The Masonic Society
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
The Masonic Society Announces Speakers for “Frontier” Conference
The Masonic Society has announced the final lineup of nine speakers for its conference “Freemasonry on the Frontier.” The conference will be held October 7-9, 2016, in Morgan Hill, California, just 20 minutes from San Jose International Airport.
Society president Kenneth W. Davis remarked, “We’ve tried build the Masonic event around a particularly distinguished slate of speakers. When possible, we’ve arranged topics chronologically and geographically, tracing the growth of Freemasonry from the Atlantic to the Pacific Ocean.”
Samuel Clemens, better known as “Mark Twain,” will kick off the program with an after-dinner speech Friday evening. Brother Clemens’s talk is made possible by Jefferson H. Jordan, Jr., immediate past master of Masons in New Mexico.
Mark Tabbert, director of collections at the George Washington Masonic Memorial and author of several acclaimed Masonic books, will deliver Saturday morning’s keynote address. His topic will be “George Washington and the Masonic Frontiers of the 1700s.”
Also on Saturday morning, William Miklos, past master of the Northern California Research Lodge, will speak on “Masons Pushing or Pulling the Constitutional Convention,” and Moises Gomez, past grand historian of the Grand Lodge of New Jersey, will speak on “Early Traveling Lodges of the Grand Lodge of New Jersey: Bringing Light to the American Frontier.”
Adam Kendall, collections manager and curator of exhibits for the Henry W. Coil Library and Museum at the Grand Lodge of California and editor of The Plumbline, the quarterly bulletin of the Scottish Rite Research Society, will keynote the Saturday afternoon sessions, speaking on “Pilgrimage and Procession: The 1883 Knights Templar Triennial Conclave and the Dream of the American West.”
Also speaking Saturday aftrernoon will be Kyle Grafstrom, of Verity Lodge 59, Kent, Washington, and author of articles in Philalethes and Living Stones, on “Freemasonry in the Wild West,” and Wayne Sirmon, past master of the Texas Lodge of Research and instructor and fellow at the University of Mobile, on “West by Southwest: The Expansion of Frontier Freemasonry in the Old Southwest.”
John Bizzack, fellow and board member of The Masonic Society, fellow of the Rubicon Masonic Society, Lexington, Kentucky, and author of five books on Freemasonry, will deliver Saturday evening’s after-dinner speech, on “The Expansion of Freemasonry into the West: The Pivotal Role of Kentucky, 1788-1810.”
John Cooper, past grand master and past grand secretary of Masons in California and current president of the Philalethes Society, will keynote Sunday morning with “Freemasonry and Nation-building on the Pacific Coast: The California Experience.” His speech will be followed by a panel of all speakers, discussing with the audience “Freemasonry on the Frontier.”
Sunday afternoon will feature a tour of the Winchester Mystery House, with Masonic connections and said to be haunted.
The conference is directed by Gregg Hall, member of Morgan Hill Masonic Lodge, California, and The Masonic Society’s board of directors.
A registration form and hotel information can be found on The Masonic Society website, at themasonicsociety.com.
Last Updated on Sunday, 13 November 2016 10:06
(This article appeared in Issue #32 of The Journal of The Masonic Society.)
It is never easy to write to the membership of any organization to inform them that dues must increase. Thankfully, for most of the eight years since we started The Masonic Society, we have never felt that expenses were increasing to the extent that a dues increase was warranted, and the original annual rates for membership and subscriptions has remained at a very affordable $39 (US/Canada) and $49 (remainder of the world). However, in the past couple of years, expenditures have risen to the point where the Board of Directors has decided that the steady erosion of the Society's purchasing power needed to be addressed. At the annual meeting of the Board of Directors in February, 2016, it was accordingly proposed and agreed to set the annual membership dues and non-member subscription fees at the following rates, effective for all new and renewal memberships and subscriptions starting October 1, 2016:
Your mailing address locale
Old rate (US Dollars)
New rate (US Dollars)
These rates reflect steady increases in postage costs which have eroded the bottom line. We have actually begun to incur small losses, particularly in overseas memberships, due to postage alone. We have also added staff members and increased compensation for them over the past few years, and the price of consumables and cost of rental space is also steadily rising. As we look to the future and new programs for the Society, it is clear that future budgets will soon overrun total income.
To ease the transition to the new dues structure, the Society will accept renewals for a maximum of three years for all members at the old rates through the cutoff date of September 30, 2016. Please note the following restrictions and recommendations:
Please do not ask us to make exceptions to these provisions. We believe we are giving due and timely notice to all members and there should be no reason for any exception to be made.
Unfortunately, non-profit organizations are not zero-sum games where money in equals money out. Faced with a choice of spending down our existing capital and not raising dues, or raising dues to keep enough money in the bank for ongoing operations, we have chosen to increase revenue. It is our sincere hope that these increases will not prevent our current members from continuing to enjoy the Journal and the other programs provided by The Masonic Society.
Last Updated on Wednesday, 27 July 2016 09:44
The Masonic Society School is proud to announce its inaugural course:
Study of the History and Philosophy of Freemasonry
Online videos and discussion forum
October 17-December 19, 2016
The nine video lectures will include an overview of the early operative Freemasons as well as the formation of the Grand Lodge of England and its constitutions; Masonic jurisprudence; the practice and nature of Masonic initiation; Freemasons at the time of the American Revolution; anti-Masonic movements; Women in Masonry; Rosicrucian and Egyptian influences in Masonry; the spiritual nature of Masonry; and more. Students and the instructor will have a private forum for discussing the lectures and reading.
Students will submit a final paper that can be used as the basis for a presentation or article.
Instructor: Michael R. Poll
Michael R. Poll is owner of Cornerstone Book Publishers. He is a fellow and past president of The Masonic Society, a fellow of the Philalethes Society, a fellow of the Maine Lodge of Research, secretary of the Louisiana Lodge of Research, and a full member of the Texas Lodge of Research.
A New York Times bestselling writer and publisher, Michael is a prolific writer, editor, and publisher of Masonic and esoteric books. As time permits, he travels and speaks on the history of Freemasonry, with a particular focus on the early history of the Scottish Rite. His book Masonic Enlightenment: The Philosophy, History and Wisdom of Freemasonry will be the text for the course, available at a 40 percent discount or included in the course fee.
Michael lives in New Orleans, LA, with his wife and two sons.
The course is open exclusively to TMS members. For more information, see the introductory video, below.
Last Updated on Thursday, 23 June 2016 10:58
The Masonic Society
2016 Annual Conference - "Freemasonry on the Frontier"
October 7 through 9, 2016
Morgan Hill Masonic Lodge, Morgan Hill, California
(20 minutes from San Jose International Airport)
The conference will begin Friday evening with an informal dinner and end with lunch on Sunday. A tour of the Winchester Mystery House—possibly haunted and with Masonic connections—will be offered Sunday at 2. (Tour requires separate registration -- please see the Eventbrite page.)
NOTICE: PLEASE DO NOT SEND ANY REGISTRATION FORMS OR PAYMENTS TO MORGAN HILL LODGE. THE LODGE IS NOT HANDLING ANY REGISTRATION FOR THIS EVENT. ALL REGISTRATIONS AND PAYMENTS MUST BE MADE THROUGH THE EVENTBRITE LINK. THANK YOU FOR YOUR COOPERATION.
|All-Inclusive Admission||Includes basic conference admission and all three conference meals. This is a $20 savings over purchasing all tickets separately. NOTE: Does NOT include the Winchester Mystery House tour.||$100.00|
|Basic Conference Admission||Basic Conference admission to attend the speaker sessions. No meals included. Meals may be purchased individually, or see the "all-inclusive" ticket instead.||$50.00|
|Friday Dinner||Friday buffet dinner only. Does not include admission to speaker sessions.||$20.00|
|Saturday Luncheon||Saturday luncheon only. Does not include admission to speaker sessions.||$15.00|
|Saturday Banquet||Saturday evening banquet only. Does not include admission to speaker sessions.||$35.00|
|Winchester Mystery House Tour||Optional tour of the Winchester Mystery House, 2PM Sunday October 9. Subject to cancellation depending on number of participants as of the cutoff date. If the tour is cancelled, full refunds of the tour ticket price will be made.||$30.00|
Morgan Hill Masonic Center
380 W Dunne Ave
Morgan Hill, CA 95037
Accommodations: Discounted rate of $139.00 per night available at the Courtyard by Marriott Morgan Hill, 18610 Madrone Pkwy, Morgan Hill, CA 95037. Telephone: 408-782-6034 and mention The Masonic Society to get the discounted rate or reserve online at:
All times are Pacific Daylight Time
|Friday, October 7, 7:00 PM: Informal Dinner|
Samuel Langhorne Clemens
|Samuel Clemens was made a Mason in 1861, at Polar Star Lodge 79, St. Louis, MO. His many literary works (often published under the name Mark Twain) include accounts of his life and travel on the Western frontier.
Clemens’s appearance is made possible by Jefferson H. Jordan, Jr., immediate past grand master of Masons in New Mexico and an authority on Clemens’s life and work. A Vietnam veteran, Jordan attended Texas Western College and is now the owner of Pioneer Equipment Sales.
|Saturday, October 8, 9:00 AM|
|Mark A. Tabbert||“George Washington and the Masonic Frontiers of the 1700s”
Mark A. Tabbert is director of collections at the George Washington Masonic National Memorial Association in Alexandra, VA. He is the author of several books on Freemasonry and American fraternalism and is currently working on three books on George Washington and Freemasonry-related topics.
|Saturday, October 8, 10:00 AM|
|William Miklos||“Masons Pushing or Pulling the Constitutional Convention”
William Miklos is founding master of the Golden Compasses Research Lodge and past master of the Northern California Research Lodge.
|Saturday, October 8, 11:00 AM|
|Moises Gomez||“Early Traveling Lodges of the Grand Lodge of New Jersey: Bringing Light to the American Frontier”
Moises Gomez is Grand Historian of the Grand Lodge of New Jersey. As a member of the Emergency Service Unit of the Port Authority of New York and New Jersey, he was among the first responders at the World Trade Center on September 11, 2001.
|Saturday, October 8, 12:00 Noon|
|Luncheon||The Masonic Society: Introductions and Announcements|
|Saturday, October 8, 1:30 PM|
|Adam Kendall||“Pilgrimage and Procession: The 1883 Knights Templar Triennial Conclave and the Dream of the American West”
Adam Kendall is the collections manager and curator of exhibits for the Henry W. Coil Library and Museum at the Grand Lodge of California. He has served as president of the Masonic Library and Museum Association and is editor of The Plumbline, the quarterly bulletin of the Scottish Rite Research Society.
|Saturday, October 8, 2:30 PM|
|Kyle Grafstrom||“Freemasonry in the Wild West”
Kyle Grafstrom is junior warden of Verity Lodge 59 in Kent, WA. He is a special education teacher, manager of the Kent Masonic Hall, and an independent researcher and author. He has been published in Philalethes and Living Stones.
|Saturday, October 8, 3:30 PM|
|Wayne Sirmon, MAEd, MA||“South by Southwest: The Expansion of Frontier Freemasonry from the Old Southwest”
Wayne Sirmon, 33°, is treasurer of Mobile Lodge 40. A past master of the Texas Lodge of Research, he served the Grand Lodge of Alabama as chairman of the Masonic Education Committee for eight years. Sirmon is adjunct instructor in history and an honorary fellow at the University of Mobile.
|Saturday, October 8, 7:00 PM: Dinner|
|Speaker: John Bizzack, PhD||“The Expansion of Freemasonry into the West: The Pivotal Role of Kentucky, 1788-1810”
John Bizzack is education chair of Lexington (KY) Lodge 1, fellow of the Rubicon Masonic Society, Lexington, fellow of The Masonic Society, and an independent researcher and author. He is author of several books and papers on leadership, criminal investigation, and organizational management, as well as five books and dozens of publications about Freemasonry.
|Sunday, October 9, 9:00 AM|
|John Cooper, PhD||“Freemasonry and Nation-building on the Pacific Coast: The California Experience”
John Cooper is past grand master and past grand secretary of Masons in California. He holds a PhD in education from Claremont Graduate School and has held various teaching and administrative posts in the public schools of California. He is past master of both Northern and Southern Research Lodges, and is currently president of the Philalethes Society.
|Sunday, October 9, 10:00 AM|
|Panel of Presenters||“Freemasonry on the Frontier”|
|Sunday, October 9, 2:00 PM|
|Tour of the Winchester Mystery House, possibly haunted and with Masonic connections|
The conference will begin Friday evening with an informal dinner and end with lunch on Sunday. A tour of the Winchester Mystery House—possibly haunted and with Masonic connections—will be offered Sunday at 2.
Watch this space for further information as it develops.
Dress: Minimum business casual (Collared shirt, dress slacks, no jeans, teeshirts, or tennis shoes)
Parking: Ample free parking on site
Smoking: Morgan Hill Masonic Center is a non-smoking facility.
Handicapped Facilities: Yes
* All times are Pacific Daylight Time
Last Updated on Friday, 19 August 2016 08:45
The Scholar will receive a $2,500 grant to conduct a Masonic research project during the following year. During that year, the Scholar will be available for a limited number of presentations to Lodges of Research and other Masonic organizations, who will pay only travel expenses. At the end of the year, the Scholar will present the product of his research at a TMS event.
Details on applying will be announced here, in the Journal, and on the members’ forum.
Last Updated on Sunday, 05 June 2016 11:06