Masonic Book Reviews sent by Tony Pope to the Masonic Leadership Center, March 11 and 13, 1999
Book: Albert Pike: The Man Beyond the Monument
ALBERT PIKE: THE MAN BEYOND THE MONUMENT
Jim Tresner is editor of the Oklahoma Mason, author of Masonic and other works, book reviewer of the Southern Jurisdiction's Scottish Rite Journal, and a life-long admirer of Albert Pike. For those who only know Pike through Morals and Dogma, this will introduce at least an outline of the whole, complex man: musician, teacher, frontiersman and pioneer, journalist, soldier, jurist, philosopher and poet. For those who have not read Morals and Dogma, and 'know' Pike only through quotations and misquotations of that work, it will truly be an eye-opener.
Tresner portrays Pike mainly by quotations from Pike's own writings, interspersed with comments from Tresner and others, and illustrated by many black and white photographs, engravings and prints. The picture may not be complete, because Tresner does not seek to refute all the accusations of Pike's many detractors. There is no mention, for example, of the allegations that he held high office in the Klu Klux Klan and wrote their ritual, or of the claim that he said he would leave Freemasonry if Negroes were permitted to join, and yet supplied Masonic ritual to Prince Hall Masons. But perhaps the whole truth could not be discovered by a single researcher, or contained in a single book.
Pike is not easy reading, and probably not of great appeal to the majority of students outside North America, but for those who have a need, or a desire, to learn more of the man, Jim Tresner makes the task easier. This book is worth a space on the library shelf.
Book: ANZMRC Proceedings 1994
Proceedings, Australian Masonic Research Council, Biennial Meeting and Conference, 1994. Edited by Tony Pope. Williamstown, Victoria, Australia; Australian Masonic Research Council. 1994. Pp. 88.
There are thirteen research lodges and Masonic study groups in Australia, and in 1992 the Australian Masonic Research Council was formed, to act as a liaison body between them. Every two years the Council plans to hold a conference, at which students can present the results of their researches. Here are the proceedings of the second such conference, with five of the papers that were delivered at it. In the first one, Ian Sykes asks 'Where do I come from?' and suggests that some portions of Masonic philosophy are ultimately derived from the ancient Middle Eastern religions, Zoroastrianism and Mithraism. Brian Palmer investigates 'Our Purpose', and argues strongly that Masonry cannot survive unless it adopts an objective that will attract members, and that this objective must be Universal Benevolence. Kent Henderson, in 'Back to the Future: A prescription for Masonic Renewal', discusses the background which led to the formation of Lodge Epicurean, a high quality lodge that has annual dues roughly equivalent to the average weekly wage (about $365), and that endeavors to keep its members occupied, with flawless ritual and educational programs. Brian Burton talks briefly about 'Freemasonry among Australian prisoners of war'. The longest paper is 'Our Segregated Brethren, Prince Hall Freemasons' by Tony Pope; it is an extraordinary performance, bringing together a tremendous amount of information about a problem that does not really exist in Australia, and discussing in detail certain early documents that are not always cited in this connection. There is, for example, a photocopy of the original by-laws of African Lodge, handwritten by Prince Hall himself, and dated 1779.
This booklet was published primarily for the convenience of those who attended the Conference of the AMRC. But if you are interested in learning more, it might be worth getting in touch with the Australian Masonic Research Council, P.O. Box 332, Williamstown 3016, Victoria, Australia.
Book: ANZMRC Proceedings 1996
The Australian Masonic Research Council was founded in 1992, to provide a convenient
means of communication among the various research bodies there, and to coordinate any
jointly sponsored activities that might seem desirable. Several years ago its members
included 11 research lodges and two study circles in Australia, and among its associates
were a research lodge in South Africa, and two research chapters in Australia. Every two
years it holds a conference. Here are the Proceedings for 1996. They include the six
Kellerman Lectures, which are named for Bro Maurice H (Harry) Kellerman, PDGM for New
Murray Yaxley, in his article 'Grand Lodge Recognition and Some Contemporary Issues', deals with recent events that are associated with interjurisdictional relations-such matters as Masonry in newly established countries, schisms in existing bodies, and the Prince Hall Affiliation. He outlines the principles followed by Grand Lodges in extending 'recognition' and relates them to the current discussions.
Peter Verrall, a retired architect, tells us about 'The Five Noble Orders of Architecture'-their history, proportions, and distribution, all illuminated by definitions and diagrams. He outlines their history in Freemasonry, where the two great pillars go back to 1410, and the five noble orders to 1723.
The other papers are a bit less linear in their development, and tend to regard similarities as evidence for connection or identity. In some rituals the 47th proposition of the First Book of Euclid is called 'one of the most important discoveries of the learned brother Pythagoras' and we have allusions to the Pythagorean system. Keith Hollingsworth argues that 'Freemasonry is Closer to Pythagoras than Moderns Accept'. It turns out this early philosopher had a strong influence on both the church and Freemasonry. He finds Pythagoreanism even in the New Testament, in the writings of St Paul.
Graham Murray, in 'Possible Jewish Antecedents of Freemasonry', notes that the Temple of Solomon stands at the centre of Masonry. This provides the occasion for a review of the Jewish scriptures, and the way in which they were transmitted through the Christian cathedral builders to speculative Freemasonry.
Arthur Page, a retired astronomer from the University of Queensland, discusses 'Cosmographic Origins of Some Speculative Masonic Symbolisms'. He notes the relationship of the 12 zodiacal signs to the 12 tribes of Israel, and suggests the importance of the Kabala in transmitting some of these ideas to Masonry.
Masonic research seems to be flourishing in Australia. If you would like to learn more, it might be worth writing to the address given above.
Book: Coil's Masonic Encyclopedia
COIL'S MASONIC ENCYCLOPEDIA Henry William Coil, revised by Allen E Roberts, Macoy Publishing & Masonic Supply Co, Richmond, Virginia, 1996. ISBN 0 88053 054 5, hard cover, 734 + xxii pp, publisher's price US $69.50; review copy from Southern California Research Lodge, Box 6587, Buena Park, CA 90622, USA; US $55.60 + overseas postage US $7.
The original 1961 encyclopedia has been updated by the late Allen Roberts, who says in
Random sampling of entries substantially supports this assertion. Sure, there are a couple of typos (what else could 'Arthur Edward Waite (1957-1942)' be?), a few small factual errors (for examples, see entries for Tasmania, South Australia, Western Australia and Queensland, under the general heading 'Australasia'), and some omissions in the revision (no mention of the Grand Lodge of India, let alone its rebel offspring), but no more than is inevitable in a work of this magnitude.
It does contain a few surprises. It is astonishing that Prince Hall Freemasonry (listed under the general heading of 'Black Freemasonry') should contain (a) the popular version of Prince Hall's initiation with no indication that the 'facts' are neither proven nor undisputed and (b) the assertion that the United Grand Lodge of England erased African Lodge No 459/390 EC [in 1814] without mention that this has been denied by the English Board of General Purposes in its November 1994 report. To the reviser's credit, the article gives a full and substantially correct list of 'Black Grand Lodges other than Prince Hall'.
France receives an entry of 12 pages, with a balanced summary of its complex Masonic history and a surprisingly liberal attitude towards the question of regularity of French Masonic bodies other than the French National Grand Lodge (GLNF). Indeed, in places it is difficult to distinguish between the views of Allen Roberts, FPS, and those of Michaël Segal, MPS, Master of the research lodge Jean Scot Erigène N° 1000 GLdF, an able apologist for the Grand Lodge of France. It so happens that your reviewer has come to share that view, but it is not generally held in 'the establishment'.
Only the totally dedicated or geographically isolated researcher is likely to place this work on his own shelves, but every student of Masonry would benefit from having access to it. So, badger your librarian to obtain at least one copy.
Book: Freemasonry Universal, volume 1
FREEMASONRY UNIVERSAL, a new guide to the Masonic World by Kent Henderson and Tony Pope Global Masonic Publications rrp $30 Review by Peter Thornton, Grand Librarian
As advanced technology has made the global village smaller and smaller, more and more Freemasons travel to jurisdictions other than their own.
In 1984 Kent Henderson's Masonic World Guide was published. For the first time
Freemasons had, in one volume, a handy guide to the Grand Lodges of the world and the
customs peculiar to each jurisdiction.
Some few years ago, Henderson enlisted the aid of Tony Pope, a meticulous and painstaking researcher from South Australia, and the tentative steps towards a new production were taken.
The first (of two) volumes of Freemasonry Universal is now available. Covering all the Americas it builds upon and expands Henderson's earlier version and gives valuable details of all Grand Lodges that are recognised (by at least some) regular Grand Lodges.
It also includes lists of Grand Lodges most decidedly irregular, thus allowing any visitor the opportunity to avoid inadvertently attending a proscribed lodge.
To claim that this book is invaluable to the traveller is an understatement, as it provides all information any visitor could desire (with the obvious exception of details of individual lodges) on each Grand Lodge and the particular customs of each jurisdiction. In smaller countries without their own Grand Lodges it has been possible to list all the lodges in the area.
Why guild the lily? This book is essential, it is authoritative, and it is excellent.
Source: Royal Arch Mason Magazine [publication pending] Reviewer: Wallace McLeod
Freemasonry Universal: A New Guide to the Masonic World. Volume 1-The Americas. By Kent Henderson and Tony Pope. Williamstown, Australia: Global Masonic Publications. Pp. xv, 369. Soft cover. Order from Tony Pope, P.O. Box 124, Murrayville, Victoria, Australia 3512. Also available from Southern California Research Lodge, c/o Ralph A Herbold, P.O. Box 939, Ashland, Oregon 97520. Price, US$24 plus postage.
In 1984 Kent Henderson published his Masonic World Guide: A Guide to Grand Lodges of the World for the Travelling Freemason. As one reviewer said, "The author is to be congratulated on amassing such an enormous amount of information and on the clear and succinct manner in which he presents it." It was an incredibly useful volume. But the world keeps changing. In the first edition the author mentioned the possibility of producing a revised version after an appropriate interval. The amount of work involved proved to be too much for one man, or for inclusion in a single volume. So Henderson enlisted the services of his friend and colleague, Tony Pope. And now we have the first installment of the new Guide.
In the preliminary section (48 pages), the authors provide General Information. Here they outline the history and limitations of Masonic travel, and discuss briefly how the Masonic visitor may be affected by matters of politics, religion, and race. They also give clear instructions about what we ought to find out before going abroad-how to determine that the lodge we propose to attend is recognized as regular, how we can go about proving our own regularity and competence, and what sort of procedures we should expect in the lodge room, and at the after proceedings. And they also describe briefly some of the details of Masonic government, the various forms of ritual, and other Masonic degrees and rites.
Then there are general entries for each region, and each country. This is followed by discussions of the individual Grand Lodges in alphabetical order. The first volume is subtitled "The Americas." Inevitably, the greatest part of it deals with the USA. There is an entry for each State; the average length is two pages; but some of the older and larger ones (Louisiana, New York, Massachusetts) are quite a bit longer, and may reach as much as six pages.
In general, for each one, we have a brief preliminary table, giving the date of foundation, and descent of the Grand Lodge, the address, telephone and e-mail numbers of the administrative offices, the total number of lodges and members, a statement of the type of ritual used, and a list of the publications of the Grand Lodge. Then there are somewhat longer sections, dealing with the history of the jurisdiction, special notes for visitors, and (sometimes) a list of the lodges in specific cities. One of the startling innovations is the inclusion of parallel summaries of the Grand Lodges of the Prince Hall Affiliation as well as the "Caucasian" Grand Lodges, and also notices of "Other Grand Lodges"-which are generally regarded as irregular or clandestine.
After covering the United States, the authors go on to discuss Canada (38 pages, dealing with twelve Grand Lodges, two of them being Prince Hall), Mexico (with twenty-five Grand Lodges), South America (including Brazil, with twenty-eight Grand Lodges), Central America, and the Caribbean.
It obviously took an immense amount of intensive research to collect and update all these details. Many of us have already found the book to be an incredibly useful reference tool, and it will be practically indispensable for travelers. We recommend it highly.
THE FREEMASONS' GUIDE AND COMPENDIUM CD-ROM
The Lintel Trust, an international charitable organisation run by Masons with access to the Internet, has produced a CD-ROM containing both of Bernard E Jones' major works, The Freemasons' Guide and Compendium and The Freemasons' Guide to the Royal Arch, complete with illustrations and index, and some additional files. The recording is in a form readable by most computer systems and interfaces, including Macs, Windows and UNIX.
Since the production run has been limited to 1000 copies, this 'review' is being
written without benefit of a review copy, in order to advise readers before stocks run
out. Reports from email users who have already received a copy are good. There were a
couple of technical complaints from a Mac user; apparently the Mac interface could have
been more sophisticated, but there were no complaints about the quality of reproduction.
"Now that my Mac had learned to expect pdf files, FMGUIDE.PDF and OYARCH.PDF opened without complaint. I have not had a chance to read them (they are very substantial) but I am told that Bernard Jones' books are among the best, and these files are word for word (and picture for picture) identical to the books. The chapters are bookmarked down the left hand side of the screen, and of course you can search for specific words or phrases.
"Two little grumbles here. FMGUIDE.PDF opens with the bookmarks visible, but ROYARCH.PDF does not. For consistency I would have preferred both to open with bookmarks visible. Secondly, ROYARCH.PDF comes with a searchable index file permitting VERY fast (and sophisticated) searching. It is an absolutely invaluable tool for the serious Masonic researcher, and in my opinion the main reason for using CD-ROM books.
Unfortunately the index file for FMGUIDE finds results in a file called either Pref.pdf or JONESG~1.PDF (I'm not sure which) which does not exist on the CD-ROM. Oops-a-daisy. No matter, the regular Find command still works, and searching the entire book still takes less than a minute.
"The other pdf files include an interesting-looking paper which I have not read yet, a rather odd advert for the Philalethes Society which requires turning either your head or your monitor through 45 degrees, and some Grand Lodge websites. The UGL England and GL of Scotland documents feature in the README, where they recommend viewing at 115% for maximum readability, although they open at 100%."
Well, there you have it. Researchers with a CD-ROM drive will have to be quick to order a copy. I hope mine will arrive before this review is published.
Book: The Grand Design
THE GRAND DESIGN Selected Masonic Addresses and Papers of Wallace McLeod published by ANCHOR COMMUNICATIONS Highland Springs, Virginia for Iowa Research Lodge No 2, Des Moines, Iowa, USA (1991) hard cover, 186 + xxxii pp; review copy (2nd printing, 1991) from Southern California Research Lodge, US$12.75 plus postage US$3.
Wallace McLeod, PhD, is Professor of Classics at Victoria College, University of Toronto, and Grand Historian of the Grand Lodge of Canada in the Province of Ontario. He has been a full member of Quatuor Coronati Lodge since 1979 and was Master in 1982 (the only North American to be so honoured). He is a Prestonian Lecturer, a Fellow and Past President of the Philalethes Society, and Grand Abbot of the Blue Friars, a society of Masonic authors. He has written or edited 10 books, published many articles and reviews in his professional field and in Freemasonry, and spoken extensively in Canada, Britain and the United States. Among his particular areas of study are the Old Charges, John Coustos and Prince Hall Freemasonry.
This book, The Grand Design, is a selection of RWBro McLeod's papers previously printed in a wide variety of publications (some of them inaccessible to Australian Masons), including the Proceedings or Transactions of The Heritage Lodge (GRC), Walter F Meier Lodge of Research (Washington), Virginia Lodge of Research and various publications of the Grand Lodge of Canada (Ontario), as well as from Ars Quatuor Coronatorum and the Philalethes.
The subjects of the 21 papers are diverse-three 'DIYs' for researchers (how to write a short talk, a research paper and a book), seven 'biographies' (St Alban, John Coustos, Batty Langley, Wellins Calcott, Simon McGillivray, 'Loyalist Masons' and 'McLeod Moore and Pike') and nine 'broad spectrum' historical papers (including the oral version of his Prestonian Lecture on the Old Charges and 'Why I still believe in the Transition Theory: Operative to Speculative'). The other two defy classification-'The effect of Victorian Obscenity Laws on Masonic Historians: an allegedly obscene poem of 1723', which includes the full, unexpurgated text of 'The Free Masons: an hudibrastick poem', and the final, delightful contribution, 'Hiramic Monologue'.
This is a book for every Mason whose interest in the Craft extends beyond the next meeting of his o
Book: The Hiram Key
Hiram Key - 'good reading, but not for reference'
If I eat contaminated food I will get food poisoning. If I get food poisoning I will become very ill. If I am very ill I will visit a hospital.
I visited a hospital last month, therefore I ate contaminated food.
Actually I visited the hospital to see a friend, but this form of argument (if A leads to B, B leads to C, C leads to D and D is known to have occurred, then A, B and C must have occurred), although completely flawed, is the basis of the latest book on the origins of Freemasonry (by two English masons), as it has been of many of its predecessors.
In essence, it postulates a possible line of descent to Freemasonry and then concludes that, because Freemasonry exists, the line of descent has been proved. And this is, of course, logical nonsense. Furthermore, the authors are not averse to blatantly misrepresenting other works.
For instance, a crucial part of their argument depends on the following quote from Arkon Daraul's Secret Societies: 'The Mandaeans . . . practiced initiation, ecstasy and some rituals which have been said to resemble those of the Freemasons'. Within three lines, this has become we have 'identified their rituals with Freemasonry'.
As one of the authors worked in solid-state physics it is perhaps only to be expected that quantum leaps in logic would occur; that the other worked in advertising for many years could explain an inability to confine words to their correct meanings.
When Alexander Pope said, 'A little learning is a dangerous thing', he may well have had masons in mind. These two relatively inexperienced and narrowly-read masons have reached the conclusion, as many have done before, and will do in the future, that they have learned all that is needed to explain the Craft. That they have not becomes patently obvious as one reads this book.
There is little that is new in their book as, with the exception of finding the genesis of Freemasonry in the 'Dead Sea Scrolls', most of their theory has been traversed by others (and generally much better).
As the authors have neglected to provide a bibliography it is not possible to discover what other books have been read. Those authors whose works are mentioned in the footnotes, such as Hugh Schonfield and his The Essene Odyssey, would doubtless be intrigued to find that the authors chose only those sections which agreed with their theory and completely ignored those parts which did not.
That the Knights Templar play an essential part in the preservation of secret knowledge will come as no surprise, as this particular theory has been recently revived and given a strong hearing in a number of works. It never ceases to be a source of amazement to me that people who rush into print with a theory which they have worked out as a result of some limited research have never even considered the possibility that others may have examined it in the past.
The proof of Templar involvement almost invariably follows the line of flawed logic outlined at the start of this review. Like Graham Hancock in The Sign and the Seal, the authors have not found anything and, like Hancock, their conclusions are not new.
What the authors in both works have detailed is a possible hiding place for a great secret which may still exist. Conveniently, the hiding place is of such a nature that the theory is unlikely ever to be put to the test.
The Hiram Key is an interesting addition to the collection of theories on the origin and meaning of masonry. It is unlikely to upset anyone (except logicians and true historians) and the masonic reader will happily add it to his library, although probably not in the reference section. There is no reason why this book should not be read by anyone; four or five pages immediately prior to sleep is probably the best way so to do.
Source: Royal Arch Mason Magazine Reviewer: Wallace McLeod
The Hiram Key: Pharaohs, Freemasons and the Discovery of the Secret Scrolls of Jesus. By Christopher Knight and Robert Lomas. London, England: Century. 1996. Pp. xiii, 384, 31 illustrations, many sketches, 3 maps. Price not stated. Copies may be ordered from the publisher, Century, 20 Vauxhall Bridge Road, London, SW1V 2SA, England.
At first glance this seems like a wonderful story. In Ancient Egypt the two kingdoms were symbolized by two pillars. There was a secret ceremony by which the successive monarchs were enabled to assume the throne. In 1573 B.C. the king was killed by three blows to the head, in an effort to extort from him those secrets. Substituted secrets were devised, and about a century later they were carried out of Egypt by Moses. They were transmitted through the successive rulers of Israel, through David and Solomon and their successors, and then went into exile during the Babylonian captivity. They came back to the Holy Land with Zerubbabel, and were preserved by the Essenes, who wrote much precious information on scrolls, which they concealed in a secret chamber under the Temple at Jerusalem. When the Romans destroyed the Temple, these secrets were lost for over a thousand years, but they were rediscovered when the Knights Templar descended into the vault in 1120. At the downfall of the Templars in 1307, some of them escaped to Scotland, and helped Robert Bruce to win the battle of Bannockburn. Their successors passed on the secrets to William St Clair, the 'First Grand Master and Founder of Freemasonry', who in 1441-1484 built Rosslyn Chapel, and filled it with Masonic symbols. Quite probably the precious Templar scrolls are hidden in a vault under the Chapel, and the authors hope to get permission to find them. So, in effect, the Masonic ceremonies have been evolving for nearly 3600 years. But can we believe it? Sad to say, if we look at details, the book is full of factual errors. Let us note a few. 'Hiram Abif is not mentioned in the Old Testament at all' (page 16 and elsewhere). Actually, he turns up in 2 Chronicles 4:16 - not in the King James version, but in Luther's Bible of 1532 and Coverdale's Bible of 1535; and in James Anderson's own rendering of the verse on page 11 of his Constitutions of 1723. 'Careful study of the Bible had found no mention of any middle chamber to Solomon's Temple' (page 9). Try 1 Kings 6:8! The authors suggest that the names of the three assassins may come from the Dead Sea Scrolls (page 250), and assert that they are collectively known as 'the Juwes' (page 16). Actually, the names are first found in an English exposure of 1760. They disappeared from English ceremonies with the ost-Union ritual of 1816 (though they continue to be used in America). They are not called 'the Juwes' except by English anti-Masons like Stephen Knight, who want to make Jack the Ripper into a Masonic conspiracy. The authors speak repeatedly of a resurrection in the 3rd degree (thus, on pages 38, 40). But surely the architect of the Temple is dead, and remains dead; that is why the genuine secrets are lost. On page 143, they give what they say are the words of the Third Degree, and interpret them as ancient Egyptian. Exciting, to be sure, except that the syllables quoted bear little resemblance to the actual words. The story of the vault under the Temple which contained a scroll, comes not from the Knights Templar but from an ancient Greek historian named Philostorgius, who lived about the year 400 of our era. They date the Syrian theologian John of Damascus (who died about 752) to the eighteenth century (page 48), and say that the earliest copies of the Old Charges are from the 'late fifteenth century' (page 21), even though everyone agrees that the Regius Manuscript was written about 1390. They repeatedly call the last Grand Master of Templars by the name of 'de Maloy'. They misquote the Latin text on the English Royal Arch jewel (page 319). And so on. The publisher's blurb tells us that the authors are both English Masons. It may be so. In short, they have written an entertaining book; but you must not call it history.
Book: IS IT TRUE WHAT THEY SAY ABOUT FREEMASONRY?
Is It True . . . is a response to savage attacks on Freemasonry in the United States which have occurred in recent years. It does not purport to answer all the allegations but clearly demonstrates the outright lies, deliberate misquotations, fraud and deceit employed by some, and the plagiarism and incompetent research of others.
It completely demolishes the credibility of the Rev John Ankerberg and Dr John Weldon (The secret teachings of the Masonic lodge; a Christian perspective), The Rev Ron Carlson (audio-cassette sermons such as 'Freemasonry and the Masonic lodge'), the Rev James Dayton Shaw (The deadly deception; Freemasonry exposed by one of its top leaders), Enchanter! (a pseudonymous anti-Mason on the Internet) and the comic-book theologian Jack T Chick (The curse of Baphomet, etc).
It has relevance in the Antipodes because these anti-Masonic ravings are often the
source material for local attacks on the Craft, and because the authors demonstrate so
ably how to perform thorough research and present the results. Is It True . . . provides a
detailed analysis of the sources of the claim that Albert Pike wrote that Lucifer is God,
and the interesting tidbit that Manley Wade Hall wrote Lost Keys of Freemasonry 30 years
before he became a Mason. This expanded edition of Is It True . . . also contains reprints
of 'Please look a little closer', by Jim Tresner, and 'Garden of Evil?' & 'Stones of
Evil' by John Boettjer, from the Scottish Rite Journal.
Book: Masonic Challenges
Masonic Challenges (Transactions of The Lodge of Research No. 218, Victorian Constitution, 1991)
Edited by Kent Henderson and Graeme Love
Pp. 152. Victoria, Australia: Rowick Printers. .
All too often we don't realize what's going on, Masonically speaking, in other parts of the world. For example, how many of you ever heard of the Lodge of Research in Victoria, Australia? It was founded in 1911, which makes it a good deal older than any of the research lodges in North America. It didn't begin publishing its transactions until 1918; that means that the first forty-three papers presented in the lodge are totally lost - a frustrating amount of wasted effort. The motto of the lodge is Latin, Sequendo Lampada Disco, which means something like 'I learn by following the light'. Here we have the eight papers that were delivered in the Lodge of Research during the year 1991. The booklet has a soft cover and is spirally bound, so that it lies open easily. The papers of course vary a good deal in the nature of their appeal and in the type of research that was required; that is probably inevitable. The first one, 'The History, Development and Current Status of English Freemasonry', is a masterful perspective by John Hamill, the Librarian and Curator of Freemasons' Hall in London, who delivered it while on a lecture tour in Australia. D. C. Stocks gives an interesting and scholarly review of 'Early Freemasonry in Russia'. William M. Caulfield, in 'Rudyard Kipling - Master of His Craft', offers us a readable biography, less concerned with the books than with the man. S. W. Martin, in 'Who Really is Ruth?', considers some of the paradoxes in our usual reading of her life. Kent W. Henderson provides a fascinating summary of 'Overseas Masonic Practices - What Can They Teach Us?' In particular he suggests that the success of any lodge is based on four factors: ceremony, involvement, education, and after-proceedings. Peter H. I. Green, in 'The Consequences of Cut-Rate Masonry', argues that Masonry sells itself too cheaply, and does not make enough effort to appeal to young professional men. Mel Moyle offers a detailed series of notes entitled 'Further Explanation of the Three Tracing Boards'. And finally Tony Pope traces the evolution and development of 'Australian Lodges of Research: An Historical Overview'. As a whole the collection is quite interesting, and the papers are perhaps somewhat above the level of those produced in some of our research lodges. The North American Mason might find it useful to learn more about this Australian lodge. Membership in the Correspondence Circle is open to any regular Master Mason. The cost is $20 (either American or Canadian). Members receive the Annual Transactions, and the monthly lodge summons, together with the monthly research bulletin Thoughts for the Inquiring Mason. Inquiries should be directed to G. C. Love, P. O. Box 2108, St. Kilda West, Victoria, Australia 3182.
Book: A Masonic Panorama
A Masonic Panorama: Selected Papers of the Reverend Neville Barker Cryer. Introduced by Kent Henderson; edited by Tony Pope. Melbourne: Australian Masonic Research Council. 1995. Pp. 175. Copies may be ordered from Kent Henderson, P. O. Box 332, Williamstown, Victoria, Australia 3016. Price $15.00 U.S. currency (postage and handling included).
The Australian Masonic Research Council includes nearly all the research lodges in Australia. Every two years it invites a well-known Masonic scholar to tour the region, and publishes his lectures. For 1995, the speaker was Bro. Neville Cryer, Past Master, past Secretary and past Editor of 'the premier lodge of research', Quatuor Coronati, in London. Here are the texts of fourteen talks from his most recent trip. Probably the most important is the first one, 'The Churches' Involvement with Freemasonry'. In order to refute the fundamentalists (who say that Masonry and Christianity are incompatible), he provides many examples of ministers of the gospel who have been active Masons, from 1721 right up to the present. In another paper, entitled 'Women and Freemasonry', Bro. Cryer traces the role of women in operative masonry, tells the apocryphal stories of their eavesdropping on Masonic secrets, and talks about the Eastern Star, Lady Freemasons, and Co-Masonry. Very discreetly, he hints that these latter organizations should be 'recognized'. In a paper on 'The different origins of English and Scottish Freemasonry', he suggests that Masonry evolved independently in the two kingdoms, and that Harry Carr and David Stevenson were both wrong to say that it came from one country or the other. In his argument he asserts (54) that 'Scotland never had any Ancient Charges'. Actually, it had at least a dozen copies, going back to about 1650 (see Stevenson, The First Freemasons, 189-191). Four of the talks argue that various cryptic references in eighteenth-century documents, and several unpublished early ceremonies, demonstrate that some of the 'higher degrees' (Mark, Ark Mariner, Most Excellent Mason, and Royal Arch) preserve old wording, and reflect certain aspects of operative masonry. Three more of the papers are concerned with particular details that developed out of early rituals and are still found today - details not recognized by all Brothers. Bro. Cryer offers an interesting paper on the Geneva Bible of 1560, and its contribution to the development of English ritual. In this connection he says (104) that there is no occurrence of the name Hiram Abif 'in any known catechism, manuscript or ritual up to 1760'. Actually it is found in several copies of the 'Spencer Family' of Old Charges, soon after 1725. He might also have cited a name from 1 Chronicles 2:49, and reported the meaning that is given to it in a version of the Geneva Bible printed in London in 1580. As part of his continuing study of individual lodge buildings (on which he has already produced a series of books), he talks about 'Surprises in Scottish lodges'. Then he goes on to discuss the significance of the Huguenot refugees and their descendants, for English intellectual history and for the evolution of Masonry; as one might expect, the key figure here is John Desaguliers, G.M. in 1719. Bro. Cryer concludes by asking, 'Is there anything else to research?' The answer, of course, is yes. All very interesting.
Source: Masonic Square, March 1996 Reviewer: Jack Chisholm
Sub-titled 'Selected Papers of the Revd Neville Barker Cryer, introduced (as if he needs introducing) by Kent Henderson and edited by Tony Pope, this is a riveting compendium. The AMRC regularly organises a national lecture tour by internationally reputed masonic lecturers (the first was WBro John Hamill, titled Masonic Perspectives); WBro Cyril Batham's was Freemasonry in England and France. This is the third in the series - and jolly valuable and readable they have proved. Brother Cryer leads off with a chapter titled 'The Churches' involvement with Freemasonry' . . . This is followed by the equally absorbing 'Women and Freemasonry' - this will open the eyes of many a freemason. More traditional is 'The influence of operative on speculative Freemasonry' and 'The different origins of English and Scottish Freemasonry'. In 'What is the point in other than the Craft degrees?' the author mentions that a European Grand Lodge approached the Supreme Grand Chapter of Scotland on how they should introduce the Holy Royal Arch into their rituals. Read their response (on page 61), in conjunction with John Mitchell's 'The Royal Arch Enigma' on page 222 of the December 1995 Masonic Square - and you will have your eyes well and truly opened. This is followed by 'Discovering the "Arch" Degree', 'The Geneva Bible and the English ritual', 'What is that on your ceiling?' (I'm not telling) and much more. I really could not put this book down. I have two pieces of advice: get it - and read it.
Book: A Masonic Panorama
Sub-titled 'Selected Papers of the Revd Neville Barker Cryer, introduced (as if he needs introducing) by Kent Henderson and edited by Tony Pope, this is a riveting compendium.
The AMRC regularly organises a national lecture tour by internationally reputed masonic
lecturers (the first was WBro John Hamill, titled Masonic Perspectives); WBro Cyril
Batham's was Freemasonry in England and France. This is the third in the series - and
jolly valuable and readable they have proved.
More traditional is 'The influence of operative on speculative Freemasonry' and 'The different origins of English and Scottish Freemasonry'.
In 'What is the point in other than the Craft degrees?' the author mentions that a
European Grand Lodge approached the Supreme Grand Chapter of Scotland on how they should
introduce the Holy Royal Arch into their rituals. Read their response (on page 61), in
conjunction with John Mitchell's 'The Royal Arch Enigma' on page 222 of the December 1995
Masonic Square - and you will have your eyes well and truly opened.
Book: MASONIC PHILANTHROPIES: A Tradition of Caring
This is no dreary list of Masonic donations to charity. It is a delightful book, beautifully illustrated and charmingly written, divided into four parts. First is the necessary preliminary material-title and credit pages, foreword, preface and introduction-imaginatively presented and by no means dull.
It is followed by five chapters, grouped as 'Part One-A tradition of caring', commencing with a short history of the Craft, the concluding paragraph of which contains this superb phrase: a worldwide fraternity teaching borderless brotherhood, a brief account of early Freemasonry in America, the development of related Orders, including those for women and children, the expansion of North American Masonic philanthropies, and an account of how much was donated by which mainstream Grand Lodges and other Orders, and to whom, in 1995. It shows an amazing US$749,875,488 distributed to Masonic Homes & Hospitals (30%), non-profit Hospitals, etc (63.5%), Medical research (4%), Scholarships and youth (1%), Community services (1%), and Museums, etc (0.5%). These figures do not include philanthropy by non-mainstream Masonic bodies, such as the Grand Lodges of Prince Hall Affiliation.
The largest section of the book is 'Part Two-The ways Masons serve', comprising 'Categories of Masonic philanthropy' (the six categories listed above), and 44 'Vignettes of Masonic philanthropy', which include activities of individual lodges (King David's Lodge 'adopt' Hawthorne Elementary School), small Scottish Rite groups (Duluth's Bikes for Kids program), an Eastern Star chapter in Saudi Arabia (R&R for Desert Shield and Desert Storm servicemen), the Prince Hall Masonic Youth Fund of Louisiana (Camp Chicota), and large-scale efforts such as the Shriners' Hospitals for Children and Burns Institutes.
The final section, 'A kaleidoscope of compassion', lists where to find help, and
concludes with a reprint of a well-loved poem, 'The lodge room over Simpkins' Store', by
Lawrence N Greenleaf, PGM of Colorado.
Book: Masonic Research in South Australia, volume 1
Masonic Research in South Australia Volume 1, 1990-94. Paperback. £11.50 inc. p&p. 120 Waterport Road, Port Elliot 5212, South Australia.
This is the first book-form transactions from the SALR - and they have made an excellent job of it. There are 16 papers, and I found them all new except The Mason Mark, which I didn't mind reading again.
Barrie Anderson cleverly dissects the Regius Poem and correlates it with the masonic festive board - a subject close to my heart, or rather stomach. Very original.
Tony Pope gives us an interesting piece on Australian Lodges of Research; Mike Conway delves into International Masonic Relations; and George Woolmer tells us about the Masonic Orders in South Australia. In the latter we not only learn about the usual Craft, Mark, Knights Templar, etc, but also the Eastern Star, Shrine (not the usual one), Amaranth, Pledge Sisters, Order of Women Freemasons and Co-Masonry. Phew.
Other chapters include: Development of the Printed Ritual; Canaanite Origins of King Solomon's Temple, and The Drupe and the Alcoholic Mother (don't ask . . .) The South Australian Lodge of Research are to be congratulated on their first effort; I for one look forward to volume 2.
Book: Masonic Speculations
Masonic Speculations is a ring-bound book published by the Victorian Lodge of Research operating under the Grand Lodge of Victoria, Australia, and represents the transactions of this lodge. As is to be expected from a lodge of research, it is the publication of learned papers presented to it. This book is Volume 10. Unfortunately, it has had a very limited distribution.
There are ten papers presented in this volume, and, frankly, most are impressively good. I found that they all contained information that was new to me. There were some factual errors, but few of any consequence. For instance, in the chapter, "Do We Really Understand the Structural Concept Known as Freemasonry?," the author indicates that the Scottish Rite in the United States of America operates from the "1st degree (EA) to the 33rd degree." A few conclusions are questionable, but that is the right of the author. I have a real problem, however, when a Masonic writer refers to the "Freemason's God," as is found in the conclusion of the chapter on "God and Freemasonry," even if that is not the intent.
The final chapter, "Freemasonry Through Adversity in the Orient," should be required reading by all complacent Freemasons. From it, we all can learn what Freemasonry meant to those who were tortured and died to keep the craft and its meaning alive while under occupation during World War II. The chapter .actually deals with the origin and development of the craft in ten countries in the Orient, but all were deeply affected by the war. I found the tales moving and inspirational but, at the same time, depressing when compared with what is lacking in commitment by our members today.
"The Beginning of Lodge Liberation No. 674" tells the story of how Freemasons continued to carry on the craft, making the required lodge furniture from whatever was on hand, all while under threat of torture and death if found out. In one instance only six residents of one camp survived out of 1,400, but those who were members kept the flame of Freemasonry burning. The result -- the survivors of prisoner of war camps established "Lodge Liberation."
Two chapters are written on the subject of Knights Templar and Freemasonry. Both are well written and good reading. I find it continually interesting that after most Masonic scholars took deference to John Robinson's first writings, he is frequently quoted today as a Masonic authority.
Other subjects include "A Speculative Talk on German Masonry, .... Man, Music and Masonry," "The Central Pillar,", and "Background to Israel & The Temple."
I find the book well worth reading -- if you can borrow a copy.
THE PHILALETHES: 50 YEARS CD-ROM
THE PHILALETHES: 50 YEARS CD-ROM Produced by a team consisting of- Nelson King, Project Management and Co-ordination; George Helmer, Scanning and Initial Proofreading; Harley Eric Silver, HTML Conversion, Design, Layout, Music, Cover Artwork, Editing and Production. Highland Springs, VA, The Philalethes Society, 1998. $100 US, including postage and handling. Copies may be ordered from Kenneth D Roberts, PO Box 70, Highland Springs, VA 23075, USA.
We had better confess at the start that this item is not, in the usual sense, a book. But it is worth a brief mention in any case. The Philalethes Society was formed on 1 October 1928, which makes it the oldest surviving Masonic research society in the United States. In March 1946 it began to publish the Philalethes magazine, which recently completed 50 years of publication. Past issues of the magazine can be purchased from the Society's Librarian, Harold L Davidson, 1903 10th Street West, Billings, Montana 59102, USA. And a few years ago complete sets of the magazine were made available, first on microfilm and then on microfiche. But now, if you have access to fairly standard computer technology, you can get a Compact Disk (with 'Read Only Memory'), containing the text of all the articles published in the magazine in the first 50 years (the illustrations are not reproduced). As a dividend, it also includes a recording of the overture to Mozart's Magic Flute. The disk lists the contents of each issue, and also has the capability of providing an index of all the articles that have a particular word in the title. So you can look up the specific information you want, or you can just browse casually through it all. By so doing, you will learn a lot about the history of the society, about the research that has been carried out over the years, and you will have an opportunity to become acquainted with many of the most distinguished Masonic writers of the past. Just one example: one detail that may have puzzled some readers is cleared up. This is the fifty-second year since the journal was founded, yet the current issues are numbered as Volume 51. Obviously we've lost a year. How can this be? The explanation is found in a series of tragedies and triumphs. Within the space of a year (in 1951-1952) two consecutive Presidents and Editors died. This double disaster brought the work of the Society to a standstill, and almost destroyed it. It took another year to get things back on track, largely due to the efforts of the novelist Lee E Wells and the Masonic scholar Alphonse Cerza. If you have the facilities to read the disk, this is definitely worth a look. And if you compare the price with that of other CD-ROMs, it is not expensive. Reviewer is unstated, but almost certainly Wallace McLeod.
Book: PRINCE HALL MASONIC DIRECTORY, 1997
In a rather different format from the List of Lodges, Masonic (Pantagraph), the Prince Hall Masonic Directory fulfils approximately the same purpose for the 45 (in 1997) Grand Lodges of Prince Hall Affiliation. Each Grand Lodge provides names and addresses of Grand Master, DGM, SGW, JGW, Grand Secretary, Grand Treasurer, and Chairman of the Committee for Fraternal Relations, and not only a list of constituent lodges but also the names and addresses of either the Master or Secretary of each lodge. It provides similar information for the chapters and Grand Chapters of the Order of the Eastern Star (PHA).
Unlike its mainstream counterpart, the Prince Hall Masonic Directory is not published annually, nor is it usually found at lodge level for checking the bona fides of visitors. It was first printed in 1981 and the 4th edition was published in 1992; indications are that all were very small print runs and copies were scarce, even in Prince Hall circles. This latest edition, the first to acknowledge the existence and contribution to Prince Hall Masonry of the Phylaxis Society, is more generally available, and copies are obtainable from the book dept of the Phylaxis Society. The information is valuable to students of this fraternity, and the price reasonable.
Book: PRINCE HALL MASONRY IN ONTARIO 1852-1933
PRINCE HALL MASONRY IN ONTARIO 1852-1933 Arlie C Robbins, MW Prince Hall Grand Lodge of Ontario & Jurisdiction, 1980 hardcover, xii+139pp, illustrated, no index.
This book is remarkable because the Grand Master and Grand Lodge concerned took the unusual step of selecting as historian the best person available for the task, regardless of the fact that their choice was not a Mason. It is equally remarkable because the author, a member of the Order of the Eastern Star (PHA) undertook the task with a professionalism seldom encountered among Grand Lodge historians. Sister Robbins had already demonstrated her exceptional ability, in researching the history of her own Order, and in presenting it in a manner that captured the interest of Brothers and Sisters alike, when she was commissioned in 1973/74 to 'compile' the history of the Grand Lodge.
She was accorded the official title of Grand Lodge History Co-ordinator, but she did much more than 'compile' and 'coordinate'. She was not content to work with the material supplied, but made inquiries far and wide, always seeking original documents, querying established beliefs, consulting librarians and historians (Masonic and otherwise), questioning, and clearly indicating that which she surmised or concluded from the facts revealed.
Mrs Robbins realised that the brethren for whom she was writing, like Masons everywhere, had myths and legends which were dear to them. In the opening chapters of the book, her summary of the general history of Freemasonry and of the beginnings of Prince Hall Masonry, she tactfully leaves those beliefs undisturbed, although the observant reader may discern tongue in cheek. But when it comes to the beginning of Prince Hall Masonry in Ontario, in 1852, and its subsequent development up to 1933-the history she has been commissioned to discover and record-she is unswervingly true to her task. While occasionally expressing sadness and sometimes bewilderment at the foibles and follies of the brethren concerned, she faithfully records developments and setbacks, undeterred by the sorry picture they sometimes portray.
In fairness to the brethren and Grand Lodges concerned, the skeletons thus revealed are no worse than those of other brethren and Grand Lodges around the world-but, whereas many Grand Lodge histories, particularly those published with Grand Lodge approval, seek to hide their skeletons, the Prince Hall Grand Lodge of Ontario and its candid historian are insistent upon publishing the unvarnished truth. In this they are to be highly commended.
Not only does this book present the historical events in a logical, coherent and
interesting form, it also provides fascinating insight into the social conditions under
which Prince Hall Masonry was established in Canada. We learn that the first three lodges
were established by the National Compact Grand Lodge from New Jersey, but that they were
formed into a Grand Lodge by the Grand Master of the National Compact Grand Lodge in New
York, and that, even so, the National Compact itself refused to recognise the fledgling
Nevertheless, the Grand Lodge survived and grew, maintaining lodges in the Provinces of
Ontario and Quebec, and at last achieving recognition from at least some mainstream
Canadian Grand Lodges-all junior to it.
"This, my Brothers, is the history of the Prince Hall Grand Lodge of the Province
of Ontario and Jurisdiction as I saw it. And what I saw, I wrote in a book. [A quotation
from Revelation 1:11, What thou seest, write in a book.] . . .
In this, she has succeeded.
Book: PRINCE HALL'S MISSION
This is an account of the creation and development of a remarkable organisation, told by its founder and continuing guide. Such an account is necessarily autobiographical, providing an outline of the life of Joseph Walkes and a chronicle of the first 22 years of the Phylaxis Society.
The author tells of the events that shaped his life from 1933 to 1973, which led almost inevitably to the formation of the Phylaxis Society as a Prince Hall research body. The initial structure and aims of the Society, subsequent changes and expansion, are outlined in the 'Thumbnail Sketch' in this issue of Harashim. But the book provides much more-revealing insights into the personality of the author, the problems which beset both him and the society, and something of the other officers of the Society, and of its friends and enemies in Prince Hall and mainstream jurisdictions.
At first the observant reader may notice the occasional typographical error (more prevalent these days, since computer programs replaced human proofreaders), but the story is so fascinating that such minor irritants are quickly forgotten. This book is as gripping as a good novel, and just as 'unputdownable'. But, unlike most novels, it is worth reading again and again, each time providing a better understanding of the parallel world of Prince Hall Freemasonry and its unofficial guardian.
Thumbnail Sketch -- The Phylaxis Society (referred to above)
The Phylaxis Society is the brain-child of Joseph A Walkes Jr. It was formed in 1973, based on the structure of the Philalethes Society, which had first admitted Walkes to membership and then evicted him because he was a Prince Hall Mason. Its history is recounted in Prince Hall's Mission: the rise of the Phylaxis Society, reviewed in this issue of Harashim.
Bro Walkes selected the first officers of the Society from among his army and ex-army brethren, and then enlisted the aid of several editors of Prince Hall Grand Lodge magazines to recruit members. The initial aims of the Society were to encourage and publish accurate Masonic research among Prince Hall Masons, and to refute inaccurate statements about Prince Hall and the fraternity he founded.
As the Society grew, its aims were enlarged, to work towards general recognition of the fraternity, to maintain a watch on the many irregular Masonic bodies in the United States, and to provide a remarkable range of services for the members of the Society, including an investment fund, a social & welfare fund, an art commission, a foundation to assist Prince Hall authors to publish their work, and a book club.
Full membership is open to Master Masons of the Prince Hall fraternity or of any other jurisdiction in amity with a Grand Lodge of Prince Hall Affiliation. (Thus, Tasmanian Masons are now eligible for full membership-see article, this issue.) Others may become subscribers to the Society's magazine, Phylaxis, a category which has included George Draffen, Christopher Haffner, Forrest Haggard, Wallace McLeod, Jerry Marsengill, Brent Morris, Allen Roberts and Roy Wells. Subscribers may convert to full membership when their Grand Lodge 'sees the light'-as did Bob Jensen, PM and Secretary of the Walter F Meier Lodge of Research in Washington State.
Members are grouped geographically into Chapters, to meet on a regular basis, and the Society itself meets twice a year at different venues where there is a Prince Hall Grand Lodge. There are also two specialist chapters-the Phyllis Chapter, a women's auxiliary for members of the Order of the Eastern Star (PH), and Lux e Tenebris, an elite research group in New York-as well as a Scottish Rite Research Institute (PHA).
The Society's 'flagship' publication is the Phylaxis magazine, issued three or four
times a year, with a worldwide circulation. There is a two-page monthly newsletter,
Phylaxis Notes; a magazine for the Phyllis Chapter, Phyllis; a four-page monthly
newsletter for the Scottish Rite Research Institute, Ecossais, with book reviews and
research papers; and the annual transactions of Lux e Tenebris. The Society recognises
merit in a number of ways. From among its full members, it selects a 'Man of the Year' for
outstanding service to Prince Hall Freemasonry; it maintains a roll of 15 Fellows of
demonstrable research ability; and makes annual awards of a 'medal of excellence' and a
'certificate of literature'. For both full members and subscribers, it recognises research
ability with an honorary Fellowship, and for subscribers there is a separate 'certificate
of literature'. The ultimate accolade is to be inducted into the Phylaxis Society Hall of
Fame. Since its inception in 1978, there have been 60 inductees, including William Upton,
Joseph Findel, Jerry Marsengill and George Draffen.
Book: THE QUEST FOR LIGHT
This book was just received from the Australian and New Zealand Masonic Research Council, whose Secretary, Kent Henderson along with Graeme Love, has edited the Victoria Lodge No 218 Transactlions from Australia for several years. (We have these in our library and can be borrowed by calling or writing the Secretary at number on front page of this newsletter.)
Wallace McLeod, who spoke at our Grand Lodge several years ago, is a well-known Masonic author from Canada and his writings in the Philalethes magazine have always been most interesting. This book is a collection of his talks given on an Australian tour sponsored by the Australian and New Zealand Masonic Research Council and include the following chapter headings (plus others): The Lodge, the Grand Lodge and Change, which shows some of the many changes Masonry has undergone during the 250 years of grand lodge existence; Evolution of the ritual; Meaning of Masonic secrets; Adoniram; Masonic symbols; Masonic references in literature; English Freemasonry in 1440?; The Old Charges; Universality; Robert Burns; Two Masonic literary societies; Responding to criticism. His knowledge and extensive writings make this book well worth reading and I am sure that some of W F Meier members will want to own it. Easy to do. It is available from Kent Henderson, Secretary, A&NZ Masonic Research Council, PO Box 332, Williamstown, Victoria, Australia 3016. $US 26.00 postpaid. While I have not had time to finish the book, the first half that I have read makes me eager to read more, and there are ideas and answers to questions about Masonry throughout the book. Order NOW, as supplies may be limited. The Council puts out a new book each time they have a speaker tour Australia and New Zealand and I look forward to their next offering.
Source: The Northern Light, February 1998 Reviewer: Thomas W Jackson
The Quest for Light by Wallace McLeod Published in 1997 by Australian & New Zealand Masonic Research Council, PO Box 332, Williamstown, Victoria 3016, Australia, $20 US (postpaid).
The Quest for Light is a compilation of 19 papers written and delivered by one of the foremost intellectual Masonic writers of our time. It represents the fourth collection of research papers to be published by this Research Council. Wallace McLeod, a former professor at the University of Toronto, holds a BA in Honours Classics from that university and an MA and PhD from Harvard. He is Grand Historian and a Past Grand Senior Warden of the Grand Lodge of Canada in the Province of Ontario, a full Member of Quatuor Coronati Lodge, a fellow and past President of the Philalethes Society, and Grand Abbot of the Blue Friars, to touch on a few of his credits. He has also written many scholarly books and papers that add luster to Masonic circles. This book is one I highly recommend to those with an interest in the origin and development of Freemasonry, as well as to those with an interest in Freemasonry of the present. Both subjects are to be found in it. The first chapters present an educational trip through the early development stages of the craft. Subject examples are "The Lodge, the Grand Lodge and Change," "Evolution of the ritual," "The meaning of the Masonic secrets" and "The credibility gap in Masonic ritual." The later chapters are related more to the present, i.e., "Two Masonic 'Literary Societies'," "Responding to criticism: (1) The past; our traditional critics" and "Responding to criticism: (2) Evangelicals; how we might respond." In between, we find dispersed interesting subject papers, i.e., "Masonic references in literature," "The universality of Freemasonry," "Robert Burns," and "English Freemasonry in 1440" to name a few. There are also several chapters that don't quite seem to fit with the others, but then the book is a compilation of unrelated papers. That makes them nonetheless interesting. This is a book well worth reading for its educational value. The author researches thoroughly as he is trained to do and expresses himself well, as one would expect. I found it to be thought provoking, stimulating and worthy of the author and the craft.
Book: SOME WORDS and THOUGHTS Collected from the Writings of M.H.Kellerman
Harry Kellerman, the doyen of Australian researchers, now in his 95th year, still has something to say that is worth hearing, and pondering. Andy Walker, Secretary of the Research Lodge of New South Wales, has been Bro Kellerman's amanuensis for the past seven years, recording Harry's words on the faithful Macintosh and printing them out as required, for presentation in lodge or for distribution in newsletters and ephemeral pamphlets. We are greatly indebted to Bro Walker for recording this material in more enduring form, in its bright and shiny yellow cover, and making it available to us, and to posterity, at the give-away price of $8.
Indeed, there are only two criticisms of this book, both of marketing rather than substance: the title and the price. What can one do with a title half a yard long? In informal speech, 'Harry Kellerman's little yellow book' or 'The thoughts of Chairman Kellerman' might suffice, but how does one cite it as an authority? And the price? Well, the author insisted that the work be produced as cheaply as possible, so that it should be available to the most impecunious Mason, and the compiler (who really deserves the title of Editor, but modestly declines it) has done a magnificent job within those constraints. One may defer to the author's sentiments and at the same time regret the continued promotion of 'cut-rate' Masonry.
Between the covers are six research papers, three short addresses, eight comments on the papers of others, ten answers to questions, seventeen 'points to ponder' and five 'suitable poems'. Of the six research papers (five from the nineties-the 1990s, which largely coincide with the author's 90s-and one from 1975), four are concerned with the future of Freemasonry: an old friend, the 1992 Kellerman Lecture for NSW, 'The challenge of the changes in membership in New South Wales'; a paper given at the Townsville Convention in 1994, 'Freemasonry in the future'; a paper delivered to the Research Lodge of NSW (1995) on the three most urgent needs of Freemasonry today, 'Words, Brotherhood and Leadership'; and an address to a 'mixed' audience of Masons and non-Masons in 1996, 'What is Freemasonry? - The Basics' (which resulted in 10 petitions for membership). The last-mentioned paper by itself is worth more than the price of the book. Get a copy, if there are any left!
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