RW Cameron M. Bailey

Deputy Grand Master, The MW Grand Lodge Of Washington

A few folks have asked me about the dress code for our Lodge visit in Puerto Vallarta, and if they need to bring a suit.

When I have visited the Lodge in the past I did so in slacks and a dress shirt. No jacket. I was not underdressed. It will be warm in the Lodge Room, so a jacket is probably something to be avoided.

Slacks and dress shirt will be just fine.

If something changes about this between now and our trip, I will let everyone know.

Remember however that you will need to bring your own Apron. Loaner aprons are an odd custom shared by United States Lodges, not practiced in the rest of the world.

#GrandLodgeTrip

-Cameron

Cameron M. Bailey Deputy Grand Master The MW Grand Lodge F&AM of Washington

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This list was compiled based upon the recommendations of the active users of Emeth. All are experienced Freemasons, committed to quality Masonic education. The list is subject to, and will, change and grow.

For the man considering Masonry

  1. Freemasons for Dummies by Chris Hodapp
  2. Complete Idiot's Guide To Freemasonry by S. Brent Morris
  3. A Pilgrim's Path by John J. Robinson
  4. The Man Who Would Be King by Rudyard Kipling
  5. The Mother Lodge by Rudyard Kipling

For the Entered Apprentice

  1. Chapter One, Morals And Dogma by Albert Pike
  2. Mackey's Encyclopedia of Freemasonry by Albert Mackey
  3. The Timaeus by Plato

For the Fellow Craft

  1. Chapter Two, Morals And Dogma by Albert Pike
  2. Heredom. Any and all editions. SRRS
  3. 1001 Arabian Nights by Richard Burton
  4. The Song of Solomon

For the new Master Mason

  1. Observing the Craft by Andrew Hammer
  2. Esoterika by Albert Pike
  3. The Craft and its Symbols by Allen Roberts
  4. Stellar Theology and Masonic Astronomy by Robert Brown
  5. But I Digress by James Tresner
  6. Chapter 3, Morals And Dogma by Albert Pike
  7. Contemplative Masonry by C.R. Dunning
  8. Contemplating Craft Freemasonry by Kirk MacNulty
  9. The Way of the Craftsman by Kirk MacNulty
  10. Know Thyself by Michael Schiavello

For the seasoned Master Mason

  1. Masonic Rivalries and Literary Politics by Marsha Schuchard
  2. The Symbolism of Freemasonry by Albert Mackey
  3. The Builders by Joseph Newton
  4. Masonic Monitor by George Thornburgh
  5. Solomon's Builders by Chris Hodapp
  6. Measured Expectations by Michael Poll
  7. Hamlet's Mill by Santillana & Von Dechen
  8. Morals And Dogma by Albert Pike
  9. Laudable Pursuit by Knights of the North
  10. Whither Are We Traveling by Dwight Smith
  11. Born In Blood by John J. Robinson
  12. Restorations of Masonic Geometry and Symbology by H.P.H. Bromwell
  13. North American Freemasonry by Thomas Jackson

For The Mason Contemplating Office

  1. A Traditional Observance Lodge by Cliff Porter
  2. The Purple Of The Fraternity by Dan Hrinko
  3. How to Become a Masonic Lodge Officer by H.L. Haywood
  4. Macoy's Worshipful Master's Assistant by Allen Roberts
  5. Operative Freemasonry by Kirk White

For All

  1. Emeth

#RecommendedReading

-Cameron

Cameron M. Bailey Deputy Grand Master The MW Grand Lodge F&AM of Washington

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I'm a member of a large online Masonic discussion group. A topic published in it tonight clearly shows one of the major reasons for the Fraternity's membership declines and retention issues.

A young EA asked:

“Being new to the craft and having many questions and not wanting to spoil any up coming rituals I plan on doing some reading. Would Morals and Dogma (Annotated) by Albert Pike be a good read to inform but no spoil my journey?”

Of course we know that reading Morals & Dogma would not spoil his upcoming Degrees because it contains no ritual elements. Rather it is Pike's Lectures for the Scottish Rite Degrees, including the Craft Degrees of EA, FC, & MM.

Certainly no harm whatsoever can come to a Mason, or to anyone else for that matter from reading this book. I started reading it myself as an EA, and I've continued reading it ever since.

Then the irrational and harmful answers to this young man's question came. They included such gems as:

“Absolutely not. It's really only of interest to people who have been through the 32 degrees of the Scottish Rite, specifically in the Southern Jurisdiction of the United States.” -This from a Past Master in Texas who apparently never bothered to read the book, so doesn't understand that it does include Lectures for the EA, FC, & MM Degrees.

“Nope. Morals and Dogma is highly overrated and frequently misunderstood. It has some value for members of Southern Jurisdiction Scottish Rite who want to dive into the degrees. It has virtually no relevance or value for craft lodge degrees.” -This from a Junior Warden in Indiana, who apparently also managed to miss the Craft Degree Lectures in the book.

“My strongest recommendation, and I can’t stress this enough, is that as you’re going through the first three degrees you should only work with material provided to you by your Grand Lodge education committee. Anything else can screw you up, because what’s done in one jurisdiction may not be done the same in another, and at this point you’re not going to be able to recognize the differences, and that could affect any memory work or proficiency you need to pass to proceed to the next degree.” -Texas Past Master. Apparently in his view, if it ain't written by the Grand Lodge it must be bad. Plus, all the ritual work in Morals and Dogma might be different from our EA's GL's ritual work, so will confuse him. Of course there is not a single word of ritual in Pike's Lectures, but alas, why should facts confuse the issue. The important thing is that we keep this poor young man away from scary books.

”...from the perspective of a SJ Scottish Rite Mason who loves Pike’s work and has read M&D... it’s highly overrated. It’s only appropriate for Scottish Rite Masons, and it’s not really that necessary for SR Masons. Even seeing the current SJ degrees and reading M&D alone won’t be very insightful.” -This gem from a Mason in Oklahoma. Seems pretty clear that he is exaggerating his love for Pike's work, and I've got to wonder, if he can actually read Morals and Dogma, and go through the Scottish Rite Degrees, and still not get much insightful out of all of that, why on earth does he bother? The lessons of Masonry do require some level of thought, apparently he needs a wee bit more of that.

“I would absolutely avoid M&D for now.” -Says a Mason from Arizona. What does this Mason suggest the young man read instead? “Corinthians, Genesis 28, Psalm 133” -Golly, the advice this young Mason is getting just keeps getting better and better.

“You'll need to learn to wait. After all, who knows if you want to join an appendant body after you are raised? Maybe you might stay with blue lodge your entire life. Maybe you might want to get involved with OES or the youth groups. Or maybe you'll want to go York Rite or become a Shriner. Maybe you'll focus on committees, or district or GL activities. Or you'll be interested in a lodge of research, or maybe the GL's library or museum. There is so much out there, you just need patience.” -Says a Mason from New Mexico. Getting slightly off topic. Of course what our Mason from New Mexico fails to understand is that this young Mason won't be around long enough to become involved with any of those things, because getting advice like he is getting from this bunch will drive him away from Masonry in very short order.

“There are a few books worse than M&D to give you a masonic education but not that many.” -The UGLE Mason from across the pond helpfully adds.

“No! Don’t read it yet. It’s only appropriate for 32° Masons. It will absolutely spoil your journey” -So says the Oklahoma Mason who's self chosen nickname in the group is a reference to his own penis. He doesn't spell out how the book could possibly spoil this young Mason's journey, but apparently it can, and it is bad. Gotta protect the EA from evil books that spoil things in mysterious ways.

You've read enough of that nonsense now.

So how many people in the group actually told this young Mason that Morals and Dogma contained Lectures? That it specifically contained Lectures for the Craft Degrees? That it contained no ritual, and therefore could not spoil his upcoming Degrees? That it is OK if he reads the book? That people don't have a right to tell other people what to read? That Masonry is a quest for knowledge?

One.

Only one.

Me. I told him these things. No one else did.

I also told him that the book is difficult to read, and that he might find a lot more enjoyment reading something else, but I made it clear that it is OK to read a book.

Nineteen Freemasons told him that it isn't OK to read a book.

Unbelievable.

Over 90% of Masons surveyed by the Masonic Service Association said that Masonic Education was very important to them. Over 65% of those respondents said that their Lodge provides no Masonic Education.

Think about that for a moment.

If we think about it long enough we will understand why Freemasonry does not retain its Masons.

Here is a brand spankin' new Mason, crying out for some Masonic Education. He obviously doesn't have a decent mentor in his Lodge or he wouldn't have had to run off to the internet to ask his question. All he wants to do is read a book and these 'elders' in the Craft do all they can to discourage him.

What's most fun about all of their pronouncements is that it is quite clear from their own statements that not a one of them realize that Morals and Dogma contains Lectures for the Craft Degrees. As these first three Lectures are at the very start of the book, it clearly shows that not a one of them have ever actually read the thing.

That is usually the case with Morals and Dogma though. Forever condemned as too hard to read by Masons who have never actually bothered to try and read it.

I also notice that if their concern truly was that he would read into the non-craft Degrees, not a one of them recommended Pike's book written specifically for the Craft Degrees, Esoterika, Symbolism Of The Blue Degrees Of Freemasonry. Perhaps because their Lodges don't have a dozen copies of it laying around, gathering dust, so they don't even know it exists.

Reading things like this reminds me again that it is Masons who are destroying Masonry. Masons who are refusing to teach Masonry to the young men who knock on our doors. Masons who discourage rather than encourage free inquiry among our own initiates.

Hence, I guess, why I'm currently working on Emeth. An online space that celebrates Freemasonry and Freemasonic education. A place where those who value the lessons of Freemasonry can discuss them without being drowned out by those who believe our Ancient Craft to be nothing more than a goofy old social club with aprons.

Sorry if this post tilts pretty close to a rant. I try to write positive things most all the time, but once in awhile one must call out what is so obviously wrong.

#MoralsAndDogma

-Cameron

Cameron M. Bailey Deputy Grand Master The MW Grand Lodge F&AM of Washington

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We didn't plan the Grand Lodge trip to Puerto Vallarta in such a way that we would be notified as to people's plans. It's a much more informal, 'see you there' kind of thing. We thought in that way, people would have a good deal more ability to make their plans fit our activities. For example, if they needed to arrive later, or leave earlier.

I say this as a way of explanation as to why I am posting trip details on this platform. I've got to do it publicly, because I don't know for certain who I would need to send them to privately.

What I do know, since he told me, is that we have a Brother and his wife arriving a few days early. So, I thought that I'd better post a little something for folks who might be doing the same. A virtual tour guide if you will, since I won't be there yet to serve as an actual tour guide.

Airport: On the plane, you'll be given a piece of paper to fill out. Short and sweet, name and such. This will become your Visa, and you'll need it to leave the Country, so don't lose it.

After you get off the plane you'll go to baggage claim, then through Customs and Immigration, just as you would in the US. It will be faster than the US because it is a small airport that doesn't have to process too awfully many folks.

Where it gets interesting is what comes next.

You will leave Customs. It will be very obvious that you are leaving the Customs area as you walk out the doorway. In front of you will be a long, wide hallway, filled with people. At the end of the hallway, you will see the public area of the airport. While you are in this hallway, every single other person in it is a time share salesman. If you don't engage with them, and just keep on walking, you'll be through the hallway and free of them in 30 seconds or less. If you feel badly about ignoring them, and do talk to them, you will end up buying a time share in Mexico. Not, in my opinion, what you want to do.

Just ignore them, and make your way to the door. It's easy.

The interesting thing though, is hearing the claims they make trying to get people to stop and talk. Maybe they will say that they are the Taxi service. Once I had one tell me that he was from Mexican Customs and they had a question that I had to answer. They get creative. Just ignore it and keep on walking.

Taxi: At the airport, just walk outside. Taxis will be everywhere. Jump in the first one you see and off you go.

Tell the driver you are headed to San Marino Hotel, in Zona Romantica.

Taxis in Vallarta don't use meters. They will charge you for the ride based on a set formula. Taxis are extremely cheap. Don't worry about it. The most expensive Taxi ride you will take while there will be the ride in from the Airport. This is because there is a tax that the driver must pay each time he takes someone out of the Airport. You'll notice him stop at a toll booth thing as you get underway, that is what he is doing.

I have heard, for 40 years now, that before you ever get into a Taxi you need to negotiate the price, for if you do not, you'll be hammered when you get to your destination. Such advice is posted all over Facebook and everywhere else even to this day.

I don't care if you do it or not, but I do want you to know that it is nonsense. As I say, I've been hearing that crap about Taxi drivers taking advantage for 40 years. I never pre-negotiate or even ask, and I've never been taken advantage of. It is best to ignore such 'advice.'

Here is a true story: A few years back we were in Vallarta with some good friends of ours. They took a Taxi somewhere or another. He didn't notice it, but his wallet fell out of his pocket with all of his cash and credit cards in it while they were in the Taxi. He discovered what happened when the Taxi Driver showed up at our Hotel room, with his wallet in hand, including all of his cash. Which was a large amount.

The Tunnel: When traveling to your hotel from the Airport it is nice to go through the City, along the bay, so that you can see the sights.

Sometimes your Taxi driver will take you a different route.

You'll head out of the dense urban area, up on the hill a bit, and through some neighborhoods and a tunnel.

Don't worry about it.

If he is taking you that way he is doing so because the streets along the water are clogged to the point of not moving. This will very likely be the case if you are arriving before us because there is a massive parade through the downtown, ending at the Church, every day from December 1 to 12.

So, you'll probably end up going through the tunnel. As I say, don't worry, it's just a bypass road, and soon enough you'll be back in the heart of the City, on the water.

The taxi will drop you at the San Marino and you'll be all set. If you prefer Uber, that works great in Vallarta too, but Taxis are everywhere, so it isn't really needed. Taxi or Uber, you'll pay for your ride in cash, not through the app.

Money: Don't worry much about it. Credit cards are accepted just about everywhere. (Call your bank before you go so they don't turn it off.) I don't generally use them though, preferring to use Cash in Mexico. US dollars spend just fine. There is no need to convert them into Pesos. (This is not the case in all parts of the country, but it is in Vallarta.) Everyone will take dollars.

The only thing is, small bills only. Everything we will purchase or use in Mexico is extremely inexpensive compared to the US. You would have an extremely difficult time trying to use a $100 or even $50 bill anywhere but an extremely fancy restaurant or the like. $1, $5, $10 are best, and most places can break a $20. Expect to get your change back in Pesos.

There are cash machines in Vallarta, if you need one. I have never used one, so have no idea as to fees or whatever. Just take enough cash is the easiest way to travel.

Food: If you stand at the front lobby door of the San Marino (not the pool deck, but where the Taxi let you off.) you'll be on Rodolfo Gomez street. Turn right, you'll see that you can head to the beach. At the beach, hang a left and you'll very quickly find La Palapa Restaurant. You can't go wrong here.

Take a left instead on Rodolfo Gomez and walk the half a block to the cross street, Olas Altas. This street is filled with wonderful restaurants. Pick one, you will have a very hard time going wrong. Either direction on Olas Altas from the corner will be just fine.

If you turn left at the corner of Rodolfo Gomez and walk three blocks to Bassilio Badillo, that is considered 'restaurant row.' Again, just pick one, you will not go wrong. Loads of truly amazing restaurants run the entire length of Bassilio Badillo.

Shopping, Walking, Exploring: One block beyond the corner of Bassilio Badillo and Olas Altas, the road ends, turning into a 'boardwalk' type thing. Just continue down Olas Altas. The 'boardwalk,' Malecon begins here. Along it you can wander the rest of the way through the Romantic District, and there are good beach restaurants. If you continue walking for awhile, you'll cross over the river. You'll see an island down there, it too has some great restaurants and shopping, the River Cafe is a standout.

Once across the river, you are now in downtown. This part of town has a much different feel than the romantic district. Excellent shopping abounds, as do massive nightclubs. Explore till your hearts content.

If you hit the Hotel Rosita, turn around and head back, there is little to see or do beyond the Rosita. The Malecon is closed to cars, but taxis back right up against it, so don't worry about going too far, they will always drive you back. Melinda and I generally walk the entire distance of the Malecon, through both the romantic district and downtown at least a few times each trip.

There you go. That should keep you plenty busy, and well fed before I arrive to show you more.

All of the areas mentioned in this missive are safe. You can be out on foot at any hour of the day or night and be safe.

One tiny thing: On Olas Altas, you'll see a very nice looking restaurant called Kaiser Maximilian. The food might be good, I don't know, I've never eaten there. Please don't eat there. Calling a restaurant Kaiser Maximilian in Mexico is unbelievably tacky. Maximilian was a dictator, installed and maintained by european force, only removed through revolution.

One other tiny thing: Please tip everyone, and tip well. Mexico is a very poor country compared to the US, and in Vallarta your tips are seriously relied upon. This includes the hotel maids who should be tipped generously. Plus, once you are known to tip well, you'll find it really pays off in the level of service and care received.

#GrandLodgeTrip

-Cameron

Cameron M. Bailey Deputy Grand Master The MW Grand Lodge F&AM of Washington

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As a reminder, the Grand Lodge of Washington will be having a Christmas trip to Puerto Vallarta this year.

We'll fly into Puerto Vallarta Mexico on Monday, December 13, 2021.

On Thursday, December 16, 2021 we will visit Puerto Vallarta Masonic Lodge. Early indications are that we will be joined by the MW Grand Master of the MW York Grand Lodge of Mexico.

Please remember to bring your own Masonic Apron. Lodge owned loaner aprons are a odd American custom not followed in most other nations.

On Friday, December 17, 2021 we will have the Grand Lodge Christmas Party at my mother's home in Puerto Vallarta. All are of course welcome and encouraged to attend.

It is going to be a spectacular trip, and I sincerely hope that you can join us!

Melinda and I are going to stay at the San Marino Hotel, in Puerto Vallarta's Romantic District.

The San Marino is perfectly located, directly on the beach, immediately adjacent to the famous Los Muertos Pier.

Hotel San Marino

We reserved a Junior Suite, with a water view. If seeing the Bay of Banderas from your room is important to you, please make sure to request a water view. Otherwise you will have a view of the City.

Please note that Melinda and I frequently travel to Mexico, including to areas that are not frequented by tourists from the United States. We therefore might have more tolerance for local lodging quirks and standards than other people.

The San Marino is not a resort like millions of people from the United States flock to each and every year. Please do not expect the standards of a fancy resort.

The San Marino offers rooms, plus all inclusive packages. I would very strongly advise you to just rent a room. One of the great benefits of the San Marino is that it is surrounded by dozens of truly world class restaurants. One would miss out on that by doing an all inclusive package.

If you think that you would be more comfortable in a beach resort like most American visitors to Mexico stay in, we would recommend that you stay at the Sheraton Buganvilias. This is a decision that only you can make, but in my opinion the San Marino's prime location outweighs any little annoyances that might be found.

I have stayed at the Sheraton many times. You will find all of the standards you might expect from a high end resort.

The disadvantage to the Sheraton is its location. You will need to take a Taxi or an Uber to get just about anywhere within the City, and traffic can be a nightmare in Vallarta.

Puerto Vallarta, Nuevo Vallarta, and Marina Vallarta offer hundreds of massive and extremely luxurious resort choices. The reason we are recommending the Sheraton is that it is the closest located such resort to the part of the City that you will want to spend time in.

Sheraton Buganvilias Resort

Please don't hesitate to contact me if you have any questions about the trip, or about either of these Hotels.

I notice that probably due to pent up demand due to Covid, rooms in Vallarta in December are getting very rare. I recommend that you books soon.

You will need a passport for travel to Mexico. If you don't have one, please get one as soon as possible.

I was asked recently about cellular telephones. Check with your service provider to confirm, but our cell phones (T-Mobile Unlimited Plan) work in Mexico exactly the same as if we were at home, with no additional cost.

I was also asked about Credit Cards. Credit Cards are accepted just about everywhere in Mexico, just as they are here. Often however, a better deal can be had for cash. I always spend cash in Mexico, but others use Credit Cards or Debit Cards. ATM's are common in Vallarta, as are money exchange places.

#GrandLodgeTrip

-Cameron

Cameron M. Bailey Deputy Grand Master The MW Grand Lodge F&AM of Washington

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This post is quite early, but I wanted to make certain that the Freemasons of Washington knew about a couple upcoming events well in advance so that plans could be made.

I hope that each of you will consider joining Melinda and I on the following journeys:

Saturday, August 21, 2021 The Torchlight Degree Masonic Park, Granite Falls WA

This is a Second Degree given under torchlight in the outdoor Lodge room at the Masonic Park.

The Degree was brainstormed at a weekend Lodge trip to Potts Of Gold on the Hood Canal. Since that time, District 8, along with the assistance of Centralia Lodge has done a superb job creating an amazing Degree experience, and an equally amazing weekend under the stars. All of us who have come to love this owe a great debt of thanks to VW Larry Foley who has been the man largely responsible for its development.

In addition to the darkness and the torches, this is a fully costumed Degree.

For the 2021 Degree, the Grand Lodge Officers will open and close the Lodge. If you would like a part in the Degree, reach out to VW Foley, he is creating the team.

As a prelude to the 2021 Degree, a performance of the Defense Of The Ruffians will be performed, also under torchlight, on Friday, August 20.

Melinda and I plan on arriving at the park on the late afternoon of Tuesday, August 17, and we will depart on the morning of Sunday, August 22. A Masonic program/discussion will take place each evening we are there.

For more information about this, or to get any questions answered, please contact VW Larry Foley, DDGM District 8.

I hope that you can join us!

Monday, December 13, 2021 Freemasons In Paradise Trip Puerto Vallarta, Mexico

On Monday, December 13, 2021 we will fly into the beautiful city of Puerto Vallarta Mexico. We'll spend a week there, flying home on the afternoon of Monday, December 20, 2021.

We will stay in the Romantic District, enjoying the amazing food and natural scenery of this very popular destination.

The week will be a superb mixture of relaxation and amazing activities. A perfect way to spend time with our Brothers, enjoying the fellowship of Freemasonry.

Some significant dates: Thursday, December 16, 2021 We will visit Puerto Vallarta Lodge No. 34

Friday, December 17, 2021 The Grand Lodge of Washington Christmas Party will be held at my mother's home in Puerto Vallarta.

Monday, December 20, 2021 We will return home, leaving the sun and warmth behind.

More details will be forthcoming. Please don't reserve hotel yet, I'll send a list of hotels to consider that will be convenient to our activities when the dates grow closer.

Do make certain that you bring your own Masonic Apron to Puerto Vallarta. Lodge loaner aprons are a goofy United States custom, not repeated in most of the rest of the world.

Please feel free to arrive in Mexico earlier or later, and leave as needed for your schedule. I'll keep you apprised of any plans, but our main activities will be on the 16th and 17th of December.

Remember that you will need a passport for travel to Mexico. If you don't yet have one, better apply very soon.

This is going to be a superb trip. Melinda and I spend a great deal of time in Puerto Vallarta (and elsewhere in Mexico) we will be honored to show you everything we love.

Let me know if you want to join us in Mexico, that will make it easy to ensure that I get all the information you need to you.

Please join us!

#Dates

-Cameron

Cameron M. Bailey Deputy Grand Master The MW Grand Lodge F&AM of Washington

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As you probably have seen by now, I'm in the process of trying to create a new newsletter and community of sorts. A well curated, high quality online gathering place for Masons and Masonic education.

I've named this project Emeth, and it will be having its Grand Opening on this upcoming Sunday, March 7, 2021.

I'm doing this for a number of reasons, not the least of which is from seeing what Social Media is doing to our interpersonal relationships, and at this point, even our society. The impact is not good.

Social media companies make money by keeping all of us scrolling through news-feeds. They have learned that the best way to do that is to shock or anger us, and by confirming our biases. So, they've created extremely complex software that learns exactly what kind of content causes a strong emotional reaction within each of us as individuals, and they endlessly deliver that content.

This is why our news-feeds are now largely click-bait, fake news, headlines screaming when the stories behind them just don't justify the hype, and weird theories over facts.

To make matters even worse, in order to increase revenue, in the early days of social media things like Lodge pages, or the page of the restaurant down the street from one's home could be found organically as one used the platform. Not anymore. Now if these small, local pages want visibility, they have to advertise, they must pay in order to be seen.

Moderation has also become a terrible controversy, and a serious problem. Individual Masons and Masonic bodies are continually having their intellectual property and names stolen by criminals seeking to make a quick buck. Social Media platforms no longer seem to care, reporting these criminals often leads to no action at all being taken. Perhaps this is because the massive controversy surrounding moderation has taken up all available attention at the platforms, or perhaps it is because the activities of criminals results in yet more eyeballs for the platform's advertisers.

All of this is resulting in a Social Media experience that is making us as a people angry and mean as we endlessly scroll through our news-feeds each day. Civility online is largely dead. In many cases even dead within Masons, men who are largely committed to leading civil and charitable lives.

We, as a people, are growing increasingly hostile online, and now that is spilling out into the real world of live human interaction. Our society can not survive if current trends towards collective anger and even hatred continue.

We, as Freemasons, more than any other group of people in this world, have a duty to do what we can to stop it. To try and bring civility back to everyday interactions, both online and off. We, who's philosophy is largely responsible for the creation of this great nation have a duty to try and fix what is ailing it.

I'm not the first person to point out what Social Media platforms are doing to our society. Countless others have done so for a long time now. Those doctors who study the human brain have even pointed out how our minds become wired differently as we engage with our news-feeds, and how our bodies drug our minds when we see the likes pouring in.

Personally, I use Facebook. A lot. I use it probably 99% of the time for Masonic related things, and I have for many years now. I do it because it is where the Masons are. I do it because it affords me the opportunity to interact with thousands of Brothers, good men in my own hometown, across the country, and around the world.

But, it isn't the same as it was.

If I think about it and try to remember it how it was in the earlier days, my incoming news-feed was much more Masonic. I saw all the posts from my Brothers, we interacted about Masonry. Now most of what comes to me is politics and cultural rants. It's not the same.

Of course there is a very good reason for this. When a guy posts about a Degree his Lodge did that came off exceptionally well, or a Lodge posts about a fundraiser for its scholarship fund, those posts naturally get few clicks, for Masonry only interests a tiny percentage of people today. That's not good for the business of Social Media. On the other hand, a post about forcing the Speaker of the House out of office will get a lot more engagement, hence make a lot more money for the owners of the platform. There's a reason these folks are worth many billions of dollars.

Just for fun, I just took a look at my news-feed while I was writing this. Post #1 Speaker Pelosi, Post #2 Election Security, Post #3 Belize, Post #4 Nachos, Post #5 Texas Energy Policy, Post #6 Gun Rights, Post #7 Grammar Police, Post #8 The Devil, and Post #9 (Finally!) Freemasonry.

This on my Facebook that has at least 90% Freemasons on the Friends List, and 99% Masonic posts. I have, on occasion posted about guns, but never any of those other things. They are there to try and cause a reaction within me, to cause me to keep on scrollin. Also, interestingly, none of the posts was from a Masonic Lodge or other Masonic body's page, despite the fact that I like every one I can find.

Bottom line:

Social Media is directly causing massive negative impacts in our society. It's influence is evil.

I think that we probably all recognize that to be true, but we give it our attention anyway.

So, one of the big reasons I'm creating Emeth is to help break the stranglehold that Social Media now has over online Masonic discourse.

I want an online home where we as Masons can engage with each other about Masonry. Without all of the insanity that today's online attention economy demands.

Emeth will offer its readers regularly published articles about Freemasonry in all its aspects. It is my hope that readers find these articles to be high quality, educational, and thought provoking. It is my dream that through them we all become better men and Masons.

Emeth will also offer its readers carefully curated, meaningful discussions, on topics of interest to Freemasons, and of benefit to our Lodges. I seek to facilitate the sharing of ideas, in a quality way, for the wide benefit of our Ancient Craft.

I am also creating Emeth because I greatly enjoy writing about Freemasonry, and I know through objective data that many Masons enjoy reading my words.

Alas though, while I love writing about Freemasonry, I know myself well enough to know that I don't do particularly well without deadlines and pressure. Emeth will provide me with those deadlines, with a schedule that will cause (force?) me to write as I want to write. Do as I want to do.

I can't write about Emeth without mentioning cost. I'll say it up front, Emeth is not going to be free. Full participation will come with a price tag attached. This might be surprising to some because we have all grown accustomed to everything online being free.

I think we are all smarter than that though, nothing online is actually free. Google gives us 'free' services in exchange for our data, as does Facebook and all the other big tech companies out there. They make their billions by selling our data to advertisers who can then target us as consumers with uncanny precision.

There's nothing wrong with that in my view, but it isn't in keeping with my vision of what Emeth will be or will become.

Emeth will be supported by payments from those who enjoy it enough to want to pay for it. Much will be free, but some will of necessity be locked behind a paywall.

I've also, in fairness, got to say that Emeth won't be particularly cheap. It'll be cheaper than the dues for most Lodges, but not by too much. Quality takes an extraordinary commitment of time, and quality takes resources. Emeth will have to be priced with an understanding of those facts.

This is largely a failing in Masonry, in that we, as Masons, sell it way too cheaply. In far too many cases we don't pay enough in Lodge dues to provide quality meals or refreshment. We don't pay enough dues to provide high quality Lodge programs. We certainly, in most cases, don't pay anywhere near enough to properly maintain our buildings. Emeth can't and won't repeat that mistake.

Looking beyond Emeth, at some point Masonry will need to figure out, one Lodge at a time, just how much money it needs to provide quality, and solve the financial distresses of the Lodges once and for all. That however is a discussion for another day.

Before I close, I want to make it clear that I'm not leaving Facebook entirely for Emeth. I'll still be there, looking for Masonic gems, and posting little bits of my Masonic experience.

I'm also not leaving this write.as blog. Write.as is an extremely elegant tool, with a mission that I can believe in. Plus, lots of folks read what I post here. I'll still be here, posting irregularly as I do now. Likely those posts will be focused, at least a bit on our Grand Jurisdiction.

There you have it, an explanation of my newest project, Emeth. I hope to see you there!

As a reminder, Emeth will officially launch on this upcoming Sunday, March 7, 2021.

If you go there now and sign up for a free account, you will receive the very first post when it goes live at 3:00AM, Sunday.

Visit Emeth

For an explanation of the name Emeth, Click Here

#Emeth

-Cameron

Cameron M. Bailey Deputy Grand Master The MW Grand Lodge F&AM of Washington

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Since the pandemic began, the one thing we have heard more than anything else is:

“Our Lodge wants to hold its Stated Meetings.”

We've heard that again and again, it is clear that the Masons of Washington want to go back to Stated Meetings.

Recently, our Grand Master has authorized Stated Meetings to take place on virtual platforms. In fact, he has required those meetings to either take place, or the Lodge to seek his permission to not hold them.

Frankly, I am very surprised and deeply saddened by the number of requests for permission to not hold Stated Meetings he has received.

Far too many Lodges in Washington have not taken advantage of the opportunity to handle vital business via virtual platforms. Far too many have not created virtual platform based programs of Masonic education.

The move to virtual platforms has undoubtedly been difficult and traumatic for Freemasonry. Equally true however is the fact that we have seen how Freemasonry can be improved through the embrace of these modern tools.

Providing high quality masonic education has never been easier. Checking in with our Brothers who have moved across the country or around the world has never been easier. Even business discussions have been made easier.

If our Lodges are to thrive into the future, they will do so through our ancient practices, enhanced with the use of technology.

For the brother stuck in the hospital, or nursing home, or Florida, how great would it be to be able to join his Lodge meetings via Zoom, since it is impossible for him to be there in person?

For a Temple Board facing an emergency repair, how much easier to pull everyone together via Zoom, then trying to get them all down to the Lodge some evening?

Every Lodge in this Jurisdiction should be regularly meeting, right now, on Zoom. (Or the virtual platform of your choice.)

Some of these regular meetings should be to take care of business. Some of them should be to provide high quality Masonic education. All of them should include candidates and prospective candidates.

This absolutely should be happening now. It should have been happening long before now. There is no excuse not to be doing it.

Lodges that are not doing it, and are continuing to refuse to do it, will not find a bright future.

Frankly, I've heard a lot of excuses that just don't hold water. “Our members don't have computers.” “Our members live where there isn't internet available.” On and on.

Nonsense.

A Chromebook is a great tool for using Zoom. They can be purchased for 150 dollars. The purchaser can take it out of the box, plug it into the wall, open it up, chose a nickname and a password and that is all it takes to be able to join a Zoom meeting.

If a fellow has a cell phone, well, then he has high speed internet perfectly capable of Zooming right through that phone. Heck he can Zoom directly on the phone if desired.

If all else fails, internet hot spots have been created all over Washington State in order to facilitate online education for our students in elementary and high schools. These can be utilized.

Using Zoom on a Chromebook, or any other computer for that matter is little more than clicking on a single link.

Another excuse often heard, not about this, but about Grandview and many other things is: “My Lodge doesn't have a computer.”

Well, all I can say is, buy one.

Again, Chromebooks can be had for 150 dollars. Life Membership checks are being sent to our Lodges right now. Take some of that money, buy a computer for the Lodge Secretary to use, another for the Master or Treasurer. Better yet get 5 so that all the elected officers can be online.

The pandemic has forced the future on all of us, including on our Fraternity. Our Lodges will either chose to utilize the tools of the future and thrive, or they will reject progress and pass into history.

I hope that your Lodge chooses the former.

Surely it is a choice.

The fact that our Legislators have been meeting virtually for a year now, from the largest Western Washington Cities, to the most rural of Eastern Washington farms proves that everyone can do it. No matter where they happen to live.

#Pandemic

-Cameron

Cameron M. Bailey Deputy Grand Master The MW Grand Lodge F&AM of Washington

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As we all know, Freemasonry has a lot of secret words. Passwords for the Degrees and otherwise.

Of course these words serve a valuable purpose. They are one of the ways, when combined with other things, that we can prove that we possess the Degree or Degrees that we claim to have received.

In the modern world, in the United States anyway, we have things like Dues Cards, apps like Amity, and other ways to prove that we are Freemasons. In the ancient world it was more difficult. Words, tokens, grips, and catechisms were vital tools in the Freemasonry of the past. Perhaps a little less so from a practical perspective now, but even today, these words do remain important.

Of course our ritual rarely explains what these words mean in detail, but one of our most illustrious Brothers of the past attempted to do just that when he published his work:

The Book Of The Words by Albert Pike.

One word within that work is Emeth. I find it interesting from two different perspectives.

Pike defined it as meaning:

“Truth, Justice, Right, Fairness, Sincerity, Fidelity, Integrity, Firmness, Stability. A true man.”

I find the word Emeth to be quite perfect as it relates to Freemasons, for surely all of us who properly understand our Ancient Craft seek to embrace these virtues within our own lives, as we strive to progress down the Masonic path which helps a good man become an even better man.

Pile further defined it as meaning:

“Perpetuity, Permanence.”

I find the word equally perfect as it relates to Freemasonry as a whole, for Masonry is undeniably permanent in our world, and I think that all of us strive to ensure its perpetual existence.

Emeth. A great word.

You can find lots more in Pike's book. Available from the Scottish Rite here:

The Book Of The Words

#Books

-Cameron

Cameron M. Bailey Deputy Grand Master The MW Grand Lodge F&AM of Washington

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I think that most Washington Freemasons are aware of the wildfire that destroyed the towns of Malden and Pine City last year. The Fraternity lost the Malden Masonic Temple, but much more importantly, people, including Masons, lost their homes.

We can not of course do everything, but the Grand Lodge of Washington, and our charitable arm, Washington Masonic Charities has been in the area, doing what we can to to help. Since day one.

If the fires were not bad enough, adding insult to injury, when a request was made for Individual Federal Disaster Assistance, that request was delayed for months. Worse yet, it was recently denied.

Rightly or wrongly, this state, like all states, relies heavily on Federal Disaster Assistance to help people who lose everything in natural disasters. For whatever reason, that help has not been there for the people who lost everything in last summer's fires.

In answer to this lack of Federal help a bill was introduced to our Legislature that would give a property tax break to those who lost their homes in the fire. It isn't much, and it certainly can't rebuild shattered lives, but it is something. A small measure of help.

It is Senate Bill 5454.

The Grand Lodge of Washington is pleased to offer its support for this measure. We have provided written support to our State Legislators, and we have testified in support of the bill.

What I am asking of you today is that you contact your Senator about SB 5454. It will be up for a vote in the Senate very soon. Tell them that you support SB 5454 to give some relief to those who suffered so much in the wildfires, and ask them to support it too.

You can find your Senator, and contact information at:

https://app.leg.wa.gov/DistrictFinder/

#LegislativeCommittee

-Cameron

Cameron M. Bailey Deputy Grand Master The MW Grand Lodge F&AM of Washington

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