A recent communication with an old friend got me thinking. My dear old friend told me that he was out of Freemasonry and into the Community doing the things that need to be done and that Masons only sit around and talk about. Now what follows will in no way be a chastisement for my friend’s decision. Who am I to criticize another’s choices in this journey we call life. I embrace every path chosen by every friend and Brother for only he knows what’s best for him and only he can make the vision that God has sent before him a reality.
Yet at the same time I have to wonder whether the expectations of Freemasonry are distorted and misplaced by many, many Brethren. I had an opportunity in 2005 to visit and speak in Alberta, Canada. There in one of the two papers I delivered I offered my Canadian Brethren the thought that we are not human doings, we are human beings. And it is OK just to BE. In fact it is most important to have your heart and soul in the right place before you go about doing. This thought might be likened to the ongoing Christian argument – are we saved by Grace or good works. My personal belief is that we should have both but in their proper order. Good works don’t get us grace but grace gets us good works. It was Jesus who said that it is what is in your heart which is of most importance. The public display of piousness exhibited by the Pharisees and Sadducees did not make them holy according to Jesus. Better to go home, enter the closet, close the door and give thanks and praise to your heavenly Father. So if you wished harm to come to another, fomented violence against another in your heart, well you might as well have beat him over the head with a baseball bat because your thoughts were equally guilty as your actions.
Now realizing that not everyone subscribes to these views and not wishing to impose my personal beliefs on others let’s see how this correlates with Freemasonry. The Craft is not an action committee gauging its worth on how much it can do for society – nor should it feel guilty in what it does or doesn’t do for the community. It is not the actions of Freemasonry as a community that mean as much as the change in the heart of each and every Brother who studies and subscribes to is virtues. Once imbued with the philosophy of Masonry each individual Brother then goes into society with a changed heart and gives back to the community, coming from the new person that his fraternity has made him. And this is much better than Freemasonry acting as a whole because it comes from the heart and it is that which is given without ulterior motives, expecting nothing in return nor has it the presence of Pharisee and Sadducee like puffed up ostentatious grand standing. But you can see here there is a logical order of accomplishment, first things first.
Thus the first priority of Freemasonry is to instruct, teach and educate its members in a philosophical thought that many have claimed has been handed down through the ages. Some say that from the ancient Egyptian mysteries, to the Essenes, to the schools of Pythagoras and other Greek mystery orders to Mithraism and other Roman mysteries, the special orders of Christendom, the Knights Templar and beyond, there has been a certain frame of thought, some call higher knowledge, that has lived on down through the ages, regardless of the political or civil structure of society, which espouses a God given right to liberty and freedom, to brotherhood and peace, to knowledge and virtue. And Freemasonry is the latest expression of these long held mystery beliefs, some say, which might explain why you will find an inordinate number of Gnostics within the Craft.
The ancient mystery schools were not chastised for their lack of involvement within the community or gauged by the amount of charity that they doled out. Rather what was of utmost importance was the development of each individual member and the knowledge once imparted that could change his life.
So let us think of modern Freemasonry in these terms. First and foremost, then, we are a philosophy, a body of knowledge to be communicated to every Brother that signs on. And yes we sit around and talk about it. It is OK to just be a human being. And by so doing in meetings we reinforce the values to which we subscribe. We have a need to internalize the external newness that is being taught us. I go to church every week to worship God and give him thanks and praise. I do not need to go to church to hear the same thing over and over again. I could do my worshiping at home or in a special holy place only I frequent in holy solitude. But by participating in a group I become further motivated and inspired. It is the special attributes that Scott Peck describes as “community.” It is one of the reasons group therapy is so effective.
So, secondly, let us think of Freemasonry as a gathering place for some special bonding. In the process we are going through in our education as Freemasons we find a commonality not only in purpose but in just being. In my address in Alberta, Canada I also quoted from that rebellious spiritual thinker Neale Donald Walsch who repeatedly made the observation that we are all ONE! We are not divided or separated but we are all just one. The same point has been made by Scott Peck in his discussion of “community.” Others might say that we are all children of God. But it is precisely the Masonic act of leaving your sectarian beliefs and rigid viewpoints at the door of the Lodge room and entering as all one, as Brothers united, that creates a special bond that cannot be duplicated alone by oneself. In so doing Masons have discovered the special feeling present in Brotherhood.
Then let us declare that we are first and foremost both a philosophy and a Brotherhood. We change hearts, we bond and only then can we realize the fruits of our labor and benefit others.
My friend could remain a Freemason realizing that all he is now Doing is a result of his Being and that Being came from being a Freemason. But he has his path and I have mine. And yours?
Ezekiel M. Bey,
FPS Administrator and Founder
Blue-Lite Research Discussion Group Inc.
First we must understand and define what the meaning of “Holy” means, and then what the word “Scripture” means. According to Anthony Browder, who authored, “From The Browder File” the word “Holy” comes from the Greek word, “Helios” which means “Sun”. In Latin it translates to Sanctus. The word “scripture” comes from Latin, “I Write”. The Concise Oxford Dictionary defines “scripture” that, “…most religious scriptures began as recited texts, being preserved in orally transmitted forms: the Vedas of the Hindus were written down only because the world moved into the degenerate Kali; oral law (Torah she be’al peh) was as much revealed on Sinai as was written Torah; the Quran was not written down until after the death of Muhammad; and the Pāli canon was not committed to writing until (theoretically) the First Council though in fact much later. When scriptures were eventually written down, it often remained a primary religious act to recite (rather than read) scripture.” So, scriptures are the texts which various religious traditions consider to be sacred, or of central importance to their religious tradition. They are words that are divinely inspired by ones Creator and documented in written words or recited by memory. In fact, the bottom line as it relates to the definition of the word “Bible”, means “THE BOOK”. However, do not lose sight that in the many Books that contain scriptures, are not but one book, but a compilation of data and documented information within the total text in a religious compiled composition or book housing.
Now that we have established what those two important words mean, how do they fit in Freemasonry? Masonry is a system that allows us to live our lives in the search for truth and awakening. When we sincerely love what we call a craft, our very actions in this walk in light begins to play a role in what is Masonic knowledge, and the truth behind the veil of understanding. Freemasonry in its early years as it pertained to Lodges were nominally Trinitarian Christian, but there is no indication that such was more than formal or that any religious belief was prerequisite to admittance. Changes affected by the Grand Lodge of England between 1717 & 1723 abandoned nominal adherence to Christianity and obligated the Mason to obey the moral law, to be good men and true men of honor and honesty. Dr. James Anderson in 1723 of Charge 1 wrote in his Constitution:
Concerning GOD and Religion
“A Mason is oblig’d by his Tenure, to obey the moral Law; and if he rightly understands the Art, he will never be a stupid Atheist, nor an irreligious Libertine. But though in ancient Times Masons were charged in every Country to be of the Religion of that Country or Nation, whatever it was, yet ’tis now thought more expedient to oblige them to that Religion which all Men agree, leaving their particular Opinions to themselves: that is, to be good Men and true, or Men of Honor and Honesty, by whatever Denominations or Persuasions they may be distinguish’d; whereby Masonry becomes the Center of Union, and the Means of conciliating true Friendship among Persons that must have remain’d at a perpetual Distance.”
Now, in the middle portion of the above quote, he clearly removes the engagement in religious discussion, and openly states that each should keep their opinions to themselves. In the New York ritual it reads, “…encouraging each to be steadfast in the faith of his acceptance.”
So, we have established the meaning “Holy Scriptures”, what was the common practice as it pertain to religious tolerance, and the evolution pre 1717 to 1723 and the accepted ancient constitution. But the question is, “What Are The Holy Scripture”? History records that in the sixth century A.D.; the Emperor Justinian issued an edict abolishing the last vestiges of the African religious systems and closed the last African Temple of Philae in Upper Egypt. This is according to Anthony Browder, “From The Browder Files”. However, in ancient Egypt, there is proof in several temples of inscriptions on the wall and the attempt to remove what the Madonna and Child looked like. This was done by those who conquered different areas of ancient lands. Over one hundred versions of the “Holy Scriptures” have been produced. This is why scriptures are considered or referred to as “verses”, which comes from the Latin word, “vertere”, a word which mean to “turn” or “to change”. The Holy Scriptures can help us to either turn from negative ways or change the way we live. How does this relate to Freemasonry?
After the Constitution written by James Anderson under “GOD and Religion”, this actually put a renewed understanding of the purpose of Freemasonry. Some are not aware that there was no Holy Scriptures (Holy Book) on the altar at one time. The Holy Bible first being referred to as part of the furniture of the Lodge was in 1730. In 1760 the Bible, Square and Compasses being referred to as the three Great Lights was not in existence until the “Ancients Grand Lodge of England” placed it on the altar and the “Moderns” began this practice in 1762. Many of these Brothers, although used the Kings James version and some that were similar, understood the meaning of the word “Bible”, which derived from the Egyptian definition, “Papyrus”, which meant “Paper”. Prior to any Holy Book placed on the altar, it was the (Book of Constitution) that Mason’s were obligated on. In present day we now take our obligation on the book of our faith to bind us to our oath. This is why our obligations are taken on the Holy Scriptures. When we swear not to be at the int*****, pa*****, or rai**** of a clandestine Mason for example, we are swearing before GOD and man, that we will never fall victim in betraying our solemn appeal to the Creator of such a sacred promise.
Now, scripture do NOT teach doctrine, however, doctrines can develop through “scriptures”. Let us take the word “DOCTRINE” for a moment. The word “Doctrine” means “Something taught teaching, instruction or principles of religion. “Theology” means “the study of God”, of religious doctrines and of matters pertaining to Divinity”. The word Theology comes from the root word “THEO”, meaning “God” and the word “LOGOS” meaning “Word, or Discourse”. In other words, theology is a systematic and logical arrangement of the belief in a doctrine. Awareness is the key factor to all things.
The 6 Divisions of Theology as quoted from the book “The foundation of Christian Doctrine” “Written by Kevin J. Conner”
Exegetical Theology – “Exegesis” means “to lead out, to guide out, to draw out”. In theology it refers to analysis and interpretation of scripture.”
Historical Theology – Historical theology traces Biblical history, church history, and the history of the doctrine.
Dogmatic Theology – “This branch deals with dogma as set forth and formulated in church creeds. The difference between dogma and doctrine should be recognized.”
Biblical Theology –“Biblical theology traces the progress of truth through Books of the Bible, seeing the various manners in which each of the writers presented important doctrines.”
Systematic Theology – “Systematic theology concerns itself with the orderly arrangement into topics of the doctrines concerning God, Man, Angels, Sin and Salvation. It is a systematization of the major fundamental doctrines of Biblical theology.”
Pastoral or Practical Theology – “Pastoral or Practical theology deals with pastoral work, Christian education, church administration, Etc.”
The above meaning of the different definitions of theology is not limited to other faiths. However, through all of this, scripture plays an important part as it is connected on the writing of what others saw and interpreted through what they understood of a higher inspiration that calls upon the higher faculties of ones being and spirituality. In Albert Pike’s book Book of the Words, page 121, first paragraph, he states,
Our knowledge of the Deity, like our knowledge of the soul, is not the cognition of the Deity itself, but of its manifestations only.
We all see Deity in a different light as well as the name of Deity from our respective understanding taught by our religions and “scriptures”; and even those who do not subscribe to a particular religion but follow “spirituality” according to their understanding interpret scripture how they are inspired. Scripture is not defined to be owned by one religion but each religion or spiritual schools have their own doctrine. Freemasonry allows us to find that path without prejudice or judgment.
In Final, the Holy Scriptures are not only sacred text inspired by a Creator, but they are symbols that are veiled in allegory. Harold Percival in his book, “Thinking in Destiny” describes a symbol as such: “A symbol is a visible object that represents an invisible subject which one is to think of, as itself or in relation to another subject or object”.
Io Saturnalia, Good Yule, Cheery Solstice, Happy Holidays, Happy Ashura, Enlightened Bodhi Day, Good Boxing Day, Joyful Kwanzaa, Merry Christmas.
What ever your myth or belief, be it a joyful and happy season of celebration. Speaking of myth, have you heard about the dueling atheist and Catholic billboards that adorn the opposite ends of the Lincoln Tunnel in New York?
Erected by the Atheist Americans and The Catholic League respectively, two dueling factions – those who believe and those who don’t, have been dukeing it out over the souls of New York residents or at least dukeing out the idea of myth.
The fight is over the reality of the birth of Christ, or in a more general sense, the truth behind Christian theology itself. Erected by the American Atheists – the sign reads You KNOW it’s a Myth. This Season, Celebrate REASON!
If the sign isn’t a simple enough statement their reason for erecting it can be found on their website which says:
Statistics show that nearly 50 million Americans are atheists. Some use names like freethinker, agnostic or humanist to describe or modify their position, but atheism (the absence of a belief in a deity) is broad, and encompasses all those terms. If you don’t have an active belief in a god, you’re an atheist. It’s a very good thing.
Millions of atheists are closeted, choosing to go along to get along, and feigning religion to their friends, family, and coworkers. American Atheists understands the pressure to fit in, but we maintain that for people to love you, they must know the real you.
An interesting inclusion in this list is the Humanists, which is where much of Freemasonry can trace its ideals back to – especially in the equality of man, the democracy of the lodge, and the more esoteric ideas.
Leon Zeldis, in a paper ENGLAND AROUND 1717 – The foundation of the first Grand Lodge in context, published at Pietre-Stones, says:
The Masonic lodge was a refuge of peace and tranquility at a time of political uncertainty, when the memory of religious warfare was fresh in the memory of all men, when the first discoveries and inventions were transforming the economy, and opening new perspectives of progress, when the hope that rationality and humanism would banish from the hearts of men the evils of fanaticism and intolerance. This was the fertile ground on which early speculative Freemasonry germinated and grew, spreading its branches throughout the western world.
This is not to say that the Humanism of the late Renaissance was the same as today, but its difficult to say that they are much different. Their similarity was in the study of Scholasticism which focused on the preparation of men to be doctors, lawyers or professional theologians, and was taught from approved textbooks in logic, natural philosophy, medicine, law and theology. Perhaps, even, in the study of Reason itself.
At the time of the Renaissance, it was a lesson for churchmen and Popes to study these new ideas which, even at that time led to the challenging of old beliefs.
Back in modern day, the Catholic League erected their own sign in response that reads:
You Know It’s Real: This Season Celebrate Jesus.
Originally, the competing sign was erected as a rebuttal or response to the Atheists sign, but with a more specific argument, truly the reason to celebrate Christmas, the Christ’s Mass to celebrate the birth of Jesus.
Some onlookers, quoted in the New York Post commented that the rebuttal was unnecessary, that its a “it’s tit for tat, [which] defeats the spirit of Christmas”
Perhaps which side of the fence you come down on about the signs depends on your own personal beliefs, which are a very hard things to argue against. What stuck me about it was the need that we each have for Myth, whether its the season or reason.
Its an obvious omission to any who have read the Christmas story that fresh mountain pine trees and sparkly glass ornaments were absent in the telling of the nativity. Gifts of frankincense, myrrh, and gold were present, but they are a far cry away from the modern day giving of an iPad, an LCD HD TV, or a brand new and Bow-Tied Lexus.
So obviously the holiday didn’t originally celebrate in the manner we do today. The first use of the Cristes mæsse (Christ Mass) wasn’t recorded until 1038, a thousand years after the birth of Christ – well before the giving of the latest Call of Duty Black Ops game.
So there must be some other reason for our focus of celebration, most likely our celebration of the myth.
“The individual has to find an aspect of myth that relates to his own life. Myth basically serves four functions.
1. The Mystical Function – The wonder of the universe, the wonder of the self, and the awe before the mystery.
2. Cosmological Dimension – the dimension of science showing the shape of the universe but in a way that the mystery shines through
3. Sociological – The supporting and validating of a social order.
4. Pedagogical Function – how to live a human lifetime under any circumstances.
So, even if it challenges the reason of some, the need and value of Myth is every bit important as it is to question them and ask yourself how they relate to your own sensibilities.
Campbell goes on to say:
“The story that we have in the West, so far as it is basedon the Bible, is based on a view of the universe that belongs to the first millennium B.C. It does not accord withour concept either of the universe or of the dignity of man. It belongs entirely somewhere else.”
This seems to be where the American Atheists are leaning, but get lost in the weeds of just disconting everything that fails their dogma test (missing the dogmatic-ness of their own proposition)
Campbell goes on to offer his idea of multicultural acceptance describing its Humanistic leaning as being “trans-theological.” saying further “it is of an undefinable, inconceivable mystery, thought of as a power, that is the source and end and supporting ground of all life and being.” Said another way, the myth transcends the source and takes on a more significant role.
This strikes me as the difference between Faith and Religion, the practice should follow the belief, not the other way around. We often celebrate a holiday or event without knowing its precise origin or purpose. What matters is how it relates to us today, what it means to us in the now.
If it dosen’t relate, then don’t celebrate.
If the myth of the event does not excite the mystical in you, then celebrate the mundane.
If your not of a religious bend, then pick another reason to celebrate the season. And, if that’s not good enough, then don’t try to wreck it, or shape it, for others.
This is where I believe the American Atheist’s sign misses the mark.
Rather than condemn the beliefs of others – why not appeal to the 50 million atheists they claim affinity with to provide them an alternative to what they see as unreasonable celebration of Myth with their own unique celebration of Reason.
Happy Holidays – what ever your degree of leaning in your traditions.
What is “Masonic Intercourse” many Masons ask? The definition can mean many things and different authors have given their opinion as to the actual purpose of having it in our rituals.
In The Meaning of Masonic Obligation, PGM R.V. Harris of Nova Scotia defines Masonic Intercourse as, “…to refrain from Masonic Intercourse with outsiders, and with irregular Freemasons and to discountenance all irregularities and immoralities.” Well, this is still not clear enough to define or determine its meaning. The web-site, “The Beacon Light of Freemasonry”, gives another definition which states, “Masonic communication, or as it is alternately called, Masonic Intercourse, involves any type of communication involving sharing the secrets of masonry. Primarily, that is sitting in a tyled lodge session, which is any type of Masonic meeting where the general public is NOT allowed, or where the qualification for attendance is being a Mason.”
The truth is that we must clearly and truly understand the difference in what we call “Masonry” vs. what some want to create out of it. There are two forms of Masonic Intercourse. There is the verbal (exoteric) which we are aware of, but many are not aware of non-verbal (esoteric) communication. The verbal is common understanding, as we would clearly understand that if you communicate with a clandestine (Bogus) Mason about the modes of recognition like passwords, grips and signs, you are in strict violation of your obligation. You can communicate verbally limited aspect of esoteric messages via words, but not many are Masonically educated enough to reach that level. Now, what we fail to realize that there is such a thing as non-verbal communication (esoteric). This is where some lose sight of the meaning of communication. Non-Verbal communication is a process by which information is exchanged between individuals through a common system of symbols, signs, behavior, dress or gathering. It is to be in sync with one another for a common goal. It is like a tuxedo ball. Everyone is in sync until someone enters with jeans and sneakers. As the jeans and sneaker guest walks in, a communication automatically is transmitted via a non-verbal transmission. He is automatically out of place due to his appearance. Non-Verbal communication does not always reveal a negative existence and is hidden in its esoteric engagement. When we do not realize we are communicating or engaged in communication, we are blind of the effects it can cause. Masonic Intercourse is an exchange of verbal and non-verbal communication between parties whether you are communicating with legal Masons or not. Being invited to, accepting and attending in your Masonic regalia at a function such as an official Divine Service or St. John’s Day from a so-called Masonic group that is clandestine and irregular is Masonic Intercourse.
In Prince Hall Masonry, we have functions that we consider Masonic in nature that are called, “Divine Services, Prince Hall Day, and St. John’s Day” to name a few. In these events, we are clothed in formal Masonic regalia. We do so in reverence to our founder “Brother Prince Hall” and to reflect the struggles this organization has gone through and how we have evolved throughout two centuries. Most importantly, when our leadership is clothed in Masonic attire, we are representing the craft. When your Grand Master or his representative at anytime wears his jewel and apron, he is representing “Grand Lodge”. It is an official act. This is a form of “communication or communicating”. Communicating in the above fashion is clearly Masonic in nature as we are dressed in the order of business for the purpose of an official Masonic gathering. It is Masonic intercourse. In the above events, we must clearly recognize a few things.
Although no modes of recognition are displayed, through the very act of presenting ourselves in full regalia, we are communicating to each other the respect of accepting each other as equal (i.e. a Peer).
Although non-Masons are allowed, it is a form of education to advocate unity, love and admiration to one another within the fraternity. However, if a clandestine Mason (Bogus) is dressed the same, our act of acceptance is considered “irregular”, and that is only if we accept them as peers.
We are a distinct organization different from college fraternities, social organizations, political parties and most important, the average citizen.
Because of the struggles, of our path finder within this organization, we agreed to follow our progenitor’s path.
Lastly because of our rich history and knowing who we are and where we came from, that we will not devalue our institution by sympathizing and recognizing what our ritual and constitutions recognize as clandestine and irregular. That is, so-called Masons that belong to groups that cannot prove that they came from a competent Grand Body that empowered them to work.
Let us investigate what is “Clandestine”? Macoy’s Encyclopedia describes clandestine Lodges as “Lodges which have been formed by avaricious Freemasons, who take money from those people who have no idea of the difference between warranted Regularly Constituted Grand Lodge and one that is not regularly constituted.” History demonstrates that many of the bodies that call themselves Masonic in African American communities, were organizations established by suspended or expelled Masons. Why are we today placing our guards down against groups that have not come via the same regular or similar way as those who are known to be regular?
Their threat to legitimate Prince Hall Freemasonry is threefold:
They deprive our lodges of potential good recruits, and deprive those men of the opportunity to become genuine Masons;
Many of them bring Masonry into disrepute in the eyes of the general public by conducting degree mills for profit; and
Their very existence, and often their conduct, cause confusion among those mainstream Masons who assume that all Blacks calling themselves Masons are of Prince Hall Affiliation, and also among some Prince Hall Affiliated Masons who are tempted to place racial solidarity ahead of legitimacy of origin and global Masonic acceptance.
This is not to say that Prince Hall Grand Lodges do not have their problems, however, here in New York, we have a record within our proceedings and recorded transactions via committees that show the complications we have had in our state, due to Bogus and Clandestine Masonry.
Let us get back to “Masonic Intercourse” as this is our main focus and in truth really define the crux of the matter. In true Universal Freemasonry the pigment of a man’s skin has never been a signature of regularity, nor gives him the same rights as a member of a legally established Masonic Fraternity. However, in the history of Freemasonry in the United States, the concept of race has reared its ugly head and, has been a barrier to the acceptance of men of color, in particular “Prince Hall Masons”. Nothing is more sensitive than a subject that touches on racial lines especially when speaking of our own community. We must not confuse our various relationships and associations with individuals, social clubs, political organizations, college fraternities, or churches, to name a few, with Universal Freemasonry. Often times we believe that anything that looks like us are us. This is not always true. In my opinion, we do a severe disservice to ourselves and our organization by communicating with Bogus Masons in the act of accepting them as our peers by being fully regaled in Masonic gatherings that we hold dear to our organization. There is nothing wrong in educating them of history and our organization, as many of them are good timber and practice Masonry in their hearts, but we must understand that there is a difference between “Masonry and Freemasonry”. Freemasonry is the institution and it has specific rules found in our Constitution and Masonry is the original nature of the Universe.
We do not realize that the moment you enter a gathering in your esoteric garb known as gloves, apron, and jewels with a clandestine Mason, you have just committed Masonic Intercourse whether you initiated it or not.
Some of these so-called Grand Lodges are considered “Spurious” in nature, because spurious can be considered bodies of illegitimate birth, outwardly similar or corresponding to something without having its genuine qualities. It is a so-called Masonic entity that falsifies or erroneously attributes its origin to some non-existing Masonic source. It is deceitful in nature. Remember, if a thing is false, it cannot be a fact in its representation. The only fact is that a spurious Lodge is a false Masonic body. The word “spurious” was used in England as far back as 1824 when they considered lodge No. 557 spurious. This spurious Lodge met at an inn called, “The White Bear” and thereafter “The Royal Hotel”. Many who are spurious or even part of a spurious body do not know the origin of his Grand Lodge/Lodge, and are hoodwinked with false pretense that he has joined a respectful organization thinking that its main objective and cause is for the upliftment of humanity, never noticing fraud or deceit. Many good Men have been sucked into these organizations by way of ignorance. They, along with clandestine and irregular bodies, have often used the false history of Masonry and in particular the history of Prince Hall Freemasonry. They have used the mud throwing of calling us paupers of charters, beggars of recognition, and even calling Prince Hall Masons racist of their own kind, not knowing that although an organization with a make-up of predominately men of color, we have hundreds of white Brothers in our ranks.
On June 6, 1956, M.:W.: G.M. L Ernest DuBois in his address under Clandestine Masonry went on record as per the minutes of the 111th Annual Grand Communication:
“As like the two (2) previous subjects, this too has received a considerable amount of attention, not only in this jurisdiction, but throughout the Country by White and Negro Masons alike.
Our White Brethren have seen and read enough about Prince Hall masonry to the extent that they are fairly well convinced of our legitimacy and while they do not accept us as a group, they do, to a great extent, accept us as individual Masons, and as a whole do not consider us a threat to the Masonic Institution, just so long as we do not conduct ourselves and our activities in such a manner that it will bring reproach upon the Masonic Fraternity. This is an indication, in my opinion, based upon conversations with a few of our outstanding White Brethren that like integration, recognition by this group is on the way, but do not get the impression from these remarks that, like prosperity many years ago, it is just around the corner. This is far from the case, but there is a great interest in this subject on the part of our White Brethren and I hope and pray that if and when such recognition is accorded all Prince Hall Masons, we will be ready to accept it and will be able to stand shoulder to shoulder with Brother Masons throughout the World. Much depends upon the manner in which we conduct our affairs and the interest we take in, not only our Lodges, but our share of the community responsibilities.
“Several months ago your Grand Master addressed a communication to Grand Master Amos T. Hall of Oklahoma, and the President of the Grand Master’s Conference, in which was suggested that a committee composed of representatives of the Grand Master’s Conference, together with representatives of the Concordant Bodies, and the Shrine, convene for the purpose of discussing the subject of clandestine Masonry and suggest ways and means by which this great evil might be over-come. Several Jurisdictions have taken these groups into court and decisions in favor of the Prince Hall Jurisdictions have been handed down, but at a great expense financially. It was in my mind that if a concerted effort could be made, sponsored by the Grand Lodges and National organizations, a much more effective job might be done and in a much shorter space of time. In due time Grand Master Hall answered my communication and informed me that he appreciated the suggestions and would discuss it further at the Grand Master’s Conference.”
“While attending the conference the week of May 20th, Brother Hall informed me that about the same time he received my communication, he was the recipient of a like communication from the Sovereign Grand Commander, II. George W. Crawford, inviting him to come to the City of Philadelphia prior to the Supreme Council Session to discuss this matter with him and his officers.”
“It gives me pleasure to report to this M.W. Prince Hall Grand Lodge that definite steps have been taken in this direction. The Officers of the Supreme Council, together with the Imperial Council of the Shrine, have pledged their support to the Grand Master’s Conference to assist in combating clandestine Masonry. President Hall has been empowered by the Conference members to select a committee to work with the aforementioned groups for the purpose of study; the securing of data relative to clandestine masonry and in due time make recommendations as to how best to handle the situation. This, I believe, is a step in the right direction- at least a more concrete step than ever taken before and another indication that the entire Prince Hall Family is going to pull together toward one end. And I am just conceited enough to feel that New York State has had a small part in a great undertaking.”
I believe that our Brothers of the past had a better understanding of what was happening around them and focused on the good of the organization. Today, we have leadership who accepts Bogus Masons as their peers and recognize them as Masons only because the majority look like Prince Hall Masons in complexion, wear Masonic paraphernalia, meet in buildings labeled “Masonic Temple” or hold Masonic titles. Is this a good and wise reason we should accept and embrace these organizations as “Masonic”?
In my article, “Education For A People Unaware”, I stated:
“Regularity is a big question for most. Many have no clue what it really means. In the search for truth, we must investigate all the parameters that make up the substance of that which is to be considered for evaluation. Certain standards must be used for guidelines in which to measure against the intended interest of one’s choice, whether it’s an object or viewpoint. Freemasonry has been established centuries ago by Ancient Landmarks, Ancient Charges, Constitutions, and many unwritten laws. Taking basic attributes that make up regularity such as establishing Lodges from a “competent jurisdiction empowering it to work”, or abiding by the ancient charges in which most follow Anderson’s Constitution, you will see that many Lodges or Grand Lodges which erected them-selves illegally did not follow these basic rules. Lodges in order to be regular must have been established by a regular Grand Lodge. It must be truly independent and self-governing with undisputed authority over Craft Masonry. Freemasons under its jurisdiction must be Men having no Masonic Intercourse with Lodges, which admit Women or Clandestine Masons. You must believe in a Supreme Being, and take the obligation over a Volume of Sacred Laws. The three great lights must be displayed with the Square and Compasses, and finally to follow the tenets of Freemasonry to name a few.”
Most rituals of the day have some clause or state that you will not be at the in****, pas**** or rai**** of a clandestine Mason, so why are we going to joint events in our Masonic dress with individual that you are prohibited from witnessing their in****, pas**** and rai****? How can I be obligated to not be present at their initiation and advancement, but recognize them by being in function with our esoteric clothing representing Masonry? I do not know one man that can dress up as a Police Officer and think he can arrest crooks just because he has a police uniform, gun and badge and impersonates a cop. You can save hundreds of lives by impersonating a Doctor and practicing medicine without a license does not make you a physician. Making a certificate or degree on your computer does not mean you have a Masters like the many so-called charters that bogus Masons produce. Some even get a charter from the state and confuse the public and regular Masons as if a state charter is equal to a Masonic one.
In Massachusetts in 1903, a decision was made about John G. Jones, an attorney in Illinois and member of the MWPHGL of Illinois after his expulsion that:
The MWPHGL of The State of Massachusetts, does not and will not affiliate with or in any way recognize Masonically, any person affiliating with, recognizing or in any way having Masonic Intercourse with John G. Jones, recently expelled from Masonry by the MWPHGL of Illinois, or with those with whom he is in affiliation.” This was signed by GM William H. Jackson, and attested by Benjamin C. Hazel, Grand Secretary”.
In New York, In accordance with the foregoing communication, Most Worshipful Edward V.C. Eato at the time Grand Master of the MWPHGL of New York issued an edict warning the Lodges and their members not to have any Masonic Intercourse with Jones or his representatives under pain of punishment for contumacy.
Here is one example of a Prince Hall Mason being expelled from Masonry and today, the Grand Lodges that he created and their splinter groups have disguised themselves as legitimate bodies. Why are some of our leadership engage in fellowshipping instead of educating these groups of their origin?
On June 9, 1961 (116th Annual Grand Communication) Report by the Committee on Clandestine Masonry.
“As secretary of the Committee on Clandestine Masonry, I wish to make the following report: A Bogus Mason is a Bogus Mason. Perhaps a ‘faker’ is more appropriate term. For generations particularly during the second half of the nineteenth century deceptions, hoaxes, and ruses have been prostituted upon Men of Color in the fair name of legitimate Freemasonry. These would be Masons, or better styled, Masonic pirates, have worked there will of misbrands as they see fit, not recognizing the fact nor caring to that an entire race of people were being victimized, retarded and delimited, and very much so.”
“Some perpetrators may indulge in this fraudulent practice for the pure enchantment and needed treat it affords, others, for the monetary gains, power and self-esteem, it would rightly offer. Whatever the reason, it effects perversion and confusion. Masonry among Men of Color is made impure and the defiled stream reeks with a regurgitating stench of impurities and foreign bodies.”
“To be sure, deception and hoaxes have prevailed in the character of men from earliest times. It would seem to be innate within the personality of some. “Skim milk masquerades as cream,” and someone or some group is the unwitting recipient. The Old Testament tells the story of Jacob’s calculated deception, and also his dupe, to which he in turn was subjected (Genesis: chapter 27-29). From Homer, various Greek plays, medieval romances, and the deceived appear. Ellery Queen’s famous mysteries not to be excluded.”
“It should be perfectly clear in the mind as a consequence why some Negroes have entered and prospered in the business of bogus Masonry and why some individuals are ready made dupes of same: the cultural gap, lack of education and appreciative understanding, and the complexities surrounding a myriad of problems, also, imposed restraints moreover, encourage such malpractices. Such is the position of the American Negro and his continued role in Freemasonry, in a new decade, dedicated to Human Rights and the Betterment of Humankind.”
“At our 113th Grand Communication (1958), recognizing an indisputable “urgent need,” Grand Lodge did empower a special committee, the expressed purpose of which was to reduce and totally eliminate clandestine bodies and their fragments.”
“The first concern or object of this Committee was to identify the field. This having been done, it became necessary to determine believable procedure targeted to eliminate bogus bodies operating within our Grand Jurisdiction. Realizing that a Masonic millennium among “Men of Color” would not occur overnight, we took the immediate as well as the long view of our mandate. All objective evaluation of the prevailing situation leads us to believe that we had a long, tedious, and perhaps costly fight on our hands. This and all else, in order to rid Negro Masonry of this blight, and prevent future defiling of the pure stream.”
“A comprehensive and imaginative program was subsequently developed and formulated. In this fight, the Committee was firmly convinced that, every permissible tool in any permissible way should be used to advance our interest.”
“In the process of shoring up our court case, and future cases notwithstanding, a large amount of basic research became readily apparent. At first, we may have been under some form of self-delusion, as relative to our so-called secure position. However, we were abruptly confronted with bald reality as we attempted to olympicly wade through seven “examinations before trial.” What primary evidence we lacked, what points we were completely uneducated upon, were enough to give us pause. Nonetheless, at this time, we can report that our position has been advanced.”
“In conclusion, I wish to affirm the fact that, The Prince Hall Grand Lodge of New York must commit the full strength of its great capacity, in order to realize its object. The full energy and vitality of the Craft is imperative. It is hoped that at the 117th Grand Communication, we can report that everything is in progress.”
Harold A. Wilson, Secretary
Committee on Clandestine Masonry
There will be more information when I complete my book, Bogus Masonic Outfits, The Danger to Prince Hall Masonry.
NOTE:Brothers and Friends – this will be my last posting of the Masonic Weekly Digest as my responsibilities are changing thereby precluding me from devoting the time necessary to put this together. I don’t know precisely how long I made these postings but I hope it shed further light on the fraternity.
I don’t want to sound like Scrooge or the Grinch, but Christmas is not one of my favorite holidays. I see it more as something for the kids as opposed to adults. Before I get started though, I want to make something perfectly clear; I still refer to this season as “Christmas” as opposed to the “Holidays” which may sound more politically correct, but to me it’s an admission that Christians are in retreat in this country. I am not a super-religious person mind you, but it bothers me that we have turned the celebration of Christ’s birth into a marketing bonanza. To illustrate my point, consider the following:
We spend millions on lights and decorations around the house as opposed to investing in our planet and conserving energy resources.
Instead of helping the less fortunate, we give opulent gifts to people who really do not need them. Last time I checked, there are still places in the world where people are sick and hungry, and need an education or a roof over their heads.
As opposed to trying to replenish our forests, we kill trees to do nothing more than decorate our homes for a few scant days.
Instead of promoting Christ’s words of peace, we are still at war with ourselves, particularly at the checkout counter.
If this has all changed, I must have missed the memo on it.
In the workplace, we exchange superficial gifts more because we feel we have to rather than because we want to. I would much rather have a heartfelt handshake than most of the gifts I have received in the office. But then again, this probably isn’t politically correct either. I have even seen people compete over who is going to give the most extravagant gift to someone for political purposes as opposed to the generosity of their heart.
It is also customary to hold office parties this time of year, much to the delight of caterers, restaurants, hotels, entertainers, etc. But I wonder if the substantial money expended here would be put to better use by rewarding the employees with a bonus instead.
Following Thanksgiving, the media immediately shifts its programming into the Yule tide swing with Christmas music on the radio, and specials on television. It seems a little like brainwashing to me to force you into the Christmas spirit weeks before the actual holiday. I’m sorry, but I don’t like being coerced into anything.
I wonder what Jesus would say about all of these shenanigans. First, he would probably wonder who the jolly fat guy was in the red outfit. I imagine he would tell us that we all have our priorities wrong. I can even hear him say, “Hey guys, you even got the day wrong!”
If Jesus were to come back, I’d bet he would be kidnapped by the marketing people for at least the month of December, maybe longer.
With this said, I sincerely wish everyone, be you a Christian, a Jew, a Muslim, or whatever, a very merry Christmas, not because I’m trying to force my religious beliefs down your throat, but because I genuinely wish you Peace on Earth, good will toward men. Maybe I do have the Christmas spirit after all.
Keep the Faith!
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From the Charleston Gazette, it seems that a jury has sided with the Grand Lodge of West Virginia.
The Original story begins:
CHARLESTON, W.Va. — A Kanawha County jury sided Wednesday with the Grand Lodge of the West Virginia branch of the Masons against a former grand master who sued after he was expelled from the group, claiming the organization had violated its own rules.
The jury declined to award Frank J. Haas, an administrative law judge from Wellsburg, any damages, even though Kanawha Circuit Judge Carrie Webster ruled that the Masons breached its contract with Haas.
The jury also decided that the state’s Grand Lodge and past Grand Masters Charles F. Coleman II and Charles L. Montgomery had not defamed Haas, placed him in a false light, or committed outrageous conduct toward Haas, who was also a past grand master.
Bob Allen, Haas’ attorney, said after the verdict was announced that Haas was very disappointed, but accepted the jury’s decision.
Haas, who served as the state’s grand master from October 2005 to October 2006, said that during his tenure, he tried to make West Virginia Masonry more inclusive in terms of nationality, race, disability, age and religion. He said he wanted to bring the organization’s policies more in line with federal and state public policy.
Haas’ progressive agenda, which came to be known as the Wheeling Reforms, passed at the Masons’ annual communication that year in Wheeling. The vote — in which some members, according to custom, had full votes and some had quarter votes — resulted in a tie, with Haas casting the tie-breaking vote himself.
Days later, Coleman, who succeeded Haas as grand master, issued an edict setting aside Haas’ agenda, citing voting irregularities that he and others had witnessed.
You can read the full published story (Wayback Archive) here.
I was making a sandwich the other day, and as I opened a loaf of bread I observed the heel customarily unclaimed by other members of the family. I, of course, took it to build my sandwich. Only then did I stop to think how many times I had done this over the years as my family seems to have an aversion to eating the heel and, consequently, it was always earmarked for my consumption exclusively. It’s not that I relish eating the heel, I just don’t want to see it go to waste. I then started to think about the other attributes that distinguish fathers. For example:
It is the father’s job to kill spiders, bugs, and any other potential vermin frightening the household. In Florida, this includes man-eating grasshoppers, ants, armadillos, opossums, snakes, and the rare alligator that may wander by the house.
It is the father’s job to take out the trash, not just the regular kitchen garbage but virtually anything that can be shoved into, on top of, or next to a trash can. This includes items from the attic, bio-hazardous material stored in the garage, and anything that can be hacked off on the property. When the receptacles are full, it is the father’s job to somehow transport it to a dumping station, usually in the cleanest car available.
It is the father’s job to mow the lawn. More than mere mowing, this includes edging, hedging, pruning, sodding, raking, fertilizing, and blowing debris off the property. Hopefully the father is assisted by his offspring, but most find it an imposition for the child and therefore pays for Mexican laborers to perform the task instead.
It is the father’s job to change the oil and wash the car. I don’t mean running down to a car wash or quick-lube either. Every father should know how to use a hose and bucket of suds, not to mention wax. Further, they should be able to change the oil, miss the pan, and cleanup the slop spilled on the driveway. Hopefully the father is assisted by his offspring, but most find it an imposition for the child and therefore pays for Mexican laborers to perform the task instead.
It is the father’s job to eat leftovers and anything else the family refuses to consume. This distorts his palate which explains why father’s have a passion for such things as lima beans, Brussels sprouts, artichoke hearts, rutabaga, lamb shanks, liver and onions, black eyed peas and collard greens, grits, tapioca pudding, Rhubarb Pie, and Bosco.
It is the father’s job to help the children with their homework when they hit a problem. It is also his job to look as helplessly puzzled when he doesn’t know the answer (or understand the question).
It is the father’s job to make simple house repairs, such as changing the garbage disposal, fixing the toilet, repairing the door bell, or electrocuting himself when he should have called an electrician.
It is the father’s job to be the computer technician of the house, to hook up wires and strings, to buy and replace printer cartridges, and to curse Microsoft.
It is the father’s job to take the blame for whatever goes wrong, large or small, regardless if he is at fault or not, pick up the pieces and try to mend things.
It’s not easy being a father. They get all the dirty little jobs to do, and the leftovers to eat. They only ask for a little love and attention in return.
Just remember, fathers eat heels.
Keep the Faith!
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From the NationNews, Barbados, comes this story of an elderly man stabbed to death.
Preliminary investigations into the death of 90-year-old Fred Parris have ruled out robbery, and police sources have indicated the Stanmore Crescent, Black Rock, St Michael senior citizen received several stab wounds about the body, including to the neck, stomach and back.
Parris’ body was found about 5:30 a.m. lying in a small track leading to the popular beach. He was dressed in a short bathing pants and shirt.
Nicholas Harrison, one of Parris’ nephews, said he could see no other motive for his uncle’s killing, since he (Parris) was carrying no personal possessions when he met his death.
Perris, his family says, swam there every day except for Sundays, a day he reserved for church.
Parris was an accomplished man as he was the son of the first black captain of police in Barbados, he went on to become the first Barbadian to be named Grand Master of Prince Hall Masons of New York State in 1995 where he also served as a director of the Harlem Hospital.
Perris, the story reads, is survived by three children.
It is my feeling that Freemasons are by nature creative people, that is serious students of the Craft and not MINOs (Masons In Name Only). Some serious Freemasons are painters, some are sculptors, some are publishers, some have radio programs, some are musicians, some are actors, some own and operate large Masonic websites, others Masonic Internet Forums, some are magicians, many are teachers and clergy and a whole bunch are writers. And if an active Freemason doesn’t fit into any one of those categories he will at least tend to be a prolific reader. Now not all Freemasons fit into this mold but the percentage that do are very high. A person in the arts sees something in Freemasonry that draws them to it.
Twenty-eight year old Brother Hando Nahkur fits the mold described above. He is a concert pianist, a native Estonian who came to the United States 8 years ago. His first stop was Yale University in Connecticut where he spent 3 years studying music with Boris Berman, followed by 2 years at the New England Conservatory of Music in Boston with Gabriel Chodos, and then 3 years in the music program at Texas Christian University (TCU), Fort Worth, Texas where he is still matriculating under the tutelage of Tamás Ungár.
Nahkur is not done with his studies at TCU. Already in possession of a Masters Degree in Music he hoped to finish his DMA (Doctor of Music Arts) but an opportunity has risen, a great honor, which he cannot turn down, that will delay his further education. He will participate in the quarter finals of the 9th F. Liszt International piano competition at the Spring Festival in Utrecht, The Netherlands in March 2011. Auditions took place in Shanghai, Moscow, Utrecht and New York City. Over 200 pianists auditioned but only 24 were chosen, and Nahkur was one of those 24.
Nahkur also studied in Estonia before coming to the United States. He made his debut with the Estonian symphony orchestra at the age of sixteen. He went on to perform with the Orchestra of the Estonian National Opera.
While he frequently performs solo Nahkur has performed with the Bergslagen Symfoniker, the St. Andrews Festival Orchestra and the Fort Worth Symphony Orchestra. He has played at the Amersterdam Concertgebouw in the Netherlands, the theater of Markopoulous Mesogeas in Greece, Vienna Konzerthaus in Austria, H. Reimann Hall in Switzerland, the Teatro Eden in Italy, the Casa de la Cultura de Reynosa in Mexico, George Weston Hall, Toronto, Canada, Harris Concert Hall, Aspen, USA, Isabella Stewart Gardner Museum and Jordan Hall, Boston, USA, Steinway Hall, New York City, USA, Ed Landreth Hall, Fort Worth, USA and the Museum of Fine Arts, St. Petersburg, USA to mention a few.
He has played in 22 of the states of the United States, in Costa Rica, Italy, Sweden, Germany, Finland, Estonia, France, The Netherlands, Belgium, Czech Republic, Israel and Russia. Nahkur has garnered top prizes in both national and international piano competitions, including top prizes in Estonia, Italy, Greece, Russia, USA and Canada. In 2005 he was awarded the Golden Medal of Merit from Toronto, Canada.
Nahkur was raised to the sublime degree of Master Mason in Newton, Massachusetts at Waltham Triad Lodge in the Fall of 2007. The cause of his interest in Freemasonry is a story that should be paid attention to by members of the Craft who seek to add new blood. During his stay in Boston, Nahkur attended a music concert that just happened to be held at the auditorium of the Scottish Rite National Heritage Museum in Lexington, Massachusetts. The exhibits there piqued his interest and he started asking questions. Some who were in his party that were Masons answered his questions and one ended up bringing him to his Lodge in Newton. Within the year he was a Master Mason. And within another year he had moved to Texas and affiliated with Fort Worth Lodge #148 of the Grand Lodge of Texas AF & AM, where he is the Lodge’s musician –
Nahkur in addition to being a performer is an arranger of music and he plays and arranges some popular and romantic music as well as classical pieces. He also teaches music part time. His favorite classical composer is Liszt with Chopin and Schubert runner ups. His upcoming concerts include Boynton Beach, Florida in February and his native Estonia in April.
He is ecstatic with the rave reviews he has received on his latest CD, DeusExClavier. On his coming trip to Utrecht, Brother Nahkur hopes to go to Lodge there and meet Freemasons from the Netherlands. He speaks Finnish, Estonian, Italian and English languages. If you were to talk to Nahkur there are two character qualities that would stand out, his passion for what he does and what he is and his discipline.
If you would like to hear a sample of his playing and learn more about this talented Freemason, visit his website
There only remains to be said – not bad for a man of twenty eight years.