FUTURE TENSE ?
Several decades ago, I used to have a recurrent nightmare. I lived in ancient Egypt, where I was the high
priest of Ra in the temple in Karnak. I was
troubled. For thousands of years, priests
had performed the rites of Ra. Ra had
sent the floods on the Nile, and the land
prospered. The people were contented
and happy, and assured that the life they
so loved here would continue after their
deaths. But things were changing—things
I could not under-
stand. New gods
were coming into
Egypt, and unlike those before them, they
were not happy to settle in gently beside
the Egyptian pantheon. Unwilling to let
others believe as they wished, the follow-
ers of these new gods destroyed all they
did not approve. Nothing I could find to
do changed the pattern. Finally, I breathed
my last, horrified in the knowledge that I
had been the last priest of Ra.
This 300th year of the Grand Lodge
of England (see p. 9) has led to much introspection, retrospection, and prospec-tion by many Masonic writers. It is good
to thoughtfully review whence we came
and good to consider whither we are going. Perhaps we can avoid being the last
priest of Ra.
Bizzack, Ph.D., John, Island Freemasonry: The Final Bastion
of the Observant Lodge, Macoy Publishing, 2017, hardbound,
214 pages, ISBN-13: 978–0880531146, available on the
Internet from about $29.00.
Brother Mike Halleran, PGM KS, is not only one of my favorite Masonic writers (he appears often in the pages of the
Journal), he is also the Publications Editor of Macoy Publishing. The letter he sent along with the review copy of the book
is given such a good overview that I am cheating and quoting
a portion here.
In the United States, the last one hundred years has seen Freemasonry, once a cornerstone of American civil society, subside in
influence, popularity and relevance. From an all-time membership high in the 1950s, American membership numbers steadily
declined for the last fifty years, resulting in half-empty lodge
rooms and shuttered temples across the nation.
Why? What Changed?
From Anderson’s Constitutions to the Morgan Affair, to the Post-
War Boom in membership, John Bizzack’s latest book, Island Free-
masonry: The Final Bastion of the Observant Lodge answers those
questions by examining the evolution of American Freemasonry
from its arrival in colonial times to the
twenty-first century. In this ground-break-
ing new study, Bizzack traces the roots of
Masonry’s decline by charting how the U.S.
grand lodges lost their way, departing from
the original plan of Masonry in a never-
ending quest for numbers. [...]
[B]eyond documenting the ills suffered
by the American Freemasonry, Bizzack re-
veals the prescription for its recovery; a re-
turn to the core values of the order....
But that being said, there are still
some delights to be highlighted. For example, our worthy Brother Bizzack has a
wry sense of humor which adds greatly
to my enjoyment of the book. Let me
provide you with a partial listing of the
Table of Contents.
Pulling Back the Curtain
The Fatal Source of Masonic Ignorance: The Length of
Our Cable Tows
The Bright Mason
Thinking about Freemasonry: An Unnatural Act
Understanding Historical Understanding
Peering through History with Different Lenses
The Slippery Slope of Landmarks
The Farther Freemasonry Moves Away From its Heritage, the
Less It Resembles Freemasonry
Tresner II, 33°,