Friday, November 30, 2007
From the website of the Honourable Institution of Grand Lodge, Ancient Universal Mysteries.
I found it very interesting
Masonry and the Restoration of the Mysteries
It has been said that Masonry is an earthly symbol of a Heavenly archetype; that it is the custodian of Law; the home of the Mysteries and the seat of Initiation. It holds in its symbolism the ritual of Deity, and the way of salvation is pictorially preserved in its work. The methods of Deity are demonstrated in its Temples, and under the All-Seeing Eye the work can go forward. In its ceremonies lies hid the wielding of the forces connected with the growth of life of the kingdoms of nature and the unfoldment of the divine aspects of man. In the comprehension of its symbolism will come the power to cooperate with the divine plan.
However, it is realised everywhere that new life must be poured in and great changes wrought in the awareness and in the training of those who work through and in this media of truth. These changes must be carried out by those with a new vision and a new approach to life experience, for there is no question that the work to be done in familiarising the general public with the nature of the Mysteries is of paramount importance at this time. One of the media through which these Mysteries are intended to be restored to outer service is the Masonic Fraternity, for it was established as a seed of future effort.
These needed alterations and revitalisation can and must be done. An experiment is being tried to see just what the response may be by the members of the Craft to a revitalised Masonry, built upon the blueprints of its intended seed idea and architectural design. One such Masonic Body accepting responsibility for the presented opportunity is the Masonic Order, Grand Lodge, Ancient Universal Mysteries—A.U.M.—which welcomes to its doors and admits to its privileges worthy men and women of all creeds and of every race, but it insists that all shall stand upon the recognition of an exact equality of divine origin.
The Prophetic Symbol of Masonry
It is to be noted that there has never been a time, in the long history of humanity, when such dramatic episodes as the symbolic happening of any Masonic initiation have not been present in some form or another, the evidences of which can be traced here and there in the ceremonials and symbolisms of the ancient rites of the race. The Golden thread of the Masonic teaching and tradition can be seen running through the Mysteries of past ages, through the symbolism of the world Scriptures, and through the many mystical and occult expressions of truth. That modern Masonry, however, is the child of the past and that it has inherited the secret tradition, whereby the Master Craftsmen of the world have trained the Builders of the Temple, and which, by many names, has led the seekers of past ages, is also significantly true.
We must ever bear in mind that Masonry, as we know it today, is an outer and visible sign of an inner and spiritual reality, and for those who can see with the inner vision it bears the signature of truth.
To portray adequately the wonder and the destiny of the human kingdom lies beyond the powers of any human pen, for it is the custodian of the hidden mystery, the veritable Treasure-House of God—and this is the Great Masonic Secret. Only in the human kingdom are the three divine qualities found in their full potentiality and together. In man, is hidden the secret of life; in man is secreted the treasures of Wisdom and Love; in man is implanted the mystery of manifestation. Humanity, and humanity alone, can reveal the nature of eternal life and divine consciousness, and portray what has lain hidden in the Mind of God. This Mind must dwell in us and reveal itself in the human race in ever greater fullness. To man is given the task of raising matter up into heaven, and of glorifying rightly the form side of life through his conscious manifestation of divine powers.
The goal before humanity at this time is the attaining of the cooperative, or group spirit. This must indicate the part which the unit plays within the whole, and the interaction of the part in the greater structure. Nowhere can this be more soundly and effectively learned than in Masonry.
The hour has now come when the manifestation of this reality can, for the first time and in truth, manifest itself on the physical plane in an organised group form. This is the coming glory, and the next revelation in the evolutionary cycle, of which Masonry is a prophetic symbol and seed of future effort.
Thus, we are faced with the true work of Masonry in the coming cycle, which is to link that which is within with that which is without, and to bridge the world of the tangible and known with that of the intangible and invisible realities.
It will thus be seen that the work of the Masonic Fraternity is not an arbitrary and senseless system of symbolic procedures and ceremonial rituals, but that it is an allegorical portrayal of a great and divine process whereby the will of Deity works out in relation to humanity, and the Strength, Wisdom and Beauty of divine Creative Power through Its medium of expression stands revealed. Under the symbolic rehearsals the plan is revealed for those who have the clue to the meaning of the symbols, the numbers and the ritual. Masonry thus depicts the steady progress of a human being from darkness to light, from ignorance to knowledge, and from death to immortality, and in the degrees of its Lodge work we have an accurate picture of the progress of the human soul— from the time that that soul appears in human form until the time when the great work is accomplished, and the candidate for illumination and worker in the Temple of the Lord ends his career as a risen Master. Thus, must be studied the pattern of truth which underlies the outer forms of Masonry, and which incurs two major lines of thought:
1. The unfoldment of the Plan of Deity, revealed through the symbolism of the degrees of
the Lodge work.
2. The unfoldment of the individual as he progresses from degree to degree, mastering
step by step the work of the Craft till he finally takes his place as a Master.
Grand Lodge, Ancient Universal Mysteries
A.U.M. is the continuity of an effort conducted from 1935 to 1942 by an earlier Masonic group, but whose aspirations and efforts proved a little premature for the contemporary Masons and minds of the day. It was subsequently temporarily disbanded and its generative impulse was patiently held within the aura of the inner Lodge until such a time—which was foreseen and planned for by the principal Officers of the earlier group—it could receive a fresh impulse and re-emerge. This new subjective impulse was registered and followed through in 1977 by a young Mason, and a ten year period of training and preparation began which culminated in the establishing of a Masonic seed group upon the physical plane during the Wesak Festival of 1988. This group trained together for a further three years, before emerging exoterically to establish A.U.M. before the attention of the interested public in 1992. It has subsequently continued to grow nationwide, and admit a steady stream of new members.
Whilst preserving the Ancient Landmarks familiar to the Craft, A.U.M. presents a revitalised form of Masonry in all applications of the Masonic edifice, including the recomposition of its rituals, its Constitution, its Declaration of Masonic purposes, the training of Masons, and the admission of both men and women on an equal basis. Its objective is to reestablish Masonry along certain hitherto neglected lines—not withstanding nor belittling its very real and potent service rendered to humanity over the past few hundred years, and its very broad charitable contributions for the upliftment and relief of the downtrodden and oppressed, the record of which is its own testimony—but that it is also required of Masonry that its Temples become established and recognised within the program of human living as "Academies of Higher Learning" in the spiritual arts and sciences according to the principles and practices of the ritualistic forms of the Temple Builders under T.G.A.O.T.U. Thus, to this service is A.U.M. dedicated, and its program therefore includes an inner training in meditation and study allied to the various Degree work and exoteric forms.
It should be pointed out that A.U.M. does not seek to impose any interpretation of occult truth upon its members, but simply seeks to direct their studies and suggest various lines of thought, thereby training its members to form their own conclusions in the light of their own experience and application in the Lodge work. Nevertheless, it is also realised that there is a real need for Masons to work together with spiritual understanding, and because true Masonic work is group work and can only progress under group inspiration and cooperation, the complementary inner training program and studies are designed in an effort to produce unity of thought along certain desirable lines in order to conform to the requirements of the inner spiritual Lodge. Thus, the actual service of the ritual work in the Lodges at Labour is conducted more consciously and effectively—creating a conscious relationship for the reception and distribution of energies between the Grand Lodge on High, and the Lodges at Labour on earth. The Lodges on earth have to be raised up into Heaven, and the Lodge on High has to be materialised on earth, and only thus by this fusing and blending of that which is below with that which is above can the true Temple of Initiation emerge.
Because the keynote of the work of A.U.M. is one of service, and we are only interested in those who are likewise motivated to train and discipline themselves to be conscious, working servants of humanity, the standard of its Labours and studies, both at admission level and that to be maintained and desired, is perhaps higher than the average. Prior experience in meditation is therefore required, together with previous studies in the fundamentals of the esoteric doctrines, mystery Teachings, or Ageless Wisdom in some aspect or other as a foundation. Not lightly are applicants admitted to the Craft in A.U.M. Those seeking quick results, therefore, need not apply, for it is our experience that the Path is a long and arduous one, and that a necessary discipline of the life should accompany all true spiritual aspiration. We are endeavouring to rule out all selfish incentives to the study of the occult sciences, and our Temple doors are not open to those who are only interested in self-development for the satisfaction of it, or from curiosity or ambition. Our Temple doors are open, however, to all who are in earnest over spiritual matters, and who are thus willing to work steadily and sincerely to fit themselves to serve their fellow human beings.
It should also be pointed out, that in A.U.M., no pledges or oaths are exacted from any of its members in any Degree that can be interpreted as pledges to a personality or as limiting them to any specific form of teaching. The oaths communicated concern the attitudes which should exist towards the Higher Self, and the esoteric truths revealed through the symbolism of Masonry can only be interpreted in the light of the inner developing wisdom.
The form of government in A.U.M. proceeds under the symbolism of a Hierarchical Democracy, and thus the pattern of the ideal is held before its members. We do not issue invitations to join A.U.M., nor do we solicit or recruit members. Each interested person must seek us out and apply of his or her own free will and accord. Every applicant must be vouched for and sponsored by two Masons; an investigation conducted into his or her background and character; and elected by unanimous ballot.
A.U.M. extends its recognitions universally to all legitimate Masonic Orders, recognising that they are all essentially part of one universal Masonic movement under dispensation from the Grand Lodge on High. Its three grand principles are Brotherly Love, Relief of Suffering, and the Cultivation of Truth, and thus it must be understood that the building of the Temple of Humanity is the one uniform objective to which all else is subordinated, and that only through the practice of its principles will be found that which lies at the heart of all true religion.
Monday, November 26, 2007
FOUND THIS ON THE WEB AND COULD NOT RESIST IN POSTING IT!
Of Revolutions & Reforms
.Wor. Frederic L. Milliken
I have been thinking about the subject we have been discussing here, and that is how best to be effective in bringing about new life, new growth, new vitality to our Lodges and most of all reforms and a new course for our Grand Lodges. How can we as individuals best influence the course that our Lodges and Grand Lodges pursue?
The remedy has been proposed that we need to work harder, get involved, run for a Grand Lodge office, rise to some prominence and power and then work to change the system from within. If you are not in the system you can't change it and if you don't work hard to change it you shouldn't complain or expect it to change "no work, no effort no gain".
I would like to amplify what has been said to more fully explain why I think this won't work. Let's explore some finer points and expand on the concepts and see if there are other ramifications and possibilities. First of all for most men Masonry is a pleasurable part time past time, a hobby or interest but not a full time occupation. Nor can most men make it a full time concern. They may work long hours at a demanding job; they may have children who need their time and guidance; their wives may work and therefore they have to contribute to the management of the household and the care of their family including things like grocery shopping, cooking some meals, washing some clothes and driving the kids where they need to go. They may have responsibilities at their house of worship. They may have an aging parent who either lives with them and needs constant care and attention or who lives apart in quarters where they need to be checked up on constantly.
I say all this because what gets in the way of Masonry is life. Quite frankly many men may enjoy coming to Lodge and participating in some of the activities and rituals of the Lodge, but that does not mean they have the time or inclination to spend enormous amounts of time and effort to reform a system that has lost its way and needs a complete overhaul.
I can remember when I first entered Masonry they told me it was only going to be one night a week. Then I joined an Appendant Body and that added another night, then I became an officer and that added another night, then I became a Warden and then a Master and it became almost every night. That 'just one night a week' became a lot more than that. But what are you asking of a man who just wants to enjoy his Masonry? Are you expecting him to devote 20-40 hours per week for the Craft? Lets be realistic here, let's be practical.
If I were to start worshiping at a new church and its management were to come to me and say we have only one Pastor who is overworked and we need more people to help with the liturgy and worship service, and we don't have enough Sunday school teachers and we could use more, and we don't have anybody to clean the church and no money to pay anybody to do that job, and our Secretary is quitting because she says her salary is too low and we sure could use some help with mowing our lawns and do you cook at all sir? Now I am going to say, 'Hey wait a minute, I have come to your church to worship God, not to toil away for hours without compensation.' And the reply would come back, 'If you can't help the church be a great church by donating time, treasure and talent, then there just won't be any church here for you to worship in.'
See where we are here? That's where we are in Masonry right now. We expect too much from men who have job and family obligations. We ask for too much for nothing expecting our membership to give and give and give. And as our numbers dwindle there is a greater burden placed on those who remain. I have seen too many Masters under too much stress. And our Grand Lodges still commit us to huge Institutionalized Charity projects.
Our number one cause of our drop in membership is no longer the cause of death. We are now losing more Brothers because they are quitting, packing up and leaving. We now have a retention problem. And the more burdens we place on those remaining, and the more we expect from those left to pick up the slack, the more members will continue to leave. Quite frankly the large bulk of membership does not want to live Masonry 24/7. And they resent being constantly asked to devote much time and energy to fund raisers and charitable programs for the general public when their main reason for joining was to practice Masonry. So asking men to step up to the plate, run for Grand Lodge Office, work every night and on weekends for the Craft is totally unrealistic. And if you stand there and say 'well if you don't like the way Masonry is being run and you don't like what you see why don't you get more active and work to change things is just so much unrealistic, impractical and uncaring hot air. This way of thinking takes away from the responsibility local Lodge and Grand Lodge officers now have to the Brethren to run a good ship and choose the right course. And it will not make Masonry grow because it will lose more members than it brings in.
Why are we in this fix? What has gotten us into such a tailspin? What can we do to get out?
When we took in large numbers of members after WWII we took in men who were not interested in the character building side of Freemasonry which involved research, study and education 'learning about the symbolism and ethics of Masonry and the meaning and applications for every day life. They wanted to continue the camaraderie they got to experience in fighting a war. Nothing brings you closer to understanding the concept of brotherhood than your life being dependent on your buddy, on you unit. So what we got was good time Charlie social Masonry. Now normally there will be a shift in emphasis with a leadership change which comes about when the next generation joins the Craft. But the Vietnam War destroyed all that. Dropping out and doing what feels good killed the interest of the next generation in joining Freemasonry. Actually it killed the interest in joining almost anything. So the same generation, the same leaders stayed in power twice as long as they normally would. They worked a double shift.
This had two disastrous effects. First it created a tremendous double generation gap. You had young men coming into the Craft looking at a Lodge ruled and governed and populated by men old enough to be their grandfathers. If you think there is a generation gap between father and son you ought to see how great it is between grandfather and grandson. Out of sight. Camaraderie was not the same. And fifty years of unquestioned power and governing inbred into the psyche of these WWII Masons that they had the only way of doing things. Thus 'we always did it this way' became a reality because it truly was done that way for such an extended period of time. As previously stated, normally every 25 years there would be a turnover in leadership with a new generation taking over and imprinting their generational vision on Masonry. But that did not happen around 1975 when it should have occurred.
Finally as Masonry bleedingly limped into the 21st century younger Brothers were forced to take the reins of leadership because most of the WWII Masons had passed to the Celestial Lodge above. But since all these new Brothers were trained by the WWII Masons, they too practiced good time Charlie social Masonry except that by this time Grand Lodges in a stage of absolute panic had turned Masonry into a giant Service Club with Institutionalized Charity as the new savior of Masonry. So what ever Masonic education and study there was now was totally destroyed with the majority of time, effort and money going to 'Masonic Awareness' and the marketing of Freemasonry.
Which leads us to point number two. The only grandeur left in Freemasonry was in political maneuvering. Masonic politics became the new way to gain preeminence in the Fraternity. No longer were Masonic men of letters, its writers, researchers and speakers held in high esteem. For too many years the study and practice of the mysteries of Freemasonry had been neglected. Now with social Masonry evolving into Service Club Masonry we were entering our third generation of Masons who knew very little about the organization to which they belonged. They didn't study, research, read books, write or hold any kind of Masonic education programs in their Lodges. Men now held Grand Lodge office that can't even read Pike or Wilsmhurst or Pound never mind speak intelligently about any philosophical underpinnings of the Craft.
So if you didn't have to know anything about Masonry to rise to preeminence in the Fraternity, how then did you get to be Grand Master? By all the means used to become President of the United States. Our Grand Masters became glib, fast talking, charismatic Masons who ruthlessly wielded the scepter of political power. They constantly sought to increase the power of Grand Lodge by demanding of their chartered Lodges that they do this and do that and submit this report and that report and hold this event and that event. Today the local Masonic Lodge is scourged of all its individuality and its ability to be creative on its own. It is in the hip pocket of the Grand Master and the oligarchy that rules from on high. This centralization of power closely mirrors the increase in power of Washington in our civil government.
It cannot be overemphasized that this means that we are now in a system where it's not what you know but who you know. And the rise to Masonic power is gained by the means our civil politicians use building personal relationships, networking and trading favors and other means which can be more devious but will not be listed. It then becomes a process whereby what is good for Freemasonry and what would truly bring it into the 21st century vibrant and growing means nothing to those in the Grand Lodge system. THEY CARE NOTHING ABOUT PROGRAMS THAT FURTHER THE CRAFT. They, like every other politician in life, care about getting, maintaining and wielding power. To accomplish these ends it matters not where you stand but how others feel about things and what kind of coalition can be put together and how a commitment to any issue will affect your standing in the ability to step up onto the next rung of the ladder.
Faced with these realities you can, outside the inner circle, but within the system work very hard to reform Freemasonry and return it to its former grandeur but all that work will yield little result when most of those in the system with power to implement are only concerned in putting a feather in their own cap. In other words you are beating your head against the wall. And when you do all this work and spend all the time necessary and end up with nothing, believe me what ensues is utter frustration and chances are you become another retention statistic because you have left. So this is why I say extending the effort is fruitless.
So nothing can be done? No I am not saying that. What I am saying is that if you desire to make change you need to channel your efforts in another manner. The only thing that power respects is other power. And the only thing that politicians fear is losing power and being booted out of office. You don't make the change you seek by convincing other members in the system the righteousness of your argument. They don't care how right you are. You don't spend all your tine and effort into implementing a certain agenda because that is butting your head against the wall. You don't get anywhere by being a good little boy, kissing ass, keeping your mouth shut and trying to climb the ladder without upsetting the applecart. You don't make change by working inside a system where you have to toe the line and work hard to further programs that are the exact opposite of what you want to do, - in order to get ahead. You can't further the programs of a Grand Lodge which you know are destroying Freemasonry in order to stay in the system and eventually get enough power to change it. By the time you get the power, you have worked so hard to destroy it, that you have actually destroyed it. You can't work against what you believe in to get ahead. If the present system is corrupt and you are absolutely convinced that the direction it is going in is self-defeating then helping those in power to do more of the same is stupid.
In order to change things you are going to have to play hardball, because once again the only thing those who worship power alone respect is the power of others and what they could or might do to them. Now you may stay in the system but that does not mean you are going to work to further it. And that does not mean you are going to enter the corporate Masonic ladder. What you are going to do at every opportunity you get is to point out the folly of the present course of action. You are not going to enter into personal attacks but rather intellectual debates challenging the power structure to change course. If you are a writer you will write articles explaining how destructive present policies are and what would work much better. If you are a speaker you will do the same. If your Grand Lodge runs opinion forums you will show up and ask the tough questions that need to be asked. You will write letters and E-Mails explaining your reforms to any and all. You might form a group of like-minded reform Brothers and meet on a regular basis 'a reform club. You will probably launch a Masonic website and from that form a power base where you constantly point out the destructive path Grand Lodge is on. Yes you are going to be in their face and they are not going to like it. But if you stick to ideas and not personalities you are still on the high road. But you can't change them you can only defeat them.
Will this course of action jeopardize your membership? Could be. Depends on what you would rather do, remain on a sinking ship or stay afloat in a lifeboat. If you are the only one doing this then obviously you are in some trouble. But what if 300 Brothers all felt the same way and were all participating with you and were doing some of the same things? Power respects power. Power does not respect ideas. Ideas cannot defeat power only ideas with power behind them.
My path personally led me to leave mainstream Masonry and join Prince Hall. I won't go into the reasons why I made that decision nor recommend it to others. Some have said that now that I am on the outside looking in I can no longer influence change. Poppycock! I didn't leave Freemasonry. I'm still in the legitimate, non clandestine practice of Masonry. I can speak at other Lodges, I can write articles, I can blog and in every way still call attention to failed practices. As time goes by I will be able to visit the Communication of any mainstream Lodge and in casual conversation whether over coffee or a pint I can have my say and influence the thinking of others who in turn will carry the torch of reform into their Grand Sessions. Who knows what the future holds in store for the intermingling of Prince Hall & mainstream Masonry. That future might mean the allowance of dual membership.
And finally what is the way out of this Masonic political power trip? How do we get politics out of Masonry and get leaders who are concerned with the quality of the Craft not their own well being? The reason we got into this mess in the first place is that we stopped researching, studying and teaching the mysteries of Freemasonry and venerating our writers, researchers and speakers. If we return now to correcting that and making the philosophy of Freemasonry and the practice of its virtues the focal point of our existence then it will become what you know not who you know which is important. Our Lodges and Grand Lodges will no longer be populated by a bunch of know nothing Masons. The way that politics gains a stranglehold of Freemasonry is to have no other standard of preeminence available. Only then does power become the standard.
Also a system that encourages the study of itself and exalts the education of it members places knowledge on a pedestal not raw political power without knowledge. So when and if we choose to replace the system we have now with a one that reveres Masonic knowledge and that requires its leaders to be well versed in the meaning of Masonry, the symbolism of Masonry, the virtues of Masonry and the importance of passing on that knowledge then we no longer will be riding on the roller coaster ride of political gamesmanship. Right now we are like a church with a Pastor who has no knowledge of scripture. Right now we are no more advanced than any other organization out there. To be the noble, grand organization that stands heads and tails above any other we have to again learn and teach that Freemasonry is a philosophy of life, a way of life, and an answer to what is the meaning of life.
In order to get to that point we need to force the issue. Those in our Grand Lodges so concerned with numbers and dollars and staying in power will not change and reform of their own free will and accord. Helping them and working with them only hastens the destruction of Freemasonry. They will not step down quietly but will go kicking and screaming, but go they must.
The only thing left to say is that this doesn't apply to everyone, but if the shoe fits.
Wor. Frederic L. Milliken
Monday, November 05, 2007
I do not know how many have seen the movie “Brubaker”, starring Robert Redford, but I witnessed a similarity between Freemasonry and the tone of the movie. Robert Redford infiltrates a southern prison, to eventually become the warden. He wanted to enter the system as a prisoner, see how it functioned, then reveal that he is the new warden and try to reform it. Now, Brubaker is the name of Redford’s character, and the obstacles he has to face to try and reform the prison is similar to what I and others have experienced in the Lodge and Masonry in general.
There is a situation where a roof caves in and injures multiple inmates, Brubaker checks the insurance policy, but the roof is not covered. They are covered against a Chinese invasion, volcano destruction and earthquakes, but no roof coverage. He starts to find many more dirty deeds that have been transpiring for decades. A local lumber man tries to bribe Brubaker to get in on the scam of this prison system, milking it for labor and funds. When this lumber man realizes that Brubaker is not interested in being a part of this scam, or any other, this southern gentleman reminds Brubaker, quote: ”Don’t F with tradition, boy!”
Now, if I had a nickel for every time I heard that statement in my Masonic travels, maybe not as harsh, but the same message. “We have always done it this way, or that way”. Just because a Lodge, a prison or Government has “done something” a certain way for a very long time, does not make it RIGHT. The town’s and state’s elders had no problem doing things that were wrong, even passing that system onto their future generations, to continue these traditions unimpeded.
Brubaker, an educated man with morals and principles, ran into a group of people who had acted questionable for generations, and the first time an outsider comes into the mix, and will not partake in the this corrupt system, gets threatened and met with obstacles by people who would rather continue on a morally corrupt path (tradition) than recognizing the wrong of what they are doing, and changing to do right. Traditions do not necessarily mean right. If educated men perceive traditions to be that, traditions and not “LAW”, they should be able to question them and attempt to change these traditions if they are wrong. Just because you’re great grandfather and his father had always done it that way, it does not make it right.
I would like to suggest that anyone who has not seen Brubaker to see it, and see for yourself if a Masonic allegory his hidden within the movie. Does the prison represent the Lodge, and the resistance to change by the towns elders, represent the entrenched, possessive mason? See how many of the characters in the movie remind you of males you have met within the craft. With their zealous defense of traditions and positions passed down by daddy and his cronies, no matter how they affect “outsiders” and other innocents. Brubaker symbolized all aspiring freemasons who have entered the portals of the Temple, expecting high minded, elevated freethinkers to be able to work with, who would be pro active in making a difference and challenging the minds of all who seek to learn, not unenlightened staunch Christians, bullying age old traditions down your throat without any recourse.
The best line of the movie again by the big mover and shaker of the town was, “Don’t F with tradition, boy!” , a popular mantra of masonry,
From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
Brubaker is an American 1980 film about a prison in distress. Robert Redford plays the eponymous lead role of Warden Henry Brubaker.
In the film, the Brubaker character finds rampant abuse and corruption during the short period he impersonates an inmate. Examples include a prison doctor that charges inmates for care, torture of inmates, procurement fraud (such as purchase of substandard food contaminated with weevils and worms), fraudulent insurance, and many more examples.
When the disguise comes off, he does what he must to make things right, and inflames the corrupt officials who have profited from their graft for decades.
The film is a fact-based biopic about a prison warden who starts his job by disguising himself as one of his own prison inmates to find out what the prison is really like. It is based on a 1969 book by Tom Murton, a warden at the Cummins Prison in Arkansas, and co-author Joe Hyams, Accomplices To The Crime: The Arkansas Prison Scandal.
Murton also served as technical advisor during filming.
Filmed in New Lexington, Ohio & The Junction City Prison Farm in Junction City, Ohio.
Thursday, November 01, 2007
A MASONIC CODE OF LIFE
Salutem Punctis Trianguli!
1) In the morning, before rising, thank the God of your Heart for the new day that you are privileged to live on the earthly plane, and ask God to inspire you throughout the day. Then, standing facing east, take seven deep breaths as you focus on the vitality that is awakening in you. Afterwards, drink a glass of water and then begin your daily activities.
2) Despite the trials and tribulations of life, always consider life the most precious gift the Cosmic ever granted human beings, because it is the medium of our spiritual evolution and the source of the happiness we seek. Furthermore, regard your body as the temple of your soul, and take great care of it.
3) If you can, reserve a place in your home dedicated to prayer, meditation, and the study of the Masonic teachings. Make it your own oratory, your sanctum, and keep it free from any profane concern or activity.
4) Before every meal, give thanks to your God for being fortunate enough to have something to eat, and think of all those who do not have the privilege of eating their fill. If you are alone or together with other members of the Order, place your hands above your food, palms down, and say mentally or aloud this symbolic invocation: May this food be purified and magnetized by the vibrations radiating from my hands so to provide for my body and soul’s need. May all those who are hungry be associated with this meal and be given a spiritual share of its benefits. So Mote It Be!
5) You know that the aim of all human beings is to perfect themselves; to become better persons. Therefore, constantly endeavor to awaken and express the virtues of the soul that animates you. In doing so, you will contribute to your evolution and serve the cause of humanity.
6) Isolate yourself for a moment every day, preferably in your Sanctum, and send thoughts of love, harmony, and health towards humanity as a whole, particularly towards all those who suffer physically or mentally. Also ask your God to assist them on all planes and to preserve them as much as possible from the ordeals of life.
7) Behave in such a way that all those who share your existence or live in contact with you regard you as an example and feel the desire to be like you. Guided by the voice of your conscience, may your ethics be as pure as possible and may your first preoccupation always be to think well, speak well, and act well.
8) Be tolerant and defend the right to be different. Never use the faculty of judgment to blame or condemn anyone, for you cannot read the hearts and souls of others. Look at them benevolently and leniently, and see what is best in them.
9) Be generous towards those who are in need or less favored than you. Arrange things every day so that you do at least one good deed for someone else. Whatever your good deed, do not boast, but thank God for enabling you to contribute to the well-being of others.
10) Be moderate in your behavior and avoid extremes in all things. Be temperate, and follow the middle way in all circumstances.
11) If you hold a position of power, do not be overly proud about it and do not become intoxicated by the power you may wield. Never use your position to force others to do anything that they disapprove of or that is unfair, illegal, or immoral. Hold your office with humility and make it serve the common good.
12) Be attuned to others and speak with care. If you ever criticize, make sure that it is done constructively. If someone asks you for advice on a subject you do not know well, humbly admit your ignorance. Never stoop to telling lies, backbiting, or slander. If you hear malicious gossip about someone, do not support it by lending a willing ear.
13) Respect the laws of your country and endeavor to be a good citizen. Always remember, the key to human progress lies in the evolution of consciousnesses.
14) Be humanistic. Regard all humanity as your family. Beyond race, culture, and belief, all human beings are brothers and sisters. Consequently, they all deserve the same respect and consideration.
15) Consider Nature as being the most beautiful sanctuary and expression of Divine Perfection on earth. Respect life in all its forms, and look upon animals as conscious and sensitive beings—and not as mere living things.
16) Be and remain a free thinker. Think for yourself and not according to what other people think. Likewise, let everyone think freely; do not impose your ideas on others and always remember that your ideas are also evolving.
17) Respect all religious or philosophical beliefs, as long as they do not strike a blow at human dignity. Do not support fanaticism or fundamentalism, in any shape or form. As you live your faith, make sure that you are neither dogmatic nor sectarian.
18) Be faithful to your promises and commitments. When you give your word of honor, consider it to be a sacred pledge that binds you. If you must take an oath, think of the Square and Compasses, the symbol of your ethical ideal, while doing so, and remember that any lie you might tell will have karmic consequences for you. Although it is possible to deceive others, no one can escape Divine Justice.
19) If you can afford and wish to do so, support the Order materially, so as to promote its activities and contribute to its continuity.
20) The purpose of the Order is to contribute to the raising of consciousnesses, and the transmission of its centuries-old teachings. Therefore, make yourself available to present its ideals and philosophy to those who seek Knowledge, but without ever trying to coerce them.
21) Never cause anyone to believe that members of the Order are sages who are in full possession of the Truth. To those who may ask, present yourself as a philosophical person who is seeking Wisdom. Never pretend you are a Master Mason, but say you are a perfecting Freemason.
22) In the evening before going to sleep, summarize the day that is ending, and see in what ways it has been constructive or otherwise. In your soul and mind, weigh up what you have thought, said, and done throughout the day. From this draw useful lessons for your spiritual evolution and make firm resolutions. When this is done, send positive thoughts to the whole of humanity and entrust your soul to your God before going to sleep.
So Mote It Be!