The Knights of the
Like You’ve Never Seen
An In-Depth Interview
Another great interview by
Sister Elena Llamas.
known as The Knights of The Masonic Roundtable
or simply as
The Masonic Roundtable.
five innovative, hard working, and extremely nice Masons who got together
in 2014 to
spread Masonic light around the world via their weekly show.
Phoenixmasonry (and Freemason Information) is delighted to have had the
to meet the
Knights and publish this interview so we can all get to know them better.
From left to right, The Masonic Roundtable Brothers: Nick Johnson, Juan
Jason M. Richards, Jon T. Ruark, and Robert Johnson.
Photograph taken at the Masonic Village in Elizabethtown,
Phoenixmasonry would like to thank The Masonic Roundtable
allowing us to display this photo for the first time in
The Masonic Roundtable show
airs live every
Tuesday at 10pm ET on their
You can find audio versions
of all of their episodes on
Hello, Knights, thank you for this interview. It is an honor and privilege to
interview you. It has been two years since you got together and you are going
strong, meeting every single week. Is it fair to assume that you will be
around in the foreseeable future? I hope so!
Hi, Elena! Thanks so much for spending some time with us. The hosts of TMR
always told each other that we’d keep going until the show stopped being fun.
We’re still having a blast, so things are looking good!
Agreed. It’s become a highlight of the week for me.
That’s great! Why the name Knights of the Masonic Roundtable? And how did you
get started? I understand Jon’s love for technology, gadgets, and Masonry was
the starting point.
Scene from the
Droid Life Show
It was! Being a self-proclaimed Android nerd, I followed a site called Droid
Life which introduced a live show talking all things Android that week (new
phones, new announcements from manufacturers). What was neat was that they
also added commentary very organically, and you could tell they knew their
material. I figured someone should do a similar show but for Masonry. I didn’t
anticipate that someone to be me!
I was such a huge fan of other
Masonic podcasts, such as The Winding Stairs, and Whence Came You? and blogs
like the Millennial Freemason, and although I had “friended” most of them in
the past, I did not really know them well. On a whim, I asked all of them if
they would be willing to try it out as an experiment. Ego stroking worked in
It sure did, Jon. Ha!
When I first heard Jon explain the concept and when I found out that Robert
was also on board, I didn’t need to hear anything else. I saw it as an
opportunity to continue learning about the Craft and sharing that knowledge
with other Brothers.
We wanted the show to be a roundtable discussion, so we kept the “Roundtable”
name and The Masonic Roundtable was born. We added in the Knights as a homage
to the York Rite (Knights Templar, specifically), of which four out of the
five hosts are members.
We’re working on Jason.
Yes, I’m the host with the vintage Knight Templar triangle apron hanging up in
his studio who isn’t a member. Oh, the irony!
noticed it! Jon had a great idea and, in turn, you all have been part of the
inspiration for Phoenixmasonry’s own show, airing soon, which will be
different from yours, of course, and also online.
We can’t wait to see it! The fraternity desperately needs new sources of
quality, well-researched Masonic education. We’re looking forward to seeing
what Phoenixmasonry comes up with.
Thank you! You have certainly laid such a standard for others! Tell us about
your logo. Is this your design? And please explain its meaning.
Yes! This is our trademarked design. The logo is absolutely critical to the
show’s branding. Juan came up with some early designs for the artwork and I
added the symbolism and other enhancements. I try to pack as much symbolism
into my designs as possible while keeping them minimalist in style.
That certainly was accomplished with the logo.
The essential design elements of our logo include the following:
First, you’ll notice the
circumpunct: represented by the outer rings and the dot in the middle of the
square and compasses, which is an admonishment to ourselves (and our viewers)
to manage time wisely. Our time on the Earth is finite. It is our duty to God
to manage the time that we have as best we can. The circumpunct has
historically represented Deity, and its inclusion in our design emphasizes the
centrality of our duty to God.
Second, the triangle, which
interlocks with the circumpunct, represents the three tenets of Freemasonry:
brotherly love, relief, and truth.
The five five-pointed stars
represent the five original Knights of The Masonic Roundtable. They also
allude to the five orders of architecture.
An order of architecture is a style encompassing all parts, proportions,
and ornaments of columns in a building. The Five Orders of Architecture
depicted above have always been closely associated with operative
and their influence and symbolism were carried into speculative masonry.
Source: MoF Masonic Library.
Each order of architecture is unique in its own way, adding a very specific
kind of beauty to the building a given column adorns. Each of the five hosts
is unique in his own personality and perspective, and each host adds a flavor
to the show that would be sorely missed otherwise.
As stars produce light, the representation of the hosts as stars alludes to
the entire point of the show, which is to spread Masonic light and knowledge
everywhere we can. As stars bring light, we attempt to do the same by sparking
constructive Masonic discourse.
What beautiful symbolism!
Finally, the words “MORE LIGHT,” which appear in the bottom of the design,
allude to our sign off, “Keep searching for more light!”, which is our
admonishment to our viewers and listeners to keep the discourse going long
after the episode ends. Every Mason has a duty to use his/her time on this
earth to learn as much as he (or she) can.
As you can see, this design is
the very heart and soul of our show, which is one of the reasons why we turned
it into a set of lapel pins we sell on our website to cover our production and
hosting costs. We packed even more symbolism into the pins by using specific
colors as an homage to the Royal Arch (red), Cryptic Council (purple), Allied
Masonic Degrees (green), Scottish Rite (white), and Blue Lodge (blue) bodies
The pins are lovely! You are on your 130th episode. I spent a lot
of time on your YouTube channel and was so impressed by the range of topics
you discuss. I recommend readers set aside a weekend or two for a Roundtable
marathon. Your topics vary from what a Masonic political party would possibly
be like to in depth discussion on Masonic studies, interviews with Masonic
personalities, and discussion on different currents within Masonry and other
religious observances. Do you have a system for coming up with each week’s
We start with topics we ourselves want to discuss. We have a backlog of topic
ideas (and potential guest hosts/experts to bring onto the show to complement
the topics) that we pull from. Our best show topics, however, have come as
suggestions from our listeners. We love taking listener recommendations
for topics. Our episodes on Racism in Freemasonry, Essentials of Lodge
Leadership, the Kabbalah, and Masonic Ciphers were all requested by listeners.
We get new suggestions each week, and never tire of hearing topics about which
listeners would like to learn more. Some of our topics span episodes (like our
four-part series on the four cardinal virtues), but most of our episodes are
I have noticed that you are very responsive to questions and comments from
Social media is my favorite part of each episode!
I agree with Jason. Social Media, when used adequately, can be a very
versatile tool. There have been many times when we have a particular opinion
on a topic, only because we have ignored some alternative explanations. All it
takes is a Brother to share his view on our Facebook page and now we have a
new perspective to consider.
It’s always fun and nerve racking to be put on the spot with a position you’ve
decided to take on the episode when a listener who is watching live decides to
ask you right there on the show about what you just said. I love it. It’s an
exercise in logical discussion and that’s what is truly different about this
program and why I think it’s gotten the success it has.
Coming from the blogging world, I still get comments from posts I wrote years
ago. I think that is useful and helpful. Since The Masonic Roundtable is a
topical show by design, I definitely like the questions that keep coming in,
even from episodes we did from a while back. It keeps my mind humming with new
thoughts and new perspectives.
You start out each episode with a bit of trivia, Masonic news, conversation,
and more. It is a great way to keep your viewers updated and interested while
From the “Masonic Time Travel” episode
(featuring Jon and Jason from The Masonic Roundtable)
It took us a lot of trial and error to find the right balance of special
segments and discussion. If you go back to our early episodes (please don’t
judge too harshly!), you’ll find much more inconsistency in the format. Over
time, we’ve refined how we do the show (largely due to feedback we receive
from our listeners). We’ve got the format down pretty solid nowadays, but we
can always change it up as our audience’s needs evolve.
You film from your personal offices, living rooms, and sometimes even hotel
rooms. You must have worked out a system for making sure your families give
you time every week for the show. Jason’s cat isn’t having any of that (see
In my home, I have a dedicated Art Studio/Office space that is separate from
the rest of the house. My family knows that Tuesday Nights I am recording TMR
and they know to stay away from the Studio (It’s too messy in there anyway).
With a weekly show, plus your non-Masonic jobs and other Masonic endeavors,
how do you manage to remain enthusiastic about the show, week after week?
It’s difficult. From the very beginning, we had to make a conscious effort to
make the show a priority. I’ve had plenty of nights where I would have much
rather gone to bed early then stayed up late doing the show. Every Wednesday
is a big struggle for me at work because I’m dragging from staying up late the
night before. But what I’ve personally found is that the discussions I have
with the other hosts and the interaction we get from those watching live makes
the sleep deprivation totally worth it. There’s a reason we keep coming back
every week; that reason is that our listeners are amazing.
It is definitely a struggle sometimes. There will be times (frequently) I’m
“live from mobile masonic command”, as the fellas have called it. As you’ve
said, with work, kids, families it gets a bit nuts. I’ve blown off Masonic
meetings to do the show at times but the District Deputy Grand Master meetings
are the ones I can’t miss and why I am sometimes driving and doing the show.
The listeners have not complained about the noise in the car…which I am deeply
I enjoy doing the show and I love my Fellow Knights, but there are times when
I may have had a rough day and don’t feel particularly motivated. All it takes
is for me to let the Brothers know how I feel and they cheer me up, just in
time to sit in front of the camera and forget the difficulties of the day.
It’s the cheapest therapy in town, if you ask me.
Are you invited to Lodges and Masonic events as a group to talk about your
show? I think you are a great example of how technology and Masonry can
combine to produce refreshing and new possibilities.
We have had the privilege of speaking individually and collectively across the
country, both virtually and in-person! In June, I was invited to do a virtual
presentation in a lodge in Wisconsin. It was a great instance where we were
able to use technology to enhance and promote Masonic education! On a larger
scale, we were invited to be the featured speakers at the Pennsylvania Academy
of Masonic Knowledge in March of this year. We streamed the entire event
live–a first for the Academy–and had an amazing turnout!
The Pennsylvania Academy of Masonic Knowledge event was an amazing experience,
but we recognize that it is a little more difficult to bring all five of us to
speak at an event (It’s possible though). However, we get invitations to speak
at Lodges individually on a regular basis. I’m one of those strange creatures
who really enjoys public speaking and I love doing it to spread Masonic
Education. Getting to sit with Brothers from around the Country is a great
privilege of our profession.
It has been wonderful to share fellowship with lodges all around the country.
I think we really had an amazing opportunity and experience when we all were
in PA for the Academy.
The Masonic Roundtable panel discussion at the end of the
PA Academy of Masonic Knowledge, 2016
Brethren tuned in from as far away as Texas! The event itself included
individual presentations from each of the hosts and a combined presentation at
the end. Best of all, you can still go back and watch the entire event on our
youtube channel! It’s just another way that we were able to use technology to
expand the reach of Masonic education.
If a lodge wanted one or more of you to come speak, what would they need to
The first step, like everything in Masonry, is to ask us! We’ve got a calendar
of speaking engagements listed on our
I’m personally happy to do presentations virtually any time I can fit them in,
and if you’re near the Washington, D.C. metro area (or want to do something
virtually) you might be able to get me and Jon as a 2-for-1. If I can help
contribute to your lodge’s commitment to providing quality Masonic education
to its members, then I’ll do so in any way that I can!
True story. Just ask. I maintain a page on the Whence Came You? website, and I
try to get those dates to Jon, since he does most of the website work. He does
a great job. We will travel far and wide to share fellowship and have
discussion with the brothers.
If a Lodge wanted to invite us as a group, TheMasonicRoundtable.com is the
place to go. If a Lodge wanted to invite me personally, they can do so through
TheWindingStairs.com or through Facebook. My presentations are usually related
to the practical side of Masonry. How to Apply Freemasonry to our everyday
You provide an amazing and unique Masonic service.
Thanks so much!
The sound and video on your shows is always top quality, your settings are
always well put together (as in, not a mess), you are always well groomed and
wide-awake. Us viewers appreciate your effort and presentation. There is
nothing worse than trying to plow through a poorly produced video with audio
problems, with a distracting background, or unprepared hosts.
I totally agree. How many times have you started listening to an old .mp3 file
and the quality was horrible? You know people make podcasts like that still?
In 2016! When we decided to make the show an audio podcast as well, yes it
wasn’t always so, we wanted to make sure we didn’t have this same problem. For
the audiophiles out there, 320 kbps stereo is where I wanted to go. That’s
what I did on Whence Came You? However, after playing around with cost /
benefit we settled on 192 kbps stereo. I think it’s easy to listen to and it
sounds like we’re there in your car, or your house or wherever you listen to
us. It’s a crucial element. You could have a great show but if the audio is
tinny etc. I know I’m not even going to give it one minute of my time. We
didn’t want to ever have that as a problem for our listeners.
Post-production of our show is huge. We record it live, and started the show
thinking we’d do video only; however, our audience begged for an audio-only
version and after a couple of weeks we gave in. Good thing, too, as most of
our audience listens to our audio-only podcast these days. We don’t do any
post-production on the videos at present, but RJ is the man when it comes to
making our discussions sound as good and clear as possible on the audio
After watching so many of your episodes, I walked away with a sense that all
of you are very inquisitive, very respectful of your guests and topics, and
well rounded and diverse as to points of view. The variety you provide as a
group is unique and a real innovation in Freemasonry.
Whoa! Innovations!? We can’t have any of that. (Jokes) Being respectful is
what we do as part of being Freemasons. While many of the topics and
discussions we have on the show are highly charged and many more could not
even be discussed in lodge, we’re not in lodge. We ask ourselves “How would a
Mason discuss this topic?” Juan has been instrumental in keeping us grounded.
We are there for one another. We share a common interest, but don’t always
share on the same opinions. The diversity of opinions helps us get out of our
comfort zone and evaluate things from a more objective viewpoint. I like it
when we present our Brothers as many facts as possible and allow them to
formulate their own conclusions. We refuse to shy away from difficult
subjects, so we have to be careful that our opinions are expressed as just
that, our opinions.
Thus, your shows are more about exploring and discussing topics than about
explaining each of your positions on the subjects. You don’t seem to want to
teach or preach as much as you do propose, introduce your topics, and learn
from your guests and issues.
We’re not experts, nor do we purport to be. We’re here to encourage Masons to
arrive at their own conclusions vice imposing our personal worldviews on our
listeners. We try to structure our discussions in such a way that there’s no
right or wrong answer. We’re all here to learn, not only from each other, but
from our listeners as well. That’s why we place such a heavy emphasis on
To be fair, there are times where I and others will openly disagree. I’ve
gotten grumpy on a few episodes. But it’s usually on a topic in which there is
heated debate. Again, something about the compasses keeps me out of trouble.
As for teaching, well, I think we are all teachers already. And since our show
is a discussion, it helps to think about it in terms of a bunch of teachers
sitting around with other teachers, who would be the listeners, talking about
these topics. We’re not out there getting preachy.
I’ve come to accept our level of responsibility grows proportionally as the
size of our audience grows. Like that old sage, Ben Parker, once said “with
great power comes great responsibility”. Although we have to be clear in our
message, I don’t think we need to hit our listeners over the head with forced
opinions. We are here to discuss, not to convince.
I try to apply the liberal art of rhetoric every show.
Do you have a large non-Masonic following?
The analytics and data show we have a huge following. I’d defer to Jon at this
point. But I would point out that the non masons we do have usually are
courting the fraternity and later join. We get letters all the time that say
things like “ …I joined because your show finally gave me the push I needed. I
receive my EA degree next week!” It’s humbling to say the least.
Facebook and Google analytics don’t have an “is mason” metric, so it’s a
little hard to determine those who have taken the degrees and who haven’t. Get
on it, Google!
Do you have other demographic data as to your followers? Age, region, that
sort of thing?
Jon’s the Masonic data expert. He’ll give the best answer on this one!
Yup. Me again. Although all ages, genders, and areas listen to the show, our
largest audience is men, 25-35, in the United States. That tells me that the
connected generation wants to hear more about Freemasonry and younger Masons
want to have more masonic education. I’d love for Grand Lodges to make our
show irrelevant (Ok, maybe not quite, but close).
Ha, ha. Interesting data, thank you! Individually, you have some very
interesting projects. Let’s start with Jason. You are a blogger. You have The
2-Foot Ruler: Masonry in Plain Language blog. Tell us about it.
Ah yes, the 2-Foot Ruler. It began as a play on the Masonic working tool known
as the 24-inch gauge. I began the blog with the intention of trying to explain
the Craft in plain language so that non-Masons could understand us a bit
better, but I’ve found that–at least for me–it’s difficult to write with
consistency. That’s why the blog has languished as I’ve gotten more involved
with TMR, the Midnight Freemasons, and other projects. I typically only write
about things about which I’m very passionate. This is why you’ll see a number
of my blog posts dedicated to topics of religious anti-masonry, marriage
equality, homosexuality in Masonry, and transgender equality. For me, writing
is cathartic. Even if my opinions or pieces don’t influence policy at the
Grand Lodge level, I still feel as if I’m contributing to positive discussion
through my writing.
That is great, Jason, thank you! Robert, you are the managing editor of the
Yes, years ago, when I started with “Whence Came You?” podcast, I read a piece
called “Freemasons and Beer” and I ran across the piece on this website called
“The Midnight Freemason”. It was run by Illustrious Bro. Todd E. Creason who
is a famous Freemason in and of himself, having published half a dozen books.
I asked for permission to read his piece on the show and Todd approved, but he
had never heard of the a podcast before. We struck up a mentor mentee
relationship of sorts. Eventually he got too busy and “The Midnight Freemason”
was going to go dark, as we say. I stepped up to the plate. He gave me
everything I needed to run the site and here we are. We changed the name from
“The Midnight Freemason” to the “Midnight Freemasons”. We went from just one
author, Todd, to having half a dozen to having thirteen or fourteen at one
point. We have over a million views and climbing. I may be biassed but I think
it’s the best Masonic blog out there. Three new articles every week. It’s
really an online magazine. Consistency is the name of the game and I think we
have achieved that.
That is amazing consistency, yes! Jason, you are also a regular contributor to
the Midnight Freemasons blog.
Yes! I’ve been fortunate enough to have the opportunity to share the
blogosphere with RJ, Todd, and a bunch of other deeply insightful Masons who
make up the writing cadre of The Midnight Freemasons. I was talking to RJ at
one point about a long piece I was writing on
based partially off of an experience I had with a narrow-minded individual in
a coin shop. He suggested I write the piece as a guest contribution to The
Midnight Freemasons, and things snowballed from there. As my 2-foot Ruler
posts waned, I devoted more time to my work with the Midnight Freemasons.
Juan, you were a professional artist prior to producing Masonic art. Shortly
after joining Freemasonry, you developed a collection of Masonic Art and
Custom Masonic Aprons. How is that project going and where can people view and
purchase your work?
Shortly after becoming a Mason, I began working on a collection of Masonic Art
for me. I set out to create the kind of work I would love to have hanging on
my office walls. The collection has now grown to include paintings, fine
prints and hand painted aprons, which can be purchased by visiting
Your artwork is part of private and corporate collections in the United
States, South America, The Caribbean, Europe and Australia now.
Unlocking Knowledge, by Juan Sepúlveda
I feel very fortunate that I was able to pursue my dream of being a
professional artist. Before I created any Masonic artwork, I had been living
off of my art for over 6 years. I have displayed my work in New York, Las
Vegas, California, Florida, and Puerto Rico. From there, and through my online
sales, I now have collectors in many countries around the world. I feel very
honored to be able to say that.
Juan Sepúlveda in studio
Congratulations, Juan! You are also the host of The Winding Stairs Freemasonry
Podcast. Tell us a bit about that project.
I describe The Winding Stairs as being dedicated to Masonic Education and the
art of self improvement. I strongly believe that many Brothers miss
opportunities to improve their lives, because they are not given the proper
instruction of applying the lessons of Freemasonry to their personal lives. I
try to bridge that gap through my podcast episodes, videos, and online
Earlier this year I started a
project within The Winding Stairs, called Applied Freemasonry. In this
program, I give Brothers exclusive access to in depth lessons and tools to
help them find the practical aspects of Freemasonry. It includes a weekly
video conference where we help each Brother individually find real life
solutions to the problems they may face in life, by using the teachings of
Freemasonry. It is almost like a virtual mentorship session, every week. I am
very proud of this program and what it is doing for the Brothers who have
joined it. You can learn more about it by visiting
What a fantastic service! Nick, you are the lead blogger on The Millennial
Freemason blog. Can you share something about your blog?
I was raised in March of 2006. Being a Mason for a decade now, I have gotten
to see and experience a lot of online Masonry, including this site. When I
started in Masonry, we were in the bad old days of Masonry on the Internet.
Most lodge sites were either 5 years behind on information or filled with
construction worker gifs and bad patriotic MIDIs.
I never really intended to
blog for as long as I have. When I started the blog, it’s main focus was my
time at the Annual Communication of the Grand Lodge of Minnesota as Junior
Warden, just months after I had been raised. I think it was more therapy than
anything else. People were still maintaining LiveJournals, knowing that most
weren’t being read.
One day, after writing a few
blog posts, Jeff Day, who ran the blog aggregator “King Solomon’s Lodge”,
noticed my site. He asked if he could include it and not thinking of it, I
said, “sure.” That was the watershed moment. Now, I was getting comments
daily, posts were hitting the thousands of hits in a day, and my voice was
I have been lucky. Many of the
past bloggers, all great content creators, have disappeared. It was the golden
age of Masonic blogging but only a few of us are still here, like Tom Accuosti
of the Tao of Masonry. And, because I’ve been blogging for so long, I
sometimes feel like the old guy on the Masonic Roundtable, which is good in a
way; Masonry without a grumpy Past Master would just not be Masonry.
I hope I can keep at it
because of the friendships I’ve made. It’s also still a way for me to keep
sane in an otherwise topsy turvy Masonic world. It’s just a nice way to stay
connected. Masonic blogging still has a place and I hope to be a strong part
Looks like you will, after all this time! Robert, you produce and host the
weekly Podcast/internet radio program Whence Came You?
It started in 2011. I’ve been writing, hosting and producing the show for more
than 5 years now. We have over 250 episodes. It started out as an idea to just
do one show. That’s it. Is Freemasonry secret or not? I read a paper on that
subject, hosted it and put it out on iTunes. Once I saw how many people
downloaded it, I started producing it every other week and now it’s every
week. So here we are, over 250 episodes, over a million downloads and it’s
been ridiculously successful and so rewarding to hear from the fans of that
show. The show has grown organically from the start. Now we have a whole WCY
team, largely behind the curtain, but they are there. Adam Thayer is my guest
host and book reviewer, Matt Dobbrow is our digital media archivist and study
group coordinator, Ill. Steve Harrison is our guy for The Masonic Minute, Bill
Hosler is developing a ROKU channel for us and some other tech stuff, and
Frater O is our anonymous esotericist. We have a lot of fun and it’s another
endeavor to spread the light of Freemasonry all over the world.
That sounds like a great team! Wait, did you say anonymous esotericist? Your
information on The Masonic Roundtable website says you are also a photographer
and an avid home brewer, AND you are working on three Masonic books!?
I am! I think we are all working on Masonic books, that is every Freemason who
writes. I’ll believe myself when I finish one of them. Photography has always
been a love of mine. I did it professionally for some years when I lived in
Orange County, CA. But, when you do something for a living, the hobby becomes
the burden. I still enjoy photography but now I use my phone to document
everything, my SLR is packed away. As for the beer? Who doesn’t love Zymurgy?
What aspects of Freemasonry are you writing about and why in three different
My main project is something which has been in the works for three years and
has consumed tons of time. It’s largely a book on Occult Anatomy but like
nothing that’s ever been done before. I’m co-authoring the book with a good
friend and brother. The hope is that it will be a book for all, not just
Freemasons. The other two books focus on the Craft specifically. One will be a
collection of my unpublished essays and the other is a book on Anxiety and
Depression, something I’ve struggled with for the last ten years. That book
ties into the craft as well, albeit loosely. It is a book I would hate to
market to just one group of people, namely Freemasons.
That is wonderful, Robert. It is evident that each of you is a lover of
technology, online advancements, and social media. You make great use of the
We’re constantly looking for innovative ways to leverage technology to expand
the reach of Masonic education. We’re blessed to live in a world that is, for
the first time in its history, truly connected. As technology continues to
evolve, we hope to evolve with it. Who knows? Maybe one day we’ll all be
sitting in a virtual lodge meeting together from our respective bedrooms. UGLE,
the Grand Lodge of Ireland, and the Grand Lodge of Manitoba in Canada have all
set precedent for a virtual Masonic experience. I think we’re on the cusp of
seeing virtual lodges become normative, and I’m excited to see that happen.
I have met so many friends, including my now co-host Jon Ruark, through the
many Internet hotspots I frequented, including the Sanctum Sanctorum and the
Masonic Society forum. Internet Masonry has been good for me and good for the
Craft as a whole because it forces us to see outside of the four lodge walls.
The world is wide but flat in this new era.
In my opinion, one of the
biggest issues in Masonry today is what I term, “provincial Masonry.” Masons,
particularly new Masons, leave because they aren’t exposed to new and
different styles of Freemasonry. It’s somewhat by design. The lodge serves as
locus for Masonic activity and many brothers like that. But this lack of
travel breeds insularity which, for new Masons, tells them to conform to a
local style or be left outside. I’ve chatted with so many brothers who have
stayed because of Internet Masonry. It’s powerful and strengthens a bond that
would have otherwise broken.
Lodges, Grand Lodges, and Masons should take notes. Writing is obviously
another interest you all share, in addition to your great enthusiasm and
dedication to Freemasonry through technology.
We do love to write. It’s therapy.
RJ nailed it here. Writing is cathartic. It’s a way for us to express
ourselves and get heard, even if our opinions don’t translate into policy
changes at the Grand Lodge level.
You are definitely being heard! Jon, I need to ask a silly question. You have
two cats, Tesla and Edison. I am sure this isn’t the first time someone asks
you this: do they fight a lot, given that scientists Thomas Edison and Nikola
Tesla had a rather famous disagreement?
Ha! Edison’s the younger one and they do tumble around quite a bit still, but
I still root for Tesla as part of a redemption for history! AC/DC!
This picture really captures the essence of who we are:
five brothers and
who get to spend quality time together
each week on YouTube.
Thank you again, Knights, for this interview! Phoenixmasonry hopes to catch up
with you at a later time to see what is new with the show and hosts. It was a
true pleasure to interview you and good luck with year number three of this
wonderful show! Don’t forget to tune in to catch The Knights of The Masonic
Roundtable live every Tuesday night at 10pm ET.
Jon, Jason, and RJ at Jason’s mother
lodge, Acacia 16.
Below are more interesting
biographical facts on each of the Knights, more photos, and the links to all
Jon T. Ruark is a Past Master
and charter member of
The Patriot Lodge
No. 1957 in
Fairfax, VA. His Masonic interests lean toward the esoteric and philosophical
aspect. He lives in Virginia with his wife, 4 children, and 2 cats; Tesla and
Jason M. Richards is the
Acacia Lodge No.
Clifton, VA, where he was raised in 2012. He is also active in the Allied
Masonic Degrees and the Royal Arch. His favorite Masonic research topics
include the history of American Freemasonry, the sociocultural impact of
Freemasonry, and the history and evolution of Masonic mythos. He is passionate
about the way Freemasonry presents itself to the outside world and, to help
promote a healthy image of the fraternity, works regularly with the Grand
Lodge of Virginia Committee on Public Relations. He lives in Virginia with his
wife, child under construction, cats, and ever-expanding collection of bow
Juan Sepúlveda is a member of
Orange Blossom Lodge No. 80 F. & A.M. in Kissimmee Florida. A member of the
Orlando Valley of the Ancient And Accepted Scottish Rite, S.J. He is a
professional artist and public speaker focused on helping men in their pursuit
of excellence. He is passionate about history, Masonic education and
Nick Johnson is a lover of
codes, symbols, esoteric craziness, and “secret” stuff; he became interested
in Freemasonry and its symbols as a young man. With the help of his
grandfather, Bro. Nick joined Corinthian Lodge No. 67 in Farmington, MN in the
spring of 2006 and served as Master in 2010. He is also a Past High Priest of
Corinthian Chapter No. 33, RAM, Past Illustrious Master of Northfield Council
No. 12, R&SM, the current Grand Chaplain of the Grand Council of Cryptic
Masons of Minnesota, and Past Commander of Faribault Commandery No. 8. He’s
also involved in AMD, Knight Masons, the York Rite Sovereign College, and is a
member of the Royal Order of Scotland. He lives in the Minneapolis-Saint Paul
area with his wife and kids.
Robert Johnson is a Freemason
out of the First North-East District of Illinois who serves as a District
Education Officer and will be following up in October as a District Deputy
Grand Master. He is a Past Master and current Secretary of Waukegan Lodge #78.
He’s also a member of the York Rite bodies, AMD and the Scottish Rite. In
addition, he produces video shorts focusing on driving interest in the
Fraternity and will write original Masonic papers from time to time. He is a
husband and father of 4. He works full time in the executive medical industry.
Also, he does not have any cats.
Robert, Jason and Jon recording an episode from Jason’s dining room.
Robert was out of town for work, but oddly enough, in their town.
Links to the Knights’
The Masonic Roundtable
The Midnight Freemasons site:
The Millennial Freemason blog:
Whence came you? podcast:
The Winding Stairs Podcast:
The Winding Stairs Shop, Bro.
Juan Sepúlveda’s art:
The The 2-Foot Ruler: Masonry
in Plain Language blog:
A special "Thank You" to Wor.
Bro. Mason Pratt for the web design and formatting of this webpage!