Annual Dues increase on tap beginning with 3Q2016 dues billing

(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)

United States






All others



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:

  • Membership dues and non-member subscription payments at the old rate made by postal mail MUST BE RECEIVED IN OUR MAILBOX NO LATER THAN SEPTEMBER 30, 2016.  Any payments received after that date at the old rate will be returned to sender and you will have to renew at the new rate.
  • We cannot base payment date on postmarks because a significant portion of the mail we receive either has an illegible postmark or no postmark at all (particularly in the case of electronic checks sent to us by your banking institution).
  • We recommend strongly that any "old rate" dues payments made after September 15, 2016, be made online rather than by postal mail.
  • Renewals received with payment for more than three years will be credited as three year renewals and the balance will be refunded by check drawn in US dollars (or via Paypal if the payment was made through Paypal).
  • If you pay us via postal mail by providing credit card information on the back of the renewal invoice, please indicate the number of years – up to 3 (three) years – for which you wish to renew.  If no indication is made, we will assume 1 (one) year.

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

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.

Registration for the course is via Eventbrite.

Last Updated on Thursday, 23 June 2016 10:58


2016 Annual Conference of The Masonic Society

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)


Via Eventbrite: “Freemasonry on the Frontier” - 2016 Annual Conference of The Masonic Society

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.)


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

Capacity: 160

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

(Schedule is being developed. See below for current Featured Speakers.)  

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


Featured Speakers for The 2016 Annual Conference

(Other presenters to be announced*)

Friday Evening:
Samuel Langhorn Clemens: Brother Samuel Clemens was made a Mason in 1861, at Polar Star Lodge 79, St. Louis, MO. His many literary works (often published under the pen name Mark Twain) include “The Celebrated Jumping Frog of Calaveras County” (set less than 135 miles from the site of this conference) and Roughing It, an account of Clemens’s life and travel on the Western frontier.

Clemens’s appearance is made possible by WB 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 in El Paso, TX, and is now the owner of Pioneer Equipment Sales. He is past master of Temple Lodge 6, Albuquerque, past district deputy grand lecturer for two years, and past district deputy grand master.

Saturday Morning:
Mark A. Tabbert: "George Washington and the Masonic Frontiers of the 1700's"

Worshipful Brother Mark Tabbert has served as curator of the Scottish Rite National Heritage Museum, and is currently director of collections at the George Washington Masonic National Memorial in Alexandria, VA. He is past master of Mystic Valley Lodge, Arlington, MA, and the Lodge of Nine Muses 1776, Washington DC. He is a full member of Quatour Coronati Lodge 2076, London, and a member of the Society of Blue Friars.

Tabbert is the author of American Freemasons: Three Centuries of Building Communities; Museum and Memorial: Ten Years of Masonic Writings; and,with William D. Moore, Secret Societies in America: Foundational Studies of Fraternalism. He is currently working on three books on George Washington and Freemasonry-related topics.

Saturday Evening:
John Bizzack, PhD: "The Expansion of Freemasonry into the West: The Pivotal Role of Kentucky, 1788-1810"

Worshipful Brother John Bizzack is a twenty-five-year veteran of the Lexington (KY) Police Department and, more recently, Commissioner of the Department of Criminal Justice Training for the Kentucky Justice Cabinet.

Bizzack is a member of Lexington Lodge 1, where he serves as the Education Committee chair and coordinator of the Masonic History and Study Group. He is author of several books and numerous papers on leadership, criminal investigation, and organizational management, as well as five books, along with dozens of publications, about Freemasonry. He speaks nationwide on the criminal justice system, critical thinking, and Freemasonry.

John Cooper, PhD: "Freemasonry and Nation-Building on the Pacific Coast: The California Experience"

MWB John Cooper is a past grand secretary of the Grand Lodge of California, having served for almost eighteen years when he retired in 2008. In 2013-2014 he served as grand master of Masons in California. He holds a PhD in education from Claremont Graduate School, and before becoming grand secretary, he held various teaching and administrative posts in the public schools of California.

A Mason since 1964, Cooper served as master of James A. Foshay Lodge 641 in Los Angeles, and is both a thirty-third degree Mason in the Scottish Rite and a Knight of the York Grand Cross of Honor in the York Rite. His primary interest in Freemasonry has been the history and philosophy of the Craft, and he has published numerous papers on Freemasonry. He has served as master of both Northern and Southern California Research Lodges, and is currently president of the Philalethes Society.

*Other presenters will be chosen based on proposals. Click here for a proposal form.


Last Updated on Wednesday, 15 June 2016 13:15


TMS Scholar

TMS Scholar

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


Three Announcements

The Masonic Society announces:

1. The Annual Conference of The Masonic Society, taking place this year October 7-9, at Morgan Hill Masonic Lodge, Morgan Hill, California (just twenty minutes from San Jose International Airport). The theme of the conference will be “Freemasonry on the Frontier,” the role of Masonry in the westward expansion of the US and Canada.

The conference will begin Friday evening with an informal dinner and end with lunch on Sunday. The event is being coordinated by TMS Director Gregg Hall.

Details on the conference, along with a call for presentations, will appear in the Spring 2016 issue of The Journal of the Masonic Society. To receive advance information when it’s available, please email and ask to be put on the conference email list.

2. The Masonic Society School, a program of noncredit online Masonic “courses,” study groups, and reading groups, as well as possible tours and other experiences, exclusively for TMS members. We expect to launch the first offerings at the October conference. The school is being coordinated by TMS Director Greg Knott.

Details on the school will appear in the Spring 2016 issue of The Journal of the Masonic Society. To receive advance information when it’s ready, email and ask to be put on the school email list.

3. The Masonic Society Scholar, an annual award to a Masonic researcher/educator. During the year of the award, the recipient will make himself available to speak at a number of lodges of research and other Masonic bodies throughout the world (with travel expenses paid by the local organization).

The first TMS Scholar will be announced at the Annual Conference this October. The program is being coordinated by the immediate past president of TMS, James Dillman.

Details on the program, along with a call for nominations, will appear in the Spring 2016 issue of The Journal of the Masonic Society. For advance information, email and ask to be put on the scholar email list.

(By sending email to these addresses, you are opting-in to receive occasional emails about the three programs.)

Last Updated on Wednesday, 09 March 2016 15:13

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