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


Wednesday, September 28, 2011

Lawrence M. Principe Speaks on Alchemy October 6th in Malibu

An event at the J. Paul Getty Villa in Malibu, California—Lawrence M. Principe of Johns Hopkins University will speak on Alchemy, Thursday, October 6th at 7:30PM.

From the website:

Although alchemy is better known as a phenomenon of the Middle Ages and early modern period, its origins actually lie in late antiquity. In the Hellenized Egypt of the third century AD, ancient Egyptian craft knowledge and traditions encountered Greek natural philosophy. This union resulted in the emergence of alchemy, a subject balanced between theory and practice, between material production and speculation about the hidden ways of nature.

Many of the features that would continue to characterize alchemy for the next fifteen hundred years developed in this earliest stage of the "Noble Art:" secrecy, allegory, and the goal of finding a substance or process capable of turning base metals into gold and silver. The founding figure Zosimos (about 300 AD) left behind extensive writings of which only fragments survive, yet these tantalizing bits reveal glimpses of a keen experimentalist and theorist, one who combined Aristotelian, Platonic, Gnostic, and other intellectual elements with practical work and productive endeavors.

Science historian Lawrence M. Principe of Johns Hopkins University explores these scanty fragments of text that survive, along with a few objects, that reveal a surprisingly vigorous beginning to alchemy in the waning years of the classical world.

Tuesday, September 27, 2011

Indiana Masonic Home Kid Invented Doritos

You've probably heard the story this week that Arch Clark West, inventor of the Dorito chip, died this past week at the age of 97, and that his family intends to sprinkle the tasty snack over his gravesite. It's been all over the news for two days.

You probably didn't know that he was raised at the Indiana Masonic Home. West was born in Indianapolis on September 8th, 1914, and was placed in the Masonic Home in Franklin, Indiana after his father, who was a Mason, died, leaving his mother with two sons she couldn't support. A vast number of the children raised at the Home were not orphans, but were sent there because of tough economic times, or the loss of one parent.

West got his bachelor's degree in nearby Franklin College on a scholarship. He then became a cheese salesman in Indianapolis for Standard Brands.

He joined the Navy in 1943 and was a gunnery officer aboard the USS Holt during WWII. When the war ended, he returned to his Indianapolis job. West had a strong reputation in the food industry when the Frito Co. recruited him to be its marketing vice president in 1960. He had worked for both Lever Brothers and Young & Rubicam in New York as a liaison between the creative teams and clients that included Jell-O.

He created the Dorito chip in 1961 after Frito merged with H.F. Lay. He was marketing VP of Frito Lay in Texas at that time. Doritos started when West was on a family vacation near San Diego. He found a snack shack selling fried tortilla chips and brought home the idea.

He will be laid to rest in Dallas on October 1st. RIP.

H/T to Mike Brumback.

Sunday, September 25, 2011

Call For Articles: The Masonic Society

Do you have a terrific article of Masonic research just sitting in your drawer collecting dust? The Fall issue of the Journal of the Masonic Society will be going to press in late October. The Journal is always looking for original articles of Masonic research (not simply opinion pieces) that would be of interest to our international membership. Please forward your articles in Microsoft Word format (.doc or .docx) to editor@themasonicsociety.com

We are a full-color magazine, and regularly feature pictorial essays as well. Do you, your lodge or your GL museum have a Masonic "treasure" we could feature? Send it along. We also publish Masonic poetry, artwork and notices of current symposia, lectures and conferences.

Download our submission guidelines here.

Issue #13, Summer 2011, is belatedly landing in mailboxes now. As my cancer treatments come to an end, we will be back on schedule this time around, with the Fall issue actually arriving in the Fall. Many thanks to the members for their patience.

Not a member of the Masonic Society yet? We are the fastest growing Masonic research organization, with members in 13 countries, all 50 states and all Canadian provinces. Our Journal is published quarterly, and we have an annual meeting each year at Masonic Week in February in Alexandria, Virginia. In addition, we hold a semi-annual meeting in the summer at various locations around the U.S., often in conjunction with other Masonic events. Our membership includes the Journal, dues card, pin, and a beautiful wax-stamped membership patent that may be the coolest Masonic certificate you've ever received. Plus, our local "2nd Circle" groups also offer meetings and events for you to attend. All for a paltry US$39!

Opportunities to advertise in the Journal remain remarkably affordable. See our rate card on the website.

For more information see our website at www.themasonicsociety.com

W:.B:.Steven Vitale at Missouri Lodge of Research Wednesday

The 2011 Missouri Lodge of Research annual meeting will be held Tuesday, September 26, 2011 at the Grand Lodge Communication at the Holiday Inn In Columbia at 3:00pm. The annual breakfast will be on Wednesday morning September 27th, at 7:00am, continuing the Truman Lecture Series with a presentation from W:.B:.Steven Vitale, 9/11 Survivor & Freemason. Cost for the breakfast is $20.00.

Bro. Vitale grew up in New York City and is currently living in Central New Jersey. He is a member and PM of St. John's Lodge No. 1 in New York. Steven's presentation is a personal account of his experiences at Ground Zero on September 11, 2001, experiences that led him to reevaluate his own life, become a Mason, and find a path to his own self-discovery.

For more information, see the website here.

Saturday, September 24, 2011

Masonic Tour of Scotland July 2012

Brother William Leight has organized a "Traveling Man's Masonic Tour of Scotland" for July 10-18, 2012. It is being arranged through Perillo Tours. The tour will travel to Edinburgh, Glasgow, Dundee, Aberdeen, Inverness, and more. Sites include Rosslyn Chapel, Stirling Castle, Kilwinning Abby, Blair Castle, Balmoral, a cruise of Loch Ness, and much, much more. Price per person in a double room is $3,700 US (single supplement is $600), and includes round trip air from New York, five dinners, five breakfasts, and four-star hotel stays.

See the website for details.

George Washington Memorial Society

The George Washington Masonic Memorial Association has announced the creation of a new Society comprised of a select group of members dedicated to supporting the Memorial and its Mission.

The purpose of the new George Washington Memorial Society is to raise support for the George Washington Masonic Memorial and to increase awareness of the Memorial among Masons and in the community. Membership in the Society will consist exclusively of Charter Members and Regular Members.

Charter Membership will be conferred for contributions of $1,000 or more to the Memorial with the membership application during the period from the foundation of the Society through February 22, 2013, and $250 or more per year thereafter. Regular Membership will be conferred for contributions of $500 or more to the Memorial with the membership application, and $250 or more per year thereafter.

To join, see the Society's website here.

H/T Todd Eastham

Rick Wakeman on Freemasonry

Lewis Masonic's program "On The Level" interviews renowned composer and keyboard virtuoso Rick Wakeman ("Yes") about his Masonic membership in England's Chelsea Lodge No. 3098, and why he joined.

H/T to Daniel Gardiner.

Friday, September 23, 2011

Indiana's Dwight L. Smith Lodge of Research Sept. 24th, 2011

Indiana's Dwight L. Smith Lodge of Research will hold a Called Meeting tomorrow, Saturday, September 24, 2011, in the dining room of the Indiana Masonic Home in Franklin, Indiana.

The paper that will be presented is: "Jo Daveiss: Frontiersman, Attorney, Soldier and Freemason." Lunch will be at noon, with the presentation to follow.

This meeting is open to all Master Masons regardless of whether or not they are members of the Lodge.

The Lodge meets four times each year, twice in Indianapolis at Indiana Freemasons' Hall in Indianapolis, and once each in the northern and southern regions of the state. Called meetings may occur throughout the year at the order of the Worshipful Master to present notable new papers. Currently, membership in the Lodge is open only to Indiana Freemasons who are members in good standing of a regular subordinate Lodge holden under charter of the Grand Lodge of Indiana, F. & A. M.

Secretary, WBro. Bill Sassman, will be happy to take your dues and sign you up if your membership has lapsed. Membership is $15 per year, due and payable on January 1 for the year in advance.

For more information, see the lodge website at www.indianalodgeofresearch.com , and be sure to sign up for the lodge Facebook page here.

Sunday, September 18, 2011

The Patriot Lodge at George Mason University

The Patriot Lodge U.D. is the newest lodge to be formed in Virginia in almost thirty years (not including research and daylight Lodges), and was issued its dispensation from the Grand Lodge of Virginia on September 28, 2010. It is an “academic” lodge that focuses its membership on the students, faculty, staff, and alumni of a college or university. Patriot Lodge works closely with George Mason University in Fairfax, VA, and was inspired by the example of The Harvard Lodge.

From the George Mason University paper "Spirit" on August 30th:

George Mason University has become the site of the first “academic” Freemason lodge in Virginia. Formed last fall, the Patriot Lodge has already held meetings and participated in several campus events, according to the “master” of the lodge, Jon Shelton, BA Government and Politics and Russian Studies ’94.

Freemasons are members of a fraternal organization that is formed into chapters called lodges. Many people are familiar with the Shriners, a major branch of the Freemasons, which provides free care to children in 22 hospitals across North America.

Other examples of academic lodges are at Harvard University and George Washington University in the United States, and the University of Oxford and the University of Cambridge in the United Kingdom.

Lodge members participated in Mason’s Homecoming parade and pre-game festivities, with historical reenactor and lodge member Donald McAndrews portraying the statesman George Mason in the parade. Members also walked in the American Cancer Society Relay for Life fundraiser held on campus in April.

The Patriot Lodge meets monthly at the Mason Inn, except for a summer break in July and August. At the monthly meetings, the business meeting is for members only, but the dinner, which features a guest speaker, is open to others.

Past speakers have included Ted Kinnaman, chair of the Department of Philosophy, which sponsors the lodge, and Patrick Mendis, an affiliate professor with the Department of Public and International Affairs who recently published a book titled “Commercial Providence.”

Shelton points out that in the 1970s, the Scottish Rite (another branch of Freemasons) established the Charles and Polly Webber American History Scholarship Endowment at the university, which continues to award $1,000 annually. The lodge is also in the process of establishing an award for graduate students pursuing a philosophy degree concentrating on ethics. The group hopes to award the first scholarship in summer 2012.

“Mason welcomes both the enthusiasm and the history of philanthropy typified by the Patriot Lodge,” says Tom Hennessey, Mason chief of staff. “It further exemplifies the depth and breadth of the diversity that is such an essential component of the university.”

The idea to do something Masonic on campus originated in 2009 from several underclassmen who were already Freemasons. Shelton and other local Masonic leaders then moved to form an academic lodge in order to celebrate their ties to the institution as well as to attract new members from across the Mason community.

The Patriot Lodge U.D. meets on the 3rd Friday of every month (dark in July and August) at the Mason Inn, George Mason University. Meeting starts at 7PM, dinner at 8PM, followed by a speaker, then close the Lodge.

H/T to Brother Ira Dreyfuss

Replica of Pike's Royal Order of Scotland Jewel

Brother John Bridegroom in northern Indiana is a talented artist who has created many Masonic logo, pin, certificate and clothing designs over the last few years. His latest offering is a 2 inch replica of Albert Pike's Royal Order of Scotland jewel that is on display in the House of the Temple in Washington, D.C. Pike was the first Provincial Grand Master of the Provincial Grand Lodge of the Royal Order of Scotland in 1877.

It's priced at $15, it is 2" across with two pins on its back.

For more of John's work, see the Masters Craft on Facebook and ebay.

Edison Recordings of Masonic Music

The brethren of Mystic Star Lodge No. 69 in Rushford, Minnesota have a collection of early 20th century Edison wax and disc recordings of Masonic music on their website. They were created for lodges that had no organ or maybe just needed a little goading to get into the musical spirit. They were recorded between 1909 and perhaps the late 1920s.

The collection includes music for the Entered Apprentice degree, the Master Mason's funeral dirge, and a march created for Boston Commandery of Knights Templar. The site also includes lyrics, in case your lodge wants to revive some of these toe tapping hits.

GL of Iowa Suspends GLNF Recognition

According to reports from the annual communication, the Grand Lodge of Iowa AF&AM has joined the growing ranks of grand lodges worldwide that have temporarily suspended recognition of France's Grande Loge Nationale Française (GLNF) over its growing list of internal struggles.

GLNF has lost at least 600 lodges so far over the problems, and GM Stifani continues to cling to his position like a great clinging thing.

I've lost count, but Iowa's action, I believe, pushes the number of GLs suspending recognition of GLNF to over 20 now.

Saturday, September 17, 2011

Masonic Music of the 18th Century

My culture for the evening. I just downloaded from iTunes Musiques rituelles maconniques du 18ème siècle ('Masonic ritual music from the 18th century'), conducted by Roger Cotte.

It includes:

• Le Déluge - Rituel maconnique funèbre by François Giroust
• Mozart's Masonic compositions
• Marche Maconnique and Opferjed by Ludwig van Beetheoven
• Maureelied (En l'honneur du roi Fredéric-Guillaume III du Prusse) by Freidrich-Heinrich Himmel
• Marche maconnique funèbre by Henri-Joseph-Taskin

Thursday, September 15, 2011

MSA Appeal For Relief – Connecticut – Vermont - Virginia - New York

The Masonic Service Association of North America has issued an appeal for relief for the states of Connecticut, Vermont, Virginia and New York.

Hurricane "Irene" caused devastating damage, both along the East coast and further inland.

While extensive damage was done in several states this appeal is on behalf of the Grand Lodges of Connecticut, Vermont, Virginia and New York. Hurricane "Irene" caused damage in New York who then suffered even more damage from tropical storm "Lee."

When remitting funds to the MSA, in response to this appeal, please mark clearly on your check how you wish the funds designated. If no designation is made the funds will be divided equally between Connecticut, Vermont and Virginia and New York.

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!

Canonbury Masonic Conference October 22-23

London's Canonbury Masonic Research Centre presents its 13th annual international conference in October. This year's theme is "Freemasonry and Empire."

Saturday 22 October

9:00 Registration and coffee
9:50 Official opening

10:00 Keynote lecturer: Freemasonry across Empires
Dr. Jessica Harland-Jacobs, Associate Professor, University of Florida

10:45 Morning coffee

11:15 Chair: Professor Andrew Prescott, King’s College London

Empire, the Craft, culture and the Anglophone Caribbean
Dr. Allison Ramsay, University of the West Indies, Barbados

Western ideology meets Eastern promise: an archival view of the masonic relationship between Umdat ul Umrah (future Nawab of the Carnatic) and the Prince of Wales (future King George IV), Grand Master
Susan Snell, Archivist, Library and Museum of Freemasonry, London

Freemasonry and the Indian Parsi Community: a late meeting on the level
Simon Deschamps, University of Bordeaux III

Uncharted masonic identities in British colonial amateur films, 1920 - 1940
Dr. Annamaria Motrescu, Centre of South Asian Studies, University of Cambridge

12:35 Panel discussion
13:00 Lunch

14:15 Keynote lecture: Freemasonry and slavery in the British Empire
Professor Cécile Revauger, University of Bordeaux III

15:00 Afternoon tea

15:30 Chair: Dr. Jim Daniel, University of Sheffield

Russian Freemasonry, imperial reform and utopianism in eighteenth and early nineteenth-century imperial Russia
Dr. Yuri Stoyanov, SOAS

Freemasonry in Egypt in the nineteenth and twentieth centuries
Karim Wissa, Diplomat

Muslim reformers and the British Empire: the masonic affiliations of Jamal ad-din al-afghani and Mohammed Abduh
Said Chaaya, L’Ecole Pratique des Hautes Etudes (EHPE), Paris

Freemasonry in the Congo, 1908-1914. Anti-masonic discourse of the Catholic missionaries
Jimmy Koppen, Free University of Brussels

16:50 Panel discussion
17:30 Close
19:00 Dinner

Sunday 23 October

10:00 Keynote: Anglo-American masonic relations, 1840 - 1890
Dr. Jim Daniel, University of Sheffield

10:45 Morning coffee

11:15 Chair: Dr. Jessica Harland-Jacobs, Associate Professor, University of Florida

Iconography of the Imperial lodges
Mark Dennis, Curator, Library and Museum of Freemasonry, London

Setting the Empire in Stone: Richard, Earl Temple and the building of Stowe
Dr. Joan Coutu, Associate Professor, University of Waterloo

Eighteenth-century masonic halls and the British Empire
Harriet Sandvall, Library and Museum of Freemasonry, London

'An Emblem of the Unity of the Empire': Freemasonry and the Imperial Institute, South Kensington
Frank Albo, Peterhouse, University of Cambridge

12:35 Panel discussion
13:00 Lunch

14:15 Keynote lecture: Curling with Cannonballs: Fratriotism and the negotiation of identity in Europe
Professor Andrew Prescott, King’s College London

15:00 Afternoon tea

15:30 Chair: Professor Cécile Revauger, University of Bordeaux III

The ‘great masonic Empire’ of Napoleon Bonaparte and the construction of masonic identities in Europe (1800-1815)
Dr. Eric Saunier, University of Le Havre

Freemasonry and the Central Powers: the 1918 Berlin conference
Reinhard Markner, Berlin

Regimes of territoriality: overseas conflicts and inner-European relations, c.1870-1930
Dr. Joachim Berger, Institute of European History (IEG), Mainz

16:30 Panel discussion
17:00 Close

Tickets for the conference are £100. Price includes entrance to the abovementioned film showing, as well as two buffet luncheons over the conference weekend. Tickets for the Saturday evening dinner are an additional £40.00.

Cheques should be made payable to the ‘CMRC’ and sent to: Canonbury Masonic Research Centre, Canonbury Tower, Canonbury Place, London N1 2NQ. Please be sure to include your name and full contact details (including phone number and email address) with your payment and state if you have any special dietary requirements. Please also note that the CMRC does not accept credit card payment. BACS and IBAN transfer, as well as student reductions, are available on request.

For further information please contact the conference organiser Matthew Scanlan on tel: 00 44 (0)20 7226 6256 or email conference@canonbury.ac.uk

Wednesday, September 14, 2011

MSA Picks Ohio's George Braatz As New Exec Secretary

The following press release was issued today by the Masonic Service Association of North America:

George O. Braatz was selected recently as the new Executive Secretary of the Masonic Service Association of North America by MSA’s Executive Commissioners.

Brother Braatz is a Past Grand Master and Grand Secretary Emeritus of the Grand Lodge of Ohio.

He succeeds Richard E. Fletcher, who is retiring after 24 years of service as the chief operating officer of the MSA. Brother Fletcher is a Past Grand Master of the Grand Lodge of Vermont and has been recognized nationally as a leading voice speaking on behalf of Freemasonry.

The MSA, was formed in 1919 and now headquartered in Silver Spring, MD, provides educational material, statistical reports, Disaster Relief and administers a Hospital Visitation Program across North America.

Brother Braatz, who has served for many years on the steering committee of MSA’s Masonic Information Center, is also currently a member of the board of directors of the George Washington Masonic Memorial in Alexandria, VA. Over the years, he has been active in numerous Masonic activities at state and national levels.

The Executive Commissioners of MSA began a search for a new Executive Secretary in the fall of 2010 after Brother Fletcher submitted his resignation. Announcement was made to all member jurisdictions of MSA and a deadline of June 1, 2011 was set for the acceptance of applications by the executive commissioners.

Nearly 20 distinguished brothers expressed interest in the position and submitted resumes and/or letters of qualifications.

After reviewing the written materials, Executive Commissioners cast ballots to determine the two finalists for the position who were interviewed at the board’s semi-annual meeting in Silver Spring last month.

Brother Braatz emerged as the board’s designee.

The Executive Commissioners of MSA are extremely excited in this selection and look forward to the continuing service of MSA to all member jurisdictions and Masonry in general with the support of Brother Braatz as executive secretary, Chairman William G. Roberts, PGM of Nevada said this week.

“We strongly acknowledge the leadership of M.W. Brother Fletcher during his nearly-quarter-century of service to MSA and wish him God speed in a well-deserved period of retirement among family and friends.”

William J. Roberts, PGM (NV)
Chairman Executive Commissioners

Congratulations, Brother Braatz!

"Saving Freemasonry"

I came across one young man's take on "saving" Freemasonry. He's got a pretty short list, actually.

How To Save Freemasonry From It’s Greatest Enemy: Freemasons

I read a lot of blogs, articles and books on Freemasonry. I see brothers concerned with the state of Freemasonry. Some are concerned with quantity and some are concerned with quality. Both groups are only trying to do what they feel is best. On one end, you have the “mason in a day” approach and on the other end you have the Traditional Observance Lodge movement. There are also some of us, probably most of us, who like the materials we have been given by our Grand Lodges and just want our brothers to use them. Just use them. That’s all. Get rid of the short forms, only do one degree per man at a time, enforce memory work, have a list of articles from the Grand Lodge to be read at each meeting on the hidden mysteries of Freemasonry, allow the consumption of alcohol after the meeting in the lodge and that’s it. No need to start new lodges. No need to force a dress code. Freemasonry can be done in casual clothes, too, if the ritual is spot on. It is all a matter of preference, not divine law. Just make a few, simple changes to the ones we have and we will REALLY see an improvement. Put more Masonry in Masons. If this plan is adopted and enforced by the Grand Lodges, we will maintain unity and quality AND…I think we will start to see some numbers again.

My generation wants the old school brotherhood, the fun and the fraternity. We want the brandy and cigars. We also want the esoteric stuff. We want to earn it. We want the rituals. We want the Jedi, the Hogwarts. There is no need for a new book or anything fancy. Just put what I have suggested into motion and viola, our Craft is back on track. It has to start at the top and from the grassroots.

Young Freemasons have to do their part. Hang in there with your lodge. Don’t start a new one. Start living these reforms. Be patient and loving to your older brothers. Show some respect. They kept it alive this long when our fathers wouldn’t join. Eventually, we will outlive the naysayers and we will be Freemasonry. Just maintain quality and wait. It will be our Masonic conspiracy.

Read the rest here.

H/T to Matt Johnson

UGLE Formally Severs with GLNF

The Grande Loge Nationale Française (GLNF) situation in France shows no sign of improving, and the United Grand Lodge of England has now taken the formal steps to suspend recognition of them. According to the LML in English blog site today,

At the UGLE Quarterly Communication today, in accordance with the published agenda, the Grand Lodge passed a resolution formalizing the suspension of Masonic relations with GLNF. Suspension was announced in July as an administrative recommendation, but is now confirmed and enforceable as a Grand Lodge edict.

No-one spoke against the resolution, and the vote appeared to be unanimous.

Since the GLNF remains legally recognised, UGLE Brethren who are also members under GLNF were warned that, if their GLNF Lodge repudiates the GLNF, then those Brethren might be required to resign from either that Lodge or from the UGLE. It appears that this latter point remains under consideration, and further advice may follow at a later date. This point only concerns a very small minority of GLNF members but it could have implications for those Lodges or individual masons who rally to the ULRF.

URLF is a new confederation made up of regular lodges that have split from the GLNF. So far, more than 600 lodges have left. This leaves France with no recognized Freemasonry for a growing number of GLs around the world (approximately 19 have suspended relations with GLNF, including much of Europe, and the GL of Massachusetts in this country).

GM Stifani continues to cling to power, even though he is at the center of all controversies in this imbroglio.

See also:

France: 30% of GLNF Lodges Vote To Break With Stifani
GL of Massachusetts Withdraws Recognition of GLNF
GLNF Meltdown: Grand Lodge of Ireland Rumored To Be Next
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

Monday, September 12, 2011

Morgan Disappeared

"Captain" William Morgan disappeared on this date in 1826 from Batavia, New York.

Just in case anyone knows where he is.

Author Andrew Hammer in St. Louis and Indianapolis

On December 16th, 2011, W:.B:. Andrew Hammer, PM of Alexandria Washington Lodge No. 22 in Virginia, will be the 'commencement' speaker for the inaugural semester of a new Masonic education course for 27 lodges in St. Louis, created by Tuscan Lodge No. 360. The textbook for the course is his book Observing The Craft, which is now being given to every new brother raised in that Lodge.

Andrew will also be speaking in Indianapolis at Lodge Vitruvian No. 767 on Tuesday, October 25th. Details forthcoming.

Sunday, September 11, 2011

3 Minutes With Brent Morris

The Washington Examiner features a "3 Minute Interview" with S. Brent Morris this week:

Morris is a cryptologic mathematician and author and expert on Freemasonry. He is the D.C.-based managing editor of the Scottish Rite Journal of the Supreme Council.
What is Freemasonry?

It's a fraternity, in the term of Delta Sigma Phi at college, or the Moose Lodge, or the Knights of Columbus. We've got about 1.3 million members and 10,000 lodges in the United States.

Aren't a few presidents and other notable people Freemasons?

Fourteen presidents have been Freemasons. Gerald Ford was the most recent. George Washington was a Freemason, as was Paul Revere, Benjamin Franklin, the Marquis de Lafayette and Henry Ford. Harry Houdini was also a Freemason, and so is Richard Dreyfuss.

How did the Freemasons develop such a mysterious reputation?

The original Freemasons were a trade guild, and the earliest lodge minutes we have, from 1588 in Edinburgh, Scotland, they are reprimanding one of their members for hiring a non-lodge member.

But by 1717 in London, it's gentlemen who are running the lodges, they are not working with their hands or in connection with the building trades. One of the great mysteries of the history of Freemasons is just what exactly happened to cause this transition.

Is there a secret handshake?

They had secret means of identifying each other, like secret handshakes and passwords. That is because they had to travel to do their work. If you are going to maintain any kind of union consistency of tradesmen and craftsmen, you have to have a way to identify members.

Any truth to the Freemason conspiracy theories?

You read stories that we are trying to infiltrate the government and run it for ourselves, but that's not true. The reputation is a whole lot bigger than the reality.

Ten Septembers Ago

I have never forgotten a piece Peggy Noonan wrote in the Wall Street Journal a year after the Twin Towers were destroyed. It was called The Fall After Sept. 11, and her words have haunted me for 9 solid years:

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

Times of impact: 8:46 a.m. and 9:02 a.m. Time the burning towers stood: 56 minutes and 102 minutes. Time they took to fall: 12 seconds. 2819 dead from 115 different nations. 343 Fireman/paramedics, 23 NYPD, 37 Port Authority officers.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

MM Degree in Blue & Gray

From Cape Island, New Jersey in Shore News Today, "Cape Island Masonic Lodge dons Blue and Gray":

At a special meeting in July, Cape Island Masonic Lodge #30 performed a Master Mason Degree on Roy Sundstrom and Roy Abrams. These newly made masons grew up together and participate in Civil War reenactments throughout the year. The degree was conferred by W.M. Harry Sundstrom, the father of Roy, who also participates in these events.

Sundstrom requested that each officer wear the uniform of the Union and Confederate armies during the degree. As a result, each officer proudly wore the Blue or the Gray during the first portion of the degree.

Following the degree work, three $1,000 scholarships were awarded to high school seniors pursuing their higher education. These scholarships were made possible through the Kevin J. Ward Memorial Scholarship Fund and are given annually. After the degree and awards, members and guests enjoyed fun and fellowship at a picnic, which included great food and weather.

WEOFM: Fundamentalism and Freemasonry by Gary Leazer

The 28th video presentation from the Worldwide Exemplification of Freemasonry is Freemasonry and Fundamentalism by Gary Leazer. (CLICK HERE TO VIEW)

An ordained Baptist minister, Gary Leazer received a B. A. degree in Bible and philosophy from Mississippi College, Clinton, Mississippi, and a M. Div. and a Ph. D. degree from Southwestern Baptist Theological Seminary. He served almost fifteen years on the staff of the Interfaith Witness Department of the Southern Baptist Convention’s Home Mission Board, the last five years as director of the department. He conducted the investigation of Freemasonry for the Southern Baptist Convention in 1992-93. In 1993, he was forced to resign from the Home Mission Board because of his investigation.

He is adjunct professor of religious studies at Mercer University in Atlanta, Georgia

He was raised a Master Mason in Clarkston Lodge No. 492 in 1997and served as Worshipful Master of his lodge in 2003. He served as Worshipful Master of Gwinnett Daylight Lodge No. 744 in 2008. He is also a member of Snellville Lodge No. 99. He is a 32° KCCH life member of the Valley of Augusta and Valley of Atlanta in the Orient of Georgia. He is Grand Prelate for the Grand Commandery of Georgia. He served as Grand Chaplain of the Grand Lodge of Georgia in 2005 and is presently Second Grand Steward in the progressive line of the Grand Lodge of Georgia. He is editor of the Masonic Messenger, the official periodical of the Grand Lodge of Georgia. He is a member of a number of research lodges; he is a full member of the Texas Lodge of Research, a Fellow with the Maine Lodge of Research, a Founding Fellow of the Masonic Society, and was Master of the Georgia Lodge of Research in 2007. He is a Blue Friar. He has served on the Masonic Information Center in Silver Spring, Maryland for fifteen years.

You may contact Brother Leazer at garyleazer@yahoo.com .

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.

Note that I am no longer placing the videos for direct viewing into the blog. Somehow they've been screwing with the code and causing major loading problems. So please use the links above.

Saturday, September 10, 2011

Fund Raising For Joplin Scottish Rite

The Scottish Rite Valley of Joplin, Missouri did amazing work this year when the tornados ripped through the city, providing meals and a place to sleep for workers involved in the cleanup. The Valley was in need of funds and repairs before the disaster struck, and those problems have not gone away. The needs still remain to keep their magnificent building open and in good repair.

Prior to the tornados, the Valley had started a drawing to raffle off a new 2011 Chevrolet Camaro. Unfortunately, as you can imagine in the devastated area, ticket sales have been slow at best.

On October 19, 2011 the Scottish Rite Valley of Joplin will hold a drawing to award several prizes to the winning ticket holders. There will be only 2,000 tickets sold at $50 each, so odds of winning are good. The prizes to be awarded are:

The 500th, 1,000th and 1,500th ticket drawn win $100
The 1,999th ticket drawn wins $500
The 2,000th ticket drawn wins the new 2011 Chevy Camaro

The drawing will be held at the Scottish Rite Cathedral located at 505 South Byers Avenue in Joplin, Missouri. All ticket holders are welcome to attend but need not be present to win.

For more information and to get tickets online, visit www.Win-Camaro.com

Master's Blend Coffee

We’ve all had it: that stainless steel pot of generic tar-like material that is supposed to be coffee, heated to a molten stage and belching smoke like the forges of Isengard. Nearly every lodge features this terrible concoction that has no business being labeled as suitable for human consumption. It isn’t even good for washing down green beans or cold spaghetti.

Comes now Zazzy’Z new Master’s Blend coffee, billed as “medium blended coffee, with light acidity and a sweet finish.” The label does not exaggerate. It is a mild coffee, blended of Malawi “AAA” and Indian Plantation, perfect if you aren’t the sort who demands a weapons’ grade morning brew. Best of all, it’s available as both a regular and decaf. (The decaf is Sumatra Lingtong.) I highly recommend both. Slip it in to the lodge pot and see if it doesn’t become the new crowd pleaser. As an added bonus, the label is beautifully designed and festooned with symbolism, and makes an suitable small gift for any Mason.

Both are available in 12 ounce bags for $8.99 plus shipping directly from Brother Oliver Craughwell’s Zazzy’Z Coffee in Virginia, at zazzyzroast@gmail.com

Author John Nagy in Florida October 1st

Boynton Lodge Esoteric Research Group, in Boynton Beach, FL is hosting Dr. John Nagy and his Building Builders workshop on Saturday, October 1 for all Master Masons, for $25. This is a 4 hour seminar. Lunch is provided, and a dues card is required for entry.

The lodge is located at 2701 Quantum Blvd, Boynton Beach, FL

Dr. John S. Nagy is a multi degree professional business/life coach and technical advisor who provides coaching support to business professionals through his home office in the Tampa Bay area. Brother John has been in the coaching field since January 1989. His Masonic books—Building Hiram, Building Boaz, Building Athens, and Building Janus—are described as "Uncommon Catechism for Uncommon Masonic Education."

For more information, see the lodge website at http://nagy.eventbrite.com/

California's N. Hollywood Lodge Celebrates Temple's 60th Anniversary

North Hollywood Patch features a terrific article today about North Hollywood Lodge No. 542 in California, its history, its famous members, and even its eccentric "Neo-Mayan" architect on the occasion of it's temple's 60th anniversary.

See Freemasons Celebrate 60th Anniversary of North Hollywood Temple by Craig Clough:

It's one of the most striking, unusual and bizarre structures in North Hollywood, if not in all of the San Fernando Valley.

It's architectural style has been described as "neo-Mayan," and for 60 years it has towered over pedestrians on Tujunga Avenue and visitors to the southern end of North Hollywood Park.

On Sept. 1, the Freemasons of the North Hollywood Lodge No. 542 celebrated the 60th anniversary of the building with a public dinner and congratulatory speeches from Los Angeles City Councilman Tom LaBonge and Suzanne Toyryla, the president of the North Hollywood Rotary Club.

Lodge No. 542 started in the 1920s, back when North Hollywood was still called Lankershim, according to Armen Mardirousi, the current Master of the North Hollywood Lodge Freemasons. The members rented a building until a movement got under way in the 1940s to build their own temple.

"Tonight, basically we are celebrating the 60th anniversary of the dedication of the building by the Grand Master of all Masons in California in 1951," Mardirousi told Patch.

The North Hollywood Lodge has a deep connection to Hollywood's golden age. Former heads of some of the nearby movie studios were members, as were some famous actors, most notably Audie Murphy, the film star who was also the most decorated solider of World War II. Murphy lived nearby in Toluca Lake, and an upstairs room in the lodge, the Audie Murphy Lounge, is dedicated to his memory. Many of his medals and other artifacts are displayed, as is his application to join the Masons.

Read the rest here.

Friday, September 09, 2011

Indiana Masonic Home Festival This Sunday

If you are in or near the central Indiana area on September 11th, visit the annual Indiana Masonic Home Festival in Franklin. Food, fun & entertainment. There will be a live band, vintage aircraft flyovers, a Civil war re-enactor's camp, crafts and huge food tent. BouncerTown play center for the kids. And it all ends with a huge parade around Red Skelton Circle.

Opens at 7:00AM, parade at 3:00. There is free parking, and this event is open to the public.

See the program here.

For more information call 317-736-6141 or 888-464-6077

The Indiana Masonic Home is located at 690 S. State Street in Franklin, IN.

Natl Heritage Museum Exhibit

The National Heritage Museum’s new exhibition, “Inspired by Fashion: American Masonic Regalia,” uses clothing and images from the Museum’s collection to trace the inspiration behind Masonic regalia and costume. Each section explores a different source – contemporary fashion, the military, Orientalism, and theater – in order to show the connections between everyday style and fraternal fashion.

Open through March 10, 2012 at the National Heritage Museum, 33 Marrett Road, Lexington, Massachusetts at the headquarters of the Scottish Rite NMJ. The Museum is open Wednesday through Saturday from 10 a.m. to 4:30 p.m. To learn more visit, NationalHeritageMuseum.org

Grand Encampment Sues Grand Masters

Earlier this year, the imbroglio over the establishment of the new Grand Priory of the Reformed and Rectified Rite of the United States of America (CBCS), body by the Grand Encampment of Knights Templar of the USA was pretty well covered here. The history of the battle between the Great Priory of America (GPA) and the Grand Encampment's Rectified Rite of the CBCS can be read in great detail here, admittedly from the Grand Encampment's side.

Then came the Conference of Grand Masters in Denver and the perplexing move by the Commission on Recognition to stick its institutional nose into the sovereignty and workings of an appendant body, which was clearly in violation of its mission as established since its very beginning. The unfortunate result of that meddling has been actions by several grand lodges or grand masters to declare the Grand Encampment of Knights Templar to be irregular, or to prevent their members from being Knights Templar in their states. Oregon, Washington, Oklahoma, Tennessee and several others have issued various restrictions against the Grand Encampment over an issue that grand lodges have no business being involved in, and never would have done if the Commission had stuck to its original mission. The result is that Knights Templar in several states are denied membership in this organization now, and the Grand Encampment's Eye Foundation is losing valuable contributions in those states that could be helping the blind. Worst of all, much of the poison being spread against the Grand Encampment is being done behind the scenes by a tiny group of men who want to see that the only CBCS body in America remains nothing but a supper club for a handful of self-appointed elite Masons, while holding the 230 year degree system of the Rectified Rite hostage in the U.S. The Great Priory of Helvetia (Switzerland) was desirous of having the Rectified Rite practiced, with full conferral of the degrees, in the United States, and they were and remain well aware of the "supper club" dead end of the GPA. The Swiss desire to have their Order's degrees worked properly as it is all over the world except in the United States.

Unfortunately, the GPA changed its mind after the agreement in place since 1932 and became desirous of becoming a sovereign and independent Templar order in the U.S. That meant the sovereignty of the Grand Encampment was being challenged by them. That is what motivated the actions of the Grand Encampment to seek a charter.

I happened to come across a complete collection of reports by the Commission on Recognition dating back to 1962. That's just shy of 50 years. In the five decades of reports I have, not one single summary brings up an appendant body. In fact, the standard preface for decades read as follows:

"The Commission on Information for Recognition was organized in 1952 as a facility to gather, collate, and from time to time revise information on Grand Lodges in other lands, as a service to this Conference.

The Commission neither advises nor recommends that recognition be given to any Grand Lodges, but merely indicates whether or not it is considers that a Grand Lodge in question satisfies the condition of regularity."

Grand Lodges. Not appendant bodies, Shriners, Tall Cedars, Scottish Rite, Templar, Royal Arch, Grottoes, OES Grand Chapters, or anything else. Grand Lodges alone are its sole consideration. Since 1952. Because Grand Lodges do NOT recognize foreign appendant bodies. US Supreme Councils recognize other Scottish Rite bodies at their discretion. The Grand Encampment recognizes foreign Templar bodies at its discretion. Grand Lodges stay out of these situations. Until now, apparently.

Thankfully, I live in Indiana. We have a little thing called common sense here. It's why more Vice Presidents of the U.S. have come from this state than any other. We are a calming influence. I hope that's the case again with this issue. MY immediate Past Grand Master and his Deputy GM (now GM of Indiana) wrote a letter to the Conference of Grand Masters demanding the sacking of the members of the Commission on Recognition for failing to follow their own guidelines as set down by the Conference, for substantially amending the written version of their report after the oral version was read and accepted at the Conference, and for altering its own mission statement in the printed proceedings to suddenly claim appendant bodies were indeed part of their purview, without permission of the Conference. I hope that letter is taken seriously by the head of the Conference, because the ex post facto action of the Commission was not honest. And I say that even though I have friendship and admiration for several Masons on the Commission. The domino effect of what they've done because of a pissing war between Masons who used to be friends has set in motion a destructive wave that needs to stop.

But now a larger issue is about to break on the horizon. Because certain grand masters and grand lodges have branded the Grand Encampment as irregular, that is a charge that carries severe and derogatory monetary effects, as well as harm to the institutional reputation of the Grand Encampment. One GL has even threatened to seize the money of the Grand Commandery, and the Knights Templar Educational Foundation in their state. As a result, a lawsuit of defamation has now been filed against those grand masters and past grand masters who labeled the Grand Encampment as irregular, along with the Conference of Grand Masters. Meddling in the internal affairs of an appendant body is a dangerous precedent. Should GLs now look into whether all of the members of Shrine Clubs in Europe are regular or not? Should GLs start questioning the patents of Scottish Rite bodies and Supreme Councils? Really? And what of all of the various bodies that meet at Masonic Week every year? Should GLs investigate the origins of all of the AMD degrees? Or peek up the skirts of St. Thomas of Acon, the Rosicrucians, the Knight Masons, the Operatives, etc? And does anybody want to weigh in on the Jesters?

This fight is not about regularity of degree work, it is over the supposed irregularity of origin of the chartering organization. Even a low ranking air bender like me can argue both sides of that issue with conviction. So what are GLs doing involved in this? Does any Grand Lodge really believe that the Grand Master of the Grand Encampment would have seriously started a Rectified Rite body if he truly believed the charter he had in his hot little hand was irregular, or that the entire officers' line of the Grand Encampment would just drink that Kool-Aid and follow him down such a suicidal course of action?


I despise fraternal lawsuits. No one ever comes out of them in good shape, they cost a lot of money, and reputations get harmed. As I understand it, GLs that simply said their members can't join the CBCS are not named in the suit. Only those who made the statement that the Grand Encampment or their Rectified Rite is now irregular.

There is a simple way out of this mess. GMs who passed these edicts need to rescind them and let the Grand Encampment and the CBCS chartering bodies in France and Switzerland hash out the details. Let the GEKT hash this out among its members at the next Triennial. And the Commission on Recognition needs to issue a statement saying they now have zero opinion on the issue, and that they were mistaken to do so in the first place (and they might put the wording back in their mission statement the way it's been since 1952, while they're at it). Wrecking the Knights Templar in states across the U.S. is no way to solve this. And I can't honestly believe anybody really wants to have to fly to New Hampshire and hire New Hampshire attorneys to explain themselves in open court as to why they didn't follow their own internal rules. Grand lodges are sovereign over the three degrees. Appendant bodies are sovereign over their own degrees. As long as the Rectified Rite isn't conferring the EA, FC and MM degrees, this is not GL business.

Come on, brethren. Do the right thing.

(Full disclosure: I am a member of the Grand Priory of the Reformed and Rectified Rite of the United States of America)

UPDATE: The suit does NOT involve GMs who simply ordered their members not to join the Rectified Rite. Only those who chose to label the Grand Encampment AND/OR the Rectified Rite as irregular are named in the suit. It's a fine distinction, but the suit argues that labeling either the GEKT OR the Rectified Rite in any way irregular does substantive harm and is actionable. I suspect the backlash from GMs will be a damned angry one. No one likes fraternal lawsuits. However, I also suspect some GMs named in the suit will claim there was no reason for it and that there was an "easy way out" of this situation, even though such easy solutions were never forthcoming. The argument over whether the Rectified Rite charter was irregular should have been fought out internally at the GEKT's next triennial, and not duked out in Grand Lodge offices. Which goes back to the ill-fated decision of the Commission on Recognition even having an opinion on this subject, which made some GMs believe they were required to act on it. No, they weren't, and still they are not. The report was in error and in violation of its own rules. And the Commission only makes recommendations, it has zero power on its own. That makes it eminently ignorable. Now attorneys are involved, and it's going to be damned hard to stuff this one back in the bottle.

And I am expressing my personal opinion, which has nothing to do with my official capacity as editor of the Journal of the Masonic Society, which has taken no position on this controversy, and will not.

Freemasons For Dummies: Washington, Oregon and the Grand Encampment
Freemasons For Dummies: 2011 Report: Commission on Information for Recognition
Freemasons For Dummies: Grand Priory of the Reformed and Rectified Rite of the USA
Freemasons For Dummies: Grand Priory of the Scottish Reformed & Rectified Rite of the United States of America

Thursday, September 08, 2011

Grand Orient of USA Officially Loses GOF Backing

I've heard the rumor for months, and reported it back in June, but I finally have the actual letter in hand. On August 29th, 2011, the Grand Orient of France issued the following letter concerning the fledgling Grand Orient of the United States of America:

We wanted to inform you that in its plenary session on 27 and 28 May the Council of the Order of the Grand Orient of France took the decision to terminate the agreement with the Grand Orient of the United States of America (GOUS) and the withdrawal of the licenses that had been granted.

It is signed by Jacques Sima, Grand Secretary of External Affairs.

Thus ends any serious claim of cooperation between the GOF and the GOUSA.

I have also received documentation that shows the GOUSA's claims of having a lodge in Washington, D.C.—Benjamin Franklin Lodge—are false (I have seen tax forms from its legal owner), along with their continued claims of amity with the GOF.

Perhaps at long last this distraction of deception and chaos can finally come to an end.

Stand by for the flurry of angry denials from the Halcyon boyz...

H/T to Stephen Quest.

Wednesday, September 07, 2011

Indianapolis AASR Announces Meritorious Service Awards

More good news for my Indiana homeboys. Four brethren in the Indianapolis Valley of the Scottish Rite have been nominated for the Meritorious Service Award and their own red hats: James M. Gridge of Morristown Lodge No. 193; John R. Winkler of Southport No. 270; and two brothers with whom I share membership in Imhotep AMD Council No. 434, Brad Wooten of Century No. 764, and WBro. Carson Smith, fellow Vitruvian No. 767 member.

The awards will be given at the 2012 Council of deliberation meeting in French Lick, IN.

Since 1937, Councils of Deliberation have been authorized by the Supreme Council, NMJ, to annually present this award to a limited number of members who have distinguished themselves by outstanding service, leadership, and dedication to the AASR. Together with the Jewel of the MSA, the red hat is a decoration that can proudly be worn on any official occasion. It is a lifetime achievement, and the holder of this award becomes a permanent member of the Council of Deliberation and is entitled to place "MSA" after his signature.

Well done, brethren!

Tuesday, September 06, 2011

POLL RESULTS: City/Rural Lodge

AUGUST POLL QUESTION: Do you regard your lodge as a "city" lodge or a "rural" lodge?

City lodge: 275 votes (60%)

Rural lodge: 181 votes (39%)

Total votes: 456

Haitian Masonic Temple Vandalized

Here we go again.

A Masonic temple in Haiti is the latest object of vandalism against Freemasons. This time it's a curious attack against both Masonry AND the Catholic Church.

From the Defend Haiti website today:

A freemason temple was vandalized in the northern city of Cap-Haitien on Saturday night, less than a month after the desecration of the cathedral in the same city.

"They destroyed everything, everything that was inside the building: bible, throne chairs, a complete desecration of the temple," an official of the temple, Karol Muscadin, told the AFP.

This act was not claimed, but leaflets were found on the site accusing Freemasonry of being a "group of criminals who use the bible to hide their true face."

'Just as the Catholic Church, the Freemasons are working for Lucifer, abandon these religions to follow Jesus in another church,'

Le Nouvelliste read the document, written in Creole.

In August, unidentified men ransacked the cathedral Cap-Haitien, Haiti's second city, destroying sacred objects and statues of saints.

Monday, September 05, 2011

Levant Preceptory in Knight Templar Magazine

My article about Levant Preceptory, Indiana's Masonic Knight Templar medieval period recreation ritual group at Raper Commandery No. 1, appears in the August 2011 issue of the Knight Templar Magazine. Many thanks to editor and Sir Knight John Palmer.

Read it online here.

Levant is planning a trip to confer the Order of the Temple at the Detroit Masonic Center tentatively on March 24th, 2012. The combination of Sir Knights clad in chainmaille, broadswords and helms, on the floor of Detroit Commandery No. 1's exquisite medieval asylum will be the perfect combination. Details coming soon—don't miss it!

Student Film, “The Masonic Map,” Premieres at Salt Lake Masonic Temple

Utah Freemason Joseph James has combined his passion for the fraternity and filmmaking. the result can be seen at the Salt Lake City Masonic Temple on September 10th.

From the UVUReview:

It’s a movie about Porter Rockwell, Free Masons, ancient bloodlines and the Ark of the Covenant. Oh, and UVU students. “The Masonic Map,” which was written and directed by senior Communications major Joseph James, is set to have its Utah premiere in downtown Salt Lake City. As James describes it, the movie “a story about a Masonic bloodline that protects a sacred relic.”

The independent film, set to premiere on Sept. 10, recently gained some international attention after winning the Award of Merit from the Accolade competition. According to its website, the Accolade gives awards to “those filmmakers, television producers, videographers and new media creators who produce fresh, standout productions. It is a showcase for cinematic gems and unique voices.”

The film’s premiere will take place at the Masonic Temple in downtown Salt Lake City. The movie’s story involves Freemasons and their ties to Porter Rockwell and sacred religious relics. James, who is a Freemason himself, even received permission to film inside of the Masonic Temple in Provo, something that has never been done before. It was this act of breaking new ground that James believes helped win the Award of Merit from the Accolade. “No secrets were revealed. I tried to respect all that while still pushing the edge,” James said. James has also received emails from Freemasons from all over the world, applauding his efforts to shed a positive light on Freemasons.


The premiere is set to be a red-carpet event and is completely free, giving the public a rare chance to see the inside of the Masonic temple. James hopes the event will be a fun experience for everyone. “You can to dress up if you want,” James said. “You’re welcome to bring a camera, take pictures with the cast and crew and even walk down the red carpet.” James also hopes the premiere will usher in “ a new era of Utah filmmaking.”

See the Masonic Map website for more information.

Sunday, September 04, 2011

Indiana's Dwight L. Smith Lodge of Research Sept. 24th, 2011

Indiana's Dwight L. Smith Lodge of Research will hold a Called Meeting on Saturday, September 24, 2011, in the dining room of the Indiana Masonic Home in Franklin, Indiana.

The paper that will be presented is: "Jo Daveiss: Frontiersman, Attorney, Soldier and Freemason." Lunch will be at noon, with the presentation to follow.

This meeting is open to all Master Masons regardless of whether or not they are members of the Lodge.

The Lodge meets four times each year, twice in Indianapolis at Indiana Freemasons' Hall in Indianapolis, and once each in the northern and southern regions of the state. Called meetings may occur throughout the year at the order of the Worshipful Master to present notable new papers. Currently, membership in the Lodge is open only to Indiana Freemasons who are members in good standing of a regular subordinate Lodge holden under charter of the Grand Lodge of Indiana, F. & A. M.

Secretary, WBro. Bill Sassman, will be happy to take your dues and sign you up if your membership has lapsed. Membership is $15 per year, due and payable on January 1 for the year in advance.

For more information, see the lodge website at www.indianalodgeofresearch.com , and be sure to sign up for the lodge Facebook page here.

Indiana Candidates for the AASR 33rd in 2012

The following Sublime Princes of the Royal Secret 32° Scottish Rite Freemasons from Indiana were elected to receive the 33° in Cleveland, Ohio on August 28, 2012:

From the Valley of Evansville:
Dennis A. Schreader, Sr

From the Valley of Fort Wayne:
Michael McALexander
Kip Worrel

From the Valley of Indianapolis:
D. Craig Brater, M.D.
Robert J. Frazer
R. Michael Gillie, Jr.
John C. Schwegman
Ed W. Wolf

From the Valley of South Bend:
Tony J. Lala
Vance A. Roberts

From the Valley of Terre Haute:
Jack S. McCullough
Douglas W. Wokoun

And the At Large candidate:
Sammy L. Davis

Congratulations to all of my Indiana brethren, and to all of the Scottish Rite candidates just elected. It will be an amazing experience for you, and I hope to see all of you in Cleveland next year!

Brother Edward Eggleston (1837-1902)

Brother Edward Eggleston (1837-1902) was a Vevay, Indiana, native who died in Lake George, New York, on this day in 1902. Eggleston, whose best known work was The Hoosier School-Master, based on his brother George’s experience as a teacher (George was also a novelist) is said to have ushered in the Golden Age of Indiana literature. Edward was a Methodist minister and a historian, as well as president of the American Historical Society. In 1856, he embarked on a 365-mile walk throughout the American West.

His novels recounting tales of the Indiana frontier were very popular. Other novels included The End of the World, The Circuit Rider, Queer Stories For Boys and Girls, The Graysons, and The Faith Doctor. He bacame a Mason in 1863 in Ancient Landmark Lodge No. 5 in St. Paul, Minnesota. His summer home, Owl's Nest, in Lake George, New York, eventually became his year-round home., where he died in 1902, at the age of 64.

Eye Watch Lebanon

Eye Watch Lebanon is an online magazine and website for regular, recognized Freemasonry in Lebanon. That's a tall order, because Freemasonry in that relatively small country includes a patchwork quilt of grand lodges from around the world, and more than a few of spontaneous formation.

I had the honor of being interviewed in Eye Watch Monthly Issue #3, September 2011.
Have a look here

Previous issues have featured Brothers Tim Hogan and Cliff Porter.

GL of Indiana Library & Museum Summer Update

The Grand Lodge of Indiana Library & Museum has made enormous progress over the summer months in its new home in Indiana Freemasons’ Hall. The painstaking job of opening literally thousands of boxes of items continues, and the volunteer workers have been rediscovering and sorting treasures into a manageable collection. The work is slow at times because of the care required not to cause further damage, and to preserve our heritage. Each carton and every single bit of wrapping paper must be examined to be certain no tiny, priceless item is missed.

The Board has enlisted the assistance of Ramona Duncan-Huse, Senior Director of Conservation and Preservation Imaging at the Indiana Historical Society. We have also hired two Indiana University/Purdue University at Indianapolis interns to aid in organizing, archiving and preserving our most important items, as well as guiding us in making display decisions. The collection of aprons that date from the 1700s is especially in need of care to stabilize the delicate fabric and artwork they contain, as well as research into their origin. Many fragile items were damaged in the 1990s while at the Museum’s temporary home in Franklin during a catastrophic steam leak, and we are determined to protect all we can from further deterioration.

New computer equipment and Past Perfect software has been purchased to assist with the archiving process. New museum cases are being explored, and custom lighting is coming, along with some innovative electronic display equipment that will make the experience more informative, interactive and entertaining than just cases lined with endless rows of coins, medals and other artifacts.

In addition, a website will soon be available to provide information, as well as future expansion that will include an online catalogue of the library’s books and an archive of our museum collection.

In order for any museum to be useful, its collection needs to be changed regularly. Our goal will not be to display everything we have all at once, but to find themes and programs to evolve over time. It will always be a work in progress.

The Library & Museum is located on the 5th floor of Freemasons’ Hall in Indianapolis, and doors will be open during Founder’s Day in January. Regular hours will be forthcoming. If you are interested in visiting or volunteering with this important work, contact the Library Museum Board chairman Mike Brumback, PGM, at mike.brumback@att.net

Saturday, September 03, 2011

Bro. Richard Dreyfuss: "To the Soldiers of the Light"

The latest issue of the Scottish Rite Journal features an article by our new Brother Richard Dreyfuss, 32°, To the Soldiers of the Light:

On the night of my initiation into Freemasonry, I said that I’d been a Mason since I was twelve. It was not a joke, but a statement of fact. For as long as I can remember; I had hoped that one day I would become a member of this fellowship. I knew that the Secret of Freemasonry was no secret, that Free Masons stood for

*the Light,
*the free, open exchange of knowledge and liberty, and
*the work, discipline, and effort to maintain that Light in a never ending war with the Darkness of Ignorance.

Bro. Akram Elias was patient with a twinkle of constant enjoyment as he watched and waited for me to get where I was meant to be. When it was done on June 10, 2011, I can’t express how deeply I felt the rightness in joining with a society that valued ideas that I valued—ideas I knew were the shared ideas of the creators of the nation and were visible from any point in the Capitol.

The Scottish Rite Degrees spell out quite clearly the duties of a Freemason in safeguarding a democratic republic like ours by nurturing the values, principles, and ideals upon which this Great Experiment was founded. I believe the time has come for every concerned citizen in this country—more especially Scottish Rite Masons—to stand up and be counted among those who will play an active role in rescuing our democratic republic...

Read the rest here.