Freemasonry - Connecting It All

by Midnight Freemason Contributor
RWB Robert H. Johnson


Freemasonry--that age old fraternity that conspiracy theorists claim “control everything”. We say, "We don't know anything relating to a ‘World Agenda’". They say, "You're just not high enough in the order." But what if for the first time ever, a Freemason, me, told the truth about how it's possibly all true? I guess, there's just no great way to begin, so I'll just illuminate all of you, right here, right now. In abbreviated form, keep reading for the truth.

In the beginning, man was simple, relating more to the side of primates. In fact, we lived alongside primates of every kind. Life on Earth was a paradise. Not in the sense of paradise like we know it to be, but in the sense of a well maintained eco system of flora and fauna. This was the case of course until the arrival of a sizable force of aliens had arrived.

These aliens did in fact, alter the human DNA while here. Perhaps to make docile workers in order to mine gold for their home world. There were many races, dwarfs, fairy types, giants or nephilim, elves and more. Even the mixed races like satyrs and minotaurs were among the creatures roving the lands. Humanity then revolted after a while, due to a few of the alien overlords giving man certain pieces of knowledge. They learned the truth! The wars that ensued are outlined in Hindu texts. Human kind then evolved and formed high societies. These societies formed huge kingdoms all over the Earth.

Heretofore, I have referred to our planet as Earth, however all of these events I have described, happened before we were Earth. Before we were Earth, we were called Tiamat. It was a monstrous planet and all around it were technologically advanced civilizations, utilizing technologies that would seem foreign to us even now, because they were in fact thousands of years more advanced than our current evolution of humanity.

These cities survive today as the mythical legends of Atlantis, Lemuria, Avalon, Shangri-La, and Camelot. At the apex of these civilizations existence, something truly remarkable and devastating happened. Nibiru, the mythical "Planet-X", a planet the size of our current Earth, and that has a wide elliptical path through our solar system, was identified as having been on a direct collision path with Tiamat.

Tiamat's leaders could do nothing to prevent this. All was lost when Nibiru smashed into Tiamat killing almost all life and eradicating most traces of the mythical lands we read about. Nibiru's trajectory had forever been changed and in fact would never return to it's prior orbit. However this impact created two new bodies known today as Earth and the moon, the only remnant of the once giant paradise, Tiamat. The rest of Tiamat is observable as our very own asteroid belt. Space debris.

Mankind's cellular DNA was spread all over the leftover mass of planet. Fast forward millions of years man develops and evolves yet again and civilizations like the Ancient Egyptians eventually discovered some of the high technology of our previous incarnations. These technologies were developed into teachings, which were so powerful, so life changing, they were only given to the priests and kings. These were the beginnings of the mystery schools. These schools eventually were adopted by many other cultures like the Greeks as the Dionysian rituals and to the Romans in their Mythraic cult which worshipped Sol Invictus.

The gods of old, the legends of Enoch, the legends all around the world of gods or watchers or angels, came to Tiamat and gave us civilization. Whether it was Quetzalcoatl, Kukulkan, Wan Hu, King Arthur, Hiram Abif, Thoth, Hermes Trismegistus or the mythical Jack Burton and David Lopan, they were here.

Freemasonry became the home of this hidden history and this is how we control the world. We practice the teachings discovered by the ancients, handed down to us from the unknown superiors and ....I almost had you. Almost.

-RHJ

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


Hiram at Bat

by Midnight Freemason Contributor
WB Darin A. Lahners

Many of my fellow Midnight Freemasons have no idea that I belong to another secret society. Ok – so it’s not really a ‘secret society’, but I play in a draft simulation league using the Diamond Mind Computer Baseball Game along with 20 other so like – minded individuals. Our league has a ‘Reunion’ each year at our annual draft. Normally, we have at least 7 of us owners get together in person, while the others are in a chat room. We draft players that have made their MLB debut in the past year, or that are on the Free Agent List. I had the number 1 overall pick this past year, and selected NL Rookie of the Year, Cody Bellinger. But enough about my league and team, if you’re really interested in this, you can visit my league at: http://www.midleague.com/. My team is the Spartans in the Yount Division. 

Every February when Pitchers and Catchers report for Spring Training, hope springs eternal for every baseball fan. As a long suffering Cubs Fan, every year was ‘This is the Year!’ for me. Thank the Great Architect that in 2016 my prayers were answered and we won the World Series breaking a 108 year drought. Just think about the number of Master Masons that were raised during that time! But would you believe that there are some more Masonic connections?

When it comes to our National Pastime, there have been many players and executives that have been Freemasons. The list includes: Grover Cleveland Alexander, Ethan Allen, Charles Albert "Chief" Bender, William Benswanger ,Tyrus "Ty" Cobb, Mickey Cochrane, Branch Rickey, Authur "Dazzy" Vance, Denton T. "Cy" Young, Carl Hubbell, Honus Wagner, Alexander Cartwright, Jr., Rogers Hornsby, Mordecai ‘3 Finger’ Brown, John Franklin 'Home Run' Baker, and Edward Trowbridge Collins, Sr., and “Mr. Cub” Ernie Banks, among others. A performer of one of the most famous poems about Baseball: ‘Casey at the Bat’, William DeWolf Hopper, was also a Freemason. Although Abner Doubleday is credited with inventing the game of Baseball, there’s evidence that this is false. Most Baseball Historians actually credit Alexander Cartwright Jr. , a Freemason, with having a role in developing the “Knickerbocker Rules” upon which the modern game rules are based. However, an article in SABR magazine in 2014 call this into question (http://sabr.org/research/creation-alexander-cartwright-myth). Like Freemasonry, it seems that the actual origin of Baseball is mysterious. 

There is no doubt though, that Freemasonry must have had a hand in the creation of Baseball. The baseball diamond itself is a Square. Furthermore, the Square and Compass can be imagined upon the Baseball Diamond. The Square extending down the first base and third base foul lines from home plate , while the compass overlays it being formed by drawing an imaginary line starting at second base extending towards first and third base. The semi-circle of the outfield walls would be drawn with the compass. The “G” resting on the pitcher’s mound.


Furthermore, the way in which the baseball diamond is laid out, evokes the Masonic Lodge. You have bases in the four cardinal directions, East, North, West, South. The lodge is laid out in a similar design, but instead of a square, it is in an oblong rectangle from East to West, between North and South. In fact, you could almost think of the pitcher’s mound being in the same place as the Altar. The field is cut in a checker board pattern, evoking the Mosaic Pavement which reminds us of human life checkered with Good and Evil. At Wrigley Field, home of my beloved Chicago Cubs, you have the Ivy which returns year after year, evoking the memory of the Acacia sprig. Furthermore, there are four stations in the Lodge, The Worshipful Master in the East, The Senior Warden in the West, The Junior Warden in the South and The Tyler. If one considers The Tyler’s duty, to guard the lodge from those that are not initiated, you can see the duty of Catcher as being similar. The Catcher has to guard home plate, to try to keep the other team from scoring.


But there are further allusions. Baseball like Masonry, is a system of ritualistic rules. Like the candidates move from Station to Station during a degree, the runners move from base to base. There are three bases in Baseball around which the player must travel before going home and scoring a run. There are three degrees in Freemasonry that a Candidate must proceed through before becoming a voting member of his home lodge. 

Like in Masonry, numbers play an important role in Baseball. The number 3 and number 9 hold special significance.

According to Mackey’s Encyclopedia of Freemasonry: 
“Everyone is aware of the singular properties of the number nine, which, multiplied by itself or any other number whatever, gives a result whose final sum is always nine, or always divisible by nine. Nine multiplied by each of the ordinary numbers, produces an arithmetical progression, each member whereof, composed of two figures, and presents a remarkable fact; for example:

1 . 2 . 3 . 4 . 5 . 6 . 7 . 8 . 9 . 10
9 . 18 . 27 . 36 . 45 . 54 . 63 . 72 . 81 . 90

The first line of figures gives the regular series, from 1 to 10. The second reproduces this line doubly; first ascending from the first figure of 18, and then returning from the second figure of 81. In Freemasonry, nine derives its value from its being the product of three multiplied into itself, and consequently in Masonic language the number nine is always denoted by the expression three times three. For a similar reason, 27, which is 3 times 9, and 81, which is 9 times 9, are esteemed ax sacred numbers in the advanced Degrees.” Is it any wonder then that baseball rules call for:

· 3 strikes

· 3 outs

· 9 fielding positions

· 9 innings

· 27 outs

· 81 games at home

· 81 games on the road

This might also explain why baseball is so adherent to statistics. In the past 30 years, you have seen a movement towards a study of advanced statistics called SABERMETRICS, which is the application of statistical analysis to baseball records, especially in order to evaluate and compare the performance of individual players. Arithmetic or mathematics, being one of the seven liberal arts and sciences, hold a special place in Freemasonry.

Of course, there’s no direct proof of Freemasonry having influence over America’s past-time. However, there’s a lot of circumstantial evidence. Maybe the next time you watch a baseball game, you’ll look at it in a new light. There can be no denying though, that like Freemasonry, Baseball has spread throughout the world. Like Freemasonry, it brings together men of every race, creed and background. Is there anything more Masonic than that?

~DAL

WB Darin A. Lahners is the Worshipful Master of St. Joseph Lodge No.970 in St. Joseph and a plural member of Ogden Lodge No. 754 (IL), and Homer Lodge No. 199 (IL). He’s a member of the Scottish Rite Valley of Danville, a charter member of the new Illinois Royal Arch Chapter, Admiration Chapter U.D. and is the current Secretary of the Illini High Twelve Club No. 768 in Champaign – Urbana (IL). He is also a member of the Eastern Illinois Council No. 356 Allied Masonic Degrees. When he’s not busy enjoying Masonic fellowship, Darin spends his time as a DM for his children’s D&D campaign, reading, golfing, watching movies and listening to music. You can reach him by email at darin.lahners@gmail.com.

The 50 Year Member - A Menace to Freemasonry

by Midnight Freemason Contributor
WB Bill Hosler


“I SAY THEY ARE A MENACE!” Herb Johnson said as he banged his fork on the dining room table accentuating each word by pounding the table, “THOSE KIDS ARE RUINING THINGS!” With enough force the vibrations knocked over a salt and pepper shaker sitting near him. “See! This is why we can’t have nice things!” Mike Bailey said breaking the tension caused by Herb’s temper tantrum.

“I swear Herbert your screaming about “those kids” makes you sound like a Scooby Doo villain!” The whole table laughed, and everyone turned to look at Pudge who was choking on his beef and noodles through the laughter. Bailey continued “If you don’t calm yourself you are going to give yourself a heart attack.” Herb began to sit quietly and began to spread butter on a piece of white bread quietly while muttering something under his breath.

“I hate to agree with Herb but honestly they have caused me issues.” The building manager Jerry Kelly said “I have found graffiti in the men’s restroom which I’m pretty sure was caused by one of the boys. Someone painted “Demolay” in spray paint on the back wall of the temple. I tell you that was a pain the clean off.”

Jerry continued, “The biggest problem I have is wax. After every meeting there is candle wax all over the lodge room floor from all those candles they use in their rituals. I’ve actually ruined several vacuum cleaners by accidentally sweeping over all that blasted wax!”

“SEE!” Herbert screeched “They are constantly running through the hallways and wrestling in the museum room. They even take the manual freight elevator and leave it on the top floor. Several of us have had to climb all those stairs to get the elevator and bring it down to the ground floor again! Those girls aren’t much better either!” Herb's shrill voice continued to raise in volume and in shrillness: “They are constantly asking the lodge for money for this trip and for that trip. They are always having one fundraiser or another and leaving dirty dishes in the kitchen sink. Do they expect us or the Eastern Star to follow them around and clean up after them? We aren’t their parents.”

“You aren’t anymore Herb, but I can remember when your sons and daughters were involved in the youth groups that meet here.” The 50 year member said while he sat down with his food. “Why, I can remember several members complaining about the same petty things then, as you are complaining about now. Seems to me Herb, I remember you standing up in the middle of the lodge defending those boys when your son Herb Junior was Master Counselor about…. Hmmm twenty five years ago?”

Herb began to breathe quickly as his eyes appeared to grow several sizes larger in his head, sweat ran down his forehead while his hands began to shake. The entire table grew nervous about the old Past Master's medical condition as he began to speak.

“Umm...now John that was a different case entirely back then.” Herb said in a quiet, weak voice. “They were just boys being boys they never meant to cause any harm.”

The Fifty Year member rolled his eyes and shook his head “I’m sure it was completely different Herb.” The old man continued “You knuckleheads really surprise me. You really, really do. Sometimes I think we might as well turn in our charter and turn this building into one of those coffee houses that are popping up around town!”

The men sitting at the table began to squirm in their chairs as the Fifty Year member continued: “Think about it guys. Almost every man in this lodge came to us from Demolay. So many of us in this lodge met our wives when they were young girls serving as members of the Jobs Daughters and Rainbow girls.”

“I can say that the first time I danced with a girl was on the floor of that ballroom next to where we are sitting right now. And it was many years before I was able to attend a high school dance.” Many of the men began to smile as their minds drift back to that same time in their lives. “If you think about it, most of the Demolay boys from that time got married to those cute little Rainbows or Jobies, we became the next generation of Masons in this lodge and they grew up to be Eastern Stars. I will admit we might have lost a couple of generations but, by golly many of these young men are bringing their children to join and I can almost envision the cycle beginning again.”

“Jerry, you mentioned how many problems the kids have caused you in the maintenance of the temple, but let me ask this; How many times have those some young boys and girls helped you by volunteering to work on the building on weekends?” Jerry lowered his head “Quite a few, John. They have helped paint the walls of the lodge rooms and the ball room and helped me strip and reseal all the floors. They have also cleaned out all the junk from the basement and the attic. Actually, they help out a lot. It really saves the building committee a lot of money by not paying out labor.” The old man smiled “How many of our Masons were there on these weekends?” Jerry laughed “Oh, maybe one or two...”. The whole table laughed.

“That’s what I thought,” The old man continued “And I bet I could call the Star’s Worthy Matron and she would tell me the same thing about the number of times the girls have helped them cooking and cleaning and baking cookies for their bake sales. But apparently these children, or as they should be called according to you guys, "Menaces to society" seem like they are a pretty valuable asset to this organization to me.”

“Brethren, you are right. They are a bit unruly at times. But after all they are children they need our guidance to become better men and women. If you stop and think about it guys, that’s why we all are here: To become better men. We just happen to be further down that level of time then they are. They need us for guidance as much as we need them to help perpetuate the membership of this lodge. It’s the perfect circle of Masonry.”

“Jerry, I’m sure if we found some nice brass discs or nice plates we could catch that wax instead of it falling on the floor of the lodge room.” The Fifty Year member said. “I’ll talk to the Chapter’s Dad. I bet we can come up with something.” Jerry replied.

“I don’t know about the rest of you,” Mike Bailey said as he wiped his face with a napkin “But I am going to get me a piece of blackberry pie and a cup of coffee before we open the lodge. Herb, I’m not sure you need any sugar, and you sure don’t need any coffee! You are wound up enough. If we give you any more stimulants you won’t quit talking and we will be in lodge until midnight!” The whole table began to laugh Herb replied with a bit of mischief in his voice, “Mike I can handle pie and coffee better than that belt you are wearing can. It looks like it's going to give way and explode at any moment!” as the table began to laugh even harder.

Pudge stood up and began to walk to the lodge room with the Fifty Year member “Honestly,” Pudge said “I think these guys and their back and forth insults are the circle in Masonry.” The old man laughed “Oh it’s a circle all right but these stooges are more the Imperfect circle instead of the perfect circle.” The old man laughed and said quietly to Pudge, “Funny thing is the joke is on all of them. I took the last piece of pie before I sat down. They are all out of luck.” Both men laughed themselves silly as they walked into the lodge room.

~BH

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.

The Three Apprentices: An Experiment- Chapter One

by Midnight Freemason Contributor
WB Adam Thayer


I recently took the first of my three apprentices. That is probably a bit of an obscure statement to most people, so please allow me to explain.

In the Schaw Statutes, which laid out some basic rules for Operative Masons, and set the groundwork for the transition to Speculative Masonry, there is a rule that is often overlooked, and I have only very rarely heard it discussed. It reads, “No master shall take more than three 'prentices in his lifetime, without the special consent of all the wardens, deacons, and masters of the sheriffdom in which the to-be-received 'prentice resides.”

Of course, in terms of Operative Masonry, this statute makes great logical sense: to protect the reputation and income stream of the order. If anyone could become a stonemason, the supply would quickly exceed the demand, and income for the working masons would quickly drop. Even worse, if someone less than reputable performed shoddy work at an inflated price, all stonemasons would suffer for it; for anyone needing a modern example, consider the auto mechanic. While most mechanics are good, honest people making a living, there are some who use their specialized knowledge to rob from those who don’t know any better, and so in the eyes of the general public (and especially stand up comics), all mechanics are out to “rip us off.”

The Schaw Statutes go on to further lay out some rules for apprenticeships, such as the term (fourteen years total, which may be abridged by a vote of the lodge), how the Master should care for the apprentice (he can’t, for instance, sell him to another Master), and some fines for breaking these rules (40 pounds, or approximately $11,234 in today’s money, if the University of Wyoming can be trusted to calculate the inflation properly). While this information is definitely interesting from a historical perspective, and is worth your time to read over, it doesn’t directly pertain to the topic of this paper and can safely be ignored for now.

Is there a value to following this same guideline today? If you’ve read any of my other papers, you know I don’t ask a rhetorical question like that unless I plan to address it in a way that supports my intention for writing the paper. But first, as is usually my habit, I’m going to go on a long winded rant that will describe the problem in enough detail that even those unfamiliar with the situation can understand why the solution is important.

In my few years of Masonry, I have seen many men get rushed into Masonry, and then, for various reasons, leave again. Some of them went on to be a part of the higher grades of Masonry, such as the various Rites, some were absorbed directly into the Shrine, but many of them just disappeared, never to be heard from again.

Now, I know we’ve all talked about the “membership issue” from many different thought processes (I personally like “we’re not declining, we’re refining”), but this is one angle that I haven’t seen discussed yet: what a WASTE that system is.

It’s a waste of a man who, if given the proper guidance and training, may have been an amazing asset to the lodge. It also means that if he ever does receive what he came to us for (improvement of self through esoteric knowledge), it won’t be from us, and we are supposed to be the experts on the topic!

Equally bad, it’s a waste of our time, and I can’t speak for you, but my time is severely limited. In addition to the time spent on the degrees themselves, there is the time the lodge spends practicing in preparation, and the time each brother spends individually practicing to give the candidate the best degree possible. (At least, I really HOPE you are, and if you need any motivation as to why you should be giving the best degree possible, go read my paper titled “On The Membership Issue or: Why The Troma Rules of Products Doesn’t Apply to Freemasonry”) That time is time that I could use for a dozen other things, like writing papers, or playing with my daughter. I definitely don’t want to waste it on someone who isn’t going to stick around.

“Someone who isn’t going to stick around”... That sentence sounds so much like I’m blaming the candidate for leaving us, but the truth is, it’s very rarely his fault for leaving, it’s almost always our fault for not keeping him. Shame on us.

So, what is the solution?

I truly believe that most men today come to Masonry to receive deeper learning that will help them improve themselves, even if they can’t put it into words, and all throughout the degree process we work directly with them, teaching them some basics, and promising they will learn everything once they have completed their degrees. Once they have finished their degrees, we tell them “Well, you get out of it what you put into it” and then turn our focus to the next candidate. What message does that send our new brothers? “Hey, we got you in, now you’re not important to us any more.”

Some of the smarter lodges will assign a mentor, who will work one-on-one with the candidate during the whole degree process, to help him memorize the ritual work he will have to recite, and even answering the occasional question, if it isn’t too complicated. This man will continue to work with the new brother until after he has completed his Master’s proficiency, but will most likely move on to the next as soon as that is finished.

To paraphrase Andrew Ryan, I reject those answers; instead I choose something different. I choose the impossible. I choose apprenticeship.

It may seem that taking an apprentice isn’t really that different from being a mentor, however there are some key differences. “Apprentice” implies first that he will be learning everything I know to teach him, not just the memory work for his proficiency. Now, I’ll grant that I know only a small portion of everything there is to know Masonically, but it is my hope that in the process of teaching, I’ll also be learning from him, and so we both become better Masons for it!

“Apprentice” also implies a longer process; the Schaw Statute recommends seven years of teaching followed by seven years of practicing before he can move from an apprentice to a fellow of the craft. Unfortunately, I don’t believe our Grand Lodge would be ok with me holding a man as an EA for seven years, and even if they did, I don’t know that I have enough to teach on a single degree for that long. Instead of seven years, let’s decide on “longer than the one month per degree that most men experience.”

Since (per the Schaw Statute) we are limited to three apprentices in a lifetime, I must be significantly pickier about who I choose for this process, as making a mistake in the selection means a large waste of time and resources, and it also means that someone who would benefit more from it is missing out. Note, I do plan to stick to this very strictly, unless (as Schaw later allows for) there is an extremely extenuating circumstance, in which case I will seek guidance from my three apprentices as to how they believe I should proceed. I will be turning to them instead of to all the masters and wardens, because I have no idea how large my sheriffdom is.

Finally, “apprentice” implies a significantly more intimate connection than a mentorship under the current process achieves. It is my hope that by the end of the apprenticeship, his family and my family have become friends, and that he and I are truly like brothers because of our shared experiences studying. In short, I hope that we have become what our founders envisioned us to be.

There are still a lot of unanswered questions, things I’m not quite sure how to tackle, but I’m hoping that once we get started it will become an organic process. I also imagine there will be quite a lot of adjusting course as we go along, so I’m trying to keep my plans flexible. As I said in the title, this is an experiment. Hopefully, the results will inspire some of you to try it as well, and the details of the process will help you avoid some of my pitfalls.

So, as I said at the start, I’ve taken the first of my three apprentices. His name is Neil, and over the next year or so you will get to experience his journey along with him, both through my observations (again, remember this is an experiment), and through his own words. His Entered Apprentice degree is in the very near future, so we will have quite a lot to talk about in the near future!
Until then.

WB Adam Thayer is a grumpy-ish past master of Oliver #38 in Seward, NE and Lancaster #54 in Lincoln, NE. He continues to be reappointed to the Grand Lodge of Nebraska Education Committee, as well as being an occasional host on the Whence Came You Podcast. He may be reached directly at adam@wcypodcast.com or summoned by placing a certain number of lapel pins in a special pattern around a petition for an appendant body.

The Importance Of A Good Reputation

by Midnight Freemasons Founder
Todd E. Creason 33°


“It takes many good deeds to build a good reputation, 
and only one bad one to lose it.”

~Benjamin Franklin

One thing that was pounded into young men in my generation was the importance of building a good reputation.  It’s hard work, because your reputation is the public reflection of your character.  It is what other people see and come to believe about you.  It’s based on what you do.  It’s based on what you say.  It’s based on how you act.  It’s based on how you treat other people, and how you make other people feel.  There are few things more important than reputation when it comes to our success, or our failure as a person. It can take years to build a reputation—it can take mere seconds to destroy it.  It is something we should be very deliberate about building, and very careful about protecting because it is the essence of who we are.  And it’s very difficult to rebuild a reputation after you’ve allowed it to become tarnished.

I don’t deserve the reputation I have. 

I hear that a lot.  It’s very rarely ever true.  You see, you can have a few people in your life that have an unfavorable opinion of you.  Everyone does.  But your reputation is what most people that know you think of you.  If you have a reputation of being opinionated and outspoken, chances are you’re opinionated and outspoken.  If you have a reputation for being undependable, you’re probably undependable.  Sometimes people don’t think that’s fair—but reputation is based on a very sound principle.  It’s based on your past behavior, and any employer or supervisor will tell you that the best predictor of future behavior is past behavior. 

I’m going to to say what I want to say, and do what I want to do, and I don’t really care what other people think. 

I hear that a lot, too.  Sounds very tough and defiant, but actually it’s a childish attitude to have.  That selfish and narcissistic attitude demonstrates a complete lack of care or concern for other people—most specifically those that love you and care about you.  Your reputation reflects on you, sure, but you don’t think it also reflects on your spouse?  On your kids?  Your family?  Your community?  Your church?  Your fraternity?  Your employer?  You’ve never heard anybody say, “she’s a real nice lady, but her husband is a real jerk.”  You’ve never heard somebody say, “I don’t know why he hangs around with that guy—he’d steal the shirt right off your back.”  Of course you have.  Your actions affect everyone around you whether that’s your intention or not. 

Building a solid reputation is hard, because it requires an amazing amount of self discipline.  It requires us to learn from our mistakes and not continue to repeat them—those are the lessons that mature into wisdom eventually.  It requires us to learn when it is important for us to speak, and when it’s better to remain silent.  It requires us to to listen to others, and respect their point of view.  It requires us to admit when we are wrong, and to apologize when it’s appropriate.  It requires us to be truthful and honest in all of our dealings.  It requires us to do the things we say we’re going to do regardless of how difficult the task may be. 

Men of good reputation and solid character used to be more common than they are today.  We don’t teach the value of it anymore.  Our society is so focused inward on ourselves, and our own selfish needs.  We are a society of grown children, fighting and arguing on social media just like children used to fight and argue on the playground.  We’ve never grown up and become men, because we haven’t had the role models.  And just like children, we don’t think about what we’re saying, and we don’t think about what our words and actions are saying about us. 

We’d all be better off if we worked a lot harder at building ourselves as decent human beings rather than focusing so intently on satisfying our own needs.  And those of us who are able should focus on not only modeling those honorable character traits, but teaching others to be men of good character.  Men of good report.  Men of unquestioned reputation.

~TEC

Originally posted on the From Labor To Refreshment blog January 9th, 2018

Todd E. Creason, 33° is the Founder of the Midnight Freemasons blog and is a regular contributor.  He is the award winning author of several books and novels, including the Famous American Freemasons series. He is the author of the From Labor to Refreshment blog.  He is the Worshipful Master of Homer Lodge No. 199 and a Past Master of Ogden Lodge No. 754.  He is a Past Sovereign Master of the Eastern Illinois Council No. 356 Allied Masonic Degrees.  He is a Fellow at the Missouri Lodge of Research. (FMLR) and a charter member of a new Illinois Royal Arch Chapter, Admiration Chapter No. 282.  You can contact him at: webmaster@toddcreason.org

Brother John Wayne On Political Discourse

by Midnight Freemasons Founder
Todd E. Creason, 33°

“This is a good country. With good people in it. Good people don’t always agree with one another. Maybe the best thing we can do in this country is agree to disagree every once in a while.”

~John Wayne
Marion McDaniel Lodge No. 56, Tucson, Arizona 

John Wayne was never shy about expressing his opinions when it came to politics. He was a conservative, and a life-long Republican. He supported candidates that shared his great love of America, and those values that make America great. He was a patriot at heart, and developed friendships with many American Presidents, starting when he campaigned for Eisenhower. Then  Nixon. Ford. Reagan. 

His friendship with Richard Nixon was probably the closest. They exchanged letters frequently, and got together on many occasions. Shortly after Nixon won the election in 1968, the Duke wrote to him and said he better watch himself, because he was thinking about running for President himself. Nixon responded, “Duke is a better title than President!” 

However, even though he was a Republican, he respected every President that was elected by the people and sat in the Oval Office. He sent a telegram to John F. Kennedy after he was elected saying, “Congratulations, sir, from one of the loyal opposition.” He did the same with Lyndon B. Johnson and Jimmy Carter. Jimmy Carter replied to his telegram, “I trust the only area in which we will find ourselves in opposition is that of Party loyalty. I will need your help in the coming years, and hope to have your support.” Carter invited the Duke to Washington, DC to participate in his inauguration ceremonies, and John Wayne accepted. 

When John Wayne died in 1979, it was none other than Jimmy Carter that put what the nation was feeling over the loss of the famous actor into words. He said to the nation, “John Wayne was bigger than life . . . He was a symbol of so many of the qualities that make America great.” 

Somewhere along the way, we have forgotten something that John Wayne understood so well. We are all Americans, and we should always show respect to each other. And we should always put our Country before our politics. 

 ~TEC 

Todd E. Creason, 33° is the Founder of the Midnight Freemasons blog and is a regular contributor.  He is the award winning author of several books and novels, including the Famous American Freemasons series. He is the author of the From Labor to Refreshment blog.  He is the Worshipful Master of Homer Lodge No. 199 and a Past Master of Ogden Lodge No. 754.  He is a Past Sovereign Master of the Eastern Illinois Council No. 356 Allied Masonic Degrees.  He is a Fellow at the Missouri Lodge of Research. (FMLR) and a charter member of a new Illinois Royal Arch Chapter, Admiration Chapter No. 282.  You can contact him at: webmaster@toddcreason.org

The Eagle Challenge

by Midnight Freemason Contributor
WB Darin A. Lahners


I recently had the honor of participating in an Eagle Scout Court of Honor for the son of my Senior Warden at St. Joseph Lodge #970. What made the event even better is that it was held in our lodge room. I have known this young man since he was a cub scout, and it was a personally moving experience for me and others to see him grow to be an outstanding young man, and to achieve this rank. Since its founding in America, The Eagle Scout has been awarded to 2.5+ million men. Only 4 percent of Boy Scouts make it to this rank. Unfortunately, this author is not one of them. I am what is commonly known in Scouting circles as “Life for Life”, meaning I obtained the rank of Life Scout, but did not make Eagle. I am a graduate of the Woodbadge adult leadership program, which is thought of the Adult equivalent of Eagle Scout for Scout Leaders.

Freemasonry and Scouting have a strong relationship. There were several Freemasons in particular that were instrumental in Scouting’s foundation.

Daniel Carter Beard (Founder of the Sons of Daniel Boone, who the Daniel Carter Beard Masonic Scouter Award is named after)

William D. Boyce (Founder of the Boy Scouts of America and the Lone Scouts of America)

Frederick Russel Burnham (The man who inspired Baden-Powell to make scouting)

E. Urner Goodman and Carroll A.Edson (Founders of the Order of the Arrow)

Even though Lord Baden Powell (who was Scouting’s Founder) wasn’t a Freemason, he was a Knight of Grace of the Order of Saint John of Jerusalem. This organization which sprung up from the Knights of Malta, traces its linage back to the Knights Hospitaller of medieval times. They would have fought together with the Templars (and by some accounts against them) during the Crusades and most likely shared esoteric knowledge found during the Crusades. The Knights Hospitaller were established first in 1070 A.D. managing a hospital for sick pilgrims in Jerusalem. The Knights Templar were founded around 1118 A.D., when the Knights Templar were disbanded in 1312 AD, much of the Templars property was given to them. There were also quite a few Templar knights which would have joined the order to escape persecution. One can surmise that some of the rituals and beliefs of the Templars would have influenced them, and would have been passed down through the Knights of Malta. Much like the influence of the Templars upon the Scottish Freemasons is said to have been passed down to us.

It then stands to reason that the influence of the Templars upon both the Order of Saint John of Jerusalem and the Freemasons would be similar philosophies. Lord Baden Powell is said to have stated that he did not join the Freemasons because he didn’t want to offend Roman Catholic scouts, but he seemed to approve of Freemasonry. One could only then assume that Lord Baden Powell used some of the principles that he was taught through being in the Order in laying out Scouting’s philosophy. He was also close friends with Freemason Rudyard Kipling, who had a heavy influence on the formation of the Cub Scouts.

Both Freemasonry and Scouting require a belief in God, but both leave that interpretation up to the individual to define. Both organizations share the principle of service to others. They also share the ideal of self-improvement. Freemasonry and Scouting also share moral values. Fellow Midnight Freemason and Eagle Scout Greg Knott illustrates this with a comparison of the Scout Law to Freemasonry here: http://www.midnightfreemasons.org/2014/11/a-scout-isa-mason-is.html. This is also apparent in the Eagle Scout Challenge that I was given to read during the Court of Honor. It reminded me of the charge to the candidates in the First degree. The Eagle Scout Challenge I read is below:

“The Boy Scouts of all nations constitute one of the most wholesome and significant influences in the world's history. You have been declared worthy of the high rank of Eagle Scout in the Boy Scouts of America. All who know you rejoice in your achievement.

Your position, as you well know, is one of honor and responsibility. You are a marked man. As an Eagle Scout, you are expected to exemplify in your daily life the high principles and values expressed in the Scout Oath and the Scout Law. You have assumed a solemn obligation to do your duty to God, to your country, to your fellow scouts, and to all other human beings. This is a great undertaking which you are now just beginning. As you live up to your obligations you bring honor to yourself and to your brother scouts.

As an Eagle Scout, you will be a champion to other scouts and be an example to your community. Remember, your actions will be more conspicuous. People will expect more of you. It is your responsibility to help maintain the high regard that all Americans have for Eagle Scouts. To falter would bring discredit, not only to you, but to your fellow Eagles. Keep your ideals high and your honor bright.

Your responsibilities, however, go beyond your fellow scouts. They extend to your country and to your God. America has many good things to give you, and to give your children after you; but these good things depend, for the most part, on the quality of her citizens. Our country has had a great past. You can help make the future even greater.

I challenge you to undertake your citizenship with solemn dedication. Be a leader, but lead only toward the best. Lift up every task you do, and every office you hold, with a high level of service to God and to your fellow human beings. Live and serve so that those who know you will be inspired to the highest ideals of life.

I challenge you to be among those who dedicate their hearts and hands to the common good. Build America on the solid foundations of clean living, honest work, unselfish citizenship, and reverence to God. Then, whatever others may do, you will leave behind you a record of which you may be justly proud.”

In Illinois, the charge to the candidate in the first degree deals with using the volume of Sacred Law as a tool to learn the duties the candidate owes to God, his neighbor and himself. It also speaks about what it means to be a good citizen, teaching him to obey the law, be allegiant to his Country, and to not subvert the good order of society. It charges him to practice the domestic and public virtues as an individual. Finally, it reminds him that his behavior reflects on Freemasonry as a whole.

As you can see, Freemasonry and Scouting share many of the same ideals. It stands to reason then why so many Freemasons like myself were once Boy Scouts. You can also see more of Freemasonry’s influence in the ritual for the Order of the Arrow, which is an honor (“secret”?) society of the Boy Scouts of America, but I will save this topic for a future article.

~DAH

WB Darin A. Lahners is the Worshipful Master of St. Joseph Lodge No.970 in St. Joseph and a plural member of Ogden Lodge No. 754 (IL), and Homer Lodge No. 199 (IL). He’s a member of the Scottish Rite Valley of Danville, a charter member of the new Illinois Royal Arch Chapter, Admiration Chapter U.D. and is the current Secretary of the Illini High Twelve Club No. 768 in Champaign – Urbana (IL). He is also a member of the Eastern Illinois Council No. 356 Allied Masonic Degrees. When he’s not busy enjoying Masonic fellowship, Darin spends his time as a DM for his children’s D&D campaign, reading, golfing, watching movies and listening to music. You can reach him by email at darin.lahners@gmail.com.

Are We Looking at Our Own Jedi Moment?

by midnight Freemason Guest Contributor
Kevin Homan, PM


I was lucky this last year that I got the entire week between Christmas and New Year’s off so it was nice to spend the week with my family and not have any work to worry about. On the Tuesday after Christmas we went out and watched Coco as a family. My wife and I both made the mistake of chopping onions towards the end of the movie, and while its a wonderful movie, Coco isn’t the particular movie I’m talking about (but seriously go see it). I am, of course, referencing Star Wars here, as several days later my son and I finally went out and saw The Last Jedi. The movie seems to be polarizing to Star Wars fans, some liking the movie, others not. I happened to very much enjoy the movie, and while no movie is perfect, I found it very enjoyable and feel it really furthered the lore of the Star Wars universe. I also, a day later, found myself thinking about the movie, its relation to the Prequels (more on that shortly), and the relation between Freemasonry and the fictional Jedi Order.

To begin, we go all the way back to the Prequels, a VERY sore subject for darn near 99% of Star Wars fandom (I happen to be in that 99%). However, I do think the prequels do get one thing right: the Jedi Order, and the rise of Emperor Palpatine and Darth Vader. Now, it's easy to see the movies and just say “well, Senator/Chancellor/Emperor Palpatine was so powerful, that along with Anakin Skywalker as the most powerful Jedi, they took over the entire galaxy”. That’s all well and good, but it also ignores that the Jedi Order had Jedi who were just as powerful in the Force as Sheev Palpatine. In the Phantom Menace, when Obi-Wan Kenobi and his Master Qui-Gon Jinn first meet Anakin Skywalker, Qui-Gon instantly can “feel” that Anakin is Force sensitive. Furthermore, mention is made that the Order is able to detect Force sensitive children from birth, so it shouldn’t be too much of a leap to assume that Palpatine at some point should have come across the radar of the Jedi Order, yet he didn’t. Why? Fan theories and even the books have filled in a simple explanation, but the simplest explanation is...the Jedi Order became complacent, and forgot their ways. Their complacency was their downfall, just as it will be Freemasonry’s if we don’t do something about it.

In short, Freemasonry, like any other organization has had its ups, and downs. Our most notable ups would be after World War I, and World War II. With the period after World War II seeing growth in both membership, as well as growth in Masonic buildings. We brought in members, enjoyed lavish buildings and filled our coffers, but largely acted as a men's club and not much else. 

Which brings us to today. Our buildings, which were once opulent, have either been sold or are in need of massively expensive overhauls from years of neglect. Our members are dying off. And year after year, Grand Lodges across the country are losing members in droves instead of adding replacements to keep us alive. What happened? Like the Jedi Order, we became complacent. Lodges deferred Temple repairs and updates at a time when it would have been more affordable and eventually put themselves in a bind, with decreased membership, and income low because dues hadn’t been raised. Lodges either had to sell their property or just let it continue to fester. Lodges that did attempt to raise dues either had a revolt, or the membership outright voted not to increase it. Comfortability in our surroundings led to complacency. We downsized buildings, merged Lodges or just outright closed them altogether. 

The Last Jedi struggles with another theme, that of, "We need a hero." We need a recognizable hero. Initially Rey doesn’t understand this, and the point isn’t hammered home until the very end of the movie (which I won’t spoil here) that it isn’t about Skywalker’s, Solo’s or Akhbar’s. The Last Jedi isn’t about a recognizable name from the past coming out of hiding to save the day. It’s about the future, Rey, and Finn and Poe. The Rebellion (now the Resistance) , the Jedi Order (and the Sith) are now in the hands of Rey, Finn, Poe and Kylo Ren. Luke, Leia and the rest did their job, they saved the day once already, but now it's time for a new generation to step up and do the same. 

This topic is something I see Lodges and Masonic organizations struggling with; We (naturally) focus on our generation, our friend groups and peers, when we should be instead, looking forward. This is not to say we should just ignore our peer group and only look to the younger generations to save us. It will take ALL of us to save us. But the point I’m trying to make is that interest in Freemasonry is out there among the millennial generation and we have millennials among our ranks. We need to cater our message to them to get them to come out in greater numbers. Many Lodges and organizations use Facebook, and to a lesser extent, Twitter, which is great and keeps us quickly on the same page, but these efforts need to go further. We need to make sure we don’t skip a generation; We need to bring in the millennials. And eventually the millennials will be who will is running the show and they will need to figure out how to speak to the generations that follow them.

Freemasonry and its future hinges on what we do next. It hinges on us speaking to the next generation, to let them know it's “their time to lead”. If we can’t do that it may be the end of the Republic.

~KH

WB Kevin Homan was Raised to the Sublime Degree of Master Mason in August of 2007 at Olive Branch Lodge No. 114 in Leesburg, VA., and since then has like many Masons, involved himself in more and more bodies. In addition to being a Past Master of Olive Branch Lodge, Kevin is a member of Potomac Chapter No. 88, RAM, Piedmont Commandery No. 26 and the Alexandria Scottish Rite Bodies. Additionally Bro Kevin is a member of several of the York Rite invitational Bodies. Bro Homan has been married to his wife Hillary for the past ten years and they have three wonderful (mostly) children. When he’s not doing something with his family or the Lodge Kevin enjoys a good glass of Scotch, the occasional cigar and reading a good book in his office, which “smells of leather-bound books and rich mahogany.