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


Friday, February 20, 2015

Philly's temple Featured in NBC's "Allegiance"

The Masonic Temple in Philadelphia, home to the GL of PA, was prominently featured on the Allegiance, a new prime time show on NBC. The tour guide is Brother Danny Hinds, Superintendent of the Temple and Aide to the Grand Master.
Here's the link:

H/T Seth Anthony

Wednesday, February 11, 2015

UPDATED, SEE CORRECTIONS and APOLOGY: Prince Hall Lodge Running a Strip Club In Maryland

From the Maryland Gazette.net today. The Charles Datcher Masonic Lodge #15 of Washington D.C. is a lodge chartered by the Most Worshipful Prince Hall Grand Lodge of Washington DC, but I've never heard of a regular lodge that offers up strippers as a recruitment tool. Their private club even has a Facebook page. There is something very wrong with this picture. This is the kind of stuff that got the Jesters in trouble, and besmirches the fraternity. The MWPHGLofWDC needs to come down hard on these guys.

A private club in Forestville providing nightly strip dancing performances as a “recruitment tool” for freemasons has been denied a permit for adult entertainment.The Prince George’s County Council, which sits as the District Council on zoning issues, upheld the zoning examiner’s denial of a special exemption permit for adult entertainment to Bazz and Crue, during its Monday meeting.Dennis Whitley III, attorney for Bazz and Crue, described the site at 7752-7754 Marlboro Pike in Forestville as a private lounge for freemasons and potential freemasons of Charles Datcher Masonic Lodge #15 of Washington D.C.,; however, county zoning officials say the site hosts nightly nude dancing and lap dancing.Bazz and Crue owners could not be reached for comment.Whitley described the adult entertainment that goes on at the site as a “recruitment tool” to draw in potential freemasons.“I believe the idea is to go to where the gentlemen are,” Whitley told the council.Whitley described the dancers as “independent contractors” who make their money through tips.Whitley said potential members must apply to become freemasons and pay $240 yearly membership dues, with a $20 minimum down payment.“You can visit once, and if it is something you are interested in, you can go on to pay the full $240. If it’s something you’re not interested in, you don’t have to pay the rest,” Whitley said.Whitley said membership is not automatic, but that individuals must demonstrate they are of “moral character” in their applications.“What is the nature of the moral character you have to demonstrate?” said Council Chairman Mel Franklin (D-Dist. 9) of Upper Marlboro.Whitley said he could not speak to the specific requirements.Whitley characterized the adult entertainment as one of many events that go on at the private club, saying it is also used for masonic rituals, gatherings and classes, and where adult entertainment also occurs.“They offer adult entertainment, but it is still a private club,” Whitley said. “If they offered opera, it would not make it an opera house.”Permits filed with the county when Bazz & Crue opened in 2001 describe it as a private lounge for members of Charles Datcher Masonic Lodge #15 of Washington D.C.The permits stated the site would be used for classes, gatherings, as a rest area for elderly members and other events, but did not mention adult entertainment.“It seems to me there was a misrepresentation as to what was going on at the club,” said Councilwoman Deni Taveras (D-Dist. 3) of Hyattsville. 
Douglas Edwards of Capitol Heights, president of the Coalition of Civic Associations of Central Prince George’s County, said he is also a freemason and has never heard of the recruitment tactics used by the club.
“I’m a 32nd degree mason, and when I heard about the $20 fee, I thought, masons are not recruited. They come of their own free will,” Edwards said.Edwards spoke out against the club being awarded an exemption.“We’re not going to enjoy having that in our community,” Edwards said.Zoning ordinances passed in 2009 prohibit adult entertainment in the area, but Whitley argued the club should be grandfathered in as a special exemption, as adult entertainment had been going on at the site since 2001.

H/T Bill Arnold


UPDATE From the Prince George's County application to the zoning board Note the curious way the lodge is referred to in the application. I smell a rat:

Applicant’s Request

(7) The Applicant is seeking approval of S.E. 4717 to operate a Private Club with Adult Entertainment.  Members of a chapter of the Masons/Shriners located in Washington D.C. (the “Charles Datcher Lodge #15”, Free and Accepting Masons, Prince Hall) formed a separate nonprofit legal entity,  CD#15CL2001, Inc.,  to do various charitable deeds and to operate the instant Private Club for the members’ enjoyment. 
Applicant actually operates two Private Clubs – one at the subject property (d/b/a X4B) and one on Forestville Road in District Heights (d/b/a Bazz and Crue).[1]  Applicant has operated X4B since August 10, 2007, pursuant to a Use and Occupancy Permit that allows it to operate “a private club per 37380-2006”.  (Exhibit 7) 

(8) Applicant submitted copies of its Articles of Incorporation, tax records and Bylaws for inclusion in the record.  (Exhibits 12 pp. 41-47, 38, 42, 45, 50 and 51)  Applicant also submitted a “Programs & Services for X4B” flier explaining the Private Club’s interests and missions which include helping single mothers, providing drug prevention education, helping the homeless, and providing education to the adult entertainment industry workers.  (Exhibit 43)  Finally, a copy of the organization’s Trestleboard (similar to minutes) was provided.  (Exhibit 44)

[1] Bazz and Crue’s application for Adult Entertainment  -SE-4716-was denied by this Examiner.

I received this note from the lodge on Facebook today, explaining the issue:

I read your article yesterday and think I even left a comment but long story short. The lodge has nothing to do with it. A member of the lodge who has been off the rolls for years owns the establishment. Pretty much he used a variation of the lodges name to obtain tax exempt status and during his failure to obtain a new permit tried to justify the purpose of his establishment. We are currently in the process of taking legal action to put a very strong end to this subject. Our lodge does not condone the use nor use this establishment as a recruiting tool.

In looking over the application for the zoning permit, printed above, you will see that it is made out by "Charles Datcher #15, Free and Accepting Masons, Prince Hall" which is no way I've ever heard of a PHA lodge referring to itself. So it appears that this whole incident has nothing to do with the very honorable Charles Darcher Lodge PHA, and I profusely apologize for the tempest in a teapot it caused. I am deeply sorry for the pain it caused to the brethren of the lodge, and for the upset it may have caused in the halls of the Grand Lodge. I was simply reporting what came over the news service, which can always be suspect. CLH

Tuesday, February 10, 2015

Brother John Bridegroom's Little Girl Needs Your Help

John Bridegroom is the art director for the Journal of the Masonic Society, and also operates The Master's Craft, a maker of fine Masonic products. His daughter is 8 years old and suffering from leukemia. In a few days she will undergo a bone marrow stem cell transplant in Indianapolis at Riley Hospital for Children. As you can imagine, this experience has put a tremendous strain on the family, financially and emotionally. They have been commuting from northern Indiana back and forth to Indianapolis for two years, a three hour trip.

Donna Donley has set up a website to take donations for Phoenix and her family. They are attempting to raise $5000 to defray some of the extraordinary costs of this ordeal. Let's pull together as Masons to help this incredibly resilient little girl and her family during this difficult time.

From Donna's site:

Only 2 days until Phoenix starts her 3 month stay at Riley's ! Please continue to like & SHARE this post to rally support
Now that Phoenix has relapsed....she needs our help more than ever!! The family is struggling with the financial burdens of having a child with cancer, of not being able to work, medical expenses, travel back and forth from home to Rileys Childrens Hospital, meals away from home, and living away from home..
This unbelievable little girl has fought harder than anyone can imagine and still wakes up with a smile. She has uplifted so many people. Not only family and friends, but complete strangers that follow her story on Facebook and share their stories of similar battles......
Please join Phoenix's team.....we need all the help we can get!

She has been battling a rare form of Leukemia called Acute Lymphoblastic Leukemia (ALL) for 3 years!! After 2 years our family was ready to celebrate  a triumph over cancer when Phoenix had a relapse.... Her future requires a Stem Cell Transplant.
This family is facing the battle one day at a time and I am hoping that you will make a donation to help them keep up the fight. Even if you cant donate, your prayers are greatly appreciated.
Visit the facebook page Friends and Family of Phoenix Bridegroom if you would like to see and read more about Phoenix and her journey.
ABOUT THE FAMILY....Tammy, John and Diva Bridegroom are Phoenix's family.  They are some of the strongest people that I have ever met. During the hardest struggle of their lives, they managed to participate in dozens of fundraisers for Leukemia and other Cancers.  Phoenix has raised money for Rileys childrens hospital, and even appeared in their Christmas commercial.  She also earned a heart on the wall for reaching a fund raising goal for Ronald McDonald House!  Through all of the trials and hardships they managed to help others.  Tammy told me that she prays she can help as many people as have helped them!

Saturday, February 07, 2015

Utah Shotgun Has Masonic Past

LEHI -- Slightly more than a week ago, outfitter Jeff Davis discovered that Cabela’s had purchased a shotgun that told its own tale -- a model 1912 Winchester 20-gauge.
The store's Gun Library displays and sells preowned guns.
“I get lots of stories from the public about the rifles, but that is what most of them are, just stories,” said Cory Cannon, the Gun Library manager.
“We don’t have any guns of historical significance; we have guns from the Civil War era, but I don’t have any guns that we can attribute to some famous person."
A customer recently walked in and wanted to sell his shotgun. As per law, the serial number was sent to the state to make sure it was a clean gun.
When Davis, a Cabela’s Gun Library outfitter, started to get the shotgun ready for display, he said he noticed the butt plate was on backward, so he took it off to put on correctly.
“When I opened it up, there was a little borehole there and a note wrapped up tight in there,” he said.
That’s when he noticed the paper was marked with the Freemason seal.
Removing the old paper caused it to tear, but the message was complete. The document was a record of trade dated 1925 and had the letterhead of the Provo Freemasons, the oldest established Freemasons in Utah, Story Lodge No. 4.
“I think that it’s pretty cool,” Davis said.
He contacted the Freemasons' Grand Lodge offices in Salt Lake City and received an answer.
“If I was asked to guess as to why a transaction of a gun would appear on a Lodge’s stationary, I would have to say it was the only convenient piece of paper close at hand,” said William C. Hall, in an email response to Davis.
The note reads, “Received this gun from Hewitt Strong, a trade for a 16-gauge Winchester model 1897” and is signed by H. F. Cannon, who was the Worshipful Master of the Provo Lodge Freemasons.
Hall said there was a discrepancy in the date on the transaction and the date that Cannon served as Worshipful Master.
“The date that H.F. Cannon was Worshipful Master was in 1929, so your date of 1925 is not correct as the letterhead would not have been printed until 1928 at the earliest,” Hall said.
Davis said he thinks the previous owner wasn’t aware of the note.
Once it is cleared by the state on Feb. 14, the Winchester legally could be put on sale. Instead, the shotgun will be on display in the Cabela’s Gun Library through the month of March.
“I don’t know of any other discoveries like this,” said Melissa Overson, Cabela’s spokeswoman. “I think it’s really cool; it’s interesting to see a piece of history."