John W. Bizzack, Ph.D.

Shall We Be Frank – Bright Masons And Lesser Light Masons

By John W. Bizzack, Ph.D. / December 29, 2023 /

What makes you a Mason? That question should invoke the same answer from Masons, but it is one of those answers that is not explored in-depth, thus we find it meaning skewed. Comparable in slant is the phrase, it is the internal, not the external that Masonry regards, which so quickly becomes the refrain of those who defend and attempt to justify the range of casual to excessive-casual attire worn to Lodge. Frank was a forty-year veteran member of the fraternity and long-ago, past master. The two lapels of his coat, always adorned with colorful pins attesting his membership in numerous appendant bodies, he was well-known for his uninvited prompts during ritual and other ceremonies and for carrying a copy of the by-laws of his Lodge in the breast pocket of his lapel-laden coat.

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Shooting Ourselves In The Foot American Freenasonrys Tumbles House

Shooting Ourselves In The Foot American Freemasonry: A Tumbled House

By John W. Bizzack, Ph.D. / December 29, 2023 /

The first time American Freemasonry shot itself in the foot was in the final decades of the 18th century. A December 1779 document tells us the state and condition of the Fraternity and offered a bold recommendation to address the condition. The failure of existing Grand Lodges to act on the recommendation cocked the pistol. The failure to do anything about the condition of the Fraternity that led to the recommendation pulled the trigger that led to the limp. The call for Grand Lodges to examine the 1779 recommendation would be made thirteen more times before the end of 1860. Each call was rejected. The indifference and failure to recognize and acknowledge the serious underlying issues that caused the recommendations to resurface for decades led to an aggravating, lasting limp.

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The Art Of Missing The Point – Why Does The Master Wear A Hat?

By John W. Bizzack, Ph.D. / December 29, 2023 /

The true goal of Masonic education should be continuity: preserving what has been learned from one generation to the next rather than neglecting or discounting what has been learned in the past (or from it). There are reports that the Masonic Institution is working on that. Masons do not need to be accomplished historians. There should, however, be some agreement that if we came to Freemasonry to learn (which is one of the things that every man initiated has declared he comes to Freemasonry to do), then is there not some importance too, beyond just finding out there have been men of historical note who were Freemasons, or merely being aware that speculative Masonry is believed to have evolved from operative stonemasons?

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Thanksgiving – Folklore, Miscellany, And The Historical Masonic Connections To The Holiday That You Probably Have Never Heard

By John W. Bizzack, Ph.D. / December 29, 2023 /

Tonight, we are going explore the timely topic for this time of year: Thanksgiving.
I want to share with you a story you may not have heard about how the 4th Thursday in November became our traditional Thanksgiving Holiday. What is the connection between the concern of parents that their children were being corrupted in the early1600 by a government in which they had lost their faith to Thanksgiving Day? How did an unworthy sea vessel, an unexpected ocean storm, a 1621 letter, and a part Cherokee Indian in 1789, lead us to our Thanksgiving Day? What did a Boston Masonic Lodge in 1823 have to do with an anti-slavery book and the woman who wrote Mary Had a Little Lamb and an 1827 lady’s magazine article with a recipe have to do with how our Thanksgiving Day came about? What did Secretary War and anti-Mason, William Steward in Lincoln’s administration have to do with writing Lincoln’s 1863 proclamation to celebrate a Day of Thanksgiving?

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Testing The Resilience Of Freemasonry – The Inartful Practice Of Hazarding Guesses

By John W. Bizzack, Ph.D. / December 29, 2023 /

Educator, public official, and political reformer, John W. Gardner, may have said it best, “History never looks like history when you are living through it.” The direction of the Institution of American Freemasonry, much of its administration and many of the practices used to deliver the promise of Freemasonry have always been influenced by external circumstances, situations, and conditions. Not every response from the Institution to past external influences has been artful and rippling effects from the decisions and choices made during challenging times prove to affect American Freemasonry long after they are made. There is no reason today to believe the same will not happen as the fraternity moves through the current situation created by the global pandemic. In some ways, shifts in our thinking has already started as we travel closer to this latest crossroad.

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So Much Written John Bizzack And Dan Kemble

So Much Written To Be Read By So Few Masons Who Don’t Bother To Read

By John W. Bizzack, Ph.D. and Dan M. Kemble / December 29, 2023 /

You may know the saying, Reading is sowing. Rereading is the harvest. If you were not familiar with the saying, you are now, because you read it. Chances are you read it twice, harvested the truth of the saying and further advanced your skill in conceptualizing concepts and ideas – all by reading. We are in our sixth decade of swimming in reports, independent and government studies, surveys, editorials, writings from educators, social science researchers, and an inexhaustible list of opinion offered by pundits, all trying to explain why people do not read books anymore. There is something fascinating about trying to find the logic in the expectation that books and other writings about why people do not read anymore may be widely read by people who do not read books or writings anymore.

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The Dumbing Down Of Freemasonry

By John W. Bizzack, Ph.D. / December 29, 2023 /

Society, in general, has and continues to be dumbed down. If you don’t think so, you may possibly be among those who may be counted as victims. The Oklahoma Council of Public Affairs commissioned a civic education poll among public school students. A surprising 77% didn’t know that George Washington was the first President; couldn’t name Thomas Jefferson as the author of the Declaration of Independence, and only 2.8% of the students passed the citizenship test. Along similar lines, the Goldwater Institute of Phoenix did the same survey and only 3.5% of students passed the civics test.

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Is There Room For Improvement In Freemasonry?

By John W. Bizzack, Ph.D. / December 29, 2023 /

In 1966, the Masonic Fraternity in America was eight years into an annual steady membership loss that has lasted to this day. That year around 155,000 Masons that were on the rolls in 1959, were gone. In another ten years, 477,000 more would disappear from the rolls. By 1986, another 631,000 names disappeared and a total of 1,263,000 men were no longer counted as Masons in America. Although the losses varied in each jurisdiction every jurisdiction felt the pang of the losses. The average loss was 25,250 Masons per state over that 27-year period.

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To Set the Craft to Work and Give Them Good and Wholesome Instruction

By John W. Bizzack, Ph.D. / December 28, 2023 /

If a Mason has been fortunate enough to witness or participate in the 3rd Section of the Hiramic Legend of the Master Mason Degree or to study it, he knows that when Grand Master Hiram Abiff does not show up for work one morning during the construction of King Solomon’s Temple the craftsmen became confused. They were horrified that no designs were drawn on the trestle-board to instruct them on the work to be done that particular day. Abiff was nowhere to be found; their leader had not set them to work for the day, much less provide wholesome instruction about the manner of carrying out the work on that day. As a result, there was confusion at the temple. One of the many lessons from the Hiramic Legend is the clear need for planning. When there is no plan, confusion should be expected and is the net result.

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This Season Of The Year – The Relationship Between Christmas And Freemasonry

By John W. Bizzack, Ph.D. / December 28, 2023 /

Tonight, I want to share with you some a few things about the season we are in. At its surface, the Christmas holidays have no intrinsic connection to the fraternity. What I mean by that is nowhere in our degrees do we find Freemasonry linking itself to any nationally or world-practiced holiday. Now, we all know Freemasonry is not a religion nor a substitute for religion. It requires of its members a belief in a Supreme Being but advocates no sectarian faith or practice. Masonic ceremonies include prayers of course – both traditional and impromptu – to reaffirm everyone’s dependence on the Supreme Bring and to seek divine guidance.

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