Pennsylvania Academy of Masonic Knowledge – Fall 2014

Pennsylvania Academy of Masonic Knowledge
Saturday, October 18, 2014

Masonic Cultural Center, Elizabethtown
, Pennsylvania

The Pennsylvania Academy of Masonic Knowledge

The Pennsylvania Academy of Masonic Knowledge. http://www.pagrandlodge.org/programs/academy

The 2014 Fall session of the Academy of Masonic Knowledge will be held on Saturday, October 18th, in the Deike Auditorium of the Masonic Cultural Center on the campus of Masonic Village in Elizabethtown, Pennsylvania. Registration will open at 8:30 am with the program beginning at 9:30 am.  A lunch (requested contribution of $10) will be served at noon and the program will be completed by 3:00 pm.  All Masons are welcome to attend.  Dress is coat and tie.

The program for the day includes:

  • Professor David G. Hackett will speak on topics from his recently published book: That Religion in Which All Men Agree: Freemasonry in American Culture.

David G. Hackett is an Associate Professor of Religion at the University of Florida, having received his Ph.D. from Emory University in 1986.  He has published numerous books and articles and has received fellowships from the National Endowment for the Humanities and the Louisville Institute for the Study of American Protestantism in American Culture.  In addition, Professor Hackett has been a resident scholar at Princeton’s Center for Theological Inquiry and the Collegeville Institute for Ecumenical and Cultural Research.

  • Brother W. Stephen Burkle will speak on the topic: Early Adoption of Paracelsus’ Alchemical Catechism by the Craft.

William Stephen “Steve” Burkle is a metallurgist by profession and works in the oil and gas industry.   He has traveled widely throughout the United States, Europe, Africa, Asia, and the Middle East teaching, lecturing, and consulting.  He is an ordained Deacon in the Presbyterian Church.  Bro. Steve’s academic interests include Masonic symbolism, Alchemy, and esoteric Freemasonry, upon which he has published numerous articles. He recently completed his Master of Arts, and is currently a Doctoral Candidate, in Religious Studies.

 The great objective in Freemasonry is to gain useful knowledge, and the Academy provides a great opportunity for the Brethren to learn and to understand more about the significance of the Craft.  Plan to attend and bring a Brother or two along with you

Pre-registration is required

To pre-register, please send your name, address, Lodge number, and telephone by e-mail to:

AMKSecretary@pagrandlodge.org

If you do not have access to e-mail, please make your reservation through your Lodge Secretary.

Please recognize that a cost is incurred to the program for your registration.  If you pre-register and subsequently determine that you will be unable to attend, please have the Masonic courtesy to cancel your reservation by the same method and providing the same information.

 We look forward to seeing you on October 18th.

 

*Please note: The above information was copied verbatim from a newsletter sent me me from the Academy of Masonic Knowledge. 

Categories: Uncategorized

Of Investigation and Inquiry – Using Social Media to Investigate

Of Investigation and Inquiry

Of Investigation and Inquiry

Recently I came across a post on the facebook group “All Things Masonic” that was a seemingly simple question.   Asked by Bro. Byron Upton: “Should a petitioner’s facebook or other social media account be used as part of the investigation process?”

It was difficult for me to process the split in opinions on this matter. I couldn’t believe it actually. As of this blog post there have been 141 replies to this question. They range from the indecisive to the absolute polar ends. I cannot even say there is a clear majority without going through and counting each individual posters reply.

I am going to start out by saying my opinion, and then I will comment on a few replies that caught my attention.

For me, and for my lodge, I would say that any sort of investigation into a person’s character utilizes the materials we have available to us. This is especially true when cost is a factor. For no money at all, a lodge can quickly access information on an individual that has been posted on a public forum. Some chose to remain private, some may not understand how to make things private, but for anything that is out there to be viewed, I for one strongly feel it is fair game to use in an investigation of a potential member. It is at least fair game to be used to form questions for the candidate during the interview process.

Some of the responses in the negative included opinions that facebook and other social media sites are not an accurate representative of an individual and therefore should not be used. I say HOGWASH!   ….although I say it with caution. While it is absolutely true to say that facebook does not define a man from tip to toe, it does provide insight into much of their lives, friends, habits, and personality.

I am not sure why I would be incorrect by saying, “Isn’t that what we are looking for during an investigation?”   Granted, an investigation committee should not, and as a matter of fact CANNOT, use or base their overall conclusion on social media alone. That would be un-Masonic, cowardly, asinine, unfair, and downright stupid. What the investigation committee can and SHOULD do in my opinion is look at all aspects of posts and public information available to better create a series of questions for the candidate.

If you are like me, you hate facebook but cannot seem to stay away from it. I hate it, yet I can’t seem to get away from checking in the latest. I am constantly finding stuff that I have posted that was supposed to be private or for families to see only, but find out after 2 years the post was in fact public all along.   Because of this I have a simple rule…….try not to post offensive crap. Sounds simple enough, but never works out.

Your public opinions can land you in hot water. You public opinions can make or break a friendship. Your opinions are, however, YOUR opinions and as such are a representative of you as a person. For a guy like me, I am a very opinionated person. I care passionately about social issues and political topics. I always feel the need to voice my opinion. I have a private page that SHOULDN’T be visible to the general public and the friends I have on my page have either requested my friendship or I have requested theirs. If one of my “friends” does not like my opinion, they are free to unfriend. It is, however, my responsibility to conduct myself accordingly. As a private individual it is my responsibility to police my posts even if I think my political opinion will not be shared with some of my friends on the page.

As a candidate for membership, it is also your responsibility to police your public image and posts. While no one is saying you have to make facebook your professional resume, you would be foolish not to know that what you put online can and will be used against you sometimes.

Take my profile for example: I do not have my birthday listed for the public, however, according to facebook which required I was over a certain age when I joined in 2004, I was born February 29, 1956. If an investigation committee were to see this, common sense has to factor into investigation to a certain degree. Obviously I was not born on leap day 58 years ago.   On the other hand, if I was tagged by someone else in a picture side by side with a group white pointy hat wearing men burning a cross…….then I think it’s pretty much a given that I would either have some splainin’to do, or the photo spoke for itself. That is, a person in such a picture most likely has no place in Freemasonry. Again, this would be a question to bring up during the investigation.

As a matter of fact, if it was my investigation committee, odds are an image like that would be placed on the table shortly after “Hi, how are you today?”    The candidate will either have an explanation, or he won’t. Either way, I am doing my job to guard the west gate.

I honestly look at facebook investigation as a necessary evil. Sure, it’s your candidate’s personal page, but unfortunately that is what we are looking into, your personal life. This topic is of particular interest to me, as I have a first-hand experience dealing with a social media situation.

Like most internet savvy Masons, I constantly find myself looking for news stories, blogs, videos, and whatever, you name it, for mentions of the words “masonic” or “freemason.”   In doing this about a year ago I came across a YouTube video titled something along the lines of “My Freemason Diner.” (NOTE: I’ve modified the actual name here to protect the privacy of the lodge and the individual.) The video was of a young man who was video blogging himself getting ready to go to a dinner and meet a few brothers. Nothing is wrong here. This is exactly what happens all over the world. Because I am inquisitive, I started clicking on the individuals other videos. Some things just struck me as immature. Not so much wrong, but immature. This led me to his twitter and facebook accounts.   The entire time I was doing this I was finding more and more gray areas that, had it been my lodge, I would have wanted brought to my attention. I was seriously conflicted as to what to do, if anything. On one hand, it wasn’t my lodge, my investigation, or my business. On the other hand, it is all of our jobs to police our fraternity for the greater good.

After some back and forth I contacted the lodge secretary. This particular lodge (which was even a different jurisdiction than my own) was very happy to take my information, which I assured them I had no personal connection to at all, and add to their investigation. After a few weeks I received an unexpected thank you message from the secretary that stated, more or less, “Thank you. This man has some maturing to do.”

I think it is important to point out that the lodge seemed to me like they were willing to give some council to the young man. I don’t know what happened afterward. I just hope for all the best.   The main point here is, I found something on a public forum, I passed it along, and I left it up to the lodge to decide what steps, if any, to take. I would hope other lodges would do the same for me.

It is interesting to me that the opposition to using facebook as an investigation tool was as strong as it was. One theme I saw was a misunderstanding of the question where I believe some folks are thinking the questions was referring to using facebook instead of a face to face meeting. Never in a million years would that be acceptable. One on one is what we have to do.   However, I firmly believe we can and should be doing more.

What are your thoughts? Should we as a fraternity use any and all sources for investigation? Should we rely soley on what the candidates tell us in an interview? You know how I feel about it. I am curious to hear what you have to say.

 

-ATO
——————————————–

If you like what I write about you may want to check out my book.

Book_Cover_front_rgbEarning Freemasonry – A One Day Class Redemption is now available for purchase.
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Books purchased here will be signed and sent directly from the author.

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Welcome to the blog!

I thought I’d share a little light here. Please check out The Two Foot Ruler. This personal blog is from Bro. Jason Richards, cohost of The Masonic Roundtable. Please check him out and show your support.

The 2-Foot Ruler

Brethren and Friends,

You have my humble thanks for reading this new blog. My name is JR, and I am a Mason in Virginia under the Grand Lodge of Virginia. I was raised in 2012, and have not, as yet, attained the illustrious title of “Past Master.”Nonetheless, this blog will serve as a repository for my analysis of and rumination on my role in the world’s oldest and largest fraternal organization. I hope you’ll share the journey with me.

On Tuesday nights, you can find me co-hosting The Masonic Roundtable (http://www.facebook.com/TheMasonicRoundtable) with four of my close brethren and friends as we attempt to spur open, honest, and constructive discourse on recent developments within the Masonic fraternity.

Cheers!
JR

freemason_street Freemason St., Norfolk VA

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Categories: Uncategorized

All One Day Class Masons Should Just Quit, Right?

I Guess All One Day Class Masons Should All Just Quit, Right?

If you are a One Day Class Mason, you can probably relate to this post.

If you are a One Day Class Mason, you can probably relate to this post.

I felt the need to write this today to address the seriously pompous attitude that hundreds of our brethren have towards individual One Day Class Masons.  I really feel One Day Class Masons have gone through a belittlement and negative treatment by many brothers that is irresponsible at best, and un-Masonic to say the least.

While I am sure that MOST educated Masons can see the serious flaws of One Day Class events, I am left wondering why in the world the rest of the fraternity does nothing to help the situation, or the misguided brethren they seem to have a problem with.  I see equally worthless traditionally made do-nothing pieces of garbage that have slid through the West gate into our ranks that love to run their mouths about how crappy the One Day Class Mason is, while at the same time doing nothing to help the situation or take it upon themselves to study the landmarks and traditions of the fraternity.

I will be very clear in my distain for the practice of making Masons in one day, but as many of you know, I am a One Day Class Mason myself.  I am bothered more by this than any single human being on this Earth.  What I refuse to claim to be is some sort of a lower form of Mason or otherwise uneducated Mason.  I was led to the One Day Class by existing members.  I knew no difference at the time.

There are a few issues here where I can agree with most people who disagree with One Day Classes.

One Day Classes cheat a member out of a crucial experience that other Masons get. – I agree

One Day Classes often leave new members wondering aimlessly with no direction. – I agree

One Day Classes are designed primarily to boost numbers quickly. – I agree

How is any of the above the individual Mason’s fault?  I’m not talking about what he may or may not do once he finishes the One Day Class.  I am talking about the man who has been led to the One Day Class, often times by a traditionally made Mason.  How is it his fault by simply taking up an offer that was given to him?

Here is what upsets me to no end when surfing online or listening to others degrade the guys who have gone through the One Day Class events:  Often times, the pompous mouth spouting off makes zero distinction between his dislike of the PRACTICE of the One Day Class and the One Day Class Mason himself.  This arrogance is un-Masonic.

Look, It’s no secret that there is trash that comes in with a One Day Class, the real secret, or perhaps the unspoken truth that many of these brothers often forget to touch on, is that there is no lack of garbage that make it in the traditional way too.  This garbage will continue to breed garbage regardless if they are a One Day Class Mason or a traditional Mason.

While it is ok to disagree with the practice of a One Day Class, lumping all One Day Class Masons as a group of noncontributing do-nothing freeloaders is more detrimental to the Craft than anything in my opinion.  Look, I hate One Day Classes, but I will put my dedication, effort, and practice of Freemasonry up against any Mason, any day.

Also, another item to remember is that if you disagree with something so bad, make it known to the powers that can do something about it. Don’t arrogantly belittle a man simply based on his misguided ignorance of how the system was supposed to work.  Don’t anonymously post like a coward on in internet forum. For anyone to post belittling remarks about McMasons or other derogatory labels but not have the stones to discuss it with his District Deputy or Grand Lodge shows your cowardly attitude and lack of willingness to help the Craft.

Put yourself in the shoes of the One Day Class Mason who is trying his hardest to find his way.   What are they supposed to think about the Craft and its membership?  I can’t help but be bothered by the arrogance of some of these guys that are supposedly there to help their brothers.  Some super Masons you all must be.  You must be so far superior to all of us stupid One Day Class Mason’s aren’t you?  Thanks for the brotherly love.

If you read any of my previous blogs, or my book for that matter, you will all see that I believe a new member is a new member is a new member.  Yes, One Day Class’s have negatives in so many respects, but no new member is going to be so far advanced and educated beyond all expectations that they will be able to digest the ritual in which they took part in and understand it fully.   Will they be ahead?  Well, yeah, a little. They have a leg up, for sure, but any new member is not automatically God’s gift to Freemasonry.

While the One Day Class robs the member of the experience of being brought to light properly as well as so many other little things they should experience, I want to challenge any new traditional member to sit across the table from a NEW One Day Class Mason and discuss the ritual.  I bet they will both have a million curiosities that will require further instruction.

You are more than welcome to think our leadership has failed us.  You are more than welcome to disagree with the One Day Class conferrals. But it is not ok to prop yourself up as some super Mason and pretend you are so far superior to other Masons for showing up for 2 additional nights. The One Day Class Mason did not fail us; the fraternity failed us by allowing the practice to happen.   It was up to the fraternity to properly guide men and guard the West Gate and stick only the best leaders in charge.  The fraternity failed here in my opinion.  It was up to the fraternity to properly lead and instruct.  Our fraternity failed.

I disagree with One Day Class’s so much that it makes me angry when they come around, but I also took an oath to help aid and assist the fraternity to the best of my ability ,  to remind my brethren of their failings and to aid in their reformation.  While I disagree with what is happening, I also feel it time for the rest of the membership to take a stand and help correct the course. Educate others so that they too will uphold their obligation to help the fraternity and new member who needed guidance.  Don’t sit back and throw jabs and anonymous smart remarks.

As for the One Day Class Masons: LISTEN UP!  You already have a large portion of the Masonic world who thinks you are less of a Mason.  Sure, maybe they don’t say it to your face, but this feeling is out there, and you are kidding yourself if you think it’s not.  Stop giving them reasons for thinking you are a failure and get your acts together.  Perhaps if you don’t care about the fraternity enough to learn anything about it, then leave.  Get out now.  Resign.  Take a hike.  Go to the Moose.  Join the Lions.  You do no good here.   You aren’t doing the fraternity any good and you aren’t doing yourself any good by wasting money on dues for an organization that you are not using.

But, wait a minute, that line wasn’t just for the One Day Class Mason, it is for all the traditionally made trash we have in our ranks, too.

Here is where you all need to reread that paragraph above again.  Go, do it now.  The Masons who are here, who are reading this blog right now, like you, are doing it because they want to be better Masons.  You are either reading because you are a traditional Mason who saw the title and think you are somehow better than I or any other One Day Class Mason, or possibly you are a One Day Class Mason who saw the title and said, “Wait just a damn minute. I am an awesome Mason.”  You could just be neutral on the whole subject and only care about the true purpose of the Craft, which is self betterment and gaining useful knowledge.  Regardless, you are obviously a little more involved than others if you are taking the time to read about the Craft in your free time.

In other words, the crap bags of the fraternity, the card carriers, the low-lives, and the non-contributors are NOT reading this right now.  The men here, the men reading this, the men sharing this are here because they are actively involved in Freemasonry.  It’s my experience that card carriers and crap-bags rarely read books, let alone search out further information on Freemasonry.  Shouldn’t we focus our displeasure on those guys instead of the active members?

It’s all up to you. If you dislike One Day Classes, the work to end them.  Get on an interview committee and educate a potential candidate about the pit falls of a One Day Class.   If you dislike One Day Classes, then work to educate the men who have been led to them.  If you are tired of the crap we have flowing into the fraternity, then put up or shut up for the love of God.   What you can’t do is belittle the brothers who are trying to earn Freemasonry.  What you can’t do is claim dominance over every One Day Class Mason out there.

I’ve spent 10 years earning Freemasonry and discovering the tools that have been given to me. While, I disagree with the Once Day Class, I have seen the good and the bad in both systems.  Stop the ignorance and start acting like Masons already.  You will see that even though One Day Classes may not be ideal, there is no shortage of successful One Day Class Masons out there.

-ATO
——————————————–

If you like what I write about you may want to check out my book.

Book_Cover_front_rgbEarning Freemasonry – A One Day Class Redemption is now available for purchase.
Click the link below to purchase through Paypal for $15.00 plus $5.00 for priority shipping.
Books purchased here will be signed and sent directly from the author.

Keep up to date with me on facebook at:
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The Argument About Dues

21 February 2014 1 comment

The Argument About DuesIn today’s broke economy with many people out of work or underemployed, who wants to talk about raising the cost of anything?  I know I am stretched pretty thin as it is, so any increase in anything extracurricular would probably affect me.  As it stand now, the things many of us have to use every day like gas, insurance, electricity, and general household items have gone through the roof in the past few years. So why start the debate on the cost of dues now?

There is no question that dues have not increased with inflation.  There is no question that dues are merely a fraction of what they used to be at one time compared to the cost of living.  My Blue Lodge dues, 60 bucks a year, aren’t necessarily high, but they are higher than they were just a few years ago when we voted raise them from $50 when I was Master in 2012.

With such low cost of dues most of us can afford membership today, but still we have guys on the non-payment list in April when dues were due in January.  I got to thinking, is that because people really can’t pay? Is it because people just don’t care? Then I think, perhaps they just aren’t high enough to be taken serious.

Full disclosure here, I too, sometimes fall into the category of men who will pay a little late more times than I’d like.  This is not because I don’t have the money, but many times simply because I know I will be going to the lodge soon and think, “Well, I’ll just take them in when I go.”   After all, I am pretty active, I enjoy lodge, and I am pretty sure the Secretary knows I am going to pay up.  Does that make being late with dues ok?  No, not at all.  But, Eh’ sorry. Sue me.

There could be a million reasons why the average Joe is late paying dues, but I think a major reason is that for much of the early history of Freemasonry the average Joe was never intended to be a member. This is partly because he couldn’t afford to be a member.  This was an elite group of men gaining elite men.  (notice I said elite, not elitist) This was a network in many ways, if course, but it also was very selective.  Does that mean that all men who COULD afford high dues were the best candidates?  Hardly.  Does that mean that all men who COULDN’T afford membership were not otherwise great candidates for Freemasonry? Again, hardly.

In just one example using a well-known man, I did the math. According to existing records from Fredericksburg lodge, when Washington was initiated, a fee of 2 pounds, 3 shillings was paid.  By today’s standards £2 roughly equals $3.27. Three shillings is about 72 cents.  Because the exchange rates could vary slightly I am just going to round and call it $4.00.  Converting back to pounds, $4.00 is roughly £2.45.  Using an inflation calculator online we can see that £2.45 in 1752 is roughly equivalent to about £385.80 today.  Converting this to dollars and we can see that about $630.78 was paid for Washington’s initiation.
(2/23/14: FOR AN UPDATE ON THESE NUMBERS SEE THE END OF THIS BLOG)

Let’s call that 600 dollars.  Right there, I think, is a major factor in the free-for-all we have going on. Any man who wants to join can, and does, without making it a serious life decision.  I don’t know how it works in many of your houses, but 600 dollars is not something I can just float willy-nilly on a club that I may or may not want to be actively involved with.

Lodge dues currently can vary wildly.  I have seen dues at 40 dollars and I have seen dues well over 100 dollars.  It is very rare that you see dues at 600 dollars, although they are out there.  Does that mean that I think that we should just jack dues to unbelievably high amounts?  Not necessarily.

For many men, Freemasonry is used as it was intended or at least the closest to it as it can be.  We have been given tools to use, and we put them to work.  For other men, they are given the tools to use, go out and buy a ring and a bumper sticker, and contribute very little to Freemasonry other than their 60 dollars a year.

Speaking as a po-boy who loves Freemasonry, here is where I am torn.  I, like many other people, do not fall into that upper category of wage earners.  If I told my wife I wanted to spend 600 dollars to be initiated into a fraternity I would most likely have pieces of me removed in my sleep.  In short, I probably would not be a Freemason if dues and initiation were to skyrocket.  I do think there is an answer though.

Incentive programs and chances to earn Freemasonry can take a dedicated man, at any level of income, and open the doors to him.  I think that having dues at the level of $500 or more can serve as an instant deterrent for many guys who just want to slap a square and compass sticker on their bumper.  They would have to make the choice; “Do I care enough about this whole Mason thing to spend 500 dollars a year on it?”  or;  “Do I care enough about this whole Mason thing to work down the cost of dues and initiation?”   The men who truly want to join at this point will join.  The card carriers would most likely work themselves out of the system over the course of a few years.  There will still be a few well off non-contributors who will continue to treat it as a good old boys club, but I can argue that those fellas are here now.

If I knew that I could earn back a portion of my initiation and dues each year by performing certain tasks such as reading and writing reviews on books, presenting programs, and otherwise earning Freemasonry perhaps I wouldn’t mind the high cost of dues.  I would know going into it that there is a cost involved, but also that there is a way to lighten that burden.

One of our greatest problems, in my opinion, is not enough men joining, but rather, too many under-qualified men running the system without knowing what the system is.  A system of forced education, or incentive based education, would ensure that the men who join, would, by default, learn something and use the Craft.

Over time, the Craft could go from an organization of card carriers back to the benevolent society it once was.  This could, in turn, create that desire for men to join for the correct reasons and reduce the desire for men to join just to get the title.

What about the guys who are financially stable who are generally not involved?  Sad as it may be, there will still be the glory hounds who are better off and who can afford to just sneeze away 600 bucks.  Let them.  With a growing fraternity of qualified and educated men, the system should improve overtime.  The interviewers should become more selective as they become better educated.

I can also see incentives to serve as lodge officers with perhaps very good incentives to serve as Master for a year or more.  If dues are reduced based on your accomplishments, and perhaps even eliminated upon becoming a Past Master, then the goal for many would be to naturally become a Past Master.

Perhaps it is the capitalist in me, but I see a free market system so to speak.  The desire to become a Past Master may be increased creating actual competition for the chair.  Anytime that competition is introduced into a system the best usually prevail.

If said competition exists, I can see it most likely spilling over to other areas.  With a back log of qualified men working to be viewed as the most capable for the job, simply being certified in the degree work may not be enough to be elected Master anymore.  Would we then see other areas of the lodge start to increase productivity?  I think so.  I see men who know the ritual and floor work who are taking on other positions such as education, mentoring, programs and other aspects of the lodge that many times fall by the wayside.

Some men may have no desire to be Master.  These men can earn back some of the cost by researching a specified topic and presenting to lodge.  A system of incentives for performance could chip away at dues cost.

Over the years, no doubt, people grow tired of keeping up.  Even the most dedicated of Masons get burned out from time to time and take a hiatus from lodge.  For this, I see the dues coming down more and more as you reach milestones.  Currently we celebrate members who reach their 25, 50, and 60 year milestones with pins in Pennsylvania.  In my lodge, we forgive dues for 50 year members.    Perhaps even more reduction in dues can happen as you reach the other lower milestones.  I see dues forgiveness happening much earlier than that with incentives for education and understanding of the craft.

There is an argument of, “Well, we are all supposed to be equal and on the level.  How can one person have lower dues than another?”  For this, I have to say, go back and study what the level actually means.  To be on the level means that we all have the same opportunity for advancement and to gain the rights and privileges in the lodge.  With that said, any member who strives to chip away or defer the cost of his dues  would have the exact opportunity that others would have.

To recap, high cost of dues would act as an immediate deterrent for fly-by-night men who think they will just join on a whim.  Men could work their dues cost down.  Working their dues cost down would, by default, leave the fraternity with educated men.  Educated men, over time,  would secure the West gate.  With a secure West gate, our fraternity could work back to restoring the status and purpose it is intended for.

Maybe I am completely off base here.  What do you think?

(2/23/14: It was brought to my attention that my calculations on Washington’s initiation fee were not exactly accurate. Facebook follower Glenda Ray told me it actually would be about the equivalent of $826 today (1£=12 oz sterling silver in those days) and given that the average American earned less than £30 a year, £3 was more than a month’s wage. I simply used conversion charts that told me today’s pounds to dollars, then used another site that gave me supposed historical inflation rates. Regardless, the point I make is still accurate. We can all agree, the amount paid back in the day was considerably substantial compared to our almost non-existent dues amounts today. Thanks Glenda Ray for the clarification)

——————————————–

If you like what I write about you may want to check out my book.

Book_Cover_front_rgbEarning Freemasonry – A One Day Class Redemption is now available for purchase.
Click the link below to purchase through Paypal for $15.00 plus $5.00 for priority shipping.
Books purchased here will be signed and sent directly from the author.

Keep up to date with me on facebook at:
www.facebook.com/SquareOfVirtue

Feel free to drop me any comments or books reviews here:
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Buy Now Button with Credit Cards

Books can also be purchased on Amazon and Kindle.

Categories: Uncategorized

Earning Freemasonry – A One Day Class Redemption, NOW AVAILABLE!

Earning Freemasonry – A One Day Class Redemption is now available for purchase.

Book_Cover_front_rgb

Click the link below to purchase through Paypal for $15.00 plus $5.00 for priority shipping.

Books purchased here will be signed and sent directly from the author.

Modern Freemasonry is changing. A new member today is brought into a fraternity much different than their fathers and grandfathers fraternity. Changing demographics and declining membership numbers have brought on many short cuts to membership and advancement in the Lodge. Designed to boost membership, combat a declining older generation, and fit better in the modern man’s life, one day classes and easing of membership have opened the flood gates to Freemasonry. Thousands of men have been made Freemasons in one day classes over the past decade. Countless others have become Freemasons in a more relaxed lodge than existed just a few years ago. While some of these men go on to do great things in Freemasonry, the sad reality remains, many men joining today do little more than get a card in their wallet. Any Freemason, be he a card carrier, officer, Past Master, or otherwise regular member has a part to play in our Fraternity. Some men take the long way; some men take the short cuts. Regardless of how you were given the tools of Freemasonry, it is up to the individual man to earn them. This books details one man’s journey from citizen to Freemason in a one-day-class. Through firsthand experience, observation, and opinion, the author explains the pit falls and trials that go along with the easing of the order and offers insight on how we may be able to correct our missteps. From the new Mason to the Past Master, this book is designed to help any member earn Freemasonry and start enjoying the true benefits of the Craft.

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Dude, Where’s my Lodge?

Ask yourself that question.  The answer is simple.  You know exactly where your lodge building is.  You could drive there tonight if you wanted to.  So, then what’s with the question?

As I get further into reading, writing and networking with my online brethren, I find myself asking this question more and more.  Now, I do enjoy my friends at lodge.  They are great guys.  We all get along great.  We all share good times in our lives and families from time to time outside of lodge, and generally, most people are happy. 

But, I always come back to this question or other questions similar.  “What really are we doing here?”, “Why aren’t we having philosophical discussions?”, “When will we start doing something, anything, Masonic in our meetings?”  A key frustration of mine has always been lack of Masonic programs and less than fraternal discussion during meetings.  It’s known that I feel this way, but I have recently come to the understanding that I am not the only one who feels this way. 

In the past two years I have been fortunate enough to find an outlet for my thirst for Masonic information.  The world of online networking and social media, for me, has become what my lodge is not.  Again, I need to make it clear, I love my brothers at the lodge, but I can’t remember ever having a deep or enlightening discussion in lodge.  I have seen some very good presentations and programs, but have come up short on the discussions of the who, where, what, why, and how that SHOULD go along with every meeting. 

I don’t know about you all, but when I open facebook and see Bro. Shawn Eyer has just posted 10 new pics of the George Washington Masonic Memorial, or when John Paul Gomez releases a new necktie on Fraternal Ties, or when I see Living Stones or Working Tools Magazine post info about their latest editions I can’t help but be left fulfilled as an informed brother.  It truly is an amazing world, this internet.

I consider myself fortunate because I have been able to connect with men who are delivering much of what I am looking for, just seeking light, sharing what they know, and helping others also find their niche in Freemasonry.  From authors, to podcasts, to blogs, to facebook and social media, I have come to realize that the lodge experience I am missing in lodge has actually been found online.  I will admit, part of that reality makes me sick, but I cannot deny the fact that it has been overwhelmingly helpful and far exceeds any form of enlightenment I have ever received sitting in my actual lodge. 

So, where is my lodge?  The building is in Hollidaysburg, PA, but the light I seek has come from very public sources such as Robert Johnson (Whence Came You podcast), and Juan Sepulveda (The Winding Stairs podcast.)  I have had the opportunity of meeting with authors or at least communicating one on one with modern authors writing about various aspects of the Craft relevant to modern Freemasonry.  These men like Charles Harper (Freemasonry in Black and White), Shawn Gorley (Freemasonry Defined), Cliff Porter (A Traditional Observance Lodge), Andrew hammer (Observing the Craft), and many more that could fill up an entire page. 

These men have become my lodge in many regards.  With the podcast, books, magazines, and most recently the Masonic Roundtable video discussions getting started I, and thousands of men from around the county, are able to stay informed with what is happening pretty much as it is happening.  We are suddenly able to discuss all (ok, most) topics of Freemasonry at any hour of the day.  Answers are immediate many times and help on any subject is a text message away. 

Years ago, this is what your actual lodge did.  Men of similar interest would meet in smaller, intimate groups.  Good men that were prominent in their communities took part in philosophical discussions that actually improved their lives and made them care a little bit more about the security of the West gate.  Since lodges today have become complacent and pretty much admit most men who petition, the exclusiveness of our lodges in not what it used to be.  I am not suggesting that lodges should be full of prominent elected officials or made up entirely of lawyers and doctors and other community leaders, after all, if they were like that I most likely would have never gained admission, but we should be a little bit more selective in our admission. 

Our lodges have become a place to pay bills and meet once a month, but the actual work for many of us is being done between meetings by the new generation of movers and shakers claiming their stake in this fraternity. 

While talking on the phone with my good Friend and Brother Shawn Gorley (Driven by Light Blog) we were discussing the restoration of the fraternity and where it may be headed.  As bleak as some aspects of our forecast were, I found myself becoming more and more optimistic as we talked about our upcoming travel and presentations we have scheduled.  We talked about our friends from around the state that were having both Shawn and I, as well as other young movers and shakers come speak.  I was overcome with a feeling of optimism as I thought about the lodges who were now about to become exposed to this group on men who unknowingly came about independent of each other, many hundreds of miles away from each other but were now becoming extremely useful as a group a spreading the light of Freemasonry. 

Authors, podcast personalities, presenters, historians, ritualist and generally a new generation of good Freemasons coming down the pike will be exposing the newest, or perhaps some older members to the true purpose of Freemasonry for the first time. 

Showing complacent lodges that any Joe Shmoe individual is capable of delivering light to others can, and should, be exactly what we, as said movers and shakers, should be doing.  I am happy to see these men traveling to lodges, talking to followers, replying to messages, and building a community of younger brethren simply by doing what they do. 

There is a lot of talk about Masonic restoration lately.  It is an uphill battle, especially now when it seems that the establishment and many Grand Lodges are all too eager to keep changing and simplifying everything.  The guys that blog, podcast, and write may be the mentors that many lodges need.  We may be the first shovel of dirt on the construction site.  I see it as being up to us to create interest for the complacent.  If we keep doing what we are doing by staying active and staying informed I think it is likely, as outnumbered as we are, that we can build the next generation of men excited to keep the building project going. 

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Book_Cover_front_rgbEarning Freemasonry – A One Day Class Redemption is now available for purchase.
Click the link below to purchase through Paypal for $15.00 plus $5.00 for priority shipping.
Books purchased here will be signed and sent directly from the author.

Keep up to date with me on facebook at:
www.facebook.com/SquareOfVirtue

Feel free to drop me any comments or books reviews here:
www.facebook.com/EarningFreemasonry

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Books can be purchased on Amazon and Kindle.

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