Wednesday, October 10, 2018

Being Recognized, Acknowledged & Approved for Masonic Education Use



My Craft Brothers All,

While finishing up my first official "Building Better Builders Workshop" for the Boynton Beach Esoteric Research Group back on October 1, 2011, I was asked by one thoughtful member of the fraternity whether any of the materials I shared during that four hour workshop was recognized, acknowledged & approved by any Grand Lodge or if the materials offered merely my interpretations of Ritual. 

I took great pains to express to him at that time, and rightfully so, that what I shared within my books and Workshops was based upon extensive research, that it was a strongly backed view and not just an interpretation, and that it was not approved by any Grand Lodge body. Over the years, I shared that situation and supporting information countless times at every single workshop I was blessed to be invited to present and within the materials I published for use as Masonic Education. 

During the years that followed, those original published books expanded to thirteen and that workshop expanded to six hours, due to additions brought about by further research.  While all this  was going on, I have had many Grand Lodges either purchase and distribute my books to their lodges and to members during my workshops or allowed such purchases to be done openly and without any interference or objections by them or their Grand Lodge officers.  I've had many times were I shared my materials at Grand Lodge Communications, and other sponsored events, as a keynote speaker and presented my materials at their break out sessions. I've even had whole chapters of my books, sometimes more than one, provided to Grand Lodge members through their sanctioned research society publications.  I've even been recognized for my contributions by one Grand Lodge for "Excellence in Masonic Education". 

None of these situations required a direct statement from a Grand Lodge where they overtly recognized, acknowledged & approved my materials for use within their jurisdiction. 

So, I have maintained from day one that my materials have yet to be recognized, acknowledged and approved by any Grand Lodge for use as Masonic Education within their lodges and you'll see statements in my published books attesting to this fact.

However, on September 15, 2018, while presenting a six hour Building Better Builders Workshop sponsored by the Grand Lodge of New Jersey, I was approached by a well-respected and well-loved and Masonic Education dedicated Grand Master in attendance who asked me the following question:

Brother Nagy, did I hear you correctly that there has not yet been one Grand Lodge who has recognized, acknowledged and approved your materials for use as Masonic Education in their jurisdiction?

I was a bit shocked by the question. It never occurred to me that he might ask this question.  It had been "business as usual" for so long that I didn't think I'd be asked about approval ever again. 

Unfortunately, I had to reply to him, "Yes".  As much as I have had my materials purchased by Grand Lodges for distribution, have spoken at Grand Lodges where I presented my materials, and was even recognized for my Masonic Education contributions, I cannot say that there has yet been one Grand Lodge who has recognized, acknowledged & approved my collective materials for use in their Masonic Education efforts.

His next response to my statement was completely unexpected.  He said that this situation would change this day.  He continued to convey that he was recognizing, acknowledging & approving my materials for use in the lodges throughout the Grand Lodge of New Jersey.  He added that he was making this very announcement at the Table Lodge that night and he was going to provide to me a signed letter backing this up for me to share with anyone who is willing to read it.

I was near tears with joy.  I could have only imagined the look on my face.  I was near speechless, which if you know me is a difficult condition to create. I've been so focused over the years upon making my books and my workshops the best they could be, that I had never given any thought to the materials being recognized, acknowledged & approved  by any Grand Lodge. I simply never dreamed that it would occur.

Yet, here I was, with the Grand Master of New Jersey, hearing that this was now a fact.  And, with letter in hand, it is now history.

My good friend and Brother MW Roger B Quintana has kindly provided to me that letter and I proudly share it with my friends and Brothers here today.

I also share a most bodacious "thank you" to Most Worshipful Roger!  Your kindness, thoughtfulness and dedication to the Craft overwhelms me!

New Jersey certainly has a special man and Brother at the helm. 

Fraternally and Sincerely your Brother,

John

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Here are the current US states that have had my BBB Workshops and/or Approved my materials for use in their Masonic Education efforts.



Thursday, October 4, 2018

A Brother Asks: Blocking Brothers on FB private messenger

 
 
“Please fact-check that story you want to pass along before you pass it along.
If you don't do this the credibility that will be destroyed is your own.”
– Art Cornett
 
 
THE BLOCK

A Brother Asks: Coach, why did you block Brother Jones on Facebook  private messenger?

Coach: Because he forwarded me a hoax and encouraged me to do the same to my Brothers and, when he was confronted, he dismissed me.   

Brother: Yikes!  He sent you a hoax and expected you to forward it, no questions asked?

Coach: Yes, he sent it to me because he didn't do his due diligence on what was shared with him. 

Brother: But that happens all the time.  Why did you block him from sending future messages? 

Coach: Good question! Let's say that I did this to you.

Brother: Okay.  I can play along with that.  Let's proceed.

Coach: Great, and thanks.

Brother: You're most welcome.
 
THE PLAY ALONG

Coach: Okay, let’s get to it.  Let’s say that I forward you a hoax.  I do so unintentionally by the way, but I did so without checking it out.

Brother: Okay.  I follow your premise.

Coach: Okay. If you cannot trust me to do my due diligence before I share such things with you, encouraging you to do the same for your Brothers, how can you trust me with other things?

Brother: Well, what if it came from a trusted Brother.  I've received many alerts from Brothers on all sorts of things.

Coach: As have I.  But let's roll up our sleeves on this.

Brother: Okay.

Coach: You're telling me because a Brother I trusted sent me a hoax and encouraged me to share that hoax with other Brothers, I should not be held to account?

Brother: Well, yeah.  You make all this sound so bad. Under this scenario, all you did was share some information with me.  He did the same. I'm sure he didn't mean any harm by it with you.  It was shared with the best of intentions by both of you.

Coach: Okay.  So, because it was shared with the best of intentions, that should excuse him and hence me from the consequences of our collective actions?

Brother: Gosh Coach, you're blowing this all out of proportions.  It was just some information you both shared.
 
THE LIE

Coach: And that information was a hoax.  I shared it with you and asked you to take action based upon a lie. 

Brother: Yikes!  I'd not thought of it that way.

Coach: Too few do! It furthermore wasted your time and every Brother who engages in this chain of unqualified information sharing. 

Brother: Okay.  I see that too.

Coach: It also, if followed, could cause death. 

Brother: What!?

Coach: Yes.  There are quite a few of these hoaxes that, if followed, places those who follow their advice in danger.  Some actually give dangerous information that if acted upon could cause death.

Brother: Wow! 

Coach: So, if you can't trust me on something as seemingly harmless as this, even though it is harmful and a lie, how can you trust me with more important things?

Brother: Well, since you put it that way, I guess it would erode my confidence in you.

Coach: Exactly!

Brother: I hadn't thought of it in that way.
 
THE TRUST EROSION

Coach: Far too many Brothers don't think about how such things erode trust in one's Brother. 

Brother: Then, if I was in a situation like this, where I shared information that I didn't do my due diligence on, I would apologize to you.

Coach: And I would thank you for offering this apology and say to you that your apology was conditionally accepted.

Brother: Conditionally accepted?  Wait a second!  What does that mean? 

Coach: It means I would accept your apology when you make amends for your actions. 

Brother: Make amends? 

Coach: Yes, make amends!
 
THE AMENDS

Brother: What actions would that mean for me?

Coach: That would mean telling the Brother who sent you this hoax that he did harm to your trust in him by not doing his due diligence before sending a lie your way and encouraging you to forward it to your trusting Brothers.

Brother: Are you serious?  You would want me to confront him like you confronted me?

Coach: Would you want your apology to be taken seriously?

Brother: Well, yes.

Coach: Then you would have to make amends and make sure the Brother who harmed your trust in him faced the same consequences for his actions.

Brother: But what if he won't accept responsibility and he dismisses me, much like Brother Jones did to you.

Coach: Then you would know his true character, that you were right in confronting him and ultimately not trusting him into the future. 

Brother: Isn't that a bit harsh?

Coach: If he refuses to face the consequences of a simple action like this, what further can you expect from him on more important things?  How can you trust him on anything else? 

Brother: Wow!  You're right!  This raises a question though.

Coach: What's that?

Brother: If he were to apologize, should I demand he do the same thing that you're asking of me?

Coach: I demanded nothing from you.

Brother: You want me to confront the Brother who sent me the hoax.

 

THE CHARGE

Coach: No.  I offered to accept your apology conditioned on you making amends and that requires you confronting the erring Brother who sent you down this path - you know, to live up to your Master Mason charge.

Brother: Darn Coach.  You're making this real.

Coach: No.  I am offering you an opportunity to make it real.  Do you want it?

Brother: Well, yes.  Of course I do.

Coach: Good!  Then you know what you have to do in situations like this. 

Brother: You mean, separate out the wheat from the chaff and find out who you can trust and who you cannot. 

Coach: Yes, and stop play acting and live it!

Brother: Okay Coach.  Thanks for taking the time. I appreciate your efforts.

Coach: You're most welcome.  Thanks for hearing me out on this.  It means a lot that you would do this. 

Brother: You’re welcome.

Coach: So, would you like to take it to the next level?

Brother: Next level?  You mean there's more here than meets the eye?

Coach: Yes.  I mean exactly that.

Brother: Are you going to drag me down another rabbit hole Coach?

Coach: No.  But you're welcome to join me if you want to go.

Brother: I'm game!
 
THE FAUX LIGHT

Coach: Good!  How many times have Brothers provided to you information about Freemasonry, as if it were fact, that you found with reasonable effort was not a fact and was based upon a conjecture made by some Brother in the past?

Brother: You mean like Adam being the first Freemason or the Knights Templar being a part of Freemasonic history?

Coach: Exactly!

Brother: I can’t count the number of times this has occurred.  The Craft are full of these unsubstantiated claims.

Coach: Indeed! 

Brother: Wait!  Are you telling me that these situations are no less grievous as sending these hoaxes to Brothers through email or private messenger?

Coach: Are they presenting the information as fact?

Brother: Well, yes.  They are doing just that.

Coach: Are they telling you that they have done their due diligence on what they shared with you to assure the information is factual?
 
THE DILIGENT

Brother: Good Lord Coach!  I rarely have any of the information that comes my way backed by an assurance it is checked out and validated by due diligence.

Coach: So, you’re just accepting it as fact because you’re trusting the Brothers who gave it to you?

Brother: Well, yeah.  I guess I am?

Coach: Guess?

Brother: No, I know that I am.  Ouch!  Darn Coach!  I know when this all started!

Coach: When?

Brother: Before I was an Apprentice.

Coach: Before?

Brother: Yes.  Even before I petitioned, I was trusting my future Brothers to provide to me Light that was valid.

Coach: Did you make sure you checked the information out?

Brother:  At first I did.  But in all honesty, I didn’t know what I didn’t know and I placed trust in my Brothers after a while because there was simply too much information to verify. 

Coach: What took precedence?

Brother: Getting accepted by them and getting my degrees.

Coach: At what point did you simply accept what was being shared with you without doing your own work?

Brother: In truth, just after I got through the investigation. 

Coach: Why?
 
THE START

Brother: Because I was on my way to being accepted and didn’t see any need to invest time in checking out what was being told to me. 

Coach: So, you placed your trust in your conductors and felt no danger in what was being shared?

Brother: Yes! Of course!

Coach: But you said there were countless times where what was being shared with you was found by you to be mere conjecture from some long dead Brother and not fact.

Brother: Yes, soon after I was raised I found I was not satisfied with the superfluous answers I had been receiving.

Coach: And?

Brother: My seeking revealed many of the superfluous responses I had received had not been checked in depth and some were actually misleading.

Coach: And you received all these responses from your trusted Brothers?

Brother: Yes. 

Coach: And the result of your findings?

THE RESULT

Brother: I am less trusting of them as sources of Light.

Coach: Sort of like the trust you placed in the Brothers who shared a hoax with you, encouraged you to share it with your Brothers and didn’t check to see if what they shared was valid?

Brother: Darn Coach!  You just popped your head out of the other rabbit-hole!

Coach: I have a rabbit of doing that.

Brother: Yes, you sure do.

Coach: Want to go down another rabbit hole?

Brother: Sure!

Coach: How many times have you actually checked the dues card and IDs of your Brothers?

Brother: I’ve never done this!

Coach: So, you take for granted that your Brothers are valid members of the Fraternity?

Brother: Of course I do!  I trust them! Why would I not?

Coach: The same ones who share information with you that you have found not to be factual?

Brother: Ouch!  Coach!  You’re giving me a whole bunch to think about here.

Coach: Good!  Why don’t we leave it there then?

Brother: Yes!  Please!  My head hurts.

Coach: Good!  That’s a sure sign you’re using your gray matter.

Brother: Thanks for a most thought-provoking conversation Coach.

Coach: You’re most welcome my good Brother.  Thanks for taking the time to chase some rabbits with me.

Brother: I can see how chasing Freemasonic rabbits can develop good Masonic habits!

Coach: Good one!


THE RETURN

Brother: Thanks!  So, is it safe to say that the reason you blocked Brother Jones is a combination of blatant disregard and overt disrespect?

Coach: Indeed.  Disregard for their own credibility, for checking out information before it is shared and for encouraging me to do the same. Additionally, disrespect for my time, my credibility and for my Brothers who would have ultimately been the recipients of the same.

Brother: That’s deep!

Coach: That’s life my Brother and I have been charged with divesting myself of such vices and superfluities. 

Brother: Ah!  The Apprentice level work and all the rest that far too few do. 


Coach: Yes.  That include making sure there's no rubbish in my temple! 
 Brother: Mine as well Coach.  I have much to perpend!
 
Coach: As do we all my Brother.