On May 22, 2019 President Trump presented Police Officer, and brother, Brent Alan Thompson the Public Safety Officer Medal of Valor posthumously, the highest national award for valor by a public safety officer. “An attack on our police is an attack upon our entire nation,” Trump said.
Brother Thompson was a Dallas Area Rapid Transit (DART) officer on live duty July 7, 2016 in downtown Dallas, Texas where he was monitoring a peaceful demonstration. Suddenly, shots rang out and Brent was ambushed and killed by a sniper just two weeks before his 44th birthday. He took a position behind a pillar outside El Centro College after the shots. The gunman snuck up on Thompson and fatally shot him from behind.
Brother Thompson was just two weeks into a new marriage with fellow DART police officer Emily.
Brother Thompson was a former Marine and Police Trainer. The Website Heavy tells us about some of his accomplishments:
He was an international police trainer who mentored Iraqi and Afghan police in the concepts of “democratic policing,” training Afghan officers how to avoid an ambush, according to a 2006 New York Times article quoting him and his own LinkedIn page. He’d also previously trained American police officers in active shooters.
Thompson Taught Afghan Police Officers How to Survive an ‘Ambush’ & Also Mentored Iraqi Police in ‘Democratic Policing.’
Thompson was chief of operations for Southern Iraq for DynCorp International, a private military contractor. “I was responsible for the day to day operations conducted by our American police officers who trained and mentored the Iraqi Police,” he wrote.
“My area of responsibility was the Special Programs Units (Baghdad, Iraq), Training Teams located at the US Embassy (South), Camp Echo, Camp Delta, Basrah, and Babel. These teams covered Iraq from Baghdad to the southern border with Kuwait. I also worked in Northern Iraq: Mosul, Haman Al Lil, Duhook, Talifar.”
He also served in Afghanistan. “I also was in Afghanistan (Helmand and Khandahar Provinces); I was a Team Leader there and Lead Mentor to the Southern Provincial Police Chief. In all locations we mentored and taught our Iraqi/Afghan counterparts democratic policing, and assisted in the establishment of the police departments in those location.”
Thompson Taught Specialized Police Training Courses in How to Handle an Active Shooter
He wrote, “I patrol the Northwest sector for the DART systems. This area includes Lewisville, Texas; Carrollton, Texas; Farmers Branch, Texas; Irving, Texas; and Dallas, Texas.”
Thompson Wrote That He Was Motivated by a ‘Team Atmosphere’ & Finding Ways to Serve
On his LinkedIn page, Thompson wrote, “I am motivated by a ‘Team’ atmosphere. I enjoy working on challenging tasks and problem solving with my peers. I am constantly looking for different ways to serve the department, this helps to keep my work from becoming sedentary and boring.”
His funeral was held at The Potter’s House, a church that held 17,000 worshippers. Thousands off police officers from all over the nation attended in their dress blues.
His Pastor described him as a man who instinctively liked and was liked by nearly all who met him.
Emily Thompson told the congregation: “Tuesday, June 21, 2016 was one of the happiest days of my life. I married the most amazing, caring, loving, selfless man I’ve ever known. Brent showed me that even though I would doubt myself from time to time, I’m strong and can do anything. Thursday, July 7, 2016 at 8:58 p.m., that was all ripped from me in an act of senseless violence.”
Brent Alan Thompson was a Master Mason at Corsicana Lodge No 174, the Grand Lodge of Texas AF & AM. He was also a former member of the Black Gold Chapter of DeMolay, Corsicana, Texas. The officers of The Grand Lodge of Texas performed his graveside ceremony.
As a DART employee myself, in customer service, I had the honor of meeting and talking to Brother Brent in person on several occasions. It was only weeks before his death in a conversation we had that I leaned that he was a Freemason.
Sandra Hughes, a retired teacher who knew Thompson, told The Washington Post: When he became a grandfather, he “just lived for those little kids.”
“…He was in every way, every way, that you would want your son, and that you would want someone that you knew, to be like. You’d want him to be like Brent. Because Brent, he was just that special,” Hughes said, according to the Post. She described him as calm, never agitated, and “down-to-earth,” the Post said.
And that is exactly the characteristics you will find in most Freemasons. We are a quiet, nonviolent, honest, patriotic lot. We are gentle, nonjudgmental men who build bridges across our communities and preach the Brotherhood of Man under the Fatherhood of God.
That is the way I remember Brother Brent Thompson. He was an inspiration to everybody he touched.
Recently I have been reading some essays by Masons who are dismayed at all the talk about membership, dues, dress, Grand Lodge edicts and other issues that they believe bring into the mix undue discussion, debate and division — the three Ds.
For them the philosophy of Masonry, its symbolism, its virtues, its morality, its positive effect on the human soul, its way of life is the only thing that should be talked about within the Masonic Community. All this other “stuff” is divisive, irrelevant, and unneeded controversy that hurts the Craft. We can call these Masons the Philosophical Intellectuals. Who cares where we meet, what we look like and how many of us there are. Many of these PI (Philosophical Intellectuals) Masons are heavily into Internet Masonry and less involved with Lodge itself. They see Masonry as a philosophy that can exist regardless of its structure because a philosophy requires no administration or infrastructure. It requires thought, enlightenment and personal practice without encumberment. It does not need a building or a leader or authority imposed on it. Masonry is a thought that can live in the minds of humans forever. It is indestructible, a personal journey that need not be shared with others and an intellectual movement that only requires a personal commitment to its ideals and its life changing message.
On the other side we have the Structural Administrative Freemasons who tell us that high brow intellectual philosophers in the Craft are all well and good but a Society, a Brotherhood without structure is anarchy. It no longer becomes a Brotherhood they say because what is lost is the interpersonal relationships, the camaraderie that is lost by the lack of personal contact. These Freemasons may bemoan the fact that we have become slaves to “communication machines” that remove from us our ability to relate face to face with others and hamper our ability to verbally, visibly and hands on bond with others. They will say that the Intellectual philosophers in the Craft would if they could put themselves on a pedestal while shoving the more practical Freemasons to a place of obscurity in a place where they cannot be seen or heard by the vast majority of humankind. These Freemasons are being charged with destroying the peace and harmony of Masonry for the sake of personal gain or notoriety.
The Structural Administrators strike back with, well these Masons are like those who own a new fancy car and all they are concerned with is driving it around without concern for whether there is gas in the gas tank or air in the tires. They say look Christianity is the thought and churches are the communal application of the thought. And that is what is important here — the communal application, the three degrees performed by living, breathing human beings not a video on a screen, and that we practice Masonry together with others. And the power of the personal touch, the effect of face to face practice of a philosophy cannot be overstated. If you are going to have infrastructure, a building, a ritual, a dogma, a catechism, a specific set up, designated leaders and positions of official status then you are going to have rules, regulations and enforcement. Thus, issues like dues, budgets, dress, qualifications for membership, what constitutes heresy, what permission is needed, how we are constituted, what we can do, what we cannot do, who has what authority and so forth have to be decided and then rethought and reviewed as each new generation enters into the Craft. Sometimes there are issues that need to be addressed when those in authority or those without authority bend the rules or distort them. Sometimes past oversights or changes in how we view things in today’s world have to be brought up to date. For instance, should a Mainstream Grand Lodge recognize a Prince Hall Grand Lodge. As much as anyone of us would like to avoid conflict and keep Masonry pure and innocent, that’s not reality. And the failure to realize that may lead to a Brotherhood that is corrupted and even hijacked by others who want it to be something else.
Both sides have some good points to consider. If more attention was devoted to the study of Masonry, its symbolism, its virtues, how it ennobles men and how it leads us to the Great Architect of the Universe then membership would increase. There are seekers or searchers among the newest generations who want to add meaning and purpose to their lives, who want to make a difference in this world. We have that for them if we will only offer it to them. However, American Lodges failure to teach what it has to offer and only pay lip service to its philosophy is its biggest downfall. One need only compare most European Lodges who are philosophical Lodges with American Lodges who are rather Service Clubs or Social Clubs. The fact that we have this outstanding philosophy which leads Masons who practice it to a joyous and rewarding life yet in the United States we spend most of the Masonic time on fund raisers, family gatherings, community action, charity and Brand and cigar nights is exactly what is leading to our diminishing numbers. We have something great to offer yet we pass over it to practice the more mundane things that a person could get in any number of other organizations. The Philosophical Intellectuals have a great point. Masons have a philosophy that no one else has. It being the strength of our organization when we fail to give it due homage and instruct the Brothers in its ways and what it can do for them, then we are defeating the purpose of being a Mason.
Why don’t we just change the name to Distinctive Gentlemen and get on with it?
But that does not let the Philosophical Intellectuals off the hook. Burying your head in the sand when problems come up and pretending that they don’t exist to avoid controversy does not lead to long term peace and harmony. Racism, homophobia, Grand Lodge unlawful expulsions and pulling of charters, corruption, religious discrimination, Grand Lodge micromanaging can’t be swept under the rug. Deal with the problems now or let them fester. Unfortunately, in many cases we have done the latter which only makes the explosion down the line much larger than it should be, because we have these Masons who say ignore the problems, we don’t want the controversy. We will not listen. We are going to stick our fingers in our ears and hum when you bring up such subjects.
Masons are not meant to be Monks. We need to deal with the real world. And while I sympathize with the agony and the disruption of controversial problems I cannot condone doing nothing, especially when some Masons are abused by other Masons; especially when too much power is concentrated in too few hands and is used unwisely and immorally. Look at civil society today. You have those who consider President Trump great and those who think he is terrible and there is a whole lot of controversy going on. And some of it is violent. Now we, as Masons, are better than that. Yet the call for no controversy at all by ignoring problems that may be tearing our beloved Fraternity apart is a Utopian Fantasy World.
One of the problems we have in the United States is the plethora of Grand Lodges, more than Ninety (counting Prince Hall). And that is not even counting the Clandestine Operations. In much of the rest of the world there is One Grand Lodge per nation. In some others there may be two, three, four or five but nowhere near the number that we have. And believe me when I say that what one Grand Lodge does affects the reputation and the public evaluation of all the other Grand Lodges. In the Information Age none of us lives anymore in a vacuum. What I have recommended for some time is that we have some sort of National Constitution and Bill of Rights or National Masonic Code of Ethics that would codify Grand Lodge conduct. And that Grand Lodges pull recognition from those who refuse to sign it and those who violate it. If we all agreed on proper conduct, what makes a Mason, the Landmarks, the proper dispersal of power within the Grand Lodge system, the rights of the Individual Mason and the limits of Grand Lodge then there would be a whole lot less of controversy, bickering and arguing.
Further exasperating the problem are some Masons who now very rarely go to Lodge. These tend to be the Internet Masons and they tend to be Philosophical Intellectuals. If my Lodge won’t participate in the study and education of Esoteric Masonry, many say, then I can get what is lacking in Lodge by having thoughtful and educational discussions on the Internet. Unfortunately, their lack of participation in the physical Lodge is hurting Lodge Freemasonry. They have become like Monks, withdrawing from the physical practice of Freemasonry by living out the Craft in Chat Rooms, Facebook, Masonic Forums and Yahoo Masonic Groups. They produce and watch YouTube videos and Masonic Podcasts – the new rage – about Freemasonry and gain their Masonic knowledge from Social Media. But when Structural Administrative Freemasons enter these discussions the Philosophical Intellectuals balk and accuse them of a “bait and switch,” and of a deliberate attack and destroy mission.
Fortunately for the moment the Masons who divide themselves into just Internet Masons or just Lodge Masons are a minority. Many Masons still do both. Yet as the Information Age becomes all pervasive the gap widens. There is a solution to this dichotomy. The Lodge Structural Administrative Freemasons need to put back into Lodge Communications a healthy study and education in Esoteric Masonry. This must be the emphasis of the Lodge for this is what distinguishes Masonry from every other run of the mill organization out there. The Philosophic Intellectual Masons have to work with Lodge Masons in strengthening the Live Lodge Experience while at the same time helping to solve injustices, abuses, micromanaging, corrupting, watering down, dumbing down and hijacking of and in Freemasonry. In short what we need in American Freemasonry is more Masonry and Temperance, Fortitude, Prudence and Justice.
The biggest problem Freemasonry is having today is not membership but retention. New recruits come in and soon find out we are not serious about our philosophy. But that is precisely why they chose to join Freemasonry. But we don’t talk about our philosophy, we don’t teach it. So, they will take two course of action to demonstrate that disappointment.
They will quit and demit
They will become an Internet only Mason.
Yes, we need to listen to the Philosophical Intellectuals. The newer Generations are looking for meaning and making a difference in their lives. But they are not getting it from the Old Guard.
But today’s Philosophical Intellectual Masons need to recognize that they cannot attract new members in numbers when Freemasons are racist, homophobic, religious intolerant and misogynists. Today’s Generation just will not abide by these human failings. That’s right, you heard right. We are going to have to recognize and/or admit African Americans, Gays and Women. And just as the Structural Administrative Freemasons are going to have to admit a vastly increased Esoteric Masonic study into Masonry so also do Philosophical Masons need to help solve the problems of Grand Lodge despotism, racism, homophobia and misogyny without raising the bogeyman of controversy. When and if we attack both sides of the problem, the issues on both sides, then and only then will we once again have a thriving, growing Fraternity in the 21st Century with today’s Generation.
This is the story of Brother Steven McAfoose, Senior Warden of Lux Lodge No 846, Grand Lodge of California.
McAfoose’s story is similar to that of recently published Brother Salman Sheika’s. You might call this “Why I Left Freemasonry Part 2.” But this story has a happy ending. McAfoose quit and returned. This is not sour grapes and a back stab at the Craft as he slams the door on the way out but rather an honest look into what could be better.
But McAfoose did not encounter any discrimination. His bone to pick with the Masonic World was unrealized expectations. McAfoose complains that we over hype and over sell what Freemasonry is and can do which leads to a drastic letdown when fantasy meets reality.
Also, he points out that many Lodges spend a lot of time and effort into doing little. Once again, we hear about boring business meetings and overworked Brothers who are drafted into an Army of fund raisers and work projects. This mirrors a video interview I did of Brother Justin Jones of the Grand Lodge of Texas on Phoenixmasonry Live – https://youtu.be/jhYOc6YXh-Y. Brother Jones said that his expectation of Freemasonry took him from the marvelous to the mundane.
McAfoose makes some other points too but we will let you read them for yourself.
This, however, gives me a chance to pontificate on where Freemasonry misses the boat.
Let’s group these problems under two headings
Lack of money
Overworking the Brethren
If you refuse to charge realistic dues to be able to provide a great Masonic experience, then you will have no money to provide any meaningful programs and opportunities of fellowship. Realistic Lodge dues should be in the neighborhood of $500 per year. Perhaps your old run-down Masonic building is taking all your Lodge money.
The answer is not fund raisers. Fund raisers are an excuse to keep Lodge dues artificially low for elderly brothers and those who are on the rolls but never come to Lodge. Freemasonry is not a Service Club. If you are bankrupting yourself and providing an inferior Masonic experience in order to accomplish charitable works and community action for the outside world you have your priorities askew. You must first make your Lodge financially viable before you consider helping the world, for if you go under everybody loses.
Lastly you cannot place an undue burden of time and effort on the small percentage of Lodge Brothers who come regularly. Most Brothers have family, job and worship time that must be shared with Freemasonry. If you ask the few to carry the load for everybody you are abusing your Brethren and you may find some who will drop out further increasing the burden on those who are left.
Raise your dues, sell your building and rent or sign up other tenants who will help pay for the costs of running a building and stop trying to save the world while your Lodge goes to pot. Put your Lodge money into Masonic education, esoteric study, post Third Degree mentoring and great fellowship and run your Communications accordingly and you won’t have the result that Brother McAfoose describes.
…”the number of men who have quit in their hearts is unknown, but I don’t think any of us would say that it is low.”
Why I Quit
By Bro. Steven McAfoose
It might come as a surprise to many who know me that shortly after becoming a Master Mason and even serving as an officer of my lodge, I left Freemasonry. And to be clear, I didn’t become less active, and it wasn’t a matter of being busy and not attending, I flat out quit. I decided that this wasn’t what I wanted and I did not anticipate ever returning. This discussion could be about why I came back, and focus on what Freemasonry can do to bring brothers back who have been absent from lodge for a time, but instead, I want to focus on why brothers leave in the first place and I’m going to do so by looking at the root cause rather than the symptoms that many others who have tackled this subject before me have done.
Statistics for brothers who have left Freemasonry are difficult to gather. While there are statistics that show gains and losses over the years, this really doesn’t give us the information we’re after. A member who joins and then quits the same year shows a net 0 number. Likewise, a man who joins, but simply becomes inactive, yet continues to pay dues makes it appear that our fraternity is growing. The fact of the matter is, the number of men who have quit in their hearts is unknown, but I don’t think any of us would say that it is low.
While I can’t say that everyone quits for the same reasons I did, I’d be willing to bet most of them leave for the same root cause; disappointment. To understand this, let’s go back and talk about what I was thinking and feeling during my first steps on this journey. Like most men who are interested in Freemasonry, the majority of what I knew was gleaned from the internet, Hollywood, and my interactions with Masons. What was this organization? What did they stand for? What do they do? What can I expect? And is this something I want to be a part of?
…our aging lodges with stained carpets and peeling paint are a long way off from the mahogany and marble clad temples seen in the movies.
How does Freemasonry present itself, or how is it presented by others, to the outside world? We are a brotherhood of deep ties and fraternal relations. We offer mutual beneficial support to protect each other in difficult times. We are an ancient, prestigious institution of the elite. We have networking and connections that allow for special treatment professionally and in other aspects of life. We are a charitable organization giving millions of dollars a year to our communities and doing social works projects in our free time. We make good men better, focusing on self-improvement and creating a cadre of morally superior men. We delve into the ancient mysteries and lay bare esoteric knowledge and secrets that unlock the universe.
Sound familiar? Sound exciting? It certainly did to me. And I’m sure it sounds very exciting to thousands of other men who wish to join our ranks. But, the real question is, is it true?
Are we a brotherhood of deep ties and fraternal relations? How many of us have had any contact with each other not related to lodge business? That’s not to say it doesn’t happen. One of my groomsmen at my wedding was the Worshipful Master who initiated me. But, the fact of the matter is, my college fraternity was a hundred times closer than this fraternity is.
Do we offer mutual beneficial support to protect each other in difficult times? Yes, we have committees that can offer a brother some help financially. We also have Masonic Homes for our more senior brothers and their families. But I don’t think any of us have ceased to have concerns over what would happen if we lost our job tomorrow based on the support available through Freemasonry.
Are we an ancient, prestigious institution of the elite? Well, ancient is up for debate since the first Grand Lodge was formed only 300 years ago. Prestigious? I suppose that depends on your definition, but our aging lodges with stained carpets and peeling paint are a long way off from the mahogany and marble clad temples seen in the movies. As for elite, that certainly isn’t a label I’d use for myself, and I doubt many other brothers would either as we come from all walks of life.
Do our associations give us special treatment in the workplace or life in general? I’ve certainly never received any benefit. In fact, quite the opposite based on a few people with negative views of our fraternity finding out I am a member. I think we’d all love to get out of a speeding ticket or get a promotion at work via a secret handshake, but I’ve not once heard of it happening.
Are we a charitable organization that donates millions and volunteers in the community? In some cases, yes. Freemasonry as a whole does donate significant amounts of money each year. But as lodges continue to shrink, the funds available for this kind of thing dry up. My mother lodge spent all year putting on pancake breakfasts that required me in my early 20’s to show up at the lodge at 4am to raise money for a scholarship. That scholarship was around $5k each year. I have no doubt that the winner appreciated it, but we were hardly changing the world. As for community outreach, some lodges do more than others, but it tends to be more along the lines of a few guys from the lodge doing it rather than a true lodge effort.
Do we make good men better? I would argue no. What do we do to make good men better? We hold meetings, pay bills, practice memorizing ritual. How does that make anyone morally superior? However, there is some truth to this which I will get to later.
Do we hold the keys to secret esoteric knowledge that bring us closer to God? Like the previous question, I would say that there is some truth to this, but not in any way, shape, or form like we portray. And for roughly 95% of Masons, I’d say it just isn’t true.
So, we, Hollywood, public perception, whatever, set this expectation of what to expect. This is how our fraternity is advertised. A man joins, and what is he met with? Meetings about paying bills. Having to memorize pages of ritual that basically sounds like a goofy play. Giving up his free time to perpetuate these things, and without any of the things that were advertised to him at the beginning. Bait and switch might be a harsh term, but it wouldn’t be completely wrong.
But I’m not condemning Freemasonry for this. Half of this is how the rest of the world portrays us. Another 25% is us wanting to agree with the positive assumptions and so perhaps not correcting them as strongly as we should. The last quarter of these portrayals are true, but perhaps not to the extent that the ambitious candidate expects.
This was the state that I found myself in years ago; disenfranchised with the reality of the situation. I had done my part, I thought. I had memorized the ritual, and I had put in the time, I had paid my dues, I had rushed from work straight to meetings to give up my free time to listen to retired brothers argue for hours about whether $50 per month to pay for a company to mow the grass was reasonable of if we should form a committee to investigate alternatives. And what did I receive in return? …nothing. I had become a mentor in my lodge and had initiated new men, mentored them, helped them progress so that they could then do the same for future generations of Masons. But for what? So that we could continue to argue about bills and form committees? Is this all that Freemasonry had to offer? And so, I quit. And no doubt, there were discussions about it after I did so. Probably with the same tired grumblings of the old guys in the back that we typically hear.
“These younger kids don’t want to put in the work. He’s lazy. He said he could spare the time, but then he backed out.” We make up these excuses for the brothers who leave, never bothering to ask them. We look for solutions to these false reasons. One day raisings. Short form proficiencies. More casual lodge conditions.
Let me make this abundantly clear; a man who is told what his expectations are, and agrees, and then later backs out probably didn’t do so because it was too much effort. He knew what he was getting himself into. What he found, is that it was too much effort for what he got in return. And that’s the problem. It’s the bait and switch. We failed to hold up our end of the bargain, so why should he hold up his end? I decided not to. I quit.
And yet…here I sit. So what brought me back? The requirements on my time and energy didn’t change. The fraternity didn’t change. So what shift was there in the dynamic? It was simply a more honest look at the relationship I had with Freemasonry. I took a step back and I looked at it with open eyes.
This brotherhood wasn’t like the one in my college fraternity, but it made available to me men who held similar interests and values as I did. But it was up to me to make those connections.
The support of Freemasonry might not keep me from worrying about losing my job, but it does offer additional resources that I wouldn’t otherwise have if life takes a turn for the worse.
We might not be an ancient institution, but we carry on the legacy and perpetuate teachings that reach back to antiquity. Our prestige has waned over the years, but it is not the external qualifications that our fraternity ought to be judged by, but our internal qualities. And it is up to me as a representative of our great moral institution to demonstrate to the world by my example just how elite we are.
Our membership does not bring special favors, and I know that now. But with the teachings I have learned from Freemasonry, I am glad for it, because if it did, I would not be able to learn the valuable lessons of humility and equality.
Whether we are a charitable organization could be debated from lodge to lodge. I know there are some lodges that focus heavily on charity and volunteer work, and if that was my primary concern, I would belong to those lodges and take advantage of their active involvement. But again, that is a decision that I am responsible for. But aside from that, Freemasonry has instilled in me a more charitable nature. My giving isn’t always in front of a podium with an oversized check with a square and compass on it. It is to the hungry man on the corner, to the children selling candy bars for a school trip, to Toys for Tots, to the Salvation Army, to the local food bank. My charity might not be organized, but that doesn’t make it any less helpful. And again, that is my decision.
And that brings us to making good men better. I believe that Freemasonry’s oft used adage of ‘We make good men better’ is a misnomer. I think instead, we ought to say ‘we provide the tools to allow good men to make themselves better.’ We need to change the belief that we do something to others. It is not a passive improvement on the part of our candidates. Rather, we give them the means by which they can improve themselves.
And this is done by way of the teachings contained in our rituals. Lessons that go back thousands of years. But, like any other lesson, they are useless unless the student is willing to spend the time and effort to understand them and put them into practice. When I realized this, I realized that the fraternity did not fail me. I failed me. I was given what I needed to improve myself, and then I sat there statically, upset that nothing was happening. I viewed the meetings as a waste of time, not understanding that the meetings are what allowed us to continue to pass on the tools to new brothers, so that each of us could improve ourselves.
It was this shift in my perspective that lead me to realize that Freemasonry still had a great deal to offer, but only if I was willing to seize it. I was fortunate in the fact that I came to this realization on my own. I fear that few brothers in my shoes will do the same. Therefore, it is up to us to ensure that it never gets to that point in the first place. So how do we do that?
Simple; we set realistic expectations. We tell the candidate what it is really like. Not the pretty, shiny image we put on brochures, but the reality of day to day life as a Freemason. We tell him about the long, boring meetings. We tell him about the work he’ll have to do memorizing ritual, including the time it will take to drive to meet his instructors. We tell him that not all lodges are equal; that some focus on charity, that some focus on research, that some focus on fellowship. We encourage him to visit many different lodges and explain that they all have their pros and cons and tell him that it is important to find the one that truly offers whatever it is he’s looking for. We bluntly explain that while we will provide his working tools to improve himself, he is the one who must labor in the quarries. And finally, and perhaps most importantly, we explain that during his labors, when he finds that he wants help, that he must proactively seek us out, and in turn, we must make a commitment to support him.
It is natural to assume that by removing some of the gilding from Masonry that we may hear fewer knocks at our door. But if we provide a fair and honest assessment of what can be found within our temples, we will lay a solid foundation of understanding among our new brothers that will result in a stronger edifice.
Good things and fine times need to be savored and contemplated before revealing. And so, I have done exactly that with Texas MasoniCon 2018. This was truly an event to be savored and reviewed and revered. It is unlikely that so many Masonic speakers of such talent can be showcased all in one place in one day. But you have to hand it to Brother Rhit Moore of Fort Worth Lodge No 148, AF & AM and his team, Gabriel Jagush, Mark McCaghren, and Billy Hamilton They did it and did it up proud.
Registration started with coffee and pastries at 7:00 AM on a Saturday morning and we finished up at 5:00 PM. There were six Break Out speakers conducting workshops and three keynote speakers.
THE BREAKOUT SPEAKERS
A. Daniel Pearson ~ Archetypes And Their Power In The Masonic Myth
Pearson defined Archetypes and went on to speak about, collective unconsciousness, Jung, Syzgies, and rebirth.
He referenced Joseph Campbell’s work, Mythological Aspects of Masonry – The Hero Of A Thousand Faces and The Masks Of God.
Then it was on to the concepts of Apotheosis, Elements of the Hero and Elements of the Hero In Masonry. That led to a long discussion of the Monomyth in Masonry.
B. David Bindel ~ Creativity In Masonry
Bindel started off his talk with the question “Who Comes Here?” He told us that was a very important question in Masonry. Who are we? We don’t ask often enough about the symbolism of Masonry, Bindel contends. He went on to say that we need to ask the candidate what it means to him, invoke a personal story. “Who Comes Here’ imparts how important it is. What are our intentions as a new Mason? What do we want to get out of Masonry? Ask these questions of the Brothers going through the degrees.
Bindel asks, what if during the degree the Conductor had not jumped in and answered the question but let the candidate answer it? “What do you most desire?” What if the candidate answered not the Conductor?
“Masonry doesn’t need to be all things to all people, just a meaningful experience,” proclaimed Bindel.
Masons historically were builders, he went on to say. We can look at the building of King Solomon’s Temple, what building a temple means and how it relates to building ourselves. When our spiritual temple is finished God comes to dwell in us. The Temple rebuilt is a symbol of us changing our views, refining our conception of Deity enabling us to build finer temples for Deity to reside in.
“A degree is about giving an experience to a Brother,” Bindel emphasizes.
Before concluding he asked us all to remember three important points as builders:
C. Larry Fizpatrick ~ The Hiramic Legend
Larry M. FitzPatrick
Fitzpatrick pointed out that while the Hiramic Legend came into practice in 1725 or maybe even sooner in 1711 in the Grand Lodge of Ireland, that it had many ancient origins…similar allegories from much earlier.
Pikes Porch and The Middle Chamber
Nerval’s Journey To The Orient
Les Compag nos Du Tour de France
The Sources of the Hiramic Legend
John Theophilus Desaguliers
James Anderson who was first an Operative Mason
Isaac Newton – “Chronology of Ancient Kingdom”
Ancient Mystery Schools
Comacine Masters French Companionage
Scottish Operative Lodges
Turkish/Arab Legend – Nerval’s Journey to the Orient
Egyptians – Osiris, Isis, Horus
Babylonian/Sumerian – Tanmuz, Dumuzi, Inania
Hindus – Brahma, Vishnu, Shiva
Fitzpatrick explained that the purpose and meaning of the Hiramic Legend is Fidelity, Courage, Endurance and Self -Sacrifice.
However, the hidden meaning is an Allegory for the Path of the Sun. There is a Zodiac Association of the 12 Tribes of Israel and the Hiramic Legend. The path of the sun through the Ecliptic is 6 months above the Equator and 6 months below.
TROPIC OF CANCER – EQUATOR – TROPIC OF CAPRICON
The path of Venus forms a 5-pointed star.
D. Pete Normand – English Freemasonry Before The Grand Lodge Era
This was by far the most detailed and long fact sheet talk about Masonry.
Normand explains that he is not talking about Scottish Masonry.
He emphasizes that 1717 is just about the birth of Grand Lodge Freemasonry. Before that time, however, there was much Masonic activity.
Freestone Masons existed Centuries before English Masonry was more formerly organized.They were artisans, sculptures with an understanding of geometry. The Romans imported builders. The Normans imported Masons. Sadly most of the Masons in London either left town or died from the Black Death Plague of 1348-1349.
Then, after the Plague, as Masons began to return to London, a labor dispute arose in 1756 between the more skilled (and better paid) Freemasons and the less skilled Rough Masons. So, the Mayor of London asked the Freemasons and Rough Masons to sit down and come up with a set of statutes to govern their common craft. These Statutes of 1356 were created by a committee composed of 6 Freemasons and 6 Rough Masons, and it is likely that these Regulations soon led to the creation of the London Masons guild, known as the Fellowship of Masons.
The Regius (Halliwell) MS. is undated, but most scholars say that it was composed about 1390, but since it is a poem, it is obvious that it was composed from an earlier version of what we usually call the “Gothic Constitutions,” more accurately called the “Manuscript Constitutions.”The Fellowship of Masons was granted a Coat of Arms of 1472. The Coat of Arms was found all over England and proves that these Masons considered themselves a National Body.
The Fellowship of Masons was changed to the Company of Freemasons and later the Company of Masons by government edict.
Normand spoke about the dissolution of the Monasteries by Henry VIII and the Protestants. Henry VIII and the Reformation tore down the Catholic Gothic Style considered superstition. After the dissolution of the monasteries during the 1530s, the remainder of the 1500s was considered a period of “dark ages” for the Masons, because their primary employers (the monasteries) had been closed, forcing the Freemasons and Rough Masons to find work elsewhere. It was at this time that Freemasons first began admitting Non Operatives into their Lodges.
Next, we come across the The Original Account Book which was the financial records of the Guild beginning in 1619. An entry in 1620 shows that 6 men paid additional fees to become members of the Livery, Officers of the Guild. In 1621 3 of the 6 paid additional fees to become a Mason. Thus Operative Guild members were “Made Masons.” In further entries in the old account book, it becomes evident that they were being admitted into a secretive body within the guild known as “The Accepçon” (or “The Acception”).
Evidence that all this was not just a London thing was that Elias Ashmole was “Made A Free Mason” on October 16, 1646. In March of 1682 records show that Ashmole received a Summons to appear at a Lodge the next day This was about holding a Lodge not going to a Lodge, the distinction being that any group of Masons could form a “Lodge” for the day and in the future another group, some of the same Masons, could form a Lodge which had an existence of one day. Ashmole wrote extensively about Accepted Masons who were also Operative Masons.
In 1686 Dr. Robert Plot wrote the book, “The Natural History of Staffordshire.” He wrote about a manuscript of Lodge meetings and the signs of acceptance.
William Dugdale and John Aubrey described customs of Freemasonry long before the formation of a Grand Lodge.
During the reign of King James II (1685-1688) it appears that The Acception, composed of both operative and non-operative members, fearing that their meetings at Masons Hall might bring down unwanted scrutiny on the guild, the accepted Masons (both operative and non-operative) decided to stop meeting at Masons Hall in Basinghall Street, and moved their meetings to various taverns, inns, pubs and alehouses around London. Apparently, other accepted Masons were already doing the same, but the guild’s meeting hall was no longer a meeting place for The Acception. And so, at that time, The Acception, as a separate entity, disappeared from the historical record, as its members blended in with the other members of the “Society of Freemasons,” as it was often called during the 1600s.
Within a few years, by 1691, there was a group of accepted Freemasons holding a lodge on a regular basis at the Goose & Gridiron Alehouse in St. Paul’s Churchyard. Prior to the Great Fire of 1666, that venue was marked by a sign with the Musicians Guild coat-of-arms, which had a swan & lyre. But, after the Great Fire, when the building was restored, the proprietor put up a carved and painted wooden swan, with a gridiron in place of a lyre. (I guess he couldn’t find a lyre.) But, the swan had a very short neck and looked more like a goose, and Londoners started calling the place “The Goose & Gridiron,” in much the same way that others would call the “White Swan Pub,” the “Mucky Duck.”
Conclusion: Freemasonry was alive and well for at least 100 years before it was more formally organized.
E. Brad Billings – Astronomy & Masonry
Billings talked about these astronomical representations in the Lodge and Masonic symbolism
The Winding Stairway
Opening and Closing we talk about the positioning of the Sun
The Masonic Altar – place of Masonic Light
Point Within A Circle and its astronomical layout
The Lesser Lights
Regarding the Masonic Altar Billings pointed out that in circumambulation the right hand is closet to the Bible, the Light and the left hand represents the Sun. The answers to the four questions the candidate gives affirms that in God I am Light.
He also pointed out that the Ruffians stand counter clockwise. After the slaying they stay in a place of darkness.
F. John Tolbert – Freemasonry is Free Thought
Tolbert suggested that Masonry has drifted away from its original concept.
He says to the poor & blind candidate for Masonry, “You are lacking something. We have it for you: LIGHT.” Listen to our prayers – Ecclesiastes 12 and Psalm 133 – you are brought into a Priesthood, dedicating yourself to a spiritual path.
Even the Templars borrowed Psalm 133.
Freemasonry is free thought, a position where truth is based on logic and/or reason, not authority or revelation.
Tolbert talks about the Latitudinarians Latitudinarians, or latitude men were initially a group of 17th-century English theologians – clerics and academics – from the University of Cambridge in Cambridge, England, who were moderate Anglicans (members of the Church of England, which was Protestant). In particular, they believed that adhering to very specific doctrines, liturgical practices, and church organizational forms, as did the Puritans, was not necessary and could be harmful: “The sense that one had special instructions from God made individuals less amenable to moderation and compromise, or to reason itself.” Thus, the latitudinarians supported a broad-based Protestantism. They were later referred to as Broad Church.
An analogy could be the battles between the Whigs and the Tories.
Tolbert also brings up William Schaw who in his Statutes of 1599 addressed those regulations which govern the structure of Freemasonry. The Art of Memory was directly connected to this ancient Statute.
What followed was a discussion of Stocism, that self control is the key to Enlightenment without which the dignity of Freemasonry is lacking.
These points were made:
Rebels, heretics and non conformists
Freemasonry had many of the latter in its earlier formation:
Elias Ashmole – a free thinker and Alchemist
John Theophilus Desaguliers – hung around with Isaac Newton for 20 years
Isaac Newton – Newtonism, a new way of looking at life.
Therefore, Freemasonry is a product of:
THE KEYNOTE SPEAKERS
The beautiful Hall at the Fort Worth, Texas Temple where the Keynote Speakers made their presentations
Fort Worth Masonic Temple
Piers A. Vaughan – The Magician, The Mystic and the Mason – The Unlikely Origin of the Scottish Rectified Rite
Piers A. Vaughan
Vaughan starts off with Baron von Hund who authored the Rite of Strict Observance. On the ruins of this Order rose the Scottish Rectified Rite
The Magician: Martinez de Pasqually
The Order of Elus Colen
In the highest degree, the Reaux-Croix, the initiate was taught to use Theurgy to contact spiritual realms beyond the physical.
De Pasqually put forth the philosophy underlying the work of the Elus-Cohens in his only book, Treatise on the Reintegration of Beings, which first uses the analogy of the Garden of Eden, and refers to Christ as “The Repairer”. The ultimate aim of the Elus-Cohen was to attain – whilst living – the Beatific Vision through a series of magical invocations and complex theurgic operations.
The Mystic: Louis-Claude de Saint-Martin
Here we see a mystical tradition in which emphasis is placed on meditation and inner spiritual alchemy. Saint-Martin moved away from theurgic ritual towards what he called “The Way of the Heart.”
Vaughan talks about Gnostic Philosophy and The Three Grand Principals here.
The Mason: Jean Baptiste Willermoz
He brought together the philosophy of Pasqually and Saint-Martin to create The Rectified Scottish Rite, also known as Order of Knights Beneficent of the Holy City or Knights Benefactor of the Holy City
Thus we can see the connection between Martinism and Freemasonry.
Michael Poll – The Battle of New Orleans
Poll was the story teller of Texas MasoniCon.
He recounted that Pete Normand took him to Holland Lodge No 1 in Texas named after John Henry Holland, PGM of the Grand Lodge of Louisiana. So why was Texas’ first Lodge named after a Louisiana Mason?
The Grand Lodge of Louisiana was created at the same time as the War of 1812. The final battle which the Americans won was decisive and actually occurred several weeks after the treaty was signed.
Andrew Jackson was given command of the area. The Americans did not know where the British would land. Jackson was very short on munitions. He had to pick a spot to ambush the British, but the question was how could he make the British fall into the trap? That answer will come at the very end.
Jackson set up his troops on the Rodriguez Canal 5 miles outside the city of New Orleans. Packingham, the British Commander walked right into the ambush. With the Mississippi River on their right and swamp and fog on their left it was like shooting ducks in a pond. The British were decimated. 2000 British were killed that day.
But things didn’t add up. Packingham could have sailed right by the American fortifications and into the City of New Orleans without opposition. Jackson had put all his eggs in one basket, the Rodriguez Canal. So why did the British land there? Someone, a spy, told them that they could land there unopposed and undetected and no one would know they were there until it was too late. They could sneak up on the city and take it.
The spy was the pirate Jean Lafitte. Lafitte secretly met with the British and told them for a fee he would let them know where to land their ships in the New Orleans area that was away from American troops – a safe harbor. He then decided to double cross the British and offered his services to General Jackson along with a generous supply of powder and munitions. The offer came at a price, that Jackson would see that he got pardoned and several other renumerations. Jackson accepted Lafitte’s offer but before Lafitte could meet with the British to set them up for an ambush he was arrested and jailed by the government of Louisiana.
W CC Clayborn, the first Governor of Louisiana, felt New Orleans was lawless and disliked the Lafittes immensely. Governor Clayborn put a bounty on the Lafitte brothers plastering the New Orleans area with posters. In retaliation the Lafitte brothers put a bounty on Governor Clayborn and plastered New Orleans with posters. Alas, the government got to Jean Lafitte before he could get to the Governor. In jail Lafitte let Jackson know there was no deal unless he was released and pardoned. Jackson pleaded with Governor Clayborn to release Lafitte but the Governor stubbornly refused.
The jailer, however, against orders released Lafitte and the deal with Jackson went through. That is how the British got ambushed and lost the battle. The jailer was a young John Henry Holland who ultimately would become the Grand Master of Masons in Louisiana and for whom Holland Lodge No 1 in Texas is named. This is how Freemasonry played a big part in the Battle of New Orleans and the future prospects of General Andrew Jackson.
In 8 years Jackson would become Grand Master of Masons in Tennessee and 6 years later President of the United States.
Now you know the rest of the story!
Chuck Dunning – Masonry Is A Contemplative Path Toward Wholeness
Dunning started his presentation by working backwards on the 5 big words in his title.
Wholeness is not just having all the parts in one place. It is peace, harmony and unity.. The Temple is also a model for each one of us. It is more than the sum of its parts or our parts.
The work is never finished in this world. We are going to make mistakes, to fail. But there are two follies to avoid
Unnecessary self-loathing and self-punishment
Believing we are arriving at a state of perfection
A way, one traveled a travel by others who have gone before us – the ancient landmarks
There is a three-step process in travelling or working on this path:
Awareness – Be aware of all the parts, our materials and tools
Understanding – How do the parts relate to each other.
Action – Act by experimenting with the parts
Mindfulness, meditation, prayer, The Art of Memory are all ways we go deeper with awareness, understanding, and action
We don’t need other traditions. It is our own contemplative effort that reveals the depths. We don’t need to bring in outside processes to help. It’s all right here in the Craft, right before us.
Dunning then turned to the Texas Monitor and made these observations
In the Initiation there is meditation.
Masonry does not expound on the truths of its symbols (hence the need for contemplation).
Lodge is open on not in a certain Degree, meaning we should freely contemplate on its symbols rather than be limited in the exact words.
A Mason should hear, study, observe and develop these symbols for himself
The Charge at the opening of a Lodge – “Wisdom dwells with contemplation.”
Some other observations that Dunning made:
Speculative means contemplative – looking into symbolism
Meditation yields inspiration. Hiram Abiff would retire to prayer before designing on the trestle board.
Develop awareness, deep thinking, understanding
Action through experimentation
The Fellowcraft’s lecture on hearing and the Master’s lesson on the Beehive are examples of how our wholeness has both private/internal and and social/external dimensions.
Again: Awareness, Understanding, Action
The single word that sums it all up is….LOVE!
We find love throughout the ritual of Masonry:
Last tool presented to a Mason – The Trowel, to spread brotherly love and affection
“Behold how good it is and how pleasant it is for Brothers to dwell in unity”
The tenets of our profession – Brotherly Love, Relief and Truth
Covering of the Lodge – Jacobs ladder – the highest virtue is charity which is caritas, agape, love
The first tool, the 24” gauge = 3 divisions of loving effort
Common gavel – to use it is as act of love for ourselves and others
Love is hard work. To manage our emotions, to have a commitment to live this way is hardly easy and pleasant. Love can bring us struggle, regret, disappointment. But the mystery about love is that it has no opposite that can transcend it. We can feel hate but still do loving things.
LOVE IS DIVINE. It is the essence of peace and harmony.
Love is our:
The Mystic Tie
TEXAS MASONICON 2019 IS ON JULY 26 – 27. Mark your calendars!
Freemason Hando Nahkur discusses his homeland, Estonia, how and why he became a Mason and what the life of a Concert Pianist studying for his Doctorate is like. Along the way we get to watch him perform.
Brother Hando Nahkur
This visit with Hando we were really much more able to do justice to his performances as a classical Concert Pianist. Two clips of Hando playing, Rachmaninoff and Liszt are sharp and crisp and oh so wonderful.
Hando also brings us some delightful insights into Estonian culture with beautiful pictures to illustrate his native land. Don’t miss the part about Tall Hermann’s Tower or the Singing Festival of 30,000 Estonian singers.
This latest Hando video also coincides with his release of his newest album, Lisztomania.
Be sure to visit Brother Hando’s website for more of his music and dates of upcoming concerts:
What is Texas Masonicon? Here is how they tell it:
In their efforts to seek more light, the brethren of Fort Worth Lodge #148 began a tradition of bringing in guest speakers for Masonic educational talks. Talk after talk, our membership flourished and was enriched. After how much we have enjoyed the benefits of this program, we have decided to share this experience with other brothers who desire to seek more light.
Masonic education is a critical component to every brother’s journey in the Craft. However, it can be extremely hard to come by, even though our fraternity is filled with extraordinary speakers who will gladly share their research. We felt it was our responsibility to share the results of our educational program and create a Masonic educational event that would benefit the Craft on a larger scale. The location? The Fort Worth Masonic Temple.
They’re calling it: Texas MasoniCon
The last two Aprils Ezekiel Bates Lodge in Attleboro, Massachusetts has held a Masonicon. It is generally an all-day event of Masonic speakers from different parts of the country gathered together to make presentations and includes followup workshops and group participation.
Texas MasoniCon is intended to be an annual Masonic educational conference, and will bring together interested Brothers looking for more light in Masonry with knowledgeable authors and dignitaries from around the country.
Their keynote speakers for their inaugural convention will be three distinguished Masonic authors: Bro. Michael Poll is the founder of Cornerstone Publishing, V.E. Piers Vaughan is Past Grand High Priest of New York, and Bro. Chuck Dunning is the founding Superintendent of the Academy of Reflection.
Michael R. Poll is the owner of Cornerstone Book Publishers. He is a Founding Fellow and Past President of The Masonic Society, a Fellow of the Philalethes Society and Fellow of the Maine Lodge of Research. and a contributor to Heredom, the publication of the Scottish Rite Research Society.
A New York Times Bestselling writer and publisher, he is a prolific writer, editor and publisher of Masonic and esoteric books, having published over 200 titles.
Very Excellent Piers Vaughan is a Past Grand High Priest for New York Grand Chapter. His Masonic membership began in England in 1979, and he joined a number of Orders before joining St. John’s Lodge No. 1 in New York. He has traveled extensively across the USA and in many countries abroad giving lectures on a number of topics, ranging from history to talks on the symbols and esotericism of Masonry. An interest in 18th Century French Masonic Ritual led him to translate a number of important treatises and rituals into English.
V.E. Bro. Vaughan has written the Capitular Development Course, and Renaissance Man & Mason.
Chuck Dunning has been a Master Mason since 1988, is a member of Blue Lodges and Scottish Rite Valleys in both Texas and Oklahoma, and also belongs to a number of Masonic research societies. In the Scottish Rite, Chuck is a Knight Commander of the Court of Honor, Director of Education for the Guthrie Valley in Oklahoma, and a Class Director for the Fort Worth Valley in Texas. In 2012 he became the founding Superintendent of the Academy of Reflection, which is a chartered organization for Scottish Rite Masons wanting to integrate contemplative practice with their Masonic experience.
Bro. Dunning has authored Contemplative Masonry: Basic Applications of Mindfulness, Meditation, and Imagery for the Craft.
Their guest speakers are experts in Masonic leadership and education. They are:
Brad Billings – PM, Texas Lodge of Research
David Bindel – PM, Jewel P. Lightfoot Lodge
Larry Fitzpatrick – Past Grand Orator, GL of TX
Pete Normand – PM, Texas Lodge of Research
Roberto Sanchez – author The True Masonic Experience
John Tolbert – past DDGM
It is events like this one that is educating a new batch of leaders for the Masonic Fraternity of tomorrow. It is also a way of holding first rate Masonic Conferences that seems to be popular and catching on all across the U.S.A. There is a new day dawning on Freemasonry in America. American Masonry is becoming more national and less parochial in its outlook and that is helping it keep up with the 21st Century and the Information Age.
If you haven’t been to a Masonicon try it. You’ll like it!
WB Ben Wallace always knew that there were deeper meanings embedded in Masonry, it just took him awhile to find them. And when he did, there was no stopping him from organizing and promoting esoteric, philosophical Masonry across the entire state of North Carolina.
First, he had to found North Carolina’s first Traditional Observance Lodge, Sophia Lodge.
Next through his TO experience, becoming Master at Wilkerson College Lodge No 760, North Carolina’s Research Lodge, and then Chairman of the North Carolina Grand Lodge Committee on Masonic Education he developed a 3-hour presentation of the Allegory and Symbolism of the Three Degrees. With permission from the Grand Master, he toured North Carolina giving this presentation for three years.
But Ben Wallace was not done with promoting esoteric and philosophical Masonry. He had a burning desire to take it to the next step. And the next step was to morph his Allegory and Symbolism lecture into a full-blown program sanctioned and offered by the Grand Lodge of North Carolina. Thus, was born North Carolina’s Middle Chamber Masonic Education Program.
This program is given quarterly for a full year.
Part One is an Introduction to Masonic Allegories and Symbols, the original Wallace lecture. It became known as “The Hook” because it was given to interested Brethren free of charge to give them an overview of what was coming. After that, any Brother wishing to take the next step had to sign up with the Grand Secretary and pay the sum of $150. That payment included the “Big Five,” 5 books chosen for the course. They are:
The Meaning of Masonry by Wilmshurst
Freemasonry Its Hidden Meaning by Steinmetz
The Way of the Craftsman by MacNulty
Contemplative Masonry by Dunning
The Rough and Rugged Road by Hornsby
So, the first quarter is The Hook.
The second quarter is the 1st Degree, The Physical Nature of Man, our interactions with the physical world
The third quarter the 2nd Degree, The Psychical Nature of Man – Psychology and “mind stuff.”
The fourth quarter is the 3rd Degree, The Spiritual Nature of Man, the spiritual aspect of the student.
It takes a whole year to graduate but Wallace says even this is too fast.
We don’t want to give away any more of this great program because the rest of the story is in the video. Don’t miss it!!
RW Frank Jackson was raised to the Sublime Degree of Master Mason in 1969 at the age of 18. Today he is both the Grand Junior Warden of The Most Worshipful Prince Hall Grand Lodge of Texas and the Grand Historian.
Jackson offers many Masons a different perspective on the origins of higher knowledge, scholarship, and philosophical thought. And a different perspective on the development of Freemasonry in the United States.
How many people, whether Masons or not, know the role Egypt, a part of Africa, was to play in the development of knowledge? How many know that Socrates and Aristotle spent time in Egypt? That Plato spent 13 years studying in Egypt and Pythagoras some 21 years?
Much of what we attribute to the knowledge of the Greeks who passed it on to the Romans came originally from Egypt and Africa, some of it transported directly by Aristotle.
The video will cover:
Origins and development of the Pyramids
The Library at Alexandria
Jackson’s personal Mason journey
Early Texas Prince Hall Development
One has to remember that Prince Hall Masonry went through a period of governance by a National Grand Lodge. It also didn’t bloom nationwide until post Civil War. This has made for a much different path of Masonic development from Mainstream Masonry.
Keep all these factors in mind as you watch RW Frank Jackson in the video above. You may find that it will broaden your horizons.
Norris Wright Cuney
Noris Wright Cuney
Born May 12, 1846
Hempstead, Texas, U.S.
Died March 3, 1898 (aged 51)
San Antonio, Texas, U.S.
Resting place Lakeview Cemetery, Galveston, Texas
Residence Galveston, Texas, U.S.
Known for Leader of the Texas Republican Party, First Grand Master Prince Hall Masons Of Texas http://www.mwphglotx.org
McCabe’s longtime friend Rich Baxter had this to say:
Mike McCabe passed away today on March 13, 2018, he was one of my best friends for over 30 years. In our early friendship he took me up to the Grand Lodge in North Jersey for a ceremony – he wanted me to consider joining the Masonic Lodge. I never did join but I always knew that Mike was of the highest standard that a Mason could be, he lived and breathed the Masonic traditions and embraced them. When he saw wrong with this lodge that had shady dealings going on, he reported it. That’s the way Mike was, an honorable man who had character beyond belief. He held himself to a high standard and expected that of others in the Masonic Brotherhood. To be thrown out of the Masonic Lodge was something I never expected that other Masons could get away with. They may have done this to him but I believe the bad karma will eventually come back on them- the cowardice and malice they showed Mike is yet an example that evil and corruption exists in the least expected places. No, the Lodge never voted Mike McCabe back in, but he will always be a good standing Mason and person in my eyes and in the eyes of many who knew him. God bless, Mike, Rest in Peace, my brother.
McCabe was expelled from the Grand Lodge of New Jersey on very minor infractions that did not live up to the severity of unmasonic conduct. He also wrote an expose of his Grand Lodge for pulling the charter of his Lodge, Trimble Lodge, after a vote did not go the way the Grand Master wanted. McCabe claimed that the Grand Lodge confiscated the well-endowed funds of Trimble Lodge to bolster its own shortcomings.
McCabe sought a new trial and/or reinstatement claiming the Grand Lodge did not follow its own Constitution, By-Laws and rules and regulations. He never received one, but he never lost his faith in the Craft which he served so well. His many accomplishments in Freemasonry will live on forever and his legacy as a Freemason will shine brightly as a path to emulate.
” I would like to leave you with this thought: The tide recedes, but leaves behind bright seashells, on the sand. The sun goes down, but gentle warmth still lingers on the land. The music stops, and yet — it echoes on in sweet refrains. For every joy that passes, something beautiful remains.” (quoted from here).