Monday, June 1, 2020

York Cross of Honour Medical Research Foundation

Inspired by Saturday's meeting of Idaho Priory No.13 of the Knights of the York Cross of Honor, I am writing about the philanthropic work of the Convent General for the order which is known as the York Cross of Honour Medical Research Foundation.

The York Cross of Honour Medical Research Foundation supports research for causes, prevention, and treatment of cancer and in particular treatment of Melanoma. Currently, the Foundation supports the Norris Cotton Cancer Center. Located with Dartmouth College in New Hampshire, this center is one of the nation's premier facilities for cancer treatment and research.

Since 1980, the Knights have donated more than $1.8 million to support the work of researchers at the Cancer Center who are exploring promising new areas of cancer research. Their most recent gift of $75,000 is making it possible for Drs. Angeles and Turk to continue their vitiligo research. Vitiligo is an autoimmune skin condition that targets normal healthy skin cells that produce pigment. Cancer patients with vitiligo survive longer or have a better prognosis, but the exact reason is not known. The Turk Lab has discovered that mice with vitiligo have specialized immune cells called T cells in their skin. These T cells are extremely long-lived and potent killers of cancer cells. Dr. Turk is currently working with oncologists at NCCC to investigate T cells in melanoma patients with vitiligo.

From the website, our donations are financing a second program that "involves the study of cancer-drug resistance":

Resistance to cancer-inhibitor drugs typically develops within just months of beginning treatment, and thus represents a major clinical problem. Dr. Turk’s lab has discovered that the same biological pathways that drive cancer drug resistance also suppress cancer immunity. The Lab is now exploring novel therapies to overcome drug resistance and simultaneously improve anti-tumor immunity.

“If it wasn’t for the Knights’ support, this line of research—and the knowledge we gain from it—would be on hold” 
 - Dr. Mary Jo Turk



References

1. Dartmouth College. (2016, August). Retrieved from Gifts from the Knights of the York Cross of Honour Fuel Immunotherapy Research at Norris Cotton Cancer Center: https://www.dartmouth.edu/~turklab/wp-content/uploads/sites/6/2017/06/KYCH-2.pdf 

2. Dartmouth-Hitchcock Norris Cotton Cancer Center. (n.d.). Retrieved from About Norris Cotton Cancer Center: https://cancer.dartmouth.edu/about 

3. Knights of the York Cross of Honor. (n.d.). Retrieved from About the Norris Cotton Cancer Center: http://www.kych.org/nccc.html 

4. Knights of the York Cross of Honor. (n.d.). Retrieved from Medical Research Foundation: http://www.kych.org/mrfinfo.html 

5. Knights of the York Cross of Honor. (n.d.). Retrieved from Long-Term Melanoma Immunity is Skin Deep: http://www.kych.org/nccc.pdf

Monday, May 25, 2020

Memorial Day 2020

Today, I remember my Brothers- and Sisters-in-arms who made the ultimate sacrifice for their country. God bless them and God bless these United States.

If you say their names, they're never forgotten.


Saturday, May 16, 2020

Virtual Meetings

With the spread of the Coronavirus and the response to it, Freemasonry has been affected just like everyone else. Thankfully, we live in a time where technology allows us to stay in touch virtually. In the last two months, I've attended online meetings/presentations for Grand York Rite of Idaho, Grand Lodge Committees, Idaho Masonic Family Association, Blue Lodges, Allied Masonic Degrees, Knight Masons, and Royal Arch Masons. It's been fascinating to see the attendance, which sometimes has been massive.

Today the Idaho College, SRICF, should have met for its quarterly convocation, but due to the restrictions in place, we met online and I gave a presentation. It was good to see the Fratres who attended which included some from Utah and Montana.

While much of our lives have been interrupted by the Coronavirus, you can't quarantine brotherhood.

Friday, May 8, 2020

First Responders Award

One of my goals as Most Illustrious Grand Master is to advertise York Rite Freemasonry in general and Cryptic Masonry specifically in our Blue Lodges. One way of accomplishing this is through the First Responders Award. The General Grand Council of Cryptic Masons International has recently come out with a new award called the “First Responders Award.” This award is meant to recognize and acknowledge the service of those who are employed as Firefighters, Emergency Medical Technicians, Paramedics, and Law Enforcement. I find it to be of particular importance during the COVID-19 pandemic to recognize our First Responders.

This award is available in two forms: one for Master Masons in good standing and one for non-Masons. For Master Masons, the award includes a certificate and a medal. For non-Masons, the award is a certificate and lapel pin. There is a cost associated with this award: $25 for Master Mason version ($5 more if you want lapel pin with this version) and $15 for a non-Mason award. This pays for the cost of production and processing.

Presentations for this award may be done in a tiled or non-tiled meeting, and this award has the potential to serve as a great outreach tool to the community and to the Lodge. It will allow our Councils to promote goodwill and acknowledge these important contributors. If used as such, may introduce some to Masonry and to the local Lodge. Obviously, presentations are to be postponed until after the pandemic has passed and the edicts have been reversed, but nominations are still welcomed to be made. A nomination must be sponsored by a Cryptic Council or a Cryptic Mason of this jurisdiction.

The fillable nomination form is found at the General Grand Council website: https://www.crypticmasons.org/pdf/awards/2020_FRA_Form.pdf

There are also two other recognition awards: Lady of the Council and Veterans Medal. The General Grand Council also has the following awards: 10% Gain Certificate, Adult Youth Leadership Award, Ronald L. Thomas Ritualist Award, Cryptic Masons of the Year, Mordhurst Award, Columbian Award, and Medal of Honor. The General Grand Council website is full of resources available to the Councils: https://www.crypticmasons.org/

The pin and medal are composed of an inverted triangle which denotes that their purpose is borne of the divine love of life and liberty, the angels representing both how we see their contributions and hope for their protection and guidance from above, each of the symbols for First Responders on the face, surrounded by a not-so-mysterious nine stars, three for each denoting that we seek (knock) their help, and in the center, the Cryptic symbol which shows our reference, surrounded by our understanding of the mortal plane but our belief that we are enfolded by the same divine love.


Tuesday, April 28, 2020

10-Years of the Traveling Templar

Well, today marks 10-years since I started the Traveling Templar. I started this site to follow my travels around the world, to share my research of the Masonic fraternity and its concordant bodies, and my research into the medieval Knights Templar. I'm happy to say that I have kept true to the original intent that I had when I started this website.

With this article, I have published 660 articles on this site. I'd like to thank all of the readers and those who have encouraged and/or inspired me.

I reached the 1,000,000 pageviews this year:
2010: 349 total views
2011: 3,854 total views
2012: 37,024 total views
2013: 84,513 total views
2014: 95,123 total views
2015: 105,794 total views
2016: 138,887 total views
2017: 163,453 total views
2018: 154,010 total views
2019: 175,011 total views
2020: 86,149 total views so far
I started out very slowly, as you can see, but then around the Fall of 2011, an exponential increase started to occur.

My top 10 posts are:

In 2012, I was in a writing frenzy and interest in this site had exponentially increased since returning from my second deployment to Iraq. The degrees of the York Rite was of utmost interest. This particular article originated as a presentation I gave within the Lodge to show the intimate nature of the York Rite with the Blue Lodge.
The Crown and the Cross (20,619 page views):
Influenced by my research into the Symbols of Royal Arch Masonry, I decided to look into one of the most common symbols used in Templar Masonry and the finished product was this article which would, itself, spawn more articles.
The Death of Jacques DeMolay (14,375 page views):
While I was deployed I had watched a number of historical documentaries concerning the Middle Ages to include one on common torture techniques. As the anniversary of the death of Jacques DeMolay approached I decided to look into his death and the events leading up to it.
This article was written by a Past Master from another Idaho Lodge wrote it. He gave a summary of it during a Temple Board meeting and I asked him to send me the full paper so I could publish it on my site. Of all the articles, this one got more views in the first 24-hours than any other (somewhere around 4,000 views).
The Templar Uniforms (12,907 page views):
Like most newer and younger Knights Templar, I was curious and somewhat turned off by the full dress uniform used currently by the Grand Encampment. I decided to look into the history of the uniforms 
The Pelican (10,574 page views):
This article is one of the few that I have done concerning the Scottish Rite. I was really interested in this symbol from a trip to New Orleans and then joining the Scottish Rite. At one time, this article had the most views.
Templar Symbols (9,358 page views):
2013 was an exciting year for me as I had joined the Knight Masons, St. Thomas of Acon, Knights Preceptor, and Royal Order of Scotland all of which concerns the Knights Templar. I also had the pleasure of serving as Eminent Commander and this was an educational piece that I had prepared for presenting to my Commandery.
I was surprised to see that this one had been read so much as it is has been just over one year since I first published it. I've always been interested in the Knights Templar and when I joined Freemasonry, I knew that I wanted to join the York Rite. I have fallen behind on writing the sequel to this, but it is on the way.
I had enjoyed writing Part 1 of this series that I decided to further dissect the symbolism of the Royal Arch. The banners and their sigils particularly interested me and which eventually led to my research into the Hayyoth and Enochian lore.
This article started out as a simple PowerPoint presentation that I gave to a high school AP history class. I am a big history nerd myself and kept expanding my research and finally published it here. This is probably one of my absolute favorite topics of research.
So much has changed in the last 10-years of my life: a second deployment to Iraq, a vacation through Italy, the birth of a nephew and two nieces, earning my Bachelors and Masters from Boise State University, interning in DC, the various initiations throughout Freemasonry, serving as Grand High Priest of Royal Arch Masons of Idaho, being recently installed as Most Illustrious Grand Master of Cryptic Masons of Idaho, and the death of my father. I look forward to the next decade and the adventures I will experience.

Tuesday, April 21, 2020

Anti-Mason Disinformation: Occult Forces

Continuing with the series of articles concerning the disinformation campaign of anti-Masons, this one will focus on the film "Forces Occultes – Au Coeur De La Franc-Maconnerie" or simply called "Occult Forces" in English. This film was an anti-Mason film produced in Nazi-controlled France in 1943. The film, lacking any foundation in reality, is used to push the Nazi's unjust attack on Judaism and justify their crimes against humanity.

The film centers on a young French politician who joins the Freemasons to help his career. Once he joins, he learns that the Freemasons are conspiring with Jews and Anglo-American nations to force France into war with Germany. The film was commissioned by the Propaganda-Abteilung Frankreich, an arm of Nazi Germany's propaganda ministry located in France. France had been invaded by the Nazis in 1940 and held control until the Allied Powers liberated them in 1944. The government of France fell under the authority of the German Reich during this time while it claimed the whole of France, it really only controlled northern and western France.

Jean-Marie Rivière, one of the writers, and Jean Mamy (under the pseudonym Paul Riche), the director, were both former Freemasons and who spearheaded this film. It is said that that Mamy had served as Venerable Master for Renan Lodge from 1931 to 1939 under the jurisdiction of the Grand Orient of France. It is important to note that the Grand Orient of France had lost recognition by the end of the 19th century after it abandoned the Ancient Landmarks that define Freemasonry. Today, the recognized Masonic body is known as the Grande Loge Nationale Française which conforms to the Ancient Landmarks.

Jean-Marie Rivière, was sentenced to death in absentia (he fled when the tides turned against the Nazis); Robert Muzard, the producer, was jailed; and Jean Mamy was executed on March 29, 1949, for supporting the Nazis during their occupation of France.

Sadly, this video is still used today by anti-Masons that we're nefarious, but these same people will usually deny the Holocaust and tout Hitler as either some kind of martyr or a tool of "International Jewry" and Freemasonry. Some will even go so far as to deny its connection to the Nazis. Beware Brothers of anti-Mason disinformation like this.

References

1. Forces occultes (1943). (n.d.). Retrieved from IMDb: https://www.imdb.com/title/tt0189529/ 

2. Freemasonry in France. (n.d.). Retrieved from Freemasonry Network: https://freemasonry.network/masonry-in-the-world/freemasonry-by-continent/europe/freemasonry-in-france/freemasonry-in-france-mackeys-encyclopedia-of-freemasonry/ 

3. Occult Forces. (n.d.). Retrieved from Wikipedia: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Forces_occultes 

4. Stewart, G. (n.d.). Occult Forces at the Heart of Freemasonry. Retrieved from Freemason Information: http://freemasoninformation.com/2010/10/occult-forces-at-the-heart-of-freemasonry/ 

5. Vichy France. (n.d.). Retrieved from Encyclopedia Britannica: https://www.britannica.com/event/Vichy-France


Also, see:

Saturday, April 18, 2020

2020 Grand York Rite of Idaho

Well, this year's annual sessions of the Grand York Rite of Idaho have been different, to say the least. The reaction to COVID-19 has greatly impacted all Masonic activities throughout the world. Instead of canceling our annual sessions, the leadership decided to hold a shortened teleconference so as to elect new officers and pass any needed legislation such as a budget for the upcoming year. Normally, the Thursday of Grand York Rite was filled with the annual meetings of the chair and honorary degrees of the York Rite, but these groups will meet at a later date to hold their own elections and initiations. Idaho is one of the first jurisdictions to try an electronic meeting and we had a few distinguished guests to observe how it all worked out.


As I'm a Past Grand High Priest, I attended the virtual session of the Grand Chapter, but I was only a happy "bystander". Congratulations to newly installed Most Excellent Grand High Priest of the Grand Chapter of Royal Arch Masons of Idaho. I wish you the best of luck in the upcoming year.

With the Grand Council of Cryptic Masons of Idaho, I was elected as Most Illustrious Grand Master and then installed by the outgoing Grand Master who is one of my best friends. For those who are not familiar with Cryptic Masonry, the Grand Master is the presiding officer and, like the Blue Lodge/Grand Lodge, this position represents King Solomon during the building of the Temple that immortalized his name. I'd like to thank the Companions for putting their confidence in me to preside over this august body. I am extremely honored to take this office and I hope to do it justice.

With the Grand Commandery of Knights Templar of Idaho, I was elected Eminent Grand Senior Warden. I will also continue to serve as the Supplement Editor. Our new Grand Commander is last year's Most Illustrious Grand Master; Idaho is a small York Rite jurisdiction and many of us serve in multiple lines at the same time. 

Sunday, April 12, 2020

Happy Easter

I hope you all have a happy and blessed Easter. With this Return of the Light, may you all find solace and use this time for some introspection. Blessings and good wishes to all of you. I hope you all had a blessed Holy Week and Easter Sunday.

Here is the Easter Blessing from Sovereign Pontiff and Patriarch of the Apostolic Johannite Church.


Thursday, April 2, 2020

The Kirkwall Scroll

Hanging within the halls of Lodge Kirkwall Kilwinning No. 38 (2) is a relic known as the Kirkwall Scrolls. Lodge Kirkwall Kilwinning No. 38 (2) is located on the Orkney islands (24-miles northeast of Scotland) and is one of the oldest Lodges in Scotland. From extant records, this Lodge traces its history back to 1736, but its charter is dated 1740. The Lewis Masonic publishing company describes them in the following way:
Some believe that the Kirkwall Scroll is the oldest Freemasonic relic in the world, painted by mysterious masters in the middle ages to preserve ancient pagan wisdom, and to integrate Norse myths, Wicca and Kabbalah.
Others assert that the Scroll shows the origins of many Masonic degrees and that it maps out the Apprentice's journey through the Ancient and Accepted Rite from neophyte to Prince & Master of the Royal Secret, and finally to the 33rd. degree of Inspector General.
The scrolls are decorated sailcloth that include a number of Masonic symbols and maps. The scroll is composed of three separate sections (left, center, and right) sewn together and is 18.5-ft long and 5.5-ft wide. It is kept on the west wall of the Lodge room which gets the least amount of light (this helps with preservation).
The left section shows the Jews wandering before they go to Egypt.
The right section shows the Jews wandering in the Wilderness after their flight from Egypt. Some wonder if these two side sections were once joined together at one time. 
The center section displays seven scenes. Starting at the bottom is an altar with two pillars on each side of it with common Masonic emblems surrounding it. 
The second scene is another altar surrounded by symbols to include the Mosaic Pavement, two upside-down Square & Compasses, and a Cross of Lorraine
The third shows among the Masonic symbols an altar, two pillars, an arch, the breastplate of a High Priest, and cherubim. It should be noted that there are cherubim present on the arms of the Antient Grand Lodge of England, the Grand Lodge of Ireland and the United Grand Lodge of England. 
The fourth scene shows the Tabernacle of the Ark of the Covenant and symbols that remind me of the Royal Ark Mariner degree. 
The fifth is said to show the Last Judgment.
The sixth scene seems to have an Allied Masonic Degree theme as it shows a cross on top of a pyramid with a rainbow arching over it, all of which is surrounded by Masonic and alchemical symbols.
The seventh shows a naked woman, thought to be Eve, sitting under a tree surrounded by animals. In the backdrop, is a body of water and mountains.
There is a debate as to the age and origin of this scroll. Some like Andrew Sinclair declare it to be a medieval treasure while others like Bob Cooper state that it dates only from the late 18th century. Personally, I think the latter is correct and that the other claims are sensational and historically inaccurate. 

Dr. Andrew Sinclair, a Scottish historian from Churchill College, believes that the scroll proves that Freemasonry is descended from the fabled Knights Templar. Going further with this, Robert Lomas, a Masonic author, sees depictions of the Ancient & Accepted Scottish Rite in the seven scenes previously described.
"The symbols up the centre strip seem to show the means of progression of the initiate from the degree of entered apprentice through to the rank of Sovereign Grand Inspector General." - Robert Lomas
With all due respect to Bro. Lomas, but this seems suspect as the 33-degree system of the Scottish Rite didn't come about until 1801. Prior to that, the Rite of Perfection that came to the Americas in the 1760s only consisted of 25-degrees. The Supreme Council of the Ancient & Accepted Rite wasn't established in the UK until 1845.

On the other side of the fence, the minutes of this Kirkwall Lodge state that around the end of July 1786, Bro. Williame Graeme, a journeyman painter by trade and who had recently affiliated to this Lodge from an Antient Lodge, presented a floor cloth to the Lodge and it is assumed that this scroll is that floor cloth. There are no other documentation or historical references to the scrolls before this date. When Bro. Graeme died, he left to the Kirkwall Lodge his Book of the Ancient Constitution of Free and Accepted Masons. One theory is that this scroll was created by Bro. Graeme, a Mason from an Antient Lodge, scrolls adorned with Antient symbolism, and which the earliest references to this scroll occurred after his affiliation with the Kirkwall Lodge.

Bob Cooper and others come to this conclusion by analyzing the symbolism adorning the Kirkwall Scroll. Bro. William R. Day, an Australian Freemason, did some extensive research on these scrolls that were published in Volume 38 of Ars Quatuor Coronatorum and who thought the scrolls were a modern production. Bro. Day was known for his expertise in Masonic symbolism. He notes that the on the altar is found the coat of arms for the Antient Grand Lodge. The Antients were not founded until 1751 and these arms were first displayed in 1764 so he states "it is reasonable to assume that the Scroll is of later date than that, especially as there are other traces of Antient influence." The name Blesington also appears on the scroll who served as Grand Master from 1756 to 1760. He also noted that verses from Exodus and Song of Solomon were on the scroll and were verbatim from the King James Version (KJV), but the KJV wasn't translated until 1611.

According to Brian Smith, an archivist for Shetland Islands Council, the carbon-dating results from Oxford University’s Accelerator Laboratory were 85BP+/-35 which translates into a range of 1680-1740 for the low end and 1800-1960 on the high end. Such results do not support claims of medieval creation and would coincide with Bro. Graeme's presentation to the Orkney Lodge. Bro. Cooper reminds us in his analysis that "radiocarbon dating is essentially for calculating the age of things in thousands of years, not hundreds. The results translate into a very wide range.” 

Bro. Stephen Dafoe said it right in The Compasses and the Cross when he said, and I am paraphrasing, that we Masons are a peculiar breed not being content with our history that some have to invent sensational legends in an attempt to bolster our pedigree. On its own, this scroll and the symbolism adorning it is worthy of research and preservation without fabricating a legend about it.

References

1. Kirkwall Scroll. (n.d.). Retrieved from Freemasonry Watch: http://freemasonrywatch.org/kirkwall_scroll.html  

2. Kirkwall Scroll. (n.d.). Retrieved from Lewis Masonic: https://www.lewismasonic.co.uk/kirkwall-scroll.htm 

3. Masonic manuscripts: Kirkwall Scroll. (n.d.). Retrieved from Wikipedia: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Masonic_manuscripts#Kirkwall_Scroll 

4. Sinclair, A. (n.d.). The Kirkwall Scroll. Retrieved from Skirret: http://www.skirret.com/archive/misc/misc-k/kirkwood_scroll.html 

5. Smith, B. (n.d.). The Not-So-Secret-Scroll - Priceless Relic or Floorcloth? Retrieved from ORKNEYJAR: http://www.orkneyjar.com/history/historicalfigures/henrysinclair/kirkwallscroll2.htm 

6. The Kirkwall Scroll. (n.d.). Retrieved from Robert Lomas' website: http://www.robertlomas.com/Orkney/scroll.html

Monday, March 30, 2020

RIP James A. Davidson

It is with a heavy heart that I report that Most Worshipful Brother James A. Davidson has dropped his working tools and passed onto that Celestial Lodge Above. Born on August 17th, 1925 in Scotland and died March 30th, 2020 in Idaho.

Jim served Freemasonry as the Grand Master of Masons in Idaho in 1993-1994, Past Grand High Priest of Royal Arch Masons of Idaho in 1973-1974, and Most Illustrious Grand Master of Cryptic Masons of Idaho 1978-1979. He was a Past Prior to Idaho Priory No.13 of the Knights of the York Cross of Honor and recipient of the Knight of the York Grand Cross of Honor (3 Quadrants). He was a Past Sovereign and an Emeritus Member of St. Michael's Conclave of the Red Cross of Constantine. He was a Past Preceptor of Redemption Tabernacle No.XL of the Holy Royal Arch Knight Templar Priests. Jim was also a Shriner, a Scottish Rite Mason, Order of High Priesthood, Order of the Silver Trowel,  a member of the Order of the Eastern Star, and a member of the Royal Order of Scotland.

This is just a preview of what he did for Freemasonry in Idaho. I met Jim early in my Masonic career and he was always a pleasant and happy person. He was in his 80s, but he had a grip like a vice wrench; when he shook your hand, you never forgot it. He was also a great ritualist and one of my most memorable periods of time with him was when he conferred the Order of the Silver Trowel upon me; he played the part of King David and did that part for over 40-years.

Jim was a proud Scotsman and until recent years he always did the Ode to Haggis at Robby Burn's Night or when a Royal Order of Scotland meeting was held.

The last time I saw Jim was when I visited the Payette York Rite when I was Grand High Priest.

Our current Most Worshipful Grand Master held Lodge one month ago so Jim and others who were too elderly could attend. Here is one of the last pictures I have of Jim (on the right).


RIP Brother!