Saturday, April 22, 2017

2017 Grand York Rite of Idaho

Well, it has been a long three days, but I enjoyed my time at the Grand Sessions of the Grand York Rite of Idaho. Thursday we conferred the chair degrees and honorary bodies to those Companions and Sir Knights eligible and deserving. In each of these bodies I was appointed to the following positions:
Registrar for Idaho Chapter of the Sovereign Order of Knights Preceptor
Thrice Illustrious Junior Warden of the Idaho Order of the Silver Trowel 
Prelate for Idaho Priory #13 of the Knights of the York Cross of Honor
Friday was the Joint Sessions with the Most Illustrious Grand Master presiding with the Most Excellent Grand High Priest and Right Eminent Grand Commander sitting with him in the Grand East. They kept me busy serving as Distinguished Guests Chairman. The Grand Council of Cryptic Masons of Idaho opened in the afternoon where I was appointed Illustrious Grand Captain of the Guard for the ensuing year. Friday night Tri-Valley College #178 of the York Rite Sovereign College of North America held its annual stated meeting where I was elected and installed as Deputy Governor.


With Saturday morning, the Grand Chapter of Royal Arch Masons of Idaho convened. I was honored to be elected and installed as the Right Excellent Grand King. In the afternoon, the Grand Commandery of Knights Templar of Idaho reconvened. The new Right Eminent Grand Commander appointed me as the Eminent Grand Sword Bearer and Editor of the Idaho Supplement of the Knights Templar magazine. I look forward to the coming year.

Sunday, April 16, 2017

The Last Supper

by James C. Taylor, PGC-DC

God chose the Passover as the time
For Christ's passion to be revealed,
The place, Jerusalem, to be sublime
And die for our sins to be healed.

Christ planned to share the Passover feast
With disciples whose mission was planned;
The meal, that extolled God's people released
From the Pharaoh's enslaving hand. 

He told them that the time was right
To depart and see scripture fulfilled, 
His loving students then pledged to fight 
To prevent Christ from being Killed. 

He quieted their plan to intercede
For He alone must answer this call,
And He washed their feet to show that to lead
One must be a servant to all.

He took bread and broke it and shared
His food As a token of sharing His life,
And they took the cup which was his blood
As a covenant to ease man's strife.

As the Passover meal released mankind 
From the bonds of slavery and toil, 
Christ's communion with us will assist us to find 
Serenity in life's turmoil.

Sunday, April 9, 2017

Pilgrim Preceptors

From Royal Arch Masonry stems a number of various groups like the Allied Masonic Degrees, Knight Masons, the Operatives, and one of the least known is the Masonic Order of Pilgrim Preceptors. I say it is least known as it is primarily found in England, and even there it seems like a relatively small organization. The legend of the Order concerns a Fourth Grand Lodge held in Rome, and the coming of Christianity to Britain.

The prerequesites for this Order are that one must be a Past First Principle (comparable to Past High Priest in the US) of a Royal Arch Chapter and a Past Master of a Blue Lodge.

The basic organizational unit of this order is known as a Conclave. The officers of a Conclave are:
Illustrious Preceptor
Excellent Preceptor
Worthy Preceptor
Chaplain Preceptor
Scribe Preceptor
Marshal Preceptor
Treasurer Preceptor
Deputy Marshal Preceptor
Organist Preceptor
Keeper of the Portal
Steward Preceptor (3)
Guard
There are two degrees conferred by a Conclave: Pilgram and Preceptor. According to "Beyond the Craft" the degrees are described as follows:
Pilgrim: Having beheld the ruins of the Holy Temple of Jerusalem, the aspirant journeys to Rome where he gains sanctuary in the catacombs. He is then ordained a Pilgrim and successfully appeals to the Emperor for the restitution of the sacred landmarks of their religion, and in consequence is summarily rewarded with a token of his new calling.
Preceptor: The postulant is instructed that the truths revealed during seven major events across the aeons of time have materially contributed to the wisdom of man. It relates that with the assistance of the emblamatical lights of Masonry, those tenets and principles were duly restored in a fourth fraternal Lodge, as mirrored by the four triangles.
The regalia for this group is that of a Royal Arch Mason plus a collared jewel (see image on the right). Recipients of the degree of Pilgrim wear a 1/2-inch wide brown ribbon with the triangular jewel. Recipients of the degree of Preceptor wear 1/2-inch wide white ribbon. The Illustrious Preceptor and Past Illustrious Preceptors where a 1/2-inch wide purple ribbon. Provincial Grand officers wear the same ribbon as the Illustrious Preceptors except the purple ribbon is 1-inch wide. Grand officers wear the same jewel as Provincial Grand officers but the ribbon contains gold emblems on each side denoting rank.

This group traces its origins back to the 19th century where three Royal Arch Masons, who are described as "erudite thespians," in Northwest England. During the first century, it was merely a degree conferred on very few who kept the degree going. It wasn't until September of 1984 that the first Conclave was formed. As of 2012, there are twelve Conclaves: eleven in England & Wales and one in the United States of America.

References

1. Clarke, B. (n.d.). Additional Degrees Worked in England and Wales York Rite: An Explanation. Retrieved from The Masonic Trowel: http://www.themasonictrowel.com/Articles/apendent_bodies/york/additional_degrees_england_wales_york_explanation.htm 

2. Henderson, K. (n.d.). Lesser Known Orders of Freemasonry. Retrieved from Kent Henderson: http://kenthenderson.com.au/m_papers11.html 

3. Jackson, K. B. (2012). Beyond the Craft. Lewis Masonic.


Saturday, April 1, 2017

Anti-Mason William Schnoebelen

In my article "A Brief History of Anti-Masonry", I covered anti-Masonry from its earliest appearances to the mid-20th century, but I did not cover modern anti-Mason personalities like David Icke or William "Bill" Schnoebelen. While I see both as truly ignorant about what Freemasonry really is, the latter is particularly vicious in using faith and a seemingly fabricated Masonic resume to denigrate and defame Freemasonry. William Schnoebelen is a fundamentalist "Christian" who has lectured against a number of things including Freemasonry which he claims, poorly, to have been a member among several other things.

It is a difficult task to research this man's history because every few years he reinvents his past, but for those unfamiliar with William Schnoebelen, he claims to be a born again Christian after having been a high level druid, a practicing witch, a "spiritualist minister," a 90° Freemason, a member of the Illuminati, a Catholic priest, a Mormon, a member of the Church of Satan, a follower of "old Catholicism", a vampire, a medium, a member of the OTO, and a IX° Rosicrucian. He now claims to have become a "born again Christian" and is a self-proclaimed "ordained minister." My research focuses on his claims of Freemasonry, but many others have exposed this fraud for what he is. A wiccan named Kerr Cuhulain wrote an article called Bill Schnoebelen's "Little White Lies" which debunks many of the Bill's claims of being a witch. Here is an incomplete and inconsistent timeline of his life, that he provides in "Mormonism's Temple of Doom":
09/22/68 - 1st Degree (Gardnerian Tradition) Witch
05/01/70 - 2nd Degree (Gardnerian Tradition) Witch
05/15/71 - Bachelor’ Degree, Loras College (Roman Catholic)
12/02/72 - Spiritualist Minister, ADL
02/02/73 - 1st Degree (Alexandrian Tradition) Witch
03/21/73 - 1st Degree- "Member" (Druidic Rite) Witch
06/22/73 - 2nd Degree- "Priesthood of Melchizedek" (Druidic)
07/22/73 - 3rd Degree- "High Priesthood of Melchizedek" (Druidic)
07/29/73 - Sealed "For Time and Eternity"- (Druidic marriage ceremony)
09/22/73 - 2nd and 3rd Degrees- "High Priest and Magus"
05/01/74 - "Wizard"- (Druidic Rite)
05/31/74 - Legally Married
12/22/74 - 4th Degree- "Practicus" (Alexandrian)
04/30/75 - 1st Degree- "Member" (Church of Satan)
12/14/75 - Ordained to Catholic Diaconate, American National Catholic Church (Old Catholic Rite)
01/15/76 - Ordained to Catholic Priesthood, American National Catholic Church
02/02/76 - 5th Degree- "Adeptus Minor" (Alexandrian)
05/20/76 - 1st Degree- "Entered Apprentice" (Masonry)
09/20/76 - 2nd Degree- "Fellowcraft" (Masonry)
11/24/76 - 3rd Degree- "Master Mason" (Masonry)
03/26/77 - 4th-7th- Degrees - "Royal Arch" (York Rite Masonry)
03/26/77 - 8th Degree- "Super Excellent Master (York Rite Masonry)
04/02/77 - 9-10th Degree- "Knight Order of Temple" (York Rite Masonry)
04/30/77 - 2nd Degree- "Warlock" (Church of Satan- same as 6th Degree Alexandrian- "Adeptus Major"
07/23/77 - 7th Degree Gnostic Bishop (Grand Master of the Temple Oto)
09/15/77 - 90th Degree (Memphis Mizraim)
10/31/78 - "Priest" (Church of Satan)
06/01/79 - First Degree- "Lava Tete" (Voodoo)
10/31/79 - Fourth Degree- "Pontiff Cardinal" (Church of Satan-Italian Jurisdiction)
12/15/79 - 2nd Degree- "Houngan" (Voodoo)
08/08/80 - Mormon Baptism
09/20/80 - Shrine- "Noble" (Masonry)
10/31/80 - 5th Degree- "Pontiff Hierophant" (Church of Satan - same as 8th Degree Alexandrian)
10/31/80 - 14th Degree- "Lodge of Perfection" (Scottish Rite Masonry)
11/01/80 - 16th Degree- "Prince of Jerusalem" (Scottish Rite Masonry)
11/01/80 - 18th Degree- "Rose Croix of Herdon" (Scottish Rite Masonry)
11/08/80 - 32nd Degree- "Sublime Prince of the Royal Secret" (Scottish Rite Masonry)
12/19/80 - Masters of Theology, St. Francis School of Pastoral Ministry (Roman Catholic)
12/22/80 - 33rd Degree- "Grand Sovereign Inspector General" (European or Continental Masonry)
01/01/81 - 34th Degree- "Paladin" (Palladium Masonry)
05/17/81 - Melchizedek Priesthood- "Elder" (Mormon Church)
08/31/81 - Sealed and Endowed LDS Temple (Mormon)
10/15/82 - Elder’s Quorum President (Mormon)
09/14/83 - Institute Teacher (Mormon)
06/22/84 - SAVED!!!
Born in 1949 in Jessup, IA, to a Catholic family. He became disillusioned with the Catholic Church after the changes that came with Vatican II. He claims that a Priest at his college is the one who turned him towards the occult and witchcraft, and it was a witch who pushed him towards Freemasonry. On analyzing his own reported timeline, I see no discrepancies in advancing through the Blue Lodge, for that time frame; 6-months from Entered Apprentice to Master Mason. However, there is one problem I see. By the dates, he received his degrees in the Blue Lodge, his Entered Apprentice was on a Thursday, his Fellow Craft was on a Monday, and his Master Mason was on a Wednesday. Lodges traditionally meet on a specific day of the week (especially if they meet in a building with multiple Lodges and multiple appendant bodies there as well). There are always exceptions to the rules, but having each degree on a different day of the week just seems too much for me to swallow.

Schnoebelen claims to have joined Kilbourne Lodge No.3 in Milwaukee, WI, where he claimed to have served as Junior Warden. However, that Lodge no longer exists and merged with another, but in communicating with the merged Lodge's Secretary, other Brothers have found that there is no evidence that he was ever actually a member; no petition, no mention in any of the minutes, nothing. In "Masonry: Beyond the Light", Schnoebelen says that he was "deeply involved in American Masonry for over nine years..." However, by his timeline and by other claims of his, he was not active in Freemasonry for 9-years. Other Brothers who have investigated Schnoebelen have said that the documents he reproduces in his book are false, using fabricated seals to stamp the certificates.

His claims about the York Rite make me hesitate slightly, but his claims are still plausible. One reason I hesitate is that he numbers the York Rite degrees and orders, but most York Rite Masons know that we don’t use a numbering system, but maybe he did this for people who don’t know too much about the York Rite. While today the Super Excellent Master isn’t conferred regularly, it’s possible that he did receive it in his day. However, to think that he received the degrees of Mark Master, Past Master (V), Most Excellent Master, Royal Arch, Royal Master, Select Master, and Super Excellent Master in a single day is almost unfathomable because of the amount of time it takes to confer all of them.

Then his Masonic claims take a turn for the weird and completely absurd. He claims to have received the 90° in the Ancient Primitive Rites of Memphis & Mizraim. For those who don’t realize, generally considered clandestine by most Grand Lodges, specifically the UGLE and American Grand Lodges. These rites are worked in a few countries like Bulgaria, Italy, Romania, and the Dominican Republic, however, from Schnoebelen’s testimony he did not travel to any other jurisdiction. From a link, he provided, it was the International Order of the Ancient Primitive Rites of Memphis & Mizraim and that is not a recognized appendant body in American Freemasonry. The Rites of Memphis & Mizraim are no longer worked by legitimate American Freemasons, but are now under the jurisdiction of the Grand College of Rites. You would think that he would have shared this news of joining Memphis &Mizraim, and they would have informed him that joining such a group would have resulted in his expulsion. This group is seen as clandestine or irregular as it claims jurisdiction over Ancient Craft Masonry, the International Order allows women in, was seen by many as spurious at best, and nothing more than a money-making scheme to dupe title seekers out of money.

It gets stranger though. Three years later he joined the Scottish Rite and advanced to the 32° which seems weird that he would go back to the Scottish Rite after joining the Rites of Memphis & Mizraim, and supposedly receiving the 90°, a group which includes imitations of the Scottish Rite degrees. With both the York Rite and Scottish Rite, I cannot find where he gives the names of the specific bodies he is a member of.

As for the claim that he was coronated a 33° in "European or Continental Masonry", it causes some severe eyebrow raising. Schnoebelen says he received the 4° through the 32° in November of 1980. For him to have received the 33° outside of the United States, where he resided, with a recognized Supreme Council he would have to receive permission from the Supreme Council of the Southern Jurisdiction of the United States of America, which requires filling out forms and an agreement between the two Supreme Councils. It doesn't end there though, he then would have had to select his primary Valley for the purpose of honors and any honors can only come from this Valley. Further, he cannot receive an honor higher than any he holds in his primary Valley. Meaning that if his primary Valley was here in the United States and he did not have permission for dual membership in a foreign jurisdiction, then he being a 32° in his primary Valley means he could not and cannot receive honors from any other jurisdiction. Now, that information aside, another issue I see is his age and time in the Scottish Rite as a predicament to his claims of being coronated a 33°. He claims to have become a 33° only a month after joining the Scottish Rite and he would have been only 31-years old at the time. At least within the Supreme Council of the Southern Jurisdiction of the United States of America, you must be a 32° for around 4-years before you are eligible for the Knight Commander of the Court of Honor (KCCH), and you must be a KCCH for around 4-years before you are eligible for invitation to the 33°. On top of those minimum time limits, you must be 35-years of age. So, it is entirely impossible that Schnoebelen by these standards which to my memory is similar among the other Scottish Rite jurisdictions. It would not have been until the end of 1988 that he would have been eligible to receive the 33° (at a hypothetical earliest situation) and by then he was speaking out against Freemasonry as a “born again Christian.”

In 1981, Schnoebelen claimed to have received the 34° of Palladium Masonry. For anyone who has researched Freemasonry, this claim sends up several red flags. Per conspiracy theorists and anti-Masons, Palladium Masonry is the very top of the Illuminati pyramid and the overseer of all Masonic rites, united under some sinister and Satanic agenda. Palladium Masonry is the invention of a Frenchman named Marie Joseph Gabriel Antoine Jogand-Pagès, but better known by the pen name of Léo Taxil. In 1885 and 1886, Taxil published works which attributed Palladium Masonry to Albert Pike, although this is just one of the many fabrications he concocted and duped the world with. This order was said to practice devil worship, perform murders, and other such horrors. However, doubt began to spread about his published lies and on April 19, 1897, he confessed that it all had been a hoax to embarrass Freemasonry as well as the Catholic Church.

His pagan and Wiccan claims are pretty sketchy as well. Suffice it to say many of his witchcraft certifications are a result of his imagination. Other claims like being a Bishop of the "Old Catholic Order" is found to be fraudulent group founded by a guy who had no theological training at all. One constant though in reading through this article is that Schnoebelen craved power and authority. In one such instance, Schnoebelen was thrown out of the Church of All Worlds by co-founder Morning Glory G'Zell for "power tripping." Another theme that I found reading through his own words and the research of others is that for the clear majority of his claims he provides no proof. Through these mail order courses and fractured wiccan experiences, he started his own brand of Wicca in the Milwaukee area where he was found by many to be on authority trips.

Some were surprised when he left his Wiccan life behind to join the Mormon church for a few years before he became a "born again Christian." He claims he was saved after a visit to the bank when someone wrote on a returned check that she would pray for him and his eyes were opened to all the evil he had been involved with. However, I think there may be another reason. I think it is probable that he burned enough bridges with the Wiccan community that he really had nowhere else to go. The Christian conspiracy lecture circuit was a ripe environment for him: an eager audience of fundamentalists who see the devil around every corner and Bill, a newly saved Christian with a pagan past...like lambs to the slaughter. Televangelists have always capitalized on preaching by using new mediums and Schnoebelen has taken the next step in using YouTube to spread his fundamentalist message.

Brother Ed King, of MasonicInfo, states "William J. 'Bill' Schnoebelen must be one of the world's most gullible individuals," but I think he is being too nice about Bill Schnoebelen. He attributes naiveté to Bill's fabrication of his past, but I suspect that greed would be motivation to lies. It seems he joined and was a member of each of the groups listed, only to find them evil. He travels around lecturing to the ignorant and fanatics who fall for his shtick hook, line, and sinker. He's able to tap into their fears and ignorance to bilk them out of their money.

When you go to his website "With One Accord Ministries," you'd think that you had entered an online store rather than someone preaching the Good Word. The entire website sends a message that he is there to make money. From UFOs to Wicca to Bio/Nuclear Terrorism, Bill pretends to be an expert and he'll lecture about just anything for the right price.

One reason I see that most people believe him is that he is said to have actually dabbled in witchcraft, but he's using an ounce of truth to cover a pound of lies. Schnoebelen mixes terms and titles from several different religions and organization, and there are too many inconsistencies to ignore. It seems he needs to come out with fresh material he creates a new sage of his life in a new occult or dark group where he spent years as a member and/or leader until he suddenly discovered it was evil. I'd say he sounds like the traveling con artist from the Simpsons cartoon series selling a faulty monorail, but he seems like more of a Pied Piper. A Pied Piper is defined as "a charismatic person who attracts followers a musician who attracts mass a leader who makes irresponsible promises." The legend of the Pied Piper dates to the town of Hamelin in the Lower Saxony region of Germany during the Middle Ages. The town hired a piper, dressed in multicolored, or pied, clothing to lure the rats out of town. When the town refused to pay him, he used his magical pipes to lure the children out of town, never to be seen again. The legend is a metaphor for someone who is a charismatic person who attracts followers or a leader who makes irresponsible promises. He attracted an audience and is misleading them with false promises of what Freemasonry is. He's using fear to swindle people out of their money. As a Christian I find him appalling and I see his manipulations as an ultimate blasphemy. From the research and massive amount of inconsistencies, I cannot find any reasonable proof that was actually a Mason. To me, there's enough inconsistencies to call his past into question and it shows him to be nothing more than a fraud.

References

1. Ashliman, D. L. (n.d.). The Pied Piper of Hameln. Retrieved from University of Pittsburgh: http://www.pitt.edu/~dash/hameln.html 

2. Chronology of William Schnoebelen. (n.d.). Retrieved from Maze Ministry: http://www.mazeministry.com/resources/books/doombook/doomtext/23chronology.htm 

3. Cuhulain, K. (2005). Bill Schnoebelen's "Little White Lies". Retrieved from Pagan Protection Center: http://www.witchvox.com/protection/kerr_schnoebelen1.html 

4. Dafoe, S. (2010, April 01). The Baphomet and the Freemasons. Retrieved from Templar History: http://blog.templarhistory.com/2010/04/the-baphomet-and-the-freemasons/ 

5. de Hoyos, A., & Morris, S. B. (1997). Is It True What They Say About Freemasonry? Silver Springs: Masonic Information Center. 

6. Frey, J. E. (2014, March). The Palladian Rite. Retrieved from The Midnight Freemasons: http://www.midnightfreemasons.org/2014/03/the-palladian-rite.html 

7. King, E. (n.d.). Baphomet. Retrieved from MasonicInfo: http://www.masonicinfo.com/baphomet.htm 

8. King, E. (n.d.). Bill Schnoebelen. Retrieved from MasonicInfo: http://www.masonicinfo.com/schnoebelen.htm 

9. More Baloney from Bill Schnoebelen Rebutted. (2010, June 05). Retrieved from Talking About Ritual Magick: http://fraterbarrabbas.blogspot.com/2010/06/more-baloney-from-bill-schnoebelen.html 

10. Morris, S. B. (1991, May). Albert Pike and Lucifer: The Lie That Will Not Die. Retrieved from The Masonic Trowel: http://www.themasonictrowel.com/masonic_talk/stb/stbs/93-06.htm 

11. Relfe, S. (n.d.). William Schnoebelen. Retrieved from Health, Wealth, & Happiness: https://www.relfe.com/07/Bill_William_Schnoebelen.html 

12. Schnoebelen, W. (1991). Masonry: Beyond the Light. Ontario: Chick Publications. 

13. The Disturbing True Story of the Pied Piper of Hamelin. (2014, August 14). Retrieved from Ancient Origins: http://www.ancient-origins.net/myths-legends/disturbing-true-story-pied-piper-hamelin-001969 

14. The Prodigal Witch Part VII: Bill Schnoebelen. (2011, June 10). Retrieved from Swallowing the Camel: https://swallowingthecamel.me/2011/06/10/the-prodigal-witch-part-vii-bill-schnoebelen/ 

15. What was Palladium? (n.d.). Retrieved from Grand Lodge of British Columbia & Yukon: http://freemasonry.bcy.ca/anti-masonry/anti-masonry01.html 

16. William Schnoebelen. (n.d.). Retrieved from Rational Wiki: http://rationalwiki.org/wiki/William_Schnoebelen 

17. William Schnoebelen. (2012, August 30). Retrieved from Encyclopedia of American Loons: http://americanloons.blogspot.com/2012/08/350-william-schnoebelen.html

Saturday, March 25, 2017

Slowing Down For A Bit

I am coming to the realization that I cannot jump back into writing a book after taking so much time off. I'm going to go back to the beginning of my research and getting myself back on track. I have some articles already scheduled to be posted over the next couple months, but I will not be starting anything new for a while. I will try to post a few whenever I travel, but my posts will be much more sparse over the next several months.

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.