Netflix has started streaming availability of “Inside the Freemasons,” the five-part documentary shown in England on Sky1 network during the United Grand Lodge of England’s 300th anniversary celebration last year. The program was that rarest of television treatments of the fraternity – calm, even-handed, truthful – and features numerous Masons throughout England discussing their membership. It was created with the cooperation of the grand lodge
This year we will be holding our annual blood drive on Thursday, May 17th from 2:00pm until 7:00pm. I see this program as vital, but under appreciated and decided that I would take a short break from more Masonic articles in my newsletter to spend a few minutes highlighting this lifesaving club. Small note, if you attended any of the leadership programs offered this year you probably sat through a 30-45-minute presentation on the Masonic Blood and Organ Club, so this short letter should be a relief.
As we approach our April Stated Meeting I was searching for a Friday the 13th themed article to make light of the date (of course Lou lucked out with two Friday the 13th meetings last year!) but was less than entertained with what I could find. However, I did stumble across an interesting read about a Masonic conspiracy from 1723 that I wanted to touch on briefly in this month’s newsletter. To be fair, there are a few articles written about this topic that go into better detail, but I’m limited by time and space.
In London there was an article posted in a local paper, The Flying Post, which was claimed to be the first published Masonic catechism and is referred to as “A Mason’s Examination” by R.F. Gould in his book History of Freemasonry. This specific article was printed in the April 11-13, 1723 edition (the paper was only printed a few times a week instead of daily, hence the span in dates) and prompted a response from the community. A second and similar article appeared shortly after this in The Post Boy December 26-28, 1723 edition and was referred to as a “sham exposure” of Masonic ritual.
The world’s first Grand Lodge – looking back to where it all started
Three hundred years ago, in a room in a pub, history was made. Were it possible to travel in time, it would be fascinating to bring back the brethren who came together at the Goose and Gridiron alehouse in London on 24 June 1717, when they elected the first Grand Master and brought into being the first Grand Lodge in the world, writes John Hamill, Director of Special Projects for the United Grand Lodge of England (UGLE).
According to James Anderson in the 1738 Constitutions of the Free-Masons, four lodges met at the alehouse in St Paul’s Churchyard. Named after the public houses where they usually met, the lodges were Goose and Gridiron Ale-house in St Paul’s Church-yard; the Crown Ale-house in Parker’s Lane off Drury Lane; the Apple-Tree Tavern in Charles Street, Covent Garden; and the Rummer and Grapes Tavern in Channel Row, Westminster.
The Economist explains
What is freemasonry?
Misinformation and conspiracy abound. Is it a benign organization or one bent on subverting government?
Published Feb 27, 2018
The literature on freemasonry does not offer straightforward explanations. Is it benign or bent on subverting government? Is it a community of knowledge or of the occult? Such questions are not new. Since its development in the 18th century, freemasonry has drawn the ire of the Catholic church, right-wing politicians and, more recently, Britain’s Home Office. (Fearing that masons in the police and judiciary were giving preferential treatment to other masons, the Home Office between 1998 and 2009 required judicial appointees to disclose their membership.) Freemasonry can appear incomprehensible because it contains no coherent ideology or doctrine, and is defined instead by a commitment to universal brotherhood and self-improvement. Nor does a single governing body exist. It is made up of a loose network of groups, known as lodges, that fall under regional and national grand lodges. What, then, is freemasonry all about? Continue reading →
There are many sayings that we use daily, perhaps without knowing the meaning or history behind the phrases. Sayings such as “giving them the third degree,” “blackballed,” and to a lesser extent “being hoodwinked” are examples of phrases which we’ve all heard, and are quick to note a Masonic reference behind the saying. I won’t be going into more depth on those sayings because I’d like to propose a new phrase that has been used for a significant length of time, and I would argue has a Masonic origin, “my dog ate my homework.” Continue reading →