by Midnight Freemasons Contributor
Todd E. Creason
Three years ago today, on April 15th, 2012, the Midnight Freemasons Blog was born--or perhaps I should say re-born. So on this special anniversary I thought I'd tell you how this all got started. I've stayed pretty quiet over the last three years, but I'm going to do a little bragging about the Midnight Freemasons now--so get ready.
|Midnight Freemasons at Illinois Grand Lodge 2013|
This blog began at some point in 2007 as my personal blog. It was a place to dump the leftover research material from my books and articles. I posted three times a week on the same schedule the Midnight Freemasons use today--Monday, Wednesday, and Friday. I got a pretty good following. It had a couple different names early on, before I settled on The Midnight Freemason.
There has been a lot of conjecture about the deep Masonic meaning behind that name "The Midnight Freemason." To be honest, I've just let people think it has a deeply rooted symbolic meaning. It's been three years however--perhaps it's time to tell you what that name really means. So here's the truth. It has no deep Masonic meaning. It simply alludes to the fact I do most of my writing late at night, and after finishing that writing well after midnight, I often answer emails, and return text messages--one person texted me back one evening at nearly one in the morning and said he always knows it's me when he gets a text that late because I am . . . the Midnight Freemason! I liked the name immediately, and changed the title of the blog that very minute. It's been The Midnight Freemason(s) ever since.
|Midnight Freemasons with Author Christopher Hodapp|
But after five years, I was running out of research leftovers. I had to start researching original pieces for the blog. It got to be too much for me to keep up, but as I said, I had a pretty good following--too good to let it go. So as Masons do, I called on a few Brothers (and a Sister) to help me. The idea was simple--to put together a group with different perspectives and experiences within our Fraternity and let them write on the topic of Freemasonry. I wanted to get a Blue Lodge guy, a Shriner, a York Rite guy, a Scottish Rite guy, etc. And I wanted a woman's perspective as well, because as any active Freemason will tell you, women play a vital role in our "all male" Fraternity. The original five were all close friends of mine.
|Midnight Freemasons Creason, Schimian, and Knott at Ogden Lodge No. 754|
The original Midnight Freemasons (plural) were Greg Knott, Robert Johnson, Michael Shirley, Judy Gordon, and Scott Niccum. Soon after, James Frey and Steve Harrison joined our little group of writers--also friends of mine. But it was Greg Knott that launched us with the first Midnight Freemasons piece on this day three years ago with RMS Titanic: The Amazing Story of Brother Oscar Woody. Two things were obvious right from the beginning: 1.) We had hit on something really remarkable, and our hit count increased almost daily, and 2.) it was actually more work for me to manage a contributor site than it was to write three pieces a week myself--too much work for me to manage and write books. I sent out a dire email not long after we began, saying unless somebody wanted to take it over, I was afraid we'd have to let it go. I figured when I sent that email, it was done. DOA.
|Midnight Freemasons Creason, Knott and Shirley at Eastern Illinois University|
But to my amazement, Robert Johnson raised his hand and said he'd take it. He's been the Managing Editor ever since. He's taken this blog places I could have never taken it. And our family has grown--we are now twelve. Robert has added a few more Midnight Freemasons to our group--Brian Schimian, Bill Hosler, Aaron Gardner, Robert Walk, Jason Richards, and most recently, Adam Thayer. And over the last three years we've had a host of "guest contributors" who have posted articles on the Midnight Freemasons that add even more voices to the mix and more perspectives on the Fraternity.
In three short years, you'll find our pieces reposted on blogs everywhere. You can hardly Google a topic relating to Freemasonry and not have one of our pieces come up in the search. You'll find us in Lodge newsletters, mirrored on the Scottish Rite Southern Jurisdiction "Mason's Only" forum, and we've even been featured in the Working Tools Masonic Magazine. We've had pieces translated and reposted in several different languages--we have a very open sharing policy (just give us proper credit). And I'm sure Robert Johnson would agree, the best part of this blog are the emails we receive from men all over the United States (and a couple other countries) who have been reading our blog and have decided they want to join our Fraternity. I couldn't begin to guess how many candidates Robert and I have put into contact with Grand Lodge Secretaries over the last few years.
|Managing Editor Robert Johnson|
And something else unexpected has happened as well--all by itself. The Midnight Freemasons have become a family. We don't all live in the same place, or see each other often, but we get together and write joint pieces together often through the wonders of the information age--bouncing articles back and forth through email. I've written pieces with several of the Midnight Freemasons (most often Michael Shirley and Greg Knott), and the other Midnight Freemasons have gotten together and done the same thing. Very often those pieces we write together from differing perspectives are the best ones--two heads are always better than one.
Of all the things I've had the opportunity to do in Freemasonry, the Midnight Freemasons is one of the most remarkable. Greg Knott and I took a trip to Washington D.C. to attend Mason Week. I met Masons from all over, and was absolutely astounded how many of the Masons I met knew the Midnight Freemasons well. And I think we're just at the very beginning of the Midnight Freemasons journey.
|Midnight Freemasons Todd E. Creason and Scott Niccum (2011)|
My bio on here says I'm the Founder of this group. But you may note that when I post a piece I do so only as a "Midnight Freemasons Contributor." I'd love to take credit for this whole thing, but as I told you, this blog really got started through the act of me deciding to let it go. The Midnight Freemasons made this thing happen with Robert Johnson at the helm. They weren't about to let it go. It was that original group of six or eight that decided with or without me they were going to see where this bizarre experiment in writing lead. I'm glad I hung around--it's been one of the most amazing examples of teamwork I've ever seen.
|Midnight Freemasons Knott, Gordon and Creason at York Rite Grand Chapter (2014)|
One thing I've learned over the decade since I first petitioned a Lodge of Freemasons--you don't get anywhere alone. It is together as a group, focused on the same goal that we accomplish the most.
And of course we owe the biggest thanks to our readers. Without your support we wouldn't be doing this--and we have a mix of both Masons and non-Masons. We write knowing we're not in a tyled lodge and our topics reflect that--we write "for Masons and those interested in the topic of Freemasonry" just like our banner says. Contact us. Let us know what you like and what you don't like. Comment when we get it right, and when we get it wrong. Is there a topic you'd like us to cover that we haven't? Let us know--this is a group here that loves to tackle meaningful topics. And if you're reading us because you're fascinated by the topic of Freemasonry and wondering how you might take that interest to the next level, read our tab "How Do I Become A Freemason." Or better yet, email me or any one of the Midnight Freemasons and we'll put you in contact with a Masonic Lodge in your area, or a Grand Lodge Secretary in your jurisdiction.
|Knott, Richards, and Creason at Mason Week, Reston, VA (2015)|
So this is thanks to the Midnight Freemasons and their remarkable editor Robert Johnson for their hard work over the last three years, and to our readers who have made us so successful.
Thank you all, and Happy 3rd Anniversary to the Midnight Freemasons!
Todd E. Creason, 33° is the Founder of the Midnight Freemasons blog and continues to be a regular contributor. He is also the author of the From Labor to Refreshment
blog, where he posts on a regular schedule on topics relating to
Freemasonry. 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, and is 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: email@example.com
|Midnight Freemasons Michael Shirley and Judy Gordon|
I've decided I need to take a few days off work just to read through all the past posts, the RMS Titanic one linked above was gold!ReplyDelete
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