Sunday, September 29, 2019

Feast Day of Holy Archangel Michael

For the Apostolic Johannite Church, today is the Feast Day for Archangel Michael whose name means “Who is like God?” This archangel is associated with the element fire, the Tarot suit of Wands, the southern cardinal direction, and the color red.

Michael is Prince of the Archangels, Angel of Deliverance, Ruler of Fire, Commander of the Armies of God, Defender of Gnosis (or Divine Knowledge), and Protector of the Sovereign Patriarch of the Church. This archangel is mentioned in all three of the Abrahamic religions who consider him the leading figure who fights evil. According to Gnostic traditions, it is believed that Michael was present at the Creation.

Michael is the champion of the faithful, opponent of Satan, rescuer of souls at the hour of death, and summon's the souls of men at the Judgment. However, when the faithful fell away from God, Michael would be used to punish them; an example is that Michael was sent to bring Nebuchadnezzar against Jerusalem after they stopped following God's Commandments.

Archangel Michael is the patron of law enforcement, paramedics, and military around the world. Michael is also the patron of the Holy Roman Empire and modern-day Germany.

The Archangel Michael is often depicted in red robes and holding a flaming sword or scales of divine justice with the Book of Life. Other times, Michael is depicted in armor with helmet, sword or lance, and shield, and standing over a serpent, dragon, or Satan defeated.

Michael is mentioned in the Old Testament and Jewish texts where he appeared to Moses as the Burning Bush, appeared in visions to Daniel, wrestled with Jacob, saved three Hebrew boys in the fiery furnace, appeared to Joshua as he prepared for the Battle at Jericho. Some hypothesize that it was Michael who escorted Enoch to Heaven. In the New Testament, Michael is mentioned in the Book of Revelations where Michael defeats Satan.

 

Friday, September 27, 2019

The Taxil Hoax

One of the biggest hoaxers to plague Freemasonry and fuel the fires of anti-Masons is Marie Joseph Gabriel Antoine Jogand-Pagès, or more commonly known as Léo Taxil, who was an infamous anti-clerical writer known for his blasphemous and obscene publications against the Roman Catholic Church. He penned many works that were later found to be fictitious, and have caused an unfounded uproar by anti-Masons. In the publications of this hoax, Taxil spun a tale about a Palladium Rite which was said to have practiced murder and devil worship among other things. While he aimed at humiliating the entire Craft, Taxil seems to target Albert Pike, a famous Scottish Rite Mason in the US. Even though Taxil admitted to making it all up in 1897, anti-Masons are far too eager to use his quotes in their agenda to defame Freemasonry.

Leo Taxil was born in Marseilles, France, on March 21, 1854. At the age of 5, he was sent to be raised at the Jesuit Seminary in the hopes of him becoming a priest. Something occurred during his childhood that caused him to become embittered towards religion and he turned completely against the Roman Catholic Church. After he left, he took on a career of what is today called "Yellow Journalism" which is "journalism that is based upon sensationalism and crude exaggeration." Most of his publications were pornographic and were aimed at the Roman Catholic Church and specific clergy to include the Pope. Some of his anti-Catholic publications were known as Amusing Bible for Grown-Ups and Children, Debauchery of a ConfessorSacred Pornographers, and  The Mistresses of the Pope. By 1876, Taxil had been put on trial thirteen times and, outside the law, had to face several duels over his publications. However, his tabloids were selling and he had made enough money to pay the court-ordered fines. 

In 1881, Leo Taxil petitioned to the Freemasons in France. While some opposed his admission, he made it through the West Gate, but he was expelled from the Craft as an Entered Apprentice for reasons that I cannot find. Taxil now had a new target: Freemasonry. Freemasonry towards the end of the 19th century was growing in popularity and was ripe for scandal. Not long after, sometime around 1882, Taxil feigned piety, rejoined the Roman Catholic Church, and declared that as part of his penance he would repair the damage done to the church. 

Taxil would go on to write "The Devil in the 19th Century" which he said exposed a secretive Masonic order known as the Palladium Rite, which was he had invented himself. Palladium Masonry was said to be the very top of the Illuminati pyramid and the overseer of all Masonic rites and practiced Devil worship, murder and other perversions of a sexual nature. 

In "Les Mysteries Franc Maconnerie" uses a rendering of Baphomet drawn by Eliphas Levi and adds to it to further attack Freemasonry. In his version, a group of Masons dances around Baphomet while a woman in the left-hand corner holds up a severed head. 

In 1894, the book, "La Femme et L'Enfant dans la Franc-Maconnerie Universal" would be published by Abbe Clarin de la Rive. The cover of this book depicts a woman being seduced by Baphomet in between the two pillars prized in Freemasonry. 

Taxil released another book called the "Devil in the Nineteenth Century" which introduced the anti-Masonic world to Diana Vaughan, who supposedly was a descendant of the 17th century Rosicrucian Thomas Vaughan. The book is filled with her supposed encounters with demons and Satanic rituals in Freemasonry. As a girl, she was betrothed to the demon Asmodeus. Later she would attend Palladium meetings held in Charleston and was consecrated as High Priestess by Satan with Albert Pike in attendance. Taxil then came up with a plot twist that Diana Vaughan converted to Roman Catholicism after Albert Pike ordered to "spit upon and stab a consecrated host" in a Masonic rite and utter blasphemies. Diana refused, repented, left Palladism, and wrote her book in penance. 

One entire volume he devoted to Female/Co-Masonry where he wrote a number of fabrications which were received with delight by the Roman Catholic Church who used it as further justification for their negative opinion of Freemasonry. Another book claimed that all Freemasons are murderers, either in spirit or in fact. He claims that "higher degrees" Masons must go through a sacrificial ritual using a sheep. He went so far as to say that Masons practice spiritualism where Masons transfigured furniture into crocodiles. 

In 1894, Abbe de la Rive  published La Femme et l'Enfant dans la Franc Maconnerie Universelle in which he attributes the following quote to Albert Pike who was supposedly the Sovereign Pontiff of Universal Freemasonry and supposedly addressed the 23 Confederated Supreme Councils of the world on July 14, 1889:

"That which we must say to the world is that we worship a god, but it is the god that one adores without superstition. To you, Sovereign Grand Inspectors General, we say this, that you may repeat it to the brethren of the 32nd, 31st and 30th degrees: The masonic Religion should be, by all of us initiates of the higher degrees, maintained in the Purity of the Luciferian doctrine. If Lucifer were not God, would Adonay and his priests calumniate him? "Yes, Lucifer is God, and unfortunately Adonay is also god. For the eternal law is that there is no light without shade, no beauty without ugliness, no white without black, for the absolute can only exist as two gods; darkness being necessary for light to serve as its foil as the pedestal is necessary to the statue, and the brake to the locomotive. "Thus, the doctrine of Satanism is a heresy, and the true and pure philosophical religion is the belief in Lucifer, the equal of Adonay; but Lucifer, God of Light and God of Good, is struggling for humanity against Adonay, the God of Darkness and Evil."
Pike remains the favorite "whipping boy" of the anti-Masonic movement who often exaggerates his importance and misquote (cherry-pick) Morals & Dogma. Many fabrications, such as this one, came out after his death; it's easy to spread a lie about someone when they can no longer defend themselves. The problem with this supposed quote is that 99% of those who join the Scottish Rite make it to the 32° and there have been millions of Scottish Rite Masons. As Brothers Arturo de Hoyos and S. Brent Morris said, "Is it believable that the millions of Scottish Rite Masons during the last two centuries could be cowed into such total silence?" or "Why would Albert Pike suggest special treatment for 30°, 31°, and 32° Masons, when that would have included nearly everyone?" Aside from that point, there is not and there never has been the position of "Sovereign Pontiff of Universal Freemasonry" nor is there a "Confederation of Supreme Councils." 

By 1896, Taxil had worked the clergy up into a paranoid state that they called for an "Anti-Masonic Congress" which was held in Trent (Austria) "to make known to everybody the immense moral and material evil done by Freemasonry to the Church and to society, and to seek a remedy by way of a permanent, international organization against the craft." Many in attendance were expecting for Diana to be there and were not satisfied with Taxil's excuses.

Because of the immense pressure, Taxil called a conference at the Geographical Society in Paris on April 19, 1897. Many attended expecting more revelations against Freemasonry as well as the public debut of Diana Vaughan. Instead, those in attendance received a shock when Taxil admitted to fabricating all of it for the sole purpose of profiting from the gullibility of the Roman Catholic Church and embarrass Rome. The crowd did not appreciate this news and he fled to save his life. Later Taxil, in an interview stated: 

"The public made me what I am, the arch-liar of the period, for when I first commenced to write against the Masons my object was amusement pure and simple. The crimes laid at their door were so grotesque, so impossible, so widely exaggerated, I thought everybody would see the joke and give me credit for originating a new line of humor. But my readers wouldn't have it so; they accepted my fables as gospel truth, and the more I lied for the purpose of showing that I lied, the more convinced became they that I was a paragon of veracity."
The confession was printed, in its entirety, in the Parisian newspaper Le Frondeur, on April 25, 1897, titled: Twelve Years Under the Banner of the Church, The Prank Of Palladism. Miss Diana Vaughan-The Devil At The Freemasons. You can read the confession here: http://freemasonry.bcy.ca/texts/taxil_confessed.html 

After Taxil's confession, Abbe de la Rive expressed his disgust and recanted his writings on Diana Vaughan in the April 1897 issue of Freemasonry Disclosed, a magazine devoted to the destruction of the Craft, which shows a great deal of integrity.

The modern manifestation of this fake quote originates from a book, Occult Theocracy, written by Edith Starr Miller, also known as Lady Queensborough. Although anti-Masons overlook it, the book is heavily plagiarized from Leo Taxil and other anti-Masonic publications. Miller was a New York socialite, conspiracy theorist, and a pro-Fascist who married Almeric Paget, 1st Baron Queensborough (thus the pseudonym). 

Sadly, even though Taxil confessed, many anti-Masons still believe this or at least use it to justify their damnation and criticisms of Freemasonry. Some will acknowledge that Taxil confessed, but go on to say he was either coerced while some will say that the confession is a hoax itself. 

Some rabid anti-Masons even go so far as attaching the "Lucifer is God" fake quote to Morals & Dogma, continued proof that the vast majority of anti-Masons have never actually read that book, but just use a few cherry-picked quotes to attack the Craft. 

The fact remains there was no Dianna Vaughan, there was no Palladium Rite, there was no "Sovereign Pontiff of Universal Freemasonry", there was no "Confederated Supreme Councils of the world", or there was no Satanic rituals or beliefs of Pike. Sadly, even with all of this laid out, rabid anti-Masons will continue to quote this hoax.



References



1. Edith Starr Miller. (n.d.). Retrieved from Grand Lodge of BC&Yukon: http://freemasonry.bcy.ca/anti-masonry/miller_e/miller_e.html 

2. King, E. (n.d.). Leo Taxil: The tale of the Pope and the Pornographer. Retrieved from MasonicInfo: http://www.masonicinfo.com/taxil.htm 

3. Morris, B. (n.d.). Albert Pike and Lucifer: The Lie That Will Not Die. Retrieved from Masonic World: http://www.masonicworld.com/education/articles/Albert-Pike-And-Lucifer-The-Lie-That-Will-Not-Die.htm 

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

5. The Confession of Léo Taxil. (n.d.). Retrieved from Grand Lodge of BC&Yukon: http://freemasonry.bcy.ca/texts/taxil_confessed.html 

6. The Leo Taxil Hoax. (n.d.). Retrieved from Masonic Dictionary: http://www.masonicdictionary.com/taxil.html 

7. The Taxil Hoax. (1995, January 2). Retrieved from MIT: http://web.mit.edu/dryfoo/Masonry/Altf/taxil-hoax.html 

8. The Taxil Hoax. (2016, February 28). Retrieved from Esoterica, Gnosticism, and Freemasonry: https://esotericagnosticismandfreemasonry.wordpress.com/2016/02/28/the-taxil-hoax/ 

9. Was the ‘Taxil Hoax’ not a hoax after all? (2011, June 16). Retrieved from trappedinamasonicworld: https://coverupsexposed.wordpress.com/2011/06/16/was-the-taxil-hoax%E2%80%99-not-a-hoax-after-all/


Saturday, September 21, 2019

Grand Lodge of Idaho and SRICF

Another busy week has been completed. Today concluded the 152nd Annual Communication of the Most Worshipful Grand Lodge of Ancient Free & Accepted Masons of Idaho which had been meeting the last three days. It was a very busy session as there were 20 Resolutions to vote on! I had the dubious pleasure of running the projection and electronic voting system.

Thursday night, after the Grand Lodge recessed, the Idaho Lodge of Research No.1965 held its annual meeting. Among many things that came from that meeting, I resigned as Secretary. My current workload and obligations don't permit me to perform my job to the best of my ability.

Friday afternoon, a good friend and Brother Mason, Steve Hall, was installed as the Most Worshipful Grand Master of Masons in Idaho. Steve served as Most Illustrious Grand Master while I served as Most Excellent Grand High Priest last year. I have the pleasure of serving as the Chairman of the Masonic Education and Research Committee. I look forward to Steve's leadership and the next Masonic year.

Saturday afternoon, once the Grand Lodge adjourned, the Idaho College of the Societas Rosicruciana in Civitatibus Foederatis (SRICF) opened a College of Adepts and conferred the Grades of the Second Order on several candidates: 5 Fratres from Idaho and 1 Frater from Wyoming; one of the Idaho Fratres was the newly installed Most Worshipful Grand Master. I conferred the V⁰ (Adeptus Minor) and VII⁰ (Adeptus Exemptus). Idaho College hit a milestone today as this conferral means that all of our elected officers are at the proper grade required by the High Council.

Thursday, September 19, 2019

RIP Brother Ron

It is with a heavy heart that I report the death of Worshipful Brother Ron Scott who passed away this morning at his home, surrounded by his family. As one Brother has put it, "Ron was a Mason's Mason." Ron was many things to many different people, but he was particularly noted for being a mentor to so many Masons.

Ron Scott was born on September 13, 1933, in Greensboro, NC. Ron was initiated, passed, and raised into Oriental Lodge No.60 and was a 62-year Mason. He served as Worshipful Master of Oriental Lodge No.60 in 1964 (a 55-year Past Master). He served the Most Worshipful Grand Lodge of Idaho in many capacities to include District Deputy Grand Master and Worshipful Grand Orator. He was also a member of Shriners International and the Ancient & Accepted Scottish Rite where he was an Honorary 33°. He truly loved Freemasonry and dedicated as much time as he could to the Craft.

To my memory, Ron helped me learn my ritual proficiencies as a candidate and when I was getting my certificates required to serve as Worshipful Master. Ron was a Master Ritualist and even in his elder years could do the Conferral, Raising, Lecture, and Charge for the Third Degree; he called it the "quadfecta". When I was Junior and Senior Warden, the military sent me to training all over the United States and Ron was always willing to step as my substitute in all that time. Ron would sit at the Lodge every Tuesday and would help any Mason with any proficiency or memorization work they were doing; he must have helped hundreds of Masons learn not just to memorize their work, but to understand it.

Ron, you were a Gem of the Craft. So many Mason owe you so many thanks for your tireless effort, but now it is time for rest, to rejoin your wife in the afterlife, and, hopefully, look down on us with pride.


Saturday, September 14, 2019

Grand York Rite of Wyoming

It's been a busy few days. Thursday morning I did some preparations with the Grand Secretary of the Grand Lodge of Idaho for next week (our Grand Lodge's Annual Communication) then a quick trip over to the Grand York Rite of Idaho office before a luncheon with my fellow Past Masters of Oriental Lodge No.60. After a quick trip to my house, I jumped on a plane to Billings, MT, and then drove to Sheridan, WY, where I've spent the last two days attending the annual sessions of the Grand York Rite of Wyoming.


For me, Thursday morning started with the business meeting of Wyoming Priory No.44 of the Knights of the York Cross of Honor. As Deputy Prior of Idaho Priory No.13 and a Past Grand High Priest, I was accorded a hearty welcome. Wyoming Chapter of the Sovereign Order of Knights Preceptor met next and conferred the degree upon three Sir Knights.

The Grand Council of Cryptic Masons of Wyoming met Thursday afternoon. I was introduced as I was representing the Most Illustrious Grand Master of Idaho, Companion Jeremy Vaughn, and given honorary membership in the Grand Council of Cryptic Masons of Wyoming.

Friday morning began with the Grand Commandery of Knights Templar of Wyoming where I represented of Sir Knight Jerry D. Parson, Right Eminent Grand Commander of Idaho. Friday afternoon was the Grand Chapter of Royal Arch Masons of Wyoming where I represented Companion Rick Rowe, Most Excellent Grand High Priest of Idaho. I was honored to be given honorary membership in the Grand Chapter of Royal Arch Masons of Wyoming.

Now I'm getting ready to head to the Grand Banquet for some food and fellowship.

Friday, September 6, 2019

Birthday on the Road

Today is my 35th birthday and I am on the road for work in the Lilac City aka Spokane, WA. I am staying at an amazing hotel near the riverfront.

I spent the morning setting up for the training I am doing this weekend and the afternoon walking around the city playing some Ingress. Now, I'm going to find a good steak and have some libations.

Update: I found some food and drink.

A Prime Rib dinner and a Whiskey Sour

Apple Crisp and vanilla ice cream

Wednesday, September 4, 2019

Templar Biography: Gilbert Horal

Gilbert Horal (also known as Gilbert Erail or Erill) was the 12th Grand Master of the Poor Knights of Christ and the Temple of Solomon and served at the end of the 12th century. His tenure is marked by an increase in the tensions between the Hospitalliers and the Templars as well as the consolidation of Templar possessions in France and Apulia (southeastern Italy).

Gilbert Horal was born around 1150 AD in Aragonese (from the Kingdom of Aragon which is in modern-day Spain). He joined the Knights Templar at a young age and was stationed in Provence and Aragon where he took part in Reconquista in Spain. Around 1190 AD, Horal took command of the Aragon province before becoming Grand Preceptor of France. After the death of Robert de Sablé, Horal was elected as Grand Master of the order.

Horal wished for peace between the Christians and the Muslims which some thought was treasonous even with Horal's reassurances. This also fueled the disputes between the Templars and the Hospitalliers. Tensions between the two orders were already strained because of armed fighting over control of cities and castles around the Levant got so out of control that the Vatican had to intervene. Pope Innocent III favored the Hospitalliers which is likely due to Horal's favor for peace with the Saracens. Although the Pope did come to Horal's rescue when the Bishop of Sidon excommunicated Gilbert; only the Pope has the authority to excommunicate a Templar (see "Omne Datum Optimum"). Horal continued to give Templar support to the Reconquista for which they were rewarded with the fortress of Alfambra (sometimes spelled Alhambra) by King Alfonso II of the Kingdom of Aragon in 1196 AD.

During the reign of Horal, the world saw the rise of the Orden der Brüder vom Deutschen Haus St. Mariens in Jerusalem, or, simply, the Teutonic Knights, rise from a monastic order to a full fledged military order.

The Pilgrim's Castle was erected during Horal's governance which was located along the coastal road between Acre and Jerusalem. This massive fortress is said to have housed up to 4,000 troops.

Gilbert Horal died in December 1200 AD which was around the start of the Fourth Crusade. Phillipe de Plessis would succeed Horal as the Thirteenth Grand Master.

References

1. Addison, C. G. (1842). The History of the Knights Templars, the Temple Church, and the Temple. 

2. Gilbert Horal. (n.d.). Retrieved from Wikipedia: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Gilbert_Horal 

3. Gilbert Horal (1152??-1200). (n.d.). Retrieved from Project Beauceant: http://www.templiers.org/gilbert-horal-eng.php 

4. Gourdin, T. S. (1855). Historical Sketch of the Order of Knights Templar: An Address Delivered Before the South Carolina Encampment No.1 of Knights Templars, and the Appendant Orders. 

5. Grand Masters. (n.d.). Retrieved from Ordre Souverain et Militaire du Temple de Jérusalem (OSMTJ): https://www.theknightstemplar.org/1942-2/ 

6. Napier, G. (2008). A to Z of the Knights Templar: A Guide to Their History and Legacy. The History Press.

Sunday, September 1, 2019

Templar Biography: Arnold of Torroja

The Ninth Grand Master of the Knights Templar was Arnold of Torroja was governed the order from 1181 to 1184. Most of Torroja's Templar career was in Spain where he took part in the Reconquista. His reign is marked by quarrels between the Knights Templar and Knights Hospitaliers, the latter of whom had reached a new peak of influence in the Holy Land and Western Europe. 

There is no known date of birth for Torroja, but it is believed that he was born around 1110/1111 AD somewhere in Catalonia (northwest Spain). Prior to serving as Grand Master, he served as Master of Provence and Aragon (Spain). Torroja was elected as Grand Master when the previous one, Odo de St. Amand, had died while in captivity sometime in 1180 AD. As mentioned before, Torroja spent most of his time in Spain and was considered an outsider which some believe would positively influence his election. St. Amand had become too involved with the politics of the Holy Land and many Templars saw this as a problem. Due to his appearance as an outsider and an impartial arbitrator, many groups used him to mediate disputes. 

The Knights Hospitalier had reached a pinnacle of influence during the governance of Torroja and there had been a growing rivalry that was mediated by Pope Lucius III and King Baldwin IV of Jerusalem (known as the Leprosy king). Such factionalism among the Christians was bad during the growing strength of Saladin.

During a truce between Saladin and Baldwin, Torroja went on a tour of Europe with Patriarch Heraclius and Roger des Moulins, Grand Master of the Hospitaliers, to get more soldiers for another crusade, Torroja fell ill and died on September 30, 1184. It is believed that he was buried at the San Fermo Maggiore church in Verona. He was succeeded by Gérard de Ridefort.
References

1. Arnaud de Toroge. (n.d.). Retrieved from Project Beauceant: http://www.templiers.org/arnaud-toroge-eng.php 

2. Arnold of Torroja. (n.d.). Retrieved from Wikipedia: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Arnold_of_Torroja 

3. Newman, S. (2007). The Real History Behind the Templars. Penguin Publishing.

4. Read, P. P. (2014). The Templars: The Dramatic History of the Knights Templar, the Most Powerful Military Order of the Crusades. St. Martin's Press.