Monday, January 24, 2011

‘No. 11’

(I admit it. I’m trailing the Dummies blog.)

The new issue, No. 11, of The Journal of the Masonic Society is in the mail to our more than 1,200 members now.

What I’m most excited about is the appearance of the first piece by New Jersey’s own Bro. Ben Hoff, the Right Worshipful Grand Historian. Ben is a kind of forensic historian of Masonic ritual, in that he consults, compares, and contrasts the original source documents (ritual exposures, ciphers, monitors, jurisprudence, et al.) to determine the origins and changes of many ritual elements.

A favorite refrain in Masonry is “We’ve always done it that way,” but Ben’s research belies that simplistic belief, showing that no, we haven’t necessarily always done that, either that way or another way. His paper in this issue of The Journal explains the origins and evolution of how initiates are clothed, received, and conducted. There is much more to it all than you might guess.

His writings are taking the shape of a book, and we at The Masonic Society are proud to serialize his work, chapter by chapter. Believe me, no one else in Masonry is doing the kind of research that Ben does. As I write this, Ben is putting the finishing touches on his next installment, in which he explains a peculiar manuscript’s influence on the Master Mason, Past Master, and Royal Arch degrees. A must read!

Other attractions in this issue include Bro. Shai Afsai’s story about his lodge – Redwood Lodge No. 35 in Rhode Island – and a question of symbolism and conscience. Bro. Peter Knatt on an intersection of British military history and Freemasonry. And a lot more, including editorials, columns, photography, and other features.

I cannot be unbiased, but I can say accurately and respectfully that this is the finest Masonic periodical in North America. And it is only one of the benefits of joining The Masonic Society. We also offer an exclusive (as in, no bogus Mason silliness) on-line forum abuzz with thousands of conversations, discounts on books and other necessities, and tokens of membership like no other – like our stunning patent, on parchment with hand-stamped was seal. For 39 bucks a year! Click here to get involved.

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