Number 300 – October 18, 2010
Dear Masonic Student,
This issue of More Light may seem a little different from the ordinary, but I felt the need to write to you about something that is very good for us as students of Freemasonry. It actually covers a couple of subjects, one of which is building up a personal and Lodge Masonic library with physical books and also with E-books, and the other is to be a member of an outstanding Masonic Research Society.
In my mind the best Masonic Research Society to be a member of and participate in is The Philalethes Society. I say this because it’s a real Masonic Research Society; real in the sense that Masonic Students can interact with other Masonic students to help and get help with Masonic research. You might expect I would say that since I am the current Executive Secretary of The Philalethes, but I have felt that way ever since I joined it and began to participate in all the benefits of membership. There are some very good member benefits, which I won’t get into here except for a couple. One is the email list server: This is a method where a member can read posts by email from other members on the server who hail from Lodges and Grand Lodges all over the world; it’s a wonderful way to not only get acquainted with Masons you might not otherwise meet, but also to learn from them regarding their perspective on topics of interest to Masons and especially Masonic Students. These emails can be read on-line on the group’s web site (Yahoo groups), or they can be read in as a digest email, or they can be read as individual emails sent to your inbox. Over the years I have used all 3 methods (it’s the member’s choice on how he would like to receive them) and I prefer the digest method; if I want to I can still go to the group’s web site and read them there too, and not affect my daily digest.
In the digest I got today there was an email there from Brother Ron Martin, the Societies 2nd Vice President; in that email he told us about a Grand Lodge Web site with an extensive on-line e-book library with this link to the site: http://aurora.rgls.org/index.php/literatura the site can be translated into English and other languages easily with buttons on the site. While I haven’t viewed every book on the site the ones I did view all were digitized in English which is great for someone like me. I didn’t count the books on the site, but there are easily upwards of a hundred different e-books on it. One of the nice features of these digitized books is that when I clicked on it, it downloaded into my download file (I use Google Chrome, so maybe it’s peculiar to that) then after it downloaded I could read it on-line, but I could also save the book to a flash drive so I could read it off line too.
Having e-books on a flash drive or CD-Rom’s is a great way for a Lodge to add either a Lodge or personal e-book library. Many of us have the need to replace our computers from time to time. The computers we replace sometimes would be more than adequate for a Lodge to use as a book reader in the Lodge library. So if a Lodge would like to build up their library with e-books they might want to ask members to think of the Lodge if they are going to replace an existing computer.
I agree with my Brethren who like actual books better than e-books, because I do too; there is nothing like holding a book in your hands for reading; as I type this I’m surrounded by many of the books in my library. Still I like e-books: They are easier to store, cheaper to have, and easier to take along when traveling. If you’re like me it’s nice to have books along to read for enjoyment, as well as do research for Masonic papers; when you’re away from home e-books are a terrific library to take along.
To build up a library of actual books, my favorite book resource for used Masonic Books is Brother Harold Davidson, the founder of the Billings Masonic Library and Librarian for The Philalethes Society. You can reach Brother Harold at: firstname.lastname@example.org No matter if you’re trying to add books to your personal or Lodge library at a fair price you can’t do any better than dealing with Brother Harold, he might just have the book you’re looking for.
This brings me to the other benefit of membership I want to mention today, there are others but I’m limiting it to two, and that one is the Philalethes – the Society’s magazine; it is top notch. It comes out quarterly. If you want to read some excellent Masonic papers from knowledgeable Masons from around the world read the Philalethes. I have always felt that the Philalethes is hands down the best Masonic magazine to read to enhance Masonic knowledge and understanding. Many of the best Masonic Scholars over the last 80 years or so have been members of The Philalethes and contributors to the Philalethes Magazine. I have collected every one of the magazines since I became a member and have added to the collection whenever I had the opportunity to get a copy I didn’t have; they are wonderful to read. Maybe I should mention the name of the Society is; The Philalethes and the name of the magazine is Philalethes. From what I understand Philalethes means ‘Seeker of Truth,’ and that’s what Masons do – seek truth.
I can’t urge every Masonic Student strongly enough to join The Philalethes and enjoy the benefits of membership, especially the two I mentioned; they are benefits a Mason can enjoy and use every day. The $50 annual dues come out to less than 14 cents a day – a lot of enjoyment and Masonry for 14 cents.
The web address for The Philalethes is http://www.freemasonry.org/ you can read about the Society there, and you can join on-line too, just click on ‘Membership.’ But if you prefer here is the link to that page; https://secure.freemasonry.org/join_subscribe.php When you’re on the membership page take a look at the item above the application for membership / subscription (by the way Lodges can join too) where it mentions a free copy of Fiat Lux for new members. This is another great benefit new members can get and Fiat Lux is a wonderful book.
When you’re a member of The Philalethes you’re on the road to associating with very interesting Masonic Students from regular Masonry all over the world, who enjoy each other’s fellowship, and who are interested and knowledgeable about our Craft and learning more about it.
Words to live by: “If you would be a real seeker after truth, it is necessary that at least once in your life you doubt, as far as possible, all things.” Rene Descartes
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