|Adam Weishaupt, founder of the Bavarian Illuminati|
Friday, May 1, 2015
Saturday, March 30, 2013
Mark to present at the
American Lodge of Research, 4/1/13:
Mormon Temple Ritual and Masonic Initiation
Why This Matters
A little over 170 years ago, in March of 1842, the first Mormon prophet, Joseph Smith, Jr., was made a Mason on sight by the Grand Master of Freemasons in Illinois. Joseph Smith was aged 36 at the time, and the Church that he organized had only been in existence for 12 years.
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Saturday, February 2, 2013
1. Tell Mercedes-Benz Your Thoughts
Incidentally, the Mercedes-Benz Twitter handle is @MercedesBenz . I just tweeted them this: "@MercedesBenz: Why did you go out of your way to defame the #Freemasons in your #SuperBowl ad? http://themasonicblog.blogspot.com/2013/02/mercedes-benz-super-bowl-commercial.html" Why not drop Mercedes-Benz a tweet yourself?
2. Tell the Advertising Agency Your Thoughts
So, Merkley+Partners implies (however unintentionally) that misrepresenting Freemasonry as Satanic is consistent with their agency's and their client's values. Beyond that, it doesn't matter to them in the slightest that many Masons, their friends, and their families are insulted and offended by their ad: everything's fine, because they had "no intention of insulting or offending anyone."
New York, NY 10014
You can also contact specific individuals by e-mail:
Mr. Rob Moorman
Chief Marketing Officer
Assistant Media Planner
3. Tell the Advertising Industry Media Your Thoughts
The advertising business loves to hear about how the public perceives advertising. No ads get more attention, of course, than those on the Super Bowl.
As it happens, the industry paper Adweek has proclaimed the Mercedes-Benz ad one of the top ten ads of the Super Bowl. Adweek's website for this ad has a comment space, too. Why don't you tell them how you feel about the Mercedes-Benz ad?
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(12:20 a.m. ET, Superbowl Sunday) There is now a petition on change.org, asking Mercedes-Benz to remove the Masonic ring from the ad. You may sign that petition here.
(11:49 p.m. ET Sat. 1/2) This topic has surely struck a nerve--1600+ pageviews of this post in eight hours!--but the real news worth sharing is that, as I had feared, the wild and wooly sector of the conspiracy community has latched on to the Mercedes-Benz ad as a legitimate communication from the Dark-Powers-That-Be, revealing their evil ways. Here is one good example, at "The Vigilant Citizen" blog--quite looney, but apparently somewhat popular.
Brethren, we need to step up to the plate for our Fraternity. Let's each take these three steps to do so.
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Thursday, December 27, 2012
For some time now tension has been building between the Shrine and various Grand Lodges of Craft Masonry, around the issue of the Shrine permitting Masons expelled from their Blue Lodges to continue as Shriners. The basis of the problem, of course, is that, from the Grand Lodge point of view, the Shrine only has authority to initiate Master Masons as Shriners because the Grand Lodge permits this practice. It seems near-universal among Grand Lodges in the U.S. and elsewhere that Grand Lodges claim the privilege of permitting--or withholding permission from--any organization within their boundaries that restricts its membership to Master Masons. This privilege has been the unquestioned perquisite of a Grand Lodge within its own boundaries for well over a century. (I would welcome verifiable information regarding the history of this practice.) Because of this privilege, the Grand Lodge point of view--often codified in Masonic law within a Grand Lodge jurisdiction--is that expulsion from Freemasonry automatically results in expulsion from all other groups requiring Masonic membership, which are called typically "appendant" orders and organizations. It seems that, as of this month, the Shrine has taken a definitive stance against this long-held practice.
I received today, courtesy of W.'. Brother Cliff Porter, a reproduction of a letter dated December 20, 2012, addressed to the MWGM of South Carolina from Alan W. Madsen, the Imperial Potentate of Shriners International. (The two-page letter is shown above; click on a page for a copy that can be adjusted by size. A .pdf of the letter is available here.)
In this letter, the Imperial Potentate of the Shrine indicates that he is limited in what he can do by Shrine Law. Among these limitations, he states, is that he can only expel a Freemason from the Shrine for violating Shrine Law, or conducting himself in a manner unbecoming a Noble of the Order. The Imperial Potentate explicitly states that "there is no authority for an Imperial Potentate to remove expelled Masons from the rolls of Shriners International." The clear implication is that the Shrine simply does not recognize the authority of the Grand Lodge to insist that expelled Masons are automatically expelled from all Mason-exclusive organizations.
It gets better.
The Imperial Potentate explicitly states on the second page of the letter that the Shrine is not an appendant body, but is sovereign and independent in its own right. The Imperial Potentate then writes that "Shriners International respectfully requests the Grand Lodge of South Carolina to discontinue ... the use of the words 'appendant' or 'appendant body' to describe the relationship it has with Shriners International."
This letter was copied to all Grand Lodges, as well as all Shrine temples and all Imperial officers and trustees.
Well, alrighty then. There seem to be only four possible solutions to this situation:
- Grand Lodges could drop their claim to final authority over any organization that requires being a Master Mason for membership. This would represent a change in the way that Grand Lodges have thought of themselves for, I would guess, the entire history of Grand Lodge Freemasonry. I think this solution to be about as likely to be implemented as we are likely to see a planet-busting shower of asteroids during the next fifteen minutes or so.
- The Shrine International could change its bylaws, in such a way as to submit itself to the authority of a Grand Lodge within that Grand Lodge's jurisdiction. However, given this letter from the Imperial Potentate, I do not think the requisite change in the Shrine's attitude is at all likely to occur.
- Neither side budging, the Grand Lodges could simply ban the Shrine from their jurisdictions, and expel Freemasons who continued as Shriners. This is the "everyone loses" scenario, as some Freemasons would resign from Masonry, while others would resign from the Shrine.
- The Shrine could simply drop its century-long requirement that membership as a Freemason is a prerequisite to being a Shriner.
My preference: Door Number Four. Yes, some people would leave the Shrine without its Masonic connection, but those individuals would leave under Choice #3 anyway, and Choices #1 and #2 are simply not going to be taken. Yes, some brethren would probably leave their Lodges to be free of the burden of their lodge dues while they continue in the Shrine, but these individuals are only making a token contribution to their lodges anyway. Masons would be free to be Shriners, the same way that they are free to also be members of the Lions Club or Rotary. And one more unproductive point of controversy within Freemasonry will have been resolved, once and for all.
Copyright 2012 Mark Koltko-Rivera. All Rights Reserved. Permission is hereby granted to reproduce and circulate this content, with full attribution of the author, in non-commercial contexts only.
Friday, December 21, 2012
|The Landmarks are important.|
- On a piece of paper, please write or type the words, “I co-sponsor this Resolution.”
- Sign your full name in ink. (Only statements with original signatures are acceptable to Grand Lodge.)
- Print or type your name, your Lodge’s name, and your Lodge’s number. (If you are a WM, PM, or hold another Craft Masonry office, you may indicate that status after your name.)
- Send your signed statement to the following address:
UPDATE (Fri. 12/28/12): Florida Masons who wish to co-sign at this late date may do so by printing out the resolution itself (only the resolution itself!), signing it in ink, printing their names, lodges, and title (for example, "WM John Smith," or "William Jones, PDDGM"), and sending it on Saturday December 29th from a Florida Post Office to:
MW Richard E. Lynn, PGM
The MW Grand Lodge of Free and Accepted Masons
of the State of Florida
PO Box 1020
Jacksonville, FL 32201-1020
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Friday, December 7, 2012
Minority Religions and the Craft (Revised!):
A Meditation Upon Ruling and Decision No. 3 (GM/GL/FL, 11/28/2012)
Revisions as of December 10, 2012
Overall, I have been deeply gratified by the show of support for my ideas, both throughout the U.S. and abroad. During the last three days, I have communicated with many brethren who have brought several concerns to my attention. Some of these concerns require me to revise the post, as I note below, although not all revisions are specially marked.
The Text of the Ruling and Decision
The Logic of the Ruling and Decision
The Underlying Assumption of the Ruling and Decision
The Meaning of the Quoted Landmarks
A. Belief in the Supreme Being
Although the R&D does not specify where this is a problem with regard to the belief systems noted, I think I can see what the rationale was here. You see, most of these belief systems (except Agnosticism) have forms that believe in more than one Supreme Being:
- Some Wiccans believe in one Goddess, others in a Goddess and a God or multiple Goddesses and Gods. (Some dislike the term “goddess” for a female god; as a female Wiccan friend of mine once put it, “the word ‘goddess’ brings out the terroristess in me.” Pace ad omnes.)
- Odinists tend to accept the Gods of the ancient Norse mythos, which are several.
- The term “Pagan” is quite general, including followers of revived Egyptian, Greek, and Roman faiths, as well as the lesser-known faiths of the Celts. All of these groups believe in multiple gods, as do some groups with thoroughly modern roots, such as those based on H.P. Lovecraft’s Cthulhu Mythos.
- Gnosticism is an umbrella term for a very wide range of beliefs. Most modern Gnostic groups are essentially esoteric forms of Christianity that represent only one supreme God. Others lean more towards a belief in more than one god.
For that matter, adherents of the Shinto religion in Japan believe in very many gods; well do I remember seeing their many temples when I lived in south-central Japan some years ago. Banning adherents of Shinto from Freemasonry might raise concerns with the Most Worshipful Grand Lodge of Japan.
Indeed, the world of regular Freemasonry made peace with the issue of initiating Brethren who believe in more than one God generations ago.
B. Belief in the Immortal Soul and Resurrection
The Landmark quoted above in the R&D seems to imply that a candidate must hold “a belief in the immortality of the human soul and a resurrection thereof to a Future Life.” However, it is not explicitly stated in the Landmark that this is a belief required of the candidate. I find two things of interest in this regard:
First, the actual regulations of the Florida Grand Lodge state the following (Regulation 31.16, Digest, p. 257) :
C. The Volume of the Sacred Law
D. Divine Revelation and the Moral Law
Agnosticism needs to be treated separately, because it covers so much ground.
The technical sense of being an “agnostic” means someone who does not take a position on whether God exists or not. Even in this technical sense, an “agnostic” may take a position anywhere along a wide spectrum of opinion concerning the existence of God, ranging from “hey, who knows?” all the way to the viewpoint that, even in principle, it is impossible to know whether or not God exists. (For this latter position, see Leslie Stephens’ 1876 “An Agnostic’s Apology,” available here.)
Lots of “agnostic” men believe in God.
It has been pointedly brought to my attention that, for a lot of men in the street (as opposed to folks in the social science lab), they call themselves “agnostic” for a number of reasons, even thought they actually believe in God. Some reasons:
- They don't think it's possible to prove logically that God exists, even though they believe God exists.
- They have a belief, but not a burning conviction or some kind of mental certainty.
- They feel that God is beyond any merely human attempt at description.
I could go on. This whole issue shows one reason why it is important for Masonry to stay away from judging potential candidates or brethren by religious labels in the first place: different people mean different things by these labels. Florida needs to return to the classic Masonic position: We inquire whether the candidate believes in God, and the religious questioning stops there.
Another odd thing is that the R&D even refers to Agnosticism as a “religious practice.” There is no Agnostic Church. (What would they worship, you ask? Hey, I don't know ….) There are no agnostic religious rituals or sacred texts. Overall, it’s just odd to see Agnosticism lumped in with other groups that are religious practices.
The logic presented by the R&D with regards to followers of Wicca, Odinism, Paganism generally, Gnosticism, and even Agnosticism, is deeply flawed. To summarize these flaws:
- All of followers of Wicca, Odinism, Paganism generally, and Gnosticism--and even many of those who describe themselves as Agnostics--believe in God. They may believe in the existence of more than one—not always the case, especially with Gnostics or God-believing Agnostics—but the belief in a plurality of gods was not a problem for regular Freemasonry when it came to initiating Hindus or Shintoists, and so it should not be a problem when it comes to other faiths.
- According to Florida Regulation 31.16, "Belief in God is the only religious prerequisite of a candidate for initiation into Masonry."
- “The Volume of the Sacred Law, open upon the altar,” is a requirement for a Lodge, not an individual.
What’s the Real Problem?
What Is To Be Done?
What About Me?
Mark Koltko-Rivera on Twitter: @MarkKoltkoRiver .
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[The image that opens this post appears courtesy of Eoghan Ballard.]