Coalition to Save Freemasonry in Indiana

A group, or person, has identified as the 'Coalition to Save Freemasonry in Indiana' and have sent a letter out to WM's here in Indiana. The letter can be found below in this blog post. I'd really love if someone from this 'coalition' could reach out to me. Several things they addressed in their letter had me nodding or are things I've already thought/been concerned about. Freemasonry in Indiana is getting downright silly. The Powers That Be have been driving Indiana Freemasonry into the ground the decade and change I've been a Mason in Indiana and it's saddening. I want to see a return to our early roots as Freemasons in America. I want to see changes. I want to help bring about that change. I can't do it alone and I don't even know how to go about finding like minded Masons. 

This week my Lodge changes from Speedway #729 to Speedway #500 purely out of vanity. Seriously, we are getting a new charter so that we can take #500 because we are down the road from the Indianapolis Motor Speedway... membership declines in Indiana, ritual is stumbled through at many a Lodge, members regularly fail to return after they are raised... but the GL thought it was a good idea to offer us the ability to change from #729, after 77 years of history, to #500 for vanity. This means a new charter, this means a new signing, this means time wasted by dozens of Brothers to bring about this change. Then this letter surfaces bringing to light many far far more concerning issues. Please, would someone from the Coalition to Save Freemasonry in Indiana reach out to me, if anything it would be nice to have someone to vent to. 

Even if you aren't a member (or the sole individual) of the Coalition to Save Freemasonry in Indiana, and are just a like minded individual that is concerned by the above issues (or similar ones) and are a member of the GL of Indiana, please reach out. Lets talk, lets get together and have a cup of coffee or a bite to eat and discuss some of our concerns. Lets see if we can't start to be the change we want to see in Indiana Freemasonry. Maybe we can start a club and come together once or twice a month to be better Brothers and go to our Blue Lodges monthly and be the change. Comment here, or drop me a message via the Contact link in the top right corner of this site. 


Interview with Masonic Author Ill. Dr. James Tresner

Whence come you Bro. James Tresner?

I was born in Enid, Oklahoma, now living in Guthrie, Oklahoma.

How did you first become interested in Freemasonry?

In my family, it was inevitable. One joined DeMolay at 13, got a driver’s license at 16, petitioned the Lodge at age 21. In fact, on my 21st birthday my parents handed me a petition, filled out, and my Grandmother handed me a check with which to pay the fees. So far as we can tell, I am a fifth-generation Mason. My Father and Grandfathers on both sides were active in Freemasonry, especially in the Scottish Rite. Both Grandmothers were active in Eastern Star, Amaranth, and White Shrine of Jerusalem. At the time, by Father was the youngest man to receive the 33rd Degree. I actually “took” the Blue Lodge and Scottish Rite Degrees by the time I was 5 years old. I had my hair cut, along with my Father, at Fox Barber Shop in Enid. Most of the customers were Masons, and frequently when we went in on Saturday mornings for a haircut, there would be five or six men there, “running language” either for a Blue Lodge Degree or an upcoming Scottish Rite Reunion. My Father was deeply interested in the philosophy of the Rite as he was in comparative religion, and so there were frequent discussions at home about the topics. I loved reading, and he loaned me his books on Masonry, so that I had read Morals and Dogma by the time I was 11 years old. I’m still trying to grasp it fully.

Well, I wanted to ask what made you decide to petition a Lodge but looks like we’ve covered that using your own words “It was foreordained”.

Bro. Jim, how long have you been a Mason?

Nearly 53 years.

What do you feel is the most important or impactful things you’ve taken away from Freemasonry?

Very difficult to answer. One certainly is how to be a friend. Another is the understanding that nothing is as it seems. Almost always there are deeper and deeper layers if one looks. A symbol may seem simple on the surface, but may lead you into the most profound depths of human experience.

Would you mind telling us a bit about your Masonic history?

(Remember, you asked for this) Originally (and still) a member of Garfield Lodge #501 in Enid, Oklahoma. Also a member and Past Master of Albert Pike Lodge #162 in Guthrie, Oklahoma. Member of the York Rite (made Knight Commander of the Temple by the Grand Encampment). Member of the Guthrie Valley Scottish Rite, Director of the Work there, 33o , Grand Cross in the Rite. Book Review Editor for the Scottish Rite Journal. Holder of the Oklahoma Masonic Medal of Honor and the Kansas Grand Master’s Medal of Honor. Honorary Past Grand Master of Arkansas. Anson Jones Lecturer. Holder of the Duane Anderson Medal in Masonic Education. Member of the Order of the Eastern Star. Publications Editor, Grand Lodge of Oklahoma. Royal Order of Scotland. Blue Friar. Mackey Medal for Excellence in Masonic Research from the Scottish Rite Research Society.

Busting my chops a little, haha, wow you’ve had quite busy Masonic ‘career’ those nearly 53 years! I feel like I’m slacking as a Brother here it’s been a decade and this is book club, which wasn’t even my idea, is my first real attempt at contributing to the Craft.

What Masonic titles have you written and do you currently have any Masonic books in the works?

Previous books include:

I’m currently working on a book I’m calling Bad Mason! Baad Mason!! It’s about the lamentable and unfortunate (and therefore funny) things which have happened in my Masonic life. I’m about ready to try to find a publisher.

I’ll have to keep an eye out for Bad Mason! Baad Mason!! The bit of sample you let me read was quite fun and I think everyone will love it once it’s published!

Have you written any non-Masonic books?


In writing/compiling “But I Digress” what did you find to be the most interesting thing you learned/realized?

Most of the book is a collection of material I originally wrote for the New Age/Scottish Rite Journal. Other material consists of speeches, papers, and a play written at various times and for various reasons. The thing I found most surprising was just how much of it there was. I had never collected it or even paid much attention to it before.

Is there any content in ‘But I Digress’ you wish you could change or plan to change in a future version?

There really isn’t anything I plan to change in another edition, and I suspect I should have left out more than I did. The reason I pulled it together what several younger Brethren contacted me from time to time asking about something they had read or someone had told them about. Two of three of them really pushed me to collect all of it, and I thought it would be fun to do.

If readers could only take one thing away from ‘But I Digress’ what would you want it to be?

If readers take any only one thing, I wold have they realized just how vast a topic Freemasonry is, and how it ranges from those whose pleasure is learning and performing the ritual to those who look for the hidden meaning of things. It is an exploration of human potential—it is part of the great quest tradition which always asks the question “Who are you?” The realization that we do not know who we are, and that the discovery of identity is one of the most compelling, interesting, and essential tasks we can undertake—that is what I hope people learn. And that it is a hell of a lot of fun on the path.

What book, Masonic or otherwise, do you find yourself giving the most as a gift?

The book I give most often as a gift is Morals and Dogma. It is amazing how many copies can be found in library sales, estate sales, etc.

I wonder how often those copies of Morals and Dogma go unread, I must admit I’ve a few copies I’ve found at Goodwill stores and as of yet I’ve never read it’s entirety.

Growing up what was your dream career?

Growing up I wanted to be a college teacher. And I got to do that for a while.

Do you have any favorite books/genres/authors that you like to read?

Thorne Smith, P.G. Wodehouse, Albert Pike, Jole Chandler Harris, Sir Arthur Conan Doyle, Agatha Christie, and the Harry Potter books.

If you could have one wish granted, what would you ask for?

If I could have one wish granted it would be to spend a couple of days in conversation with Albert Pike.

If you could say anything to the Masonic community, and you can now, what would it be?

If I could say one thing to the Masonic community, it would be not to sell Masonry short. It is an astonishing voyage of discovery if you have the courage to take it.

Thank you so very much for your time Bro. Jim.


This interview was conducted via electronic mail between Bro. Tresner and Bro. Ryan Carl Mercer member of Speedway #729 of the Indiana Grand Lodge F&AM on October 26th and 27th 2015 AD 6015 AL

What's new with me?

Well, haven't had much to update with but here's something...

Working on selling one of my sites, had an agreed upon amount with one buyer and they've been dragging their feet (going the slow route of incorporating, paid for their EIN instead of generating it for free online on the IRS site etc) so after a few weeks of delays I entertained another buyer who was offering 20% more... buyer wanted an absurd amount of paperwork (for a domain and current content) and I obliged because I want to be done with that property... well yesterday he sends me TWENTY-THREE pages of legalese in the form of two contracts to which I promptly replied I would not be signing that or anything like it that I'd only sign a generic transfer of ownership as we'd be doing the actual exchange of the domain and site via escrow which would offer protection for both parties in the exchange.

Other than that, I wrote an article earlier this year titled "Put Your Dues on Autopilot" and submit it to the Midnight Freemasons. It was selected for publication a few weeks ago and I'm honored to have my drivel alongside pieces by some rather interesting Brothers. 

Re: Charlie Hebdo: A Death in My Family

The following is my reply to a post by another Brother: Charlie Hebdo: A Death in My Family


I appreciate your thoughts but I disagree on some points.

because they were exercising their free speech

There is the right to having free speech and being able to say what you want. I'm all for that. However there is also being repeatedly disrespectful to another's views/beliefs/religion. This is no longer free speech, this is being uncivil and absolutely disrespectful to others. While I don't think they should have died/deserved to die, I do think they were guilty of not exercising civility. Just because you can say something, doesn't mean you should.

constantly threatened with death for doing something as simple as writing funny cartoons

One man's funny is quite offensive to others. You don't attack other's beliefs, especially religion. You respect the rights of others to believe what they want. You don't continually mock one's religion/God/prophet in satirical illustrations that some even offend people NOT of the religion being mocked. They weren't being funny, they were being mocking, nay, derisive and full of hatred in their magazine.

We as Masons are taught through our ritual and through our culture that we have a bond to the fraternity and each other

We are also instructed that we are all on the level and that we shouldn't judge others for their beliefs. We've also learned as Masons that it's not fun to be persecuted... I mean the wiki entry Suppression of Freemasonry is a good starting point. Let me ask you this Brother, how would you feel if someone took something sacred to you, let's say Freemasonry, and began making hate-filled 'satirical' cartoons about Freemasonry. You'd be mad. Now what if you were devoutly religious and someone started taking your God/prophet/important religious figure and started making cartoons about them showing them doing idiotic thing, carrying out acts of a sexual or romantic nature with a person or animal that your religion prohibits etc? You'd be mad.

Pardon my language, but what really chaps my ass, is the fact that there WERE Brothers working at this publication. We shouldn't be making fun of the beliefs of others, whether we find it comical or not (because they probably won't). These satirical comics that Charlie Hebdo were producing were funny to some but grossly offensive to others. That's just unacceptable. 

I also felt pride that my brothers were there, doing things that stood for something and shaped the world.

I'm sorry, I don't take pride in bullying and bigotry. They weren't making cartoons saying why they preferred their belief over the belief of their target, they were showing extreme prejudice and bigotry for a specific group of people that make up a significant portion of the world's population.

but Michel and Bernard were the ones who actually were going out and doing something. They were the ones with the guts. The ones without fear.

They were the ones showing cowardice, afraid of the beliefs of others and lashing out against those beliefs with disrespectful illustrations that they claimed to be tasteful satire. Disgusting.

I'm truly sorry that these individuals were killed but let us take some good from this tragedy. Let us see it as a reminder to be more civil and tolerant of the beliefs of others, to be more respectful of the beliefs of others. There is absolutely no reason, in a civil society, that those comics should have been created and published. 


A response to my disagreements has been posted

Let me address it

We shouldn’t judge other people for their beliefs? Where in the ritual is that?

Not necessarily degree ritual but there are two things you do NOT talk about in Lodge. Religion and politics. Even in the York Rite with Templar stuff you must admit you are a Christian but you are never told to look down on those that aren't Christian. 

If Bob is the Worshipful Master and has on a cornstarch blue tie, I don't stop a degree "Hey Bob, what the hell man, cornstarch blue is so silly, Brothers laugh at Bob for his tie, everyone knows royal blue is far superior, oh Bob you are so silly"...

If someone made comics attacking Freemasonry, I would be THRILLED to offer a rebuttal.

Well, 2 men did make a rebuttal to the Islam-mocking comics. They did it with bullets. Because that's how some people think, not everyone can be civil and laugh off when you mock their beliefs or belief system, it's something they are passionate about and they may be from a culture that has developed a mindset in them that violence is an acceptable solution to everything.

Bullying? Charlie Hebdo was a publication with 45,000 papers circulated per issue.


  1. verb

    gerund or present participle: bullying

    1. use superior strength or influence to intimidate (someone), typically to force him or her to do what one wants.

Is 45,000 more than the billion plus Muslims on the planet? No. Is a publication with a subscriber base of 45,000 of significant influence? While it's only 0.068 percent of France's population, 45,000 isn't a number to laugh at. Say each subscriber had an average household of 2.5 you now have 112,500 eyeballs looking at it also several of 'cartoons' are readily available online (and likely were prior to the shooting) which can be circulated via email, Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, Tumblr etc considerably amplifying the number of eyes seeing them.

They target a problem and show it in a humorous or thoughtful light

A man in traditional middle-eastern garb open-mouthed kissing an artist in a Charlie Hebdo shirt. A bare, and ample, bottomed depiction of the most important prophet in Islam in a suggestive prone upright position with what appears to be Woody Allen filming him from behind... how are these targeting problems in a humourous or thoughtful light? These are two guarnateed ways to absolutely offend Muslims one blatantly showing homosexuality which is not supported in Islam or in primarily Islamic countries the other hinting at homosexuality and depicting the CHIEF prophet of Islam which you just don't do. These guys KNEW they were going to get people very upset with them, there are examples in recent history that received national coverage from similar illustrations. They weren't trying to bring light to a situation they were intentionally attempting to offend a significant portion of the world's population!!!

Afraid of the beliefs of others? Citation needed on this one.

Read literature on bullying, preferably from a behavioral specialist. You'll find that generally bullies are hiding behind a mask of anger/aggression/violence or even sarcasm as a shield. Something in their life has caused them enough fear to need to lash out at others. Sometimes they lash out at the cause of their fear which you'll see as physical confrontation with the person, or someone from a group, that has scared them. Sometimes it will be a soldier coming home from war afraid of what they saw and did and they'll become self-destructive or lash out at their friends and family (generally their partner or children). Sometimes it will be a weaker individual that just happens to be around, the bully on the playground picks a kid smaller than himself to lash out against because someone in his life scares him and he can take some comfort in terrorizing another weaker human being. These attacks can be verbal or physical, a satirical comic can be motivated by fear, hatred or uncertainty. Intentionally drawing comics that are guaranteed to offend is either idiocy or fueled by hatred/fear/intolerance.

Many Masons lost their lives question and attacking the power structures of monarchal Europe and we should all admire them for their work.

I agree 100%, but this publication wasn't fighting for their own freedom from oppression. They weren't taking up arms and heading off to terrorist camps, they were disrespecting more than a billion people with cartoon images that were sure to offend. If they wanted to make a difference they should have written articles on the oppression of women and of basic civil rights in some countries were crimes against humanity take place on a regular basis. They should have poured that time and effort into interviewing women that have been maimed for being women, little girls that were forced into marriages with men several decades their senior, They should have used their audience to bring awareness to groups that exist that are trying to peacefully work to bring about change. They could have been making funny comics for sick children in hospitals to help their quality of life in dark and scary times, not provoking individuals that believe in a violent and radical Islam.

For my readers that aren't Freemasons and are a bit more curious as to Freemasonry please don't take these cartoonists as an example of what a Mason is in regards to their 'satirical' view of the faith of others. If you want to learn more I'd recommend you check out Brother Hodapp's book Freemasons For Dummies 

Freemasons For Dummies
By Christopher Hodapp