Focus is a newsletter from the Masonic Information Center, issued periodically through the year. It presents activities, including the Annual Report of the Center, as well as news and information about the general image of Masonry to the public.
The Masonic Information Center (MIC) was founded in 1993 by a grant from the late John J. Robinson, well-known author, speaker, and Mason. Its purpose is to provide information on Freemasonry to Masons and non-Masons alike and to respond to critics of Freemasonry.
On several occasions in its first 20 years, MIC teams have responded to instances of sharp criticism of Freemasonry, often by religious-based organizations. However, the thrust of the MIC’s efforts over the years has been providing information to educate Masons and the general public about the Fraternity, in hopes of eliminating such challenges before they begin.
As an arm of the Masonic Service Association, MIC uses many communication media, including website, email, telephone, and direct mail.
The Internet, for example, including Facebook, is increasingly used as a tool to accomplish MIC’s goals. Numerous items created by MIC, such as the improvement guide for Lodges, “It’s About Time,” are available for reading on the MSA website, www.msana.com. Also on the website are, “Fact Sheets About Freemasonry,” prepared by MIC on such subjects as: Freemasonry and Religion, Freemasonry and Secrecy, and Freemasonry and Women.
In the 21-year history of MIC, a variety of pamphlets have been published, such as Who Are the Masons?, What’s a Mason?, Get a Life, A Response to Critics, There is No Sin in Symbols, and What Freemasonry Has Done for the World, which are available in individual or bulk quantities. More than 3.3 million of these MIC booklets have been distributed.
Through the years, the Grand Lodges of North America have contributed regularly to assist in the work of the Masonic Information Center and we sincerely appreciate the financial and volunteer work they provide.
A Steering Committee of distinguished Masons and Masonic writers from across the country guides the direction of MIC, and their contributions are very valuable. The members are:
Dean R. Alban Robert G. Davis Gary Leazer
George O. Braatz Tom Foster
Robert Conley David Goodnow George D. Seghers
Joseph R. Conway Thomas W. Jackson Terry Tilton
John Cooper Jack Jones James Tresner
Bernice Robinson S. Brent Morris Peter Normand
The logo of the Masonic Information Center is the partially completed “C,” containing the Masonic Square and Compasses. The letter stands for “Center.” The “C” is incomplete because communication, the Center’s mission, is ongoing so long as humankind needs Freemasonry’s universal message of Brotherhood, Relief, and Truth.
In the second section of the Master Mason, we’ve heard the line, “. . . who from their appearance were workmen from the Temple. . .”
What exactly about their appearance, made their occupation so recognizable?
In an upcoming book, Cathedrals Built by the Masons, Author Russell A. Herner, gives an in-depth description about how the workers on King Solomon’s Temple dressed:
The apron was a significant part of the working dress of the operative stonemasons. Most of the heavy labor was done manually which exposed stonemason’s clothing against the abrasive limestone and sandstone. . . The lambskin leather apron was strong, thick, and long enough to protect their clothing, and it became the traditional badge of an operative mason.
. . . The leather aprons also had a flap or bib at the top, which overlapped the apron itself and became an additional layer of protection. The apprentices who did most of the heavy manual labor would need this additional protection more than the overseers. . .
Brother Herner is an active Ohio Mason, who also published Stonehenge: An Ancient Masonic Temple.
For information on the new book, see “new releases” at www.schifferboooks.com — the publishers website.
A visit to the Newseum in Washington, DC, is always an enjoyable experience. A recent visit discovered two comments about the news media, etched into the walls. Both were written by famous men who were Masons.
The late Earl Warren, Chief Justice of the United States and Past Grand Maser of California: “I always turn to the sports section first. The sports page records people’s accomplishments; the front page has nothing but man’s failures.”
The late Rudyard Kipling, author and English Freemason: “I keep six honest serving men (They taught me all I knew); Their names are What and Why and When and How and Where and Who.”
As part of its 125th Anniversary in 2014, the Grand Lodge of North Dakota, through its Masonic Foundation, issued a challenge to each Lodge in the jurisdiction.
The Foundation would give a $500 charitable grant to each Lodge for its local community. All the Lodge had to do was find a charity in the community and make application.
If accepted, the check would be sent to the charity via the Lodge, with local publicity encouraged during the check presentation.
Curtiss Mundahl, PGM, Grand Secretary of the Grand Lodge of North Dakota, said there was very good participation in the program. “Lodges gained a bit of visibility and often there was newspaper coverage,” he said. “Those that participated received genuine benefits.”