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


Monday, June 29, 2020

Masonic Lite Podcast Interview

by Christopher Hodapp

I had the pleasure of appearing on Episode 99 of the Masonic Lite podcast, which we recorded last week. It's being released today, for those so inclined. Many thanks to hosts Pete Ruggieri, Larry Merris, Jack Harley, Tim Dedman and producer Josh Lyter for their kind invitation.

Episode #99 is supposed to be posted sometime today. CLICK HERE for the list of the latest Masonic Lite episodes. 

Saturday, June 27, 2020

Eddie Izzard Cast As Illus. Peter Solomon 33° in Upcoming 'Langdon' TV Series

by Christopher Hodapp

More casting news is trickling in about NBC's upcoming TV series Langdon, based on Dan Brown's Masonic-themed novel, The Lost Symbol. The Deadline website is reporting that actor/comedian Eddie Izzard (Six Minutes To Midnight) and Valorie Curry (The Tick) and are set to star opposite Ashley Zukerman's Robert Langdon.

Eddie Izzard has been cast as Peter Solomon, Director of the Smithsonian, billionaire philanthropist, and Robert Langdon's mentor at Harvard. Peter Solomon's character in the novel is also a 33rd degree Scottish Rite Mason and Masonic scholar. Frankly, this is a stroke of casting genius, as Peter Solomon (in the book, anyway) has a fine sense of humor, a thorough understanding of history, philosophy and theology, and it is through him that the best explanations and messages about Freemasonry ultimately unspool.

Eddie Izzard as 'Bertie,' Prince Albert Edward, son of Queen Victoria
in 'Victoria and Abdul'
If you only know the 58-year-old Izzard from his standup comedy material about being a transvestite and an atheist, you might be alarmed by this development. Frankly, his casting may give some Masons a case of the vapours. But if you've seen his dramatic performances (why do all comics want to be serious actors?), you know he's ideal for the part. He once said in an interview,
“I have noticed a reluctance in earlier years to know exactly where to start with research. Maybe it’s a laziness or lack of confidence about which way to go into it... The obvious thing that came into my head, or that I realized, was the better you researched it – the better you are into the character before you land on the set, the easier it’s going to be. You’re just going to be fully formed, I mean, obviously Daniel Day-Lewis does this to a huge extent, and that’s what I want to do, that’s the direction I want to head to, so that when I’m there, getting to the set, I know where I am, rather than a week into it, getting the hang of it."

The other announcement was that actress Valorie Curry will play Katherine Solomon, Peter Solomon's sister and the scientist conducting experiments on Noetics. You might know Curry as 'Dot Everest' in The Tick or Kelsey in Showtime's House of Lies.

The Deadline website is also reporting that NBC has firmly committed to actually start shooting the Langdon series later this year (the COVID pandemic shutdowns placed many shows slated for Fall in question).

Brown's The Lost Symbol novel — the sequel to The Da Vinci Code — was a 500+ page love letter to our fraternity, so I look forward to seeing how Hollywood treats us. I'm not dumb enough to think the fraternity will get an entirely fair treatment. In the most commonly used Masonic ritual in the U.S., we teach the lesson of Jacob's Ladder, and stress that Faith, Hope and Charity are its three principal rungs. 'Faith is lost in sight' - I have little faith that Hollywood can tell a Masonic story without screwing it up, based on having seen countless earlier examples. 'Hope ends in fruition' - so this project will hopefully not stink. But 'the greatest of these is Charity,' so I shall remain charitable until proved otherwise. 


Wednesday, June 24, 2020

Alaska PGM 'Bo' Kline Hospitalized

by Christopher Hodapp

Word came late Wednesday night that RW John R. "Bo" Cline, Past Grand Master of the Grand Lodge of Alaska and Past President of the Masonic Society, is in critical medical condition. 

Bo's wife Beth sent out a message that he is in the Intensive Care Unit at the University of Washington Medical Center with acute leukemia.

According to Beth's message, Bo is "in critical condition but hanging in there. Please let the brethren know and keep him in your thoughts."

Indeed we shall, Beth. It has been my privilege to know both Bo and Beth since I was invited to speak at Alaska's annual communication on Kodiak Island back in 2009, when he was elected as Grand Master. Bo went on to lead the Masonic Society as its third President. He has been a very active, enthusiastic and well-traveled Mason as long as I have known him, and I never knew where he was going to show up next. 

Alice and I are praying hard for them both.

Sunday, June 21, 2020

Washington's Albert Pike Statue: After the Fall

by Christopher Hodapp

On Saturday morning, the fallen bronze carcass of Albert Pike's once noble statue in Washington, DC's Judiciary Square was ignominiously hauled away on the back of a flatbed truck to an unspecified location. Pike's figure was toppled and defaced by a mob of protesters late Friday night. 

The Scottish Rite's Art De Hoyos was interviewed on the local NBC affiliate in Washington DC on Saturday for his comments on the incident. Unfortunately, little of Art's interview actually made it into the segment, which was edited to reinforce the false narrative that this was a 'Confederate monument.' NBC-4's 'fact checkers' were in such a hurry to do so that they misspelled Art's name.


To me, that's most frustrating about the incident — the dishonest media coverage and deliberate mischaracterization of Albert Pike and the statue itself. Of course this wasn't a 'Confederate monument.' It was a Masonic representation of Pike's accomplishments as an author, philosopher, orator, lawyer, historian, polyglot, and a soldier (not only in his brief stint in the Confederate army, but also in the Mexican-American War). He wasn't atop a horse; he had no sword dangling from his belt; there was no declaration of heroship, and no phony bromide about 'healing a divided nation' that are the hallmarks of Civil War statues. Pike stood there with a book in his hand and the inscription Vixit Laborum Ejus Super Stites Sunt Fructus. "He has lived. The fruits of his labors live after him." Yet few - if any - who tore it down had any interest in actually looking up what the fruits of his labors really were.

I find myself in a curious position over ol' Albert. I have never been a staunch fan of Albert Pike's writings. In the very first edition of my book Freemasons For Dummies written in 2004, I wrote about him because he was such a dominating influence on a large part of the fraternity, and because he was such a lightening rod for conspiracy theories. Albert Pike never had an unexpressed thought in his entire life — he wrote thousands of pages of books, letters, articles, rituals, poems and more, on top of his legal career, newspaper editorship, translations of foreign and ancient texts, and his role on the Arkansas Supreme Court before the war. Just by committing so many words to paper across his 82 years on Earth, that alone left an enormous pile of material that permits conspiracists to claim literally anything about him. And they have.

I had been a Mason for barely six years at the time I was writing, and I was not (and am not today) a member of the Ancient Accepted Scottish Rite - Southern Jurisdiction. In the Northern Masonic Jurisdiction we read and know almost nothing about Pike, nor did we adopt his rituals. The Northern and Southern Jurisdictions have almost nothing in common, ritualistically. Those of us in the fifteen northeastern states of the AASR-NMJ have never been handed copies of his masterwork, Morals & Dogma (as opposed to ALL Southern Jurisdiction members until the 1970s). So we have never particularly revered him or even studied his work, unless it is done independently by individuals. Until the advent of the easy circulation of information wrought by the Internet, quite literally half of the Masonic population of the United States and an enormous part of it outside of the U.S. would hear the name of Albert Pike and tell you, "Never heard of him." And they weren't lying.

In a sidebar section of my book called 'Mysticism, magic, and Masonic mumbo-jumbo,' I was speaking about a group of intellectual 19th century Masons who chose to believe that Masonry had far more mystical and esoteric origins than it likely had. I put Pike in that group of writers who had "dazzling intellectual and spiritual knowledge."  

"The works of these men were filled with fabulous tales of beliefs and cultures and cryptic theories of the deepest and earliest origins of Freemasonry," I confidently wrote.  

"In short," I said, "they wrote a lot of crap." 

Let's just say that in 2004, I had a less than serviceable appreciation of Pike's true scholarship. Since that time, I revised that passage of the book and removed that offhanded and ill-chosen dismissal of Pike and writings. Nevertheless, I find myself in the bizarre position today of pleading his case posthumously to an uncaring and prejudicial mob of press, civic officials, destructive protesters, and casual observers who have an even more superficial comprehension of Pike than I did 16 years ago.

There's no way of knowing how many people encountered the Pike statue over the last 119 years and said "Who the hell was this guy?" and actually tried to find out. But that is always the lingering hope when civic leaders erect statues to former icons - that future generations will try to discover why that person was considered honorable or admirable or heroic enough to be cast in bronze for the Ages. 

Apologists for the mob's destruction claim Pike's bronze figure's very existence caused 'pain,' but not because of anything actually on the statue itself. It could only cause distress if a person believed the lopsided message that Pike's brief time in the Confederate army was the defining aspect of his life (which it certainly was not). Or the completely unproven allegation that he had anything whatsoever to do with the Ku Klux Klan (which he disparaged). Or that he was an ardent proponent of slavery (he was not, and wrote against it on numerous occasions). Or that he was a bigoted racist who really hated people of color (he lived among the Indians, defended their rights and interests to the U.S, Supreme Court, learned numerous languages, studied and admired numerous non-Western cultures, religions and peoples, and assisted the Prince Hall-descended Scottish Rite by becoming friends with its African-American Commander and giving them copies of his revised ritual).* 
Scraping Pike's image from the face of the Earth doesn't change a single person's life, save a life, sustain a life, or improve anyone's life in any way. 

Yet, passing by or reading about Pike's statue and making a note to follow up and see WHY he was revered can, and has, changed lives of men who joined the Masons because they were intrigued by Morals & Dogma or Esoterika or other writings of Pike's they stumbled into by accident. No real way of knowing how many, but I'll bet a functioning kidney that far more were influenced positively by it than those who truly were genuinely emotionally distraught over its existence. 

And now, that influence no longer going to be possible. 

As society changes, so do the people we admire and honor as a combined culture. I occasionally ponder who the current society we have really admires now by general agreement and acclaim. We don't erect many statues anymore in the West, not because they have fallen out of favor, but because we as a society no longer agree on admiring ANYONE anymore, unless it's a sports figure or some anonymous 'Everyman' sort of generic representation of the common man. Politicians, explorers, writers, artists, musicians, inventors, theologians, philosophers, military figures – all those areas of achievement used to be celebrated and honored, and sometimes even rose to the stature of 'heroic.' But we've become so used to tribalizing, trivializing, snarking, digging for dirt, picking at scabs, and otherwise seeking the tarnish on every person who rises to prominence because they don't fulfill some impossible level of perfection and purity. Miserablism as a teaching method has triumphed, 
and we have become incapable of discovering individual heroes worthy of memorializing For the Ages anymore. The best we can seem to work up in 2020 is a participation trophy-style of group heroism and admiration, like 'our first-responder heroes,' our 'medical personnel heroes,' our 'brave restaurant workers.' One idly wonders if 50 years from now anyone will propose a Washington DC memorial installation to their memories.

I wonder what Joseph Campbell would make of us all right now, knowing that humans have always craved the lone figure of 'The Hero' for inspiration and emulation, and seeing that Western society is incapable of it anymore.

In February 1993, the Philalethes magazine published a piece about the Pike statue controversy that was raging back then. It was written by the Reverend Howard L. Woods, a Christian minister who served for ten years as the Grand Master of the Most Worshipful Prince Hall Grand Lodge of Arkansas F&AM. In 1991, he had been invited as the Lecturer for the Philalethes Society, the first Prince Hall Mason ever asked to do so, and still many years before Prince Hall recognition became widespread. GM Woods wrote before more recent scholarship has brought to light more of Pike's writings and verification that Pike did indeed provide his revised Scottish Rite rituals to help the Prince Hall aligned Scottish Rite.

The reverend Grand Master Woods' perspective in 1993 deserves to be repeated now, in light of what has happened this weekend.

The Albert Pike Statue: Let It Stand
There is no love lost between Prince Hall Masons and the memory of the late Albert Pike, Masonic Historian, writer, alleged ritualist for the Ku Klux Klan, but, if Freemasonry is to remain the bulwark of free-thinking people, then, "Let the statue remain!"
Like the natures he wrote about, Albert Pike showed the light and dark sides of his own soul, when with one breath he spoke of his willingness to give up his Freemasonry rather than recognize the Negro as a 'Masonic Brother' and with another breath, declared that every man should be free, for a free man is an asset, while a slave is a liability. Mankind is that way, and as long as the statue stands, America and Freemasonry will survive.
Let the statue be torn down and America and Freemasonry will be in jeopardy, for one would have to wonder, "What would be next?" As a Prince Hall Mason, an African American and supposedly free-thinker, I can see a higher power than the mortal mind of Albert Pike guiding his pen as he wrote such beautiful words of life without an occasional helping hand from someone "bigger than you or I."
Let the statue stand, even if it is proven that Albert Pike did write ritual for the Ku Klux Klan; more ignoble deeds have been done by others without sacrifice of their historic heroism.
Let the statue stand as a reminder that the good and evil of men are in equilibrium within us, and we all should strive for perfection now and in the future, not in the past. Let the statue stand!
 --Rev. Howard L. Woods, Grand Master, Prince Hall Masons of Arkansas.

*NOTE: Between 1887 and 1891, Albert Pike happily shared personal, autographed copies of his Scottish Rite Masonic degree rituals with his counterpart, Thornton A. Jackson, in the parallel Scottish Rite Southern Jurisdiction for black Prince Hall Masons, in order to assist their fledgling organization. Pike's correspondence has not survived, but in writings of the period, Jackson described Pike as his friend. Later comparisons of their two sets of rituals confirmed that the Prince Hall AASR-SJ today remain very close to those Pike wrote in the years before 1887.

Photos by Brother Efrian Olujimi Dalle; H/T to Brother Michael Wright

As a final post script to this entry, the following message about the Pike statue incident was issued on Sunday by MW Michael D. Nicholas, Sr., the Grand Master of the District of Columbia:

Grand Master's Statement

My Brethren,

This communication is directed to the Freemasons in the Grand Lodge, F.A.A.M of Washington, DC.

Most of you know of the recent destruction of the statue of Albert Pike in our Nation’s Capital. Regardless of your personal opinions about Albert Pike, I hope we can all agree as Masons that mob violence is not the way to resolve differences of opinion. The statue, which belongs to the U.S. National Park Service, was erected by an Act of Congress in 1898 and has been controversial from the beginning. Since its placement, neither the Scottish Rite nor our Grand Lodge has had ownership, responsibility, or control over the maintenance or fate of the statue.

To ignore the many positive contributions that Albert Pike made to Freemasonry later in his life, or to ignore the several controversial issues that his biography raises, would be equally disingenuous and dishonest. None of us are perfect human beings. Were we each to be judged solely by our bad decisions, rather than the totality of our life’s work, there would be very few statues indeed.

Those who vandalized the Pike statue are entitled to receive that same consideration. I hope you will choose to focus on the values of redemption, forgiveness, and love when forming your perspectives of this incident – towards both factions. Our task as Freemasons is to build bridges of communication and understanding. By looking forward instead of backward, we make progress in improving ourselves and our nation as we strive to build a more perfect Union.

The main purpose of this message is to address the here and now. What happened last Friday night is neither the beginning nor the end of these struggles toward the realization of the more egalitarian and representative society that our ritual teaches. And many of you are rightly passionate about these issues.

As we engage as members and leaders of our communities, I ask you to remember some of our core lessons, where we are instructed to “keep our passions within due bounds.” The ‘secrets’ of Freemasonry are not about some hidden treasure, but about how to control ourselves. It is a daunting challenge. Today’s abundance of social media outlets offers each of us almost countless opportunities to stress the limits of that control.

For your consideration I offer here the “Conclusion” of our Grand Lodge Social Media Policy, available on our website:

"Posting a comment related to the Fraternity and then posting a disparaging comment about a social or political stance can easily mislead a reader to believe your stance is representative of Masonry and all Masons. Remember that the public and members of the Masonic Fraternity are reading your posts online. You should always maintain your online conduct in a manner that elevates non-Masons’ image of the Craft and of your own dedication to it, and avoids any implication of improper or un-Masonic behavior as defined in the Code of our Grand Lodge."

Brethren, I ask you to heed this advice. Help to lower the temperature, not raise it. Be extremely conscious of the choices you make. And when you choose to comment on social media or provide remarks to the press, be aware that you speak as an individual. You are certainly – and hopefully – informed by your Masonic knowledge, but you do not speak for our Grand Lodge, nor Freemasonry in general. There is only one voice temporarily burdened with that responsibility.

In the absence of a clearly evident rationale for it, we must control our ego and avoid associating ourselves with our Craft in social postings. Let us be particularly vigilant to avoid using our wonderful but confusing honorific titles that cause further consternation among non-Masons.

Brethren, be part of the solution and do not exacerbate the problems. Together we can take up the challenge to circumvent divisiveness and act to help heal our Nation.

I want all of you to know that the leadership of your Grand Lodge is very much aware of the situation, and we are constantly looking to foster and promote the concepts of Freemasonry in our wonderful city of Washington, DC.

Thank you. May the Grand Architect continue to bless your families and your endeavors.

Sincerely & Fraternally,

Michael D. Nicholas, Sr.
Grand Master
The Grand Lodge, FAAM of Washington, DC

And the following statement was issued by the Grand Commander James Cole of the Supreme Council of the Scottish Rite Southern Jurisdiction (click image to enlarge):

Freemasons For Dummies is the internationally bestselling guide to the Masonic fraternity.

Saturday, June 20, 2020

De Hoyos on Pike: "The fruits of his labors live after him"

by Christopher Hodapp

As reported last night, the bronze statue of Freemason Albert Pike in Washington, DC was toppled by a mob of demonstrators, wrongly claiming it to be a 'Confederate monument.' Later reports detailed that the crowd (described as 'peaceful' in numerous reports all night) spent nearly two hours working to drag the Federally-owned statue from atop its tall stone plinth while scores of D.C. police officers stood by at their adjacent precinct building and just watched. Only after the statue fell and was set on fire with lighter fluid did officers move in, and only to extinguish the flames.

I've seen no report in the aftermath this morning as to what will be done with the fallen sculpture. And there has been no word as to whether anyone in the crowd will be charged with destroying Federal property.

Arturo De Hoyos
For those who haven't seen it this morning, Illus. Arturo De Hoyos posted the following statement on his Facebook page. As the Grand Archivist of the Scottish Rite Southern Jurisdiction, Art is arguably the world's foremost expert on Albert Pike's writings. If there is anyone on Earth who could claim to be intimately familiar with the record of Pike's life and works, it is Art. 

I quote him in his entirety:

** He has lived! The fruits of his labors live after him **

Like many of you, I watched the news last night as a mob pulled down and burned the statute of Albert Pike. Earlier in the day I gave a TV interview in which I said that Freemasons did not want the statue to be a point of conflict, but that it was property of the United States, under the Parks Service. I preferred that it be moved to a museum where he could be understood in context.

Last night, as the mob did their work, the news media called it a “Confederate Statue,” the presence of which was “painful.” In truth the statue had nothing to do with the Civil War. It was Pike as a Freemason, in civilian clothing, holding a copy of Morals and Dogma.

Pike was a man of his times who embodied the strengths and weaknesses of his generation. Freemasons acknowledge Pike’s personal foibles and frailties, and revere his ethical and moral teachings. They respect what he accomplished, and see in him an example of a person who was willing to abandon personal prejudices on the path to self-improvement.

Among his strong points was his pursuit of knowledge and self-improvement. Within one lifetime he seems to have lived multiple lives that sometimes overlapped each other. He was, for example, an advocate for Native American rights, an accomplished attorney, an author, an educator, an explorer, an historian, a military leader (Brigadier General), a philosopher, a poet, and a translator.

A Boston native, Pike’s wanderlust led him to explore the South and follow the Santa Fe Trail. He had a particular fascination with Native Americans, and became a friend to several tribes, compiling personal dictionaries of their languages and dialects. Later in life, as an attorney, he became a legal advocate for Native Americans, trying to secure the rights which they had been promised by the government.

As with other “larger than life” vocal personalities, he was occasionally controversial. Strongly in favor of the Tenth Amendment (States rights) Pike, like many other Americans, sided with the South during the American Civil War. Although his wife’s family owned slaves he personally considered slavery a great evil, and the greatest calamity of the South. In 1856 he walked out of the Southern Convention saying, “he would suffer himself to be torn by wild horses before he would justify the renewal of the African slave trade.” He was ridiculed for his hope that a time would come for all men to be free, but he failed to condemn slavery outright. Following the war, under President Johnson’s amnesty proclamation, Pike returned to private life and in late 1869/early 1870 he moved with the Scottish Rite to reside in Washington, DC.

Pike has been quoted to say that he preferred to leave Freemasonry than sit in lodges with Black men. If this was his earlier view, he matured and changed. In fact, he became a supporter of Black Freemasonry and enjoyed a friendship with Thornton A. Jackson, Grand Commander of the Prince Hall Affiliation. Pike even shared his rituals with the Prince Hall Freemasons, and exchanged cordial and fraternal letters.

After Pike’s death he was maligned when it was falsely alleged that he had been a member of the KKK. Pike’s enemies claimed he was one of the founders and/or chief judicial officer of the KKK. However, when the US Congress investigated the KKK in 1871, its report failed to support these allegations. (Testimony Taken by the Joint Select Committee to Inquire into the Condition of Affairs in the Late Insurrectionary States, 13 vols. [Washington: Government Printing Office, 1872]). The allegations were so prevalent and persistent that even some Masonic writers were fooled and repeated them. However, there are no primary documents, membership records, or letters from Pike’s time which suggest his participation in any way. In the vast collection of the Supreme Council’s archives, there is not a single document connecting him with the KKK.

Another false claim is that Pike was a “Luciferian.” The French hoaxer Leo Taxil (Gabriel Jogand-Pages) asserted that Pike was the “Sovereign Pontiff of Universal Freemasonry,” and that he taught the worship of Lucifer in the Scottish Rite’s highest degrees. Taxil later publically admitted this was a hoax, at the expense of the Catholic church. Although Freemasonry admits good men of any faith, Pike was himself a Bible-believing Christian, who encouraged Masons to respect Jesus “Above all the other great teachers of morality and virtue” (Morals and Dogma 28:573). In several long passages, Pike implored Masons to follow Jesus’s example, calling him “the Great Master” whose life was an “undeniable Gospel” (M&D 28:575). Pike urged us, “Believe that there is a God; that He is our father; that He has a paternal interest in our welfare and improvement; that He has given us powers, by means of which we may escape from sin and ruin; that He has destined us to a future life of endless progress toward perfection and a knowledge of Himself—believe this, as every Mason should, and you can live calmly, endure patiently, labor resolutely, deny yourselves cheerfully, hope steadfastly, and be conquerors in the great struggle of life” (M&D 12:22). 

Throughout his writing Pike encouraged us to make the most of ourselves, to see ourselves as part of a human family, and to do good to all: “Learn, that you may be enabled to do good; and do so because it is right, finding in the act itself ample reward and recompense. To attain the truth, and to serve our fellows, our country, and mankind—this is the noblest destiny of man” (M&D 4:8-9).

Perhaps, however, his most famous saying is that famously engraved near his bust at the House of the Temple: “What we have done for ourselves alone dies with us; what we have done for others and the world remains and is immortal.” These wise words remain as true today, as when he spoke them.

Freemasons honor Albert Pike for the several reasons: for his love of a fraternity which seeks to improve the social order and encourages humankind to find commonalities to form bonds of friendship; for his willingness to discard personal prejudices when confronted by better information; and perhaps, most of all, for his love of the truth and commitment to share whatever truth he discovered.

Like the rest of us, Albert Pike was far from perfect. But he had the moral courage to abandon the past and move forward. He tried to make his personal weaknesses into strengths, and his writings encourage us to do the same. The remainder of his life was dedicated to a Fraternity that seeks to transcend barriers, both real and artificial, to make strangers into Brothers. This is why, when his statue was erected in Judiciary Square in 1901, it was attended by men who had previously faced each other on the battlefield.

Pike never wanted a statute of himself. Rather, he said:

“When I am dead, I wish my monument to be builded only in the hearts and memories of my Brethren of the Ancient and Accepted Scottish Rite, and my name to be remembered by them in every country, no matter what language men may speak there, where the light of the Ancient and Accepted Scottish Rite shall shine, and its oracles of Truth and Wisdom be reverently listened to.”

Friday, June 19, 2020

Albert Pike Statue in Washington, DC Toppled, Burned By Protesters

by Christopher Hodapp

Fox5 TV in Washington, D.C. is reporting late Friday night that the bronze statue of Albert Pike in Judiciary Square has just been toppled and burned. Between 80 and 100 people were gathered around the statue shortly after 11PM when it was yanked off its pedestal and knocked to the ground. Once on the ground, the cheering crowd reportedly attempted to set fire to to it.

There really should be no surprise, since Popular Mechanics magazine helpfully published an article online earlier in this week that was a How-To Guide to toppling or otherwise destroying statues anyone finds offensive.

News reports this evening continue to characterize Pike's sculpture as a "Confederate monument," despite the fact that it was never anything of the kind. His statue was not erected by pro-Confederate veterans groups, or by alleged Ku Klux Klan members (it predated the 1920s resurgence of the KKK by many years). The 11-foot tall bronze sculpture by Italian artist Gaetano Trentanove was erected in 1901 and donated to the city by the Scottish Rite Southern Jurisdiction to commemorate their own 100th anniversary. It's location marked the former home of the AASR's headquarters for its first 90 years. 

There are (or were) eight inscriptions around the corners of its granite base: Author, Poet, Scholar, Soldier, Philanthropist, Philosopher, Jurist, and Orator. On the front was a Latin phrase, Vixit Laborum Ejus Super Stites Sunt Fructus. ("He has lived. The fruits of his labors live after him.") Despite the fact that detractors objected to it on the grounds that Pike had served for just five months in the Confederate Army before resigning in disgust, making it the only statue of a former Confederate soldier in the District, the sculpture did NOT depict him as a Confederate soldier. There were no references to the Confederacy, and the banner in the hand of the Grecian figure is not a Confederate flag or symbol, but a Scottish Rite one featuring the double-headed eagle. It was purely a Masonic statue.

Before it fell to the mob
Pike's statue has been considered 'controversial' since 1989 when famed whacko Lyndon Larouche first raised a stink over it. The most recent attempts by Washington DC's non-voting delegate to Congress, Eleanor Holmes Norton to have it removed used all of the same (and more) false accusations and outright fabrications that ignored the volumes of truthful information available about the life of Albert Pike and his accomplishments. Despite allegations by conspiracists and activists, there has never been any proof that Pike had written the rituals of the Ku Klux Klan, or had anything to do with the post-Civil War Klan. For more than you'd ever want to know about this, have a look at previous articles: 

Oh, what's the use? Mobs can't be reasoned with, and history doesn't matter anymore. So now that Albert's figure has been dashed to the ground, I suppose it can't be 'controversial' anymore. It is perhaps best that the argument about the statue is finally at an end. Freemasonry must not be the cause of division or controversy, among ourselves or the community in which we reside. Pike would agree, were he here today.

The statue was originally bought and paid for by the Scottish Rite, but it was handed over to the National Park Service shortly after it was erected. It will be up to them to decide the fate of what remains cometh the dawn, since it is Federal property on Federal land (you can bet no one will be charged with destroying Federal property). I'm sure Pike himself would have waxed philosophical about the whole affair – he actually didn't want any monuments to himself after he died, hoping his life's works would stand or fall as his epitaph, letting history judge his worth. But it's tough to simply shrug this off as we watch events unfold in real time.


Thursday, June 18, 2020

More Masonic Grand Lodges Issue Unity Statements On Protests

Joint unity statement from New York grand lodges

by Christopher Hodapp

In the wake of nationwide demonstrations, protests and rioting over the death of George Floyd in Minneapolis, several Masonic jurisdictions have issued joint unity statements from the 'mainstream' state grand lodges and Prince Hall Affiliated grand lodges. In addition to the District of Columbia and Missouri which were reported here previously, similar unity statements have been issued in New York, North Carolina, Oklahoma, and Illinois, all posted here. (Click images to enlarge each document.)

Joint unity statement from North Carolina

Joint unity statement from Oklahoma

Joint unity statement from Illinois
I'm sure there have been others, but these are the ones I have received so far. This post may be updated instead of creating new ones.

Saturday, June 13, 2020

Sir Knight George D. Kivett, Jr. RIP

by Christopher Hodapp

"If you make a mistake, do it sharply."

These were the wise words of Sir Knight George D. Kivett, Jr., who is known far beyond the boundaries of Indiana for his long career as the Captain of Raper Commandery No. 1's Drill Team. It has been my great honor to have known this humble gentleman for nearly twenty years.
Sir Knight George D. Kivett, Jr., passed to the Celestial Lodge on Tuesday, June 9, 2020 in Indianapolis, Indiana at the age of 90. 

George Kivett has been universally acknowledged as the most successful Drill Captain in the history of the Grand Encampment of the Knights Templar of the USA, serving from 1970 through 2007 and winning seven Triennial Drill Competitions out of eight - six of which were won consecutively.

George was born Indianapolis, Indiana on April 25, 1930 to George D. Kivett, Sr. and Maggie Effie Kivett. He enlisted in the United States Army in 1951 and served three years before returning to Indianapolis Power and Light for a long and fulfilling career, retiring after 45 years of service as the Assistant to CEO for Employee Affairs. 

George D Kivett, Jr, was raised to the sublime degree of a Master Mason at Mystic Circle Lodge No 685 on June 28th, 1958. He was exalted as a Royal Arch Mason at Indianapolis Chapter No 5 and greeted as a Royal & Select Master at Indianapolis Council No 2 on March 18th, 1960. He was dubbed and created a Knight of the Temple at Raper Commandery No 1 on March 23rd, 1960. He has received the Grand Commandery’s Distinguished Service Award. He is a Knight of the York Cross of Honor (KYCH), a Knight Commander of the Temple (KCT), and an Honorary Past Grand Commander of the Grand Commandery of Knights Templar of Indiana.

George is survived by his children, David Kivett, Mark (Belinda) Kivett and Tony (Terri) Kivett; brother, Harold Kivett; his grandchildren, Kelly (Shawn) Phillips, Chad (Jennifer) Kivett, Josh Kivett and Aaron (Cassandra Duncan) Kivett and great-grandchildren, Chase Phillips, Emma Phillips, Jaden Haywood, Blayne Kivett, Brooklyn Kivett, Jayden Kivett, Trenton Kivett, Jackson Whitfield and Carter Agal and numerous cousins, nieces, nephews and friends.

George is preceded in death by his parents, his wife, Martha Kivett and brothers Adolphus Kivett, William (Bill) Kivett and John Kivett.

Due to COVID-19 private services for the family will be held at Flanner Buchanan - Floral Park at 425 N. Holt Road, Indianapolis, Indiana.

In lieu of flowers, memorial contributions may be made to The American Cancer Society.

If you knew George, please visit the Flanner & Buchanan website and leave a message on the guest book there: https://flannerbuchanan.com/obit/george-d-kivett-jr/

His column is broken, and his brethren mourn.

Requiescat in pace.

Wednesday, June 10, 2020

Joint Unity Statement Issued by Missouri Grand Lodges

by Christopher Hodapp

On June 9th, 2020, the Grand Lodge of Missouri and the Most Worshipful Prince Hall Grand Lodge of Missouri issued the following joint statement:
The State of Missouri is suffering as are many states in our country. Unfortunately, it is not the first time there has been strife due to the inequitable application of human rights and varying treatments of various groups within our state and country. Those inequities are profoundly contrary to the principles of our Order. 
Our State has experienced social unrest in major cities on multiple occasions over the years and we are saddened that the issues that precipitated the unrest have not yet been fully resolved. Inequitable treatment and racial tensions are not just limited to the urban areas of our State and we must recognize the inequities where they exist and attempt to eliminate them through legal means as quickly as possible. While we recognize that there must be changes made to our legal system, the true path to restoration, equality, and healing starts with individual mindsets and proper actions. 
We all know that the principles of our Masonic Fraternity can go a long way towards assuring equality and fostering the respect that is due every person of the human family when properly applied. Through exercising and practicing the masonic principles of Brotherly Love, Relief and Truth and acknowledging that we are all created by God and therefore equal in his eyes, we cannot waiver from these principles and be considered true Freemasons. 
Freemasonry unites men of every race, country, sect, and opinion and conciliates true friendship among those who might have otherwise remained at a perpetual distance. It is our duty as a fraternity to influence those within our ranks to make decisions that help contribute to the repairing of the various broken systems that plague our communities. 
Our respective Grand Lodges have a long and rich history in the State of Missouri which we need to share with each other and the world. Nearly 20 years ago, our Grand Lodges acknowledged, by resolution, that we are both respected and valid Grand Lodges inhabiting the same geographical area and we have worked diligently on expanding our joint activities and relationships. Our members and our respective Grand Lodges are so much more enriched because of our love and the respect we share for one another. 
The death of George Floyd is a tragedy. Our members are free to make their own decisions as to what should be considered justice in this situation and while we acknowledge that we live in an imperfect world, we stand united in our strong belief that the foundations of our moral system can and must bridge the chasm that divides our state and country right now. Each member of our order is free to vote and express himself without interference from our Grand Lodge and we pray that how you choose to express yourself will be tempered with compassion and understanding for the entire human race. 
We call upon all peoples of our state to not fall victim to racism, hatred or contribute to destructive expressions for the lack of progress. And to our members, be ever mindful that we are one Brotherhood and we should always be our brother’s keeper. United we will stand. Now, henceforth, and forever. 
It is our ardent desire that we bond together as brothers to make our world a more just and honorable place. 
May the God of Love and Peace delight to dwell with and bless you. 
MWB Stanton T. Brown, II Grand Master, AF&AM of Missouri
MWB Malcolm D. Morris Grand Master, F&AM PHA/Missouri

Friday, June 05, 2020

Arson Destroys Oklahoma Masonic Hall

by Christopher Hodapp

The Masonic temple of Wright Lodge No. 483 in Wright City, Oklahoma was destroyed Thursday night by fire.

According to a message from the Grand Secretary of Oklahoma, Bobby L. Laws, PGM, a "fire source" was thrown through the front window of the building. The arson attack reportedly happened at about midnight. The message states that the area Fire Marshall is looking into the incident. Photos of the damage have been circulated on Facebook today.

 Wright Lodge 483 is chartered by the Grand Lodge AF&AM of Oklahoma.

Be sure your lodge's security system, fire alarm, surveillance cameras are up to date and in working order. And invest in a fire safe for your most irreplaceable records. An extremely disturbing graphic image appeared earlier this week on the QAnon far-right conspiracy message boards and circulated on Reddit and elsewhere. It shows the fronts of several Masonic halls with squares and compasses, with the message, "You're burning down the wrong buildings." It is likely that anarchists, home-grown terrorists, vehement anti-Masons, bored teenagers and other bad actors may be motivated to act on their baser instincts as protests, riots and violence around the country get nonstop media coverage. 

As reported earlier this week, a bomb was placed outside of a Masonic lodge in Cornwall, EnglandAs Freemasons, we need to stay aware and vigilant that there are still plenty of people in the world who would do us harm. 

The tiny town of Wright City with about 700 residents is located in the southeastern tip of Oklahoma, near the borders with Texas and Arkansas. It is about 60 miles northwest of Texarkana. As Grand Secretary Law says in his message, "If it can happen there it could also happen elsewhere."

Friday, 5:50PM, June 5, 2020:

Brother James Durbin in Tulsa, Oklahoma has started a Facebook online fundraiser to benefit Wright Lodge. Visit it HERE.