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What It Means To Be A Mason

Wor. Fran Foster and Wor. Frederic L. Milliken at the Cape Cod Cafe, Brockton, MA, in Dec., 2016.

In 1994 Wor. Fran Foster attended a very special event in his community. The Mt. Rushmore flag came to town, and many scouts, Masons, community leaders and just plain people gathered to celebrate the occasion and help raise and lower the flag. Also, there to record the occasion was local cable TV, Continental Cable.

Foster took a moment to ask Continental Cable Program Director Paul Joia if he could get air time for one Masonic show. Joia said I will do you one step better; I will give you a permanent time slot if you can put together a regular show.

So was born “What It Means To Be A Mason,” recorded at the East Bridgewater – Whitman Cable TV studio in Southeastern Massachusetts. Many Masons from the Brocton Masonic District came to help produce this show under the supervision of Program Director Joia who taught us all how to operate all the equipment, especially the cameras.

Each show different Brothers would step up to the plate to produce this show. For the first two shows, Foster asked Wor. Richard Cusick, Master of Paul Revere Lodge, and Wor. Frederic Milliken, Master of Plymouth Lodge, to be the guests and talk about what it means to be a Mason. After that Foster got guests from every Masonic Body, Masonic Library, The Massachusetts Grand Lodge, and even three Grand Masters.

Foster produced 28 What It Means To Be A Mason Cable TV shows. Although now over 20 years old they are timeless and the quality excellent.

The show selected above is an in-depth look at the Massachusetts Masonic Child Identification Program (CHIP). When the Grand Lodge of Massachusetts added tooth imprints to its Child Identification program, it produced the premiere child identification inside and outside of law enforcement in the state. Now it had a video, fingerprints, tooth imprint and DNA for total ID coverage. This is still the number one community outreach program of the Grand Lodge of Massachusetts.

All 28 of the Masonic TV shows Fran Foster produced are available for viewing here: http://www.phoenixmasonry.org/what_it_means_to_be_a_mason.htm

These Masonic TV shows were produced from 1994-1998 and include a number of different topics chosen to educate the general public.

Wor. Fran Foster was a pioneer in the field of Masonic TV and he is the model for those of us who are in the Masonic video business today. It is only fitting and proper that he should now receive the national recognition which he so richly deserves.

Fred Milliken: Fred is a Past Master of Plymouth Lodge, Plymouth Massachusetts, and Past Master of Paul Revere Lodge, Brockton, Massachusetts. Presently, he is a member of Pride of Mt. Pisgah No. 135, Prince Hall Texas, where is he is also a Prince Hall Knight Templar . Fred is a Fellow of the Phylaxis Society and Executive Director of the Phoenix Masonry website and museum.

View Comments (4)

  • In the French Scottish Rite, the answer to the question "Are you a Free mason?" is: "My brothers recognize me as such". This answer refers to the "quality" of a Free Mason, and not to his Grand Lodge

    Is it normal that more than five hundred thousand of Free Masons in the world are not recognized as Free Masons just because they don't belong to the only one Grand Lodge in their country recognized by the UGLE? While they practice Free Masonry the same way that all regular Free Masons are doing?

    This is one of the mysteries of Free Masonry .

    • Well, it has been known for civilians to put on a badge and gun and call themselves policemen, yet they are not duly sanctioned by their state or city. It is a view in many quarters that one cannot just claim to be something without having gone through duly authorized training and certification. Would you want a make-believe policeman guarding your street or a real one?

  • In France, more than 20 000 brethren (near half of the 45 000 members) left in 2012 the only recognized Grand Lodge, the GLNF, because of the dictatorship of its Grand Master who wanted to let the GL getting involved in politic with Mr. Sarkozy, the President of the Republic. The GLNF was then administered by a representative of the Ministry of Justice, and its recognization by most of the Grand Lodges in the world, UGLE included, was suspended. 12 000 among the 20 000 brethren founded an other Grand Lodge with the hope to be recognized, while the remaining brothers joined other Grand Lodges. All of them were initiated regularly in GLNF, but as they were idealistic Free Masons , they cannot stay any more in a Grand Lodge led by a dictator who closed several provinces and lodges and dismissed a lot of brothers. UGLE recognized again GLNF with another Grand Master, and don't want to recognize a second Grand Lodge, except if this one is accepted by the first one.

    Therefore, don't say that the more than 500 000 free masons of the non recognized Grand Lodge are not masons. Most of them are practicing Free masonry a lot more than some recognized Grand Lodges, with a lot of spirituality work, while a lot of recognized Grand Lodges prefer to do charity. In France, it is usual that the Lodges of the recognized or not Grand Lodges have one or two meetings per month. In a lot of recognized GL,some Lodges have only 4 meetings in a year ( in UGLE for example). The number of initiates in France is continuously increasing. They are now near 170 000, when in England the number is about 200 000, dropping from the 700 000 of the end of the second world war. The same decrease is happening in the USA.

    Of course, there is the Free Masonry of the Grand Orient of France and some other GL which don't follow the Landmarks accepted by the regular GL. But they are a minority in the world of non recognized GL. Most of the non recognized GL are not recognized because UGLE recognises only one GL by country instead of analysing the GLs one by one and recognize them according to the real regularity of their Free masonry practice.

    In the USA, a Scottish Rite Free Mason can get the 32th degree in a week end. In England, a Free Mason jumps from the 3rd degree directly to the 18th int he Scottish Rite.

    In France, Free masons of the 3rd degree of the Scottish rite have to be received in the 4th degree, the 9th degree, the 12th degree, the 18th degree, the 30th degrre, the 31th degree,the 32nd degree and the 33th degree. Thay have to do a lot of work on spirituality, to present a lot of papers, to pass examinations before hoping to be received at a higher degree.

    Yakiri ( former National Grand Expert and Provincial Grand Inspector of a recognized GL)

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