Monday, July 31, 2006

Mel Gibson can't help being anti-Semitic — it's part of Christian culture, pagan historian says

By now everyone knows that Mel Gibson is an anti-Semite, at least when he's drinking.

On Sunday the Pagan Temple blogged: "The wonder is to me, not that Mel Gibson may turn out to be a virulent anti-Semitic person after all, but that, as a Bible-believing conservative Catholic Christian, after all, how could he not be."

Patrick Kelley uses the Mel Gibson story as a launching pad in his article "The Anti-Semitic Conscousness And Consequences" to discuss the pre- and anti-Judaic roots of Christianity, exploring the neo-Christian cults of Galilee in the hundred years before Christ.

| | | | | | |

Sunday, July 30, 2006

9/11 conspiracists unhappy with Oliver Stone's new movie "World Trade Center"

Oliver Stone, once the darling of the Conspiracy-Nut fringe for his conspiratorial movies JFK and Nixon, has now found himself their pariah after making his film about the 9/11 disaster, World Trade Center.

Some 9/11 conspiracy theorists plan to boycott Stone's film for "its non-conspiratorial viewpoint," according to a release circulating on the web, RAW Story reports.

"This is not a political film," Stone said recently in an interview with Dateline NBC.

"Was Stone used by the Illuminati as an unknowing pawn," reads the release, "to whitewash the 9/11 conspiracy theories to the masses? Was he approached with the project and coerced into a commitment to occupy his time in attempts to thwart any other 9/11 angle from being used? Is Stone a pawn in the game? Perhaps Stone didn't know at the time, and found out too late."

The release was sent out by John Conner (sometimes spelled Connor) who claims that he and others in a Christian branch of the 9/11 Truth Movement plan to distribute DVDs of conspiracy theorist Alex Jones' film Terror Storm outside of theaters showing the Stone film.

"When I first heard that Oliver Stone was directing a film about 9/11, I was overjoyed. I thought that Oliver Stone would blow the lid off the 9/11 inside job," said Conner, who claims in the release to be the author of The Resistance Manifesto.

We last met up with Conner in Burning Taper's Jan. 27, 2006 article titled "The Masons worship Satan! The Masons worship Satan!" where we discussed Conner having filmed himself outside a Masonic lodge shouting and holding signs about devil-worshipping Masons.

Here are some things Conner is against, according to his book:
The September 11th Inside Job, Skull and Bones, Bohemian Grove, The Georgia Guidestones, Satanism, Terminators, The Illuminati, Freemasonry, The mark of the Beast, U.S. Concentration Camps, the Mormon Church, Catholic Pedophile Priests, FEMA, PATRIOT Act, Mind Control, Underground Bases and Tunnels, Our Right to Bear Arms, The New World Order, CFR, Bilderberg Group, Trilateral Commission, Project for a New American Century, Rosicrucians, Washington D.C.'s Satanic Symbols, Deism, Echelon, Carnivore, Animal Human Hybrids, Hybrid, Computers/Biocomputers, Neural Interfaces, Biometrics, and much more as a dark web of evil is exposed like never before, making Bible Prophecy and the New World Order crystal clear.
He also claims to be "most well known" for calling for a Christian boycott of singer Jessica Simpson, who Connor characterized as a "singing stripper," "whore," and "slut," the latter of which is repeated once again in the 9/11 release.

Not everyone who questions the official story about 9/11 agrees with the boycott.

Other 9/11 conspiracists are mixed in their opinion of the upcoming (and unscreened) movie, RAW Story said.
David Slesinger from 911Courage is calling for non-violent civil disobedience demonstrations in August when Stone's film opens. Volunteers are being sought to pass out leaflets which request "the Editor in Chief of some large local daily paper to promise readers he/she will either investigate the hard questions about 9/11 or else resign."

"If we successfully invite calm, orderly, nonviolent civil disobedience arrests in 24 states on the same day, we will set an all-time record for such coordinated protests that will be hard for the media to ignore," Slesinger writes at his Website. "The action we propose is simple, safe and civilized, just flyer a suburban mall theater where it is prohibited when Oliver Stone's movie opens in August."

"Stone's personal plot perspective is not important," Slesinger continues. "The crucial point is that the audiences will be large and care about the issue, and the opening day hype will draw lots of media cameras to record our gesture and perhaps our comments, too."

Volunteers who don't wish to face arrest are also being sought to assist with "leafleting at theaters which allow it."
To amuse yourself until the movie comes out, pull a $20 bill out of your pocket and fold it [click here for folding instructions] to show the Pentagon burning on one side, and the towers burning on the other.

Videos: | | | | | | |

The Worshipful Master's New Clothes

The Worshipful Master's New Clothes by W:.Tim Bryce, PM, MPS

An updated version of "The Emperor's New Clothes" by Hans Christian Andersen

Once upon a time there was a Worshipful Master who was so fond of his Lodge that he spent most of his time rehearsing degrees and attending meetings. There was plenty of fun going on in the Lodge where the Master lived. Bills and minutes were read time and again, and the Brethren thrived on hot pasta dishes.

Visitors occasionally visited the Lodge. One day there came two representatives from Grand Lodge. They said they wanted to help the Lodge, but first the Master would have to hold fundraisers for the Grand Master's charity and support his agenda. The Master found the GL representatives hypnotic, especially when they promised to increase membership, offset the Lodge's growing financial burdens, and simplify the operation of the Lodge. Not only were their promises unusually attractive, but their programs had the peculiarity of being invisible to anyone who was not fit for his post or who was hopelessly stupid.

"I say! These must be wonderful ideas," the Master thought. "If they are true, I would have the best Lodge in the jurisdiction. Yes, I must implement these programs all at once." And he set the Craft to work under the guidance of the GL representatives.

And so it came to pass that the programs were implemented immediately. Spaghetti dinners, pancake breakfasts, and fish fries became the norm. The Lodge dug into their pockets and produced handsome sums of money for the Grand Master's charity. Lodge delegates attended Grand Lodge functions and followed the party line unquestioningly.

"Well, now, I wonder how everything is going?" the Worshipful Master said to himself. But there was one point that made him feel rather anxious, namely, that a man who was stupid or quite unfit for his post would never be able to see the benefits that had been produced. Not that he, the Master, need have any fears for himself — he was quite confident about that — but all the same, it might be better to send someone else first, to find out how things were going.

"I'll send my honest old Secretary to check on the results as promised by the Grand Lodge representatives," the Master thought. "He's the best one to see what is going on, for he has plenty of sense and experience, and nobody fills his post better than he does." So off went the honest old Secretary to a meeting with the Grand Lodge representatives who assured him that everything was going well. "Lord, bless my soul!" thought the Secretary, with eyes staring out of his head.

"Why, I can't see any improvements in the Lodge." But he was careful not to say so.

The two Grand Lodge representatives begged him to take a closer look — wasn't the Lodge running just fine? Although the poor old Secretary opened his eyes wider and wider, he couldn't see a thing, for there wasn't a thing to see. "Good Lord!" he thought, "Is it possible that I'm stupid? I never suspected that, and not a soul must hear of it." "Well, what do you think of it?" one of the representatives asked.

"Oh, it's excellent! Things couldn't be better!" the old Secretary said, looking through his spectacles. "I shall certainly tell the Worshipful Master how pleased I am with it."

By and by, the Worshipful Master sent another honest Brother to see how the Lodge was running. The representatives accompanied him on his journey. As they traveled throughout the Lodge, the representatives made sure that the Brother saw only what they wanted him to see. He saw the Craft working on obscure projects, money being collected for the Grand Master's Charity, and attendance at Grand Lodge workshops. "But our membership is still in decline, apathy among the Brethren is getting worse, and our financial situation is becoming dangerous," the Brother thought to himself. And then he praised the programs, which he knew were compounding problems for the Lodge. "Yes, it's quite sophisticated," he said to the Worshipful Master when he got back.

The splendid programs became the talk of the district. And now the Worshipful Master himself said that he would check into the new programs himself. Quite a throng of select people, including the two honest old Brothers, went with him to where the Grand Lodge representatives were overseeing the programs.

"Look, isn't it magnificent!" the two honest Brothers said. "What's this?" the Worshipful Master thought. "I don't understand a thing — this is appalling! Am I stupid? Am I not fit to be Master? This is the most terrible thing that could happen to me...."

"Oh, it's quite wonderful," he said to them. "It has our most gracious approval." And he gave a satisfied nod. All the courtiers who had come with him looked and looked, but they made no more of it than the rest. Still, they all said just what the Worshipful Master said, and they advised him to discuss the programs for the first time at the next Lodge communications that was to take place shortly.

On the eve of the meeting, the Grand Lodge representatives sat up all night preparing a report for the Worshipful Master to read on the results of the programs.

Then the Worshipful Master went to the communications with the representatives and explained the programs to the Craft. Not wanting to appear unfit for their positions or to seem stupid, they all praised the Worshipful Master for the programs. "Marvelous! Sensational!" they all said. Never had the Worshipful Master's programs been such a success.

"But you still haven't solved your problems!" a young Entered Apprentice said. "Our membership is in decline, Brothers are staying away from the Lodge, and our finances are diminishing rapidly. At this rate, we'll have to close our doors soon."

"Goodness gracious, do you hear what he is saying?" the Craft whispered from one to the other. Then they all shouted, "But you still haven't solved our problems!" And the Worshipful Master felt most uncomfortable, for it seemed to him that the Craft was right. But somehow he thought to himself, "I must go through with it now. I have too much invested in it already." And so he drew himself up still more proudly, while the Grand Lodge representatives chased after him with him with more new ideas, even in spite of the obvious.

Keep the Faith.

— W. Bro. Tim Bryce

NOTE: As with all of my Masonic articles herein, please feel free to reuse them in Masonic publications or re-post them on Masonic web sites (except Florida). When doing so, please add the following:

Article reprinted with permission of the author and "FreeMason Information"

| | | | |

Saturday, July 29, 2006

One Happy World

"Many people think that if they were only in some other place, or had some other job, they would be happy. Well, that is doubtful. So get as much happiness out of what you are doing as you can and don't put off being happy until some future date." — Dale Carnegie

Adrian White, an analytic social psychologist from England's University of Leicester, has found what makes him happy — measuring other people's happiness.

After years of research, Prof. White has discovered just how happy the world is. He has ranked the nations of the world by their Happiness Factor, and even created an interactive map.

Disneyland may claim to be the happiest place on Earth, but that honor actually goes to Denmark, according to White. Switzerland, Austria, Iceland and the Bahamas round out the top five.

Battling it out for the title of Most Miserable Nation of Earth (the bottom five, of 178 countries ranked) are Burundi (the "winner"), Zimbabwe, Congo Democratic, Moldova, and Ukraine. All but Ukraine are in Africa.

The United States ranks as 23rd happiest (or 155th most miserable), and England, Prof. White's home country, is #41 on the Happy Meter. Of England he says it's not so much that health, wealth and education (the three main factors in his measurement of happiness) aren't in abundance, but that the British "worry well."

Israel (#58) and Lebanon (#113) were already miserable enough before they began making each other more unhappy by shooting missles at each other.

Notably not just unhappy but "not even on the map" are Greenland, Western Sahara, Iraq, Afganistan, Burma and Somalia. The first two are probably because Prof. White couldn't find anyone to talk to. The rest were too busy just trying to survive to answer his survey questions.

"We act as though comfort and luxury were the chief requirements of life, when all that we need to make us happy is something to be enthusiastic about." — Charles Kingsley (1819 - 1875)

"Most folks are about as happy as they make up their minds to be." — Abraham Lincoln (1809 - 1865)

"If you want others to be happy, practice compassion. If you want to be happy, practice compassion." — The Dalai Lama (1935 - )

"People who learn to control inner experience will be able to determine the quality of their lives, which is as close as any of us can come to being happy." — Mihaly Csikszentmihalyi, Flow: The Psychology of Optimal Experience, 1990

"No man is happy who does not think himself so." — Publilius Syrus (~100 BC), Maxims

"A happy life consists in tranquillity of mind." — Cicero (106 BC - 43 BC)

"The world of the happy is quite different from that of the unhappy." — Ludwig Wittgenstein (1889 - 1951), Tractatus Logico-Philosophicus

"I am still determined to be cheerful and happy, in whatever situation I may be; for I have also learned from experience that the greater part of our happiness or misery depends upon our dispositions, and not upon our circumstances." — Martha Washington (1732 - 1802)

"Happiness is having a large, loving, caring, close-knit family in another city." — George Burns (1896 - 1996)

"If there were in the world today any large number of people who desired their own happiness more than they desired the unhappiness of others, we could have paradise in a few years." — Bertrand Russell (1872 - 1970)

"Happiness is not achieved by the conscious pursuit of happiness; it is generally the by-product of other activities." — Aldous Huxley (1894 - 1963), Vendeta for the Western World

"Happiness is that state of consciousness which proceeds from the achievement of one's values." — Ayn Rand (1905 - 1982)

"Man is the artificer of his own happiness." — Henry David Thoreau (1817 - 1862)

"Seek not happiness too greedily, and be not fearful of happiness." — Lao-tzu (604 BC - 531 BC)

"Do not speak of your happiness to one less fortunate than yourself." — Plutarch (46 - 120)

"Happiness depends upon ourselves." — Aristotle (384 BC - 322 BC)

Fun fact: "One Happy World" was the phrase on mandatory bumper stickers on all the cars in the Philip K. Dick novel Time Out of Joint.

Thanks to GrouchoGandhi for the Happy Earth graphic.

| | | | |

Friday, July 28, 2006

Faith healer restores eyeballs to empty sockets, causes missing hands to re-grow on arm stumps

You'd think this blog's raisson d'etre is to bash fundamentalist Christians, as much as I've written about them lately. It's not that I take joy in it (though I do), but that there is so freakin' much to point out in the wacky world of Christian fundamentalism. From Josh the Baptist's anti-Masonic, literalist worldview to Westboro Baptist Church's wackos protesting veterans' funerals with "God Hates Fags" signs, there's a motherlode of fundamentalist foolishness that needs laughing at.

California evangelist A.L. "Papa" Gill popped up on my radar scope this morning, in a story from Nova Scotia, Canada, where he's currently holding a freak show, er, I mean, a faith healin' church revival.

Posters circulated before his revival meetings sound like something from the carnival. His list of miracles includes restoring sight by making a missing eyeball suddenly appear in a formerly empty eye-socket and causing a hand to grow back on a stump of an arm.

This past Tuesday, reporter Peter Duffy spoke with Papa Gill:
"I’m really skeptical," [Duffy told] the tall, well-dressed American visitor before the meeting begins.

Papa Gill chuckles. "That’s OK," he says. "That’s the way I was for years. I was a skeptic. I stayed away from people who talked about God’s healing powers. I didn’t think He still did it!"

"What happened to change you?"

When he was 33, he says, his health deteriorated to the point that his doctors didn’t expect him to live.

"I gathered my family together and asked God’s healing power. Strength flowed into my body and I was completely and totally healed."
Papa never actually says what he was healed from, but he doesn't mention having regrown any missing appendages.

After a warm-up "act" (of course it's an act — this is show business at its finest) by another minister, Papa Gill takes the microphone.

"Hallelujah! God is good!" he cries. "God is the great physician!"

After an hour or so of hallelujahs and arms swaying in the air, the Parade of Pain begins.
Several people step forward and stand near him. One woman with a shoulder problem raises her arm high.

Another woman with a painful neck injury moves her head from side to side.

"Raise your hands!" Papa Gill commands the crowd. "Say YES! I’m going to believe, not just with my head but with my heart! I’m going to give Him my whole heart!"

After more prayers and exhortations invoking the Holy Spirit, he commands everyone to speak in tongues.

"A heavenly new language," he calls it.

And they do. Eyes closed, hands raised, the crowd lets out a babble strangely approximating the sound emerging from his own lips. It’s an eerie moment made even more eerie by the enfolding darkness.

Finally, he calls on those still experiencing sickness and pain to step forward.

Several people do. A father cradles his autistic son. A woman presents a deformed finger. A man proffers a hand shorn of fingers by a circular saw. Another man asks to be rescued from Freemasonry.

Papa Gill attends to each, speaking softly and placing his hand on their heads. Some sufferers he leaves standing. Others receive a gentle push, sending them slumping in a joyful trance to the ground.
You can read more about Papa Gill and (of course) donate to his ministry to receive audio recordings of his sermons and cheesy little books at It looks like Gill's Magic Show will play around northern California for the rest of the summer before he launches a mission trip to Malaysia in October. God knows Malaysians can't wait for him to get there!

Image 1: An undated photo of Gill working the crowd in Kenya.
Image 2: Gill knockin' 'em out in Nova Scotia, Canada, July 24, 2006

| | | | | | |

Thursday, July 27, 2006

8-year old remembers his own World War II death

Eight-year old James Leininger remembers his past.

That is, the past of another James — Lt. James McCready Huston, a World War II fighter pilot from Uniontown, Penn., who was killed near Iwo Jima more than 50 years before James was born.

James began expressing advanced aviation knowledge when he was about 2.5 years old. He experienced nightmares of being shot down by an airplane with a red sun on it.

In 2004, when he was 6, the Louisiana boy's parents took him to Uniontown, Penn., to a reunion of WWII veterans from Huston's unit. Little James was able to pick out at least one man that had served with Lt. Huston, nearly 60 years ago. James said, "They're so old!"

His mother believes young James is the reincarnated soul of Lt. James Huston. Read this fascinating story from the Uniontown Daily Courier, and see what you think.

| | | | |

Tuesday, July 25, 2006

8 things Southern Baptists hate about Freemasonry

In 2000, the Southern Baptist Convention issued a new publication called A Closer Look at Freemasonry.

The pamphlet expands on the eight "tenets and teachings" of Freemasonry that were declared "incompatible with Christianity" in a report the SBC issued in 1993.

They are:
1) "Freemasonry uses offensive, non-biblical, and blasphemous terms relating to God."

2) "Freemasonry insists on the use of 'bloody oaths' or obligation, which are strictly forbidden by the Bible (cf. Matt 5:34-37)."

3) "Freemasonry urges that occultic and/or pagan readings be used, and that their teachings be appropriated in interpreting such concepts as the Trinity."

4) "Freemasonry includes the Bible as part of the 'furniture of the lodge,' but only as an equal with non-Christian symbols and writings."

5) "Freemasonry misuses the term 'light' to refer to moral 'reformation' as a means to salvation."

6) "Freemasonry teaches that salvation may be attained by 'good works' and not through faith in Christ alone."

7) "Freemasonry advocates in many of its writings the non-biblical teachings of universalism."

8) "In some of its lodges, Freemasonry discriminates against non-whites."
| | | | | |

Monday, July 24, 2006

Rave reviews for A Scanner Darkly

A Scanner Darkly has finally opened across the country. Read GrouchoGandhi's superb review of what he calls "perfect" and "wonderfully delivered" and "the most faithful Philip K. Dick screen adaptation yet."

Gg knows movies. He and I have spent many happy hours discussing our favorite films. He always seems to notice about two dozen things that I miss.

Read his review; then go see A Scanner Darkly.

Or, for starters, you can watch the first 24 minutes of the movie online.

| | | | |

New alcohol Prohibition urged by Southern Baptist resolution

Originally published at Born Jesus

In June, the Southern Baptist Convention met in Greensboro, N.C. They overwhelmingly passed a resolution calling for a new government Prohibition of alcohol.

Jesus, ostensibly the whole point of Christianity, shot to fame and A-list celebrity status after performing His first miracle at a wedding in Cana: He turned water into wine (John 2: 1-11). No doubt with a history of promoting alcohol with such reckless abandon, J.C. wouldn't be welcome in any Southern Baptist church today.
Southern Baptist Convention Resolution on Alcohol

WHEREAS, Years of research confirm biblical warnings that alcohol use leads to physical, mental, and emotional damage (e.g. Proverbs 23:29-35); and

WHEREAS, Alcohol use has led to countless injuries and deaths on our nation’s highways; and

WHEREAS, The breakup of families and homes can be directly and indirectly attributed to alcohol use by one or more members of a family;

WHEREAS, The use of alcohol as a recreational beverage has been shown to lead individuals down a path of addiction to alcohol and toward the use of other kinds of drugs, both legal and illegal; and

WHEREAS, There are some religious leaders who are now advocating the consumption of alcoholic beverages based on a misinterpretation of the doctrine of “our freedom in Christ”; now, therefore, be it

RESOLVED, That the messengers to the Southern Baptist Convention meeting in Greensboro, North Carolina, June 13-14, 2006, express our total opposition to the manufacturing, advertising, distributing, and consuming of alcoholic beverages; and be it further

RESOLVED, That we urge Southern Baptists to take an active role in supporting legislation that is intended to curb alcohol use in our communities and nation; and be it further

RESOLVED, That we urge Southern Baptist to be actively involved in educating students and adults concerning the destructive nature of alcoholic beverages; and be it finally

RESOLVED, That we commend organizations and ministries that treat alcohol-related problems from a biblical perspective and promote abstinence and encourage local churches to begin and/or support such biblically-based ministries.
Image: "Marriage at Cana," painted 1376-78 by Giusto de'Menabuoi, as a fresco in the baptistry of a cathedral in Padua

| | | | | | |

Sunday, July 23, 2006

The Masonic Revolution continues: Newly constituted Grand Lodge of All England announced

On July 1, 2006, the Grand Lodge of All England was duly constituted.

Earlier this month, a new Grand Lodge in the Philippines was also constituted. And the United Grand Lodge of America was constituted on St. John's the Evangelist's day, December 27, 2005. It seems good brothers all over the world have had enough of the politics and racism they've found in their original Grand Lodges, and are taking it upon themselves to make changes as they deem necessary.

None of the new Grand Lodges that have come about in the last year are "upstarts" or "clandestine," as some entrenched Antient Masons would have the world believe. These new organizations are made not of men pretending to be Masons, but of regularly made Masons who love the Craft, who have seen wrongs they have tried to right. The Freemasons who are involved in these new Grand Lodges have worked long and hard within the system through proper channels to make needed changes, but have been met with scorn, disdaine and derision.

Just as King George's refusal to listen to the Colonies or to make concessions to their needs led to the American Revolution, so the continued deaf ear offered by current Antient and conventional Grand Lodges to the younger, more progressive Freemasons (formerly) under their jurisdiction has directly led to the formation of these new Grand Lodges.

Here is the announcement by Bro. John Gordon Graves:
Grand Lodge of All England

Brethren, this day The Grand Lodge of All England has been duly and properly formed, armed with a constitution that remains true to its predecessors, and fit for the 21st Century and beyond.

The reponement, or rebirth of our illustrious institution here in York, which dates back to time immemorial, has produced a great surge of interest and activity since our historic meeting last year. Indeed, apart from ongoing developments in Yorkshire, we are now fully committed to the inauguration, within the next six months, of a second operative Lodge, to meet regularly in London. Brethren, this and much more will come to pass.

I am also pleased to announce that negotiations are at an advanced stage with The United Grand Lodge of America. We expect to agree terms for a formal Agreement of Amity before our next meeting in December.

We send them our fraternal greetings, together with our support and best wishes for the future of Craft Masonry throughout the United States of America. They have taken on a difficult task with great fortitude, resilience and determination and, although they are a "new" Grand Lodge, they carefully and in every respect uphold the principles and purposes of Ancient Freemasonry. Not least, they provide us all with a freshness, vitality and renewed enthusiasm.

Unfortunately however, but not unexpectedly, some of the interest expressed in the Grand Lodge of All England has been malign. I am sorry to have to announce that we have found it necessary to suspend the "Latest News" section of our very successful website. This is due to the actions of a small minority in misusing the information provided in order to disrupt our lawful activities, including this very meeting of Grand Lodge. We wish to make it quite clear, of course, that we do not place any blame directly on any other Grand Lodge. The guilt lies with a few sad and misguided individuals perhaps more needful of our prayers than our disapprobation.

Brethren, this is most unfortunate. It is also unhelpful to those interested in monitoring our progress and who wish to keep up to date with the development of Craft Masonry in England, Wales, the Channel Islands and elsewhere. However, the purile actions of such delinquents cannot interrupt or delay our inevitable progress. We will continue to give out as much information as we possibly can to Freemasons and the general public alike without detriment to ourselves or connections.

In such circumstances it is perhaps timely to clarify what we in this Grand Lodge understand by true and genuine Freemasonry. In this we can best start by considering the aims and aspirations for our Brethren and candidates.

An initiate into Freemasonry first enters a Lodge unknowing, and untutored in the Craft: a so-called rough ashlar (building block). But, if he is joining for a valid reason, he anticipates that his life is about to be fundamentally changed by the experience.

Thenceforward it is his duty, and the purpose of true and genuine Freemasonry, to develop his character and knowledge to such a degree that he figuratively evolves into a perfect ashlar (a carefully measured and prepared stone), thereby ensuring that he becomes fit and ready for the challenges of citizenship, and prepared for his inevitable destiny in this life, and in the hereafter.

However, many illustrious Brethren, not least our late Brother Walter Wilmshurst, have pointed out how a Mason's understanding of the Craft often remains at an early and undeveloped stage. Whilst the literal, superficial value of our teachings is gained through ceremony in the Lodge room and through memorising of ritual, this is merely the first part of the journey.

Unfortunately, the great majority of Brethren are unable to take further steps towards a deeper understanding.

They choose instead to remain at a level of knowledge whereby the Craft is regarded as a social, quasi-secret club to which it is agreeable, and possibly advantageous to belong to in terms of the external, materialistic world.

Aspirations at this stage are often for office and apron. The ability to perform proficient ceremonial and to parrot catechism are regarded the pinnacle of Masonic endeavour. Other matters, such as the conviviality of the festive board or the amount of charitable monies raised in order to purchase public approbation regarded as more fundamental than the work itself. But such sentiments are the uncrafted, rough ashlar stage of Masonic understanding.

What then do we in our own Grand Lodge consider to be true and genuine Freemasonry?
Curiously, any such attempt at a working definition is absent from many works on the Craft. It is all very well to talk with somewhat archaic usage of "a peculiar system of morality veiled in allegory and illustrated by symbols", but does this really explain very much? Should we, in any event, restrict our understanding of Freemasonry to that system which has grown up since speculative Masonry was organised into its currently recognisable structure, or should we raise our eyes to a much wider vista?

Brethren, allow me to offer something of my own fallible understanding. I see an initiatory order based upon a treasury of ancient truths and values enshrined in human experience, and resonating with the underlying philosophies of many religions. A system of spiritual alchemy based on a symbology free of dogma, doctrine, crafted to guide and assist individuals in realising their full potential in their life-journey towards self-knowledge.

Freemasonry, on this definition, or anything like it, represents a serious internal, intellectual and spiritual journey far beyond the concerns of the external, profane, uninitiated world. True and genuine Freemasonry thus represents the precise and absolute opposite of the mafia of the mediocre of popular imagination.

It is thus crucial to the survival of the true Craft, that those men humbly soliciting to be admitted to the mysteries and privileges of Ancient Freemasonry are in actual fact, and not just in empty words, first prepared to become a Freemason, in their hearts. Without such heartfelt fervency and zeal they will always remain at best as rough ashlars, and the spiritual temple of Freemasonry bereft of its living stones.

Brethren, we are engaged upon weighty matters. We could not have come so far without your support, committment and perseverance in the face of adversity. Thank you for taking the time to attend Grand Lodge today. I look forward with confidence and enthusiasm to our next Convocation in December, and offer my good wishes to you all for an enjoyable and reinvigorating Summer break.

— Most Worshipful Brother John Gordon Graves, Grand-Master Mason
This announcement has been previously posted on Alabama Free-Mason and Le Chevalier Maçonnique.

| | | | | |

Saturday, July 22, 2006

India's blog-blocking was "technological error," official says

India today said their blog-blocking was a "technological error" caused by their trying to stifle just a handful of blogs, not all of them.

The International Herald Tribune reported that the New Delhi government said that "two impertinent pages" contained material with "extremely derogatory references to Islam." They were trying to stave off sectarian violence, an unnamed official told reporters.

"Because of a technological error, the Internet providers went beyond what was expected of them, which in turn resulted in the unfortunate blocking of all blogs," the official said.

"War is peace. Freedom is slavery. We have always been at war with Oceania," the Party spokesman continued.

| | | | | |

Friday, July 21, 2006

God doesn't take sides

It's no secret that I'm not a big fan of organized religion of any kind, or the preachers that push them.

So it's with a certain perverse amusement that I note that preacher Omar Bakri, the fundamentalist wacko Muslim cleric who urges children to become suicide bombers, is begging the British to transport his sorry ass out of Lebanon before the country gets blown to bits.

He was barred from England a while back, forbidden to re-enter the country, but that didn't stop him from trying to stow away on a British ship leaving Lebanon recently.

Sounds like a bit of Universal Justice, some real Instant Karma.

Telling 10-year old British Muslim kids they must sacrifice themselves for Allah is sick.

From, referring to an event in 2004:
Muslim extremist Omar Bakri — speaking in London’s East End — said suicide bombers were assured a place in paradise.

Bakri described such bombings as "self-sacrifice operations."

An example would be to crash a plane on to 10 Downing Street or the White House, he told a cheering audience of Muslims, including around ten young children.

In one outburst he raged: "You must fight for the way of Allah, for the sake of Allah, to kill first and to be killed."
About now is where many people would somehow feel superior, and maybe even start chanting "U. - S. - A." and running outside to put "God Bless America" bumper stickers on their cars.

For some reason, we — Muslim, Christian or Jew — always believe:
  1. We are right.
  2. God is on our side.
But the Bigger Picture is this: God is God is God. The Muslims' Allah is the Christians' Jehovah God is the Jews' YHWH G-d. All three religions descend historically/traditionally from Abraham.

So now that World War III is moving into high gear we've got Muslim people doing what they think God wants, Jews doing what they think God wants, and Christians rushing into wars shouting "God Bless America," believing that only they have God's favor.

Something's wrong here, fundamentally, instrinsically, deep-down just plain wrong.

If God is on everybody's side, then I'm sure He'd appreciate it if we'd all stop fighting, or at least fighting in His Name.

I've posted it here before, and I'm going to do it again. We've got to change our perception, not only of God, but of humanity, or we're going to blow ourselves up, maybe a few at a time at the hands of suicide bombers, or maybe all at once with a Mushroom Cloud, but it's gonna happen if we don't change. Soon.

The following words are from God, according to Neal Donald Walsch. From my point of view, Walsch is as valid a spokesman for God as Moses, Isaiah, Daniel, Mohammed, Matthew, Mark, Luke or John. Or Josh the Baptist. Or Pat Robertson. And certainly more valid than Omar Bakri.
You are facing now a new and startling danger — a danger posed to your entire species. A threat to your very survival posed by the combination of a split in ideology and an advance in technology, which makes it possible for you to seek to resolve your differences with tools of human destruction unlike anything you may have heretofore dreamed of in your worst nightmare.

There are five things you can choose now if changing your world, and the self-destructive direction in which it is moving, is what you wish to achieve.

1. You can choose to acknowledge that some of your old beliefs about God and about Life are no longer working.

2. You can choose to acknowledge that there is something you do not understand about God and about Life, the understanding of which will change everything.

3. You can choose to be willing for a new understanding of God and Life to now be brought forth, an understanding that could produce a new way of life on your planet.

4. You can choose to be courageous enough to explore and examine this new understanding, and, if it aligns with your inner truth and knowing, to enlarge your belief system to include it.

5. You can choose to live your lives as demonstrations of your highest and grandest beliefs, rather than as denials of them.

These are the Five Steps to Peace, and if you take them, you can shift everything on your planet.
| | | | | | | | |

Another Alabama Mason quits Blue Lodge in protest of racial and religious intolerance

Bro. Aaron of the blog Seeker's Observations, recently demitted (resigned) from his Blue Lodge. He had been a Mason less than a year. His open-minded and sincere searching for Masonic truth did not "sit well" with his less enlightened Alabama brethren. Here is the letter he wrote to his lodge to explain why:
I do hereby demit my membership to ___________ Lodge. It is with much sadness that I send this letter, but I cannot with good conscious continue to participate in a system that promotes racial and religious intolerance. Freemasonry is supposed to be a system that promotes tolerance and freedom and will fight the powers of injustice and oppression. My hope is that the current system will learn from its mistakes in the future, reconcile itself with the true goal of Freemasonry, and bring Freemasonry back to its former glory. On its current path, all I see is a road that will ultimately lead to its downfall as the old passes to the new. Younger men as myself are not interested in a social club. We are interested in Freemasonic education, which is not to be found in most lodges.
| | | | | | |

Thursday, July 20, 2006

The Burning Taper blog celebrates 250 posts

The Burning Taper blog passed a milestone of sorts yesterday by publishing its 250th post.

I didn't notice it at the time, but it's good that #250 was the one about censorship in India and Pakistan. I've always been a big advocate of freedom of speech, expression, etc. Unlike many blogs, here you'll always find the comments section wide open — no trying to control the flow of conversation or moderate or pre-approve a comment before it's posted. (Now watch someone go and try me on this.... I will delete spam and overly-offensive comments if they don't further a point or cause.)

The Burning Taper blog was born out of my need for expression when my right to speak my mind was suppressed in my Masonic lodge upon order of Grand Lodge of Georgia officers. Of that you've read more than enough. Since that time, Burning Taper has gone in several directions, sometimes all at once, posting articles not only on Masonry — the good and the bad — but also on world events, science and technology, religious ideas, conspiracy theories, funny stuff and generally wacky things.

We first posted on BT in September, 2005. In February, 2006 we began counting visitors, and since then, we've had over 41,000 pairs of eyeballs check out the site. A more recent counter we installed last week shows vistors so far from 41 different countries.

We're a featured "related link" on the very popular About network's AltReligions site, hosted by Jennifer Emick. We were the Link of the Month for June on the Masonic website currently tracks 2.7 billion links and 49 million blogs. Of those 49,000,000 blogs, it considers Burning Taper to be #30,504. A special thanks to all of you who have linked to Burning Taper.

BT spun off a sister site in January, 2006:, where Mary and I (with the occasional help of others as well) share writing duties.

We have several hundred friends at Burning Taper's MySpace space. Visit us there, too.

We've made many friends, Masonic and non-Masonic, online and offline, since Burning Taper began. We thank each of you for your friendship and for continuing to make Burning Taper a regular part of your blogospheric reading experience (BRE).

It's probably not a good idea to thank people individually in public, because inevitably you always forget someone, but we want to thank certain people anyway for their special support and input, which has helped make BT what it is today: GrouchoGandhi, all the members of the United Grand Lodge of America, Greg Stewart, Tim Bryce, Tim Boucher, Rod, Arod, Darren, two Toms, Jeff Peace, Donna, George Ann, Jennifer Emick, Janice, Eris, John Ratcliff, two Davids, the Wayfaring Man, Patrick, all my Masonic brothers everywhere, Sandy Frost, Eric Julien (don't know him, never corresponded with him, but his 73-P comet impact story in May brought us more traffic than any other topic, ever), Robert Anton Wilson, Bob Dobbs, the late Ron Bonds — and even Josh the Baptist, 'cause without conflict, a magazine or blog just reads like an old issue of Grit Magazine.

— Mary and the Widow's Son

| | | | | | |

Shriners ban water except for bathing

The 1947 Project has spent the last year immersing itself in the history and lore of Los Angeles, circa 1947, digging up old newspaper articles and other historical documents to paint a picture of a very different time than that in which we now live.

Regarding a Shriners' Convention in L.A. that year:
Singing loud praises to Allah that strike a curious note in 2006, the special train of Shriners is flying across the Nevada desert brimming with Freemasons and their families pondering the ancient mystery: “What Makes the Wildcat Wild?”

The official communique from the Imperial Potentate reads:

“I send greetings and assurances that with the continued protection of Allah, the God of our Fathers and the Controller of our Destinies accompanied by a distinguished escort it will be my great pleasure to pitch the Imperial tent in the delightful Oasis of Al Malaikah Temple Sunday May 5.

“Word has been brought to me of the great welcome which the people of the Oasis of the Angels are preparing for us. My wise men have told me of the beauties of the sea, valley and mountain which will greet us at our pilgrimage’s end. The great Allah has so endorsed your Southland that our pathway will be bordered with trees and flowers of wondrous beauty.

“For this, all praise to Allah and for the festal days’ joy which are before us thanks to the faithful of the Southland.”

The Times notes that the Imperial Potentate has forbidden the use of water while crossing the desert, “consequently upon this edict comes the addition of two fully stocked commissary cars to the imperial train. Never in its history has Los Angeles had the opportunity of welcoming a more jovial party or one more interested in her feast of flowers than this one which is escorting its Imperial Potentate. When Owens River comes to Los Angeles, prohibition of water may be raised.”

The Imperial Potentate also warned all Shriners:

“Red fezzes of Shriners, visiting or home, are not good form in thirst parlors, shooting galleries, billiard parlors and other places to which the wearers would not take their wives, sisters or sweethearts. Potentate Flint has thrown out the hint that the little red top-piece should be taken by the nape of the neck by the man underneath upon entering such places and stowed away in a pocket or carried in hand.

“The suggestion of the potentate was quite generally observed last night. It was a common sight to see hatless men ranged in rows at drink troughs in various cases about the city, the red fez protruding from their pockets and dry red tongues hanging from their mouths.”

The Times reports that with the arrival of the first three groups of Shriners, the Aloha Temple of Honolulu, Islam Temple of San Francisco and Murat Temple of Indianapolis “the fizz of fezzes began to flow.”

Visiting Shriners received baskets of California fruit and a special presentation of what was described as the world’s largest orange, which weighed 2 pounds, 3 ounces and was 17½ inches in circumference.

Even Chinatown is preparing to take part in the welcoming parade with a wagon of young Chinese children that The Times is careful to point out were all born in California.

| | | | | | |

Wednesday, July 19, 2006

Anal-retentive veggie-counting censors run amuck in India, Pakistan and China

The clock of Progress may have slowed in the U.S. during the current administration, but in places like India and Pakistan, it seems the calendars have been reset to 1984.

First we hear that India has banned blogs. Now, Reuters reports that India's neighbor Pakistan has shut down 156 FM radio stations to "stop the spread of religious extremism and anti-state sentiments," a government spokesman said.

And China is so anal-compulsive in controlling everything that they've launched a massive "Know Your Vegetables" campaign for the 2008 Olympics. They plan to track every individual vegetable from field to table in case there is a "safety incident" during the Games.

| | | | | | |

Update: Indian blog ban spreads to other blogging sites

Here's an update on the blog-banning in India, reprinted from Nancy Gandhi's blog Metroblogging Chennai.
According to a report on NDTV 24X7, an Indian news channel, the Indian government's clampdown on blogsites (and some websites) is NOT connected to the recent blasts in Mumbai, but is an effort to curb the propagation of religious extremism on the Net. If that's true, the ban may not be lifted any time soon. The Indian government, however, has yet to issue an official statement on the subject.

If it's not clear from what has been said so far, the Indian ban applies to ALL blogs from these sites, not just those originating in India: ALL blogspot, typepad, geocities blogs worldwide. If you have a blog from one of these providers anywhere in the world, I cannot read you.

It's odd that we can still post to our own blogs, and read the blogs that we have had the foresight to subscribe to through RSS. These loopholes may be closed soon, if this is to be a long-term policy.

The list of blocked sites includes:


More to come when we know more to tell.

| | | | |

Tuesday, July 18, 2006

India bans blogs: Blogspot, Typepad, Geocities blocked

On Monday Boing Boing reported that last Friday the nation of India enacted a ban on blogs. Specifically, the government ordered that Internet Service Providers (ISPs) block all websites affiliated with Blogspot/Blogger, Typepad and Geocities.

That means and as well as millions of other blogs can no longer be accessed from India. I guess India will just have to figure out how to survive without us until their government stops acting like they are China.

By Monday, most but not all of India's major ISPs were in compliance.

When asked why this had happened, Dr. Gulshan Rai, director of CERT-IN, the only body authorised to issue directives to ISPs, responded, "Somebody must have asked for some sites to be blocked. What is your problem?"

What would Gandhi do?

Our thanks to our friend GrouchoGandhi for the heads-up on this.

| | | | | | |

Monday, July 17, 2006

Christian rewrites "Da Vinci Code" ending; Robert Langdon converts to Christian fundamentalism

Remember Josh the Baptist and his myrmidon anti-Masonic pals at Practical Theological Discussions blog?

One of his fellow fundamentalists, Chipley McQueen Thornton, once said of me: "My heart grieves for your soul."

Ol' Chip's heart must be grieving for the whole world now. He's written a long and occasionally interesting if not totally predictable diatribe against The Da Vinci Code.

Not content to just debunk Dan Brown's admittedly fictional version of Christianity, Chip takes it upon himself to re-write the book's finale. Have a barf bag handy.

Chip's finale:
The True Gospel Of Jesus Christ

Dan Brown exercised his literary license to embellish the historical record. In like fashion, I would like to exercise the same literary license to embellish his novel. In the closing sentences of the novel, Harvard professor Robert Langdon is found kneeling and praying at the feet of the outcast one, Mary Magdalene. The novel’s last two sentences record,
“With a sudden upwelling of reverence, Robert Langdon fell to his knees. For a moment, he thought he heard a woman’s voice... the wisdom of the ages... whispering up from the chasms of the earth.” (DVC, 489)
But, now let me share with you the rest of the story....

As the upwelling of reverence began to rise, Robert recognized the woman’s faint voice. It took him a moment, but the recesses of his mind identified the compassionate tone of the sweet voice. It was the voice of a Harvard student he had taught ten years ago. She had died from an epileptic seizure during her last year at Harvard. He did not recall her name, but the voice... he remembered that pleasant voice. The one conversation she had with him was after class one day. She politely shared her testimony that Jesus Christ had died for her sins, was buried, and rose again the third day. She lovingly urged Robert to believe that Christ paid the penalty for his sins and to place his faith in Jesus Christ. She died that night. Her last words to him had haunted him since that day: “Beware lest any man spoil you through philosophy and vain deceit, after the tradition of men, after the rudiments of the world, and not after Christ.”

As she walked away... she turned as if to say something, but simply whispered across the room, “...and not after Christ.”

Now, as Robert was on bended knee praying to the sacred feminine... he was suddenly struck with the sobering realization of his sin. Beware lest any man spoil you through philosophy and vain deceit. The words would not leave him. After the tradition of men. The faint voice in his head seemed to grow stronger, yet compassionate. After the rudiments of the world. The smooth, sweet voice became clear and confident. And not after Christ.

At that precise moment, Robert came to understand sin. The weight of his condition before the Holy God sank into his soul. He fell on his face and wept.

He wept as he recalled the ancient words of the Apostle Paul, “They are all gone out of the way, they are together become unprofitable, there is none that doeth good, no not one” (Romans 3:10-12), knowing that the Apostle was speaking directly to him.

Robert began heaving sobs of anguish as he realized there was nothing he could do to undo the sins he had done. There is none that doeth good, said the Apostle. No, not one.

Then he suddenly remembered Christ’s words to His disciples, Ye have not chosen Me, but I have chosen you... (John 15:16). A glimmer of hope flickered in those beautiful words. Instantaneously, his mind began racing. The understanding of truth was coming in waves now. The Scripture said that God hath chosen us in Him [Christ] before the foundation of the world... having predestinated us unto the adoption of children by Jesus Christ to Himself, according to the good pleasure of His will (Ephesians 1:4-5). Scriptures long forgotten began coming to his mind immediately. For God so loved the world, that He gave His only begotten Son, that whosoever believeth in Him should not perish, but have eternal life (John 3:16).

Robert humbly bowed his head: “God chose me in spite of my failures.” The thought comforted him in an inexplicable way. It all fell into place now. Robert thought, “God will not say of me, ‘Robert lacks my righteousness.’ No, my righteousness is Jesus Christ Himself. My sin was transferred to Christ. His righteousness was transferred to me. God chose me. Christ paid for my sin. Yes, He paid the penalty for all the sins of all those who believe. I see now! I believe! Yes, Lord, I believe.”

Robert felt free at last. He felt peace. He prayed for forgiveness. He now believed and understood how Jesus Christ had saved him from his sin. He believed that Jesus Christ would one day take him to heaven. He felt an urgency to tell others of his conversion. The code of the gospel was so simple. Yet Saunière, Sophie, and Teabing could not see it. Then the young Harvard student’s voice hearkened back to him softly, “Beware lest any man spoil you through philosophy and vain deceit, after the tradition of men, after the rudiments of the world, and not after Christ.”

Robert dedicated his life to Christ at that moment. He solemnly vowed never again to spoil the minds of young men and women through philosophy and vain deceit. He vowed to protect and uphold the truth of the gospel. Robert Langdon rose from his feet a new man in Jesus Christ. Tears were already beginning to dry on his cheek. He looked up to heaven, took a deep breath, and smiled. Then he left.

He had to find Sophie.
| | | | | | |

Sunday, July 16, 2006

Quick! Read this story while it's still news!

How long does it take for new news to become old news?

Thirty-six hours
, tomorrow's New York Times will report. The research paper, written by University of Notre Dame professor Albert-László Barabási and others, is called Fifteen Minutes of Fame: The Dynamics of Information Access on the Web.

That's the half-life of a news story — in 36 hours, half of everyone who will read a news story online has read it.

So be quick! Read the short version of this story. Or read the long version of this story (registration required at the New York Times). Or read the abstract from Physics Review E. Or heck, go all out and and read the whole research paper. Just read something before it's old news.

Actually, the research paper was published in May. The New York Times just decided to make a big deal out of it tomorrow.

| | | | |

Saturday, July 15, 2006

Fizz Fountain of Diet Coke and Mentos!

What could you do with 101 two-liter bottles of Diet Coke and 523 Mentos?

If you're as theatrically creative as Stephen Voltz and Fritz Grobe, you can put on one helluva spectacular Fizz Fountain show!

These guys have recently been featured on Late Night with David Letterman and the Today show, and probably countless other television shows and websites, but hey, like they say, if it's new to you, it's new!

For more info, go to

| | | | | | |

Friday, July 14, 2006

White House design based on Ireland's first Masonic lodge building

The first public building to be erected in Washington, D.C., was The White House, originally called "the President's House."

A competition was held in 1790 to find a suitable design for a presidential mansion. A prize of $500 would be awarded to the winning architect. Hundreds of hopeful American architects submitted designs. Even Thomas Jefferson submitted a design, anonymously. But the $500 award went to a young Irish immigrant, James Hoban.

Born in County Kilkenny, Ireland in 1758, Hoban later went to Dublin and studied architecture under Thomas Ivory. He later won a gold medal from the Dublin Society for his "Drawings of Brackets, Stairs, Roofs, etc." At some point while in Dublin he became a Freemason.

Hoban moved to Philadelphia in 1783, shortly after the end of the American Revolution, and set up shop as an architect.

In 1787, Hoban moved to Charleston, S.C., and his career took off. He designed both a theatre and an orphan asylum, as well as a plantation house on Edisto Island, 20 miles south of Charleston.

On July 18, 1792, he was awarded the $500 and invited to "oversee and implement construction of the President's House."

One writer reports "Hoban based his design on the Leinster House in Dublin (1745-1751)... Late Georgian in style, with a giant portico bisecting a rectangular, three-story building, its facades were organized according to a traditional Renaissance-derived palace type with the principal story raised above ground, its tall windows surrounded by pediments marking its importance."

The mansion was to be built in what was called "The Barrens," chosen by Piere L'Enfant for its notable panoramic view of the Potomac River.

Construction on the Leinster House began in 1745, by James Fitzgerald, the 20th Earl of Kildare. Two years later, Fitzgerald married Emily Lennox, the daughter of Charles Lennox, the Duke of Richmond, and a godfather to King George II. As a result of this favorable marriage, James was made Viscount Leinster in 1749 by George II and later the Duke of Leinster in 1766 by George III.

The Duke was also a key figure in Irish Freemasonry. Though original lodge papers of Knights Templar Kilwinning Lodge No. 75 and the Grand Master's Lodge of Dublin disappeared in the 1790s, Fitzgerald's great-grandson the then-Duke of Leinster claimed that a century earlier, on January 3, 1749, James Fitzgerald, the 20th Earl of Kildare, had founded the Grand Master's Lodge.

A letter shows that on April 26, 1779, James Fitzgerald and Dr. George A. Cunningham of Dublin wrote to Thomas Arthur of Irvine, Scotland, Master of the Mother Lodge in Kilwinning, and requested permission to "form a Lodge of the same name in Dublin." This lodge was approved, and became Kilwinning Lodge No. 75, also known as the High Knights Templar of Ireland.

The Leinster House was the first home of Kilwinning Lodge No. 75.

According to The History of the Knights Templar, Maurice fitzGerald, one of James Fitzgerald's ancestors, invited the original Knights Templar to organize banking houses in Dublin. In 1204 a delegation of Templars under Roger le Waleis moved to Dublin 1204 from Templemore on Ireland's southern coast.

According to researcher David Ovason, "a letter submitted by 'a gentleman' offers the only surviving eyewitness version of the Masonic cornerstone laying, which was held on Saturday, October 13, 1792, when the Georgetown Lodge No. 9 of Maryland gathered for the ceremony."

A news story appeared in the Charleston City Gazette for November 15, 1792 and reads, in part, "On Saturday the 13th inst. the first stone was laid in the south-west corner of the president's house, in the city of Washington, by the Free Masons of Georgetown and its vicinity, who assembled on the occasion. The procession was formed at the Fountain Inn, Georgetown... The Ceremony was performed by brother Casaneva, master of the lodge, who delivered an oration well adapted to the occasion."

According to the Gazette, "the inscription on the brass plate," placed inside the cornerstone, "ran:"
"This first stone of the President's House was laid the 12th day of October 1792, and in the 17th Year of the Independence of the United States of America."

George Washington, President
Thomas Johnson
Doctor Stewart, Commissioners
Daniel Carroll,
James Hoban, Architect
Collen Williamson, Master Mason
Vivat Respublica.
Evidence shows that George Washington was not in the nation's capital on October 12, but was in Philadelphia (the former capital). Mainstream tradition now says that the cornerstone was laid on October 12, 1792, to commemorate the Tricentennial anniversary of Columbus' arrival in the Americas. Masonic traditions, though, says that it was actually laid on the 13th, not the 12th, to commemorate Black Friday, the original "Friday the 13th," October 13, 1307, the day the Knights Templar were overthrown in France.

On September 6, 1793, Hoban and two other Masons petitioned the Grand Lodge to form a new lodge. The petition was granted, and Hoban became Master of the newly-formed Federal Lodge No. 15.

Hoban returned to the Federal City full-time, and spent the rest of his life working on the White House, as well as establishing Washington's first Catholic church, St. Patrick's, as well as later working on St. Peter's. He was a devout Catholic as well as a Freemason, though years earlier Pope Clement VII had banned Roman Catholics from becoming Masons.

During the War of 1812, much of Washington, D.C., was set ablaze, including the White House. Rain extinguished the fire, and Hoban immediately began restorations. He was assisted by his friend and fellow Mason, Benjamin Henry Latrobe.

Before the War, Latrobe had tried to convince President Jefferson to allow him to add two porticos to the White House, one on the north side which resembled the entrance to a Greek temple, and one on the south side in a semi-circular shape reminiscent of an ancient solar temple.

During restoration, Jefferson approved the changes. Hoban supervised the project, completing the south portico in 1824, and the north portico in 1829, two years before his death.

The White House's south portico faces the sun and the 555-foot obelisk we now call the Washington Monument. The obelisk stands at the exact center of the city.

According to researcher Ovason, if you were to draw a straight line from the White House's south portico to the Washington Monument (cornerstone laid on July 4, 1848, delayed for 20 years and not completed until 1884), and then continue that line in the same direction, it would take you across the Potomac River to Alexandria, Virginia, and the George Washington Masonic Memorial, built in 1923, which is an exact replica of the original lighthouse that guarded the harbor of Alexandria, Egypt.

America's presidential mansion, The White House, was modelled after the first Masonic Lodge in Ireland.

This article was written by the Widow's Son, based on information from and other sources.

Images: 1. The White House. 2. Leinster House, rear view. 3. Leinster House, front view. Click on the images to enlarge.

| | | | | | | | |

Thursday, July 13, 2006

Filipino Masons declare independence, form new Grand Lodge

Masonic brethren in the Philippines this week announced that two Masonic districts, comprising nine lodges, have declared independence and formed a new Grand Lodge called the Most Worshipful United Grand Lodge of Free and Accepted Masons of the Philippines.

The wording of their Declaration of Independence was patterned in part on the Declaration of Independence presented by Georgia Freemasons in 2005 when they left the jurisdiction of the Grand Lodge of Georgia and formed the United Grand Lodge of America. The UGLA's Declaration was in turn based upon the original Declaration of Independence, written when the American colonists declared independence from England in 1776.

The good Brothers of these lodges met and discussed at length last week their plight and their dissatisfaction with their then-Grand Lodge. The complaints in their Manifesto were three:
  1. Funds which had been specially collected and earmarked for relief of brothers in a destitute condition were instead allegedly squandered by the Grand Lodge
  2. The Grand Lodge never sent official visitation and never provide any requested assistance to individual lodges
  3. There were alleged voting irregularities in violation of Masonic Code designed to keep current Grand Lodge members entrenched in their offices
Here's the text of the Filipino Masonic Declaration of Independence:
Declaration of Independence

WE, the officers and members of the Masonic Blue Lodges herein jointly assembled, do hereby DECLARE that:

Freemasonry is, and has always been, a progressive science whose growth, throughout the ages, has been borne on the wings of change. From its inception in the early 17th century, the Fraternity has spread and in the unrelenting pursuit of light, new Grand Lodges were constituted which process of continuous regeneration is the very life blood and binding force of the Craft.

WE hold the following ancient Masonic landmarks as the rule and guide of the craft by which all masons must abide by and comply with:

That all Freemasons are obligated only in so far as that obligation will not interfere with the duty that they owe to God, their country, their neighbors or to themselves. That the Craft is a peculiar system of morality veiled in allegory and illustrated by symbols and its aim has been, and will always be, the brotherhood of man under the fatherhood of God. And, that Grand Lodges are instituted among Freemasons and derive its just powers only from and with the consent of the governed.

WE hold it to be true that all Masons are created equal, endowed with certain unalienable rights such as to assemble in lodges, elect officers to govern their affairs, make new Masons according to the ancient traditions and landmarks of the Craft, visit lodges, celebrate fellowship at festive boards and engage in all activities that traditional Lodges of Freemasonry, since time immemorial, have practiced in the pursuit of happiness.

However, human frailty is the enemy of all human institutions and through the passage of time, philosophical ideals are enshrined into rigid rules and practices that eventually become destructive to the aims of the original principles upon which they are based.

It is at this juncture that all institutions should be altered and NEW ONES INSTITUTED based upon the original principles and ancient landmarks of the Craft in order to effect and protect the HONOR, INTEGRITY and GENERAL WELFARE of those who are subject to them.

WE acknowledge that among all human beings, Freemasons willingly capacitate themselves to practice the virtue to await a time with patience and know fully well that the change in the system of government in Freemasonry should not be enacted without due cause.

But the reality and in the course of the past and present events, it has become inevitably necessary for us to dissolve the political bond which have connected us with The Most Worshipful Grand Lodge of Free and Accepted Masons of the Philippines and assume the powers of Freemasonry, that is, the separate and equal station to which the laws of nature and that of the Great Architect has entitled us.

The geographical situation of the country hinders the efficient and regular official visitation by the Grand Lodge of subordinate lodges which is the important duty to maintain and improve harmonious relations among brethren and that management thereof has been outgrown by its present size.

In the light of these due causes, WE are now compelled to assert our rights, as freemen and masons, to abolish our former system of Masonic government and institute a new one based and founded upon the original principles and ancient landmarks of the Craft.

Thus, WE, the Freemasons herein jointly assembled hereby do ordain and unanimously declare our independence and institute and constitute THE MOST WORSHIPFUL UNITED GRAND LODGE OF FREE AND ACCEPTED MASONS OF PHILIPPINES.

Done in the City of Tacloban, Leyte, Philippines, on the 8th day of the month of July, in the year of our Lord 2006.


The Worshipful Masters, Senior Wardens, Junior Warden and Brethren of:

Masonic District RVIII-B
1. Makabugwas Lodge No. 47
2. Tacloban Lodge No. 221
3. Santiago Chua Lodge No. 336
4. Ormoc Lodge No. 234
5. Sogod Bay Lodge No. 337
6. Biliran Lodge No. 337

Masonic District RVIII-A
1. Mt. Huraw Lodge No. 98
2. Northern Samar Lodge No. 211
3. East Gate Lodge No. 232

Bro. Nicolas C. Risos, PDGL
Secretary — Makabugwas Lodge No. 47
Tacloban City, Leyte, Philippines
The Burning Taper wishes the best to these brave brothers in their quest for excellence and honor in the Masonic Fraternity. Godspeed!

| | | | | | |

Muslim Conspiracy Theory: What do Freemasonry, Hugh Hefner, punk rock, the Pill, Karl Max, Charles Darwin and international bankers have in common?

I'm not sure what to make of this.

In tomorrow's online edition of the Greater Kashmir newspaper there is an article titled "The Clash of Systems," written by Mumtaz Yaseen Balkhi, a Kashmiri student working on his Doctorate at State Centre for Cell and Gene Therapie, Halle, Germany.

It's a rambling piece of conspiratorial pseudo-history that somehow blames all of the ills of the Muslim world on Freemasonry, Hugh Hefner, punk rock, the birth control pill, Karl Marx, Charles Darwin, and the international banking cartel.

If this was tucked away on some conspiracy-nut website, I wouldn't even mention it. But it being written by a doctoral candidate in Germany and published in what appears to be a respectable newspaper in India just begs the question: What exactly does the rest of the world believe?

Image: Hugh Hefner and a few of his girlfriends. You didn't think I'd run a photo of some Muslim woman in a burka when I can run this instead, did you?

| | | | | | |