Thursday, March 16, 2017

Success

By Ralph Waldo Emerson

What is Success? 

To laugh often and much; 

To win the respect of intelligent people 
and the affection of children; 

To earn the appreciation of honest critics 
and endure the betrayal of false friends; 

To appreciate beauty; 
To find the best in others; 

To leave the world a bit better, whether by 
a healthy child, a garden patch 
or a redeemed social condition; 

To know even one life has breathed easier 
because you have lived; 

This is to have succeeded.

Saturday, March 11, 2017

Five Stars and Freemasonry

In a series of articles looking at famous Freemasons, I've mentioned US Presidents, Vice Presidents, and Founding Fathers who were Freemasons, but I've never really looked at famous military figures. This article will look at those who served and were distinguished as being elevated to the rank of five-star. A five-star rank is a very senior rank used within the military, often the most highest rank, second in the United States only to the President. This rank is so rare that it is used only during times of war and even then in only rare cases. In the United States, the five-star rank is referred to differently in each of the branches. In the Army, it is known as "General of the Army." In the Air Force, it is known as "General of the Air Force." In the Navy, it is known as "Fleet Admiral." There is no five-star equivalent in the Marine Corps or Coast Guard. Here is a list of those who held the rank of five-star or higher:
Generals of the Army:
George Washington*
John J. Pershing*
George C. Marshall
Douglas MacArthur
Dwight D. Eisenhower
Omar N. Bradley
General of the Air Force:
Henry "Hap" Arnold
Fleet Admirals:
William D. Leahy
Ernest J. King
Chester Nimitz
William F. "Bull" Halsey
The asterisks are placed next to George Washington and John J. Pershing because they are unique cases as they are considered "General of the Armies" which ranks higher than five-star rank. However, for the sake of Freemasons who were at least five-stars, I am including them both. How of these 11 five-stars listed, 7 of them were Freemasons: Washington, Pershing, Marshall, King, MacArthur, Arnold, and Bradley.

George Washington, the Father of our Country, was initiated an Entered Apprentice Mason on November 4, 1752, passed to the degree of Fellow Craft on March 3, 1753, and Raised to the Sublime Degree of Master Mason on August 4, 1753, in Fredericksburg Lodge (later No. 4), Virginia. He was named Worshipful Master of Alexandria Lodge #22, in Alexandria, VA, April 28, 1788, and reelected December 20, 1788, but there is no evidence he was ever installed or presided over any Masonic meeting. He was posthumously appointed "General of the Armies of the United States" in 1976.

John J. Pershing served as the General of the Armies during World War I. He was initiated, passed, and Raised in 1888, in Lincoln Lodge #19 in Lincoln, NE. He was made an honorary member of Stansbury Lodge #19 in Washington DC in 1919. Harry S. Truman, Senator at the time, presented Pershing with a certificate making him an honorary member oef the Grand Lodge of Missouri (Pershing's home state) on September 30, 1941. Pershing joined the Scottish Rite in Wheeling, WV, in 1920, which culminated in the 33° on January 6, 1930. Pershing was also a member of Lincoln Chapter #6 of Royal Arch Masons, Mt. Moriah Commandery #4 of Knights Templar, and Sesostris Shriners in Lincoln, NE.

George C. Marshall was appointed as General of the Army on December 16, 1944. He's also well known for his time as Secretary of State, Secretary of Defense, and being the author of the "Marshal Plan" which was an American initiative to help Western Europe recover following World War II. He was made a "Mason at Sight" by M.W.Bro. Ara M. Daniels, Grand Master of the District of Columbia, on December 16, 1941 in the Scottish Rite building of DC along with Jesse H. Jones, Secretary of Commerce; Marshall was the Army Chief of Staff at the time.

Ernest J. King was made the first Fleet Admiral of the US Navy on December 17, 1944. He was initiated, passed, and raised in George C. Whiting Lodge #22 (now Potomac Lodge #5) in Washington DC in 1935. He was exalted to the the degree of Royal Arch Mason in Darius Chapter #143 in 1938 in San Diego, CA. He later joined Holyrood Commandery #32 in 1939 and Al Koran Shrine in 1946, both in Cleveland, OH.

Being one of the most famous Generals in US history, Douglas MacArthur was appointed General of the Army on December 18, 1944. He was named "Allied Supreme Commander" in August 1945 and accepted the surrender of Imperial Japan. He was made a "Mason at Sight" by M.W.Bro. Samuel Hawthorne, Grand Master of the Philippines, on January 17, 1936, before affiliating with Manila Lodge #1. He joined the Scottish Rite in Manila the same year, received the Knight Commander of the Court of Honor (KCCH) in 1937, and received the 33° on December 8, 1947, while at the American Embassy in Tokyo. He was also a member of Nile Shrine in Seattle, WA.

Henry H. "Hap" Arnold was made a General of the Army on December 21, 1944, and then General of the Air Force on May 7, 1949. He was initiated, passed, and Raised in Union Lodge #7 in 1927 in Junction City, KS. He joined the Scottish Rite on April 11, 1929, in Leavenworth, KS, and received the 33° on October 19, 1945.

Omar N. Bradley was appointed General of the Army on September 20, 1950 and was the last person to possess the five-star rank in the United States military. He was initiated passed and raised in West Point Lodge #877 in Highland Falls, NY, in 1923.

These men served with distinction in the fight for freedom at home and abroad, and I am honored to number them as one of my Brothers. The next articles in this series of famous Masons will look at Civil War Generals and US Supreme Court Justices who were Freemasons.

References

1. 5-Star Generals. (n.d.). Retrieved from Military Factory: http://www.militaryfactory.com/5-star-generals.asp 

2. Bessel, P. M. (n.d.). Freemasons among U.S. 5-Star Generals & Admirals. Retrieved from Paul Bessel: http://bessel.org/fivemas.htm 

3. Denslow, W. R. (1957). 10,000 Famous Freemasons. Retrieved from Phoenix Masonry: http://www.phoenixmasonry.org/10,000_famous_freemasons/Volume_1_A_to_D.htm 

4. Famous Freemasons. (n.d.). Retrieved from Grove Lodge No.824 AF&AM of Illinois: https://www.grovemasoniclodge.org/index.php/secrets/famous-freemasons 

5. Five-Star Generals and Admirals of the United States. (n.d.). Retrieved from The History Guy: http://www.historyguy.com/5-star-military.htm 

6. Highest Ranking Officers in US History. (n.d.). Retrieved from InfoPlease: http://www.infoplease.com/ipa/A0004626.html 

7. Morris, S. B. (n.d.). American Freemasons and the Spirit of Freedom. Retrieved from Pietre-Stones Review of Freemasonry: http://www.freemasons-freemasonry.com/brentmorris1.html 

8. US Army Five-Star Generals. (2016). Retrieved from US Army: http://www.history.army.mil/html/faq/5star.html

Saturday, March 4, 2017

Kappa Rho Chapter of the Kappa Sigma Fraternity

Today's been a long day. With the effort of four different Chapters of Kappa Sigma and many alumni, we initiated 66-new members of Kappa Sigma and reopened the Kappa Rho Chapter (Boise State University) of the Kappa Sigma Fraternity. After the initiations were completed, the Kappa Sigma Ritualist installed the officers of Kappa Rho. It was amazing to see the different degree teams do great ritual work and I even got to serve as Grand Master and Grand Procurator for a few initiations.

We later met at the Zions Bank building in downtown Boise where had a great banquet with a great deal of fellowship and camaraderie. They keynote speaker was the District Grand Master from Oregon and he knocked it out of the park The newly initiated Brothers have put in so much work to get the Chapter reopened and today was a validation, and culmination, of that effort.




Wednesday, March 1, 2017

The Philalethes Society

The Philalethes Society is an international Masonic research society; the oldest independent Masonic research society in North America. The Philalethes Society was started to serve the needs of those seeking a deeper insight into the history, rituals, and symbols of Freemasonry as well as spreading Masonic light to others. The purpose of this Society is to find the truth in response to the abundant examples of historical fiction, myths, fabrications, and exxagerations. Due to our geographical size and location, American Freemasons have and were often sheltered from the activities of Freemasonry around the rest of the world. The Philalethes Society seeks to fill this gap of knowledge and, in one instance, was instrumental in researching the atrocities committed by the Nazis and it's persecution of Freemasonry. 

The Philalethes Society was founded on October 1, 1928, in Cedar Rapids, IA, by Cyrus Field Willard (California), Robert I. Clegg (Illinois), George H. Imbrie (Missouri), Alfred H. Moorhouse (Massachusetts), Henry F. Evans (Colorado), and William C. Rapp (Illinois), all of whom were prominent Masonic authors of their time. Cyrus F. Willard served as the Society's first President. The Philalethes Society is overseen by an Executive Board which consists of a President, First Vice President, Second Vice President, Third Vice President, Fourth Vice President, Executive Secretary, Treasurer, Editor, Business Manager, Librarian, and Immediate Past President

Philalethes (φιλαλήθης) is pronounced "fill-a-LAY-thayss" and is Greek in its origin. Philalethes is the combination of "philo" meaning lover and "alethes" meaning true, and when taken together Philalethes means "a lover of truth." Philalethes was used by some alchemists in the 17th and 18th centuries including Robert Samber with his pseudonym, Eugenius Philalethes (a name also used by Thomas Vaughan). In 1772, a Masonic rite known as the "Rite of Philalethes" was founded in Paris, France, which was devoted to the study of esotericism. It was from this rite that the Philalethes Society took its name.

Within this group, there are Fellows of the Philalethes Society (FPS) and Members of the Philalethes Society (MPS). As it was in the beginning, the number of Fellows is limited to forty (40) Masonic authors. All other Master Masons retain access to the Philalethes Society as Members of the Correspondence Circle, which has no membership limitations. Membership is available only to Master Masons in good standing. The cost for membership is $50 for those Masons in the United States and Canada, and $60 for all other international Masons. The advantages of membership include receiving four quarterly issues of the "Philalethes: The Journal of Masonic Research & Letters", access to members-only forum, discounted prices on back issues of the journal, fellowship in a local Chapter of the Philalethes Society (where available), correspondence with like-minded Freemasons throughout the world, and direct access to Masonic scholars who can assist with your own research

Originally, the Society had no publication of its own, but published its work in other Masonic publications (many of them were edited by Fellows of the Society). The Society attempted to get their own publication started, but with the onset of the Great Depression and World War II, this effort was delayed until 1946, when the paper rationing was lifted. The first "Philalethes: The Journal of Masonic Research & Letters" was released in March 1946 with Walter A. Quincke, FPS, as its Editor.

Notable Fellows of the Philalethes Society include Cyrus Field Willard, Harold V. B. Voorhis, Rudyard Kipling, Oswald Wirth, Robert I. Clegg, Henry F. Evans, Louis Block, J. Hugo Tatsch, Charles S. Plumb, Harry L. Haywood, J.S.M. Ward, Charles C. Hunt. Carl H. Claudy, Arthur Edward Waite, Ray V. Denslow, S. Brent Morris, Thomas W. Jackson, Norman Vincent Peale, and Robert G. Davis.

References

1. King, N. (2001). The Philalethes Society. Retrieved from Masonic Dictionary: http://www.masonicdictionary.com/philalethes.html 

2. Philalethes Society. (n.d.). Retrieved from Wikipedia: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Philalethes_Society 

3. Roberts, A. E. (1988). History of the Philalethes Society. Retrieved from The Philalethes Society: http://www.freemasonry.org/history.php 

4. Roberts, A. E. (1997). The Philalethes Society Seekers of Truth. Retrieved from The Masonic Trowel: http://www.themasonictrowel.com/masonic_talk/stb/stbs/97-01.htm

Wednesday, February 15, 2017

Tall Cedars of Lebanon

Officially named the Tall Cedars of Lebanon of North America is an obscure appendant body of Freemasonry devoted to fostering friendship and fellowship among Freemasons; The motto of this organization is "Fun, Frolic, & Fellowship." This group is open to Masters Masons in good standing and Masons will see the name originates from the legend of King Solomon's Temple who used cedars from Lebanon in the erection of that building. There are around 13,000 members and 102 Forests, but most of this is situated primarily on the East Coast.

From the Encyclopedia of Freemasonry by Albert Mackey, "The grove of trees known as the Cedars of Lebanon consists of about four hundred trees, standing quite alone in a depression of the mountain with no trees near, about six thousand four hundred feet above the sea, and three thousand below the summit." The Cedar tree is very symbolic. It is seen as a symbol of eternity due to the longevity of the tree's life. From the Bible, we learn that the Ark of Covenant was made of Cedar. In Freemasonry, the Cedars of Lebanon make several appearances throughout the various degrees. The ritual of the Tall Cedars is said to be taken from I Kings, II Chronicles, Jeremiah, and Ezekiel.


Members are known as "Cedars" and the basic organization unit is known as "Forests" which is presided over by a Grand Tall Cedar. The members are distinguished by the pyramid-shaped hat they wear. Like the Shriners, Forests include a number of units and clubs such as Clowns, Band, Bowling Leagues, RV club, Golfers, Antique Car Units, Camping Club, etc. The international governing body is known as the "Supreme Forest" which is presided over by the "Supreme Tall Cedar" and is headquartered in Harrisburg, PA. In addition, there are two additional degrees conferred known as the "Royal Court" and the "Sidonian."

The history of this group goes back to around 1843 when it was a standalone degree and not a formal organization. This "Tall Cedar degree" was known in those days "The Ancient and Honorable Rite of Humility" which is said to have include some roughhousing and hazing. The little records that exist show that the degree continued through the actions of Dr. Corson and Dr. Stevens who conferred the degree throughout Pennsylvania and New Jersey. In 1887, Dr. Stevens conferred this degree upon Frank Bowen and Orlando Bowen, who were a part of the group that formed the Tall Cedars of Lebanon of the USA. Often this degree was conferred at large gatherings of Master Masons.

The Tall Cedars of Lebanon of the USA was founded on March 18th, 1902, in Trenton, NJ, by 15-members. The decision to formalize this group was due to the desire to stabilize and preserve what they saw as a worthwhile ceremony. In 1972, the name changed to the Tall Cedars of Lebanon of North America when the organization spread to Canada.

Like most appendant bodies in Freemasonry, there is a designated charity for this organization. The Tall Cedars supports research into Muscular Dystrophy and other neuromuscular diseases. It is estimated that the Tall Cedars have raised over $14-million for Muscular Dystrophy research. Each year, the Supreme Forest presents a check at the Jerry Lewis Labor Day Telethon.

References

1. Bullen, J. E. (n.d.). Whence Came We? Retrieved from Tall Cedars of Lebanon: http://www.tallcedars.org/information/history.htm

2. Hodapp, C. (2009, September 07). Tall Cedars of Lebanon. Retrieved from Freemasons for Dummies: http://freemasonsfordummies.blogspot.com/2009/09/tall-cedars-of-lebanon.html

3. Tall Cedars of Lebanon. (n.d.). Retrieved from Wikipedia: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Tall_Cedars_of_Lebanon

4. Tall Cedars of Lebanon. (n.d.). Retrieved from Masonic Dictionary: http://www.masonicdictionary.com/tcol.html

5. Tall Cedars of Lebanon. (n.d.). Retrieved from Freemason Information: http://freemasoninformation.com/what-is-freemasonry/family-of-freemasonry/tall-cedars-of-lebanon/

6. Tall Cedars of Lebanon of North America. (n.d.). Retrieved from Phoenix Masonry: http://www.phoenixmasonry.org/masonicmuseum/tall_cedars_of_lebanon.htm

Saturday, February 11, 2017

Banquet Night

By Rudyard Kipling


"ONCE in so often," King Solomon said, 
Watching his quarrymen drill the stone, 
"We will club our garlic and wine and bread 
And banquet together beneath my Throne, 
And all the Brethren shall come to that mess 
As Fellow-Craftsmen-no more and no less."

"Send a swift shallop to Hiram of Tyre, 
Felling and floating our beautiful trees, 
Say that the Brethren and I desire 
Talk with our Brethren who use the seas. 
And we shall be happy to meet them at mess 
As Fellow-Craftsmen-no more and no less." 

"Carry this message to Hiram Abif- 
Excellent master of forge and mine :- 
I and the Brethren would like it if 
He and the Brethren will come to dine 
(Garments from Bozrah or morning-dress) 
As Fellow-Craftsmen-no more and no less."

"God gave the Hyssop and Cedar their place- 
Also the Bramble, the Fig and the Thorn- 
But that is no reason to black a man's face 
Because he is not what he hasn't been born. 
And, as touching the Temple, I hold and profess 
We are Fellow-Craftsmen-no more and no less."

So it was ordered and so it was done, 
And the hewers of wood and the Masons of Mark, 
With foc'sle hands of Sidon run 
And Navy Lords from the Royal Ark, 
Came and sat down and were merry at mess 
As Fellow-Craftsmen-no more and no less.

The Quarries are hotter than Hiram's forge, 
No one is safe from the dog-whip's reach. 
It's mostly snowing up Lebanon gorge, 
And it's always blowing off Joppa beach; 

But once in so often, the messenger brings 
Solomon's mandate : "Forget these things! 
Brother to Beggars and Fellow to Kings, 
Companion of Princes-forget these things! 
Fellow-Craftsmen, forget these things!"

Wednesday, February 1, 2017

RIP Bro. Ron Berto

I was informed this morning that yesterday a good friend and Brother Ronald G. Berto passed away from a heart attack. He was 68. He was a Navy Veteran, an avid tuba player, a devout Christian, an active Mason, a friend, and a mentor.

Ronald G. Beto was initiated, passed, and raised in 1993 into Oriental Lodge #60 in Boise, ID. He was a Past Master of Oriental Lodge #60 (2000) and Idaho Lodge of Research #1965 (2003), and current Treasurer for both. He served as District Deputy Grand Master for the Grand Lodge AF&AM of Idaho from 2002 to 2004. He also served the Grand Lodge as a member of the Executive Council Board of the Masonic Prepaid Life. He was a Past High Priest, Past Illustrious Master, Past Eminent Commander, and current Secretary/Recorder of the Boise York Rite bodies. He was also a Past Grand High Priest (2012-2013), Past Most Illustrious Grand Master (2014-2015), and Past Right Eminent Grand Commander (2015-2016). He was a Past President of the Order of High Priesthood of Idaho, Past Thrice Illustrious Master of the Order of the Silver Trowel of Idaho, Past Preceptor of the Idaho Chapter of the Knights Preceptor, Past Prior of Idaho Priory #13 of the Knights of the York Cross of Honor, Past Governor of Tri-Valley College #178 and Past Grand Governor of Idaho of the York Ritet Sovereign College of North America, member of Clontarf Council #69 of the Order of Knights Masons, Treasurer of Intermountain Chapel #27 of the Commemorative Order of St. Thomas of Acon, and Past Sovereign of St. Charles Conclave of the Red Cross of Constantine.

He leaves behind a loving wife, many friends and family, and a puppy named Louie. He was never the easiest person to get along with, but you could never question his heart and he was always willing to extend a helping hand. I will miss you Brother.

My Take on the Georgia Guidestones

Sitting atop the highest hilltop in Elbert County, Georgia, stands a structure referred to as the Georgia Guidestones, or the American Stonehenge. While it is known that it was unveiled on March 22, 1980, the exact origin, who the architect and financiers were, of this structure is shrouded in mystery and became a point of interest for conspiracy theorists. I came to learn about this monument from debates with conspiracy theorists who posit that Freemasonry is tied to this structure and the principles it espouses.

The Georgia Guidestones is composed six granite stones where four slabs surround a pillar on the top of which is a capstone that connects the pillar to the four surrounding slabs. On each of the four granite slabs are inscribed a set of 10 guidelines in eight modern languages: English, Spanish, Swahili, Hindi, Hebrew, Arabic, Chinese, and Russian. On the capstone atop the pillar is inscribed a shorter message in four ancient languages: Babylonian, Classical Greek, Sanskrit, and Egyptian hieroglyphs. These stones are astronomically aligned. The four stones are oriented to mark the limits of the 18.6-year lunar declination cycle. The center pillar has a hole drilled into it so one can observe the North Star. There are also slots carved into this pillar that align with the position of the sun during the solstices and equinoxes. The center pillar also allows the sun's ray to pass through the capstone at midday and shines upon the pillar indicating the day of the year. Set in the ground west of these stones, is a stone tablet that provides some historical notes and the purpose of the stones.







In the summer of 1979, a man under the pseudonym of R. C. Christian approached the Elberton Granite Finishing about building the guidestones. The company thought that Mr. Christian was crazy and gave him a quote several times higher than they would have normally given, but Mr. Christian accepted the quote. Mr. Christian served as point of contact for a group of financiers who wished to remain anonymous. The land was purchased from a farmer and later transferred ownership to Elbert County by Mr. Christian. The granite used for this project was taken from the Pyramid Quarries located 3-miles west of Elberton, GA.

The principles of the guidestones surround four major fields: domestic and international governance, population and reproduction control, man's relationship with nature, and spirituality. The 10 guidelines inscribed in the eight languages are as follows:
1. Maintain humanity under 500,000,000 in perpetual balance with nature.
2. Guide reproduction wisely — improving fitness and diversity.
3. Unite humanity with a living new language.
4. Rule passion — faith — tradition — and all things with tempered reason. 
5. Protect people and nations with fair laws and just courts.
6. Let all nations rule internally resolving external disputes in a world court.
7. Avoid petty laws and useless officials.
8. Balance personal rights with social duties.
9. Prize truth — beauty — love — seeking harmony with the infinite.
10. Be not a cancer on the earth — Leave room for nature — Leave room for nature.
The message inscribed in the four ancient languages on the capstone is as follows:
Let these be guidestones to an age of reason
The guidestones have been vandalized several times, often by those who oppose the "new world order". Conspiracy theorist Mark Dice, has demanded that this monument be destroyed as it was supposedly built by a "Luciferian secret society" whose goals are said to be global domination. Some have suggested that the guidestones were designed and financed by the Rosicrucians as R.C. Christian, the pseudonym of the man who commissioned the project, sounds similar to Christian Rosenkreutz, the legendary founder of the Rosicrucianism. Some recently have argued that the mysterious R.C. Christian was Herbert Hinie Kersten, a doctor from Fort Dodge, IA, and supposedly an outspoken racist/eugenicist. 


1. Maintain humanity under 500,000,000 in perpetual balance with nature

2. Guide reproduction wisely — improving fitness and diversity

Being the first two of these guidelines, these are also the most criticized of the 10. It is assumed that the authors of these guidelines wished to kill off a massive amount of the global population. While I don't agree with reducing the global population to such a number, I'd like to play devil's advocate for a moment. Taken alone the first guideline seems very sinister, but when you apply the second guideline to the first, one could argue the authors simply meant that with responsible reproduction, that the global population would reduce itself over time.

Those who argue about the dangers of overpopulation state that global population is connected to many problems we are facing and will face in the future: environmental degradation and pollution, depletion of finite natural resources, arable lands, access to water, food scarcity and malnutrition, immigration, epidemiology, poverty, elevated crime rates, and so on.


3. Unite humanity with a living new language

I don't agree with this guide, but 1) I'm not a linguistic specialist and I find the diversity of languages (over 6,000 spoken in the world) to be a strength and 2) maybe I'm not looking at the "big picture." While it can be a point of division, the diversity of languages, or multilingualism, is an indicator of the unique history, culture, and geopolitics of that region. Languages define personal identities, but are also part of a shared inheritance. Multilingualism provides a tool for economic and technological innovation.


4. Rule passion — faith — tradition — and all things with tempered reason

This Guide is something I try to follow often as it is a lesson of not only Freemasonry, but a lesson cultivated by the Kappa Sigma Fraternity. In Freemasonry, we are taught to circumscribe our desires and keep our passions within due bounds towards all mankind. A means of accomplishing this is through reason. Reason is "the power of the mind to think, understand, and form judgments by a process of logic." Reason means to think and understand properly without bias, superstition, or narrow-mindedness. A rational thinking mind is open to change, to debates on an idea.



5. Protect people and nations with fair laws and just courts

As an American, this is a principle important to the founding of my country. Within the Declaration of Independence, there are several examples pertinent to this Guideline as to why the colonists separated from Great Britain:

He has refused his Assent to Laws, the most wholesome and necessary for the public good.
He has forbidden his Governors to pass Laws of immediate and pressing importance, unless suspended in their operation till his Assent should be obtained; and when so suspended, he has utterly neglected to attend to them.
He has refused to pass other Laws for the accommodation of large districts of people, unless those people would relinquish the right of Representation in the Legislature, a right inestimable to them and formidable to tyrants only.
He has obstructed the Administration of Justice by refusing his Assent to Laws for establishing Judiciary Powers.
He has made Judges dependent on his Will alone for the tenure of their offices, and the amount and payment of their salaries.
He has combined with others to subject us to a jurisdiction foreign to our constitution, and unacknowledged by our laws; giving his Assent to their Acts of pretended Legislation:
For protecting them, by a mock Trial from punishment for any Murders which they should commit on the Inhabitants of these States:
For depriving us in many cases, of the benefit of Trial by Jury: 
For transporting us beyond Seas to be tried for pretended offences:
Laws must be fair and just because as Thomas Jefferson put it "If a law is unjust, a man is not only right to disobey it, he is obligated to do so." The courts must uphold the laws and be blind to biases and prejudices. To render unto every man without distinction. The separation of powers is a keystone of democracy. Separation constrains powers and increases legitimacy, but each branch of government must maintain that legitimacy to ensure peace and harmony. To be stable, a democratic government must be deemed legitimate by the people, whom it governs and from whom it derives its powers; the people must view it as the best, the most appropriate form of government for their society. Indeed, because it rests on the consent of the governed, democracy depends on popular legitimacy much more than any other form of government. The courts are particularly susceptible to legitimacy than other branches as they are the weakest of the branches since courts do not have the power of the purse nor the sword which means they do not have any efficacious means of ensuring that their decisions are complied with or enforced. Courts are not inherently endowed with legitimacy, but gain it over time and this is done when Judges act impartial and that their decisions are grounded in laws, not partisan politics.


6. Let all nations rule internally resolving external disputes in a world court

Looking at this guide from the perspective of someone who has studied international relations, this guide fits nicely in with the liberal theory of international relations; clarification, liberalism in international relations is not used in the same context as liberal in domestic American politics. Liberalism is one of the main schools of thought in international relations theory; other theories are realism, constructivism, Marxism, and smaller sub theories. Liberals believe that through proper international institutions can increase interdependence and cooperation thereby minimizing conflict and warfare. 


When conflicts do rise, most interventions fail. Stephen Gents in Going in When It Counts: Military Intervention and the Outcome of Civil Conflicts explains that a nation is motivated to intervene when they have the best chance of producing a favorable outcome for themselves. Most types of intervention are military or economic. With the formation of a world court this would change the dynamics of intervention and conflict resolution. Some of the greatest problems plaguing the success of military interventions is the "picking and choosing" strategy of nations and the appearance of bias or neutrality. If a nation appears to favor one side rather than seeking the cessations of violence, then the intervention and peace talks would fail. The formation of a world court would need to be based on existing outside the purview of any nation to be the model of an independent party. A world court would also need a mechanism to enforce their rulings. If a world court makes rulings, but the states don't fear any retribution or reprisal for not obeying precedence set then such a world court would be superfluous.


7. Avoid petty laws and useless officials

This guide seems too Utopian and pie in the sky for me. Of course, our world would be better served if the petty laws and useless officials were avoided. We have scholars like Tacitus who lived around two millennia ago who said, "The more corrupt the state, the more numerous the laws." Then we can jump to a Founding Father and Fourth President of the United States, James Madison, who stated, "It will be of little avail to the people that the laws are made by men of their own choice if the laws be so voluminous that they cannot be read, or so incoherent that they cannot be understood."

While we dream of a leader who is brave, heroic, intelligent, just, wise, and all of the other positive attributes we seek in leaders, the reality of the matter is that many leaders are anything but. Our world today is plagued with apathy, indifference, selfishness, avarice, and many other vices. The world and the people of any given nation have often become the victim of a less than virtuous men. Those who are truly fit to lead are seldom popular and instead we see the rise of the demagogue. 



8. Balance personal rights with social duties

Personal rights refer to liberties that an individual enjoys without worry of interference from other individual or the government. Social duties refer to the obligations to the community and include cooperation as well as participation. In a free society, there is tension between personal rights and social duty as for every personal right there is a corresponding duty. And one's social duties may enhance personal rights, and vice versa, particularly in the exercising of both.

As each individual is just one piece in a much larger community, he/she has a duty to contribute to the welfare and posterity of that community. However, social duty is a voluntary action and without personal rights, social duty cannot be performed if an individual is suppressed. This is seen when citizens have used their rights to fight against social injustices and which have resulted in the abolition of slavery, women's suffrage, public education, community hospitals, the civil rights movement, the women's movement, the environmental movement, and the gay rights movement.


As a Mason, we are Charged, in the Entered Apprentice degree, to relieve the distresses of our neighbor and soothe his afflictions. Masons are also charged as a citizen to be exemplary in the discharge of our civil duties. It would take a book to discuss Freemasonry and its interaction with personal rights and social duties, but, for now, it is sufficient to say that there are numerous examples where Freemasons has supported personal rights and contributed to the social duties of their community.


9. Prize truth — beauty — love — seeking harmony with the infinite

These ideals and principles are prized not only within Freemasonry, but also within many faiths and cultures around the world. Freemasons are taught that Truth is a divine attribute and the foundation of every virtue. From the Book of Ezra, we see a famous story where Zerubbabel took part in a discussion about what was the strongest thing in the world--wine, kings, women, or truth. Zerrubabel came out the victor by demonstrating that the truth was mightiest of all. Truth is seeing things as they really are and ascribing to them their appropriate valuations. God is the creator, source, determiner, governor, arbiter, standard, and final judge of all truth.

Beauty is a characteristic of an animal, idea, object, person, or place that is aesthetically pleasing to someone. Beauty is subjective and is in the eye of beholder. In Freemasonry, Beauty is represented by the Corinthian column, the most beautiful of the orders of architecture, and by the Junior Warden, who represents Hiram Abiff and symbolizes the meridian sun. But since Beauty is so subjective, Freemasonry uses the term not to describe physical beauty, but beauty in the spiritual and philosophical sense.

Love, that intense feeling of deep affection and attraction, is a fearsome force of nature that, as Huey Lewis sings, can "Make a one man weep, make another man sing." Love is about giving, about sacrifice, and is selfless. From 1 Corinthians 13:4-8 (NIV): 
Love is patient, love is kind. It does not envy, it does not boast, it is not proud. It does not dishonor others, it is not self-seeking, it is not easily angered, it keeps no record of wrongs. Love does not delight in evil but rejoices with the truth. It always protects, always trusts, always hopes, always perseveres. Love never fails. But where there are prophecies, they will cease; where there are tongues, they will be stilled; where there is knowledge, it will pass away.
God created love and from John 3:16 (KJV):

For God so loved the world, that he gave his only begotten Son, that whosoever believeth in him should not perish, but have everlasting life.
Even from the Lord and Savior, Jesus Christ, commanded us to "love one another; as I have loved you, that ye also love one another (John 13:34)." 


Religion seeks harmony with the Infinite, it is literally defined as "to reconnect," to be bonded with the Infinite. There have been many great and wise teachers whose message was to seek harmony with nature and with the divine.


10. Be not a cancer on the earth — Leave room for nature — Leave room for nature.

We are commanded by Almighty God to keep and care for the planet. Mankind has been given dominion over the earth, but that doesn't mean we are to exploit that which God has given us. Today, environmental concerns are a major point of division in American politics. Political parties fight about the source of environmental and climate changes presently occurring. My personal feelings are that the climate changes naturally, but that man has not necessarily helped that out. Without sounding like the antagonist from Inferno, overpopulation is becoming a major and contentious issue that our planet will have to face, sooner or later. While the Good Book speaks of being fruitful and populate the planet, there comes a tipping point when the population becomes unsustainable. In our world of technological advancement, we have the ability to retake the mantle as responsible stewards of this planet.

Ultimately the Georgia Guidestones serve as a map to some kind of utopian global society, but the idea of a perfect world has always been a driving force for mankind. While we should strive and progress, I think that a perfect world is out of reach as man is an imperfect creature.

Sunday, January 22, 2017

Albert Pike the and Three World Wars Conspiracy

No other hoaxer has captured the imagination of anti-Masons quite like Marie Joseph Gabriel Antoine Jogand-Pagès or commonly known as Leo Taxil. No Mason has been the target and focus of so many anti-Masonic propaganda like Albert Pike. Pike is most well-known for his reform in the rituals of the Scottish Rite and publication of "Morals & Dogma." With anti-Masons, however, his importance is often exaggerated and they refer to him as the "Pope of Freemasonry."

Among the accusations held against Albert Pike and Freemasonry is the absurd claim that Albert Pike predicted three World Wars back in the 19th century and which tie back to Leo Taxil. Per William Guy Carr, Pike wrote a letter to Giuseppe Mazzini on August 15, 1871, supposedly stating the following:
The First World War must be brought about in order to permit the Illuminati to overthrow the power of the Czars in Russia and of making that country a fortress of atheistic Communism. The divergences caused by the "agentur" (agents) of the Illuminati between the British and Germanic Empires will be used to foment this war. At the end of the war, Communism will be built and used in order to destroy the other governments and in order to weaken the religions.
The Second World War must be fomented by taking advantage of the differences between the Fascists and the political Zionists. This war must be brought about so that Nazism is destroyed and that the political Zionism be strong enough to institute a sovereign state of Israel in Palestine. During the Second World War, International Communism must become strong enough in order to balance Christendom, which would be then restrained and held in check until the time when we would need it for the final social cataclysm.
The Third World War must be fomented by taking advantage of the differences caused by the "agentur" of the "Illuminati" between the political Zionists and the leaders of Islamic World. The war must be conducted in such a way that Islam (the Moslem Arabic World) and political Zionism (the State of Israel) mutually destroy each other. Meanwhile the other nations, once more divided on this issue will be constrained to fight to the point of complete physical, moral, spiritual and economical exhaustion...We shall unleash the Nihilists and the atheists, and we shall provoke a formidable social cataclysm which in all its horror will show clearly to the nations the effect of absolute atheism, origin of savagery and of the most bloody turmoil. Then everywhere, the citizens, obliged to defend themselves against the world minority of revolutionaries, will exterminate those destroyers of civilization, and the multitude, disillusioned with Christianity, whose deistic spirits will from that moment be without compass or direction, anxious for an ideal, but without knowing where to render its adoration, will receive the true light through the universal manifestation of the pure doctrine of Lucifer, brought finally out in the public view. This manifestation will result from the general reactionary movement which will follow the destruction of Christianity and atheism, both conquered and exterminated at the same time.
So many from these words have damned Freemasonry in general and Albert Pike specifically. This fabrication dates to Leo Taxil who was cited by Edith Starr Miller and later by Cardinal Caro y Rodriguez who was cited by William Guy Carr. In "Pawns in the Game" Carr claims that these Pike-Mazzini letters were on display in the British Museum, but never provided any proof to this assertion. He then back-peddled in a later book called "Satan, Prince of this World" where Carr stated:
The Keeper of Manuscripts recently informed the author that this letter is NOT catalogued in the British Museum Library. It seems strange that a man of Cardinal Rodriguez's knowledge should have said that it WAS in 1925.
It seems reckless that anyone would make such an accusation without fact checking first, but it seems to me that Carr is trying to shift the blame onto Rodriguez rather than admitting to lying about the letters. This is particularly true since Carr quoted directly from Rodriguez and he never mentioned a prediction about three world wars. Carr's book, along with continuing the historical fiction of the Pike-Mazzini hoax, includes the ridiculous notion that the Illuminati merged with Freemasonry at the 1782 Congress of Wilhelmsbad.

Most anti-Masonic argument lie solely on these "predictions" while failing to realize that Carr's mention, the most well-known, mention, of Pike and three world wars came after two of the world wars had already occurred. As for the third world war, it doesn't seem far-fetched that someone could see the coming conflict with the Middle East, but maybe that is just my hindsight kicking in. Western powers had carved up the Middle East and repeated the same imperial policies they employed with Africa, so it didn't take much of a genius to see that problems were on the horizon.

Most anti-Masons will refuse to believe that Pike didn't predict three world wars and that this conspiracy was invention accommodated post factum. This conspiracy is repeated in ad-nauseam by conspiracy theorists who aim to expose Freemasonry as puppet masters or at least implicated in using major wars to usher in a "new world order" and destroy the Christian religion. The more I look at various anti-Masonic conspiracy theories, the more I realize it is not just ignorance that fuels many of the conspiracy theories against Freemasonry, but bigotry...just pure, unadulterated hatred. It reminds me of quote from "Obsession: Radical Islam's War Against the West" where Abd Al-Hamid Al-Ansari, former Dean of Islamic Law at Qatar University, points out that fanaticism begets extremism, which leads to violence and results in terrorism. It's tragic to see so many literally falling for a hoax that is well over a century old. Too bad for conspiracy theorists that these "letters" do not stand up to scrutiny.


References

1. Balderson, K. (2011). Albert Pike’s 3 World Wars Letter Hoax. Retrieved from WideShut: http://wideshut.co.uk/albert-pikes-3-world-wars-letter-hoax-wideshut-webcast/ 

2. Melanson, T. (2015, March 9). Grand Hoax: Pike Didn’t Predict Three World Wars. Retrieved from New Illuminati: http://nexusilluminati.blogspot.com/2015/03/grand-hoax-pike-didnt-predict-three.html 

3. Occult Theocrasy notes. (n.d.). Retrieved from Grand Lodge of British Columbia & Yukon: http://freemasonry.bcy.ca/anti-masonry/miller_e/occult_theocrasy_notes.html 

4. Pike and Mazzini. (n.d.). Retrieved from Grand Lodge of British Columbia & Yukon: http://freemasonry.bcy.ca/anti-masonry/pike_mazzini.html 

5. Taxil Hoax. (n.d.). Retrieved from Wikipedia: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Taxil_hoax 

6. William Guy Carr. (n.d.). Retrieved from Wikipedia: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/William_Guy_Carr 

7. William Guy Carr repeats the lies. (n.d.). Retrieved from Grand Lodge of British Columbia & Yukon: http://freemasonry.bcy.ca/anti-masonry/carr.html

Tuesday, January 17, 2017

The Goddess of Masonry

By Charles F. Forshaw


Goddess of Purity, 
Spotless and rare; 
Emblem of Charity 
Unsullied, fair; 
Symbol of Meekness-- 
Radiant, bright, 
′Minding the Brethren 
Of realms of Light-- 
Strong in the knowledge 
Virtuous might.

Symbol of Chastity, 
Spirit of Bliss, 
Coming to cheer us, 
Through the abyss, 
Token of faithfulness-- 
Be thou our guide; 
Emblem of Hopefulness-- 
Keep by our side; 
Help us and lead us o′er 
Every dark tide!