The Longview

http://ift.tt/2gUkaIw

by Midnight Freemason Contributor
WB Gregory J. Knott


There is a small town in southern Champaign County, Illinois named Longview. Longview has less than 200 residents and is a traditional Midwestern farm town. Most of the business have closed and now all that is left is a United States Post Office and some service business.

What intrigues me most about Longview is the name of the town itself. The name originates from the long view of the open Illinois prairie landscape.

But I often think about Longview as more than just this small Midwestern town. It is also a way to consider the work that is and needs to be done in Freemasonry. We often get stuck in the rut of discussions on topics such as declining membership, the costs of dues and building issues. These are important areas of concern, but are often the cause for taking our eyes off the ball of the more fundamental and needed changes for the future continued success of Freemasonry. I always advocate taking the Longview.

What does taking the Longview mean? Here are some of my thoughts:

  • Freemasonry is built one brother at a time. 
  • Understand that whatever challenges we are having today, they are not insurmountable. 
  • Have crucial conversations with other brothers within the lodge about what you would like to be as an organization in the future. 
  • Develop a written plan on how you can get there. 
  • Celebrate success. If you raise a new Master Mason it is a cause for celebration for him personally and the lodge as a whole! 
  • Become visible as an organization within the community. 
  • Offer a reason for members to come to your events. 
  • Education is a core element of a successful lodge. 
  • We are a fraternity to help grow the individual man. While charity is important, it is not the primary mission of Freemasonry. 
  • Have some fun! 

There are of course many other ideas, but the key element I want to emphasize is the Longview. Change may not come instantly. Having the patience, persistence and perseverance will pay huge dividends for a success future.

Enjoy the Longview!

~GJK
WB Gregory J. Knott is the Past Master of St. Joseph Lodge No. 970 in St. Joseph (IL) and a plural member of Ogden Lodge No. 754 (IL), Homer Lodge No. 199 (IL) and Naval Lodge No. 4 in Washington, DC. He’s a member of the Scottish Rite, the York Rite, Eastern Star and is the Charter Secretary of the Illini High Twelve Club No. 768 in Champaign-Urbana. He is also a member of ANSAR Shrine (IL) and the Eastern Illinois Council No. 356 Allied Masonic Degrees. Greg serves on the Board of Directors of The Masonic Society and is a member of the Scottish Rite Research Society and The Philathes Society. Greg is very involved in Boy Scouts—an Eagle Scout himself, he is a member of the National Association of Masonic Scouters. You can contact him at [email protected]

from The Midnight Freemasons
via IFTTT

Defenders Of Freedom

http://ift.tt/2gV6txe

By Midnight Freemason Emeritus
Bro. Brian J. Schimian

Monday November 21, 2016 was just another day. Nothing spectacular or special.  A few days earlier on Friday, I received a text from Bro. Johnson asking if I was able to be at the Stated Communication for Waukegan #78. Of course I would do my best to attend.  Lodge isn’t close to home, but I missed my adoptive Lodge Brethren. When asked why, the only response was that he “had something for me”. Well, that was good enough for me, I made sure to put the meeting on my calendar and planned to attend, it gave me a reason to get out of the house and it gave my fiancé a night to have quality time wth her son.

I got ready, grabbed my apron case and headed out for my journey. I was certainly excited to see my Brethren, they had just had an installation and seeing the Brothers in their new chairs was gong to be fun. I made my way around the hall shaking hands and saying hello to everyone. I also got a chance to do my thing… I grabbed the WM’s hat and snapped a selfie in front of the dais. What can I say, old habits die hard. When I was in DeMolay, all the Chapters had this thing where we would abscond wth something from another Chapter. Usually a mascot or something with their name on it. I will admit, every once in a while when traveling, I come across a Lodge that houses a DeMolay Chapter and I still think about it.

I know to most on the outside of Masonry it is silly and to many inside, it is just another pin and piece of paper to collect and joke about… but I am blessed to live in a rather forward thinking GL jurisdiction that would go out of their way to recognize public service personnel. I am even more blessed by the Brothers I have sat in Lodge with across this Country. I am blessed that Bro RJ is a part of my life and thought to include me for this recognition.  I was completely caught off guard and humbly surprised when I was called to the East to receive the “Defenders of Freedom” certificate and pin from the WM Duran & RWB Johnson.



One Brother made the statement “…hold in high regard, the pins & certificates that we achieve because of the passion the man has put forth to get them…”. I never thought of it that way. Throughout my entire career, I made it well known that if I got wind of any special recognition, awards or certificates coming my way, I wouldn’t be there to accept it. That’s not why I did the things I did. I did them because it was my job, and I knew it was a job that most couldn’t do. I was blessed with the ability to do certain things and do them very well. I don’t regret my decision to be that way, it made my command chain understand that I was truly doing my job because I believed in the mission and making life better for those around me. That mindset made me very effective for many years.

This is certainly the most important certificate & lapel pin I could ever receive. It calls me back to my career, it reminds me that I have Brethren that care and think about me and most of all, it reminds me of all that Freemasonry has given to me.  A debt that I certainly could never repay in a thousand lifetimes. To all the Brethren in IL that are receiving this recognition, I thank you for your serine and sacrifice. Being including amongst your ranks is truly humbling to say the least.

It really is the little things in life that make it all worth it.

“Start Level, Finish Square.”
~BJS

from The Midnight Freemasons
via IFTTT

True Or False? The Legend Of Harry Truman’s Silver 33rd Degree Ring

http://ift.tt/2fWCnoY

by Midnight Freemasons Founder
Todd E. Creason

There has always been a rule that 33rd degree rings are to be made ONLY of gold.  It caused quite a stir when Frank S. Land, the founder of Demolay, had a ring crafted of silver.  And he wore it! There’s no question about it–that’s absolutely true.


But years later, a rumor started that Harry S. Truman, after he received his 33rd degree, was seen also wearing a silver 33rd ring.  As a Past Grand Master of Missouri, and a former President of the United States, the idea he would have worn a 33rd degree ring made of anything other than gold caused quite a controversy amongst Scottish Rite Masons.  Some said it simply wasn’t true–that Truman never owned or wore anything other than a gold ring.  Others claimed the ring he was seen wearing was actually Frank Land’s ring–they were friends.  But Harry’s silver ring never turned up, so as time went on most people believed it was probably just a rumor–a myth.  

When I received my 33rd degree in 2011, I asked one of the active members of the Supreme Council about the rumor that Harry S. Truman wore a silver 33rd ring.  I was told very curtly that it never existed.  I was also reminded that in the Northern Masonic Jurisdiction, 33rd Degree Masons were to ONLY wear the ring they were given.  I wasn’t to even think about buying one of those flashy 33rd rings with the lacquer and diamonds.  There were rules about such things after all.  And there was absolutely no evidence what-so-ever that Truman ever owned, wore, or had a ring like that made.  

Case closed.  It’s false, right?

Well guess what turned up last December?  That’s right.  A silver 33rd degree ring.  Harry S. Truman’s silver 33rd degree ring no less!  And we even know now where it came from.  In hindsight, it makes perfect sense.  It was inscribed inside to  Harry S. Truman . . . a gift from Frank S. Land.

The Missouri Lodge of Research’s 2016 Truman Lecture will mark the first time that both of those silver rings will be exhibited together.

But what’s really odd is just about the time that ring surfaced, something else vanished!  That article I wrote some years ago claiming that ring was most likely a myth because there was no evidence it ever existed.  Odd, huh?

~TEC

Todd E. Creason, 33°, FMLR is the Founder of the Midnight Freemasons blog and is a regular contributor.  He is the award winning author of several books and novels, including the Famous American Freemasons series. He is the author of the From Labor to Refreshmentblog.  He is the Worshipful Master of Homer Lodge No. 199 and a Past Master of Ogden Lodge No. 754, where is currently serves as Secretary.  He is the Sovereign Master of the Eastern Illinois Council No. 356 Allied Masonic Degrees.  He is a Fellow at the Missouri Lodge of Research. (FMLR) and a charter member of a new Illinois Royal Arch Chapter, Admiration Chapter U.D.  You can contact him at: [email protected] 

from The Midnight Freemasons
via IFTTT

Whence Came You? – 0272 – Friendship

http://ift.tt/2gNjFnA


Join us this week as we explore the topic of Friendship. Is it the most important part of Freemasonry? Also, don’t miss a great piece by a Midnight Freemason guest Contributor! App extras include the paper we read as well as a Masonic wallpaper for your mobile device. Thanks for listening and have an amazing week!

Links:

Support the show!

Alpha Brain!

King Solomons Reserve!

The Midnight Freemasons

Masonic Revival!

Get a pin!

Check out this episode!

from Whence Came You?
via IFTTT

Black Friday – A Chance to Exercise the Art

http://ift.tt/2gbThQN

by Midnight Freemason Contributor
RW Robert H. Johnson

Amidst the debates on whether or not stores and businesses should close for the Thanksgiving holiday, there are those underlying thoughts about the day after Thanksgiving — Black Friday. Black Friday is a day for retailers nation wide, to throw open their doors and deliver savings so big, so amazing, so insane, that the public will be motivated to get up and go to those retailers at 12:01 am.

The days following Black Friday seemed to echo the sombre and sickening pathos normally attributed to that shroud, that color we typify with the color Black. We watch news clips on television, YouTube and cell phone videos of human beings, reverting to ferocious animal states as they battle one another over monetary savings.

Kids trampled to death, men and women alike suffocating in the thick of herds of what can now only be some distant cousin, some untamed, ungoverned, rapacious beast. But alas, it is us. It is human, although unrecognizable.

This year, stores did close and then decided to stave of some of the anarchy by opening later in the evening on Thanksgiving. I decided that for the first time since the last and only other time I had gone Black Friday Shopping, to go out to see what I could see.

What I saw did not disappoint. I don’t mean that in any way to suggest I was looking for disorder, rather, I was hoping to see people being people. People caring and being courteous. Amid the sea of winter coats and red Starbucks cups, were the voices of happy people, saying “Excuse me”, and complementing each other and of course, complaining about the long lines.

The moral fabric of humanity is a weave of altruistic principals, something we practice as Freemasons. It is something we are charged to do. To be courteous, kind, friendly, humble, to be the example. In the coming weeks we will be tried, Brethren. We will be taken to the edge and back again. Our patience, our affability will be put in the spot light. Use the stresses of the season to exercise our art of Friendship, Morality and Brotherly Love.

I know it can be hard, but the stakes are as high as they’ve ever been, and the world is watching. Be Freemasons.

~RHJ

Bro. Robert Johnson, PM is the Managing Editor of the Midnight Freemasons blog. He is a Freemason out of the 1st N.E. District of Illinois. He currently serves as the Secretary of Waukegan Lodge No. 78 where he is a Past Master. He also serves as the District Deputy for the 1st N.E. District of Illinois. Brother Johnson currently produces and hosts weekly Podcasts (internet radio programs) Whence Came You? & Masonic Radio Theatre which focus on topics relating to Freemasonry. He is also a co-host of The Masonic Roundtable, a Masonic talk show. He is a husband and father of four, works full time in the executive medical industry and is also an avid home brewer. He is currently working on a book of Masonic essays and one on Occult Anatomy to be released soon.

from The Midnight Freemasons
via IFTTT

Supporting Widows and Orphans

http://ift.tt/2fEWo2Y

By Midnight Freemasons Contributor
WB Gregory J. Knott
The Most Worshipful Grand Lodge of Illinois recently announced they were closing the Illinois Masonic Children’s Homes in 2017.
In the email release sent to all 469 Illinois lodges, the Grand lodge indicated that the Board of Directors of the Illinois Masonic Children’s Home voted to close the homes and transition away from residential care. Citing liability concerns and significant increases in the cost of liability insurance, exposure to lawsuits, and the costs of spending $2.4 million per year on the 40 residents of the home, were given as primary reasons the decision had been made.

On social media there were a number of brethren who both agreed with the decision and others who expressed concern over the closure.

Masonic Children’s Homes, like Masonic Nursing Homes have largely closed across the country. Most of the institutions were started more than 100 years ago before the social safety net that exists as we know it today was created.

So how in the 21st century can the masonic fraternity still support worthy distressed Master Masons, their widows and orphans? How do we define charity in 2016? Do we still as a fraternity have an obligation to the distressed Masters Masons, their widows and orphans?

The answer to these questions can be complicated. Burdensome government regulations, a litigious society and drastic changes in health care have all contributed to the changing models of charitable care.

In Illinois after the sale of the Masonic nursing home, the Grand Lodge established the Illinois Masonic Outreach Services (IMOS). This program provides assistance to Master Masons in a number of ways such as helping with home care, buying hearing aids or providing short term financial assistance. This program reaches far more members than running the nursing home facility did.

While the forms of charity may change over time, Freemasonry continues to meets our obligations by helping others.

~GJK

WB Gregory J. Knott is the Past Master of St. Joseph Lodge No. 970 in St. Joseph (IL) and a plural member of Ogden Lodge No. 754 (IL), Homer Lodge No. 199 (IL) and Naval Lodge No. 4 in Washington, DC. He’s a member of the Scottish Rite, the York Rite, Eastern Star and is the Charter Secretary of the Illini High Twelve Club No. 768 in Champaign-Urbana. He is also a member of ANSAR Shrine (IL) and the Eastern Illinois Council No. 356 Allied Masonic Degrees. Greg serves on the Board of Directors of The Masonic Society and is a member of the Scottish Rite Research Society and The Philathes Society. Greg is very involved in Boy Scouts—an Eagle Scout himself, he is a member of the National Association of Masonic Scouters. You can contact him at [email protected]

from The Midnight Freemasons
via IFTTT

Whence Came You? – 0271 – Masonry’s Initial Millennial Reputation

http://ift.tt/2gbSIr3


Join us this week as we discuss the issues the Fraternity had not ten years ago on the internet, as our reputation was not as sterling as it is today (for the most part). Brother Steve Harrison stops by with the Masonic Minute as well. Thanks for listening and have an amazing Thanksgiving! 

Links

Support the Show

Buy a Pin

Alpha Brain

Masonic Revival

Illinois Lodge of Research

 

All music by Purple Planet Royalty Free Music, unless otherwise stated. 

Check out this episode!

from Whence Came You?
via IFTTT