MASONIC Digest Wednesday, 5 Jan 1990 Volume 2 : Issue 1 Today's Topics: Administrivia Intr

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

Skeptic Tank!

MASONIC Digest Wednesday, 5 Jan 1990 Volume 2 : Issue 1 Today's Topics: Administrivia Introduction: Gilbert Maymon. (also Irving Berlin) Toasts and Pledges CT recognizes Prince Hall How public should we be about Masonry? Good news from Budapest. Announcement: 32nd Lodge of Instruction. Send all submissions and requests to (From enet: DECWRL::"") MASONIC digest is moderated. Please remember: THIS IS A PUBLIC FORUM - YOU MUST ASSUME THAT MOST READERS ARE NON-MASONS. Please include a relevant subject line, and cover one topic per message. If you require anonymity, say so at the top of your message (and give a nom-de-net). All contributions remain the property (Copyright 1990), and responsibility of the authors, and may not be diseminated beyond the list without their express permission. My own comments remain mine (Copyright 1990 Peter Trei), and represent only my views at the time of posting - not neccesarily those of my employer, or of any Grand Lodge. --------------------------------------------------------------------------- Date: 4 Jan 1990 From: Peter Trei ( Subject: Administrivia. I'd like to wish everyone on this list a happy New Year, and hope you all had a very merry Christmas (or however you pass mid-winter). We are now up to at least 42 readers, plus however many read this on the DEC NOTESfile. I like to send issues out every week, and do so if I get a reasonable amount of material. I've included a local announcement in this issue. Are people interested in seeing this kind of thing? Many of our readers are in MA, and may be interested in open installations, table lodges, and lodges of instruction, etc. ------------------------------ Date: 3 Jan 1990 14:10 EST From: "g.w.maymon" Subject: Introduction: Gilbert Maymon. (also Irving Berlin) Dear Brother Trei: My name is Gilbert (Gil) Maymon. I am an MTS at Bellcore in Red Bank, NJ. (An associate of Charlie Hildebrand). I was raised to the sublime degree of MM in East Providence< RI (Rising Sun # 30) in 1951 and am now a member of Caesarea #64 in Keyport NJ. I am an active member of the Northern NJ Valley of the Scottish Rite and was honored in 1983 to recieve the 33rd degree in Milwaukee. I have served the Rite as Thrice Potent Master and I am now the Second Lt. Commander of the Consistory. I am a senior Demolay (Loyalty Chapter, Riverside, RI) and am a Chevalier and Legion of Honor. I congratulate you on getting this thing going; I think it can be a great boost to spreading the light of freemasonry. I am preparing a paper on our late brother Irving Berlin for presentation at the Scottish Rite valley. I am interested in any information regarding the masonic aspects of this famous american's life. Best wishes for the new year to all my brethren, wheresoever dispersed. Gil Maymon PT - Welcome to the list, Brother Gil. Because of your query concerning Irving Berlin, I assume that you wanted your letter published. I think there was an article in a recent Empire State Mason which you might find helpful. For the non-Masons reading this, the "(Ancient and Accepted) Scottish Rite" is one of the associated bodies of Freemasonry. These groups confer their own degrees which expand upon the lessons taught in the three "Blue Lodge" degrees. The "33rd degree" is confered only upon Masons who have done great service to the Craft. The titles of the degrees and offices are quite colorful.| ------------------------------ Date: Wed, 20 Dec 89 12:53:06 EST From: Subject: Toasts and pledges A very small, but important, point -- after which I will admit that perhaps we have wandered afield; and will do my part towards letting this matter drop. } Date: Wed, 6 Dec 89 17:23:27 -0500 } From: steven Gatton } Subject: Re: Toasting Her Majesty the Queen } } When Border Cities Lodge of Windsor, Canada, visits us for Table } Lodge (tyled EA Lodge with dinner) we always (the Americans, that is) } propose a toast to the Queen, and the Canadian visitors always propose } a toast to the U.S. President.... } } I have never really understood why the Canadian Prime Minister is } not toasted as well. Apparently he is just the current politico in } office, and the real head-of-state is the Queen. Ah, the British Navy, now -- they understand something that most USAmericans do not. I have been told by an attendee that at joint formal dinners, each toasts the other's Head of State. The Americans rise to toast Her Majesty, the Queen; and the British rise to respond with a toast to The Constitution of the United States of America. That document, and *not* the current Chief of the Executive branch, is the Head of State of the USA. That, in some sense, is the whole fundamental point of our founding. (I have referred to it elsewhere, as the world's first software Head of State.) We ought no more be saluting the President, than the Chief Justice of the US. Anyway, a recent very scientific poll showed not one citizen out of a zillion (a very small zillion, I guess :-) understood this. Sigh. pt - I like this idea, but this thread has wandered very far from Masonry, and from here on my filter on it will be turned *very* high| Oh well... we're having a Table Lodge (GM willing) in March, and I'll bite my tongue and do the Prescribed Thing. (Brethren on this mailing list are invited attend as my guest, and watch me do so -- Please contact me first to make the usual arrangements.) +----------------------------------------------------------------------------- Gary L. Dryfoos "Cigarettes! Cigarettes! ARPA/Internet: American thru and thru! UUCP/Usenet:!!dryfoo The Truest Taste of Freedom Phone: (617) 253-0184 / (617) 825-6115 Is Cigarettes and You!" USPS: E40-342g, MIT, Cambridge, MA 02139 +============================================================================= ------------------------------ Date: 26 Dec 89 22:34:36 EST From: Steve Mesnick / Steffan <> Subject: CT recognizes Prince Hall Over Christmas weekend, I was in Rhode Island, and I happened to read the latest copy of "Rhode Island Freemason" which contained a very interesting article. It seems that the neighboring Grand Lodge of Connecticut has recognized the Prince Hall Grand Lodge of Connecticut. AF&AM Masons in CT can visit PH lodges in CT, and vice-versa. Obviously, this has serious implications for RI Masons, whose Grand Lodge does *not* as yet recognize Prince Hall. The immediate dilemma is this: what does a RI Mason do when he finds himself visiting a CT AF&AM lodge at which CT PH Masons are present? The official word from the MWGM of RI is "for now, we aren't going to worry about it". Hmmm.... Now, upon reflection, it occurs to me that this situation can't be unique. Albeit all US and Canadian Grand Lodges recognize each other, some recognize the odd foreign GL that some others *don't*. So, if Massachusetts Mason on a business trip or vacation in Ruritania (which let's say, is recognized by GL/Mass) may find himself holding Masonic communication with a visiting Mason from the GL of Podunkistan (which GL/Ruritania recognizes but GL/Mass doesn't) pt: What should he do?|. I wonder if there is any sort of standard procedure for dealing with sort of situation. Comments? Bro. Steven Mesnick Junior Warden, Ocean Lodge AF&AM Winthrop, Mass. PT - I have not checked with GL on this, but my feeling (confirmed with a PM of my lodge) is that you have no problem if you are both visiting a lodge whose GL is recognized by your GL. You have agreed to abide by the rules of the GL in whose jurisdiction you happen to be. If you are in a Ruritanian lodge, Ruritanian GL rules apply, and you can happily sit with your Podunkistan brother. In the absence of a clear jurisdiction, I would fall back on the policy of my "mother lodge", ie, the lodge in which I was raised. There are lots of situations like this, where what is regular under one GL is irregular under another. For example, in many American jurisdictions, it is an absolute rule that the lodge's charter or dispensation must be physically present in the lodge room during all meetings. In Massachusetts, where some lodges are well into their third century, the older ones may keep their charters in bank vaults for sake of preservation. Should a Texas Mason refuse to visit a Massachusetts lodge which does this? Of course not! | ------------------------------ From: Peter Trei ( Date: 4 Jan 1990 Subject: How public should we be about Masonry? Over the past thirty years or so, Masonry in America has been suffering from a substantial decline in membership. It's not a problem of brothers deciding to leave the Craft, but rather a matter of not having enough young initiates to replace those who leave us for the Celestial Lodge above. The mean age of Masons in New York State is now 65. I'm sure that the situation is similar in other states. In Massachusetts we're finally increasing the number of initiations per year, but we've a long way to go. I don't want to give the impression that Masonry is an organization of old men - in most lodges the core group of active members is much younger. Still, at 32, I am definitely a "young" Mason.| Why has this happened? I can think of the following reasons: Television: Before WWII, people could not just sit down in front of the tube - they had to find other ways to spend their free time. This was the heyday of the movie palace, town meetings and many other forms of social activity and amusement. An evening in lodge not only provided participatory entertainment, it was also generally considered eminently respectable. Social activities in general have declined in the past thirty years - Masonry is not the only institution hurting from this. Excessive privacy: In the earlier part of this century, Masonry was kept much more in the public eye. Masonic newspapers and magazines were available at most newstands, and the regular papers carried announcments of meetings and accounts of special events. Masons participated publicly as Masons at social occasions. Since WWII we have become much more private. Today, it's hard for an interested layman to find out about Masonry, much less assure that the average man knows what we are. I've encountered many false notions, including (but not limited to): "It's only for Jews." "It's the enforcement wing of the Catholic Church." "It's an anti-clerical freethinkers cabal." "Catholics can't be Masons." "Every Pope has been a Mason." "You can't ask to join - you have to wait until *they* invite you." (common) "They're all Satanists, and/or have strange mystical knowledge." "It's very expensive and exclusive - a rich man's club." and most astonishing of all: "The Freemasons don't really exist: they're a myth cooked up by conspiracy theorists." Another aspect of this is the tendency of Masonry in general not to react to outside criticism, even to correct errors of fact. We practically invented the term "no comment". This allows popular misconceptions to spread and become entrenched. What should we do? Clearly we need new blood. I am certainly NOT going to suggest that we should start to solicit membership. Short of this, the best thing I can think of is obtaining a somewhat higher public profile, while making sure that the public's view of us is an accurate one. This was one of my goals in starting this mailing list. I had gotten tired of seeing the same nonsense trotted out again and again in alt.conspiracy, talk.religion.*, and soc.religion.christian (where there is a discussion underway right now). It was clear that there were a lot of people who wanted and/or could use good information. I don't have any universal solution - but I'll tell you what I do. I don't hide my Masonry. I wear a ring (with a gold symbol on black onyx - you can see it across a room). I sometimes wear lapel pins. I have a symbol on my car and a small one in my office. I don't hesitate to mention Freemasonry in casual conversation if there is reason to do so. I invite friends to installations and other open events. Most important of all, if someone asks me a question, I bend over backwards to give them a timely, accurate, and interesting answer, without revealing anything which should be concealed. We have too much to offer men of good will to hide our light under a bushel. I'd like to ask brethren on this list their feelings on this topic. Peter Trei ------------------------------ From: Peter Trei ( Date: 5 Jan 1990 Subject: Good news from Budapest. The new issue of Empire State Mason says that the Grand Lodge of Hungary relit its candles for the first time since WWII this past St. John's Day. ESM has a long lead time, and I wonder if Masonry has been re-established in any other of the recently democratized Eastern Bloc countries. Peter Trei ------------------------------ From: ASGARD::JPETERSON "James A. Peterson" Date: 3-JAN-1990 15:08 Subj: Announcement: Lodge of Instruction. P R O G R A M The 32nd LODGE OF INSTRUCTION MONDAY, JANUARY 22, 1990 7:45 WILLIAM SEWALL GARDNER LODGE, LOWELL = FORUM LEADER = R.W.RALPH B. DUNCAN = TOPIC = "TRIVIAL PURSUIT OF MASONIC FACTS" PT - A "Lodge of Instruction" is a special lodge meeting held monthly in each district where a speaker delivers a lecture on some topic related to Masonry.| ------------------------------ End of MASONIC Digest *********************


E-Mail Fredric L. Rice / The Skeptic Tank