Received: by NEMOMUS (MUSIC Mailer V2.3.3); Tue, 29 Sep 92 19:52:27 EDT Received: from mbu

Master Index Current Directory Index Go to SkepticTank Go to Human Rights activist Keith Henson Go to Scientology cult

Skeptic Tank!

Received: by NEMOMUS (MUSIC Mailer V2.3.3); Tue, 29 Sep 92 19:52:27 EDT Received: from by ACADEMIC.NEMOSTATE.EDU (IBM VM SMTP V2R1) with TCP; Tue, 29 Sep 92 19:51:20 CST Received: from by (911016.SGI/4.7) id AA05174; Tue, 29 Sep 92 20:53:32 -0400 Posted-From: The MITRE Corporation, Bedford, MA Received: by bistromath (4.1/SMI-4.1-MHS-7.0) id AA19033; Tue, 29 Sep 92 20:56:25 EDT Date: Tue, 29 Sep 92 20:56:25 EDT Message-Id: <9209300056.AA19033@bistromath> From: Peter Trei Subject: Masonic Digest, Vol. 4, Number 15. Apparently-To: JOHN%NEMOMUS.bitnet@ACADEMIC.NEMOSTATE.EDU MASONIC Digest Tuesday, 29 September 1992 Volume 4 : Issue 15 Today's Topics: Administrivia. (Peter Trei) Re: Born in Blood (Bill Edwards, long response from Peter Trei) Intro, GL of Texas pamphlet, Baptist convention, Golf (John Carroll) Info Concerning video "Unseen Journey" (Alan R. Spies) The Scottish Rite Dorm at UTexas (Adam Kessler) Eye-in-triangle as a Masonic Symbol? (Peter Trei) Scottish/York Rite, Templar Apron, politicians in Craft (Stuart Lewis) Templar apron (Darrell Long) Problems facing Masonry. (Peter Trei) (Paul Rich) (Paul Rich) Order of the Arrow (William H. Magill) Scottish Rite Theatrical Symposium (Don Stowell, Jr.) Opening and Closing Charges in PA (William H. Magill) Non-Mason's reactions to Masonry. (Todd Williams) Masonic tidbits from the net. (Peter Trei) 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, either directly from me or via anonymous ftp to site ============================================================================== From: Peter Trei Subject: Administrivia. I've separated out the pagan thread, put what's left of it in another issue, and am killing it as of this point. You should receive both issues within a few hours of each other. Peter ============================================================================== Date: Wed, 9 Sep 1992 13:40:05 PDT From: Subject: Re: Born in Blood Peter, I read Born in Blood and found it very informative. Although you mentioned you did not like the book for its lack of scholarly depth, do you agree with the spirit Robinson wished to convey? No one knows for sure where Masonry began, but I believe there is a Templar connection. An organization that powerful (# of members, wealth and ideology) does not just go away when banished by the Pope, etc. Masonry was also strongly challenged, not to the same degree, in the 1800's with the the Anti-Masonic Party. It did not disappear. Robinson's idea of Templar's working as Stone Mason's or using Stone Mason's as a cover could be true. He may not have proved his theory thoroughly, but did he also provide enough information to weaken the acceptance of the Operative Mason theory? Are there any documents in existence discussing the ritual of the Knight's Templar (Not new Age Guesses, but documents from that period)? If so, could connections between ritual be found? I understand the Regius Ms. was dated at 1390. That would only make an 80-90 year difference from the disappearance of the Templar's and the first Masonic related document (There could be earlier ones that were lost). This brings the time span much closer than 300 years with the appearance of the Grand Lodges in England around 1717. I am currently reading Eco's Focaults Pendulum. I am about a 1/3 done and find it very entertaining. Since my mind set is in the conspiracy mode, what if the Mason's of old knew the organization would come under extreme opposition if a Templar Connection was openly expressed. To make sure this wouldn't happen, a "Plan" was devised to hide the true beginnings/meaning of the group.... Some day I am planning to take both the York and Scottish Rite Degrees (At 25 I have many years left in Masonry :). I look forward to the degrees and seeing what they reveal about the Templar's. ~ Bill Edwards Webster #538, Grand Lodge of NY P.s. Pete, where do you live? [ Since Bill specifically requested of me an answer to this letter,] [ I am responding at length. ] [ ] [ Robinson quotes John Hamill's "The Craft", as follows: "When, ] [ Why, and Where did Freemasonry originate? There is one answer to these] [ questions: We do not know, despite all the paper and ink that has been] [ expended in examining them." and "Whether we shall ever discover the ] [ true origins of Freemasonry is open to question." Robinson takes this ] [ as handing him carte blanche to put forward his own theory without ] [ regard for established scholarship. He does not consider that, even ] [ if a complete theory of the origin of Masonry cannot be proved, ] [ nevertheless constraints on the origin can be. ] [ ] [ (BTW, I reccomend Hamill's book to anyone interested in the early] [ history of Freemasonry.) ] [ ] [ Hamill points out many problems with the Templar origin theory. ] [ For one thing, claiming that the Templars fled to Scotland and there ] [ transformed themselves into Masons ignores the fact that the Templars ] [ were never persecuted in Scotland (the Papal Bull was never read ] [ there), and formed part of the Scottish establishment right up to the ] [ Reformation, the Prior of Torpichen (the senior Templar priory in ] [ Scotland) being by right one of the Lords Spiritual of the Scottish ] [ government. There was no need for Templars, once in Scotland, to go ] [ underground to reinvent their organization, and they did not do so. ] [ Robinson ignores this, and much other evidence against his theory. ] [ ] [ Another example: at no point can I find Robinson even alluding to] [ the Modern/Antient dispute. This was an very significant event in the ] [ formation of Masonry, but it's mention would have damaged Robinson's ] [ thesis that Masonry was a monolithic movement, working purposefully ] [ towards a concealed goal. It's omission is a little like writing a ] [ history of the United States, and leaving out the Civil War. ] [ ] [ It's problems like this that turn me off Robinson. He shows no ] [ academic rigour and ignores countervailing evidence. ] [ ] [ Other points: ] [ ] [ The RC Church has many times succeeded in stamping out groups ] [ it thought were heretical - where are the Cathars and Albigensians ] [ today? The Anti-Masonic hysteria of the early 1800's, without any ] [ government backing, succeeded in nearly destroying Masonry in America.] [ Over half the membership quit, and Masonry disappeared altogether in ] [ some states. It took 50 years to recover. ] [ ] [ I am unaware of any authoritative and unbiased sources on the ] [ Templar's ritual (for a good history of the order, I suggest Peter ] [ Partner's "The Murdered Magicians: The Templars and their Myth".) ] [ ] [ The Regius Manuscript does indeed fall within a century of the ] [ Templar's dissolution, but unfortunatly, it has no context - it may ] [ have well been written for the regulation of an operative Mason's ] [ guild. ] [ ] [ Eco is a lot of fun, but don't take him too seriously. ] [ ] [ Since you ask, I live in Westminster, in north central MA. My ] [ regular lodge is Wilder, in Leominster. I am also a member of ] [ Courland-Centennial #763 in Manhatten. ] ============================================================================== Date: Thu, 10 Sep 1992 01:46:19 -0500 (CDT) From: John Carroll Subject: Masonic Digest Intro time - My name is John E. Carroll Jr., Living in Jacksonville among the tall pines of East Texas. I am 37, married to a beautiful lady for 15 years and have a wonderful son, age 11, and a gorgeous daughter, age 4. I am a band director in my 14th year and I cannot think of anything I'd rather be doing. I guess that is because I have no practical skills. I was raised to the Sublime Degree of a Master Mason on May 29, 1987 at Lothrop Lodge #21, A.F. & A.M. in Crockett, Texas. While there, I served as Senior Steward, Senior Deacon, and Senior Warden. Unfortunately, two months before I was to be installed in the East, I was offered the job of head band director at Jacksonville High School, a much larger school with a winning tradition and lots more money. I hope I can return to the chairs this year in Jacksonville. I have just recently joined the net, quite by accident, running into Peter on Roots-L, the genealogy net. What a great way for masons & non-masons to meet. I have read each issue of Volume 4 and am fascinated by this wealth of information. I hope, in the future, I can contribute in some small way, for the betterment of Masonry. The more we meet, on the level and on the square, the better we can become. First off, here is a little hand out by the GL of Texas. This may be similar to something your GL has. WHAT MASONRY Is Not: It does not solicit members. It is not an insurance or benefit society. It is neither a religion nor a cult nor a religious order. It is not a charity organization, but makes charity a duty. It is not organized for profit. It dictates to no man as to his beliefs, either religious or secular. It seeks no advantages for its members through business or politics. It is not a forum for discussion of religion, politics, or other partisan affairs. It is not a secret society, as it does not conceal its existence or purposes. WHAT MASONRY Is: It is a voluntary association of men. It is a system of moral conduct. It is a way of life. It is a fraternal society. It is religious in its character. It teaches the Golden Rule. It seeks to make good men better men. It teaches morality through symbolism. It uses rites and ceremonies to instruct its members. It is based on a firm belief in the Fatherhood of God, the Brotherhood of Man, and the Immortality of the Soul. Masonic Grand Lodge of Texas, A.F. & A.M. As you are aware, Masonry came under fire (mainly in Texas, I believe) from the Southern Baptists earlier this year. The flames came from a Beaumont physician, Dr. James C. Holly, who in 1985 co-sponsored a resolution against Masonry. In the 1985 resolution, which was not adopted, Masonry was called a " spiritually devastating and ungodly brotherhood of satanic darkness. " In his new proposal to study Masonry, Dr. Holly hopes that if it passes, by 1993 the Southern Baptist Convention will take a strong stance against having Masons as pastors, deacons, and Sunday school teachers. Others supporting the study were Dr. Paige Patterson, former president of Criswell College of Dallas; Dr. Jimmy Draper, president of the Southern Baptist Sunday School Board in Nashville, TN (and a former Mason); and Rev. Larry Lewis, president of the Home Mission Board. A recent Sunday School Board poll showed that 14 percent of pastors in the Southern Baptist Convention are or have been Masons, as were 13 percent of directors of missions and 18 percent of church deacon chairmen. Not being a Baptist, I do not know if this resolution passed or not. If it did [PT: It did, they're doing a study], I don't think we have anything to fear. Many letters to the editor appeared across the state in newspapers, written by Masons & non-Masons, most all of which supported Masonry. Quoting a part of one: "Ask the mother whose child had twisted limbs straightened at the Scottish Rite or Shrine Crippled Children's Hospitals, or had grotesque burn scars treated successfully at the Shrine Burn Centers, or had teeth straightned or treated from the Grotto's Dentistry for the Handicapped Child, or received help from the more than 50 other similar Masonic philanthropies that spent more than $525 million in 1990 for these services of which as much as 60 percent went to the American public. In the end, the truth will be known and Dr. Holly and his cohorts will be unmasked for what they are : "tunnel-vision zealots" from the dark ages." The Dallas Morning News ran a drawing with the letters they received. I wish every Mason could have seen it. It depicted a man in a suit, with a look of determination on his face, a sword in one hand held high above his head, a sheild in the other, with the square and compass emblazoned across the front. A man ready to do battle for what he believes in. Now for something completely different. Being an avid (read: horrible, handicap of 24.9 (sounds better than 25)) golfer, something has been brought to my attention, and I am trying to get some facts on this. I recently bought a practice putting surface (hasn't helped) from a large department store, and on the outside of the box, it had a little article on the origins of golf. I threw the box away, not realizing at the time that I would need it now. From what I can remember, it said that the Royal and Ancient Society of St. Andrews Golfers in Scotland was founded by a group of Master Masons. Does anyone have any facts on this? Has anyone ever heard of this? I think it is facinating, if true. Think of some of the terms used in golf such as "level par" and "all square". Okay, maybe I'm grasping a little, but it isn't any more far fetched than *some* of the things attributed to Masonry (UFOs, sun spots, JFK assasination, Hurricane Andrew, Republicans). Mull it over and let me know. I think I'll write a book. And everybody gets credit!!! Fraternally, John Carroll < > ============================================================================== Date: Thu, 10 Sep 1992 11:16:02 -0500 (CDT) From: SPIAR@FNALD.FNAL.GOV (Alan R. Spies) Subject: Info Concerning video "Unseen Journey" Hi Peter, Many thanks for adding me to the Masonic Digest email list. In keeping with the Masonic Digest tradition, I'll introduce myself before passing on some information about the video "Unseen Journey." My name is Alan Spies, I am 25 years old, and I am a graduate student working on my PhD in high energy physics at FERMILAB in Batavia, IL. My interest in Masonry goes back to my childhood. I grew up in a small town in Mississippi that has both a Masonic and a Shrine Temple, and I always wondered what went on inside. This spark of curiosity is what led me to submit a petition for degrees from Euclid Lodge # 65 in Naperville, IL. (Believe it or not, it was my wife who actually got the ball rolling, but that's another story!). I was raised a Master Mason on January 21st of this year, and I am an eager participant in the activities of Euclid Lodge. On to the "Unseen Journey." The video "Unseen Journey" was commisioned by the Immediate Past Grand Master of the MW Grand Lodge of the State of Illinois. It was produced by two Brothers, Craig Parsons and Michael Toth, both of whom are members of Oriental Lodge. The video is professionally done, ie. Brothers Parsons and Toth either own or work for a video production company in Oak Brook, IL. Briefly, the video addresses the questions "What does it mean to be a Mason?", and, "What is Masonry?" by citing examples from literatrue, music, and film. It also features the author of "Born in Blood," and another Masonic Scholar whose name I can't remember. The video is intended for the general public. My personal recomendation is that if your are interested in the video, encourage your lodge to purchase a copy for its library. My lodge owns two copies, and I would imagine that every other lodge in Illinois has at least one. Here is the address: Eye Films and Video PO Box 3606 Oak Brook, IL 60522-3606 $37.05 includes shipping and handling checks payable to GRAND LODGE OF ILLINOIS Best regards, Alan R. Spies ============================================================================== Date: Wed, 9 Sep 1992 08:58:13 -0500 (CDT) From: Adam Kessler Subject: The Scottish Rite Dorm at UTexas I saw that someone was asking about the Scottish Rite dorm at the University of Texas. It is overseen by local Valley, whose headquarters is here in Austin Texas. It is open to the unwed daughters and nieces of masons. This is all "what I think I know" versus "what is really true" so interested parties need to call first hand. Scottish Rite Dorm 210 W. 18th Street Austin, Tx 78705 (512) 476-9131 ============================================================================== From: Peter Trei Date: 28 Sept 1992 Subject: Eye-in-triangle as a Masonic Symbol? A while back, I had occasion to post my "greatseal.faq" file to the alt.folklore.urban newsgroup, pointing out for the umpteenth time that * The great seal was not designed by a Mason * While the All-seeing eye IS a Masonic symbol, putting it in a triangle is not, nor is perching it on a pryamid. I got back this response: >Date: Wed, 9 Sep 92 16:20:15 -0400 >From: merk!uvmark!roger (Roger MacNicol) >Subject: Re: Annuit Coeptis > >About the all-seeing eye: you are totally wrong. I have my grandfathers >(english) masonic handbook from around the first-world war. The symbol on >the dollar is exactly the same as the symbol listed for the Grand Master >of the United Grand Lodge. I could scan the picture and post it if you >don't believe me. The FAQ is demonstrably and provably wrong. > >Yours - Roger > > Roger MacNicol, Software Engineer > Vmark Software, Inc., 30 Speen Street, Framingham, MA 01701 > email: > Phone: (508) 879-3311, Fax: (508) 655-8395 I checked, and (to my chagrin), he's partly right. The GM of England's jewel incorporates at it's center an irradiated eye in a triangle. It's small and hard to see, but it's there. The earliest example I've been able to find is in a portrait of the GM around 1870. Can anyone find an earlier example of the Masonic use of an eye in a triangle? ============================================================================== Date: Thu, 10 Sep 92 14:00:19 pdt From: (Stuart Lewis) Subject: Dear Peter, Interesting stuff in this newsletter. This may be my last shot at any serious replies. School has started up again and I've got a new job (still within Boeing Computer Services) lined up that will put me at a new site.... So, I'm not sure what the access will be like. I can always use my pc and modem from home, but that can get expensive as I live in another calling prefix. (Last fall I took two heavy duty classes: Design and Analysis of Algorithms, and Assembly Language And VAX Architecture. My worst phone bill for one month was $200! The gas to drive to campus would have been a lot cheaper!) [ PT: You'll be missed. If you get an account on a commercial BBS ] [ service such as Compuserve, I should be able to email you the Digest. ] Some of this gets a little detailed (York Rite), so if any other brother has what you think is better and shorter, I won't be offended if you don't use mine - that goes for anything I've written actually. I did respond to the anonymous post since it was in regard to stuff I had written; wish I could have mailed directly - I just know this Wiccan/Witch/fringe stuff is going to roll right back in. Anyway, the new job will be second shift so I'll only see my son on weekends :-(, and my wife only on weekends and mornings. Oh, yeah, number two is due in March (best guess)! Hope you and yours are in good health. Fraternally, Stuart Stuart Lewis P.M. King Soloman #60, F&AM P.H.P. Rob't B. Palmer #46, RAM ------------------------------------------------------------------------------ >RE: SCOTTISH VS. YORK RITE > > I am a Scottish Rite 32nd Degree ... ...I have not >yet gone through the York Rite, but others I know who have been >through both tell me that in general, the York Rite has a slightly >more religious (read: Christian) flavor to its rituals.... >... Any York-Riters out there care to enlighten me? I'll take a stab, having also gone through both. Saying that the York Rite has a more religious tint is sort of true and false. The York Rite is separated into 3 blocks, if you will. The Royal Arch, The Council and The Commandry. The Commandry (aka Knights Templars) is absolutely and strictly Christian in basis and the ritual is centered as such. However, the Royal Arch and Council are sort of extensions of the Blue Lodge ritual. They are based on Old Testament history so in that vein they are religious, but not Christian. The Royal Arch contains four degrees: Mark Master, Past Master, Most Excellent Master and The Royal Arch. The Mark Master degree takes place, chronologically, a few weeks following the Blue Lodge 3rd degree. The Past Master is an honorary degree that fulfills a "technicality", so to speak. It's very short and there's not a lot to it. The Most Excellent Master degree takes place at the completion of construction of King Solomans Temple in Jerusalem. (so really, they are sort of a chronological extension of the 3rd degree) The Royal Arch degree is placed after the destruction and pillage of the temple and concerns King Cyrus's release from captivity the Jewish people that they may return and re-build the House Of The Lord. Chronologically well after the other degrees. The Council [Of Royal And Select Masters, to be official] contains three degrees: The Royal Master, the Select Master and the Super Excellent Master. Of these, the Super Excellent Master is kind of optional and is not required to fulfill Council membership. It concerns the actual destruction of the original temple so, chronologically, occurs between the Most Excellent Master and Royal Arch degrees. This degree is based on the prophesies of Jeremiah who appears as a character. (now here I plead "long time, no degree") One or either or both the Royal Master and/or Select Master (I think both, actually), take place immediately before the 3rd degree in Blue Lodge. By this, I mean no more than a few days. The prime character of the Blue Lodge 3rd degree is also spotlighted in these. (Now that I write this, I think this is the Royal Master, and the Select Master takes place a few days after what would be the occurrance of the Blue Lodge 3rd degree.) So basically, 2/3rds of the York Rite is directly related to the 3rd degree of Blue Lodge (at least historically - and by that I mean Old Testament historically) Hope this was informative (and I hope I piqued the interest of some Master Masons to petition the York Rite :-) Stuart Lewis P.M. King Soloman #60, F&AM P.H.P. Rob't B. Palmer #46, RAM [ PT: I've been through Chapter, and reccomend it to all Master Masons. ] ------------------------------------------------------------------------------ >Subject: Unusual apron spotted. > > (* description of an old apron which included a skull and > crossbones among other obviously Masonic emblams *) > >[PT: Probably an old Knight Templar apron.] That would be my guess also. The Knights Templars use the skull and crossed bones to represent and illustrate the mortality of man. (Take this thread and from there move toward a degree based on Jesus Christ and you have the Knights Templar degree from the Commandry. (well, it's not *really* that simple, but you get my meaning!)) Stuart Lewis P.M., P.H.P... you've seen it before ------------------------------------------------------------------------------ (from Peter's rovings around other net.tidbits......) >...wonders if any prominent Republicans are Masons (apparently in hope >of driving a wedge between them and Fundamentalist Christians). Senator Robert Dole, Kansas Senator Strom Thurmond, N. Carolina Honorable Jack Kemp, Housing Sect'y President Gerald Ford, Michigan Senator Alan Simpson, Wyoming Senator Barry Goldwater, Arizona (I think)Senator Jesse Helms, S. Carolina deceased... Senator John Tower, Texas and a few on the opposite pole.... Senator John Glenn, Ohio Senator George McGovern, Wisconsin(?) deceased... Senator Hubert Humphry, Minnesota Senator Henry "Scoop" Jackson, Washington President Harry Truman, Missouri (a very "in vogue", revered figure in todays political scene :-) (by *both* parties!)) President Franklin Roosevelt, New York this is a *very* short list..... Stuart Lewis P.M. & P.H.P ============================================================================== Date: Mon, 14 Sep 1992 16:34:36 -0700 From: Darrell Long Subject: Templar apron [PT: Probably an old Knight Templar apron.] Can you give more details? Which Templars? As I recall that's the name of a degree in the York Rite. Also they mumbled about them when I was in DeMolay (old Jacques being a Templar). Umberto Eco also seems to poke fun at them in Foucault's Pendulum. DL [ PT: This is the Masonic Knights Templar. It's highly probable that the] [ only connection between them the medieval Knights Templar exists in ] [ the imagination of their members. ] [ ] [ Coil mentions that the KT's have given up using aprons on most ] [ occasions, probably because of the amount of regalia they have to ] [ carry around. ] ============================================================================== [ PT: After Paul's most recent letter, I sent him the following. His ] [ responses (which follow) suggest an interesting, and I think ] [ important, topic for the digest. ] To: (Paul Rich Education) Subject: Problems facing Masonry. Thanks for your contribution to the digest - it'll be going into the next issue. Paul, I'm curious. Clearly, you are interested in Masonry and devote considerable study to it. Nevertheless, all of your posts so far (three, including this one) are uniformly negative - either we're too elitest, too self-important, or sloppy in our thinking (your latest note), or all three at once. I can't help but think that despite this, there must be *something* you find of value in Masonry. If there were'nt, you'd just demit and leave. Would it be possible for you to tell me (and, if you desire, the digest) what you *like* about Freemasonry? thanks, Peter Trei ============================================================================== From: (Paul Rich Education) Date: Wed, 16 Sep 92 13:37:43 WST Subject: Re: Problems facing Masonry. I think the history of Masonry is interesting and obviously a member is at an advantage as far as access to resources in studying its history. Non masons sometimes have difficulty using Masonic libraries and buying Masonic publications. I don't think my view of the Craft's declining situation is exceptional. But I am not so sure that you can talk about Masonry -- perhaps masonries would be more appropriate. We are approaching a time when we may see some fairly serious divisions. An obvious example is the Prince Hall situation. There is an enormous difference of opinion on this which has been papered over for many years. I have yet to hear any plausible solution which will enable Southern grand lodges to stay in communion with other jurisdictions. [ PT: I personally hope that the GL of England will decide to recognize ] [ PH GL's where their co-located mainline GL's do. This will cause many ] [ of the other northern and non-American GLs to do so as well. The ] [ southern US GL's will be placed in a minority position, and will ] [ hopefully fall into line over time. ] As far as the frightening decline in membership, much of what is suggested as a cure was tried by other fraternities such as the Pythians, Owls, Redmen, et al. Brighter newsletters, personal followup of absent members, service projects -- they tried everything. And of course the situation is not confined to the U.S.A. The Australian situation unfortunately is very similar to the American situation -- declining numbers, very elderly officers who are not interested in energetic remedies, and very poor ritual. So the answer to your comment about making positive remarks is that currently there is a consensus Masonry offers very little to attract or keep members and objective observers can find little to praise. Its future as simply a public service outfit like the Lions would seem limited. Its ability to change enough -- to take in women as members for example -- seems doubtful. I would expect the debate the Shrine had about whether to give up Masonic qualifications for membership to return: bodies such as the Tall Cedars, Soujourners, Grotto are going to be strained to honour their financial commitments to programs as membership shrinks. So it is a little unfair to suggest that pessimism is out of place. You perhaps will recall the old story about the farmer who sold his friend a cow which promptly died. When the friend complained, he was told "You're always negative -- so what else is wrong with her?" The point of course is that some of these problems are major, or even catastrophic. Stating that is not being negative or down on Masonry but calling attention to priorities: at present rates of decline, by the year 2000 the membership of North American grand lodges will be halved. [ PT: I don't think we'll lose half our membership over the next 8 ] [ years, but I'll try to develop some figures on this, for Massachusetts] [ at any rate. ] P Rich ============================================================================== From: (Paul Rich Education) Date: Wed, 16 Sep 92 14:21:45 WST Subject: Re: Problems facing Masonry. I don't think the members of a multi-million member movement have the obligation to be optimistic that the members of a small group do. If there are a dozen members of a faltering lodge, certainly common sense dictates that tact and a show of enthusiasm are not only pleasant but a necessity. In the case of a large movement -- or movements, to take my point about Masonry and Masonries -- the situation is altogether different on a "mega" scale from what it is considered from a local chapter or branch. For example, it might be appropriate to discuss whether anyone over 60 should hold grand office (it might be a very heated discussion), but a little cruel if the one brightness in th3e life of the lonely octagenarian lodge chaplain is lodge night. A great deal of the current discussion about what to do about declining numbers is an example of the confusion over applying the same views to the mega and mini. Policy can be custom fitted. As an instance, the admission of women to one local lodge does not mean that women have to be admitted to all lodges: a grand lodge could adopt a policy of admitting women members that included such an escape. Similarly a wise Anglican bishop would probably not impose a woman priest on a parish. But the diocese would have a progressive "mega policy", even while "mini exceptions" were permitted. In the case of the Masonic Digest, I think it is a "mega" activity with a "mega" audience and not a booster for local lodge attendance. So what might be pessimistic in the Master's column from the East in the local lodge newsletter is even desirable in the Digest. But I will try to think of something positive to say! And you better edit these two replies to you, subtly interweaving your own thoughts, as they are scarcely an article per se. P Rich [ PT ] [ ] [ Two points: ] [ ] [ * The Digest remains my "baby", and I retain the right to decide what ] [ goes in it. ] [ ] [ * As for being a "mega" activity with a "mega" audience, There are ] [ only 300 email addresses on my list. While some places post the ] [ digest on BBS's and spread it further, I doubt if half the addresses] [ I have are of Masons. I suspect that the Masonic audience of the ] [ Digest could all fit in one (large) lodge room. ] [ ] [ I'd also like to point out that a good portion of the audience are ] [ potential Masons. It's all very well to discuss the problems of ] [ Freemasonry. But to do so without mentioning it's positive aspects ] [ (those which make us care enough to complain and seek to fix it ] [ instead of just walking away), gives non-Masons as incorrect and ] [ biased a picture as would the most starry-eyed pollyannaisms. ] ============================================================================== Date: Fri, 18 Sep 92 16:35:59 -0400 From: William H. Magill Subject: Order of the Arrow It has been recently brought to my attention that the Scouting honor - Order of the Arrow - was "invented" by a couple of Pennsylvania Master Masons and that various aspects of the ritual "sound very familiar." There is NO DIRECT Masonic affiliation. here only the "de-facto" variety. The Treasurer of our Lodge was recently accorded the honor. Seated along with a couple of other Past Masters of various Pennsylvania Lodges while attending a recent cermony he compared notes with these brethren on the subject. Supposedly something like 80% of Eagle Scouts are also Masons. He didn't know the portion of OA members, but that he knew 5 PMs at the local recognition banquet! T.T.F.N William H. Magill Manager, PennNet Computing Services Data Communications and Computing Services (DCCS) University of Pennsylvania Internet: [ PT: Anyone have more info on this? ] ============================================================================== Date: Wed, 23 Sep 92 17:45:07 CDT From: "Don Stowell, Jr." Organization: North Dakota Higher Education Computer Network Subject: Scottish Rite Theatrical Symposium (Don Stowell, Jr.) Just starting to be able to breathe after a VERY hectic three weeks. The Symposium went very well. We all learned lots of new stuff and made new friends. I've got lots of new ideas about where to look for things I did not know of or had not thought about. I'll try to write something up and get it to you before too much longer. The publication to which I referred earlier is "The Scottish Rite Journal of Freemasonry Southern Jurisdiction." The September 1992 issue is entitled "Special Issue, Masonry's Material Culture" and features an article by Mng. Ed John Boettjer on the Pilcher Organ at Shreveport LA SR Cathedral, one by Lance Brockman on "Theatre of the Fraternity" featuring the scenery, one by Robert Domingue on Masonic Philately, one by Stephen Patrick on "Freemasonry at the Table" on pitchers and other stoneware and glassware, and another by Will Moore on "M.C. Lilley & Co, Manufacturers of Masonic Furniture." I found the whole issue really interesting. Both Brockman and Moore were at our Symposium. Also, Brent Morris in "The Material Culture of Masonry" reviewed several books and exhibit catalogs related to decorative arts, Masonic aprons, collectables, and memorabilia. I hope that because this publication is Southern Jurisdiction, those of you in the Northern have difficulties procuring it, for I think the articles are of significance to all. Cheers and best wishes! Don Stowell [ PT: Will the proceedings of the symposium be published? ] ============================================================================== [ PT: William sent this in response to the 'can Masons sue each other?' ] [ thread. It's published in clear by the GL of Pennsylvania, and does ] [ not seem to me to disclose anything problematical. Non-Masons may find] [ it interesting as a fairly typical piece of Masonic prose. ] Date: Sat, 26 Sep 92 20:21:30 -0400 From: William H. Magill Subject: Opening and Closing Charges Here are the Master's Opening and Closing charges to the Lodge as adopted by the Grand Lodge of Pennsylvania. Both, along with various other charges used in installations and following various degrees are written and published by the Grand Lodge in "The Ahiman Rezon." I assume, but since I don't have a copy can't verify, that these are "virtually identical" to those found in the Anderson Constitution as they are supposedly those adopted by the Grand Lodge in 1781 and first printed in Philadelpia in 1783. A Charge at the Opening of a Lodge From "The Ahiman Rezon, or Book of the Constitution of The Right Worshipful Grand Lodge of the Most Ancient and Honorable Fraternity of Free and Accepted Masons of Pennsylvania and the Masonic Jurisdiction Thereunto Belonging" Brethren:- As useful knowledge is the great object of our desire, we ought to apply ourselves with zeal to the practice and profession of Freemasonry. The ways of wisdom are beautiful, and lead to pleasure. Knowledge is attained by degrees and cannot everywhere be found. Wisdom seeks the secret shade and the lonely cell, designed for contemplation. There enthroned she sits delivering her sacred oracles. There we are to seek her, and to pursue the real bliss. Though the passage is difficult, the farther we trace it, the easier it will become. If we are united, our Fraternity must flourish. Let all private animosities, therefore, if any should exist, give place to peace and good fellowship. Uniting in the same grand design, let us be happy ourselves, and endeavor to contribute to the happiness of others. Let us promote the useful arts, and by that means mark our superiority and distinction. Let us cultivate the moral virtues, and improve in all that is good and amiable. Let the genius of Freemasonry preside over our conduct, and, under her sovereign sway, let us preserve a nobleness and justness of understanding, politeness of manners, and evenness of temper. Let our recreations be innocent and pursued with moderation; and never let us suffer irregular indulgences to expose our character to derision and contempt. Thus, shall we act in conformity to our precepts, and support the name we have always borne, of being a respectable, regular, and uniform Fraternity. A Charge at the Closing of a Lodge From "The Ahiman Rezon, or Book of the Constitution of The Right Worshipful Grand Lodge of the Most Ancient and Honorable Fraternity of Free and Accepted Masons of Pennsylvania and the Masonic Jurisdiction Thereunto Belonging" Brethern:- You are now about to quit the sacred retreat of friendship and virtue, to mix again with the world. Amidst its concerns and employments, forget not the duties you have heard so frequently inculcated and forcibly recommended within this Lodge. Be, therefore, diligent, prudent, temperate, discreet. And remember, also, that around this Altar you have solemnly and repeatedly promised to befriend and relieve, with unhesitating cordiality, so far as shall be in your power, every Brother who shall need your assistance; that you have promised to remind him, in the most tender manner, of his failings, and aid his reformation; to vindicate his character when wrongfully traduced; and to suggest in his behalf the most candid, favorable, and palliating circumstances, even when his conduct is justly reprehensible. If you faithfully observe these duties, the world will observe how Freemasons love one another, in obedience to the will of God. Remember always, Brethren, that these solemn rites, of which you have been partakers, and your parts in them, are as binding on your consciences out of the Lodge as within it. They are links in that chain made in life for eternity. And these generous principles are to extend farther. Every human being has a claim upon your kind offices. So that we enjoin it upon you, do good unto all, while we recommend it more especially to those who are of the household of the faithful. ============================================================================== [ PT: At first glance, this may seem to be the same thread I've , ] [ banished, but it's not. I'm trying to eliminate inter-faith disputes, ] [ and the "is religion X appropriate for Masons?" thread - such topics ] [ are themselves un-Masonic. ] [ Knowing how members of various faiths react to Masonry is a ] [ reasonable topic (at least for the time being :-). ] Date: 23 Sep 1992 11:04:31 -0800 From: "Todd Williams" Subject: Non-Mason's reactions to Masonry. Dear Peter I'd like to start a new thread for comment by your readers. This past week the Masonic Organizations of our district sponsored a Masonic Information Booth at our county fair. This is the second year our district has done this, and the second year my wife and I have worked in the booth. I noticed a change in the type and number of inquiries this year. I am curious if your readers around the country are making use of things such a booth at a local county fair, and if so, what experiences are they having? Both years we have been in the same location. We have been in a large tent, with perhaps as many as 50 other booths. Most were selling merchandise, but this year we were graced with both the Republican and Democratic Parties handing out information; one at one end and the other at the other end of the tent. As luck would have it, the Pro-Choice people were on an isle running between the two political booths, roughly in the center. Our booth has been located in a corner of tent, near one of the large openings, but not what anyone would consider a main entry. Last year the fair seemed to be better attended then this. Last year those who stopped by the booth seemed to be only those already members of the Masonic family, or those interested in taking a few brochures that I doubt they ever looked at again. This year it seemed to me that those who stopped were genuinely more interested in what Masonry is; its religious and philanthropic positions. And of course, there were the detractors. I had a twenty minute debate with a fellow and his wife from the evangelical booth (outside the tent) who were incensed that many of our symbols are (what they consider) satanic. Once we got past a point of agreement that everyone uses symbols, and to each the symbol represents what they want the symbol to represent, did we start to reach some level of understanding. As a fraternity we require that our members believed in a supreme being. How our members worshipped was not our concern; that they worshipped was. As a fraternity we looked for the good in man, his ability to act on the square with his neighbor, his desire to treat others as he would be treated, the basic concepts that are taught by all the major religions of the world. These were the items we sought as a fraternity to build upon; not the delicate issues of how to worship, and by what name the Creator should be called. They finally quit harassing us when it was explained that many of us were Christians (we recognized Christ, the Christ who died on the Cross for our sins -- they had to know which Christ -- as if there was more then one), and that we used our symbols as positive symbols for good, and not as satanic symbols. When challenged with this level of personal testimony, they finally quit trying to educate us. I'm not a Bible thumping zealot, but I thought it was interesting that when I simply stated my honest feelings on the issue, they went away. Well Peter, this may be a bit much to digest, but I wondered what experiences some of our other brothers have had in this area. Fraternally, Todd E. Williams internet: todd_williams.p1@smtp.ESL.COM ============================================================================== From: Peter Trei Subject: Masonic tidbits from the net There are too many articles to refer to each one individually. I think I've provided enough info to track them down. I do keep records of the complete articles. I hope someone can respond to my query at the end of the alt.activism section. alt.magick, alt.pagan, and alt.satanism continue to have sporadic traffic under a variety of subjects. talk.religion.misc has a flurry under titles: "Freemasons and Christians: How Compatable Are They?" and "Are LDS Christians" alt.folklore.urban has some notes alleging that the Great Seal's reverse "proves" Masonic control of government. Look under Subject "Annuit Coeptis" "pentacles on arms" thread complains that while SCA bans pentacles on coats-of-arms, for fear of public dissapproval, Eastern Star members display them with impunity. alt.activism (John Covici) posts three articles: News 09/04/92 <> reviews "The Sword and the Grail: Of the Grail the Templars and a True Discovery of America", by Andrew Sinclair, under headline "Book claims Templars, Masons discovered America" Why The Statue of General Albert Pike Must be Destroyed <> LONG rant by Lyndon Larouche about how the Masons, Scottish Rite, Bnai'Brith, the KKK, and Hitler are all part of a nefarious Britsh scheme to rule the world. KKK: A Scottish Rite Project <> EVEN LONGER rant (1200+ lines as posted) Includes Taxil's famous forgery, in which Pike allegedly claims that Masons are Luciferian. I'll mail the full text of these articles to anyone who is interested. I am rapidly coming to the conclusion that these posts form the opening salvos of an anti-Masonic campaign by LaRouche's group, attempting to sow racial discord and hatred in America. I'm concerned enough about this that I'd like to bring it to the attention of the Southern Jurisdiction Supreme HQ. Does anyone have a contact point? rec.scouting "Re: Discrimination in Scouting" thread discusses Order of the Arrow, and vague allegations of Masonic connections. soc.religion.christian in "The number 666 explained?" The Virgin Mary channels to Stefano Gobbi that "666 indicated thrice, that is to say, for the third time, expresses the year 1998, nineteen hundred and ninety-eight. In this period of history, Freemasonry, assisted by its ecclesiastical form, will succeed in its great design: that of setting up an idol to put in the place of Christ and of his Church..." thread: "Music for Ectoplasmodium" discusses composers with esoteric leanings. ============================================================================== ********************* End of MASONIC Digest


E-Mail Fredric L. Rice / The Skeptic Tank