MASONIC Digest Wednesday, 15 Jan 1992 Volume 4 : Issue 1 Today's Topics: Publicizing the l

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MASONIC Digest Wednesday, 15 Jan 1992 Volume 4 : Issue 1 Today's Topics: Publicizing the list: I finally did it. FAQ volunteers needed. Minnesota Masonic Exhibit (Don Stowell, Jr.) Volume of Sacred Law (Paul Gillingwater) Masonry in popular culture (Paul Gillingwater) An introduction; masons, pagans and VSLs (Shava Nerad Averett) Annual Grand Communication (PA) (Jim Thomas Park, Jr.) Bro. Robert Heinlein (Gary L. Dryfoos) Bro. Robert Heinlein?? (Steven Mesnick) Send all submissions and requests to MASONIC digest is moderated. Please remember: THIS IS A PUBLIC FORUM: YOU MUST ASSUME THAT MANY READERS ARE NON-MASONS. Please include a relevant subject line. If you require anonymity, say so at the top of your message (and give a nom-de-net). All contributions remain the property (copyright 1992), and responsibility of the authors. My own comments remain mine (Copyright 1992 Peter Trei), and represent only my views at the time of posting - not neccesarily those of my employer, or of any Grand Lodge. Back issues are available, as are a few standard pamphlets. ---------------------------------------- From: Peter Trei Subject: Publicizing the list: I finally did it. Date: 15 Jan 1992. Well, I finally sent out the announcement of this list's existance to usenet. On the afternoon of January 6, a message was posted to following newsgroups: alt.conspiracy, alt.magick, alt.pagan, news.announce.newgroups, news.groups, soc.culture.arabic, soc.culture.british, soc.culture.jewish, soc.religion-christian,, soc.misc, talk.rumors, talk.religion-misc, talk.religion-newage These groups met the following criteria: * Discussion (often uninformed) of Masonry frequently appears in them. * They are places where new groups and mailing lists are often discussed. * They seemed a likely place to find an interested audience. To date (15 Jan) I have 125+ responses. I don't expect many more, since the message has expired on most systems. It touched off an interesting debate in soc.culture.british, which showed just how badly some people are misinformed. I would guess that about 20% of the responses are from Masons, or people with Masonic connections. Many more are simple "add me" messages, and there are a lot of straight-forward queries of the nature "what is Masonry about, anyway". As expected there are some very off-the-wall inquiries. One of the goals of this list is to correct such peoples misconceptions. I'm trying to reply to each specific query (to forstall a flood of near-identical questions to the list). One thing this has brought home to me is the crying need for a good FAQ file on Masonry (see the following message). I'd like to extend a warm welcome to all our new readers. fraternally, Peter Trei Moderator ---------------------------------------- From: Peter Trei ( Subject: FAQ volunteers needed. Date: 15 Jan 1992. We badly need a FAQ (Frequently Asked Questions) file for Freemasonry. I'm looking for volunteers (preferably Masons, OES, Rainbow, etc) to work on it together. If anyone is interested, tell me, and I'll do mail redistribution. I already have online the following quasi-faqs: "Should I ask?" published by the Scottish Rite Northern Jurisdiction. 151 lines "Freemasonry as a way of Life." published by the Massachusetts GL. 159 lines. "What is Freemasonry" published by the United GL of England. 105 lines. "Freemasonry and Society" published by the United GL of England. 67 lines. ½BTW, I also have a postscript Square and Compass, and a crude X-windows bitmap for a S&C cursor.| Proposed FAQ Outline: (this may be much too verbose) What is Masonry? Fraternal Organization Social Organization Service Organization Mystical Brotherhood History of Masonry. Regular vs. Irregular Masonry. Who can be a Mason. Why no women? Why the secrecy? How one becomes a Mason. Common attacks on Masonry. Masons always prefer their own. Masonry is a religion Masonry is too ecumenical Masonry teaches salvation by works "Masonic-Jewish conspiracy" P2 Morgan affair RCC position Other church positions Anti-bibliography: Baigent &? The Temple and the Lodge Holy Blood, Holy Grail Messianic Legacy Stephen Knight The Brotherhood Jack the Ripper - The Final Solution John Robinson Born in Blood Popular legends and misconceptions Masonic US Presidents, etc. Great Seal of the United States (eye & pyramid) Affiliated Groups Men Only York Rite Scottish Rite Shriners Tall Cedars Grotto Mixed OES Boys DeMolay Girls Rainbow Job's Daughters Unaffiliated Groups Prince Hall Masonry "Liberal" Masonry. Co-Masonry. Famous Masons Dissenting views Bibliography ---------------------------------------- From Peter Trei Subject: Minnesota Masonic Exhibit This is one of the letters I got. It seemed interesting enough to quote in full. Date: Tue, 07 Jan 92 11:29:09 CST From: "Don Stowell, Jr." Organization: North Dakota Higher Education Computer Network Subject: Masonic Digest request Thank you for your notice to the GRASS list about the Masonic Digest. I am working with a colleague at the University of Minnesota on a projected exhibit of masonic scenery, costumes, and regalia. We have been "scrutinized & approved" by Northern Jurisdiction and Southern Jurisdiction both as having a legit topic and "good intentions." Lance Brockman, scene designer at UM, is scholar of scene painting practices, particularly of 19th century, and has obtained for the UM collection original designs from several companies who did the scenery now in use ½still in use| in many lodges. Several other scholar/ artists are involved, as are the Director of the UM Art Gallery and a Curator at the MN Historical Society ½Barbara Franco, who used to be curator at Mus. of Our National Heritage|. My involvement is as costume historian. I have visited Masonic Regalia, Inc., ½formerly C.E. Ward Co.| at New London, OH, and studied their extensive files of renderings, drawings, and other materials. I will pass information on Masonic Digest on to Lance. Do you have a "Notes & Queries" section in which we might post a request for information, for instance ?? We should be able to write considerable material within the next few years, depending upon your interests and needs. We have a NEH grant request in the works to call together a symposium if invited guests next summer to confer on the "meaning" of our findings and of fraternalism in general in today's world, as well as historical perspectives. We have been in touch with the currently publishing scholars and look forward to an interesting time. In the meantime, would you be so kind as to include Lance and myself on your mailing list ½and IF YOU HAVE THE TIME, provide any back issues which might have a bearing on our work|. Snailmail: Dr. Don Stowell, Jr., Director, Division of Fine Arts, North Dakota State University, Fargo, ND 59105-5691 ½701-237-2732, FAX 701-241-2085 Stowell@NDSUVM1| Prof. C. Lance Brockman, Department of Theatre Arts, 208 Middlebrook Hall, 412 -- 22nd Ave. S., Minneapolis, MN 55455 ½612-625-3077 -- otherwise he's an electronic non-believer!!| Thank you again for your considerate offer. I would be glad to communicate with you about any of these matters. I was a DeMolay; my father is a York Rite Mason, member of Commandry & Shrine. I have not pursued brotherhood myself, but have deep respect for the values inculcated. My profession ½before being an administrator| was costume design for the stage and the history of stage design. Hence, my interest in this project. ---------------------------------------- From: Subject: Re: VSL Date: Thu, 19 Dec 91 10:22:01 NZT > Date: Thu, 14 Nov 91 14:15:35 PST > From: (Tim Maroney) > Subject: Volume of the Sacred Law > Another Masonic question from a non-Mason: > > What is the current practice regarding the identity of the Volume > of the Sacred Law? Theoretically it is not limited to the Christian > Bible, but apparently in practice this is almost always used. I In our lodge we have three VSL open when lodge is operating. The Bible (OT & NT) takes the centre, flanked by Sir Edwin Arnold's ``Light of Asia'', and the Bhagavad Gita. (Triple aspect, note!) Re: Masonry in popular culture (Peter Trei) > anyone have any additions? How about the Immortal Bard -- check out Love's Labours Lost. Note the title itself -- three "L"'s. An L is an angle of 90 degrees, or the fourth part of a circle. The three words themselves, love, labour and lost all have Masonic significance. The play itself is about a secret society. BTW, note that I have not suggested that this was written by W. Shakespeare. :-) cheers, Paul Gillingwater SW for Wellington Lodge No. 411 ---------------------------------------- Date: Wed, 18 Dec 91 15:25:57 -0500 From: Shava Nerad Averett Subject: An introduction; masons, pagans and VSLs First, an introduction: I am Shava Nerad Averett, the wife and daughter of masons, and someday perhaps the mother of masons. I thought Rainbow Girls were stupid, and I'm not impressed with the intellectual environment of some of the local Eastern Star organizations I've been exposed to. My father is also a Unitarian Universalist minister, and I am one of the co-founders of the Covenant of UU Pagans (CUUPs), a UU affiliate organization. I write extensively on magick and pagansim in other groups on the net. I believe in men's societies, and have no difficulty with the gender exclusive nature of the masons, except that I believe that they have largely lost a mature attitude about what a men's society is for, and use this as an excuse for reinforcing a bad attitude about women in too many instances. Therefore, I make myself available to the masons I meet as an example of a worthy soror, if they allowed sorors, so that they can not fall into the error of believing that women are truly up there with drunkards, children, and doddards (or whatever the text might be). I think masons do good stuff, on the balance. Our worthy moderator says: ½This touches on another speculative topic: what is the appropriate VSL| ½for some of the more unusual religions? I've heard of Mormons using | ½the BoM, but what about (Neo)Pagans, etc? I suppose a Thelemite might | ½want to use a Crowleys' Book of the Law. An Erisian might propose | ½using the Principia Discordia, and could then enjoy the confusion his | ½suggestion engendered. :-) What could a Wiccan use? | As an erisian, I would be happy to use any such book, or none (a blank page?) but _P_D_ would be fun to propose. It does make me wonder what is used for religions that have no "testament" or sutra or whathaveyou. If your tradition is oral (for example, lots of amerindian cultures) what do you do? Or if your tradition says that the appropriate VSL may not be displayed outside of certain ritual contexts (which would not include masonic ritual)? I am neopagan, not wiccan (a subset of neopagan, probably...;-), but I am not familiar with a specific VSL that would apply. Possibly it would vary by tradition. For example, some might want to use some of Gardner's (crowley's?) works. Tim Maroney says: I've recently had contacts with the group out here in the Bay Area, and it seems both sexually and racially integrated; but of course it has a very different feel from how I imagine regular Masonry must be. The same is true for other descendants of heretical gender-integrated Masonry, such as Neo-Paganism. I will just state here that Tim's and my opinions as to the affiliations of neopaganism with OTO/Thelema/Gardner et al differ. This discussion doesn't belong in this group, however. Shava Nerad Averett ½ Moderator comment: Shava, I have no doubt that you and many other | ½ women could be excellent Masons. That women are lumped with the other | ½ excluded groups does not automatically put them on the same level. | ½ Women are excluded (IMHO) not because they are in some way "unworthy",| ½ but because most Masons do not think Masonry would work in mixed | ½ groups. | ½ | ½ There are certain psychological responses which can be invoked | ½ fairly reproducibly in people. One of these is (to use the currently | ½ popular psychobabble) "male bonding". If a group of men undergo | ½ certain types of shared experience denied to those outside the group, | ½ they can emerge with an esprit de corps and group identification | ½ difficult to comprehend. (This response is also invoked in military | ½ training). It does not seem to work as well in mixed gender groups. | ½ | ½ Even outside of the initiatory process, there is a different | ½ social dynamic in a male-only group than in a mixed group. Perhaps | ½ this is a cultural thing, perhaps not. But I can say without question | ½ that the spirit of fraternity and equality I feel when among my fellow| ½ Masons would be damaged if women were admitted. (I hope this is not | ½ coming across as a fancy way of saying "no slimy gurls alowd"!) | ½ | ½ Personally, I think the best solution would be to have a parallel| ½ system of women-only lodges, under their own independent Grand Lodges,| ½ which would have fraternal (?sibling?) relations with the co-located | ½ male Grand Lodge (this is a rather heretical viewpoint :-). | ½ | ½ As for your problems with OES and Rainbow, I have not much | ½ experience with those organizations. I hope some of the OES and | ½ Rainbow members on the list will respond. | ½ | ½ To change topics, I don't know what Amerindian Masons do for a | ½ VSL, but I'll try to find out (I slightly know one Native American | ½ Mason). | ---------------------------------------- Date: Sat, 11 Jan 1992 20:08:40 -0500 (EST) From: "Jim Thomas Park , Jr." Subject: Annual Grand Communication (PA) Peter, Well it is a new year. Sorry I haven't written until now, it has been a busy holiday season especially in Lodge. On Tuesday December 3rd I was elected and installed Worshipful Master of my Lodge. My fiancee graduated from college (Pitt), we attended a banquet for the graduating seniors on Monday the 16th. Two days before we attended her Christmas Party. Enough of the small talk. The reason that I am writing you is to let you know that the new Right Worshipful Grand Master of Masons in Pennsylvania has been installed. He is a member and Past Master of my lodge. So I was busy on the Dec. 26th and 27th. For those who might be interested and did not get a chance to come to our Annual Grand Communication I will give you the schedule of events that took place. I will also make note of what Jurisdictions and bodies were represented. This was my second Annual Grand. This time I had a very nice but nerve racking part to play in the day's events. Being the W.M. of Avalon Lodge No. 657 it was my duty to welcome the newly installed R.W.G.M into his home lodge. This is done in PA so that the record books show that the new G.M.'s first act is that of visiting his lodge. I had been OFFICALLY in office for only 3hrs and 20 min. when I rapped the gavel and proceeded to open the lodge. The actual visitation went GREAT. My officers did a terrific job. The meeting lasted about 45 minutes. We were running late because Grand Lodge did not close until 2:20 pm. It supposed to close at 1:30 pm. Anyway, Ed Fowler R.W.G.M. presented our lodge with a medallion that he had struck. It is the number 2 medallion, he had it stamped on the edge. There were about 200 in attendance at my meeting. After my meeting we had pictures taken with the Grand Line Officers and all of the living Past Grand Masters. We then went back to the Hilton Hotel and got ready for the evenings festivities. The banquet was great, dinner was tasty. My finacee and I were seated with the G.M.'s immideate family. Also seated with us was Sir Knight, William H. Thornley, Jr. Most Emminent Grand Master of the Grand Encampment of Knights Templar of the United States and Bro. harold D. Elliott, II, Most Worshipful Past Grand Master, New Jersey and Most Preeminently Distinguished Governor General York Rite Sovereign College of North America. It was an interesting seating arrangement. Bro Thornley was very interesting and enlighting. If you ever have the opportunity to meet him please take it. Bro. Elliot was quick with his wit, he played off of Bro. Thornley throughout the evening. The entertainment was Louise and Irleen Mandrell, their performance was excellent. Also in attendance at the dinner was the Mayor of Pittsburgh Sophie Masloff. We were able to meet the Mayor and had our pictures taken with her. She was very personable. After the Mandrells there was an orchestra for dancing. We (my financee and myself) attended a party hosted by the new G.M. and his wife in the Presidential Suite. There we talked with the men that run the Grand Lodge of Pennsylvania. During this party I became aware of what this great fraternity of ours means to a lot of the people. I felt that I was among people that REALLY LOVED Freemasonry. It was one of the nicest evenings I have spent in Freemasonry. I got a chance to meet people that I have only heard mentioned in lodge or in Masonic publications. My fiancee was impressed and said that she enjoyed herself. I was very happy about that because it was her first real exposure to Fremasonry. All in all it was a GREAT weekend. Here is a list of the Jurisdictions and bodies that were in attendance. I am not going to list the names of the representatives, it would take too long. Jurisdictions -------------- New York, Georgia, New Jersey, Maryland, New Hampshire, Rhode Island, Vermont, Delaware, Ohio, Maine, Illinois, Wisconsin, Michigan, Minnesota, Ontario, Nova Scotia Bodies -------- The Holy Royal Arch Pennsylvania The Grand Council of Royal and Select Master Masons of Pennsylvania The Grand Commandery Knights Templar of Pennsylavnia The Grand Encampment of Knights Templar of the United States Supreme Council of the Ancient Accepted Scottish Rite, Northern Masonic Jurisdiction Valley of Harrisburg Valley of Lancaster Valley of Pittsburgh George Washington Masonic National Memorial Association Ancient Arabic Order Nobles of the Mystic Shrine York Rite International Order of DeMolay If anybody would like to know who represented what jurisdiction or body just let me know and I will sent you the name(s). One more thing. My Father was present at my Election and Installation. He got a special despensation and received the Word of the Chair. This was done at a stated meeting of his lodge in October. He then presented me for installation at my lodge. After I was installed he presented me with my gavel. I have also had my first stated meeting. It went very smooth. I honored my Father in the open Lodge, presented him with a new Masonic ring and had him sit in the East with me for the night. My program was a sports writer for The Pittsburgh Press. Well thats it for now, Thanks for letting me ramble. Fraternally, Bro. James T. Park, Jr. Worshipful Master Avalon Lodge No. 657 F. & A.M. Pittsburgh,PA ---------------------------------------- From: dryfoo@Athena.MIT.EDU Subject: Masonry in popular culture. Date: Wed, 18 Dec 91 15:40:03 EST } MASONIC Digest Wednesday, 18 Dec 1991 Volume 3 : Issue 5 } } From: Peter Trei } Date:Dec 17 1991 } } A long time ago, I put out an inquiry on the net, asking about } mentions of the Freemasons and Masonic-like organizations in popular } culture.... } } Heinlein: } "Revolt in 2100 AD" (or was it "Beyond this Tomorrow"?) - } Lazarus Long makes Masonic allusions (RAH was a brother). There are a number of Masonic references in Heinlein. The most notable is the novelette (novella?) "If This Goes On..." set in a not-too-far future, when a theocratic dictatorship ruled the USA. The plot follows a young man who stumbles into a "cabal" working to overthrow the government. RAH is properly discreet, but there is no doubt of the true nature of the "cabal". Masons will enjoy this one. And of course, the most famous TV lawyer in history was a Mason. :-) +----------------------------------------------------------------------------- İGary L. Dryfoos - Athena Training Admin. İ İ Internet: İ "Ask me about my İ Usenet:!!dryfoo İ Vow of Silence!" İ Phone: w: (617) 253-0184 / fax: 253-8665 İ İ Office: Room 11-311, MIT, Cambridge, MA 02139 İ -- Dr. Devlin Levity İ USPS: P.O. Box 505, Cambridge, MA 02142 İ +============================================================================= ---------------------------------------- Date: Thu, 19 Dec 91 11:05:42 EST From: (Steven Mesnick) Subject: Brother (?) Heinlein A past issue of The Northern Light (newsletter of the Northern Jurisdiction, Scottish Rite) had an article on Robert Heinlein stating that although he had a great interest in Masonry, he was *not* ever initiated. Anyone out there have a copy of this? I've lost mine. Steve Mesnick --- ProLine: steffan@pro-angmar Internet: UUCP: uunet!alfalfa!pro-angmar!steffan ½ PT: Gary, I've looked back over the last time we covered this topic | ½ (v01n005), and I'm afraid I have to agree with Steven - a close | ½ reading of Virginia Heinleins' letter shows that she does not say one | ½ way or the other if RAH was a Mason (sigh). | ------------------------------ End of MASONIC Digest *********************


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