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Saturday, June 27, 2015

Liberian Presidential Candidate Declares Country Needs Mason At The Helm

The African nation of Liberia has a Mason running for President who thinks the country needs to elect a Freemason to save it from it's ills. From the Global News Network website:
Liberia’s respected businessman Benoni Urey, owner of several businesses in Liberia has resolved to solicit the total support among members of his fraternity, the Freemason or Masonic craft, a secret society that was established in the country during the 1800s in his bid for the Liberian presidency come 2017.
Speaking as Orator at the celebration of Saint John the Baptist Day during the week in Monrovia, Mr. Urey said that the much anticipated new Liberia where there would be economic opportunities, social amenities for all, vibrant health and education sectors, justice, and infrastructural development, which he claimed the Unity Party led government has failed to deliver, must be brought to reality by a government led by a mason.
Mr. Urey believes the dictates of that government would emanate from the Grand Masonic Temple, popularly known as “Up the Hill,” located on West Benson Street in Monrovia.
Serving as an orator at the celebration of Saint John the Baptist Day on Wednesday in Monrovia, Mr. Urey, who is a strong ally of former President Charles Taylor, indicated that the Free Masons must produce the next president that will build a new Liberian, stressing, “We must build a new Liberia because there is a need to improve the Masonic craft and our country,” he said.
The Feast Day was organized by 14 of the subordinate lodges of the Free Masons. Mr. Urey spoke on the theme, “The Role of the Free Mason in the New Liberia.”
“The new government that is to succeed this government in 2018 must be led by a mason. Brethren, I want to let you know that the new Liberia that we all are striving to build for our people must be led by one of our kind,” Mr. Urey declared to a standing ovation of his fellow masons, who were all splendidly outfitted in the craft attires.
He also noted that in the 2017 elections, members of the society will get involved to ensure that the right people are elected.
Mr. Urey indicated that members of the Freemason society in Liberia have been silent for too long as they watch the country go in the wrong direction, but said it is now time for them to stand up and speak out.
Their inability to speak against the ills in the society makes them equally as guilty as those who carried on vices against the state, Urey indicated.
“We have a health sector that is so bad off that many of our people die on a daily basis while we are breeding a generation of people who lack the requisite education and the system is at its lowest level ever in the history of the country,” said Urey.
“The new Liberia must have a God fearing man and the new leader must be his brothers’ keeper. He must be an upright man,” Urey said, indicating that those attributes clearly put masons at an advantage because their craft teaches them those noble principles.

Friday, June 26, 2015

Fraternal Industry Facing Financial Challenges

Freemasonry is a brotherhood with a fascinating heritage, symbolism, and secrets that bind us to each other. It is  truly about the dedication of one brother to another. Fortunately, we didn't get into the insurance business, and our retirement homes have been finding new ways to reach out to the public for business, or they have sold off or closed. The rest of the fraternal world has not been so lucky.
A.M. Best, an insurance rating company, has released a report that focuses on the challenges being faced by the U.S. fraternal industry, a segment of not-for-profit organizations that offer life insurance and retirement products.
According to the Best’s Special Report titled, “U.S. Fraternal Industry Facing Challenging Demographics,” A.M. Best has identified several significant challenges over the past decade that are expected to place negative ratings pressure on these fraternal benefit societies (fraternals). These issues include changing demographics, which lead to declining membership; expanding distribution; a shift toward interest-sensitive product lines; pressure on operating margins; and heightened regulatory and technology costs.
Fraternals offer life insurance and retirement products to support members and fund community support through charitable donations, volunteerism and educational support. Fraternals face some challenges that are similar to the issues facing the general U.S. life industry, namely, the need to modernize distribution systems, achieve top-line revenue growth, increase market penetration (particularly in the middle income market), and maintain relevance and appeal to younger generations.
While the rating trend generally remains stable, negative rating actions may occur for those fraternals with declining membership, lower capitalization ratios, a shifting business mix toward heightened interest sensitivity and negative earnings trends.
For a full copy of this special report, please visit:http://www3.ambest.com/bestweek/purchase.asp?record_code=238812. Sorry, but you have to sign up and pay for it.

Indiana Masons: Freemasons and the Indianapolis Colts 9/21

ATTENTION ALL INDIANA MASONS! The Grand Lodge of Indiana is excited to announce that it has once again partnered with the Indianapolis Colts for an evening of football, fellowship, and fun!  This year, Grand Master William Reiners has raised the bar by securing a regular season game, and to make it even more exciting, it is the season home opener for the Colts.  Everyone is encouraged to bring family and friends, because the more the merrier!  Register Here
The Colts and Grand Lodge have teamed up to offer several opportunities to be a part of the event this year.  Grand Lodge is offering three different ticketing options in order to suit everyone’s budget.  The Colts have invited Indiana Freemasonry to perform the flag ceremony again, and this year’s flag ceremony will be televised live on ESPN!  Everyone who participates in the flag ceremony will receive a FREE masonic Colts jersey.  Additional jerseys will be made available for purchase as well.We also have a VIP Pre-party planned with food, and a cash bar. Last year was a huge success, and we hope you and your lodge will mark your calendar for this event and join us for an evening of fun, fellowship and celebration of Freemasonry!
Of course, you are wondering what date you need to mark! Monday, September 21 at 8:30pm EST the Indianapolis Colts will take on the New York Jets in their at home season opener, and the Indiana Freemasons will be there in full force! Bring the family, support the Craft by displaying the American Flag on national television, enjoy the VIP Pre-party and then watch our Colts open the season with a victory over the Jets! 
Before we get too far, let’s look at all of the details of this event, so that you can easily share them with every member of your lodge.
Tickets to the Game
First things first, you need a ticket for the event. We have several levels available. 
            • $59.00 tickets located in the 600 section
            • $66.00 tickets located in the 500 section
            • $109.00 tickets located in the 300 section
There are limited amounts of tickets in each section, and once they are gone, they are gone. As you will see with all of these details, regular season games are in high demand, so be sure to get involved as soon as possible before it sells out.
Participating in the Flag Ceremony
This year we can only allow 250 people on the Flag Ceremony. This is due to the restriction on regular season games and televised ceremonies. There are some guidelines we must follow:
            • You must indicate your participation on the registration form when you purchase your tickets.
            • No one under 18 may participate in the Flag Ceremony
            • You must purchase a ticket to participate in the Flag Ceremony, we cannot accomodate season ticket holders due to the limited availability of the passes.The first 250 to sign up will be the only ones allowed to participate, no exceptions.
            • You must be physically able to participate. It is not easy, and involves running. Please, if you have any difficulty, do not endanger yourself in this ceremony.
            • You must arrive by 5pm at the stadium for the practice of the Ceremony.
            • All Flag Ceremony Participants will receive a FREE masonic Colts Jersey. This Jersey must be worn during the ceremony, and will be picked up at the event ONLY.
            • We must enter and exit the field quickly, or there will be heavy fines from the NFL and the networks.
Exclusive VIP Pre-Party
Let’s tailgate in style! We will have a VIP Pre-party available to everyone who wishes to attend for only $35. The party will be from 6pm to 8pm, so that all who are in the Flag Ceremony practice may attend if they wish, and everyone will be in their seats in time to watch the pre-game events. The party will include in its ticket price: Johnsonville Bratwurst, Gourmet Hamburger Bar, Served with all the trimmings. Apple Jalapeno Cole Slaw, Red Bliss Potato Salad, Lays Ruffled Potato Chips, Rold Gold Pretzels, Roselyn Recipe Chocolate Fudge Brownies, Assorted Gourmet Cookies and choice of Coke, Diet Coke, and Sprite. This will be inside the stadium, with food and a Cash Bar. 
Addition Masonic Colts Jerseys
For those who are not participating in the Flag Ceremony, you can purchase a Masonic Colts Jersey for only $25. These Jerseys will be shipped directly to the primary registrants address and shipping is included in the price. All shirts must be ordered by the deadline of July 31st, no orders will be taken after that date.
Register ONLINE NOW!
Registration is now online at www.indianafreemasons.com/colts. Please make sure you read all the instructions carefully to ensure you get exactly what you order in a timely fashion. Let’s take some time to relax and enjoy our friends and brothers, and take Freemasonry out into public view. Let’s celebrate this great fraternity, and represent it on national television. Let’s make it a day of fun and friends while we cheer on our Colts! 

Sunday, June 14, 2015

Masonic Podcast: Freemasonry In The Bakken

Be sure to check out the podcast from North Dakota, Freemasonry In The Bakken on the web or on iTunes (subscribe on itunes at www.BakkenMasons.com/itunes). It is hosted by Master Masons and they discuss many things concerning the fraternity, both about Masons living in North Dakota, and Freemasonry in general. They also feature interviews with influential Masons on various topics. I was interviewed on a recent broadcast, and they do a terrific job. These guys have jumped into this with both feet and are really rejuvenating their lodge and North Dakota Masonry. Hosted by Dr. Bob Baer, Nolan Overton, and Tyler Hall, they currently have 22 episodes on topics that will interest more than just North Dakota Masons. Check them out!

Wednesday, June 10, 2015

Speaking at the Grand Lodge of North Dakota This Weekend

I'll be speaking this weekend at the Grand Lodge of North Dakota AF&AM, including a talk at the Bismarck public library about what it's like to write a Dummies book. I'm speaking both Friday and Saturday, June 12th and 13th at the Radisson Hotel in Bismarck. Hope all my North Dakota brethren can make it!

The Second Summer International Masonic Workshop In Athens, Greece 8/26-30


 The Second Summer 
International Masonic Workshop 
Athens, Greece 
Wednesday August 26th - Sunday August 30th 2015 

 Indicative topics for papers and presentations 
Historical aspects of Freemasonry | Freemasonry and the Enlightenment | Freemasonry in the World: English, Irish, Scottish, Continental European, Scandinavian, American etc. | Masonic Rituals and Symbolism | Biographies | Masonic International Relations: Regularity, Inter-visitation, Recognition | Masonophobia | Research Lodges | Masonic Heritage: Museums, Libraries & Archives | Heraldic in Freemasonry | Ancient & Medieval Guilds | Fraternalism | Beyond the Craft Orders - Appendant Orders | Women Freemasons | Mixed, Co-Masonry | Revolutions and Freemasonry | Esoteric aspects of Freemasonry | Religion and Freemasonry | Freemasonry and new Technologies | Fine Arts and Freemasonry | Literature and Freemasonry | Freemasonry in Music | The Masonic Charity | Book Review 


Guest speakers 
Robert Bashford 
Dr. Ric Berman 
Dr. Mike Kearsley 

Keynote Speakers 
Chris McClintock 
Dr. Remzi Sanver 
Chris Sariyiannides 

Organised by 
Philotecton Society 

Detailed program: 
www.masonic-events.org 


 Call for short papers 
Every participant wishing to make a short presentation should submit the following information: 
- Name and nationality - A title and an abstract of maximum 150 words not later than June 30th, 2015 
- Contact information (postal and email address, telephone number) 
- Any other information considered essential by him/her (e.g. masonic affiliation, academic institution etc.) 
The application should be sent to the email address: simm@masonic-events.org 
The candidates will receive a notification as to whether or not their abstract has been accepted by July 15th, 2015. Any application submitted later than June 30th, 2015 will be disregarded. 


The Workshop is not affiliated to any masonic or academic body. 
 The Workshop is not in any way a tyled event nor is there going to be any associated tyled meetings. 


Participation to the Second Summer International Masonic Workshop does not require affiliation to any masonic or academic body, nor does it confer any masonic membership. 



Article About Masons In UAE Paper

An article appeared in the United Arab Emirates paper The National about the writer's grandfather being a Mason. It's brief, but gives a thumbnail sketch of Freemasonry in the Middle East. I never knew the UAE and Iraq could ever be so tolerant of Masons.

Check out Secret Societies Fascinate As They Keep Us Guessing by Rym Ghazal:

A relative who was almost 90 passed away recently, and despite efforts to find out more, he stubbornly took his “secret” with him.Well, it wasn’t much of a secret that he was a Freemason, as he always wore his Masonic ring and several details from his life indicated he was part of this special fraternity.But I still say “secret” because Freemasonry began in medieval Europe as a guild for stonemasons and acquired a reputation for secrecy.This relative is believed to have joined the Freemasons via his work at the Iraq Petroleum Company, known before 1929 as the Turkish Petroleum Company. He used to travel and set up businesses in places like Liberia, the US and elsewhere. But he seemed to always have “help” whenever he went.When asked how one joined and other details about the fraternity, he would say no more than that they are “like brothers” and not all Freemasons are very famous and very rich.In the late 1800s and early 1900s, Freemasonry was quite popular in the Middle East, with many important figures such as Lebanon’s first president Charles Debbas, Lebanese poet Khalil Gibran and the late King Hussein of Jordan rumoured to be part of the organisation.There is no room to discuss its complete history but according to several sources, Scots established the first lodge in the Middle East. It was in Aden in 1850. The first Masonic Lodge in Lebanon was chartered by the Grand Lodge of Scotland in 1861 and given the name Palestine Lodge No. 415. A lodge in Palestine followed in 1873. The movement went through different phases of activity and inactivity. Today of course one can google the Freemasons and even buy Masonic rings online, but I doubt they are authentic. The public likes to analyse and look for hidden symbols, what they mean and where they originated.

Read the rest of the article here.

Tuesday, June 09, 2015

Levant Preceptory in Dayton, OH 7/18/2015

Levant Preceptory will be conferring the Order of the Temple in Medieval period gear in Dayton, OH on Saturday, July 18, 2015. The Grand Commandery of Kentucky and the Grand Commandery of Ohio will confer the Illustrious Order of the Red Cross and Order of Malta respectively beginning at 9:30 A.M. Eastern Daylight Time at the Dayton Masonic Center located at 573 W. Riverside Ave. in Dayton. If you have never seen this Order performed by Levant, you are in for a treat. It truly sets the mood of the degree in its proper setting, and leaves a lasting impression, especially for the initiate. Seventy pounds of chainmaille armor, coif, steel helmets and broadswords is an impressive sight. Come out to Dayton and see them.

For more information about Levant Preceptory, see the website or contact Jim Dillman, our fearless leader.

German and Turkish Editions of My Books Now Available

I just received from Wiley the revised edition of Freemasons For Dummies translated into German, and Conspiracy Theories and Secret Societies For Dummies translated into Turkish. Freimaurer Für Dummies and Komplo Teorileri ve Gizli Cemiyetler For Dummies Meraklisina are both now available in those countries.

Woo hoo!

Wednesday, June 03, 2015

Fire By Arsonist Destroys Trenton, FL Masonic Lodge

Fire has destroyed the Masonic lodge in Trenton, FL and a suspect has been arrested. Read the story by Cindy Swirco from the Gainesville Sun website:

The Masonic lodge in Trenton was destroyed by fire and a suspected arsonist arrested Monday after he was seen taking pictures or video of the blaze, according to City Manager Taylor Brown.
Charged was Jonathan Harrell, who told police he had taken steps to become a Mason but quit the process when he was arrested on unrelated charges.
A resident called 911 to report the fire about 4:19 a.m. at the lodge at 125 NE 2nd Ave.
Trenton police arrived and saw what appeared to be white spray paint of the Masonic logo, stars and the words “truth not light of false” and “The Vigilant.”
The Trenton officer photographed the graffiti before it was destroyed by the fire, Brown said in a press release.
Firefighters arrived and said they found the lodge fully engulfed in flames but worked to keep it from spreading to neighboring buildings. Officers said they spotted Harrell, who was wanted for another crime, photographing the fire amid a crowd of onlookers.
Fire investigators determined the blaze had been set in the front hallway with flammable liquids.
Harrell was later tracked down and interviewed. Brown said Harrell admitted to starting the fire.

Video from Massachusetts


Some happy brethren from Massachusetts made this video recently.

Monday, June 01, 2015

Speaking in California in June




I'll be speaking at Burbank Lodge on June 20th at 4:30PM. The next day I'll be at Newport Mesa Lodge in Newport Beach at 9AM, open to all. Please come out and see me at one or the other. (Click posters to enlarge.)

America's Teenagers Are the Least Religious Group in History

According to the Daily Mail today, America's teenagers are the least religious group in history. Click here for the full article.

Religion and faith is having less of an influence on people's lives, especially the young, according to new research.  The US study claims that millennials - recent teenagers - are the least religious generation of the last six decades and possibly in the nation’s history.It said recent adolescents are less likely to say that religion is important in their lives and spend less time praying or meditating - and future generations are likely be even less religious.Researchers led by psychology professor Jean Twenge from San Diego State University analysed data from 11.2 million respondents from four nationally representative surveys of US adolescents aged 13 to 18 taken between 1966 and 2014. They found that millennials, also known as Generation Y, are less likely to belong to a religious group, or say that faith plays an important role in their daily lives.‘Unlike previous studies, ours is able to show that millennials’ lower religious involvement is due to cultural change, not to millennials being young and unsettled,’ said Professor Twenge, who is also the author of Generation Me.‘Millennial adolescents are less religious than Boomers and GenX’ers were at the same age.‘We also looked at younger ages than the previous studies. More of today’s adolescents are abandoning religion before they reach adulthood, with an increasing number not raised with religion at all.’