Message from the
Brethren, Sisters & Visitors:
I’m delighted to
participate in this electronic endeavor, which has been long demanded. The
Masonic orders have no secrets, but it must be admitted that Masonic ignorance
abounds – for no viable excuse, whatsoever! It’s not popular to say, but the
Craft is well established in the 21st Century – spread the word!
What is discovered on
this site amounts to the “Rosetta Stone” of Freemasonry – the key to unlocking
the past, in terms of
“…. back to the future!”
The key to the Craft’s success is to be found in its history; demanding an
appropriate adjustment for the present – within obvious limits.
Beyond what Phoenixmasonry
is currently presenting online, Phoenixmasonry has a terrific “inventory” of
Masonic files (books and articles), which are slowly being edited and uploaded
to the ‘Net. The task of organizing and uploading these files is huge.
Relative to the ‘norms’ of the Craft, this site amounts to a renegade
operation, in constructive protest to what Grand Lodges and Masonic research
organizations should be refining and presenting on the Internet, of their own
In the 21st
Century, the Research Lodges are mandated to change course. Their work just
got easier; their works are more easily transmitted to their intended
audiences and the demand for the consequent work (opportunity) increases
dramatically. The technological impact seems to imply that the Research Lodges
be more oriented around facilitating technology, than acting as the modern
equivalent of the “scribes” of medieval Europe.
Masonic libraries are also destined to change their format; a system of
electronic research stations is demanded, to accommodate the electronic
research of copyright protected work. Such libraries should be places of
reading, study and research; not simply book repositories. Progress has a
maddening way of occurring slowly; for the moment, so mote it be!
Most importantly, this
electronic endeavor represents an opportunity for others to participate – with
appropriate recognition. The Craft is commonly discovered to be an opportunity
for titles and egos; as opposed to the primal hunger for a thing called
“legacy.” That is what this site represents – a fabulous legacy of great minds
and works, featuring such names as Anderson, Preston, Oliver, Mitchell, Gould,
Mackey, Morris, McCoy – and so many more. Current participating names are
wanted. The electronic library also means that these works can be easily
translated into other languages. The electronic format also represents a
resource for the sight impaired, with the ability to increase the text font
size; or to deliver the information to the blind, via text-to-speech
conversion. Possibly, the technology exists to electronically convert material
such as this to quality audio-books on CD. Imagine listening to Mackey’s
History of Freemasonry, while driving or flying cross-country!
documents can be electronically photographed and those images scanned into the
various electronic formats. Voice-to-text conversion is another possibility
for frail works, or handwritten records. Such technology isn’t to be
considered “expensive,” nor complicated.
Beyond the educational
value, this site represents an opportunity in modern day fellowship – the
giving and sharing of intellectual treasures. Some of the works are discovered
to be in an unfinished state – requiring further editing, so as to bring them
up to a “Near-Perfect” reproduction. Who wants to participate?
I have long said that I
look forward to the day when others humiliate my personal endeavors by
producing more and higher quality electronic files. The fact is that there is
just such a ‘rage’ underway. The proverbial “bad news” is that such works are
showing up on E-Bay; as opposed to Grand Lodge web sites. For the moment, the
E-Bay works are usually locked-up PDF files. That means that the works can be
read, but offer no greater advantage toward the demand for “cut-‘n-paste” text
In an ideal
world, the spectrum of Grand offices need to establish a “Scribe Award”
program for scanning and editing efforts - with a lapel pin in the form of a
quill, with a square & compasses (or other appropriate symbol) imposed on top
of the quill.
There is no
substitute for the physical books, which these files emulate. Yet, if one
doesn’t know what’s contained in such volumes, why would they seek them out,
at a library or bookstore? These files are an intellectual bridge to the
hard-copy which they represent. Hard-copy reproduction of the ‘ancient’ works
is not a major task. Libraries, and bookstores will gain from the
presentations of this site – as will those who read and study them.
Such sites as
this will also be the spring-board for new Masonic books, non-fiction and
fiction alike. As an aside, those who wish to independently create such
electronic files should inquire of this site, as to whether or not the files
are “sitting on our shelf,” (or that of other similar awaiting a request –
thereby eliminating duplication.
emulation, if not far greater success. For the moment, it appears to start
Sincerely and Fraternally
Ralph W. Omholt, PM