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Monday, May 04, 2020

AMD Presents John Bizzack: 'Sins of Our Masonic Fathers' Friday 5/8

by Christopher Hodapp

On Friday, May 8th, the Allied Masonic Degrees (AMD) of New Jersey and Pennsylvania East will host an online members-only presentation by Dr. John Bizzack, Past Master of Lexington Lodge 1 in Kentucky. 'Sins of Our Masonic Fathers' is an outgrowth of John's ongoing examination of the massive changes that happened in American Freemasonry at around 1800 when it transformed from small, exclusive lodges along the East coast into a rapidly expanding institution for social change throughout the western territories. What was good for America turned out to be not so good for Freemasonry as an institution as it exists today, and the subject of John's presentation is "the lost strength of fewness in American Freemasonry." 


John Bizzack is an exceptional historian and has written some fourteen books on Freemasonry. I especially recommend Island Freemasonry and Sins of Our Masonic Fathers. It helps that he is deeply involved with and committed to Kentucky's historic Lexington Lodge 1, which was the first Masonic lodge established west of the Appalachian mountains. More than a few grand lodges can trace their origins to Virginia or Kentucky charters that came out of that one single lodge. If you ever have the opportunity to visit one of their regular lodge meetings or outstanding festive boards, make the effort to do so. Lexington Lodge sets the bar very high for excellence in everything they do, and their lodge experience is always first-rate. John's been a big part of that over the years, and he served several years as their Worshipful Master.

Friday's program begins at 8PM EDT. It is being restricted to members of the Allied Masonic Degrees only, and is NOT open to the public or just Masons in general. For login information to this Zoom program, you must register at: https://tinyurl.com/ydav7x5u 


  1. I've often wondered if the individual Lodge, and Freemasonry by extension, would be strengthened by having a membership limit. That number would be set by each Lodge itself, but 20 active members feels right. Members who became inactive might be removed annually and a waiting list maintained; keeping the Lodge vibrant and active by exclusivity; trimming the uncommitted and keeping members involved by knowledge another is waiting to take their place should they fail to apply themselves to the Craft.

    1. Considering the typical American jurisdiction has at least 11 officers, your suggestion leaves 9 sideliners.

      While I appreciate the idea of a smaller Lodge, I think that's too small to sustain itself.

      My jurisdiction requires 25 Master Masons to charter a new Lodge.

      Given such a Lodge, focusing on whatever gets members to show up and maintain friendship and connection even when the Lodge is not opened, would likely attract more members, both as applicants for the degrees, and as affiliates.

      My ideal Lodge would be a Lodge similar to the Traditional Observance style, with a bylaw that says once they reach a set number (50 plus an arbitrary number, but for sake of argument, 26, thus 76 members), the Lodge should hive off - that is, split into two Lodges, with roughly equal number of Brothers.

      This ensures that the minimum number of members are present for a charter, but that it is not left mostly on the shoulders of an officer line to make things work.

      One caveat, or maybe a stipulation of that bylaw, is that none of the charter members of the first Lodge may be charter members of the second.

    2. I dunno. It only takes seven Masons to open a lodge of Master Masons in due and ancient form. The Grand Lodge of Indiana dropped from 50 to 25 to 20 and now down to 10 to obtain a charter to encourage more and smaller new lodges. We know full well that no lodge is destined to live forever, so the feeling here is to encourage a solid, small core of Masons to try something different and then attract new interest.


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