Thursday, March 29, 2007

'Corn, Wine and Oil' film concludes Masons are creepy Satanists

A 14-minute trailer called "Corn, Wine and Oil," an excerpt from a 3-hour film, touches on, in no particular order, the architecture of Washington, DC, Skull and Bones, the hidden meaning of "corn," Masonic cornerstone ceremonies, Baal worship, the Morgan Affair, Royal Arch ritual, George Washington and Benjamin Franklin, and much more. Using spooky music and gee-whiz narration along with interviews with Masonic authors, Christian ministers, Scottish Rite spokesman Brent Morris, and others, the film concludes that Freemasons are creepy Satan worshipers. One interesting clip shows author and Co-Masonry member Dr. Robert Heironimus trashing Skull and Bones as "the most powerful and one of the darkest of all secret societies." There's even a clip of Pres. George W. Bush saying "it's so secret I can't talk about it."

Here's the movie's blurb, from Google Video:
New 14 Minute Trailer — "Riddles In Stone: Secret Architecture of Washington, D.C.," will continue to explore the fascinating history behind the origins and focus of the world's most powerful nation: America. Why was this nation founded? How was the precise location of Washington, D.C., determined? What is the meaning of the seemingly countless occult images in our nation's capitol?

Volume II zeroes in on the Masonic & Rosicrucian influence so prevalent amongst our Founding Fathers as they planned, and began to implement, the layout of America's Capitol. For years, extreme controversy has abounded as to the exact meaning of the occult symbols found within the street layout, the buildings, and the monuments of Washington, D.C.

Is there really an inverted Pentagram formed by the street layout just north of the White House? We have discovered the esoteric reason why this Pentagram is missing one segment.

Was this city laid out to reflect the vision of a Masonic Christ foreseen by Sir Francis Bacon? Is it true that America's capitol was laid out "according to the stars", i.e., in the astrological shapes of certain planets and stars so revered by occultists?

Why did our Masonic Founding Fathers perform "Corn, Wine, and Oil" ceremonies at cornerstone layings and at the dedication of the finished structure?

Does this occult "wisdom" represent the interests of America, or a hidden agenda?

As with Volume I, this "Secret Mysteries" series will continue to explore current — and possibly future — events by examining America's past. What can these realities mean for the unfolding destiny of America and the world? Now you will know that, when President Bush said he was fulfilling the "Ancient Hope" of the "New Order of the Ages" (as we show in Volume I), he was merely acting out the plan reflected in the street layout and in the architecture of Washington, D.C.
Watch the video at Google Video or below.

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Do Masonic monkeys hold banana-split fundraisers?

About this time last year, we posted an entry about chimpanzees who fornicate instead of fight to resolve squabbles and who live for the most part very happy lives, except they're being eaten to extinction.

In what may well become an annual spring tradition — a post about chimps — I point you to a recent story about chimpanzee culture that says chimps often greet each other with "Masonic style handshakes."

I wonder if their secret password is Ba-Na-Na?

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Masonic motorcycle club to raise funds for veterans

The Masonic Motorcycle Club Chapter 38 and the Watsontown, Pennsylavania American Legion Post 323 have teamed up to raise money for patients at the Veterans Affairs Hospital in Wilkes-Barre.

The event this Saturday, March 31, will feature live entertainment, auctions and raffles this Saturday at the American Legion hall on Main Street in Watsontown.

Bro. Andy Kline of the Masonic Motorcycle Club said many local businesses have donated prizes, refreshments and other items so that all of the donations will go towards the purchase of coupon books for the patients that can be used in the hospital’s commissary.

"Every cent we raise is going right back to the veterans," he said.

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Massachusetts lodge to hold Cinco de Mayo supper

If you're in the Greenfield, Massachusetts area on Saturday, May 5, 2007, be sure to drop by the Republican Lodge Building at 215 Munson St. to partake of W. Bro. Russ Kimball's "famous" Cinco de Mayo supper, featuring sopa de frijoles negros (black bean soup), chicken burritos, ensalada de maize y frijoles (corn bean salad), salsa fresca con chiles picantes y humos, and habas de 'refried.' Have some sorbete de la cal — lime sherbet — for dessert.

The proceeds go to the lodge's scholarship fund.

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Pope Benedict warns that Hell is real, eternal and hot

I read somewhere recently that if you bring up the Holy Inquisition or Hitler in any online discussion, you automatically lose.

If you agree with that, you can stop reading now.

Pope Benedict XVI, who was as a youngster a member of the Hitler Youth and later was Prefect of the Catholic Church's Congregation for the Doctrine and Faith (which until 1908 was known as Supreme Sacred Congregation of the Roman and Universal Inquisition, or the Holy Inquisition), recently warned the world that Hell was a real, eternal, and hot place, so you better behave.

One of Benedict's myrmidons, Agostino Paravicini Bagliani, a Church historian, said that the Pope was "right to remind us that Hell is not something to be put on one side" as an inconvenient or embarrassing aspect of belief, and admitted that the concept of Hell had been misused in the Middle Ages to scare the impressionable with "horrific visions" of damnation, as described in Dante’s Inferno.

And now Pope Benedict is trying to do it again... trying to scare the willies out of the Catholic faithful by reminding them they'll all go to the fiery pits if they don't toe the line.

What I find most interesting is this: Benedict's predecessor, the beloved Pope John Paul II, said less than a decade ago that Hell as a physical place does not exist.

In 1999 Pope John Paul II declared that Heaven was "neither an abstraction nor a physical place in the clouds, but that fullness of communion with God which is the goal of human life."

Hell, by contrast, was "the ultimate consequence of sin itself.... Rather than a place, Hell indicates the state of those who freely and definitively separate themselves from God, the source of all life and joy." [Emphasis mine.]

So, at the risk of offending the 1.1 billion Roman Catholics and the other billion Christians of other denominations, I must ask: How the hell do you take any of it seriously when back-to-back Pontiffs, whose words are supposed to be infallible, disagree on such a major point in your Doctrine?

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Does the symbol of the Square & Compasses communicate a secret cipher?

If you are interested in numerology, puzzles, and symbolism as it relates to Freemasonry, you may enjoy reading Bro. William Steve Burkle's "Speculation on the Symbol of the Square and Compasses: The Freemason's Magic Square."

Bro. Burkle ties together Masonry, Kaballah, Gematria, Pythagoras and Bro. Benjamin Franklin, and comes to the conclusion that the Freemason's Magic Square, with which Franklin was familiar, holds a secret message regarding the meaning of the Square and Compasses.

Alas — he doesn't provide us with the answer, just the question.

His article closes with a request for assistance from anyone who might know more about this subject.

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Wednesday, March 28, 2007

'My God! It's full of stars!' — The polar hexagon on Saturn

Arthur C. Clarke and director Stanley Kubrick gave us something cosmic to think about 40 years ago with 2001: A Space Odyssey. A giant monolith, obviously of intelligent design, with dimensions of the ratio 1:4:9, the first three squares (something Masonic there?), appears first on the Earth, then on the Moon, then freefloating in space.

Then came Hoagland's face on Mars, which some believe to be made by intelligent beings, though others maintain it's a natural formation or just a trick of the light and shadows.

And of course, there was the mysterious numeral "2" that appeared in the eye of a Florida hurricane last year. It is probably a hoax or a conspiracy; all the independent source websites Channel 2 links to are mysteriously non-existent.

Now comes the Polar Hexagon on Saturn. First imaged over 25 years ago by NASA's Voyager 1 and Voyager 2, this bizarre formation still exists!

It is an odd, six-sided, honeycomb-shaped feature circling the entire north pole of Saturn.

NASA's Cassini spacecraft's visual and infrared mapping spectrometer is the first instrument to capture the entire hexagon feature in one image.

Quoting today's article on the Jet Propulsion Laboratory's website:
"This is a very strange feature, lying in a precise geometric fashion with six nearly equally straight sides," said Kevin Baines, atmospheric expert and member of Cassini's visual and infrared mapping spectrometer team at NASA's Jet Propulsion Laboratory, Pasadena, Calif. "We've never seen anything like this on any other planet. Indeed, Saturn's thick atmosphere where circularly-shaped waves and convective cells dominate is perhaps the last place you'd expect to see such a six-sided geometric figure, yet there it is."

The hexagon is similar to Earth's polar vortex, which has winds blowing in a circular pattern around the polar region. On Saturn, the vortex has a hexagonal rather than circular shape. The hexagon is nearly 25,000 kilometers (15,000 miles) across. Nearly four Earths could fit inside it.

The new images taken in thermal-infrared light show the hexagon extends much deeper down into the atmosphere than previously expected, some 100 kilometers (60 miles) below the cloud tops. A system of clouds lies within the hexagon. The clouds appear to be whipping around the hexagon like cars on a racetrack.

"It's amazing to see such striking differences on opposite ends of Saturn's poles," said Bob Brown, team leader of the Cassini visual and infrared mapping spectrometer, University of Arizona, Tucson. "At the south pole we have what appears to be a hurricane with a giant eye, and at the north pole of Saturn we have this geometric feature, which is completely different."

The Saturn north pole hexagon has not been visible to Cassini's visual cameras, because it's winter in that area, so the hexagon is under the cover of the long polar night, which lasts about 15 years. The infrared mapping spectrometer can image Saturn in both daytime and nighttime conditions and see deep inside. It imaged the feature with thermal wavelengths near 5 microns (seven times the wavelength visible to the human eye) during a 12-day period beginning on Oct. 30, 2006. As winter wanes over the next two years, the feature may become visible to the visual cameras.

Based on the new images and more information on the depth of the feature, scientists think it is not linked to Saturn's radio emissions or to auroral activity, as once contemplated, even though Saturn's northern aurora lies nearly overhead.

The hexagon appears to have remained fixed with Saturn's rotation rate and axis since first glimpsed by Voyager 26 years ago. The actual rotation rate of Saturn is still uncertain.

"Once we understand its dynamical nature, this long-lived, deep-seated polar hexagon may give us a clue to the true rotation rate of the deep atmosphere and perhaps the interior," added Baines.

The hexagon images and movie, including the north polar auroras are available at: and and
In the words of 2010: Odyssey Two:
Thanks to my friend Grouchogandhi for the heads-up on this information.

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Friend to friend: Freemasonry lives in the heart

Two Masonic articles, both about lecturers, hit my radar screen this morning.

The first began with a probable crackpot, Bill, who gives weekly talks on how Freemasons rule the world. His proof? The eye in the pyramid on the dollar bill.

To my relief, Bill's story isn't what the article is really about. It's about power and money and American politics, about how corporations funnel through "campaign contributions" just enough money to "underpaid" politicians to get them elected, who then grant favors to the corporations. This is nothing we don't already know, but it's interesting to read about it from the point of view of someone writing a blog in Singapore.

So... if some of the CEO's of the Fortune 500 happen to also be "high level" Freemasons, then I guess you could technically say, "Freemasons rule the world!"

The second article is about Dr. Kendall Wilson, who will give a talk titled "Freemasonry During the Civil War — How Each Affected the Other," on Saturday, May 19, 2007, in the auditorium of the Greenbrier Valley Campus of the New River Community & Technical College in Lewisburg, West Virginia as part of the Battle of Lewisburg Living History and Reenactment, May 18-20, 2007.

We've probably all heard that during the Civil War, Freemasons from the North and the South laid down their weapons on occasion to sit in lodge together, then went out the next day and continued to try to kill each other.

The article relates a story of brotherly love on the battlefield, quoting an uncited Justin Lowe:
As the battle (Gettysburg) waned, it became clear that Armistead's injuries were fatal. Knowing that his old friend was somewhere behind the Union lines, Armistead exhibited the Masonic sign of distress. This was seen by Captain Henry Harrison Bingham, the Judge-Advocate of Hancock's Second Corps (Chartiers Lodge #297, Canonsburg, Pa.). He came to the fallen Armistead, and declared that he was a fellow Mason.

The two men spoke for a time, and when Armistead realized that Bingham had direct access to Hancock, he entrusted some of his personal effects to him. Among them were his Masonic watch, the Bible upon which he had taken his obligations, and a number of other items. Bingham said his farewells, and then returned to the Union camp to deliver the items.

Armistead died two days later.

The fact that Armistead chose to use the Masonic sign of distress signified that his war was over, and that there was another, more pressing matter on his mind, even on the field at Gettysburg. What could lead one of the highest ranking and most intelligent officers in the Confederacy to lay aside all of the ideology of the war and call for a brother of the Craft from the other side?
In a world where civility is woefully lacking, among profanes and Masons alike, this story is a reminder of what Freemasonry is about: Brotherly love of and between all God's children. We should all take a lesson here.

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Internet Lodge No. 9659 announces Masonic short papers competition

Internet Lodge No. 9659 today announced a "short papers competition" which you Masonic bloggers and writers might want to participate in.

Here's the info:

Brethren All,

Internet Lodge 9659 are pleased to announce a "Short Papers Competition".

Internet Lodge 9659 are delighted that the competition is being supported by the Pro Grand Master of the United Grand Lodge of England, MWBro The Marquess of Northampton. Who will be present at our Installation meeting in March 2008 to present the prize to the best entry.

2007 Short Papers Competition Rules

Closing Date: The Closing Date for submissions is 31st December 2007

Submission method: Your paper should be sent as an email attachment to by the closing date. The e-mail to which the paper is attached should list your name, Masonic affiliations, email address, postal mail address and telephone number. If your paper is eligible for a Nova Award, please add the date, place and Lodge of your initiation.

Length: 500 words is the maximum length of papers, about one page of typescript which takes about 5 minutes to read aloud. Papers for the Nova Award may be up to 1500 words in length but if a paper is longer than 500 words it is not eligible for any other category of Award.

Format: Please submit your entry in the form of a Word document (.doc). If you have difficulties in providing your paper in this format please contact us at the above email address and we will try to arrange a suitable alternative. Please put your name and email address into the header or footer of the page so any confusion is avoided. Should your paper be published, your email address will be removed.

Style. Because papers are intended to be read aloud they should be written as a script. Please use bold or underline to indicate emphasis, for example. While correct spelling will be appreciated punctuation will be considered flexible and the judges will accept variation from established norms provided these help the paper deliver its message when read aloud.

Content: The content must have Masonic relevance and be of educational value. Beyond this there is no constraint on the subject matter. Controversial material is not unwelcome provided that it is presented in a fair and balanced way. Papers containing material which the judges consider offensive or otherwise unsuitable will be eliminated.

Online publication: All papers selected by the judges as worthy of publication will be published online by Internet Lodge thus creating a resource for use by other Masons for use in Lodges. The winning papers will be selected from the group of published papers. The selected papers will be published online in Adobe Acrobat format (.pdf) and will include the authors name and State or Country of Residence. It will not include any other personal details. By entering the competition you agree to publication of your entry by Internet Lodge and its further use by other Masons.

Originality: Your paper must be your own original writing. The judges will eliminate papers containing any form of plagiarism, including cut and paste from elsewhere.

References: We do understand that you may have drawn upon various works before creating your paper. Please let us know what these sources are in the form of references. References are not counted as part of the 500 words.
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Monday, March 26, 2007

More on Bro. Jeff Peace's upcoming Masonic lecture in Cleveland, Ohio

I received this notice from Bro. Jeff Peace today, who asked that I post it on Burning Taper.
I’m really quite surprised by the number of emails I’ve received about my upcoming talk at Halcyon Lodge in Cleveland, Ohio. Some are curious about the subject matter of the talk while others are outright concerned. After reading through some of things being spread around the Internet regarding my talk, I thought a little clarification might be in order.

The talk is entitled “The Brotherhood of Man” and looks at the early development of speculative Freemasonry and how that the rediscovery of the basic principles of the Craft are its future. It is not a message of condemnation of the present ‘Antient’ state Grand Lodges, as many have speculated. These institutions of corporate Freemasonry became irrelevant to modern American society back in the 1960’s, and have no place in the future. The future of speculative Freemasonry lies in bringing all people together upon the same Level. Men and women do not join with us for initiation into a mere social club, but because they want to be a part of something greater than any individual, that points the way to a brighter future for us all.

Through this talk I hope to allow everyone a glimpse into the workings of the early lodges in hopes that they can begin to emulate their character and sense of brotherhood. I think we, as a fraternity, have lost sight of these fundamentals and replaced them with politics and justice. This is our greatest failure. Neither politics nor justice can replace the primordial nature of all human beings to long for the warmth and security of being associated with others. We are a social species that has always formed tribes, cities and states. For Freemasonry to be of value it must once again be able to forge the bonds of friendship between people who would otherwise have forever remained at a distance.

I believe this is possible, but only if we are willing to look within ourselves and our fraternity and make the changes that are necessary for brotherhood to prevail. These changes must start with us, if we and Freemasonry are to prevail.

— Jeff Peace
Note from Widow's Son: Some recent emails I have received indicate that some readers think I am Jeff Peace. I am not, nor am I a "mouthpiece" for him or for anyone or any group. If you have Masonic news or comments of interest you would like to see published here,
send it in.

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Sunday, March 25, 2007

Former slave city's first black cop, perhaps first black Mason in Texas

There are many Masonic symbols seldom used anymore, at least around here — the beehive, for example. I'm sure there are many other symbols once common but now unused.

Perhaps someone more scholarly in these matters can tell me this: Are or were swinging gates a Masonic symbol?

There's a fascinating story in today's Fort Worth Star-Telegram (and other news sites, including the Bradenton (Fla.) Herald, where I read this story) about the Texas city's first black police officer.

Until recently, it had been assumed that the city, like most other towns in the southern U.S., had hired its first black cops in the 1950s or later.

Police Sgt. Kevin Foster, who is research director for the proposed Fort Worth Police and Firefighters Memorial, discovered something interesting as he went though old police and city documents looking for records of officers and firefighters who had died in the line of duty.

He came across an old roster that had the abbreviation "Col." after some of the names. He assumed these were men who had served in the military, perhaps the Civil War, before becoming police officers.

He later figured out that "Col." stood for colored.

One of those "coloreds" was Hagar Tucker, who had been born a slave in 1842. Freed in 1865, by 1867 he was a property owner and a registered voter, an amazing thing for a black man living in the KKK-days of 19th century Texas.

Tucker's former owner was a Fort Worth city alderman, and in the early 1870s, he used his influence to have Tucker hired as a policeman. The city was looking for a "big buck Negro" who could police black neighborhoods, one who could command the respect of both blacks and whites.

Tucker died in 1892. His headstone, found in a section reserved for blacks in a large Fort Worth cemetery, was deteriorating, so recently, the Fort Worth Police Historical Association, with the help of several police officers' organizations, duplicated the Tucker headstone markings and had them reproduced onto a granite stone that has been placed at the grave. That marker was formally dedicated yesterday during a special ceremony that included a re-enactment of Tucker receiving his badge.

The article calls the symbols on Tucker's tombstone Masonic, but doesn't discuss whether any research has been done into whether Tucker was actually a Freemason. If so, and if he was a member of a regular "white" lodge in Texas, this would be even more unusual and unexpected than finding a black police officer in Texas in the 1870s.

Do any of our Texas brethren have access to old Grand Lodge records? Could you check to see if Hagar Tucker was ever a member?

Though the writer of the news story, Bob Ray Sanders, thinks the tombstone markings are Masonic, I'm not convinced. Two columns and a star — of course these could be Masonic. But swinging doors instead of a square and compasses?

It sounds like Tucker was an industrious soul. After his stint as a police officer, he worked as a porter, then a grocer and finally as a "room washer and cleaner." But could he, or his survivors, have afforded what was certainly an expensive headstone? Or did his former master and benefactor William B. Tucker, Sr., pay for it?

And was William B. Tucker, Sr., a Freemason?

Do the swinging doors represent freedom, either into the afterlife, or, perhaps, freedom from slavery?

Your ideas?

Image: Hagar Tucker's headstone. Photo by Tom Pennington, Star-Telegram.

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Saturday, March 24, 2007

Wacko website proves Masonic worldwide conspiracy: Smirnoff logo looks like Scottish Rite emblem!

I usually ignore the anti-Masonic wacko websites; I seldom find anything new or creative.

Today, though, I found a site that ties all those 33rd-degree sorcerers to what is gushingly, almost worshipfully called "the largest multinational beer, wine and spirits company in the world! It's NOT a coincidence they choose to use that Double-headed Eagle/Phoenix, WITH A CROWN on it!... And what sneaky tactics, they've named their company to not sound UK owned...."

Noting the similarity between the symbol for Smirnoff vodka and the double-headed eagle of the Scottish Rite, the blog "Post Modern Research," whose mixed-metaphor tagline is "exposing the beast, one brick at a time," has conclusively shown us that alcohol rules the world, and that Freemasonry rules alcohol, or alcohol rules Masons, or something like that. I mean, all the "captains of industry" of the world are Masons, right, and....

The site points out that Diageo is a British company, oh my! And of course, Freemasonry came from England and "the United Kingdom is at the top of the world's power structure, even WE bow down to the UK!" I assume "we" is the US of A; conspiracy nuts always believe the conspiracies are aimed at "good ol' reglar Mericans."

They worry a good bit about Freemasonry's control of the New World Order. The blog has over 30 articles about Masonry, and another eight exclusively about those top-level Masons, the Shriners. Most of the articles lately seem to be fretting about Masonic imagery in computer games. In fact, the entire site seems to be quite concerned with how images are inserted into human consciousness, which could indeed be an interesting thing to investigate, if only all the stories weren't about past master's jewels in video games and Shriners in old Beavis and Butthead movies.

The good ol' reglar Mericans at Post Modern Research are kind enough to list all of Diageo's alcoholic products; it's quite an exhaustive and thirst-enhancing list: "Guinness, Red Stripe, Johnnie Walker scotch whisky, Smirnoff vodka, Ciroc vodka, Gordon's gin, Captain Morgan rum, Bulleit Bourbon, J&B scotch whisky, Seagram 7 Crown, Crown Royal Canadian Whisky, VO Canadian Whisky, Bells scotch, Bundaberg, Tanqueray gin, Bushmills, George Dickel, Don Julio, Baileys, Archers, Pimm's, Sterling Vineyards, Beaulieu Vineyard, Blossom Hill. Diageo also distributes Jose Cuervo tequila products."

Amazing what sort of conspiracies people will believe....

Well, we all have to believe in something; I believe I'll have another drink.

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Friday, March 23, 2007

Idealists with aprons

Lately, especially since I voiced my opinion on the asinine attempt by the Scottish Rite to sponsor a NASCAR driver, Burning Taper's hate mail and crude comments by anonymous readers have increased. This blog has even been "disclaimed" by another Masonic blogger, and links to BT have disappeared from some of the more mainstream Masonic blogs.

Happily, supportive comments and emails have increased, too, from mainstreamers as well as from members of un-"recognized" Masonic groups such as Prince Hall, Le Droit Humane and the United Grand Lodge of America.

Unlike some of my detractors, I don't spend time worrying about recognition or about which group accepts what other group. Exclusion of brothers is not what Masonry is about. It's about the "brotherhood of man," you know. Antient, Modern, Co-Masonry, Prince Hall, Le Droit Humain, Grand Orient of France, Grand Lodge of Wisconsin... if a person thinks and behaves like he or she is a Mason, who am I to judge? The recognition game is just that — a game... of politics.

The original concept of "recognition," ostensibly, was to keep profane cowans from pretending to be Freemasons or from selling memberships and offering nothing in return. Nowadays, maybe we should worry more about card-carrying, chain-wearing Freemasons who behave like profanes.

Recently, I received a letter of support from a brother sister Mason in California that, with her permission, I'd like to share.

As television hosts of yesteryear used to say, "Keep those cards and letters coming!" Send me email or post a comment to this entry.
Dear WS,

I just wanted to let you know how much I've been enjoying The Burning Taper. I've read your "Small Town Freemasonry" series with much interest — and sympathy.

I don't know if you use this saying in your neck of the Masonic woods, but when we see a profane living to high standards, doing good, etc., we call them "A Mason without an Apron." Well, I've always thought we should acknowledge a related category of person: Bastards with Aprons.

The best Masons are the idealists. You have to be a crazy idealist to embrace this philosophy with your whole heart. So it is disappointing to find out that others do not share your passion, or worse, are complete hypocrites. Keep the faith. Over the years I've learned to do what you love, gather the like-minded around you, and just ignore the bastards. The politics will sap all of the love out of you.

I posted to your blog, under an image of the symbol of my obedience: Le Droit Humain. Once I saw that, I figured I just had to put my two cents in, even though the conversation was quite old.

So keep that Taper burning. Again, love your blog. I'll keep checking back.

Most fraternally,

Sis:. Kel:. Coy:.
Unification Lodge #1712
Orient of Los Angeles
I wrote her back, and asked permission to publish her email. Here is her amusing and kind response:
You are most welcome to post my letter. If you don't mind the repercussions of communicating with one of my dangerous ilk, I certainly don't mind if the grumpy ol' bastards flap and squawk about it.

If they don't think I'm a Mason, that's okay, you know, because I have the same doubts about them! LOL. A real Mason recognizes another — regardless of nationality, color, religion, obedience or gender. You're a Mason, that's quite clear to me. So I hope you will allow me to call you Brother.

Most fraternally,

Sis:. Kel:. Coy:.
Unification Lodge #1712
Orient of Los Angeles
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Thursday, March 22, 2007

Bro. Tom Accuosti's 'Guarding the West Gate'

I meant to post this back on the 17th, but let it slip by.

Bro. Tom Accuosti has written a terrific article on his blog Tao of Masonry titled "Guarding the West Gate." It's one of the best articles I've seen on a Masonic blog, ever, on any Masonic subject.

He writes:
The concern that I've been hearing a lot recently is that we, as a fraternity, are failing to guard the West Gate. The implication seems to be that we, as a fraternity, are no longer attracting "the greatest and best of men" and are instead happy to settle for those who think little of our historic and fraternal culture, that we are on a mad rush toward mediocrity....

The Craft is no more in danger from within than it was 200 years ago, because we are not attracting people who are any different than those of 200 years ago. No, the admonishments of our obligations are there precisely because the early founders knew that the West Gate would never be perfectly guarded, that some men would be overcome by their passions, and that human nature will sometimes overshadow the moral virtues that we try to emulate.
Read the entire article.

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Dinner and Drinks with the Son of Dog

In case you missed it on Boing Boing....

The press release:
One gallery owner in a "Bible Belt" state has already refused to carry Ron Burns' latest work portraying a gathering of pooches around a well-known supper table. "Maybe the world isn't ready for this. Truth is, I wasn't trying to be controversial with this one," says Ron Burns. "I love Da Vinci, I love dogs and it seemed like a fun idea to bring the two together."

The result of this historic matchmaking enterprise? Burns Studio Publishing is pleased to announce the release of limited editions of "Dinner and Drinks with the Son of Dog," Burns' riff on Leonardo da Vinci's, "The Last Supper", which was also a central image in the book "The Da Vinci Code" by novelist Dan Brown.

The Burns version features his own beloved mutt, Rufus, in the center seat, a doggy bone with a halo-like glow floating behind his head. The table is set with tennis balls, dog food in bowls, chew toys and mixed drinks.
What does this have to do with Freemasonry? Nothing, really.... I'm still trying to figure out what the original Last Supper painting has to do with Freemasonry. It hangs in a lodge room at a nearby lodge I've attended.

Image: Ron Burns' "Dinner and Drinks with the Son of Dog." Click on the image to enlarge.

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Rosslyn Chapel to get much-needed facelift

Scotland's Rosslyn Chapel, made more famous than it already was by The Da Vinci Code, today received grants totaling £7.2 million toward the restoration of the 15th-century icon.

The impressive building, which dates back to 1446, has seen its yearly tourist pilgrimage increase from 30,000 people a year in 2000 to over 120,000 last year.

Some of the intricate carvings, with symbols of the Knights Templar, Christianity, Freemasonry and mythology, are deteriorating.

For the last ten years, a tin roof has been keeping the rain off the chapel, allowing the original roof and walls to dry out. The renovation will include removing the tin roof. Repairs will also include conserving and protecting the stonework, fixing the stained and leaded glass and restoring the Victorian baptistry.

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India's National Geographic Channel to premiere 'Freemasons on Trial' this Sunday

Here comes another television program about Freemasonry, but it looks like you have to be in India to see it.

This Sunday, the India version of the National Geographic Channel begins airing Freemasons on Trial.

The breathy blurb reads: "Mocked, attacked and vilified, no other organisation has sparked such passionate and imaginative rumours. But times have changed: gone are the days when their name was synonymous only with corruption, secrecy and sinister rituals. But what does being a Freemason actually mean? To answer that question, we need to go into the heart of freemasonry. Not to debunk the rituals, not to expose the men at the top. But instead to uncover the Masonic mindset."

Joy Bhattacharjya, senior vice-president of programming for National Geographic Channel India, said the program takes viewers inside the society to reveal the truth behind the Masonic order.

"This film promises to make viewers rethink their beliefs by taking them into the heart of Freemasonry, not to debunk the rituals, but instead to uncover the Masonic mindset. Cutting through all fiction, the film will answer the question — What does being a Freemason actually mean?"

I did not find this program on the U.S. National Geographic Channel's schedule. It appears to be designed for the audience in India, where Masonry has long been popular, having spread there from England in 1730 via members employed by the East India Company.

Born in Bombay, author and poet Rudyard Kipling became an active Freemason while in India. He received special dispensation to become a Mason several months before his 21st birthday — because he agreed to become the lodge's secretary immediately upon becoming a Mason. Or at least that's the story....

Meanwhile, back in America the History Channel is re-running Mysteries of the Freemasons again. You can see it on Wednesday, March 28, at 9 a.m. and 3 p.m.

Image: Rudyard Kipling

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Wednesday, March 21, 2007

'Pro-Masonic: Not for Students'

Several years ago I purchased a copy of Albert Pike's Morals and Dogma from someone on eBay. The book was manufactured in 1919. Apparently it was originally the property of a Francis E. Liles.

On the front flyleaf, written in an eloquent handwriting, is his signature and "March 12th, 1919, Charlotte, N.C."

In a different, less flowery handwriting is written, in red:
NOT for students!
Apparently at some point the book may have also been owned by a library. The Dewey Decimal System code "366.1 PikCil" is penciled onto the upper right corner of the title page. Curiously, atop this same page is a rubberstamped rectangle containing the words:
This book has heretical tendencies.
If only this book could talk. I wonder who Liles was. Was he a Mason? Who decided the contents were heretical, and why? Who read this book before me?

Google offers one reference to Francis E. Liles, and he is probably the one we're looking for. The page I found was compiled by the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill, and the Francis E. Liles who signed the book was apparently from Charlotte, N.C. The university's page is a long document about troop movements of soldiers from North Carolina, during World War I. The page is from the book History of the 113th Field Artillery, 30th Division, published by The History Committee of 113th F. A., Raleigh, N. C., edited by A. L. Fletcher of Raleigh, N.C., and is copyright 1920.

Liles is mentioned twice. Sometime prior to March 1918, he was promoted from sergeant to first lieutenant:
Practically all of the transfers in February were made in one order, R. S. O. No. 21, dated February 1, 1918. Officers and men will long remember this particular order, for it came without warning and completely upset the old and established order of things.

In March there were also many changes, though not so many as in February. Battery A reported no changes. In Battery B, Leroy C. Hand, Battery C, promoted from second lieutenant to first, was in command of the outfit in the absence of Captain McLendon, who was at Fort Sill. Second Lieutenant Russel N. Boswell, commissioned from sergeant and transferred from Battery C, and Second Lieutenant Henry A. McKinnon, transferred to Battery B from Headquarters Company, were the other new officers in Battery B. First Lieutenant John W. Moore and First Lieutenant Frank B. Ashcraft were transferred, the first to Battery E and the latter to Headquarters Company. Lieutenant Ashcraft resigned during the month. First Lieutenants Frank L. Fuller and Enoch S. Simmons were transferred from Battery F to Battery C and Second Lieutenant Francis E. Liles, newly commissioned from sergeant, was assigned to Battery C. First Lieutenant William B. R. Guion was transferred from Battery C to Battery A and First Lieutenant William P. Whittaker to Battery F.
In August of 1918, Lt. Liles returned to the United States (from France), where he was promoted again and became an artillery instructor.
In August the regiment suffered the loss of eleven of its officers in one detachment, who were returned to the United States to instruct other artillery units, and two others were assigned to the U. S. Artillery School at Bordeaux, France. Those returned to the United States were: Capt. William T. Joyner, adjutant of the Second Battalion. 1st Lieut. Frank L. Fuller, of Battery C. 1st Lieut. William B. R. Guion, of Headquarters Company. 1st Lieut. John W. Moore, of Headquarters Company. 2d Lieut. Herman H. Hardison, of Battery D. 2d Lieut. Lemuel R. Johnston, of Headquarters Company. 2d Lieut. Henry A. McKinnon, of Battery A. 2d Lieut. Frank B. Davis, of Battery D. 2d Lieut. Zack D. Harden, of Headquarters Company. 2d Lieut. Francis E. Liles, of Battery C. 2d Lieut. Kip I. Chace, of Battery E.

All of these officers received promotion to their next highest grade and the regiment saw them no more. Men and officers heard with deep regret of the death in the United States of Lieutenant Harden, who fell a victim to “flu” soon after his arrival in the United States.
A list of hometowns of all the soldiers mentioned in this document indicates Lt. Liles was originally from Lilesville, North Carolina, which is about 60 miles from Charlotte.

If you're interested in learning more about or owning interesting and/or antique Masonic books, aprons, jewels, etc., you should check out Bro. Dean's blog Freemason's Corner. Bro. Dean, of Nova Scotia, Canada, scours eBay everyday looking for Masonic items, and then posts the links, pictures and descriptions for you on his blog. It's a great service he's providing for Masons and those interested in things Masonic.

Images: Scans of pages from my copy of "Morals and Dogma." Click on images to enlarge the views.

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Masonic blog disclaims association with Burning Taper

Recently we added the The Lion's Paw: The Masonic Thoughts and Musings of a Fundamentalist Past Master blog to our blog roll.

It doesn't look like he's been getting much traffic, but then, he hasn't been writing very much. We originally added him to the blogroll to help out a brother. (If you have a Masonic website or blog and would like to be listed on our blogroll, email us.)

Currently the statistics counter on The Lion's Paw boasts 276 total page views since it began in October 2006. The blog-owner has posted six entries in the six months since he started blogging. Burning Taper is honored to be the subject of the most recent of those six blog posts. Here's what Bro. Nathan Brindle wrote about us:
Disclaming a link

I see that the BurningTaper blog (which I only read for laughs when someone points me to a particularly egregious post) has linked me. I didn't ask for the link, I have no connection to that blog, and I have no desire for my blog to be associated with it.

Just making it clear.
Thanks for the mention, Bro. Brindle!

Image: Benozzo Gozzoli's fresco "St. Jerome Pulling a Thorn from a Lion's Paw," created in 1452, Capella di San Gerolamo, Montefalco, Italy.

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Monday, March 19, 2007

Shriners' financial improprieties subject of New York Times investigation

Once again, the major media catches up with the Masonic blogosphere.

Last October, the Associated Press finally picked up on the "whites only" issues surrounding Alabama Gov. Bob Riley's Masonic membership, something Burning Taper and other blogs had been discussing for a couple of months.

Now, splashed across the pages of today's New York Times is the story of financial improprieties involving Masonic-affiliated Shrine Clubs. Thanks to Sandy Frost's investigations and articles, we've been running stories about this since last summer.

The Times' investigation uncovered:
  • More than 57 percent of the $32 million the Shriners raised in 2005 through circuses, bingo games, raffles and a variety of sales went to costs of the fraternity, including keeping temple liquor cabinets full and offering expenses-paid trips to Shrine meetings and other events.
  • Only 2 percent of the Shrine hospitals’ operating income comes from money raised by Shrine temples and members’ dues. (The bulk is supplied by the hospitals’ $9 billion endowment.)
  • A top Shrine official told a meeting of temple treasurers that poor accounting for cash coming into the organization was “an increasingly common problem,” and that more than 30 temples had discovered fraud — like theft of money and inventory, altered bank statements, padded payrolls and fake invoices — amounting to as much as $300,000 and involving members of their “divans,” the five-member boards that govern each temple.
Johnny L. Edwards, former leader of the Oasis Shrine Club in Charlotte, North Carolina told reporters, “Money raised for the hospitals is being used to pay for parties and liquor and trips, and they know it. The way I see it, they’re stealing from crippled children.” Edwards led an inquiry into Shrine funds, and is no longer in a leadership position.

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Saturday, March 17, 2007

Iowa Masonic lodge donates $25K for scholarships

The New Hampton (Iowa) Masonic lodge has donated $25,000.00 to the New Hampton Community School Educational Foundation. The funds are designated for future scholarships to deserving graduates on an annual basis, the Cresco Times reports.

In the past, the lodge has donated smaller amounts on a yearly basis. They hope that by endowing the foundation with a larger sum, interest accrued can also be used for future scholarships.

Image: Steve Riley, Lavern Nelson and Al Riley Jr. handing check to New Hampton Community School Superintendent Karlos McClure

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Wisconsin Masonic temple being renovated as community outreach center

The story of a restoration project of a formerly luxurious Masonic lodge building in Beaver Dam, Wisconsin not only gives us a glimpse into the past physically, but also acts as a metaphor for what happened to our Fraternity in the mid-20th century.

Like Freemasonry of old, this temple was once abundantly opulent. It was once "duly and truly prepared." Then,
During the 1960s, the arched store windows on the first floor were replaced with single panes astride a standard commercial door. Side windows were filled in, ceilings were lowered and any vestige of age was either removed or concealed.
It was just after World War II that Freemasonry saw an upswing in membership, when being part of a "club" became popular. Many Masonic writers point to this time period as being when the West Gates were flung open to the masses who paid little heed to the meanings of Masonry. Not only were ceilings lowered, but so were standards.
Fortunately some bits of history remain. Eight foot high doors lean against the walls, along with a few of the original windows. Original wallpaper clings to the walls, harking back to the days when Greek columns and statues of females goddesses were a popular decorating theme. On the 14-foot high ceilings, elaborate borders and ceiling papers show how opulent the rooms must have been when kerosene chandeliers and huge wood stoves provided winter warmth.

The third phase will be the top floor, which holds the structure's greatest treasure. There, wall murals adorn each of the walls, depicting the moving sun and golden stars overhead. The scenes which cover much of the walls and ceilings are rich in Masonic symbolism. Tall doors have small panels which were raised for the ritual admission into the group's private chamber....
Like Freemasonry itself, parts of the building have been vandalized.
Portions of the murals have been damaged by vandals, with certain symbols painted over by the Masons when they made their move. The mural symbols that remain include golden crosses on the ceiling, an image of a master mason welcoming his brothers, and mountains and forests that show the glory of nature — and of God.
Salim Mohammad has purchased the temple, built in the 1860s and abandoned as a lodge in 1911, and may spend up to a million dollars renovating it. He plans to rent out space to non-profit community-oriented agencies. One of the groups who will be in the building is the Teen Center, an outreach of High Expectations, a civic group that has taken on the task of providing activities and support for young people aged pre-teen to 21.

We wish Mr. Mohammad well in his restoration of this noble landmark. Let it be a symbol of our own personal and Masonic restorations.

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Bro. Bronson Pinchot to play five roles in 'Distracted'

Bronson Pinchot played Cousin Balki on Perfect Strangers as well as the child killer in Steven King's The Langoliers. He has done voice work in countless cartoons, was in the fifth season of The Surreal Life, and first became famous as Serge in Eddie Murphy's three Beverly Hills Cop movies and in the 1983 Tom Cruise vehicle Risky Business.

He is also a Freemason.

But as the article says, "in the spirit of Freemasonry, he won't talk about it."

He opens later this month in Distracted, a play by Lisa Loomer. Bro. Pinchot plays five different roles in this play about attention deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD).

Enjoy the interview.

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Friday, March 16, 2007

Masonic cornerstone laying ceremony: What does it mean?

A 60,000 square foot public library is being built in Santa Maria, California. Completion is expected in mid-2008. Celebrities, including radio personality Dr. Laura Schlessinger, have helped raise funds, a news article relates.

On March 24 comes the cornerstone dedication.

For hundreds of years it has been customary to have Freemasons perform a dedication ritual to "bless" the cornerstone of a public building.

This scares the willies out of evangelical Christians and paranoid, anti-Masonic conspiracy theorists. A few weeks ago we mentioned the "panic" the cornerstone at the Denver airport has caused in those prone to seeing New World Order symbolism everywhere.

Anyway... what's the point of a Masonic cornerstone dedication ritual? What does it entail?

A Masonic cornerstone ritual is probably the only Masonic ritual, other than a Masonic funeral, that the public (known masonically as "profanes") will ever see conducted. When the brethren are sharply dressed, and well-rehearsed, it's an awesome thing to behold. I recall watching on C-SPAN back in the early 1990s, before I was a Freemason, the Masonic re-dedication of the cornerstone at the U.S. Capitol.

The dedication ceremony is the symbolic laying of the cornerstone, that which supports (again, symbolically) the entire structure. When the cornerstone is discussed, by extension, it refers to the entire building project, and that, in turn refers not only to the actual physical actions to erect the building, but also to the mental, spiritual, even metaphysical energies that have come together to cause the creation of the edifice. The officers conducting the ceremony, usually officers of the state's Grand Lodge, symbolically square, level, and plumb the cornerstone, assuring that it is set correctly, that "the Craftsmen have done their duty."

After the Grand Lodge officers have squared, leveled and plumbed the cornerstone, the Grand Master "finishes the work" by proclaiming the foundation stone "well formed, true and trusty."

The Grand Master then "blesses," for lack of a better word, the cornerstone (again, which by extension, represents the entire project) by pouring corn (which means grain, and doesn't necessarily have to be maize), wine and oil.

The Corn of Nourishment symbolizes health and heartiness of the workers.

The Wine of Refreshment symbolizes plenty.

The Oil of Joy symbolizes peace and joy.

There is no "magical" effect; the Grand Master has no power to bestow these benefits. He is, quite simply, asking that these benefits and blessings be bestowed upon the project and the people by the GAOTU, the Great Architect of the Universe, God.

The following is reportedly the Cornerstone Leveling Ceremony (or Ritual) for the Grand Lodge of Texas A.F.& A.M. It is very similar to other ceremonies I've seen, including the one used by the Grand Lodge of Georgia.
In the cornerstone leveling ceremony it is permissible, but not necessary, to open a Master Mason's Lodge. A Representation of the Grand Lodge is opened and called off for the purpose of leveling the cornerstone.

After the Representation of the Grand Lodge is opened and called off the Brethren proceed to the site where the ceremony, under the direction of the Grand Master or his representative, proceeds as follows:

GRAND MASTER: Right Worshipful Grand Senior Warden, the Grand Lodge of Texas having been invited to lay the cornerstone of this edifice, and having assembled for that purpose, I now order that this, the Representation of the Grand Lodge of Texas, do now assist me in the performance of this work. This my will and pleasure you will, therefore, proclaim to the Grand Junior Warden, that the Brethren and others present may have due notice thereof.

GRAND SENIOR WARDEN: Right Worshipful Grand Junior Warden, it is the order of the Most Worshipful Grand Master that the cornerstone be now laid with Masonic honors; this you will proclaim to all present, that the occasion may be observed with due order and solemnity.

GRAND JUNIOR WARDEN: The Brethren and all persons present will take notice that the Most Worshipful Grand Master will now proceed to lay this cornerstone in due Masonic form. You will, therefore, observe the order and decorum becoming the important and solemn ceremonies in which we are about to engage.

GRAND MASTER: Right Worshipful Grand Treasurer, I now order you to deposit the corn, medals and papers in the place prepared for their reception.

The principal Architect then presents the working tools to the Grand Master, who directs the Grand Marshal to present them to the Deputy Grand Master and Grand Senior and Grand Junior Wardens.

The Grand Master, Deputy Grand Master, and Grand Wardens then descend from the platform; the Grand Master with the Trowel, the Deputy Grand Master with the Square, the Grand Senior Warden with the Level, and the Grand Junior Warden with the Plumb — the Grand Master standing at the East of the stone, his Deputy on his right, the Grand Senior Warden at the West, and the Grand Junior Warden at the South side of the stone. The Grand Master spreads the cement, and may then direct the Grand Marshal to order the craftsmen to lower the stone by three motions.

The Public Grand Honors may then be given [without words].

The Square, Level and Plumb are then applied to the stone by the proper officers.

GRAND MASTER: Right Worshipful Deputy Grand Master, what is the proper jewel of your office?


GRAND MASTER: Have you applied the Square to those parts of the stone that should be squared?

DEPUTY GRAND MASTER: I have, Most Worshipful Grand Master, and the Craftsmen have done their duty.

GRAND MASTER: Right Worshipful Grand Senior Warden, what is the proper jewel of your office?


GRAND MASTER: Have you applied the Level to the stone?

GRAND SENIOR WARDEN: I have, Most Worshipful Grand Master, and the Craftsmen have done their duty.

GRAND MASTER: Right Worshipful Grand Junior Warden, what is the proper jewel of your office?


GRAND MASTER: Have you applied the Plumb to the several edges of the stone?

GRAND JUNIOR WARDEN: I have, Most Worshipful Grand Master, and the Craftsmen have done their duty.

GRAND MASTER: Having full confidence in your skill in the Royal Art, it remains with me to finish the work.

The Grand Master then gives three knocks upon the stone and says:

GRAND MASTER: I find this foundation stone well formed, true and trusty, and may this undertaking be conducted and completed by the Craftsmen, according to the Grand Plan, in Peace, Love, and Harmony.

The Deputy Grand Master then receives from the Grand Marshal the vessel containing Corn, and spreads the corn upon the stone, saying:

DEPUTY GRAND MASTER: May the health of the workman employed in this undertaking be preserved to them, and the Supreme Grand Architect bless and prosper their labors.

ALL BRETHREN: So mote it be.

The Grand Senior Warden then receives from the Grand Marshal the vessel containing wine, and pours the wine upon the stone, saying:

GRAND SENIOR WARDEN: May plenty be showered down upon the people of this State, and may the blessing of the bounteous Giver of all things attend their philanthropic undertakings.

ALL BRETHREN: So mote it be.

The Grand Junior Warden then receives the vessel containing Oil and pours the oil upon the stone, saying:

GRAND JUNIOR WARDEN: May the Supreme Ruler of the World preserve the people in peace, and vouchsafe to them the enjoyment of every blessing.

GRAND MASTER May the Corn of nourishment, the Wine of Refreshment the Oil of Joy, and all the necessaries of life abound among men throughout the world, and may the blessing of Almighty God be upon this undertaking, and may this structure here to be erected be preserved to the latest ages in order that it may promote the useful purpose for which it is designed

ALL BRETHREN: So mote it be.

The Grand Master then presents the implements to the Architect, saying:

GRAND MASTER To you Brother Architect, are confided the implements of operative Masonry with the fullest confidence that by your skill and taste a fabric shall arise which shall add new luster to your fame as a Master Builder; may it endure for many ages, a monument of the liberality and benevolence of its founders

ALL BRETHREN: So mote it be.

An oration suitable to the occasion may be then delivered. An ode may be sung and a prayer should conclude the ceremonies. After the leveling ceremony, the Brethren return to the Lodge room, the representation of the Grand Lodge is called back and closed.
Image: Georgia Grand Lodge members re-dedicating the cornerstone of the Georgia State Capitol building in 1985. Click here for additional photos.

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Thursday, March 15, 2007

'Building the Temple of Liberty: Freemasonry and the Founding of America' lecture April 1

On Sunday, April 1 at 2 p.m., in a lecture titled "Building the Temple of Liberty: Freemasonry and the Founding of America," Dr. Steven Bullock, Professor of History at Worcester Polytechnic Institute, will discuss Freemasonry in the Revolutionary era, noting its role in the coming break with England, in the war that followed, and in the new American nation that emerged out of it.

The lecture will be held at the National Heritage Museum at 33 Marret Road in Lexington, Massachusetts.

The National Heritage Museum is an American history museum founded and supported by 32° Scottish Rite Freemasons in the Northern Masonic Jurisdiction of the United States of America.

On April 16, 2007, a new long-term exhibition "Sowing the Seeds of Liberty: Lexington and the American Revolution," will open. "Sowing the Seeds of Liberty", a cornerstone 3,000 square-foot exhibition, will present new perspectives on the part played by ordinary people in shaping historical events at Lexington's Battle Green on April 19, 1775.

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Tuesday, March 13, 2007

Masonic lecture open to the public; Bro. Jeff Peace to speak on the history of secret societies

Halcyon Charities presents:

Brother Jeff Peace, renowned Masonic historian, will be giving a lecture on Freemasonry and the history of secret societies.

Bro. Peace is a fourth generation Freemason from Atlanta, Georgia who has written many papers and essays dealing with the past, present and future of Freemasonry. Bro. Peace has relationships with many Freemasons throughout the world, and has accumulated a wealth of Masonic literature dealing with topics and information that many Freemasons have never been privy to.

The lecture will be open to the public and all Freemasons, whether recognized or not by any mainstream grand lodge system. Hopefully Bro. Peace's talk will dispel any myths about secret societies inspired by The Da Vinci Code book or movie, or by the History Channel, and will bring Freemasons of all systems together in understanding.

Some topics to be discussed include:
  • Freemasonry is a peculiar (unique) system of morality veiled in allegory and illustrated by symbols
  • It is a Natural Philosophy (as opposed to occult)
  • It is based on a Progressive Science (specifically mechanics and physics)
  • It is dedicated to the purpose of creating a universal brotherhood of all mankind under the All-Seeing Eye of Deity
  • Freemasonry is not a religion but a science
The lecture will be held on Saturday, April 21, in the West Side Masonic Temple at 2831 Franklin Blvd, Ohio City, Ohio, beginning at 5 p.m. A $5.00 donation at the door is appreciated.

West Side Masonic Temple, located near Lake Erie, is an old, historic Masonic building dedicated, as is the lecture, to Enlightenment. Future lectures on Freemasonry and other subjects are planned.

Image: Bro. Jeff Peace giving a lecture on Masonic history

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Monday, March 12, 2007

Party at Masonic hall turns violent when alcohol runs out

It looks like we made it through a weekend without a stabbing or shooting at a party held at an American Masonic lodge.

But Friday night in Werribee, Victoria province, Australia, a 19-year-old's birthday party at a Masonic hall turned into a riot.

Passions were anything but subdued when the $5 for all-you-can-drink party turned violent when the alcohol ran out.

Police called to the scene were pelted with rocks and bottles. Three officers were injured, six police cars damaged, and a woman was trampled after fleeing her vehicle.

Police were so outnumbered by the unruly mob that they were forced to release the few people they were able to arrest. Even pepper spray didn't slow the crowd down.

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A convenient truth

I've finally found a readable article by a prominent scientist decrying this "global warming" hoopla.

He makes some valid points, including: It's a manufactured political crisis, not an environmental one.

Sure, we've polluted the world in some ghastly ways. And we certainly do need to take better care of the environment and the planet. But I'm not losing sleep worrying whether the average temperature will go up a half degree during my lifetime, or even in my children's children's children's lifetime.

All those "crises" of the past didn't slow us down much. Remember the fear we had of killer bees? SARS? West Nile? Bird flu? Even AIDS hasn't slowed us down that much. We're tough. But sometimes we're also very gullible and stupid.

Like the war on terrorism, the new War on Climate Change serves to make us more sheep-like. Tweak a law here, take away a freedom there.... That is what will affect our children, and our children's children, and our children's children's children.

A few weeks ago I was on the phone with a long-time friend, a very spiritual guy. It was warm that day here in the south, and cold in other parts of the country, and I commented about how a global warming meeting in Washington, D.C. had been canceled because of a blizzard. Just a throw-away line, making chitchat about the day's news and weather.

I was surprised by the intensity of his reply.

"Are you one of those people who deny global warming?" he asked in all sincerity, a bit heatedly. I let it drop immediately, not wanting to "get into it" with a friend I haven't had a cross word with in the ten years I've known him. But I shook my head in wonder at suddenly how important this issue has become to so many people. It's the trendy thing to be, against global warming.

Scientists who deny the now-popular thinking are being fired, and reports indicate in some cases their very lives have been threatened. That's how important an issue it's suddenly become. Death threats — how chic. Punished for not believing what the masses suddenly "know" is "true" because politicians and TV's talking heads are suddenly saying it is so... never mind that twenty-five years ago scientists were worrying about global cooling!

In the early 1970s a few anarchists and hippies held the first Earth Day, and were probably hosed with water cannons by the authorities for parading without a permit. Now, politicians and other authorities, like Supersize Al Gore, drive around in their supersized SUV's telling us convenient lies, and the rest of us inconveniently squeeze our fat asses into Ford Escorts, pay three or more dollars for a gallon of gas, and hold pep rallies "for the planet."

How convenient.

UPDATE, Tuesday, March 13: Today's New York Times published an article titled "From a rapt audience, a call to cool the hype." There is a growing number of scientists who agree, to one extent or another, with Al Gore's basic science as presented in his film An Inconvenient Truth, but are "alarmed... at... his alarmism." They say that the movie is filled with inaccuracies and exaggeration. They question whether Gore has gone beyond science to further a political agenda. Interesting reading....

UPDATE Monday, April 2: In a way only he could, William F. Buckley says "The whole business is eerily religious in feel. Back in the 15th century, the question was: Do you believe in Christ? It was required in Spain by the Inquisition that the answer should be affirmative, leaving to one side subsidiary specifications. It is required today to believe that carbon-dioxide emissions threaten the basic ecological balance."

UPDATE Tuesday, April 3: In a speech, Bob Murray, founder and CEO of Murray Energy Corporation, dared to say that he regards Al Gore as the shaman of global doom and gloom. He is not joking when he says, "He is more dangerous than his global warming."

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