Sunday, January 13, 2008

Houston Scottish Rite Temple - RIP

Received this message from the Grand Lodge of Texas Internet Committee:

The Grand Lodge Trustees agreed that this Masonic Auction should be communicated to Texas Masons and Texas Lodges.

The Houston Scottish Rite Temple is being demolished, and Masonic artifacts and building furnishings are being auctioned to the highest bidder. This includes ceiling tile, wall paneling, lights, fixtures, bathroom fixtures, Exit signs, display cases, etc.

Bentley & Associates, an Amarillo Auction Firm with Masonic background, will conduct the auction on Saturday, January 26, 10:00 a.m., 7575 Brompton Street, Houston, TX.

Sincerely and fraternally,

Tom Guest, Grand Secretary

Sad to see another Temple fall....

Freemasonry in Iran

A week ago a young man by them name of Reza left a comment in my blog asking about joining Freemasonry. This isn’t all that uncommon, as I get e-mails of the same, but he said that he was living in Iran. I thought with all of the banter about regular, irregular, clandestine, co-masonry, that we need to reflect about 30 years ago when Freemasonry was banned from Iran and it’s supporters chased from the country under Islamic fascism.

For those that don’t know the 1978-79 revolution in Iran made Persian Freemasons vulnerable to the anti-Masonic sentiments and threats from the leaders of the revolution. The leaders identified Masons as American and Zionist agents, and where also greatly responsible for the woes of the country. The secretive nature of the Masonic order in Persia made it susceptible to conspiracy theories and of course their secret rule. The biggest blow to the Persian Freemasonry came when the Masonic archive and roster of members of the lodges under the jurisdiction of the Grand Lodge of Iran was captured. From this point membership in Freemasonry was declared a crime and the roster was used by the Islamic Republic to persecute hundreds of Persian Masons whose names appeared on the list. After the firm establishments of the Islamic Republic Masons were executed, more were imprisoned, and a large number were purged from government offices and schools. During this time propaganda was published much like works in 1938 Germany accusing Freemasons of all kinds of conspiracies against the government and people of the Islamic faith.

Many master masons managed to leave the country legally or illegally and immigrated to Europe, Canada and the United States. In 1982 17 past masters of Persian lodges sent a petition seeking permission to continue their fraternity as members of the Grand Lodge of Iran. The request was accepted, and the meeting of the Grand Committee of the Lodge was convened later that year at the Grand Lodge of New York. In March of 1985, the Grand Lodge of Massachusetts granted approval to the Grand Lodge of Iran (in exile) to conduct Masonic activities in the City of Boston. There are now Persian lodges in Washington D.C., France and in California all under the Grand Lodge of Iran (in exile).

The current contact information for the Grand Lodge of Iran(in exile) is:

Grand Lodge of Iran (in exile)
P.O. Box 25017
Los Angeles, CA 90025, USA


Many thanks to the members of the Philalethes Society for helping me out, most of the information was heavily lifted from:

Sunday, January 6, 2008

Odds and Ends - Halcyon, Beer and TO

There are some odds and ends things I wanted to write about in my blog, but I don’t feel like they warrant a full post of their own, so here they go:

1) I haven’t read it in any other blogs, but Halcyon Lodge has posted a letter that they are sending out to their members regarding their side of the story in their dispute with the Grand Lodge of Ohio. Anyone that has any interest in this development should go read the letter as it is well written and very articulate of Halcyon's position. I don’t agree with some of their points, and know that I am only getting one side of the story, but it is the best written explanation that has shown up on the net to date. I was also impressed in their thoughtfulness of the brothers that still want to be recognized by the Grand Lodge of Ohio. There were some bloggers that were very critical of this point of Halcyon lodge, and I hope this puts some of their fears to rest.

2) The beer I made in honor of the Blue Lodge didn’t ferment properly, and hence it’s a bad batch. Maybe the prohibition saints cursed my beer in the name of our brothers from the early 20th century, I don’t know. I think I will try again, but maybe make a beer in honor of the York Rite Festival coming up this spring. Or I might make another one for the Blue Lodge, all I know is when I tried the beer on the 27th of December (St. John’s Day), it didn’t taste right at all. So here is going back to square one.

3) Last night was the Commandery’s Officer Installation ceremony, while nothing special, it is honestly what all aspects of Freemasonry is suppose to be. An open bar before, a nice meal and afterwards ceremony and Masonic discussion, a nice evening overall, it should be the standard and not the exception with Masonic dinners in the United States. This also gave me a chance to start pitching the idea of a Traditional Observance Lodge. The idea was met with warm regard and excitement, especially by those that are in direct contact with the Grand Lodge of Texas. Initially I thought that this wouldn’t go anywhere given the sometimes staunch attitude that the Grand Lodge of Texas is known for, but maybe there is hope for a Traditional Observance Lodge, after all?

That's it, just some Freemasonry scrap that could be put into one post. :)

Thursday, January 3, 2008

The Regius Poem My Personal Interpretation of the Fourth Point

We will now take a look at the fourth point of the Regius Poem, in the series. The fourth point points that an apprentice of the craft must be true to the craft, his Master and his fellows, for the laws that apply to them, apply to him as well.

The fourth point teacheth us also,
That no man to his craft be false;
Error he shall maintain none
Against the craft, but let it go;
Nor no prejudice he shall no do
To his master, nor his fellow also;
And though the 'prentice be under awe,
Yet he would have the same law.

In this essence I think we are all apprentices (I know I am) in the craft, and we must be careful not to allow our passions to get the better of us, and allow us to become false to the Craft We must remember the line “Nor no prejudice he shall no do to his master, nor his fellow also” in our speculative work, we are to make sure we aren’t being false to the Worshipful Master or our Fellows, that we must at all times govern ourselves to the best of our ability and keep our passions within due bonds. This is another foundation of the fraternity that I hold near and dear towards my heart.

In the military when I salute a superior officer I do so because of the rank that officer has, and not the man himself. So in essence I would be saluting the Lt Col, not the man John Smith. Men need to have this mentality when conducting themselves in lodge and dealing with the master of the lodge, for we are saluting the position of the East and not the man sitting in the East. Sometimes our passions get the better of us, and we tend to mix the man and the position up, and we allow this confusion to lead us down the wrong road. When I first was in the military as a brand new 2nd LT I had problems saluting a Captain that was being investigated (and later article 15) for sexual harassment, during that time I came to peace with the fact that I wasn’t saluting that man, but the rank that the man wears. If he betrays his position with that rank than I and those around him must hold him accountable for that action. He doesn’t soil the rank, as he soils his name, because millions have come before and millions after who wear that rank and do it justice. Whether he deserves to wear that rank is a whole different matter.

I, for instance disagreed with the Grand Master of Texas regarding his statement about “We aren’t the men we use to be”. My disagreement isn’t a sign of disrespect or defame of his position, but with the man’s stance on today’s modern Freemason. I respectfully disagree with his statement, and I would never defame the office of Grand Master of Texas, to prove my point or engage on any other personal attacks, on the Grand Lodge.

We must remember that as we journey as Freemasons through our Masonic journey that we will inevitably disagree with someone at some point. We need to remember that our disagreement is with that Mason, and not the office that he holds. We must circumscribe our desires as to always treat that brother with the respect he deserves. I don’t care if it’s in a lodge room, grand lodge, or on-line. We have to remember that we all meet on the level, and act accordingly as such.