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


Monday, December 21, 2015

Japanese Book About Freemasonry?

I received a message today from a Brother wanting to know if Freemasons For Dummies is available in Japanese. I'm afraid it's not - French, Dutch, German, Romanian and Turkish, I believe, are the only international editions that have been printed by Wiley.

Does anyone know of a good, introductory book on Freemasonry that's available in Japanese? I have never heard of one. Please let me know at hodapp@aol.com, or post it here as a comment. Many thanks.

Wednesday, December 16, 2015

Master of Infamous P2 Lodge Dies

The modern world's most notorious clandestine, so-called "Mason" died yesterday.  Licio Gelli, the Venerable Master of Italy's infamous Propaganda Due (P2) Lodge , died at the age of 96 at his house, Villa Wanda, in Arezzo, Tuscany, Italy.

(UPDATED NOTE 12/22/2015: For a much more detailed news article about Gelli than the one cited below, see one from the Telegraph  from 12/16/2015 - CLICK HERE)

From a story in Malta Today:

The venerable master of the clandestine freemasons lodge Propaganda P2, one of Italy’s most sinister organisations believed to be at the heart of a fascist conspiracy, has died

Licio Gelli (born 1919) died on Tuesday, 15 December, at the age of 96 at his house, Villa Wanda, in Arezzo.

La Repubblica dubbed the financier, as the man behind “all of Italy’s darkest mysteries”: in 1981, his P2 lodge was raided by the police, and since then he has been nicknamed ‘the puppetteer’, ‘Belfagor’, and ‘the venerable master’, having played a part in 40 years of scandals against the Italian republic: the Borghese coup, the strategy of tension that rocked Italy in the 1970s, the Sindona bank scandal, the Calvi murder, the Moro assassination, mafia and tangentopoli.

In 2008 he famously declared that Silvio Berlusconi, himself a former member of the P2, was “the only one who could go ahead in politics in Italy” citing him as the man who was putting in action P2’s ‘plan for Italy’s democratic rebirth’ – a clandestine plan to take over the country’s institutions and thwart critical and left-wing opposition.

During the 1930s, Gelli volunteered for the Blackshirts’ expeditionary forces sent by Benito Mussolini in support of Francisco Franco's rebellion in the Spanish Civil War and subsequently became a liaison officer between the Italian government and Nazi Germany, with contacts including Hermann Göring.

He participated in the Italian Social Republic with Giorgio Almirante, founder of the neofascist Italian Social Movement (MSI) – which later became Alleanza Nazionale, which ruled in coalition with Berlusconi’s Popolo della Libertà.

In 1970, during the failed Borghese coup, he was delegated the role of arresting the Italian President, Giuseppe Saragat.

As grand master of the Propaganda Due (P2) lodge, Gelli had ties with very high-level personalities in Italy and abroad, in particular in Argentina, where he was fugitive in Argentina for many years. Gelli affirmed that he introduced Juan Peron to masonry and was also named minister plenipotentiary for cultural affairs in the Argentine embassy in Italy, providing him with diplomatic immunity.

He had four diplomatic passports issued by Argentina, and has been charged in Argentina with falsification of official documents. During the 1970s, Gelli brokered three-way oil and arms deals between Libya, Italy and Argentina through the Agency for Economic Development, which he and Umberto Ortolani owned.

In 1990, a report on RAI Television alleged that the CIA had paid Gelli to foment terrorist activities in Italy. Following this report, which also claimed that the CIA had been involved in the assassination of the Swedish Prime minister Olof Palme, then President Francesco Cossiga requested the opening of investigations while the CIA itself officially denied these allegations.

Gelli's downfall started with the Banco Ambrosiano scandal, which led to a 1981 police raid on his villa and the discovery of the P2 covert lodge. A list of alleged adherents was found by the police in Gelli's house in Arezzo containing 962 names, among which were important state officials, some important politicians and a number of military officers, including the heads of the three Italian secret services.

On the run, Gelli escaped to Switzerland where he was arrested on September 13, 1982 while trying to withdraw tens of millions of dollars in Geneva. Detained in the modern Champ-Dollon Prison near Geneva, he managed to escape and then fled to Chile for four years.

Finally, Gelli surrendered in 1987 in Switzerland to investigative judge Jean-Pierre Trembley. He was wanted in connection with the 1982 collapse of the Banco Ambrosiano and on charges of subversive association in connection with the 1980 Bologna railway station bombing, which killed 85 people.

He was sentenced to two months in prison in Switzerland, while an Italian court sentenced him on December 15, 1987, in absentia, to 8 years in prison on charges of financing right-wing terrorist activity in Tuscany in the 1970s.

Gelli's extradition in February 1988 required a high-level security apparatus, including 100 sharpshooters, decoy cars, a train, roadblocks and two armoured cars to transfer him to Italy.

In July 1988 he was absolved of charges of subversive association by a Bologna court but was presented with a five-year prison term for slander, having side-tracked the investigation into the 1980 bombing of the Bologna train station.

In 1992 Gelli was sentenced to 18 years and six months of prison after being found guilty of fraud concerning the collapse of Banco Ambrosiano in 1982. This sentence was reduced by the Court of Appeal to 12 years. In April 1994 Gelli received a 17-year sentence for divulging state secrets and slandering the investigation, while the court threw out the charge that P2 members conspired against the state; Gelli's sentence was reduced, and he was placed under house arrest two years later.

In 1996, Gelli was nominated as a candidate for the Nobel Prize in Literature, supported by Mother Teresa and Naguib Mahfouz.

For more information on the P2 Lodge, have a look at Ed King's Masonic Info page here, and Question 5 on the Anti-Masonry Frequently Asked Questions page of the Grand Lodge of British Columbia and Yukon website.

I received an email from Brother Cornelius Ludwig who informs me that the bulk of the Malta Today article about Gelli has been almost entirely plagiarized from the Wikipedia article. Sadly, this is the state of news reporting these days. I have looked at the other articles that have been posted over the last few days about Gelli and the P2 lodge by news organizations from all around the world, and not one of them made the point that the lodge had its charter revoked by the Grand Orient of Italy, making it very clear that Gelli and his more than 960 members were acting outside of the laws of both Freemasonry and the nation of Italy. But I'll leave this one on my page because it is more informative than the others.  I will, however, give you the links to Wikipedia's articles on both Licio Gelli and the Propaganda Due organization and its scandals.  This is one of the reasons anti-Freemasonry is  so strong in Europe.

Sunday, December 13, 2015

Help Needed For International Freemason Study

Brethren, I received the following message today from Worshipful Brother Vincent Lombardo, a Past Master of Quinte St. Alban’s Lodge No. 620, in Thornhill, Ontario, Canada, a regular lodge chartered by the Grand Lodge of Canada AF&AM in the Province of Ontario. He is seeking information for a huge study he's working on about the statistics and practices of Freemasonry all around the world. Here is his note:

Dear Sir and Brother Hodapp,

I am searching for information for a Study about the present conditions of Freemasonry in the world, which I have undertaken. I already have the answers for Pennsylvania, Montana, New Brunswick, Cuba, Germany, and Italy.

Masonic Protocol does not permit me to contact Grand Lodges directly, and since such information is rarely or not at all available on the internet, I would like to post on your blog an invitation to any brother who has knowledge in the matters pertinent to my study to help me out by sharing with me whatever knowledge he/they may have.

The purpose of this research is to form a snapshot of the Present Conditions of Masonry in the world, as compared to the past, and draw from it lessons that may help us Masons work to address present issues, recognize successes or failures, and find solutions for the better future of our Craft. The sources of the information I may receive will remain completely confidential, and under no circumstance I shall disclose it. At the conclusion of this study I will disclose my findings, but not the sources, to all those who have contributed, and they will be free to use this information as they deem it proper.

I have prepared a series of questions for this study, and I have attached it to this message for your consideration.

I will be grateful for any help you may be able to afford me in this endeavor.
Vincent Lombardo 

The questionnaire may be downloaded by clicking here: FMStudy.doc

If you read it, you can see that while some of the questions may be answered by lodge Masters or Secretaries, many of them require up to date information that only state or national Grand Masters and Grand Secretaries have access to. This is beyond the scope of even District or Provincial areas.

This is not being done officially by his Grand Lodge - it's a private project - hence his desire to go straight to the Brethren who have this information without the formality of contacting individual GLs through his own GL. That's why he came to me, since I get between 2,000 and 6,000 readers every day, plus the Brethren I reach on Facebook.

If you are a regular reader here, I hope you realize I would not knowingly endorse anything that would be injurious or embarrassing to the Craft. WBro. Lombardo is embarking on a massive research project, and the results, once he publishes them, will be of great use to Grand Lodges all over the world as they plan for the future direction of their own programs in the near future. 

Please take a moment to look over the questions. If you are not a grand officer, and you know your own Grand Master or Grand Secretary well enough that you feel comfortable passing the document along to them, please do so at your earliest convenience. Obviously, he can't complete his study without assistance of Masons all over the world.

If you have any questions about his study, you may email him here, and his phone number is in the document.

Many thanks in advance for your help.

Illus. Brother Emmanuel Lewis

I'm a little late in discovering this, even though many Prince Hall Masons already knew it for quite a while, but Illustrious Brother Emmanuel Lewis 33°, child star from the TV show "Webster" that was aired between 1983-1987, is a Prince Hall Scottish Rite Mason.  He is a member of W.C. Thomas Lodge No. 112 PHA in Atlanta, Georgia. He is also a Past Commander-In-Chief of Atlanta Consistory No. 24A (2013-2014), and reportedly very active in the Phylaxis Society, the Prince Hall Masonry research society.

He was born in 1971 in Brooklyn, New York, and is the youngest son of Margaret Lewis, a former computer science professional. He was nominated four times for the Young Artists Awards, and interestingly, in Japan, he is best known as a singer, and his song, "City Connection," rose to No. 2 on the Japanese Oricon Music Charts.

Saturday, December 12, 2015

Scottish Rite Day 11/12/2016

The Sovereign Grand Commanders of both the Scottish Rite Northern Masonic and Southern Jurisdictions have declared Nov. 12, 2016, as Scottish Rite Day. Valleys and Councils of Deliberations will come together to celebrate the Scottish Rite. It is hoped that planned events will make it a fun and memorable occasion. Plans are not yet finalized, but, for now, be sure to keep the date open on your calendar. 

Read upcoming issues of The Northern Light and the Scottish Rite Journal for more details.

Tuesday, December 08, 2015

David Lindez' Father Passes Away

My friend, Brother and Frater in the Societas Rosicruciana in Civitatibus Foederatis, David Lindez, who many of you may know from Masonic Week over many, many years, has suffered a terrible loss. His father passed away today at his home in Ireland. David is flying out from New York to get there as soon as possible. 

Please keep Brother Lindez in your thoughts and prayers.

Many thanks to my dear friend Billy Koon for the message.

Historic Murat Shrine Decides Not To Sell

The members of Indianapolis' Murat Shrine have decided to keep their historic building, after all. The operators that lease the auditorium, Live Nation, wanted to buy the whole building from the Shrine, but the offer has been rejected.

From the Indianapolis Business Journal:

The group that owns the landmark Old National Centre entertainment and hospitality venue in downtown Indianapolis has decided not to sell the building.

IBJ reported in December 2014 that Live Nation had reached an agreement with the Murat Temple Association to buy the property at 502 N. New Jersey St.
But most of the 300 members of the Murat voted to rescind the contract, Larry Jefferson, the association’s recorder, said Tuesday morning.
“It was overwhelming,” Jefferson said of the vote, which quietly took place in September. “Unless we’re offered a total windfall, you’ll never see it come up for a vote again.”

Beverly Hills, California-based Live Nation made an offer to Murat members to buy the building, prompting the vote, Jefferson said. He declined to divulge the amount of the offer.

The 130,379-square-foot building and land are assessed at a total value of $5.2 million, according to Marion County assessor records.

The company operates the 2,600-seat Murat Theater, the multipurpose Egyptian Room and other venues in the building, which sits where East Michigan and North New Jersey streets intersect with Massachusetts Avenue.

The existing operating agreement the Murat has with Live Nation will remain in effect, Jefferson said.“It’s our heritage,” he said of the building. “It doesn’t make sense to move.”

The temple indeed has a storied history. Built in 1909, it’s the largest Shrine temple in the country and is named for the Frenchman Joachim Murat, who was one of Napoleon’s generals in his Egyptian campaign.

Its architecture is based on Islamic temples found in the Middle East and Egypt. Features of the building include stained-glass windows, terra cotta trim, minarets, and brown and yellow brick banding. The Egyptian-themed auditorium, added as part of the 1922 addition, had been planned before the discovery of Tutankhamun’s tomb, which coincided with the opening of the auditorium, according to the temple’s history.

Live Nation did not respond to requests for comment.

Monday, December 07, 2015

Brother Chuck Williams, Founder of Williams-Sonoma, Passes at 100

Our Brother Charles "Chuck" Williams, founder of the Williams-Sonoma culinary store chain, passed to the Celestial Lodge Above on Saturday, December 5th, 2015 in San Francisco. He was 100 years old, and died of natural causes. He has no survivors.

He was a member of Temple Lodge No. 14 in Sonoma, California. His column is broken, and his Brethren mourn.

From an article about him in the December/January 2009 California Freemason Magazine:

Like many men of his generation, Williams’ father was a Mason, and he followed his father into the craft.“Back in Jacksonville, Florida, where I grew up, my father was a Shriner and my mother was in Eastern Star. I really grew up with Masonry all around me,”Williams relays.“I remember when I was 10 years old, my father took me along for the ride to a Masonic event, and he really knew so much about it.” 
At 38 years of age, Williams became a brother of Temple Lodge no. 14 in Sonoma.“I remember the day: november 14, 1953. i received a letter from the master – which I still have – and I got my third degree at a ceremony at the lodge,” he says.“An electrician from Sweden was one of my friends and he was very involved as a Mason, so we were in the lodge together.” That same brother from Sweden hosted Williams on his fateful first trip to Europe, which ignited his love for French cookery. 
Williams opened his first store less than two years later, and by 1958 had moved his home and business to San Francisco. That same year, just blocks away in the same city, the California Masonic Memorial Temple was dedicated as the new home of the Grand lodge of California. For both Williams and Grand lodge, the year 2008 marked a 50th anniversary milestone. 

From his obituary:

Born Oct. 2, 1915, Williams came by his love of cooking by baking with his grandmother in her Jacksonville, Florida, kitchen. The Great Depression took the family to Southern California, to which Williams returned after serving as a mechanic with the Army during World War II. A golf trip with friends introduced him to Sonoma, and, enamored with the then-sleepy town, Williams relocated there in 1947.  
Inspired by a fateful trip to Paris with fellow food enthusiasts, Williams purchased the Sonoma Hardware store in 1956 and began offering Americans the kind of high-quality cookware and culinary tools he'd admired in France. The store proved an instant success, and in 1958 Williams-Sonoma relocated to San Francisco. With the publication of Julia Childs' classic "Mastering the Art of French Cooking," America's taste for haute cuisine exploded, and Williams-Sonoma's fortunes rose, with another major expansion of the San Francisco store and a flourishing catalog business. 
Williams sold the company in 1979, but he remained closely involved in many crucial facets of the business up until his death, such as his authorship of many titles in the company's noted cookbook line. 
"He worked on over 50 titles that have sold over 100 million copies worldwide," said Patrick Connolly, executive vice president of Williams-Sonoma, to the San Franciso Chronicle.  
Lauded with numerous awards over his career, including spots in the Halls of Fame for both the Culinary Institute of America and the Direct Marketing Association and a lifetime achievement award from the James Beard Foundation, Williams is lauded by many for helping to revolutionize and diversify American cooking.  
"With his impeccable taste and unique talent for selecting the right products at the right time, he built a powerful brand that inspired a cultural revolution around food and had immeasurable impact on home and family life around the world," said Janet Hayes, Williams-Sonoma brand president.

Thursday, December 03, 2015

The Grand Lodge of Scotland Whisky

From the Grand Lodge of Scotland's Facebook page:

The Grand Lodge of Scotland has launched its' own Single Scotch Malt Whisky named: The Grand Master Mason's CHOICE.
Specially selected and produced by the Isle of Arran Distilleries for the GLoS this is robust 46% proof single malt of character.

The 70cl bottle comes boxed and uses the GLoS tartan as its' main design theme.
The label on the reverse of the bottle bears the following message:
The Grand Lodge of Scotland has had the pleasure of representing Freemasons working under the Scottish Constitution since 1736.
Freemasonry is one of the world’s oldest secular fraternal societies and which originated in Scotland. Below we explain Freemasonry as it exists under the Grand Lodge of Scotland which is the corporate body governing Freemasonry in Scotland and Scottish Masonic Lodges in in many other parts of the world.
Freemasonry is a society of men concerned with moral and spiritual values. Its members are taught its precepts by a series of ritual dramas. These remain substantially the same form used in Scottish Stonemasons’ Lodges and use Scottish Stonemasons’ customs and tools as allegorical guides. 
The essential qualification for admission into and continued membership is a belief in a Supreme Being. Membership is open to men of any race, colour or religion who can fulfil this essential qualification and who are of good repute. 
For many years Freemasons have followed three great principles:
Every true Freemason will show tolerance and respect for the opinions of others and behave with kindness and understanding to his fellow creatures.
Freemasons are taught to practice charity and to care, not only for their own, but also for the community as a whole, both by charitable giving, voluntary efforts and works as individuals.
Freemasons strive for truth, requiring high moral standards and aiming to achieve them in their own lives.
£40. per bottle. We will ascertain the age and post the details here. Apologies for the omission.
At this time this whisky is only available from the Grand Lodge shop within Freemasons' Hall (after 10.00 am due to Scottish licensing laws) but arrangements are in hand to allow for it to be shipped worldwide. Details will be posted on this page as soon as they are available.
[In Scotland in is illegal to sell alcohol to anyone under the age of 18 years - Section 110 of the Licensing (Scotland) Act 2005]

Wednesday, December 02, 2015

"Don't Get On That Shuttle Again!"

There's an article on a the Circuit Writer blog written by a United Methodist Church pastor in Sioux City, Iowa that is well worth a read. He talks about his church constantly carping about loss of membership, and the the perception it creates, particularly to young people. I'm not a Methodist, but the entry makes excellent points that relate very strongly to the recurring discussions in U.S. and Canadian lodges and grand lodges.

Have a look at: Don't Get On That Shuttle Again!

I’ve come to believe that all of the continued discussion and hand-ringing about our membership is counterproductive and may even be dangerous to the possibility of future growth for our Church and more importantly to the mission of our Church.
Why? Because it creates and strengthens negative perceptions about the UMC, about or local churches and even about our ministry. It makes membership numbers THE litmus test for the work of the Church and it may indeed discourage persons looking at the UMC from becoming a part of our family of faith.
Why do I say that our continued churning about membership could actually keep people out of the Church? Because a lot of the growth and success (if we want to use that word) of any organization or human endeavor rides on perception.
If we all have a negative perception about the future of the UMC or the future of our local church that negativity is felt by persons who come as guests to our churches, who read about our faith family and are looking for a place to call their faith home.
I’ve shared the story more than once that I joined a local civic organization when I was younger. After joining I had an older member of the group come to me and say something to the effect, “I’m so glad you have joined. Boy we need young people. Our organization is dying. We probably won’t be around much longer. So glad you are here!” I very seriously considered asking for my dues back and walking out the door. The last thing I wanted to be was the token young person who was going to save their organization. Yet that same organization had a lot to offer that they were failing to tell me about because they could not stop talking about membership decline.

H/T: Timothy Bonney

Monday, November 30, 2015

New Video From The Scottish Rite Northern Jurisdiction

The Ancient Accepted Scottish Rite Northern Jurisdiction has just made a new video interviewing several AASR members about why they joined, called Seeking Further Light.

Have a look at it here: http://www.scottishritenmj.org/videos

Grand Recorder of KT in Indiana, Larry Kaminsky, Passes Away

I just received word that my dear friend and the longtime Grand Recorder for the Grand Commandery of the State of Indiana, Past Grand Commander Sir Knight Lawrence V. Kaminsky, passed away this morning.  No details have been made available as of yet. He was a good friend and Brother to me, and his dedication to Knights Templary in Indiana will be sorely missed.

When Larry was Grand Commander back in 2005, he asked me to make a video for the Knights Templar, and the York Rite in general. "Oh," he added, "I need it in two weeks for a meeting, if you can do it." I hurriedly cobbled together a script that he approved, and managed to pull it off, and he and I became good friends after that.

He was a longtime attendee at Masonic Week in Washington every year, and many of you will have met him there. Larry had that great ability to always make you feel like he had known you for years, and was the personification of what a Brother Mason and Sir Knight is supposed to be. He always had a smile on his face, and a kind word for everyone he met. I will miss him terribly. My thoughts and prayers go out to his friends and family, especially to his wife Janet.

From his bio on the Grand Commandery webpage:

Larry was born to Vincent and Mary Kaminsky in Hammond, Indiana. He has an older brother and two younger sisters.

He graduated from George Rogers Clark High School in 1959, and went to work at AMF, Junior Toy Division in Hammond while attending Purdue University Calumet. He then attended IBM school and was then employed at Hartford Insurance in Chicago. In 1963, he married Janet C. Gard. They are very proud of their four children and three grandchildren. During his career, Larry also worked at Contemporary Books, Inc., Huntington Industries, Inc. and has retired from the Quaker Oats Co. He received an Associate Degree in Management from Purdue University, Calumet; Bachelor of Arts from St. Joseph College in Management; Associate Program in Logistics Excellence at the University of Wisconsin, Madison; earned the certification as a Certified Data Processor at the Institute of Certification of Computer Professionals and is a strong advocate of higher education in all forms. He worked with the Boy Scouts of America at many levels for over 16 years and served as an assistant Chapter Advisor in Willis R. Ford, Order of DeMolay for several years.
Masonic History

Larry received his Masonic degrees in Garfield Lodge #569, Hammond, IN during 1970, served as Worshipful Master in 1981, served as assistant secretary from 1971 through 2010 and served as Treasurer for ten years. He joined the Hammond York Rite bodies in 1975 and served as High Priest in 1999, Illustrious Master 1997 and Eminent Commander in 1999. He served as Secretary/Recorder of the Hammond York Rite 2000-09. He served at the state level with the Grand Council as Group Officer for Arch 1 from 1995-1999. He started his Grand Commandery service as a Deputy Battalion Commander in Battalion 1 in 1996, was appointed as Grand Warder in 1999, elected and served as the 144th Grand Commander, Knights Templar of Indiana for the Templar year 2005-06.

Larry is a member of the following Masonic Affiliated organizations:
  • St. Basil Conclave Red Cross of Constantine, Puissant Sovereign (2010-11), Current Recorder
  • Gennesaret Tabernacle No. XVII, Holy Royal Arch Knight Templar Priests, Past Preceptor (2009-10)
  • J. Herbert Nichols Priory No. 76 KYCH, Past Prior 2008-09
  • Northwest Indiana York Rite College No. 73, Past Governor 2005-06
  • David R. Ford No. 338 Allied Masonic Degrees, Past Sovereign Master 2003
  • Indiana College Masonic Societas Rosiccuriana In Civitatibus Foederatis, VII°
  • Coronated Inspector General Honorary, 33o; the last Degree of the Ancient Accepted Scottish Rite Northern Masonic Jurisdiction held in Washington, DC, August 2007.
  • Scottish Rectified Rite, Scottish Master of St. Andrew, Alexandria, VA, 2012
  • Ancient Accepted Scottish Rite, Indianapolis Valley
  • Royal Order of Scotland
  • Scottish Rite Research Society
  • North Township Scottish Rite, Past President
  • Indiana Council of Anointed High Priests
  • Indiana Council of Thrice Illustrious Masters
  • Indiana Past Commanders Association
  • Sovereign Order of Knights Preceptor, Pennsylvania, 2005
  • Yeomen of York Preceptory No.1, Past Director General 2002
  • Grand Preceptory Yeomen of York, Past Grand Director General 2005-07
  • The Masonic Society, Founding Member
  • Philalethes Society
  • High Twelve, Indianapolis
  • Knight Masons, Indiana Council #15
  • The Grand College of Rites of the USA
  • Griffith Chapter, Order of Eastern Star, Past Worthy Patron, 1974
  • Low Twelve Club, President
  • Lake County Masonic Angel Fund, Board Member

Larry has received the following honors:
  • Recipient of the Grand Chapter Royal Arch Mason Secretary of the Year
  • Indiana Grand Council Cryptic Masons Recorder of the Year
  • Indiana Grand Council Cryptic Masons Illustrious Master of the Year in 1997
  • Grand Commandery Star Recorder of the Year
  • Appointed Grand Commandery Representative to the State of Michigan, near Ind.
  • Appointed Grand Representative of the Grand Lodge of Indiana to South Carolina
  • Knight York Cross of Honor
  • Knight York Grand Cross of Honor with one quadrant
  • York Rite Sovereign College of North America, Award of Gold
  • York Rite Sovereign College of North America, Order of the Purple Cross
  • York Rite Sovereign College of North America, Associate Regent
  • York Rite Sovereign College of North America, Order of Enlightenment
  • Indiana Grand Master Masonic Service Award in 2000
  • Member of the Honorable Order of Kentucky Colonels, 2001
  • Tennessee Squire Association, 2010

Larry has received the additional degrees:
  • Allied Masonic Degrees, Chicago 2001
    • Royal Arch Mariners
    • Arch and Dove
    • Secret Monitor 1° and 2°
  • Royal Order of Masonic Knights of the Scarlet Cord 3rd Grade
    • St. Lawrence the Martyr
    • Knight of Constantinople
    • Excellent Master
    • Master of Tyre
    • Architect
    • Grand Architect
    • Superintendent
  • Installed Sovereign Master 2003
  • Installed Supreme Ruler 2009
  • Installed Commander Noah 2009
  • Order of the Red Branch of Eri, Washington, DC 2003
  • Knight Commander, Order of the Red Branch of Eri, Washington, DC 2009
  • Ye Antiente Order of Corks, Washington, DC 2003
  • Order of the Rock, Washington, DC 2003
  • Order of Freedona, Washington, DC 2004
  • Grand Tilers of Solomon, Washington, DC 2009
  • Masonic Order of the Bath, Washington, DC 2009
  • The Royal Society of Knights Occidental, Washington, DC 2002
  • The Order of WAHTA, Washington, DC 2004
  • Goose & Taters, Quest, Zanzibar 2000
  • Zanzibar Fellowship of the Crystal Swizzle Stick 2006
  • Ancient and Heroic Order of the Gordian Knot, Indiana Synod No. 1, 2005

UPDATE 12/1/2015

Services for Lawrence V. Kaminsky, PGC
Kuiper Funeral Home
9039 Klienman Rd, Highland IN 46322

Thursday, December 3rd
Visitation from 4pm-8pm
Templar Honor Guard: 5pm-7pm
Masonic Service: 7pm
Friday, December 4th
Funeral: 10am
Gloria Dei Lutheran Church
3711 Ridge Road, Highland IN 46322
In lieu of flowers, the family has asked that donations may be made to his
surviving spouse to assist with medical and funeral expenses.

Monday, November 23, 2015

UK Press: Freemasons fixed inquiry into Titanic to protect Establishment, claims secret archive that lists two million members

You can't beat the British press when it comes to Mason bashing. Like this announcement from Ancestry.com that the UGLE is making an historical list of Masonic membership available to genealogy searchers that is appearing in papers all across Britain with the same ridiculous headline.

From the Daily Mail:

Freemasons fixed inquiry into Titanic to protect Establishment, claims secret archive that lists two million members - including Winston Churchill - and reveals secretive group of elites ruled society for 200 years

Freemasons dominated the inquiry into the sinking of the Titanic and may have allowed Establishment figures to escape blame, it was claimed last night.

The investigation into the 1912 tragedy that cost 1,500 lives exonerated most of those involved, including the ship’s White Star Line owners as well as its captain.

Now the publication of a secret archive of Freemasons – containing two million names of members from 1733 to 1923 – reveals the scale of Masonic involvement across the highest echelons of British society.

The archive contains the names of three kings, statesmen, judges, military top brass and bishops.

Experts believe it could lead to a re-examination of almost 200 years of British history, revealing the scale of Masonic influence at all levels of British society when the UK was one of the world’s most powerful countries.

The records are due to be published online by genealogy service Ancestry.

While the Masonic connections of figures such as Sir Winston Churchill, Oscar Wilde, Lord Kitchener, Rudyard Kipling and Edward VIII are known, the records offer the first comprehensive view of the reach of Freemasonry at the height of the British Empire.

They reveal the close ties between Establishment figures involved in the investigation into the Titanic’s sinking, the Telegraph reported.

A US Senate inquiry singled out the British Board of Trade, saying the small number of lifeboats on the ship was a result of lax regulations.

However, the UK investigation, overseen by Lord Mersey, exonerated the Board of Trade.

Lord Mersey himself was a Freemason, the newly published records show. He was initiated in 1881 at the Northern Bar Lodge in London.

Crucially, so too was Board of Trade president Sydney Buxton, initiated in 1888 when he was an MP.

The names of at least two of the inquiry’s five expert assessors – John Harvard Biles, a specialist in naval architecture, and Edward Chaston, the senior engineer assessor – can also be found in the Masonic archive.

Lord Pirrie, who was not only chairman of the Harland and Wolff shipyard in Belfast, which built the Titanic, but also one of the directors of White Star’s parent company, also appears to have been a Freemason.

Titanic expert Nic Compton said: ‘The Titanic inquiry in Britain was branded a “whitewash” because it exonerated most of those involved. Only three passengers were interviewed, and they were all from first class.’

The archive even suggests the Jack the Ripper may have been a Freemason, and his identity was shielded by fellow Masons.

A new book by Bruce Robinson, the director and screenwriter of the cult film Withnail and I, claims that the notorious Whitechapel murderer was a man named Michael Maybrick.

He argues that all of the Ripper killings bore the stamp of Masonic ritual, citing the symbol of a pair of compasses carved into the face of one of the Ripper’s victims.

Thursday, November 12, 2015

GLofDC Issues Statement Concerning Eligibility For Masons

For Grand Lodges that have considered or already passed anti-gay legislation in their territories, or for those who may think that Masonry is for white Christians only, you might give a look to this letter that was issued on November 11th. The Grand Master of the Grand Lodge of the District of Columbia, MWB Jeffrey D. Russell, has issued the following statement concerning eligibility of men seeking membership in Masonry in Washington, DC. (Click the image above to see it larger). 

In part, it reads:

In response to recent questions posed to this Grand Lodge on the qualifications and eligibility of men seeking membership in our constituent Lodges, we offer this statement of unwavering principles: Admission to membership in our Lodges is extended to men of faith based upon their personal merit and good character, without reference to race, creed, sexual orientation, specific religion or national origin.


The universality of our practice is reflected in the broad range of backgrounds to be found here. Lodges here not only work in English, but in French, Spanish, German, Italian, Farsi, Turkish and Armenian. Our membership hails from every continent and represents every race and creed, as well as a broad range of national origins. Masonic visitors to this international city find unparalleled opportunities to visit a Lodge that reminds them of home - wherever that home may be.

However, the concept of universality is not only an international paradigm. It enjoys equal importance in our welcoming of men whose varied backgrounds and practices in their private and professional lives would normally keep them at a perpetual distance. The diversity of our membership, in terms of race, creed, sexual orientation, specific religion and national origin is thus seen as an asset, rather than a liability. Civility and kindness is the rule for all interaction, thus the discussion of politics, religion and business are prohibited in the Lodge room. In this way, we hold that men become brothers by leaving divisions at the door, and taking strength from a shared appreciation of the common aspirations of all men for their betterment, and for improving themselves through service as respected members of their communities, despite their outward differences.

Our dedication to diversity was not born in Washington, DC. Worldwide Masonic law and practice from the days of Anderson's Constitutions clearly disfavors the exclusion of men based upon modes of belief, backgrounds or lifestyles that enjoy legal protection in their societies. Therefore, today we say, "Any man can become a D.C. Freemason, but not every man can be one." And our tradition of over five hundred years of inclusion continues to patiently await those with imagination, will and energy to dedicate themselves to the elevation of the human race.

Many thanks to Brother Eric Diamond for passing this along.

Wednesday, November 11, 2015

Britons Get Their Own Soccer Lodge

The United Grand Lodge of England is organizing a special purpose lodge for England's soccer (football) players who are Masons. Freemasons have been involved in the wildly popular sport almost since the very beginning of pro teams in Britain.

From the Daily Mail on November 7th:

For years, Freemasonry has battled conspiracy theories that its members secretly run the world – but now the shadowy organisation is planning to rule the football field.
This week, the organisation’s Grand Master, the Duke of Kent, is set to grant a warrant for the first Football Lodge – a place where members meet – in Hampshire. 
Players, managers and referees who are Masons will gather four times a year to listen to guest lecturers from the world of football as well as perform a series of Masonic rituals, though the organisation claims that many of the stereotypes, such as secret handshakes, are false.
In recent years the Masons have sought to expand their appeal by setting up a range of ‘special interest’ lodges. 
Groups include a biker gang called the Widows Sons and ‘a Lodge of Brevity’ for the ‘modern man’ where meetings are about half the normal four hours. 
The Football Association was formed in 1863 at the Freemasons’ Tavern in London – now The Grand Connaught Rooms.
Stars including Stanley Matthews, Dixie Dean and Nat Lofthouse were all Masons.
Freemasons are also responsible for Premier League team Manchester City playing in blue. In 1894 the club was in a financial crisis and was bailed out by Masons, who asked that in return the team wear the Masonic colour of blue.
A petition to form a Football Lodge will be considered at this week’s meeting of the Grand Master’s Council.

Wednesday, October 28, 2015

Anti-Gay, Fornication Edict Upheld by GL in Georgia

Well, Georgia did it. The Grand Lodge of Georgia met yesterday and the voting members upheld Grand Master Douglas McDonald's edict outlawing homosexuality, and throwing in fornication for good measure. After several impassioned speeches on the floor against the measure, it passed with a very close vote that probably should have been counted individually, but wasn't. The Grand Lodge now officially looks into a Freemason's private bedroom.

Thank God I live in Indiana where don't have such things, and we sure don't allow Past Masters the right to vote in Grand Lodge.

For background on this issue, CLICK HERE.

Thursday, October 22, 2015

New Freemason Edition Commemorative Rifle

From the web today comes the announcement of this new Freemason edition rifle:

Henry Repeating Arms is pleased to introduce the newest rifle in its collection, The Henry Golden Boy Freemasons Tribute Edition. It recognizes the long history of this honorable fraternal order and rewards the work and dedication of Freemasons everywhere.
The rifle is crafted with the highest attention to detail. The select American walnut stock depicts our first President in full Masonic regalia, with apron, trowel, and Warden's column, standing on a "temple" floor in front of the Masonic staircase, in a painted tableau bordered by scrollwork in the same style as the receiver.
The left side carries the famous compass and square retained from the earliest days of Freemasonry, the mason's plumb and level, the letter "G" which stands for both God and Geometry, the All-Seeing Eye of God as the symbol of divine watchfulness, and the words BROTHERLY LOVE, RELIEF & TRUTH that the order considers its foundation, along with FAITH, HOPE, CHARITY, emphasized in a Mason's First Point Ceremony, all in raised 24K gold relief against a background of classic floral engraving. 
On the right side, black and white mosaic squares represent the floor of King Solomon's Temple to illustrate "human life, checkered with good and evil." Ascending stairs remind a member of the path to higher levels of Freemasonry, with another "G" at the top as the ultimate goal. 
It's built with the same smooth action that all rifles in Henry's award-winning Golden Boy family are known for. This model features a nickel-plated finish and the receiver engravings are plated with 24K gold. The buttplate and barrel band are brass. The American Walnut stock is engraved and hand-painted.
It features a fully adjustable semi-buckhorn rear sight with a reversible white diamond insert and brass beaded front sight. It includes a blued octagonal barrel and is drilled and tapped for easy scope mounting. Offered in caliber .22 S/L/LR, capacity is 16 rounds of 22 Long Rifle and as much as 21 rounds of 22 Short.  
Anthony Imperato, President of Henry Repeating Arms explains, "Many of our customers are Freemasons and it's an honor to pay tribute to them with this rifle. Freemasonry dates back to the early 1700s, with one of its most notable members being our first American president, George Washington.
The retail price of this unique rifle is $1,200, and is available from licensed gun dealers. Visit their website for more photos and information. Click here.

Friday, October 09, 2015

New Book Makes Jack The Ripper A Freemason…Again

Here we go again. 

The tired old accusation that the infamous Jack the Ripper was a Freemason is back. The latest author to try to make this idiotic claim is Bruce Robinson in his new book, They All Love Jack: Busting The Ripper.

Read the interview with him in GQ-UK Magazine. From "How one man revealed Jack the Ripper's identity" by Robert Chalmers:

Robinson's research into the Ripper's atrocities gathered pace once he examined the murder of Catherine Eddowes, the second of two murders (known as the "double event") on the night of 30 September 1888. "He killed and mutilated her, then wrote this message on the wall: 'The Juwes are / The men that / Will not / Be blamed for nothing.' Sir Charles Warren, commissioner of the Metropolitan Police, is informed of this message by telegraph. He leaps out of bed at 4am and gets into a hansom cab, not in order to preserve the writing on the wall but to wipe it out. And erase it he did, even though fellow officers were urging him to have this evidence photographed. Right there you have the fulcrum on which the so-called mystery of Jack the Ripper lies."
The word "Juwes", Robinson argues, is a reference to Jubela, Jubelo and Jubelum, assassins central to Masonic legend. (Their full history and mythical significance is explained at some length in They All Love Jack.)
"Once I started researching Commissioner Warren, what emerged was that he was a very senior Freemason. He knew the message about 'Juwes' had to have been written by a Mason. Warren got his stupid arse out of bed that night to fulfil the spirit of the oath sworn by a senior Freemason, ie, 'I will protect any other Mason [from the consequences of their actions], murder and treason not excluded.'"
Robinson re-examined the forensic detail of other known Ripper murders. "Freemasonry  has denied any connection with the Ripper for 130 years," he says. "But these women were all murdered according to Masonic ritual. Throats cut across, abdomens ripped open, guts slung over their shoulders, every piece of metal taken off them and placed nearby. The whole affair is glaringly Masonic. That much I realised within a week."
Of course, the notion that Jack the Ripper was a Freemason is hardly innovative. Dozens of Ripperologists have examined the murders in this context
Robinson's no slouch - he's the author of the award winning screenplay for the 1984 film The Killing Fields. But he uses the same, tired old "evidence" that they all use: namely, the "Juwes" nonsense. This theory was first promulgated in Stephen Knight's 1976 book, Jack the Ripper: The Final Solution. The tale came to him from an informant named Joseph Sickert, son of a painter named Walter Sickert who supposedly knew all the juicy details firsthand and told them to his son before he died (Sickert had an axe to grind, since his father had been a suspect himself). Never mind that no one besides anti-Masonic conspiracy mongers, including any Mason, has ever referred to the three ruffians in Masonic ritual as "the Juwes". And the names of the ruffians were removed from English ritual in the early 1800s. It is very true that Sir Charles Warren, Commissioner of London's Metropolitan Police and a Freemason, approved of having the message scrawled on the wall removed, but this was because there were rumors in the city that a Jew was responsible for the Ripper killings. There had, in fact, already been several near-riots and incidents of violence against Jews over the case, and Warren didn't want the graffiti seen out of fear that more would happen. 

As to the so-called Masonic ritual references to the killings themselves and the manner in which the bodies were arranged, many of the details are just plain wrong, or a total fabrication. If you want to read about it in great detail, see WBro. Dennis Stocks' very detailed essay, Freemasonry and the Ripper.

I have no idea if the UGLE's ritual in 1888 said that a Mason would protect a Brother, "murder and treason not excluded." Perhaps someone else knows. But I do know that my own jurisdiction goes out of its way in the ritual to specifically say "murder and treason excluded," and has for some time. Certainly, Robinson has no way of knowing. Masons are required to obey the laws of their nation, and there is absolutely no evidence of Masons concealing their crimes from the authorities for each other, despite many attempts to accuse them of it down through history. There is literally one instance in modern history of Masons accused of murder and covering it up (see the entry for William Morgan on Wikipedia), and the evidence of that so-called crime is shaky at best-it has never been proved, and no body was ever found. That's literally it.

This Ripper stuff is typical British anti-Masonic claptrap, and dragging it up again makes me suspect the rest of Mr. Robinson's theories. The entire Masonic theory originated with Joseph Sickert who introduced Stephen Knight to the story, and fabricated a whole Ripper hoax that spawned several books, magazine articles and documentaries. In the June 18th, 1978 edition of London's Sunday Times he confessed that he made the whole story up, or in his own words, "it was a hoaxa whopping fib." Masons included.

MSA South Carolina Flooding Disaster Appeal

The Masonic Service Association has established a Disaster Relief Fund for South Carolina, following a weeklong drenching of rain, causing rivers to overflow, dams to burst, roadways to flood , and home and businesses to be inundated with water, resulting in major damage or destruction.
Officials said billions of dollars of destruction has occurred to roadways and bridges, in addition to building damage, in this historic flooding.
In the Columbia area, one Lodge building has been virtually destroyed. It is a Lodge whose membership is heavily composed of active military personnel.  Other Lodges, plus homes of Masonic members, have been seriously damaged, and the toll to life and property is still growing and being assessed.
Please forward to the MSA such donations which you feel are appropriate to help our devastated Brothers, their families and others in this stricken jurisdiction. Read how you can donate online or by check by clicking here.

Tuesday, September 15, 2015

Gay Marriage and the GL of Tennessee (and Georgia)

I have received disturbing news from Tennessee. It seems that a gay Brother recently married another man, as per the SCOTUS ruling on national gay marriage. Unfortunately, the Grand Lodge of Tennessee's code Sec. 4.2105 (27) specifically states that it is a Masonic offense to "To engage in lewd conduct. To promote or engage in homosexual activity. To cohabit immorally in a situation without the benefit of marriage", and the Grand Master is making moves to expel the Brother.

The Brother in question has issued a detailed response discussing the situation, and has sent copies to several lodges in his area, the Grand Master, and every grand lodge in the US plus the UGLE. He is not going to go quietly, and in light of the recent change in the legal determination of the Supreme Court, I can't say as I blame him. We have perhaps thousands of gay members around the world who have been active, upright Masons for centuries, and it's not the lodge's or Grand Lodge's business what goes on in his bedroom. As long as he's not proselytizing in open lodge or violating his obligation, IT'S NONE OF OUR BUSINESS! 

Furthermore, official codes that outlaw homosexuality, like other races, are letting themselves in for a major lawsuit and grand lodges should remove such language as soon as possible.

To read the Brother's letter, see the .pdf at http://www.freemasonsfordummies.com/TennesseeGayMarriageCharges.pdf


Last week in Georgia, the Grand Master, Douglas McDonald, issued an edict with the endeavor to change their adultery provision to additionally read, "Homosexual activity with anyone subjects the offender to discipline."

Click image to enlarge:

I'm afraid there will be more of this. Brethren should consider that they have all probably been sitting in lodge with homosexuals since the day they became an EA. I strongly encourage Masons to check their state's code and take steps to remove these provisions. I'm no social justice activist, but we live in very different times now, and the Supreme Court has spoken on the subject. Like it or not, agree with it or not, such rules may potentially subject us to lawsuits, and I humbly beseech Grand Masters not to act rashly because homosexuality conflicts with their own personal views of morality. We have had thousands of gay members since our beginnings, almost entirely without incident or without bringing disgrace upon the Craft. 

What someone does in the privacy of their own bedrooms is none of our business, as long as they don't bring their politics into the lodge room or violate their obligations. If we as Masons, sitting in lodges, suddenly take it upon ourselves to weigh in on each others' spouses or paramours and their private choices that violate no law, this fraternity will find itself in a death spiral very quickly.