Wednesday, July 30, 2008

From Son to Father, from Father to Son

I would like to tell a story about my family and Freemasonry, specifically my father, grandfather and I during my father’s raising. As I have mentioned in my first post, I initially learned about Freemasonry through my Grandpa. (It can be found here.) I discovered Freemasonry and found that I really enjoyed all the aspects of the Fraternity. During the course of my participation in different Lodge activities, my Dad grabbed one of the pamphlets at a booth that the Lodge was running during my first summer as a Master Mason. He told me that he might be interested in joining but he was not sure that he had the time. However, even with his concern for time, I gave him more information about the Lodge and Freemasonry in general.

I knew that he would really enjoy himself in the Lodge. After the summer ended, I asked what he thought about the Lodge. He really wanted to join and I handed him the petition. We began the degree work over the fall until we came to the third degree. I invited my Grandpa to come to the Lodge; my Grandparents live about an hour and a half from my parents’ house. I was asked by my brothers in the Lodge if I would like to raise my Dad. I knew that it would be more meaningful to my Dad if my Grandpa would raise him so I declined. It was really moving to see father and son together in the confines of the Lodge performing ritual that has been worked for centuries yet still as fresh as if it had been communicated in the quarries yesterday. And there we were, three generations of Masons together for the first time.

Later in the evening, my Dad received what my Lodge gives to every recently raised brother: the Bible, Apron and Chris Hodapp’s Freemasons for Dummies. My Dad really loves coming to Lodge and was even made the Co-Tyler of the Lodge when I took the Junior Warden’s chair. Also, with how expensive gasoline has gotten in the States, it is really nice to carpool to the Lodge and we can talk about what is going in our lives and can have a bonding experience to and from the meeting.

It was really different to bring my Dad into Freemasonry. The old trend was that a grandfather would bring in his son and the dad would bring in his son. My family bucked the trend and I really think that it is auspicious for our Fraternity. I have been told that this trend is becoming much more commonplace in Lodges today. During the Sixties, Seventies and even the Eighties, fathers were just not bringing in their sons or conversely, sons were not joining their father’s Lodge as they became of age. At least in my family, my Dad did not join the Lodge because he was in a different town than my Grandpa. When I joined, I became the connection for my Dad to join Freemasonry. I think it really creates a bond between all three generations that is different many men have.

If you have been a part of this new trend in Masonry, feel free to leave a comment. As a final question, what do I call my Dad and my Grandpa: brother? It seems kind of strange, but I guess that I will get used to it.

Monday, July 28, 2008

Pop Culture and Freemasonry: The Flintstones

This week's entry concerns the Flintstones and the wonderful organization known as the Loyal Order of Water Buffaloes Lodge. In the Flintstones, Fred and Barney (who were modeled after the television program, the Honeymooners) are members of two societies that seems to be fashioned after a mix of the Freemasons, the Shrine, the Elks and the Moose: the Water Buffaloes and the Order of Dinosaurs. The Loyal Order of Dinosaurs was the precursor to the later group known as the Water Buffaloes. (Ironically, the Elks may have been named the Buffalo had the votes been different.) Water Buffaloes are led by a man known as the Grand Poobah and meet in Lodges. The brothers have wild parties and is strictly restricted to men. Fred and Barney are members of the Loyal Order of Water Buffaloes Lodge No. 26.

Although there appears to be more in common with the Elks or the Moose, such as the fact that alcohol is freely consumed and that the brothers of the Water Buffaloes have stag parties, there are still some similarity to Freemasonry and the Shrine. There is a secret phrase to gain admission: Ack, Ack, A-dak. The Grand Poobah is also sometimes referred to as the Grand Imperial Poobah just as the leader of the Shrine is known as the Grand Imperial Potentate. As a side note, the name of Grand Poobah originally comes from the Gilbert and Sullivan musical, "The Mikado" where the Grand Pooh-bah is a man that holds many exalted titles that meant absolutely nothing. Even today, the title of Grand Pooh-bah is a lampoon on anyone who seeks great prestige with meaningless jobs.

However, in all, Freemasonry does not appear to feature as prominently a part as other fraternal organizations. It seems that the joke is directed, fairly or unfairly, to the Shrine, the Elks and the Moose who attended heavy drinking parties and saw as the episode I have posted, dancing girls and "cactus juice". Freemasonry does not, in and of itself, promote the idea of heavy drinking and raucous fun; the Shrine provides those opportunities for men to have "fun".

During the Fifties, Freemasonry experienced a boom time as well as many other fraternal organizations when former members of the military kept in contact with their friends in the military after both the Second World War and the Korean War. Almost five million men joined Freemasonry and the Lodges truly flourished. Although "the Flintstones" was created between 1960 and 1965, many of the ideas that were presented in the show were in fact from the 1950's. The turbulent era of the Sixties had not yet come to complete fruition as the United States did not come to grips with the Viet Nam War until much later on in the decade. "The Flintstones" are examples of the what the 1950's ideals meant in the United States.

The title of the Flintstones episode that I have posted here is "Pebbles' Birthday Party". Season 5 Episode 118. The story in a nutshell is that Fred is nominated to take care of the party planning for the Lodge's big gathering and needs to get dancing girls, cactus juice (Tequila?) and a swinging band. He also is asked by Wilma to plan Pebbles' Birthday Party. He goes to the only party planner in town where a mix up occurs and hilarity ensues.

If you would like to see more from "the Flintstones", visit

Friday, July 25, 2008

What a New Guy Should Know, Candidate or Brother

New brothers or guys thinking about joining Freemasonry, don't worry because Help! is on its way.

One of the main reasons that I decided to create a blog was to give a young man's perspective in the Fraternity. However, I have never given advice to the young man that would like to join the Craft. I wanted to write about my own victories and faux pases when I first inquired and joined the Lodge and what men should not do when it comes to Freemasonry. It can be very difficult for a man to come to the door and asked to be let in if he doesn't know what he should do.


1. Ask lots of questions. I discovered a lot of history about the Lodge before I was even initiated. It can be a great ice breaker between candidate and brothers.

2. Go to a Friendship or Fellowship Night if possible. It can really help to meet the brothers of the Lodge as well as other possible candidates. Also, it is very possible to get your questions answered even if you did not think of it at the time as many other guys might ask a good one.

3. Ask for help when learning the exam. I was fortunate enough to have a great Past Master to help me learn the exam with great accuracy.

4. Get involved in Lodge activities early. When I was raised, I immediately got involved in different things to do. Before I had been in for even a few months, I was already helping out with KidsID, the corn dog stand and anything else the Master wanted. I really felt a part of the Lodge and was incredibly excited for every meeting.

5. Learn the basic happenings in the Lodge. I didn't understand what I was supposed to do in the Lodge, like voting and other stuff. I asked what I should do and the brothers helped me out.

6. Ask questions about the decorum of the Lodge. I learned that my Lodge is very relaxed but we still are expected to wear nicer clothes. Many Lodges have different requirements for dress and you should remember what you can wear or when you should arrive.


7. Joke about the ritual, i.e. riding goats, paddles, and other stuff. On my initiation day, the brother that I would go through the ceremonies with and myself entered the Lodge and introduced ourselves to the brothers that we had not met and was incredibly nervous. I was talking to them and jokingly said, "I don't have to worry about paddles, do I." I was given a look of curious indignation. Luckily, I was able to bounce back from my speaking SNAFU but I still feel dumb to this day.

8. Try to elicit information about the other degrees before you have gone through them. I have always been curious and I really wanted to know the secrets. Luckily, my brothers were kind enough to not tell me any of the secrets without being mean. I am happy that I did not push as hard I could have and I really felt I learned much more from the slow uncovering of the ritual.

If any of the other brothers can think of some good advice, just leave a comment. I would especially like to hear from other really young guys. I really think it is important to calm the fears of our new brothers when they join the Fraternity.

Tuesday, July 22, 2008

Who is at Fault for the Economic Crisis: The Freemasons?!

Well, if you thought that the Freemasons are only a group of men doing charity, you would be wrong according to the Centre for Research on Globalization. No, no, it is not the fact that banks were creating poor investments while being egged on by investors seeking unsustainable growth for shareholder value. According to Richard Cook, who has apparently worked as a government analyst, (emphasis added) has pinpointed the cause of our Nation's collapse, Freemason bankers. I can not even do the article justice.

Now that you read it, I have decided just to talk about the highlights:

"They have been especially influential in northwest Europe , where elitism in the form of Freemasonry endeavored since the time of the French Revolution to destroy the authority of the Catholic Church."
"In fact, World War I was a project of the Freemasons in dismembering Germany and the Austro-Hungarian Empire, both largely Catholic. This destruction allowed the masters of usury to flourish within the atheistic and materialistic culture that Freemasonry fostered across Europe ."
Apparently, Freemasons are to blame for the French Revolution, World War I and the problems in the Middle East. I always thought there was something more than Table Lodges in Freemasonry. Wait..., if I remember correctly France and Italy were fighting against Germany and Austro-Hungary. Maybe my facts aren't completely clear. Stupid AP European History.

Here is a nice theme song to go with his assertions:

Monday, July 21, 2008

Pop Culture and Freemasonry: NewsRadio

Our next installment in the Freemasonry and Pop Culture series is NewsRadio. The basic premise behind the show, "NewsRadio" is the story of the crazy personalities at a small radio station in New York. The cast is led by Dave Foley of "Kids in the Hall" fame who plays a Level-Headed Midwesterner who starts as the station manager and discovers the incredibly bizarre behaviors of the employees at the station as well as the owner, Jimmy James.
The episode that presents a Masonic reference is entitled, "Rose Bowl" and involves station owner Jimmy James purchasing what he believes to be authentic movie memorabilia. He takes the kid to Court and asks Joe, the station tech, to represent him in the case. To win the case, Joe tells Jimmy that all Judges are Freemasons and that all that he needs to do to win is to say a magic word and the Judge will rule in his favor. Joe brings up some "Masonic" references and finally tells Jimmy James to say the secret word at which time, the Judge overturns his own ruling.

I have to say that I have always found the show humorous and off-beat. I did like this episode and laughed at the joke of the secret word for its absurdity. The concept of a Judge ruling in Jimmy James favor for uttering it is humorous. The major section of the video to watch is at 5:40, 9:00 and 18:36 minutes.

Masons have often held high positions in society, from US Presidents, Canadian Prime Ministers, and for the purposes of this article, Judges. From Justices Black, to Blair to famed legal scholar Roscoe Pound, Freemasons have been in the legal sphere. Roscoe Pound published a book on Masonic Jurisprudence to explain the nuances of the law within Freemasonry. It is important to note, however, that Mason are forbidden from showing favoritism to a brother under the color of law. If a brother should commit a wrong, he must pay for the crime he has committed. Freemasonry is built upon the idea of charity and helping to carry your needy brother when he has difficulty standing. Freemasonry is not a Cabal of men attempt to subvert laws but are given the task of constructing goodness in the structure of Society.

Seriousness aside, I really found the episode humorous. The Judge seems completely fed up with Mr. James until the secret word is spoken, then it is a complete change in personality. Also, I have to admit that the part with Goober (George Lindsey) is really funny as I used to watch reruns of the Andy Griffith show as a kid.

In all, I really think Freemasonry benefits more than it hurts from humorous representations like this. I get a kick out of watching the Media and its portrayals of the Craft. So, next time you are standing in front of a Judge, remember the secret word.

(In addition to posting the episode here, I have also linked to the Hulu site if you would like to see the episode in an expanded mode. Again, I apologize to my Canadian and international friends who can't see the Hulu videos. I am trying to find a way to rectify the problem.)

Wednesday, July 16, 2008

Economic Troubles and the Craft

At 3:00 pm on Friday July 11th, IndyMac Bank was taken over by the FDIC after months of looking to collapse. According to FDIC Chairman Bair, this could be the biggest bank failure in US history with 10000 depositors losing $500 million in uninsured deposits. As the economic health of the country becomes more and more apparent, people are moonlighting just to get by with 4.17 million people in 2007 working a second job, a 5% increase from 2006. Some of our brothers are very likely a part of this 4.17 million people. With the amount of free time becoming increasingly tight, what can Lodges do to accommodate those brothers that may have fallen on hard times.

1. Introduce many activities during the year, not merely during Lodge meeting nights but on weekends, during other nights of the week, etc.
Giving more opportunities to feel included can fulfill many needs for men. We are, first and foremost, a Fraternity.

2. Divide the work out amongst many of the brothers so that man hours become less of a problem.
Work can be highly stressful and to add to this stress the only planner of an open Table Lodge can drive a man away from the Craft and become an outsider. Dividing the work up can give many brothers work, thus feeling included and can bring those brothers in that are not in the officer's line.

3. Give brothers support if they began to fall on hard times. This is not just financial support but can include, doing yard work, watching their kids, as well as other services.
One of the central tenets is relief or charity and we, as a Craft, must give support to all distress brothers in their time of need. This help need not be financial but can include many different services provided to the brother.

4. Keep brothers informed of what is happening at the Lodge and encourage them to come out to the Lodge if they have time.
The Lodge can act as a sanctuary from the outside world and can give him the need unwind from his day to day (and now night to night) life and can help him regain perspective.

This list is not exhaustive. In these tough economic times, the Craft can be the rock with which to anchor our brothers and to give them some much needed respite from the stresses of the world.

Monday, July 14, 2008

Congratulations on 150 years

In Albert Lea, MN, Western Star Lodge #26 is celebrating its 150th anniversary. This is truly astonishing as the state of Minnesota is 150 years old. (Minnesota and Western Star were founded in 1858) Our Grand Master of Minnesota had some wonderful words to say concerning my brothers in Albert Lea. Congratulations brothers on a job well done and here is to many more years of this great Lodge.

Pop Culture and Freemasonry: The Simpsons

I have decided to present examples of Freemasonry once a week in Pop Culture. Freemasonry and Fraternal Organizations, in general, have played as backdrops for many movies, books, and television programs. Whether it be the "Water Buffaloes" or "The Stone Cutters", creative types have used these organizations to show secrecy, reverence and just plain buffoonery.

My First example is an old classic from the Simpsons, "Homer the Great." Homer wants to know why his friends are capable of getting great perks.

Homer then becomes curious about the secret society that they belong, the Stonecutters.

Homer is then allowed into the Stonecutters through his father. At Homer's first meeting, the famous Stonecutters song is sung.

Homer learns the benefits of membership in the Stonecutters.

Homer fails in his Stonecutters duty and is kicked out of the Club.

He is invited back in after the birthmark is discovered.

After Homer decides to leave the Club, Marge decides to create the exclusive Simpson Club so that Homer has a feeling of belonging. The episode is obviously a lampoon of Freemasonry and Fraternal clubs in general. I have no qualms with the Simpsons introducing this very humorous concept. The Stonecutters drink and eat excessively and sing hilarious songs of what they control. Homer was restricted from a young age from joining clubs and finally feels a sense of belonging. It is his manners that get him in trouble and requires him to reassess who he becomes acquainted with in his life.
It may appear during the episode that Freemasons are being insulted and presented as the punching bag. However, I would say that there is a much deeper question explored in this episode. Homer seeks a club because he feels lonely and is unable to find the love and respect that he believes he is not getting at home. Homer does not realize that, for a man like him, that it is his family that will provide the best group to foster those feelings of togetherness.
Freemasonry gives men the opportunity to share in collegial feelings amongst men desirous to make the world better. The Stonecutters have a very minor similarity to the Freemasons. Many Lodges do not allow drinking within their Lodges, table lodges excepted. (If you would like better examination of Alcohol in the Lodge, click here.)
I really believe that we, as Freemasons, seek more than just alcohol and arcane ritual. Many of my brothers seek to know more about history and meanings behind Masonry. We seek a place of Fraternal ties where religion and politics can not be discussed. A society of brothers that seek to aid each other and others in the community to make our world a better place and making good men better. Although I find the Stonecutters episode particularly funny, the content concerning secret societies does not change my opinion that Freemasonry is one of the best institutions to have been created and has done many good deeds for the world community.
Stay Tuned next week for more exciting pop culture.

Sunday, July 13, 2008

A Call to All Minnesota Brothers

R.W. Bro. Tom Hendrickson, Junior Grand Warden is calling out all brothers in Minnesota to help our brothers in Iowa.
Call for Help, Aid & Assist for the Grand Lodge of Iowa
The Grand Lodge of Minnesota is sponsoring a trip to Help, Aid & Assist the Masons of the Cedar Rapids area whose homes and businesses were ruined by the flood waters. We are seeking volunteers who will go and help tear out carpeting, remove sheet rock and water-soaked furniture. It will be heavy work, and not for the faint of heart. But, it is an opportunity to assist Masons, their families and their community in a time of great need!
Transportation will be by motor coach, which will meet at the Masonic Home in Bloomington, and depart on July 18, 2008 at 6:30 pm. We will arrive in Cedar Rapids at approx 10:30 pm. If there are groups or clusters of volunteers along the way to Cedar Rapids, we may make several quick stops. We will be sleeping at the Scottish Rite, so bring your sleeping bags, bed rolls, air mattresses or cots. In the morning we will wake and eat a hearty breakfast. We will have WM Gary Thomas of Red Wing cooking for us. If you have eaten at the Lodge in Red Wing, you know Gary is a great cook!
After breakfast, we will go out into the city and get to work! Bring work clothes, boots, gloves, and a few tools if you have them. We will labor until 5:30 or so. We then return to the Scottish Rite and eat a good dinner. We will board the bus and arrive back at the Masonic Home on July 19th at approx 10:30 pm.
Please contact Grand Secretery Doug Campbell at 952-948-6700 to sign-up!
The attached PDF document may be downloaded and printed for distribution to your Lodges. For more information, please feel free to contact Tom Hendrickson, Junior Grand Warden, or your Area Deputy. Brothers, thank you!
Tom Hendrickson
Junior Grand Warden

Saturday, July 12, 2008

Mission: Complete

I am indeed "Feeling Good." I am happy to announce that I have committed the long, second section of the 2nd Degree to memory. The process of memorization has taken me about six months to finally gain the nuances and proper direction so that I can give the lecture well. It has been months of hard work but I believe that it has paid off. Now the trick is to keep it in my head for the next two months while the Lodge is dark. I have been told that earplugs will hold it in and keeps your brain from leaking out.

Friday, July 11, 2008

Corinthian #67 and the Kids ID program

Brother Paul Hardt, Senior Warden

Farmington had their Rambling River Days and Corinthian #67 had the wonderful opportunity to participate in the festivities by offering KidsID. Other Lodges in Minnesota that would like to participate in this wonderful program can find the information here.

Corinthian Masons Help 83 Kids with KidsID
Corinthian Lodge was active at this year's Rambling River Days Craft Fair, putting together 83 KidsID kits for local children and their families. The effort was coordinated by Senior Warden Paul Hardt, and Tom Holten, Randy Poulson, and Worthy Matron Dawn Lund.
"It was great seeing all the kids come by our table at the Craft Fair," Senior Warden Paul said. "They were having fun at the Fair, and the parents really appreciated the KidsID kits. We're really doing a service to our community."
"It was also very nice to work with our Worthy Matron Dawn. She's a great person and we both hope we can find other ways of getting the Star and the Masons to work together on more projects."
This program really helps families by giving the police the necessary information if the unthinkable happens, a child is kidnapped. I am very proud of my Lodge in aiding the families of Farmington and I hope we can continue this program long into the future.

Wednesday, July 9, 2008

"Bones" reruns and Masonry

I have been doing the usual summer practice of catching shows that I did not have time to see during the school year. Today, I saw a rerun of "Bones" and apparently, it had a reference to an old anti-Masonry group known as the Gormongons. According to Wikipedia, the Antient Noble Order of the Gormogons was a group that was established to ridicule Freemasonry in the 19th Century. The article on the Grand Lodge of British Columbia and Yukon adds even more to the legend of the Gormogon as they were focused on the lampooning of Freemasonry and British nobility in general.

On the show "Bones", the serial killer that they are chasing is cannibalistic and seems to be be obsessed Secret Societies. It seems that the killer enjoys putting the victim in the "Widow's son" position which apparently is an ancient position of sacrifice for the Greeks. In "Bones", the murderer goes and kills Knights of Columbus members. I am not sure what he has against the KCs and it seems that there is really no connection between the Gormogons and the KCs. On Hulu, people can watch "Bones" but unfortunately at this tie, the First Episode of Season Three has been pulled. I will post the video if it becomes available.

It is always interesting to see Pop Culture pick up on different legends in the creation of Secret Societies. Unlike most brothers, I really enjoy how the Mainstream Media brings us into the limelight. I even include the movie "From Hell." I know, I know, there are brothers out there that are grinding their teeth right now for me saying that I liked "From Hell." First and foremost, the movie is technically stunning. With the exception of Heather Graham, the acting was marvelous and the scenes were accurately depicted. (Notice I say scenes not theories.) I believe that it is necessary to remove the incorrect aspects of the Craft and still see the brilliance of the film. I will emphatically say that the Ripper was not a Masonic plot. However, it is important to realize the perceptions of an outsider concerning what happens inside the Craft and to understand why some people believe we are a dangerous order. It is our job to correct the mistakes that mainstream media makes but I believe that it is not necessary to go into fight mode when errs are made.
In regards to the show "Bones", it is very enjoyable to see an Anti-Masonic group being used as the villain. Sometimes we have to remember that the mainstream media will not stop portraying us and it is our job to respond with the truth and only the truth. This is all we can do.

Monday, July 7, 2008

Missing the Social Networking Boat

After looking around the internet, I have noticed a major problem with the reach that Freemasonry has on the Web. On many of the social networking sites, there are no mentions of Freemasonry. The major news article that appeared in the LA Times about Masonic Resurgence has only been dugg 2 times on the Social News site (Digg is a site that allows users to vote up on the importance of a story.) I checked and have noticed that very few Masonic websites are being bookmarked. In fact, the Freemasonry Watch website that attacks Freemasonry has more people bookmarking it than most other blog. This is a problem. I believe one of the best methods of bringing our organization is for our members to begin actually participating in these social websites making people aware of our existence. It is easy to sign up and when we put a positive spin with respect to the great things our organization does, we can really connect to those not only in the "blogosphere" (terrible term) but throughout the entire swath of Web 2.0 sites.

I believe that we have made some great strides especially with all my fellow Masonic bloggers but this is not enough. Increasingly, the web is being used to share and collaborate and we are missing good men who are unaware of our existence. M.W. Bro. Neddermeyer listed on his research that only 25% of men even know what freemasonry is.

We are losing the battle to increase our profile on these social networks. I am calling on all our brothers to mention what networks they take a part in and how they use communication to get in contact with their fellow brothers. This is the space that the next generation of Freemasons and we have to do all that we can to understand the new order. Hopefully, through the connections that we can make on the web, we will be able to introduce people to the great activities and hopefully, introduce those men that seek the same social belonging to the Fraternity.

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Friday, July 4, 2008

Happy Second of July?!

I want to wish all of you a Happy Fourth of July with an interesting fact I found. (Not Masonic related)

John Adams declared that future generations would remember July 2, 1776, as "the most memorable Epocha, in the History of America" and celebrate it as their "Day of Deliverance by solemn Acts of Devotion to God Almighty. It ought to be solemnized with Pomp and Parade, with Shews, Games, Sports, Guns, Bells, Bonfires and Illuminations from one End of this Continent to the other from this Time forward forever more." (The article can be found here.)

That's right, the second day of July was to be our Independence Day. Whenever we celebrate it, it should be a fun time for all. Again, have a happy and safe Independence Day.

Thursday, July 3, 2008

Some Thoughts about Membership from My Brother Steve

In my Lodge, there is a very wise brother who is currently the Senior Deacon of the Lodge named Steve. I have decided to reprint a comment that he left on a previous post as I think he has some real insights into how we as officers, seasoned brothers and newly raised Master Masons can improve our Lodges throughout the Masonry.

Steve writes,

In my humble opinion, it is very important that the new member be allowed the opportunity to take up work, such as they are able, and as soon as possible. It is important to "Get" involved in order to "Keep" involved.

Whenever I hear well-intentioned Brothers call for a meeting of "Key Officers" I look around the lodge and wince, because I see new, motivated, and enthusiastic Master Masons realize that they have no role to play, and no voice. We need to make full use of the knowledge and enthusiasm of all members, not just those who are able and willing to be at a certain point 'in line'.

As someone who has watched Millennial-era Master Masons upon their entry to the lodge, this seems even more evident in light of the fact that they come to the first meeting well informed in Masonry. It is time for us to make use of the heritage of our founding fathers and truly make the lodge representative.

We have had discussions in and out of lodge about the value of brotherhood. I would call to attention the particular value of matching new Masons with the 'more seasoned'. The veterans will be invigorated, and the newer members of the fraternity will benefit by the guidance and steady hand of those who have practiced the craft through generations.

I think Steve has some very good points concerning Masonry and how we as Lodges must meet the expectations of members. Many of the brothers that are finding us today are coming as individuals with very little knowledge of the actual members of a particular Lodge and are finding us through means such as the Internet. These members need to be presented with opportunities or they will just demit and be done with us. I thank Steve for his thoughtful comments on this subject and I hope that he and I can implement his thoughts into our Lodge.

Wednesday, July 2, 2008

First Membership Committee Meeting Wrap-up

We have just finished the first Membership Committee Meeting for Corinthian Lodge #67 and I want to thank my fellow brothers who came. I think we were really able to get some good ideas fleshed out. Some ideas that the group came up with included: inviting members of the community to talk, having brothers give short 10 to 15 minute presentations on some Masonic subjects that interests them and inviting the brothers over during Football Sunday with the Vikes, (or other sports like baseball).

Concerning the Friendship Night, two ideas really stood out: 1) Present a "Cliff Notes" version of the History of Freemasonry. This point means that most of the history of Masonry can be found in many great books such as Freemasons for Dummies by Chris Hodapp or the Complete Idiot's Guide to Freemasonry Dr. S. Brent Morris in easy to comprehend forms; many of these brothers have already read both of these books and it is unnecessary to waste their time. Friendship Nights should be there to show that the Fraternity is also a modern organization, we just follow ancient traditions. 2.) Allow the potential candidates to ask questions of the brothers, including subjects such as Masonry, occupations and so forth. This will allow possible candidates to become comfortable and realize one of our major tenets, Brotherly Love.

I would like to add that we have merely set sole to path and I hope that we can make some very good progress in future meetings. I really think that it is important to focus on all three tenets of Masonry and with the membership committee, we can take care of at least one and hopefully with overlap of the other two.

Theatre Group Uses Masonic Symbols

I was reading in the paper today a story out of Winona where a theatre group uses Masonic backdrops in their plays. The “Drops and Drama” festival run by the Theatre du Mississippi performs at the Masonic Temple Theatre in Winona using backdrops with Masonic themes. (If you look at the picture on the website, you may recognize some symbolism.) One of my favorite lines of the article is “We can’t use a lot of the backdrops because they have Masonic themes; [w]e don’t know what all of them mean.”

Many readers may find the idea of using the Masonic backdrops as a problem or an affront against the sacredness of our themes but I believe that the use of these pictures is a great use of recycling. People watching the play may not know what the painting means or what they represent, but I agree with reusing those items for non-Masonic purposes. I read an article a few years ago, where a woman bought an old Masonic Temple and converted the building into a fabric production studio. While it is sad that a Lodge Building was abandoned and the Lodge was disbanded, the Lodge Building still survives. There are many examples in my state where a Masonic building has been changed has been converted into a new purpose. One of the best examples is the Hennepin Center for the Arts which is housed in what was the downtown Masonic Center. (A good historical description can be found.)

We, as Masons, are builders; we build structures, communities, charities and so forth. Sometimes we lose our stately structures but if the building can remain standing without being torn down, our memory may remain in the collective mind of the community.