WB Bill Hosler - A tribute to our fallen friend and contributor & his very last unfinished installment of the 50 year member series

by Midnight Freemason Contributor
WB Darin A. Lahners

Nothing can ever prepare you for the loss of a friend and colleague, especially when their death is so sudden.  There's not much more that I can add to all of the loving tributes to Bill Hosler. Bill impacted so many people and touched so many lives. He touched mine in so many profound ways. To say that I will miss him is an understatement. The hole that losing Bill has left in many of our lives will never be filled. We just have to find a way to cope.  

I consider myself blessed to have worked in the Masonic Quarries with Bill, and honored to be able to call him my friend.  I first started speaking with Bill shortly after I started writing for this blog in 2017.  At first, we may have been a mutual admiration society.  Later, when I started to be an editor of the blog, I would edit Bill's writings and give him feedback on some of his articles and we became collaborators.  When Greg Knott and I decided to start a podcast, after some of our early test recordings, we decided we needed another voice, and I thought immediately of Bill. 

It is through the podcast and the hours that Greg, Bill, and I would spend before and after each episode just having those deep, philosophical discussions where we would solve all of Freemasonry's problems, much like all Freemasons do in the parking lot before or after a lodge meeting, where I believe we formed a stronger bond. I am so happy that I was able to meet Bill in person.  At the beginning of August 2020, when it seemed that maybe the COVID pandemic was coming to an end, Bill visited Greg and I.  I was Worshipful Master of St. Joseph #970 AF&AM in Illinois for the second time.  It was an amazing evening, which Bill wrote about here: Virtual Friendship, Real Life Brotherhood.  I'm so happy to have that experience and the memories that go with it.  I'm also happy to have had the episodes of Meet, Act, and Part with Bill.  At some point when I'm able to listen to them without breaking down in tears, I know I can always hear his wonderful laugh, which was so unique, just like Bill was.  

The last time I communicated with Bill, I had called him to check in on him.  It went to voicemail, and he sent me a text the next day that he and Tammi were on a cruise and he was in the middle of the Atlantic. He told me he would be home last Tuesday. I replied and told him I would call him then, but as life often does, I became preoccupied with work and a busy Masonic week.  I had every intention of calling him last Friday, but on my way home this past Thursday from a stated meeting at the very same Lodge that Bill had visited us at, I received a text from Bill's lady, Tammi. It was coming from Bill's number, asking Greg or I to call her.  It seemed odd that she would be using Bill's phone. I braced myself for bad news, but I did not imagine it would be news of his passing.  I have been beating myself up that I didn't get that last conversation with him, but as our mutual friend Robert Johnson told me, I would probably be hurting even more (if that's possible) having had that conversation.

Bill recently had been working on another installment of his 50-year Member series, but he was having trouble with how he should end it.  I had been encouraging Bill to think about how he would end the series, and telling him that he needed to publish all of the series as a book.  Ironically, the last installment of the series would be entitled "Why?" That's how many of us feel regarding Bill's passing.  Bill and I had exchanged some ideas on how the below article would end, but I think it's appropriate to end it as suddenly as Bill left us. 

The 50 Year Member-Why?


Bill Hosler, PM

Pudge is sitting in the living room of the 50 Year member. He knocked on John’s door and as soon as the old man opened it he could see the look of anguish on his face. “Have you seen this?” Pudge asked as he handed his friend a piece of printed paper  Pudge had snatched from his printer in disgust. “Why? Can it be true?  It makes no sense to make.”

The old man placed his reading glasses on his nose and began to read what his friend had given him slowly.  “Honestly, I don’t know what to say. “ the 50-year member said in a very sad, some could say grief-stricken tone.  “It doesn’t make any sense.”

Pudge who was slowly sinking into the old man’s living room chair said “Why? It can’t be. He would have made a great Grand Master. He had so many good ideas to help the Fraternity thrive. All the guys were eager to support him and work with him. Now, it’s all gone”

Pudge was lamenting about an email sent to the membership to the membership of his Grand Lodge. The email stated that Randy Jones, a popular member and the  Deputy Grand Master had been expelled from the Fraternity over charges that he had abused his power and had committed conduct unbecoming a Mason. “It can’t be true. He wasn’t like that.” Pudge continued “Lots of guys I have talked to in our online group are really mad! They don’t believe these charges. Many of them are so mad they are talking about quitting and starting their own clandestine lodge!”  

The old man shook his head. “Starting another Grand Lodge makes as much sense as burning your house down because you saw a spider.”  “That is the last thing that should be done.”

The old man continued. “First we don’t know what is truly going on.  There is always a chance that the charges leveled at Randy could be true. We are on the outside looking in. I will admit that I have known Randy for a long time and that doesn’t sound like him.”

“Second. Let’s just say for a minute that the charges could be fake and Randy has been framed. It is plausible. I mean his aggressive new ideas for next year have some of the old guard on edge. The status quo will be gone and the elders will lose their power base and Masonry as they have known it for nearly three-quarters of a century will be gone. The change they have been scared of for so long will be here and the days of beating the drum for new members just to have the members quit a year later will be a thing of the past. Masonic education will be strong and the membership will learn the things they have been saying for years are not false or even worse a lie. With each new member is a potential vote against them.

That is my suggestion to you fellows. As the British said during the darkest hours of World War Two once said: “Keep calm and carry on.”  He continued “You and I both know you young fellows will be running things.   It has to be that way because old guys like me will be gone. Just like someday you guys will be replaced by the next generation. If you quit there will be no one left to try and fight for what you want and then Masonry will surely die. Not because of the old guys of today who won’t change but because your generation picked up their ball and went home. Encourage each other.  Work together. Stay active in Grand Lodge and vote for what you believe in. Just like in the real world if you don’t vote you let the few who did pick your destiny. If you know Brothers who have quit out of discouragement talk them into coming back. They will be needed. Every potential vote you can rally brings you closer to your goals.”

“Just remember one thing:  when times change, we both know they will not block the efforts of the young men who want to shape the craft. Remember how you feel right now."
Bill, I certainly do not want to remember how I feel right now.  I have lost you, my friend. This feeling sucks.  However, I will honor your wishes.  Much like the 50-year member tells Pudge that he can't quit, neither can we.  The best way I know to honor you is to continue to keep the Midnight Freemasons blog going and to keep recording Meet, Act, and Part.  Neither will be the same without you. As Bill ended his article regarding his visit to St. Joseph #970; I end this article. Much like the line in the Tyler's toast used in English festive boards ”Happy to meet, sorry to part, happy to meet again.”   My friend, I will be happy when we meet again in the lodge on high.  Until then, many of us will keep your memory alive.

Bill's Masonic accomplishments are many, and can be found here: Bill Hosler Obituary  Please keep his fiancé Tammi and his family in your prayers. If you are able to, please join Greg Knott and I along with other Masonic friends of Bill at his Masonic rites this coming Saturday, June 15 at 2pm Eastern Time at the Lindenwood Cemetery Chapel in Fort Wayne, Indiana. I’d like to be able to have as many Freemasons as possible show up for Bill. 


A Freemason at D-Day: Theodore Roosevelt Jr.

by Midnight Freemason Contributor
WB Darin A. Lahners

One of my favorite things to do while on vacation is to visit museums and/or graveyards. On a recent trip to New Orleans, I visited the National WWII Museum.  Because tomorrow (June 6), celebrates the 80th anniversary of D-Day or Operation Overlord (which was the Allies' airborne and amphibious operation to invade German-Occupied France), I felt the timing was perfect for this article.  

There were four freedoms were outlined by President Franklin Delano Roosevelt in his State of The Union speech on January 6, 1941.  One has to remember that before the Japanese "surprise" attack on Pearl Harbor on December 7th, 1941, there was a very strong isolationist movement that desired to keep the United States from entering the war.  Roosevelt took a stance against this movement and stated that the United States had a responsibility to fight for four universal principles of freedom that all of the world's citizens should be able to enjoy.

FDR stated in this speech that: 

"No realistic American can expect from a dictator's peace international generosity, or return of true independence, or world disarmament, or freedom of expression, or freedom of religion -- or even good business.  Such a peace would bring no security for us or for our neighbors.  'Those, who would give up essential liberty to purchase a little temporary safety, deserve neither liberty nor safety.' "

The four freedoms that FDR outlined were:
1. Freedom of Speech and Expression
2. Freedom to Worship God in one's own way
3. Freedom from Want - FDR explained this freedom as encompassing economic stability that would ensure every nation had a "healthy peacetime" when the war ended.
4. Freedom from Fear - FDR explained this freedom would come about due to the reduction of armaments worldwide when the war ended.

Why would these freedoms be important? To understand that, we need to understand the characteristics of Fascism. The Cohen Center for Holocaust and Genocide Studies at Keene State College (https://www.keene.edu/academics/cchgs/resources/presentation-materials/characteristics-and-appeal-of-fascism/download/) lists the below characteristics of Fascism:

1. Powerful, often exclusionary, populist nationalism centered on a cult of a redemptive, “infallible” leader who never admits mistakes.
2. Political power derived from questioning reality, endorsing myth and rage, and promoting lies.
3. Fixation with perceived national decline, humiliation, or victimhood.
4. White Replacement “Theory” is used to show that democratic ideals of freedom and equality are a threat. Oppose any initiatives or institutions that are racially, ethnically, or religiously harmonious.
5. Disdain for human rights while seeking purity and cleansing for those they define as part of the nation.
6. Identification of “enemies”/scapegoats as a unifying cause. Imprison and/or murder opposition and minority group leaders.
7. Supremacy of the military and embrace of paramilitarism in an uneasy, but effective collaboration with traditional elites. Fascists arm people and justify and glorify violence as “redemptive”.
8. Rampant sexism.
9. Control of mass media and undermining “truth”.
10. Obsession with national security, crime and punishment, and fostering a sense of the nation under attack.
11. Religion and government are intertwined.
12. Corporate power is protected and labor power is suppressed.
13. Disdain for intellectuals and the arts not aligned with the fascist narrative.
14. Rampant cronyism and corruption. Loyalty to the leader is paramount and often more important than competence.
15. Fraudulent elections and the creation of a one-party state.
16. Often seeking to expand territory through armed conflict.

FDR's Four Freedoms would become a mission statement as to why the United States had to join the allied powers to defeat Fascism in Europe and Asia, and as a moral compass for the United States after the Japanese attack on Pearl Harbor, on December 7, 1941.  Many former military officers seeing the writing on the wall had returned to active military service.  One of these was FDR's cousin, Theodore Roosevelt Jr. 

The eldest son of President (and Freemason) Theodore Roosevelt,  Theodore Roosevelt Jr. was born on Sept. 13, 1887, at the family estate in Oyster Bay, New York.  He graduated from Havard University in 1908, and became an extremely successful businessman.  He accumulated a large personal fortune, which he would use to advance himself politically.  During this time, he attended along with his three brothers General Leonard Wood's military training camp for business professionals; which would later evolve into the Reserve Officers Training Corps (ROTC).

When the United States entered WWI, Ted Jr. along with his brothers and their sister would join the military. The brothers all served in combat while Ethel became a combat nurse. Ted Jr. would be commissioned as a Major. As a battalion commander, Ted Jr. took his role very seriously.  It is rumored that he personally purchased a new pair of combat boots for every man in his unit. He eventually would become the commander of the 26th Regiment in the 1st Infantry Division as a Lieutenant Colonel. He fought in several major battles, including America's first victory at the Battle of Cantigny. 

Ted's youngest brother, Quentin, was killed in action; while his brother Archie along with himself would be badly wounded.  This led to Ted needing to use a cane for the rest of his life. He was awarded both the Distinguished Service Cross and the French Chevalier Legion d'Hommeur.  Ted was also one of the founders of the American Legion. The below taken, which is taken from the American Legion Post Officers Guide, states:

A group of twenty officers who served in the American Expeditionary Forces (A.E.F.) in France in World War I is credited with planning the Legion. A.E.F. Headquarters asked these officers to suggest ideas on how to improve troop morale. One officer, Lieutenant Colonel Theodore Roosevelt, Jr., proposed an organization of veterans. In February 1919, this group formed a temporary committee and selected several hundred officers who had the confidence and respect of the whole army. When the first organization meeting took place in Paris in March 1919, about 1,000 officers and enlisted men attended. The meeting, known as the Paris Caucus, adopted a temporary constitution and the name The American Legion. It also elected an executive committee to complete the organization's work. It considered each soldier of the A.E.F. a member of the Legion. The executive committee named a subcommittee to organize veterans at home in the U.S. The Legion held a second organizing caucus in St. Louis, Missouri, in May 1919. It completed the constitution and made plans for a permanent organization. It set up temporary headquarters in New York City, and began its relief, employment, and Americanism programs. Congress granted the Legion a national charter in September 1919.

After WWI, Ted would follow his father and become active in politics.  In 1924, he ran for governor of New York, but he lost the election due to well-publicized disagreements with his cousin, future president, Franklin Delano Roosevelt.  Ted would serve in the New York Assembly, as the Assistant Secretary of the Navy, and later as Governor of Puerto Rico and Governor General of the Philippines.  Ted would return to the United States shortly after his cousin, FDR, became president in 1933.  

Ted Jr. would return to active military service in April 1941.  Given the rank of Colonel, he was given command of his old unit, the 26th Regiment in the 1st Infantry Division.  He was promoted to Brigadier General later that year.  While serving in North Africa, Roosevelt gained a reputation of leading from the front. His antics frequently would have him at odds with his commanders; General (and Freemason) Omar Bradley and General George Patton. Due to his not adhering to military protocol, he would be relieved of command and assigned to a staff position. 

During the Italian campaign, Ted Jr. saw combat in Sicily and Sardinia.  He also served as Gen. Dwight D. Eisenhower's liaison to the French Army. He would petition Eisenhower for another combat command, and he would be in June 1944, part of Operation Neptune.  Operation Neptune was the naval component of the D-Day landings which would take place on the beaches of Normandy, France.  He requested three times to lead the first wave of the assault on Utah Beach before he would be granted permission to do so.  On June 6, 1944; in the pre-dawn hours, Ted Jr. would be one of the first men off the landing craft to assault Utah Beach.  Due to the tidal currents being so strong, the first twenty landing craft strayed two miles to the south of the expected objective.  Ted Jr. is said to have declared: "We'll start the war from right here!" upon landing and assessing the situation. 

Under a constant barrage of fire, he proceeded to lead his men across the beach, returning for the ensuing units. He greeted each newly arriving regiment, pointing them toward their changed objective.  It is said that his humor and confidence was encouraging; and that his presence was a calming influence on the troops.   When General Barton, the commanding general of the 4th Division came ashore, Ted Jr. greeted him and gave him a report of the combat situation. 

Barton would write:
"While I was mentally framing [orders], Ted Roosevelt came up. He had landed with the first wave, had put my troops across the beach, and had a perfect picture (just as Roosevelt had earlier promised if allowed to go ashore with the first wave) of the entire situation. I loved Ted. When I finally agreed to his landing with the first wave, I felt sure he would be killed. When I had bade him goodbye, I never expected to see him alive. You can imagine then the emotion with which I greeted him when he came out to meet me [near La Grande Dune]. He was bursting with information."

For his actions at Utah Beach, Roosevelt would be posthumously awarded the Congressional Medal of Honor. His citation reads:

For gallantry and intrepidity at the risk of his life above and beyond the call of duty on 6 June 1944, in France. After two verbal requests to accompany the leading assault elements in the Normandy invasion had been denied, Brig. Gen. Roosevelt's written request for this mission was approved and he landed with the first wave of the forces assaulting the enemy-held beaches. He repeatedly led groups from the beach, over the seawall, and established them inland. His valor, courage, and presence in the very front of the attack and his complete unconcern at being under heavy fire inspired the troops to heights of enthusiasm and self-sacrifice. Although the enemy had the beach under constant direct fire, Brig. Gen. Roosevelt moved from one locality to another, rallying men around him, directed, and personally led them against the enemy. Under his seasoned, precise, calm, and unfaltering leadership, assault troops reduced beach strongpoints and rapidly moved inland with minimum casualties. He thus contributed substantially to the successful establishment of the beachhead in France.

After the war, Omar Bradley was asked to name the single most heroic action he had ever seen in combat, to which he replied: "Ted Roosevelt on Utah Beach".  On July 12, 1944; Theodore Roosevelt Jr. died of a heart attack while serving in France.  Of his death, General Patton wrote: "Teddy R[oosevelt] died in his sleep last night. He had made three landings with the leading wave – such is fate... He was one of the bravest men I ever knew".  Roosevelt was initially buried at Sainte-Mère-Église, but later was moved to the American Cemetary at Normandy.

Theodore Roosevelt Jr. was raised to the sublime degree of Master Mason at Matinecock Lodge #806, Oyster Bay, NY in 1920.  

Why is it important for us to remember not only Ted; but all those who took part in Operation Overlord?  Because we must remember what they were fighting for, which were those four freedoms that were so eloquently presented by President (and Brother) Franklin Delano Roosevelt.  We must never forget the crimes against humanity that occurred under Fascism, and we must never allow Fascism to gain a foothold anywhere in the world, including our own country. As stated above:  Fascists oppose any initiatives or institutions that are racially, ethnically, or religiously harmonious.  One cannot support Fascism and Freemasonry.  The two philosophies are diametrically opposed.       

Theodore Roosevelt Jr. display at the WWII Museum

Theodore Roosevelt Jr. gravesite 


Darin is a husband, father, and Freemason.  He also agrees with Jake and Elwood Blues.

The Lost Word and the Bear

by Midnight Freemason Contributor
Patrick Dey

Editor's Note: This article contains profanity. I felt that editing the profanity out would defeat the purpose of the article. 

This is a bit of a strange time to compare a bear to something else. If you’ve missed it, recently women online started to ask the question: which would rather encounter, if you were stuck in the woods, a man or a bear? I don’t want to get into this, because it’s beyond the point of this essay, but a lot… and I mean a lot of women would rather deal with a bear. The reason I bring it up is because many of these women will respond by saying: “I would rather deal with the bear, because [insert reason]… whereas if I had to deal with a m*n, I can expect [insert experience]…” They will deliberate redact a letter from the word “man” or “men.” This stems from a problem in algorithms, where it will censor or remove a post or comment as “derogatory” or “hate speech” because they said something negative in relation to the word “man.” So to circumnavigate the Al Gore Rhythm, they spell it “m*n.”

This phenomenon is actually starting to affect our language, even spoken language. Alligator Rhythms censor a lot of material based on what is written or said, even in benign commentary. For instance, saying “dead” or “died,” which may upset the All Gather In Them, people write or say “unalive(d).” Now young people are starting to say this in everyday speech, and even students write this in school essays. In fact, because we fear calling out these algorithms, we have started to come up with alternative epithets for “algorithm,” because we can be censored for call it out, and so people are now starting to say “Al Gore Rhythm” et al.

Wouldn’t it just be weird if we lost the words “dead” or “died” because of this? Or if we lose the word “algorithm,” or future people look back and wonder if this “Al Gore” guy was some sort of tyrant with an ability to dance, or perhaps “algorithm” was some sort of demon we feared and had to watch what we say around it. This isn’t the first time such has happened. Let’s go back to the bear.

Did you know that we lost the original word for “bear” in English? Seriously. It is assessed that the Proto-Indo European (PIE) root word for the animal was something like “*h2ŕ̥tḱos” (pronounced sort of like ar-tu-kos). From a part of the PIE root, we get the Greek ἄρκτος arktos, where we get words like “arctic,” because that was a place associated with bears. From another part, we also get the Latin ursus, like the constellation Ursa Major or the “Big Dipper.” But we don’t have anything like this in English. Celtic has the word “*arto,” and Welsh has “arth,” which are the root words for “Arthur.” But we do not have this in Anglo-Saxon, nor do we know the exact word that would have been derived from the PIE root for bear. It is totally lost.

It is believed that Anglo-Saxons were so superstitious of this word, believing that by saying it would summon the creature. So, they used the Old English word beran, meaning “the brown one.” It is not uncommon that people would believe that saying a name would summon that thing, nor that we would use nicknames to avoid using that name, nor that we would lose that word as a result.

The Tetragrammaton is a great example. The Hebrew name of God is יהוה YHVH. But this is consonants, and we don’t know the vowels that would have been used with it. Modern Hebrew approximates the name as Yahweh. Jehovah is the Latin approximation of what YHVH probably sounded like. The Greek name is Ιαω Iao, and has been interpreted as the vowels that should be inserted into YHVH. But such is conjectural. We cannot know with any certainty. We lost the exact pronunciation of this name of God because it was so sacred that to speak it became taboo. In fact, the name was so sacred, that if a book, scroll, or any text is found that has this name in it, but it has not been determined whether or not the it is worth preserving or may be heresy, and therefore should be destroyed, then it is kept in a genizah, a storehouse of texts, until it can be assessed. Later, using these letters יהוה was deemed too sacred to write, and so a substitute was created instead: Tetragrammaton, Greek for “the four letters.” This is how we lost the pronunciation of the name of God.

This is actually more common than one might expect. We actually do this all the tiem. Do you have a friend who went through a bad breakup or divorce, and they refused to say the name of their ex? So they start to say “she who must not be named” or “he we do not speak of.” We all know who they are talking about, but we roll with it, because we agree in our little circle of friends that it is now taboo to say “Michelle” or “Jared” and now we use a long epithet to refer to them. Or another example: we don’t say, “we are having prolific unprotected sex,” and instead we say, “we are working on having a child.” We come up with euphemisms all the time for things we don’t want to say the actual word for.

In a way, we may regard the root of the phenomenon of why a word will not and should not be used has something to do with what Edmund Burke calls “the sublime.” This is not “sublime” in the way we use it today, as something that is beautiful or delightful, but rather something that is compelling us to destruction. It has a great power, a sacredness that is beyond utility or adoration, and is an existential threat to our being. It has an allure of wonder and fascination, while simultaneously being something that is feared and dreaded. Hence the phrase “to fear of God,” where it is a virtue to fear the divinity of the majestic throne of God. And this is how many women feel about m*n, or Anglo-Saxons felt about bears, or Israelites felt about the true name of God, or how your buddy feels about their ex. They are admired, loved, feared, and hated all in the same conscious moment.

We have something like this in Freemasonry: the Lost Word of a Master Mason.

In the Master Mason Degree, the Master’s Word is lost, because it could not be communicated after the death of Grand Master Hiram Abiff. So a substitute word is created to be used instead. Now, the Word is “recovered” (so to speak) in the Royal Arch. I was intrigued when I was told that I should join the York Rite because there the Lost Word is recovered, and it was a serious let-down when I went through the degree. I would have preferred that the Word was never recovered. It would have maintained the same sublime mystery that the true name of God holds, or how the original name for bear instills fear.

And that is what is ironic: that the recovered word, in its etymological history, is in fact a lost word. If you have been through the Royal Arch, good for you. If you have not, do not let anyone try to lure you into another Masonic body just to get “further light,” especially about the recovery of the Word. I will admit, the Royal Arch is a phenomenal degree, and worth being inducted into, but the recovery of the Word should not be why you do it.

Certainly, many have speculated upon why the Substitute Word was chosen. If you know the word, you know how to look it up in Albert Mackey’s Encyclopædia. And if you’ve been through the Royal Arch, you know the explanation given for how the Grand Omnific Word is formed and communicated, which is its own interesting exercise. One curious speculation was given by Henry P. H. Bromwell in his rite of Free and Accepted Architects, wherein he claims that the Grand Omnific Word is a combination of the names given in the Royal Arch, the names of the ruffians, and the syllables of the Substitute Word. These are all speculation, worthy of as much attention as any other conjecture, but they are all interesting because they circle around the same principle: the sublime, that which is alluring in its glory and deadly in its destruction — like Freud’s principle of the Death Drive.

Three divine names. Three murders’ names. Three syllables of God’s name. Three syllables of exclamation in the face of death and rot. Yes, the Substitute Word is a sublime word, meant only to be whispered in fear of its power. And the Grand Omnific Word, meant to only be communicated by three people, and then not all at the same time. And even if there never was a Royal Arch Degree, if there never was a Grand Omnific Word, and there was only ever the Master Mason Degree and the Word was forever lost, then that Lost Word would hold the same terrifying power. We can’t say it, because we were so terrified of saying it that we lost it.

The sacredness of words is immense, and, in fact, can have the opposite effect. I am thinking of the fact that French has way more profanities than English. This is because many words that pertain to the sacred or religion are turned into swear words in French, and it is even worse in Quebec French. There is a fun song in Quebecois called Osti de crisse de tabarnak avec paroles which on a superficial level of translating into English seems like a song about religion and sacred things. Words like saint, crisse (Christ), tabarnak (tabernacle), viarge (Virgin [Mary]), et al, because of their sacred etymology, are easily rendered into profanities. We have specimens like this in English, e.g. “Jesus Christ!” or “goddamn!” Because of how these words are turned into profanities, a whole song is composed of varying forms of the word “fuck” in French profanity. But this has the same effect: these words are so abhorrent that they are taboo to say, like “bear.” It is no different than a word that is so sacred and holy that it is taboo to say it, like the true name of God, than a word that is so sacred and holy that it is disgusting to say it, like “fuck.”

I don’t know how Freemasonry got the whole concept of a Lost Word or how the Grand Omnific Word came to be. Where in the transition from operative to speculative Masonry did these emerge? It really does not matter. What matters is that these words are not unlike a bear: they instill fear in us, and so we forgot what the original name was and had to create a substitute, or we refuse to say it above a whisper, or we cannot say it in the same breath.

A few years ago, a fellow occultist questioned my faith as a Christian and my occult practices. They asked me: “Why should I fear God?” And I responded: “Because you should show some goddamn respect.” Words hold power, and I don’t think we fear the Lost Word, or its substitute, or the Grand Omnific Word enough.


Patrick M. Dey is a Past Master of Nevada Lodge No. 4 in the ghost town of Nevadaville, Colorado, and currently serves as their Secretary, and is also a Past Master of Research Lodge of Colorado. He is a Past High Priest of Keystone Chapter No. 8, Past Illustrious Master of Hiram Council No. 7, Past Commander of Flatirons Commandery No. 7. He currently serves as the Exponent (Suffragan) of Colorado College, SRICF of which he is VIII Grade (Magister). He is the Editor of the Rocky Mountain Mason magazine, serves on the Board of Directors of the Grand Lodge of Colorado’s Library and Museum Association, and is the Deputy Grand Bartender of the Grand Lodge of Colorado (an ad hoc, joke position he is very proud to hold). He holds a Masters of Architecture degree from the University of Colorado, Denver, and works in the field of architecture in Denver, where he resides with wife and son.

Masonic Soylent Green - Part two of a series

by Midnight Freemason Contributor
WB Darin A. Lahners

Disclaimer: Names, characters, places, and incidents either are the product of the author's imagination or are used fictitiously. Any resemblance to actual persons, living or dead, events or locales, is entirely coincidental.

In my last article, I gave a brief summary of the movie, Soylent Green, and how in not requiring background checks for incoming members as well as current membership, we are potentially unsuspectingly eating ourselves, i.e.: in our quest for membership numbers, many Grand Lodges are not requiring lodges to do due diligence in vetting our current or potential membership.  You can find that article here: http://www.midnightfreemasons.org/2024/05/masonic-soylent-green-part-one-of-series.html.

I received some criticism for my hardline stance; so I’d like to reply to it here before I get into my next topic. I fully understand that there are some men currently in the fraternity who have committed felonies and turned their life around. However, if you’ve ever sat through Grand Lodge proceedings, you know that the legislation that passes has to be simple in language and easily enforceable. So while I agree with the sentiment regarding the fact that many men who are felons join and give back to their communities through charitable works, I also must balance that with the idea that ranking past criminal offenses in terms of severity automatically makes any amendment dead on arrival in terms of a vote at Grand Lodge communications. So I would err on the side of caution in regards to any felony. It is easier to write legislation which makes a man ineligible for membership if they have a past felony conviction; and/or expelling former felons in one's jurisdiction.  

Now continuing on with the theme of Masonic Soylent Green, I want to discuss another scenario where Freemasonry feeds upon itself.

A “Masonic” podcast propagates false information relating to Freemasonry, spreading conspiratorial garbage connecting Masonic “knowledge” with an upcoming apocalyptic event, while another “Masonic” podcast spreads an idea that one must be a certain race or religion to become a member.  Podcast one host starts a public feud with podcast host two. Host number one enlists black magic to aid him by placing hexes on host number two because host number one believes that host number two conspired to get host number one suspended for unmasonic behavior. Both hosts are popular and have a strong following. Soon battle lines are drawn and a follower of host two threatens host one’s life and/or the life a host one’s family. Host one retaliates against host two by urging his fans to harm host two; and a deranged fan of host one shoots host two when they are speaking at the fan's mother lodge. Host two dies from his wounds.

Again, while fantastical, I do think that all or some of the above is possible.

In the above case, I think that both hosts are equally wrong in spreading false information in their podcasts.  I have a difficult time with "For Profit" Freemasonry in Social Media.  Don't get me wrong, there's a huge difference between having followers sponsor podcasters or other social media outlets via patreon and those outlets which use their followers as a revenue stream; especially when they are getting followers (and advertisement income) by spreading falsehoods when one of our core tenets is Truth.  

In the above example, both podcast hosts are guilty of spreading blatantly false information.  While I believe in Freedom of Speech; I think in the above scenario, both hosts failed to realize that they are essentially selling Freemasonry as a brand, and as such, they should be held accountable by their Grand Lodges when they are selling a false bill of goods.  Unfortunately, the perpetuation of the myth that the quantity of members matters more than the quality of our membership usually prevails, and if the podcasters in my example are bringing in lots of members; they might be protected by their jurisdictions.   

Let's face it, we live in a society currently where truth is in the eye of the beholder. I can pick any story currently making the rounds in the news media and go to different media outlets and get different versions of the same story which support my bias. Add into the mix conspiracy theories which blur the lines of truth further. Compile this with the large amount of our population who are dealing with undiagnosed mental illness; and it's a recipe for disaster as reflected in how the above scenario plays out.  Gone are the days where Magickal Battles would take place between opposing members in secret societies; and today, violence or threats of violence is unfortunately the answer to disagreements. (https://www.openculture.com/2016/10/aleister-crowley-william-butler-yeats-get-into-an-occult-battle.html).        

Masons aren't going to always agree with each other; which is why we have forums which allow every member a voice and vote in a lodge setting. We also have a tenet of brotherly love; which should allow all Freemasons to respectively disagree with each other when it comes to those topics we forbid discussion of in lodge.  In most dire situations, we have a system of a judiciary resolution in the form of Masonic Trials when the misunderstanding cannot be resolved through the liberal application of the trowel of Brotherly Love.  There should never be any disagreement between brothers which should dissolve into violence between those brothers, which violates one of the clauses of the Master Masons obligation in my jurisdiction.    

It seems that society is siloed to the point where one believes that their beliefs are superior and others beliefs are inferior.  We also must continue to be vigilant to keep these incendiary topics outside of our Fraternity, and we also must be courageous enough to whisper wise counsel when appropriate, especially in cases where the harmony of one's lodge is threatened.  Furthermore, ideas of racial and/or religious superiority have no place in Freemasonry, and if that is something that you truly believe, you should not be a Freemason.  This is also why we must continue to press for Masonic Education in our lodges, so that we can teach the foundation of critical thought, the seven liberal arts and sciences, to all of our membership.


Darin Lahners is a husband, father, and Freemason.