodges. On June 13th local Masons will vote on whether to sell the building they've called home for nearly 100 years.

Masonic lodges have been a fixture in town since 1819, the same year that the City of Evansville was incorporated.


The building is an impressive classical revival structure measuring 72 feet by 104 feet, with four stories and a basement.

The exterior walls of the first two floors are faced with stone and the stories above trimmed with both stone and terra cotta. The interior floors and partitions are supported by steel columns and girders, also following the Roman classic order.

The attention to detail and strong, quality craftsmanship of the structure is entirely appropriate for a Masonic Lodge.

Masonry has its roots in stone masonry guilds and is structured around the allegorical metaphors of the building trades, and in particular the building of King Solomon's Temple. The impressive masonic meeting room is built to model the dimensions, in cubits, of Solomon's Temple.

Brethren can tell me all day long that Freemasonry is not a building, and that these temples are white elephants, and that it makes so much more sense to go into a cornfield and erect a nice, cheap, steel pole barn. I say our grandfathers would slap us all in the mouth and denounce us for being cheap, shortsighted, visionless cravens. They built these irreplaceable homes for us, and all they asked of us was to maintain them. When we pitch them overboard, we lose a part of our history, our image and our own self esteem that we can never get back. When we let them slip away because we are too helpless to figure out how to form trusts, foundations and long range building funds to keep the roof from leaking, after our forefathers actually did the hard work and made real sacrifices and financial commitments to build them in the first place, what does that say about us?

Coil Library & Museum: Legacy of the American Anti-Masonic Period, 1826-1838

The Grand Lodge of California's Henry Wilson Coil Library & Museum of Freemasonry has a new online exhibit available on its website, in conjunction with the upcoming California Masonic Symposium on June 25th.

The Legacy of the American Anti-Masonic Period, 1826-1838

On September 11, 1826, William Morgan of Batavia, New York published an exposé on the rituals of Freemasonry.

Shortly thereafter, he was arrested for an unpaid debt, and released upon the receipt of payment from an acquaintance he knew from the local lodge. A few hours later, Morgan was re-arrested for yet another debt and taken to the jail in Canandaigua. That evening a person claiming to be his friend paid the debt and Morgan was released into this individual’s care, and boarded a carriage waiting for him outside the jail. Thence, he was driven to Ft. Niagara and was never seen again. Legend has it that he was murdered by Masons in retaliation for his revelation of their rituals. Of course, the details are far more complex and often the accounts by those who followed the case are conflicting or fabricated. Not that the Masons of Batavia handled it any better: the court’s jury and the judge that presided over the ensuing trial of those accused for abducting Morgan were Masons, thus causing widespread suspicion and fueling the conspiracy theories and fears of secret societies and Freemasonry that already existed.

Somebody Needs To Save This

It's out of the range of my current financial circumstances, but I saw this auction on Ebay tonight. It's a 4'x6' stained glass window depicting the weeping virgin and Father Time, with other symbolism on the edges. Look at the enlargements for the details. The description says it's from a New Jersey lodge. "Buy it now" price is $2,500, but he'll take an offer.

Hate to see beautiful pieces like this vanish. Does anyone know what lodge it might have come from?

Saturday, May 21, 2011

WEOFM: "Veiled in Allegory & Illustrated in Symbols" by Chris McClintock

The 16th video presentation from the Worldwide Exemplification of Freemasonry is now available. This week's program is "Veiled in Allegory & Illustrated in Symbols" by Chris McClintock, PM. .

From Brother McClintock's website:

Chris McClintock is an author specialising in ancient symbolism. He became an Irish Freemason in 1991, joining Lodge No 754 Coleraine. He became Master of the lodge in 2005. Intrigued by the curious symbolism and gestures used within the workings of the lodge he set about investigating those rituals to try to discover their underlying meanings.

In 2001 he joined Lodge 200 the Irish Lodge of Research to further his studies and to seek assistance to ground his work within a framework that was ritualistically and historically accurate. His eight year quest has culminated in the book The Craft and the Cross.

He has also been a stained glass artist for 20 years carrying out many commissions to design and build windows in civic buildings, churches and private dwellings. He was interviewed for a TV documentary by RTE in Dublin and by BBC Radio Ulster following his commission for a commemorative window for the Queen’s Golden Jubilee.

The Worldwide Exemplification of Freemasonry 2011 Lecture Series is a free presentation of Masonic education endorsed by the Grand Lodge of Indiana F&AM, beginning January 1, 2011 and running through December 31, 2011. So far this year, programs on WEOFM have been viewed more than 250,000 times.

Michael Halleran in Gettysburg Today

Brother Michael Halleran, author of "The Better Nature of Our Angels: Freemasonry in the American Civil War," will be speaking at the Gettysburg Museum and Visitor Center today, Saturday, May 21st, 2011. This public event begins at 2PM.

The Center is carrying Brother Halleran's book, and is one of the rare instances of a book about Freemasonry offered for sale by the National Parks Service.

Michael is the former editor of the Scottish Rite Research Society’s Plumbline. He is a freelance writer, a lecturer at Emporia State University, and a practicing attorney in the Flint Hills of East-Central Kansas. He is a member of both Emporia Lodge No. 12, AF&AM, and Mount Zion Lodge No. 266, AF&AM, Topeka, Kansas. Halleran received the Mackey Award for Excellence in Masonic Scholarship by the Scottish Rite Research Society for his article on Civil War Freemasonry in Heredom, vol. 14 (2006), and he was the author of the "Brother Brother" feature for The Scottish Rite Journal (now appearing in The Square Magazine). He is a member of the Quatuor Coronati Correspondence Circle, and the Scottish Rite Research Society, where he studies American military Masonry and the traditions of military lodges worldwide.

The Gettysburg National Military Park Museum & Visitor Center is located at 1195 Baltimore Pike, Gettysburg, PA 17325. For more information, contact the center at (717) 334-2288.

Statewide Open Houses in Utah Today

Lodges across Utah are participating in a statewide open house today, Saturday, May 21st. The Grand Lodge of Utah F&AM is encouraging lodges to open their doors to the public. Price of admission? Visitors who bring nonperishable food donations can tour Masonic lodges across Utah from 10 a.m. until 2 p.m. Food donations will benefit the Utah Food Bank. Last year's efforts brought in more than 900 pounds of food from over 1,600 folks.

On the tour list is the Masonic Temple in downtown Salt Lake City, which will be the location of the Masonic Society's Semi-Annual Meeting in July. See the article from the Deseret News, "Take a tour with Utah's not-so-secret Free Masons" by Lee Benson.

Lodges will also be open in Bountiful, Brigham City, Clearfield, Logan, Ogden, Moab, Provo, St. George, and Tooele

According to Grand Master John Liley, Utah has initiated 165 new Masons over the last year, out of a total membership of about 2,000, in Utah's 34 lodges. It is the first net increase in Utah Masonry in more than 30 years.

Friday, May 20, 2011

Recognition of GLNF Suspended Across Europe

As expected after a meeting earlier in the month in Kiev, an official joint statement was issued by five European Grand Lodges on May 18th, regarding withdrawal of recognition of the Grande Loge Nationale Française.

Statement on the current problems within the National Grand Lodge of France

Since its founding in 1913 the National Grand Lodge of France (GLNF) has been the stronghold and warrant of Masonic regularity in France.

The GLNF, and its members, have always observed the rules and obligations of regularity. Unfortunately, since October 2009, this grand lodge has increasingly been disrupted by discord and disharmony. It is regrettable that under the current leadership these internal quarrels have led to law suits in the civil courts of Paris.

These civil actions have resulted into two facts:

1) the day – to – day governance of the GLNF is now in the hands of a court appointed “ad hoc administrator”, and

2) the internal problems of the GLNF have been widely covered in the national and local press in France.

In addition, the various groups within the GLNF have been airing their differences in public, often using an excessive, un-masonic and - at times - libellous language.

These events and the ensuing institutional turmoil, are not only bringing the GLNF but also regular Freemasonry itself into disrepute.

For the sake of regular Freemasonry and in order to protect our Grand Lodges, we, the Grand Masters signing this declaration, therefore distance ourselves from the events within the GNLF.

Moreover, we have agreed to initiate within our Grand Lodges and according to the provisions of our respective statutes and by-laws, the procedures leading to the suspension of our recognition of the GLNF.

We all wish and hope that harmony, peace and concord can be restored in order to allow the Brethren of the GLNF to live once again according to the Principles and Values of universal Freemasonry.

Die Großloge von Österreich, Nikolaus SCHÄRZLER, GM
Grande Loge Suisse Alpina, Jean-Michel MASCHERPA, GM
Grande Loge de Luxembourg, Paul GEISEN, GM
Vereinigte Großlogen von Deutschland, Ruediger TEMPLIN, GM
Grande Loge Régulière de Belgique/Reguliere Grootloge van België, Eli PEETERS, GM

Brussels, Berlin, Luxembourg, Vienna, Lausanne, the 18th of May 2011

Though not listed in this joint declaration, the Grand Lodge of Poland has also withdrawn recognition from GLNF.

The other shoe that hasn't dropped—yet—is the question of whether the United Grand Lodge of England will also yank recognition. According to the LML in English blog, "Rumours suggest that the UGLE will meet and announce its own position on June 20th, 4 days prior to the court decision on the GLNF appeal. LML in English is attempting to obtain additional information, including the attitude of the Grand Lodges of Scotland and Ireland."

And will any U.S. grand lodges follow suit?

If that happens, who will assume the new position of regular, recognized Freemasonry in France? A new group that has split from the GLNF, a newly reorganized GLNF leadership (if they can ever manage to kick GM Stifani into the alley and hold a legal election), or perhaps even the Grande Loge de France?

Meanwhile, Stifani continues to whistle in the graveyard, issuing firings, suspensions or expulsions on a weekly basis (last week his own Grand Secretary resigned).

See also:
Grande Loge Nationale Française Imploding: UGLE Weighs In
France: GLNF Board of Directors Resigns
Paris Court Appoints Attorney To Administer GLNF
GLNF Grand Master Stifani Resigns . . . Sort Of