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Thursday, November 19, 2020

GL of DC: Junior Grand Deacon Suspended Just Two Hours Before Elections Open

by Christopher Hodapp

In the annus horribilis that is 2020, I suppose none of us should be surprised by erratic or irrational behavior from even the best of men. Between the COVID plague isolation, the anti-social media civil war skirmishes, the fraying of human interaction, and the myriad frustrations that have accompanied nearly everything we all do this year, it's probably unfair to think that Masons could rise above the fray somehow. Hell, just the toilet paper hoarding alone would be enough to drive sane men to madness.

I've gotten two items sent to me in the last week that both seem quite odd. The first one comes out of the Grand Lodge of the District of Columbia

RW Adam N. Tager

On November 13, 2020, Grand Master Michael D. Nicholas, Sr. suspended the current Junior Grand Deacon Adam N. Tager from the fraternity, for allegedly writing or publishing a mass communication "with intent to denigrate or harm the Masonic fraternity..."  I haven't seen whatever it is that he is accused of writing, but what's odd was the timing of events. The suspension was issued and circulated via e-mail at approximately 4:04 PM last Friday, just two hours before electronic voting for grand lodge officers officially opened at 6:00. (Click the image above to enlarge.)

The GL of DC's annual communication this year is being held 'virtually' because of the COVID shutdowns. Consequently, online voting has remained open since last Friday, and officially closes on Saturday.

The last-second timing of Tager's suspension resulted in him becoming ineligible for advancement to the position of Senior Grand Deacon. Now it's been reported that several sitting Masters (and voting members of grand lodge) have subsequently filed charges against two other brethren who are challengers for the Deacon positions now that Tager has been shut out.

Curiously, the suspension announcement email was accompanied by a second letter from the Grand Secretary explaining that brethren are free to contact RW Brother Tager, "so long as there is no discussion regarding the secrets of Freemasonry."

(I said I have two stories. The other is coming out of South Dakota, and I'm still trying to piece that one together...)

Wednesday, November 11, 2020

Masonic Author W. Kirk McNulty Passes

W. Kirk MacNulty portrait by Travis Simpkin

by Christopher Hodapp

My Brethren, the roll of the workmen has been called, and one Master Mason has not answered to his name. Brother Shawn Eyer reported on his Facebook page that esteemed Masonic author William Kirk MacNulty has laid down his working tools at the age of 88.

WB MacNulty was the author of three deeply thoughtful and philosophical books about Masonic symbolism: The Way of the Craftsman (1988), Freemasonry: A Journey Through Ritual and Symbol (1991), and Freemasonry: Symbols, Secrets, Significance (2006). MacNulty’s writing focuses on the impact of Masonic history, philosophy and symbolism on the psychological and spiritual development of the individual. For many Masons, his books introduced them to a whole new understanding of our esoteric symbolism and philosophy, and he urged all Masons to seek out and find our personal interpretations.

He was three times Master of Lodge of Living Stones, was a member of the Lodge of the Nine Muses No. 1776 in D.C. and of Alexandria-Washington Lodge No. 22 in Virginia. He also was a member of Quatuor Coronati Lodge. In recognition of his contributions to Masonic literature, he was named as Friar No. 94 in the Society of Blue Friars in 2005.

From the Craftsmen Online Facebook page:
W. Kirk MacNulty was born in California in 1932. He studied at Stanford University and the University of Tennessee, and had a career in the United States Marine Corps and in corporate information technology.

His interest and involvement in Freemasonry spans more than fifty-five years. He received the degrees of Masonry in 1961 at Carson Valley Lodge No. 33 of Gardnerville, Nevada. He later affiliated with lodges in Hawaii, Tennessee, England, and Virginia. He was Worshipful Master of the Lodge of Living Stones No. 4957 in Leeds, England, in 1979, 1980, and 1991. He is the Charter Master (1997) of the Lodge of the Nine Muses No. 1776, a Traditional Observance Lodge in the District of Columbia.

His literary efforts have earned outstanding recognition. In 2008, he was received as a member of London's prestigious Quatuor Coronati Lodge No. 2076, the world's premier lodge of research. In 2016, he was recognized as a Fellow of the Philalethes Society for his many contributions to the literature of Freemasonry.

He was born in Long Beach, California. His father was an Officer in the Marine Corps, and Kirk traveled to many places during his childhood. When his father retired, his parents settled in San Mateo, California; and he attended San Mateo High School, and graduated from Stanford University. Kirk became an Officer in the Marine Corps where he served for several years. Upon leaving the Marine Corps he became a Freemason in 1961 while living in Gardnerville, Nevada. It was a small country town, with a Masonic Lodge and a dedicated group of members. As he went through the ritual of the Third Degree, he had some profound insights about his own life, the meaning of life, and the meaning of Freemasonry. That started him on a quest to learn more, to know more, and to communicate to others a real and deeper meaning of Masonry than many of its members are aware. Then, while living in London for 18 years, he had the opportunity to get to know Lord Northampton, John Hamill, and other luminaries of the United Grand Lodge of England, and they encouraged him in my Masonic writing.

In addition, he has run, and participated in, Masonic Study groups both in the US and the UK, using the kinds of concepts described in his latest book: Contemplating Craft Freemasonry, in the process gaining enormous insight into his own life, as well as a deeper understanding of the nature of the Craft.
Several years ago, Kirk presented one of his talks as part of the M.A.T.S.O.L. (Masonry at the Speed of Light) online lecture series, which was the brainchild of Indiana Mason Al McClelland long before we all became self-trained experts in Zoom presentations:

"The Philosophical Background of Masonic Symbolism" - W. Kirk McNulty

As of Tuesday evening, I have not seen any notices about funeral services.

He has laid down the working tools of the Craft and with them he has left that mortal part for which he no longer has use. His column is broken, and his Brethren mourn.

Requiescat in pace.

Tuesday, November 10, 2020

Special Promotion for 'Freemasons For Dummies' - Now Through December

by Christopher Hodapp

Over the last couple of months, I have been working with the good folks at Wiley Publishing to find a way to offer a substantial discount to lodges and grand lodges who wish to order copies of Freemasons For Dummies for their new petitioners and candidates, without being required to buy large quantities. 

For a limited time you, your lodge or your grand lodge can order multiple copies of the paperback edition of Freemasons For Dummies directly from the publisher at 30% off the $19.99 list price. This special offer will extend from now through December 31st, 2020.

Because of the COVID virus shutdowns, Masonic lodges throughout the United States have been largely forbidden from meeting in person and conferring degrees on new candidates. 
In many states, Masons have been prevented from conferring degrees at least until the end of the year. At the other end of the situation, thousands of interested men who have been trapped at home by the shutdowns have been contacting grand lodges directly or logging on to the www.BeAFreemason.com website expressing new interest in joining the Masonic fraternity. The result has been a growing group of potential new Masons stalled and unable to move forward until states fully reopen and lodges can once again meet together in person. 

Freemasons For Dummies is the perfect introductory book for potential new Masons. 

So here are the gory details for this deal:
To get the 30% discount, you MUST order through the Wiley.com website at: https://www.wiley.com/en-us/Freemasons+For+Dummies%2C+2nd+Edition-p-9781118412084
OR call their order line directly Monday thru Friday at ‭(800) 225-5945‬
Use the following private Promo Code: MAS20
There is NO minimum number of books you must order for the 30% discount. It works even for single copies (but do watch out for their postage fees).
The Wiley folks were kind enough to extend this discount all the way through the end of this year.
Be aware that this 30% discount applies only to the paperback book, not to the audio, Kindle or other electronic editions. It also doesn't apply to any foreign language editions. Also, this discount cannot be used at Amazon, Barnes & Noble, or anywhere else. Only through Wiley's customer service department.
Several grand secretaries have told me they have been purchasing Kindle gift codes from Amazon in advance and sending one as a gift to men who who complete their degrees. Unfortunately, I wasn't able to secure a discount code for Kindle versions from Wiley because those have to come from Amazon. But I'm still trying to find an alternative.

If your lodge or grand lodge is looking for even more of a discount (such as for a one-day class or other large group event), they can offer the following bigger price breaks:
  • 50-99 copies = 35% discount
  • 100+ copies = 40% discount
Let me know if you have that kind of interest, and I'll put you in touch with the marketing office.


Wiley Can Make Customized Editions

Don't forget that Wiley has a special branding department that can work with your Grand Lodge to create a customized version of Freemasons For Dummies specific to your jurisdiction. It makes the perfect welcome gift for new members. In fact, in 2011 the Grand Lodge of New Mexico and their Lodge of Research created their own customized edition of the book that was given to all of their Entered Apprentices.

What this means is that your Grand Lodge, education committee, or research lodge can have its own special edition of the book for your members, provided you are able to order in sufficient quantities. Your official seal or other artwork specific to your Grand Lodge could be featured on the outside, and a message from the Grand Master, Grand Lodge Education Committee, Lodge of Research, or other official group could be printed on the inside covers. The book is also a popular one for non-Masons, and your members could be encouraged to pass it to friends or family who might have an interest in the fraternity—the cover could include the Grand Lodge contact information, internet address, phone numbers, etc. Of course, it's also popular as a gift given by many lodges to new Masons. The inside cover might include a custom plate in which to inscribe the members’ name and lodge, and degree dates.

Both Wiley and I are willing to work with you on design, artwork and content. There is one caveat: No changes can be made to the text of the book itself, so if there is something in the book's current text that is NOT correct or applicable for your jurisdiction, that part can’t be changed. Only the inside and outside covers can be altered.

The retail price of Freemasons For Dummies is $19.99, but you can save between 45%-50% off the cover price, depending on the quantity being printed. The minimum order for a custom version is 1,000 books ($11 per copy or 45% off), with an additional price break at 2,000 copies ($10 per copy, 50% off). So obviously it behooves you to keep any messages or information generic enough so that it doesn't become dated before you use them all.

If you have any interest in this program, please do not hesitate to contact me directly, or Molly Daugherty, director of Custom Solutions and Brand Licensing for Wiley Publishing in Indianapolis at 317-572-3465, or at Mdaugher@wiley.com

Thursday, November 05, 2020

COVID: UGLE Suspends Masonic Meetings in England Again

by Christopher Hodapp

The Grand Master of the United Grand Lodge of England has once again ordered the suspension of all Masonic meetings throughout England in the wake of new increases in COVID cases. 

The order, which is effective today, was prompted by new government restrictions issued on Saturday. England has essentially ordered another nationwide lockdown and is forbidding nearly every kind of non-family gathering.

Royal Arch leadership in England has made a similar pronouncement concerning Chapter meetings.