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


Monday, November 28, 2011

Masonic Society Feast of St. Andrew Wednesday Nov. 30th

From Brother Jay Hochberg in New Jersey:

The New Jersey Second Circle of The Masonic Society will host its second annual Feast of Saint Andrew with another great dinner and guest speaker.

We'll return to Bloomfield Steak and Seafood House in Bloomfield for a terrific meal and Light from the podium, courtesy, this time, of a history professor from Centenary College.

Wednesday, November 30 at 7 p.m.


Professor Breandán Mac Suibhne will present "The Freemasons and the Fannet Ghost: An Episode in Irish Cultural History, 1786–1822." This will be a reprise of his lecture to the International Conference on the History of Freemasonry in Virginia this May. It is part ghost story, and part colorful Irish history, but it is a tale you won't forget.

Breandán Mac Suibhne, Assistant Professor of History at Centenary College, is a historian of society and culture in eighteenth- and nineteenth-century Ireland. He has published on para-militarism and the construction of Irish identity in the 1780s, republican rebellion and its suppression in the 1790s, and agrarian 'improvement' and social and political unrest in the 1800s. One of the founding editors of "Field Day Review," an interdisciplinary journal of Irish politics and culture past and present, he also is editor of "John Gamble, Society and Manners in Early Nineteenth-Century Ireland," and, with David Dickson, he edited "Hugh Dorian, The Outer Edge of Ulster: A Memoir of Social Life in Nineteenth-Century Donegal," the most extensive account of Ireland's Great Famine. He is completing a monograph on north-west Ulster, c. 1786–1822.

Bloomfield Steak and Seafood House
409 Franklin Street in Bloomfield
(Only a few hundred feet from GSP Exit 148.)

Let's get together for drinks at 6:30, and we'll retire to our room at 7 p.m.

It is NOT necessary to be a member of The Masonic Society to attend. All Masons are welcome, as are our ladies, family, and friends.

If you were there last year, you noticed it's a small space. Seating IS limited to 30. Reservations are required and, as always, must be made in advance by transmitting your payment, via PayPal, to:


Cost per person: $40. (If you think of it, it would help me if you sent $41, because PayPal takes its "cut" of the transaction.)

For entrees we'll have broiled salmon, chicken marsala, and prime rib, plus red roasted potatoes, all served as buffet. Plus there will be copious appetizers, the house salad, soft drinks, and coffee & dessert.

(And of course the famous Masonic Society gift bag awaits you at the end of the evening.)

Cordially & fraternally,

Jay Hochberg
NJ Lodge of Masonic Research and Education No. 1786

Saturday, November 26, 2011

GL of Michigan Withdraws Recognition of Shrine

The Grand Master of Michigan, MW Frederick E. Kaiser, Jr., has withdrawn official recognition of the Shrine there, and it has been declared clandestine and illegal. Michigan Masons may not attend tyled Shrine meetings in that state.

The problem stems from a Mason who was expelled by the Grand Master in July allegedly for pleading guilty to a crime punishable by incarceration of one or more years, and per Michigan's Masonic rules. Unfortunately, the Elf Khurafeh Shrine and the Imperial Shrine (Shriners International) in Tampa didn't agree and kept the suspended Mason as a full member of the Shrine. A slight complication: he's the current Potentate. He had pled guilty to possessing and operating gambling devices, and probably won't be sentenced until February. However, since he did plead guilty, the GM expelled him. The Shrine did not.


From the GM's letter of November 23rd:

The expelled Mason, by action of Elf Khurafeh Shrine, headquartered in Saginaw, Michigan continues to be a member and Potentate of that Shrine. Elf Khurafeh’s action to retain him was subsequently upheld by the Imperial Potentate. This situation exists despite the reputed requirement that a member of the Ancient Arabic Order Nobles of
the Mystic Shrine (Shriner’s International) must also be a Mason in good standing.

Discussion was initiated with the Imperial Potentate, and counsel for the Imperial Shrine. The Grand Lodge of Michigan explained its position, and requested that the Imperial Potentate reconsider his decision, given information previously unavailable to him. Unfortunately for all concerned and with heavy heart, I must state that no modification of
his position, nor of Elf Khurafeh Shrine’s, has occurred.

Elf Khurafeh Shrine and the Imperial Potentate have failed to adhere to their own Shrine law, by retaining a non-Mason in their ranks. They have also failed to honor their obligations under Michigan Masonic Law. Therefore, acting under § of Michigan Masonic Law, the Grand Lodge of Michigan hereby withdraws formal recognition of the Ancient Arabic Order Nobles of the Mystic Shrine (Shriner’s International) as a Masonic organization in the State of Michigan. The relevant sections of Michigan Masonic Law are as follows:

§3.8.2: Any and all organizations, associations, or persons within the State of Michigan, professing to have
any authority, power or privileges in Ancient Craft Masonry, not fraternally recognized by this Grand Lodge, are
declared to be clandestine and illegal, and all Masonic intercourse with any of them is prohibited.

§ All Master Masons under the jurisdiction of the Grand Lodge of Michigan who hold membership in
Ancient Arabic Order Nobles of the Mystic Shrine are forbidden to attend tiled Shrine meetings when there is in
attendance a suspended or expelled Mason.

It is therefore my order that no Mason who holds membership in a Michigan Lodge, or in a Lodge chartered by a recognized Grand Lodge who resides or sojourns in Michigan, may (1) attend any nonpublic function of any Shrine in Michigan or (2) have any Masonic interaction of any kind with any Shrine organization in Michigan. Furthermore, no Shrine function or activity will be afforded a special privilege not afforded any other unrelated organization that is allowed to use a building dedicated to Masonic purposes, or on the grounds of a building so dedicated.

Violation of these provisions by a Mason under the jurisdiction of the Grand Lodge of Michigan is punishable by charges of un-Masonic conduct.

Arguments with Grand Masters don't generally turn out well.

Friday, November 25, 2011

Manuscript Naming Napoleon Bonaparte a Freemason

In the ongoing question as to whether Napoleon Bonaparte was a Freemason or not, Blog Maconnique is reporting on an 1805 manuscript for sale that describes a Masonic banquet attended by "Brother Bonaparte".

According to Jacques Huyghebaert's translation, a French bookshop " La Librairie des Colporteurs", in Saint-Emilion ( http://www.man.uscr.it ) is currently selling a Masonic Manuscript dated about 1805 which specifically refers to Napoleon Bonaparte being a Freemason for €600.

"Complete manuscript fully organizing a Freemason banquet at the very begining of 19th century. The manuscript is softbound with marbled paper and a handwritten label in the middle with "Banquet works" in French. The banquet is a Masonic ritual meal held most often during astronomical solstices, each lodge having its own rituals. Thus, one will find in the manuscript a series of health and hymns with air normalized by the French music reference book Clef du caveau (key of the vault), some instructions on the symbolic placement of the brothers and many details on the ceremonies.The names of the utensils are listed on a table which contains common names and their equivalent in Masonic symbolism (for example, bread becomes rough stone). Each page is written on watermarked laid in the fleur-de-lys (pre-Revolution period) with a beautiful writing inside black and red frames; pages are numbered and composed with care. Cover is fragile, some pin size holes through the pages, good overall condition.

The manuscript, referring to f. -. Bonaparte and the first victory of the French consul must be dated around 1805, when the FreeMasonry is reborn at the end of the Terror and at the time Napoleon Bonaparte proposed an alliance with the Grand Orient of France. Many dignitaries of the imperial regime were also Freemasons."

Tuesday, November 22, 2011

CANCELLED: December 4th in New York at 92Y

Alice and I were scheduled to speak in New York City at the 92nd Street Y on December 4th. My recovery is going slower than was expected, and so we have reluctantly had to cancel this event.

If you ordered tickets, please contact the Y.

My sincerest apologies to everyone, but I'm just not able to travel just yet. I would have much rather been in New York than sleeping too much and swallowing too many pain pills. Hopefully we can reschedule this event.

Indianapolis Prince Hall Thanksgiving

Several Broad Ripple Lodge brethren and I will again participate in the annual Indianapolis Prince Hall Thanksgiving dinner program. Last year more than 1,000 meals were served to the homeless, shut-ins and others who would otherwise not have a Thanksgiving dinner – an annual tradition that began back in 1983. Our lodge members have taken part in this event since 2002, and it's always a packed house.

The morning is always a labor of love, and brethren from PHA lodges and their Eastern Star ladies from all over the city take part in prepping, cooking, packing, cleaning up, answering the phones, and coordinating deliveries. And it's always great to reconnect with folks I haven't seen since the previous year.

Thanks to the Prince Hall Masons of Central Lodge No. 1, Trinity No. 18, Meridian Lodge No. 33, Southern Cross No. 39, Fidelity Lodge No. 55, Sumner A. Furniss No. 61 (and anyone else I might have forgotten!), for all that you do to help the community, and for keeping this program running strong year after year.

Thursday, November 17, 2011

George Washington Masonic Apron Displayed in WVa

From the West Virginia State Journal, Masonic Lodge to Display Apron Owned by Washington, today:

Mt. Nebo Lodge No. 91, a Masonic lodge in Shepherdstown, will celebrate its bicentennial with a public open house on Dec. 11 where people can come view George Washington's Masonic apron.

The lodge, which is located at 121 E. German St., will be open to the public from noon to 3 p.m.

The apron will go on display at 1 p.m. and Laura B. Simo, associate curator at Mount Vernon Estate, Museum and Gardens in Virginia, will give a presentation about the apron's history.
Following that, the lodge's current Master, George Alwin, of Shepherdstown, will present a history of the Mt. Nebo Lodge, which was chartered in Shepherdstown on Dec. 11, 1811.

The apron it owns was given to Washington in 1784 by the Marquis de Lafayette, who was also a Mason, and worn regularly by Washington until his death in 1799.

After Martha Washington died in 1802, the apron was purchased from her estate for $6 by Thomas Hammond, husband of George's niece, Mildred Washington. She was the daughter of George's brother Charles, who founded Charles Town, WV.

Hammond was a member of the Mt. Nebo Lodge, and he gave the apron to the lodge before he died in 1820.

Since then, the apron has been displayed in public only on rare occasions.

Its first public appearance was in 1844, at the 90th anniversary of the first Masonic meeting in what is now West Virginia, in Charles Town.

Subsequently, the apron was displayed at the laying of the cornerstone for the Smithsonian Institution in 1847 and the cornerstone ceremony for the Washington Monument in 1848.

Until recently, its last major public appearance was at the 100th anniversary of Washington's death at Mount Vernon in 1899.

Wednesday, November 16, 2011

Shriners Seek Photos From Past

The Shriners are looking for photos to document their history for their anniversary next year:

Shriners International is in search of historic Shriner photographs, film and video to help promote our anniversary year in 2012. We encourage you to explore your temple's archives, storage room or even the attic of your home to see what treasures you might discover. Our greatest need is for photos from 1872 - 1962.

We prefer that photographs be submitted electronically to aflenghi@shrinenet.org. If you have a large number of photos, please be sure to e-mail them in a compressed folder. If you choose to physically mail your photos or a photo CD, send them to Shriners International Headquarters, Attention: Amanda Flenghi, 2900 Rocky Point Drive, Tampa, FL 33607. Please note that we will not be able to return photos to you. By submitting photographs, you acknowledge that you or your temple are the owner and that you consent to the reproduction or use of the images by Shriners International Headquarters.

For film or video, please e-mail aflenghi@shrinenet.org. In your e-mail please describe the content, the year it was recorded and the format of the film or video.

New Hampshire Traditional Observance Group Seeks Dispensation

A new Traditional Observance lodge is forming in New Hampshire, to be called Phoenix Lodge. WBro. Paul C. Smith explains the plans for the new lodge on the Grand Lodge of NH website here:

A Traditional Observance Lodge is a lodge that is focused on the initiatic experience of a candidate. Utilizing methods such as a chamber of reflection, the candidate is left with a deep and meaningful experience of what should be a life-changing moment on his entrance into our fraternity. A T.O. Lodge focuses on education and introspection; before a candidate can advance to the next degree, not only must he recite his lesson in full, but present a paper on a topic of his choosing, usually discussing the degree and its importance to him. Papers and presentations are the norm for meetings, as are silence, musical pieces and introspective meditation; we should all strive for enlightenment not only as a time period of the past, but as a recurring state of mind. An Agape (or Festive Board) takes place after every meeting, where discussion and pure Masonic love is shared by all attending. A T.O. Lodge requires the officers and members to dress formally with white gloves, signifying our pure intentions in the Craft. New Hampshire ritual will be used in our lodge, with some best practices from sister jurisdictions being available outside of our normal ritual. Very important is the dues of a T.O. Lodge; purposely high because of the many aspects that the members get from it will be well worth the cost (books, aprons, discussions, meals, guest speakers, etc.)- our lodge would require dues of $360 annually.

While these things may not seem like everyone’s cup of tea, statistics show that this is what many men who are seeking petitions are looking for in Masonry. The goal of this T.O. Lodge is not to steal members, in fact, membership will be purposely low-72 in all, with no more than 3 to 4 candidates expected per year, negating the argument that we will be taking away candidates…after all, if a lodge is worried about losing one candidate to another lodge, it has bigger problems.

Our members will NOT leave their lodges, they will continue to be productive and helpful members of their mother lodge as long as they wish. Visitors will always be welcome, but adherence to the dress code and formalities observed in the lodge are requested. The goal is to be elite…but not elitist. New Hampshire Freemasons are humble, honest and forthright Yankees, and that is what sets us apart from other jurisdictions. Everything we will seek to do in the lodge will be for one distinct purpose; to leave an indelible mark on the hearts and minds of those who choose to become members.

The name that was chosen for our lodge is Phoenix; because as the mythical bird rose from the ashes of the fire that consumed its former self, so to do we believe that our lodge will help to make Masonry flourish again.

There will be approximately 20 members on our charter from across the many districts of our state, and the only direction we seek to go is up.

Our club meetings are open to attend ($10 donation requested); our next meeting will be on December 9 at the Tilton Masonic Temple at 7 PM; be warned however, if you plan on coming, be prepared to join in the conversation and have fun!

Tuesday, November 15, 2011

"Edges of Freemasonry" Intl Conference Sept 2012

"Edges of Freemasonry – Western Esotericism and the Enlightenment" is a two-day conference and an international and academic event organized by the University of Tampere School of Social Sciences and Humanities in association with The Research Lodge Minerva No.27 of the Grand Lodge of F. & A. M. of Finland.

Edges of Freemasonry – Western Esotericism and the Enlightenment aims to investigate exceptional but prominent new currents in human sciences. The conference focuses on modern Freemasonry as a cultural and historically constituted phenomenon but also seeks to create a dialogue with wider contexts like the Enlightenment and especially the history of western esotericism, which has increasingly attracted the attention of academic research. On this basis the conference organizers are hoping to establish a multi-disclipinary and discursive environment to study western cultural and intellectual life from standpoints hitherto somewhat neglected by scholarship.

The conference is open to scholars, researchers and post-graduate students from various disciplines as well as members of masonic lodges and the general public. The conference will take place at the University of Tampere on 7–8 September 2012. The conference language is English.

The call for papers as well as registration for the conference will open on 30th June 2011.

For more information, see the Conference website at http://www.edges.fi/

H/T to E C Ballard

Virginia's Historic Halifax Lodge No. 96

The 1828 Federal style home of Virginia's Halifax Lodge No. 96 will be open for tours this Sunday as part of the Halifax County Historical Society’s Fall Foliage Homes Tour. Theirs is the oldest existing building in the town.

From the Gazette Virginian:

The Halifax Hiram Lodge, or Masonic Lodge as it is more often called, is the oldest structure in the Mountain Road Historic District and the oldest public building in the Town of Halifax. The lodge has been owned and maintained by the Masons since being built in 1828.

Its most distinguishing feature is a late Georgian entrance, original to the date of construction. The exterior of the lodge is brick, with Flemish bond laid with occasional glazed headers on the front, while on the sides, brick is laid in running bond.
The rear annex was built in the early 1940s and houses a kitchen and a staircase, which replaced the original stairway to the second floor meeting room.

In 1929 the Masons offered to share the building with the Halifax Woman’s Club, which still uses it today as its headquarters. In 2002 the club sponsored a fundraising campaign to help Masons with a restoration of the building.

Until the mid-1900s, lodge members held meetings on or around the first full moon of each month. This gave members “moonlight” for those riding on horseback or walking to and from night meetings. However, this practice prompted the community for many years to call the meeting place, the “Moon Lodge.”

The Lodge lost its charter for several years for reasons unknown, but a new charter was granted in 1867.

Friday, November 11, 2011

Happy Veteran's Day

Thanks to all veterans for their selfless dedication and service.

H/T Erin Hammer

Pyramids Closed To Stop "Masonic Concert"

Egyptian antiquities officials are closing the pyramids at Giza today to prevent rituals and a "Masonic Concert" that had been planned for 11/11/11.

From the "Talking Pyramids" blog site:

Atef Abu Zahab, head of the Department of Pharaonic Archaeology said that the decision to close the pyramids only came “after much pressure” from Egyptian Internet users. The “rituals” were referred to by Youm7 in connection to a “Masonic Concert”.

Ali al-Asfar, general manager of the Pyramids at Giza, confirmed the cancellation of the Masonic concert, “11/11,” scheduled for Friday at the Great Pyramid of Khufu. 

Asfar told Youm7 that the Supreme Council of Antiquities notified the Ministry of the Interior about the cancellation, and the ministry will cooperate with security forces.

He called on all Egyptians to visit the pyramids Friday to ensure no concert takes place.

He said the Supreme Council of Antiquities did not receive fees from the concert organizing company, and it would not retract its cancellation.

The Supreme Council of Antiquities has confirmed the closure of the the pyramids at Giza but made no mention of any planned rituals, instead referring to necessary maintenance after a busy period.

It seems the pressure came from more than just “Egyptian Internet users” with ten revolutionary coalitions calling for Friday prayers to be held on the Giza Plateau in protest on the officially approved Masonic ceremony:

The coalitions involved are the Revolution of Free Egypt, the Muslim Brotherhood and Upper Egypt, who will coordinate with a number of public activists and figures.
Statements from the Supreme Council of Antiquities and Giza Governorate have both stated the Masonic ceremony has been completely cancelled.

The coalitions reported in a statement that Jews have some beliefs that the date, 11-11-2011, will never be repeated, and that some think the world will end on this day. It is also said to be a watershed day in the Masonic and Jews’ lives.

The coalitions also reported that the attendants of the ceremony will surround the pyramid in a Star of David shape and put a diamond of the same shape at the top of the pyramid.

Thursday, November 10, 2011

Ft. Wayne, Indiana Masons Hope To Restore Rare Organ

The brethren of the Ft Wayne, Indiana Temple posess a rare organ for which they hope to raise $250,000 to restore. Read about it here.

The presence of a musical instrument wasn’t unusual. The building is strewn with pianos. The organ, though, isn’t just any organ. It’s a pipe organ, called an Estey 2525. It has 1,100 pipes.

It was installed in 1926 at a cost of $8,000. It was donated by the widow of John Bass, a local industrialist who Snyder said was worth about $4 billion in today’s dollars when he died in 1920.

Bass’s widow donated an identical organ to First Presbyterian Church, but that organ was replaced long ago.

The organ at the Masonic building, though, remains. In some ways it is the victim of neglect. Some parts designed to last 50 years are now 86 years old.

In other ways, though, the neglect has saved the organ. Until Snyder discovered it and started talking about it, few Masons who use the temple even realized it was there. Those who used the massive room where the organ is located had seen it, but they’d never heard it.

No one had played it or tinkered with it in more than 30 years, perhaps since Gerald Ford was president. That inactivity helped preserve it.

Just exactly how significant is this organ? I asked Snyder. People talk about the organ at Embassy Theatre; are they comparable? Well, Snyder said, if the Embassy’s organ is a juke box, the temple’s organ is a grand piano.

Since Snyder discovered the organ, it’s become his pet project. He located an organ expert in Marion who understands the instrument. He rounded up a crew of volunteer Masons, lured the crew that maintains the Embassy’s organ to help out on their own time and scrounged up a few thousand dollars for replacement parts. One goal, Snyder said, is to let the public know the organ is there and give them a chance to hear it.

“If it languishes and you don’t use it, it goes away,” Snyder said.

At the Three Rivers Festival this year, there was an organ tour called Follow the Pipes, where people could listen to some of the biggest organs in town. The concerts at the Masonic Temple attracted only about 20 people each.

This month, the American Guild of Organists will meet in Fort Wayne where they will get an opportunity to see and play the organ, which should generate some publicity.

For the long term, though, Snyder would like to fully restore the organ. That won’t be cheap. The organ in tip-top shape is probably worth $400,000. In its present condition, it is probably worth $200,000 and needs about $250,000 worth of work, Snyder said.

For now, Snyder isn’t trying to launch a fund drive, though he said he won’t turn down donations. Instead, he’s found a lodge in New York that was once home to members of the Rockefeller family and other moneyed Masons. It has a fund that can be used only for lodges for charitable purposes, so he’s seeking financial help from them.

Meanwhile, he wants to set up some concerts so the public can hear the instrument. He hopes to have a performance sometime after the start of the year.

For more about the rare Estay 2525 pipe organ, see here.

Wednesday, November 09, 2011

Major Projects Proceed At Indiana Freemasons' Hall

The Indianapolis Masonic Temple Board Association has secured a $250,000 loan to complete numerous projects around Indiana Freemasons' Hall that will improve the Temple aesthetically and structurally, as well as improving our energy use and safety, and providing new services for our members. The many new projects approved by the Temple Board include:

• New energy-efficient windows for the whole building.
• Repairs to steam traps and improvements to the condensate system that will allow the boiler to operate more efficiently.
• Repairs to the ventilation dampers which will allow greater airflow and exhaust of heat in the summer.
• Installation of internet, phone and cable TV wiring to all floors.
• Plaster restoration and ceiling repair on the 7th floor from damage caused by a 20 year water leak, which has been repaired.
• Replacement of wall sconces missing from the 7th floor.
• Complete renovation of the fire escape, including replacement of the rusting decking with new galvanized decks.
• Extensive repair of exterior limestone spalling.
• Complete renovation and modernization of the 2nd floor kitchen, with new, modern appliances, a new commercial dishwasher, larger ice machine, paint and flooring.

Because of the nature of the loan and the repayment structure, this will make up the total of our discretionary spending for new projects for several years, but it means we are able to accomplish it all in a much shorter period of time. Upon completion of these projects, the total spent on building improvements in the last five years will exceed $800,000. The Temple Board certainly welcomes any financial assistance lodges or individual Masons may wish to contribute to these and other projects. Tax-deductible donations may be made to our 501c3 corporation with checks made out to Freemasons' Hall Inc. and mailed to the Indianapolis Masonic Temple Association, 525 N. Illinois St., Indianapolis, IN 46204.

These are in addition to the many renovations undertaken around the building by the various lodges and the Commandery which have gone far to improve the appearance of the third, fifth and seventh floors. Freemasons' Hall looks and functions better today than it has in literally decades. Much credit goes to the Building Superintendent Randy Spaulding and to Board President James Dillman, who spend untold hours caring for the building, crawling through ductwork, tracing down hidden plumbing lines, or beating up contractors for the best prices for us.

In other news around the Temple, the Grand Secretary's office has temporarily moved to the third floor while the office is gutted and completely remodeled. Both the Scholarship Board office and the state office for Indiana DeMolay have recently moved into the Temple. The international research origination, the Masonic Society, also leases space in the building, along with the Masonic Relief Board of Indiana and the Indiana Masonic Home Foundation.

The Library and Museum on the 5th floor will be open in time for Founder's Day. New cases are being installed, along with dramatic new lighting, and the Museum Board has hired two interns from IUPUI to assist with cataloguing and display ideas to preserve Indiana's priceless Masonic heritage.

Indiana Freemasons' Hall is your Temple. It is not simply the home of the lodges that meet there, but it is the headquarters of our entire fraternity in Indiana, and every Indiana Freemason should be proud of it. Like the Schofield House, the Grand Master has issued a standing dispensation so that any Indiana lodge may confer up to three degrees per year in one of its four lodge rooms without requesting special permission. Simply make a reservation for one of the rooms at the security desk.

Michigan Prayer Group Targeting Masons For Baal Worship

A fundamentalist Christian group in Michigan is targeting Muslims and Freemasons for allowing the false God Baal to control the United States. Really. They held a prayer rally last Friday in Detroit to get this evil under control.

From the Michigan Messenger :

Rachel Tabachnick at Talk2Action has been listening to the frequent conference calls that Transformation Michigan, the key local organizing group, has been hosting and reports on a pre-rally planning call from September.

Anita Christopher, a West Michigan apostolic preacher affiliated with the group, and John Benefiel of the International House of Prayer said on the call that they had been going to all 377 Masonic temples in the state to initiate a “divorce” proceeding with Baal, an ancient Semitic god mentioned in the Bible as a false idol. The Detroit prayer rally, he said, would break the spell of Islam over the nation:

"I believe this is going to result in the biggest harvest of souls we’ve ever seen. I know because you’ve told me in your state there, in the Dearborn area in particular, that’s probably the biggest stronghold of Islam in our nation. Well, in going to the masonic lodges, I believe that we are earning authority from God. And that’s correct, we do earn authority from God. Just like the parable of the talents and the parable of minas. When you handle what God has given you in the right way, he’ll multiply your authority.

… I believe we’ll earn authority to pull down the spirit of Islam over our nation. And here’s why I say that. When you study it out, you find that freemasonry and Islam are very very tied to the same root.”

Benefiel has published a decree divorcing America from Baal. On this call he implied that while Islam is currently protected by the First Amendment in the U.S. because of the influence of Baal, but that the prayer rally would allow Christians to take over and eliminate such protections:

Tuesday, November 08, 2011

RIP Brother Joe Frazier

RIP to Brother Smokin' Joe Frazier, member of M.B. Taylor Lodge No. 141 in Hammonton, New Jersey. He joined in a one day class on March 28, 2009.

Brother Frazier was an Olympic and Undisputed World Heavyweight boxing champion, whose professional career lasted from 1965 to 1976, with a one-fight comeback in 1981. The International Boxing Research Organization rated Frazier among the ten greatest heavyweights of all time. He was an inductee of both the International Boxing Hall of Fame and the World Boxing Hall of Fame.

He passed to the Celestial Lodge yesterday after an unsuccessful bout with liver cancer.

H/T to R.W. Rick Robins and Bill Berman. Photos by Rick Robins.

Monday, November 07, 2011

Speaking Tonight in Indianapolis

I'll be speaking this evening at Frank S. Land Lodge No. 758 at Indiana Freemasons Hall this evening at 7:00PM. It's my first speaking event since last March, and I'm looking forward to being with brethren tonight. Many thanks to them for their kind invitation.

Freemasons and the Courts

I came across an interesting historical paper by a non-Mason about the rule of law and the role of civil courts in dealing with internal Masonic disputes. Kevin Butterfield is an assistant professor of classics and letters at the University of Oklahoma.

Have a look at The Right to Be a Freemason: Secret Societies and the Power of the Law in the Early Republic by Kevin Butterfield here.

His paper uses the recent court battle between Past Grand Master Frank Haas and the Grand Lodge of West Virginia as a jumping off point to discuss historic situations of Masons suing lodges and grand lodges over the right to be a Mason, and the opinions of the courts in these cases. It's hardly a new phenomenon, and courts rely heavily on fraternal groups' own internal rules to render their decisions.

A gentle warning to grand masters who think they can make their own rules or dispense with existing ones.

Saturday, November 05, 2011

Red Cross of Constantine

I had the distinct honor today of receiving the first order of the Masonic and Military Order of the Red Cross of Constantine in St. James Conclave in Indianapolis, at the Scottish Rite Cathedral. Congratulations to my friends Nathan Brindle, Jerry Collins and Gary Brinley who joined me as Knight Companions. It was a special occasion especially to have my friend and Brother Roger S. Van Gorden confer the degree. Roger was my first contact with Masonry in Indiana when I sought membership, and he entrusted me as his Senior Warden after just two years in the fraternity. Nathan and I joined our lodge together, and these two fine gentlemen have walked with me in nearly every avenue of my Masonic life since 1998. Thanks to you both (and to all of the brethren at St. James Conclave) for a memorable day.

LtR: Gary Brinley, Rodney Mann, Nathan Brindle, me, Roger Van Gorden. Photo by Patti Van Gorden

Update on Georgia

It is my understanding that Brothers Victor Marshall and Zeithlin Waters of Gate City Lodge No. 2 in Georgia who were blackballed at the Scottish Rite in Atlanta had their ballot "healed" by the Sovereign Grand Inspector General, and that they completed their 32nd degree conferrals today. An injustice has been put right, and all of the brethren who made this turnaround possible are to be commended for their actions.

Congratulations to Brothers Marshall and Waters—but most important— to ALL of the newest Masters of the Royal Secret in Georgia who received their degrees today. Let's hope more than only an unjust vote was placed on the path to healing.

Friday, November 04, 2011

WEOFM: Presentations by W. Kirk MacNulty and Ralph McNeal

The latest video presentation from the Worldwide Exemplification of Freemasonry is The Philosophical Background for Masonic Symbolism by author W. Kirk MacNulty, PM. (CLICK HERE TO VIEW)

Last week's video was Prince Hall Freemasonry, Pt. 1 by Ralph McNeal, of the MWPHGL of Arizona. See it here.

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.

Maryland's Membership Outreach Program

The Washington Times reports today on the Grand Lodge of Maryland's public relations and membership campaign.

From "Masons make no secret of a desire for new members" by Jordan Otero:

Maryland's Grand Lodge this year debuted a radio spot encouraging men “ready to put your mark on this world” to visit the new group’s website, Askafreemason.org. Maryland Masons said the marketing push followed a similar membership drive in Massachusetts, which included television ads featuring an actor playing famous Mason Benjamin Franklin.

“We wanted to make an opportunity available for people to visit lodges and to find out more about what we are and what we do,” said Tom Foster, director of communications for the Grand Lodge of Maryland.


“There’s been a significant increase in petitions to join,” he said. “We’re at nearly double the petitions we had last year to date.”

He added that running advertisements and hosting open houses have made “a positive step in the right direction.”

Mr. Foster said there might not be a secret Masonic gold hoard hidden beneath New York City, as portrayed in “National Treasure,” but there is a “national treasure of Masons” that comes with Freemason membership.

“We have a saying that says, ‘Find your inner greatness,’” said Mr. Foster. “You can do that through Masonry.”

The Grand Lodge of Maryland purchased the broadcast rights to the tasteful, well-produced, and very successful campaign created by the Grand Lodge of Massachusetts, www.askafreemason.org which features Ben Franklin in radio, TV and extended internet spots.

The Grand Lodge of Maryland AF&AM has 100 lodges, with about 16,700 members.