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


Thursday, April 26, 2012

New Jersey Masonic Symposium May 19th

New Jersey Council of Deliberation, AASR cordially invites you to a 2012 Symposium to be held on Saturday May 19 at the Valley of Central Jersey (103 Dunns Mill Road, Bordentown, New Jersey 08505) at 10:00 a.m.

We have the pleasure of hosting three outstanding men and Masons who are very well known and respected for their Masonic knowledge and research.

From Indiana: Ill. Christopher Hodapp, 33º
From Oklahoma: Ill. Robert G. Davis, 33º
From Washington DC: Ill. S. Brent Morris, 33º

Tickets cost $50 per person and include breakfast, lunch, and souvenirs.

You can register online at http://www.njscottishrite.org/ or send your $50 check, payable to Children's Dyslexia Centers of NJ to:

Children's Dyslexia Center
P.O. Box 3
Cranford, NJ 07016

** This Event is Open to All Master Masons
** Proceeds to benefit the Children's Dyslexia Centers
** If you register online or by mail, your name will be put on the admission list. You will not receive an actual ticket

For more information please see the attached flyer of the event or click on the following link

You can also contact the Chairmen of the event:
S.P. Mohamad A. Yatim, 32º at mayatim@hotmail.com or at (484) 995-3337
or S.P. Moises I. Gomez, 32º MSA at gomez1rego@aol.com or at (201) 615-8755

NY PGM Bidnick Expelled

New York Past Grand Master Neal Bidnick has been expelled from the fraternity:


Subject: In the matter of Neal I. Bidnick - Official Notice of Decision of the Commissioners of the Masonic Trial convened on Tuesday, April 24, 2012 is attached herewith.

To:    All Grand Line Officers, Permanent Members, Elected & Appointed Grand Lodge Officers, Masters & Secretaries of NY Masonic Lodges, Concordant Bodies, and to all Grand Lodges in amity with the Grand Lodge of Free and Accepted Masons of the State of New York


In the Matter of Charges preferred by:

Past Grand Marshal of the Grand Lodge (2006 – 2008)
Past Districtrict Deputy Grand Master of the Ninth Manhattan District,
And a dual member of Harmony Lodge No. 199 and Schiller Lodge No. 304,


--- Against

Past Grand Master (2006 – 2008) and
A plural member of Sibelius – Bredablick Lodge No. 880,
Athelstane Lodge No. 839, Justice Lodge No. 753, Berne Lodge No. 684,
And Copernicus Lodge No. 545,



PLEASE TAKE NOTICE that the decision, signed by the Commissioners appointed to hear, try and determine the Charges preferred by RW BROTHER KURT OTT, against MW BROTHER NEAL IVAN BIDNICK, was filed in the Office of the Grand Secretary, 71 West 23rd Street, New York, New York 10010, on April 24, 2012. The Commission, comprised ofFIVE (5) PAST GRAND TREASURERS determined that by competent evidence that Past Grand Master BIDNICK did MISAPPROPRIATE FUNDS and as such, did ENGAGE IN ACTS OR CONDUCT TENDING TO IMPAIR THE PURITY OF THE MASONIC INSTITUTION OR ITS USEFULNESS, OR TO CAUSE SCANDAL OR TO DEGRADE IT IN PUBLIC ESTIMATION, OR WHICH ARE CONTRARY TO ITS PRINCIPLES, OBLIGATIONS OR TEACHINGS, and as such, Past Grand Master BIDNICK was found GUILTY of the CHARGE against him, and it was thereafter decided thatPast Grand Master NEAL IVAN BIDNICK shall be punished by being EXPELLED from the rights and privileges of Masonry.

Dated: New York, New York
APRIL 25, 2012

Submitted by:


          Sibelius – Bredablick Lodge No. 880
Athelstane Lodge No. 839
Justice Lodge No. 753
Berne Lodge No. 684
Copernicus Lodge No. 545

Please refer to the signed Official Notice of the Decision of the Commissioners of the Masonic Trial attached herewith as a pdf file.

Distributed by order of the Grand Master.

RW Brother Gilbert Savitzky, PGT
Office of the Grand Secretary
Grand Lodge F. & A.M. of the State of New York
Masonic Hall – 17th Floor
71 West 23rd Street
New York, NY 10010

Tel.: (212) 741-4500

Thursday, April 19, 2012

BusinessWeek: France's Freemason Phobia

American Masons just don't have to deal with the kind of fears our European brethren seem to generate. In fact, we mostly don't see what the hubbub is all about. Joshua Levine in Business Week has an article today on why the French as a nation fears Freemasons.

From France: Where Freemasons Are Still Feared:

Magazines and newspapers all have stories they run in one form or another, year in, year out. The details may differ, but the stories are largely the same everywhere, striking universal chords of sex, health, and money. A few of these perennials, however, don’t travel. They drill deep into one country’s psyche while everyone else scratches their heads and says, “Huh?”

In France, the story that keeps coming back is about Freemasons. It’s everywhere. Most big French magazines run at least one big Freemason cover a year. Books dissect the “state within a state,” to borrow from a recent title. Blogs abound.

“France has several of these marronniers—chestnuts,” says Alain Bauer, former grand master of France’s Grand Orient lodge and president Nicolas Sarkozy’s Masonic liaison. “There’s real estate prices and there’s how to cure headaches, and then there’s Freemasons. The ultimate French magazine story is a Freemason with a headache who’s moving. We don’t like these stories, but at the same time, we love them, because they make us feel like we’re still important.”

Huh? Yes, Freemasons: the old fraternal order known in the U.S. for the Masonic lodges that dot American cities, musty reminders of an era when Masonry stirred the American melting pot. Or for the arcane Masonic symbols engraved on every dollar bill. Or on a sillier note, for the Shriners in their red fezzes. (The Shriners were founded in the 1870s to add a little levity to regular Freemasonry. Mission accomplished.)

Tuesday, April 17, 2012

California Masonic Symposium June 30-July 1

Online registration is now open for the 12th Annual California Masonic Symposium: The Emergence of Speculative Masonry.

This year’s discussion is guided by the research of Henry Wilson Coil Lecturer A. Trevor Stewart, Ph.D., who will investigate how the working tools and techniques of medieval stonemasons’ guilds became the symbolic platform for the ethical system we know as speculative Masonry.

Dr. Stewart will explain who some of the first speculative members were, why they were interested in the operative craft, and why operative stonemasons chose to admit them. He will also explain the changes nonoperative Masons brought to the craft and the influences of Rosicrucianism and alchemy.

Dr. Stewart’s research will be complemented by accompanying lectures from renowned Masonic scholars Shawn E. Eyer, editor of Philalethes: The Journal of Masonic Research and Letters, and Timothy W. Hogan, author of “The Alchemical Keys to Masonic Ritual” and “The Thirty-Two Secret Paths to Solomon: A New Examination of the Qabbalah in Freemasonry.”

The lecturers will be joined by a panel of Masonic scholars: María Eugenia Vásquez Semadeni, Ph.D.; John L. Cooper, III, Ph.D.; and Past Grand Master R. Stephen Doan.

The Symposium will be held June 30 in San Francisco and July 1 in Pasadena. Please click here for online registration. We hope you will join us for this fascinating journey into the fraternity’s past.

Monday, April 16, 2012

4th International Conference on the History of Freemasonry Announced

The fourth International Conference on the HIstory of Freemasonry has been announced for 2013, and will return to Edinburgh, Scotland.

From the website:

The first International Conference on the History of Freemasonry was held in 2007 to establish whether or not Freemasonry could be considered a single separate subject worthy of its own platform. It is now clear based on the successes of ICHF 2007, 2009 and 2011 that answer is a resounding, YES. Whilst the organisers welcome invitations from Masonic bodies throughout the world to host ICHF within their own locale, there is something comforting in bringing ICHF 2013 back to where it began; Freemasons’ Hall, Edinburgh, Scotland. 2013 is significant in several respects, not least because it marks the 200th anniversary of the 1813 union of the two English Grand Lodges, the Ancient and Moderns, under the auspices of the Duke of Sussex (1773 - 1843). Undoubtedly a number of researchers will submit proposals for papers on this very subject.

Wednesday, April 11, 2012

Issue 15 Masonic Society Journal To Press

After a long delay, Issue 15 of the Journal of the Masonic Society has gone to press and will be winging its way to mailboxes soon. Articles include:

Ecclesiastes: An Interpretation by Tavit Smith

The Beehive and Its Appearance on the Official Banner of the Gran Logia de Cuba, A.L. y A.M. by James W. Hogg, FMS

The Making of a Museum by James R. Dillman

Spatial Symbolism, Ceremonial Dance and Masonic Ritual by Kelly Ranasinghe

Mythic Fratricide and the Hiramic Legend: A Girardian Interpretation by Rev. Christopher D. Rodkey, Ph. D

Plus the usual news, photos and Masonic treasures you've come to expect.

Saturday Northeast Masonic Symposium in Albany, NY

I'll be speaking Saturday April 14th at the Northeast Masonic Symposium in Albany, NY. I'll share the program with fellow speakers Roger Firestone, Kevin Townley and Richard Friedman.

From the Symposium website:

The Northeast Masonic Symposium (NEMS) is devoted to providing a forum in the Northeast corner of the US a place for brothers to listen to lectures on topics of Freemasonry. To learn about Masonic history, expand their knowledge and to be inspired for their own works is the aim of the symposium for all who attend. NEMS first gathering is taking place in April of 2012 in Upsate NY.
This event brings lecturers from across the country and will bring together brothers from all over the region. The symposium is constructed with several tracks of lectures, allowing its attendees to select topics of interest to them. The current agenda offers a full day of food, lectures and social opportunities.

The cost for attendance is $50 per person (plus applicable payment processing fees) and includes continental breakfast, a commemorative gift, lunch, a cocktail reception, and a full day of lectures.

Wednesday, April 04, 2012

2011 Twain Awards Announced

Five years ago, the Masonic Information Center created the Mark Twain Masonic Awareness Award, to "recognize Lodge leadership for asserting a uniquely Masonic identity both within the Lodge and throughout the community that is consistent with the Fraternity's historic focus on education, self-improvement, good works, and fellowship." It's the only national Masonic award of its kind, and it represents achievement at the local lodge level. Lodges that win the Twain award are working hard to make their individual lodge just that—individual. These lodges have found ways to make their lodge unique, distinctive, educational, vital to their members, and a part of the community in which they reside.

The Masonic Information Center is a committee recognized by the Conference of Grand Masters in North America, and the Twain Award winners were announced at the Conference in Atlanta. The MIC was originally funded in 1993 by John J. Robinson, author of Born In Blood, who was not a Mason at the time. Robinson gave a grant to start the Center in order to provide information to both Masons and non-Masons, and to respond to critics of the fraternity. The Center operates as part of the Masonic Service Association of North America. For more about the Twain Award, see here.

Congratulations to the 2011 winners:

Alabama - Rising Sun Lodge #29 Decatur, Alabama

Alaska - Matanuska Lodge #7 Palmer, Alaska

Arkansas - Key Lodge #7 Siloam Springs, Arkansas

Arizona - Oasis Lodge #52 Tucson, Arizona

Illinois - St. Joseph Lodge #970 St. Joseph, Illinois

Michigan - Byron Lodge #80 Byron, Michigan

Minnesota - Red Wing Lodge #8 Red Wing, Minnesota

Nevada - St. John Lodge #18 Pioche, Nevada

New Hampshire - Benevolent Lodge #7 Milford, New Hampshire

New Mexico - Chapman Lodge #2 Las Vegas, New Mexico

Ohio - North Bend Lodge #346 Cleves, Ohio

Ohio - Oxford Lodge #67 Oxford, Ohio

Pennsylvania - Manoquesy Lodge #413 Bath, Pennsylvania

South Carolina - Mariner Lodge #2 Charleston, South Carolina

Utah - Damascus Lodge #10 Provo, Utah

Virginia - Herndon Lodge #264 Herndon, Virginia

Virginia - Fredericksburg Lodge #4 Fredericksburg, Virginia

Washington - Daylight Lodge #232 Seattle, Washington

The criteria for the Twain Award is designed to motivate lodges to plan its future and improve itself with meaningful activities that serve the needs of its own members. There's no checklist, no defined roadmap of specific items that get crossed off when completed. The goal is to motivate lodges to act for their own good, and the good of their community, and to do it in a thought out manner. The website has much information on it, but it does list suggested activities and ideas that every lodge ought to be considering, regardless of whether they are trying for an award or not.

Frustrated lodge officers are frequently hunting the silver bullet, the Big Fix that will fill their lodges and make them active and relevant to their members. The truth is, it's different for every lodge. This list is one place to start. If you've heard me speak at a lodge or grand lodge, you've heard me say over and over. Try everything, and when that doesn't work, try something else. But start by making your lodge a place YOU can't wait to come to every month, every week.

The MIC has a list of suggestions for lodges to use as a starting place to rejuvenate themselves, and while I don't want to reprint their whole website here, their suggestions are thoughtful ones:

- Apply concepts of education and self-improvements to current print and non-print communications tools of individual lodges, Grand Lodges, and national Masonic organizations and societies.

- Improve the environment of lodge-based fellowship; refresh the look of the lodge; welcome new members; improve presentation skills; provide mentoring to study degrees; strengthen communications skills.

- Organize group activities based on education and self-improvement that can enrich lodge-centered fellowship such as: welcoming committees, lodge renovation and clean up campaigns, leadership development conferences, mentor meetings, workshops on such things as Masonic ritual, history, symbolism, architectural works, art, and cultural works.

- Initiate workshops on Masonic personal growth topics such as leadership, stewardship, ethics, philosophy, and spirituality.

- Call on local educational faculty to present on topics that enrich the body, mind, and spirit of the brothers.

- Tap the talents of individual members and build a community of experts to help facilitate Masons to improve themselves and their community.

- Improve community accessibility to Masonry through public outreach activities and program or group hosting, tutoring, and mentoring.

- Offer Masonic recognition and incentive programs for educational initiatives, visitor programs and Chamber of Commerce presentations.

- Honor the Mason within yourself.

- Communicate regularly with neighboring lodges.

Tuesday, April 03, 2012

Stifani Reelected as GLNF GM

The embattled François Stifani was reelected as Grand Master of the Grande Loge Nationale Francaise on March 30th, receiving 45% of the vote. The strong internal protest movement against him was not enough to beat Stifani, although he has suspended or expelled many who sought to unseat him. With his own actions at the center of the worldwide Masonic reaction that have resulted in numerous grand lodges withdrawing or limiting recognition of the GLNF, it seems there will be no quick solution to the situation.

See the article in Le Figaro for news of the election.