As Masonic Week kicked off on a Thursday night twelve years ago, a half-dozen of the shadowy 'Knights of the North' of Laudable Pursuit notoriety were hosted at a dinner at historic Gadsby's Tavern in Old Town by a group from Alexandria-Washington Lodge 22. Nearly everyone in that group was already well acquainted with each other from meeting electronically on a now-defunct Masonic discussion forum called MasonicLight, and the hot topic on everyone's lips the entire weekend was "Masonic reformation."
Two nights later, the ideas that became the Masonic Society were noodled about over drinks in the Hilton Alexandria Mark Center's lobby bar.
WB Jay Hochberg was there from the very start that fateful February of 2008, and he was named as a Founding Fellow of the Society when we officially announced ourselves as open in May 2008. So it is with great honor and pride that I report that Jay has just been elected this weekend as the seventh President of the Masonic Society at their dinner and annual meeting. Some sixty brethren and guests attended the Masonic Society dinner in Crystal City.
Jay is a Past Master of New York City's Publicity Lodge No. 1000 and New Jersey Lodge of Research and Education No. 1786. Masonic readers have enjoyed his Masonic Magpie blog since 2008, and he has been involved as advertising director for the Journal of the Masonic Society, news and story gatherer, Masonic event calendar coordinator, and/or board member and officer from the very beginning.
From Jay's blog post this weekend:
• Board member Greg Knott advances to the Second Vice Presidency, and so Oscar Alleyne becomes First Vice President. Other personnel changes are to come.
• Our membership stats fluctuate, but if you once were a member we somehow lost, don’t be surprised when you find me on your doorstep with a pizza and a six pack looking to talk about you rejoining. Actually, a survey to current and past members will help us understand what about the Society is appreciated, and what is disappointing. Coming soon.
• We are talking about ways to enhance membership value in the Masonic Society. When Masons in my travels talk to me about our dues, the consensus is “Forty-five bucks—no problem!” But those of us inside the brain trust want to deliver more for your dollar, so we will find a way forward using media technologies. A discourse community, for sane Masonic conversations, and videos, to bring far away lectures to you, are feasible. We are blessed to have several eminent Masons, who do this sort of thing professionally, guiding us here.
• Special events? God, I hope so! It seems like another Masonic-con or Esoteric-con springs up somewhere in the United States every couple of weeks. In years past, the Masonic Society hosted a number of unforgettable experiences, and I hope to regain that momentum before [my] impeachment hearings commence!
We are grateful to Mark Tabbert for his after-dinner remarks this evening in which he presented the historical record of George Washington’s actual Masonic life. Not the myths nor the exaggerations, but just the facts concerning what has become a misunderstood chapter in Masonic history. Look for Mark’s upcoming book on this subject due soon from University of Virginia Press...In its first decade alone, the Masonic Society served the entire fraternity worldwide by preserving vital Internet resources like Paul M. Bessel's indispensable research site; created media references about Masonry for the press during the height of Da Vinci Code/Lost Symbol/Dan Brown mania; hosted seminars and symposia across the country and in the U.K.; the Quarry Project established widely-adopted writing style guidelines for Masonic authors, historians, researchers, libraries and museums. And the Masonic Society still publishes the most valuable, useful and beautiful Masonic magazine of original research, artwork, photography and essays anywhere — the Journal of the Masonic Society, edited by Michael Poll and art directed by John Bridegroom.
But it has been close to a dozen years now. I listened in at the electronic keyhole to the Board Meeting of the Society on Friday afternoon, and members both current and former will be happy to know the Board is undertaking a much-needed evaluation of things as they enter their twelfth year. Jay's message alludes to some of that. Look for exciting new announcements very soon.
Not a member of the Masonic Society, or were you once but are no longer? Annual membership is a paltry $45 and can be accomplished online HERE.
By the way, in January 2020, the Masonic Society was informed that a Facebook Group called the “Global Fraternal Network” changed its name to “The Masonic Society”. The Masonic Society is not associated with the Global Fraternal Network in any way. The owners of the Global Fraternal Network are not members of The Masonic Society, and the name change was made without TMS' approval or any prior request.
TMS notified Facebook of this clear attempt to hijack the good name of TMS, and has changed its name of their Facebook group to “The Masonic Society – Official Facebook Page”. Here is the link to the real Masonic Society Facebook group. The only other Facebook presence with official TMS sanction is the page The Journal of The Masonic Society. Any other Facebook group purporting to call itself “The Masonic Society” has no permission to do so and should be considered illegitimate and spurious. As a result of the complaint to Facebook, the “Global Fraternal Network” returned to its original name.
Just another Internet day in trademark hell.