On The Level Podcast

Interview With Jeremy Barnes Creator AMITY App for Masons

February 07, 2024 Christopher Burns Season 3 Episode 3
On The Level Podcast
Interview With Jeremy Barnes Creator AMITY App for Masons
On The Level Podcast
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Show Notes Transcript Chapter Markers

Discover the enigmatic world of Freemasonry with our special guest Jeremy Barnes, the mastermind behind the revolutionary Amity app. We embark on a journey filled with stories that weave through the historical and modern landscapes of this secretive brotherhood. From the initiation of Hollywood's own Richard Dreyfuss to the quirky lodge happenings that will have you chuckling, we pull back the curtain on a society that continues to fascinate and inspire.

Venture with us into the heart of Freemasonry's traditions and the challenges it faces in an era of technological advancements. Jeremy shares his personal experiences within the lodge, providing a glimpse into leadership roles and the lighter side of Masonic culture - yes, even rubber chickens have their place. The narrative takes a compelling turn as we discuss how an old family photo set Jeremy on the path to intertwining technology with tradition, leading to the birth of the Amity app and the future of Masonic communication.

With an eye on what's ahead, we speculate on how virtual and augmented realities could potentially transform Masonic practices, making them more accessible and engaging than ever before. We contemplate the importance of unity and equality in the craft, delving into how these principles are upheld within the fraternity. Wrapping up with tales that span from Dublin to D.C., this episode is a heartfelt nod to the global impact of Freemasonry and how it continues to evolve, stitched together by the threads of brotherhood, history, and innovation.

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Speaker 1:

We have to decide what to do with the time the skeleton does. You've reached the internet's home for all things masonry. Join on the level podcasts as we plumb the depths of our ancient craft and try to unlock the mysteries, dispel the fallacies and utilize the teachings of freemasonry to unlock the greatness within each of us. I have you now. That is our new intro, and welcome to on the level podcast with the creator of the amity app, co-creator creator, jeremy Barnes. Welcome to on the level podcast. We had you for five minutes once and the taste was so delicious we needed a full meal with Jeremy Barnes. Welcome to the show.

Speaker 2:

Good to be here, chris.

Speaker 1:

What did you think of?

Speaker 2:

that intro. I thought it was really interesting with all the sound effects in the background After them.

Speaker 1:

I did not expect the Wilhelm screen no not directly.

Speaker 2:

No, okay.

Speaker 1:

There is a screen that was recorded in the 60s for a western movie that has become like a mainstay of Hollywood. They just always use the Wilhelm screen. Whenever somebody is falling off something or getting blown up, they throw in the Wilhelm screen, most popularly done by Star Wars. When you see stormtroopers falling off, you hear the Wilhelm screen.

Speaker 2:

That makes a lot of sense actually.

Speaker 1:

There is a method to that madness. Thank you for being on the podcast. We had great fun meeting you in DC. You teased us with some masonic facts that I would like to explore further, which one you left me hanging because you popped in while we were recording with someone else and let us know that you yourself raised one of the actors from the Jaws movie and many other movies. Would you care to elaborate at the get go on that story, because I have been dying to hear it ever?

Speaker 2:

since yeah, for sure.

Speaker 1:

I have been sitting with you in DC.

Speaker 2:

It is worth saying first off that this was a Masonous site ceremony. For folks that don't know what that is, it is a one person grandmasters class sort of thing. You go through basic education and you get the obligations, but it is a relatively fast ceremony. It doesn't include the whole get up and go around the lodge and that sort of thing. This was being done on that day. For now, brother Richard Dreyfus, who of course is famous for lines like we are going to need a bigger boat from, Jaws Close encounters of the third time.

Speaker 1:

Well everyone will know him from that movie.

Speaker 2:

He just released, I think last year, a movie about an astronaut where he is an older astronaut going into space. I haven't seen it, but it looked pretty good.

Speaker 1:

And so he actually played that straight man psychologist to Bill Murray's craziness. He is a great actor.

Speaker 2:

And here is the interesting thing. So you are absolutely right, he is a great actor. I was the master of my lodge at the time, I believe, if my memory serves, or recently out of the east. I conferred a lot of degrees and was pretty well versed in the ritual, but I had never given a conferred a degree on an actor. And that may sound strange, but here we were.

Speaker 1:

Not many of us have really.

Speaker 2:

And so here we were in this auditorium, at the Scottish Rite of DC, on the floor, and there is 500 seats and they weren't full or anything, but it was like it was a stage, and he is there, of course, blindfolded, and every time I would say blah, blah, blah, he would take it in and give it back to me like blah, blah, blah, and I am like this is my show, stop it.

Speaker 1:

I am acting here, buddy, this is my show.

Speaker 2:

It was the weirdest experience, just to have what you say given back to you better. And really in that moment I was like wow, acting is a thing. Because he didn't know the words in advance and it didn't matter what I said. Right, just right back at me.

Speaker 1:

So when was this?

Speaker 2:

Oh man, you know it was probably in the 2008-2010 time frame. I don't remember exactly.

Speaker 1:

All right. So do you know what Lodge he was actually becoming a member?

Speaker 2:

So the way that it works is you become a Masonous site and at that point at least in DC, but I would expect this is fairly common you become an unaffiliated Mason, right If the same sort of thing as having a Demit right. You're a Mason but you don't have a membership yet, and then you pick a membership, and so he actually became a member of my Lodge, potomac Lodge, number five. So he's perpetually on the books with us.

Speaker 1:

He became a perpetual member.

Speaker 2:

Well, we're all perpetual members. You are, yeah. Yeah, it's the only way you can join my.

Speaker 1:

Lodge Interesting, yeah. So in the jurisdiction of Florida the perpetual membership is tied to recurring funds the Lodge can receive because of investments. Is it the same in Potomac Lodge?

Speaker 2:

Ish, we don't have a grand Lodge level perpetual membership structure, but any Lodge that chooses to do that, they I mean really they can do whatever they want with the money. We have a separate perpetual membership fund that I'm actually a trustee of right now. We invest the funds for income and the income from that fund goes to the Lodge to either offset or fully pay for the Lodge's activities, based on you know what the budget is for that year and the Masters plans. Fascinating and what year were?

Speaker 1:

you, master of Potomac Lodge.

Speaker 2:

I was master in 2009.

Speaker 1:

2009. And then you were secretary for some time after.

Speaker 2:

Yeah, well, I was master and then I left the East and became a trustee of the Lodge, and then I left that after three years, became secretary for three years and took a little bit of a hiatus, and now I'm back as one of our perpetual membership fund trustees.

Speaker 1:

So you got out just before COVID-ish, some around there 18, 19.

Speaker 2:

More like the 15-ish. Okay, I mean 9, 12,. Yeah, like 15 is when I stopped being secretary.

Speaker 1:

And.

Speaker 2:

But I mean, you know, I've always been one of the more active guys. It's kind of weird now being one of the older past Masters in the room Like I don't, I don't have enough gray hair.

Speaker 1:

I know I saw that because I was there for this most recent installation and you were clearly heavily involved in the entire affair.

Speaker 2:

It was a little more crazy than normal. You guys bring a good contingent. It was a great time.

Speaker 1:

Yeah, we had fun. I mean it was a really great time, and Florida were not accustomed to having alcohol at these Lodge events, so that was something we were trying not to overdo. As Mason's, we're like what?

Speaker 2:

That's what the junior wardens for.

Speaker 1:

I assume you heard Texas just allow that at their annual From what I understand, it's up to each Lodge, right, they can choose to allow it in their bylaws or not at the Lodge.

Speaker 2:

Yes, and the interesting thing is they have a specific provision in the amendment that was passed that prohibits alcohol either in a meeting or four hours before a meeting. Right, so they they. I think it's a good idea. They purposely said look, the idea is you shouldn't be drunk in Lodge.

Speaker 1:

Correct.

Speaker 2:

But if you want to bring a beer after Lodge, that's now okay, which is, I think, a sensible way to start down the path.

Speaker 1:

You know Absolutely. I mean in England, where they have bars in their Lodge building. I assume that's how they do it. Nobody's getting loaded before the meeting. They probably save it for the after.

Speaker 2:

Yeah, the bars are not usually even open before the meeting.

Speaker 1:

Right, that's very sensible.

Speaker 2:

Yeah, and that well they, they actually sell alcohol there. So in DC, I think, much like in Texas, you can't sell alcohol unless you have a license. But if I bring alcohol and I give it to people you know, my friends, effectively, yeah, no, big deal.

Speaker 1:

Yeah, and that's also fair, I think. Right, I would love to see Florida go down that path. I think it's a little too progressive for us. Where I don't know, the bar is just a little different. We cling to our ways a little harder.

Speaker 2:

You were far from the only ones, I will say.

Speaker 1:

Yeah, I'm sure. Well, you would know better than me, I'm only now getting out into the world. You know, I've relocated myself to South Carolina, okay, and as as the podcast gets a little more exposure, I'm getting to know the jurisdictions a little bit better and it's just fascinating because it's really good news. All you hear is these horrible things about the grand jurisdictions in these different areas and California I'm now hearing things about and it's getting a little. I'm sure it's always been this way. It's just that saying ignorance is bliss is it's more accessible now. Yeah, maybe that's it because there are so many of us out there talking publicly. There's so many podcasts now and people writing blogs and stuff. I think it's good that you know that we need to shine a light on all of this stuff and hopefully that leads to, like what's happening in Texas reforms for the better, checks and balances being put in place and maybe not allowing people to do these things in the shadows the way they have for decades.

Speaker 2:

Well, I'll offer. Actually, this is one of the things that we have always hoped for with Amity with respect to recognitions, you know, I mean I don't want to throw anybody under the bus, but there are certainly parts of the world, both in the way that the culture operates and otherwise, you know, where it's easy to say, oh hey, recognize my grand lodge, I'm your buddy. And that is very different from a clear, transparent process of well, who's this grand lodge? Where did they come from? Where was it founded? What's the history? And as Amity has grown, we've been able to make that process a little bit more transparent. So, if you know, if there's a jurisdiction with two grand lodges, you can actually make an informed decision instead of recognizing the first one that has the money to show up at your door and ask for the favor. Right?

Speaker 1:

That begs the question when you have the information in front of you in black and white, why aren't you doing the right thing?

Speaker 2:

Well, you know, if I can go down a slightly related path, I would offer. A great example is Brazil. Right Behind the United States, we have about 95 grand lodges in the US. Brazil is the highest with about 60, some odd. And the reason is because historically there was the grand orign of Brazil and that had the entire country and each Brazilian state had a district grand lodge. And then people got pissed off at them and grand orients started, you know, coming up and basically it was a situation of, well, we want self rule, right, we're, we're our own state, we're different than the state on the other side of the country, we want our own. And so now they had a district grand lodge and the grand orign. Well, then people started fighting within the grand orign and now you also have about 20 or so grand lodges, and so in in most states in Brazil they have the district grand lodge of GOB, they've got the grand orient and they've got the grand lodge. And in the past two years the confederation of grand orients in the, in the conference of grand lodges, have, you know, mended fences and they're all recognizing each other. Most of them are all in good terms with the GOB just because they are. And so you now have about 60 obediences in Brazil and the Americans look at that and go. I don't even know what to do right, right so it's, it's rarely, you know a nefarious problem.

Speaker 1:

Can you elaborate on the difference between a grand orient and a grand, grand lodge, one's?

Speaker 2:

called grand orient and one's called grand lodge.

Speaker 1:

There's really, it's just a name.

Speaker 2:

Yeah, okay, yeah, make sense not really, but you know you really do, in Latin America, see a fascinating history. A significant number of grand lodges south of the US were actually chartered and founded by the Scotts Wright really. So their workings are completely different.

Speaker 1:

They call those red lodges, correct?

Speaker 2:

Here they do. Yeah, here they do. There they're just lodges.

Speaker 1:

Well, a past master my lodge, his home lodge, is in Puerto Rico and his grandfather came to visit our lodge and he was wearing a red apron and he said, yes, it's a red lodge. And then someone told me we do blue lodge work because we're more associated with the York Wright, whereas those lodges are more associated with the Scottish Wright.

Speaker 2:

See, it all depends.

Speaker 1:

I will offer.

Speaker 2:

Michael, my co-founder of Amity, is a member of independent Royal Arch Lodge number two in New York, and their claim to fame is they're one of the few lodges that actually, like historically, has conferred the Royal Arch degrees right, and so their aprons are red because of their Royal Arch history.

Speaker 1:

But they're York Wright.

Speaker 2:

So in the US you can't really say York Wright, right, that's, we're pressed on web, right, but our, our lodges are not. We don't. Our lodges don't go up any branches, right, like for example, in Mexico, the ones that were started, started by the Scottish Wright, our Scottish Wright lodges, because they go Scottish Wright after the blue lodge and they don't go York Wright. Meanwhile the York Wright lodges go, you know, chapter council commandery, they don't receive the Scottish Wright degrees, right, so they actually can say that their York Wright or Scottish Wright in the US were blue lodges and after that we can do whatever we want. We can choose to go up both sides right, yeah, and most of us do.

Speaker 1:

I have for sure, and I found it fascinating to see how they handle the same content in different ways. That was one of the most interesting things when I joined fraternity, because I was a very I wanted to absorb it all my family was very conservative, anti free, masonry, and the argument I kept getting is you don't have all the degrees, so you don't know they're keeping out a 99th degree lizard masonry. Yeah. So I'm like, get me all the degrees I want to see where's the, where's the baby in the snake eating and all this stuff, where is it? I want to see it. And so I did everything, every degree in every dependent body that I can get. Obviously, there are some that I can't because they're awarded, as you know, for various things, and so now, you'll get there I get. You don't have that one, so that's where it must be. And I'm like oh right, that makes sense. They wait until you're 90 to give you the world order changing stuff. That makes perfect sense. Not you know me in my 40s where I could do some damage.

Speaker 2:

My favorite thing lately has been something I saw on Reddit. It was, you know, some conspiracy theorist posted this thing that showed declining masonic membership right and said well, no wonder the world's going to hell. The masons are losing all their members, they don't have the time to run it anymore.

Speaker 1:

The new world order is crumbling. Yeah, I mean anybody who joins the fraternity. You know we were talking a little bit behind the scenes before we started about grand jurisdictions and stuff and you see that it's like no way the organization in communication cooperation that would be required as far outside the grasp of our fraternity to actually.

Speaker 2:

I mean just in general. You know you look up statistics on how hard it is to keep a conspiracy theory. You know I mean, the only private idea is the one that's never left your head. So if you're really going to say that the United Nations, effectively, with a few million people, can keep a secret, good luck you know, Right, right, you know. And oh, by the way, let's indoctrinate them all to do the right thing.

Speaker 1:

Yeah.

Speaker 2:

But only the small one. You know, small group is going to do the absolute wrong thing.

Speaker 1:

Yes, okay, and for what purpose? I don't know, I don't know. Great question. I mean, you don't need that to make a lot of money. Lots of companies are doing things to make money behind the scenes. You don't need a new world order to do that. So I did want to talk to you specifically about your claim to fame and Freemasonry, which is the EMMITY app.

Speaker 2:

Oh, I thought you meant the Dan Brown thing. Oh, there's more. You did mention Dan Brown, but wait, I do have both of my hands back.

Speaker 1:

I think you did mention that, that you were a.

Speaker 2:

Dan Brown cut off my hand in my year. Yeah.

Speaker 1:

Yeah, what the hell is that about.

Speaker 2:

So let me tell you the story of how I got a rubber chicken thrown at me in the east.

Speaker 1:

You were sitting in a stated communication.

Speaker 2:

Mm-hmm and my secretary threw a rubber chicken at me. Please elaborate. So I'll try not to go on for ages about this, but it's a fun one. So I said I was master in 2009 and for those of you who might be Dan Browno files, you will remember that the lost symbol came out in 2009. And Dan Brown was actually in my lodge I'm been known as the most of us at the time, and so the only lodge well, he came to visit he's not amazing, but he came to visit doing his research because, remember, that book was about Freemasonry in Washington DC and in the final scene, the bad guy falls through the ceiling in the house of the temple. I mean, it's the whole thing, right. And so the only lodge named in the book is Potomac Lodge number five, and so we were actually part of his, his research. And so when it talks about the blue pediment over the master's chair you know that's from my lodge and the it's not really a protagonist but one of the main characters, and on purpose, actually, the titles were completely screwed up. It's like, effectively like Scottish right master of the universe no, by the way, also master of Potomac Lodge number five, and you're like what he did that on purpose, yeah, which is to not like he didn't want to out everybody too much.

Speaker 1:

Really talking about real people if you use real right right right, he did a lot of research behind the book.

Speaker 2:

I never got to meet him, but you know Was I was just about to say so so the main, that main character who was attacked in the book and ended up, like you know, in, I don't know, breathing underwater, sort of in stasis, whatever was the master of Potomac Lodge number five. And in the very first scene of the book, what you see is the bad guy Going into the Capitol and he's got a cast on and I mean, I'm you know, you've read the book you're making up there's not been a movie about it, but he's got a cast on and in that cast he's got his hand pulled back and there's a fake arm that he has on, a fake. It's not a fake hand, it's a cut off, a severed hand that he has on a little wooden stand and he ends up putting that in the Capitol and, you know, putting the fingers a certain way.

Speaker 1:

However it is, and that was the hand of the master of Potomac Lodge and you were the master the year he came to research for his book Exactly your hand.

Speaker 2:

Well, here's, here's the thing I was on my way up to with my junior warden. I was on my way up to New York because we were both rooms men in my senior warden's wedding and I get this call from the grand secretary who says, hey, dan Brown is doing an interview with Matt Lauer on MSNBC and they're looking for someone to lead in for the interview. Can you come down to the studio? Right, yeah? And I said, oh, man, I'd love to, because he's like, oh, it's in like two hours. I was like I love to. I'm driving up to New York, you know, for my senior warden's wedding. And he says, alright, well, let me ask, but I think you can do it over the phone. Okay, great, it calls me back. No problem, do it over the phone, pull over at this time, call this number. They just need a headshot of you and and it goes a little off the rails here, but it's it's fascinating. So I sent them this headshot and two hours later, I pull off at a rest area on the New Jersey turnpike and you know, I did the interview and only found out later. So this was 2009. I forget what year well, it would have been four years earlier, maybe five that Gerald Ford died right. Gerald Ford is the last president who was a Freemason right. And he laid in state in the capital, in the capital of Ritunda, and when that happened, a large number of DC Mason's over the course of the weekend or whatever it was, put on our regalia and went to pay our respects to Gerald Ford.

Speaker 1:

Now let me ask you a question about that. Did you have to get Dispensation from your grandma to where you were galleon public, or so?

Speaker 2:

Yes, we did have to do that, but there was no like you know it's. I mean to look, if you're being a Mason and you're not to face in the you know Doing something stupid like it's not a big deal. It was obviously a clear rationale.

Speaker 1:

Yes. Yes, so you know, it was definitely something we were allowed to do so you got to wear your Masonic regalia to the capital building Yep and I at the time, I was the junior steward.

Speaker 2:

Well, here's the thing. You know, we're all worried about this intelligence agency, that intelligence agency. We're talking about 2009 now. Right, so what? 14, 15 years ago, within the span of that hour and a half since I sent them the headshot, what they're playing in the background on TV as I'm sitting on the, as I'm sitting on the, apparently, if you go like this, that's cool. Um so, so what they're playing on TV while I'm on the phone on the New Jersey turnpike is my Video footage from when I was paying my respects to Gerald Ford.

Speaker 1:

Oh, okay like they.

Speaker 2:

They looked at my face in there in their system and found me, which was creepy to start with. That is then they're playing all these like guys in the hoods, like opening and closing doors and like you know. So there's all this, this weird stuff in the background I am completely oblivious to, and you know we talk a little bit about it and and at the end of the interview they're like well, you know, do you have any death rituals? And you know the first thing that pops out of my mouth is, nah, it's not like we kill chickens or anything, you know. And the conversation continues for about 30 seconds and then it ends and they're all chuckling as they go into the next segment and I don't think anything of it. You know. Great, it was a fun interview I go up to to to New York, um, and I come back down and the next week is our state of communication and my secretary at the time, dean clatterbuck, was one of the most well-respected men in DC Masonry, to the point where one of the guys who worked in the grand lodge office had a picture of him behind his desk that said Wwd, what would Dean do, right? Chair of the jurisprudence committee. The whole thing. Dean knows how to be a secretary. I'll never forget my first meeting. I looked at him and I said what else is on your plate? Where's your brother, secretary? He looks back and he goes it's your lodge worship, I'm like.

Speaker 1:

Yeah.

Speaker 2:

It's my first day.

Speaker 1:

I've seen we had a secretary like that that was also Committee head of the jurisprudence committee in the ground.

Speaker 2:

I mean it's great, it's a great lesson for the master, but I wasn't ready for it.

Speaker 1:

Oh, because masters, masters are like that's their lifeline, like great, well, what do I do? And when they're like it's your lodge, it's like, oh my god, I am, this is my lodge. Oh, that's the number one.

Speaker 2:

Well, so point point is he knew what he like. He was a good secretary, yeah, right, yeah. And I look at him and I say you know where's for the secretary? Is there anything else on your table? Because I learned at that point to like you know not. What do we do next? Uh, and he goes. You know what worshipful there is? And the people who were paying attention were like that's a tone I don't hear out of Dean. And he starts laying into me when should we just put this computer on my desk. And I can see you've been mucking with it and like at this point the rest of the room is now looking and the red is just climbing my my neck and my face right. And after like 15, 20 seconds of I can't believe you've been doing this. You know what? Why would you do something like this? Right there, and he goes I've got something for you. And he grabs this rubber chicken, squeezes it, shucks it at me, and so now I've got this rubber chicken going, ah, as it's flying at me in the east, and he goes. That'll teach you not not to say we don't kill chickens.

Speaker 1:

Oh my god, I'm like oh good lord, he got you.

Speaker 2:

All because dan brown cut off my hand and I didn't have the foresight to not say something stupid.

Speaker 1:

That's a momentous event.

Speaker 2:

Yeah, it was master, but wow. I mean, we had it, we had a great relationship P&I. So you know, there was, there was no offense taken. But to be fair, yeah, you know, I don't know that a lot of other probably not a good idea to throw chickens at masters you know, right, you know in a state of communication, in in a but you know, that year, that year we had about, on average, about 15 visiting non-masons Come to our lodge for dinner every dinner. Wow, I mean it was, it was. You know we started with, I think, 13 or 14 in the pipeline and we raised almost 20. We were doing we do a degree on the weekend and then you know at lot like we were doing double and triple degrees. I mean it was, it was a, it was a busy year.

Speaker 1:

Do you think that came from out of the publicity the lodge got because of oh yeah, conversations about this stuff in the news and your lodge?

Speaker 2:

We were the only one in the book. They mentioned in the book right you know, and it was a bestseller. I mean like yeah.

Speaker 1:

So everybody was like I'll join that lodge. It's right down the street. I'll join that lot.

Speaker 2:

But so so that's kind of what I what I mean when I say like I've had the most random career. Clearly, I did not plan to be in the east when Dan Brown released his book. You know what I mean.

Speaker 1:

Like that's faith.

Speaker 2:

I'm lucky, it's best.

Speaker 1:

That's fate. That's not done. I'll take it. You were destined to be there. You were the right man for the job. See you, bring you bring a very uh masonic face. I could see you being a great uh Person to represent the fraternity. You're very well spoken. I've said this before. He's a he's not an ugly man. My wife will uh concur with that. I told her I met you and that we were joking about it and she laughed and I was like you're not gonna protest. She's like oh no, no, no. I'm like okay, all right.

Speaker 2:

You're like wait a minute? Wait a minute, I see where I stand.

Speaker 1:

Hold on Like he's not that good, look like she's like.

Speaker 2:

I would like to reiterate what I said on my last stop into your podcast, which is I have not seen your wife since the first day I met her. Excellent, just just want to be clear about that.

Speaker 1:

We'll have to change that, though. Uh, we, uh, we had fun. We should. I don't mean in that way, I mean we should hang out as like my girlfriend might have some words your yes, we can.

Speaker 2:

We can do a double date. I would love that.

Speaker 1:

I kind of picked up that she was Hispanic. Yeah, I didn't get it at first but I did pick up later. I Worst your girlfriend from.

Speaker 2:

She is, uh, half Brazilian and half Spanish, like from Spain, from Spain, spanish, yeah, okay.

Speaker 1:

Yep.

Speaker 2:

Interesting, so does she speak.

Speaker 1:

Portuguese or.

Speaker 2:

Spanish. She speaks Portuguese. She speaks Spanish, she speaks English and a little bit of French.

Speaker 1:

Wow.

Speaker 2:

Way to make me look bad.

Speaker 1:

Yeah, and she has to speak with you, poor girl.

Speaker 2:

Well, I I do my best to keep up with her in Spanish, and she is a wonderful teacher, so my Spanish is getting better every day.

Speaker 1:

That's awesome A lot. I know A lot of Spanish people are terrified of trying to speak Portuguese and it's never. I've never understood that. It's like okay between me and you. You clearly have the advantage. Go talk to this person. You know you're gonna pick up way more than I am. I'm American here. I can't even understand. You know where are whatever. Like you, you figured.

Speaker 2:

I gotta tell you, though, man, portuguese sounds like Russian to me. I like they're very close, but I my ear is not tuned for it. You know what I mean? I just I don't. That doesn't make any sense to me.

Speaker 1:

My wife is Ukrainian and so I speak a little Spanish. My previous wife was Chilean, so my children learn Spanish. I, you know, I've been in Chile. I learned quite a bit of Spanish, so it's easy because it is based on a common Latin, kind of a framework sort of right. The Ukrainian and the Russian is, it's like Chinese, not right. There's very few things that you can pick out of a an hour long conversation that you could recognize a word, and you know to me I grew up in America where my whole childhood Russia was always the bad guy. Every movie Russia was the bad guy. In government and politics Russia were gonna destroy the world and they had to be stopped and it was a moral thing the world against Russia. And so I always joke with her that there's no difference between Ukraine and Russia. It's the same thing, right, like. But she always took offense to that. Can't say that anymore, especially now. So now I'm aware, very aware of the difference between the Russians and the Ukrainian.

Speaker 2:

Uh yeah, but still, I mean, like I remember going to the Grand Lodge of Serbia last year and I mean what wonderful people. But you know, they, they, they sort of use both the Latin alphabet and the Cyrillic alphabet, and so it's like half the time you look at something you're like what does that say? You know?

Speaker 1:

it's weird Korean that's writing.

Speaker 2:

Right.

Speaker 1:

Well, I told her, you know, we were actually with you Because the Ukraine was invaded around the same time. We were at Mardi Gras that year.

Speaker 2:

Yeah, that's true, isn't it?

Speaker 1:

Yeah. And so I got it on the news and I said uh, you know, baby, I'm I hate to tell you this, but You're probably not gonna have a country by Monday, because Russia, in my mind from my childhood in this country, russia was the big bad right. And she said you don't know what you're talking about, you don't know my people. And here we are, years later and that conflict is still going on. And for me as an American raised here with Russia as the big bad, it's very eye-opening to see how incompetent that Military actually is in reality and how aged their equipment. You know they weren't investing like we were all this time, and you see how much spin was going on in our movies and our politics all these years through the Cold War To make us believe they were this massive global power that they really aren't anymore.

Speaker 2:

I mean, I think the big takeaway from you is don't mess with your wife. She'll, she'll be, jealous of my wife.

Speaker 1:

I can tell you that, especially you, jeremy Barnes. Now let's talk a little bit about amity. You, uh, you are you and another partner at least two of you. I heard you speak about Ron, a company that owns amity, with the affirmations when did this come out of? Like, whose idea was this, and who had the Cajones to actually say let's do something about it?

Speaker 2:

I don't know that I would use the word Cajones. It's probably the dumbest thing we've ever done, but that's needed here now, there.

Speaker 1:

Really take some guts because most people aren't willing to invest personal money, uh, in technology for an organization that says out of date is ours.

Speaker 2:

You know, I I think one of the most fascinating things that a lot of people don't realize, although we get mistaken for each other by, by people that don't know us well, michael and I have actually known each other since we were three. Our families were friends. Uh, you know, went to church together.

Speaker 1:

Yeah, a little bit in that last podcast he did explain that that's fascinating. She's faith yeah so, your, your, your life is predetermined. Man, you, well, you know what?

Speaker 2:

you just. You just reminded me. I'll tell you how he became a mason, which is is again, the most random thing. So you know, we were friends as kids until we were, I don't know, six or seven, and, uh, you know, old enough to remember each other. And then one of our families moved away, or both, or whatever. And you know we were kids, we didn't have yeah, we had phones and cords back then. You know, uh, you know that was that, and and so, uh, whatever, 20 years, 30 years later, he was at his mom's house and his mom had on her refrigerator my family's Christmas photo and in that Christmas photo I was wearing a belt buckle with all the masonic symbols on it. Michael sees that and goes I've been thinking about Freemasonry, I need to get in touch with him. He asked his mom for my dad's phone. His mom didn't have my number, so she gave him my dad's phone number. He called my dad who, when I first became a Mason, his response was isn't that a cult? He sort of warmed up to it, but he's never been like this is a great thing for you to do. His first response to Michael was you don't want to talk to him about that? Michael's like yes, I do, yes, I do. You tried to block him from joining. Right, he ended up getting my number. Both of us had I don't know. We were on the road, for I was driving down from Baltimore to DC for Lodge. He had drives of his own For probably six months. We went back and forth with each other, just talking, catching up, talking about esoteric stuff. He's a huge researcher. By the end of it he goes okay, fine, I've heard enough. How do I actually join? I'm like, oh crap, you're a New Yorker. I call the only guy that I know in New York a guy named Joe Crociata, who's a New York Mason but also past Grandmaster of DC. He goes, send him to my Lodge. If he's as good as you say, send him over here. He became a member of the second oldest Lodge in the Grand Lodge of New York, chartered in 1860, or no, 1760.

Speaker 1:

Is this a video or are you talking up to that?

Speaker 2:

Yeah, in the city he served as their master in. I don't know, I think it was 2012, maybe I was a little further after that, I can't remember exactly. It's just fascinating how, even after all that, eb, k K Mason and then we were sitting in Shelley's back room, which is the cigar bar down here in DC, after a meeting of Atteniarm Council, which is something sort of a New York kind of DC East Coast Council, and just chit-chatting and said, hey look, I got this idea. And he goes I'm in, let's get it started.

Speaker 1:

It was your idea initially, and you brought him into this madness that you've created.

Speaker 2:

So I've sort of been doing this since, I mean, I wrote one of, if not the first member management systems on the planet in 1998, back when the internet was still young.

Speaker 1:

Are you a programmer by trade?

Speaker 2:

Yeah, no, my classical training, if you will, is as a software developer, although my career is as random as my Masonic career, but it's so. I've been coding since.

Speaker 1:

He's a military liaison. None of that's true. I'm making it up.

Speaker 2:

I was going to say come on now. Yeah, That'll become fact.

Speaker 1:

But I could see, it being true, your misery there.

Speaker 2:

Well, but so I mean for sure the travel bug bit me early. But basically I created that for my military attorney at the time when I was an RTC Everyone in the military but I was an RTC and then sort of dropped off for 15 years and became a Mason and sort of looked around after getting out of the East and said I had this year, this idea 15 years ago. Nobody's done it yet. Why not? And like I said, I mean we probably started with the most complicated organization in the world.

Speaker 1:

Yes, you definitely did.

Speaker 2:

But here we are.

Speaker 1:

Yeah, how many? How many jurisdictions are part of the M&D app now?

Speaker 2:

Well, we document 313, all the regular grand lunges in the world, and about 285 are using the app in one way or another.

Speaker 1:

Okay and you've got deep connections with certain jurisdictions like Florida. You just over what they were using a system not Amity, and I won't even say the name to promote it, but they decided to go with Amity and now everyone checks their membership and other members through Amity to see if they're actually in good standing with Florida and I believe hopefully this year they're going to start paying their dues through Amity in the state of Florida.

Speaker 2:

Many have already In fact, they have Okay.

Speaker 1:

Yeah, I'm happy to hear that Because I prefer to pay my stuff online, I don't really have checks. I got to go looking for a check. It's a pain to write a check and mail it. I have to have stamps Like this is so annoying.

Speaker 2:

I mean, a lot of people don't even have checks.

Speaker 1:

Right, really, I don't, I don't.

Speaker 2:

I have to borrow checks from my wife and her account is an app, and then she's like all right, compensation, I'm paying your dues, come on yeah.

Speaker 1:

Well, you know how it is when the dues come rolling in 120 here, 120 there, 180 here, 260 here All of a sudden you're out $4,000 in dues every year.

Speaker 2:

Well, and the biggest challenge, too, is it's all due, at least in the US. A lot of it's due around Christmas, right? And here we are trying to say, oh well, you should take care of your family and you should do all these things. And look, I mean, life's only gotten more expensive, and one of the most expensive times of the year is when we choose to put our dues on. So we're aiming at things like how can we make this easier for you? Just click, click, click, pay, yes, right, how can we allow you to do this all the same time and allow the organization to have visibility? Your lodges, paypal can't be seen by the grand lodge from a per capita perspective. But on top of all of that, what if we can say oh hey, great, you've got $1,200 in dues for the year. Why don't we charge you $100 a month?

Speaker 1:

See, that's what we need to do. I was just talking to another guy in marketing yesterday. We were doing a podcast and I was telling him this is where we need to get to, because the Scottish Rite, the York Rite, the Grotto, the Shrine, my blue lodge it all comes at Christmas time or just after, right before somewhere around there, and for me it's not that big of a deal, but I can certainly imagine it is for a lot of people and you probably got to get picky and choosy about what bodies you joined because of that. What a great thing it would be for all of them to share communication with each other and for me to just be able to pay $50 a month, automate it through my debit card and never think about it ever again. You know how many more members you get in these dependent bodies probably than we have today if we made it easier for them and a little more finance. My wife isn't going to complain because she's used to seeing the $50 a month right, but when, at Christmas time, you're forking out thousands of dollars, they're going to notice and you're going to hear about it Absolutely.

Speaker 2:

Absolutely.

Speaker 1:

That's absolutely. Is that something on the horizons for you? Do you think to try to do?

Speaker 2:

that? Yeah, it is. The interesting thing is and I believe Florida is one of these jurisdictions but there are some jurisdictions that do not allow anything but a full payment, which I can totally understand. But there's some math and operation there to say, okay, well, we're now saving it for you. We've got to give you statements every month. There's legalities around that. I would be sure and sure. We'll keep it in trust. It's not like we're using it to fund operations, but we need to know which one's which. Who can we give? Which lodges can we give money to? On demand versus in bulk?

Speaker 1:

So there's some I'm sure there's technical.

Speaker 2:

Some challenges there.

Speaker 1:

Because we don't make it easy for progress. We certainly aren't quick to adapt or adopt new technologies or ways of thinking. Our grand lodge I was shocked to hear that they were going to Amity. It was a big surprise, but there's so much we could do to help these jurisdictions. I was telling this marketing guy yesterday, jonathan Green, who you met probably in DC. He's a big guy. He did the Ring and the Leap. He was the young guy that did the Leap, reeth Lane with the Grandmaster and we were talking about this how we could really advance. The grand lodge should have the capacity to offer a website for each lodge in its jurisdiction through the grand lodge, because they update their information anyways. It wouldn't be terribly difficult to set up a system. You've got little microsites and all that content gets updated automatically as they updated in their system and everything looks the same and everything's optimized for that region. We need to get some advanced, some younger. I'm not an agist, okay, it's not an old versus young thing I'm talking about mentally. You have to get some people that think like a younger person about change into these jurisdictions, that are willing to take the steps to make this kind of stuff happen, because it would help us grow our fraternity massively. Those kinds of investments in that kind of infrastructure is how they can support the growth in their jurisdictions, instead of throwing money at lodges that have no idea how to spend it. You're just wasting.

Speaker 2:

Well. So it's interesting. We've taken a remarkably different approach than I think I would say almost any, if not any, masonic platform out there. It's been purposeful on our part, but we've started with the members. We said we didn't want to go the grand lodge sales cycle three to five years Plus stuff at the grand lodge level. Usually the first reaction to it is well, grand lodge, put it out, so I must hate it. And so we went to the members. But what we have created is the opportunity for actually grand lodges to benefit as well. So you've mentioned a related item, but this is one of the new Florida dues cards. The interesting thing is there's an RFID. Well, there's a couple interesting things.

Speaker 1:

Say again that's an RFID, yep.

Speaker 2:

Well, it's got a QR code on it and it's got an RFID under an NFC tag underneath it so you can tap it. It's solid metal, One of my favorite parts. If you look closely, we got the mosaic pavement on the back. Nice, very nice attention to detail, because it kind of looks like a lodge, doesn't it? It does. You got the altar in the middle, you know like it's. So it's fun. But here's the thing For grand lodges that sign up with us to have the branded version, because the normal version is just an amity card. Yeah Right, so you give 10% of the sales back to the grand lodge, and so what you end up with, whether that's a donation to the charity, whether it's, you know, actual money to the grand lodge, we're trying to do our part. To say excitement in masonry translates to benefit for the grand lodge. Genius, right.

Speaker 1:

Because they don't really. They get money. You're bringing the money, they're paying attention to you now, like whoa, whoa, whoa guys. I don't know how much it is, but I'm sure if they adopt it and make it well known, it could be a significant amount of money to the grand lodge, probably annually. If they aren't about it.

Speaker 2:

And those are Well and.

Speaker 1:

It's like I'm amazed at what you've achieved, because I'm aware of how difficult it was probably for you every step of the way in what you've been trying to do.

Speaker 2:

But that's also why we haven't asked for permission. To be honest, you know, I think once people get to know us, they realize our hearts are in the right place and we're doing the right thing. But, to be honest, if we, at every step of the way, asked for permission from 300 grand lodge, we would get told no by 299 of them.

Speaker 1:

I created an app. As you know, years ago I was creating an app, but it was far different than I wanted to just help out.

Speaker 2:

This is actually how we met, remember.

Speaker 1:

It is and I was like this is how I am. There's somebody that's doing this. I'm not trying to reinvent the wheel here. I want to success, leave tracks and I want to step in your tracks. So I called you, I got a hold of you and I'm asking you for advice about this and I went as far as to build this thing and it had a lot of cool, useful features. Where you could, you can put all the if you know, the senior Deakin, roland, and then our apprentice degree. You could check that off in your profile and then you could search the database when you have a degree coming up and say I need a senior Deakin next Tuesday who within a three mile radius, qualifies that can reach out to right now and chat through the app and get him locked in, rather than I have to call Joe because he knows some guys at that lodge who can ask those guys. And now I've got a messy process of communication. But I made the mistake of taking some liberties with my ideas and I realized one of the things that Mason's really is a challenge for them on the everyday level. Just every day, if I want to have my roof fixed, I call up Zach and I'm like hey, zach, did we know anybody? That's a Rufa, that's a Mason. Oh yeah, I think I think Gary knows somebody that's a Rufa. Now I got to get Gary's number, called Gary. Well, gary died two years ago, I know. I got to find somebody else and I'm like Jesus man, I'm just trying to help out a Mason here, you know, with my, with my project, and so I thought what a great idea to allow Masons to register their businesses in the app and then we could have a database and say I need a Rufa. Oh, he's a Mason. And look, I know him and I can do business without having to involve 18 people and take six months. And so I sent everything to the Grand Lodge and said what do you guys think about to release this? The app never came out because Grand Lodge said no, you can't use Masonry for monetary gains or whatever our digest says about that. And I'm like well, with all due respect, I was just at my lodge where they sold 18 businesses on placemats that are sitting at all the tables. So I thought I find it hard to believe. That's not. You know, we're not. No one's getting paid here, this is just to help Masons. And it went up to the Grand Master, who interpreted our digest and said no, I believe it means this, and so I was so frustrated I just trashed the app, and had I had your Cajones and not asked for permission, I would have an app on the marketplace and a lot of Masons would have been using it and getting a lot of work done together.

Speaker 2:

But I still think it's just. I got a few screws loose. It's not Cajones.

Speaker 1:

I mean, you know that's. Any entrepreneur has to be a little crazy, that's fair.

Speaker 2:

You have to be willing to do things.

Speaker 1:

The average person isn't willing to do and take some risks that they don't have the afford to to tolerate Right.

Speaker 2:

Well, I was going to say actually one of the best quotes about an entrepreneur that I've been told in those CEO working group and whatever the guy said, the measure of an entrepreneur is how much pain can one take over how long a period of time?

Speaker 1:

Now, that's such an accurate.

Speaker 2:

The more that is, the better you're going to do yeah.

Speaker 1:

Well, think back to your, to your entire journey with this amity project.

Speaker 2:

The hurdles must have been insane that you had you know the simple, the simple point to that is we still go all over. I mean, even last night I was at our shrine meeting. I'm the Albergard for almost temple. And you know somebody goes oh, you know, jeremy created the amity app because I had just given a presentation at the Scottish Rite. And the guy goes what's that? And I'm going it's been eight years. It's been eight years. I mean your jurisdiction. Yeah, I mean, and like we don't take any offense to it, but you know, it's.

Speaker 1:

It's a Mason's. Don't adopt technology quickly. That's the issue you're having. I've been to. Brandon Brandon in the state of Florida. Brandon Lodge is what we call its grand lodge blue watch that's where all our gold collars come from. Right now is Brandon Lodge and they have fully adopted amity. They go to their stated meeting. They have the QR code at the Tyler's desk and they want you, they ask you, to check in through amity that you're at that stated communication. There's a really pushing amity so I'm pretty sure everybody in that lodge is well aware and has downloaded it and they're actively using it. But I've been to 30 other lodges in Florida and I bet 90% of their members have never heard of amity until they went to grand lodge and you were adopted. And now everybody knows that you're associated with the grand lodge. So they still don't have your app and they don't know what it is or how to use it. So how do you, how do you get to a highly untechnical massive body of people when you have this really complicated? You've made it pretty easy. Your app does. It's not asking them to learn technology that much. You make it pretty easy for the average guy to download, check their membership and see if another lodge is regular or not. And I've seen you do at the grand lodge. You do presentations. You have booze. You're more than willing to talk to anybody about how to use this stuff. Does that ever get old for you, these people constantly acting like it's so difficult? And you're like dude. Have you ever used technology in your life? You have a phone right Like you've used it.

Speaker 2:

You'd be surprised. I've seen more iPhone 4s in Mason's hands than you know. Look, the Pew Research Center you know what? Two years ago now, released a study that said that 85% of Americans have a smartphone, and my following comment is the other 15 are all Mason's.

Speaker 1:

Nah.

Speaker 2:

Like. This is what it is, but you know it's interesting because there are two things that I think are relevant here. One is we're trying to move past technology, right, and whether that is a card with a QR code or you know, we haven't talked about it, but this ring has the same NFC chip in it and can pull up my profile, right, if you set it up once, you don't need a phone anymore, right?

Speaker 1:

So if you help me, I don't want to have any track in my location. All over the place with my ring.

Speaker 2:

Well, it's not. I mean, it's not possible with a ring, neither here nor there. But you see my point right? Okay, don't worry about the phone thing. You help the old guy, you know, get his card set up, or whoever it is that doesn't want to use it, and off you go, and now it's you just. You just tap it, yeah, right. The other thing is we're actually in the middle of a redesign of the app right now, because it's been, you know, seven years and it's had the same design. I'm really excited about it. It's looking really cool. But one of the things that we're moving towards is the ability to use the app without registering. Okay, and some people go oh my God, does that mean all the information is out there for free? No, it doesn't. We've gotten to the point where we have all these blogs and podcasts, like the on the level podcast, that are in the app, and they're also on Apple podcasts. Right, you don't have to be a Mason to consume this data, but really nothing in Amity is secret.

Speaker 1:

There's nothing there. That really is what. What could an outsider see that secret in the Amity app?

Speaker 2:

I would offer that. There is plenty that is private. You're right that there are none of the secrets of free Masonry there, but I have no interest in, for example, allowing a non Mason to find an exact location of an app, of a lodge. I personally think we give out too much data.

Speaker 1:

Well, it's very easy for them to find that lodge without the app, like you can just go to maybe in.

Speaker 2:

Florida Well not in other places.

Speaker 1:

It should be easy for them to find a lodge Should it.

Speaker 2:

It should be, should it? That's what I'm asking. Look at what happened in Texas, where we had a brother get got killed.

Speaker 1:

Yeah, yeah.

Speaker 2:

Right, and there are. There are a not small number of countries where you will have legal repercussions or may even, you know, have injury to yourself or family if they know you're a Mason. Yeah, right, yeah, we're seeing, we're seeing arsons all over the US and Canada, you know, I mean, I'm a firm believer that it's okay to know that there's a lodge in a city and if you want to reach out then they can. You know, sort of vet you. But remember, and not to go too deep into the ritual, listen to what it says in the first degree in most places, certainly in DC, when you're getting the lecture about what happened to you. The rationale for wearing the hoodwink and the cable tow was so that if something went wrong, you could be let out of the lodge without ever seeing the form thereof. Right, and so this is just my personal opinion. Right, but without going into. Should we let the profane into our lodges? Not even that. I think it's fair to say. Each lodge should, should be allowed to share their location if they want and, by default, amity should not be sharing a street address.

Speaker 1:

Well, as a marketing guy, we need to be visible and searchable and findable by people that aren't masons if we want them to become masons, do we. Absolutely, I do believe that, and it's good to have differing opinions because we totally respect each other. But I'm thinking the no. I don't like you. Well, I like you. I do disagree, because I think that the location of a lodge, or being in a lodge, the thing is that we that's when we bring people into the fraternity and I've talked hundreds and hundreds of people that are interested in joining we always tell them we're not a secret organization, we're an organization with secrets. You can find the lodge easily, it's in the phone book, google it. We have a Google place business listing. We have our logo on the front of the building when you drive by. We're not secret, it's out there. It's public information, and so to try to keep that information secret, I believe only feeds into a lot of the negativity people outside the fraternity already have as a preconceived notion about us that we're nefarious and hiding things from them on purpose, and so, yeah, I don't think we should be, I think it should. That is totally public domain, public information. We're registered in Florida on Sunday as a business each lodge, and so our addresses are home addresses are listed there as officers when you become an electric officer they put your home address.

Speaker 2:

My challenge with that is about identity theft, and I mean, let me, let me take it from a different perspective. I mean, so, you know, people say, well, what's the difference between online banking and getting a check in the mail? And in some ways, obviously, convenience has has, you know, overrun everything I'm about to say. But but at a core level, right, I can hack your bank account from anywhere in the world. Sure, in order to get the check that went to your mailbox, I have to be along the route of the post office or at your mailbox. Yeah, right, and so I would offer that in your community. What you are saying, in my mind, is 100% correct, right? The simple fact, though, is you are not going to look for a member in India or in Australia, no, Right, and so if you have some rando dude who's like I'm going to drive anywhere within 150 miles and go burn down the first lodge I could find. Right, yeah, that's a great reason to say well, you know what? Maybe the digital footprint is useful to be a little bit different than the physical in the community footprint.

Speaker 1:

Okay, okay, I can, I can get on Barbara, and so so I would.

Speaker 2:

I would offer that you can share what we do without sharing our address or our home addresses or whatever else, and from a digital footprint, the good that we do as a craft can be highlighted without sharing so much that we worry for our privacy or our safety. Okay, and for better or for worse, I'm on the completely digital side of this domain and I right.

Speaker 1:

I think all of us are glad that you are concerned about security.

Speaker 2:

Very much I've said before. At least, I'm doing this because I trust me.

Speaker 1:

Yeah, I think it's good to have somebody very concerned about security in a position that you're and not somebody like me is like, hey, it's good, it's, it's all out there, you're just going to have to live with it, that's right.

Speaker 2:

I would say, by the way, just for you know, not to not to brag or anything, but just for anybody that's listening to know my background. I mean, I've worked on some of the largest networks in the world. I, for the last 12 years now, I've held the certified information system security professional certification, which is one of the highest IT certificate or IT security certifications you can get. Security is a passion for me, and so is privacy. It's something that we've built in from the beginning. It's one of the reasons that we started slower than we did, right, yeah, and it's something that I'm always. I always try and share with people, because I think it should be the fundamental piece of how we approach things, because you can always lower security. It's very hard to close the gate after the cows have left, if you will.

Speaker 1:

Yes, Absolutely Now. When is Wendy are you projecting? Your redesign will hit the app where people will actually see the different layout.

Speaker 2:

Don't you make me promise, I know how that stuff goes.

Speaker 1:

Are we thinking this year thing or is this a next year thing, for example oh we're talking is this is this month or next month thing.

Speaker 2:

So what I would encourage anybody, yourself included, is send an email to support at copierrecom and ask to be on our beta tester list. Sweet, our hope is that by the end of the month we will have a version out to the beta testers and you'll be able to basically switch between it like a different skin Right. You'll go to your preferences and say you know, use the 4.0 layout.

Speaker 1:

So you'll do a little test run and let them work out the bugs and kinks and then you'll roll it out on mass once you feel comfortable after that.

Speaker 2:

Exactly. Well, the other, the other part of it too, that is worth saying is this is also about how long it's going to take, right? So there's, you know we can do the first steps and make the front pages look good.

Speaker 1:

You know, the 15 levels down might, might take a little longer, you know well, should should users expect any functional changes, or is this mainly a cosmetic change that you're rolling out?

Speaker 2:

It's first and foremost a cosmetic change, but that doesn't mean that there are no functional changes. I mean I mentioned I mentioned earlier the concept of being able to use the app without logging in.

Speaker 1:

Yes.

Speaker 2:

Right.

Speaker 1:

You know, but one.

Speaker 2:

One thing we've always struggled with is the fact that you have half of your profile on the status page and half of your profile on the, on the, in the, in the you know profile page, right, right, so we're looking at redoing things to look more something like this Right, so you can actually see all your memberships in one place. I mean, look at that amazing, amazing photo of me.

Speaker 1:

Makes me, makes me chuckle every time you actually get out like that at some point.

Speaker 2:

Oh no, that was, that was AI, but I gave, I seated it with a few pictures of my beard and apparently it decided that I was the bearded wonder you look a lot scarier with a full beard, I have to say. Right.

Speaker 1:

Much more intimidating.

Speaker 2:

Actually, one of my favorite things was I gave a presentation on the future of Masonic identification at the World Conference in Jerusalem in June and I lived for three years in Mexico. Well, during and after the pandemic, and as soon as the pictures came on, I had this big beer, gray, whatever, and my friends in Mexico were like doctoring the photos, putting, like you know, sombreros on me and going, look, it's the Mexican in Israel. And I'm like, oh guys, come on.

Speaker 1:

I don't do it because I don't know how old you are, but I'm 48.

Speaker 2:

I'm actually going to be 49 this month and you're only three years behind me or in front of me.

Speaker 1:

Only three, yeah, but the three makes a big difference in the grace, let me tell you, because when I was your age I had this very nice salt and pepper thing going on, and the ladies love the salt and pepper look. But that doesn't last long. It turns pretty gray pretty fast, and so now if I grow it out, I just look old yeah.

Speaker 2:

But you know what? But the most interesting man in the world did it pretty well.

Speaker 1:

Yeah Well, if I had unlimited money, I wouldn't care, it's just you know right, just just go platinum. I'm also married to someone 15 years younger who looks like she's 12. So it's not a good combination to have the old white beard and the 12 year old looking girl together. We get looks. You know what I'm saying? I have to keep it trimmed down just for safety reasons. I don't want to get beaten up in public.

Speaker 2:

Well, you know, I mean it's tough because you know your, your, your home address is apparently on the internet. Because you're amazing.

Speaker 1:

So it is, absolutely it is. It was all year for three years.

Speaker 2:

See, but again, for me that's just. You know, that's a bridge too far that we don't need Right. What's more important? That I can contact you or that I know your contact information?

Speaker 1:

Well, the contact information is public and they do put your email out there for everyone to see, and that gets abused annually in the state of Florida. Every year we list the new officers, the scammers, and let me tell you, it works Okay. The scammers start sending spoofed emails to all the members as if they're the master of the lot, saying hey, can you do me a favor and pick up a few gift cards before the meeting. Let me tell you, my chaplain is 82. He came to a stated meeting last year and slipped a package into my jacket and I said Joe, what's this? And he's like that's the cards you wanted. And I said I didn't ask you for any cards. So I'm looking at it and there are 10 $100 gift cards. And I'm like oh, joe, did you get an email? He's like yeah, I already. I already did what you asked. I took the pictures and sent the receipt picture and everything, like like you asked. And I'm like, joe, you just lost a thousand dollars. Man, like, quick, cancel this, call your company, we need to get on it right now. And you know, because he paid with the credit card, I believe he was able to get a lot of that stuff reversed. And you know, that night the lodge took a collection up to try to get him as much money as we could because we knew what had happened. But that's just one guy in my lodge. I can imagine how many masons are getting fleeced by these people who put our public information online and then it's abused.

Speaker 2:

Well, and that's the thing I mean at the end of the day, if, if I can just send you a message directly, right, yeah, why? Why is that necessary? You know what you wanted to. You wanted to talk about something along the lines of the future of Freemasonry and I got an interesting one for you. So there's. There have been some, some conversations lately, not about anything that is actively happening that I'm aware of but I think the first step to anything is I'm sorry, I'm a drummer, it's all right, but you know, the first step towards anything is is socializing and getting people comfortable with it. At what point will we be able to have a lodge meeting virtually?

Speaker 1:

Well, I know that there is a Scottish right jurisdiction that recorded their degrees and uses that as a way to confer them now. Have you heard of that?

Speaker 2:

Yes, Northern Masonic Jurisdiction.

Speaker 1:

So it's already being practiced in independent bodies and certain jurisdictions. How long until it makes it to the blue lodge? How long until we no longer have live lectures?

Speaker 2:

Well, but here's the thing I would offer that we are on the cusp of technology. That would actually make it possible. Have you seen Ready Player One?

Speaker 1:

Yes.

Speaker 2:

What's the difference? There is no difference, Right, If you can guarantee that the important things happen.

Speaker 1:

Here's the difference you know that costs a lot of money, I guess.

Speaker 2:

Yeah, but you know, but the lodge is not going to pay for that, right? That'll be part of an ecosystem that you know you pay a subscription for.

Speaker 1:

The actual hardware to get virtual reality.

Speaker 2:

I mean, look at that point, if, if all the kids are playing Call of Duty and they have their haptic suits on and whatever else, we're just repurposing an existing expense, it's true, I have two at my house because of my kids.

Speaker 1:

Now I'm going to get a third because I think there's a third generation Oculus now, and it is those are affordable. You're talking about $100 for a piece of equipment that would allow you to have a virtual meeting with someone. Like you're there, there are.

Speaker 2:

Well, I'm actually saying I think we're on the cusp of of really haptic feedback, right, you know we could say, well, okay, I need something on my foot, on my knee, on my hand, you know, like there are a couple of key points, but if you can, if that can happen, right.

Speaker 1:

So when.

Speaker 2:

I don't know what's the opportunity for this an interesting question for the non-technical listeners.

Speaker 1:

when Jeremy says haptic feedback, what he's talking about is physical touch sensations. Yes, yes exactly. That's some kind of I can do something here and you feel it over there on your body somehow. That would be a haptic sense and we have it on our apple watches. Right, there are great.

Speaker 2:

There are great implementations already that are that are making the rounds on the internet of people literally taking a pen and pushing something in virtual reality, and they've created a imagine, you know, almost like a bed of nails, right, you know, but a bunch of basically cylindrical pillars, and if you push it, the pillars go up or down to actually show what you're doing digitally, right, and so we can now create like a, like a, a, a Play-Doh, you know, tower, and on your end of it, the physical pieces turn into what I created.

Speaker 1:

That is fascinating. That's it. It sounds like science fiction, but you know that's science.

Speaker 2:

Now it really is Well it, but it has implications for the deaf, for the blind. Right there, there are a lot of real applications for this other than what I mean. Look, and if you go back to VHS, betamax, you know what was the tiebreaker. Well, there's already implementations of haptic feedback for sexual situations.

Speaker 1:

Right Porn is doing this Of course, yeah, porn is always leading the way when it comes to technology.

Speaker 2:

Always Funny how that works. Can we use it?

Speaker 1:

to have sex, then it's worth it. Let's, let's bring it in.

Speaker 2:

So you say is the lodge going to pay for that? And I'm going to say, like porn is going to pay, like it's like, it's like military hardware. The government figures out how to use it and then we all get GPS for free, right.

Speaker 1:

Right, well, you know, another implementation that it wasn't my idea, but a brother, wishful, ramon Hernandez, who's an architect of all. I don't know how he came up with it, but it's so simple. He's like I wish an amity app. I could open the app, I could, in augmented reality, see a walk line for me to practice my ritual work. It would say go here, and it recognizes that it's an altar, so it knows when I should turn there. You know what a great idea for you for the future.

Speaker 2:

Well, so, so. So can I tell you something related that we're we're working on, so the Kansas Luzer Research and a wonderful brother named Alex Powers who puts on Kansas Luzer Massanikon every year, which I would highly recommend, great time. But he has created a effectively a kit that he can send to your lodge and it allows you to do 360 pictures of your lodge, right, right, and so it's not quite what you're talking about, but I would argue it's sort of halfway down that path. You know we're talking about integrating into amity these effectively 360 tours that you see now in the real estate world. Yes, so you can walk through a building and you know we do travel safely Tuesday and show off places. I mean, how cool would it be to literally walk through the lodge.

Speaker 1:

Very cool, Cause there are some lodges that are just amazing, Like I wish I could do that. I see the photos and I'm like man. I wish I could really see that place. And my lodge in Sarasota is pink. It would be very interesting for people to get to look around that place, because I doubt you see any pink lodges. Well you should.

Speaker 2:

you should take some pictures next time you're down there so we could put them on travel safely Tuesday.

Speaker 1:

I'll send you some pictures, but I don't know what's going to stay pink for long. The new brother seemed pretty determined to get rid of that.

Speaker 2:

And well, but you know what, if you put the pictures up, it'll stay forever. The internet never forgets.

Speaker 1:

We had a guy once just visit from overseas or somewhere and he was so shocked by the pink he took video and he went live and posted on YouTube and he came back and he's like I never got as many hits as when I posted your pink lodge video Everyone wants to see that thing, so he came back to get some more views. It is.

Speaker 2:

That's awesome.

Speaker 1:

Apparently, pink is a common color. That was the rationale they use when they paint in the whole place pink. I find it to be a feminine color and a fraternal organization doesn't make a lot of sense. But you know who's to.

Speaker 2:

You know the shock trauma in at the University of Maryland in Baltimore and everyone that works there wears pink scrubs because they used to have scrubs of a different color. And what they found is all of the guys would go out to the bars after their shift and try and pick up women by saying well, I work at shock trauma. Look, I'm wearing the official scrubs. And one of the guys in charge finally said this is enough, You're making us look bad, you're getting hammered and doing stupid stuff. I'm making all the scrubs pink. And now they go out to the bars because they wear the pink scrubs and that's they're the badass guys that wear the pink scrubs.

Speaker 1:

So that's great. It goes back to sex. We'll figure anything out for sex. We can lead it back to sex. Everything you know this guy. I'm telling you about Ramon. He can. He can turn any. We were one time looking at a room and he's, like you, ever noticed how a corner looks like a vagina. And I'm like Jesus. This man needs an outlet. You know, when you start for the vaginas in the corner of a wall. But that's, that's the Hispanic, they're Latin, they, uh, they love the ladies. Um, I would like to. I don't want to capitalize your time. We've gone over an hour, I don't know. Edited this is definitely going to be over an hour and I respect that. We're recording in the middle of an afternoon on a Friday, so I appreciate your time and I know.

Speaker 2:

I am dealing with a few fires that I need to get back to, but that's all right?

Speaker 1:

I can imagine you do. That's why I don't want to keep you, but I don't want to just ask you the same questions that you always get asked, like talk about the future of technology and this and that. What I want to end this on is, um, you are now going to be out on video and audio worldwide. A lot of different kinds of masons are listening. You have a very unique perspective on our fraternity. Between all of the travels you've done in your life even non-Masonic, and the and the masonic travels you've had, and the, the many lodges and and brand lodges you've had to deal with. I say it like it's a bad thing You've gotten the opportunity to deal with. Let me rephrase that so what would you say to the average brother out there, um, based on your experience, if you were to die tomorrow and get hit by a truck, what nugget of wisdom would you like to give to the average Mason that's just living the average masonic life out there in the world? Any kind of message you'd like to leave them with?

Speaker 2:

Yeah, for you know, for for me and and I think this is something that's come naturally to me because I, I love it so much anyway but I would say leave, go somewhere, leave Right, travel Really Well. So. So we are so attuned and I think we said it before we started recording but we're so attuned to say everything is the same everywhere.

Speaker 1:

Yeah.

Speaker 2:

Right, but it's not. The whole thing about. The ritual can't change. No innovation in Masonry. I can't remember if that was pressed in our web, but the dude added it to his ritual so that he could sell more rituals. So nobody, because nobody could buy anybody else's but his, because it couldn't be changed. We've been spouting a corporate jingle, yeah.

Speaker 1:

Yeah.

Speaker 2:

Right, I don't know what your ritual says about the word of the first and the word of the second, but I got to tell you mine puts them in a certain direction and went and, and it says people that use it in a different direction are not real masons. And then I go to the Grand Lodge of Iceland and then I'm getting tried and they're like what's the word of the first? And I say blah. And they go you, that's wrong. And I'm like look, I, I know I'm a past master and all, but I thought I got that one right. And he goes well, I have an idea what's the word of the second. And meanwhile we're in the Grand Lodge building, right, this is not like a. I'm not standing on the street where everybody can hear me, right, I'm in a Tyler's investigation. I go okay, great, here's the word of the second. He goes oh, you've got them backwards. And I'm like really, I've got them backwards.

Speaker 1:

Back. No, no, you've got them backwards. Well, I could see that mistake, because it happens it's in the jurisdiction of Florida and I'm sure it's different in every jurisdiction, but I'm only speaking of the one I have the most experience with. I have a gold card and a brown card, which means I've been tested and I memorized all the stuff and proven that I can repeat it. So I'm familiar with the work and the way you say something to a candidate going through the degree, and the way you say it, when you repeat it, when you give the lecture about the degree, can be different.

Speaker 2:

So I'm talking fundamentally what we do in the first, they do in the second.

Speaker 1:

Yeah Right, the actual, clear words. One of the most important things. It's a pillar of who we are as masons. We do it differently in different jurisdictions. How does that make sense?

Speaker 2:

Well, but here's the thing. There's a fascinating story about it which I learned from Bob Cooper, the historian emeritus of the Grand Lodge of Scotland, by his telling back in the day when there was only the Grand Lodge of England, the problem was, everybody was learning all the secrets, even non-masons. What are we going to do about this? And they said, on this day at 9 am, the words are going to swap. That's what it is. We're going to do this. It's going to be more secure. And of course, as you might imagine, they caught a lot of people out. People were wondering, coming to meetings, hadn't heard the news, and screwed up. But this was not the only one. But this was one of the reasons why the ancients excuse me, yeah, the ancients Grand Lodge popped up, because they said hey, now you can't just change the ritual like that. You clearly do not respect masonry enough. We're going to start a new Grand Lodge and we're going to call ourselves the ancients and you the moderns, because you're the ones that are changing everything. Right, yeah, and so in some jurisdictions around there they still use it the other way. So right. But it goes back to your question for me, the beauty of what we do and how to really learn what we do and implement it in a way that everything from tolerance to brotherly love is to go out of your own skin. Go out of your own place and realize that just because you do it differently to get the same results doesn't make you any less, my brother.

Speaker 1:

I love that. That's my passion, right?

Speaker 2:

I love how we are such a patchwork quilt, but we all do the same thing same thing but different yeah.

Speaker 1:

And the goal, the ultimate goal. Like you said, whether you call this word the secret word of this degree or that degree doesn't really change who we are as masons, not really. Or why we're here, or, hopefully, what we're getting out of it, and I think Mackie said it we aren't a religion. We're not trying to prove any of this as fact. If you start trying to prove the higher and best took a crap in this place on this day, you look insane. We're masons Like. These are moral lessons and the point is to make ourselves better through the fraternity, exactly, and whether you say that word or stand up or you don't stand up when you say something really shouldn't matter to you really, as a Mason.

Speaker 2:

And look at society today. The lessons that we are learning are critically necessary in our society. And if we get all hung up on Chris, you can't possibly be my brother because you swapped the words, right. I mean, look, we need to learn about each other. I'm not saying that we should just take anything for granted and we can do whatever we want the ritual, you know.

Speaker 1:

but, like God, if we can figure out how to love each other, even though we use the words backwards- Well, it's like when I came to your installation, the way that you level your lodge is quite different than the way Florida levels their lodges. And I said, of everything I saw, this is the one thing I wish I could present as a new legislation to change our work. And everyone said don't even say it to anyone that you want to change the work. And I said but it's, it's. It's no innovation, it's actually projecting the meaning of the event better than what we're doing is because when we stood together and leveled the lodge in your, at your installation, I felt something and I mean.

Speaker 2:

So just just to make sure that everybody who's watching listening knows what you're talking about, in my lodge at the end of every meeting right, we've got pews and so you know, we have several levels of seating and all that sort of thing. When the master and the wardens come down and you know how should basis me act in part, as they come down, the rest of the lodge all comes down to the floor and metaphorically we are standing on the same level at the close of the lodge. Some other lodges do, like a chain of union, that sort of thing, same type of idea we're all together, not in our seats a few levels up, and that sort of thing.

Speaker 1:

So in our jurisdiction we use our words to illiterate that we're leveling ourselves together. It's far different than the experience of physically leveling ourselves together. I think I never saw it on that way and I felt I've had goosebumps and I felt like part of something in that moment and it stuck out to me so much that if I could change the work, that's the one thing I would change in Florida, because that was a beautiful part of the ritual. You did A lot was different a lot, but to me that was the one thing that I thought you guys really hit the nail on the head compared to what we're doing in Florida.

Speaker 2:

It's something we love to do and maybe to end on a controversial note, if you will, one of the things that we also do in DC is, for at least the last 15 years, all of our Grand Lodge officers. We do have ornate aprons, but we all wear white aprons the grandmaster on down, and we view it as a way to say things like oh hey, we're all entered apprentices or we're on the level, and that sort of thing. I have to tell you my controversial opinion is if I had, you know, a magic wand for a day, I would take away all past titles. Thank you.

Speaker 1:

Thank you.

Speaker 2:

Right, because in my opinion and look DC you can't spit without having three past grandmasters, and by and large I respect them all highly. You know this is not about individual people, but for me Scotland does it this way You're in the office and then you're brother.

Speaker 1:

I love that.

Speaker 2:

Right, yeah, like, yes, we should give the office the respect. Yes, but I shouldn't carry around a worshipful for the rest of my life, because you know what that makes me better than everybody else in some eyes? Different than them, I'm a different. And how are we saying we're on the level if I'm wearing this big old apron and you're calling me worshipful and genuflecting in front of me and like, no, I'm just, I'm just a brother, I'm a wrong worshipful of anything.

Speaker 1:

I could not agree with you more. I shared a post that someone wrote to that effect on the on the level page and it was controversial. People were like this is ridiculous. You need to respect it. And other people were like I kind of get it. It's controversial idea, but imagine if, instead of introducing a person by his title, we introduced them by his character traits. This is Jeremy Barnes, who served his lodge in this year and served as secretary for these years and has done this for the turn, and even that for the turn. It's going to let people know a lot more about who you are as a Mason than worshipful.

Speaker 2:

And I would. I would say that's actually something I've started to do in my language, and changing your language is a great way to start that. You know, I wasn't master of my lodge in 2009. I served my lodge as its master in 2009. So the difference, it's a big difference.

Speaker 1:

It's a huge difference.

Speaker 2:

But to me you know the fascinating thing, and it's even more so in DC I had a dear friend who's since passed away. His name is Jim Loefflin and he was one of the things that I like. To me, jim was Masonry, like when, when he knelt at the altar during a degree and vouch safe, thine aid, almighty father. You know like his voice was, you know, and I knew him as Jim. It took me like five years to realize he was one of the preeminent IP attorneys in our country. He was just Jim, and to me the question of whether or not my title should lead is simple, because if you don't know me, I don't believe that I should. That's what should lead. But when you get to know me you'll realize what I've done. You're entitled, yeah Right. But but that whole thing is part and parcel of? Are we in a lodge to know each other and become brothers or for some other reason?

Speaker 1:

You know it causes more harm than good. The titles I believe it incentivize.

Speaker 2:

I look at, I see it internationally right. I mean, most of these, most of these guys that are at the international level are wonderful, wonderful human beings, amazing people. But there there are some who, you know, it's like they wear a flying carpet and you know, I mean, you're like you are, you're here because you wanted the title how much more gold can I put on myself?

Speaker 1:

Can we get more gold? Can I get a gold helmet? Can I get gold shoulder pads?

Speaker 2:

What can we do, like I mean you know, I got to tell you like, I mean, the Grandmaster of South Africa, john Smith, such a, such a humble guy I've seen him several times in different jurisdictions, you know but like the epitome of a Grandmaster who really cares about his grand lodge, who's doing the right thing, who's I mean, you know it's, it's a, it's a privilege meeting these people. But you're right, people like him he wouldn't be any less if he got out of office and became brother.

Speaker 1:

And they want that. These people who have accomplished these great things in the fraternity and done so much good, they just want to be a brother. They don't really care about their titles. You know this. You meet these people and they're the least concerned with their titles. It's always the guy who hasn't really what has he done? I don't know, but he got the title and he wants to make sure you use it every time you say his name.

Speaker 2:

I want to be fair, though, too, because I think I think we all have a journey, and I've certainly had mine, and I am. I have this opinion. I would say, out of maturity that I have, that I have been blessed with through my association with Freemasonry right 20 years ago, when I joined this fraternity. I didn't know any better, and it was important to get these accolades right, and so I don't want people to listen to this and go oh my God, they hate me. I think we go through this process, and we have to remember that. We talk in terms of smoothing the ash on and all these sort of things. That's part of it, and it's okay to be the brash upstart asshole sometimes, but you're going to grow out of it too, and we love you anyway.

Speaker 1:

Yeah Well, the fraternity needs their passion. Those people that are doing things for titles are doing things, so I guess it's serving its purpose in some ways. I just think we could find better ways to incentivize than meaningless titles.

Speaker 2:

One of my quotes that I'll, that I'll just. It's always stuck in my head. You know, if you remember Norman Schwartzkoff from Desert Storm, he wrote an autobiography and for the life of me I can't remember what most of it says. But one of the things that he said in there was the higher the monkey gets up the flagpole, the more you can see of his ass. And you know, I think we should all remember that, because if we get to the top of the flagpole and say I'm the monkey in charge, oh yeah, we can see the whole thing. You know, like humility is a virtue. Remember the people that got you there, remember the new guys. And in a lot of my speeches I get some talking to grandmasters at like the world conference and say, look, you guys don't get introduced anymore, everybody knows you already. You walk into a lodge and like if someone doesn't know you there's a problem. Like, think about your newest master, mason, how's he going to travel who doesn't know anybody, doesn't have your network, doesn't have your accolades, doesn't have your history.

Speaker 1:

And that's who you're starting with Amity you gave him the power to be able to travel comfortably without concern for losing his privileges? Yes, safely, right, because it is a dangerous thing for us to have Masonic communication with unrecognized brothers. There can be serious repercussions for that, because there should be.

Speaker 2:

I mean that's important.

Speaker 1:

And I think oftentimes happens out of ignorance. For new Masons for sure, yeah, totally. They don't even know the difference between Prince Hall and non-Prince Hall at that level, at that point.

Speaker 2:

And well you know, common misconception is oh, I recognize the Prince Hall and my grand jurisdiction, I recognize Prince Hall, which is absolutely not the case. They have grand lodges, just like we do. And what would you say if, oh, I recognize the Grand Lodge of Florida, therefore I recognize every other Grand Lodge in America. No, not so much.

Speaker 1:

This whole idea of recognition in itself is unknown to new Masons. They don't even realize there is such a thing as recognition or that if they see a Masonic symbol that it may not be some place that they're allowed to go. They just don't know. It takes time for people to learn that stuff in the fraternity. And you know, having an app that anyone can download, even a non-Mason, potentially in the future, I think is great, especially for family members, you know.

Speaker 2:

We get that a lot already. I mean, we can't stop someone from downloading it, right. And then someone creates, you know, a profile because they want to become a Mason and they think that's how they reach out, right, and you know, I mean it's like we have a variety of ways to catch that sort of stuff and most times we do, and you know, but, like, there's an opportunity here to say these people to your point, even the people that are, you know, doing things for the title are still doing things. They are, yeah, you know, just because you signed up thinking it was the right thing. Yeah, it's the wrong thing, but that doesn't make you bad. It means you're trying Right and some of them are bad. Don't get me wrong. You know, it's always funny to me when it's like I'm the grandmaster of England. Thank you for outing yourself, you know, like, no, you're not.

Speaker 1:

Well, just to end this, you, your wisdom was get out, travel experience, embrace, absolutely Embrace our differences, don't shy away from them, Love everybody. As a brother and I grew up with, my mother always told me that the best cure for ignorance was travel, that only seeing the same people and having the same food and the same experience as your whole life makes an ignorant man.

Speaker 2:

And she told me and to be clear, I don't mean everybody has to be able to afford to go to Australia.

Speaker 1:

Right, right.

Speaker 2:

Go to your next, your next district, Go an hour away, Go to the next state in the US within you know one to three hours. A lot of us could get to a different state. Right it's. It doesn't have to be far, Even the next lodge over or the one that meets in your same building, that has a different history. You can learn so much.

Speaker 1:

And the every lodge has its own culture, its own personality, its own vibe and feeling, and it's a pretty cool thing to walk into a lodge that's exactly the same but totally different. It is, yep, and the more you travel, the more you have that experience where you're getting the same thing. There's a bit of a meditative kind of to me, a safe, comforting feeling to know I know what's happening wherever I go, even though I don't get it's like in your installation a lot of differences between your work and ours, but generally it's the same I know what's coming. I know what's coming next. You might say it differently.

Speaker 2:

But you know what I remember. So we didn't talk about the fact that my lodge has the George Washington gavel, but I remember going on my first gavel trip to a lodge in Pennsylvania that was just over the Maryland Pennsylvania border, so I had two hours away and they didn't have stewards and I was our junior steward and I'm like you don't have me. What?

Speaker 1:

is this they don't have the position at all in that jurisdiction.

Speaker 2:

No, not at all. No stewards. Who does your food? How does this work?

Speaker 1:

I guess they are pretty useless in the ritual work, aren't they? They're not used in the state of communication at all.

Speaker 2:

Right, I mean, look, it's just the way it is, but it was my first like hold on sort of moment, that's me talking about it.

Speaker 1:

You're right, oh god damn. Yeah, no, it's true. When I became a fellow craft, I was asked the next day to do a fellow craft degree at another lodge. I had just seen the degree and when I went to do the steward position, a lot of it was different the way they move and the way that they say it.

Speaker 2:

You're like wait a minute. I thought I okay Wait.

Speaker 1:

So and I'm not going to argue with these people I learned that early on. You don't argue ritual with somebody else's lodge, you just accept it, and so I'm sure you're the same way. If I'm going to do ritual in your lodge, the first thing I'm going to do is ask you to show me how you do it so that I can do it.

Speaker 2:

Well, to be fair, I'm that way because I've made the mistake of trying to think that I knew what I was talking about. So you know, I've gotten those lumps the hard way. I've been that brash asshole, really Right, and oh, absolutely, and I'm sure you know who knows me Freemasonry has matured me like in amazing ways.

Speaker 1:

Yeah, well, you're an old man now, you know? Hey, I'm all of them.

Speaker 2:

I know I'm looking down the barrel of a service award man Like this is not cool.

Speaker 1:

Yeah, yeah, what 30 years.

Speaker 2:

No, no, I mean I just hit 20. So you know we start with 25 in DC but, like you know, when it's, when you're under a five milestone is like it's coming yeah.

Speaker 1:

But you know, before you know it, you'll be at your 65 year service award.

Speaker 2:

But you know to your point, though the opposite is also true, and it's fascinating when it happens. I remember going to visit a lodge in Ireland that was in Dublin, and there were two lodges meeting that night, and one of them was doing a degree and one was having a stated meeting. Which one did I pick the degree? Come to find out they're like well, we're not even sure we can open, we just it's. You know, a couple of people are out, you know whatever. And I'm like well, look, if there's anything to do, let me know. Fine, well, they, they work from a book in England. And so they were like look, we can do this if you are willing to sit in this chaplain. And I'm like sure, whatever, you know by this point, I'd been a past master for five, eight years, done degrees all over whatever Exactly. Like just tell me where to stand. And for them it was simple the chaplain just sort of stands somewhere, says something, closes the book and goes back and then it happens twice and that's it. So I do the first one. Great fine, whatever they go through the whole degree, which is completely different, but all the same. And we get to the end and I start reading and I'm like I looked down and you remember I told you about that guy, jim Loefflin, who would do voucher, safe, fine, aid, almighty father of God. And it was that prayer. And I get two sentences in and I'm sort of reading ahead to try and know what I'm about to say and I realized this is verbatim, right, and I closed the book, I basically put it in my pocket and I finished the prayer and afterwards they all look at me like do you have a photographic memory? And I'm like, look, I wasn't trying. In hindsight I probably should have just not just should have pretended to read it. But I'm like you guys you have no idea how many times I've said this prayer. It won't leave my head, no matter what like it or not, and it was so cool to be in this place.

Speaker 1:

Most of our prayers come right out of the Old Testament.

Speaker 2:

This one wasn't. It's completely different.

Speaker 1:

You're talking about the inner apprentice prayer there. That yeah, voucher safe?

Speaker 2:

Is that in? Is that from the Old Testament? No, no, no.

Speaker 1:

The opening and closing. A lot of it is, but those, those prayers like that one you're talking about is pretty specific to Freemasonry.

Speaker 2:

So voucher safe fine aid. Almighty father of creation voucher safe. This that present. You know our present convention, blah, blah blah. But it was here, I was DC, I'm in Ireland and like there's no daylight between the words. Yeah, that's awesome, it's the same, it was the weirdest experience, and I mean again, talk about dumb luck to walk up. I, of course, want to see a degree. They're short one person. They asked me to sit and this is what they give me.

Speaker 1:

It's a lot of destiny in your stories.

Speaker 2:

A lot of destiny, you know, it's just you're right where you need to be. Life is a wonderful thing, in my opinion, if you open yourself to allowing it to happen to you you got to be a yes man.

Speaker 1:

Just say yes and you're improvising.

Speaker 2:

Which goes right to the travel question. Right, if you get the chance to travel.

Speaker 1:

I'm in Take it.

Speaker 2:

Yep, you know, it's such a great experience. You'll meet people that you've never thought you would meet.

Speaker 1:

Well, this is how I met you.

Speaker 2:

Exactly Right. In foreign land, so I agree, and your wife no less.

Speaker 1:

Well, that's, I was trying to keep her out of it. You know I'm.

Speaker 2:

Yeah, well, you know.

Speaker 1:

I've seen your girlfriend. You did fine for yourself.

Speaker 2:

I am a blessed man, what can I say?

Speaker 1:

And in many ways, and we are very appreciative for all of your efforts in the fraternity I don't know.

Speaker 2:

I love what you're doing, man. I really it's. It's huge to have people like you that are actually taking the time to, to you know, get this knowledge out and have these conversations in a public way. So thank you.

Speaker 1:

My pleasure. Let people know where can they get Amity app.

Speaker 2:

I almost anywhere these days the app store, the play store, amitycoperiacom there. I'm sure there will be a download link on the on the level page soon.

Speaker 1:

Yes.

Speaker 2:

Yeah, it's. You know we. We work with every regular grand lodge that's out there.

Speaker 1:

So there you go.

Speaker 2:

Come on in.

Speaker 1:

Just the water is fine, and if you're listening, instead of somewhere where you can click, just go, do. Go to your store and search Amity Mason or Amity, yep, that's it, and you'll find it and download it and you probably already have a profile. You just got to claim it most likely Nice and easy In.

Speaker 2:

Florida. That's absolutely true. We've got a couple of other grand lodges that are coming on like that shortly and certainly. Either way, though, just shoot us an email or a note. Support at coperiacom, and we are more than happy to help.

Speaker 1:

All right, thank you, jeremy Barnes. Amity app. Hopefully everybody has it. If you don't go, get it, and we look forward to having you back on the show and talking more about Freemasonry and life as a Mason.

Speaker 2:

Until next time, anytime you want. Next time we can cover the George Washington gavel.

Speaker 1:

Yes, oh, I want to talk about seeing you in the Capitol building, talking to the people there about that Cause it was a pretty eye-opening experience, but that's for next time. We have a great day and we'll see you next time on the level. Podcast is out.

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