About Me

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Cookeville, Tennessee, United States
I am a member of Cookeville Lodge 266, Grand Lodge Of Tennessee.
This is a blog about my thoughts on Masonry. I also post other peoples thoughts and storys on the subject.
Thoughts on other topics are also posted here, such as religion, politics, and whatever else I can come up with.
I am still very new to Masonry. I was Raised Sept. 20th 2010. I am Looking forward to continuous learning (more light) throughout my life.
Thanks for visiting and feel free to comment.

Friday, April 13, 2012

The Titanic

This was posted from a group I follow on facebook, wanted to share:


With 2012 marking the centenary of its first and only voyage, the RMS Titanic has become one of the most famous ships in history. After setting sail from Southampton for New York City on 10 April 1912 with 2,223 people on board, the ship hit an iceberg four days into the crossing, at 11.40pm on 14 April 1912, and sank at 2.20am the following morning.

More than 1,500 people died – the high casualty rate due in part to the fact that, although complying with regulations of the era, the ship carried lifeboats for only 1,178 people. The Titanic was the largest passenger ship in the world at the time and the loss of this ‘unsinkable’ ship was a major news story around the globe and covered by masonic newspapers.

The Freemason’s Chronicle wondered whether Grand Lodge itself would ‘vote a considerable sum… to one of the funds now being raised in different parts of the country’. This didn’t happen but the Chronicle recorded lodge donations, at the suggested rate of one guinea, to a Freemasons Titanic Fund, which the paper established, and which were then sent on to a larger fund set up by the Daily Telegraph.


Among the English Freemasons who died on the Titanic was Howard Brown Case, aged 49. Case was the managing director of the Vacuum Oil Company (part of the Standard Oil Company), based in Rochester, New York, and was establishing the company’s operations in the UK. He lived at Ascot with his wife, two sons and two daughters and was described as ‘an exceptionally hard worker’ with a ‘magnetic personality’. Case had been travelling in a first-class cabin and some survivors recalled that he helped women and children into the lifeboats and finally stepped back to meet his fate. He had been initiated in America Lodge, No. 3368, in June 1909.

Percy Cornelius Taylor, aged 32, was a Past Master of Musgrave Lodge, No. 1597, at Hampton Court, and a cellist in the ship’s orchestra. The band famously kept playing as the Titanic went down, with all eight members sadly perishing.

Two Liverpool-based stewards, Robert Arthur Wareham, aged 36, from Toxteth Lodge, No. 1356, and Arthur Lawrence, aged 35, a member of Neptune Lodge, No. 1264, also died.

Henry Price Hodges was a 50-year-old salesman of musical instruments from Southampton who was travelling as a second-class passenger en route to Boston. He had been initiated in Caulsentum Lodge, No. 1461, Woolston (Southampton), before joining Royal Gloucester Lodge, No. 130. Pierre Giuseppe Bochet, meanwhile, had moved to London from Aosta in Italy where he worked in the catering trade. He joined the Titanic at Southampton as a waiter, aged 43. He was a member of Loggia Italia, No. 2687 and also Columbia Chapter, No. 2397.


One Freemason was known to be among the survivors. Herbert John Pitman, aged 34, was third officer on the Titanic. He helped to load and lower one of the lifeboats and row it towards the nearby ship Carpathia. Pitman went back to sea with other liners and served in the Merchant Navy in the Second World War. He had joined Abbey Lodge, No. 3341, in Hatfield in 1909 and remained a member until his death in 1961. A letter from the lodge congratulating him on his rescue was sold at auction in October 2011.

As the Titanic was bound for New York there were many American passengers. The condolences of several grand lodges, including Hungary and Cuba, to the Grand Lodge of New York are recorded in the proceedings of that Grand Lodge in May 1912. Three New York casualties were also recorded. Henry Harris was a New York theatre manager and a member of Munn Lodge, No. 100. Frank Millet was vice chairman of the Fine Arts Committee, based in Washington DC, and member of Kane Lodge, No. 454. Alexander Holverson was a member of Transportation Lodge, No. 842. Another Freemason casualty was Oscar Scott Woody, a clerk in the on-board post office. He was a member of Acacia Lodge, No. 16, in Virginia.

The passengers on the Titanic were drawn from all walks of life so it is no surprise that the Freemasons, casualties and survivors, were too.

Wednesday, April 11, 2012

Originally posted by Masonic Vibe. Makes me proud to be a Mason. Thought I would share.

Freemasonry has existed because it teaches the moral law. The man who takes the name of God in vain is guilty of a Masonic offence. It exists because it has never stooped to the intrigues of politicians. It exists because it has a universal language found in no other Society. It exists because it is a science based on the philosophy of that religion in which all men agree-that of the existence of a SUPREME RULER and the immortality of the soul. When kingdoms and republics have fallen, when wars have been fought between nations, it will exist on the side of conqueror and conquered alike.

Its Landmarks are indestructible.

Freemasonry has been established for generations.It has maintained its peculiar characteristics.It has never changed.Its principles have been maintained.Its esoteric teachings are unaltered.Its ceremonial has been conserved.Its traditions are given as in the aforetime.

Its Landmarks are indestructible. The devotion of its associates now is as earnest, sincere, and impregnable as at the beginning.
The history it has made is unassailed.The foundations on which it rests are eternal. These facts will hardly be denied, even among the incredulous profane. Faith in them is the heritage of the true Mason.
What other human institution can make these claims on the intelligent, thinking student of the records time has written on "now" as it becomes "was"?
There must, therefore, be in Freemasonry some special vitality, some indefinable spirit or essence, some superhuman inherent faculty that has operated to secure such results. Through the ages Freemasonry has lived and maintained its character. When the rise and fall of empires, the revolutions in thought, opinions, and forms of government had worked out changes among mankind ; when the iconoclasts had broken images, the laws, social order, overthrown many institutions, made martyrs and victims, and immolated many of their devoted adherents, yet Freemasonry lived. Strong, persistent, reliant, filled with faith, and ready for perils, the Craft never faltered in the performance of its duties.
In caves, on the mountain tops, the Craft met and obeyed the teachings they had received. Thus did the brethren conduct their ceremonies.
They were animated by the spirit of a devotion to their association that seemed to partake of a solemn recognition as a revelation. Their social relations, their identification with the people of the country, their responsibilities as units in the communital organizations of which they were part, while rendering them amenable to the profane laws, in no wise weakened the ties or bonds that bound them to the Fraternity of the Craft. They were ever, always, Freemasons.
Obeying the civil magistrate, engaged in no conspiracy against government, they believed in God and trusted to His care.
These Freemasons were often only a few persons. It may be said, in one sense, their strength came out of their weakness. But, no. It was the strength that the history of the past of the Craft made irresistibly potent. It was a faith that had marked the concurrent evidences of the indestructible organization which came to them from the fathers. The quiet, pervading courage of the Craftsmen would not desert the Lodge. The principles which were the cementing power of the foundations of Freemasonry were the refuge and defence of the brethren.
The teachings of the Lodge inspired them. Duty was never to be ignored. The "Great Light" was a lamp to their feet. From it they were never. to depart. As long as they adhered to an obedience without question, they felt safe and secure.
This, brethren, is your heritage. Your obligations to it command your strict adherence to the principles and teachings which indelibly mark and make manifest what to say is, as in the generations that have passed, true Freemasonry. This is our heritage. It is worthy of our earnest, sincere, abiding devotion. Let nothing separate us from our courageous adherence to every principle which has made our inheritance so glorious.

Friday, January 27, 2012

Supply Side Versus Vulture Freemasonry

Original article:

Supply Side Versus Vulture Freemasonry

 Reflecting on the last few years in Freemasonry, I have been remembering what a friend of mine always said, “Nobody knows who we are anymore.”  This was always followed by an intense debate over modern Freemasonry’s use of Institutionalized charity to solve that problem.  He thought all the charity work was great and just the thing to get Freemasons noticed.  I thought it was too expensive and time consuming, taking away from the practice of Freemasonry.
 DGM Michael T. Anderson PHA MLK Parade
If you want people to know who you are then connect with the community.  This means getting active in the small local efforts to make your community better. One of the ways Freemasonry can get noticed is to march in a parade. Here you can see the Prince Hall Texas Masons marching through Dallas on Martin Luther King Day.  Leading the group is Deputy Grand Master Michael T. Anderson (on the left, front waving), no stranger to Freemason Information regulars. He made an appearance on Masonic Central which is archived here .
If you want to be of service to those in your area clean a highway, spruce up a park or maintain a ball field. Or have your Lodge host a hero’s night honoring a special teacher, fireman, policeman, social worker or charity service group. Hold the honoring ceremony outside the Lodge, open to the public and invite the press.  Another alternative is to run a blood drive offering a free breakfast to all who donate. If you have a hospital in your area regularly scheduled visitations to any and all would be most welcome. Local scholarships given by local Lodges, not Grand Lodges, will cement a friendly community relationship, provide a much better outlet for that Masonic charitable component and get Freemasonry noticed, all at the same time.
Where Freemasonry gets off on the wrong track is when it goes into big time, impersonal, costly and never ending charity – Institutionalized charity – aimed at everybody, to gain publicity. Or when Freemasonry runs costly television, radio and theater ads. Instead of making the product better they spend their money on trying to market Freemasonry. What they are trying to do is to increase the supply by hyping the demand when they really should be increasing the demand by hyping the supply. If that doesn’t seem to ring true, The Beehive will get Art Laffer  to explain it to you.
The Mainstream Grand Lodge of Minnesota has announced that it will raise and donate $65 million to cure Cancer. A noble gesture for sure but how is this helping Freemasonry in that state? Think of all the more productive ways that money could be spent. The Grand Lodge could help any of its chartered local Lodges replace a costly building expense like a new furnace. It could run workshops and seminars to better educate the Brethren. It could pay for a speaker’s bureau to tour the state adding, in many cases, a much needed zest to boring business meetings. It could finance out of state large visitations beyond the budget of most Lodges. It could make the difference between a Lodge having to fold or a Lodge able to continue on. In essence Grand Lodge could do a lot to further the growth of Freemasonry and lead local Lodges in a more inspired, better educated and higher quality practice of Freemasonry. Improve the product and the membership will grow as a result of that effort. It is “Supply Side” Freemasonry at its best.
And Minnesota isn’t the only one who has chosen this path. The Mainstream Grand Lodge of Massachusetts now runs a massive health care system at multiple locations in addition to a very expensive CHIP program. Recently the Grand Lodge has doubled its Grand Lodge dues and fees that local Lodges must cough up, who in turn pass the burden onto the local Lodge Brethren. Many other Grand Lodges have similar such programs. This is “Vulture” Freemasonry at its worst.
What do massive charities, health systems and cash donations do for the advancement of Freemasonry within a jurisdiction? Why try to buy good will and notoriety when just practicing the virtues and tenets of Freemasonry will do more for you? If all the sweat, effort and money goes to marketing, advertising and financing others while bankrupting and diminishing Freemasonry, everybody loses. Why not try being side by side in the trenches with your community rather than an outsider trying to buy friends. And then go celebrate and march in a parade

Friday, January 20, 2012

Three, five, and seven


Three, five, and seven

3 5 7

By Stan Shapiro MD, Grand Lodge Education Officer G.L. of MN


“Every right implies a responsibility; every opportunity, an obligation, every possession, a duty”.

John D. Rockefeller
“When some men discharge an obligation you can hear the report for miles around” Mark Twain

Brother Jeffery W. Agan, Templar Lodge LEO and member of the Rochester Lodge #21, sent this informative article to me to be edited for this publication. It has an important message about our commitment to our brothers and God.

Oaths and Obligations Are Commitments.

Are the words in an oath or an obligation we just say or words that we live by. Ask yourself the following questions: Why do you say the pledge of Allegiance? What is the pledge? Repeat it aloud slowly and listen to the words. “I pledge allegiance to the flag of the United States of America and to the Republic for which it stands, one Nation under God, indivisible, with liberty and justice for all”. Are they just words? Do you say them because that is what we do? Did you mean what you said?

What is meaning of the word obligation? Webster’s has the following definition: Obligation: Any debt, written promise, or duty. Useobligation in a Sentence

See images of obligation

Search obligation on the Web

As Masons each of us has taken an obligation more than once. So what did the repeating of this obligation mean to you? Were they words you repeated or were they words that had a purpose and a duty?

The Obligations that we took at each of the degrees that began our journey as Mason’s were placed there because they had meaning and a purpose. The obligations that we took had a debt with them, a duty, and a promise to the members of the craft and God. Does the same weight apply to the obligations as they did the day the craft started, or when the operative members of the craft took their obligations? Each of us need to look inside of our self and see the reason we said these obligations and at the other oaths or obligations that we have taken. Do you live by the words of the obligation? If not, see if you can live by them. If you cannot then consider the possibility, Masonry is not the place for you.

If we allow members in the craft to just say the obligation to complete the degree, what does the future hold for the craft? Will there be a craft if the brother just says words that have no meaning or duty for him to follow? When you enter the lodge the day you took your first steps in Masonry, what did you do before you took the first degree? Before you were allowed to seek entry, what where ask some questions into the lodge? Each asked on your honor do you …. ; So from the beginning of your journey as a Mason, honor was a key aspect of Masonry.

Brothers, the obligations we take as Masons are not mere words. The words of the obligations have a debt to them, a debt not just to the brothers of the craft but to the deity that each of us invoked during the obligations. So we must look again at the obligation we took and ask if we just did it so we could complete the degree. Did we say it with a true heart and understanding that our Deity accepted the obligation as a debt that each of us has to answer to on that day when we enter into that house not made with hands?

There was a time when a man’s word was his bond, that if a man said that he was going to do something then he did it and when there was a sense of honor. A lack of honor among men is one of the reasons for the issues we have in society today.

Without honor there is little chance that a society can continue. If a king or ruler wanted to do away with a group or person they had people present false witness against them. If the society has honor, it makes it harder for the leaders to find people who are willing to lie.

Brothers of the craft owe it to our brothers that have gone before us to honor the craft and to ensure that we only allow brothers into the craft that understand that the obligations are not just parts of the degrees. The words have meaning and a debt that will be paid one day.

It is important that each of us to think before we act and to think when we say the Pledge of Allegiance. Are they just words or do you mean what you are saying? Remember the Pledge is a form of an obligation. Never take an oath or obligation without realizing it is a commitment to our brothers and God and is based on our honor.

Words to Live By: “I believe that a worthwhile life is defined by a kind of spiritual journey and a sense of obligation”. ---Hillary Rodham Clinton

If you have any comments, suggestions, or questions, please send them to shapiro.stanley@... <mailto:shapiro.stanley@...

The Education Videos by our education committee can be viewed at: http://www.youtube.com/glmned

The latest Masonic Monday Question, and some of the past questions, can be viewed at www.Lodgebuilder.org and at www.mn-masons.org

Ed Halpaus 32° K.C.C.H., FPS

Grand Lodge Officer

Grand Lodge A.F. & A.M. of MN

Executive Secretary - The Philalethes Society
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"Freemasonry is an organized society of men symbolically applying the principles of operative masonry and architecture to the science and art of character building." C. C. Hunt

Tuesday, January 17, 2012

Understanding the Moral Law on MLK day.

Understanding the Moral Law on MLK day.

On this national Holiday, we are to reflect and celebrate one of the greatest Americans in our pantheon of Founding Fathers, D. Martin Luther King, Jr. One of his many contributions to our American way of life came at one of his darkest hours which produced one of his brightest writings in his Letter from a Birmingham Jail. In it, king gives us an insight to the truth behind his protests and a reflection in how far afield we, as a nation, have walked from justice which we derive out of our own understanding of the moral law.
Masonry speaks at many levels about the Moral Law, how it is a rule and guide to what ‘being’ a Freemason is all about.
In 1963, Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. wrote his Letter from a Birmingham Jail which was an answer to his criticism for his peaceful protests in the south in pursuit of equality between white and black Americans.
In his letter, King writes to address criticism made against his presence in the Alabama protests to southern religious leaders who, in their collective opinion, thought the American Negro should wait for their equality, which King says acts as a “tranquilizing thalidomide” which, in the African American ear rings as a justice “never” to be had.
If you’ve never taken the time to read his letter, I highly suggest you not only read it, but take some time to understand his meaning and intent behind it, especially on this day of remembrance.
But, my purpose here is to look at his teaching of the Moral Law and how that squares with the Masonic understanding as taught in the fraternity’s catechism. In his letter King, talking about the unjust laws of segregation, says that a just law is a man-made code that squares with the moral law, or the law of God. He says “Any law that uplifts human personality is just. Any law that degrades human personality is unjust.”
At the time of his writing, segregation was a daily reality for black Americans, which “distorts the soul and damages the personality” giving the “…segregator a false sense of superiority, and the segregated a false sense of inferiority.”
So what does this have to do with the Moral Law of Masonry? First we need to understand how masonry sees the Moral Law, which is something I explored in 2010 in Whence came the Moral Law in Freemasonry? In that piece, the question asked was “Is the Moral Law from a religious perspective, as in given to man by the Great Architect, or a man made law constructed with religious ideas but applied in a humanistic manner so as to apply to our interaction with one another?” My conclusion, after looking at several sources, was that the idea of the Moral Law was best exemplified as being “…the virtues which we ought to cultivate, always tend to our own happiness, and that the best means of promoting them consists in living with men in that perfect union and charity which are cemented by mutual benefits.”
In essence, the Moral Law could be distilled down to living of the Golden Rule which, in the Christian faith, comes from Matthew 7:12 which says:
“In everything, do to others as you would have them do to you; for this is the law of the prophets.”
Interestingly this is a Rule, Law, or Code that is in nearly every faith system.
So, what lesson can we take away from Kings Injunction of the Moral Law and the Masonic application of it? Essentially, King and his peaceful protest to fight injustice in American society was a challenge to fight a law of segregation that was out of harmony with the moral law, even though many felt that it was. His example was to examine a just and unjust law saying “An unjust law is a code that a majority inflicts on a minority that is not binding on itself…difference made legal” while “a just law is a code that a majority compels a minority to follow that is willing to follow itself,” or “sameness” made legal.
The greatest stumbling block to this sameness is not the extremist of ideal but the “…moderate who is more devoted to ‘order’ than to justice; who prefers a negative peace which is the absence of tension to a positive peace which is the presence of justice.” In other words, not going with the status quo and working to make things better for all.
Further in the letter King asks “…Will we be extremists for hate or will we be extremists for love?” He also writes about the role of religious institutions and their lethargy in the movement to end segregation as “…a religious community largely adjusted to the status quo, standing as a taillight behind our community agencies rather than a headlight leading men to higher levels of justice.” which I believe could be applied to religiously concerned fraternities who hold so dearly to be upholders of the idea of a Moral Law.
Needless to say, King was angry at the position religious leaders of the south had taken and puts the challenge to them to aspire to justice and the upholding of the moral law saying “There was a time when the church was very powerful. It was during that period when the early church Christians rejoiced when they were deemed worthy to suffer for what they believed. In those days the church was not merely a thermometer that recorded the ideas and principles of popular opinion; it was a thermostat that transformed the mores of society.” But he goes on to challenge the church saying “The contemporary church is often a weak, ineffectual voice with an uncertain sound…so often the arch-supporter of the status quo” that “…if the church of today does not recapture the sacrificial spirit of the early church, it will lose its authentic ring, forfeit the loyalty of millions, and be dismissed as an irrelevant ‘Social Club’ with no meaning for the twentieth century (emphasis mine).”
Again, on this Martin Luther King Jr. National Holiday, I strongly recommend reading his letter so as to gain a better understanding of the past within which it was written and to apply that understanding to the injustice that remains to this day, now nearly 60 years since its writing. When you read it ask yourself if your institutions of association application put you in the headlights or the taillights leading to higher levels of justice. As you read it, reflect on the ideals of the Moral Law, in society and in Masonry, and what it means to you in your faith, practice, and understanding of justice, as without it no law could be truly just.

Tuesday, January 10, 2012

Rewarding Incompetence

I thought this article to be very enlightening and true from my experiences in the workplace.

Rewarding Incompetence

It’s not about “taking turns”; it’s about getting the job done properly.
Throughout the corporate world we have seen examples of the Peter Principle in practice, whereby people rise above their level of competency; people who make a mockery of their job and discredit their company and themselves in the process. Perhaps they were promoted because nobody else wanted the job or perhaps they were simply selected based on seniority; maybe they politicked for the job and were rewarded not for what they had accomplished but their ability to kiss the backside of someone else in authority, aka “cronyism”. Regardless, they have risen above their ability to effectively perform the job they were assigned. In many cases, the job in question is just a pit stop in the road to the top, but more often than not, they covet the position they have acquired and either perform it with an iron fist or just let the work go to pieces (or both). This naturally raises the ire of subordinates and others more qualified to perform the work. It also becomes rather obvious to customers and vendors who have to deal with the person. Naturally, they scratch their head in bewilderment as to why this person was selected for promotion.
We also see this phenomenon in nonprofit organizations where people are seeking social stature as opposed to performing anything of merit, be it a homeowner association, a sports club, a professional trade society, a civic organization or whatever. Those who tend to covet titles in such groups normally suffer from low self-esteem as they never accomplished anything of substance in their professional lives and now crave recognition. Even in the most rudimentary 501(c) organization, they fail to grasp it is a legal entity in the eyes of the state which must conform to certain legalities. Failure to execute specific rules and regulations can easily lead to lawsuits and disaster.
I have seen too many Masonic Lodges where officers are promoted “through the chairs” without making an effort to learn anything along the way. If they graduate to the East, the Lodge usually suffers and the other officers are forced to pickup the slack. If they are voted out of office before reaching the top they are crestfallen and fade from view. Both scenarios upset the harmony of the Lodge and is indicative of the barbaric way Masons elect officers.
To the individual, promotion is a confirmation of his abilities. If he is a poor performer, his advancement sends a dangerous message that his work meets with the approval of others. Naturally, the person will not change and continue in his faulty ways. If his progression is arrested though, he will question why. Hopefully, he will receive some coaching along the way before this happens which is one reason why I’m a big proponent of Employee Performance Evaluations (click for a free COPY). Such reviews are just as pertinent in a nonprofit organization as they are in the corporate world. Without such reviews or coaching, and the person is rejected, he is blindsided and his ego is shattered.
To assure the right people are selected for key posts, political machines are often devised thereby compromising the harmony of an organization. You either play ball with the good old boys in charge or forget about progressing through the organization. Sadly, you find this in both the corporate and nonprofit world. It’s distasteful and ultimately impedes the organization’s effectiveness. Whenever the wrong person is put into a position of authority, the systems of the organization falter, productivity slips, the moral values of the business are put into question, and harmony is disrupted. Basically, it’s a “lose-lose” situation that can be difficult to rectify.
Aside from the political aspect, I am at a loss as to why people believe they should be elevated, particularly if they have not demonstrated they possess the skills or fortitude necessary to successfully perform the work. Perhaps it is a sense of entitlement, that it’s “their turn” to be promoted. Such a mindset is invalid and should be rebuked as nobody is entitled to a position based on “turns”; it’s ludicrous. People should be selected for promotion based strictly on qualifications and availability. In situations where people are selected out of desperation, it should be made clear to them that retaining their job and any possible advancement in the future depends on their ability to successfully execute their job and prepare for the next. The lack of counseling and instruction in this regard does them a disservice. Likewise, the failure to heed the advice does the organization a disservice.
Nonprofit organizations are particularly susceptible to promoting people through the ranks without merit. Such organizations today are struggling for members and consequently beg people to take positions out of desperation. The group, therefore, shouldn’t be surprised when such people accomplish nothing. Instead of pleading with people to take a volunteer job, perhaps it is time to merge with another like-minded organization, change your approach to membership, curtail what you are trying to accomplish, or call it a day.
Part of the problem is the myth that everybody must win, that nobody loses, which is something we have been fostering in our youth over the last few decades. This is just plain fallacious. Just about every aspect of life involves instances of winners and losers with the lesson being: if you want something, you must earn it. Only then will you value it as opposed to having it dropped in your lap without lifting a finger.
So, why do we reward incompetence? Maybe it’s because we don’t want to hurt someone’s feelings; maybe we want to throw someone a bone as a political gesture; maybe it’s someone’s “turn”; or maybe we simply do not have anyone else to do the job right now. Regardless, the person has received it for all the wrong reasons. Hopefully, they will rise to the occasion and do a competent job. Unfortunately, most do not and damage the organization, not to mention earning the ire and resentment of others. Remember this: for every person who takes a job they have no intention of performing, somebody else must compensate and perform the duty.
Rewarding incompetence is one of the most common management snafus that has cursed companies of all sizes and shapes for years. Longevity of a problem doesn’t make it right, it just means people do not want to deal with it, hoping instead it will go away on its own which, of course, never does. The message must be made clear to all involved, promotions must be earned. In desperate situations where people are forced into positions they are not qualified, they must be coached properly, but if they fail to assume their duties and responsibilities, or even try to put forth an honest effort, it must be made vividly clear their journey upward in the corporate hierarchy will come to a screeching halt. Advancing does a disservice to the company, the people, and the individual. It is just plain bad business.
Keep the Faith!
Note: All trademarks both marked and unmarked belong to their respective companies.
Tim Bryce is a writer and the Managing Director of M. Bryce & Associates (MBA) of Palm Harbor, Florida and has over 30 years of experience in the management consulting field. He can be reached at timb001@phmainstreet.com
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Copyright © 2012 by Tim Bryce. All rights reserved.

Tuesday, January 3, 2012

An article for reflection

Oringinal article: 

For many years I worked in palliative care. My patients were those who had gone home to die. Some incredibly special times were shared. I was with them for the last three to twelve weeks of their lives.
People grow a lot when they are faced with their own mortality. I learned never to underestimate someone’s capacity for growth. Some changes were phenomenal. Each experienced a variety of emotions, as expected: denial, fear, anger, remorse, more denial and eventually acceptance. Every single patient found their peace before they departed though, every one of them.
When questioned about any regrets they had or anything they would do differently, common themes surfaced again and again. Here are the most common five:

1. I wish I’d had the courage to live a life true to myself, not the life others expected of me.

2. I wish I didn’t work so hard.

This came from every male patient that I nursed. They missed their children’s youth and their partner’s companionship.

Women also spoke of this regret. But as most were from an older generation, many of the female patients had not been breadwinners. All of the men I nursed deeply regretted spending so much of their lives on the treadmill of a work existence.
By simplifying your lifestyle and making conscious choices along the way, it is possible to not need the income that you think you do. And by creating more space in your life, you become happier and more open to new opportunities, ones more suited to your new lifestyle.

3. I wish I’d had the courage to express my feelings.

Many people suppressed their feelings in order to keep peace with others. Many developed illnesses relating to the bitterness and resentment they carried as a result.
As a result, they settled for a mediocre existence and never became who they were truly capable of becoming.
We cannot control the reactions of others. However, although people may initially react when you change the way you are by speaking honestly, in the end it raises the relationship to a whole new and healthier level. Either that or it releases the unhealthy relationship from your life. Either way, you win.

4. I wish I had stayed in touch with my friends.

Often they would not truly realize the full benefits of old friends until their dying weeks and it was not always possible to track them down. Many had become so caught up in their own lives that they had let golden friendships slip by over the years. There were many deep regrets about not giving friendships the time and effort that they deserved. Everyone misses their friends when they are dying.
It is common for anyone in a busy lifestyle to let friendships slip. But when you are faced with your approaching death, the physical details of life fall away. People do want to get their financial affairs in order if possible. But it is not money or status that holds the true importance for them. They want to get things in order more for the benefit of those they love. Usually though, they are too ill and weary to ever manage this task. It is all comes down to love and relationships in the end. That is all that remains in the final weeks, love and relationships.

5. I wish that I had let myself be happier.

This is a surprisingly common one.
Many did not realize until the end that happiness is a choice. They had stayed stuck in old patterns and habits. The so-called ‘comfort’ of familiarity overflowed into their emotions, as well as their physical lives. Fear of change had them pretending to others, and to their selves, that they were content. When deep within, they longed to laugh properly and have silliness in their life again.
When you are on your deathbed, what others think of you is a long way from your mind. How wonderful to be able to let go and smile again, long before you are dying.
Life is a choice. It is your life. Choose consciously, choose wisely, choose honestly. Choose happiness.

Tuesday, December 20, 2011

'A new look at ye olde Bible'

The following is a post by Magpie Mason. I follow his blog and enjoy his posts. I especially enjoy any kind of American Masonic history, so here is some for you.

Posted by:The Magpie Mason

Tuesday, December 20, 2011

'A new look at ye olde Bible'

A King James Version of the Bible, containing the Old and New Testaments, the 'George Washington Inaugural Bible' was printed in the 1760s, and has been owned since then by St. John's Lodge No. 1 AYM in New York City. On April 30, 1789, George Washington took his first presidential oath of office upon this Bible, his hands resting at Genesis 49-50.

I had the good fortune to be in the presence of a certain Bible on Friday night, one that has been discussed here before. A cherished, priceless document we in Freemasonry call the George Washington Inaugural Bible was brought to a local Masonic lodge in New Jersey to display during a ceremony.

I just want to offer a quick post on this now to share a perspective that is new to me. Two, actually, but I'll begin at the beginning.

The George Washington Inaugural Bible, a King James Version containing the Old and New Testaments, has been owned by St. John's Lodge No. 1, Ancient York Masons, in New York City since the lodge purchased it from Baskett printers in London in 1767, for use as the lodge's altar Bible. It earned its nickname because on April 30, 1789, George Washington took his first presidential oath of office with his hands resting on the pages of this Bible, opened to Genesis 49-50, in a ceremony on Wall Street.

In a fraternal order that cherishes its history and its artifacts, this holy text enjoys a unique standing; whereas those Founding Fathers who were members of Masonic lodges left this world long ago, this Bible serves as a portal that grants us today the chance to touch them in their day. Well, almost. The Bible is handled only by select members of St. John's Lodge when they travel with it on the very few occasions it is allowed to travel. But it does travel, unlike so many other pieces permanently encased in glass or locked in vaults, never to reach their full value as educational tools and cultural touchstones.

One of those guardians on Friday night was VW Bro. Piers Vaughan, who addressed the audience of approximately 150 to tell the history of this Bible, and his own thoughts on why this particular text came to hold its singular significance.

Piers Vaughan, in Masonic regalia, exhibits
a miniature replica of the historic George
Washington Inaugural Bible, one that
features the autograph of George H.W. Bush.
Piers spoke of how the preparations for Washington's inauguration were planned to the most minute detail, even down to the quantities of hay and water required to refresh the horses in the procession. How could it be that the very instant of inauguration could be bereft of a Bible? It is a depth of thoughtlessness that seems too improbable to be taken seriously. Instead, argues Piers, the president-elect himself fashioned "an elegant solution" to a potential political and religious misstep. With the new American states characterized by different sectarian beliefs, the choice of one holy text over another in the performance of this swearing-in ceremony could have had repercussions throughout the land. But because of the very high esteem in which the public regarded Freemasonry, Washington's choice of a "Masonic Bible" would have been appreciated as the best obtainable ecumenical solution to the ceremonial dilemma.

And the second point that caught my ear Friday night was the ranking in which Piers placed this Bible in political and civic importance: third, after only the Declaration and the Constitution.

His reasoning is because Washington was created president of the United States with the assistance of this Bible, the Executive Branch of U.S. government was thereby embodied by him that very moment. Enlightened by this view, I now see the aspiration of the Declaration of Independence as prelude to the covenant of the Constitution, rendered in the flesh as a civilian, temporary, and elected chief executive.

Monday, December 19, 2011

Christmas charity at it's finest

Good stuff here!!!

New Jersey Lodge Celebrates Christmas in a Big Way

The brethren of Hiram Abiff Lodge No. 16 (Prince Hall) in Pleasantville, New Jersey held their annual Christmas party and gave away 72 bicycles and hundreds of toys. New Jersey's Prince Hall Grand Master Robert Oglesby, Sr. said between $8,000 and $10,000 worth of bicycles, toys, food and candy canes were given away on Saturday.

From the Press of Atlantic City:

Mayleanne Lugo smiled as she approached Santa Claus inside Pleasantville Middle School's cafeteria on Saturday morning.

The 3-year-old Egg Harbor Township resident's smile grew when Santa gave her a small container of Play-Doh, which she hugged against her chest until she became the first of 72 local children to win a bicycle, her first, at the 34th annual Hiram Abiff Lodge No. 16 Christmas party.

And even though Lugo's tiny feet did not know exactly how to maneuver the pedals on her new bicycle, her now enormous smile showed her excitement.

"I never heard about anything like this until a friend told me about it. But I love it, and she obviously loves it too," Lugo's mother Fabiola Rodriquez, 32, said while looking down at her daughter, who was inspecting her new wheels. "This is a wonderful thing they do."

The large-scale holiday tradition started under the direction of the Masonic lodge's past master Clarence Williams, who was at Saturday's event helping to hand out gifts.

"He told us he wanted to do something positive in the community for the children," said past Grand Master John Bettis, who was the president of that year's membership class. "We had 200 or 300 kids here for the first year, when we only had two bikes - one boy's bike and one girl's bike - to give away. And it just grew from there."

This year, more than 600 children - from infants to 12 year olds - flooded into the cafeteria for a chance to get one of the 72 bicycles or hundreds of other toys that were given away.

Friday, December 16, 2011

This Brother Makes Sense To Me

This Brother Makes Sense To Me

That Light (knowledge), that all men are seeking is how to be happy and be at peace. That’s the bottom line! To achieve these states of mind, it has to be attained through spiritual exercises. When someone achieves that level of living, it does manifest itself throughout their whole being, (this is the Christ or enlighten nature of man) and this living becomes a testimony to all who see. But please remember this, it is a process that ebbs and flows which means we have to be constantly working to stay in that realm of happiness and peace. Freemasonry has many lessons in its teachings to help guide us towards our enlightment such as; how to divide our hours and what it should pertain to. It is reminding you of your True Nature (from whence came you?), it is also telling you why you’re experiencing some difficulties (passions not being subdued). I do believe that all men have the Light within them; but just as lightbulbs have different wattages, so too men have different levels of Light within themselves and I believe it’s because of their environmental associations. But because he is determined to keep working on the internal self, his external self along with his environment will definitely change (or should I say become brighter). Yes, we are conservators of this Light, but we’re only one of many. Truth comes in many forms of teachings and we will forever be the Teacher (dispenser of Light) as well as the Student (seeker of Light), it’s a balancing act we have to learn to do. Just my opinion.
Bro. Jerome Womack
New Beginning #970

Monday, December 12, 2011

Great Article to the Non-Mason

Regarding Freemasonry

The following is a lengthy discourse on the nature of Freemasonry written for the non-Mason. It is an email that was sent to the pastor of my church who had made an inquiry about the Masonic medallion and stickers on my Jeep . I explained the best I could in the 7 minutes before Sunday service what Freemasonry is and the benevolent nature of the Craft with its intimate, separate, yet complementary role with organised religion. He then asked “If Jesus is the Way, the Truth, the Life; why do you need anything to even complement it? Why be involved in Freemasonry at all if you are saved through grace and faith alone?”

I realise that I hardly have to defend Freemasonry, but I felt it was appropriate to the use the opportunity as a teaching experience to share the beauty I’ve found thus far in this great organisation. Some new Masons and non-Masons would benefit greatly by reading this for content. Masonry is a truly a Craft of self-discovery. The back curtains are never really pulled away. Masons must seek the Light for themselves, talk with well-informed brethren, and dive in head-first to a world within itself. This article reveals some of the inner workings of how millions of men throughout the world can be united by a common bond, the Mystic Tie of brotherhood. My hope is that the reader can learn something new, reinforce their own beliefs, respond with a counter-argument, challenge and discuss what I have written with others, and thereby further the Craft through stricter examination of the perceptions of our gentle art.

What is written comes from the perspective of a 2-year old Master Mason from Northern New Jersey and thereby the explanations I’ve provided are derived from my relatively limited exposure to the whole of Freemasonry, the books I’ve read, the people I’ve talked with, and the orders to which I belong. As such, the details of membership, mode and manner of the Craft, and our governing bodies are geophysically relative and may not represent the circumstances in other parts of the United States and most certainly not in the rest of the world.
Respectfully submitted with Light, Life, and Love from our Beneficent Creator,

-Chase William Kruppo
Junior Deacon (2012) Madison Lodge #93, Madison, NJ
32° AASR Northern Valley, NJ, Northern Jurisdiction

Square & Compases

I’m so glad you approached me about the Masons yesterday. I’d love to be a resource to clarify any questions you may have. While I’m relatively new to the fraternity (joined in April of 2010), I am continuously reading Masonic literature on the history, philosophy, and application of Masonic principles.

The following is a lengthy discourse I’ve spent several hours working on to give you a sense of what and who Freemasons are.

Masonry spans many different subjects, histories, and concentrations, so your first resource would best be Wikipedia. From there you can get a basic understanding of what Freemasonry is and branch out to the more interesting facets.

In a nutshell, Freemasonry is a system of morality (a code of ethics), veiled in allegory (expressed in a way that can be interpreted subjectively by the recipient), and illustrated through symbols (taught in a way that hearkens back to the time when most people were illiterate and learned from masters drawing in the dirt on the floor to teach an apprentice). It is the oldest and largest fraternity in the world and exists in every corner of the free world and underground in countries where such organizations are illegal (Iran, North Korea).

In it’s present state, the ritual of the Freemasons comes from northern England in the early 1700s where it was crafted by pious men of God (read: “Christians”) who applied the operative symbolism of the stone worker trade guilds to a speculative philosophical art. It went from medieval European cathedral builders to builders of “good men” on a foundation of service to God. Using the symbols of stone masons and the allegory of the building of King Solomon’s temple, we impart deep and virtuous teachings on our members.

Where most people are turned askew are the “secrets” of Freemasonry, which are the modes and manner of recognition (handshakes and passwords whereby two Masons may recognize each other in the darkness as well as in the light). Freemasonry is not a “secret society”, but more appropriately a “society with secrets”. As I explained, these secrets (the handshakes, passwords, and ritual) can all be found on Google in under 5 minutes and have been exposed in published writings back in the 1780s.

There is also no “Masonic conspiracy” as perpetuated through Dan Brown and films like National Treasure. The idea that Freemasons are power brokers of the world stems from the fact that in early Masonic history, the men that associated fraternally in the taverns were the mayors, doctors, lawyers, clergy and merchants. The image of the wealthy and powerful meeting together was intimidating. But what conspiracy theorists never tell you is that the farmers, carpenters, blacksmiths and bakers were also in the Lodge room and had equal standing regardless of position in life outside the Lodge room.

Masons meet on a plane of equality that disregards race, creed, color, sexual orientation, political views, material wealth and any other dividing bias. In fact, the reason why Masons dress in formalwear when we meet is to make a visual display of that equality, that regardless of whether you just got off the job from the bank or the bakery, we are all equal in the Lodge. I regularly meet with men through the fraternity who would be inaccessible to me if I didn’t have a Masonic introduction.

The idea of spiritually aware, good-natured, God-fearing men meeting under the precept of brotherhood still attracts new members to join a massive network of men who prescribe to the same moral values as another Brother. It truly is a brotherhood. There are men who I’ve met who would drive 100 miles to help if I broke down on the side of the highway. Men who would give with all their ability if I were in financial trouble. Masons who would visit me daily in the hospital. And still there are a handful who would lay down their life for me if the situation arose. And more importantly, I do and would do the same for them. When I find someone to be a Mason, I know that his moral compass far exceeds my expectations of the non-Mason and that he is bound by certain oaths to serve God and his fellow man in a manner of service and dedication found in no other organization. I can go just about anywhere in the world and know that if I need help, or a place to stay, or a warm meal, I can find it.

Masonry is also very independent. There is no national or international governing body. In the US, each Masonic lodge is chartered by the state’s Grand Lodge. It receives a warrant to meet as a regularly recognised body of Freemasons and enjoys parity and reciprocal recognition with lodges around the state, in other countries, throughout the world. The word “lodge” in Masonry means three or more Masons assembled in one place under the authority of God. It refers to the people as well as the place, just as “church” means two or more believers assembled in the name of God and also refers to the place in which they meet.

While there is a statewide governing body, each individual lodge is free to operate the business of the lodge; it’s agenda, it’s events and activities, it’s buildings and grounds, as it sees fit, as determined by a democratic majority of its members. Each Lodge owns and operates its own facilities. While there are national and international conferences of Masonic bodies, they neither have the objective or authority to legislate on the behalf or to affect the local lodge. There is no Masonic, new world order, conspiracy. We have hard enough of a time planning a picnic let alone plotting world domination. Is it really that hard to believe that our God who created the infinite universe could gather a few million Masons under the banner of brotherly love?

In every Masonic lodge, there is an altar on which a Volume of Sacred Law is opened during meetings. It is symbolic of the Light of God that comes through His unerring word and that the Lodge is governed under His divine Truth. In most lodges, the Volume is the Holy Bible. But it may also be the Tanakh, the Koran, even the Book of Shadows for a Wiccan, in an extreme example. Whatever the belief of the congregant Masons, their holy book is represented as a source of Light (read:”knowledge”) on the altar. For example, at Acacia Lodge #20 in Dover, the Bible, Tanakh and Koran are always present on the altar because of its religiously diverse membership.

So in reality, there is nothing secretive about the Masons today. It’s actually less secretive than the Roman Catholic fraternity and civic organization, the Knights of Columbus. Where as the Knights must invite you to become a member, the Masons follow a “2B1Ask1” model where someone interested in joining must ask to petition the Lodge for membership. Not the other way around. We also are expressly forbidden from actively soliciting membership, which is why some think we’re so secretive.

To become a Mason, one must be a man (whatever your driver’s license says), over the age of 21, who doesn’t have a criminal record, is of sound mind, and believing in a Supreme Being. The Masons don’t mandate what that Supreme Being is called, and uses the umbrella term “Grand Architect of the Universe” and is referred to as ‘God’ or ‘Deity’ in our meetings and represented by the letter “G” in our square and compass symbol.

This is where Randy got caught up with me and I have heard the same argument from another, more conservative evangelical Christian on my mission trip to El Salvador. Masonry is not a religion, or a substitute for religion. We don’t teach a path and we don’t offer salvation. We don’t tell people what to believe or where to seek God. We encourage Masons to be active in their local church or synagogue, but the imperative concept is that seeking the face of God is a personal journey, and not one that the Masons will dictate or enforce under a certain sect or brand of faith. We do teach tolerance for all faiths, the right to the freedom of religious belief, or non-belief, regardless of whether we agree or not with those beliefs, and defend that right of freedom for all people. But no atheist can be a Mason.

I’m relatively new to the evangelical contemporary Christian movement, but in my upbringing as a Catholic, evangelizing; converting heathens and non-believers, is not natural or encouraged, per say, save Catholic Charities missions. Going out and being the hands and feet of ministry was something that was talked about as a concept, but never practiced, at least in my church. Masonically, it is improper to impose or convert people from their own belief or non-belief. We endorse seeking God through whatever path makes sense in the time and place for an individual. For example, Jesus as the Messiah and Son of God works for me, right here, right now, but it might not be the case if I lived in China or India 3000 years ago. Masons concede that our human minds are too limited to know all the ways in which God works and are open to the idea that He may work through other prophets and paths to Him.

A study of world religions reveals that for the most part, they all share many commonalities and even similar teachings and parables. Christianity remains to be the only one that teaches salvation through grace and the God who became flesh to become a blood sacrifice for our sins eternally. But simply because I believe that doesn’t negate or vilify the other belief systems in the world. I’m not going to use the idea of Jesus to place myself on a pedestal above Jews, Muslims, Hindus, Buddhists, Wiccans, Deists, and Atheists. But if someone comes to me asking for a path to the Light I would share with them the message of love and forgiveness of the Gospel.

One facet of the Masonic lodge (the group of men meeting) is that any discussion of politics, religion, and personal gain are prohibited to keep the peace and harmony of the Lodge. Our meetings consist of a benediction, the Pledge of Allegiance (to the US flag), a review of sickness and distress amongst the members, paying the bills, new and old business, a closing prayer and God Bless America is sung.

Our other activities include initiating new members, which is like a college fraternity initiation, except there is nothing contained within it that will humiliate, harm or embarrass members. No alcohol, no paddles, no goats. Very benign. Very symbolic. Very powerful presentation. It’s nearly word-for-word unchanged for over 200 years. The same cornerstone laying ceremony we conduct publicly today is the same ritual George Washington used when laying the cornerstone of the Capitol Building or when Masons layed the cornerstone of the Statue of Liberty (which was a statue designed by a French Mason and donated by French Freemasons to the people of America. It was American Freemasons who funded the construction of the Statue when it arrived here. And ironically, the statue is not just Lady Liberty, but a torch bearer, the bringer of Light to a new world of darkness. A very Masonic theme.) Further, the flag of our country was made by Betsy Ross, whose husband was a member in the same Lodge as George Washington, who commissioned the work. There are many other similar Masonic connections with the history of our nation. Incidentally, the initiation ritual for many college fraternities are directly taken from Masonic ritual.

We also are very active in the civic affairs of our community. We do a ton of volunteer work. Worldwide, Freemasons donate over $2 million a day to various charities. My Lodge in Madison does 2 blood drives every month, has 3 scholarships for local high schoolers, and has an “Angel Fund” where we partner with local schools and social services to anonymously cover any requested donation. For example, a child in Madison elementary school needs eyeglasses but the parents can’t afford them. The nurse tells the principal, the principal contacts us, and our Angel Fund committee dispatches services free of charge. The child can go to a doctor or pharmacy and we will already have arranged ahead of time to pay in full. In Boston, their Angel Fund is so large that they literally have warehouses of shoes, coats and clothing for children in need that are distributed across the state. All requests are processed and fulfilled in about 3 days. The recipient never knows who provided the services. And we like it that way. We don’t like to take credit for God’s work.

A recent example of this at work was last year when a house fire destroyed a home in Madison, killing the single mother of two children. Our Lodge was contacted to help and we fully funded the cost of school lunch for the kids. They don’t know who took care of it or why, but they know that someone cares. That God cares.

You may have heard of the Shriner’s hospital for burned or crippled children. The Shriner’s are an appendant order of Masonry, meaning you must be a Master Mason to join. We provide free medical care at these hospitals. Another branch of Freemasonry that I belong to called the Scottish Rite (which actually has its origins in France) runs children’s dyslexia centers around the country which offer free tutoring in a method of reading for people with learning disabilities. These free services, hospital treatments, and scholarships are available to anyone who needs help, not just Masons, their family or friends.

In New Jersey, the Masons also donate time each Sunday at the VA hospitals to bring the veterans to Sunday services in the chapel. We believe it’s an important duty to so serve those who gave of themselves for the freedoms we so freely enjoy. Every year we also host a Wheelchair Track & Field Meet, which is like a Special Olympics for disabled children.

So, in addition to the esoteric philosophical teachings of the Masons, we live out a tangible expression of our service to God and our fellow man. Very much like how Liquid Church brings church to the people through its engaging outreach ministry. In the sense of a civic organization, the Masons are comparable to Kiwanis, Lions Club, or Rotary. And in matters of God, the Masons are like the Boy Scouts or Girl Scouts, which are devoted to God, but don’t say what God to which they are so devoted.

On that note, to answer the root question; no, we don’t teach that Jesus is the only way to God. In fact we don’t tell Masons at all how to come to know God. We do teach that by humbling yourself to others, studying the science, art and mystery of our created world, and realizing the ultimate fate of our physical body and the resurrection of the eternal soul to a oneness with God, a Mason can work toward perfection and unity with the Creator.

Sidebar: common phrases like “level with me”, “give me a square deal”, “rap of the gavel” or “he gave me the third degree” are Masonic in origin.

I reached out to my friends on Facebook for some good articles and scholarly papers on the subject of Freemasonry and religion, specifically Christianity, and it was actually another member of the Morristown Campus Staff that pointed me to a website called MasonicWorld.com which houses 600+ articles, a glossary of Masonic terms, graphics, and short talk bulletins on every subject imaginable concerning Masonry.

I’ve selected a handful of articles and papers that answer some of the questions you posed to me and I hope that the candor and at times, pedigree of the author, provides a more complete picture of how Freemasonry not only is compatible with Christianity, but draws people closer to our God.

You asked me “If Christianity is complete on its own, why do you need Freemasonry at all?”. And the answer is, you don’t. You don’t need Freemasonry to worship God. But for our organization, you need to worship God to be a Mason. Freemasonry is religious in nature, but not a religion. It complements, meaning that it enhances the experience of a believer in God, the life of a follower of God, but doesn’t conflict or interfere with his duty to God, his country, or his fellow man.

The values of a Freemason- Faith, Hope, and Charity; are complemented by core tenets of Brotherly Love, Relief, and Truth. Universal values that encompass and strengthen a Brother, or any person, for that matter. As your staff member Janet can attest, as a member of the Order of the Eastern Star (like a Masonic ladies auxillery), Masonic values are universally applicable to all faiths and philosophies, most notably those that preach a message of love and compassion for our fellow brothers and sisters, especially the widows and orphans.

Because of this, you will find about 80% of Masons are Christian, with the rest following other faiths. Our ritual has its beginnings in Christian England and much of our ritual draws directly from Scripture (KJV with the thees, thous, and thys). And while the Catholic Church is officially opposed to Freemasons, believing our ability to organize a threat to their establishment, we accept Catholic Brothers with open arms.

The Masons carry a weird mythos and misunderstanding and if there are any questions I can answer that can clarify any of those points, I would be more than happy to do so. The more transparent Masons are and upfront with information about what we’re about, the less suspicious and critical the public can be. There are enough movies and History Channel documentaries to cause confusion. I’d love to provide insight.

Scanning through the list of Masons below, you may be surprised by who is or was a Freemason. From all times, places, professions; Masonry persists. I also invite you to visit my Lodge in Madison or the lodge in Morristown to meet with other local Masons and learn about what we do. I also have a friend who is an evangelical minister as well as a Mason and would gladly share his experience. There is a lot of misinformation out there. And if I can help dispel rumor, I will do so honestly, respectfully, informatively and pleasurably.
To conclude, it has been my experience that you will find no more humble a person, someone as selfless, serving, loving, and accepting than a Brother Mason, a Sister of the Eastern Star, or a child of DeMolay or Rainbow Girls/Job’s Daughters (Masonic youth groups). These people are truly the salt of the earth and I encourage you to embrace and learn from them rather than fear and reject them. You would be surprised how many Masons are in our Church, let alone our community, in the grocery store, pumping your gas, fixing your toilet, cleaning your gutters, filing your taxes, preparing your coffee or editing your morning paper.

Sincere regards and Happy Monday.

Your Brother in Christ,

- Chase William Kruppo

Wikipedia- http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Freemasonry

List of notable Freemasons- http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/List_of_Freemasons

How A Man Becomes A Mason- http://www.mainemason.org/becomeone/index.asp

A response to critics of Freemasonry -http://www.masonicworld.com/education/files/apr02/include/a_response_to_critics_of_freemas.htm

Freemasonry and Religion- http://www.masonicworld.com/education/files/artoct02/masonry_and_religion.htm

Is Freemasonry A Religion?- http://www.masonicworld.com/education/files/frapr01.htm

A collection of articles on Freemasonry and Religion- http://www.masonicworld.com/education/files/artjuly01/Freemasonryandreligionpart2.htm

Our Trust Is In God”- http://www.masonicworld.com/education/files/apr02/include/our%20trust%20is%20in%20god.htm

Are Freemasonry and Christianity Compatible?- http://www.masonicworld.com/education/files/christianandfreemacomp.htm

Saturday, December 10, 2011

My rant, followed by More Light By Ed Halpaus

Article "More Light" is below my rant.

I was just speaking with someone today about something similar to the article below, written by Brother Halpaus. I had a customer in my office, they saw my ring and said that their son would be interested in me because I was a Mason. They said that his grandfather was a Mason and never spoke a word about it. The wife said she was trying to find out info for her son so she asked her baptist preacher and he said "it's a cult, he don't want to be involved in that!" It is amazing to me that people speak on things which they know nothing about.

The gentleman the asked me what I could tell him, so I said "Basically, Masonry is a system of teaching, though symbolism and stories, to help us become better men by adhering to the most basic of God's laws: do unto others as you would have done unto yourself, and love your neighbor as yourself." I also to him that it was a support group of like minded men that want to better themselves for God, family, community, and self.
In reference to the article below, I despise when someone quotes something out of context or doesn't give the whole story, so as to warp the point of view to coincide with their ideals.

A show on the history channel last night did just that. It was a show about "Mysteries of the Bible". Somewhere throughout the course of the show they said that "the Bible wasn't clear on why God destroyed Sodom and Gomorrah." They said that "Perhaps it was because of poor hospitality"??????? Really, poor hospitality????

I then told my wife that it was very clear on why. Then I read heard the story and she knew right away why. She had not read that story before, but it was very easy to figure out!

Anyway, I really felt like they were trying to cover up the reason because it would have been too controversial for TV or didn't coincide with their point of view. At the least extent it would have to do with forceful sex(rape), at the most, one could say homosexuality. Either way it paints a pretty vivid picture that what was being done was wrong in God's eyes. It was very clear. Read the whole story and don't quote things out of context!!!

OK, I'm off my soapbox. Read the article below if you're interested in Albert Pike, anti-masonry, or what I commented on above.

         ML #336     
            Posted by:      "Ed Halpaus"           
       Fri Dec 9, 2011 3:11 pm       

      *Mehr Licht – More Light*
Number 336 – December 09, 2011
Old LEO Letters
By Ed Halpaus
One of the things the anti-Masons seem to like to do is to vilify Brother
Albert Pike: In particular they like to tell anyone and everyone who will
listen that Pike was a devil worshiper, and along with that they also want
to convince the uninformed that Pike and all Masons in general worship a
Masonic god whose name is The Great Architect of the Universe. What they
may or may not realize, and what they don’t want to accept is the truth,
and the truth is that Pike was a Christian, and ‘The Great Architect of the
Universe’ is a interfaith name coined by the Christian theologian John
Calvin (he coined a number of names he used for God), and that Freemasonry
adopted his name or term (The Great Architect of the Universe) for use in
Lodges where Masons of more than one religion may sit in Lodge together.
Using an interfaith name, when Deity is referred to, is a good way to not
promote one religion over another among friends and Brothers; it allows
each man to accept the prayer as his own to the Deity of his religion when
it is given by one Mason on behalf of all of us. The prayer is ended with
the traditional word “Amen” to which all Masons can truthfully reply ‘so
may it be,’ by using an archaic word to say “So Mote It Be.”
Anti-Masons love to proof-text Brother Pike in his book Morals and Dogma.
Sometimes they will quote him, but most of the time they will misquote him
by proof-texting portions of Morals and dogma to make it look like Pike
wrote something he didn’t write. One portion the enemies of Masonry never
quote from pike is found on page 134U (meaning page 134 upper portion of
the page). Page 134 is a part of the 8th Degree of the Ancient Accepted
Scottish Rite of Freemasonry; reading the 8th degree will capture the
attention of any Mason who would read it, and I think, anyone who reads
will want to study that degree and others to learn more. Here is what pike
wrote on page 134U: *“Speak kindly to your erring Brother! God pities him;
Christ has died for him. Providence waits for him: Heaven’s mercy yearns
towards him; and Heaven’s spirits are ready to welcome him back with joy.
Let your voice be in unison with all those powers that God is using for his
recovery!” *
Those words from Brother Pike on page 134U of Morals and Dogma don’t sound
like the words someone would use if they didn’t believe in God and in Pikes
Case his Christian religion.
Don’t believe for one moment the lies and untruths the anti-Masons of the
world – the enemies of Masonry – want everyone to believe. What is true is
that the malarkey and falsities of these anti-Masons cannot stand up to
investigation, but what Masonry is, and stands for, can stand up to
investigation and study. So if you hear something that makes you wonder –
check it out; you’ll enjoy the process – or ask one of your Brothers who
likes to do research and study to help you check it out, you’ll still enjoy
the process as well as the learning that results.
Also don’t believe that Morals and Dogma is a hard or difficult book to
read – it isn’t – any Mason is capable of reading and understanding what
Pike wrote in it; although speed reading and understanding it, doesn’t seem
to work. One can read the book slowly and deliberately with a pen and paper
to take notes etc. and thus enjoy what Pike had to say.
Sadly, it has been reported that one Masonic library has been disposing of
excess copies of Morals and Dogma by destroying them or tossing them into
dumpsters. If you can get one of those copies others no longer want – get
it – and begin to read the book: There’s good information in it. (or Check
with Harold Davidson at brodave@wtp.net for a good used copy, or on-line
for an e-copy of the book.
One final comment: The anti-Masons want everyone to believe that Pike wrote
for all of Freemasonry – that he was and is “The” authority, and all Masons
adhere to his writings; he wasn’t, isn’t, and we don’t. But still his book,
Morals and Dogma, does contain some good information and is a pleasure to
read. When you read it pay particular attention to page ivm (Page iv of the
preface in the middle of the page): *“Every one is entirely free to reject
and dissent from whatsoever herein may seem to him to be untrue or unsound.”
* Albert Pike, just like the rest of us, wrote for himself only, not for
our entire fraternity; this is another truth the anti-Masons – the enemies
of Masonry – don’t want to accept.
* "The belief in a God All Powerful wise and good, is so essential to the
moral order of the world and to the happiness of man, that arguments which
enforce it cannot be drawn from too many sources nor adapted with too much
solicitude to the different characters and capacities impressed with
it."*--James Madison, letter to Frederick Beasley, 1825
James Madison is the 4th President of the United States; he is thought to
be a Mason, but no documentation or proof of his being initiated has been
found. I good book for research into questions like this is “Masonic
Membership of the Founding Fathers” by Ronal Heaton and available from the
Masonic Service Association of North America.
Words to Live by:  *"It is the duty of all men in society, publicly, and at
stated seasons, to worship the SUPREME BEING, the great Creator and
Preserver of the universe. And no subject shall be hurt, molested, or
restrained, in his person, liberty, or estate, for worshipping GOD in the
manner most agreeable to the dictates of his own conscience; or for his
religious profession or sentiments; provided he doth not disturb the public
peace, or obstruct others in their religious worship."* --John Adams,
Thoughts on Government, 1776 –
President John Adams was not a Mason, and even though he is closely linked
with other Founding Fathers who were Masons he was an anti-Mason who wrote
letters as such, and his son President John Quincy Adams was a devout
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*It’s individual Masons who help their Lodge survive and thrive *-* *Ed
Ed Halpaus 32° K.C.C.H., FPS
Grand Lodge Officer
Grand Lodge A.F. &  A.M. of MN
Executive Secretary - The Philalethes Society
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"No wise person ever wanted to be younger."
Native American Aphorism