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


Saturday, April 11, 2020

'Journal of the Masonic Society' Back Issues Now Online

by Christopher Hodapp

Great news for Freemasons in search of a new, untapped resource for quality, thoughtful and informative Masonic reading and research material. The Masonic Society has just made the first twenty issues of the Journal of the Masonic Society available online at no cost via the Issu website.* I understand more issues are coming as soon as their indefatigable Secretary and webmeister can organize and upload the pdfs of even more.

I'm especially proud of these particular issues, as I was the Editor of the Journal for the first four and a half years (through Issue 18), and only reluctantly gave it up as I dealt with some major health issues at the time. I was more than ably succeeded by Michael Halleran and then by Michael Poll, who has been at the helm for many years now. John Bridegroom took over the art direction and design of the magazine when I had to resign, and the Journal has continued to grow and improve year after year.

When we started TMS and first conceived the Journal a dozen years ago, it was our fervent hope that it would look, read and feel very different from any other Masonic magazine out there. The state of most Masonic magazines at the time was pretty lethargic and dull, and the greatest side effect of us hitting mailboxes was that it compelled other magazines about the fraternity to improve their look and appeal, too. Rising tides really do lift all boats, and the fraternity has benefitted by all of us trying to provide better quality publications. To this day, the Masonic Society still publishes the most valuable, useful and beautiful Masonic magazine of original research, artwork, photography and essays anywhere.

Central to the TMS Journal's philosophy all along has been that it strives to have such a wide variety of features, papers, stories, poems, photography and artwork that every Mason can find something of value in every issue. In it you will find articles from brethren you may never have heard of before, instead of the same names and faces year after year. We said from the start that we wanted to be partners with all Masonic research lodges and societies, everywhere. We wanted to give their members an internationally available journal in which to publish their work to a wider audience, instead of just delivering a detailed, killer Power Point presentation that took years of work to a room full of 25 guys at a meeting and having it disappear forever. That offer still stands today, and Michael Poll is always looking for new articles from new authors and researchers — maybe that's you.

Not a member of the Masonic Society, or were you once but are no longer? Membership in the Masonic Society is US$45 per year for US mailing addresses (including APO/FPO/DPO), US$49 per year for Canadian mailing addresses, and US$67 per year outside of the U.S. & Canada. 

You can sign up for full membership if you are a regular, recognized Freemason, or as a non-voting subscriber if you belong to unrecognized obediences, or are an institution like a library, museum or research organization.

TMS is not just a magazine with some spiffy membership certificates (some of the spiffiest, I might add). In its first dozen years now, the Masonic Society has 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 all across the country and in the U.K., and much more.

The Masonic Society's Quarry Project Masonic Writer's Guide established widely-adopted writing style guidelines for Masonic authors, historians, researchers, libraries and museums to achieve some sense of uniformity to abbreviations and capitalization questions involving our peculiar and specialized nomenclature. If you aren't sure whether to type Masonry or masonry, Lodge or lodge, St. or Saint, thirty-second degree or 32°, Brethren, bretheren, or botheren, whether or not to use lodge numbers and how, whether to use honorific titles (like Most or Right Worshipful, Illustrious, PGM, WB, KT, WM, etc.), or just how to structure a footnote, check out the Quarry Project Masonic style guide.

For more about the Masonic Society, be sure to visit the website at www.themasonicsociety.com . And stay tuned for more back issues coming online soon.

One thing's for sure - the COVID -19 pandemic shutdown is a golden opportunity for Masons to catch up on their ritual work, maybe learn a new part, or polish up one gathering dust in the back of your brain. But it's also a boon to those who claim they're usually too busy to bother with 'Masonic education.' Even if you don't have a house full of unread Masonic books, there's no shortage of excellent material to be found online.

*One caveat about these full issues of the Journal being available electronically at this time - you cannot download or print from them, they are read-only. TMS has a reprint policy, and physical copies of almost every issue from the last twelve years can be purchased from the website. That policy is for the protection of authors to prevent wholesale piracy of their hard work, which is, sadly, a very real concern in this electronic age.


  1. Thank you for making these available for reading online. Especially welcome for readers located in distant places (Sri Lanka !) where postal services are no longer reliable these days. Please be aware however that the method used to disable downloading and printing can easily be bypassed. Considering the small printing quantities, I doubt that the selected publishing model is the appropriate solution to ensure the financial sustainability of the TMJ nor a real guarantee to protect the authors'copyright.

  2. Can we reprint segments of articles and give them credit in our Trestleboards?

  3. What about quotes excerpts with credit for Trestleboards?


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