A Meeting of the Minds
It is a meeting of the minds when the Academy of Masonic Knowledge gathers for its semi-annual meetings, and not all are like-minded, but you can be sure on one thing-- the minds are challenged! At the meeting on March 19th at the Freemasons Cultural Center in the Masonic Village at Elizabethtown, nearly 150 members of the Academy heard two excellent papers on the state of the Craft.
In the morning, Bro. William J. Mollere, Past Grand Master and Past Grand Secretary of the International Supreme Council of the Order of DeMolay, as well as Deputy for the Supreme Council of the Scottish Rite, Southern Jurisdiction, for the State of Louisiana, spoke on Freemasonry in Louisiana. He informed the audience about the diverse history of Freemasonry in Louisiana, where some of the early Lodges were chartered by the Grand Lodge of Pennsylvania. Even today, the ritual varies from Lodge to Lodge across the state.
In the afternoon session, Brother and Doctor John L. Cooper III, Right Worshipful Grand Secretary of the Grand Lodge of California, spoke on The Garbage Can Theory of Masonic History. He suggested that there are plenty of books available about Freemasonry, but that some are just a collection of ridiculous unproven theories, without any foundation or scholarly basis. Responding to a question about the customs and laws of the Grand Lodge of California, and how they differ from Pennsylvania, he stated, (somewhat tongue-in-cheek) that there is "nothing in our law that prohibits a one-day-class -- as long as a man can return his obligation in open Lodge between the degrees."
The traditional question and answer session followed each presentation, with the usual thoughtful queries and insightful comments from the speakers and the panel.
It was reported that over 350 Pennsylvania Masons had attended at least one meeting of the Academy, over 200 had signed up to participate in the Masonic Scholar Program and that over 25% are actively pursing certification by having already submitted at least one paper. Since the Academy began, there have been 38 articles for publication and over 80 Lodge presentations and talks given as a result of the Academy's work.
Bro. Ronald A. Aungst, Sr., R. W. Deputy Grand Master, presented certificates to those who had achieved the Level One Masonic Scholar status. To be recognized as a Level 1, 2 or 3 Masonic Scholar, a man must acquire Masonic Education Credits by reviewing approved Masonic books, presenting Masonic educational papers and writing articles for publication. At present there are 15 Master Masonic Scholars who have completed all three levels of reading and research required for that designation. Details can be found at the Academy page of this website.
The next meeting of the Academy of Masonic Knowledge will be at the Freemasons Cultural Center on October 8, 2005. Any Master Mason may attend. Registration is necessary, but there is no cost for the program or the luncheon. To register contact Bro. Jim Standish at email@example.com or at 1 Pierce Court, Glen Mills, PA 19342-1787. Be sure to provide your name, address, Lodge number, telephone number, and e-mail address.
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