The Conversation

by Midnight Freemason Contributor
By Steven L. Harrison, 33°,  FMLR

In 1994, over 30 years after Lyndon Johnson assumed the Presidency and over 20 years after his death, the United States government began releasing tapes of his Presidential phone conversations.  Among the first tapes released were those conversations he had just after the death of President John Kennedy.  

On April 15 of that year, Ted Koppel featured the tapes on his Nightline program.  On it, he conducted a roundtable discussion with Johnson biographer Doris Kearns Goodwin and other Presidential historians and journalists.   

One of the most interesting tapes they listened to was a 20-minute conversation Johnson had with FBI Director J. Edgar Hoover on November 29, 1963, one week after Johnson became President.

On the recording, Johnson and Hoover discuss their thoughts on the formation of a group to investigate the assassination — a committee that almost certainly became the Warren Commission.  Then they turn their attention to the facts of the assassination itself, with Hoover updating Johnson with the latest information known by the FBI.  

Those facts, after only one week of investigation are very close to those we know about today, conspiracy theorists notwithstanding.  They discuss Lee Harvey Oswald's activities the day of the assassination, including his capture in the theater.  "There is no question Oswald is the man," says Hoover, "given the evidence we have."  Johnson asks about any relationship between Oswald and Jack Ruby (Rubinstein).  Hoover says they have discovered none.  He explains Ruby was a "police character" who was well known by the authorities and speculates that is how he got into the prisoner transfer area.  Hoover confides, "Dallas police didn't operate with the highest degree of efficiency."

At the end of the conversation, Hoover recommends Johnson consider a bullet-proof car.   Johnson replies, "I want to take every precaution I can... you're more than the head of the Federal Bureau as far as I'm concerned.  You're my Brother and personal friend and you have been for 25 to 30 years."

Upon hearing that last sentence, Koppel asked the panel, "What did President Johnson  mean when he told Hoover, 'You're my Brother?'"  Not a single panelist had any idea what Johnson was talking about.

But we know, don't we?

Lyndon B. Johnson is rarely included in lists of US Presidents who were Freemasons; however, he was, in fact, initiated an Entered Apprentice on October 30, 1937, in Johnson City Lodge #561, at Johnson City, Texas.  He never went beyond the First Degree.  

J. Edgar Hoover, on the other hand, was a 33° Scottish Rite Mason, a York Rite Mason, a member of  Federal Lodge  #1, Washington, DC and a charter member of  Justice Lodge #46 in Maryland.

Lyndon B. Johnson and J. Edgar Hoover were Masonic Brothers; and President Johnson acknowledged it in that historic conversation.


Bro. Steve Harrison, 33°, is Past Master of Liberty Lodge #31, Liberty, Missouri. He is the editor of the Missouri Freemason magazine, author of the book Freemasonry Crosses the Mississippi, a Fellow of the Missouri Lodge of Research and also its Worshipful Master. He is a dual member of Kearney Lodge #311, St. Joseph Missouri Valley of the Scottish Rite, Liberty York Rite, Moila Shrine and a member and Past Dean of the DeMolay Legion of Honor. Brother Harrison is a regular contributor to the Midnight Freemasons blog as well as several other Masonic publications. His latest book, Freemasons: Tales From the Craft, will be released later this year.

Cheap Brotherhood

rebuttal to "Have We Cheapened Our Fraternity?" By: R.W Mohamad Yatim; Living Stones Magazine, October 2014

by Midnight Freemason Contributor
Bro. Aaron Gardner, 32°, MPS

There was an article in Living Stones magazine this past October that asked a very interesting question. Have we cheapened our Fraternity? The article goes through an entire spiel of what initiation fees and dues cost in various lodges during different time periods.  Right Worshipful Brother Yatim insists his article is not a call to increase dues. However, it is a call to brothers who are able to reach into their pockets and help provide more than what the dues are capable. I am in agreement with RW Brother Yatim that the Fraternity is much more than showing up and paying yearly dues at an ultra low price. It is a requirement for a lodge to effectively manage their budget. I have even written about a lodge budget myself for the Midnight Freemasons. 

I however, cannot get over the fact that he seemingly attacked lodges that typically cater toward the Blue Collar workers. Most of these men show up to their lodges with out suit and tie. They have a suit and tie ready for the one instance they may use them in the year, however, the usual attire for a brother in these lodges are jeans and a button up.  Honestly, some of these brothers show up in work clothes. He further asks if we are supposed to portray the “Cream of the Crop”, the first class citizens of our society are within this Fraternity, how would visitors or a potential candidate see our Fraternity with these individuals in the lodge?  I believe the real question is: Are we making judgments on a brother who works hard all day, comes to lodge before seeing his family and dedicates the only time he has to the Craft; to better his community, his friends, family and himself? 

Have we really cheapened the Fraternity to the point of worrying more about the money than the cause? My brothers, Freemasonry is having a hard time finding the funds to support our many programs. It could be because our retention is low, our dues are lower than what our ancestors paid based of their salary, or, it could be because we continue to live in the glory days. Honestly, I believe it is a combination of it all.  What should we do in order to fix it? Brothers, there are books upon books, articles and podcasts dedicated to fixing our problems as a Fraternity. Our problem is not JUST that we don’t charge enough, it’s not JUST our retention numbers, and it’s not JUST that we are living in the old days. Brothers,  it is that we won’t do anything about it. Our Grand Lodges have pushed out plan after plan, strangling some jurisdictions control. Some Grand Lodges have issued a “Big Government” ideology that tells the lodge verbatim what they will and will not do.

 Is it a control thing? Is possible, but I don’t think it started out as such. I believe the Grand Lodges that are issuing out these laws, originally had no choice because our subordinate lodges failed to do what they were supposed to.  Some were too lazy to keep up with their own bylaws, adopting the “Grand Lodge Basic”.  I have even seen lodges give up their individual rights to vote in Grand Lodge to the Worshipful Master of the Lodge.  It wasn’t because the Worshipful Master was the only vote that mattered in Grand Lodge, it was simply because the members of the Lodge didn’t want to stay in session to hear the issues being brought forth to Grand Lodge. It is not “at the will of the Worshipful Master”. The Worshipful Master’s vote represents the majority of his Lodge.

Brothers, we can point the finger and say what and who is to blame, but that will never solve the issue. It has been expressed and debated multiple times in various forums the reasons we are in this predicament of decline.  It is time to stop talking about it, and do something about it. In my presentation “Man in the Mirror” I ask the commonly referred joke “How many Master Masons does it take to change a light bulb?”  Usually you hear the answers from the crowd, “Three” or “I don’t know…” It’s not a trick question. The answer is One. All it takes is a Master Mason to see the problem, address it and fix it. It all starts with that man in the mirror, The Change you want to see. 

Allow the individual Lodges to determine what is best for their lodge and community. If it means the lodge turns to Tuxedos and higher dues, as long as it works for that lodge to stay alive. If the lodge is mostly blue collar, there is nothing wrong with a brother wearing jeans and a polo to regular scheduled meetings. We are the cream of the crop, brethren. It isn’t about how we look on the outside, but how we conduct business on the inside. From the inside we can change our image, which will change the world. We, my brethren,  are the ones that must step up and say what is right for our lodge. With our participation and discussion with each other inside lodge, we can determine what is right, what is wrong, what works and what doesn’t. Once we do that, retention will not be the issue, appearance will not be the issue, the dues will not be the issue and we will soon realize the glory days are not behind us, but, right in front. 


Bro. Aaron Gardner, an American Soldier who just recently transitioned into the Reserves after 8 years serving the Active Duty Army. He dedicates the majority of his free time to Freemasonry with his constant studies, writing and traveling from lodge to lodge to learn as much as he can regarding Freemasonry. He likes to relate his everyday life to the Craft and anything he finds he wants to spread to the world. It is his passion to study people, religion, history and Freemasonry. When he isn't working as a Soldier he is dedicating his time to the amazing and supportive Emily, writing about Freemasonry and writing his very own novel. His blog page is Celestial Brotherhood.

Why OES?

by Midnight Freemason Guest Contributor
Bro. Daniel Gentry

So, why join the Order of the Eastern Star? I cannot tell you how many times I hear this question. The funny part for me is the excuses, but that is because not only am I educated with OES, I am a member. Though if someone told you they did not want to join because their wife does not want to join, your first thought would be the same as mine, “I am Sorry Brother/Companion Master Mason, it is a shame that your wife does not want to join OES.” Now I am not a Mason that has looked to join the lateral degrees, I am not a Squire in the York Rite nor am I a Kilt Maker Monk in Scottish Rite, or whatever, but I am a member (and currently the Associate Patron) of Millburn Chapter #570 of the Order of the Eastern Star, so let me talk about what I know.

Ok so obvious answer to the burning question, why I have I not “furthered” my learning in Masonry by joining one of the “Rite’s”? The answer is two (actually three) parts.  First, I believe that the highest degree one can achieve is the 3rd Degree.  Second, I believe that there is much wisdom in the Blue Lodge, so much so that I am committed to learn everything I can before expanding my knowledge.  Of course lastly, I promised some very wise Brethren I would not rush into anything, but take my time at each pass.  So the next obvious question is, why would I have all those reasons but still join the Order of the Eastern Star, and this one is an easy answer, because I took an Oath, as all other Brethren did, and this fulfills my Oath.
Now, the Order of the Eastern Star was founded in the mid 1800’s, and its actual reason for existing is, much like Freemasonry, shrouded in secrecy.  Some believe that it was the first attempt for the French Freemasons of the time to have a Female Freemasonry or Androgynous Degrees, for men and woman to be able to have some ritual.  This is my theory, and I am not the most intelligent guy, just ask my wife, but here it is nonetheless.  I believe that the Order of the Eastern Star was created, using the evidence that for one to join they either need to be a Master Mason, or the female relative, or step relative, of a Master Mason.  So logically, don’t tell my wife I said that, she won’t stop laughing, we can conclude that the reason for the existence of the Order of the Eastern Star is to have all the female relatives in an organization where, if God forbid, anything happened to our Brother, we would have the family where we could still talk with them.  Thus, fulfilling our Oaths, as well as a deeper bond with our Brothers as well.
Now, what if your wife, daughter, sister, etc…does not want to join OES? Easy. Join and support them anyway.  You see, it is not just for your family, it is for everyone else’s.  Plus let’s be honest, you do not know about it enough to tell them about it.  It is true though, that if you were doing something, even partially Masonic, that your lady would probably get serious enough to join.  It would help the rest of us to get to know your family, and become part of their family as well.  What is more worth while than our families as well as them being connected to our Oaths?  Do we not have time? I know that my Chapter only meets once a month.  Is it the monetary value and lack of funds?  I only pay a $15 dues fee.  Is it the fact that your significant other does not join? I already answered this one.  In fact, I have a few reasons outside of all this that might change your mind, actually just one really important part.  Most of these women love to cook and bake, top that with the grilling and cooking sensations that we as Masons have, and BOOM! 
Seriously though, if you put on another endeavor besides your Blue Lodge, I recommend you look into joining the Order of the Eastern Star before any other.  If we don’t support them, how can they grow?  How can we say that we lived our Oaths fully?  How can anything else be more important than the small amount of time this will take?


Brother Daniel “Doc” Gentry, is a Brother Freemason from Antioch Sequoit Lodge #827, in the 1st NE District of Illinois. He is an active Brother and researcher on Masonic Subjects as well as serving as the Associate Patron in Chapter #570, Order of the Eastern Star, Millburn Illinois

A Little Rascal's Tragedy

by Midnight Freemasons Contributor
Bro. Steven L. Harrison, 33°, FMLR

One of the episodes in the Our Gang series tells the tale of the young cowlick-bedecked Alfalfa attempting to shed his reputation as a common crooner and become a great opera star.  He visits an opera company where the impresario is so inspired he immediately signs Alfalfa to a contract effective 20 years hence.   At the appointed time two decades later, the intrepid divo makes his operatic debut and the audience, predictably, boos him off the stage.  It's all downhill from there for our hero, whose adult life just doesn't turn out the way he expected.  The episode ends happily as Alfalfa wakes from his dream, sees the error of his ways and returns to his calling as a popular, albeit off-key, crooner.

In many ways the episode is a foreshadowing of the real life of the actor, Carl "Alfalfa" Switzer, whose meteoric rise to fame as a child preceded a tragic adulthood.

Hal Roach created the Our Gang comedies in 1921 after watching a group of kids do what kids do best.  They were playing in his yard.  Originally made as silent films the series grew in popularity as Roach added sound in the 1930s.  MGM re-released the episodes in the mid 1950s as The Little Rascals.

In 1935, Carl's parents took him and his older brother Harold to visit the Hal Roach Studios in Los Angeles.  The purpose of the trip was nothing less than to turn Carl and Harold into child stars; and it worked.  Carl and Harold parked themselves in front of the crowd at the studio's cafĂ© and began performing.   Roach saw them and signed them on the spot. 

Carl... Alfalfa, as he was known in the series... quickly overshadowed Harold and became one of the top stars along with regulars Darla Hood and George "Spanky" McFarland.  He was enormously popular with viewers but was just as unpopular with the child actors and filming crew.  

Alfalfa was a prankster and the biggest bully of the gang.  During filming he would intentionally step on other kids feet or stick them with a nail he carried in his pocket.  On one occasion a cameraman became frustrated with Carl as he muffed his lines and told him to, "get it right so we can go to lunch."  After the cameraman left, Alfalfa gave each of the kids a stick of gum and collected it back from them after they were done chewing it.  Then he took the enormous wad and stuck it into the gears of the camera.  That afternoon, the kids went home while the cameraman tried to save his machine.

One day director George Sidney became so frustrated with Alfalfa's antics he pulled him aside and told him, "Come and see me when you grow up so I can beat the crap out of you."

In 1940, Roach booted 13-year old Alfalfa from the series for being too old.  He had been earning about $750 a week — a fortune in the depression era — and supporting his family.  Suddenly it all ended and, like most child stars, he did not make a successful transition into acting as an adult.

While continuing to struggle in his acting career, he became an outdoorsman and hunting guide.  In 1958, he borrowed a hunting dog from a man named Bud Stiltz.  He lost the dog when it ran after a bear on a hunting trip, and he offered a reward for the dog's return.  When a man brought the dog back to him, Alfalfa was so grateful he paid the reward and bought the man several drinks.  Later, he decided Stiltz should be responsible for the money he spent on the dog's return.  On January 21, 1959, Carl went to him and demanded $50.  Stiltz refused to pay.  They argued and fought.  Finally, Alfalfa drew a knife and went after him.  Stiltz ran, got a gun and killed the 31-year old former child star.  A jury subsequently acquitted Stiltz of any wrongdoing.

Along the way, there was a bright spot in Carl's short and tragic life.  In his work as a hunting guide, he crossed paths with cowboy superstar Roy Rogers, a 33° Mason and member of Hollywood Lodge 355.  Roy tried to help Carl's faltering career by giving him parts in several of his shows.  He also encouraged Carl to join the Freemasons, which he did.

Brother Carl was buried in Hollywood Forever cemetery, a resting place for many of Hollywood's greatest.  His tombstone bears symbols of the better parts of his otherwise tough life: It reads "Carl 'Alfalfa' Switzer" and is adorned by a carving of a hunting dog (not "Pete" from the Our Gang series, as some think), and two square and compasses flank the top.  Interestingly, the cemetery sits on the grounds of what once was Southland Lodge 617, and the original Lodge building is still standing.

Alfalfa and other child actors from the series proved being a child star wasn't as glamorous as it might have seemed.  About half of them, Carl included, did not live to see 40.  Even Carl's brother Harold committed suicide at age 42.  Today, the Little Rascals are all gone; every one of them.  Many, Carl chief among them, never had that second chance Alfalfa got when he woke from his operatic nightmare.


Bro. Steve Harrison, 33°, is Past Master of Liberty Lodge #31, Liberty, Missouri. He is the editor of the Missouri Freemason magazine, author of the book Freemasonry Crosses the Mississippi, a Fellow of the Missouri Lodge of Research and also its Worshipful Master. He is a dual member of Kearney Lodge #311, St. Joseph Missouri Valley of the Scottish Rite, Liberty York Rite, Moila Shrine and a member and Past Dean of the DeMolay Legion of Honor. Brother Harrison is a regular contributor to the Midnight Freemasons blog as well as several other Masonic publications. His latest book, Freemasons: Tales From the Craft, will be released later this year.

A New Podcast...With a Twist!

by Midnight Freemason Contributor
Bill Hosler, PM

We all have  ideas running around inside our head.  Some we see come to fruition others simply fade

Since I was a small boy I have been listening to old time radio shows. My parents, who had me later in their lives, grew up during the Great Depression. They would run home from school in the afternoon and after their chores were done would gather around the family radio and listen to the radio shows  that magically came through the air into that small speaker on a radio that was then more like furniture than the radios we know of today.

Mom and Dad would mention listening to radio shows like “Inner Sanctum” with the creaking door sound effect at the beginning or comedies like “Lum and Abner” and “Fibber McGee and Molly”. They would often laugh recalling their favorite moments of these old shows. Each of them even told of their memories going back to that faithful Sunday morning in December in 1941 when the world first heard about the attack on Pearl Harbor. They told about the grim looks on their parents faces as they gathered around that radio.

One day my parents came upon several cassettes of these old shows for sale in the gift shop of the Auburn, Cord, Duesenberg Museum they took us to in a town near where I grew up. I recall their excitement and bought several of them. On the way home Dad popped one into the cassette deck of our new Ford Pinto. Having a cassette deck in a car with stereo speakers was a big deal in those days. On the way home we listened to several episodes of these great shows. I was hooked.

For most of us that grew up in the age of television the idea of listening to a story instead of watching it unfold before us on a screen is a bit strange but radio, in my opinion,  expands your mind. Instead of passively watching a show you must concentrate on the story being told by the actors. You also create the pictures you are listening to in your mind. It's like a play being performed inside your head and your mind provides the stage.

Over the years I have enjoyed listening to many of these old shows. They take me back to a time I have always loved but wasn't privileged enough to live through. I  have owned many cassettes of these shows over the years. Over time the cassettes were upgraded to CDs and now to digital files.  I have even discovered several apps for my iPhone in which I can listen to the shows.  The delivery might be different but the ageless writing of those shows and the performances by great actors assisted by sound effects still sound as classic and timeless as they were when they were produced. 

Several months ago Brother Robert Johnson played an episode of one of these old shows entitled “Quiet Please” recorded in 1948 on his Masonic podcast “Whence came you?” the show was filled with lots of Masonic symbolism and this episode of Quiet Please even shared the name of Robert's podcast.  Like many of Robert's listeners I listened to the segments of the show over the next couple of weeks. It was great fun listening while I sat at the dog park watching my dog Happy run and play. 

About a month ago I got a call from Robert one afternoon. I could tell by the sound of his voice he was excited. Robert explained that several Brothers loved that episode of Quiet Please so much they wanted more. He wanted to produce a Masonic Radio podcast that sounded like an old time radio show from the 1930's. It would have sound effects and be recorded in such a way that it would sound authentic to the era. The show would even have real commercials for real Masonic products recorded like it was part of the original show.   

Robert told me “I think with your ability to write Masonic fiction you would be perfect to write the script.” I told him I would write it but in my head I wasn't sure if I could pull it off. How could I write something that even came close to the quality of one of those old programs?

I thought the first step would be come up with a name for the show. I thought “Masonic Radio Theatre” sounded like it would have come from that era. Although it was a bit generic it would make a great working title.

Luckily a thought for the story came into my head and I produced a rough draft, about halfway completed, and emailed to Robert.  He loved it so much he started casting the parts and it was announced on several Masonic news outlets. I knew I had better finish it. I also created a Facebook page for the project. 

 During the golden age of radio a script would be written and performed by actors, usually in front of a live audience either broadcast live or “transcribed” onto a 16 rpm long play record and played later at a local radio station. Many of the surviving radio shows we still enjoy today come from these records.

The production of the episodes of the Masonic Radio Theatre would boggle the minds of the makers of the golden age radio programs. Our first episode, The Craftsman, was written by me here in Texas. The finished script was sent via email to Robert in Chicago who distributed it to the various players.

Each player recorded their various parts on their personal computers, without hearing the dialogue of the others and emailed the voice files back to Robert from Illinois, the files came from; Texas, Minnesota, Michigan, Virginia and various other places. Robert mixes them all together, along with the music and sound effects. 

After what seemed like an eternity I woke up one morning and over night Robert had emailed the finished product to me. I quickly downloaded it to my phone and I listened to the episode while I was in the car. I must have had a smile on my face while I was driving down the road. 

I don't want people to think I'm bragging but I was blown away with what we had created. I couldn't believe how well the show turned out!  Later that day we posted the show on iTunes for the general public. 

I was honestly taken aback by the reception the project has received by the public.  The Facebook started receiving hundreds of “likes”. Brother John Paul Gomez of Fraternal ties created a beautiful logo for the project.  The response to the project has taken on a life of it's own. 

Originally we planned to offer episodes during the "Whence Came You?" podcast but the response has been so positive it has been decided this will become its very own podcast. Given the enormity of the production process I envision that there will be several longer episodes on occasion but many shorter episodes in between them.  We have also added several more ways to listen to the show. Masonic Radio Theatre can now also be listened to on Sticher radio and the Tunein radio app as well as on it's own website

Since the release of “The Craftsman” production has been started on several more episodes. Including our next episode “A new lodge is born” a radio adaptation of one of the “Old Tyler Talks” by Brother Claude Claudy. I think it should be a great success. I want to personally thank all of our fans and supporters and all the actors who helped make this happen!


WB Bill Hosler was made a Master Mason in 2002 in Three Rivers Lodge #733 in Indiana. He served as Worshipful Master in 2007 and became a member of the internet committee for Indiana's Grand Lodge. Bill is currently a member of Roff Lodge No. 169 in Roff Oklahoma and Lebanon Lodge No. 837 in Frisco,Texas. Bill is also a member of the Valley of Fort Wayne Ancient Accepted Scottish Rite in Indiana. A typical active Freemason, Bill also served as the High Priest of Fort Wayne's Chapter of the York Rite No. 19 and was commander of of the Fort Wayne Commandery No. 4 of the Knight Templar. During all this he also served as the webmaster and magazine editor for the Mizpah Shrine in Fort Wayne Indiana.

Grudge-match: TV Versus The Lodge

by Midnight Freemason Guest Contributor
Bro. Tech

Lodges are interesting things. They can do anything or they can do nothing. It is upon the members to proactively and willfully engage in activities to better the communities in which the lodge resides. I have heard it said that Monday Night Football (or more generally, television) killed the Lodge. I know of folks who, during football season, are never found in lodge. Even in the age of Tivo, watching a game live is somehow more important than Lodge. I can't hold it against them, as it is upon each person to place the importance of Lodge in their own lives. We might each have our opinions, and may be able to justify them well, but in the end it is upon each person to make their own choices.

But I provide a different angle. While we might, all too often, get upset or annoyed with people who place television on a higher level than attending Lodge and engaging with the brethren. Perhaps it isn't as much their fault as we might think. Sure, they could assign more value to Freemasonry to the point that they show up and record the game (Though not a sports fan, that's what I do to shows I enjoy that come on Monday evenings). However, what are we, as a lodge, providing to gain and hold that value judgment? Who are we to offer a dwindling and degraded product and demand they prefer it because of some things said in a ritual years or decades ago? Lodges have largely gone from being a vital and integral part of the community, with great and important fellowship, to arguing about bills twice a month after eating a rather dull thrown-together-at-the-last-moment meal (In fairness, the brother who cooks at my lodge does a wonderful job, probably the best I eat all week).

My point is, who are we to complain about a lack of attendance when what we provide is of immensely little value? We are to build one another up and give support while we develop ourselves into what God wants us to be, yet too often we complain about what to do with money and shoot down any ideas that involve helping in the community, bowing before the stereotypical cranky past master.

It is one thing to complain about problems, but another to provide a solution. Put another way: Simple people whine, leaders solve. Here is my solution: Be the fix. In the cartoon-movie Robots, a common theme was “See a need, fill a need.” Be the solution to the problems you find. Are people not coming to your lodge? Engage them directly, but not in an accusatory way, to find out why. What is missing from the Lodge experience that they sought? What would it take for them to come back? Then, when you have compiled your list of what is missing (I would wager you find the same 5-10 items repeated), find a way to make them happen. Then make sure these brothers know that it is happening. At that point, if they return you have made a great work better. If they do not, then they were being dishonest and their lack of involvement is upon them, not you. You won't help everyone, but that is never cause to not help anyone.


Brother Tech is the author of A Christian's Perspective on Masonic Symbols: The Square and Compasses. He is an active member in the craft, loves motorcycles and prefers to remain anonymous.


The Lord's Prayer: Benjamin Franklin's Version

by Midnight Freemasons Contributor
Todd E. Creason, 33°

Many of the things that Benjamin Franklin dabbled in during his lifetime weren't known until many years after his death.  One of these interesting exercises he undertook was writing a new and more concise version of the Lord's Prayer.  This unusual manuscript was found by Jared Sparks as he putting some of Franklin's papers in order so they could be published, and it was originally published his book Works of Benjamin Franklin in 1847. 

Sparks was unable to ascertain when Franklin had created the manuscript, but determined that it was consistent with some of Franklin's early writings.  And of course, in Franklin's meticulous way, he not only rewrote the Lord's Prayer, but explained line by line why he thought the changes should be made.  The following are copied from that manuscript:

"Heavenly Father, may all revere thee, and become thy dutiful Children and faithful Subjects; may thy Laws be obeyed on Earth as perfectly as they are in Heaven: Provide for us this Day as thou hast hitherto daily done: Forgive us our Trespasses, and enable us likewise to forgive those that offend us. Keep us out of Temptation, and deliver us from Evil."

Reasons for the Change of Expression

Old Version: Our Father which art in Heaven

New Version: Heavenly Father, is more concise, equally expressive, and better modern English.

Old Version: Hallowed be thy Name. This seems to relate to an Observance among the Jews not to pronounce the proper or peculiar Name of God, they deeming it a Profanation so to do. We have in our Language noproper Name for God; the Word God being a common or general Name, expressing all chief Objects of Worship, true or false. The Word hallowed is almost obsolete: People now have but an imperfect Conception of the Meaning of the Petition. It is therefore proposed to change the Expression.

New Version: May all revere thee.

Old Version. Thy Kingdom come. This Petition seems suited to the then Condition of the Jewish Nation. Originally their State was a Theocracy: God was their King. Dissatisfied with that kind of Government, they desired a visible earthly King in the manner of the Nations round them. They had such King's accordingly; but their Happiness was not increas'd by the Change, and they had reason to wish and pray for a Return of the Theocracy, or Government of God. Christians in these Times have other Ideas when they speak of the Kingdom of God, such as are perhaps more adequately express'd by New Verson: And become thy dutiful Children and faithful Subjects.

Old Version: Thy Will be done on Earth as it is in Heaven More explicitly, New Version: May thy Laws be obeyed on Earth as perfectly as they are in Heaven.

Old Version: Give us this Day our daily Bread. Give us what is ours, seems to put in a Claim of Right, and to contain too little of the grateful Acknowledgment and Sense of Dependance that becomes Creatures who live on the daily Bounty of their Creator. Therefore it is changed to New Version: Provide for us this Day, as thou hast hitherto daily done.

Old Version: Forgive us our Debts as we forgive our Debtors. Matthew. Forgive us our Sins, for we also forgive every one that is indebted to us. Luke. Offerings were due to God on many Occasions by the Jewish Law, which when People could not pay, or had forgotten as Debtors are apt to do, it was proper to pray that those Debts might be forgiven. Our Liturgy uses neither the Debtors of Matthew, nor the indebted of Luke, but instead of them speaks of those that trespass against us. Perhaps the Considering it as a Christian Duty to forgive Debtors, was by the Compilers thought an inconvenient Idea in a trading Nation. There seems however something presumptious in this Mode of Expression, which has the Air of proposing ourselves as an Example of Goodness fit for God to imitate. We hope you will at least be as good as we are; you see we forgive one another, and therefore we pray that you would forgive us. Some have considered it in another Sense, Forgive us as we forgive others; i.e. If we do not forgive others we pray that thou wouldst not forgive us. But this being a kind of conditional Imprecation against ourselves, seems improper in such a Prayer; and therefore it may be better to say humbly and modestly New Version: Forgive us our Trespasses, and enable us likewise to forgive those that offend us. This instead of assuming that we have already in and of ourselves the Grace of Forgiveness, acknowledges our Dependance on God, the Fountain of Mercy, for any Share we may have of it, praying that he would communicate of it to us.

Old Version: And lead us not into Temptation. The Jews had a Notion, that God sometimes tempted, or directed or permitted the Tempting of People. Thus it was said he tempted Pharaoh; directed Satan to tempt Job; and a false Prophet to tempt Ahab, &c. Under this Persuasion it was natural for them to pray that he would not put them to such severe Trials. We now suppose that Temptation, so far as it is supernatural, comes from the Devil only; and this Petition continued, conveys a Suspicion which in our present Conceptions seems unworthy of God, Therefore might be altered to New Version: Keep us out of Temptation."

[End of Franklin's Text]

Nobody really knows what Franklin's motives were in writing this manuscript--perhaps it was merely to entertain himself.  There will be those that will dislike the idea that Franklin even considered altering such an important and revered part of the New Testament.  But there will be others that will respect the fact that Franklin obviously had a deep reverence for the Holy Bible, and an extraordinary understanding of Theology to even undertake such an exercise and justify the changes he made.

It's just another example of the remarkable and diverse mind of one of America's most celebrated Founding Fathers.


Todd E. Creason, 33° is the Founder of the Midnight Freemasons blog and continues to be a regular contributor. He is the author of several books and novels, including the Famous American Freemasons series. He is a Past Master of Ogden Lodge No. 754 (IL), and currently serves as Secretary.  He's also a member of Homer Lodge No. 199.  He is a member the Scottish Rite Valley of Danville, the York Rite Bodies of Champaign/Urbana (IL), the Ansar Shrine (IL), Eastern Illinois Council No. 356 Allied Masonic Degrees, Charter President of the Illini High Twelve in Champaign-Urbana (IL), and a Fellow of the Missouri Lodge of Research.  He was recently awarded the 2014 Illinois Secretary of the Year Award by the Illinois Masonic Secretaries Association.  You can contact him at:

What is a Masonic Symposium?

by Midnight Freemason Contributor
WB Gregory J. Knott

WB Steve Harrison presents
One of the most exciting developments in Freemasonry of late is the growing amount of lodges, research societies and others that are hosting a Masonic Symposium. But what exactly is a Masonic Symposium?

The Greeks seem to be the origin of the symposium “The Greek symposium was a male aristocratic activity, a tightly choreographed social gathering where men drank together, conversed, and enjoyed themselves in a convivial atmosphere. Bedecked in garlands, participants reclined—one or two to a couch—in a room designed to hold seven to fifteen couches with cushions and low tables.”

I was privileged to recently attend a symposium hosted jointly by The Masonic Society and The Philalethes Society. The event was held at the Valley of Chicago Scottish Rite Cathedral in Bloomingdale, Illinois.

An all-star line-up of presenters was on tap for the day. Leading off was The Midnight Freemasons very own WB Steve Harrison who gave an amazing talk on “The Mystery of Oak Island: Masonic Connections to a Real National Treasure Site”. Brother Harrison was followed by WB Shawn Eyer whose presentation was entitled “The Role of Song and Music in Traditional Freemasonry”. Many of you know may know Brother Eyer with his role as Director of Communications at the George Washington Masonic National Memorial and as Editor of The Philalethes Journal.

Returning after lunch, WB Mark Robbins gave his talk, “Freemasonry and Law Enforcement: Compatible or Conflicting?” that delved into some of the laws that have been passed over the years in the United Kingdom, trying to force members of the judiciary and law enforcement to register if they were Freemasons.

Next was WB Alton Rountree, who is Editor of The Phylaxis Society magazine. Brother Rountree focused his remarks on how to conduct quality masonic research “Masonic Historical Research and Presentation: Intricate and Acceptance”.

We finished up the evening with a fine dinner and an excellent presentation by WB Andrew Hammer, whose talk “Observing the Craft: The pursuit of excellence in Masonic Labour and Observance”, who has also published a very popular book by the same title.

I believe it is extremely encouraging to see so many of these events popping up across the country. It is starting resurgence of interest in masonic research. Has your lodge considered hosting such an event? You could start simple, by even having just one speaker. Masonic education should be a part of every lodge meeting, even if it is simple as reading the Masonic Short Talk Bulletin that is sent to every lodge by the Masonic Service Association.

Who knows, perhaps sometime you will see “The Midnight Freemasons Symposium” coming to a town near you.

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.

Letting Go of the Self

by Midnight Freemason Guest Contributor
Bro. Tech

I am not a very social creature. I am an introvert, a self-described hermit. I work, I go to Lodge, I take care of family and I ride my motorcycle (with the VAST majority of my miles being alone, how I tend to prefer). I have never been a person for parties or group outings, instead preferring a few close friends or just time alone to recharge. If I had my way, a cave with a refrigerator and wifi would be my ideal. However, life is not about me, it is about He who sent me and His plans for my life. And so it is with you.

Man is, by nature, an egocentric creature. We start out in life with ourselves as our only focus. This can be justified, perhaps, by our total dependence on another for all aspects of our life. What other recourse do we have but to be focused on ourselves when we are so incapable of providing for ourselves?

On a physiological level, a newborn is mentally unprepared to have a concept outside of their perspective. As we develop, we begin to first understand that objects can exist outside of our direct sight. Later we learn that sounds associate with thoughts and these objects gain names. As we grow further, we begin to learn about intangible concepts. In adulthood, we learn what abstract concepts like justice and love truly mean.

As we grow to completion, in terms of our mental development anyway, we ought to find ourselves letting go of the egocentric creature within us. Instead, however, we find ourselves clinging to that same self-centered perspective.

As I look at the rough ashlar, I see the self – the ego-driven and selfish man. It is not rough and irregularly shaped because there was no plan for its development. The Creator's plan was evident and in existence long before every stone was formed. It is rough and irregularly shaped because of Ego. The egocentric nature in us wants to shape our lives by what gives us pleasure, or what we want in that moment. Every moment of our lives, we work on our ashlar. We build and shape ourselves into what we will eventually become. When we are our own guide, we will never find ourselves matching the true plan and purpose for us. It is only when we let go of the self, and put God in charge in our lives, that we begin to shape ourselves by God's plan. By that Holy Plan, we become part of something larger than ourselves, and fit that role perfectly. That is our Perfect Ashlar.


Brother Tech
is the author of A Christian's Perspective on Masonic Symbols: The Square and Compasses. He is an active member in the craft, loves motorcycles and prefers to remain anonymous.

How Far Would You Go?

by Midnight Freemason Contributor
Bro. Brian Schimian

Recently, a question was posed on social media that went a little something like this:

What is the definition of a True Brother? Would you die to protect your brother? Would you give all your life savings to help a brother in need, no matter what it is, without judging him?”

Okay, it was exactly like that, I copied & pasted it directly from the page…

Any-who… I fired of a fast and simple reply: "Yes."

Then a question was posed in regard to the Oath’s of years past that would have been more in-line with the Knight’s Templar’s and other Knights from back in the day.

That got me thinking… and I wrote a bit more thought out reply:

I have taken several oaths in the civil service ring. I never one swore to die for the brothers & sisters with me on the line, but I would have. Came close a few times. I still wonder why I didn't some times. I certainly bled enough for them.

But nobody ever questioned each other's resolve to die for anyone of us.

I take my obligations more series than some, I suppose.

Every time I knelt at the altar in any of the degrees (DeMolay through York Rite), I reaffirmed what was in my heart, what I am willing to give for my Brother's and the Craft, when I kissed the Volume of Sacred Law. I don't expect the same from those that came before or after me. It is different for everyone. What I can tell you, even with the little traveling I have done, I am not disappointed in what I have found.

I have been around "this thing of ours" since I was 8 years old. It is a part of me in every way. Everything good in my life is associated in some way with Freemasonry. It even saved my life. By virtue of the people I have met and the Family that I have been given thru Freemasonry, I would die for the Craft. That is how much it means to me. That is what is in my heart.

The Obligation doesn't make the Man... The Man makes the Obligation.

We all come to the Craft seeking different things. Some blindly with no expectations, only questions. What I can say, what I have seen, the wages I have received and paid out when traveling, is that Freemasonry without a doubt, pays back ten-fold what you put into it.

I am reminded of Bro. Benjamin Franklin’s words:

Masonic Labor Is Purely A Labor Of Love
He who seeks to draw wages in gold or silver will be disappointed.
The wages of a mason are earned and paid in their dealings with one another:
Sympathy Begets Sympathy…
Kindness Begets Kindness…
Helpfulness Begets Helpfulness…


Bro. Brian Schimian is Life of Member A.O. Fay #676 in Highland Park Illinois and the Medinah Shriners - Lake County Shrine Club. He was also the Past Master Counselor of DeMolay - Lakes Chapter in 1995. Most recently, Brian became a Companion of the York Rite, joining Waukegan Chapter #41 R.A.M. Brian is a father of two children. "Start Square, Finish Level"

Something New In Freemasonry

by Midnight Freemason Guest Contributor
Bro. Adam Thayer

When I was originally asked to write an education piece, I thought “What could I possibly have to say that hasn’t already been written hundreds of times before? What could I bring here that is both new and interesting, without veering too far into my own opinions?” So, in that interest, in this post, we’re going to discuss something new in Freemasonry.

Since I became involved in Masonry, I have heard countless brothers state “There is nothing new in Freemasonry.” Even our Most Excellent King Solomon did once bemoan “Is there anything of which one may say ‘See this! It is new!’ Already it has existed for ages which were before us. That which has been is that which will be again, and that which has been done is that which will be done again, and there is nothing new under the sun!” You can hear his frustration, and you can almost picture him throwing his head back, arm over his head in agony.

The concept of brotherly love is not new, as it was first written on the hearts of men. Our teachings of morality are not new, they trace back even to the time of man’s creation. Even our working tools, the very implements of Masonry, are not new; they existed even before King Solomon’s time. In this instance, at least, we have intentionally disconnected from the modern world, which uses jackhammers, lasers, and computers, instead of chisels, squares, and trestle boards. For right or wrong, we have chosen to lock ourselves out of the progress made in operative masonry.

There is an old joke that says “How many Freemasons does it take to change a light bulb? CHANGE??? Who said anything about change?

Of course, like all things in Masonry, this resistance to the new isn’t actually new.

In the March 19th, 1892 issue of The Freemason, it was written: “We ought to be afraid of anything said to be new – for a new thing is untried. The old principles of morality taught in Masonry are tried and safe.” To better understand the fear expressed, you need to know a bit about that world’s view on Freemasonry, and more specifically the Catholic Church’s view. Pope Leo the 13th was attempting to introduce new concepts into Catholicism, while continuing to fight against Freemasonry. In a statement titled “Inimica Vis”, or quite literally “On Freemasonry”, he states “In the presence of such audacious evils, it is not sufficient merely to be aware of the wiles of this vile sect: we must also wage war against it…” He goes on to say “For those who seek salvation there can be no middle ground between laborious struggle and destruction.” Is it any wonder, in view of this, that we were so vocal about maintaining the traditions which have carried us through the ages?

Going back even farther, to the August 17th, 1878 issue of The Freemason’s Chronicle: “There is nothing new. The earth is not new – it is as old as creation. Man is not new – he is as old as Adam. God is not new, but the same yesterday, today, and forever. History repeats itself, men repeat themselves, and thus there is nothing new under the sun. Freemasonry certainly is not new. The law of brotherhood has been written on the hearts of the elect at least ever since King Solomon’s time. All of this is true, and yet…

AND YET. Two tiny words with such a powerful statement.

We know that at least as far back as 1878, there was written discussion about there being nothing new in Masonry. Even this discussion we’re having, about there being nothing new in Masonry, is not new to modern day Masons, but a repeat of discussions that have been going on since the time of King Solomon.

And Yet.

The Freemason’s Chronicle goes on to say “And yet everything is new. Every child born into the world is a new creation. It is in many respects unlike all of its progenitors. Every soul is a new soul. It leads a new life on this earth, and death will only introduce it to a new life in the world to come. Every day is new, every year is new, all time is in succession new, and eternity will be the sublimest novelty of all.

To that, I would add something perhaps more directly relevant to our modern craft, and something that most of us forget as time goes on. To the new Entered Apprentice Mason, all of this is new. Every word of the ritual work, all of our teachings, is still novel to these new brothers. To them, every degree is a new adventure, each lodge meeting forms new connections, and the thought of a conference where they can discuss Masonry with hundreds of brothers from across the state excites their imaginations!

How we present ourselves and our fraternity will be what creates in them either a passion for the craft, or a lack of regard for it. If our newest brothers think we are bored with the art of Masonry, we have lost them before they’ve even had a chance to learn.

Chris Hodapp says it better than any Mason I’ve ever met. “The most important lodge meeting in a Mason’s career is the fourth one – the next meeting after his Master Mason degree. That’s the meeting he’ll measure the entire fraternity by, and the meeting he determines whether his lodge lives by the precepts they taught him in his degrees. Lodges are closing every day because they don’t understand why no one wants suspicious meat sandwiches and generic pop, or furniture from the Coolidge administration that stinks and should be cleaned and then burned, with two hour meetings that consist of reading the minutes to tell them nothing happened last month either, followed by guys stabbing each other in the back as they argue in the parking lot. No one has to come back to next month’s meeting. If CSI reruns are more interesting than lodge then shame on us.

We tell our newly made Entered Apprentices that they have been placed in the Northeast corner to receive the foundation of their Masonic edifice, but what we fail to tell them is that THEY are the foundation upon which we are building the future of speculative Masonry.

Any architect worth his salt will tell you that the entire weight of a building rests upon its foundation, and no matter how well designed the building is, a bad foundation will lead to the destruction of the entire structure.

Early religious writers understood this, and incorporated the foundation allegory into their writings. Matthew tells a parable of two builders, one who wisely built his house on a solid rock foundation, the other who foolishly built his on sand. When the calamities and ills of life afflicted each builder, only he with the solid foundation was able to withstand the devastation.

In Freemasonry, as in so many other things, our foundation is built upon future generations. Every new man who is brought to light is a small part of the foundation upon which the Great Architect will erect his structure. Are we building on rock? Or on sand? Are we selecting the best and the brightest men to build our foundation on? Or are we accepting anyone with a pulse, a checkbook, and a shifting interest?

Perhaps more importantly, are we providing them the tools they need to improve themselves so that they may be better fitted for the builders use? Are we investing time in our Entered Apprentices to encourage a love of our craft, and a desire for more knowledge? Or are we simply handing them the minimum they will need to get by, and leaving them to their own devices?

Our candidates are the greatest investment we will ever find; every hour we spend with them will return, as interest payments, countless hours of service to the craft. If you had access to an investment that guaranteed a 400 or 500% return for life, wouldn’t you want to put every dollar you had into it? Why don’t we look at our candidates the same way?

We are poised on the brink of a Masonic explosion, even if most of us don’t understand it, or even realize it. Public interest in our fraternity is growing every day. Dan Brown’s The Lost Symbol is “a six hundred and fifty page love letter to the fraternity,” and the upcoming movie promises to be the same. Countless television shows and documentaries are cashing in on “exposing” us, and almost all of them end with the same message: these are a great group of guys, and if you’re interested in learning more about them you should consider joining. Barely a week goes by that we aren’t featured on The History Channel, and the public is seeing us less through the eyes of crackpot conspiracy theorists, and more through the lens of researched facts and history.

At the same time, men of all generations are once again searching for social organizations for both internal growth and fellowship. The Baby Boomers are beginning to retire, and are searching for something fulfilling to spend their newfound free time on. Generation X has started to settle down in their lives, and is looking to form a connection to their grandparents, and see a fraternity such as ours as being the perfect way to do this. Millennials, having spent a large part of their lives in virtual worlds forming virtual connections, are feeling the pull to form a real and lasting bond.

While each of these generations is searching for us in a different way, they are all searching, eagerly, and we need to be prepared to fulfill what they are searching for. The days of pushing large groups of men through one day degrees, followed by a day and a half Scottish Rite reunion combined with the Shrine Ceremonial are over. Today’s Mason is looking for an individual experience, and is willing to invest the time it takes to receive it.

We haven’t held such a prime position to see a large amount of Masonic growth since World War 2, and I doubt we’ll be in this situation again in any of our lifetimes.

If I were to create the perfect recipe for growth in our institution, I would start with a base of men who were highly motivated to join a social organization. I would then mix in a heavy pinch of community awareness; enough to peak curiosity, but not so much that all of our mysteries were well known and advertised. Finally, I would add in a sufficient number of knowledgeable and caring Freemasons to mentor these men as they come in.

The good news is that those pieces which are outside of our control have all lined up for us: the community knows about us, and wants to be involved. Even better is that the only piece that wasn’t handed to us on a silver platter is within our control: we need our existing Masons to care enough to do more than just the minimum for the candidates. How exciting is that?

We stand at a crossroads, and what we do now will echo down through history. We can choose to continue business as usual; regardless of what we do, we’re going to see substantial growth. However, if we do this, in another forty to fifty years we’ll be struggling with a declining membership again, and praying for another period of growth. On the other hand, we can choose to go a different route, working one on one with our candidates, teaching them everything we’ve learned, and using them to inspire future candidates. It will mean more labor on our part, and since each candidate will require more individual time, it will mean less time to bring in a large number of candidates.

Of course, I’m not telling you anything new, because, as we’ve discussed, there is nothing new in Masonry. Men much smarter than me realized everything I’m telling you a few years ago, and started creating traditional observance lodges. The fact that it takes their candidates months, if not a year or more, to advance through the degrees shows that they’ve already realized the importance of quality over quantity, and are willing to invest in it.

I would urge each of you to remember the importance of every new candidate, and challenge you to find new ways to reach them, because who knows? They may be the one to discover the next new thing in Freemasonry.


Bro. Adam Thayer is the Senior Deacon of Lancaster Lodge No 54 in Lincoln (NE) and the Senior Warden of Oliver Lodge No. 38 in Seward (NE). He’s a member of the Scottish Rite, and the Knights of Saint Andrew. Adam serves on the Education Committee of the Grand Lodge of Nebraska. You can contact him at

Something to Think About

by Midnight Freemason Guest Contributor
WB Ken Baril

Today, our cherished order faces a critical junction in our glorious history. Simply put, our fraternity faces the frightening prospect of declining membership and a general apathy among many of its members.

It will be necessary for all of us in the Masonic order throughout the United States to do some serious soul searching and thinking to prevent this sad prospect from continuing into the future.

Every organization and every type of organization in this nation face the same dual problems, apathy among its present members and the inability to draw in and retain new ones. This epidemic starts with child and youth activities, religious groups, civic organizations, veteran groups, and others. No further proof of such decline is needed than to speak with some hard working Cub Scout leader, CYO worker or a Commander of a veteran post, to see that this malaise is nationwide.

What the Masonic fraternity should consider doing would involve a widespread plan to attempt to re-establish the moral values upon which this great nation was founded and prospered so well. The Masonic fraternity is facing a morally and ethically corrupt society, a society that will not and cannot respond to traditional approaches, because it simply no longer feels the Masonic fraternity (or any other organization today) is a part of its' “moral character.” In short, Freemasonry must attempt in its own way and fashioned after Masonic concepts, to help in the re-birth of those values that have been lost. A nation that loses its values has relinquished its heritage, and will surely forfeit the future. This is where the crux of the matter lies. We are faced on all sides with a decline in personal honesty and integrity, with religious, business, government and educational corruption and moral bankruptcy on the part of the American people. Our society is torn with problems involving alcohol and drug abuse, violent crimes and depravity, sexual promiscuity and more degradation to an extent many of us could not have imagined just a few short years ago. All we have to do is turn on our television or log onto our computer and the immoral world around us comes flooding into our homes. We see a generation growing up being bombarded with images of immorality and inhumanity that make the sins described in Dante’s Inferno pale by comparison. It seems as if we have lost our moral fiber and character. Who of us, in our wildest dreams, would ever think that the time would come when mothers giving their four-year old child marijuana to smoke is some sort of "normal"?

In responding in our own way to such problems, in attempting to help re-establish the values we cherish, should be the Masonic mission of the next quarter century.
The task ahead, if such is pursued, will entail hard work and complex planning, but any attempt at less is a band-aid approach to the problems we now face. We all like to think that our Masonic philosophy is a bulwark of morality, a way to live with our fellow man, be he Mason or not, in peace, harmony and brotherly love. How better to reflect such a philosophy than to engage in a noble enterprise such as this? Our fraternity would not face such a drastic decline as we experience today if society reflected those values it held so long ago.

The answer lies in a collective attempt to restore cherished values across this land. What more glorious mission could the Masonic order engage upon now? Time is running out and we have within our grasp an opportunity to help in the restoration of traditional American values. If such an attempt is made and fails, we may still take pride in the attempt, but if such an effort results in other groups and individuals taking up the challenge, wonderful!

This is the path to Masonic survival, and probably too, the survival of the values and country we all love.

WB Ken Baril was born in New Haven, CT. and moved to the Cincinnati area in 1999. He is a three time Master of his lodge, Temple Lodge No. 16. AF & AM, 1982-1983-1995, located in Cheshire, CT. While living in Connecticut and prior to his moving to Cincinnati, Ohio, Ken has been the featured speaker at many public schools and Veterans organizations. Ken is a published author who has written a book focusing on members of the Masonic Fraternity who have been recipients of our nation’s highest award for bravery, the prestigious Medal of Honor called "The Medal of Honor - The Letter G in Valor". Ken has dedicated his time and effort to researching and developing various programs including, “The Medal of Honor Program,” “The Immortal Four Chaplains,” as well as many others. His programs are dedicated to the preservation of an important portion of American history, contributions, and sacrifices, in the defense of the United States, and to the memory of all those who have given their lives in the pursuit of that objective. He also writes articles for various Masonic publications. He served his country during the Korean War in the United States Air Force. He currently resides in Hudson, FL. with his wife, Marion.